Chapter 6: On the Road Again
WOOT! I have a confession to make. When I finished this chapter the first time, I had gone over to a friend's house, and I am ashamed to admit, but we did some anime. Young people, don't make the same mistakes I did. Only do anime in small, healthy doses, preferably under supervision. Don't watch and write. Anyway, I've re-done the last bit of this chapter.
Dedicated to MAD magazine, the re-inventors of the corny spoof name. MAD rocks my world. (I get a commission if you subscribe. Or at least, I should get a commission.)
By the way, MAD readers, did you notice the mistake in issue 449? Page 26 says that Sirius is Harry's uncle. (Which he's not) Blank stare from readers WELL? Don't you care? Blank stares continue I'm not crazy. Or obsessed. Really. Readers slowly back away Grr.
The bullet-riddled mini fridge and microwave had been laid to rest in the back of Gary's closet, replaced by his new school things and his pet carrier pigeon, Shrubwing.
Gary had tried to memorize his new books to so that he would be up to speed at school, but was to nervous to. So instead he threw chopsticks at the ceiling. The record for most stuck stands at 23.
Gary had been avoiding his relatives. They weren't entirely sure if he had even come back from his trip to Dublin. Gary didn't feel like enlightening them. God alone knows what they would do to him.
But, alas, the fateful day came when he had to ask them for a ride to the train station. He walked downstairs quietly, snuck up behind his uncle, and whispered, "Uncle Venom? Will you give me a ride to the train station tomorrow?"
His relatives jumped. Studley floated a few feet in the air. The effects of the Poke-curse were still wearing off. Petulant burst into tears, muttering something about never saying goodbye. Venom answered him.
"You're still here? I thought that Ragged fellow took care of you... A ride? Sure, whatever gets you out of the house."
"Yippie!" yelled Gary as he jumped for joy.
The next morning found Gary lugging his suitcase around a train station, wincing as he stepped on his sprained ankle. Never jump for joy without looking behind you first.
Gary took a look at his ticket. "Platform -9.75. Hey, Uncle Venom, where is..." But the Dungbeetles, seeing that their 11-year-old nephew was completely lost, had left to go get ice cream. Mocha ice cream. Yum.
So little Gary ran off looking for platform negative 9.75. Which didn't go very well. There was a sign for a Platform (positive) 9.75, but it lead into a wall that was covered with "police line, do not cross" tape, and there was no platform between platform -9 and -10. Gary ended up standing around looking for a miracle.
And indeed, a Ford Miracle pulled up to the station and deposited a large group of people, all with hazel hair and red eyes. I mean red eyes and hazel hair. No, I mean eye hair and..no, that's not it either. Oh well. You know what I mean. There were six people, a matronly woman holding a little girl with flaming hazel eye hair... Damn it. Let me try that again. There was a matronly woman holding a little girl by the hand and four boys, each with a large amount of luggage. Gary probably wouldn't have looked at them twice, except that the girl was arguing with her mother in a loud voice, and it attracted his attention.
"Why can't I go to school? I wouldn't make any trouble! I'd be a good little duckling! PLEASE?" She asked, giving her mother Bambi eyes. The boys groaned, and the woman sighed.
"I told you already! You're too young. And normal kids don't look forward to school."
"So? WHO SAID I HAD TOO BE NORMAL? HUH? HUH?" the girl raised her voice a little.
"Be quiet, Brandy. I have a reputation here, and I don't need my bratty little sister to ruin it!" The tallest boy whispered in an undertone. He had on these hideous rimless glasses and they made him look like he had a computer generated face. Or at least, that's what Gary thought they looked like.
"Mum, Pukey called me a brat! I don't think he should be allowed to do that! Mom, make him stop! Make him stop!" the girl carefully raised her voice one decibel.
"Brandy, you've been at this all the way here." One of the boys moaned.
"So shut your pie hole." A third one, who looked like the twin of the former speaker, said mildly. The girl immediately stopped.
"Now, where did Pukey go?" The mother asked. "Gred? Forge? Did you see where he got to?"
"He already got on the platform. Gosh!" said the fourth boy, who was obviously the youngest, even though he was almost as tall as Gred and Forge. Gary looked around and realized that he had been following the family without thinking. He found himself near the police line wall labeled 9.75.
"I'd better go after him. Gred, watch your sister." The woman said, handing Brandy off to one of the twins. "Count to ten and then follow me." She then walked off into a crowd of tourists.
One of the twins turned to his sister. "Hey, nice job getting rid of the prat-fect. Maybe someday we'll acknowledge your existence. Speaking of which, Hey, Donikins? Ready for your first day of school?" He said in a mock-caring voice to his younger brother.
"Don't call me Donikins. What are you trying to do, ruin my life?" Said the boy, looking like he wanted to disappear. And he did. He grabbed his trunk and ran off towards the "Police-line"-taped wall. The others ignored him.
Gary was so fascinated by this slightly dysfunctional family that he decided to ask them if they knew where platform -9.75 was. So he walked up to them.
"Hey, do you know where platform negative 9.75 is? Or where the train to Pigpimple is?" He asked.
The boys looked at him as if he were a slightly retarded alien. The little girl said "Oh, are you going to Pigpimple? I wish I could go. We're getting there on the Pigpimple Espresso, so we're getting on a different platform. We're getting on platform..."
"Brandy, please, not now." One of the boys shushed her before turning his attention to Gary. "Lemme see your ticket." He grabbed the ticket out of Gary's hand and looked at it. His twin looked over his shoulder and started laughing.
"Poor kid. You starting your first year?" Gary nodded. "Ok. That explains it. Your ticket has a misprint. Its just plain old 9.75. Didn't any one tell you how to get to the train?" Before Gary could answer, he continued "I'm Gred Wheezy, by the way, and this is Forge. And this is Brandy-
"-our little sister, but don't let on." Forge finished. "Say, I like you, kid. What's your name?"
"'Gary dot dot dot' the spy said, not wanting to give his full name to the enemy." Forge said dramatically.
"We're just joking with you. We don't think you're a spy. You aren't, are you?" Gred said, laughing.
"No, Gary Bother is my name." Gary elaborated, not wanting to offend his new friends.
"Really?" Brandy squealed. "Wow! Wait till I tell dad. I wish I was going to school this year! Then I could tell people I was in Gary Bother's graduating class. Wouldn't that be cool. Don is so lucky!"
Forge was consulting his watch. "Yeah, yeah, Brandy. Hey, we'd better go or we won't have time so say bye to dear old mother." He grabbed his sister and ran straight at the wall labeled Platform 9.75, and disappeared.
"Right. Now, Gary, you just walk through the wall. Won't hurt. I promise." But Gary wasn't worried about that.
"But it says that it's a police line, and we aren't supposed to cross! What if I get in trouble?" Gred laughed, but Gary hadn't been joking.
"Come on. You don't want to miss your train, do ya?"
So, to make a long story short (readers: Too late) Gary got on the platform and stood by the reunited Wheezies, who completely ignored him. Pukey came running up, gave his mother a quick peck, and said goodbye very quickly, as though he really didn't want to be seen with her. But she grabbed him by the arm.
"Pukey, now, is that any way to treat your mother? I'm not going to be seeing you for about a year! Come on, give me a proper hug."
Pukey groaned. "Mother. I uhmafugle." He didn't finish his sentence because his mother was trying to smother him.
"Pukey, don't forget to watch out for your little brothers. Try and keep Gred and Forge out of trouble. And don't let Don take after them. You be a positive roll model for him. And don't forget to write. And make sure they brush their teeth before going to bed every night. And make sure they do their homework on time."
"Mom! He's our brother, not our nanny!"
"Mother, you do realize that I'm a prefect now, and I have stuff I need to do besides watch after my little brothers."
"Are you a prefect? Why, I've forgotten already!" Gred said sarcastically.
"Yeah, you only reminded us every fifteen minutes today." Forge said
"Instead of every two seconds,"
"Like you did the rest of the summer."
"Any way, mom, he's just going to act like we aren't related once you're out of sight."
"Yeah. He can be a real prat when he wants to be."
"Which is all the time."
Mrs. Wheezy, however, was not paying attention to the twins. She was busy smoothing out Don's hair, much against his will.
"Hold still, Don! I'm not sending you off looking like you were raised by wolves. I'm going to miss you! The house is going to be so lonely with all you kids gone!"
"And what am I? Chopped liver? Admit it mom, you wouldn't notice if I was at school or not!" Brandy broke in.
"No, Brandy, you stay with your poor old mother." One of the twins started.
"Yes, be a comfort to our parents in their old age." The other added. Mrs. Wheezy whapped them with her handbag.
"OW! Mom, stop it. Ow!"
"Anyway, Brandy, I think one Wheezy a year is about all poor Pigpimple can handle. It almost killed them when we showed up! Ouch! Mom!"
Gary decided to put his luggage on the train. He passed your usual assortment of school children, including an unfortunate child who was supposed to be at Platform 9 3/4, going to Hogwarts. If she ever got there or not, no one really knows.
So Gary found an empty compartment and sat around for a while. Then the train set off and Gred, Forge and Don stopped in.
"Gary, this is Don. Don, this is Gary. You guys should stick together." Gred said.
"I don't even know who this guy is!" Don said, sitting down quickly.
"This is Gary Bother, Don. He's like family to us." Forge said. He and Gred stopped halfway out the door, and Forge turned around and said to Gary, "Gary, Gred and Forge offer you their protection." Then they left.
Don pulled out a Game boy and started playing. Gary watched him.
"What game are you playing?"
"Fire Emblem, whaddaya think?"
Gary moved over to see the screen. "Cool."
Don turned off the game and looked up. "So, are you, like, y'know, THE Gary Bother?"
"Yeah. I guess."
"Cool. Is it true that you have this weird scar?"
Gary pulled back his bangs. "See for yourself."
"Awesome. It looks kinda like a... Argh. Scratchers! Sit still!"
"No, Scratchers is my pet gerbil. He used to be Pukey's, and it permanently affected his brain, I think." And Don pulled a little graying rodent out of his pocket. "All he really does is squeak and sleep. And eat. He's a bit boring. Dollar says that one of these days we'll find out that Scratchers is linked to some unsolved murder or something, just to make up for how dull he is."
"He's my brother. I have about an infinity of them."
"Are they all magic and stuff?" Don nodded. "That must be really cool."
"No. It sucks. Like, really bad. Like, I'm the youngest boy, so I never get anything new. All my junk is hand me downs. Even my wand." Don held up the offending school supply. "It used to be Curly's. And my uniform used to be Dollar's. And my books are stolen from the public library. Heck, my pet gerbil is a hand me down!"
Gary got the impression that Don had been wanting to say this for a very long time. "So, how many brothers do you have?"
"Well, there's Dollar. He used to be head boy, but he's getting the help he needs. He works in the Middle East as a banker. It sounds boring, but it's not. Then there's Curly. He was like, the most awesome Squiditch player ever when he was at school. He could have gone pro. But Dad didn't want him to, so now he's in some little Balkan country, studying magical creatures. He wants to go into some dragon related field. It sounds exciting, but it's not. And you probably met Pukey. He's only the world's most pompous jerk. He wants to go into politics. So watch out. If you so much as breath in a way that could damage his 'reputation', he will kill you. And now that he's a prefect it will be that much easier for him. Then there's Gred and Forge. They're alright. They run the Pigpimple black market. And then there's Brandy, but don't worry about her. She won't be coming to school for a while."
"So, you probably already have it made at school. What with everybody knowing who you are and junk. I'm going to die when I get there. I hate making friends. And it doesn't help that I have no clue what is going on. I mean, I just found out that there was a magical community about a week ago."
"Hey, don't worry about it. There are a bunch of gurgle born kids running around. And it's not like I'm going to have it easy or something. I just know that every teacher there is going to call me by my brothers' names. And I have to find something to be good at that they haven't done yet. And I hate making friends too. People are so weird." Don turned back to his game. Gary watched him for a while.
"Studley, my cousin, has a bunch of games. But he doesn't like RPG's, so we never get any. Are they any fun?"
"Fire Emblem is only, like, the best game ever! I can't believe that you've never heard of it." The game made a sound like a train hitting a cow, and Don started tapping buttons furiously. "NO! Darn it! Health points, health points! NOOOOO! And I didn't even save. Gosh!" He looked up at Gary. "Do you want to play? It's pretty fun once you get the hang of it. I have a spare file here..."
"Yeah, sure." Gary grabbed the hand held video device and preceded to tap buttons like a mad man. "Ok, what do I do now?"
"Go talk to that guy with the funky hair. No, to your left. Now go down... him."
So they played for a few hours, stopping only when Gary went to buy some chocolate. (A/n I'll think of some names for the candy in a bit, when I'm feeling more creative.) Then the batteries went dead.
"Don? What happened to scantly-clad woman?"
Don looked over. "The batteries went out. Dang it! Maybe Gred can get me some more at school." Gary looked at him funny. "Mum doesn't want me playing with 'Gurgle toys'. So I have to buy them myself when she's not around. Not many people at school even know what a Game Boy is."
Gary grabbed a Palmer's Solid 'Chocolate' Lizard and inhaled it. Palmers makes the best chocolate flavored substance ever. But something came with the chocolate lizard. And Gary choked on it. Don patted him on the back a few times before he hocked it up.
"Bleah. Gross. What the heck is that?"
"It's a trading card. They all come with them. It started as some kind of 'teach our kids history' thing, and it really caught on. Sorry. I forgot you didn't know."
Gary turned over the moist piece of paper in his hand. There was a picture of some old dude on one side and a quick facts thing on the other. It read (she quoth,): Arby Doubledoor. Has done various things that a kid like you wouldn't care about, including defeating a really evil dude in 1945, finding a cure for ear cancer, getting a very high score on Pac Man, and being Ricola Flannel's lab partner during high school Alchemy 101. He enjoys river dancing and streaking. Doubledoor is currently the Principal of Pigpimple School of Warlocks and Weirdos.
Gary read over the card without interest a few times. "Who is this guy? Is this card pretty rare? Can I sell it on Ebay?"
"Not really. I've heard that he has a deal with Palmers, and the only cards that you get when you buy them on the school train are his. He's this eccentric loony who just does what ever he wants. He's awesome. I hear that he was into some heavy stuff in the 60's. If you get my drift."
"Sweet. So. What's going on in the good old secret community?"
"Not much. Someone tried to rob a bank, but they didn't get any money. I'm still at large, though." Gary, being a little slow, stared at him. "I'm joking, Gary."
Just then, the door slammed open dramatically. A girl with fizzy brown hair walked in.
"Hey, have you seen a caiman? Someone's lost one." Don and Gary, still unsure why this girl was talking to them, continued to stare. "A Caiman is a small lizard-like creature, a member of the Alligatoridae family. They are native to Central and South America and can grow to be..."
"We know what a caiman is. We just haven't seen one around. We will tell you if we do." Don interrupted, rather rudely.
"Ok. My name's HerMoney Gangrene. It's nice to meet you. I'm trying to talk to as many people as possible, because I don't know anyone here, really. I only found out that I was magical about a month ago. Nobody in my family is, and it was really weird when these wackos sent me this letter, but then I've always been able to do these weird things, so we decided to find out about it, and here I am. I'm all nervous, because I don't any one to think of me as some kind of Gurgle bumpkin. I've memorized all the course books. I only hope to God it will be enough." She had been talking very quickly, but she did strike a pose and say the last line very dramatically. "What are your names?"
"Well, I'm Don Wheezy. And this is Gary Bother."
"THE Gary Bother? Really? You're mentioned in about six of the online news groups I subscribed to, and in Notable Moments of Magical History."
"Am I really? I should sue someone."
Don, meanwhile, was getting bored. "Hey, look, Hermoney. What are you doing in here in the first place, anyway?"
"I was making a brief cameo. The author wants to put me in here now to avoid hassle later. So now that you know that I'm an intelligent overachiever, goodbye." And then she left.
"Why even bother to introduce her? I mean, she's just going to be another class member, right?" Don asked in an annoyed tone.
Gary sighed. He had the feeling that Hermoney was going to be a lot more important than Don liked to think. "I don't know. But I hope that's the end of people the author has to introduce. I'm getting sick of it. Plus the chapter is getting kinda long."
"You can say that again, kid." The door opened once again, and the creepy pale kid from chapter five entered, along with two kids who looked like they had been shaving since fourth grade. "I say, its that weird kid from Madame Gabes! Remember me?"
"Yeah, I do. I don't think I caught your name, though."
"Oh, sorry. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Malfunction. Drooling Malfuntcion."
Don and Gary burst out laughing.
"Yeah, and I'm Bond. James Bond." Giggled Gary.
"And I'm Ken. Chic Ken." Chortled Don.
"ITS NOT FUNNY! Like I was saying, these are my chums, Lobster and Doily. They have first names, but who cares."
"Yeah. I'm Bother, Gary Bother. And this is Wheezy. Don Wheezy." Gary said through tears of laughter.
"Hey, stop laughing. Its not funny! I was going to offer you the hand of friendship..."
Gary checked his clipboard. "Sorry. I've already made three friends, so you'll have to come back tomorrow. There is an opening in enemies, though."
"And you're always interrupting me, too. Fine! I was going to ask you to join the secret club of Pigpimple's elite, but if you would rather hang out with some smelly commoners like the Wheezies, then be my guest!" Drooling turned to his friends. "Let's go. And what the hell is this rat doing in here?" He asked, picking up Scratchers and throwing him at Doylie. Doylie caught him, but dropped him immediately, as it turned out that, when frightened, Scratchers preferred to pee on the enemy. Doylie and Lobster shrieked like little girls and ran out of the room.
"Such disgusting boys. I hope their parents don't know how they act at school."
"Did you say something, Don?" Gary asked.
"No. Did you?"
"No. That's odd. I could have sworn I heard a voice."
But soon enough they were at the station, leaving the bags because the PA system said so. And you should always do what the P.A. system tells you to. Everybody got off the train, and Gary found a caiman wandering around. He picked it up and took it over to Hermoney, who directed him to a boy named Shrivel Tallpants, who cried out "Trowel!" joyously and introduced himself and all that. Then Gary, Don, Shrivel, Hermoney, and a bunch of other first years were directed over to a rickety looking dock. A person whom Gary recognized as Ragged helped them aboard rickety looking row boats, and they sailed off across a lake, which offered a nice view of an ancient looking castle. They ended up at another rickety looking dock, and walked up rickety looking steps until they got to the doors.
At this point, they were exhausted, because, as you probably know, it is not good for you to sit on a train and eat Palmer's chocolate lizards for six hours and then engage in physical activity. And the author was also exhausted from writing all this, and she passed out on the keyboard, leaving weird little words down the page. Hg bc ljk;j c,jjkggkrclllljn lkjnjd '
kjd fd lkmjndkkka Mnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
But then she woke up and posted this. But you probably realize that.