Nature’s Weirdos; The Story of Pat Platypus
Clawing their way up through the back alleys of the Mainland, “Nature’s Weirdos”, a brash young punk band, worked their collective tails off to build a rep in their music scene. Touring constantly and recording without a budget, these four friends; Axel Axolotl, guitarist, Ruby Red Panda, lead vocals, Jaclyn Lemur, bassist, and Pat Platypus, drummer, suffered for their art. But the suffering that made it so good, somehow. Sleeping on floors in people’s living rooms, getting crushed into a van on a gas station diet, playing to rowdy crowds in basements. Despite it all, or perhaps because of it, their friendship fueled their drive to success, and a romantic relationship between Axel Axolotl and Ruby Red Panda even cemented on the road. Nothing and no one could tear these four apart in their quest to unleash their mighty steel dragon of blazing ax riffs and thudding ceaseless bass rhythms upon the unsuspecting denizens of the world.
Nothing, until, of course, their van coasted to a stop, empty of fuel on Chibi Island.
While Axel and Ruby were dead focused on filling the van and setting up for a show at Forest Noodles Café, (to pay Verity Fox back for the meals they ate; it was that or dishes). Jaclyn and Pat fared differently and were completely taken by the sublime and inspiring way on the island. Jaclyn quickly befriended Cynthia Cow and Dolly Sheep, who were so distracted by their experiments and advancements on the local farm, that their small beehive apiary, once a source of great interest, was overgrown from neglect. Someone was needed here.
Pat met Timothy Sloth, who virtually lived online and exalted the information revolution, proclaiming “Any work, especially artistic work, can now manifest itself from wherever you choose.” And, suddenly Pat felt that touring seemed like an unnecessary discomfort; the bad food, the stress. What was he sacrificing being on the road all the time?
“What are we even chasing anymore? Maybe we should just cool our jets. Our last album wasn’t even good...” Jaclyn Lemur admitted.
“All we do is tour and why are we going about this in such an outdated and, frankly, uncomfortable way?” Pat claimed.
Axel and Ruby were dumbfounded.
“But we’re on tour!” said Ruby.
“I HAVE SUFFERED TOO MANY BEDBUGS” declared Axel. “TO GIVE UP NOW.’
But Pat and Jaclyn were changed. Their hearts were no longer in the grind. The van rides became quieter. Road life lost its flavour and each additional stop became a chore…previously amusing inconveniences now towered as epic tribulations. They played without enthusiasm and complained endlessly. Eventually, Ruby and Axel stopped arguing with them, and started writing songs on their own. This new music had a completely different flavor and Ruby and Axel felt an excitement with the new harmonies appearing in hooks and…something intangibly transcendent.
As the tail end of the tour back on the Mainland wound to a close, Jaclyn and Pat announced they are leaving the band. Grimly they went through the process of dismantling the group, selling equipment like the old van and rolling down the metal door to the jam spot to lock it for the last time. As they said their goodbyes, Axel and Ruby promised they would come and visit Chibi island when they get a chance, after the new tour, and Jaclyn and Pat wished them well with their next album. Finally embracing in tearful hugs, they separated full of nostalgia and excitement for their new lives.
Ruby and Axel went on to be a huge success in every way. They spent the next few years touring with their new group “Ruby Studded Axe.” They nailed a huge continental tour as well as found a budget for the video single from their album, “Road Killer”. Their meteoric rise was staggering to watch.
Pat and Jaclyn were thrilled for “Ruby Studded Axe”. Jaclyn went on unfazed by their success, instead consumed by her new life on the island. Friendships just kept qualifying into more friendships. There was always something interesting to work on between the farm, the lab and the Apiary, which Cynthia donated to Jaclyn to start her new life on the island.
But Pat didn’t have so easy a time. His choices stared him down now, expectantly, with no promise of fortune or fame. Things were starting to get black around the edges when the doorbell rang. A small, cute octopus stood at the entry to Pat’s place, holding a delivery bag with the Forest Noodles logo on the front.
“Verity says you can’t starve yourself while you are living on HER island. She feels bad because she thinks her food convinced you to move here.” Otto stated plainly. While Pat ate some sort of stuffed potato, Otto asked “What kind of music do you play?”
Still munching, at first, he didn’t know how to answer that question.
“This is it, I guess. This is my chance, to be more than the drummer. To be the music not just part of the rhythm thumping along in the background.”
“I bet it’ll be awesome.” said Otto. And Pat, staring down at this beaming ball of aborableness, was suddenly resolved.
Pat called up Timothy and they quickly forged a fast friendship based on their mutual admiration of mathematics and artwork. Generously Timothy just kept showing up with more computers, old controllers and sometimes things that just made a really interesting “booooop” sound.
Late into each night, everyone else asleep, Pat was awake, maybe truly for the first time. A tone rumbled clear in the headphones, the red flickering LEDs on his equipment pace out a rhythm throbbing inside himself, his rebirth in pixel fire. In those lonesome evenings surrounded by his army of digital companions Pat made some of the best music of his life. The crazy part is there was no one around to witness it, but it was different this time. He was the music. He was living it. Sometimes melting whole days into a soundscape of a particular clap or snare. He’d still think about the road. Particularly about the audiences…sharing this creation. And Jaclyn would come around, from time to time, to make sure he wasn’t getting too dark.
Jaclyn suggested Pat throw his own event. A one man Pat the Platypus Live EDM set, something chill, with candles.
“Yeah,” he said. “I’m ready.”
The music rolled out smooth from the Forest Noodles Café late into the evening. Mellow low throbbing ebbs and flows through the forest calling some of the smaller creatures of Chibi Island for a free concert. It wasn’t a packed crowd; Pat didn’t care. Axel and Ruby came, other shadows lurked on the edge of the lit dancefloor. Slowly it filled with a few people. Most were his new friends and some of their children allowed out late that evening for a special show under the stars.
Pat played for them. He played them his new dreams. He played his music, and they applauded, and it felt much less like affirmation (he already knew it was good), but more like a conversation. An understanding.
After the shows was over a group of kids came over and asked him if he wanted to jam sometime. They had this band and they thought his sound would go really good with theirs. Pat thanked them for coming out to the show and offered to help them any way he could. Turns out, they were pretty talented.
But that’s another story.