I paced back and forth outside the instrument locker room. Angela had her ear pressed against the door trying to listen.
"Are they still fighting?" I asked, terror in my voice. "If he lays one hand on her . . ."
"No, it's quiet. I can't be sure 'cause everyone out here is so loud, but I think . . . I think maybe they're . . ."
My eyebrows shot up in understanding. "No way," I mouthed.
She nodded her head in answer.
"Well let's get the hell out of here. I sure don't want to be here when he realizes we're trying to figure this crap out. Plus, I want to be home when Bella calls me to tell me all about her tiny boobs being groped."
"It's about time. Those two were so stupid." Angela and I guffawed at their years of cluelessness.
Just then the door opened, and Paul was hovering above me. He shifted his eyes towards Angela, and she pointed at me to place the blame. "I'm a clarinet; you have no power over me." He nodded. She stood there and waited to see what would happen.
"Give me ten, Black." I dropped on the spot and began my punishment.
"Give him ten for me too, Paul." Bella stepped out of the instrument locker room adjusting her top. She stepped over me and pressed her foot into my butt just to irritate me.
"Come on, Angie. Jake, get a ride from someone else. Let's go home."
"Drummer Girl, don't leave me," I begged, mid-pushup.
"Give me ten! Again." Paul placed his foot on my lower back adding pressure, making it more difficult to pump up and down.
Bella laughed and hooked arms with Angela. "Serves you right for eavesdropping. Call me later." She laughed as she walked away. Angela waved feebly in my direction. Jerks.
I groaned and continued doing my push-ups. I didn't want to incur more wrath. My good behavior didn't matter though, because Paul barked out more orders seconds later.
"Make it fifty, and you're on cleanup. I need time to call her first."
Paul left me there like a moron doing push-ups. Sometimes I felt like I was in boot camp and not in a drumline. They seemed to be one and the same. But I guessed it served me right. I should have forced Bella's hand forever ago, but I hadn't. Oh well. I had a feeling I'd be doing lots of "tens" if I didn't watch my back simply because I was the best friend. But I didn't care. I was a damn good one.
After I finished up my push-ups and cleanup duty I sat on the couch in the Stink Tank. I read over all of the notes various drummers had made under the cabinets, laughing here and there. They were all so stupid. I snagged a Sharpie out of Mike's cubbie and pulled off the top. As I wrote I laughed my ass off.
Come Monday I was sure I'd be skipping "tens" and going straight to "fifties" for what I'd written. But I didn't care. That shit deserved to be on the wall of fame in the Stink Tank. For years to come every drummer would laugh when they read, "Paul and Bella were caught in the instrument locker room paradiddling each other. Their strokes were fast and hard, but they both left tapped out and spent."
I am freaking hilarious.
Good thing Bella loved me, though I didn't doubt I'd be full of bicep bruises soon. At least she couldn't give me ten, or could she? Shit! I was so going to be drum rolled Monday morning, maybe even earlier than that. Maybe Paul was waiting in the parking lot to jump me.
I laid down on the couch thinking about my predicament. Ah sweet bliss. I loved that couch.
I hummed my awesome paraddidle song in hopes of putting myself to sleep for a nap. No one would find me. No one came into the Stink Tank after a game. It was game-y.
My thoughts wandered then, and I was suddenly outside wearing a marching snare and yelling at Paul. "Give me ten, Trent!" And he did. I was definitely dreaming.
And what a dream it was. I would enjoy it while it lasted.
Completely Narcissistic Author's Note: Yes, I was a drummer girl. And while this piece is not autobiographical by any stretch I certainly drew the idea from many experiences I had in drumline. So, there is truth to what Bella went through. The picture I have painted of a girl in a boy's world is very realistic. The following is a list of facts, based on my life, regarding drumline.
Boys get jumped into drumline.
Girls get threatened with rape as a form of initiation.
Freshman rarely play snare. It is a coveted marching instrument and only the best get to play it.
Taped drumsticks are really cool.
Drummers that play on desks and walk around with sticks in their pockets suck and are in desperate for attention.
Bass drummers march like crap.
Cymbal players are not musicians. They are the friends of musicians that were feeling lonely, so they joined the marching band.
Marching band directors are insane.
The drum closet stinks to high heavens.
Physical abuse is not uncommon in drumline, including push-ups. In fact, if you make a mistake, you do "ten" on your honor.
Drums are freaking heavy.
Bandanas make drummers look badass, but the fruity plumes coming out of their hats do not.
Losing a drumstick during a performance totally sucks.
Paradiddles are hard.
Violence didn't always follow praying, but something equally stupid did, like name calling and yelling a whole lot.
There was a wall of fame in sharpie above the couch. I made it several times.
Drum instructors from ASU get paid beans.
Drinking in uniform is a big fat no no.
My section leader was hot. He was an asshole. He played baseball and had a nice butt. I was not attracted to him in any way. Yick!