Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 110,063,541 Issue: 170 | 19th day of Celebrating, Y6
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The 18 Karat Gelert: Part One


by battlesunn

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Roger was a Gelert with a pelt of shimmering golden fur. He was quite a handsome Pet; with his glittering golden coat, chiseled canine features and lithe, graceful build. Roger knew that he was a handsome Pet. So did his Owner. So did everyone in Neopia, for that matter.

     Ever since he was a little Gelert puppy, people had cooed and squealed over him. Roger just had that quality-- that lovely, approachable quality that people love. He constantly looked like he was about to go donate a million Neopoints to the Money Tree or discover a cure-all medicine for every illness that existed. But looks can be deceiving.

     In actuality, Roger was quite a weird Gelert. He was vain and very dumb-- a result of having consumed far too many Glamour Neggs as a young Pet. He was always frequenting the Beauty Contests and the Neopian modeling scene and taking home armloads of trophies and cash.

     His owner was a very nice girl called Mina. She lavished attention on Roger, her only Pet. She allowed him to enter the Beauty contests and model for Neopian grooming products and spend all of her Neopoints on clothes and frivolous, materialistic things. Mina had no use for Neopoints, anyways.

     Roger's name wasn't actually Roger. His official name, (his show name, as the Gelert called it) was 18KaratCanine, a fitting moniker for a Pet of such glossy golden fur.

     So Roger led a pretty good life. No wait, scratch that. Roger lived a fantastic life. He won Beauty Contests. He modeled for every major company in Neopia. Female Pets of all species swooned over him. He got everything that he wanted.

     But, as they say, all good things must come to an end, and for Roger's modeling career, they came to a rather unpleasant end far too abruptly...

***

     Roger hummed a jaunty tune as he strutted along the High Street, swishing his elegant tail and curling his graceful, willowy ears. The Gelert was on his way to the chocolate factory, where he was scheduled to meet with a top candy executive to organize a three-month modeling contract.

     The Gelert passed by a large shop, pausing to admire his reflection in the window. Roger flashed himself a grin.

     "You handsome devil, you! I believe I've seen you before," he said, posing in front of the reflective surface. A few passerbys on the street stopped to watch him, confused looks on their faces. Finally, Roger tired of himself and continued on his way, humming even louder than before.

     He reached the Chocolate Factory ten minutes late. It was okay, though. His clients were used to it. Roger was punctual only for himself. The Gelert threw open the factory's big double doors with a theatrical swing of his paws.

     "I have arrived!" he dramatically boomed. The candy mogul glanced up and smiled, rising out of his chair to go and shake Roger's golden paw.

     "Good day to you too, Roger," greeted the owner of the Neodrops corporation, a nicely groomed shadowed Wocky. "It's a pleasure to meet you."

     Roger nodded disdainfully, tilting his paw at angle so that the Wocky could shake it. "Yes, yes. Enough of the pleasantries; let's get down to business, shall we?" he said airily.

     The Wocky nodded and led the way back to the table, pulling out a cushy padded chair for Roger to sit on. "Certainly, certainly. Have a seat, Roger."

     The Gelert seated himself, the shafts of sunlight that streaked in through the window bouncing dazzlingly off his bright golden coat. It was so bright, in fact, that the Wocky found himself unable to look at him without being blinded.

     Shielding his eyes with a paw, the Wocky drew out a stack of official looking papers and slid them across the table to Roger. "Sign these, please," he said, keeping his eyes down. Roger picked up the pen in his paw and chewed the end in concentration.

     "You realize how this works, right?" he asked. "You know, I pose with your product and then you hire some guy to paint me with it? Then all the Pets who see it will want to buy whatever you're selling because they'll think that it'll make them look like me." Roger gave the Wocky another million Neopoint smile. The Wocky nodded.

     "Yes, yes, I know. Just sign the papers, please," he replied impatiently. Roger gave the pen a little flick and quickly signed his name in large, flamboyantly loopy handwriting. He pushed them back to the Wocky.

     "Okay, I'm done!" he cheerfully proclaimed. "So I'll just go to Tyrannia next Saturday and then we'll do the painting?" Roger asked. The Wocky nodded.

     "Yes, that's right, we're doing the shoot in Tyrannia. We want our new ad campaign to show the aggressive side of blueberry flavored Neodrops," he answered. Roger leapt gracefully from his chair.

     "Very well!" he proclaimed, spreading his paws and aligning himself so that he was perfectly backlit by the setting sun. "I shall see you again, on Saturday." With one last swish of his tail, the Gelert sauntered from the Chocolate Factory and into the brilliant sunset.

     The Wocky watched him leave, rolling his eyes. "Crazy models," he muttered, straightening the papers. "They get stranger every time I deal with them."

     ***

     "I'm home, Mina!" Roger shouted as he strode impressively into his Neohome's kitchen. A tallish girl with honey blond hair and bright green eyes got up from her spot on the couch to greet him.

     "Hello dear," she said warmly. "How was your day?"

     Roger flopped onto the couch, flinging a dramatic paw over his eyes. "Oh, it was absolutely dreadful! Those executives tried to eat me alive!"

     Mina sat down next to her Gelert. "I thought you said there was only going to be ONE executive," she said, picking up a small pamphlet and flipping through it absentmindedly. Roger snorted derisively.

     "Oh, well you know how they are. One can seem like a hundred when it comes to those horrible business Jetsams," he grumbled. Mina continued to glance over her booklet.

     "I think the plural of Jetsam is Jetsam, sweetie," she idly replied. Roger twitched his ear.

     "Whatever. The point is that I had a terrible day." The Gelert glanced around his Neohome. "Now I've come home and there's nothing to do here! I am so bored!" he theatrically cried. Mina grinned at him.

     "I was waiting for a chance to say this, Roger!" she stood up, showing her Gelert the pamphlet that she had been reading. "See Roger? I've been looking through this Neopet information booklet and I think I've finally settled on a species!" Mina said happily. Roger lifted his head and started quizzically at his owner.

     "What are you saying?" he asked, a deep sense of foreboding beginning to grow in his stomach. Mina grinned.

     "I'm saying that I've decided to adopt a new playmate for you, honey!"

     Roger screeched, jumping into the air and clapping his paws to his mouth. His lower lip trembled. "You're replacing me, aren't you?" he groaned. "I was never good enough for you, was I?"

     Mina rolled her eyes. "Don't be ridiculous, Roger," she scoffed. "You know I love you. You're my little baby Gelert. I just thought that it might be fun to get another Pet that would, you know, do stuff," Mina explained. Roger stopped weeping long enough to glare at his owner.

     "I knew it!" he said venomously. "You are replacing me! You want a Pet that'll be just like you, a Pet that could be what I never could!" The Gelert lunged back onto the couch, burying his snout in a cushion and sobbing dramatically. Mina sighed.

     "That's not true, dear. I just thought that I'd you enjoy having a little brother or sister to play with. Besides, it would be nice to have a Pet that would be willing to go exploring and hunt for treasure and battle and meet new friends and do all those things that your description SAID you would when I created you!" she snapped. Roger gnashed his teeth, refusing to even look at Mina.

     "Fine," he hissed. "Go ahead, create a new Pet. You'd like it if I left. You'd probably like to abandon me and leave me to DIE!"

     Mina snorted. "Well I was going to ask you to come with me, but apparently you're in one of your stinky moods." She got up and reached for her coat. "You can just stay here, then. When you decide to act mature, you can meet your new sibling." With that, Mina turned on her heel and stormed out of the Neohome, slamming the door behind her. Roger rolled onto his back and stared moodily at the ceiling.

     "She'll be sorry," he began, indulging in a nice monologue. "Someday I'll be rich and famous and I won't even need her, and then she'll come crying to me!" He slid off the couch and began pacing along the finely polished hardwood floor. "I'll have an endless supply of glamour Neggs. I'll have a bank account with a zillion Neopoints in it! No, I'll OWN the bank! Then her and her new Pet can come over to my Neohome with a thousand rooms and gaze at all my gorgeous portraits, and meet all my hired friends/servants, and swim in my pool of chocolate!" The Gelert laughed diabolically, beginning to dance on the floor. "Then we'll see who needs a playmate! Hahahaha!" Roger heard a sudden snapping sound. He yelped, bringing his paw up to his snout.

     "Oh Faeries!" he shrieked. "I broke a claw!"

     ***

     Roger was fast asleep when his owner returned. The Gelert lay in his huge four-poster bed, his limbs splayed all about the duvet and his ears twitching slightly. Mina smiled, reaching into her coat and pulling out a tiny, sleeping Kougra cub, barely an hour old. She carefully placed the cub on Roger's bed, pulling the covers around its head. Mina sighed happily as she looked at her two Pets.

     "Sleep tight, Roger," the girl whispered, gazing at her magnificent golden Gelert. Mina shifted her eyes to the Kougra's small form. "Sweet dreams, Raj." She backed slowly out the room, gently closing the door behind her.

     ***

     Roger yawned, blinking sleepily. The Gelert was just beginning to awaken, smacking his gums and stretching luxuriously. He gave a blissful sigh as he turned on his side, snuggling into his pillow. Then the pillow moved.

     Roger screamed in panic, leaping from his bed and cowering on the floor.

     "MINA!" he cried. "MINA! Come quick, there's some horrible beast in my room!"

     His owner came running in, skidding to a stop in front of Roger's bed. She chuckled slightly, reaching for the offending "pillow" and holding it up for the Gelert to see. Roger's jaw dropped in shock.

     "A Kougra? You got a Kougra? Do have any idea how dangerous those things are?" He sniffed disdainfully. "And it's blue. That is such an unsightly color."

     Mina smiled. "Don't worry, Roger. He'll be painted soon enough. I've got a starry paint brush in my Safety Deposit Box."

     Roger looked as though he'd been slapped in the face. "What? I didn't know that you had one of those! Why didn't you ask ME if I wanted to be starry?" he demanded. Mina sighed in exasperation.

     "I did, Roger. You said that it was a horrible color on any Pet and that you certainly didn't want to have anything to do with such an ugly paint brush," she replied. Roger blinked.

     "Oh yes, that's right," he said, recovering quickly. "Well it IS a stupid color!" The Gelert jerked his head in the Kougra's direction. "What's its name, anyway?" he asked. Mina frowned at him.

     "It has a gender, Roger. And his name is Raj. RajOfTheStars, to be exact."

     The Gelert snarled. "How come he gets a better show name than me?"

     "It's NOT a show name. I'm not planning on putting him in any Beauty Contests or modeling auditions, anyway."

     "My show name is still stupid. How come it's 18 Karat Canine? Why not 24? Is it because I'm not good enough for you? Because I'm not PERFECT?"

     "You're being ridiculous, you crazy Gelert. Nobody's perfect," she said, swinging the little cub in her arms. A tic throbbed in Roger's temple.

     "SO IT'S TRUE! You DO think that I'm not at all perfect! All my life I've been living a LIE!" he howled. Mina continued with her little speech, ignoring the Gelert's tirade.

     "Besides Roger, you know just as well as I do that 18KaratCanine sounds far better than 24KaratCanine. Now be quiet, you're going to wake the baby."

     Roger huffed and left his bedroom, cursing bitterly under his breath. "Who does she think she is, anyway?" The Gelert stomped into the kitchen and grabbed some glamour Neggs from the large, ever-present bowl on the table.

     "Dumb Kougra," he mumbled through mouthfuls of Negg. "I'll never associate with him, ever!"

To be continued...

 
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