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Usuki Singing Stars #54: Hippie Happenings


by downrightdude

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Scary looked over at the Disco Chomby sitting underneath a leafy oak tree. “Look girls. That flower-power freak is talking to the tree again,” snickered the Purple Bruce.

     “Hailey’s not a weirdo, Scare,” Sparkles insisted. As she unpacked her lunch bag, the Pink Bruce looked over and saw Hailey sniffing a carrot stick. Unlike Sparkles, Scary, and Patricia, the new girl was eating by herself.

     Patricia bit her apple. “We should invite Hailey to eat with us,” muffled the Faerie Shoyru. She swallowed. “She’s new at Neoschool and doesn't seem to have any friends.”

     “Plus, she’s a vegetarian,” Sparkles added. “I’m sure she’ll know some great salad recipes.”

     “No way! For starters, she eats carrot sticks,” scoffed Scary. “Everyone knows that carrot sticks are so Year 4. Second, I don’t want to associate myself with tree huggers who think fringed vests and flower-print pants are making a comeback.”

     Sparkles stood up. “If that’s how you feel Scary, then I’ll spend the rest of my lunchtime with somebody who understands me.”

     “Aww, Sparkles. Don't go,” Patricia pleaded as her friend picked up her lunch bag and walked away. “Scary, you shouldn’t have said that,” she scolded.

     “Don’t worry about it. She’ll come crawling back after Miss Flower-Power stops being groovy,” Scary proclaimed loudly.

     Scary doesn't know what she’s talking about. She can't judge somebody just because they’re painted Disco! Sparkles sat down next to Hailey and, checking to see if Scary was watching, shouted, “I am SO happy to be spending time with you right now, dear Hailey!”

     Hailey nodded. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Bruce. I think we're in the same math class together?”

     “Yep. You sit in the back row, I think,” said Sparkles.

     “I do my best thinking when I’m alone with my thoughts,” said Hailey. She picked up a daisy and admired the flower’s white petals as she spoke. “Whenever I’m around too many Neopians, my mind overstimulates with different thoughts, sounds and colours. That’s why I like being alone, especially around nature. Isn't the green grass and blue sky especially exquisite today?”

     Sparkles looked up at the sky. The few clouds were slowly drifting in front of the sun. “Ooh, you’re so right! The sky’s super shiny today.”

     “Do you like my vest?” Hailey stood up and walked in a circle, showing off her vest’s tan fringes. “I made this with some recycled fabric. The Clothing Shop Uni wanted to throw it all away, but I convinced him to give me his leftovers.” She pointed to a denim flower patch on her jeans. “Used some more scraps to make these patches.”

     “I always wanted to learn sewing,” Sparkles exclaimed. “If I had my own sewing machine, I could make so many pretty clothes!”

     Hailey shook her head. “Sewing by hand is much more environmentally-friendly. Using a machine wastes Neopia’s resources.”

     Hmm...I guess she has a point, Sparkles thought. She beamed at Hailey; just as she expected, her new friend was not the weirdo Scary was trying to paint her as. In fact, Sparkles was pleased to have a friend who was environmentally sound and a great sewer.

     “Tell me more about yourself, Hailey,” Sparkles urged. “Like, for starters: do you like making handicrafts?”

     ***

     Sparkles loved hanging out with Hailey. Unlike Scary, Hailey would listen to Sparkles and suggest activities they could both enjoy. The girls loved taking walks around Neopia Central, admiring the flowers, trees and grassy landscapes they’d pass. Another fun activity was crafting; Hailey wanted to glue beads onto a white lampshade and asked Sparkles if she’d help.

     “This is so much fun,” gushed Sparkles as she attached a pink flower-shaped bead onto the lampshade. She reached across the table and grabbed another bead.

     “What do you and Scary do together?” asked Hailey.

     Sparkles shrugged. “Shopping. Scare also likes making up snarky comments about Neopians we’d passed, mainly on their appearances. She thinks fashion is everything, and those who don’t follow the fashion rules are losers.”

     “I don’t think fashion should have any rules,” Hailey insisted. She studied a blue and white striped bead, twirling it in her fingers. “Fashion is all about what makes you feel good, not look good. As long as you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing, that should be enough.”

     “Is that why you like wearing flared jeans and vests?” asked Sparkles.

     Hailey squirted a drop of glue onto a round yellow bead. “I just grab whatever I can each morning. These past few days just happened to be jeans and vests.”

     “Well, I love those flower ties you have at the end of your braids,” Sparkles remarked.

     “Thanks!” Hailey beamed. “They’re not real flowers, though I’ve always wanted to make hair ties out of natural materials.”

     The next day, Sparkles showed up to Neoschool in a paisley-print blouse, flower-patched jeans and tan sandals. The red flower in her headband and rainbow tie-dye backpack completed her ‘bohemian chic’ look. It also attracted stares from her fellow students, including Patricia and Scary.

     “Wow, Sparkles. You look so groovy," said Patricia.

     Sparkles grinned and held up two fingers.

     “You’re a disgrace to the family!” Scary sneered. She glared at Hailey as she approached. “You two should be ashamed of yourselves. Only a n00b like Snaw would walk around in tacky Year 2 fashions!”

     Hailey adjusted her glasses. “Fashion doesn't have an expiry date, ya know?” she drawled. “Just because something's, like, really old doesn't mean it can't be enjoyed in present times.”

     “Yes, it does. It’s common sense,” Scary quipped. “Maybe if you stopped wearing those tacky pink-tinted glasses, you can see how outdated and un-groovy you two freaks of nature are!”

     Sparkles linked arms with Hailey. “Let’s go, Hailey. We shouldn't hang around those who transmit majorly bad vibes.”

     “Don’t go, Sparkles,” Patricia insisted. She turned to Scary and hissed, “Quick, say you're sorry.”

     “I won’t take back anything,” Scary sniffed.

     Fuming, Sparkles led Hailey out of Neoschool. “I’m so sorry Scare said those mean things to you,” she sighed as they approached their usual spot. “She doesn't mean to be rude; she was just stating her opinions in her usual brash way. But I’m sure she didn’t mean any harm in anything she said.”

     Hailey picked up a daisy. “You shouldn't feel bad. Everyone has their own perspectives on things,” she remarked, admiring the flower’s white pedals. “The most important thing is to practice inner peace.”

     “I love how mellow you are,” Sparkles gushed. “Let’s get our lunches.”

     “I didn’t bring anything today,” said Hailey.

     “Oh no! If you want, we can share my sandwich,” Sparkles offered. “I already have it split in half.”

     “It’s alright. I can manage.” Hailey grabbed a clump of grass, ripped it out of the ground, and tossed it into her mouth.

     Sparkles gagged. She didn't mean to, but the sight of Hailey eating grass made her stomach go queasy. “Oh, um, I see you’re going all-natural today, huh,” Sparkles sputtered, forcing politeness.

     “Nature surrounds us with a bounty of unlimited vegetation,” Hailey explained, grabbing another clump of grass. “Besides, eating what Mother Nature provides us is far healthier than consuming tainted supermarket-brand produce that’s probably riddled with pesticides.”

     Sparkles looked down at her sandwich. “While I can see what you’re saying, I…uh, can't stomach the idea of eating grass. Wild mushrooms that aren't poisonous are fine, though.”

     Hailey shook her head. “You don’t understand. Eating anything that’s ‘mainstream organic’ isn’t going to help the planet. We need to go off the land and consume whatever nature provides us. It’s far more beneficial than farming or shopping at a supermarket’s organic food aisle.”

     “But GRASS?” Sparkles gagged.

     “It’s far more healthier than your sandwich,” said Hailey. “What's in there? Store-bought lettuce smothered in mayonnaise?”

     “Um, maybe.” Sparkles stuffed her sandwich into her lunch bag and stood up. “Well, it was fun hanging out with you and doing all that crafting together. But, I think it’ll be the best for everyone---and the planet---if I leave you alone with your ‘lunch’.”

     “Why are you leaving?” asked Hailey.

     “Because I miss my friends and, uh, I’ve just lost my appetite,” said Sparkles. “Besides, I wouldn't want to disgust you with my mayonnaise-smothered sandwich.”

     Hailey shrugged. “I get it: you think being a vegetarian is good enough. You don’t want to commit to the bigger struggle. That’s why you’re going back to your vapid friends.”

     “Hey, Patricia is not vapid!” Sparkles nodded and walked away. At the cafeteria, she sat down at Patricia and Scary’s table. Hi guys! Room for one more?”

     Scary rolled her eyes. “That was fast. I was expecting you and your ‘flower child’ freak to last for another three days.”

     “Actually, we had a bit of a falling out.” Sparkles giggled nervously.

     “Was it over her views on fashion?” asked Patricia. “Or did she say something about your vegetarianism?”

     “If she did the latter, she only gets a speck of my respect,” said Scary.

     “No, it was nothing too bad,” said Sparkles, removing her sandwich from her lunch bag. “Though I admit I’ll miss crafting with her.”

     “We’ll do some crafting together,” Patricia insisted.

     “Just make sure you don’t ditch us for another n00b again,” Scary scoffed.

     Sparkles beamed. “You guys are the best! Even if our opinions are different, I know I can always rely on you two for your friendship!”

     The End.

 
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