The band room of Henrietta High School, Henrietta, Texas, 1960: I was a hot-shot rudimental drummer, the head of the drum section. My associates were Noah on the bass drum, and … Linda on cymbols.
Noah had it easy. Just hit the bass drum on every beat.
Cymbols are more difficult, because you must stand, counting measure after measure, and sooner or later you get the the one place where you clash the cymbols together with a great flourish.
Linda had a bad habit of counting wrong. Sometimes we had cymbol clashes in the middle of soft passages. Often we passed the correct spot, and when Mr. Raeke glared, we got a kind of belated cymbol crash.
All this reflected upon me, the head of the drum section, so I tried to keep an eye on Linda, and helped her count the measures, whilst playing the rudimental snare part.
Although not particularly good at counting measures, she’d grown even more breathtaking from the first time I’d ever seen her walking down the street, and on this particular day she wore a snug black medium-weight turtleneck sweater which showed off her lovely figure to perfection, each perfect breast the stuff of dreams.
Today she was counting very seriously, and we were drawing near the correct place.
As the band headed into the last two measures, Linda raised the left cymbol high, and lowered the right cymbol low. Standing upright, her head and shoulders nodding in time, she counted down the last four beats.
Up came the measure, and the cymbols swung!
No stunning crash. Just a muffled sound. I looked at Linda’s face, but her eyes were blank, staring into space far beyond the ceiling of the room. It was pain. Wordless. Pain beyond speech.
She had caught her left breast between the cymbols.