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The Artist


by bathschool123

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Author's Note: This story was inspired by the shopkeeper who is a White Wocky with paint all over it.

I came from a large family that was all purebred White Wockies. We had high standards in my family, ones that we all had to live up to... or else our mothers would be extremely angry.

      I myself am right at our expectations, sometimes a bit above. I love my family, but sometimes they won't let you do anything that you want. They did that to me with my calling.

      I got my calling on my fifth day of Grade Three. My mother sent me off with a lunch of spaghetti in my thermos and two cookies and carrots. I kissed my mother on the cheek goodbye, and set off for Neoschool.

      I happily walked off, for I loved school. Some kids playfully teased me about it, but they would never actually make fun of me. I was the richest kid, which, in turn, made me the most popular.

      When I got to the school yard, I was greeted with the usual enthusiasm. "Hey, Jon!" they would call out to me, smiling and commenting on how nice and neat my White Wocky fur looked.

      I would reply to them with a friendly "Hi!" and a wave. Most kids would be eager to get just noticed by me, for most didn't think they were 'worthy' to talk to me, though I never thought that someone was lesser than me.

      The school bell rang, and I went into line. My Other Languages Teacher, who was on yard duty that certain morning, smiled at me warmly. I smiled back. Even the teachers looked up to me as if I was some kind of god.

      My best friend, who, at the time, was Charlie the White Hissi (we had been drawn together because of our colours), slithered over to me. "Hi, Jon!" he said happily, "How was your night?"

      "Fine," I replied as the teacher shuffled us inside. "How was yours, Charlie? Have a good sleep?"

      "Yes and yes!" said Charlie. I was a little annoyed over his over-happiness, which made us become enemies in the fifth grade.

      When we got in class, we started the day as normal. After what seemed like only an hour, it was the last period of the day, which was art. We only had it on Fridays, and in my first and second grade classes, we only learned the names of the colours and stuff like that, no real art. So we were hoping that we would get actual art this time.

      "So, class," said our teacher, who was a Royal Cybunny, "today for art we will be painting a picture that I assign you."

      We all cheered, for we were actually doing something fun in art! Before, art was most of our least favourite subject.

      "You will be graded on this, but it won't go to your report card," continued our teacher. "It's just to show you where you're at."

      The whole class stared at Jackilyn, the Strawberry Zafara, who was the best artist in the class. For show and tell, she would bring in art that would wow all of us. We were sure that she would get an A+ in art any day.

      The teacher took us to the art room and gave us paper. The art room had paint and clay everywhere and was extremely messy, but for some reason I loved it in there. To me I felt comfortable.

      We set ourselves up on the paint-splattered easels. Beside me was Jackilyn, and on my other side was an Electric Uni named Serena. The teacher came around and handed out cards, instructing us to keep them turned down.

      "On the card is what I want you to paint," explained the teacher, "Every card is different. You may flip it over and get started... NOW!"

      We all flipped over our cards and silently started to paint. My card said, "Red Kougra about to attack."

     I grabbed my paints and started to work. I was zoned out from the rest of the world as I painted, making long, graceful strokes and short, playful ones for certain parts of my picture.

     When I finally put down my paint brush, I examined my work with happiness. I liked my painting, but not as much as some people would.

     The teacher walked by my row, and stopped dead in front of me. "Oh my..." she whispered, and then said, "That picture is the best I've seen in ages!"

     Everyone stared at me uncomfortably. But the worst stare was the one from Jackilyn, who was staring at me with her mouth open and a stare of astonishment and confusion on her face.

     That night, I went home in high feelings, despite the uncomforting stares of my classmates half-an-hour ago. After all the staring, people had started to clap and cheer for me.

     I came home and burst through the door, and yelled, "Mummy! Look what I did today!"

     I heard footsteps coming from the stairs right in front of me (we had no downstairs; only the hall was under the main floor), and her happy face was soon replaced by one of horror. "JON, WHAT ON NEOPIA HAPPENED TO YOU?" she yelled.

     I looked at my appearance, and noticed just then that I was covered with all kinds of colours of paint. In my family, it was a disgrace to have even a small spot on you in my family, for since we were White, it was easy to spot mess. And because we were honored, it counted even more that we were kept spotless.

     "It will take hours to clean you up!" she screeched. "And in only one hour your father has an important business dinner, where all family has to be present!"

     "It was in art class," I said quickly, "I didn't notice..."

     "You should have noticed!" snapped my mom. "Now, what was so important that you had to tell me?"

     "I want to be an artist!" I said happily.

     That made my mother even angrier. "NO!" she yelled. "NEVER! YOU WILL NEVER BE AN ARTIST!"

     A lump formed in my throat. My mother wasn't supporting me! "W-why?" I was able to choke out.

     "An artist will never be a worthy job!" she shouted. "You need a good education! You need money! Artists don't make money! We've already planned out what college you are going to, and what you are going to take as a job! And, in any circumstances, you DO NOT try any art!"

     Suddenly, I burst into tears. I ran past her and up the stairs to my room, clutching my picture and my bookbag. I sat on my bed, and cried and cried, until I couldn't cry any more.

     For the next years, I was able to go and buy paints, crayons, pastels, and pencils, and secretly make works of art in my room. I couldn't let my mother or father know, for they would have a fit if they did.

     In the fifth grade, after I lost Charlie as my best friend, Jackilyn and I became best friends because of our love of art. It was the last month of my last year of Neoschool when she asked me while we were on the swings, "So, do you have a plan of what college to go to after summer's over?"

     I actually did have one that I really wanted to go to, but I knew my mother wouldn't approve. "I really want to go to the Royal Neopian School of the Arts," I replied.

     "That's where I want to go to, too!" squealed Jackilyn happily. "We can see each other again!"

     I sighed. "But my mother doesn't want me to go," I said unhappily. "She hates art, and she wants me to become a wealthy business owner like my dad, and send me to the Mystery Island College."

     Jackilyn's face fell. "Oh," she replied solemnly. "That's okay. We can still see each other sometimes, apart from the fact that I'll be in Neopia Central and you'll be in Mystery Island, right?"

     "But, Jackilyn," I replied so suddenly, getting up off my swing, "I'm going to apply for both. If I get into the R.N.S.A., I'll go there instead, secretly. Then I'll become an artist!"

     "Yes!" Jackilyn yowled. She was so happy she started to skip around in little circles. "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

     That night, my mother gave me my application papers to go to the Mystery Island College. "Fill it out, and we'll send it in tomorrow," she said, and sent me up to my room.

     That night, on a futuristic handheld device that had come straight from the Virtupets' factory, I looked for the address of the R.N.S.A. I wrote down the address and got another piece of paper and started to write my other application.

     ~*~

      The next day, I took both my applications and stuck them in the Neomail box outside our home. Then I set off for school.

      Jackilyn greeted me. "Jon! Jon!" she exclaimed happily. "I got my application for the R.N.S.A.! They accepted me!"

      My pride for her was doused a bit by my jealousy. She was allowed to go to whatever college she liked, and her family supported her. Why didn't my family want me to become my dream?

      Then I remembered something crucial to actually going to the college. "Do you have the tuition money?" I asked.

      Jackilyn gasped. "I need that!"

      "And no matter where you go for college, be the R.N.S.A. or not, you need tuition," I said. "I need the money, too."

      We sat there, thinking, until Jackilyn had an idea that made her jump around. "We could get jobs as shopkeepers!"

      "That's a great idea!" I said. "We should go find one after school!"

     ~*~

      That day, we both started to go to the marketplace and search for shops with a "Help Wanted" sign. Jackilyn found one and rushed in, leaving me alone.

      I walked around for a while, until I finally found one. The shop was called "Ohhh... Shiny *_*", and looked like a good sized place to work.

      I walked into the store. A Royal Gelert came up to me and asked me gruffly, "Do you want any help?"

      "I'm here to apply for the job," I said hesitantly.

      "You're hired!" he said, and started to the door.

      "Hey!" I called to him. "Wait! You need to teach me how to be a shopkeeper! Come back!"

      The Gelert stopped suddenly, and started to turn around. He took one look at me and sighed. "I'll stay here," he said, "but only for a little bit. Actually, looking at the time, we have to close now. Be here tomorrow after your school."

      I left the shop, and Jackilyn came running up to me. "My job is great! How is yours?"

      I just sighed.

     ~*~

      The next day, I went to my shop to find the old shopkeeper waiting.

      "Right," he said, "Your first job is to make posters. Make them now." He thrust me a paper and some paint.

      My heart skipped a beat. He wanted me to do some art! I was so thrilled that I knocked over the coat stand on the way to the backroom, and went sprawling on the floor.

      The Gelert came over to me. "Why'd you do that?" he asked, then when I looked at him in a puzzled way, he grudgingly said, "Are you hurt?"

      "No," I replied, "but you could help me up."

      The Gelert reached out his paw, which I grabbed. "Thanks," I said. "Hey, what's your name?"

      "I am Welshire," said the Gelert. "I forgot to ask your name. What is it?"

      "Jon," I replied.

      I scurried into the backroom and opened the paints with care. I started to use the brush, making every stroke more beautiful than the last.

      After I finished nine posters (they all looked different), Welshire came in and inspected my work. After he was done, he turned to me with his mouth open.

      "That is amazing!" he said excitedly. "Do you go to the Royal Neopian School of Arts? I did, but it was for my drama skills."

      "I'm in my last month of Neoschool," I explained, "but I want to go to the R.N.S.A., but my parents want me to go to the Mystery Island College."

      "I suppose you have this job to get tuition money?" he asked, and I nodded. He sighed. "I guess you need tuition if you're going to any college," he said, but then he sat up. "Do you really, with all your might, want to go to the R.N.S.A.?"

      "Yes," I replied.

      "Then tell your parents that," said Welshire. "Tell them that if they don't support you, then you don't care. If an artist is truly what you want to be, then they should support you. And if you get accepted into the R.N.S.A., go there, no matter what your parents say. And I'll be happy to provide your tuition."

      I squealed. "Really?"

      Welshire smiled. "Really."

     ~*~

      After Jackilyn went home, I went to the park to think about what Welshire had said. My parents should support me, no matter what. If they truly loved me, then they would let me follow my dreams.

      Yes, I thought, I'm gonna have to show my parents up. I need to tell them that I need to become an artist and go to the R.N.S.A.!

      I walked home, and took a deep breath as I opened the door. I was going to tell my mother, no matter what!

      "Mother?" I said, and she looked up. "I need to tell you something extremely important-- even more important than getting to bed on time."

      My mother scowled and said, "What is it, Jonathan?"

      I sighed. "First of all, call me Jon. Jonathon sounds so formal. And now, I have something of utmost importance to confess." I took another deep breath. "Mother, my passion that I must follow with all my heart is my art. I need to be an artist!"

      My mother just stared at me. "Jonathon, I thought that we got rid of that silly wish nine years ago!"

      "Mother, this is my dream. Maybe you haven't noticed, but I have been following my dream for nine whole years!" I snapped. "And I don't want to be a wealthy businessman. I don't want to go to the Mystery Island College. I want to be an artist to the best of my abilities and go to the Royal Neopian School of Arts!"

      I could see anger flickering into my mother's eyes. "No!" she said, getting up and stomping her foot down. "You WILL NOT become an artist! You WILL become a businessman, and you WILL go to the Mystery Island College!"

      "NO!" I yowled. "Mom, look what you're doing! You're keeping me away from my dream! My boss, Welshire, has already arranged to pay all my tuition! Jackilyn is going there, and if I don't, I probably won't see her again!'

      My mother's eyes only narrowed.

      "Don't you see?" I said, desperately trying to get her to understand. "Don't you see that this is what I want to be? I don't want to be what you want me to do!"

      My mother did nothing.

      I shook my head. "You know what? I can't believe you. If you're holding me back from my dream, then I don't think you're being such a good person."

      I thought I detected a flicker in my mother's eyes as I turned on my heel and ran out of the house, heading for Jackilyn's Neohome.

     ~*~

      It was three days later. I hadn't seen my family at all in the past few days, getting up early and heading to Jackilyn's, then coming back late when everyone was asleep.

      As I snuck out of the house in the morning, I saw that some Neomail had arrived. Surprised, I saw it was addressed to me. I opened it.

      'Dear Jon Reddert,' it read,

      'Congratulations! Your application to the Royal Neopian School of Art has been accepted! We hope to see you after the summer.

      Your quarters will be Dormitory 3, Room 4. You will be sharing with Ricky Jones. When you get to the school, you will go to the Auditorium. Your map that is enclosed will show you the way.

      Signed,

      Dean Yeates of the R.N.S.A.'

      I stared at the letter, reading it over and over again. "Oh my goodness," I breathed, and raced inside.

      In the kitchen, everyone was eating. They all stopped in mid-chew as soon as I came in.

      I threw the paper down on the table. My mother and father snatched the paper up and hungrily started to read, their eyes going back and forth as they took in the letter.

      After a few moments, they slowly lowered the paper. We stared at each other for a long while. Then, my mother smiled at me.

      "Good job," she said, and then hesitated before adding, "Jon."

      I couldn't believe it. I smiled, and a tear of happiness fell down my face, and I ran over to my mother and hugged her as hard as I could.

     ~*~

      Jackilyn and I walked away from the street, and I waved goodbye to my family. Jackilyn and I turned around, our heads held high, our hearts beating fast.

      We approached the huge building in front of us. The door had a sign on it that read 'The Royal Neopian School of Arts'.

      I grabbed Jackilyn's arm, and we looked at each other. We each took a long, deep breath, and opened the door together.

The End

Author's Note: Yea! I got a short story in! I think that I wrote this story really well. Hopefully, you do too!

Thank you napolean16850, abbymorkem, and zoerobertson. Thank you again a million times over!

Hopefully, this isn't the last time you'll see my name in the Neopian Times. Thank you for reading!!!!!! ~Bath

 
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