Timmy's Shenanigans Episode 1: Rise of Timmy and Stu
Mortogs. My kind of fellas.
We got a business going, those Mortogs and me – reason why people hardly win? That's not on accident. We got a system going, you see – something so simple any fool can pull it off. That's how we rake in the moolah, right. So, here's the thing:
We get hundreds of customers a day. We let some of them win enough times so nobody gets suspicious, but we're running a real scheme here alright – because our profit margin is 10-fold. I run this whole operation; I tell the Mortogs where to go, including the Princess Mortogs. For example, if a customer has two Mortogs to choose from, sometimes we'll only put out two exploding ones. No-win situation, but they don't know that. Hey, different cities got different things going – Haunted Woods has theirs, Roo Island's got theirs, Krawk Island's got theirs, we've got ours.
That big googly-eyed, green fella who looks so nice and unassuming? He's my business partner. I run things in the background, and he's the face everyone trusts. It's only a fair game of chance, right?
People are going to kiss 'em anyway. Might as well make a profit out of it.
So how did I come into the picture you ask? Well, that's a long story...
Flashback to my younger years, I was an upright kind of guy sportin' bow-ties left and right. I had a job working as a Newspaper reporter, traveled a lot, the whole thing was swell. And I had bright ideas about the world, too; I was going about, dreaming of making a difference out there in the world and making a name for myself. I was the kind of guy everyone would trust, "Timmy, my man!" But hey, some of those good things don't last.
Here's how it happened: I was running a story on a crook from back east. He had this whole thing going with the fortune-teller business. And no, it's not the Island Mystic. Just a phony who dressed the same, talked the same, but didn't hand out the magical prize when the fortune contained the word 'kyrii' in it. He required a small fee, said Neopians would get the magical prize faster if they came to him. This went on for a couple months before the real Island Mystic found out about it and alerted the Island authorities. However, the phony was funneling so much traffic into the island and makin' the Island's revenue bounce off the walls that officials dragged their feet and looked the other way.
One day, I was on the Island for unrelated business and casually walked past the Island Mystic's booth when I heard his voice call my name. I turned around, he said he recognized me from a few articles I'd done and asked if I could do him a favor. That's how it all started. Now let me tell you how it all went wrong.
I did my reporting. Found the dirty stuff. Interviewed the phony. Talked with the victims, wrote my thing and I was on my way back to the press to publish. I submit the article for review, then my boss calls me into his office.
"Sit down, Timmy."
"What can I do for you, Boss?"
Boss guy unfolds to me that he did a background check on my story, called the Island officials and even inquired about the phony, but the officials told Boss guy that there never was a phony and to corroborate this, Boss guy calls up the nearest restaurant to where the phony's stall was set up (who made a killing off the increased traffic this guy brought) and the owner said he'd never seen the guy in his life. So, Boss guy sits me down and gets my side of the story.
I lay it out for him.
Boss says I made it all up. Short version:
I lost my job.
Now we're back to the present. I'm livin' fancy off the dough these Mortogs are makin'; much more than my old job. Living the good life. Folks still get their avatars and their trophies, and I got my retirement set up for a smooth ride down the road. Things are sittin' pretty until one day, I see a familiar face roll up to the pond:
I turn around, shoving a fistful of coins in my pocket. "Stu! Hey. Wow, it's been a while."
Stewart (or Stu for short) the most unassuming and innocent Neopian to walk the face of the planet was looking at me with those big, round watery eyes.
"Whatchya doing here, Tim?"
"I could ask you the same thing. Long time no see, my friend."
Stu catches a glimpse of my bulging pockets. "Are you here for the avatar, too?"
"Sort of," I say.
I look down at the small burlap bag Stu has in his hands, with a meager amount of coins inside. I glance nervously at my partner, who's sending out the next batch of explosive Mortogs for the next victim while the Princess Mortogs sit on the sidelines inconspicuously. I don't know what to do. I've got enough money to last me a lifetime, and here's Stu who barely makes enough on the journalist wage and is about to be covered in guts and worst of all – penniless.
"Hey, maybe we can catch up. You wan' grab a bite to eat?"
"Yeah!" Stu's face lights up with that toothy grin. "But first I've got to get this avatar, then we can—"
"Nah. Let's go and eat right now. Bet you could eat a Kau."
Stu looks at me naively. "Thanks, Timmy. But I really, really need to get this avatar. I've been wanting to do this for a long time."
Now I see the problem here. I get it. Took a long time for it to sink in completely.
"Alright," I say stepping aside. I watch Stu hand his coins to my partner. And I watch the Explosive Mortogs line up. My face is stone-hard as I watch each of Stu's blunders, which aren't his fault. Not long after, he runs out of coins and walks back with his head down.
I grabbed his shoulder. "Wait a minute," I said. I reached into my pockets and grabbed as many coins as I could and emptied them into Stu's bag.
"What—" Stu started to say.
"Have another go." I said. Stu hesitantly looked into his bag, seemed conflicted – but went back to my partner and said he'll have another go or two. My eyes meet my partners gaze, and I mouth the words: Fair game this time.
It took hours. I kept emptying more and more of the money out of my pockets, and even ran to the bank to get some more cash. Just as the sun went down, that's when Stu finally guessed his fourth Mortog correctly.
"Here's your prize!" My partner said whimsically, flashing me a sideways glance while he handed Stu his earnings.
"Thank you so much! Thank you!" Stu was so overcome with relief and joy, he didn't know quite what to say except to nod his head and smile ear-to-ear. He ran back to me and showed me what he earned. He asked to split it – I said to keep it.
"You still want to grab a bite to eat?" Stu asked.
"No—too late for that. But let's go take a walk." I said to Stu and turned my back to my partner – waving him off for the last time.
This part's important; this is my fork in the road, and I could have gone down the same path I've been on, but someone came along and flipped the signs for me.
Stu was the type of guy who got all the grunt work in the office. Nobody acknowledged him, ninety-percent of the guys who worked there didn't even know his name. But I did. Because out of everyone there, Stu was happy to be there; he greeted me with a smile every time he handed me my coffee; he tolerated the badgering and ill-temper from our staff. This was the type of kid who didn't set out to change the world but was happy doing good just where he sat. I remember this kid for good reason. He got something figured out in his head that I didn't.
We walked that night and reminisced about old times. I cut to the chase and said I was looking for something new to do, a new adventure to find. Maybe, some more shenanigans—
"So am I, Tim."
"Wait – you left the office?"
"Oh...yeah." Stu self-consciously put his hands in his pockets. "Don't get me wrong Tim, I was seein' plenty of the world, but I didn't enjoy it for what it was. I kept looking for problems and writing about those problems to make the Boss happy. But I became unhappy. So, I'm looking for something new, too."
I looked up at the stars and thought to my—JUST KIDDING. We're not going to end this cheesy. I don't do cheesy.
TO BE CONTINUED – EPISODE 2