My Little Home Wrecker
Tonu are native to Tyrannia and love nothing more than charging around, causing havoc and knocking over whatever gets in their way. In spite of this warning, many pet owners choose to adopt a Tonu, and are unaware of the consequences. You see, Tonu do enjoy being destructive; it is in their nature. While some have learned to be careful, it is unfortunate that most are also rather clumsy, and are destructive without even meaning to be. Their great size makes navigating small areas challenging. Simply turning around or backing up can dislodge small trees or knock over furniture. When one is a baby Tonu, it can only be so much worse. Baby pets are naturally curious, and their curiosity can get them into a lot of trouble. Be warned, there is no force in Neopia more destructive than that of a baby Tonu.
BabySmacks was one such Tonu. Her name was appropriate, as she was a baby and she smacked into most anything that got in her way. Sometimes she did this quite without meaning to, other times she did it on purpose. If given a very small amount of anything, such as a carton of chocolate milk, she could create a mess in seconds, getting it all over herself, the walls, her petpet, and anyone or anything else in the vicinity. Also, whatever substance it was, it would seem to magically double or even triple in volume after she had made the mess. A small jar of baby food would somehow manage to be spilled in every room of the neohome, yet it only contained a few ounces. It had to be a magical mess; there was just no other way to explain it! She could cause a small earthquake when excited and her tantrums could literally raise the roof. It was wonderful, really. There was never a dull moment.
One day after cleaning one of her many messes, I said in desperation, “You need a hobby!”
“What is a hobby?” BabySmacks asked.
“A hobby is something that will help you burn off all that extra energy and hopefully keep you out of trouble,” I explained. “A hobby is something useful and unique that you do for fun,” I added.
“I’m a mess-maker!” BabySmacks declared proudly, because of course, any baby or Tonu would be proud to have mess-making skills like hers. She was also a collector. She happily showed off her collection of small stones, shells, feathers, weird-smelling unidentifiable items and other interesting things she had found to anyone who seemed remotely interested. The trouble was, although she loved showing things off, she usually forgot to put those things away. There were many times I or my other pets would trip or stub a toe on these items. There were other times when something would get misplaced, causing me to search all over the house for the source of a strange odor. However, she loved her collection, and if anything got broken or misplaced, she’d cry and cry over it.
I thought about the toys that BabySmacks liked to play with, such as pull-along toys, pop-up toys, and toys with many parts. Simply finding her a new toy wouldn’t lead to a quiet time at home. Instead, it would be likely to make matters worse, especially if she found a new, annoying, noise making toy with lots of parts to lose.
“How could I find a hobby when it seems like all I am good at is breaking things?” BabySmacks wondered.
“That can’t be all you are good at,” I said. “We just need to find out something you are good at and something you like and put it together into a hobby. But not making messes; no one really wants messes to be made. We need to find a useful hobby. We can think about that as I go run some errands.”
Now you must know there is nothing any baby hates worse than going with someone running errands. If long lines, banking, buying food, and other daily activities are incredibly dull and boring to an adult, you can imagine how a baby feels. A baby will naturally try to compensate for this by asking a million questions or making their own fun. The pens at the bank are attached to the counter to prevent people from walking off with them, but they also make pretty good toys to chew on and bat around. It is fun to hide in bins at the store, crawl in among displays of clothing, or even to pretend to be a mannequin. When told to sit, she would sit in every chair available; trying them all out, because of course, one would be softer than another.
If asked to stand in line, BabySmacks would grow very impatient, stamp around, grab my leg, spin in place, sing an embarrassing song very loudly, or make small talk with other busy customers. Even some of the more fun daily errands could become a nightmare. One time she wanted to help the Tombola Man. She spun the tombola so hard that tickets spilled out onto the floor and the wind carried them outside! I could see some shopkeepers visibly cringe each time we entered the store, because they remembered her. Sometimes she was very cute, and would say something to bring laughter to everyone. Other times she would make embarrassing comments about someone’s appearance, even Jhudora's! There have been many situations where the best response is to run away instead of hanging around to say sorry, I have learned. She would also beg for everything she wanted and throw a tantrum if she didn’t get a treat. In short, she was behaving as most babies would in the same situation.
But of course, other people didn’t seem to understand that her behavior was quite natural. There were some who would stare, some who would approach and offer their sincere advice whether I wanted it or not, while others would mutter just loud enough to be sure I heard them. There were often comments like “I’ve never seen such behavior,” or “Too much sugar; that does it every time.” Some would take offense and even want to punish me for what my pet had said or done, as if I had planned for it to happen. I wouldn’t even be able to tell you the comments I get when she cries. Sometimes babies cry. It happens, but people just don’t seem to have any patience for a crying baby, ever. The smaller and more crowded the area, the worse the situation seemed to be. If I gave her what she wanted, some people said I was spoiling her. If I didn’t, then of course I was neglecting her. Sometimes other people would offer her treats when I had already said no, just to quiet her down. They did not realize they were just encouraging her to cry again the next time she wanted a treat. What could I do? What I needed was a place for BabySmacks to be able to do what she does best, make a mess. But who wanted a mess made?
While taking BabySmacks out that day, we passed a beautiful field where we had picnicked in the past. I had always loved this place - just near the city, but far enough away that I could hear the birds, see flowers growing, and feel very much surrounded by nature. This was a spot where she could dig in the sand, find stuff for her collection, charge around without annoying anyone, and basically be herself. She might come home a bit sandy and with leaves in her mane, but she always had a lot of fun. Sometimes we even found codestones or some loose neopoints in the grass. I had just about decided not to run errands after all, but just have a picnic, when I noticed a new sight.
I knew this place wouldn’t be around forever. The developers had already found it, and I saw many new homes being constructed. Within hours this place would be unrecognizable. BabySmacks and I would have to find another place to play together, but I was sure we’d find some place yet untouched by progress. For now we could have one more picnic here, I decided.
“I think I just needed some fresh air. The errands can wait a while longer, but I do need to go to the store and get a few things for a picnic. What would you like to eat?”
“I’d like a Jelly Apple and some chocolate milk,” BabySmacks said.
I decided to get her a real apple instead, but she could have some chocolate milk for a treat.
As she sat drinking her milk, letting it run down her chin and making her paws all sticky, she looked over to see a Skeith who was dressed like a construction worker. He opened a very large basket and began to unload enough food to feed an entire family, or at least, one hungry Skeith.
“You must have a lot of friends!” BabySmacks yelled loudly.
The Skeith just winked at me. We knew all the food was for him.
“Yeah, I have many friends, but if they were coming, I’d need a lot more food than this!”
“Wow,” BabySmacks said as she watched him still unloading the large basket of food onto his picnic blanket.
“This is a lovely spot,” I said. “BabySmacks and I come here sometimes to get away from it all. The people moving in are going to be lucky to live in such a beautiful place, but it is a shame they can’t see it like it was, in its natural beauty.”
“I found a codestone here one day. Or maybe it was over there,” said BabySmacks, now running about in the grass and hoping to find another.
“Cute kid,” was all the Skeith said as he began eating. He watched BabySmacks as she pawed at a likely looking spot on the ground.
“I’m looking for a hobby,” BabySmacks announced. “What is your hobby? Is it eating?” she asked, much to my embarrassment.
“Well, kid, eating is what Skeiths do best. Of course, if I wanted to make a hobby out of that, I’d be like that Skeith in the game Hungry Skeith. He gets to eat all that ice cream! You know, I applied for that job, but then I think just about every Skeith in Neopia did! What a long line!"
"Oh, I hate long lines!" BabySmacks interrupted. "And running errands! But picnics are nice."
"I found a job I like almost as well as eating, and that is the job of wrecking ball operator," continued the Skeith.
“Cool, can I watch?” BabySmacks asked
“Well, you’d have to wear a hard hat and lab jacket, and stand a good distance away, but I guess it wouldn’t be a problem.”
Babysmacks and I donned the hardhats and lab jackets required to be in the area, and found a good spot to stand and watch.
“Why do people want to demolish their Neohomes? That makes a big mess. My owner says that messes are not something that anyone wants. That is why I have to find a hobby, because I am good at making messes nobody wants. Why do you get to make a big mess?”
“Well, kid, some people make a mistake when planning their homes. The construction pets get the instructions and they build it following those instructions. They don’t ask the owner to explain why a room has no doors. If there is some error, they don’t ask why; they just get to work building. By the time the owner realizes that something isn’t right, it is too late. Then they call me, and I get to knock it all down so they can start over! "
And with that, the Skeith climbed into the seat and began to maneuver the wrecking ball. He pulled on some levers and the ball began to slowly swing. Finally the heavy metal ball slammed into the house and made a very loud bang and decent sized hole in the wall. Those are just the types of things that are most interesting to a baby Tonu.
“I can do better than that!” BabySmacks suddenly shouted, and she ran at the wall with all her might and created an even larger hole than the one made by the wrecking ball.
“Bang Crash Bang!” she shouted as she began to run at all four walls of the house, giving it all she had.
I shouted for BabySmacks to stop, but there was really no way for her to hear me amongst all the crashing sounds. I was very afraid she could get hurt by the falling debris. Although if I had stopped to think about it, I wouldn’t have been as worried; she was a Tonu, after all. BabySmacks was in her element. She was a destructive force, destroying a home and having the time of her life. The wrecking ball Skeith just laughed and laughed.
“Kid, you are going to put me out of a job!”
“We can work together!”
“That might be a good idea,” he said seriously. “She’s good,” he said nodding at me.
“Hey, is this wall made of chocolate? Yeah, it is!” BabySmacks giggled as she began eating some.
“Hey, don’t eat that!” I shouted.
“I see she’s found the second reason why I love my job,” said the Skeith. “Save some for me!”
“Are there any jelly homes that need wrecking next?” asked BabySmacks, now thoroughly covered in chocolate dust, slobber, and chunks of chocolate.
“Hahaha, I love the way this kid thinks!” said the Skeith.
So in the end BabySmacks had found her calling. There is indeed no destructive force on the face of the planet like that of a baby Tonu. It can be amazing and frightening to watch. It takes a special kind of person to be the owner of such a pet. Each day brings new delights, surprises, misunderstandings, and embarrassments. It isn’t always easy for a baby Tonu in this world, but at least I’ve come to understand her better. BabySmacks will always be a mess-maker. She will always love to explore, to collect things and play with noisy, annoying toys with too many parts. Her curiosity will lead her to ask many questions and may even get her into trouble. Some people will never understand her innocence, and blame her behavior on my poor training, but I love my pet and everything about her. Now when people give us a funny look, I tell people just how special my little home wrecker is.