Art and Biro
Disclaimer: The characters depicted in this work are purely fictional. Any resemblance to persons alive or dead is purely coincidental. They are the original and rightful intellectual property of their creators. I use them with permission and respect. This work contains underaged content. You have been warned.
“There's not a word yet for old friends who have just met.”
- Jim Henson
The trouble with fitting in is that no matter where the space is, the fit may not always be right. There is sometimes consideration for going with the crowd. But what fun is there in that when one can truly shape originality by creating a unique self-identity in which one can be proud of. Such is the challenge of childhood when peer pressure often acts as a catalyst to the realization that everything is not as it seems.
Art was an 11-year-old raccoon who lived in the outskirts of Pueblo in a suburb split between the human society and furry one. Everything was split, both legally and socially. It was a divided world. Of course, both sides knew of one another and yet they remained astray and blissfully ignorant of each other. As a youngster, the furs learned everything that humans learned. All in all their worlds were not wholly different.
The boy was your standard procyonid with gray with black stripes. His face dominated by the same mask that was typical of his species. Though smaller than his age mates Art tried his hardest in order to get along with his classmates. One thing that was difficult for him to manage was to make friends. As such the raccoon remained strangely independent of others, deciding often to do classwork alone then rely on the help of others.
This resulted in a more academically driven boy who was disinterested in socializing. Over the last few years, it had gotten worse and his parents had realized it. It got to the point where both his mother and father were worried about his emotional upbringing. Though the cub had shown no signs of depression, his parents were still concerned about how he might turn out if someone didn’t show him the meaning of friendship. After all, friendship is an important part of growing up.
It wasn't something that bothered Art though. Each and every day he managed to get through without an issue. Turning away every attempt by the teacher to get him involved with the other kids during recces. Already in the last year of primary school, the raccoon was just more interested in finer details. Sometimes even going as far as chatting with adults or just exploring and looking for insects or whatever birds he could find.
It was midway through the week and the bell rang at half past 10:30. Three strikes meant that it was time for a break. This was the usual time that the younger grades took a nap and the older kids came out to burn off some energy. After all, they had been stuck inside and many of them were most likely restless. Art was always the last one outside, the other kids, on the other hand, all rushed out like they had never seen sunlight before. This particular day was nice and not many clouds dotted the skies. As such it was rather warm outside.
The raccoon looked for a place to sit and one of the benches and took a small pad of paper out of his pocket. The little thin notebook wasn't old, though some of the pages were torn from being taken in and out of his pocket after several occasions. Art looked around and took in his surroundings. Many kids were just running around playing tags, while some of the others had their faces stuck in their phones. The raccoon shook his head and looked around for something to draw in his journal.
Before long he saw a robin perching on top of one of the branches in the school Jacaranda tree. Normally he would stop to pick one its flowers but the opportunity of a resting bird was too much to miss. He began to draw it, paying close attention to the detail of each feather. As he finished the linework he overheard loud yelling. It was a distraction so it easily took his attention away from the pretty red and blackbird. When he did he oversaw a flesh of reddish-orange streak across the grass-covered field.
It wasn't something he normally saw, but he figured it was some rambunctious kid who was just trying to get attention. Art tried to return his attention to the bird, but soon that bolt of reddish-orange catapulted into the tree where the bird was resting. All it took was that small show of force and the small Robin was gone, just like that. Art sighed as he turned his attention to the person who had disturbed the bird's rest.
Looking down it seemed the little blur was a fox, who now was rubbing his head as it seemed the kit had run into the tree full steam.
“You alright?” Art was genuinely worried about the other boy as he approached him to make sure he was alright.
“Yeah, thanks. My name is Biro. What's yours?” The fox asked picking himself up as if the jolt didn't even bother him.
“My name is Arturo, but you can call me Art.” The raccoon said offering his paw to help the other cub up from the floor.
“Nice to meet ya. Does that mean you like Art?” The kit said trying to be funny.
“I guess...I mean I do draw in my journals sometimes.” Art looked up at the fox who was slightly taller than himself, hiding his little notebook behind his back.
“Cool, Can I see?” Biro tried to peek behind by just moving his head back and forth but wasn't able to see much of anything.
“Erm...I'd rather not.” The raccoon was a little embarrassed about his own talents.
“Oh, come on. They can't be that bad. I'm sure they're better than anything I can do!” The larger cub tried to coax the other one to show him.
“Promise not to laugh?” Art had never shown his art to anyone except for his parents.
“Of course. We're buddies now aren't we? Buddies don't laugh at each other.” The fox insisted on figuring that they were familiars now.
“Alright...” The raccoon slowly moved his paw from behind before opening the notebook and fanning through some the pages for the other boy to see.
“These are really cool! Do you only draw animals?” The kit asked seeming quite impressed with the pictures.
“No...I usually draw what's around me.” Art said trying to snatch the book back from his new friend.
“You're a really good artist. Can you draw me?” The fox asked curiously forgetting all about their time restriction during recess.
“I can try. Just try and stand still.” The raccoon finally got hold of the notebook, glad Biro hadn't seen the journal portion of it.
“Okay. How do you want me to stand?” Biro asked as leaned against the tree to prop himself up.
“The way you are now is fine.” Art commented as he began to sketch the fox in his little notebook.
Occasionally from time to time, the fox peered his head over to see the progress. Of course, he was naive with the effort involved and was disappointed each time he looked over. It wasn't long before the whistle was blown. This meant that recess was over and it was time to return to class.
“I can finish tomorrow.” The raccoon suggested since he assumed they wouldn't see each other later in the day.
“Ok. Maybe I'll see you after school then?” The kit suggested as he was glad to have finally made a friend in the school.
“Sure, I'll wait for you by the big oak tree.” Art didn't want to be late he waved goodbye and made his way towards his teacher who was already waiting by the door.
The rest of the day was fairly normal. Classes were slow and very few challenged the young raccoon. He was a little advanced for his age, but nothing to merit him skipping a grade. His favorite time of the day, besides recess, was a band as this was the time he got to do what he really liked. The school even let him play his favorite instrument, which was Bass Guitar. Surprisingly enough he wasn't half bad at it and often got his own solos to show off his skills.
PE was the final class of the day and was the second opportunity for kids to burn off their energy, after changing clothes. Art wasn't particularly keen on playing with his age mates but that didn't mean he didn't enjoy horsing around occasionally. His favorite sport was soccer and whenever it was scheduled, he was always thrilled. He loved playing goalkeeper and was rather decent at it. He even had his own gloves and gear. But today was basketball day and he just walked around the court idly waiting for the class to end.
They were whistled inside which meant they got to change into their street clothes. This also meant it was almost the end of the day. Art looked around to see if he could see Biro but he had no such luck. He was a little disappointed but it didn't matter since the fox had promised to meet him after school anyways. Once he was changed, all he had to wait for was the bell to ring. After it did the crush of kids bulleted back towards to school exit, with Art casually bringing up the rear.
The afternoon was abuzz with kids around the school hanging around. Each group in a specific spot that they had found free in the year. Art normally went right under the big oak tree as he liked the shade it provided. He grabbed his bag and went underneath the canopy of the tree. The leaves were flying about as the wind picked them up and tossed them around. It was rather cool outside despite it midway through the afternoon.
Eventually, Biro found his way to the tree. The foxes red and white fur was a flash through the crowds and was easily distinguishable through the crush of people. Art watched as the blur of fur bulleted towards his direction and for a moment, he thought that the other cub was going to plow right into him. Surprisingly enough the fox stopped right before he got to Art and looked at him with needy eyes as if expecting some grand welcome.
“Whatcha got planned today?” The fox asked figuring the answer was going to little to nothing.
“I was going to go and make some music.” The raccoon said a little nervously.
“What kind of music? Do you play in a band?” Biro asked with his tail wagging back and forth in anticipation.
“I play the bass but no I don't have a band.” Art turned his head down dejectedly.
“Don't' be sad. I'll join your band and we can pretend we're rock stars like Metallica or something.” Biro said half expecting his new friend to be familiar with the group.
“Metallica? Who's that?” The raccoon asked feeling a little embarrassed.
“A rock band! The best rock band!” Art did his best air guitar to imitate Kirk Hammet who was by far his favorite musician in the band.
“That sounds cool. Do you know how to play any instruments?” The cub looked over at the fox expectantly.
“Well no...but I can try or maybe I can sing? I just want to have fun!” The kit didn't care much about embarrassing himself.
“Sure, I guess. Do you want to come over sometime then? Maybe this weekend?” Art knew he needed to ask his parents in order to have someone over.
“Yeah! That sounds great. Count me in.” Biro figured his brother wouldn't have an issue with it especially since he didn't have many friends.
“Alright. See you later then?” The raccoon looked over and saw that his brother was waiting in the car.
“Sure here's my house number. See ya, bud.” Biro was happy to finally have someone to hang out with and handed Art a small slip of paper with some digits on it.
Art trotted off towards the vehicle. Inside his brother was waiting patiently with the door unlocked already. The gray-colored sedan sat idly by the pickup station with someone holding the door open for the young raccoon. The cub smiled at the adult, though he didn't recognize him. The boy didn't think much about it before he boarded the vehicle and went inside. He couldn't wait to tell his brother about his new friend.
“How was your day, Sport?” The young man asked as he wanted to be involved in his kid's life.
“Good. How was yours?” Art took an interest in his brother's life as well.
“Different day same deal. Anything new at school?” His brother didn't often drudge on his daily routine unless something out of the ordinary happened.
“I made a new friend!” The cub was genuinely interested in sharing this development alone.
“Oh yeah? Tell me about it, bud.” Julio finally started the car back up and exited the school pick up area.
“Well, his name is Biro and he's new to the school. He seems really nice and he even wants to make a band with me?” Art explained happily with cheer in his voice.
“Oh really? What kind of band?” The older boy was glad that his son had finally made another friend outside of himself.
“A rock band.” The boy seemed uncertain about it but the initial idea of it sounded good at least.
“Oh. No jazz-like me? That's surprising. Well, maybe I can help you anyways. I'm pretty good at the guitar. Maybe I could help and be in the band as well.” The young man suggested it since he knew the two brothers and he were like peas in a pod.
“That would be super cool! Do you think you would be up for it?” Art knew his brother was busy with college and all despite often making time for the younger boy.
“Of course. I don't want you to make bad music after all.” Julio said half-joking as he began to make his way back home.
“Can I invite him over for dinner tonight?” The cub asked with anticipation.
“Sure. Do you know what he likes to eat?” The bear asked not wanting to disappoint guests.
“No...I guess whatever foxes eat?” The boy had no idea whatsoever.
“You can ask when you invite him. Just let me know. Julio said as he continued to jut between alleys and the main roads.
“Thanks, bro.” Art reached over and hugged his brother affectionately as well as he could while still seated.
Julio and Art had been adopted when they when Art was very young. The adopters were a pair of humans who quickly learned that furs were nothing like the human experience they had lived. As such Julio and Art were never truly loved in their new home and Julio decided to run away when Art was just out of toddlerhood. Ever since Art was able to understand why they had been incredibly close.
From afar one couldn't tell they were related as they most certainly were not by blood. But in this case, blood didn't matter. Julio was very much the father bear to his younger brother, Art. A grizzly from the north, Julio was imposing and edgy. A musician who loved jazz and classic rock. Even having his own band and at his university, his indie group was well known, though they were looking to expand to fame and beyond.
The ride home was usually pretty short but the roads were busy today since it was nearing a holiday. As such many tourists were about traveling along the streets in cars, cabs, and trucks. It was a lot busier than normal.
Despite that Julio was able to maneuver his way through traffic with ease. The young man knew his way through all the backstreets as he'd lived in Pueblo almost his entire life. There was nothing more that he hated than traffic.
Julio was the first one out of the car as he hated being stuck in small places. He was too large for his vehicle and one day hoped to upgrade to a truck. But for now, this was all he could afford. The bear got out of the car and soon his raccoon kin joined him. It was breezy outside so the two stood idly for a moment, simply enjoying the cool wind outside. The weather was nice out and they definitely didn't want to waste it.
Once inside their humble apartment, Julio opened all the windows to enjoy the outside air. It was a beautiful day and there didn't seem to be any flies out to be worried about. Art meanwhile rushed to his room and wanted to immediately call Biro, hoping that he would already be home for the afternoon. Looking at the clock it wasn't incredibly late. So he decided to start his homework and call the fox later.
After he got into his room, the boy pulled out his notebook and writing utensils. The cub had a desk established for anything he wanted to work on and the chair was super comfortable, even for longer periods of time. Art only had two things of homework to tackle tonight and decided to start on his weakest subject, which was math. It was a single worksheet with 20 problems and the raccoon set down the single piece of paper on the desk before beginning to work on it.
Math wasn't something he was an expert at, regardless Art was able to accomplish it with a little hard work. It took about a half-hour to complete and once he was done, he wasted no time and called his new friend immediately. The phone was answered by someone's voice he didn't recognize. The cub assumed it must have been someone related to the fox on the other line.
“Can I speak to Biro please?” The raccoon asked softly as he was trying not to sound too demanding.
“May I ask who's speaking?” The lady on the other side spoke into the speaker.
“Arturo. I'm a new friend, we met at school today.” Art explained with a cheery sound in his voice.
“Ah, he told me about you. Hold on one second, please.” The woman put down the phone for a moment.
There was silence for a few moments except that the cub could hear the lady calling for the kit to answer the phone.
“I got it, mom.” The fox said as soon there was a click signaling that she had hung up.
“Hiya, Art. What's up?” Biro asked keeping it short as he wasn't huge on talking on the phone.
“Nothing. I was wondering if you would want to come over and try to practice some numbers or make some music for our new band?” Art asked, wanting to get started sooner rather than later.
“Tonight?” The kit couldn't believe he wanted to get together already.
“Yeah, my brother said it was alright. He even said he'd help us.”
“Sure, let me ask my mom. Hang on.” Biro put the phone down and stepped away for a moment.
It was a minute or so before the fox cub finally returned.
“She said that's fine. Can I eat there?” The cub asked as he hadn't eaten yet.
“Yeah, what do you like to eat?” Art wanted to make sure they made his friend happy so he'd come back.
“I'm not super picky. I eat most anything. What's your address?”
Art provided his friend his address.
“Alright, I'll come on over now. See you soon.” The kit hung up and the conversation was now over.
Now Art needed to get ready, he had no idea how far away the fox lived but he wanted to be safe rather than sorry.
The raccoon made his way into a spare room where he and his brother kept all their music-related
memorabilia. From records to signed pictures and instruments, the room was very well decorated. The place was set up to be a studio with speakers, microphones, amps, and an assortment of guitars placed on holders along the wall. Art's own was a black, brown and white Squier bass which was a mini to accommodate his small size. He went over and grabbed it before beginning to tune it.
Eventually, Julio overheard him plucking at the strings and popped his head.
“Your friend coming over?” The bear asked stepping over to where his brother was setting up.
“Yeah.” Art was super focused on the task at hand as he turned the nobs on his guitar to tune it.
“Sweet. Do you want some help then?” The older brother wanted to make sure that Art didn't want to do it himself before stepping in.
“Of course! You're the best guitarist I know.” Art had always thought highly of his brother, especially when it came to music.
“Alright.” Julio went over to his case where he kept all of his guitars and pulled out a Stratocaster before hooking it up to an amp.
Unlike Art, Julio made a conscious effort to tune his guitars more regularly. It was a habit that he was hoping that the younger brother would pick up on one day. But so far the tactic hadn't worked, though the bear certainly hadn't forced it upon his brother. He began to play the guitar solo for “Back and Black” as the cub looked over at him.
“Always the show off...hehe.” Art said half-joking about his brother's expertise.
“You know it.” Julio said after finishing half the riff.
They continued for a while before there was a ring at the door.
“Looks like your friend is here.” The older brother stated the obvious.
Art immediately rushed to the door and opened it
“Hiya, Biro. Thanks for coming over!” The raccoon stepped aside so his friend could come.
“What time should I tell my mom to pick me up?” The fox asked looking back at his mother who was waiting for an answer.
“What time should Biro leave, Julio?” Art shouted down the hallway.
“Somewhere around 8 is fine.” The bear yelled back figuring it would be enough time to work on some music.
“After 8.” The kit said back to his mom as she began to leave the parking lot of the apartment complex.
Art closed the door once Biro was inside.
“Come this way. We got the studio set up already.” The raccoon began to lead down the hallway to the spare room.
“Studio?” The fox said unsure of what he was referring to.
“You'll see.” The door was already opened to the room as they entered into it.
Once inside Biro was fascinated by the decoration of the room. He couldn't help but look around at all the different colorful posters really stood out to him. One which was a signed poster of his favorite band.
“This is really cool!” The fox complimented the two brothers.
“You think so?” The bear seemed surprised since he hadn't had many people over.
“Yeah, hardcore! Can I try it?” Biro asked as he pointed at the guitar the older brother was holding.
After Julio handed over the guitar, Biro sprung through the strings with his claws once over. Luckily, they were strong enough to withstand his pull.
“Don't do that...use a pick.” The bear was pretty nervous about his prized possession.
“A pick?” The fox had no idea what he was talking about.
“Try this...sit on my lap.” Julio said as the cub did as he instructed and the bear guided the smaller paw over the guitar strings.
The bear led him through each string and played a small bluesy riff which was all about repeating the same 6 cords over and over. A smile crept over the foxes face as the sounds made him feel more like a musician.
“Simple enough right? Art says you don't play any instruments, so have you sung before?” Julio asked as the boy got up and went over to where the raccoon was standing.
“No, but I don't mind trying. I think with some practice I could be good.” Biro just wanted to help make his friends dream come true.
“What do you think he should try singing, Art?” The bear asked as he wanted some input on the kind of band his brother had in mind.
“Hmm...well he likes Rock so maybe we should start with something he's familiar with?” The cub suggested figuring it would be easier than learning a new song from scratch.
“How about Enter Sandman?” Biro suggested one of his all-time favorite songs.
“We could try that, I have the music sheet for it.” Julio went through his desk and looked through the folder for the sheet music.
“Cool, where's the microphone?” The fox asked as he was actually excited to get underway.
“Right over there.” Art pointed at it, as the little stand was not set up and hadn't been used for anything lately.
Biro went over to where it was and adjusted the knob on the side of it so that it was equal to the height of his mouth, thinking that was the most likely position. Of course, Julio knew better and went over to where he was setting up and pushed it down a little bit.
“Now you won't get feedback. If you need to, it comes off the stand and you can perform with it like Steven Tyler or Mick Jagger does.” The bear chimed off names that were infamous for their stage presence.
“Check...One....two...three.” The cub spoke into the microphone as the speakers repeated his words back to him.
“All ready? Let's jam.” Art was all but ready to get the session underway.
The song began with its usual slow startup tune as eventually, the vocals came along. Surprisingly enough the kit was able to sing off the entire song without issue and with no reminder of its lyrics. Julio was pretty impressed with his memory, even if his vocals weren't that strong.
“That wasn't bad for your first try. Do you like Karaoke?” Julio suggested as a way to practice when he was at home.
“It's alright. Can we try a different song?” Biro asked in order to impress them further.
“Which one?” Art asked as he put his bass on his knees to rest it for a moment.
“You pick.” The fox wanted to try his skills at a song he didn't know quite as well.
“How about Karma Police?” The raccoon wasn't expecting him to know who performed the number.
“You mean Radiohead? Sounds good.” It seemed the kit was quite knowledgeable about music.
The group picked up the second piece like they had done it several times before. Surprisingly enough the fox was able to hit all the notes with little issue. It seemed that he was pretty talented, despite not having practiced much.
“Your pretty good. I'm sure this will work out just fine with some practice. You guys try without me. I'll go make us some dinner.” Julio said before he stepped out of the room.
For the next hour, the two cubs worked pretty hard shredding up all types of rock music. By the time they were called to dinner, both were hesitant to break away.
Once they were pulled away by Julio, the pair of cubs seemed quite content with their progress. It seemed they meshed together quite well in the world of music. They decided that sticking to cover music was the best possible route to start with in order to build confidence. Over time they knew they would have to make their own music, but neither had many ideas. Besides Julio had his own band to attend to and there was always the possibility they could join it in the future.
Art and Biro were now like a pea and a pod. Each and every day they hung out at school, discussing their music plans. Though they did other things, music very much dominated their lives outside of school. Julio as well as both Biro's parents were glad that the kids had finally made new friends. Now at least they wouldn't be as lonely. Only time would tell if the whole music gig would work. For now...it served as a common interest and a driving force in their lives.