Battle of the Band Geeks
The war between the trumpet players and the drummers has been going on forever, or at least as far back as anyone can remember. Ever since we first started in band, we have been at each other’s throats.
And we love it.
“That new song was torture,” I complained, walking down the auditorium with my two friends after the last class of the day, band. I rubbed the ends of my ears, the typical long floppy ones of a Speckled Cybunny.
“Nah, Juneau, it wasn’t so hard,” retorted my bold best friend, Aiwa the Island Ixi.
The third pet of our trio, shy Candia the Orange Gelert, put her two cents in. “The trumpet part is a little challenging,” she said in her normal quiet tone. “But the drum part is the easiest ever!”
We all turned to look at our rivals... the drummers. Brazen, obnoxious, and annoying, they made it their sole purpose in life to put us down. As we looked, their leader Yew the Cloud Grundo glanced over at us. We all quickly averted our eyes, and then returned the gaze when he looked away.
The rest of the clique was putting on a show of laughing at one of Yew’s jokes. I supposed they really were funny, but I had never gotten close enough to tell. There were five of them all together: Yew, their leader; his second-in-command, Cindr the Brown Hissi; the Fire Draik, Renki (I always wondered why he wasn’t in charge); Fiere the Electric Kyrii, whose name was pronounced “fear” and suited him perfectly; and last but definitely not least, Wandol the Werelupe. All guys, and all terrifying.
“All they do is bang on things,” Aiwa grumbled, “but they think they’re so cool!”
One of the drummers—Renki—separated himself from the group and sauntered over to us. We all stiffened as we saw him. Quickly, Candia backed away. My paw shot out and grabbed her arm, forcing her to stand her ground as the Draik grew closer and closer.
He arrived next to us and leaned up against one of the chairs, cool to the bone. “Hey, Juneau,” he greeted me. “Aiwa, Candia.”
So he knew our names. How nice.
I could feel each of my friends show distaste when he said their names, each in their own way: Aiwa turned her head away, as if he wasn’t worthy of her attention, and Candia tried vainly once again to run.
“So...” He sat down carefully in the seat next to Aiwa. “What’s up, losers?”
Aiwa’s lip curled. She drew back her hoof and swung it forward, slapping him squarely in the face. Renki staggered away.
“Nice!” I whispered to Aiwa. She grinned back in response. She waved a hoof in the Draik’s direction; he ducked. Obviously her blows hurt.
The drummer left, clutching his head and wailing out for his clique to hear that we’d hit him.
“They’ll really be after us now,” Candia groaned. She had abandoned her attempt at leaving and was now sitting warily in the seat on the other side of Aiwa. I perched on the chair in front of them and turned to face them.
“Like we care! We’ll take ’em as they come!” I encouraged.
Aiwa grinned. “So let them come!” We did our special three-way handshake just as the bell rang. We bolted for the door, reaching it just as an extra peal of laughter echoed from the drummers, probably about Renki’s story of being hit.
The next day at almost the very end of lunch, Wandol slowly made his way over to our table. I’d always seen him as the nicest of the drummers: he didn’t put us down the way the rest of them did. Upon spying him, Aiwa and Candia immediately left to “throw away their trash.”
“Thanks for abandoning me!” I yelled after them. Wandol arrived at my table and, seeing the seats empty, took that as his cue to sit down.
“Hi, Juneau,” he said.
“Hi,” I answered safely. He drummed his paw on the tabletop and looked out over the tide of pets.
“What’s up?” he asked after a moment.
“Not much,” I said quietly, keeping my eyes on my Hot Crossed Buns.
“Wanna come over to our table?” Wandol offered. “Seems kinda lonely over here.”
“Nah, my friends are throwing away their trash.” I sent a withering glance towards the garbage cans where my friends no doubt waited, even if I couldn’t see them there.
Wandol drummed some more, showing a clever beat that didn’t seem to go with any of our band songs. “What song’s that?” I asked, genuinely curious.
“Ah... this one song I wrote,” he mumbled, actually seeming embarrassed. “It’s called, ‘Why’s It So Hard’. It’s about how it’s so difficult just to walk across the room and talk to someone you don’t know.”
I grinned. “Kinda like what you’re doing right now?”
Wandol smiled. “I didn’t think of it that way. You’re right.”
“I’d like to hear it sometime,” I said swiftly as he got up to leave. He gave me a strong smile.
“Sure. And the table offer still stands,” he said before idly strolling back over to the drummers’ table. I saw Yew give him a disgusted glance before I looked away.
The next day, Candia was home sick and it was just Aiwa and me. “Ju-NEAU!” Aiwa repeated, probably for the tenth time. I tore my gaze away from the drummers’ table.
“What?” I asked sheepishly.
Aiwa glared at me. She turned her head to look at our rivals. “What is up with you and the drummers?” she asked exasperatedly. “You’ve been staring at them all of lunch!”
“Uh...” was my brilliant answer. “Wandol invited me to sit with them yesterday.”
“So THAT’S what he wanted?” Aiwa yelled. Realizing her volume, she voiced her next shriek quieter: “So why the heck are you considering going over there?”
“Because you are supposed to be my FRIEND, but you’re being even stupider than them!” I yelled, not sensing how loud I was until the whole cafeteria hushed. My face red, I left the lunchroom and cried in the bathroom the rest of the period.
The next day was Friday, and since I wouldn’t have to face Aiwa and Candia over the weekend, I sat with the drummers.
I carried my tray past my usual table where Aiwa already sat, my head high. “Wait, Jun—” I heard her call, but I pretended not to hear.
“Hey, Juneau!” Wandol smiled. He was the only one who did. The rest of the clique glowered at me, probably planning my violent death later. The Werelupe didn’t seem to notice the glares of his friends, but I sure did. Lunch became an argument: who hated me more, my mortal enemies I now sat with... or the friends I had left all alone at my normal table.
I staggered through the weekend and three more schooldays of sitting with the drummers. On the next Thursday, though, I was straightforward with Wandol.
“I like sitting with you, and I think you’re a good friend,” I told him. “But the rest of the drummers sincerely hate me, and I think I have to go make up with Aiwa and Candia.”
“Yeah...” the Lupe trailed off. “Um, maybe I can come with you? And maybe join your group?” he suggested shyly.
“Good idea!” I enthused, and dragged my new friend off to make peace with my other two.
We still fight with the drummers, now a force of four each. Wandol is on our side in every argument, and Aiwa and Candia have gotten used to having a guy in our group, even if he is a drummer.
So we still have the Battle of the Band Geeks, every day... and I don’t think it could get any better than this.