|Gooblah's stomach rumbled as he made his way through Warf Wharf toward the Food Club. He was proud that, even in a town of pirates, he was given a wide berth. No one wanted to get in the way of the fearsome Grarrl when he was hungry. And Gooblah was always hungry.
He had walked this path every day for years, to the point that it was all muscle memory. A nice stroll through the Wharf to really get his appetite going, a stop by the main desk to see in which arena he would be competing - all the younger and weaker pirates knew to let him pass first - and then into the hall to take his seat. He'd been in all the arenas often enough to have favorite seats at each of them.
His mind wandered as he envisioned what could be on the menu today - burgers, pizzas, assorted seafood of course, desserts. All free for him, of course. Life as a daily favorite to win in his arena was good.
So ingrained was the routine that Gooblah did not even pay attention to the door the Food Club, instead reaching out a robust arm to shove it open as usual. Today, however, the door did not give and Gooblah walked rather embarrassingly into it. The assembled Neopians whom he also had not paid attention to, knew better than to laugh.
"What is this?" he growled. When his question was met with silence, he turned to face the assembled Neopians with a snarl that was echoed by his stomach. "Well?"
"I-it's closed today, Mr. Gooblah," a Kacheek stammered finally. "There's a sign on the door explaining..."
Gooblah rounded on the door and noticed that there was in fact a bright white sign taped neatly to the door. It read...
Date: May 8th
"Closed until further notice."
The Grarrl was furious.
"Why wasn't I informed of this yesterday?" Gooblah demanded.
The bystanders trembled. Their awkward silence did not go over well.
"WHY! WHY is MY Food Club closed?" The Grarrl turned a deeper shade of red and pounded on the door. No one came. He beat on the door again. Still nothing. The combination of panic and rage were soon going to be out of control. Gooblah took a long deep breath in order to calm down -- just a bit.
"I demand an explanation ... and a MEAL!" exclaimed the Grarrl.
The onlookers scurried around, gathering as much food as they could as quickly as they could. Gooblah seemed content in his meal of leftovers.
"Now where is my explantion?" The Grarrl asked, between bites.
After a few moments of silence, the tiniest of Pteris came forth and cleared his voice ...
Date: May 8th
..."There was an issue last night involving some of the other Food Club pirates," the Pteri explained, cowering in the shadow of the large Grarrl. "They got into a brawl after one of the matches. So much damage was done that they had to shut it down."
"Besides, the owner won't allow his pirates to behave like that," another voice from the crowd added. "He said that he'll open up again once everyone gets their act together."
"What?!" Gooblah roared, bits of chewed food flying through the air. "Who started the brawl? I'll beat them up!"
"Well, well, well, if it isn't Goble the Gargle," a mocking voice said from afar.
Gooblah only knew one person who called him that when trying to be rude. It was one of his fellow pirates. Gooblah turned and caught the eye of...
Date: May 9th
Puffo the Waister.
"It was you!" Gooblah yelled, pointing an accusatory finger at Puffo. "You started the fight that closed down The Food Club"
"Don't test my patience." Warned Puffo.
"Or else what?" said Gooblah with a coy smile.
Puffo lurched forward and knocked Gooblah to the ground.
Before Gooblah had a chance to respond, a very familiar voice called out. "Gooblah! Puffo! Stop it this instant or your Food Club will never open again."
Startled, Gooblah turned around to see...
Date: May 10th
He scurried over to the two. "There be no fight'n here," He grumbled. "We don't know if Puffo started any fight, so calm down."
Gooblah bristled. "How can it not be him? Look at his smug face! Cap'n Threelegs, do you have anything to say about this?"
Cap'n Threelegs stood there for a moment, pondering, and then said...
Date: May 10th
"Puffo was it really you that started the fight at Food Club?" He the huge Kacheek a look.
"And what if I did?" He grinned at the Erie.
"He must started the fight! Do something Cap'n!" Gooblah growled.
Cap'n Threelegs looked at both of them, he didn't know if Puffo was being honest.
"Why don't we all calm down and settle this." Cap'n Threelegs finally decided. Before he could gather Gooblah and Puffo back to his training school, someone ran over to them. It was...
Date: May 10th
Scury Dan the Blade, and he was not happy in the slightest. He had his sword in his teeth and practically pounced onto Puffo the Waister as soon as he was able.
"Ye foul sea dog!" The Blumaroo pirate shouted, "Ye just had to escalate things!"
The two rolled around, nearly getting Gooblah caught up in their violent rumble, before the Eyrie pirate captain shouted out.
"THAT'S ENOUGH! THE LOT OF YA!"
The deep, rumbling voice of Cap'n Threelegs was enough to give all of the gathered pirates pause and they turned to look at him.
"Dan!" He snapped, "You just said that Puffo 'escalated' the brawl, that means that he didn't start it, now did he?"
"I had it under control until he got involved, and now we're all going to go hungry cause of him!" Scurvy Dan gruffed out.
"See, it is his fault!" Gooblah said.
"Why don't you tell us what happened, Dan." Cap'n Threelegs said, still attempting to keep the peace.
"Fine, it all started when..."
Date: May 11th
"The Tailhook Kid and Squire Venable had a disagreement over who would sit where at the table. Everyone knows Squire always takes the same seat and has since the beginning of time, but Kid thought it was time for a change. So Kid purposefully sat in Squire's seat and wouldn't move when squire came in."
"Uh oh," said Cap'n Threelegs with a wide-eyed expression.
"So anyway," Dan continued. "They both started arguing and yelling at each other. Squire was very angry, I thought his yellow face was going to turn bright red. So then Puffo comes in and sees the commotion and charges at Kid, sword drawn ready to go into a full out duel. So Admiral Blackbeard ends up drawing his sword to protect kid and then a full on brawl ensued."
"So it was Kid!" Yelled Gooblah in anger. "Let's go find him and teach him a lesson!"
Before anyone could calm Gooblah down, Kid walked in...
Date: May 11th
..and Gooblah charged straight for the unsuspecting Scorchio. “How DARE you close down my Food Club!” Gooblah roared, as he tackled Kid. Scurvy Dan grabbed the Grarrl and attempted to pull him away from Kid, but he only managed to entangle himself in the brawl. Puffo observed the fight for a few moments, calculating his odds, before cheerfully jumping into the fray.
“ENOUGH!” shouted Cap’n Threelegs. With the strength and agility of a training master, the Eyrie swept through the fight. Within seconds, he had separated the brawlers who were sitting on the floor, stunned.
“You should be ashamed of yerselves,” Cap’n said, shaking his head in disappointment. “Looks like you’re all hungry for a fight.”
“I just want my Food Club back,” said Gooblah. “And my free meals.”
“If that’s the case,” replied Cap’n Threelegs, “there’s only one thing to do…”
Date: May 12th
..."Clean up the mess that was made in the dining hall and prove yerselves to the establishment that ye ain't just a pack of spoiled bullies."
Gooblah sighed heavily. "Yer right. We were told the Food Club closed down due to fighting, and what did we all do when we got here? Fought. And for what? We be eaters, not beaters."
The other pirates all murmured their assent, although no apologies were offered - they were pirates, after all.
"How're we gonna get in?" the Tailhook Kid asked.
"What do ye mean?" shot back Scurvy Dan, who despite the temporary truce was still not happy with the Kid for his role in getting the Food Club closed down to begin with.
"I mean," the Kid replied jeeringly, "that the door be locked. An' I don't think the owners'll be too keen on us bustin' 'em open just to go clean up."
Cap'n Threelegs rolled his eyes. "If I can trust you lot to sit still and play nice while I'm gone, I'll go talk to the owner," he said, walking away.
Puffo shrugged. "All that fighting made me hungry, so anything that gets the doors open and the stoves cookin' is fine by me."
Again, the other pirates were forced to agree.
While waiting, they milled about. Gooblah and Dan were giving Puffo and the Kid a wide berth, but for the most part they were all getting along.
The sound of footsteps got the competitors attention, however, those footsteps did not belong to Cap'n Threelegs...
How will the story end...
Date: May 12th
...but to Squire Venable. The Tailhook Kid leapt up immediately, but Dan caught him just in time before he rushed at Venable. “Don’t ye be startin’ anything!” Scurvy Dan hissed at the Kid. “Remember what the Cap’n said about playin’ nice!” The Kid glared venomously at Squire Venable as he sauntered up to the gathered pirates but he, thankfully, held his tongue.
“What ye all be doin’ here?” asked Venable as he approached the pirates.
Before the Kid could utter a scathing remark, Gooblah cut in and explained the situation and their tenuous truce. “And so,” Gooblah finished, “we be waitin’ for Cap’n to return so we can clean up our mess and get back to eating.” Squire Venable nodded amicably and Gooblah thought he understood, but a second later Venable plucked Dan’s blade out of its scabbard; he was surprisingly deft for one so rotund. Dan cried out and Gooblah saw his career as a Food Club champion flash before his eyes. But instead of skewering the Kid, Venable wedged the tip of the sword into the lock on the door and wiggled it around. The door opened with a click.
Squire Venable returned the blade to a baffled Dan. “Did none of ye think to open the door so we can get started cleaning up?” Venable asked.
“We be pirates, not thieves,” Puffo said as he walked into the dining hall, but he nevertheless seemed impressed with the squire’s skills.
Once inside, Gooblah began barking orders: “Puffo, grab the mop in the corner and swab the decks! Venable, check the pantry and Dan get the kitchen in order. Kid, check the plates and cutlery for cracks and mind ye don’t stab anyone with a fork!” The pirates bustled about soon the hall was spick and span. Even better, Dan and Venable had assembled a veritable feast; crisp pizza, juicy meats, piles of neggs, slushies and desserts adorned the table. The pirates piled their plates high.
Venable had reclaimed his usual seat at the table. Gooblah eyed Venable and the Kid for any sign of trouble and said, “I trust ye be gettin’ along from now on?”
“Arr, I be starvin’ something fierce when I saw that Kid be in my seat the other day,” Squire Venable admitted. “Ye all have done things yer not proud of when yer stomach’s been rumbling, ain’t ya?” The pirates all muttered their agreement.
Soon, Cap’n Threelegs returned with the Kacheek proprietor and they were shocked by the transformation of the club. “So what do ya say?” Cap’n asked the Kacheek. “Will you give these hearties another chance?”
The Kacheek surveyed the hall and nodded his assent. “The Food Club is hereby resumed!” he announced. Gooblah exclaimed his delight with a resounding belch.
“Just to be safe,” whispered Cap’n to the owner as they sat down to join the feast, “I would probably keep the Kid and Venable in different arenas for the next few rounds…”
Date: May 15th