You might think that the Neopian Times would be a safe,
disaster-free area place to work. Really, the biggest problem anyone there would
have to worry about would be paper-cuts, right?
“Don’t worry!” shouted Hawkins, a green Kyrii
who was, understandably, nervous at the time. “I’m gonna get you out of there!”
Before him was a huge glass tank full of ink.
This was one of the many tanks where the printing machines drew their ink from.
It was only supposed to be full of, well, ink; however, a certain unfortunate
green Pteri had been unlucky enough to find himself inside. Stuck. Trapped,
like a certain furry creature whose name I just can’t seem to remember…
“Oh, no hurry,” he shouted back (though it came
out muffled), sarcastically. “It’s no big deal… I mean, I’m only trapped in
a tiny tank, half-full of ink – which I think may be getting fuller by the moment.
Although I can’t help but wonder if it’s safe to be breathing in all these fumes…
and I think there could be some mild health risks is swallowing ink… but hey!
No worries, right?”
Hawkins turned around to see Brintle shouting
at him from the Printing Room door. “Come with me! I’ve got something I need
so discuss with you in my office! Now!”
Hawkins turned back to the Pteri in the tank.
“I’ll be back in one minute, okay?” he reassured quickly, before turning and
rushing off to his boss, leaving a certain green Pteri alone… still stuck… still
trapped, like a certain furry creature whose name I still can’t seem to remember…
The Pteri sighed. “I’m going to have to see doctor
after this, aren’t I?”
Brintle closed his door, motioning for Hawkins to take a seat. Once he had,
the Assistant Editor made his way to behind his desk and sat down himself.
“Haunters,” he began, “I have a problem.”
“Umm, before we begin, maybe I should correct
you. You see, my name is-”
“Haunters,” the Blumaroo cut off with a wave
of his hand, “I know what your name is. But right now, that’s not important.
I have a problem, and I think you can help.”
Hawkins shook his head. This pet had problems,
that’s for sure. Most of them of the mental variety.
“Now, I’m sure that you remember a few weeks
ago when we tried out the idea of making the ‘Times out of jelly, correct?”
Remember?! Hawkins had spent the last three
weeks trying to forget that terrible incident! He was still surprised Mister
Brintle hadn’t held his new worker personally responsible for the whole mess.
“Ummm, yes sir, I do…”
“Well, in order to print the newspapers, I had
to buy brand new machines. However, those cost a lot of money, money that we
didn’t have. So, I did the only logical thing – I took out money from a loan
“Oh,” muttered Hawkins, putting his face in
his paws, “this can only be bad.”
“Got that right,” continued Brintle. “Turns
out, when you take out loans from these guys, you’re supposed to pay them back!
Imagine that, huh? And now, this guy wants me dead! He’s going to kill me –
and then eat me! He’s a cannibalistic loan shark!”
The Blumaroo chuckled slightly. “Quite a pickle,
huh? Anyway, I’m going to need your help!”
Hawkins looked up. “I’m not going to have to
do anything illegal, will I?”
“Not yet. That’s plan B. My first plan, which
I’m sure will work very well-”
“Just like the idea with the loan shark?” Hawkins
“Hopefully better!” replied Brintle, smiling.
“My plan is for you and all the other employees here to go out and sell cookies
to raise the money to pay off the bounty on my head!”
“So, wait a minute,” stopped Hawkins, thinking.
“In doing all this, doesn’t that mean I’m saving your life? Wouldn’t that make
you… indebted to me?…”
Brintle got up, pulled Hawkins out of his chair,
and started pushing him towards the door. “Hawkins, it’s nothing like that at
all! Now get out there and sell cookies!”
With the slamming of the door, it was final.
There was no way for the Kyrii to get out of it. He was going to have to sell
Lennert opened the door to his apartment – and stepped through into heaven!
All around him, stacked in pillars that touched
the roof, was a thick forest of cookie boxes. These “trees” were organized in
neat stacks that reached the ceiling, almost as if they were the ones holding
it up. Pathways between the boxes were narrow; it would’ve been so easy to knock
one down and start a domino-effect.
“I don’t know where I am,” the red Lenny muttered,
“but I love it!”
Then, from somewhere in the back, came a muffled
sound. Curiosity peaked, Lennert began to wade his way through past the towers
of treats until he came to a clearing. In the middle was a huge pile of boxes
– not quite as neatly stacked as the rest of the “forests”, it looked like these
boxes had just been dumped there, like a big pile of useless dirt - that rose
up to the ceiling; a mountain in the middle of a forest.
“Lennert!” came a muffled sound from the pile.
The Lenny looked down, confused. “Umm, hello?...”
“Lennert! Down here!”
Lennert’s eyes opened wide. “Oh my goodness!
The cookies – they’ve come alive! Oh, this is so cool!”
“No, Lennert!” came the reply from the pile.
Lennert gasped. “Hawkins! You’ve been turned
into a cookie! Oh man, what am I gonna do?! Don’t worry, I promise I’ll find
a way to turn you back! And I’ll try real hard not to eat you… unless you’re
peanut butter… you’re not peanut butter, are you? ‘Cause I am kinda hungry…”
“No, you fool!” came the Kyrii-turned-cookie’s
reply. “I’m not a cookie! I’m just trapped under a pile of them! Now get me
out of here before I suffocate and die and come back to haunt you as a really
“Oh! Alright!” Making haste, Lennert dug through
the pile of cookie boxes until he found his green-furred friend and could pull
him out. Afterwards, the two roommates sat on top of the mound, looking out
at the woodland of boxes that their apartment had had become.
“Hawkins, how come we have all these cookie
A rather simple question…
“Everyone at work has to have a fundraiser so
our boss doesn’t get assassinated and eaten by a cannibal loan-shark.”
…with a not so simple answer…
“Oh,” came Lennert’s almost-patented reply.
After a moment, he sat up straight, grinning. “Hey, I have an idea! How about
I buy all the boxes from you? Wouldn’t that solve your problem?”
Hawkins looked at him, befuddled. “Lennert,
we’ve been through this. You don’t have any money.”
Lennert sighed, looking at the ground sadly,
then suddenly perked up again. “Hey Hawkins, can I borrow some money off of
you to buy some cookies?”
Hawkins groaned, flopping backwards on the pile.
“I’m never gonna be able to sell all these boxes!”
“Oh, don’t you worry about that!” Lennert comforted,
grinning deviously. “I’ve got a plan!”
“A plan! A grand plan! A plan that will work
– I know it can! Man, if you and me work together on this grand plan, we’ll
sell all these cookies, I just know we can! Just stick to the plan, and-”
“Okay, I get it! Shut up!”
By midmorning the next day, Lennert’s “grand plan” wasn’t looking so “grand”.
Because, you see, the next day saw Hawkins sitting behind a pitiful lemonade-type
stand, boxes of cookies stacked up around him. The Kyrii’s head rested gloomy
in his paws as he stared out at all the other pets that passed him on the sidewalk.
“Hello,” greeted an approaching Krawk, painted
with flames of fire. He examined the wooden, dilapidated stand, though his face
made it hard to tell what he thought (undoubtedly, it wasn’t good). “Will all
funds from these cookies go to help sick orphans?” he finally asked.
Hawkins looked up at him, eyelids droopy, not
bothering to lift his head from his paws. “If I say yes, will you buy my cookies?”
The Krawk narrowed his eyes. “Is that a ‘no’?”
Hawkins shrugged. “Will, it’ll go towards saving
my boss’s life…”
“So… no orphans?”
Hawkins, who’d never bothered to remove head
from paw, just shook his head.
“I’ll be on my way, then.” And off he strode.
Hawkins just shook his head, this time to himself.
“This is so pointless…” The Kyrii, who just happened to glance to his left,
did a quick double-take. As did just about everyone else on the street.
Walking down the sidewalk was a giant chocolate
chip cookie – with a red Lenny’s head sticking out a hole in the front! Hawkins
watched, wide-eyed, mouth a-gape, as it proudly strut its way up to him, elbowing
him in a buddy-buddy way.
“See Hawkins! This was the key to my plan – a
mascot! An image, a gimmick! That’s just what we needed! It’s a good thing I
kept this costume from Halloween a few years back – you never know when you
may need a chocolate chip cookie costume to help get you out of a jam!”
“No! Don’t say anything yet! This isn’t all!”
“Nope! I’ve got a song to go along with it! All
great companies have songs, so now, we’ve got one, too!”
“Oh, kill me now…”
But that didn’t happen. Instead, the Lenny/cookie
began to sing and dance:
“My name is Cookie Man!
I come from Cookie Land!
I baked these cookies in cookie pans,
And they won’t fit in cans!
“My name is cookie man!
I come from Cookie Land!
Please buy our cookies, if you can!
I promise this is not a scam!”
*THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!* came the sound of Hawkins
hitting his head against the bench of the stand. “Boy,” mentioned one passing-by
Bruce. “This must take a big dent out of your dignity, huh?”
Hawkins looked up, shrugging miserably. “Not
really. Any dignity I might have had I lost a long time ago.”
Another nearby mother ixi shook her head disapprovingly,
covering her daughter’s eyes with a hoof. “This is not something children should
“My name is Cookie Man!
I come from Cookie Land!
This suit is pretty hot,
I wish I had a fan!
“My name is Cookie Man,
I come from Cookie Land!
I really need a – oh?”
Lennert paused in mid-song (much to the surrounding
crowd’s relief) to look down at what had interrupted him – a young Usul.
“Hello!” she greeted brightly, giving a flutter
of her eyelashes to match her sugar-sweet disposition. “I’m a member of the
Usul Scouts! And I’ve gotten word that you’re selling cookies here! However,
I think you should know that this is our territory, and we Usul Scouts don’t
like it when others try to mussel their way into our cookie-selling area!”
She flashed another quick, horribly-cute smile
to the surrounding crowd.
“Oohh! Ahhh!” Right on cue.
Back to the Lenny. “So maybe you and your friend
should pack up your stuff and move somewhere else! Or else, I’m afraid there’s
gonna be trouble!”
“Oh yeah?” retorted Lennert, placing his wings
on his hips. “What if we don’t move! What are you gonna do about that,
Suddenly, the little Usul’s smile shifted to
a ferocious snarl, as she leapt onto the Lenny’s face, clawing and scratching
like an animal.
“Ahhh!!!” Lennert shouted in pain. “You little
brat! I knew you were evil when one of you tried to overcharge me for those
stupid cookies of yours!”
Falling to the ground, the two started to roll
around – a Lenny in a cookie suit and a little Usul Scout.
“I warned you, punk! You asked for it! Now, eat
“I’d rather eat food!”
As the two tussled, the crowd just stood by idly
and watched, some cheering and being genuinely entertained, some slightly disturbed
by what was going on, some just plain confused.
“Daddy,” asked a young Chia, “why is the cookie
man fighting a little girl?”
“I don’t know, son. I just don’t know…”
After a few minutes of rolling around on the
ground in a brawl, Lennert finally managed to pry the Usul off his face and
pinned her against the side of a building, her feet struggling in midair. “Finally!”
he shouted triumphantly, pumping one wing in the year while keeping his enemy
restrained. “I’ve finally proven that I’m strong enough to beat up a little
But his victory was short lived. Glancing behind
him, he saw an entire posse of 5 little Usuls approaching, many pounding clenched
fists into their paws, all scowling unhappily.
“Oh no!” shouted Lennert, backing away immediately,
letting the Usul Scout he had pinned against the wall fall to the ground. “Hawkins,
this is bad!”
Hawkins, confused, looked from Lennert to the
approaching posse. “Lennert, they’re just little girls…”
“Hawkins you don’t get it!” shouted Lennert,
quivering in his cookie costume, eyes filled with fear. “I can take one, maybe
two Usul Scouts, but not six! Hawkins they have strength in numbers!”
The first Usul Scout, the one Lennert had presumably
“beat”, got up, shook herself off, and glared up at the two rivals. “Get them!!!”
With a loud war screech, the Usuls chased after
the two would-be cookie entrepreneurs, who took off, screeching their own cries
of terror as they ran down the street all the way home.
“LOOK WHAT YOU’VE GOTTEN US INTO THIS TIME, LENNERT!
I’M GONNA KILL YOU, HEAR ME!?! I’M GONNA KILL YOU!”
“YOU THINK THEY’D LET US GO IF I OFFERED THEM
“Ladies and gentleman, can I have you all gather around me for a second?”
Brintle stood on a desk in the middle of the
News Room, the main room of the ‘Times, where reporters pounded out their articles
and lazy employees (made it looked like they) worked. As the writers, reporters,
and slackers gathered around their Assistant Editor, he began:
“Now, I know a lot of you have worked really
hard this last week selling cookies. And for this, I’m thankful! However, I’m
here to let you all know that this isn’t necessary anymore! You see, apparently,
the loan shark I owed the debt to was killed off by a rival loan shark! So,
as it would seem, I really no longer owe anything to anybody! Kind of a funny
ending, huh?” Brintle gave a weak chuckle, failing to notice that nobody else
was doing the same.
“But wait,” shouted out Hawkins. “What are we
supposed to do with all the unsold boxes of cookies? Donate them to charity?
Brintle shook his head, looking back at Hawkins
as if he was the crazy one. “Orphans?! Pssh! The heck you will! Just give them
to me – I’ll deal with them!”
Hawkins relayed all this to Lennert later that night as they sat atop their
huge mound of cookie boxes. The Lenny’s shoulder’s simply slumped, disheartened.
“Man,” he muttered. “I really liked living in
an apartment full of cookies… it’s been my dream since I was six…”
“You know,” Hawkins realized, looking up as
a strange thought occurred to him. “It feels like we’ve forgotten something…”
The Neopian Times Printing Room
A familiar green Pteri looked out, depressed, from where he was, still trapped
in a tank of black ink.
“Hello?! Is anyone out there?! I really could
use some help in here… I’ve been trapped for nearly four days. This really can
not be healthy for me… I don’t think I should be breathing all these fumes,
and I’m starting to see spots! Plus I really have to go to the bathroom! Hello?
Things always work out… sort of…