Al Tastes Revenge: Part One
It was no secret to anyone that Alexander T. Chia was a lupologist. He was
very proud of it. He announced it with his flair, his style, and his labcoat.
He poured lupology from every hole in his head, the instant you looked into
his eyes you knew, even if you never heard of a lupologist. He practically had
‘Bumbling, Adorable Scientist’ tattooed on his eyebrows. He did actually once,
during college, along with several piercings, but had them removed later.
It was, however, at least a very small
surprise for many to hear that Al also had hobbies other than Lupology. He also
had a penchant for food. Lots of money, a round figure, and years of travel
around the globe had given him one of the broadest palates in Neopia.
He marked out famous restaurants on maps
whenever he took trips, he brought a silver set with him wherever he went, he
attempted to cook exotic dishes for himself. He knew the names and uses for
all the little forks and spoons and other odds and ends around and on the plate
that no one even noticed, even the seemingly useless sprig of parsley that people
assume is just for decoration.
He had eaten the sweetest eyeballs, slurped
disgusting and delicious teas, crunched rare cookies, fully digested the most
extraordinary pies. He had (unknowingly) tasted the most potent poisons and
disgusting dishes the world had to offer, fed to him by many characters who
would rather have seen him dead, and as such, he had gradually developed an
extremely strong digestive system, able to stomach the most disgusting, spicy,
and dangerous foods (and otherwise).
Despite all this, he remained one of the
most humble and respectful guests to have over for dinner, never truly boastful
of his palette unless it involved Lupes in some way. But there were sad, sad
reasons for this.
Al harbored a dark secret about his connoisseurism.
Deep in that little blue head, there was a panging, hungry Greeble, nibbling
away at his tasteful, deep-fried soul.
And it was about to force itself down his
‘It’ occurred on the outskirts of Lupe Forest. Rain fell outside Soupaw’s
Soup Shack, which was surrounded on all sides by drooping wet pine trees and
a long, endless, flooded road. The world was gray, but the shack was anything
but gray. It was large and glorious, a neon sign proudly stating its name to
all who passed.
There was a bustling business inside, filled
with beautiful furnishings and rich, fat customers. Umbrellas hung from nearly
every arm, and nearly every arm was lifting spoons filled with soup towards
waiting, open mouths. Only some missed and ended up pouring soup into their
eyes, and one ungraceful arm was lucky enough to pour it down their pants.
Al calmly exited the restaurant, a somber
expression on his normally cheerful face and a stomach full of soup. He was
dressed in a fine gray suit and hat, with a sharp red bow tie and a smart pair
of red, shiny shoes. His hair was slicked back, and he wore gold-rimmed glasses
that gleamed in the candlelight. He heard the music that had been loud and annoying
indoors just faintly outside; a Neopian Philharmonic tune. It was stuffy and
stereotypical, but it displayed the newfound class and distinguishment of the
restaurant since Al first encountered it.
Al was not accompanied by his blue Cobrall,
as he normally was. The only thing keeping him company was the umbrella that
burst open above him, which was a brilliant shade of blue. Beads of water trickled
off of it as he collected himself, walking down the road, the umbrella bobbing
and swaying with his movement.
Moments ago, Soupaw himself had gravely
seen him off, nervously wringing his apron. The fat and jolly purple Lupe looked
anything but fat and jolly, looking unusually pale and thin with worry. His
moustache-like whiskers had twitched very nervously as he had stood by Al’s
table, watching Al’s expression carefully. He had been smiling when he approached
Moments ago, five customers simultaneously
poured soup into their eyes, and one managed to pour some down their pants,
as a clap of thunder had rang out just as the bell announcing the visitor’s
entrance had rung ‘him’ in.
Moments ago, that mysterious character
had taken a seat at Al’s table, smiled rather viciously, whispered something
into his ear, and taken off again, ringing the little bell on the door twice.
Moments ago, Al was eating quite happily.
He chatted noisily to the people in the tables around him about his lupological
“Oh, sure, no one believed me when I said
that Halloween Lupes, of any kind of Lupe, are slightly less aggressive than
most other types, but when I showed them the comparative bite marks and bruises
from several other kinds of Lupes, they finally believed me!”
He had fallen silent upon seeing the figure.
He had stayed silent when the figure left.
Now, it was moments later. With all these
moments past, Al now had a momentous moment for himself. He looked up at the
sky, watching a gloomy Pteri fly past, soaked to the bone in the rain. Everything
outside the restaurant was gray and black-and-white, like a Jazzmosis concert,
only without the freaky, repetitive music and the free mug afterward.
“Piffle,” he said, simply and quietly.
The Pteri was struck by lightening. With
a loud squawk, it fell from the sky, landing in a grove of trees with a smack.
One of the large pine trees had been struck by the lightening as well, and,
with a squawk as loud as the Pteri’s, now fell upon the unfortunate neopet as
it tried to regain its senses. Singed feathers fell from above with the rain.
Al’s head was craned towards the falling feathers, witnessing all of it happening,
somber, distracted, and silent. The Pteri feebly squawked again, and the tree
caught on fire.
“Piffle,” he repeated, his glasses illuminated
by the dancing flames.
He continued walking as another Pteri
landed nearby, laughing at his now thoroughly injured companion, and getting
struck by lightening himself.
The rain had begun to stop, but the sky and the world was still as dark and
gloomy as ever as Al plodded down Main Street, the umbrella still bobbing over
his head. He released a long, heavy sigh as he arrived at his front garden,
the path to the pleasant blue house with the bright yellow windows lined with
exotic and bizarre plants and a white picket fence. As Al walked down this path,
another bolt of lightening scared a Pteri enough to make him ram into one of
Al’s windows, knocking him out cold.
Fluffy jumped at the noise, then slithered
over to the window and peered out just in time to see his owner’s blue umbrella
disappear. He was eagerly anticipating his owner’s return; he wasn’t happy to
be left alone in the house on such a creepy evening.
He slithered over to the door and threw
it open just as Al was about to push it open himself. Startled, Al gasped and
released his umbrella. A sudden draft blew it down the street and out of sight,
the vivid blue starkly contrasting the black-and-white world outside until the
Al sighed, watched it go, and then entered
the house. “Piffle.”
Fluffy frowned, flitting his tongue in
and out of his mouth. His owner was acting funny, and the world outside was
unusually gray and black-and-white. He quickly slithered out of Al’s way as
his owner took off his wet shoes to reveal his normal red sneakers, pulled off
the gray suit to reveal his normal white lab coat, and rubbed the gold paint
off his glasses to reveal his normal glasses.
“I’ll get started on your dinner, then.”
He muttered distractedly, ramming into a table and knocking a lamp to the floor
with a crash. He didn’t pick it up.
He teetered about for a moment, unsure
of himself, before heading through the door to the dining room, which led to
the kitchen. Fluffy followed him, concerned.
As Fluffy slithered into the dining room,
which was lavishly furnished, he heard a crash from the kitchen. He started,
halting for a moment and listening tersely. He heard a muffled “Piffle,” then
the bumping and scraping and splatting noise that normally occurred when Al
was preparing Fluffy’s food. Fluffy calmed, then slithered towards the swinging
kitchen door again.
He pushed it open just as Al was about
to push it open. The door smacked into Al, surprising him. He dropped Fluffy’s
food dish, which clattered on the black-and-white linoleum. The almost gummy
rat that would have been Fluffy’s dinner flew out the open window with a sudden
draft, its vivid red color starkly contrasting the black-and-white of the outside
world as it got sucked into a sewer grate.
Al sighed, watching it until its last
Fluffy squinted. Something was definitely
“H...Hiss?” he asked.
“Oh, no, nothing’s wrong,” Al sighed,
reaching down and picking up the food dish. “It’s just...something has happened.”
“Hiss! Sss,” Fluffy nodded, understanding.
“Oh, no, Sloth didn’t turn my research
tapes into sludge again.” Al laughed, then sighed, then laughed a little more,
then wiped a tear from his eye. “Not that kind of something. Something...well,
I can’t really tell you, Fluffy. It’s something...traumatic...and confusing...and
Al pushed his glasses up on his face,
smacked his dry, quivering lips, and retreated back into the kitchen.
Fluffy held the door for a moment, watching
his owner scurry about in an attempt to find him more food. He frowned once
more, slithering away and letting the door swing back into the kitchen.
As the door rocked back and forth, in and
out of the kitchen with wooshing noises and slowing momentum, Fluffy sighed
as well, slithering towards the table and climbing up onto a seat, only able
to speculate on what could be wrong with his owner...
To be continued...