This was a bad week to run out of ready-made blog posts. First, my birthday extravaganza took me out of town over the weekend, only to return to a week of office work by day and Vacation Bible School by night. Therefore, I reached into the depths and brought out something ready-made and cringe-worthy and downright awful…the first short story I ever wrote.
The year was 1998. My favorite television shows were Friends and Daria while my favorite bands were Hanson, No Doubt, and Matchbox 20. My favorite fingernail polish went back and forth between a dark hunter green and a bright electric blue. I was thirteen years old in Mrs. Erbacher’s eighth grade English class when the light bulb switched on. I realized that stories are written by people with pens and paper, and that was something I could do anytime I wanted. I don’t know where I thought stories came from before that class. I read a lot and had always read a lot, but the thought that I could write something of my own for other people to read was completely new and mind-blowing to me.
For the next several years at school, when I was finished with my busy work and waiting for the next assignment, I would pop out a short story. I had notebooks upon notebooks upon 3 ½ inch disks of short stories, long stories, half-finished stories, and one long, rambling saga about a young girl with telekinesis that completely rips off Stephen King’s Carrie. (Side note: years later, I read Stephen King’s On Writing where he talks about how his earliest stories were rip-offs of the writers he admired at the time. At least I’m in good company.)
Thirteen year old Nikki would have never fathomed that she would one day be 51,744 words into a zombie novel while planning her next novel as the member of a writing group (especially one as cool as the Wicked Wordsmiths of the West) with a public blog for the all of the internet to see. This short story that you are about to read is rough around the edges…and in the middle…and everywhere else, but it was the beginning of something that means a lot to me, and that’s why I share it today. So, without further ado, I present my first short story ever: Mischief in the Band Room.
(Please note the Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch Giga Pet and the NanoPuppy hanging from my belt loop!)
Hey, what’s up? I’m Olds, a trumpet for the Cadiz High School Marching Band. No, I’m not a trumpet player, but a real live trumpet. I’m serious! I belong to eighth grader Nikki Gladwell.
It’s a decent life being a trumpet. I live in the band room with the other instruments. During the fall marching season, Nikki comes around just about every day except Sundays, but she only comes on week days during concert season. I even get to go home with Nikki over the summer!
Yeah, I figure that I have it pretty easy. The band’s director, Mr. Jay Woods, is a great and talented man. Beyond his talent though, there is a kind man who is admired as a father figure to many of the kids in the band.
Like most trumpets, I find it difficult to stay out of trouble sometimes. I can remember one time when…
“Okay, people! Let’s regroup at 52,” Mr. Woods tapped on his metal podium with the pen he used to conduct with.
“I can’t take much more of this!” I grumbled. Selmer, a trumpet owned by seventh grader Stephanie, blared a nasty note just to let me know that she heard me. Selmer was a tattle tale, and if she did what I thought she would, I was going to get it from Kristen’s intimidating trumpet, Bach the self-proclaimed leader of the trumpet section. I know I wasn’t supposed to talk when Nikki, or any human for that matter, was around even though it’s virtually impossible for them to hear us.
You know when your horn mysteriously gets out of tune, plays a different note than you wanted it to, or the valves suddenly start sticking really bad when there’s no valve oil around? We do that on purpose.
Anyway, Mr. Woods was ready to start Alexander’s Ragtime Band again I really hated this song. Besides, I was really tired! I considered making my valves stick since it was easily done, and I knew Nikki had run out of valve oil a week before. I hated to do it to the kid, but I just couldn’t handle it anymore!
Later that day, after school, I had a little chat with my fellow trumpets. We decided to tease the low brass for a little excitement. I yelled across the room to a trombone belonging to Nikki’s friend Rachel. The stupid thing began to chase me! We ran through the instrument closet, past Mr. Woods’ office, and took a couple of laps around the band room itself before dashing into the uniform closet. Before you could say “Allegro,” that blasted trombone ran out of the closet and slammed the door with me still inside!
I tried and tried to get out, but soon realized that the door was locked. Looking out the vent in the door, I called out to a pair of cymbals left behind by Brandon Brown. Nikki had never been fond of Brandon, but at that moment, I adored him! Anyway, they tried to help, but that weren’t strong or tall enough to unlock the door. Soon, a large ensemble of brass instruments had gathered around while one of the tubas tried to break through the door, but it was no use. I ended up spending the whole night in that dark, stupid, and spooky uniform closet!
The next morning, a couple of band moms came to my closet prison, looking for extra pairs of white gloves. Instead, they found me! The band moms gave me to Mr Woods who made sure I got back to Nikki who was very confused to learn that her trumpet had been found in the uniform closet. I was so happy to be back with Nikki that I didn’t mess with my valves or anything for a whole week! (Believe me, it’s a hard habit to break!)