Friday: An Incomplete Petpet
This short story was inspired by a particular petpet, can you figure out which one before you finish the tale?
With his bickering petpet in tow, The Neo-citizen quickened his pace as he strode passed the Secret Laboratory to access the Petpet Laboratory. The narrow, almost claustrophobic hallway that led to the Petpet Laboratory was always dimly lit, with tangles of wires poking from the ceiling.
He was a Neo-citizen on a mission as he ignored random bypassers reacting over their latest zap - he heard someone gush over their new Pink Kadoatie whereas another one was grumbling about their petpet newly named OMGROFL.
’Perhaps if I have enough time, I can ask the scientist how the lab comes up with those ridiculous names,’ he thought to himself as he urged his petpet to walk faster.
It wasn’t like the Neo-citizen didn’t appreciate what the Petpet Laboratory had done for him in the past - he was thrilled to have gotten petpets he could not otherwise afford. And after months of getting a Pile of Soot, he thought he was fortunate with his most recent zap as this particular species could only be accessible through the petpet lab ray and nowhere else.
However, he soon learned that this blessing turned out to be more of a curse. For one, the petpet was very noisy and are always getting into mischief even over the most petty, insignificant things!
‘Yup, having a two-headed petpet can be a problem.’
The Neo-citizen grimaced his face as the incredibly lit laboratory came into view. In the center of the room was a gleaming stainless steel table with restraining straps tied to each corner, punctuated by a floor-to-ceiling ray that was surrounded by red and blue wires that lay in a mess on the floor. Within the confines of the lab were glass cabinets that housed equipment and stainless steel drawers in the far back corner. It was an overwhelming sight to take in, when all of a sudden The Neo-citizen’s hearing picked up on some noise clunking behind the ray.
Rounding the corner, he saw the Kookith scientist, donned in a white lab coat and appearing to be in need of a shower, banging on the console and grumbling obscenities under his breath. The ray’s features varied on a daily basis and can either transform a petpet’s species and colour, change its name, increase or decrease its level, not work, or worst of all, zap a petpet out of existence! Based on the Kookith’s reaction, the Neo-citizen deduced it was probably malfunctioning again.
Striding forward to the mini scientist sitting atop a red stool, while skillfully avoiding the tripped wires on the floor, he said, “I have a problem my latest zap. It's creates more of a ruckus than a Kadoatie at night!”
Turning to face him, the Kookith gazed at him with his hypnotic swirling yellow-red eyes. “Oh yes, I remember you,” and then continued wildly pushing buttons on the console.
Irate at the Kookith’s indifference, The Neo-citizen recounted the events that led to his visit. “Earlier today I was at the Food Shop and my petpet couldn’t stop squabbling over which sandwich to eat, a r78 BLT Sandwich with Cheese or the rarer r84 Uni Day BLT Sandwich.”
“The left-head advocated for the BLT Sandwich with Cheese and reasoned that it was one of the most popular items on the menu as it is a gigantic BLT on fresh white bread topped off with slices of creamy Swiss cheese and it restocks at 1,160 NP, which makes it a very cheap, yet delicious choice.”
“On the other hand, the right-head wanted the Uni Day BLT Sandwich and reasoned that he wanted it because it looked like a Uni hoof,” The Neo-citizen rolled his eyes. “The right-head is driving me insane!”
Holding his right palm out to silence the Kookith who was about to speak, he resumed his rant. “It was oh so frustrating that their little sparring match led to an all-out altercation! It disturbed the other patrons in the shop and then we were both escorted out of the restaurant - how embarrassing!”
“And even after that debacle, the right-head still made a fuss when we told him we couldn’t attend the Jazzmosis Show at Tyrannian Concert Hall,” going on bended knee, he pleaded, “I just want the right-head to stop bickering, be more reasonable perhaps? It’s up to the point where I just want to gag the right-head and just be done with it!”
Sighing, the Kookith sympathized with him. “You are not the only one to have received one of these petpets and have had similar problems.”
“So the right-head is… normal?”
The Kookith nodded his head. “I’ve been documenting all the complaints that I’ve received from other Neo-citizens who’ve gotten this particular species and I’ve noticed a strange pattern.”
Hopping off his stool, he walked towards the back corner of the room and opened a drawer to retrieve a mangled notebook with bits of pages protruding from all sides. “It’s almost as if the petpet never fully formed.”
The Neo-citizen merely blinked in response. “Huh?”
Inferring that the frustrated owner wasn’t thinking along the same wavelength as him, the Kookith walked back and opened the notebook. “My lab ray is imperfect - sometimes it works brilliantly while other times it cannot even turn on,” he flipped to page 394. “I have a theory that your petpet’s predisposition may have been the lab ray’s fault.”
The Neo-citizen laughed and then teased, “Everyone in Neopia is fully aware that the lab ray changes petpets. Perhaps you’ve been spending too much time in the lab?”
Shaking his head, The Kookith responded with, “No, you misunderstand. The ray always produces this species that constantly bickers!”
The Neo-citizen simply raised his right eyebrow in return.
The Kookith pointed to the left column of the chart. “I’ve listed what each past Neo-citizen has said about the petpet. The left head tends to be more analytical and factual. Always investigating situations and able to process information in sequential order - studying one piece of information one step at a time, and then putting them together into a logical, rational argument.”
Recalling the embarrassing circumstance he had to endure at the Food Shop earlier, he remembered how the left-head’s argument made more sense - talking about the price and the contents of the sandwich which made the BLT with Cheese Sandwich the more appealing choice. He nodded his head in agreement.
Pointing to the right column, The Kookith explained, “On the other hand, previous owners stated that the right-head is primarily guided by visualisation, intuition, and most of all, their emotions. In this case, they tend to rely more on visual references."
“That’s why the right-head wanted the Uni Day BLT Sandwich, because he was awed by the shape," his eyes widened in shock as he connected the dots. “Your hypothesis isn’t about your faulty lab ray... Your hypothesis is that this petpet isn’t really two petpets rolled into one. He’s one petpet split into two, each head representing the left and right hemispheres of the brain! The right-head is guided by the right hemisphere whereas the left-head is dominated by the left hemisphere!”
Smiling at him as he closed the notebook, the Kookith said, “You’re smarter than you look.”
Dumbfounded and shocked to his core, the Neo-citizen’s head tilted to the left and blurted out, “Are you truly telling me this species is really an incomplete petpet?!”
Giving him a sheepish smile, the scientist tilted his head to mimic the Neo-citizen. “Perhaps?”
“Shouldn’t I want my petpet to be more analytical? Based on what you’re telling me, shouldn’t I let the left-head dominant and suppress the right-head?”
Slapping him with his notebook, the Kookith scolded, “Fool! You’re not paying attention! One is not better than the other just like being right-handed isn’t superior to being left-handed!”
The Neo-citizen flinched as he began rubbing his head.
Ignoring the Neo-citizen, he elaborated, "Our world needs Neo-citizens who can think differently! Our world constantly underestimates the potential the right hemisphere has to offer, which scientists believe it is the region of the brain that fosters creativity. Can you imagine how abysmal our world would be without music and art?”
Seeing him about to rebut, the Kookith simplified his explanation. “And if you’re wondering why creativity isn’t important, recent research indicates there’s a correlation between music and academic success. For example, musical training helps develop a mastery of memorization which can serve anyone well beyond their schooling years, and fine-tune their auditory skills which is helpful in fostering language development. More importantly, those who immerse themselves in the arts are able to think more creatively, thus imagining innovative solutions that could potentially change our world! By subduing the right hemisphere, you are possibly suppressing the next great thinker of the 21st century!”
“In your case, both heads are vying for dominance and based on what you told me, you’re letting the left-head win arguments, correct?”
Seeing the Neo-citizen nod his head, the Kookith revealed, “The reason why the right-head wanted to see Jazzmosis play at Tyrannian Concert Hall is because the right hemisphere is attuned to music, rhythm, and beat. He sees that the left-head is dominating and is seeking stimulation in order to thrive, to get some semblance of balance. Instead of gagging the right-head like you said earlier, try to immerse him in the fine arts. For example, right next to the Food Shop is The Deep Catacombs, Neopia’s Arts and Literature Centre that houses the Art Gallery, the Poetry and Storytelling Contests, and the Neopian Times Headquarters. I urge you to go check it out. Perhaps by giving the right-head what he wants, you'll get what you want too.”
“So then I should suppress the left-head then?”
The Kookith rolled his eyes as he was thinking about the politically correct way to retract that smart statement he said earlier to him. “By no means am I implying that you should suppress either side, after all, recent research has proven that the brain is not as dichotomous as it once was thought. I am highlighting that the lateralization of the two hemispheres, or this case the cooperation between both heads, is ideal. Two sides working together, capable of performing a wide number of tasks. Currently your petpet is like a butterfly - by suppressing either side you’re essentially clipping away its wings before it even gets a chance to fly.”
The Neo-citizen froze as he recalled all the number of times he’d sided with the left-head. How frustrated and angry the right-head was and how it affected his mental state. He lowered his head in shame as he remembered how many times the right-head was left in the dark. Was it possible for him to rectify the wrong he had done in the past? Peering over to the Kookith, he asked, “You think my petpet can still fly after all I have done?”
The Kookith chuckled. “I think your Chiruck can soar as high as the sky if you let him.”
Chiruck Trivia: Just like having two petpets rolled into one, Chirucks are very noisy and are always getting into mischief.