Would You Like a Tissue?
Hello, my name is Despair and I'm a grey Uni! Most people
think I'm always going to be sad, but they're wrong. I'm always happy!
Today at Neoschool, Ms. Tigersquash, our regular
teacher, wasn't there. We had a substitute, and I was so happy!! Not because
I didn't like Ms. Tigersquash, or anything, but I was so happy that a substitute
would be able to further her career and earn some Neopoints!
Everyone else in the class was upset, but not
me. I like everybody!
Anyway, when we entered the classroom, there
was an old, old Wocky sitting at Ms. Tigersquash's regular desk. She had written
her name on the chalkboard, and it said "Mrs. Angelpuss." I excitedly rushed
up to her.
"Nice to meet you, ma'am!" I greeted her cheerfully.
"My name is Despair, and I'm one of your students!"
But instead of returning the greeting as I thought
she would, Mrs. Angelpuss looked pityingly at me. Pityingly?! I wondered why.
"Would you like a tissue, dear?" she asked,
pushing a box of tissues toward me.
"Uh, no, thanks," I replied. She had probably
just made a mistake. It wasn't her fault at all. I always looked sad, although
I felt just the opposite.
"If you want, you can go outside for a few minutes,"
Mrs. Angelpuss said. When I shook my head, she continued. "What's the matter,
honey? Bad grade? Detention? Come on, you can tell me, I can help. I'm a teacher."
"No, I don't need help." I smiled at her reassuringly,
and took my place in my seat.
She was nice! She really cared about me, even
though she thought it was because I was sad. But still.
"Hey, Despair, catch!" my best friend Sally,
a Faerie Cybunny, called. She tossed a paper airplane she'd folded into the
air, but I missed it. Oh well, I thought. I can't catch everything.
I beamed and scrambled to pick it up and throw it back to her, but before
I could, Mrs. Angelpuss had rapped a ruler on Sally's desk.
"Young Cybunny," she announced, looking proudly
at me, "Don't make her feel worse. If she can't catch it, leave her alone. Not
all pets are fortunate enough to have faerie coloring, you know."
Sally looked confused, and when Mrs. Angelpuss
had left, she tilted her head inquiringly at me.
"She thinks I look sad," I smiled forgivingly.
"It's an honest mistake. She's just defending me."
"You know, I never thought grey was a good color
on you," Sally giggled. "Talk about personality contradiction!"
Unfortunately, Mrs. Angelpuss had heard.
"What is your name?" she asked threateningly
to Sally, who gulped.
"Sally," she answered.
"Well, Miss Sally, you have lunch detention.
It's unfeeling of you to make fun of someone who's already sad."
"But, Mrs. Angelpuss…" Sally began.
"No buts!" Mrs. Angelpuss said. She looked consolingly
at me. "It's all right, honey, you look lovely."
"Thank you, ma'am," I said. She was trying to
do good. "But me and Sally are friends. It didn't mean anything when she said-"
"Don't worry," Mrs. Angelpuss interrupted, looking
benignly at me. "I'll make sure she won't beat you up after school. Did you
hear that, Miss Sally?"
Sally nodded miserably, and I threw her an apologetic
glance. Mrs. Angelpuss looked angrily at her a last time, then went back to
the front of the class. Her kindness was just misdirected, I was sure.
"Now," she said when the bell rang. "I'm Mrs.
Angelpuss, your substitute."
"Aw," the class responded.
"Your first lesson is spelling," Mrs. Angelpuss
announced, looking at her lesson plan. "Now everyone, open your books to page
I had forgotten my spelling book at home, and
I was worried. Mrs. Angelpuss had noticed. I couldn't get too sad if she gave
me detention, though. She couldn't play favorites.
"You forgot your book, dearie?" Mrs. Angelpuss
asked sweetly. "That's alright. You don't have to share with that awful Sally.
Here, you can share with Damien." She looked at Sally as though she were a hardened
A spotted Kougra reluctantly moved his desk
closer to mine so I could read the print.
"Now, who can spell 'Taelia'?" Mrs. Angelpuss
asked. I raised my hand, because I liked to participate. "Yes, sweetie?"
"T-a-l-e-i-a," I announced. I really wanted
to try my hardest for her. She was trying really hard to look out for me!
There were titters. "No I'm afraid that's not
quite right," Mrs. Angelpuss said sympathetically. "No one laugh, please. It
was an easy mistake. Sally, can you spell it?"
"Yes," Sally announced. "T-a-e-l-i-a spells
Instead of congratulating her, Mrs. Angelpuss
said, "Don't boast about the fact you can spell it, young lady."
"But I wasn't!" Sally exclaimed, tears in her
"Don't argue with me," Mrs. Angelpuss said dangerously.
She turned to me. "Honey, would you like a few moments outside? I wouldn't mind."
"No, I'm alright," I responded. I felt sorry
Mrs. Angelpuss made a clicking noise with her
teeth and said, "You're very brave." She shrugged, and continued. "Can anyone
I didn't raise my hoof. I didn't want to get
Sally in trouble again. But Mrs. Angelpuss got the wrong impression.
"You can answer," she said, concerned. "I'll
make sure that scruffy Sally doesn't intimidate you."
"Sally is my friend," I said. Tears welled up
in my eyes. Mrs. Angelpuss was trying so hard, but Sally was getting in trouble!
"We were just joking around."
"In this school, I will not tolerate any bullies,"
Mrs. Angelpuss said stiffly. "Sally, after-school detention."
Poor Sally! "No, really. We're friends. Please
"I won't accept mean students in this class,"
Mrs. Angelpuss answered. "Sally has already proved she cannot contribute to
a class discussion. Now, would you like to try to spell it?"
"S-m-o-o-t-h-i-e," I said dejectedly, careful
to get the word right. Mrs. Angelpuss didn't need another reason to be sympathetic,
although I new she was trying to be friends with me. It was probably a big misunderstanding,
"Very good, very good. Would anyone like to
try more words?"
Silence. Most of the class were throwing Mrs.
Angelpuss angry looks; they were clearly on Sally's side.
"Very well. Take out your math books, please."
Everyone groaned, except for me. I was feeling
a tad bit annoyed, and I didn't feel annoyed very often.
"What is six minus two?"
Sally raised her hand. Maybe if she got it right,
she could redeem herself. I hoped so. It was my fault she was getting in trouble
in the first place, I thought uncomfortably.
"Yes, Miss Sally?" Mrs. Angelpuss asked, cocking
her head. She obviously didn't expect her to get it right.
"Four, ma'am," Sally said, using a carefully
Mrs. Angelpuss frowned. "Yes, that is correct,
but what did I say about bragging?"
I felt a bit more annoyed, and I didn't like
it. I was running out of reasons to like Mrs. Angelpuss.
"Please, ma'am," Sally said tearfully. "I'm
not a bad student, really!"
"First impressions aren't always correct," I
added without raising my hand. I hoped it would work. Normally, I wouldn't have
dared to speak out against a teacher, but she was pushing me over the edge.
Mrs. Angelpuss looked surprised at my outburst.
"Maybe not, honey," she said uncomfortably, "But Sally's behavior has not been
very good all day, and…"
"You've never given her a chance!" I insisted,
almost angrily. I haven't gotten angry for four years, so it was serious.
"I've given her a lot of chances, but…" Mrs.
Angelpuss shrugged uneasily.
"No you haven't!" Rodney, a Red Techo, burst
"Yeah!" Kimberly, a Poogle, agreed.
"Speech! Speech! Speech!" the class said (except
me). They looked at Sally expectantly.
"Let Despair do the talking," she smiled. She
knows that when I get mad, I really go ballistic. That last time I got mad,
four years ago? She'd stolen my slice of cake I'd brought for lunch, and I'd
tackled her right in the middle of the cafeteria! She knew never to steal from
"Well," I said, building up force. I was like
a bottle of soda that was shaken up, really. Someone just needed to pop the
cap, and I would explode.
"Deary, you don't have to…" Mrs. Angelpuss began.
She'd popped the cap. Her bad luck.
"YOU ARE A LOUSY TEACHER!" I screamed. "YOU
HAVE NO FEELING FOR ANYBODY, ESPECIALLY ME AND POOR SALLY! I'M NOT SAD, OKAY?
YOU THINK ALL GREY PETS ARE SAD. WELL, THEY'RE NOT!!! YOU ARE A HORRIBLE, INSENSITIVE
Someone applauded. I took a deep breath and
"Well!" Mrs. Angelpuss looked horribly offended.
And why shouldn't she be? "Detention, young lady!"
Well, at least she wasn't calling my honey,
or sweetie, or deary. That was an improvement.
"Fine," I announced calmly. I was done exploding.
That afternoon, as Sally and I sat in detention,
I had an idea.
"Sally," I whispered to her, "What colors do
Unis come in?"