The Valentines Day Card Catastrophe
I grabbed my ice blue jacket and went to open my front door, heading for the coffee shop where I worked.
But the door wouldn't open - it was stuck. I shoved my shoulder against it, but all it did was make a strange rustling sound. I pushed the door a few more times, and even took a running start before slamming into it once, but it only opened what I guessed was a fraction of an inch. I say "guessed", because I'm not that great at measuring with my eyes...
"And that is probably why you're always running into things, clever..." I whispered to myself in annoyance.
"Oh, shut up," I answered back.
...I'm glad I live by myself. I think I would scare people. Or get sent to an asylum.
I shrugged and returned my attention to my stubborn door. I briefly considered running at it with a pole or a ladder, like they do in some of the movies I've seen on neovision, to break down fort entrances and the like, but I decided against it. I think I'd be better off trying to fix the door instead of breaking it down, as fun as the latter may have been. I let out a dramatic sigh, and gave up on trying to exit via the front door, heading for the back door instead. I'd have to further investigate the problem with my uncompromising door when I came back home.
I had just walked a couple yards down the road in front of my house, when I glimpsed a large sparkly, multi-colored blob in my peripheral vision, and did a double-take. This large sparkly, multi-colored blob seemed to be sitting upon my doorstep. How I missed it for even just a few yards is beyond me.
"What in Neopia..." I murmured to myself.
Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the blob was composed of what seemed to be paper of some sort.
I imagined, for an entertaining moment, the dazzling explosion that would've taken place if I'd been serious about the whole 'knocking-down-the-door-with-a-pole' idea.
Then I ran to my house and looked closely at the pile blocking my door.
It seemed to be a bunch of cards. Huh... weird.
I grabbed a card from the mountain blocking my door, accidentally dousing myself with glitter in the process. Apparently whoever put all these cards here had some strange fascination with all things shiny.
Or maybe obsession would be a more accurate word.
Almost all of these cards seemed to be covered in some sort of sparkling substance.
"Awesome..." I sighed, sarcastically. Glitter never goes away. My doorstep and I will be shimmering for ages.
The front of the card I was holding had a large picture of a Mynci in ninja attire, sneaking away with a heart in his hand. And it was, of course, covered in a gritty layer of glitter. I opened it apprehensively, and was greeted by huge swirly letters in a color of pink so bright it almost hurt to look at that said "You've stolen my heart!"
I stared at it blankly for a moment, before shaking my head and setting it back on the pile. I looked a few more cards, all of which had the same sort of lovey-dovey messages as the first one I'd opened.
Though I'd turned them this way and that, I couldn't find a signature on any of them. Maybe I had a deranged secret admirer.
After all, who in their right minds would give this many cards to one pet?
Or maybe this was some sort of strange practical joke... Because wouldn't anyone know that a single card would be much more appreciated than a annoying, gargantuan, neon mass of cards?
Yes, definitely a joke. The most annoying joke ever.
"This will take absolutely ages to clean up!" I hissed through my teeth.
If I ever found out who put these here...!
I sighed in exasperation and took one last look at the glimmering heap before heading back down the road.
I opened the back door to the coffee shop, accidentally slamming my elbow into the doorframe as I entered, and grabbed my apron off my hook near the door.
Isaac, the Orange Kougra who I worked for, entered the back room, where I was, just as I'd finished tying the knot on my apron.
"Hey, Sierra," he said, smiling. "Is there a reason you're, er... sparkling this morning?"
I looked down at my Shadow Xweetok fur in surprise. Oops. I didn't think I'd dropped that much glitter on myself. It almost looked as though I had some abnormal disease, what with all the weirdly shining silver spots. Spectacular.
I'm so looking for whoever thought it would be a good idea to pile those stupid cards on my doorstep! I thought to myself in irritation.
Speaking to myself with other pets in the vicinity was probably not a good idea if I wanted to stay out of the aforementioned asylum, or else I probably would've said that instead of thought it.
I smiled weakly back at him as I answered aloud. "Well, it seems that someone who has a thing for sparkles thought it would be funny to build a small mountain on my doorstep this morning. Out of cards. Valentines day cards," I added, having just remembered that today was Valentines Day. Ha, that made a bit more sense. Sort of.
It was still weird for someone to send so many.
Isaac's smile transformed into something a little more wicked, and he sang, "Oooooh! Somebody likes you, Sierra!"
Wow, he was so mature. I rolled my eyes and replied, "I think it was just a bizarre joke. Nobody would send so many if they were serious."
Then I turned away, laughing quietly, and started to prepare the shop for the morning’s customers.
My time at work sped by, as I contemplated ways in which I could track down the mystery card-giver. Soon enough, it was time for me to leave.
The only idea that I'd been able to think of that had even a small chance of producing any results was to read each and every card I'd been sent. Hey, maybe the card-giver dropped something in the pile that could be used to identify him, or maybe he signed one or something! You never know.
When I reached my home, I was almost blinded. Okay, so maybe not really. But my eyes...! The setting sun was hitting the pile of cards just right, so that all of the glitter was shining, and wow. I'm sure you can imagine the... extreme shiny-ness.
I put my paws over my face as I went around to the back of the house to enter through the back door. I guess I'd have to wait until it got dark to investigate if I cared for my vision.
I paced meaninglessly around my house until it was mostly dark outside.
Then I grabbed a flash light, a few pillows, a yardstick and a box of trash bags and went around to the front step.
Just out of curiosity, I held the yardstick up to the stack covering my door.
It was six and a half feet tall. Nice. This reading them all thing is gonna take awhile.
"How'd someone even get all these cards here?" I asked no one in particular.
I threw down the pillows near the pile, and flopped down upon them, pulling out a trash bag for the cards I'd finished reading and turning on my flash light.
I went to work, picking a card from the pile and starting to read.
This one just had a nice design on the front, with lots of hearts. I opened it and saw a drawing of a Pink Cybunny, and the words, "Some-bunny loves you!"
For just a second, I considered the possibility of the card-sender being a Pink Cybunny, but then I figured the Cybunny was probably just used for the handy pun.
After a thorough inspection for any trace of a signature, I threw it in the trash bag.
The majority of the cards seemed to have been bought, and then covered in glitter, but a few appeared to have been hand-made by someone fairly young.
I recognized some from the store that sold neogreetings.
I continued in this way: reading, inspecting, and then throwing away for what felt like a very, very long time.
I woke up with a start, and looked around myself in confusion. Why was I outside...? Then I remembered.
"Oh. Right. I must've fallen asleep while reading those cards..." I slurred, still not completely awake.
I looked around, noticing a stranger who was walking down the sidewalk give me a strange look, and started to sit up.
I surveyed the remainder of my card mountain.
Not too bad. Probably only about twenty cards left.
I started reading again immediately, glad that I didn't have to go to the coffee shop today. Now I would have all day to solve this mystery!
Anyway - I hadn't found anything useful in any of the cards last night. I wasn't surprised, though. I hadn't truly expected to find anything, I suppose.
There were only six cards left - almost done! - when I heard a movement in the shrubbery that grew all up around my house. I quickly turned my head, and saw a pale blue protuberance on the bush closest to my front door, that most certainly was not part of the plant. I dropped the card I was currently reading and jumped up, trotting uncertainly to the bush in question. I then proceeded to poke the blue thing. It sort of... squeaked. Or whimpered, maybe.
I simply stood there for a moment, disconcerted.
Then a young Ice Hissi sheepishly slithered out of the shrubbery.
He was probably about ten years old. His wing-tips had glitter on them, but the glitter didn't look like it was supposed to be there.
"Dude, why in Neopia were you hiding in there?" I demanded, my paws on my hips.
He scratched his head nervously. "I was just, uh..." he said lamely.
That was so not a proper answer. "You were just...?" I prompted, eyebrows raised.
"Okay, fine! I was just watching you read a few of your cards. To... see... if you liked them," he said, sounding slightly frightened.
Glitter on his wing-tips... and seeing if I liked the cards?
He stood there anxiously, waiting for an answer while I opened and closed my mouth a few times, too angry for words.
A few seconds passed, then - "You sent those cards, didn't you?" I screamed at him, pointing my finger in his face. "Do you know how long it's taken me to go through all these?! And all this stupid glitter is never going to come out of my fur! Or off of the entire front my house!"
He shrank back as I yelled, and his expression became dismal.
"Look, I can explain. I didn't mean any harm!"
"Fine, then. Explain, Mister Brilliant. Ugh." I crossed my arms and sank back down onto my pillows, glaring.
"I live right over there." He pointed to a house across the street from mine and a few houses to the right. "I guess we come home from whatever at about the same time, because I've seen you come back a few times. And no, I wasn't watching you. I swear. I'm really not that weird. I just saw you, you know?
"Anyway. Every time I saw you, you looked, like, really sad about something or something.
"So I thought I could try to help make you happier. I came up with the idea to send you a lot of cards on Valentines Day. But I guess you knew that. Anyway, my mom works for this shop that sells a lot of neogreetings, and she brings home all the rejects. Like all the ones with little tiny errors that they aren't allowed to sell. So I glued a bunch of glitter on them to hide any messed up stuff, and dragged them in my wagon to your house... it took five trips. I thought maybe you wouldn't know they were all from the same person, and you'd like, think a lot of people loved you, and it'd make you feel better or something... I wasn't gonna tell you it was me or anything..."
He sighed and continued, "It sounds really stupid now that I say it out loud, though. Like really mean, even. Pretending to be a lot of people... ugh, I'm an idiot." I had to agree with him there. "I sound like one of those cheesy stories my teacher makes us read in neoschool...'Love makes everything better, blahblahblah'! I'm really sorry. I'll help you clean up all this dumb glitter."
He bowed his head in shame as he finished. Quite the pitiful picture, to be honest.
I felt kind of bad for him, but I was still mad. Good intentions or not, that was pile of cards was a huge pain to go through.
Maybe I shouldn't be angry anymore... But I was.
"I was never sad about anything. Maybe my neutral expression just looks depressed or something. What's your name?" I said, my tone slightly hostile.
"Jake Whitt," he answered unsurely. "How do you want to clean up all this glitter?"
"I don't know yet. If you want to help, why don't you throw those last few cards in the trash bags and take the bags to the trash cans on the side of my house?"
He obliged with a feeble attempt at a smile, and had finished his tasks in just a couple minutes.
We then proceeded to scrub the abundant amount of glitter from my front step and door. We washed the front of my house for most of the afternoon, after Jake had explained the situation to his mother, and gotten permission to stay over and clean, and we still couldn't quite get all of it off. What did I tell you about glitter never going away?
Eventually I accepted our work as good enough and thanked Jake again for his help and he left, still looking slightly ashamed.
As I watched him leave, I thought that I probably shouldn't have been quite so rude to him. Jake was just a kid, after all, and he'd only meant well...
I shrugged, picked up my pillows, yardstick, box of trashbags and my now-dead flashlight and ambled back into my house for a bath to remove the glitter from my normally shiny black fur.
I was sort of disappointed that I hadn't gotten the chance to work out who sent me the Valentines Day cards, using clues and stuff, like they do in the detective books. Oh well. I guess maybe I can do that some other time.
"So I suppose that ends The Valentines Day Card Catastrophe..."