Karamita and the Lab Jazz: Part One
The conductor furiously banged her baton on her music stand. The elderly Lenny let out an ear shattering squawk as the orchestra slowly realized that she was demanding they stop. Their diminuendo was soon drowned out by the conductor’s screeching.
“Who is the violinist who keeps destroying our work!? Who is the violinist who keeps making our beautiful music ugly trash!?”
As she squawked and squealed, the orchestra took their cue to leave. One diminutive green Acara remained seated. The conductor motioned for the Acara to come forward, her brow furrowing deeper when she realized she had never seen that Acara in her life. While she was furious that someone had completely ruined her composition, the fact that a stranger had crashed her rehearsal made her blood boil.
“Miss Finn, I can explain . . .” The Acara stuttered out the beginning of her explanation before being silenced as the feathers of Miss Finn’s wings covered her mouth. The Acara relaxed slightly as she saw a glimmer of compassion well up in the lenny’s eyes.
“Karm?” Miss Finn gasped, “That’s you?”
The violinist nodded, “It’s me, Karamita.”
“You didn’t do this to yourself, Karm,” Miss Finn sighed as she turned away to tidy the sheet music she had strewn about while searching for the composition she had wanted her orchestra to play.
“No . . . Mom did.”
“You call her your mother still?” The lenny let out a loud squawk in place of a sarcastic laugh. Karamita shuddered as Miss Finn continued, “You’re rare, you know that? I had an owner once. I hated him. I hated him more than Jhudora hates Illusen.” She turned back to Karamita with sympathy in her eyes, “It hurts to realize how brainwashed you are, but it gets better once you get all that owner nonsense out of your system.”
“I love my mom!” Karamita yelped out before pulling her pink paw up to her mouth. She knew she had just made a mistake, and the fire in the temperamental lenny’s eyes confirmed it.
“Potion? Did you ask her to buy you a potion so that you could ruin your music career?” Miss Finn began to strut closer to the shaking Acara, “You thought, ‘Oh goodness! Miss Finn’s orchestra needs to lose its best, most talented violinist!’ Because, of course, you love making other people unhappy?”
“No, it wasn’t my choice. . .” Karamita looked down at the floor. She sat down on the floor, her front paws propping her up, “It was the lab ray.”
“Oh! And you said, ‘Oi! Mum! Take me to the lab ray and ruin my life!’” Miss Finn scowled, “And I’m sure you sobbed, ‘No mum! Not me!’ And she said, ‘Oh Karamita! You make no one happy as you are! You won’t make anyone happy until you’re a pile of soot!’”
“Well, it wasn’t the petpet lab ray. . . So I . . .” Karamita realized that the fuming conductor was being hyperbolic and looked down at the floor before letting out a defeated ‘yes’.
“Sickening, Karm. Sickening.” Miss Finn turned away, scoffing, “Do you want to be in my orchestra?”
“I do!” Karamita jumped onto all four legs, “I really do!”
“Can you learn violin as an Acara?” Miss Finn glanced back at her, “Because I’m sure we could use a mediocre violinist since the string section is already a little thin even with you.”
“I know I could!” Karamita began to let a small smile crack through, “I learned as a chia, I can learn as an Acara!”
“Would you leave your owner for it?” Miss Finn turned towards the Acara as she crossed her wings over her chest, “Or do you ‘wuv your mommy’ too much?”
Karamita’s bottom hit the floor with a soft ‘thump’ when she heard Miss Finn’s ultimatum. All of the memories of her and her sisters spending time with their mom flooded her memory. Leaving her owner would mean leaving her sisters and her house in Neopia Central. Of course, there were sisters before her who had left to live as a free Neopian like Hannah or King Altador. Not every Neopian was fit to have an owner to baby them, but her and her sisters were. She imagined her sisters crying as they begged her to stay. She imagined her two jelly sisters telling her how happy being jelly made them – which of course meant how happy they were to have been zapped so many times.
Karamita just stared at Miss Finn. She couldn’t put together the words to express herself. Her eyes began to lose focus as she thought about how much music meant to her. The tension was thick as Miss Finn began to tap the talons on her feet against the wooden floor. With each metronomic click, Karamita’s racing heart began to slow down until she had the courage to stand up on all four legs and look back at the stage where the orchestra practiced. Without looking at Miss Finn, she turned around to make her way to her chair to gather her sheet music and violin.
“I know I’m unwanted here, Miss Finn,” Karamita raised her diminutive voice so that it echoed around the room, “So I’m leaving.”
“Good!” Miss Finn snorted, “I don’t want a worthless lab rat!”
Karamita glanced back at Miss Finn. Her intention was to shoot daggers with her eyes, but she knew that all her eyes could possibly convey was a deep sense of loss. Karamita turned her gaze back to her path to her violin. Once she finally made her way to her chair, she stood on her hind legs and gathered her belonging.
Miss Finn visibly softened for a second, remembering the first time she saw Karamita. She was a little blue chia who hugged her violin as if it were a faerie doll that a poor owner had spent years saving up for. The chia’s eyes were filled with a sense of wonder as she cautiously glanced around the concert hall. Miss Finn knew that Karamita belonged in her orchestra.
“Karm . . .” Miss Finn whispered.
If it weren’t for the stunning acoustics of the hall, Karamita would have never heard the lenny. Karamita turned around and stared. The sense of loss on her face had finally transitioned into something resembling acceptance. She knew that she didn’t belong there as long as Miss Finn rejected the idea of owners.
“I . . . I would happily buy you a morphing potion,” Miss Finn continued on in the same soft whisper.
Karamita looked back at her belongings and began shuffling her instrument and sheet music into her bag. Even if she had been able to make out the whispered sentiment, she couldn’t care what the lenny said.
Miss Finn cleared her throat before letting her voice boom throughout the concert hall, “Karamita, if you left your owner, I would buy you a morphing potion, a paint brush, anything to make you stay!”
Karamita continued to ignore her. She pulled her bag onto her shoulder.
“Karamita!” Miss Finn squawked, “You’ll regret walking out!”
Karamita finally glanced over at Miss Finn. She could feel her heart breaking as she saw the glimmer of tears forming in the lenny’s eyes. It wasn’t anger, but instead compassion in her voice. However, Karamita couldn’t even humor the idea of forsaking her family for a second.
The Acara paused and tried to think of what to say. Of course, she wanted to ask what the owner had done to scar Miss Finn. She wanted to yell out some epic retort. She wanted to break down explain through tears what her family meant to her. But instead she simply made her way to the exit, occasionally stumbling from the awkward placement of her bag that had been specially designed for a chia.
“Karamita . . .” Miss Finn gasped out one last time as Karamita placed her paw on the handle of the exit door.
Karamita glanced back and gave one subtle nod before saying her final farewell to the instructor, “Miss Finn.”
She pushed the door open and made her way out into the catacombs. As soon as she stepped into the dim fire lit opening, several members of the orchestra crowded her.
There was silence as Karamita took turns staring at each musician.
A faerie Hissi broke the silence, “You’re leaving?”
Karamita blankly stared at the Hissi. She couldn’t even think of the proper words to convey how entirely rude that the Hissi was being.
“Harriet, don’t be rude!”
Karamita gave the desert Acara who defended her a slight smile, “Thank you Maria.”
Maria nodded. There was a long silence before Maria began, “Though, Karamita, you do belong in music . . . and this is the most prestigious orchestra . . . If you were to continue as an Acara . . . I know I’m not a violinist, but . . .”
“I know what you’re going to say, Maria,” Karamita looked down at the floor, “And, Maria, I would happily take you up on your offer to teach me how to play as an Acara, but I can’t.”
“Oh. . .” Maria joined Karamita in looking down at the floor, “A fight?”
“Yeah,” Karamita sighed, “Miss Finn won’t take me back.”
Harriet slithered her way to Karamita and wrapped her in her wing, “But, Karm, we’ll fight for you!”
“No,” Karamita looked up at Harriet, “I respect you all and I wish you the best, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for wanting to protect me . . . But I’m not going to give in to her demands.”
“Her demands?” Maria stepped closer to Karamita, “She’s demanding you to do something to stay?”
“Yeah,” Karamita fought back tears, “And I just need to go now.”
Maria pulled Karamita into an embrace and whispered, “Karamita, we will always accept you. No matter what Miss Finn says, we will always be here for you.”
Karamita pushed Maria and Harriet away before running for the stairwell leading out of the catacombs. She ran until the midday sun was beating down on her fur and she finally collapsed and began to sob.
To Be Continued...