Usuki Singing Stars #33: Patricia's Project
"This project is going to be so much fun!” Patricia squealed. The faerie Shoyru rose from her desk and turned to face Sparkles, who was sitting behind her. “So, have you chosen a partner yet?”
Sparkles grabbed her books. “Uhh…yeah, I did,” the pink Bruce said hesitantly. “I’m working with Rachel.”
“Rachel? You mean the green Zafara that sits in the back row?” asked Patricia.
Sparkles nodded “Yep. She has lots of sparkly paints we can use.”
“What about Scary?” asked Patricia. “I thought you two were going to pair up since you guys do every Neoschool project together.”
“Yeah,” said Sparkles, still sounding hesitant, “but now it’s time for a change of pace. Besides, I heard Scary say she was dying to be paired up with you! So you see…she’ll be a great asset for your…thing.” After a quick wave to Scary, Sparkles shuffled her way to the back row to meet with Rachel.
Scary, who was sitting across from Patricia, sighed. “So which make-believe world are we going to do?” the purple Bruce asked unenthusiastically. “Because I was thinking of Neovia, if anyone cares.”
“Neovia’s not a made up world,” Patricia insisted. “And I already decided on what our project is going to be: a Wraithland diorama!”
“Boring,” chimed Scary.
Patricia eagerly opened her notebook and showed Scary her designs for the diorama. “I was thinking we could use a shoe box and paint the inside with black or purple paint. Then we can recreate wraith pets with clay–”
“Yeah, sounds super,” Scary groaned. She stood up. “Can we go now? I need something to eat and something to do, and I want them both now!”
“Let’s go to my house and start on our project,” said Patricia, gathering her things. “We have one full week until it’s due, so let’s get an early start.”
“Hoo-rah,” Scary sighed.***
Patricia entered her bedroom holding a small shoe box. “This may be a little too small, but it’s the only one I can find.” She placed newspapers over her desk and began painting the inside of the box. “Hey Scary, you want to help?”
“Nah.” Scary was lying on Patricia’s bed, flipping through her magazine. “I’m too busy reading about Yes Boy Ice Cream to do anything else.”
“Oh, then how about later?” asked Patricia.
“Eh, maybe,” said Scary.
After spending forty minutes painting the inside and the outside of the shoe box, Patricia opened a jar of purple clay and began to sculpt a tiny wraith Shoyru before she realized her partner was still reading her fashion magazine, and was now sipping a can of Neocola. Patricia sighed and turned to face Scary. “You know, I would like some help sculpting wraith pets if you’d like to contribute to our project.”
“Nah,” said Scary. “Clay ruins fingernails.”
“Then what would you like to do, Scary?” pressed Patricia.
Scary shrugged. “Whatever I feel like doing. So continue whatever you’re doing, and I’ll come in and do…you know, whatever.” She closed her magazine, bounced off Patricia’s bed and left, saying, “Don’t know if I’ll be here tomorrow. I’ll see if Snaw doesn’t burn our house down first.”
Okay,” said Patricia, watching as her partner walked out. “I hope she would do more work tomorrow,” she muttered, going back to her sculpting. “It would be a real pain if I had to do everything by myself while Scary lounges around, doing nothing.” ***
Over the next four days, Patricia went to work sculpting the interior of her diorama. She used paper mache to form a cave-like dwelling within the shoe box, and would then paint the dwellings dark purple once they had dried. Despite her uncertainty about the oral report needed alongside their project, Patricia remained hopeful that her efforts would make her diorama stand out from all the other projects, and award her an A+.
“Are you almost done?” asked Scary, lounging on Patricia’s bed, as she did everyday. “I need someone to get me more chips.”
Patricia sighed. “I’m too busy to get you chips. Besides, when are you going to contribute something to our project?”
“I am contributing,” Scary insisted.
“Oh really?” Patricia scoffed. “Then name one thing you did for our diorama.”
“I brought you the paints you wanted,” said Scary. “Plus I brought you paintbrushes, a glass of water, glitter and a banana.”
“I brought the paintbrushes and glitter,” Patricia protested. “You brought the water and banana, and then you consumed them! And you knew I needed that water to clean my brushes!”
“I was thirsty, smarty-pants,” Scary said coolly. “So of course I needed the water more than you and your cruddy paintbrushes.”
Patricia formed a fist. “Then can you PLEASE start on our oral report?”
Scary waved her hand. “Oral reports are beneath me. Just ask somebody else to do it, Pat. I’m too busy.”
“But YOU’RE my partner, Scary!” Patricia shouted, her face growing red. “I’ve spent the last five days working on our diorama and you haven’t helped one bit! I was the one who found the shoe box and painted it, and I sculpted the indoor cave dwellings and wraith Neopians! Meanwhile you’ve done nothing but eat food, read magazines and nap!”
“And what did you expect me to do?” asked Scary. “It’s not like I got any thorough instructions or anything.”
Feeling her anger boiling over, Patricia grabbed her diorama and stormed out of her bedroom, gripping her project with clenched hands until she reached Scary’s and Sparkles’ neohome. She was just in time: Rachel was leaving and Sparkles was waving at her from the porch. Still angry, Patricia stomped towards the porch and blurted out, “Scary’s impossible!”
“So….Scary’s not working out, eh?” asked Sparkles, suddenly looking hesitant.
Patricia shook her head. “All she’s done so far is lounge on my bed, eating snacks and reading magazines. She has yet to do anything for our diorama and I’m worried her lack of contributions will get us in trouble.”
Sparkles rubbed her hands. “Well that’s Scary, if you know what I mean.”
“Wait.” Patricia closely examined Sparkles face and gasped as she realized, “You did this on purpose, didn’t you? This was why you didn’t pick Scary to be your partner this time!”
Sparkles sighed. “Okay, I admit it. I suppose doing all the work while Scary did nothing bothered me too much, so I decided to pair up with Rachel. But I swear I never would have thought you would pick her!”
“And I guess you wouldn’t have stopped me, wouldn’t you?” asked Patricia.
“I may have tried,” Sparkles insisted. “Even if Scary is paired with someone else, I suppose that could be better than slaving away on you diorama…especially since I bet Scary didn’t contribute any ideas, didn’t she?”
Patricia shook her head. “Well, I guess I should go finish up the diorama and begin the oral report.” Just as she took her first step, she stumbled and fell forward onto the walkway, Sparkles running towards her. “What was that?” Patricia groaned, struggling to get up. “I felt like I slipped on something.”
Sparkles pointed to Patricia’s shoe and gasped. “You slipped on some jelly! It must have dripped from our diorama when Rachel left.” Sparkles screamed. “Patricia, you’re diorama!!”
Patricia gazed at where Sparkles was pointing now and felt her heart sank and her legs quiver. Her diorama had been flattened! The figurines inside the box were squished, the paper mache parts broken and scattered in a hundred little pieces. All that work for nothing! I have to work quickly to repair the damages, Patricia thought, anxiously running back to her bedroom. She saw Scary sketching in her notebook. “Scary! We need to find a new show box and create a new diorama!”
Scary looked up and saw the crumpled up diorama in Patricia’s hands. “Eh,” she replied.
“We have…three more…days…until our…project’s…due,” said Patricia, huffing and puffing. “So…let’s go…get paint…and…”
“There’s no way you’ll be able to replicate that ugly thing twice,” said Scary. She held up her sketch to Patricia. “Now this would be ten times easier, you n00b.”
Patricia examined the sketch. “You drew a dress?” She moaned. “But how in Neopia would we be able to make a Wraith-like dress in three days??”
“It would be easier if we find the right materials, shiny purple paint and maybe some pink glitter,” Scary explained.
“And where did you get this idea?” asked Patricia.
“A fashion magazine, duh.” Scary got up and grabbed her purse. “Let’s go get materials. I know the perfect place where we can get seaweed.”***
“Oh Patricia, that dress looks adorable!” Sparkles squealed as Patricia showed off the Wraith-style gown she and Scary finished the day before. “Everyone would love it when they see it tomorrow!”
“And we also finished the oral report,” said Patricia. “It’s about all the latest styles coming out of Wraithland.”
“Well it sure beats my Wobbleshire diorama,” said Sparkles. “How did you get this idea?”
“It was actually Scary’s idea,” said Patricia. “She did most of the work. I helped with assembling the materials, painting the seaweed and applying the glitter.”
“You seem surprised,” scoffed Scary. “What’s wrong, Sparkles? Wocky got your tongue?”
“I’m just surprised you did something, Scary,” Sparkles insisted. “After all, you didn’t do anything regarding the diorama.”
“That’s because the diorama was Patricia’s project,” Scary explained. “She did most of the work because it was her idea. Not once did she ask for my opinion, so of course I stayed quiet. And besides, why do something for Wraithland when Neovia’s more stylish?”
“Really?” asked Patricia. “Oh Scary, I didn’t know you felt that way. I’m sorry.” She smiled. “And for the record, I would totally pick you again for any future assignments. Your creative thinking really saved our project!”
“Well, I also had fun,” said Scary. “It was painful at times, but it had it’s good moments, too.” She beamed. “Let’s get that A++ tomorrow!”
“Yeah!” Patricia agreed. “Let’s do it!”