“Jayesh! Give Chloe her clarinet back!”

“But sir, she’s taken my trombone!”

Mr Marsh walked to the back of the line of musicians waiting to get on the coach. Starting a marching band had seemed like a good idea six months ago, but now he wasn’t so sure.

“Chloe! Jayesh! Give each other the right instrument and stop messing about. It’s getting late and we need to head back to school.”

The two musicians snatched their instruments back from each other and settled into a sulk. There had been some pushing and shoving before the teacher’s intervention, and Chloe took a fi nal swipe at Jayesh.

Mr Marsh ignored the fi ght and went back to the door of the coach. “Right,” he shouted, “I’m going to count you all on. Find a seat, sit down and keep quiet.” He gestured for the band members to get on, each carrying a piccolo, xylophone or whatever instrument they played.

“One, two, three...”

The whole marching band gradually fi led onto the bus, with Jayesh bringing up the rear.

“That’s 35, 36... Wait a minute, there’s one missing. I should have 37!” Mr Marsh groaned. “Where’s Chloe?”

“She ran off after you had a go at her, sir,” said Jayesh. “I did not have a go... Oh, never mind. Just get on the coach.”

Mr Marsh climbed up after Jayesh. “Right, everyone! Kofi , leave Caleb alone and sit down! Blessing, put the snare drum back in its case! George ...don’t do that. We’re missing one person, so I’m going to fi nd her. No one is to go anywhere.”

Mr Marsh set off toward the stadium to fi nd the runaway clarinetist. He searched the dressing rooms, the pitch and the stands, but she was nowhere to be seen. Eventually, just when he was about to call the school and admit he had lost a student, he saw her hiding behind the coffee stand.

“What do you want?” she snapped. “Have you come to tell me off again?”

“No, of course not. I’ve come to take you home. Let’s go! Everyone’s waiting, and your mum’ll be worried if we don’t get back soon.”

Chloe reluctantly picked up her clarinet case. “S’pose.”

An ironic cheer went up as they climbed the steps to the coach.

“OK, OK,” said Mr Marsh. “Let’s go.”

Chloe plonked herself down next to Jayesh.

“Where did you go?” he asked.

“None of your business.” She took a swipe at him again, but this time with a smile. He wasn’t so bad… for a trombonist.


  • Why did Chloe run away?
  • What would you have done in Mr Marsh’s place?
  • Would you keep Chloe in the marching band? Why? Why not?
  • Have you ever lost anyone or anything? What did you do?

This story is based on Luke 15:1-7. Read the passage with your group and compare it with this one. Discuss what Jesus might have been saying through his story, encouraging the young people to think about the parable in a new way.