Unis Don't Dig Holes
It seems that most Neopians have preset views of each species of Neopet. You know, Grarrls should be tough warriors, Unis should be obsessed with their appearances, Gelerts should be ready to give their all for their friends, and so on. This is true of colors as well. Christmas pets are thought of as always being happy and giving, grey pets are always sad, royal pets are either snobby princesses or daring princes, and things like that.
I seriously disagree with this. As a Christmas Uni, I fall victim to such assumptions. Those Neopians who don’t know me well tend to assume that I’m the cheerful type who loves nothing more than preening myself in front of a mirror. The sad fact is that they’re wrong. I’m a very moody girl, and I spend very little time worrying about my appearance. I had a rough past before I met my current owner, BG, and that is likely why I’m like this.
But this isn’t a story about assumptions. This is a story about what happened when I finally dared to break these stereotypes, and what happened when I succeeded. I’m actually quite proud of what I did, as I’m sure very few Unis would ever consider doing the same. BG is proud of me as well, because he also dislikes stereotyping.
It was a hot spring day in the Lost Desert, where BG had built his house. He and I were out in the garden, planting flowers. I enjoy playing in the soil, but there isn’t much in a desert. We had to get a load of it brought in to even start a garden. As my owner arranged the flowers before planting them, I looked down at the sand under my hooves. How deep was the sand? Was there any soil below it, or did it go down until it hit rock?
I really had to know. So I asked BG.
“How deep do you think the sand goes?”
He paused, then picked up his spade.
“No clue,” he replied in his typical taciturn fashion.
I was even more curious now. As BG dug a hole for one of the plants, I got an idea. As I said before, the assumption about Unis is that they hate getting dirty. I, on the other hand, love making a mess. So I decided to dig a big hole and see for myself how deep the sand went.
“Would you mind if I dug a hole?” I asked BG. “A big one, like the Boris do. I want to see how deep the sand goes.”
He looked over at me for a moment, then nodded.
“Go ahead,” he told me.
He pointed with his spade.
“Dig over there. Have fun.”
“Really?!” I practically screamed with joy.
BG chuckled and turned back to his planting. I was excited by my idea, and quickly located a good spot to dig in. Then I set to work. The sand went flying as I dug like crazy. I almost felt like a Bori excavating a tunnel. My legs are very strong, so despite my lack of claws I made good progress. But once the hole was about two feet deep, I began to feel sore. I hadn’t worked this hard in my entire life, but it was such fun!
At last, the pain in my legs became too much, and I had to stop digging for the day. I had made a hole two feet deep and big enough for me to lie down in. There was a large pile of sand behind the hole, and I knew that it would just get larger as I dug deeper. My white fur was now a dusty yellow from all the sand landing on it, but I really didn’t mind. I hopped out of the hole and headed indoors, eager to show BG what I had accomplished.
After dinner, I showed my owner the hole.
“If I just work at it, I bet I could out-dig a Bori!” I said happily.
“You must be sore,” he commented.
“Yeah...” I replied, suddenly feeling quite tired. Yet it was a happy kind of tired, as I had done pretty well that day. BG gave me a bath and a brushing, then massaged my legs to help with the pain. I fell asleep quickly that night, and dreamed about digging. I was hooked on it now.
The next day, I was too sore to do any more work on my hole. But the day after that I felt much better. Right after breakfast I ran out of the house, jumped into the hole, and began to dig once more. I made the sand fly that day, even more so than the day I started this project. By the time my legs were ready to quit on me, I had reached four feet deep. It was an interesting feeling when I raised my head and could no longer see over the rim of my hole. When I stood up on my hind legs, though, I could put my front hooves on the rim and look over.
“This must be how a Symol sees the world,” I thought.
“Look this way,” called BG from behind me.
I turned to face him, and saw him holding a camera. I did my best to look sad, which made him put it down.
“You OK?” he asked me.
“I’m going for the ‘trapped-in-a-hole-and-can’t-get-out’ look,” I replied, trying not to laugh.
BG cracked up before picking up the camera again. I made the most mournful face I could, but inwardly I was dancing with joy. This would be a great picture to show my friends!
“At least try to look happy, OK?” my owner requested after taking the first picture.
“I am happy,” I replied with a grin. “This is so much fun!”
“It’s good exercise,” he commented.
“And a good way to prove that not all Unis hate getting dirty!” I thought gleefully.
Once more, I was too sore to dig the next day. But on the fifth day of my project I was ready to go.
“Six feet or bust!” I cheered as I ran out of the house to get to work.
I heard BG start laughing, and had to struggle not to join in. Was I being silly or what? Digging was an obsession now.
I guess I had gotten stronger in the past few days, because I didn’t tire as early as I had before. I reached six feet down easily, but now I had another problem. I couldn’t throw the sand up out of the hole when it was this deep. I didn’t want to quit digging, but I had to get the sand out. Maybe BG would have an idea.
I had to fly to get out of the hole. Once I was back on the surface I found my owner watering the flowers.
“I can’t throw the sand out of the hole anymore,” I told him. “It’s just too deep. Is there another way to get it out?”
“I’ll see what I can do,” he said, setting down the watering can and going indoors. When he returned, he was carrying several pieces of lumber and his tool kit. After an hour’s work he had built a pulley rig system like the one on the Wishing Well. I watched as he placed it over my hole.
“Fill the bucket, pull the rope, and it dumps on its own,” he said.
“Yay!” I cheered, giving him a hug before diving into the hole again.
Using the pulley rig slowed me down a bit. I was only able to dig one more foot down before it was getting close to dinnertime. I looked up to see BG crouching by the rim of the hole.
“Having fun?” he asked.
“Oh, absolutely!” I laughed, standing on my hind legs.
He grabbed my front hooves and pulled me up.
“How deep are you going?” he questioned.
I had to think about that.
“Until I hit soil?” I suggested.
BG shook his head.
“Stop at ten feet,” he cautioned. “Any deeper and the hole could collapse.”
I had never thought about collapses before. That put a damper on my excitement, but I knew that my owner was right. If I didn’t hit soil by ten feet down, I’d stop.
I wasn’t sore that night, and I felt great the next day. I set to work as soon as breakfast was over. I had dug another foot deeper when I heard a voice.
“Who’s down there?”
I knew that voice. It was a prissy pink Uni from down the street.
I froze, the pulley rope still in my mouth. I hadn’t thought about what other Neopets would think when they saw my hole.
“I should tell BG that someone is digging up his garden,” the Uni commented again, her voice much closer.
“Now what should I do?!” I wailed to myself.
A few seconds later, the pink Uni poked her head over the rim of the hole. When she saw me, her eyes went wide.
“What are you doing down there?!” she shrieked in amazement and disgust.
I lowered my head.
“Digging,” I mumbled, still holding the pulley rope.
“Shame on you! Shame on you!” she yelled. “Everyone knows Unis don’t dig holes!”
“But I do...” I thought to myself as the pink Uni scolded me.
“Get out of that hole right now, or I’m telling everyone on the street!” she scolded.
Now I was angry. I yanked the pulley rope hard, sending the bucket flying upwards. It flipped over and the sand in it went all over her fur.
“Ack!” she screamed, trying desperately to get the sand off.
I wanted to laugh so badly, but I didn’t want to make the situation worse.
“Do you have any idea how much time I put into looking this good?!” the pink Uni wailed. “You’re going to pay for this!”
She galloped away, practically crying. As soon as she was out of earshot I couldn’t hold back my laughter anymore. That was the funniest thing I had seen in ages! I looked up after a few minutes and saw BG standing over the hole.
“Served her right,” he remarked.
“I’ll say!” I replied, still giggling.
“I got her sand bath on camera,” he went on.
I started to laugh uncontrollably. This was even better! Now, if she tried to spread nasty rumors about me, I could counter her!
After a few more minutes I got myself under control and went back to my digging. I was determined to hit ten feet by nightfall. Amazingly, that’s what happened. When BG came to call me for dinner, I had him measure my hole.
“Ten feet,” he said. “Very well done.”
I flew out of the hole, feeling quite triumphant. I got a nice rub between the ears from my owner.
“I’ll help you fill it in tomorrow,” he told me. “An open hole is dangerous.”
He picked up the pulley rig and moved it around the side of the house.
When I woke up the next morning, though, there was a surprise waiting for us. Someone had come in the night and filled in the hole! I figured that it was that prissy pink Uni and her friends that had done it.
“Saves us the time and effort, at least,” BG commented.
I decided to spend that day relaxing. It had been ages since I’d taken a sun bath, so I stretched out on the sand where my hole had been and dozed off. I was awoken a few hours later by someone yelling to me. It was that pink Uni again, and this time two other Unis, one white and one speckled, were with her. I glared at them as they approached.
“What happened to your hole?” the pink Uni asked, smirking.
“You filled it in, of course,” I retorted.
She glared back at me.
“I did not!” she yelled. “I wouldn’t dig in the sand even if you paid me!”
She looked over her shoulder at her friends.
“Dig a hole for us!” the white Uni demanded.
“Yes, do it! Now!” ordered the speckled Uni.
I glared at them, but I realized that I was pretty much trapped. There were three of them, and one of me. I knew I really had no choice.
The three prissy Unis jumped at BG’s outburst. I turned and saw him standing in the doorway, looking really ticked off. This was the first time I had ever seen him angry. He started across the yard towards us.
“Who gave you the right to order her around?!” he went on.
The three Unis scooted backwards, but were silent.
“Get off my property, and STAY OFF!” he thundered, his voice so loud that I put my hooves over my ears.
The prissy Unis ran in panic. BG watched them retreat, then chuckled quietly.
I got up and rubbed against his legs.
“Maybe they’re right,” I said sadly. “Maybe Unis shouldn’t dig holes.”
My owner smiled at me.
“If you want to dig, then dig,” he replied kindly, crouching down to look me in the eyes. “Don’t worry about that they think. Just be yourself.”
I knew he was right. I smiled at him.
“Tomorrow I’ll dig another hole,” I announced. “In the backyard this time, so no one can see me!”