Episode 103: Won Sells Poisoned Apples! Clearly Evil Salesman
Popuri skipped merrily down the streets of Mineral Town. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping and Popuri was enjoying her week off. As she passed the Yodel Ranch, she saw a familiar face waiting outside the door. "Hey Mary!" Popuri called to the librarian in her usual cheery tone.
"Hey Popuri," Mary replied. "You don't happen to know where Barley is, do you? I haven't seen him all week."
Popuri placed a hand on her hip and thought for a moment. "Barley… Barley… Oh! You mean the old guy that follows us around?" Mary, stunned by Popuri's question, simply nodded. "I had him sent off to a home in the city. You should have seen the fight he put up."
Mary's jaw dropped. "Why would you do something like that? We need him here! We still haven't found the rest of the Mineral Senshi and…"
"It's okay," the pink-haired girl giggled, "Mary, he's in a better place. He can chase bunnies now. Plus, I had him sent first class mail."
Mary shook her head. "Popuri… you don't seem to understand the severity of this. Without Barley, we're hopeless."
"I'm sure he'll be back in a few days," Popuri reasoned, "he's like the herpes. Until then, let's just enjoy the vacation! Hey, look!"
Popuri pointed at Won, the mysterious travelling salesman. He had a booth set up, with barrels of apples sitting behind him. "I wonder what he's selling," the flower girl asked her friend. The girls approached his stand, where Popuri asked Won what he was selling this time.
"Apples!" the mysterious travelling salesman squealed enthusiastically. "And they're free!"
Mary looked at the pile of apples behind him and knew something was off. The fact that the apples were dripping acid and melting the barrels only validated her suspicion. "I don't know… this whole thing seems kind of sketchy. Where exactly did you get these apples, Won the mysterious travelling salesman?"
They were interrupted by Stu, Elli's younger brother, who wanted an apple. Won grinned widely and handed the small boy a bright red apple. "Thank you, come again!" The boy smiled and waved before trotting off. "See, there's nothing sketchy about this. I'm just running a business here." As soon as the words escaped his lips, a giant THUD was heard. The girls turned around to see Stu's unconscious body on the ground, his bitten apple still in his hand.
Mary's eyes widened in horror, "Popuri, I think we should leave…"
Popuri giggled. "Oh, silly Mary, we haven't gotten our apples yet!" The bubbly girl turned to Won. "We'll take two, please."
As Popuri slipped the fruit in her purse and walked away, Mary struggled to keep pace with the pink-haired idiot. "Popuri, I feel like this was a really bad idea. Those apples are bad news, and we should really keep an eye that salesman, Won."
"Won? Oh, Mary, he's not the Flower Princess! Gosh-lee, I never thought I'd have to be both the brains AND the rack of this operation." She stopped on her heel, lighting up as Mary crashed into her back. "Let's go to the inn! Maybe Ann can put these apples into a pie!"
As luck would have it, they were right in front of the inn; a large building that, like almost every building in Mineral Town, was inexplicably seven or eight times as big on the inside as it was on the outside. The Mayor was inside, getting wasted. A chronic alcoholic, heroin addict, and paedophile, Thomas was repeatedly re-elected due to the lack of opposition, and the fact that Mary was the only person in Mineral Town with enough sense to vote.
"Hi, Mr. Mayor!" Popuri bubbled, the "" implied at the end of her sentence, as always. The Mayor for his part, didn't look up from the baby he was drowning in a bowl of soup. Popuri smiled, content that he was busy signing laws to keep the homeless off the streets despite the obvious evidence he wasn't. "Let's grab a table, Mary!"
The pair chose a table right next to the bar. Almost immediately after they sat down, a redhead slammed the door to the kitchen open in a tizzy. "That's Ann," Popuri whispered to her companion.
"I know who Ann is," Mary whispered back.
"No," Popuri replied.
"…Yes," the librarian said, puzzled. "We went through school together."
"I'm pretty sure that was a different Ann. She's in jail now," Popuri whispered.
"Hi, Mary," Ann waved from the behind the bar.
"Oh, I didn't realize you two knew each other," Popuri smiled. "Anyways, we came to bring you some apples to put in a pie. Mary says their poisonous because Stu ate one and died, but maybe Stu's just allergic to apples. Or poison. Anyways, here." Popuri went to reach for her handbag, but it exploded just before she touched it, sending the chair it was sitting on flying out the window.
"It's the apples!" Mary explained. "I told you so!"
"Oh, Mary. You think everything is a poisoned apple. Besides, I guess it was just my purse's time to go. I'll mourn her, though. Poor Popuri."
"Popuri?" Mary asked through an arched eyebrow. "You named your purse Popuri? Why?"
"Because I keep my tampons in it. Anyways, Ann, I thought we had apples for you, but I guess we don't. Still, could you go back into the kitchen and whip us up some soup? I'll pay you this time and everything."
"Now, Popuri, you tell me you'll pay me every time, and you never do," Ann scolded, wagging her finger playfully. "How do I know you're not lying this time?"
"I am. I never intend on paying you for this soup!" Popuri laughed. Ann grinned tightly and snapped a rubber band she wore against her wrist repeatedly.
"What are you doing?" Mary asked curiously. Ann replied that it was a technique her anger management coach had taught her. "Oh, I didn't realize you have an anger management coach."
"Had. She died. I murdered her in a fit of rage," Ann replied. Popuri and Mary both laughed at the joke, and, cued by the other two girls, Ann laughed as well, her eyes shifting back and forth nervously. She quickly made her way back to the kitchen.
"Hm. She seems… nice," Mary put delicately, at a loss for any other polite words. Her fellow Senshi nodded emphatically.
"Oh, totally. Here, watch this. Ann!" The redhead bustled back in with a smile at the call of her name.
"What is it, Popuri?" the barmaid grinned sweetly.
"May I have your mother's ashes?" the pinkhaired flower child asked with a bat of her gigantic eyelashes. Ann looked uneasy.
"But Popuri… they're all I have left of her."
"Oh," she replied with a huge, affected frown. "Sorry. I guess I thought you were really my friend. Looks like I was wrong…" Ann wore a look of conflict quickly replaced by a tight grin.
"No, no, your friendship means too much to me! Let me go get them!" The girl disappeared behind the kitchen door, and Popuri turned smugly to an appalled Mary, who had been left speechless. Moments later, Ann returned carrying a platter with a silver urn and a wooden bowl.
"Here you go. My… mother's ashes… and a bowl of lobster bisque, just for you, Popuri." In an instant, Popuri opened the urn and upended its contents into the bisque.
"Ann, your dead mother is in my soup. I demand a replacement meal at no charge." Mary's jaw dropped even further and Ann's smile got even tighter. "And bring us some good champagne; none of that crap from the Aja Winery. Now, get to it. I don't pay you for shitty service. In fact, I don't pay you at all." Popuri laughed gaily as Ann ran back into the kitchen, her face buried in the dishtowel. Mary was horrified.
"Popuri…" the librarian stammered, truly at a loss for words. "You're… you're horrible."
"Oh, come on, it's fun. You should try it! Ann!" Popuri called again, and the waitress returned again, her eyes red and puffy from crying. "Ann, be Mary's footrest."
"THAT'S ALRIGHT!" Mary said quickly as the girl moved to get on all fours. Uneasily, she got back up and asked if there would be anything else.
"My meal, you moron!" Popuri ordered, throwing a Faberge egg at Ann's head. She'd ordered it special from Bordeaux for just such an occasion. The pink poptart giggled and clapped her hands giddily as it smashed on the redhead's skull. At that moment, her boyfriend, Cliff, descended the staircase and laughed.
"And just what are you laughing at?" Ann asked, placing her hands on her hips.
"She totally nailed you. That was awesome," Cliff smirked.
"You're my boyfriend, you idiot! You're supposed to stick up for me!" Ann shouted, pushing the drifter slightly.
Mary looked concerned. "Maybe we should step in here, Popuri."
The waif merely laughed. "Oh, Mary, Ann's got it under control. She's a tough woman trying to make it in a man's world!"
"You motherfucker!" Ann shrieked, breaking a lamp across Cliff's face. He dropped to the ground in pain, and she kicked him repeatedly in the chest, fracturing several ribs. "I'll teach you fucking laugh at me!" She reached into her overalls and flipped out a pocketknife.
"Popuri!" Mary cried.
Popuri laughed again. "You don't get it, Mary. Ann is a spunky tomboy with a feminine side, and her zany antics are what endears her to us!"
"She's carving her initials in a man's face!" the librarian gaped, and Popuri smiled.
"Oh, Ann. You may act tough, but we know you have a heart of gold deep down inside!" the flower girl smiled, joyful tears brimming her eyes.
After Cliff was on the floor bleeding profusely from the face and missing two teeth that Ann had ripped from his head with her bare hands, the redhead turned back to the group and dusted off her blood-covered overalls. "Will you be needing anything else?"
"No, that's all for today," Popuri bubbled back. "I'd leave you a tip, but… you know."
"Mm. Well, I made you a 'goodbye' pie. Heat it in the microwave for a minute and a half," Ann smiled. "Bye, you two." Popuri smiled and led Mary out. The pair disappeared just as Mary saw Cliff mouth the words "help me" from the floor.
"Did I ask you to talk? DID I ASK YOU?" Ann shrieked. Cliff's agonized scream was only barely muffled by the inn's thin doors.
As the two girls stepped outside, Mary noticed Won, the mysterious travelling salesman back behind his booth. He appeared to be spraying his apples with water. "I wonder what he's up to." Her question was answered when the apples started growing rapidly. Mary gasped, "I knew he was trouble!"
Popuri looked confused. "Who's trouble?"
"WON, THE MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLING SALESMAN!" Mary shrieked, and as she said his name, intense background music started playing. "Wait… where is that coming from?"
"I don't know, but I like it. Don't you?" Popuri squealed. Mary coughed awkwardly, and Popuri caught on. "Oh wait, did you just say WON, THE MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLING SALESMAN?"
"Yes. I did just say WON, THE MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLING SALESMAN. He's turning his apples into youma!" Mary revealed.
As if on cue, Won laughed manically and announced his plan. "Once my apples defeat those awful Mineral Senshi, I'll be sure to get a promotion. How do you like them apples?"
"How do you like them apples, and the apples are the youma!" Popuri giggled. "Mary, do you get it? Because he just turned the apples he was selling into -"
"I get it," Mary said flatly.
Popuri calmed herself down. "I guess we should transform now, huh?" Mary nodded her agreement. "Too bad the henshin sticks were in my purse… and my purse blew up. I guess you could say my purse was SAUCED." Popuri started laughing uncontrollably.
Mary looked at her friend strangely. "I wouldn't say that at all. That wasn't even a pun, let alone funny." Mary's words were lost on Popuri as the pink haired girl fell to the ground and rolled around, laughing harder and harder.
Won heard Popuri laughing and turned around. "Gah! How long have the two of you been standing there?"
"Long enough," Mary said as she stared him down. "Your game is over, Won. We caught on to your plan and we're here to stop you."
"But Mary, you have no involvement in this matter. Are you trying to be some kind of superhero? I mean, let's face it… you're no Sailor Bookmark, that's for sure." Won tried to reason.
"I AM Sailor Bookmark, you moron!" Mary hissed.
"No you're not. Sailor Bookmark doesn't have glasses!" Won shot back at the librarian. Mary rolled her eyes and took off her glasses. Won gasped in shock. "You ARE Sailor Bookmark!"
Mary pointed at Won. "Your war will meet my peace! Your pride will fall to my prejudice! I will murder you on the Orient Express! In the name of all things literary, Sailor Bookmark will throw the book at you!"
"Is that so? Well, not if I can help it! Apples, attack!" Just as Won called on them, the apples appeared and tackled Mary down. Their leaves grew out into vines that wrapped themselves tightly around her body, binding her. "They're zapping the energy out of you and injecting you with hormones… hormones that will turn YOU into an apple as well."
Mary's face twisted in confusion. "What? That doesn't even make sense!"
"It doesn't have to," Won countered. "Just what in this story actually makes sense?"
Mary paused, puzzled by his question. "I… you're right." Mary sighed sadly. The vines were draining the energy out of her and there was nothing she could do. She couldn't even be logical anymore. Weakly, she turned to Popuri and whispered for her friend to help her. Unfortunately for Mary, Popuri was too wrapped up laughing at her own jokes to notice. "Popuri," the girl called weakly, "please… set me free. It's taking over… I can feel it… I'm becoming… one of THEM."
Popuri stopped laughing and looked at her friend softly. Maybe Mary had finally gotten through to her? "Oh, MARY. I always knew we were the perfect PEAR!" With that said, the girl continued to laugh hysterically.
Everyone, including the youma, stopped to stare at Popuri in disbelief. "We're Apples," one of the youma spoke up. Popuri finally stopped laughing and started coughing up blood. Her sides began to hurt and she felt winded. "Oh, I need to lay down. Mary, you'll handle this, right?"
Mary was starting to stiffen. "You… fuck… ing… bitch." The vines shocked her but she was too far gone to feel the pain.
Won grinned. He knew just the thing to say to put Popuri completely out of commission. "You know, I guess what they say is true. One bad apple spoils the bunch."
Popuri was hurled into another fit of laughter until she collapsed. The Apples stretched their vines out and aided her fall, binding her as well.
"Yoohoo, girls!" Ann trilled, pushing open the door to the inn. "I baked a you an 'I hope you left the inn safely' pie, and -"
She was surprised to see Mary and Popuri on the ground, wrapped in vines and being shocked by the mutant Apples. "Oh my God! This is appalling!"
"APPALLING!" laughed Popuri in agony. "It… sounds… like… apples!"
"Uh… okay, this is shocking."
"SHOCK! They're… shocking… us!"
"Shut… the… fuck… up!" gasped Mary in between blasts of apple hormones.
"Oh, no, what do I do?" fretted Ann, looking around for help. A red glowing mark appeared on her forehead in the shape of an Apple. Noticing the bizarre formation, Mary took the opportunity to slide a pocket dictionary out of her dress.
"Bookmark Blast!" she called, hurling the book through the swaths of vines. She rolled away anaemically, and crawled over to Ann. "Ann… take this… henshin stick… and transform… into… Sailor…"
"Sailor whom?" Ann asked.
"Sailor Doormat!" Popuri yelled from her entanglement. Mary was too weak to put up any objections.
"Because… I'm welcoming. Like a welcome mat," Ann rationalized, knowingly lying to herself. "Okay, that works. Doormat Power, Make-Up!"
Ann spun quickly, overlaid by a sea of pastry. Apple pies, blackberry pies, shepherd's pies - all manners of pie. If it wasn't pie, it was made of pie. A Taj Mahal made of pie served as the backdrop. The equation for pi would have floated behind her, if it wasn't too conceptual - this was literal. Pie, not pi. Only pie.
"Sailor Doormat is here!" she announced dramatically, her overalls blowing in the wind because she was too much of a spunky tomboy with a heart of gold to wear a skirt like the rest of them. "In the name of the Doormat, I will punish you - if you're okay with that!"
The Apples shot out their vines, but Doormat swiftly dodged. She handsprung over and freed Popuri from her appley bondage, and asked in a panic, "how do I attack this thing?"
The girl shrugged. "I don't know. Barley would usually be here to tell us what to do. Improvise, I guess."
Ann turned and gave the Apples a menacing look. "I guess I'll have to take care of this myself.
"Evildoers, prepare to meet your demise!"
The scene went black, then faded into a shot of Tuxedo Bandanna holding a rose and standing atop Won's stand. "I stand for love and justice, and in the name of--" he was cut off when Sailor Doormat threw a barstool at his head, knocking him to the ground. The angry barmaid then proceeded to beat him with the barstool until he was unconscious, and several minutes afterward.
"Ann, maybe you should concentrate on -" Popuri put in, but Doormat had already ripped one of the support beams out of Won's apple stand and was beating Tuxedo Bandanna about the face with it. When she was content that he wasn't getting up, she turned her fiery gaze on the apples. Won rolled his eyes.
"Can we hurry this along, here? I have an orphanage to burn down at four," he moaned.
"Oh, you'll get yours, you mysterious travelling salesman!" Ann threatened.
"Not this time, Sailor Senshi!" Won cackled, throwing down a smoke bomb. Some moments later they heard the door to the winery close and saw Won through the window. Sailor Doormat shrugged it off and returned to the task at hand.
"Now, to beat these apples to a pulp!" She turned expectantly to Popuri.
"I don't get it," she shrugged.
"Meet my fists of fury!" Ann shrieked, punching an apple in the nose with a sickening crack. As she laid into the things, it became increasingly clear that they were as filled with gore and bone as any other Youma they'd faced so far. Still, Sailor Doormat's unbridled rage wouldn't let her stop, so pretty soon they were shapeless fleshy sacs. As Mary rose to her feet, she and Popuri looked on in rapt horror as Ann beat the Youma to death with her bare fists.
In the bushes, Chef looked over at the girls. "Damn. I guess the new Senshi wasn't the Princess after all. But who-" He noticed the look on Popuri's face. "Of course! Those pink lips! That vacant stare! Those gigantic red eyes! Popuri is… I have to tell the Goddess!" He scampered away from the massacre as quickly as his legless body could carry him.
The last Apple had been bludgeoned. At the end, Sailor Doormat detransformed, let out a contented sigh and lit up a cigarette. "Oh, wow. That felt good." She turned to her new partners. "I guess I'm a Senshi, too, now, just like you guys."
"That was… pretty brutal," Popuri stammered. Mary twitched.
Ann seemed nonplussed, however, grinning heartily in spite of the demon cartilage all over her face. "It sure was, Popuri. It sure was." She put her arms around her friends' shoulders. "Now, who's up for some 'victory' pies?" She laughed, turned to the camera, and winked.
And then they turned into a drawing.
"You wretched prick!"
The Goddess' spittle flew into Chef's face. Now missing both his legs, he had dragged his stump up to the Holy Throne to receive what would be his final berating. He winced at the deity's anger.
"You puke. You fucking puke. You're a useless little gnome and your outfit looks like dried up period blood." She knocked him over and dug her heel into his chest as he screamed in pain. "Your stupid flower monster didn't work! Your stupid book monster didn't work! And apples? WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING?"
"Your highness, I beg of you!" he sobbed. "Give me one more chance! One more! I know the identity of the Flower Princess!"
"Bullshit!" she shrieked back. "And even if you do, I'm not going to listen to you, because even though that would be more beneficial to me in the long run, I have an image to maintain: that of a cold-hearted bitch who decides that her incompetent minions have finally failed for the last time as soon as they have knowledge of the Flower Princess' secret identity. Now shut up and die!" With a twist of her heel, she snuffed out the cigarette butt of Chef's life for good.
"Second general!" she commanded, dragging the soles of her shoes against the edge of the steps leading to her throne to scrape off the elf corpse. A small figure, wider than Chef, appeared in the shadows.
"Yes, my queen." The mysterious figure's voice was every bit as questionable - deep and alluring. His eyes glowed from within the darkness.
"You are to be Chef's replacement. You are my new general. I trust you will not replicate his failures," the Harvest Goddess purred. From the shadows, a chuckle echoed.
"Worry not, your highness. I shall not fall below the threshold of incompetence set by my late predecessor. After all, I-"
"Would you STEP OUT OF THE FUCKING SHADOWS? I can't see you!" The hag turned her halogen desk lamp on the purple tunic clad elf, causing him to wince and see spots. "Oh, Jesus Christ, it's fucking Bold. I give him two episodes, tops."
"I, uh… Your Highness, I will exceed your expectations by-"
"I don't care," moaned the Goddess in boredom. She hurled her desk lamp in Bold's general direction. It shattered against the wall, plunging the room back into relative darkness. He took advantage of the situation and scuttled away quickly.
The Harvest Goddess looked into her crystal ball.
"Soon, Flower Princess… your day is coming soon…"
End Credits: Another episode in the can. Probably our least restrained episode yet, and as a result, my favourite.
So, Ann's with the team now. We started off hating to write her but once we added in her homicidal, abusive side, everything fell right into place. Popuri's at her bitchiest and stupidest this chapter, and Mary serves her usual position as the logic, horrified by the actions of the other characters. We welcome Won and Bold as new villains, and say a sad goodbye to Chef. A moment of mourning.
Keep reviewing, and stay tuned for the next story: Episode 104: Mother's Day Madness! The Appearance of the Slutty Senshi. Peace.