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Chapter Two: The Battle of the Bands

Marty wasn’t sure what heavy metal song Brad Buttowski was supposed to be singing, but he butchered the crap out of it with his bandmates/lackeys, Horace and Pantsy. All he did was screech into the microphone so loud that the feedback whined throughout the school auditorium, stabbing into everyone’s eardrums. Marty had to endure it while she waited with Phineas and Ferb for their turn onstage.

“Another second of this and I’m gonna put Brad out of all our miseries,” said Clarence “Kick” Buttowski, Brad’s little brother. Marty noticed him approaching with his best friend, Gunther Magnuson.

The Buttowski brothers, as well as the rest of their family, were Marty’s next-door neighbors. Whenever she wasn’t hanging out with Phineas and Ferb in Danville, she was always seen with Kick and Gunther at Hill Valley’s skate park, showing different moves they learned on their skateboards.

“Here to watch your bro crash and burn on his audition, Kick?” Marty asked.

Kick smirked her way. “You know it,” he confirmed.

“Wasn’t he supposed to be practicing with his so-called ‘garage band’?”

“More like garbage band.”

Marty busted with laughter. “Even their band name is garbage: the Yeah-Brads? How the hell did he get Horace and Pantsy to agree to that?”

“They didn’t,” Gunther told her. “Brad blackmailed them into it.”

“Seriously?” Marty reacted in total surprise. “Wow. What an assh—”

“Ho!” She heard Brad cry out at the finish of his lackluster performance. “We are the Yeah-Brads!” He jumped off the stage, leaving Horace and Pantsy to stand there awkwardly before Mr. Gardner gave them the cue to leave. Meanwhile, Brad sauntered his way over to Marty and said in a flirtatious tone, “What up, McFly. You come to a decision about tonight’s opportunity?”

Marty felt like she was going to throw up – whether it was from Brad’s horrid B.O. or his sleazy attempt at wooing her, she wasn’t absolutely sure. “I’m not going out with you, Brad,” she sternly told him.

“Not tonight, you mean,” Brad remarked, thinking she was playing “Hard to Get.”

“Not ever, douchebag!” Marty clarified with extra sternness.

Clearly, Brad didn’t take the rejection well. “Fine! Your loss, not mine! But one of these days you’re gonna say yes, and the Brad knows just how to do it!”

“Well, until that time comes, you have fun jerking off to those centerfolds you keep of Natalie Venkman right next to your lotion and tissues.”

There was a collective “Ooh!” from Marty’s burn on Brad.

“Hey! What’s goin’ on over there?!” Coach Tannen bellowed from the judges’ table she shared with Mr. Gardner and Mr. McGillicuddy (HVH’s best science teacher). Everyone promptly kept silent, not wishing to evoke Tannen’s wrath.

Brad fumed from the embarrassment and walked away without saying a word.

“Nice one,” Kick told Marty, exchanging a congratulatory high-five with her.

“Phinheads! You’re up!” Tannen called on the name for Marty, Phineas, and Ferb’s band – an amalgamation between “Pinheads” (the name Marty initially thought up) and the first syllable of Phineas’s name, since he was the band’s lead singer and also lead guitarist. Although all three of them played guitar, Marty still served as the bassist and Ferb was the rhythm guitarist.

On the count of three, the Phinheads kicked into a catchy beat that had everyone in the auditorium, save for Coach Tannen, jamming along…

I used to be a renegade!
I used to fool around!
But I couldn’t take the punishment,
and had to settle down!

Now I’m playing it real straight,
and yes, I cut my hair!
You might think I’m crazy,
but I don’t even care!
Because I can tell what’s going on…

It’s hip to be square!
It’s hip to be square!

I like my bands in business suits!
I watch them on TV!
I’m working out most every day,
and watchin’ what I eat!
They tell me that it’s good for me,
but I don’t even care!

I know that it’s crazy,
I know that it’s nowhere,
but there is no denying that…

It’s hip to be square!
It’s hip to be square!
It’s hip to be square!
So hip to be square!

As the band were in mid-song, Coach Tannen suddenly stood up from the judges’ table and blew her whistle, which managed to carry over the sound of the Phinheads’ music. Immediately, Marty and the Flynn-Fletcher brothers stopped, much to their confusion and everyone else’s in the auditorium.

“What’s wrong?” Phineas innocently inquired. “Were we out of tune?”

Gardner wasn’t sure why Tannen blew her whistle as if she were in the middle of coaching the football team, but he said in response to Phineas’s inquiry, “Not at all. You kids sounded great!”

“Great?!” Tannen scoffed. “They were too friggin’ loud!”

What?!” Marty exclaimed in frustration.

“What’re you talking about, Tannen?” Gardner spoke in defense of the Phinheads. “They sounded perfectly fine.” He then looked to McGillicuddy for support. “Didn’t they, Mr. McGill?”

For a brief second, McGillicuddy considered supporting Gardner’s judging, but then he saw that intense stare in Tannen’s eyes that made the 38-year-old science teacher almost pee himself. “I…I…I…” he stammered before he finally managed to say, “I agree with Coach Tannen. They were a bit loud.”

Tannen beamed with satisfaction. “That settles it then.” Without missing a beat, she then called, “Next group! You’re up!”

No!” Marty roared, her voice echoing across the entire auditorium. “This is absolute bull$#%+!”

“Whoa! Language, Marty!” Mr. Gardner scolded. “We’re still on school grounds.”

“I’m sorry, Mr. G, but I don’t give a damn!” Marty ranted. “Everyone in this school knows that Coach Tannen is full of it! She shouldn’t even be a judge for these auditions! The only reason she got the job in the first place is because she scares the hell out of half of the school’s staff – including the principal!”

“And what’re you gonna do about it, butthead?” Tannen challenged.

Marty balled her fists so tight that her nails dug into her palms. She wanted so desperately to punch Coach Tannen in the face right there and then in front of the teachers and the other kids. There was only one problem: Tannen was still a school administrator. Attacking her would only lead to getting expelled or even sued – a risk Marty was not willing to take.

In her anger, she jumped off stage, leaving her guitar behind.

She could hear Tannen snickering as she walked out of the auditorium.

Marty had to get as far as she could from the HVH campus…and maybe the whole town. The anger, disappointment, and frustration she felt was unbearable. Coach Tannen crossed many lines in the past, but denying her the chance at getting back into performing in a band was one line too far. She knew how much it meant to her, after all she went through following the separation of Lemonade Mouth.

In her impulsive exit from the auditorium, she made sure to grab her backpack and skateboard. She hated leaving Phineas and Ferb behind on the stage, like Brad did to Horace and Pantsy. The only difference between the two was that Brad couldn’t care less about his friends (unless they were kissing his butt), whereas Marty considered how the Flynn-Fletcher brothers were probably just as hurt and disappointed as she was.

After cleansing her face of the tears that drenched it, she took out her phone and sent a text to Phineas: “Sorry 4 leaving u guys. Coach T pisses me off. C U @ the skate park in 30.”

She left on her skateboard thereafter, figuring she could wash away her misery with a nice Pepsi float at the Retrograde – that awesome new club in the courthouse square that was one-half restaurant and one-half video gaming/sports venue. It was the hottest spot in town for the summer, thanks to its proprietors: Phineas and Ferb.

Unbeknownst to Marty, however, her actions were being observed by two men who stood a short distance across the school parking lot – a relatively short man in a red-and-yellow tracksuit that looked straight out of the 1970s and a tall, thin man who dressed as though he was from the 1870s in an olive green three-piece suit with coattails that ran down to his knees.

“Man, it’s uncanny how much she dresses like him,” said the man in the 1970s tracksuit, as he watched Marty. “It’s like lookin’ into a mirror, ya know? A mirror with long red hair.”

“Dakota, it’s nothing like looking into a mirror,” said the man in the 1870s three-piece suit. “That metaphor only works if he were here with us, looking at his counterpart.”

Dakota shrugged. “Meh. I stand by my comment.” Getting right back to business, he asked his partner, “So what now? We just keep followin’ her around like two creeps?”

“Well, what do you suggest we do?”

“I dunno. Not follow her around like two creeps.”

“We can’t lose track of her, Dakota. Remember what Dr. Brown told us: the counterparts are the key to the sanctity of the space-time continuum. Tonight is the night Martha McFly goes back in time, just as her counterpart did before, and we have to ensure that happens in order for her to follow the path she and this timeline’s Dr. Brown are destined to.”

“Easier said than done with you-know-who runnin’ around.”

Dakota’s partner sighed in despair. “I know. His very presence is a threat to all that we strive to protect as agents of the Time Bureau.”

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