“There’s good, and then there’s perfect,” Woodruff said.
“That was perfect,” Bob said.
“Better than perfect.”
“Perfect to the max.”
“Booya!” Woodruff said as he held his hand high in the air. Bob jumped up and chest bumped Woodruff, knocking him backwards into a tambourine stand.
“How’d that sound in there, Jethro?” Bob asked the man with the long scraggily beard in the glass booth.
Jethro leaned forward into the microphone, wiped his greasy hand on his flannel shirt and pressed a button.
“I’ve, honestly, never heard anybody sound like that,” Jethro’s raspy voice answered through the speaker in the wall.
“There ya go,” Woodruff said. “We’ve got a unique sound.”
“I knew it,” Bob said. “I knew we had something special.”
“Can I make one suggestion?” Jethro asked.
“Anything, Maestro,” Bob said.
“You might want to ditch the seagull.”
“What?” Woodruff asked. “We can’t get rid of Ruth.”
“Yeah,” Bob said. “Mo’ Mormons Mo’ Harmony needs a seagull and Ruth is the best in the business.”
“Look man, you booked the studio, so it’s your time and your money,” Jethro said. “I’m just saying that it’s distracting when the bird squeaks in the middle of the chorus.”
“That’s our edge,” Woodruff explained. “Ruth is like our Sebastian.”
“Sebastian?” Jethro asked.
“The crab from Little Mermaid,” Bob said.
“Look J-dawg, we’re out to revolutionize the music industry,” Woodruff said. “You said it yourself, you’ve never heard anything like us.”
“Yeah, about that,” Jethro said. “I don’t think a pan flute really fits with a hip hop song.”
Woodruff gasped and covered his mouth. Bob put an arm around him and patted him on the back.
“You leave Sylvia out of this,” Bob said.
“Whatever, bro,” Jethro said. “You’ve got a bird, a pan flute, and two dudes jumping around like Bell Biv Devoe. It’s wild.”
“I’m starting to think you don’t even get what we’re doing here,” Woodruff said.
“I don’t,” Jethro said. “I mean, green jell-o and carrots? What’s that about?”
“That’s gonna be the title track for our debut album,” Bob said.
“Actually, I think we should just call it Green Jell-o,” Woodruff said. “You know, keep it classy.”
“What are you talking about?” Bob said. “The song is about green jell-o and carrots. Anybody can sing about green jell-o. We’re Mo’ Mormons Mo’ Harmony.”
“I get it, but is the audience going to connect with it?” Woodruff said.
“The audience is going to connect with the music,” Bob said. “I don’t want to be all mainstream, singing about green jell-o. We’re not Justin Timberlake, we’re Mo’Mo Mo’Ha.”
“I wrote the song, Bob,” Woodruff said. “I am the music.”
Woodruff walked over to the pedestal and snatched the sheet music on top.
“Bounced into the cultural hall, we ready to have a ball,” Woodruff began to read aloud. “What’s that on the table, my heart seems unstable. Green jell-o and carrots, my mouth couldn’t bear it. Them ‘freshments have merit, I ain’t gonna share it. Green jell-o and carrot.”
“See, those lyrics are sick,” Bob said. “So why not showcase them in the title?”
“Because you gotta let them find it in the music,” Woodruff said. “You don’t just throw it at them. It’s a delightful surprise, like the carrots in the jell-o. Tell him Jethro.”
The bearded sound engineer looked up from his iPhone. He adjusted his trucker hat and leaned into the microphone.
“Uh, sorry,” Jethro said. “Wasn’t listening.”
“Which sounds better, green jell-o or green jell-o and carrots?” Bob asked.
“Honestly, I’m more of a pudding guy,” Jethro said.
“Chocolate or banana?” Woodruff asked.
“Chocolate,” Jethro replied.
“Correct answer,” Bob declared.
“Listen, I’ve got a mariachi band coming in here in like two minutes,” Jethro said. “So can you guys, like, take this outside?”
“No problem, J-dawg,” Woodruff said.
“Please don’t call me that,” Jethro asked, before he released the microphone button and turned his attention back to his iPhone.
“Come on, Ruth,” Bob said. “It’s time to go.”
The seagull pecked twice at the microphone and flew through the open door. Woodruff and Bob stepped into the hallway, where five men in black bedazzled jackets and matching sombreros waited with their instruments.
“Hola amigos,” Woodruff said with a bow and a sweeping gesture to the recording studio. “El estudio es toda tuya.”
“You speak Spanish?” Bob asked.
“I’m fractionally fluent,” Woodruff said.
“Fractionally fluent?” Bob asked.
“I can speak at least 3/3000th of over twenty-seven different languages.”
“Jugar buena muchachos,” Woodruff said as the mariachi’s filed into the studio.
“Yeah, hugo bueno my nachos,” Bob said.
The door closed and Ruth let out a tiny squeak.
“I know,” Woodruff said. “Now I want nachos too.”
“The nachos are going to have to wait,” Bob said. “We’re in the middle of a full blown crisis.”
“The song title?”
“It’s really not that important to me, name it what you like.”
“Not important to you?” Bob shouted. “Then what are we doing here? Not important? This better get important to you.”
“Fine,” Woodruff said. “It’s important. I think it should be Green Jell-o.”
“Unacceptable!” Bob yelled. He stormed off down the hall and loosened his tie. “It’s Green Jell-o and Carrots, or nothing!”
Ruth flapped her wings and flutter down the hall in the opposite direction.
“Bob, wait,” Woodruff said, dogging Ruth’s flight. He jogged down the hall after Bob. “We can name it Green Jell-o and Carrots.”
Bob stopped in front of the big metal door, beneath the red EXIT sign. He turned back to Woodruff and put his hand on his hip.
“You’re giving in?”
“Yes, I don’t want to argue about this.”
“Well I could never work with a musician who isn’t as passionate as I am,” Bob said as he pulled off his tie, pushed open the door, and exited the building.
Woodruff followed him outside as Ruth returned and swooped in to perch on his shoulder.
“Musician?” Woodruff questioned. “You’re my backup dancer and you play the air guitar.”
“Like a boss,” Bob said. “Without me you’d just be out there by yourself with a step-bounce-spin and no shimmy-shake-twirl-jiggy-jiggy. You’d look like an idiot.”
“An idiot who can, and I quote, sing like a young Al Yankovic,” Woodruff said.
“Enjoying singing without this action,” Bob said as he shuffled side to side and flapped his arms in a wavy motion. Then he spun around, removed his black name tag from his pocket and flung it into the street with his tie.
“What are you saying?”
“I’m saying it’s over. Mo’Mo Mo’Ha is dead.”
“Just like that?”
“Just like that.”
They walked up the street in silence for several blocks. Ruth squeaked and fluttered her wings as they crossed the road, to get to the other side. Woodruff looked over and noticed Bob smiling.
“Why are you smiling?”
“Well, you had Start a Boy-Band on your bucket list,” Bob began.
“Yeah,” Woodruff eyed his friend skeptically.
“And I’ve always wanted to break up a boy band,” Bob said. “So this was a win-win.”
“You did this on purpose?”
“You’re not mad?”
“Nope,” Woodruff said. “In ten years we can have a reunion tour. We’ll make millions!”
“Yes!” Bob said. “Then we can release the never before released lost single, Green Jell-o and Carrots.”
“Green Jell-o,” Woodruff corrected.
Bob looked over at Woodruff with a furrowed brow and squinted his eyes.
“Here we go again,” Ruth squawked.