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  • Bill Hemberger

Trumpet From Mars

I’ve been writing silly stories since High School. The first one I can recall went something like this:

I’m in this band. It’s cool. I play the drums and make music, but we want to make music just like Chicago. But how? It all started when I crashed into Jimmy Dooley in Gym. 

“Oh, dude, I’m sorry. I thought you were going to get on the horse.” I said to Jim.

“No, I’m too stoned. I was thinking of petting it.” Jim said as he looked at me with red eyes.

“Hey, you’re that trumpet player in the school band.”  All of a sudden, I wanted to get stoned, too. “You’re like the best player in the state!”

“Yeah, I guess,” Jim started to walk away.

“Hey, wait. Do you want to play in my band? We want to play songs exactly like Chicago.”

“I can’t.”


“My parents are from Mars.”

I thought the pot was talking. Who’s parents are from Mars? “Well, so? Playing with a Martian might get us gigs.”

“You don’t understand. I’ll get in trouble because trumpet players from Mars can only play certain types of songs. Rock songs are not included. 

“How would they know?” When I saw the school concert band play, this dude was the loudest player. He could really blow that thing. I needed to get him in my band. 

He stopped walking away, “ Just like Chicago?”

Yes! He was thinking about it. 

“Yeah, we now play songs like Jimi Hendrix and Cream, and sometimes the Who. At the last place we played, I knocked over all my drums at the end of the night.”


I noticed Jim’s red eyes getting bigger. I got him now.

“Didn’t they break?” The big-time high school trumpet player asked. 

“Just a scratch on the right blue bass drum.”

“You have two bass drums?”

This is it! 

“Yeah, a white one and a blue one. Just like Keith Moon. (At the time, I thought Keith was one of the best drummers in the world. Now, some 50 years after playing the instrument, I see he is the most overrated drummer ever. But I digress)

“If I get caught, I’ll have to go back,” Jim said, pointing up. We then walked into the locker room that smelled worst that a month-old dirty jock.

“Go back?” I asked.

“Back to Mars.”

Again, I thought it was the pot talking. Jim can’t be from another planet.

“Jim, why don’t you come to one of our rehearsals? And, if you can, bring a trombone player. We want to play songs like Chicago.”

“Yeah, you mentioned. Well. That sounds… like fun… cool… maybe.”

“Do you know any trombone players?” 

“Yeah… many.”

“That are not from Mars.” I thought I’d play along.

“Al is not from Mars.”

After school, I saw Jim again, and before heading home (he was taking a late bus, and I was a walker), we ventured into the woods to get stoned. After two or three hits of a joint Jim had brought, I asked, “Jim, come on man, are you really from Mars?”

He opened his mouth, and I peered inside. Holy shit!  I saw why he could blow so hard and loud. A second set of lips!

“Ah, come on man… Join the band. You gotta!”  

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