A Rowze By Any Other Name…
Dedicated to The Aisha Pride.
Grundioy had been born on Kreludor, as an innocent nameless
little yellow Grundo, one of many identical others. She used to curl up beneath
the sky with her numerous siblings and watch the stars twinkle away like so
many distant lights, until the fateful day upon which Dr Sloth had come and
enslaved their race. There had been no need for names back then, with only sobs
and screams and confusion being the language of the Grundos.
But then she had ended up in the Space Adoption
Agency, and been adopted by a newbie girl with two pets already in her care.
Grundioy had been sitting quietly, calmly and unnamed in an unfriendly cell,
already speaking pieces of the Neopian language that she had picked up from
passing prospective owners. When Joey was pondering on a name for the little
banana-coloured Grundo, it had shyly suggested Grundioy.
"I hate it," Grundioy sighed to Tewhit for the twelfth time that morning.
The white Weewoo, perched on the spotted Aisha's
head, twittered comfortingly. It was old news, Grundioy's loathing of her name.
"I m-mean, it does not even mean anything,"
Grundioy continued bitterly as she scratched out the by-line on her Neopian
Times submission. "If Grundioy meant 'introverted soul,' or, or 'quiet artist'
or something it would be fine. But all it means is 'Yoidnurg' in my native tongue,
and that doesn't mean anything at all!"
Tewhit wee-wooed some soothing words (or so
I assume) and Grundioy half sighed. "Oh well, there's not anything I can about
it really. And i-it is my fault after all. "
She thought about her name, writing it down
on her sketchbook just so she could glare at it. It was a perfect name for a
Grundo, but not for an Aisha, the species of which were assumed to be graceful
and magical. Her Aisha friends (the few she had) all had enchanting and beautiful
names, they would never answer to such a hideous name as hers. Each time Grundioy
was introduced to somebody, she would mumble her burden-name to the ground and
blush profusely if they asked how to pronounce it.
"Well…" Grundioy tapped her chewed up pencil
on her Zen desk. She was seated in her room for once, instead of the Art Studio
in the next room, and she was considering whose name to put instead of her own
after the word 'by,' for her newest submission to the Neopian Times; for one,
because she hated being in the spotlight for anything, and two because she despised
her own name so.
She could write 'Flowal2000,' her older (and
not wiser) sister, but it wasn't very believable that such a ditsy Usul could
create such a work without hundreds of crude smilies polluting the paper (e.g.
XD :3 :o ^_^). She could write 'Rofal2000,' after her brother, but nobody would
expect him to spend two minutes on a project that didn't involve negging houses
or some other act of harmless but michevious sabotage.
Annalisaca, her little sister… Grundioy considered
this for about two seconds before she burst out laughing. That would deceive
not even Chet Flash!
So the spotted Aisha wrote 'Joey200010,' the
user name of her owner, as usual. Then she folded the scented paper, put it
in an envelope, stamped it and gave it to Tewhit to fly it to Snowflake for
submission to the Neopian Times. The Weewoo gave a muffled chirp, despite the
face that there was a bulky letter crammed in her beak, and she flew off into
Grundioy stared blankly at her reflection in
her Zen mirror. She could see so many flaws; her paws were too big, one of her
ear stalks was the tiniest bit longer than the other, her tan and black fur
looked greasy despite the fact that she had washed it just that morning. Maybe,
Grundioy thought sadly to herself, the blame for her unhappiness shouldn't rest
entirely on her name.
The next week…
"Ooh looky, another trophy!" Joey exclaimed as she was dusting the trophy
cabinet. "I've got twenty-four of these little golden feathers thingies now.
I wonder where they come from."
Grundioy shrunk slightly into the stiff wooden
chair that she was seated on. The fresh issue of the Neopian Times was on the
table, leaning against Flowal's pancake breakfast, and her story had made first
page. Usually she'd be overjoyed, but if she said anything she would have to
explain why she didn't use her name, and it would just complicate things.
" Oh my Sloth!" Flowal suddenly squealed, reaching
with a black paw. Grundioy's stalk ears stood on end and she looked over at
the skunk Usul with wide eyes.
"This is exactly the colour I want my new lipstick
in!" Flowal said breathlessly, holding up her glass of orange juice to the light.
She chewed a mouthful of fluffy pancake, staring in awe at the way the orange
pieces of pulp caught the light.
Grundioy visibly relaxed. But then…
She looked over at her Shoyru brother with an
alarmed expression on her face. She could have sworn he was reaching for the
NT, but the Halloween pet was only making faces at himself in the reflection
of his spoon.
Grundioy grabbed the Neopian Times and ran upstairs,
taking them two at a time. She threw the newspaper angrily to the floor, watching
the pages flutter apart.
"Well my name's got a big '2000' on the end," Flowal smiled, "and you don't
see me complaining. Well, not as much as you, at least."
Grundioy looked at her big sister, horrified.
She had no idea people thought she complained!
"And remember what they say. Dung by any other
name still smells like crap," Rofal comforted her, flitting into the room.
Umm, I don't think that's what they say." Flowal
was frowning at the intrusive Shoyru.
"Guys, thanks, but I'm going to bed," Grundioy
raced up the stairs, her cheeks flaming in embarrassment. She vowed to stop
complaining, at least to others.
But that night Joey decided to contribute her
two Neopoints. "Hey, I didn't used to think my name was so hot either," Joey
told her, sitting on the edge of Grundioy's zen bed. Grundioy squirmed uncomfortably,
she found heart-to-heart talks with her owner (or anybody for that matter) were
"Yes... okay," the Aisha mumbled into her Chet
"My name is like, a guy's name where I come
Grundioy hoped Joey was winding up, she was
fighting the urge to feign sleep.
The fifteen year old girl twirled a strand of
purple hair thoughtfully. "We could give you a nickname or something if you
want. Something snazzy like Ginny or Grinny? Though I think your name is heaps
pretty to begin with. Plus, they're not that big of a deal anyways."
Ginny or Grinny? "Okay mother, I'm sleepy now,"
she pretended to yawn, stretching her spotted paws to the ceiling then arching
her back sleepily. Joey took the hint, but stood outside her pet's door for
a few minutes after she closed it.
The next day the whole family went to her cousins'
house. Normally Grundioy hated these little visits, when Joey would visit her
brother Rex30, but this time was different. They were visiting the new house,
18863 Island Crescent, Mystery Island.
Namelesh the red Aisha and Grundioy had bonded
instantly the first time they met. Namelesh was Rex's fiery red Aisha, with
a temper to match. She was the youngest of his four pets, but by far the most
outspoken (and sarcastic). Their personalities didn't mix but perhaps it was
because Grundioy loved Namelesh's name that she had made conversation with her
in the first place. Namelesh... nameless... oh what she wouldn't give to be
"What do you think of your new home?" she asked
her cousin shyly.
"Oh, it's a mansion. We're filthy rich. We own
the whole town now!" Namelesh enthused, sarcastically. She tended to take her
life for granted.
"It's not that bad..." it was a little smaller
than Grundioy had expected, and decorated simply, but the spotted Aisha found
that she liked it very much. It had a nice view of the ocean, which couldn't
have been cheap. "You have a nice view," she said simply.
The pair of Aishas sat in silence for a moment,
on the red Aisha's Kau print bed. Grundioy tried playing with a plastic model
Uni that had a missing head, and telltale chew markings on it's warped body.
Namelesh was sulking immaturely, thinking of her cruel misfortunes, and Grundioy
was trying to think of a light-hearted way to start a conversation. After a
few seconds however, Rex's voice broke the tension. "NAMELESH! LOU'S HERE!"
The red Aisha's eyes lit up, and she jumped
to the floor with a soft thud. "Grundioy, there's someone I want you to meet."
She began licking her paws in an attempt to groom herself, and Grundioy could
tell that this Lou fellow was very important to her.
A yellow Aisha entered her cozy room, and Grundioy's
breath caught in her chest. She could feel her heart skip a beat, she could
hear soft music playing inside her head. This Aisha was surely an angel.
"Hey Louie," Namelesh feigned boredom to the
newcomer. "This is my cousin."
Normally shy, Grundioy found that on this occasion
she could in fact not speak at all. The best she could do was offer a meek smile
and blush profusely. She couldn't help it. His fur was the colour of the sun,
and he was wearing a bow tie that somehow made him look neither silly nor formal,
but rather handsome. In fact, she could say that he was the most beautiful Aisha
she had ever seen, if she could talk at all.
"Hello Namelesh, hello Cousin," he nodded at
them both politely. The way his eyes squinted slightly at the sudden brightness
in the room, the sunset reflecting off the water outside...
She let out a gasp and covered her mouth. The
spotted Aisha had no idea why she had just let that slip out. Lou was sure to
judge her now, think her ugly on account of her ugly label. Maybe that was why
she felt he needed to know right now, in case there was a chance that they were
ever going to be friends, and he would find it out then rather than now, and
she wasn't prepared for that kind of let down when he ditched her for other
Aishas with proper names, and maybe--
"Hi Grundioy," he smiled. His mouth was full
of glittering white teeth, in a perfect straight row. "I'm Louzerr2931."
Grundioy smiled hopelessly back at him, and
Namelesh rolled her eyes. Maybe, Grundioy thought, maybe names were not that
important after all!