Pip's Special Delivery
Pip was excited. Well, he was normally excited every Friday, but this Friday was extra special. It was issue 900 of the Neopian Times, and Pip especially loved it when it was an edition that was a multiple of fifty. It was like Christmas – but better! Because he didn’t get to deliver the mail on Christmas.
Since before he could remember, Pip dreamed of being a delivery Weewoo for the Times. His siblings would laugh when he used to gaze up and watch the postal Weewoos fly out, the newest edition tucked firmly within their satchels, ready to share the news and best stories of the week out into the world. They all thought he was too small, but what Pip lacked in size he made up for in passion.
Pip flew into the Times’ printing press, perching himself on the printing press manager’s office window.
“Hi, Pip.” Scott said. Pip chirped happily to reply.
Scott was a nice Neopet. He was a yellow chia, that always wore the same brown pants, red suspenders, and green newsboy cap.
“We’ve got a special edition today – though I’m sure you knew that already.” Scott said, preparing Pip’s round. Pip jumped up and down in response. Scott turned around, walking over to Pip and placed the new editions in his mailbag.
Now they were in his satchel, Pip could smell it. His favourite smell in the world. The scent of freshly printed paper wafted towards him, and Pip breathed in heavily; puffing out his chest and rustling his feathers to absorb it as much as he could. The scent was extra strong today because of the larger edition. The combination of ink, paper, and something else indescribable was beautiful.
Energised from excitement, Pip set off to his first delivery. Pip always went to the Neolodge first because they had the biggest delivery. Three for each hotel, with ten hotels, was a huge thirty papers!
Pip floated into the main office, landing perfectly on the dark wooden front desk. It was too early for any guests to be checking out, so no one was manning the desk. Pip jumped over to the little silver bell, bending down to ring it with his beak.
“Coming, Pip!” called a voice, coming through an open doorway from the room behind the desk. “Right on time, I should have known.” The elderlygirl bruce hobbled through the doorway to the front desk. Mrs. Crask had been running the Neolodge for longer than Pip could remember!
She pulled the papers out of Pip’s satchel, flattening out the one on top to read it. She peered over her glasses at the paper. “My, my. 900th edition, Pip? Very impressive!”
Pip chirped in response.
Mrs. Crask lent down, grabbing something from underneath the desk. “Here’s a little present for you, Pip. To celebrate 900. I made it myself!”
In her hands was a knitted light blue scarf. Pip leant forward stretching his neck, and Mrs. Crask wrapped the scarf around him.
“Perfect fit!” Mrs. Crask smiled. Pip bristled happily. “Alright dear, I’ve kept you long enough. Go finish your round.”
Pip’s response was to fly out the Neolodge quickly, whistling as he flew. His new scarf flapping in the wind.
His next visit was one of his favourites. The Neoschool. Pip flew through the window into Mrs. Green’s Early Neopian History class, landing with a ‘plop!’ on her desk.
“Why, hello Pip!” Mrs. Green smiled, turning around from her writing on the chalkboard. “Children! Pip is here!” She called out.
School hadn’t started yet, but the early arriver’s rushed into the classroom to eagerly give Pip a pat. Pip chirped happily as the children showered Pip with affection, giggling as he moved around allowing them access to his favourite patting spots.
“Alright, everyone. That’s enough. We can’t distract Pip from his very important job.” Mrs. Green chided gently, her students running out of the room to play again outside at her words.
With the students gone, it was time to get back to business. Pip pulled out the 10 copies of the Times always ordered by the Neoschool. One for every teacher, and two for Mr. Leer and Mr. Lupid. Teaching Potion Brewing and Art respectively. Pip always gave them an extra copy because they always destroyed the first one.
“Number 900, Pip? You must be very proud.” Said Mrs. Green glancing at the paper. “I must tell you the history of the first edition soon! Though of course newspapers weren’t the first forms of spreading the news in Neopia. In Tyrannia –“ She stopped herself short. “Oh, I’m getting ahead of myself aren’t I? Here, Pip. You better take this and hurry off.”
Opening her desk, Mrs. Green pulled out a small white cloth. The fabric was made of very fine material. Pip whistled low and appreciatively. Mrs. Green smiled. “It’s a pocket square. To add a touch of class on this special day.”
Pip puffed out his chest, stomping his feet excitedly as Mrs. Green folded the little square and fit it in his top pocket. “Perfect.” She said. “Now hurry along, Pip. I have taken up far too much of your time!”
Pip wasted no time, flying out of the classroom whistling happily from one delivery to the next.
Next on his list was the National Neopian Bank. The green Skeith that managed the flagship branch intimidated Pip, he was so big and always busy, but Pip delivered the usual order of 8 copies and was rewarded with a very special shiny Times themed coin. He may not have spent as long as some others talking to Pip, but he was certainly generous.
Pip then visited the Neopian Hospital, where Pip knew the delivery of the newspaper was an important part of the day for all the patients. He quickly delivered 14 copies, and was given a very odd-looking stick, with a sphere on the end, a red line in the middle and numbers on either side, as a gift from a green Gelert doctor.
Next, the library took 3 copies, two for reading and one for archiving, while the brown Lenny librarian gave Pip a rare copy of the Neopian Times Issue 100. Pip chirped with excitement at the gift, eager to read it once his deliveries were done. Pip then dropped off 5 copies at the Welcome Center for all the Neopian newcomers, and Nilo gifted Pip his own pair of thick, round reading glasses. “So you don’t strain your eyes reading the Times!”
He then delivered single copies to the Neopian Fresh Foods Shopkeeper, the Shop Wizard, even the infamous Branston. In thanks for delivering the special edition, Pip was given a tasty Chokato Burger to eat, a book filled with tips for using the Shop Wizard, and a signed portrait from Branston. Pip didn’t really have a use for the last one, but he appreciated the gift anyway.
At the Money Tree, Pip dropped off 5 copies to be donated throughout the day – even Neopets in need had to know current events – and took an Old Rotten Right Boot in return. Nigel the Chia took his usual 6 copies. “You gotta know what’s happening to know the market, kid. If you want a real present, invest in BOTT.” He informed Pip, with a wink.
Judge Hog at Defenders of Neopia took a copy, always interested in the crime section in particular, handing Pip a Weewoo-sized Hero of Neopia Cape and an offer to join the Defenders if delivering the Times ever got boring. Pip chirped in laughter. Being a defender would be amazing, but delivering the Times was the best job in the world.
Pip delivered Kauvara her usual copy. In return, she gave Pip a small bottle with one of the most beautiful looking potions inside. It was white with golden sparkles. Pip was mesmerised. “My first Petpet Morphing Potion.” Said Kaurava, proudly. “Not an easy brew. I made this one just for you. Drink this if you ever want a little bit of golden shine.” She winked at Pip, smiling. Pip let out two quick chirps to let her know his appreciation for her effort. She laughed. “Off you fly Pip, not many more to go I see!”
Pip flew past the queue outside and into the NC Mall, where he delivered a copy to a pink Lutari, “The newest edition of the Times is always in style.” A red Xweetok, “Everyone gets a copy of the Times.” And a pink Kau, that Pip only ever saw during Spring, “The Times is always in season.” Each gave him a new item for his wardrobe, claiming it to be the most fashionable item in the Mall right now. Pip squeaked with joy upon receiving each gift, happier with their thoughtfulness than the item itself.
Finally, however, it was time to rest. Pip sat near the rainbow pool with his pile of gifts admiring the generosity of all his customers. Then he saw it. Another copy of the 900th edition still in his satchel. He’d been to all his regular customers, delivering all 89 copies. He didn’t realise he’d had another!
Pip jumped up, gathering himself and flying in the direction of his new customer. He chirped and squeaked as a pushed himself to fly as fast as he could, his eyes becoming squinted as he pushed against the wind.
Almost crash landing on the front porch, Pip arrived. Jumping up, he rang the doorbell with a peck from his beak. “Coming!” A voice from inside called.
A moment later the door opened and Pip squeaked in surprise, jumping backwards. “Please don’t be scared, I won’t hurt you.” Said the Neopet at the door. “I promise.” The Neopet took a step forward onto the porch and into the light.
She was an Usul, Pip could see. But she didn’t look like any of the others he had seen before. Her fur was a mix of green and grey with spots, her clothes were tattered, and her bow was a burgundy colour. She smiled a terrifying, but genuine smile at Pip. “I used to be a blue Usul, until the awful accident. But I’ve become accustomed now. To this colour, I mean, being a Zombie.”
Pip’s eyes widened in surprise. Zombie. He’d heard of Neopets being that colour, but he’d never met one himself. Pip decided then, he didn’t need to be scared. This was exciting! Like his own story from the Neopian Times.
He flew up onto the Neopets’ shoulder, whistling a song in greeting. He then pulled out his final Times delivery of the day – number 90. The Usul laughed, taking the paper. “I’m Lucy. If you want to come inside, I’m doing some baking. I can make you a special batch.” Pip chirped twice in reply, to let Lucy know he was very interested in her offer.
Lucy laughed again. “Perfect.”
Bringing Pip inside, she popped him on her kitchen bench and proceeded to do exactly as promised. As she baked; they sang, danced – which involved Pip shaking his tail feather vigorously in excitement, and laughed – as Pip tried to help make the cookies with little success.
It was wonderful fun, and his favourite delivery of this very special day. Lucy may have not have prepared a gift like everybody else, but she became a new friend – and that was the best gift of all.