I’ve been trying to get some writing done (not necessarily succeeding) and found this in my pile of ‘Novels I’ve started writing but never finished’ .
The audience was much louder than the band, never a good sign. They weren’t cheering, and they weren’t booing. They were making a highly unusual third sound.
The band was trying their hardest, but sometimes, when you try really hard, you still suck. Motown-Techno-Barbershop were not styles of music that naturally fused together. A valiant attempt, A for effort, but… no.
“Thank you gentlemen and gentleladies! We are here to rock your world, so pay attention! On the Keytar — the deeply mysterious INTERROBANG!”
Interrobang, a slim human of indeterminate indeterminateness bounced along to a rhythm. Not THE rhythm, but a rhythm. They were never entirely sure if they even knew they were in front of an audience.
“On the drums, and the trumpet, and the accordion, and some kinda dumb bells and clanky thingies attached to his knees, here he is, a one man band in a band with three people in it, REGULAR NORMAL EXTRAORDINAIRE!
The tiny, sweaty, bald man, covered in a complicated array of a half dozen instruments gave a curt nod, and tried to reach the microphone.
“That’s not my name, I’m Reginald Norman Ordinaire.” said Reginald, as sweat erupted out of his forehead, inconveniencing the first two rows, who, to be fair, were warned beforehand that they were in the splash zone.
“Whatever! And introducing, on lead vocals, and lead eye candy, the amazing, glamourous, wonderful, perfect-pitched thoroughly-cute and always stylish FUNKY DORY! That’s me! WOOOOOOO! YEEEEEEEAH!”
The crowd did not join in on the woo’s and yeahs. A beer bottle flung in her direction, and she caught it using her afro. Funky Dory reached into her enormous spherical frizzy hair, rooted around for a minute, and pulled a bottle out. It wasn’t even the same bottle as had just been flung. She returned it to the crowd, with interest. More beer bottles sailed towards the stage, smashing and crashing in time to the rhythm. Funky Dory evaded most of them using her roller skates, and also by hiding behind Reggie. Reginald took numerous blows to the head, getting bruised and sliced in equal measure. The beer droplets however felt soothing against his sweaty scalp. Interrobang lazily swung his keytar like a baseball bat, deflecting the bottles sent his way, cursing in a language that sounded like japanese and swedish combined.
The cash bar was doing a brisk trade in the cheapest beer they offered, as the audience hastily chugged the burpy brown stuff, and tossed the bottles at the stage.
“Thank you, you’ve been an extremely violent audience! Your constructive critcism has been NOTED! We are THUNDERFUDGE, goodnight.”
“That’s not the name of our band!”
“We haven’t agreed on the name of our band yet! But I really like THUNDERFUDGE! See, I’ve already written that on this tshirt I’m selling!”
“We did decide, we argued about it for hours, and finally voted and all agreed, on NOT Thunderfudge! You’re just being obstinate!”
“Oh, that’s right, we are OBSTINATE! Goodnight!”
The band had hurredly dashed out of the arena, than dashed back for their instruments, and then dashed out again. It was raining outside, which meant a certain amount of slipping and falling down on Reggie’s part. Unfortunately, swaddled as he was in noise making paraphanalia, his falling-downs were extra musical and extra silly. You know how on funny video programs, when people slip and fall, they add comical sound effects? Well he was like that in real life. And Reggie was just fat enough to bounce, and not break any bones. The only thing broken was his dignity.
“Weird crowd tonight.” said Funky Dory, accurately
“You mean the way they lurched in unison, and groaned so loud we couldn’t hear ourselves sing?” reposited Reggie, trying to roll back off his drum and onto his feet, and failing miserably.
“yeah… also their eyes didn’t have any souls in them. I can tell that sort of thing because I can read auras. I can read aurora’s too, the northen lights are sending me secret messages. I think we played that whole set to a bunch of zombies.”
“They weren’t zombies, they were just really mellow, and had that disease where your body parts just fall off sometimes.”
“No, I would have noticed if there were any big cats around. My Aunt Mimsy took me to the zoo once. Or maybe it was the carnival.”
Reggie was speaking in perfectly reasonable, but Funky was listening in coocoobananapants.
The three were gathered in 24 hour burgeratorium, where your meal is served piping-lukewarm in under 4 seconds, or you get a coupon good for 20% off a deluxe coupon, which can be exchanged for ketchup packets. They had made enough money from the gig to afford a small french fry, and they were trying to pretend like they were splitting the crispy salty potato shards into equal portions, while secretly getting the extra fry for themselves. This is the problem between trying to split a small amount of food between three hungry, sneaky people who didn’t like each other very much.
Interrobang, who had been silent up until that point, muttered something in mesopotamian, twirled their fingers in a complex pattern that made you think about unicorns for reasons you couldn’t explain, and then began eating the box that the french fries had come in.
Funky Dory slammed her fist down on the table.
“We gotta start doing much bigger shows, in much better venues, to much handsomer audiences.”
“We should probably start by making much better music.” winced Reggie.
“Being in a band’s not about making music! It’s about proving to my dad that all those singing classes and guitar classes and pouting classes weren’t wasted, and that I can make something of myself!”
“But we haven’t made something of ourselves. In fact, I think I think there might be less of me now than when we started! When I saw your post on craigslist that we were forming a mighty music machine, I didn’t expect it to be like this.”
“I didn’t post the ad on craigslist, I thought you did.”
They both looked at Interrobang, who shrugged.
“So, who’s idea was it to start this band? Were all of us tricked into being together? I guess that makes sense, our styles of music really aren’t compatible in any way.”
“Mine’s compatible, it’s your’s that isn’t compatible. Yours isn’t the kind of music you listen to, it’s the kind of music you wish happened to somebody else.”
“Oh yeah? Well, if you’re so great, than why don’t you play the guitar?”
“I sold my guitar to pay for guitar lessons. It was the worst christmas ever.”
The band lapsed into silence again.
The rain drummed on the window outside, making a repeating rhythm. All three of them began to drum on the table, trying to match the rhythm. None of them quite got it, but they all had a jolly good laugh. While Reggie and Funky’s mouths were open with laughter, Interrobang squeezed ketchup packets onto their mouths, making them snork and freak out at the sheer unexpectedness of having surprize ketchup on your tongue.
They called it a night, and agree to meet tomorrow, to argue about the band name again, try and set up some more gigs, and convince their parents to loan them more money to manufacture some CD’s with, if they ever wrote a song good enough to be worth recording.
Reggie woke up, got out of bed, and ran a comb across his head. Well, it was more of a squeegee than a comb, he had had night terrors again, and was bathed in sweat. By his own personal logic, this meant he didn’t have to take a shower today. He threw all of his bedsheets directly into the dryer that he kept in his bedroom for just this purpose. He had night terrors alot, but they were never all that terrifying. Mostly just confusing. In his latest bad dream, he had been a contestant on a game show, and he got hit in the head with a big mallet whenever he got a question wrong, and hit on the head with a tinier mallet whenever he got a question right. It was most mysterious. His dream self had a much more interesting life than his real life, which was mostly spent doing laundry.
He poured himself a cup of cereal, and since he was out of milk, and indeed, out of groceries in general, he used coffee instead, pouring it directly over his unlucky charms.
“Morning” Said Funky Dory, who did not live in his house, and who should not have been sharing breakfast with him. In a couple minutes, after Reggie’s brain had fully woken up, he would notice the broken window, and the fact that she was wearing his pajamas, and become angry. But in the mean time, he merely smiled and nodded, and resumed his newspaper, and scalding his tongue on his cereal.
“Where do you still get newspapers from? I thought they’d gone extinct.”
“I don’t know, there’s just always a newspaper in my kitchen every morning. It’s mostly full of coupons that expired years ago, I don’t know why I enjoy reading it so much, I guess I just find coupons fascinating. WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY HOUSE?!?”
He shouted this last part, partly because he was angry and surprised, but also partly because he had spilled burning hot cereal all over his lap.
“I needed a place to crash, when I got back to my apartment building last night, all I found was an empty pile of dirt, and a very rude letter. The entire building was stolen. So I let myself into your place with my spare key.”
She held up a brick, which isn’t really a spare key at all now, is it?
Reggie had several questions at this point, but he didn’t get the chance to ask them, as Funky was still talking, and he could never manage to get a word in edgewise when she did.
Suddenly, Funky Dory’s cellphone rang. Her special red cellphone, which only took calls from the president…
When asked if it was the President of the United States, or the President of the Record Company, she would say ‘He’s both.”