A Plain Muffin
There is nothing quite as horrible in all of Neopia as being a Plain Muffin.
What’s that, you say? There is no such thing as a Plain Muffin? No, no, my friend. I assure you there is. I would know, because I am the only Plain Muffin in existence.
You see, there was a mistake at the Bakery. Every muffin started out as I did, carefully constructed with the precise amounts of ingredients and baked with care. Into the oven we went, in our neat little rows, and were baked at just the right temperature for just the right amount of time for the perfect consistency: Soft, but not doughy, firm, but not burnt, and perfectly risen and round.
I was so excited. What would I become? A sweet, beautiful Valentines Muffin, perhaps? Possibly an intelligent and cunning Brain Tree Muffin? Or maybe even a dazzling Shooting Star Muffin? Surely, I would be turned into something wonderful and amazing.
We were carefully extracted from the oven, fresh and steaming and ready to be transformed into something incredible. I watched as the other muffins received careful attention from the baker, and eagerly awaited my turn.
But it never came.
Just as the baker reached for me, the very last muffin in the pan, he was distracted by a knock at the door. A Kacheek rushed in, and informed him that we were running low on Muffins and needed to restock the front counter right away. Hurriedly, I was tossed onto a platter with the other beautiful and unique muffins and swept out the door.
Of course, the other muffins made fun of me. I had no glamorous decorations, no sweet and colorful frosting, and no extraordinary powers. I was just a Plain Muffin, with nothing special at all. In fact, I was sure that I looked and tasted so horribly bland that no Neopet would want me. Without a doubt, I told myself, anyone would be crazy not to refuse such a mediocre muffin.
We were displayed in a glass case as hungry shoppers rushed in to purchase the new stock of baked goods. The other muffins proudly puffed out their chests and grinned, instantly catching the attention of the customers. I, of course, tried to make myself as small as possible, shrinking behind the magnificent array of spectacular muffins.
It was nearly closing time, and one by one the other muffins rapidly disappeared-- neatly wrapped and packaged--out the door in the hands of a satisfied shopper. As the supply of pastries began to dwindle, a few of the bargain hunters glanced at me. No one had ever seen a muffin quite like me before, of course, and in the end agreed that they had never heard of a Plain Muffin. They decided that, being the ugly and ordinary muffin I was, I must certainly be worthless.
Finally, the store closed, and I was left all alone in the empty case. The baker came out to clean up after the last minute rushed, and noticed me (which was not easy, given that I blended in so well with the drab color of the counter). He picked me up and cocked his head, realizing his mistake.
“My, my,” he said with a smile, “I must have forgotten this one.”
I was so ashamed; I merely grimaced and looked glumly at the floor. What a terrible, horrible fate it was to be so plain and undistinguished, I thought to myself, and to be so useless and inept. Even a dung muffin would have been better than nothing, I thought miserably.
I had given up all hope of becoming anything more than a Plain Muffin; I was cold and stale now, and unfit to be sold. There would be no point in keeping me, and I was already anticipating being thrown out, regarded as nothing more than a piece of rubbish. It was simply too late.
But just then, there was a pounding on the door. The baker set me down and crossed the room, opening the door to reveal a distressed Gelert.
“Good evening, Miss,” he said kindly. “I’m terribly sorry, but we closed ten minutes ago.”
“Oh, please,” she said hurriedly, “I’m in dire need of a cake for my friend’s birthday, and I simply must buy one tonight.”
The baker was sympathetic, and told her he was, again, very sorry, but that they had sold all their cakes that day and would not be baking any more until the next morning.
“All that’s left is this plain, old muffin,” he said vaguely.
“I’ll take it,” the Gelert said abruptly, taking out a small pouch. “How much would you like for it? Could you possibly decorate it for me quickly, and perhaps add a candle?”
“Well, sure, I suppose so,” the baker said with a shrug, “but there’s really no need to pay me anything, since it’s not fresh.”
“Nonsense, I couldn’t just take it without paying,” the Gelert insisted, and drew out a handful of neopoints. “I’ll pay you one hundred neopoints for the muffin, with blue frosting and a candle.”
The baker was about to reply when a Chia ambled up to the front of the store.
“Excuse me, sir,” he said, ignoring an annoyed glare from the Gelert, “I’ve been working all day and I’m absolutely starving. Everywhere else is closed, and I’d gladly pay you some of the neopoints I earned today for something to eat. You wouldn’t happen to have anything left, would you?”
“Well, no,” the baker said, surprised, “nothing but this muffin here...”
“That will do fine,” the Chia said gratefully, holding out some glinting coins in his hand, “I have five hundred neopoints here that I’ll give you for that muffin.”
“Now, just a minute--” the Gelert said, scowling, opening her mouth to protest.
“Hello there!” a Lenny said cheerfully, interrupting the Gelert and squeezing in next to the Chia, “I realize you must be closed, but--”
“Now hold on!” the baker said, silencing all three bickering Neopets. He quickly fetched me from the counter and held me out for the three Neopets to see.
“This,” he said, holding me up in the air with a small shake for emphasis, “is all I have left for today. I would very much like to get back to my warm Neohome right now, so if you all are looking to buy something from my shop, this is all I have.”
“One thousand,” the Gelert said quickly. “I give you one thousand neopoints for that muffin.”
“Two thousand!” the Chia countered defiantly.
“Five thousand!” the Gelert spat back.
“Excuse me,” the Lenny cut in, “but what kind of muffin, exactly, is that?”
The Gelert and the Chia froze, their mouths hanging open in surprise.
The baker cleared his throat and said, unsure, “Oh, well... It’s not really any sort of muffin. Just a plain one, I suppose.”
The Lenny continued smoothly, “You mean you’ve never sold a muffin such as this before?”
“Well, no,” the baker admitted, “It was sort of a mistake, you see.”
“Sir,” the Lenny said, ignoring this fact, “I’m an avid collector, and a wealthy one at that. And if you say that this muffin is the very first of its kind, I would rather like to have such a muffin in my possession.”
The baker just stared at him.
With a smile, the Lenny pulled out a bag of neopoints.
“I’ll give you one million neopoints for that muffin.”
The Gelert and the Chia gawked at him.
“You can’t be serious!” the Chia yelled irritably.
“You—But that’s not—I was here first!” the Gelert sputtered angrily.
The Baker was shocked, but not nearly as astonished as I was. As I considered this, I realized that not one of the other muffins that day had been sold for more than a few hundred neopoints.
“You’re going to give me one million neopoints,” the baker clarified, speaking slowly, “for this muffin?”
“Yes, sir, I am,” the Lenny said, grinning proudly. And with that, he held the bag out to the baker, who blinked, then slowly took it.
The Lenny carefully placed me in his bag, winked, and then headed down the street without another word, leaving the baker, the Gelert, and the Chia staring after him, speechless.
And so, I was placed in the Lenny’s gallery and displayed as his most prized and rare possession, admired just the way I was. In actual fact, I was unique all along--it just took me a while to realize it. And now, all things considered, I’ve decided that even if I could, I wouldn’t change a thing about myself. I’m proud to be a Plain Muffin, no matter what anyone says.
Moral: We are all unique and special in our own ways. We may see ourselves as Plain Muffins, but are, in fact, so much more than that if we just take the time to look deeper within ourselves.