Agent Klutz: Week 4Fandom:
Read or DieDisclaimer:
Still don't own 'em, still don't like me, do a little dance, sing a little song.
---------------------April 1, 2001 – Sunday (in my time-zone, at any rate)
Strange. Very strange. Just as we reached the car, Agent Rock told us he would check up on a few things elsewhere, and would meet back up later.
After a quick consultation with Joker, Drake said coolly that it was fine, he didn't really care anyway, and good luck and all that.
I'm sure Drake, Nancy, Yomiko, and Joker all think he's got some sort of scheme of his own, but honestly, I think he's just going for a drink.
It'll do him good. Poor man seems a bit high-strung.
At any rate, the rest of us piled into the car, and Mr. Joker explained something that might just clinch the seriousness and possible danger of this mission.
Well, the danger. I would hardly call what he has found out "serious".
Apparently, he has done some checking up on exactly what the Legendary Cookbook of Yore and Slight Absurdity contained. He didn't know, you see, as he had not previously read it. Personally, I think he could have spared himself some trouble by asking Yomiko, because I'd wager she has.
One of the recipes in the book was a certain complex and extremely difficult one for a pastry so fantastic that it defies laws of logic and physics, and will inevitably pull the entire universe into a black hole of sheer deliciousness.
Yes, I know.
I realize exactly how it sounds, and I am currently biting the inside of my cheek to shreds to keep from laughing.
I don't know what the funniest part is: Mr. Bone's idiotic scheme, or Mr. Joker's utter seriousness in telling us of it. "A black hole of sheer deliciousness", indeed.
And this, as Nancy said, dropping her head to her hand in despair, is where it gets ugly.
Drake asked in an irritated mutter if the word she was looking for wasn't perhaps "stupid" instead of "ugly".
I would be more inclined to agree with Drake, although ugliness and stupidity are not mutually exclusive. Why, just consider my brothers! They're both ugly enough to crack plaster, and their IQs couldn't be any lower without their being clinically dead!
Yes, I hold a grudge. What of it? You might hold a grudge, too, if your brothers routinely tossed you out your bedroom window – on the second storey of the house – after you'd done some miniscule thing like scribbling "I Am a Cute Little Bunny" on their foreheads in non-washable marker.
Well, honestly, people have been saying that all three of us Earhart kids have bunny-rabbit faces for years! Why on earth would they get mad at me for helping them point it out before anyone could bring it up?
So, Mr. Bone's nefarious plot does involve the book, and this does stand to be a more difficult mission than one would expect, considering the fact that we're dealing with a chef.
Have just asked Mr. Joker hopefully if he's sure he doesn't want me to leave right now, before I break something important.
Mr. Joker has just laughed and said no, but that he's going to work with me on this apparent confidence issue when we all return again.
I don't have a confidence issue; I just want to go home!
Well, it has finally, finally happened: Mr. Joker has returned to his senses, and I am to be sent home directly, just as soon as a flight can be arranged.
Somehow, I'm not so giddily joyful as I had expected to be.
You see, there is a very large difference between being allowed to come home because you are beginning to loathe your new job – more than before, even – and being ordered to back away from the action because you've made a mess of things, and those you are working with want to prevent it from happening again.
I had best explain what has finally caused my wish to be granted in a way that I blatantly did not want, and thus I have compounded my irresponsibility by flipping off my transmitter despite Mr. Joker's painfully terse-sounding request that I leave it on until I got back to the hotel, just in case, stopping in this rather conveniently-placed park, and plunking myself down on this park bench to w wholeheartedly vent my frustration with the universe. Despite Drake's order, and Mr. Joker's seconding of that order, that I go back to the hotel immediately.
To begin at the beginning, we arrived at the university to interview the students and faculty who had attended Mr. Bone's seminar, and spent a lot of time in pleasant small-talk. On their side, mine, and Yomiko's to a lesser degree – Drake and Nancy seemed slightly annoyed at their skilful evasion of any questions, the answers to which might have proved helpful.
Well, just as Drake had wrested from one student that yes, Mr. Bone had seemed very antisocial in an incredibly charismatic sort of way, another man slipped quietly into the room.
Now, one would think that, upon noticing that the very man we were here to find had just slunk into the room, telling Yomiko, Nancy, and Drake would be a good idea.
It so blatantly wasn't, diary dear.
I (fairly subtly, I think) pointed him out to Yomiko, who took no notice, so less subtly, I pointed him out again. Again, no reaction. So, being no more annoyed than one might be at being ignored when they had genuinely important information to convey, I abandoned caution and told her more loudly than was perhaps wise.
Than definitely was wise.
Mr. Bone took immediate notice, pulled something that looked vaguely like a tiny pumpkin from his jacket, and proceeded to blow a massive, gaping hole through the wall of the room and escape in a giant layer cake.
No, I have not gone suddenly mad. I'm not a bloody cock-up and a hopeless looney.
I'm perfectly content to only be a bloody cock-up. (I know this term isn't polite, but I'm not feeling very polite at the moment.)
Actually, I'm not content to be a bloody cock-up, which is why I'm currently sitting in a park, scribbling in a diary, and knocking my head repeatedly against a metaphorical wall at the knowledge that just as soon as I've been given something important to do, I've gone and ruined it.
Bugger, I say.
Bugger and bugger again.
Now, what I would really like to know is how on earth I was supposed to know instinctively that Nancy, Drake, and Yomiko had already noticed Bone, when none of them had so much as glanced at the door, and that they were simply biding their time.
No, I am not crying! Bloody silly thing to do at a time like this, just because I've disappointed my boss by proving that I can't do a job I haven't been trained to do.
But he did sound so disappointed. And not even angry, but just…resigned, which is much, much worse.
Still, if this kindly old gentleman beside me doesn't stop staring oddly and looking as though he's wondering if it would be the right thing to offer me a hankie and a peppermint, I just may say something unpleasant to him.
Now I have two men staring at me oddly.
The kindly old fellow on the bench, who has just slipped me a hankie, and a man with a muffin on his head.
I think it's supposed to be a hat.
Looks rather silly, honestly.
I think I'd best get back to the hotel now.
You know, I fairly asked for something like this to happen.
Back in the park, just as I was leaving, I thought to myself,
"Well, I've made a mess of the mission and caused everyone else more work. Mr. Joker is angry enough with me that I may not have a job to go back to. Drake, Yomiko, and Nancy are angry with me. A man with a muffin on his head is stalking me. How can things get any worse?"
Rather funny that, just after I thought that, someone hit me on the head with a blunt object.
I think it was a ladle, from the shape and the noise it made.
Like I said, I bitterly hate my brothers.
I've only just woken up now.
Surprisingly, I still had my diary tucked away where I left it, although my transmitter is, predictably, gone.
I'm beginning to wish I had listened to Mr. Joker and left it on, and just let him see and hear me sniffle away like a silly child.
I'm bloody well not sniffling now; I'm far too angry.
You'd be angry, too, if you'd been thrown into a pantry with steel walls and a door locked from the outside, directly onto a sack of flour which promptly burst all over you.
You'd probably be even angrier if you tried to get up to investigate, only to feel a sudden sensation of choking, and notice at this point that you are wearing a collar, and are being held to the wall by a strip of leather looped through the ring at the back of said collar. A bloody leash, for the love of God!
As soon as I get free, somebody will die.
Just let some poor fool come within the range of my (twitch) leash. He will have his finger bitten off.
Or at least, he will be repeatedly poked between the eyes. Mwah-hah!!!!
…I must confess, I'm a little afraid.
A lot afraid, if one wants to be really picky.
I realize that I am fearing a man with a muffin on his head, who no doubt works for the man who blew up a wall with a pumpkin before escaping to freedom in a layer cake, and that this indicates that there is something wrong with me, but consider if you will that anyone who would consider being a "theme villain" is likely a troubled individual.
I simply have always found that the most troubled individuals are also the most sadistic individuals. And theme villainy gives so many possibilities for painful ways to kill someone.
I desperately wish I hadn't turned off my transmitter.
At least I can hope that someone happened to notice the silly blonde girl being clubbed unconscious with a ladle in the middle of a public park, and that I won't be in here long enough to discover whether or not Drake, Nancy, and Yomiko are angry enough to simply leave me to the fate of death by giant egg-beater or something.
I have just imagined exactly how that would feel.
I hate my imagination.
Oh, lovely. I have just noticed a mouse scurrying across the ground.
Right, then! The flour all over me, I can deal with, as the sacks make for a reasonably comfy place to sit while trapped in the lair of a madman. The collar and leash…well, it's difficult and very damaging to my pride, but I can deal with it if I have to. Would be very nice, I can imagine, if Mr. Joker and some articles of clothing flying across the room were somehow involved…
Um. The ink seems to be running again.
Now, where was I?
Oh, yes. The flour and the leash and collar can be dealt with if they must. Death by egg-beater would be unpleasant, but everyone dies someday, right?
Mice are where I draw the line.
Even in the midst of my absolute disgust, though, I am cackling in rather wicked glee at the fact that this man's pantry has mice.
Have finished cackling and begun screaming frantically and scrambling to my feet as the mouse has decided that up my skirt seems like a good place to pass its little mouse-time.
And now the door is opening.
Time to show them the horror that is an angry Wendy!
Humph. I am affronted.
Mr. Bone has just been here, and the first thing he did was tell me I had a little flour on my nose.
Well, goodness, I hadn't noticed! I thought that my nose had somehow been miraculously spared, even though the rest of me was liberally covered!
Then he came right up to me and wiped it off for me.
I bit at his fingers, but he got them out of the way in time.
Then I tried to punch him.
I didn't miss, or anything, but he didn't react much. Just looked down at my fist planted firmly in his stomach and said he hoped I didn't make my living by wrestling.
This is why I am now feeling rather affronted.
Some people just don't recognize my scariness.
In addition to feeling affronted, I am also feeling furious, dismayed, terrified, utterly confused, and hungry.
Mr. Bone explained his entire plot to me, as I suppose was inevitable, being that he is the very picture of a villain cliché (although, most do refrain from wearing capes fastened with very tiny éclairs) .
As it turns out, he plans to rob a bank.
Yes, I know.
We flew here in a tearing hurry to stop the world from being sucked into a pastry-caused black hole, and the man has been planning a bank robbery.
So then I, in my wisdom, asked him curiously about the plan involving the book, and what had happened to it
Well, as it turns out, he had no intention of using the book in his plan. Or of attempting to destroy the world with a pastry.
However, when I brought it up, he acquired this very thoughtful expression, and said that this was a good idea, and that I was smarter than he'd assumed from our last meeting.
Humph! I'm not the one who holds his cape together with a high-calorie dessert and drives a layer cake!
At any rate, he has just left, and now you see why I am feeling affronted, dismayed, terrified, and confused.
I am feeling hungry, of course, because I haven't eaten in a fairly large stretch of time.
As Mr. Bone left, my aggravating tummy protested loudly at the lack of food in it. He turned, smirked, and told me to help myself to anything I could reach.
I do hope the world is destroyed before I am hungry enough to resort to eating flour by itself!
Or, you know, that I am rescued or find a brilliant means of klutzing myself into an escape before the world is destroyed or I resort to eating flour by itself.
Whichever one prefers.
At any rate, the door is creaking open with the ominous slowness that I didn't think anyone really used to open doors outside of bad horror movies, and thus I had best tuck this little Diary out of sight.
Somehow, I have a feeling that the nefarious villain would be even less sympathetic toward it than Drake.
This cannot be happening.
This completely, absolutely, and totally cannot be happening.
Who do you think is currently sitting right next to me, pouting at being thrown into this ridiculous situation, perched atop a pile of flour sacks, fuming at the straps of leather, one connecting his collar to mine, and the other looped through the hook on the wall?
Why, Agent Rock, of course!
It seems, dear diary, that we really were destined to become roommates at some point.
I wonder if this is judgment for complaining at the idea of sharing a room with him.
At least, in the hotel, we wouldn't have been joined together by leather straps.
Not unless we'd gotten to know one another a LOT better before morning, that is.
Oh, dear. I wonder if I ought to scratch that out just in case he happens to glance this way instead of trying to chew through his leash.
He's going to hurt his teeth that way.
I wonder if I should tell him so.
No, I definitely should not have told him so.
All I got by way of thanks was a growl, and an attempt to chew off my finger.
Have just asked him how he came to be captured.
He has replied that if I'll shut up and stop writing down everything he says, he'll tell me.
Am going to put the diary down and listen now; will report back soon.
Am now reporting back.
Am glad to report that I am no longer the biggest idiot in this room.
You see, when Agent Rock happened to notice a group of twelve men with muffins on their heads while taking care of the "special business" that he won't tell me about, he thought it might have had something to do with Bone.
This was, I would say, a fairly good assessment, and not at all why he is an idiot.
The part that makes him an idiot was his decision to attack all twelve of them by himself.
He grumbled something odd about how he could have won if the fight had been scripted.
Sadly, the people I work with are still rambling odd things at odd times.
Will make a note to look into possible causes; could there be something in the water?
Agent Rock has just noted petulantly that if I were useful like Yomiko, I could use my diary to get us out of here.
Have just informed him snippily that, if I were "useful like Yomiko", Bone would likely have taken and shredded my diary after first reading it just because that is the kind of thing that these evil people do.
Am now not speaking to Agent Rock.
Have changed my mind about not speaking to Agent Rock, as he has just informed me that he still knows of a way we can get out of here.
Am going to sign off now, as he has just informed me that I can damn well wait here until Drake and Nancy and Yomiko come for me if I don't stop writing down everything he says.
Honestly! Why do men hate diaries so?
Your faithful servant,
--------------------------April 2, 2001 - Monday
The next time a man tells me he knows of a brilliant means of escape – or of doing almost anything else in the world – I am NOT going to listen.
Of course, Agent Rock – who made a point of telling me that his real name is Florence last night when neither of us could sleep for sheer anticipation of putting our Brilliant Plan into motion (and also for terror of the mice periodically scurrying up my skirt, in my case), thus proving that he wants very badly to be picked on – did manage to get us out of that well-stocked dungeon.
I only wish that our daring escape hadn’t ended in our doing dishes whilst chained to the sinks in a large, industrial-looking kitchen.
And I REALLY wish that Bone hadn’t found it necessary to make me wear a bloody maid outfit! First a collar; then a leash; then lots of poufy skirts, an apron, and a ruffly hat!
And why didn’t Agent Florence have to wear one?
Hehehe…yes, I have been having fun with this, and shall doubtlessly continue to. Although, I did nearly lose a finger the fourteenth time I said, “Be a dear and pass the tea towel, would you, Florence?”
I think it is just as well for my own continued existence that I didn’t bother to share with him the delightful mental images of him wearing a frilly outfit similar to mine.
At any rate, all of this is doing very little towards explaining what our daring escape entailed, and exactly where it went wrong.
And that IS an interesting story.
Well, closer to a painful and embarrassing story, if you want the truth.
Either way, whether interesting or painful and embarrassing, I had better get on with it quickly. I only have so much time, as I am currently on my break.
At least Mr. Bone gives us breaks.
Rather an odd thing to do, when one considers that we’re prisoners, and this whole dish-washing thing is a punishment.
Have suddenly realized, with much dismay, that the counter I am perched on while writing is soaking wet.
Well, at least I didn’t ruin any GOOD clothes this way.
I am honestly going to complain to Bone about wearing this while Agent Rock gets to wear his own clothes.
I wonder why, anyway.
Have concluded that Mr. Bone is simply a pervert with a maid…thing.
Have also concluded that my attempt to explain Our Daring Escape and How it Went Wrong has hit an undeniable wall.
Am going to try this again.
Honestly, I should have known that we were headed for nothing but pain and trouble when Agent Rock voiced those fatal words, “You flirt with him to distract him, and I’ll knock him over while his attention’s on you!”
Did I warn Agent Rock about the inevitable failure of this abysmally stupid plan?
Did I instead congratulate him on thinking of this and ask how exactly I should flirt with Bone and would he let me practice on him first?
Well, come now! It was the stupidest possible thing to do in the situation; why wouldn’t I have done it?
I think it fit the pattern quite admirably.
The pattern of what? Why, the pattern of absolutely everything we’ve tried to do so far while on this mission.
Well, to make a long story short, Mr. Bone was not fooled when I assumed a seductive pose and asked him if that was a cucumber in his pocket, or if he was just happy to see me.
Although, I almost did manage to get him side-tracked into explaining that yes, it was actually a cucumber in his pocket.
Apparently, he likes to have one on hand, just in case.
While he was explaining this, Agent Rock tried to rush him.
I say “tried” because, still being chained to the wall, he was utterly unsuccessful. He ended up just sort of running in place several feet away from Bone, while Bone stared at him oddly and I groaned in despair a whole lot.
Honestly, I wonder why neither of us considered that Bone might not come close enough to Agent Rock for him to knock over.
For that matter, I wonder why Agent Rock didn’t decide to abandon the plan when it became clear that it wouldn’t work.
I think he’s inhaled too much flour, and it’s beginning to affect his brain adversely.
Well, upon our attempt at escape, Bone became very angry for about ten seconds, during which he threw a tantrum that would have made any two-year old shake their head in disgust at the man’s inability to control his emotions. Then, very suddenly, he calmed and assumed a scary sort of smirk. Then he told us that, since we wanted to leave the room so badly, he had just the thing for us, and that we wouldn’t be returning to the room to find out just how good we’d had it for a long, long time.
I don’t mind admitting that at that, I started screaming like Drake confronted by a diary as all manner of complex, bizarre, and utterly, utterly painful death machines made their way through my mind.
Imagine my immense relief (and, oddly enough, my shred of disappointment) when we found ourselves washing dishes.
And now, I have just been informed by an angry Agent Florence (hehe!) that my break is up, so I’d better get back to work before Bone takes away our breaks altogether.
If he tried, I would complain to the Union of Prisoners Put to Work in the Lairs of Madmen.
All right, so I know I’ve no leg to stand on here. I know there’s no such thing.
Although, there should be.
These villains are altogether too fond of oppressing people.
Honestly; a MAID outfit!
Your faithful (and disgruntled) servant,
-------------------------April 3, 2001 – Tuesday
You know, with every day that passes, I wish more and more that I had never had a six-hundred pound box of rocks land on me and narrowly escaped the same fate with five massive bookshelves.
Agent Florence has just peeked over my shoulder, and demanded to know what the hell I’m on about this time.
Have just explained how my “superpower” was discovered.
Have decided that I hate Agent Florence, as he has just nodded with the air of one finally understanding matters, and said,
“Oh! So, THAT’S what you’re good for!”
Have decided that I hate Agent Florence even more, as he has just informed me with a mischievous grin, that would have been cute if it hadn’t been on someone insulting me, that I am very, very good at being a hopeless bungler and an eternal klutz.
I am now officially not speaking to him.
Have relented, and decided that I will speak to him, but very coldly, since he has told me that I may be a klutz, but I’m a very cute klutz.
Humph! Flattery will get you nowhere, Agent Florence.
Oh, my. I ought to tuck my diary back out of sight, as the door has just slammed open again. I suppose it’s back to the kitchen for us.
I was hoping I would be able to avoid that silly maid outfit again.
I didn’t dare to hope that we would be rescued or escape or anything like that, after yesterday, but I had thought that avoiding the outfit was a reasonable thing to wish for.
Have just asked Mr. Bone, who has just swept dramatically and menacingly into the room (I’m sure that was the intended effect, at least) why on earth he is having his prisoners wash dishes.
He has replied quite politely that it is because his entire staff of henchmen have threatened to go on strike if they develop dishpan hands from all this menial labour.
Prisoners, he has informed us, cannot go on strike.
Humph! Well, we’ll just see about that if I have to stay in this silly costume much longer!
Your faithful (and still disgruntled) servant,
--------------April 4, 2001 – Wednesday
Nothing terribly exciting happened today. Agent Florence and I washed a lot of dishes, Mr. Bone gave me a new maid outfit to try on (a bright pink one, with a much shorter skirt, as he is indeed a pervert of epic proportions), I attempted to teach a few of the mice that live in our nest of flour with us to tap-dance, I learned that you cannot teach mice to tap-dance, Agent Rock learned that when you poke a mouse in the back of the head it turns around and bites your finger, and I learned that when you laugh at Agent Rock’s misfortune, he does not speak to you for the rest of the day.
Oh, yes; and we were fed to a large, scary death machine.
Nothing came of it, quite obviously.
Of course, I could be writing from beyond the grave.
But I’m not writing from beyond the grave. I’m still quite firmly on this side of the grave, in a sack of flour, listening to Agent Rock mutter about the mouse bite on his left pinky finger.
He’s being extra-careful to mutter loudly enough that I can hear every word, since he can’t actually talk to me.
He isn’t doing that right now.
Talking to me, that is.
Imagine my despair.
Still, I suppose I ought to write an account of the only event of the day worth mentioning.
Let me just say that I was right about the egg-beaters.
This morning, at approximately 9:30 a.m., Agent Rock and I found ourselves tied to giant egg-beaters, which would then be lowered into a massive vat of meringue, where we would remain until we drowned in the mess of egg white and sugar.
I really, really, really hate theme villains.
But I really, really, really love my useless superpower.
You see, while the beaters were being lowered, Agent Rock and I were both flailing and twisting in a desperate attempt to free ourselves before we died in the silliest possible way that doesn’t involve penguins.
After all, that’s what the heroes always do in movies, and I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie hero die in a large, silly death machine.
While I was squirming and whimpering that I didn’t want to be a pie, my shoe came off, and flew into the mechanism, which Bone idiotically left exposed instead of building a protective canopy, or even putting them inside the machine, thus proving that he is every inch a true super-villain by his sheer stupidity.
The mechanisms rather disapproved my shoe being in them, and began to creak and groan and spark rather wildly.
Bone was in the process of running from the room and leaving us to die in the explosion, when one of his minions scurried in and whispered something to him, while both of them cast me all manner of suspicious, loathing, and indifferent glances.
Then Bone said something to the minion before storming away in a rather monumental huff.
You see, as the minion who rescued us (George, by the way) explained to us on the way back to the pantry, he had found out through means that he told us with nervously shifting eyes were a secret, about my special gift for lucky accidents. When he had explained his findings to Bone, his boss had decided not to risk the health of his entire fortress by leaving me to cause more damage to the various things that will inevitably be trying to harm me in a blowing-up death machine just yet, until it became completely necessary.
Or until he was on the verge of succeeding at sucking the world into a black hole of sheer deliciousness and his own survival became a non-issue.
I asked curiously why they hadn’t gone ahead and killed Agent Rock, who promptly put me in a headlock while yelling at me to shut up.
This, I suppose, is the other reason that he is currently not speaking to me.
Yes, it is still very tragic.
Your faithful servant,
--------------------April 5, 2001 – Thursday
Continuing on from yesterday’s pattern of learning important lessons, I learned an important lesson today: when you try to feed Agent Rock to a giant death machine, he takes rather violent exception.
You see, I was awakened this morning by the sound of my dear friend Florence trying to chew through his leash again. This time, though, he seemed quite set on accomplishing it.
And then the silly boy proceeded to whine for the next hour about how much his chipped tooth hurt!
I was sorely tempted to kick him in a delicate area to take his mind off of the pain of his tooth, but I was derailed from this train of thought, perhaps for the best, when the door swung open.
I think Mr. Bone must be tired of having us around.
He’s abandoned showmanship and stopped creaking the door open with ominous slowness, opting instead to just sort of slam it open.
Still, he made quite a sensation, not by his entrance, but by who he dragged in after him.
Or rather, who he had at least seven of his minions drag in after him, much with the air of the unfortunates in charge of rounding up a runaway bull, since he himself is far too noodly in the arms and chest to do it himself.
Honestly, he ought to think about taking up rugby. He’d build up his arm strength in no time, and he’d get some broadness to his chest.
Unless he ran away crying the first time someone shoved him.
Which is very possible.
At any rate, I have yet again become side-tracked, proving that the boredom is beginning to make me go more than a little mad.
At this, Drake, who has been reading over the shoulder that Agent Rock is not reading over, has snorted and said it was a little late to worry about that.
Come now, who did you think Bone’s minions had dragged in?
Yomiko’s far too skilled to be caught (particularly by an idiot like Bone), unless she was being lured with a book.
Nancy is also far too skilled to be caught, and doesn’t have the susceptibility to bribery by book.
Ye gods, could you imagine? What a pair they would be!
At any rate, I am being ordered to put my diary away so that the three of us can plan our escape.
I have just asked Florence, who has really gotten off entirely too easily for all the torment he has put me through in the past two days, if he is planning on suggesting something that will work this time.
I have just been told, in no uncertain terms, to shut up.
Drake has added that he’s just itching for an excuse to throw my diary out a window.
Drake is now grumbling, as I have pointed out the severe lack of windows in our dungeon-pantry. I wish he would stop it; it is getting rather tiresome to hear these men grumble everlastingly.
I wish Drake would go back to grumbling.
You see, while we waited for Agent Rock to stop pouting over the indignity of being dipped into meringue (which Drake had enough questions about!), Drake asked why on earth I was wearing a maid outfit. And a bright pink maid outfit, at that.
I grudgingly explained that Mr. Bone is a horrid, dirty old man, upon which Drake laughed until I thought he would be sick.
And honestly, I may well have been thinking the same thing since I first put the damn thing on, but I do wish Drake would stop chuckling about how I ought to make sure to smuggle it out with me when we finally escape, to model for Joker.
Although, I do wonder if he would like it. He would probably like the other one better. I doubt he harbours much of a hidden fondness for bright pink, even though the short skirt might convince him to develop a taste for it…
Ehem! Am now subtly wiping the trail of drool off the page and asking Drake how he came to be caught.
Am now waiting for Drake to stop grumbling long enough to tell me.
Oh, dear; Drake has just motioned for Agent Rock and me to gather around. I’ve seen him do this before – this story is going to be a long one…
Am pleased to report, diary dear, that Agent Rock is still the stupidest person in the room.
I know that he was desperately hoping for Drake’s story to surpass the stupidity of attacking twelve minions of a known enemy in a seedy bar, but really, it was quite heroic, and really rather dramatic.
And romantic, I would say, if he would stop describing Yomiko as “that stupid girl” long enough to let me!
Although, I suppose it is just as well that he doesn’t exactly seem to be melting with passion for the woman he just sort-of rescued from the clutches of evil (and stupidity); Yomiko and Nancy are so wholly adorable together that it would be quite a shame to taint it with a sordid love triangle.
And now, here is the story:
Drake, Yomiko, and Nancy were in the process of tirelessly searching the city high and low in the desperate quest to find their allies (at least, that is what I am pretending, along with imagining into the scenario a nice bit of gut-twisting worry for my – er, our – no, just my – safety on the part of Mr. Joker), when they encountered a group of them quite unexpectedly.
At least, Drake said, that is what they assumed the group of eight men with muffins on their heads were.
Agent Rock snorted at this point, and commented that Drake must be a wuss, to have been taken prisoner by only eight henchmen, and with backup; he, as he so kindly reminded us, had required twelve henchmen to suppress just him.
At this, Drake told Agent Rock flatly to shut up.
Ah! It is nice to no longer be the only one being told that!
Back to the story.
The group of henchmen managed to divide the three of them, at which point a lot more henchmen flooded into the area, which has put Agent Rock into a bit of a snit.
At any rate, from where he was fighting off several men trying to repeatedly poke him in the head with carrots, he noticed three men dangling books temptingly before Yomiko’s eyes. He looked around to see where Nancy was, and she was quite occupied with the twelve men poking her with carrots. Then he looked back to see Yomiko very close to taking the bait and being captured.
Then, as Drake puts it, he “sorta panicked”. Utterly forgetting that Yomiko usually has more of a plan than one might think to watch her, he made for the three book-dangling henchmen, thus ignoring his own group of carrot-poking henchmen, who thus managed to quite effectively knock him out with some sort of blunt object.
A ladle, I told him helpfully, although I don’t think he appreciated my helpfulness.
And the part of this story that made Agent Rock snort with laughter and Drake and I both hit him, is the fact that, as he went about the business of being unconscious, he saw, through blurring vision, Yomiko snatch up the books from all three men at once and use the pages to glue the men to the wall.
And now, here we sit, Drake and Agent Rock and I, all trying very hard not to ask why on earth Yomiko and Nancy didn’t come to Drake’s aid while he was being clubbed with a ladle or seven.
Perhaps they’ve simply gotten lost.
Agent Rock has cheerfully suggested the possibility of their having been attacked and killed by rabid cheese Danishes.
Now Agent Rock has been duly swatted, and Drake has declared briskly that we should really try to think of an escape plan.
I know that it will be far, far more intelligent and successful than the one that Agent Rock and I recently failed so miserably at devising.
After all, it can’t possibly be any stupider.
And now that I have just sealed all our fates, I shall go and offer what assistance I can.
Your faithful servant,
What an utterly bizarre day!
I know that I have said that about at least half of the days that I have lived through since becoming a field agent (in training), but the sheer strangeness of this day easily overshadows that of any day I have ever experienced in my life.
So, let that put it in perspective for you, future-me-who-drags-out-our-old-diary-on-a-rainy-afternoon.
I am currently back at the hotel, and we are to leave for London tomorrow morning. I needn’t tell you how utterly giddy this makes me, even though I’m a little uncertain as to exactly how angry I can expect everyone back at the Library to be with me right now.
Yes, particularly Mr. Joker. And what of it? And what of the fact that I am currently wracking my brains for little ways to make him less annoyed and more pitying? Or, if I decide to go with the scandalously short skirt and frivolous impractical undies that I shall conveniently reveal by “accidentally” tripping, more something-else-that-is-neither-pitying-nor-annoyed.
I suppose I ought to explain what exactly led to Agent Rock’s, Drake’s, and my no longer living in a distinctly dungeonesque pantry, sleeping on flour sacks, and making friends with the mice.
And washing dishes in embarrassing outfits.
Although, that was just me; Bone felt no need to force Drake into a dress any more than he did Agent Rock, for which we are all grateful.
The Beginning of the End of Our Troubles came while we were being put back into our pantry dungeon early this morning for a bit of sleep after working the night shift (why they needed to have a night shift for dishwashing in the first place, I’ll never understand – likely just to be mean; villains, you know).
Bone had just tied Agent Rock’s leash to the wall again, was in the process of finishing with Drake’s (and I must say, I’m stunned that Drake didn’t move Heaven and Earth to keep that from happening – unlike Agent Rock, I suppose he knows how to bide his time and play along instead of raging like a child!) and was about to do mine, when a mouse scurried out from between two flour sacks, and made for the poufy, lacy, very pink haven of under my skirt.
Needless to say, I took exception.
I explained calmly to the mouse exactly why I didn’t want it up my skirt, as that privilege was reserved specifically for…well, for a certain someone else if he should ever get around to bloody well wanting it, and being a reasonable little vermin, the mouse found a new place to take a nap.
Oh, very well; I went slightly hysterical and hopped about screaming as Drake explained to the mouse with a slight grin that I would only allow Mr. Joker under there. Which made Agent Rock snicker and utterly confused Mr. Bone who, I would assume, has not been near the underside of a girl’s skirt in likely his entire life.
At any rate, yes, I panicked in a rather shameful manner.
Still, I would say it’s quite a good thing, as one of my hysterical little hops sent me directly back into Mr. Bone.
Did you know that the simple act of knocking someone backwards onto a stone floor can knock them completely out cold, diary dear?
Well, it can.
As soon as I determined that our captor was, indeed, completely unconscious, I did what any intelligent and fast-thinking super-agent would have done, and set about untying my still-bound comrades.
Oh, very well! I panicked a lot more, whimpering about how I had just accidentally killed a man, and what kind of person did that make me, because I felt a little guilty about it, but not guilty enough, which made me feel guilty all over again.
Then, when Drake began grumbling and Agent Rock yelled at me, I remembered that they were there, and that we were basically free to leave the pantry-dungeon whenever we wanted to now.
So, I untied Agent Rock (once he explained to me exactly how to work the locks, and told me impatiently to never mind why on earth they made leather straps with padlocks on the ends), Drake untied himself, and we left.
Only to find a lot of angry henchmen waiting for us on the other side of the door.
Which we eliminated quickly and efficiently with a wide variety of stunningly cool action-movie moves.
Oh, fine! So I got immediately out of the way at Drake’s and Agent Rock’s combined requests, and Agent Rock grabbed a conveniently-placed steel folding chair and began hitting them, which made some very interesting noises, I must say. Although, not as interesting as the noises they made when Drake picked one of the henchmen up and began using him to bludgeon the rest of them.
Why on earth did that maneuver seem so familiar?
As it turned out, I wasn’t left completely out in the cold. You see, one of the henchmen decided that it would be safer to pick on the terrified little blonde huddling in the corner in a maid outfit than on the steel-chair waving, maniacally laughing, six-foot-something Agent Rock. Or even worse, the eerily calm, significantly-taller-than-six-foot, well-able-to-destroy-them-with-his-bare-hands Drake.
I don’t remember entirely what happened. I stepped back with a little squeak of fright – although, a dignified little squeak of fright, I’ll have you know! – and the next thing I knew, the man was buried under the remains of a massive, industrial-looking light fixture that got suddenly tired of the ceiling and decided to relocate to the floor.
Could it be, I began to wonder, a little wary of jinxing it, that my dumb luck can hold its own in a real fight, when someone other than those poor, poor scientists are around to be harmed by it?
I didn’t have time to ponder this in a properly dramatic manner. If there had been background music, it wouldn’t have had time to even swell grandly before Agent Rock incapacitated the last of the henchmen with his chair, and called to me to stop making stupid faces and hurry up.
Honestly, no one understands the value of a good, cinematic moment anymore!
Still, it was just as well for us to get around to moving, because at that moment, another group of henchpeople (have just realized that I was being horribly sexist) arrived, oddly enough drawn by the terrified screams of their friends.
They, however, only saw the backs of us as we ran away, screaming. Still in a very dignified manner, I would like to clarify.
Oh, come, now; what sort of idiot would stand and fight when they were outnumbered, seventy-to-three?
Agent Rock wields a steel chair almost as effectively as Drake wields a pillow (which, unfortunately, he didn’t have with him at the time), but even they aren’t that good! And I wasn’t terribly anxious to test the exact extent to which my dumb luck operated on a large scale.
And so, we ran.
Then we slowed to a jog.
Then we slowed to a fairly pleasant walk.
Behind us, seventy henchmen were doing essentially the same.
We all began having a friendly conversation, which stretched from the good movies each of us had seen lately, to music, to our plans for the summer, to the best way to turn leftover meatloaf into something edible. All in all, they were a very polite and interesting group of low-grade villains out for our blood.
Although, there was one fellow who kept whistling Elvis songs.
Imagine my surprise when another henchman told us that everyone just called him Benny the Loser Henchman!
I must admit, I snickered a little.
Especially when Drake sighed in deep resignation and said he might have known; there was just an aura about that type.
I must make a note to snidely refer to our Benny as Benny the Loser Helicopter Pilot.
Although, I might just do it in my head.
It might be too mean to say it to his face.
I don’t want to be mean, after all.
At any rate, I am beginning to wonder if my Intensified Dumb Luck can bring about Absurd Coincidences That Simply Should Not Be, too, because as we were being pursued at a leisurely stroll down the corridors of Bone’s hideout, we nearly strolled headlong into Yomiko and Nancy, who were coming towards us at a speed faster than a stroll, but slower than a stride.
Nancy demanded to know what the hell we were doing there, which made me wonder why on earth they broke into Bone’s fortress, if not to rescue us.
I did not ask, as I did not particularly want to hear that they only make a point of rescuing people who are useful.
Agent Rock, however, had no such qualms, and thus informed Nancy snippily that we were busily undoing our status as prisoners, and what were they doing here?
Yomiko replied hastily that they had come for us, but they just hadn’t expected to find us wandering the fortress freely.
Nancy looked rather surprised at this, which makes me suspect that Yomiko made it up on the spot for the sake of tact.
At this point, Yomiko proved that she’s really the common sense of this group by asking exactly how we came to be socializing with Mr. Bone’s minions.
I must admit, I was rather startled by this question, as it hadn’t occurred to me.
Obviously, it hadn’t occurred to any of the minions, either, to wonder why they had left off ruthlessly pursuing us and opted to give us the guided tour instead.
A pity that Yomiko and her common sense felt it necessary to remind them.
A minute and a half later, since minions are not known for being particularly bright, saw the five of us running through the halls, driven relentlessly forward by a near-solid wall of men clothed in chef’s uniforms.
They didn’t have hats, though, because Mr. Bone apparently insists that all his minions earn their hats.
Apparently none of us are very bright either, because it took us about five minutes of running and screaming to recall that we had some tricks of our own.
Well, to recall that Yomiko has some tricks of her own. And Nancy. Drake and (giggle) Florence and I were all fairly useless, since Drake had left all his heavy weaponry in a “secret hiding place” (which, being outside and far away from the fortress, did him little good) and was uncomfortably certain that he had strained a muscle with the technique of using one henchman as a bludgeon against the others, there were no steel folding chairs for Agent Rock to use for a weapon, and there was little opportunity for me to klutz my way to usefulness.
In fact, Yomiko did not recall that she did, indeed, have several methods of improving our circumstances until one abysmally foolish minion (possibly the one they had called Benny the Loser Minion, although I wouldn’t bet money on that) decided to attack her with paper plates.
Oh, yes, that was indeed a fun three-and-a-half minutes.
I remember everything I saw from my safe haven huddled beneath a table between Nancy and Drake, who had simultaneously decided to duck and cover as the first razor-sharp paper plate whizzed past Drake’s ear.
I shall have to remember to thank them for also simultaneously deciding to each grab me by an arm and haul me with them.
I didn’t thank them at the time, because the hand-shaped bruises rather hurt.
While we settled comfortably under the table to watch Yomiko take care of business in such a manner that left several of Bone’s minions picking up various and sundry body parts, Agent Rock completely missed the point of getting to safety, and opted to stay where he was, amid the flying plates, and pout.
I suppose it was rather hard on the poor boy’s ego to be reduced to “the useless one” so soon after picking on me for being the same.
Even now, I am trying very hard not to grin smugly at him.
I would still just as soon not spend the night in the hotel swimming pool or out on the hotel’s front lawn.
I’ve slept on a sack of flour long enough that, even if I have to share it with someone whose weapon of choice is a steel folding chair, bed is extremely appealing.
It was only a matter of time before all of Bone’s minions were down, at which point we went on our merry way, down the corridors at top speed for about four minutes before Nancy slowed to a walk, and asked with a frown if any of us actually knew where we were going.
We all had to admit that no, we did not.
Several minutes and a gentle reminder from Yomiko’s monitor that Mr. Joker was still looking in on us every once in so often, we decided – well, Mr. Joker decided, Drake and Nancy agreed, Agent Rock pouted, Yomiko read a book, and I stayed Very Quiet – that we would be best occupied at this point by finding Mr. Bone’s silly pastry studio and smashing it up with a baseball bat.
The baseball bat, I think, came from Drake, as Mr. Joker tends to avoid even mentioning sporting equipment if he can.
But to return to the story, we all decided that the idea of destroying his cooking equipment would be a good one, whether or not we decided to use a baseball bat, which Yomiko informed us with complete earnestness she could make, if we wanted.
Agent Rock, predictably, said thanks-but-no-thanks, he’d be fine if he could just find another folding chair.
And so, off we went, toward the little blipping red dot on the map that Mr. Joker informed us was Bone’s center of nefarious baked goods.
Honestly, I don’t know how he has enough room to do anything inside a little red dot like that!
When I voiced this thought to Drake, though, he simply told me good-naturedly to shut up.
I would have forgiven him, if he hadn’t felt it necessary to borrow Yomiko’s transmitter long enough to ask if Mr. Joker would like me to bring back the frilly pink maid outfit Bone had kindly given me to wear while here.
Mr. Joker sounded a little annoyed by this question, but he did ask how long the skirt was, and when I confessed miserably that it just barely covered some of the necessary areas, he replied with a far less annoyed sound to his voice that yes, he would rather like to see it, although he wasn’t exactly fond of the idea that I had been roaming around a fortress populated by men who likely hadn’t been near a woman since their infancy while wearing it.
I stonily ignored this, but unfortunately no one noticed, since Nancy chose that moment to get us back on track, by announcing that we had taken a wrong turn somewhere, and had been sort of slowly wandering in the absolute wrong direction for several minutes now.
So we all turned around, checked the map once more for the red blippy dot that is by far too small to bake anything in, and off we went.
When we reached a massive steel dome in the center of an even more massive room of Bone’s secret lair, we decided that this was likely the place, particularly because the door was well padlocked.
And because of the neon sign above the door, declaring, “Artemis G. Bone’s Spectacular Pastry Dome”.
Drake, Yomiko, Nancy and I all took this at face value, and started towards it, thanking the universe that this would soon be over, if we were very fortunate (which, Drake added, we probably wouldn’t be, as it still wasn’t his lucky day).
Before we could try the large steel doors leading into the dome, though, Agent Rock demanded in disbelief what we were doing, and if it hadn’t occurred to any of us that this just might be a trap.
Yomiko asked why we would think that.
Agent Rock scoffed, tried to exchanged amused, long-suffering looks with Drake (who didn’t reply with one of his own), and then told her that it just looked too easy.
I don’t remember exactly what happened after that – it was sort of a blur. An angry blond blur.
When the world became clear again, Agent Rock was dangling from a point on a nearby wall that put him on eye level with Drake, who was gripping him tightly around the throat and asking him in a cold, far too calm voice that gave me chills, if he had been carrying out the same mission as us, and if he had, how anything that had happened to us so far could possibly be construed, no matter how big an idiot you were, as “too easy”.
Agent Rock replied as best he could with a hand around his throat that that was his point: since nothing had been easy yet, why should it be starting now?
Yomiko said thoughtfully that this was kind of a good point, and I have to say, even though I have developed a personal policy against agreeing with Agent Rock on anything, I agreed. With Yomiko, thus maintaining the integrity of my personal policy.
Nancy made a noise of deep consideration, and we all watched, awaiting her opinion, since it seemed that we had come to an unspoken agreement that Nancy was the smart one, and we would listen to her.
I began to question the wisdom of this decision when Nancy simply shrugged and said that yeah, it looked a little too easy, but why fight it? After all, we had to get in somehow, and finding our way through a complex series of tunnels was bound to be just as much of a pain in the ass as anything that could possibly happen to us from simply barging in.
Yomiko and even Agent Rock confessed that this made a lot of sense.
And I admit, it did.
Still, I will also admit that, being a wee bit of a coward, and very fond of living, I still had my doubts as to the wisdom of this plan. Of course we would eventually have to reveal our presence – it was a rather integral part of confronting the villain. Still, what was the point of rushing these things? Particularly when it was very likely a trap? A trap that could end up hurting a lot?
And so, I followed everyone else in a very pointedly reluctant manner, and was rather annoyed when no one noticed my reluctance.
Then, just as we were about to try the door, Nancy stopped still, listened carefully to her transmitter, made a rather irritated noise, and said that Joker wanted a word with all of us. It seemed that he was a little annoyed that we had all decided on a course of action without bothering to consult him, since he was still heading this mission, you know.
I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that the universe would return to sanity now, and that Mr. Joker would tell everyone just how silly they were being in rushing into a clear trap.
Sadly, it didn’t. Because he didn’t.
Honestly, I don’t know why he felt the need to interrupt us in the process of doing something blatantly stupid, just to tell us that he thought we should do something blatantly stupid.
When Nancy announced that Mr. Joker approved of our “plan”, I couldn’t keep quiet. I just had to express, in a calm and mature manner, my disgust.
Agent Rock is completely lying when he says that I whimpered that I was scared, and it was going to hurt, and we should all just go home and let the world take care of itself.
I only said about half of that.
The first half, by the way. Right up to the part about us going home and letting the world take care of itself – I did not say that.
I only pointed out that this was likely a trap, and that I was a little nervous to be walking directly into it, and that I would come back and haunt someone if we all died strapped to those giant egg-beaters.
At this point, Nancy shoved her transmitter at me, telling me with admirably concealed impatience that Joker wanted a word.
The “word”, it turned out, was to tell me very gently that he was, frankly, a bit disappointed. He had, it seemed, imagined that I would be more anxious than this to take bloody, vicious revenge upon any man who had put me through the humiliation of being dressed as a walking maid-fetish.
And I suppose that now you poor souls who have been driven by boredom to perusing my diary are expecting to read that I fired up indignantly and told Mr. Joker that yes, I damn well wanted revenge against Mr. Bone the Rampaging Pervert.
Honestly, I wish I could tell you that you would be wrong.
Instead, I proved once again that I can be very easily manipulated by the love of my life, and set about shoving the transmitter back at Nancy before storming toward the door, intent upon ripping every man in the Dome of Eternal Pastry to shreds myself.
Yomiko, Nancy, Drake, and Agent Rock stopped me, reminding me indignantly that they wanted their shares, too.
And so, dear diary and dear bored souls who are reading it, off we all went.
And a bloody quarter of an hour followed.
Countless minions found their shoulders suddenly lonesome for their heads, as the saying goes.
Well, that was only about twelve, but it still made quite an impression on me, who still flinches upon seeing a child with a skinned knee.
Honestly, it takes a lot to make a chocolate cream pie look unappetizing to me, but seeing those heads rolling merrily across the floor utterly robbed me of the urge to try to smuggle out the one sitting proudly on the counter, in my apron.
Amid the chaos, those of us who were not Agent Paper and thus busy doing all the real work instead of drooling at the confections that the Dome of Eternal Pastry apparently contained noticed Mr. Bone trying to make a subtle escape.
Honestly, the man does subtle worse than me! At least I don’t insist that everyone in the nearby vicinity listen carefully to my innocent whistling!
When Drake had Bone shoved firmly up against a wall, we each took our turns trying to intimidate him into telling us what he was cackling about.
However, that aggravating man merely continued to cackle.
Finally, when Yomiko made her point by sending a cue card whizzing past to embed itself into the wall, millimeters from his ear, on either side of his head, he found his tongue loosened a little.
He had, it seemed, already finished making his pastry and loaded it into a rocket, headed for the moon, which would be sucked into the resulting black hole of sheer deliciousness instead of Earth.
An exceedingly annoyed Yomiko demanded to know what the obsession was for all these nefarious villains with rockets nowadays. Nancy informed her mildly that they were definitely compensating for something; she knew from personal experience with Ikkyu.
After several seconds in which Yomiko, Drake and I all tried through severe slamming of heads against walls to rid ourselves of the disturbing mental images this had conjured, Mr. Bone cleared his throat in a vaguely annoyed way. It seemed that, having gotten started revealing his nefarious scheme and why there was absolutely no way to stop it at this point, he didn’t want to be interrupted.
He beamed at me and thanked me for the idea, adding that he hoped I wasn’t hurt that he had modified it slightly; destruction of the planet was so cliché, whereas there was still something new and exciting left in destruction of the moon.
Drake shoved an arm tightly across his throat and demanded to know what status the launch was at.
Bone replied that it should be launching any minute now, so long as none of his incompetent hatless minions had broken anything.
Agent Rock said with a snicker that since I wasn’t one of said minions, Bone likely didn’t have to worry.
I elbowed Agent Rock rather hard in the ribs, and firmly resisted the temptation to shove him face-first into a nearby banana cream pie.
At this point, a severely annoyed and vaguely frantic Mr. Joker interrupted this idyllic scene through Nancy’s transmitter and suggested that we go stop the launch. He added with a weary sigh that Yomiko ought to be able to figure it out, since Mr. Bone was apparently so utterly incapable of any originality whatsoever.
And off we went, leaving Drake and Agent Rock to watch Mr. Bone.
I suspect, however, that Drake was left to do all the work while Agent Rock merely helped himself to the various desserts scattered about the Dome of Eternal Pastry.
At this point, it occurs to me that I am very sleepy indeed, and in addition to this, Agent Rock is threatening to hurl me out the window if I don’t turn off the desk lamp and go to sleep decently. Poor boy must have made himself ill on all the baking he consumed.
Honestly! No restraint, and he has to use Drake’s second-hand threats instead of thinking up original ones! A creature like him deserves only pity, so I shall stop hating him no matter how many snide remarks he makes.
While on the subject of things I shall stop doing, I believe I shall stop writing for tonight, as I am uncomfortably certain that the fairies of coherency have not been with me for about the last page and a half.
I’m sure it won’t be a hardship to wait until tomorrow to hear the rest of the story, diary dear. Partly since you already know how it ends, given that we are all here. More, however, since you are inanimate, and thus cannot feel impatience.
Yes, poor sleepy little Wendy has figured out all by herself that her diary is not alive.
And with this great achievement, she is going to sleep, where she will hopefully overcome the urge to refer to herself in the third person.
Your faithful servant,