Contemporary Drama Fiction

He woke up in a cold sweat. His heart was racing, his hands trembling, his head spinning. He hadn’t woken up like this since the days right after the love of his life was…

No. No, he wasn’t going down that rabbit hole today.

He got out of bed and headed straight for his drum kit.

For the next hour, he pounded that nightmare right out of his system. With every beat of the drums, the details of the nightmare became clearer and clearer and also begun losing their power to fill him with terror. Playing drums had always been therapeutic for him. He was fortunate that he now played drums for a living, for the biggest rock band this side of the Sahara.

While in the shower, he settled on the way he was going to decline the recruiter’s job offer. He was simply going to recount his nightmare then give the backstory of how he ended up with his current job as a drummer.

He underestimated the recruiter’s determination.

“Sir, you are the perfect man for the job -”

“Miss, I had a nightmare - “

“There is literally no one else in this part of the world who has all the qualities needed for this position. You understand the power of music and with your background -”

“I was back at the hospital, doing rounds when -”

“Let me give you a brief history of the Institute. I’m sure you’ll change your mind once you know what we are all about.”

“- all of a sudden, my name was called on the Intercom to rush to the reception area.”

“The Institute was founded ten years ago. Our founder had done extensive research on the relationship between health and music -”

“When I got to the reception area, there was a huge swimming pool right in the centre.”

“Of course in Africa, the relationship between health and music has been known and acknowledged since time immemorial.”

“Above the swimming pool, there was a tight rope.”

“Have you read “The Healing Drum” by Yaya Diallo and Mitchell Hall?”

“No I have not. Listen. Above the swimming pool, there was a tight rope and on the other side of the swimming pool was…was…someone that I love.”

“Yaya Diallo is a djembe and balafon player from Mali. He got a degree in Chemistry but later rejected his academic training and went back to playing the drum and -”

“I was walking across the tight rope when suddenly it got cut into two and I fell into the swimming pool.”

“Sir, there is no reason why you cannot marry your two areas of specialty. This Institute needs you and your expertise.”

“I tried swimming to the top but something or someone was pulling me down.”

“We understand that you may have compensation concerns. We know that your current position in the band is very lucrative. You recently bought an island, am I right?”

“Listen. I was pulled down and at the very bottom of the swimming pool was a city in ruins.”

“We are willing to pay you double of what you currently earn in the band.”


“Double. Minus all the band drama I read about in the news and social media.”

“What’s the name of this institute again?”

“MIMI. Music In Medicine Institute.”

“Who funds you guys?”

“Lots of people and organizations. That shouldn’t be your concern.”

“But if you want me to head this institute, shouldn’t I be aware of something as important as where the funding comes from?”

“You are beginning to ask all the right questions. Does this mean you will accept our offer?”

“It’s true that I have to deal with a lot of band drama. But health-care-system drama is far much worse. Far more dangerous. Far more fatal.”

“Our board of directors will shield you from any backlash.”

“And who will shield me from the board of directors?”

“Sir. Wasn’t inclusion of the arts in the education and practice of medicine one of the things that you and your…colleague were fighting for?

His heart began beating to a dangerous beat.

“You leave her out of this. This has nothing to do with her.”

“This job would be a great way to honour her memory.”

“Mention her one more time and I’m walking out right now.”

“I find it fascinating that you walked in, in the first place.”

“ I only wanted to explain why I can’t take this job.”

“Ah. Your dream.”


“Sir, you do know that dreams are subject to numerous interpretations. It could be that you were just having a bad case of indigestion.”

“I woke up in a cold sweat, terrified.”

“Sir -”

“Look. My head, my logic, the rational part of me is screaming for me to take this job. It seems like exactly what I need. The band is going through a lot of challenges right now. I’m not getting any younger. Now would be the perfect time to quit while I am ahead.”


“I no longer have it in me to fight that system.”

“We will do all the fighting for you and -”

“Being the head of any organization means being at the forefront of any battles. I refuse to be a bystander when there is a worthy war to be fought. But I also refuse to be coerced into any war that I have not yet counted the cost. Or a war that has already cost me everything I hold dear.”

The recruiter glared at him for a long moment. He glared right back. The stalemate lasted for several seconds. His heart beat provided the necessary suspense drums soundtrack.

Finally, the recruiter smiled, picked up her brochures and documents then slid her card towards him.

“Sir, I see you need more time to think this over. Call me when you change your mind. Because you will.”

He watched her walk away, her staccato stilettos sounding like war drums.

And he had the uneasy feeling that his nightmare had just begun.

December 18, 2020 18:39

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