A/N: Sorry for the lack of updates; I've been swamped with school. :( I hope you enjoy this chapter, it may be a little more comic than the others but there is a very important thing that happens near the end. Reviews/critiques welcome! Thanks! Also, I decided that Skootch should have a leather jacket, so I added one. He's been toting it around with him. Just to let you know- that's why he randomly has one in this chapter. :)
I wore the same ecstatic grin as we walked down Lusk Street, making our way past the slamming doors and grunts from open windows. I checked my watch- it read 7:18. We still had the whole day to go… the tasks were just beginning. I have to admit, I was getting pretty excited.
"So, Skootch. What's the next task for me to excel at?" I asked, my tone pumped up with a high ego.
"Alright, Kritz. Your last performance was pretty amazing, despite being tone-deaf. I'll give you that. However, you are no match for me." I wasn't sure this was possible- but Skootch's voice was even more ego filled than mine.
"Alrighty, then. You want your next task to be right now, right away? You got it." Oh, it was on. Full challenge mode. "I'm sure you know by now- but my talent for being alert and attentive surpasses any other homo sapien, so of course you know I noticed that nice little café right next to where I parked that atrocity of a car. Yes?"
"Yes… your point?"
"Well, it's almost 7:30. Any coffee shop is open at that time. Coffee is for morning. That's our destination. Let's go."
"So my next task is to simply walk to the café?" I asked, bewildered at the simplicity and let down by Skootch's lack of creativity.
Skootch chuckled and shook his head, "No, no, silly Kritz! You have underestimated me. I will not tell you your real purpose at the coffee shop until you get there! Watching you under pressure is so enjoyable."
"You're sadistic." I said, slightly mad at him for putting me under huge clouds of suspense. He laughed and kept on walking. I followed in silence.
We arrived at the coffee shop about ten minutes later, the sun a little higher and my nerves a little spiked. The place was called Java Jitters, and looked like a quaint little place. Sure enough, as Skootch had expected, it was open for business. Two people were inside, putting chairs beside tables, waking up the coffee machines and wiping down the counters. One was a sleepy looking teenager, about seventeen or eighteen, blonde hair tied in a high ponytail. The other was a thirty-some woman with short obviously dyed red hair. She also had a generous amount of piercings lining her ears, and a tattoo on her neck; a small star. They were both lean, and had the same green apron with a steaming coffee mug emblem on it, with 'Java Jitters' sewed below the mug. Name tags sprung out, a gleaming white contrasting off of the forest green. As we approached the café's doors, I saw the teenager's nametag read 'Bree', and the adult's 'Karen'.
Skootch stopped me about two feet from the doors, by a lamp post and a newspaper dispenser.
"Okay, Kritz, here we go. Now, I'm leaving this task a little bit more open ended, so you can let your creativity shine- if you have any," Skootch smirked as if the chance was minimal that I actually had a creative bone in my body. "Walk into the coffee shop without me. I'll be waiting right here, against this lamp watching you discreetly. There are no people in the shop right now, but I assume there will be in less than a half hour, so let's make this efficient and quick, shall we? Make a scene. Much like the rental car place, talk loudly and scare the crap out of the workers. Make an entrance, be a diva. Oh, now that would be a sight… when they take your order, say something so fast and random that is doesn't even resemble anything coffee related, and just, basically be a babbling fool. Okay- go!" He gave me a little push towards the door, but I resisted.
"You call that 'a little bit more open ended'?" I asked.
"Well, yeah. I'm giving you guidelines on what to do, but not specific words or actions. Quit stalling- go!"
He didn't give me much time to think. He pushed me a bit more forceful this time, and I was rushed to the door, tripping over my own unready feet. Alright, whatever. I'll just go with it. I thought, shoving my conscious and self limits out the window. I pummeled into the door, pushing it open with all my might. The bells attached to the doorframe which signaled someone's arrival jingled violently as the door sliced through the air at an alarming rate. Both Bree and Karen whipped their heads up with a stunned look on their tired faces. They looked annoyed already, my outrageous entrance too loud and boisterous for them. I almost felt sorry for them, but then again I needed to prepare them for the day. As with the people on Lusk Street, I was their personal alarm clock. I jazz walked to the nearest table, spinning and waving my arms around and whispering things like "Yeah" "Oo!" and "Booyah". As I sat down, I glanced at the worker's faces. Bree looked exasperated; I could just see the thoughts running through her teenage mind "Oh em gee, are you kidding me?" Karen, on the other hand, just rolled her eyes. She made a hand motion to Bree, signaling that she should go over and take my order. Bree dropped her shoulders and mouth, then tipped her head back and groaned. She trudged over to my table, notepad and pen in her hand, pursed on her face. Oh, a hormonal teenage girl. This ought to be fun.
"Can I take your order?" Bree asked, monotonously, her hip cocked.
"Why yes, Brrrrrrrrrree!" I rolled my tongue on the 'r'. "This lovely morning, I fancy a nice cup of chaigrandeventilattegiraffecupcoffeecinnamondulcecappuccino?"
"What?" Bree said, looking at me like I was from another planet.
I couldn't remember what I had said. I made up something different, stringing together words that just popped into the top of my head. "I said, young girlie, I want a doubleshotcalculatorschooltomcruisebusmuffinlemondropchocolate!"
"Did you just say Tom Cruise? What the heck, lady? That's not even a drink!" Bree screeched, to which Karen came rushing over with an all too fake smile plastered on her face.
"Bree, is there a problem here?" Karen asked, raising her eyebrows but maintaining the smile.
Bree turned to face Karen, and pointed her hand, still holding the notepad and pen, at me. She fumed, "Karen, this chick is whack. She's asking me for all these things that aren't even on our menu nor are even DRINKS!"
"Bree! You know that is not the way we treat customers!" Karen lectured Bree, and then turned to me, the faux smile returning. "Ma'am, I'm sorry, what did you say you'd like?"
"This is just OUTRAGEOUS! I HAVE NEVER IN MY LIFE BEEN AT SUCH A DISGRACEFUL SHOP AS THIS ONE! I AM A LEGEND! DO YOU NOT KNOW WHO I AM?" I screamed, standing up and kicking the chair over. I flipped my hair and stamped my feet a little.
"Ma'am, there is no need to yell. Who are you?" Karen said, trying to stay calm. Bree just huffed and walked away, her arms crossed and ponytail frazzled.
"I, MADAM, AM THE ONE, THE ONLY, THE GREAT- POPPYCOCK JONES! I'm sure you've heard of me, I am a huge hit in Sweden! I perform with my pet goat, Jim, and we travel the world, enchanting our audience with our beauty and excellent origami skills. Now, get me what I want."
"I'm sorry, but I don't think I've ever heard your name before. It's wonderful to meet you. Where did you say you were from?" Karen said, and I heard Bree scoff in the background, somewhere behind the counter.
"You've never heard of ME? I am only the most amazing person to ever walk the earth. I originate from Brazil, deep in the forest. I swam in a nearby river daily, which is why my feet are so glamorous!" I stuck my foot up in Karen's face, and she took a step back.
"Wonderful, Miss Jones. Now, please, tell me what you would like and I'll go get it for you." Karen was starting to look as ticked off as Bree, but she was trying to be a nice hostess.
"There are lots of things I want in this world, Ms…" I grabbed her apron and pulled the name tag towards me, with it almost touching my nose. "Ms. Karen. I would like world peace, a pony, all my bills paid, all the money in the world, a mansion, a lamp made of gold… but what I would love right now is a nice cup of coffee, just as I told the other employee."
"Wh-what?! You did NOT say you wanted just a cup of coffee! You said some crap about a giraffe and Tom Cruise!" Bree screamed, a look of sheer frustration and anger coming over her. She threw the rag which she was using to wash counters on the ground, stormed over to Karen, fists clenched and erect at her sides. I could almost see the steam coming out of her ears, like in those cartoons I used to watch on TV.
At that moment, I had to admit. This was really fun. I most definitely did not wake up this morning, thinking that I would skip work and meet this guy, whose real name was still a mystery to me, and rent a car with him, sing down a street with him watching, acting like a total fool and annoying these two seemingly nice ladies, a punishment they did not deserve so early in their day. Regardless, I was having a really good time. I made a quick glance out the window, and as I suspected, Skootch was all eyes on me, arms crossed, leaning against the lamp post as he had said. He raised his eyebrows a little as we made eye contact, and nodded his head, as if he were urging me on and silently telling me to continue with my obnoxious, diva actions. I obliged.
Karen was trying to calm down Bree, who was rolling her eyes and sputtering words about how "disruptive" and "stupid" I was. Channeling the inner-diva I never knew existed, I arched my back, stuck out my chin and pursed my lips so tightly they were about to fall off.
"Young lady, that is no way to talk to your elders. You cannot make snide remarks about customers with money! I am married to the Duke of Antophia, Beluga! He is a rich and powerful man, and he will sue you for calling me mean names! He knows a wonderful lawyer." I continued with my theatrics.
"Anto-what-a? I've never heard of such a place! And you can't sue me for being mad at you! You're crazy, lady!" Bree fumed, completely flipping out. Karen put her hands on Bree's shoulders and shushed her, whispering something about "you could get fired, just get her coffee".
Suddenly, there was a jingling of bells as someone opened the door. I mentally sighed, knowing that if it was an outsider, a simple morning person wanting a cup of coffee, I would have to call it quits. Karen, Bree and I whipped our heads in the direction of the door, where I was astounded to see that it was, in fact, not an inhabitant of Bayard, but Skootch himself. He had hung his leather jacket over his shoulders, like a cape. He let the door slam beside him, and struck a pose where his hands were on his hips, legs shoulder width apart and his head tilted to the ceiling. If there was a fan in front of him, making his hair fly back and his make-shift cape flow delicately, he would have looked exactly like a superhero. I was amazed.
"I AM THE GREAT DUKE OF ANTOPHIA, HUSBAND OF THE WONDERFUL POPPYCOCK JONES- BELUGA!" Skootch proclaimed, and Bree whimpered in disgust and worry, while Karen just hung her head and took a deep breath.
"You two, I'm very sorry for this, but I'm afraid you're causing a disturbance, and I'm going to have to ask you to leave." Karen said, as kindly as she could.
"But I just arrived! I was waiting outside to see if the eagles would call my name, but then I heard my dear Poppycock in distress and decided to come in. You would be a silly fool to shoo me away!" Skootch said to Karen, looking taken aback.
"I'm sorry to displease you sir, but you really have to leave. If you're not going to order something, then please, get out."
"Honey wunny bunny, I asked for a cup of coffee but they never gave it to me. Maybe we should leave. We can always report these fickle people and their horrendous coffee shop to the National Group of Turtle Lovers. They'd know what to do." I told Skootch, skipping over to him and poking his cheek.
"Yes, darling, that is a wonderful idea. We will report this dumb shop to the NGoTL. And with that, Karen and Bree, we will leave."
"Finally." Bree said, but Karen maintained her composure and waved goodbye.
I knew that Skootch couldn't let the workers off that easy, and I had the sense that something big was about to happen. I was right. Skootch began to sing the Indiana Jones theme song.
"THIS IS THE LAST TIME YOU WILL SEE THE DUKE OF ANTOPHIA AND HIS WIFE! DO NOT FORGET US! HOWEVER, IF YOU MENTION OUR NAMES TO ANYONE, BEWARE OF THE PICKLES IN YOUR FRIDGE." He sang in a very high pitched voice.
Bree shrieked and stomped to the back of the store, out of sight of us. Karen simply clenched her fists at her sides, closed her eyes and stood there, like she was trying to block out the memory of us.
"GOODBYE!" I shouted in a deep, man like voice.
Skootch then picked me up, and held me like you would hold a baby, one of his arms under my knees and his other arm cradling my shoulder bones. I raised my arms extravagantly and began singing the alphabet. Skootch carried me to the door and set me down. He grabbed my hand right as I said "z" and we bowed together. Karen had her eyes wide open in awe now, completely amazed by the events that had just taken place.
Just as I was about to turn around and strut out the door, Skootch grabbed me by my waist, dipped me (which was unexpected and I about slipped and fell), put his free hand on the back of my head and kissed me. After about ten seconds of heart melting lip touching, he parted with my stunned lips and pulled me back to my feet then waltzed out the door. I followed him, but my walk was a bit more staggered, as I was visibly shaken. Skootch walked for about thirty feet, so the café was no longer in our visual, then he stopped and commended me.
I just looked at him, gently touching my lips and asked, "Wh-what was that?"
Skootch shrugged and simply said, "Oh, just dramatic flair." He was blushing.