Life With the Newbies: Part One
'Zainahava, you are beautiful. I love you so very much. We'll always be together. Always.'
These are the first words Mommy ever said to me, even before I was painted Desert.
I believed that. I used to. But that was so long ago! I was teeny, and I didn't know any better. When you're a young Neopet, you eat right up anything your mothers and fathers say. But it was a lie. Not a little white lie, but a lie that changes your life so dramatically you don't have a chance to view it; it's just so quick; and you're breathless, the air is pressing down on you, your lungs are no more than the size of peas now, some air would be like drinking sweet, sweet fresh water; you can't gasp and...
Sweet Fyora, I took myself too far again! I apologize. I'm a tad dramatic sometimes.
Mommy and I were closer than jelly is to peanut butter. Notice the past tense here. We were glued together, until came the day she saw an Asparagus Chia being advertised as up for adoption.
“Did I read that right?” she whispered, eyes curious and dreamy.
“Yes, Mommy, that Neopian has an Asparagus Chia UFA. It's ugly, isn't....” I didn't even get to form a complete sentence. Mommy was already with that individual, along with at least fifty other Neopians, applying for that walking vegetable.
“...it?” I choked. I was on the verge of tears. Mommy abandoned me momentarily for a disgusting, rubbery, and slimy living veggie. I was so accustomed to her being with me every nanosecond of the day. I grew envious of the rubbery creature. Even though I didn't know him.
“Zainahava, guess what?” said Mommy excitedly after lots of long and jealous minutes.
I replied with a low moan.
“I may get an Asparagus Chia this month! Isn't that fabulous?”
I flashed her a polite (yet annoyed) grin and a thumbs up. “Awesome,” I said through gritted teeth.
Mommy didn't take the hint. She skipped with joy back home. “It'll be so utterly wonderful, don't you think, Zainahava?” asked Mommy.
“I reckon so,” I said.
Of course I didn't mean it, I know! I've been raised to be polite and optimistic, even when the situation is stinky. Maybe too polite.
Mommy didn't even give me gourmet dinner that day. I begged for food hungrily, but she only told me to 'browse through the SDB, there ought to be something there buried'. This from a girl who has always fed her pet gourmet foods, for more than one thousand days, who handpainted a lovely Aisha like me, who is the greatest Neopian ever! I finally found 2/3 of a dusty Sausage Omelette. I ate quietly and without complaints while my dearest Mommy watched a documentary on Neovision about Asparagus Chias.
It was the first time I ever felt alone.
* * *
Mommy won. The Asparagus Chia, I mean. Its old owner chose her as the future proud owner of his special pet.
I was a bit more ecstatic now, but only a bit. I'd never had a sibling before, so it might even be fun.
Mommy was completely ecstatic, though. “Happy so very, I right now am!” she exclaimed. She was so excited she couldn't even speak properly. She kind of reminded me of Eliv Thade there.
“Mommy, when are you getting my brother?” I asked her.
She stopped skipping. “'Scuse?” she asked.
“When is my brother coming? You know, the Chia?”
She gave me a sad look. “But sweets, you're not going to be here by then!” she said.
“What,” I said blankly, not even making that a question.
“I cannot possibly manage two pets, that's too horridly much! I'm giving you to a better home. They'll love you to pieces there, I assure you.”
I couldn't help it this time. I cried. I cried a new river. I sobbed and wailed and rolled on the floor mourning. I grabbed hold of Mommy's shirt. “Mommy, you can't leave me!” I wailed.
She patted me. “They'll like you better there,” she said. Then her face had a look of surprise. “That reminds me! I need to put you UFA tomorrow. We'll go to the Neopian Pound board! Get a good sleep; lots of people will want you!” Her adrenaline shot up again and she was once more an Eliv Thade.
“Wait can't I! Now sleep, Zainahava! Go!”
I moped to my bed. My usual optimism and eagerness weren't going to help now. I was going to be abandoned.
* * *
ABANDONED. When I say the word, the tippy-tip of my tongue gets sour and it almost hurts saying it. ABANDONED.
It might not have hurt if it weren't me that was being abandoned, thrown away, maybe even left in a Neohome that was mostly vacant with a careless owner that left me to starve, oh my poor fragile stomach...
Sorry. Over-imaginating again.
It was bright and early the next morning, the exact opposite of my mood. We went to the Neopian Pound board. 'VWN Desert Aisha UFT!!!' screamed the sign. Several people flocked to us. They wrote applications for me, stating why they deserved to own me.
“Mommy, will we be coming here every day until you find THE person?” I asked with innocent eyes, hoping Mommy would yell, “NEVER! I've decided I love you sooo much that I'm going to keep you for eternity!” but instead, she said this:
“No. Just today. I'll find you a good home today and hopefully give you away tomorrow.”
How's that for lifting one's spirits?
So the day was long and tedious, with me sitting pretty so others could see me as a great pet. If there was no such thing as time, I'd say at least 1,000 years flew by.
My smile became permanent. My muscles hurt, but I had smiled encouragingly for so long, I couldn't bring my tense muscles to relax. I started to sweat a little bit.
“Hookay!” sighed Mommy, setting some papers straight. “Those are all the applicants. Seventy-eight of them, can you believe that? See, Zainahava, I told you someone would want you!”
Not want me. More like trade me for a nicer pet.
“Now, there's too darn many apps, so I'm going to draw one at random,” stated Mommy. Not that I cared. 95% of the Neopians that showed up were rich with nice pets, so I couldn't possibly be stuck with one of those newbies.
“Ah, lessee, who'd I get...? 'Holly Billy'. Lucky person!” said Mommy. Holly Billy? What freak had a name like that? Was it a girl or boy? I hoped it this boy that had a Draik. He was quite rich. Except I thought it was highly unlikely for a boy to be named 'Holly'.
“Mommy, may I see the applicant's application?” I asked, at least to see who would own me. Mommy handed me the paper, while she wrote down a Neomail for Holly Billy. This is what greeted me:
Um, hi. My name's Holly Billy, and I'd like to have your Asha. He's pretty.
He'd like my family, I think. I have a Baby Shoyru, a Chomby, and a Wocky. Don't think I'm rich or anything, but Boochi zaped him. I'm not very rich but we all love each other at my neohome.
There very nice and freindly (my pets I mean).
I hope I can have your awesome Aisha.
My eyes were probably twitching by the time I was done. This person had horrible grammar, got their homophones confused, couldn't spell, and couldn't capitalize their proper nouns. To make matters worse, they had my gender confused? And I was going to live with them?
* * *
When I came to, I was at the Neopian Pound already. That betrayer! Mommy had dragged me here while I was unconscious. Rude!
We were at the Transfer Room, with the Robot Hissi. He sat there, quiet as quiet can be, making some strange beep-boopy noises now and then. I blinked slowly and found Mommy wasn't there. My eyes shot open as fast as the Poogle Racers and I looked around for Mommy.
“She (static; beepy noises) left long ago (boop). I'm here for that (static) reason). Look, here is your (boop) new owner now,” said the Robot Hissi.
I turned around rather quickly. A girl with brown hair that reached her ears approached me. A Baby Shoyru, a Green Wocky, and a Yellow Chomby followed soon afterward.
“Billy, is that the Aisha we were going to get?” asked the Wocky. The girl smiled. I noticed she had a tooth missing. “Yeppers. Let's go to him.”
She ran to me. “Hey, li'l guy! I'm your new mommy! Wassur name? Hmm?” she asked me as if I were a naive baby.
“Uh, hi,” I said, eyes probably twitching a bit. The Wocky slapped the girl hard in her head.
“Well, shoot, Billy! You get his gender all screwed up! It's a girl, didn'tcha hear the voice?” she yelled.
“Oh, I'm sorry! Your name's Zahavana, right?” she said.
“Zainahava,” I said. My eyes were SO twitching now. The Chomby smiled serenely.
“Ah, Zainahava. Fitting for a Desert Aisha like you. The soft sound of the 'Z' in your name signifies and symbolizes the cruelty of the desert...” she said calmly. I stared at her.
Those were some long awkward minutes right there.
The Shoyru finally spoke up. “Can we go home, Billy?” it asked. The girl said, “Oh!” and paid the Hissi some money, motioned for me, and walked away.
I hesitated for a moment. I could run away, to Faerieland possibly, and have the Queen take care of me, and I can work for her, and the faeries will be nice to me, and and and....
“Well, darn tarnation, ain't you gonna come?” shouted the Wocky angrily. The girl gave her a demanding look and smiled her buck-toothed smile at me.
I sighed and went forward, summoning my optimism. How bad could this be?
* * *
“Well, we're here!” exclaimed the girl, whom I remembered her name was Holly Billy. She turned on the lights to her Neohome. And I saw. I saw it wasn't the newer, more stylish Neohomes, but the older ones. But Sweet Fyora, this house had only four rooms! All made of TWIGS! And there were five of us in this family, and in one of the rooms everything was squished together: the living room, dining room, kitchen! Even some potted plants. That meant the other three were going to be shared.
Not only that, but it looked like a Snorkle-sty.
“Dun worry, Zeeny, you're gonna have your own room!” said the Wocky.
“My name's Zainahava,” I corrected.
“Yeah, whatever, but I'mma call you Zeeny 'cause it's faster to say!”
Holly Billy sighed. “It's not much, but it's home. Now, let me introduce you to the family.
“This is Pancho. He got zapped Baby by Boochi, can you believe that? Darn luck!” Holly Billy nudged him and rubbed her knuckles fast against his head, causing him to shriek in laughter.
“This is Rosanna. She's quirky and may be annoying at times.” The Green Wocky smiled and stood up straighter.
“This is Lily. She's calm, serene, and peaceful, as she likes to describe herself.” Lily nodded.
“I am Holly Billy, but since the name Holly is so common and girly, I go by Billy. Real name's Holly Wilma, and I think Wilma is an ug-lee name.” She smiled again.
“You're gonna be sleepin' in the Guest Room. Rosanna here will show you where it is. Go on now, don't be scared of us!” laughed Billy.
Rosanna tugged at my tunic. She urged me to hurry. I relaxed my leg muscles and willed her to pull me away. She chattered away at how great this house was. She said to not mind the dirt and debris, that you grew used to it. I wasn't really paying attention; I was careful not to step in any stuff in the floor.
“Rosanna, what is that?” I asked, disgusted.
“That's just a pile o' poop my Altachuck, Larry, left,” she said, casually.
Note to self: watch own step in this household.
We then arrived at another twig room, but a bit cleaner. “The bed's there,” she said. I noticed a small faded pink wooden part of a bed peeking out from under a monster pile of toys. “Uh, sometimes we use this room as a playroom, so you might find toys a lot. Oh, and if you see a lost Angelpuss, tell me. We've been looking for her for almost a year now.”
I said I'd watch out for an Angelpuss and I'd look out for toys. She then left, reassured at my words. I gingerly put away the toys covering the bed and sat down on some lump. The rest of my life was going to be an absolute nightmare.
To be continued...