Misadventures of a Neopian Times Reporter II
The Incident with the Infamous Dr. Sloth
I was having a hard time putting my lipstick on straight on account of smiling so widely I couldn’t even feel my lips anymore. I was about six months into my career as a freelance journalist at this point and I had scored myself my biggest interview yet. I was going to write an article on Doctor Frank Sloth.
After I finally managed to make myself look professional, I went into my room and put a note pad with my questions on it, a pencil, and a camera into my bag and went downstairs. I was met on the ground floor landing by my faerie Cybunny Elise.
“You promise you’re going to keep your big mouth in check?” she asked.
“I do not have a big mouth!” I cried.
Elise raised an eyebrow and countered, “That wasn’t what you were saying after you nearly got eaten by one of his minions last month. I think the exact phrase you used was, ‘One of these days I’ll learn to control my big mouth’ wasn’t it?”
“Okay, I have a big mouth. I’ll try not to return in a tub.” I sighed.
Suddenly Bluejay, my starry Pteri, came racing into the room and threw his wings around my knees.
“Kristy, can I come? Please, Kristy, please?” he begged, looking up at me with the cutest expression.
There are times when my mind completely goes on vacation; this was one of them. My heart melted and I cried, “Of course you can, baby boy!”
“Thank you!” he cried as he squeezed my knees tight.
“Go smooth down your feathers,” I said.
He rushed off and I turned to Elise who was staring at me like I had gone off the deep end.
“What?” I asked.
“Seriously?” Elise gasped.
“Bluejay never asks for anything; why should I say no?” I replied.
Elise spluttered and looked as if she was going to asphyxiate on her own words. Chloe came down at that moment. She was currently a white Kougra.
“Ready to go?” Chloe asked.
“You’re bringing her too?” Elise choked.
“I’m her bodyguard,” Chloe said, raising an eyebrow at Elise, whose eyes were bulging out of her head.
“You’re a Grundo!” Elise cried.
“Yeah, ancient history. We’re free now, Sloth got his butt kicked, and interviewing him keeps the lights on. I’m old enough to behave myself. Besides, I was born after that happened, so it’s not like Kristy rescued me from him and has to worry about me taking personal revenge. Honestly, Elise, go lie down. You look like you’re going to die. I thought Kristy was the only one who worked herself up over silly things,” Chloe replied.
“Hey!” I protested.
Bluejay came flying into the room and cried, “I’m ready!”
“You’re bringing Bluejay?” Chloe almost screamed.
“What is wrong with you people?” I cried in frustration. My mind was somewhere in the far reaches of space and was not promising to come back any time soon.
Elise spluttered some more and Chloe stood there looking at me like I was a complete and total idiot, all the while Bluejay beamed up sweetly at me. I saw the clock on the wall and cried, “Oh my gosh! Look at the time! We’re going to miss the shuttle. Come on!”
With that I was racing down the street with my two pets in tow.
You see, the fact of the matter is, Bluejay is without a doubt the Space Faerie’s biggest fan. So it stands to reason that he must hate her arch-nemesis, right? Hate doesn’t sum it up. He has set a record for playing ‘Splat a Sloth’ more times than any other person in Neopia. Bluejay was the last person in the world who should be going to see Dr. Sloth.
We got on the shuttle with half a minute to spare. I sighed in relief and fixed my hair, which was in a state of complete disarray from my mad dash to the station. We all sat in silence on the way up, something that was hardly normal for my family, but I was too busy thinking about my interview and imagining that somehow this would be my springboard to the big leagues. I was in the middle of daydreaming about winning the best journalist of the year award six years running when I was awakened by the shuttle docking at the Space Station.
We got off and passed through the tourist area. During the walk through there Chloe asked Bluejay if he wanted to stay and play Splat a Sloth until I was done. She laid special emphasis on the game’s name. Bluejay said no and Chloe kept shooting me sidelong glances that I could not at that time understand.
Sloth has always kept offices hidden in the deep parts of the Space Station. We went down a hall like we had been told to. Around the corner two mutant Grundos and a yellow Grundo were waiting.
“Hi there! I’m Kristykimmy,” I said.
“You’re on time, that’s nice. Right, you have to be blindfolded and all of your weapons must be left here,” the yellow Grundo said.
“What? Wait, I’m not about to walk into Dr. Sloth’s headquarters unarmed!” Chloe cried.
“Then you’re staying here,” the Grundo replied.
Chloe groaned and started pulling weapons out and handing them to the larger of the mutants. This took an aggravatingly long time, because one: she had so many, two: she kept stopping and hoping that they would think she was done, and three: I think she was just having fun making all of our lives more difficult. I tried to make small talk during this time.
“So, what’s your name?”
“Minion number 605.”
“Oh, what do your friends call you?”
“I don’t have friends.”
“Oh, that’s quite a mouthful. Does Dr. Sloth always use the full name or does he just use the number?”
“He normally uses, ‘you over there!’ or ‘stupid looking one in the middle row’ or my favorite, ‘minion who is about to be sludge!’ Oh, yes, he is a thoughtful master.” The level of sarcasm in his voice made me aware it was time to shut up.
When Chloe was finally done, they blindfolded us and led us down what felt like a million hallways and at least two elevators. They finally removed our blindfolds and 605 went into another room and came back out a minute later to tell me that I had to wait. So I waited for about half an hour. I was certain Dr. Sloth was in there reading comics and laughing at making me wait. Finally 605 returned to say that he was ready to see me now.
We walked in and there he sat, in his high-backed chair, behind his giant desk. There were three hard looking metal chairs in front of his desk. I walked up in front of him and held my hand out to shake his.
“Hi there, Dr. Sloth. It’s a real honor to interview you,” I said.
He stared at my hand for a moment then looked me up and down with a deprecating look. I pulled my hand back and introduced Chloe and Bluejay. We sat down and the chairs were more painful than they looked, but I worked not to show it. I pulled out my notepad and pencil and said, “Okay, I’m ready to start.”
“Then do so and stop wasting my time. I’m only doing this because my PR department said I need to every six months. For what reason, I have no clue. I really should have turned that department to sludge years ago,” Sloth ranted.
“Okay, so, Doctor, how many years has it been since you arrived in Neopia?”
“A few hundred.” He sighed.
“So, I’m certain everyone knows the story of your supposed arrival and living here pre-Neopets. How true is that story?” I asked.
“Absolutely untrue; I’m not that old. Besides, the faeries, curse them, were here first. They don’t talk about creatures growing out of the mud and poison smog, do they?” Sloth answered.
“Okay, so where did you come from? Do you have family back there?” I asked.
“That’s none of your business.”
I asked a few more questions that are not really worth mentioning after that. Then I decided to throw the curveball. “Dr. Sloth, is there any truth to the rumors that you have feelings for Jhudora?”
“Stop asking stupid questions and stick to the usual script,” Sloth snapped.
I was highly offended by that.
“Stupid, oh you haven’t seen the stupid I’m capable of yet, Slothy.”
Chloe can read me almost as well as Elise can and she knew my big mouth was about to get the best of me. She decided she had to save me from myself. I opened my mouth to stick my foot in it and she elbowed me hard in the ribs before those fatal words could be spoken. I spent the next two minutes gasping like a fish out of water as I tried to re-inflate my right lung. Dr. Sloth sat there and snickered; he liked Chloe’s style.
When I could breathe again I went back to the normal questions. I decided to honor my promise to Elise and not say anything stupid, not that Chloe would have let me, apparently. Finally I came to my last question.
“So, to wrap up, what are your current long term goals?” I asked.
“Well, the usual. Perfecting my mind control ray, spreading mutation potion through Neopia’s water supply, taking over all of Neopia and its moon, and, of course, ridding myself of that accursed faerie. She’ll be more than grey by the time I’m done with her,” he replied.
When he finished, Bluejay grabbed my arm and whispered in my ear, “Can I ask a question?”
“Dr. Sloth, my little assistant would like to ask you a question,” I said.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Chloe’s face contort in horror as she started to wave her hands frantically. It was then that my brain returned and I remembered that Bluejay hated this guy with his entire tiny frame, multiplied by infinity. I turned to try to stop him.
“What do you have to say about all the times you have been thwarted by the Space Faerie?”
A dark angry flush filled Doctor Sloth’s face.
“Whaaaaa! Bluejay, no!” I screamed.
“Or how about when you got beaten by a fat Bruce?” Bluejay continued, ignoring my cry.
I grabbed Bluejay’s beak and held it shut. Doctor Sloth’s face had turned purple with rage. He reached under his desk and pulled out a ray gun. I mentally vowed that if we somehow survived this I would make my Starry Pteri eat baby food for a year.
“I will vaporize you all!”
“It was nice to know you,” Chloe and I said to each other.
At that moment something on his desk started buzzing. It seemed to push his anger to the breaking point. He slammed down on whatever it was and screamed, “You had better have a very good reason for bothering me!”
The voice on the other end of the line was high-pitched and indignant.
“Why, Frank! How dare you talk to me that way, your mother! Wait until I tell your father about this.”
Dr. Sloth’s face turned white upon those words and he slumped into his chair and said softly, “I’m sorry, Mum. I didn’t know it was you. I really mean it. I’m just having a difficult day and you caught me at a really bad time.”
“Oh, my poor Frankie-bunny. It’s okay, baby. Well, I’ll let you get back to it then. I hope the rest of your day goes better. I love you, Frankie-bunny.” Sloth’s mother’s voice came again.
“Love you too, Mum,” Sloth said.
There was a click after that and he looked up at us again. He put his ray gun away. Why? Because even I have smart moments. I had heard that call and if he tried to turn me into sludge I was going to scream, ‘Sloth’s mother calls him Frankie-bunny’ loud enough for the entire station to hear. It would be known all over Neopia by the end of the week. It would even more humiliating than comics of him in his underwear. His career as a villain would be over. He could read it in my face and knew it was better to make a deal.
“If you agree that today never happened, and make sure I never see him again, I’ll let you go unharmed.” He sighed wearily.
“Deal,” I said.
Chloe agreed too.
“Him?” Sloth asked.
“Oh, believe me; he won’t dare to think of your name for years to come,” I said.
Bluejay gulped and Sloth nodded his head. He summoned 605 and we were led back out to the main area of the Space Station, where Chloe’s weapons were returned. We got on the next shuttle and headed home wordlessly.
Once back at Neopia Central, Chloe split off to go see if the DoN had any missions they would like her help with. Bluejay and I headed home. When we got inside I broke my thirty minutes of silence to yell, “Bluejay, go to your room and don’t even think of thinking about thinking about asking to come down until I call you!”
Silently and obediently Bluejay went off, but was accosted by Yanli in the hall.
“Ooh, you’re in trouble? You’re never in trouble! I’ve never seen you in trouble. I thought I was the only one who got into trouble! Whatdidjado? Whatdidjado? Whatdidjado?” the Christmas Zafara cried as she followed him to his room.
I went to the living room and collapsed on the sofa, my mind too over-stimulated to do more than just exist. About ten minutes later, Elise came into the room and sat on top of me.
“I told you so,” was all she said.
“You did, and I was too stupid to understand. Honestly, what is wrong with me that I didn’t realize how stupid I was being until it actually happened?” I muttered from inside the couch.
“I dunno, but you know what I do know?” Elise replied.
I looked up and asked what.
“We love you anyway,” Elise said, as she slapped me playfully on the back of the head.
“I’m going to make that boy eat all the baby food I’ve been too lazy to sell in my shop,” I said.
“Wow, that’s kinder than I expected.” Elise laughed. “I’m hungry; will you make lunch now?”
“I would, but you’re sitting on me,” I replied.
She fluttered her wings and allowed me to roll out from under her, then settled down on the couch to read while I made lunch. I let Bluejay down for lunch, and there was a bowl of baby mush in front of him. He ate it all without complaint and even working hard to suppress every gag. I had to keep a close eye on Yanli who was laughing so hard between bites of her pizza that I was certain she was going to choke. Princess, my desert Uni, decided not to ask any questions; she legitimately didn’t want to know. Dinner was the same way.
After I put my younger pets to bed, I sat up until midnight writing up my article, which I was going to send to my local paper in Neopia Central. I had no illusions of this being anything great this time. At midnight I turned out my lights and crawled into bed, physically and mentally exhausted.
Then, there was a tap at my door. I groaned, certain that someone was violently ill and I had to go clean up after them. It always happened at midnight. Instead my door opened and there stood Bluejay, in his pjs and clutching his favorite book.
“What’s wrong, Blue?” I asked.
Tears welled in his eyes as he squeaked out, “I’m sorry, Kristy. Really I am. I couldn’t sleep, because I was afraid that you were really angry with me and that I ruined your article, and will you forgive me? I didn’t come to insult Dr. Sloth; I just wanted to see Mira’s arch-nemesis up close. I just got so angry when he said that he was gonna do bad things to Mira. Honestly.”
“Oh, Blue! You didn’t ruin my article and I’m not mad at you. I was the stupid one; I really should have known it was a bad idea to bring you. Come here, baby boy,” I cried.
He flew over to me and I hugged him tight. I then read him Pazo the Lonely Aisha. By the time I was done he was sleeping soundly. I sighed contentedly as I turned out the light and closed my eyes. The day wasn’t such a waste after all. I had an article, I had heard that hilarious phone call and lived, and Bluejay was without a doubt the sweetest little boy in the world, and he is mine. So, sniggering softly over ‘Frankie-bunny’, I fell asleep.