“Bye, Sweetie!” my mom cried over my sister’s Miley Cyrus music as I stepped out of her car. Then she drove away to drop my sister off at her school.
After a car ride engulfed in awkwardness, we pulled into St. Bartholomew’s Hospital of Beaver Falls, PA.
When Shelby had asked if we could listen to some music, I’d attempted the whole cliché as-she-reaches-for-the-radio-my-hand-will-brush-hers thing. Unfortunately, when we both reached for the radio, I stopped paying attention to the road and swerved into oncoming traffic.
Blasting car horns on all sides sounded as a sky blue Mercedes barely missed us. My tires screeched as I swerved us back into the right lane. Shelby looked like a scared rabbit, wide eyes and flared nostrils. When I caught my reflection in the rearview mirror, I looked like an even more scared rabbit.
“Whoops,” I said, trying to play if off like it was nothing, but I felt like she could hear me sweating.
She shot me a terrified glance, then turned on the radio.
“Trying to be my best, when I fall, it’s a mess!” screeched through my shoddy speakers.
I wrote this, most likely on some kind of sugar high the day before it was due, for part of a writing “packet” I had to turn in as my final when I took a creative writing class. It’s loaded with marching band references most people won’t understand, and if some people with marching band experience read this, they might not find it terribly accurate.
The bus pulled into the Canon ISD Stadium at 8:00 am for the Canon Marching Band Festival, but Mr. Avery wasn’t letting us get off yet. Most kids were asleep. Megan and Adair were sitting behind Chase and me. They were both listening to Megan’s pink iPod and they kept kicking the back of our seat to the beat. I knew they were listening to “Party in the USA” because I could hear it. I wished they would quit it; my back was staring to hurt.
“Miley Cyrus sucks,” I said.
“Yeah,” agreed Chase, “but she’s kinda hot.”
I frowned. To me, Miley Cyrus looked like she was ten. “Gross.”
“Charlie, did you just say Miley Cyrus was gross?” Megan gasped, poked her little black-haired head up over our seat and yanked the headphones out of her ears.
“What about Miley?” Adair shouted over the music only she could hear.
“Miley Cyrus is a famous singer and actress. She even has her own clothing line. I’m pretty sure that makes her cooler than you two losers.” Megan stuck out her tongue at us through her purplish lips.
“Not for long!” Chase got excited. “Not when our band gets discovered!”
It wasn’t much of a band. It was Chase, our Mexican pal, Ricky Martinez (Ricky Martin when we felt like being mean), and some guy named Jed he met at the bowling alley who was like thirty years old. One day Chase told me I was the manager and since then I’d been going to his house every Sunday night for band practice. So during every practice, I ate my weight in Cheetos while sitting on Chase’s couch and watching the band, or “Attack of the Weasels,” play Guitar Hero, the real instruments lying in the background untouched. I’d stopped going recently, though, because Jed was starting to creep me out. I thought he’d been going to Chase’s house to hit on his mom, but it was starting to seem like he was more interested in Chase.