Memoir of a Caption Contest Winner
This story is based on true events.
If you came looking for a story about how some clever neopets saved the world from Dr. Sloth, then I’m sorry. If you had a fancy for a tale of a young neopet’s journey from an abandoned pet in the pound to a favorite pet of a millionaire owner, then keep looking. If you’re looking for the latest Meepit Show, it’s rather good and I suggest you read it. I myself am looking for a story where my little family wasn’t banned from Neopia Central because my JubJub got hungry and ate the Food Store. But if you’re looking for the story of how I, a simple Neopian with very little money and a simple neohome on Mystery Island, won the Caption Competition, then you clicked in the right place.
It all started one day when my faithful Poogle Cheesedoodles and I had snuck into Neopia Central in disguise. He was wearing one of those Jack-o-lantern Masks, and I had an Ultra Fashionable Potato Sack over my head.
“So, Dad,” said Cheesedoodles, a bit muffled with his mask on, “What do we need to get?”
“Let's see.” I consulted my list. “Potion Maker wants some books.” Potion Maker was my Green Korbat, and she was training to be a witch. She absolutely idolized Sophie, and we would trek all the way to her shack in the Haunted Woods just to see her every so often. Surprisingly, Sophie took a liking to her. They would have long conversations about the latest witch apparel and potion ingredients. It’s creepy, mind you. And, ironically, her petpet is an Angelpuss named Apprentice. However, the little thing just loves fetching ingredients. It’s rather uncanny.
“What else...” I checked the list again to see that my Christmas JubJub, Cream Puff, wanted some battle items. Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking. A JubJub as a battle pet? The mere thought of it is absurd. But yes, Cream Puff enters the arena armed with twin Scarab rings and a Lesser Healing Scroll, an Ice Mote at his side. Not to mention he has a few good abilities, though we can’t afford many faeries. And he wins a lot. He also has a Bearog named Baby Cerberus. The little thing is really cute, and it loves Cream Puff to bits.
While I’m at it, I guess I’ll tell you about my other two pets. Cheesedoodles, my yellow Poogle, plays most of the games for the family. He has a talent for earning money from them, and he loves it, too. His petpet is a Slorg named Spot. Actually, not that much else to say.
Number is a split Lenny with a talent for fishing. Most of our food comes from him. He’s looking forward to catching a titanic giant squid, as we’ve heard stories of it feeding Neopets a thousand times. He’s been searching for it forever, so I hope he finds it one day. As for his petpet, he doesn’t really have one. Only a cardboard one. But we’re trying to get him something that can fly alongside him. Maybe an Airax...
We continued going around and shopping, and we finally finished after about an hour, then my pet said something that changed everything.
“Hey, Dad, want to get some Borovan?”
I was thirsty, so I agreed. We would have left right away otherwise. But we never got those Borovans. On the way there was a stand that read, ‘Caption Competition #918’. Sitting at the desk was an Island Zafara reading the Neopian Times. I had tried it a couple of times before, but had never gotten in. I decided it was worth a shot. I walked over and told the Island Zafara at the counter that I wished to participate. Not looking up, she handed me the picture and a piece of paper to write the caption on.
“Oh, come on, Dad,” Cheesedoodles said, rolling his eyes at me. “Nobody ever even gets in.”
But, disregarding this, I studied the picture, and something rather witty popped into my head looking at it. I scrawled it on the paper and handed both the picture and the caption to the Zafara. She took it from me, glanced at it, and began to laugh.
“That’s rich, man,” she said, still giggling. “That’s hilarious, really.”
Cheesedoodles stared at me, then at the Zafara, who was wiping tears from her eyes. “Come on, Dad,” he said. “Let’s go home.”
* * *
It was about two days later that we ran out of milk. Not to mention, the petpets needed to go to the vet for their checkups. So it was back to Neopia Central for us. Since it was Number’s turn to go with me, and everyone else had petpets to be checked, we all ended up going. As we entered the main square, Potion Maker noticed it.
“Dad! That billboard above the Caption Contest-“ she gasped. “Your name is on it!”
I whirled around, and sure enough, there was my name on the billboard, alongside my caption. But there must have been a glitch... because... my caption was... was...
At this point, I believe I must have fainted, because I woke up in the hospital.
“Dad!” I heard Cream Puff shout. “Guys, he’s awake!”
I was immediately smothered in hugs. At first, I wondered why I had blacked out. But then I remembered. “Guys...” I asked, my throat hoarse. “Am I really winning third place in the Caption Competition?”
“Yup,” said Number, an expression of elation crossing his beak. “If this keeps up, you’ll end up with one gold trophy and 10,000 more neopoints! And the contest ends tomorrow!”
I smiled with joy. Not because of the neopoints, not because of the trophy, but because my pets were happy. I had always tried to make them happy.
That night, the nurse told me I was too weak to go back home, so I would have to stay there that night. I gave my pets some money to stay in the neolodge. A mailman arrived with neomail, and most of my letters were fan mail. At about 10 NST, I fell asleep.
My pets woke me up the next morning to tell me that the caption contest was over, and I had won third place. “I can’t believe it!” I said joyously. “I just can’t believe it!” I laughed almost as hard as my pets did. Apparently, my caption had received near to two hundred votes before placing third. It was more than any owner could wish for, and more.
I treated my pets to another night it the neolodge before we caught the next boat back to Mystery Island. My neighbors congratulated me on my good fortune, and even sent me small gifts. Giger, the Electric Krawk who runs my gallery, called me up to give his little token of congratulations as well. My neofriends even made me a cake, which Cream Puff ended up eating.
With the money, I was able to get Number an Airax, which he went on to name Caption as a reminder of my success. All in all, the Caption Competition brought nothing but happiness to us. It just goes to show that everything works out if you just try hard enough.