The Trouble with New Clothes
I hurried home with the bulging shopping bag held tightly
in my arms. They were going to be so excited when they saw what I bought them!
"I'm home!" I giggled. "Look at all the great
stuff I bought for you at Uni's Clothing!"
The expressions on my faerie Xweetok's face
fell. "Oh... uhmm." She glanced over at Evee, my rainbow Quiggle, and I saw
his expression of glee had disappeared, too. That startled me. Quiggles normally
look so happy.
"Ok, guys. You haven't even SEEN what I bought
you. What's the deal?"
Atarii twisted her wing in front of her, shyly.
"It's just that... we can't wear clothes."
"What? But the Uni assured me they would fit
you. Besides, I bought you a scarf. How could you not be able to wear a scarf?"
"What she means," Evee volunteered, "is that
we'd get them dirty."
"So what?" I shrugged.
"We don't have a washer and drier," Atarii moaned.
"So we have to hand wash everything." Evee sighed.
I was struck silent, slowly comprehending what
they were saying.
"So you didn't buy us new clothes. You bought
us laundry," Atarii squeaked. It constantly amazes me that she can be fearless
in the Battledome but shiver at chores. She was shivering violently now.
"It's hard to get excited about laundry." Evee
looked dejected. I can't stand it when Quiggles look dejected, it's just too
sad. Especially wonderful rainbow Quiggles. He stared at the heavy bag, now
on the carpet in front of me, and was actually going pale.
Have you ever seen a rainbow Quiggle go pale?
I hope you never do.
I knew I had to do something fast.
"Ok, I tell you what, I'll do the laundry!"
Atarii and Evee looked at me. Then they looked
at the bag, which seemed to be collapsing from its own weight and starting to
rip at the bottom. They looked at each other and then back at me. "Promise?
No laundry duty, ever?"
"Never. I'll do all the laundry. I bought all
this stuff to make you happy, not to make you unhappy. I promise to do all the
laundry and never ask you two to help." I held up my right hand and crossed
They started to brighten. Atarii's wings were
perking up. Evee was regaining his color. What a relief! I was afraid he was
"Plus, " I added cheerfully, "I think these
clothes will make you look really cute!"
"Hey, I thought I was already cute!" Atarii
protested, with a look of mock indignation.
"Well how do you think you'll look in this!"
I pulled out a "I heart Feepits" T-shirt and Atarii squeaked again. This time
"Hey! Have you seen my blue scarf?" Atarii yelled
at me from her window.
"Have you checked your FLOOR?" I yelled back.
I was in the Neogarden, arm deep in suds.
"Yes! I can't find it in any of the piles. And
I looked in the wardrobe, too! I can't find it anywhere!" Atarii looked near
tears. "I really wanted to wear it to Hubert's today."
About that time, Evee came back from Underwater
Fishing, slopping sludgy mud from his lucky fishing boots.
"I caught a squid today!" he announced. "Can
you wash my boots?"
I sighed. "Yeah, toss 'em over here in the stack."
I turned my head and looked at the huge pile of clothes on the grass beside
me. It was my own fault encouraging them to get more clothes, I reminded myself.
I reached down to grab another "I heart Fyora" T-shirt when -
WHOMP! A big blue boot with a cute yellow fish
- and a whole lot of yucky brown mud - hit me in the back of my head.
"Oh! Sorry! " Evee rushed over to me looking
very concerned. "Are you alright?!"
How did I know it was a blue boot with a cute
yellow fish? It had knocked me on my back, and I flipped over just in time to
see it coming down to trample me a second time. I twisted out of the way as
it landed in a puddle of suds where my head had been.
"Wowee, Evee!" Atarii yelled from her window."If
you could do that in the Battledome you'd be unbeatable! As is, you're just
going to get grounded!" She laughed, then stopped. "Hey, have you seen my blue
I sat up suddenly. "THAT'S IT!" I cried, wiping
mud, grass, tears and soap bubbles off of my face. "No more clothes!"
Atarii let out a wail of surprise.
Evee pulled the Lucky fishing hat off his head.
"I'm really, really sorry!" I looked over at him and noticed he was staring
remorsefully at his feet. One foot that still had a lucky fishing boot, the
other a bright red pirate sock. He loved socks.
I rolled my eyes and saw that the WHOMP of mud
had also flecked all the clean clothes I had hung on the tree to dry. I sighed.
"Alright, you two. This is just silly. Neopians
have wardrobes and wardrobes worth of clothes! I've seen that royal girl Poogle
down the street almost every day, but I've never seen her hanging laundry out
to dry in her Neogarden on Saturday. Let's just give her a visit and ask her
how she gets her laundry done." Having vented, I immediately felt better.
Evee picked up a towel. "You may want a bath
He helped me to my feet. "And I am really, really
sorry about hitting you with my boot."
"It's ok, Evee. It's just a bit of mud." I smiled,
and he smiled back.
"Oh, I send it out. I love your pink heart shaped
sunglasses, Atarii, they are too cute!" The royal girl Poogle held out a silver
dish filled with Borovan Brownies. I thankfully accepted another as I looked
around her living room. The place was a castle. Which, I guess made sense. Sarinka
turned out to be very nice, despite her haughty appearance.
"So, whherr dy yoo sennt id?" I asked, trying
to savor the brownie and get it swallowed at the same time.
Atarii cringed. "I think she asked, 'Where do
you send it.' Sometimes she mumbles," she added quickly.
Sarinka pretended not to notice my uncouth and
rude talking-with-my-mouth-full blunder. "I tell you what, if you gather all
your laundry and follow me, I'll show you myself!" She smiled.
Evee, who was already looking uncomfortable
in his bow tie, leaned over to her and said, "That might take a while. Can we
meet you tomorrow around noon?"
"Sure! We can do our laundry at the same time.
It's so good to finally meet you all! I'm sure we will all be great friends."
As I reached for another brownie and looked
at her wall of wardrobes. "Is that a Fyora music box?"
"Yes! If you'd like you can play it - it's one
of my favorites."
As I walked over to the shelf, Sarinka leaned
in towards Atarii and Evee and whispered.
"I'll admit I'd been a little concerned about
what she's been up to in the Neogarden for the last few weeks. The whole neighborhood
was starting to smell like soap."
They giggled. I pretended not to have heard,
and tried not to turn red.
Evee slowed his giggling and said, "She was
only doing it because she promised she would."
"Really?" Sarinka's eyes widened. "That's a
lot of laundry. Didn't you offer to help her?"
Evee and Atarii looked sheepish for a moment,
then Atarii said, "We made her promise she'd never ASK us to help, but I guess
it never occurred to me we could OFFER."
I was still pretending to be fascinated by her
faerie music boxes, which wasn't hard. They are fascinating. But so was this
conversation. I lifted the lid and let the melody float around the room.
"Well," Sarinka smiled, "I think your friend
is very generous to go to all that hard work and keep her promise to you both."
"I feel like it's my fault." Atarii admitted.
"I kept on begging for all these cool clothes. I guess I'm just a collector
"Me, too. I'm a nut for socks." Evee shrugged
and looked sad.
Sarinka tried to brighten the conversation with,
"Oh, then after we drop off the laundry we just have to swing by Uni's. They
have the most fabulous new fire Eyrie socks..." It worked. Evee and Atarii leaned
forward to hear.
I smiled, watching Fyora twirl in the music
box. I was pretty embarrassed they'd laughed at me, but it would be ok. After
all, I had thought Sarinka seemed a bit snobby before I met her. Only fair that
she had thought I was a little strange before she met me. Hopefully, her opinion
of me was changing for the better. That's usually the case when folks actually
get to know one another. Fyora smiled back at me as the three friends continued
We were up almost all night, pulling laundry
out from under beds, sorting out T-shirts and trying to locate missing socks.
"Atarii, socks always disappear and reappear
in the wash."
"I always thought that was because of the Pant
Devil!" She looked surprised.
I was about to quip, "That's because you've
never done laundry before." But decided against it. Bygones be bygones, and
all that. (Besides, I wasn't sure that the Pant Devil didn't steal socks from
The next afternoon, we walked up to Sarinka's
front yard with three huge bags of laundry. I yawned as I rang her doorbell.
She opened the door with her small bag and laughed. "I hope you're ready for
"I'm ready for some sleep," I answered groggily.
Sarinka got a mischievous look in her eye. "That
can be arranged! Now let's get these bags over to Neopia Central!"
I felt kinda silly walking into town with a
pile of laundry, but Sarinka carried her bag with incredible grace. It was like
she was carrying her favorite items to a Safety Deposit box at the Bank. Note
to self: Gain poise. Huffing and puffing with my heavy bag, I figured that would
By the time we reached the Money Tree, I was
ready to donate the whole humongous bag of wonderful clothes. Evee gasped just
in time to distract me.
"We're not going to wash them in the Rainbow
Pool, are we, Sarinka?"
Sarinka raised an eyebrow. "Noooo," she said
slowly, "but it'd be interesting to try!"
Atarii laughed, "I don't think using the Fountain
Faerie or the Wishing Well is a good idea, either."
"The Wishing Well!" I groaned."I should have
thought of that weeks ago!"
"Wishes get granted in other ways," Sarinka
replied. She shot a concerned glance at me. "Let me carry that for you. You
I hesitated. "But you have on really nice clothes..."
"But you are really nice and you've carried
it this whole time. And didn't you want a nap? Let's stop in at the Neolodge,
"That does sound good..." She took my bag and
we headed over to the Front Desk. And yes, she carried the heavy bag with great
"Four, please," Sarinka said to the clerk. "One
night at the Royal Neopian each."
We gasped in unison.
"I know it's only four stars," Sarinka apologized,
"but it just makes me feel more at home. But if you prefer the Presidential
Palace we can stay there."
"No! No! The Royal is fine!" I stammered.
"Great!" Evee chimed.
"Better than any Neolodge we've ever stayed
in before!" Atarii gushed.
"Oh, okay. Four for the Royal Neopian, one night
each, please," Sarinka continued.
"Would you like the use of the Restaurant?"
"Burger Bar, please." Sarinka winked at Atarii,
obviously knowing one of her favorite foods.
"No, thank you."
"Neopian Times Delivery?"
Geepers, I thought to myself, I'd forgotten
how many options they give you. All I want is a nap, and to get rid of these
big bags. I mean, how is stopping at the Neolodge going to help us find --
"Absolutely," Sarinka answered to the clerk.
"And if we could get some help to carry these bags there we would greatly appreciate
"Certainly, Miss. And they will be returned
to your rooms as soon as they are cleaned and pressed."
"Pressed?" Atarii asked with a confused look
on her face.
"Ironed," I answered automatically, still in
shock from what I had just heard.
"Wait a minute." I gathered myself up to my
full height and looked the clerk in the eye. "Do you mean to tell me that Laundry
Facilities are available in ALL of the Neolodges?"
The yellow Techo swallowed uneasily, watching
my face go pale. "Yes, Madam. Even Cockroach Towers has a serviced Laundry Facility
available for our additional fee of 5 NP."
At that point, I fainted.
I woke up in the Grooming Parlor with a kind
looking Usul patting a soft pink washcloth on my face. She smiled. "Good! You're
awake. Your friends waiting for you in the Jacuzzi. Here's your swim suit."
I changed and walked over to the bubbly pool
of warm water where Evee, Sarinka and Atarii were waving.
"Check out Evee's great new swim trunks! They're
Tropical!" Atarii swooned.
After a few minutes of laughing about how pale
I'd gotten before I fainted, I asked. "Sarinka, I've been meaning to ask you,
how did you find out how to get laundry done in Neopia?"
"Oh." She smiled. "I just asked the Air Faerie."
I laughed. Of course. Who else would know better?
After all those weeks of being arm deep in warm
sudsy water, I never thought that it would be so fabulous to be neck deep in
it. I let my mind wander... until I heard Atarii say, "So let me get this straight:
Usuki dolls not only come with their own original outfit, but you can buy MORE
outfits for them, too?!"
Uh oh, I thought.
Well, at least their clothes don't need washing!
I'm still trying to convince the Air Faerie to add a line of washers and
dryers to Faerie Furniture, but until then I hope everyone enjoys thinking of
all the creative ways to get their laundry done in Neopia!