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.

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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

Della’s Birthday: A Tale of Horror

“What the hell do you want this time, Minigan?” an ungrateful Della grumbled when she walked into the dark room. For a brief second, a flash of lightning from the roaring storm outside  illuminated the room, and for that second, I could see her face clearly. Her eyes were squinted with suspicion, as if that was going to help her see into my head. Foolish girl, she should’ve known that I was prepared for such mental attacks. That’s why I was wearing the foil hat.

“Hello Della” I said as creepily as I could.

She didn’t respond, but glared at me and let the white noise from the rain fill the void of silence from her lack of words. After the few seconds of tense silence between the two of us, she added harshly, “And why are you naked in my living room?”

Oh, and also that. But don’t worry, my hand was covering up, well, mostly everything.

“Oh God, are you here to rape me?” She asked.

“Wha- NO!” I cried, “What kind of monster do you think I am?”

“Do I really need to answer that?”

“No, please don’t,” I replied. There was another flash of lightning and an explosion of thunder. The winds picked up and made the entire house creak as it fought against the gusts. “I’m here to celebrate your birthday!” I exclaimed, trying to ease the newly formed tension.

“Those six words have never been more terrifying to me than they are right now.”

“Hey honey,” Della’s husband, Matt, began as he walked in. He immediately stopped once saw me sitting on his couch and then continued with the question, “What in the flying hell is going on here?!?”

“I’m going to celebrate Della’s Birthday with you guys!” I answered brightly.

“My birthday was last week.”

“I know that,” I replied, “but it snuck up on me so I had to wait until today to celebrate it with you.”

“But why are you naked?” Matt asked, clearly jealous of my awesome body.

“To keep Della distracted enough so that she cannot read my mind.”

“Then what’s the foil hat for?” Della queried.

“It’s another preventative measure to keep you from reading my mind,” I explained.

“You know when I said that we were mentally connected THREE DAMN YEARS AGO, I was only joking around, right?” Della asked, with some pity.

“Yeah, OK,” I scoffed, “You say that so that I will let my guard down and then you’ll invade my mind, make me eat garbage and then steal an elephant. I know your little games, you vile temptress. You just want my treasures, the ones in and outside of my head.”

“First of all, the eating garbage and stealing an elephant was all your idea. Don’t you dare try to blame that on me. Secondly, I doubt you have any treasure in that waste of neurons you call a brain. And finally, I cannot imagine there is anything you have that I would ever want.”

“Oh, yeah?” I shouted as I jumped to my feet. I then pressed my bare ass against the back cushion of the couch and began to slowly drag it up and down. I stared directly into their eyes as I cried wildly, “How about now, Della, now do I have something you want?! Huh?!”

“No because now all I want is for you to stop rubbing your ass on my couch!” She yelled. Even through the dark I could tell that she had tears in her eyes. Man, I’m just so bad at celebrating friends’ birthdays. I promptly stopped rubbing my buttocks on her furniture and sat back down. She took a deep breath and then asked, “How was that supposed to make me want whatever it is you want me to want, anyway?”

I paused for a moment to gather my many well thought out intentions and then replied, “I dunno. I guess I just figured it would work. Did it?”

“NO!” Della and Matt said in unison.

Offended, I retorted “Fine. Well I guess I’ll just put my pants back on and we can get to your birthday surprise.”

“Yes,” Della sighed with bitchy relief, “Let’s do that.”

I grumbled to myself as I rerobed, and reached over the couch for my gift to Della. The wind was picking up, and the hard tapping on the roof assured us that the hail the weatherman had promised had arrived.  Another lightning strike cracked the sky and briefly broke the dense black of the night. With some effort and careful balance, I lifted her present up from behind the couch and placed it on the coffee table in front of me.

Neither Della nor Matt spoke, clearly in awe of my awesome gift. It was a cake- but not just any cake- it’s the most beautiful and perfect cake ever created by man’s imperfect hands. It was a star shaped tower with five tiers. The icing was a golden yellow with silver fondit stars arranged in a complex wave pattern. Trailing each star was a light dusting of a glittery substance which I assured them was edible. When another strike of lightning illuminated the room, the cake’s decorations shimmered and dazzled those of us lucky enough to witness it.

“Who did you steal that from,” Della snapped, completely ruining the moment, the bitch.

“No one!” I shouted over the booming thunder, “I made it with my bare hands! I slaved for you!”

“I don’t believe you,” that awful woman said coldly, “You must’ve stolen it from someone.”

“NO!” I cried as I held the palms of my hands out to her, “These hands! These hands held the whip that I used to encourage a slave to make this cake. It was tough, grueling work, but I struggled through it for you, Della!”

“So that whole, ‘I slaved’ part…”

“Yes,” I replied frankly, “That was a pun.”

“You’re a terrible person.”

“A terrible person that brought you the greatest cake ever!” I exclaimed as the wind howled outside the window, “Now who wants a slice?”

I pulled out my trusty machete and was about carefully carve into the cake when Matt suggested that he go get a “proper knife” for cutting the cake. As he left the living room, he tried flicking the light switch on, but it didn’t work.

“The power must be out,” he said rather stupidly. It’s not like the light switch just decided to not work that day.

“Must be,” I decided to say instead of, “No fucking shit.”

He hurried back with some candles, a lighter, some plates and forks, and a less manly knife. Over the pounding rain, and the howling wind, you could hear the snapping of nearby tree branches. There was a loud bang, and then the wind flooded the house. It flew down the hallway, picking up an old newspaper, and carried it, sheet by sheet, into the living room where it swirled over us like a vortex of bad news and poorly written editorials. Matt ran back out of the room and slammed the front door closed. The wind died, and the sheets of newspaper wafted down to the floor.

“That was weird,” Matt quipped as he reentered the living room, “I remember locking the door when we came in.”

“C’mon,” Della said, sounding exhausted, “Let’s just get this over with.”

Matt (not trusting me with the lighter) lit the candles and we sang for Della. I made sure that I snuck in as many curse words as I could. Della managed to blow out all of the candles with one breath, which shouldn’t have surprised me what with that big, gaping mouth of hers. She then sliced the cake and handed a piece to Matt and me. She then took a piece for herself. Then, they both waited.  So did I. We stared at one another, not saying a word, as the storm raged on outside.

Finally, Matt asked, “Aren’t you going to try the cake that your slave made for you, Minigan?”

“It’s impolite to eat before the birthday girl,” I replied merrily.

Della and Matt had a grim looks plastered on their faces. Clearly they didn’t trust me, the jerks.

“Fine,” I said, “I’ll take the first bite. But I swear I didn’t do anything to the cake.”

I took a bite. Sweet diabetic fuck, the cake was delicious. The cake itself was a dense chocolate chocolate chip, but there pieces of strawberry baked into it too. The icing was a standard buttercream, but it also had the light taste of strawberries added to it too. Within seconds, I was scarfing down my slice of cake and ready for another. More confident, Matt and Della tried their pieces, and then began to shovel the dessert into their mouths like a couple of savages.

We each took a second piece. And then a third. I eventually took a fourth, and by the time I had finished that piece, we were leaning back in our seats with no desire to move.

“Ok, Minigan,” Della said as she stared lazily up at the ceiling, “This officially makes up for half of the horrible things you’ve ever done.”

“Yep,” I murmured as I let the heavy cake settle in my stomach. I was about to let myself drift into a sugar induced coma when the entire house began to shake.

I sat up, as did Della and Matt. I looked out the widow behind me, and realized that the storm had become “end of days” bad.  The wind picked up from a howl to a roar, and you could see it uprooting trees like they were weeds in loose soil. Lightning was flashing so often that was as if someone turned on a strobe light right outside the window. The pounding rain sounded like thousands of fists punching the room and the siding of the old house, which creaked like it was about to fall apart any second. And while I could figure out what was causing all that stuff, I couldn’t figure out an explanation for the walls shaking.

Apparently, neither could Matt or Della because in unison, they said, “What the hell is going on?!”

“Is that something that all married couples do, or are you two just especially creepy?” I asked.

Before they could answer (or probably ask what the hell I was talking about) a faint hissing started from behind the wall. The shaking and the hissing grew louder, and before long, it became obvious that both were coming from within the walls themselves. The banging on the inside of the walls grew to be so strong that dust started to fall from the newly formed cracks in the ceiling.

And that’s when the snakes started pouring into the room… from the walls.

Della shrieked in terror as the cracks in the drywall spread apart and snakes started pouring in like a scaly, hissing waterfall.

“You did this,” Della shouted as she jumped onto her chair, not noticing the crack above her head. The crack spread and dumped dozens of the limbless creatures onto her unsuspecting head. Della thrashed her head around, trying in vain to remove the serpents from her hair.

“How would I have done this, Della?” I shouted back at her.

“You put some of your crazy hallucinogenic drugs into the cake you dick!” she snapped once she got the last snake out of her hair. “You’re probably controlling this whole situation!”

“I swear I’m not!” I cried, “I have no clue what’s going on right now, I promise!”

The last snake slithered out of the hole in the wall, but the banging had become deafening. It was the pipes. You could see them banging against both sides of the wall, cracking the dry wall more and more with each hit. Then, all at once, the pipes cracked and started spraying sewage onto the living room. Almost instantly, the floor was covered and the stench assaulted our nostrils

All three of us screamed as much as our lungs would allow, and headed for the hall. We were fighting over who would get through the doorway first when the banging and sewage spraying stopped, and was replaced with a weird bubbling sound. Slowly, we turned around, and what we saw will probably haunt Della and Matt for years to come. From the lake of sewage that used to be their living room floor, reached a long and strong looking arm, made entirely out of shit. We stood there, petrified, as we watched the arm grow a shoulder, and then a torso, and then another arm, and then legs, and finally a head. The shit creature stood before us, standing at a good eight feet tall, and roared at us.

“Fuck this!” I screamed as I squeezed past Della and Matt and ran into the hall. They immediately followed, and we raced towards the front door. With one powerful kick, I blasted the door off its hinges and I sprinted out into the violent storm, screaming like a manly little girl. Della and Matt Followed.

Shielding my eyes from the rain’s vicious assault, I ran as fast as I could through the rising water. I heard Della and Matt shout things from behind me, but my own survival out ranks my listening capabilities, especially when it comes to cruddy friends that blame things on me. Unfortunately for me, they somehow caught up with me.

“What the hell was that about, Minigan?!” Della ask-screamed.

“I don’t fucking know!” I scream-screamed back.

“Well, this shit all started when we ate the cake you brought,” Della snapped, “What did you put in the cake?”

“I DIDN’T PUT ANYTHING IN THE GODDAMN CAKE!” I roared, “If I survive this, I promise to ask my gypsy slave what he added to it, but I’m still going to have to survive this ordeal with you two dicks first.”

“Wait,” Della said as she grabbed me by the shoulder and pulled be back to face them, “You enslaved a gypsy?”

“Well, who was I going to enslave? A black guy? That’s kind of illegal, Della.”

“I’m pretty sure enslaving anyone is illegal,” Matt added.

“Ooh,” I retorted as I threw my hands up in the air defensively, “Look at the cop lecturing me on what’s legal.”

“But why would you choose a gypsy?” Della asked, “You know they can curse you right?”

“What?!” I cried, “Oh, I’m going to fuck that guy up when I get back home.”

A faint scream made all three of us look back at Della’s now battered looking house.

“Hannah!” Della gasped, “Oh my God. We left her in there with that thing!”

Dell and Matt turned around and hurriedly sloshed through the water back to the house.

Staying far away from that doomed building, I called, “Just leave her! It isn’t worth it!”

“But it’s my sister!” I heard Della reply foolishly.

“I’ll buy you a new one!” I yelled back.

Impressively, this stopped the normally foolish Della. She turned back to face me, and with a concerned face, she asked, “Why do you always treat other humans as objects?”

“Hu-mons aren’t objects?”

She rolled her eyes (what a bitch) and headed back to the house. She and Matt entered, and I stood there, one hundred yards from what was possibly the gates of Hell, when I realized that I was all alone. Before I knew it, I was sprinting back to the house, thinking to myself, they’ll probably need my help anyway. I am  the only one who has fought immortal monsters before.

I kicked the front door open again (I had to prop it back up in the doorway first- I wanted to make an entrance) and sprinted back into the living room, where the sewage monster had Della, Matt, and Hannah cornered. The wall of stench nearly knocked me out, but through my own heroic fortitude, I muscled through the smell and grabbed my abandoned machete.

I stepped up behind the monster, plunged the machete through its back and muttered, “Eat shit and die.” Then, with both hands, I pulled my blade up, slicing the monster in half.

For a second, the monster stood there as if what I had done had no effect on him. But then, it fell to the ground and melted back into a pool of pooey filth water. The rain stopped pounding. The lightning stopped flashing. The wind stopped roaring. When the lights came back on, the four of us finally caught our first glimpse of the damage done to the living room. There were holes in the walls and ceiling large enough to fit a midget through. Various pipes- I doubt that all of them were for sewage- stuck out from those holes. The floor was littered with thousands of poo covered snake corpses, and hundreds more terrified snakes had gathered on the various pieces of furniture.

“My house is ruined!” Della cried.

“Yeah,” I replied as I scratched the back of my head, “My bad.”

“I’m never going to get the smell of shit out of the carpet,” she muttered, tears pouring out of her eyes and down her rain and poo water covered cheeks.”

“I know Della, I know,” I cooed to her, “And I know that this Birthday gift to you was kind of a bust…”

“KIND OF?!?!”

“But I have an idea that might make you feel better,” I continued as if I hadn’t been so rudely interrupted.

“Nothing will ever make me feel better, Minigan!”

With a fiendish little grin, I replied, “Not even force feeding the rest of the cursed cake to my gypsy slave?”

Immediately, she stopped crying. She looked right at me. Her eyes were still red and puffy, but the glimmer behind them told me she liked what she heard.

“That would actually make me feel better,” she answered, and for the first time ever, I had respect for her.

“Awesome!” I exclaimed, “Now Matt, load that cake into my car. I say it’s about time we serve some payback to a goddamn two timing, curse happy, gypsy slave.”

Awesomesquad! Assemble! 8.2! Revenge of the Fame Monster

If you’ve never read an Awesomesquad! post before, then you should probably check out the roster, But this is part 2 of a section, so you might just want to read Part 1 instead.

For everyone that has read 8.1!, Here’s a refresher: It was Late February 2011, and I had spent the past 6 months looking for a lost teammate, when Damien and Phlegm talk me into joining the team on a mission. The mission was to save a bunch of hostages from Charlie Sheen, but as it turned out, it was a trap that Lady Gaga had set for me. She killed Raul, and then had her army of Monsters subdue me and attack the rest of Team Pugnsastics. We had narrowly escaped into the Awesomebus!, when Gaga jumped onto the roof.

 

OK, now that everyone is on the same page, enjoy this whirlwind of insanity that is Awesomesquad! Assemble!.

The Bus lurched forward and threw everyone into their seats. Over the sound of the revving engine, I heard the pounding of Lady Gaga’s horse hoof heels  and the dragging of her tail on the roof of the Awesomebus!. Jessie made a sharp right turn that sent Damien and the Knifemaster spilling into the aisle and made me slam my head into the window. There was a loud banging overhead that sounded like Lady Gaga losing her balance. The sound came towards me, and when I looked out the window, I saw Gaga’s face staring back at me. My scream was accompanied by the screams of the rest of my team.

I and the rest of my team fell to the floor of the Awesomebus!, still screaming,  and I watched as Lady Gaga’s head crashed through the window, showering me with the shards of glass.

“Baby,” Gaga joked as she looked down at me with her head through the broken window, “You and me could write a bad romance.

“I don’t know about the romance part,” I snapped back at her as I pulled out a throwing knife, “but I absolutely agree that our story would be terrible.”  I threw the my knife at Gaga’s face, but she ducked her head back out the window, causing me to miss her entirely. The knife clanged off the metal ceiling and ricocheted into the seat behind me.

“Hey! That hit me dick stain!” Everett’s voice cried.

“What did you just call me?!” I shouted back, partially impressed that he would say that to me.

Overhead, despite Jessie’s erratic driving which was causing everyone inside the bus to cling to the seats, Gaga’s hoof shoes could be heard stomping across the roof. Her stomps stopped at the center of the bus, and right as Jessie swerved the bus to dodge a pedestrian, Gaga’s dagger like tail plunged through the metal roof. We all screamed. The Knifemaster panicked. In an attempt to run for the door, he tripped over his own feet and fell on his face in the aisle. The tip of Gaga’s tail expanded, creating something resembling the hooks of our grappling hooks, and lodged itself in the metal ceiling.

The Knifemaster screamed a high pitch- eight year old girl scream, and flailed helplessly on the floor.

Standing up from the floor in front of my seat, still bracing myself on the seat in front of me, I yelled, “Knifemaster, stop screaming and get up.” Then, I commanded to the rest of my team, “Jessie, turn on our sirens so that people hear and see us coming.Knifemaster, and Criss, dislodge her tail.” I then looked at Everett and his bleeding arm and added, “What the shit happened to you?”

“YOU HIT ME WITH YOUR THROWING KNIFE,ASSHOLE!”

“Right,” I replied, “Well, my bad. Clean yourself up and then help Criss and the Knifemaster.

“What are you going to be doing,” Criss asked.

I walked towards him, pulled his communicator off of his wrist and put it on my own and said, “The same thing that I did last time: Giving Gaga what she wants.Damien and Series of Japanese Symbols, I need both of you to keep an eye on what’s going on in here and on top of the bus.  ”

“But what if her tail attacks us?” The Knifemaster asked.

I pointed to Criss’s communicator and answered, “Damien or Series will let me know, and I will do something awful to distract her, like tackle her and start making out with her or something.”

Several “ews” escaped my teammates lips, but I held out my fist and said, “For Raul.”

A somber look befell my teammates faces. One at a time, they placed their hands on mine and repeated, “For Raul.” We held our hands there for a quiet second (well, quiet other than the screeching of the Awesomebus!’s tires, the blaring of it’s siren, or Lady Gaga’s feet stomping above our head), and when we let go, everyone did as I commanded. I grabbed some extra ammo from the ammunition trunk in the seat behind Jessie’s, and then exited through the door and swung myself onto the roof.

The wind made it hard for me to stand up straight, but it was better than trying to stand up on the side of the Awesomecopter! like I did the year before, so I managed to do it.

Lady Gaga stood at the other end of the Awesomebus!’s roof, unsurprised by the fact that I had climbed up to fight her, and through her smirk, she called over the sirens, “C’mon, baby. Take a bite of my bad girl meat.

“You’re really not helping to dispel that rumor about you having a penis when you say things like that, you know,” I quipped back at her.

I was expecting her to say something back, but instead, she pounced. I dove and slid under her. I spun my body around and managed to stop myself before I reached the edge of the roof. I stood back up and squinted as the wind smacked my face. Through my peripheral vision, I saw the streets lined with gawkers and tourists- shooting at Gaga could possibly result in a civilian getting hurt. I wasn’t going to let that happen. We already lost Raul to this crazed alien, not to mention how many followers of hers that were either injured or dead because she told them to attack us, I wasn’t going to be responsible for any more casualties.

But before I could pull out my taser, the only nonlethal weapon that has worked on her in the past, she shrieked and began to whip her tail around. The several screams that I heard come from inside the Awesomebus! assured me that The Knifemaster and Criss had at least tried to remove her tail, and The Knifemaster’s panicked voice over Criss’s wrist communicator confirmed it. Knowing what I unfortunately had to do, I dove at Lady Gaga.

She was so distracted with her tail that she wasn’t able to block me as I dove at her. I’m still not sure how, but I managed to tackle, Gaga’s thin yet impossibly heavy frame. We crashed down right behind the windshield, on top of the Awesomebus!’s siren lights, crushing them and silencing the siren. Sparks flew out from under Gaga, and she howled in pain. With one firm kick, she both knocked the wind out of me (again) and sent me flying towards the back of the bus. I slid, but this time I wasn’t so lucky, and fell off the back. I clung on to the edge of the Awesomebus!’s roof as I scrambled to find a proper foothold and get air back in my lungs. Lady Gaga’s sharp, jet black tail removed itself from the roof and wrapped around my waist. With a forceful tug, I was up in the air and face to face with an amused Lady Gaga.

“I know you’re mad about your friend,” she said as she looked deep into my eyes, “I want your lovin’; I want your revenge.”

I felt a burning just under my skin. My face went hot. I tried to control myself, but her even mentioning Raul made me clench my teeth with rage. My hands were free and clenched into fists. I could have hit her; she was within my reach, but I knew that’s what she wanted me to do. Instead, I spat in her open mouth.

She swallowed it, smiled, and said, “Baby, you’re sick.”

Her tail tightened around my body, squeezing the air out of my lungs. Then, she raised me up into the air and slammed me down into the roof of the Awesomebus!. Gaga slammed me down on the roof five times before I was able to free my Taser. I could taste the blood leaking out of my lower lip, and could feel it trickling from my nose. With one last flick of her tail, lady Gaga tossed me into the air and over her head. I landed on my back at the front of the Awesomebus! roof with my head against the windshield. My head hit the windshield hard, and for a second I my vision blurred to the point where I could only make out Gaga’s form above me.

She dropped down on me, pinning my legs to the roof with hers, lowered her mouth to my ear and whispered seductively, “You know that I want you. You know that I need you. I want it bad, bad, bad.”

Then, she stuck her long, snakelike tongue out of her mouth and ran it up and down my cheek. Jessie started to swerve the bus more  erraticly, so Gaga’s tongue was sliding all over my face. From inside the Awesomebus!, I heard the panicked screams of my crew. I couldn’t see if Gaga’s tail was back inside the bus, but at that moment, I realized that my arms were against the cold metal roof. My cloak was covering the windshield.

“Ugh!,” I cried as I pushed her back and tried to sit up, “You’re right. I know that you want me, and honestly, I can’t blame you: I’m really fucking hot. Hell, you’re lucky that you don’t have to fight other women for me.”

“Oh, no,” she replied as she pushed me back down, “Only one hive is allowed to choose from their chosen planet. My Hive claimed this planet many Earth centuries ago.”

“I meant human women, fist of all,” I added, annoyed, “But that’s not even my point. What I’m trying to say is that I’m not ready for this kind of relationship. We can still be friends, though.”

The expression on her face hardened. Her hands, which were on my shoulders, tightened their grip to the point where her nails were digging into my skin through my cloak and protective vest. Into the rushing wind, and over the revving bus engine and the screams of terrified pedestrians, she roared, “I DON’T WANNA BE FRIENDS!!!”

Gaga slapped me hard across the cheek, and I felt her nails tear into my flesh. My blood warmed my icy cheeks as it poured out of my wounds. Then, she pinned both of my hands down and opened her mouth wide. She stuck out her tongue again. But this time, it was rigid and dagger-like. While keeping her head perfectly still, her tongue lunged at me. I was able to dodge her tongue’s stabs, but just barely.

There was a rush of unmuffled screaming to my right. I assumed that Jessie had opened his window. Or at least I would have if I wasn’t avoiding being stabbed by Lady Gaga’s tongue.

“Minigan, You’re cloak’s covering the windshield! I cannot see!” Jessie’s voice yelled at me.

“I’m kind of preoccupied at the moment Jessie!” I screamed back at Jessie, the panic in my voice being completely unintentional, “Use the windshield wipers or something!”

I heard the hum and squeaking of the windshield above my head as I dodged Gaga’s tongue once again.

“I still can’t see!” Jessie cried, “We need the siren to warn the pedestrians!”

“Well, the siren’s bloody broken, isn’t it?” Damien’s voice retorted, “So just get the fucking cape out of the way.”

“I’ve got an idea!” The Knifemaster’s voice shouted, “We’ll blast music! That will get people’s attention!”

“But you still need to get the cloak out of the way, Jessie! You’re gonna kill someone!” I heard Everett shout.

“I’m trying!” I heard Jessie shout back as he careened down the busy thoroughfare, ramming parked cars and narrowly missing pedestrians, “but the windshield wipers aren’t working!

I jerked my head to the right and Gaga’s tongue missed my face by an inch.

“That’s because you’re not trying to whisk away water, you idiot!” Damien’s voice screamed, “That’s Minigan’s cloak! Try something else!”

“Yeaaaaaah-aaaah aaah-eh-ah! It’s a Party in the USA!”

“TURN OFF THAT FUCKING SONG, KNIFEMASTER!” I roared as I dodged Gaga’s thin scaly tongue a second time.

“Now isn’t really the time to argue music choices, Minigan!” He shouted back with I’m guessing a smirk on his stupid face.”

“JUST DO IT!” I shouted as I freed a hand from Gaga’s Herculean grip and punched her hard in the jaw. It had no effect, except making my knuckles sore.

“Oh baby,” she cooed with her long pointed tongue, “You’ve got me wonderin’ why I like it rough.

“JESSIE, DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE CLOAK!”

“I CAN’T!”

“Na na na na na na na/ We’re gonna start a fight!”

“Minigan,” Jessie yelled to me, You need to move your cloak! I cannot see where I’m going!”

“Not that song, Knifemaster,” I heard Damien shout, “change it to ‘Fuck You’ at least.”

Criss shouted, “Why is the music the one thing that everyone is focused on, when our leader is fighting a  shape shifting monster on the roof of a bus speeding down the streets of Hollywood?!?!”

“How do you even know that we’re in Hollywood?” Everett yelled as he reached outside the bus and tried to push my cloak out of the way with a broom.

“I see you drivin’  round town with the girl I love and I’m like, Fuck you (ooh, ooh, ooh!)”

“Because I have enough of a brain to look out the side windows to see where we’re going, unlike this sad excuse for a Jessie James descendant,” Criss quipped back.

“Hey!” Jessie shouted.

I screamed down into the hole in the roof, “Gaga’s still on top of me you di-“

Lady Gaga wrapped her fingers around my neck and forced my head down against the windshield. The sudden sting on the back of my head made me grunt a little. But the grunted ended up sounding more like a scream, because I could feel Lady Gaga’s fingers melt around my neck. Okay, ‘melt’ isn’t the right word. But I did feel as the bones of her fingers went soft on my throat and her human feeling skin turned cold and sticky. I felt the same feeling on both of my wrists somehow. Her (what I assume were) tentacle-fingers stretched and twisted around my neck and wrists, and slithered around my face. Her grip tightened, and I could feel my larynx pinch shut. Panicking, I did my best to buck Gaga off of me, but due to her impossible weight and boney structure, I merely squirmed like a mouse in the paws of a hungry cat. The world around me started to spin; I wasn’t sure if it was because of Gaga suffocating me or because Jessie’s insane blind driving. I opened my mouth and gasped for oxygen, fighting desperately to suck some of the precious gas down my windpipe. Then I felt Gaga’s sticky, slimy, tentacle-fingers slide in. Instinctively, I bit down. Hard. She let out a wild, angry shriek, and her tentacle-fingers released their literal stranglehold on my throat. Jessie made a sharp left turn, which threw Gaga off of me and almost off of the bus, and I gasped up lungfuls of sweet, sweet air. That was the happiest I had ever been to be breathing L.A. smog.

Unfortunately for me, that smog induced euphoria was short lived, as Lady Gaga was back on top of me in a flash. She grinned a very toothy grin as she said to me, “That’s right, show me your teeth.”

“Minigan, for the love of God, Move your cloak!”

“I CAN’T! I’M PINNED DOWN!”

Just then, Series of Japanese Symbols popped his head out from one of the windows and over the top of the bus. Instead of helping me like he should have been doing, he just yelled nonsense at us.

“What are you saying, goddamit?”

He shouted another bout of unintelligible garbage at me while Lady Gaga turned her head and listened to what he had to say.

After he was finished yelling and pointing ahead of us, Gaga turned to me, whipped her disheveled hair out of her face, and said, “He said that we’re headed right for that wall.”

“And how can you understand him,” I shouted, annoyed, at Lady Gaga.

“How can you not?” she replied in a serious tone.

“Why the fuck can every- wait a second, what wall?”

That question was immediately answered by Jessie driving the Awesomebus! through a wall. Within seconds, Lady Gaga was knocked off of me, and I just managed to raise my arms over my face before pieces of brick crashed down on top of me. I heard the terrified screams of the bystanders who were going about their normal business before we came barreling through the walls.

Jessie slammed on the breaks, and I went tumbling over the hood the Awesomebus! and onto the hard, polished floor. I rolled to a stop, but was back up on my feet almost immediately, even if the fall had disoriented me a little.

I looked around the room and realized that Lady Gaga was suspiciously absent. But my attention was soon focused on what was in the room. As it turns out, Jessie crashed the Awesomebus! into a concert hall and stopped it on the stage. In front of me, filling the seats of the auditorium were hundreds upon hundreds of men in tuxedos and women in dresses. At the front of the stage, a good twenty feet away from me, were a confused looking Anne Hathaway and a terrified and stiff looking James Franco. What the hell are they doing here? I asked myself, Aren’t they supposed to be hosting the- Oh God…

“Uh, guys?” I said into my wrist communicator as I stared into the crowd of well-dressed and attractive people, “I think we just crashed the Academy Awards.”

“Minigan,” Damien warned urgently, “Whatever you do, do not whip your dick out this time.”

“Fuck you, Damien.”

“Holy Tit- Nazis!,” The Knifemaster exclaimed through the wrist communicator, ” We’re at the Oscars?!”

The Knifemaster kicked through the door of the Awesomebus! And stepped out onto the stage. He excitedly looked out into the crowd of famous faces. After about a second or two of this, however, his shoulders dropped and he added disappointedly, “Oh, I’m already bored.”

Ignoring his outburst, I looked out into the crowd of faces and TV cameras. In an instant, that sensation of excitement I felt when I fought Limbaugh and Maher on TV back in 2009 washed over me, filling me with a feeling importance. Confidently, I strode to the microphone, pushed Franco and Hathaway to the side, and announced, “Attention, ladies and gentlemen, I am leader of the group known as Awesomesquad!, and we are currently looking for Lady Gaga. She is actually an alien hell bent on kidnapping me and taking me off to her planet to help her repopulate her hive. I want to capture her before she captures me.” I paused for a moment to take in what I had just said, and then I continued, “OK, now that I’ve said it out loud, it sounds incredibly stupid, but I swear to you that it’s the truth.” The people in the crowd murmured to one another, not sure if I was an act or if I had actually crashed the Oscars, so I yelled, “I’m serious. She is a shape shifting monster and she needs to be stopped!” I looked to Anne Hathaway and asked, “Did you see her?”

She shook her head no. All the color had drained from her face, and I knew that it was because I was ruining her big night. But then I saw the envelope in her hand.

“What’s that one for?” I asked.

“Best Picture,” she replied quietly and without moving her lips much at all.

“Oh Sweet! Can I read it?!” I asked right before I snatched the envelope out of her hand. She looked around the room in confusion and almost in tears. Seeing this, I bowed to her and said, “Thank you for the honor, your Majesty. I’m sure everyone in Genovia is quite proud.”

This made her laugh, as well as some of the audience members, but everyone still seemed confused. But that didn’t really matter at the moment because I was selling this shit. My heart swelled. I understood why celebrities wanted the attention they recieved.

“Hey Min- er- Boss,” Coco Montoya’s voice rang through my wrist speaker and unfortunately, through the auditorium, “Try to get a sample of Hugh Jackman’s blood.” “I have some theories about how to replicate his healing abilities,” he added in such a way that I couldn’t help but be suspicious.

“Hugh Jackman doesn’t really have Wolverine’s regeneration capabilities, Coco. Be realistic.” I said into my wrist communicator and the microphone. I then looked to Mr. Jackman, who was grinning up at me from his seat, and reassured him, “I promise, Mr. Jackman, I will not be trying to steal any of your blood tonight. I don’t even have a vial to collect your totally not-mutant blood. I’m only here to announce the winner of the Best Picture, not take your blood.”

I was getting more laughs, but then the door to the Awesomebus! was kicked open again, and Damien and Everett stepped out and onto the stage.

They came up behind me and Damien asked in a whisper, “Minigan, what the hell are you doing?”

“I’m about to give the award for best picture,” I announce both to him and into the microphone.

“We just crashed a bus through the Kodak Theater, and you want hang around and hand out an Oscar?!” Everett shouted as his voice echoed through the concert hall.

Some more of the audience laughed.

I paused for a moment to look down at the envelope in my hand and then to Everett before I stated, “Yes.” Just about all of the audience laughed this time. They were beginning to think that this was all a part of the show, which was a fact that I could thankfully work in my favor. I raised the envelope and announced into the microphone, “And the winner is…”

But right as I was about to tear it, Franco grabbed onto my  burnt and cut up wrist. I suppressed the overwhelming urge to punch him in the throat. Unflinching of my glare, Franco calmly stated, “That is Stephen Spielberg’s job.”

“That old fossil made an Indiana Jones movie with aliens in it!” The Knifemaster shouted, “That practically almost ruined the franchise! The only things we’ve ruined is a debate and, well, this building. We  absolutely deserve this more!”

“No, I don’t think so.” Franco retorted as he reached for the envelope in my hand.

However, before he could reach it, The Knifemaster let out a furious roar and tackled him to the ground. James Franco and Anne Hathaway cried for help as the Knifemaster wrestled Franco into a submission hold and the audience came to life with laughter. Hathaway stood perfectly still, absolutely terrified that if she tried to escape, she would suffer the same fate as Franco, who was being sat on by a large man in tactical black clothing.

I turned back to the audience and repeated, “And the winner is…”

I opened the envelope. The King’s Speech. Fuck that. Inception was way better.

“Inception!” I cried out to the crowd.

The crowd erupted with applause, and a taken aback Christopher Nolan stood up and headed for the stage.

“Wait! He’s lying,” That damned Anne Hathaway called after looking over my shoulder at the envelope. “I’m so sorry, Mr. Nolan,” that stupid, honest woman apologized, “But the real winner is The King’s Speech.”

I pushed her out of the way of the microphone and lied, “Don’t listen to her. She went crazy after ‘Rachel Getting Married.’ Trust me, the winner is ‘Inception.”

“No!” Hathaway yelled, “It really is the King’s Speech. Why are you guys listening to him? He just crashed through the wall with a shoddily painted schoolbus!”

“None of this has been planned!” Franco painfully yelled from under the Knifemaster, “Anne is telling the truth!”

“Hey!” Brad Pitt yelled as he stood up from his seat in the crowd, “This is a respectable award show that honors the great works of art from the past year. You just can’t decide to choose a different winner!”

“Well, no one asked you, Benjamin Button,” I quipped to Pitt, “So sit back down and continue to grind your molars like you always do.”

“Mate,” Damien whispered harshly into my ear, “He produced Kick Ass. Do you want to destroy my chance at working on Kick Ass 2?

I laughed at the idea of that movie getting a sequel (and told Damien so) and then looked back down at Pitt. To my surprise, he did as he was told, sat back down and angrily ground his molars. However, his outburst emboldened Hathaway, who pushed her way back to the microphone.”

“Security!” She shrieked, her eyes wide with panic and probably crazy, “Stop these me-aaaahhhhh!”

Without warning, The Knifemaster jumped to his feet and shot his Taser at Hathaway. The electric probes shot from his gun and into her stomach, causing the respected actress to crash to the floor in a convulsing mess.

“What the shit, Knifemaster?”I yelled at my obviously crazed second in command.

“What?” he answered, “You wanted to give out the award.”

Angry protests rang out from the crowd. Christopher Nolan and the rest of the cast of Inception slouched down in their seats. I guessed it was because they were on our side.

“This is dastardly!” George Clooney yelled from the aisle, ‘You are monsters!”

“I promise you that Anne Hathaway is fine,” I announced over their protests, “My idiotic cohort here just gets a little over excited is all.”

“Not that!” Clooney shouted back, “How could you attempt to disgrace such an important and historical event as the Academy Awards?!”

“Wait… What?!”

“You heard me!” Clooney snapped back, “You have no right to choose the winner of the Best Picture Award!”

“You know what,” Damien interjected to Clooney, much to my surprise, “You can piss off, Bat-Nipples.” Then, noticing my shock from under my hood, he whispered, “It’s OK, no one outside of Hollywood other than middle aged women like him anyway.”

Then, Criss, Series of Japanese Symbols, and, in an act of total stupidity, Jessie rushed out of the bus to see what was going on. Well, shit. I looked back to the crowd and found Sandra Bullock seething in her seat.

“Well, We’re leaving now.” I shouted over the crowd’s protests, “Have a good-“

“JESSIE JAMES, I’M GONNA KILL YOU” Sandra Bullock roared as she jumped from her seat and into the aisle. She ran (as fast as she could considering her heels) towards the stage, and a mob of angry A- listers followed.

I backed up and joined my team at the center of the stage. Frantically, Everett pulled out several smoke-and-flash bombs, and threw them at each of the stairs that lead up to the stage. Each bomb exploded and sent up a curtain of smoke that concealed the stage from the audience. Then, just as the bombs are supposed to, several bright flashing lights shot up through the smoke and blinded anyone unfortunate enough to be nearby. I heard several screams and thuds, which told me that the smoke-and-flash bombs had blinded some celebrities enough to make them tumble back down the stairs, hopefully taking several other celebrities with them.

“What the bloody hell were you thinking, Jessie and Criss?!” Damien scolded, “You both know you’re recognizeable. And Jessie, you knew damn well that your ex-wife was going to be here. Why would you even think to step out of the bus?!”

“I thought I could help!” Jessie cried back.

“You’re only job is to drive!” Damien snapped, “How exactly were you going to help us by leaving the bus?!”

“Hey” I shouted at Team Pugnastics as I saw the first few celebrities come through the smoke, “Let’s just get out of here alive. Then we can chastise Jessie for being an idiot.”

My team agreed, and rushed to the bus. They all managed to get inside safely, but as soon as I reached the door, a strong hand grabbed me by the shoulder and threw me backwards. I landed hard on my back several yards away from the Awesomebus!. I reached for my grappling gun so that I could shoot it at the bus, but a well-polished shoe kicked it out of my hand.

“I don’t think so.” George Clooney said as he squinted down at me, “I know your tricks, cloaked man. I’ve read the news about you, I watched you fight that monster Limbaugh, but most importantly, I’ve played Batman before.”

“Then you should be expecting this!” A female voice shouted from behind Clooney.

I heard a faint clicking sound, and then a much louder clicking sound. From behind Clooney, I watched as the hook to my grappling hook shot up into the air and snagged itself on the rafters. After about a second, Clooney shot up into the air, ass first, with the gun firmly attached to his belt.

I looked down from where Clooney was screaming and swinging in the rafters, to the face of my rescuer, and saw that it was Ellen Page. She reached out her hand, grabbed mine, and quickly pulled me to my feet.

“Thank you, Miss Page,” I said in partial shock that a celebrity would be good hearted enough to actually save me (Jessie and Criss don’t count as celebrities because they’re a mechanic and a magician, respectively).

“Call me Ellen,” she replied with her crooked smirk, “Besides, you tried to make a movie that I was in win the Best Picture Oscar. That makes you a hero in my book.”

“Well, I really thought it was the best picture,” I said modestly, “But I totally agree with you about me being a hero, because I am.”

She laughed, but her laugh was cut short by a growing roar coming from behind her. Her eyes grew wide with fear, and she dove out of the way. Page’s small frame was replaced by the monstrous Hugh Jackman, who was charging at me with what were obviously dinner knives lodged between his fingers.

Jackman roared, “WOLVERINE!!!” and began to take swipes at me.  I narrowly dodged each swipe by either jumping backwards or rolling under his swinging arms.

“Ellen!” I cried as I ducked under one of Jackman’s swipes and punched him in the stomach. It did nothing. “Help!”

Ellen, still sitting on the ground, but was slowly scooting away. Realizing that she wasn’t moving fast enough got back up and started to run away. “Sorry,” she called back, “But I’ve gotta pick my battles, you know!”

“But you picked this battle! You just hung George Clooney from the rafters!”

“Clooney is an easy fight,” she yelled back, “I bet his next girlfriend will be able to kick his ass. Besides, I might work with Hugh again in the future!” and with that, she disappeared into the backstage area.

Jackman took another swing at me, and this time I did a back flip to dodge it. When I landed we were several feet away from each other. Taking a chance, I charged. Hugh widened his stance and opened his arms so that he could swing at me as soon as I was close enough. To his surprise, however, I dropped to the floor and slid between his legs. Then his legs came crashing in around me and pushed the air out of my lungs. Hugh threw a knife riddled punch down at me. Without any hesitation, I pulled my serrated knife from its ankle sheath and stabbed Hugh right in his hand. He jumped back, dropped the knives and let out a pained scream.

“You stabbed me, you bastard!” he cried as he clutched his bleeding hand.

“You were about to stab me, dick hole!” I shouted back.

And then I saw it, despite how he was feet away from me, and despite how he was clutching his hand, I still watched in horror and amazement as his hand healed. Just like fucking Wolverine.

“You’ve gotta be shitting me.”

I got up, much faster that I thought possible, and with the bloody knife still in my hand, ran back towards the Awesomebus!. It was surrounded. My team was inside shooting celebrities with their remaining tranquilizer darts. Pulling out my own, I shot at the mob of A-list celebrities.  I emptied what was left in the magazine into the crowd, and managed to take out Gwenyth Paltrow, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Streep, and Mark Wahlberg.

I jumped onto the back of the Awesomebus! and yelled through the smashed window, “Drive!”

Jessie threw the gear into reverse and hit the gas. Instantly, my face was rubbing the cold steel armor plating on the back of the bus. From the speakers inside the bus came “Party Poison” from My Chemical Romance for some reason. Careful not to lose my grip, I spun around and yelled for the stage hands and miscellaneous celebrities to get out of the path. Halle Berry was one such celebrity, who managed to run out of the gaping hole the Awesomebus! had created and dove off to the side, despite wearing high heeled shoes and a very fluffy and delicate looking light pink dress.

“This ain’t a Party!/ Get off the dance floor/ You wanna get down/ Here comes the gang war…”

“I’m sorry about that, Miss Berry!” I called to her as Jessie backed the Awesomebus out of the building, made it turn sharply, and then threw it in drive and floored it again. As we sped off, I called back to her, “By the way, you look phenominal tonight!”

“So keep your cars and your dogs and your famous friends…”

It was not well lit in that alleyway, but I’m pretty sure she smiled at me. Awesome.

The Awesomebus! sped through the alleyway and under a building adjoining the Dolby Theater, and then made a sharp right onto a main road. I turned back around and yelled in to Everett, “Take this knife from me and put it in a sterile bag. Coco wants to experiment on that blood.”

“You actually stabbed Hugh Jackman!?” Everett cried which made everyone turn around and look at me.

“You stabbed him?!” Damien shouted angrily.

“How is it possible for you to stab him and not be murdered?!” Everett asked.

“How is it even possible that you were able to stab him in the first place?”Criss added.

Series of Japanese symbols said something. I think it might have been another question.

“Because,” The Knifemaster answered in awe, “Minigan’s a total badass.”

“Exactly,” I added as I handed the bloody knife through the window, over the cage of bound and squirming Lady Gaga followers, and to Everett.

He put it in an evidence bag that we had left over from the Awesomecopter! crash and stowed it into the trunk. I breathed a sigh of relief; this fight was over. It wasn’t a win for us, what with us losing Raul, but we did manage to capture three of Lady Gaga’s monsters, so now we could at least try and find a way to cure them. Plus, I was able to get some of Hugh Jackman’s magic healing blood, so we might never have to deal with another loss again. So long, thrill of the fight!

Jessie turned off the music and pulled me out of my thoughts by calling, “We’ve got a problem. The LAPD has been notified of our mishap at the Dolby Theater tonight, and are now looking for us.”

And just like that, my feeling of relief was gone. In the distance, I could hear the police sirens growing louder. I climbed over the shards of broken glass still attached to the window frame, and jumped over the cage. Once I had landed in the aisle, I ran to the front of the Awesomebus! and to Jessie’s side.

“GMZ is working on locating the nearest police vehicles,” he said to me without taking his focus off the road. He then pointed to our GPS system and continued, “He’ll upload their locations as soon as he gets them, but for now we’ll need to keep an eye out for police cars as we make our getaway.”

I turned back to my tired and beaten group of fighters. This was the first time that I was able to get a good look at any of them since we escaped Lady Gaga’s ambush. Everett’s lips was swollen and bloody,  Damien had several long scratches going down his forearms and across his face, The Knifemaster had blood trickling down around his ear from somewhere on the side of his head, and Series of Japanese Symbols had a swollen eye, a bloody nose, and several bruises on his forearms and neck. Each of them wore a worn look upon their faces, probably from the loss of Raul.

I could hear the sirens grow louder and I knew we were running out of time. “Guys,” I said, pulling them out of their thoughts, “We need to keep an eye out for the LAPD because of what happened at the Oscars tonight. Chances are they’re not happy with us crashing the Oscars and then incapacitating many prominent Hollywood actors.”

“They should be thanking us because we actually made the Oscars watchable this year,” Everett said with a slight smirk.

This made the other members of the team chuckle a little, including (surprisingly) Damien, who added while chuckling, “I cannot believe you told Brad Pitt to sit back down and grind his molars.”

“I can’t believe you called George Clooney, ‘Bat-Nipples,’” I replied with a grin. We all laughed out loud at this. Unfortunately, our laughter was cut short by the howling of police sirens and the flash of Red and blue lights.

Jessie nervously called back to us, “Uh, guys, they found us!”

No shit.

“How did they even find us?!” The Knifemaster cried out.

“Because we’re in a major U.S. city and driving around in an armor covered modified school bus with Awesomesquad! painted down the side.” Damien snapped, “How do you bloody think?”

“Ok, calm down,” I said firmly to Damien. To the rest of the group, I announced, “Alright, we’ve always known that this scenario could be a likely outcome of what we do. That’s why we’ve always planned for this. So everyone, get to your stations.”

Everyone did as I told. Everett rushed up to our supplies trunk and pulled out as many of the flash and smoke bombs as he could handle, and carefully walked to the back of the bus with them. Series of Japanese Symbols did the same. The Knifemaster, after Everett and Series had passed, hurried to the front of the bus and got on the phone to talk to Team Prevention. Criss and Damien grabbed paintball guns from the trunk and then joined Everett and Series in the back.

Satisfied with my team’s calm response (especially considering how some of them panicked when Gaga had stuck her tail through the roof), I turned back around to Jessie and asked, “Where are we, and how many of them are on our tail.”

“We’re on the Hollywood Freeway headed north, and so far only two.”

“We’re on the what?!”

“OK we’re not really on the Hollywood Freeway, we’re actually just next to it,” he replied as he pointed out the window, “We actually on Cahuenga Boulevard. Don’t worry- I’ve got a plan.”

“You better.” I stated, “Because barreling down a freeway is stupid when the cops are on your tail.”

“Trust me,” he answered with a confident grin. He then called to the entire team, “Hold on, everybody, we’re about to make some very sharp turns!”

Jessie kept his promise. Almost immediately, he hit the brakes and turned the bus to the right. We were then on a sloped road, and Jessie drove straight through at a stop sign, causing a car to swerve out of our way. He made another sharp right and floored it across the overpass. The Knifemaster was so preoccupied with the argument he was having on the phone that he nearly fell out of his chair. Jessie then ran another damn stop sign (making another driver honk angrily at us) and turned left onto a winding one lane road on the side of the Hollywood hills.”

“You’re taking us on Mulholland Drive, you idiot?!?!” I screamed as I saw the street sign, “I’d rather us be on the Hollywood Freeway! A mountain road that goes on forever isn’t exactly the smartest place to out run the cops when you’re driving a fucking bus Jessie!”

“Trust me.” Jessie answered, “This is going to work.”

“Don’t call me a crazy asshole, Phlegm,” The Knifemaster shouted into the phone, “I told you, Mom and Dad don’t watch the Oscars, so they’ll never know it was me!”

“BUT YOU GUYS CAUSED SUCH A SCENE THAT THERE IS NO WAY YOU WON’T BE ON THE NEWS TOMORROW YOU MORON!” I heard Phlegm shout through the phone, “AND YOU KNOW FULL DAMN WELL THAT THEY WATCH THAT!”

The engine of the Awesomebus whined as we sped up the hillside. I looked out the side mirrors. We had four cops chasing us now. Shit. The four members of Team Pugnastics waited silently in the back, holding until I gave them the go ahead to drop the smoke bombs and fire the paintball guns. But I couldn’t do that until GMZ is able to redirect the cops and give us an escape route.

I grabbed the phone from the Knifemaster and said to Phlegm, “Phlegm, I know you’re pissed right now, but you need to either calm down or leave the Watch Tower because we need to get the LAPD off of our tail.”

Phlegm growled, but obeyed, and the next voice I heard was GMZ’s.

“Okay,” he said with a sigh of relief, “I posted on the forums of 4chan the radio line that the LAPD uses and a request to throw them off of your trail. All you need to do is lose the ones that are following you, and get to Multiview drive. From there, you can get back on the Hollywood freeway and head north back to Base. But you’re still a few miles away, and according to my map, you still have to pass three streets that cops can show up on, so be on the lookout.”

“Thanks GMZ,” I said before I hung up and relayed the information given to me to Jessie. I then turned back to Everett, Series, Criss, and Damien and called, “Let’em rip!”

Damien and Criss began firing their paintball guns at the the front two police car winshields. The screeching of the tires told me that the paintballs were obscuring the drivers’s sight. Looking through the side mirror, I could see that they had fallen behind. I then watched as Everett and Criss threw two smoke bombs each into the road. Almost instantly, a wall of fog formed thick enough to hide the us from the police.

“Jessie, hit it!” I commanded.

As if he had been waiting to do this his entire life, Jessie pressed the little green button on the steering wheel. There came a clanking sound from the back of the bus, which was followed by a couple of seconds of light clinking of tiny pieces of metal hitting pavement, and then followed by the same clanking sound. Back out the side window, I saw a bar of shimmering pavement rush away from us. Now in the distance, the cop cars had made it through the smoke and were now speeding back up to catch us. That was a bad idea. As soon as they ran over that shimmery strip of pavement, their tires exploded and sparks erupted from the front wheel wells. Both leading cars swerved to a stop, and the following cars crashed into their rears.

The bus erupted with cheers. It actually worked! Escaping might be easier than we thought!

And then I heard the familiar whirring of the roto-blades of a helicopter. Shit. The street around the speeding Awesomebus! was illuminated by an overhead spot light.

An echoing voice from the helicopter rang out in the would-be silent night, “You in the armored bus: Stop! You are evading the police and resisting arrest. If you stop now, we will not use excessive force to arrest you.”

I doubted that. Jessie took a sharp left bend fast, and the squeal of the Awesomebus!’s tires echoed into the night. Then, three more police cars appeared, joining the helicopter in the chase. Jessie, Damien, Everett, Series, and Jessie did their thing, and were able to stop those police cruisers as well. I looked at the GPS map and was not relieved. There was another road coming up soon, and another one right after that. I doubted we had enough smoke bombs to make through those two intersections, let alone the rest of the way to Multiview Drive, which was still about one long, winding mile away. Not to mention we still had two intersections left to cross after these two.

Making a quick decision, I commanded to Damien, Criss, Series, and Everett to stand down. We passed the next road. I commanded to Jessie to release more of the tire shredders. He obeyed. Luckily for us, no police cars pulled out behind us that time.

“Jessie,” I announced, “I need you to do that at every intersection. That will keep the cops from following us. Now we just need to get rid of the helicopter.”

“I’ve got an idea for that!” Jessie replied excitedly. At least he was enjoying this. “The cloaking device Everett and I worked on. It won’t work for cars chasing us, because they’ll be too close, but for a helicopter, it might just make them lose us. All we need is to make them lose sight of us…”

We passed the second intersection and Jessie dropped more tire shredders. A cop car pulled out behind us, but was almost instantly stopped because of the Jessie’s trap.

“Smoke bombs!” The Knifemaster interjected, “If we throw the smoke bombs out the front of the bus, we can drive through the smoke, turn on the cloaking device, and then slow down or stop or something, and then the-“

“helicopter will be expecting us to be going the same speed and they will lose us!” I added, “Brilliant! Everett, Series, bring the rest of the smoke bombs up to the front and help the Knifemaster and I throw them out in front of the bus!”

They both looked confused, but they obeyed, and as soon as they made it to the front, I explained the plan. We each took two smoke bombs, and together we threw them out the windows and infront of the bus. The bombs exploded into a plume of smoke, and Jessie slammed on the breaks. The flood light passed over us, just as planned, and Jessie hit a button on the dashboard. I didn’t hear anything that indicated a change, but Jessie started driving again, so I assumed that it worked.

“Knifemaster,” Jessie commanded in a hushed tone, call up Team Prevention and see if anyone on 4chan is helping to redirect the police.”

“And get bitched at again? No thanks.”

“Knifemaster!” I snapped.

He handed the phone to me and smiled.

I scowled at him, put the phone up to my ear and asked, “Did the forum thing work, GMZ?”

“Sort of,” he replied cautiously, “Mostly people are using it to troll the LAPD, but there are some people that are sending cops on wild goose chases. There are still a few police cars in your area, though, so be cautious.”

“OK, just let us know if anything new develops,” I said to him.

“You do the same.”

We were going the speed limit now, about thirty miles an hour, and pulling up to a stop sign. I looked out the window and saw the Helicopter circling nearby, so I knew that we could still be caught. Jessie stopped, drove through the intersection without incident, and then released more tire shredders. Within a minute, we had made it to Multiview Drive. Jessie, in a feat of surprising brilliance, turned the Awesomebus! onto Multiview, then backed up so that we were facing the direction we came, and released more tire shredders to throw any lingering police off our trail. We made it through the neighborhood and onto the freeway without incident, and made our way back to the Awesomebase!.

~Villianous Interlude~

[An Hour Earlier]

Halle Berry sat smiling at Minigan as he complemented her as he and his cohorts sped off. Many of her fellow movie stars rushed out of the gaping hole in the wall and tried to chase the bus down, but it was too late: they were gone. Halle’s smile instantly faded.

“I’m going to call the police! Steven Speilberg shouted, “How dare they steal the limelight from me!”

Halle ignored him, got up, and began to walk up the alley way. She made it to the first building and turned sharply around the corner. Instantly, she was met by a towering figure in a black cloak.

“Did you plant the tracking device?” a cold sounding voice from under the cloak asked.

“Yes,” Berry answered as she morphed back into Lady Gaga, “I attached it to the back of Minigan’s cloak when I had my hands around his neck, right before that buffoon of a driver of his drove through the wall.”

“Good. They will lead us right to their base.”

“But remember what we promised,” Gaga warned, “I want Minigan. I don’t care what you do with the others, but the boy is mine.”

“Of course,” the voice replied, “Such a fighter as Minigan belongs with you.”

“That boy is a monster,” Gaga swooned.

Gaga couldn’t tell, but the man under the cloak scowled. “Right,” he said, “Well, I’ll find something to do with the others, but the only one I’m really after is their weapons maker: Everett Bradford.”

The End… For Now…

 

Awesomesquad! Assemble! 8.1! Revenge of the Fame Monster

For those of you who’ve never read an Awesomesquad! Assemble! post before, this post should bring you up to speed.

(Note: to understand the first part of this post, you need some information regarding a section that will appear in the book. In said section, The Awesomecopter! crashes, and when everyone wakes up, Lady Caggiano is missing. This post takes place 6 months after that crash.)

“Minigan,” a voice called for me at the entrance of The Watch Tower. I ignored it.

“Minigan, damnit, turn your head away from the bloody monitor and listen to me!” Clearly, it was Damien. I obliged.

“Thank you,” he muttered. He then raised his voice to an urgent tone and stated, “I just wanted to let you know that we’re about to head out. It’s Charlie Sheen. He’s totally lost his shit this time, and he’s apparently taken hostages in a Los Angeles TV Studio. You should come with us. You haven’t even fought with alongside The Knifemaster, and you hired him four months ago. Plus, the group is not the same when it’s missing you- well- and Lady Caggiano.”

“I cannot stop looking for her,” I replied formally as I turned back around and faced the screen, “That is my number one priority. Besides, you guys have been doing an amazing job with Raul fighting. Who knew that he would be so good with guns?”

“Well-“

“Don’t even say that he’s good with guns because he’s a Mexican, you racist,” I interjected.

Irritated, Damien replied, “I wasn’t even thinking that!”

“Oh…”

“What I was about to say that he’s good just as long as women aren’t involved. Who knew that, while really talented with guns, Raul is actually a total ogler and pervert?”

I turned back around, more interested in the conversation. “How so?” I asked.

“Here’s the thing,” Damien began, “We didn’t want to tell you this cause, anymore, you only leave this room to pee and sleep, and you’re so worked up over Lady Caggiano’s disappearance that you yelled at us whenever spoke to you.”

I apologized and said, “It’s been a hard few of months since the crash.”

“We know that,” Damien said earnestly, “That’s why we aren’t offended by it. We all knew how preoccupied you were… And still are.” “Anyway,” he continued, “We received word that Kim Kardassian was plotting to steal the Hope Diamond from The Smithsonian and wear it for the upcoming award season, so we went out to prevent it. But once Raul took one look at her, he immediately tried to flirt with her and help her steal the diamond.”

“Well, of course he did,” I replied, “It’s Kim Kardassian. Her ass is literally hypnotic.”

“She hadn’t even turned around to show us her ass,” Damien argued, “There wasn’t a mirror behind her either. He just walked up to her and started hitting on her, even though I told him that she was the person we were supposed to fight and to not think with his dick. Everett had to tranquilize him to get him to stop fighting us.”

“So that’s why you brought him back zonked out of his mind that one time,” I answered.

“How did you know about that?”

I pointed to the wall of screens and stated, “From the Watchtower, you can see everything.”

“Right,” Damien noted, quickly glancing up at the screens, “But we still need you.”

“Why?” I asked, “Even if Raul is a little perverted-“

“Dangerously perverted,” Damien added.

“You guys are going to fight Charlie Sheen- Raul won’t try to seduce him.”

Grasping at whatever straws he could think of, Damien argued, “But what if he as an army of strippers and hookers? We’d be screwed!”

“Does he actually have an army of hookers and strippers?” I asked with suspicion.

“Well,” he answered hesitantly, “It’s doubtful. But he could!”

“Go, Damien.” I got up and ushered him out of the Watch Tower door.

He fought me, but I managed to get him onto the catwalk and close the door behind him. I had barely made it back to my work at sifting through the images of the wreckage of the Awesomecopter! when the door opened back up and Phlegm stepped in.

“Minigan,” she said hesitantly, walking up to me and resting her hand on my shoulder, “We need to talk about the mission that Team Pugnastics is about to go on.”

“You’re not going with them to fight,” I said to her without turning my head. There was a dark form in the corner of one image of the security footage that seemed pretty suspicious.

“That’s not what I was going to say… And why can’t I go? I’ve been training with guns, knives, and Everett’s weapons!”

“Because you’re our psychologist!”  I shouted back pulling my gaze away from the dark form, “You’re supposed to be here to help us cope with emotional trauma from fighting. You cannot do that and also be in the middle of the fighting. And why are you so desperate to fight anyway?”

“I just, you know,” Phlegm paused before finding the right words to continue, “I want to feel the life slip out of someone’s body as I strangle them.”

“What the Hell?!”

“But that’s not why I’m in here,” she continued, “I’m here to help you cope with the loss of Lady Caggiano. I think you should go with the rest of the team. They need you, and you need to fight with them.”

“No,” I snapped, not removing my gaze from the screen, “Lady Caggiano needs me. Team Pugnastics will be fine without me. They’ve been fine for the past six months.”

“That’s right!” Phlegm cried, “Six months! It’s been six months and you have found nothing that could help us find her, and for those six months, Team Pugnastics hasn’t had their leader! Damien’s great- don’t get me wrong, but you’re the leader and your team needs you.” She sighed and continued, “Maybe you should start thinking that you won’t be able to find her.”

“No!” I cried, “I won’t give up! She wouldn’t do that to us!”

A grim expression formed on Phlegm’s face, “What if Lady Caggiano didn’t want to be found?”

I laughed, for the first time in months probably, “C’mon Phlegm. We’re talking about Lady Caggiano here. If there’s one person that is more faithful to the group than me, it’s her.”

Phlegm looked really uncomfortable. She sat quietly for a second or two, I think she was building up the courage to say something. Finally, she closed her eyes and stated, “What I’m about to tell you, I’m telling you not to hurt you, but to help you move past this. Last year, Lady Caggiano and I started having private sessions, and she had told me during several of these sessions that she was thinking of quitting. I think the crash might have been the final straw for her.”

“I don’t believe you,” I stated as I felt my blood go cold.

“You don’t want to believe me, but you know I would never lie to you like this,” she replied softly, “But I have some audio from her last meeting with me to prove it.”

From her hoodie pocket she pulled out a small voice recorder. She pressed the play button and her voice came through the recorder’s speaker.

“So, Lady Caggiano,” her voice asked, “How are you feeling today.”

“Tired,” Lady Caggiano’s voice replied. She sounded tired.

“Do you mean physically tired or emotionally tired?” Phlegm’s voice asked.

“Both. My body aches from all the training and fighting we do, I cannot sleep because of all the shit I’ve seen and done- the people I’ve seen die… Nut’n Fancy in particular… But mostly, I’m just tired of doing this.”

Phlegm’s voice asked, “This?”

“This! All this! Awesomesquad! I don’t think I want to do this anymore. I don’t think I can take it. I mean, I love Minigan like a brother, and I know that we’re doing saving the world, but I regret ever joining this team.”

After a seconds pause, Phlegm’s voice replied, “Are you sure that’s what you want?”

“Yes…No… I’m not sure. I haven’t even tried asking Minigan about the possibility of quitting. I know he’ll never let me.”

“You’ll never know until you ask,” Phlegm’s voice said brightly.

“You’re right,” Lady Caggiano sighed, “I’ll ask him now.”

Phlegm pressed the pause button on the recorder, and the playback stopped. I sat there staring at the now silent recorder, remembering the day that Lady Caggiano disappeared and how she asked me what I would do if someone quit. I thought to myself, I was joking when I said, “If anyone tries to quit, I’ll kill’em.” I thought she knew that. If she actually wanted to leave, I would’ve let her, and she wouldn’t have to escape from us when the Awesomecopter! crashed.

“Are you OK, Minigan,” Phlegm asked, her voice dragging me out of my thoughts.

“Oh, yeah. I’m totally fine,” I replied, looking at her with a smile, “But I should probably hurry up and get to the armory. Hopefully the rest of Team Pugnastics hasn’t left yet.”

Without looking at Phlegm, I turned off the computer I was on, and rushed out of The Watch Tower. She followed me out onto the catwalk and called to me, “You know what? Maybe it’s better if you didn’t fight today. I mean, I shouldn’t have expected you to take the information I gave you and then be in the right frame of mind to fight.”

I turned to face her and scoffed, “Phlegm, do you know who you’re talking to? Of course I can get information like that and still be OK to fight, because that’s who I am- a total badass.” The grim look on her face told me that she didn’t believe me, so I reassured her, “Trust me. I’m great. I’m just ready to get out and fight for once.”

I turned back around, hopped onto the catwalk hand rail at the top of the steps and slid down. I had always wanted to do that. For a few brief seconds, the breeze from me sliding down the metal rail kissed my face and blew back my hair. I reached the bottom, and within seconds, I was already across the Great Room.

From behind and above me, I heard Phlegm’s voice call out, “But we still need to talk about how you’re going to handle this!”

“I’m handling it right now!” I yelled back to her.

I stepped into the blue hallway, or the hallway that leads to the armory. It is also the hallway with every private quarter of member of Team Pugnastics (Team Prevention’s rooms are on the other side of the Great Room, down the Red Hallway.) It’s called the blue hallway because, well, the walls are blue. I admit- it wasn’t my most clever of name choices.

I paused for a second at my door, debating on whether or not I should shower before going to the armory when I remembered that I had actually showered that day. I had barely showered, brushed my teeth, or brushed my hair since Lady Caggiano’s disappearance. And I had stopped working out all together after about three months, when my quest to find her became a full blown obsession. The only reason I had even showered that day was because GMZ wouldn’t let me into the Watch Tower until I, “stopped smelling like I was trapped inside of an ass for the better part of a century.” Clearly it had been a rough six months for me.

I entered the armory and felt renewed by the activity inside. Damien was passing out guns, extra magazines, and knives to Raul, Series of Japanese Symbols, and Criss. Everett was at his work table tinkering with one of his wrist mounted flame throwers. I couldn’t see Knifemaster, so I assumed that he was down one of the aisles of weapons.

When Damien saw me at the doorway, he called out, “Well, well, Look who’s come to see us off this time, boys!”

“Not exactly,” I called back, “I was actually thinking that I could go for some fighting today.”

A look of joyous surprise washed over each of my teammates’ faces.

Damien looked to Everett and smugly  stated, “See, my talk with him did help.”

“Sorry to disappoint you, Damien,” I replied, “but it was actually Phlegm who changed my mind.”

Damien glared at me, “You just have to ruin everything for me, Don’t you?”

“That is part of my job description,” I joked.

I strode across the armory to my cloak closet. It’s actually a large, steel box, about the size of a refridgerator, Inside was all of my battle gear. On a black mannequin was my cloak and protective vest. Behind it was a pair of black pants that were of the same material as the vest. I made sure that there was twice as much protective layering at the crotch, for reasons that I think is obvious (It’s where I keep my balls). On the one door of the closet was my Justice Stick, hanging diagonally from corner to corner of the door. At the foot of the cabinet were my pair of black tactical combat boots. On the other door was an inscription of my saying, “We do not fight fame for fame, but for those without it.” Instead of reading it like I normally do when I open my cloak closet, this time I ignored the inscription completely and hurriedly got ready.

I grabbed my usual accessories: flame thrower, wrist communicator, grappling hook gun and two hooks, a serrated edge knife and the wrap for my ankle, two hand guns and hip holsters, a tranquilizer dart gun  a vest trap of extra ammunition, and two sets of throwing knives. I also walked down the couple of aisles and picked up some of the more unconventional weapons, like Everett’s spider canister, and his sticky bombs- small explosives that stick to hard surfaces and are best used to explode holes in walls.

Once I had grabbed the weapons I felt were necessary for this mission, I headed back to the center of the armory, where everyone, except the Knifemaster who was still unaccounted for, had gathered.

“Where’s the Knifemaster?” I asked.

“Dunno,” Criss replied, “He should be down here already.”

Series of Japanese symbols said something in his crazy gibberish language, and I all I could do was stare at him. He and I hadn’t spoken much since the crash of the Awesomecopter!, what with our translator going missing, and because of this, our relationship had become increasingly strained. He yelled some more things things that I couldn’t understand, and I looked to the rest of the team for help.

“We should check his room, he said,” Damien finally interjected.

“Good idea,” I said to Damien, which threw Series of Japanese into a rage. He yelled something else that I couldn’t understand and then flipped me off.

Damien looked from Series of Japanese Symbols to me and said, “He said ,”Fuck you.””

“Yeah,” I retorted, “I figured out that one. Now let’s go find The Knifemaster.

We headed back up the stairs and into the blue hallway, and as we reached The Knifemaster’s room. The sounds of music and The Knifemaster shouting things snuck through the crack under the metal door. I turned the knob, but it didn’t budge- locked. I tried knocking, but since the music and shouting was loud enough to penetrate the door, my knocks were most likely drowned out and went unanswered. I tried pounding on the door, but still got no response. Frustrated, I pulled out the skeleton key from my cloak pocket and went to unlock the door.

“Wait,” Damien interrupted as he smacked my hand away from the lock, “What in God’s bloody name do you think you’re doing?”

The music stopped and then started up again. I couldn’t identify the song, but I think I could hear guitar. I answered Damien, “I’m opening this door. We need him down at the armory now, don’t we?”

“I mean,” Where did you get that key?” He asked aggressively. I could tell this was going to be just another one of his things.

“I had it made once the doors were put in. I figured that it would be useful.”

“Yeah, to breach our privacy!” Everett cried. He seemed more offended by me having the key than Damien, which took even Damien off guard. The Knifemaster started yelling again. I think he might be singing along to whatever song he was listening to.

“Look,” I replied as softly as I could, “I get that you feel that I could use this to get into your rooms. But I only had this key made for emergency situations. Like if someone locks their key in their room or for situations like this: when we cannot get to the person inside. I’ve always assumed that I’d have to do this for more serious reasons, like someone getting hurt or starting a fire or something, but here we are, I guess.”

“I’ve been locked out of my room for three days, and all I had to do was come and ask you to unlock it?!” Jessie cried. I ignored him.

“How do you know that you aren’t snooping through all our stuff?!” Everett cried before Damien could say anything.

“Well,” I asked rhetorically, “Has anything of yours been misplaced or missing? Or have you ever seen me going into or coming out of a room other than my own?” “But if you don’t believe that,” I said as I pointed up to a security camera in the corner of the hallway, “that camera turns on and records anyone who uses this key to get through the door. And besides, all of you have a fireproof safe in your rooms that I told you you should keep your private stuff in, and I don’t have a key for those.”

“Seriously guys,” Jessie interjected, “I left my key on my bed and have no way of getting back in. I’ve been using Criss’s shower for the past couple of days.”

“Prove the part about the camera,” Everett demanded.

Without answering, I strode over to Jessie’s door, practically stabbed the keyhole with the key, and turned it. Instantly, there was a ping from the corner of the hall, and a red light began flashing on the camera. I pushed the door open and let Jessie run in and grab his key. I returned to the group standing at The Knifemaster’s door and asked, “Happy?”

Everett didn’t reply, which I took as, “No, but it will do,” and I went to unlock the Knifemaster’s door. Damien stopped me again.

“Maybe you should knock again, Yeh know, to be polite,” he suggested.

I grumbled to myself, but obliged. By this point, the song had started over again. Making a fist, I pounded on the heavy metal door and yelled, “Knifemaster, are you in there?” No reply. I looked to Damien, who nodded for me to go ahead, and I unlocked the door. The security camera pinged once again, and the door gave way. A wave of sound washed over us as the door opened completely. Immediately, I recognized the song. It was “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus. In the center of the room, wearing nothing except black compression shorts, was The Knifemaster, back to the door, singing and dancing along to the song.

…The butterflies fly away/ Noddin’ my head like ‘yeah,’ movin’ my hips like ‘yeah…’” The knifemaster yelled along with the song as he shook his ass to the beat of the song.

“What the shit?!” I cried at the scene in front of me. The Knifemaster heard my cry and spun around with a gasp. He looked at us in shock, and immediately covered his nipples with his hands, despite the fact that we had clearly seen him shake his ass in compression shorts.

“Can I help you?” he asked in a calm tone- much calmer than I would’ve been if I had been caught dancing half naked to “Party in the USA.”  I could not see the rest of the team, but I assumed that they were as shocked as I was.

“We need you down in the armory. The rest of us are ready to leave to fight Sheen,” I answered after a long second or two.

“OK, I’ll be right down,” he said unabashedly. He then walked over to the door and swung it closed. Right before it did, however, I watched The Knifemaster turn around and start jumping around to the song. “So I put my hands up/ They’re playin’ my song/ the butter flies fly away…” he sang/shouted with Miley.

The door clicked shut. The seven of us stood there, just processing what we just saw, and then without a word to one another, headed back down to the armory.

A few minutes (and possibly one more run through of “Party in the USA”) later, The Knifemaster came down from his room, completely ready, and followed by Team Prevention to see us off. Every member of Team Prevention wore a grim look upon their faces, which I sensed had something to do with what Phlegm had told me. Not wanting to deal with that, I headed down to the Awesomehangar, to see if Jessie and the Awesomebus! were ready. Unfortunately, Phlegm, Danica, GMZ, Derren, and our genetic scientist, Coco Montoya, followed me. I pretended not to notice, and hurriedly rushed down the stairwell and the only route (regrettably due to my poor planning) to the Awesomehangar! The stairwell reminded me of my old highschool: comcrete brick walls painted a light tan color, and wide stair cases, and an overwhelming feeling of emptiness as you walked down them alone. This was the first time I had ever walked down these stairs without Lady Caggiano, which made the stairwell feel even emptier. Each slapping sound of my boots on the linoleum tiles echoed up and down the stairwell alone, and the missing pair of echoes that had always accompanied mine made Lady Caggiano’s absence that much more noticeable.

I shook my head in an attempt to loosen those useless thoughts’ grip on my brain, and returned to thinking about how similar this stairwell was to the ones in my high school. The colors were the same. The size was the same. The lighting was the same. The echoing effect was the same. Hell, even the smell of disinfectant was eerily similar-like cheap toilet bowl cleaner mixed with lemons. Did I subconsciously plan this stairwell to look just like that one? I asked myself, Or was this some kind of weird coincidence that I’m not noticing until now. And why did it take me two damn years to finally notice that the two stairwells were practically identi-

“Minigan, Hold up!” Phlegm’s voice called from above me, effectively pulling me away from my thoughts. I kept walking and moved across the stairs to grab the outer railing. Above me came a storm of footsteps, each accompanied by their echoes, creating an almost white noise that filled my ears. Team Pugnastics must’ve been walking down with her. There was way too many footsteps for only Team Prevention coming down those stairs. Despite the sounds of a dozen pairs of feet coming down the stairs, I heard no one talking, which meant that she had told Team Pugnastics too. What the hell ever happened to Doctor/Patient confidentiality? I asked myself as I skipped the last four stairs and pushed through the doors to the Awesomehangar!.

“Jessie!” I exclaimed in an obviously fake tone, “How’s the Awesomebus! coming along?”

He came around from the otherside of the bus, which was standing in the center of the hangar facing the runway/ exit tunnel, holding the fuel hose. He hung it back up on the pump and said to me, “Minigan! You’re finally out of The Watch Tower?! That’s amazing! The bus is ready to go; I just finished putting gas in it.”

No shit.

“Awesome,” I stated. I then looked passed him to the piles of parts and the white sheet covering a large structure behind him and asked, “So how’s the Awesomeplane! coming along?”

The sound of the doors clicking open behind me distracted Jessie, and he looked passed me to the rest of the group flooding into the room. “Hey you guys!” he said excitedly.

“Jessie,” I commanded as I slapped him lightly on the cheeks, “C’mon, focus. How is the Awesomeplane coming along?”

“Good!” He said finally, “Sorry it’s been taking so long with it, but our benefactor’s demand for the parts I need to come in intermittently has  been drawing out the building process. On the bright side, I’ve been able to incorporate new a new feature into the Awesomebus!! It’s a cloaking device, for lack of a better term. Everett helped me with it.”

“Minigan, we need to talk,” Derren’s voice said behind me.

“So how much work is left on the Awesomeplane!?” I asked, ignoring Derren.

“The fuel system is the last big piece; It’s going to use electrolysis to-“

“Minigan,” Phlegm pleaded, “Listen to us for a second.”

“Excuse me,” I snapped as I turned around to face the rest of my team, “But I’m right in the middle of a very interesting conversation with Jessie. You can wait until we’re done.” I then turned back to face Jessie and ushered him to continue.

“Well-“ he started before he was cut off again. This time it was by Derren.

“He’s lying.” He said, “He never cares what Jessie has to say.

“That’s not true!” I cried as I spun back around to face him, “I always care about whatever stupid thing Jessie is blabbering on about!”

“Hey!” Jessie’s voice shouted behind me. I ignored it.

“Please, Minigan, you need to talk about this if you want to be of any help against Charlie Sheen today,” Phlegm said softly, as if she thought her words could break me somehow.

I laughed it off, “Guys, you’re totally overreacting. I’m fine. Really. All that recording did was wake me up from a six month long stupor and help end a pointless rescue search. I should’ve known better. I swear, I’m totally fine. It’s going to take a lot more than a member quitting to shake this ”

Derren stared at me through his squinted eyes, making me feel uncomfortable in the process. Out of that discomfort, I looked to everyone standing behind him. They were all staring at me as well, making me feel more uncomfortable.

“He’s still lying,” Derren affirmed, “Minigan, you need to talk to us about this. We’re here for you. But you need to talk to us about Lady Cagg-“

“DON’T SAY THAT NAME! DON’T YOU DARE FUCKING SAY THAT NAME!”

I don’t know why I yelled it. Those words spilled out of my mouth before I was able to even process what they meant. And somehow, my hands found their way up to the collar of Derren’s sweater and had lifted him off the ground by it. Coming to my senses, I gently returned him to the ground, apologized, and announced to Team Pugnastics that we were leaving right then. And without another word, I turned on my heel and climbed onto the Awesomebus!.

From my seat on the Awesomebus!, I heard several of my teammates mumble to one another, most notably Derren.

“Why in the bloody hell did you think it would be a good idea to tell him that before a mission?” He asked Phlegm.

“It was the only way to snap him out of it!” She retorted, “Besides, he has never been this battle ready before!”

“He’s going to be reckless!” Damien snapped, “He’s quite likely to do something stupid!”

“I can totally hear you guys,” I barked out the window, even though I meant to say in a joking tone. I cleared my throat and continued, “Team Pugnastics, let’s go.”

They obliged, and silently entered the vehicle. Jessie revved the engine of the old, modified school bus, and pressed his foot on the accelerator. The tires squealed, and their squeals echoed through the large, mostly empty room. Then, the Awesomebus! lurched foreward into the dark tunnel. The Awesomebus! sped up for a minute, the headlights illuminating the way, while those of us who weren’t driving fastened our seatbelts. While still in the tunnel, Jessie swerved the bus to the left. Instead of hitting the wall, like I’m always afraid we will, we veered off into an auxiliary tunnel and up a ramp. With a quick press of a button on the dashboard, Jessie opened the tunnel gate, and the Awesomebus! launched out into the cold February night and landed on the paved private access road at the edge of the Awesomebase!’s property.

Apparently growing bored of the several minutes of tense silence, The Knifemaster stood up from his seat and announced, “I’m going to turn on some tunez with a ‘Z’.”

Damien and I looked to each other, fearing the worst, as The Knifemaster strode up the aisle. As if he had planned this in advance, he only pressed one button on the CD player, and Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the USA” started blasting through the speakers. He let out a loud, “Woooooo!” and began skipping up and down the aisle, swinging his machete over his head, while the rest of us groaned and either rolled our eyes or put our heads in our hands.

“Knifemaster,” I shouted over the song and his whooping, “We’re only going to listen to this once before I put on something different.”

“NO!” He cried, “Tonight was my night to choose the tunez! I’m calling bullshit on this whole situation!”

“C’mon, Knifemaster, no one wants to listen to this song,” I replied.

“That’s just because you haven’t given it a chance yet! It’ll grow on you, I swear!”

“It’s kind of outdated, though,” Jessie announced over the music.

“Shut up, Jessie.” The Knifemaster spat, “You don’t have any say in this because you still like music from the eighties, or more commonly known as the era that cursed us with Def Lepperd and Milli Vanilli.” The Knifemaster turned his back on Jessie and continued to dance up and down the aisle of the Awesomebus! “All I see are Stilettos/ I guess I never got the memo!”

As I promised, once the song finished, I went to the front of the bus and thumbed through the music on the Awesomebus’s iPod. For some reason, it was mostly filled with Nickleback. Gross. I was tempted to go with a new My Chemical Romance song, but I figured that would be a good way to get me murdered by my team. Eventually, I was able to narrow it down to two songs. I decided on the first one, feeling like it more accurately fit the whole situation today.

Na na na na na na na/ na na na na na na” The singer sang with the guitar.

The Knifemaster raised his eyebrow at me, “Really, ‘So What’ by P!nk? So you traded a pop song from 2009 for a pop song from 2008?”

“It’s more like a Pop-Punk song, I think,” I replied uncomfortably. I stood in front of them for what felt like the longest first verse of a song ever, and joined in with the singing at the chorus, “So what/ I’m still a rock star/ I’ve got my rock moves/ And I don’t neeeeed youuuuuuu!”

I sat back down in my seat, singing merrily along with P!nk, while everyone else sat uncomfortably in their own seats. The Knifemaster looked particularly sour. We made it to the bridge of the song before he sprinted up to the front of the bus and changed the song back to “Party in the USA.” It was going to be one of those nights, apparently. Once I saw that The Knifemaster (and this time, Everett) were too distracted with singing along with Miley, I ran back up to the iPod player. This time, I changed the song to Cee Lo Green’s “Fuck You” which I figured would be more agreeable with my finicky team.

Right as I walked back to my seat, the song changed back to “Party in the USA.” I looked to the Knifemaster, who was waving the Awesomebus!’s lone remote at me with a triumphant grin. Grumbling to myself, I went back to the front and changed it back to “Fuck You.”

The music battle between The Knifemaster and I lasted the entire way to Las Angeles. And by the time we got there, everyone except for me was singing along with the Miley Cyrus song. Jessie pulled the Awesomebus! down an alleyway, and one by one, we hopped out. The alley smelled like piss and broken dreams, which I assumed smells like a homeless persons, because I was passing one. I flipped the man a quarter, which was the only change I had on me, and stepped out of the dark alley into the brightly lit street.

I looked at the screen on my wrist communicator and brought up the map. We were about a block away from the studio where Sheen had taken hostages. I turned to my group and said, “We’re close. Let’s try to get there without drawing any attention to our-“

“Oh my God, It’s Awesomesquad!” A burgundy hair colored woman that looked to be about my age yelled. She was wearing a black beret with matching yoga pants and a loose fitting turquoise blouse, all of which gave her the appearance of a crazy older woman. She looked to me through her thick rimmed glasses and shouted excitedly, “And you’re the leader! I swear, I’m you’re biggest fan. I’ll follow you until you love me!”

I couldn’t help but grin. “Why thank you,” I said brightly, “We, and especially me, are pretty badass, aren’t we? I’m glad to hear that you appreciate what we do.” Damien grunted behind me. I ignored it.

“I totally do!” she exclaimed, nodding her head up and down feverishly. She then asked, “So why are you in L.A.? Oh, please tell me you’re going to go beat up Chris Brown.”

“Been there, done that,” I replied confidently, “He was an easy fight. Nothing more than a d-bag with an anger problem. Today we’re going to fight Charlie Sheen.”

Damien cleared this throat. Again I ignored him. This time, however, he wasn’t going to let me. Placing a hand on my shoulder, he pulled me back so that his mouth was an inch away from my ear and he whispered, “It’s not a brilliant idea to tell people you just met what our mission is, in case you forgot.”

“Right,” I replied. I then looked to the girl and said, “It was very nice meeting you, but we need to go. We do have a mission, after all.”

I turned around and began to walk across the street, the rest of Awesomesquad! following me, when the girl yelled, “Can I at least see your face first?! I’ve never seen it, and it’s driving me crazy!”

“Sorry,” I replied, “But that’s just going to have to remain a mystery.”

The girl swooned a little, and I headed across the street feeling the best I have felt since the crash. We made it to the studio building in no time, and made it inside unseen thanks to Series of Japanese Symbols’s ninja skills.

“OK, guys,” I whispered to my team, “We really need to be on our toes with Sheen. He has called himself a warlock, a rockstar from Mars, and that he has Adonis DNA. We should anticipate that he does actually have those and maybe more secrets that he hasn’t told the media yet. After all, those do sound ridiculous, but just about every villain we have battled against has turned out to be supernatural in some way, so we should take what he has said as truth.”

My team nodded, well, except for The Knifemaster who was singing to himself, “I’m your biggest fan, I’ll chase you down until you love me/ Papa- paparazzi

Instantly, I felt my heart drop. I knew those words- they had haunted me for the past year. “What did you say?” I gasped at The Knifemaster.

“Oh, sorry,” he replied, embarrassed, “I was listening, it’s just that that girl back there had quoted a Lady Gaga song, and now I have it stuck in my head.” He then sang, “I’m your biggest fan, I’ll follow you until you love me.”

I could feel the blood rushing to my face and ears. “Guys,” I announced in a whisper, “We’re aborting this mission. It’s a trap!” My team looked confused, but there was no time to explain, not until we got out of the building at least. I turned to head out the way we entered, but we were too late. Over the doors and windows giant slabs on concrete slid into place, effectively sealing us inside. “Well, shit,” I muttered to myself.

Before I could warn my team that Lady Gaga was behind this, a door opened up at the other end of the room and she stepped out of it. This time, she stood about six feet tall, largly due to her shoes, which looked an awful lot like horse hooves. She seemed to be wearing a dress made out of ripped black lace and a shiny, black, skin tight material-maybe latex. Her blonde hair was fashioned into several sharp looking spikes.

Raul gasped, “She is beautiful.”

“No she’s not,” I whispered harshly at him, “She’s a terrifying monster that must be stop- Raul, where are you going?!

Raul began to walk towards Gaga, unable to keep his eyes off of her. The rest of us tried to get his attention, but to no avail. She had him.

Over our cries of protest, Lady Gaga walked up to the thunderstruck Raul and said in a French accent, “I know that we are young, and I know that you may love me, but just I can’t be with you like this anymore…”As she said that, her jet black tail formed from her backside and wrapped around Raul, “…Alejandro.”

With that, several sharp looking blades formed on her tail, and with one swift constriction of the appendage, she severed Raul into five pieces. We all screamed in horror. I nearly threw up. Criss managed to. Everett’s knees gave out and he fell onto Damien, who looked like he was having trouble standing up as well. I stared down at the pile of human meat that used to be our maintenance man as his blood flowed freely out of the chunks of flesh and formed an ever growing puddle on the floor. The smell of fresh blood made my stomach churn. I suppressed the queasy feeling in my stomach, and instead focused on the rage that was making my skull feel like it was on fire. If I wasn’t ready to fight someone before, I absolutely was now.

Before I knew what I was doing, I had already pulled out my Justice Stick and was charging at Lady Gaga. With one strong bound, I leapt over Raul’s body and aimed my Justice Stick at Gaga’s heart. But before I was even close enough to stab the bitch, her tail wrapped around me and left me suspended in the air. My team cried in protest as she her tail drew my face closer to hers.

Once our faces were a mere inches apart, she smiled at me and said, “Oh, Minigan, I’ve missed you so much!”

I spat in her face.

Her smile immediately turned into a grimace and she then growled, “Get your ass in my bed.”

With that, she whipped her tail and sent my flying across the room. I landed face down, not on the cold hard floor like I was expecting, but instead on a soft bed. My sense of relief was almost instantly extinguished, however, when several sets of hands clasped down on my arms, legs, and shoulders, only letting me lift my head to get air.

From behind me I heard Lady Gaga announce to the rest of my team, “Greetings Awesomesquad!, I’m glad you finally managed to bring Minigan along with you. I’m sorry if you had your hearts set on fighting Charlie Sheen, but you will just have to settle with fighting me and my monsters instead.”

Gaga snapped her fingers, and a flood of footsteps filled the room. I looked to my right and saw the girl that I had talked to just a few minutes earlier holding down the arm with my flame thrower on it. I shifted my face on the fabric on the bed. Cotton- flammable, but as long as my butane container wasn’t leaking, I wouldn’t get burned too badly. I looked back to the girl, who wasn’t staring at me, but in Lady Gaga’s direction. I really didn’t want to burn this girl; she seemed nice, but I couldn’t let Gaga get the rest of my friends.

“Sorry,” I said as I arched my wrist as much as I could, pulled back my thumb and-

“Aaaaeeeeee!” the girl shrieked as my torrent of fire blasted her in the crotch. The smell of burning fabric and flesh was almost immediate. She held on for a few seconds, an impressive amount of time for someone getting third degree burns on her vagina, but she did let go, and I was able to torch some of the other monsters holding me down. With my right arm and leg free, I turned partially on my side and blasted the monsters holding down my left side. With all of the monsters holding me down currently writhing on the floor and clutching various charred parts of their body, I jumped off the bed (doing a couple of bad ass front flips over the monsters) and sprinted back to my team, who were currently battling against a massive hoard of Gaga’s human followers. I could feel a burning and tingling on the bottom of my hand. Without looking, I knew that my flame thrower had burned through my glove and scorched my skin. I kept my eyes focused on my team, who had formed a circle and were fighting the monsters in 360 degrees. Unfortunately, Lady Gaga intercepted me before I could get to them.

She tackled me and pinned me to the floor. With her long and threateningly sharp looking fingernails, she traced the lines of my vest. “C’mon, Minigan,” she cooed, “I just want to touch you for a minute. I could show you things you’ve never imagined.”

“Yeah, well I’ve probably never imagined it for a reason,” I grunted. For her size, she was surprisingly heavy. I remembered from our last meeting how much it hurt to get kicked in the chest. Shaking the unhappy memory, I wedged my legs between us and, with all my might, forced her off of me. I rolled to my side, right as she threw a fist down right where my chest was. “Don’t be scared; I’ve done this before,” She whispered in a mock soothing tone.”

I jumped to my feet, “Based on how you just tried to crush my chest, I kind of doubt that.”

I tried to back away, but Gaga had wrapped her tail around my feet. In an instant, She had me suspended upside down a couple of feet off the ground. As if I was a goddamn toy, Gaga swung me around and playfully batted at me with her sharpened nails, shredding my vest whenever she managed to catch it. I looked around for my Justice stick (I dropped it when Gaga threw me across the room), but it was nowhere to be seen. I did see, however, my team murdering the monsters.

“Guys!” I yelled to them in between dodging Lady Gaga’s ferocious swipes with her claws, “They’re just humans! Use your tranquilizers! Do not kill them!” “Also,” I continued, “do any of you have my Justice Stick?”

“Why shouldn’t we kill them?” Criss yelled as he levitated my Justice stick over the hoard of monsters and launched it at Lady Gaga’s tail. The Justice Stick hit its target. Gaga let out a deafening roar, and her tail released its grip on my ankles. My head practically spit open when it hit the floor.

As I got up and rubbed what was going to be a huge lump on the top of my skull, I turned to face Lady Gaga, but she had vanished into the crowd of monsters. Keeping an eye out for an oddly dressed blond woman, I yelled back, “Her followers are just humans that she has hypnotized. There is no reason to kill them. In fact, we should probably capture a couple alive so that we can try to figure out how to fix them.”

I punched and kicked my way through Gaga’s hive of followers and joined the rest of my crew, who despite being a little bloodied up, were holding their own impressively well against the monsters. The tranquilizers seemed to be working, and my team had formed a donut shaped pile of unconscious bodies around them. I joined the group between Everett and the Knifemaster and begun to either punch or tranquilize the hoard of Lady Gaga fans. I have never punched so many people so hard, or enjoyed doing so, in my life.

Without looking at him, I asked Everett, “Do you have any of those spider canisters on you?”

“Yeah, three. Why?”

“We need to get out of here, but we also need to take a couple of these monsters with us to figure out how to undo whatever it is that Lady Gaga does to them,” I stated. “If we capture three of them, we can blast a hole through the wall and Criss can levitate them into the Awesomebus!.”

“Right,” he replied. He pulled out the three spider canisters and threw them into the crowd.

I turned to Criss as best I could and called, “Criss, give you tranquilizer gun and extra darts to Damien, I’ve got another job for you.”

He obliged, and we both stepped backwards into the circle. Once we were safely inside, our teammates tightened it. Now facing Criss, I ordered, “When the spider canisters are finished capturing some of the monsters, you need to levitate them out of here and into the cage in the Awesomebus!. Do you think they can handle it?”

“Absolutely.”

“Good.” Before stepping back into the circle and resume the fight, I brought my wrist communicator up t my mouth and said, “Jessie, bring the Awesomebus! around and open the roof over the cage.”

“Oh, so you captured Charlie Sheen then?” he asked brightly.

“No,” I replied, “It was a trap set up by Lady Gaga. We’ve captured some of her followers, and we need to run a few tests on them.”

“Oh jeez,” he laughed, “Gaga is really good at tricking us into fighting with her.”

No shit.

“Just bring the Bus around,” I pleaded.

“OK,” he answered, “Where should I park?”

“Look for the hole in the wall.” I lowered my wrist, and with my burned hand, pulled out two of the sticky bombs I had brought with me and flung them in the direction that I was pretty sure we entered through. The gel disks flew through the air like Frisbees, and stuck to the walls on their sides. They then flopped down so that their flat sides were against the wall. After about a couple long seconds of nothing, the sticky bombs exploded with a loud bang and sent concrete debris flying in every direction. Some of the pieces even managed to hit some of Gaga’s followers and knock them out, which was especially nice. When the smoke cleared there was a long hole at the top of the wall. It was tall enough that the immobile bodies could easily fit through.

A honk came from outside the hole, and I turned to Criss and said, “You’re up.”

Criss nodded, closed his eyes in concentration, and raised his right hand into the air. As if they were attached by invisible strings, three silvery, squirming cocoons silently floated into the air, above the heads of us and their fellow monsters, and out of the hole in the wall. After another few seconds, Criss dropped his hand, and three honks came from outside, indicating that the monsters were successfully caged.

I rejoined the circle and called out the my team, “Alright guys, let’s get the hell out of here!”

I was out of tranquilizer darts, so I took one last swing  at the monster in front of me. He was a skinny looking young man, probably around GMZ’s age, and had such flawless skin, that I assumed he was wearing makeup. His hair was cut in such a way that it looked like he had given himself a comb-over with a full head of hair. He dodged my punch and then grabbed me by the throat.  Within seconds of grabbing onto my neck, the monster’s face began to shift and distort, long spikes of blond hair jutted out of the receding brown. He grew to about six feet tall, thought part of that was due to his newly formed hooves. And his facial features became strikingly more feminine.

“Gaga!” The Knifemaster cried when he saw who had me by the throat.

Before The Knifemaster had a chance to pull out a knife and stab her, Gaga threw me over her head and across the room. I didn’t hit a soft, fluffy bed this time, but instead the cold, unmoving concrete wall. I fell the the floor in a crumpled heap, not sure if or how many of my bones had been broken. If you’re not sure if you’ve broken a bone, I said to myself, then you probably didn’t. Get back up and fight. I obeyed myself, but I was too slow, and Lady Gaga managed to plant one good kick to my stomach. I flew back up into the air, hit the ceiling, and came crashing back down. Despite the raw strength of my abdominal muscles, Gaga still managed to knock the breath out of me, so when I hit the ground, all I could do was attempt to gasp for air until my diaphragm reset itself.

While I was attempting to breathe, gaga shrieked to her monsters, “Work your blonde Jon Benét Ramsey/ We’ll haunt like Liberace/ Find your freedom in the music/ Find your Jesus/ Find your Kubrick!

Once she finished saying… whatever the hell that was, her league of loyal fans dropped the floor and began to twist and contort their bodies. I watched in horror as the one nearest me rolled its eyes to the back of its head and his jaw dropped to the point where his tonsils were showing. From his throat (and the throats of all the other monsters) came an odd puttering sound. It sounded like someone put an old, dying engine through an autotuner: It was Lady Gaga’s language. Suddenly, the teeth of the young man in front of me started to grow into long spikes. Out from the sides of his twisting body exploded an extra set of arms, with each hand sporting razor sharp nails. His skin turned grey. His hair vanished. And for a second, he was calm. But then, his eyes rolled back down to reveal that there were nothing but two black dots in a sea of red. He and all the other now literal monsters shrieked (I managed to catch my breath and scream along with them) and jumped back onto their feet. They charged at my team.

As fast as I could, I  shouted through my wrist communicator, “Fuck it. Kill them.”

Gaga grabbed my wrist and threw me up against the wall. She pressed her “You know that I love you, boy. And you should also let you know that I’m never gonna let you go.” She squeezed my wrists, and I could feel my wrist communicator and my flamethrower break apart, the small sharp pieces piercing my skin. Luckily for me, my blood made my wrists slippery. I managed to free one of them from her grip and hit her hard in the face with my forearm. My forearm screamed, but it did the trick. Dazed, she let go of my other wrist and stumbled backward.

I hit her with a couple more punches and a roundhouse kick before I growled, “But there’s that.”

She let out a short, cold laugh and warned, “You know I like it rough.”

She then dove at me, which I dodged by dropping to the floor and somersaulting under her, and she slammed her head hard into the wall. The wall cracked all the way to the edges, and I barely made it out of the way before it crumbled and fell on top of her.

Pulling out my Justice stick, I beat, sliced, and stabbed my way to the rest of Team Pugnastics, who were being easily overwhelmed by all the Gaga fans- turned hideous monsters.

“Attention Guys! I have discovered that the best way to kill Lady Gaga’s hive of followers is with kindness,” The Knifemaster said. He then spun around and beheaded the nearest monster with his machete.

“I thought you said ‘Kill them with kindness!'” I cried.

“That’s what I named my Machete-Kindness,” he replied as he affectionately pet his large blade.

I shook my head, suppressing a laugh, and then turned to Damien, taking a moment to throw a throwing knife at a rushing monster, and said, “Are you ready to try out the ‘Boom Escape?’”

He smirked a confident smirk, “Let’s fuckin’ do it.”

I smirked back and yelled to the rest of my group, “Were going with the Boom Escape in 3…2…1… GO!!!”

Criss stopped threw his hands forward, and then out to his sides. All of Gaga’s fans that were between us and the wall were thrown off to the side by an invisible force like rag dolls in a tornado. The Knifemaster, Series of Japanese Symbols, Everett then pulled out their guns and shot at any monster that stepped into that path. Damien started sprinting towards the wall, and I followed close behind. He then started doing front flips while keeping his body perfectly straight. I pulled out one of my sticky bombs and flung it at the wall right when Damien’s body was going horizontal. The disk flew over his body, narrowly missing his head as he flipped forward. Once it had passed him, Damien did a barrel roll as he flipped and continued towards the wall doing back flips. The bomb hit the wall on its side, flopped down flat, and exploded.

“NOW!” I screamed.

From behind me I heard the blasts from my the rest of my team’s guns cease, and I knew that they were now following us. Without the gunshots shooting them down, the monsters closed in on Damien and I. Damien did one final back flip, pulled out his guns, and then jumped backwards though the hole that the bomb had created. As he flew through the hole, he folded himself in half and shot both of this guns at me. Damien’s (thankfully) perfect aim made sure that his bullets did not hit me, but instead the monsters that were close to catching me. I dove through the hole, pulled out three more sticky bombs, and threw them at the wall. By the time I had landed and slid to a halt at Damien’s feet, the bombs had gone off and created a hole large enough for the rest of the team to run through. They did, and Damien threw a few sticky bombs at the building, causing part of it to collapse and trap the monsters on the other side.

“Nice work,” I panted at Damien, as he offered me pulled me off the ground, “Let’s get the hell out of here.”

We clambered into the bus, practically all at once, and to Jessie, I commanded, “Drive now.”

“Sure thing, boss.” He said brightly as he strapped himself in, “How did it go in there?”

“JUST FUCKING DRIVE!”

I heard a crash come from outside. I and the rest of my team shoved out heads out the Awesomebus!’s windows to see Lady Gaga claw her way through the wreckage. Seeing us pull away, she let out a roar. Jessie floored it, but with a single bound, Lady Gaga managed to jump a good twenty feet and land on the roof of the Awesomebus!.

To Be Continued…

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