The Right Kind of Family
Slowly I went down the stairs. I was in for it
now. You could always tell, if Shelly uses your full name, your crime has been
"Joseph, do you know who's responsible for the
destruction of Kell's Usukis?"
I shuffled from one foot to another while trying
to put on an I don't know what you're talking about but I'll see if I can
help sort of expression. Believe me, this is not the easiest expression
for a cornered Lupe to make.
I was just about to burst into a hastily made-up
explanation, when Mill burst into the room.
"Shelly! Bo's stuck in the toilet!"
"Not again!" my owner sighed. She turned to me.
"Stay here, I'll deal with you in a minute." Then she ran off to the bathroom
shouting, "Hang on, Bo!"
I slumped into a chair. That had been a close
one. During the course of three days, my little sister, Kell, or Kelly to call
her by her full name, had ripped the head off of my Jeran plushie, eaten my
secret collection of chocolate Jerans, stolen all my Neopoints which I was saving
up for more Jeran stuff and spent it on Usukis. Who wouldn't want revenge?
From the bathroom I heard cries of "NO, KELL!
PLEASE DON'T FLUSH!"
I grimaced as I heard the sound of the toilet
My family isn't just your average family. There
are five of us: my owner Shelly; me (Joseph), a Split Lupe and the oldest; Milly,
a Cloud Shoyru and the second oldest; Kelly the pink Uni, the second youngest;
and finally Bonan the Skunk JubJub, who is the youngest.
I'm a very big fan of Jeran; in my room you can't
see the walls, carpets or furniture because it's covered in so much Jeran stuff.
I spend most of my time practising my swordsmanship in the garden and writing
fan letters to Jeran. I always get my revenge on tricksters and hate people
with no sense of humour.
My sister Mill is a big fan of the faeries and
flying. Her room looks like it's suspended in the air along with her head, as
she's a bit of a daydreamer. No, I take that back. She is the biggest daydreamer
I have ever seen. Even if the world exploded around her she still wouldn't snap
out of it. Yet, surprisingly she is quite a good writer.
Kell is obsessed with Usukis. Her room looks
like the Usuki shop, except bigger! She also likes make-up, grooming herself
and anything girly. Her room is an explosion of pink; it's so pink that I have
to wear sunglasses every time I go into it. She hates anyone who hates pink.
In other words, me.
And finally, Bo. The JubJub is obsessed with
toilets. I know, of all the things in Neopia, he just had to choose toilets.
His room is a bathroom with a bed in it and extra toilets, and he enjoys getting
stuck in lavatories. Guess what he dressed up as one Halloween? A Spooky Toilet.
Now that is just plain weird.
Shelly came out of the bathroom carrying a dripping
Bo. Kell had been scolded for flushing the loo, but by now it was such a regular
occurrence that Shelly had hardly bothered to put much power in it.
While this was happening, I slipped off to the
breakfast table. I had been planning to spend most of the morning in my bedroom
and slip downstairs just before we left for school, to avoid being caught. But
now I thought I might as well have some breakfast.
There was no one else at the table, only a book
to show where Mill had been sitting. I grabbed some toast and a cup of orange
juice and began to eat. Then I took my backpack and set out the door. Just as
I closed it behind me I heard Shelly shout, "JOE!"
For the first time in my life I arrived at school
I was sitting with my head in one hand, eyes
half closed, basically not listening to what the teacher was saying. To me it
"Bla bla bla... homework... bla bla bla... foreign...
bla bla bla... trip away..."
Wait a minute.
"Trip away?" I shouted. Everyone turned around
to look at me.
"Yes, Joseph, a trip away. Please sit down. Anyway,
as I was saying, it has been arranged for a foreign exchange student to come
over from Meridell for two weeks, and the school is looking for volunteers to
go in his place. I have forms here, and the winner will be picked on Friday.
Their family will have the new person to stay. Of course, this is completely
I was out of my seat before she finished. I was
the first to the front to pick up a form. This was it. My chance to see what
it was like to be part of a normal family. And Meridell, wasn't... wasn't that...
Wasn't that where JERAN lived?
I ran home from school that day. I burst through
the door into the kitchen where Shelly was making dinner. "Shelly can you sign
this for me 'cause I wanna go to Meridell 'cause that's where Jeran lives!"
I asked excitedly. Shelly looked at me for a moment, slowly she opened her mouth,
I sighed. "I SAID, can you sign this form for
me, because there's a foreign exchange student coming and I want to go in his
place. He lives in Meridell, and he's coming over for two weeks," I explained
"Well, Joe, I'm not quite sure I want you to
"NOOO!!!" I shrieked. "Please let me go! It'll
be educational! I'll learn about different lives! I'LL GET TO MEET JERAN!" I
fell to my knees and burst into over enthusiastic tears, reflecting on how it
got easier to make them come each time. Shelly sighed.
"Well, I suppose if it's just for two weeks..."
she mumbled. "Joe, you have to remember that you might not be picked, and..."
"YES!" I shouted. I ran up to my room, whooping
with delight. I looked around my room for my favourite Jeran poster. With the
utmost care I took it down. This was the one I would get signed. I cheered again.
A week later I was standing on the pier. My family
was with me, hugging me, kissing me, begging me not to go, making me promise
to write and, in Bo's case, telling me to bring him back a Meridell toilet seat.
They looked out to sea. "Are you really going to cross all of that?" Kell asked,
her eyes wide in amazement.
"Yep," I said with a smile. "Well, I'd better
be going!" I smiled. Laden down with bags, I climbed onto the ferry. I waved
as we set off. My family waved and shouted back. I watched until they were out
I sat down on a set and stretched. I let out
a contented sigh.
I was on the ferry.
And I couldn't be more happy.
Two days later I was in Meridell.
And I couldn't be more miserable.
The exchange student's family were nice enough.
He had a younger brother called Michael and an older sister named Jane, and
his owner Tim was nice, but... well...
They were just so BORING.
I know. I, Joseph, forever complaining about
my family, forever wishing they were different, the same Joseph who had begged
to be allowed to come to Meridell, was complaining about a boring family.
And another thing, everything was made of wood!
There was almost no technology, and all that was in my bedroom was a bed, a
bedside table and a wardrobe. That was it. Nothing else.
And the games weren't all that great either.
I mean, who on earth wants to watch a cheese roll down a hill? Yay, I won a
I guess the family didn't mean to ignore me,
but I felt really left out. I missed Mill's air headedness. I missed Kell's
pinkness. I even missed the daily drama of Bo getting stuck in the toilet. I
wanted to go home.
But I would have been able to bear all of this,
if it wasn't for what happened on my fourth day there.
We were finally going to the castle, to see the
army and King Skarl. I had my Jeran poster folded neatly and put in my pocket.
I couldn't wait. But when we got there, I couldn't find him. I decided to ask
the King where he was.
"Where's Jeran, your Majesty?" I asked.
"That's not very funny," he replied.
"Your Majesty, I'm serious," I said.
"Oh," said the King grumpily. "Well, if you must
know, he and the rest of the army left for a training session in Altador yesterday."
I fell to my knees.
"NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" I yelled.
"That's not very funny," said the king.
I was practically jumping off the boat as we
pulled up. I ran off into Shelly's waiting arms. She seemed shocked. "Well,
Joe, I didn't expect for such a warm hello!" she smiled.
"Yeah," Mill agreed, "from the way you looked
as you got on the boat we thought you'd never want to come back!"
"So did I," I admitted. "But while I was away
I realised that I need the right kind of things. The right kind of school, the
right kind of friends, the right kind of home. And I'm lucky, because although
I haven't realised it, I've always had the right kind of family."