Valentine's Day with Dr. Sloth
Dr. Sloth sighed in frustration and drummed his fingers on the table in front on him. The most horrendous holiday of the year had come around again – Valentine’s Day! He couldn’t for the life of him understand what all the fuss was about. Valentine’s Day was just so icky; he shuddered. What was so “fun” about giving out homemade valentine’s cards all decked out in pink and red hearts? Why hearts? Why pink? Why not green or something slimy? Dr. Sloth grimaced; everything about Valentine’s Day reeked of... of happiness and... friendship. He recoiled quickly from the unpleasant thoughts those words created in his mind. Friends; who needed them?
Dr. Sloth turned around suddenly, his thoughts interrupted by a slight whirring noise behind him. His eyes narrowed, but it was only his robo sloth butler bringing his dinner to him. Dr. Sloth had recently dismissed his Grundo minions two weeks earlier because they had brought up the forbidden topic of “Valentine’s Day”. After that incident, he decided that having only his trusty robo sloth butler around would make this wretched holiday pass by quicker. Dr. Sloth eyed his dinner. A plain sloth day burger, a secret sloth slushie, and berry sloth ice cream? Suddenly, he didn’t feel so hungry anymore. The food, as delicious as it was, was getting rather monotonous. After all, Dr. Sloth had been eating the same things for fourteen days in a row. Sure, he had ordered that his minions eat nothing but sloth food items and had banned them from eating at the Virtupets Space Station’s Grundo Café but HE was the master of Neopia and deserved something better. Something unique and created especially for him!
Dr. Sloth’s thoughts wandered to an even gloomier topic. Following the latest defeat of his plans for Neopian domination, Queen Fyora and the Space Faerie had both come to a unanimous conclusion that they would only allow him to return to his home in the Space Station if he promised to be a good, law-abiding citizen and to complete three tasks that were still undecided yet. The Space Faerie had said that she would personally inform him of the details and specifics of each of the three tasks when she and Queen Fyora had thought of appropriate activities for Dr. Sloth. Normally, Dr. Sloth would NEVER even consider listening, much less obeying, those two brainless faeries, but since he was still weak and his troops were still demoralized from the unexpected defeat, he would have to play along... at least for a while.
Dr. Sloth took a bite out of his cold, unappetizing burger and set it down on the table. He shook his head; the food tasted worse and worse every passing day. In fact, he was starting to regret his decision of firing his chef, Xarlax. The metal doors to his room opened and his robot sloth butler came in. After collecting the untouched dishes, the butler handed his master a letter. Dr. Sloth gingerly picked up the letter with two fingers. He knew it was from the Space Faerie because the starry blue font she used was unmistakable. On top of all the glitter, he saw her seal. Dr. Sloth sighed. This was not a good sign. What could she possibly want with him at this time of year? Shouldn’t she be busy writing mushy valentine’s cards to every one of her simpering faerie friends?
A horrible thought occurred to him. Surely this couldn’t be a valentine’s card from her! If it were, he would have to crawl into a hole somewhere. Imagine the GREAT, the EVIL, the one and only Dr. Frank Sloth receiving a VALENTINE’S CARD from nobody other than the Space Faerie, his one sworn enemy. Ok, it was more like one of his many sworn enemies, but that was beside the point. He was sorely tempted to burn the letter in a nearby flaming torch lamp. Oh wait, he could try out his new flaming rubbish bin that he had just acquired a few days ago. Dr. Sloth could not help but buy it after he had read the description, “Why simply throw your rubbish away when you can incinerate it?” He would look on with great satisfaction as the letter burnt away to little tiny ashes, but unfortunately, he wouldn’t have that pleasure. Dr. Sloth knew he couldn’t afford at the current state and time to risk offending either the Space Faerie or the Faerie Queen.
He opened the letter extremely carefully, in case the letter turned out to be one of those silly pop-up cards that sang songs that made no sense whatsoever. No, the letter was just an ordinary letter, but the contents were not. Dr. Sloth’s face turned greener (if that was possible) as he read the letter. By the time he had finished, his hands were shaking in anger and disbelief. He crumpled the letter and threw it against the wall. How dare the two faeries give him such a task?! He, Dr. Sloth, was to play mailman for all of Neopia and deliver Valentine’s cards to all the recipients? This was outrageous! Never in all the history of Neopia had such a thing occurred! The Space Faerie had even gone so far as to warn him that should he not finish the task to her satisfaction, he would face the chance of being exiled from Neopia again. Dr. Sloth clenched his teeth but realized, deep down, that he had no choice but to comply with the Space Faerie’s directions.
It was finally February 14th. After a whole week of sheer torture, today was the last day Dr. Sloth had to play the mailman. One whole week of delivering gushy cards to doe-eyed neopets who wanted to thank him with a hug. Oh, the humiliation! He even had to carry the cards in a pink bag with a heart that the Space Faerie had so “kindly” donated. Dr. Sloth glared at a passing Kacheek who dared to smile at him. One by one, as the day wore on, the cards were all given out. As the sun set over Faerieland, Dr. Sloth put the last Valentine’s card into the final mailbox and heaved a long sigh of relief. It was finally done and Valentine’s Day was almost over. He got into his spaceship and flew back to his home in the Space Station.
As he ate the exact same dinner of a plain sloth day burger, a secret sloth slushie, and berry sloth ice cream that night, Dr. Sloth was glad that in less than three hours Valentine’s Day would be over and forgotten, at least until the next year, but an annoying, unidentified emotion kept on nagging at him. It was a feeling of dissatisfaction, of gloom and of boredom. This feeling was new and unlike any other emotions he had ever experienced before. It felt strangely like loneliness. There was no doubt Dr. Sloth hated this holiday, but wouldn’t it have been nice to receive at least one card? He had been forced to deliver everyone’s Valentine’s cards to Queen Fyora and he had to make two trips in his space ship to bring all her cards to her. Wait a minute! Dr. Sloth scowled; he was a villain. Villains didn’t get or want to receive cards. He would go to bed early and sleep through the last part of this repulsive day away.
Before he went to bed, Dr. Sloth remembered the ugly pink bag that he had been forced to carry around for the past week. He decided to burn it in an attempt to erase the experience from his mind. As he grabbed the bag from the floor, a pink envelope fell out. Dr. Sloth’s eyebrows rose. Did he forget to deliver that Valentine’s by accident? Great, the Space Faerie would have a fit. He picked it up, intending to deliver it immediately. He looked on the front of the envelope for the recipient’s name. Funny, it had his address on it. Dr. Sloth took a closer look. Why, it had his name written on it. A Valentine’s card? For him? Who could it be from? Dr. Sloth ripped open the envelope in his haste to unravel the mystery.
The card read, “Have a great Valentine’s Day, Dr. Sloth!” At the bottom of the card was his former chef, Xarlax’s signature. As Dr. Sloth stared at the card, he slowly understood something. The long forgotten emotion of happiness thawed his cold heart. Somebody did care about him – for the first time since anyone could remember, Dr. Sloth’s face broke out in a rare genuine smile.