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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 19th day of Swimming, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 68 > Short Stories > The Case of the Missing Funny

The Case of the Missing Funny

by leb388

"Darn you cold Storing days," I muttered, making my way toward my owner's NeoHome. "It's only afternoon! Why can't it be warm, just once?"

     Oh well, Celebrating is almost here, and that means the Advent Calendar, I thought, making my way to the door. I clutched a bag full of food and items from a day's worth of traveling, and my daily Neopoint earnings rested in my pocket. I opened the door carefully, since my Selket petpet, Leaf, always ran to the door trying to get out when I came in, but that time he didn't seem to be there. Probably sleeping, I thought as I walked in. Suddenly I screamed, dropped the bag, and slipped a piece of paper that was on the floor.

     Back up for a moment. I'm Li, a Desert Aisha, and my owner is leb388. I see a lot of crazy things, and screaming is my usual reaction to them. Having no opposable thumb, much less fingers, I do drop things commonly. Plus, being a naturally four-legged Neopet, I have trouble walking as my owner does on two legs. Therefore I'm constantly falling over, especially when my siblings leave papers and other items on the floor. However, I had yet to do all three things at once.

     Until now. Sitting on the couch in my owner's Neoliving Room, casual as can be, sat an Island Poogle. "Hey, Li," it said.

     Stunned and trying to stand up, I murmured: "Who are you? How do you know my name?"

     "Li, it's me--CP30!"

     "Oh," I replied, relieved but still a bit shocked. "Could you quit it with the Lab Ray? It's getting annoying. Every time you change species, I think that leb388's account was hacked."

     "It wasn't. But look at me!" He grinned. "I'm Island!"

     "So are you going to stop doing the Lab Ray?"

     "Yep!" he exclaimed happily. "Leb388 said I could stop doing it when I found something I wanted to be. And I found it."

     I rolled my eyes. My little brother ConspiracyPhreak3_0, or CP30 as my family called him, had been using a daily zapping game of chance called the Lab Ray. If you don't know, it can increase or decrease your stats and change your species, colour, or gender. CP30 had originated as a Green Grundo, but he was unhappy with his old species, so he started the Ray.

     "And leb388 already knows about my decision," he continued.

     Puzzled, I followed CP30 to the kitchen. Sure enough, our owner was sitting at the kitchen table, quietly reading to herself. "Leb388, you agreed to let me stop doing the Lab Ray, right?"

     She looked up. "Oh, yeah. Hi, Li."

     I sighed. Somehow leb388 had some books from her world she could read again and again without having them disappear. She never let us read them, of course ("Just in case....").

     CP30 and I walked out of the kitchen and into the living room, though we could still hear our owner studying aloud. "Anyway, Li, I've got you a birthday present," CP30 announced.

     "Really?" I asked, a bit surprised. "But my birthday was, like, two months ago. Leb388 already threw me a party and gave me presents."

     "But I didn't get you a present! And I felt bad, since it was your one-year birthday and all. So here." He trotted over to the couch, where for the first time I saw a wrapped package. He handed it to me. "Open it!"

     "Okay...." I ripped the paper and looked inside the package. "It's--um, great! Thanks."

     "I knew you'd like it!" he exclaimed, obviously not noticing how confused I was. It was a plain cardboard box with a Serf Lens, Pencil of the Earth Faerie, and a Diary inside.

     "It's for exploring and writing," he explained. "I've got my own set, too; only I have some Colouring Pencils instead of the Pencil of the Earth Faerie--that took me forever to save, and it's your birthday present. The rest is so that we can be partners in the Neopian Explorers and Mystery Solvers!"

     "You mean, like detectives?"

     "Sort of, but it's a little different. Cases don't find us. We find them."

     "Oh, okay...well, if you're going to go professional with your Island Poogle look and NEMS thing, you should get a better nickname than CP30," I joked. "But R2D2's name is fine."

     He nodded. R2D2 was his Avabot petpet. "That sounds cool. I haven't seen D2 all day, though. Maybe he was hiding somewhere and fell asleep."

     "I saw Leaf right before I left this morning," I said, "but he usually scurries to the door when he hears me coming in, and when I came in a few minutes ago he wasn't there."

     "That's awfully suspicious," he agreed. "Maybe we should look into that as a case."

     "Guys, are you plotting to take over Neopia?" leb388 called from the kitchen.

     "No!" CP30 yelled back.

     "Okay, good!" Leb388 went back to her mumbled reading, and we could catch bits of what she was saying. "Ramus--branch...."

     "She's studying Latin--it's an old language from her world," CP30 explained. Then he looked puzzled. "What were we talking about before leb388 interrupted?"

     "Um...I can't remember--wait! About how you should have a nickname." Looking back, though, I realise now that we'd forgotten about the lost petpets....

     "Oh, right. What should I use, though?"

     "Something that says 'I'm an eye-catcher!' or 'I'm Island so everyone's going to stare at me!'" I joked.

     "Conspicit--catches sight of...." leb388 muttered from the kitchen.

     I looked at CP30, smiling at my own unintentional timing. He grinned back, too.

     "Conspicit it is. It even sounds like my name--ConspiracyPhreak3_0."

     "Exactly. Now, what should our first case be as, um...." I started.

     "Neopian Explorers and Mystery Solvers," CP30--I mean Conspicit--explained.

     "Yeah. That. If a case won't come to us, we should--"

     "LAURA!" came a shout from outside.

The Case
     Conspicit ran to the door. Jamezbfod, my owner's brother, was standing there. "Where's Laura? I lost the funny!" he exclaimed.

     "Calm down, Jamez! Leb388's in the kitchen," I told him.

     "Thanks, talking cat!" he yelled, running off.

     I rolled my eyes. "What's a cat?"

     "I don't know. Jamez is just weird," Conspicit replied. "I mean, 'I lost the funny'? What's up with that?"

     We walked over to the kitchen to see what the fuss was about. Jamez didn't look like he was joking; in fact, he looked more serious than I'd ever seen him.

     "Laura, I can't find the funny! I just can't!"

     "Jamez, my name is leb388 here. And what 'funny'?" our owner asked.

     "The funny. My funny. I can't find the funny. I have looked up, I have looked down. I have looked left, I have looked right. I have looked over hills, I have looked under hills, and I even managed to turn some of the hills inside-out--which was okay because I got some gold nuggets out of the deal--but the funny wasn't there! Where's the funny?"

     "You mean, your sense of humour?" Conspicit inquired.

     "Yeah, what the Hawaiian dog said. I can't find it!"

     "Chill, Jamez!" I exclaimed. "Conspicit's an Island Poogle, not a--whatever you said. And we can help! We're, um--uh--"

     "Neopian Explorers and Mystery Solvers," Conspicit offered. "NEMS."

     "Right! We're that!"

     "Really? Can you solve the mystery of my missing funny?" Jamez asked hopefully.

     "We'll try," Conspicit said simply. "Li, come on."

     We walked out, leaving behind two very confused Neopians. "What do you think of it?" I asked Conspicit, as we stopped on the front porch for a minute. It was getting dark outside, but the chilly temperature remained the same.

     He shrugged his Poogle shoulders. "I don't know. I don't think he'd be faking it--his plea sounded genuine."

     "Jamez would tend to lose abstract things," I mused. "But how do we find a 'funny'?"

     "I don't know. But we should record this before we try to find out." He took out his Diary and opened it to the first page. "You should write this down, too. '21st of Storing, Y4. The Case of the Missing Funny. Brought to the attention of the NEMS officials Conspicit: Private Eye, and Li: Junior Private Eye.'"

     "Private Eye? That sounds weird. You know I can hear better than I can see--I'm an Aisha, after all. And get rid of that 'Junior' thing," I protested, anxiously scribbling down the beginning of his message.

     "Fine, fine." He crossed out the last three words of his work. "Do you want to be a Private Ear or something?"

     "That sounds cool," I laughed. "Li: Private Ear--Desert Aisha Detective."

     "Not 'detective'. Neopian Explorer--"

     "Okay, okay, let's just start looking for clues! How about Jamez's NeoHome to start?

The Scene
     "It was just a normal day--the only thing different was that Jamez hadn't been online for about three days before. I don't know what went wrong. I told a joke, and Jamez didn't laugh. I told another one, and then I said, 'Hey, Jamez, maybe you just lost your sense of humour,' and then he got this crazy idea that he 'lost' his 'funny.'"

     "Thanks, Six, you've been very helpful," Conspicit said, jotting down notes. I didn't write anything since I could remember all that was being said, but Conspicit was jotting down notes like a true Neojournalist. He was interviewing Jamezbfod's pets, and had started with Six75, who at the time was a Blue Shoyru.

     "I have some information that may be of help," offered ObiGrarrlKenobi, Jamez's Fire Grarrl. ObiGrarrl was meditating for some reason, and he was perfectly content sitting on a little cushion, talking to us with his eyes closed.

     "Go on." Conspicit nodded.

     "Well, Six's jokes fail to be amusing--" Six scoffed and walked away-- "but Jamez did seem to be unbalanced lately. I fail to understand the cause, but if he meditated more perhaps his soul would be cleansed and balance would return."

     I rolled my eyes. Cleansed? Balance? Not even that can help Jamez....

     "Thank you, ObiGrarrlKenobi, you've also been very helpful," Conspicit replied, while jotting down more notes. "Anyone else?"

     "I might be able to help, too," SirenSalo, Jamez's Red Gelert, said. "You see, Jamez was upset lately, but he used to be a cool guy--you know, the take-charge, fun-loving type of guy. Maybe something in the Real World upset him, since he didn't come to Neopia for a few days. I've been upset lately, too, because my petpet's missing."

     "Mine as well," ObiGrarrl added. "We've been looking for them."

     "I see...I see..." Conspicit muttered. "Li? Make a note to look into that. Now, Wingston36?" He looked at Jamez's Fire Scorchio.

     "I dunno, dude. Jamez is just a dude. Dude, like, yo? He's all been dude-upset over somethin' lately, dude."

     What? I thought. Jamez had some weird pets. Except for SirenSalo; he sounds like he's on to something. But where's the proof? Something clicked. "Conspicit...I think we're looking for something we have. We need to look for something we don't have."

     "Eh?"

     "Oh, just come on," I muttered, walking out.

The Clue
     
"You think the missing petpets have something to do with it?" Conspicit asked. "We need to search further, but I think you're right." We were back to the drawing board; but since Conspicit hadn't thought of getting a drawing board, we were back on the couch in our NeoHome.

     "Leb388 told us what happened," Pegasus said, sitting down on a nearby chair. She was joined by Lebmon, our Striped Pteri sister.

     "What'd she say?" Conspicit asked.

     "That Jamez lost something called his 'funny,'" Pegasus laughed. She was the oldest Neopet in our family, and was a White Tonu. "Nice new look, CP30."

     "Thanks, Pegasus," he replied. "But it's 'Conspicit' now."

     "What?"

     "Um, nothing," I interjected quickly. "He just has a new nickname."

     "Okay. Well, what we came to ask you was--have you seen Bounce or Snicker?"

     Bounce was Pegasus' Poppit, and Snicker was Lebmon's Faerie Diddler. "You can't find them?" I gasped. "I haven't seen Leaf since this morning, either!"

     "And R2D2!" Conspicit exclaimed. "I thought he was just sleeping our hiding somewhere! This could be it, Li! All our petpets are missing!"

     We concluded that my Selket, Leaf, and Conspicit's Avabot, R2D2, were missing along with Pegasus and Lebmon's petpets.

     "It all fits," I said. "Conspicit, remember when you told me to write down that ObiGrarrlKenobi and SirenSalo's petpets were missing? Six75 was out of the room and Wingston36 wasn't paying attention, so maybe theirs were missing as well--"

     "But where could they all have gone to?" he interrupted.

     No one said anything. "Well, I'm going to find out." I stood up and walked to the door, but slipped on a piece of paper and nearly tripped. "Ugh, this stupid thing! I tripped on it this afternoon when I came in, too!" I crumpled it up and tossed it in a nearby trash can.

     "Wait--I thought I saw writing on it," Conspicit said, running to retrieve the paper. He opened it and sure enough, in messy, almost petpet scrawl, was the following word:

Turmaculus

Solution
     
Sure enough, we found our petpets in Meridell. Jamez and his four pets had been there a few days before, and they had brought their petpets along and unknowingly left them behind. Sensing trouble, our petpets left the morning this story took place to find their petpet friends. Jamez had been sad because his Neopets' petpets had been lost, and his Neopets were so busy looking for them that didn't pay much attention to Jamez.

     I had actually been liking the solitude of not having Leaf around, but that's just me. At first I thought that the Case of the Missing Funny was a dilemma, but with eight petpets missing, we had larger problems. And when we found 7, we had an even more difficult problem: The Turmaculus had eaten R2D2.

     "Why couldn't it have been Leaf?" I wailed.

     Conspicit stared at me for a moment, but then turned angrily to the Turmaculus. "I'll poke you good!" Conspicit exclaimed. He took a stick and started poking the Turmaculus with it. "That's for eating my petpet!"

     We followed Conspicit by whacking the Turmaculus with some pots and pans, and whatever other items we could find scattered around the Turmaculus. Finally, the Turmaculus spit out R2D2, but he had eaten a Petpet Morphing Potion (Darn, and it was the only one in Neopia, too!) previous to swallowing Conspicit's Avabot, and R2D2 had changed to a Buzzer.

     "Are you okay, D2?" Conspicit asked him.

     "Bzz," he replied dizzily.

     "You're okay!" Conspicit exclaimed, hugging him.

     "Well, I guess that solves it," I said, trying to peel Leaf off my paw. "Jamez was unhappy because his petpets were missing and that his pets weren't spending much time with him, but he didn't know it. Right, Jamez?" Silence. "JAMEZ?"

     "Here!" Jamez called, while loading a bunch of the Turmaculus' items into a sack. "I found some cool stuff. Oooh, codestones! But where's my funny?"

     "That means--" I stammered.

     "ROOOOOOWWWRRRRRRRR!" the Turmaculus exclaimed, getting up to chase us.

     "Ahhhh! We're being chased by an overgrown petpet!" leb388 exclaimed. "Neopia has become what I've always feared! RUN!"

     We all decided that running was a good idea, and we followed leb388. But before it could limp a few steps, the Turmaculus gave up and went back to sleep.

     "Shouldn't we stop running?" Conspicit shouted.

     "Nah," leb388 yelled back. "We're almost home!"

     Sure enough, we soon were. "We did all this work and didn't even solve the case?" I groaned when we reached leb388's NeoHome.

     "Well, we did find our petpets," Conspicit offered. "And I don't think Jamez ever lost his funny. Maybe he had it all along or something."

     Leb388 threw a party a few minutes later because we found the petpets, and she invited Jamez and his Neopets and, of course, their petpets. It wasn't a great party--it was more like leb388 inviting everyone to our NeoHome, and then giving out food.

     Jamez sat down on the couch next to Conspicit and me. "Did you find my funny?" he asked sadly.

     "Jamez, we need to talk. I think--"

     But Jamez ignored Conspicit and suddenly jumped up. "Wait!" He pulled off the cushions of the couch and stuck his head in for a moment. "My funny! I found it!" He put the cushions back on and sat down with a smile.

     I looked at Conspicit. He didn't have a clue, either.

     "Well, I'm glad everything turned out well," Conspicit laughed.

     "Yeah," I sighed. "Even if we didn't solve the Case of the Missing Funny, Jamez apparently did."

     All in all, it was a pretty crazy day. When the party was over, Jamez left Neopia re-funnied, and leb388 left less-studied. But everyone was happy. Except maybe for R2D2, who changed species, but he's only a minor character, so who cares? This has been Li, and NOT leb388, reporting on everyday events in my crazy life. Have a good day, and may the funny be with you.

The End

Leb388's Note: Well, I hope you enjoyed (or didn't dislike too much) this little detective-style story featuring my Aisha and Poogle. If this style is well-liked, I'll continue writing short stories about the NEMS. Neomail me if you have any advice, criticism, or suggestions, and thanks for reading!

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