“Squeaky, I can't have my game show without someone to beat!” a Red Kyrii hisses through gritted teeth. “It's, like, a donut without sprinkles! Just unimaginable!” He scoffs. “Where is my contestant?! This was supposed to be a surprise to all! It's not every day we get someone claiming to be from Jelly World to beat. Ratings would've skyrocketed! Ugh!”
“S-s-sorry, Peter,” mumbles his assistant apologetically in a high-pitched voice (hence his nickname). “Apparently he got eaten by rabid Meepits.”
Peter sighed. “Well, Squeaky, I need someone in Better Than You in less than three minutes! Go pick up someone from the street. So unbelievable.” The Kyrii sighed dramatically and sat down in a chair, and quickly snapped at another assistant to fetch him a latte, forgetting his tiredness momentarily.
“What are you waiting for, Squeaky?!” he yelled when the Meerca simply stood there.
“Righty-o,” squeaked Squeaky, and quickly ran out the street to find someone who would be the participant.
It is there he saw a very dashing newsboy Chia yelling out the latest headlines, and he decided that he was better than nothing.
* * *
I'M GOING TO BE ON A GAME SHOW! EEE!
Me, the average Neopian. The poor Chia who sells Neopian Times newspapers for a living.
APPEARING IN A GAME SHOW!
“Follow me,” said the small Meerca that approached me asked me to do so.
I went inside a chilly theater I've never noticed before, with a bunch of angry and tough gamer people screaming murder for their late BTY game.
The famous Kyrii cheered when he saw Squeaky. “Yes, finally!” He grabbed me by the shoulders and asked, “What's your name?”
“Jonny,” I replied.
“Jonny, what game are you fabulous at? We don't really like to give away prizes, you know.”
I stared blankly. Games? I've never played a game in my life. I've always sold newspapers, so I told him so. His face went from tawny to tomato.
“Squeaky...” he growled.
The Kyrii sighed and tried to regain his cool. “Well. Is there ANYTHING you're good at that other people will most likely fail at?”
I pondered. “Well, don't mean to brag or nothin', but I got rhyming skills.”
The Kyrii laughed incredulously and dryly. “Rhyming? This is for the elite and advanced that are superb experts at games; the MANLY warriors of Neopia! Not the wimps who sit at desks, writing stories and rhyming for fun, and eating cookies! NO, NO, NO!” He was in my face now.
“Well, there's no one very manly here near Neopia Central. Your show's starting in about half a minute, so I suggest you do as I say,” I said fiercely, defending stories.
The Kyrii urged me on.
“If the 'gamer' can rhyme-off with me for at least one minute without stopping to think about actually rhyming, they get a trophy or whatever you win in this rigged game. The rhyme has to automatically come out of their mouths.”
He groaned. “Alright, fine! Now follow Squeaky backstage so I can begin my show.”
And so it began.
* * *
“Welcome, fabulously gifted gamers of Neopia!” said the Kyrii, whose name I still didn't know, “This edition of Better Than You is slightly different.
“Our original contestant had some... unfortunate incident happen to him, so we came up with a quick replacement. However, you will not play a game and beat his score. You will have a rhyme-off for at least a minute, nonstop. I'm sorry for the inconvenience; I know many of you will leave.” The Kyrii was almost sobbing now, thinking it was doomsday for his game or something.
Instead, the gamers looked like they wanted to try it. I smiled victoriously.
The first one to challenge me was a very tough, huge, hairy, murderous-looking, and manly Tyrannian Poogle... I gulped.
“At the count of three, Jonny will start. One... two... THREE!”
I cleared my throat, not even feeling nervous.
“My name is Jonny,
I have a Snowbunny
which ages in a week.
I really like to rhyme,
so come; don't waste your time
it seems to be your turn to speak.”
The huge Poogle was confounded. He never started and automatically lost. Point one for the wimps.
The other 'gamers' looked like they wanted to have an accident in their pants; they patted the Poogle in the back and grunted in their manly language. The Poogle looked like he wanted to cry; such was a loss for him, I suppose.
Up next was a Mutant Grundo, smaller than the Poogle but still tough looking. His gamer pals cheered him on, sounding like whooping cavemen.
Once again, I was counted off, and-
“My, you're not as big
as the other pig
who so wanted to dig
my eyes right out.
Now if you say I'm a wimp
I will make sure you limp
and feel small like a shrimp
as you take the exit route.”
“Who you callin' a shrimp?
It's the other way around.
You're smaller than a Mootix
that's been crushed and drowned.
You may think I'm tough,
I assure you; you're correct.
So pretend I'm Fyora
and treat me with respect.
I'm not gonna lose
to a dwarf that deserves it.
I'm gonna be a winner
that has wit and preserves it.”
“Must you be so mean
you tall Grundo machine?
I am a small, mere Chia;
don't flatten me like a tortilla.
I'll be rude if I want;
what have YOU got to flaunt?
You're no faerie;
you're ugly, tall and hairy.”
“I think you're getting confused
with my friend that lost.
I assure, I will win
no matter the cost.
And I'd like to say
you're as tough as you sound.
But look at the timer-
I just won this round.”
And right as he finished, the timer rang and he did win! I gave him a friendly handshake, which he returned, and he got a trophy. By now, the tough gamers were looking rather surprised. But they kept coming.
I kept rhyming and rhyming, my forehead beading with sweat (it's harder than it looks). For the most part, I kept winning, but a lucky few managed to beat me. And the Kyrii host was no longer reluctant about me- we had just hit the largest Better Than You audience ever seen.
Everyone wanted to try and rhyme off with me, and though some lost, they were good sports about it. It's not every day that happens in these twisted game shows.
The competition was already over an hour later, but people still kept coming. They explained they didn't care much for the prize; they wanted to rhyme off and have fun.
And for the whole day, I rhymed off with countless people. A few famous ones showed up (but I warn you, Dr. Sloth does have skills).
When I left the BTY HQ, I had made quite a few friends already, and made many Neopians' days. Feeling quite accomplished, for a simple Neopian Times seller, I was going to walk off and return to my job when I heard the Kyrii host say the most scandalous words I'd heard him say all day:
“Can I rhyme off with you too?”
I turned around with widened eyes, but he actually looked sincere. Smiling slyly, I nodded and said, “You bet...”