There was a thump in out hallway as the mail arrived.
“I’ll get it!” my little sister Georgina cried. Georgina drives me crazy. She’s a baby Meerca. Everyone thinks she’s all cuteness and innocence, but she’s just a little brat. She’ll beg you and beg you for a Cheery Blossom and then demand she really just wanted a Christmas Cybunny Pencil Tin. But you save up you 463 NP a week until you have enough for that Aubergine Surprise everyone has been daring you to eat and see you have enough spare, so you buy a Cheery Blossom for her. And she doesn’t want it. She always gets the door, the neomail, everything. I’m not complaining but wouldn’t it be nice to see if that cute girl next door is calling you before your little sister tells all her friends, “Fred’s got a visitor.” We all followed her. Me, Rose, Flora and Jac.
Yeah, I’m Fred. I’m a green Hissi, so you know. Rose is a red Ogrin and Flora is a pink Lenny. Jac is our owner. She adopted me from the pound when I was two months old. Rose was my blood sister and she couldn’t bear to separate us so she took Rose too. Her neofriend left Neopia and put Flora in the pound. She met her there and took her out of the place as she was Rose’s best friend and she quite likes her. Georgina was left on our doorstep two months ago by anonymous.
We all dashed into the hall to find Georgina chewing on a turtle green envelope. I could vaguely see the word ‘Freder...’ on it but the rest of it, if someone didn’t act fast, would in approximately eight minutes would be on the carpet. I dived at my little sister and pulled it pulled it out of her sticky, toothless mouth. ‘Frederick’ the word read. Mine. And turtle green. Uh-oh.
Rose smiled at me.
“Can I have a look, Fred?” she asked smiling up at me. Rose is not very tall. She always wants to know what is going on but if someone tells her to pass it round, she just goes bright red and sometimes mumbles no. Judging by the turtle green envelope she was smart enough to guess who sent it.
“Oh,” she mumbled, seeing the envelope properly, “I’m sorry. Shall I tell Mum not to make you go.” I looked at her, my heart filling with dread.
“It might not be what you think,” I told her, trying to reassure myself. I slit open the envelope and began to read.
‘Dear Frederick, come to my party on Saturday and bring a present or else! Come at 9:00 and go away at 4:00. If you don’t come, then Laura will kill you. Mr Globbybut will be coming to do magic and then we will eat. Love, Alison.’
I must have looked ever horrified, sick or as if I was about to faint. Everyone was staring at me.
“Are you okay? I could use my anti-vomiting spell on you if you’re going to throw up,” offered Flora. Flora always knows how I feel. Ever that or she is a very good guesser. She is very tall, about a foot taller than Jac and her ‘anti-vomiting spells’ work very well but I was fine. Shocked, mortified, wanting to die, but I was fine.
“Alison...” I managed to choke and dropped the letter. Jac stared at me.
“Who’s Alison? Oh, that nice Grarrl from down the road. She wrote a letter to you, how nice.” She smiled. “What did she say, sweetie? You look shocked.” She just didn’t get it, did she?
“Birthday party... today... 9:00 to 4:00...” I choked. Jac gave me a big smile.
“A party, how fantastic,” she crooned. “Go choose a present from the present box upstairs. You look shocked. Do you like her? You do, don’t you. Choose something nice.” Jac walked into the kitchen and continued to wash up. Flora waddled upstairs, probably to practice her ‘magic tricks.’ Rose wrapped her arms round me. I would usually squirm away, tell her to stop embarrassing me, but I let her continue to hug me.
“I’m really sorry, Fred,” she sighed and walked away. Nobody had realised that Georgina had eaten my letter. I crept away. Jac could clean up the vomit that would be on the carpet in...
I ran to my room as fast as possible.
I paced up and down in front of my mirror. What to do, what to do? I didn’t have much time; it was already 8:30. The garden, the kitchen, the cupboard under the stairs, somewhere in the house was a way out of this, or at least a way to annoy Alison. I couldn’t think of any thing. I sat on my bed looking at the acrid yellow box I had decided to put Alison’s present in. Nothing had come to me, so all I could do was dread a magic show for five-year-olds. I tried to think of what I knew about Alison.
1. She is a very annoying baby who kicks you out of parties if she doesn’t like your present.
2. If you are unlucky enough to have one eye red, one eye green, then she’ll tell everyone “Fred’s a freak; he has different coloured eyes!”
3. Her owner always pounds you.
4. She is very rich, which makes her think she is the best ever, and she looks down her nose at other people.
5. 99.9 % of the girls at school hang around with Alison so none of the above happens to them, Rose and Flora being the 00.1%.
6. She happens to be the oldest in the class, and according to Alison, the older the better.
7. She always writes 'and' in that strange symbol for 'and', and anyone who doesn’t is a complete loser. &. What a sad way to write 'and'.
8. She is always picked to be the star of the show, and that makes her act like her character, sooooo annoying.
9. She is allergic to moss.
10. She adores lettuce.
Hey, she’s allergic to moss and adores lettuce. Uh-oh.
“Fred, don’t even think about it,” my conscience told me.
“No-no, I can’t resist,” I told it. In my mind I built a wall around my conscience to it wouldn’t bother me.
All I needed was some of that “Edible Moss ‘For those who want to get closer to nature’” out of Mum’s snack cupboard (don’t ask), two slices of brown bread, some lettuce and a little of Rose's green icing sugar. This was going to be fun.
Or not. A pink Elephante (aka Mr Globbybut) was trying too hard. Un-funniness had gotten to his head and was spilling over the side and making a nasty mess on the turtle green marble floor.
We were in Alison’s living room. It’s a huge room, as I said, with marble floors and turtle green wallpaper and a turtle green leather sofa. The curtains are turtle green too and so was Mr Globbybut’s stage. When I came in, the greenness reminded me of my own skin. I loathe it. Jac however has promised to paint me, but Jac is never ever to be trusted, ever. I still wasn’t sure if she’d cleaned up the sick in the hallway.
Mr Globbybut had done nothing but tell endless rubbish jokes, and performed magic tricks Flora would be ashamed to do. I was lucky enough to sit next to Jesse, a blue Mynci and a good friend of mine, but talking to Jesse non-stop for half an hour gets boring. All the show Alison had laughed at the jokes and clapped at the tricks. Everyone was practically falling asleep (in Jesse’s case literally). It was only when Mr Globbybut had finished his show, and Alison shrieked “Presents!” at the top of her (very high) voice that I cheered up.
She turned to the pile of presents by the wall. She picked a shocking pink present from the pile.
“Jesse,” she read. The present was small and flat, like a piece of cardboard. Very thin cardboard. She tore open the paper and took out a Highland Chia collectable card. She didn’t thank Jesse or anything. She just put it down and took an emerald green present. Emerald queen Usuki doll. I won’t go into all the presents; I can’t remember them all, and they all got the same reaction. Until mine. She looked at me. I’m the only person in town who has acrid yellow boxes. She opened it slowly. Well, it seemed slowly but it could just be that I was hoping for the reaction desperately.
“Oooh!” she squealed, “a lettuce sandwich! Yummy!” She brought the lettuce sandwich to her big moth and placed the whole thing in. She suddenly screwed up her face. Oh-oh, wrong effect! Evacuate area!
“Bbbbbbllllllllleeeeaacccchhhhhhh!” she cried, spitting the whole thing out of her mouth, “Frederick!!!!!!” She then turned to her owner, Laura. “Mummy, my whole body itches.” The next thing that happened was so horrific, so shocking, so bizarre, it still freaks me out. Alison’s whole body began to develop big white spots. Like cauliflower. Some of the girls shrieked and belted out of the room. I couldn’t leave. I couldn’t move. Alison was covered in cauliflower.
“Aagggggghhhhhhh!” Laura let out a horrific scream. “My baby has Neowarts!”
The wall round my conscience fell down. “You’ve gone too far now, Fred!” it yelled at me.
I suppose you want to know what I did. I filled a sandwich with Mum’s moss and then stuck some lettuce round the edge with icing sugar. I seriously didn’t know that would happen; I really didn’t. And I didn’t want to send Alison to hospital with Neowarts. I just wanted her to be sick or something, although that was pretty good.
Kay, so maybe Jac got mad and Flora still isn’t being all that nice to me. At least Georgina was too young to understand and Rose and I still fall into a laughing fit at anything to do with moss, brown bread, lettuce or icing sugar. Rose loves me for doing that. And that’s something. Laura still won’t even look at any of our family, especially not me. Alison tells on me for everything, but no one goes around with her anymore. That is actually good, as half of them I have overheard complaining about the ten reasons I told you about. And you’re probably wondering why Jac called Alison nice. She is mad about Grarrls. And you’re probably wondering why Alison invited me. It all happened in... well, why don’t I let Flora explain?
Author's Note: No offence to anyone called Alison or Laura, and if TNT is nice you may be seeing the sequels to ‘Lettuce Sandwiches’ which I hope to call ‘My Little Brother’, ‘Unspeakably Shy’ and ‘My Old Owner’.