Sing Sing Sing (With a Swing)-The story of Benny Goodmane

by TheBandBrony

First published

We all know what jazz is, but just who created it?

Benny Goodmane, a pony with the gift of music, attempts to create a new style of music: Jazz. After being laughed out of Canterlot as a failure, he travels to Ponyville in search of success.
If anypony knows who this story is based off of, you get a gold star.


Sing Sing Sing (With a Swing)-The story of Benny Goodmane

Breep! Breep! Breep!

The alarm sounded. A deep blue hoof reached out from a tangle of blankets and lazily slapped the clock, silencing it. The pony yawned. He began his morning ritual. He got out of bed, yawned, combed his mane, brushed his teeth, and checked his calendar. When he saw what day it was, the toothbrush dropped from his mouth, hitting the floor with a staccato "Clink".

This was no ordinary day for the young Benny Goodmane. Today was the day he presented his piece of music to the Canterlot symphony orchestra. Just the name implied majesty. The Canterlot symphony orchestra was easily the best performing band in all of Equestria. Their music was even loved by royalty, as the royal sisters could often be seen in attendance. For them to play HIS piece... It would be mind-blowing, a real dream come true! His music career would take off. He would be a star!

He hastily pulled on a collared shirt (he couldn't afford a suit) and headed for the door. He stopped quickly to look at himself in the mirror. His grey-streaked mane still had the vague appearance of bed-head, bits of it falling into his face. His deep, blue eyes permeated by flicks of grey glimmered with excitement.
He took a deep breath, centered himself, and walked out the door. He was halfway down the block when he realized he forgot his music. He slapped his face with his hoof, and ran back to his apartment to get it. He thought to himself, "You are gonna rock their socks off! They will love your music! You'll be fine!" still, slivers of doubt infected his thoughts. It was perfectly natural to feel this way. Nervousness is not going to kill you.

"Don't worry, Benny,” he thought. “They will love your music!"

"We hate your music," the conductor and owner of the Canterlot symphony orchestra said curtly, looking down on Benny from his table in his office. Next to him sat a member of the orchestra, presumably the lead player.

"Wait... You don't like it?" Benny squeaked. "But, it's great!"

The conductor laughed. "No, it's not. This concept of 'swing', it's simply preposterous." he spat the last word in Benny's face. "The rhythms are jerky, the sound is mediocre at best, and the feel is just... Unnatural."

"But that's the point! The music is supposed to get you on your hooves and dance!" Benny pleaded. "Look, just give it a shot. How about it?"

The conductor looked sternly down at Benny. "Mr. Goodmane, you have talent with instruments, but this music is... Just... Bad! I'm sorry, but this will never be played in MY concert house."

Benny slumped. He picked up his music, and left, the skip in his step now gone. He went back to his apartment. He got out his secondhand clarinet, and took a deep look at it. The thing badly needed repair. The bell was chipped, the buttons were dull and somewhat rusty, and the mouthpiece had begun to fall apart. He put his lips to it, and churned out a mellow tune. He couldn't show his face around the concert hall again. He would be a laughing stock of the entire orchestra! He tried to think of what to do next, but thought escaped him. He stared blankly at the clock. It wasn’t even noon. He put his head to his pillow and sighed. He tried to think of what to do, but thought was permeated by the jeers and taunts of his peers: Benny, the loser. Benny, the has-been. Benny the failure.

The Music Shop

Sing Sing Sing (With a Swing)-The story of Benny Goodmane

Author's note- Short chapter, but it sets up some important plot tangents. More to come tomorrow.

The bell attached to the shop door jingled. A blue unicorn with a downtrodden face walked into the shop.

"Hey! Benny! How's my best customer doing?" shouted the owner of the music shop.

Benny looked up. "Just peachy."

The owner chuckled. "I take it this has something to do with presenting your piece to the orchestra?"

Benny sighed. "They hated it! They didn't even bother to try it out! Do they know how HARD I worked on that?"

"Listen man," said the shop owner, cutting off his rant, "Those guys... They aren't really into THAT type of music."

"Oh, so they're not into good music?"

"Ha ha ha! That's good kid."

Benny sighed. "I can tell all the jokes I want. It's not gonna change the fact that I'm now the laughing stock of the Canterlot music world."

The owner gave Benny a sympathetic nod. "Yep, that's certainly true. Can't really help you with that."

Benny rolled his eyes. "Oh gee, thanks. That is just SO helpful! You are SUCH a great friend!" he mused, lacing his voice with sarcasm.

"Hey, you're not exactly a ray of sunshine yourself kid."

Benny laughed, but quickly returned to his previous frown. "Well... I just stopped by for some reeds,"

"Oh. Yes. Of course. Here ya go." Benny pulled out a handful of bits and slapped them on the counter. "Oh no. This one's on the the house. You've been through enough today."

Benny smiled. "Thanks man. I appreciate that."

"Not a problem," replied the shop owner.

"With that out of the way," said Benny,” the only thing I have to worry about is what I'm gonna do with all the extra copies of my music."

"Here, let me see it, maybe I can do something about it." Benny took out several folded pieces of paper, and handed them to the shop owner.

He pondered over them for a minute. "Hmmm... You know what? I think I know a guy who writes music similar to this."

Benny did a double take. "What?! Really? Who? I never met anyone who even knew what jazz is!"

"I would think not, he lives in Ponyville."

"Uh... Ponyville? Sorry, I've never heard of anyplace called Ponyville."

The shop owner laughed. "I didn't think so. It's a quaint little town about half a day's walk from here."

"Cool!" exclaimed Benny, elated he would have someone who shared his taste in music. "I'll go meet him! What's his name?"

"Let me see," mumbled the owner, "His name... Hmmm... Oh! I remember now. It's Gene Hoofa.

"Gene Hoofa. Got it. What does he look like?"

"Trust me; you'll know him when you see him."

Satisfied, Benny practically ran out the door. "Thanks again!" he said I've his shoulder. He was going to make sure this worked out. He ran to his house, pushing several ponies out of the way. He disregarded their shouts, knowing that he was on to something big. He raced into his apartment and pulled out an aging Map of Equestria. He searched for a few minutes, finally locating the town of Ponyville. He marked it with a big red "X" just to be sure he could find it again.

"Looks like I'm going to Ponyville." He sat back on his haunches and laughed at what he was doing. He was now hedging his entire career on a pony that he had never even seen who lived in a town he didn't even know existed until recently. If that wasn't desperate, he thought, I don't know what is.

He looked at the clock. It was getting late. He decided to pack tomorrow morning, and set out for Ponyville midday so he would get there around sundown. He put his head down to sleep, a small glimmer of hope kindling a fire that now burned in his heart. "This is gonna be great. I can just TELL!"

Meeting the natives

3) Meeting the natives

sunnypuppy23-I will include character exposition in the upcoming chapters. Give me time; I'm not the greatest writer ever.
Also, I didn't proofread this. Just got back from a new year's party. Happy 2012!

"So this is Ponyville. I sort if expected something... Grander." Benny mumbled. He tramped along the worn dirt roads that winded through faded wooden buildings. He lifted a tattered piece of paper to his eyes. On it was the address of the hotel he would stay in while he was in Ponyville. As he wandered around looking for the hotel, he bumped into a bright pink mare that was carrying a box of some sort of pastries.

"Oh! Pardon me. I'm very, very sorry about that."

The mare whirled around, revealing the most energetic smile he had ever seen. She studied him for a moment, her deep blue eyes staring holes in his head.

"Uh... Hello?" stammered Benny, clearly put off by this mare's peculiar manner. Suddenly, she took a deep intake of breath, tucked the box under her leg, and ran off without saying a word.

"Well... That was... interesting." mumbled Benny to himself.

"Oh don't mind her. She does that to all the new ponies in town." said a voice coming from somewhere behind him. Benny turned around, silently hoping there wasn't another crazy pony talking to him.

"Over here, silly!" said the voice. Benny looked around. He spotted a lavender pony in a large, pink hat sitting across the street from him. She was sipping a yellow liquid Benny assumed to be lemonade. He walked over to her.

"You... You know her?" he asked quizzically.

The mare nodded. "Yeah. That was Pinkie Pie. She's always a little... Unusual."

"A little?" Benny raised his eyebrow.

The pony giggled. "That's just her way, I guess. She's probably off to start planning a party for you.”

Benny's face flushed. "A party? For me? I don't mean to be bashful, but why would she throw a party for ME?"

"Oh, she loves throwing parties. Does it all the time. Sometimes I think she just looks for an excuse to throw one."

"For some reason, I don't find it that hard to believe." They shared a laugh, but as it faded, it was replaced by an awkward silence.

"Well... Uh, I better be going," Benny waved the paper with the address he was looking for. "Gotta find this hotel."

"Oh! I can help with that!" The mare took Benny's paper. "This is a good place to stay. It's just around this corner to the left.

"Cool. Thank you..."

"Twilight Sparkle. I run the town's library. You should stop by sometime."

Benny nodded, a small grin spreading across his face. "I certainly will, Ms. Sparkle. Until then, have a good day." he nodded, and began to follow Twilight's directions toward the hotel. He passed a flower shop, the sweet smell of petunias and daisies wafting into the air. He surveyed his surroundings: the town was alive with color, and it practically radiated with life. Sure, it wasn't perfect; he promised himself to keep an eye out for that Pinkie Pie. But other than that, he easily found it better than Canterlot. He sighed contentedly. It was a truly beautiful day. A bird flew overhead, chirping out a beautiful little melody that was sure to get stuck in Benny's head. He stood still in thought a moment. Perhaps he could go explore the town once his bags were unpacked. He headed to a large wooden building with a slightly fading "hotel" sign swinging in the breeze. He paid for a room, and set his bags in his room, not stopping to look at the room at all: he now desperately wanted to explore the town. He made his way out and onto the beaten dirt roads, looking around him for a direction to travel in. He saw a wooded area over a low-lying house, and decided to head there. He walked with vigor in his step that he hadn't felt since before his presentation at the concert hall. "Don't think about that," he mumbled to himself. "This is gonna be more fun than any stinking concert hall could ever be."

As he neared the edge of the forest, he spied a rabbit hopping along the lush tree line.

"Hey little guy," Benny mused. "How are you today?" The rabbit stopped, them hopped over to Benny. He gently patted the bunny's head with his hoof. The rabbit's head was as soft as any silk he had ever felt.

As he did this, the trees to the rear of the tree line began to shake and stir, their branches rustling together loudly. Benny and the rabbit looked up in unison, just in time to catch a yellow blur fly out of the forest, parting the shrubbery around it with force. It screamed into Benny, knocking him in his back. The rabbit ran off into the forest the thing had just come out of, its little legs pounding like tiny pistons to get away from whatever just hit him. A thought flashed through his mind: "Should I be running as well?"

Benny rolled over, shook his head to rid his mane of any stray pieces of grass, and looked about. The thing that had knocked him over spun to face him. It was a Pegasus, with bright yellow fur that mirrored a midday sun. Her mane shone with a sun-dried, natural purple tone. Her eyes were a strong cyan, sparkling in the light.

"Uh, are you ok? I'm ever so sorry, I just didn't-I didn't mean to-I'm-I'm sorry." whispered the pony in a timid voice, hiding her face with her mane.

"That's ok," replied Benny. "Can't say it's the weirdest thing that's happened today," remembering Pinkie Pie.

"I'm sorry, I don't mean to be rude, but have you seen a little bunny rabbit? I was trying to find him; it looked like he ran over here." He could barely hear her, her voice was so small.

"I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you. Can you repeat yourself?" asked Benny.

The pony cowered. "Oh, I'm sorry, I just, I-"

"No no, it's fine. I just couldn't hear you." said Benny, tapping a hoof against his ear.

"Oh! I was wondering if you saw a little bunny run by here recently."

A blue hoof was extended toward the tree line. "I saw him run in there, if it helps."

The mare broke a smile on her face. "Oh, thank you very much! And I'm sorry about crashing into you."

"Accidents happen. It's all good." Seeing that he was not mad, the Pegasus beamed. She had an infectious smile, and a beautiful one at that.

"Thank you!" she said, her timid voice seeming to grow slightly. "I've got to find that rabbit. I'm sorry again. Bye-bye!" with that, she flew off into the forest, creating a small path into the vegetation.

Benny sighed. "Are all the ponies in this town crazy?" he laughed at his own joke, and then set off at a lazy pace for the hotel. That was enough sight-seeing for one day.

Finding Hoofa(Part 1)

4) Finding hoofa (part 1)

A.N. My apologies if you happen to find any errors. I've been preoccupied lately with getting my driver's licence. SOOOO much paperwork...

Anyways, here goes. Part two coming... tomorrow?

Benny stared at the wall. Its sea-green shades stared back at him.

"How am I gonna find Hoofa?" the wall held its stoic silence.

"I don't even know what he looks like, much less where to find him!" The wall refused to answer, instead staring blankly back at Benny.

"Hmmm... Maybe someone in town knows him." Benny felt the cogs of his brain beginning to turn.

"I could ask that girl I met... Twilight Sparkle! I'll bet she knows Hoofa!" The wall refused to acknowledge his revelation.

"Some help YOU are," he spat at the wall as he exited the room. He immediately ran into a dilemma.

"Where do I find her?" He cursed under his breath. How could he have forgotten?

He thought back to his conversation with the lavender mare.

"I run the town's library. You should stop by sometime."

"Well, looks I'll be paying Ms. Sparkle a visit." He headed off into town. The rain of the previous day had given way to a cascade of loose sun rays permeating the cloud layer and shining down on the inhabitants of Ponyville.

"Now to find the library." Not knowing where the library was, he opted to wander around town aimlessly until he found the library. "At least it's not raining," he mumbled to himself, remembering the river of mud the road had become yesterday.

After several minutes of wondering, he had not happened upon the library. Growing frustrated, he took stock of himself. "Maybe Pinkie Pie can give me directions!" He said to himself. He burst out into laughter at his joke, attracting more than a few unusual stares from ponies nearby.

"I can give you directions, silly!"

The mare's voice caused him to choke on his own spit. He whirled around violently, but saw no one.

"Oh no. I'm going crazy!" he said. "That sounded like Pinkie Pie!"

"Well DUH it sounded like Pinkie Pie. I AM Pinkie Pie!"

He did an about face, and came nose to nose with the pink party pony herself. For a split second, they held the pose. Then, Benny burst backwards, creating distance between the mare. He was incredulous.

"What?! But... How? You were there, but... Behind me... What is going on?!"

Pinkie gave a toothy grin. "Well you said you needed directions. I can give them to ya, if you want."

Benny stared the pony down. Apparently, she could break the laws of physics as well.


"Uh... Yeah," said Benny, still wary of the pony in front of him. "I was just looking for the library. I dint know if you-"

"OH! I know where that is! Two lives there! Although it's kind of weird she lives in a tree. I mean, trees aren't really made for living. Unless you're a squirrel. Maybe Twi's a squirrel! But why would she keep that fact from me? What if it's a squirrel conspiracy?! Maybe-"

"OKAY! The library?" shouted Benny, an irked expression on his face.

"Oh yeah! The library! Follow me!" Without so much as a second thought, the mare began to skip away at a surprising pace. Benny realized she was attempting to guide her to the library, and scrambled to keep up with her.

Benny somehow managed to tune out the banter coming from Pinkie's mouth until they reached the outskirts of town. Pinkie stopped, and with a bow, gestured to a giant tree, it's branches spread out as if the tree was stretching, it's ancient roots sticking out of the ground at odd intervals, it's gnarled bark only separated by...

"Windows? Doors? This... Is a tree! Not a library!" Benny smirked.

"I know right?" chattered Pinkie Pie. "I thought so too, but then Twi just popped out all 'Hey Pinkie Pie, I live here!'. And I was like, 'Wow, you live in a tree?’ And she was all-"

"Okay okay okay! Thank you! Goodbye now!" shouted Benny, making a sweeping motion with his hooves, gesturing Pinkie to leave.

"Oh, you want some private time? Okie dokie lokie! See ya layer, Casanova!"

Benny put up a hoof to protest, but she was already gone, skipping along back to town to do whatever Pinkie Pie did when not torturing ponies.

He shrugged off the encounter with Pinkie, walking up to the door at the base of the tree and giving it several strong knocks with his hoof.

"Come on in!" He heard a voice from the inside of the tree call out.

He opened the door and attempted to walk in, but tripped over a massive encyclopedia. He could only watch as the floor rushed up to meet him, cutting off his descent abruptly. Darkness blotted out his field of vision.

He awoke on a plush cushion in the middle of the most poorly kept library in all of Equestria. Books fought with scrolls of parchment for control of the floor. Massive bookshelves that lined the walls did nothing to organize the avalanche of written knowledge, their shelves stuffed with more scrolls and an infinite amount if books. A tiny dragon that was carrying an ice-pack waded through the sea of paper to his side.

"Here you go. You took one heck of a fall."

“You’re telling me.” Benny took the ice-pack, and flinched as he applied it to his head. "Thanks. I'm... I'm here to see Twilight?"

The dragon nodded. "She's coming over here."

A purple mare with her horn alight with a deep red glow trotted over, using her magic to part the surrounding paper, clearing a path to Benny's perch.


"Whoa whoa, slow down there," groaned Benny, rubbing his head. “One word at a time please!”

The pony blushed. "I'm so sorry. I was doing some research and I just threw some books on the ground. I didn’t think someone would show up this time of day.”

"Really?" smirked Benny, lacing his voice with playful sarcasm, "I just thought you had Equestria's worst home decorator."

Twilight giggled. "Smart talk for someone who just tripped over a book."

"With all the books on this floor, how couldn't I?" Benny retorted.

"Touché." replied twilight.

Benny got up, steadying himself on s stack of dictionaries. "Anyway," he began, "I came here because I was hoping you could help me find somepony."

Twilight's smile faded. "Oh, I'm sorry. I’m a bit new here, and I still don't know all if the ponies around here. You should ask Pinkie Pie. She knows EVERYpony in the town.

Benny's eye twitched involuntarily. "You mean... I could've..." a long sigh escaped his lips, and he fell down onto the pillow. "Oh Celestia kill me!"

Twilight cocked her head to one side. "Now come on, Pinkie Pie's not THAT bad."

An incredulous look from Benny shattered her facade. "Okay maybe not. But she's the pony to go to for this."

Benny repressed a scream, and handed the ice-pack back to The dragon. "Thanks little guy." He stood up, flicking strands of his mane out of his face as he did so. "Well," he replied, steeling himself for the inevitable, "I'm going to go have a chat with Pinkie Pie."

Finding Hoofa(Part 2)

5) Finding Hoofa (part 2)

My apologies for such a short chapter. I had the option of either doing one upper long chapter or two slightly shorter chapters. You can see which one I chose. Also, if this chapter feels rushed, it is. I promised you part two, dear reader, and by golly I got you part two!

"Of course I know Gene Hoofa! You really should've just asked earlier, silly!"

Benny bit his tongue, grateful that Pinkie Pie knew where to locate this Gene Hoofa. "So where can I find him?"

"Oh he owns the music shop."

"And where can I find the music shop?"

"It's right next to the hotel over there!" Pinkie pointed at the hotel he was staying in. Benny trained his eyes to the buildings near it. Sure enough, there was a faded brick building with a guitar resting above the entrance just to the right of Benny's hotel. A blue hoof smacked the center of Benny's forehead.

After cursing himself for not checking his surroundings, he trotted over to the shop, eager to finally meet this Gene Hoofa.

As he neared the shop, he became awake of a drone of activity emanating from the inside of the building. Benny rapped on the door three times.

As he did, a large, wooden drum hurtled through the shop's window, projecting glass onto the street corner, a thunderous crash ripping through the air followed by a dense thud as the drum contacted the road. Traffic slowed to a crawl as ponies stopped to gawk at the sight. A brown unicorn with snow white hair and a suit appeared in the hole where the window had once been.

"Sorry 'bout that! Sorry." He hopped out of the building and levitated the drum, tossing it back into the shop. It was then that he noticed everypony staring at him. He scrunched his face up, returning their looks glare for glare. "Well? What are YOU looking at?!" he shouted, and tramped back into the shop.

Benny decided it was best to just walk in, seeing this pony wasn’t one for formality. What he saw ad he walked in blew him away.

The walls were stacked floor to ceiling with every single variety and size of drum one could imagine, and more. Cymbals hung in mid air, suspended from the ceiling by wire, giving the entire shop a slight amber tint from the light reflecting off of the bronze sheets. Drums, some lined with bright sparkles and lacquer, some rough and unfinished, haphazardly occupied the ground, as well as several shelves against the wall. The unicorn in question was near the rear of the shop, beating the side of a drum with a hammer.

"Uh... Hello?" stammered Benny. The pony snapped his head to the side, realizing he wasn't alone in the shop. A look of rage crossed his face, and he lifted the hammer as if he were about to throw it at Benny.

"You aren't a member of the royal guard are you?"

"What? No, I'm Benny Goodmane."

A look of relief washed over his face. He tossed the hammer behind him, hitting several tools before clanking to the ground.

"Well hello! I'm Gene. Gene Hoofa. Nice to meet you!"

Benny meekly extended his hoof. Gene grabbed it and shook violently, almost throwing Benny to the floor.

"Why did you think I was part of the royal guard?" Benny asked apprehensively.

"Oh, that. Just a little mishap the last time the princess was in town. Some people can really hold a grudge. I mean, sure, that drumstick could've killed Princess Celestia, but I'm sure that if given the opportunity, any reasonable pony would've had the same idea to shoot the darned things out of a cannon. I mean, how cool is THAT?! A cannon that shoots drumsticks? It's pretty cool!" Winded, Gene took a seat on a sturdy looking bass drum. "So, Benny, what brings you too my humble abode?"

Benny had rehearsed this conversation a million times. But now, seeing Hoofa up close, all bets were off. "Uh... Yes. I hear you write and play jazz-"

"Jazz? I LOVE that stuff! Can't get enough of it! I'm always trying to get a band together, but no one seems to like swing like I do. It was hard enough finding a bass and a couple of horns to back me up, let alone a full band." his expression changed to a forlorn look, and his shoulders sagged.

“Wait a minute,” said Benny, “you already have most of a band?”

Gene nodded slightly. “Yeah. I could really use a piano, maybe a clarinet or two.” He stared off into space for a moment. Benny stomped a hoof on the floor, causing Gene to break out of his stupor. “Oh! Sorry. Just kind of… zoned out there for a moment. My bad. What can I do for ya?”

Benny exposed his pearly whites, and said in a sing-song voice, “You said you were looking for a clarinet for your band?”

“Well, yeah. But I don’t quite get what you-“Benny turned slightly, exposing his cutie mark: A clarinet, offset by several music notes. Gene’s eyes shot open, and he almost rocketed off of the drum he sat on, causing it to tip over, knocking over more drums in a domino effect. He grimaced slightly as the drums cascaded down to the floor, but quickly regained a smile.

“Hey! Uh, would you maybe be interested in joining a band? I know not many ponies like jazz, but if you try it, I just KNOW you’ll love it."

Benny's smile grew even more, already knowing the answer he has about to give. "I would be honored, sir."

Gene nearly jumped out of his fur. "Really? Cool! Let's go get some guys together!"

Benny cocked his head to one side. "Wait, you barely know who I am, where I'm from, or what I play. How can you be so sure I'm telling the truth?"

Gene extended a hoof towards Benny's flank. “You have cutie mark of a clarinet. I don't need ant more confirmation than that.” He said in a matter-o-fact voice.

Benny wasn't going to let him off that easy. "Well, I want to know you before I do anything. For starters, why did you throw a drum through that window?"

Gene gave Benny a sheepish grin. "Well, the darn thing wouldn't tune right, so I just... Tweaked it a little."

A look of horror spread across Benny's face. "You… “Tweaked” it by throwing it out a window?"

Gene shrugged. "You never know if it'll work or not until you try it."

Benny sighed. This was going to make for one heck of a story back in Canterlot.

Back stories and famous last words

6) Back stories and famous last words

Historical accuracy be damned! Time to go to the old standby of making things up!
Originally a part of the last chapter, I decided last minute to separate the two and give sunnypuppy23 the back story he wanted. Better late than never, I suppose.

"Okay," said Benny. "I want to get to know you better."

"Well, I normally don't swing both ways, but I guess I could give it a shot." replied Gene.

Realizing what he was implying, Benny recoiled. "Oh, no! I just want to know what your credentials are!"

"Ohhhh... Credentials?”

Benny facehoofed. “What experience in music do you have?”

“Oh! Well, I write most of my own music," he gestured to several file cabinets overflowing with parchment. "I got a bassist and a couple horns behind me willing to play, and I'm the best drummer in all of Equestria. Is that good enough?"

"Woah, slow down there. You can't possibly be the best drummer in ALL of Equestria. There's a young kid from Manehatten that's supposed to be amazing. I think his name's Travis B-"

A drumstick, sharpened to a fine point, was levitated an inch away from his face. As Benny recoiled, Gene took a menacing step towards Benny.

"If you say that low brow, creative-as-a-metronome little MULE Travis Bucker even COMPARES to me, I will not hesitate to rebuild that window then throw you out of it!"

Benny stifled a scream. "Okay, okay! Just, put the stick down!"

Benny put on a toothy grin, and threw the stick into the wall behind him. It stuck to the wall with an audible "twang". He turned to face Benny just in time to see him lose consciousness and fall to the floor.

"Hello? Helloooo? You okay there, big guy?""

Gene's face floated back into consciousness above him, deep worry lined creased into his forehead. "Well at least you aren't dead."

Benny let out a laugh, half relief and half anxiety. As his heartbeat slowly relaxed, he noticed Gene slowly stand up and offer him a hoof. Benny grabbed it, and vaulted himself up. Hi head swam at the sudden return of gravity.

"How... How long was I out?"

"Eh, not too long. I thought you were dead for a few minutes, but that's no big deal." He accentuated his point with a wave of his hoof.

Benny stared in awe for a moment. He had never met a pony like HIM before. "You are a piece of work, aren't you?"

Gene, interpreting it as a comment, puffed out his chest with pride. "Yep! No one could possibly match me!"

Benny rolled his eyes at the gesture. “Okay…” he looked for an excuse to leave this pony’s company, hopefully for a long time. “Oh, hey! Look at the time! Better mosey on and-“

"Now wait," said Gene, an apprehensive look on his face, "I've told you pretty much everything there is to know about me, but I barely know anything more than your name!"

Benny mulled over the possibilities of what might happen if he gave personal information to a pony like this. Against his better judgment, he decided to spill. "Okay, I guess. What could possibly go wrong?"

"Famous last words." mumbled Gene.

Ignoring the comment, Benny thought back to his childhood. "Well, I was born up in Canterlot. I lived in a little house right next to the concert hall. Me and my parents would always sit and listen to the orchestras perform. We didn't even need tickets; the sound just flowed right out to us." Memories of warm summer nights and picnics while listening to smooth melodies carried on the wind flowed through him, putting him in a blissful stupor.

"Hello?" Gene's hoof waving next to his eyes brought him back.

"He he, Sorry. Anyway, my parents were big on classical music. My dad played trombone, and my mom played trumpet. They threw every brass instrument they could at me, but none ever stuck. Then, one day, I got a job cleaning the concert hall. That job literally changed my life." Benny chuckled, remembering how he screamed like a schoolfilly upon finding out he got the job. "Anyway, when I got there, a musician who had played there the previous night forgot his clarinet. I picked it up, and... It just felt right. It was... I don't even know how to describe it." Benny thought that sounded cheesy, but he continued none the less. "Just my luck, the musician who owned the clarinet arrived to claim his instrument.”

"Well well well, somepony's playing with another pony's toy."

"Oh! No, I was-I just, uh,"

"No, it's okay! You sound amazing. How long have you been playing?"

"Uh, actually, I never played. I play brass, but this is the first time I tried the clarinet."

"Wow. You got talent. Play some more."

"Well, Uh, I don't really know how."

"Well what were you doing when I walked in?"

"Just... Feeling the instrument, I guess."

"That's how you're supposed to do it, kid! Now do it some more!"

"If you say so..." as he pushed air into the piece and moved his hooves over the keys, assisting himself with short bursts of magic, a smooth stream of notes began to flow melodiously out of the clarinet. The musician sat down in the front row, nodding his head slightly as Benny began to increase his pace. As Benny crescendoed and finished his impromptu performance, the musician rose, and made his way to the stage.

"I'm sorry, I-"

The musician pointed to his flank, a giant grin plastered on his face. Benny noticed a faint magic glow over his flank. He turned just in time to see his cutie mark appear, suppressing an urge to scream like a filly as the image was plastered onto his flank. The musician laughed, laying a hoof on Benny's shoulder.

"Congrats, kid. You got real talent there. Use it." With that, he took his clarinet, twirled it around his hoof, and walked away, his instrument levitating behind him.

“I never even got to know his name…” finished Benny, his mind awash in the memory of that day.

"Wow. That's a real good story, man." Gene had positioned himself on top of a large cardboard box full of receipts. What happened then?"

"Well," Benny continued, "my parents weren't exactly thrilled that my talent wasn't with brass, but they were supportive none the less. They still live up there in Canterlot, but they moved to a rest home a few years ago. I moved to an apartment, and started getting odd jobs around the city to pay for living expenses. I also wrote music on the side. Once I even auditioned to get my music played by the Canterlot Symphony Orchestra in the concert hall."

"Nice! How did that work out?"

Benny hung his head, his mane falling in his face. "They laughed at me. That's why I came here. I am currently the laughing stock of the Canterlot music community. If I show my face around a music hall with any decency, I’ll get thrown out just like that." Benny winced as he said this, reality slapping him in the face with cold, hard truth.

"Nah, it can't be THAT bad. I know what it's like, to get laughed out of auditions like that. It sucks, but eventually it gets better. One door closes on you, a window opens. You get my drift?"

Benny looked up and smiled at the pony's feeble attempt to raise his spirits. "Thanks man." He stood up and looked out the hole that used to contain an opaque sheet of glass. The sun had been lowered considerably since he last checked, and he didn't want to be locked out of the hotel after it shut down for the night. "Hey listen, I gotta go. I'll be in touch."

Gene suppressed a yawn. "Yeah, sure. If you can get here tomorrow, I'll bring the band over so they can meet you."

"Tomorrow sounds good," replied Benny, beginning to feel the first signs of sleep tug at his eyelids. "I'll meet you here. And if I may suggest, you might want to get that fixed." he said, extending a hoof to the window frame devoid of glass.

"Eh, it's a good night. Doesn't look like rain. At least I hope.” A worried look was displayed on his face, which did nothing to ease Benny’s pity for the unicorn.

And with that, Gene ushered Benny to the door. "See ya tomorrow, Benny. Get some sleep; you'll need it when you meet the cats in my band. Benny was poised to counter the statement, but he was lost in the apex of drowsiness, allowing himself to be pushed out of the shop and onto the streets.

"Tomorrow. Cool. What could possibly go wrong?" he reassured himself, trotting off into the pervading darkness.

Postscript- I know, more than one of you are more likely Travis Barker fans. Please, feel free to be as harsh and demeaning to me as possible. Happy Friday, fimfiction.

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