Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 195,074,773 Issue: 819 | 16th day of Running, Y20
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TWELVE Tips to Help You Succeed in Life:Part Two

by downrightdude



      If there's one thing I happily rely on is the reassurance of a friend I know will listen to my petty whining and take it seriously. That friend may judge you in the inside—or outside if they're a real jerk—but in the end, they always have your back for some reason. This is exactly why I rushed my way to the park and towards the tall, leafy oak tree that stood beside the sand box. For there, lying underneath the shade of the tree with a guitar in his lap, was a red Usul I knew would listen to my mindless jabbering: Andrew. As long as I can remember, Andrew has always been my personal confidante. Even though more than half the stuff I ranted to him was petty and pointless, he always hung to my every word and gave me his genius opinions to help me get my thoughts straightened out.

      So, like all those other times, I flopped down beside Andrew and blurted out my usual feelings of anxiety and fear-mongering about the future. "I'm just as confused as a child when Santa doesn't bring him presents," I say urgently, "and that's why I need your help!"

      Andrew gave me a side eye. "What do you want to hear this time, Nadine?" he asked flatly.

      "Just some reassurance and, uh, advice," I said. "And your Mom's top secret chocolate chip bread recipe. Then my Mom can make it for me."

      "I don't know it." Andrew strummed his guitar. "But if your Mom is still dogging you for not getting a job, then…" He shrugged. "Just do it already."

      At first I wanted to scream and steal ice cream from a nearby vendor. Then I wanted to just push the cart over and run away with a cone. Finally—without attacking the innocent ice cream vendor—I wanted to run away, find a prince, and spend the rest of my days as a do-nothing princess surrounded by a swarm of servants. Unfortunately, since this last plan required me to move from my current spot, I opted to stay put and groan while Andrew played his guitar. "Geez, you could have given me other options," I sighed.

      Andrew shook his head. "Can't. I know for a fact you'll never go back to school, so why suggest that? Your only real option now, Nadine, is to get a job."

      "How about I buy a Baby Paint Brush? Would that solve my problems??" I persisted.

      "Baby Paint Brushes have been inflating like crazy nowadays," Andrew insisted.

      I nodded, too upset to scream. "I guess I can find a job at the Petpet Shop. We can be co-workers!"

      "I quit that gig yesterday," Andrew grumbled.

      "Wha?? NO way!" I gasped. "I thought you liked being with the Petpets? You said they filled your needs!"

      Andrew shrugged. "The schedule was way whack, and my supervisor was a real pain to work with." He began playing a new song. "Besides, I need more time for my music if I'm ever going to make it big."

      Despite wanting to shake Andrew silly for leaving his job and being a major hypocrite, I just nodded politely and kept all my mean words to myself. Ever since we were little, Andrew has always wanted to be a rock star, and in Neoschool he formed a band with three other classmates. I was never a fan of their music, but I still attended all of their concerts because I honestly had nothing better to do at those times. So to hear that Andrew was going to dedicate more of his free time to his music was a mix for me: should I support him or encourage him to find a minimal wage job he'll hate due to the lack of artistic freedom?

      As the super best friend I know I am to him, I said cheerily, "Believing in yourself is your own magic!"

      "What about magic?" asked Andrew, raising a confused eyebrow.

      "It's just a saying I read in a book once," I explained casually. "It basically means that, if you believe in yourself, you can do anything."

      "Which means I can be a rock star, right?" Andrew chuckled.

      "If you believe hard enough," I insisted. And believe in miracle workers, I added silently.

      Andrew gave me a seriously look. "Well, have you decided what to do yet? Or must I drag you somewhere to seek employment?"

      I looked up at the big, white clouds drifting slowly above us—my way of declining to answer Andrew's ridiculous question. Still, he did pose quite the dilemma: what SHOULD I, Nadine of Neopia Central, do?? And would Andrew find me an acceptable answer? After a stretch of silence, I muttered, "I don't know."

      "Figures." Andrew pulled me up and, with his guitar slung over his shoulder, led me away from the park. "I know exactly where to go," he said confidently. "Just relax and we'll be there in no time."

      Wanting to exact my vengeance, I began to skip merrily towards the mystery location, and I made sure I swung my arms with a lot of exuberance and that I was singing "La la la!" as I skipped. Whether he was embarrassed or not, Andrew didn't say anything. He just looked ahead as his wacky friend drew the attention of curious passerby.

      "That Zafara sure is odd," murmured a blue Elephante.

      A yellow Chia turned to a pink Kougra and said, "They seem like a nice couple of kids, eh?"

      The Kougra nodded. "Yes, though the girl is really weird."

      Still, Andrew said nothing. Even as we approached the Bazaar and I kept up my attention-seeking skipping, he murmured not a word as he took me to his supposedly secret location: Usukiland. The yellow and pink striped building loomed over us, and the adorable Usuki figure looming above us was still the perfect symbol of this wonderful establishment. "Here we are," Andrew mumbled as he opened a pink glass door for me.

      Granted, I do pay multiple visits to Usukiland consistently every month (mainly to check up on the stock and track down any newly stocked and rare dolls), but this time the shop seemed like a completely different utopia to me. The walls were still bright pink, the fuzzy carpets were darker pink, and all the pink shelves were stocked with different Usuki dolls and sets—you know, typical stuff you'd expect from the place. Yet at the same time, this familiar place seemed very foreign to me, hence why my curiously began asking a bunch of random questions: What was the employee's area like? Did this place have any bathrooms? Were there any Ornate Usukis stocked somewhere in the store?

      The blue Blumaroo that ran the shop came over, her pink and white dress swishing as she sashayed her way past a group of Usuls and Acaras giggling happily by the Usuki clothing sets. "Welcome to Usukiland!" the Blumaroo said in a high, raspy voice. "My name is Chloe. How may I help you two darling folks today?"

      Andrew coughed lightly. I could tell by his grimace that he was embarrassed of being here. "My friend is looking for a part-time job. Are you still hiring?"

      "And I'm also looking for an Ornate Usuki," I added quickly.

      Chloe clapped excitedly. "Ooh, goodie! We have plenty of positions available! And she'll look so cute in one of our uniforms, too."

      "Will the dress be like yours?" I asked. "And about the Orna—"

      "Of course you will!" Chloe interrupted. "In fact, I think we still have a uniform in your size left. Isn't that exciting?"

      "About the Usuki," I began.

      "Which positions are available?" Andrew inquired.

      "Oh, we have plenty of floor and register positions available," Chloe insisted.

      Andrew turned to me and said, "See? This is the perfect gig for you."

      Rather than agree with his point—despite how much I agreed with him—I shook my head. "But I haven't written up a resume!"

      "Don't worry about that," said Chloe, waving her hand dismissively. "As long as your knowledgeable about our brand, can work Mondays to Fridays and agree to work for minimum wage...well, you'll be fully qualified!"

      "Even though I have had no prior working experience?" I asked.

      Chloe nodded. "I can show you the ropes and you'll catch on in no time. Then again, maybe Rachel can train you." She pointed to a blue Acara working a cash register. "She's a whiz at customer service! I'm sure she can help you out if I don't feel like doing it."

      I sighed. "Gee, thanks. You're the best manager a girl like me could ever dream of."

      Andrew grinned at me. "And how soon can she start?" he asked Chloe.

      "Well, she can start in a couple of days," said Chloe. "Yes it will be Friday, but I'm sure she won't mind in the slightest."

      "I would," I said bluntly.

      "Well too bad." Chloe gives me a cheerful (aka creepy) smile. "Consider yourself a member of the Usukiland family, Ms. Zafara! I'll have your uniform delivered to you by Thursday."

      I nodded, knowing I was officially trapped in this new employment contract by a new, possibly ditzy 'boss'. As Andrew and I left the Bazaar, I told him how much I'm dreading the upcoming Friday and how I'll probably go insane on my first, and possibly last, day. "At least your Mom will be proud of you," Andrew insisted.

      "Mom would be happy if I flew to outer space and defeated Dr. Sloth in arm wrestling," I sighed. "Besides, how can somebody as wonderful as me work for minimum wage? I deserve more than that!"

      "No you don't," said Andrew. "But if you are planning to quit, at least try things out for a few days, okay? Then you can work somewhere else."

      I'd rather melt and be sent to Terror Mountain for treatment, I thought, still furious at Andrew for shoving me in a new job so quickly.

      Oh well. Maybe things will work out…right?

      To be continued…

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