A Day as Dr. Sloth
I work for Dr. Sloth. I ain't ashamed to admit it. We've
all got to make a living somehow and with a pet to support and a degree that no
one needs I could only take what was offered. So when one of Sir Chickenhead's
flunkies came calling I said yes. You would too, when you're only about waist-height
to a mutant Grundo.
Sure, you suppose I could have gotten a job
elsewhere in the Virtupets Space Station. I mean, a smart girl like me with
those computer skills? Surely there's a spot somewhere. Yeah, that's what I
thought too. But with Miriane - that's my rainbow Pteri - complaining daily
about the slop I bring home for dinner I was getting a bit desperate. After
all, the Soup Kitchen is in Neopia Central and we had a bit of a commute for
So. I spend my days glued to a terminal typing
like mad. I've got some other programmers that are supposedly helping but they're
all Grundos and terrified of The Dr. That's what they call him, in hushed whispers.
The Dr. I call him Sir Chickenhead, but only when none of his flunkies are around.
Since all the Grundos are cowards and seem unable to think clearly when The
Dr. is around I got appointed as head of the motley crew. That means I report
directly to him, as he doesn't trust any of his flunkies to have the brain capacity
to relay his instructions correctly. He's right.
"Kid," he'll say.
He never calls me by my real name. Just Kid
or Girl or when he's in a bad mood, Human.
"Kid, I want this done by the end of the week.
It'd better work."
Or: "Girl. This is broken. Fix it."
"Right away sir."
Most of the time he wants it done by tomorrow
and then I spend the entire night working. Caffeine has become a major food
group for me.
Miriane has grown used to my all-nighters. She
spends most of her time watching Gormball. That Pteri is totally obsessed like
you wouldn't believe. When a game is going on she'll yell herself hoarse, jumping
up and down until she's just a cloud of rainbow colored feathers. If there's
no game she'll spend her time hanging out at Grundo's Café with the other aficionados.
"Did you see that catch? Beautiful." And so forth.
Every now and then she'll tag along for the
day. It's exciting I guess, to see the inside workings of Dr. Sloth's operations.
Considering I spend all my time coding I really don't see the fun in it. But
oh well. She's good company.
Anyways, I'm pretty content. Sir Chickenhead
can be quite temperamental at times, but I've found that I can weather it most
of the time. 'Most' is the key word there. There was only one real spat that
I can remember. Chickenhead had dumped something in my lap just as I was shutting
down to go home. My fellow programmers had already fled so it was just me around.
"Girl," he said and I cringed inwardly.
"I need this working by tomorrow."
"You said we had four days."
"Tomorrow or I'm turning that stupid pet of
yours into my next experiment."
That's another one of the joys of working with
The Dr. Casual threats. My favorite was when he threatened to feed me to the
Meepits, geek glasses and all. He always brings up my glasses when he's in a
And I was up all night drinking liquid caffeine
or whatever that stuff they call coffee is.
Well, the next morning Dr. Sloth showed up and
demanded to know if it was working. I said it was and asked if I could have
the rest of the day off. By that point I was ready to keel over from sleep deprivation.
"The day off? What kind of evil genius do you
think I am?"
"A benevolent one?" I ventured.
"Oh COME ON!" I cried. Like I said, I was lacking
sleep and so my brain wasn't working properly. "Do you know how hard it is to
spend all night programming?"
"Kid, do you really-"
"I'm not a kid!"
I'm not. I'm nineteen, that's an adult. But
Sloth got that smirk of his, that one he gets when playing his trump card or
is about to deliver an especially nasty threat.
"Until you've masterminded an evil plot to take
over Neopia you'll always be a kid around me. You wouldn't last one day in my
Word to the wise: never take up a challenge
from Dr. Sloth. Before I knew it he'd announced that if I could last a day in
his shoes he'd stop calling me Kid and Human and stuff. If I failed he got to
add Miriane and me to his list of lab rats.
I didn't fall asleep at work like I originally
thought I would. There weren't butterflies in my stomach, oh no, there were
full-fledged killer Meepits gnawing at my guts. Miriane was babbling about the
day's Gormball match when I got home. I told her to knock it off and she just
stared at me, beak open in mid-sentence.
"Hey," she said as I collapsed on the sofa,
"Hey Boss. What's up?"
Miriane doesn't call me by my real name either.
Come to think of it, I don't think anyone on Virtupets does.
"I made a bet with Dr. Sloth."
"Chickenhead? Why'd ya go and do that for?"
"Cause I'm dumb."
"I agree. Hey, what's the bet?"
Well, she was rolling on the floor laughing
by the time I finished the story. Apparently the thought of being turned into
a mutant didn't faze her much.
"Hey, that's what morphing potions and paint
brushes are for," she pointed out when I mentioned that small tidbit. "You can
change me back."
Sure, but what about me? Last I checked Kauvara
doesn't make a human variety of potion.
Like it or not, the next morning still rolled
around and I found it was time to face my doom. Miriane had picked out my clothing
"Can't go looking like a slob," she chided,
"You geek types are all so sloppy. Wear something nice."
"Miriane. That's a skirt."
"Yep. Put it on and quit complaining. Would
you prefer a suit?"
Dr. Sloth was waiting at the HQ when I showed
up. He was gloating, that stupid smirk of his planted quite firmly on his face
as I walked through the door, Miriane on my shoulder. She said she wouldn't
miss this day for anything.
"Not even a chance to participate in the Gormball
"Well, maybe that," she admitted, "But seeing
you utterly humiliated is a close second."
Sloth had a clipboard in his hand. He passed
it to me as I approached and I dully looked over the items. Meet with Commander
Garoo. Terrorize the underlings. Conduct research on transmogrification potions.
Terrorize more underlings.
"Just so you know, the potion I'm currently
working on is for Pteris. I mean, Peophins."
I didn't rise to the bait even with Miriane
giggling just by my ear. That pet has no sense of self-preservation.
"Hey Dr. Sloth," she piped up, "you gonna hang
around or are you taking the day off?"
"What?" he replied, offended. "And miss seeing
Kid botch it?"
"Thanks for the confidence," I sneered. "Such
supportive people around here."
The meeting with Garoo was to occur in his office.
I hoped that Dr. Sloth had warned the Blumaroo beforehand. That guy scares me,
seriously. He's got that look about him, that utter disdain that says he'd stab
ya in a heartbeat if you got in the way. At least with Sloth you can expect
him to gloat and revel in it for a bit beforehand.
Dr. Sloth's office was pure empty space, a study
in intimidation. High ceiling, broad floor, and no decoration or furniture save
for his enormous desk. The Dr. took a spot near the rear of the room where the
wall was nothing but windows opening out into space. I reluctantly took his
chair behind the desk with a little prompting for Miriane. She then fluttered
down to the floor behind me and promptly fell into a fit of giggles.
"Oh, oh, this is priceless," she gasped. "You're
I mentally measured the desk in relation to
my body. The top of it was about an inch below my shoulders.
"Need a pillow?"
I ignored them and stood up, just as Garoo entered.
Apparently he had been warned beforehand for his face was different than the
usual cold mask. It was just plain contempt. Miriane crept behind the desk and
I tried not to appear nervous.
"Commander Garoo, reporting, um, Miss Geek?"
He didn't know my name either. Needless to say,
the meeting just went downhill from that point. After a couple minutes Sloth
took over and I retreated to a corner of the room and tried not to cry.
"That went horrible," Chickenhead commented
after Garoo left. "Not that I expected anything else."
"Oh, quit rubbing it in," I snarled. "What's
the next item on the list?"
"Right. I can do that."
And I stormed from the room, my Pteri and Sloth
following in my wake. My supposed fellow programmers were where they always
were. Four pairs of Grundo eyes turned to me, then to Sloth, and four Grundos
immediately quailed. I took a deep breath.
"Alright! Listen up you cretins!" I shouted
and one actually fell out of his chair. "I'm am SICK of you all loafing around.
From now on you're going to WORK and actually make yourselves useful!"
"We do work…" one said in a trembling voice.
I stormed over to his chair in response and
jabbed a finger on the screen.
"Really? Then what is that?"
"Uhhhh, class implementation?"
I eyeballed the code. Idiot.
"With missing characters. You'll crash the system
if you run that thing. GET IT RIGHT! And if you don't…" I dropped my voice a
couple notches. "Well, what do the words 'hard format' mean to you?"
"Many things," he squeaked. "And none are good."
I turned and left. From behind me I heard the
flurry of keys. I took a deep breath and leaned on the cold metal of the hallway.
Dr. Sloth and Miriane just looked at me and I thought I saw a trace of approval
in Chickenhead's eyes.
"That went well," my Pteri commented.
"I learned from the best."
"You so much as think of doing a hard format
on any of my systems," Dr. Sloth warned, "and I'll see what my detransmogrification
ray does to a geek human."
Of course. It wouldn't be Sloth if he didn't
get in at least one threat a day.
"So next there's that potion thing experimenting,"
Miriane said, "Hey Boss, you failed biology in school, didn't you?"
"No!" I replied hastily, "I dropped the class
before I failed. There's a difference."
"Riiight," Sloth drawled, "I think we can just
cross that one off the list. I'd like to keep the amount of blundering idiots
in my lab to a minimum."
"We could leave Miriane behind," I suggested,
"That'd only make two complete morons in there then."
They both eyed me, Miriane with venom and Sloth
with cold calculation. I recognized the look. It was never a good one.
"So, on to terrorizing more underlings," he
said, "Let's see. You handled the other programmers quite well but I believe
you're used to yelling at them on occasion. How about… I think my mutant Grundo
army is due for a surprise inspection."
"Dr.," I said evenly, "I can't even see anything
above their shoulders."
"Ah yes, such a pity to be short. Come along
then, we don't have all day."
Miriane snickered and Sloth started off down
the corridor. I stayed where I was. He'd picked mutant Grundos simply because
he knew that I was terrified of them. Not only that, they were as dumb as rocks.
With the programmers I had the edge of being able to use intellect on them.
With the mutants… I had no idea. It was pointless. I'd pretty much lost before
the contest even began. The whole deal was so vastly unfair, but really, I should
have expected that. This was Sloth after all.
"Forget it!" I cried. "I'm done. That's it.
You win. Happy now? I can't do your job because I don't know a thing about being
an evil genius. I'm some skinny girl with glasses that sits around and codes.
You win. I'm leaving."
And I went home, collapsed on my bed, and cried
into my pillow. Miriane showed up about half an hour later and tried to apologize.
It came out awkward and I told her that it was fine, that I knew she was just
bantering around. She made me hot tea and I felt a bit better.
The fallout from my day as Sloth wasn't entirely
bad. Garoo no longer looked like he was going to kill me at any moment when
we saw each other. He'd just look at me, smirk and snicker under his breath,
and go on his way. I guess I can count that as an improvement. My fellow programmers
lumped me in the same category as Sloth, something to be feared and obeyed without
hesitation. It was quite satisfying.
Dr. Sloth hasn't really made good use of what
he won from the bet. He's yet to touch me for which I am immensely thankful.
I don't think he's interested in tormenting owners, just their pets. However,
he did try and turn Miriane into a mutant at one point. She was remarkably calm
about the whole thing, which surprised me as I was about to collapse into hysterics.
Once the potion turned out to be a dud and made her spontaneously molt however,
her perspective changed. I laughed until I cried and she spent the next few
weeks locked in our apartment so her feathers could grow back without utter
So there you have it. Sloth still calls me Kid
and Girl and such but I don't mind so much anymore. It's better than Miss Geek.
I still call him Sir Chickenhead in private, although there was this one time
that I let that slip around Garoo. But that's another story, for another time.
I think I've had enough of self-humiliation for now.