Stand behind yer sheriff Circulation: 171,601,943 Issue: 397 | 19th day of Relaxing, Y11
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In The Yooyu Cage: Part One


by hidden_cloak

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"Come on..." the Fire Yooyu said through gritted teeth. He paced back and forth, circling around and around and around the small Yooyu cage. "Come on come on come on come on come on!"

      Fire whirled around and gazed at the rest of the Yooyus. "What time is it?" he asked.

      The Darigan Yooyu glared at him. The Faerie Yooyu ignored him and smoothed out her silky wings. The clockwork Yooyu could not answer, for it was not alive- "It would save us a lot of trouble if it could just tell us the time itself," thought Fire grumpily. The Mutant Yooyu stuck his tongue out at him and jumped up and down, cackling. What a maniac.

      But the Normal Yooyu heard Fire's question, and opened her mouth to respond. Usually Normal was the one who handled any business with Clockwork (mostly because nobody else wanted the job and forced it upon her). Now Normal was very skilled with all the technicalities of the robot's inner workings, including how to access its clock. So Normal started to reply to Fire, "I'll check Clockwork for you," but a huge yawn overtook her and she couldn't say anything.

      The Snow Yooyu saw her friend yawn, and smiled sympathetically. Normal was always so tired, and Snow had to wake her up before almost every game. She had gently shaken the Yooyu awake only a moment ago, as the game was about to start. Fire had just asked what the time was, obviously expecting Normal to check the robot, but Snow felt she wasn't up to the job. Instead, the Snow Yooyu raised her own voice and stammered, "Uh, I- I'll check C- Clockwork for you."

      Immediately she wished she hadn't said anything. The clockwork Yooyu could be very frightening at times, especially when it was mechanically shuffling to the side and getting in everybody's way.

      Snow edged nervously towards the robot, keeping all of her body parts out of its path. Once it had stepped on her tail and pinched her skin, leaving her with a throbbing welt on the tip of her tail. Another time, its sensors had detected her movement, and it had rotated to face her, its eyes flashing, and said in a mechanical voice, "I am a Yooyu. Yooyu. Yooyu. Yooyuball. Yooyu. I am a Yooyu" over and over again, scaring her immensely.

      Normal, sitting up, blinked the remnants of sleep away from her eyes and watched the Snow Yooyu try to access Clockwork's clock, grateful that Snow had taken her place. However, the Snow Yooyu hardly ever even went near the robot, and Normal could see she was going at it completely the wrong way. She was trying to open the hatch on Clockwork's back while it was moving, which wasn't working very well because the hatch had a safety aspect that caused it to snap shut immediately when opened. "What you have to do," thought Normal, "is activate the robot's sensors, which makes it stop, and then press a button on its tail which opens up all of its compartments, including the clock."

      But although Snow had gone about it the hard way, she must have managed to see the clock because a moment later Normal heard her say, "It's only one minute to game time, Fire."

      The Fire Yooyu nodded. He had also been watching the Snow Yooyu struggle with the robot, feeling immensely guilty and at the same time wondering why he felt so. "Erm- thank you," said Fire distractedly, trying to sound grateful. He had a feeling he sounded more like an idiot. But Snow smiled shyly and blushed, turning quickly away.

      The Faerie Yooyu looked up when Snow announced the time and immediately panicked.

      "OH MY GRARRL! ONE minute to game time? Like, I'm totally not ready!" Faerie snatched her perfume bottle and started spraying her wings in a panicked, heavily scented frenzy. "I don't even have time to, like, curl my wings!" She looked around her. "Not that I, like, actually know where the curling iron is. Oh well." She shrugged and continued grooming herself. "Oh my grarrl, like, what if I get picked as the First Yooyu of the game? I don't even have lip gloss on!"

      The Faerie Yooyu was not the only restless Yooyu in the cage (though none of the others were frantically searching for lip gloss). All the others showed some sign of impatience as well, though Fire topped them all by pacing the cage feverishly, muttering, "What are they up to? What's taking so long? Isn't it time yet?"

      Apparently it was. The Normal Yooyu was suddenly taken by surprise as she was lifted into the air and out of the Yooyu cage. A mechanical claw placed her carefully onto a small platform, which then moved upward into a tube, blocking all the other astonished and disappointed Yooyus from view.

      "Hey, I'm the first!" she realized. "I'm the FIRST YOOYU of the game!" Her heart leapt for joy as brown streaks of light shot past her within the tube, honoring her color. Normal smiled in earnest happiness at the hidden camera in the tube, then spun herself into a tight ball and shot out of the tube.

      Normal had NEVER been chosen as the First Yooyu before, nor any other such great honor. She had always been ordinary; unworthy of any respect in the eyes of the other Yooyus- except Snow, her only friend. The Normal Yooyu slept so much partly because she had no special quality like the others that kept them from getting exhausted from their training. But it was also partly because when she slept, it was the only time that she could be appreciated. In her wild, imaginative dreams, Normal was NOT Normal: she was special; she was important; she was beautiful. She was better than all the other Yooyus, and they loved her.

      But that was all just a dream. She was not at all special in the real world... she wasn't like the others.

      Meanwhile, unbeknownst to poor Normal, she was being rudely ridiculed down in the cage by (who else?) the Mutant Yooyu.

      "Look, everybody!" Mutant screeched abruptly, startling the other Yooyus. "Normal is the First Yooyu of the game!" He did a backwards flip in the air. "Why would anybody pick her?" Another flip. "Unless it's for the national MORON award!" Mutant doubled over in insane laughter.

      "How come I didn't see that claw coming?" said Fire, an aching sensation of disappointment flooding his entire body. "I always make sure that I'm the-"

      "Don't YOU complain!" snarled Darigan, upset that Fire was being arrogant again. Why was it that, ironically, the "evil" Yooyu was the only Yooyu in the cage who tried to maintain fairness and equality among all Yooyus? "You got to be the First Yooyu last time, and the time before that, and the time before that!"

      Mutant saw an opportunity to make a fool of himself and took it. "And the time before that, and the time before that," he cackled, pulling himself right side up in order to mock both the Darigan Yooyu and the Fire Yooyu more excessively. "And the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that!" He raised his voice to a screech of laughter and flopped onto the floor, rolling on his back in hysteria. "And the time before that! And the time before that! And-"

      "Shut it, Mutant," snapped Darigan.

      Mutant shut it.

      Darigan found telling Mutant off quite a heavy responsibility, but he knew that nobody else would do it. Luckily Mutant had grown almost manageable under Darigan's strict rule. He didn't like to encourage the "evil" view of himself, but at times his looks paid off, especially when dealing with that madman.

      The Fire Yooyu slumped against the wall of the cage and waited for the goal to be scored and the next Yooyu to be picked. Being a Yooyu was such a great life- a life full of excitement and fame. Fire loved showing off his flame to the whole stadium, a million eyes fixed on him. He loved being the star, and he also loved being the First Yooyuball of the game, so he could start the game off with a bang- or, more accurately, a burst of flames.

      "If I can't be first, the next best is to be second," thought Fire suddenly. "If I don't get this one, I can't get it at all."

      Fire sat up and fixed his eyes on the closed mechanical claw, alert for any movement. "When that claw opens, I'll be in its arms before anyone can say 'Yooyuball'," he thought determinedly. "I'll get it this time or I won't get it at all."

      Mutant looked over at Fire and realized he was going to make a break for the claw. Slowly an idea formed in the Mutant Yooyu's distorted brain. "I'll beat him to it!" he decided. "I'll show everyone that he really is a fool after all." Mutant began staring at the claw himself, waiting for it to move.

      They waited. And waited.

      Normal came rushing down the chute that transported Yooyus from the goal back to the cage, beaming with happiness. She looked around, but nobody- not a single Yooyu- had noticed her. Her smile faded slowly. Sadly, Normal promptly curled into a ball at the foot of the slide, and went to sleep, completely invisible to the "special" Yooyus in the cage, who sparkled like stars around her.

To be continued...

 
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