Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 105,225,448 Issue: 209 | 23rd day of Gathering, Y7
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Trapped Within a Dream: Part Two


by chibicelchan

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Inside, she touched down on the floor and took in the sight. She was standing in a celadon-green carpeted waiting room separated by a chalk line drawn on the floor.

     Straight ahead of her, she saw two desks; behind one, a bored-looking pink Uni sat in a swivel chair, and behind the other...

     Her heart skipped a beat as she realized the other desk was Dr. Death's desk on the days when he worked reception. Today, unfortunately, was not his day at the desk, and a yellow Skeith wearing a baseball cap and chewing on a pencil was filling his seat.

     She looked around and saw chairs up against 3 of the four walls, none of which were currently occupied. She was a bit disappointed that she wouldn't get to see the Pound in action, but then again, with how nervous she was, perhaps it was for the best.

     Hally gulped and approached the desks. She wasn't sure which desk clerk she was supposed to give her resume to, but she found herself meandering over to the yellow Skeith.

     She gave a little cough as she stepped up to the desk, unable to keep her eyes off the surface.

    This is it. This is Dr. Death's desk, she thought, scanning the light wood. Taped to the side of the desk was a picture of a dejected Poogle, and the words 'Don't disown your poor Neopet!'. She felt giddiness rising into her chest as she recalled from memory page 96, paragraph 1, line 5 of Dr_Deaths Biography:

     "Only when working in a place such as the Pound can one truly appreciate the horrors that lie within. No one had told me what to expect, of course, but being all for Neopets rights, I pasted that lovely sign to my desk and stepped back with a set jaw and a feeling of having accomplished something. I was doing my part, I thought, and I disregarded the laughter of the other employees. Here I thought people would do as they were told. Obey the sign. Obey it, indeed..."

     "-Help you?"

     Hally snapped back to reality and brought her eyes up, seeing that the Skeith was talking to her.

     "Oh, yes. Hi! My name is Hally Schoy-"

     "Sign all three and have me stamp the top sheet. You'll need to return with your owner or guardian within 48 hours for it to be valid." The Skeith rattled the words off in a monotone, holding out a clipboard.

     "I'm... I'm sorry?" Hally asked.

     The Skeith sighed and rolled his eyes.

     "Sign all three and have me stamp-"

     "No, I heard you, but what is this?"

     "B-M180, Consent of Pet Abandonment form; B-M181, Disclaimer stating that the Neopian Pound is not responsible for any injury, dismemberment or death which may occur inside its doors, accidental or otherwise; and finally B-M182-"

     "Hang on, hang on... abandonment? No, no," Hally giggled nervously. "I'm not... I'm... I'm applying for a job here."

     The Skeith raised an eyebrow, then casually placed a fourth sheet on top of the clipboard.

     "B-M185, Statement of Mental Handicap. Please have a licensed practicing psychiatrist sign in your place and return with your owner within 48 hours. If your owner can not or will not be present..."

     "Hold on, hold on," Hally cried, shaking her head vehimently. "I'm not putting myself in the Pound! I'm applying for a job here. Look, this is my resume."

     The Skeith paused for a second, still holding out the clipboard.

     Hally frowned, then placed her resume on top of the B-M185 sheet.

     "What's that?" the Skeith asked.

     "My resume," Hally said simply.

     The Skeith frowned and then finally put the clipboard down on the desk. He leaned over the clipboard, scanning the resume. Then his head snapped up and he leered at Hally.

     "Well this... is a resume."

     "Yeah... a resume."

     "A resume."

     "That's what I said."

     The Skeith threw his hands in the air and a large grin broke out onto his face.

     "Well, why didn't you SAY so! Lovely to meet you, I'm Dan. I work Front Desk part time," he said happily, leaping to his feet in order to shake her hand.

     "I'd say you've got the job down!" Hally laughed.

     "Aww," Dan brushed the compliment off. "Well, then, uh... Hally Schoy, is it?"

     "Yes, that's right."

     "Boy-oh-boy. Give me a minute to calm down. I thought you HAD to be either kidding or oblivious to reality when you said you were applying for a job here. My apologies, it's just... the last person who applied for a job was... well... me!"

     "No kidding!"

     "No kidding. Oh boy, well, let me take a look at this resume here." He sighed, sitting back down. "Oh, uh, I don't do the hiring, so don't try and kiss up to me, won't do you any good. I just screen out the weirdoes and the unsavories. At least, I think that's what I do... as I said, no one has applied for a job here for the last 3 years."

     "That's incredible. I mean, I've been waiting my whole life to apply for a job here. It's always been my dream," Hally enthused.

     Dan raised an eyebrow.

     "You sure you haven't been eating too much pizza before going to bed?"

     "Yeah, I get that a lot," Hally said quietly.

     "Well, hmmm... first in your class at Lil' Wadjet Kindergarten? No way! I'm an alumnus!"

     "You're kidding!"

     "Nope! They don't by any chance still have the toy car that was chewed in half...?"

     Hally's eyes widened.

     "That was YOU?"

     "Sure was," Dan nodded.

     "You're like... a legend! We all used to fight over that car!"

     "Hey, what can I say, I was destined for greatness," Dan grinned smugly. "Anyway... okay. Lil' Wadjet Kindergarten... petpet sales, mmmm..."

     He finished reading, every so often mumbling to himself. After a few more seconds of re-reading the final line, he slapped the paper down on the desk and got to his feet.

     "What is it?" Hally asked, her heart in her throat.

     "Wait right here. I'm gonna grab the Doc."

     Hally's eyes widened.

     "The... the DOC?!"

     "Yeah. Dr. Reynolds. She does the hiring."

     "Oh," Hally said meekly, lowering her eyes and feeling a blush heating her cheeks. Here she'd thought he meant Dr. Death.

     But... he was getting the doctor who... did the HIRING?

     Her eyes snapped back upward, but he was already gone. She stood in stark disbelief at the situation. Was her resume really that good? She had to sincerely doubt that, and figured that instead she had simple coincidence working on her side. Most likely Dan would have jumped up and run to get "the Doc" for anyone who came in seeking employment.

     She suddenly heard uproarious female laughter coming from a room in the back of the building. A moment later, a door flew open and she heard the same voice exclaiming something.

     "...Gotta be kidding me!"

     A Shadow Gelert in a lab coat appeared from behind a corner, followed by Dan. She had her long ears wrapped in a bun and her demeanor was professional. She looked down and met Hally's eyes, then gave more of a smirk than a true smile.

     "Hello, I'm Dr. Reynolds... you're Hally Schoy?"

     "That's right, good morning, Doctor," Hally said pleasantly.

     "Morning," Reynolds said absently, picking up Hally's resume and scanning it. When she'd finished, she put it back on the desk and gave Hally a scrutinizing look.

     "Well, that resume looks okay. Not great, but not bad."

     Hally felt a pang as she recalled Sophie's "Not bad" comment, but it didn't seem to be hurting her any in this situation.

     "How long exactly did you work in Petpet sales?" Reynolds asked.

     "6 months," Hally blurted out the first figure that came into her head. It's almost true, I had my Puppyblew Arfie for 5 and a half, she thought with a nervous grin.

     "You started pretty young, then."

     "I had ambition."

     "It doesn't say anything on here about Neoschool. What is your intelligence level, if I may ask?"

     "32," Hally said meekly.

     "You read a lot of books?"

     "I've read Dr_Death's Biography 78 times..."

     "Gets better every time, doesn't it?"

     "Yes, ma'am."

     "I thought so, too," Reynolds nodded. "You know, working here is no walk in the park. You see the worst of Neopia on a daily basis. A lot of people have thought they could handle it, only to be driven away by the trauma. We don't get a lot of applicants, but we only have 6 employees here, counting myself and Dr. Death. You know why we have 6 employees, Miss Schoy?"

     "I... don't."

     "Because there are exactly 6 Neopets in the whole of Neopia that can handle this job. Now, would you lead me to believe that there are actually seven, and you, Miss Hally Schoy, are number seven?"

     Hally put on a determined stance, and nodded exactly once.

     "I would."

     "Why? Why, Miss Schoy?"

     "Because... it's been my dream since I was a child. Because... I've waited my entire life just to get to this point. I'm not gonna say I'm naive enough to say I can make a difference, but to me... this place is just like a second home. I've only been here a few minutes, and I know it already. And besides, Dr. Death has always been my hero... and if he can do it, then so can I."

     Reynolds frowned, chewing her tongue in thought.

     "Well, Miss Schoy, I have only two words for you."

     Hally's eyes widened.

     "You're nuts," Reynolds concluded, shaking her head and giving a little laugh. "But, who am I to stand in the way of a young girl with a dream. You'll start out cleaning cages."

     A breath caught in Hally's throat, and her hands flew to her mouth.

     "You mean..." she choked, trying to hold back ecstatic tears.

     "You're hired."

     Dan peeked out from behind Reynolds, grinning.

     "Wow! Way to go, number seven!"

     Hally felt her pulse pounding in her ears. She truly felt as though she were going to burst, and there was only one thing she could do in her state.

     "CAN YOU GUYS TELL ME WHERE THE BATHROOM IS?!" she screamed, her voice making Reynolds and Dan cringe.

     "Uh... that way," Reynolds gestured toward the back. Hally leapt over the desk and flew top speed toward the closed door and slammed it shut.

     Reynolds and Dan stared at each other.

     "I think that's the first time I've ever seen someone run so fast and NOT be headed for the exit," Reynolds said with astonishment.

To be continued...

 
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