3. Three Cool Cats

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'This isn't it,' I said to Minnie, but as I spoke I realised it was. It was our opening song, but being played much too slowly. 'I can't sing to this.' 

But Minnie wasn't listening. She'd already started the song, singing slowly, trying to make the words fit to the music. She glanced over at me, nodding towards the other microphone. I stepped up to it an attempted to harmonise with her. 

For a few moments, the audience seemed to freeze in a  stunned silence. I think we actually made it about half way to the chorus before the jeering started - but once it started, it didn't let up. I could understand, it really did sound awful. Suddenly, someone threw a beer bottle which smashed in front of us on the side of the stage.

'Hey! You! Out!' someone else shouted, almost drowning out our pathetic musical accompaniment.  

'Come on, love, get 'em off!' someone else shouted from the darkness. 

'Fuck off,' Minnie shouted back.

At the back of the room, the door opened and daylight flooded in for a brief moment - a strange reminder that it was actually still the middle of the afternoon.

The song came to an end, or rather it petered out. I looked at Minnie and shook my head. The audience were jeering louder now. 

'Come on, lets go,' I said. 

Minnie shook her head. 'One more.' 

'Are you crazy?'

She turned to the band and nodded at them.

'These are the worst strippers ever, Ralph!' Someone near the front of the stage yelled. 

'We're not strippers, we're singers!' Minnie shouted back, as the trio band attempted to start the next tune.

I stared at her, horrified. A slow clap had started by now, and a gathering chant - 'Off! Off! Off! Off!' 

A loud burst of laughter came from the back of the club, distracting me momentarily. Three lads larking about, one pulled at another's arm, signalling toward the exit. The other two were joining in the clapping and chanting.  

At the side of the stage I could see Ralph waving at us. He looked red in the face as he beckoned us to him. 'We'd better get off,' I said to Minnie. It looked like our career in the music industry was going to be brief. 

'One last song,' Minnie said and then shouted the same to Ralph who shook his head, but Minnie had already started - her favourite song, The Chantel's 'Maybe'. 

As she started to sing, I gripped the microphone stand, unsure whether to join in or not. I started to sing, trying not to take any notice of the audience, I stared at the back of the room. The three figures who'd just arrived were still there. One nudged one of the others and nodded towards the stage. His mate shook his head laughing. The young lad stepped away from his friends and I watched him as he made his way through the crowd up to the stage front. He leaned down and spoke into the ear of the guitar player, who abruptly stopped playing and offered his guitar up to him. 

The music stopped. Minnie looked around. The other two lads had joined the first now. 'Whatcha know, girls?' one called over, picking up a second guitars which had been left resting at the side. Minnie looked at me, then shouted a song title over. He nodded and started to play. 

We stumbled through the song. With the band, considerably better than the previous one, we managed to sound - well, better, if nothing else. Even the audience seemed to calm down a bit and there was a little spattering of applause at the end of the song. I cast my eyes over to the side of the stage. Ralph sliced his finger across his throat in a 'kill it' gesture and stepped out with us. He clapped 'Scarlett and Minerva!' he shouted, 'our first - and most likely last - expedition into rock and roll.' Laughter, lukewarm applause. He lowered his voice and hissed to us, 'Get off. Now.'

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