[WP] You now live in a world where music mp3 files are treated like trading card games, some songs are rare and some are common. [Link to post.]
“Class, we have a new student. This is uh, Jerko,” Mr. Willow introduced the boy to his Musical Mayhem class, causing an uproar of laughter.
“It’s Jericho,” the brown haired boy corrected his new teacher. The laughter rolling through the class did not faze him.
“Sorry, Jericho.” Mr. Willow stared at the list of names and used his pencil to draw in the extra ‘i’. “Office typo. Anyway, it seems that at his previous school, Jericho reached Bard level Five, let’s all give him a hand.” Mr. Willow, and only Mr. Willow, clapped. Then, he turned to Jericho. “I’m sure you understand that rank won’t earn you any special treatment from me.” Jericho nodded.
“I wouldn’t expect it.”
“Good lad. Go grab a seat and we’ll start class.” Mr. Willow waved him toward the upper seats in the back of the classroom auditorium. Before Jericho took two steps a single hand shot up into the air. The owner with a question wore a dark black leather jacket, with his short black hair spiked upward.
“What is it, Oats?” the greying teacher asked.
“I don’t believe he reached level Five.” Oats said. The small group of students seated around him laughed, and several gave Oats a high five of encouragement. “Can I test him out? You *did* say you wanted to do more demonstrations in class.” Mr. Willow walked forward and caught up with Jericho before he made it very far.
“That’s an excellent idea, but it’s not up to me. What do you think, Jericho? Feel like accepting his challenge?” Mr. Willow placed a hand on Jericho’s shoulder. The boy shrugged it off in response.
“It doesn’t matter. I get no special treatment anyway, right? I’ll just start from level Zero again.” Jericho resumed walking toward his chosen desk while Oats and his friends tossed insults at him.
“Hey look! It’s the Coward of the County!”
“Alright, settle down. He gave his answer,” Mr. Willow took control of the class and started the lesson. Jericho spent the rest of class ignoring most of the lesson and dozens of aggressive messages sent to his desk’s screen from Oats. During lunch Jericho found a quiet shaded spot to eat, but before he took a bite Oats and his gang of friend surrounded the table.
“Hey level Five, let’s see what you got.” Oats said.
“Yeah, show us your super skills!” A boy next to Oats said. Jericho heard the teacher call him Hall during class. Jericho sighed. He knew they would continue harassing him until he gave in, and decided to get something out of it. He shook his head, and a slight smile formed on his face.
“I’m level Five, I don’t play for free. Five gigs per challenge,” he said. Demanding five gigs worth of songs was steep enough to make them think carefully about challenging him, and enough of a catalog to make it worth his time. Oats, Hall, and the rest of their group laughed.
“Five gigs!? Who do you think you are, the King of Pop?” Oats asked while holding his sides. Jericho shrugged.
“Here I’m a level Zero. You guys are the ones that want to challenge me. I don’t care what you guys think, but I don’t play for less than five gigs.” He waved a hand dismissively at the small group of boys. Oats’ face darkened and he jammed an elbow into Hall’s plump side.
“Cough it up,” Oats said in a harsh whisper.
“Man, c’mon. It took me years to get five gigs,” Hall hesitated. Oats stepped between Jericho and Hall, with his back towards the new kid.
“Don’t worry, he’s all talk. We’ll get his five gigs and split it 60/40. You’ll come out ahead.” Oats pressured Hall to fork over his stash.
“Fine.” Hall pulled his Player out of his pocket. The Player looked like a small black rectangle with a bright monochrome screen covering the broad surface. Hall pressed the ‘eject’ button on the side of the Player. A small silver disc, the size of a half dollar coin, popped out of a slot at the top of the rectangle. Oats swiped the disc without a word and tossed it to Jericho.
“There you go, let’s see yours.” Oats pulled his own Player out of his pocket, ready for the challenge. Jericho stood up and slid the disc into his right pocket, then pulled out his Player from the left pocket.
“Your bet!” Oats said. Jericho shook his head.
“There’s no bet. That’s my fee to play.” Jericho watched Hall’s face go white, out of the corner of his eyes. He only wanted to teach them a lesson, and decided he would return the stash to Hall privately when Oats wasn’t around. Oats grumbled, but did not seem to care since it wasn’t his collection.
“Alright, let’s play already!” Oats yelled. Jericho nodded.
“You can go first,” Jericho said to acknowledge the start of the game. Oats nodded.
“Beating you is gonna be a piece of Cake,” Oats said. He pressed a button on his Player and it ejected a small piece of cardstock, the size of a business card, with a cake drawn on it. A blue border decorated the outer edges of the card. He grabbed it, then placed the card on the table between him and Jericho. “Because I can go The Distance.” His gang of friends cheered at the seemingly strong opening. Jericho smiled internally, the game would be easier than he thought. He held his player up and pressed a button.
“I don’t know Oats, it seems to me like you’re reluctantly crouched at the starting line,” Jericho said. He placed a golden card on top of Oats’ blue bordered Cake card. The golden card showed embossed text that read “Chaka Khan” instead of a picture. “I Feel for You.” Oats’ friends went quiet after the play. Jericho realized most of them did not recognize the song. Hall patted Oats on the shoulder.
“Do it,” Hall encouraged the dark haired boy. Oats pressed a button on his Player without hesitation, and pulled out a golden card as well.
“Chaka Khan let me rock it, let me rock it Chaka Khan. Let me rock it and We Will Rock You,” Oats said, placing his golden card on top of the growing stack. An outline of a golden crown on top of a woman’s head decorated the center of his card. He took the game seriously now, cutting out the chatter and getting straight to the lyrics. His friends stomped twice, then clapped simultaneously to cheer Oats on after his play. Jericho smiled thinking he might get to have some fun after all. He pulled his next card from his Player, then used it to point at Oats.
“You got mud on your face,” Jericho said. He shook his head with disappointment. “Big disgrace. Somebody better put you back into your place. I guess It’s Gonna Be Me.” He placed a white card with a grey border, the most common type, on top of the gold card. It showed a black ‘N’ in the center, surrounded by five male silhouettes. Oats readied his player, but did not pull a card out. He froze, needing time to think. Jericho pressed a button on his Player to start the countdown until he won.
“30 seconds,” an electronic voice said. Oats glared at him, but Jericho smiled at the loss of concentration. “20 seconds.” Oats’ eyes went wide and he hurriedly pressed the button on his Player.
“My girl, you know?” Oats said, deciding his next selection needed a setup. “Every little thing I do, never seems enough, you know?” He cut off the lyric, but used enough for it to be a valid play. “She Drives Me Crazy.” Oats played a card with a green border around it. The letters ‘F.Y.C’ showed on the face of the card. Oats’ friends clapped and cheered at his save. Jericho smiled. He could now play his secret weapon. Gold songs were rare, but he had a Legendary song up his sleeve, and Oats set him up for it.
“Yeah, I know what that’s like. I’m in a similar situation with my girl. She drives me crazy like no one else.” Jericho pulled an orange card from his player, the onlookers gasped at the sight of a legendary. “She just wants to Party All the Time“
“No way…” Hall whispered to himself. Oats remained still, racking his brain. Jericho started the timer.
“30 seconds,” the Player said. Oats shook his head back and forth.
“I don’t know that one….” Oats dropped his Player to the ground.