A Nameless Draik
The ninth day of Gathering in year 9. Also known as 9-9-9. Perhaps not as ominous-sounding as the sixth day of the month of Relaxing, but I digress. This day is better known as the dreaded Draik Day of Year 9, when Draiks were actually available to the common Neopian to be adopted, absolutely free of charge! It was the day I found my first home, as well as the day I received my name.
Needless to say, it all started with Neopia’s favorite scapegoat, the meepits. Much to the purple Meerca shopkeeper’s disdain, the meepits made a habit of swiping Meridell Food’s daily shipment of Draik eggs. This went on for about a month, and I’m sure the Meerca was quite bewildered about his missing inventory. However, the meepits were careful only to take red, blue, green, and yellow eggs while on their thievery trips. As to why, I can’t say; the piercing on the pirate Draik egg is quite trendy.
Anyways, once the little petpets had an ample supply of eggs, they hatched us, one by one. I found myself in a large corral filled with hundreds of other basic-colored Draiks. Most of us knew what the meepits were planning. I hadn’t a clue as to what their motive for bringing about this fiasco was. Perhaps they wanted revenge for being Neopia’s scapegoat for so long. I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure. Finally, the day came. The petpets grinned their evil grins, and set up computers on several desks facing outwards from the corral. Those were for documenting each and every Draik that was taken today, and for naming them. There were lots of other corrals for other pets. Most species were present here in the adoption center. But never before had there been Draiks here.
Before I knew it, there was a line a mile long stretching from the corral. Tons of people were waiting, hoping to get their chance to make a Draik. They were pushing and shoving and clambering over one another. It was like a feeding frenzy. I smiled. One of these Draik-hungries would be my new owner. I could only hope I’d get a nice one.
It just so happened that I was one of the first created. I was happy, at first, until I saw my owner-to-be.
She was ten, maybe eleven years old, with short blond hair. Her face was covered in freckles and she wore a pair of hot-pink, heart shaped sunglasses. She had braces and a monstrous overbite reminiscent of an urchull. She walked up to the computer and stopped, thinking of a name. I looked anxiously out, wondering what it would be. As she stood there pondering, one of the meepits shoved her and squeaked. “Hurry up, hurry up! Crpcrhpcrhp! Keep the line moving, crhpcrhpcrp!”
Frantically, the girl dragged her hand thrice across the keyboard and slammed the enter key. The icon popped up on the screen. “Congratulations! You have adopted...” and then it spelled my name. The meepit opened the gate and the girl rushed in and grabbed my wrist.
“Let’s go, Draik, let’s go!” she shrieked giddily, and the grip on my wrist tightened. I looked at the ground and realized my fate was sealed. I groaned.
dfasfdfsadf. No, that’s no typo. That’s my name. The name the frazzle-haired, pink-heart glasses girl had given me in her haste. Ugh! That’s not a name! It’s just the gibberish that resulted when that impatient twit simply couldn’t wait to think of a real name. So, I resolved that I was nameless. The girl certainly thought so. I was just ‘Draik’. Her only other neopet was an emaciated faerie Wocky I later learned was swiped from the pound. She didn’t care for her either. She was just ‘faerie’.
Life was pretty miserable. We were fed miniscule rations, and barely had any attention paid to us. Mostly I spent my time sulking in the girl’s room while she chattered away in neomails and went out with friends, leaving me and the faerie Wocky alone.
One day, she decided she was bored with us, and we left the room for the first time in months. We soon arrived at the Pound Chat; a chaotic array of stands with advertisements scrawled across them, each telling of the different pets up for trade or adoption by the stand-owner. The girl grabbed the first available stand she saw and scribbled her title on a poster. She then plastered it up and yelled her advertisement.
“Drake and fairy wacky up for trade!” it read. Her illiteracy was comical, but I hardly managed to laugh. I was hopeful; maybe I’d end up with an owner who actually cared for me. But most traders didn’t care where their pets ended up, and I was sure mine didn’t.
It didn’t take long for the girl to give up. A few people were interested in me and faerie. But once they saw my papers, and what my real name was, I was deemed worthless, and people moved onwards. Faerie was the same. Her real name was a lengthy array of letters and numbers I could only imagine were created in a similar fashion to my ‘name’. After maybe twenty minutes of fruitless effort, the girl gave up, and we were led into another section of the Pound Chat.
The pound. I had never thought a Draik like me would end up here, but here I was. In we went, behind a steel-bared cell, and that was the last I ever saw of my wretched creator.
Faerie was adopted in a heartbeat by a young gentleman who seemed sincere enough. I wished her well. My adoption didn’t take long to happen either.
Her name was Mel. That was what she was called. I imagined it was short for something like Melanie, but I couldn’t be quite sure. She just told me to call her Mel. She also seemed like a good owner. However, my hopes dropped when I saw the frown on her face that appeared once she read my name. She raised an eyebrow and gave me a quizzical expression, but signed the papers and adopted me anyways.
I was fed and given some snappy items to wear. I had a home, and three other Draik-day Draiks to keep me company. Mel turned out to be a foster home. Not in the traditional sense, however.
Though she had us four Draiks in plans of giving us to other owners, she also expected a neopet in return. Mel was a trader, I suppose, but a conscientious one at that. She had herself taken three other Draiks from the meepit-induced chaos days before. Their names were Flow, Ransa, and Kei. Those were only their nicknames, of course. I never learned their real names. As for me, Mel never gave me a name either. I guess I was just ‘Draik’ here to, but I knew she cared for me.
She actually traded for so-called lower value pets. She didn’t care what we were worth, she only wanted to build her dream family. I guess I approved. The others didn’t seem to mind, and even took delight in meeting potential new owners. They were soon traded away, although Mel made every effort to stay in contact with them and their new owners. I found myself with three new siblings; a Darigan Kougra named Gig, a desert Draik named Barry, and a Krawk named Hana.
It was great to have a family, but I knew I was the last one Mel had to foster out. No one seemed to be interested, though, and I knew it was because of my atrocious name. I felt almost guilty, and sorry for Mel. I knew she had only the best intentions, and she certainly wouldn’t put me in the pound.
Then, the day finally came. Two boys walked up to Mel’s latest trading stand titled ‘Draik Up for Trade!’ It made no mention of my name or its quality, so we got a lot of interest, at least until the prospective traders saw my papers... But one was different.
He called himself ‘Fox’. A nice name, I thought, and I envied it. He had short, dirty-blond hair and green eyes not covered by any novelty glasses. His friend beside him had dark brown hair and blue eyes, and was a tad shorter. Mel handed Fox my papers and he looked over them. I sighed. He would no doubt read over the ‘Name: dfasfdfsadf’ part and soon go looking elsewhere for pets, like everyone else. To my surprise, though, he didn’t. He simply shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t care about names.” He turned to his friend and nodded.
Then his companion made his debut. He walked up to Mel and puffed out his chest, looking confident. He fiddled with his clip-on tie and tried to appear business-like. Fox just rolled his eyes.
“Hello! My name is Brett, how are you?”
Mel raised an eyebrow and said, “Fine.”
Brett then gaudily took a ticket from his pocket and flashed it to Mel. “How would you like to trade Draikie here for a ticket to the Fountain Faerie? See here?” He motioned with his ticket. “Only I can use it, of course, but I could take any pet from the adoption center and give it a paint job of your choice in exchange for your Draik here for my friend.” He waved to Fox, who barely concealed his amusement with a fake cough.
Mel looked at Brett and then down at the floor. “Hmmm.” She thought. Finally, she shook her head heavily and said, “No thank you, but best of luck finding what you’re looking for, you two.” She shook hands with Brett and Fox.
Then Fox spoke. “Alright then, thanks for your time.” He smiled and looked down at me. He patted my head and said, “Sorry, little dude, good luck finding your new home. Don’t let anyone convince you that you aren’t special.”
“Would you like some cheese with that corn?” Brett said tauntingly. Fox turned to him and laughed. He looked back at me and tried to look happy, but I could sense the disappointment in his eyes.
I looked back at Mel and gave her a glum look, and whispered, “Please?” I gave her a sad, cute stare with my big, soulful eyes, and I think that convinced her.
“Oh, alright,” she said. She looked back out at the crowd and called to them. “Brett! Fox! Wait, come back!”
My ears perked up and I wobbled with excitement. Fox turned around and his friend followed close behind. Once they were back at the stand, Mel told them, “Fox, how would you just like to adopt him? I wouldn’t mind, and I think he wants to go home with you.”
Fox’s eyes brightened and his voice nearly cracked. “Wow, really?” He shook hands with Mel once more, and said thank you about a thousand times, much to Brett’s delight. I think he mocked him for it a hundred times over.
Regardless, it had happened. I had found my home! And what’s more, Brett used his Fountain Faerie Ticket for Fox, and painted me Maraquan!
I got home that night to Fox’s home, which was practically bursting with healthy, happy neopets. In one room there was an enormous tank of water with nine other Maraquan pets,, along with a swim-happy mutant Kau! There was also a starry Xweetok, a faerie Lupe, a fire Uni, and tons more I can’t even remember. Many were wearing other paint brush clothes. I was overjoyed to see his home and family.
Fox looked at me and said, “Now all that’s left is to give you a name.”
I looked up at him in shock. “Me? But I don’t have a real one, it’s just gibberish.”
His Xweetok spoke up next. “It doesn’t matter what your name is on paper, it’s just a word. Your name can be whatever YOU want it to be,” she said happily, rolling on the carpet with a ball of twine in her paws.
“Right, so, what do you want it to be?” Fox asked me.
I hesitated. Frankly, I didn’t know what to say. Me? Choose my own name? I pondered my real name for a moment; ‘dfasfdfsadf’. I thought at least I should use that as a base. “How about Deefas?”
“That’s a fine name, good choice,” Fox said, satisfied.
“Welcome home, Deefas!” the others chimed in.
Deefas. So that’s my true name. It matters not what name you’re born with. You can be called anything you want. I learned later that even Fox’s name was not his true name. I ignore the ignorant name-snobs who dare to scoff at my name. I am proud to be who and what I am. I am a Maraquan Draik and my name is dfasfdfsadf. But hey, you can just call me Deefas.