Little Drummer Bori
Thanks to Aevenanil.
Loud bangs and clashes echoed through the streets of Neopia Central. A large crowd had gathered at the edge of a lake, where a green skinned Bori sat, together with his drums. A couple of buckets made up his drum kit.
However, even though the bangs and clashes had a certain rhythm – energizing perhaps, no one applauded after the song was finished. No, they whispered to each other as they eyed the Bori with suspicion or disgust.
The crowd soon moved away, as the Bori picked up a small cup and started walking towards the crowd.
“Spare some Neopoints, please?”
The Bori whistled a melody, did a little dance, but it did not work. Only one or two would throw some coins into the cup, the rest would usually back off and keep the distance between them and the drummer as large as possible. Parents would pull their child away from him and whisper to their child, but loud enough for the Bori to hear it.
“But Mommy, I wanna say hi to the drummer!”
“No darling, he may be dangerous...”
The Bori sighed, yet smiled slightly at the children. The children cheekily smiled back at him, before turning around to run after their parents. They probably didn’t understand why the grown-ups didn’t like the ‘really awesome drummer Bori’.
He turned towards his drums and placed the cup on his seat. He then started counting the Neopoints. He had earned the amazing amount of fifty Neopoints today... just barely enough to buy some omelettes and water. He took a pouch from underneath his seat, which was another bucket, and slid the coins into the pouch.
He looked up, sighing yet again, then looked at a metal plate, serving as his hi-hat. He could see a faint reflection of himself. Green... however, it was a darker shade of green. It was the kind of green that reminded people of nasty goo, of the Haunted Woods... of some monster. The Bori also had a large, black shell which started on his head, becoming wider as it went down his back.
However, the drummer’s eyes were the worst. Yellow and red. Evil, mixed with a bit of insanity... at least, that’s what they looked like to the crowds who hadn’t bothered to look into his eyes. His eyes showed the truth. If one would look into his eyes, they would see the kindness and the honesty inside of him and not one trace of evilness.
And he had hoped to show people that he was not evil by becoming a drummer. After all, musicians create music which can touch people’s emotions. To perform in front of a large audience and make them feel good. That’s what he wanted.
He then started packing up his drum kit and carried the parts to a café just around the corner.
“Hello there, little devourer! Have you eaten any Wockies yet?”
George the Lupe grinned at the mutant Bori in front of him. He was a cook and the owner of a small café, frequently visited by the drummer.
“Eh... Wockies? Are you insane? Those are way too bitter." The Bori smirked as the Lupe faked a melodramatic gasp. “Just kidding, George. I’ve drummed today again, but... only got fifty.”
“That’s too bad, Thamyris. Tell you what, this one’s on the house.” George the Lupe nodded, patting Thamyris, the drummer, on his shoulder.
“Thank you,” Thamyris whispered. He moved towards a table next to the window and looked outside. As he watched the people together, he felt a pang of sadness. He blinked and quickly wiped both his eyes with his paws. He quickly composed himself again... until he was startled by two Lupes yelling to each other. He heard another Lupe shout to George. This was probably Charles, the cook in the café. He caught a part of the conversation: “This chocolate ain’t just poofin’ outta nowhere!”
Thamyris sighed. For one second, he wanted to comment on how they should act around customers, but decided not to. After all, they had given him free food almost every time he had come here. He hummed a melody and tapped the table in a fast rhythm and slowly started to mute the outside world... until-
“You’re a mighty fine drummer... but you might want to watch them giganormous claws of yours.” George motioned at the large claws of Thamyris. “Yeah. Also, Charles’ll be here soon with your cup of hot chocolate. Should cheer ya up a bit. And if it doesn’t, just look at his moustache. It’s bound to make you laugh.”
Thamyris blinked, before chuckling and nodding. “Yeah. After I finish the cup, I’ll have to go, though; I have to practice some more. I can’t keep coming here and get everything ‘on the house’.”
“Look, kid. Maybe we can help you. There’s a small show coming up. Everyone can participate, in exchange for a fee. We’d be happy to pay it for ya.” George smiled, taking out a small piece of paper and laying it down on the table in front of Thamyris.
It was an advertisement for a local talent show, inviting everyone to watch or participate. The fee was only 150 Neopoints... three days of work. But George had offered to pay for him. The advertisement read: “Have you ever dreamt of showing off your talents in front of an audience of 5000 people? Becoming famous? Your performance will be judged by three independent judges and the audience can vote for their favourite performer! Sign up now!”
While Thamyris was reading the paper, Charles the cook brought the cup of hot chocolate to the Bori and smiled slightly. Thamyris simply thanked the cook, before downing his cup of chocolate in one go, taking just one look at the Lupe’s incredibly ‘stylish’ moustache and then leaving for some more practice.
The little drummer Bori sat on the grass again. It was early in the morning and only few others were awake. He was drumming gently to prevent the locals from waking up. He was working on a new track. He wanted it to be great, to be perfect, but it had to be finished as soon as possible; the show would be in only two weeks.
The Bori did a standard rhythm for a couple of seconds, before speeding up, doing a fill on a row of buckets, going from small to large, then hit a metal plate to finish, which made a loud ‘pang’ sound. He thought for a second, before playing a song from MoeHawk. He then played another fill, before moving on to one of Grundo’s songs.
“Nah. Already done before, unoriginal...” Thamyris sighed and scratched his head, thinking. He eyed his drum ‘kit’. The buckets were just a plain white, cracked at the tops from all the drumming. With one claw, he carved a tiny smiley in every bucket, which would face towards the audience. Perhaps a bit of paint...
He grinned and started drumming again. He hoped that people would be less afraid to approach him, after all... smileys were a good thing.
The sun was rising now and more people started filling up the streets. Then, a Lupe came running towards him. Red fur, with a huge, white chef hat on its head. There was something on his nose... some... large, rectangular shades.
“Hey, we were diggin’ around in the attic yesterday. After ya left! Ya even had ta guts to laugh at ma moustache! But... anyway. You can have these shades.” It was Charles, the cook from the café.
“Oh... thanks.” Thamyris raised an eyebrow, before sliding the shades on to cover his eyes.
“Ah, yer lookin’ great!” The Lupe nodded. “Well, I gotta cook some more o’ food! It ain’t gonna be cookin’ itself!”
The drummer watched the Lupe run off again, then looked in his metal plate again. It looked... strange. Censor bar glasses they were called. What a strange name, he thought. But there was money to be made, so he dismissed his thoughts and started drumming away.
In the evening, he was counting his cup of Neopoints again. People were generous today, giving him too many Neopoints to actually fit in his cup.
Maybe they did not know he was a mutant? Perhaps they thought he was just an ordinary green Bori with an oversized shell. Nonsense. Everyone knows you’re a mutant. You sit here every single day! Thamyris wondered if people dared to approach him now because he was making an effort to look like a nice, friendly Bori. He nodded to himself and turned to face his drum-buckets with a smile.
The smileys on the buckets weren’t visible at all, but a dash of paint would make them perfect. He added up the prices of his food and paint – he could pay everything he needed! His smile broadened, then he packed up and left to his café.
He paid Charles and George after getting everything on the house for a long time, then got a bucket of orange paint and painted his smileys onto the bucket.
It was the day of the show. Thamyris slowly made his way through the positively huge crowd that had already formed. He was holding a ‘tower’ of buckets and he hoped the crowd would be nice enough to move to the side to prevent an unlucky passerby getting hit by falling buckets.
The Bori finally arrived at the backstage. Yes, that’s what they called it. He had never been in such a place like this. He glanced around, seeing most of the participants with expensive, real instruments. Drums, violins, guitars... and here he was, carrying only a pile of buckets.
“Oh! You must be that street drummer. Right over there!” Thamyris got pushed towards a spot at the left side of the room by a very bossy Chia. There was a screen around everyone’s spot, so they could practice without getting in the way of other’s music.
He smiled to himself, ignoring the faint sounds of the others in the background and started playing away. His track was perfect. His buckets were smiling at him, which made him focus on his playing even more. He lost track of time, before he got called by the Chia Security. He was to play soon.
He watched his competitors go out. Some nervous, some over confident. He received some strange looks from others, but he ignored them. Finally, when it was his turn, he slid his shades onto his face, prepared his buckets so their smiles would face the audience and stepped forward with confidence.
The crowd applauded him and Thamyris already felt like he was famous. His heartbeat sped up as adrenaline burned through his veins. He bowed towards the audience, before he put down his buckets on the stage. The Bori warmed himself up again with some single strokes around the drum kit, then started playing his track.
His track differed from slow to fast pacing. He focused on the middle bucket, which he could tilt with his foot to create a different sound. He played many fills, played parts on his sticks only and hit his metal plate rapidly, creating a kind of a hissing sound. He then proceeded to drum with one hand only.
He thought he had heard some ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaahs’ from the crowd and smiled broadly as he continued playing even faster. He then threw both his sticks up in the air, which spun around so fast they were only a blur, then Thamyris caught both of his sticks. Finally, he started drumming with both hands again. He mixed parts of MoeHawk and Grundo into his own track.
As his track seemed to near the end, he kicked over his middle bucket. The most important one... and kept playing on the side, making a completely different sound. Thamyris did one more fill and finished the song with a loud bang on the metal plates.
The audience had gone completely silent. The Bori blinked. He wondered if his track hadn’t been as good as he thought. Maybe it just wasn’t their style...
Ten seconds later, the Audience roared, cheered and applauded madly. Thamyris awkwardly bowed before the Audience, waving shyly and bowing again, before picking up his buckets and moving backstage again.
One of the other competitors grinned at him. “I wouldn’t mind losing to someone like you. You’ve got skills.”
And the Bori could only nod and smile. He walked towards his own spot again, sighed and closed his eyes and relaxed. He could hear the cheering from the crowd as one of his competitors took to the stage, the music and finally the applauding as another contestant left the stage again.
“Now, the third prize goes to... Sharik, the great violinist!” A small boy, a Kougra stepped forward, bowing and taking his bronze medal with a large smile. “Second prize goes to... Lizzy-may, the pianist! Congratulations!” And another Neopet stepped forward, tears streaming over her cheek as she accepted her prize.
“And now... for the first prize...” Everyone went quiet.
“Silver, the Shoyru! A child prodigy, a great guitarist!” The audience roared and applauded again. Thamyris blinked, but clapped excitedly again, though slightly disappointed at not winning.
“Now, one more prize to go! The winner, chosen by the audience is...” The announcer accidentally dropped his paper. He quickly picked it up again. “Ha, I did that on purpose. We need to keep it exciting, eh?”
“Anyway, the winner is... Thamyris, the street drummer Bori!”
The Bori’s jaw dropped. He watched two suited Neopets walk towards him. They were holding a large, golden trophy, shaped like a note.
Thamyris gazed over the audience. Thousands of spectators on the ground and even more spectators who were flying around in the air. They all applauded and cheered for him, yet the Bori could only hear the word ‘congratulations’ echo in his head.
And from that day, the Bori continued his usual way of living. Playing all day at the lake in Neopia Central on his buckets. The crowds gathered to watch him play, but now they applauded him. Sure, he got the occasional weird look... but it was better now.
He had won a lot of prize money and had spent a great deal of it on expanding the café he visited. He got his own room there and moved in. Charles and George couldn’t have been happier, as Thamyris’ presence attracted hordes of customers.
The money that was left was given to those who needed it. Thamyris had a home and food, and most importantly, his music. He could not live without his music. He did not care about looks, being poor or only having a tiny place to live in. His music was good enough and it was all he needed to survive.