Some Assembly Required
It was an unusually rainy summer day at my home on Mystery
Island, and I should have been spending a peaceful day inside my Neohome. Two
of my pets were spending the night at their friends' houses, and I had just
checked out Poetry for Peophins and Robin Lupe out from the library.
Instead of spending the day on the couch reading, I was being driven insane
by my other two pets, Autumn the Kacheek and Triss the Usul, who were no less
than distraught at having their planned picnic canceled. They were extremely
hyper and chose to release their pent-up energy by literally bouncing off the
walls. I had suggested reading, I had begged them to play board games quietly,
but it was of no avail-the two insisted upon singing the "Rain, Rain, Go Away"
song at the top of their lungs. I don't think anyone can realize just how irritating
it gets when repeated over and over and over-but I digress. To make things worse,
they would dash to a window every so often, peer outside, moan, and then jump
on my lap for a while yelling, "We're bored!!! We've played with all our toys!!!
We're bored!!! We want something to do!!!" Now, I am a very patient person,
but when one has been pestered like this for two and a half hours on end, one's
patience does wear thin. I was at the end of my wits when the doorbell rang.
"Ooh! Ooh! I wanna get it! I wanna get it!"
screeched Triss and Autumn. They were off in a flash, burning off a fragment
of their energy and leaving me in a state of temporary calm for twenty sweet
seconds. I heard Triss squealing, then the door slammed and the two came tearing
back, clutching a huge cardboard box and almost gibbering with excitement.
"IT'S HERE!!! FINALLY!!! IT'S HERE!!!" they
yelled. I closed my eyes, took several deep breaths, counted to ten, pasted
a smile on my face, and opened my eyes.
"What's here, you guys? Calm down and tell me!"
"Oh, nothing. Only the COOLEST toy in the world,
the Green Robo-Quiggle!" exclaimed Autumn.
"And it's been six weeks since we Neomail-ordered
it and it's finally here!" shouted Triss.
I blinked twice, absorbed the information, and
then smiled in gratitude. Finally, the masters of disaster would have something
to play with.
"Open it, then," I said. Autumn ran to her desk
and pulled out a pair of scissors. She offered them to Triss, who eagerly slit
the blade into the box. I winced as she ripped it open and threw foam packaging
material everywhere. The two pets leaned forward expectantly and appeared to
be looking at something. Then their faces fell.
"We have to put it together ourselves," explained
Triss, noticing my puzzled look. "And we have to buy some of the pieces." She
showed me a piece of paper. It said:
Some assembly required. Not all parts included.
"What a ripoff!" said Autumn angrily. "Come
on, Triss, let's go make the rain stop."
"That's okay," I said hurriedly. Now that I'd
gotten them absorbed in something, there was no point in stopping. "We'll see
what items we need, and I'll give you the money to buy them. All right?" The
two pets nodded and looked more cheerful.
"So how many items do we need?" I asked.
"Twenty," said Triss.
"Twenty, okay. That means you can both get ten."
If they wanted to take the ferry to Neopia Central and then walk all the way
to the Shop Wizard in the pouring rain, that was entirely their prerogative.
Me, I was happy with my book.
"All right!" shouted Autumn. "I'll take the
first half and Triss can take the second." With that, she was off. Triss looked
at the first item and then dashed off too. I curled up on the couch and picked
up my book again. This was going to be unbelievably easy.
* * * * *
About five minutes later, Autumn reappeared,
dripping wet. "It needed a Faerie Screwtop, but I didn't want to wait at the
trading post for ages so I just got a normal one. Do you think it will work?"
"I'm sure it will, Autumn," I said lazily, turning
the page of Poetry for Peophins.
Triss burst into the house, also soaking wet.
"Dazzling Steel Lenny Wings were really expensive, so I got Spicy Wings. Is
that all right?"
"Mm-hmm," I said, no longer really listening.
For the next hour, the two pets popped in and out of the house carrying various
items. Finally, they sat in the middle of a pile of twenty miscellaneous objects
that I could never imagine a Green Robo-Quiggle would need.
"What do we do now?" asked Autumn.
"You read the directions and assemble the robot,"
I said, yawning contentedly. Putting together the robot would take them a while
and would give me some more time spent in peace.
The two pets stayed bent over the kit for at
least two hours, during which I finished my book and started Robin Lupe.
I had barely gotten to the second chapter when Autumn and Triss raced up to
me, squealing and carrying something that was almost as big as the both of them
"WE'RE DONE!!! WE'RE DONE!!!" they screamed.
I closed my eyes, took several deep breaths, counted to ten, pasted a smile
on my face, and opened my eyes.
"That's great, you guys! Show me!" I said with
as much enthusiasm I could muster. Triss put down the giant clanky thing and
beamed. "Look! Isn't it so realistic?"
I gazed at the thing. Yes, it did look remarkably
like a green Quiggle.
"Does it do anything but hop?" I asked.
"Oh, yes!!!" said Autumn, jumping up and down
with glee. She hefted a remote control. "See, it jumps up, jumps up, and gets
down! And if I press this, it will jump REALLY high, then land and start dancing!"
She pressed a button. Mini rockets sprouted from the Quiggle's feet, and it
zoomed into the air, flying erratically.
"Oh, that's so cool! Let me try!" screamed Triss.
"I'm not doing anything!" squawked Autumn. She
started jabbing at various buttons.
"How would it even get rockets? They're not
on the list!" I exclaimed. Triss raised her paw. "That's my fault. I was supposed
to get Lucky Fishing Boots, but I forgot and got Kyrii Rocket Boots. You said
they would work."
I tried to remember if she had said anything
about Kyrii Rocket Boots. I couldn't; I must have been too involved in my book.
I made a mental note to be more aware of what my pets were doing from now on.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!" screeched Autumn, jolting
me out of my reverie. I looked up in time to see the Quiggle giving off chicken-smelling
fumes and all but demolishing my Blue Bean Bag Chair with its rocket flame.
Darn. That would have been the Spicy Wings. I resolved to read any instructions
at least twice if I got out of this alive. When the robot decided to fly up
to the chandelier, I decided to take drastic action.
"EVACUATE!" I screeched, as loudly as I ever
had in my life. My pets dashed upstairs, but I remained downstairs long enough
to quickly fill out and Neomail an order form before running for my life.
Six weeks later...
The doorbell rang. I crept downstairs and opened
the door, terrified of the monstrosity that lurked in the living room. Autumn
and Triss were safe upstairs, and my other two pets were still at their friends'
houses, as I had neomailed their owners. I was the only person in danger.
"Could you sign here, please?" the delivery Lupe
said politely. "Thank you. Bye now."
I shut the door and dashed upstairs again, holding
a cardboard package in my trembling arms. When I got to Autumn's room, I bellowed,
"IT'S HERE!! WE'RE SAVED!" Triss and Autumn, who had been hiding out in my room,
sped in. We set about opening the item that would save our lives, the Kacheek
Extinguisher. Autumn, our Battledome pet, did the honors this time, scattering
foam pellets everywhere in her eagerness. We all bent over the box, and, with
a sinking heart, I read what I knew now to be the worst seven words in the English
Some assembly required. Not all parts included.