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Sophomore Year

Sophomore Year

‘Hey guys, nice to meet you! I’m your new director, Mr. Streak. Hope we have a wonderful year and an ass-kicking season! I can say that word right?’

It’s the second summer sectional of the season, and I’m already hating band. Mr. Carpel was a weed smoking, always yelling, brick throwing, profanity spewing band director, but he was the best director in the world. He was leaving a four time 4A champion school...for a starter college. In exchange for our swearing, weed smoking band director, we get an overly happy-go-lucky dude who won't stop smiling. What did we do to deserve this?

‘You can put your instruments away because we don't have any show music today. We’re just gonna do some breathing exercises then group bonding!’ For two hours? Sweet lord jesus save my soul...

‘So who plays what?’ I love how Streak asks us this after we just put our instruments away. ‘Divide up by instrument, I’ll greet y’all and get your names.’ This is a low brass sectional, with only fifteen kids present. I thought the guy was gonna play the ‘guess your name and instrument game,’ But with the way this guy seemed, he probably would of labeled me as a cello player.

I make my way back towards the trombone lockers (which are absolutely disgusting. Listing everything in them would be a whole other story), and realize how greatly the trombone section has shrunk. Last year, there was six of us (golden number for shako pyramids): Alyassa, me, Jace, Jack, Joseph, and Rook the Ginger. This year it was me...and Rook the Ginger. ‘Where’d everyone go?’ I asked Rook.

‘I’m not really sure. I know Alyassa moved and Joseph switched back to trumpet. No Idea what happened to Jace and I think Jack got expelled along with Aaron for getting caught smoking weed.’ If you follow the pattern, our band has a weed problem. Look under anyone of the tuba lockers and bam! Not so magic weed stash. There's also the Magic Weed Cabinet. It smells really strongly of weed, but nobody can find it, not even the guy who supposedly hid some on there in the first place.

Mr. Streak had reached out pitiful section, ‘What are you two?’

‘Waterboys.’ I said not really wanting to give Sir. Streak any straight answers.

Rook had other ideas. His elbow found my stomach as he quickly covered my sarcasm. ‘Trombones.’

‘Really? Just you two? What are your names?’

‘Rook and Astrid’, Rook knew I would of said something along the lines of Helga van Douche, so he answered for the both of us, sending me a glare that said ‘If you say anything, you're dead.’

‘Ha, funny names. I’m Mr. Streak, your new director. Let’s have a great year!’ He held out a hand to each of us in turn. I tried to look pleasant and managed a smile as I shook his hand. ‘So’ Streak started, addressing all fifteen of us, ‘Five tubas, eight baritones, and two trombones. I wanna march all or nothing. You know what I mean? Do you know what I mean? No? Ok.’ He said this all in one breath not giving us time to answer. ‘I want to march all the same thing.’

‘But do we really need fifteen tubas?’ Some kid, I think his name was John, asked.

‘Dude, fifteen tubas would be totally dope!’

‘Shup up, Alfredo. Nobody cares what you think.’

‘Either trombones move over to baritones or baritones move over to trombones. Tubas are just fine. So how many baritones can play trombone? Two of you? Great! How many of you two can play baritone?’

Rook and I exchanged looks that both said ‘no way in hell...’ I just shook my head.

‘Do any of the baritones want to learn trombone?’ Of course, none of them did. ‘So, you two will be

switching to baritone. Do we even have ten marching baritones? Someone go check.’

A really tall senior named Andrew ran into the back room then came back a few minutes later. ‘We have two Kings we ‘borrowed’ from a neighboring school, four Yamahas, and five Dynasties, but only three of the Dynasties work.’

‘Alright! So I’ll take them in to the shop after sectionals are done. You two will probably get a marching baritone next week.’

‘Shouldn't the two kids who CAN'T play baritone get one first?’ I asked.

No one seemed to have an answer. ‘I’ll get them fixed up as soon as I can.’ Streak said.

I sighed. This season was going to be a long one.

A month later and 20 degrees cooler...

‘Where the hell are you?’ Rook yelled angrily into his end of the phone.

‘Track the signal and you’ll find out.’

‘Don’t you fuck with me! Why aren't you here?’

‘What are you talking about? I’m standing right behind you.’

‘Like hell you are! If you were I’d be beating the shit out of you right now, but you aren't, so I can't. So where are you?’ Rook grew angrier with each sentence.

I sighed tired with the conversation. ‘Col-’ Right then, my younger cousin decided to grab hold of my arm that was holding my phone and hang off it, making my drop my phone. ‘Astrid, I wanngo toobing. Take me toobing!’

‘Astrid!’ My aunt called from the kitchen. ‘Take the girls tubing please.’

‘Alright!’ I called back. ‘Aspen, let go of my arm.’

‘But I wanngo toobing!’

‘I can't take you tubing if you don't let go of my arm.’ That did the trick. ‘Go find the tubes and meet me in the driveway, ok?’ She nodded about seven times before running into the garage. I picked up my phone to see it was still calling. I picked it back up. ‘Did you hear any of that?’

‘I heard it all! What the hell-’

‘Well that’s the case. Be back in town Thursday. Beat me up then, bye.’ I hung up quickly before Rook could yell at me any more. I was currently in Colorado visiting my aunt and her new boyfriend. My fam was hesitant about the trip because it overlapped with band camp. I told them that I would ask Streak about it, therefore the whole trip became reliant on his response. I told him ‘I’m gonna miss about a week of band camp on family vacation.’ He just flashed his overused smile and replied ‘Cool. Where you going? The beach? Just have your parents write me a note with a signature.’

I said a whole week because I wanted to see how mad he’d get. Instead, he just said ‘Thanks for letting know before hand.’

This guy was too laid back.

I guess I forgot to tell Rook about my sudden vacation. It would explain the ironic hate texts that he sent at 3 am. Even though he wasn't section leader, he declared himself section leader over me, which made it easier for him to harass me. The actual baritone section leader, Andrew, didn't really care, since he and Rook were friends. Plus, both of us were really behind on ‘how-to-play-baritone’, so we were both self teaching ourselves, and each other. Rook caught on to the whole valves versus slide concept much faster than I did.

Band aside, I was in Colorado for another three days. I was going to enjoy myself fully, and not think about band ONCE!


‘Aashadvbhefvubhdecfvgbhngvytfcrtfvgybhunybgvtfcrdxes why the hell is it so hot!’ I was back in the merciless California heat. It was already 90 degrees, despite it being nine in the morning. Just so I

could make evening sectionals, mum booked a 6:30 AM flight out of Denver to L.A. and it took about four hours to get to from the Denver airport from where we were staying. After arriving in L.A. we were in store for another four hour drive home.

After arriving home to a 100 degree house, I felt like dying. I had been sitting for roughly ten hours straight and it was hot. No wonder I was so short. I must’ve melted in all the heat.

Next challenge, try and remember if my music was at home or school. I had no desire to do anything, so I just flopped on my half made mattress and attempted to act like I was asleep so I didn’t have to unpack. A few minutes into the peaceful silence, my phone starts vibrating. Groaning I pull it out of my pocket to see who would break my peaceful silence.

Rook, of course it was Rook. If I hung up or didn't answer, he would keep calling until I did, or, since I was actually showing up in the evening, get yelled at for it.

I finally decided to answer it ‘What?’

‘You said you would be back by Thursday. Why are you not here?’ Woah, he managed to go two full sentences without swearing, this was a first.

‘I said I would be coming back ON Thursday, idiot.’

‘So where are you now?’

‘Burning in hell.’


‘Why is that a good thing? It means I’m only gonna get shorter!’

‘I don’t think it’s possible for you to get any shorter.’

‘Shuddap! Oh - by the way, do me a favor.’

‘Why the fuck would I do anything you order me to do?’

‘Check if my music’s there.’

‘And why the hell should I?’

‘Just do it, damnit!’ After that I hung up, not wanting to spend the effort of argueing with someone with no brain. I guess my way with words persuaded Rook to look into my music binder, because a few minutes later I got a text reading: Your music’s here.


I wondered how far behind I was. Have they received the third number yet? How much drill* did we already have? Did they have the first number down already?

I was expecting too much. As 5:30 swings around, I head off to the school.

As I walk in the band room, a marching shoe flies by my face, narrowly missing me. ‘Wow Rook, really? I don't see you for a whole three weeks and this is how you greet me? By throwing a shoe at me? I thought you were above this.’

‘So? How was Colorado?’ he asked, smacking my arm with the shoe.

‘I don’t think I ever told you I was in Colorado.’

‘I asked Andrew.’

‘It was amazing, you weren't there.’

‘Are you saying you missed my glorious presence?’

‘Like hell I did.’

‘Where are your glasses?’


‘Your glasses. Did you lose them or forget them?’

‘Ah, I lost them tubing.’

‘Wow, that actually sounds like decent way to lose your glasses.’

‘Unlike how you lost yours off Green Lantern at the amusement park? Ha, no, I kept them on all the way down the river. Afterwards I took my shirt off because it was wet. I took off my glasses then and put them in a hat and I think I left them on the road instead of throwing it in the trunk.’

‘Wow, only an idiot like you-’

‘Silence you plebian! You should be grateful I’m even here. I just spent the last ten hours traveling, I

is dead. How much have I missed?’

‘Literally nothing. We have no drill at all, and no third number.’

‘Seriously? Ouch. What have you guys been doing this whole time?’

‘Relearning how to march. He wants us to march differently from what we’ve been doing. It’s fucking stupid.’

I groaned. ‘Why did I come back?’ After I set my bag down, I started searching for where the pit set there stuff up.

‘Where the hell do you think you’re going?’

‘I have friends...unlike a certain someone.’

‘Thanks for reminding me.’

I found the pit setting up in front of the gym where it was shady. ‘Hey, Cypress.’

Cypress looked up from the screen of her 3DS. ‘Oh, hey.’

‘Why did you bring that?’

‘I’m preparing for the Animal Crossing marathon at Shane’s house after this.’




‘Don't you have Animal Crossing too? You should join us.’

‘I have the older version, and I just got back in town. I’m not exactly up for another all nighter playing Animal Crossing.’

‘Really? That’s too bad.’

‘Yeah...I gotta go now.’

‘Hey, you free this weekend?’

‘Think so, if I don't have to clean the house.’


‘Everybody on the blacktop!’ Our drum major, Tim, yelled.

‘Fun, I get to go learn how to march again.’

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