Chet Flash wuz here Circulation: 114,248,913 Issue: 228 | 17th day of Awakening, Y8
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Of Rainy Days and Board Games

by dan4884


It had begun here. The troops of each faction had met at one common area, and were gearing up for battle. They were in perfect unison, just begging to begin the scuffle. The commanders stared at each other stone faced across the battlefield. The biggest war in all of Neopia was starting at my dining room table.

     The commanders were my brothers and sister, and the battlefield was a board game. The Neoquest II board game, to be exact. It was a dreary, lackluster day in spring, a day filled to the brim with sluggishness and boredom. The doldrums had hit my house hard, and my three siblings and I had literally nothing to do.

     It was my sister Carlie's idea to play the game-she adores that Rohane character, for some completely random reason. In fact, whenever there was a spare moment, the youngest of the family could be found drawing pictures or writing a story about the Blumaroo that saved Neopia a long time ago. Kind of odd, really.

     My brother Joseph, being the oldest, immediately shot down the idea. The Jetsam was impatient and fidgety, and for one reason or another, absolutely despised board games. In fact, his description for my sister's board game was "boring, slow, and…did I say boring?" Let's just say he's as slow as our board games usually go.

     My younger brother, immersed in a book, rejected the idea too. "I must admit that the notion of a simpleminded board game does sound primitive," Max told the rest of us. The Mynci was the gifted family member, a self-proclaimed prodigy from the start. It sometimes took us a while to decode his sentences. Needless to say, we kept a dictionary close at all times.

     I found the game to be a good idea. It would break up the monotony of the day. Together, Carlie and I urged the two opposite ends of the knowledge spectrum to join us in a game. I had to sweeten the deal by purchasing two books for Max and letting Joseph off the hook when we had to clean the house next time. Nevertheless, it got them to play.

     We sat down at the table and set up the game. My Blumaroo sister was talking so fast we could barely understand her, all about how she and Rohane were made for each other. Joseph stared at the pieces with disdain. I knew he would rather eat the pieces than play with them. Max's eyes were still glued to the book.

     I, on the other hand, was reading the five volumes that were known as "the instructions." (Leave it to my sister to pick the most complicated game we owned to play.) It was always up to me to read the rulebook and understand how to play, because if I didn't do it, no one would, and the game would end in a scuffle or a tantrum. Being the somewhat levelheaded one, I tried to avoid that end. Yet subconsciously I knew it was ever looming in the shadows of the dining room, ready to pounce on one of the four unsuspecting victims at the dinner table. As I thought about it, I realized this board game maybe wasn't such a good idea after all.


     "Ok, here's the deal. To figure out who goes first, we roll the dice. The person who rolls the highest number goes first," I told my siblings. "Then, when it's your turn, you roll the dice and move, but only after picking a card and following the directions. Now, if the card tells you to lose a turn, you don't get to roll the dice, unless it says lose your next turn, which means you can go now, but you'll have to skip your next turn. Got that?"

     I looked up to find Carlie muttering in the corner with the cardboard Rohane figurine, Max's eyes still whizzing across the pages of his book (which was bigger than the five instruction books combined), and Joseph staring at me with the dumbest look I'd ever seen him give, and that's saying something. I rolled my eyes, and picked up the dice. This time I knew it was useless to get them to know how to play the game. They'd just have to suffer the consequences.

     After I got their attentions long enough to figure out who went first, I rolled the dice (I had been the highest roller) and took my turn, consulting the rulebook to make sure I was doing the correct thing. After about ten minutes, my turn had finished and it was Joseph's turn. I silently wished I had never agreed to play this game.

     Joseph took his turn with many complaints, whines, and sighs. Max looked up long enough to take his turn, and bent down in concentration again. Carlie, who was still playing with Rohane, rolled the dice and moved her Blumaroo character across the board.

     Max looked up. "Hey! You can't do that! You're cheating!" I looked to see what Carlie had done. She had jumped from her side of the board to the other side illegally, and Max, being overly competitive, just had to point it out.

     Carlie looked from Max to me, tears forming in her eyes. "Did I lose?" she asked.

     "No, you didn't lose, Carlie," I told her. She sniffled and gave a faint smile. I glared at Max. "Why did you have to do that? Leave her alone!"

     "She was cheating, Tony! You can't expect me to sit aside as someone else cheats!"

     "You didn't even care until just now! You were busy reading your stupid book!" I replied angrily. Carlie sat between us, wide-eyed. Joseph stared off into space.

     "It's the principle, Tony. A person just can't cheat life," he told me matter-of-factly.

     "LIFE!" I shouted, avoiding the fact that I didn't know what the word 'principle' meant. "It's a board game. This has nothing to do with life!"

     At this point Joseph was so bored he looked at both of us. "Shut up! Both of you! You guys fight about the stupidest things I've ever heard! So the little brat messed up! Get over it!"

     I groaned. Carlie looked at Joseph. They had never been really close, and this just made it worse. Carlie's tears started flowing again. She jumped up, knocking the chair to the floor, and burst out of the room crying and screaming.

     I looked at Joseph. "Great job," I told him.

     I stood up and left the house, grabbing a coat. I needed a walk, no matter what the weather outside was.


     The walk had no effect. I returned to the house fifteen minutes later, not a bit calmer. I reentered the house and placed my rain-soaked coat on the rack next to the door. I heard a shout from the living room. I found that the shout had been caused by Max, who was lying on the floor, Joseph's flippers pinning him down.

     It took a second for me to register what was happening, but soon enough, I was groaning, trying to lift Joseph off of Max's scrawny body.

     "Get off of him! He may be an idiot, but don't beat him up!" I said as I struggled with my Jetsam brother. After a few more minutes of scuffling, Joseph relented and stood up.

     "Why in the world were you fighting?" I asked them.

     "He called me names" was the only response I could get from Joseph.

     "What did he call you?" Joseph shrugged his shoulders.

     "You mean you don't know? He called you something that you don't know and you beat him up for it?!" I asked, my voice rising. This family just didn't function well.

     "What'd you call him?" I asked, turning my attention to Max, who was still lying on the floor.

     "I simply called him my elder," he told me.

     I looked from Joseph to Max. I could not believe what was happening. "Where's Carlie?" I asked, not wanting to deal with their problems anymore.

     "I'm afraid I'm unaware of her whereabouts," Max told me.

     Great. Now I'm missing a sister. Could this day get any worse?

     I went into Carlie's room at the far end of the house to find no one there. I searched throughout the house, but I couldn't find her anywhere. I looked at the board game to find that the Rohane piece was missing from the spot Carlie put it on earlier.

     "Guys, we have a problem! Carlie's gone!" I told my brothers. They joined me in our sister's room, where I was frantically searching under the bed. I looked up to see my two brothers, who were just fighting, anxiously searching for Carlie with me. I felt a few drops of water brush against my arm, and that's when I realized that the window was open.

     "Guys! Carlie must have run off! The window's open," I shouted as I ran to the window. I glanced outside, but I still didn't see her anywhere. "We have to go look for her!"

     I ran outside, this time without the coat, and looked both up and down the street. I couldn't lose Carlie; she was the only thing that made life in my house bearable. Surprisingly, Joseph and Max followed me out and they split up. For how much they act like they don't like Carlie, it was obvious they needed her just as much as I did.


     After nearly four hours of searching in the nonstop rain, I returned to the house with a tired Joseph and Max following. We had found no sign of Carlie anywhere. All of us were shivering and downtrodden. We had decided to return for a quick dinner and then we'd all return to searching the neighborhood.

     We entered the kitchen to find a shock. Carlie was sitting at the table, still playing with that infernal Rohane figurine.

     "Carlie!" we shouted. "Where were you?"

     "I was outside," she replied. "Rohane wanted to go outside and play in the rain."

     I groaned. "Don't ever leave without telling one of us!" I admonished.

     "Sorry, Tony," she said, and I knew she meant it. I nodded in approval, and looked at Joseph and Max. They looked relieved, and I was glad to know that I wasn't the only one sincerely worried.

     Carlie looked around at all of us. "Can we finish our game now?" she asked expectantly.

The End

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