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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 21st day of Eating, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 112 > Continuing Series > Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Four

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Four

by stoneman3x

Stonekrawk3x had a strange look on his face as we made our way out of the Games Pavilion. The giant complex covered so many acres that it was actually on the edge of town rather than in it. The Poogle Solitaire grid was in a field next to it and clearly visible. But Stonewolf3x kept walking briskly towards the main section of town, his eyes focused grimly on the road ahead. Krawk, on the other hand, seemed to be twitching nervously. His eyes darted back and forth between the Poogle Solitaire field and the fire Lupe ahead of him so much he looked like he was watching an invisible Korbat's Lab match. Finally, he broke the tense silence.

     "Arrr, Cap'n," he drawled, "the Poogles be back now."

     Wolf didn't respond. But I knew he had heard him because his ears flattened even farther down his head. This was not a good sign. This was Lupe attack mode. But Krawk gamely tried again.

     "Arrr, Cap'n," he said a little more loudly and with a voice-clearing cough, "do ye want to play Poogle Solitaire now?"

     The fur on my Lupe's neck bristled like a Splyke that had just been run through a dryer. But he still didn't answer. Krawk shot me an accusing look. I figured it fell to me to somehow lighten Wolf's not-exactly-pleased mood.

     "What do you say we all stop for some dinner at Pizzaroo?" I said in the most sickeningly cheerful voice I could muster.

     I was pretty sure Wolf was going to torture me by not accepting my cheesy peace offering. But his Tyrannian Doglefox seemed to be more forgiving because his fluffy little tail thumped loudly in approval. Wolf shot him a sideways glance, which caused the fluffy little Tyrannian tail to freeze in mid-wag. It looked like it was suspended by the pause button on a TV remote control unit.

     After a moment Stonewolf3x snarled, "Whatever."

     The fluffy little Tyrannian tail was clicked out of pause and began to happily wag again. I had been pardoned by hunger pangs. As we turned onto Main Street and approached the main marketplace, a heady aroma of french fries and cheeseburgers filled the air. It was coming from the Burger Bar in the Neolodge.

     "Would you rather have burgers than pizza?" I asked as I sucked the smell of deep frying potatoes into my nostrils.

     "No, I wouldn't." Wolf replied flatly. I should have known he wouldn't agree to eat anything I obviously had a taste for.

     We walked across the square to Market Street and entered the Bazaar district where most of the food shops were located. The eager anticipation of the rare event of me actually spending more than five Neopoints on a meal seemed to spread through our group like wildfire.

     "Arrr, but I think I'll be having me a clam and meatball pizza," Krawk announced, smacking his lips for emphasis.

     "Ergy pizza! Ergy pizza!" the Crokabek on his shoulder squawked.

     "I think I'll have a chocolate chip pizza," an unfamiliar voice behind me chirped cheerfully.

     Two pets, two petpets and one human rotated 180 degrees simultaneously. Five dumbfounded faces looked at the grinning yellow Meerca at the end of the line. He smiled back at our collective mass of dropped jaws. When we continued to stare for several moments, the Meerca got a puzzled look on his face. He turned around to see what was behind him that we all found so fascinating. The instant his back turned, Stonewolf3x hissed accusingly in my direction.

     "What in blazing baby fireballs is HE doing here?"

     "Gee, Wolf, I don't know. Maybe I should ask him," I replied with a tinge of sarcasm that somehow just slipped out as a defense mechanism.

     The Meerca turned back to look at us again. He obviously had not found anything of interest behind himself and still had a bewildered expression. I stepped closer to the ball of fuzz bobbing on his reverse S-shaped tail.

     "Ummm..." I said haltingly, "what are you doing here?"

     The Meerca's forehead crinkled into deep ruts as he pondered what he must have thought was some sort of trick question. After a moment he seemed to come up with an answer because he beamed brightly.

     "We're going for pizza... right?"

     I turned and said to my Lupe, "We're going for pizza, Wolf."

     "Very funny," he snarled. "What is HE doing here?"

     "I haven't a clue Wolf. Maybe you should try asking him yourself," I replied with a shrug.

     Part of me knew my Lupe was about to get really steamed up and blame me for this new development, but another part of me couldn't help but think this was weirdly amusing. Wolf leveled a steely glare at the Meerca.

     "We are going for pizza. What are you doing?"

     The Meerca scooped up the tip of his arched tail and began twisting it nervously in his paws. The poor little guy actually looked like he was trying to figure out a Lenny Conundrum. After a long pause, my Lupe felt the need to press a little.

     "Well?" Wolf barked.

     The Meerca was startled out of his deep concentration and sprang about three feet backwards on his coiled tail.

     "I-I-I'm going for p-p-pizza?" he stammered.

     Wolf rolled his eyes and tossed up his paws in an "I give up" gesture.

     "Arrr, Cap'n, let me give 'im a crack," Krawk said, cutting in. He approached the Meerca and said calmly, "Arrr, but I think what we want to know, fuzzy-headed one, is why are ye following us?"

     The Meerca shook his head emphatically. "But I'm not following you," he replied.

     "You just happen to be going in the same direction as us at the same time, right?" Wolf scoffed with a disgusted snort.

     "No..." the Meerca replied with wide-eyed innocence. "I'm with HIM." A short, stubby yellow paw pointed in my direction.

     I could feel my eyebrows shoot so far up my skull that my hairline must have slipped to the back of my neck. I didn't have to see the smoldering hot glares coming from my Lupe and his pack to know they were there. I focused on the Meerca instead.

     "You're with me?" I echoed.

     The Meerca grinned and nodded energetically. I tossed a helpless look at the others, but I wasn't exactly receiving sympathetic looks back. It was obvious that I had gone from wading knee-deep in doo-doo to wading neck-deep in doo-doo.

     "Okaaaaaay..." I said slowly, "why don't we all go to Pizzaroo as planned? Then we can all sit down and sort this thing out."

     Wolf growled under his breath, but he turned and lead the way towards Pizzaroo. When we got there it was impossibly crowded. I had forgotten what a Neopetting zoo the place was during the dinner hour. I was sure that we wouldn't be able to find a table for all of us, but luckily for us Wolf found one right away. Of course, it wasn't very lucky for the five Cybunnies sitting there enjoying a carrot and cabbage pizza. They hit the floor and scattered like a dropped bag of peas the instant the massive Lupe walked in and headed straight for them.

     I suddenly got very nervous about the idea of leaving Stonewolf3x and a little Meerca alone together at a table while I went to order the pizza. I pulled my wallet out of my back pocket and shoved it in Stonekrawk3x's direction.

     "Here," I whispered, "take this and order the pizzas for us, okay?"

     "Arr, but ye be trusting a pirate with yer Neopoints?" Krawk replied, taking the wallet with his taloned claw.

     "Why not?" I shrugged. "If my Lupe can trust you with his life, I figure I can trust you with a couple of thousand Neopoints."

     "Then ye not be the sharpest crayon in the box, eh?" he said with a chuckle and a wink.

     As usual I didn't know whether I should laugh or suddenly be very afraid. So I smile-winced and headed for the table. I noticed that Wolf and Stonefox had taken the bench seat in the booth opposite from the Meerca. It was pretty obvious that they were saving a spot on their side for Krawk and Stonecrow by the gap they had left towards the window. The Meerca was alone on the other side but he was pretty much using the entire bench. He had discovered its trampoline-like qualities and was springing back and forth and up and down at the same time. He had the sugar dispenser in his paw and every downward thump sent a spray of white grains into the air.

     "Wheeee! It's snowing!" he squealed with glee.

     Super hemlock darts shot out of Wolf's eyes at me. Even after I slid in next to the Meerca, he continued to bounce energetically, showering me with a frosty granules. I finally grabbed him in mid-air and held him firmly down on the seat.

     "Ummm... let's not do that..." I said as gently as I could and pulled the almost empty sugar dispenser from his paw.

     He smiled at me with that cute, adorable infectious grin of his. Then he shook himself. Sugar sprayed off of his fur in all directions. I could now feel an entire roomful of super hemlock darts being launched at me. I was relieved to see Krawk approaching with a pizza box. Startled, but relieved. I was amazed by how quickly he had managed it, but I also could see that the carton was balanced on the flat edge of his jagged Krawk blade. Wolf and Stonefox shuffled across the bench to make room for him.

     Krawk flipped open the lid of the pizza box with his hook and declared, "Dig in, mateys! They be hot 'n fresh out 'o the oven!"

     I looked in the box. There were five slices of completely different kinds of pizza in it. The Meerca clapped his paws together excitedly and leapt into my lap. He looped his tail underneath himself like a cushion and wiggled his bottom into a comfortable postion. I was too stunned to do anything but sit there with a ball of yellow fuzz under my chin. Four slices quickly disappeared out of the box and into the paws and beak of two pets and their petpets. The last slice left was a chip butty pizza slice. It was a tomato and cheese pizza with french fries stuck in it. My favorite.

     "No chocolate chip pizza?" the Meerca said with disappointment.

     I lowered a disapproving gaze at the pirate Krawk across from me.

     "Arr, but I be a creature of habit, ye know," he said with a shrug.

     "It looks like Krawk confused a chip butty pizza with a chocolate chip pizza," I said, my eyes still fixed on Krawk. "But I think you'll like it. Why don't you try it and see?"

     I reached around the fluffy body on my lap and pulled the last slice out of the box and set it in front of the Meerca. I kept my eyes locked on Stonekrawk3x though. Within seconds he looked away from me. It was the first time I had ever stared him down.

     "Aren't you having any?" the Meerca asked, hesitating.

     "Nah. I don't really like pizza much," I lied.

     The Meerca plucked a fry off of the top of the slice. Clutching it between his two chubby paws, he began to nibble on it with gusto. After a full minute of making lip-smacking and munching noises mixed with "ummmm-yums" of pleasure, the Meerca had whittled it down about halfway. I had never seen anyone eat anything with so much energy and still take forever to get through it. I figured now would be a good time to try to talk to the little guy. So I decided to take the tactful, friendly approach and start with something easy, like asking him his name. It wasn't as easy as I thought it was going to be.

     "So, what's your name?" I asked casually.

     "Name?" the Meerca answered with a puzzled look.

     "What do they call you?"

     He got that Lenny Conundrum expression on his face again.

     "Meerca," he replied, as if the answer should have been obvious.

     "Well, that's what you are, but you must have a real name."

     "Name?" he echoed again.

     "Well, what did your parents call you?"


     "You know, the Mommy-type Meerca and the Daddy-type Meerca that you lived with before you got a job at the Meerca Chase arena. Parents."


     I was beginning to feel like a top-- spinning in circles but not exactly going anywhere.

     "Have you always been called just Meerca? Don't you have a real name? I can't just go around calling by your species name. That's not cool."

     The Meerca pondered this for a moment, sucking on his French fry deep in thought. Or at least as deep in thought as he was capable of.

     Finally he pointed at my fire Lupe and asked, "Does HE have a real name?"

     "Yes, of course," I replied.

     "What's his name?"

     "Wolf." I replied.

     The Meerca looked puzzled for a moment and then motioned towards the Tyrannian Doglefox sitting next to Wolf.

     "What's his name?"

     "That's Fox," I replied.

     The Meerca wagged a chunky finger at the Krawk opposite us. "And him?" he asked, a squeak of utter bewilderment rising in his voice.

     "Uh... Krawk..." I replied, suddenly realizing where the Meerca was going with this line of questioning.

     "Arr, and he be Man!" Krawk piped up, swinging his shimmering golden hook in my direction.

     "I'm really confused..." the Meerca said, his forehead crinkling like a folded fan.

     "The name suits you," Wolf snickered, winking at Krawk.

     Krawk chuckled and grinned back at him.

     "I'm really confused?" the Meerca asked earnestly.

     "Obviously," Wolf replied with a smirk that drew an even louder chuckle from Krawk.

     "Wheee!" the Meerca shouted happily and rocketed out of my lap and three feet into the air. He began to bounce wildly on the bench seat again like a springy toy gone haywire. "I have a name! I'm Reallyconfused! I'm Reallyconfused!" he screeched with alarming, but charming, delight.

     I glared at Wolf and Krawk who were doubled up with laughter and slapping each on the back with conspiratorial victory. I wanted desperately to tell the poor thing that they were making fun of him. That he apparently didn't have a real name. But he was so happy about it, I couldn't bring myself to tell him. Even so, Wolf and Krawk had no idea that their little joke was going to backfire on them, and sooner than anyone could have expected.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part One

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Two

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Three

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Five

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Six

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Seven

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Eight

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Nine

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Ten

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Eleven

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Twelve

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Thrirteen

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