Flipping through a copy of I'm Not Angry, a speckled
Bruce sat quietly on a pebble bench not far from the Money Tree. He paused to
wipe the raindrops off his spectacles and adjust his green and white bow before
resuming his attempt to read the smearing ink. He supposed he should return to
his Neolodge room, but he so enjoyed the cool air and quiet streets.
While carefully pulling apart two wet pages,
he heard voices nearby him. Tensing up, he waited for their owners to come into
view. He flinched in disgust when a couple of bickering young pets in raincoats
appeared and sat on the bench across from him. Have they nothing better to
do than disturb my peace with their fighting?
The smaller of the two, a blue Wocky, pulled
the hood of her red raincoat over her ears and whined, "Why do we have to sit
in the rain, Sakura? I hate getting wet!"
"It's your fault they kicked us out of the catacombs,
Magaxana." The Eyrie wiped the water off her beak with her green paw and pulled
her black coat over her tail.
"My fault? You're the one who spilled your spicy
herbal tea all over the floor!"
"Your tail knocked it out of my hands when you
turned around to harass the people behind us, you Meekins. Besides, people spill
stuff all the time. It was your singing 'The Mootix Go Marching' at the top
of your lungs that made everybody mad."
"There is nothing wrong with singing!"
"…Unless the singer has your voice."
"I sing better than you. The Mootix go marching
one by one, hurrah! Hurrah! The Mootix…"
"Oh, be quiet! You're going to drive everyone
within hearing distance insane."
"There's nobody here except us; everyone else
has enough sense to stay out of the rain. When I get home, I'm going to tell
Shimmer that you were being mean to me."
"That's a brilliant idea, genius. I'm sure she
would love to hear what happened in the catacombs. Besides, a Bruce is sitting
right there, on the other side of the path. You're being so obnoxiously loud
he can probably hear you…"
The Bruce still sat silently on the bench, his
book resting in his flippers; however, he had yet to continue reading it since
the pets' arrival. Instead he listened to their heated conversation with his
head down, occasionally glancing up at the objects of his fascination. The rain
had slowed down a bit but still kept falling.
Magaxana's whining climbed in pitch, "Why are
you always so mean to me?"
Sakura snarled back, "You always start it! Every
single time you start it, and I receive the blame."
"That's not true. Remember that time we were
picking vinberries, and you left me alone in the middle of the jungle?"
"…Because you kept throwing them at me! Then
you had the nerve to complain because I had more than you."
"You didn't have to leave me all by myself. I
was lost; I wandered around for hours."
"You mean it took you fifteen minutes to leave
the jungle, and you spent a couple of hours hanging out at the trading post
and island marketplace. I know, Xana. I followed you."
"You did? Still, that was not very nice of you.
I was scared."
"Which is why you kept singing that irritating
'The Mootix Go Marching' song?'"
"It's not irritating. Everyone sings it. Sakura…'
The Bruce chuckled softly and buried his feet
into the soft mud beneath him. He knew he should avoid eavesdropping, but he
had never heard the likes of such a conversation and wanted to continue listening.
All he needed to do was to remain as inconspicuous as possible. With the two
pet relentlessly arguing, he supposed doing so would be fairly easy.
"Just stop, Xana," Sakura sighed as she stretched
out her legs.
Rolling her eyes, Magaxana sifted through her
raincoat pocket and pulled out a chocolate bar. "Want some?"
"What's wrong with it?"
"Nothing. I just bought it today."
Magaxana unwrapped the bar and broke it down
the middle. She handed Sakura the smaller piece; the two started munching on
After swallowing a bite, Magaxana looked up at
the sky. "It's nearly stopped raining."
"Yeah, but I don't want to fly home until it
"I guess we're stuck here forever, then."
"Okay, I'll wait until it slows down to a very
fine drizzle. I hate wetting my feathers, though."
"Maybe it will stop soon."
"I don't know. I just want to go home and see
my little Feroshi."
"Your Snowbunny is perfectly all right without
you. She's probably happy you aren't there."
"This insult coming from a pet whose Snowbunny
hides every time she comes trampling into the room."
"Sajyrea is just shy. I do not scare her.
You're just jealous because she's cuter than Feroshi."
"What are you talking about? Feroshi is just
as cute as Sajyrea, maybe more so."
"Sajyrea has softer fur, prettier eyes, a pinker
nose, longer ears, smaller paws…'
"Xana, you're crazy! Half the time you can't
even tell them apart and have to ask me which one is yours."
"That's not true!"
"Yes, it is. Remember that time you entered Sajyrea
in the petpet spotlight contest and took Feroshi along with you instead?"
"That was an honest mistake. I suffered from
extreme nervousness. Besides, Feroshi lost the contest."
"Yes; however, you told me the judges nearly
picked her, but then you realized you had brought the wrong Snowbunny and left."
"If Sajyrea were there, she would have won. She
is the cuter of the two."
"Even if that were true, which it is not, Feroshi
is much better behaved than your obnoxious Snowbunny. That little brat is always
chewing on the furniture, and you still haven't trained her to stop."
"She looks so cute doing it!"
"Just keep her out of my room."
"Whatever. Look, it has stopped raining."
"No, it has not. It has simply slowed to a light
"Will you fly now?"
"Might as well."
The Bruce pushed his spectacles back up his beak
and looked down at his book, pretending to read it. He lamented the departure
of the two, for as an only pet, he found himself unfamiliar with such interactions.
He peaked as the Eyrie handed her raincoat to her sister and stretched out her
After allowing the Wocky to board her back, the
Eyrie began to leave. However, in mid-takeoff, she paused. She turned around
and started walking towards the Bruce. Flustered, he hastily attacked the mess
of ink and paper before him. The Eyrie halted only a foot in front of him and
assumed a melodramatically innocent voice,
"Excuse me, sir. I was just wondering if you
had ever considered hiring a reading tutor or taking some classes. Not to be
rude or anything, but you've been on that same page the entire time we've been
The Wocky stifled a chortle; a faint grin played
along the edges of the Eyrie's beak. Before the Bruce could respond, the Eyrie
flew away. A chiding voice floated down from the sky, "That was mean, Sakura.
Just plain mean…"
Hours later, the Bruce still sat quietly on the
bench, wondering what it was like.