The Rather Pathetic Climax and Terrible Ending

Chapter 11

8:36 a. m., Wednesday

Team Green

Football Field

From the thirty yard-line to the other 30 yard-line, they formed a company front, evenly four steps apart. Many were wet or covered with bits of newspaper and magazine shreds from the Green Hallway. They were all exhausted, tired, sick, and incredibly annoyed.

And they were all armed.

Rand and Brorby, who had finally come out of his position as spy for Team Green, paced along the company front, occasionally tossing nods, jokes, insults, or whatever they felt like it to the people standing there. Like a typical marching band, the company front had their instruments resting in front of them and were talking.

"So when will Team Puce get here, anyway?" Rachel the Guard Girl demanded. The guard formed a wide half-circle around the company front, blunt, heavy swing poles ready and waiting to be used.

"And will they be bringing lattés?" Verran yawned, looking quite tired.

Fortunately for the author, who is getting rather tired of having to keep a nonexistent plot line going, Team Puce appeared over the top of the "home" bleachers, carrying a myriad of weapons. Laiva noticed a couple of the members carrying football and snickered. All of the team wore their leather jackets, but they looked rather tired from running. In four single-file lines, they moved down the bleachers, finally ending up on the track and staring at Team Green.

"So, it comes down to this," Travis said, appearing among the ranks. He was flanked immediately by Mike and Alex, who grinned around at Team Puce and glared at Team Green.

Rand, Sebras, Solan, and Verran all appear among the company front, grouping to form a formidable quartet. "It comes down to this, yes," Rand agreed. Any bystanders would have already cast their lot in with Team Puce, which was easily three times larger than Team Green. "Surrender now, or shall we bring out our secret weapon?"

The secret weapon, which was actually a goat named Fred, bahhhhed.

"No," Sebras said suddenly. "This is between Travis and I. My trumpet. His seat. We fight."

Travis's eyes widened, but he was not going to back down from a challenge. "Right, then. We fight." He snapped his fingers, and spread his arms. Mike and Alex rolled their eyes as they removed the leather jacket from his frame. Underneath the jacket, Travis was wearing a black wife-beater and regular blue jeans. Every girl in sight shuddered, Green or otherwise.

Sebras pulled of his own jacket so that he was wearing a They Might Be Giants T-shirt and baggy blue jeans.

"Wait, wait, wait," interrupted Meg. "We need to do this properly." She looked around and clapped her hands. "Band! FIGHT!" This was the unofficial command for the band to group into a circle perfect for an arena. Immediately the band sprang to do just that, Team Puce standing on Travis's half and Team Green on Sebras's half. "Why don't you guys listen to me this well for official commands?" Laiva heard her mutter.

"Beat him down, Sebras!" Verran cheered for his brother.

From somewhere, Meg produced a length of rope. "Hold out your wrists." Sebras and Travis, looking the slightest bit nervous, did so. She tied their left wrists together, smirking. "Okay, now the fight's proper."

The fighters circled each other, kept together only by the length of rope attached to each left wrist. "I'm twice the trumpet player you are, Sebras!" Travis growled. Team Green laughed as though this was the funniest thing they had heard. Gabi had to lean on Laiva if she wanted to stay on her feet. Even Shane, Eve's down-world boyfriend, giggled a bit (it was a manly giggle).

Instead of turning red from embarrassment, Travis seemed to think of this as some sort of praise and dove at Sebras, who dodged and used the rope to fling Travis to the ground. Travis let out an "oof!" Sebras tackled him.

"I don't get it," Autumn commented as the two rolled around, attempting to beat the snot out of each other.

"Get what?" Laiva asked, trying to use telekinesis to bring her some popcorn. Hey, if the first chair trumpet was getting the living daylights beaten out of him, the situation at least merited popcorn.

"That!" and Autumn pointed at the spectacle of the two adolescents fighting on the ground. "Do they think it makes them the dominant male or something? Are we really gorillas? Are girl scout cookies really made of girl scouts?"

"Nah," Eve interrupted, "Travis is more of a chimpanzee."

"Nononono!" Ame said vehemently, stomping over to them from her set of guard chicks. Her twins and Lindsay, a yet to be mentioned guard member, trailed her like a mother duck even though she was the shortest. "I'm telling you: Travis is an orangutan!"

"So…what's Sebras, then?" Gabi demanded.

Everybody shrugged and turned to watch the fight. Sebras had somehow managed to grab a chunk of soap (from where, nobody knew) and was stuffing that into Travis's ear. Travis had managed to procure a bit of lotion and was trying to force that into Sebras's mouth. Alex and Mike were wandering around, taking bets, and Elyse had somehow managed to grab a paddle for a rowboat and was waving that around.

And with a thud, Travis hit the ground. He had an earful of soap and his eyes were closed, but nobody was quite sure how he had been knocked out. Sebras spit out the lotion. "Yuck! I WIN!" Even though he was still tied to Travis, he jumped up and did a victory dance. "I win! I win! I win!"

"Monkey," Autumn, Laiva, Gabi, Eve, Ame, and her ducklings all agreed on one breath.

" win," Alex said, untying Travis's wrist from the rope. He glanced at two of the nameless male freshmen and they scurried off. Team Green licked their wounds while they waited for the freshmen to return. Before long, they did, their breath rising in explosions of steam as they carried a silver trumpet on a green cushion. "Could I get a senior to do the honors?"

And so one of the Puce seniors stepped forward, plucked the trumpet off of the cushion, and handed it unceremoniously to Sebras, who still had the other end of the rope dangling from his wrist. Raising the trumpet to the bright sunlight, Sebras let out a triumphant yell.

With hands shaking, he raised the trumpet to his lips and played.

A cold, clean note spread across the band valley, washing the trees with new light. In instants, Team Green stood in respectable ranks, decked in fancy silver and green uniforms. Black berets touched the tops of their heads, firmly pressed and making Team Green look incredibly formidable. Team Puce, dressed in similar uniforms, managed to look resigned as Sebras continued to play.

As Sebras ended a beautiful (cough) version of taps, Team Green cheered, voices raucous with tiredness. A three-day battle had worn them out. Now the only thing they felt was joy that it was over. Before they turned to leave and go home, however, Sebras called, "Wait!"

As everybody turned to [glare at] him, he grinned unabashedly and said, "Thanks, everybody, for getting me this position. But I don't deserve it."

"You've worked forever to get this position! You beat Trumpet Freaking Travis to the ground! What do you mean you don't deserve it?" Laiva demanded, rolling her eyes.

"No, I don't deserve the position. From now on, Rand will be the first chair trumpet! It is he who truly deserves it!" Sebras shouted, a joyous note in his voice.

Everybody cheered once and went home, glad to be free of the Great Band War.

7:19 p. m., Saturday

Team Green Members Hanging Out

Anthony's House of Pizza

"Hey, look at this," Autumn said, interrupting a straw war between Verran and Sebras. "There's an article about our school in the paper!" She brandished The Trinity Tribune, which had a picture of the Red Hallway, flooded, on the front. "And they put Rand's picture on the front page!"

"Lemme see that!" Rand said, reaching for the newspaper.

Gabi, however, managed to snatch it first. She scanned the article, grinning, and turned to the rest of them. "Hey, guys, we're famous!" When everybody scrambled for the newspaper, she held it out of reach and read, "'Friday—Officials for Trinity High School returned after the one-week evacuation of our town's high school to find that a mysterious band of youth had evidently been holding some kind of war there. Police officers were called in to investigate when officials discovered debris and clutter from the school grouped into some kind of occult ritual in one of the downstairs hallways. The picture located above was left behind by the vandals, and appears to be one of the school's main hallways flooded with water pumped in by a fire hose belonging to the Occupations of America club. Anonymous reports sent in say that three of the vandals apparently rode a kayak belonging to one of the teachers at Trinity High School down the flooded hallway.

"In addition to several broken windows and chemicals used, the school's supply of pizza has been depleted. Mysteriously enough, not a trace of evidence was found on the scene as to who these vandals could be. Security cameras left on for this purpose were found wiped of the events occurring between Monday and Wednesday, and not a fingerprint was found. If you have any information as to the identity of these vandals, please contact…'"

There was a moment of shocked silence. "We're famous!" Elyse suddenly crowed. "We finally made the newspaper! GO MARCHING BAND!"

"How on earth did we make the paper?" one of Ame's twins demanded. The paper was passed around, and they could see several shots of their damage. Verran, who'd made more money in the summer than the rest of them combined, treated them all to a round of Ski* (which is super-lethal in the hands of band students). They laughed, remembering the stunts they had pulled. Definite favorites were the times the colorguard had gotten lost (much to the dismay of Elyse), the Great Colorguard Pileup, Flooding the Red Hallway, discovering that the Governor had come to inspect the school and had been turned into a baked potato (this came much later), Paper Bunny Bombs, and seeing the crud beaten out of Travis. Kelly, Jen, Trisha, and Lisa all took great pleasure in signing the Artoo Cooler and giving it to Rachel (who had been stuffed into it) as a gift.

"Figures it'd take a war to get us into the newspaper," Sebras remarked after much ski had been ingested and much silliness had commenced. "What's next? A prequel? The Great Jock War of '86?"

As one, everybody looked around and moaned, "NOOOOOOO!!!!"

7:34 a. m., Two Weeks Later

Miscellaneous Band People Skipping Band

The Band Hallway

"What exactly is Brorbism anyway?" Sebras yawned, leaning back in his chair.

"Brorbism is simple. The main idea is that King Brorby is ideally the ruler of the world and has the Chinese mandate of heaven." It was probably pure luck that Brorby, being on the other end of the computer-link, could not see their faces. He continued on, "Another aspect is that the world revolves around King Brorby, or me, and that if other people recognize that then King Brorby, as ruler and of the world, can better provide for the people." He paused, probably because Laiva couldn't control her snickers anymore, and continued in a threatening voice, "But if they don't, then the world will be thrown into chaos until my followers rise above the dissenters of the world."

"Oh. Simple," Gabi remarked sarcastically. "So now that we've won this thing, you're expecting us to bow down at your feet?"

"Yes, and I want my throne to be completely of platinum. Golden thrones are just for petty country-rulers." Brorby broke off as his sentences were drowned in laughter from those in Adobe's classroom.

And the moral of this story is: Don't start stories as a joke. You'll end up having to finish them…GEEZ!

But Brorby could not let one that he wanted to take power, no, he thought, this must be done discreetly, slowly creeping up on them until they couldn't resist his mandate to rule, so he just went on, slowly gaining power and momentum.

And the world hid.

* Ski – A citrus flavored soda with twice the intensity of mountain dew, and three times the capacity to cause damage. In other words, the best stuff on earth.