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||You are on Week 209
Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...
We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!
Story Two Hundred and Nine Ends January 7th
"Thirty-five thousand Neopoints?" the Acara cried, staring at the beautiful new bike that sat behind the Toy Shop’s window. Her nose fogged the glass as she continued staring wistfully at the golden bike. Even though it was on sale for half price, Sariah knew she could never afford it. Even if she saved all her allowance for the entire winter break, and also broke open her piggy bank, she'd still have nowhere near enough. Disheartened, the Acara stepped back from the store window.
"Hmm, unless..." she said to herself, putting a paw to her chin. "The sale doesn't end for a while, and I have all winter break to save... not to mention that I am old enough to work now. Well, I guess that settles it…" she announced. "I'm getting a job!"
"Erm, good for you." A passing Eyrie said, giving her an odd look.
Sariah blushed, quickly slapping both paws over her mouth; she’d always had the bad habit of talking to herself out loud. The Acara quickly headed down the street, keeping her eye out for any "help wanted" signs that might be found within a shop window. Having searched for nearly an hour, Sariah finally spotted a store that was hiring. "Well," she said to herself, "I guess it might be interesting to work at..."
Author: Rabid Meepit|
Date: 30th December
...the Grooming Parlour."
The Acara paused to look in the display window. Her breath fogged up the glass as she stared at an assortment of eyeshadow, blushes, and hair brushes laid out in a variety of colours. Sariah smiled to herself as she moved from the window toward the front door.
"Hard-working Neopians deserve to be pampered once in a while," the Acara said aloud, unaware of a group of Lost Desert tourists staring at her, "and I'll be glad to help them out!"
Pushing the large glass door open, Sariah heard a jingle from the bell that was tied to the doorknob, which let the shopkeeper know that she had a customer. At once, an Usul in heavy make-up came over to help her.
"Welcome to the Grooming Parlour, home to some of Neopia's finest cosmetic supplies. How may I help you, miss?"
Sariah hesitated for a moment, shuffling her feet. "Well, actually, I heard that you were hiring," she said, pointing to a sign above the display in the window.
"Oh, yes, we are hiring!" the Usul said excitedly as she ran toward the counter at the back of the store. Sariah heard the shopkeeper open a drawer and move a few things around before returning with a large pile of papers in her paw. "Please fill out this application," the Usul said. "We'd love to have more employees, but we always like to make sure that they are qualified to be beauticians before we hire."
The shopkeeper thrust the paperwork at Sariah, who stared at it for a moment. "There's a desk over there with some pencils and a chair you can sit on," the Usul instructed as she ran off to help a customer.
Sariah sighed as she slowly ambled over to the desk. She sat down with a plop, picked up one of the pencils that was scattered around the desktop, then began to read the application...
Date: 3rd January
...which was dishearteningly long.
"Let's see… date of birth, address, mother's maiden name, father's middle name, brother's early childhood nickname, grandfather's first job, grandfather's last job… good grief!" Sariah said aloud as she worked.
The Usul looked up from her cash register. "What was that?" the shopkeeper inquired.
"Hm? Oh, sorry, just talking to myself," Sariah mumbled with a faint blush.
"I see!" the Usul said, looking faintly alarmed. "Do you do that often?"
"Well, only when I think really hard," Sariah admitted.
"Oh, well, not much of that happens in here!" the Usul said with relief. "Have you nearly finished the application?"
"Yes, only I don't know the exact number of grams of eyeshadow that I've applied to myself or any of my acquaintances in the past lunar year." Sariah admitted shyly.
"Hmm," the Usul said. "That's a rather important question. Do you think you could make a reasonably accurate guess?"
Sariah nodded and penciled in a number. "There!" the Acara said. "I've finished it." She smiled and handed the application to the Usul.
"I'll just take it to my manager," the Usul said. Walking to the end of the counter, she laid the application down, then returned to the register and put on a pair of eyeglasses. She then marched back to where the application was and began reading it over with a critical air. Sariah was unsure whether to be amused or concerned.
The Usul finished reading. "Thank you for applying," she intoned in a deep voice. "After carefully considering your request for employment, we have decided..."
Date: 4th January
"...to hire you."
Sariah shrieked with excitement. "I got the job, I got the job!" She abruptly halted her outburst upon noticing that everyone was staring at her blankly. Quickly, Sariah set her face to a serious expression. "Er… ahem. I mean, thank you very much for hiring me. I assure you that I will be a hard-working and dedicated employee."
The Usul peered over her eyeglasses at Sariah, then shook her head with a sigh. "She's really going to have to stop doing that," she muttered under her breath.
"What?" the Acara asked curiously.
The shopkeeper plastered a large smile onto her face. "Oh, nothing!" she said brightly. "So I suppose I'll have to show you around and get you settled in; that way you can learn the ropes." She cleared her throat and began speaking in the deep voice again. "This job is not one to take lightly. You understand that, don't you?"
Sariah nodded vigorously.
"Very well, then. Hmm… how to start, how to start…" The Usul tapped her foot against the floor repeatedly as a thoughtful expression crossed her face.
Just then, an Aisha walked up. "Excuse me, could I get some help?"
The Usul brightened up immediately. She now knew how to familiarize Sariah with her new job. "Of course!" she said with a squeal to both the Aisha and Acara.
Sariah bit her lip in order to keep from laughing. We're quite a pair, she thought. One of us talks out loud to herself, and the other is frighteningly zealous.
"Sariah, why don't you help this nice customer?"
Sariah stopped biting her lip and snapped her head up. "Oh, well… I don't know--"
"Go on!" the Usul urged. "Miss," she said, turning to the now impatient Aisha, "just tell Sariah here what you need."
Date: 4th January
...a complete makeover."
Sariah gaped at the Aisha, then (upon realizing that her mouth was hanging open) snapped it shut so tightly that she bit her lip. "Ow! A what?"
The Aisha sighed, shaking her head. "Look at me. My hair," she began, pointing with a stubby-nailed finger at her frizzy locks, "my makeup, or lack thereof, my nails…" She glanced down at her paws and sighed again, even more deeply than before. "Hopeless since, you see... I bite them." As the Aisha looked up, Sariah saw her lip quiver and noticed that her eyes were bright with held-back tears. "I need to be totally redone. I want to walk out of this room hip, fresh, and cool: a new me."
After a stunned silence, Sariah spurted in what she hoped to be a convincing voice, "Well, I think you're just fine the way you are."
"Sariah!" the shopkeeper chided, scowling.
The Aisha's lip quivered even more violently, and her voice quavered as she spoke. "I don't understand," she wailed. "I thought you would love to do something like this. Isn't this what your shop is for?"
"Yes, yes, of course we would," the Usul shopkeeper soothed, smiling sweetly. Out of the corner of her eye, she flashed a warning look at Sariah. "My assistant here is new, that's all. She'd love to be in charge of your makeover. Wouldn't you, Sariah?"
"Y-yes, of course," the Acara stammered, bewildered.
"Well, then... let's take our customer to a seat over there and get her started."
"Okay," Sariah said, motioning towards a chair. "Um... sit there. Please." As the Aisha took her seat, the Acara hurried to the nearby equipment table and scanned its contents. Taking a deep breath, she grabbed her first instrument...
Date: 5th January
...a pair of scissors. With shaky hands, Sariah approached the back of the Aisha's head, where the hair flowed down in thick curly locks. The Acara was clumsily chopping the hair off when, due to nerves, her hand slipped.
"Oops..." Sariah said, clapping a hand to her mouth. She had cut the hair unnaturally short.
"How's it going back there?" the Aisha asked, deeply engrossed in reading the latest issue of the Neopian Times. She looked up slightly, then said, "You're taking quite a bit off!"
Sariah blushed a deep crimson, unbeknownst to the Aisha. "Fine!" the Acara said hastily. "Everything's fine! I'm just... giving you a new style… that's all."
The Aisha continued to read the paper, licking her finger and turning the page. "Good..." she said idly, not paying attention. "Could you wash it, too, please?"
Sariah looked at the Usul shopkeeper, who nodded vigorously, beaming at her. "Err... sure," the Acara said uncertainly, taking a bottle from the table.
The Aisha leaned back so that her extremely short hair flopped back into a sink. Sariah turned on one of the taps and wet the Aisha's hair as best she could. She poured some liquid from the bottle onto the hair and rubbed it in, then placed the container back on the table.
However, something very odd happened. The liquid didn't make any bubbles like shampoo was supposed to. In fact, it felt rather odd and sticky. Sariah picked up the bottle again and let out a gasp. As she re-read the label, the Acara realised that she had made a grave mistake. It wasn't shampoo at all! It was actually...
Date: 5th January
"Oh no!" Sariah said aloud.
The Aisha looked up, confused. "Sorry," she said, "I couldn't hear you, due to the water in my ears. What did you say?"
"Nothing," the poor Acara said, flustered. She washed the dye out as quickly as she could, but she realized that it had already dyed a good bit of the front and sides of the Aisha's hair. Sariah watched the red dye swirl down the drain while her mind raced for a solution to this latest dilemma. Looking around, she found the correct shampoo and conditioner, lathered the Aisha's head down, then rinsed it.
Grabbing a towel before the Aisha could look in a mirror, Sariah wrapped it around the customer's head and had her sit back in her chair. Nervously, the Acara picked up the hairspray and started spraying everywhere.
"I hope this works," Sariah said out loud.
"Sorry? What did you say?" the Aisha piped up, raising an eyebrow and glancing up from her paper.
"I said this should work," Sariah said, covering up quickly.
The Aisha smiled and settled into her chair. Sariah was shaking uncontrollably by this point, and she kept glancing at the manager, who was, luckily, deep in conversation with another customer.
The Aisha chattered on about her family and her job. Meanwhile, Sariah just nodded, not really paying attention. The more the Acara played with the Aisha's hair, the worse it looked.
Disheartened, knowing that this would probably be her first (and last) job, Sariah picked up a hair dryer and started blowing the Aisha's multi-colored hair while wrapping the short strands around a brush. Working rather quickly, she soon had the Aisha's head full of curls. If the Aisha gained anything from the trip, then at least it was softer hair. After a short time the hair was dry, and the Aisha's original hair color of blue was now tinged with bright red.
Biting her lip and hoping that the Aisha was blind to what a poor job she'd done, Sariah forced herself to say cheerfully, "Well, should we start on your makeup?"…
Date: 6th January
…"Oh yes, that's fine," the Aisha replied, flipping a page of the paper she was reading. "Just go ahead and put on whatever you think would look good."
"Okay," the Acara stammered. Realizing that she sounded quite nervous, she added hastily, "That's great. Just sit back and relax."
Sariah quickly opened up a bottle of liquid foundation that she found on the counter and poured some into the cap. After rubbing it on her hands, she spread it across the Aisha's face. "Uh..." she said, trying to come up with some way or starting a pleasant conversation, "this foundation frames your face well and will bring out your beautiful, brown eyes." As a fluke, she remembered hearing someone say the same thing during a previous visit of her own to the Grooming Parlour.
"Oh, thank you," the Aisha said. Seeming pleased, she flipped another page.
Sariah didn't know that, while she had been applying the foundation with her hands, she had knocked over the bottle and had created a huge puddle of foundation on the counter. "My goodness!" she exclaimed upon realizing what she had done. "I mean... my, you have good skin," she said, giving a fake smile to her customer.
The Aisha looked up, puzzled. "Erm, thanks..." she replied.
"Um... please excuse me for a moment." The worried and baffled Acara rushed around, trying to find paper towels or something. Sariah finally found some tissues that she thought would work.
Upon returning to where she'd been working, the Aisha looked at her quizzically. "Are you sure everything's working out okay?" she asked. "Do I look good?"
"Oh... great! You look great," Sariah answered, grinning as best she could.
"What's this mess?" the Aisha asked, pointing to the spilled foundation.
"Oh... just a little, minor, tiny mess-up," Sariah said lamely. The Acara smiled. "I'm just cleaning it up."
Twenty minutes later, the Aisha was all made-over. Other than smudging the lipstick, putting a lot of blush on by accident, and getting mascara on the poor customer's shirt, Sariah had done a halfway decent job. With a small sigh of relief, the Acara turned her attention to the Aisha's nails…
Date: 6th January
...She cringed as she looked at them. Each fingernail resembled an old, sunbaked fish scale. They were in desperate need of filing, and the dirt underneath them was unbearable to look at.
Wondering what she had gottten herself into, Sariah crossed over to the equipment table once more to grab a nail file. She returned to the Aisha moments later with a rather thick silver nail file with a golden handle. The Acara's customer paid no attention to her return; she was too enthralled with an article in her paper.
Gulping, Sariah began to file vigorously at the Aisha's hard, yellow nails. In no time, they had nice, rounded tips. With a sigh of relief, Sariah got up once more and grabbed the nearest nail varnish. She shook the bottle to mix the colors inside it. To her surprise, the top flew off, splattering polish on the floors and the wall. Some even made it onto the front of the paper the Aisha was reading.
"What was that?" the Aisha asked, looking up from her article. She was completely unaware of the bright purple spots of nail varnish that were dotting the walls and floors in her vicinity. "Did you drop something?"
"No, no," Sariah lied quickly. "I just... tripped. That's all."
The Aisha shrugged and returned to her paper as Sariah ran across the Parlour to grab the nail polish cap, which had landed near a display of blushes. She returned smiling insincerely and began to paint the Aisha's nails at quite a fast pace.
"Your nails are drying, miss," Sariah said a moment later as she recapped the varnish bottle. "There's a full-length mirror near the window if you'd like to see how you look," she added reluctantly.
The Aisha nodded and walked toward the mirror, leaving her newspaper in the chair. As she reached the mirror, Sariah held her breath in anticipation...
Date: 7th January
…"OH!" the Aisha cried. She seemed to be looking at her reflection in some state of shock. Sariah couldn't tell if it was pleased shock or just plain ol' shocked shock. She tentatively went over to the Aisha's side and, chewing her lower lip nervously, put a paw on her first (and possibly last) customer's shoulder.
"Wh-what do you think?" Sariah ventured, bracing herself for the possible breakdown that was coming. The only response the Acara got was a few gasping sounds -- definitely not a good sign. She began looking outside the front display window of the Grooming Parlour, scanning for other businesses she might be able to apply at.
"I... I... I can't believe it!" the Aisha gasped. Sariah squeezed the Aisha's shoulder tightly, about to start babbling apologies, when her customer squealed, "This look is amazing! It's just the look that a Twisted Roses fan should have! How did you know I was a fan of that band?!?"
"Uh... I could just tell by looking at you?" Sariah replied in surprise.
The Aisha was now leaning in closer to her reflection, analyzing the thick mascara and shocks of red in her hair. "Wow, I look a lot like their lead guitarist now, don't I? It's amazing! Just amazing! I feel like a whole new person, and it's all thanks to you! AMAZING!" The Aisha clapped, squealing happily, and threw her arms around Sariah, pulling the Acara into a big, grateful hug. "I had no hope of ever looking any better, and you completely proved me wrong! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!"
Sariah was in a daze. What were the odds of this happening? "Not too likely..." she muttered to herself. Noticing the odd glance the Aisha gave her, she quickly stammered, "Uh, I mean, you're very welcome!"
The Aisha, after one last look in the mirror, paid at the counter and exited with a new bounce in her step. Before she left, she shouted over her shoulder to Sariah, "I'm going to tell all my friends about you! They'll be so jealous of this look that they're going to want it, too!"
Sariah smiled, looking down at the generous tip her customer had left. At this rate, I'll have that bike within weeks! she thought. Already, she could envision herself riding that golden bike…
Sariah felt pretty good about herself... until realizing that she couldn't remember the entire process of errors she had gone through to make the Aisha look that way. Additionally, through the window, the Acara could see that her customer was already directing some admirers in the direction of the Parlour.
"Oh great..." she said to herself while the jingling bell on the door announced that more customers had filed in....
Date: 7th January
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