Under New Management

Punchy was deep in thought. He couldn't decide what to buy. It was between a coffee mug or a rice cooker. The two Nooklings were irritated at him.. It was late, and they just wanted to go home! Just then, Tommy's watch beeped, signaling that it was 10:00 PM. The shop was closed for the day. The two little raccoons approached the cat.

"I made my decision!" Punchy declared. This excited the twins. "I decided to buy the rice mak...oh wait, no. I'll buy the...oh wait, no. Aw man, I just can't decide!" Tommy cleared up his throat.

"We're sorry to inform you that it's 10. The shop is now closed, but will reopen tomorrow. You can come then." The cat looked at them and broke out in nervous sweats.

"What?! No; it can't be! I still haven't decided yet! Can you guys stay open until I've made my decision?"

"Sorry. No can do."

"But...but...all of this stuff will be gone tomorrow. I know I shouldn't have come five minutes before closing time, but I was having a last minute snack before I left the house."

"Sorry, not our problem. You know the rules."

"But...but..." Timmy pushed Punchy to the door. "Please, you must understand!"

"Goodbye, Punchy!" Timmy shoved him out the door. "You can buy them when they are back in stock!" He shut the door. Tommy sighed. He hated how cruel he was to Punchy.

"Did we really need to do that, Tommy?" Timmy asked his brother. "I mean, couldn't we have stayed open just a bit later for Punchy to decide? He could complain to Tom Nook about this." Tommy looked at him.

"Sorry, Timmy. It pained me that we had to do that to poor Punchy too, but closing time is 10 sharp. Rules are rules." Timmy was disappointed. "Look, I know it's not fair, but we have a whole store to run now. It's a huge responsibility. We waited to run this store almost our whole lives and now we are. Just be glad for that." Timmy sighed.

"I guess."

"Cheer up, Timmy. Tomorrow's a new day." He was about to shut off the lights when someone knocked on the door. "Store's closed! We open again at eight." A knock again. Tommy sighed. "Go away, Punchy!" But the knocking didn't stop. Tommy sighed again. "Fine! We'll\ save the coffee mug and rice cooker just for you!" More knocks. "For Pete's sake, Punchy, leave us alone!" Tommy had enough when there were more knocks, went to the door and opened it. "GET LOST, PUNCHY!" He realized that it was Tom Nook and was immediately embarrassed.

"Awkward!" Timmy piped up.

"Tom Nook!" Tommy said to him. "I'm sorry about that outburst. Forget about it. Pretend it never happened." Tom Nook didn't respond. Instead he handed Tommy a piece of paper. Tommy looked at it and gasped. This concerned Timmy.

"What is it, Tommy?" He wanted to know. But his brother didn't answer, so he looked at the piece of paper himself and was confused.

"What does this mean?" He looked at Tom Nook then at his brother. "Tommy? Tom? Can someone please explain this to me?"

"We're...bankrupt, Timmy." Tommy told him. "Effective immediately." Timmy's eyes went huge.

"What? Bankrupt? Are you sure?" His brother sadly nodded. "But how? How is this possible?"

"We ran out of money." Timmy still looked at his twin in disbelief. Tom Nook finally broke the silence.

"I was a fool for putting you two in charge." He said. "I've been asked 'why would you put two kids in charge of a whole store by themselves?' 'Isn't this against child labor laws?' I ignored those questions because I believed in you two. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have. This proves that you two aren't ready yet." They looked at him in shock.

"Don't say that, Uncle." Tommy put in. "The shop was in trouble with Redd before and it all worked out. It can work out again."

"Yeah!" Timmy agreed. "Work out again." Tom Nook shook his head.

"I'm sorry, boys. But this is bigger than you two can even imagine. Welcome to the business world. Also, don't call me uncle. I'm not related to you. I'm just a mentor."

"So that's it then?" Tommy asked. "Surely there is a way we can fix this. There must! We can't give up!" But they both knew it was hopeless. They couldn't fix this. They were bankrupt. Nookling Junction was now forever closed. .

"I'm really sorry you two. I decided that you two aren't going to be my apprentices anymore. You two should enjoy the rest of your childhoods."

"But we can do both." Tommy stated. "We liked learning under you and about the business world. We still want to do that at least."

"Yeah!" His brother chipped in.

"No, can do." Tom stated. "I've learned my lesson. Never again. Not until you two are of age."

"No!" Tommy cried. "This is the worst day ever!"

"Worst day ever!" Timmy echoed, crying out as well.

Tommy awoke with a start. He looked all around and sighed. It was all a bad dream. He was in his bedroom.

"Tommy?" A small voice asked. Tommy looked down. It was his twin brother, standing next to his bed. He turned on his lamp on his nightstand, then looked back at him."I had an awful dream that Nookling Junction..."

"Got bankrupt and closed forever?" His brother guessed. Timmy was impressed.

"Whoa! You're right. That twin thing is real?"

"Well whatever it is or not, we both had it."

"Do you think it means something?"

"That we may be more mature but in the end, we're just two kids who shouldn't handle adult life yet?" Timmy shrugged.

"I don't know. Maybe." He then changed the subject. "I am really nervous, Tommy. I don't want this becoming a disaster like our dreams."

"I hear you. I'm scared too."

"What are we going to do?"

"The only thing we can do. We're going to talk to Tom Nook tomorrow and tell him that we're just kids and can't do it."

"Oh, I was thinking of running away. That way, Mr. Nook can't make us work if we're nowhere to be found." Tommy looked at him strangely.

"Timmy, that'll be literally running away from our problems. We can't do that." Timmy sighed in defeat, knowing his brother was right.

"You're right. It was a stupid idea." He changed the subject. "So we are going to destroy our dreams that we had like forever?"

"I guess so. For now at least. Just until we're older."

"Tom Nook is not going to like this."

"Yeah, I know. But in the end, it's all for the best. Goodnight, Timmy."

"I guess. Goodnight, Tommy." Tommy watched as his twin walk sadly out of the room. He felt sad. He really didn't want this, but like he told Timmy, felt it was for the best.

The next morning, Timmy and Tommy woke up bright and early. The two were out the door before 7:40.

"Couldn't we have just called him and left him a message instead of waking up for nothing?" Timmy asked with a yawn as they headed for the store.

"I guess." His brother replied. "But this way I feel it's better since it's in person." Timmy shrugged.

"Whatever. I'm just following you."

As the two passed by the museum, Blathers came out to congratulate them. Punchy was with him.

"Look at you two." He observed. Both young raccoons looked at the owl. "Out to start your very first day operating and managing the store by yourselves. Hootie-hoo! You two must be really excited. I know I was when I opened the museum. Congratulations!" The two looked at the bird. Both didn't want to disappoint him, but felt like they had no other choice. They told both of them everything.

"Are you sure you want to give up the store?" Blathers wanted to know when they were done. Both raccoons nodded.

"We don't want to," Tommy stated. "But at the same time, we don't want to put the store in debt, forcing it to close forever."

"Then manage the store." Blathers said. "It was your dream since you two were very small kits. It'll disappoint Tom Nook if you change your mind."

"But we're scared of what might happen in the future."

"Tommy, Timmy, allow me to lecture you two on a life lesson. You see, life is full of uncertainties every day. You have to take risks. Scary as this may sound, you have to face your fears head on." Timmy was confused about this.

"But Blathers," He began. "You're scared of bugs. Why tell us this if you won't do the same with facing a bug?"

"He got you there, Blathers." Punchy said to the owl. "He's one smart cookie." He licked his chops. "MMMM, cookie. I'm making myself hungry like I always do."

"I do face my fears." Blathers said. "I face them everyday. When someone donates a bug to the museum, I face them. Whenever I go in their exhibits to feed them, I face them. I have to in order to do my job."

"I don't think that's what Timmy meant." Tommy said.

"I know what he meant. Listen, bugs may be the bane of my existence, but I have to do it to keep doing what I love. And I think you should too. Your can't let fear take control of your lives."

"I had to face my fears too." Punchy admitted. The raccoons looked at him.

"Punchy, what are you scared about?" Tommy asked. "I don't know about your fears."

"Everybody's scared of something, Like when I moved here, I had thoughts like 'what if nobody liked me? Will I like it? Will I like the snacks?' Then I laughed to myself because of course I'll like the snacks! I like most snacks anywhere I go. If I can live in two places at once just for the snacks, I'll be one lucky Punchy!"

"I hear what you guys are saying." Tommy said.

"Me too." Timmy added.

"But what if we disappoint Tom Nook? I don't want to imagine it."

"You won't disappoint Tom Nook." Blathers told him. "Not if you try your best each and every day."

"How do you know? You're not Katrina."

"I don't. Just don't think about it. If you think about each of those fears you have every day, you won't do a good job."

"But what about your bug fear?" Timmy asked. "You have to think about bugs very time you see one."

"No, I don't."

"Yes, you do. I feel like this conversation might be a little hypocritical." Blathers faked a laugh.

"Hoo, Timmy, you are such a hoot! Doesn't anybody tell you that?"

"I don't think I said anything that funny."

"He really didn't." Punchy stated. Bathers stopped laughing.

"So you really think that we'll be fine with the store?"

"Absolutely!" Blathers said.

"And if you sell snacks," Punchy continued. "You'd be sure I'll be there everyday!"

"We'll sell what we sell for the day." Tommy told him.

"And you got to make a decision." Timmy told him. "And no coming in the store five minutes to closing time, and have to make us wait an hour just for you to decide. We have lives too you know, and bedtimes, cause you know, we're just kids." Punchy was confused about this.

"Huh? Since when did I do that? I don't remember me doing that but that sounds like something I might do."

"Don't worry about it." Tommy told him.

"Well, okay then! Maybe I'll just think about snacks instead." Tommy changed the subject.

"Say, Blathers, how are you outside right now? Don't you sleep during the day and someone has to wake you up?"

"I was wondering the same thing." Timmy added.

"I wanted to be up so that I can congratulate you two." Blathers began. "So I saw Punchy last night trying to catch one of those foul creatures and approached him."

"I didn't get the bug." Punchy admitted. "But I was asked something better, to be Blather's alarm! I had to get up earlier then normal, and skip my morning snack to make sure he wakes up in time, but it was all worth it, plus I get to see you two on your way to do bigger and better things!"

"So let's get going you two." Blathers said to them. "Your future starts today, and remember, we'll be with you every step of the way!"

"Except for when someone moves out." Punchy added. "Then we'll be with you in spirit and don't forget the snacks. Just kidding, you two will do great!" The twins smiled and they all went off to Nookling Junction.

As soon as Timmy and Tommy arrived in front of Nookling Junction they were shocked to see their own welcoming party on both sides cheering and applauding them, There were Rodney, Olivia, Dottie, Biff, Merengue, Katt, Ava, Midge, Rosie, Sable, Mabel, and of course Tom Nook and Isabelle. It was like Timmy and Tommy's entrance ceremony at school when they were in first and seventh grade. Blathers and Punchy joined them in the clapping. Tom Nook approached the twins. The clapping and cheering stopped. Tom Nook smiled.

"We are here today in honor of my pupils' first day working and managing their first store, Nookling Junction!" Everyone cheered again. The cheers then died down. "Now it's been both of their dreams ever since they were both very young kits and they both have come a long way. I am very proud of them both, and I know all of you are too." Again applause, then they died down. "Timmy, Tommy, any words you wish to add?" Tommy stepped up, cleared his throat, and looked at the audience,

"I'm going to be completely honest with you guys," The little raccoon began. "Before we came here, my brother and I were scared of how to manage a whole store on our own. Since we're only children, we didn't think we could handle it, and do the work an adult can. We were so scared that we were going to convince Mr. Nook to give the job to someone more capable and a lot older."

"A lot older!" Timmy put in.

"Right, anyways, that was until we met Punchy and Blathers at the museum. They told us to face our fears head on and not let it take away the things we love."

"But Blathers is still scared of bugs."

"But I still do face my fears!" Blathers informed everyone.

"But we're not scared anymore. We're ready to operate our own store and do our part and make all of you proud. We're ready to face our fear and kick it in the butt!"

"Kick it in the butt!" Everyone laughed at that.

"I'm glad." He said to them. "Now if you two please. I'll help you hold this." Tom Nook presented the two big scissors for the ribbon cutting.

"Let's do this thing!"

"Do this thing!" With the help of Tom Nook, the Nooklings cut the ribbon.

"Nookling Junction is open for business!" This time there even more louder applause and cheers. The Nooklings smiled.

Before Timmy and Tommy entered the store, Isabelle approached them. They looked at her.

"I may not know you two that well yet." She began. "But I'm proud of you two. I'm also scared of being the assistant to the new mayor, and I'm sure the mayor is scared of being, well the mayor of a whole town. But you two young ones showed me that there was nothing to fear, and I thank you for that." The two young twins smiled again.

"Sure." Tommy said. "Anytime."

"Anytime!" His brother echoed.

The two kids didn't know what will happen in the future, But with enough support from the whole town, they could do anything.