Marco Moonwalker Gerry Boland Illustrated by ﾃ（ne McGuinness
was in the house one morning when I heard the sound of Mum’s trombone coming from the garage. I went outside and sat on the back step and listened. She was playing a tune I hadn’t heard before. It was hard to describe – kind of sad and lonely, but beautiful too. The sort of tune that gets into your head and stays there. She didn’t stop playing, even when I turned the door handle, which was loose and made a lot of noise. I opened the door a little, stuck my head through the gap, and couldn’t believe what I saw. 7
Marco was sitting in the far corner, playing Mumâ€™s trombone. He had his eyes shut and a sort of faraway look on his face. It was the same expression that he wore whenever he was thinking about his old home in the Rockies. I closed the door and tiptoed out again. 8
A little while later Marco came in to the kitchen to make himself a cup of tea. ‘Marco.’ ‘Patrick.’ ‘What was that tune you were playing on Mum’s trombone?’ He nearly dropped the teapot he was holding. 9
‘Don’t tell ’
‘Don’t tell your mum I was playing her trombone. She’d be mad.’ Mum never got mad, at me or at Marco. Especially at Marco. She thought Marco could do no wrong. ‘I didn’t know you could play the trombone. Did they teach you how to play it in the zoo?’ ‘They didn’t teach me anything in that place. There was a tune in my head … the trombone was on the shelf … so I played it.’ ‘You played a tune that was in your head on a trombone that you never learned to play? Marco, you’re a genius.’ ‘I am?’ ‘A true genius. That probably means you can play any instrument.’ ‘I don’t think so. The music that was in my head was a trombone sound.’ 11
‘Don’t you hear any other instruments in your head?’ ‘I had a tune in my head yesterday that wasn’t a trombone sound.’ ‘What was it?’ ‘A banjo, I think.’
‘Are you sure it was a banjo?’ He closed his eyes for a long moment. I could tell he was playing the tune in his head. ‘Definitely a banjo,’ he said. ‘Jamie’s dad has a banjo,’ I said. ‘He lives just down the road. I’ll ask if I can borrow it.’ Ten minutes later we were both back in the garage and I had a banjo in my hand. ‘Here, have a go.’ He took the banjo from me. It was tiny in his big paws.