The Tuskaninny Waitress wiped the sweat off her brows as her last customer left the Slushie Shop with a Chokato Slushie clutched between his paws. It is once again the season of the year where fans pour into the colosseum in waves and Yooyus are released from their pens to soar in the sky. Not to mention, it is also the busiest time of the year for the Tuskaninny Waitress, or also known as the Slushie Slinger.
It wasn’t the end of the busy, chaotic day for the Tuskaninny Waitress. The machines needed oiling for them to stay in tip-top conditions, the counters needed polishing and the floors needed scrubbing to rid the puddles of sweet, sticky slushie. Sighing, she grabbed a wet cloth and set about to clean the counters. It was hard work, but having years of experience as a Slushie Slinger, the red Tuskaninny managed anyway.
She was almost done with the first counter when she heard the tinkle of a bell followed by the scraping of a pair of leather boots on the tiles as someone walked briskly into the shop.
The Tuskaninny looked up to see a green Eyrie at the counter. He was dressed smartly in a steel-gray suit, cream-coloured necktie and an expensive-looking watch on his wrist. Out of habit, she put on her most customer-winning smile.
”Sorry, we’re closed for the day. Do come back tomorrow for more slushies!”
The Eyrie snickered. “I’m afraid I’m not here for your oh-so-delicious slushies, miss,”—he held up a stack of paper with formal-looking stamps on them—“these, here, are the official letters that request for the closing down of your Slushie Shop.” He added, “We have received five complaints about food poisoning since this morning.”
It took a moment for the Eyrie’s words to sink in. “Food poisoning? I’ve never encountered a food poisoning incident ever since I started working here,” she frowned.
There were always wild rumours flying around about her slushies, but her slushies were always safe to consume, not to mention delicious. All right, there was once where a Neopian Times Writer accused her of using tap water to freeze ice cubes for the slushies, but that was just because she ran out of drinking water and it was peak hour. Not that anyone has to know about that.
“But you have now, miss,” the Eyrie replied smoothly. “Please leave the premises immediately as the shop will be closed for investigation purposes. We’ll keep you posted on all progresses. In the meantime, just enjoy the extra breaktime until the date of your hearing.”
The red Tuskaninny gaped at the Eyrie with a mix of confusion and amazement. Then she scowled. “I will not leave! The fans need me and my slushies!” the Tuskaninny drew herself up to her greatest height and crossed her flippers over her chest. “Who are you, anyway? I demand an investigation by the authorities!”
“I am the authority,” the Eyrie smiled, but the smile did not reach his eyes, which were ice-cold.
“There is something sinister going on, I know it!” the red Tuskaninny raged as she stormed towards her Slushie Shop. She was dressed in her usual traditional Altadorian robes and had pulled her hair up in a sophisticated bun. It was the morning of the following day, and she wanted answers, and she wanted them now, or someone’s going to get hurt real soon. No one messes with the Slushie Slinger, not even the Techo Fanatic or any of those obnoxious fans.
As she approached her shop, she heard a babel of voices and the familiar whirring of the slushie machines. To her surprise, the shop wasn’t closed. In fact, it was far from being closed. The Slushie Shop was bursting with its usual crowd of customers, pressing into the shop for their delectable frozen drinks. The Tuskaninny Waitress was puzzled. Who was running it, if not her?
She squeezed through the horde of pets and managed to enter the shop. A young Zafara bowed her through the door. “Good morning there! We serve the best frozen slushies there are that’ll satisfy the pickiest of customers!” The Tuskaninny shot her a queer look and made a bee-line for the counters. That wasn’t what her workers usually greeted the customers with.
There was a perfect hubbub going on as each customer demanded for their preferred slushies at the top of their voices. But the Slushie Slinger only had eyes for the Eyrie at the counter. She couldn’t help but gaped at him. The Eyrie has left his scarf and coat at Terror Mountain, but there was no doubt about it. The pet running the Slushie Shop was none other than the Slushie Shopkeeper from Terror Mountain!
Amongst the crowd in the shop, the Eyrie caught her eye and nearly dropped the cup of slushie between his paws. He looked flustered as he turned away from the Tuskaninny and slid the cup of slushie down the counter. The Tuskaninny stood at a corner of the shop, furrowing her brows as she watched the Eyrie serving customers and cleaning up empty slushie cups. The gears of her brain were whirring fiercely, trying to make sense of the situation.
It was a busy day at the shop as usual, with an unusual amount of accidents happening. Impatient fans resorted to petty methods such as bumping into each other, jumping the queue, wrestling for a cup of slushie, pulling each other’s furs, more wrestling and stamping on each other’s paws to get their slushies in the shortest amount of time possible. There was a commotion when a Scorchio ‘accidentally’ poured slushie down into the collar of a yellow Nimmo’s shirt. The Tuskaninny clicked her tongue impatiently when the worker at counter two dropped a cup of slushie for the umpteenth time. She smirked when she heard the customer complaining, “Where is the usual Slushie Slinger?”
The Tuskaninny Waitress waited patiently until the end of the day. Then, she strode over to the Slushie Shopkeeper with a grim look on her face. The Eyrie looked sheepishly at her as she approached.
“I’ll like explanations from you, if you’ll provide some,” the Tuskaninny’s tone was constrained and polite, but the glint in her eyes conveyed otherwise. "So, what in Neopia is happening over here?"
“I…I don’t know,” the Striped Eyrie stuttered as he fidgeted with the strings of his apron.
“Look at me in the eyes, sir,” the Tuskaninny Waitress said sternly. When the Eyrie raised his head to look at her unwillingly, she expected more trouble until she got to the bottom of the matter, but to her amazement, the Eyrie broke down in tears and started wailing. Tears rolled down his cheeks and splattered his shiny coat of fur.
“I’m sorry! It was me alright, it was me. I love my Slushie Shop up in Terror Mountain, but I wasn’t contented. I wanted to try serving my slushies to pets from all over Neopia, too. So, I spiked some of your slushies with a specially brewed potion. With the help of my brother who works as a lawyer, I managed to drive you out of your shop. But,” he continued, “I didn’t know that it was this hard running your shop!”
The Tuskaninny Waitress wasn’t surprised. After putting her thinking cap on, she put two to two together and figured out that there was some kind of plot to drive her away. It took her some time to calm the Eyrie down. “Well, I never said it was easy,” she grinned, patting the Slushie Shopkeeper on the back. As if anyone could handle the rabid fans and players but her.
“Will you forgive me?”—the Eyrie clutched the Tuskaninny desperately—“Please don’t bring this to court, or my reputation will be smeared and my business ruined!”
The red Tuskaninny’s anger has quite subsided. “Oh, I won’t,” she replied cheerfully, “just be sure not to do this again!” The Eyrie nodded earnestly in response.
“Perhaps…” the Tuskaninny added thoughtfully, “perhaps you can serve some of your slushies in my shop! We’ll work something out between us.” She winked at the Striped Eyrie, “I’m sure the customers would not object to some new flavours.”
The Tuskaninny smiled at the look of wonder spreading across the Eyrie’s face. Flippers in paw, the two pets left the Slushie Shop after cleaning up, chattering about slushies from Neopia Central to Kreludor.
"We're friends, aren't we?"
"We are," the Tuskaninny Waitress smiled warmly at her newfound friend.
Later that day, she grinned as she relived the incident in her mind. All was well, she got her shop back, and she had made a new friend. Perhaps Neopia is going to see the best slushies served during Altador Cup on a coming day.