“They’re called rehearsals, Hal! Not camps!” A snare drummer, Billy Bob, twirled his drumstick with his ring finger before flinging it in the air and catching it with his pinky.
Hal grinned mischievously and waggled his reversible stuffed octopus. “I know.”
It was an inside joke: the drumline summer rehearsals were not camps because camps were optional, but rehearsals weren’t. Of course, the drumline members screamed this phrase in a jocular manner whenever said rehearsals were mentioned, or when someone either accidentally or deliberately misspoke.
“Where’d you get that?” Franklin F. Franklin jabbed his finger toward Hal’s octopus.
“Bruh, I just came her to have a good time and I honestly feel so attacked right now.” Hal cradled his octopus, surreptitiously flipped it so it showed its amgery face instead of its happi face.
Billy Bob flung his stick into the air again. He caught it with his thumbnail and flicked the digit around so that his stick mimicked a figure 8 motion. “Pretty sure he’s had it since last fall. You know, when everyone got a stuffed octopus…”
“Oh. Alright. Carry on.” Franklin sidled away, blowing air through his mouth in a horrid attempt to whistle.
“Why are we even here?” Hal questioned. He stroked his poor amgery octopus and wondered why he hadn’t named the plushie Franklin. “We don’t even have practice.”
“I don’t…actually know.” Billy Bob frowned. “In fact, I don’t even know how I got here. Or what I’m doing.” As he spoke, he balanced the drumstick on his hangnail. “You?”
“I live in the supply closet.” Hal shrugged.
Now, Billy Bob had the stick perched on the bridge of his nose. Despite what gravity and common sense might have you think, the stick did not fall. “I…can’t say I know when my finals are either. Or what classes I’m taking this semester. Or next semester.”
Hal knitted his eyebrows together. He, too, had had the same experience; he felt like his high school career was a blip in his mind, and everything before that was darkness. “Say, do you ever go anywhere other than your dorm and the band hall?”
“Not…really?” Somehow, his drumstick was now vertical as it pressed a divot into Billy Bob’s nose. “I don’t know what the world beyond this band hall is. I think…” He trailed off, and the drumstick fell at long last to the ground.
“Hal, I think we’re fictional characters.”