The Problem of April Second
"Yanli, please, breathe!" Kristy cried.
I stopped, took a deep breath, and then asked why.
"Because you haven't stopped talking for an hour now. I don't know how you can talk at the rate you do and still have time to breathe. I'm worried you're simply going to pass out," Kristy sighed.
"I'm not going to pass out. I've never passed out, once I held my breath for ten seconds!" I told her.
I heard one of my big sisters start to cough and snort behind me. I've noticed that my sisters often make noises like that. I kinda wonder if they all have Mortogs in their throats. I've never made that sound, but maybe Christmas Zafaras can't have Mortogs in their throats.
"That's very impressive, sweetie. Go play in the yard." Kristy's face was all scrunched up.
"Okay!" I cried as I went skipping out of the room.
As I left, I heard hysterical laughter coming from her and my sister. I almost went back in to find out what was so funny, but then I saw a butterfly. I played outside for a while. I got thirsty. I went back inside and into the kitchen. There was no one in the kitchen; I walked over to the fridge, but stopped when I noticed a can of cola on the table.
It was completely red and it didn't have a brand on it. That was weird, because it hadn't been there that morning and Kristy hadn't bought any cola in a while. Chloe had gone to her job, but she wouldn't be home for hours still, so she couldn't have brought it home with her.
I decided to take it and ask Kristy if I could have it. As I reached for it, the middle of the can opened into sharp teeth and snapped at me. I pulled my hand back as fast as I could. The can jumped off the table and rolled away. I chased after it as it rolled into the dining room. It rolled under the table there. I crawled under after it, but it had disappeared.
I raced upstairs to Kristy's room. She was sitting at her desk writing at a furious rate. I bounced up to her and looked at the paper. It looked boring.
"Whatcha doing?" I asked.
"Working, Yanli. My boss wants this article yesterday and I only received the information I needed two minutes ago. If I don't hurry, we'll be late and we'll miss publishing and Meepie will have my boss's head who will have my head first, and Meepie will mount them both on his wall just for the fun of it," she explained, never looking at me or slowing in her pace.
"Meepie wouldn't do that. He's so nice, and he always gives me explosives to play with when he visits!" I protested.
Kristy suddenly stopped dead. She put her head down on her desk and cried. I remembered why I had come up here.
"Kristy! There was a can of Neocola in the fridge," I started.
"No! No Neocola for you. I'd rather you play with explosives than have caffeine; they're safer," Kristy cried.
"No! When I tried to touch the can, it tried to bite me! Then it jumped out off the counter and ran away. I lost it in the dining room," I cried.
She looked at me in silence and then began to laugh.
"It's April Second, you bad girls and your pranks on the day after every year. You almost had me there for a second." Kristy laughed.
I tried to protest, but she simply got up, took my hand, and led me to the door.
"Yanli, sweetie, Mommy really is very busy. Could you please be a dear and let me be until I'm done working?"
With that she closed the door and I decided to go try one of my sisters. Elise had gone out, Anita was traveling the mountains of Shenkuu, and Princess had locked herself in her room to study. That left my big brother and my baby sister. I doubted that Inna would be much help so I went to find Bluejay.
Bluejay was in his room, sitting on his loft bed, reading. I gave a great flying leap and landed on his bed. The force of my landing, along with his jump of surprise, sent him flying, landing behind me on the floor.
"YANLI!" he yelled in protest.
"Bluejay, guess what!" I shouted down at my Starry Pteri brother.
"My bottom is going to bruise," he pouted up at me. "Do you have any idea how annoying sitting is going to be for the next few days?"
"No, but you have wings, why didn't you use them?" I asked.
"I'm going to get a lock for my door if you keep up the sudden appearances," Bluejay threatened.
"GUESS WHAT!" I screamed at him so he would stop whining.
"What?" Bluejay asked.
"I don't remember anymore."
Bluejay slapped his face with a wing and said, "Yanli, you have the attention span of a Warf."
I've never been able to figure out if that was a good thing or not.
"What were you reading?" I asked.
"King Hagan's Biography," Bluejay answered.
"Sounds boring, Kristy says King Hagan is a snob," I commented.
"It is. Though, Kristy is a little 'different' and biased when it comes to Hagan, you know. Don't take her too seriously," Blue replied.
"She's funny when she goes off on her Hagan tirades. She's funny; I like that about our mom." I laughed. "Hey, Bluejay, guess what?"
"Did you feed Ella this morning? Have you brushed her fur?" Bluejay interrupted.
"Of course I did. Ella doesn't let me forget. Guess what!"
"What, sis?" Bluejay sighed.
"There is a living can of Neocola in this house!" I cried.
He raised an eyebrow as he said, "This one of your April Second pranks, isn't it? I'm going to have to have a word with Princess about you. She sets you on it every year."
"No! Please believe me. Kristy was too busy to believe me and everyone else is gone. I mean it; this isn't a prank I promise! I don't tell lies, Blue, you know I don't!" I almost started to cry, I really wished it wasn't April Second.
Bluejay tilted his head to the side and looked me in the eyes.
"Okay, I believe you, Yanli. Let's go find this can."
We went to the dining room and looked around. There was no sign of it. The doors to the outside were closed so we knew it still had to be in the house.
"Well, it had a mouth, you said, so maybe it will get hungry. Let's get a snack and set it out in the foyer and wait for it under the stairs. We'll get a bag and we'll catch it when it comes for the food," Bluejay suggested.
I clapped my hands, "Yay, Blue, you're so smart!"
We went to the kitchen and opened the fridge. There were some leftovers in the fridge and they smelled really good and it was a pretty strong smell too. We put some on a plate and went to the foyer. Bluejay had the bag; it was a duffle bag Kristy used to carry things for Inna when we went out. I set the plate down and got in position next to him. It felt like forever as we waited. Bluejay kept nudging me and whispering to sit still, but I don't like sitting still.
Finally there was a sound above us. It was a thunk sound and it repeated itself down every stair. I held my breath as the can hopped into view. It went to the food and began to eat.
"Now!" I shouted and Bluejay and I dived forward.
There was quite a tumble as we tried not to get bitten and to get it into the bag. Just as we managed it, Kristy appeared at the top of the stairs with Princess right behind her.
"What is going on? Are you two all right?" Kristy cried hurrying down the stairs.
I was about to tell her about what we had caught when the doorbell rang. She went to the door and opened it. A tall Purple Gelert was standing there; he was one of our neighbors.
"Hello there, Rob. What can I do for you?" Kristy asked.
"Hello, Kristy. Hi, kids. My sister from the Haunted Woods is visiting and she brought her Sugar Rush petpet with her, but it seems to have disappeared. I don't suppose you've seen it anywhere?" Rob asked.
Kristy eyes grew large and she turned to look at me.
"Yanli, sweetie, where is that can you tried to tell me about?" she asked.
Bluejay held up the duffle bag and said, "In here!"
Kristy took the bag and carefully unzipped it and looked in. She smiled and handed the bag to Rob. He looked in and he smiled too.
"Thank you, children. My sister will be very happy to get Cranky back," Rob said.
He left with the strange can and Kristy laughed. "I guess the joke is on me."
"I don't get it. That was a petpet?" Bluejay asked.
"Yes, that was a petpet. The Sugar Rush is a very old petpet and there are almost none of them left. You just saw something that very few kids your age will ever see. I'm sorry, Yanli, I should have believed you instead of assuming you were playing a prank on me," Kristy explained.
"No, I'm sorry. I should never have started the April Second tradition," Princess said.
Kristy turn on her with an 'ah-ha!'
"So you admit you were the one who filled Chloe's room with jelly with eight years ago. That was the first April Second prank," Kristy cried.
The Desert Uni turned tuscan red. The Jelly incident had been done long before I became part of the family. Everyone was certain Princess had done it, but no one could prove it. Princess had always refused to admit to it. I had heard it was a brilliant prank, and one of only six she had ever played.
"Just don't tell Chloe I said that," Princess whispered, her head down in embarrassment.
"Far be it from me to ruin that brilliant a prank," Kristy said, then, pointing at us. "If either of you say anything to Chloe, you'll be eating Peas and Ham baby mush for a month."
Bluejay gulped and I yelled, "No way would I tell! It's too funny."
I grabbed Bluejay's wing and said, "Let's go play in the clubhouse."
"You have the attention span of a Warf, Yanli," Bluejay repeated.
I'm still not sure if that is a good thing or not.