Misadventures of a Neopian Times Reporter X
Get Off My Lawn
"Sooooooooo," I said, drawing out the word because I was nervous. "Why does Buzz want to see me today?"
Sheila looked up from the paperwork she was filling out and smiled at me. I still don't get Sheila. She's Buzz's secretary, which means she has to put up with him all day long, and yet she's still nice. Sure, Buzz doesn't treat her quite as acidly as the rest of us, but he's not nice to her either, so you'd expect her to be jaded or something. But no, the Pink Scorchio is the cheeriest person you could ever hope to work with.
"Well, I could tell you, but I think Buzz would be mad. He likes the dumbfounded look you make when someone slaps you with some inconceivable piece of information," she said sweetly.
"Oh, that's lovely, that is," I replied sarcastically.
"Just get in there already, before the boss-" Her words were cut off by Buzz bellowing my name.
I hurried into his office, smiling apologetically.
"When I summon you to the office, Miss Kimmy, it is not to gab with my secretary," he informed me.
"No, sir. Sorry, sir," I said meekly.
"Very good. Now, I have a specific article for you to write," Buzz said.
"It doesn't involve boy bands or Usukis, does it?" I was really hoping it didn't.
"No, nothing like that," Buzz said with a dismissive wave.
I was starting to relax when he said, "Remember the article you did on Boochi?"
I started sweating, there was no way I'd ever forget that particular article.
"Well, it turns out that Boochi has some competition." Buzz was suddenly smirking; I guess I was making that face Sheila told me I make. I certainly felt dumbfounded.
"Someone else is turning Neopets into babies?" I asked.
"No, someone is turning Neopets elderly."
"What?" My voice hit a pitch I didn't know I was capable of. "That's Borovan, Buzz. That has got to be a joke."
Buzz pushed a folder across the desk and I opened it. Inside were pictures of an elderly Red Bruce lady pointing her walking frame at screaming crowds. In the crowds, Neopets were being turned elderly. I looked up at Buzz.
"You're not joking. I mean, you never joke, but just this once I was hoping..." I trailed off, unable to finish my thought.
"They are calling her Grandma Boochi. Whether that is because she is the Anti-Boochi or because she is his grandmother is unknown. I want you to find her and get the scoop on her. Don't forget to find out if she is really Boochi's grandmother."
"How am I supposed to find her?" I asked.
"How did you find Boochi?" Buzz replied.
"Through much suffering," I replied.
He raised his eyebrows as if to say, 'There you go.'
I suppressed a sigh and said, "Got it. I'm off, Boss."
"You'd better come back with a good article, Kimmy," Buzz said darkly.
I considered telling him that the day I came back with an article that he would consider 'good' was the day that the Space Station fell out of the sky, but I didn't want to tempt fate like that. Instead, I just gave him a confident salute as I walked out. He wouldn't appreciate my sarcasm anyway.
Sheila was grinning when I came out.
"Go kiss a Mortog," I told her, but I was smiling too. It was hard to get annoyed at Sheila.
"Good luck, Kristy," she said.
I walked out of the building and out into the crisp April air. It was still a trifle cold, but substantially warmer than this time last month. Chloe was leaning against the building, waiting for me. For some reason she had stopped coming in with me. I didn't ask what was wrong, but I assumed it had something to do with my boss. She probably didn't want to get me into trouble by sticking up for me when he was giving me one of his usual dressing downs.
"So, what's up?" the Starry Aisha asked, brushing a strand of her orange hair out of her eyes.
I handed her the folder Buzz had given me. "Take a look."
"Oh, come on," she cried. "Boochi wasn't bad enough? Now we've got to put up with his Grandmother?"
"My assignment is to track her down and interview her," I told her.
"Well, boss, let's get moving. She's not going to be just waiting by the Money Tree," Chloe said.
"Actually, she might be. Those pictures are dated, and they are all from yesterday. She was in that general area of Neopia Central. She's old, so she might not be going too far. We can try wandering the area and hoping we get lucky," I said.
"Hey, you used logical deduction to reach a reasonable conclusion. I'm proud of you," Chloe said.
"Oh, grow up, you," I replied.
So we set off for the Money Tree. Once there, we just hung around, waiting for the screams we figured a Grandma Boochi sighting would set off. Of course, no such luck. It was around two that Chloe pointed out that we should get some lunch.
"Where do you want to eat?" I asked.
"How about Pizzaroo?" she suggested.
I frowned. "Stop being a workaholic. We had pizza last night for dinner, so I doubt you want it again. You just want to go there because we have to pass the DoN HQ on the way. You want to go check in to see if they need an extra help. It is your day off, no working. You need time off, just like everyone else. Also, if you leave me I'll probably trip over my own feet, bump into the Monocerous, who will be offended and eat me."
"Fine," Chloe pouted as she gave in. "Well then, how about the Bakery for sandwiches or the Smoothie Store for smoothies?"
"Both options sound good. Let's flip for it," I said.
I pulled a Neopoint out of my pocket and said, "Call it."
"Bakery is heads."
I flipped and caught it, slapping it on the back of my opposite hand. "It looks like we are getting smoothies. Asparrot smoothie, here I come."
Chloe made a disgusted face. "You are so gross when it comes to food."
"It's not my fault you guys don't like asparagus and I do," I protested.
We were walking in the direction of the Bazaar during this exchange. Behind me I heard what sounded like a raspy chuckle. Curious, I started to turn. As I did, a beam of some sort passed me. My focus shifted, I turned forward again to see what the beam was. What I saw both elated and upset me.
Chloe was no longer Starry. She was suddenly a grey-blue, her face wrinkled and her orange hair now white. I turned around and saw an elderly looking Bruce cackling as she waved her walker in the air.
"Grandma Boochi!" I cried. "You are much easier to find than Boochi."
"You've met my great-grandson?" the old lady asked. She seemed a little surprised that I seemed so pleasant considering what she had just done to Chloe.
I hurriedly worked my notebook out of my pocket and wrote down her response. So they were related.
"Yes, I have had the pleasure. I'm a journalist with the Weekly World; I interviewed him a while ago. I've been looking for you, I was wondering if you would be so kind as to grant me an interview?"
The old lady leaned on her walker and smiled sweetly. "Of course, dear."
She was such a nice old grandmother type that it was hard to believe that she was causing such chaos around Neopia Central. I launched into my questions, and she answered them readily. During the course of our conversation I learned that she had been the original Boochi back ages ago, and the mantle had been passed on to her descendants, coming to rest on the current Boochi. Boochi was a family name it seemed, but she didn't want to give their individual names. Boochi hadn't been open to talking about his past and family when I had interviewed him, so this was all new information to me.
"So, how does Boochi feel about you entering the pet zapping scene?" I asked.
The question turned out to either be remarkably timed, or an invitation for disaster. Chloe was next me, leaning on me since she was now old and unsteady. Suddenly a beam hit her and she morphed. I caught her as she seemed to shrink down, and found myself holding a Baby Aisha.
I started to aw, but Chloe shoved her face into mine and threatened, "You finish that sound and I will be forced to hurt you."
We looked over to where the beam had come from. Boochi was standing there fuming.
"Hello, dear," Grandma Boochi said, clearly happy to see her great-grandson.
"Grams! It's not fair. You're cutting in on my job!" he shouted.
"Don't be spoiled, dear. You must share. There are plenty of Neopets in Neopia," Grandma Boochi replied in soothing tone.
"You had your turn, Grams!" Boochi was only getting madder.
He raised his ray gun and pointed it at her.
"Don't you do it, Boochi," Grandma Boochi warned, her tone becoming hard.
Boochi took a shot, but he missed. She was quick for an old lady.
"Oh, that is quite enough of that," Grandma Boochi said. "You need a good spanking, young man."
With surprising speed, she took off, running towards him. Boochi shrieked and started running, wailing at the top of his lungs. They turned a corner and were out of sight. Chloe and I looked at each other, needing confirmation that we'd just really seen that. A moment of silence passed between us. Suddenly Chloe frowned and grabbed me by the cheeks with her chubby little hands.
"It is my day off, you said. Stay with you; don't go into the office to see if they needed an extra hand. I need time off, you said. Now look at me," Chloe griped.
"Okay, never listen to me again, I'm a walking disaster," I agreed. "Let's go see the Shop Wizard and get you a morphing potion or a paintbrush to fix this."
We set off in that direction.
"I hope she got him," Chloe said suddenly.
"What?" I asked.
"I hope Boochi got spanked. That would be really funny," Chloe laughed.
I laughed too; glad she could see some humor in what had happened to her. Life in Neopia Central had suddenly gotten far more interesting, which meant it was high time to move back to Meridell for the foreseeable future.