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A Fruit Machine Frolic for Issue Four Hundred


by larkspurlane

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“You know, we really don’t get any respect.”

     “Tell me about it.”

     “No gratitude.”

     “Yeah.”

     “Where is the love?”

     “It’s terrible.”

     “Did you hear what that guy said to me?”

     “Something about a Cheops Plant?”

     “He said I could take the Cheops Plant and shove it up my nostril.”

     “Cold.”

     Thus begins our story today; a story about the Lost Desert pets who operate the Fruit Machine and how they really get no love.

     “We work hard, you know,” spoke the first voice again, a voice which belonged to Arnold the Desert Aisha. “Look at us, holding up little cardboard squares with pictures of fruit on them all day...”

     “I get really bad paper cuts,” said Arnold’s addressee: Peaches the Desert Elephante.

     “Plus it’s really hard to be cheerful all the time,” spoke up the third member of the Fruit Machine trio; that is, Konk the Desert Kau.

     Konk heaved a sigh so profound that he slumped visibly and his snazzy Lost Desert headgear almost slipped off. “It’s very tiring to look perky and enthusiastic about Tchea Fruit.”

     “We really don’t get paid enough to do this,” said Arnold the Aisha.

     “When’s pay day again?” asked Peaches.

     “Pay day was today,” said Konk. “You ate your pay, remember?”

     “Oh, yeah,” replied Peaches.

     “I don’t think a Ummagine a week is a very good salary,” Peaches added after a pensive, mournful silence. “I mean literally not good. They taste like crud.”

     “Bad pay, disrespect, threats involving fruit -- how long is this going to go on?” asked Arnold. “I’m going to do something drastic.”

     “Like what?”

     “Like this!” said Arnold, and he took his square of cardboard with a Bagguss on it and tried to rip it up.

     “Oh my goodness!” said Peaches, looking utterly scandalized. “Not the cardboard square!”

     Konk almost fainted.

     Unfortunately the cardboard picture was far too tough for Arnold’s wimpy arms so he couldn’t rip it to shreds.

     However, since Arnold still wanted to be rebellious and somehow alter this symbol of his daily drudgery, he folded the cardboard square up into an origami instead. (It is very difficult to look rebellious and hardcore while folding origami but he managed more or less.)

     Then Arnold, Peaches and Konk all started making origami with their cardboard cards because this was the night shift at the Fruit Machine and no one was visiting them anyway.

     “Look!” said Konk, “mine is beautiful!”

     “Um, what is that supposed to be?” asked Peaches politely, looking at Konk’s attempt at origami: his cardboard square folded into two.

     “It’s a Grundo’s foot,” said Konk, and he looked affronted. “Those are its two toes. Obviously.”

     “Oh, sorry,” said Peaches.

     “It’s not easy when you don’t have opposable thumbs.”

     “I know,” said Peaches and Arnold at the same time, because they didn’t have opposable thumbs either.

     Then there was a sudden influx of visitors to the Fruit Machine so Arnold, Peaches and Konk had to undo their origami fruit cards and try to look professional.

     They suffered through the customary abuse of people whining about Baggusses and throwing fruit at them, and then the crowd vanished as quickly as it had appeared and the trio was left nursing their bruised egos and wiping fruit mush from their faces, which was pretty much business as usual.

     “Well, your face looks like a Puntec Fruit!” called Konk after the ungrateful mob, and he sat down and felt depressed. “Plus I had to unfold my Grundo toe origami and it was so good and everything.”

     “We need to do something about this situation,” said Peaches seriously. “People don’t care about us. We need to inform someone.”

     “Who?”

     “And how?”

     “I have an idea,” said Peaches very mysteriously, and then she whipped out a quill. “We are going to write a letter to the Neopian Times.”

     And that is how the Fruit Machine trio decided to write a letter to the Neopian Times to explain how ill-treated and ill-loved they were by the general Neopian populace through no fault of their own.

     “Okay, guys,” said Peaches, “let’s do this thing.”

     So Peaches grabbed her quill and held it poised to write. The perceptive reader might note here that Peaches didn’t have opposable thumbs, so how could she even hold a quill? Who knows how this worked; suffice it to say that Elephantes are not excluded from quill-using in Neopia, so perceptive readers can just hush up and keep their remarks to themselves.

     As we were saying. Peaches grabbed her quill and held it poised to write, until she noticed that she didn’t have anything to write on, an oversight which she rectified by stealing Konk’s little fruit card and flipping it over.

     “I’ll write on the back of this,” she declared. “How do letters start? Dear...”

     And so, with her tongue sticking out because she was concentrating so much, Peaches began to write:

     D

     “No!” interrupted Konk. “That might offend people whose names start with ‘D.’”

     “How am I supposed to spell ‘Dear’ without using a ‘D’?”

     “What does ‘dear’ mean?” enquired Arnold.

     “No wonder nobody likes you,” said Peaches, and she ignored everyone and finished her line:

     Dear Neopian Times Editor,

     “What next?”

     “Well, first tell her who we are. And then tell her about how bad our pay is, and how everyone hates us because the prizes are so lame.”

     “Right.”

     Dear Neopian Times Editor,

     We are the Fruit Machine operators who work on the night shift. Our pay is very bad. And everyone hates us because the prizes are so lame.

     Yours sincerely,

     Peaches

     “How’s that?” asked Peaches. Konk and Arnold looked unimpressed.

     “It needs to be fleshed out with further details,” said Konk judiciously. “Add a line about the Cheops Plant.”

     So Peaches added a line about the Cheops Plant:

     Today somebody told us to shove a Cheops Plant up our nostrils. Do people have, like, a problem with Cheops Plants? What’s up with that?

     “Perfect,” said Konk.

     “I have an idea,” said Peaches. “Maybe we could suggest that they improve the prize pool for the Fruit Machine? Maybe then the people would like us better?”

     “Right!”

     And so Peaches further amended her letter to include:

     Also, could you please speak to whoever is in charge of this operation and tell them that they should include better prizes, such as maybe codestones, Candychans, and sandwiches.

     “Sandwiches?” asked Arnold.

     “Yes,” said Peaches. “I think sandwiches would make a good prize.”

     “Fair enough,” said Arnold. “Now I want to add something.”

     Arnold pushed Peaches aside impatiently and grabbed the quill.

     Also we would like to get some items removed from the prize pool, such as the Evil Muffins, because they are planning to take over the world.

     “We should give them proof of that,” said Konk when he had read Arnold’s addendum. “Because otherwise the editor will think we’re paranoid freaks.”

     “Ok,” said Arnold. “How about we put an Evil Muffin in the envelope with our letter?”

     “That’s perfect. The editor won’t be able to deny it when she opens it and the Evil Muffin starts doing unspeakably horrible things on her desk, like trailing crumbs.”

     “Exactly.”

     And so the following was added:

     Please find enclosed an Evil Muffin as proof of what we are advancing. We apologize in advance for any distress --

     “Or agony...”

     --or agony --

     “Or crumbs...”

     -- or crumbs this might cause.

     “This is great, guys,” said Peaches, and she resumed the letter’s improved contents for the benefit of everybody:

     Dear Neopian Times Editor,

     We are the Fruit Machine operators who work on the night shift. Our pay is very bad. And everyone hates us because the prizes are so lame.

     Today somebody told us to shove a Cheops Plant up our nostrils. Do people have, like, a problem with Cheops Plants? What’s up with that.

     Also, could you please speak to whoever is in charge of this operation and tell them that they should include better prizes, such as maybe codestones, Candychans, and sandwiches.

     Also we would like to get some items removed from the prize pool, such as the Evil Muffins, because they are planning to take over the world.

     Please find enclosed an Evil Muffin as proof of what we are advancing. We apologize in advance for any distress or agony or crumbs this might cause.

     Yours sincerely,

     Peaches

     Then Peaches looked critically at the letter because she noticed a thick bend-line going through its middle. She frowned and added:

     P.S. Please excuse the bent card; Konk was making a Grundo toe origami with this. It was pretty good too, considering that he doesn’t have opposable thumbs.

     “Thanks,” said Konk gratefully, and he blushed as red as a Cheops Plant. “Imagine if this gets published! The whole of Neopia will know I’m good at origami!”

     Arnold gasped all of a sudden. “Hey... isn’t this issue of the Neopian Times one of those hoity-toity special ones?”

     “Like what? Is it a Ummagine-focussed issue?” asked Peaches.

     “Is it sponsored by Shenkuu origami professionals?” asked Konk.

     “No!” cried Arnold, who had whipped out a calendar with amazing speed. “It’s the 400th issue.”

     “Is it going to be extra-hard to get published, then?” asked Peaches, and tears filled her eyes.

     “I dunno,” said Arnold. “We’d better say something special about the editor in our letter so she loves us.”

     Peaches and Konk agreed with Arnold and the three of them put their heads together and muttered mysteriously for a while.

     Finally they came to a consensus about whatever it was that they were muttering about and Peaches added the following to their letter:

     P.P.S. we are henceforth offering you a lifetime supply of Puntec Fruit (which, by the way, look nothing like your face).

     “Good,” said Konk. “Who couldn’t love us now?”

     Then Arnold swiped Peaches’ quill and narrowed his eyes at Peaches and Konk.

     “Now there’s only a tiny corner of space left on Konk’s card... so we gotta make it worth something. We need to write in something really special.”

     The three of them conferred for a long time and finally Peaches added the following to the letter:

     P.P.P.S. we would like to inform you that you have been voted most likely to be abducted by Alien Aishas. Congratulations!

     “I think that’s the best thing you could ever tell anyone,” said Arnold, and Peaches and Konk agreed.

     The next day, they stuffed the letter into an envelope, accompanied by an Evil Muffin and, at Peaches’ insistence, a large Ummagine, and sent it to the Neopian Times. Then they wandered back to their posts at the Fruit Machine with their fingers crossed and their hopes high.

The End

 
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