“C’mon, doc! It’s just a matter of a few hours. I’ll manage. Tonight’s show is vital for us. We can’t back out now.”  

“Gavin, you are not fit enough. I can’t put your life at risk.” He looked at Danny and Tina. “Sorry, guys! I understand your situation, but we can’t take chances.”

“You are right, doc.” Danny looked at Gavin. “Take rest and don’t worry! We’ll handle everything. I’ll keep you posted.” 

“Dan…Tina… wait. Don’t cancel the event. It’ll be a total mess. Our reputation, future… no, we can’t put all at stake.” After a moment’s silence, he said, “I have an idea. Why don’t you and Tina go ahead with the show? Yes…that’ll be perfect. Go for it. Put the stage on fire.” 

“Are you out of your mind, Gav? No, this isn’t happening. It’s ‘your’ show. You are the rockstar. People come for you, not us. This is insane. We can’t.” 

“C’mon, guys! We’ve been performing together for five years now. Tina’s voice and Dan’s drums create magic. I’ve seen it. You can do it without me. Just believe and give your best shot. It’s better than cancelling the concert, right?”  Gavin glanced at his anxious mates. “Fine. Put up a post on social media. Let them see me lying on a bed with this mask. They’ll support and sympathize. Trust me.” 

Danny and Tina looked at each other, unsure of what decision they should take. Gavin came to their rescue. 

“Alright, I’ll make it easy.” He pulled out a coin from his trouser pocket. “Heads, you perform. Tails, we cancel.” 

“Don’t be kiddish, Gav! A coin toss can’t decide our fate; influence our decision.”

“Don’t be a spoilt sport, Tina. People around the globe resolve disputes and make decisions using the time-honoured tradition of flipping a coin. We are unable to take the call. So let the coin decide for us.” He looked at both of them. “Let me do the honour. Are you ready, guys?”

Danny and Tina finally nodded in agreement. 

Gavin flipped the coin in the air and caught it quickly. He had it in the palm of his hand. Flippism was about to decide their fate. Everyone waited with bated breath. 

“Ta-da…” Gavin opened his palm slowly. “Yess! It’s the Queen. Yeess! We are going ahead with the show.”  

A series of mixed sensations overwhelmed them. With fingers crossed, each muttered- Hope everything works out as planned. Shortly after, Tina and Danny left for the venue. 

Gavin raised a toast to rejoice his presumed victory. “What better than a glass of fresh orange juice, right doc?”  He flipped the coin between his fingers. At last, my plan to inflict retribution on them will eventuate today. They called this upon themselves the day they planned to extirpate me. Traitors!

“Wait… is it a two-headed coin?”

 A sly smile flashed on Gavin’s face. He let out a loud guffaw, oblivious of the tragedy that was about to befall.

 “Aarrrgh…doc…I can’t breathe. Owuu… my chest…aahh…” The empty glass slipped out of his hand. It hit the ground and shattered into pieces.

“Gavin, what’s happening? Talk to me. What’s wrong? Gav…” The man in front of him was gasping for breath. He quickly performed a precordial chest thump. Good Lord! Looks like the gag boomeranged back at him. But how… His eyes fell on the shards. The hunter got hunted. And I, his accomplice, stand helpless. He tried to retrieve the sinking patient but failed. Gavin succumbed to death.  

Danny and Tina were about to reach the concert venue when a phone call made them screech to a halt. 

“What? You can’t be serious. Sorry, what? What do you mean suddenly? He was… but…this can’t be true… He can’t just pass away. Where’s the doctor? There must’ve been some mistake. Check again. We’ll be right there.” 

Tina unsealed two cans of chilled Mimosa. Together with Danny, she raised a roast. “Cheers! To us; To our future!”  

They laughed their hearts out, unaware that they were celebrating a pyrrhic victory.  

“I couldn’t lose you to someone else. He had to go.” Danny placed a gentle kiss on Tina’s forehead. “Time to make the U-turn.”

“Kaboom!” A violent outburst shook the vicinity. The cacophony was ear-splitting. The car was completely charred; so were its passengers, Tina and Danny.  

The tragedy made headlines:

The untimely end of a musical journey. The mysterious death of the musical trio shocked people beyond words.
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