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The Right Kind of Family

by _ducky_dude__



     Slowly I went down the stairs. I was in for it now. You could always tell, if Shelly uses your full name, your crime has been discovered.

     "Joseph, do you know who's responsible for the destruction of Kell's Usukis?"

     I shuffled from one foot to another while trying to put on an I don't know what you're talking about but I'll see if I can help sort of expression. Believe me, this is not the easiest expression for a cornered Lupe to make.

     I was just about to burst into a hastily made-up explanation, when Mill burst into the room.

     "Shelly! Bo's stuck in the toilet!"

     "Not again!" my owner sighed. She turned to me. "Stay here, I'll deal with you in a minute." Then she ran off to the bathroom shouting, "Hang on, Bo!"

     I slumped into a chair. That had been a close one. During the course of three days, my little sister, Kell, or Kelly to call her by her full name, had ripped the head off of my Jeran plushie, eaten my secret collection of chocolate Jerans, stolen all my Neopoints which I was saving up for more Jeran stuff and spent it on Usukis. Who wouldn't want revenge?

     From the bathroom I heard cries of "NO, KELL! PLEASE DON'T FLUSH!"

     I grimaced as I heard the sound of the toilet flushing.

     My family isn't just your average family. There are five of us: my owner Shelly; me (Joseph), a Split Lupe and the oldest; Milly, a Cloud Shoyru and the second oldest; Kelly the pink Uni, the second youngest; and finally Bonan the Skunk JubJub, who is the youngest.

     I'm a very big fan of Jeran; in my room you can't see the walls, carpets or furniture because it's covered in so much Jeran stuff. I spend most of my time practising my swordsmanship in the garden and writing fan letters to Jeran. I always get my revenge on tricksters and hate people with no sense of humour.

     My sister Mill is a big fan of the faeries and flying. Her room looks like it's suspended in the air along with her head, as she's a bit of a daydreamer. No, I take that back. She is the biggest daydreamer I have ever seen. Even if the world exploded around her she still wouldn't snap out of it. Yet, surprisingly she is quite a good writer.

     Kell is obsessed with Usukis. Her room looks like the Usuki shop, except bigger! She also likes make-up, grooming herself and anything girly. Her room is an explosion of pink; it's so pink that I have to wear sunglasses every time I go into it. She hates anyone who hates pink. In other words, me.

     And finally, Bo. The JubJub is obsessed with toilets. I know, of all the things in Neopia, he just had to choose toilets. His room is a bathroom with a bed in it and extra toilets, and he enjoys getting stuck in lavatories. Guess what he dressed up as one Halloween? A Spooky Toilet. Now that is just plain weird.

     Shelly came out of the bathroom carrying a dripping Bo. Kell had been scolded for flushing the loo, but by now it was such a regular occurrence that Shelly had hardly bothered to put much power in it.

     While this was happening, I slipped off to the breakfast table. I had been planning to spend most of the morning in my bedroom and slip downstairs just before we left for school, to avoid being caught. But now I thought I might as well have some breakfast.

     There was no one else at the table, only a book to show where Mill had been sitting. I grabbed some toast and a cup of orange juice and began to eat. Then I took my backpack and set out the door. Just as I closed it behind me I heard Shelly shout, "JOE!"

     For the first time in my life I arrived at school early.


     I was sitting with my head in one hand, eyes half closed, basically not listening to what the teacher was saying. To me it sounded like.

     "Bla bla bla... homework... bla bla bla... foreign... bla bla bla... trip away..."

     Wait a minute.

     "Trip away?" I shouted. Everyone turned around to look at me.

     "Yes, Joseph, a trip away. Please sit down. Anyway, as I was saying, it has been arranged for a foreign exchange student to come over from Meridell for two weeks, and the school is looking for volunteers to go in his place. I have forms here, and the winner will be picked on Friday. Their family will have the new person to stay. Of course, this is completely optional..."

     I was out of my seat before she finished. I was the first to the front to pick up a form. This was it. My chance to see what it was like to be part of a normal family. And Meridell, wasn't... wasn't that...

     Wasn't that where JERAN lived?

     I ran home from school that day. I burst through the door into the kitchen where Shelly was making dinner. "Shelly can you sign this for me 'cause I wanna go to Meridell 'cause that's where Jeran lives!" I asked excitedly. Shelly looked at me for a moment, slowly she opened her mouth, and said..


     I sighed. "I SAID, can you sign this form for me, because there's a foreign exchange student coming and I want to go in his place. He lives in Meridell, and he's coming over for two weeks," I explained slowly.

     "Well, Joe, I'm not quite sure I want you to go away..."

     "NOOO!!!" I shrieked. "Please let me go! It'll be educational! I'll learn about different lives! I'LL GET TO MEET JERAN!" I fell to my knees and burst into over enthusiastic tears, reflecting on how it got easier to make them come each time. Shelly sighed.

     "Well, I suppose if it's just for two weeks..." she mumbled. "Joe, you have to remember that you might not be picked, and..."

     "YES!" I shouted. I ran up to my room, whooping with delight. I looked around my room for my favourite Jeran poster. With the utmost care I took it down. This was the one I would get signed. I cheered again. "YES!"


     A week later I was standing on the pier. My family was with me, hugging me, kissing me, begging me not to go, making me promise to write and, in Bo's case, telling me to bring him back a Meridell toilet seat. They looked out to sea. "Are you really going to cross all of that?" Kell asked, her eyes wide in amazement.

     "Yep," I said with a smile. "Well, I'd better be going!" I smiled. Laden down with bags, I climbed onto the ferry. I waved as we set off. My family waved and shouted back. I watched until they were out of sight.

     I sat down on a set and stretched. I let out a contented sigh.

     I was on the ferry.

     And I couldn't be more happy.


     Two days later I was in Meridell.

     And I couldn't be more miserable.

     The exchange student's family were nice enough. He had a younger brother called Michael and an older sister named Jane, and his owner Tim was nice, but... well...

     They were just so BORING.

     I know. I, Joseph, forever complaining about my family, forever wishing they were different, the same Joseph who had begged to be allowed to come to Meridell, was complaining about a boring family.

     And another thing, everything was made of wood! There was almost no technology, and all that was in my bedroom was a bed, a bedside table and a wardrobe. That was it. Nothing else.

     And the games weren't all that great either. I mean, who on earth wants to watch a cheese roll down a hill? Yay, I won a cheese. Joy.

     I guess the family didn't mean to ignore me, but I felt really left out. I missed Mill's air headedness. I missed Kell's pinkness. I even missed the daily drama of Bo getting stuck in the toilet. I wanted to go home.

     But I would have been able to bear all of this, if it wasn't for what happened on my fourth day there.

     We were finally going to the castle, to see the army and King Skarl. I had my Jeran poster folded neatly and put in my pocket. I couldn't wait. But when we got there, I couldn't find him. I decided to ask the King where he was.

     "Where's Jeran, your Majesty?" I asked.

     "That's not very funny," he replied.

     "Your Majesty, I'm serious," I said.

     "Oh," said the King grumpily. "Well, if you must know, he and the rest of the army left for a training session in Altador yesterday."


     I fell to my knees.

     "NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" I yelled.

     "That's not very funny," said the king.


     I was practically jumping off the boat as we pulled up. I ran off into Shelly's waiting arms. She seemed shocked. "Well, Joe, I didn't expect for such a warm hello!" she smiled.

     "Yeah," Mill agreed, "from the way you looked as you got on the boat we thought you'd never want to come back!"

     "So did I," I admitted. "But while I was away I realised that I need the right kind of things. The right kind of school, the right kind of friends, the right kind of home. And I'm lucky, because although I haven't realised it, I've always had the right kind of family."

The End

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