The Homemaker’s Guide to Summoning Demons

1950's Housewife

“Thomas Jacob, get down here this instant!” Elsie cried up the stairs.

She had just come from the kitchen, which she spent all day cleaning, to find muddy hand and footprints all over it.

Tommy, her eight-year-old son with mousy brown hair and freckles ran down the stairs.

“Hi, Mom!” He said before seeing the scowl on her face, “what?”

“You forgot to take your dirty shoes off before you entered the house,” she scolded, “and you put dirty hand prints all over the counter and refrigerator!”

“Sorry mom,” Tommy pouted.

Elsie looked at her son and sighed, “It’s ok. Just remember to take your shoes off when you come in from outside for now on.” She affectionately rubbed some dirt off his cheek. “Now run upstairs and clean yourself up. Your father is bringing company over for dinner.”

As he ran back upstairs, Elsie returned to the once again filthy kitchen. The smell of the night’s dinner, pork chops and scalloped potatoes, filled the room, and a pot of green peas puttered away on the stove as the water boiled. Harold was going to be here soon with the Andersons, and Elsie couldn’t let them see the house in such disarray. Tabitha Anderson was one of Elsie’s closest friends. But she was also the neighborhood gossip, and she would love nothing more than to tell everyone who would listen about how poorly Elsie kept the house and how wild Tommy was.

Elsie looked at the clock on the wall. 6:30. She didn’t have enough time to do it herself; she was going to need some help. Going to the cabinet housing all of her cookbooks, Elsie pulled away the false back and retrieved an old, jade green book as well as something wrapped in black cloth. The cover of the book was plain, with no writing on it at all, and the pages were worn and yellowed from regular use.

Elsie set both items on the table and opened the book. On the first page was the title: The Homemaker’s Guide to Summoning Demons. She flipped to the Table of Contents, skimmed until she found the entry “Demons for Quick Cleanups,” and turned to the associated page. She flipped through the pages of that section, reading the demons’ names and their abilities, and found the perfect one- a powerful demon known as Barzanar.

Most people think summoning demons is a form of witchcraft, but that is false. Summoning is an ancient art form, certainly, and to the untrained eye, could be mistaken for witchcraft, but while witchcraft is messy and it’s procedures are open to interpretation, summoning takes focus, a firm resolution, and a strict adherence to the rules. One of those rules is to not summon a demon after sunset. A demon cannot survive in direct sunlight without possessing a host body. So summoning a demon after sunset could result in unleashing it on the neighborhood.

Elsie looked out the window. The evening sky was beginning to change to gold. If she was going summon Barzanar, she was going to have to be quick.

She unfolded the cloth to reveal a dagger with a blade made from black quartz and a piece of white chalk. She spread the circular cloth out on a clean spot on the floor. Then, with the chalk, she drew the summoning symbol as directed: six crosses, heads pointing inwards to a pentagram. Elsie scraped some of the mud off the floor and plopped it into the center of the pentagram. She stood up, held the dagger behind her back, and stated the summoning words “Et ego invocabo Barzanar.”

It started slowly at first with just the scent of burnt flesh. Then, the dollop of mud began to smolder into ash. The ash pile grew until it loomed over Elsie, and then, the ash fell away, revealing the grotesque form of the demon before her.

Barzanar towered over her, having to crouch to avoid hitting the ceiling. Its skin was black and charred, except for its fingers, which were as long as it’s forearms, where all the flesh had burnt away exposing the white bones beneath. Its face was gaunt and hollow looking, and what little hair it had atop its head was wispy and grey. Its mouth hung open, and was filled with rows of yellowed teeth, pointed like sabers. But the most striking think about the creature before her was its eyes. They were a brilliant cobalt blue that glittered at Elsie, dazzling her and daring her to look away.

“Hello,” Elsie greeted the monster, putting the dagger in her apron pocket, “Welcome to my home.”

With a booming voice that rumbled deep like a landslide, Barzanar said, “You? A pathetic, puny, little, human woman, dare to summon me?!”

Elsie smiled and replied politely, “I certainly did. Thank you for coming. It is greatly appreciated.”

This is another important rule: always be welcoming and friendly to the demon you summoned. Demons are vain creatures by nature, and since they don’t receive many compliments in Hell, a little hospitality goes a long way. Besides that, just because you are face to face with a member of the Legion of the Damned, it doesn’t mean you should forget your manners.

Barzanar towered over Elsie, a single strand of foul-smelling drool stretched down onto the shoulder of her pale blue, floral pattern dress. Elsie remained firm, staring into the blue eyes of the beast.

You must have a strong resolution to control a summoned demon. The summoner has the control of the interaction, and the demon only has as much control as the summoner gives them. The demons know this and will try to intimidate or manipulate the summoner into giving them more power. A strong-willed summoner can protect themselves from such tactics.

“I would like you to clean the dirt off my kitchen floor, counter, and refrigerator, if that wouldn’t be too much trouble, please,” Elsie asked.

“I demand the flesh and blood of a virgin child as payment,” the demon boomed.

“Oh I’m sorry,” Elsie replied, “But I don’t have any more of that here. I can give you a turkey sandwich on rye and some fresh brewed iced tea instead.”

The demon loomed over her, and Elsie could feel its hot smelly breath on her face.

In its low, rumbling voice, Barzanar said, “Actually, that sounds lovely.”

The metal chair creaked under the immense weight of the demon as it used its finger bones to pick at its sandwich hungrily. Elsie sat across from him at the kitchen table and watched it eat. Periodically, it would use both of its meat and mustard covered hands to fumble the glass up to its mouth. Some tea dribbled out of the sides of its mouth and onto the table.

The demon burped loudly, popped the last piece of the first half of its sandwich into his mouth, and then asked, “So, you look awfully pretty today, with your hair all done and wearing those pearls. You having company over tonight?”

Elsie smiled but didn’t respond, remembering to not engage. Besides intimidation, this was common manipulation tactic for demons. Friendly chit-chat is just a way to learn a summoner’s weaknesses. Elsie knew what was coming next.

Then, as Elsie predicted, Barzanar spat, “Fine, don’t talk to me, you fat, ugly cunt.”

Without letting her pleasant smile falter, Elsie stood up and reached for the plate.

“Hey!” Barzanar snarled, “That’s mine! You gave it to me!”

“That was before you insulted me with such vulgarities, and after I invited you into my kitchen,” Elsie’s tone remained polite but firm as she stared directly into the demons eyes.

Through gritted teeth, Barzanar said, “Take that plate, and I’ll rip your spine out of your body with my teeth.”

With that, Elsie pulled the quartz blade dagger out of her apron pocket, pointed at the demon’s heart, and stated, “Barzanar, I cast thee-“

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” Cried the demon, whose demeanor had become that of a scared puppy.

The black onyx dagger is an essential tool of the homemaking summoner- more important than the book itself. It instantly returns the demon to Hell, and marks them so that they can never return to Earth’s surface. No one is sure of the specifics of how a Demon is barred from returning, but no demon that has been stabbed by it could ever be summoned again. It’s best used to threaten the demons, as they fear returning to Hell permanently.

“Delightful,” Elsie said as she pocketed the dagger once again and pushed the plate back to the demon, “Now please hurry up. I am having company over, and I would like to not have one of Satan’s minions in my kitchen when they arrive.”

Barzanar scarfed down the other half of his sandwich and poured the rest of his tea into his gaping maw before Elsie had a chance to take them away again. He then climbed up from the chair. He stood over her again, but now in a less intimidating way.

He flicked his wrists, and buckets of soapy water appeared around him, hovering inches off the ground. Each one took off in a different direction. When they reached their destinations, two sponges popped out of each bucket and scrubbed the area around it. Within a minute or so, the kitchen was sparkling clean once again and the buckets and sponges disappeared in wisps of smoke. Steam rose of every surface until everything was dry again.

“Wow,” Elsie said as she looked at the demons work, “The Book said you were good, but it really didn’t do you justice, now did it?”

The creature bowed slightly and said, “I thank you for the offering of the turkey sandwich on rye and iced tea. Our agreement is fulfilled.”

Barzanar exploded into ash, which settled into nothingness, and the chalk markings on the circular cloth were erased. Even the demon’s scent was gone from the air, replaced with the smell of the meal Elsie had prepared. Elsie picked the cloth up from the floor, rolled the dagger back up in it, and then stashed them and the book back into their secret hiding spot.

Just as she took off her apron and sat down, hoping to relax for a moment, voices at the front door alerted her that her husband and the Andersons had arrived. Elsie hurried to the door to greet her guests.

***

The dinner was a success. Tabitha couldn’t stop complementing Elsie on the food, and everyone marveled at the pineapple upside down cake she brought out for dessert. Once the Andersons had been seen off, the dishes had been washed, and Tommy had been put to bed, Elsie and her husband, Harold, took their usual seats in the den to unwind.

“Tommy told me that you yelled at him earlier,” Harold said without looking up from his book.

“I did,” Elsie replied, setting down hers, “He tracked mud through the kitchen again not long before you got home.”

“How did you get the kitchen clean again so fast,” he said, finally looking up from his book.

“Oh, you know, I am just good at what I do,” Elsie lied.

And that is the most important rule: A homemaker is never, under any circumstances, to let her husband know that they summon demons to help with the housework.

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Awesomesquad! Assemble! 2! (Revisitied!)- Part 3!!!

 

This section is long, so I’ll  get right to it. Here are parts one and two if you haven’t read them or need to be reminded of what happened. They are much shorter. Enjoy

Over the four days leading up to our coup of the Kardassian residence, not a single thing went as we hoped. Wait, that’s not true; Damien’s workouts were going perfectly. Damien was pushing us harder than he had ever done before, making himself resemble more of an overaggressive drill Sargent rather than a coach. But as for everything else: Shit went to hell fast. Our one potential lead on Kim’s ass, a blogger who once hated Kim Kardassian but suddenly became her biggest fan, was too mentally far gone to be of any real help, so Lady Smash and I had basically spent an entire day following a red herring, Jesse was still having issues with the Awesomebus!’s engine, Everett misplaced several of his tools, and Raul had disappeared. While searching the base for Raul, Lady Smash and I told the team about our meeting with the blogger and formulated our plan for the break-in.

By the ninth, the day our break in and overthrowing of Kim Kardassian was planned, we still had not found Raul. So while Jesse finished working on the Awesomebus!, the rest of the team did a sweep of the base and surrounding areas. Of course, Nut’n Fancy had to voice his opinions about it.

“I always said we shouldn’ trust Raul,” Nut’n Fancy reiterated for the 3,000th time, “I said that he’d hightail it outta here first chance he got.”

“His car’s still out front, Nut’n Fancy,” Everett said, “He couldn’t have gone anywhere without his car.”

“Except maybe Mae’s Woe,” GMZ noted. He then turned to me and asked, “Has anyone checked there yet?”

“Criss, Damien, Derren, Lady Smash, and Phlegm are searching the town right now. They haven’t found him yet. Do you have the keys to the jail cells?

“Hey guys!” Jessie exclaimed as we came back from checking the cells, “I got the Awesomebus! fixed! We’re ready to go now.

“We can’t, We still have to find Raul,” I told him.

“No, Minigan,” GMZ argued, “You do. The rest of the Kardashians will be leaving for Kim’s fake surprise party, and it took me all of the past three days making calls to make it work. If you screw this up, we won’t get another chance- mostly because I won’t do it again.”

I sighed, “Fine, let me get the rest of the team back here.”

I paged the team scouting for Raul in Mae’s Woe through our earpieces, and then Nut’n Fancy, Everett and I headed to the armory to gather up our weapons while Jesse went back down to the Awesomehangar! and GMZ made his way to the Watchtower. Slowly, the five team members made their way to the Awesomebase! and into the armory.

As the final member, Damien, walked in, he asked, “What’s happening? Why did we call off the search?”

“We need to go on our mission,” I answered, “We’ll resume the search when we get back.”

“But he’s been gone three days! He could be bleeding to death in a ditch somewhere!”

“Well,” Everett interjected, “If he has been bleeding in  ditch for three days, he’s probably already dead.”

We all stared at Everett.

“What?!” he cried, “I’m just stating the facts!”

“I still don’t think we should give up now,” Damien said, “Raul is one of us. He should be a priority.”

Just then, GMZ marched in and announced, “I’ll keep looking for him while you guys go fight Kim Kardassian. I’ll just watch all the security footage and find where he went.”

“You didn’t do that first?!” Lady Smash shouted.

“I’m sorry I was too preoccupied with putting this whole diversion together to do something anyone else on this team could have done,” GMZ snapped at her, “but now that I have the time, I can.”

“OK, so it’s settled,” I said, “GMZ will watch the security footage.” I turned to Damien and added, “Do you want to stay here and help him with that? You do seem pretty concerned for Raul.”

“No,” Damien replied in a defeated tone, “GMZ’s handling it. I’ll come along with you.”

With that, Team Pugnastics and Team Prevention separated and prepared themselves for their tasks ahead. Phlegm would be in charge of getting us into the Kardashian house and taking control of their security cameras.

About five minutes later, everyone heading out was suited up, armed, and ready to take down Kim Kardassian. We boarded the Awesomebus!, and Jesse drove us through the Awesomehangar!’s tunnel and onto the road. The trip to LA was a dull one. It was Everett’s turn to choose the music we listened to, so he chose “Run This Town” by Jay-Z, which prompted me to retell the time I nearly crashed through his window during our fight with Donald Trump.

We got to Kim Kardassian’s neighborhood around 9:00. The road was quiet but well lit. Jesse killed the engine, and we sat quietly, waiting for Phlegm to do her job. After a minute or so, the streetlights above us went out, followed by the rest of the street. Still sore from Damien’s damn workouts, we hobbled up the street with our 500 pounds of protective gear and weapons.

Keeping-Up-Kardashians-House

This is truly the entrance to Hell.

“Hurry,” I whispered to them, “Phlegm can’t leave the streetlights off for too long, otherwise the locals will get suspicious.”

“We know and we are,” Lady Smash grunted from behind me, “But it feels like someone pumped concrete into my muscles and is forcing me to run through sand.”

There was a murmur of agreement, as well as some well-placed curse words directed at Damien, but we continued down the street to the Kardashian house. We just made it to our target’s house as the streetlights came back on. I ducked around the corner, and with my team behind me, I snuck towards the back yard.

Pressing the button on my earpiece, I said, “Phlegm, we’re in position. Take out the security cameras now.”

There was the sound of a keyboard clicking on her end, then some unintelligible muttering between her, Derren, and GMZ. Finally she said, “It’s a go. All security systems are off line. But be careful. There still is a lot of camera crews around.”

I said, “Got it,” and then turned to my team and whispered, “Take anyone on the production team out with tranquilizer darts.” I threw my grappling hook over the wall and said, “Let’s go.”

I was the first one over the wall, and I fell flat on my face. I managed to roll myself out of the way just enough for Everett to fall behind me. I stifled a groan as I stood up and then pulled out my tranquilizer gun. Once the rest of the team was back on the ground, we fanned out around the pool and made our way to the house. My steps were deliberate and slow. I moved without a sound except steadily increasing heartbeat. It was dark in the backyard; there was no lights except the ones that came from in the pool, but I felt like I could see everything. My tongue tingled, I was so excited to take out Kim Kardassian. Wait- no. I was biting my tongue. Shit. Just as I stepped onto the patio and prepared to take Kim’s back door (pun very much intended), I heard a light “puft” and then a splash of a body falling in the water. I spun around. Criss and fallen into the pool, that fucking moron.

“Did you hear that?” A man’s voice said from inside.

“Shit, Criss, get out of the pool.” I whispered.

“He can’t,” Damien whispered back, “I accidentally shot him with a dart.”

“You bloody Moron!”

The back doors swung open and two grungy looking guys in t-shirts and shorts stepped out. They immediately saw Criss and ran to the pool. Lady Smash and I got each of them with a tranquilizer dart.

“Somebody get Criss out of the pool,” I commanded to my team.

Everett volunteered, and the rest of us snuck inside, with me in the lead. The first room we entered was the kitchen. Just about everything was white, except for the black and white checkerboard floor, the matching tea kettle, and the mirror like backsplash. Something felt off about the room. As I looked around, everything from the vase full of flowers to the pots and pans, to even the plates in the cabinets felt staged- nothing was out of place. It reminded me of a staged home in a housing development through which potential buyers could take a tour. As we crept into the equally pristine den (where a soaking wet Everett rejoined us), I yet again found no evidence that this house was lived in by these people. As Lady Smash thumbed through a pile of neatly stacked but otherwise untouched magazines with Kim Kardassian’s face on them, I could tell she was thinking the same thing.

It wasn’t until we entered the front hallway until we heard any voices at all. It was a woman’s voice… Kim’s voice. Something deep inside me rose up, making my heart race and my hands tremble.

“Minigan, are you OK?” Lady Smash whispered from across the hallway.

Everyone was looking at me. It was obvious that her voice alone still had an effect on me. I clenched my fist and took a couple deep breaths.  Get it together, Minigan, I thought to myself, You’re not going to fuck this up for the rest of the team. Get a hold of yourself, and block out thoughts of Kim’s ass.

I let out one long breath and replied, “I’m fine. Let’s do this.”

Don’t think about Kim’s ass.

We moved closer to the room where the Kim’s voice was coming from. Remembering the floorplans that GMZ gathered, it was coming from the room they used for their confessionals. When we got close enough that I could understand what she was saying, I knew I was right.

Don’t think about it. Do not think about Kim Kardassian’s ass.

“I cannot believe my family went to a party and didn’t invite me!” Kim’s voice cried in a betrayed tone.

Her ass, don’t think about it.

A man’s voice replied, “That was good, Kim. But let’s try it again, and this time sound more hurt. Remember, they didn’t even tell you they were going to a party. They just left you here. How does that make you feel?”

Her perfect, round, big ass. Don’t think about that ass…

“It makes me feel like I should crush them!” Kim yelled.

Crush them with that ass… stop thinking about that ass!

“Let’s work on this confessional first,”  the man said, “Then you can destroy your family.”

Don’t let the ass take control. Don’t let the ass take control. Don’t let the ass take control.

Damien, who was closest to the door, put his hand on the doorknob and looked to me. I gave him a nod, and he burst through the door. He immediately took out the two camera men with his tranquilizer gun. However, Kim jumped onto her chair and spun around to show us her ass. Damien, Everett, Nut’n Fancy, and I froze in place. I stared directly at those perfect orbs, and as I did I heard Billy D William’s voice in some distant corner of my head.

MBFW Miami Swim : Becca - Front Row

“Hey baby” I head it say from afar.

No.

“C’mon baby. You know you want to let me in.”

No. Go away. I don’t want you.

“Then why do you hear me at all?”

GET OUT OF MY HEAD, ASS!

“You don’t want to make this easy for me? Fine, baby, I’ll let myself in.”

Kim started to bounce her ass up and down, and suddenly there was nothing else besides her ass. No room, no camera equipment, no fellow members of Awesomesquad!, just that ass.

“That’s better,” The Ass said, “Didn’t you miss me?”

“Yes,” I replied, “It feels like a lifetime since we’ve been apart.”

I heard a small voice, coming from a woman, say “Ugh.”

The Ass paused. It was unpleased with that woman’s ugh.

“What’s wrong, you glorious buttocks?” I asked The Ass.

“You brought someone with you. A woman. I do not like her. Destroy her.”

“Are you sure you want me to destroy her?” I replied, “That must be Lady Smash, I could just get her to leave.”

“I can hear you, you hypnotized dipshits!” Lady Smash’s voice interjected.

“She is too much of a threat,” The Ass answered, “Destroy her, and we can be together forever.”

“Of course, I will destroy her.”

I turned away from The Ass and searched through the fog in the room to find Lady Smash. She had backed into a corner. I pulled out a knife from my pocket.

“Guys,” the evil Lady Smash pleaded, “Listen to me. You’re all being hypnotized by Kim Kardassian. You need to fight it.”

“I would rather fight you,” some unimportant voice said from somewhere else in the room.

Lady Smash scowled, “So be it.”

In an instant, Lady Smash had grabbed the back of my head and smashed my face into the wall. I crumpled down into the corner with a dull pain spreading across my face. She ran out of the room. I dove after her and missed, and several other people chased after as I scrambled back to my feet.

I ran out of the confession room, my face wet with what I assumed was blood from my nose, and followed the sounds of Lady Smash and the other people to the kitchen. I unsheathed a knife I found on my vest and stepped into the kitchen. Lady Smash was backed into a corner of the kitchen, on the other side of the island, with Nut’n Fancy and Damien on one side, and Everett on the other.

The Beautiful and Glorious Ass commanded, “Attack her all at once, baby. She can’t fight you at the same time.

The four of us took a step towards her. She grabbed a frying pan from its hook over the stove, and swung it at Everett. He dodged it, but it caught Nut’n Fancy in the jaw. Nut’n fancy spun around, and fell to the floor, and then Lady Smash kicked the distracted Everett in the chest. Damien and I charged together at Lady Smash, who dove headfirst over the kitchen island. She stumbled to her feet and ran into the living room, yelling something unimportant to someone that wasn’t there. We followed her, knives drawn. The Glorious Ass had removed itself from the battle, thankfully.

Lady Smash overturned the couch and the chairs, before fleeing the room. This didn’t slow Damien, and slowed Everett and I only slightly. We chased the vile woman into the den. She had two guns drawn, one looked like a Taser, and was continuing to babble to someone.

“I know how to finish this,” Nut’n Fancy announced with a smirk.

Lady Smash’s evil eyes grew wide as Nut’n Fancy unholstered his gun. There was a “pamf” and Nut’n fancy fell stumbled to the ground with a dart in his neck.

“One down,” Lady Smash said, “Minigan, please don’t make me beat the shit out of all of you.”

Damien roared and charged at Lady Smash. She tagged him with her Taser, and he fell into a convulsing heap on the floor. While she was distracted by Damien, I charged at her. She dodged my knife swipe at the last second, but I did manage to slice at her arm. There was a spurt of blood, and an accompanying “Motherfucker!” from Lady Smash before she spun kicked me into the wall. My head smacked against the modern fireplace, and I fell to the ground.

Suddenly, there were a lot of new voices in my head. Familiar voices. They were calling for me.

“Minigan?!” Do you hear me?” The voice then mumbled to someone else, “Do you think he lost his earpiece?”

“His mind is being controlled by Kim’s fat ass, GMZ” a woman replied, “He can’t hear you.”

“I can now,” my mouth managed to speak, “Lady Smash, keep doing that. It’s working.”

“Hey baby. Don’t talk to her. She’s evil.” The Ass said in my ear.”

“It’s taking ahold again, Smash,” my voice managed to say, “Keep doing it.”

“Doing what?!”

The voices were gone. All that remained was the soothing, sensual voice of The Ass. The Ass was my world again, 1,000 times and 1,000 times more. I climbed back to my feet. With my knife in hand, I charged at her again. I jabbed and slashed at Lady Smash’s stupid, evil face, but she was just nimble enough to avoid getting cut. She grabbed a lamp off of an end table and hurled it at me. I dodged it, and the shattering glass was accompanied by a heavy thump behind me.

“Do something!” Lady Smash yelled to me.

“I’m about to,” I replied.

I reached into my cloak and found Justice Stick. I tugged on the pole and it came sliding out of its pocket. I aimed the blade Lady Smash’s throat and took a step forward. Then, I was airborne.

With the force of a truck, something plowed into me and threw Everett, Nut’n Fancy, and myself into the wall. When I climbed out from the other two I saw that magical douchebag Criss standing between Lady Smash and me, dripping wet with his arm outstretched and his palm flat. I scrambled to my feet, managed to yell something like, “Magical motherfucker!”  and dove headfirst into the invisible wall between us.

Once again, the other voices in my head were back. My surroundings were clearer, and the looks on both Lady Smash and Criss’s faces were of both shock and fear. My head throbbed, and the copper taste of blood lingered in my mouth.

“Criss, Smash!” I yelled, “Keep hitting us on the head. It’s the only way to knock us out of it!”

“You don’t need to yell, dick, we’re right here,” Lady Smash retorted.

“Well, I’m glad I didn’t cut off your sass when I cut you. But seriously, sorry about that,” I said back.

“YOU TRIED TO KILL ME!”

“Only because he was hypnotized by Kim Kardassian,” GMZ’s voice interjected over our earpieces.

I climbed to my knees and put my hands on the invisible wall. I looked into Lady Smash’s eyes. The fear was still there.

“Listen to me,” I said to Lady Smash, “You’re going to have to knock the thoughts out of us. It’s the only waaa-“

Nut’n Fancy grabbed me by the throat, and with more strength than I expected from him, threw me against the wall.  Sharm pain shot through my chest and back as I fell onto an end table and then onto the ground. When I looked up, Nut’n Fancy and Everett were clawing at the invisible wall. And then Kim Kardassian stepped into the room. Almost immediately, the other voices started to recede, and The Ass’s voice began to resurface.

 

Derren, who’s voice was grew more and more distant with each word, called to me, “Fight it! You must decide you don’t want to be hypnotized!”

“Don’t listen to him, baby. I’m all you’ll ever need. Everyone else is a distraction.”

Another voice rang out in my head. It was even smaller than Derren’s but even under The Ass’s influence, I knew whose voice it was. Mine. Remember Lady Smash, Minigan, I said to myself, You will not hurt her again. Or Criss, or the rest of the team. You will fight this ass.

Kim Kardashian 3- Censored

“No.” I blurted out, “You will not hypnotize me anymore!”

And with that, The Ass’s Billy D Williams voice was gone. I stood up, looked to Kim Kardassian, and raised a single middle finger. She glared at me, and, without speaking a word to them, Nut’n Fancy and Everett stopped clawing at the invisible wall and turned to me.

Everett lit the burner on his flame throwers and swung the column of fire at me. I dodged it, barely. I ducked down and spun away from him, my face still catching some of the heat from the flame. Deafening shots rang out. The bullets from Nut’n Fancy’s gun bounced of the back of my cloak and clattered on the floor. The gun fire stopped- he was out of bullets. Thinking quickly, I grabbed the end table that I fell on by the legs, swung around, and broke it across Nut’n Fancy’s face as he reloaded his gun. He fell to the floor, let out a weak groan, and began clutching his head.

I turned to Everett, who had lit his flamethrower again and aimed the plume directly at my face. I high kicked, and managed to chatter the butane tube of Everett’s wrist, killing the fire. Everett then came at me swinging, but I flipped him over my head and dropped him behind me. I dropped on top of him and started smacking his head with the closest end table leg I could reach. One hard blow on the top of his skull ended Everett’s fighting, and left him groaning in pain. I grabbed him by the face, and made him look at me.

“Say that you don’t want to be hypnotized,” I commanded.

“Wha?”

“I said, Say that you don’t want to be hypnotized, otherwise I’m going to slam your head into the floor until your skull cracks!”

Everett cried, “I don’t want to be hypnotized!”

Suddenly his eyes grew wide and he let out a gasp.

“Yeah,” I replied, “ I know.” I looked to Nut’n Fancy, who was fumbling around on the ground, and asked, “Say it too, Nut’n Fancy or I’m going to clobber you just like did Everett.”

“I don’t wanna to be hypnotized no more,” Nut’n Fancy stated.

I climbed to my feet, and then pulled Everett and Nut’n Fancy to theirs. They rubbed the lumps forming on their heads, but otherwise they seemed fine. I looked around. Kim Kardassian was long gone. I stepped up to the barrier between us and Criss and Lady Smash.

“You can let us out now,” I said to Criss, “I think we have it under control.”

Criss and Lady Smash exchanged apprehensive glances, but Criss finally lowered his arm. The three of us walked through what was once Criss’s invisible barrier.

“Nice job holding us of off, Lady Sma-“

She punched me hard in the nose, making it gush blood again.

“Jesus Christ the kung fu master! I said I was sorry!”

“Stop use’n The Lord’s name in vain!”

“Well,” Lady Smash replied in an even tone, “We at least know the two of you are back to normal.”

“Guys,” Everett interjected, “Where’s Damien?”

Shit.

Together, the five of us left the den to look for our rogue teammate. We took silent steps- well, as silent as we could with Criss’s wet boots making a splosh sound with each step. We stepped (and Criss sploshed) back into the kitchen. The pristine kitchen was dark and silent. There was no trace of either Kim Kardassian nor Damien.

“Do you think he left with her?” Lady Smash asked in a whisper.

“I’m not sure,” I answered.

“Cause that would be a great twist if he really went rogue and officially teamed up with a villain and we had to defeat him.”

“But that would suck for us.”

I peered around the room, and my eyes fell on the only closed door. The pantry.

“It would make this story really interesting, though,” Criss added.

“What story?”

“Our story. Of what we’re doing. I’m breaking the fourth wall.”

“Well stop. It’s weird. Plus this is real life not some story,” I retorted.

“You’re right. Plus, the plot is vague at best.”

I shushed him and pointed to the pantry door. Everyone nodded, and we all crept to the door. I held my breath, listening for any sound of life from behind that door. Everything was still. I glanced back at my team, who were eyeing the door and clutching their weapons in anticipation, and I reached for the doorknob.

“Shit!”

The five of us let out a scream of shock.

“What, GMZ, What?!” I cried.

I turned away from the door, just a few degrees, and Damien burst through and tackled me. With little effort at all, he pinned me to the ground with his knees and held his knife high above me. In one fluid motion, Lady Smash swung her frying pan and smacked Damien across the face with it, knocking him out and off of me. Nut’n Fancy and Everett pulled me back to my feet as I screamed into my earpiece.

“What the fuck is so important that you had to interrupt us like that, GMZ?! I could have been killed!”

“I know who did it?!”

“Did what?”

“Everything!” GMZ replied, “The multiple Awesomebus! problems, Everett’s missing tools, it was all Damien! He tampered with the bus, and stole the tools off Everett’s desk.”

“Lady Smash,” I asked, turning to her, “Did you make sure that you knocked Damien out when we were watching Keeping up With The Kardashians?”

“Yeah,” she replied, uncertain, “I mean I think so. I thought the Taser did the trick.”

Damien stood up behind her with a furious look on his non-bashed half of his face.

“Smash! Look out!” I cried.

Just as Damien went to stab her, Lady Smash spun around and beamed Damien on the same side she had done just a moment before. He crashed down to the floor and clutched his face.

“Shit!” Lady Smash said with a quick laugh to the writhing bald man, “Damien, I didn’t mean to hit you that hard.”

“Bloody Hell, Smash!” Damien cried.

“Sorry, Damien,” Lady Smash replied in a tone that said she wasn’t sorry at all, “But I guess you could say I’m skilleted in hand to hand combat.”

The other five of us groaned at the pun, but Lady Smash ignored it.

Criss and I helped Damien up, and the six of us trudged out the front door and back down the street to the Awesomebus!. When we got there, Jesse was humming some imaginary tune and drumming on the steering wheel. Within a second of seeing us, his expression turned from excitement to horror.”

“What happened in there?!”

“Kim Kardassian’s ass was too strong for their feeble minds,” Lady Smash answered, “So Criss and I had to set them straight.”

“And why is Criss wet?”

“A certain British teammember of ours was hypnotized this entire time, and he took me out with a tranquilizer dart,” Criss answered.

“Damien,” Jesse asked, “I’m guessing that was you?”

“No shit, Jesse.”

“OK!” Jesse added with a laugh, “Let’s get back to the base.”

Jesse started up the bus, and we drove out of West Hollywood and out of L.A. The music was turned off, and everyone sat in silence and tended to their wounds themselves. I saw that Lady Smash was struggling with putting butterfly bandages on the cut I gave her, so I went to help. She pulled back at first, eyeing me suspiciously, but then she sighed and showed me her arm. We sat quietly as I put each of the bandages on her arm.

As I put on the final bandage, I said, “I really am sorry about cutting you like that.”

Lady Smash replied with a sigh, “I know. It was Kardassian’s fault. She is just too powerful… I mean, not for me, I easily overcame the ass. But for you guys? She is quite the formidable opponent.”

Thankfully, just then, Team Prevention interrupted Lady Smash’s self-congratulatory speech over the bus’s speakers.

“Hey everyone,” Phlegm said, “We’ve scoured the tapes looking for any sign of Raul, and we cannot find him. The last thing we see of him is him leaving the Awesomebase! and stepping out of sight of the cameras.”

“I know where he went,” Damien interrupted, removing the ice from his beaten face.“He went into the woods to build a marker for Kim Kardassian.”

“So she would know where to find us!” Everett exclaimed, his eyes wide at the revelation.

“Jesse,” I commanded, “Get us back to the Awesomebase! as soon as possible.

“Sure thing, Boss!”

We got back to the base sometime in the middle of the night, and everyone other than Lady Smash looked far worse than before we got on. I my skin was pale and my face was caked with dried blood, Everett and Nut’n Fancy were sporting several large goose eggs on their heads as well as  a few bruises to their face. Everett was limping. I think getting thrown into the wall by Criss’s magic may have sprained his ankle. But Damien was by far the worst. He looked like if Two-Face from Batman and an orc had angry tequila sex and had a mutant Halfling baby. The one side of his face was almost completely black and blue, and it had swollen up so much that his eye was forced shut.

We met up with team prevention, and everyone followed Damien into the woods, flashlights drawn, down our old sexual walkabout trail- turned obstacle course (yes, we did keep the signs up) to the clearing were we used to keep the Awesomecopter! Damien stopped at the edge of the clearing, but I walked past him to get a better view. Then, without warning, I ran out of ground. Damien managed to grab hold of me around my chest as I dangled over a deep hole that wasn’t there before. When I stopped looking the ground  several feet below me, I saw what Raul had built. Two giant, round, perfectly identical mounds of dirt, at least forty feet tall, sat in the center of the clearing.  On top of one of the mounds was Raul. He was crouching down, and it looked like he was stroking the mound.

“It’s a giant butt,” Nut’n Fancy said in awe.

“It’s Kim’s giant butt,” GMZ added.

Earth Mound

It’s glorious.

Damien let me down first, and then everyone except Everett jumped down after me, and we made our way out of the giant ditch and up the mound to Raul. Nut’n Fancy and Criss managed to subdue him without much of a fight.

“Ok,” I said, “Who wants to beat the hypnosis out of him?”

“Not me,” Lady Smash replied, “I think I’ve beaten him up enough for one year.”

“No one has to beat him up, you bloody savages!” Derren yelled, “I can pull him out of the hypnosis without violence.” “Come, Criss,” he added as he started to walk back to the path, “Bring him back to the base and I’ll fix him.”

Once they made it up the ledge and back onto the path with Everett, I looked to my team and said, “I think taking the giant ass monument can be left for tomorrow, what do you think?”

My team murmured in agreement, and we all made our way back to the base to get some much-needed recovery sleep.

A Short Story For My Cousin on His Birthday (Which He Ignored)

Hi friends! No, I’m not dead (at least not physically). For those who have read my blog before, sorry I haven’t posted anything in a year. I promise to finish the Kim Kardassian posts soon. For those of you who are unfamiliar to my bullshit, welcome! Thank you for wasting your time with me.

I assume you’re happy to be here as well.

So, the reason I called you all here is because the worst thing that could ever happen to a person happened to me a few weeks ago: I wrote an excellent Happy Birthday post on my cousin’s Facebook page and he ignored me.

I know. I was mortified too.

Here’s what happened- last month, I was with my immediate family when my sister pointed out that it was our cousin’s (whom, for purposes of this blog, we shall call Joey Jojo Shabadoo) Birthday. But since I was with family, I chose to wait until later to wish Joey Jojo a happy Birthday. And then I forgot. I’ll be the first to admit that that part was on me. And I felt bad that I missed it, so I decided to write a story for him as an apology/ a birthday gift, because who doesn’t love being forced read things shortly after their birthday?

So, I wrote him the story, a story that centuries from now will be hailed as the greatest literary triumph of our time, and posted it to his page a mere two days late. Two! And he didn’t even “like” it, the monster.

So that’s why I’m posting it here today, because someone needs to read it. And if it won’t be the intended recipient, it will be strangers on the Internet.

Enjoy!

Happy Belated Birthday Joey Jojo! I’m so sorry I missed your birthday Sunday, but I have a really good reason! See, it was midday on Sunday, and I was sitting outside at one of the hundreds of French bistros that litter Columbus Ohio, eating a croissant and drinking a latte that Columbus is known worldwide for, when I checked my phone and saw that it was your birthday. “I must think of something profound to write my cousin on this day,” I thought to myself, “he only deserves the best.”

I closed my eyes, just for a moment, to concentrate on the perfect musing to send your way. As I concentrated, a sentence formed in my mind. It shown like a golden beacon of enlightenment amongst an impenetrable night of mindless well wishes. I had found my profound wish to you.

But when I opened my eyes again, my phone was gone! Snatched! Pilfered!

“Son of a wrench… bojangles… Smith!” I thought to myself. “Sweet Virgin mother of dirty fucks!” I shouted because that’s far more coherent than what I thought. I turned to my fellow diners and asked if they saw the phone thief. They all babbled unintelligible nonsense, but all pointed the same direction: towards a weaselly looking man running towards the river. I gave chase, and almost immediately toppled over some weird guy in a beret.

“Sacre bleu!” The human obstacle cried.

“Lousy gibberish! I yelled back.

I continued my chase through the scenic beauty of Columbus Ohio until phone thief and I reached the Scioto river, or as the locals call it, the Seine.

By mistake, the villain ran onto a bridge that was closed halfway across due to construction. I had him trapped.

“Give me back my phone, fuck stick,” I ordered.

The weaselly man gave me a weaselly smile, and without a word, dove over the railing. I ran to where he jumped off and looked over the edge. And wouldn’t you know it, that phone thief landed right on one of the used Kleenex barges that traverse the river every hour. The man waved goodbye to me and laughed a weaselly laugh as he passed the Eiffel Tower.

Wait. Eiffel Tower? Of course! I wasn’t in Columbus at all- I was in Paris! Normally, finding yourself in Paris is a bad thing, but it just so happened that I have a friend who lives in Paris that has helped me in many similar situations before. I needed Draxyl.

Draxyl was one tough customer with a pale face with small, black triangles tattooed above and below his eyes. Beyond his intimidating exterior, Draxyl was a man of few words and many actions; and he isn’t like that just because he’s a mime.

No one ever suspects the mime. But you should.

I found Draxyl on his normal street corner, performing a mime show for a group of tourists. As soon as he saw me amongst the gawkers in the crowd, he collapsed to the ground and began faking a heart attack. Many of the tourists groaned in disappointment and shuffled away. See, most tourists don’t realize that mimes are actually people, so when one dies, they move onto the next one. Draxyl uses this ignorance to his advantage.

Once the crowd had dispersed, Draxyl stood up, brushed himself off, and gestured for me to follow him.

He lead me, as we walked against the wind, to his hideout, which was an abandoned warehouse in the middle of the city.

He opened the door for me, and as soon as I entered, I was greeted by the thick, musty air and a thin young man with tan skin babbling at me.

“Minigan welcome. We’ve been expecting you,” the young man said to me in a Brooklyn accent , “I am Vinny Tyrese Archibald Patrick Saiid Makoto Borowitz-Gutierrez, but you can call me ‘#TheMouth.’

“Uh, hey,” I replied, “why were you expecting me?”

“Because we knew you were coming,” two voices answered in unison from behind me.

I turned to see a pair of identical twins, dressed in the same out fit and identical haircuts on their blond heads, staring past me.

“We are the Sagittarius Twins,” they said in unison again.

“Nice to meet you,” I replied, “but why Sagittarius? Shouldn’t you call yourselves the Gemini Twins?”

“No,” they said together, “because our last name isn’t Gemini.”

“Fair enough.”

“The Sagittarius Twins are our experts in the mystic arts. They melded their minds about three years ago, and now they are one being in two different bodies,” #TheMouth explained. “We have one more teammate for you to meet,” he continued, “once she decides to make her entrance…”

“I’m coming, I’m coming,” a seductive Russian voice said from the shadows.

From those shadows emerged a stunning woman with jet black hair and hips that swung from side to side with every step she took in her black leather catsuit.

With a seductive smile, she stepped in close to me and breathed, “Hello, Minigan, I am Svetlana Lustnaughtlov, and I am-how do you say- charmed to meet you.”

“Well, Svetlana,” I replied with a smile, “It’s a pleasure to meet you too.” Then, putting my hands on her shoulders, I added, “Now, if you would please step the fuck off, you’re crowding me.”

I pushed her by her shoulders three full fucking steps backwards. Her smile melted into a look of shock and rejection. Fucking Russians, man.

“So, Minigan,” #TheMouth said, “we knew that you were coming, but not why. So, what brings you here looking for our help?”

“Someone stole my phone!” I cried.

The team began to gasp, but then exchanged puzzles looks.

“You can get a new phone. You don’t need us for that.”

“You don’t understand,” I pleaded, “today is my cousin’s birthday, and I need to wish him a happy birthday. He is such an amazing, such an opulent specimen of humanity that he makes makes all other humans, but especially my siblings, look like sweaty garbage. ” I then explained the words of wisdom I wanted to share with you. Their jaws dropped. The air became less musty. The Sagittarius Twins shed identical tears.

Draxyl looked at me with awe and said, “Minigan, you slick son of a-“

“Ok we’ll do it!” #The Mouth interrupted, “I’ll get on my computer and track your phone number. Svetlana, I want you to use your spy connections to find out why someone would take Minigan’s phone. The Twins, I need you to search through Minigan’s memories for any clues.

It took twelve hours. Twelve. Fucking. Hours. Before anyone was able to find anything. And the entire time, #TheMouth talked at me about mundane bullshit that wasn’t about where my phone was. Apparently, my phone was stolen in a worldwide, coordinated attempt to use a app to gain control over the world’s volcanos.

“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” I said to this group of idiots wasting my time.

“It’s true, Darling,” Svetlana replied, “My sources told me that an American’s phone is the key to taking control of the volcanoes. I believe that it’s your phone.”

“What? Why my phone?”

The five of them shrugged.

“Great,” I sigh, “well, what are we going to do now? It’s already passed midnight here, which means that it’s 6:00 in the evening back in the States. I only have 6 hours left to get my phone back.”

“And save the world!” #TheMouth added.

“Meh, let’s get my phone first, then we can worry about the world.”

“Alrighty then,” #TheMouth replied, “Let’s get a move on then. We need to get to Mount Vesuvius in Italy. That’s where the chain reaction is supposed to start.”

Great. First it ruins Pompeii, and then it’s central to a nefarious plot to steal my phone. Ugh. This mountain is the worst.

Draxyl lead us to the chopper, and within minutes, we were darting across the Parisian night sky on our way to Italy.

At some point during the trip I fell asleep, and when I awoke, the morning sun was already peaking over the horizon and #TheMouth was still taking about whatever the fuck he was talking about before we left. Shit. I asked for the time. It was 7:15. Double shit. I missed your birthday by an hour and a half. But I knew I could recover from that, as long as I could deliver the musing to you soon.

“We’re getting close!” #TheMouth yelled, “I can see Naples now.

“What’s our plan once we get there, Mouth?” I asked.

“Huh?” He replied, “That’s not my nickname.”

“Sorry. #TheMouth.”

He gave me a weird look. “Hey, you’re pronouncing the first part of my name all wrong. You need to say it like someone who isn’t a millennial.”

I was about to respond when an explosion rocked the cabin of the helicopter. Alarms went off. Svetlana and I screamed. She tried to grab onto me, but I swatted her away.

“We’ve been hit!” #TheMouth yelled from his seat up front, “We’re going down!”

A couple enemy helicopters flew past us, then turned to face us head on.

“Sagittarius Twins,” #TheMouth yelled, “Do something to stop them!”

The Sagittarius Twins stood up from their seats, and pressed their hands against the window. Suddenly, the cabin shook again, and I watched as a Great white shark flew past us and towards our attackers. In no time at all, the shark had destroyed the helicopters and vanished into nothing.

We all cheered.

“Great job you two!” I said to the Twins.

Draxyl called back from the pilot’s seat, “Minigan, you slick son of a-“

The cabin door exploded open, and the resulting pressure drop pulled one of the twins out of the cabin. The remaining one fell to the floor, thrashed and shrieked for a few seconds before laying comatose on the floor.

We were still going down- barreling straight towards The side of Mount Vesuvius. Reaching as far as I could, I grabbed the remaining Sagittarius Twin and pulled him close to me. We hit the ground on an angle, and we all lurched forward until the mangled remains of the fuselage came to a stop.

I got up from my seat, my head pounding and my legs weak, and rushed to the twin, who had slipped from my grasp when we hit ground.

“Other Sagittarius Twin, are you ok?” I asked as I shook him.

He didn’t respond.

“I think this one is Scorpio,” #TheMouth replied.

I looked at him, “really? Scorpio Sagittarius?”

“Yep. The other one was named Taurus.”

“I don’t know their parents, but I already hate them,” I spat.

#TheMouth scolded me, “Don’t day that! Both their parents died last year!”

“That is terrible!” Svetlana cried as she wrapped her arms around me, making

sure to place one hand on my chest.

I slapped her away. “What the fuck did I tell you? Stay out of my personal space!” Then, looking to #TheMouth, I asked, “How did they die?”

“Cancer.”

“You’ve got to be shitting me.”

Deafening pangs of metal against metal shook us from our conversation and

brought us back to the task at hand.

#TheMouth said, “Minigan, go with Svetlana and Draxyl and get to the peak of Vesuvius. I’ll stay here and tend to Scorpio.”

Draxyl handed me a gun with a wink, and then kicked open the still intact door and started firing. He then grabbed onto an invisible rope and pulled himself out of the mangled helicopter. Svetlana and I followed.

Shots rang out from all around us as we sprinted for cover and fired at any enemy we saw.

When we made it part way up the mountain, the gunfire stopped and everything was still. The three of us took a sigh of relief and lowered our rifles. Draxyl strode ahead of us and then stopped abruptly. He put his hands out in front of them, and they hit an invisible barrier. He spun around, annoyed, opened his mouth to say something. But before he could say anything or even take a step, he hit another invisible wall. Svetlana and I ran to him. He pounded on the walls of the invisible box he was trapped in. Screaming things that couldn’t reach our ears.

“Look!” Svetlana yelled as she pointed to a nearby boulder, “An axe!”

She was right. Sitting against the boulder was a gleaming axe. She ran for it and brought it back to us.

“I’ll get you out of there, Draxyl!” She screamed as she swung the blade at the prison.

The axe passed through the invisible barrier and missed Draxyl by a fraction of an inch. He jumped back and screamed something we couldn’t hear. He pointed to the ground. There was nothing there. He made a chopping motion and then pointed to the same spot. I shrugged to Svetlana and reached to where he was pointing. Then, my hand touched something where there was nothing. I grabbed ahold of what felt like a handle, and moved my hand up to find a head. It was an axe.

I spun back to Draxyl and raised the invisible axe above my head and swung down. There was a crack and then a shatter. Draxyl tumbled out of the broken box.

“Minigan,” he gasped, “You slick son of a-“

“Thank me later,” I said, pulling him to his feet, “let’s just get my phone and stop this volcano thing or whatever.”

We reached the top of Vesuvius within a half an hour and without further altercations. The crater atop Vesuvius was deserted. We looked over the side. Down, deep in the crater we could see the glow of the magma, smell the stench from the sulfur, and feel the heat hitting our faces.

Just as we were about to step back from the precipice, three sets of arms grabbed ahold of us and dragged away.

“Well, well, well, it looks like we found our intruders,” a man with a British accent and an eyepatch said to us. “You must be the famous Mercenary Draxyl Gruntmuffin. Then this must be your sexy assassin Svetlana Lustnaughtlov.” The man looked to me and gave me a cruel grin. “I take it that you are the owner of this phone.”

Belligerent Crumblebrunch! I should have known!

He waved my phone at me. I tried to lunge for it, but the goon holding me was too strong. The man laughed.

“It is perfect that you came here, because it turns out that I need you to open the app that starts the chain reaction.”

“I never downloaded any app that controls volcanoes, idiot. You got the wrong guy.”

The man smiled and replied in a calm tone, “but let me ask. If you had downloaded the app, would you tell me you did?”

“Well, no.”

The man’s smirk grew.

“Ok,” I conceded, “Give me the phone and I’ll open whatever app you want.”

The goon let me go, and Eyepatch handed me the phone. I let out a sigh of relief feeling my phone back in my hands. And then, I kicked the goon that was holding me in the stomach and ran off. The goon stumbled backwards and fell screaming into the crater.

“GET HIM!”

I sprinted to the other side of the mountain, looking through the apps to find the one they were looking for. Hidden deep on the third apps page was “Volcano King 2000!” I opened it. Suddenly, the earth shook around me. J looked up and found myself on the other side of the crater from Eyepatch and his goons.

“HE OPENED THE APP. GET THE PHONE FROM HIM!”

The ground rumbled again, and the crater in front of me grew. The earth crumbled beneath the goons feet, and the two of them tumbled in. Then, Draxyl picked up the invisible axe and swung it at Eyepatch’s face. He dodged the attack, only to get kicked into the fiery hole by Svetlana.

I jumped and cheered for the team. And then I felt the ground give way below my feet. I dove away from the hole, but it wasn’t enough, and I was just able to grab onto the ledge with my free hand.

Svetlana was the first to reach me.

“Give me the the phone,” she ordered.

“Pull me up!” I yelled back.

“No. You refused my advances all this time. Give me your phone. I shall be the one controlling the world’s volcanoes.”

“Ok first of all, I rejected your advances because you kept getting in my space.”

“And what’s second?” She asked.

“This,” said a voice from behind her.

Svetlana rose into the air on her own, and then soared down into the magma pool, screaming until she was submerged.”

Gross… that she always insisted on invading my personal space.

“Scorpio!” I cried as he pulled me out of the hole, “You saved me!”

“I am not Scorpio.”

“Taurus!?”

“No. Taurus managed to assimilate three others before he died. We are now the

Sagittarius Quadruplets now.”

“Oh ok,” I replied, “That’s not alarming at all.”

I deleted the app off my phone, and once I did, I could feel the Earth go calm.

Draxyl walked up to me and clapped his hand on my back. “Minigan, you slick son of a-“

“Draxyl, take me home.” I interrupted, “I have a birthday apology to write.

And that (plus the fact that this totally real explanation of totally real events took me a day to write) is why my birthday greeting is so late. And I would share with you the profound musing I came up with, but in all the excitement, I totally forgot what it was. Sorry, and I hope your birthday was amazing.

See? That totally deserved a response, and not just a measly Facebook like. Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed the story more than my ungrateful cousin. And together, maybe we can shame him into reading it and basking in its glory.

Awesomesquad! Assemble! 2! (Revisited!)- Part 2!!

Hey everyone, this is a continuation of last week’s post, so if you didn’t read that one, catch up here. Otherwise, let’s continue.

Kim Kardassian

*****

“Did you kill him?”

“Of course I didn’t kill him.”

“Because it kind of looks like you killed him.”

“I didn’t kill him”

“He does kinda look like he’s dead.”

“He’s not dead!”

“Did you check his pulse?”

“No.”

“Then I guess you don’t know if he’s dead or not, now do you?”

“He’s not dead!”

“Who’s dead?” I mumbled.

“Oh good, he’s waking up,” I heard Lady Smash say.

“You’re dead,” Derren’s voice answered.

“Hey guys!” Jessie’s voice exclaimed, “Who killed Minigan?”

“Shut up, Jessie,” I snapped.

“See, he’s totally not dead,” Lady Smash confirmed.

I opened my eyes and found Jessie, Lady Smash, Phlegm, Criss, and Derren looking down on me. We were in my room. My head pulsed with pain. I tried to rub it, but I couldn’t move my hands. I looked to them and found that I had been bound to my bed with hot pink, fuzzy handcuffs.

“In case you tried to do anything stupid again,” Lady Smash explained as I pulled on the handcuffs.

“OK, well you can let me go now,” I replied.

“No can do,” Phlegm told me, “The last time we tried that, you tried to molest the TV.”

Damien, GMZ, Everett, and Nut’n Fancy walked into my room, each one holding their head and looking nauseous.

“And why didn’t you tie them to their beds?!” I cried.

“Because they weren’t trying to molest the TV,” Derren quipped.

“What happened, anyway?” Everett asked, “All I remember is watching TV, being interrupted and then thrown into the air.”

“I’ll tell you what happened,” Lady Smash snapped, “You all were so drawn into the cultural black hole that is ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ that you didn’t even hear Phlegm and I come in. To get your attention, I turned off the TV. You all went bezerk, except for Derren and Criss, both of whom are not lousy pervs with poor taste.”

“Wow,” Jessie blurted.

“Yeah,” Phlegm replied, “I always figured Criss to be the most unapologetically perverted one in the group.”

“Hey!”

“Oh, please,” Lady Smash scoffed at Criss, “You always go for the hottest chick to help you preform your magic tricks.”

I began, “That’s weird-”

“I know!” Lady Smash interjected, “Who uses magic to pick up women?”

Criss Angel Trick

Criss, seen here seducing the women in the crowd with his magic.

“No, I meant it’s weird that the only reason we started watching in the first place is because GMZ had freaked out on me for interrupting him.“

“OK, so we pinpointed our patient zero,” Phlegm noted, “But we still don’t know why the show turned you all into drooling morons.”

Still strapped to the bed, I rested my head back on the pillow and recalled what happened before I woke up chained to my bed with kink handcuffs. The Ass. Its image was standing out clearly in my head, and it’s voice (which sounded a lot like Billy D. Williams) echoed in my mind clear enough that it could have been talking into my ear. I heard the echo repeat in its sexy, smooth voice “…You must stop them, even if it means killing them…” I opened my eyes again and gasped.

“Kim Kardashian’s ass! That’s what drew me in!” I exclaimed as I struggled against the restraints, “Her ass must have the ability to hypnotize people!”

“No,” Lady Smash said in a matter-o-factly tone, “You’re just a dirty pervert.”

With a condescending laugh, Damien added, “She’s right, Minigan, Kim Kardashian’s ass isn’t hypnotic. Obviously, that’s ridiculous. There has to be a more rational explanation. Maybe we ate something that had a weird effect on us.”

“Like what?” Derren asked, “Only GMZ ate the brownies, and Lady Smash was the one to make those.”

Everett added, “Yeah, unless Lady Smash put LSD or hallucinogenic mushrooms into all of our food, I doubt what we ate was the cause.”

“All I’m saying is that we should not start a crusade against the Kardashians just because we were acting a little weird,” Damien replied.

“A little weird?!” Phlegm cried. “All of you went bezerk.”

Lady Smash nodded, “Damien, dude, I love it that we are usually on the same side of arguments, but I think you should probably sit this one out because you’re not helping our side at all.”

“Ok,” Damien admitted, “Maybe we did get out of hand, but I still don’t think we were hypnotized my Kim Kardashian’s ass.”

“Where the hell were you when this happened, Damien?” I asked, “Did you not hear Billy D. William’s voice come out of her ass?”

Damien didn’t answer, but Lady Smash looked to Phlegm and then down to me. “OK, You guys are just fucking with us now, right?”

“Can someone please un cuff me from my bed?” I requested, ignoring Lady Smash’s question. I then asked, “And why did you guys use fuzzy handcuffs?”

“They were the only ones we had here,” Phlegm answered as she freed my ankles from their restraints.

“And who had sex handcuffs here?” Criss queried.

Phlegm and Lady Smash looked to a red faced Everett who threw up his hands and cried, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Once Phlegm had freed my last wrist, I sat up and replied, “I think we need to talk about it.”

“Minigan,” Derren interrupted, “What do you want to do about Kim Kardashian?”

“Wait,” Lady Smash interjected, “You and Criss weren’t acting ‘hypnotized.’ Why do you believe this crap?”

“It didn’t happen to Criss and myself is because we both know how to hypnotize others, which makes it impossible to be hypnotized.”

“So you believe that the Kardashians are harboring a woman with magical ass powers?”

“More like Kardassians,” GMZ quipped.

“Good one, GMZ,” I replied, “Let’s all call her that when we go fight her.”

Lady Smash pinched the bridge of her nose and requested, “Can’t we at least vote on it?”

“Sure,” I replied, “Whoever thinks that Kim Kardassian really does have a hypnotic ass raise your hand.”

Everett, GMZ, Criss, Derren, Nut’n Fancy, and myself raised our hands.

“And whoever thinks that literally any explanation other than ‘Kim K’s ass is magic’ is a better one, raise your hand.”

Phlegm, Jessie, and Damien raised their hands with Lady Smash. She counted the raised hands and scowled at me.

I smiled back at her and announced to my group, “Well, it looks like we’re fighting Kim Kardassian. Everyone get ready.” I instructed GMZ to find the address of the Kardashian house, and to send the rest of the Kardashian Klan across town to what they think is surprise party for Kim.

“What should the reason be?” GMZ asked.

“I don’t know,” I replied impatiently, “To celebrate Kim’s acting debut, or maybe she won some award, or maybe even it’s a party to celebrate Kim simply to remind the rest of the family who the important one is. Any stupid explanation will do. These people are reality TV stars; they’re accustomed to being in terrible story lines.”

GMZ nodded and left, but the rest of my team waited behind.

“Can’t we please talk about this a little more? You’re doing the same bloody thing you did with Trump,” Damien pointed out.

“We put it to a vote, Damien,” I reminded him, “See, that’s how a democracy works: People vote, and the winners of that vote decide what’s going to happen. I know that this concept must be difficult for you to grasp, since you live under the rule of the Queen and all.”

“We’ve had a democratically elected Parliament for the past 208 years, asswipe,” Damien snapped.

“It would be much easier if we had literally any more information,” Lady Smash explained, “Like, how is Kim Kardashian’s ass hypnotizing people, or if it has other powers, like the ability to create clouds and thunder, or possibly if it could shoot deadly missiles.”

kim kardashian ass 1- censored

It’s probably best if we didn’t take any chances.

“Hey that’s a good idea,” I replied, “Theoretically, it could have some more mind manipulating- Wait, are you being serious, or did you just make a make a poop and fart joke.”

“I did. But that first part was totally serious.”

“It couldn’t hurt going into this fight a little better informed,” Everett added.

The others murmured in agreement.

“Fine,” I yielded, “We’ll prepare for the next four days. We’ll gather up intel on Kim, her family, and her ass, but we’ll have to do this the right way. Damien, Go up and tell GMZ to schedule the party for four days from tonight. Then plan out some cardio workouts for tonight to make sure we’re all in good enough shape to fight.”

Rather grumpily, he replied with a simple, “Fine,” and exited my room.

I turned to my two female teammates and said, “Lady Smash and Phlegm, since the ass has no effect on you, go up to the Watch Tower and find out what ever you can about it.” I turned to Derren and Criss and continued, “I’ll need you two to watch as much of ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ as you can. We won’t be able to get a blueprint of their house without a permit or breaking into where ever those are kept, but we can learn enough about the layout from the show. Also look for any weaknesses she might have. Everett and Nut’n Fancy, do some research on friends and the rest of the family. Go back through the family tree. Look for anything that might be relevant. Also look into Bruce Jenner’s family. I don’t trust that face.”

“What do you want me to do, Boss?” Jessie asked in an upbeat tone. Despite having voted against the the idea that Kim Kardashian’s ass is hypnotic, he still seemed excited to go on any adventure at all.

“Do a walk through maintenance inspection on the Awesomecopter!,” I answered, “And try to make it as quiet as possible. We’ll be in a residential neighborhood, so we’ll need to keep it quiet.”

“You know that the Awesomecopter! is a helicopter, right?” He asked me, “I can’t just make it silent.”

“Fine,” I replied, “Do something to make the Awesomebus! quieter and more inconspicuous.”

He nodded and left, as did the rest of the team to carry out their various tasks.  I stood up from my bed, paced across my room, and began brainstorming how we were going to break into the Kardashian residence.

The Tale of the Unwanted Box of Gushers

 

After work Tuesday morning, I bought a box of gushers. When I opened the box to devour the little gem shaped goo sacks, I found bizarre scrawlings written all over the inside. As it turns out, they were journal entries, and I thought I would share them with you. Enjoy:

 

Day  1:

Dear Journal,

Hello! I am a box of Gushers fruit snacks, expiration date 11 Jun 2014, and today is the day that I finally moved up to the front of the line on the shelf. I’m really excited. After all, I have been waiting for this moment ever since I’ve had my insides stuffed inside me and my ends sealed with hot glue. That sounds painful but it’s actually quite nice- you feel whole afterwards. Anyway, I just know that any minute now a person (or possibly a younger person with the case of the “munchies” as I’ve heard it) will take me off the shelf, and carry me off to their homes where…

Actually, I don’t know what happens then. No one does. There are stories of course- some say that we spend the time before we expire relaxing with other items, doing whatever we want- standing there, lying down, falling over, you name it. Then, of course, there are the boxes of gushers that believe that we’re going to be tortured and possibly eaten by these giant people. These boxes hang out in the back of the shelf, sometimes behind other products like Fruit Roll Ups until a worker person finds them. Personally, I like to believe that I will spend my remaining time playing with the miniature people (children, as they’re called), seeing as though they are the ones who usually ask for us by name.

But whatever happens, I will find out soon! I’m at the front! I can see the floor for the first time since the brief glimpse I stole as I was being put on the shelf. That feels like such a long time ago now. But it doesn’t matter, I was made for whatever happens to me next! Oh, and look! A person is coming! I think this one is called a “man.” He has short hair, is larger than the “womans” I’ve seen, and is wearing nice looking clothes. I especially like the shiny black things on his feet and the piece of dark blue cloth that starts at his throat and hangs down in front of his chest. It looks fancy. I wonder if he’ll let me wear it.

He’s getting closer now. He’s pushing one of those carts, and it has quite a good amount of stuff in it already, but I see room for me! I’m standing up straight, making sure not to wobble, and my logo is clearly visible. There is no way he is going to miss me. He’s still walking towards me! Getting closer! Getting closer! He’s right in front of me!

He passed me up. He didn’t even notice that I was there. Maybe I did something wrong. Maybe my colors weren’t bright enough to get his attention. There is a tiny bit of space between me and the edge of the shelf; maybe I should’ve been forward a little more. I wish I knew what I did wrong. No. It’s OK. That was the first time a person walked by while I was in front. I cannot start beating myself up just because that man didn’t want me. Someone will, and pretty soon I will be taken home by that person, I can feel it in my pouches.

Gushers, Expiration date: 11 Jun 2014

Dear Journal,

I’ve been taken off the shelf! A very nice sounding woman snatched me up and tossed me lovingly into her cart. I like her- I think we’ll make a great pair. She’s older, has a fun round shape to her, and leans onto the cart as she walks, like she’s trying to get closer to us!

By “us” I mean the other products and myself. I guess you could call them my new friends. Or well most of them. At first, I tried hanging out with a bunch of colorful things in bags. They called themselves fruits, and since fruit is part of my name, I figured I belonged with them. I was wrong. They called me a lot of hurtful names like “fake” and “candy” and “nonperishable.”

“Why don’t you hang out with the other junk food,” the apples said in unison.

I was hurt, but obliged them, and I decided to talk to the other boxed items like me. There was tall box called Saltines, and a box that was closer to my shape named Hamburger Helper. They were much nicer to me. As was the blue plastic package called Oreo, who was put in the cart after me. I liked my new friends. We all shared storied about our time in the factory and on the shelf, as well as our theories on what happened to us next. Apparently, no one knows for sure, but every rumor I heard from the other Gushers were also told to them, so I wasn’t much help in solving that mystery.

After a while of our person wandering through the store, she grabbed a big white thing and set it down between me and Hamburger Helper. This new guy, who’s label said “Homogenized Milk” was the weirdest thing in the cart. He was easily the biggest thing in there, but he was also kind of squishy.

“I’m filled with liquid,” he explained.

“But then why are you so cold?” Hamburger Helper asked.

That was a good question. He was very cold, and after not too long he began to sweat.

“Why are you so moist?” I asked after I accidentally touched him. The water was quickly absorbed into my cardboard and the area started to swell. I fell away from him to prevent it from happening again.

“Well, shit,” he replied, “That’s just my condensation. It happens to all us cold stuff. Don’t worry though; it’s not dangerous and will evaporate again soon.

“Why are you even talking to those Nonperishables, Homogenized Milk?” the cucumber at the other end of the cart asked, “Their expiration dates aren’t this month. They’re not even next month. How can you trust something that lasts longer than two months?”

“Hey Cucumber,” Homogenized milk retorted, “You’re just a jar of vinegar away from being nonperishable yourself, so how about you fuck off.”

The cucumber didn’t say anything back, but instead started a heated conversation with a bunch of bananas.

“Don’t worry about those guys,” Homogenized reassured us, “They’re produce, and produce goes rotten real damn quick. You just have to ignore those fuckers.”

We all laughed with Homogenized milk, and pretty soon he had given us all nick names. I was “Gush”- which I liked- it sounded cool, Hamburger Helper was “HH,” Saltines didn’t seemed too pleased with “Cracker,” but he didn’t complain, and Oreo was given the nick name “Big O.”

Big O then said to Homogenized, “We should call you Homo!”

He liked the name and adopted it as his own, and finally our little group was complete. Well, that is until our person stopped the cart. I looked up at her. She was looking from a slip of paper to us and frowning. Then, without a single word, she picked me up and pulled me out of the cart. With a look of both disappointment and annoyance, she set me down on a nearby shelf and then returned to the cart and walked away.

“Homo! HH! Big O! Cracker! Help!” I cried, “She’s leaving me, she’s leaving me!”

“Gush!” they cried back. But it was no use. She turned the corner and they were gone, and I knew I was never going to see them again. I wanted to cry. I really did. How could my person do this to me? I wasn’t even on the right shelf. I was far, far away from where I was supposed to be. How was I supposed to get back? Why would she abandon me here of all places- behind a bunch of little boxes of Lotrimin Ultra, and under hanging Dr. Scholl’s inserts? Why did she even bother to get my hopes up if all she was going to do was to leave me somewhere else? Are people really this cruel? Will anyone pick me up if I’m here? I took a deep breath after asking myself that last question and said to myself, “hopefully they will, and hopefully it will be soon.”

Gush, Expiration date: 11 Jun 2014

"You think this is funny, don't you? WHY IS THIS A GAME TO YOU?!?!"

“Woe is my existance.”

Day 2

Dear Journal,

No one picked me up today. Most people barely noticed I was there. I don’t like it here. It’s cold. See, on the other side of the aisle there are shelves sitting in a cooler, and they are filled with bottles of different colored liquid. I’ve overheard them call themselves “Juices.” I wondered if they’re similar to Homo, and was thinking about asking them, but the memory of Homo and the others made me too depressed to speak.

Throughout the rest of the day, I took in my surroundings. I was on a very small shelf- much smaller than the one with all the other Gushers. Despite the fact that I was towards the back of the shelf, I could still see the floor over the packages of Lotrimin Ultra. Speaking of the Lotrimin Ultra, if you ever get a chance to talk to them, Journal, Don’t. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not mean like the produce, but they’re just really, really weird. Anytime a person passes, they feel compelled to talk about the person’s feet. They discuss which person’s feet would have the worst fungus, or which ones had unhealthy looking toenails. I seriously think they get off on it. When one of them finally said something to me, all it asked was, “Do you like feet?”

“I don’t know,” I replied honestly, “I’ve never seen them outside of those things they wear over top of them.”

Several Lotrimins moaned with pleasure, and I made a note to never mention naked feet ever again.

Somehow, the Dr. Scholl’s inserts above me were even worse, all they talk about is how much they want to be stepped on by particular customers. They call some customers “Flatfoot” which sounds like equal parts an insult and a sexy nickname when they say it, and whenever they do, I realize just how out of place I am on this shelf. I really don’t like it here, but I’m hoping that a worker person will pick me up soon and take me back to the self with all the other Gushers.

Honestly, I’m not huge on the idea; I’ve seen boxes come back before, and it’s always embarrassing, but the feeling of embarrassment cannot possibly compare to the feeling of loneliness and rejection from being stuck in a place you don’t belong. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be back over there. I guess we’ll see.

Gush, Expiration date: 11 Jun 2014

Day 7

Dear Journal,

Sorry I haven’t written over the past couple of days, but I was busy trying to figure out how to count the days. I had to guess with Day 2. Luckily for me (I guess) one of the Lotrimins told me that whenever the lights in the juice case come on, it’s the start of a new day. Once I was told that, I had to count backwards in order to figure out how many days it had been, and then find a way to record them. I decided to mark the day with a little line on the inside of my box. I have marked six since I’ve been here, so that means it’s day 7.

Crud, I’ve been here seven days and not a single worker person has bothered to pick me up. I know they see me; I’ve seen them look directly at me. But no, all they do is look at me and keep walking.  I always see the same few too. First there are two women. One is shorter and has red curly hair, and the other is a bit taller with much shorter hair that is always sticking up. They are the ones that usually add more Lotrimin and Dr. Scholl’s to the shelf, so I don’t understand why they haven’t taken me back yet. Then there are a series of people whom I mostly see the backs of, as they deal with the juice. I doubt any of them have even noticed me, despite the fact that I’m at least five inches taller than the backs of the Lotrimin boxes.

Then there is another person that only comes in around the time the Juice cooler lights go off and leaves around the time the lights come back on. This person has long hair, so originally, I was inclined to believe it was a woman. But judging by its voice and how its shaped more like a man, I’ve convinced myself that it is one. It (or, I guess “he”) is usually the one to put the juice on the shelf. He brings the cases out on a large, flat, wooded thing and usually sets it down right in front of me. Because of this, he seems to be the only one to really notice me. Granted, he only glanced at me the first few days, but with each new day, he notices me more and more. I was hoping that he would be the one to take me back, that is, until I heard him mutter, “not my damn problem” after looking at me yesterday. I had never heard those words before, but there was such a cold dismissal behind them that I couldn’t help but feel insulted. When I could, I caught a glimpse of his name tag. “Minigan” it read. Well, you’re a jerk, Minigan. I’m pretty sure that I am your problem, since you work here after all. It’s not like I’m demanding that you take me home with you, just back to the shelf. And that shouldn’t be too far for you because you have legs. Are you really that lazy?

I’m sorry Journal, I got carried away. I think it’s time I end it for the night. The lights in the cooler just went off, so Minigan should be here any time now.

Gush, Expiration date: 11 Jun 2014

Day 11

Dear Journal,

I’m still here, on the tiny shelf behind the Lotrimin Ultra. No one has bothered to pick me up yet. I’m beginning to think that most of the worker people are just trying to avoid me. They must think I have a disease or something. All they ever do is look at me and keep walking. At least that Minigan person has had the decency to give me a reason why he isn’t bothering to take me back to my rightful place. A couple of nights ago (apparently the time that the lights in the cooler are off are called “nights”), he once again saw me on the shelf, standing in roughly the same spot that I had been for the past 10. He chuckled to himself and said to me, “Someone still hasn’t taken you back to eight?!”

I couldn’t answer because I have no lips.

“Well,” he continued without me, “I would, but you’re in Aych Bee See’s department, so they should be the ones who fucking take you back. Plus, I’ve got a lot of damn juice to work.”

I wanted to be angry at him for leaving me there again, but that was the most honest a person has ever been to me. Plus, his use of the words “fuck” and “damn” reminded me of Homo, whom I missed dearly. I hope he was happy at his new home with Big O, Cracker, and HH. It was in that longing that I decided to give this Minigan person the nickname “Homo 2.”

Although they shared some of the same vocabulary, Homo and Homo 2 are widely different. Homo 2 has a tendency to talk to himself, and if he had black things in his ears, sing to himself. One night he spent at least a half an hour singing about a party in the Yu Essay. I don’t know what a Yu Essay is, but he must like partying in it a lot. Also, other than his snappy remarks at the produce, Homo seemed to be pretty peaceful. Not Homo 2. He throws cases of juice across the floor just so that he doesn’t have to carry them, and I’ve watched in horror as he tosses the single bottles up into the air and catch them before placing them on the shelf. It makes me glad that he wasn’t the one to put me on my old shelf. But even still, at least he noticed me, and seeing him come around means that I don’t feel so lonely.

Until tomorrow, maybe,

Gush, Expiration date: 11 Jun 2014

Day 16

Dear Journal,

I hate these worker people! All of them! Every. Last. One! Today, while I was sitting in the same stupid place I had been sitting since I was unceremoniously dropped off by that awful woman, one of those Aych Bee See workers that Homo 2 mentioned came by to restock the shelves, and do you know what she did? She pushed me out of her way! She just knocked me on my side and continued to work, as if I had no feelings at all! And then, when she was finally done, she left me laying here on my side! I can’t even see past the backs of the Lotrimin boxes now. That was all I had; the ability to see what was going on in the world beyond this tiny shelf, and now even that’s been taken from me. How do these awful think so positively of themselves.

And do you know what makes it even worse? Whenever that jerk Minigan (he lost the privilege to be called Homo) came in a little bit ago, he saw me laying on my side, laughed, and then took a picture with his phone. He’s getting some kind of demented amusement from seeing me here day after day. And know that it’s obvious that I’ve been moved, he’s getting an even bigger kick out of it. I swear I would give anything to be taken away from this shelf and never see that long haired “man” again.

An angry Gushers, Expiration date 11 June 2014, tolerance expiration date: Now

gushers 1

“Don’t just stand there grinning and taking pictures, set me back up Minigan!”

Day 17

Dear Journal,

I decided to focus my energy on socializing with the Lotrimins that I was lying behind today. I didn’t learn much, but I did learn that they absolutely hate a group of products called Tinactin. At first I didn’t know what Tinactin was, but then a customer walked by and a chorus of “Booms” came from somewhere along the shelf. One of the Lotrimins groaned and informed me that anytime I hear a “boom” it’s coming from a Tinactin product. Apparently they have a stupid spokesperson. At least that’s what Lotrimin, Expiration date May 21 2015, said.

Later in the day, Minigan showed up for work, pulling his “pallet” of juice behind him. When he saw me, he chuckled, said “still here” mostly to himself, and then stood me back up. That would have redeemed him if it wasn’t for him deciding to take another picture of me. He revels in my humiliation. After all, we’re all just objects to him. We have no feelings, no emotions, no hopes. We’re just things that he tosses around to amuse himself while he’s working. What a sociopath.

Gush, Expiration date: 11 Jun 2014

Day 18

Dear Journal,

I take back every negative thing I said about Minigan. He just picked me up and put me in his cart. He said that the only way I’ll move anywhere is if he goes ahead and buys me, so that’s what he’s gonna do! I’ll have a home today! He’s even picked up friends for me! They’re both bottles of oddly colored juice. One is black and calls itself Dr. Pepper, and the other is green and goes by the name Mtn Dew. It tells me that it’s pronounced “Mountain” not “Mit-in” like I was saying. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll be happy with Minigan-

Wait… Oh, God. Minigan just said that it’s been a long time since he’s eaten Gushers. Eaten??? Those paranoid boxes of Gushers that hid behind the Fruit Roll Ups were right this whole time?! We are just food to these people!? This cannot be happening! Please let him change his mind, please! Someone needs to rescue me; he’s theorizing how long it take him to eat all of my six pouches.

Someone please help me!

Someone please help me!

“Not my pouches!” I tried saying to him, “Anything but my pouches! Please Minigan, please don’t eat me!”

But he didn’t hear me because I have no lips. As he marched me down an aisle, I called to the products on the shelves, “Help me!” but none of them reacted to my pleas.

“We’re food!” I shrieked, just trying to get their attention, “All we are is food to people!”

But not a single one of them responded, and my fate is sealed as Minigan wheels his cart into the lane of an open register.

Final entry of Gush, Expiration date: 11 Jun 2014, but it’s likely I’ll never reach that date.

 

Well, shit. That was kind of grim, wasn’t it? Sorry everybody.

Actually, knowing that Gushers are sentient beings and have human emotions makes them taste even better!

Actually, knowing that Gushers are sentient beings and have human emotions makes them taste even better!

Awesomesquad! Assemble! 1 Revisited! (Part 4)

Since this is part 4 of this section of my novel, you need to be filled in on what happened in the first three. If you’re new to Awesomesquad! Assemble!, then you should go back and read them when you’re done. I promise you won’t regret it (a lot).

Back in May of 2009, Jessie James (our mechanic/ vehicle builder) came to us with the theory that Donald Trump was up to deeds more dastardly than his usual dastardly deeds. Against Damien Walters’s (our fighting/ parkour trainer) wishes, we flew to New York City to run some surveillance on the orange skinned millionaire. We stayed at a hotel the night before we were to carry out the stake out.

The next morning, Damien left to break into the lower levels of the Trump Tower and download a program onto the Security system so that we would have access to the cameras, while the rest of us minus Lady Caggiano (my second in command/ stubborn crazy person) went to stake out the atrium of The Trump Tower and to try and bug Trump. Our first attempt was a failure; Jessie was unable to get Trump to talk to him at all. Then, I recieved word that Damien was in trouble with security, so I had Criss Angel (Mind Freak/ the team’s wizard) distract some of the guards. Finally, when our second chance to bug Trump arrived, Jessie was about to do just that when Trump’s body guards found the bug Jessie was trying to plant. Thinking quickly, I had Criss, plant the bug instead. He successfully managed to do it, but we were all caught and thrown out of the Trump Tower. When we made it back to the hotel room, we waited for any information from Damien, who still hadn’t come back. While we waited, we watched the security camera in Trump’s private elevator, and discovered that Jessie’s theory was actually correct.

Meanwhile, Damien was found out by security, and had to fight his way to the security station deep within the lower levels of The Trump Tower. Once inside, he was able install the software and the router that GMZ needed to take over the security cameras. However, the building’s security team gathered enough forces to attempt to break down the door. Damien, in a brilliant display of enginuity, managed to knock out most of the guards and escape through the ceiling. However, the ceiling panels couldn’t hold his weight, and he fell back through. On the run again, he made it back to the elevator and into the ventilation ducts, where he overheard a conversation about Trump buying an apartment complex and forcing everyone out- thus proving Jessie’s theory. Damien made it out  and back to the hotel, where we planned our breach of Trump’s loft.

And that’s where we are now. So,now I give you Awesomesquad! Assemble! 1 Revisited! (Part 4).

*Disclaimer*

This is a work of fiction. All the characters- even the ones based on real people- are simply parodies and noting written here should be taken as the truth. Trump, Please don’t sue. I don’t have any money, and I won’t learn my lesson.

***

As we ate our dinner and waited for Everett to return, we talked about whether or not Dan Brown’s latest novel was going to be any good, and how hard of a left turn down Crazy Street the ending would take. We all agreed that it wouldn’t be “’Deception Point’s’ swirling shark vortex,” hard left, but had to be at least above “The Da Vinci Code’s’ British geriatric with crutches holding a gun” left.

“I’d want the ridiculous, over the top ending, over the clever one” Nut’n Fancy noted. When I looked at him with mild surprise, he defended himself by saying, “What? It’s an action novel. You’re not supposed to learn some great truth about the universe from the action, you’re supposed to sit back and enjoy all the ‘splosions.”

“I’m just impressed that you read books,” Lady Caggiano quipped jokingly.

Nut’n Fancy shrugged and replied with a grin, “Well, I gotta keep y’all book lov’n Liberals on ya’lls toes, don’t I?”

“I guess,” Lady Caggiano answered pleasantly enough, “But in any case, out-of-left-field action sequences that only exist to be as over the top as possible only entertain, and action has the opportunity to be deep as well as entertaining. And action is even worse when it’s so over the top that it makes no goddamn sense. It’s like the writers don’t give a shit about the reader.”

Once we had finished our sandwiches, we stuffed the wrappers in the already overflowing trash bin, and began to prepare for our mission. Lady Caggiano emptied out her suitcase and loaded her belongings into mine. Then, she began loading up her guns, vest, pants, mask, gas mask, knockout gas, and knives into the emptied suitcase.

As for the rest of the group, we each loaded up our book bags full of weapons, extra ammo, and other assorted equipment. GMZ loaded two bags: the first simply had his laptop, his Bluetooth headset, a pair of binoculars, and a couple of stink bombs, the other had a lap top, plus everything the rest of us put in ours. I realized that second one was for Everett, as he made sure to add the flame throwers and extra bottles of butane. I eyed the metallic hand torches longingly; Everett at this point hadn’t made any more flame throwers than the ones he already had, so he was the only one to use them. Damn it I wanted to use those things.

By the time we had finished loading our stuff into our book bags, and loading the rest of our belongings back into our duffle bags, it was almost 9:30, and Everett and Derren had arrived.

As he marched through the door, Derren announced, “OK, everyone. I need to sign us out of the room and take our luggage to the Awesomecopter!, so everyone but GMZ needs to help bring the bags down to the Lobby.”

We all nodded in understanding, and then I turned to GMZ and said, “Go up to the rooftop bar and get set up. I’ll text you when we’re headed up.”

“Right on,” he replied, and without another word, grabbed his book bag and headed out the door.

The rest of us headed down to the lobby, and as Derren checked out, Damien and I hailed a taxi and we loaded it with the remaining five duffel bags. Once we were finished, and Derren had boarded the taxi and left for the airport, everyone but Lady Caggiano and I returned to the lobby. I looked at her, and for a brief second, I couldn’t help but think of how she actually did look kind of cute in the schoolgirl outfit.

I shook that awkward thought from my mind and said to her, “Walk around the Trump Tower until I radio you and tell you that we’re in position.”

“Got it.”

“Do you have a gun on you right now?” I asked in a hushed voice.

“Of course,” she replied.

I answered, “Good. If anyone tries to bother you when you’re walking around, don’t be afraid to threaten them with it.”

Lady Caggiano smirked, “Like I would ever let someone bother me.”

I chuckled, knowing that that poor soul would never be able to walk again, and then said, “Good luck.”

I opened my arms for a hug, but she just stared at me.

“What the hell are you doing?” she asked, “We only fist pound, bro.”

Taken aback, I dropped my arms and instead held out my fist for her to pound it.

She laughed, “I’m only fuckin’ with you. Of course I’ll hug you.” She stepped into me and wrapped her arms around my chest. With her voice slightly muffled, she said to me, “You guys be careful.”

“Same to you,” I replied into the top of her head.

We pulled apart, and confidently, she walked off in the direction of the Trump Tower, dragging her suitcase with her. I watched her go for a second or two, and then headed back into the Lobby.

Once inside, I was greeted with a chorus of “awe’s” from the remaining four team members.

As firmly as I could, I spat, “Each one of you can blow it out your ass. Let’s get to the roof.”

We entered the first empty elevator and rode it to the roof. Once it began its ascent, I texted GMZ and let him know that we were headed up. I didn’t get a response back. I didn’t need one, however, because the in pouring of panicked bar patrons and bar tenders, each of them covering their mouths and noses from the putrid, sour stench that washed in behind them, was enough indication that he had thrown the stink bombs. Criss, Damien, Nut’n Fancy, Everett, and I pushed our way through the packed elevator, covered our noses and mouths with our shirt sleeves, and set off to find GMZ through the acrid smoke. I walked through the haze, the smell from the stink bombs making my eyes sting and tear up in defense. After a few seconds of fumbling over overturned chairs, we found him right where we planned: in the seating area closest to the intersection we would be zip lining over. He was already wearing his gas mask and was typing feverishly at his computer.

Although the mask muffled his voice, I heard him say, “You guys are gonna want to hurry up, because security will probably be up here soon.”

We all nodded, GMZ lit and threw the last of the stink bombs in the direction of the elevators, and Everett began unpacking a bag full of our zip line gear. GMZ pulled the mask off of his face and handed it to Everett, who stuffed it in the now empty zip line bag. Once he got a whiff of the foul air, he gasped, “Jesus Crist in a neck brace, this is awful.”

“Stop take’n The Lord’s name in vain!” Nut’n Fancy shouted.

“Minigan does it all the time!”  GMZ cried back as he covered his mouth with the sleeve of his sweatshirt.

“I’ve told him to stop saying that a hundred times!”

“Enough already!” I shouted, the stench becoming too much for me to handle, “Let’s just get going already.

Nut’n Fancy obliged, assembled the heavy duty grappling hook gun in a flash, and fired the hook diagonally across the 5th Avenue intersection. The Hook lodged itself into the center of the roof of the building on the opposite block. Everett fastened the wire to the roof, seeing to it that it would be safe enough for us zip line across without it coming loose. Then the five of us put on our harnesses, our gloves, and our protective goggles as fast as we could, and then one at a time attached our zip line trolleys to the wire.

Damien went first. Fearlessly, the man jumped off the building flew through the air high over the busy street. Within seconds, he pressed his hand down the on the wire, and once his feet touched the roof, he ran to a stop. I looked over the railing to see if anyone on the street had noticed. Everyone down there was bustling on, completely unaware that someone had just zip lined from one building to another.

Nut’n Fancy was up next. He slung the grappling hook gun across his shoulder,  grabbed a hold of his trolley and jumped. He awkwardly spun to one side as he whipped across the rooftops, but managed to correct himself before he landed. I checked again to see if anyone on the ground had noticed (they hadn’t), and then Everett  and Criss followed.

It was my turn. I fastened my trolley to the wire, and before I jumped, I reminded GMZ, “Once I make it across, start unfastening the wire. Everett will reel it in, so let go once you feel it tug.”

“Got it. And I’ve already got my WoW game set up for when security gets up here,” he replied.

Figuring that Security would immediately suspect him of setting off the smoke bombs, GMZ decided his best alibi would be to act like he was in the middle of an intense quest in the MMORPG World of Warcraft, and that he was too preoccupied with the game that he wouldn’t move, even if someone set off smoke bombs or if security was bothering him. This also meant that he could talk to us freely and not look suspicious once the bar patrons and workers returned.

I jumped off the side of the building and rolled backwards. I pulled my knees up to my chest, and zoomed across the intersection. The cool night air rushed past my face and filled my nostrils with the smell of car exhaust, which was a welcoming scent after the stink bombs. Poor GMZ was going to have to deal with that for a while. Once I got close enough to the building, I pressed my gloved hand onto the wire behind my trolley, and slowed myself down. Once I reached the roof, I dropped my legs and let my feet slow me to a stop. I immediately unclipped my zip line trolley from the wire, and Everett freed the wire from the hook lodged into the roof. He then fed his end through a reeling device, and the other four of us stepped behind him as he pressed the button. The machine lit up with a bright orange light and let out a loud “whir” noise. In the matter of only a couple of seconds, the other end of wire shot out of GMZ’s hands on the Peninsula’s roof and across the intersection. Once the last inch was inside the reeling device, the light went out and the sound ceased with a light click. When I looked back up, GMZ was already staring at his computer screen.

“Alright, guys,” I said to my team, “let’s go.”

Quietly, we crept across the roof top until we reached the glass wall of the office building separating us from the Trump Tower. Nut’n Fancy reloaded the Grappling hook gun, and shot it up the side of the building. Nut’n Fancy tugged on the rope to make sure it was secure, and once he was satisfied, we began to creep up the wall of the building. We made it to the top, making sure to step around any illuminated window, and once we climbed over the wall we prepared ourselves to do it again.

Nut’n Fancy changed the rope on the grappling hook, this time to one that several loops at the end so that we could fasten our carabiners to. He attached the looped end to the gun, put the grabbling hook into the barrel, and fired at the Trump Tower’s roof. The hook sailed up into the darkness, but after a moment or two, found an edge to hook onto. We all hooked our carabiners into a separate loop, and then Nut’n Fancy (who was hooked into the last loop) fastened the gun to his chest. Together, we jumped off the roof. In one motion, we swung across East 56th Street and slammed into the glass. Luckily, we slammed into the levels that housed offices, so the rooms were dark and uninhabited. As soon as we all had our feet planted on the wall of the building, we began to scale the Trump Tower with me leading the way up.

After only a few minutes of climbing I began to feel the burn in my muscles. I closed my eyes and forced my body to work through the pain. As we moved higher, the winds picked up, and we had to move even slower so that we could brace ourselves from the gusts. The sounds of the street below were growing distant at an unacceptably slow rate, and beads of sweat formed on my forehead before rolling down my face and evaporating, making the cool gusts feel icy cold against my skin.

After what felt like hours, we were finally getting close to the top when I noticed that we were coming up on a window that was dimly illuminated. From such an extreme angle that I was looking up at even just twenty feet below, I couldn’t see the light until just then.

“Guys,” I said as quietly as I could but still loud enough so that they could hear me, “We’re coming up on a window, move to the right.”

They heard, and slowly we inched up the wall and gradually drifted to the right. As soon as I got up to the window, my curiosity got the best of me and peered inside.

“Holy shit you guys!” I exclaimed a little bit louder than what I should’ve, “Jay-Z and Beyoncé live here!”

“Shut up, Minigan!” they answered in unison in what I assumed was disbelief and not aggravation by my outburst.

But it absolutely was them. The entire room was dark, but the light coming from their TV illuminated their faces to the point that I was sure it was them. Jay-Z had his arm wrapped around Beyoncé and was holding onto what I guessed was a beer bottle with his free hand. Beyoncé was draped in a blanket with her feet poking out of the side. On her lap was a bowl of popcorn that she was eating out of, one kernel at a time. I paused and watched them for a second or two, confident that black I was wearing (my cloak was in my book bag) and their complete absorption in whatever they were watching would render me invisible to them.

I had every intention to watch them for just a little while longer, but Damien punched me in my leg and whispered, “Hurry up, you bloody git!”

I obliged and hurried my way past the window, the couple inside completely oblivious to the people climbing right outside their window.

“Holy shit! That is Beyoncé and Jay-Z!” Everett exclaimed.

“I told you so!”

After another long minute or two of climbing, I finally reached the top. I climbed over the side and then immediately turned around to help pull Damien up. Once he was over, we both helped Everett, Criss, and Nut’n Fancy over the railing. We unhooked ourselves from the rope, and then wasted no time setting up. Everett began setting up his laptop near the access door that Lady Caggiano was supposed to open for us. Nut’n Fancy, Damien, and Criss unpacked their bags and began placing their weapons and extra ammo in their belts and holsters.

I pressed the button on my earpiece and announced, “We’re on the roof. Lady Caggiano, head towards the Atrium’s entrance now, but do not engage until I say so.”

She coughed twice, which I took as meaning “affirmative.”

“GMZ,” I asked, “How are things on your end?”

“Pretty good so far. Security asked me a few questions about the stink bombs, but I had them convinced that I was way into WoW to care about the smell. Lady Caggiano, there is a doorman and two of Trump’s guards at the Atrium entrance, so you’ll have to take them out before heading up to Trump’s loft.”

She coughed again.

“Alright,” I added, “I’ll radio you both when we’re ready to start.”

As quickly as I could, I loaded my guns and fastened the holsters to my bullet proof vest. I then loaded up my belt with extra magazines, knives, my grappling gun and hooks, smoke and flash bombs, and a tube of what Everett called “Sticky Bombs.” I pulled out my folded white cloak from the bottom of my bag, shook it, and let the lightweight yet strong cloth unfold itself into its normal cloak shape. With one fluid motion, I twirled the cloak at the base of the hood around my neck and fastened it. I then checked the secret pocket inside and felt the blade of my Justice Stick. I had never used it in battle before, and if everything went smoothly, I wouldn’t be using it tonight either. I sighed. I had been training at night with Damien over the past few months with practice poles, and I was just itching to whip it out and swing my big stick at people (Trust me, I’m going to be making those jokes through this entire story. Be prepared for it).

Once we were all ready and had gathered back at where Everett had set up his computer, I radioed Lady Caggiano and GMZ. “Alright. Let’s do this.”

“OK,” GMZ replied, “I switched the camera footage being played in the Trump Tower security to footage from the night before and I’ve also blocked radio communication for Trump Tower’s security. So, Lady Caggiano, the only people watching you on those cameras is us.”

She sniffed, which indicated that she was getting into character. I crouched down with the rest of the team on the roof to watch. Everett brought up the view from one of the Atrium cameras where the entrance, the doorman, and Trump’s two private guards were all in view. The doorman was pacing back and forth, one of the guards stood near the elevator, and the other directly in front of the camera. Thanks to the bugs we planted in the morning, we could hear the doorman as he griped about Trump forcing the three of them to stay the night.

“This is some high class, premium cut bullshit.” He yelled out with his Brooklyn accent, “I was gonna meet up with some bitches tonight.”

I murmured to my group, “If Lady Caggiano heard that, that man is already dead.”

From outside, I noticed the murky image of Lady Caggiano appear from the darkness. Everett zoomed in as the doorman turned around and saw Lady Caggiano at the door. She waved at him. She smiled, but she was clearly distraught, and I was pretty sure that there was a steady flow of tears running down her face.

“Don’t let her in,” one of Trump’s private security commanded.

“What?” the doorman replied, “It’s just some girl. What’s she gonna do? Besides, there was no women in the group that got kicked out this morning.”

The doorman turned around, headed to the door, and let the sobbing Lady Caggiano inside. “What’s the matter, miss?” he asked politely.

“I,” she sniffed, “I lost my school group when we got off the subway and my cell phone is dead and I don’t know where to go and I… I…” she broke into full body sobs that made Helen Miren’s acting look unfit for B horror movies.

“No, no, don’t cry!” he said as he patted her reassuringly on her shoulder. He then turned to the nervous guards and said, “See? She’s just a lost little girl in the big city.” “Would you like to use my cellphone, hun?”

Lady Caggiano’s eyes lit up as she replied, “Oh, yes please, please, please! Thank you so much, sir!”

He pulled out his phone, leaned in to hand it to Lady Caggiano, and then stood perfectly still for a second. Then two seconds. Then five seconds. I looked to everyone else watching the video feed; they all had puzzled looks on their faces, but their eyes had not turned away from the screen. The man was still standing in his awkward stance, partially bowing towards Lady Caggiano. From the position of the camera, we could only see Lady Caggiano’s pigtails- everything else was blocked by the doorman. Apparently, guards were just as curious as we were, because one slowly moved off to the side to see what was happening.

Lady Caggiano stepped to her right, gun in hand and the barrel lodged in the doorman’s mouth. She fired. The doorman shrieked and fell to the floor, and the security guard near the elevator fell to the ground, dead. Before the other guard could react, Lady Caggiano aimed and fired at him, hitting him in his chest.

She walked away from the writhing and moaning doorman whom she had shot through the cheek, and fired the kill shot into his head after saying, “Don’t call me hun.”

The five of us stared slack jawed at the laptop where we had just watched Lady Caggiano casually murder three people. GMZ’s flabbergasted and mildly terrified voice came through my earpiece, “What in the entire cosmos of celestial fucks just happened?”

Lady Caggiano strode to the elevator doors, and with her gun in one hand, the handle of her pink roller suitcase in the other, she stole the clearance card from the dead guard and swiped it. Then, as the elevator doors opened, she looked to the camera and made a couple of gestures with her hands and forearms.

Damien looked up from the screen, the golden light illuminating half of his face and asked, “What does that mean?”

I answered as I rubbed my forehead with the tips of my fingers, “I have no fucking clue. We didn’t plan out hand signals.”

After she was finished making nonsensical hand signals, she stepped into Trump’s private elevator and let the doors close behind her.

Everett toggled up the camera inside the elevator, and the image of three dead men in the Trump Tower Atrium was replaced with Lady Caggiano changing in the elevator.

I covered the screen with my hand and said, “Let’s give her some privacy-)

The screen went black.

I pressed the button on my earpiece and asked, “Lady Caggiano, what happened to the camera?”

“I covered it with my BIMBONIA ACADEMY jacket,” she replied, “that way, you dirty pervs couldn’t watch.”

“I was covering you up with my hand,” I insisted. Then, I made my voice harsh and asked, “And what the hell was with you murdering those three guys? Did you not bring the tranquilizer gun?!”

“Hey,” she snapped back, “Trump wants them to use deadly force on us, so why shouldn’t we use deadly force back? Plus, Damien shot two of those darts into that one guard’s neck and that didn’t even knock him out, and the two guards in the Atrium were much bigger than that guy was.”

“She’s got a point, Minigan,” Damien added.

“But this is still our first real mission, and I don’t immediately want to get a bad reputation-“

“From whom?” Lady Caggiano asked sarcastically, “No one knows we’re doing this. That was the whole point, remember. Besides, I don’t give a damn about my reputation.”

“Well,” I snapped back at her, “It’s a good thing you don’t give a damn about your bad reputation, Joan Jett, because right now your reputation is that you’re a grade A psychopath.”

I pressed the button on my earpiece to turn off the speaker, and then said to the other four men, “I hate it when she’s right.”

After about a minute or two of silence from Lady Caggiano’s end, she uncovered the camera, revealing herself in her bulletproof vest, black pants, and goggles. Her guns, knives, and canisters of knockout gas were strapped to her vest and belt for easy access, and her long, light brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail.

GMZ’s voice came through my earpiece and announced, “OK Lady Caggiano, you’re getting close. There are three men outside the elevator door. Use a can of knockout gas to take them out.”

“Sure,” she replied as she grabbed the canister on her chest. She ripped it out of the pocket, but the ring got caught on her vest and pulled out of the top. “Oh shit,” She muttered.

“Oh shit,” The five us on the roof answered.

“Oh shit,” GMZ’s voice echoed.

There was about a second where I could clearly see the expression that I can only describe as “pure fucked” on Lady Caggiano’s face before the cloud of knockout gas enveloped her head. Within seconds, the entire elevator was filled with the gas and the whole computer screen went white.

“GMZ!” I shouted as I jumped to my feet and pressed the button on my earpiece, “We need to save her! We need to break into the Trump Tower now!”

“OK,” GMZ replied, his voice shaken. He steadied it and continued, “If you guys are on the grass, that means over the ledge should be a glass roof. That’s the roof to the elevator shaft. The doors open in your direction, and then the hallway in Trump’s penthouse head left parallel to East 56th. If you rappel down either the shaft you could save her before the doors open.”

“Too late,” Everett interjected, “the elevator is at Trump’s floor.”

“Nut’n Fancy and Damien,” I commanded hurriedly, “Set up ropes to rappel down the side of the building. We’ll need to create a diversion.”

Both men ran off without another word in the direction that GMZ said. I pulled out one of the sticky bombs, pressed the center of the green gel disk as Everett directed, and threw it at the glass skylight. It beeped for a few seconds and then exploded, shattering the glass which sparkled for a brief second as it fell into the dark shaft.

“Derren and me are in the Awesomecopter! and on our way,” Jessie’s voiced announced in my ear.

“Great,” I answered back, still looking into the dark pit I was about to jump down, “There was a complication at Trump’s loft, and we’re about to break in, so the sooner you get here, the better.”

I tied a rope to a tree and was about to rappel down the shaft when Everett cried, “Guys, get back here!”

I hopped over the wall and ran to Everett and Criss, who were staring at the computer. On the screen, they had brought up the camera right outside the elevator on Trump’s level. I watched as the beating of my heart drowned out every other noise. The doors opened. I bit my lip. The three guards turned around to see what caused the doors to open. Smoke billowed out. Then, a knife sliced through the dense gas and into the first guard’s throat. The other two guards raised their guns, but a still conscious Lady Caggiano sprinted out, still awake and moving faster than I’ve ever seen her (or anyone) move before. She slid past the guard on her left, jumped and bounced off the wall, and landed on his back. She threw another knife at the third guard before he could shoot, getting him in the neck as well. She the then pulled out her hunting knife, held it to the guard who’s shoulders she was sitting on, and slit his throat. He fell to the ground and she rolled off of him. With a single bound, she was behind a pedestal holding a large vase. I was relieved, until she bumped the pedestal and knocked over the vase.

Everett pulled up another camera. There were nine other guards in Trump’s kitchen, hanging around an island that looked like it could hold a queen size mattress. They heard the crash and ran to the other end of the hallway. Just then, Nut’n Fancy and Damien came back, claiming that the ropes for us to rappel down were ready. When they saw the look on Criss, Everett, and my faces, they circled around the computer to get a look at the screen. Everett put up a spit-screen view of the hallway, one facing the hazy elevator entrance, the other down the narrow, bookshelf lined hallway itself.

The guards filed down the hallway, each with his gun drawn and a determined look on his face. Lady Caggiano sat behind the pedestal, holding a glock in each hand. She looked tense; even through the smoke, I could see her tightly gripping her pistols. The guards were all in the hallway now, and had stopped far enough apart and staggered that it would be impossible for anyone to get to the other end of the hallway.

GMZ warned Lady Caggiano, “There are nine men in the hallway. You’ll never make it. Do not engage.”

Lady Caggiano’s face twisted itself into a look of pure rage, and she jumped from behind the pedestal. Bang. The first man went down. The other guards started firing. Lady Caggiano ran at a full sprint, zigzagging back from one side of the hallway to the other, shooting her guns. The men aimed and shot. She dodged, rolled, and fired back. Guards two and three were down. She shot the fourth in his knee, and jumped up to punch him in the face before shooting the fifth between the eyes. She ran forward, kicked the sixth onto into a book case and shot him in the chest. She released her empty magazines from the guns. She then threw up two loaded magazines and caught them in the handle.

“How is that even possible?!” someone on my team asked in awe.

There was no time to consider it. Lady Caggiano jumped up, grabbed a hold of the bookcase nearest her, swung back and fired at the fourth, who was about to raise his gun again. She jumped off the book case, and charged at the seventh. She shot at his wrist, making him drop his gun, and then shot him in the chest and head. The eighth dodged a few of her shots, but she delivered a swift roundhouse kick to his face before shooting him a few times in the chest. The ninth walked backwards, firing wildly in Lady Caggiano’s direction. She shot the gun out of his hand, and then threw her guns into the air. She dove over the table, planted her hands on it, and swung her feet between her arms. When her legs came up, she kicked the man hard in the chest. Lady Caggiano landed on her feet, spun around, and caught both guns. She spun back around to face the man on the floor. She squeezed the trigger. Click. She was out of ammo again. Just then, a faint ping from behind her warned her that a new wave of guards had arrived. She took a running leap and dove onto the island. She slid to the other side and dropped to her hands and knees onto the kitchen floor.

“Shit,” I said, looking up to the other four members of my team, “Let’s get down there.”

We abandoned Everett’s laptop, and the rope I was going to rappel down to get to the elevator car, and we climbed over the wall that separated the grassy area from the rest of the roof. I sprinted across the gravel topped section of the roof, jumped down the set of stairs that lead to the final section of the roof. I somersaulted the landing, but I was immediately back on my feet and running to the edge of the building. I reached it, and a couple seconds later, Criss, Damien, Everett, and Nut’n Fancy joined me. I grabbed one of the four ropes and- Shit. Only four ropes. Of course there would only be four ropes because the fifth was hanging down the elevator shaft where I left it.

Noticing the problem at hand and proceeding to make it worse, Damien said, “That’s not the only thing, Minigan. This glass is too strong for us to kick out when we rappel down, and the angle is too sharp for us shoot at or throw a sticky bomb at.

“Well, shit.” We were running out of time. Lady Caggiano was hiding behind that island while more guards, probably heavily armed and protected, rushed into the penthouse. Maybe it was because the panic that image had caused, but my mind went blank.

“Wait!” Everett interjected, “Criss, that card trick you did this morning- the one where you made them fly around- could you do that with a sticky bomb?”

“Maybe, but I won’t be sure if it lands on the right floor,” he answered.

Everett directed Criss to the edge, pointed down, and said, “Just aim for those lighted windows. That’s Trump’s loft.”

“That’s great and all,” Damien added, “But that still leave the issue with their only being four ropes for the five of us. If one of us rappels down after the other four, that one will get blown to Hell.”

Building off of Everett’s idea, I replied, “Criss can just levitate down!”

“What?!” Damien and Criss cried in unison.

“Yeah! If you levitate down with us, then you won’t need a rope,” I answered.

Angrily, Criss asked, “What makes you think I can even levitate off the side of a building?”

“Because you’re a wizard, and that is one of the many things that wizards do.”

“I AM NOT A WIZARD, MINIGAN!”

“Quit your argue’n!” Nut’n snapped, “We’re outta time!”

Without another word, Criss snatched a sticky bomb out of Everett’s hand, pressed the button, and threw it over the side. It made a wide downward arc and stuck onto the illuminated window below. There was a loud bang and a flash of light. The sounds of screaming and gun fire rang out from the new opening. Damien, Everett, Nut’n Fancy, and I rappelled down the side of the building (I made it to the window in two bounds), and we swung inside the High end loft turned battle zone, our gloves hot from the friction on the ropes.

To my right, the island and the kitchen walls were riddled with bullet holes. On the floor in front of me was the guard that Lady Caggiano couldn’t kill before backups had arrived, dead with three kitchen knives lodged in his chest. Behind his corpse was the bookshelf and dead body lined hallway, and in it were three terrified looking guards, two of them being Trump’s personal body guards from earlier that day. The guard I hadn’t seen before saw me and raised his automatic rifle. Before I could even process the thought, my hand had pulled out my hand gun and fired a shot into his chest. He fell backwards onto the other two, knocking one of them down. With the guards momentarily distracted, the five of us dove behind the battered island.

We were greeted by Lady Caggiano’s who was sitting pensively with her back to the island, and holding a bunch of pots and frying pans. Her pupils were dilated to the point where I could barely see her brown irises. Then, in an unsettlingly calm voice, “Trump is coming. He’s bringing more guards. Cover me.”

I nodded, raised my gun and peeked my head over the counter top. Lady Caggiano did the same, and then threw each of the pots and pans on the stove. She lit each burner, making sure that the flames were as high as they could go, before sitting back down. I heard commotion coming from the hallway, and I knew that the new series of guards, as well as Trump, were on their way.

I handed Lady Caggiano one of my hand guns, and then whispered to my team, “Get ready.”

We stayed silent as several pairs of footsteps came down the hallway and into the livingroom. I nodded to my team, and as one, we jumped up and started shooting. We only managed to kill one of the guards before the others dove behind various pieces of furniture. We were out of rounds within seconds, all of our bullets expended into the inexplicably impenetrable couches and chairs. The guards popped their heads out from behind the furniture and began firing at us as we ducked down and reloaded.

As they fired, lady Caggiano stood up, grabbed one of the now red hot frying pans, and chucked it across the room. There was a clang, followed by a loud shriek, which told me that the pan had hit its mark. As the other three men were distracted, I stood up and threw a throwing knife at the one behind the couch. It missed, and he fired back at us in retaliation.

I looked to Lady Caggiano, who was taking deep breaths and clenching her fists, and asked, “Are you okay?”

She looked at me with an expression of anger that genuinely scared me. Her face was red and the veins in her neck and forehead were pulsing. Her eyes were bloodshot, and her pupils still dilated, and her jaw muscles bulged from how tightly she had her jaw clenched. She looked me directly in the eyes and growled, “Fuck hiding.”

She then stood up, grabbed a pot in each hand, and charged at the guards. Damien, Nut’n Fancy, Everett, Criss, and I were taken so much by surprise, that when we managed to scramble to our feet and follow her, she was already on top of a guard beating the hell out of him with the hot pan. One of the guards took aim at her. I reached into my cloak pocket, pulled out my Justice stick, and charged at him.

Gunshots rang out all around me. I jumped feet first at the man. My feet connected with his chest, and the blade of my pole-arm with the side of his face. He fell backward, firing bullets from his semi-automatic rifle up the side of the wall near Lady Caggiano. I lost my balance, fell over the coffee table, and landed upside down on the couch on the other side of it. The guard with the burnt face, which happened to be the spray tanned, bald guard from that morning, stood up and aimed his gun at my face. He fired. I rolled. He flew across the room and smashed into a large portrait hanging on the wall. Criss was standing several feet behind where the guard was standing with his hand raised.

I jumped back onto my feet and called, “Nice one, Criss,” before kicking my Justice Stick into the air, catching it, and going back to fighting the guard with the semi-automatic.

More guards rushed in- maybe seven or eight, and immediately found themselves in the center of an intense battle. Damien was crushing one guy’s face with his knee, Criss was tossing guards across the room like they were superballs, and Lady Caggiano was bludgeoning anyone stupid enough to come within swinging distance of her and her pots. I had successfully knocked the gun away from the guard I was fighting, but he came back at me with two large, Arabian looking swords from over the fireplace mantel. He sliced at my chest, but only shredded my vest. He swung his swords down at my shoulders, but I blocked them with my pole-arm and kicked him in the stomach. He stumbled backward, but right as I was about to charge at him, two big arms wrapped themselves around my chest and knocked my weapon from my hands. It was the fat black guard from this morning.

I struggled to free myself, but the arms were too strong. The guard I had been fighting ran towards me, the thought of murder in his eyes. I lifted my legs and kicked him in the face. He stumbled backwards, clutching his nose, but not before swinging one of his swords at me and slicing my leg. I ignored the sharp pain in my thigh from the gash, and instead focused my energy on swinging my legs back down and slamming my feet into my captor’s knees. He screamed in pain right into my ear, and then fell… right on top of me.

I felt all the air rush out of my lungs as the man’s heavy body fell on top of mine. I struggled to free myself, but he still had his arms around me.  My face was sandwiched between the cool, hard floor, and the guard’s warm, doughy body, so I couldn’t hear what was happening, but after an excruciatingly long second or two, the guard’s body went limp, and a pair of boots kicked him off of me. I took a deep breath of gunsmoke and blood scented air, and looked up to see Nut’n Fancy extending his hand down to me.

He pulled me up, and said, “You know you’re bleed’n from your leg, right?”

“Yeah,” I answered smartly, “But I’m kinda busy right now.”

“I know,” he joked back as he fired a couple of shots at the guards in the hallway, each bullet hitting its target, “I saw you let’n that guy fool around on top of you. I had no clue you were inta bigger guys”

“God is a lie,” I snapped back at him, knowing that would piss him off more than any insult I had in my arsenal at the time.

Without another word, he went off to shoot at the other guards in the hallway, and I turned to face the guard with the swords again. He spun the swords around in his hand and charged at me. I ran at him, and kicked up my Justice Stick once again. I twirled the pole in my hands, and then plunged it into his chest.

He stopped. His swords dropped to the ground. I was leaning forward, bracing myself for the impact, so when he stopped, his face was less than a foot away from mine. I watched at the expression on his face shift from anger, to pain, to fear, and then to nothing. The light behind his green eyes went out, and for a second, I stared at the expressionless face of the man I just killed. I pulled my Justice Stick out of the mortal wound I created, took a few steps back, and let the man collapse in front of me.

“ENOUGH!!!” a voice roared from the hallway.

It was Trump. His face was red, redder than his hair, and his normally dead looking eyes were burning with rage. He stepped into the room, and all fighting stopped. His guards backed away from him, and looked to the ground as if staring him in the eyes would turn them into stone.

“You little shits,” he shouted, his lips so thin that they were practically invisible, “All of you! You destroyed my living room! Well, I’ve had enough!  You’ll all pay dearly, and by my hand.”

“Sir,” The bald, spray tanned, and burnt guard pleaded, “We were only trying to protect you. They came very prepared.”

“I don’t care!” Trump raged as he strode to the middle of the room and up to the guard, “They shouldn’t have even made it up here in the first place!”

“They- they managed to get control of the security cameras somehow, sir!” The guard said, his voice shaking.”

“So you failed.”

“No!” the bald guard cried, now visibly shaking with fear. The other guards backed as far away as they could. Some managed to slip into the hallway and into another room. The bald guard continued, “They only-“

“No,” Trump interrupted, “You failed, Silvio, and you will pay for it.”

Silvio gasped, and what happened next I would have never predicted. From atop Trump’s head, his hair quivered, and suddenly, a long tendril of red hair reached out and wrapped around Silvio. We all watched in shock as Silvio was raised into the air, and the hair tightened around his chest. Within seconds, all the air was squeezed out of his chest and the blood vessels in his eyes started to pop.

Trump’s hair tightened until Silvio was dead, and then a disembodied voice, the gravelly voice we heard from the bug Criss had planted, spat, “You are worthless!”

“You are worthless.” Trump’s normal voice repeated, right before his hair whipped Silvio’s lifeless body around in the air and threw it out the shattered window.

The other guards began to run away, completely ignoring the intruders they were trying to kill moments earlier.

The Gravelly voice growled, “Where do you think you’re going?” as the men sprinted for their lives.

“Where do you think you’re going?”

Several more hair tendrils erupted from Trump’s head and grabbed the guards. A few of the tendrils even broke through the doors that guards had stepped through and pulled them out as well. Then, with a single flick of the hair, they went sailing out the window and down to their bloody deaths on the street and roofs below.

My fellow members of Awesomesquad! and I regrouped and stared at Trump, our jaws dropped in shock and confusion, as his hair retracted back into his head. I wasn’t sure how to react to what I had just seen. I practically dropped my polearm as I squinted at Trump, trying hard not to believe what I had just seen was real. Had Trump’s hair really come to life and thrown a bunch of people out the window? I asked myself. Was even thinking that thought enough of a reason to have myself committed? Seriously, what the fuck did I just witness?

Just then, either refuting my insanity or irrevocably confirming it, Trump’s hair shifted again. This time revealed two large, red eyes and a mouth with rows of vicious looking fangs. When the mouth spoke, the gravelly voice came out and said, “And if that’s what I do to people that work for me, just imagine what I’m going to do to you.”

“And if that’s what I do to people that work for me, just imagine what I’m going to do to you.” Trump’s regular mouth repeated.

I still needed some time to process what I was looking at, but unfortunately, Trump wasn’t willing to give me that time. The tendrils shot back out of his head and at us, and the six of us managed to run screaming back to the island. We each dove behind it just as the hair tendril wrapped themselves around various appliances and attempted to bludgeon us with them.

“What in the spiraling shark vortex of fuck is happening right now?!” Lady Caggiano cried as she swung the pot she was clutching at a tendril of hair with a microwave.

“How in the hell should I know,” I yelled back. I quickly grabbed a dish towel and tied it above the cut on my leg before trying to fight of one of Trump’s hair tentacles.

I was on my back, jabbing my pole-arm at the tendril trying to crush me with the refrigerator door. I rolled to my side just as it slammed the side of the door down. As it raised up the door again, I pulled out a throwing knife and threw it at the hair. The knife sliced through the air and Trump’s hair tentacle, and the refrigerator door fell on top of Everett and I. It smacked me in my lip and Everett on the forehead. Trump’s hair let out a high pitched, ear-piercing shriek, which was followed by the monotone wail of Trump’s mouth. The other tendrils of greying red hair dropped their various makeshift weapons on us and then pulled back.

With Everett and me clutching each end of the refrigerator door, we pushed it off of us and against the cabinets of the island. I then pressed the button on my earpiece.

“GMZ!” I yelled, panic ringing in my voice, “What in the flying Hell are we dealing with right now?”

After a second’s pause, he answered, “Wha? Oh, shit. The mission, right.”

“What did you mean by that?!” I screamed at him.

“Well,” he explained, “I had to make it look like I was playing WoW, and I thought the best way to do that would be to actually play it.”

“YOU’RE PLAYING WORLD OF WARCRAFT RIGHT NOW?!?!” I roared.

The other five members of my team barricaded behind the kitchen island looked to me with a look that was equal parts confusion and fury.

“He’s doing what?!” Nut’n Fancy cried.

“At a time like this?” Everett added.

“I’m sorry!” GMZ replied, “I just got really into the quest.”

“I don’t care! Just look at what we’re dealing with right now and help us figure out how to stop it!” I looked to the rest of my team and added, “That little shit.”

The other five members of Awesomesquad! replied with various “yeah’s,” and “what the hell’s.”

“Hey, I heard that!” GMZ replied.

“I know, I meant for you to hear it, now get to work!”

Everett let out a terrified cry and shuffled away from the island as the short piece of hair that I had severed from the rest slowly inched towards him. All of our screams joined in as each of us grabbed anything we could and began beating the possessed lock of hair.

Once Lady Cagginao beat the hair into submission with a frying pan, I picked up the newly limp hair and put it into a bag that Everett was holding open for me.

As he sealed it up and put it into a small plastic container from one of the cabinets, he nervously whispered to me, “Do you think this can hold it?”

“Let’s hope so,” I whispered back, “We need to get it back to the base to study it.”

That’s when I noticed how silent the room was. There was no footsteps, no rustle of clothing, no breathing coming from beyond the island. In fact, the only other noises other than my team’s heavy, panicked breathing, was the distant sound of what I hoped was the Awesomecopter!.

We sat, huddled together like refugees, for a few long seconds of tense silence when I decided to see what was happening. Pressing my raised index finger to my lips, I slowly, silently climbed to my knees and peeked my head above the countertop. Across the room, glaring at me with all four of its eyes was Trump, his hair holding up a large flat screen TV. The face in the hair let out an evil laugh (which was parroted by Trump’s body), and then it threw the TV at me. I ducked back behind the island as the TV soared over our heads and smashed against the wall over the sink.

“What the hell am I looking at right now?” GMZ asked, just as perplexed as we were just before the hair began to attack us.

“We don’t know,” I answered, “That’s why you need to find out for us.”

Trump’s hair let out another scream, and began hurling books from the hallway at us from over the island’s countertop. We all screamed, and Everett and I lifted the heavy refrigerator door over our heads and sheltered the other three from the onslaught of literature.

“Where do you expect me to get that information,” he asked smartly, “Google?”

“You’re the hacker!” I shouted at him as a hardcover copy of “Angels and Demons” smacked me in my already sore and bloody lip, “Go search for it on some secret government Database or something.”

Trump’s hair threw another book at me. I dodged it. I looked at the cover and realized it was Trump’s own, “Time to Get Tough.” I clenched my teeth and nodded to Lady Caggiano, who looked down at the cover and understood. She grabbed the end of the refrigerator door that I was holding, and I pulled out another throwing knife. I jumped to my feet. Books were flying at me from several directions, but I dodged them. I pulled back my throwing arm. Another book flew past my face. I threw my knife. It sliced through the air, and I dropped back to the floor.

After about a second, Trump’s hair shrieked in pain. I peeked my head back out from behind the island and saw my knife lodged in Trump’s leg. Shit, my aim was off. That should’ve gone in his chest.

I dropped back down and said  to my team, “Aim for his body, he can feel the pain that we inflict upon it, and that’s a bigger target than his hair.”

They nodded in understanding. But just before they could pull out their assorted knives, several hair tendrils exploded through the island’s cabinet doors. We all screamed in terror as the hair tentacles flailed at us, blindly wrapping themselves onto whatever they could and pulling it back through the holes.

Damien barely dodged one of these tendrils before he cried, “fuck this!” He then pulled out one of his sticky bombs, and threw it at the window. The deafening boom from the explosion was followed by the clinking sound of the glass hitting the tiled floor. Damien stood up and ran. He sprinted at the window, narrowly dodging the hair tentacles as they rushed at him, and dove out the window. Nut’n Fancy, Criss, Lady Caggiano, and I looked at each other in shock.

“Did that limey bastard just abandon us?” I asked.

“I think he did,” Criss replied as he smacked a lock of Trump’s hair away from his face.

Nut’n Fancy interjected, “Son of a bitch…”

I pulled out my hunting knife and chopped the hair tendril closest to me. I cut the hair, which inched away, and I added as I bludgeoned the lock with a knife block, “If we get out of this alive, I say we track Damien down and beat the hell out of him with socks filled with limes.”

Everyone but Everett agreed, but right at that moment, another hair tendril broke through the door between Everett and me, taking both of us by surprise and knocking us backward.

“Ahhh! Kill it! Kill it with fire!” I screamed.

Everett and I looked at each other, the two of us thinking the same thing: his wrist mounted flame throwers. Not wasting another second, Everett torched the hair tentacle with a fiery blast from his wrist. The other four of us shielded ourselves from the intense heat of the column of fire as it set the hair ablaze. Almost instantly, the hair reeled backward, shrieking in agony. The scent of burnt hair filled the air. It was hard to breathe through the stench from the smoke, but taking the opportunity, I jumped back to my feet, and began rummaging through the cupboards. Lady Caggiano, Criss, Nut’n Fancy, and Everett were now on the offensive. They stood up and provided me with whatever cover they could with their remaining knives and butane. In a drawer, I found one of those long lighters for grilling. I grabbed it and continued my search. Next, I found a half drank bottle of vodka, a washcloth, and some cooking spray.

I stuffed the washcloth into the vodka bottle and flipped it upside down to get the rag wet. I passed the cooking spray to Lady Caggiano, and she lit it with one of the stove’s burners.  I lit the lighter and then the alcohol soaked rag. Trump stepped back to the opposite end of the room. I chucked the bottle.

I held my breath as it flew through the air directly at the multimillionaire and his evil hair. With a single swipe with one of his hair tendrils, Trump managed to smack the Molotov cocktail out of the air. It shattered on the ground, and almost immediately a circle of fire roared up between him and us. The sprinkler system went off, extinguishing the fire and my hopes for getting out of this alive.

Trump stepped forward through the falling water, his hair whipping its wet tendrils around. In its gravelly voice, it said, “You idiots will never defeat The Donald.”

Just as it was about to whip its hair arms at us again, the sound of jet engines roared from outside. Everyone looked to the windows and saw a bald man in a heavily armed jetpack.

“It’s Damien!” Everett exclaimed.

I looked closer. Well, damn. He was right, I guessed I owed him an apology. Damien smirked at us and then took aim at Trump. Then, he squeezed the trigger on the handle.

I couldn’t hear what Damien screamed over the roaring of the rocket thrusters or the machinegun blasts, but if I read his lips correctly, he screamed, “FUUUUUUUUUCK YOUUUUUUUUUUU!”

Bullets shattered the remaining windows as Damien fired at the fleeing Trump. Trump sprinted across the room, his hair lifting his body off the ground and out of the line of fire. Trump’s hair then reached out the window, and before he could dodge it, wrapped around Damien.

With one quick flick of his hair tentacle, Trump’s hair threw Damien back inside the loft and up against the wall.

“My Prototype!” Everett cried.

“Screw your prototype,” I snapped, “What about Damien?!”

“Him too!”

Damien had barely touched the ground before Trump’s hair had begun wrapping around him, winding around his body like a boa constrictor does with its prey. Within seconds, it had wrapped around Damien’s throat and began to squeeze.

Still holding the lighter, I grabbed the cooking spray from Lady Caggiano’s hands and sprinted towards Trump. Trump continued to squeeze. I watched as Damien’s face turned blue. I pressed the spray button and lit the oil. The heat and light came back. I ran at the tentacles between Trump and Damien. The smell of burnt hair returned, as did the hair’s pained howls.

I was about to change my direction and head straight for Trump when one of the locks of hair grabbed me by the waist and lifted me into the air. It whipped me around for a second or two, and then I was soaring out the window.

“Fuuuuuuuuuuck!”

Thinking quickly, I pulled my grappling hook from my belt and shot towards the roof. I kept falling. Still falling. I was about to panic when suddenly I stopped falling. I heard a pop in my shoulder, and then felt pain shoot up and down my arm. I screamed and grabbed a hold of the grappling hook gun with my other hand before my injured arm had a chance to let go. I was in so much pain that I didn’t notice the building rushing back at me.

Smack. I hit one of the windows hard. My arm was still racked with a stabbing pain, which was now accompanied by the stings of my face and knees hitting the side of the building. I bounced backward and then back into the window again, but this time with a softer “thud.” My right arm felt like dead weight- I must’ve dislocated it. I let it drop to my side, and then struggled to get my footing on the glass walls of the Trump Tower. I was somewhat dazed by the pain in my shoulder and the collision with the window, but not dazed enough to not notice the people watching me.

I looked through the window to the scene I had witnessed earlier- Beyoncé and Jay-Z sitting on the couch, watching a movie. But this time it was different: the bowl of popcorn had fallen to the floor, neither of them looked relaxed, and both of them were staring directly at me.

I smiled weakly at them, and then, once realizing that they couldn’t see my face, I raised my injured hand and waved. Pangs of stabbing pain shot up and down my arm, so I immediately dropped it. Inside, Jay-Z and Beyoncé mouthed, “The Fuck?” I gave them another apologetic grin that they wouldn’t be able to see from under the hood of my cloak, and then I began to scale the side of the skyscraper again.

With only one arm able to help pull me up, climbing up the building took some time, but I eventually made it around the corner and to the shattered windows of Trump’s penthouse. I peeked in and saw the rest of my team fighting Trump’s hair. Each of them dove and rolled out of the way right as his hair lunged at them, and they each attempted to cut it apart without also getting grabbed.

Holding onto the ledge with my good hand, I raised my right hand to my ear, ignoring the soul piercing pain, and pressed the button in my earpiece. “GMZ,” I whispered, “Do you know what this is yet?”

“No.” he replied regretfully, “It doesn’t seem like our government- or any government for that matter- has any information for possessed hair. The closest thing I could come up with was an old Simpson’s Tree House of Horror episode, and they had to rip the hair off the head and kill it in order to stop it.” “Hey!” he added, “What if you scalp Trump?”

“What?!” I half whispered back as I watched Trump’s hair swing the refrigerator door at Nut’n Fancy.

“You know,” he replied, “like what the Native Americans used to do. Just cut around the scalp and then grab the hair on the sides of his head and yank.”

“I don’t think I can do that,” I breathed, “I think I dislocated my shoulder.”

“Well, you’re gonna have to try.”

He was right. Right now I had the element of surprise, and if I blew it, it could mean the death of me and the rest of my team. Slowly and silently, I rolled over the edge and back onto the tiled floor. Shards of glass sliced the skin on my forearms and cheek as I rolled, but Trump’s hair was too distracted to hear the clinking of the glass. I stood up, and with my knife drawn, I charged.

I jumped onto Trump’s back and dug my knife deep into the side of his head, his hair (and then his body) roared with rage and pain. His hair flailed around, frantically taking swipes at me as I cut along Trump’s hair line. A tendril of his hair wrapped around my ankle and threw me at the wall.

Lady Caggiano ran to me as the other four fought off Trump’s advances. “Are you alright?” she asked.

“My shoulder’s dislocated,” I grunted back at her.

She knelt down beside me, and I saw a kindness in her eyes that calmed me down somehow. In a warm and motherly tone of voice, she stated, “I’ll put it back in its socket on the count of three, OK? One…”

She pulled. My shoulder popped. I cried in pain. Trump’s hair threw his coffee table at us. Lady Caggiano threw herself on top of me and pinned me to the ground. The table smashed into the wall and the broken pieces of high quality wood fell on top of us.

 

“I thought you said three.” I gasped, my arm throbbing.

“You would’ve tensed up,” she answered. You needed to be relaxed.

She helped me to my feet, and we both joined the fight again. The fight continued for several long minutes. His hair would swipe. We would dodge. His hair would lunge. We would roll. We would slash. His hair would whip back. It was like the dangerous fight dance between a cobra and a mongoose. Except, that the mongoose was six people with knives and flame throwers, and the cobra was a rich man with murderous hair tentacles- so it was way more fucked up than a cobra/ mongoose fight, I guess.

Everett blasted Trump right in the face with his wrist mounted flame thrower, and Trump stumbled backward. His hair swatted at the flames and then screamed, “What the Hell do you guys want, anyway?!”

“What the Hell do you guys want, anyway?” Trump’s normal voice repeated.

“We want you to not take over New York City!” I shouted at him. “Also,” I added in a more conversational tone, “It would be nice to know what the hell you are.”

“Me?” His hair asked and normal voice echoed, “I am just an ancient being looking for some room to expand and reproduce, and have been controlling your greatest business owner and billionaire for the past four decades.”

“Please,” Lady Caggiano scoffed, “Everyone knows that Steve Jobs is the greatest business owner and billionaire ever.”

“STEVE JOBS IS A BALD HEADED CULT LEADER OF A BUNCH OF STUPID HIPSTERS!” Trump’s hair roared.

“Steve Jobs is a bald headed cult leader of a bunch of stupid hipsters.”

“Woah,” Everett replied, “Steve Jobs has cancer, you monster.”

“Monster, MONSTER?!” The monster raged, his tentacles whipping into a frenzy again, making each of us dive for cover.

“Monster, monster,” Trump’s human mouth parroted.

“You’re not proving us wrong, dickbag!” I screamed as I dodged a section of the island that Trump’s hair threw at us. It slid to a halt between me and Damien.

“You think I’m the worst celebrity out there?!” Trump’s hair screamed and his body soullessly repeated, “I can name dozens of celebrities who are far worse than I am. Why aren’t you going after them, Huh? Why aren’t you trying to stop Sean Penn and his terrible, leathery face?”

From somewhere behind the overturned couch, I heard Nut’n Fancy’s voice call out, “That’s just what I said!”

Trump’s hair wrapped one of its tendrils around the couch and lifted it into the air, and then slammed it down at Nut’n Fancy. Nut’n Fancy rolled out of the way at the last second. The couch crashed into the floor and broke apart. Trump’s hair then picked up the pieces of the couch and flung them at us until the six of us had rolled and dodged our way into the same spot in front of the fireplace. I quickly glanced out the window as I felt for one of those sticky bombs. I had none. Fuck. They must have fallen out.

“You were foolish to think you could stop me!” Trump’s hair spat has he threw a chair our direction.

“You were foolish to think you could stop me.” Trump’s body repeated.

Criss threw his hand out and to the right, and sent the chair flying out the window.

“I’m the Donald!” he shrieked, “And I wouldn’t be where I am if I let little fucks like you stop each of my plans!”

“I’m the Donald. And I wouldn’t be where I am if I let little fucks like you stop each of my plans.”

Several new hair tendrils stretched out from the back of Trump’s head and raised themselves high into the air, each one pointing at us. Basically, we were fucked.

My team and I braced ourselves for the onslaught that was about to come, each of us clutching to anything that could possibly be used as a weapon, when  Jessie stepped into the room from the hall, carrying a bazooka, and yelled, “Hey Trump, You’re fired!”

 

Jessie fired. Trump turned to attack Jessie, but it was too late. The rocket blasted out of the barrel.  Trump’s hair tendrils went limp and blanketed his body right before the rocket hit him squarely in the chest. Trump flew out the window, both is body and his hair screaming, “NO!”

The Rocket propelled Donald Trump flew out into the night, and his ride climaxed in a brilliant and blinding explosion over the streets of New York City. The six of us jumped and cheered at the giant fireball as it billowed up into the night sky. A jubilant Damien jumped onto Everett’s back, knocking him to the floor. I turned to Lady Caggiano and we high fived.

“Seriously,” she asked me, “Why do you give such weird high fives?”

“I don’t give weird high fives!”

Jessie interrupted our celebration by running towards us, a look of childlike excitement on his face, and exclaimed, “I did it, guys! I saved the day!”

We all stopped. Damien and Everett picked themselves off of the floor, and the six of us glared at Jessie.

“And what the hell were you thinking?!” I shouted.

“Wha-?”

“Why did you think it would be a good fucking idea to leave the Awesomecopter! to come down here?” Lady Caggiano snapped.

“I thought I could help!” Jessie replied quickly, “Plus Derren is watching the Awesomecopter!!”

“YOU LET DERREN WATCH THE AWESOMECOPTER!?!” I roared.

“And where the hell did you get that bazooka from?” Everett asked.

Jessie frowned, his heroics were clearly not going over like he had planned. “I found it and I thought I could-“

“You thought what?” Damien interrupted, “You thought it would be fun to shoot a bloody bazooka in the middle of New York City?!”

Nut’n Fancy added, “And now pieces of shrapnel and Trump body parts are rain’n down on everyone below, you dang idiot!”

“But Criss, didn’t you just cast a chair out the window?” Jessie asked as panic began to creep into his voice.

“Don’t try to change the subject,” Criss spat, “What we’re talking about right now is how you fucked up.”

“But…”

“But nothing.” I said, “Get back upstairs and wait for us at the Awesomecopter!.”

“But…But…”

“Go.” I demanded.

Seeing the furious scowls on all of our faces, Jessie realized his defeat and turned around. He bowed his head, and then sulked his way out of the war-torn living room and into the slightly less war-torn hallway. As soon as we heard the door to the roof click shut, we relaxed our faces.

I turned to the group and asked, “So, I think we all agree that what Jessie did was the greatest thing ever?”

“Absolutely.” Everett answered.

“It was brilliant,” Damien added.

Lady Caggiano noted, “That was probably one of the most badass things I’ve ever seen. He even had that amazing, “You’re fired” line. That just made it perfect.”

We all nodded and murmured in agreement. Then, I added, “Good. Let’s promise to never tell Jessie how incredibly awesome it was.”

“Agreed,” The rest of my team answered in unison.

“Great, Now let’s get out of here.”

“Wait a second, Minigan,” Damien interjected just as I turned away, “Don’t you remember why we planned this in the first place? We need to destroy his plans in case his hair survived the blast.”

“Shit,” I replied, “You’re absolutely right. Let’s destroy that information!”

As a group, we filed out of the living room and into the study, which showed not a hint of destruction. Everett walked up to the computer and sat down. From his right pants pocket, he pulled out GMZ’s flash Drive and plugged it into the computer. The Screen flickered for a second, and then in the password bar, a line of dots formed. After not even a second’s pause, they vanished and were replaced with another line of dots. Then another. Then another. After about a minute of the program’s rapid fire password guessing, it had chosen the correct one and the home screen came up.

As Everett combed through the various word documents and any program that might lead us to Trump’s hair’s plans, the rest of the team walked back through the Penthouse for any evidence of our presence there (other than, you know, the total destruction of the living room, kitchen, and hallway). When we returned, Everett had found the files and was about to delete them.

“Wait! Lady Caggiano cried, “Don’t delete them, save them!”

“What?!” Everett and I replied in unison.

“If we destroy all that information, and Trump’s hair is still alive, then it can start its plans over without anyone knowing,” she explained, “But if we send in the information of what he’s doing to a news site, then it could go viral and the people of New York will know not to sell to him.”

“Plus, if we destroy this evidence and Trump did survive, he can try to get us thrown in prison,” Damien added, “After all, we did break into and then destroy his home.”

Seeing their points, Everett and I agreed, and he downloaded all the information onto a flash drive before wiping it off the computer. We then did one last search of the penthouse for any weapons that could incriminate us if found. We hadn’t missed much on the first time through, so on our second search we only found two throwing knives, the plastic container with the lock of Trump’s hair, and one of Lady Caggiano’s hand gun magazines. With our mission complete, I radioed Jessie and had him start the Awesomecopter!, and then my team and I filed through the corpse lined hallway to the roof access stairway. We rushed up the stairwell, careful to make as little sound as possible in fear that more of Tump’s guards were on their way. They weren’t, and we safely made it to the roof without incident.

I untied the rope I was going to use to rappel down the elevator shaft and the five of us who had left bags on the roof gathered everything back up and stuffed them into the already pretty full Awesomecopter!. Once everything was secured and we made sure we left nothing behind on the roof, we climbed aboard the Awesomecopter! and flew  towards the Peninsula’s rooftop bar to pick up GMZ. We hovered twenty feet or so above the roof, the downwash from the spinning blades kicked dirt and paper into the air, and made the bar patrons flee to the elevators for the second time that night.

With the fuselage door open, I threw the looped end of a rope down to GMZ, who stuck his foot into the loop and then raised himself off the ground. As soon as he was secure, Criss and Damien began pulling the rope back inside the cabin.

“He’s clear!” I called to Jessie, and he banked the Awesomecopter! hard to the right.

Despite my still sore shoulder, I joined Criss and Damien in helping pull GMZ up. Once he had his feet on the landing skid, Damien and Criss pulled him up by the arms, and I grabbed onto him by the straps of his book bag. We pulled him through the door, leaving us in an awkward pile on the floor.

Damien got up, brushed himself off when he let out a startled cry. The rest of Awesomesquad climbed to our feet and looked to see what he had seen. Ahead of us, floating in the spring night, was a great wispy looking sphere with a man’s form attached to the bottom. We flew past it, staring at the floating hair bubble as we did. Trump’s body looked dirty and his clothes burnt, but other than that, in good shape.

His hair, which had spread itself out like a giant afro to catch the wind currents saw us staring at it and shouted, “You will pay for this! YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE LAST OF ME, YOU BASTARDS!”

***

Sorry for how long that was. I even cut out over 1,500 words (I could have cut more, but I really enjoyed ripping on Dan Brown) of stuff that you’ll have to wait for when I finish the novel.  But just imagine how epic that book is going to be.

Alright, go outside and play, kids.

Awesomesquad! Assemble! 1! Revisited!

Ok, so this is only the first part of what I wanted to post, but this is long enough already. There will be two more parts after this (This Awesomesquad! Assemble going to be pretty damn epic). Also, just as some background information, this section takes place back in May of 2009. Enjoy.

“If you could fuck any celebrity, which one would you choose?” Jibbles asked, peering at me through squinted eyes as if my reputation depended on choosing the right one.

“Jibbles,” of course, is only my nickname for him. For his and his family’s safety, that’s what I can tell you. Sorry. What I can tell you is that Jibbles was one of my two best friends (the other being Lady Caggiano). Quite frankly, he didn’t look like he belonged in this century. With his light brown mutton chops, grey cabbie hat, and the build of a linebacker, Jibbles looked more like he belonged in an underground bareknuckle boxing  den in late 19th century London than in a college campus cafeteria. His black Jolly Roger t-shirt, jeans, and wallet chain balanced the old timey appearance of the mutton chops, but he still looked mismatched. But not nearly as mismatched as how he looks compared to his music tastes. For a man who looks like he could easily break your arm if given enough provocation, he certainly does love pop music. He refuses to tell me why.

“Well?” he said to me, jogging me from my thoughts. He took a massive bite from his sandwich and hurredly washed it down with two large gulps of Coke.

“I’m thinking I’m thinking,” I replied. I sat across from him at the table, picking at my cafeteria food and pondered. After some serious deliberation, I answered, “Hayden Panettiere.”

“The chick from Heroes?!” Jibbles replied, “Sure she’s hot, but the show’s terrible!”

“The first season was good!” I shouted maybe a little too loudly, as some of the other students in the cafeteria stopped their conversations to look at us.

“What?” I snapped at a nearby couple, “How about you cram your heads up your asses so that you can mind your business for once.”

Ignoring the couple who promptly cleaned up their trays and hurried off, Jibbles added, “I would have guessed you would have said Olivia Wilde.”

“That was my first choice,” I replied after I swallowed the last of my greasy and over-seasoned fries, “But she’s so attractive that I’m afraid I’d just ruin her. I’m mean, would you mouth fuck the Mona Lisa?”

“I guess that makes sense,” he noted as he stuffed the rest of his turkey club into his mouth. But once he swallowed, he asked, “But have you ever tried?”

“What? Mouth fucking the Mona Lisa?! I don’t think you can even get that close to it.”

“No!” he laughed, “Fantasizing about Olivia Wilde.”

“Of course I’ve tried!” I snapped at him, “But every time I only get part of the way in before I insist that I take her someplace nice and buy her something.”

“Oh, I understand now,” he replied, “That’s happened to me a few times when I fantasize about her too.”

“Who’s your number one pick?” I asked.

“Miley Cyrus. I would let her sit on my face for sure. Hell, my ultimate fantasy is have a three-way with her and Hannah Montana.”

“You do know that Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana are the same person, right?”

Jibbles grin melted into a look of disgust, and he spat, “Don’t ruin my sex fantasies with your logic, asshole.”

I let out a loud laugh, which the other students were smart enough now to pretend to ignore, when my phone started vibrating. Jibbles turned his attention to his pile of fries and I pulled my phone from my pocket. I had received a text message from Lady Caggiano. It read:

Awesomesquad! Assemble- Urgent.

There were five levels of Awesomesquad! Assemble alerts. The first one is Request, which is the only one where the members have the option of not showing up. It’s usually for a mundane task or activity where no one is required to show up, but it’s better for them if they do. This one usually has a meeting time attached.The last time we used this, it was so that each of us could pick out our rooms in the Awesomebase!. The second is Mandatory-Group, which means that everyone is required to be there, obviously. This one also comes with a time that we’re supposed to meet. As does the third one, Mandatory- Single. This one is just like the previous one, except that the text only goes out to the person/ people that need to come in. This one is more like a reminder, because the date and time is usually agreed upon in advance. The fourth is the one I received: Urgent. This one means that everyone is required to show up as soon as they finish whatever it is that they’re doing. Since Lady Caggiano, GMZ, and myself are all still in college, that means it could take several hours before some of us would arrive at the Awesomebase!. The fifth and highest alert is Immediate, or as it is sometimes texted, Fucking Now! With this one, we have to stop whatever it is we are doing, and head directly to the Awesomebase!. It doesn’t matter what it is that we are doing- whether it be sitting in class, working out, or even bathing, we stop what we’re doing and head directly to base. This one has only been used once, mostly because it’s usually signifies an emergency or a disaster that we need to deal with right away. The only time it was sent out, GMZ had sent it because there were no more of Lady Caggiano’s baked goods left in the dining lounge. It took a large amount of personal fortitude from all of us to keep ourselves from beating the baked goods out of him with rolling pins.

I looked from my phone back up to Jibbles and back down to my phone again. Urgent. I was supposed to hang out with Jibbles tonight. Since Awesomesquad! had been taking up most of my free time, and other than our occasional lunch, we barely got to see each other, but this was clearly serious. And it could take a while. Sure, by this point we had only roughed up Chris Brown for beating up Rihanna, but we still have had a lot of work to do with finishing the interior of the Awesomebase! but even if it was just a construction emergency, it would still take us well into the night before we finished whatever it is. But I still wanted to go see X-Men Origins: Wolverine with Jibbles tonight.

Hoping that whatever the urgent call was wouldn’t take too long, I sighed, scarfed down what was left of my mediocre hamburger, stood up, and said to Jibbles, “Sorry man, I need to go. Lady Caggiano needs my help with something.”

“Sure thing,” he replied, “You still on for the movie tonight?

“I’m not sure yet,” I replied apologetically, “This might take a while.”

Jibbles sighed and said, “Forget about it then. I’ll just go hang out with my sister. She’ll want to see it with me, at least.”

Jibbles’s sister, whom I like to call Phlegm, had recently graduated from college with a Master’s degree in Psychology, which I took note of because Lady Caggiano tried to claim that she could do what a therapist does when she coerced me into letting her be a part of Awesomesquad!. I had been meaning to get her number from Jibbles to try and recruit her. Now, however, was clearly not the time to do so.

“I’m really sorry, Jibbles, but this sounds like it is an emergency.”

“Go,” he commanded with a half smirk. I could still tell that he was annoyed.

I thanked him, grabbed my bookbag and rushed out of the cafeteria.

From behind me, I heard Jibbles call, “Tell Lady Caggiano that she better give you head for this!”

I exited the cafeteria and then the building laughing at the thought of saying that to Lady Caggiano and how she would absolutely punch me in the face for even suggesting it.

I spent most of the time driving to the secluded Awesomebase! thinking up ways that I was going to make it up to Jibbles for ditching him again. I eventually decided that I would get him a couple of butterfly knives for his birthday. He already had an extensive collection of weapons, but he always appreciates a good knife.

Feeling a little better about cancelling our plans, I turned onto the gravel path that lead through the woods to the Awesomebase!’s main gate. This wasn’t supposed to be the member’s entrance, but more of a utility or delivery entrance. However, since the secret corridors were sealed shut so that the construction crew didn’t know about them, they would be sealed from us until construction was finished, which was still going to be another month.

I pulled into an empty parking spot near the outer wall, and then quickly and stealthily wrapped myself in my white gown. Then, while looking in my rearview mirror, I drew an eye on the center of my forehead with green face paint. I put on a large and clearly forced smile, and stepped out of the car. I walked slowly towards the entrance, doing my best to look like I’m gliding across the gravel, and made my way into the main entrance of the Awesomebase!

Right inside, there were two Latino construction workers talking to each other. I believe their names were Pablo and José. I grinned my large and unnatural grin at them and proclaimed, “Praise the intergalactic Gate Keeper who allowed me safe passage to the den of His glory!” I tilted my head slightly to the left and then asked them, “Have either of you been told the ultimate truths of the universe?”

Both men threw up their hands and began speaking in a very fast paced Spanish as they backed away from me and hurried through the door to the Great Room. Damn, did Lady Caggiano’s idea work perfectly.

See, since Awesomesquad! is supposed to be a secret group of vigilantes, we both need a high-tech base of operations, something that would be impossible to build on our own, and for our secret to remain intact. Those two needs contradict each other-hard. With the architects, the engineers, the safety inspectors, the construction workers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, truck drivers, roofers, and other assorted personel, there have been hundreds of different people, strangers, on the Awesomebase!, getting used to know the floor plan, and potentially becoming suspicious as to why a group of people need such an impenetrable fortress, we needed a way to keep them from connecting the dots. And since the only other person to do anything remotely similar to this was Batman, and he never revealed how he did it (Alfred probably murdered every person who worked on the Batcave and buried them somewhere on the Wayne property), we had to figure out our own way to keep the workers in the dark about what this building was actually going to be used for.

That’s when Lady Caggiano cleverly came up with the idea that we pose as a cult. She theorized that, with us being a cult, none of the workers would ask any us any questions about why the Awesomebase! would need to be built this way, because they would assume that we would try to get them to join. And as long as we acted weird enough, they would want to avoid us as much as possible. To my amazement, the ruse worked perfectly. The first person to ask why a gymnasium had to be underground but also have a retractable roof (We had them build the AwesomeHangar! as a gymnasium to throw them off and we would replace the flooring once construction was finished), got an earful about the Great Intergalactic Gate Keeper, how our calisthenics were a metaphor for lowly mortal beings trying to achieve the physique of The Great One, and how this was where the spaceship was supposed to land to take us to paradise. No more questions were asked after that.

I made my way across the Great room, and then down the sloped hallway to the briefing room, or as we called it when the builders were around, the “Praise Chamber.” Inside the briefing room was my team, each dressed in white, except for Derren who was wearing a gold lined blue gown, which signified him as the leader. Everyone, wore the same grin that I had on. I quietly stepped inside, and we all chanted in unison, “All hail the Intergalactic Gate Keeper: the Avatar of Truth, The Great One, The Protector of the Chosen.”

As soon as the door was shut, I asked without relaxing my face, “Why was the meeting called, and why was it so urgent?”

“Nice to see you too, Minigan,” Lady Caggiano quipped smartly at me without letting her oversized grin falter, “Jessie, of all people-”

“Hey!” Jessie James shouted, offended, but still grinning.

“Jessie, of all people,” Lady Caggiano continued in a slightly annoyed tone, “has come up with a lead on a potential threat.”

“Really?” I grinned, “Who?”

“Someone Donald Trump is in league with. Possibly even Trump himself,” he answered, “I first realized that something was up when I was a contestant on his show, ‘The Celebrity Apprentice.’ I was one of the final three, when I overheard a conversation between Trump, and two other men. One had a really raspy voice. Anyway, what they were talking about was buying up all the real estate for sale in poor neighborhoods of cities. Then they would build huge high-end apartment complexes to drive up property values and force all the remaining people to sell their homes.”

“This is Bullcrap!” Nut’n Fancy shouted, “Why is it that we’re going after a good, hardworking American, when Sean Penn is out there, actively trying to ruin America.”

“Shut up, Nut’n Fancy!” I shout-smiled, “Yes, Sean Penn is a horrible leather faced monster, but until he does something really awful, and not just act douchey, we’ll focus on this twat waffle.

Everyone murmured in agreement, and I distinctly heard Damien say, “His face does look like someone wrapped a skull in skin from an old man’s scrotum.”

Nut’n Fancy sat back down in a huff, impressively, still grinning, and glared at me with his eyes. I looked to Jessie and he continued.

“Once they found out that I heard this, Trump fired me.”

“So why are you telling us this now? The episode where you get fired was on last night,” Lady Caggiano asked.

“Plus,” I added, “rich people do that all the time. That’s what happened with the East Village in New York City.”

“That’s true,” Jessie replied, “But then I watched the episode last night. In the background of one of the shots, you can see a map of New York City with all of the poorer neighborhoods circled in red. I think he’s planning on driving the lower class out of the city.”

The rest of the group glanced at one another, but before I could respond, a knock came on the glass window. Everyone turned their heads towards the door slowly, still keeping up with our cult facade. It was one of the workers, a Mexican named Raul. Unlike the rest of the workers who usually tried their best to avoid us unless it was absolutely necessary, Raul seemed to be more amused our fake religious beliefs than creeped out by them. Of course, this meant that we tried extra hard at creeping him the hell out.

Derren stood up and ushered Raul with his hand. As soon as he opened the door, we said in unison, “Greetings, Brother Raul!”

Supressing a smirk, he replied, “Hello.  We are done-“

“Don’t stand there in the doorway, Raul!” Derren urged, “That’s a transitional space. It’s impossible to tell which way you want to go. Come into the room- with the rest of us.”

“Yes, the rest of us,” the other members of Awesomesquad! said perfectly in sync, just like we practiced. We were really going at it hard to try and make him uncomfortable. He smiled back at us and stepped inside. Damn, this man was difficult.

I shot up from my chair and proclaimed, “I give my chair up to our guest to the Praise Chamber!” Then, I awkwardly pushed my chair around the table up to Raul, making sure that I got it stuck on Criss’s on my way up. It took me about thirty long, silent seconds to get my chair the five feet from me to Raul. “Here you go!” I exclaimed to him, making sure I sounded slightly winded.

“Thank you,” he said, “but I just came down here to say that-“

“If Brother Raul refuses to sit, then so do I,” Lady Caggiano announced as she lifted herself from her chair. The remaining six members of Awesomesquad! followed suit, and with the clacking of  chair legs, everyone in the room was standing and grinning at Raul.

“We are done for the day,” Raul announced, totally relaxed, “See you all tomorrow morning.”

“You’re leaving?!” Derren cried (which was followed by a chorus of disappointed ‘oh’s’ from the rest of us), “Well, we should see you out!”

The rest of Awesomesquad chattered in excited agreement, and without pushing our chairs in, we awkwardly made our way to the door.

“No, that’s OK,” Raul insisted, but it was already too late- we were forcing him through the doorway.

Everyone in the fake cult formed a tight circle around Derren, as per custom, and we made our way to the main entrance, stopping at every doorway to ask “The Intergalactic Gate Keeper for safe passage through the transitional space.” Raul politely waited as each of us fell to our knees and pleaded to The Great One. I admit, by this point, our cult wasn’t giving off a creepy vibe as much as we were just being weird and annoying, but Raul continued to wait patiently for us to finish our bizarre rituals.

I kept close watch of Raul from my position to the right of Derren, doing my best to see the side of his face and catch a glimpse of any telling facial expression. Don’t take it the wrong way- I liked the guy. He was friendly, hardworking, and willing to listen to our peculiar building preferences, like a room made out of concrete walls that juts out from the ceiling of the Great Room that’s only accessible from a catwalk, or heavy, armor plated doors for each of the member’s private quarters. But his comfort with a group of cultists that regularly tried to coerce him and his coworkers to join made me particularly unsettled. Every time he suppressed a chuckle, it made me suspect that he actually knew what we were up to.

Eventually, the group of us plus Raul were on the opposite side of the Great Room, through the doors leading to the Entrance Hall, and were praying for safe passage through the transitional space that lead outside. At this doorway (being one that separates the indoors from the outdoors) we broke into a choreographed dance in which we would make our way through the door one at a time. No music was to be played while we did this. “It would ruin the beauty and sanctity of the dance,” we claimed.

With the last of us out of the door and back in formation, we waved to Raul as he walked across the parking lot to his blue Taurus. Inside were four of the other construction workers, two of which I recognized as the ones I accosted earlier. Once they spotted us, they immediately averted their gaze, as if staring at us too long would turn them into stone. Raul waved back to us, got into his car, and drove through the open concrete sliding gate. The gate shut behind them once they were through, and once the gate was closed completely, we let our faces relax.

“That was damn near unbearable this time!” Nut’n Fancy cried as he massaged his cheeks with his fingertips. The rest of us followed his lead, and began to rub our cheeks as well.

In between stretching and relaxing her jaw, Lady Caggiano asked, “Am I the only one who thinks that Raul might be on to us?”

“No,’ I replied, “I was wondering the same thing.”

“What should we do about it?” Everett asked.

“I’m not sure yet,” I answered as I turned around and headed back inside, “But we’ll figure that out once we finish dealing with the Trump situation.”

“What Trump’s doing doesn’t sound to be nearly as pressing as this, Minigan,” Damien noted.

I turned to Damien and replied, “If what Jessie said was true, then we will need to act now in order to stop him.”

“But what he’s doing isn’t uncommon! You said so yourself!” he reminded me.

“Yes, but then he mentioned how he was doing that with every poor neighborhood. Do you have any idea what kind of repurcussions that would have?”

Everyone stared at me. Apparently, they didn’t.

I rolled my eyes and explained, “OK, so if all the poor neighborhoods get replaced by high rise apartment buildings for the upper class, then were are the poor going to go? They won’t be able to move to other neighborhoods in the city because those neighborhoods will still be too expensive for them to live in. So disenfranchising the poor is the first part. Secondly, the poor will eventually move into the suburbs where they’ll find affordable housing.”

“But that doesn’t sound so bad,” Criss noted, “I mean it sucks for the lower class, but this doesn’t sound like that serious of a situation for the rest of us.”

“Well,” I replied, “that will cause the poorer suburb neighborhoods to both boom in population and in size, neither of which are good. And then there’s the fact that most of the displaced lower class people don’t have cars to drive to work, and now you’re forcing them to find their way into the city from the suburbs. And then you have to think about how that influx of people will affect the neighboring towns where the influxes will occur.  And then, of course there’s the issue of who’s going to buy the new apartments.”

“Rich people will,” Everett noted.

“Ok,” I then asked, “Then what happens to their old places? They will be left vacant. And they will still cost too much for anyone in the middle or lower classes to buy, so eventually, either half the city will be a ghost town, or all the rich people will start buying multiple apartments to make their places even bigger. And that’s still at the cost of the poor who were forced out of their homes in the first place.”

“Alright,” Damien admitted, “But that still doesn’t require us to go and fight him.”

‘No, we’re talking about Trump here. He’ll try to sue you if you tell him what he doesn’t want to hear.” Lady Caggiano noted.

“But that doesn’t mean we have to ruff him up!” Damien shouted, his voice echoing off the walls of the empty great room. “Plus, all we have is an overheard conversation from months ago and an image of a map with circles on it, most criminal investigators build up weeks’ worth of evidence before that haul someone in for questioning! And they usually get their information from more reliable sources.”

Damien (as well as the rest of us) glanced over to Jessie, who cried, “Hey, I’m very reliable!”

Ignoring him, I asked Damien, “Well, what do you suggest we do?”

“Seriously guys, I am reliable.”

“I say we do some reconnaissance before we make any kind of move. Bug his phone, his office, his loft. Just try to get more of an idea of what he’s up to and if there is a nonviolent way to stop it.”

“C’mon!” Jessie cried, “You trusted me to drive you to and back from LA when we beat up Chris Brown, but you don’t trust me when it comes to finding information on bad guys?”

“No!” the rest of us cried back in unison.

Then, I added, “Now be quiet; the adults are talking.” I looked to the rest of the group and announced, “Alright, it looks like we’re going to be going on couple day stake-out in New York City. Everyone except GMZ and Derren, pack your incognito city costumes.”

“Please no, Minigan, not the city costumes!” Lady Caggiano begged, “Mine’s terrible!”

“What’s wrong with it?”

“EVERYTHING! Can I please have, literally any other costume that we have?”

“Like what?” I replied  sarcastically, “The costumes we have are the only ones I could find at the time. We’re lucky that we’ll blend in in New York with them.”

She glared at me, and then left in a huff to her room to pack. I turned to everyone else and continued, “Derren, I need you to book three rooms at a hotel near the Trump Tower.”

“Five… For tonight… In New York City? Are you high?” he replied, “How the hell do you expect me to pull that miracle off? I’m not Criss.”

“I swear, I only preform magic tricks. Where did you get the idea that I can perform miracles?”

Ignoring Criss, I replied, “Well, standing here debating it with me isn’t going to get us them, so how about you try calling them. We need two for the eight of us, and one for Lady Caggiano.”

Derren rolled his eyes and began to walk away. From over his shoulder, he called, “I’ll be lucky if I get one!”

I called back, “Use your mentalist abilities to get us three! That’s why I hired you in the first place, remember!”

“Wait, so I’m going too?!” GMZ said as his eyes lighted up behind his thick framed classes.

“Is the Watch Tower completed and set up yet?” I asked. We all looked up to the looming concrete box in the center of the Great Room ceiling. A single doorway was cut into the box, like a jet black rectangle drawn onto a heather grey cube. There was nothing but open air on the outside of the doorway.

“No,” he affirmed.

“Then yes. If we’re going to be spying on a celebrity millionaire, then we’ll need a hacker to get into their security cameras.”

He wooted and punched the air, and then ran off to his own room to grab his gear. I turned to the rest of the group and commanded, “Get your stuff ready, both recon mission and battle gear, just in case. Trump’s going to have guards that we’ll need to subdue. Jessie, once you get your stuff, send the flight itinerary to LaGuardia Airport. We’ll need a place to keep the Awesomecopter! while we stay overnight. Then begin fueling it up.” He nodded, we walked down the one hallway and into our rooms.

Within five minutes, I was packed and pacing back and forth in my room, mentally drawing up our plans for the reconnaissance part of the mission. The Atrium at the base of the Trump Tower in New York was six stories high, with shops, dining areas, a Starbucks and several sets of escalators and walkways. That was the public area, and a place that would be hard to cover even with triple our man power. Doing the best I could with the information given, I wrote up the plan, stuffed the paper into my bag, and headed down to the armory.

Unfortunately, since the Awesomebase! was still partially under construction, we had to keep all of our weapons locked in fireproof crates in the Armory. We told the construction workers that they were filled with religious relics that were to be placed about the compound once the construction was finished, and were not to be touched by hands not first cleansed with a mixture of sea water, sassafras leaves, and the oil from a piranha. Of course, they tended to avoid the armory anyway, since we told them that that room was going to be our chapel. I casually mentioned that that would be where most of our sacrifices would occur when they didn’t look too put off by Derren calling it the Chapel. That did the trick.

I began unlocking the crates, looking for my cloak and pole arm, but I left them unlocked if I found any of the weapons or gear that would be useful on this trip. Mostly they were Everett’s tools or failed prototypes. Eventually, after searching through crates of knives, crates of guns, and for some reason, a crate of all our explosives (because in one accidentally goes off, the others will just cancel out that explosion, apperantly), and found my cloak and pole arm tucked into the bottom of  the crate with our protective vests, pants, and goggles.  Opening my duffle bag, I rolled my cloak into a ball and stuffed it into the least empty corner.

As I carried my bag and pole arm off to one side, echoes of footsteps bounced down the hallway, through the open door and across the empty armory to me. A sullen looking Lady Caggiano walked in, followed by the other seven members of Awesomesquad! Derren and GMZ each had excited grins plastered onto their faces, both of which reminded me of the smiles we were supposed to wear around the construction crews.

Once he saw me, GMZ raced up and began to talk at me so fast that I barely understood him. I managed to get, “Thanks for bringing me along!” and “I promise I’ll do everything I can to make this mission run smoothly.” The rest of what he said was a rambling gibberish to me. He could’ve been saying that my mother is such a whore that she shoots babies out of her vagina like a machine gun, and I would’ve just to continue to smile and nod like I was doing.

Once he finished saying whatever the hell he was saying, I said nothing to him, but instead paused for a second and asked everyone who was just then walking up to me, “Is everyone ready, clothing wise?”

“Yes,” they all answered in almost perfect unison- Lady Caggiano drew hers out to make it more of an annoyed groan.

“Good,” I replied, only glancing briefly in Lady Caggiano’s direction, “Then all we need to do is gather up the weapons we’ll need-“

“If, on the very rare chance we cannot reason with Trump and we need to fight him and his bodyguards,” Damien added over me.

“We’ll be able to reason with’em,” Nut’n Fancy assured us, “Trump is a standup guy who wouldn’t intentionally ruin the poor’s lives. He’ll understand.”

“Yeah?” Lady Caggiano added, “Well, he also seems like the kind of person who would sue you if you said he wasn’t as rich as he wanted to hear, so I say we be prepared for anything.”

“Ok,” I said before anyone else could add anything, “Let’s pick out our weapons and get ready to go.” As Lady Caggiano, Everett, Criss, Damien, and Nut’n Fancy went to rummage through the crates, I turned to Jessie and asked, “Is the Awesomecopter! ready?”

“Sure is!” he exclaimed, “All we need to do is get our stuff packed into it, and we’ll be ready to go!”

No shit.

“Good, I replied before turning to GMZ and asking, “We’ll need to keep in contact with you at all times, and you’ll need to hack into Trump Tower’s security cameras, and possibly his computer, so what will you need for that?”

He had calmed down by this point, so I was able to understand him when he replied, “If we just do reconnaissance, then we’ll each need ear pieces, some spy cameras, and I’ll need someone to get to security and download a driver onto their mainframe that will let me in- they’re security will be pretty tight, so I won’t be able to do that from the hotel room without them finding out. If we do have to fight him, then you’ll need the wrist communicators, and we’ll probably have to delete the files off of his computer.”

“So,” I asked, “A virus?”

“No, a virus is too destructive and would find its way onto other computers. You’ll have to get on his computer and wipe his hard drive, and maybe a backup flash drive, but that’s it.”

GMZ strode over to one of the small crates at the far end of the room, rummaged through it for a bit, and then returned with a thumb drive of his own.

“This,” he said with a smirk, “Is a password cracker. Just plug it into a locked computer and it will run through the combinations until it finds the correct one. You can also use the program on it to get into private accounts and encrypted files.” His smile became mischievous when he added, “It’s how I hacked into Obama’s and Britney Spears’s Twitter accounts earlier this year.”

“I really think a virus would be simpler, but if you insist doing it this way is best, we’ll try it. But this means that if he doesn’t change his mind, we’ll have to break into his loft. And Damien clearly doesn’t want us to do that.”

With a dismissive wave of his hand, GMZ replied as he walked away, “Fine, be a little pussy about it and let Trump control half of the properties in New York.”

Falling for his taunt, I called after him, “You’ll need to get me the floor plan to his place if you want us to break into it. You know that, right?” He raised his index finger into the air, which I took as that he understood, and he went back to the small crate, closed it, and carried it out of the armory.

I sighed to myself as I thought about what GMZ said. I was completely behind the idea of breaking into Trump’s apartment and forcing him to stop his plans, but there was no way Damien would ever be up for it. I grimaced at the thought of having to try to convince Damien, the man whom I hired partially to train us all in hand to hand combat, that we may need to use force, especially since he should be the one most willing to fight. And somehow, I was going to have to not only convince him that we would probably need to break into Trump’s apartment, but that he was going to be the one to break into security, probably fight some of the guards without drawing too much attention to himself, then download the driver GMZ was talking about, and get back out. And judging by the floor plan of the Trump Tower, he was going to have to sneak in through the service entrance in the Atrium and make his way through a maze of hallways and service elevators just to reach the room where the guards watch the cameras.  I gritted my teeth, knowing that he was going to fight me on this, and walked up to the crate he was half-heartedly poking through.

“Damien, When we get into the Trump Tower, I have a special assignment for you.”

“Oh, really? What is it?” he replied without looking up at me. Despite how long he had been looking through that crate, he had only pulled out one handgun and two magazines.

I replied to him, “You’re going to be breaking into The Trump Tower’s security area so that GMZ can tap the cameras. The route to the room where the security cameras relay to is pretty long. You’re gonna have to pose as a maintenance man, but if they find you out, you’re going to need to fight your way out.”

“Why can’t GMZ just hack into the security system remotely?”

“He said that they’ll find out if he does,” I answered. “All you’ll have to do is download a program onto one of their computers and open it. GMZ will do the rest of the work.”

“Except that that won’t be, ‘all I have to do.’” He snapped as he stood up to face me. Damien glared at me and continued, “I’ll probably have to fight a load of security guards both on my way in and out of the bloody place, yet still try to be inconspicuous. How in the bloody hell is that even going to be possible? Are there cameras lining those halls to security?”

I gritted my teeth. “Yes,” I said.

“So you want me to beat the piss out of a bunch of people while on camera and then walk into the room where they watch the cameras?! What drugs are you on, Minigan, because they must be powerful if you think this is going to work.”

Even though he was slightly shorter than me, Damien still had about fifteen pounds on me, and it showed. And somehow, despite his size, he still managed to tower over me.  This intimidated me a little, but I masked my intimidation by shouting at him, “Well, this is what you wanted Damien! I was perfectly fine with just forcing him to stop, but you wanted us to do reconnaissance first!”

“No!” He shouted back, “I didn’t want any part of this! And I especially didn’t want us to jump into this right away like we are doing! Sure, taking the reactionary approach was fine when we bloodied up Chris Brown, but Donald Trump is a powerful man! And we’re going after him with just an overheard conversation and a bloody screenshot from his show! What we should be doing is at least a month’s worth of digging into this lead before we storm the Trump Tower like we’re an invading army! Why do you think this will play out any other way than us blowing our covers and ruining this entire mission? Hell, we’ll probably screw up so much that if Trump is actually plotting what Jessie says he is, then he’ll bump up security and the secrecy of his plan, making it virtually impossible to stop him!”

I clenched my fists and pressed my nails into the palm of my hand. It was the only thing keeping me from punching Damien in the face. If I did, not only would he kick my ass, but he would also quit Awesomesquad!, and despite how much of a pain in the ass he was sometimes, I knew that he was the best at what he does- or at least, the best that I could get.

I took a deep breath, took a moment to make sure my voice was going to be steady and not come out as a scream, and said, “Fine. You can choose. If you don’t want to join us, then stay here and watch the base. Lady Caggiano claims to have ninja skills anyway, so I bet she’d be happy to do your job and not wear her costume. If you do want to come, take some normal weapons IN CASE we have to fight Trump’s security, but also bring nonlethal weapons. A tranquilizer gun with extra rounds and a hand-held stun gun in case someone grabs you should be fine. Also, bring any kind of equipment you would need for sneaking down to the security room.”

With that, I grabbed my bags- one with my clothes, and one with my weapons and gear, and exited the Armory. As I left, I noticed everyone staring at either me or Damien. I ignored them. I stormed out of the Armory and into the hallway where our private rooms were located. I was about to kick my door open when I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was Lady Caggiano. I could see that mine and Damien’s argument had gotten her hopes up, but she was kind enough to hide it as much as she could.

“Yes,” I said to her, annoyed, “I meant that if Damien backs out, you can take his place breaking into security. You’ll need a Taser, a tranquilizer gun, and extra rounds. Plus whatever other nonlethal and stealth equipment you think you’ll need.” “Excuse me,” I added, “But I need to print out the floor plans for the security area.”

I stepped into my room and shut the door behind me before she could say anything. Immediately, I was at my computer, pulling up the files that GMZ and Jessie had sent me. I opened up the folders with the schematics and floor plans, printed them, and then drew a red circle where each of the security guards and cameras should be. Then, with a blue pen, I drew a path through the corridors to the elevator, and then to the security room. Folding the stack of papers I had just printed in half, I stormed back over to my door and swung it open. It was my plan to find Lady Caggiano and give her the papers, but instead she was waiting for me. The look of triumph that she discretely wore before was wiped clean from her face and was replaced a look of slight disappointment.

I thrusted the folded stack of papers at her, but she refused and said, “Damien plans to go. Give those to him.”

The anger from before had still left my blood hot, so  without another word, I headed back to the armory.

From behind me, she called, “I hope this means that I still don’t have to wear that horrible costume?!”

“That’s exactly what that means, Lady Caggiano,” I called back.

Right as I crossed the threshold into the armory, Lady Caggiano yelled back at me, “Go suck a million and a half dicks, Minigan!”

I didn’t react to her outburst, but instead headed right for Damien who was packing a black dufflebag with rope and extra grappling hooks. He saw me enter, and stood to face me. I could tell his clenched jaw muscles and the redness of his face that he was just as angry at me as I was with him.

Once I got close enough, I shoved the papers into his free hand and stated, “Here’s the floor plan and the path you should take. I’ve also marked where the security guards are stationed along the route and anywhere one could spot you.”

“Thanks.”

I was about to walk away and grab my bags, but I stopped myself and turned to say, “You know, it’s not like I didn’t just hear about this too.”

“That’s exactly what makes it so bad!” he cried, “You’re just rushing into a job that you don’t even know if it’s real or not. Bloody Hell, you don’t even know what Trump’s motivation is behind all of this! You just want a fight for the hell of it!”

I had nothing to say to this. Which I hated. I knew that he was right about everything up until the fighting part. Which I hated more. And I especially hated him for pointing all of this out to me. Instead of continuing to argue, I grabbed my bags from the corner where I had left them, locked up any remaining crates and headed back out of the armory. Unfortunately for me (as well as Damien, I guess) he had finished packing and was heading to the Awesomecopter! as well. Both of us, being the stubborn bastards that we are,  refused to either slow down or speed up in order to break away from the other, so we ended up walking through the hallway, into and then out of Great Room, into lobby, out the front doors, and around to the back of the building.

At the far end of the back yard, a section of the compound wall was swung open, revealing  a woodchip laden pathway into the woods. Together, we walked through the gap in the wall and pulled the gate shut, leaving the wall that surrounds the Awesomebase! yard unbroken once again. Still side by side, we walked along the path through the woods, refusing to say a word to each other.

After about a minute, we passed a large wooden sign that read: “Have you donated all of your belongings/ extra bodily fluids to benefit The Great One?”

I should probably explain. Since we’ve had the Awesomecopter! before the Awesomebase!, and particularly, the Awesomehangar! hasn’t been finished yet, we’ve had to hide the Awesomecopter! in a nearby clearing. To keep the construction workers off of the trail and away from the clearing, we told them that that path was for spiritual and sexual walk-abouts. We figured that that would scare off most of the workers, but on the chance that it didn’t, we put up signs along the path in order to discourage anyone from walking any farther.  We tried to make the signs as sexually disturbing as possible in order really make the intruder uncomfortable. Along the way, we also have an altar area covered in fake blood. This all must work, because after we watched the first curious come sprinting out of the woods shouting a lot of Spanish obscenities and looking like he was about to throw up. None of the construction workers even looked in the direction of the pathway after that.

After a few minutes of silence between Damien and myself, we passed a second sign. This one had the sentence, “Open your eyes, your hearts, and your rectums to receive The Intergalactic Gatekeeper’s majesty.”

After about another minute or so, we came upon a set of three signs. The first one said, “Have you fucked a goat lately? Why not?”

The second sign had the phrase, “I mean, it’s not like it’ll kill you.”

And finally, the last sign read, “You know what? Turn around right now, and bring back a goat to fuck.”

If you turned around at this point, you would then see on the back of the “It’s not like it’ll kill you” sign another sign that read, “Make sure it’s a virgin goat, and bring the sacrificial blade with you.”

Once we passed the final sign which read, “The Intergalactic Gatekeeper watches you masturbate- And he likes what he sees” (A work of Lady Caggiano’s genius), I knew that were coming up on the fake altar area.

Damien and I rounded a corner in the darkened woods, and came upon the altar area.  The tree canopy provided cover for the trampled earth below, with the exception of a small area in the center, which directly below it sat the fire pit. Behind the fire pit stood the altar, which was more like two tall piles of rocks holding up a slab of concrete. Obviously, it wasn’t stable enough for me to confident to place an empty beer bottle on, so we never did anything more than pour a bucket of red paint on it to look like it was covered with fresh blood. We also painted bloody hand prints on the trunks of the surrounding trees and on the smaller rocks that line the fire circle. Everett and Nut’n Fancy then nailed various goat bones to the trees and stuck two goat skulls on sticks at the entrance of the circle. Which we then slapped some paint colored blood onto as well. Basically, it looked like a massacre occurred there. I could understand why the man was so freaked out- with all the red, the area was noticeable immediately, and if you believed that that was all blood, it looked as though we had slaughtered twenty goats, coated ourselves with the blood, and began rubbing our bodies on everything. Honestly, I don’t know how we never managed to scare the construction workers into calling the cops or at least refusing to come back.  Clearly, Latin Americans (or possibly construction workers in general) are a n incredibly resilient people.

When we reached the fire circle in the center of the altar area, Damien and I split up, and walked aound the opposite side of the fire ring from each other. We reached the other side at the same time (damn) and headed for a large bush directly behind the altar. Damien lifted the side of the bush to reveal another path, and ushered me through with his hand. I wasn’t sure if he was doing it sarcastically or not, but I stepped passed anyway and then held the bush for him. I’m not sure why, that seemed to remove a lot of the tension between us, and I at least eased up on hoping he would just stop and look at a fucking rock for five seconds so that I could walk a head of him.

Within thirty or so seconds, we had reached the edge of the clearing and were approaching the Awesomecopter, which was being packed by the rest of the group. They saw us coming, and quickly averted their gaze back to trying to fit all the equipment and clothes into the Awesomecopter!, while still leaving room for the nine of us. Miraculously, we managed to stuff all the baggage into the helicopter with just enough room for us to sit down.

The Awesomecopter! was heavy, but Jessie managed to get it off the ground, and within seconds we were darting over the Awesomebase! and flying towards the setting spring sun. Most of the trip was uneventful. We changed out of our cult clothes and wiped the painted eyes off of our foreheads. Then, I explained to everyone the course of action for the recon mission, and GMZ interjected with any of the technical information that he had. I also explained to the group what Damien was going to be doing at the time. He barely said a word, still clearly irritated by the whole situation, but at least he didn’t try to argue with me about it. Well, since we were on our way to New York City, I guess there wasn’t much for him to say at that point.

After I finished briefing them, we decided to do what we did on our last mission: Play a single song on repeat for the entire length of the trip. I was about to play the Offspring’s Shit Is Fucked Up, when Lady Caggiano stopped me.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” she asked me as I thumbed through the communal iPod.

“Looking for the song Shit Is Fucked Up. What does it look like I’m doing?”

“No,” She stated, “We’re listening to The Fame by Lady Gaga.”

“That crazy chick that wears bubble dresses and Kermit the Frog corpse outfits?” I asked, “Why the hell would we listen to her?”

“Yeah, she seems like a sexual deviant to me,” Everett added.

Many of the other members nodded in agreement, and GMZ added, “I heard she’s a dude!”

“Well, I don’t care if you think she’s weird, I like her and her music, so that’s who we’re listening to, not some band that was big thirteen years ago.”

“I swear,” GMZ interjected again, “She supposed to have a full dong!”

“Why do you think you get to choose?” I said to Lady Caggiano.

“Because you’re making me wear that stupid costume!” she cried, “Clearly I have it worst today, and I deserve to choose the song we listen to on repeat.”

Damien snorted. Lady Caggiano casted him a dark stare, before turning back around to me and daring me to challenge her claim.

“Since Damien is the one who’s being forced along on this mission,” Everett said, “Maybe he should be the one to choose.”

“I think that sounds fair,” Criss added.

“Me too,” came from Jessie, Derren, Nut’n Fancy, and Criss.

GMZ added once again,“I’m tellin’ you. Lady Gaga’s a dude.”

“Fine,” I said, “Let’s have Damien decide.”

Lady Caggiano growled at me, and if she weren’t strapped into her seat, I’m pretty sure she would have lunged at me with a knife.

“Well, if it were up to me,” Damien said slowly as he scratched his chin, “I’m gonna have to say that I feel like I’m in a Lady Gaga kind of mood right now.”

That bastard. He looked directly at me when he said it, and I could tell by the look in his eyes and the smirk on his stupid British face that he was only doing it to piss me off. Lady Caggiano, on the other hand, was delighted, and she and Damien shared in a high five.

“Did you see that, Minigan?” she asked as she lowered her hand back down to her side, “Damien actually knows how to give a proper high five’s.”

“So do I!” I yelled at her.

“No you don’t,” she retorted with venom in her voice, “Yours are always weird and static. Now play The Fame.”

I obliged, and for the remainder of the trip everyone was subject to Lady Caggiano singing over Lady Gaga.

“I love her so much!” she cried at one point, “Gaga is such a strong, independent woman!” She then continued to sing, “Isn’t it a shame, shame, baby? A shame, shame/ In it for the fame, fame, baby, the fame, fame…”

What felt like weeks later, we arrived in La Guardia airport, and poured out of the cramped Awesomecopter! and into the cool evening air. Derren, brilliantly, had called ahead and had two taxi vans waiting for us right outside the tarmac. The nine of us packed the vans full with our bags and then everyone but Jessie, who had to stay behind and do pilot things with the Awesomecopter!, piled into the now cramped vehicles for what was likely to be an awful journey to our hotel.

In about a half hour, we had reached the Peninsula Hotel of Fifth Avenue, the closest hotel to the Trump Tower. With the help of a bell hop, who, judging by the subtle holes in his face left from piercings, probably dressed up in emo clothes when he wasn’t at work, we were able to cart every one of our twenty or so bags into the main Lobby. As soon as I stepped inside the lobby, I was bludgeoned over the head with extravagance. The floor, the walls, and the ceiling were all covered in white stone tile, a giant  chandelier with tens of thousands of clear crystals hung down right above where the leaf print carpeted stairs split. On either side of the first  set of steps before the split, sat two brown marble columns with large vases filled with fragrant pink and purple flowers.

Confidently, Derren lead us directly to the right and up to the front desk. Behind it was a short and thin middle aged man, wearing an all-white uniform and a pencil mustache.

The man seemed somewhat bothered by the amount of us and our luggage, but he smiled anyway and greeted us in a stiff formal tone, “Welcome to The Peninsula Hotel. Under what name is your room registered?”

“Derren Brown,” Derren answered.

The man typed the name into his computer and then said, “Ah, yes. Mr. Brown, your request was last minute, but we did manage to find a suitable room for you and your, well,” he glanced at the rest of us, “party. Fortunately, we did have a room with the amenities your requested become available at the last second, so you will have a room facing Central Park with two queen sized beds. That is what you requested, correct?”

“Yes” Derren answered with a smile, “That’s perfect. But can we please have an extra cot brought up to the room if it isn’t too much trouble?”

The man looked taken aback by this request, which is understandable given how nice this hotel is, but the man smiled once again and replied, ‘Certainly. One will be up shortly. But Nathan here,” he waved his hand at the bell hop, “will show you to your room.”

The man handed Derren the envelope with the key cards, and Derren accepted them and thanked him. And that was it. Derren and the rest of the group followed the bell hop Nathan back across the lobby and into a lounge area where the elevators were.  When the first elevator door opened, The bell hop, Lady Caggiano, GMZ, Everett, Criss, Nut’n Fancy stepped in. There was room for about one more person, so I let Damien go in and I said that Derren and I would meet them on our floor.

As soon as Derren and I were in our own elevator and traveling up, I yelled at him, “Only one room?!?! Where’s everyone going to sleep?!”

“Excuse me,” Derren snapped back, “but I told you that was going to be impossible. Especially in New York, and especially in this Area of New York. Shit we were lucky enough to get a room facing the Trump Tower. What the hell more do you want from me?”

“But where is everyone going to sleep?” I cried.

“I have them bringing up the cot, so Lady Caggiano can use that. Then we’ll just have three people squeeze onto the beds, one person can take the chair, and one can take the floor. May I suggest that  Jessie, Nut’n Fancy, and I take the beds since we’re the oldest, as well as Everett and GMZ since they are the smaller of the young men. You, Damien, and Criss can fight it out for the last spot on the bed.”

I sighed, and said, “I guess that works. But you can choose who’s getting the last spot on the bed, and I’ll just take the floor. I don’t need to give me any more reason to want to fight me today.”

“I know,” Derren added, “Do you really disagree with him on how quickly we’re moving on this, or do you just not see a problem?”

I was about to answer with a strong and admittedly telling, “fuck you,” but the elevator pinged and the doors opened to reveal the rest of our group. Nathan lead us down the hall to our room,  and then helped us unstack our luggage once we were inside. Derren tipped the young man and closed the door behind him before he left.

The next hour or so was a mess of trying to get everything organized while also leaving enough space on the floor for us to move around and for me to sleep. After a while, Jessie knocked on the door, and he was followed shortly thereafter by the cot. By then, the stress of the trip and everything else from the day had worn us down, and we were all ready for bed. Derren gave the extra spot on the bed to Criss, who ended up sharing the bed with Everett and Nut’n Fancy. I stole a blanket and a pillow from one of the beds, found the biggest empty spot on the floor, and collapsed into a pile there. Despite the discomfort of the floor, my eyes immediately became heavy, and I was asleep within what felt like seconds.

Sorry for how little (zero) action there was in this post. I promise that the next two are going to be chalk full of it. Also, due to how long it took me to write, I did very little editing to this. Sorry about that too.

Until then,

Peace

P.S. To continue reading this story here is part 2

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