Hissi, Come Blow Your Horn!: Part Four
Goldie groaned in frustration as she looked at her watch.
"Where the heck are those two? They're a half-hour late!"
She looked up when she heard the door open,
only to find Melvin and Bebop enter the cafe. "Well?" she asked.
Bebop shook his head. "Sorry, Goldie. We looked
everywhere. We couldn't find Satch or Billie."
"Did Satch say where he was going when you last
"We didn't get a chance to ask," Melvin said.
"He just looked all nervous, then took off. I'm really starting to worry. You
don't think he's getting the last minute jitters, do you?"
"Nah, not our Satchy," answered Duke who had
been sitting at nearby table, polishing his sax. "He'll pull through, you'll
see. And so will Billie."
"Well, they better," fumed Goldie. "The cafe's
going to open soon and we need to be ready to - Satch! There you are! Where
have you been?"
Satch stood in the doorway with his trumpet
case and suitcase at his side. He had a forlorn expression on his face as his
tail twitched nervously behind him. "Hey, guys. I just wanted to come and say
"Fine, fine! Goodbye," said Goldie. "Just be
ready to rehearse when Billie....WHAT?!?"
"Goodbye?" cried Bebop, rushing to Satch with
Melvin in tow. "What do you mean goodbye? Where are you going?"
Satch looked down at his tail sadly. "I'm quitting
the band. Trust me, you guys would be better off."
The Jazz Tones stared at the trumpet player,
shock written all over their faces. Melvin turned and smacked Bebop upside the
head. "You see what happens when you doubt the power of the foot?" he shouted,
shaking his lucky Snowbunny's foot under his nose.
Bebop roughly pushed his cousin aside. "Give
it a rest, Mel! I don't get it, Satch. What about the contest? You can't bail
on us now!"
"Yes, I can!" Satch slithered over to one of
the tables and sat down. "I've really loved playing with you guys. You've been
like a second family to me and I know how badly you want to win the contest...that's
why I'm quitting."
Putting down his sax, Duke walked over to Satch
and put an arm around his shoulders. "Satch, I don't know what's going through
your mind right now, but you're about as clear as a foggy marsh in the summertime.
Now you want to start from the beginning?"
Satch sighed heavily. It was time to tell his
friends his humiliating tale of woe. "All right. Before I came to the Bazaar,
I had had an audition with a client from Neotunes studios, an Aisha named Miss
Malba. She has this...thing against Hissies. She told me that Hissies couldn't
be musicians and that nobody would ever warm up to the idea, no matter how good
I was. And then I saw her again this afternoon, talking to some Uni. She said
she was going to be the head judge at the contest tomorrow and would only choose
the best of the best. That's why I have to quit, guys. If she sees me playing
with you, she'll already have her answer. I'm doing it for you, I swear. Because
of me, you'll never become famous."
When Satch finished
his story, the band looked at each other dumbstruck. "Why that stuck up little
so-and-so!" snapped Goldie. "She probably wouldn't know talent if it bit her
on the tail!"
"Man, that is harsh," said Bebop, shaking his
head. "I can't believe she didn't give you a fair chance."
"And she won't give you guys a fair chance,
either," said Satch. "Not if I play with you. So I'm going back to the swamp.
It's where I belong anyway."
"Now listen here, Satch!" said Duke softly.
"This is going to sound harsh, but it's the truth. You can be the most popular,
most handsome, and most heroic Neopet on the face of the planet and still meet
people who'll have a problem with you. You can't meet everyone's standards,
no matter how much you change. So you had a bad run-in with this Malba lady;
that doesn't mean you throw in the towel. You take the hits, brush yourself
off, and keep on going because eventually you'll meet someone who'll accept
you for who you are and what you can do."
"Like us," Goldie added, squeezing Satch's wing.
"We don't care what some stuck up witch says. You're a great trumpet player
and you deserve to be in the contest."
"And you're a good friend," said Bebop. "You're
like one of the coolest guys I've ever hung out with. And thanks to you, Slorg
Slime is my new favorite pizza topping."
"You're the luckiest thing that's ever happened
to us," said Melvin. "Thanks to your trumpet skills, we've never sounded better!
I bet even Miss Malba will change her mind."
Satch felt his throat tighten with emotion as
he looked around at his friends. He tried desperately to hold back the tears.
"You guys really mean all that?"
"Every word, Scales," said Bebop, giving him
a playful nudge on the wing. "We don't care if you're a red Hissi, a royal Zafara,
The Jazz Tones turned to see their final member
standing in the corner among the shadows, nervously clutching a paper bag. She
was sniffing loudly and her shoulders shook, as if she was about to cry.
"Billie! There you are, Sweetie!" said Goldie.
"We were worried sick about you."
Satch quickly slithered towards her. "Billie!
Are you ok?"
Billie looked at Satch for a moment, then turned
to the rest of the band, still standing in the shadows. "Did you guys really
mean all that you said? About accepting Satch even if this Malba lady won't
"Of course, we did," said Duke. "We wouldn't
trade Satch in for anything."
"Sweetheart, you look kind of sick," said Goldie
as she tried to coax Billie out of the shadows. "Come out in the light so I
can have a better look at you."
Billie stayed where she was and stared at Satch.
He knew what was going through her mind. Apparently, she hadn't reapplied any
sparkle paint yet. But he didn't want the others to see the fake Billie; he
wanted her true colors to show.
"It's ok, Billie," he said softly, reaching
for her paw. "They'll understand."
Although hesitant at first, Billie slowly took
Satch's wing and stepped into the light. The other Jazz Tones gathered around
her, studying her strange new color.
"Billie!" cried Melvin. "Your fur! It's so...."
"Gray," finished Bebop. "You're not all sparkly
anymore. Are you coming down with something?"
Billie shook her head. "No, Bebop. I am gray.
I always have been, even before I joined the band. I've been using this sparkle
paint to make me look silver."
"What?" asked Goldie. "Why didn't you ever tell
Billie struggled to keep her emotions in balance.
"Be-because I was afraid y-you wouldn't like me, so I've been painting myself.
But then S-Satch saw me and... then I-I heard you guys talking to him and...
oooh, I'm so sorry!"
Billie covered his face in her paws as fresh
tears poured down her face. Being the ever nurturing mother-figure, Goldie pulled
the small Cybunny into her wings and comforted her. "Gees, you kids today and
your vanity. Everything we said to Satch goes double for you, Sweetie. We just
want you to be happy."
"Yeah," said Melvin. "Even though happiness
is virtually impossible for a gray Neopet to accomp-OOF!" Melvin nursed his
sore gut where Bebop had elbowed him.
Unable to see her so upset, Satch placed his
wing on Billie's trembling shoulder. "Billie, even though I don't have a problem
with gray, if you want you can still use that potion I gave you."
Billie sniffed. "No, Satch. I can't..."
"Really, it's ok. I make a better Hissi, anyway."
"No, I mean really, I can't! I gave it back."
Satch blinked at Billie. "Gave it back? What
do you mean?"
Billie reached inside the paper bag and pulled
out Satch's Jazzmosis fedora. "No Jazzmosis fan would be complete without this,"
she said as she handed it back to him
Satch's jaw dropped. "My hat! B-but how...why?"
"After you left the diner, I went looking for
you. I met an old Chia that said he had seen you earlier and he told me what
happened. It took some convincing, but I was able to trade him the potion and
my tubs of sparkle paint."
"You...you gave him your sparkle paint? All
Billie nodded. "He said they would be discontinuing
sparkle paint soon, so it'd be quite a collector's item. Besides, I was getting
tired of putting that stuff on every day. It just didn't feel right, but I was
too afraid of what people would think of me, especially the band...and you."
Satch's tail twitched nervously. "Hey, if you
don't have a problem with a scaly, red horn blower, then I don't have a problem
with a sweet, gray keyboardist. I'll always stick by you, Billie."
"We all will," said Duke, putting his arms around
both Billie and Satch's shoulders.
Bebop removed his sunglasses and wiped a tear
from his eye. "Aw, this is so beautiful! Come on, everybody! Group hug!"
The Jazz Tones laughed as they all shared a
big, comfy group hug.
"All right, all right, that's enough of that,"
said Goldie as she was the first to pull out of the huddled mass. "We got a
contest to get ready for! Let's make some noise!"
To be continued...