Terror of the Tree
As I was taking a nice stroll through Neopia last Tuesday, I decided to poke around the shops of Central and somehow ended up at the famous tree that supplies anything a pet could want, as long as someone else didn't want it first.
Yes, it was a nice day at the Money Tree. Everything seemed to be going well; pets were grabbing things, the tree itself was laughing loudly, happy to make pets smile. But that's when it all went insane.
The stocking Myncies had been stacking things into the Tree as fast as people could climb up to get them, as usual, and of course the tree had been laughing its jolly laugh. But what was not normal was that suddenly, a red alarm and a siren began to go off from underneath one of the roots.
The Myncies started to frantically circle the tree, getting Neopians out of it before... whatever was about to happen, happened. But the pets grew excited, and didn't want to leave. Meanwhile, the tree stopped laughing and started to look a little queasy, like the expression petpets get as they approach the Turmaculus against their will. I didn't know what was about to happen, so I stayed a safe distance away. That now seems like a good decision.
"Yeah, we always know when it's about to happen," said one Mynci who worked at the Money Tree afterwards, when I asked him about the situation. "People just don't realize the chaos they can cause."
As he shook his head, I remembered how it had happened. First, the alarm went off. Second, the pets swarmed the tree excitedly. The third thing that happened, unfortunately, was the giant pile of dung and other discardable items that appeared from nowhere and buried the poor Money Tree.
"Yeah, it happens a lot. Some of us keep hoping for someone to donate a lot of rare items at once, but usually it isn't," said a Zafara who spends her time at the Money Tree waiting for the occasional paint brush. "Every so often there is going to be a nice person who gives a Nerkmid to some of the poorer folk, but they never donate them in such big groups that the alarm goes off. I know better than that."
I had to know more about the problem, so I went to the source of the issue: the donators. They were easy enough to find, since their names were proudly displayed on the Tree next to their gift, but getting them to talk is a whole different story. I went to the neohomes of at least sixty donators, but I could not find a single one who didn't close the door in my face. I was about to give up completely, never to know the truth. I sighed and began to walk home.
"Hey, come over here!" I turned around, and found a shrub. I stepped back a bit, not entirely sure what to do. I mean, stranger things had spoken to me before, but I was not completely comfortable talking to a bush where everyone could see me. When I looked closer, however, I saw that it was not just a bush, but that it held the blinking eyes of someone hiding inside it.
"Okay, uh, why are you in a bush? Also, who are you?" I whispered. The bush person didn't say anything, but scooted toward a walkway lined with creepy gnomes leading to one of the few houses I hadn't tried. I figured there were crazier things than following a talking shrub into a house, so I went inside with it, hoping the gnomes weren't watching me.
When we got inside, the person inside the bush shook around and started rolling on the floor. I was about to run, but then I realized they were just trying to get the leaves and branches off of them. I stood watching them for a while, observing at the same time that the room was also filled with small gnome figurines, and eventually I could see that this person was in fact a pink Cybunny. It's funny what people can look like if they smear enough mud on themselves.
I'd almost totally forgotten what I'd come for, when the Cybunny, who looked completely normal and friendly now, introduced herself. "My name is Cloe, and I hear you've been looking for answers to some questions. How can I help you?"
"Oh! Ah, well, I guess first I'd like to know why you were... dressed like that," I said. "It's not what most shops sell around this area."
Ignoring my question, she said, "I see. You don't seem to know about the problems some people have been having. I saw you trying to find people who donate junk, but they don't want to talk about it. It's embarrassing." She nodded to herself, and told me to have a seat on the couch. Apparently this was going to be a long story.
"You see, it all started a long time ago, when some items came into existence that people couldn't use. There were only a few at first, but now the list goes on and on. These days there are keychains, barbed wire, scratchcard toys, bottles of sand, clothing you can't seem to wear, and even the most ridiculous thing of all, rainbow dung!" She shook her head in disgust.
The more I listened, the more concerned I was. The list of items she described went on and on. There was too much too handle! Maybe Cloe was crazy, but she had a point. It seems that after so many pointless items had flooded everyone's inventories, the quickest thing to do was to donate them in bulk. Unsuspecting Neopians who waited at the Tree had no idea that they could have piles and piles of dung splatter them at any moment! I'd seen it happen before, and I knew it would keep happening if people didn't know. I had to put a stop to this. I thanked Cloe for her information and left abruptly, determined to get to the Money Tree before anyone else got covered in dung.
I hurried as fast as I could, but I had quite a distance to go. When I got close enough to see the Tree, I heard the siren begin. It was just like last time.
Breaking into a run, I figured I could at least warn any ignorant pets who were headed in the same direction, if not those already at the Tree. I wasn't close enough to warn too many, but as I ran, I started to yell for them to get away from the Tree. No one could really hear me, though, and the instant I reached the area, the siren stopped, and a huge pile of colorful dung plopped down from the sky and covered us all. Talk about "EWWW!!"
After a few hours, enough towels and soap were donated for us to clean ourselves off, but we were all still really disgusted. I went home and decided to take a less physical approach to warning people about this problem, and wrote a few letters. I guess the real point of all of this is that maybe we should just discard stuff we wouldn't want ourselves. You know, follow the Golden Rule and all.