Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 111,439,808 Issue: 182 | 17th day of Running, Y7
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Slothy And His Student


by blahdyblahvi

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"Excellent. Now, how are my finances progressing?"

     The Lenny whom the dark cloaked figure was addressing fiddled nervously with his tie. He began to sweat as those blood-red eyes bored into his own. "Well, Dr Sloth, sir, it's not looking too good." He stuttered on, fearing his boss's wrath at the bad news. "You see, this invasion of killer robot buzzers you were planning has er…failed. Some ah, fool prematurely connected the robots to the um, emergency generator, and as their default programming instructed, the robots ah…destroyed the warehouse. So, the last of your invasion funds plus some of your personal capital have been drained to-"

     "Are you telling me that I'm bankrupt?" Dr Sloth interrupted in a menacingly quiet tone.

     "Oh yes," chorused all the gray-suited executives around the table.

     The evil genius stood up, disgusted at the brainless sycophants. He muttered as much to himself as to his executives, "What we need is a plan. A brilliant fund-raising idea so that the Return of Dr Sloth can commence."

     "Oh yes," they all chorused again. "Luckily, Sloth Enterprises ltd. is not quite broke yet!" the Lenny who had first spoken piped up. "Dr Sloth, please meet your new lodger!"

     The silver automatic doors hissed open to admit a gangly, freckle-faced Kyrii. "Hi Slothy!" she said rather breathlessly. Her mop of lurid ginger hair looked as frizzy as if it had directly taken part in one too many electrical experiments (as it probably had) and boldly contrasted with her shy, quiet voice. Every few seconds she would fiddle with her paws or her thick red glasses as she babbled and spluttered recklessly on with nary a pause. "Wow if this is just your conference room I can't wait to see my bedroom. By the way, I'm Taren, and I'm an undergraduate at the Science Institute down in Neopia. Your Neohome's a floating metal sphere at a thirty-six point four degree tangent to the Virtupets Space Station, and I'll be boarding here for the next year, and I get to learn astrophysics and how to be an evil genius from you. PLUS, everything I'm paying will contribute towards your next failure -- I mean conquest of Neopia -- and this is going to be so cool!"

     Taren continued muttering excitedly while she grabbed Dr. Sloth's hand and dragged him out into the corridor. As the automatic doors were closing behind them, Sloth's livid green face struggled into view of his executives. "If I live through this, you're all fired!" he yelled before disappearing completely.

     Dr. Sloth opened his eyes blearily. Had the previous day been merely a bad dream? Yes, it had to be: the stars were twinkling, the meteors were whizzing by, and Sloth was feeling good! He whistled merrily out of his bedroom, past the open door of his spare room, into the- WHAT THE JUPPIE HAD HAPPENED TO THE SPARE ROOM?

     Sloth screamed. Approximately 2.41 seconds into the scream a furry red face foaming at the mouth, dripping toothpaste; and a toothbrush-bearing paw poked out from behind the bathroom door. Taren was about to ask, "Bla' ugganga?" but spotted Dr. Sloth and screeched shrilly in fear before she could begin. Sloth saw what was happening and screamed. Again.

     "My carpet!"

     "Your jammies!"

     After the morning's confusion, Neopia's favorite green-skinned evil genius could be seen in an apron cleaning the toothpaste stains off the precious kauhide carpet in his bathroom, a red Kyrii apologizing profusely behind him. "Gee Slothy, I'm real sorry. I didn't mean to mess up your carpet. Here, let me help you-"

     "Silence! Kyrii, why did you paint my spare ro- er…your bedroom completely bright red? No, don't answer me. As long as you don't drop any more toothpaste and don't redecorate your room again and um…" Sloth lowered his voice as if afraid of being overheard, even though the nearest point of residence was two hundred miles away, "don't tell anyone what design I have printed on my pyjamas, I'll let you off this once. Now begone."

     "Gee thanks, Slothy. You're the best!" Taren gushed before scooting off.

     Dr. Sloth had just settled down in his favorite squishy armchair with the latest copy of Robots 'R' Us when a series of thuds followed by a long string of cursing sounded from upstairs. He dismissed it with a shrug, turning back to his catalogue. Ooh, the new Robo-Lupescout 4000 model might prove a good purchase…but then a Jub-Bot army would be so sickeningly cute, they'd drive all his enemies insane…oh wait, that was under the children's toys section. Without warning, a tremendous ripping, tearing, scraping from upstairs disturbed the evil one's train of thought. He attempted to re-concentrate on his catalogue, and succeeded until he heard a roaring whoosh resolve itself into a mind-numbingly regular vacuum-cleaner-like drone. HrrrmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmXkw5@!Lz#!! Oh, for the love of- Sloth threw down his Robots 'R' Us before storming furiously into the elevator, imagining each step he took was on top of that lousy Kyrii's face.

     "What the juppie have you been doing?"

     Several thick books lay scattered on the floor of Taren's new bedroom, their covers bent back; his favorite trampoline (blue with gold stars) with a number of baseballs glued on to it and, could it be? No! A gaping hole had been cut in the bottom of his favorite childhood toy! Dr. Sloth approached the small Kyrii trapped inside a vacuum cleaner in the corner. She seemed completely oblivious to the fact that a vein was throbbing in Sloth's temple or that highly pressurized steam was pouring out of his non-existent ears. "Thank Fyora you're here! You gotta help me out of this vacuum cleaner. Slothy I-"

     Geez what a grouch, thought Taren to herself much later. Her incredibly bad-tempered landlord, Slothy, had set her in front of computer VP-26b to do some quiet research for her neocollege degree. It wasn't fair: she'd only been trying to start some coursework. She glanced at the loaded page, frowning.

     "Slothy? Oh Slotheeeeeeeee! Is it tyrannium that's produced when you pass a six-volt electric current through a gram of neodymium krawlite dissolved in tacryllium solution or is that neopium?"

     Dr. Sloth turned around in his swivel chair. Hadn't he just told that silly Neopet to do some research without disturbing him? Suddenly, the computer at which he had been sitting beeped shrilly. Game over. He turned back to Taren, his countenance now a hideous mask of loathing and despair. "Oh, sorry Slothy. Did I disturb your all-important top-secret evil-scheme-planning?"

     All Sloth could do was grind his teeth. He'd been so close to winning an Evil Fuzzles from Beyond the Stars trophy. Yet now, due to an insolent, insignificant Kyrii, his chance lay in tatters. Sensing Sloth's anger, Taren backed out of the room, muttering about how awful it is to be disturbed while doing something important. She continued backing away until she tripped over into the next room. She picked herself up, then all of a sudden, grinned as a child would in a candy store. "Wow Slothy, is that your TV? Hey, it's widescreen! That's so cool. Where's the clicker?" Despite his many feeble protests, Taren clicked the screen on. Immediately, nine squares showing Queen Fyora, Princess Vyassa and all the other world leaders of Neopia flashed on. "Whoa, you are so unbelievably lucky Slothy ol' buddy ol' pal!" The now seething Dr. Sloth wrestled the clicker off Taren, attempting to ignore the derisive giggles and guffaws of the world leaders as he turned the communication screen off. He rounded on the Kyrii, strangely calm. Yet this was the calm in the eye of a storm. Taren had just landed herself in the eye of Sloth's storm of hatred.

     "You may ruin my home and my belongings, and even my whole life, but how dare you embarrass me in public? You have just permanently marred my reputation and you are going to pay!" Taren squealed as she fled in panic. Her cries of "sorry!", "I didn't mean to!" and "I had no idea!" were lost in the blasts of Sloth's sludge ray gun, which she was frantically dodging. Down a corridor, up an elevator (furiously pummeling the buttons), through an empty room, up a ladder, through a trapdoor, down another corridor, into a room, slam the door shut. Breathless, Taren leaned back against the cool titanium of the door. Just then, a framed photograph on a bedside table beside a luxurious four-poster caught her eye. It depicted what looked like a female Dr. Sloth, only much older with flowing silver hair.

     It was that moment that Sloth chose to throw open the door. Even though the ancient being was livid and pulsing so furiously that the door-frame hardly seemed able to contain him, Taren gave no sign of noticing when she asked, "Who's that?" He walked over to the photograph, the fire in his miniscule heart snuffed out. Could that possibly be a tear shining in the merciless (failed) dictator's eye?

     "That-that's my mother. She was so ashamed when I told her I was off to explore the universe and conquer galaxies."

     "I know how you feel, Dr. Sloth. My parents wanted me to go into the family business of bricklaying. They said I was dishonoring the family name when I told them I wanted to be an astrochemiphysici- isi- cisi- that I wanted to go to neocollege."

     Sloth was touched. That was the first time Taren hadn't called him 'Slothy.' He replied, "Please, call me Frank." She nodded, then exited the room.

     Maybe that girl wasn't so bad. Just as Sloth was thinking that, a thunderous chemical boom shook his Neohome and a drop of fluorescent green liquid fell from a crack in the ceiling on to Sloth's head. "TAREN!"

The End

 
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