The starry Eyrie sat hunched over the metal table with his head resting on the arms gazing at the giant, pale avocado that was sitting perfectly atop a black, velvety pedestal. He began to drool at the sight of it.
“I like avocadoes,” he thought whimsically.
“No! no! no! This is all wrong!” the avocado said.
The Eyrie blinked several times. Two red eyes appeared on the avocado, and below them a thin grimace like someone had cut into the fruit.
“We must do something!” the avocado said.
The table shook as the avocado creature slammed its fists on the table. The Eyrie sat up, attentive.
“Do about what, sir, er, Dr. Sloth?” the lank, green Grundo sitting next to him asked.
“This!” Dr. Sloth replied, showing everyone the paper he was reading.
“Oh,” said the robot Wocky, relaxing in her leather seat. “Sweetheart is at Mr. Chipper’s ice cream cart. I saw her there yesterday as well. She must really like ice cream.”
“He,” the red Mynci sitting next to the Wocky said dryly. “Sweetheart is a he.”
“Really?” the Wocky replied.
“Enough!” shouted Dr. Sloth. “We must do something about the Snowickle Snackbeast!”
“Snowbeast Snakrifrice, sir,” the Grundo corrected.
The Mynci smirked. “You forgot a ‘c’ in Snackrifice.”
“There are no typos when you are talking!” the Grundo retorted.
Dr. Sloth continued as if everyone was still listening to him, “If everyone starts feeding petpets to the Snowbeast, then fewer people will be feeding petpets to Florg. We need more people to feed Florg!”
“We could destroy the Snowbeast,” suggested the blue-gray Blumaroo who had been sitting in silence, unamused by the antics of his colleagues. He tented his fingers and waited for his praise.
“Very good. Very good, Commander Garoo!” Dr. Sloth applauded. “We shall commence at once!”
“But sir,” pled the Grundo. He adjusted his glasses before continuing. “We no longer have the resources to do so and that pesky Hannah may interfere with our plans as she did with the Thieves Guild.”
“That was over two years ago,” the Wocky replied sleepily. “Besides, didn’t you turn her into a mutant, sir?”
Dr. Sloth stared blankly at the Wocky.
The Mynci broke the silence. “I heard she was with Kan—”
“I have the answer, sir!” the Eyrie interrupted, standing up proudly. “Why is it that people do not like playing Feed Florg?”
“Because he eats petpets?” the Wocky guessed.
“No, well yes, sort of, but no.”
“Because he smells?” guessed the Grundo.
“Because it’s boring?” the Mynci guessed.
“No and no, well, yes and yes, but still no.”
The trio looked from one to the other, confused as to how they could be right and wrong at the same time.
“Because it is excruciatingly frustrating how you half-wits cannot begin to grasp the fringes of such a painfully obvious answer,” Garoo growled.
“Yes! Because it is frustrating! Because feeding Florg is frustrating, people stop playing!” the Eyrie exclaimed. He turned to Dr. Sloth. “And what is it you do, sir, when you are frustrated.”
Dr. Sloth grinned menacingly. “Turn items into sludge.”
That was not the answer the Eyrie was looking for, but he dared not to correct Dr. Sloth.
“Yes! You take it out on someone else!” the Eyrie said, raising his arms in feigned awe of Dr. Sloth’s aptitude. “Everyone here does that, don’t they? They take out their frustration on someone else. That’s why we’re here.”
Everyone nodded and mumbled in agreement.
“So this is what we do. We channel this frustration into a rationale for feeding Florg!” the Eyrie suggested.
“I’m listening,” Dr. Sloth said.
“You see, sir, there are many other things that cause frustration. Warf Rescue Team, Hasee Bounce, the petpet lab ray, just to name a few. We advertise. We cater to frustration and when they bite, they’re caught!”
“I like it!” Dr. Sloth exclaimed.
“But sir, with what we did with Super Race, how will we be sure that Neopians will bother to stop and look?” the Grundo replied, flipping through the pages in front of him.
“Ahh, but here’s the good part!” the Eyrie said. “We make them short, simple, and most of all artistic! A flashy ad catches attention, but they get annoying quickly. An artistic ad catches attention again and again. A simple one keeps Neopians from being overwhelmed. A short one keeps them interested, as they don’t need to spend long to know what it’s about, and less time spent reading equals more time spent feeding!”
“It’s been proven that 78 percent of Neopia’s population can’t read more than two words,” the Mynci said.
The Eyrie thought for a moment, reveling in the pocket of glory he had found in Dr. Sloth’s robe and came up with another idea.
“How are you understanding me, Grumblax?”
Confused, the Grundo replied, “Um, fine.”
“No, no,” the Eyrie replied, ashamed that he had to work with such dense Neopians. “How is it that you understand me?”
“Talking ads!” Dr. Sloth interrupted.
“Yes, sir. Talking ads! Short and concise. Warfs not rescuing? Feed Florg!”
The Wocky raised her hand.
“Yes, Wocktronia 3000?”
“I don’t understand. What does feeding Florg have to do with warfs not rescuing? And what are the warfs rescuing?” she asked.
“Warf Rescue Team is a game where you direct warfs in a rescue attempt to rescue kadoaties that have climbed too far up a tree. It’s very difficult and frustrating.”
The Eyrie moved his hands around to illustrate a warf parachuting up and landing on top of another warf. The Mynci raised his hand.
Annoyed, the Eyrie said, “Look, you don’t need to raise your hand.”
The Mynci replied with a sneer, “No one is supposed to be standing taller than Dr. Sloth while he is sitting.”
The Eyrie realized that he had been standing the entire time he had been talking. Even though Dr. Sloth was much taller than him, sitting down, Dr. Sloth only came up to his shoulder.
“Since I’m in such a good mood toady,” Dr. Sloth stated, “I’ll pardon your insolence.” Dr. Sloth paused.
The Eyrie said, “Windan, sir.”
“Right, Windan. Now we’ll get our best artists and technicians on this task immediately.”
After Dr. Sloth left, the Mynci replied, “No problem. Starving artists make up the 75 percent of the 78 percent of the population that can’t read.”
“Where do you get these statistics?” Windan asked incredulously.
“The Neopian Times,” the Mynci answered casually.
Windan lay awake in bed. He couldn’t sleep. Someone outside kept shouting, “Slorgs invading? Feed Florg!”
He got up out of bed to see who was shouting. The door slid open effortlessly with a whoosh.
There it was, staring him in the face, one of many of millions of the ads he had come up with. “Slorgs invading?” it read in big, yellow letters. Beneath it was a slorg sitting on top of a marrow. Beneath that was picture of Florg with a slorg, captioned “Feed Florg!”
“Slorgs invading?” someone shouted.
The Eyrie jumped in surprise.
“Feed Florg!” the same voice shouted.
It was coming from the poster ad. Shaking his head, he continued down the corridor. Another poster!
“Not getting the results you want? Feed Florg!” another ad shouted.
This one had the crazy-eyed Kookith of the Lab Ray scientist.
“Warfs not rescuing? Feed Florg!” another poster down the hall shouted.
“Very nice, Windan,” someone said sarcastically. “Very nice.”