For a Good Claus
For most Neopians, the holiday season meant wrapped gifts
with silver ribbons, visiting family, scrumptious dinners and decorations accenting
the average Neopian home. This was the time when peace and love was always a must
during the month of Sleeping and everyone was in a festive mood.
Sometimes snow fell lightly until it covered
the ground like a white blanket. Other times there were storms so bad that the
street cleaners had a field day trying to clear the sidewalk for last-minute
shoppers. The streets were a blur with youngsters running or shopping or just
enjoying the scene. A large, lit-up Christmas tree was always in the center
of the bazaar and festive music fluttered from the doorways of many shops.
Christmas this year was not quite ideal for
Logan, the green Lutari, because just recently he had taken a job at the Toy
Shop. His work hours prohibited him from participating in many holiday events
that his family hosted back on Lutari Island. Logan thought of them as he was
pricing Usuki sets that had just arrived last night.
"Heads up!" yelled a familiar voice.
Logan glanced upwards just in time to snatch
a string of lights from midair. The sender, Logan's co-worker, made his way
over to where the Lutari was kneeling.
"Hey, Jasper. When'd you get in?"
"Just now." The orange Mynci smiled. "Sorry
I'm late... I had to pick up a present for my sister. Oh, and Rhonda wants those
around the Faerie Doll display." He gestured towards the rope of lights. "Mind
stringing them up for me?"
"Not at all." He knew Jasper had to work the
register. Logan always arrived earlier before the shop opened because he had
to stock the shelves before the customers came. It was five minutes till opening.
Logan went to get the stepladder from the storage closet and began hanging the
lights with tacks.
No sooner than Logan had a few inches of lights
up, Rhonda entered, swishing her red tail. The Lupe was the owner to the Toy
Shop, and Logan and Jasper's employer.
"It's that time of year again!" she declared
happily. Logan turned to see that she was carrying a brown sack. Jasper finished
wiping the counter and went to where she had set the sack. Logan climbed down
from the stepladder and wandered over, too. A grin was stretched across Jasper's
orange face. Rhonda was also smiling.
"What's going on?" Logan asked.
Rhonda opened the sack to show him the hundred-or-so
colored envelopes. "These are from the shelter down on Market Street. Every
year we ask the kids there to write a letter to us asking for one toy. On Christmas
morning, we deliver the gifts."
"Wow," said Logan, impressed. "That's very generous
Jasper poked him in the ribs. "We call it, 'For
a Good Claus'."
"Can I help?" asked the Lutari excitedly.
Rhonda laughed. "Of course! We need all the
help we can get. Today's the tenth day of the month of Sleeping, so we have
about two weeks to get everything ready. Tonight after the store closes, we'll
open up the letters and start the project. Okay?"
"Yeah!" Logan and Jasper chorused.
Logan went back to finish hanging the lights.
Maybe Christmas will be more exciting after all.
All day Logan's mind was clouded with thoughts
of ripping open those envelopes and making the kids at the shelter happy on
Christmas. At the end of the day, the Lutari was a bit tired but definitely
ready to help Rhonda and Jasper.
They cleared the train set-up in the center
of the store to use the space and tables for opening the envelopes. They were
split into three piles to make the process easier.
Dear Toy Store, Logan read to himself,
may I please have a kite for Christmas? I would love the starry one but I
do like all the colors. From, Rory.
"Any flying toy goes in this pile." Rhonda showed
him. They were using stacking boxes to sort the letters, so Rory's request was
put with the ones similar to his.
After a good half-hour, Logan started to notice
which toys were the most popular: action figures, Usuki dolls, play sets, yoyos,
and plushies. On occasion, Logan, Jasper, or Rhonda would find something interesting.
A toy sled was a perfect example. Still, little Gina would get what she asked
It was one of the last letters in the pile that
surprised Logan. Dear Toy Shop, I would really like a purple scooter for
Christmas. I wanted to ask for it last year but got an action figure so my brother
would have two to play with. Can I please have the scooter this year? Sincerely,
"Purple scooter?" Logan inquired. "Do we even
have scooters here?"
Rhonda frowned, taking the letter. She skimmed
it. "Darn. Usually we get one or two requests for something we don't stock anymore."
The Lupe sighed. "I guess she'll just have to get a Usuki."
"That's too bad," said Logan, truly disappointed.
After Abbey had given up her present from last year, it would have been nice
to grant her wish this year. The Lutari tried not to be disappointed by thinking
of all of the kids that would be getting what they asked for, but he couldn't
seemed to get his mind off a purple scooter.
"Thanks for the help," Rhonda told him, after
they had finished sorting the letters.
Logan nodded and pulled on his coat, ready to
start home. The air was nippy and his feet were getting a bit cold. Lutaris
were meant for the warm sun and water, definitely not the snow!
His home was on Guild Street, just a couple
blocks from the bazaar. The streetlights were lit high above him, making the
snow look orange. Logan shoved his green paws in his coat pockets, trying to
not think about Abbey's disappointment on Christmas Day. Why couldn't she
have just asked for a Faerie Doll? he wondered. This would be so much
easier to deal with...
Before Logan could turn onto Guild Street, he
noticed a piece of paper lying in the snow. Hating to see garbage in the streets,
he picked the crumbled paper up and smoothed it. What he was holding turned
out to be an advertisement.
Donny's Toy Repair Shop
Have a toy that needs repairing just in time
for the holiday season? Bring it on over to Donny's Toy Repair Shop, where the
fees are low and the quality is high. We're located on Terror Mountain, 3612
Summit Strip. Open 2pm-10pm, Monday-Saturday.
Logan was about to discard it in the nearest
trash bin when he thought of something. "Toy repair shops rebuild toys," he
said, thinking allowed. "What if... what if this Donny guy can build
a scooter starting from scratch?" The chances were slim, he knew, but Logan's
next thought was diligent.
I have to try!
The next morning Logan could hardly contain his
excitement in the Toy Shop as he stocked the action figures. If Donny could
really build a scooter then all of the kids at the shelter would have a very
Merry Christmas! Every now and then Logan put a green paw to his pocket to make
sure that his Neopoints were still there... after all, the Lutari didn't know
how many he'd need for his visit to Terror Mountain.
"You look happy about something," Jasper observed.
The orange Mynci had just finished ringing up Usuki dolls for a cloud Poogle.
"Yeah, well..." Logan began, "I guess it's just
the holiday season. Makes me smile." He didn't want to tell Jasper or Rhonda
about the repair shop idea, in case the worst-case scenario took effect. Getting
their hopes up for an undefined answer from Donny felt wrong.
"I know the feeling!" said Jasper, swiveling
around in his chair.
"Say, can I ask you for a favor?" Logan asked.
"I really need to get off work today about... 2 pm; is that okay?"
"It's cool, I can cover for you," replied the
Mynci with a wink. "Have fun."
The next few hours were spent working at the
Toy Shop, finishing up, hailing an Eyrie cab, and riding off into the frigid
air. As they ascended, Logan drew his coat a little tighter because the air
definitely felt like it was getting colder.
Terror Mountain, and its surrounding mountains,
came into view just a half hour later. The blue Eyrie that was pulling the carriage
started to descend to the snow-covered ground. If the snow looks like a blanket
in Neopia Central, Logan mused, it's like a mattress here! The cab
came to an abrupt halt when the Eyrie's blue paws touched the ground.
"3612 Summit Strip," he said gruffly.
Logan thanked the Eyrie and paid for the trip.
As the Eyrie lifted off the ground like a springy toy, Logan turned to face
the cabin that was before him. It was a plain building supported by wooden beams
and a roof that was covered with a sheet of ice. Snow was falling lightly as
Logan opened the door to the repair shop and stepped inside.
The moment he entered, the Lutari was standing
directly in front of a red Bori hard at work. The mallet in his right hand was
pounding away at a strip of metal on the wooden table. The Bori was dressed
much like a repairman, in a brown leather vest with a striped hat for warmth.
Logan inched towards him, not wanting to interrupt a Neopian hard at work, but
stepped forward because he knew this visit was of great importance.
"Excuse me?" The Bori stopped pounding and looked
up. His yellow eyes were rough. "Donny?"
"That's me," he said. "Somethin' need fixin'?"
Logan's eyes lowered to the wood floor. "Well...
Donny chuckled. "You're in the wrong place, lad."
"Wait, but here's the thing," Logan began, and
the entire story of their Christmas project came pouring out of his mouth before
he could stop himself. He talked about his job at the Toy Shop, the project
he was helping Jasper and Rhonda with, the shelter, Abbey, and the scooters
that they didn't stock anymore. He ended by saying, "... it's called 'For a
Good Claus'. I could really use your help."
Donny rubbed his forehead. "Look, that's a very
heartwarmin' story. But I rebuild things, not build them."
"Could you try?" Logan pleaded. "Please? I'll
"It's not about the pay," said the Bori. "I'm
afraid I can't help ya, lad. I just don't build stuff from scratch."
Dejectedly, Logan made his way out, after thanking
Donny for his time.
The next few days seemed even colder than the
previous one at Terror Mountain. Logan wasn't angry, but the visit with Donny
put a damper on his Christmas spirit.
The Toy Shop was as busy as ever, mainly because
it appeared as though many Neopians were doing their holiday shopping late.
Logan liked the business of the store; it kept his mind off little Abbey, who
would only be getting a Usuki this year. Logan both anxiously awaited and dreaded
Christmas Day for two different reasons. He decided to focus on the main picture:
everyone at the shelter would be receiving a present.
With a week till the delivery was made, Logan
and Jasper spent extra time wrapping gifts after work to make sure they would
be ready by Christmas Day.
When the big event did come, Logan hurried as
fast as he could over to the Toy Shop on Christmas morning, where Jasper was
waiting for him.
"Merry Christmas!" said Jasper, a goofy grin
on his face. "Project: For a Good Claus is now in session!"
Logan smiled. "Merry Christmas."
"Logan, there you are. Merry Christmas! Are we
ready to go?" Rhonda was wearing a red and white Santa hat. The Lupe tossed
two to Logan and Jasper, who put them on. "Help me get the gifts loaded into
the carts... "
The three of them slid into the back room, where
gifts were almost up to their necks. The two large carts were covered behind
the shop, and they were hastily filled with wrapped gifts. When the carts were
filled to the top, Rhonda and Jasper pulled one and Logan took the other. They
would only be traveling a block or two, so it wouldn't be that long of a journey.
When Logan came around to the front of the store,
he saw an Eyrie cab taking off. Who would be traveling this early on Christmas
Day was a bit of a mystery to him, but he shrugged it off... until he saw what
was leaning up against the front of the Toy Shop.
It was a purple scooter.
"Wha...?" Logan began, but words escaped him.
He let his jaw drop and fell to his knees to examine the scooter. The purple
metal was so smooth under his green paws. The handlebars were sturdy and the
wheels spun with the slightest of motion. It was absolutely amazing. A card
on the front was addressed to Abbey, signed from 'The Toy Shop', just like the
An envelope with Logan's name on it was stuck
to the handlebars. Logan gently peeled it off, wondering whom on Neopia the
gift was from. The card had a picture of Terror Mountain on the front. The interior
Merry Christmas, lad.
Happy Holidays, Neopia. Feel free to send feedback.