Megan the Phantom Girlie
THE DAY AFTER YESTERDAY
An "Oh No!" Production
THE CAST OF "THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA"
THE CAST OF "LES MISÉRABLES"
THE JELLICLE CATS
THE CAST OF "THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL"
THE CAST OF "STARLIGHT EXPRESS"
(And the rest!)
Special Guest Star
THE GRIM REAPER
Pretentious Credits Courtesy of Microsoft Word
I suppose it started like any other morning, assuming you begin most mornings in a dark underground lair. I can't say I do; I tend to wake up in my bedroom, which gets a fair amount of sunlight and is painted a light color to boot. Oh- and there's a mirror, too. Yes, that deflects a lot of light but can be a bugger when you first wake up! - But this story does not begin in a brightly lit bedroom. It begins in a dark underground lair, because that's where your buddy and mine Erik tended to start his day. Which he did.
The first thing he noticed was that the toothpaste was a bit sluggish coming out of the tube; a fact to which he did not give much thought. The second was the fact that there were icebergs in the lake, which threatened to turn his morning commute into a small version of the Titanic incident (which had happened. There was a bit of an accident with a time gap, but that's another story.)
"Oh, bugger," said Erik.
"Erik?" asked Christine, squinting slightly.
"I advise you to put on as many cloaks as possible, dear," said Erik. "And would you happen to have a laptop handy?"
"In the third drawer, under the corsets," said Christine. (Very technologically advanced, that girl.)
Erik pulled out Christine's laptop computer. After a few games of solitaire, he frantically plugged in the information he was able to obtain by observing the sluggish toothpaste and the suddenly Arctic lake. Meanwhile, Christine began rearranging her unicorn figure collection.
One can suppose the process would have been quicker had Erik known how to type with more than two fingers. After some time, he jumped up.
"Aha- OW!" (He had jumped a little too high and smacked his head on the ceiling.)
"What is it, my dear?" Christine asked, rushing to his side with an Icee Gelpak.
"Everyone in this opera house needs to gather in the auditorium. Their lives may depend on it."
"But think about the refreshment costs?"
"I don't think refreshment costs matter right now-"
"You know nobody comes to the company meetings unless we have doughnuts!"
"FINE!" Erik sighed. "I'll get some doughnuts-"
"And coffee." Christine added.
"All right. Coffee and doughnuts-"
"But if you think you'll be back after 11:30, scrap the doughnuts and get cold cuts instead."
"Cold cuts after 11:30. Got it."
"And a veggie platter, come to think of it."
"A veggie platter-"
"No, make that two. We have guests today."
Erik shook his head wearily. "So that's doughnuts and coffee, but if it's after 11:30, then it's two platters of veggies and one of cold cuts."
"No, two cold cuts too."
The Phantom nodded, trying to hold all that information. "I think I've got it."
"All right." Christine smiled. "Good luck. We'll all be waiting for you to tell us the life-threatening news."
Erik nodded and headed down the hall until he remembered something.
He turned around and went back toward Christine's dressing room.
Unfortunately, he had caught her in the middle of an impromptu private rehearsal, and the hallway was filled with a very loud soprano voice trilling out "IIIIIIIIII don't know how to loooooooooooove hiiiiiiiiiim. . ."
He sighed, knowing that there was no getting her attention right now and thanking any number of deities that she was at least past "Papa Can You Hear Me?"
This was probably the weirdest situation Enjolras had ever found himself in. Other than himself and a few people he knew from his own story, the grand foyer of the Opera House was swarming with about thirty cats leaping around and only slightly fewer people on roller skates who were wearing odd, metallic clothes and had rainbow-colored hair in some of the most bizarre styles he had ever seen. (This included the time he made the mistake of serving watermelon margaritas to the other Amis as a reward for a week of hard revolution-planning, and a very drunk Grantaire found Feuilly's old Flowbee.)
"Smoke?" offered a woman on skates. Her costume was almost all copper, with a short, wide skirt and a low neckline, and her brown hair had been shaped into a sort of tube in the back and pinned up.
"Um, no thanks." said Enjolras.
"Yeah, I know it's a bad habit," the woman admitted. "But I'm the smoking car, so I'm used to it."
"The smoking car?"
"Yeah. You know, an observation coach where they let you smoke."
"Like on a train?"
"Exactly! Sometimes I ride with Rusty over there" –she gestured at a young man in dark silvery overalls, a red shirt, and skates with a bandanna tied in a strip around his head- "'cause he's a steam train and puts out plenty of smoke on his own."
"Anthropomorphized trains," Enjolras muttered. "Great."
"I'm Ashley, by the way," said the woman who called herself the smoking car.
He turned toward the door as Ashley took a long drag. A few people started streaming in through the door. Enjolras' mouth fell open.
"What's your deal, hon?" asked Ashley.
"The sans-culottes of '89! My comrades!"
Enjolras leapt toward the French Revolutionary mob, beaming.
"My friends! It is an honor to meet you-"
"Oh, boy, it's one of them Les Miz kids." one of the sans-culottes whispered to his neighbor.
"Poke him, Jacques, and see if he giggles," a woman suggested.
Poor Enjolras didn't know what to do. "You must understand, my friends, that I modeled my revolution after you-"
"Ha! Have you ever toppled a monarchy?"
"Freed a prison?"
"That was on the agenda, I swear-"
"Helped build a new empire?"
"It was my first try!"
The apparent revolutionary leader shook his head. "You whippersnappers are all alike, thinking a little civil disobedience'll let you run with the big dogs. All those freaks from "Hair" thought the same thing."
That was the wrong thing to say. "How DARE you compare our quest to a gang of hippies!" Enjolras shrieked. "And for your information, SIR, has your plight ever been turned into a musical?"
The sans-culottes exchanged looks. "Two. We're representing "The Scarlet Pimpernel" today."
Enjolras groaned. "Tomorrow, I'm going to clown college like Ma wanted."
At that moment, a very pretty young lady came down the stairs. She had enormous, dewy green eyes and long brown ringlets of hair. She was wearing a simple, tasteful blue dress and a pearly smile.
"Welcome, everyone. I am Christine. Please follow me to the auditorium and make yourselves at home, because it sounds an awful lot like we're all going to die here."
She continued beaming at them like she'd just announced they'd all be given the chance to have an affair with an attractive celebrity, but the crowd had heard what she had said and was stunned into silence.
"Shoot! What a gyp!" said someone in the Scarlet Pimpernel crowd.Raoul de Chagny was not having a good day. Contrary to popular belief, being a handsome, rich, likable young man of noble blood did not immediately predestine that all of your days would be good ones. In fact, it had been a long time since he had had a good day. Ironically, it was because he was a handsome, rich, likable young man of noble blood that his life had become so miserable.
He crossed his arms and sat back in his seat, staring at Christine, who was organizing the guests for the Musical Goodwill Tour into their seats. She looked up and gave him that gorgeous smile she was so well known for. Raoul smiled back, weakly. Why did fate have to mock him like this?
A scrawny girl in rags and a newsboy hat sat down next to him, her face covered in dirt.
"Hallo," she said with a smile.
"Hallo, "Raoul replied.
"M'name's Eponine," said the girl. "I'm from Les Miz. Woss yours?"
"Raoul," Raoul sighed.
"Well, y'look awfully grim," said Eponine. "Woss yer problem?"
Raoul sneered at her. "Do you really want to know?"
"Well, I think I would." said Eponine.Some time ago, there had been a minor incident affecting Christine and Raoul's engagement. As it turned out, there was a severely deformed and slightly insane man named Erik who lived under the Opera House and who happened to think Christine was quite the little piece of all right. Erik started to give Christine voice lessons, which evolved to include him holding her up to his body and singing love songs in her ear while she stroked the mask he wore to hide that God-awful face. Of course, the young lady got a little to curious and decided to see what he was hiding. Unmasking him only managed to reveal his mind was about as messed up as his face and Christine went running back to Raoul.
However, the night Christine confessed all of this to Raoul, she seemed turned on more than anything else, and Raoul began wondering if she wasn't exactly peachy in the head herself. After all, how many other girls would have tried to slip him the tongue after talking about an ugly mook of a suitor? It didn't seem right, but Raoul was as in love with her as ever and tried not to notice.
So did Erik, apparently. Following a few little pranks, including dropping a rather large lighting fixture and shooting fireballs off her father's grave, Erik attempted to propose to Christine onstage, in an opera. Christine gave the highly unusual response of ripping off that mask and letting everyone in the theater share in the delight of a face that looked like it was rotting off. Erik decided that now was the best time to go all maniacal and drag Christine back to his, um, lair.
Raoul had read enough books to know that he had apparently been thrust into the role of heroic rescuer, and he made his way down to Erik's flat. But when he got there, there was a nasty shock.
Christine was in a wedding dress, veil and all, and all she could say was how much she pitied Erik. She begged for Erik to let Raoul in (as a witness to the wedding, Raoul thought bitterly), which he did. But Erik seemed to be quite as confused as Christine as to how to handle a crisis situation, and he promptly threw a noose around poor Raoul's neck and somehow got it to stand up on its own. Christine did a lot of vague pleading, and when Erik finally whispered something about making her choice, she threw her arms around his neck and gave him a very long kiss Raoul was certain involved tongue.
Christine, for some reason, ran over to Raoul and tried to give him some cuddling right after the kiss. Erik seemed about as shaken as Raoul was. He burned the rope and let Raoul go and insisted Christine went too.
Loonies surround me, Raoul thought.
Christine gave Erik the ring and left with Raoul. They could hear Erik ranting about how much he loved her pretty much the whole way back up.
When there'd been no news about Erik for a few weeks, Raoul decided it was safe to renew his engagement to Christine. She seemed to accept wholeheartedly.
That, of course, was when the trouble began afresh.
"What temperature did you wash my overcoat in?"
There was an embarrassed silence. Christine's face, blushed deep red, appeared around the corner.
"I'm supposed to wash it in hot, right?"
Raoul collapsed onto the bed. "It's shrunk. I can't wear it."
The shadow of a smile briefly passed over Christine's face, then vanished just as quickly. "Then I'll go out and get you another one today."
"You know my size?"
When Christine returned, laden with packages, she handed him a heavy folded parcel.
"Here we go."
Raoul opened the parcel and drew out a long, shimmery black velvet thing with black pearl frog clasps on the front and thick black embroidery all over the shoulders and collar.
"Christine," he sighed, "I think you bought me a cloak."
Christine nodded. "It's more practical than an overcoat, you'll find. It's better for winter. And you'll look so majestic in it!"
Raoul stared suspiciously, but Christine had a knack for looking wide-eyed, pretty, and innocent when it suited her. Now must have suited her. Raoul sighed and decided he'd get used to a cloak soon enough.
The next day, Raoul was eating breakfast when Christine darted through carrying a proper armload of towels.
"Spill in the bathroom," she said by way of explanation."My Nair bottle." Raoul nodded.
"Want me to help?" he offered.
Christine turned, looking scandalized. "I am perfectly capable of helping myself, thank you! How are we women ever supposed to escape the glass ceiling if men offer to assist us with everything?"
"I thought it was very feminist of me to offer to assist with the chores rather than leave my fiancée to do it all!" Raoul sputtered.
"Just like a man to think that," Christine grumbled before disappearing upstairs. Raoul was beginning to think that fellow in Jane Eyre had the right idea stowing his mad wife in the attic.
After breakfast, Raoul dressed and then went into the bathroom to comb his hair. He noticed his comb was laying on the counter, ready to be used, and thought it was quite thoughtful of Christine to put it there for him. He picked it up and began running it through his hair. There was a gentle tugging sensation, but he paid it no mind.
After a few strokes, he noticed the comb felt heavier in his hand and went through his hair more slowly. Raoul brought the comb around and saw that it was full to bursting with short blond hairs. He looked in the mirror.
He dropped the comb.
He didn't wait for her to come; he ran out of the bathroom and collided with her in the hall.
She let out a stifled scream.
"You're horrified?" Raoul gasped. "How do you think I feel? I'm twenty years old, for Christ's sake!"
"Well," Christine rationalized, "some men lose their hair earlier than others, I suppose-"
"This isn't exactly male-pattern baldness, Christine! It isn't so much the lack of hair that bothers me as the way it decided to come out!"
"Dear, you still look young, don't worry-"
"Christine! I think it's a disease of some sort. If I were just losing my hair, there would be a sort of . . . well, pattern of development, right? I still have it all over- you can just see right through it!"
Christine's eyes were bigger than ever as she nodded. "You're probably right. We should get you to a doctor soon."
"Could the doctor come to us instead? I can't go out like this!"
Christine seemed to be inhabiting some other plane. She nodded dreamily. "Yes . . . We shall have to stay inside . . . And you'll be very pale . . ."
The doctor spent a good deal of time examining Raoul's now-nearly-bald scalp and was unable to come up with any sort of diagnosis.
"You're perfectly healthy," he said, "and I can't see any reason for you to avoid going outside. It's probably just a bizarre freak of biology. I expect your hair will grow back as usual."
In the meantime, Christine offered to buy him a wig.
"They didn't have any blond ones," she sighed, "but I found a brunet I think you'll just adore!"
She pulled it from its box. It was dark brown and smoothed straight back from the hairline. Raoul was reminded uncomfortably of something, but he couldn't quite put a finger on it.
Christine continued to go shopping during the day, and she came back with a new hat for her fiancé. It looked a bit like a fedora, except with a rather wide brim.
"I thought it would go beautifully with your cloak," she explained. "Oh- and I found us something absolutely delightful!"
"It's a waffle iron." Raoul said, unimpressed.
But the next morning, he found himself rising early to make his princess some waffles. He felt he had been a little hard on her lately and wanted to give her a pleasant surprise.
He hadn't counted on the floor being so slippery. One false step, and he found himself with the right side of his face being grilled with a thin layer of waffle batter.
His groan of pain woke Christine up. She ran to his side and pulled him away. To his shame, Raoul realized he was crying.
"It'll be all right," Christine whispered. "It'll be all right. . ."
Raoul blacked out.
And he awoke. He was curled up in a ball and his face felt like fire. He reached up to touch it, but he met only bandages instead.
Christine appeared in the doorway with a tray of tea.
"Good morning," she whispered. "How are you feeling?"
"Pretty awful." He realized his lips were unburnt and smiled. "Mostly my pride."
"I treated it before I bandaged it," said Christine. "But I think it'll still scar."
Raoul sighed. "I had a feeling."
"I'll love you anyway," said Christine. "Maybe more."
She held him. Raoul noticed that she had covered all the mirrors . . .
When Raoul was feeling up to it, he decided to take Christine on a moonlit walk. It was wonderful. He even wore the cloak and hat she had bought for him. She told him about life backstage at the Opera House, her friends on the Internet- the usual things. They stopped at a bridge.
Raoul looked over the edge and saw his reflection in the water.
"Oh, God, no," he gasped.
The figure he saw looking back was cloaked, wearing that ridiculous hat, one side of his face shrouded in white. He saw the truth.
Christine loved Erik, and, feeling she couldn't have him, had tried to make Raoul just like him.
He whirled around.
"I know why you love Erik!" he cried. "You're as psycho as he was!"
Christine nodded helplessly. "You're right. I'm completely loopy."
"And I can't be with a girl like that."
He began trudging toward the hospital.
"But I love you!" Christine cried.
"You love Erik." Raoul replied.
"And I love how Erik looks!" the girl screamed.
Raoul paused. "What?"
"I love knowing that I am probably the one person he's loved and who has loved him back. And I love knowing that that face of his reserves him for me!"
"Oh, God," said Raoul. "You're worse than he is, because at least you're pretty."
"Well, I don't like pretty, because look what pretty did to him!"
"Goodbye, Christine," said Raoul.
He was able to check himself into the hospital as soon as he removed the mask bandages, only to find someone waiting in his room.
"The girl is completely nutty, isn't she?" said Erik.
"What are you doing here?"
"It's really a shame, what happened to you. You're a very good-looking man. I came to make sure they would operate on you, because the last thing we need is another me."
"Well, actually, they already made the Darkman movies, so it's a little late for that."
Erik shrugged. "True. Well, good luck on your operation."
He turned around and began walking out.
"Wait!" said Raoul.
Erik turned back.
"Why don't you let them fix your face?"
Erik smiled. "You're forgetting I'm an old man compared to you, and the world has already done its damage to me. Besides," he added wryly, "where would the stories come from?"
The Phantom of the Opera left Raoul's room.
The following week, Christine visited Raoul.
"Um, hi," she said, a little sheepishly.
"Hi," said Raoul. "I've been thinking, it's wrong for me to reject you just because you're plain daffy."
Christine wasn't listening. She was staring at the covers Raoul had pulled up over his face with a glazed look in her eyes.
She pulled away the covers.
A quartet of people who had been eavesdropping provided a chromatic descending chord for dramatic emphasis.
Christine stared at the perfectly restored face in what might have been distaste. Something inside Raoul's psyche snapped. He jumped up from the bed, hooked his arm around Christine's waist, and began running out of the hospital.
"Raoul!" Christine screamed.
He threw her into a waiting cab, hijacked it, and drove it off toward his family manor. Meanwhile, Erik had been sipping tea with other adult victims of child abuse when he saw the carriage go trundling out with a somewhat possessed-looking Raoul at the helm.
Something snapped in his psyche too, and he realized fate wanted him to be the hero this time around. He jumped up and began following the carriage.
By the time he arrived at the Chateau de Chagny, he realized there was a very strange feeling of déjà vu about the whole situation.
"Erik!" Christine's sweet voice cried out. She ran toward him. Erik realized she was wearing a wedding dress.
Oh, Christ. That means-
"I'll just, er, hang myself then?" said Erik, trying to be cooperative although he did not at all appreciate his rival stealing his technique.
"That's mighty big of you." Raoul said cheerfully, and Erik pulled a trick rope out of his cloak to use for the false hanging. "That'll work!" said Raoul.
"I really think this is quite unnecessary," said Christine.
"Not to mention how far you're setting back civil rights for handsome people," Erik added.
"I don't want to hear it!" Raoul cried. "Christine, it's a very simple procedure. Marry me, and Erik lives. Refuse me, and I'll kill him right here in front of you-"
"At least be a gentleman about it!" Erik shouted. "I wasn't planning to kill you in front of the girl!"
"More antifeminist drivel!" Christine screeched. "I have a strong stomach and I can quite handle scenes of graphic violence, thank you very much!"
"Enough! Erik or me?" Raoul demanded.
"Don't throw your life away for me!" Erik shouted.
"You try my patience. Make your choice." Raoul whispered.
Christine gave Erik one tragic look, then walked toward Raoul.
"You poor, beautiful thing," she whispered, before giving Raoul a very long kiss Erik was certain involved tongue. When it was over, Raoul looked stunned.
"You kissed me- with this face? This awful face?"
"I love you, Raoul," Christine whispered.
Raoul shook his head as he helped Erik out of the noose. "No, you love Erik. And all I want is for you to be happy."
"I'll never forget you," said Christine. "Goodbye."
Erik put his arm around Christine's shoulders. Christine stopped suddenly, turned, and ran back toward Raoul.
Raoul's heart caught in his throat. Then, Christine removed the engagement ring and gave it to him. There was a long moment where they only looked at each other. Then Christine gave a little sob and ran back to Erik.
Out the window, Raoul could see them leaving.
"Christine, I love you," he whispered.
And he knew she would have loved him too, if it weren't for that accursed face!Raoul dabbed away a tear as he finished the story. Eponine stared in awe.
"So you're all crazy?" she asked.
Raoul was about to say something rather nasty back when he saw Erik run up to Christine. The masked man was carrying two veggie platters, two cold cut platters, two boxes of doughnuts, and a jug of coffee.
"Why all this?" Christine asked.
"Because I bought the doughnuts and coffee, and then it turned 11:30," Erik panted in reply.
Christine turned to the nervous crowd. "Well, everyone, now that the refreshments are here, I think Erik can tell us why our collective death is imminent!"
The crowd hushed as two ballet rats brought in Christine's laptop on a projection table and a small screen.
"LIGHTS!" Erik prompted.
The chandelier began spinning like a disco ball and "The Hustle" began to play from somewhere.
"PROPER LIGHTS!" Erik shouted.
He was illuminated by a spotlight. Erik started a PowerPoint presentation on the screen. The first slide showed a picture of the Opera House and the phrase "So You've Wrecked The Climate System".
"As you can see, the Opera House's climate system is wrecked. It's getting warmer in some places and colder in others. Today, I found icebergs in the lake."
One of the Opera's tech men raised a hand. Erik nodded.
"Yesterday, when I was checking that leaky gasline in Cellar 3, my cigarrette lighter fluid froze solid!"
Erik paused. "You're an idiot. NEXT SLIDE!"
The next slide was a picture of Joseph Buquet drunk at last year's Masquerade.
"We can generally blame this climate shift on Joseph Buquet using too much toilet paper." Erik continued. At this news, most of the Opera denizens scowled at Buquet, who shrugged innocently.
"You gotta go, you gotta go," he rationalized.
Erik continued to explain how this worked, but since he's way smarter than I am, I didn't quite get it.
"When is this supposed to strike us?" asked Marguerite
"The day after yesterday," Erik replied.
Cosette began bouncing in her chair and waving her hand in the air.
"Why- that's today!" Cosette gasped.
"No, really?" said Erik with a roll of the eyes.
The meeting was interrupted by a heavy slushing sound outside the auditorium.
"Well, that would be the foyer flooding," said Erik.
There was a stunned, horrified silence. Christine looked around, trying to find a way to break the tension. She took a deep breath.
"Should I bring him down, should I shout out loud, I never thought I'd come to this-"
Erik shushed her violently. He gave the audience a weak smile.