"La, la, la, la, la, la, la! Cleaning is so fun!" The voice
broke into my dreams and stole them away like an Aisha thief would steal Neopoints
at the bank. I moaned and felt around for a pillow before stuffing it over my
ears. There went my brother, Jakalo1, again. It was like this every morning on
the weekends. Typically, he leads a very sad life. Or at least I think so. But
how could it not be sad when his idea of fun is cleaning?!
"Rise and shine, dear sister of mine!" Jakalo
tore the pillow off my head and dragged me out of my bed by my striped tail.
With an irritated yowl, I tumbled out onto the floor as he proceeded to make
my bed. "Come on, you lazy Kougra! Get up!" He was in a very good mood that
Saturday morning. However, that usually meant I was in a bad one.
"Jak!" I hissed at my older brother. "Must you
do this to me every morning?! Can't I sleep in just once?!" My tail lashed in
irritation as he placed a new pillowcase on my pillow.
"You're as bad as Lavamitten sleeping in like
that! I'm just trying to get some work done!" Jakalo said indignantly, turning
to me with his hands on his hips.
"Well, you aren't getting anything done waking
me up at four in the morning!" I shot back.
"And neither are you! You never do any work!
I'm surprised Lava doesn't throw you out for not earning your keep, Zhilshe!"
he countered, winding up my clockwork Wocky while he dusted off my bed with
a feather duster grasped in his whip-like Gelert tail.
"I do plenty to earn my keep! I-I..." I searched
my head desperately for a chore I had completed in the past couple of days.
"Well, yesterday, I folded laundry!" I crossed my arms and smirked cheekily
Jakalo turned around. "Right. I just got done
making breakfast, cleaning the bathtub and toilet, washing the windows, doing
the dishes, taking down the Christmas decorations, buying groceries, feeding
and walking the Petpets, and cleaning out the gutters. And what did you do?
You folded laundry." Compared to all the things he had done, folding laundry
didn't seem like such a big deal anymore.
"Well... I--" I broke off. How could I respond
He shook his head in disapproval. "Honestly,
Zhilshe. You never do any work around here. You're just being a freeloader.
Lava feeds you and buys you stuff, but you don't do anything in return. I really
don't know why she hasn't thrown you out yet." He let out a sigh and headed
for another room to clean obsessively.
I stood there looking quite crestfallen. I hated
to admit it... but he was right. And I was wrong. No! I couldn't be wrong! I
was never wrong! I'd just go out into town and do some work! I'd bring home
oodles and oodles of Neopoints, and then we'd see who the freeloader really
I glanced at my reflection in one of the windows
of our Neohome before I actually went off into town. Over my cat-like figure
I had worn some work clothes. They were brown and ragged, but I was doing work
and did not intend to work in the clothes I had purchased in Faerieland and
the like. I ran a large Kougra paw through the orangey-red hair that I had tied
back in a bun. Yes, I had been painted purple a while back, and my fur was mottled
with orange stripes and spots.
After double-checking that I looked decent enough
to head out into Meri Acres, I began to walk down our driveway with determination.
I don't know what had motivated Lava to move into Meridell, and Meri Acres at
that, but it was mostly a nice quiet place when it wasn't under attack.
Soon enough, I had gotten a job to record guesses
at the 'Guess the Weight' game. Pets from all over Neopia come just to guess
the weight of some overgrown crop. Silly, I know. Nevertheless, I could get
paid for recording guesses and finding out whom the first ten people were to
guess it correctly so they could be given a prize. It seemed easy enough, so
I gave it a whirl.
The first few times I had recorded guesses and
checked how precise they were to the actual weight of the marrow, I told myself
I was doing fine. That's when a few snobs from Faerieland came strutting up
with their noses all in the air.
"'Guess the weight of the marrow', eh? Hmm...
My, isn't it huge?" a faerie Ixi asked her Lupe companion beside her.
"Indeed," the Lupe agreed.
"Could you please get on with it? There are
people waiting in line behind you," I growled, tapping a pad of paper I clutched
in my paw with a pencil.
"Oh, of course. I bet that big marrow is about
your weight, darling," the Ixi jeered. My eye twitched, and I felt a vein bulge
in my forehead. Throwing down my pad and paper, I hissed and flung myself at
the Ixi. I will have you know that I don't weigh as much as that marrow does
in Meri Acres. That little snot-nosed goat just wanted to pick a fight, and
so she had one coming.
Soon I had pinned her to the ground, about ready
to play tic-tac-toe on her face with my claws before a hand grabbed the collar
of my shirt and plucked me up. I hissed and looked over my shoulder at the orange
Wocky who ran the joint and had hired me.
"Zhilshe! Why are you attacking our customers?
We'll lose business that way! I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to
let you go," he said, releasing me. I fell to the ground and glared at the two
snobs as they laughed. Well, so much for that job.
Not discouraged yet, I headed for the garden
at the 'Pick your Own' game. I was to follow around those who had gone to pick
berries to make sure they only picked six berries and visited only twenty areas.
The farmer who owned the berry garden told me that not only would he pay me
in Neopoints but he would also throw in some berries. Of course, I took the
One customer, in particular, was a Grarrl. So
I followed him quietly, leaping into bushes and trees to conceal myself. No
one liked to be watched, after all. I monitored the number of berries in the
Grarrl's basket... It wasn't long before he had found six items, and he was reaching
for a seventh one...
I leapt out of a tree in front of him.
"Not so fast! You can only have six!" I shouted
triumphantly. He continued to reach for a berry, however, and it irritated me
that he had ignored me. "Hey! Only six!" I repeated, stamping my foot.
He turned to me and smirked. "You're going to
stop me from getting more than six? Don't make me laugh! You're puny, after
all. What rules can you enforce?" He laughed and shoved the berry into his fat
mouth. With my blood boiling, I leapt at his basket and knocked it away with
a large paw. With a baffled look, he watched his berries scatter. Bellowing
in anger, he turned to me and tried to stomp me. I dodged his foot and leapt
at his face with claws outstretched.
It wasn't long before the farmer heard the ruckus
and peeled us apart. I was fired once again, and with a heavy heart, I trailed
off into Meri Acres once again.
I was sitting down next to a big sign that welcome
visitors into our home. 'Meri Acres- Where the Fun Never Stops!' That's what
the sign said. Whoever made that sign needed to be dropped off of the Virtupets
Station. Jakalo was right--I was a freeloader. I couldn't even get a job to
bring home some Neopoints to Lava. I deserved to be thrown out into the streets...
"Wow, look how high up we are!" I heard a young
voice call from atop the Rubbish Dump. I had been ignoring the rancid smell
as I sat there, but the voice drew me back to reality, and I recoiled at the
rotten stench. Glancing up at the tip of the Rubbish Dump, I saw two young Neopets
tottering around and squealing in delight. As I examined the situation more,
I realized something. They were pretty high up. The Rubbish Dump pile had gotten
"Oh! You two get down here this instant!" I
heard an older voice say. I saw an Acara glaring up at the two younger pets,
a Gelert and Kougra, as they hopped from one part of the pile to the other.
I looked on with disinterest until the two began bouncing up and down considerably
close to the edge. I slowly got to my feet. The part they were bouncing on was
breaking away from the rest of the pile. "OH! Get down!" the Acara fretted.
Soon the pile crumbled, and the two pets fell down from the huge junk pile with
I acted impulsively once again, but this time,
it was for the good of others. I pounced at the two young pets and managed to
grab the Gelert by the scruff of his neck in my jaws and the Kougra in one paw.
Soon I had descended upon the ground, panting as the two young pets wailed.
"Oh! They're safe! They're safe!" The older
Acara knelt down beside them, stroking them as they sobbed out of fright. "...And
it's all thanks to you. You deserve something..." The Acara trailed off.
"...I deserve something?" I echoed.
"Anything! Anything you want!" she added. What
I wanted to say was 'some Neopoints might be nice' or 'can you afford any expensive
paintbrushes'? But... somehow, that didn't seem right. I mean, I really wanted
to show Lavamitten how great I really was and rub Jakalo's big fat snout in
it... But I couldn't take her money. I just couldn't.
I finally just shook my head. "No, that's okay.
I'm just glad these two are safe," I said, giving the two young pets to the
Acara. "Saving them was rewarding as it was," I added.
Evening fell as I followed the dirt road home,
smiling to myself as I went. So I had nothing to show for what I had done? So
Jakalo could accuse me of running off to avoid my chores? Let him accuse me.
Let him tell me I was lying. I had done something better than he had done all
While he was at home cleaning, I had prevented
two pets from taking a trip to the hospital. And I felt wonderful. In fact,
I might have to try this 'working' thing more often... maybe when Pet Rocks
Author's note: In case you were wondering, this story was not about Jakalo
like 'Of Bluff Cake' was. This story was about Zhilshe, my Kougra, and I'm happy
to say that she will be helping others out a lot more often due to this story... I