Disclaimer: I do not own the movie Once or the musical Once or any of the songs written by The Script, clearly. This is purely for entertainment purposes, based on an idea that my friend and I riffed out while cutting through the crowd in Times Square after seeing Once the musical.
Read Part Two.
“I don’t understand,” his girlfriend said for the billionth time as they walked home from the subway after one of his gigs. “Look, it’s not that I don’t support your music. I think you’re wonderful. I don’t know why you’re hawking a CD you made full of songs about me.”
“Because they’re good songs!” He exclaimed. “One of the fellas there came up to me and told me he appreciated the passion and rawness behind ’em.”
“Ugh. Passion and rawness don’t pay the bills.”
“I pay the bloody bills!” He snapped. “Two jobs, the gigs and the busking…”
She shook her head. “It’s not enough!”
“We are doing our best,” he said, turning to see that the street was clear of traffic. He crossed over.
“You’re not doing it right! How come no one’s signed you? No scouts come to see you?”
“Oh, my god! You’re blaming me because large corportations haven’t taken notice of me? Are you daft?”
She threw her arms in the air. “Isn’t that the point of a demo? Or am I getting it wrong again?”
“What is your problem?” He simply asked. “Jesus.”
He led her down their quiet, dark block, his guitar case hanging on his shoulder.
“Aidan called,” she finally said when they were three steps away from their building door.
“Oh. What did he want then?”
“A chat. He’s in London now. Manages an art gallery.”
He reached for his key, opened the door, held the door for her to step through. They began the trek up the four flights of stairs.
“Good for him.”
“Don’t be jealous.”
“You criticize the way I’m going about my music—which you know is the most important thing in the world to me—and then you say that the bloke you cheated on me with has some smart job in London. No, no jealously here.”
He unlocked the door to their tiny flat. She stomped off to the bathroom.
He slept on the couch that night.
* * *
Eamon introduced her to the other musicians—all quite scary-looking wannabe rock stars. She was given music to play on the keyboard. After a rehearsal, she felt she had it down. It was only a simple riff, not Mozart.
“Hey” she heard the lead guitarist say to the drummer, “you seen the last episode of Fair City? Isn’t Suzanne completely mental?”
The session was some five hours long. At the end Eamon gave her her check for the session, which she carefully tucked into her purse.
When she walked into her flat, she heard shouting. She expected Svec and Andrei to be arguing with Reza over Suzanne’s fate yet again or perhaps a football game. Instead she found her mother holding Ivanka and gesturing wildly while shouting at her husband.
“What’s going on?” The girl cut in.
“Your husband had the nerve to take money from the can!”
The girl raised a hand to her forehead. “How much did he take from the can?”
“Enough!” Barushka said. “That money is for emergencies. In case someone gets sick or we need a doctor for Ivanka. And what did he take it for?”
“What did you take it for?”
Her husband threw his hands in the air.
“I’ll tell you,” her mother continued. “The pub!”
“Do you still have the money?” The girl asked.
“I earned some of it. It’s not a big deal if I want to go to the pub and have a pint.”
She may have taken on the Irish obsession with tea, but he had taken on the Irish obsession with the drink.
“I agree. Just don’t take the money from the can,” the girl ruled.
“I haven’t got a bank card, have I? Can’t just go to the ATM and take out cash!” He exclaimed.
“I am ignoring you now,” Barushka said to him. The girl took Ivanka from her mother and carried her into the living room. “Also, I am going out tonight.”
“Oh? With who?” The girl called out, sitting on the piano bench. Ivanka pressed on the keys.
“With the hoover man,” Barushka said. The girl smiled in thought at the quiet, kind old man who now lived alone above the hoover shop. She resolved to visit him soon.
Her mother left a half-hour later. The girl was teaching Ivanka “Three Blind Mice” on the piano. Ivanka’s chubby little fingers on the keys made the girl both laugh and tear up.
“What’ll you do for dinner?” Her husband asked.
“I suppose we could warm up the stew from last night.”
“I don’t want that.”
“Then go down to the chippie on the next street and bring two orders back while I give Ivanka a bath, please.” Suddenly the vinegary taste of fish and chips seemed perfect.
“With what? You don’t want me to spend money from the can, remember?” He went into their cramped bedroom and didn’t come out for the rest of the night.
The next day, when the girl went to get her recording session check cashed, she didn’t bring home the money. Instead, she bought Ivanka a new pair of shoes and used the remainder at the chippie for her lunch.