Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 126,511,783 Issue: 256 | 8th day of Gathering, Y8
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We Got a Neomail!


by sweetie_me274

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"We got a neomail!" I chanted, reentering our house. Neomail was scarce at our happy little home, 239242 Market Street, and so when we actually did get any mail, all five of us gathered around for a letter opening ceremony. Although nearly all the time it was junk mail and we were disappointed, we still liked the momentary thrill that came with opening Neomail.

      In came my four pets: Karina364, a red Mynci; Cutie_2509, a snow Bruce; GraftonitePoogie, a yellow Poogle; and Snow_Angel274, a blue Cybunny. They all gathered in a circle around me. "Ohhh! This looks like a good one!" Cutie said, eyeing the letter in my hand. "Open it, open it, OPEN IT!" She jumped up and tried to snatch it out of my hands.

      "Wait, wait, wait," I said, grinning. I loved our geeky mail-opening ritual. "Any guesses?" I showed the letter all around. My pets were all beaming eagerly. I hoped that today's mail wasn't junk, as our last three Neomails had been.

      "Can I smell it?" Graphie asked, half-joking. She waved her stubby paws in the air, reaching for the letter. "I'll tell you what it smells like. If it smells like fan mail, junk mail, acceptance, rejection, yada yada!" Still, I held the Neomail out of reach.

      Slowly, I dug my nails into the envelope and began opening it. "Feels like a good one!" I said dramatically. I paused a moment and looked at the overly eager faces staring at me. I made a mental note to laugh at how outrageously involved we got when opening mail. Then I returned to the letter. A shiny gold slip of paper lay inside the envelope, folded neatly. I reached for it and let the ripped envelope fall to the ground. My pets exchanged whispers and glances.

      "Gold? Why is it gold? It must be something good!" Karina said, jumping up and down. I felt the same hint of excitement that my pets felt. I unfolded the letter and turned it right way up, trembling as I tried to read it.

      As soon as my eyes were focused and I had read the message, I dropped the letter to the ground in shock. All my pets gathered around it, closing in to read the brief message inscrolled on the gold paper:

      Dear Sweetie_me274,

      CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! We are VERY pleased to inform you that you, sweetie_me274 of 239242 Market Street, Neopia Central, are the winner of the daily Neopian Lottery and a prize of 1,000,142 Neopoints, which will delivered to you shortly. Again, CONGRATULATIONS! Your money and trophy are on the way!

      Sincerely, the Neopian Lottery

      And then it got loud. By the time all four of my pets had read the message, they were all screaming with delight and running around the Neohome. "We're rich, we're rich, we're RICH!" they chanted in unison, running off in different directions before I could say a word to them.

      Then I was alone in the front hall, and my eyes glanced back at the Neomail on the floor. As soon as I was sure my pets were out of earshot, I began skipping around, whispering, "We're rich, we're rich, we're RICH!"

     --

      It takes simple logic to know then when you combine four crazily excited pets, an equally crazily excited owner, and a little over a million Neopoints, that you get an even more out of control household than usual. My pets had decided that it also gave them the excuse to do whatever they wanted, which included having multiple chocolate sundaes and using up all my paper to send Neomails off to their friends, bragging about the situation.

      I was happy too, of course. I mean, who wouldn't be pleased if they'd won the lottery? But I decided that I needed to make an announcement, before things got too out of control. I called all my pets back into the main hall, where we had received that fateful Neomail just earlier that day. All my pets were still bouncing with excitement.

      "What is it, Christine?" Snow Angel asked, slightly impatiently. I gave her an odd look. My Cybunny was my youngest pet, and usually the quietest and most polite, as well. But I figured she was just a bit overwhelmed. We all were, after all.

      I tried to seem optimistic. "Guys, I know this is big news. But we are so overreacting, it's scary. We're going to turn into a bunch of rich snobs if we don't change our attitudes. We have to save the money."

      Gapes. Angry glares. My pets were not happy with my proposal. "That's dumb," Cutie muttered. "We aren't rich snobs. But we're saving all that money you made before we were rich. We can spend all the other money, can't we?" This didn't sound like much of a suggestion, more like an order. I scowled.

      "No, it's not dumb. We won't be rich if we spend all the money before it's even arrived here. We have to save it. You can all spend... say, 1000 Neopoints of it, and get it out of your system. But we aren't going crazy." On the inside, I wanted to be saying, "SPEND IT ALL, SPEND IT ALL!", but I knew I had to play the part of the responsible adult here. Even if I wasn't one.

      "I'm going into Neopia Central, to see what I can buy," Graphie rudely announced. "Our crappy lifestyle was due for an upgrade, anyway. Maybe I could even buy a new petpet..." I stared in disbelief. A new petpet? What about the four petpets we already owned, and had for years? "Polarchuck are such old news, anyway," she added coldly. "And whatever else I can buy."

      My Poogle promptly marched out the doors and away from me. Cutie and Snow Angel followed in a heartbeat. Karina didn't. She stayed for a moment. I smiled at her. "You aren't rushing to follow after them, are you?" I knew my oldest pet was more mature than the rest of them. She would understand.

      And she did. She shook her head and wrinkled her nose. "Idiots. Can we bake some cookies, or go to the Money Tree to look for cool stuff? Or I could just read if you're busy." I embraced my Mynci.

      "Thank Fyora," I whispered under my breath. "How about pizza?" I asked, now speaking to Karina. "My treat. We can go down to Pizzaroo and get it fresh out of the oven, just the way you like it."

     --

      Wealth was a curse. No, wealth wasn't a curse. Winning the lottery was. Especially since it had now been three days since we'd won, and the actual money still hadn't shown up. But that didn't stop Cutie, Snow Angel, and Graphie from going crazy over it. And "going crazy" was putting it lightly.

      The only real conversation we'd had over the last few days was yet another argument, about how I was such a party pooper since I didn't want to go and spontaneously spend one million Neopoints, and about how, in my opinion, the three of them were turning into spoiled brats. No pet likes being called a spoiled brat, and to punish me, they'd gone off and spent 15,000 Neopoints on stuff they didn't now and wouldn't ever need.

      Karina was my savior. She'd been quiet. We'd baked cookies once, though of course none of my other pets had wanted any. "Poor people cook food, Mom," Cutie scoffed. "Rich people pay poor people to cook it for them."

      Since Karina was being her usual quiet self, I'd had nowhere to turn but the freezer. I made myself a giant bowl of ice cream and hid in my room for several hours. And I would have stayed there for several more hours, if the door bell had not rung at that moment.

      Slowly, I trudged down the stairs and to the door. The mail deliverer, a blue Blumaroo with an impatient scowl, was waiting for me. "Sweetie_me274?" he asked, though he knew it was me. I nodded, and he handed me a letter. "I wouldn't have taken the time to ring your filthy door bell, but this one was marked 'immediate delivery'. Enjoy." He wobbled off and left me with an envelope similar to the one that had started the trouble three days ago.

      I sighed. Had it been any other day, I would have happily called everyone down for a mail opening ceremony. But somehow, I felt no one was up to it. Yet, maybe our ritual could help reunite our family. Slowly, I called, "NEOMAIL!"

      And just on cue, Karina, Cutie, Snow Angel, and Graphie poured into the room. Cutie, Snow Angel, and Graphie still glared at me, and had nowhere near as much excitement as usual. But still, I carried on. "Any guesses, any guesses? Want to smell it, Graphie?" My Poogle raised her eyes, and I took it as a no. I tore open the envelope.

      A gold letter was inside. I scratched my head. We couldn't have won the lottery again. But why were we getting another gold letter? Curiously, I began reading.

      Dear Sweetie_me274,

      We are sorry to announce that due to a technical error, the previous letter we sent you has incorrect data. It stated that as winner of the lottery, you will receive 1,000,142 Neopoints. The correct prize money you will receive is 1,142 Neopoints. We are terribly sorry for the mix up and any troubles it has brought you. As a consolation, we are giving you a week's worth of free lottery tickets. We apologize sincerely.

      Sincerely, the Neopian Lottery

      Again, I dropped the letter on the ground, in complete and utter shock.

     --

      "We got a neomail!" I chanted, with cheery enthusiasm, the next day. My pets filed in dutifully. We hoped it would be something good, but not something from the Neopian Lottery. I waved the letter in the air. "Any guesses?"

      "Can I smell it?" Snow Angel asked, grabbing for it.

      "That's MY job!" Graphie yelled, reaching her paws above her sisters.

      We all laughed as I carefully opened the envelope. For emphasis, I dropped it on the ground. Slowly... I opened the letter... and...

      It was junk mail. We cheered. "Add that to the tally," I told Karina. She nodded. We'd decided to start keeping track of junk mail, which made getting it a lot more fun than before. We were up to six junk mail letters in a row. I reread the letter, an ad for Hubert's Hotdogs, and smiled, never so happy to receive junk mail in my whole life.

The End

 
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