blog battle,  Fiction writing,  pancreatic cancer

The hypnotic beat to my day

A year ago today, at 3pm, we lost my wonderful dad to the cruelty of Pancreatic Cancer.  It has not been a great day and so much has been going around my head.  I’m writing these stories  to help raise awareness and fundraise for Pancreatic Cancer UK . 


The rhythmic drum beat the vibrations went on and on. Listening to Harry play, he has a talent for frustrating me.  The hypnotic repetitive whacking is overpowering.  Maybe one day he will be a professional drummer, but right now I need a break.

Why do children love noisy instruments?  Harry prefers the comforting bang of the drums to the musical piano.  He has always loved waving sticks and hitting things, so whacking a drum is natural to him.  At sixteen years old he has no interest in school, I’m sure he will scrape through his GCSEs, but to him ‘Harry and the Mosh Heads” is more important to him.  Who needs schoolwork when you will be a rock star?  I have told him that many Rock stars have A levels and degrees, but he is not listening.

Today had been a normal long day with all the usual stresses. Too many emails with queries and complaints.  Customer service had not been my top career choice, but here I am answering the telephone for a large department store.  Some customers can be very rude, forgetting that I’m just the poor person that answered the phone.  The faults of the company are nothing to do with me but helping to keep the customer happy is.


As Gloria Francis came on the telephone, I could hear my day getting worse.   Her video camera she had purchased, three years ago, had stopped working and the store had refused to refund it.  What was I supposed to say? it was outside of its warranty period.  As she started screaming at me, I was reminded again that though working from home means no morning traffic, a son playing the drums adds a different element to it.  Unable to hear her properly I listened to his hypnotic, bang, crash, bang.  As I heard the word ‘manager’ my line clicked before it rang again, and a man spoke.  Another compliant as Harrys banging got even louder.  I tried to apologise as I heard swearing and the line went quiet.

I’m expected to answer call after call.  Time to remind Harry that he should be studying is very short.  Ignoring the ringing phone, I force my chair back and sighing heavily, I walk to Harrys room, I need quiet.

Walking in, he looks up but continues whacking the drum.



“Harry, I’m trying to work and all I hear is you.”

“I’m working too.” Next to him was a pad of paper and a pen.

“Harry, I need to hear people, you have schoolwork.”

“Mum, I don’t need school.”  Too tired and busy to argue, I now left, hoping he would find something else to do.

To much noise

Back at my desk, the phone was still ringing.  Answering again, a lady was trying to find a coat and questioning the sizing.  I can help this woman, thankful for a nice phone call I felt a little better as the hypnotic banging started again.

This can’t continue, Harry needs to stop, or I might lose my job.  Getting up again, I do something I hadn’t done before.  Walking into his room, I say nothing. Grabbing his drum sticks he shouts. Ignoring him, I confiscate them.

Answering the phone again, to another complaint, I heard the door bang downstairs.  Distracted now, this phone call was the worse as I heard the word manager again.  I need to get a new job!

A couple of hours later I gave up for the day. Leaving the room and going downstairs I found a handwritten note.

‘Gone to the pub, come find me’.

Exhausted but worried about Harry I grabbed my coat.


Thirty minutes later I was stood in the ‘Dog and Duck’ with my mouth open.  Sat with his mates is Harry with his hypnotic drumming and handsome Peter with an incredible voice that I hadn’t heard before.

The first performance of ‘Harry and the Mosh Heads’.   Listening, I couldn’t help but feel proud of the incessant banging of my drummer.  The energy from his drumming is incredible.  Could this lead to something?  Maybe I need to give him the garage to bang and crash in, but when will he do his schoolwork?

Ordering a Shandy, I sit down and allow my son to again hypnotise me, again with his bang, crash, bang.  Staring at handsome Peter, I now realise that he is staring back at me.  Does this mean something? I’ve been alone with Harry for years.  Not worth racing into anything.  Relaxing now I think of what the future could hold.  This band is certainly good, maybe I can travel with them. Kicking myself I know I need to stop, but we all need dreams, and I can’t work in customer service forever.  A day at a time, what will be will be, we just need to relax and believe, today I make the decision to drink my shandy, smile and believe.


Written for A story a day for Pancreatic Cancer UK

and   Blog Battle – Hypnotic

If you would like to donate here is my fundraising page, any size donation is appreciated.


  • aebranson

    Nice how the mom has a glimmer of hope at the end. I did quickly wonder where the dad was as the story progressed, and you confirmed later he’s out of the picture. Why he’s out of the picture intrigues me only because I wondered if it had to do with pancreatic cancer. One suggestion: if Peter is an older guy, you might want to make that clear. I assumed Harry and the Mosh Heads were all a bunch of teenagers, so her interest in Peter rattled me a little. You did a great job of conveying the oppression of working in customer service. Nicely done!

    • Just muddling through life

      hi, thankyou, sorry I hadn’t thought much about the father. The fiction stories are not about Pancreatic Cancer, there is a link at the top linking to their website. Its more hoping that people will read my stories and then think about pancreatic cancer, just as you have. We hadn’t heard of it until Dad who was fit, healthy, drank very little alcohol and never smoked was diagnosed and then died about 3 months later. Its a scary heart wrenching illness.
      I had in my mind that Peter is older, sorry I should have made that clearer. I’m pleased that you liked my story.

  • Sam "Goldie" Kirk

    AE echoed my thoughts exactly regarding the father and Peter.
    Is this pure fiction, non-fiction or a mix of the two? I can’t quite tell.
    I’m sorry about your father (if it’s not fiction).
    I often wondered how long those customer service people remain in their jobs. Whenever I call in, I try to be very nice, knowing that they deal with BS all day every day. However, unfortunately, some of them do not latch onto that for some reason and then I can get angry. C’mon. Meet me half-way.
    Have you ever heard someone try to play piano but have no idea how to? I think it’s equally as bad as drumming. But both would annoy me, especially when combined with annoying work.
    Nice piece. I don’t remember reading your stuff the last couple of months, so good to see you back in action. Your work is always so realistic, which I really enjoy.

    • Just muddling through life

      Hi Sam, thankyou, yes this is a fiction story, which I have written as part of my 30 stories in 30 days for Pancreatic Cancer UK. My dad died on 8th November 2020, after diagnosis in August 2020. He went to the doctor with back pain in July 2020, so was a massive shock to be told that he is dying. I havent written in months because I havent been able to. November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month so writing 30 stories was also a way for me to get writing again. This last year has been hard and I set out in February to walk 1000 miles by Christmas, I’m now at about 950 miles.
      Yes I don’t think I could work in Customer Service because I would struggle with the abuse and the customer being always right.. must be hard to stay polite sometimes.
      It hadnt occurred to me that the missing father might have pancreatic Cancer.
      Im pleased that you enjoyed it, thankyou!

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