The Line: A Novel

Published in 2007, “The Line” tells the adventures of Lucy Karate, the only female on her high school drum line. The following selection comes from Chapter 7, “Let the Games Begin.”

It was a warm evening early in the fall, the perfect night for a football game, or a halftime show. Jerm had decided that the Line was going to make their move when the South percussionists warmed up at the end of the second quarter. Until then, everyone hung out on the opposing side. South’s stands were packed, and wearing a Forrest Hills jacket in the middle of them wasn’t exactly the safest option.

As the buzzer sounded, it was time to move. Lucy looked across the field and saw the South drummers making their way down through the stands to warm up, zeroing in on Sam, who was one of the few people who could actually pull off looking good in a band uniform. Nevada grabbed Lucy’s hand as they walked over to the South percussionists. Usually, Lucy wouldn’t have minded this display of affection, but she was quick to drop Nevada’s hand as they neared South’s side. The South Line warmed up like every other drum line, in a half circle with quints on one end, snares in the middle, and basses on the other end. The cymbals hung out in back and stretched out. This setup left optimum room for an Instructor to stand in the middle and hear the Line altogether or for another Line to stare down the opposing drummers. Jerm had chosen the latter of the two. As the Forrest Hills percussionists looked on glaring, the South Line stoically kept their composure as they warmed up.

The night would have gone on in this drama-free standoff if not for one particular event. At the end of the drum solo, the South snares attempted a stick toss from one side of the section to the other. It didn’t work and somehow the missing drumstick landed directly in front of Lucy’s flip-flopped feet. She had a quick, but important, decision to make:

a) not to do anything
b) throw the stick even further away
c) try the patented “bend and snap” move from Legally Blonde, or
d) return the stick to Sam, who was apparently missing one.

About the Author:

A former drum line performer, Courtney Brandt attended high school in Snellville, Ga., and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Georgia in 2001 with a degree in telecommunication arts. To read more about “The Line,” visit

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