"...Welcome back to Dipper's Guide to the Unexplained." The boy announced with an air of solemn authority to a camera sitting atop a wobbly tripod. "Today we're going to examine anomaly one-hundred-and-forty-five; the din from the forest."
He paused, looked around the surrounding evergreen forest and then nodded apologetically. "Sorry, thought I heard something. Anyways, recently people in town have been talking about hearing a strange sound that they've been hearing in the woods the past few days. Most are describing it as a kind of loud hiss, but others are claiming that it's more like a strange buzzing. Even stranger are the claims that it's a mix of both. The one thing that everyone can agree on though is that it's like nothing that they've ever heard before."
He held up a bulging brown backpack that looked fit to burst at the seams. "I'm not quite sure what kind of creature it could be. So for today's investigation I made sure to pack…"
The boy dug out a handwritten inventory that promptly unfolded down to his knees. "Extra water, food, a first aid kit, a flashlight, batteries, rope, two pocket knives, road flares, matches, another first aid kit, binoculars, sun block, a couple maps, compass, mosquito net…"
Dipper smirked confidently to his audience. "As a highly experienced investigator of the paranormal, I've learned that it pays to be prepared for the unexpected. Whatever's out there, if it thinks it's going to get the jump on-"
"SMILE!" A bubbly yell interrupted. A sunny-faced brunette popped out from behind a stump no more than three feet away with camera in hand. Dipper nearly jumped out of his skin as his sister shot off a picture, searing his eyes with the bright flash.
"AUGH! I'm blind!" He clutched at his face and dropped to the ground. While he writhed in discomfort, his twin dug deep into sequin and sticker-studded backpack and lugged out a bulky video camera.
"And voila!" She whooped with a triumphant flourish. "As you can see, all it takes is a little bit of stealth, a pinch of tip-toeing, and you'll be snapping absolutely amazing pictures in no time! That's all for today. Be sure to tune in next time for Mabel's Guide to Rest, when I'll show you how to prevent sleepwalking. Here's a hint; lots and lots of duct tape! Until then, seeya!"
The girl beamed brightly with satisfaction as she shut the camera off. " Hey there, brother!"
"M-Mabel?" Dipper groaned confusedly. "What are you doing here?"
"Mabel's Guide to Outdoor Photography! Duh!" She explained very matter-of-factly while helping him back up. "I'm giving my fans all the ins and outs on how to take awesome nature photos!"
Mabel demonstrated with an ungraceful roll along the ground. She then sprang back to her feet to snap a crooked shot of a nearby flower. "Nature can be sneaky, so if you want to capture it in its prime, you gotta be sneaky right back at it! Smart, huh?"
"Genius. Thanks for the lesson." Dipper muttered sarcastically, brushing himself off. The snippy remark immediately sent her face falling.
"You okay?" She prodded him in the side. Dipper groaned and stepped back out of poking range. He was in no mood for her shenanigans.
"I'm kind of in the middle of something important here." He explained, tone heavy with aggravation. "I might just discover a creature no one's ever even seen before today, and you just-"
He realized that maybe he was being too hard on boy put a halt to the short-lived tirade and took a few deep breaths. "Look, we'll hang out later, okay? Right now though I have something important to take care of."
The damage however had already been done. Mabel didn't approve of the unintentional condescension in the slightest, and would not stand by while her work was belittled. Deeply offended, the girl crossed her woolen-sleeved arms with a huff. "Hey! For your information, my guides are just as important. And maybe even more so! Not everyone can live near a forest full of weird and creepy things. But anyone can get stickers, create art, try homemade pyrotechnics, bake, look at colors, do fitness-y stuff, date, eat non-foods-"
She probably would have continued for quite some time had he not cut her off.
"Yeah, I know, I know." Dipper murmured distractedly as he gathered his equipment. He had a tight schedule to keep. "Hey, I really have to get going-"
His dismissive attitude struck another nerve with her. Mabel's lower lip jutted in a dramatic pout. "What's with you? All I was doing was trying to be nice and include you in my guide, and you're just all 'Bah blah blah, me me me me, meow meow meow!'"
"Yikes!" He was taken aback by the snappy tongue-lashing. "What's with me? What's with you?"
"Nothing's wrong with me! I was the one who was trying to share! I was trying to compromise, Dipper!" The riled tween stomped her foot. "I tried to forget about all the stuff you did, but then you had to go be a royal butt about everything!"
"Huh?" Dipper cocked an eyebrow. "What are you talking about?"
"Well, first of all you're in my filming spot." She pointed out. "And I tried to just roll with it, but you're the one who got all grumpy."
"Huh? Mabel, you interrupted me in my spot." He replied defensively.
"Nuh-uh! This is my spot! And it was my turn to use the good camera, too! I have the documentation to prove it! Did you even look at the sign-up sheets?" She fished two sheets of paper out of her sweater pocket. Both were overloaded with copious amounts of glitter, swirling markered designs and puffy stickers. However, when Dipper squinted his eyes and looked a little closer, he could see that one was titled "Camera" and the other "Filming Locations."
"I thought these was just another art project." He confessed.
"Everything I make is art." She clarified none too humbly. "But these were also to clear up who got the camera and places to shoot! Now I have to use Grunkle Stan's stupid heavy old camera. And Mabel's Guide to Outdated Technology was last week!"
"Okaaaaay….look I really don't have a lot of time for this." Dipper sighed and tried to get back to business. He had a monster to discover, and the last thing he needed was a minor family fracas. "I really need to-"
"Helloooooo?" His ruffled twin aggressively blocked his way. "Don't you have anything to say for yourself? Like maybe that something that begins with an 's?' And ends with '-orry?' And sounds exactly like 'sorry?' Hmmm?"
"Mabel, c'mon!" He snapped in a mingled tone that was equal parts exasperated and pleading. "Okay, we'll talk about it later. But will you please just let me finish my guide today?"
Silence settled as the two bore into one another with harsh glares. Mabel finally backed down, but only after she blew him a sopping wet raspberry. "Fine! Go ahead, Mister Jerky-Selfish! Who cares what you do with your stupid guide? I'm way busy making my way better, super awesome, way more amazing guide!"
"Fine by me." He turned around with a grumble.
"And you know what?" She added. "I'm editing you right out of this episode! All you'll get is your name in the credits. The big stupid poop-head, played by Dipper Pines! Got that?"
She angrily snapped her fingers. "I hereby declare you edited out! EDITED OUT!"
"Whatever." He mumbled. With near-identical huffs they went their separate ways. Dipper turned the camera back on and addressed his audience with a sigh. "Sorry about that. Just had to deal with some annoying 'technical difficulties'…now where were we...oh right, so anyway…."
Steaming, Mabel headed off the exact opposite direction. She groused up a bitter storm as she trooped along. "Pffft! Stupid butt. All he talks about is stupid mystery stuff. My guide's the guide to life, and mystery stuff is just a part of life….I should get the good camera today…not this dumb old-OOOOOOH!"
The girl suddenly spotted a patch of azaleas up ahead. She promptly forgot all about the sibling spat and lit up with a toothy grin.
"YES! Jackpot!" Tittering with delight, she zipped off towards the beautiful smattering of flora.
She had cleared half the distance when something blurred violently across her path. There had only been a flash of orange and grey, and a buzzing that remind her of a lawnmower. Yet as it passed by, it left no footprints in the ground in its wake. A startled shriek tore from her throat as she leapt back.
Her brother promptly forgot that they were mad at one another. Moving like wind, Dipper breathlessly hot-footed over to her side.
"You okay?" He gasped, skinny chest heaving from the mad dash. "What happened?"
"I-I dunno!" She bemusedly confessed. "I just saw a-"
There was a rustle, then the grey and orange striped blur made an spectacularly abrupt reappearance.
"LOOK OUT!" Dipper had only enough time to shove his twin out of the way when it felt like he just took a log to the gut. In a flash he was down on the ground in a dazed sprawl.
Hissing fiercely, his attacker reared up a full third of its twenty-foot long body. It resembled like enormous snake, except for several extremely key differences. Not only did it have no less than two forked tongues, but very unlike most reptiles, it possessed an enormous set of buzzing hornet-like wings, and a wicked black barb that graced the end of its tail. Dipper's blood ran cold as he gazed up into its compound eyes.
"N-not good!" He managed to cry out.
The monster hissed, and its razor-sharp fangs glistened in the sunlight. The boy hurled his arms up over his face in a vain attempt to protect himself. However, right before it could strike, it was distracted by a bright flash.
"Hey! Hey, over here, you jerk!" Mabel aggressively flashed another picture. Stricken with confusion, at first the creature just stared dumbly. The determined girl meanwhile continued to fire off flash after bright flash. "Take that! And that! And some of this! And a little bit of this!"
Much to her surprise, its jet black lips curled into what was an unmistakable smile. It didn't understand what was going on, but clearly it was enjoying the onslaught of attention. The crafty tween decided to run with this.
"All right, great!" She whooped enthusiastically. "You've showed me surprised, now can you show me coy? Yeah, perfect! Now show me playful! Okay, now brooding! Give me a brooding shot! Let's get another angle here….oh, perfect! Let me snap one from the side now...oooooh, even more perfect!"
It twisted and contorted its winding body, offering up a variety of different poses. Mabel was snapping photos so quickly that her finger started to hurt. However, she didn't lay up on the performance for the briefest of moments. "C'mon, strut that snake-monster stuff! Flaunt those crazy weird wings! Yeah! YEAH! That's it! You got it! Work it! Work it! Oh, the camera loves you!"
The deeply flattered abomination was so caught up in the improvised photo shoot that it forgot all about its meal-to-be. Heart jackhammering in his chest, Dipper frantically dug through his backpack. When he couldn't find any particularly helpful piece of gear, he wracked his brain and decided to get creative.
"HEADS UP!" He mustered up every ounce of strength he had. Mabel ducked just in time. The last thing that the reptilian monstrosity saw before it lost all consciousness was an overstuffed bag hurtling the air. The makeshift missile landed a direct hit, scoring an instant knockout. It hit the ground like a sack of cement.
The twins wisely decided not to stick around. The two charged off in a hasty retreat. The evergreen woods become nothing more than a giant blur flashing by, and it was only when they staggered up onto the back porch of the Mystery Shack did they stop to catch their depleted breaths.
"G-good thinking back there." Dipper gasped, falling to his knees.
"You too." Even after their frantic flight, she could still manage a giggle. "Nice throw, noodle-arms."
"Anytime." The boy wheezed. He glanced to his sister, and quickly decided that an apology was in order. "Sorry about-"
She cut him off at the pass with an awkward one-armed hug around his neck. "Me too."
He nodded thankfully, and the two spent the next few seconds greedily gulping down fresh air.
While wiping rivulets of sweat from her brow, Mabel was abruptly struck with inspiration. A glowing smile lit up her face. "Hey….are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"Nope." Her exhausted twin confessed as he flopped to his side. "What is it?"
Her brown eyes sparkled thoughtfully. "Y'know, it looks like we definitely work better together. So maaaaybe…."
"...And welcome back!" Mabel addressed the camera with a booming greeting that filled the den. "We have a great show for you folks today on the Pines Guide to Everything! On Mabel's Guide to Food Combinations, our special guest Soos will be giving us some tips and pointers!"
The gentle giant beamed nodded sagely in his folding chair before presenting a smashed heap of bread and lunch meat. "If you put two sandwiches together, you can make yourself a double-sandwich. Or as I like to call it, a doubwich."
"Fantastic!" The hostess cheered before abruptly switching to a more dramatic tone. "But first let's start things off as usual. We'll take you all into the world of the mysteeeerious and the weeeiiirrrred….presenting to you all, my brother Dipper's Guide to the Unexplained!"
She waved a small light-up UFO keychain for effect. Dipper nodded solemnly. "Thank you. Today, we bring you anomaly two-nine-one; the chick-a-three."
He pointed to a small billboard that was dotted with an assortment of blurry photos and scribbled notes. "Like many species unique to the Gravity Falls area, for years this elusive creature has been thought to be nothing more than mere legend. People whispered about this mysterious winged creature, but no one had ever found conclusive proof of its existence…."
The tween bust out a jubilant smile before bending down to lug a small pet carrier into view. "...Until now! Today, we bring you a real live specimen, caught right here in town!"
"And I helped!" Mabel bounced back into the camera and pointed excitedly to herself. The two exchanged glances and grinned. So far, the compromise was going off without a hitch.
"Couldn't have done it without you." Dipper graciously acknowledged with a laugh.
Her smile grew wider as she leaned in closer. "It's just like we say here on the Guide to Everything..."
"...No challenge is too big for the Pines!" Her brother proudly declared.
"...Twins always win!" Mabel cheered simultaneously. The horribly botched catchphrase instantly threw the both of them off, ruining the sibling moment.
"Wait, cut! Cut! Hold on." Dipper scratched his head. "I thought that we were going to go with-"
"You thought we were going with that one?" Mabel interrupted bemusedly. "But I thought we were going to do the rhyme-y one!"
"Okay, okay. Maybe we'll just take it again from the top-"
As they talked it out, neither of them realized that the pet carrier had begun to violently shaking until it was too late. The cheap plastic door burst open, releasing their confused and irritated captive. A small three-headed bird flapped erratically around the living room before setting upon Soos with a shrieking squawk.
"Ow! Hey, c'mon-OW! Hey, stop! Stop!" The tubby man did his best to curl up into a tight defensive ball. "Oh dudes, it's so tiny, but it pecks with such epic fury! OW!"
He rolled about the floor. Furniture went tumbling over left and right as he struggled to protect himself. After the twins hurriedly backed away to a safer distance, Dipper grimaced while the living room descended into full-blown chaos. "Uh…."
"It's fine," Mabel shrugged and smiled. "We can just edit this out…"