Also by jeffc_7227
Author's Note: This story is based on true events (well, maybe exaggerated
to stress the meaning of the piece of the story), and did not happen over the
course of one day, but rather five.
"I got you a job!" a joyful voice shouted from the other
side of Billy's book that rest in his hands.
Billy lowered the book, just enough so the brown
Yurble could see over the top of the pages he had been reading, just to make
sure the voice he heard wasn't a figment of his imagination. Or a practical
joke from the mind of his irritating little sister.
"Aren't you going to say anything!?" Billy's
Yurble mother asked, a tad annoyed that Billy had yet to reply, or even show
recognition that she was there.
"You finally went out and found me a job? Who'd
you find desperate enough to hire me? I hope it's not somewhere like the Grooming
Parlour," Billy answered, returning to his book, and blocking his mother from
"Why no, silly. Why would you ever want to work
there?" Billy's mother looked at him strangely, and then realized it was a sarcastic
remark. At that, she lowered the book from shielding Billy's face. "I have a
friend that works at the local Shake It Up! store, and they told me they have
a position for you to fill! Isn't that wonderful?"
Billy hid his disgust for work with a feigned
smile, and carefully restrained himself and carefully thought out a response.
"I've always said I'll try anything once…" Billy
mumbled to himself, returning to his book.
Billy arrived at the Shake It Up! store, which
turned out to only be a brisk five-minute walk from his Neohome. The store itself
was larger than Billy had pictured in his head on the stroll over, which was
surprising due to the store's shape.
Whoever had the store constructed decided to
shape it as the shakes they sold, complete with a giant straw they stuck out
the top and the company logo imbedded along the side. Unlike their drinks, however,
there were two swinging doors that could be seen from Main Street, but were
tinted as to not allow anyone to see inside without actually entering the building.
Carefully checking himself for a final inspection,
Billy slowly made his way to the front of the store. In his mind, he quickly
went over everything he might be asked about during an interview (if they offered
one) and what exactly he would reply with. As he was about to reach for the
door handle, however, the door swung open, and a young disco Ixi rushed by,
crying as she did so.
Billy turned to watch her run down the path
from the store, and sit on the sidewalk, tears falling in her hands. Suddenly,
a voice shouted from over Billy's shoulder, causing him to double back around,
finding himself face to face with an elderly pink Aisha, staring into Billy's
"What was that about?" Billy asked, unsure if
he really wanted to know the answer.
The Aisha glanced from Billy to the crying Neopet
and back into Billy's eyes. "The application process is a long and complicated
monster. It sometimes takes days, weeks, even YEARS to be hired at the great
store that stands behind me. Some aren't cut out for this line of work, and
those are sorted out before they are even hired. The few that do manage to survive
this grueling process find themselves amongst the best of the best at what they
Billy looked nervously at the Aisha and somehow
found the words coming from his mouth.
"I'd like an application please."
The Aisha looked up Billy up and down and took
a step back. "Alright, you're hired."
Upon hearing this, Billy's mouth almost fell
open, but found he was able to keep himself restrained just long enough to thank
"Are you the manger?" Billy asked, as the Aisha
was making her way back into the store.
"I'm the assistant manger who makes all decisions
when it comes to the hiring process. The real manager rarely leaves his office,
so I doubt you'll ever see him," the assistant manager answered, and made her
way into the store.
"I'm hired!" Billy thought to himself as he
cheerfully followed the Aisha through the doors.
"Here is where you'll be working," the assistant
manager announced and extended her hand and pointed to a small counter inside
The store itself was a great deal larger then
it appeared on the outside, with a marble square cut tiled floor and marble
counter tops. Billy found himself near the end of the store, out of the public's
view, but within feet of the shake container.
"You'll be working with one of our longest employed
employees, who happens to know everything that's anything about shakes. If you
have any questions, I'm sure Rusty will be more then willing to lend a helping
hand. And with that, I must leave you, as one of the other newer workers is
having trouble at the front counter." The Aisha turned the corner of the shake
room, and left Billy alone.
Billy's eyes wandered around the room, taking
in his new surroundings. The walls were covered with posters of shakes and drinks,
and random logos of the store. When he finished, an aged voice broke the silence.
"Having fun there, are we?"
Billy noticed an older green Quiggle leaning
on the wall near the opening of the room, with a smile on his face.
"I guess so, but this is all so new to me. How
many types of shakes does this store sell exactly? I hope there aren't that
many to remember…" Billy asked, gesturing over his shoulder towards the back
"We make a total of sixty-two different drinks,
but only ten or eleven of those are the basic drinks. The rest are just combinations
of the others. You'd think there'd be over hundred, but the other forty or so
that can be created just aren't edible. Or so our customers say," the Quiggle
replied with a wink, and then extended his hand. "I'm Rusty by the way."
"I'm Billy," the brown Yurble responded while
he shook Rusty's extended hand.
"Well Billy, I think it's about time I train
you in the ways of the shakes. First things first are the basics of all shakes
created here at Shake It Up! Each drink is comprised of a vanilla base, and
then added to that drink to create the needed effect for customers. With the
help of our mixing tools, we can produce everything from Strawberry Artichoke,
to Blueberry Tomato, to even something such as Wild Chocomato," Rusty instructed,
while pointing to assorted objects resting on counters around the perimeter
of the room. "It will take you a while to learn the ropes of course, but with
my expertise and guidance, I'm sure you'll go far very quickly."
"How long have you been working here for, Rusty?"
Billy asked as he began to familiarize himself with his surroundings.
"Well, I'm only using this as a place to stay
at while I'm in transition for my dream job," the Quiggle answered as his eyes
gazed off at some unseen location.
"And how long is that?"
"Well, I'd say I'm going on fourteen years next
month," Rusty answered sadly. "Every year I reapply, but they never answer my
letters. I normally write the letters here, and send them out with the company
mail on my free time, explaining how much I'd like to work at their establishment,
but my efforts are to no avail."
"Where is your dream job?"
"The Grooming Parlour."
"So, do I put two ladles of Tangella in with
the vanilla, or did you say three?" Billy asked over his shoulder while he worked.
"Two," Rusty acknowledged without looking.
"Peach!" some unseen worker shouted another
order from the front counter.
"I'm on it!" Rusty shouted back, allowing them
to know he had claimed the order and would soon begin to work on it.
Billy had promptly found Rusty to be something
of a "Shake Master." With his unNeopet like speed, Rusty single-handedly claimed,
made and delivered shakes before Billy was finished with his first drink.
"Be right back kid," Rusty announced, and left
the room with the peach shake in hand.
"Watermelon!" the front counter announcer announced.
Billy nervously looked around and remembered
Rusty had left the room, probably to grab a quick bite to eat.
"Guess this is all me…" Billy thought to himself
and then shouted, "I'm on it!"
Moving as fast as he could, Billy rushed around
the room, hurrying to complete the Tangella shake, while starting the peach
when he had a free minute. He was told by Rusty to take an average of ninety
seconds per order, unless the shake was a complex one involving more then three
flavors. So far, he'd been on the first shake for about sixty.
"Raisin!" the unseen voice called.
Billy began to feel the pressure rising as Rusty
was still nowhere to be seen. If he didn't call for the order, then he'd interrupt
the entire process and cause the customers to wait unnecessarily.
"Raisin!" the voice called again, with a hint
"I'm-I'm on it!" Billy called back, and grabbed
for the stack of raisins, but then looked at the other two unfinished cups.
Rusty had told him no matter how hard things
get, and no matter how many shake orders there are, always work with the first
one first, and then move on to the rest when ready. Carefully, Billy filled
the Tangella cup to the rim and slid it out of the room, towards the front counter.
"I'm on it!" Billy answered, and moved to finish
the peach order.
Luckily, the orders stopped after the grape,
and gave Billy enough time to complete the remaining shakes. As he slid the
last cup out of the room, he heard someone clapping from behind.
"Nice work kid," Rusty smiled, "we always put
the new guys up to a test to see how they work under pressure, and you came
It didn't take long for Billy to learn the urban
legends of the Shake It Up! store. When the two of them had a free moment, Rusty
would either continue writing his application letter or indulge Billy in a tale
about the store.
"…And then, they say the Produce Man walked
to the back of the store, with his normal delivery in hand. Little did he know
of what was waiting for him beyond the door to the storage room. He was not
aware that his normal routine would be changed… forever!" Rusty finished, and
went back to writing his letter.
"But then what happens?" Billy asked, longing
to know how the story ends.
"That's a story for another time, but I can
say this. Never, ever go to the rear storage room by yourself. To make a long
story short, they say the ghost of the Produce Man still haunts the room, and
never allows any of the boxes to be removed," Rusty replied, without looking
"You're kidding, right?" Billy laughed, but
stopped when he saw Rusty didn't join in. Deciding to change the subject, Billy
wondered about everyone else who worked at the store. "So Rusty, can you tell
me more about the other employees?"
"Sure can. There's a young Wocky, about your
age I'd wager, that works at the front counter. She has been here for a little
over two weeks now, and seems to be enjoying her line of work. There's the Aisha
assistant manger you have already met, if I recall. She normally patrols the
store and sees that everything is in order from time to time, and lends advice
where she sees fit. She also takes care of the hiring and firing process, since
she enjoys letting people go. Then there's the real manager… Mark," Rusty paused,
as if thinking ahead at what he'd say. "Mark's office is the second to last
door down the hall, right before the storage room, and that's about all I can
say for Mark. He comes in before any of the other workers, and leaves far after
everyone has gone home. Mark has been here longer then even I have, and to tell
the truth, I've never once laid eyes on him."
"He sure sounds like quite a mystery," Billy
wondered aloud, grasping the Quiggle's tale.
"Why I'd say it'd be a honor to meet the fellow,
since he built this fine establishment, but sadly, whenever I bring up the fact-"
Rusty started, but was cut off by a sudden visit from an Aisha.
"Well how are we doing back here, boys?" the
assistant manager interrupted, poking her head around the corner sideways, her
long ears drooping towards the ground. "Well it's good to see you're hard at
"Billy-" the Yurble started.
"Right, Brody," the Aisha corrected. "Anyways,
I'm just doing my daily rounds. 'A' plus, plus for you two!" she finished, and
gave visible thumbs ups in their direction.
"-That happens…" Rusty finished, and returned
to his work.
"It's probably a good time for you to take your
break, Billy," Rusty announced, checking the time.
"And how do I do that?" Billy asked, unsure
how to go about taking a break.
"Easy. Simply tell the manager on duty that
you'll be heading out for a break. You then have thirty minutes to do anything
you please," Rusty answered happily.
"What if I want to keep working, that way I
don't lose time for my hours," Billy wondered.
"Well… you need to take a break at least once
a day," Rusty replied.
"What if I don't want to use the whole thirty
minutes? Can I simply check back in after, say, five?" Billy continued.
"You have to take the entire thirty," Rusty
responded, trying to finish the shake he was on.
"But what if I'd like to work during that thirty
minute break-" the anxious Yurble questioned, seeing this conversation was going
"Just go on your break, Billy," the Quiggle
With that, Billy nodded and decided it was best
to just take the break. Heading towards the front counter, Billy spotted the
Aisha manager and relayed what Rusty had told him to tell her.
Upon hearing what Billy had to say, she noted
the time and told him not to be late.
"I want you back here at 1:22, on the dot."
Billy continued towards the entrance of the
store where he spotted a red female Wocky working the front counter. Rusty hadn't
told him her name, and decided it was best to pretend to be a customer, and
see her nametag.
There were two people in front of Billy in line,
and the Wocky seemed to be having trouble pleasing them both.
"I'll take a Raspberry Milkshake please," a
red Ixi told the Wocky.
"So that's one Raspberry Milkshake," recalled
"Yup, no wait, I'll take a Strawberry Milkshake,"
the Ixi decided after a second of thought.
"Ok, so that's a Strawberry Milkshake instead,
no problem," the Wocky corrected.
"Actually, make that a small Blueberry Tomato
shake," the yellow Ixi pointed at a picture on the wall. "I've never had one
"So that's a small… Blueberry Tomato?" the Wocky
asked, before calling in the order.
"Yup," answered the Ixi firmly.
"So that's one small Blueberry Tomato shake…"
the Wocky slowly read, waiting for a change, but upon seeing that none came,
called in the order.
"Actually, make that a large," the Ixi added.
After the Ixi had left, the next person in line
moved forward. The yellow Techo looked a tad disappointed and held two cups
in her hands.
"What can I help you with?" the Wocky asked
"Well you see… I ordered two shakes here a little
while ago, and they were warmer then they should have been," the Techo announced
and placed the two cups on the counter.
"Ah, sure, no problem. Would you like them replaced?"
the Wocky asked, taking the two cups.
"Yes please," the Techo answered with a smile.
The Wocky picked up the two cups, and from the
ease she did so, Billy knew they were empty.
"These cups have nothing in them," the Wocky
pointed out, taking off their lids.
"Well, my brother was hungry, and drank them
anyways," the Techo quickly replied.
"And…?" The Wocky looked confused.
"Well I'd still like them replaced. They were
warm, and shakes aren't suppose to be warm," the Techo added, acting like it
was the Wocky's fault.
After the Techo had finally left, with the two
empty cups, Billy finally moved up to the counter. Billy quickly noted her name
was Kim, and pretended like he knew that the entire time.
"Hey Kim, I'm Billy, I work in-" Billy started.
"What can I get for you today Billy?" Kim asked,
"-The back. Actually, I was wondering if you'd
like to get something to eat, you see-" Billy continued.
"Wait, aren't you the new guy, Billy?" Kim asked,
with sincere interest.
"Yea… And I was wondering if you'd like to join
me on break. You see, I really don't know anywhere you go to eat during lunch,
and was hoping you could help," Billy finished.
"Oh, what are you looking to get?" Kim wondered.
"I was in the mood for Pizza actually. Is that
alright with you?" Billy responded, hoping she'd come.
"Wait… isn't this a restaurant?" Kim asked,
looking around. "Couldn't you just make anything you wanted to eat for lunch?"
"But I was in the mood for pizza…" Billy started
to say, but soon found their conversation was going nowhere.
"Right." Kim smiled.
"And this restaurant only makes shakes," Billy
"Right," Kim repeated, wondering where Billy
was going with this.
"So where would we make the Pizza?" Billy asked,
looking around to help his point.
"Ah, you're right, silly me," Kim laughed to
herself, as if it was all a big joke. "Well I'm sorry Billy, I couldn't come
with you anyways. I don't get off for another two hours."
Billy sighed and noticed he had wasted five
of his break minutes trying to find a Pizza restaurant.
"Lets see what's nearby," Billy quickly thought
to himself, and headed out the door.
Luckily, Billy found the local Pizzaroo, but
with only twenty-five minutes to eat, he found himself unable to order a pizza,
as they took almost that long to be made. Halfheartedly making his way to the
back of the restaurant, Billy noticed Kim waving to him happily as he did so.
Weakly returning the gesture, Billy soon found himself standing in front of
the assistant manager.
"Well hello Barney," the Aisha smiled.
"Billy…" the Yurble replied, hoping it'd stick.
"Brian, right," the Aisha corrected herself,
"anyways, I'm glad you made it back in time. I was getting worried that I might
have to… let you go."
Billy looked at her like she was joking. Being
fired over a first mistake? It was a good thing he hadn't waited for the Pizza.
"Anyways, it's quite odd, but the manager himself
would like to talk with you," the Aisha informed with a look as what she said
made no sense to her.
"Really? What about?" Billy asked, surprised
at what he heard.
"I don't know really, but you shouldn't keep
him waiting. I'll show you to his room," the assistant manager announced.
Billy's mind started to race at why the manager
would want to talk to him. Rusty had said he'd never talked with the manager,
let alone seen him. Whatever Mark wanted to say must be very important.
"Here we are," the Aisha proclaimed, pointing
to the door as she opened it, and allowed Billy to enter first.
The room was completely furnished and held a
certain Zen style. Everything matched, from the carpet to the large, spanning
desk, and the rolling chair that had its back turned to Billy as to shield the
"Mark, this is Bradley, he's new here," the
Aisha announced, then turned and left.
"Well, Bradley," a voice from behind the chair
began, without its owner turning around, "I'm glad to finally meet a star employee
like you. You've been here for a long time, and have contributed much of yourself
for the company, and I'm very glad to have you on board with us…"
"But-" Billy held up his hand, unseen to Mark
who continued to talk.
"…And that is why I feel I can trust you with
some important information. It seems we have an employee here at Shake It Up!
Who is feeling rather down, and sad, and do you know how that makes me feel,
"It makes me feel sad. This is more of a family
than a company, and we here at Shake It Up! feel down and gloomy when one of
our own feels that very same way. Why, the letters he writes break my heart
knowing he'd want to leave such a great establishment as this, that I, I just
have to throw them away, never to be seen by anyone else here. I'd like for
you to do us a favor; could you do that for us, Bradley?"
"Fantastic, Bradley! You're everything I've
heard about you and more! You're looking at a promotion for your dedicated work
ethic and unwavering commitment to the company. I'm very glad we could have
this little talk, Bradley."
"Oh yes, I'm sorry about that. I just ramble
on sometimes and never know where I'll end up!" Mark laughed at the thought
and carried on. "I would like for you to talk to your co-worker about not leaving
us here at Shake It Up! Not only is he a respected, needed member of our family,
but he well… knows too much…"
"Knows too much-?"
"…So be a good part of this family and have
a chat with Rusty, will you? Thanks a lot, Bradley! You'll go far!"
At that, the assistant manager opened the door
to the office and allowed Billy to leave; more confused about his opinion of
the restaurant than when he had started.
As Billy walked back to his post, his mind raced
with the recent conversation he had had.
The entire company was a mess, and somehow was
able to continue to operate from day to day. Each employee, and even the manager
and owner of the store itself couldn't see the fact that their chaos created
from their littlest interactions could cause the shop to collapse. Why even-
"Excuse me sir," a young pink Poogle interrupted
Billy's train of thought, "but could I get a free refill?"
Billy took the cup and turned to fill it, when
he realized it was from another store.
"I'm very sorry…" Billy glanced at her tag, which
also had her company name printed just below her own, "Ms. Smith, but this is
from the Ye Olde Coffee Shoppe down the road."
"Oh, I'm very sorry sir. I just started my break
at the Grooming Parlour, but they only give you twenty minutes for lunch! Can
you believe that? So I rushed over here, thinking this was where I ordered my
drink. We had two workers quit the other day and now everyone has to work double
shifts. It's horrible! I'm sorry if I caused any trouble," the pink Poogle replied
with a smile and then began to leave.
"Wait!" Billy almost shouted, and held out his
The pink Poogle turned back around, looking
eager to get back to her work.
"My friend and I just so happen to be looking
for some new work."