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Apartment 406

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The first couple episodes will be just setting stuff up and won't be like everything else here that much, so bear with me.

1. Pilot

Weisston was an unassuming town, just miles from the coast. It had a population of 70,000, but nobody anywhere else really thought much of it. There was nothing very significant about it to the outside, it just seemed normal. However, one year, just before the holidays, an apartment building on the eastern side of town brought in a new resident. He was a messy haired guy, and looked like he hadn't gotten sleep in days. When moving in, other residents noticed much of his luggage was stamped with warnings about the fragility of the items inside, and some of it just smelled strange. This left the people with many questions as to who the man was and what was in the boxes. Despite this, the building managers were not very suspicious of him at the time, as he had been normal during the application process, saying the luggage was for "scientific work", showing them the various things he had been working with, including old tubes and such. After that, nobody really saw him. He went out of his place to do things like buy food and pay rent, but that was done quietly, as the man then wanted to be private with his life and work. Nobody knew what was happening in apartment 406.

The date was May 8, 2004. It was around noon, with no clouds filling the sky and a slight breeze in the air. The man was watching TV, having a good time, and an unfinished mixture of something was on a table near him. The man kept glancing over at the table continuously, quietly muttering to himself, "Dang it Joe, you need to get back to work!". Eventually he did, working on a formula he thought would make him all-powerful.

At the same time, a ladybug was crawling around the grass outside the apartment. He led a simple life, not knowing much about the world, so this was just another day for him. After a while, he noticed a small crack in the building, and got inside. The ladybug had gotten into the stairwell, and began to fly around. Suddenly, a lady walked up, and noticed him. As she got closer, she began clapping her hands, trying to kill the ladybug, who escaped by crawling under the fourth floor entrance door. Then, he immediately went under the next door he saw, which was the one to Joe's apartment. As he got in, the ladybug was amazed. The only things he could see were a bunch of colors and shapes, but the display was something he'd never seen in his life. Joe was busy working and as a result, was unaware of what was going on down on the floor. The ladybug was crawling and flying around, going over and under stuff on the floor, stopping to look out the window in awe. Getting a piece of paper to write something down, Joe accidentally cut up his finger, letting out a yelp in agony. Scared, the bug started flying around, emitting a rechid odor. As the scent reached Joe's nostrils, he gagged. "What the hell is that?", he asked himself, confused. Just then, the ladybug flew in, startling Joe. He flailed around, accidentally knocking over the table with his formula on it. In what seemed like slow motion, the liquid slowly poured onto the floor, moving right where the ladybug had just landed. 

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2. Testing, Testing

Joe was in complete shock. He couldn't even yell, he just didn't know what to do. After fully processing what had just happened, Joe took a pair of tongs out of the kitchen cupboard, and grabbed the ladybug. Instead of flushing him away, Joe decided to keep him in a small box, so as not to possibly disturb the apartment's pipes, or maybe he could even test things with the bug later on, leaving a small opening in the box. After that, Joe attempted to carry on with his day, spending a while cleaning the mess on his floor and sticking a towel over the area afterwards. He didn't hear any rustling from the box, so Joe assumed the bug had died or something. 

A couple days later, Joe was trying to fall asleep. But, as he began to lose conciousness, he heard a peeping noise from the box. Right away, he got up to investigate, and opened the box. To his surprise, he saw the ladybug, with some changes. The ladybug had grown bigger, and small arms were now forming from him. He was also making noises that almost sounded like words, but it was too high pitched for Joe to tell. But, he immediately grabbed the tongs and scooped the bug onto his working desk. He started writing down things about the bug, but felt too tired to go on after a while. He threw the bug back in the box before promptly collapsing on the floor.

Eight hours later, Joe woke up again. He got up, looked around, and saw something on his wall. As he rubbed his eyes, he began to see that it was the ladybug. In just those hours, the bug began to grow little leg pods, too. After a while, he landed on the table, and Joe trapped him with a clear bowl. After that, he started running tests on the bug, pushing him to his physical extreme, for about a week. He went through endurance test after endurance test, seemingly in a never ending loop. He even grew a lot of hair, leading Joe to name him "Harry". During this time, Harry was growing more and more. Eventually, at one point, as Harry was running laps around the room, he was able to scream out for help, comprehensibly.

Harry: HEY!

Joe: (jumps up, shocked, runs over to Harry) What the-

Harry: What do you think you're doing here?!

Joe: Yeah, well-

Harry: No, get me outta here!

(silence)

Joe raised his foot over the bug, about to kill it. Almost instantly, Harry grabbed that foot and almost managed to knock Joe over by doing so, crashing him into the couch.

Joe: CAN'T YOU SEE I'M TRYING TO HELP YOU NOW?

Harry: Oh, how?

Joe: I just....I just want to.....have more power over the world. Don't you?

Harry: (silence)

(Cut to flashback of Harry as a normal bug outside)

Harry: (helplessly crawling around, only seeing grass)

Kid: (tries killing Harry with his shoe, misses)

(Truck drives by, almost running over Harry)

Lady: (claps hands at Harry, trying to kill him)

(flashback ends)

Harry: You know what.....so do I.

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On 10/14/2017 at 12:42 PM, Dracula Phineas said:

Really liked this so far, keep it up, Triple M. I would suggested maybe add more dialogue to it. :)

Yeah, future episodes will have more focus on dialogue, these were just setups for stuff. Thanks for the feedback, though

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3. The New Guy

It was a normal June morning in Weisston. Birds were flying around, and there was intense traffic as everyone was going to work. But in the middle of one apartment, weird things were going on. At this particular moment, Joe had made himself an omelette for breakfast, and Harry managed to pull out a bagel. 

Harry: (chewing) Hey Joe, when can I have some more of that formula?

Joe: You already had enough. Now close your mouth or I'll stomp you.

Harry: I'll stomp you .

Joe: Shut up, you little freak-

After they fought for a minute, the two fell over, tired. Exhausted, they soon turned to each other.

Harry: So...uh...what are we doing today?

Joe: Hmm.....well...

(walks over to a metallic object, picks it up)

Okay, so you see this?

Harry: Yeah, of course I do...

Joe: This is the Team Beam. It'll make a large circle that hypnotizes anyone and anything upon impact. The best part is, everyone within a 40 mile radius forgets what happened half an hour later. So we can use this to, uh....take over the world.

(muffled organ sounds)

Joe: That guy next door is practicing again ?

Harry: So is this happening now?

Joe: No, it's not finished yet, but there's just a little-

Harry: Are you sure? (grabs it)

Joe: WAIT-

At the same time, a young man named Tom Richards was walking down a street outside of the apartment building. He had recently finished school, unsure of what to do with himself. He was going over to a breakfast cafe at that time, and as he passed the apartment building, something washed over him. He briefly stumbled around, then stopped. People began gathering around him as Joe and Harry watched in horror.

Joe: Why did you do that?!

Harry: I don't know...I just...I don't know...

Joe: You complete moron! Nice job jeopardizing our operation.

As people outside were gathered, Tom began to speak.

"Conquer Weisston", he said, slowly.

The crowd gasped, and Tom ran off. He hid in an alleyway for a little while, wondering what was going on. Joe saw this, and after finding a bigger box and hiding Harry in it, ran after Tom. He managed to bolt past most of everyone, as they were all focusing on what just happened with Tom. Joe found him in an alley, very quickly.

Tom: ....Conquer Weisston....

Joe: ....alright, good. I also want to conquer Weisston.

Tom: (eyes light up)

Joe: Yeah, we should work as a team, uh....what's your name?

Tom: (pause) Why, I am Blamboy, destroyer of worlds!

(awkward silence)

Joe: Okay there...Blamboy....what do you know?

Tom/Blamboy got up and started walking. Confused, but hopeful for something important, Joe started following him. Tom kept walking until he reached a parking deck, stopping at a new, black car, presumed by Joe to be his. Tom had managed to keep his keys with him, opening the car and dragging Joe inside, who looked around, saying "Hmm, this is your car?", to no response. They began driving back to the apartment, but quickly turned around as news crews were arriving at the scene.

Tom: No, no, no, no...

Joe: Can I drive?

The response was an angry glare, but Joe started shoving his way over to the driver's seat. When a turn came up, Tom was frightened and jumped to the other seat, almost causing an accident. Joe drove around the back way to the apartment, but once they arrived, there were more people crowded around the area. Joe got out of the car quietly, hiding in the bushes, with Tom quickly following. They watched the events unfolding out in the street, and minutes turned into hours. By the time a lot of people had left, the two had fallen asleep. A bug flew onto Joe's chin, waking him and Tom up, startled. 

Tom: Aaaaagh!

Joe: Alright, yep, it looks like they're gone. But how can we get back up there?! 

Tom: ....let's see...

Joe: I swear, will anything ever-

Before Joe could finish, Tom had begun jumping up and down, suddenly lifting off into the air. He quickly grabbed Joe and they went off into the sky.

Joe: What the-? Someone's gonna see us!

But, there wasn't a streak in the sky to be soon, and they went fast enough the few people walking around couldn't register what was going on. They darted through the window into Joe's apartment, where Harry was watching TV.

Joe: Oh, great. The window is broken, people probably saw us, and WHY DID YOU LEAVE THE BOX?

Harry: I finished your omelette, by the way.

Tom: AAAUUGGGHH! A GIANT BUG!

Harry: Yep, that's-

Tom: I am here to stomp you out of existence! (raises foot)

Harry: (runs, grabs Tom's foot and starts spinning him around)

Joe: STOP IT!

Tom: No, Blamboy, des-

Joe: He's on our side!

Harry: Yeah, listen to him...

Tom: (sigh) Fine...I don't like bugs, though.

Harry: WHAT?!

Joe: (shoves the two apart) Yeah, yeah, the only way we can conquer this place is if we work together, deal? 

Harry: Eghh, fine. I'll see what I can do.

Tom: Yes, of course. 

Joe: Okay, then.

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4. Lucky Numbers

One evening, Joe, Harry and Tom were sitting around the apartment. Tom was slowly settling down with the other two, and at that moment they were watching TV, the only problem being that there was nothing of interest that they could agree to watch on. So, they started fighting over the remote.

Harry: Hey, my friend is on the nature channel right now!

Joe: I don't care about your friend, I care about my show!

As the three were fighting, they accidentally changed the channel to the news, on WST6. At that time, the news was broadcasting the results of the recent lottery, hosted by famous television presenter Clifford "Lucky" Numbers.

Lucky: Howdy there folks, i'm Lucky Numbers, bringing you tonight's lucky numbers!

(audience laughter)

Harry: That wasn't funny.

Lucky: Right, let's get the winner!

(number generating machine rumbling)

Lucky: 15...9...94...52...6...aaaannnndddd...75!

(jazz music plays)

Joe: Wait...who won?

Audience member: YES! YES! YES!

Harry: I think he won.

Lucky: Haha, congratulations there, guy. That's all for now, folks!

(Joe turns off TV)

Tom: Interesting.

(cut to winning audience member leaving the studio)

Audience member: Aw yeah, this is the best day of my life!

As he was walking to his car, a group of people surrounded him, asking for money. 

Audience member: Hey, quiet, I don't even have any yet!

Guy: Yeah, that's what they all say!

(Joe, Harry and Tom hear the mob outside)

Tom: I smell fear, and trouble!

Harry: What is that noise? 

Harry went over to the window, and jumped to lift it up. Because of that, the window glass fell onto the floor, crashing into dozens of pieces. Joe was furious.

Joe: Hey, I just fixed that!

Tom: No, you have to come here and see this.

Joe: Fine. (walks over)

The three watched as the man was chased up and down the street by a group of money-hungry Weisston citizens. Eventually, he reached a street crossing, just at the moment that it was safe to walk. As the mob arrived at the crossing, a bunch of cars came zooming by, so they had to wait. After about ten seconds, they could cross the street, but by that time, the lottery winner was already gone.

(cut back to apartment)

Joe: Wow, that's amazing.

Harry and Tom: What?

Joe: All the attention, all the money, we should enter!

Harry: Hmm, so you win money? What are the odds?

Tom: They aren't very good, we don't have a chance.

Harry: Oh...

Joe: (pause) Well, we have nothing else to do.

(cut to an Oiltrack gas station)

Tom: I'd like a lottery ticket.

Cashier: Okay, that'll be one dollar.

Tom handed him a dollar and left with the ticket, going to his car and driving back to the apartment. As he opened the door, Joe was standing right there.

Joe: What are the numbers?

Tom: (gets out ticket) 96...53...6...12...29...44.

Joe: Alright, don't let me forget that.

Tom: (pause) Okay.

Harry: Joe, isn't this is a bit ridiculous? If Tom here is right, then-

Joe: Yeah, whatever. The drawings are this Saturday night, and we're going.

Harry: Even me?

Joe: We'll see about that.

That Saturday night, Joe and Tom got into Tom's car and drove over to WST6. Harry did not go, as the two assumed a then three foot tall ladybug with superhuman strength would freak people out, naturally. They had purchased tickets to be in the live audience in advance. As they arrived, they were stopped at the front by a guard.

Guard: Hello?

Tom: (pulls down window) We're here for the lottery drawing. (pulls out tickets)

Guard: Hmm...sure. It's building 3.

So, after they found building 3, and got out of the car, someone jumped in front of them.

Guy: Wait!

Joe: (gasp)

It was the winning audience member from last week. He still looked paranoid after what had happened to him.

Winner: Are you going to the lottery?

Tom: Yes, I-

Winner: Don't. As they say, you never know what could happen.

Tom: Well, according to my sources, the odds are very low...

Winner: Yeah, well, the odds really screwed me up. 

(cue flashback of Winner getting chased, subsequently suffering}

Winner: I've been a wreck since then. I'm still sore from running, I can't think properly...the attention just gets to you.

Joe: How's the money been?

Winner: Oh...I picked it up a couple days ago, so that's fine.

Joe: Sounds good. (him and Blamboy run off)

Winner: WAIT! COME BACK! (sigh)

As the two headed towards the room, Joe fantasized about the chances of winning. He imagined huge piles of money, as far as the eye could see. He saw himself buying 100 pizzas, and eating them on a futuristic recliner, in a massive mansion. He saw himself sitting in a personal movie theater, surrounded by servants. But most of all, he fantasized about world domination. With enough money, he imagined, he could take over or buy his way into the most important companies and systems on the Earth. Truly, after this night, the world would belong to Joe Summers.

As Joe lost himself in this fantasy, Tom had to pull him back to reality, by slapping him in the face. 

Joe: AH!

Tom:  I think we're here.

Joe: (pause) Sure, okay.

They walked in, and were soon able to take their seats. After a while, the show started.

Announcer: And tonight, we present the weekly lottery drawings!

The same jazz music started playing, as Lucky Numbers jumped out on stage.

Lucky: Howdy there folks, I'm Lucky Numbers, bringing you tonight's lucky numbers!

The audience roared with laughter, but Joe and Tom stayed silent. But, it was only then that Joe noticed two electronic signs near the ceiling. The first one said "LAUGH" and second one said "OR YOU'LL BE DEALT WITH OUT BACK".

Joe: I didn't see anyone out back.

Tom: Just laugh. Ha, ha-

Just then, however, the first sign changed to read "NOW SHUT UP". Lucky announced the machine would begin generating numbers, and like usual, Lucky read out the numbers as they were given. And at the same time, Harry was watching back at the apartment.

Lucky: 96...

Joe: Oh man!

Lucky: 53...6...

Harry: Woah, maybe Joe was right!

Lucky: 12...

Tom: Holy crap.

Lucky: 29...

Joe: No way!

In what seemed like slow motion, the last number was generated and as Lucky was about to read it, Joe, Harry and even Tom were all sweating profusely. 

Lucky: ...Fffooouuurrrtttyyy...fffffive!

Harry: NO!

Tom: Curses!

Joe couldn't find words, as he was so shocked and angry he passed out. The audience gasped, and Lucky started making his way to their seats, but Tom quickly got him back up with a slap to the face.

Joe: (waking up) Huh?

Lucky: Heh, you fell asleep there for a sec.

Joe: This isn't on TV, is it?

Lucky: Ah, no, the cameras have stopped.

Joe: Okay.

Tom: I told you we wouldn't win.

Joe: Oh...well, that was a slap in the face.

(audience laughter)

Joe: Quiet.

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5. Harry Goes Out

One night, Joe was asleep, and Tom was at an electronics store, so Harry basically had the place to himself. He opened the fridge, looking for something he could eat for dinner, but there wasn't much. So, the idea of getting something from a restaurant came to his head. As he considered his options, he remembered several times when Joe or Tom bought pizza for the three of them, which Harry really enjoyed. So, he decided to order a pizza. Harry decided he was going to pick it up, as he had been sitting around the apartment for three months without ever leaving. 

With Joe asleep and Tom away, Harry decided the time was right. He first remembered there was an old pizza box still in the trash, and after finding it, walked over to the phone, bringing the pizza box with him. He dialed the number on the box, and an employee soon picked up.

Employee: Scadente's Pizza, what do you want?

Harry: I'll have a pizza.

Employee: What kind, sir?

Harry: Uh, what do you have?

Employee: (groan) Alright, we have cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, sausage, bacon, onions, peppers, olives, pineapples, apples, chocolate, ice cream, bread-

Harry: I want cheese.

Employee: Okay, is this for delivery, or...

Harry: I'll pick it up, the name's "Harry".

Employee: Okay, so-

Harry hung the phone before the employee could finish, now he just needed to drive down to the place. So, he opened the window, and crawled onto the walls, closing the window behind him. He crawled down the side of the building, just as Tom drove into the parking lot. Harry crawled over to the car, and spoke as Tom opened the door.

Harry: Hi-

Tom: WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!

Harry: Uh...where's Scadente's Pizza?

Tom: It's at the end of this street on the left, but-

Harry: Okay, thanks. 

Harry jumped into the car, before Tom could do anything, and drove off. Without a license and any prior experience, as a relatively huge ladybug. So, you can see why Tom was upset and worried, of course. As he got to the apartment door and started knocking, Joe woke up. He walked over, and opened it, to a fuming Tom.

Tom: That vermin stole my car.

Joe: Harry?

Tom: Yep.

Joe: WHERE WAS WE GOING?

Tom: I don't know, he asked me for directions to Scadente's, but-

Joe: WHY DIDN'T YOU STOP HIM?

Tom: I TRIED!

The two were in complete hysterics. At the same time, Harry had quickly figured out how to drive the car. He thought it would be easy, since he just had to go straight, right? But, just then he came to a traffic light, which was showing red. He saw every other car stopping here, so he followed suit. This gave Joe and Tom a chance to catch up to him. Tom couldn't fly without being seen, as there were a lot of people on the streets, so they sped out of the apartment building, and began down the sidewalk. But, the red light quickly turned to green. It was still a several minute drive to Scadente's from the apartment, but there was still a possibility they could get Harry with a miracle. As they ran down the sidewalk, they were stopped by a group of Boy Scouts selling popcorn.

Boy #1: Mister, want any popcorn?

Tom: We're a little bu-

Boy #2: Aw, ya gotta have some.

Tom: We don't have any money, bye! (runs off with Joe)

At the same time, Harry was stopped by more traffic. This gave the two a bit of time to get closer.

Tom: Alright, I can see him.

Joe: Good, just point him out to me.

Just then, they came upon a "SIDEWALK CLOSED" sign. Joe, holding back all the anger he could, waited for an opening in the street to cross. After a while, he did, and him and Tom quickly made their way across the street. But, by this time, traffic had cleared up. As they were running, they saw someone walking her huge dog coming down the other way in the distance. Even though the dog was on a leash, it wiggled around violently as everyone crossed paths. He briefly chased after Joe and Tom, running in circles. Joe and Tom couldn't leave until the owner could finally stop him.

Owner: HEY!...Sorry about that. He's like that sometimes.

Joe: Uh, okay. We gotta go.

The two ran off as fast as they could, and looking ahead, they saw a malfunctioning traffic light.

Tom: He better be up here.

(cut to Harry's car)

Harry: Come ooonnn, what's a guy gotta do to get some pizza? What?

Just then, several workers arrived in a truck, that extended for one of them to get up to the traffic light. For about a minute or two, they worked on fixing on the light, before it began working. This gave Joe and Tom enough time to catch up to Harry. Right as Joe was about to scream for Harry's attention, the car sped off and Joe smacked into a pole out of shock.

Joe: AAAUUUGGGHHH!!

Tom: We almost had him!

Joe: It's like there's a higher being somewhere (pant) deliberately trying to make this as hard as possible!

Tom: Can you keep going?

Joe: Yeah, of course.

The two kept running all that they could at that point. They knew that Scadente's was coming up soon, so they could probably meet Harry then. Just then, another guy ran up to them.

Guy: Lovely night for a jog, eh?

Joe and Tom: (silent)

Guy: Ah, okay. (runs off)

After a while, they started to hear a marching band. It was a parade, celebrating Weisston's 85th birthday, and it was heading west, right towards Harry, Joe and Tom. Harry crossed the intersection, and just as the parade was coming, Joe and Tom dashed to the other side, as well. 

Tom: How did you not know about that?

Joe: How did YOU not know about that?

Tom: (pause) I don't know.

Just then, Tom saw his car pulling into Scadente's. Him and Joe then ran up to it, as Harry casually glanced out the window.

Harry: AHHH!!!

Joe: WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!

Harry: ...getting some pizza.

Joe: HAVE YOU ANY IDEA WHAT YOU COULD POTENTIALLY HAVE DONE? HOW MANY PEOPLE COULD HAVE SEEN YOU? WE COULD'VE BEEN KICKED OUT OF THE APARTMENT!

Tom: YEAH, AND MY CAR!

As they were yelling at each other, the jogger from earlier walked by.

Jogger: Huh, crazy kids.

Then, the jogger walked into Scadente's..

Employee: Are you Harry?

Jogger: Well, my name is Harry, but-

Employee: Alright, here. (hands him Harry (ladybug)'s pizza)

Harry (jogger): Ooh. Could I also have some cheese sticks?

Employee: Coming right up, that will be ten dollars.

At this time, Joe, Harry and Tom were all watching from the car. Harry was totally horrified.

Harry: ...my pizza...

But, Joe and Tom were laughing hysterically. Then, Joe suddenly had an idea. He started making another formula that night, this one would change Harry's size whenever necessary. After a few days, he presented it to Harry.

Joe: Okay, this'll change your size for when we leave the apartment and stuff.

Harry: Will it make me bigger?

Joe: Not any bigger than your current size.

Harry: Aw...okay, fine.

Harry showered the formula on himself, and quickly shrank down. 

Joe: It's for your own good.

Later, Joe celebrated his scientific success with some good old Scadente's pizza.

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I think I got a bit more experimental with this one, but let's see.

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6. Bottle Episode

One morning, Joe was reading the newspaper, specifically, the comics section. Harry saw this, and walked up to him.

Harry: Why do you mainly read that part of the paper if you pay for all the rest?

Joe: Because I'm not smart enough for the crosswords.

Harry: You're a scientist!

Joe: You're a mutant ladybug!

Harry: Those comics are all just gonna be compiled in books, anyways!

Joe: So?

As the two were fighting, Tom walked up, quietly slipping the comics page into his own hands. Soon after, Joe glanced at the table, noticing the comics page was gone. He looked around, spotting Tom with it in the other room. However, Joe decided to let it go, and thought to read the rest of the paper, sitting back down.

Joe: Alright, Harry, let's read the news.

Harry: Good.

They started at the front page, where "WEISSTON MAYOR ISSUES BOIL WATER ADVISORY" was printed in big, bold letters.

Harry: Oh no, a boil water advisory! (pause) What's a boil water advisory?

(cut to Harry and Joe at the computer)

Joe: (typing) Okay...it looks like boil water advisories are declared when the water could be contaminated.

Harry: Oh...that's not good. What do we do?

(Tom walks in)

Tom: I heard something about a boil water advisory.

Harry: Yeah, what about it?

Tom: I think there are some water bottles in the laundry room.

Joe: Really? (pause) You go get them.

Tom walked towards the front of the apartment, into the laundry room. He opened the door, making a loud creak. It was a dark and beaten down room, with the washing machine rumbling violently in the corner. With each step he took towards the water bottles, another ear piercing creak would ring out. Tom grabbed the heavy pack when he got to it, carrying it with all of the strength he could muster for it. He threw it to the floor upon his exit, all of this obviously pissing off the neighbors below, but that's another story.

Tom: Why don't have you those by the fridge?!

Joe: ...good question.

Tom: (grumbling)

Harry: Alright, I'm thirsty. Gimme one, will ya?

Joe: You get it!

Harry: Okay, fine, fine.

Harry grabbed a bottle from the pack, and started twisting, turning, and pulling the cap around, before he realized something.

Harry: I can't open this.

Tom: Gimme that!

Tom swiped the bottle from Harry's hand, and while he twisted, turned, and pulled the cap around, his confidence turned to anger as he realized something.

Tom: I can't open this.

Joe: WHAT?! 

Tom: You try it, then!

Joe grabbed the bottle and tried to open it. The bottle cap had a ton of grooves around it, making things harder. Joe tried and tried, but eventually, he realized something.

Joe: I have some power tools in the storage space.

Harry: Well, go get them! 

Joe's hand was blistered, but he went to the storage space in the apartment, grabbing the power tool box, carrying them to the best of his ability. When he got back to the other two, he dropped the box onto the floor with a loud THUD.

Harry: Yeesh.

Joe: (digging through box) Don't worry, we're gonna open this bottle!

Tom: (staring at his hands) Even if it kills us?

Joe: I never thought about it like that, but...yeah, I wouldn't go that far.

The three went to work, using all of the power and tools they could in that moment. However, the water bottle cap bested all of the drills, hammers and saws that were thrown at it. Desperately, Tom grabbed a crowbar that had also been put in the box and put it up to the water bottle cap, which snapped the crowbar in half.

Joe: What the hell is that thing made of?!

Tom: I don't know, what else can we do?

Joe: I heard rubber bands work.

Tom: If the saws don't work, how would that?

But, Harry had already left to find a rubber band, and came back with one, after about a minute. As he put it around the bottle cap, the rubber band exploded onto his face. Many expletives later, Harry sat down again, and the three were growing more and more desperate by the second. 

Joe: Got any other bright ideas?

Tom: No.

The three looked around, with a glimmer of hope that something would work. Joe stood up, and got a knife from the kitchen counter. Hopelessly, he slipped it between the cap and the bottle, but to no avail.

Harry: My god, watch out!

Tom: He could be onto something...

Joe: Yeah, Harry.

Harry: What?

Tom and Joe started running around the apartment, looking for things thin enough for them to try to open the bottle with. They tried item after item, hoping there was a unique property to any one of them that could open this seemingly unopenable bottle, the key word being "unopenable". After a while, the group looked at the pile of items around them.

Joe: I have one last idea.

Tom: Huh?

Joe: COME ON, YOU STUPID BOTTLE! I'VE SPENT ALL OF THIS TIME TRYING TO OPEN YOU, AND I WON'T GIVE UP! I AM STAYING RIGHT HERE UNTIL THAT CAP COMES OFF OF YOU!

The three then sat in awkward silence, as Tom and Harry had their faces in their hands, out of embarrassment and annoyance. Nobody knew what to do, and a higher being in the world stared at his computer puzzlingly.

Just then, something popped out of thin air onto the floor. It was huge, it was awe-some, it was the Namdi Inc. Super Mega Ultra Hyper Fiery 5000 5001-yottawatt Slingshot Death Ray Zapper. It made an ear shattering slam upon impact to the floor, vibrating everything around it.

Joe: What the?!

Harry: Where did that come from?

Joe ran over to the thing, and in a heroic stance, tried to pick it up. After seeing that he couldn't pick it up, Tom walked over and lifted the other side.

Tom: This is stupid.

Joe, readying the zapper, pulled the trigger back, saying "This one's for you, Harry!".

Harry: Hey, I'm not even thirsty anymoOOOHHHAAAA!!

The ray had just zipped right by Harry, and was headed for the water bottle. As it made impact, the cap came off. But, the water bottle also completely exploded. Joe ran to the bathroom to get towels, as the zapper disappeared into thin air. As he was cleaning the walls and the floor, there was a knock at the door. 

Joe: (whispering) Harry, make yourself scarce!

Harry: Why?

Joe: (furiously glares in his direction)

Harry: Ah, whatever. (shrinks down and hides)

Joe: (opens door) Hello?

Guy: It's the landlord. We have a noise complaint from the guys below, and apparently they know karate, so you better be quiet.

Joe: Oh, yes.

Landlord: Good. Also, the boil water advisory is done, just so you know. (closes door)

(long silence)

Joe: I'm going to bed.

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7. The Morons

It was around noon when Tom slipped a slice of Scadente's Pizza into the microwave. After he set the time at waited for the pizza to heat, he started drumming his fingers onto the table, just casually. Joe was also eating some pizza right then, and he heard Tom's drumming, giving him an idea.

Joe: Hey Tom, how about-

(microwave beeps)

Tom: Sorry, I gotta have my pizza.

Joe: Fair enough.

After Tom ate his lunch, he went back up to Joe.

Tom: Okay, what is it?

Joe: So...uh...wanna be in a band?

Tom: ...do you play an instrument?

Joe: (pause) It can be an outsider group.

Tom: Why a band, though?

Joe: Let me show you something.

Joe walked over to the TV, and started changing channels. He kept doing this, until he got to one specific channel. The TV displayed flashing lights and shots of cheering audiences, revealing it to be a rerun episode of "Famous Fortune", hosted by famous television presenter Clifford "Lucky" Numbers.

Lucky: Howdy there folks, I'm Lucky Numbers, telling you all about those who won the lucky numbers of the fame lottery.

Tom: What the hell is this?

Joe: Shut up.

Lucky: Here on the stage with me is famous pop duo, Mason and Jason!

Mason: Yeah.

(audience cheers)

Joe: Look at that.

Tom: What?

Joe: Imagine if we could get that many people to idolize us. We could take over the world!

(muffled organ sounds)

Joe: Right. 

Tom: What about Harry?

Joe: Harry could play the uh...the uh...

Harry: (walks up) What about me?

Joe: Do you play any instruments?

Harry: Those keyboard things look cool, how about that?

With that, the band was formed. Joe had decided to sing and play guitar, Harry was on keyboards, and Tom was on whatever stuff they could find to bang on. All they needed now was about half of the actual instruments.

(cut to Fellis Music Store)

Joe: (walks in) Yeah, I'd like an electric guitar and keyboard.

Cashier: Alright, let me show you our selection here. (walks over to instruments) So, you want a guitar and a keyboard?

Joe: That's what I said.

Cashier: Don't get snappy with me, sir. Our electric guitars are usually about $250...

Joe: I-

Cashier: The keyboards are about...oh...they're also about $250...now-

Joe: Hang on, stop it. How am I supposed to pay rent then?

Cashier: You wanna buy these, don't you? Now-

Joe promptly walked out the store, going back to the apartment empty handed, swinging open the door.

Harry: (looks over) Where's the keyboard?

Joe: It was too expensive.

Harry: You're the one who wanted to do this!

Joe: I know, I know.

Tom: Isn't there another music place on Plantman Street?

Joe: (pause) It's worth a shot.

As he drove through Plantman Street, Joe was looking left and right, for the music place Tom mentioned. Eventually, he got to a plaza where off in a corner was a building called "M's Place", with a trumpet airbrushed on the top. He parked there, got out of the car and looked in the window. It wasn't the cleanest place, but it looked legitimate enough to him. So, he walked in, asking "Got any electric guitars and keyboards?".

The short and hairy cashier at the desk motioned his hands to the left wall. Joe walked over, looking at the selection. There were a few of each, marked in "Used" condition, for only 10 dollars. 

Joe: (touches one of each) I'll take these.

Cashier: (gives thumbs up)

Back at the apartment, Harry and Tom were trying to think of band names, with little success.

Tom: No, we'd want a name that conveys what we're all about.

Harry: "Buy This Music"?

Tom: Eh, I don't think so. Maybe "The Amateurs"?

Harry: That's dumb. We gotta make it funny.

Tom: "Knock Knock"?

Harry: Ah, shut up. What about "The Harry Band"?

Tom: "The Tom Richards Band".

Harry: "The Band"?

Tom: How about "Apartment 406"?

Harry: That's also moronic. (pause) Hey, I got it!

Joe: (opens door) I got the stuff.

Harry: All right! "The Morons" is now fully formed!

Tom: That's a horrible name!

Joe: Got any better ideas? 

Tom: (pause) No.

And with that, Joe went to work on writing the first song. Trying to fill it with as much passion as he could, he spent hours making sure everything fit together, with his limited knowledge. Joe was incredibly proud of his work, and the next morning, he presented it to Harry and Tom.

Joe: "...everyone uses email anyways".

Tom: Huh, sounds alright.

Joe: Yeah, (picks up guitar) everything will be (strums guitar) fine.

The guitar had a weird, twangy, almost broken sound to it.

Harry: You sure that sounds okay?

Joe: It's an outsider take on how humanity values resources. 

Tom: Oh, brother. (rolls eyes)

Joe: Yeah, Harry, try your keyboard.

Harry plugged in the keyboard and turned it on. As he started to bang on it, he noticed something. The highest notes were on the left side, and the lowest were on the right.

Harry: What is this a commentary on?

Joe: But...Tom, why do you know about that music place?!

Joe went off to get his microphone, as Tom silently stared at the floor. He got a box out of the closet, one covered with layers of dust, opening it and getting the microphone. He called for everyone to come into his room, as his computer was the only place he plug in the microphone. Harry brought in his keyboard and set it up, and Tom had planned to bang on Joe's bookshelf.

Joe: Okay, you guys ready?

Tom: If you are, I guess...

Joe: Alright, this is it.

And with a click of a button on the computer, The Morons launched into song. Harry and Tom weren't sure what to do, and the guitar was barely audible. 

Joe: Every night when I go to bed

I pull the sheets up to my head

Despite that, I can't get to sleep

Because of my insomnia


It makes night as irritating 

As day, something that I'm always hating

It's absolutely miserable

I wish I could transmit it awayyyyyy

 

I want to put it in a fax machine

And send it off the bay

I don't think that's very mean

Everyone uses email anyways 

YEAH!

Joe attempted to do a guitar solo, then. Soon after, Tom messed up on the bookshelf and broke down, so he improvised a beatbox rhythm. When Joe let out a scream, the organ player next door stood up and yelled "Knock it off, you crazy kids!". He decided to fight fire with fire, and began banging on the organ as loud as he could. Soon, Joe went back to singing, and about a minute later, the recording was done.

Tom: Alright, so...now what?

Joe: Let's put this online.

Harry: What? How?!

Joe: (gets on computer, starts typing) Yeah, hang on, I know this place...

The computer then loaded a site named "playthatsongmusic". After some registration and such, they uploaded their recording of "Fax Machine". They waited for about a minute, before refreshing the page. The page now read "1 view".

Joe: Aw, yeah.

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Here's an episode based on a dumb inside joke of mine. I hope it's good.

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8. Initiation

One morning, at approximately 5 AM, Joe was taking a morning walk. He was having trouble sleeping, so he decided to get up early. As he was almost at the apartment building, he saw a group of shadowy figures. Thinking nothing of it, Joe kept walking. However, he soon saw them again. They darted in and out of his focus, with Joe's full attention on them, now. After a while, they disappeared, and Joe felt a cold hand on his back.

Joe: YAAHHH!

Voice: What's it to ya?

Joe: (turns around) Huh?

Joe saw a group of six teenagers standing before him. The voice came from a tall, blond kid at the front of the pack, who continued to speak. He introduced everyone to Joe, with his hands motioning at them.

Kid: We're The Kids on the Street. I'm Robert Roberts, and behind me I have John Johnson, Emma Emerson, William Williams, Taylor Taylor, and Craig.

Craig: Hi, I'm Craig.

Robert: Shut up. (slaps Craig)

Joe: ...what?

John: We're at the forefront of Weisston's mischevious youth activity. According to my statistics, we-

Joe: Alright, I'm getting out of here.

Robert: NO, NO, NO, WAIT! (beat) Williams, show 'em.

William walked inside of the store that everyone was standing outside. He looked around the aisles, stopping at one and picking up the Gesa Uranus video game console. William then went back to the front of the store, and plopped it on the cashier's desk, who announced that the Uranus would cost $248.37.

Joe: Ha! What a waste of money.

Robert: Ssshhh.

William reached into his pocket, taking out $248.36. He handed it to the cashier, and speedwalked out of the store, with a smug expression on his face. The group moved away from the store and began surrounding William, cheering for him, as Joe watched on, dumbfounded.

Joe: I...I mean...what can you even do with a penny anymore?

Emma: Well, he didn't pay that.

Joe: You got me there.

Joe walked away, and back into the apartment. He opened the door to 406 with a blank expression on his face, seeing that Harry and Tom had also woken up, since he'd been gone.

Tom: (yawn) How was the walk?

Joe: Yeah, it was...uh...okay. 

Just then, Tom and Joe heard yelling outside. Joe felt that the voices were familiar, so he walked over to the window, and listened the conversation below.

Taylor: Wowzers! A new Gesa Uranus home video gaming entertainment console system? I cease my belief!

Robert: Yeah, good job, Will.

Craig: Craig likes Gesa.

Tom: Who are these people?

Joe: Just some dumb kids, it looks like.

Just then, the kids and Joe made direct eye contact. There was an awkward silence for a little bit.

Robert: HEY! WANNA PLAY GESA?

Joe: Well...HEY, GET OUTTA HERE!

Tom: Who are these people?

But, Joe had just left the apartment when Tom turned around. Joe ran out to the Kids on the Street, furious.

Joe: I told you to scram.

Emma: Yeah, well, we don't have to do a thing you say.

Joe leapt at the kids, trying to pin them to the wall, but they all scrambled.

Robert: Woah, hey! We like you!

Joe: But, I hate you.

Robert: We want ya to be with us, understand?

Joe: I'm 28 years old.

Robert: Oh...well, we like your attitude.

Joe: What attitude? I need breakfast right now, so leave me alone.

Robert: Yeah, that right there. To join us, you gotta do something of the highest offense, the worst humanity can do...you gotta steal a candy bar.

Joe: That...that's a bad thing, but...

Robert: So you're not cool enough?

Joe: Yeah, whatever. 

Joe then ran off, back into the apartment. He swung open the door, trying to not it make look like what had just happened did in fact happen, with his face scrunched up, and a stiff posture. Harry and Tom were looking at him, with a confused expression.

Harry: Are these gonna be our new allies or whatever?

Joe: (smacks face) Okay, so I'm taking my walk, and those idiots come out and to talk to me. I try to leave, but I'm forced to watch them get some video game, and...and then, they say they want me to join them, and they're not leaving.

(Harry laughs)

Tom: Uh, what should I do?

Joe: Come with me, I guess.

Joe and Tom walked down to the kids, as Harry watched from the apartment.

Robert: Hey, who's that guy?

Joe: (through gritted teeth) Go. Away. You. Idiots.

Robert: You'll have to ask nicely.

Joe: Go away, you dumb-leaning average minded kids.

John: The time right now is 5:22 AM. This is always around the time that shifts switch in this store, so they'll have a little less awareness here.

Joe: (pause) No, I'm done wasting my time. (walks off with Tom)

Joe and Tom went back to the apartment, talking to each other about what to do along the way.

Joe: We should sic the ladybug on 'em.

Tom: Maybe we could just ignore them.

Joe: Huh...let's try that.

So, they did for the rest of the day. For the first couple hours, the Kids on the Street stood outside, looking as menacing as they could. As the day went on, however, the kids walked away, and Joe, Harry and Tom all went about their day, goofing off, doing some work, and so on. At night, the three joked amongst themselves about the kids.

Joe: ...he paid for all of it but one penny!

Tom: Heh, that's ridiculous. Well, good night.

Joe: Same to you. (turns off light)

Everyone seemed fine then, still. But soon, Joe got out of bed, while still not completely conscious. He had a habit of sleepwalking, often ending up in weird places in the morning. This particular night, unfortunately, he walked out the door, and began walk down the stairs of the apartment. The Kids on the Street were watching from a distance as Joe got out onto the street, and began moving towards him. Joe crumpled onto a bench nearby, and the kids began whispering amongst themselves.

Robert: You guys have the sheets?

John: Yep, the size will be perfect for his height.

Joe lay half asleep on the bench, until he felt something wash over him. He jolted up, and felt himself being carried, slowly realizing what was going on.

Joe: HEY! HEY!

Robert: This is initiation.

Joe: What the...GET ME OUT OF HERE!

Robert: You'll have to ask nicely.

The kids then dumped Joe out of the bag, as he looked around in shock. He had been taken to the same store he met the kids at earlier.

Joe: I'm calling the cops.

Robert: Steal the candy bar.

Joe: You'll go to jail.

Robert: This is your initiation.

Joe: Your lives will be ruined.

Robert: I told you to the steal the candy bar.

Joe: I hear they serve cranberry juice in prison.

Robert: STEAL IT!

The kids then all ran behind Joe, and started pushing him to check out line. Joe resisted with all of his strength, and the kids pushed with all of their strength. Suddenly, a cashier popped out from behind the register.

Cashier: NO, BOSS, I WASN'T SLEEPING...huh? You guys want something?

(awkward silence)

Joe: These kids want me to steal a candy bar.

Cashier: What?!

Robert: Hey, it's not as bad as the time we stole a top-of-the-line toaster oven!...uh oh.

The cashier ran over to a telephone, and she called the police. The Kids on the Street tried to run out the door, but Joe managed to barricade it long enough with himself and other items until the police showed up (at which point Joe took down the barricade). An officer then got out of the car, holding the toaster oven.

Officer: Ever seen this before?

Robert: But...I just...yes.

The Kids on the Street all piled into the police car, as Joe told the officers about all that had happened.

Joe: ...and then when they took the bag off my head, they started pushing me towards the register. I wasn't there for the toaster oven thing, though.

Officer: Alright, that'll help, thanks.

Joe: I had nothing to do with this, by the way.

Officer: Yeah, uh...just keep staying out of trouble, okay, son?

Joe: You got it.

The officer got back into the car, which immediately sped away. As it did, Robert yelled out the window, "GAH! I'll get you next time, whatever your name iiiiissss!". As the car went out of Joe's sight, he stood still in silence.

Joe: ...guess I'd better get back to sleep.

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Something I should probably mention is that Harry also has the optional ability to talk with another animals, even if they can't talk or anything, which explains a little of this episode. Probably coulda explained that in the episode, but yeah. This one is also a bit more narration-heavy, but I hope it's good.

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9. Fly Away Home

Like many others, this story begins with Joe, Harry and Tom sitting around the apartment. Feeling a need for fresh air, Harry opened the window. A bunch of loud noises from outside flooded in, irritating Joe, who was in the other room. Angrily, he got up and walked into the living room.

Joe: What are you doing?

Harry: I can't hear you over the jackhammers!

Joe: I said, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

Harry: I opened the window for some fresh air, are you blind?

Joe: Well, that's not the best air, either!

Harry: Fine, fine, have it your way.

Joe then shut the window, and went on with his day. About an hour later, however, he noticed a fly flying around his room. He jumped up, and after making sure none of his science stuff was out, ran to get a newspaper.

Joe: (grabs newspaper) This is your fault, Harry!

Harry: (turns around) Huh?

Just then, the fly landed on the living room wall, leading Joe to start smacking it with the newspaper.

Harry: WOAH, HEY! STOP! STOP!

Joe: (stops smacking) Okay, I killed him anyways.

Harry: WHAT?!

Harry stormed off into his own room, locking the door. Tom then walked in, noticing the dead bug on the floor.

Tom: What happened here?

Joe: Harry's upset that I killed a bug.

Tom: That's probably because he's a bug.

Joe: (pause) Ohhh...

The rest of the day went on quietly, but not without tension in the air, as Harry never left his room for the rest of the day. He continued to stay there until the next morning, when he slowly walked out with a tired and angry expression on his face.

Joe: Uh...sorry.

Harry: What if that was my friend?

Joe: Well, was it?

Harry walked over to Joe, and without saying anything, smacked him in the face and opened the window again.

Joe: There's been at least a couple bugs in here since you've moved in, right, Harry?

Harry: (grumbling) I don't know.

Joe and Harry went on their day, but about 45 minutes later, Joe was reading the newspaper, and another fly made themselves visible.

Joe: Oh, no...

Harry: What's wrong? (starts walking over to Joe)

Joe: Ah, nothing, nothing...

Harry: Ahhh, haaa! Are you gonna kill that one, too?

Joe looked nervously at Harry, and then nervously at the fly. He decided not to use the newspaper, not only because he didn't want to upset Harry, but also because he wasn't finished reading it. He waited for the fly to land on something and carefully picked it up with his hand, forming it into a fist so the fly couldn't get away. However, his fist was too tight, and he squished the fly, killing it.

Joe: Aw, my hand!

Harry: Did you just...

Joe opened his hand, which was covered in juice and had the dead fly in the middle. Harry shrieked in horror, before fainting. Joe then stood there in silence, feeling his stomach turn, before awkwardly shuffling away to go wash his hands. After a while, Harry slowly woke up, feebly walking back to his room, before locking the door again. Joe decided to clear to his head for a walk, and left the apartment.

Harry was staring at the floor, and looking over the last four and a half months of his life. He looked out at the window, thinking about all of his bug and human friends. He thought about what Joe had said, and how much it hurt him. Harry looked out the window, at Weisston, and saw Joe walking down the sidewalk. 

There were several ladybugs out in the grass, who began slowly crawling out into the sidewalk. Joe kept walking, unknowingly, until he heard a squish below him. After a quick look at the ground, seeing the couple remainin ladybugs, Joe instantly knew what happened. He took a look at the apartment to see if Harry saw what had just happened. He did, and then opened the window.

Harry: DON'T THINK I DIDN'T SEE THAT!

Joe: Huh?

Harry: YOU CAN'T DO THAT!

Joe went and hid in the bushes by the apartment as Harry kept yelling. Some people that were nearby stopped to look at the spectacle. Harry had then shrunk down onto the floor, to stop people from seeing him.

Several geese were flying in the air at that moment, and were going towards the apartment windows. Harry saw this, and tried to save their lives.

Harry: Woah, hey, get outta here!

Goose #1: (stops) Yikes. Everybody, this bug guy is right! Let's get outta here before this glass of death ends us all!

Geese #2-5: Thanks, bug guy!

The geese flew away, but they managed to give Harry an idea.

Just then, Joe came back to the apartment, upset with himself for upsetting Harry, even on accident. At that moment, he decided to try to talk things out for Harry, from outside the door.

Joe: Look, Harry-

Harry: Go away.

Joe: That was last one was an accident, but I know that-

Harry: I said, go away.

Joe: I didn't mean to do it, and if everything is okay with us, then that's all I want.

Harry: (pause) It's not right now, but it will be soon...

Joe: Alright, that's good. (walks off)

Harry: (quiet evil laughter)

The next morning, Joe woke up, and heard a bunch of strange noises. When he sat up in his bed, he looked around, and saw there were tons of bugs all over the floor. Joe yelled out some words that I can't put in a PG show, and immediately knew who was responsible.

Joe: HARRY!

Harry: (walks in) Yyyeeesss?

Joe: Did you let all of these bugs in?

Harry: Well, let's see if you can kill 'em.

Tom: (in his room) YYYAAAHHH!

Joe: COME IN THE LIVING ROOM!

Joe and Tom both managed to make it into the living room by stepping on objects on the floor, without bugs on them. The two stood on the couch, looking for something heavy. Joe took one look at the bookshelf, and began to empty it of it's contents. He threw the books all over the floor, stepping into various rooms to do so. There were still dozens left, so Harry wasn't too worried. Spare boxes rained down on the insects, with Joe and Tom filling them with random stuff to make everything heavier. 

Harry began to sweat, as there were only 9 bugs left. However, they were the strongest and biggest of the lot, scaring Joe and Tom.

Joe: God, I hate bugs...

Harry: What was that?!

Harry charged at Joe, who jumped off the back of the couch and onto a table in his bedroom. He then jumped onto his bed, and looked at his personal bookshelf. "My complete Superhero Man collection..." he muttered to himself. Joe picked the stack of comics up, jumped back onto the couch, and threw it down onto the bugs, who were squished immediately.

Harry: B-But...WHAT?! My men! You could've spared one!

Joe: Well, that's the power of books, kids.

Tom: Who are you talking to?

Just then, another fly flew into the living room, catching the undivided attention of all three. Joe and Tom quickly looked at each other, thinking about what to do.

Joe: Yeah, I'll spare that one.

Harry: Well, that's good of you, it means at least something to me. I'm sure the fly is happy about that,  maybe this'll start a pattern, I don't know...

Joe: Then make sure he doesn't bother me when I clean up all this crap. (walks away).

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I actually started writing this one right before GCA nominations started, it's not intended to be an attack or commentary on the GCAs or whatever. I hope its good.

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10. The Summers Awards

One night, Joe was working on a mind-control formula, as Harry walked up to him.

Harry: Whatcha working on?

Joe: I'm working on this juice that'll help us take over the world.

(muffled organ sounds)

Joe: Not again!

Harry: Will it better be than me?

Joe: I don't know, you were sort of-

Harry: Am I your favorite?

Joe: I don't know, go away!

Harry: Fine. (walks away)

Joe: Yeesh, it's not like I'm some awards show. (silently continues working) Hey, that's an idea!

Joe was now too excited to focus on his work, instead put everything away, took out a sticky note and wrote to himself not to forget this "awards show" idea. A few minutes later, he went to bed, thinking of categories as he fell asleep.

The next morning, at 4:35 AM, Joe awoke, and went to his closet. He pulled out his prized "Box O' Stuff", and searched through it until he found his megaphone. He went out into the living room with the megaphone, which he put up to his face.

Joe: (imitating trumpet sounds)

(Harry and Tom wake up)

Tom: (pulls blanket away) What the...huh?

Harry: HEY, KEEP IT DOWN THERE!

Joe: Attention, citizens of Eastwood Apartments Floor 4, Apartment 6! I-

(Landlord knocks at door outside)

Landlord: What are you doing?! Shut up!

Joe: (pause) Right. (begins whispering) I am pleased to announce The Summers Awards!

Harry: Mhm. (starts to fall back asleep)

Joe: A panel made up of myself and nobody else is gonna judge everyone here by specific categories. The categories are Best Person, Best Human, Best Animal, Best Sandwich Eater, Best Pizza Eater, Fastest Runner, Most Knowledgeable About Superhero Man, Best Shopper, Smartest, Best-

Joe continued to list off tons of categories for the next hour, mostly making them up as he went along. 

Joe: ...and Best Microwave User. Any questions?

Harry: Can I sleep for a few minutes?

Joe: Okay, sure. The ceremony will be on October 3rd. (walks back into bedroom)

Tom: (pause) That guy, man...

The date was September 30, so there was still a few days before "The Summers Awards". Harry and Tom thought nothing of the awards during those few days, but Joe was hard at work on them. He spent hours in his room, deciding who was what. Even just before the ceremony began, he was still changing and deciding awards. But, at exactly noon on October 3, Joe brought out the megaphone again.

Joe: (imitating trumpet sounds)

Harry: WHAT? WHAT IS IT THIS TIME?

Joe: (pause) The Summers Awards are here.

Harry: Gah, fine, let's get this over with.

Joe: (holds up megaphone) HEY TOM!

(Tom walks in with a confused expression)

Tom: What happened?

Harry: Take a seat for "The Summers Awards".

Tom: ...okay. (sits down on couch)

Joe:  So yeah, the first category is Best Person, for overall in the apartment, and it's... (opens up paper) Joe!

Tom: Can't imagine why.

Joe: Best Human is also Joe, but Best Animal is...Harry!

Harry: But humans are animals too, you dolt.

Joe: Great acceptance speech there. Best Sandwich Eater...Tom!

Tom: Heh, thanks I guess.

Harry: What?! Tom?!

Tom: Well, maybe it's because I don't tear off the crusts like you.

Harry: (grumbles)

Joe: Best Pizza Eater...Joe!

Tom: (jumps out of couch) WHAT?!

Joe: The panel decided that the method of consumption of the cheese was the defining fac-

Tom: That's stupid! How many ways can you even eat a pizza? 

Harry: If it's so stupid, then why are you so upset?

(awkward silence)

Joe: ...Let's speed this up. Fastest Runner is Harry, Most Knowledgeable About Superhero Man is Joe, Smartest is Joe-

Harry: Really?! I thought you were the crazy, dumb one!

Joe: Well, you thought that. I know all about types of stuff.

Harry: Like what?

Joe: Chemical reactions, psychology, Superhero Man-

Tom: Yeah, sure, whatever. Next, please.

Joe: Best Shopper is Tom.

Tom: Aw yeah, that's what I like to hear.

The awards show continued on for a little while. The tensions from earlier on were still in the air, but weren't as present, until one award category came up.

Joe: Most Useful...Joe!

Tom: Hey, ah, isn't this a little biased?

Joe: Well, the panel tried as best they could. Most Talented...Joe!

Harry: What?! What about me?! I can bench press 600 pounds!

Joe: Well, I'm double jointed.

Tom: I don't think you can control that!

Joe: Uh, right. Anyways, Best Chef...Tom!

Harry: TOM?!

Tom: I told you, 37 seconds is the perfect time for microwaving leftover Scadente's!

Harry: That's not cooking!

Tom: What about my grilled cheese sandwiches?

Harry: They're decent, I suppose.

Tom: DECENT?! Is buying the expensive, special bread not enough for you? That's an award winning strategy!

Harry: You heat it too much.

Tom: Oh, shut up.

Joe: Alright, everyone.

Tom: Joe, I'm just surprised "the panel" didn't pick you .

Joe: Uh... (starts talking really fast) That's it for The Summers Awards, goodbye, good job everyone, I'm Joe Summers, and I'm outta here.

Joe walked back into his room. As he closed the door, Harry and Tom looked at each other, angrily, before slowly walking back into their own rooms. Joe felt pretty bad about what had just happened. "I didn't know they would get upset like that...gah.", he muttered to himself. He decided to play some video games, to make himself feel better and forget about everything. A few hours later, he left his room to get some dinner. He saw that Tom was making himself a grilled cheese sandwich, while grumbling to himself.

Tom: Decent...I'll show him what decent really is.

Joe: ...how are things?

Tom: I'd assume they're better when you're the most talented and useful!

Joe: (pause) Oh, sorry. (walks back into room)

(Harry walks out of his room)

Tom: Oh, look who it is.

Harry: Yep, Mr. Best Animal, Mr. Fastest Runner, Mr.-

Tom: You're the one who said Best Animal was redundant!

Harry: You gotta take these things as they come, man!

Tom: Yeah, yeah, don't distract me from my sandwich that I'll cook better than you and eat better than you.

Harry: You little brat!

Joe was standing right next to his door, listening to the two argue. As time went on, their voices raised, and Joe was having trouble listening to the explosive fight.

Harry: I DESERVED THAT AWARD AND YOU KNOW IT!

Tom: TWO OUT OF THREE SAID NOT! NOW STOP BEFORE I SQUISH YOU LIKE A BUG.

Harry: DON'T EVER SAY THAT TO ME!

Feeling sick in his stomach, Joe decided to crack open the door the slightest bit, so maybe Harry and Tom could notice his presence. They heard the cccrrreeeaaakkk and stopped fighting almost instantly.

(awkward silence)

Joe: I think your sandwich is ready, Tom. 

Tom walked over the pan, and grabbed his sandwich. He shot a dirty look at Harry, who growled before shuffling back to his room. Over the next day, things were still tense between the three. They weren't constantly fighting, even refusing to talk to each other, but Joe was worried. He needed some company, as well some help on taking over the world.

(muffled organ sounds)

Stop it!

Anyways, the next evening, Joe walked into Tom's room, holding a small shopping list.

Joe: Okay, Tom, I need you to go get some eggs and bread, as our Best Shopper. (winks)

Tom: Huh? (grabs list) Yeah, just gimme a minute.

One minute later, Tom was out the door, and Joe went to go talk to Harry. He swung open the door to Harry's room. Harry was engrossed in a comic book, so Joe waited a bit to grab his attention.

Joe: Hey-

Harry: No, get out of here.

Joe: The panel and I have talking, and-

Harry: GET OUTTA HERE!

Joe: We messed up on the awards.

Harry: Oh, brother.

Joe: Sure, they're just awards, but even if you don't get all of them, you're still great. I mean, I couldn't bench press 600 pounds. Think about everything else you won, you make up in those categories.

Harry: (grunts)

Joe: Why should the opinion of just one crazy, dumb guy like myself matter so much? Be happy with who you are, as long you're not killing anyone.

Harry: I've never killed anyone, but this is a little preachy.

Joe: Yeah, well, just think about it. 

Joe closed the door and ran over to the other side of the apartment, into his room, where he opened the Box O' Stuff again. He pulled out some Groucho glasses, a Grim Reaper mask, a fedora and a large coat. Slipping this disguise on as fast as he could, he practically flew into the apartment's parking lot, and stood in the middle of the street. After a minute or two, Tom's car pulled in. However, he came to a dead stop just before Joe.

Joe: (in British accent) Hey, stranger.

(silence)

(Joe walks over to side of car and tries to grab Tom)

Tom: YAAHHH! DON'T!

Joe: A little birdie told me about an awards show.

Tom: Who? Joe?

Joe: No, it was my main man, Mark Pointblank. I'm Gerald Pointblank.

Tom: What?

Joe then gave the same speech he gave to Harry, with some changes based on who he was talking to. Tom listened, and started to feel better about everything. After the speech was over, Joe walked away and hid in the bushes, and Tom went up to the apartment. He walked over to Harry's room, but didn't open the door as he was afraid Harry was still upset.

Tom: Uh, Harry, a little birdie told me that a little birdie told him that this awards stuff shouldn't matter as much as we think and we're great how we are.

Harry: (opens door) Huh, Joe told me the same thing.

Tom: That's pretty weird! But, we're good now, right?

Harry: Yup, for the time being.

Tom: Alright, great. (walks away)

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11. Power Lunch

Joe opened the fridge, looking for something to eat. Scanning the contents of the fridge, he was disappointed to see there was nothing to satisfy his current appetite. It was noon, and he was hungry, so he thought about his favorite restaurants. He didn't feel like having Scadente's, as he had just had it yesterday. So, his next thought his one of his favorite breakfast places, The Morning People (open at all hours). Joe immediately decided to go there, running out of the apartment, and hopping into his car. As he arrived at The Morning People, he saw a huge sign posted on the door. It read:

THE MORNING PEOPLE ARE OFFERING A CHALLENGE. A CHALLENGE LIKE NO OTHER CHALLENGE EVER DONE BEFORE. 60 POUNDS OF BAGEL, CHEESE, AND EGG. 60 MINUTES TO EAT. YOU GET FREE FOOD FOR A YEAR. DEADLINE IS OCTOBER 24, 2004 AT 10:34 AM. NEVER SEEN A CHALLENGE WITH THAT DEADLINE, HAVE YOU?
BRING A FRIEND IF YOU WANT.

As Joe marveled at the sign and it's contents, the lottery winner from a while ago walked out of the restaurant, while people were chanting "Dave! Dave! Dave!" inside.

Dave: Ohhh, that was a bad idea.

Joe: Did you win?

Dave: Wha...I remember you!

Joe: I was one digit off at the lottery.

(Dave laughs)

Joe: Shut it.

Dave: Yeah, yeah, I finished the challenge.

Joe: Wow, by yourself?!

Dave: No, I also had my friend, Andy. He's at the hospital right now.

(awkward silence)

Dave: So yeah, don't do the challenge. (walks away) 

Joe walked into the restaurant and just ordered his usual meal, a much smaller version of the challenge was offering. He ate it quickly and then rushed back to the apartment. 

Joe: (opens door) Wow!

Tom: (sitting on couch) Wait, what happened?

Joe: I went to get lunch and The Morning People is having this 60 pound bagel contest and-

Tom: Woah, 60 pounds? You shouldn't enter that. 

Joe: You can bring others. That's 20 pounds each, no?

Tom: That's still a lot.

Harry: (walks in) You don't have to eat it all.

Joe: That's the point of the challenge.

Harry: Ah, right...

Joe wasn't sure if he wanted to sign up for the challenge, so he decided to sleep on it. There was still a week and a half before the deadline, so he had a little time. That next morning, he thought to himself aloud in the living room, presenting his current thoughts on the situation.

Joe: I don't know what to do. I don't know if I could do it, but on the other hand, there's free food for a year, and-

Harry: FREE FOOD FOR A YEAR?! 

Joe: Yes, that's the prize.

Harry: (grabs Joe by the arm) Come on, let's go, let's go!

Harry shrunk down to "normal" size, and Joe scooped him up into his pocket before dashing down to the car. When they arrived at The Morning People, it was more packed than either of them had ever seen it. There were people everywhere, talking and speculating about the challenge amongst themselves. Joe walked past all of that, and up to the cashier.

Joe: Hi, I'd like to sign up for the challenge.

(everyone gasps and looks at Joe)

Joe looked around, puzzled, before turning back to the stern faced cashier. "Very well", the cashier muttered, before handing a large stack of papers to him. The first page read "WAIVER: IT'S NOT OUR FAULT IF YOU DIE. SIGN HERE: ______________". Joe grabbed a pen from the cash register and signed the paper. But, he kept reading through the other papers, which read "WE JUST PUT THESE HERE TO MAKE EVERYTHING MORE DRAMATIC. OUR APOLOGIES TO THE AMAZON RAINFOREST.". Joe looked at the cashier, and then walked out. He was silent in the car, until arriving back at the apartment, when Harry also went back to his usual size.

Harry: What was that?

Joe: I don't even know...

Tom: Wait, what happened?

Joe: Everyone was there, and it was this big thing, and everyone gasped and looked at me, and I had to sign a waiver-

Tom: Woah, calm down. 

Joe: I have to do it! As the chosen one, I need to fulfill the prophecy-

Tom: What?! Shut up about all that.

Joe: The waiver's signed.

Tom: Gah, fine.

Harry: Yeah, we could divide everything up, I guess.

Joe: Alright, let's do it.

Joe went back to The Morning People, and casually walked inside. Despite his calm and quiet demeanor, everyone's attention went straight to him. Everyone was quiet, in awe, except for one guy who whispered "Quick, Jerry!" at a man who had musical instruments attached all over his body. Jerry then began to play spaghetti-western-style music as Joe walked up to the cashier.

Joe: I'd like 60 pounds of egg and cheese on a plain bagel, please.

Cashier: The challenge?

(everyone gasps)

(Jerry plays louder)

Joe: No, no. I'd like some ordinary sandwiches, the collective weight of which add up to 60 pounds. I'm training.

(Jerry stops playing)

Cashier: Oh, okay.

Lady: Well, that was anticlimactic. (leaves)

A little later, Joe left with the bagels in a huge sack, and brought them home to the apartment. He then held up the sack, and dumped its contents everywhere.

Tom: (turns around) WHOA!

Joe: There's no such thing as too much "Morning People".

Tom: How much do I eat?

Joe: About 1/3.

Tom: Yeah, well, I just ate, so we will practice tomorrow.

Joe: Hmm.

The next day, at the crack of dawn, Joe gathered everyone into the kitchen. On the table were all of the bagels, laid out into sections of three for everyone to consume.

Joe: Gentlemen.

Tom: Holy crap...

Harry: (sits down) Alright, let's get this over with.

(Joe and Tom sit down)

Joe: (setting timer) 3...2...1...GO!

The men (and bug) worked furiously at eating this bagels set before them, improvising strategies they thought would work. They wanted to push themselves, but not too much. However, with just a little time and food left, Harry gave up.

Harry: STOP!

(Joe and Tom stop eating)

Harry: I can't do any more, I just don't have that strong stomach.

Joe: But you have super strength!

Harry: Yeah, well, it doesn't always correlate...could you two goofs get stronger?

Joe: Huh, good idea. WHO HAS A GYM MEMBERSHIP?

(silence)

Harry: I don't think I do.

A few hours later, after the three had some more rest, Joe took everyone to a field just outside of Weisston.

(everyone gets out the car)

Joe: Run.

Harry: Excuse me?

Joe: That's how people exercise, right?

Tom: I'm running away from here.

Joe: Alright, have fun paying for bagels, then.

Tom: Agh, fine.

The group ran around the field time and time again, until they couldn't anymore. Now, they had practiced the eating itself and physical strength, but still, nobody was satisfied. The day before, Tom went out and bought a lot of groceries, giving Joe an idea when they were back at the apartment. Later, that night, he took out a bunch of the contents of the fridge, weighed them, and called the other two into the kitchen.

Joe: Here I have with me 60 pounds of food-

Tom: Hey, I just bought most of that!

Joe: Well, I'm not buying more bagels.

Tom: Grrr...

Joe: (starts setting timer) Anyways, this'll help us with the challenge some more. So, dig in, starting now.

Again, the three ate as much as they could, trying to regulate their pace and see ways they could cut time. They didn't talk to each other very much during the time, trying to focus on all of the food they were eating. At the end of the hour, they had eaten almost everything.

Joe: Ohhh man, Dave was right about this.

Tom: Who?

Joe: Eh, some guy.

Harry: God, I can't believe I have to do this again...

Joe: Well, just recite a mantra or something, I don't know.

Harry: Like what?

Joe: Oh, uh..."At least I don't have to pay for bagels for a year".

Harry: Well...I like it. (starts slowly walking away) At least I don't have to pay for bagels for a year, at least I don't have to pay for bagels for a year...

Tom: He doesn't pay for bagels!

Joe: It was the only thing I could think of. At least I don't have to pay for bagels for a year-

Tom: Aw, jeez. (sigh) At least I don't have to pay for bagels for a year...

Soon, the three went to bed, more certain of possible success than ever. They found that if they said Joe's ridiculous mantra enough times, it just might work for them. At least they wouldn't have to pay for bagels for a year.

The next day, they arrived The Morning People, confident. Harry had put to together a costume that disguised his being a ladybug, complete with a big hat and a suit many sizes too big for him. As the three burst open the doors, they were met with applause, as Joe scanned the room.

Joe: Aw crud, Jerry's not here.

Tom: Who?

(Jerry pops up out of seat and starts playing)

Cashier: What is the guy in the suit about?

Joe: That's my friend, it's his Halloween costume. Now, gimme the challenge.

Cashier: Hey, two people maximum.

Tom: WHAT?!

Joe: Hang on... (runs out)

(cut to flashback of last night, outside the restaurant)

(The Kids on the Street walk up to the sign)

Robert: Aw, only two people allowed? I know what to do... John, do you have a pencil?

John: Of course, why wouldn't I? (pulls out one from pocket)

Robert then wrote an "S" right next to "BRING A FRIEND". He then stepped back, pleased with himself, as it looked a little like the font of the poster, at least.

Taylor: Shall we mosey back over to captivity?

Craig: Craig is out for good behavior.

Robert: No need to remind me, stupid. Anyways, I guess we should go, yeah. We'd be even worse off if we didn't, sure, and-

Robert rambled for a couple minutes about what to do, and he was deeply unsure himself, but the group started running after they saw a police car in the distance.

(flashback ends)

(Joe runs back in with sign)

Joe: See, it says  "BRING A FRIENDS"...wait, who wrote this? That's not correct grammar!

Cashier: Look, man, I'm tired, I forgot my glasses, I'll just take your word for it, let ya through. 

Joe: ...oh.

(audience cheers)

Guy: Oh, we're not cheering about your situation, Mr. Cashier, we're cheering about the challenge.

Cashier: Yeah, okay. HEY, GUYS, BRING IT OUT!

A group of employees walked out with a massive bagel, exactly 60 pounds in weight. Everyone, including those that were about to eat it was in awe. Joe was frantically repeating the mantra, as Harry put his head down, and Tom cracked his knuckles. They were sat at the largest table in the place, which shook as the giant bagel went down on it. The manager walked out, and became the referee.

Manager: (setting timer) ...0 seconds and 2 milliseconds...0 seconds and 1 millisecond...0 seconds and 0.5 milliseconds...EAT!

Instantly, the three picked up their forks and devoured the bagel. Without talking to each other, they tried to divide it evenly so they each got 20 pounds. The whole place was cheering them on, as Joe, Harry and Tom were nervously looking at the clock and then at the bagel time and time again. They were at a good pace for most of the time, trying not to have too much of the water. But, with 9 minutes and as many bagel pounds left, Joe started getting really full.

Joe: Come on...push (eats) through the pain...at least (eats) I don't have to pay for bagels for a year!

Manager: Oh man, oh man, oh man...

Joe suddenly took a huge chunk out of his section of the bagel, and was about to fall over. Just then, he heard a voice inside his head.

Voice: Use the water strategy, it'll morph the bagel's anatomy.

Joe: Oh no, I've really lost it now!

Voice: Do as I say, or you will pay!

Joe: What's this water strategy?

Voice: Pour your water on the bagel, it's a strategy that is age-old.

Joe: Are you trying to sabotage me?

Voice: No! Now I must go.

Joe: Huh.

Reluctantly, Joe poured his water all over the bagel, making it a lot easier to eat. With just a few more bites, he finished his section.

Joe: Come on, guys, you can do it!

Manager: Yes, and you can only pour the water two, yes, two times!

Harry and Tom immediately dumped out all of their water that was left, and as a result were able to eat faster. With three minutes and twenty two seconds left, the challenge was done.

(audience cheers)

Tom: Crikey, I never want to eat again. How did you get that strategy, Joe?

Joe: A voice inside my head told me about it.

Tom: You need to get your brain exami-ohh, boy. (runs to bathroom)

Joe: ...I can't even stand up, but at least I don't have to pay for bagels for a year.

Manager: Well, since there was the three of you, that's nine months for each person.

Joe: Still a good deal.

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12. Road Trip

One afternoon, Joe was staring out the window, contemplating how to take over the w-I mean, conquer Earth. He looked over Weisston, and then back at Tom, who was sitting on the couch.

Joe: One day, boy, all of this will be ours.

Tom: Ahh, we'll see about that.

Joe: Every day, I know a little more about how I can rule the planet.

Tom: Hmm, well...how much of the planet have you been to?

Joe: Not that much, actually...

Tom: Then how can you take over the world?

Joe: (confusedly mumbling)

Tom: Agh, whatever.

Joe: ...ROAD TRIP!

Tom: Oh, god, please no.

Joe: It was technically your idea.

Tom: That wasn't what I meant!

Joe: Well, you know. I need to get a layout of everything.

Harry: (walks in) You're going around the whole world?

Joe: ...nah, too much money and energy. Maybe the country would suffice.

Tom: Do I have to come?

Joe: Yes.

And with that, Joe began to plan the road trip. He would zig zag up and down the country, and then do it again, presumably. He didn't have a set path or goal, but wanted to see what he could be in charge of one day, potentially. A couple days later, he had packed all the stuff he needed into his car, and was standing happily in the parking lot of the apartment.

Joe: Come on, gents, I'm ready!

(Harry and Tom walk out)

Harry: How long will this be?

Joe: Hmm...yeah, it's only...135 hours...

Harry: WHAT?!

Tom: (runs up to Joe) Hang on, let me further disconnect your brain stem-

Joe: I don't like it either, but you know...

Harry: Then why are we doing this?

Joe: Because I'll start killing more bugs otherwise.

(awkward silence)

Tom: Come on now, that was a crappy thing to say.

Joe: Also, because there's not enough room in my car, you'll be driving your own vehicle, Tom.

Tom: THAT WAS AN EVEN CRAPPIER THING TO SAY! (starts walking towards his car) Dang, at least I have my DVDs...

Joe: So, yeah. Let's get going.

A little while later, the two cars were driving out of the apartment, and were on the highway soon after. Tom was following Joe, who had a top-of-the-line GPS hooked up. Joe was excited to see what he imagined he would rule over.

Harry: What's the difference between the country and everywhere else? You'd be ruling everywhere else, too.

Joe: Hmm, well, it all starts at home.

Harry: What? You have a problem. Everywhere else matters, too.

After a brief silence, Harry brought one of his bags a little closer to him, opened it and began rummaging through it. Eventually, he pulled out his prized Tindonen Blockgame portable system, (not) available in stores for $49.99. He played around with it, until he got a bit carsick and fell asleep in his seat. "At least he's not bothering me.", Joe muttered to himself. Tom was bored to almost tears, with only some TV show DVDs keeping him from falling asleep. At those moments, he had regrets. They were making their way up the lower 48, and down again, following the route of this (if anyone cares):

 46sWrSc.jpg

One night, eventually the group had to pull into a motel to get some rest. At the time, they were driving in a small town named Wimono, Nebraska and quickly spotted a motel off the street. The two cars then parked in a field next to the motel, as there was no parking lot. As everyone got out of the cars, Joe fell over.

Joe: I guess my legs are asleep.

Tom: I hate the look of this already.

(cut to the motel room)

Joe: So, this is room 106...kinda like home, huh guys?

Harry: Okay, you can stop trying now.

The place was not exactly in good condition. It just felt sort of damp, and unwelcoming. As Joe looked around the four peeling walls before him, he decided to just flop down on the bed. Almost instantly, a loose spring catapulted him to the ceiling. Expecting some nasty bruises on his face and stomach, Joe instead just stuck to the ceiling. He looked around the ceiling, realizing that what he thought was a weird pattern on the ceiling was actually a blank wall with huge pieces of bubblegum stuck to it.

Joe: Aw, nuts!

Harry: (sits down and sighs) I miss Weisston.

Tom: I don't think I'll be able to fall asleep right now.

Joe: It's getting late, though, man.

Tom: Excuse me for not wanting to sleep on the ceiling. Come on, Tom, think about your fears...bugs-

Harry: WHY, YOU LITTLE-

Tom:  ...that aren't Harry, noises in the dark, nuclear war, deadly diseases, giant pigs-

Joe: Are you afraid of giant pigs?

Tom: It's a long story.

Harry: Not giant bugs, I see.

Tom: Most giant bugs.

Harry: Grrr...

Tom: The point is I'll have nightmares, now.

Joe: Agh, whatever. Let's go "downtown" and see stuff.

Joe then attempted to break free of the bubblegum ceiling by loosening the stem of the bit that was holding him with fingers. Wearing it out, he aimed his body towards the floor, so as to not be trapped in an endless cycle of hitting the bed and the ceiling. When he wore out the stem with his fingers, he sort of disconnected from the bubblegum and hit the floor.

Joe: Ow.

Tom: Wow.

The three journeyed to "downtown" Wimono, were there were a little less than a dozen buildings. Some residential places, a general store, some food places, among other things. Joe decided to go into a place called "Wimono's Official Tavern", with the others reluctantly following. As they walked in, a large man stand at the door, and began to speak in a gravelly voice.

Large Man: Yes?

Joe: I'm just stopping by.

Large Man: Oh. My name's Ralph. Come on in, I guess.

Tom: (whispers) Christ.

Ralph sat them down at a long table, where others were seated, glued to an American football game on TV.

(cheering, slamming noises on TV)

Announcer: Oh, that'll hurt for the brain stem tonight!

Harry: What is it with disconnecting stems recently? I don't get it.

Ralph: Hey, who's your weird lookin' friend?

Joe: Oh, (sweating) that's Harry. He had a work accident.

Ralph: Aw, that's gotta suck. What happened?

Joe: ...he was, uh-

(Bartender walks over to them)

Bartender: Hey, Ralph! Who are these guys?

Ralph: Some crazy kids, I guess. One of 'em was tellin' me about the bug-lookin' guy's work accident.

Bartender: Oh...what happened?

Harry: Well, I woke up that day, had some cereal. I remember having trouble deciding between-

Bartender: Yeah, yeah, whatever. What do you want?

Joe: I'm in the mood for some pink lemonade.

Bartender: We, uh, don't have much of that.

Joe: Well, that's all I'm in the mood for.

Tom: I'll, uh, have some water.

Harry: I'm good, thanks.

Bartender: One water coming up.

(beat)

Ralph: So, did ya guys hear about the thumb wrestling tournament?

Joe: There's one here?

Ralph: Ha, yep. It starts tonight, in fact. You gents wanna sign up?

Harry: I'll take the challenge, Mr. Ralph. (grabs sign up sheet and writes down name)

Ralph: Ha, atta boy.

Harry: So, when is this championship?

Ralph: Round 1 starts in five minutes.

Harry: WHAT?!

Ralph: Yep, they're already putting up the brackets.

Ralph's hand motioned over to a corner of the tavern, where a large tournament board was put up. Harry studied it carefully, seeing that he was scheduled to play someone named Bob "Distal Phalange" Jackson in the first round.

Harry: (chuckles) Nice name.

Voice: What was that?

Ralph: Oh, Bob! This is your competitor.

Harry: I swear that wasn't sarcastic.

Bob: (starts walking away) Yeah, I'll beat whatever you are, anyways.

(beat)

Ralph: Good luck, man. Winning one of these feels like taking over the world.

(muffled organ sounds)

Joe: WHA...HOW?!

Ralph: Huh? Oh, oh, that's our piano player, Lou. Recently, he's been draping one of his organs with a blanket, claiming it to be the new style.

Lou: I'll sell tons of records!

Ralph: It'll never take off!

Lou: You wouldn't know good music if it hit you in the-

Bartender: ROUND ONE, MATCH ONE: Ron "Fireman" Gibberts vs. Louisa "Ladyluck" Clinton!

Harry: (sighs) They all have those names, don't they?

Ralph: What's yours?

Harry: I don't know, how about-

Ralph: Okay, shut up.

Bartender: 3, 2, 1, go!

Ron and Louisa: 1, 2, 3, 4, I declare a thumb war. 

Everyone in the tavern was watching the match, which was incredibly tense for about 15 seconds.

Ron: 5, 6, 7, 8,  try to keep your thAAHHOOHHHNOOO!

Louisa: Heh. 

Louisa had advanced to the next round, as Ron's thumb was just lying there, defeated. Harry waited anxiously for his turn, which came almost instantly to him.

Bartender: MATCH SIX: Bob "Distal Phalange" Jackson vs. Harry "Bugman" McCityboyworkaccident.

Tom: BAHAHAHA!...mph, sorry, dude.

Harry: Yeah, whatever, I'm gonna go break some finger bones.

Bob: You talk a lotta crap, fella. Let's see if you are that good.

Joe: WOO! GO HARRY!

The bartender counted down from three, and it seemed that within seconds, the match was done and Harry had won. Hey, that rhymes!

Bob: Sorry about that, sir...

Harry: Hahaaa! (walks back to table)

Ralph, Tom and Joe: (congratulatory walla) 

Bartender: MATCH SEVEN: Ralph "Button Nose" Johnson vs. George "Not The One You're Probably Thinking Of" Washington.

Ralph: Alright, gotta go.

Similarly to Harry, Ralph almost instantly won his match. Soon enough, it was round 2, and there were 8 people left. Harry and Ralph still won their rounds, with a little trouble, but that still didn't mean much. Then, round 3 came.

Ralph: Well, Harry, there's only 4 of us left. Best of luck to you.

Harry: What if we're the final two?

Ralph: Well, uh, I've trained you well, then.

Harry: You never trained me.

Bartender: ROUND THREE, MATCH ONE: Jeff "Skippy" Hornsby vs. Harry "Bugman" McCityboyworkaccident!

Jeff and Harry walked up to the table, and after the countdown, began to thumb wrestle. For about a minute, they wrestled, until Harry was able to win, now with everyone cheering for him. The second match of the third round was Ralph vs. Richard "Pencils" Livingston. Again, the match went similarly to Harry's. It was a good, clean, even fight, but Ralph eventually won.,

Harry: I told you this would happen.

Ralph: Well, uh, hmm...good luck, I guess.

Joe: How awkward.

Bartender: FINAL ROUND: Harry "Bugman" McCityboyworkaccident vs. Ralph "Button Nose" Johnson. Good luck, you two!

Slowly walking back to the wrestling table, the two sat down, looking at each other fiercely. After the bartender's call, the match began. Not saying any words except for the counting bit at the start, Harry and Ralph's hands kept going back on the forth on the table. One moment it looked like Harry would win, the next vice versa. As the match went on, the two felt more and more powerful. They felt like they had ascended to a new dimension of strength, with everyone else cheering them on. Harry and Ralph were focused on nothing but the hand of the other opponent.

After a few minutes, it looked like Harry had started slipping and was about to lose, giving Ralph more confidence and loosening his grip.

Ralph: The glory is mine.

Harry: Yeah, I don't think I can take this much longer...

Harry's thumb was almost down, until a smile started to grow on his face.

Harry: ...PSYCHE! (slams down Ralph's thumb)

Tom: Oh, woah there!

Ralph: You tricked me? NOOO! (long pause) ...good game.

Harry: Yeah, you too. (walks back to Joe and Tom) We gotta leave.

Bartender: (walks up to Tom) Sorry, man, I'll start working on your water here.

Tom: Really? Gahhh...

As the three left the bar, the bartender threw a glass of water at them. They went back to the hotel, and tried to get a good night's sleep. Joe slept on the floor with a blanket because of the spring, Harry slept in a chair, and Tom just slept in the other bed. 

Harry: Well, that was a weird night.

Joe: Yeah, it was a lot more interesting that the rest of the day.

Tom: This was your idea! (yawn) You're lucky I'm tired, or I'd yell some more.

The next day, the group got back on the road, and left Wimono, to continue their road trip. Nothing as exciting or interesting as the thumb wrestling tournament occurred, the rest of the trip was just pretty normal. Joe had a good amount of notes on what he thought the country was like, and found the trip interesting, albeit really boring. But soon after they left Nebraska, Harry pulled out his Blockgame, until the happiness on his face turned to frustration.

Harry; No, no...

Joe: What is it?

Harry: My thumbs hurt too much to play the Blockgame.

(The two laugh as the car drives off)

Harry: I hope they heal soon.

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13. Magnum Porcus

One afternoon, as Tom was mouse-drawing on the computer, Joe suddenly barged in to the room. 

Tom: What?

Joe: I have to talk to you about something.

Tom: What?

Joe: What's the problem with giant pigs?

Tom: (scared wail) Why do you bring it up?

Joe: You remember when we were drivin' through Wimono, Nebraska, and our bug buddy did some thumb wrasslin'?

(ripple effect and vibraphone music start)

Joe: I command you to STOP!

(effect and music cancel)

Tom: Uh...yeah, we just got home yesterday.

Joe: You were trying to get nightmares and brought up giant pigs, I was confused, not just because I was stuck to the ceiling.

Tom: Hmm...promise you won't tell anyone?

Joe: Ha, who would I tell?

Tom: You could tell Harry.

Joe: Well, besides that, we have like no friends!

Tom: So, anyways, I was a young lad-

(ripple effect and vibraphone music start to a flashback of young Tom)

Tom: Right. I was at this farm, ya see, visiting an uncle and all that. The guy was showing my family some of the animals, and at the end there were the pigs. Most of them were big, but there were really huge ones. Just as big if not bigger than me at the time! If that wasn't enough, one of them started charging at me, and chasing me. My uncle had to go calm her down.

(flashback ends)

Tom: So yeah, I think that's a little reasonable.

Joe: Hmm, it is to me. 

Tom: It's just like they are so cute and small, but these ones were massive and dirty and such, it was just weird.

Joe: Yeah, like the thing with Harry is that he's kinda like a person, and we live with him anyways.

Tom: Makes sense to me.

Joe: ...could you conquer your fear?

Tom: How would I do that? Go to my uncle's farm?

Joe: Road trip?

Tom: He moved and now lives 20 miles away from here.

Joe: How convenient! Let's do it.

Tom: Sure, I suppose I have nothing else to do.

(cut to Joe and Tom leaving the apartment)

Joe: Bye, Harry, me and Tom are gonna go conquer his fear of large versions of small animals!

Harry: Wait, huh? (runs at door)

(TWENTY MILES LATER)

Tom: Well, this is the place. 

(Joe and Tom get out of car as uncle walks up to them)

Uncle: Woah, Tom!

Tom: Yeah, how's it going, Kenny?

Kenny: I don't think you've been on this farm yet. Let me give you the tour. Who's your friend?

Joe: I'm Joe.

Kenny: Hey there. You ever drink coffee?

Joe: No, coffee sucks.

Kenny: Oh, well, (looks at ground, starts mumbling) Joe is sort of a slang term for coffee, and-

Tom: Let's just start the tour.

Uncle Kenny then showed Joe and Tom around the farm, and all of it's animals. Neither of them hated the tour or anything, but were getting impatient.

Kenny: ...and sometimes the chickens fight each other.

Tom: Kenny, when do we get to the pigs?

Kenny: That's the next stop. I thought you hated the pigs, anyways...

Tom: Yeah, well, I'm just testing myself.

Kenny: Okay, okay...

The three then took a quick walk over to the pig barn, as Tom could feel his stomach turning.

Joe: Does it help that it's a different barn?

Tom: No.

Kenny: Okay, boys, here are the pigs. (opens door)

(pigs make loud squealing noises)

Kenny: See, these are just little pigs.

Tom: Yeah, they're nice and tiny.

Kenny: Nothing to be afraid of. On the other hand...(opens other door revealing giant pig)

(pig makes loud, gutteral noise)

Tom: YAHHH! (runs away)

(beat)

Kenny: What's his problem?

Joe: He's still afraid of the pigs. They are a little unsettling...

(long silence)

Kenny: When's he coming back?

Joe: Beats me. (runs off to find Tom)

Joe ran for a minute, until he heard some breathing in a group of bushes. He looked in them, and there was Tom.

Tom: I can't do that again.

Joe: They kinda freaked me out as well.

Tom: Did they chase you? Are you afraid?

Joe: Well, no, but maybe desensitizing you to them would help.

Tom: You have no idea what to do, do you?

Joe: (sigh) I don't.

Tom: Alright, let's just try it.

Joe and Tom slowly walked back to the pigs. Tom gulped as he saw the doors were closed, still being able to hear the large pig behind the door.

Kenny: Ready?

Joe. Remember, just stand there.

Tom: Okay, okay.

Kenny threw open the door, and the huge pig made another loud and gutteral screech and began dancing around the barn.

Joe: Tom, just stand there.

Tom: (nervously closing eyes) I'm trying...

Large Pig: RRREEEUUUAAAHHHH!

Tom: I'M TRYING!

Frightened by Tom's yell, the pig charged at him. Still standing still out of shock and just following the directions, he felt his stomach flying then falling from a trapeze at the internal organ circ-wait, who wrote this drivel?

In what seemed like slow motion, the pig knocked into Tom, and instead of being thrown to the ground, he found himself riding on the pig's back.

Joe: Holy crap!

Tom: Get me off of this crazy train!

Kenny: Isn't this a little bit cool?

Tom: You try riding on it!

As the large pig reached a lake far away from the barn, the pig swerved, causing Tom to fall off. The pig then came back to Tom and sort of ran him over.

(Kenny and Joe start running to Tom)

Kenny: Jesus Christ, Lucy!

Tom: Ohhh, man...

Joe: Are you okay?

Tom: Are you that stupid? (eyes close)

Joe: Oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no-

Kenny: Stop it, we'll get him back to the house. Get the car.

Joe: Yeah, okay.

Joe ran to the car, and drove it over to the scene of the accident, who drove it back to the house. Along the way, they heard rustling in the back of the car, but thought nothing of it as they were driving on the grass. As they went in the house, and laid Tom down on the floor, he woke up.

Tom: Wha-WHERE AM I?!

Joe: Calm down. We're at your uncle's house.

Tom: My stomach hurts.

Kenny: Enough of the fear conquering for a while. You guys want some cheese and apple sandwiches? My nephew taught me about them.

Tom: Ah, no, I'm good.

Joe: If they're as good as Tom's, sure. Put bacon on mine, as well.

Kenny: I don't have any bacon.

Joe: Oh...you know.

(everyone laughs)

A couple hours later, Tom felt completely rejuvenated and possibly ready to go back to Lucy the pig. 

Tom: No man, just let me do it. There's only one left now, anyways.

Joe: Are you sure? I just want to watch some TV.

Joe turned on the TV, and started channel surfing. Eventually, on a nature channel he saw this description on the TV's guide:

Big and Wild Pigs (1993): A documentary focused on large pigs, their evolution and their lifestyle. 3.5/5 stars.

Tom: Let's watch that. Maybe it'll help if they're not in my real life.

Joe: Huh, that makes a little sense. (clicks on channel)

The TV then displayed lots of long shots and close up of giant pigs. Tom started squirming a little, but continued to watch.

Joe: Has the pig ride made you more scared?

Tom: I wouldn't be surprised.

They watched the documentary for several minutes, as Tom was squirming less and less.

Tom: If you watch it long enough, it kinda helps.

Joe: Good. This is boring for me, so let's turn this off. (turns off TV)

Kenny: So is the fear conquered or not?

Tom: I don't know. Let's go check. (leaves house and walks towards pig)

Joe and Kenny followed until all three or them were at the pigs. Kenny had closed the barn door, but Tom gave approval to open it again, which Kenny did. As he did, Lucy began to run around and screech.

Joe: How is it?

Tom: A little better, but I'm still afraid.

(pig begins to run towards Tom)

Tom: I'm afraid! It's so big, man!

Joe: Just think of the documentary!

Tom tried to imagine a TV between him and Lucy, but it wasn't quite working. Lucy was circling around him, but Tom was too scared to move. Suddenly, the three could hear more rustling in the car nearby. They heard a voice that said "This has gone far enough!", and out walked Harry.

Joe: What are you doing here?!

Harry: I jumped in the back when you weren't looking after you told me the thing about large versions of small animals. How long have you guys been here? It's seemed like hours.

Joe: I mean, it has been...

Harry: Let me handle this. HEY!

(Lucy turns around and looks at Harry)

Harry: Look, my friend here is scared of you, because you're huge and attack him. I'm also a large version of a generally small animal, so I understand. It's sort of a ridiculous and specific fear, but it's messing him up here. 

Lucy: I understand now, sorry. It's just how I was raised. 

It came out as a loud oink, confusing Joe and Tom.

Harry: The pig says they apologize and it just stems from their upbringing.

Tom: Huh, I hope they're being truthful.

Harry: See, they're human too.

Tom: So, imagine a TV between them and think about their human qualities.

Joe: Basically, that's it.

Tom: That's do dumb it just might work. I've seen so much big pig today that I am getting desensitized a bit.

Kenny: See, wasn't all of that worth it?

Tom: I don't know.

Kenny: Why are you friends with a giant bug?

Tom: He's a dude that was accidentally splashed with toxic waste.

Harry: HEY!

Joe: That's sorta true, but-

Kenny: Ah, come on. You want a cheese and apple sandwich, bug?

Harry: Yes, human, that would be delightful.

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14. Arts and Sciences

Incredibly tired after a long day of doing nothing, Joe passed out on the couch. For several minutes, there was no one around, but Harry and Tom walked out to the living room around the same time. They saw Joe, and stared at him for a little.

Tom: ...is he alive?

Harry: Did you eat paste in school? Of course he is.

(silence)

Harry: ...what should we do?

Tom: What are you talking about?

Harry: What color marker should we use?

Tom: Huh?

Gears began turning in Tom's head, and soon his face went blank.

Tom: ...oh no. No!

Harry: It'll be hilarious! I'll make sure it's washable.

Tom: That is not cool.

Harry: Light blue would nicely contrast with his skin.

Tom: If you do this, you'll be player 2 on Karate Strikers for the next three months.

Harry: We rarely even play that together! Player 2 has a slightly better front kick, anyways.

Tom: Okay, then you'll be Player 1.

Harry: Player 1 has better all-around stats.

Tom: Never mind that, just don't do it.

Harry: (starts walking away) Okay, fine. I won't do anything.

Tom: (starts walking away in the opposite direction) Alright, good.

Tom went back into his room, emerging about an hour later for some Scadente's. As he scanned the box, he saw something on Joe's face. As he ran over to look, he saw a bunch of light blue squiggles, random words, and stupid faces drawn all over it.

Tom: WHAT?!

(Joe wakes up)

Joe: Uhhh, what's going on, man?

Tom: Um...hmm...well...

Joe: Come on, spit it out.

Tom: Harry did something...go look in the mirror...

Joe slowly walked up, and to the nearest mirror. He looked back at his reflection for about a minute, studying the marker scribblings all over his face. Joe then walked into Harry's room, who jumped up upon seeing Joe's entrance.

Harry: Heh. Heh heh.

Joe: I'm gonna go shower this off.

Harry: Okay, then.

Joe: But not before I DESTROY YOU!

Joe lunged at Harry, pinning him to the ground, as the two started punching each other. Tom ran up to the two, attempting to break up the fight.

Tom: Dang it guys, stop fighting before there's even more wrong with your face!

Joe: (moves away from Harry) Alright, fine.

Joe went into his bathroom and turned on the shower. As he waited for the water to warm up, he looked out a window, thinking about life. A couple people on the street looked up, including a man in a big suit. Joe managed to clean his face off in the shower, and things in the apartment began to quiet down as he went to bed.

The next day, Joe went out to the convenience store, and was stopped by the same man in the big suit in the store's parking lot, who stood in front of Joe no matter where he moved.

Big Suited Man: Hey, you.

Joe: What do you want?

BSM: My name's Theodore. I'm an art dealer.

Joe: What the hell?

Theodore: I saw your face performance last night. It was great.

Joe: WHAT?!

Theodore: I want you as an art installation at the Mageburg Art Museum. Have you ever been there?

Joe: My friend drew on my face while I was asleep.

Theodore: It's 15 miles north of here. Everything would be great.

Joe: Would I get paid?

Theodore: You'd get millions.

Joe: MILLIONS?

Theodore: That's what I said. I'll take that as a yes. (walks away)

Joe: ...huh.

After Joe bought two croissants and a slushie, he drove back to the apartment, flinging open the door excitedly. As Joe was putting his food on the kitchen table, Tom walked out.

Tom: Where are my cookies?

Joe: Oh dang, I was so excited about getting an offer to be paid millions to be an art installation at the Mageburg Art Museum that I forgot to get them.

Tom: What? What would you do?

Joe: Harry would draw on my face again.

Tom: Wh-huh? Are you sure this isn't a scam?

Joe: Only one way to find out. HARRY!

Harry: (walks out) What's going on?

Joe: Draw on my face.

Harry: Is this a joke?

Joe: DRAW ON MY FACE!

Harry: Fine, let me get my marker. (runs to room)

After a while, Harry came back with the light blue marker, got Joe to lie down, and started scribbling all over his face.

Joe: This is non toxic, right?

Harry: Yep, and washable.

Joe: I already knew that, moron.

Harry: You want the cash?

Joe: Of course. Imagine what we could do with that!

For the rest of the day, Joe wrote a soft ski mask so the markings couldn't rub on anything. He wore it over the night, and as he walked into the Mageburg Art Museum. He looked around, and saw Theodore standing at the front of the museum.

Theodore: Don't take any money! Ahhh!

(everyone starts running around, screaming)

Joe: (frantically takes off ski mask) No, no, it's me!

(awkward silence)

Lady: Does he have drawings on his face, Wayne?

Wayne: Yes, Linda, that's what it looks like.

Theodore: He's the new exhibit! 

(excited murming among crowd)

Joe: Yeah, it's-

Theodore: Don't talk, man. You'll distract these guys.

Joe: ...oh.

Joe's eyes moved around the building, studying all the art that he could see. About half an hour later, Tom got to the museum and went up to the ticket booth, with Harry shrunk down in his pocket.

Tom: How old are you, Harry?

Harry: I'm 2. 

Tom: ...oh. You get in free!

Harry: Ha, ha! Sucks for you.

(Tom walks up to ticket booth)

Tom: I'd like two tickets, one adult and one child.

Ticket Booth Lady: Where's the child?

Tom: He's my imaginary friend.

TBL: Your child imaginary friend.

Tom: He's my ladybug imaginary friend. He's 2 years old. Ladybugs have a short life span, you know. 

TBL: Sir, are you okay?

Tom: Yes, we want to visit our friend in the new art installation.

TBL: You and your two year old ladybug imaginary friend want to visit your art-installed friend who has stupid doodles all over his face.

Tom: Yes.

(awkward silence)

(cut to Tom driving back to the apartment)

Harry: Why did you do that?

Tom: You're supposed to have a ticket, man!

Harry: You could have just said that you had a ladybug.

Tom: I didn't think they would allow it!

Harry: Or that I made the installation.

Tom: Technically, Joe's parents-

Harry: Shut up.

(cut to Harry and Tom at the apartment)

The two were on the computer, on the museum's website. Specifically, they were looking at the tickets and rules sections, which said that incredibly small animals were allowed.

Tom: See, ladybugs are allowed.

Harry: Why didn't you look this up before?

Tom: How am I supposed to know what'll happen?

Back at the museum, Joe was still standing still. He was bored to tears, and all of that standing still made his legs incredibly tired. He wanted to stop, but kept going for the money. A few hours later, when the ticket booth people had switched shifts, Tom went up, paid for a ticket, and went inside. He looked around the front of the ground floor, and spotted Joe. Excitedly, he ran over.

Tom: Hey, man.

Joe: Oh, good to see you!

Theodore: No talking!

Tom: ...oh. Looks like you're having a hard time, but if you'll keep for the money, then I respect that. I still think they should give you a seat or something, maybe a book. You hear that, Mr. No Talking?

Theodore: What?

Tom: But yeah, see ya. I'm gonna go check out the other art, now. (walks away)

Harry: Your pocket is translucent, I'll try to see the art.

Tom: Yeah, okay. He looked defeated, but if he's dedicated enough for the money, then I don't know. Not like I can do anything.

Soon enough, the sun was setting. Every limb in Joe's body was asleep, and he could barely keep his eyes open. As the museum was closed, Joe breathed a great sigh of relief.

Joe: Can I go home now?

Theodore: You stay here.

Joe: Seriously?!

Theodore walked over to a dark corner of the room, brought out a mattress and threw it on the ground. Defeated, Joe flopped onto it, took the ski mask out of his pocket, and fell asleep.

Theodore: I'll let the guards know you're an an exhibit. (walks away)

(cut to the next day, at the apartment)

Tom: (drinking orange juice) I bet Joe misses us.

Harry: Should we go see him?

Tom: Yeah, after the breakfast.

After the breakfast, Tom and shrunk down Harry went into the museum. Tom located a projector that was off to the side of the room, and when most people weren't looking, he dragged it over to just behind and just next to Joe. He then took a bag he was carrying and started pulling Superhero Man comics out of it and putting them on the projector. Joe stared at the wall that was now projecting the comics, smiling. This went on for a few minutes, until Theodore walked up to Tom, puzzled.

Theodore: Is this a new installation?

Tom: "Superhero Man: A Retrospective".

Theodore: Should I ask the curators?

Tom: No, I was lying. (starts mumbling) Just trying to help the guy not die of boredom.

Theodore: What was that?

(Tom walks out)

Harry: Why'd you do that? I wanted to see the modern art again.

Tom: I didn't want to get in trouble.

Harry: What's wrong with you?

Joe was nearing 15 hours combined of just standing there. He couldn't find anything fun about it, and everything was really getting to him. People had been mocking him, which he had first brushed off, but it started to hurt him. Seconds seemed like minutes, and as the day passed, he started to have small hallucinations. He heard grinding noises in his head, and collapsed onto the floor upon closing time.

Joe: Dude, I need food and water right now.

Theodore: Alright, lemme see what's in the fridge. (walks away)

Joe: I can't do this for five more days. I can get the money some other way. I can try the lottery again, record some more music, sell comics on the street-

Theodore: Hey. (walks out) I got ham and cheese on rye and these two water bottles. (throws food at Joe)

Joe: Sounds good to me. (takes ham off sandwich, starts eating)

(cut to the next day)

(Tom driving to museum)

Tom: Let's just see how he's doing.

Harry: But if he's unhappy, we bust him out.

Tom: Correct.

Tom bought a ticket and walked into the museum, silently observing Joe. He saw a bunch of people surrounding him, some laughing. He walked around to the front, and saw Joe shriveled up, with wrinkles and wax all around his face.

Tom: Hey, man.

Joe: Hey-

Theodore: Be quiet, exhibit! You want your $10 million to go to $9 million?

(silence)

(Tom frowns and grabs Joe)

Theodore: Hey!

Joe: I'm a person, not some circus exhibit! You keep your money!

Theodore: Sounds good to-HEY! Get back! You haven't finished!

Joe and Tom ran into the car, and drove off. After the museum was out of sight, they began to converse.

Joe: The art there was pretty good. Shame we probably can't go there for a while.

Harry: I'm so sorry, man.

Joe: You should be. Do you guys have any pizza?

Tom: We always have pizza!

Joe: Aw, yeah. I need a shower, as well.

Tom: By the way, Harry, you're the worse player on Karate Strikers for the next four and a half months.

Harry: Aw, man.

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I'm a very impatient and immature person.

-------

15. Formal Dinner

One afternoon, Joe, Harry and Tom were watching TV, and started conversing over the commercials.

Tom: What's your favorite restaurant, guys? I say Scadente's.

Joe and Harry: Same here.

Tom: The Morning People is pretty good, also. 

Joe: Can't disagree with that. I like restaurants that have great food and don't take forever to serve it.

Tom: Yeah, how come all of the so called "best" restaurants take forever to make the food?

Harry: Probably so they can perfect it.

Joe: But the food is bitesize!

Tom: I don't know, man. But all the rich and fancy people love it, for some reason.

Joe: (gasps) Rich? Fancy?

Tom: Yeah, that's what I sa-uh, oh.

Harry: Are you kidding, Joe? We can't afford those places!

Joe: Yeah, shut up now.

The commercial break had ended, and the show "Stuff Around the World" was playing, hosted by famous television presenter Clifford "Lucky" Numbers.

Lucky: Howdy there folks, I'm Lucky Numbers, bringing you the lucky coordinate numbers that belong to some of the best stuff on Earth!

Harry: That wasn't forced at all.

Lucky. Today's topic is fancy restaurants. 

Harry: That wasn't suspiciously convenient at all.

Lucky: Nice sophisticated areas, full of the best food made by the best chefs. 

(Tom turns off TV)

Joe: Let's just try it out once.

Harry: Are you insane?

Joe: Probably. I'll just see if we have some extra money.

Joe got into his car, and drove over to The Bank, founded by Charles Q. The. He walked in to see a massive line.

Joe: Formal places suck.

Guy Behind Joe: Then you can step out of line.

Joe: (sighs) Nah.

(THIRTY SEVEN MINUTES LATER)

Teller: Yes?

Joe: How much money do I have?

Teller: Are you asking me?

Joe: Yes. In the bank, I mean.

Teller: Alright, let me check. (walks away)

(FIVE MINUTES LATER)

(Teller comes back)

Teller: You have more than ever. About $75,000, imagine how many fancy dinners you could buy!

Joe: Yeah, right. See ya. (leaves bank)

(cut to Joe opening the apartment door)

Harry: That took a while.

Joe: There was a long line. But we have about $75,000 in the bank.

Tom: So?

Joe: The dude at the desk said we could buy a fancy dinner with it.

Tom: What does that have to with anything?

Joe: I don't know, now let's get in the car. Maybe the people there will respect us.

Tom: Mhm, right.

(cut to the three driving around Weisston)

Tom: Do you know where to go?

Joe: Wherever the road takes me.

(awkward silence)

Harry: (shrunken) Being inside a pocket, I won't eat anything. What if it's "No Pets Allowed"?

Joe: Well, you aren't a pet.

Harry: Aw, thanks.

Just then, Joe saw a cube shaped building labeled "Cibus". 

Joe: Cibus?  What's that?

Tom: I think it's "Food" in Latin.

Joe: Oh, let's see. (parallel parks)

Joe and Tom walked into the restaurant, and were instantly amazed. There was classical music, lots of nice tables, and raised pinkies as far as the eye could see.

Waiter: Welcome to Cibus.

Joe: Yeah, hello.

Waiter: Hmm, what is your reservation?

Joe: Uh...

(cut to apartment)

Joe: How was I supposed to know we needed a reservation?!

Tom: Just call the number.

Joe: (holds phone close to face) Yeah, it's ringing.

(beep)

Waiter: (on phone) Cibus.

Joe: I'd like a reservation for 5:30 PM. That's Summers, party of 2.

Harry: Psshht.

Waiter: Yes, thank you. (hangs up)

(cut to Cibus)

(Joe parallel parks again, him and Tom walk in)

Waiter: Summers, party of 2?

Joe: Righto.

Waiter...yes, let me show you your table.

Joe: I will let you do so whole-heartedly.

There was an awkward silence as the waiter walked Joe and Tom to their table. The two looked around with wonder, for what seemed like minutes.

Joe: Wow...we've hit the big time.

Waiter: Sir, we're here.

Joe: Oh. (him and Tom sit down)

Waiter: What would you like to drink?

Joe: I'll have pink lemonade.

Tom: So will I.

Waiter: Uh, sure. (hands Joe and Tom menus, walks away)

Harry: Is the coast clear?

Joe: Yeah.

Harry: (crawls out of Joe's shirt) Woah! How fancy. You gotta make me some human body formula or something.

Joe: I'll see.

(SEVEN MINUTES LATER)

Waiter: Okay, here are two pink lemonades.

Joe and Tom: (grabs their drink) Thanks.

Waiter: Are you ready to order?

Joe: You betcha. I'll have the grilled cheese.

Waiter: Sir, that's on the kid's menu.

Joe: Then I'll have a kid's menu, plus one for the boy.

Tom: I am a man, not a boy!

(awkward silence)

Tom: I'll have the grilled cheese as well.

Waiter: Right. (walks away)

(TWO MINUTES LATER)

Waiter: Here's your kid's menus, adults.

(Joe and Tom grab menus)

Waiter: Your food will be here shortly. (walks away)

Joe: Dude, it's been a while since I had a kid's menu. 

Tom: I know, man. How come adults don't get crossword puzzles or mazes or crayons or those stretchy wax stick things?

Joe: I don't get it either. I'd take bouncy castles over taxes any day.

(Joe and Tom sigh)

(EIGHT MINUTES AND THIRTY NINE SECONDS LATER)

Joe: I finished the stuff on the menu.

Tom: Me too. Maybe we're just too smart to get these nowadays.

Harry: Let me try.

Joe: But we didn't get a third.

Harry: Fair point. What do we do now?

Tom: I don't know.

(TWELVE MINUTES LATER)

Joe: I should have brought a book.

Tom: Hmm, you think anyone else here reads Superhero Man?

Joe: The people here probably own the rights to Superhero Man. (beat) Maybe they could publish my work.

Tom: Mhm.

Joe: This place isn't like fancy fancy, but you gotta still have perfect etiquette to not look weird. It's sort of stuck between some tier of fanciness, you know?

Tom: Well, we're here.

(FOUR MINUTES LATER)

Joe: Aaaggghhh.

Tom: AAAUUGGGHHH.

(someone from table behind turns head)

SFTB: Would you humbly care to shut up?

Joe: Fine, fine.

(TEN MINUTES AND TWENTY FOUR SECONDS LATER)

Joe: I'm about to cry, man.

Tom: Me, too.

Harry: I'm already crying.

(FOURTEEN MINUTES LATER)

(Joe and Tom are asleep)

Waiter: Your food is here, sirs.

Joe: (wakes up) Wuh...I thought it would never come!

(Joe and Tom grab plates)

Waiter: Okay. (walks away)

(ONE MINUTE AND SIXTEEN SECONDS LATER)

Tom: I finished.

Joe: I just did, too. What a coincidence.

Harry: Everything seems to be happening really slowly, so let me just, hmm... (Harry crawls out of Joe's shirt)

Waiter: (walks over) Okay, so that'll be $79.43, plus AHHH-ladybug!

(everyone screams)

Waiter: You've soiled this restaurant's name for the last time! 

Joe: Haven't you guys been voted the 4th best something in a magazine before?

Waiter: Every fancy restaurant has, but bringing bugs into this place, making everyone run around, you don't do that!

Joe: Well, what's with your food being so small? And taking a year to make it?!

Waiter: Probably so we can perfect it, for all of the dozens of others we have to serve! What's with that stain on your casual golf shirt?

Joe: It's from Scadente's Pizza, a restaurant much better than this! If you weren't so far up your-

(cut to Joe and Tom getting thrown out)

Tom: My waist!

Waiter: And don't ever come back!

Joe: Wait, we need to pay!

Waiter: I've added 37 dollars, so that's $116.43.

Joe: You're dang right I'm not ever coming back. (starts rummaging through wallet)

Joe handed over the money, and as the door was shut, Joe dug his face his hands and started crying 

Harry: Dude, I am so sorry.

Joe: It was about a quarter your fault. Over one hundred bucks for a minute of food. Why am I so stupid? We have less respect than ever, now.

Tom: Yeah...yeah. At least I swiped the kid's menus.

Joe: That helps a little. I'll treasure as an artifact of a time where I didn't have to worry about crap like money. Let's go home and stick with pizza and bagel sandwiches. We just aren't cut out for this. (walks to car)

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I don't know. The whole bit about me being a religious figure was probably a really dumb idea.

----

16. Plugged In

Joe was lying on the couch, as Tom walked up, and starting tapping him on the shoulder.

Tom: Hey, hey. Joe. Look at me. Hey, man. Look, man. Joe, Joe, look. Hey, Joe, wh-

Joe: (sits up) OKAY, OKAY! WHAT IS IT?

Tom: You promised to accompany me to the Electric Screech concert today. I got two tickets.

Joe: What about Harry?

Tom: He said he was busy.

(cut away to Harry watching TV while eating jellybeans)

Tom: Come on, man, you love Electric Screech. It's their 30th Rockiversary Reunion Tour!

Joe: But, I have sensitive hearing.

Tom: Earplugs?

Joe: Ah, let's see what I have.

Joe went over to his Box O' Stuff, pulling out a massive pack of earplugs, which looked many sizes too big for him.

Tom: Those look many sizes too big for you.

Joe: I got these a while ago. They probably work fine.

Tom: Huh, okay. How will you hear the band, then?

Joe: Maybe they'll play something from the "Music for Earplugs" EP.

Tom: But that's an obscure joke record.

Joe: A man can dream. 

Tom: Whatever. Just start getting ready.

Soon after, the two then drove to The Arena, founded by Charles Q. The. Joe and Tom drove up and down the parking garage looking for a space for what seemed like years.

Joe: I'm getting dizzy.

Tom: Don't worry, just wait a couple weeks and we'll find a space.

Joe: I found one. (points at empty space)

Tom: (parks) Ah, the concert must be over by now. 

(Joe and Tom get out of car)

(loud screaming and guitar noises)

Joe: Holy moly.

Tom: That must be the opening act! 

(Joe and Tom run towards stadium and past ticket booth)

Ticket Booth Lady: Hey, get back here!

(Joe and Tom walk backwards and pay for the tickets)

TBL: O5 and O6.

Joe and Tom: Thanks! (run into arena)

As the two took their seats, they watched the end of death metal band "The Stargazers"'s set. If they were overwhelmed by the sound from the third row of the parking deck, you can probably guess how it was when they were right there.

Tom: Time to get out the secret ingredient?

Joe: Of what?

Tom: Your earplugs, doofus.

Joe: Oh, yes, yes.

Joe tore apart the plastic packaging, and held up the earplugs, before shoving them tight in his ears.

Tom: Are you sure those aren't too tight?

Joe: What?

Tom: (points to ear, tightens fingers)

Joe: I'm fine.

Guy Next to Joe: Can I have some? (reaches hand towards Joe)

Joe: I'm all out.

Guy Next to Joe: Yeah, well, if I ever see you at the checkout line of the grocery store, I won't let you cut in front of me.

Joe: What?

GNTJ: I know you can hear me.

Tom: He can't, actually.

Guy Next to Tom: NO TALKING!

Tom: Hmm.

The concert went off without a hitch for everyone involved. Joe couldn't hear much of anything, but he could sort of make out stuff by where the band's fingers were. They didn't play anything from "Music For Earplugs", but Joe was satisfied at the end.

(cut to Joe and Tom driving home)

Tom: That was fun.

Joe: Nah, I think Sam Williams was a better bass player than Nat Munson.

Tom: (points at ears) Can you take those off?

Joe: Right, let's see. 

Joe pulled at his earplugs, but they seemed to be firmly stuck in there.

Joe: I can't take them off.

Tom: Oh, man...

Joe: Don't worry, I'll keep trying.

Tom: Yeah, okay.

Joe kept twisting his fingers around the earplugs for the rest of the way home. As he opened the door to the apartment, he finally admitted the truth to himself.

Joe: These are stuck!

Tom: That's what I was trying to tell you!

Joe: You're trying to smell me?

Harry: (walks in) What's happening?

Tom: Joe's earplugs are stuck.

Harry: (slaps face) I knew that would happen.

Tom: Then why didn't you say anything?

Harry: ...I didn't know that would happen.

Tom: You idiot!

(cut to Joe's POV, Tom and Joe arguing silently)

Joe: What?

Tom: I said, he's being ridiculous!

Joe: What?

Harry: Well, what else can we try?

Joe: Guys, maybe I can sleep it off!

Tom: Are you insane?

Joe: I know that sounds insane, but I don't have any other idea.

Harry: Well, neither do we.

Tom: Come on! We can't afford any surgery!

Harry: I never said anything about surgery.

(cut to Joe falling asleep in bed)

Joe: (sleeptalking) ...no....there's a nuke...why does no one listen...

(Harry and Tom are watching him)

Harry: Joe...

Joe: (still sleeptalking) ...Harry?

Harry: This is God.

Tom: What the hell are you doing?

Joe: ...no gods are real...not even Milkmanman or whatever they call him...hell?

Tom: Harry is a complete moron.

Joe: ...you do have a point...

Harry: WHAT?!

Joe: (wakes up) Agh! That hurt through my plugs!

Tom: Could you hear us?

Joe: Were you watching me?!

Harry: No.

Tom: Maybe.

Joe: I had this dream where Milkmandam wanted to send me to hell.

Tom: You said gods weren't real.

Joe: I suppose when I lost consciousness the plugs stopped working.

Tom: So what are we supposed to do, kill you?

(beat)

Joe: Gimme the label.

Tom went over to the earplugs bag that Joe kept in his pocket and put on the table. He turned the bedroom lights on, and handed the bag to Joe, who started reading the labels.

Joe: WARNING: HAS A MIND OF IT'S OWN.

Tom: Are these the guys that made the bottle?

Joe: Hmm, Skrooyoo Robotics.

Tom: Interesting name.

Joe: Just let me slumber, without watching.

Tom: Mhm. (leaves)

The next day, Joe woke up, sat up in his bed, and started thinking aloud.

Joe: I mean, when one sense is deactivated, the others improve. Maybe I can see a solar eclipse normally without my eyeballs getting burned out of their holes, or smell the apple pie of some old lady in another state, or taste every little atom of said pie, or feel long lasting genuinely positive emotions-

Tom: What are you doing?

Joe: Sorry, i'm thinking aloud.

Tom: Uh huh. Any changes in your hearing?

Joe: What? I can't hear much!

Tom: Yeah.

Harry: (walks in) What do we do?

Tom: I don't know.

(cut to Tom outside the apartment building)

Tom: IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE?

(some guy pops out of a second floor window)

Some Guy: I am.

Tom: No, you're not.

Tom walked back up to the apartment, and as he was open to the door, he heard a rustling sound behind him. As he turned around, he saw the guy who claimed to be a doctor.

Tom: WHAT IN THE WORLD-

SG: I can explain.

Tom: GET OUT OF HERE AND NEVER COME BACK!

SG: What if we cross paths in the parking lot while I'm going to get coffee?

Tom: NNNGGGHHHAAAAAUUUUHHHH!

Joe: (opens door) What the hey is all of this loud mumbling?

SG: I'm Dr. Pete. This young man needed a doctor.

Joe: What?

Pete: Are you deaf?

Tom: Yes, he is.

Pete: This is a job for Dr. Pete!

(cut to Joe, Tom and Pete inside the apartment)

Pete: This will need surgery.

Tom: How much?

Pete: Free.

Tom: Bull.

Pete: I'm already rich enough. I do it to help people.

Tom: Uh huh.

Harry: (walks in) And, who's this?

Pete: I'm Dr. Pete.

Harry: And I'm a billionaire living in a 14-bedroom lodge that doesn't hate himself.

Pete: We are gonna saw these things off of Mr. Man here.

Harry: GET OUTTA MY PLACE!

Pete: Get outta YOUR place!

(Pete pushes Harry and Tom out)

(Harry and Tom start banging on door)

Joe: WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

Pete: They'll distract me.

Pete then pulled out a small bag that he had thrown on the floor upon his entrance. He went through chainsaws, ball and chains, large knifes, until he pulled something small out.

Pete: A toothpick.

Joe: Is that a toothpick?

Pete: YES!

Harry: Is he using a toothpick to get that thing out?

Tom: That's what it sounds like.

Harry: (slaps head, moans)

Pete started poking the toothpick into the earplugs, leaving small holes but not much else. He would dig deeper and into the holes, trying to scrape all of the stuff out that he could. This went on for five hours.

(Harry and Tom are asleep)

Pete: WILL IT EVER END?

Tom: (wakes up) Wuh...

Pete: A little toothpick isn't gonna cut it.

Tom: What?!

Pete: (searches through bag) I need a bigger toothpick!

For the next 45 minutes, Pete poked at the remaining part of the earplugs, until there was one part stuck at the front of Joe's left ear canal. He pulled out an ever bigger toothpick, and dug it into the earplug and subsequently Joe's left ear canal.

Joe: YYYOOOWWW!

Tom: Joe!

Pete: (opens door) Well, it's out.

Joe: (holds up bloody tissue) So is part of my ear!

Harry: Mhm.

Tom: You're not a doctor, are you?

Pete: I am.

Tom: Can you fix my cousin's potentially deadly illness? I can take you to meet him. They only accept people with medical licenses at the hospital, but you probably have one of those.

Pete: I'm not a doctor. I'm an assistant's assistant at Skrooyoo Robotics.

Tom: (balls up hands into fists)

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17. Self-Published

Joe, Harry and Tom sat in the main room, looking out the window, and started talking to each other.

Harry: Yeah, but like, what are your aspirations?

Tom: I don't know, man.

Joe: Yeah, I'm more a realist guy.

Tom: Pssshhht.

Joe:  I'm into comics, though.

Harry: Is that your aspiration?

Joe: I don't know, will it make money?

Harry: Maybe.

Joe: Well, what am I supposed to do?

Harry: Just do it.

Joe: That's terrible advice.

(cut to Joe sitting at his bedroom desk with a bunch of paper)

Joe: Alright, let's do this.

Joe sat at the desk for a couple hours, frantically scribbling down ideas. He felt excited after it was over, and for the next week, spent a lot of time in his room drawing. With every line there was some weird kind of passion. One early morning, he finished everything.

Tom: Why did you tell him to do that?

Harry: I didn't!

Joe: (opens bedroom door) I'm finally done!

Tom: Let's see it 

Joe: ...okay? (hands comic to Tom)

Tom: What the huh?

 sTxiuA6.jpg?1

Joe: Do you like it?

Tom: I haven't even read it!

Joe: Right, right.

There was silence as Tom and Harry stared at the pages and Joe eagerly waited for a response. After a while, the two looked up.

Tom: A-.

Joe: Wow, really?

Harry: More like B+.

Tom: But, do you think the general public will like it?

Joe: Only one way to find out.

(cut to Joe standing on the street)

Joe: JOE'S INDIE COMICS, HERE!

(silence)

For a few minutes, many people drove and walked past Joe, until he started yelling more.

Joe: IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE RULED BY ME, THEN COME HERE RIGHT NOW!

(small group of people walk up)

Person #1: You have only one copy?

Joe: ...yeah.

Person #2: That's bad for business.

Joe: ...I suppose so. (runs to parking lot) 

(Police show up)

Cop #1: Where was the guy that was yelling? Did you see him, Jim?

Cop #2: Not a thing, Darren.

Person #1: Dude was selling comics.

Darren: Without a license?

Person #3: Wait, you need a comic selling license?

Darren: No.

Joe hopped into his car, and drove to a local printing and copying store with the comic. He made close to a dozen copies of page after page, and after about an hour and a half, drove to back to the apartment to put everything together, and after that, he went back out onto the street.

Joe: I GOT MORE COMICS!

(silence)

Joe: HEY! HEY! THE SUPPLY IS UP! COME HERE! I NEED MONEY!

(Jim and Darren run up)

Jim: Police! What the nuts are you doing?

Joe: Just selling some comics. (cough)

Darren: Do you have a license?

Jim: Shut it, Darren.

Joe: What?

Darren: Just stop yelling like a maniac.

Joe: I'll see what I can do. 

(Jim and Darren walk away)

Joe stopped screaming after that, as his throat was starting to hurt, anyways. He stood in the street for hours after, with nothing but a few strange, cursory glances from people walking by. As the sun started to set, Joe walked into the apartment, defeated.

Tom: How was it?

Joe: I didn't sell one!

Harry: Well, you didn't have that many copies!

Joe: Think of how many people there are in this town!

Tom: Do you really think those people would be into indie comics?

Joe: GAHHH! Whatever! I need some dinner.

That night, Joe laid down in his bed and stared up at the ceiling, pondering life.

Joe: What don't I have that they all do? Comics are an all-age art form!

Harry: I don't know, man.

Joe: Harry?

(flushing toilet sounds)

Harry: (walks out of bathroom) You're lucky the Blockgame has a crap battery life. What's the issue now?

Joe: I need money.

Harry: Don't we all. Maybe make more copies? New ideas?

Joe: Hmm. Wanna make some copies for me tomorrow?

Harry: Let me just check something.

(cut to Harry picking up a TV remote)

Harry clicked through all of his favorite channels on the TV guide, and a disgruntled expression began to form on his face.

Harry: Gah, there's nothing on. Nothing original.

Joe: Original...hmm...

Harry: What are you saying?

Joe: I need to pump even more originality into this!

Harry: Or the exact opposite...

Joe: What are you saying?

Harry: Take what's popular and do it again.

Joe: Are you that stupid?

Harry: Think about it.

Joe's mind began cycling through all of the movie remakes and media cliches he had seen, and the idea started making more sense to him. He looked down at Harry, and came to a conclusion.

Joe: That's ridiculous.

Harry: Aw, come on.

Joe: I could phase it in gradually, I guess.

Harry: Sounds cool. Maybe you'll start listening to me more after this.

Joe: Yeah, whatever.

Joe scribbled up a couple pages similar to something he had recently seen on a TV show and then fell back asleep, ready to get back to selling, which is exactly what he did at the crack of dawn the next morning.

Joe: MORE INDIE COMIX FROM JOE! ONE COPY HAS...hang on.

(ONE TRIP TO THE PRINTING AND COPYING STORE LATER)

Joe: BRAND NEW MATERIAL IN EVERY COPY! (beat) YOU GUYS WATCH "CAR FLIP"? SUNDAYS AT 3? (beat) IT MIGHT GET CANCELLED DUE TO RATINGS! LOOK HERE! (beat) ANYONE?

That evening, Joe walked back into the apartment, completely defeated.

Harry: How many copies did you sell?

Joe: How many copies did you make?

Harry: I'd say a couple dozen. I made up a Box O Stuff disguise and they kicked me out once they starting finding me suspicious.

Joe: I sold nothing!

Tom: (walks in) You were there all day and you sold nothing?

Joe: THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I JUST SAID! WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?!

Tom: I don't know.

Joe: Thanks, Mr. Advice Column.

Tom: Oh, quiet.

Harry: Lessen the originality!

Joe: I can't believe I'm doing this.

Joe walked back into his room, and scribbled down some more pages, before running back out and taking the pages to Tom.

Joe: Go to the printing and copying store.

Tom: How am I supposed to know where you're talking about?

Joe: (grabs Tom by the shirt) You know.

Tom: Yeah, whatever. (walks out of apartment)

Joe: I'm going to bed.

Harry: It's like 7:30, dude.

Joe: Shut up. (walks into bedroom)

The next day, Joe walked back out onto the street with the comics. He stood out there, looking around, and-yeah he spent the day standing out there, and didn't sell a thing. So, again, he walked back into the apartment, more defeated than ever.

Joe: I'm done trying.

Harry: Okay.

Joe: You were the one who started this with all of that aspirations crap!

Harry: You were the one who took advice from some stupid bug-

Joe: GAH! (walks off into bedroom)

Tom: (walks in) Still sold nothing?

Harry: Yep.

Joe: BIGGEST WASTE OF TIME EVER!

Tom: Joe's not a kind to give up.

Harry: I mean-

Tom: You gotta do something, man.

Harry: Like what?

Tom: Let's see...

Tom went over to the phone, and started dialing the phone number of a friend of his.

(Friend picks up phone)

Tom: Is this Fred?

Fred: Tom? It's like you just disappeared after college!

Tom: No time. I need you to do something.

Fred: Yeah, what?

Harry: Alright, I'm going to bed. (falls asleep on couch)

Tom: Hang on, my roommate fell asleep, I gotta whisper. (starts whispering into phone)

The next day, Fred walked over to the apartment, saw Joe, and walked over to him.

Joe: STUPID COMICS NO ONE WANTS TO BUY! RIGHT HERE!

Fred: I'd like to buy one.

Joe: Really? You're just not trying to make me feel better? On someone's orders?

Fred: No.

Joe: Okay, two dollars.

Fred then pulled out the two dollars from his pocket and handed them to Joe, who handed him the comic.

Fred: Interesting cover. I can't even draw stick figures!

Joe: The only people who can't draw stick figures are those with no arms.

Fred: ...right. (walks away)

As Fred walked away, he looked back at Joe, who ran inside, jumping around. As Joe was out of sight, Fred called Tom.

Tom: (picks up phone) Yes?

Fred: You have a weird roommate.

Tom: I know, I know.

Fred: I'm scanning through it here, and there's a weird shift in art ripping off last week's episode of "Car Flip"?

Tom: I know, but now he can obsess over something else weird now.

Fred: Alrighty then.

Tom: Yeah, and-

Joe: (opens apartment door) I sold a copy!

Tom: Gotta go. (hangs up)

Harry: It's just one copy.

Joe: Yeah, well, the biggest things start from one copy. Superhero Man was originally one copy.

Harry: Before they printed it in mass through an officially established publisher.

Joe: Pshhht.

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