TWELVE Tips to Help You Succeed in Life:Part Five
TIP FIVE: THERE ARE ALWAYS FAR WORSE PLACES TO WORK
As the Month of Eating (which is a strange name for a month, by the way) began, my semi-lazy job search continued as I lagged during my hunt for the perfect thing to do for the rest of my life. The differing attempts I’ve tried were all humongo failures: the Post Office didn’t want me to spend all my time admiring all of their pretty stamps; Gifts Galore didn’t work out due to my many mishaps with their old-fashioned cash register-contraption; and the bakers at the Bakery accused me of swiping seven cupcakes (though I only stole two). At first I assumed I was cursed with finding good jobs and that—hopefully, if curses actually existed—I could spend the rest of my days relaxing and watching happy Neopians frolic and enjoying themselves during dramatic events on Neovision. Yet as idyllic as this would be, everything came CRASHING down because of one near minded, egotistical, self-absorbed num-skull who just had to apply me at a store I cared very little for. And that traitor was……..CLAUDIA!
(All my readers should gasp and/or faint now)
So you’re probably wondering how Claudia—rather than that treacherous Andrew—was able to unintentionally ruin my life for a brief period of time. Well it all happened on the fifth day of the Month of Eating—the same day I invited Claudia over to hang out. We were sitting at the kitchen table and Mom, being the snoop she is, sat down with us as I detailed my job search (that I gave up shortly after starting it). "And now I’m just hanging out at home, as usual," I remarked at the end of my boring tale of woe.
"If you still need a job, Nadine, I can totally hook you up at the Grooming Parlour," said Claudia cheerfully.
"Oh, you don’t need to—" I began.
But Mom interrupted me by saying, "That sounds wonderful. Are they really hiring right now?"
Claudia nodded. "We fired this yellow Pteri yesterday after she refused to work the mani-pedi station. And thank goodness because she was a terrible dresser!"
Despite my numerous attempts to object, Mom (for some reason) thought it was a wonderful idea to employ me at the Grooming Parlour. Claudia agreed and that was that. Just like that, my life was spiralling out of control, like a game of Meerca Chase gone awry due to a lagging glitch.
And of course things got even worse for me when I began my actual first day of work. Granted I actually enjoyed visiting the Grooming Parlour with Mom every week, admiring the pretty bottles of perfume and smelling the soaps, shampoos and other products. The shop’s air was still thick with the scent of perfume which, to me, wasn’t as strong as others claim it is. There were no uniforms, though Claudia advised me to keep up with the latest Neopian fashions. "You don’t wanna stick out more than you do right now," she remarked as I followed her to the cash registers.
There were three other employers I met: a pink Usul named Izzy; a green Uni named Belle; and a yellow Uni named Daisy-May. At first they just stared at me, gawking like I was some sort of unsocial freak who spent all her time cooped up indoors with no real interest in clothes and makeup. Finally Izzy asked with a bored tone, "So are you, like, Claudy’s friend or something?"
"I think she’s, like, totally plain looking," Belle drawled. "Maybe she doesn’t, like, know anything about makeup and, like, fashion?"
Rather than try to defend me, Claudia just waved a hoof and said, "Don’t mind her, girlies. She’s a little rough around the edges, but not all diamonds are flawless when found, am I right?"
Izzy and Belle murmured something. Daisy-May smiled and offered to show me around. "No thanks. I know my way around here," I insisted.
"Then how about you, like, go find a mirror?" Izzy sneered. "You need, like, a total makeover."
"Don’t worry," Claudia said breezily. "When Nadine gets her first paycheck, I’ll help her find the perfect cosmetics for her complexion. Then she’ll look a million times better!"
"She needs, like, a new mask," remarked Belle. "She’s as out of place as, like, the earrings." Claudia and Izzy broke out with annoying, high-pitched laughter.
Ignoring those three idiots, I spent the day helping customers find products and was frequently asked questions regarding make-up, soap and hair-care products. A pink Skeith wearing a fancy fuchsia jacket and skirt asked for my opinion about lipstick colours. "I don’t know if I should go with Coral Pink or Strawberry Red," the Skeith said, examining the two tubes of lipsticks. "Which one do you prefer?"
I shrugged. "Honestly, I’m not sure. I just started working here today and I have learned nothing about makeup."
"Then what do you know about eye-shadows?" asked the Skeith. "I have this pine green dress and I need an appropriate eye-shadow to go—"
"Again, I don’t know anything," I sighed.
The Skeith looked around and, sure enough, Claudia walked by and the Skeith waved her over. Shuddering, Claudia approached us and the Skeith explained to her about her makeup woes—surprisingly not adding my lack of makeup knowledge for some reason. At first I thought Claudia wasn’t paying any attention to the customer—what with her prejudice towards Skeiths—but then she smiled and said, "A black eye-shadow would look darling with your dress!"
"How wonderful! I do enjoy wearing black," gushed the Skeith.
"Well it honestly wouldn’t matter what you wear," Claudia sniffed. "You’d probably look ugly in whatever you throw on yourself anyway, so why bother trying to look good?" She looked over the Skeith’s outfit. "And what’s your deal with all the fuchsia? Like hello, are we trapped in Year 1 or something?"
The Skeith gasped. "You insolent girl! I demand you bring your manager here this instant!" she roared, swinging her purple purse at Claudia.
"Puh-lease lady, but who you think you are?" scoffed Claudia. "First off, our manager is way busy doing whatever she does to bother with an ugly Skeith like you! And second Ms. Fatcakes, what gives you the right to swing your tacky little purse at me when I helped you with your stupid makeup questionnaire? Like, ungrateful much?"
"I happen to be a very wealthy entrepreneur!" the Skeith snarled.
"Yet you dress like a peasant from Brightvale," said Claudia.
Huffing, the Skeith held her head up and walked to Izzy’s register. Honestly, I’m surprised that she was actually willing to buy an eye-shadow compact! If I was her, I would have caused some kind of dramatic scene, thrown something at Claudia that would totally ruin her outfit (a bottle of nail polish would be PERFECT), and then storm myself out of the store and, at the end, slam the door really loud. But nope, the Skeith just took her purchase out of the store, walking past Claudia as she approached Izzy. "I told you all Skeiths are stupid!" Claudia said, laughing loudly.
"Just be glad the manager wasn’t here to, like, see you tell that Skeith off," giggled Izzy.
"Wait, she’s not here?" I asked.
Izzy rolled her eyes. "Of course not! She’s probably, like, spending the day shopping, as usual."
"Or she could be travelling again," Claudia suggested. "Remember when she took that week long trip to Faerieland? We closed up the shop everyday and went clothes shopping!"
Do these idiots have any discipline around here? I wondered. I know Claudia had the IQ of a baby pet, but I couldn’t imagine her taking advantage of the boss that decided to re-hire her! In fact, scratch all that: I can TOTALLY picture Claudia doing stuff like this. She was always somebody who valued herself over others, and I suppose her love of shopping was greater than her desire to work here, I guess. Either that or she met two bad influences (And Daisy-May, who rocks) who persuaded her to act like this. Then again, Claudia would skip her Neoschool classes to go shopping, so what else should I expect from her?
And of course things got even dumber when the lunch break came, and Claudia began bragging about her latest trip to the NC Mall. I spent most of my time with Daisy-May, who told me stories about her family’s farm. Just as Daisy-May was done recalling a wonderful Christmas story, Claudia announced to everyone, "Yours truly is all packed up and ready to move in….TO HER BRAND NEW ADOBE! Hey!"
Izzy gasped. Belle blurted out, "Girl, you serious?"
"Wow, Claudia’s already saved enough for a house?" marvelled Daisy-May. "Can you believe that, Nadine?"
"Nope." I shook my head. "Next she’ll say Puppyblews can fly and Dr. Sloth is actually a faerie!"
"So, where’s the new house?" pressed Belle.
"It’s in the ‘surbs. You know, where the families live," Claudia snorted. "The house is quite spacious inside, and the exterior has been painted in this very cute shade of pink! And because I already got all the legal mumbo-jumbo out of the way, the realtor said I can move in this weekend!" She clapped excitedly. "So I’m going to move in on Saturday and then—maybe by Tuesday—I’ll throw my first house party!"
"Cool! But wouldn’t it cost you, like, a bunch to hire movers?" asked Izzy.
Claudia shook her head. "Why else would I bring Nadine here? She’ll definitely help me move—and do it for free!" She turned and gave me a wink, but I just stuck out my tongue.
"Ooh, maybe you can teach her a thing or two about style, huh?" Belle snickered.
"It might just be interior decorating," said Claudia, shrugging. "Still, my house will definitely be way less tacky than hers! Can you believe her Mom uses yellow curtains in the living room?? Talk about retro-ick!"
Daisy-May whispered, "You’re not actually going to help Claudia, are you?"
"My mind will say no," I said flatly, "but some life-force will make me help her for who-knows-why." Daisy-May just stared at me.
I wish I was making things up. Unfortunately my life just LOVES to throw curveballs at me for kicks…and one of those balls was going to strike on Saturday. You’ll see.
To be continued…