White Weewoos don't exist. *shifty eyes* Circulation: 90,555,321 Issue: 168 | 2nd day of Celebrating, Y6
Home | Archives Articles | Editorial | Short Stories | Comics | New Series | Continued Series
 

A Day as Dr. Sloth


by child_dragon

--------

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 that.

      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."

      "Yes sir."

      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.

      "Yes sir?"

      "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 bad mood.

      "Fine, fine."

      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.

      "Hah. No."

      "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 position."

      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 for me.

      "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 finals?"

      "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.

      "What?"

      "Oh, oh, this is priceless," she gasped. "You're so SHORT!"

      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?"

      "Terrorize underlings."

      "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."

      "Right."

      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 humiliation.

      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.

The End

 
Search the Neopian Times




Great stories!


---------

Totodum and Turtumdee : Gruslen Troubles II
Who does he think he is?

by huggsy_666

---------

Bell’s Field Guide to Neomails
If you’ve ever won a contest, or lead a very important guild, you would know that the business of Neomails is a really tricky one. Hundreds of Neomails flood your inbox at an alarming rate, and believe me, it can really get on your nerves...

by belldandy213

---------

How to be an Awfully Good Musician
Today’s lesson is all about how to be an awfully accurate, ear-popping musician! Yes, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I know absolutely nothing about music.

by violinoutoftune

---------

If You Only Knew...
Some Neopets never change...

by mindela_me



Submit your stories, articles, and comics using the new submission form.