Rejection: Part Two
"Priscilla!" Julia shouted in my ear for the fifth time.
"Off to la la land, weren't you?"
"Err... Sorry to keep you waiting." I poked at
her. "So, what practice job are you getting?"
"Practice job? Why do you call it a practice
job?" my friend asked.
"Well, because we get to practice working for
a week..." I trailed off.
"I know you don't like it," Julia said, "But
it's a requirement for finishing that class... Anyway, you go and get a so-called
practice job first and then I'll find mine."
We walked around the Rainbow Pool a few times
to rest our minds. The sun was shining brightly, I was kind of annoyed at myself
and my Jubjub friend was trying to help me to choose the next store. While listening
to the sounds of pets being painted, I promised myself to do better next time.
"Hmm... How about the Food Shop?" Julia suggested.
"Too popular," I said pessimistically. "I'll
bet there are already two or three from our class working there. Anyhow, I'd
like to something I really enjoy..." I stopped and gasped. There it was! Another
perfect practice job had appeared right in front of my eyes!
"Um... Priscilla?" my friend said when I jumped
up from the bench. Then she saw what I had seen and just uttered a small 'oh'.
"Excuse me," I said, stopping right in front
of the pet that was handing out the current issue of the Neopian Times.
"Yes?" the Kau asked.
"Umm... A-are there a-any..." I begun, incredibly
excited at the fact that I might get another one of my dream practice jobs.
With a little less stuttering and muttering than before, I managed to get my
message through. "...So, I'm wondering if there is a chance for me to get a
practice job like that at the Neopian Times." I finished.
"I'm sorry, but I only stand for distribution,"
the Kau said kindly. "If you want a practice job, why don't you go and contact
the head office down at the Deep Catacombs?"
"Deep Catacombs?" Julia and I repeated in unison.
I shuddered. That place was scary, an artist's cave full of stalactites and
stalagmites, dripping icy cold drops of water on your skin. And it was way too
far away from our NeoHome...
"Well, I'll bet you want some nice practice job
at the Submission Form Department, Lettering Department or something like that.
Well, just so you know, the head office is down there."
"Umm..." I said, still shocked. "Thanks." I quickly
analyzed the situation. Getting down to that creepy place every day and actually
working there... then I thought of Janie. No. It'd be too much trouble and time,
since we did not have any vehicles and the Eyrie Taxi equaled the Soup Kitchen...
For a second I wondered if I could convince my
owner to just play games and restock her shop like she used to, instead of trying
so hard for the Neopian Times, which was pretty much a dream.
Then I felt the shame. She had supported me when
I had taken that extra-credit class, even though she seemed somewhat against
it because she thought it would be too much of a burden. Here I was, mentally
criticizing her for doing what we both did... chasing a dream and trying to
make it come true.
Well, Janie was trying hard right now and so
I had to do that too.
"I kind of live a little bit far away," I admitted,
"So I think it'll be hard for me to go to the Deep Catacombs."
"Okay," the Kau said. "I'll mention about this
to my boss... Perhaps there'll be more things in the future." She smiled kindly
"That went a little bit better, didn't it?" my
"Yeah, but I still got rejected," I stated, sighing.
However, the disappointment didn't hit me so relentlessly and hard as it had
done the first time. Perhaps I was getting used to it?
No! I couldn't think that way! If I did, then...
perhaps I wouldn't be able to get out of rejection because of those depressing
thoughts. Think positive, I told myself and plastered a smile on my face. There's
always a next time and since I hadn't gotten a practice job, I supposed that
I'd just have to try again...
"So, where do we go next?" Julia asked.
"I'm not sure," I said. "Look! We're at the Bazaar!"
"Oh yeah," my friend said, "We must've wandered
here..." She pointed to the closest building, which was the Chocolate Factory.
"Why don't you try there?"
"Well..." I hesitated a little, but decided to
give it a go. "I've always wanted to try and work for a candy store..."
"Then what are you waiting for?" Julia grabbed
my arm and dragged me off to that magical building in the middle of the Bazaar.
Standing in front of the gigantic factory, I
gawped. The fear of rejection was nothing compared to watching this building
in work. Even though it wasn't one of my choice jobs, I felt that it would definitely
be an experience to get a practice job here. Then I took a look around the bazaar
and noticed that there were at least seven other stores. At least one of them
would give me a practice job, right?
Then I thought of the way I had gotten rejected,
trying to get my dream jobs. Perhaps those picture-perfect, dreamlike illusions
just aren't supposed to be fulfilled. Well, this was something more down-to-earth
for a change.
Looking around again, I felt a new feeling awaken
inside me. Sometimes when I read books too long and actually wanted to try out
the things in the books, I'd get this crazy feeling and occasionally do something
nutty. But most of the time I stopped before I embarrassed myself. It was this
feeling that was coming to life now, only much stronger and much more real.
The winds murmured in my ears and encouraged
me. We went inside. The Kiko had already sold all his stuff, and Julia whispered
to me that this was my chance.
"Um... Excuse me, Mister..." I said politely.
"What is it?" he asked, taking out a handkerchief
and wiping some sweat off his bandage.
With this new feeling inside me, I confidently
explained my situation and asked for a practice job. I still stuttered, but
only intermittently. When I finished speaking, I forced myself to smile, since
I had read several books that said smiling was the best thing to do when nervous
so one could glow from confidence. I certainly didn't feel confident when the
Kiko just blinked and said nothing.
I'm stupid, I told myself but instantly regretted
that. Positive thoughts! That crazy side of me just kept the smile and my head
high up, even though the fear in my heart wanted me to run out there, to that
stupid teacher and yell at her for giving such an idiotic assignment.
"Excuse me," the Kiko said after a long moment
of silence. "I'll have to check my planner."
"This is called 'extended rejection'," I said
jokingly to Julia, perhaps to reassure myself and make this whole affair less
That feeling bubbled inside me again, and it
just got worse (or better, since I was turning into someone who dared) when
the Kiko returned with his planner.
"Sorry," he told me. "I'm afraid that I already
have a few for practice jobs and two assistants for the next two months."
"Can you give me any recommendations?" I said,
smiling and hiding my disappointment. All books stated that if you just gave
an inch, then you had already lost. Still, it was that crazy, daring side of
me who asked the question.
The Kiko looked a bit surprised, but said, "Yes,
I believe that there are two shops, one selling gifts and one selling Neogarden
items just around the corner. I don't know if they are in need of helpers, but
you can try."
"Thank you for taking your time," I said politely
and walked out of the Chocolate Factory with shaking legs. Something inside
me wanted to say hooray, because this time, I had really tried. I hadn't stuttered
so much and talked smoothly. As the books say, practice makes perfect.
"You're getting better," my friend commented
when I took a deep breath of fresh air. "Still... I'm sorry about that. Guess
third time isn't the charm, eh?"
I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths.
That shaky, nervous side of myself calmed down, and the daring part of me grew
stronger. I turned around and smiled at Julia.
"Well, there are lots of stores here," I said.
"Just because I got rejected from a couple doesn't mean all of them will refuse
me. I'll try with... ten shops!"
Julia gave laughed and patted me lightly. "That's
the spirit, Priscilla!" She pointed to a nice little decorated shops that had
lovely plants around it. "Well, shall we see if the fourth is the charm?"
We entered the shop, and again my blood began
to rush faster because of the excitement of it all. I had tasted rejection thrice,
and now I was getting used to it. It wasn't so bad, but each and every rejection
made me disappointed. Still, I knew that I had to try and I could just imagine
the look on Janie's face when I tell her that I got a practice job.
"Excuse me," I said, tapping the green Blumaroo's
"Yes?" he said, arranging an Atrabud.
Again, I asked him about the practice job, getting
better and better as I talked. Once that feeling and the rejections (that I
didn't fear so much anymore) loosened my tongue, I even made some jokes.
Fortunately I didn't get an extended rejection
this time. The kind shopkeeper quickly told me that some other pets already
had asked about practice jobs. Actually he looked rather sorry while telling
Maybe I was getting good? Nah... I couldn't be
that good, having been a bookworm for the larger part of my life and not really
socializing. But that feeling, the compound rejections and everything that I
had just experienced had opened a door inside me, to someone whom I had hoped,
wanted and tried to be.
And I was successful. I exited the shop not with
a withered look, but with positive and hopeful thoughts.
"I guess you were wrong," I told my friend. "But
I'll try again!"
Julia smiled. "Gift shop next?"
"Yeah," I said, and this time I was the one to
drag her off to the shop.
The handmade golden bell, attached to the door,
rung ever so cheerfully when we entered the small shop. The red Scorchio greeted
me kindly and I went right on explaining. Quite hyped up, I don't think I was
really myself the whole time I was talking so smoothly and making jokes.
"Wait a sec," he said when I had asked the good
old practice job question. He went in to the back of the shop, probably getting
his calendar or something.
"This is extra extended rejection," I muttered
and Julia giggled. "Well, if..." That daring side surfaced again. "If I get
rejected, then I won't stop until the twenty-fifth shop!"
"You're nuts," my friend said. "But it'd be good
for you. Then again, maybe there aren't another 25 shops around here..."
"Then I'll travel Neopia... Ask for practice
jobs in Meridell, Terror Mountain..." I said excitedly.
"Well, there's always something new to try, right?"
A few light steps, and I knew that the shopkeeper
was returning. This was it. My moment of gloom, doom... or success.
I turned around and looked at him. The serious
look on his face and the way he stoutly walked towards the counter... Every
bit of strength, confidence and whatever good feelings I had gotten from my
daring side was now gone. Left was a nervous little Purple Poogle wondering
if she would get a practice job after all, running around crazy like this...
"Well," the Scorchio begun. I felt like putting
a pair of earmuffs on, but decided to listen to my fifth declaration of rejection.
"I looked in my planner..."
I gulped. It was coming. It was coming all right,
probably hitting me full-force on the nose...
"...And I don't have anything booked for the
next two months. You can work here if you want." He smiled.
Surprised, I gasped and dropped the confident
posture I held for the last few minutes. "O-of course!" I exclaimed. Apparently
the daring side only surfaces when really needed, and disappears once the business
was done. "I'd love to work here!"
"You don't mind?" the shopkeeper asked. "It's
kind of small... Well, you asked, so..." he smiled. A slight shiver running
through his hands told me that perhaps he was just as nervous as I was.
"Am I the first?" I asked. Even though I was
elated and everything, that special daring thing didn't return. But still, it
felt like I both was and wasn't asking that question. I knew one thing for sure,
though. I was changing.
"Yes," he said. "This shop isn't so popular these
days, so why don't you come by at 10 AM the week you start work and we'll discuss
the time then. I promise to not work you like a bunch of nutty Meepits."
"Thank you," I smiled. "Well, then I'll be dropping
in soon!" Julia grabbed my hand, and together we left the shop.
I couldn't believe it! I had actually gotten
a practice job, after trying here and there and getting rejected.
"It's great, isn't it?" Julia asked.
And then it dawned on me. "I got a practice job!"
I shouted happily, making several heads turn around. "Oops..."
"What about you?" I asked my friend, realizing
that she was also in the extra-credit class and needed a practice job.
"I already got one," my friend said.
"You little liar... You told me we'd deal with
my job first and then yours, but you already got one?"
"Well, I'm moral support, right?" Julia smiled.
"If you feel like you owe me something, give me a gift after finishing our practice
I shook my head. Typical Julia. "Well, thanks
for the support," I said.
"You're welcome. Well, I've got to get going
now!" My friend waved and skipped off to her NeoHome.
Standing there, I watched my friend walk away
and realized yet another thing. If Julia hadn't been there for me, I wouldn't
have been able to get a practice job at all. I knew exactly what I would give
my best friend in the world. A nicely decorated handmade thank-you card with
lots of glittery, sticky things on it.
"Priscilla?" my owner said, holding several letters
in her hand. "What are you doing here?"
"Janie!" I exclaimed happily, hugging my owner.
"What did you do?"
"Just got my mail," Janie said. "And I got rejected
"You know what?" I said, squeezing my owner's
hand. "I got rejected four times today, and it isn't that bad." In fact, I believe
that if I had stayed in the zone, I probably would've enjoyed going to twenty-five
different shops and perhaps getting rejected the whole time.
"Yeah... I'll just have to try again, don't I?"
She started walking, and I did so to. "Anyway, tell me all about your day and
that practice job. Might make a story out of it."
"Well," I begun, "the whole thing started when
you got that rejection letter for your short story..."