Sympathy for a Slushie Slinger
The ref’s whistle blew, signalling the end of the practice skirmish. Just in time too. Tulay, the newbie on Mystery Island’s team, had just sent a Darigan Yooyu through the net, cementing the team’s victory that day. Sure, this was a practice match, but it was the last practice match before the real games begin.
She felt a large hand clap her on the back and a friendly, booming laugh.
“Nice work today, Tulay,” her Mynci captain, Volgoth, chuckled, “The Darigan ones can be pretty tricky to handle.”
Tulay smiled back, “Let’s hope I can keep this level of control in a real match. Most of the time, they go backwards on me.”
“Oh yeah. Right into the net, eh Selmon?” Volgoth said cheekily.
“Oh, like you haven’t!” the defender called back from across the field.
This playful ribbing was common within the team. Tulay was so relieved to have been welcomed so easily. Especially since she replaced a forward like Teylor Nix. Clearly she had some big catchers to fill. Still, there were growing pains and things she felt a bit naive about.
The Altador sun was high now with the heat beating down. Her teammates were sweating pretty hard now and the mysterious team of jelly Chias were starting to look a little melted. Where did they even come from? She thought of an entire land made of jelly, but that’s such a silly idea. She assumed that the heat must be getting to her head. Even though she trained in extreme heat back on Mystery Island, it didn’t make things any easier.
“Okay, everyone! Hit the lockers! Let’s wrap this up for now!” Volgoth barked.
The team shuffled back to the locker room and started removing their equipment. Vela, the Lenny defender, chugged a bottle of water while the other, Xweetok defender, Selmon, opted to pour his down his back.
Tulay, though, craved something colder and sweeter than just water. A slushie sounded delicious right now.
“Hey!” She announced to her teammates, “I’m going off on a slushie run. Does anyone want anything?”
“Slushies?” Vela grimaced, “Umm… I think we’d better avoid those.”
Tulay raised an eyebrow at the response, “Why? I think we’ve earned ourselves a treat here.”
Selmon rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly, “It’s not that. The slushie stand is kinda…”
“Well, it’s… rough, let’s say,” Vela explained.
This didn’t clarify anything for the Cybunny forward, “What do you mean by that?”
“It gets ugly over there,” the Flotsam goalie, Lor, stated casually, “If you want to see for yourself, be my guest. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.”
This made up Tulay’s mind. She was far too stubborn to be swayed like that.
“Fine. I’ll just get myself a slushie from this ‘ugly stand’,” Tulay marched to the door, mind focused on getting her treat.
“Watch out for flying cups!” Vela called after her.
“Especially the full ones!” Selmon added.
Tulay made her way around the stadium, stopping occasionally to shake hands and get photos with fans. Suddenly, she ran into a long line of fans, most of them looking sweaty and irritated. Tulay looked at a sign next to an Elephante in a toga.
“Slushie Line Starts Here”
“Huh. Slushies must be popular this time of day,” Tulay noted to herself.
"By Fyora!” a sweet-sounding voice pipes up behind her, “Are you Tulay Ada?”
Tulay turned around, expecting a fan, but was surprised to see a Faerie Vandegyre in a jersey.
“Oh hey! You’re Whimsi, aren’t you? The newbie on the Faerieland team, right?” Tulay recalled.
Whimsi smiled at her warmly, “That’s me.”
“Nice to meet you, fellow newbie,” they tapped their wrists together like they would on the field, “So, you’re having slushie cravings too, huh?”
“Yes, but my captain kept begging me not to come here. He was afraid I’d get injured for some reason,” Whimsi answered with a shrug.
“Yeah. My teammates were telling me something similar. I don’t see what the big deal is. Sure, the line is kind of long, but I don’t know what’s so ‘ugly’ about that,” Tulay replied.
Just as she finished her sentence, they heard someone screaming angrily all the way at the front of the line.
“Woah! What’s going on up there?” Tulay asked in surprise.
“I don’t know. Let me take a look,” Whimsi flapped her butterfly wings to take a peak above the long, winding line.
High enough off the ground, she can see a Quiggle having an absolute meltdown at the single Tuskaninny lady manning the stand. The customer seemed to be ranting about how she got his order wrong and not letting the slushie lady get a word in edgewise. The customers behind him look one hair away from snapping themselves.
“So what’s up?” Tulay asked.
“Oh it’s terrible,” Whimsi landed back down beside Tulay, “This poor lady is working all by herself and the customers are being horrible to her.”
Tulay narrowed her eyes, “Oh really?”
There was no way she would let this injustice stand. She ducked below the divider ropes and started storming to the front.
Whimsi is alarmed by this action, “Tulay? Where are you going?”
“I’m going to teach some manners here. Are you with me?” Tulay stated.
As much as Whimsi didn’t like confrontation, her soft heart ached for this poor, lone employee at the front. She ducked under the ropes and joined her fellow athlete.
The patrons grumbled and shouted at them for cutting as the two made their way up to the stand, but Tulay was far too resolute to notice.
“Do you see this cup? It’s got chocato in it! I! Wanted! Twirly fruit!” the Quiggle ranted, pounding his fists for emphasis.
“Sir, I apologize for the mixup--” the slushie lady started.
“And what about me!?” A Pheophin exclaimed, “Do you know how long I’ve been waiting here?!”
“I know. I’m sorry. I’ll be with you--” she gets cut off again.
“Where is your manager? I want to see them right now!” the Quiggle screamed.
“Excuse me, sir,” Tulay piped up, calmly but firmly.
“What do you wa-- Tulay Ada?!” his eyes practically bulged out of his skull.
Tulay crossed her arms, “What are you shouting about?”
The Quiggle’s mind was clearly crossed between blind outrage and star-struck awe, “W… well I’ve been waiting here for almost. And she gave me a chocato slushie when I ordered twirly fruit.”
“She just made a mistake,” Whimsi jumped in, “No one’s perfect. Besides, can’t you see she’s working all alone?”
The Quiggle’s face changed from stunned to ashamed.
Tulay clapped her paws together, “Alright, here’s how this is going to happen. Whimsi and I are going to help take all of your orders. However, you all have to keep quiet and polite, are we clear?”
The crowd murmured in agreement.
Tulay glanced over at Whimsi, “Ready for this?”
Whimsi smiled in response, “Ready.”
They tapped their wrists together and started going down the line, taking orders and money.
Within half an hour the two players and the slushie lady had cut the line down. No one else got unruly and they left happily with their slushies.
“Thank you! Have a great day!” Whimsi chirped at the last customer.
“Whew,” Tulay wiped her brow, “and I thought Darigan Yooyus were hard to handle.”
Whimsi giggled knowingly.
“And here you are,” the slushie lady handed two cups to the helpful athletes, “Two rainbow slushies on the house.”
“Oh! Goodness! You don’t have to do that,” Whimsi replied politely.
“Don’t worry about it. It’s the least I can do for my teammates,” the slushie lady said with a wink and a smile.
The slushies were delicious, the flavour magnified by the satisfaction of a good deed. Though Whimsi and Tulay knew they would be rivals on the field, today, they really were a solid team.