The Allegory of the Oatmeal
"I think that I'll have oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow."
Ezanna glanced up from the magazine that he had
been reading. The skunk Krawk rolled his eyes and gave his sister a slightly
"You don't like oatmeal," he remarked. The sister
in question, an Island Gelert called Shelleylou, narrowed her eyes and glared
"That's ridiculous. I love oatmeal." She gave
a wistful sigh. "It tastes so good, with milk and brown sugar--"
"No, you're glorifying oatmeal again," Ezanna
interrupted. "Every time you make it, you wind up getting sick halfway through
the bowl and then you can't finish it. Then for a week you claim that you hate
oatmeal. But as soon as those seven days are up, you're back to saying how great
it is. It's the same thing every time."
Shelleylou bristled angrily. "I'm not glorifying
oatmeal, Ezanna. You can't 'glorify' oatmeal. And I have never failed to finish
a bowl of it once I start eating."
The Krawk shrugged his black and white shoulders.
"Fine. Believe what you want; make your oatmeal tomorrow. You'll get sick, mark
my words," he said as he buried his scaly snout in his magazine once again.
Shelleylou leaned over and snatched the magazine
from Ezanna's claws. The Krawk jumped up indignantly.
"Hey, I was reading that!" he shouted as he advanced
on the gloating Gelert. Shelleylou chuckled, her bright green eyes skimming
the first few pages. She smirked.
"Pirates, Ezanna? You were looking at a pirate
catalogue?" She gave a sharp, barking laugh. "Don't tell me-- you want a pirate
paint brush, don't you?"
Ezanna faltered. "Well, yes, I mean... I've wanted
one for awhile now..." he began lamely. Shelleylou scanned the price lists,
a low whistle escaping from her lips.
"Wow, Ez. These things cost about a million Neopoints,"
she said in disbelief. "There's no way that you'll ever get one. Not when our
owner's already spent so much on you--"
"What? So much on ME? What about you?" Ezanna
said, cutting the Gelert off. He began ticking off purchases on his claws. "Let
me see. A gold paint brush, a shadowed paint brush, millions of Neopoints worth
of codestones and weapons, a Kougra morphing potion, a Darigan paint brush,
an island Gelert morphing potion and a blue Meowclops! You've cost our owner
way more than ME!" the Krawk triumphantly declared. Shelleylou growled in response.
"So? I was the first Pet. It's only natural that
I should have the most money spent on me. Besides, you've gotten lots of stuff
too. What about your silver paint brush, back when you were still a Zafara?
Or the Krawk morphing potion, or the skunk paint brush, or the black Gruslen?
Have you forgotten about those?" Shelleylou spat. Ezanna sighed, feeling defeated.
"Even so... I'd really like to be a pirate Krawk.
Skunk is so..." he ran his claws through his crisp, white mane. "...It's so
boring. It's dull. It's black and white! I want a new look!"
Shelleylou snorted. "You know what your problem
is, Ez? It's that you can't be happy with what you've got. You're over glorifying
the concept of being painted pirate. It's just like me and my oatmeal."
Ezanna raised his eyebrows. "So you're admitting
to having over glorified oatmeal?" he asked, a small smile playing across his
reptilian features. Shelleylou stifled a snarl.
"No. I'm just saying that, hypothetically, my
non-existent oatmeal problem is a direct allegory for your pirate thingy."
"I think you misused the word 'allegory'. You
should've said comparison, or maybe metaphor."
"Allegory sounds cooler."
"Can we just get back to the subject at hand?"
"Certainly. My point is, you just think
that you want to be a pirate Krawk. You don't really believe it. It's exactly
the same as the oatmeal thing."
"It's completely different!"
"It is exactly the same!" Shelleylou snapped.
She then relaxed, giving an exasperated sigh. "But if you're really so gung-ho
on this whole pirate fantasy then go and take it up with Sunny. She's the one
in charge of our finances, remember?"
Ezanna nodded thoughtfully. "Good idea. I will
go talk to Sunny," he murmured. Shelleylou disdainfully curled her long, willowy
tail around her legs.
"Just don't expect to see any results, Krawky,"
the Gelert scoffed as she flounced off in a huff. Ezanna gnawed on a claw.
"I just have to make a good case. Now, where
is my owner?" He meandered over to the bottom of the staircase, starting up
the first few steps.
"SUNNY!" he called. "Sunny, are you there?" The
Krawk perked an ear to catch his owner's reply.
"I'm in the living room! Go in there if you want
to talk to me, don't stand around screaming." Ezanna noticed that she sounded
rather annoyed; a bad sign under any circumstance, but particularly dangerous
when one wanted to request something of her.
The Krawk shuffled into the living room, hoping
and praying that Sunny wasn't in too bad a mood. Ezanna grinned sheepishly at
his owner, scuffing the carpet with his feet.
"Sorry Sunny," he began apologetically. His owner
got up from the couch that she had been sitting on and glowered at her Krawk.
"You should be. It's noisy enough in here without
my Pets screaming their heads off. What did you want, anyway?" she demanded.
Ezanna cleared his throat.
"Um, well, I was wondering if maybe you could
buy me a pirate paint brush, since I've been such a good Krawk lately," he wheedled,
a hopeful glimmer in his large yellow eyes. Sunny raised an eyebrow.
"And why do you want to be a Pirate Krawk?"
"Because Pirate Krawks are cool!" he persisted.
"That's ridiculous. You're totally glorifying
those stupid paint brushes," she muttered. Ezanna narrowed his eyes.
"No I'm not! I love pirates!" He paused suddenly.
This entire situation seemed a bit familiar... Sunny crossed the room and collapsed
into a patchy red bean bag chair.
"Forget it, Ez," she said. "Those brushes cost
about a million Neopoints and I've already spent enough on you." The Krawk's
owner then pulled out a Battledome catalogue and began to leaf through it idly.
"You've got more than that in the bank! What
else are you going to spend it on?" he asked. Sunny grunted.
"Oh, you know... Stuff," she vaguely replied.
Ezanna cocked his head to the side and then scowled, having caught sight of
the Battledome catalogue. The Krawk strode to his owner and tore it from her
hands, scanning the pages angrily.
"You're going to buy weapons, aren't you?" he
accused. "Weapons and codestones for Shelleylou! Why should she get everything?"
Sunny lunged up and snatched back the pamphlet.
"That's none of your business," she sniffed. Ezanna growled.
"It's not fair! You buy Shelly expensive things;
why not me?"
"Because weapons are completely different from
"They're exactly the same!"
"No, they're completely different. They're a
necessity. Shelleylou needs codestones to train and weapons to fight with so
that she can help defend Neopia in times of war."
"That's Kau dung! Shelly always supports the
enemy!" The Krawk began to rattle off a list of wars. "She's fought for Lord
Darigan, Lord Kass, Galem--" Sunny cut him off.
"That's beside the point," she snapped waspishly.
"The point is, it's more important to train up your sister. You're already painted
a very nice, practical color. I don't see why you'd want to be a stinky pirate."
Sunny buried her nose in the booklet once again. Ezanna began to pace up and
down the room in a frenzied state.
"This is ridiculous," he grumbled. "If you're
not careful, I might just turn GREEN with ENVY," the Krawk spat. Sunny glared
at the reptilian Neopet.
"And I might just turn RED with ANGER!" she yelled.
Ezanna quailed under the onslaught.
"All right, all right, I won't bug you about
it again," he conceded fretfully. Sunny sighed, a look of pity flitting across
"Oh Ez, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to yell at you,"
she said sympathetically. Ezanna brightened up.
"So you'll buy me the brush?" he asked hopefully.
Sunny gritted her teeth.
"No," she began, fighting to keep her patience.
"But I'll make you a deal. If I happen to find a pirate paint brush in a random
event, or win one as a prize, or get it from a friend, then I'll paint you with
it," Sunny compromised. Ezanna rolled his eyes.
"Oh, swell. I suppose that boosts my chances
up to about one point ONE in one million, eh?" he said sarcastically. Sunny
cracked her knuckles.
"If you'd rather revert that chance back to a
round zero," she threatened. Ezanna gulped.
"No, no, I'll keep my meager odds, thank you
very much," the Krawk stammered. Sunny smiled.
"Good. Now run along, dear. I've got some work
to do." Sunny promptly rose from her seat and strolled out of the room, whistling
cheerfully to herself. Ezanna glared after her retreating form.
"Work to do, that's rich. She's probably going
off to buy Shelly more Battledome equipment." He sighed and flopped dejectedly
onto the couch, folding his arms behind his head and staring up at nothing in
"So now I wait," he mused. "I wait until Sunny
randomly finds a pirate paint brush." The Krawk snorted derisively. "Like it'll
ever happen." Ezanna yawned and scratched idly at his well-kept white mane.
"I think I'll take a little nap..." he mumbled,
trailing off as he strolled into his subconscious.
Sunny stared incredulously at the humming paint
brush that the mysterious cloaked figure held in his hands.
"Here," he hissed. "Take it."
Sunny cringed, staring guiltily at the hook-handled
brush. "Oh no... I don't know if I can accept this," she told Jacko, politely
pushing the brush away. The Phantom Painter scoffed.
"Excuse me? You would refuse a pirate paint brush?
Why on Neopia would you do that? Don't you know how rare they are?" he demanded.
"Under normal circumstances I'd have already
taken and sold that brush by now. The thing is, my Krawk desperately wants to
be painted pirate," she said. Jacko scratched his head.
"Well, now he can. Why won't you take the brush?"
he asked quizzically. Sunny mumbled something under her breath. Jacko put a
hand to the spot on his hood where his ear might've been.
"Pardon me, I didn't quite catch that," he said.
Sunny gritted her teeth.
"I said that I don't like pirate Pets! You don't
know my Krawk, you wouldn't understand! Look, if I paint him pirate then he'll
completely surrender to the will of the brush. He'll start hopping around like
a Kyrii on a sugar high while spouting idiotic phrases like, 'yarr matey!' and
'shiver me timbers!' Next thing you know he'll be spending all my savings on
some boat and setting out to sea! I can't let that happen!" She panted slightly,
feeling somewhat winded after her rambling tirade. Sunny inhaled deeply, calming
herself down. When she was sufficiently subdued, she looked Jacko in the spot
on his hood where his eyes ought to have been and spoke in a calm, level tone.
"Look Jacko, these theme brushes do funny things
to your Pet. I guess you wouldn't know, since you don't have any Neopets of
your own, but I've seen it happen! Pirate, Tyrannian, Halloween, Island... They
can change your Pet's total personality if they're not strong-willed enough
to overcome it. That's why I painted Ezanna skunk; it doesn't have any personality
bending properties," she explained. Jacko inclined his head slightly.
"I don't quite understand," he admitted. "Could
you tell me an amusing yet helpful anecdote?"
Sunny rubbed her temples in frustration but complied;
pulling out the first example she could think of. "My Gelert, I painted her
Island recently," she began. "Now, if she was as weak-minded as Ezanna is, then
she'd be prancing around Mystery Island right now, singing songs and reciting
haikus while playing a Ukulele and making little toy sailboat souvenirs. But
because she's got a powerful mind, she's exactly the same as she always was."
Jacko massaged the area on his hood where his
chin probably was. "I think I'm getting it. So, your Krawk's stupid, then?"
Sunny shook her head fervently. "No, it has nothing
to do with intelligence, it's strength of mind. Shelleylou, that's my Gelert,
she's got very good control of herself. None of my other Pets do. My Halloween
Ixi is just as demonic as his paint job would suggest, my Lupe is a friendly
green, and Ezanna... Well, he's a neutral black and white. If I paint him with
that," she gestured with her hand at the offending brush. "Then he'll adopt
the entire pirate shtick. And I won't have that happen!"
Jacko held up the brush. "Why not sell it, then?"
he asked. "It could fetch you a bundle of Neopoints. Nobody says you have to
actually use it."
Sunny moaned, slapping her forward. "I can't!
I promised my Krawk that if I came across a pirate paint brush by chance that
I'd paint him with it. I wasn't expecting to be presented with one the second
I stepped out the door!" Sunny looked to the sky and shook her fist in what
she imagined to be Faerieland's general direction. "Why is it that those accursed
Faeries always feel the need to give me things when I can't accept them?" She
dropped her hands and kicked the ground angrily. "Fyora's probably got it in
for me," she grumbled. Jacko clucked his tongue sympathetically.
"I feel for you, buddy. Look, why not just take
the brush and sell it in secret? Your Krawk will never know."
Sunny brightened up. "Good idea! I can pull off
a simple auction without Ezanna's knowledge. He'll be none the wiser!" She happily
accepted the brush.
"Thanks Jacko! I won't forget it." Clutching
the item protectively to her chest, she ran off back to her Neohome.
"Shelly! Shelly, come here, check out what I
Shelleylou looked up wearily. The Gelert had
just finished eating a whole bowl of oatmeal and didn't feel at all well. Ezanna,
as it happened, had been completely right. Shelleylou really did hate the warm,
"What is it?" she burbled, her stomach gurgling
unpleasantly. Sunny came skidding into the room, with a strangely wrapped package
under her arm. She glanced around conspiratorationally, and then motioned for
her Gelert to come closer.
"Look at this, Shelly," she murmured, drawing
out the package and pulling off the cloth wrapping. Shelly gasped, her stomachache
"Sweet mother of Juppie!" she exclaimed. "You
actually bought him the brush?"
Sunny shook her head. "No! Jacko the Phantom
Painter gave it to me. I have no intention of painting your brother pirate."
Shelly's eyes widened. "Wow... That'll fetch
us about a million Neopoints!" She did some quick calculations in her head.
"That's like two hundred codestones!" the Gelert said with a joyful bark.
Sunny grinned. "Right!" She frowned suddenly.
"But there is one problem. I promised Ezanna that if I got a pirate paint brush
in a random event or something like that that I would use it to paint him!"
Shelly groaned. "Why'd you promise him something
like that?" she demanded. Sunny scowled.
"Well I wasn't expecting to actually get one!"
she snarled. Shelly glowered back at her, and just when it looked like the two
were about to start throwing punches at each other, Sunny relaxed and smiled
"It's no problem we can't overcome. All we have
to do is sell it without Ezanna noticing," she explained. Shelly furrowed her
brow, staring at the ground.
"I don't know, Ezanna's pretty smart..." she
said doubtfully. Sunny dismissed the Gelert's concerns with a wave of her hand.
"Nonsense. We'll just go and auction it off right
now; he'll never know."
Shelly allowed her lips to split into a malicious
grin. "Cool. Let's get going, then."
Cackling like a pair of Halloween Chias, the
Gelert and her owner scurried out of the Neohome, headed for Neopia Central.
Ezanna strolled through the auction house, gazing
longingly at the various items that he knew he would never be able to afford.
His eyes came to rest on a large glass case that housed his heart's desire,
a pirate paint brush.
"I'll never get to be a pirate," the Krawk pined.
"I don't even know why I came here."
Ezanna was eventually able to pull himself away
from the brush's hypnotic presence and continue down the aisles of merchandise.
The Krawk had awakened from his nap feeling a bit bored and antsy, so he had
decided to get out of the house and go for a nice walk. As fate would have it,
he wound up at the Neopian auction house. Clearly, the pirate paint brush was
weighing more heavily on his mind than he had thought.
Ezanna was just examining a handsome caged Ganuthor
when he heard his sister's unmistakable yell.
"Hot bargains here! We've got a brand new pirate
paint brush for the cheapest price around!"
Ezanna's jaw dropped. A pirate paint brush! The
Krawk's heart thumped in his chest as he dashed back in the direction that he
had come from, cutting through the crowds and pushing aside his fellow auction
"Out of my way! GET OUT OF MY WAY!" he roared,
streaking towards his sister in a blur of black and white scales.
Upon her auctioneer's podium, Shelly visibly
blanched. If what she was seeing wasn't a hallucination caused by a side effect
of the medication that she had taken for her stomachache, then Ezanna was tearing
through the assembled Neopians that had gathered around her pirate paint brush
and looking quite mad as he did.
"Sunny! Ezanna's here!" the Gelert shouted, grabbing
the brush and cradling it against her chest. Apparently, her owner didn't hear,
because she remained unseen. Shelly bared her teeth in a ferocious snarl, backing
away from the enraged Krawk.
"Shelly!" he screamed. "Where did you get that?"
Shelly shielded the brush with her arms. "That's
none of your business!" she snapped. Ezanna flexed his claws.
"Oh, I think it is!" he said, advancing on the
harried Gelert. "Sunny promised that if she got a pirate paint brush from a
random event or a Neofriend that she would use it to paint me, not sell it and
then use the money to buy more stuff for YOU!"
Shelly straightened up. "Ezanna, if you try to
attack me, then I'll knock you out with this nifty portable kiln that Battlesunn
bought me," she said warningly.
"THAT TEARS IT!" Ezanna roared. With a vicious
war cry, the Krawk lunged at Shelly.
The Gelert dodged easily, but Ezanna wasn't really
aiming for her, anyway. As he went sailing past, the Krawk reached out and grabbed
the pirate paint brush from Shelly's grasp. He hit the ground with the brush
clutched tightly against his stomach, skidding a bit on the linoleum floor.
"Ezanna!" Shelly cried. "Don't you dare--"
But it was too late. With a triumphant grin Ezanna
raised the brush into the air and brought it down against himself with a broad
stroking motion. The bristles, dripping with the red and white spotted paint
of the look, were less than an inch away from his scales. Ezanna was ecstatic.
I'm going to be a pirate! he thought.
It was at that exact moment that the Pant Devil
swooped in and grabbed the brush.
Ezanna watched, dumbstruck, as the little blue
demon swiped the relic from the Krawk's clutches and flew off with it. Ezanna
fell to his knees, gaping open-mouthed at his now empty claws.
"Wha... What... NO!" The Krawk put his head in
his hands and sobbed, his inky black shoulders heaving.
Shelly bit her lip. Sure, she was annoyed at
Ezanna for interfering with the auction and losing the brush to the Pant Devil,
but he was still her brother, and she felt sorry for him. After all, he did
sort of have a point, Sunny did spend a lot of Neopoints on her, and it was
really only fair that Ezanna should get new paint brush every now and then.
The Gelert sighed, padding softly over to her brother. She placed a tentative
paw on his shoulder, clearing her throat gently.
"Ez..." she began. Ezanna looked up.
"What?" he spat. Shelly lowered her ears sheepishly.
"I'm sorry, Ez. I should've convinced Sunny to
let you paint yourself when she got the brush. You're right; it's really not
fair that I get so much stuff and you so little." She thought for a moment.
"You were also right about the oatmeal. I really don't like that stuff."
Ezanna ran his claws through his snowy white
mane, gazing idly at his reflection in the puddle of water that had formed from
his tears on the floor. "That's okay," he said softly. "I think that I may have
been over glorifying things too. Skunk's really not that bad of a color. In
fact, it's rather nice." The Krawk smiled.
"Pirate's not that great of a look anyway. Did
you know that you lose a hand when you use that brush?" he said. Shelly laughed.
"Great. So, for the record, we both learned a
lesson, but we lost about a million Neopoints in the process," she said sarcastically.
"Looks like it." He stretched and yawned, giving
his sister a wry smile. "So, do you want to tell Sunny what happened or should
I?" he asked jokingly. Shelly chewed a claw.
"I think we should let her find out for herself."
The Gelert glanced at the steadily setting sun. "It's getting late, we should
probably go home now." She rose to her paws and gestured to Ezanna with her
"Come on, Ez," she said with a grin. "I'll make
us a nice pot of oatmeal!"