Misadventures of a Neopian Times Reporter IV
The doorbell rang downstairs, but I ignored it, knowing someone else would get it. My boss at the Weekly World had given me the job of turning one of my fellow journalist's notes into articles. Leonard the blue Lenny had gotten eaten by the Turmaculus. Thankfully Lennies didn't agree with him, and he had regurgitated him pretty quickly, but Leonard was in the hospital under going physiological and psychological recovery.
I was writing at a furious pace. Buzz had warned me that he would turn me into a Chia and eat me if I wasn't done by the day after next. Leonard's handwriting was terrible; I spent most of my time guessing and hoping I was right.
There was a knock at my door. It wasn't any of my pets' knock; it was much too authoritative. I called for the visitor to enter. The person who walked in was Dr. Frank Sloth. I dropped my pencil in shock. It was the first time I had seen him since the disastrous interview the previous year.
"Hello, Kristy," Dr. Sloth said.
"Hello, Dr. Sloth. What have I done? I haven't let Bluejay up on the station since the incident and I didn't tell anyone about your mother," I said quickly.
"Calm down, I'm not here about that. Actually..." He seemed very embarrassed.
I waited, wary of offending the evil mad genius, although I didn't really think that he would come into my house and blast me to sludge for nothing. That would just be bad manners.
"I want you to do an article on Jhudora," Sloth blurted out.
I decided that it was a very good time to duck under the desk to find my pencil. My face at that moment might be sludge worthy. Everyone knows about the rumors that Dr. Sloth has a thing for Jhudora, but I really had thought that it was an unfounded rumor. After I got control of my face and had my pencil in hand, I came back up.
"Well, I don't know. It's not smart to ask favors of Dark Faeries and especially her. Besides, I'm good friends with Illusen; do you know how that is going to look? Also, I'm super swamped with work at the moment. My colleague got eaten this week and I've been stuck with his work. Why are you interested in my work or seeing an article on her? People do them every week and Jhudora Day isn't for months," I said composedly.
"I don't care when you do it so long as you do. Look, I'm not asking you to do it for nothing. I've heard through the grapevine that you are into avatars at the moment," Dr. Sloth replied.
He took out a Meerca Transmogrification Potion and set it down on my desk.
"Agree to do it and that is yours and you will get the avatar," Dr. Sloth explained.
"You're bribing me to interview her?" I asked.
"I am," Dr. Sloth clarified.
"Last time we saw each other, you were threatening me at blaster point," I reminded him.
"I threaten many people at blaster point. You, however, are not a pile of sludge; therefore you can let bygones be bygones," Dr. Sloth replied.
"Why?" I asked.
"I want you to gently prod her for some delicate information," Dr. Sloth said in a low voice.
I lowered mine too. "And what is that information?"
He looked very embarrassed and said in an even lower voice, "How she feels about me."
I decided it was a very good time to take a sip of my Neocola and swallow it the wrong way. After I was done choking, I looked at him for a minute, trying to phrase my next sentence in the least offending way possible.
"And if they are not good feelings, who ends up sludge? Do you really want me plastering Jhudora's true thoughts about you all over Neopia Central? Why in the Neopia would she tell me if she really liked you?" I asked.
"Look, you don't have to put that in your article, you could just allude to the rumors and ask how she feels about them and state that you heard a rumor that she said she liked me and ask how true it is. Even you should be able to guess her true feelings based on her reaction," Dr. Sloth recommended.
"All right, I suppose even you deserve a break," I said, giving in.
I got up and went to my door, opened it, and yelled downstairs, "Hey, Chloe, come up here, please. I've got an important job for you!"
Chloe came zipping into my room. She stopped dead, her eyes bugging out, as she saw Dr. Sloth there.
"Apparently we owe Dr. Sloth a favor for that mishap last year. Go drink the potion on the desk, please." I sighed.
"What? Mutant Meerca? Why couldn't it be a Grundo potion? The only thing worse than a mutant Meerca is a Mutant Tuskaninny," Chloe gasped.
"Because this is the potion I need tested; my mutant Grundo potion is pretty near perfect. Now, come drink it or I will turn your Mira-loving little brother into a Mutant Gnorbu," Dr. Sloth threatened.
"Hey, look on the bright side; at least we'll get the avatar," I said encouragingly.
Chloe went over and downed the potion in one swig. She then morphed into a mutant Meerca. There was a pop sound and the avatar floated above her in the air for half a minute and then disappeared.
"That was rather unnerving," Dr. Sloth commented.
"Such is life in Neopia," I replied.
"I hope you're happy," Chloe lisped around all her hideous teeth.
"Don't worry, Clo-baby, you'll be something else by next week anyway!" I consoled her as she left.
"You're deviously clever in spite of your ditziness," Dr. Sloth commented after she was gone. "I might just hire you one of these days."
"I've already been bought and, believe me, Buzz Johnson is more of tyrant than you will ever be," I replied dryly.
"Buzz Johnson, you're working for that old coot? Ha, one of the best Neopians I've ever met. He's Garoo's second cousin. He worked for me at one point. Buzz and Lynette, maybe you've heard of that duo? I was sorry to lose them."
"Oh, why am I not surprised? Okay, so I'll do my article and leave out her feelings if I can discern any. How am I supposed to contact you about it? Wait, no, I've got it. If you keep tabs on when it happens, you can send 605 after it to inquire about any after effects of the potion and I'll give him a note to deliver to you."
Dr. Sloth nodded and walked out of my room, calling in a loud voice, "Keep an eye on her and I'll send over one of my minions in a few weeks to pick up a report from you about any side effects you notice. I want it printed, written in black ink, and legible!"
I walked out to the landing and looked down as he walked down the stairs to the ground floor.
"Right, whatever, are we square after this?" I asked.
"I'll think about it!" Dr. Sloth yelled.
He let himself out, slamming the door, and I went back to my room to Neomail Buzz's secretary Sheila, asking her if she could pull some strings and get me an interview with Jhudora. Then I went back to working on the articles.
Just as I was finishing up the last article after dinner the next day, Sheila responded. It was all arranged and I had to be at Jhudora's cloud by two on the following Monday. So my next order of business was to take a trip to Meridell to make excuses to Illusen. She was cool with it, thankfully, so I went back to Neopia Central on Sunday to mentally rehearse this fiasco.
So, Monday came and I made my way up to Jhudora's cloud. Thankfully I was rather unknown to her. I had done a few quests, but she obviously couldn't remember everyone and she didn't seem to know about my friendship with Illusen. The interview ran smoothly until I realized I was out of questions. I had left Chloe behind because it was rather sensitive and I was really hoping that I wasn't about to regret what happened next.
"Jhudora," I started slowly. "I'm sure that you must have heard the rumors that Dr. Sloth likes you..."
"Yeah, what about them?" Jhudora asked.
"Well, I've heard recently that you return his feelings. Now, I don't know where this rumor started, but I'd like to get your opinion on it. What are your true feelings concerning Dr. Frank Sloth?" I said nervously.
Jhudora actually smiled and leaned back in her chair before replying.
"I think he is a genius, but he is also as stupid as they make them. If he could get his act together, he could be something. But, really, me like someone who was bested by Brucey B? No way! Ha, you looked surprised; I'll bet you were expecting me to pour out a tirade on how hideous I find him and the rumors. No, I'll give other villains credit where they are due, but I think he is a dork and you can tell him that." Jhudora laughed.
"Considering the fact that he has a wicked temper and blasters, I might just leave that out of the article. People like him tend to shoot the messenger." I chuckled.
"You're probably wise for that. Tell your overlord I said hello next time you see him," Jhudora replied.
I thanked her and left, not surprised that Jhudora was almost nice to me now that I had learned that she knew who I worked for. I went home and wrote up the article, lacking Jhudora's confession, and wrote a kind, but truthful note to Dr. Sloth.
Three days after my article was published, 605 appeared to retrieve the note and I never heard any more about it. As I watched 605 leave to go back to the Space Station, I wondered if my life would ever be normal, and then decided that I needed to get back to working on my comic strip before Buzz had me defenestrated for being late with it.