Scott tapped his pen idly on his desk in the far corner of a back row in some class or another. He had drowned the teacher out; two weeks into the term and he was sick of it already. The minute hand of the clock hung over the door clicked over to noon and a bell rang. Third period was over and he was out of the room as fast as humanly possible. It was going to be that kind of year.
Scott started to turn his head and stopped half way around. No one ever talked to him, there was no reason for him to expect someone to start now in his sophomore year.
Incredulous, he came to a full stop and spun to face the speaker. Unnecessarily dramatic, true, but it was those little idiosyncrasies that kept the days interesting. A beaming face of blinding cheer bounded towards him through the thicket of students crowding the halls. Scott readjusted his overfull backpack and braced himself.
"Dude, what's up? Why didn't you stop? Whatever. Hey, man, I have a question for you!"
"Hey, uh...Dave." Dave was one of the few people whose name Scott could remember. He was the kind of high energy person Scott avoided. "What's your question?"
"Wanna start a band with me?"
They blinked. A grin was already plastered on Dave's face as Scott stood amazed by the query. He wondered briefly about how Dave managed to hold that smile without looking deranged. It was probably all the blinking. Back to the question: a band? Scott liked music, sure, but he didn't know anything about making it. One tragic piano lesson from his earlier years stood out. His mortifying recollection of a butchered rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star coupled with his reluctance to participate in anything made his answer easy.
He had three minutes to get to his next class, whatever it was, and the halls were emptying fast. He walked away from Dave, leaving the awkward silence behind. The scuffling sounds of sneaker-shod feet on worn linoleum followed him. In their freshman year, Dave had followed a girl around for three months trying to get her to adopt a kitten though it wasn't much of a kitten once she finally succumbed to the force of his will. A simple "no" would not deter him.
"Wait up, dude! What do you mean 'no'? Why not?"
"I'm just not interested, Dave," Scott sighed. "Sorry."
Dave leaped in front of Scott, assuming a challenging pose. He looked willing to strong-arm Scott into it.
"The hell kind of reason is that?" A pretty damn good one, Scott thought. What other reason could there be?
"Well, for one, I don't know how to play an instrument."
"Do you have anything better to do?"
Again, Scott came to a halt, shoulders tensing.
"Meet me out front after school and I'll fill you in on the details. Later!"
Scott knew he'd end up on the front steps waiting for Dave. He really *didn't* have anything better to do and it was a pathetically compelling reason.
The early fall sun was starting towards its winter slant, obscured by a smattering of thin grey clouds. Scott shielded his eyes with a hand as he tried to find an inconspicuous place to stand on the school's front stairs. His peers filed past, despondent, and he searched for Dave's curly blonde head. Five minutes later and now only a few students puttered around, waiting for parents to pick them up or friends to flee detention.
At last Scott saw Dave and immediately wished he hadn't. Dave was wearing a lurid hooded purple cape embroidered with gold thread and wielding a gaudy scepter, waving it around erratically as if to lead the squirrels that infested the school grounds into battle.
Dave made his regal approach, looking around nervously.
Where've you been? Let's go already.
You said to meetnever mind. Are you really going to wear that outside!? Scott looked around too, hoping no one would witness the procession.
Why not? I got you a crown so you would match.
Dave pulled out an ornate plastic tiara and settle it on top of Scott's head, stepped back and looked Scott up and down.
Dave strutted down the stairs and Scott followed, trying in vain to remove the tiara. His hair was twisted in the tines and for all of his efforts it remained firmly planted, the only difference being that it was sitting askew and rattling freely.
They had just reached the street when a cry rose from somewhere inside the school. Dave made his steps quicker as they moved to the crosswalk that would take them off of school grounds. The front doors exploded open behind them.
There it is! That's the crown for the homecoming queen! And isn't that cape from drama club? Hey! Get back here!
Dave took a look back and ran for his life, the purple cape fluttering magnificently behind him. Scott looked too and saw a short and very enraged person trying to run down the stairs and make a call at the same time. Seeing as how it was the principal he was probably calling the cops. Scott held the tiara to his head and chased after Dave. The shouts faded after a few blocks yet it seemed like Dave had no intention of slowing down. They ran past cul-de-sacs and narrow suburban streets catching a few confused glances from retirees and small children playing in manicured yards. They turned a final corner and Scott was lead to garage of a tame, light blue house. It seemed normal enough.
Dave dug into a pocket looking for keys while Scott hunched over trying to catch his breath, hands on knees and tiara hanging in front of his eyes. The garage door creaked open and Scott caught a dusty whiff.
We're here! Come on in, sit wherever you want.
Dave flipped a light switch and as Scott walked in he was confronted with the sight of an old Honda painted a fluorescent lime green dominating the area. Empty milk crates, a worn workbench, and stacked, tattered boxes took up the remaining space. Dave settled on a rocking horse painted white with a horn attached to its forehead while Scott pulled up a crate. It bent slightly under his weight but seemed steady enough.
So, Dave started, the band.
Yeah, I don't know. I told you I can't play anything.
That's the point, Dave laughed.
Dave started to rock the horse back, still channeling a ruler of old. Scott doubted many kings rode a wooden unicorn into battle.
Didn't I tell you? I want to make the worst band ever.
It made a little more sense to Scott the reason behind Dave asking him. He didn't excel at anything (though how Dave would know that was beyond him; they weren't exactly close friend) and at least Scott felt that anything he was involved in would inevitably become the worst, from teams picked in gym to group projects at school. A band would not be exempt from this trend.
Okay, why? What would be the point of making a shitty band?
Still rocking and in some fantasy world of his own devising, Dave gave his answer distractedly. He was like a five year old.
It's like that monkey and typewriter thing.
You know. If you, like, give a monkey a typewriter and leave him alone for a thousand years he would write an amazing novel.
That's not exactly Scott started.
So, I figure you could do the same thing with people and music. Give a random group of people some instruments and they'll make a really good song.
How does that even make sense? I thought you wanted to make the worst band ever?
Yeah, exactly. Anyway, we need more members.
Why not ask someone from orchestra or band?
Dave, of all things, looked exasperated. I don't think you get it. At any rate, before we can do anything we need more people. So, your mission for this next week is to find someone else to join. It shouldn't be that hard.