Karamita and the Lab Jazz: Part Four
"A rat-a-tat-tat and a rat-a-tat-tat Ah!”
Karamita was frozen in place as she stared at the Neopians playing their instruments. It seemed as if either the instrument was being improperly played or the instrument wasn’t a real instrument.
Her gaze immediately honed in on a jubjub sitting on his head in front of a piano. The novelty of a jubjub sitting on its head held her attention long enough for her to miss most of Bloomer’s introduction speech.
“And that’s that, I figure!” Bloomer let out a booming laugh, “Do you need anything clarified?”
Karamita was pulled out of her trance as soon as the jubjub quit playing and hopped from the piano bench to his feet.
“She didn’t hear ya, Bloomer!” The jubjub laughed, “And I don’t blame ya, acara! No one can walk in here and ignore a jubjub playing upside down!”
“Yes,” Karamita nodded, “yes.”
Bloomer turned to Karamita and smiled, “We all have stories, Karamita. Some of us just weren’t accepted and ran away. Some of us couldn’t do what we used to and searched for another way to be who we were. Jubs here spent years learning how to play piano with no real hands. I gave up the instrument I had spent years mastering because discrimination sent me on a journey across Neopia. Some of us . . .” Bloomer gently motioned towards a transparent grarrl, “Still play the same instrument as before, but had to find people who accepted them.”
As soon as Karamita saw the grarrl, she screamed. Part of her wanted to dash out of the practice room, but her fear left her paralyzed.
The grarrl slowly made her way towards Karamita, “No, no, don’t worry. I won’t hurt you.” The grarrl gently scooped Karamita up in her arms. Karamita slowly calmed down as the grarrl gently rocked her.
“That’s Sara,” Bloomer sighed, “She’s not a lab rat, but we accepted her because no one else would.”
Karamita looked up at Sara’s face and let out one more terrified shriek.
“Don’t worry, Bloomer,” Sara laughed, “No one feels comfortable looking at a transparent pet!”
“Why . . . didn’t you change?” Karamita whimpered, “It just takes a paintbrush . . .”
Sara shrugged and gently sat Karamita down, “Because I love being transparent.”
“But then people would accept you!” Karamita squeaked.
“But I wouldn’t accept me,” Sara knelt down and smiled, “Every Neopian has an identity that they need to unlock on their own. Some Neopians are born how they belong, some Neopians need to be a new species every week to feel like themselves. I realized that I belong transparent and bought the paintbrush as soon as I had saved up enough.”
Karamita gave a shallow nod.
“But I had it easy!” Sara laughed, “I was born in Tyrannia as a grarrl and everyone accepted that! It was just my change of color that scared everyone here!”
“But . . . But . . .” Karamita’s eyes widened, “I can understand you!”
Sara shrugged, “Most Tyrannians these days grow up speaking Standard Neopian. If we didn’t, we’d be doomed to a life of eating rocks!”
Karamita looked back at Bloomer.
“Ay, Blooms!” Jubs called out, “Tell her your story!”
Bloomer chuckled, “Ah, I’m just too dramatic to not tell her!”
“We’ve heard it a thousand times, but we still let him tell it!” A blue ruki at the back of the room called out, “He’s just so good at story telling!”
“Well, Karamita,” Bloomer sighed, “I was born a blumaroo in Neopia Central a long, long time ago. I learned the flute and everyone told me that I was the best flute playing blumaroo in Neopia!”
The other band members leaned against their instruments. Their eyes were somewhat starry as the skeith continued his story, “But something felt wrong about being a blumaroo. My owner wasn’t that rich. No matter how good people told me I was . . . well, the truth is just that there were never that many flute playing blumaroos to begin with!”
Karamita slowly sat down so that she could better enjoy the skeith’s story.
Bloomer continued on, “I couldn’t bring in the kind of Neopoints needed to buy up all of the different morphing potions. And even then, I thought ‘I may just not like being blue!’ So one day, I went home and I asked my owner, ‘How can I change?’”
“Well, my owner just looked at my funny. Poor, poor guy didn’t even understand what I meant at first!” Bloomer chuckled, “Of course, every owner knows about paintbrushes and morphing potions, but the way I said it, he was just lost! I knew he couldn’t afford buying a lot of potions and all, so I knew that wasn’t an option. But then it hit him – the lab ray!”
“So I asked him,” Bloomer pitched his voice up and softened it so that it sounded like a shy, scared blumaroo, “Could we save up for the lab map?” He went back to his normal voice and continued, “And the poor guy just nodded! He didn’t know how he’d be able to save up for it, but he knew he had to! So we did research. And we worked. And worked. And I gave up the flute so that I could find whatever job I could! Every day we went to see Nigel. Every day we went and caught ghouls. Every day we traveled all over Neopia finding any single way to make neopoints. And after a year of hard work and constant crying, we were there. We had finally gotten there. And it was worth it!”
Jubs let out a small cheer before Bloomer continued, “The first time I was ever zapped, I was in love. All that happened was I got a little stronger, but feeling the electricity pump through my veins, I knew I was doing the right thing. I knew that I needed to be zapped!”
Karamita nodded her head. She knew that feeling empowerment the zaps gave her. She understood completely and agreed wholeheartedly.
“So I kept getting zapped. I changed into so many species I couldn’t even keep count! But one day, something changed. I turned into a skeith. And after that, something felt weird when I got zapped. It felt less like empowerment and more like pain. I didn’t understand it until I became woodland. And then I told my owner, ‘We did it. I don’t want to change.’”
Karamita smiled brightly until she realized the story wasn’t over. Bloomer continued on, “But I couldn’t live in Neopia Central anymore. Everyone feared me, even though I was the same blumaroo that everyone loved before. I had given up on music long before that, of course, but it had always spoken to me. I knew I had to leave and find something new to be . . . and I thought, well, Brightvale has skeiths! So I went to Brightvale and I started picked the flute back up. Well . . . It didn’t go well! Branches aren’t the best thing for covering up those air holes! So I left the conservatory crying. But there was a skeith who followed me out. I had no way of knowing until he started speaking that he was just like me! He was from Neopia Central and got ran out because he was too scary! And I think he knew from the few words I had said that I was just like him. He took me in and showed me all of the instruments that skeiths excelled at. And that’s when I found her. I found the harp.”
Bloomer held up his hand and smiled dreamily, “My hands were perfect. Deft and small enough to pluck just a single string! When I found her, the skeith told me, ‘oh, no! Skeith hands are too clunky for the harp!’ But I sat down and began to play as if I had studied for years. It spoke to me in a way that nothing ever had before. By some magic, I knew what the strings were. I knew how to pluck them perfectly. Somehow, I found my calling.”
“You were in Brightvale and you were accepted . . .” Karamita’s eyes were wide, “So why did you come here?”
“Because not everyone would be,” Bloomer sighed, “And even if I could be a part of the most prestigious symphony in Neopia, I knew I needed to find the Neopians who needed acceptance the most.”
“Like me!” Jubs called out, “If it weren’t for Bloomer, I’d be on the side of the street!”
Bloomer chuckled, “Oh, yes, Jubs. Now, Jubs, your owner did more for you than I ever did!”
“Yes, but I wouldn’t have had a place to play!” Jubs laughed. He regained a sense of seriousness and addressed Karamita, “I was a zafara and one of the best piano players in all of Neopia. I was so well known and renowned that I was the first and only non-faerie Neopian to accompany Fyora as she sang the Altadorian operas!”
“Fyora sings. . .?” Karamita’s eyes widened, “And you heard it . . .?”
“Oh, yes!” Jubs laughed, “It was one of the greatest honors in the world to see Fyora singing for King Altador! But no amount of honors would change the fact that I was just like Bloomer. Unhappy in my own body.”
Karamita nodded slightly. However, it struck her as odd that a jubjub would be discriminated against . . . until she remembered how Jubs had to play the piano.
Jubs sighed, “My owner was the one who spent countless nights taping various objects to my little jubjub flippers to see if there was any way I could play piano. Sometimes we got so frustrated we tried taping sticks to my head! It took almost a year of falling asleep at the piano before we found it. We found some cheap spoons and bent them around to make them hit the keys perfectly. It took even longer to find a way to attach them to me without using glue!”
Jubs held up one of his flippers to show off the device that he and his owner had crafted on their own. It was a strange mix of leather and silver metal wrapped around each stubby digit that held on several strangely bent spoons.
“Of course, Bloomer and I have talked about making some upgrades!” Jubs laughed, “Maybe replace the spoons with something wooden? But then he stops and remembers his love for his owner and tells me ‘no, Jubs. No matter how much better a solution may seem, your owner created this one with love. It’s the best.’”
Bloomer let out a soft chuckle, “It’s the best way to honor him.”
Jubs glanced over at Bloomer and sighed, “Yeah. Best way.”
Karamita felt some tension in the air but didn’t know what to make of it. She instead picked up her violin case and smiled brightly, “I guess it’s time to jam?”
The entire band let out a cheer as she pulled out her violin. She stood and assumed her position along with the rest of the band.
To be continued…