The Attack of the Pineapples
It was taunting him, he could tell. Day after day, night after sleepless night, it was all he could think about. Why was it smiling all the time, anyway?
A horrible thought came to his mind.
Why did it have a face at all?
Oh dear reader, I can tell you may be a bit confused. But so is little Boluo, our darling protagonist. Boluo is a charming Green Harris, the beloved Petpet of a White Chia named George. Boluo, George, and George’s mysterious owner (Boluo only ever referred to him as the “Tall One”) all lived together in a cozy little Neohome in Neopia Central.
Boluo would often find himself home alone. Being the sole Neopet of the household, George and the Tall One would often go off exploring different worlds, a different one every day! George would tell Boluo of the many amazing things he had seen, but he didn’t always believe him. What were the chances of there being an entire island of pirates, anyway? Wouldn’t someone have put their foot down on that, with all the trouble pirates tend to cause? And how was he supposed to believe that George had somehow found a space station? He could barely even find his Snow Wurm Socks in the morning! And why hadn’t it fallen down yet, hmmm?
The reason Boluo himself never saw any of these things was that he was, perhaps, the most scaredy-cat Harris there ever was. Though he found the aforementioned socks funny now, the day George had proudly brought them home from the Marketplace, Boluo had gone and hidden behind the Fungus Cabinet in the living room and hadn’t come out until nightfall. He still quivered in fright at the sight of George’s Snowager Cap (going to visit the real Snowager had been his first and last adventure).
Boluo was scared of pretty much anything that moved, and quite a few things that didn’t. And this is perhaps why we find our hero trembling in the dark closet of his Neohome, terrified beyond words.
It had started out innocently, as most things do. He had been wandering through various rooms, looking for something to munch on whilst his owner was away. George always hid the Cookie Neggs in strange places to keep Boluo away, but he always managed to find them, even if it took all day. He had been climbing on the cabinets in the kitchen, opening various cupboards when he caught his first glimpse of it as he pushed a box of Asteroid Puffs Cereal and some weird yellow Chia Pop out of the way.
At first glance, it was a pineapple. But real pineapples didn’t have faces, did they? Boluo didn’t think so, and he had eaten a fair number of pineapples in his day. Could you even eat pineapples with faces? Anyway, this one was staring at him, smiling. It had a strange red tag on the front of it.
Boluo poked it once. He poked it again. Still, nothing. What was this thing? Why was it in his cupboard?
Boluo had fallen off the counter, reeling with shock. He could’ve sworn he saw the pineapple move! He scampered away, running to the closet where he hid himself under a worn out I Love Lyins T-Shirt, cowering.
This was where George found him, hours later, dreaming fitfully. His mind was filled with the pineapple’s creepy, unmoving smile. Right before George finally woke him up, he saw the dream-pineapple’s smile turn into a menacing frown as he advanced towards him...
Boluo spent the next week plagued with nightmares like this. George wasn’t quite sure what he was so terrified of, but brushed it off as another one of his Petpet’s strange yet lovable quirks. The fact that he wouldn’t go near the kitchen complicated mealtime a bit, but he had managed by staring sadly at George until he snuck him scraps of Snowy Valley Steak and Jelly Bean Pizza Slices.
George hoped that Boluo would be over whatever random thing had scared him by his birthday. The Tall One was throwing George a surprise party, but a talkative Grarrl had let the secret slip while they were at the Lost Desert. He knew there was something more to the surprise, though, because his owner had been scrimping and saving as much as possible in the past few months. What could it be?
The day of the “surprise” party had finally arrived. Boluo figured that the Tall One had completely given up on the entire pretense of it being a surprise, since he had enlisted George’s help with the decorations. They had been hurriedly decorating their Neohome in bright yellow and green all morning, George’s favorite colors. Boluo was too small to help with much of the preparations, but he was enjoying the spectacle from his perch on top of the Fungus Cabinet. He had gotten to the point where he could usually put the creepy, smiling pineapple out of mind during the daytime; it was at night when it truly haunted him. Only two nights ago he had had a terrifying dream where he was being hugged by a giant, smiling pineapple, surrounded by laughing Neopets. Boluo had woken with a cold sweat after that, jumping into bed with George, who had no idea why the poor little Harris was so inconsolable.
Boluo was quite proud of himself, because even with the ridiculous quantities of yellow streamers that the Tall One had strung up everywhere, he was successfully ignoring the fact that the creepy pineapple was mere feet away, hidden in that cupboard. But today was a special day, a special day for George, and Boluo would just stay safely on the cabinet until he could be totally sure there would be no surprise attacks.
“Boluo, we’re going out for a bit. A picnic, or something. Dad has a surprise for me!” exclaimed George, happily. Boluo wiggled his ears.
Boluo wondered what the Tall One had been planning, as he had also picked up on his scrimping. A few weeks ago he had found him digging through the cushions of the Tiger Couch, looking for spare NeoPoints. From his perch, Boluo could see the Tall One digging through the kitchen in search of picnicking supplies; he tensed up when he saw him reach into the cupboard with the pineapple, but he just pulled out that dusty Chia Pop and a box of NeoCrackers and moved right along, throwing things haphazardly in an old wicker basket.
George gave Boluo a hug goodbye and walked out the door, promising to be back in a few hours’ time. Boluo would later reflect on this time as the last moment of true peace he would ever know, though no one ever believed him when he said he could’ve sworn he heard a cackle coming from the kitchen cabinet.
The Tall One’s sister had come over to the Neohome in preparation of George’s return. She had brought a lot of tasty treats, and Boluo had helped himself to a plateful of Aisha Toffee Apples before retreating back to his cabinet. She had been going on and on about the Tall One’s “simply delightful surprise,” saying how Boluo would “simply love it, my dear” before she tried to pinch his cheeks. Boluo didn’t like her all that much.
Guests had started to arrive; he could spot a Starry Uni that George had gone with to pick him out from the Petpet store in Faerieland, as well as a couple of Gelerts who lived down the road. Boluo hummed happily to himself. The scary, smiling pineapple was safely in the cupboard, and wouldn’t dare attack him with so many people around! And George would be home soon, probably with some yummy snack.
A hush fell over the group.
“They’re almost here! They’re walking up the path!” shrieked an over-excited Uni.
Boluo decided to leave the safety of the cabinet to get a good look, and the Tall One’s owner ushered him to the door.
“You’ll be wanting to get a good look! Oh my little dear, you’re going to be so excited!” she cooed.
Suddenly, the door opened. The Tall One was standing there, beaming. And... what was that?
What was that THING standing next to him?
Boluo whimpered. It was a giant pineapple. It looked just like the terrifying thing he had found in the cabinet, only... it was moving. It was smiling, it was laughing.
It was coming towards him.
“Hey buddy, it’s me! It’s George!” the thing said.