Welcome to the Club
"Arghhh!!" a tiny roar sounded through the open space of little Gooblah's neohome. *Swish, swish* was the sound of the toy pirate sword as he swung it through the air, playfully lunging it at his mother as she stood at the hover stove.
The tip of the sword poked her in the back of the thigh, and she turned to swat little Gooblah away. "Stop it!" she laughed, "I'm making dinner."
"Dinner?" Gooblah let the tip of the toy sword tilt down toward the floor, as he grinned, wide, showing all his teeth. "Meat?" he dropped the toy sword to jump up, trying to peek at what his mother was cooking on the hover stove.
Suddenly his jump seemed to grow, and Gooblah could see over the stove, and then he was at the same level as his mother.
His father's deep voice rumbled behind him, as he curled his tail around his son, keeping him lifted in the air, "Of course! What else do us Grarrls eat?"
Gooblah giggled, and then the three of them all looked at each other as they said one word in unison, "Everything."
Gooblah's father set him down, and Gooblah ran to grab his toy sword before running off to the kitchen table to take a seat, anxiously waiting for his mother to place dinner before him. He was starving! But granted... he was *always* starving.
"Is there a reason we have to use such a tyrannian stove?" he heard his mother as his father.
"The day we can keep our tails from breaking things is the day we'll get that delicate bubble stove you so desperately want. Promise."
And even as he said that, his tail hit the stove and it rocked back and forth, sloshing the chunky meaty stew all around, and causing both of Gooblah's parents to laugh once more at the silly truth of it all.-
As Gooblah got older, he never seemed to lose his love of food, or his pride in his pirate toys. And while he loved this about himself, his classmates went from thinking he was 'cool' to thinking he was 'weird'.
He was a fan of the boots, and the black t-shirts with the skull design. He'd worn his khaki's so many times that there was a rip in the knee, and he tied a rag around his head for what he called, 'style'.
His classmates started calling him "Goob" behind his back, in a teasing manner, and nobody wanted to sit with him during lunch for fear he'd eat their lunches too.
Everyone knew about his voracious appetite.
"I can't help it!" Gooblah would say with a sigh as he sat down at the lunch table, alone once more. "It's who I am!"
Even as he spoke, he stuffed his mouth full of food.
"Aye, aye, class-matey's. Be that way." he mumbled. He understood how protective everyone could be of their food- he was protective of his food too.
Still, Gooblah was rather lonely. He wished he had some friends who didn't mind his endless hunger, or his sense of style.
Suddenly, a faerie painted meerca pushed open the lunch room doors, flying into the room. She had a paper clutched in her hand and was grinning ear to ear. "The class trip to the beach was approved!" she exclaimed, and everyone in the room cheered in excitement- except for Gooblah, who was too focused on his lunch plate to hear what was going on.
Today's lunch was a hearty meal, after all. Who could resist *that* temptation!-
Gooblah climbed out of the school bus, trailing behind his classmates. His own excitement towards seeing the beach had been amplified as he read the book, 'Treasure Hunting for Pirates'. Maybe while everyone swam and relaxed, he could walk around hunting for some of his own pirate treasure!
Hunting for treasure he did, leading himself away from the class and down to the farther edge of the beach behind a wall of rocks.
He doubted anyone knew he was missing anyways.
Off in the distance, Gooblah swore he heard the familiar clank of silverware and plates and the chewing of food!
He tried to sneak his way towards the sounds, walking up to a long picnic table that sat 19 pirates in their get up, drinking their grog and enjoying each other's company- even as they ate off of each other's plate and took food as if they had plenty to share!
Gooblah never saw a better sight!
Unable to stop himself, he rushed over to the table, sitting in the one empty spot at the end of the table, and started stuffing his face shamelessly.
The pirates around the table slowly stopped eating and drinking and laughing, and instead turned their faces to the stranger who had invited himself to their club.
But instead of reprimanding him, they were shocked at the amount of food he was eating, and with cheers and hollars, they chanted in unison for him to go on.
And go on, Gooblah did, until he was so stuffed, he couldn't eat another bite. And that was saying something!
"Argh!" One of the pirates at the table, a small green techo shouted. He wore a hat with a red feather on top, black pants and brown boots, and a white shirt. Beside him, a sword was jammed between the planks of the table, spearing right into a slice of PIZZA OF DEATH! "That was some fancy eatin' there, youngin'! Where did ye learn to eat like that?"
"I don't know!" Gooblah shrugged, "It just comes naturally."
"Ye really like the meats, hmm?" A red lupe with a white laced shirt, black boots and grey pants asked Gooblah.
"Yea... I think about the only thing I don't like are slushies. But I'll eat them if I have to."
The pirates at the table laughed, heartily, and Gooblah smiled.
For some reason, he felt... welcome here.
"What's your name, boy?" one of the larger pirates growled. He had a golden hook on his tail, a black scarf around his head, and grey boots on his clawed feet.
"Gooblah." he answered.
"Well, Gooblah, we've been keeping an eye out for our 20th member... and it seems you came to us. How would ye like to join our famous Food Club?"
"Food Club!?" Gooblah exclaimed excitedly. "I would love to! I'm still in school, though. Won't be long until I'm out."
"Well, how about you join us on the ship, and can finish your school courses over seas?"
The rest of the pirates nodded in unison, and Gooblah found it hard to say no. Living on a pirate ship, and eating food, sounded like the best thing that could happen to him. Finishing his classes overseas- with a group of neopets that welcomed him- seemed like the easy choice.
"Ye are already dressed for the part!" the blue tuskaninny with the red and white cap complimented; and there was no way Gooblah was going to say no to that.
"Of course! I'll join you!" he answered, accepting the invitation with joy.
A joy that all the pirates shared with him.-
It didn't take long for Gooblah to climb in the ranks. Years passed, and the pirates Food Club became so popular that soon other neopets were betting on which of the 20 pirates they assumed would eat more.
It soon became clear who was the favorite, as Gooblah became one of the top competitors in the Food Club. Those classmates who used to be annoyed at how much 'Goob' ate, were now cheering him on to eat more! His nickname that was given in jest soon became a name that was revered.
And all of those little differences about himself that he questioned whether or not should be there, became something he realized he'd never change for all the food in the world.
He was where he was meant to be- a home away from home.