Kacheek Tales: Volunteering - Part Two
Toby sighed reluctantly then nodded. He took charge immediately,
which was fine by me, and asked, "Did Mrs. Williams leave you a list?" Nodding,
I handed it to him and watched his eyes dart back and forth, reading it. "Did
you complete number 9?" he asked seriously.
Smiling, I said jokingly, "Of course. First thing
I did, sir!" He was the captain of this make-believe ship now, and I figured
he wouldn't mind being addressed as one.
"Very good then. Judging by the condition of
the house, I'd say you fed them, so I think that it'd be a good idea to take
them to the…erm…facilities, alright?" Toby told me, adjusting quite quickly
to his role.
I made a face at him and said with a sugar-sweet
smile, "Alright, but you can go check out the "facilities" first and make sure
it's all clear in there for our crew, OK?"
He glared in my direction and stomped over to
the bathroom. He speedily took a look in there and gave me a thumbs-up - a signal
to say that it was all good in there. "First, we're going let them use the restroom
one by one," Toby began. "Then, we'll take them outside to the fenced in area
and let them frolic while we decide what to do next. Got it?"
Rolling my eyes, I told him that I understood.
It wasn't a complex plan or anything. I ran over to the nearest Petpet, a little
Noil, and told him that he should go in and use the restroom. I carried him
over and pushed him in while I hunted for another Petpet. When the Noil emerged,
Toby grabbed him and gently set him in the outdoor fenced-in area. We used the
same pattern with all of the Petpets, except for the robotic ones. Seeing how
they were mechanical, it wasn't necessary for them to use the "facilities",
so Toby just set them outside while he was waiting for a Petpet to be done in
the restroom. Half of the morning was gone when, to our knowledge, all of the
Petpets were outside. We smiled with relief at one another and high-fived.
"Maybe we should clean up next, Toby," I told
him as we stood in the living room looking around.
"I agree. I'm going to be brave and clean the
facilities, and you can get out some window cleaner and try to make the windows
clear again, alright?" He instructed and with a deep breath, set out to begin
Giving an inward sigh, I began searching for
window cleaner. First, I looked in all the obvious places. When they didn't
show up there, I said to myself, "If I were Mrs. Williams, where would I put
cleaning supplies?" I stood next to a closet in the hallway and stroked my chin
as I thought. Then it hit me. Actually, a piece of the ceiling fell off and
conked me in the head, but either way, I realized where the supplies were. I
headed down the hallway and entered a shabby-looking room, the office, which
seemed to be used very rarely. Opening a filing cabinet I gave out a happy squeal
as I found rags and disinfectants lying on the bottom. I rummaged through the
cabinets until I had found the window-cleaner and a rag that wasn't dirty.
I decided to start in the room I was in right
now, and I pulled up the shades that were covering the window. Gray film covered
the entire glassy surface. I skillfully sprayed and wiped several times, until
everything on the inside of the window was no longer there. I gave a satisfied
smile as I strolled out of the office and went from room to room, killing the
evil dust particles with a swipe of my hand. By the time I was done with all
of the inside windows I felt like I should be in the Gallery of Heroes.
As I walked into the family room, Toby was just
finishing up. I peeked into the new and improved bathroom and was pleasantly
shocked. Everything was sparkling and shiny and there weren't any toothbrushes
lying on the floor at all. "I still have to get all of the towels and put them
in the closet, but it's pretty much done," Toby said proudly as he dusted his
hands off. He stepped out the door and went into the living room saying, "Looks
like the windows are all cleaned up. Good job! Should we continue, then?"
So we took the rest of the morning and well into
the afternoon to move from room to room in the house, working as a perfect team.
The bedroom that I was working on earlier quickly got back into shape and the
dishes in the kitchen that seemed to have been piling up in the sink for ages
were finally washed. Not a single toy was left lying on the floor and all of
the household items were put in their proper place. The food was in the pantry
instead of in the couch and the towels were put in their shelves in the bathroom
closet. All of the broken pieces of whatever they were got swept up and put
in the trash. The office was usable again, as was every other room in the house.
We were half-way through painting over the parts
on the wall that the Petpets had scratched as well as patching up the holes
in the ceiling, when we realized that we were forgetting something. "Toby!"
I exclaimed, alarmed, as something popped into my head suddenly. "The Petpets!
They've been outside this whole time! What if one of them escapes! Shouldn't
we bring them in so that they can take their naps or something?"
"Don't worry, none of them escaped. But you're
right, we should definitely bring them in. I completely forgot about those little
rascals. All the beds are ready and everything, right? We remembered to lock
the closets and wardrobes so that they didn't get in them and make a mess? And
you did remember to Superglue all of the flower vases to the tables so that
they didn't get knocked over, didn't you?" He asked quickly.
"Of course I did, silly!" I told him with my
hands propped on my hips.
We walked over to the fence and carefully one
by one took them into the different bedrooms, picking the right one for each
depending on how well they got along with the others in their room and shut
the door when we set them in so that they wouldn't escape. Once we got everyone
in, we made sure to make a point to announce to the entire room that this was
nap time, not play time, and we expected it to be very quiet. They seemed to
understand as they each curled up in a bed and their breathing became even and
hushed. Toby and I smiled and carefully tiptoed into the kitchen for a conference
on what else we had to do.
"How long do you think they'll sleep?" I asked
as we looked over the list. "We could do the outside stuff, but I don't know
if it'll be safe to leave them alone,"
"Bah, don't be such a worry-Kacheek," Toby told
me. "I think we should mow the lawn in their outdoor playpen first so that we
can give them a bath their after they're done with their naps,"
I swallowed and said meekly, "I forgot about
that baths. That's going to be a disaster!"
"Of course it will be, but that's half the fun,
right?" Toby said encouragingly.
"Not really," I answered flatly as we strolled
outside. I shaded my eyes and surveyed the yard. We'd never get the whole thing
done before the Petpets wake up, but I suppose we could try our best. Together,
we struggled through the overgrown lawn and opened the fence door to get in
the Petpets' pen. Toby left to go get the lawnmower while I got on my knees
and scoured the yard looking for any toys left behind by the Petpets with my
Toby was back in the pen with his equipment ready
by the time I had fished out all of the left-behind objects. He gave a wave
and then revved up the engine on the mower. While he started cutting the grass,
I went out to the shed in the garden to get gloves, a spade, and an empty bucket
to get the weeds out of the flowerbeds. I threw open the shed door and coughed
as old dust became unsettled and floated in the air. I waved my hands in front
of my face to clear the air and picked up the supplies I needed off the ground
where they'd been thrown by whoever was doing the gardening last. I shook my
head at the shape that this home was in. It had to be the most un-kept house
We worked at the gardening for about three quarters
of an hour before we went back into the house to check on the Petpets. I made
sure Toby and myself wash our hands and feet off with a hose in the yard before
we went into the Neohome so that we didn't get the freshly-cleaned house dirty.
"This is so much more work than I bargained for,"
I muttered to Toby as we trudged inside. "How could Mrs. Williams even live
here? It's a disaster!"
"Ugh, I know," Toby replied, sounding disgusted.
"Do you hear some kind of banging sound?" He stopped and listened intently.
I perked my ears and nodded slowly. "It's coming
from the bedroom," I said and rushed over to listen at the door. I had no idea
what was going on in there so I pushed the door open and stood in the doorway.
Petpets were literally bouncing off the walls and jumping on their beds. Apparently
naptime was over. "Everybody freeze!" I shouted, very aggravated. All the Petpets
stopped in mid-air and crashed to the floor. I cringed. They took that a little
too seriously, I think. I shook my head as I saw every pair of eyes turn to
me. I felt bad instantly, because every Petpet looked thoroughly ashamed of
themselves and one Feepit seemed to be to the point of tears. "I'm sorry I yelled
at you," I said solemnly. "But I would really appreciate it if you learned to
control yourselves a little bit better and it would be for your own benefit
if you decided to be hyper outside, OK?"
Toby stepped into the room and spoke with firmness
and yet sounded kind as he told the group, "Cunchicka and I are in the process
of cleaning the yard so that all of you can have a nicer time outside. Would
anybody like to help us and have a little fun?"
Toby and I smiled at each other as everyone's
hand shot in the air instantly. "That's great!" I exclaimed to them. "But before
we do that, is anybody hungry?" Again, everybody's hand shot in the air, including
my own. "Well then, let's go get a snack and then we can take a "facility" break,
alright?" Heads throughout the room bobbed up and down.
Surprisingly, the Petpets quietly filed out of
the room and helped Toby and me prepare the food and cleaned up after themselves.
Then they took turns using the restroom before they ran out the door into the
"Troops!" Toby shouted, once again taking his
role as Captain. "Are you ready to clean? Good! I'm going to need organized
groups here depending on what you would like to help with, OK? Cunchicka and
I will be the leaders but we are asking for volunteers to be co-leaders and
help us out. Do we have any takers?"
One lone Noil slowly walked up to me and said
in a small voice, "I am Nicholas. I will help you lead our group if you would
like." I smiled and shook his hand. He grinned back and took a place by my side.
I glanced over to see that a Babaa was sitting next to Toby with a very proud
look on its face.
"Alright! Now we will need one group to go with
me, and one group to go with Cunchicka. I will be taking care of the yard work,
and Cunchicka will be doing the painting of the shed and Neohome. Please separate
into fairly even groups and line up in front of your preferred group leader.
Go ahead and have fun!" Toby said happily and smiled.
I watched as numerous Petpets of all species
stood in front of me, ready and awaiting orders. "Hi everybody! You're owner
asked that we paint the Neohome a light yellow, so that's what we'll be doing.
I found some yellow paint in the shed in the garden along with some brushes.
We'll need one group to go and paint the shed under the command of my co-leader
Nicholas. Everyone that would like to help him can go line up before him. The
rest of you can follow me, alright?" I announced to all the Petpets and then
briskly walked over to the home. It was getting to be late afternoon and Mrs.
Williams was expected back within a few hours. I darted around Petpets doing
their cleaning up for Toby and gave encouraging words as I passed. I could hardly
believe that we had gotten these little troublemakers to cooperate with us.
"Could all flying Petpets please grab a paint
brush, dip it in paint, and do the higher part of the home and all land animals
work doing the lower section of the home please. Half of you can go over to
the other side and work there. Oh, and take a couple of buckets of paint with
you, please!" I said to the group and got myself a paint brush.
It was when we were well on our way with painting
the house and I saw Petpets playfully splattering paint on one another when
I remembered that Toby and I had forgotten to give the Petpets their baths.
"Rats!" I said under my breath as I brushed more paint onto the Neohome. Making
a face, I ran some water from the hose over the paint brush and laid it down
on the grass. I slowly strolled around the home inspecting the work of the Petpets.
They were doing an excellent job and working well together as a team. I saw
Warfs stacking on top of each other to get hard to reach places and a Feepit
showing a GX-4 Oscillabot how to apply paint evenly on the Neohome walls. I
noticed that on the opposite side of the Neohome that I was working on was nearing
completion, so I took a few Petpets that were lounging on the grass and led
them over to some big tin buckets that were sitting on a portion of the lawn.
I grabbed a hose and some soap that had somehow ended up in the shed and brought
it over to the buckets. I filled them up and told the Petpets to hop in. Giving
them each a sponge, I said that I trusted them to thoroughly clean themselves
without my supervision. I laid a stack of towels by the buckets and went back
over to see how the shed-painting was going.
Nicholas proved to be a very effective leader
and was instructing his group to put all of their supplies in the shed. "Hi,
Nicholas!" I exclaimed to the Noil. "Wow! The shed looks awesome! Since you're
all done, do you mind going over to the area where I set up some tin wash buckets
so that you can all get your baths in before Mrs. Williams gets home?" Nicholas
nodded obediently and yelled at his crew to head over to get a bath as soon
as everything was set up in the shed. I smiled and went back to the house.
Things were tying up nicely there, and it seemed
that they were close to being done as well. I made sure that everyone who was
finished made their way to the wash bins to wait for their turn on the double.
As I backed up to look at the beautiful yellow home in front of me, I saw Toby
coming up at the corner of my eye. "Hiya, buddy!" I said to him. "How's it going
in your neck of the woods?"
Toby grinned and said, "Really good! I'm so glad
we got these little guys to help us! We never would have gotten all of this
done before Mrs. Williams got back otherwise. Oh, and good job remembering about
the baths. I completely forgot!" He waved and headed over to the washing area
to refill the buckets with fresh water as I saw the last of my Petpet workers
finish their painting and lug the paint buckets over to the shed.
I stepped away from the house and looked around
the yard. It looked like a completely different estate. The flowers in the garden
were actually visible again and the grass was cut at an appropriate length.
Someone had done a terrific job trimming the hedges, and had cut little pictures
in them. I saw a few different species of Petpets and some Neopets too. Two
of them looked suspiciously like Toby and me. I looked at the sky and realizing
that the sun was quickly going to rest as the skies started getting darker.
Kreludor could be seen in the night sky by the
time all of the Petpets had finished washing and everything was back in place.
Toby and I led our charges inside and told them to sit down by the fireplace.
We lit a fire in the fireplace and then started doing our very own theatre production
of the only Petpet book we knew called Peopatras Petpets. They laughed and made
fun of us as we acted it out. We were getting to the climax when the door banged
open and old Mrs. Williams was there with the Wocky by her feet.
"So, I trust that you didn't finish all the chores
and you can take your leave without pay then?" Mrs. Williams said smugly the
minute she entered her Neohome.
"Actually, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised
at what you find," I said in my Ha-I-Showed-You voice. "Everything on the list
has been completed thoroughly and you'll find that it's too your liking. And
I believe you saw your new beautiful yard and freshly-coated Neohome on your
way in, no?"
Mrs. Williams' face was scrunched up and had
the appearance as if she had just gotten a whiff of old cheese. She quickly
walked through the house, and then appeared back in the living room. "I don't
know how you did it. And how in Illusen's name did you get them to behave so
well?" She walked up and then stared at Toby. "Who in all of Neopia are you?"
She rasped at him.
"That's Toby. He's my friend, and he helped me
out today. Don't worry, though. You don't have to pay him. But I, on the other
hand, am expecting my full wage for today." I said cockily and held out my hand.
Mrs. Williams muttered under her breath as she
angrily slammed a bunch of Neopoints into my open hand. "Here you go. Now leave,
alright?" She told me rudely.
Toby and I found ourselves being shooed out the
door and laughed as we walked down the sidewalk toward our Neohomes.
"Well, was it worth it?" Toby asked me with a
glance. "Going through this whole mess, I mean."
My eyes sparkled and a smile slid across my face
happily as I turned to him and said gleefully, "Yes! It was so worth it! She
was so worried about getting us out of there that the ol' crazy lady accidentally
gave me an extra thousand Neopoints!"
"You know that the right thing to do would be
to give it back, right?" Toby told me with a slight grin.
I cocked my head and thought about the list of
things to do the lady gave me and how rude she had been when she got back. "I
know," I told him, my eyes mischievous. "But I think that just this one time
we can make an exception, don't you?"