Monday, November 03, 2014

A Farewell To The Woods?

{Last time, the trip to the cookie factory in the tree didn't go so well, as Deadpool lost several fingers. While the Ghost of the Forest - and its Fribsee - were found, Calvin was covered in the residue of melted down objects of hatred, and is now possibly a creature of pure negative energy. Also, he has a chainsaw.}

Clever Adolescent Panda: Calvin? Calvin, say something!

{Calvin's only response is to tighten the grip on the panda's throat. Deadpool starts to move forward, sword drawn.}

CAP: Wade, no!

Deadpool: [No?]

CAP: *choked* No stabbing!

Deadpool: [You notice he's trying to kill you, right? Pretty sure neither of you will be happy about that. Me either, for that matter.]

CAP: Let. .  me. .  try something!

{Clever Adolescent Panda pulls itself free of Calvin's grip slowly, the darkened, steaming fingers, relinquishing their grasp unwillingly. Then the panda lunges forward and wraps both arms around Calvin's midsection.}

CAP: C'mon, Hug!

{Calvin writhes and emits an awful and familiar to the panda, screeching. The violet residue bubbles and retreats for a moment. Then Calvin grabs his longtime friend by the scruff of the neck and hurls him into Deadpool, sending the two tumbling.}

Calvin: *low rasping hiss* {Nooooooo. . . huuuuuugssss.}

Deadpool: *slightly dazed* [Great plan, there, Care Bear.]

CAP: Shut up, it was working!

Deadpool: [In the same way Hair Club for Men works for me, sure. Look out!]

{Calvin shambles forward, swinging the chainsaw as Deadpool rolls to the side with CAP. Wade draws a pistol.}

CAP: Wade, no!

Deadpool: [What now?]

CAP: No shooting Calvin!

Deadpool: [Not even kneecapping?]

CAP: No shooting, period!

Deadpool: [Oh come on, he's a magical smoking hate monster now. With a chainsaw. Bullets probably don't even affect him. Watch!] *Deadpool shoots Calvin in the foot*

Calvin: {Owwww, I wasn't aware of it until now, but I HATE BEING SHOT!}

CAP: Wade!

Deadpool: [He sounded more like himself! We need to give him something concrete to focus his hate on! Then he'll burn it out!]

CAP: No, that can't be right. Can it?

Deadpool: [Sure it can, I'm a master tactician when it comes to dealing with monsters. Who had the bright idea to bring Dazzler from the '70s to kill vampires? I'll prove it. *walks towards Calvin* Hey Calvin! I shot you in the foot because you're such a loser I wouldn't waste a bullet on shooting you in the face! Waddaya think of that?]

{Calvin hisses, and swings the chainsaw at the tree neck to him. The chainsaw smashes the trunk as much as it cuts through it, and as it falls, Calvin drops the saw, and catches the tree easily. Then he swings it at Deadpool.}

Deadpool: [Aw crap.]

{Deadpool goes flying back up and over the hilltop. Clever Adolescent Panda splinters the trunk with one blow on the next swing and spies the little bakers scrambling away along the hillside.}

CAP: *shouting* Ghost, can you keep him busy? I need to talk to them!

{The only response is the Frisbee, which begins spinning around Calvin, prompting a series of wild swings at it. Clever Adolescent Panda turns to give chase and quickly catches up, bringing all of them to the ground with a single leap, which leaves them all squashed beneath it.}

Mercanser: Oof, get off, fatso!

CAP: Tell me how to undo this!

Dwiddel: How the heck would we know? I used to be a garbageman!

CAP: *pause* What?

Stevedolino: I was a middle-manager at a factory that made roofing shingles.

Mercanser: I used to work at a burger joint.

CAP: *gets off them, sits back* You're joking.

Dwiddel: *stands, pats off dust* Look, my real name is Tyrone. We all had other jobs we didn't like, and they offered really good pay to bake cookies, and I thought, "What the heck?" The only downsides were you had to work in a tree, and we had to be shrunk down to fit inside the tree, and we have to use these stupid names when we're on the clock. But we get back to normal-size on weekends, and there's good health benefits and retirement packages.

Mercanser: And we get free cookies!

Dwiddel/Tyrone: That too.

CAP: So, none of you are magic gnomes, or know anything about magic?

Mercanser/Lucille: No, they just showed up how to operate the machines, told us not to touch the extract without gloves, and that was it. We'd gone over 200 days without a workplace accident until you guys showed up.

Stevedolino/Seraph: And that last accident was just Joey asking someone to hit him with a rolling pin to see if it hurt.

Mercanser/Lucille: Oh yeah, Joey. *chuckles* He wasn't very bright.

{Clever Adolescent Panda feels despair creeping in, but then notices one of the bakers has been silent throughout, lingering in the back. One wearing a big pointy purple hat with yellow stars on it.}

CAP: What about you?

Purple Pointy Hat: Me?

Tyrone: Ha, Lufonz never talks about what he did before. Considering Caroline owned up to directing dog food commercials, he must have done something really bad. Probably a Congressman.

Lufonz: *tired* I've told you before, I've seen a lot and just wanted to get away for awhile. The Purple Thunder-Pachyderms of Penzance, the Magnetic Prison Mines of Magmoor. . .

CAP: Wait, are you saying you're a. . . robot wizard?

Lufonz: That's ludicrous! *evasive* Everyone knows robot wizards were declared a heresy and destroyed in a joint effort of robots and wizards centuries ago! Even though the robot wizards would have combined the orderly minds and quick processing of robots with the spiritual connection and cleverness of wizards, making a single one more than a match for a thousand of their inferior predecessors.

CAP: You definitely run off at the mouth like a wizard, and lie as badly as a robot.

Lufonz: *outraged* How dare you! I'll smite you for such insolence! Rocket Punch! {A tiny fist launches forward, Clever Adolescent Panda snatches it out of mid-air, then flattens Lufonz under one paw} Release me!

CAP: Not unless you help me!

Lufonz: *scared* If I use magic, they'll notice me, and I'll be hunted down! I don't want to die!

CAP: You can come stay in my hometown. We don't have any problems with robot wizards.

Lufonz: I could stay in the Panda Citadel? You've got a deal! I need a closer look at your friend.

{CAP picks up Lufonz and they rush back the other direction. The other bakers remain where they are. Calvin is still swinging the chainsaw at the Frisbee as a wind whips it around him in dizzying arcs. His lack of success does not seem to have diminished his enthusiasm. Finally he catches it and carves the toy in half. The wind stops immediately, and there's a strange, sad silence that descends. Curiously, Calvin lets the saw fall silent as well, and actually catches one of the pieces as it falls. He stares at it, and sinks to his knees for a moment, head bowed. But the residue seems to pulse, the smoke coming off it intensifies, and he rises, the screech rising in pitch as it scrabbles its way out of him.}


Lufonz: Interesting, the residue has a sort of consciousness. Basic, probably just a reflection of all that ill will. It's encouraging him, but asserts control when he bucks against it. It's like a more clumsy malevolence hack spell.

CAP: Can we get it off him?

Lufonz: A possibility. My greater concern is doing so without being carved in half, or having to do too much magic. You and your idiot friend did have some parts of it figured right. The hate is general, because that extract is from so many items, there's no focus. He does need to focus on something specific, but not with hate. Can you maintain that hug on him for longer this time?

CAP: Without help to keep him busy, I don't know. We need Wade.

{They retreat up the hill, leaving Calvin to his blind rampage. They find Deadpool, still dazed, with a lot of splinters in his chest.}

Deadpool: *woozy* [I like peas, but no carrots. Domino stabbed me with one at our last dinner at Cable's. I just asked if she wanted to see my Bugs Bunny! I do a great impression!]

CAP: Wade, get up, we need you.

Deadpool: [Nope, just wanna lie here for awhile, look at the clouds. Send over a nice waiter with a coconut drink.]

CAP: Are you gonna let Calvin beat you up? What are Shiklah and Eleanor going to think?

Deadpool: [Your transparent ploy to play on my fears of not being masculine is right! I can't get beat up by Calvin. Certainly not with shrubbery!]

CAP: Great, let's go.

{They don't need to go far, Calvin has begun moving to the crest of the hill, and advances steadily in their direction.}

CAP: Wait, while I'm hugging and Wade's keeping his arms pinned -

Deadpool: [I'm doing what now? Did you see him swing that tree? I can't reenact the Black Panther pinning the Silver Surfer from McDuffie's FF run!]

CAP: Don't you have bolos or something you can throw first, to help?

Deadpool: [Non-lethal, non-painful weapons? Anything is possible.] *starts rummaging through pouches*

CAP: *turns to Lufonz* Now, what are you doing during all this?

Lufonz: I can give you one spell. Either I can boost your physical strength, so you can hold on longer, or I can attack the extract, try to render it inert, so it can't try and attack you.

Deadpool: *without looking up* [So text your vote in now to determine the next top spell!]

CAP: Why just one spell?

Lufonz: Sanctuary is great, but I'd prefer the Robot Overlords and the Mage Masters not even know they need to be looking for me. One spell could still slip under the radar. It's what I'm giving you, besides my considerable wisdom and experience. You want it or not?

CAP: Fine, deal with the extract. Wade, did you find any bolos?

Deadpool: [Nope, but I tied a couple of cue balls to several sets of extra boot laces!]

CAP: Fine, just throw them, he's right there!

{Deadpool throws the makeshift bolos, and they work surprisingly well. Perhaps that sudden gust of wind gave them a little extra oomph. Calvin's arms are pinned, and the cue balls knock the wind out of him for a moment by hitting solidly in his midsection. CAP dashes forward and slams into Calvin, though Calvin recoils, he doesn't fall. Undaunted, CAP commences hugging, focusing all its thoughts on positive things. Deadpool has circled around and charges up from behind, wrapping arms and legs around his former source of mini-pizzas. Lufonz mutters under his breath and moves his hands in a few precise motions, almost faster than the eye can detect. Calvin thrashes and hisses, but this time the residue covering him doesn't bubble and boil. Almost immediately, it's eerie glow begins to dim, the creeping shine fading, and it begins to flake off Calvin's skin. His thrashing ceases.}

Calvin: {That. . . really sucked.}

CAP: Calvin! Are you OK?

Calvin: {Maybe. Why did you tackle me so hard?}

CAP: I thought it if you were knocked down it'd be easier to control you?

Calvin: {Really? How was Wade going to help then? Use his impressive tunneling powers?}

Deadpool: [I'm all out of grenades.]

CAP: Fine, I got a little caught up, OK? My adrenaline was going! Just be glad I didn't let Wade shoot you!

Deadpool: [Except in the foot.]

Calvin: *flatly* {Yeah, except in the foot. Which really hurts, by the way. I use that for walking, you know, Wade.}

Deadpool: [Walking's for squares.]

CAP: Hey, Lufonz - Calvin this is Lufonz, the robot wizard - could you do a spell to heal Calvin's foot?

Lufonz: No. I told you, one spell. I did the spell. Call a doctor, if your fleshy friend is in need of medical assistance.

Deadpool: [Do you have to keep your promise to help him?]

CAP: *glumly* Yeah, I do. *looks around* Where'd the other bakers go?

Lufonz: I imagine they fled some time ago.

CAP: Dang, I wanted to ask them about the company they worked for.

Lufonz: Well I can't tell you much they didn't already. *looks down hill* You destroyed the factory? My lunch was in the break room! I was really looking forward to that fried egg sandwich!

Calvin: *standing gingerly by leaning on Wade's shoulder* {Ooh, sorry. Guess I was carried away.}

CAP: *suspicious* Break room? Was it a really nice break room?

Lufonz: Yeah?

CAP: With a string quartet, and a fountain, and nice cheeses?

Lufonz: We had cheeses, but no fountain.

CAP: *disappointed* Oh.

Lufonz: They were talking about getting a jug band in there, because we exceeded projections for the quarter:

CAP: *through clenched teeth* UnCalvin. . .

Lufonz: *impatient* Look, whatever, are you getting me out of here or what? I don't fancy being here when the seekers come looking for the source of that spell.

CAP: Fine. Let's go. I have to leave, guys. Wade, will you get Calvin back home safely?

Deadpool: [Sure! Have I ever let you down before? *flexes, loses grip on Calvin, who falls down* Ignore that cheap gag right there.]

Calvin: *picks self up* {Wade, why don't you head home? See your wife and daughter? Or at least one of them. I need to chat with the Ghost.}

Deadpool: [Even better plan. *teleports*]

{Calvin stands by himself for a moment, looking around, listening.}

Calvin: {Ghost? You still here? *silence* I'm sorry about the Frisbee.}

{The wind swirls a few leaves around his legs, and continues to lift them up until they are just brushing Calvin's face.}

Calvin: {I can bring you a new one -} 

*the leaves are blown in merry loops*

Calvin: {- before I have to go.}

*the leaves drop*

Calvin: {The job's ending, I have to move on.}

*no response*

Calvin: {I'm not sure when I'll get back down here. You could come along, see where we end up next.}

*no response*

Calvin: {I know you can, you came to visit last winter.}

*no response*

Calvin: {But you're attached to this area. One of these days, we really do need to find out what holds you here.} 

*the leaves flutter slightly*

Calvin: {I'm going to say good-bye to Cassanee later this week - not that I'm sure she cares - and I'll ask her to visit. Please don't drop any trees on her.} 

*the wind blows several leaves directly in his face*

Calvin: {Heh, fair enough. Not making promises you aren't sure you can keep, a spirit after my own heart. *awkward pause* Well, so long.}

{Calvin places the chainsaw back in its case and begins the trek back to the housing, limping the whole way. Everything is silent for the first few minutes, and then the wind rises again, and his hard hat is blown off. It floats up into the sky, rotating slowly until it stops, right side up. It drifts down next to Calvin, at a level even with his own head. Calvin watches all this quietly, then smiles.}

Calvin: {Nah, they won't miss it.}

{He resumes his slow walk, the helmet floating next to him silently the whole way.}

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