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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 8th day of Running, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 52 > Short Stories > One's Fun

One's Fun

by scriptfox

Hi. My name is blchocobo. I'm sure you've read about my big brother MonoKeras' birthday and wedding. Since then, things have been very interesting at times, and one of those times has proved to be my own recent birthday.

     I guess it all started the day after MonoKeras' birthday when he remarked at the breakfast table that he was an "old man" now. Our owner just stared at him with a raised eyebrow and sceptical look. I think I made a mistake when I agreed with him.

     "Yes, I guess you are, MonoKeras. A whole year spent battling crime in Neopia. Aren't you about ready to retire?"

     "Huh? Who said I was going to retire?"

     Kallisari giggled and leaned closer to him. "If you did, honey, you could consider me a retirement benefit!"

     MonoKeras' fur prickled in that certain way that tells me he is blushing. "But I'm not ready to retire!"

     "Isn't that what pets do when they get too old?"

     "I guess, but... I'm only a year old!"

     "Oh, my mistake. I thought you said you were old now."

     MonoKeras' mouth opened but nothing came out for a couple of seconds. Kallisari winked at me and said, "he got you there, handsome."

     "But... I was just kidding!"

     I nodded briefly. "So was I."

     "And now that we have that settled, why don't we get these dishes put up and head off to work?"

     MonoKeras looked relieved as our owner put an end to the awkward (for him) scene. We did as suggested, and nothing more was said about it the rest of the day. I spent the day showing Kallisari how to cook up some new dishes, while MonoKeras and our owner went to their own jobs.

     I don't know what Dark Faerie possessed me, but I dropped a few more "old" jokes over the next week or so. At first, it was kind of fun to watch MonoKeras squirm a bit, and I made sure never to take it farther than brotherly teasing normally goes. I did let it drop after the novelty wore off a bit, continuing further would have just been cruel.

     A few days later I found MonoKeras and Kallisari entwined in a corner, whispering and giggling to each other. That was not at all unusual around our house, and I didn't think anything of it. I should have been more concerned for myself, but I discounted the meaningful looks they both sent my way.

     The next day Kallisari was doing the dishes when I walked into the kitchen for a snack. Just as I was trying to make up my mind between a slice of bagguss or tchea fruit, she broke my train of thought with an idle question. "Did you know they have birthday cards at the gift shop?"

     "Huh? Oh. I guess they do at that. Why?"

     "Oh, just thought you might be interested."

     I looked at her sharply, but her back was to me. "I see," I replied in a tone which said I obviously didn't and would she please explain herself.

     She didn't. She just began humming happily under her breath. It wasn't until I got back to the living room that I realised I'd forgotten my snack.

     At supper that night, MonoKeras began his own speculation. "You know, I never could figure why you'd try to surprise someone with a birthday party."

     Kallisari didn't let anyone else say anything first. "Why's that, dear?"

     "Well think about it. They already know it's their birthday, right?"

     "Yes?"

     "So what's so surprising about a birthday party?"

     "Ummmmm..." she looked at me with a helpless expression. I looked back blankly and shrugged.

     "Maybe the surprise is you even have one for them," our owner suggested.

     "Ah, that must be it!" MonoKeras said in satisfaction.

     "But I thought you had to have a party for your birthday. Isn't that part of what a birthday is all about? Remember, dear, we had a wedding as well as your party."

     "Hmmm... true. But what if no one knew it was your birthday?"

     "But that's silly! Surely everyone knows when your birthday is."

     "Really? When is yours?"

     "Uhhhhh...." Kallisari's face fell. "I don't know," she admitted in a small voice.

     MonoKeras reached over to hug her. "Don't worry, we'll take care of that little problem someday. But most people do know when their birthday is, and those close to them know when it is, too."

     He filled that last phrase with a significant tone. I frowned and looked at him sharply, but he was staring at his plate as he absently twirled his fork in the remains of some veggie sausage and barbecue sauce.

     You might say I let the matter drop. But I had to be honest to myself and admit I wasn't sure exactly what matter had been raised.

     The pieces fell into place a couple of days later. I was in the back yard, swinging in the hammock while I read The Purple Tuskaninny when Kallisari came out with some lemonade.

     "Want some?"

     "I'd love some! Thanks so much."

     "Oh you're welcome... here."

     I gratefully took a good-sized swallow. Just as I got my mouth clear, Kallisari said thoughtfully, "I wonder if you feel any different after you have a birthday."

     "Whaaat?"

     "I mean, your age changes by a whole year. That's an awfully long time, isn't it?"

     "Yeah, longer than I've been alive."

     "So you have to feel a lot different."

     I looked at her in bafflement. "I wouldn't know. Why don't you ask MonoKeras, he's the one that's had a birthday around here, not me."

     She shook her head dismissively. "That's no good. We got married then, too, and I'm sure he's felt a lot different since then because of that."

     "Uhhh... yeah."

     "So when is your birthday?"

     "Mine? It's..." I did a quick mental count and then gulped. Everything began to make more sense.

     "Yes??"

     I stared at Kallisari. "It's in a couple of weeks. Why?"

     "Oh, nothing, I was just wondering." She turned and left to go back inside.

     I laid back in the hammock and groaned to myself. Nothing? Whatever else she might have been capable of, Kallisari was lousy when it came to hiding something. Those weird conversations of the past few days suddenly made a lot of sense, and I had a sinking feeling it wasn't going to get any better.

     Pointed remarks about age never did quite become regular fare around our house. That just made it worse. They'd let things stay quiet for a couple of days, and I'd start to relax and think it was over. Then I'd get this at the breakfast table:

     "MonoKeras, is it true that some pets have a big emotional problem handling things when they turn one?"

     MonoKeras shrugs nonchalantly at Kallisari's loaded question. "I hear some do. I never did myself, but I suppose it all depends on the pet. I'll tell you one thing, though."

     "What?" she breathes eagerly.

     "I've heard the worse they nag others about getting old, the worse they are worrying about it themselves."

     "Oh dear. Who would do such a mean thing? Did anyone do that to you, MonoKeras?"

     "Hmmm.... seems like a few did, but no names that I can recall right now."

     "Ohh you poor thing." Kallisari then nuzzles MonoKeras, and soon they're giving me enough reason to leave the breakfast table, even not considering the verbal prelude they'd just performed.

     The Saturday before my birthday was probably the worst. I came down to find a huge sugar frosted fish cake in the middle of the kitchen table. Just looking at those frozen fins made me feel a bit queasy.

     "Oh! Hi blchocobo. Like what I got at the Tiki Tombola this morning? Doesn't it look delicious?"

     I didn't quite gulp as I looked over to Kallisari. "Er, no, not really. I don't care for those sorts of cakes."

     She grinned and winked. "Well never mind. I think I'll set it back. You never know when it might come in handy for a party... or something."

     "Uh huh. Or something." I sighed to myself and wandered out to the living room as the refrigerator received its load of fishy goodness. The rest of the weekend I cringed as Kallisari bubbled about her "wonderful cake" that she had. No one else liked a fish cake, either, but you'd never have known it.

     That Monday morning I laid in bed deliberating whether to get out or just pretend I was sick. Thinking about that cake was enough to make me sick, no pretending to it. But the tension grew as I heard muffled bumps and thumps down below. I refused to take the bait until there was a barking at the door. I opened it to find Steelplate rushing in, tail between his legs.

     "Steel! Are you OK?" I picked him up and he did his best to turn my mask into a soggy mess. Suddenly he stiffened and began whining. I looked up to see the fireball hovering in the doorway and understood.

     "MonoKeras!" I called downstairs. "Get this pet of yours under control!"

     "Come down here and make me!" was the call from below.

     I let out a wordless growl and shot past Sun Pegasus, intent only upon getting my paws around my infuriating older brother's neck. I skidded around the corner of the stairs and into the kitchen to find everyone framed around that huge sick-looking sugar-frosted fish cake. Sure enough, everyone began singing "Happy Birthday" and all the rest. MonoKeras threw me a party hat and grinned as he also tossed me a Uni cracker.

     I'd been intent on yelling at them, and I still wasn't happy, but I just didn't have the words, or the heart, to start chewing them out after that. I still thought it was all a farce, but...

     ...but I was spared the problem of figuring out what to say when the front door crashed open behind me. I spun around and gulped, my legs getting wobbly as I saw the huge mountain of angry red flesh that stood there.

     "Where is he? Where is the scum-sucking son of a jellyfish? Oh there you are! I've been looking for you...." the Koi Warrior advanced on me.

     I dropped Steelplate, who promptly hid behind me. "L-looking...."

     "Yes, looking for you. MonoKeras told me what you did to me in the arena, making me run in front of everyone by exposing my fear of asparagus and..."

     "No!" I spun around. "MK, you didn't!!"

     MonoKeras was busily buffing a forehoof. "We fought in the Battledome a few weeks ago." A shrug. "I decided to talk things over with him afterwards."

     Understanding flickered in the back of my mind. "You lost, didn't you, and had to tell him."

     MonoKeras looked up in surprise. "Who said I lost?"

     "But... but..." I turned around to see the Koi Warrior staring past me.

     "Your brother is a very worthy warrior. Others may have beaten me with more speed, but he has a definite style that one does not forget." He rubbed his backside. "Not if one wishes to stay in the Battledome business at least!" A feeling of utter betrayal washed over me. Before I could say anything, the Koi Warrior frowned and thumped me in the chest. "But that doesn't take care of my business here!" he thundered. "I came by to tell you just what I thought of that little trick of yours!"

     "I... look, can't we just call it even?" I gasped.

     "Never. I'm in your debt. That stunt of yours is just what I needed to shock me back to my senses. You don't know the kind of pain someone suffers when they see their homeland wiped out. I can't tell you the relief it's been the past few months to finally let those memories go." My knees began to give way. The Koi Warrior grabbed me before I totally lost my balance and fell. I recovered to find him laughing at me- but not with the vicious tone that had haunted my dreams those months back. It was more like the friendly caring laughter that sounded behind me.

     Behind me? I pulled myself loose to find the sickening fish cake had been replaced by a nice faerie cake instead, and everyone was grinning as they started cutting delicious looking pieces out of it.

     "Come on, blchocobo, and you too, Warrior. Now that everyone is here, let's make this a real party!"

     I collapsed into a chair and just let the feelings of relief seep into me. MonoKeras came over to clap his hooves on my shoulders. "Blchocobo, brother, I know we gave you a bit of rough time the past couple of weeks, and I do apologise if we went overboard, but trust me, being one is fun!"

     MonoKeras was interrupted by the Koi Warrior's rumbling tones. "Hey, don't throw that away!" He grabbed the fish cake before our owner could dump it in the trash. "I love these things." With that, he managed to eat the whole thing in two bites.

     MonoKeras and I stared in disbelief.

     "I... I...." I stuttered a bit. Everyone looked at me again. I took a deep breath. After all they'd done to me, I couldn't just let this one go without some sort of comment. I looked back at MonoKeras. "I suppose you're right. One is fun when one has won one's one, but next time, go easy on me, because I want to reach two, too."

     Dead silence. MonoKeras stared at me with a slight frown as he tried to untangle what I'd said. Then the Koi Warrior spewed fishpop cake crumbs all over the kitchen as he bellowed in laughter. That laughter felt good indeed, but even more delicious was the look of distaste on MonoKeras' face as he found his mane sprinkled with icky pink and green bits. Revenge can be sweet, even if it is indirect.

The End

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