“Looks like we have a breaking news update, folks,” Barry Ring said, picking up a piece of paper that had fallen under his seat. “Nothing has changed.”
“Barry,” Andrea said. “I don’t think that’s news.”
Barry shrugged his shoulders. “You’d be surprised.”
“Barry, sometimes I’m surprised you even bother to show up in the morning.”
Barry laughed. “Me too, Andrea. Me too.”
Cathect sat on the couch, his bare feet propped up on the table, much as they had been for the past several weeks.
Nano walked into the living room, “Hey, Cathect. Can I ask you something?”
“Sure,” Cathect said.
“I just got a text from Bubblegum Shaman.”
“That girl you met on OKCupid?” Cathect asked.
“She wants to go check out that redheaded scientist we dealt with.”
“The one with the kids who took over a Chinese restaurant and also a criminal empire?”
“Yeah,” Nano said. “I don’t really want to talk about it.”
“I don’t know. I just don’t want to do it.”
“You should probably go.”
“I know,” she said. “I just really don’t want to.”
Blue walked into the room.
“Hey, Blue,” Nano said. “I forgot to ask. How was the first day at the internship?”
“Good,” Blue said.
“Good as in, ‘good’, or good as in, ‘I’m going to say it was good because I don’t even know how to describe my pain’ sort of good.”
“It’s not bad,” Blue said. “The guy I’m working for is just,” she searched for the word, “peculiar.”
“Peculiar?” Cathect asked.
“Nothing’s ever simple,” she said. “Anytime he says something, it takes an hour to get to the point.”
“So?” Nano asked.
“It’s not a big deal,” she said. “It’s just annoying.”
“So he’s not a furry,” Cathect said.
“What?” Blue asked.
“When you said there was something peculiar about him,” Cathect said. “I figured you meant to say that he was a furry.”
“No, that’s not what I was saying. It’s just annoying when we’re trying to hunt animals and he–”
Cathect began to ask, “When you say that he hunts animals–”
“Pest control,” Blue said. “If you’ve got a superpowered beastie that needs taking care of, you call Jeremiah the Hunter.”
“So he’s not a furry,” Cathect said.
“Why are you so worried about him being a furry?” Blue asked.
“It’s not so bad, right?” Nano said. “People can be furries if they want to. Like, don’t judge, you know?”
“It’s not that there’s anything wrong with furries,” Cathect explained. “It’s just that I’d like to know whether or not he was a furry. If he’s hunting animals while getting off on it, that’s a little bit uncomfortable. It’s like having a masseuse with a foot fetish. It’s not a problem that he has a foot fetish. It’s that he has a foot fetish, and your foot is in his hands right now.’
“Do you think some people get off on office supplies?” Nano asked. When everyone looked at her strangely, she said, “It’s an honest question! Don’t judge me.”
Hellfire walked through the front door, carrying the mail. He set it all down on the table, then walked towards his room.
“You get anything interesting in the mail?” Blue asked.
“No,” Hellfire said. “Nothing interesting.”
He walked into his room, a letter in the pocket of his leather coat.
Blue sifted through the mail, finding the latest issue of Forbes. She also saw that Cathect had gotten the latest issue of a magazine called Naughty Capes.
“Cathect,” Blue said. “What is this.”
Cathect wore a blasé expression as he leaned over and spied the magazine. “Porn star clone.”
“Okay,” Nano said, “but you can’t just say that like it’s a full explanation. Your clone is a porn star, so you order a superhero porn magazine? Like, there are a lot of pages without him in it! Probably whole issues!”
Back in his room, Hellfire stared at the envelope. The address on the front was written with his dad’s handwriting. Hellfire’s chest felt heavy.
He slipped his finger under the envelope’s flap, ripping the envelope open. He took out the letter inside.
The note was short, which somehow made it all the worse: “Me and a couple of the boys are burning down St. Mark’s Church tomorrow at 2 P.M. If you want my forgiveness, that’s how you can get it.”
There was no signature.
— — —
Blue and Jeremiah sat in his Jeep, staring through the glass at the monkey, looking for signs of trouble.
“You want to hunt a monkey that’s already in a zoo?” Blue said, dubious and weary, among a host of other emotions.
Jeremiah laughed a burly, gentleman-hunterish sort of laugh. “That would be a plum fool thing to do.”
My thoughts exactly, she thought. But you are a moron, so…
“No,” he said. “We’re observing the monkey in its cage.”
She looked at the monkey, noting how much it looked like a monkey. You know how a monkey generally looks like? That’s what this monkey looked like.
“What do you see?” he asked.
“A monkey,” Blue said.
“Yes, yes. Of course. But what do you see?” He pointed his pointer and middle fingers at his eyes, then at the monkey, essentially giving the monkey the ‘I’m watching you’ signal.
“What do I see?” Blue asked, repeating Jeremiah’s motion.
“Yes,” he said. “I would like to know what it is that you see.”
“I see a monkey,” she said.
“A monkey,” he said.
“Yes,” she said. “A monkey.”
“But what do you see?” he asked.
She was about ready to punch him in the face, but refrained. Then she looked at the sign on the zoo’s cage.
“Oh,” she said. “The sign says that there are supposed to be two monkeys here, but there are only one. You couldn’t have just told me that?”
“That wouldn’t have been nearly as fun,” he said.
“This was fun?” she asked.
— — —
“You see, Andrea. I’m on the seafood diet.”
“I’ve heard this one, Barry,” Andrea said, voice weary. “You see food, and you eat it.”
“No,” Barry said. “That’s pansy shit. I see food, and then throw it at someone. I do that instead of eating it. It’s a surprisingly good way to lose weight.”
Cathect kept his feet propped up on the table. How many hours of Barry Ring had he watched? 100? 1000? How many hours could he sit there, watching this old, suspendered man?
It wasn’t like he had anything better to do. The team barely got called on these days, since Metahuman Affairs was busy dealing with internal matters. Blue had her internship, Nano had her girlfriend, and Hellfire…
Well, Hellfire was a demon. Who knows what the fuck demons do.
Cathect sighed, his feet sliding farther and farther across the table. No magic, no superhero stuff. He was just some college dropout — useless, as far as the rest of the world was concerned. So he would sit here, watching Barry Ring til his eyeballs fell out.
Actually, wasn’t this a rerun? Since when did they need to rerun Barry Ring? He was always on with a new episode.
A tap on the glass.
Cathect jumped for a second, then rubbed his eyes.
He saw a silver-haired fairy staring at him on the other side of the TV screen. Barry Ring and Andrea were talking, but their voices had been muted. The room was silent.
Am I drunk? Cathect asked himself. He began saying the alphabet backwards, “Z, Y, X… Close enough.” He wasn’t able to do it sober, anyway. He was probably sober.
Am I on drugs? he asked himself. He put his hand on his chest, but his heart didn’t feel like it was going to explode, so that probably wasn’t it.
Am I crazy? he asked himself. He probably was, but that wasn’t anything new.
The fairy tapped on the glass again. “I need your help.”
Cathect nodded his head, staring at the screen.
“Oh,” he said. “This is like Doctor Who.”
“Doctor Who?” she asked.
“That’s an old joke,” he said.
“Which doctor?” she said.
“You’re serious? Philistine.”
— — —
Nano and Bubblegum Shaman stood inside the elevator. Its doors closed.
“I can’t believe you never followed up with her,” Bubblegum Shaman said.
“Don’t be mean!” Nano said. “I didn’t know her name or where she lived or anything.”
“You knew she was a redheaded scientist who had created a body-swapping machine,” Bubblegum Shaman said. “It wasn’t that hard to find her in the Metahuman Database.”
“I guess I just didn’t care enough?” Nano said. “When I see middle schoolers, I want to head in the opposite direction, you know?”
“I know,” Bubblegum Shaman said.
“But,” she continued, “you’ve got to follow up. You can’t just let supervillains go.”
“How was I supposed to know she was a supervillain?” Nano asked. “She was a scientist. That doesn’t make her evil, necessarily. I mean mad scientists tend to be scientists–”
“–just because of the name and all that, but not all scientists are mad. That’s a stereotype!”
“If you’re babysitting kids and they take over a criminal empire, child negligence is involved, at least.”
“Kids are monsters!” Nano said, as the elevator doors opened. “And I’m not ready to judge people based off of first impressions.”
“KILL ALL HUMANS,” a robot said, whirring and buzzing as it broke through the apartment’s front door and sped down the hallway. “KILL ALL HUMANS,” it said, looking like a robot straight out of a 50’s science fiction film. “KILL ALL HUMANS.”
Bubblegum Shaman gave Nano a look. “Can I trust my first impression of this situation?”
“You judging me like this would be such a problem,” Nano said, “but I like your butt so all is forgiven.”
Bubblegum Shaman gave Nano a puzzled look, but Nano replied with an incredibly sassy look.
“And anyway I was talking about judging people, not robots. So this is totally different.”
— — —
Hellfire stood in front of the church, getting accosted by the church lady.
“Have you heard the word of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?” she asked. She wore a Mumu and a little hat. In one hand she held the Bible, in the other hand she held another, smaller Bible.
“Yeah,” Hellfire said, his eyes shifting around the Church’s courtyard. Everyone else was giving him looks, but this lady didn’t even seem to notice what he was.
“What do you think of it?” she asked.
“Well, uh…” he stopped to think about it. “I don’t think it’s for me.”
“Nonsense!” she said. “The Bible’s for everybody: kids, adults, people of any creed or nationality. Did you know Jesus was a Jew?”
“That’s really interesting,” Hellfire said. He was beginning to sweat. Had he ever been in such an uncomfortable situation?
“Oh,” she said, invading his personal space. “I’m sorry. I’ve got cataracts, so I can’t see too well. Are you one of those homo-sexuals?”
He sighed. “That’s not–”
“Jesus loved everyone, gays included,” she said. “I tell most people to try and forget about Deuteronomy. It’s the most boring book of the Bible, anyway.”
“Miss,” he said. “Could you–”
“My favorite book is Revelations,” she said. “I always thought Tom Cruise would have been great in the movie adaptation.”
“I have to go,” Hellfire growled, slipping away from the church lady.
— — —
Nano walked into the living room, only to find that the TV was silent. Her left eyebrow raised, cartoonishly and without thought. She moved closer to the couch, trying to figure out what the heck Cathect could be doing, where he could even be.
She walked towards his bedroom door and knocked on it.
She jiggled the handle, only to find it open. A peek inside, only to find that no one was there.
Actually, though, she’d never seen his bedroom. There was a massive poster hanging on one of the walls, featuring a naked man with his junk covered up by whip cream.
Finding that curious, she stepped into the bedroom, walking towards it, getting close enough to read the tiny message scrawled on the whip cream.
It read: “We appreciated the apology letter. Come by again and we might have what you’re looking for. ;)”
Nano looked at the message, then looked at the naked man. Looked at the message, then looked back at the naked man.
That wasn’t a cum pun. Please don’t let that have been a cum pun.
She made her way out of Cathect’s bedroom, quickly and with great consternation.
She shut his door and leaned her back against it, taking in a deep breath.
Please for the love of god please don’t be a cum pun, she thought.
Not knowing what to do, Nano decided she might watch a bit of TV. It would be kind of nice, actually. She’d barely been able to touch the remote, with Cathect around.
She once again made her way to the remote, then turned on a random channel.
“Liam Neeson and Bruce Willis are hard men,” the television yelled, showing Bruce Willis and Liam Neeson climbing up a rope in nothing but their underwear. Bruce Willis was just one body length behind Liam Neeson.
“I once killed a man who stole my Go-Gurt,” Liam Neeson yelled.
“I once killed two men for improperly impersonating Santa Claus,” Bruce Willis yelled.
“I once telekinetically ruined a multibillion dollar franchise.”
“I once participated in kinky sex with Quentin Tarantino.”
Both men stopped climbing for a second, so that Neeson could look down at Willis.
“You’re right,” he said. “You are harder.”
“It was a good day to get hard,” Bruce Willis said. The camera zoomed in on his face, and he smirked.
“Nope,” Nano said, turning off the TV set.
She looked around, feeling smothered by the silence.
“Cathect?” she yelled. “Hellfire? Blue? Anybody?”
Blue’s bedroom door open and she walked into the living room. “What’s going on?”
“Cathect’s gone,” Nano said. “Not in his bedroom, not on the couch.”
Blue nodded her head. “That is kind of weird. But really it’s a good thing.”
“How is it a good thing?” Nano asked. “If he’s not here, he’s probably been kidnapped.”
“He’s been a little depressed recently,” Blue said. “He probably just had to get out of the house for something. Whatever it is will do him good.”
Nano sighed a bit, looking suspiciously around the room. “Alright,” she said. “But if Cathect becomes a ghost and decides to haunt us, I’m totally going to tell him to haunt you first.”
A bit of a smile slipped from Blue’s lips. “I’m so afraid.”
“You should be,” Nano said. “He’ll eat all your snacks.”
— — —
Cathect floated through televisual reality, unable to shake from his mind how similar this was to an acid trip he’d taken once.
“What are you?” Cathect asked, looking at the silver-haired thing flying in front of him.
“Me?” she asked. “I’m a fairy.”
“Hey,” Cathect said. “That term is really offen…”
“Nevermind,” he said, looking at her butterfly wings and generally sylvan body type. “I thought you were going somewhere else with that. Yeah, no. Say what you were going to say.”
“I’m the fairy that finds missing people.”
“That’s your job?”
“What’s a job?” the fairy asked.
“Ok, this isn’t… What’d you take me for? Slow workday, so you had to make someone missing just to create a bit of work for yourself?”
Her laugh was something of a titter.
Titter. There’s something uncomfortable about the word, isn’t there?
“No, silly,” she said. “The problem is that I’m new to this thing. I don’t understand your human world with all your human entertainments. So I had to kidnap an expert — someone who could explain this world to me while we find the man I’m looking for. And with your metahuman background, I figured you could handle yourself on this adventure!”
Cathect couldn’t help but smile. This is why he’d wanted to become a superhero, wasn’t it? For the wild adventures? The random happenstances? Everything had felt so regimented in the metahuman world — with all its forms and papers and rules. But originally, when he’d been some punk kid wearing a domino mask, patrolling the town with his childhood friends, it’d been all about wonder. All about possibility.
“Who are we looking for?” Cathect asked.
“Barry Ring,” she said, “a man who spent so many hours on television that he actually fell into televisual reality.”
“Cool,” Cathect whispered.
— — —
Blue kept her head down, walking with Jeremiah down the crowded sidewalk.
“You have to follow the monkey, you see?” Jeremiah said.
“Yeah,” Blue whispered. “I’m following the monkey.”
There was a throng of people in-between the two of them and the bipedal monkey. The monkey currently walked down the sidewalk wearing a trench coat and trilby. And Blue wanted to make sure they kept as close to the monkey as they could, without tipping him off. Doing so required great stealth.
“Yes,” Jeremiah said, much too loud for Blue’s comfort, “but are you following the monkey?”
“Sir,” Blue said, “All due respect, but I’m following the monkey.”
“Yes,” Jeremiah said, “but are you visualising the monkey, as you see it? Are you becoming the monkey as you follow the monkey? Are you feeling the monkey swirl around in the brain bits? Are you feeling its soul touch your soul, as souls sometimes touch each other? Are you following the monkey? Are you following the monkey? Are you following the monkey?”
“Sir!” Blue yelled, stopping. “I can follow a fucking monkey without you continuously repeating my need to follow a fucking monkey! Do you think I’m incompetent? Do you think I’m worthless? How dense do you think I am that I’d be completely unable to follow this fucking monkey?”
Blue took in a breath of fresh air, looking at her surroundings. Most people were looking at her, and the monkey was nowhere to be seen.
Crap, she thought.
“I’m sorry, sir,” she said.
“Quite alright!” Jeremiah bellowed, patting Blue on the back in an uncomfortably grand way. “We all make mistakes while we’re learning. I just want to make sure that you’ve learned.”
“Make sure that I’ve learned?” she asked.
“I need you to tell me where you went wrong.”
“Sir, please don’t make me say it.”
“Blue,” Jeremiah said. “I really must insist that you say it.”
“Sir, I really don’t want to–”
“If you can’t admit to your mistakes, you can’t learn from them,” Jeremiah said. “So tell me. Where did this hunt go wrong?”
“I didn’t follow the monkey?” she asked.
“You didn’t follow the monkey,” Jeremiah said.
“I didn’t follow the monkey,” she whispered, voice filled with pain.
— — —
Hellfire’s father sat on a throne of swords.
I know what you’re thinking: Dear Narrator, hasn’t that already been done? Didn’t Game of Thrones do the sword throne thing first?
To that I say two things, dear reader. One, Hellfire’s father was a big fan of Game of Thrones. Is that such a crime? Do homages so burden your soul? And two, shut up!
Back to the narrative at hand…
Hellfire’s father sat on a throne of swords, while his monkey assistant stood next to him.
“I’m sorry, Dad,” Hellfire said. “I wanted to burn the Church down with you, but the Church lady…”
Hellfire’s father, arms folded, gave a great and solemn nod. “I understand, my child,” he said. “We didn’t end up burning down the Church, because of that very same church lady.”
“Father!” Hellfire said.
“She was incredibly annoying,” the father said, “and therefore not worth the effort of vanquishing.”
“But Dad, if people find out that you gave up so easily–”
“Worry not, my child,” Father said. “My furry companion has a plan.”
“You see, I’ve seen a lot of crazy things in this world,” the monkey said, speaking in the voice of a very old man, “but nothing makes people crazier than Nutella. So what I’ve been trying to tell your father is, why not waste all the Nutella? Steal all the Nutella, then just throw it in the sewers or something. You know how pissed off people will get?”
“Evil…” Hellfire grunted. “Dad, how could you?”
“Once the idea was presented, the option was easy,” Father said. “The question is, are you willing to join us, Son?”
“Dad,” Hellfire growled, tears welling up in his eyes. “I don’t know if I can.”
— — —
The redheaded mad scientist sat on the porch, watching four middle schoolers act like middle schoolers in the front yard. Which is to say, three of them beat the shit out of each other, while the fourth wore a Charizard hat and played on his Gameboy DXL Doobideeboop, or whatever the heck the latest iteration of that machine is called. (Gameboy 2015? Gameboy 4D? Gameboy Crack?)
As soon as she saw Nano and Bubblegum Shaman turn the corner to come and talk to her, she leaned her head back and muttered, “Crap.”
One of the middle schoolers ran up to Nano, yelling, “Hey douchebag you’re a piece of crap haha fuck you shitbag haha what’s on your mouth it’s shit haha get it shit shitty shit I love South Park.”
Nano, usually a more anxious person, took a deep breath. When faced with such a douchebag-y pipsqueak, she didn’t find that there was much to be anxious about: he was a douchebag, she was not. And that was all she needed to know.
She pushed him out of the way, walking towards the mad scientist.
The boy then walked up to Bubblegum Shaman, saying, “Hey, can I have a piece of bubblegum?”
“Sorry,” she said, “you can’t. This is special bubblegum.”
The boy pointed his finger at Bubblegum Shaman, yelling, “You’re a shitbag douche!” He then ran back to hang out with his friends.
“Do you think Amish middle schoolers are like this?” Nano asked, walking up the three wood steps that led to the porch.
Bubblegum Shaman laughed, shrugging her shoulders. “Honestly, I think that’s a very stupid question, but I appreciate you anyway.”
The scientist stood on one side of the screen door, while Nano stood on the other.
“Are you here about Barry Ring and that monkey switching bodies, because I swear to you that was the children’s doing, not mine.”
Nano paused for a second, trying to collect her thoughts. She took in a deep breath of air, then said, “No, but now I am.”
— — —
“I feel kind of bad now,” Nano said, riding a spaceship through the televisual waves. It was a small thing — something of a tight fit for both her and Bubblegum Shaman.
“What?” Bubblegum Shaman said. “Don’t feel bad.”
“That scientist is in jail now!” Nano said.
“She was also responsible for four children who switched a talk show host’s body with a monkey.”
“Which is a bad thing,” Nano said, “but middle schoolers are monsters! Honestly? If you left me alone with a pack of middle schoolers for more than five minutes, they’d probably end up assassinating the President.”
“That’s good to know,” Bubblegum Shaman. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
The televisual waves were incredibly surreal, but at this point Nano and Bubblegum Shaman barely noticed how weird some things were. For the less jaded readers, though, a description might be necessary.
Imagine a really glow-y tunnel — a wormhole, to be precise. Now imagine that this wormhole was filled with all the flotsam and jetsam of society: the soap opera that got cancelled after fifty years, that 80’s sitcom that people have mostly forgotten but it had the really catchy jingle that randomly gets stuck in your head, Regis Philbin. That’s exactly what this wormhole looked like.
On a strange floating circle there sat a man — nay, a legend. His name was Barry Ring, and he’d been live on television for far too many hours. There were two other people, though: Cathect and the silver-haired fairy.
Nano landed the ship. She and Bubblegum Shaman got out, looking at Barry Ring.
“Cathect, what happened?” Nano asked.
“Barry Ring is a monkey?” Cathect said.
‘It’s a long story,” Nano said.
“Ooh ooh ah ah,” the monkey in Barry Ring’s body said.
What the fuck did you expect him to say?
— — —
Jeremiah the Hunter drove his Jeep, while Blue sat in the passenger seat.
“What are we doing now, sport?” Jeremiah asked.
“We’re following the monkey,” Blue said.
“Ah, yes! But are we following the monkey, or are we following the monkey?”
Blue paused for a moment, “I’m going to go with the second one.”
Jeremiah laughed, shaking his head. “You’ll learn, young one. You’ll learn.”
Meanwhile, Hellfire’s dad followed Blue and Jeremiah the Hunter in another car. Hellfire sat in the passenger seat of his father’s car.
“There’s no Nutella here,” Hellfire said.
“No,” Hellfire’s dad said. “It isn’t.”
“I thought you said–”
“Why can’t you be like all the other demons?” Hellfire’s dad asked.
Hellfire gazed out the window, moodily. “I’m half-human.”
“But you can’t let that stop you,” Hellfire’s father said. “You need to be mean and evil and cool if you want to survive in this world.”
“Maybe you just have to be kind,” Hellfire said.
“Kindness?” Hellfire’s dead said. “Pha! Ptew! I spit on kindness. You know where kindness gets you? Heaven.”
“Gross,” Hellfire said.
“Exactly,” Hellfire’s dad said.
“So, Hellfire. Our furry friend is helping us out here. He’s luring Blue out into the open. And son, I need you to do something to prove your fealty to the inhuman cause. I need you to kill your teammate.”
“Father no!” Hellfire said.
Meanwhile, Nano, Bubblegum Shaman, and Cathect were looking for Barry Ring’s mind (which was currently in the body of the monkey). Bubblegum Shaman was driving, while the silver-haired fairy sat in the passenger’s seat, Nano, the monkey (which was currently in Barry Ring’s body), and Cathect sat in the back seat, in that order.
Since Barry Ring was still technically missing, the silver-haired fairy could trace his mind.
“He’s somewhere in the east,” she said in a dulcet tone, her eyes closed and her arms outstretched.
“So you don’t know the names of any streets, or anything?” Bubblegum Shaman asked.
“I don’t know anything about streets,” she said. “I only know where the missing have gone.”
“Seriously?” Nano said. “This whole ‘I don’t understand human civilization’ thing is already pretty old.”
“I’m not a member of civilization. I’m only a fairy.”
“Don’t worry,” Cathect said. “She can say that, because she is a fairy.”
“Why wouldn’t she be able to–” Nano said. She stopped mid-sentence when she realized what Cathect was saying. Leaning over the monkey, she slapped him. “You are such a douchebag.”
“Ow!” he said. “Watch out for the monkey.”
“You’re worse than Chick-Fil-A,” Nano said.
“I think we found him,” Bubblegum Shaman said, taking a turn at the intersection and cutting off Blue and Jeremiah’s car, “unless there are other monkeys driving cars in this town.”
“I honestly wouldn’t be surprised,” Nano said.
“Cool,” Cathect said, smiling.
So the four cars drove down the street. First there was Barry Ring’s mind, which was stuck in the body of a monkey. He was driving the first car, which must have been super-illegal, especially because his legs were kind of short and it was pretty hard for him to reach the pedals.
Then there were Bubblegum Shaman, Nano, Cathect, and the rest, in the car behind the monkey. Behind them were Blue and Jeremiah, and behind them were Hellfire and his dad.
The monkey, having difficulty driving on account of his short legs and general monkey nature, accidentally hit the brakes instead of the gas pedal. Bubblegum Shaman, though mildly startled, knew well enough to hit the brakes herself. Jeremiah the Hunter, with his many years of experience in trailing people, had the quick reflexes required to stop his car before it hit Bubblegum Shaman. But Hellfire’s father, distracted by how much of a disappointment his son was, didn’t hit the brakes hard enough. His car slammed into Jeremiah’s car, which bumped into Bubblegum Shaman’s car.
Blue jumped out of her car, trying to get to the monkey before he could speed away. The monkey, distracted by the small collision that had happened behind him, didn’t notice the woman racing towards it. She opened the monkey’s passenger door and hopped in, just about ready to strangle the bloody thing.
Cathect said, “What the fuck? That’s Blue.”
“We should check it out,” Nano said, opening her car door.
“What about Barry?” Cathect asked.
“He’ll be fine in the car,” Nano said.
Bubblegum Shaman decided to follow her girlfriend, so the three of them got out of the car, running towards the monkey’s car.
All the while Jeremiah sighed, unbuckling his seat belt. “Not following the monkey,” he muttered, getting out of the car and slamming the door shut.
Meanwhile, Hellfire and his father sat in the car.
“They’re going to escape,” Hellfire’s dad said. “You have to kill them! You have to kill them all, if you want to be cool!”
“Maybe life’s not about being cool, Dad,” Hellfire said, unbuckling his seat belt. “Maybe it’s about being kind.”
“Yeah, well look where kindness got your mother.”
Hellfire looked up at the sky, shedding the most dramatic tear you could ever imagine. Like I don’t mean to be a drama queen here but I’m pretty sure the tear was sparkling or some crazy-ass shit? It was like a liquid disco ball was falling from his face, but that really doesn’t give the impression of how damn emotional the thing was. For real. It was a symphony on his face.
“To Heaven,” he said. “Sorry, Dad. But I’m not you. I’m going to help my friends do whatever the fuck they want to do to that monkey!” He paused for a second. “Unless it’s sodomy.” He nodded his head, deciding that was a sufficiently dramatic speech. He opened the car door, then slammed it shut.
Hellfire’s father sighed, watching his son run to help his friend. He muttered the most offensive word he could think to call his child, “Uncool.”
Then, shaking his head, he pulled away from the scene, driving away.
Nothing more evil than speeding away from a car accident, he thought, giggling to himself. Haha, I’m so evil.
Hellfire ran towards the car, only to find that the real scene was happening on the sidewalk by the side of the car.
“You’re not following the monkey!” Jeremiah yelled.
“I have the fuking monkey in my fucking arms,” Blue yelled, wrestling with the monkey, the two of them such a mess of limbs that no one else really knew what to do.
Bubblegum Shaman stood there, concerned and not quite used to the insanity that seemed to follow this group around. Nano stood there, a little concerned but really all too used to the insanity that followed her and the team around.
Cathect? That motherfucker was just standing there, tears running down his face because he was laughing so hard.
“How can I–” Hellfire began. He wanted to help. He was there to help. But he wasn’t sure this was the sort of situation that could be helped.
“We have to get your brain back inside your body!” Blue yelled.
“No!” Barry Ring yelled. “No way Jose! I like it in here.”
Blue stopped struggling. Barry Ring did, too.
“Wait, what?” Blue asked.
“I like being in the body of a monkey,” Barry Ring said. “Those kids didn’t force me to switch places with the monkey. I wanted to.”
Cathect’s smile grew wider and wider. He was meeting his idol and for once in his life he knew exactly what Barry Ring was going to say next.
“I’m a furry,” Barry Ring said.
Everyone kind of just stood there, not knowing what to say.
Finally, Bubblegum Shaman said, “The monkey didn’t consent to any body-swapping. We have to put you back.”
The silver-haired fairy flew through the air, eyes closed as she sped towards the group.
“Hey, fairy!” Cathect said. “Sorry,” he whispered to Nano, but she just smacked him again. He continued, louder, talking to the fairy, “What happened to Barry Ring’s body?”
“It’s gone missing!” she yelled, flying away from them.
“Isn’t that your job?” Nano yelled back. “How can the fairy of lost thing lose something?”
“You’re bad at your job,” Cathect yelled.
“I don’t know what a job is!” the silver-haired fairy yelled.
Then, she was out of hearing range. Soon after that, she couldn’t even be seen. She’d flown into the clouds, towards some more mystical place where monkeys take on the form of men.
“So,” Blue said, trying to catch her breath from the exhaustion of the fight.
“So,” Barry Ring said, looking expectantly at Blue.
“I guess this is your new body,” Blue said.
“Looks like my work here is done!” Jeremiah yelled, exuberantly.
“What do you mean?” Blue asked.
“You learned the most important lesson of all.”
You crazy motherfucker don’t say it or so help me god–
“You followed the monkey,” Jeremiah said.
“I followed the monkey,” Blue said, ready to die.
Nano smiled, putting her hands on her hips. “All in a day’s work.”
“This is a day’s work for you guys?” Bubblegum Shaman asked.
“You better believe it,” Nano said. “You better believe it.”