The Identical Performer

Submitted into Contest #73 in response to: Write about a drummer going to a holiday party for musicians.... view prompt

42 comments

Drama Mystery Fiction

 Somehow, last year, I hadn’t been quite keen to attend the Christmas Party for Musicians. Maybe, I wanted it to be a quiet Christmas, just with my family. Maybe I wanted to call some old friends over. Maybe I wanted to go to a holiday to some tropical region. Point was, I didn’t want to attend the party, and there was no specific reason for it. My brain told me to deny and that was what I decided. When Frank had called up, I hadn’t said no… My friends expected me, and when I did not turn up, everyone would be disappointed. Well, I had thought then, if I met Frank, I would just tell him my decision. But that day had never arrived, and the date tumbled on to 23rd December, the day we were to set off.

I quite appreciated myself that I hadn’t told Frank anything, because in the late morning of 23rd December, as I sat by the balcony sipping coffee, I realized that I should have gone. There was no point sitting alone in the house, when all were enjoying the party. I trusted my whimsical brain; not wasting another second, I packed a few things, locked the main door, got in the car, and set off to the resort.

After four hours of tedious driving, I drove in the front lawn, immediately realizing that my decision was perfectly correct. The bushes and the trees were garlanded with lights. In the middle, stood a great Christmas tree with a humongous golden star hanging at the top. 

I walked up to the front porch steadily. People were talking and laughing, occasionally glancing at me and smiling.

“Sir, you have luggage?” a porter came forward, lifting the bags.

“No, that’s all,” I said surprised. Were they waiting for me? How did they know that I would come? Well, that was unimportant. How awful would it have been, if I had not turned up at all! I couldn’t but admire my unpredictable brain for its whimsical decisions.

At the reception, a balding man was peering over his computer, fully absorbed in his work.

“Excuse me, I am looking for a room…” I faltered as the man looked up and smiled at me, “Sir, you already have a room booked on your name. A single occupancy for you?”

“Are you sure? There has been a mistake, I guess. My group might not have booked a room without my consent.”  

“Let me check again, Sir, then,” he said, returning to his computer.

“Please don’t bother. You go ahead with a fresh booking for me. I am sure there has been some misunderstanding.”

“As you wish, Sir.”

“Thank you.”

I walked up to the room, and appreciated myself once more for coming here. There was a king-size bed in the middle, with a couch by the window, through which the countryside could be seen. A small round table and two chairs were placed in front of the couch, a delicately decorated flower vase was kept on the table. I was wondering which flower it was, when I realized something surprising. It was quite curious that I hadn’t met any of my band members yet. I was pleased with myself too; I hadn’t arrived with the team but everyone confidently recognized me as one of them. Had I become really famous after all?

My mind drifted back to the missing friends. Maybe they were just around, I thought. I would have to check on the evening schedule with them. That could be done later, too. There was no hurry.

I rummaged for the newspaper. Where was the thing? I got up hastily—I would check on my friends and ask for the newspaper at the front desk.

But they were nowhere. Well, I thought for asking for the newspaper and retiring to my room, when Frank popped out, almost out of thin air.

“Hi Austin, I was searching for you…”

“Me too…”

“Listen, meet me in the hall at 4:30 pm. All will be there and we’ll talk. And yeah, don’t forget about the evening programme—8.30 pm sharp!”

“Okay… and sure, I’ll not forget.”

I glanced at my watch. It was 4:15 pm. Well, there wouldn’t be any time to lazily relax, I grumbled to myself. I walked up to the front office.  

“Excuse me,” I said. 

“We’re very sorry Sir, for being late, but your desired newspaper has already been delivered to your room.”

“Oh… thank you.”

Was I so famous? Well, it certainly seemed so, I smiled. They knew my mandatory daily newspaper, and had kept that ready… maybe a bit late. I was suddenly feeling very important. I strode up to the hall at sharp 4:30 pm and looked for Frank and the others. Astonishingly, not a soul was there in the hall. I decided to wait for five minutes… ten minutes… fifteen minutes. No, they were not to come. Perhaps, Frank had cancelled the plan after all. I stared at the empty hall; eyebrows raised. Well, I liked quietness and was not interested in silly chatting. I went back to the room, took up the newspaper and sat down on the chair, my eyes drooping. I set an alarm for 8:20 pm. Five minutes… and I was asleep.

“Ting!” the disgusting alarm sounded off, sharply at 8:20 pm, and I scrambled up. The show was due in 10 minutes!

Quickly, I dressed as much decently as I could, and ran halfway to the concert room. Approaching at the door, I straightened up, shook off my hair and got in importantly and was greeted by a recording, playing violin and a soft hush of talk. I glanced at the watch. It was 8:29 pm. I got myself a chair, and looked around. Where were the other members? I had a feeling of a sudden block of wood falling down my stomach. Was my band performing? Oh, I shook myself, that was not possible. Frank would have mentioned something. How could a music band perform without a drummer?

But it was strange. I hadn’t met any other member, except Frank, and he had told that I would be meeting all at 4:30 pm in the hall. Nobody had turned up there. And nobody had turned up here too. Did the team leave? I didn’t check that. There was a round of applause, as a woman came up on the stage. I would think about my band later, I thought, looking up at the woman.

“Good evening, gentlemen and ladies. I hope everybody is well and happy. Another year, and we have rounded up to celebrate Christmas and the New Year. Celebrations begin today…!” Another round of applause, “And we’ll be starting with our band, ‘Musicals’!”

I gasped and looked around. So, my band was performing after all. I gazed, shocked. I had to come to the hard truth—Frank had got a new drummer. But I couldn’t believe it. Why did he do this? He could have at least informed me. He had kept a room booked.  

“We’ll welcome…” the woman was off again. Should I stay? I had a mind to pack up my bags that minute and leave. But I realized that my shock didn't allow me to move a muscle. “Valda and Vania Brown—singers, Frank Woods—guitarist, Albert Warner—keyboardist, and Austin Marshall—drummer!” 

There was a lot of cheering and clapping.

My face, which had borne an expression of shock, from betrayal, a few seconds ago, had now changed. Austin Marshall... that was me. My face turned pale to blue to green to violet, the fear level increasing… as I saw myself getting up on the stage.

December 25, 2020 19:12

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42 comments

Cole Lane
03:26 Apr 05, 2021

Whaaaaat? Wait, part two is a must!!

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Aarshia Ray
04:04 Apr 07, 2021

Thank you for reading my story. I will keep your suggestion in mind :-)

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I loved this story so much Aashia! I too want a part 2 for this series, I think it would be amazing! :)

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Aarshia Ray
19:20 Dec 29, 2020

Thank you for reading my story. I will keep your suggestion in mind :-)

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Frances Reine
17:13 Jan 04, 2021

The twist was amazing! If you write a second part I'll definitely read it!

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Aarshia Ray
18:45 Jan 05, 2021

Thank you for reading my story. Everybody is telling me to write a sequel :-) If I find a suitable prompt, I will definitely write it :-)

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Frances Reine
19:50 Jan 05, 2021

yay! looking forward to it if u do!

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Aarshia Ray
11:51 Jan 06, 2021

:-)

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00:03 Apr 07, 2021

Me too!

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Aarshia Ray
05:46 Apr 07, 2021

I'll keep your suggestion in mind :-) Please keep reading my stories.

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Amarah Friedman
16:07 Apr 09, 2021

ooooh.... wacky. I like it. You've created a great, engaging mystery with the perfect amount of suspense. I think your final line brings the whole story into perspective. Great job!

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Aarshia Ray
15:52 Apr 17, 2021

Thank you :-) Please keep reading my stories.

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23:58 Apr 06, 2021

Wow, close call! I was ready to be angry for Austin before they finally called his name. Whew! Wait a minute, hold the phone! Had to re-read that ending. Ahhhhh, the plot thickens. I must read part 2 then, LOL

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Aarshia Ray
04:05 Apr 07, 2021

Thank you for your encouraging words :-) Please keep reading my stories.

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Breanna Martinez
01:30 Mar 10, 2021

It is a good story nice job

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Aarshia Ray
03:35 Mar 12, 2021

Thank you for reading my story :-)

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Esh H.
11:41 Jan 22, 2021

Enjoyed it! Good work!

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Aarshia Ray
17:49 Jan 28, 2021

Thank you Emma. Please keep reading my stories :-)

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Isla Wren
18:58 Jan 07, 2021

Fun ending! I also liked your first paragraph, thought it was well developed :) Might I suggest a re write of the sentence: I couldn’t but admire my unpredictable brain for its whimsical decisions. From the way I read it, your character is appreciative of the fact that sometimes they make last minute/ spur of the moment decision changes (that work out in their favor in the end). I’m thinking whimsical isn’t the strongest word choice here. Again, as the way I read it :) I’m brand new here, but hoping to help and be helped by fellow write...

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Aarshia Ray
17:41 Jan 08, 2021

Welcome to the forum! Thank you for reading my story :-) I will think about your suggestion :-)

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Carrie Sheldrake
12:52 Jan 01, 2021

Love this story. A great twist!

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Aarshia Ray
18:47 Jan 01, 2021

Thank you :-)

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Hallie Blatz
01:46 Jan 01, 2021

Wow, that was a great twist! I’m so confused 😆 There were a few grammar issues I noticed like when you said “I appreciated myself” it would probably work better if you said “I congratulated myself”. Other than that it was a great story! You established Austin’s character very well. I also want to thank you for liking my story! Sincerely, Hallie.

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Aarshia Ray
06:54 Jan 01, 2021

Thank you for reading my story. I will make the correction in my draft :-)

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John Del Rio
16:03 Dec 31, 2020

I enjoyed the story quite a bit. I wonder about the way the date is written. I am used to seeing it with the month, then the day. I wonder if that is a U.S. thing. I do wonder what is going to happen next and will see if you write a follow up.

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Aarshia Ray
06:58 Jan 01, 2021

Thank you for reading my story. Actually, in India the date is written first and then, the month. I will keep your suggestion in mind about the follow up and will be happy to read your other stories :-)

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John Del Rio
20:32 Dec 31, 2020

The story Nadelik surprise is the 3rd so far in a series of stories. "Special Ingredient" and "Flowry" are the other 2 stories about the same group of people

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John Del Rio
23:57 Mar 07, 2022

Hello and happy 2022, I completed the whole story of "Special Ingredient ", and even recorded all the chapters. You can listen to it here if you are interested https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYwxO4Xv4VdHn6NrTBotIsV3WoFBIrz6E

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Estelle Westley
15:31 Dec 31, 2020

Very good

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Aarshia Ray
06:58 Jan 01, 2021

Thank you :-)

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Ben Reynoso
13:16 Dec 31, 2020

Great story; I was completely sucked in! I second that sequel idea!

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Aarshia Ray
13:32 Dec 31, 2020

Thank you for reading my story. I will think about your suggestion :-)

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Daniel R. Hayes
18:05 Dec 30, 2020

Great story.

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Aarshia Ray
13:32 Dec 31, 2020

Thank you :-)

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10:10 Dec 30, 2020

Good flow of history. Narrated nicely.

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Aarshia Ray
13:34 Dec 31, 2020

Thank you for reading my story :-)

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John Walsh
15:37 Dec 29, 2020

Good story, Austin's confusion and changing emotions are very well portrayed. BTW thanks for liking "Nuts To You, Jennifer"

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Aarshia Ray
19:19 Dec 29, 2020

Thank you for reading my story :-)

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Writers Block
10:54 Dec 28, 2020

Sequel please! Good flow!

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Aarshia Ray
17:48 Dec 28, 2020

Thank you for reading my story. I will keep your suggestion in mind :-)

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18:22 Dec 26, 2020

Really good 👍👍👍

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Aarshia Ray
18:27 Dec 26, 2020

Thank you :-)

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