"Hello! Would you be interested in pur-"
Fernie jumped back from the porch in shock. Well, it wasn't really shock, seeing as he had received the same response at least twenty-six times that day. And, for the twenty-sixth time that day, he considered re-knocking. Maybe the wind had just blown the door shut...
Oh, who was he kidding? He was a total failure at this job. The speckled Bori turned around, lifting the heavy weight of the unsold load of lentil cookies back over his shoulder and began to plod down the garden path. He stared around the neighbourhood, his eyes scanning the long street as he pushed his way through the white gate and stumbling onto the road. He saw about three other sales-pets, each one waving happily to customers as they handed over three or four boxes of the 'healthy alternative'. How in Neopia were they doing it? He was sure that he had visited those houses already and they had slammed the door in his nose.
"Fernie!" a voice exclaimed, a small ounce of a sneer creeping through his tone. Fernie spun around, hitting a flower pot which sat on the wall and smashing it on the pavement. He subtly stood in front of it.
"Hello, Danny," he muttered, his heart sinking at the sight of the brown Lutari. Danny ambled around Fernie, examining him as though he were a doctor. He swung around his light sack of cookies, grinning proudly.
"So, my friend," he said, grinning annoyingly, "how many boxes have you sold today?" Fernie searched for a thought in his head, trying to lean casually on the wall as though it were a mere struggle to remember exactly how many boxes he had sold, because there had been so many, of course.
"Oh, you know," Fernie replied casually, waving his paw in the air. "Lots." Danny snorted and grabbed his sack from his hand, before peering inside. He suddenly burst out laughing.
"Oh yes, Fernie! Looks like you've sold even more than all of us put together!" he exclaimed, mockingly. Fernie frowned and snatched the bag back away. "Face it. You're the worst sales-pet that Neopia's probably ever seen. Have you even sold one box?" Fernie mumbled inaudibly and Danny laughed even more, wiping tears from his eyes and holding his stomach. Fernie picked up his cookie bag and stormed away. He did not want to have to take Danny's stupid attitude today, of all days.
"Hello! My name is-"
"Would you like you buy a-"
"You sure? They're super healthy and afforda-"
Fernie was sick of the sound of slamming doors. How many people could hate lentil cookies that much? He lowered himself onto the pavement sorrowfully, dumping the bag of cookies beside him and placing his head in his paws. He was never going to sell anything. Danny may have been the most infuriating pet in all of Neopia, but he was an amazing seller. He could charm the average citizen like they were a Cobrall. Fernie had to accept that he would have to return to the Faerieland Employment Agency with a full bag of cookies and an empty purse.
"Hey, you alright, kid?" a voice suddenly questioned. He looked through his fingers and up at a blue Uni. He was dressed in a pair of old jeans and a baseball cap as well as a Jazzmosis T-shirt.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine," Fernie replied, brushing the Uni away.
"Hey, what's this!" The Uni pushed past him and looked into the bag. Fernie sat up and looked at the Uni closely, realising embarrassingly that-
"You're a girl?" he exclaimed automatically. The Uni looked at him and he half expected her to slap him around the nose. But she didn't, she just burst out laughing.
"I know, right!" she gasped. "I've never been into pop music like the other girls at my school, but Jazzmosis is the best band in Neopia! Have you seen them?" Fernie went to answer but, "I've seen them. They're amazing. They're better live than on their CD, you know..." When she had finally gone silent, Fernie found himself staring at her in probably what looked like horror that she could go on for so long about one band. She grinned at him and held out her hand.
"Hello, I'm Jess. It's nice to meet you. Are these cookies?"
"I'm... Fernie," he replied, quite startled by her.
She deflected her attention back onto the large bag which lay open beside Fernie. She picked out a box and sniffed at them, holding them by the corner as though they held some kind of contagious disease.
"Would you like to try one?" Fernie asked.
He opened the box she was holding, labelling it mentally as the 'tester box', seeing as he hadn't even managed to get this far in his pitch before and she fished around for a lentil cookie. Jess placed it in her mouth and chewed massively, switching the food from one side of her mouth to the other, forcing Fernie to divert his eyes. Once she had swallowed, her eyes lit up.
"Those... are... GORGEOUS!" she squealed, "I'll take four. How much?"
"Um, five hundred neopoints a box," Fernie said, gritting his teeth as he wondered if she would be less willing to pay that much.
"That's great!" she piped. "In that case, I'll take six."
Jess pulled off her Jazzmosis backpack and pulled her neopoints bag before handing over three thousand neopoints, dumping them in Fernie's lap like a pack of gum. He stared down at the coins in his lap, barely believing that he had actually just sold something to someone. He pushed them into his own money bag and Jess signed her name on the sold list, before handing over the seven boxes she had paid for.
"Thanks loads!" she said happily. "Hey, you're pretty cool. We should go see Jazzmosis together. I've got an extra ticket after my friend dropped out to go to a Twisted Roses convention." She stuck her fingers down her throat and mock retched.
"Thanks, Jess," Fernie said reluctantly. He had never been a fan of music. "But I'm afraid I've got to work. If I don't shift all these cookies by tonight, then I won't get paid and my owner'll go nuts." Jess made a raspberry sound and flipped her hand at him like it was nothing.
"Pish posh! Come on, Fernie, just bring the cookies with you and sell them at the concert," she said and Fernie's ears pricked up. That was probably the best idea he had ever heard.
"That's probably the best idea I've ever heard!" Fernie said, standing up. "There'll be no doors there for people to slam in my face! And I won't have to play second fiddle to Danny anymore. Jess, you're amazing!"
"Hello! My name is Fernie! Would you be interested in trying out some of Meridell's finest lentil cookies? They're the healthy alternative to those chocolate chip cookies."
"And much tastier!" Jess added.
The sound of Jazzmosis warming up their instruments echoed through the concert hall. Fernie stared around at all of the Neopets fighting to get a closer look at what he was selling. He could barely believe the crowd which he had attracted, all of them tasting a cookie then buying at least three boxes. He passed the cookies over to the customers who wandered on off into the concert to enjoy the snack. Jess added something to the pitch, although he couldn't put his paw on it what it was.
"I just LOVE Jazzmosis. I mean, I love them so much! Do you? Me TOO!"
When the sack was empty, Fernie had to break the news to the queue of people who wanted them; however, he was glad to have them off of his paws. Jess and Fernie meandered into the hall to watch the show, the monotone colours of the band blurring into the hall around him. However, surprisingly, he found himself enjoying it.
Halfway through the show, the band suddenly stopped.
He looked up to see something had been thrown at the lead singer, a sunglasses-wearing Chia who had the thing in his hand. Whispers went around the audience and Fernie gasped as he realised that the thing which had been thrown was a lentil cookie.
The Chia nibbled at the cookie slowly, chewing as Jess had done the first time she tried one. Fernie held his breath, waiting for the moment when security would escort him out, when suddenly the Chia pressed his mouth against the microphone and said,
"Who is responsible for the distribution of this snack?"
The crowd parted on cue, all of them turning to look at Fernie. The Bori stepped forward nervously, raising his shaking hand. The singer suddenly broke into what everyone was shocked to see; a smile.
"That was an amazing snack you got there, honey," he said. Fernie expelled his held breath and wiped his forehead. "Have you got a box spare that the band could have?"
"No, sorry," Fernie replied, barely believing that this was happening, "I'm all sold out for today." The Chia's face fell with disappointment. "But I can give you the neomail of the agency if you want."
"I'll see you backstage, honey."
"I can't believe I got to MEET Jazzmosis!" Jess exclaimed as they left the stadium, jumping up and down on the spot, her baseball cap nearly falling from her head every now and then. "I'm gonna tell everyone in the fan club. They'll be so jealous."
But Fernie was barely listening. Jazzmosis had chosen to take the lentil cookies on as their on-the-road band snack and had neomailed the employment agency as soon as they could to tell them of Fernie's work. Not only did he receive an enormous sum of pay for what he did, but he got a picture with Jazzmosis. Fernie stared down at the black and white photo in his hand, the band members plus Jess and Fernie all eating the lentil cookies.
"Hello! Would you be interested in purchasing some lentil cookies? The official snack of Jazzmosis!"
"Oh, yes please," the Nimmo lady said, "I'll take four. Are you the young Bori I saw in the Neopian Times who sold them to them?"
Fernie nodded eagerly, grinning.
"Well then, that's very impressive. In that case, I'll take five."
Fernie strolled down the path with his nearly empty bag. He looked over at Danny, who was waddling towards him with a nearly full sack. Fernie smiled at him happily, while Danny scowled as he passed, not daring to utter a word to him.