The Unexpected Purchase
"Mommy, Mommy! Look over here!"
I reluctantly turned away from the Neopian Times I was skimming, expecting to see a broken kite or some other toy lying limp on the crisp, clean white floors of the Toy Shop. Instead, as I opened my mouth to shout a reprimand, I noticed my first pet, Hu, was pointing to a plushie. I closed my mouth and walked briskly towards her.
"Hu, honey, I thought we discussed this. It's not polite to shout in public."
Hu rolled her eyes in response.
"Yeah, yeah, I get it, Mom. Now can you please just look!"
I sighed and looked in the direction she was pointing with her heart-shaped paw.
"In the name of Sloth, what is that thing?!" An obnoxious orange Blumaroo elbowed Hularoo to get a better look at the sought-after toy.
"Hey!" Hu screeched from the floor.
"Hay is for Unis! Ahahaha!" The orange Blumaroo chuckled at his own (questionable) humour. I glared at him as Hu whimpered by my side. The insufferable nuisance ignored us and promptly turned on his tail and hollered at the top of his lungs, "Mommmmm! Mom, get over here already or else I'll break something!"
I was astonished to hear silence, then the clacking of heels at a steady pace. Was there seriously going to be a Neopian owner who would allow her child to act like this? Then, a woman struggling with an armful of toy trucks turned around the corner.
"What is it, Corlam? Did you find another truck you wanted?" As the woman tried to catch her breath, Hularoo saw an opportunity and jumped at the chance to talk to me.
"Mom, Mom, please! I haven't asked for a single toy the past year, even though you always offer on our weekly grocery shopping trip! I always refuse the offer because I want to save up my allowance to buy the best toy in the whole world, and I finally found it!! Please, Mom, please! Let me buy it?!"
I glanced at my Blumaroo's pleading eyes, and turned to the toy. At first, it seemed to be just a battered plushie. But when I looked closer, I could see the details this plushie had that all the other plushies in the store seemed to lack. It was a perfect replica of a plushie Blumaroo, in a soft and lovable plushie form! How could I refuse Hu this toy?
That's when I remembered her saying something about her saved allowance.
"Hu, how much is this plushie, exactly?" I asked nervously. I knew my Blumaroo well enough to recognize the sheer desire in her voice. She would never beg unless it was an emergency.
"Um, well..." Hularoo stared at the ground and mumbled something, avoiding the question. I prompted her a second time, becoming more worried by the second.
"Can you say that number again, Hu?" I asked slowly.
Hularoo gave me a pained look, then looked straight up at the linoleum ceiling.
"Forty-two thousand, five hundred and ninety-nine neopoints," she recited.
My jaw dropped.
"Hu, honey, there is no way I'm going to let you use all of your neopoints on one toy!" Immediately, Hularoo began to whimper.
"But why, Mom? You said it yourself, you were proud that I took the initiative, or whatever you said, to save up my neopoints, when Jumper and Shoopy just spend theirs at the Chocolate Factory! I've never wanted anything as much as I have now, and it's my allowance money!!" I could tell Hu was close to tears, but didn't know what to do.
"Hu, just give me a few minutes, ok?" Hularoo opened her mouth persistently, but I interrupted her.
"A few minutes, ok? Just... just let me think about it." Hularoo sighed, sniffled, and sat down on the cold floor. But before I could begin to think of what to do, the obnoxious orange Blumaroo intervened for a second time.
"Look, if you sissies aren't going to buy this, then I'll take it." Hularoo's head snapped up and she gasped.
"But, but, but.. But you said it was ugly a few minutes ago, I heard you making fun of me with your, your d-d-dumb friends!" Hu was about to burst into tears, I could tell by the way her nose twitched and her words slurred. The mother of Corlam, the rude Blumaroo, said soothingly,
"Look, Corlam, this young Blumaroo wants the plushie ever so badly, and you don't. Why do you want me to spend this much money on a toy you won't even use?"
Corlam sniffed disapprovingly. "I've... I've seen the error of my ways. I see it... as valuable, and I want it now!"
His owner rolled her eyes, crossed her arms and said, "Corlam, it's a plushie. Get over it, because I am not buying it for you simply because you want to hurt this poor Blumaroo's feelings." The owner turned to Hu and said, "Don't worry, dear. You can buy the plushie; my Corlam doesn't want it." She turned to me and winked, and started walking away, but her pet didn't move. Corlam was seething, for he had not gotten what he had wanted, a first in his life. His owner had never refused him a toy, and she wasn't going to get away with it. He looked straight at Hularoo and sneered at her.
"If I can't have this stupid toy, neither can you, ya big sissy!" He grabbed the plushie off the shelf with his grubby little paws, and was about to run off with it when Hularoo suddenly jumped up and tackled Corlam to the floor.
"STOP IT! NO! YOU'LL RUIN HIM! STOP IT! OUCH!" Hu was fighting tooth and nail, or should I say paw and tail, to try and wrestle the plushie out of Corlam's arms. I had never seen her so fierce before.
"Hahahaha, now you will NEVER see your precious plushie again!" Corlam taunted.
"STOP IT! PLEASE?! HE'S THE ONLY THING I'VE EVER WANTED!!"
Hularoo was sobbing now, and trying with all her might to tug the plushie away. All of a sudden, the plushie twitched, its eyes came to life, and it looked around for a few seconds. I was the only one who noticed, however, as the two Blumaroos were too busy fighting and Corlam's owner was screaming a reprimand at her Blumaroo.
The plushie looked straight at me and bellowed, "HEY! WHAT GIVES? I'M TRYING TO TAKE A NAP HERE!"
"AAAAHHHHH!" Corlam's piercing scream echoed throughout the store as he ran out, his mother alongside him. Hularoo squeaked and dropped the plushie Blumaroo on the floor in surprise.
"Thank goodness! I thought I was going to get an arm torn off there or something!" The plushie Blumaroo brushed himself off, smoothed back his ears, and straightened himself. He looked up at Hu and said in a slight accent, "Hello, young Blumaroo. How may I help you? My name is xStiches, but you can call me Stick. Now, if you don't mind, would you care to tell me why you and that horrible young Blumaroo, the one who shrieked and ran out of this shop, were playing tug-of-war with my fragile limbs?"
Hu was at a loss for words, and simply looked at me pleadingly. I cleared my throat.
"Well, hello there, Stick! This is one of my neopets, Hularoo_Junior, but you can call her Hu. We were just out and about on our weekly grocery shopping trip when my two other pets, Jumper_Sr and ShoopyToo, went to the Chocolate Shop and Hu asked to visit this shop. She took a liking to you right away, and then that impolite young Blumaroo, the one who ran out the door like a little girl? Yes, well, he tried to take you away from my Hu, and she was ever so attached to you that she couldn't let go, and the Blumaroo just kept being a jerk and wouldn't give up, and then... and then... and then you woke up, I suppose." I paused to catch my breath. Stick looked curiously at me, and then turned to Hu, who was hiccupping on the chilly ground.
"You were... attached to me?" he said in a whisper. Hularoo sniffled, and nodded. Stick pondered this for a moment.
"You really, truly, honestly wanted to take me home with you? You found me... appealing?"
Hularoo's round eyes furrowed in confusion. "Of course I wanted to take you home, Stick. I *hic*-wanted you more than *hic*-I've ever wanted any other *hic*-toy in the hic-whole of Neopia!" I picked Hu up and hugged her tightly; she was so adorable! Then I heard a sniffing sound, and put her down.
"Are you okay, Hu?"
Hularoo looked at me, confused. I suddenly realized the sniffling came from behind me. Was... was Stick crying? I sat down next to him and scratched his ears.
"What's wrong, Stick? Are you hurt?"
Stick looked up at me in surprise, and wiped his two golden button eyes. "No... n-n-no, I'm not hurt. Not physically, anyways. It's just..." I urged him on, but he shook his head defiantly.
I looked up at Hu, and she whispered soothingly, "It's okay, Stick. You can say anything."
It was silent for a few more moments, and suddenly Stick yelped, "I WISH A FAMILY WOULD WANT ME!" Then he burst into tears, wailing loud enough for my two other pets, Jumper and Shoopy, to hear in the Chocolate Shop across the pathway in the Neopian Bazaar. They came rushing in, arms full of sweets. They looked around the store for a few seconds, spotted me and Hu, and dashed over to our sides. They flung their bags down and sat next to us, clambering for space.
"What's wrong?" Jumper asked.
"WHAT'S WRONG IS THAT NOBODY WANTS ME!" Stick rolled over and hugged himself.
Hularoo whimpered. "Stop that, Stick! Stop it! You're hurting me!!"
Stick abruptly stopped sobbing, and turned around. "What do you mean, I'm hurting you? Did... did I k-k-kick you or s-s-omething? I'm so sorry!"
A small tear trickled down Hularoo's face, and she sniffled. "No, that's not what I meant, Stick. I've never wanted a plushie as much as you, and since you're a REAL plushie... I just can't bear to see you this upset!!"
Stick hiccuped, and looked up at Hularoo. "You... you mean you'd want me to be part of... of your family?"
Hu instantly looked at me, hoping and pleading silently with her eyes. I knew what she was going to ask, and said quickly, "Of course, we do have room for one more pet in the family, Stick. If you're willing..."
Stick was taken aback. "Well.. well... I've never had a real family before," he sputtered.
I was confused for a moment. "Wait... if you've never had a family... then how exactly did you end up in this shop, Stick?"
He sighed. "I had an owner once, but she moved to Kreludor and had to leave me behind; the gravity there would have been too much for my stitching to handle. She put me in the Neolodge for twenty eight days and told me to go straight to the Neopian Pound after my vacation. When my twenty eight days at the Lodge were over, though, I started walking towards the Neopian Pound. I guess I wasn't paying attention, and I accidentally walked into the Toy Shop and sat down for a break. But then the owner saw me and thought I was a new and improved toy, so he put a hefty price tag on me and shoved me onto these shelves. I steal food every day from his lunch sack, and I can sleep and do whatever I want at night as long as I sit still during the day. I don't ever want to be left alone again, so I steer clear of the Pound! I guess I fell asleep on the shelf this morning. I'm usually hiding so nobody actually tries to purchase me." He looked down at the floor, ashamed. My three pets and I glanced at each other, moved and touched by his story.
"Well, Stick, you're welcome to join this family if you'd like. We promise to never leave you again, if you do decide to join us." I smiled widely. I had always wanted another Blumaroo, and this was perfect! My three pets already liked him, knew his story and didn't mind one bit. Plus, the family already got along with him, so there would be no awkward pauses at the dinner table or anything of that sort.
Stick looked up, button eyes wide and hopeful. "You... you really mean it?"
"Of course I do! Except, there is one condition." Stick's face fell, and my three pets looked at me in horror. I waved away their dropped jaws and continued.
"If you want to join this family, Stick, there is one main rule." Stick's eyebrows furrowed, and my mouth twitched slightly as I tried to keep the inevitable smile off my face for as long as possible.
"You have to know how to have FUN!" On the last word, I yanked a Meowclops pillow off of a nearby shelf and threw it playfully at him.
Stick didn't move for a few moments, and I could tell Hu, Jumper and Shoopy were worried. They looked at me disapprovingly, until all of a sudden...
"GOTCHA!!" All four of us, me, Hu, Jumper, and Shoopy were pummeled by four heavy gnorbu wool beanbags. We all screeched and untangled ourselves only to see Stick laughing uncontrollably. His button eyes began to well up with large tears, but this time they were tears of joy instead of sadness. My pets looked at each other in disbelief and they, too suddenly began to giggle in surprise.
"Oh, you are SO dead, Stick!" Hu tackled him and they wrestled playfully on the floor, as all Blumaroos do, while Jumper and Shoopy cheered and rooted them on. As the store manager waddled towards me, his face as red as a Lutari pop and mustache as bushy as a Lupe's tail, I thought to myself, "This is the beginning to a very, very happy family."
Author's Note: If you're reading this, that must mean I've made it into the Neopian Times, EEP! Thank you TNT for having good taste, and more importantly, thank you for reading! Hopefully you enjoyed this, and if I'm lucky there will be more short stories to come. :)
Author's Second Note: All names used in this story were either fictional or names of my own neopets that I created. Also, please note that no plushies, pillows, toy store managers or Kreludor Gravity Control Workers were harmed in the making of this story. Thank you!