Just a small time writer from the humble Wasteland State of Arizona. I spend most of my time writing stories or playing video games. That's all that really describes me.
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I decided to write this chapter in the present tense as a sort of self-imposed challenge.
I step into the rehearsal room. The entirety of last week has been spent leading up to the PHS Talent Show. First, we named ourselves. We chose to name ourselves after a card game, for some odd reason. The band's name was originally 52 Pickup, but we unanimously agreed on 42 Pickup after Manga and I were assigned Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy for a book report in Writing class. 42: The answer to life, the universe, and everything. I muse as I take a look at the list of performances. I'm halfway down the list when it hits me like a 42-ton weight.
"Oh, shit!" I exclaim loudly, startling Six-String, "We're scheduled for an amp versus amp duel with Turntable!" Vagabond isn't fazed by my sudden outburst of vulgarity, standing quietly by the drum kit. A mare walks in.
"Uh, I forgot to check this, but... Is your guitarist a student?" she inquires, gesturing to Six-String.
"PFFT!" Six-String snorts. "No, of course not." I give him a nervous 'zip-it' gesture, but he ignores it as we wait for the mare's response.
"Well, then he can't participate. Students only." she says, before briskly leaving the room.
"SHIT!" I cry. "WE'RE GOIN' ON IN FIFTEEN MINUTES AND WE DON'T HAVE A GUITARIST AND WE CAN'T PLAY WITHOUT A GUITARIST AND WE'RE SET TO DUEL TURNTABLE AND WILL YOU STOP BUCKIN' STANDIN' THERE VAGABOND YOU'RE FREAKIN' ME OUT!" I shout in a tone that's equal parts panic, nervousness, and fury, gesturing to Vagabond towards the end of the rant.
I hear a knock on the door, undoubtedly the manager telling us that our show is up. I gulp and open the door to see... Red Tear, oddly enough.
"What're you doing here, dude?" I asked.
"Filling in for Six-String." he replies bluntly, walking in as if we'd invited him in. "I heard you ranting from the next rehearsal room over about how you needed a guitarist, so I'm here to help."
"But... I thought you said you didn't want to be in the band?" I say, puzzled. "So, why are you here?"
"Because," he begins, "You were nice to me. And that doesn't happen often with ponies like me." He steps out of the room and comes back with a guitar, a black Telecaster. "So, I decided to return the favor."
Six-String smiles as he sees this going on. "You've done me proud, Red. You finally decided to come out of your shell." he says, beginning to tear up. "I'm proud to say you were my student."
And for the first time since I met him, Red Tear smiles.
The three of us step on stage and hook up our equipment. I look across the darkened room and manage to make out Turntable waving at us. I give a nervous wave back, knowing he'll kick our asses in the upcoming music battle.
The curtains open, bathing us in light. Turntable sits at a set of switchboards and discs, with two Mareshal stacks behind him. We're hooked up to a different pair of amps, equally loud. I pick up the Rickenbucker and smirk.
Turntable starts spinning discs and flicking switches, creating the beginnings of our defeat. I look at my bandmates in a universal gesture of "Ready?"
"WE ARE 42 PICKUP AND WE ARE HERE TO ROCK YOUR SOCKS OFF!" Vagabond shouted over Turntable's blast of music.
<Song during this part is Mutiny by Pendulum>
His volume battles with ours throughout the song. His bass drops and powerful hooks duel against our guitar riffs and drum breaks, until eventually he gives out for long enough for us to fight back. He's visibly worried as Tear blasts him with a particularly wicked solo, and he tries to recompose himself, panicked. After an unsuccessful comeback attempt, he gives the signal to stop, that he's declaring the battle over and up for the audience to decide who is the victor.
The crowd roars as we take a bow before stepping offstage.
"THAT WAS AWESOME!" Turntable shouts. "You guys deserve that win, no question."
"So, wait... You're not going to be pissed if you lose?" Red Tear asks, scratching his mane.
"Course not." Turntable answers, chuckling, "The only time I've ever been mad about losing a competition is last year, when I was eliminated from the Hold Your Color tournament in the semi-finals."
"Hold the phone." Vagabond says, amazed. "YOU were in the Hold Your Color tourney?"
"Now is not the time." Turntable says. "We're about to find out who won."
Cheerilee steps on stage. "The votes are in, everypony. Let's check the envelopes, and..." she trails off, leaving all four of us shaking with excitement.
"Best Comedy Act goes to Hilarity, for her amazing stand-up comedy!" The crowd stomps and cheers.
She continues. "Best Physical Act goes to... Air Dart, for his awesome aerial tricks!" The crowd applauds the proud pegasus,
"And the award for Best Musical Act goes to... 42 Pickup, for their outstanding persistence in the music battle!"
"YES!" I shout, hopping up and down. "WE WON!" I wrap my fellow bandmates in a group hug before we go onstage and feel the approval of the crowd wash over us. As I look at my friends, one after the other, I notice Red Tear is grinning like a fool, his face a perfect picture of genuine happiness.
"Oh, looks like I forgot one." We freeze. "Best Overall Act goes to 42 Pickup as well, for winning the music battle, as decided by popular vote!"
My grin widens, and I lift up my mask as we wave to the audience.