Cornelius and the Magic Tuba

By , Shirley, MA
There once was a young boy named Cornelius. He was a slight, timid boy who never had much excitement in his life. He rarely spoke or in any way made contact with others when it could be avoided. Even when Cornelius was born, he did not make a single noise for eight days, causing his slight and timid parents to become quite a bit more nervous than usual. The doctor presiding over the child’s health conditions portended that one day the baby would grow up to inspire the world with his enchanting voice. Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius’s parents refused to believe this, and they sued the doctor for being ridiculous. The whole family spent quiet days and years keeping to themselves in the mansion paid for with the lawsuit winnings, until the fateful day that was the fourteenth anniversary of Cornelius’s birth.

The boy’s fourteenth birthday was one he had been dreading for a long while. You see, in the not so very far away land of Lemonstir, one begins their public school career at this age. Despite the fear bubbling deep inside Cornelius, he slowly made his way that morning to the building that—to him at least—was the most terrifying place in the world: Lemonstir High School. Once inside, Cornelius was immediately tossed into the rapid tumultuousness of a hallway full of students. He became extremely nervous with all of the noise and movement and people, but nonetheless made his way as carefully as possible to his first classroom ever. After the stress of moving with and exiting the stream of people that rushed through the school hallway, the calm of the classroom was a welcome sight. Cornelius was very organized, and was impressed with the straight rows of desks and the neat handwriting on the chalkboard. Just as he was beginning to relax and admire his new surroundings, there was a huge crash, followed by a puff of cerulean smoke near the doorway, where a squirrel appeared. The class seemed to believe this was normal, but Cornelius was very frightened. This only intensified as the squirrel opened its mouth and introduced herself as the teacher of his Trigonometry class.

In a panic, Cornelius surveyed his classmates, hoping to find anyone who was as shocked as he. In the last seat of the second row of desks, he found a boy who looked as though he were also new; this was evident due to the boy’s gaping mouth and wide fishy-looking eyes. When the squirrel-teacher stepped out of the classroom to take a phone call, the boy stood and joined Cornelius in his corner. Cornelius discovered that his name was Hugo, and was entranced by his strange accent and clothing. To this day, no one knows where the boy came from originally, though it has been rumored that he flew in from outer space. Desperately needing someone who seemed normal to talk to, Cornelius mustered up the courage to have a conversation with Hugo. They became instant pals, and together they went from class to class, exploring their new surroundings.

Their last class of the day brought them to a large room at the outermost corner of the most remote wing of the school. The ominous room waited at the end of a long hall, a faint light shimmering from under the door. The boys slowly approached the place they had only heard stories about as children: the mythical Band Room. Neither of the boys played an instrument, but it was known by all that in this magical place, the music entered your innermost soul and exposed your inner talents. The two slowly opened the creaky door to reveal a magnificent sight: golden sunshine, rainbows, unicorns, little lollipops, everything happy in the world hit them with a warm tropical breeze. Cornelius and Hugo were absolutely amazed; they stared at the various objects in the room for a while before even thinking to seek the help of the musical oracle. She resided in the center of the brightest rainbow, and greeted them sweetly as she prepared to find their inner musical talent. Hugo went first; after some minutes he disappeared in a puff of fuchsia clouds, only to reappear with a kazoo in hand. The poor boy was devastated, as this instrument automatically confined its owner to the closet for life. Cornelius, nervous as ever, then disappeared. The oracle spent only a few moments navigating the depths of his soul before releasing him to the world in a shower of silver sparkle, a tuba surrounding his body. The bunny rabbits stopped their hopping, and the sun gasped in amazement.

It was prophesized long ago that one day in Lemonstir a young tuba player would save the band room from the infiltration of unhappy things. There had not been a person given the gift of tuba-playing for about two thousand years. Knowing this—and being the timid boy he was—Cornelius immediately shrunk into the darkest corner he could find and took off the tuba, only to hear the bell to leave ring. Cornelius ran all the way home and spent a sleepless night considering the events of the day. The next day in class, he began to observe his fellow students. It was then that he realized: high school kids have very evil tendencies. Everywhere he looked there was someone doing something that they should not be doing. Worse than that however, was the fact that the three most despicable students began picking on Cornelius. After their discovery of his being the “chosen one,” they proceeded to make his life absolutely miserable.

The first of the evil classmates was Lloyd, an extremely dorky boy who had a stunningly high IQ. It was his mission in life to be crowned Superdork of LHS, an honor that had been won by generations of his ancestors. There was only one thing standing in his way: Cornelius and his automatic dork superiority as a band kid. This created in Lloyd a fiery hatred for Cornelius, one that caused him to terrorize the cheerful space of the band room. Cornelius secretly hated that this was occurring, but was simply too shy to speak up about it. This wasn’t the only issue he had to deal with either. Another boy named Princeton was an additional threat to Cornelius’s happiness. Princeton was gorgeous; when he moved, angels sang, and his golden hair was sought after by all. All of this popularity made him a pompous jerk, so he was constantly trying to prove himself as the most important person in the school. As captain of the water polo team, Princeton had the high school world bowing down to him and doing his bidding. This changed when Cornelius attained tuba status; everyone was so impressed with this savior that they completely ignored Princeton. This angered him to no end, and he constantly stuffed Cornelius into lockers and stole his Justice League lunchbox.

After long days of being repeatedly hurt and bullied, Cornelius was often confronted by Candii, a hideous cheerleader who happened to have an immense hatred for the tuba player. Even though Cornelius was scrawny and shy, he was rather adorable, therefore causing Candii to be insanely jealous. She helped Princeton with his physical beatings of the boy, in addition to setting up traps in his locker. All in all, Cornelius was having a very hard time. His only refuge was the brilliant sunshine of the band room. After one especially hurtful day at school, Cornelius retreated to the band room, only to find his tuba missing! In a panic, he began to search high and low, not yielding any results. For the first time in his young life, Cornelius collapsed onto the floor with a cry of despair. It was a piteous sight, and the oracle woke to console him. It turns out that his tears were not necessary, as a ginormous palm tree suddenly shot up through the super-absorbent rug… with his tuba among the coconuts! Cornelius ran to his tuba and threw it about his body, glad to finally feel safe. This changed instantly however; the once gleaming room plunged instantly into darkness. Only the oracle’s silvery iridescence shone dimly, and Cornelius ran toward her, very frightened.

The musical oracle spoke softly to the timid boy, reminding him of the tuba prophecy and that it was now his responsibility to save the band room from the oppression of the evil high school students. The pride of Lemonstir was slowly being destroyed by these evils, and could not last much longer. The oracle also informed Cornelius that he must defeat all three of his worst enemies in order to fulfill his duty. Cornelius just stood there, not knowing what to do. Shivering slightly in the darkness, he closed his eyes and immediately was bombarded with an image of Lloyd creating a new machine that would completely wipe out any trace of the band room. Just as suddenly, Cornelius was lifted into the air, spun around three times, and then he vanished. When he finally came to after several moments of seeing only swirling color and light, he was in what seemed to be a garage. Cornelius recognized it as the setting of the image he had just seen, which meant that his tuba had transported him to the place where he was to defeat the would-be Superdork.

Cornelius was completely bewildered; he had not had even the slightest inclination that his tuba was magical. There was no time to lose however, and the once shy and reserved Cornelius garnered more and more courage as he stepped out to meet Lloyd, magical tuba around him. Now Lloyd, being the dork that he was, had all the intelligence in the world, but not much physical strength. As Cornelius approached him, he threatened to push the giant green button that would destroy everything. This thought was short-lived though, as his foe rushed at him, and he was not fast enough to escape. Lloyd was sucked into the bell of the tuba with a flash of bright light, never to be seen again. Cornelius sat down on the ground, amazed at what he had done. He wanted more than anything to go home to the safety of his mansion, but he had no choice. He must defeat all three villains in order to save the oracle and her band room.

This time, the swirling lights and colors took Cornelius to a place he did not recognize: the school’s weight room. He knew that he would find Princeton here, but he was very afraid. The water polo player was much stronger than he, and he was not sure how he would defeat the boy with only his tuba. Upon seeing Cornelius, Princeton began throwing his weights at his sworn enemy. Cornelius emerged unscathed, as the magical tuba had suddenly created a deflecting shield around the boy. The same was not true for the vain Princeton. The weights that he had so hatefully thrown came right back at him, wounding him severely. Just as he was about to speak, his heavy dumbbell fell down from its rack, pinning him to the ground. Cornelius, being a timid person, turned and ran away, not wanting to see the imminent death he had caused. This mission was becoming harder and harder for the young boy to handle, but the words of the oracle and his responsibility kept him going. Now he had only one more person to defeat: Candii.

This was the scariest confrontation of them all. Cornelius was transported via the magical tuba to the place he dreaded most in the world: the Lemonstir mall. Unlike the other two places he had gone, in the mall he was not alone. There were what seemed like thousands of people going in and out of countless stores. Cornelius did not know how he would find Candii, but he knew she was there. Her awful voice echoed threats throughout the entire mall, and Cornelius knew what he had to do. For the first time, the boy put the mouthpiece of the tuba to his lips. He seemed to know exactly what to do as he took the deepest breath he could muster and blew into the magical instrument. Time stopped. Everything in the mall froze, all except for Candii, who shrieked in agonizing pain. You see, tuba sounds are her weakness, and her cheerleader ears could not cope with the noise. Cornelius had finally defeated all of the evil high schoolers with the booming sounds of his first ever B flat. Time unfroze just a few seconds later, when Cornelius was transported for the last time back to the band room. As he spun through the portal, he heard something he had never heard before: applause. Everyone in the mall had heard his note and were now praising the chosen tuba player. Once back in the band room—once again bathed in sunshine and happiness—Cornelius was met with more applause from all who resided there, including the oracle.

She commended the boy for his perseverance and courage, and announced to everyone that the prophecy had been fulfilled. The whole room cheered and applauded at this, and Cornelius was not upset to be the center of attention. Having this talent had taught him that you should always share your gifts with the world. He burst into a beautiful concerto, playing from deep inside his soul. Finally, it was time to return home. Cornelius brought his tuba home, eager to tell his parents all about his story. Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius’s parents were positively shocked, but extremely proud of their son. He had gained a confidence that they never could have imagined, and he played his tuba for them every day. The family even wrote to the doctor they had sued fourteen years before to apologize. He had been right; the boy had enchanted the world with his voice: a musical voice. While the doctor was now living in poverty, he let them keep their money and their mansion; he was happy to help the family of the chosen one. The people of Lemonstir will always remember Cornelius, the savior of the music, along with his magical tuba.





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