Anything But Fantastic
Many thanks to chiyosayuri for the idea!
The leaves of the Money Tree rustled idly in the breeze. Scores of Neopets passed by with their owners, donating items and Neopoints or snatching whatever they could get their hands on.
Among those donating was a checkered Gelert trotting alongside his owner. As they passed, the owner tossed a pan full of disgusting buzzing flies to the Tree for someone else to pick up. As the pie landed, it caught the attention of a blue Wocky eating her lunch in the shade.
“Look, Salina! It’s a Fantastic Fly Pie!” The yellow Acara looked up when she heard her sister calling and groaned.
“Don’t talk about those things, Lyna! Remember what you did last time?”
“Hey, it’s not entirely my fault we got fired!” Salina just sighed at her sister’s protests and turned back to her food. Lyna pouted. She remembered every detail about those three days, although they had been quite a while ago. She was positive it hadn’t all been her fault when everything went wrong...
It started on a hot, sunny day in the Month of Swimming when Salina and Lyna had a job in a large bakery. They had only been working there for three weeks, but they already liked their jobs and always worked hard.
As soon as they walked through the doors that day, a Meerca rushed up to them, excitement making her run unusually fast, even for her species.
“Did you two hear?” she asked eagerly. “The boss said a really rich Neopet ordered four hundred Fantastic Fruit Pies to be delivered to him in three days for some huge event!”
Lyna instantly asked, “What Neopet?” while Salina simultaneously inquired, “What’s the event?”
Answering both of their questions, the Meerca said, “Nobody but the boss knows, but there’s a rumor that if everything goes well, all the employees will get a reward!” As soon as the words left her mouth, she dashed off to tell the next pet through the entrance the big news.
Salina and Lyna turned to one another, shocked. “A reward? Do you think it’ll be lots of Neopoints? I hope so; then I can finally afford that paint brush I’ve been saving up for, and that necklace, or those shoes...” Lyna’s eyes sparkled as she pictured all of the things she wished she had.
Salina did not look nearly as pleased. “You realize that’s just a rumor, right? Besides, four hundred pies in three days? That’s a lot, you know! We’re going to have to work really hard. Besides, the Fantastic Fruit Pie was just introduced a week ago; hardly anyone is familiar with how to make them yet.”
Refusing to give in to her sister’s pessimism, Lyna exclaimed, “Then we might as well get started!”
When the two got home after the very busy day at work, they were very tired, and as soon as she checked up on her Greeble, Lyna uncharacteristically flopped down on the couch and started snoring within seconds. Salina sighed. This obviously meant she would have to cook dinner.
Once she was in their kitchen, Salina looked at everything feeling somewhat confused. Lyna usually did all the cooking, even in the bakery. Salina would usually work at the register, and there was a very good reason for that. The Acara grimaced remembering the last time she had made a meal. She would never look at another plate of spaghetti the same way...
Quickly snapping out of her reverie, she reassured herself that that was a long time ago, and everything would be fine this time. With that in mind, she quickly grabbed some ingredients and got to work.
“... And you’re sure this is safe?” The Wocky looked uncertainly at the misshapen gray lump on her plate. Though she didn’t dare say it to her sister, she couldn’t even guess what it was supposed to be.
Glaring, Salina replied, “Yes, I’m sure. Now, unless you’d rather starve I suggest you eat.” Grumbling faintly, Lyna was about to do as she said when her Greeble suddenly hopped onto the table, lashed out its 20-foot long tongue, and ate a large portion of Lyna’s dinner. For a short pause, the sisters stared at it, but it just blinked its large eyes at them and croaked.
“See? I told you it’s okay.“ Salina was about to eat as well, feeling very proud of herself, when suddenly a piercing scream made her jump out of her chair. On the table, Lyna’s Greeble had fallen on its side with a very uncomfortable look on its face.
Still shrieking with horror, Lyna scooped up her Petpet and placed it gently on the pillow that was its bed. She moaned to her sister, “Do you see what your cooking does?”
Feeling terribly guilty, Salina said, “I’m so sorry! I’ll go get some medicine for him, if you want...”
“But there’s nowhere to get medicine around here!” Biting her lip nervously, Lyna came to a decision. “It doesn’t look serious... he probably just needs some time. I’ll bring him to work with me and take care of him there.” Salina instantly thought that that would be a bad idea, but the feeling that it was her fault this happened prevented her from saying anything.
As she soon found out, she probably should have.
It was the last day before the “really rich Neopet” would come to get his Fantastic Fruit Pies. The bakery was extremely busy, almost to the point of utter chaos. Luckily, Lyna’s Greeble was looking considerably better, and the Wocky was pretty sure this would be the last day she’d have to bring him to work. When they got to the bakery, Salina was instantly told to work at the cash register while her sister would fill all of the pie crusts with the fruit filling. Both were fairly easy jobs, and they were relieved as they headed over to do them.
Once she arrived at her station, Lyna quickly set her Greeble, a bottle of water, and a large jar full of flies for him to eat at lunchtime on the floor. She started getting to work right away, ignoring the confusion around her as the Neopets hurried to get all the pastries ready.
Salina rushed to the cash register, and smiled at a young Shoyru who had just walked in, asking him what he would like to buy. As she exchanged a loaf of bread for 300 Neopoints, she thought about how worried she had been a few days ago about making all those pies in three days. Now that the day had actually come, she realized how silly she had been. After all, everything would be ready by this afternoon and they would probably get rewarded for all their work. What could possibly go wrong now?
As the day progressed, more and more Fantastic Fruit Pies were made, and before Salina knew it, it was time to take a break for lunch. She left the register as a Cybunny took her place there and headed over to eat with her sister. She arrived just in time to see Lyna stop working for the break. The Wocky greeted her and sat down.
“You know, Salina, everything’s working out great. I really don’t know why you always worry so much.” She cheerfully picked up her Greeble, saying enthusiastically, “Time for lunch!” As she said it, she reached over to the jar of flies and twisted the lid (a very hard thing to do without fingers). When it didn’t budge, she frowned and twisted it harder. Still nothing. Now somewhat frustrated, the Wocky angrily tried to open the jar, and, just as she felt it starting to get loose, a Lupe hurriedly rushed past and bumped into her. Giving a cry of surprise, she fell to the side and the jar flew from her paws just as it popped open. The sisters watched, horrified, as the flies flew out of the container and instantly swarmed to the delicious pastries.
All at once, the bakery filled with screams as everyone started running from the insects or tried to swat them away from the food. The sisters watched, aghast, as all the Fantastic Fruit Pies they had worked so hard to make were devoured by the swarming bugs. When they had eaten their fill, the flies settled contentedly into the pans, buzzing loudly. There was no way that they would be able to make four hundred more pies in one day. And Lyna and Salina were the only ones near the jar of flies; it was obvious they were responsible for this...
“We’re going to get fired for this...”
They were right; they lost their jobs immediately.
And when the rich Neopian came, nothing was ready and he was furious. Apparently the “huge event” had been his son’s birthday, and they had needed a lot of pies for all of the guests.
“Are you okay?”
Unfortunately, the flies had gobbled every single Fantastic Fruit Pie up, and because they were so new the few that had been made before had already been eaten. So there were none left on Neopia at all. And for some reason, they never made any more; something about bad luck, probably. So, Fantastic Fruit Pies had eventually been forgotten. Instead, the Fantastic Fly Pie had been born...
“Lyna, will you snap out of it?”
Lyna started and was suddenly back at the Money Tree, eating lunch with her sister. Salina gave her a look and said, “You were still thinking about that pie, weren’t you?”
The Acara sighed. “When will you forget about those things? It’s not like they bring back good memories.”
“I know. I was just thinking they’re...” She pondered what words to use. “...Anything but fantastic.”