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Paul Francis Mc Cann

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Busker On Board
By Paul Francis Mc Cann
Friday, July 31, 2009

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The busker finds his feet and heads off to London .

The street lights of Sydney lit up the night and the city was all aglow .
Theatres, dance clubs , restaurants, and fast food joints were full of people out for a good time . I was just finishing my busking session . I’d been there for about three hours and was ready to return home .
I put my fender back into its case and packed away my blues harp .

My pockets where filled with change that jingled when I started to walk .

My shoulder blades were sore from the guitar strap that had cut a crease into my skin .

I made my way along the sidewalk to Circular Quay where I grabbed a quick bite to eat at City Extra before heading for the train station .
As I approached the turnstiles I ran then jumped straight through .

I had this feeling the train approaching was mine and rushed up the steps four at a time . I imagined I had springs on my feet that propelled me upwards and onwards .The train pulled into Circular Quay and the automatic doors of the R-set opened up .I just had enough time to throw myself into the carriage before the doors closed .

I was catching my breath when a young lady in the carriage said ,

“Out for the night then ?”

I replied
“Ah , well no, Actually I’m just going home .”
She continued .
“So you’re a musician .“

“Well yeah , a busker more than anything .“
I said .

“That’s interesting , so what’s the difference.”

‘Lots , like I’m in control of where and what I play . I am connected to my audience and I don’t need a contract or a promotion . “

“Wow , that’s awesome .”
She said .

“Hey my name is Mac ,can I sit down ?”

“Sue’s my name . Ok I love music ”

I sat down and took out my fender from its case and played a version of Piano Man . Somewhere between the third verse she put a large note in my guitar case . When I finished playing she said ,

“You’re pretty good .“

“Thanks .“
I took the money and put it in my pocket . Then I smiled and looked into her eyes . They were distant and red but very inviting .

“You could be doing a lot more that just busking .”
She said .

“Well Sue you know , my minds made up and I’m leaving for London .
I’ve got this wanderlust and a crazy idea of busking around Europe . “

“That sounds really exciting Mac . When are you going ?”

“Well I’m going to book the next flight out .
I answered .

“I’m thinking about taking a trip overseas next year . Maybe we’ll bump into each other over there .”

‘Yeah maybe .”
I said .

“You go and knock them out Mac. I have to get off , this is my stop . Nice to meet you Mac .”

She started to figet around looking for her handbag and then as the train pulled into a station I said ,

“Likewise Sue . I’d love to be able to talk to you some more , after all it could be my last night in Sydney .”

“I have a flat near the station . Fancy a drink ?”

“That’s the best offer I’ve had for a long time Sue . You’re on .“

We walked out of Westmead station and no one was there to collect the tickets not that I had one anyway . The streets were deserted and in a short time we arrived at a block of flats near Parramatta Park .
We climbed a stairwell to a door that was splattered with graffiti art and tags that clung to the door like children to a swing going nowhere .

Sue opened the door and invited me inside . There was a mattress on the floor beside a window that had these dirty lace curtains that obviously had been hung to die .

“By the time I placed my guitar by the door she had undressed and slipped under the blankets . She reached out a opened a bottle of Port that was nestled between the mattress and the wall . She had a little drink and passed the bottle to me saying ,

“As its your last night in Sydney , this ones on me .”

I fell asleep in her arms and when I awoke she was gone , like a suspect for the death of a defector .
I found a post card of London there on my guitar case and on the back Sue had wrote a message that read ,

“Hey Mac ,thanks for last night. I needed that . If you get to London I have a friend there called Linda . Look mher up if you get in trouble . There was an address ,of her flat in a place called Dalston . Look her up , tell her Sue said hello and keep her a place where there is room for love . Bye .”

And that was all she wrote
I left the flat and headed for home .

“Within an hour I had made a phone call and found an available seat to London that evening , due to a cancellation .
I took the opportunity and went tin to purchase the ticket .

That morning I took time to look at the clear blue sky that washed the world away for me ,like an exit from the scattered thoughts I had held for months .
I informed all my ghosts in the closet that I would be leaving and they were not to follow me .
I had made an arrangement with the airline to have my guitar with me on the plane .

That evening the airport was crawling with tourists from various walks of life . There were clerics and school excursions , camera wielding Japanese business men , lovers , children with parents and people in wheel chairs .
A large well armed security presence were visible .

Everyone was being watched . If I didn’t know better I’d say that there was a phobia there as if something terrible was just about to happen .
People lounged about in the transit lounge area like lizards on rocks .
Waiting for their boarding call people sat reading magazines or nervously eating some snack . I pulled out my fender and tuned it up . By the time the harmonics were right I had a few young kids standing there watching with an intense interest . As I played them a little song they giggled and squealed .

Then I heard the announcement that it was time to be boarding my flight .
In single file we lined up to make our way through scanners . My guitar case was inspected inside and outside and nothing was left untouched . Finally I was permitted to continue to the terminal gate where the plane awaited . Isn’t it weird that the last word you see just before you get on the plane is terminal .

I was welcomed on board by a friendly group of airline staff who pointed me to my window seat . There was only about a dozen people on the flight which seemed strange to me . Once everyone was settled we were shown all the routine procedures for emergency landing and what was available for us on the journey . Once I took my seat I put my guitar beside me and slid back into the seat . when everyone was settled the jet engines of the 747 jumbo jet roared as the captain steered it onto the runway for take off . Like a bullet fired from a gun we exploded into the air . In a short passing of time Sydney City looked like a toy town far below us in a hazy distance .
I slipped into a catnap and when I opened my eyes the plane was beginning to descend . As we wafted through the clouds the captain announced that we were making an approach to Melbourne and that the rain was pelting down .

A thought came into my head , I hope that the windscreen wipers are working ok and the tyres have enough tread .

After picking up the Victorian passengers the plane was starting to fill up .
Once again we hit the sky and the big bird on route to London .
Soon the plane was making an approach to land in Bangkok .After we touched down I watched busy airport workers running around like ants scurrying over the hot tarmac . Bangkok was a hot hole and as we got off the plane on to this little green bus my shirt stuck to my skin and I immediately broke out in a sweat . The bus brought us over to the transit lounge in a flash . Maybe the driver thought he was driving a formula one in the grand prix . Some of the passengers almost lost their balance . As the lady beside me fell back I was
able to catch her and when she regained her balance she said thanks .
Relieved to be in one piece we all got off the bus and went into the transit lounge . after drink and a stretch of the legs we were soon back on the plane .
Leaving the humidity of Bangkok behind we were brought a meal buy the airhostess . I finished what was on the tray and had a sleep .
Waking up I did a crossword , had a shave ,then a drinkm watched an in flight movie listened to the music thinking to myself mm ,can’t wait to start busking .

The captain announced that we were making the final approach to land at Heathrow . Due to busy air traffic the big 747 circled over London for about a half hour before touching down .
After making our way from the plane we stood on this moving flat walkway that brought us along to the inner heart of this huge complex at Heathrow .
Finally after going through the security I got beyond the airport gates to the tube at Heathrow . After making some enquiries I boufght a ticket and was on my way through the London underground . With a destination of St Pauls international youth hostel as my base I held tightly to the handle of my guitar case and tried to blend in to the busy flood of people who travelled in the London underground system .

The busker has arrived , London here I come .

The End

By Paul McCann

       Web Site: ABC Tales

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Books by
Paul Francis Mc Cann


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