Reading Harry Potter even for the tenth time had its charms. Out of the magical cocoon, back in reality, I frowned.
No chocolate frogs or treacle tart to cheer me, my eyes fell on the crumpled piece of paper. From whatever remained of 'JOIN THE ROCKSTARS' (after stamping), it read:
' I ROCK '
Satisfaction filled me when I imagined Kelly's (our band captain) face at this improvement on her pamphlet. For the second time, she had enlisted her sister (horrible at drums), rather than me.
Cursing the unfair world, I remembered that it was time for my favorite show and tuned my wireless. As I fumbled, no signal came.
Suddenly, it blared to life. The voice wasn't the usual RJ. My ears strained but all I heard were words jumbled with static. Then, it made sense.
'Merry time, merry time!
To enjoy lemon lime.
While our favorite teams compete-
Let's cheer from the edge of our seat.
It's 'GREAT MUSIC FIESTA'! And (whisper), don't forget to turn exactly thrice in front of the mannequin at Loveowls', Wagner's Feet.'
This was definitely not Voices. 'Strange. Turning thrice at Loveowls', where all I did was turn back on a pair of worm-eaten hiking-boots?' I thought. 'Only one way to find out'.
An hour later, I found myself facing a shabby-haired, red-eyed ragdoll wearing a cape. From across the street, gala clad, giggling hippies rushed. They winked and sang. A girl in pigtails asked merrily, "First time, eh?"
"Come with me, then."
She hurried towards the ragdoll and with a gleeful squeal, started spinning. "You too!"
Exactly what people might think of our sanity was beyond. Swallowing my pride, I turned thrice and to my amazement, before us, stood a shimmering wall of mist!
"It's the Trans", she chimed. "I am Jonah. Which team are you with?"
"Never mind! I support Fire Eaters."
I followed her in, feeling a cold blast.
The scene was beyond my wildest dreams.
'Welcome to Juxtamusical world! The Great Music Fiesta is here.'
All around, there was music- not just the usual monotones of guitar or drumbeats, but a vibrant symphony of everything playing together. People chirped, adding to the harmony of music and color. Children were sucking candies while the teens, holding hands, giggled at the stall.
On ordering lemonade, I was informed that payment here was by music. It became clear when the guy in queue played the saxophone for a minute, raised the meter on the screen, earned an applause and received two beers.
I beat drums, collected lemonade and went to the gallery. The seats were slanted at a subtle angle; so I had to hold on to stop myself falling over!
"You've to cheer from the edge of your seat!". It was Jonah.
"I thought it's just an expression. I'm Daisy, anyway."
Just then, first team Tone Bombers arrived. Red-clad fans cheered hard. 'To break off our slumbers; Here come Tone Bombers!' The stage adjusted itself while the team took its position.
With a surge of energy, the musicians started playing. The vocalist sang (shouted):
'Long before nuclear bombs alike,
Tone Bombers were never denied the mike!'
Then, surprisingly, all around us, ribbons started rising and the evening got arrested by a fantastic display of fireworks and noise. Fans cheered. We no longer heard the song; every eye was glued to the sky.
"How are they doing it?" I asked Jonah.
With a huge applause, Tone Bombers was followed by Song Chemist. Blue-robed fans had 'Water to gold, music to story; Song Chemist will lead us to glory' written on the posters. Blue capes and masques arranged themselves, drums beating, piano playing. The singer seemed to be lulling us asleep.
'And so the alchemist destroyed the stone
Song Chemists started singing alone'.
Mist settled, snowflakes began falling. Beautiful! Onstage, the team had disappeared, but music kept playing.
"Take this candy. Keeps you awake", said Jonah. "Illusionists, them".
When the trance lifted, Fire Eaters walked in. Half the audience cheered, 'With their whim and zest; Fire Eaters will char the rest!" Jonah whistled. Fire Eaters, yellow capes bellowing behind, started singing.
"Oh no! Their drummer is missing", Jonah cried.
'The flint stones flared with new flames alive,
And that's how Fire Eaters came to strive!'
"But they are doing great!"
Then amazingly, lisps of fire swept out of their mouths. Almost like fire-breathing dragons! Purple fireballs rained down. The vocalist, through a mouthful of fire, sounded amplified.
The gallery resonated with ceaseless applause.
The radio voice announced, "It's time for the results now!"
Eyes focused on the four judges. One of them, wearing a monocle, hiccupped. "Each team gave a unique performance. But, only one wins the cup".
"Two teams reached a draw. The Second-Runner-Up is Song Chemist! Standing at twenty for summoning snowflakes and disappearance! Ten marks deducted for hypnotizing our judge, Mr. Candyfloss asleep."
"First-Runner-Up is..." The gallery held its breath.
"Tone Bombers with thirty!" Groans from red, cheers from yellow. "Extraordinary display of fireworks and lyrics! The winner is Fire Eaters with sixty for drinking fire and special effects on music..."
The rest was drowned in applause, as the cup levitated towards Fire Eaters.
Jonah pulled me along for autographs.
The Fire Eater guitarist faced the surge of her excited "Hi Shirley, you are cool!"
"Careful, lady! We hate being called 'cool'. Once, Dan breathed at a judge. We're 'hot'. A pity that he wants to spend the rest of his life with his remaining lips! We miss his drums."
Before I could stop myself, I spoke up, "Would you take me in your team?"
"Though I love drums, I can't breathe fire!"
He smiled. "Believe that music is magic?"
"That's all it takes! We'll call you for audition. Stay tuned at fifty Hertz."
I left Just-a-Magical world, believing more than ever that I could breathe fire and lots more.