A New Flavour
Splat! The Slushie waitress turned back to see that the Lime Berry Slushie she had just prepared and whipped down the table had fallen to the ground. She looked toward the door and saw the impatient fan who ordered it running back toward the Yooyuball field.
“Seriously? I made that in two seconds,” she sighed, and shuffled toward the mess to clean up. As she did, a roar began in the distance, and the ground began to shake.
Fifty thirsty Neopians, half decked out in the red and blue of Meridell, and the rest sporting the pink and green of Faerieland, stampeded to the Slushie counters and began to yell their orders at the poor Tuskaninny waitress while also yelling at the rival fans. Apparently, Meridell and Faerieland were tied after the regulation time during the day’s surprisingly close Yooyuball game, and the fans were desperate for a Slushie before the shootout.
The waitress sighed once more, and then put on a huge smile and started to grab empty plastic cups. She pointed to restless fans one at a time, ran to the machines to get what they wanted, slapped a sticker on the cup corresponding to the right team, and whipped them down the polished counters – no time to walk it over. Some fans got the wrong flavours, but they barely had time to complain before the next order was underway.
After hundreds of cups had been slung down the tabletops, drained, and then left for the waitress to pick up, she finally had a moment of quiet. The shootout was about to start, and no one wanted to miss it, running back at full speed back into the hot Altador sun. But the waitress had a nagging feeling about the rush. Despite the huge amount of people, she felt it had been quieter than usual for some reason.
As she stacked up empty cups to get ready for the next day, she saw one of the newspapers piled up in the corner of the room and knew what was missing. He was right there on the front cover: “TECHO FAN CHEERS FOR BOTH TEAMS AT ONCE IN CRAZY DRAW”.
“That’s weird,” the waitress said to herself. Usually, that guy was so pumped up from the games that he would be the first in line to get not one, but two or three Slushies at her counters, drinking them while yelling about the scores the entire time. But he hadn’t shown up all day, and the Meridell vs. Faerieland match was the last one scheduled.
After the match, there was another rush of fans – Meridell had won the shootout off a wicked goal from “Wizard” Windelle, but the Faerieland fans were insisting that the sun had been in Valtonous Rea’s eye. The arguing fans spilled a lot of Slushies, but the Techo superfan wasn’t there to (loudly) chime in.
The waitress was once again cleaning up the sugary mess and preparing to close the shop for the day when the two commentators stopped by. She sighed, but this time in relief. Hovri Sweet and Tobias Sigmir were always a lot more patient than the rampaging fans. Since they all worked for the Cup, the Slushies were on the house.
“Here you go, guys,” the waitress said, passing a Zeenana flavoured Slushie to Tobias, and three Jumbleberry ones to the hungry Grarrl, “I’ve been so busy today.”
“Us too,” said Tobias. “My voice is nearly gone. Did you know five matches went to a shootout today?”
“I only knew about the Meridell and Faerieland game,” said the waitress.
“That one was the craziest,” said Hovri, finishing his second Slushie and beginning to eat the cup. “It went like, ten rounds before Windelle was able to finish Faerieland off.”
“The Techo fan must’ve lost his mind,” said the waitress. The commentators exchanged looks.
“Actually, we haven’t seen him at all today,” said Tobias. “I assumed he would have been in here helping you out or something. That guy loves everything about the Cup.”
“I wish! I didn’t see him once either,” said the waitress. “Maybe he’s come down with Neezles.”
“Gee, I sure hope not. The fans were loud today, but if the games aren’t as close tomorrow, he’ll need to be back to hype everyone up. Without him, some games would be a lot less interesting,” said Hovri, ambling over to the Slushie machine and pouring himself a fourth Slushie. He also grabbed a few napkins to munch on.
“Well, we’d better go home before Hovri eats all your supplies,” said Tobias. “Come on, man, we should eat some real dinner. Oh! I almost forgot.”
The commentator pulled a bag out of his pocket and handed it to the waitress.
“Thanks for your hard work. It’s pretty hectic serving all these fans without even one other coworker to help you. These are some tasty, Altadorian Honey Filled Olives that the fans gave us. I figure you deserve some of the gifts Neopians bring even if you’re not on Neovision all the time.”
“I appreciate it! Thanks,” said the waitress. As the commentators left, she put the olives on the counter for later and resumed closing up the store.
On the way out, as she was about to close the front door, she heard a very slight cough from the corner.
The waitress turned and peered at… a pile of empty Slushie syrup boxes.
“I guess I’m just that tired,” she said, and turned back to the exit.
Another cough sounded, then a wheeze.
“Okay, who’s trying to rob this place?” The waitress marched to the boxes and lifted one up. A pair of bulging Techo eyes stared back at her.
“What… what are you doing here?” she asked.
No answer came. In fact, no noise came from the superfan at all. The waitress pulled him out of the boxes and looked at him carefully.
“Why aren’t you bursting my eardrums right now?” she asked.
The Techo shook his head and pointed to his throat.
The fan shook his head wildly. He pointed to his throat again. He tried to say something, but only a weak wheeze came out.
“Ohhhh.” The waitress understood. She got the newspaper from before and pointed to his picture on the cover. “Were you cheering so hard you lost your voice yesterday?”
The Techo nodded excitedly.
“Yeah, I get it. I wouldn’t want to go out in public either if I couldn’t even cheer for my favourite team… and you have eighteen favourite teams, huh?”
“Well… I had better give you a Slushie to cure your throat. It should help a bit…”
The Techo sat at one of the counters and the waitress rushed to the machines. She figured she had to work fast. Every second the Techo’s throat was sore could make his voice worse. If he missed the rest of the Cup, the finals wouldn’t be the same at all. She grabbed a cup, filled it up with a mix of Lime and Chokato, and hurled it down the counter in record time. The fan jammed his straw into the cup and drank the Slushie fast as he could. He cleared his throat, but when he tried a cheer, nothing came out.
The waitress was already working on a second Slushie. She made this one pure Zeenana flavour, with some extra ice to soothe the Techo’s throat a bit. He drained this Slushie even faster, but it didn’t help at all. The Techo put his head in his hands and started to silently sob.
“Aw, it’s not the end of the world,” said the waitress, patting the fan on the head, but as she said that, she knew that for him, missing the finals of even one Altador Cup would make the poor Techo sad for the rest of his days. As she tried to cheer him up, her eye caught the bag of Honey Filled Olives from the commentators. She began to form a plan.
The waitress got a new cup from the back of the shop and filled it with Slushie, but only halfway. She then took an olive, dripped the honey into the cup, and repeated this until there was a good layer of fresh Altador honey in the middle of the Slushie. She then filled the rest up and stirred it using some extra straws. The fan had come over to the counter, curious as to what was taking so long.
“Be patient,” said the waitress. Once she was done with the Slushie, she handed it to the superfan.
“Drink this slowly, so the honey can cure your throat,” she said. “This is one time you can’t rush.”
The fan reluctantly slowed down. It took him a good five minutes to finish the Slushie, instead of his usual three seconds.
When the cup was empty, the fan rubbed his throat and tried to clear it. He made a noise and his eyes widened.
“I can talk,” he said.
“Wait… this is what your voice sounds like when you aren’t screaming?” asked the shocked waitress. She was amazed the new recipe had soothed his throat.
“UH! I MEAN, I CAN CHEER!” bellowed the fan.
“Hey! Take it easy tonight! You’re still recovering,” said the waitress. “Now go home and get a good night’s sleep. You’ve got some catching up to do tomorrow!”
“Okay,” said the fan, and walked out the door. The waitress was glad he didn’t yell this time.
However, as she watched him jog off into the distance, she could hear a very loud “THANK YOUUUUUUU” echo off the walls of the Colosseum.