Sunshine Biscuit

O brother, where art thou?

. The sun rises that sweet sweet morning in Horror Lake as Shelby walks to the stool she had placed in front of her pink curtained window. With her acoustic guitar in her hand, she sits dow and, with her eyes closed, starts to play, simple and sweet melody.

Classical Gas she plays on her guitar, her natural talent for music and the keen sense of her ears comes out in her daft fingers. Eyes closed, concentrating on the notes she plays, she continued to meld as one with the music. As she slowly comes to the end of her song, Francis ”Speedy ” Kadawasky slides through her door.

SPEEDY: Shelby! Shelby! Ya gotta come quick! Dads doing the ”Daring do-gooders speech in the front yard again! its just a matter of time before he attacks the lawn chairs again!

JULES: (in the distance) Instead of ruling the world, I rule over cheap plastic swedish patio-furniture!!

SPEEDY: Oh my god we
e gonna miss it!!

Speedy runs headfirst down the stairs. Shelby just slumps in her stool, her guitar to her side, and groans.

Outside, Julian bellows at the top of his lungs as he wrestles a lawn chair above his head. In the doorway, Speedy stares with a huge smile on his face while his mother stares with her arms crossed in her bathrobe. Shelby marches past them, her bookbag on with an angry determined look on her face.

SPEEDY: Hey, Shelby, where ya going?

SHELBY: Im waiting for Greg to pick us up. (she stands on the curb with her arms crossed and her lips pursed. Speedy walks up behind her.)

SHERRY: Ya good Jules? Did ya get it out of your system finally? Did ya make a good scene for the neighbors?

JULES: (he sighs as the lawnchair falls to the ground.) Yeah, I think Im good now. ( he walks back inside the house.)

SPEEDY: Hey, Shelby, are you okay?

SHELBY: Peachy.

SPEEDY: Oh come on Shelb, ya can fool me like that. Whats the bug up your bum?

SHELBY: (she sighs and turns to Speedy) Francis, did you ever wonder what life would be like if we lived a normal life?

SPEEDY: What do you mean? We do have a normal life. We have tv, the internet, I take the thingamajig every tuesday.

SHELBY: the French tutor.

SPEEDY: Yeah, that thing!

SHELBY: Speedy, thats not what makes a normal family.

SPEEDY: Then what makes a normal family?

SHELBY: for one, not having a dad who fights chairs because he couldn conquer the world.

SPEEDY: Well, if thats what qualifies for normal, count me out!

Gregs van finally pulls up and shaking her head, she heads inside.

They drive for a time in silence, Greg obviously feeling uncomfortable.

GREG: Is everything alright?

SPEEDY: Shelbys upset that we didn have a
ormal family.

SHELBY: But we aren normal Speedy. Did you ever wonder what life would be like if we didn live in horror lake, and the worst thing that could happen was figuring out who to ask out at the Sadie Hawkins dance.

SPEEDY: what? You want to go to a prom or something?

SHELBY: Yes!! Wouldn it be nice if we didn have to worry about Ed McMahon rising from the dead again, trying to get revenge on us?

GREG: Well, if I remember correctly, most of that stuff was due to us putting our noses into situations because a certain someone thought it was the right thing to do.

SHELBY: (flustered) thats only because we have the ability of stopping them. Greg, have you ever wondered what life would be like if we were just like normal kids?

GREG: Not really. I don honestly know what normal genuinely is in the first place so why bother wondering.

SPEEDY: I think we have a perfectly normal family, I don know what you
e complaining about.

SHELBY: Speedy, mom and dad tried to take over the world on several occasions.

SPEEDY: so? I know a lot of kids whose parents once did dubious things. Did you know Sarah Lauries dad used to be a biker?

SHELBY: Speedy!! Our grandfather is a dinosaur!!

SPEEDY: Grandpa is not a dinosaur, hes a megasaurus!!

SHELBY: He can fit in the house when he visits, he needs to sleep in the damn lake! Grandmas gotta fly all the way up to the vale to catch a good nights sleep and you know the stories of poachers trying to bag themselves a 100 foot butterfly!

SPEEDY: Is it because mom was adopted? Is that what you have a problem with?

Shelby facepalms and grumbles.

GREG: Shelb, I think you
e overblowing this
ormal shtick. I don think anyones ever has a genuinely normal life. I mean, my parents are superheroes for god sakes.

SHELBY: Its still a step up from what we got.

GREG: Well, if any one of us has what we would call ”a normal life ”, its probably Baxter.

SHELBY: (guffaws) you mean the kid who has more brothers than a harlem hooker, one brother whos basically the evilest thing to ever walk this entire town, another whos on his way to becoming some CEO psychopath with a trunkfull of dead prostitutes, another brother who looks like some homuculus abomination. The guy whos stepfather once was the cuban mafias assassinLucha Libre and whos mother once did, lets just say, questionable things in her past? He has the most normal family?

GREG: Yeah, that one. Heres the deal Shelb, you
e picking from a bundle of really really short straws.

They show up at Baxter and Marias place, where Baxter has his twin brother S.U.S in a Boston crab while Maria smacks him with her broom. Besides them, also wearing a backpack is a young boy who looks as if Quasimodo had been beaten by an ugly stick. His hump arching up in a ghastly angle while a wild mop of shaggy blond hair hides his hideously disfigured face.

BAXTER: Say it! Say Im your daddy and you poop your pants! Say it Penis-breath!!

S.U.S: you little snot nosed dog diddler! When I get out of (smacked by marias broom) Ow! Quit it you little donkey dick!

MARIA: Next time you do it again Ill turn you into a donkey dick!! (smacks S.U.S with her broom again)

GREG: (looking at the spectacle he was witnessing, he turned to the monster boy) hey Bubba.

BUBBA: Hey Greg, everything been going well with you?

GREG: Pretty nifty honestly. (looks at the situation) so, what happened?

BUBBA: Oh, S.U.S was caught trying to look up Marias dress again and Baxter decided to teach him a lesson.

GREG: eh, thats typical. Hey, did ya wanna lift up to the 9th grade center? Its not far from the main school.

BUBBA: Boy, do I ever! Itll be fantastic not to have to wear the burlap sack over my head again.

Inside the car, the seating arrangement was roughly identical to the previous day. S.U.S in the back with a sour face, Bubba sitting next to him, Baxter, Maria and Speedy in the middle row and Shelby in the passenger seat.

S.U.S: I don get why you were so mad. Baxter looks up your dress all the time and you don smack him with a damn broom.

BAXTER: cause when I do it, its in a light hearted comical fashion. (Maria smacks Baxter with a broom) Ow! What was that for!

MARIA: Just because I don smack you all the time doesn mean I like it! (turns to S.U.S) And you! You
e not just a pervert, but you
e also an evil psychopathic pervert!

S.U.S: (waving his hands) oh, here we are, putting labels on people. Hes evil, hes a sociopath, hes a sexual deviant, hes a basterd, well, technically the last one counts but still.

SPEEDY: Ha! You were conceived on a porn set.

BAXTER: So was I, you birdbrain dumbass! (Baxter turns back to S.U.S in the backseat.) every one of those descriptors are accurate and honest for a lowlife like you.

S.U.S: Oh look at mr. honorable boy over here, never done a naughty thing in his entire life. You ain some squeaky clean saint either ya little beta-bitch.

BAXTER: oh here comes his internet lingo he heard from some bald guy in sunglasses and cargo shorts. Ya feel super alpha getting self help advice from a divorcee whos also 50 grand in debt?

S.U.S: Better that then some little toady git like you.

BAXTER: (to greg) greg, can we just roll him in a carpet and throw him off a bridge again?

GREG: last time I let you guys do that we all got in trouble, remember?

BAXTER: That was when we were twelve. Things have changed since then.

SHELBY: (turns around to loom at the two brothers) Baxter, S.U.S, has it ever occurred to you two that you could, ya know, not try to hate and kill each other all the time?.

S.U.S: what?

BAXTER: Are you high?

S.U.S: what kind of voodoo speech is this?

SHELBY: I don know, did it ever occur to you guys to ever be, like, a normal family.

BAXTER: (leans towards her in the back seat.) My older brother tried to sacrifice me to his eldergod father when I was 7. Normal, to me, is as foreign as being the pope or a martian.

S.U.S: see? Always whining and complaining, always being negative and never focusing on the future before him. (to bubba) ya see that? that is a loser bubba. Be a winner like me, (points to himself) Shark, (points to Baxter) guppy. Listen to your older brother and Ill get you a high level life.

BUBBA: you tried to sell me to a mexican cartel S.U.S

SHELBY: (sighs and looks at maria) guess you have the most normal life among us Maria.

Maria starts cackling maniacally at the mention of that.

Greg goes in front of the 9th grade center to drop off Bubba.

GREG: Have a good day there lil bro.

BUBBA: I hope so, usually im chased with sticks and rocks for the first hour of the day.

GREG: well…um….yeah… at least its better than normal than!

Shelby looks at the poor miserable soul as they drive off.

SHELBY: If he doesn grow up to be some sort of sewer dwelling serial killer, we all lucked out.

The gang make it to school, the building now being rebuilt with funding from the big Dobsey inc. center on the outskirts of town. What was in exchange for their cooperation? Not many knew. Shelby hurried forward just as she did the other day so she wouldn be embarrassed by them again.

SPEEDY: Hey! Shelby! Car etiquette, car etiquette. (he hurriedly walks up to Shelby) Im starting to think you
e embarrassed with us.

SHELBY: I don want to be but…. (she waves behind them. Speedy turns to see S.U.S once again in a Boston crab by Baxter while Maria smacks him upside the head with her broom.) Can you guys just try for once not to make a scene all the time?

SPEEDY: (looking hurt) its not like we
e trying to.

SHELBY: (groans and feels guilty.) I know…I didn mean anything by it. I was just, I don know…..I need to think Speedy. (she turns and leaves.)

As Shelby walks up to the front doors of the high school, an average girl with average length brown hair accidentally drops her books and papers on the ground in an average manner. Shelby trots over to help her gather her papers and books up for her.

JANE: Oh, thank you, thank you so much. Sometimes I just end up being way too clumsy.

SHELBY: oh, its fine, everyone gets that way once in a while. (she notices one of her papers.) oh, you have Mrs.Jackson Eastern philosophies class for the first period?

JANE: Yeah, It was an extra curricular for my SATs and its an easy subject that I liked. Why?

SHELBY: Its my first class too. Surprised I didn see you there.

JANE: Oh, I just moved here not that long ago from Greenville. Dad had to transfer to the cracker factory here. (she looks at the half destroyed school) do you know what happened to the school?

SHELBY: nope!

JANE: (she smiles and nods) Im Jane. Jane Smith.

SHELBY: Shelby Kadawasky.

JANE: Kadawasky, are you the sister to Francis?

SHELBY: (nervous laughter) yeah, why?

JANE: Hes a pretty interesting character. Must be interesting having such a guy as your brother. ( she looks behind Shelby and her face contorts to one one of bewildered confusion) Are there two blond guys fighting each other in the parking lot with glow sticks?

S.U.S: (in the distance) your mother is a whore!

BAXTER: (in the distance) we have the same mother.

SHELBY: Im positive you
e mistaken. Oh no! (she looks at her wrist) oh! Look at my wrists, its time to head to class. (nervous laughter) come on!

Later that day, at lunch period Speedy and Maria sit at their typical table near the back fence under the big oak tree as they always did, as far away from everyone else as possible. Maria opens up her little sailor moon lunch box, pulling out her assortment of side dishes without a main entre while speedy starts pulling everything from his bag onto a sandwich, which consisted of potato chips, a chocolate bar, and various other food items.

MARIA: Still wonder how you can stuff all that down your gullet sometimes.

SPEEDY: Sometimes I wonder too.

Greg and Baxter show up, Greg with a plate of food and Baxter, with his typical absolutely nothing. Baxter shows one hell of a black welt on his left eye.

GREG: My dad always told me Bax, a duel between two mortal nemeses should always be one on one. My hands were tied, I couldn help.

BAXTER: (sitting down with his hands behind his head, a grumpy look on his face) next time you need any help with anything, don come crawling to me for shits and giggles.

SPEEDY: Everyone loses sometimes Bax, you couldn know he was gonna slug you.

Baxter just starts mumbling to himself while the four of them start chowing down. While spooning some spaghetti, Greg looks around confused.

GREG: Wheres Shelby at? She should be here by now?

BAXTER: Probably annoying people about some junk no one cares about like the environment or corruption in politics.

Shelby Kadawasky gets her servings of spaghetti and assortment of veggies and a dessert and proceeds to start walking over to the shaded tree when she suddenly hears her name.

JANE: Hey, Shelby! (shelby turns and sees Jane at a table with four others, waving at her to come over. She looks at this new assortment of fellow students and smiles to herself while walking over) Come here! I want to introduce you to a couple of my friends.

SHELBY: Sure, Id love to. (She takes a seat at the end of the table.)

JANE: Thats great! This is Rachel…

A pretty black girl in glasses and pigtails.

RACHEL: wonderful to meet you!

JANE:…her brother Ryan.

A handsome black man with short cropped hair in a green overshirt.

RYAN: Pleased to make your acquaintance.


A heavyset academic type with fine combed black hair.

ADRIAN: I believe weve met before but sadly, I can put my finger on it.

JANE:…. And this is Ash.

A strikingly handsome man with jet black hair in a white button up shirt. At the sight of his perfectly white smile, Shelby felt her heart skip a beat for a second and felt a goofy smile come across her face.

ASH: Why hi, its a pleasure to meet you.

Shelby blushes and tries to control her smile.

SHELBY: Trust me, the pleasures are all mine.

ADRIAN: (snaps his fingers) now I remember! You won honors every year in middle school and the 9th grade! If you looked closely I would have been about the second or third below you. (he chuckles) I must admit, I probably don have your same level of dedication or wit. Alas, the arts doth make my mind wander at times.

ASH: (light chuckle) thats probably my bad influence. Being the head of the drama club, I think I gave him his first intoxicating tastes of Samuel Beckett and Tennesee Williams.

ADRIAN: ever since, the beauty of the written word voiced by a beautiful voice has been my vice.

RYAN: Sometimes I wish we had the same level of dedication on the basketball team that you have in academics, Shelby. This season Im hoping we can finally beat them Greenville Devilcats. (he catches himself) oh, no offense of course Jane.

JANE: Oh, none taken.

RACHEL: (to Shelby) we were all just talking about our summer vacations. Ryan and I went down to Florida with the family and, silly us, ended up helping out at a wildlife preserve for endangered birds.

ADRIAN: Sadly I did not get to endeavor in any humanitarian actions, simply went to venice to see one of the birthplaces of modern music.

RYAN: Shelby, what did you do on your summer vacation?

Shelby has the distinct memory of her summer vacation: running across a field of corruption and rot in an alternate reality with the gang as an assortment of knife wielder maniacs chased them down.


Back at the gangs table. Emily shows up in hooker boots, booty shorts and a foo fighters shirt, not the best attire for climbing over a 6 foot fence.

GREG: need help Emi?

EMILY: nope….I got this… just a little* waah! (she swings over and lands on her back. She springs back to her feet, wiping herself off of dirt and sticks.) its easier to get out rather than getting in, Ive realized.

GREG: You don think you
e gonna get in trouble for sneaking on school grounds?

EMILY: What are they gonna do? Expel me? (she pulls out a cigarette and is about to light it till she grips Baxters face and looks at his eye) whoa blondie, whered you get that shiner?

BAXTER: S.U.S, the prick.

EMILY: ugh, should have kicked him in his dick.

BAXTER: doesn help if you don have one.

Thats when, coming out from around the corner and cover of the shady trees a medium sized beagle wagging his tail.

ARFIE: Bark bark bark.

Two heads pop out from behind the big oak tree.

FARMERS SON: Whos that daddy?

FARMER: Why, that there be Arfie, the magic dog! He travels around the world, helping people with his magic powers.

MARIA: Arfie! (she walks up to the little happy beagle and starts petting him.) Ive been looking all over for you.

EMILY: Hes still here? I thought hed disappear after being summoned, like in the video games or something.

MARIA: no, don trust everything you see in video games. Hes an ancient power from times unknown, he has a will of his own and it seems hes here to stay.

SPEEDY: Thats great! I always wanted a dog.

EMILY: Hey, lets all go and pet the dog!

SPEEDY: Thats a fantastic idea.

And so all five of them stand under the oak tree petting the dog, waggings his tail and smiling.

SPEEDY: oooh, Shelbys missing out on his once in a lifetime moment.

EMILY: Yeah, I noticed the pantsuit was missing. Where is she?

GREG: thats a super good question….. (he scans the eating area until he spots her with Jane and her friends.) oh, there she is!

BAXTER: (a sneer on his face.) oh, look at little miss too good to hang out with us, acting like we
e gonna end up giving her some sort of disease or something.

SPEEDY: she was kinda complaining about being normal and stuff today. Do you think she found some normal people or something?

BAXTER: Theres no such thing as normal. Underneath every normal person beats the heart of a perverted weirdo.

GREG: Oh come on guys, Shelbys a little younger than us, she might just want to meet people more in her age bracket, thats all. Stop being so jealous and let her make some friends with interests and stuff similar to her, no need to go and make a commotion over it. (Maria, Baxter and Emily perk up when he mentions commotion. Greg notices.) oh come on guys, don do anything to embarrass her. (Maria, Baxter and Emily all grow mischievous smiles.) oh please. Shes just met some new friends outside the group, lets not ruin it for her. Hell, shell probably introduce us to them later. (Maria, Baxter and Emily turn around in sync and start walking up to the table Shelby is sitting at.) oh jeez guys come on please! (Arfie follows the guys) I just need to keep my mouth shut. (Speedy and Greg follow suit.)

ADRIAN: Ive never heard anyone compare William S. Burroughs with Arthur Miller in such eloquence and insight as you just did Ash.

ASH: Well, guilty as charged I guess.

RACHEL: Though you do make good insight, I still personally find Burroughs work more style over substance. Arthur Miller, due to his depth and mastery of his craft, can be enjoyed on multiple levels than just the surface level styling. Oh! (she looks at Jane) Jane, are you still going to come over to the bluebooded hound club tonight? Mom and dad are playing and I know theyll be disappointed if you don show up, especially after the other day.

JANE: (to Shelby) I explained to them how the lives of John Steinbeck and famous zoologist Carl Linnaeus led surprisingly similar lives.

RYAN: Hey, Shelby, would you like to come with her? I know its short notice and all but you
e a really charming lady and I think my parents would get one heck of a kick out of you coming to watch them play.

SHELBY: the blueblood hound club? The jazz club downtown?

RYAN: The very same.

SHELBY: I…I never got to visit honestly. Id love to!

ASH: sadly we won be able to join. Adrian and I have to do a cram session for our ancient grecian politics debate on monday and, sadly, we don have that many books on the subject here.

SHELBY: (beaming) yeah! Its been a long time since I had such insightful and stimulating conversations like this, especially on music and such.

RYAN: (looking a little perplexed.) you don have conversations like this at home?

SHELBY: (the memory of her dad assaulting the lawn chairs comes back to her) I mean, uh, sometimes, ya know, I mean, we have conversation of course but they tend to not meet this level of, (remembers her conversation with Speedy about how Ronald Mcdonald wasn a real person, three weeks ago.) intellectual quality.

RACHEL: Well, wed still love you to join us either way. (she looks up beyond Shelby and her smile turns to a perplexed furrow.)

Shelby turns around to see exactly what she was terrified of seeing: Baxter, Maria and Emily walking over to their table. She whips her head back around with a horrified grimace on her face, her fingers biting into the wood of the table.

BAXTER: Well well well, look what we have here? (Shelbys nails scratch across the wood.) little miss prissy pants suddenly deciding shes way too good to hang out with little old us, huh?

ASH: Shelby, are these friends of yours? (Greg and Speedy show up behind the three with the dog.)

SHELBY: (with a pained face trying desperately to look completely fine.) ye-ye-yeah! Yeah, friends, kinda, sorta, (she turns to them, hunched and glaring up at them, throwing a mental message to each ones brain that should have made them mentally deaf) *DONT YOU FUCKING EMBARRESS ME, YOU CRETINS!!* (she whips back with a precious smile at her new friends.)

GREG: Hey guys, sorry about interrupting your get-together. We were just wondering where Shelby was and, low and behold, shes found some nifty friends! haHA! We
e gonna go back and leave you guys to just hang out and talk about…. Nerd stuff or whatever.

RACHEL: (looking at Emily smoking) I highly doubt you
e allowed to smoke here. (Emily simply stares with a smile and sticks her tongue out, showing the skull shaped tongue piercing.)

RYAN: I also don think dogs are allowed on school property either.

MARIA: (her arm around Arfie.) hes not just any kind of dog, hes a magic dog.

SHELBY: Shes kidding, just kidding! Shes into cosplay and role playing and stuff like that.

ASH: Oh, who are you cosplaying as?

MARIA: (smiling) Your mom.

BAXTER: (stepping his foot on the bench, he glares down at Adrian.) you
e weird looking.

ADRIAN: Pardon me?

BAXTER: Whats your name?

ADRIAN: Well, Its Adrian Colmstock.

BAXTER: nope, your name from now on is Pempleton Whimpleboard. Thats how you look.

RYAN: (at Greg) hey, I know you, you
e the captain of the baseball team, aren you?

GREG: Well, last year, yeah. (revelation) Oh! Ryan Chambers, I remember now! Sorry, my mind was a little flustered. How have ya been man?

RYAN: Doing pretty good. That last game you were in was a killer, until those bees suddenly swarmed the diamond of course.

GREG: yup. (giving a leveled look at Baxter and Maria, who were snickering at each other.) shocking how the bees got there. Right at the moment to ruin the game. Either way, well just head on back to our table and leave you guys alone just to hunker down and enjoy each other.

ASH: nonsense. You guys haven even introduced yourselves to us. Shelbys certainly a charming, wonderful lady, and Im positive well think the same with her friends.

SHELBY: (nervous forced laughter) Well, Ryan knows Greg, Greg Schmidt.

e the son of Hugo and Olga Schmidt? Super Ultra Gamma Man and the Boastful Baroness right?

GREG: (smiles lamentably) yup, and Ill never be able to forget it.

SHELBY: This is my brother Francis.

ADRIAN: So another intellectual equal I assume, (to Speedy) What is your personal opinion on Burroughs writing style?

SPEEDY: Burrito whozits? Are you coming on to me or something?

SHELBY: (Forcing a smile) this is Maria, she is a little eccentric. This is Baxter.

BAXTER: (Looking between Jane and Rachel) B cup (pointing at jane) and C cup (pointing at Rachel)

SHELBY: AAAAAANNNNDDDD!!! This is our, um, uh, (looking with wide goggling eyes at Emily.) our tutor! Our tutor Emily.

RYAN: oh, what subject do you tutor?

EMILY: Ever snorted a line of coke off a hookers ass?

SHELBY: THERE!! there, haha! You
e all introduced! And I think (turning to them with gritted teeth and a furious face) they are gonna be going now!

GREG: I think that is an absolutely great idea! Come on guys, time to get going, lets get this party*

S.U.S: Hey ya pricks!!

GREG: Ah, nuts.

S.U.S. stands with his hands in his pockets, also with a black eye, his once perfectly combed-back hair disheveled, with his gang of school bullies. The wolf pack, consisting of Gunk, the captain of the weightlifting team who was only 17 and already completely bald with a beard. Pepper-jack, a hispanic greaser with leather jacket and pompadour. XAG8, the hip hop rapping gangster who would pose at any given moment. In the back, shaking his head, was groovy Dan.

S.U.S: Don think I forgot about what you did to my beautiful patrician face. With such a sign of weakness you threaten my position in the hierarchy ya little punks and Im here to save **ing face! (XAG8 starts beat-boxing) not now XAG8!

BAXTER: Oh look, if it isn jeffrey dahmer and his latchkey kids. Whatcha gonna do, recite redpill advice to me to death or something?

S.U.S: how about I beat you upside the head until you start to love me? (he looks over at Emily) whats the harlot doing here? Tryin ta one-up a top dog on his proving grounds boys?

EMILY: Oh bite me S.U.S, the only thing your topdog of is gaudy style.

SHELBY: (her hands covering her head) Oh good god!

RACHEL: What does S.U.S stand for?

EMILY: It stands for super ultra sexy.

RACHEL: (rolls eyes) thats a pretty pathetic nickname

EMILY: Thats not his nickname, thats what his mom actually named him.

S.U.S: Hey! At least I wasn named after a goddamn cat!

BAXTER: I was not named after the goddamn cat!! (he pulls out his energy blade.)

S.U.S: When Im done with you, youll be wishing you were that stupid cat! (he pulls out his own energy blade in reaction. At that action his gang, the wolf pack, all pull out their own plethora of various weaponry: Gunk shoves his hands inside the twin toasters on his belt as gauntlets, Pepper jack pulls out duel swiss army switchblades, XAG8 pulls out his kusagari made out of a mic and a spiked dog collar while Groovy dan pulls out his ever lengthening katana)

GREG: (noticing Shelbys embarrassment and trying to save the situation) hey S.U.S, lets not do this right now. Can we reconvene after lunch at some place and plan this out? Remember, I gave you the lift to school today and the other days, you don have another lift. (S.U.S eyes narrow into a glare at the gang)

GUNK: Gunk want **! (and without any hesitation, he punches down onto the nearest table, starting an entire little scene.)

Shelby sits on the curb of the school yard, her head resting in her left hand as she pulls strings of spaghetti off of her pants and out of her hair. Her face was in a sour glower at the situation she had been in. a shadow covers over her and she sees the fighter pilot jacket and auburn hair tied in a horse tail.

GREG: Mind if we sit and talk? (Shelby only answers with mumbles and grumbles but she does scooch over for Greg to take his seat.) I, personally, am really really really sorry about what happened during lunch shelby. Now, If you remember I was trying to defuse the situation and make sure no one was making everything worse than it was.

SHELBY: I know you did, Greg. Im not mad at you, Im mad at the damn other bozos.

GREG: Yeah, ya got me there. I still don know where that octopus came from.

SHELBY: Does it even matter?

GREG: Well, it just kinda came out of nowhere didn it? Octopuses don just up and appear

SHELBY: forget about the octopus! I was having fun, talking to people who can speak in words with more than two syllables, a really really cute boy. There was no talk of if a hotdog could beat a hamburger in a fight. We talked about poetry.

GREG: We talk about poetry

SHELBY: Dirty limericks isn poetry Greg. and now they all probably can think about me as being the weird girl who brought over a bunch of freaks who ended up starting what could essentially be boiled down to a gang battle in the middle of the school.

GREG: *sigh* Im sorry. I really did try to stop them. Speedy did too, you saw that.

SHELBY: He accidentally headbutted Adrian.

GREG: It was an accident.

SHELBY: Accident or not, he still hits like a wrecking ball. Adrian had to go to the hospital, and now Jane and Ash probably think Im just as nutters as you lot!

ASH: Hey, Shelby? (She turns around like a whip crack to see handsome Ash standing there, his shirt a little disheveled and having a welt on his forehead but otherwise perfectly fine.) Hey, we were really worried about you when you, you know, kind of stormed off like that.

SHELBY: (she springs up to her feet, dusting off her behind and trying her best to make herself presentable) im so so so sorry about my brother and his friends. They tend to get a bit, well, rambunctious.

ASH: Oh, its perfectly fine, it wasn the fault of any of your party, though your, um, lets just say older and more colorful friend said some choice words that upset Rachel a little bit.

SHELBY: Yeah, she has a habit of that honestly.

ASH: just try to not use any of that kind of dialogue tonight if thats alright.

SHELBY: tonight?

ASH: Yeah, at the blueblooded hound clud

SHELBY: (confused) you mean, I can still come? (Jane walks up behind Ash)

ASH: Of course you can still come. Ryan was quite visibly upset when you left, thinking that he must have angered you or something.

e really looking forward to you coming over tonight.

SHELBY: (visibly shocked) you
e not mad at Baxter guessing your cup size?

JANE: Well, not at you. Honestly its pretty impressive to make such an accurate assessment simply by sight.

SHELBY: I thought you guys would hate me or something, think I was a danger to society.

JANE: Of course not. Your friends are, well, colorful, but it wasn even them who started the fight or anything. It was the guy in the suit and his dog pack*

GREG: wolf pack.

JANE: Yeah, that thing. Also, since Adrian is in the emergency ward, Ash is gonna be coming with us.

ASH: Rachel said his parents wouldn mind two extra listeners as they played tonight. Oh, by the way, do you by chance play an instrument? once in a while the club owner allows us to have a jam session.

SHELBY: (beaming) Well, I do play the guitar.

ASH: Acoustic?

SHELBY: yeah!

ASH: Thats great! I play violin and Jane plays Clarinet. Did you bring it by chance?

SHELBY: no, its at home.

GREG: Well, I can whip you around and get it for you shelby.

SHELBY: (turning around with force in her voice) NO! No Greg, no. Its fine. Perfectly fine. I, right now, I, uh, I just want, ya know.

GREG: (a slow revelation and disappointment comes over him.) Oh! Oh, okay. I understand Shelb.

ASH: I can give you a lift Shelby. Just give me the directions and we can go to your place together.

SHELBY: (as giddy as a school girl, ironically) that sounds fantastic!! Id absolutely love to!

ASH: Thats great. Well, its best if we head out now before its any later right?

Shelby nods and follows Ash to his car, not even giving Greg a second look as she walks off with Jane and Ash side by side. Greg makes a solemn face, turns and walks back to where the rest of the gang was.

Greg drives in silence while Baxter lounges in the third row, Speedy continues to rub his head, and Maria sits with her arms crossed. Theres a disgruntled air among the gang.

MARIA: Well, Greg, you
e usually the one to break the air when everyones a bit grumpy, aren ya?

GREG: usually but even I end up getting in a grumpy mood at times Mar.

SPEEDY: Why are you mad? You barely got hit or anything. My head still hurts from hitting Pempletons head with my head.

MARIA: Well, you
e not the one in the hospital speedy, Pempleton is. (to Greg) should we send him a get well card or something?

BAXTER: doesn sound like a bad idea if you ask me. What was his last name again? WhumperBear or something?

GREG: Hey, guys, lets just drop it for a little bit and talk about something else okay? (they all silently agree.)

SPEEDY: Whod win in a fight: a waffle or a pancake?

MARIA: (sighs) Speedy…Obviously the waffle would beat the crap out of the pancake.

BAXTER: Hey now, don sell pancakes that short Mar. They tend to be pretty durable pastries.

SPEEDY: Pancakes aren pastries, they
e breakfast.

BAXTER: Pastries tend to be anything made with dough

MARIA: That doesn sound right Bax.

BAXTER: Im pretty sure thats how it works.

MARIA: Hold on, Im gonna google it.

Thats when a mysterious figure in a long black cape and buccaneer boots lands on the hood of the car, terrifying everyone inside the car and making them spin. The man on top of the car, slowly lowers something down from his head to the window: a yellowed human skull in a top hat with a feather in its cap.

CADAVEROUS: Bone-jour my little scallywags!

Greg stops the car in the middle of the street, going sideways, with the troublesome stowaway leaped into the air, spiraling in midair and landing upon his deft feet like a master class acrobat. Greg and the gang leap out of the van and behold an old enemy. A yellowed viscous looking skeleton stood with nothing more than his top hat, a belt which held his deft sword, velvet black cape and buccaneer boots.

GREG: wha? No way!? It…

CADAVEROUS: yes, it is I, Cadaverous B. Deville, the greatest thief to have ever lived. The human skeleton key, which no vault or tomb or cavernous cavern can hide its wondrous booty from. Only once in my three hundred year of plundering the plentiful patrician palaces of the pious patriarchs have I ever been thwarted, by you rapscallions. Suffice it to say you little laughable ludicrous lichen: I have a bone to pick with you.

GREG: (pointing at him) what do you want, Cadaverous? Haven you had enough from the last time you tried to steal the worlds comfiest chair from our museum?

CADAVEROUS: oh I don know if I have the guts to pilfer that precious parcel this night tibia honest, but I do think Ill have a spine tingling sensation to steal none other then the worlds largest geode snatched completely out of the laboratory of none other then the worlds greatest scientist: Dr. Barno Scuzzybum!

SPEEDY: The worlds largest geode!? That could be worth thousands!

CADAVEROUS: tens of thousands, my precocious philistinian fop.

GREG: You think we
e just going to let you come back into town and take one of our most treasured possessions, bonehead?

CADAVEROUS: oh, I was hoping not. Think of this as a gentlemans agreement, the honor among thieves if you will. After the deft defeat of my devious designs last time, Id say you got under my skin.

SPEEDY: We beat you once before boney jones. We can do it again.

CADAVEROUS: oh, you think so but this time I will not be alone. Behold my men-at-arms!

From the shadowy mists that had surprisingly surrounded our heroes, three new figures come to Cadaverous B. Devilles side.

CADAVEROUS: behold, Skullduggery!

A huge skeleton man, more ape than man, in an old leather harness walks forward, swinging his arms about.

SKULLDUGGERY: just a couple of good ol boys about to have ourselves a good ol time!


A skeleton in an aristocratic jacket and powdered whig walks forward holding a cup of tea on a saucer in his left hand.

KILLMORE: charmed, Im sure. (sips his tea.)

CADAVEROUS: and Bone-jangles!

A skeleton in elaborate and ancient robes and cowl comes floating out of the mists.

BONE-JANGLES: yes, yes, haHA ah, uh, um, I got nothing honestly.

CADAVEROUS: (fluttering his cape about with scene chewing flourish) with my mighty meeting of mischievous malcontents, I shall defeat you once and for all. (his minions slowly sink back into the mists.) you have been warned my little nemeses. Tonight we shall steal the worlds largest geode and, if you have any legs to stand on, you will be there at 8:00 pm. How humerus, is it not? It just tickles my funny bone. Till tonight little ones! (he backflips into the air, disappearing into the mists, which slowly lift as he departs.)

BAXTER: Ah crap.

GREG: You can say that again…

BAXTER: 8:00 is when pardon my zinger is on.

GREG: (turns to him) Just google it later.

BAXTER: Oh, its not the same. Its like one of the last good shows on TV anymore.

MARIA: Gracious st. Petes hosting.

GREG: Do you guys want the worlds largest geode to be stolen? (the gang stares at him in silence.) okay, do you want to lose to a bag of old bones and get called wieners? (the gang starts getting angry at that part) alright, good! Lets head to Scuzzybum labs. We need to warn him about whats going to go down and make a plan there.

SPEEDY: should we get Shelby? Sometimes when Dr.Scuzzybum is talking I taste pennies.

GREG: Not now, shes doing her own thing tonight. Lets leave her alone and do this on our own, okay?

SPEEDY: (looking a little hurt.) but, we always plan out our attacks together.

GREG: yeah but shes doing something, something that is really important to her. Come on guys, lets head to the labs. (he opens the driver seat door and starts to get in.)

MARIA: Let me and Speedy talk to her atleast, see what she thinks about the situation Greg. (Greg is about to object but Maria pulls out her broom from under her hat as well as takes the hat off.) Speedy, hop on in the hat. Just remember to hold onto the railings.

SPEEDY: (making a hissy fit while climbing into her hat.) Ooh, I really hate riding in here. It feels like the twilight zone or something. (Maria and Speedy then fly off to find Shelby.)

GREG: (sighs and shakes his head.) Come on bax, lets get going.

BAXTER: (gets in the passenger side seat.) If tonights Pardon my zinger is really good, Im gonna kick your ass.

GREG: (starting up the van) Id like to see you try.

Shelby Kadawasky smiles as she listens to the music played on stage, the glass of iced tea on the table dripping condensated water onto the napkin it rested on. The club was packed with various people ranging from the handful of patrons her age to 20-somethings and grown men and women listening to the music played on the stage. Around her sat Ash, Ryan, his sister Rachel, Jane and the ever handsome Ash next to her.

Up on stage with the band was Ryan and Rachels Parents, Richard and Rebecca Chambers. The father played the Sax while the mother with a chello. Shelby wondered if it was weird for their kids to want to hang out at their parents place of work but the thought evaporated quickly as she simply continued to enjoy the mood of the place. A place where good music was forged and serious topics discussed.

SHELBY: (turning to the siblings) we
e not gonna get in trouble coming in here right? Its technically a bar.

RYAN: its moreso a club then a bar. As long as the bartender doesn serve any kids itll be fine. Besides, my parents work here so the owner lets us come in when we want.

SHELBY: its just so strange, a place like this in the middle of Horror Lake. Id expect something nice like this only existing in one of the big cities.

RACHEL: place tends to get a lot of patrons. Sure, the typical Horror Lake resident probably enjoy racing their farm equipment more than classic jazz, but theres still plenty who enjoy coming and listening.

Shelby takes what she says at face value as she notices some familiar faces in rhe crowd: a middle aged black man talking to a young couple, the man in ripped jeans, bald head with earlobe piercing and a tattoo sleeve on his right arm. The lady stood with her arms crossed, long tumbles of neon purple hair and thin glasses on a face of loathsome contempt.

SHELBY: Hey guys, Ill be right back. See some people I know. (She stands up and walks over to the three of them) hi Mr.Smith! Hi Diesel, Chelsea.

DIESEL: (turns around in utter shock) HOLY SHIT! oh, sorry Shelb, thought you were a really big tarantula.

AARON: Hi Shelby, what are you doing here tonight?

SHELBY: Some friends asked me to come. Two of the performers are their parents.

AARON: Are you talking about Rebecca and Richard? (Shelby nods) Huh, they
e old friends of mine, help them out here when I got the spare time.

CHELSEA: Are you even allowed in here?

SHELBY: I was told I could. What are you guys doing here though? This place doesn really fit your guys image if you ask me.

CHELSEA: not that many places where you get to listen to good music around here, even if it is jazz.

DIESEL: I like Jazz.

SHELBY: You do?

DIESEL: oh, just because I look and dress like a skinhead doesn mean my views on music are superficial. I try my best to be cultured and somewhat sophisticated. (he turns to Chelsea) Babe, Im gonna go and get me some beers so I can get **ed up quicker. Jazz sounds better when Im **ed up.

Diesel walks up towards the bar as Chelsea simply groans in dismay and Aaron just watches with an impenetrable stare. The band slowly settles as the first set ends and the players on the stage take a break. The couple, Richard and Rebecca, slowly walk off stage towards their kids and their friends. Shining smiles and soft discussion could be seen and lightly heard among the crowd. Ryan points in mid conversation towards Shelby and Aaron, which catches the eyes of the parents. The two make their way towards the three as Diesel argues with the bartender about pouring all five beers into one big bucket for him.

REBECCA: why hello there Aaron, I didn hear that you were going to do a set tonight.

AARON: Im not. Just came in to relax and listen. Had a long day at the shop.

RICHARD: (turns to Shelby) you must be Shelby, the girl my kids were talking about. Its a pleasure to meet you, Shelby.

SHELBY: No, the pleasures all mine. I really liked the music you guys played.

REBECCA: why thank you Shelby! Learned it when I was younger, studying bluegrass in the appalachias under Blue-Teeth Gumbalaya.

SHELBY: (shocked) you studied under blue-teeth Gumbalaya?

Mr and Mrs. Chambers look at each other with surprise.

RICHARD: Why, I was a bit impressed before with you Shelby by what Ryan and Rachel told us but now, Im very surprised! Not many people know much about bluegrass, let alone the music of Blue-teeth Gumbalaya.

SHELBY: Well, to be honest, I play a little guitar myself and he was always one of my biggest influences in how I play.

RICHARD: (his eyes widen and turns to Aaron.) So this is the Shelby you were telling us about?

AARON: (smiling) shes my best student.

REBECCA: Well, I really do want to go ahead and try out a jam session with you now.

SHELBY: Oh, well, Im not that good yet.

REBECCA: Oh nonsense. From how Aaron describes you, you
e on your way to being the new indie darling. (she looks back at the stage as the other members of the band start gathering) we gotta go back now. Shelby, its wonderful to have met you. Hopefully you don become a stranger around here.

AARON: (to Shelby) Think Ill get myself a drink myself before Diesel binges all of it.

CHELSEA: Im gonna have to make sure he doesn get so drunk he starts chugging brass cleaner again. Shelby, good seeing you again.

Shelby turns her head to see Jane waving her back to her seat as the Chambers make their way back to their position and instruments. Shelby Kadawasky sits down and listens to the swelling music from on stage. The music starts slowly, Richards Sax and Rebeccas Chello starting up the rythm as the other band members start up and sync with the music. Ryan and Jane talk about music theory as Rachel taps her foot in sync with the music. Shelby slowly lets the music take her, closing her eyes and drifting with the music.

Shes content. Shes happy for a moment

When she reopens her eyes, she looks out the front window to see Speedy and Maria, faces smashed against the glass looking inside the club, fogging up and smearing up the glass. horror escapes her face and she frantically waves the two off, mouthing explicit language to them. Both Speedy and Maria wave back at her.

SHELBY: (she rushed up to her feet and moves her body in the way of the window, so none of them could see.) Excuse me for a second. I just need to fix something really quick is all. Nothing important. (Shelby proceeds to run out of the club and, through the view from the window, grabs both Maria and Speedy by their collars and hauls them away from the window.) WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOURE DOING!?

MARIA: thats a big name club in there? decorations are a bit gaudy inside if you ask me.

SPEEDY: Shelby, we need your help as soon as you
e done with this normal thing: the skeleton thief Cadaverous B. Deville is going to steal Dr. Scuzzzybums precious geode and we gotta stop him.

SHELBY: Okay, so? Its just Cadaverous, you guys can handle him by yourselves.

SPEEDY: But you don understand, he has a band of guys with him this time. One looks really mean.

MARIA: One was drinking tea and I kept thinking he can actually be drinking tea, hes a skelly man but what if he was? (her eyes widened in fright) What if he was!

SHELBY: (getting flustered and frustrated.) How did you guys find me anyway?

SPEEDY: Dr.Scuzzybum put a tracking device in your earring. (she rips her earring out of her ear in hardly disguised disgust.)

MARIA: I also put a curse on your pants. Not that kind of curse, a mild less irritating one.

SHELBY: (takes a long deep deep breath to steady herself.) I told you guys I just wanted a few days away from the weirdness, okay? Just a few days where Im not gallanting about fighting some odd lovecraftian abominations or some science experiments gone wrong or some other hair brained wacko scenario. Just once. Can you guys do this one without me?

SPEEDY: Yeah, but, we always fight these guys together.

SHELBY: Well, can I just take a mulligan with this one? Just play hooky this time? (she motions to the club.) for once in my life I felt like I was a part of something.

MARIA: oh, what do you mean by that? Like you
e not a part of us?

SHELBY: Thats not what I meant and you know it.

MARIA: Well, its starting to feel like it. Using words like embarrass and weirdo and all that. Starting to feel like you don want anything to do with us or something.

SPEEDY: Shelby, weve always done everything as a group together. We need you. You
e always making the good backup plans and stuff.

SHELBY: I do and I will but just give me a little time, please!

Speedy looks at her, hurt painted all over his face.

SPEEDY: Lets go maria, Shelby thinks we
e too weird and cramp her style. (the two of them turn around and start walking away from her.) let me hop back in your hat.

MARIA: Just don track mud in it or anything.

The two of them fly off, Shelby watching them vacate and feeling not that amazing about herself. She turns to see Jane at the doorway.

JANE: Hey Shelby, is everything alright?

SHELBY: Yeah, everythings hunky dory.

JANE: Well, since todays friday and a weekend, Ash and I were planning on going downtown and look at the sights and maybe see a movie. I think the downtown theater is playing the colors trilogy as one ticket. Wanna come?

SHELBY: What about Ryan and Rachel?

ASH: They decided to turn in tonight but it doesn mean we can go out and do something, right? Wanna join?

SHELBY: (slightly conflicted) yeah, Id love to.

The labatoraties of Barno Scuzzybum was one giant monolithic building shaped in the design of an Apple store. Within its white and pristine halls of both white and black plasteel and gutter blue and gray steel piping and halls lays the main lab, lay a massive room larger than any warehouse you had ever seen, filled with mechanical and technological marvels beyond imagining. Greg and Baxter sit beside a long steel gray table as a young man works on machinery with a welding torch. When hes done, he lifts his mask, showing its Dillon, Emilys older brother.

DILLON: So you promise theres not going to be any curses or anything? (Bax and Greg nod) theres not going to be any weird magic thatll backfire and I won have to know what it feels like to breathe water this time? (Bax and Greg nod) Im serious here guys, I still can watch Finding Nemo without flashbacks.

BAXTER: oh it couldn have been that bad, could it have?

DILLON: (eyes widening) I didn have bones!!

Emily walks in and sits down on the table next to Dillon.

EMILY: Thanks again for ditching me today, Gurg, Blondie. I come to hang out with you guys in my own spare time and you do me dirty like that? Thanks a ton.

BAXTER: not our fault, blame S.U.S and the riot he essentially made.

GREG: How did you get out of the school Emi?

EMILY: bear mace Gurg, lots of bear mace. So whats the scene?

Thats when the door to the main office opens, pure white smoke flows out of the room as the worlds most brilliant scientist, the master of many and multiple disciplines walks out into the room and converse with the gang. He was a pasty white man with a large purple afro and weirdly large feet.

DR.SCUZZYBUM: why if it isn little Baxter Williams and Greg Schmidt! What wonderful dunderful, dim-dom-duffalful wirly-girly-dirly surprise to see you two! What may I ask is the premise for the two of you to meet me in my wondertorium of imagination and science?

GREG: Okay, do you guys know who Cadaverous B. Deville is?

EMILY: isn he the skeleton dude who tried to swipe away that one couch from the museum?

DILLON: How is he a skeleton anyway?

GREG: he accidentally swallowed a fly while getting stabbed and forgot to die. (back to the Doctor.) Either way, hes back and hes coming for your worlds largest geode. (Greg waves at the minivan sized geode)

BAXTER: Why didn I notice that until now?

GREG: So we
e here to make sure when he comes, we can stop him from pulling off this little caper.

DR.SCUZZYBUM: ah, interesting …interesting….. I was going to use this geode to help create a ray gun that will turn various birds into shoes. Ive tried it once before (showing the gang his Parrot slippers) and it works as a charm. If this dastardly bastardly, gip-gop-gasterdly jiffy-wiffy-diffy dastardly bad man takes this magnificent stone, why, what will happen to all those poor precious birds which would otherwise be extraordinarily comfy shoes?

The door opens up as Speedy and Maria walk in with a glum sour mood.

EMILY: Hey Speedy, Squirt, wheres pantsuit at?

MARIA: Oh, shes with her new friends, playing jazz and whatnot.

EMILY: oh, that little gay poets society she was hanging with?

SPEEDY: said we embarrassed her or something. (speedy kicks at the ground.)

ARFIE: bark bark bark bark.

DR.SCUZZYBUM: (looks down at the little pooch) oh! Arfie! Why is it such a pleasure to see you!

MARIA: you know arfie?

DR.SCUZZYBUM: Of course, we belong to the same mensa group. (at Speedy) why Francis, I have a particular item your mother asked me to make. (he bends over and pulls out a small ray gun.) it is the size-o-matic ray my good little boy. Your mother was having issues with her parents it seems when they visited and this will be a great assistance. Watch (he points the gun at Dillon and blasts him, shrinking him) this device will shrink anything to an adjustable size for convenience. To reverse the beam, simply put it in the reverse section and (he blasts dillon again, returning him to his normal size)

DILLON: For the love of god, don do that again!

MARIA: So, whats the plan?

GREG: At this moment, we just wait for them to show up, prep to get ready and face them head on. We still have the homeground advantage and with the doctors stuff around, we should be able to overwhelm them with numbers and skill. (turns to Emily and Dillon) what are you guys planning on doing?

EMILY: (shrugs) I got my gun.

DILLON: I got my gun too.

MARIA: Well, as long as we
e all prepared for the inevitable.

DILLON: What time did they say they were gonna be here?

GREG: at 8:00

DILLON: What time is it now?

GREG: (checking his phone) Its….. 8:20

Everyone stares at each other in silence.

(voices off in the distance)

BONE-JANGLES: I told you to leave at least an hour before.

CADAVEROUS: Ive been doing thievery for 300 years boyo, I know how to do this!

BONE-JANGLES: I honestly wonder if you do or not.

The lights go out in the entire room. Speedy and the rest of the gang find themselves in a completely dark room as the sounds of chattering skulls and grim laughter echo through the building. A strong sharp bright spotlight shines down on Cadaverous B. Deville standing in the middle of the room, rose petals descending around him as he tips the rim of his hat.

CADAVEROUS: ladies and gentlemen, tonight you have the wondrous privilege of being beholden to the most glorious and glamorous burglaring by the greatest in the art itself: I Cadaverous B. Deville!! Accompanying me are the make of nightmares and horror, the bountiful blustered bout of bastard and boneyard bullies. (with a flourish of his cap) behold!

Skullduggary walks out into the spotlight.

SKULLDUGGERY: any of you nitwits cruising for a bruising by steppn up ta me, Skullduggery!!

Killmore walks into the light right next to Skullduggery with his cup of tea.

KILLMORE: oh how droll. You know I find theatrics such as this as, well, meretricious and tawdry.

SKULLDUGGERY: (leans on Killmores shoulder) well, ain we just a pair o knuckleheads, eh?

KILLMORE: Please, do not lean on the coat. Tis a family heirloom.

Bone-jangles walks forward.

BONE-JANGLES: You guys know Im not good at these things. Uh, um, wakka wakka. (shrugs)

The lights suddenly flash back on, Dillon next to the rooms light switch.

DILLON: You guys didn even cut the power, just flicked off the lights.

CADAVEROUS: why cut the power? (turns to everyone with a malicious grin) I want you to behold a master of his craft at work. Yes, Im hoping this becomes quite bone-chilling.

Shelby walks out of the theater with Jane and Ash. She enjoyed the three movies but her mind was slightly preoccupied.

ASH: though its an unpopular opinion, I genuinely enjoyed white the most of all three of the films. The story of a weary man and his forlorn life does create a compelling narrative.

JANE: Blue still was my favorite. Theres something about coming to grips with mourning that always gets to me. Shelby, which was your favorite?

SHELBY: dwah?

JANE: (a little confused) the movies, which one did you like the most?

SHELBY: oh! Um, I think red had the best cinematography and that always stands out for me whenever I watch a film.

ASH: Well, you guys want to talk about it over a cup of coffee?

SHELBY: sure!

Speedy gets punched straight in the face, sent flying across the room and slamming headfirst into the wall next to the soda machine. Skulduggery slowly walks towards him as Speedy pulls his head out of the wall and shakes himself awake. He gets back to his feet and squares up to the giant skeleton.

SKULLDUGGARY: ya got some good spunk in ya kid, kinda sad I gotta beat the stupid out of you.

SPEEDY: better men than you have tried!

Speedy launched at him with a massive right. Skullduggery spins on the bones of his spine around so he ends up dodging speedys blow while also backhanding him. Skullduggery starts spinning his left arm in windmills, swiveling in its socket and hitting speedy multiple times with such force the boy is juggled in mid air then hit with a right hook reenhanced by the spinning spine bones as to go sailing away.

Baxter dodges another kick. While drinking his Earl Gray tea and wondering how he got there, Killmore continues to deliver a flurry of side, hooking and spinning right kicks at him. Not once has he dropped his tea and Baxter has yet to find an opening to attack him.

BAXTER: Greg!!…(dodging a head kick)….shouldn you be….(dodges a sweeping lowkick which continues a spinning high kick)…the one who… (dodges a question mark kick)….fights the kicky and punchy guys!? ( is hit with full-force in the face by a lunging sidekick.)

GREG: (blocking the rapier slash with his forearm covered in a protective coat of electricity then knocking it back and trying to counter with a flurry of punches.) can hear ya Bax!

Greg and Cadaverous were on a narrow walkway, which benefitted Cadaverous linear style of swordfighting far more than the more wild style of gregs fighting. Cadaverous feet nimbly stepped back as he assessed his next line of attack, the gem encrusted and gold wrought hilt of his sword held high near his face.

CADAVEROUS: it seems you have improved greatly in your martial skills. Id ask who was your sensei but sadly I was never good at learning in such manners, the only classes I was ever good at were osteoclasses. ( he leaps forward in a flurry of lunges and slashes, with none truly finding its mark.) You must admit though, Greg, this may be a bone breaking experience, but youll remember it as a spine tingling encounter!! (he leads with three quick flashes at Gregs feet which follows in an elongated deep lunge. Greg sidesteps the blow, switching their positions on the catwalk.) I unla want to bring out the best out of you my young man, within you I see phlang-enius potential.

GREG:( a lunging front kick) Stop it…( double leaping front kicks) with all the….(a high and powerful head punch which he automatically turns into an armlock)…bone puns!! (going for an over the shoulder throw, he simply only pops the arm out. He turns to Cadaverous with a victorious grin, which is answered by a mischievous grin back and a wagging finger. Looking down, the dislocated hand shoves its fingers up his nostrils.) Brugh!!

Bone-jangles slowly creeps up to Maria in a slithering gait.

BONE-JANGLE: Awe, you are the most precious thing Ive ever seen!

MARIA: What!?

BONE-JANGLES: (putting his hands on each side of his face) look at you! The little witches dress, the belt with the big buckle on it, the black shoes! Why, even the little hat! You
e as cute as a button!

MARIA: Im not playing dress up here, I am a witch!

BONE-JANGLES: why, that makes it even more adorable! You look like a little hallmark halloween card! I almost want to boop your nose!

MARIA: you will not boop my* (a bony finger gently pokes her nose.)

BONE-JANGLES: Boop! Nothing but a little bundle of sugar and hugs! Do you also have a black cat!? Oh, that would just be the most precious thing ever!

MARIA: I am not cute, I am a dog of war! (a bony finger gently pokes her nose)


MARIA: I am the heir to the house of Santanna! Within me flows the dark arcanes of the ancient Aztecs, the harsh whirlwind alchemies of southern Spain, the mysterious chants of the frozen alps of Germany, the dark bellowing mysteries of the winds of Arabia. The base elements of the natural world play at my beck and call! I am a sorceress of the high majica! I am not cute! (a bony finger gently pokes her nose)

BONE-JANGLES: Boop! (arfie starts biting at the rim of his coat, snarling and whipping it about in his mouth.) hey you little poochy, don do that, its impolite. (he bends to take him off but arfie nip at his hand, making bone-jangles reel it back.) Why you little! I know who will make you humble! (he opens his cloak to expose his ribcage, which houses three large and mean looking ravens.)

ARFIE: Bark?

Arfie the magic dog runs away while being chased by the three large ravens. Speedy sits back up, his head reeling, and is answered by a heavy kick to the head, which sends him sliding across the floor.

SKULLDUGGERY: almost feel bad fer the beatin kid. Ya seem like a nice feller and all but we need that geode.

SPEEDY: what for?

Skullduggery shrugs and answers with a punch, which speedy dodges and leads him into putting skulduggery into a headlock. As they struggle, speedy pops off his head.

SPEEDY: Ha! Without your head, your body is nothing more than a pile of bones!

SKULLDUGGERY: Who told you that? (he smashes speedy in the side of the head with a massive right, sliding away once again. Skullduggery picks up his head, puts it back in place and walks towards speedy.)

No matter how swift or how fast his slashes at him, Baxter couldn land a single attack on this little stuck-up bony asshole. He dodged everything at a hairs breadth, slashes, stabs, lunges, nothing was hitting him.

KILLMORE: (while dodging a barrage of blows.) Do you think they know just how sterile and inhuman this place looks from the outside in? Call me old fashioned but a traditional rustic look will always be favored for any halls of study.

BAXTER: (while throwing his barrage of blows) maybe if you hold still for a second I could answer you with my boot to your face.

KILLMORE: un contraire good fellow. (he suddenly leaps into a spontaneous flurry of wild kicks, the last whizzing by his face. Next thing Baxter knows is that his glasses are gone and at the end of Killmores foot. Killmore deftly placed the pair of glasses on the end of his foot onto his saucer) I think you will genuinely be the one with the foot in your face.

BAXTER: Oh come on man, those were prescription glasses. (Baxter swings his sword around wildly and is answered with killmores 360 whirlwind kick to the chest, sending him skittering away.)

MARIA: If you touch me one more time youll regret it! (theres a pause until a bony finger gently pokes her nose) AAAAAAAHHHH! That does it! (she fishes out a totem from her purse, a little figurine of a box covered in chains.) Hay una chica que ha estado en mi mente, Todo el tiempo, Su-Sussudio,ay ay*

e still using totem magic? More powerful but time wasting honestly (palms forward, in a horse stance, Bone-Jangles becomes surrounded in a violet glow) Da ist dieses Mädchen, das mir in den Sinn gekommen ist, Die ganze Zeit, Su-Sussudio. Oh oh, Jetzt kennt sie nicht einmal meinen Namen, Aber ich glaube, sie mag mich genauso. Su-Sussudio, Woah oh

Maria suddenly finds herself sealed in a clear ball of crystalline light.

MARIA: yu-oh.

Shelby grabs her iced coffee and walks over to her new friends at the window seat. Horror lake, though nowhere near as large and grandiose as such cities as Atlanta or Birmingham, still had a mystifying skyline and if lucky enough you could see the breathtaking beauty of the city. Ash and Jane keep talking as Shelby sits with them, only half heartedly listening. Their talk of high culture and artistic achievements were still drowned out by the cold shoulder she ended up giving her only friends since childhood. By Speedy, who always protected her from the bullies who make fun of her. She remembered Greg, the first friend she ever had, her tutor when she struggled with her dyslexia at age 7, him being 9 at the time. How speedy and Baxter first met, a fight at school over Baxter saying, well, inappropriate things, who quickly became close friends. With Baxter came Maria, his lifelong best friend. Ever since elementary school they had been inseparable.

ASH: Hey Shelby, (Shelby looks up from her coffee at the two concerned faces of Ash and Jane.) are you alright? Youve been acting really really quiet today, ever since after we left the club. Whats wrong?

SHELBY: Oh, oh its nothing. Nothing. Just thinking about something is all.

JANE: What is it? You can tell us.

SHELBY: I just think I might have let someone down when they needed me. Mostly because I was a bit annoyed at the time.

JANE: Well, that happens with everyone Shelby. It looks like its really bothering you though. What happened?

Shelby looks at the two of them when she finally gets an idea.

SHELBY: Ill tell you guys on the way, but do you guys want to see the worlds largest geode?

Speedy starts slugging out Skullduggery but his exchange of blows is short lived as skullduggery grabs him by the shirt and headbutts him once, twice, and is about to hit him a third when speedy headbutts him back and grabs him a headlock. Looking about, speedy finds a nice row of tables and, remembering his passion for pro-wrestling, comes up with a great idea.

SKULLDUGGERY: trust me, its not gonna be as good as you think it is.

SPEEDY: Shut up, you go squish now! (he charges at the tables, screaming as he Bulldogs Skullduggery into the tables, which inevitably gets Speedy hurt just as much by crashing into the tables.)

Greg leaps down from the catwalk and, summoning electricity into both of his hands, he shoots two electrifying bolts up at the platform. Cadaverous runs across the walkway and leaps down to the ground, which allows him to spring into a dashing lunge to keep up momentum of the attack. Greg keeps dodging the dazzling attacks with deft reflexes. Greg starts to backflip to get out of the mans range.

His flips pass Baxter, dazed and confused, as Killmore continues to assault him with dazzling and ferocious kicks.

KILLMORE: (while wearing Baxters glasses) I dare say my good man, what is wrong with your eyes? Looking out these spectacles is akin to looking through a kaleidoscope.

BAXTER: At Least I have eyes! Blue eyes! (thinking to himself) Okay Bax. Kabrano taught you how to use all your senses while using the sword. He drilled into you exactly how to use your ears and touch just as much as your eyes. What did he say?

(baxter imagining Kabrano)

KABRANO: blah, blah, blah, Im a stupid goat. Blah blah blah, I think Im so good but I still eat cans out of the trash.

BAXTER: (thinking) Goddamn brain! Think straight!

Bone-jangles bounces Maria in her little prison ball like it was nothing more than a little bouncing ball.

BONE-JANGLES: ya see, you might think the time difference between using a totem and not is minute when compared to how more powerful it is but those split-seconds, if in a combat situation, will make a huge difference.

MARIA: sssst ooooop bouuuu


g mmmmmeeeee!

BONE-JANGLES: what was that? I can hear well out of this ear hun, gotta speak a lot louder and more clearly kay?

Arfie runs passed, still yippy at the ravens chasing him. Emily jumps in with a giant can of bear mace and sprays the pepper spray in the birds face. Arfie thanks her by licking her face furiously before charging up for an attack.

BONE-JANGLES: (still bouncing Maria like a bouncy ball) also, your chanting is taking way way too long honey pie. You need to find to chant a little quicker than* (a giant blue orb of magic slams into Bone-Jangles) Oof!

Maria is freed and falls down on her butt as arfie runs in pursuit of Bone Jangles. Maria starts to stand up when she is interrupted by Skullduggery spinning Speedy in a big swing, smashing through everything with speedys head. However, at the last minute when he lets go of speedy, speedy bends to his right and grips Skulduggery arm and, through the centrifugal force, ends up throwing Skullduggery instead. Skulduggery slams into the wall with speedy right behind in a shoulder tackle, burrowing him further in.

The door to the laboratory opens up as Shelby, Ash and Jane walk into the battlefield. Jane and Ash are both terrified of whats happening.

JANE: Um, Shelby, are you sure this is the laboratory of Dr.Scuzzybum?

Emily runs past them screaming at the top of her lungs as ravens chase after her.

ASH: It looks overtly lively for a place of scientific study and thought. Why, Dr. Scuzzybum is the man who found a way to turn Cancer into Super Cancer.

SHELBY: (turning to them) Listen guys. I loved every single second of today. I really, genuinely did but I have to come clean about something: (she waves back at the scene behind her) this is also a part of my life, not just my grades or the arts I enjoy. I like you guys very very much and want to spend far far more time with you but this here is just as important to me. Do you understand?

JANE: (about to talk but was interrupted by the flung body of Baxter flying past her) I mean, we understand Shelby. Not everyone is all art and knowledge and stuff like that. I mean, I like dirt bikes. Ash loves Foxy Boxing and Adrian has a crippling Meth addiction.

ASH: We like you for you, not just for the you you presented to us. We will like the entirety of you. (he swipes a hand through his hair) I mean, I already do.

SHELBY: (smiles profusely) thank you guys so so much. Trust me, we will get to see the worlds largest geode, just give me a second, okay? (Shelby turns around, and charges into the fray with a wild sprint) YAAAAAAAGGGHHH!!

Ash and Jane stand and watch as the battle continues to persist.

SHELBY: Get back here bone head!

BONE-JANGLES: Blast all you little rugrats!

GREG: Ill rip ya all apart!

CADAVEROUS: killing you lot will be a bone-us to this nights plight!

SPEEDY: Ill knock your block off for that Skull!

ARFIE: Bark bark!!

MARIA: Hey, who touched my butt!?

KILLMORE: What has the world come to?

EMILY: someone get these things off me!!

SKULLDUGGERY: ain no low blows inna real mans fight!!

BONE-JANGLES: Ill turn you all into octopuses!!

DILLON: Oh dear god no!!

Shelby unleashes a volley of mind blasts at Skullduggery, whos holding Speedy above his head and about to throw him, turning him into a neat, tidy little bundle of bones.

SHELBY: Maria, seal them! (Maria pulls out her locked box totem and seals Skulduggery in a small ball) Great going!

Maria smiles and gives her a thumbs up, but then is sent flying by the lunging kick of Killmore. Killmore then starts running to Shelby, still drinking his tea, but a mind blast from Shelby turns him into another tidy bundle of bones. Greg leaps in with a trash can, covering it.

GREG: Someone put some junk on top of this? (Speedy runs with and puts a ps5 on top of the trash can.)

Everyone turns to Bone-Jangles, but he simply just raises his hands.

BONE-JANGLES: no need guys, I really wasn all that into it in the first place. (he sits down on the ground, his legs crossed.

CADAVEROUS: Well, its been a darling night my lovely lads but every man knows when to bow out. (he leaps upon the giant geode and snaps his fingers. A giant hole is smashed out of the ceiling as a helicopter made out of various animal bones hovers in the sky as a giant tether is lowered. Cadaverous hooks it to the harness around the geode.) but Id like to thank each and everyone of you for your dazzling cont-rib-ution to tonights success. And so, (he bows with a flourish, his hat in hand) bone-voyage. (he cackles as the helicopter lifts him off into the sky but Shelby thinks quickly. Before the dastardly cadaver could flee the scene, she unleashes a blast that cuts the tether from the geode, which also held up Cadaverous.) oh no, my only weakness: falling down!! ( and Cadaverous falls onto the earth in, also a neat little pile of bones.)

Three hours later, Cadaverous and his men sit on the ground, handcuffed behind their backs as cops and detectives check the area. Police chief McKraken looks down on him with his smug canadian mustache.

CHIEF MCKRAKEN: Well, well, well, if it isn a couple of boney boys up from the part of town they shouldn be, trying to steal Dr.Scuzzybums prized possessions. I think we have more than enough evidence here to keep you boys in the boneyard for good.

CADAVEROUS: you can try, contemptible constables but this won stick and soon I will be out and about once again. When I get out, oh, when I do get out, you will remember this as nothing more than a femur dream.

BONE-JANGLES: *sigh* even in cuffs you still have to make bone puns?

Dr.Scuzzybum comes out of the steel reinforced titanium safety room.

DR.SCUZZYBUM: my my my, what a marvelous incident! Greg, Speedy, Baxter, Little Girl and other little girl, you have my most humble thanks and gratitude. Not only did you save my life, the lives of Horror lake through some undetermined means, but also saved all the plentiful bird that will one day become comfy shoes ( he points at his wonderful duck sneakers.) for that action, I will give you all a tour of my laboratory and the amazing inventions and creations within.

MARIA: Hey, Doctor, um, with all these machines and doodads in here, couldn you have helped us at least a little bit in the fight we had?

DR.SCUZZYBUM: ah, why that is an excellent question! An excellent question indeed. (to everyone else) who wants to see my sunny-D-a-fier? It turns all liquids into Sunny D!

Shelby turns to Speedy and Maria with a guilty face.

SHELBY: hey guys, I just wanted to apologize for how*

MARIA: Oh, don worry about it Shelby. We knew you were gonna pull through.

SPEEDY: Shelby, you
e my sister, youve done a lot worse.

GREG: (coming up behind them) hey, have you guys seen Baxters glasses?

SPEEDY: (wearing Baxters glasses) no.

The small party starts following the doctor on his tour. Jane walks up to Shelby and starts talking in a hushed tone.

JANE: Hey, Shelby, do you mind, um, later on, if you would introduce me to Francis by ourselves?

SHELBY: sure but why?

JANE: Well, you know. (Shelby gives her a confused look.) Your brothers hot.

SHELBY: (with a disgusted and confused face.) HUH!?

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