A Day in the Life of a Health Nut
Aliya's Cybunny grin was subdued into a quaint and solemn
frown, her brow furrowed.
"That's right, class! Today is National Neopian
Job-Shadowing day, a day that invites you to follow a working Neopian on a work
day to see what their career is like." The excited and slightly fretful voice
of their Shoyru teacher, Mr. Gray, seemed out of place in the dull, uninterested
classroom. He continued, "You have all had plenty of time to plan who you will
shadow and will soon be released to begin your journey! Who is excited?!"
Not one of the twenty teenage Neopets raised
their head from their desk, much less their hand to signal that they approved
of the corny holiday.
Mr. Gray, not bothered by the lack of enthusiasm,
snapped his fingers and beamed. "Go ahead, everyone. The Neopets you will follow
today are outside in the hall waiting to begin with you your expedition." He
ushered the slouching children out of the classroom. Once they were all gone,
he collapsed into the chair behind his desk and heaved a great sigh.
The kids made their way out of the stuffy room
into the much more crowded hallway, where parents and relatives or friends stood
to retrieve their "shadower" for the day.
Aliya slumped slowly into the hallway and scanned
the aisle for the lime green Quiggle she would be trailing. Her long ears swung
back and forth as her head flew right and left to find him. She had had no choice
when it came to choosing the adult Neopet whose job she would be experiencing
that day. Her mother had insisted on Aliya shadowing Veg, the Green Quiggle
that controlled the Health Food store in the Bazaar. Aliya partly believed her
mom was so set on the idea because Aliya's parents were strong health freaks,
to say the least. They ate only vegetables or organic foods. The mention of
an ounce of sugary goodness made her father nearly faint. Thus, Aliya had never
experienced the delicious thing called chocolate. The other half to the equation,
in Aliya's eyes, was that Veg was her uncle.
Aliya would have rather followed the cheery
Kiko that led the Chocolate Factory or perhaps the stylish Uni in charge at
the Clothing Store. However, she had not even attempted an argument with her
parents because she was far too lazy to argue over one unimportant day that
would never affect her job choice.
Suddenly, a bright green Quiggle with a badge
that read "Veg" hopped out from a corner and beamed at Aliya. Aliya smiled weakly,
trying not to be rude.
Veg's voice was jolly and slightly shrill. "Why,
hello there, Aliya! I haven't seen you since you were just a little Baby Cybunny.
I've been working hard 24 hours a day to keep up the Health Store. Surprisingly,
not many Neopians shop there since the Bakery opened."
This last statement came across somewhat grim
and irritated but the irritability went away almost immediately as Veg grasped
Aliya into a strong bear hug. Aliya's cheeks flushed crimson in embarrassment
but she politely hugged back.
"Hey Uncle Veg! It's great to see you." Aliya
forged a smile.
Uncle Veg leapt forward, steering Aliya through
the crowd of students and out of the door. "Let's get this show on the road."
To Aliya's displeasure, her chipper Uncle held
her soft paw and steered her around the roads of the Bazaar.
She slowly pulled her paw away from his grasp.
"I'm not a child, Uncle Veg. I'm practically an adult." Aliya ended the statement
Veg smiled. "Alright then, that's fine." He
winked. "We're almost there anyways!"
They crossed the circular path that was paved
through the Bazaar. They even passed the Chocolate Factory and Aliya's stomach
grumbled in delight but was denied the privilege as Uncle Veg continued walking.
They passed the Grooming Parlor, where Aliya eyed a Usul with pounds of Midnight
Eyeshadow and Pink Blush poured on her face. Despite the ugliness that came
with an overuse of makeup, Aliya eyed the Usul with envy.
Finally, they reached the Asparagus-shaped building
with double-doors. A sign with bold letters read "Health Food". Other health
nuts were waiting for Veg to return, patiently standing outside the doors and
"This is it, this is my job!" Veg eyed the store
with joy and love and Aliya thought he was beginning to tear up.
Aliya, however, was not moved and rolled her
They walked inside together. Veg put on an apron
with a picture of an apple and then tossed one to Aliya.
She wanted desperately to throw it on the floor
but didn't want to seem mean. She reluctantly put on the apron and grimaced.
"Now," Veg began, "come behind the counter so
I can open up the store and you can see how to serve people."
Aliya's shoulders hunched over as she made her
way behind the spotless counter.
"How do you keep this place so clean?" she asked
as she glanced around the store. It was pretty boring, except for a few posters
with corny health advertisements.
One poster had a picture of a beaten up Uni
with a black eye and read "Down in the dumps? Try fruit as a natural and healthy
source to happiness!"
Veg replied, "I stay here overtime to clean
up or sometimes polish the counters while business is slow."
Aliya had a sudden sense of guilt. "You really
work hard here, don't you?"
Veg smiled into the distance as if remembering
a lovely memory. "Yes, my father worked here and wanted nothing more than for
me to follow in his footsteps. I feel like I'm carrying on his dream."
Aliya's guilt grew as her admiration for her
Uncle did also. However, she still wished she were in the Chocolate Factory,
tasting the delicious sweets. She knew that if she had been allowed to work
in the Chocolate Factory today, everyone at school would be wonderfully impressed.
Her daydream of Chocolate fountains and peanut
butter mountains came to an abrupt end when Veg shouted an order from the counter.
Aliya panicked. She had no clue where to find what her Uncle called Fresh Melon
Cubes. She opened drawers and looked under shelves of food. Worst of all, a
few more customers were walking in. All the pleasant chatters from outside the
store had entered and were making orders with Aliya fretting in the background.
Veg smiled. "Calm down, Aliya! People are patient
here at the Health Food Store. The Fresh Melon Cubes are in the freezer." Veg
pointed his Quiggle finger in the direction of a large door, which obviously
led to the freezer.
Aliya, feeling embarrassed that she had made
such a big deal out of it, walked quickly to the freezer. Inside were shelves
and mountains full of frozen fruits and vegetables. She glanced around the interior
and finally spotted some tiny, cube-shaped, green-skinned fruits. She grabbed
a handful of them and hurried back out to hand them to her Uncle. He took two
of the three in Aliya's hand and handed it to the customer.
"Try it, Aliya. It'll make you feel much better.
Fruits are the natural energizer, you know. Much healthier than chocolates,
of course." Veg then turned back to the counter to collect orders.
Aliya hesitated but proceeded to pop one the
mini-melons in her mouth. Being a Cybunny, she was used to her health food consisting
of mainly bland carrots. However, the Fresh Melon Cubes were like nothing she
had ever tasted before. They were sweet and tangy and gave her a boost of energy.
Uncle Veg was right, she thought to herself, this is twice as delicious
as chocolate. She realized that the only thing she felt after eating chocolate
was bloated and lazy. Now she felt like bouncing off the walls!
Aliya finally began to appreciate healthy foods
and, most of all, her Uncle Veg. She decided that she would much rather work
where it was good for her than work to impress school friends. As Veg shouted
more orders, Aliya cheerily bounced and searched around the store until finding
the food. She politely shook hands with and smiled warmly at the customers.
The rest of her job-shadowing day with her uncle was a breeze; a fun breeze,
When all the Neopets returned to school the
next day, the air was full of exciting stories being exchanged and memories
of their experience poured from their mouths. Each student took a few minutes
to stand before the class and describe what they had done the day before. When
it was Aliya's turn, instead of hanging back grumpily, she hopped forward brightly
and caught the attention of the students.
"Yesterday, I followed my Uncle Veg to the store
he owns: the Health Foods store." Aliya announced this with pride.
Some of the students rudely giggled at Aliya
but, nonetheless, she continued with her speech.
"I learned that healthy foods are much better
and more rewarding to us than chocolate or sweets. An occasional junk food is
great for a snack but fruits and vegetables will make us all happier and more
energized Neopets! I really enjoyed working in the Health Food store with Uncle
Veg. Thank you." She bowed slightly, still beaming and took her seat again with
her nose and floppy ears held high.