There is No Place Like Neopia
I reached my hand out a few feet in front of me and poked the bobblehead with my index finger. I leaned in closely to watch as Jhudora's head wavered back and forth, back and forth as if she were dancing in the middle of a Chomby and the Fungus Balls concert.
The lady sitting across from me at the desk furrowed her light blue brow before peering out of the top of the thick dark frames of her glasses; the look on her face could possibly be described as severely annoyed. I quickly yanked my hand back and then placed it quietly in the middle of my lap.
I started to look around the agency, taking note of interesting features it displayed. There were tons of posters of beautifully exotic places; all of them had great names with such scenic exhibits, like that of Myncies on golden beaches running about in the sands, Grundos pulling shiny levers with big smiles on their faces, Poogles racing around brightly white clouds, every one of them having so much fun. All of this got me more and more excited to see my future traveling destinations. I really couldn’t wait!
"So, have you given much thought to where it is you would like to travel today?"
"Hmm, well, not really," I responded. "Somewhere where I can have barrels of fun." I pointed to the posters around me.
"Well then, I think I have quite a few suggestions for you," she responded in a little less than enthused tone of voice. Yeah, anywhere that was at least one hundred miles from her office, I guessed silently to myself.
"Let me see; first we have Terror Mountain, which is beautiful, just beautiful this time of year. Lots of snow."
I gasped with a loud, sharp inhale.
"Is there a problem?" The travel agent looked on with concern.
"This might just be a rumor, but I have heard tales about people getting smacked with large amounts of ice cream, all different flavors, and at all different speeds! The horror! No wonder they call it Terror Mountain."
"Okay..." The travel agent glared at me. I slyly checked my face for stray pieces of leftover lunch as she fumbled through stacks of more papers. "Here is another fabulous and seasonal place, Mystery Island." She spoke slowly and then looked up at me.
"Ooh, a mystery... very intriguing... go on."
"Mystery Island boasts an expansive trading post, island market, endless games of beach volleyball, its very own island mystic, a magical cooking pot, as well as a renowned train school. Also, located in the center of the island is Techo Mountain, an active volcano churning, brewing, and spewing with magnificent hot lava. You know what? I can even get you a great deal and schedule you for a Tiki Tour for some extra fun."
I glanced over at Jhudora again, this time still and looking past me. I scrunched up my face as I squinted one eye and pursed my lips. "Well, now it isn't really a mystery." Shrugging, I asked her what else she had. I heard her mumble under her breath, but couldn't discern what she said.
"I suppose I have a few more places that might possibly be of interest to you." She shuffled the papers around.
I grinned from ear to ear, exposing all my teeth to her, and patted the suitcase beside me.
"Well, there is the Space Station; it was once used by the curiously evil Dr. Sloth, but it is now open to the public, and in fact, it gets most of its neopoints from tourism. A little history about it was that when the..."
"Oh." I groaned and rolled my eyes. "You won’t believe this, but my cousin was caught sleeping behind the test engines, so my family is now banned from visiting the station. Funny thing was that it was only found out after the engines were turned on in a monthly testing... don't ask."
The travel agent let out an enormous sigh; the sound of her tail flickering behind her grew louder as it crashed into the filing cabinet behind her, I peered at it, looking for dents in the metal. She started searching through her desk wildly, finally withdrawing a giant red pen from the top drawer. Pulling off the cap, she began making lines throughout the page, crossing out bolded letters. "Haunted Woods?"
"Eh, I owe the Esophagor a Snail Cream Cone and a Fried Worm Stew still. Oops! Do you happen to know when Ethel JubJub died?"
She stared at me blankly and sifted through her paperwork in one hand and the red pen ready in the other.
"Scared of heights."
“Too dangerous; have you heard about all those mines?”
“What do you get a curious Turdle who thinks they know the Shaky Flakys? You get kicked out of Meridell, that’s what.”
I just grunted at her. Even the slightest thought of that orange Blumaroo chef after all these months drove me up the wall.
“You already said that.” I beamed.
“Do you really think those glass bottom boats are safe? Because I heard a story about...”
“A wise friend once told me that an enemy is similar to the wrath of an intelligent Skeith,” I conjectured.
She paused and looked at me confusingly. “So, is that a no?”
She continued on, "Tyrannia?"
"I was just there, actually... I think I might be still spinning the Wheel of Monotony." I turned my head away and whispered to myself, 'I should check that.'
“More Blumaroos?!” I huffed in disbelief.
"I... kind of had a... bit of a... flooding accident there."
"I give up!" she screamed at the top of her lungs, causing a timid Wocky in the corner to spill a handful of travel brochures onto the checkered floor. Someone walked past and hastily picked them up.
"Hmm, I was just hoping to maybe visit a place that had shops where I could buy anything from chocolate and candy to pizzas and plushies; maybe it would have a small little place that gave out free stuff that dropped out of trees and I could collect it, you know, if I was fast enough to collect it, and maybe a place where I could see some art, drawings, paintings, illustrations, or hear some great, adventurous stories. Or maybe I could toss some neopoints into a big hole and possibly get some prizes of my choosing. You know, that's all." I gave a smirk.
The travel agent stared expressionlessly without moving a muscle, "You can do all those things right here... in Neopia Central." Her grip tightened on the edges of her desk, knuckles turning white.
"Oh!" I laughed heartily, "I guess I don't need to travel at all then. Isn’t that just so ridiculously funny?" I burst out laughing harder, holding my stomach, tears starting to roll down my face; I snatched up my shabby little brown and black suitcase with a bright yellow shirt sleeve hanging out the side of it, complete with old ripped stickers on either sides of it.
Looking at the travel agent, I could see a tiny bit of steam rising from the top of her head. Her eyes began to narrow and I think they might have been turning a deep reddish color. That’s when I chose to slowly start back out of the travel agency. Leisurely, I took step after tiny step and just as I got to the doorway, I pointed towards her desk. "Um, can I have that Jhudora bobblehead?" I asked, making sure to smile very sweetly.