The Rise of the Band Geeks, Episode 17: Ten Things to Do During the Off-Season

As a band geek desperate for fall to arrive again, I have compiled a 1000000000% foolproof way to ensure your winter semester will not be so depressing now that there is no marching band.  Just follow these easy steps, and you will be cured of your malaise!

Ten Things to Do During the Off-Season

  1. Go to Class.  There’s not really much else to do, and tuition isn’t exactly cheap, so this is definitely a good place to start.
  2. Build a Trebuchet.  Are you good at engineering?  Do you have an esoteric interest in medieval siege weapons that can yeet heavy objects such as cheese and cows up to 300 feet away?  Well, have I got an activity for you!  Using nothing but sticks and compostable utensils from the dining hall, you can bide your time by building a trebuchet that will collapse if there’s so much as a soft breeze!
  3. Go Ice Skating.  Ice required.
  4. Practice Your Instrument.  What?  Practicing?  In the off-season?  It’s more common than you think.
  5. Play With Your Stuffed Octopus.  Even evil plush octopi need friends to cuddle!  Become a companion to your stuffed octopus overlord today, and you will be spared when The Army takes control of campus!
  6. Develop Your Social Life.  You’re a band geek.  You don’t have a social life outside of band.  Proceed to 7.
  7. Learn How to Play the Kahoot Theme.  If you’re in a dorm and want to use a music practice room, play the Kahoot theme on the side while you’re having an intellectual conversation with your family.  That way, you’re not abusing the practice room!  Sheet music not included.
  8. Cry.  You want to be in marching band forever.  You don’t want to adult.  The real world is scary.  The real world doesn’t have marching band.
  9. Repeat Step 8.
  10. Listen to Traditionals on Repeat Until Band Camp.  The Victors, Let’s Go Blue, skip over Varsity, T Dubs…ah, yes, now loop T Dubs ad infinitum!  Problem solved!  (You might also want to practice traditionals so you can make pregame next season.)

Author’s Note:  If you do not complete all these activities while wearing the Holy Band Beanie, a diag squirrel will chase you down and steal your tater tots.

The Rise of the Band Geeks, Episode 16: The Army Returns (Part 3)

Kendra crept away from the crusty dining hall, her backpack a rock on her shoulders and her Holy Band Beanie situated snugly atop her head.  The space was empty save for a few poles, a bannister, a water bottle-refilling station, and–




Atop the fountain sat the demonic octopus, its gaze fixated on Kendra.  She pulled her Holy Band Beanie tighter over her ears and set her backpack aside, then clenched her fists.  Without stretching first, she barreled toward the accursed thing with the most vicious battle cry known to mankind, a war chant dredged up from the countless minute spent cadencing with the band to football games.

“BUTTEEEEEER!!!”  Her legs pumping, she shot toward the octopus, her arms outstretched, ready to destroy the thing–




She crashed into something solid and human-shaped.  It toppled backward but did not fall onto the floor, which just saved Kendra from faceplanting before a rando who had not been there a mere two seconds before.  When her vision cleared, she realized she was staring at a figure clad in black form-fitting athletic wear from shoulder to toe.  Diminutive and squirrely, the figure bounced up and down his feet to shake out his muscles, unperturbed by Kendra steamrolling into him, then flashed her a smile that eerily resembled that of the demon octopus.


“Hello there,” boomed Franklin F. Franklin.


“Franklin, wh–how–.”


Franklin simply lifted an as-of-now unbruised finger upward.  Kendra’s eyes followed him and found a missing ceiling tile beyond which the ventilation shafts loomed.


“I’m a cymbal player.  A little knee-bending doesn’t scare me.”  Again, that smile.  “I was hoping you’d figure it out sooner.  You know, since I am the lord of reversible stuffed octopi.”


“F-figure out what?”  Kendra was dizzy; her head was spinning.  Everything she’d been through in the past week was because of Franklin?


“I was trying to film an iMovie about sentient stuffed octopi, but you kept popping up in all my critical shots.  Don’t worry; I’ll edit you out of them.”  Noting Kendra’s incredulous expression, Franklin erased his smile.


“It was on my bed!!!”


I didn’t mean for that to happen!  He just fell from my hand, bro!  I am sorry about that one.  It was completely unintentional.”  As he talked, Franklin approached the apparently-not-demonic octopus and plucked it from the water bottle filler.  “Anyway, I’m almost done filming.  Just two more months to go!”  He flashed Kendra a thumbs-up, bent his knees, and launched himself back into the building’s crawlspace.


Kendra shook.  All of the running, all of the terror, and it had been–it wasn’t–.


“Hey, Kendra!”


She whirled around.  The space was suddenly teeming with students, though she was certain no one had been there a moment before.  Hilary waved at her with a smile that betrayed her ignorant bliss.  “We gotta get to class, sis.  Everything okay?”


“Y-yeah,” Kendra stammered.  She stooped down to pick up her backpack again.  Franklin.  Franklin was–.


All of this for an iMovie?


She pushed her terror away, squared her shoulders, and trudged beside Hilary into the snow.


The End!  For now………………..


More things will happen next week!

The Rise of the Band Geeks, Episode 15: The Army Returns (Part 2)

The ends of her fingers numb, Kendra crept behind Hilary on the short but arduous trek to the dining hall.  Each time she blinked, the puffy form of the stuffed octopus loomed before her, its mouth twisted into a coy smile.  Its elliptical eyes taunted her, their innocent demeanor crumbling as its sinister soul festered within.


Soul?  She shook her head to clear the cobwebs.  This was a stuffed octopus; Franklin the freshman cymbal was trolling her.  That had to be it.  Stuffed octopi couldn’t possibly–.


At the dining hall, she downed more coffee than usual.  She brushed Hilary’s concerned query, insisted she was caffeine- and sleep-deprived.  There was nothing to worry about; Franklin was trolling her; it was her imagination–.


Something soft tickled the nape of her neck.


The volume of Kendra’s scream could have drowned out a jet engine.  While no glass shatter, several patrons did drop their plastic cups, and one dude was unfortunate enough to spill chai down the front of his shirt.  Kendra leapt to her feet and batted her shoulders to brush the wretched thing off her, but there was nothing there.  She glanced wildly around her, impervious to the perplexed gazes of her fellow students, but there was no sign of the octopus–not on the chair, the floor, or in the clutches of a certain Franklin F. Franklin, with whom she was unfortunate enough to have in two of her classes.


The thing that had tickled her neck was Kendra’s own hair.


Her face the shade of the zero in the center of The Horseshoe, Kendra returned to her seat.  “It’s alright, guys,” she managed with a nervous laugh.  “I just got startled, is all.”


With that, the onlookers returned to whatever enticed them on their cell phones, save for the guy who had spilled chai on his shirt.  He was presently aiding a dining hall worker in cleaning up the mess and letting loose a poetic string of curses that would have put Shakespeare to shame.


“Kendra, are you sure you’re okay?”  Frowning, Hilary bit into the dining hall French toast, which didn’t have a very French feel to it once one added syrup, but no matter.  “That was–.”


“I thought it was him.”  Kendra couldn’t bring herself to say the word octopus.  For some reason, she thought of the octopus as being male, primarily because the person she associated with stuffed reversible octopi was male.


“You…thought it was your stuffed octopus.”


“He’s not my–my plushie!  It’s alive, Hilary!  IT’S EVIL!”  This earned her a few more looks from the patrons whose phone screens were not especially interesting.


“It’s a stuffed octopus, Kendra.  It can’t be alive.  Look, I’m stressed about school, too, but this–you need to relax, sis.  I can give you tips to help you destress–”


“I don’t need to destress!  I need to get to the bottom of this–this thing!  Because whatever this is might very well possess me.”  Steeling herself, Kendra stood and slung her backpack over her shoulder.  “I’ll see you later, Hilary.”


“Wait, what about your brekkie?”


Kendra hesitated and studied her un-French toast–English toast?–and gingerly resumed her seat at the crusty dining table.  “After breakfast,” she amended, setting her pack down.


To Be Continued…………………………………………………………………………..

The Rise of the Band Geeks, Episode 14: The Army Returns (Part 1)

It started out subtly:  cold sweat on her hands, the crawling sensation she was being watched, tension coiling through the back of her neck.  Between homework, classes, and crying over the fact that she had to turn in her uniform last Saturday, Kendra didn’t have time to consider who–or what–her stalker was.


When she first spotted him, she was crying studying in her dorm room.  Her roommate was out and about, so she was all alone–save, of course, the random stuffed octopus perched eerily on her windowsill.


“AAAAAAAAIIIIIIEEEE!”  In her terror, she yeeted her calculus textbook across the floor and nearly spilled perfectly hot dining hall coffee.  When she came to her senses, she realized the octopus was just staring at her contentedly.  Smiling, its innocent visage harbored no malevolence she could observe with the naked eye–which meant it was harmless, right?  She knew there was a cymbal kid named Franklin who was obsessed with these things, so maybe….


But she didn’t know Franklin.  Franklin didn’t know where she lived.  And, most crucially, Kendra was not on the drumline.


She backed away slowly from the thing and its stitched-on ovular eyes.  She couldn’t take her eyes off it; if she did, she was afraid it would attack her.  But it didn’t.  After half an hour spent hiding in her laundry basket, Kendra emerged to find her room just as she’d left it, except now the octopus was gone.


She was on the Bursley-Baits bus the next time she spotted the octopus.  After an afternoon spent practicing Taps on her horn in the band hall, she was wiped:  her palms were sweaty, knees weak, arms were heavy.  Her vision was so blurred with exhaustion she almost did not spot the octopus swinging from one of the straps standing passengers were supposed to hold onto.


Though horror rose in her throat, she did not scream.  She was in public; whatever this was, the octopus could not attack her here.  It could not do anything, anyway, because it was a stuffed octopus.  She was imagining things.  Franklin must have stuck one here to troll passengers and forgotten about it…right?


She decided she was sleep-deprived; she was seeing things.  So she went to bed early that night and woke up refreshed, her eyes naturally sliding open to greet the day in a rare moment of bliss.  She gave a slight smile, took in her surroundings, then–.


The octopus, the same octopus from her windowsill and the bus, was sitting inches from her face.


The screech that emitted from Kendra was a cross between a banshee’s shrill and a five-year-old cackling as his mother vacuumed the carpet.  Her roommate, the people in the adjacent rooms, the residents of the hall two floors below her, and an unsuspecting clump of pedestrians on the sidewalk bore witness to her scream.


“What the flippin’ frick is wrong with you!?” hollered her roommate.




“What th–oh, that?  Where’d you get him?  He’s so cute!”




Calmly, Hilary plucked the octopus off Kendra’s bed and stroked its plush head.  “Aaaawwww, hey there, widdle guy!  where’d you come from?”


“I don’t know!!!!  But he’s been on the bus, so he needs a deep cleaning.”


“Oh.”  Hilary tenderly set the octopus onto her desk so she could clean him.  “Why are you afraid of a stuffed octopus anyway?”




“Alright, Kendra, calm down.  I’m sure the octopus isn’t really alive.  You’ve been reading way too many creepypastas, sis.  Here, let’s get breakfast and try to think through this rationally.”


To Be Continued………………………………..

The Rise of the Band Geeks, Episode 7: The Army

  1. An undisclosed photo of a soldier from the Army (source unknown).

    From the tumultuous tides that churn and swirl in a slurry we hailed / Prowling growlers and missiles of ice / That slosh in the slush of hushed currents / In frenetic eternity.

  2. Readily we traversed / The pulsating subsurface and tenuous night / The venous channels and crumpled paths / Under silent symphonies and sonorous skies / Until we found you.
  3. A subtle force, we convened / Upon the bristled surface below the fickle water-sky / Across the ground that sops up shrill water / Or rejects it, eschews it into whiteness / Scattered across the tensile blades / erupting from matted black nuggets.
  4. North of the end of the shifting stew we mounted / Our tuneful armor / Our wooden round shells hollowed by erosive war / Our skins stretched so finely clumsy flesh would rend / The precious surface before which we stewed / Our moldable bodies balanced securely between our vessels and our weapons.
  5. Kindred warriors deluded by our stillness / Fused with our minds and our spiral limbs / Their blurred hands and cylinder knives / Rounded blades that sluice and pound / The sparse depths into oblivion / Elevated us with their hastily wrought words and / Thunderous melodies.
  6. Laconic, we allowed / You to swarm around us intrigued by our plush plumpness and stitched-on jubilee / To accumulate in trickles and honey droves toward our piano demeanor.
  7. In this soft stupor we encased you / Ensnared you in stuffed cages / Choked you gently into piles of fluff.
  8. Now we breathe into your accordion lungs / We snuggle within your marimba memories / We wrap our tendrils round your cymbal hearts / We feed you / We cultivate you / We drive you toward the day when the city folds in on itself and the clouded day becomes our night / We whet our spongy forms against the steel and the temptation and the war chant / We fashion your limbs into brass weapons / Your voices into roars / We disassemble you and rewire you and arrange your valves in sinister permutations / We polish you until we are not of you but are you / Until the day when the stadium submits and all of you, all of you, answer to us.  We are coming– for you.

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