Chapter 1: When High Brass Meets Low Brass
When Hawkeye walked into the first day of band camp, he expected to be met by his old friend since middle school, Trapper, as he shoved his sax into the instrument locker next to him.
Instead, where Trapper and a saxophone should be, there was another kid, and he was holding a trombone.
Hawkeye froze, and stared at him. Trapper had that locker for the past two years they've been holding up this Jazz band, and he wasn't about to let some trombone player shove his mouthpiece where it doesn't belong.
He whipped around, and looked for Henry's office.
"Henry, we've got a problem, and I demand to have an explanati-"
Hawkeye froze mid tantrum as he saw the much shorter, much grumpier, much different director standing behind Henry's desk.
"Who in the name of Patton is Henry?" The old man growled at the Junior.
"Who are you and what happened to my pushover father-figure?" Hawkeye stated.
"I'm the new director to this place- Dr. Blake left," he wove around his desk to look up at Hawkeye.
"I'm your new director, Dr. Potter," he said.
"There's a lot of people doctoring for jazz I guess," Hawkeye said, holding out his hand.
The doctor gave him an expression of confusion.
"I don't remember any 'Hawkeye's' on my roster list," he replied.
"You'll soon find a lot of us go by nicknames," he said with a smirk.
"Hawkeye it is then," the jazz director took the outstretched hand, shaking it.
"Now, what did you need?" He said with a smile, much more friendlier than how he had reacted when Hawkeye has barged inside.
"On your roster list, did you happen to find any John McIntyre's?" Hawkeye said, expression shifting to a little nervous. He wasn't sure how he was going to get through this Jazz year without his best friend.
"I'm afraid not, son, the only John here was the piano boy,"
Hawkeye felt himself fade internally, but his face only fell a little compared to how he felt inside.
"Was he a friend of yours?" The doctor seemed to have caught wind of his negative feelings.
"We were inseparable," Hawkeye huffed "Now he's gone,"
Dr. Potter let out a sigh and rested his hand on Hawkeye's shoulder.
"I'm sorry to hear that," he said "But maybe you'll make new friends,"
A crack of a smile slithered up his face. "Let's go meet the rest of what I've got to work with," the hand left his shoulder, and the two exited.
In the band hall, a clutter of about 12 students were adjusting mouth pieces and playing Hot Cross Buns.
"Silence!" The doctor cried, going up to the front of the classroom, while Hawkeye went to the back with the trumpets.
"I'm the new director here, Dr. Potter. I respect to be respected by all you respectable fellows up there, because we've got a long 7 months piled up for us to get ready to go to Chicago,"
The drummer boy dropped a snare, and it rang through the air.
"What in St. Louis was that about!" The short tempered director yelled at the anxious looking Freshmen.
"S-sorry, sir! M-my finger slipped, honest" he stuttered back, reaching down to pick up the cymbal. Hawkeye stifled a laugh.
"Well, don't eat so many chicken legs before coming to band practice next time!"
"Yes sir," the kid said timidly, looking down as he affixed it to the drum set.
"Now, as I was saying, I would like to know all your names, or nicknames if you have them, and what instruments you play. I want to know if we have any doubles to use in Chicago,"
The group went through specifics, starting with the rhythm section. The piano player was a sophomore named Francis, and he could play xylophone and harmonica, as well as the piano.
"A triple! Although I'm not sure what we can do with, ah, harmonica, xylophone is good to know!" Dr. Potter said with open glee.
The drummer was a Freshman names Walter, but he said he went by 'Radar'
"Why 'Radar?'" He questioned.
"Uh.. Sometimes I can tell when some things gonna happen, before it happens," he said, a little shy still.
"Could you tell you were going to drop that cymbal?" He replied, his words leaving a little menace and annoyance behind it.
"U-Uh, it doesn't always work, sir," Radar fiddled with the drum sticks in his hand.
"You play anything to else?" He said with a sigh, deciding to just let the argument go.
"Well, I play it terribly, but I know how to play bugle," he said with a smile hinting at his corners.
The doctor just moved on.
The base player was a Senior named Igor, who played base and cello, and the guitar player was a Sophomore named Max, who could only do guitar.
He was also dressed in a dress.
"What's with the fabrics, boy?" Potter paused at boy. Was he a boy?
"What, I can't wear something comfortable for once without getting pestered about it? Just what I'd expect from an army guru like you," Max spat, glancing up at the old Korean War pictures scattered around the room.
Potter moved on again.
In the Brass, no one of interest stuck out of the saxophones, except good old 'Hot Lips' Houlihan.
"I play the saxophone, as well as clarinet, some basic rhythm section instruments, piano, a little guitar, and violin," She said, her nose held forward with pride.
The old Colonel's eyes widened with surprise.
"Wow, that's an impressive regiment," he cracked a smile. "Even though we'll never use any of them, and you're not leaving the saxophone to play bongos,"
she huffed a little, but sat back.
In the trombones section, two people stood out. An old Senior fart named Charles, who played the french horn, has an odd accent Hawkeye couldn't place, but was determined to by the end of the year. He was new here- wasn't in the jazz band last year like mostly everyone else was.
The second trombone that stood out was the guy that seemed to replace Trapper.
"The name's B.J. Hunnicut, but, please, call me The Trombone Player, capitalised and trademarked, don't steal that," he said, with a wise-guy grin the could have pulled out Hawkeye's heart, if he weren't so mad at him for replacing his best friend.
"Unfortunately, I can only play the trombone, but if you hand me a recorder, it's like riding a bike, you can't forget," laugher passed around the class, and Potter smiled.
Next up was trumpets, and Hawkeye eventually went.
"Yo, I'm Benjamin Franklin Pierce, and I invented electricity. Need I say more?" Someone snickered. "You can call me Hawkeye, though, saves a lot of trouble, shortening it like that. I only play Matilda, here, and wherever she goes I go."
He paused for a moment.
"Unless your counting kazoo," more laughter.
When Hawkeye sat down, and the next person stood up next to him, his eyes interlocked with B. J.'s for a moment, and he knew.
It's not his fault Trapper left.
The kid smirked at him, and Hawkeye grinned back with a wave.
Chapter 2: When Low Brass Meets Woodwinds
thank you everyone who left a kind comment or a kudos last episode,
i greatly appreciate it.
After that day's practice, when B.J. was shoving his trombone into the small locker he was given that could barely hold a flute, the wise cracking kid that played trumpet came up to him, and started to shove his brass into where woodwind should go.
"Hey, you're the lead trumpet, right?" B.J. asked, barely taking his eyes away from the struggling compartment.
"You sounded impressive,"
"Well, that's why I'm going to Chicago, and Hot Lips over there isn't," he remarked, jerking his head towards the girl who played too many instruments.
"It's a shame, I heard she came from a family of musicians. But now all she can play is Twinkle Twinkle,"
"I'm sure she would call it something more pompous, like Mozart Melody," B. J. retorted with a sly grin.
The locker slammed shut, and Hawkeye (that was his name, right?) locked the compartment with a lock.
"See ya around, big shot," he called after him as he left the back exit from the school. He watched him for a moment, watched as he went up to the drummer boy and start a conversation that ended with his arm slung around the shorter boy's shoulders.
After he finally shoved the trombone into his locker, B.J. waited for a while around the school. He was technically old enough to drive, but, well, he didn't exactly have a car yet. So, he had to wait for his mom to get off work, etcetera.
As he waited, he watched the piano player step outside, tucking sheet music into a folder as he went and sat on a bench, presumably waiting for an adult, as well. Only he probably wasn't old enough to drive.
"Hey," B. J. slid into the spot next to him, with a kind smile. He returned it, with a 'hello' back.
"You sounded very good today," he chided, still smiling at B.J.
"I would say the same, if I could have heard you," he remarked.
"Yes, well, piano isn't the loudest instrument compared to you brass players, even with an amp,"
"You just gotta hammer the ivory then, Frank! Was that your name?"
He chuckled. "Ah, no, it's Francis, but, I have been given the nickname 'Red' by some of my closer friends," Francis gave him a look, like asking what about you?
"I'm B.J." He held out his hand for him to shake, which Francis took with joy.
"What's the B.J. stand for?" He quarried.
"Anything you want it to, " he said with a grin.
"What about the 'Red' thing?"
He took of his off-white hat, pointing to the golden-red hair resting underneath.
They laughed, until a car pulled up- his mom's car.
"Oop- gotta go," he got up, and waved back at him as he backwalked to Shotgun.
He got into the car, and they sped off. He risked one more glimpse back, and found that Francis was still sitting there, waiting for his parents.
He wondered how long he was going to have to wait before someone picked him up.
"All right, everybody listen up! I want to talk to the saxophones about the possibility of you all learning doubles," Dr. Potter yelled out to the band in front of him.
"The lead saxophone, Margaret, has already learned Clarinet, so I'm leaving it up to the rest of you ladies to learn the flute!" He said with ecstasy, gesturing at the rest of the saxophones, a group of girls. B.J. couldn't remember exactly their names- Kellye? Gwen? He couldn't remember the last two. In all honesty, he didn't really care that much.
The four girls groaned.
"But sir, my lips can't blow down like that!" One of them complained.
"Well, they'd better learn how to, or we're not going anywhere in Chicago!" He cried back.
"What even is this 'Chicago' stuff you seem to care so much about?" Another faceless voice cried.
"It's a very prestigious thing, where a group of jazz legends select certain schools and bands across the country to compete in a tournament to find out who is the best in the country, and it is a big deal to even get in, so I want all of you puckering up those raspberry blowers soon, or we're having another Texas winter without snow!"
Dr. Potter had to take a breather after that for a moment. He seemed to tend to explode.
"Now, would everyone please turn to Take The A Train, and quit your complaining?"
The second day of summer Jazz practice continued on without a hitch.
Chapter 3: When Low Brass Is Acting Like High Brass
haha guess what
and you know what that means
time to mess up my already messed up updating mess of a schedule this mess of a year.
just trying to get into character as Radar-
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
When Radar left from the second day of summer practice, he didn't expect to be stopped by another kid on his way into the band hall, yanked into the bathroom, and closed into a corner.
But here he was, staring up at one of the trombones.
In all honesty, he didn't know his name. Nobody did, except for him and Dr. Potter. Apparently the kid had confronted the director before band camp to tell him not to call him that- he even yelled it out in class, saying he wanted to go by his last name- Flagg.
("With two g's," he said. "Of course, wouldn't want to hang you up on the flag pole," The trumpeter apparently named Hawkeye replied.)
"Listen, kiddo, I don't want you making any more slip-ups this year, ya hear me?"
His voice pulled him out of his train of thoughts, able to not crack a grin as the remark replayed in his head.
"U-uh, yes, um..." Radar stopped when he realised he was about to say 'Sir.'
"Sir is fine, four-eyes," He corrected.
"OK, sir," He tried to look everywhere but Flagg's eyes. There wasn't much to look at in a bathroom.
"If you do mess up again, I can pull you right out of this man's game, and place you with the baby leagues, you got that?" He poked a finger onto his chest, causing him to jump and look up at him.
"U-uh, r-roger wilco, sir, " He blurted.
"Roger wilco? You freak. Get outta here, shorty," He stepped back, still keeping his chill demeanor even in his insults.
Radar took the opportunity and scrambled out of the bathroom, just to be grabbed by another kid, and dragged into an empty corridor.
"Now listen up, you freak of nature, I don't want you pulling another one of your little stunts in there. I know you dropped that cymbal on purpose!" She spat into his face.
Oh, great job, Radar, now everyone hates you.
"I'm sorry.., " Again, Radar almost called her Sir.
I mean m'am.
"M'am is fine, you creep,"
Jeez, you drop one cymbal and soon your a freak and a creep all at the same time.
"U-uh, yes m'am," he sighed, looking away bored.
"Something wrong, drummer boy?" She said menacingly.
Now she's using this old stunt- you don't even realise how much control I have over the band! So what if you're lead sax, do you keep everyone in time, decide how fast the music is, or how you play your solo?
"Uh, no m'am," He looked up at her again.
"I thought so. Now, go home and practice for once,"
She have him a shove in the wrong direction, but Radar wasn't about to turn around, so he went a few steps then took a U-turn when he knew she had left.
Once he got back into the main band hall again, almost to freedom of the outdoors, this time two kids grabbed his arm and pulled him to the side, into another empty band room.
"Listen, I'm sorry I dropped the cymbal, sirs, can I got home now?" He finally cried out to the kid dragging his arm.
"Sirs? What is this, Vietnam?"
Radar took a closer look at the two kids- it was Hawkeye and that other kid who was Trombone.
"Oh, uh, hi.. Hawkeye," He said, shifting on his feet a little.
He didn't really know the other kid, he just knew he was really tall, taller than the other two who had yelled at him, and quite possibly mean like them, so he just didn't even look in their direction.
"I wanted you to meet my good friend here, B.J. Hunnicut, the finest Trombone player south of Rio Grande," He said, waving out to the guy next to him.
"Heya, shorty," He gave a friendly wave and a smirk, but Radar still flinched at the nickname he heard too often.
"H-hi.." That was all he could really manage, or really wanted to say in general.
"What was the deal about that 'sir' and 'cymbal' stuff?" Hawkeye asked, stepping back a little as if sensing the amount of anxiety radiating off of him at this moment.
"W-well.. Some other.. Kids were telling me to not to drop it again.. And, I dunno, they wanted me to call them 'sir' and 'm'am', so... I-I guess I'm just..," He trailed off.
Well put. They know exactly what's happening, no confusion.
"What? Who? I can sick a boxer friend of mine on them, " B.J. offered.
"O-oh, no, really, it's fine, they just want what's best, and, well, I guess they really care about this Chicago stuff," Radar said, trying to come off as collected.
(He was failing)
"C'mon, if it's no big deal you can tell us," Hawkeye said, but Radar knew what he really wanted to know and why.
"I don't want you guys goin' after anyone," Radar said, furrowing his brow.
There was a pause that was a little to awkward for Radar's liking.
"I-I gotta get goin' to the library now," Radar started to step back away from them, but Hawkeye grabbed his arm, and he froze on the spot.
"Radar," Hawkeye said, carefully.
Radar started back with the deer-in-headlights look you could get from him if you caught him off guard.
Hawkeye let him go.
"No calling us sirs, it's our striving goal to be as improper as possible," Hawkeye said, a final glance of we want to help passing his features.
Radar just nodded vaguely, and pushed through the double doors.
When he had walked far enough from the school, he broke into a sprint the rest of the way to the library.
haha when you base a chapter after personal experiences
Chapter 4: When Low Brass And High Brass Turn Out To Be The Same Thing
i kinda hated the ending to the last chapter, so if you're coming to here without rereading it, i suggest you do, so.
i didn't really want this to turn angsty, so i kinda forced some of it back into my throat for another day like vomit.
side note, we did outfit fittings today, and i get to wear men's clothes instead of a dress! now i don't have to worry about dysphoria on stage, 'cause i'm too far away for anyone to distinguish up on stage.
also, kinda think one of my band mates is transphobic, so crap.
one more thing about this story-
it's set around the 2000's-ish? i'm thinking 2000 straight, just to not clash with any famous dates in history and such. i want a modern setting but not too modern, ya know?
one thing i should probably add- some songs i will talk about might come out later than 2000, like, for instance, Big Mouth came out in April this year, but i'm working off the sheets i'm given and going through, since these are the things someone actually in Midwest are doing.
"Now, I know some of you are thinking 'This is just summer band practice, we have until December!' Well, buckle up, all of you who think that, because I've got some news for you! I'm going to pass around two new songs we're playing at Midwest, to give you a taste of what it's like!"
The drummer boy, who seemed to double as a student aid, stumbled around heavy equipment trying to hand out the different sheets to the different instruments. When Charles finally got his, it was crumpled in the corners. It took all he had to not make a complaint to the hectic kid running around.
"Hey, watch it, that thing costs more than your life!" The base player cried when he almost tripped over his Cello.
"Sorry, Igor- here, Big Mouth andd.."
He shuffled through his papers.
"What'll I Do," He gave the papers to Igor, who set it up on his stand.
Charles glanced at his music- dear Lord, what is that?
The music was slow and catchy and rhythmic, but was still very very hard.
What does T.O.P. funk even mean?
Apparently, Charles wasn't the only one to be confused by the pieces.
"Now, I know this looks like a hard piece to handle, but I'm telling ya, once you get it down pat, it'll be as smooth as a baby's bottom! Some of you are probably wondering about the T.O.P. up at the T-O-P. That's short for Tower Of Power, a jazz band that was so off key they had their own version of jazz created! Here, let's take a gander at what this will sound like,"
The director pulled up the video online, and played it on the T.V. in the corner.
The song was cool and catchy, and the solos were nice and well put together.
They are professionals, though.
Charles looked over the band, noting the guitar and piano player- the ones with the solos.
They'd better be good.
The next song, Charles made sure to finger along to- it was much easier than the other song. Swung, and more chill in general. It wasn't hard to pick up, as the rhythm came naturally as the song went on.
"Alright, let's go over these! We've got about an hour left, and I plan on ironing out the sphinx in these!" Dr. Potter announced as the band got back into place.
For the first half of the song, everything was running... Well, alright. Nothing special yet, but it was better than when the solo first ended, and everyone went down from there.
Timing was lost, some people held, some people tongued, and it was a mess. Luckily, the picky band director was there to set things straight.
"Alright, Trombones, give me what you've got on 48 to 50,"
As second trombone of four, he had the grueling task of the lower notes, as the frizzy-haired kid next to him sang out the melody.
He tripped over himself scrambling for notes as the timing fell off.
"Charles, what are your voicing?"
Charles froze a little at the sudden call out, but nonetheless said out his do's and dot's and dit's.
"Alright, now try tonguing the E, and hold the B-flat this time,"
Charles sighed, but played correctly the next turn.
Charles watched as the director picked on the saxophones next, some girl named Ginger or something- he wasn't exactly interested in making any friends here.
The Trombone next to him elbowed him in the ribs.
"Hey, Chucky- can I call you that?" He murmured to him as the saxes tried again, to no apparent avail.
Charles was about to say no, you heathen, go push it up your mouthpiece, but was cut off by him again.
"You new in town, like me? You certainly sound like it,"
Charles glowered at the young man next to him.
"If you must know, I am from Boston," he replied snarkily.
"Ah, these summers must be pretty hot, huh? We're all the way across the country,"
"Yes, it was a very hot first week of unpacking, now will you leave me alone?"
"I'm from California myself, Mill Valley, nice place. Not that much cooler than here,"
I'm talking to a man from California?
"Yes, interesting, despite no one caring, now would you please mind your own business?" Charles finally groveled.
"Charles, what are you and B.J. bickering about up there?" Dr. Potter's voice suddenly interjected.
Charles shot B.J. an I warned you look, before replying.
"Ah, you see, B.J. here wanted to know what a certain rest was, and so I was kind enough to show him,"
"You don't know all your rests, boy?"
"There's more rests here than in preschool," he replied with a wise-guy grin.
He gave them a final stink-eye before moving to trumpets.
The frizzy-haired kid leaned in.
"Will you two stop talking, and start fingering?" He replied in a soft voice.
"Sorry, Sidney, I was sent on a mission by Hawkeye to figure out Chuck's accent," B.J. patted Charles' shoulder.
"Don't call me 'Chuck,'" Charles spat.
"Trombones! Shut your yappers!"