Textbook Criminals. Part 8

The Textbook Criminals were setting up for their second ever practice.

Ultimate Guitar

A dismal afternoon light came in through the one window in the room that wasn't blinded. The piano in the corner lay silent for the first time all day, and the chairs were neatly stacked and placed around the room. The keyboards were untouched. The interactive whiteboard hummed slightly, as did the computer. And, just to the side of this, the Textbook Criminals were setting up for their second ever practice.

As Ric looked for a suitable amp for his microphone, John played his guitar lightly. He had been pondering over the gig for the whole day, wondering whether he was prepared to really get out in front of people and play. He still was unsure about his talent, despite the fact that all his friends told him he was good. He just got really nervous whenever people looked at him.

'Sup gays?

Brads' arrival snapped John back to reality, who realised that he'd been staring at the floor for quite some time now. He looked up and raised a hand to Brad, who threw his school bag on the floor after retrieving his sticks. He sat down behind the kit and started banging out a beat. After a minute of this, John joined in, adjusting his amp volume so that he could hear himself over the noise. Ric smiled at this, then found the amp he was looking for and plugged in. After some adjusting of his own amp, they were ready to rock.

So what songs should we play?

Brad slowed down his tempo and hit the drums lightly, thinking. John stopped and stared at the ground for a little longer, before looking up and grinning wildly.

Number of the Beast.

Ric groaned, and Brad looked terrified.

God no. There's no way in hell I'll be able to sing that. Or Brad could drum it for that matter.

Brad considered throwing a drumstick, but instead realised that it was actually a good point. He joined in with his own suggestion.

How about You Run by Submersed?

There was a chorus of What?

You've never heard of Submersed? They're awesome. Here, let me play some for you.

Instinctively, John dug his iPod out of his pocket and shoved his headphones. Ric simply shook his head.

No, it's ok, I think it's a fairly certain no to that one. But, um how about Psycho Killer by Talking Heads?

John was no longer listening, and instead was nodding along to something blasting in his ears. Brad rolled his eyes and did a quick drum fill before returning to his light, steady beat.

Jesus, you only know that song because of Rock Band.

Yeah, well, Number of the Beast was on Rock Band too!

No it wasn't. It was on Guitar Hero, so it's acceptable.

Ric realised he'd lost, and decided to sulk instead. Brad laughed and built up his speed, getting louder as he went.

So far, practice wasn't going so great. For the next couple of minutes, no one said anything. John continued to listen to his iPod, completely ignoring Brad's drumming along to a song on HIS iPod. Ric, devoid of any portable music device, stuck with sulking instead.

This really wasn't the way he wanted things to go. He kind of hoped that he would suggest something and everyone would fall in line. But no one listened to a word he said. It was clear that they all had different music tastes, so there was nothing in the world that they could really decide on. Unless

A smile spread across Ric's face, and he picked up his microphone and tried to get the band's attention. Then he realised his mic was off, and so turned it on and tried again. This time it worked. Brad's drumming slowed down again, and one earphone came out. John sat patiently on his amp, looking at Ric.

We should write our own song.

John sighed and buried his head in his hands. Brad looked at Ric quizzically, before bashing about another fill.

What? It's better than sitting here dicking around for an hour trying to think of something we all know and like. I mean, it doesn't have to be a masterpiece, it can just be basic filler.

Brad looked thoughtful for a moment, and momentarily stopped his beat. John remained hidden in his hands. He knew this was going nowhere good, and with Ric undoubtedly at the helm of song writing, it was a plan doomed for failure.

Ric's thoughts, however, were desperately trying to think of something interesting to write a song about. Stuck for ideas, he went for his tried and true method of looking around the room for inspiration. Eventually, his eyes settled on a pack of adhesive material. His eyes lit up as an idea burned away in his mind.

How about nah, actually it's pretty gay.

Brad chuckled lightly, but John removed his face from its shield and looked at Ric.

Go on. Say it.

Ric sighed and smiled shyly. It really was a stupid idea, but it was the best he could do at short notice.

Well basically I scream a word, and then you guys just play something loud and obnoxious for a while.

There was silence for a short amount of time. Brad had stopped drumming and was staring at Ric in disbelief. John was giving him a look that implied the idea was dead on arrival. Ric's face had turned the bright red of a skyline fire. Somewhere, far away, a man chuckled lightly, as he had just seen a bar jam slam. Which was totally coincidental, of course, but it required noting. Ric's eyes seemed a little distant and his mind had forgotten where it was, causing him to speak.

Harmony Hill.



Suddenly Brad started laughing. John broke into a grin, and then started laughing loudly. Even Ric joined in eventually, realising how stupid the whole idea was. John came to a slow stop and tried to ask a question through his giggles.

So, uh, hehe, what would you be screaming?

Ric laughed harder as he remembered what he had been thinking. John started up again, tears beginning to run. A teacher looked in through the window, confused, and was slightly bemused at the sight of three boys laughing at apparently nothing. However since there appeared to be no riot band blues, he carried on. Ric managed to stop laughing so he could say what was on his mind.

Blue tack.

Brad started coughing from his prolonged laughter.

Blue tack?

Ric nodded, then burst out laughing again. It was quite some time before they stopped laughing, but suddenly there was a warmer atmosphere back in the room. Energy had returned to the band. John decided to take Ric seriously on the idea.

Go on then. Let's give it a shot. What dya want me to do?

Um Well, just play the loudest most obnoxious power chord you can think of over and over again. Brad, just smash the cymbals and stuff. And both of you go until you get bored.

John and Brad nodded in almost unison, smiling. John placed his fingers on the fret board and grabbed his plectrum tightly. Brad tightened his grip on his sticks and hovered somewhere close to the crash and snare. Ric smiled back, waited for total silence, and began.


Brad burst out, smashing hard and loud on the crash and snare, sometimes throwing in a little bit of bass drum. John struck his three chosen strings hard and fast, with no care for rhythm. Ric sat on his amp and started laughing again. After maybe a minute of the ear-piercing noise, Brad slowed to a stop and John followed. Ric stopped laughing and smiled.

I think we just became song-writers!

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