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Jealousy: A Tale of Two Salesmen


by firehazzard

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"Don't leave me."

     The silver Lenny stared blankly at her companion, a gangly red Shoyru. Her startling amber gaze swept tartly over the house in front of them and then back to her friend. For a second, just a mere second mind you, she looked apprehensive.

     "Smitty," she sighed to her friend. "Smitty, Smitty, Smitty. There are some things, some situations in life that you must accomplish by yourself. By yourself," she repeated for emphasis.

     "Grai, sometimes it's like you want me to suffer. I-I-I mean you're my business partner, you should help me with this. I-I mean, please, we're a new business; just help me with this one, please."

     The Lenny looked down her beak at her companion, then she swept her gaze up to the house before them. It was tall, so tall that Grai would be sure to say it could reach nearly to Faerieland. There was story after story and countless windows. Its pale blue paint was chipping and the roof seemed to sag. This was the house no one came to, no one ventured to its door. No one. No one in their right mind would.

     But you don't know Grai. Yet.

     Grai was one determined Lenny; she'd gladly jump up for a challenge and was known to all the other salesmen in Neopia Central as 'ruthless', 'cunning' and 'cold.' 'Sly Grai' was what she was better known as.

     Now let me introduce her partner. He stood nearly a full head above Grai. His arms seemed too long, his wings too big, his red color annoyingly bright. He was clumsy and forgetful but ultimately kind. Now what's someone like Smitty doing with Grai? Well, not many know, but if you ask me I'd say it was because they had developed a faithful friendship. But that's just me.

     "Go on, Smitty, I'm right behind you," Grai urged impatiently. At her words Smitty hesitantly leaned into the front gate which swung open with a rusty creeeak and he stooped to pick up his briefcase. Smitty moved forward up the walkway as though walking on Draik Eggs -well, maybe not Draik eggs. I'm not sure they would like him walking on them that much- while Grai followed him taking long, leisurely steps. Her face was set in a determined, somewhat intimidating smirk. She had guessed (and hoped) for sometime that this house and its occupant could be the answer to her and Smitty's career. This was a vital sell that they were about to make. If they could.

     Dear Fyora, Grai thought with a sudden grimace, I hope he doesn't mess it up.

     Smitty was now on the porch. He looked about as though he was about to jump into a pit of brainrolls and rotten neggs that had been conveniently left in the road. In short he looked as though he was going to vomit.

     He knocked on the door.

     Once, twice.

     No answer.

     He bit his lip but did not dare to look back at Grai.

     What am I going to do, what am I going to do, he panicked wildly. Please, get to the door!

     And then the doorknob was turning ever so slightly. Smitty straightened his back and put on a weak attempt to match Grai's signature smirk.

     And the door opened.

     "What?" a sharp voice snapped that caused Smitty to jump several feet in the air.

     "Who's there?" he yelped into the dark doorway ahead of him. He turned quickly back to Grai to send her a frantic glare.

     "Oh, Smitty." Grai strode up to the porch practically radiating disappointment. "Did you already scare the old dear away?"

     "What old dear? You better not be talking about me. I am still young, you know," the voice snapped again cutting the air.

     "GRAI!" Smitty was now hovering anxiously in the air a few feet away from the door. "There IS no 'old dear'. A voice! Hear it? Huh?! Grai!"

     "I am not old!"

     "Who said that, Smitty?" Grai stretched her long neck peering into the doorway. "Helloo? Helloooo? It's your neighborhood salesmen here, care to have a little chat?"

     "Salespeople?" The nothingness in the doorway laughed. "Haven't had you guys visit in a while."

     Grai showed no surprise that she could not see her client. She just smiled sweetly.

     "You must be Ms. Ebonli," she said quietly.

     "Got that right," said the voice loudly. "So, I suppose you know of me? I suppose you've heard just all about my marvelous Beauty Contest days?"

     "I've heard a little of your achievements." Grai nodded and then sent a mischievous look to poor Smitty, who was still hanging back looking utterly confused. "You were quite a winner when you were younger, weren't-"

     "Young? I am still young, you dung brain. I'm not ancient. I am more of refined. The older the piano, the sweeter the song, or whatever it is."

     "Violin," whispered Smitty.

     "Ms. Ebonli, my partner here and I have a proposition for you. Mr. Smitty, take it away." With a flourish of her dull, gray wing Grai beamed and motioned toward Smitty and his briefcase.

     "You better not be selling me dentures," the voice grumbled.

     Smitty looked panicked. No, more than panicked. More like a combo of panic, franticness, and undeniable fear.

     "Um, hello." He squinted at the darkness in the doorway. His great big wings seemed to close around his body, as if he were cold. "Did getting an, um, ahh, invisible," he gulped, "petpet seem like a good idea? Can finding your petpet be a pain? Do you lose your invisible petpet for long periods of time? If- if so, then EZ C is the item for you."

     "Go on," the voice said, its tone unreadable.

     "Formulated by topnotch scientists, this is a spray that will change your relationship with your petpet. Just take your EZ C spray can and generously apply to petpet. Um, um, make sure that it IS your petpet you are spraying. Wait for... for ten minutes and wah-lah, your visibility of your petpet will have increased by 20%! Your petpet will still be invisible but you will be able to make out a rough, silvery outline of its body...

      "Uh. Buy your own EZ C for just 2,000 NP a bottle." Smitty looked a bit more confident and less sheepish as he said this. "That's right, folks, only 2,000 NP!"

     He stopped, exhaled deeply and waited. Smitty's bright green eyes stared determinedly into the doorway.

     "I," the voice said, suddenly sounding very tired and very old, "was once the most beautiful Wocky ever. I won golden trophy after golden trophy. I had, oh, so many adoring fans. I was an icon. A symbol. The electric Wocky."

     Grai folded her wings, a sly smile on her. She had quite obviously heard this tale before.

     "Many, as I said adored me. And sadly even more envied me. That's where things went wrong. One day I was strolling innocently down Neopia Central, just around Bread Street. I was surrounded by fans (as usual). Someone pushed through my crowd of adorers. She was a pretty Wocky; I'd seen her around before. She competed along beside me. She smiled convincingly at me. She pulled out a bottle from the bag she was toting. 'Want your fur to shine, Ebonli? This stuff works like a charm! I swear! It doesn't leave residue or anything!' Really? I said. How much? 'Well...' Her smile faltered for a moment. 'I'm a little short for cash, I mean we all can't be winners like you, so I'd have to say 75,000 NP. And honestly that's being cheap. This stuff's amazing!' I happened to have enough money on me to buy it. She sounded so genuine. So friendly. I went home and rubbed it through my fur and then went to bed... When I woke up... I looked like- like nothing. That, that girl had put invisible paint in the shampoo. I was so foolishly ashamed and without thinking I fled from my Neohome and into the woods. I didn't have enough money to buy a new paintbrush, so instead I scrounged up my remaining money and hid in this old house. Many devoted fans have come looking for me but I've scared them off pretending to be a ghost. I was so ashamed of my appearance, I've cut off all contact from the outside world... How did you hear of me?"

     Grai seemed to jolt out of a daze.

     "Oh! I was selling some beauty products awhile ago and I came across an old withered Wocky, who after she bought a good amount of supplies she confided in me that once upon a time she had ruined the career of a most famous other Wocky. She told me the story. I thought that we might be able to help you."

     "For a fee?" the voice scoffed goodheartedly.

     "Of course," Smitty chimed in shyly. He opened up his briefcase to reveal several turquoise bottles branded in pink lettering EZ C! SEE YOUR PETPET! "No scam, I promise."

     "Oh, the wonders of kindness," said the voice. "They will take you two far."

           ---------------------------------------------------------------

     The silver Lenny and the annoyingly bright Shoyru walked down the steps of an old, decaying house, smiling. The trees around them drooped with autumn colored leaves and the sky was clouded. A small breeze ruffled the Lenny's wings as she glanced back at the house. In the doorway stood a beautiful Wocky. Grai had to squint to see her faint outline but she too was smiling.

The End

Hope you liked this. Comments, questions and criticism is CRAVED by the author. -Thank you

 
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