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A Special Appreciation Day


by anjie

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Mystery Island had a rather distinct set of sounds. A soft symphony of tropical noises that serenaded each visitor. It was something that the locals grew accustomed to. There was the merry sound of haggling in the Island marketplace. The calls of sellers, each having some exotic fruit or plant that would make any meal extra delicious. There was the constant call of strange birds. You never quite saw them, for they roosted in the highest fronds of the swaying palms. And of course, there was the soft, pulsing crash of waves, melting into the golden sands.

     But the Island's serenity was being rudely interrupted. From somewhere, a loud banging noise was echoing, causing tourists to glance around in irritated confusion, and whisper to one another.

     "Did you hear that? I thought we paid for a quiet and relaxing holiday!"

     None of these angry murmurings, however, interrupted the source of the racket. Balanced on a rickety wooden ladder, stood an exceptionally small Plushie Draik. A satisfied smile was glowing upon his features, and his thick, soft tail was dangling down the ladder.

     With great enthusiasm, he was hammering a sign to a tree located just outside the Tombola Stand. Several nails were clutched in one paw, and the other held tightly to the hammer.

     "Meti! What on earth are you doing?"

     The angry voice below came from a Plushie Kougra. Her eyes were narrowed in disbelief, as if she simply couldn't comprehend why someone would make such a noise. Especially when everyone else was trying to soak up the peace and quiet!

     Meti crawled down from his ladder, having made sure the poster he had been hammering into the tree trunk was secure. He jumped down the last few rungs, and landed with a soft thud upon the ground. Bending down, he picked up several sheets of paper, which looked to be hand drawn posters.

     He gave a small sigh, and turned to face the Kougra.

     "I'm hammering up my posters, Serba."

     Serba looked slightly concerned, as if she were afraid to ask any further questions. She was saved from this by Meti expanding upon his explanation.

     "I'm going to have a Meti Appreciation Day! Sloth gets one, and I'm just as important."

     Serba looked slightly dazed. "Meti! Sloth is one of Neopia's most famous villains. You've done nothing like what he's done," she stated, staring at her companion with a great deal of pity.

     Meti glared at her, before he replied in rather cold tones, "I've done a lot of good, Serba. There was the time I saved you from that horrid sea monster at the beach."

     Serba widened her eyes, reminding him gently, "Meti, it was a Flotsam."

     He ignored her, and continued without concern.

     "There was the time I saved our kitchen from the horrible fungus monster."

     Serba rolled her eyes now, looking rather fed up.

     "Meti, that was mold. And it was there because you left a Tomato Shoyru Meatball on the kitchen table. For six weeks!"

     The small Plushie Draik seemed oblivious to these points, and cheerfully continued, "I'm going to have my own Art Gallery special, and I'm sure someone will want to create an avatar about me."

     Serba glanced down at the hand drawn posters that Meti was clutching. Each one featured a crude drawing of what was supposed to be a Plushie Draik. Above the artwork in red crayon was a title announcing "Meti Appreciation Day!" Below this was some smaller script, explaining the 'special' day would be held the following Tuesday.

     Serba opened her mouth to try and reason with her companion, but Meti simply wasn't interested. He heaved his ladder onto a yellow shoulder and marched away, loudly singing his own, self written theme song.

     The following morning the entire of Mystery Island was abuzz with gossip about 'Meti Appreciation Day.' The main chatter came from residents, angry at the posters decorating the beautiful island, or from confused tourists who wondered what on earth a 'Meti' was.

     The subject of the controversy had woken early and toddled into the kitchen. He ignored his owner's offer of breakfast and climbed onto a kitchen stool, his gaze fixated upon a small piece of paper clutched in his paw.

     His owner, Anjie, glanced at him and carefully placed a bowl of neoflakes on the table.

     "Meti?" she ventured slowly. "What have you got there?"

     Meti held up the paper cheerfully. On it was scrawled a list of events and happenings that occurred on Sloth Appreciation Day.

     Scribbled on the back were several minuscule pictures. Anjie examined this artwork, realizing they were various avatar designs, just in case Meti Appreciation Day needed some sort of recognition within Neopia. She sighed and handed the paper back to her Plushie Draik.

     After breakfast, Meti waited for Anjie to leave. She always headed off to the shops in the morning, and it left him alone with the house at his disposal.

     Working rapidly, he dug around in the kitchen cupboards and produced packets and boxes of various ingredients. Tossing them together in a bowl, he stirred and mixed. Now and then, he would reach into a container and sprinkle a new addition into this culinary masterpiece.

     He withdrew from the bowl what appeared to be a massive, sticky pile of dough. With intense concentration, he began molding it. Slowly, the dough took shape. Meti sculpted a long snout, and two massive, dripping ears. He added some eyes and squeezed the entire thing into the oven.

     An hour later, when Anjie returned, Meti was examining his slightly burnt creation.

     "Meti! What is that thing?" Anjie demanded, almost dropping her bag of Faerie Queen Burritos.

     He glanced up, wondering why she couldn't see what it was. The shape was very obvious to him.

     "It's a cake made in my image," he replied cheerfully. "Sloth always has Sloth foods released on his appreciation day, so I thought I better have something for Meti appreciation day!"

     Anjie opened her mouth to protest, but her Plushie Draik was already distracted. He sat himself at the table, and wrote a detailed letter to the Neopian Bakery. In it, he explained the exact process for creating a "Meti Appreciation Day Cake."

     Figuring the bakery would ignore the letter, and hoping Meti wouldn't try posting them the cake, Anjie set about packing away her shopping. When this was completed, she glanced around. The small Neohome was silent. Far too silent.

     Worried expression in place, Anjie hunted through the rooms until she came across Meti. He had emptied the sewing kit onto the floor, and was busily creating something. Already whatever it was had a head and a tail.

     Meti glanced up, explaining to his flabbergasted owner. "It's the Meti plushie. For my special day. Sloth always gets one."

     Anjie nodded weakly. "Let me guess. You wrote a book as well, because Sloth gets a few released on his Appreciation day?"

     Meti nodded and pointed to the corner of the room. There sat a stack of papers, each scribbled on with different tales of his life, and things that he believed he had achieved. The story of the evil kitchen fungus was on the front page.

     Anjie sighed in despair and shook her head. With a defeated sigh, she picked up Meti's discarded fabric scraps, and headed out of the room.

     Meti worked for hours and everyone else was asleep by the time his Meti plushie was almost completed. He examined the strange excuse for a toy with a victorious smile, and searched around for the red fabric scraps he had saved for the eyes.

     However, they were nowhere to be seen. With a look of horror, he realized they must have been amongst the scraps that Anjie had thrown out.

     Feeling defeated, he sunk to the floor, resting his chin in his paws.

     "No one believes Meti Appreciation Day might happen," he murmured sadly.

     Just then, a strange green light filtered in through the window. There was an odd gleam outside and the ground was shaking! It was as if something rather large had come to rest just outside his bedroom.

     He dashed to the window and threw it open. There in the garden was a massive spaceship. It was a dank, dull silver, and flashing red and green lights decorated its windows. Etched above the door was a massive picture of Doctor Sloth himself.

     "Sloth's ship!" gasped Meti in horror.

     At this, a door slid open, and from it emerged Sloth. His long, ebony cloak dragged on the ground and he had a look of rage etched on his green face!

     "Meti?" he hissed. "Of Meti Appreciation Day?"

     The small Plushie Draik gulped and nodded. Sloth glared down at him and snatched the homemade toy from the Draik's tiny hands. He tossed it on the ground and stomped on it viciously.

     "I'm the only one who gets an Appreciation Day!" Sloth shrieked in rage. "I'm the important one! Now call off your little plan, or face my ray!"

     With this, he withdrew a ray gun from his cloak. Meti recognized it as the dreaded sludge ray, which had zapped so many items into steaming piles of goo! Meekly, he handed Sloth the toy and the book.

     "Consider it a non event, Sir," he murmured, bowing his head.

     Sloth gave a snort, and clutching the items, turned and stormed back onto his ship. Steam billowed from beneath the spacecraft and it lifted into the air. As it roared into the distance, Meti gazed in wonder.

     Seconds later, Anjie appeared at his doorway. Sleepily, she gazed around.

     "Meti, what's all the noise?"

     Meti grinned, widening his eyes.

     Anjie sighed.

     "It's not about Meti Appreciation Day, is it?" She shook her head in annoyance. "You know it doesn't exist. No one is going to take it seriously!"

     She hugged her Draik, and turned, leaving Meti to glance out the window and smile to himself.

     "Oh. I think someone out there took it pretty seriously!"

The End

 
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