Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Instruments of Revenge

First of all, I'd like to say how much fun it was to participate in the What If? Blogfest last week!  It was a blast!  Cassie Mae chose my piece as an Honorable Mention, so thank you!  When you're in such close competition with such awesome writers, receiving that kind of recognition is great.  If you haven't read my entry yet, you can find it HERE.

For today's post, I decided to share with you a flash fiction piece that I wrote for Christa Desir's Band Camp Blogfest.  It didn't win, but that's okay.  All of the stories were very well written, so I have no room for complaint.  The participants poured a lot of love into their pieces, and it was so much fun just to write my entry.

This is not a true story,  but I thought it was a fun story idea.

My band camp experiences were all for marching band, but I know that there are band camps for concert band as well.  Besides, that setting served my plot better.

The best part about writing this for me was embracing the opportunity to insert geeky band humor.

Instruments of Revenge

This one time at band camp, things got a little out of hand.  It was my senior year, my last band camp experience, and by far the most memorable.  The situation involved a rival band from a neighboring school, cotton balls, a gong, a car chase, and my best friend Bach.  His name was actually Sam Bachmann, but no one called him that.  Unfortunately, Bach was only his endearing nickname. 

Being a female trombone player, I sort of understood Bach’s predicament.  My nickname was Bones, though it was generally a term of affection.  As the only male flute player in the school, Bach was the subject of much ridicule.  He loved music, and he took the teasing in stride, but I knew the flute wasn’t his first choice of instrument.  The flute originally belonged to his older sister, and his family couldn’t afford to buy a new instrument for him to play.

Once we reached high school and he started to bulk up, the taunting decreased.  It also helped that he was really cute.  All the girls certainly noticed, including me, his best friend.  He also learned to play the school’s bass guitar for the occasional jazz pieces our band teacher liked to pick.  It helped salvage his image, though that wasn’t his real reason.  Bach loved music.  Why else would he suffer through his middle school years as the lone male in the flute section?  He wanted to learn as much about music as he could.

Each year our school had a week long summer band camp.  After meeting every day for several hours, perfecting a few musical selections, we performed at a concert.  Yet these were no ordinary concerts.  A nearby school performed too as the culmination of their own band camp.  The audience voted to choose the best performance, and the winning band got a small trophy and gift certificates for free ice cream.  Perhaps not the best of prizes, I’ll grant you that, but winning was more a matter of pride.

When we arrived at the performance hall, aka the gymnasium of our bitter enemies, Bach and I unloaded the instruments from the van.  This included the drums and everything else too large to bring on the bus.  Afterwards, he grabbed his bass guitar and flute and I my trombone, and we headed inside.  We were walking past the cafeteria when we heard it.

“Hey look, it’s the flute loop!”

We looked to see Tony Snyder strolling toward us, saxophone case in hand.  He had that cool confidence that most sax players had.   The saxophone commanded respect, and was known for its sensual sound.  Tony needed the help, too.  Though not bad looking per se, Tony’s voice was grating, and I never heard anything intelligent come out of his mouth. 

Devin Stern walked beside him.

Bach rewarded Tony with a silent glare.  He couldn’t stand the guy any better than I could, and for obvious reasons.

After a moment, Tony went on.  “Get it?  It’s like calling you a fruit loop, except you play a flute!”

I stared at Tony in disbelief.

“I get it,” Bach replied through clenched teeth.  “I just don’t care.”

“Oh look, we’re making him treble with rage,” Devin chimed in.  “Is he going to do anything about it?”

Maybe the clever nature of that joke was what finally prompted a response.  Hefting the bass guitar he held in his right hand, Bach pointed it at Devin.  “You keep it up, and I’ll put a bass clef in your chin with this.”

I know what you must be thinking.  Band geeks can be strange creatures.  Yet I loved Bach’s response.  As we walked away from the brief verbal assault, I couldn’t stop giggling.

The rest of the concert went off without a hitch.  We played our set.  Bach played the first two songs in the flute section.  When we got to our last song, a jazzier piece, he set his flute off to the side and donned his guitar.  All in all, we sounded great.

Unfortunately, the other band won.  We watched as they did a victory lap around their gym.  I felt mildly annoyed, but being as it was my band camp performance, I decided not to let it bother me.

Then I heard Bach’s angry voice.  “Who did this?”

It only took a brief glance to see why he was so mad.  Someone had gotten a hold of his flute during our last song and stuffed it with cotton balls.  The fibers were tangled with the keys.  It would take forever to get it cleaned out.

“I’ll help you fix it,” I promised, eager to cheer him up.  Meanwhile, I wanted to strangle Tony.  I had no doubt he was involved, though there were probably others.

“Thanks, Bones,” he said gratefully.  Then he handed me the flute and guitar.  “Can you put these on the bus for me?  I’m going to help load the rest of the stuff in the van.”


Soon we were all on the bus.  Bach and I sat in the back.  I used my small fingers to pry out the cotton balls, though it was a slow process.  Even so, Bach had a sly grin on his face the whole way.  About halfway back, I learned why.

I saw the car first.  It was loaded with students who I immediately recognized as our rivals.  Someone was leaning out of the passenger door waving a fist at us.  “What do they want?” I wondered.

Looking back, Bach laughed.  “They probably want their gong back.”


“I loaded their gong into our van,” he replied slyly.  “I wasn’t sure who trashed my flute, so I decided to get back at all of them.”

I was stunned.  “How did you take the gong without anyone seeing it?”

Bach smiled wider than I’d ever seen before.  “They were too busy gloating.  Distraction was instrumental to my revenge.”


  1. Saw your honorable mention in the What If blogfest. Congrats! It was a great entry.

  2. Ah, puns. This one made me smile. Nice!