Prick grew up after the disappointment of losing the balloon and his childhood sweetheart along with it (Pip). Took to playing the violin; joined a band of sorts. But beamy yellow sunshine always remained hidden in starless darke. He was not a happy man. Here he bows a dirge to fallen children everywhere — one of his compositions for the group.
Don, Joe and Alex put up with the pain and sorrow, which they liked to mask themselves with drugs and women and expensive, gaudy clothes. Colorful, they were in a word. Sgt. Pepper-ish. Not Prick. Just pepper would do for him, as in sneezy and black.
They played the last sad chord of the piece.
“Okay,” offered Cheery Don, who was kind of the leader. “Let’s try something more uplifting now.”
One of *yours*, obviously,” Prick thought pungently, but instead it was green boy Jolly Joe’s turn. Ambiguous Alex, who was closer to Prick’s spirit as well as his body here, glanced over, wondering if he’d even lift up his arm to his fiddle for this one. Someday, he knew, the limb would not rise but remain by the side. Then it would be done. All this was written or foreshadowed or prerecorded back in childhood.
Then the group as a whole could move on to Frenzied Fred. The Purple Bunch they would become in this most likely of probable realities, archaic instruments set aside forever.