Tales of an Unwanted Pet: Part Four
“Tag, you’re it!” yowled Chester, the starry Gelert as he batted Mitchie on the ear.
“Not for long!” Mitchie yelled back, racing after him.
It was a crisp, clear morning at the Neopian Pound. Mitchie, Chester, Chuck, and a few other friends were playing a game of tag in the yard. The sky was a pearly grey over their heads. Olga, the evil Usul who usually supervised the yard was nowhere to be seen, and in fact, had not been seen for several days.
Weeks had passed since the day Mitchie had been caught along with a few other friends in Dr. Death’s office. They had been snooping around his office looking for evidence that Olga wanted to quit. After all of their searching, they had found a letter from Olga telling Dr. Death of her wish to resign. Now that Olga had actually left, Mitchie and her friends were overjoyed, and spent most of their mornings playing tag.
Even though Olga was gone, life in the Pound was not perfect. Everyday before mealtime, Mitchie, Daisee (the red Moehog), and King Henri (the yellow Kacheek) were taken to the kitchen and forced to prepare horrible meals assigned by Dr. Death. This was their punishment for breaking into his office. Chuck, the red Scorchio, had the worst punishment. He had gotten his first adoption summons in all the four years he’d been at the Pound! But Dr. Death had told the almost-owner to adopt another Scorchio... Chuck had been devastated.
It had already been two months and now Mitchie found herself thinking less and less of her previous owner, Jennifer. She would always have those fond memories to look back on, but she no longer depended on Jennifer to rescue her from the miseries of the Pound. She had begun to let go...
* * *
Later that day, Mitchie, Daisee, and King Henri were in the kitchen preparing a nasty looking bowl of jellied eyeballs. King Henri was uncapping various jars of eyeballs while Mitchie was pouring jelly into a large cauldron. Daisee was stirring in the eyeballs with a large wooden spoon. The whole concoction was revolting, yet they couldn’t defy Dr. Death’s orders.
“This meal will be totally disgusting,” Daisee whined. “I think I’ll wait until tomorrow to eat.”
“I have a feeling that tomorrow’s meal will be just as disgusting,” Mitchie replied resignedly.
“Urgh! I think an eyeball just went down my shirt!” King Henri shrieked jumping up and down.
Mitchie and Daisee sniggered. “You know, the Pound wouldn’t be such a bad place if someone else was in charge,” Mitchie said thoughtfully. “I mean, I never would have met you guys if I was never abandoned...”
King Henri smiled wryly, “And what are you suggesting? That we overthrow Dr. Death and elect you as the next ruler of the Pound?”
“Hey, that’s a great idea!” said Daisee, a mischievous look coming into her eyes.
“What? No! I was joking!” King Henri sputtered.
“Well, why not? It makes sense to me,” Daisee continued. “Without Dr. Death in control, we’ll be free to do whatever we want! We won’t have to eat this nasty food everyday!”
Mitchie looked thoughtful. “That does sound tempting... But I wouldn’t want to rule the Pound. I think the problem is that Dr. Death has too much power. He’s like a ruthless dictator, controlling every aspect of our lives. He shouldn’t have the power to stop someone from getting adopted... like poor Chuck.”
“Do you guys know how dangerous this is? Just talking about it could get us in trouble! Dr. Death has eyes everywhere... and his attendants are always watching...” King Henri warned.
Mitchie grinned. “You worry too much! Besides, this is a great idea! With Dr. Death under control we could have more freedom... All he really needs to be concerned with are the finances of the Pound. He doesn’t need to control what we eat or wear.” She gestured to the plain white T-shirt that all the pets were required to put on.
“But how can we make him loosen up? He won’t listen to us,” King Henri argued.
“Well, let's just say there are more of us than there are of him,” Daisee said matter-of-factly. “We could overrule him easily if we work together!”
“Yeah, but how are we going to work together? There are fourteen floors of pets in case you didn’t notice already!” King Henri replied dejectedly.
“We can try to get as many as we can,” Mitchie replied firmly. “Now, Dr. Death always steps out of his office during mealtime to get real food. He wouldn’t eat the nasty stuff he makes us eat. So, when mealtime starts in about five minutes, we need to run to his office and get on the loudspeaker!”
“And then we can tell all the pets about our plan!” Daisee finished, excitedly.
“Are you kidding me? I don’t mean to be negative, but the last time we snuck into his office didn’t go too well,” King Henri whined.
“King Henri, this is important!” Mitchie pleaded. “This isn’t some childish adventure like last time. This time, we have a purpose! This needs to be done or life at the Pound will continue to get worse.”
“Okay,” King Henri muttered. “But I’m only doing this for Chuck’s sake. I want to see that Dr. Death stripped of his powers before the day is done.”
* * *
Five minutes later, King Henri, Daisee, and Mitchie were racing up the stairs to get to the fourteenth floor. They were hurtling toward Dr. Death’s office when the door suddenly flew open and Dr. Death himself came rushing out. The breath left Mitchie’s lungs as she racked her brains for a good excuse.
“What are you doing up here? It's mealtime; shouldn’t you be going the other way?” Dr. Death leered at them suspiciously.
“Well, we just finished kitchen duty and we were going back to my room to freshen up,” Mitchie replied in the most casual voice she could muster.
“Yeah, those jellied eyeballs were really sticky!” King Henri chirped.
“Hmm, well don’t linger! Mealtime is only half an hour long,” he grumbled before sweeping down the staircase on his way to some fabulous restaurant like Kelp.
“He just sickens me,” Daisee muttered under her breath.
“Hey, Dr. Death forgot to lock his office door while he was talking to us!” Mitchie called out excitedly.
The three pets rushed into his office and settled themselves around the loudspeaker. It was basically a set of pipes that ran along the walls and opened into each room, main hall, and the yard. The mouth-piece was located on Dr. Death’s desk. It was through that mouth-piece that Mitchie was now addressing all the pets in the Neopian Pound.
“Pets of the Pound!” she began, a little nervous at first. “I’m Mitchie, the yellow Blumaroo. Many of you probably don’t know me. I’ve only been here for two months. But for me, that was long enough to realize that this place stinks! Dr. Death may be in charge of the Pound, but that doesn’t give him the right to control our lives!”
She paused as cheers rose from the main hall nearly eleven floors below them. “We didn’t choose to come here,” Mitchie continued. “So why should we be subject to the horrid meals? And whatever happened to our personal decisions? Why does Dr. Death get to choose what we wear? – when we sleep? – what we listen to? I mean, even Olga couldn’t stand it here. And that’s why she quit weeks ago. I know it for a fact, because I broke into Dr. Death’s office nearly a month ago, and found a letter from Olga! She was asking if she could quit!”
King Henri was practically sweating in his nervous state and Daisee was unable to hide her widespread grin. They gave Mitchie encouraging looks and she continued.
“The thing is, there is only one Dr. Death. And there are thousands of us – unwanted pets. If we work together, we can overthrow his –“ Mitchie was interrupted by the door slamming open. Dr. Death stood on the threshold, his eyes wild and red. He glared at her and grabbed the mouth-piece out of her hands. Mitchie screamed and ducked under the desk. Dr. Death smacked King Henri in the head and he went down.
Daisee rushed to King Henri’s side, fear written in her eyes. Mitchie was shivering with anxiety. She knew she was in trouble this time. As she was wondering what her punishment would be, a loud thundering was suddenly heard outside the door. She peeked over the desk curiously. Dr. Death’s eyes were blank and his mouth hung open in surprise. Hordes of pets rushed up the stairs and ran in a large mob towards the office.
The pets were chanting, “What do we want? Freedom! When do we want it? Now!”
“Okay! Okay! Enough!” Dr. Death was yelling. But no one could hear him. Mitchie’s ears were pounding with the intense volume of the pets now streaming into the office. Tables were overturned and files were ripped open. She saw Chuck ripping his giant file to shreds and she grinned happily. She didn’t know what would become of the Pound, but she was excited to find out.
* * *
Five months later Mitchie was still in the Pound. But now, she was okay with it. She was sitting with her friends Chuck, Daisee and King Henri in her room. The walls of her once confining white room were now bright yellow and she had posters of her favorite bands like M*Y*N*C*I plastered everywhere. With Dr. Death no longer ruling over their lives, the Pound had become a much better place.
After the mob attack five months ago, the Defenders of Neopia had come in to straighten things out. Many of them found fault with the way Dr. Death had been treating the abandoned pets, and ordered him to loosen his strict rules or be thrown into a cage with Punchbag Bob!
Dr. Death was also forced to hire a decent chef. Meals no longer consisted of tentacles and other unmentionables. And, once a month, each pet got a free day when they could leave the Pound (while supervised). Mitchie usually spent them on Tiki Tack Tours...
The Pound was no longer a place where pets were left to die. It was a place where unwanted pets could enjoy themselves and continue to live their lives despite their lack of owners.
Now Mitchie was sitting in her room with her friends, listening to their favorite Neopian bands. “Hey, Mitchie, what color should I paint my walls? Purple or blue?” asked Daisee.
“Hmm? Oh, I dunno. Purple sounds nice,” Mitchie replied tranquilly.
Suddenly, one of Dr. Death’s attendants came into the room. “Mitchie, you’ve received an adoption summons.”
Mitchie gasped and her heart started fluttering. She didn’t know whether to be happy or sad. All the friends she’d made here... would she ever see them again?
Chuck gave her an encouraging smile, “Go on then, Mitchie. We’ll keep in touch!”
Mitchie grinned and followed the attendant out the door.