By Word of Mouth: A Comedy in Two Acts
OR Word Play
ACT I: The scene is a plush living room in an even plushier Faerieland neohome owned by ACE, a white Aisha. NEIL, his friend and a striped Ixi, lounges in a cloud couch reading a paper while Ace eats cupcakes. The walls are adored with ACE’s flashing avatars carefully collected over the years. The time is the present.
ACE (with his mouth full of cupcake): My paper is excellent, isn’t it? One of my most genius works. It’s going to make it into the ‘Times, you know.
NEIL: Since when does the Neopian Times publish dreadful rants about cheese? (Putting the paper down) Oh, Fyora, I can hardly read it.
ACE: Well, I suppose its brilliance may hurt the common eyes of a mere... HEY! (With an aristocratic air) Cheese is a very important topic among the most sophisticated Neopian avatar collectors. You DO know about Cheeseroller, don’t you?
NEIL (exasperated): This isn’t about Cheeseroller... it’s just about cheese. And it stinks.
ACE (excitedly): Like cheese? Well, if it does, that’s the effect that I was going for.
NEIL: It’s deplorable. It’s dreadfully shocking and shockingly dreadful. It stinks like, well, it stinks like a Durian, I’m afraid. It has a pungent smell and custard like texture.
ACE (raising his eyebrows): Oh?
NEIL: Indeed, my friend. Your words are like Durians. They stink horribly, but I think if you can make them into a story –a good one, mind you- you turn them into a delicious pie, if you catch my drift. And delicious pies... well, they get published.
ACE: So... my article is a Durian. And it needs to be a Durian Pie. How does one make words into pies?
NEIL: You eat them, of course. You can’t make words into pies without eating the bad words.
ACE (incredulously): Eating words?
NEIL (matter-of-factly): Precisely. I’ve found it similar to sticking one’s foot in one’s mouth but without the unpleasant aftertaste.
ACE: What do words taste like then? If these taste half as good as these cupcakes, I shall gladly eat all my words.
NEIL: Words don’t taste good. That’s what I’ve heard.
ACE: Well, I shan’t be eating them then. (He eats a cupcake).
NEIL: May you eat all your “shan’t”s and never utter such things again! It’s embarrassing. And don’t fill up on cupcakes! We need to figure out how to eat your words.
ACE: And insult these fine cupcakes? Why, they are so delicious and pretty. It’s terribly rude to not eat delicious and pretty things, you know. Besides, I thought you knew how to eat words.
NEIL: Ah, you see. I’ve only heard about it, I’m afraid. I’ve actually never had to eat my words before.
ACE: You haven’t? Why not?
NIEL: I’ve never been wrong before. You only eat wrong words. Aha! I know exactly who to see about this predicament. Who knows more about letters and words than anyone in Neopia?
ACE: Um... the bookstore Nimmo? He’s always reading.
NIEL (sighs exaggeratedly): Someone with magical powers. HONESTLY, Ace.
ACE (angrily): You didn’t mention that! Who are you thinking of?
NEIL: The Library Faerie, of course! Luckily we’re already in Faerieland. I’ll bring your article.
ACE: And I’ll bring the cupcakes! (He picks up the cupcake tray)
(ACE and NEIL exit Stage Left)
ACT II: The scene is a sprawling library filled to the brim with ancient faerie books. A studious-looking faerie with long auburn hair, purple wings and reading glasses is seated at the front desk, reading a tattered novel. When NEIL and ACE enter, she does not look up. They approach the desk.
(ACE and NEIL enter Stage Right)
ACE: Excuuuuuse me! (Slams cupcake tray on desk)
LIBRARY FAERIE (without looking up): No food.
NEIL: We have a... peculiar predicament. Well, Ace here does. He is ridiculous and needs to eat his words.
LIBRARY FAERIE (still looking at her book): The Not-Disturbing-Me books are on the fifth floor in the waaaay back. On the highest shelf.
NEIL: Sorry, Ace. I don’t think she’s going to help us. She seems a bit peeved.
ACE: Ah ha! You were wrong! You’ll have to eat your words when we find out how. Mrs. Faerie? You sure you wouldn’t fancy a cupcake? They have chokato frosting and cure crankiness!
LIBRARY FAERIE (looks up from her novel and glares at ACE): NO FOOD!
(A yellow JubJub named JACK is sitting in the chair near the desk eating cereal. He looks up, saddened.)
JACK: Awww... but this alphabet cereal is so tasty!
LIBRARY FAERIE (furious): WHY is EVERYONE eating in my library today?
(ACE and NEIL spin around to face JACK.)
ACE: The alphabet makes up words, Neil.
NEIL: Indeed, it does. (To JACK) Could we have some of that?
JACK: Sure! (Hands the bowl to ACE... a curious feat, for JubJubs have no arms to hand things to others)
ACE (takes a bite): THERE. I’ve eaten words. Now my article will be good!
JACK: That really makes no sense at all. Besides those are MY words. It is my cereal after all.
NEIL (after skimming the article): It’s true. Your article is still awful. And It’s getting late. We’ve wasted the whole day.
ACE: No one will get to read my Cheese article.
NEIL: I’m sorry this was a disaster. Perhaps we’ll work on it and submit it in a few weeks.
ACE (dismally): I suppose... OH! I really wanted that special avatar that comes with the 300th edition... and the 350th and all those intervals of 50. You know how I love my avatars, Neil. Now I shan’t have any words to write because I never ate them.
NEIL: I’m terribly sorry about this whole mess regarding the- (As if struck with a brilliant idea) That’s IT, Ace! You’ll write about what happened today!
ACE: Why, that is a FANTASTIC idea, Neil! You’re a great friend! And you’ve helped too, Mr. JubJub!
JACK: Happy to inspire! Good luck with your story; you only have a few hours to submit it!
ACE (gulps): You’re right!
ACE and NEIL hurry to a secluded corner of the library where they proceed to write down their adventure, add a few exciting embellishments, and eat cupcakes, much to the disapproval of the LIBRARY FAERIE. They work into the early hours of the morning, perfecting the manuscript. Eventually, they finish typing the final draft on the decrepit typewriter.
ACE (Pulling the last meticulously typed page out of the type writer with a flourish): THIS is a fantastic story! (Adapts a dramatic tone) Ace, the extraordinarily handsome Aisha, and his best friend Neil, the cleverest and most fantastic Ixi, take an amazing journey throughout the galaxy in search of answers.
NEIL (in an equally dramatic tone): Battling confusion, cheese, and grumpy librarians, the heroes (with the help of chokato cupcakes) end up having the best, unexpected adventure!
ACE (after a pause): Neil, you know how much I love my avatars?
NEIL: Yes, Ace. It’s pretty obvious in your neohome.
ACE: If this isn’t published in the specific NT edition...
NEIL: ... you won’t get that avatar. Well, not this time around.
ACE: That’s okay, though. Because it was fun to write. I’ve never had fun writing before.
NEIL: If you didn’t like it, why did you write?
ACE (with an exaggerated frown): I heard it was rewarding!
NEIL: I suppose it can be.
ACE: It was this time! Today was quite fun.
NEIL: Yeah, just don’t go writing any more articles about Cheese.
ACE: Ugh, no way. That is SO last 1000 words ago. You have to keep up with the times.
NEIL (realizing the time): Oh! We better keep up with the ‘Times right now! The deadline is soon!
ACE and NEIL dash out of the Library, bouncing along the clouds until they come to one of the submission boxes. Pushing the envelope filled with their story into the slot, they hope it will be accepted. The next day, ACE and NEIL meet at the Library with the unopened neomail response from editors.
ACE: I wanted to open this here since, you know, we wrote it here.
NEIL: Go on! Let’s see it!
ACE (slowly opening and reading the neomail): Congratulations! Your article, “CHEESE IS SO AWESOME!” has been selected to appear in a future issue of the Neopian Times! Concerning your “The Coolest Adventure” short story, your submission was, unfortunately, not original enough.
NEIL (mouth agape): Wa-wa-wa?
ACE (stunned): Oh no! I must have accidentally slipped in my Cheese article with our fantastic one!
ACE: Oh, Neil, you have such a way with words. That really makes me feel better.
NEIL (takes a deep breath): How? How did THAT get accepted?
ACE: Who knows? I get an avatar! (He grins mischievously, looks at NEIL, and then frowns.) I’m sorry you didn’t get anything. Want a cupcake?
(Enter Starry Usul, Stage Right)
USUL: OH MY STARS! PETPETS HAVE TAKEN OVER THE NEOPIAN TIMES! WHAT ARE WE TO DO?
(USUL exists, Stage Left)
NEIL: Ooooh, petpets must really like cheese.
ACE (jumps in the air and clicks his heels): Huzzah!
THE END! I hope you enjoyed reading!