A Yurble stole my cinnamon roll! Circulation: 155,374,082 Issue: 216 | 11th day of Storing, Y7
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The Long Road Home


by dan4884

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I first met Cooper the Electric Kougra about three weeks ago, and from the minute I laid eyes on him I knew he was different. The fur on his head fit right into his electric paint job, because it was sticking straight up, as if it were overflowing with electricity. What's more, he also wore his shirt backwards. When I asked him why, he responded with a simple answer: "Why, so everyone behind me knows I clubbed Sloth!" he said, and then rolled his eyes. And weirdest of all, he had a look on his face that made him look both insane and deeply profound.

     I soon found out that every other Neopet in the neighborhood made avoiding him their biggest priority. No one wanted to be seen with such a freak, it seemed. So, I began to avoid Cooper too. After all, I was striving for the perfect image.

     But all that was about to change.

     ***

     "Hey, Allen!" Cooper shouted as we exited our school. I rolled my Grundo eyes and ground my teeth. As I turned around to greet him with a fake smile, I caught sight of his mane of electrified fur, which seemed to flash under the sunlight.

     "Hi, Cooper. What's up?" I grudgingly asked him. Like I said, I didn't want to have anything to do with him. Already, I saw some of the other Neopets giving us some weird looks.

     "Oh, nothing's up. Except the sky!" he shouted, and then flashed one of his unusual smiles at me. Once again, I rolled my eyes and forced another phony smile. I didn't like him, but I didn't want to be mean.

     "So, what do you want, Cooper?" I asked.

     "Oh, nothing, I just figured we could walk home together, since we live on the same street and all. I've always said that it's good to have a companion when setting out on long journeys such as this one!" he said in his peculiar tone. I couldn't help but stare. Sometimes he said the weirdest things.

     "Cooper, we live less than a mile away," I said.

     "Oh, I know, but there are so many different paths we could take! I'll bet there's an infinite number of trail combinations that would work! It's fantastic!" Once again, I just stared at him.

     "So, shall we go?" he asked excitedly. I clenched my teeth and nodded. We began to walk, and almost instantly, he began talking animatedly.

     "What a beautiful day! The weather is pleasant, and those clouds are stunning!" he exclaimed as he gazed into the sky thoughtfully. Although I couldn't care less, I glanced up as well.

     "Hey, look at that cloud," he told me as his paw pointed to a particularly large cloud right above us.

     "What's it look like to you?" he asked.

     I stared at it, but I couldn't see anything in the cloud's shape. I shrugged.

     "Nothing," I told him after a moment.

     "Nothing!" he exclaimed, disbelieving. "How could it look like nothing? I think it looks like a doughnutfruit! Now, look at it again, this time longer, and tell me, what does it look like?" he told me, playfully exasperated.

     By this time I was so frustrated with his personality, I was close to snapping, but I didn't want to hurt his feelings. I peered into the sky, but still, all I could see was a cloud. Wait, maybe that could be a tail… and that looked like a nose… and there was a foot!

     "Hey! I see a Mynci!" I said, surprised that it appeared right in front of my eyes. Cooper looked over at me and grinned.

     "There you go!" he told me. "Now that's how you do it!"

     I was taken aback to the fact that I enjoyed watching the clouds. But of course I wasn't going to tell Cooper that.

     ***

     We were about halfway home when Cooper began to tell me a story.

     "Hey, Allen, have you ever heard of the Mum the Aisha?" he asked me suddenly.

     "No, I haven't," I told him.

     "Well, you should. It all started three years ago, when this Aisha, whose name is Mum, goes to the Secret Laboratory, right? Well, before she sits in the chair, she complains to the Scientist that she's been having a toothache. Well, the Scientist thinks about it, and suddenly, he comes up with this idea. So, he puts Mum in the chair, turns on the Ray, and BOOM! Mum has no mouth!" Cooper laughed. Although Cooper's storytelling made the story very interesting, I was still confused on why he was laughing.

     "Um, why are you laughing?" I asked after his bout of laughter ended. "I didn't find it funny."

     "Oh, I'm not done yet," he told me. "There's still the punchline!" He looked at me, amazed that I didn't figure that out already.

     "Anyways, of course Mum's shocked. She writes this note to the Scientist asking why he took away her mouth, and he just writes back, 'Well, hey! Mum's the word!'"

     At this point, Cooper was literally rolling on the floor with laughter. I still wasn't completely sure I understood the joke, but I still smiled at seeing Cooper on the ground. He definitely was a unique character, no doubt about it.

     ***

     A short while later, we arrived at a fork. Cooper turned to me.

     "Well, which way do you want to go, Allen?" he asked me in his usual perky voice.

     What kind of question was that? I thought to myself.

     "Well, of course we'll go left. It's the faster way home," I told him. He looked slightly saddened, but nodded anyways.

     "Ok, then, let's go." We started to walk down the path when Cooper stopped all of a sudden. I groaned.

     "What now?" I asked.

     "Shh!" he whispered. He gestured to me to come over quietly, so I tiptoed curiously over to where he was crouching. When I arrived, he was examining some sort of creature on the ground.

     "It's a Mootix!" he said. With his paw, he gently picked it up and set it on a leaf.

     "There you go, little buddy," he said quietly. The Mootix looked up and I could've sworn it smiled.

     "Wow, Cooper. I didn't know you were so friendly with petpetpets," I told him. Honestly, I had never seen this side of him.

     "Oh, it's just a side hobby. I take care of lost petpets and petpetpets. Then, I give them back to the Petpet shop so they can be given to someone nice and trustworthy," he told me sheepishly.

     "That's a very nice thing to do, Cooper," was all I could say.

     His electrified smile was shining at me.

     ***

     We continued to walk along the narrow path at a slow pace. Cooper wanted to stop and examine every leaf of every plant and stare at the sky every few minutes. He'd point out a cloud that looked like something or other once in a while, and the most surprising part about this was that I wasn't getting frustrated with him. I wasn't sure how I felt about him. My feelings were very mixed. Then, he put me on the spot when he suddenly spoke to me.

     "Why do you hate me?" he asked me out of the blue.

     "What? I don't hate you," I told him quickly.

     "Then why do you avoid me and ignore me at school?" he said. I looked over at him and he was wearing a weird expression, one I'd never seen him wear before. His eyes were hollow, and his fur seemed to be dull. It was odd.

     "Because…" I struggled to find the right words.

     "It's because I'm different, right? I don't act like all of those stuck up Neopets, so all of a sudden I'm weird. Why is that? I'm not a bad person, am I? Am I mean, or rude?" he asked me.

     "No, of course you aren't," I told him. "Don't ever think that you're weird, because you're not."

     "So why don't I have any friends?" he asked me, his voice rising. He looked at me, and I saw that there were tears forming in his eyes.

     "Cooper, please don't cry." I pleaded.

     "Just answer my question!" he shouted.

     "It's because…it's because you're different. No one understands you, and they don't want to. I didn't want to either, but after this, I do. Trust me, I don't find you weird anymore," I told him truthfully.

     "Really?" he asked me. I nodded, and he smiled a teary smile.

     "Thanks, Allen," he said.

     I looked ahead and realized that there was another fork coming up. When we got there, Cooper began to walk to the left, the shorter path, without asking me.

     "Coop, wait," I said.

     He turned to look at me, curious of what I was going to say next.

     I pointed to the path on the right. "Let's go this way."

     He grinned, and we began to walk down another path of the long road home.

The End

 
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