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Making The Band

By Stephanie J. BradberryPublished about a year ago 4 min read
Top Story - March 2023
Photo by Eyestetix Studio on Unsplash

Ever since I was a young lad, my only goal in life was to be a member of The Elementals. Instead, I ended up more of a stage prop for a garage band. I have the antics of St. Patrick’s Day to blame. Or perchance it is the ancient curse passed down from my arrogant ancestor Rumpelstiltskin.

My great-great-grandfather messed up big when he thought he was a hot shot and cornered the Queen. His dynamism for song and dance landed him rendered in two. All of his descendants are forced to learn his deadly rhyme crime in elementary school:

Today do I bake,

tomorrow I brew,

The day after that the queen's child comes in;

And oh! I am glad that nobody knew

That the name I am called is Rumpelstiltskin!

As a half-breed, part leprechaun and gnome, I spent most of my childhood in The Burrow. This was the part of the woods reserved for partial types. I wasn’t a fiery Salamander, highly volatile with a dangerous mix of will, power, intensity, and passion. I wasn’t an airy Sylph, a svelte inspiring ethereal creation of tremendous beauty, harmony, intellect and creativity. I wasn’t a watery Undine, a refined mermaid always ready to transmit and amplify supreme love, sensuality, playfulness and spontaneity.

I am two types of practical earthiness. The main branch of the family are Gnomes. The offshoots are beings like leprechauns, elves, and trolls. We are closely linked to all things terrestrial. Some guard treasures, some guard passageways, some guard homes, some guard land. No matter what we protect, our desire is to work with physical matter, transforming the world so that nature and the elements have truly lasting value. We come off as stubborn—for the good or the bad—but really it is just a manifestation of our loyalty and bravery.

When I was a young lad of 20, I saw my first The Elementals concert at The Ravine. Thousands of mystical beings huddled, floated and flew around the great outcropping flanked by two glamorous waterfalls.

The first chord hit heavy from the Salamader’s lyre and opening cry. Followed by the undulations of slippery notes from the Undine’s harp. Their first number ended with the rumbling of the Gnome’s sheepskin drum fading into a rising breeze scale from the Sylph’s spellbinding voice.


Like all the enamored fans, at the end of the concert I rushed the stage in hopes they would notice my undying love. Their trademark instantaneous vanishing meant I had to wait another year to see their glorious act.

“Mom, mom! I want to be a member of The Elementals!!!”

“Oh, sweetheart. Normally I would tell you to shoot for the stars. But The Elementals have a strict criterion besides being a stellar musician and vocalist. Above all else you must be a pure-bred elemental.”

Mom was right. It was the only time she even hinted that there was something I couldn’t do. So I proceeded to do what all youngsters do when denied something. I spent days asking around about becoming an Elemental. Eventually I knew mom was also right that I needed to be a full-blood Gnome to join.

Luck had it that while walking near the edge of the woods I stumbled upon a flyer for a band audition.

Seeking new, magical Band member!

Auditions 3/14 @ Rambling Pines, 3-5pm

1st Live Performance 3/17

It was all I needed to lift my spirit. Band, check. Magical, big check. No wait time until show time, check, check.

Two days later, I slung my sack over my shoulder and headed from The Burrow in the woods to Rambling Pines in the concrete jungle. I arrived exactly at 3pm. The line was wrapped around the building. There was a combination of humans, elementals and a slew of all manners of half-breeds.

“Alright, shorty. Show us what you’ve got!” An enthusiastic, clean-shaven young man shouted from behind the blazing lights.

I unfurled my sack and gently placed my xylophone center stage. With a swift motion I plucked my mallets from my waistband and gave a rocking rendition of “Sparkle and Shine,” my favorite song from The Elementals.

“We like your spunk, kid! Come back tomorrow at 2pm for rehearsal.”

And just like that I was in. In my excitement, I arrived at 1:45. No long line this time. Just me waiting to knock on the door to my destiny.

“Come on in, shorty. We are just going over some minor details for tomorrow’s show.” It was the same clean-shaven young man from yesterday.

“No, no, no. We gotta go big or go home. We need to be unique. Look at The Blue Man Group.”

“You’ve got a point. I mean even if people don’t remember your songs, they remember your name. Think about Hooty and The Blowfish.”

“As you can see, we can’t quite decide on our band’s name,” exhaled the clean-shaven young man.

“What about Spindleshanks, Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar, Rumpelstiltskin?”

“Hey, man. That’s nothing but names from that Grimm’s fairytale.”

“How do you even know something like that?”

“My mom’s an English teacher. She used to read me all types of stuff.”

Oh, crap. How could my great-great-grandfather’s curse come about like this?

“Spindleshanks is too quirky with no reference. But I think we can work with Rumpelstiltskin!”

No, no, no. Anything but that!

“I feel you, man. But maybe that’s a bit too forward. We need something a little more edgy. How about Rumpeledforeskin!?!”

“We have a winner!!!”

Two nights later presented my first big break on stage. But I’m ashamed to say my great-great-grandfather’s curse came back in a major way. Instead of being used for my talent, I was used for my height and looks. This “Band” was a hodgepodge of wannabes. They wanted to rise to stardom by capitalizing on St. Patrick’s Day and having a live leprechaun as part of their act. I realized too late this was a modern leprechaun trap.

This is a Vocal + Assist Facebook Group Challenge!

Short StoryHumorFantasy

About the Creator

Stephanie J. Bradberry

I have a passion for literature and anime. And I love everything involving academia, health, metaphysics and entrepreneurship. For products and services, visit

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  1. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  2. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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Comments (27)

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  • Stephen Kramer Avitabileabout a year ago

    I have to say, the title already had me hooked. I HAD to read! I guess I too, would've fallen for this leprechaun trap, and I'm only 1/8 leprechaun. But that was so great. LOVED the world you created, loved the humor in it too, felt so real. Like a blend of classic fairytale and a modern tale. Excellent story!

  • Novel Allenabout a year ago

    Nicely done. I missed that, I have got to pay attention to the FB groups. I'm slapping my own face right now. Wonderful storytelling. TS right. So behind the times am I. Yep. Congrats.

  • Abolabout a year ago

    this is so funny

  • Manpreet Singh Bhinderabout a year ago

    Great one.

  • Rasheek Rasoolabout a year ago


  • Testabout a year ago

    An enjoyable read. Congratulations on Top Story, Stephanie! Loved it 💕🙂

  • Congratulations on Top Story ✨🍀👍

  • Donna Reneeabout a year ago

    This was funny and sad and so original!! Great work!

  • Testabout a year ago

    So creative, Stephanie! That has gotta be one of the best band names I've ever heard haha. Congrats on a well-deserved Top Story.

  • C. H. Richardabout a year ago

    Very creative and engaging although I felt bad for him at the end. Great take on the challenge and cute limerick as well. Congratulations on Top story ☘️💚☘️

  • Oh no, that's so sad. I shouldn't have judged the story by the title. I thought this was gonna be a comedy. Excellent storytelling! I loved it!

  • Melissa Ingoldsbyabout a year ago

    This was highly creative with great energy! Congratulations on top story!! Hearted!

  • Kendall Defoe about a year ago

    I used to call a friend of mine the same thing... Not always happy to hear it. But I like this one. Good job on the Top Story! ;)

  • Dana Crandellabout a year ago

    Creative and fun! Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Cathy holmesabout a year ago

    That was fun. Congrats on the top story

  • Dana Stewartabout a year ago

    Fun, well written - so creative using THAT as the band name. Great take on the prompt! Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Heather Hublerabout a year ago

    Congratulations on Top Story!!

  • Babs Iversonabout a year ago

    Fabulous!!! Loved it 💕💖😊

  • Congratulations on your Top Story

  • Olivia Davisabout a year ago


  • 🍀❤️✨😉

  • Naomi Goldabout a year ago

    So I was a little triggered by “half breed” having been called that growing up… but this was a compelling story, and that band name is hilarious.

  • Rick Henry Christopher about a year ago

    I love it... What a fun... Clever read. Great job Stephanie.

  • Heather Hublerabout a year ago

    This was great fun! I was sad for the little guy but you created a really engaging story :) Wonderful work on the prompt!!

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