“Five! Six! Seven! Eight!”
The garage buzzed with the pulsating sounds of
the band: the stirring vibration of the electric guitar, the deep thrumming
of the bass guitar, the loud banging of the drum sets, the oscillating sounds
of the keyboards. The feeling inside the little room was fast-paced, energetic,
"Cut!" Montana slapped his black guitar and slumped
to the cement floor. "We stink. We really stink. We need to start over."
For as long as they could remember, Montana,
Tansy, Mike and Wynn were the best of friends. When they all turned six years
old, they went to see Stix 'n' Stones in concert. They were so inspired by the
band, they all asked their parents if they could take music lessons. A day later,
the four pets were armed and ready to take their first lessons. Montana learned
to play the electric guitar, Tansy took up the bass guitar, Mike jumped into
the keyboards, and Wynn, being the rowdiest of them all, chose the drum set.
Soon, the pets were playing like polished musicians, and Montana proposed they
formed a band. So, only a month after their first music lessons, the Thunderbolts
were formed. At first, the pets thought that they were the best they could be,
but since more and more new bands started appearing on the scene, Montana began
to push his friends harder. They were determined that they would get a gig at
the Hall. But sometimes Montana tended to overreact. The pets were practicing
late into the night, getting up early in the morning.
"Aw, c'mon Monty," Wynn the brown Mynci whined
as he tossed his drumsticks into the air, "it's ten o'clock! We need to call
it a night."
The black Gelert began picking the flaking thunderbolt
stickers off of the face of his guitar, pretending not to listen. "I'm not hearing
it. We stink. We're not leaving until we play all three songs perfectly."
"I'm with Wynn, Mont," Tansy the pink Acara agreed
as she sluing her pink bass guitar from her shoulder and began polishing it
with the edge of her shirt. "We all missed supper hours ago, and I'm not for
eating cold dinner. Besides, how could you say we stink? We've actually been
doing better this month than last month! I just say we go home. How about you,
Mike the Electric Eyrie remained silent, his
eyes closed, his head rested on his keyboard. Tansy sighed and threw her hands
in the air. "See, there we go. Mike fell asleep again! And if Mike falls asleep...it's
definitely time to go home."
"No, no, NO!" Montana yelled as he rose from
the floor. "Do you know how badly I want a gig?"
"We all want a gig, Monty," Wynn argued flatly.
"This band isn't all about you. There's no I in Thunderbolt, you know."
"Yeah," Tansy chimed in. "You're working us too
hard. And if we want a gig, then we have to..." She opened her mouth wide and
yawned loudly as she raised her paws high into the air and stretched her arms.
"We need to get some sleep. This is tiring."
"I agree." Wynn stuffed his drumsticks deep down
in his jeans pocket. "I'm so sleepy, my eyes are about to drag my head to the
ground. I'm leaving."
"No, you..." Montana slicked his antennas back
in frustration, his eyes growing wide. "You can't leave...just ten more minutes..."
"Enough is enough," Tansy drawled. "Maybe we
should give the band a rest for a while."
"Fine. Whatever. We'll take a break for one day.
But..." Montana blocked Tansy's path and snatched her guitar case from her.
"What about Mike?! He's not spending the night at my house again!"
Tansy glared over at the Eyrie snoozing peacefully
at the keyboard, gaping mouth, loud snoring and all.
"Wynn," Tansy moaned, her eyes narrow slits,
"it's your turn."
The Mynci stopped cold at the garage door, then
turned slowly, a horrified look at his face. "Unh uh. No way. He's not coming
home with me! Forget it!" He began waving his paws in front of his face in horror,
but Tansy grabbed his paw and smiled sweetly at the Mynci.
"Do it for me, Winnie."
The Mynci rolled his eyes. "Not that voice again.
Fine, anything for you, Tansy." Wynn tramped over to the keyboard and draped
one of Mark's fat arms over his shoulders. "The things I do for you, Tansy."
As Wynn marched past Tansy, she smiled again and waved daintily. "Tootles, Winnie."
Montana slowly closed the garage door and looked
over at Tansy. "Well, aren't you leaving?"
The Acara's eyes wandered as she twiddled her
thumbs. "I just wanted to say..." She flung her arms gratefully around Montana's
neck. "Thanks for the break. I really appreciate it."
Montana rolled his eyes. He was glad he had proposed
a break, they could all use one. But he didn't want to admit it; Tansy might
see him as weak. He slowly eased Tansy away from him. "Whatever." He handed
her the guitar case and opened the garage door. "See you Wednesday."
"Okay." She turned and waved. "Bye, Montana!"
Montana slammed the garage door shut tiredly
and leaned his head drowsily against the wall, sighing heavily and slowly closing
his eyes. "Don't tell me...Tansy and me?..." The Gelert grimaced. "No. It would
Wednesday rolled around faster than Montana had expected. At nine o' clock
that morning, he was pacing uneasily across the empty garage floor. Would the
group remember that they had practice today? Would they arrive on time? Would
they remember the songs and play them well?
The Gelert's train of thought was cut dangerously
short by three sharp knocks at the garage door. Montana sighed heavily, wiped
his forehead and opened the door. He was quite surprised at what he saw: Tansy
cradling Wynn uncomfortably in her arms.
"Tell...her...to put...me...down!" Wynn wheezed
"It's okay, Baby Winnie!" Tansy babbled as she
glanced up at Montana. "Oh, hey Monty."
Montana placed his paws on his hips and raised
one eyebrow. "Wynn...is he..." The Gelert cocked his head curiously to one side.
"Sure," Tansy grinned.
"No...I'm..." Tansy stuffed a mouth over the
struggling Mynci's mouth.
"Tansy," Montana scolded, "put him down."
The Acara dropped the Mynci harshly onto the
cement. "Ow! A little help here!"
"Where's Mike?" Tansy asked as she sauntered
into the garage.
"Don't know. Why don't you set up and wait awhile?"
"Why don't you help me up?" Wynn groaned.
Tansy stooped down to open her guitar case. Wynn
wobbled over to his drum set, twiddled his drumsticks, and rapped out a loud
cadence on the snare drum.
"Since when do you play that well?" Montana asked
utterly as he twisted the tuning pegs on his sleek black guitar. "Why couldn't
you do that in band at school?"
"Mr. Nero was cruel," Wynn backfired with a goofy
grin on his face. "I liked upsetting him."
"Whatever." Montana strummed a somber chord.
The notes rippled out through the garage and escaped through the open door.
"Where's Mike again?" Wynn asked.
"I'm here," a voice drawled. The pets turned
and looked towards the door. There was an Electric Eyrie, a large brown box
tucked under his left arm.
"What's in the box, Mike?" Montana asked as he
slung his guitar over his shoulder.
"Food," Mike boasted. "Just snacks and drinks."
Tansy rolled here eyes. "Of course. Come on in
and set up."
"Okay." Mike loafed into the garage.
"Alright." Montana walked to the front of the
garage. "Today I want to work extra hard. On Friday my owner is hosting a huge
birthday party for my brother on Mystery Island. I was hoping we could play
a few of our songs or something."
"Sure," Wynn said. "Ooh, ooh, ooh! Can we play
'Indigo Jungle'? Huh? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease?"
"You only want to play it because you get a
solo," Mike quarreled. "I never get a solo."
"You get a solo in almost every song, Mike!"
Tansy butted in. "I'm the one who should be whining. I want to play 'Heart of
"Everyone just BE QUIET!" The garage was deathly
still. Montana cleared his throat. "Just listen. I haven't even gotten to the
best part. Now, I've been doing some eavesdropping. I heard my owner talking
to one of his friends...he says that he's going to try and invite the agent
of Stix 'n' Stones and 2 Gallon Hatz! How cool is that?"
"Stix 'n' Stones and 2 Gallon Hatz?" Wynn scratched
his head. "Boy, that agent's got weird taste."
"That's great, Monty!" Tansy cheered.
"How'd she pull it off?" Mike asked.
"Don't know. But it'll be an especially good
opportunity for us," Montana continued quietly. "So, I figured that we could
play one of our best songs. You know, like Frozen."
"Frozen!" Wynn began to bob up and down on his
stool excitedly. "Let's practice! I love that song! Let's practice! Come on,
come on, come on! Fro---Zen! Fro--Zen! Fro---Zen!"
"Okay, we'll play it," Montana grumbled. "Just
stop bouncing off the ceiling and get ready to play. You okay, Mike?"
"Uh-huh," Mike said, a tear streaking down his
"Then what's the matter?"
"I'm..." The Eyrie wiped his eyes. "I'm hungry!"
"Whatever. Five! Six! Seven! Eight!"
The song started with a loud roll on the cymbal,
then the song jerked into full swing. Tansy bobbed her head and Mike wept the
whole time as he pounded on the keyboard. Montana stepped up to the microphone
and started singing:
The wind was whipping and howling outside,
I took a deep breath and swallowed my pride
As I stepped into the cave, and trembled in
As the blast of deathly cold breath began
to race near.
His heart is frozen,
The lonely Mr. Snowager...
All of a sudden, a hideous chord rang out from
the back of the garage. "I'm hungry!" Mike bawled as he slammed his head against
Montana turned in disgust towards the sniveling
Eyrie. "How can you perform for the agent of the greatest rock band ever if
you're whining and complaining that you're hungry?"
"I..." Mike wiped his eyes and sniffled. "Oh
good. A break. I think I'll just have a little snack." He filed through his
large cardboard for what seemed like an eternity. "Jelly Llamas...Pyramicake...Ginger
Snaps...Aha!" The Eyrie lifted a large glass jar out of the box. He quickly
screwed the top off of the jar, gouged a handful of the food out of it and began
gobbling it noisily.
"He eats like my Snorkle," Tansy said as she
winced at his loud hocking and grunting.
"He eats like my owner," Wynn exclaimed. "What
the heck's in that jar, anyhow?"
Mike looked up from the jar, red syrup caked
all over his mouth, grinned, and slammed the jar on top of his keyboard. "Cherries
Jubilee. Want some?"
The others began to gag and mumble loudly. "No,
no thanks," Montana said. "Second verse. Five! Six! Seven! Eight!"
The music started up again. It was Tansy's turn
to sing. She walked up to the microphone and began the second verse:
He snorts when he eats, it drives me berserk,
Boy, eating like that must take a lot of work!
Sure, he falls asleep in practice, and that's
no big prob,
He only drives me crazy 'cause he EATS LIKE A
"Cut!" Montana wiped his forehead and stomped
his foot. "What was that about?"
Tansy had a remorseful look on her face. "I'm
sorry. I just had to get it out. "I'm really sorry, Montana. I won't do it again."
"Hey, that was pretty good Tansy!" Wynn rebutted.
"You know," Mike blabbed, sugary saliva skimming
down his chin, "if I didn't know any better, I'd say that she was singing about
Montana snagged the jar of Cherries Jubilee from
Mike's keyboard and tossed them into the trashcan. "Listen! I am about this
close to snapping like a twig!" The Gelert's amber eyes were aflame with frustration,
beads of sweat cascading down his forehead. "There is no excuse for this kind
of tom foolery!" Montana began pacing around the garage, yelling in each of
the pet's faces, "That party is in two days, and if we're not ready, we can
forget getting a gig! At the rate we're going, music will be extinct before
we ever get a gig! Is that clear?"
The garage was still.
"Is that clear?"
"Yes, Montana," the three pets wheezed weakly.
"Good." He walked back to his place on the floor.
"Second verse, again."
9:46 PM NST
There’s so much loaded onto my plate...the band won’t cooperate, the party’s
in two days , the Stix ‘n’ Stones agent will be there, and Mike’s at my door,
asking for food.
About Tansy:...gee, I don’t know what to say about her. There’s just so
much I feel for her...she’s my friend, she’s like a sister, she’s an enemy...she’s
so much more to me. But that’s something else >_
To be continued...