The Auction House
"Listen, Tiger, this is a serious job."
I nodded, perspiration already covering my face. I wrung my cloud-colored Kougra paws and the chair I was sitting in felt hard as steel.
"You have to keep track of the bids."
Another nod. "Sir, I got it. We went over it yesterday..."
The Scorchio from the Auction House had hired me. After months of searching for a job, I had found one. Yeesh, you burn down the house one time and your family HAS to rub it into you.
I had vowed to not screw this up. Mom, who was only twelve, was quite proud of me. My brothers just laughed. But I didn't care. I was the oldest pet and I could actually earn money and buy what I wanted. I told my brothers this and they just simmered, glaring as I smugly walked out the door.
And here I was in a hard chair, facing the Scorchio again. I did NOT want to mess this up. Messing up meant no dessert for a week AND I had to do all the chores for three days. We were able to buy another house, but my mom wanted more furniture. I don't really see how a kid needs so much paint and beds and all, but I promised to pay for it.
"Okay, the day is starting. Another day, another business-making day." The Scorchio laughed. I pretended to laugh until the Scorchio glared. "I'm having a nice day... don't screw it up."
"You know the rules," he continued. "People set their stuff THERE." He pointed at the counter. "They say a price, you mark it down, people bid, bid, bid!" the Scorchio yelled. "Make sure to get tips. I'm off to Mystery Island." He stooped behind the counter, then came back up in vacation clothes and a suitcase. Then he left, with me panting from heat that wasn't there.
"Okay, breathe, Tiger, breathe," I said, considering doing yoga.
The first to enter was a girl. She held a lamp and set it before me. "Can you price this for me?" she asked, pointing at it. "Can you put it at one hundred neopoints?" she asked, rubbing her chin. "Would it be good?"
I panicked. I forgot everything. What did this girl want? How did I price? Where was I? Who was I? Why am I here?
"Uh... clock! Fish! Cheese! 24! I'm not good with questions!" I screamed.
The girl looked at me curiously. Everything came back to me and I gulped. "Uh... one hundred, right?" I asked, quietly.
The girl slowly nodded. "Um... yeah... bye." She backed off, then opened the door and ran away, screaming.
I gulped. That was a major mess-up. I priced the item, put it under her username, then put it on the display shelf.
A man came up next, holding a Banana. "I wanna price this for one million."
"You're kidding, right?"
The man went up to my face. "Is there a rule in pricing? Maybe I can scam someone into bidding on it."
I gulped. "Uh... sir... this sign says we have the right to refuse service to anyone," I said, pointing at a sign with a taco on it. Would he fall for it?
"OKAY! DON'T KILL ME!" I grabbed the hateful fruit and priced it. I put it on the display shelf and the man was gone. Good riddance. I hate bananas still.
Next, an Ogrin cautiously came in. "Um... I have this table..." She was lugging a huge piece of furniture behind her. I leaped from the counter to help her carry it in. "Sure, what starting bid?"
"Umm... I dunno. One?"
"Thousand? Hundred? Million?"
I rolled my eyes.
"Actually, I meant just one. Neopoint, I mean. I don't know the price."
I nodded slowly, trying to get this girl's game. "So... just one? What if you don't get any profit?"
"I don't care. I just need SOME kind of money. Even ten would be fine. I want an Angelpuss."
"Hundred? Thousand? Million?"
I sighed and took the table to the display shelf... or underneath it because really, you can't fit a table on a shelf.
"Bye. Thanks so much," she called, then turned on her heel and walked out the door. I waved five minutes after she left. I slammed into the door. I finally came back to the real world to see ten people come in.
I was soon putting starting prices on many items. I was panting when break rolled around and people stopped giving in items.
That's when a crowd of people pushed in, along with a handful of pets either bidding, or getting dragged along.
I coughed and stood up on my stool. "Okay, first bids on this lamp." I patted the little thing. "It... um... turns on... and... helps you read... and stuff... in the dark."
I took a breath. The auctioneer had said to always say my auctioning in a fast voice.
"Do I hear one hundred? One hundred?" I said, slowly to start up.
A person nodded.
"Two hundred? Okay, that person in green. Three hundred? That pet right there. Five hundred? Five hundred? That man!" I started going faster and faster until it was like babbling. People were yelling prices. This lamp must be awesome or maybe it was my description... nah, it's probably rare.
It finally sold for one thousand to a man in blue.
"Next, this table." I gestured. "Do I hear... ."
"I'll bid ten thousand!"
Wow, that Ogrin had a lot of money coming her way.
Soon, bids were closing and I went around collecting money. "Keep it coming, keep it coming," I said, collecting bag after bag.
Soon, I had a pile of neopoints on the counter. People thanked me as they dragged their items away. Other people brought in items. Believe it or not, the banana was sold.
I scooped the neopoints into one big bag and sat up. People were quickly leaving. I glanced at the clock to see it was almost ten. I grinned and took off my hat. My day was up.
The Auctioneer came in, whistling, carrying his suitcase. I got out from behind the counter and sat back in the hard chair. He went behind the counter, swooped down, then came back up back in his original clothes. "Okay, how'd you do?"
"Pretty good, I think."
Soon, the door was knocked on. A crowd of people were outside. I got up and opened the door. "Hello?"
"Where's our money? I got a neomail saying my item was sold," the Ogrin declared, stepping up.
I grew rigid. The money! I hadn't separated it! It was all jumbled up!
"Um... yeah, funny thing about that..." I mumbled... then I hightailed it out of there, pushing past the crowd of yelling and angry people.
"You're fired!" the Auctioneer yelled.
"And the money got... jumbled," I ended. My mom nodded. We were all eating dinner and my brothers were snickering about me.
"Okay." My mom got up and handed me a list of chores. I sighed and grabbed it.
She got up from the table and got out a big chocolate cake with cookies and cream and cherries.
"Everyone can get as much as they want... except for Tiger."