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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 24th day of Awakening, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 87 > Short Stories > The Tail of Two Meerca Brothers

The Tail of Two Meerca Brothers

by taipeiss

"Orly! Orly, you've gotta see this! I think I've found the treasure in our job hunt!" Harle, a blue Meerca, slid down the wooden banister and landed on the ground floor as he called for his brother. He found Orly eating cereal at the bar across the living room. The whole house seemed to moan and creak as he clomped over, wildly waving a newspaper. Orly turned around in his stool and stared blankly at Harle.

     "A job? Look, if it's another lame gig cleaning out those new lavatories, you can forget it. I'm sick of cleaning dung out of my fur!" Orly shivered as he remembered all the scrubbing it took to restore his shiny green coat. "And would you please stop sliding down that banister? You're going to wear a hole right through it! You know we can't afford anymore repairs!"

     "Lavatories? No way! This is sooo much better! Not only will it be a complete breeze, we'll also have enough cash to roll in!" Harle grinned excitedly, but Orly was skeptical.

     "Look, Harle, the last time you said something was 'a breeze,' I ended up in the Beauty Contest wearing a dark blue dress and three layers of makeup. And we didn't win. Nothing is a breeze, Harle, especially if you expect to have that much money." Orly shook his head as he munched another bite of Corn Crunchies. Harle only laughed.

     "Oh Orly, I'm serious! This is the perfect job! But you'll have to guess. What is your most favorite food ever?"

     Orly smirked and twisted around in the stool. "Edible. I'd have to go with edible," he said chuckling to himself. He swiveled back around, but the side of the stool shot up, dumping both Orly and his cereal onto the carpet. Luckily, they both landed right-side up. Alex erupted into bouts of laughter as he helped his brother up.

     "And the best performance goes to, Orly!" Harle couldn't help but tease a bit. "Oh Orly, you're so silly sometimes. Anyway, I was talking about Neggs! Wonderful, delicious, juicy, nutritious Neggs! We can eat them all day long, and we'll get paid for it! Look, it's in this ad right here," Harle tapped the newspaper and handed it to Orly.

     "Let me see this...'The Neopian Games Association,'" it read, "'is currently searching for Meercas to participate in games of Meerca Chase on a daily basis. After an intense training session, the top Meercas will be chosen for the job.' Oh, and here's the number to call and sign up!" Orly grinned as he grabbed the phone and said, "Harle, it looks like you've finally found a keeper."

     The brothers had called the number, and were preparing to be at N.G.A. Headquarters the next morning at ten. They were also informed that there would be some field-testing before anyone was chosen. They zoomed around the house excitedly, pretending that they really were in Meerca Chase and that the beanbag chairs were red neggs. They went to bed early that night and were sure not to eat too much. They didn't want to spoil their appetites! They awoke early the next morning and bounded to the prestigious, tall building that was the Neopian Games Association. They hopped through the sliding glass doors and slid up the receptionist's counter. A big-haired Lenny looked up at them.

     "Hello," she said in a nasal tone, "how can I help you?"

     "Hi, I'm Orly, and this is my brother Harle. We're here for the Meerca Chase job!"

     "Whoa, there, don't get too excited now," said the Lenny as she chewed her gum, "after all, there are many other Meercas out there. We're only picking three."

     Three! Orly and Harle were just two, so they could both get in! They smiled excitedly at each other as the Lenny motioned to the door to the right.

     "Just go through there and take the second door on the right. Thaaank you."

     The brothers marched happily through the door, humming a cheery tune. They stopped in front of the second door to the right, grinned excitedly, then opened the door. The smiles on their faces fell, for they found themselves in a chattering room of about fifty Meercas. The receptionist wasn't joking when she said there were many! It seemed now like their chances were slim. They gulped, then took seats near the front of the class. A professional-looking yellow Meerca stood on a platform in front of them, glanced at the clock, then cleared his throat to silence the din.

     "Thank you for coming to this Meerca Chase training session. In this first section, you will learn the basics of the game." The projector screen behind him lit as he spoke. It showed the words "The Basics" under a picture of a yellow Meerca and a Happiness Negg. The teacher held a small clicker that changed the slides. "First we will learn the objective of the game, then the rules, then the Negg values..."

     None of the information was new to the brothers, for they were big fans of the game already. They watched excitedly as the screen showed clips of a Meerca in the game, took some reminder notes on negg values, and oohed and ah-ed with the others as rainbow and fish neggs were displayed.

     "Now for a quick quiz, to make sure you were all paying attention," announced the teacher as he passed out the quiz, "do your best; this counts for part of your final score!"

     Orly and Harle worked quickly and carefully. The quiz was quite easy! After twenty minutes, the quizzes were collected. "You will get the results back at the end of the session, along with the final scores," the teacher informed, "and now we will look at game tactics."

The class went over many topics, including hard-to-reach Neggs and emergency maneuvering. The lessons were long and a bit dull, but Orly and Harle rode them out until the end.

     "And that," concluded the teacher as the screen showed zigzag patterns, "is how you work yourself out of a tail trap. Alright everyone, it's time for a field test!"

     The long hours in that room had left the students zombie-like, but the now perked up and marched happily out the door. Orly and Harle followed their teacher and classmates down the hall, out of the building, and into a warehouse that was empty but for a window and door on the far side of it.

     "This," proclaimed the teacher, his voice echoing, "is one of the locations where Meerca Chase is played. The floor we stand on is composed of Neggcrete, a unique substance developed by the N.G.A. scientists solely for this game. When game sequence is activated, they produce the Neggs that appear in the game. Also combined with the Neggcrete is the sensitive technology that records the status and score of the player." He led the students to the door across the warehouse. "This room," he explained, "is where monitors sit to, surprise surprise, monitor the game. This is where we will be holding observations."

     "Observations?" questioned Harle, "you mean we'll be watching the field tests?"

     The teacher smiled and nodded. "Of course. Watching is the second best way to learn. Now follow me inside," he directed his students, "and we'll begin."

     The room was nicely sized and fit the class snugly. A large monitor stretched across a wall, providing a birds-eye view of the warehouse. There was a large keyboard that was set in front of the window. Also in the room sat red Meerca who looked quite fit.

     "This," the teacher said, motioning towards the stranger, "is Louie. He is one of the best in the business. Just so no one is nervous about going first, we'll watch Louie before we begin. Now everyone be seated!"

     The class settled into chairs and watched patiently as the teacher typed away at the computer. "Setting: High. Difficulty: Hard." Louie opened the door and got into running position. He nodded to the teacher. "Hit it, Lou!" the teacher smirked, punching a key on the keyboard.

     And with that, Louie was off. The warehouse hummed and buzzed to life. The monitor lit up and the students watched him race around the floor, either ramming or dodging the Neggs that materialized. Orly and Harle frowned with disappointment as they realized that the Neggs were mere holograms, though quite solid-looking. The class watched the monitor excitedly as Louie's score raced past one thousand, just before grazing a red Negg. The pitch of the hum dropped, and Lou strutted into the control box proudly.

     "Ah, I could of done better," he boasted, taking a seat. The teacher laughed and shook his head.

     "Okay now, who's first?"

     The students each took their turn, trying to get a higher score than their fellow pupils. Orly and Harle did well, both ranking high in the 700s. Louie graded the quizzes as the teacher operated the game. Finally, the last student finished after being boxed in by his tail. The class walked back to the main building, and the students were sent into a separate room while the teacher totaled their scores. Orly paced back and forth nervously. There were a lot of great players that had tried out. What if they hadn't got in? Then their job search would stretch forever, while the house fell to ramshackles. Harle bounced around the room nervously as the others chatted. After what seemed like eternity, the teacher entered.

     "I," he said, "have posted the scores on the bulletin board outside this class. The top three Meercas have made it in. If you made it and would still like this job, speak to my receptionist." And with that, he was gone.

     It was practically a stampede into the hall! The students gathered around the list, most groaning and leaving the crowd ruefully. Orly and Harle worked their ways to the front of the crowd and looked up. Orly's eyes grew large.

     "HARLE! HARLE WE MADE IT!"

     It was true! They had captured the second and third places, nabbing the job positions by just a few points. They and the number one Meerca skipped happily to the nasal receptionist.

     "Congratulaaaations. Here are your information paaackets for the jooob."

     The brothers grinned broadly at each other. And from that moment on, they lived the good life. They fixed up the house and the furniture, adding on new additions and a garden to play in. They bought Electric paint brushes and gave themselves a new shine. They worked hard and deserved every bit of goodness they earned. After a few years, they retired from the game after achieving all time-high scores.

The End

Author's Note: Many Meercas are recruited every year to play the game, and many are retired too. While roaming Neopia, if you happen to come across two Electric Meercas zooming around the trees, remember the tale of their hard work and efforts, and how one event brought them from rags to riches.


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