Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 193,602,738 Issue: 701 | 2nd day of Collecting, Y17
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A Day in the Life of a Sewer Surfer

by iciclefaerie05


      The clinking of the pipes fitting together was comforting to Matt, the Neopian Central Sewer Systems Engineer Wocky. For the past several years, he had been in charge of fixing the broken pipes that flooded Neopia Central back in Year Four. The extensive network of pipes was made into more of a challenge when he could not get the right pieces. He looked at the last few bends needed to reestablish his pipe and sighed.

      Opening up his neomail, he sent a message to Sheila, the Uni secretary. ‘Sheila, I’m down to the last several turns of this pipe and all you have ordered for me are T-fittings, I need some I- and L-fittings. When can we expect delivery?’ Closing his neomail, he rolled his eyes. He ventured to guess that Sheila was off at the Grooming Parlor gossiping with her sister. She could spend hours waiting for the latest nail polish to restock, but could not wait around in Moltara for the latest order of pipe fittings to be fabricated. His pipe laying skills were always put to the test when she came back with the hodge-podge of mismatched pipes, whatever Tangor had lying around in his workshop. Sheila would complain about how all the sweating she did in Moltara was bad for her pores. If she had half the dedication to Neopian Central Sewer Systems as she did to mane and hoof care, Neopia would be completely up to date with new pipes. Instead he was floundering.

      Crawling out of the manhole, Matt squinted into the bright noon sun. He pulled up the sack of T-fittings planning on bring it back to headquarters. The Wocky pulled out his graph paper notebook, and started sketching the remaining bends on this final part of the sewer located in the alley behind the Neopian Bazaar. He could hear the faint chatter of shoppers making their way around the store fronts and smelled the rich cocoa smells coming from the Chocolate Factory. His stomach grumbled.

      Chuckling to himself, he said, “I guess I forgot I was hungry.” His friends always wondered how he could eat after being in the sewer all day. To be honest, he had not thought too much about it, only Charlie at the rubbish dump seemed to understand. ‘Gif me ah smell ah rubbish o’er dem hoit-ay parfooms anyday-ah’ Charlie would say sitting on top of his rubbish pile chomping on a sandwich.

      Matt hitched his bag of fittings over his shoulder and made his way over to Hubert’s Hot Dog stand. The Mynci was always testing out his creative flavors on Matt, saying the Wocky could stomach anything. Opening the door, Matt was enthusiastically greeted by the red and yellow clad Mynci.

      “Matt! My you’ve picked a day to come in! Check it out, Tarragon and Brie hot dogs, Bacon and Cheese hot dogs, I even have desert hot dogs: cookie hot dog, Rhuby Fruit Jam Hot Dog,” Hubert was rambling off his inventory faster than the auctioneer at the Neopian Auction House. Matt got lost in the menu choices, “… if you aren’t in the mood for dogs, I even have some potatoes in stock, sweet potato, stuffed potato…”

      “Hu, I’ll just take the first two hot dogs you mentioned,” Matt interjected before the Mynci ran out of breath speaking so quickly. “What were they again? The Tarragon and Brie hot dog and Bacon and Cheese hot dog?”

      “Those two are customer favorites!” he started scrambling around the counter assembling the hot dogs. “How are the sewer repairs coming along?” His pace slowed as his concentration was consumed by making the perfect hot dog.

      “Alright I suppose. Sheila didn’t order the right pieces again, so I’m taking a break until I get the right fittings.” Matt said as Hubert brought over a tray.

      “I can’t wait until you’ve finished up our area, there’s talk of a gigantic storm coming through. I don’t want to worry about my shop flooding just when I’ve received a new shipment of ingredients.”

      Matt’s brows furrowed. He knew that the weather prediction was for torrential rain next week for Neopia Central, and he now felt even more eager to get the final bends together before the weekend. The Mynci grabbed his mop and started cleaning up the floor by the door and window, leaving Matt to his thoughts.

      “What in Kreludor?” Hubert gapped at something on the street. “Matt, you better see this!”

      A hoard, Matt did not know what else to call it, of Meepits was storming the Bazaar headed straight for the Smoothie Store. The brazen assortment of creatures was scaring the Neopians left and right. The crowds were being tripped, pushed, and trampled by hundreds of crazed Meepits bent on getting to the Smoothie Store. Matt and Hubert looked to each other wide eyed.

      “This cannot be good,” the Wocky said to his friend. When the two looked back out the window, the Meepits were leaving en masse storming out of the Bazaar as quickly as they had arrived. “Hu, you stay here, I’ll head over to see what happened.”

      The Bazaar was eerily quiet. The patrons had scattered in fear of the Meepits and the few who were left sat rubbing their scraped knees and elbows until their friends helped them up; they then headed off in the direction of the Neopian Hospital. Matt approached the broken door at the front of the Smoothie Store.

      “… It’s gone… it’s all gone…” Matt faintly heard the Red Tuskaninny talking to himself. When he pulled open the broken door, the loud creak startled the Tuskaninny. He jumped and turned eyes as wide as saucers, but visibly relaxed when he saw just a Wocky with a large sack slung over his shoulder.

      “Did… did you see them?” the Tuskaninny asked Matt, “They took it all! My secret ingredient, it’s all gone!”

      Confused, Matt asked, “What did they take?”

      “My secret ingredient!” he replied, exasperated, “My Juppie Juice! How do you think my smoothies taste so good?!”

      “But that doesn’t make sense. The Juice Factory has a system of waste pipelines that feed out to a field. The Meepits take their juice break there; it’s how we keep them appeased and happy so they don’t stampede like they just did.”

      “All I know is those vermin took all my Juppie Juice! Now I have to clean up the store, and reorder my supply before my inventory runs out. How will I make rent payments on the shop?” the Tuskaninny started picking up smoothie cups and straws, clearly aggravated.

      “I’m going to get to the bottom of this,” Matt said to the Tuskaninny’s back.

      Without turning around, he replied sarcastically, “Heh, good luck.”

      Matt left the mangled Smoothie Shop and resurveyed the rest of the Bazaar. Everything else was untouched; the sun was still smiling down on him, the flowers were upright stretching back up after being trampled. The Wocky thought the only thing to do was check on the waste lines at the Juice Factory, something must have gone wrong. Luckily, the factory was a short walk away between the Plaza and the Marketplace. He would have to walk to the back end of the factory, where the waste pipes drizzled out to the sewer drains.

      The closer the Wocky came to the waste field, the more Meepits he saw littering the trees and grass. All staring at him, their eyes followed his movements toward their Juppie Juice pipeline. He shifted his bag of T-fittings, trying to sooth his nerves with the clink of the pipes.

      He looked over the waste pipes, his brows knit in confusion, when he realized the pipeline had been shifted to a mishmash of I and L fittings, looping in on itself, keeping any Juppie Juice from reaching the waste drains, and by coincidence, the Meepits. He made a move to touch the pipes, when the Meepits started chattering angrily.

      “Calm down guys, just calm down,” he dropped his bag of fittings and held his hands out trying to placate the Meepits, “I work with pipes all day. I can get your juice out.”

      The chattering quieted, but became more of a charged buzz of noise. The Wocky could feel a bead of sweat drip down his neck, his fur matted down at his collar. He did not want to be attacked by a swarm of angry Meepits- he had seen what they could do.

      He slowly opened up his sack, and pulled out several T-fittings. Smiling, he realized he could fix two problems at once! He laid out his plethora of T-pieces and looked over the problematic loop in the waste pipeline. Matt pulled out his graph paper, with the sketch of the remaining pieces needed to complete the alley back in the Bazaar. Four I-fittings and Two L-fittings, he scanned over the waste pipeline until he found the perfect pieces to replace with his T-fittings.

      Excited to be working with his pipes, Matt moved quickly, tuning out the chattering Meepits and the chaos of the afternoon. As the waste pipeline finally opened with a pressurized rush of Juppie Juice, the Wocky noticed the Meepits’ squeals of delight as they rushed for their Juppie Juice stream. Matt stood and stretched flexing his fingers and putting his tools back in his belt, as he turned, Matt saw a flustered Grundo running towards him.

      The Grundo gaped at Matt trying to find words, looking over the pipe pieces and the group of Meepits swarming the waste drain.

      “Hi sir, sorry, these guys,” Matt said pointing to the Meepits, “decided to terrorize the Bazaar earlier today, so I came to investigate. Your waste drain piping somehow got changed into a loop and…”

      “YOU FIXED OUR PRESSSURE PROBLEM!” The Grundo exclaimed excitedly, “We’ve been getting notifications at the plant all morning that our pressure levels were reaching critical mass. No one knew what to do! We almost had to pull a full factory shutdown to get to the bottom of it, before they sent me out here to check! You saved our production for the day! Whatever can we do to repay you?”

      “Well, I was going to take these bits of pipe that I replaced with my own.”

      “No problem! Is there anything else!?” The Grundo was clearly overjoyed that the factory would be back to normal.

      “There is a shopkeeper that had a lot of trouble due to the waste stream being out. The Meepit’s ransacked his shop and took all his Juppie Juice.”

      “Not a problem!” The Grundo came up to shake Matt’s hand, “We will send over several barrels for him, however much he needs!”

      The two shook hands, and Matt made his way back to the alley in the Bazaar. He quickly neomailed Sheila, ‘Sheila, I got the I- and L-fittings from another source. I will not come back to headquarters to get the replacements today.’ Matt descended back into the manhole and made quick work of fixing the last hole in the Bazaar pipeline. Looking over the work, he smiled. It felt good knowing the Bazaar was up to date in the event of a storm, the Smoothie Shop owner would get his Juppie Juice back, the Juice Factory did not go into shutdown due to the pressure backup, and the Meepits would finally get their juice breaks.

      He crawled back out of the manhole to a neomail notification from Sheila.

      ‘Matt, next time make sure you need the pieces. Gosh, you know what Moltara’s heat does to my hair. And Like, Tangor totally asked if I wanted to go to the Merry-Go-Round with him. As IF! The grubby little tinkerer doesn’t even VISIT the Grooming Parlor. Ugh. I did get the T-fittings you asked for. They’re on your desk in the office.’

      Had he read that right? ‘…T-fittings you asked for.’ He looked up to the clouds, shook his head, and sighed.

      The End

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