Submit your pet to the Pet Spotlight!
Pet Name: embercat999
“Hello, my name is Embercat999, and I…”
“Ember? What are you doing?” The startled Usul twitched slightly but quickly recovered as she turned to face her questioner, a cloud Aisha by the name of Pandora.
“Oh, nothing, just writing an entry for the Pet Spotlight,” Ember answered casually.
“Oh cool!” said the Aisha excitedly. “Good luck with that! I hope you get picked!”
“Thanks,” smiled Ember as she continued scrawling in her glittery notebook while Pandora resumed wiping the counter she had been cleaning just moments before. Ember picked up where she had left off. “…I am a Usul who lives in Neopia Central. I know I don’t live in the most exciting place in the world, but I like it here well enough. Someday, though, I’d like to venture out and travel Neopia. I have big dreams, though sadly I don’t have the means to fulfill them just yet…”
“EMBER!” Barked an irate looking Zafara. “Your break’s over! Stop scribbling and get back to work!”
“Yes sir, Mr. Jimm, sir!” called Ember. Before closing her notebook, however, she added a few more thoughts to her letter. “I currently work in a Cocoa shop located in a small corner of the Neopian Market Place. My family isn’t the richest in Neopia, but we live pretty well. Working here is difficult sometimes though. The work itself isn’t so bad, but let me tell you, temptation is everywhere.” She paused and raised her pencil to her lips as she carefully thought of what she wanted to say next.
“I know a lot of pets probably think that working in a restaurant that serves chocolate all day would be a dream job, but trust me, it’s not all it’s made out to be. For one thing, you can’t eat any chocolate while you’re working. Plus you have to deal with unpredictable customers, and if you don’t serve them fast enough they get angry at you and walk out without even leaving a tip! But do you want to know the biggest drawback of working in a place like this? It becomes ten times as hard to deal with if you just happen to be made of chocolate, like I am.”
“Right, sorry sir! Coming!” The chocolate waitress exclaimed as she rushed to the kitchen to grab a fresh batch of hot chocolate chip cookies. Her decadent tail danced from side to side as she maneuvered safely over to the oven and grabbed the plate that she would soon be serving to table 7. Before retreating from the safety of the kitchen and returning to the workplace, however, Ember regained her composure as best she could. She wiped a few stray crumbs off her red work skirt, tightened the string on her apron, and adjusted the headband that sat gently upon her head. She then sighed to herself, wondering when she would be able to start working on her letter again before picking up the plate of cookies in one hand, and a carafe of borovan in the other.
She quickly hurried over to a table where three hungry patrons sat, patiently awaiting their scrumptious treats. Ember set the plate down in the center of the table as the customers thanked her and soon began dividing up cookies among themselves. As she stepped away from the table and watched the customers unceremoniously have their fill, she began to ponder what she was going to write next in her letter to the Pet Spotlight Competition.
“I think what I hate most about my job is the fact that I’m separated by an official title from the pets that I serve. I am a public servant, and that’s all they see me as. It creates a feeling of loneliness most people wouldn’t believe.”
“Are you STILL writing that stupid letter?” barked Jimm. “It’s been distracting you for hours now and it’s making your work suffer!”
“I know, and I’m sorry about that,” said Ember, “But I really think I might have a shot at this.” Jimm looked down at her with dismay.
“Look, whatever fantasies you want to conjure up about fame and fortune for yourself are your own business, but…”
“This isn’t a fantasy! It could really happen! All I have to do is send in this letter and then all of Neopia could know my story!” Ember then gave an optimistic smile. “I know it’s a long shot, but if I get picked, I could start living out my lifelong dream!”
Jimm gave her a quizzical look. “And what’s that?”
Ember smirked at him and said, “Well, since I’m not going to win anyway, there’s really no point in telling you.”
Jimm shrugged. “Fair enough. But your second break is over. Now concentrate and make sure you don’t mess up any orders!”
“Yes, sir,” said Ember, as she patted the chocolate-colored bow resting on her tail and went over to take the orders of two hungry Skeiths over at table 4. She walked over to their table and greeted them warmly. “Hello! What can I get for you today?” As she asked this, however, one of the Skeiths, who was apparently too hungry to wait five minutes for a slice of cake, slid off his seat and attempted to take a bite out of Ember’s bow. But instead of biting into a delectable piece of chocolate tail-bow, he made a rather shocking discovery.
“Oww!” cried the Skeith in pain as he held his claws to his teeth. Ember turned around in surprise, and then a smile slowly crept across her face as she began to giggle. The Skeith was not amused by this.
“That’s not chocolate,” whined the Skeith. “What in Neopia is that bow made of?!”
Ember smirked. “It’s actually made out of…gold.”
“Gold?” questioned the hungry Skeith’s companion.
“Yes,” said Ember, “Gold. You’d be surprised how many times pets try to bite into that thing.” She then let out a big laugh. “Hey, a chocolate pet has to protect herself somehow.”
“You wouldn’t believe how many times that gold bow has come in handy,” wrote Ember as she resumed her letter. “And it’s not just the Grarrls and Skeiths that try to take a chomp out of my tail. I don’t think I really need to tell you how hard it can be to be made of chocolate. My kind may not be all that common, but I’m sure you’ve met enough of us to know that going out into public can be a nightmare.” She paused for a moment, and then resumed. “But you know what? I wouldn’t change who I am for anything, even if it meant never having to worry about being eaten ever again, or never having to work another day. I’m proud of who I am. I have big dreams, dreams that few pets in this world are capable of having come true. But no matter what happens, I’m not giving up on them. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. Enclosed is a picture of me working at the restaurant. I hope to hear back from you.” Ember dropped her pencil at once as her head fell into her arms as she lay against the counter of the Cocoa Shop. She had finally finished. Jimm noticed this and strolled over to her.
“So are you finally done with this nonsense?” he asked briskly.
“Yes,” said Ember weakly. “It took me hours but I finally did it. Now I just hope something comes of it.”
Jimm shook his head slightly. “Why are you so obsessed with this? Who cares if a team of judges far away likes you or not?” He then came down to her eye level and looked at her seriously. “And since when do you care what other people think of you?”
Ember pondered this a bit and lifted her head. “I won’t be sad if I don’t make it. It’s not going to break my heart if they don’t like me. But the important thing here is that at least I’m trying.” She then stood up and made her way towards the door. “I’ve got the weekend off. I’ll see you on Monday.”
“See you Monday,” said Jimm. He then promptly laughed to himself. “What a foolish dreamer,” he said as he watched her go.
Monday soon arrived, and Jimm patiently waited for his staff to show up for work and prepare for the day ahead. But at 8:00 he found that one employee was still absent.
“Where’s Ember?!” he scowled. “She was supposed to be here by now! Still wasting time on that dumb Spotlight, no doubt! When is she going to learn that those things are almost never worth it?”
At that moment the door to the restaurant opened and Ember strolled in with a smile that showed that her wish had been granted. Jimm glared at her angrily.
“You’re late AGAIN!” he seethed. “What excuse do you have this time?”
Ember blushed slightly but calmly gave her response. “I’m sorry, sir, but I just got word last night that the Spotlight Committee received my letter, and they told me that I’m one of just a few pets this week that they are going to interview for a chance at winning the spotlight!” she squealed excitedly, catching Pandora’s attention now.
“Wow, that’s so great!” Pandora cheered. “Good luck Ember! I knew you had it in you.”
“Thanks,” answered Ember. “They want to meet with me today,” she began, looking up carefully at Jimm, waiting for a retort. When receiving none she continued, “And the interview will most likely take the entire day,” she said.
Jimm gave a look of disbelief, but then quietly answered, “Go.” His reaction surprised Ember.
“Really?” she asked incredulously.
“Yes,” he said. “We’ll still be here when you get back. But tell me, now that you actually have a shot at this, what is your lifelong dream?”
Ember gave off a shy smile before saying, “I want to be a fashion model. I haven’t seen too many dressed as waitresses, so maybe I could start a trend. Jimm nodded approvingly. “Well,” Ember began again, “I have to get ready for my interview. I’ll see you later!” she called as she headed out the door, her tail bouncing excitedly behind her. Jimm and Pandora stared after her in silence.
“Do you think she’ll win?” asked Pandora finally.
“I don’t know,” said Jimm. “It’s doubtful. But you never know; she’s made it this far, right?” He then momentarily disappeared behind the back counter and reemerged with a small cardboard sign reading “Help Wanted” and a roll of tape and carefully stuck the sign to the front window. Pandora watched with amusement. Jimm let out a little laugh to himself.
“Just in case,” he said, grinning.
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