CHAPTER 15 - SCOTT
“Are any of you bros getting cell service or Wi-Fi?” asked Chad. He held his phone out as far as his arm could reach and moved it from point to point around him, searching for a signal.
“Until this whole multiverse thing has solved itself then you won’t get signals of any kind. And if you try to leave the beach you won’t be able to either. You’ll just appear right back on the beach. Or at least that’s how it was last time,” I said.
“Do you guys think that this thing is gonna be squared away before that Lil’ Troy concert?” asked Thad. Everyone gave him a “are you seriously worried about that” look. “What? I’m really looking forward to it.”
We all took a seat in the living room. Most eyes turned to Davey and I, waiting for us to take the lead. I didn’t know what to do. This was the most people I had conversed with at once in, I dunno, months, years maybe? Probably we needed a plan. But what if I contributed some part of the plan and then that part got people killed or something? Most of my planning involved hiding away until everyone forgot about you then going about your business with your head down. I mean, Michael Bay made all the plans and decisions on the Transformers movies and look where that got them. Some people just weren’t born to be planners.
“So what do we do?” asked Sarah.
“We should talk to Crummond-” said Davey, but I cut her off.
“No.” Whatever we did we would do it without that douchebag in the sweater’s help. My friends were dead, and he had created the situation that had lead to them being that way. Katniss Everdeen wouldn’t ask President Snow for help getting out of the Hunger Games, they were his fucking games. Here’s an example of how that conversation would go:
KATNISS: Hey President Snow can you give me some tips on how to not just win the Hungers but also overthrow your entire political machine?
SNOW: Wut? No. But I will tell u sum stuff that further makes you my pawn. LOLZ.
We could do this by ourselves. At least I hope we could.
“And how are we supposed to do that? We don’t even know where to start,” said Davey.
Everyone’s eyes moved to me.
“First, we get some weapons. Then you and I do some multiverse traveling to stop the Crummonds in the pillar universes while everyone else fortifies things in case the collapse gets worse, which it probably will.”
Everyone’s eyes moved to Davey.
“Okay. And how are you and I supposed to figure out how to get there?”
All eyes moved back to me.
“Uh, we just concentrate real hard. If we’re as powerful as we’re supposed to be then everything should work out.”
All eyes moved back to Davey.
“Fine, but if this doesn’t work we try and find Crummond.”
All eyes moved back to me.
“Probably it won’t even matter because this will work and we won’t have to worry about that.” I didn’t even sound confident and I still sounded more confident than I felt.
Everyone split up to scour the house for weapons. The house wasn’t huge, so it didn’t take long. We re-convened in the living room and laid out weapons out on the coffee table. The haul wasn’t great, but there were some workable items.
Thad brought in a butcher’s knife from the kitchen. Sarah found an aluminum baseball bat from one of the back closets. Davey grabbed a tire iron from the garage. Chad found one of those expensive replica swords people buy at Renaissance fairs in the study, complete with sheath and belt and everything. I came up empty handed. It was hard to find stuff that could work. Everyone else took all the good looking places. I thought about grabbing a frying pan or something, but bringing something shitty seemed even more lame than coming up with nothing.
We all waiting for Lenny to place his findings on the table, but he held them behind his back, a sly smile across his face.
“I believe that Lenny has trumped you all,” he said.
Davey rolled her eyes. “Stop talking in the third person and just show us what you found,” she said.
“Very, well,” said Lenny, his speech still a little slurred from the wine coolers. “May I present to you…” He brought his hands around in front of him, the black metal object resting in his palms. “...a gun.”
I sighed. “Lenny, that’s a stapler.”
“Yeah, like a classic Sharpline,” added Davey.
He felt the item again, holding it close to his face. “Oh. Oh. Yeah. Okay. I thought it was a gun, and then I picked it up and it was metal so I just thought…but if there is a universe with really disorganized filing or lots of loose paper this would still be helpful.”
“Sure, you could,” I said, as positively as I could muster.
“Dude, you should get new glasses, or lasik, or robots eyes or something,” said Chad.
“I’m taking the sword,” I announced. I picked it up. It was very heavy. “You know what, I think I’m more of an aigle-type fighter. I’ll go with the butcher knife.” The weight felt good as I shifted it back and forth from hand to hand. The blade was just the right size to slide into my back pocket.
“Don’t cut yourself,” said Davey. She grabbed the tire iron and shoved it down the side of her shorts. “Okay, we’re armed. Now what?”
“Now, we do that thing that we do,” I said. I held my hands out palms up. “We just have to be in-sync.”
Her hands were sticky with dried Creatur as she placed them on top of mine.
“Wonder twin powers - activate!” I said, unable to resist.
“Goddamnit Scott. Can we please just do this?” she asked through gritted teeth.
“Sorry. Let’s just think positive thoughts.”
“Positive thoughts,” she said.
“Positive thoughts,” we said at the same time.
Our eyes closed. We repeated the phrase over and over until a new sound stopped us.
The sound of an ice cream truck. But the song this truck was playing was “Wanna Be a Baller” by Lil’ Troy. We opened our eyes and our pupils were immediately overloaded with every bright rainbow color imaginable. The air smelled sweet, like sugar had been added to the normal mix of elements in the air.
“What in the fuck is this?” asked Davey.
As my eyes adjusted to the color, I was able to take in my surrounding more. Davey and I were alone in the house. Or this dimension’s version of the house. The couches and chairs were made of giant marshmallows. The alcohol bottles on the table were now giant gummy soda bottles.
“I think we’re in a gingerbread house,” I said.
Davey walked over to the fluffly brown wall, grabbed a chunk out of it, and took a bite.
“Don’t eat it!”
“What? Why? It’s actually damn good gingerbread,” she said through a full mouth.
“It could be poison! How do we know that the beings on this don’t have an evolutionary mechanism where they create delicious but deadly treats to lure prey?”
Davey took another bite. “Stop being such a pussy.” She dumped the rest of her gingerbread handful on the ground. “Where is that song coming from?”
We walked out to the deck and ducked below the railing. Carefully we peaked out over the beach.
Teddy bears. Tons of them. All over the beach. The sky was filled with rainbows. Everything was made of candy. Teddy bears in Hawaiian shirts rode bikes with lollipop wheels. Some teddy bears dressed as sailors played volleyball with a large gumball. The ocean was chocolate. The sand appeared to be the dust of Pixie Stix. The universe looked like a Build-a-Bear WOrkshop fucked Willy Wonka’s candy factory.
The music in question came from a group of teddy bears dressed in marching band clothes playing adorable little instruments made of candy. The stood next a stage made of graham crackers.
“Awwwww, this universe is adorable,” said Davey. “I think we may have overdone it on the positive thoughts.”
“I don’t trust it.”
“What’s not to trust? These bears are harmless.”
“Then why aren’t they wearing pants?” None of them were. Just shirts. Some of the lady bears wore dresses, so that was normal. But the rest? No pants.
“Most teddy bears don’t have pants.”
“Then why do they sell pants at Build-a-Bear?”
“Come on, Scott, let’s try to get back to our universe.”
The music stopped and some of the bears began to chant in exactly the soft, cute, sleepy voice you would expect.
“Hooray Crummond! Hooray Crummond!”
“See? There is one here!” I said. “Let’s get closer.”
We snuck off the deck and kept low until we were right behind the stage. A teddy bear wearing a sweater with a white collared shirt underneath and glasses was making his way on stage.
“That’s him! The Crummond Bear!” Suck on that, Davey. We could do this without Crummond’s help. “This is our chance! He’s probably about to deliver a Hitler Bear speech to his minions.”
“This place seems pretty peaceful. Let’s go talk to one of our Crummonds and if this is a bad one we can come back.”
“We don’t need him. What if we come back here and we missed our shot? We can’t risk that. Plus the sooner we take care of this thing, the sooner I can go back to hiding from its existence” I pulled the butcher knife out of my back pocket. “If you won’t do something, I will.”
I stood and ran for the stage. Davey called out after me, but she was too late. Crummond Bear was just about to begin his speech when I rushed up behind him.
“COLLAPSE THIS, MOTHERFUCKER!” I cried and buried the blade deep in the back of his oversized head. He went to his knees and then the ground. The crowd let out an adorable gasp, but I wasn’t finished. I grabbed the handle of the blade and brought it down again and again. Blue goo oozed out of his fluffy head and onto the graham cracker deck. Some of sprayed on me as I chopped down again and again. A quick taste of it revealed it was the delicious filling inside a Gusher. Blueberry, I think.
“Scott,” said Davey now on the stage behind me, but I barely heard her, I was too busy making sure Crummond Bear was as dead as possible. “Scott. Stop. Scott. The banner behind you.”
Something in her tone of voice made me hesitate. The bears all stood in stunned silence from watching their Crummond Bear die and seeing two interdimensional beings. Banner. Davey mentioned something about the banner behind me. I turned my head and sure enough, there it was. A giant airhead hung between two cinnamon sticks. WORLD PEACE PRIZE - DR. CRUMMOND was written across it. I looked back down and the mutilated corpse of Crummond Bear.
“Oh. Oh no. No no no no no. Oh god.”
A lady teddy bear in a sundress held a little crying baby teddy bear. “Why he do that, mama?” said the baby bear.
She was on the verge of tears herself. “Because he is a monster! A horrible monster!”
Even her calling me a name was adorable.
I dropped the butcher’s knife and slowly backed away.
“I was wrong,” I said to Davey as I grabbed her hand. “Probably we should go back. Hurry before they take action.”
We closed our eyes and said “positive thoughts” over and over again. When we reopened our eyes we were back on what seemed to be our universe’s South Padre Island. The taste of blue Gusher filling lingered in my mouth.
“You ready to go see Crummond now?” asked Davey?