(Writing prompt words): abnormal, corn, choose

It was 15 minutes before showtime, and the Abnormal Corns were still waiting for an audience to show up. Even one person would have been nice.

The Corns weren’t sure what was wrong with their band. The effervescent notes of their North Pole-inspired rock were indisputably glorious, and they all had faces. Their Instagram account was chock-full of Libertarian memes starring the Hamburglar and Grimace. And their name, obviously, was brilliant.

At first the label balked over naming the band The Abnormal Corns. It sounds like you’ve got a growth on your foot, they said. We should name it something people will like, they said. But the band members put their foot down, and The Abnormal Corns were born.

Much like a corn, the band chafed against the tight fabric of society. All four members were orphans, but none of them had ever identified as a child. All four members had mullets instead of personalities. And all four members brought people together with their greatest love: the idea of music.

The Abnormal Corns felt that practicing songs took away from The Moment. The Moment was the place they were all in, as it was the healthiest place to be. They didn’t worry in The Moment, because The Past and The Future were illegal in The Moment’s jurisdiction. Since they hadn’t finished mastering astral projecting, they could not be in The Moment and its sister city, The Consequences, at the same time. It would have been too bad, if feeling bad was allowed in The Moment.

The Corns’ lead singer, Altin, made a tough choice when he joined the band. He knew that responding to the band’s Craigslist ad would reawaken the Beast of Music in him, and it would gorge itself on the rest of his life until he was unemployed and smelly again. He would be forced to join a Scene, with all its alliances and screen shots. But Altin couldn’t click away, and that email was the first day of the rest of this particular phase.

Bassist Charol (with a silent “h”) marched to the beat of a different drummer, which made the stage very crowded. In her early 20s she decided to build her own railroad car and travel the country in it. She gathered everything she’d need, like stolen hubcaps and 3,000 square feet of berber carpet. Her staple gun was not as strong as her resolve, and Charol was forced to throw her plans to the wind, devastated as she violated dozens of waste management laws. Charol hadn’t spoken a word since, communicating only through a complex series of blinks. The bass suited her, as it was large and also never spoke.

Phithilip (with each letter pronounced separately) was the band’s rhythm guitarist. He didn’t own a rhythm guitar, but he wasn’t the sort of guitarist who let that slow him down. He’d been kicked out of community college for answering every instructor’s question with a line from the hit Dan Harmon series Community. From that moment on, Phithilip was determined to leave his mark on the world. He grabbed a Sharpie and started writing on every public surface in his hometown of Kansas City. Writing his full name every time led to the project’s collapse, and Phithilip’s court-appointed therapist suggested an alternative art form. She found the Craigslist ad and wrote the email, as Phithilip had decided to never write anything ever again unless he felt like it.

The drummer, Roscoe, was a street tough from Minneapolis. He looked a lot like Altin, but he hated it when anyone said so because it reminded him of his haunted past in the Twin Cities. No one was sure exactly what had happened to Roscoe, but whatever it was, it left him with an amazing, delicate palate. Roscoe only joined the band to sample delicate wines when they went on tour — but there wouldn’t be a tour if no one came to their show.

The Corns’ manager, Matt, walked over to the band and told them that they had to choose: either learn to play their instruments, ditch the shitty memes, and change their name, or leave the band.

The band members convened. Charol blinked furiously. The choice was tough, but the Corns made the call: they wouldn’t be attached to a cob that didn’t believe in Their Vibe.

“Okay!” said Matt. “Have a great night!” He smiled and skipped out the door.

The Corns stood there, taking in The Moment. No matter how many doors were slammed, for very valid reasons, in their faces, they knew they’d never give up on whatever dream they currently had that required the least effort.

Comedian, writer, professional shadow puppeteer.