"'But, Victoria,' Emil bawled, 'you can't leave me!'
'But I can, and I will!' Victoria rebutted. 'Goodbye, Emil!' And with that she--"
Montana walked into the garage that Thursday
morning and retched at what he saw. Tansy was sitting on the floor, Mike and
Wynn on either side. They were all huddled around a large yellow book.
"Hey guys," Montana said curiously, "whatcha
"Umm," Tansy said as she tried to cover the book
with her paws, "nothing."
"Let me see," Montana urged as he shoved the
Acara's paw aside. The Best of the Neopian Soaps? "Whose book is that?" Montana
asked, backing away slowly.
"Mine!" Tansy beamed. "Want to read with me?"
"NO!" Montana boomed.
"You know you want to read this," Tansy teased.
"No, I don't," Montana said firmly. "I want to
practice. Right now. The party's tomorrow."
"But we've worked so hard!" Wynn whined. "We
at least deserve half the day off."
"Yeah," Mike agreed, "or at least snacktime."
"No!" Montana yelled. "This...this party means
the world to me. This could be my only chance. And I'm not letting any of you
goof-offs stop me!"
"Boy, all you ever think about is this band,
huh?" Tansy asked as she rose angrily from the floor. "Everything's all about
you. 'It's my only chance!' 'The party means the world to me!' You know what,
Montana?" Tansy shoved the Gelert against the wall. "You're acting like the
party's all about you, like we're the backup dancers that make you look good.
Well, I'm sick and tired of it! We're not your puppets! We don't have to jump
at your every whim! It's not even your party! In fact, if your brother wasn't
even born, you wouldn't even have this chance!" Tansy's eyes began to brim with
tears. "So stop acting like some stuck-up adult and learn to have fun every
once in a while!"
"But..." Montana stammered nervously. "I...I
do have...have fun. That's why...that's why I started the band."
"Then why is it that we don't have fun anymore?"
Tansy hissed through clenched teeth.
"Besides...it's our chance at the good life,
too. At least scoot over and give us some elbow room." The Acara walked away
from Montana and picked up her guitar. "Come on. Let's practice Frozen."
Montana flung himself despairingly onto his bed and looked around his room.
The walls were almost completely covered with Stix 'n' Stones posters. He glanced
at the large framed one at the front of the room. There they were, the four
of them, all together, all smiling. At the bottom were all of their autographs.
"How do you guys even get along for one minute?" Montana whispered to the picture.
There was a knock at his bedroom door. He slowly
rose from the bed and walked to the door ."Who is it?"
"It's me, Tansy," the voice on the other side
of the door replied.
Tansy? Montana thought. What could she want?
"Um, I'm not available right now," Montana called, "please leave a message after
the beep. Beep."
Tansy flung the door open and stared flatly at
Montana. "No one's here, huh?"
"Okay, okay, come in. Sit down on the bed." Montana
closed the door behind Tansy as she sat down on the bed and looked around the
"Looks a lot like my room in here," Tansy said
airily, "only mine's plastered in Chomby and the Fungus Balls."
"Yeah." There was an awkward silence between
the two for awhile, then Tansy spoke up.
"I just came to say...I'm sorry for what happened
today," Tansy whispered. "I didn't mean to embarrass you in front of the guys."
She pushed an antenna out of her eyes with her sharp red fingernails.
"It's okay," Montana said. "I guess I sort of
"So, are you all ready for the concert tomorrow?"
"As ready as I'll ever be, I guess," Montana
sighed. "I just hope everything's okay tomorrow."
"Me too." Tansy rose from the bed and stretched.
"I better head home. It's suppertime."
"Good night, Tansy."
The Acara slowly turned back and smiled. "Good
It was Friday.
The day of the party,
Montana had a nervous look on his face all throughout
the morning. All through breakfast, he had a somber look on his face as he lazily
stirred his spoon around in his cereal. He spent several minutes in front of
his mirror, combing each and every hair on his head into its perfect position.
"Monty," Wynn asked as he fiddled with Tansy's
guitar, "if the guy turns out to be not a music agent but a spy for Dr. Sloth
or something, what do we do?"
"I don't know," Montana replied unenthusiastically,
"call for Chet Flash?"
"I just hope there's lots of cake there," Mike
said has he struggled to button up his black Thunderbolts jacket, "and not sugar-free,
"Keep it up, and you won't be getting any cake,"
Tansy scolded, "you'll be stranded here."
"No way!" Mike yelled as his jacket busted open.
"There's no way I'm spending one moment here with Montana's crazy Spardel! Do
you guys remember the time he almost chewed off my left--"
"Thank you for that word of motivation," Montana
groaned. "D'oh! Why is there always one hair that always stands up?"
"Yank it out," Tansy offered. "Oh, do you think
I should wear my antennas flopped, perked, or one of each?"
"You don't really have much of a choice," Wynn
"Hello?" Mike droned, "doesn't anyone remember
the time I almost lost my--"
"Okay, everybody, just settle down," Montana
commanded as he rounded up the band in the center of the garage. "Today is probably
the biggest day in our lives. We can't mess up on this one. That means no eating
while we're on stage, Mike."
"Awwwww, just a breathmi--"
"No, Mike, nothing." Montana looked around the
small circle. "We've got to give it all we've got. Who's with me?" The Gelert
extended his paw in the middle of the circle.
"I am," Tansy said she stacked her paw on top
"Me, too," Wynn joined in.
"Only if we can have cake afterwards," Mike chorused.
"You're determined to have your cake and eat
it too," Tansy twanged.
"On the count of three," Montana said. "One...two...three...For
The pets glanced around them. Neon lights were flashing and exploding with
color all around them while pets seemed to float around the arena, laughing
and yelling at each other, some holding paws to keep each other on their feet,
others falling on their behinds. The unmistakable tune of "Me and My Lucky Green
Boots--The Techno Mix" echoed through the loudspeakers.
"Great, just great," Wynn mumbled, "we just had
to have this birthday party at a skating rink, didn't we?"
"What do you have against skating rinks?" Montana
shrugged. "Besides, I like the lighting in this place."
"Well, first of all, whenever I go with the other
guys from school, I always end up on my butt or getting ditched. Second of all,
it's on the Space Station, and it's so high up, I can hardly breathe in here.
Besides, I have no one to skate with!"
"We're not even here to skate!" Montana whined
as he rolled his eyes and groaned.
"I'll skate with you, Winnie," Tansy yelled over
the music as she pinched Wynn's cheeks.
"What? I can't hear you!"
"I said stop that!"
"Guys, just calm down," Montana said. "It's just
a skating rink."
"That's it?" Mike said, grimacing at the concessions
counter, "that's the concession stand?"
"The thing's a mile long," Tansy said, "you could
fit the Turmaculus in there."
"It doesn't matter," Montana resolved, "I'm going
to set up over there." He pointed to the middle of the skating rink.
"Fine, let's go," Wynn said, slicking his drumsticks
The band spent much of their time dodging skate-racers
or the showoffs who usually skate, but soon made it to the center of the ring.
"We did it!" Wynn cheered. "We survived!"
"Wonderful," Tansy drawled. "Let's set up."
Mike plopped down on the hard floor and unwrapped
a candy bar. "Oh beautiful chocolate," he serenaded to the large brown candy,
"you will soon me mine." He opened his mouth wide and looked towards the door...was
"Guys! Guys!" Mike exclaimed, tossing his candy
bar into the air, "it's...it's the agent!"
"What?" Tansy asked in surprise as she ran to
Mike's side. "That guy over there?" she asked as she pointed to a white Kougra.
He was clad in a dapper white pinstripe suit with a large cowboy hat to match.
He was pulling his sunglasses from his eyes and looking around the rink as if
he were lost. He removed his large hat, and underneath it was a tall multicolored
"Yep, that's definitely the one," Mike reassured.
He glanced down his side as a skater whizzed past him. There, before him, lay
a flattened candy bar with a large trench down its center. "Oh spiffily-pop,
my candy bar got smashed!"
"Forget your candy bar!" Tansy yelled as she
snatched the ruined sweetie from her friend and tossed it across the floor.
"That's our hot ticket! We have to impress him. Quick do something...impressive."
"Oh," Mike huffed as he puffed out his chest,
"that'll be easy!"
"Good, I'll go finish setting up." Tansy darted
over to Montana and lightly touched his paw. "Don't look now, but Your Deity
Montana twisted a peg on his guitar so hard the
string popped and nearly whipped Wynn in the face. "What did you say? He's here?
"Over there," said Tansy, beckoning to the front
counter. "He's the one with the white suit and mohawk."
"The one with the cowboy hat?" Montana hissed.
"Yep," Tansy chimed.
"I told you that guy had weird taste," Wynn mumbled
into Montana's ear.
The Gelert froze solid in his tracks. He was
scared stiff. Should he go up to him and introduce himself? Should he start
playing to catch the Kougra's ear? Or should he just sit still and pretend he
was just another stranger, blending in with the rest of the crowd?
"I...I don't know...I can't feel my antennas,"
Montana whined. "Just...keep setting up. We'll know when it's time to start
"Whatever," Wynn groaned. "Let's go."
Montana looked anxiously around the rink. Was it time to play already? Inside,
he pleaded for just five more minutes, but he had to face the fact that it was
time to play. He couldn't run away from reality forever. A large crowd of smiling
pets were gathered at the feet of the small band. Montana didn't know what to
think. Thoughts of anxiety raced through his head. ld his voice crack in the
middle of the song? What if the man walked out on them ? Would he like the song?
Would he boo them? Would he wag his mohawk goofily like the clowns at the circus
always did? Was that even his natural hair?
The Gelert sighed heavily and winked at his friends
as he stepped timidly up to the microphone. A loud wailing sound pierced the
ears of the younger pets. "Um...hi. We're the Thunderbolts. We wanted to sing
a little song for you called 'Frozen'. Happy Birthday, Chester." He backed up
a bit from the microphone, told himself, "We can do this," and smiled. "Five!
Six! Seven! Eight!"
The band had taken off. There was no stopping
now. Montana looked around him once more and winced in the flashing neon lights.
He could tell the band was enjoying it. He stepped up to the mike and began
"The wind was whipping and howling outside,
I took a deep breath and swallowed my pride
As I stepped into the cave, and trembled in fear
As the blast of deathly cold breath began to
His heart is frozen,
The lonely Mr. Snowager..."
Montana stepped back and winked at Tansy. She
stepped up and began her verse of the song:
"I ran with great speed, gasping for breath:
All the while, dodging daggers of death:
The large lethal icicles were hurling so fast
I thought my life would come to an end at last.
His heart is frozen,
The lonely Mr. Snowager..."
Montana looked out into the audience. The agent
was busy talking with another grown-up. Oh no, what if he's not paying attention?
No time to think about that. He walked to the microphone and joined in with
"He has a heart so cold
It could freeze your soul to death.
The Iceworm's heart is frozen...
"So you better watch out for the lurking fiend;
He's the meanest creature you've even seen.
If you manage to rouse him while he's awake,
Watch out! Your life he's destined to take!
His heart is frozen,
The lonely Mr. Snowager...
The pets applauded wildly as Montana threw his
head back in relief. At last, his job was done. They were a hit. As the four
pets bowed and walked from the center of the rink, a light paw touched Montana's
shoulder. He turned to look at who touched him. It was the agent.
"You kids did a good job out there," the Kougra
whispered to Montana in his silky-smooth voice. The Gelert was mesmerized by
this mysterious being.
"Um...thank you...sir," Montana gasped. "Thank
you very much."
"Come," the Kougra invited as he wrapped a warm
arm around Montana's shoulder, "come with me. I have something to talk to you
Tansy had a bright grin across her face. "So,
were we hot or what, Montana?" She turned and looked behind her, but her friend
wasn't there. "Montana?"
"He's over there," Wynn explained as he pointed
to him, "talking to Mr. Cowboy Rock Star and Chester."
"Montana!" the Acara yelled, trying to catch
Montana's attention, but there was no answer. "How could he just leave us like
that?" she complained as her face drooped.
"Forget you guys," Mike wheezed, "I'm going to
get some cake. Later!"
"This is so not righteous," Tansy gasped. "He
can't just leave us like that! I have a bone to pick with him."
"Um," Wynn said, "I don't you'll have time to
do it now. He's leaving."
"What?" Tansy started towards the door of the
skating rink, paws outstretched. "Montana! Wait! Don't leave!" Suddenly, the
Acara was sideswiped by a Lupe whizzing by on his skates.
The Acara wheezed and coughed as Wynn helped
her get onto her feet again. "Hey!" she yelled to the Lupe. "You should watch
where you're going!"
"You shouldn't run in front of people while they're
skating," the Lupe snarled back as he turned to skate some more.
Tansy grimaced behind the Lupe's back. "He got
away. He can't just leave us like that!" Tansy looked down at her side, where
Wynn was excitedly snapping his fingers.
"What are you so happy about?" Tansy asked
"I like this song!"
"The one they're playing over the speakers,"
Wynn said, "Don't Put Water In Your Two Gallon Hat...The Disco Mix."
Montana left his friends without even saying a word to them, his head swimming
with notions of fame. Was it true? Was he really on the road to stardom?
"I must be," he reassured himself as he skipped
down to the mailbox. He pulled out the mail and began sifting quickly through
it. "Chester...Owner...Food Shop Coupons...Pet Supply receipt...Tail Enlargement
offer...What?" Montana stopped. There, cradled in his paws, was a large yellow
envelope. The return address was "Neopian Records". On the front, in large red
letters, it said--"To the Owner of Montana--Open Immediately...Important."
To be continued...