The Pool Party
It was the week before school went back for the summer,
and on a rather hazy Monday afternoon, my sister Janie and I sat in the backyard
of our small Neohome, sprawled out on plastic recliners. Janie, a red Acara, had
a glass of lemonade and a bowl of guacamole and chips balanced on her stomach,
and occasionally she'd make comments about the excruciating heat or how she wished
we could go swimming. On the other hand, I was rather enjoying the heat; as a
Terror Mountain bred and raised Zafara, just recently adopted into a Neopian Central
family, sunshine was a new thing for me. It was a welcoming thing, at that, different
from the snow I was so used to.
"Urgh, it's so hot," moaned Janie suddenly
as she took a sip of her lukewarm lemonade, then placed it back on her stomach.
When I didn't reply, she added, "I wish we had a pool. A big, cold pool - like
the one they have at the Neolodge. Wouldn't that be nice, Aletha?"
I shrugged at this and gazed up at the cerulean
sky, smooth and cloudless. "I guess," I said.
"You guess?" Janie sat upright at this, as if
she was in disbelief with my response. "You just guess? 'Cause I mean
honestly, Aletha, it's burning hot out. Suffocating hot out. Sticky. Gross."
I sat upright as well and stared my sister in
the eyes. "Well Janie, if you're so hot, why don't you do something about it
instead of complaining?" I suggested.
Janie shrugged her shoulders, and she clumsily
scooped up the bowl of guacamole and chips and the glass of lemonade into her
matted, sweaty paws. "There's nothing to do," she stated in a plain tone.
"There's TONS of stuff you could do, Janie,"
I replied, swinging my legs over the side of the recliner and standing up. "You're
just being too lazy to think of what that stuff is."
Janie scowled at this, and she stood up as well.
"Well then, Miss Thousand-Ideas… what do you suggest?" the red Acara
I frowned and said, off the top of my head, "How
about an um… pool… party?"
"Pool party?" Janie shot back.
I nodded sagely and asserted, "Yes, a pool party,
Janie. Your friend Maranda has a pool, right?"
"Well… yes… but…"
Janie shrugged and chugged down the rest of her
lemonade. Then she said, "Well, I don't know… who would come?"
"… your friends, genius. Just go around door-to-door
and invite them, or something. Or send out an invitation, and have it tomorrow
instead of today. So more people can come. Or something." I shrugged as well
and then added, "Anyways, I'm going inside. Do whatever you want, Janie. Your
decision, not mine. But don't tell me I didn't suggest anything. Because I did."
Then I left; Janie called after me, but by the
time the words escaped her lips, I was already inside.
I settled down onto the big green couch in the
living room with a big tub of Double Chocolate Ice Cream clutched in my paws.
As I stared down at the sticky chocolate syrup that I had slathered on top,
someone suddenly flopped down beside me. It was Janie.
"What do you want now?" I mumbled, shoveling
the ice cream into my mouth.
Janie sighed and perched her elbows on a bright
blue pillow. "I'm going to have the pool party," she said.
"Good for you, and good luck… I guess," I replied.
"… that's it?" Janie inquired. "You're not gonna
help me plan it?"
I started to shake my head back and forth, then
paused and shrugged. "I just gave you the idea. I mean, it'll be your party,
right? Why do I need to help plan it?"
Janie let a sulky look overcome her face. "Al-eth-a,"
she whined, "I don't know what to do for it. I want you help. Actually, I need
I sighed and rolled my head back. "Janie, have
you even talked to Maranda yet?"
"Well, do that first, okay?"
Janie just pursed her lips and said intelligently,
"Aletha, I was thinking that maybe we could well… you know, build us a pool
I nearly choked on my ice cream. "Build us a
pool? Janie, I'm sorry to say, but I don't think we can just go and well… BUILD
US A POOL."
"… what if Kei says we can?" Kei was our owner.
"Well, Janie, I highly doubt Kei will say we
can," I persisted.
Janie shrunk down, and I seemed to have won the
quick battle. However, my assumptions were proven wrong when my sister said,
"I think she will."
"Kei will not."
"Kei will too."
"… I will or will not what, exactly?" chimed
a voice suddenly; I turned my head and saw, standing below the doorframe of
the living room, Kei. A quizzical expression was spread across her dark face.
I sighed and set my spoon back into the tub of
ice cream. "Janie wants to build a pool," I said after a few awkward moments
of silence. "But I told her that that wasn't such a good idea, and that you
wouldn't probably like it anyway."
Kei, much to my surprise, brightened at this,
and a smile appeared in between her lips. "I always have wanted a pool," she
I groaned and gritted my teeth. Janie, on the
other hand, let out a squeal of pleasure. "Oh, thank you Kei!" she exclaimed.
When Kei didn't respond, she added cautiously, "That was a yes… right?"
"… so what do we do know?" I asked, my brow furrowed
Kei shrugged and said, "We have some shovels
in the shed, don't we?"
Janie nodded, and I said, "Well, yeah, but Kei
- we can't DIG a pool. You know, it's kind of hard to do that and -"
Kei, however, interrupted me with a sharp, "Let's
go get those shovels then, you two. We have a pool to build."
My owner then trooped out of the living room
and to the backyard. Janie followed. And me? I groaned, set my tub of ice cream
onto the coffee table in front of me, and then reluctantly trudged after my
sister and owner out the rear door.
It would've taken forever to build the pool,
except for that after four hours of laborious, unproductive smashing of the
ground with shovels, Kei got tired of it, and Janie had nearly collapsed from
exhaustion, and not to mention, I was starting to see things in the haze of
the coming evening. So Kei ventured off into the Neopian Bazaar and came back
with an army of Skeiths and Grarrls equipped with picks, shovels, and drills.
And two days later, voila, there it was - a pool.
The construction crew had recommended waiting a few days for the chlorine to
settle and such, but Janie refused. She wanted to have her pool party now,
so she went around recruiting her friends. By midday, she had invited everyone.
By 2 o'clock, Janie, Kei and I were scrambling
around the kitchen to prepare all the refreshments.
By 5 o'clock, Kei had purchased all the hamburger
and hot dog necessities for the later dinner.
By 8 o'clock, just as the sun was setting and
it finally began to cool off, the guests started to arrive.
And alas, the party began.
Janie's friend Maranda was the first to arrive.
She was clad in a pink swimsuit, and the blue Gelert carried a towel under her
arm. When she saw me, lounging in a recliner by the poolside, she said, "Hey
Aletha! Where's Janie?"
I jerked my hand towards my sister, who was standing
next to Kei at the refreshment table, scrambling to make the finishing touches.
And when those finishing touches were made, Kei cranked on some music, and Janie
and Maranda cannon-balled into the pool.
By 8:30, everyone had arrived. Janie's friends
were everywhere; in the pool, on the recliners, at the refreshment table. I,
personally, had been booted to lifeguard duty. Constantly, I was yelling at
her buddies to not pretend to drown each other ("It's DANGEROUS! Do you understand?"),
and not to bring a hotdog in the pool ("That's just… not right!"), and I also
constantly lectured them on why throwing stuff at each other was wrong ("Rocks
are hard. Rocks are sharp. Rocks plus you do not make your body happy!"). They
didn't listen. I was a failure. But you know what, I really didn't care. It
was Janie's pool party. Why did I have to be there anyway?
At 9:40pm, Janie, sopping wet, approached me.
"Hey Aletha," she chimed. "Isn't this a great party?"
I sighed and then turned to scream at a white
Lupe who was attempting to jump from our fence into the shallow end of the pool
(he did so anyway and subsequently screamed out in pain when he hit the concrete
bottom). I said to Janie, as the Lupe surfaced, "Yeah, it's wonderful. Just
wonderful." I rolled my eyes.
Janie nodded eagerly, and she leapt back into
By 10'o'clock, it was absolutely insane. Janie's
friends decided to have a hold-your-breath contest, and some random Mynci decided
to crash the party; a Uni named Sabrina shoveled half the bowl of remaining
chips down her throat, then proceeded to start to swim and got a horrible cramp,
and she blamed me for the entire incident because I was still the designated
lifeguard, and that somehow meant I was the problem for everything in her life.
Kei didn't help a bit. She sat on the porch step,
oblivious to the world, smiling at all of Janie's friends. It irritated me so,
but I still didn't say anything. Let her be a moron if she wants, I thought,
shouting at a green Jetsam who was trying to eat a blue Wocky's petpet.
Alas, by 11pm, the party was supposed to be over,
but no one left. When I tried to tell them to leave, they grew angry. So the
party went on. And on. And on.
Finally, by around midnight, the crowd started
to disperse. By 12:30, only Janie and Maranda were left. And as they climbed
out of the pool, giggling, I told my sister, "Never. Ever. Have. A. Party. Like.
Janie frowned and asked, "Why not? I thought
it was fun."
"You weren't the lifeguard," I stated.
Janie shrugged. "Oh yeah, well, whatever. It
wasn't that bad, was it?"
I clenched my jaw and swiveled towards our house.
"Whatever. Now, I'm going to bed. Don't bother me. Please."
"But Aletha!" Janie shouted as I swung my legs
over the railing of the porch, avoiding Kei and the steps.
"What?" I asked, levering myself onto the wooden
Janie smiled sheepishly and said, "Goodnight?"
"I know that's not why you stopped me, so dish
it out, Janie," I snapped.
Janie sighed and glanced expectantly towards
Maranda, who subsequently blurted, "Well Janie asked Kei and well, we're having
another party tomorrow! At my house! And we also asked her if well, you know,
you could be the lifeguard again 'cause you were doing so good and she… she
My eyes widened, then narrowed. "No!" I shouted.
"She promised," Janie said.
I glanced towards Kei, and Kei shrugged. "I thought
you'd be okay with it," she said.
I shook my head furiously and barreled into the
house, only to be tailed by my owner, Janie, and Maranda. They caught me at
the stairwell, and Kei grabbed onto my arm.
Janie said, "Please?"
"Never," I replied. "Never again."
Maranda pouted. "Come on, Aletha," she said.
"Yeah, be a good sister," Janie chirped.
"A good sister," Kei echoed.
Furious, exhausted, and desperate to be away
from them all, I screamed, "FINE!" Then I ran up the stairs and into my room.
And, as I settled into bed and closed my eyes,
only one thought pounded through my mind.
I. Hate. Pool. Parties.