So, we're finally nearing the end of 2020. Thank god. This year has been a trainwreck to say the least. Lucky for us, it's nearly over and here's hoping things get slightly better in 2021.
I have to say, this year has been very unproductive for me. I'm pretty sure this is only the second or third chapter I've uploaded in the entirety of 2020. That is just...pathetic. And I've still got 17 chapters left to write after this one. It's safe to say my motivation has been very low and as sad as it is for me to say this and for you guys to hear this, I'm not that passionate about Grojband anymore. While the series will always hold a special place in my heart, it doesn't take up any space in my mind except when writing this. Over the course of this year, especially during quarantine, I've discovered dozens of new interests and I've been coming up with fanfic ideas surrounding them. I have also rediscovered love for my older interests and Grojband has more or less become a memory for me. That is not to say I am going to stop writing this because I really do want to finish it (my new goal is to get it done in 2021). But what I want more right now is to try out some new ideas and write new stories for everyone to enjoy. Again, I'm sorry I'm not as enthusiastic about "Meeting Grojband" as I once was, but I do think it is a part of growing up. We start off with some interests but eventually, we move on to others and leave the old ones behind. Who knows, I may rekindle my old feelings on Grojband someday, but for now, I plan for my next fanfic to be about something else.
Today's chapter request comes from yoshi-harmony, who said:
"how about when jackie's rich aunt hears grojband's music and she hates it. using her money she tries to bribe the band into dispanding. corey, kin and kon do it without hesation while jackie and laney are out looking for a gig. soon corey realizes that money can't replace their music and gets into a fight with jackie's aunt. can somewhere corey saids "all the money in the world can by grojband happiness! music is what keeps this band happy, everything else is ponitless without our rock!" please? so basically corey is the main character in this request."
I gotta say, I love requests where I get to bring back old characters. Though I don't think this one (the chapter, not the request) is quite as good as Aunt Jen's first appearance. In fact, it's probably not very good at all. I should mention that once this story is finished, I'm going to make lists on my 10 personal favorite and 10 personal least favorite chapters. And spoilers, this one's probably going to be in the latter, along with many of the chapters in the 80s and 90s. Sorry if it's not worth it. Hope you enjoy regardless.
Every Rich Way
"So…a triangle that has a ninety degree angle is called a right triangle…right?" Jackie asked as she looked over her geometry homework.
Kin sat across from her. "Uh-huh…"
"So, then, what does a wrong triangle look like?"
Kin giggled. "Oh Jackie, there's no such thing as a wrong triangle."
"Well, what about a left triangle?"
"Those aren't real either."
Jackie pointed her pencil at a left-facing triangle on the paper.
"Then what do you call this?"
"Uh…that's also a right triangle?"
"But it can't be! It's facing left! Why is it called a right triangle if it's not always facing right? And also, why is it that every triangle has angles that add up to 180 degrees? Who came up with all these crazy geometry rules, Kin?"
Kin became nervous. "Um, why don't we just focus on finding the missing side of a triangle, huh?"
"Oh yeah. You need to use the 'Python gorey theorem', right?"
"…You mean Pythagorean theorem, I'm guessing. Yeah, it's a squared plus b squared equals c squared."
Jackie laughed. "No, no, Kin. That can't be right. You can only square numbers, not letters."
"What? No, I-"
"It's okay. You're a scientist. It's understandable that you don't know everything about geometry."
"But…that's not…" Kin sighed. "Never mind…"
At that moment, Corey, Laney, and Kon stepped in.
"So, how's the tutoring going, Kin?" Laney asked. "Has Jackie learned anything yet?"
"Eh, it's still a work in progress." Kin admitted. "But I think she's coming along."
"Hey Kin?" Jackie interrupted while squinting at her homework paper. "Which side of the triangle is the 'hippo tennis' again?"
"That would be the hypotenuse, Jackie." Kin whispered to the others. "Honestly, I'm kind of glad she doesn't get it. The way she mispronounces mathematical terminology is adorable."
"Whoa!" Corey's voice was heard from the couch, the TV having been flipped on. "Check this out!"
"Hey all you aspiring musicians! Are you tired of that boring, same ol' fire engine red guitar of yours? Are you sick of the way its strings constantly break? The way it can never hit the perfect volume even with all the speakers in the world? Introducing…the Max Axe!"
The advertisement showcased a shiny, golden guitar. The other kids gathered round the TV set to watch.
"Made out of real 14 karat solid gold, its strings are completely unbreakable! No more having to spend hundreds to get them repaired every year! But that's not all! The Max Axe provides amplification of up to 180 decibels! Meaning you won't get just cheers, you'll get bleeding ears!"
"How in any way is that a positive thing?" Laney remarked.
"Shh!" Corey shushed her.
"So why waste your time with plain old acoustics? Get the Max Axe today by calling 555-ROCK-4EVR and sending us just nine simple payments of $599.99!"
"Nine payments of $599.99? But that's like…" Kon counted on his fingers.
"It's $5,399.91." Jackie answered.
"Figures." Kin complained. "She can do complex multiplication all in her head but can't differentiate between scalene and isosceles trapezoids."
The commercial continued.
"But that's not all! Call in the next 48 hours and we'll include the silver keyboard and drum sets too! Totally free! With $2,500 shipping and handling!"
"Whoa…" Kin and Kon were soon glued to the screen as well.
"Are you serious?" Laney was shocked. "That's insane!"
"I know!" Corey replied. "And that axe is so shiny too!"
"I was talking about the price. Who would pay over $7,000 for a guitar coated with yellow paint?"
"$7,899.91 to be exact." Jackie stated.
"It's not paint, Lanes." Corey retorted. "It's real solid gold! Weren't you paying attention?"
"Yeah, and those were drums made of real silver too!" Kon argued. "Commercials wouldn't lie!"
"Exactly!" Corey agreed. "We have to get those instruments!"
"Core, even if the commercial was telling the truth, we don't have the kind of money for stuff like that." Laney reminded him.
"Sure we do! Jackie's parents have been saving up for a vacation to Peru! Let's just take what we need from that jar in their room!"
"First of all, that's stealing." Jackie scolded. "Second, they don't have the money anymore. They used it to pay the hospital bills after my dad's ear drum got ruptured from you guys playing your music too loud."
"Aw, he was faking that!" Corey insisted. "Anyway, there must be some way we can come up with that kind of cash in 48 hours!"
"Doesn't look like it, Core." Laney answered.
Jackie nodded. "Yeah, and speaking of money, I want to remind you guys that my aunt Jen is coming to visit for the next few days."
"Aunt Jen?" Corey clarified. "You mean your rich aunt Jen?"
"I don't have any other aunt Jens."
"That's perfect! She's got loads of dough waiting to be spent! All we need to do is ask her for a loan! A couple thousand dollars is like a couple of pennies to a kajillionaire."
Jackie shook her head. "Sorry Core, but Aunt Jen never loans anybody money unless it's for a good cause."
"But this is a good cause, Jacks! She'd be helping a few needy musicians boost their career!"
"But, if you remember, aunt Jen hates rock-and-roll music. And that includes yours. I doubt she'd be willing to spend her money on something she can't stand. Anyway, what worth does a golden guitar really have? What would it really give you? Musical talent? Friends? A good personality? You already have all of those things! And you honestly think that a pricey, meaningless, material possession is more valuable than those priceless merits?"
Corey looked up. "Huh? Oh, sorry Jacks. I was thinking up some strategies of how to make some quick cash so we can buy those instruments."
"Seems like the message didn't get through, girlfriend." Laney sighed.
At that moment, Jackie's mother came in.
"Kids? Oh, there you are! Come outside, your aunt Jen is here!"
"All right!" Corey fist pumped. "C'mon Jacks! Let's go say hi to Ms. Moneybags-I mean, your lovely, beautiful, and incredibly wealthy relative!"
The whole family gathered outside in the driveway, where a black, super-stretch limousine had pulled up in front of the driveway. Once parked, a tall, well-dressed man stepped out of the driver's side door and then opened the one that was all the way in the back. Sitting in the very back seat was Jackie's upper crust aunt, Jennifer Matthews Winston III, dressed in her most posh outfit and adorned in very expensive jewelry. She came out of the limo and handed her driver a pair of suitcases.
"Here you are, Reginald. You may take these to my room. That will be all."
The driver known as Reginald, nodded and took the bags into the house.
Mrs. Matthews approached her sister-in-law.
"So glad you could come, Jen!" she greeted politely. "I can't believe out of all the people in our great big family, you chose to spend your little holiday with us!"
"Oh, it wasn't a choice my dear." Aunt Jen corrected her. "Everyone else's accommodations didn't have a guest room."
Mrs. Matthews laughed. "Oh Jen! Always with the quips!"
Jen rolled her eyes. "Yes…well, Robert is back at home watching the children. He believes they shouldn't have to miss school and that I deserve some time to myself. Even if that time is spent in a…'common' dwelling…but I suppose I can work my way around that."
Mr. Matthews whispered to Mrs. Matthews. "What does she mean by that?"
Before anyone else could say another word, a slew of Aunt Jen's servants came out of the limo carrying a wide assortment of luxurious items, including fancy couches, lamps, curtains, and much more.
"Those can all go in the living room, gentlemen." Aunt Jen instructed. "And once that's done, you can replace the appliances in the kitchen."
"Replace?!" Mr. Matthews panicked.
"Now, now dear." Mrs. Matthews whispered. "This is her vacation. We want her to feel at home."
"But that doesn't mean we shouldn't!"
Jackie stepped up. "Um…Aunt Jen? Is all of this really necessary?"
"Absolutely necessary, my dear Jacquelynn." Aunt Jen answered. "Just because I'm living with poor people doesn't mean I have to live like them. Besides, I'm doing all of you a favor."
"Hey Aunt Jen! Good to see ya again!" Corey intervened, gesturing to Laney and the twins. "You remember us, right?"
The other band members smiled and waved.
"Oh, of course. The so-called…'rock-and-rollers.' Yes, I remember. It's quite difficult for anyone to forget a lot like you, believe me I've tried."
"I'll take that as a compliment! So, seeing as how you inducted me and the guys into the family and all and it's only right for family members to share all their assets, we figured you might be willing to share one of yours. More specifically, your enormous mountains of dough?"
Aunt Jen raised an eyebrow in confusion. "I'm sorry my boy, but I'm afraid I don't own a bakery."
Corey stood in disbelief.
"Right then, would someone kindly show me to my room now?" Jen requested. "The humidity in this area is corrugating my wig."
"Oh! Absolutely!" Mrs. Matthews responded. "You'll be staying in Tracy's room."
Tracy, who had been texting on her phone the whole time, dropped it on the concrete upon hearing this.
"WHAT?! Like, nobody told me that!"
"Actually, we did." Jackie rebuked. "Several times. You were just too busy text bombing Rick Salary to pay attention."
"Zip it, you little creep!"
"Tracy, quit arguing with your sister and show Aunt Jen to her room, please." Mrs. Matthews commanded softly.
"But Mom, it's my ro-" Tracy paused and smiled all of a sudden. "I mean, of course Mother dear. I'll gladly escort my favorite aunt to…'her room…' Right this way."
"Thank you, darling." Aunt Jen followed Tracy to the front steps where a butler was standing holding a moose head trophy.
"Madam, where would you like this?"
"Hey! That's mine!" Jackie's dad complained.
"Oh, just dump it with all of the other tacky rubbish."
The butler nodded and tossed the moose head into a nearby trash can where more of the family's belongings were discarded.
"Wait a minute! That was a present from my uncle! All of you stop this instant!"
Mr. Matthews ran to catch up but Jen and her butler had already gone inside. Quickly, he started rummaging through the garbage can to see what items could be salvaged.
As Mrs. Matthews went to help her husband, Corey started venting complaints to the others.
"Can you believe this?"
"That Aunt Jen is going to be totally difficult to live with?" Laney guessed. "Oh yeah. I believe it."
"No! I meant can you believe she isn't going to share any of her fortune with us?"
"Yes. What I can't believe is you not believing that."
"I told you, Core." Jackie claimed. "Aunt Jen only gives out money for a good cause. Just face the facts that you're not getting that flashy, trashy guitar."
"Hey!" Corey was offended. "You're right about it being flashy, but no way is it trashy!"
"And neither is the guitar you already have." Jackie persuaded. "Listen, Laney and I are going out to look for a gig. While we're gone, why don't you practice on your old axe? Maybe then you'll regain your appreciation for it. Think you can do that for me?"
Corey sighed. "I guess so…"
"Atta boy." Jackie lightly punched him before walking off with Laney. "We should be back before noon. Oh, and if I were you, I'd probably practice quietly so you don't disturb Aunt Jen. Remember-"
"Yeah, yeah. She hates rock-and-roll. I got it." Corey grumbled.
Once the girls were gone, Corey and the twins headed back into the garage. Corey spotted his old, cherry red guitar sitting on the stage and picked it up. He started to strum a few notes and then those notes turned into chords as the band leader really got into the music.
"Wow! This baby sounds awesome for a guitar that's over ten years old! Maybe Jacks is right. Maybe I don't need some flashy, trashy golden axe to make good music."
Kin and Kon started playing their instruments.
"Yeah, what good is a silver-plated keyboard anyway? I bet it can't make up to 100 unique sounds with 88 different pitches."
"Yeah! These instruments rule!"
"C'mon gang, let's express our appreciation through hard rock!"
The three boys all started to play as loudly as possible. Their faith in their old equipment had been restored. Unfortunately, they were about to learn that not everyone appreciated their music like they did. Outside in the driveway, Aunt Jen was laying in a lounge chair, being fanned by two of her butlers. Another butler approached her carrying a drink glass.
"Your lemonade, madam." he said. "Lemon juice freshly squeezed, artificial sweetener instead of sugar, no seeds, three ice cubes, and absolutely none of those paper parasols."
"Good." Jen replied. "Those things are truly tawdry."
She was about to accept the glass when the band's loud music startled the butler carrying it and he spilled it all over her.
"Ugh! You clumsy oaf!" she stood up, shaking her fist. "I thought all butlers were trained to be graceful!"
"Apologies, madam. That tumultuous music frightened me."
Aunt Jen covered her ears. "For heaven's sake! Who's making all of that hideous racket?"
It didn't take long for the wig-wearing woman of means to figure out the noise was coming from the garage behind her. All the while, Corey and the others were completely unaware of the trouble they had bought themselves.
"Whoo! I feel so alive!" Corey cried. "Like I'm on top of the world! Like all the problems I have in my life are meaningless! Like nothing is ever going to stop me!"
The garage door burst open.
"Stop that incessant racket this instant!"
Corey, Kin, and Kon ceased their joyous music making to see Aunt Jen storming up to them with two butlers behind her.
"Whoa, she's like Tracy, but like, way older." Kon observed.
"Oh, how's it going, Jenny?" Corey greeted. "Enjoying yourself so far at Casa Grojband?"
"I'm trying, but your sickening strains have spoiled my sunbathing!"
"Nice alliteration. Not sure what you're trying to say though."
"I'm saying your music is too loud!"
"Oh…that I understand."
"Which is why I am commanding you to cease and desist immediately!"
"Uh…lost me again."
"Do I have to spell everything out for you, you foolish boy? I DON'T WANT TO HEAR YOUR MUSIC!"
"And she says we're too loud?" Kin covered his ears.
"What?! But you can't stop us from playing our music!" Corey protested.
"Listen you little wretch, I am a high-class multimillionaire with assets in dozens of distinct countries, each one worth more than every building in your little city combined. I can do whatever I please."
"Not in our house!"
"Then why have I already started my interior redecorating?"
Jen led the three boys to the door to the house and they peered inside. All of them gasped. They didn't recognize the place they called home because that was the last thing it looked like. Aunt Jen was having her butlers completely remodel the entire inside of their house to look like the inside of her mansion. Mr. and Mrs. Matthews stood in the middle of all the chaos.
"Goodness, Jen certainly has a knack for home renovation, isn't that right honey?" Mrs. Matthews chuckled.
Mr. Matthews could only stutter incoherently in response.
"As you can clearly see, I have no issues getting exactly what I want." Jen continued. "For me, there is no such thing as an obstacle. Now, I suggest you hand over those silly instruments or else I'll have Richard and Ronald confiscate them."
Aunt Jen whistled and two butlers reached out to swipe Corey's guitar. Corey fought back.
"No! Stop it! Let go!"
"Don't bother wasting your energy, young man. These two are the strongest in my entire entourage. Their endurance will exhaust you effortlessly."
"Again, good alliteration!" Corey panted. "But there's one thing you forgot! You can take my guitar, but you can't take my gorgeous singing voice! Music is in our blood! We'll never give up on it no matter how many incredibly strong butlers you send our way!"
"Hm…" Aunt Jen scratched her chin and then, she signaled her butlers to release Corey's guitar. "Very well then. Perhaps I can't force you to surrender your obnoxious talent. But…perhaps I can buy it from you."
"What do you mean?" Corey questioned.
"I'll make you an offer, my boy. Both of us have very different passions that we can't live without. My passion is money, and your passion is giving migraines to those who are within earshot. So…here's what I'm thinking. If I sacrifice a bit of my enormous wealth to provide you with everything your little hearts desire and more, you must sacrifice your so-called jams and not play any for the entirety I am here."
"Wait, wait, wait." Corey interrupted. "So you're saying you'll literally pay us to not play any music for the next three days? And you'll let us use your money to buy whatever we want?"
"As long as it has nothing to do with your garage noise, then yes."
Kon gasped. "She is like an older version of Tracy!"
Kin covered Kon's mouth. "But Jackie told us you only give out money if it's for a good cause."
"This is a good cause." Jen insisted. "A few days without a sound from your kind and Tranquil Town's tinnitus levels are certain to lower."
"And just to be clear here," Corey went on. "We can take up to any amount of your money we want? Like say, $7,899.91 worth?"
"Of course! That's only a few pennies to someone like me."
Corey put his arms around Kin and Kon.
"Guys! This is our chance!"
"For what, Corey?" Kon asked.
"What else? To buy that sweet golden Max Axe and the silver keyboard and drum set to boot!"
"But I thought we mutually agreed that we didn't need those things to sound awesome and that we appreciated our old gear?" Kin reminded him.
"Yeah, but that was before life provided us this sweet opportunity!" Corey grabbed Kin by the cheeks. "And if there's one thing we should never turn down, it's free money!"
Corey dropped the keyboardist and approached Aunt Jen.
"We accept your offer! Oh, and don't bother writing a check. We only take cash."
"Excellent." Jen responded. "And if you don't mind my asking, what was it you were going to purchase with um…how much was it again?"
"$7,899.91." Corey answered. "And it's for the Max Axe!"
"'Max Axe'? What do you plan to do with that, cut down trees?"
"Oh no, you don't get it. An axe is another word for a guitar."
"Young man, I thought I made it clear that I didn't want my money involved with your ear-piercing hobby!"
"But you said you'd pay as long as we don't play! So we just won't use the guitar until you're gone like you said! Unless you want your sunbathing interrupted every day…"
Aunt Jen sighed in a frustrated manner. "Fine then."
She whistled and all of a sudden, a butler appeared holding handfuls of cash, which he promptly handed to Corey.
"It's $10,000." Aunt Jen informed them. "You can keep the change."
"Whoa…" the three boys of Grojband stared in awe at the large amount of moolah.
"But remember!" Aunt Jen continued. "Not a note while I'm here, understand?"
The trio nodded.
GROJBAND'S RICH TRANSITION!
About an hour later, Jackie and Laney returned home after finding the band a gig.
"I gotta say, out of all the places that need rock musicians, I never thought a hardware store would be one." Laney mentioned.
"Why not?" Jackie shrugged. "The hardware store is like the most boring store of them all. Gotta find some way to bring in customers."
The two girls reached the garage, but upon opening it, they were nearly blinded by gleaming silver and gold lights. Squinting, they could make out Corey, Kin, and Kon on the stage wearing sunglasses and extremely flashy clothes. In front of them stood their instruments, but they were just as flashy for some reason.
Jackie covered her eyes. "Uh, guys? What's going on?"
"Hey ladies." Corey stepped down. "How do you like our new getup?"
"New getup?" Laney repeated. "Core, where did you get those ridiculous outfits?"
Corey removed his sunglasses. "They're not ridiculous, Lanes. They're sophisticated. You're looking at Grojband's new and improved getup!"
"What?!" Jackie and Laney went.
"Of course, we couldn't update our look without updating our gear." Corey showed off his new shiny, golden guitar.
"Core, is that that Max Axe you were obsessing over earlier?" Laney interrogated.
"Is Grojband the only band that spells 'garage' with a 'j'? You know it is!"
"Okay, number one, how the heck did you afford all of this stuff?" Jackie asked. "And number two, I thought you were going to practice on your old guitar and learn to appreciate it again?"
"Well Jacks, the answer to both those questions is two words: Aunt Jen."
"Wait, Aunt Jen gave you all this?"
"Actually Jackie, your aunt gave us the money to get all this!" Kin spoke up. "Is that awesome or what?"
"But, why would she do that?" Laney wondered. "Jackie said she doesn't give out her money unless she has a good reason!"
"And a good reason she had, Lanes." Corey poked his bassist on the nose. "You see, while you were out, the guys and I tried playing our lame, obsolete instruments and it was loud enough for ol Jenny to hear us. So, in exchange for not irritating her ears for three days, we now have access to her bottomless bank of moolah!"
"What?!" Jackie and Laney cried out.
"Yessir, no more living like pennyless peasants for this band! From now on, it's the fat cat's life for us!"
"Core, you can't be serious!" Laney was exasperated.
"Aw, don't worry fella, I didn't forget about you."
Before Laney could reply, Corey shoved a bronze-colored bass into her hands and a sparkly, pink jacket around her arms.
"Wouldn't want you to feel left out or like an outcast or anything."
"But Corey-" Jackie tried to say.
"Oh yeah! Thanks for reminding me, Jacks! We got you a getup too!"
Kin and Kon stepped down and covered Jackie in a smorgasbord of accessories, including a feather boa, a jeweled necklace, and a flashing headband with the words "BEST MANAGER EVER" written across the top.
"But, I don't want my own getup." Jackie explained. "In fact, I don't want this to be a getup in the first place."
"Me neither, Core." Laney took off her jacket and threw down her bass. "You're missing the point. It's not about how we look or how much stuff we have. It's about doing what we love to do the most. Which is…?"
Corey scratched his chin. "Uh…spending money?"
Laney facepalmed. "No! Playing our music!"
The kids turned to see Aunt Jen in the doorway with her butlers.
"Don't give him any ludicrous ideas, little boy."
Laney groaned in frustration.
"I take it that you and your friends are enjoying your new worldly possessions, young Cornelius?"
"Cornelius?" Jackie was confused.
"It's my rich person's name. Corey is way too substandard." Corey whispered before turning to Jen. "We sure are, Jenny! I mean, Jennifer. Hope you don't mind us spending some of our earnings on the Grojband ladies."
"As long as they understand the terms I've set, you can give them anything."
A butler tapped Jen on the shoulder.
"Pardon me, madam, where would you like the trash you discovered in your temporary living quarters?"
Jackie giggled. "Guess Aunt Jen did a little renovating in Tracy's room too. This oughta be good."
"Just set it right there in the corner, Reuben."
The butler tossed the bag he was holding aside and it hit the wall. The bag then tilted and out of it spilled a ton of items which Jackie immediately recognized. She got a closer look.
"Hey, this is my lamp! And those are my bedsheets! And…" she gasped. "My diary?!"
The 14-year old heard clanking coming from outside the house. She opened the garage door and gasped to see a train of butlers dumping familiar-looking Grojband merchandise into a pile on the driveway.
"Oh yes, your sister showed me her room and it was practically a shrine for those unpolished friends of yours." Jen said nonchalantly. "Clearly she must be their biggest fan. Either way, I don't want my dwelling reminding me of that rock-and-roll dreck, so I'm having my servants remove all traces of it."
"Her room?!" Jackie stammered. "She showed you…and you thought it was…she told you…grr…Tracy!"
Jackie cut in front of the line of butlers and started picking up as many of her belongings as possible. Mr. and Mrs. Matthews were watching the scene from the living room window.
"See honey?" Mr. Matthews stated. "I'm not the only one who sees a problem with Jen's constant need to redecorate."
As the manager continued to save her stuff, Laney pulled Corey aside.
"Core, can't you see what's going on? Jen is trying to change who we are and how we live! See what she did to Jackie's stuff? And now she's trying to take away what matters most to us: music!"
"You don't know what you're talking about, Lanes. If anything, Jen's improving our lives! Without her, I wouldn't have this baby!" Corey held up the Max Axe.
"Oh, you mean the guitar that you're not even allowed to play? What's the point of having something if you can't use it?"
"Oh Laney…" Corey sighed. "Laney, Laney, Laney. One day you'll understand that it's not what you have, but how much you have of it."
"In fact, now that I'm thinking about it, we don't have enough yet! We need something that'll really get our future fans' attention. Like a big neon sign with our name on it! And maybe some pyrotechnics too, like smoke machines or fireworks! Yeah! I like that! Let's see, what else does a band need to stand out?"
"How about…their music?" Laney suggested sarcastically.
"Face makeup! Great idea, Lanes!"
"What?! I didn't say-"
Corey clearly wasn't listening though and he approached Aunt Jen.
"Pardon me, Jennifer. But we require more funding. Got any spare hundreds on you right now?"
Aunt Jen summoned one of her butlers, who was carrying another mountain of cash.
"Will another $10,000 be enough?"
"Hm…that's good…but maybe we could aim just a little bit higher…"
"You're getting there…"
"Fine then. $100,000."
"That'll do!" Corey accepted the money and turned to the twins. "C'mon gang! It's time for a shopping spree!"
"Yeah!" Kin and Kon cheered.
Laney watched as her three friends sprinted out of the garage, leaving a trail of cash as they went. She walked up to Jackie who was struggling to carry as much of her things as possible.
"Can you believe them?" Laney commented. "They've completely lost sight of what's important."
"Yeah. What are we gonna do?"
"No idea." Laney groaned. "This is going to be a very long weekend."
WILL THEY LEARN THEIR LESSON?
For the next two days, Corey, Kin, and Kon felt like they were in heaven. With Aunt Jen as their own personal banker, they could buy anything they wanted and anything they didn't want either. Soon, the whole garage was so filled up with expensive junk, there wasn't any room to put actual cars in it. And there certainly wasn't any room for the band to rehearse. Not that it mattered to the boys, since they weren't allowed to play music anyway, and also because they were too busy having fun with their new "toys."
Corey was attempting to set a high score on one of the arcade machines while Kin and Kon faced off in an air hockey match.
"Ahh…this is the life, huh guys?" Corey said. "Everything we could ever want right at our fingertips!"
"Yeah, it's like having a fairy godmother." Kin concurred. "Except instead of a magic wand, she uses an overflowing wallet."
Kon knocked the puck into Kin's goal.
"Hey! No fair! I was distracted by conversation! New rule: if a player is replying to someone else, goals don't count."
"Whatever. You're just making things up so you can win." Kon easily made another score. "And you're still losing either way."
Laney and Jackie entered the scene, and unsurprisingly, were surprised to see more new additions added to the garage.
"Are you kidding me?!" Laney was exasperated. "We leave you guys for fifteen minutes and you got three arcade machines and an air hockey table in that amount of time?!"
"Of course not!" Corey denied. "It only took five minutes to get em. We paid for extra speedy delivery."
Jackie was carrying more Grojband merchandise that had been dumped from her room. "Guys, this is out of control! Your newfound love of material objects has become an obsession! It needs to stop now!"
"You know, your argument might mean something if you weren't holding a ton of our merchandise right now." Laney pointed out.
"That's different." Jackie insisted. "These materials have sentimental value to them! Plus, they're very inexpensive."
Laney looked over at the stage, which was completely covered with the boys' recent purchases.
"Look at this! There's so much junk, you don't even have a place to put your 'cool new instruments' anymore! Not that you can play them anyway. Speaking of which, how are we supposed to prepare for our gig at the hardware store next week if we can't even practice?"
"Chill fella." Corey claimed. "Aunt Jen leaves tomorrow. We only have to wait until then and then we can jam all we want! And we can do it in style too!"
Suddenly, the five heard Jackie's dad from inside the house.
"Hey! That's my record collection! Where are you taking it? Oh no, you've gone too far now! Get back here!"
Aunt Jen entered the garage.
"Raymond, please escort Paul outside to the front yard." she instructed. "He's interfering with the renovation process."
"Uh-oh!" Jackie worried. "I'd better hide all this stuff before it ends up in the trash again!"
She then threw everything she was carrying into the junk pile on the stage, camouflaging it instantly.
"Wow. That might be the only good thing to come out of this nasty habit." Laney commented.
Corey met up with Jen. "Good day, dearest Aunt Jennifer. We hope you enjoyed your stay at the Matthews/Grojband residence. We'll all be sad to see you go tomorrow."
"Well, that's not something I usually hear when I visit relatives." Jen replied. "But I'm afraid I must go, young Cornelius. No matter how much redecorating I do around here, it still feels like a downgrade from my mansion. Not to mention, I don't hear nearly as many complaints there."
"We understand. Once you've experienced the rich life, you don't ever wanna go back to the middle class. But thanks to your generous donations, we don't have to! And we'll continue to appreciate what you've done for this band even after you're gone. Especially when we test out our rockin' new gear."
"Oh yes, about that. I actually wanted to thank you, Cornelius, for your cooperation during my stay. I've quite enjoyed myself these past few days, especially with all of the peace and quiet."
"Aw, our pleasure, good madam. It was the least we could do for our lovely guest."
"And that's why my boy, I would like to leave you with one last present. A token of my appreciation. Randolph?"
A butler entered the garage and in his hands was a giant piece of paper with writing scribbled on it.
"Whoa!" Kon gasped. "That's the biggest autograph I've ever seen!"
"No, you silly child." Jen corrected him. "It's a check. For money. More specifically, one million dollars."
Corey's eyes lit up. "A m-m-m-million d-d-d-dollars?!"
"A million dollars?!" Laney and Jackie repeated.
"Wow…this is so…nice!" Corey went on. "We couldn't possibly accept such a huge compensation…oh, who am I kidding? Of course we would! Come to papa!"
He reached out to swipe the check but Aunt Jen's arm blocked him.
"Not so fast! You've been acquainted with me long enough to know I don't give out my fortune for nothing. Therefore, I shall only give you this enormous check if you do me one final favor."
"Name it! It's done!" Corey attempted to get past Jen, but she lifted him up by the arm.
"Then we have a deal?"
"Yes! Yes! Yes! Whatever it is, we'll do it!"
"Very good. Then it's agreed that I will graciously donate a small fraction of my fortune to you and your friends…and in return, you must never play your tasteless music ever again!"
"No problem, we can totally…wait, what?!"
Jen dropped the band leader. "You heard what I said. And that goes for all of you."
Laney, Kin, and Kon gasped in horror. Corey sat up.
"Never play music…again? But…music is my life! It's all of our lives!"
"Pish posh! Obviously it can't mean that much to you if you were willing to go without it just to buy all of these trinkets."
"Yeah, but, that was only for a few days. Besides, the whole reason we wanted your money in the first place was so we could upgrade our gear! Now you're telling me we bought it for nothing? What's the point of having something if you can't use it?"
"Gee, that sentence sounds familiar…" Laney noted sarcastically.
Aunt Jen continued. "Young man, do you think I bought every last thing that's in my mansion so I could utilize them? Of course not! They're merely for show! That's the whole point of being rich! You don't buy things to use them, you buy things to show off! To prove you're at a higher level than everyone else!"
Kon whispered to Kin. "I didn't know being rich was like a video game."
"No, no, no! This isn't fair!" Corey claimed. "It's not right! Let us do something else! Anything else! Please?"
"I'm not changing my offer. It's the only one you get. So either take it, or leave it."
"Core, don't do it!" Laney begged. "A million dollars is a lot, but it's not worth giving up what we love!"
Corey continued to think it over. "Um…just out of curiosity, what if I don't accept the money?"
"Then I'll be forced to confiscate all of your purchases so they can be refunded." Jen answered.
"What?! But that's not fair either!"
"Of course it's fair. If you're going to follow this lifestyle, I can't have you embarrassing and giving our kind a bad image. Furthermore, you won't be needing your so-called talent anymore, because thanks to my contributions, you'll have more admirers than you've ever dreamed of having! One million dollars may as well translate to one million fans! Therefore, you must choose between one or the other. So my boy, what may I ask is more important to you? Your 'music' or getting everything you've ever wanted?"
Corey frowned as he removed his sunglasses. He looked over to his friends who were giving him sad stares. The shiny Max Axe sat beside the stage among everything else the front man had bought. He gently lifted the guitar and held it with both hands. Then he glanced over at another pile in the corner of the garage, which contained all of the band's old instruments covered in dust from being abandoned. Finally, he looked back at Aunt Jen, who had her arms folded in impatience as she awaited his decision. Then, he dropped the guitar, faced the bigwig, took a deep breath, and said:
"You know what? You can keep your money. And you can take all of this new stuff too. We don't need it."
"What?!" the rest of Grojband went.
"Excuse me, I think I misheard you." Aunt Jen chuckled. "You said you wanted to take my money and keep everything, correct?"
"Nope. From now on, Grojband's going back to its old lifestyles." Corey removed his new jacket and dropped it on the floor.
Laney approached him. "Core, are you serious?"
"You were right, Lanes. It's not about how we look or how much stuff we have. It's about doing what we love to do the most."
Laney smiled warm-heartedly. Corey turned back to Jen.
"Go ahead and have your butlers take everything and get your money back. None of it matters to us anyway."
Kon whimpered. "Even the…"
"…air hockey table?" he and Kin sobbed.
"I can't believe this!" Jen exclaimed. "You used my fortune to fulfill your deepest desires, and now you're just going to give it all back?"
"These things aren't our deepest desires, Jen." Corey replied. "Like you said, they're just trinkets. They may cost a lot in cash, but that doesn't automatically make them valuable. Because real value isn't how much something costs. It's how much you love and care about that something. And if you ask me, our music is worth more than all the money you've ever earned."
Jackie and Laney smiled pridefully, happy that their friend had finally learned that. Kin and Kon began to cry tears of joy from the sentiment. And as for Aunt Jen, she was speechless for a moment.
"…Well…I must say, boy." she finally said. "Of all of the arbitrary speeches I've heard in my lifetime…I've never heard one more ridiculous than yours!"
Corey frowned at this statement.
"However…nobody has ever turned down my advances like you just did. While it seems odd, perhaps you have something that I haven't bought for myself."
"It's called gratitude, ma'am." Corey smirked. "And it's not something that can be bought with money. You have to learn it, not earn it."
"Well, no matter what it's called or how you get it, I must admit I envy you for having it. And at the same time, I admire you for it. Therefore, I have decided to give you and your friends my full permission to engage in your ear-piercing, yet in some ways, worthwhile hobby."
The other band members gasped in excitement.
"Really? You mean it?" Corey anticipated.
Jen nodded. "While I still can't comprehend why you would choose it over a cool million, I at the very least am willing to accept and respect your decision. In fact, since I'm in a generous mood, I'm also willing to allow you to keep all of your recently purchased assets."
"That's awful nice of you ma'am, but we already had what we wanted before we bought them. You can trade em all in for a refund. All we ask from you is this…"
The blue-haired singer whispered something into Jen's ear.
"Hm…again, sounds preposterous to me." she commented. "But, since you're giving back to me, it's only right I give back to you."
"Give back what?" Laney intervened.
"You'll find out…" Corey assured her. "Tomorrow."
"Huh?" Jackie and the twins stated with confusion.
TOMORROW'S HERE TRANSITION!
The next morning, Jen had all of her belongings packed up (or rather, her butlers had them packed up) and was prepared to return to her mansion. Among these belongings were the items Grojband purchased with her fortune. But after learning what real value is, they were more than happy to donate them. And Jen had no problem transporting them either, thanks to the dozens of limos she called in.
After the butlers removed the last bit of knickknacks from the garage and stuffed them into the trunks of the long, stretchy, black vehicles, Aunt Jen turned to Corey.
"Well then, is that everything?" she asked.
"Just one more thing." Corey held out the Max Axe and promptly handed it over. Then he retrieved his old cherry red guitar. "Hey old girl. I'll never betray you again."
Jackie's parents joined them all outside.
"Thank you again for your visit, Jen." Mrs. Matthews said. "We hope you had a nice time and that you come back soon!"
"Yes." Mr. Matthews agreed. "Not too soon though."
"I never thought I'd say this, my dear Lucy," Aunt Jen began. "But I think I will. Only next time, I might try living your way. Could be a nice change of pace. Oh, that reminds me, I promised young Cornelius-"
"Uh, just Corey, ma'am." Corey interrupted. "No need to doll it up."
Jen smiled. "Yes, of course. Anyway, I made a promise to him that if he returned my money, I would return something in…well, return! Boys?"
Before anyone could react, the butlers stepped out of the limos, each one carrying some of the Matthews' old furniture, appliances, and other possessions. One by one, they began taking the items into the house. Mr. Matthews spotted his moose head trophy and record collection among them.
"Wow! Are you serious? I thought you threw it all away?"
"I was going to," Jen explained. "But then I realized, just because something is worthless to me doesn't make it worthless to everyone. You know the saying, 'one man's trash is another man's treasure.'"
A butler came over to Jackie and handed off the things taken from her room.
"Well what do you know? Aunt Jen's learned a lesson too!"
"Oh, and also, I've left you all a surprise in your humble little garage." Jen added. "Have a look."
Kin and Kon opened the garage door and were delighted to see their air hockey table still sitting in the room. They clasped each other's hands.
"Best surprise ever!"
Corey beamed. "Whoa, thanks a lot, Jen! But, why? We said you could get all your money back."
"My boy, we're family." she insisted. "We should be entitled to share each other's assets. Besides, I still get the majority."
"Gee, that means a lot. I think. Now the only question is, what's gonna happen next time you see us and we're still playing our music?"
"Fear not. I've already thought up a solution."
A butler handed Jen a tiny box.
"Your solid gold earplugs have arrived, madam."
"Ah, thank you, Rupert." she put the box into her pocket. "Well, it appears as though my work here is done. Come along, boys."
The butlers scrambled out of the house and got into the limos. The driver of one limo opened the door for Jen. After seating herself, she lowered her window to wave goodbye to the family.
"Ta-ta, everyone! I wish all of you a rich and happy existence. Even if it's not as rich and happy as mine."
And then, the line of limos began to drive away. Jackie, Corey, and Laney stood in front of the house as they waved one final time.
"You know, for someone who's rich and pompous, your aunt's not so bad, Jacks." Laney noted.
"Yeah. You could say she's got a heart bigger than her own bank account." Jackie joked.
"Anyway Core, we're really proud of you for learning to not take the things you have for granted."
"Not just the things, Lanes." Corey reminded her. "The people too. Because unlike a guitar, you can't buy good friends like you guys."
"Aw, thanks Corey." Jackie giggled. "We think you're one in a million too. Now what do you say we get back to our rehearsals? You guys are probably rusty from not playing for a few days."
As the three were talking, Kin and Kon were facing off in another air hockey match.
"Sounds good to me!" Laney claimed.
"Me too!" Corey concurred.
When the twins noticed their fellow bandmates coming into the garage and grabbing their instruments, they immediately forgot about their game and abandoned it to join them.
"Hey, wait up!"
"Don't start without us!"
"We're part of this, too! Hold on!"
And so, the whole band practiced for the rest of the day on their worn, but cherished instruments.
4 original scenarios left!
I really don't have anything else to say. Review if you want to, I guess. My goal is to get the next one done by (or before) Valentine's Day, since the theme is appropriate. Hope you all are staying safe and that you have a good holiday. And of course, good riddance 2020!