"Hey, there's a fan here," I said, turning it up to 3 with my foot. It clunked into life and suddenly I felt a cooling breeze brush my legs. It was a welcome respite.
"Thank the Lord," she said, closing the door to the tiny rehearsal room, which was no less stuffy or damp, but at least it had an electric fan on. It had taken me about half an hour to realise that.
"Okay, let me hear that one again," I said.
"Do you prefer the other one?" asked Mini, unscrewing the ligature and handing me back the mouthpiece.
"I'm not sure," I replied, reflecting. "Try this one again?"
I sorted through the pile of four mouthpieces and handed one back to Mini, who plucked a reed from between her lips and fixed it to the mouthpiece, sliding that onto her soprano sax. It was clear, by this point, that it was a contest between two mouthpieces - although the question was: which one, and for which purpose?
"I really like that one," I said after a while. "But it's very jazzy. Or it sounds so. How does it feel?"
"It feels jazzy," said Mini.
"The other one sounds more rounded, more wholesome," I continued, "but if you're only wanting to play jazz..."
"I'd play anything as long as it's not with my old mouthpiece," said Mini. We both turned and frowned at the mouthpiece she'd got for free with the sax, as if it could feel our waves of hate and indignation at the squeaks it gave out.
"Well... try the other one again, see how it feels?"
She unscrewed her ligature, fellated her reed again and switched mouthpieces. The cork squeaked audibly as it affixed itself.
"I'm going home a happy girl," smiled Mini as I was still debating in my head the best way to tell her that she should buy a mouthpiece £30 more expensive than one I liked about a hemidemisemiquaver less than the smoother one. "I'll certainly be smiling. It's like having a new boyfriend!"
"Don't tell Stephen that," I grinned.
"I won't," she replied, with a naughty glint in her eye. "He might not take kindly to me saying I've got a new love..." She switched mouthpieces again and began to fiddle with the ligature. "...or that I've been giving them some oral action."
"Sorry?" she offered.
I shook my head with a small smile. My halo quavered and sparked for a while, but remained mostly still.
Evidently I'm not the only one with a dirty sense of humour among my friends, I thought, as Mini raised the sax to her lips once more.