NoV: The final chapter! YAI!
Warning: This chapter contains some real life events and those involved must allow me to take creative license on them, thank you!
Quote of the day:
"Man, living in dust,
Is like a bug trapped in a bowl.
All days he scrabbles round and round,
But never escapes from the bowl that holds him.
The immortals are beyond his reach,
His cravings have no end,
While months and years flow by like a river
Until, in an instant, he has grown old."
Once back in the modern art section, Roger commented, "Well, now that we're probably going to go to jail, anyone want to go check out ancient China?"
"I want to," Mimi said, pitifully. "We haven't spent any time alone today," she added, giving the others a hint to go elsewhere.
"Well don't forget," Angel interjected, "Madame Margo Fletcher's brilliant lecture starts in two hours!" She gave an impossibly cute smile and said to Collins, "Let's go see the Fall of Rome, shall we?"
Collins smiled back, "Okay." He pushed her away toward the exhibit.
Maureen slapped Mark on the back. "Come on. You can go with me and Jo-Jo to the ancient weaponry exhibit."
"Yes, Mark, come with us…" Joanne agreed with a slight slur. Maureen patted her on the head.
Mark shrugged. "Fine with me," he said.
Roger and Mimi, the most uninjured couple of the day, stepped back into thousands of years of Chinese history. They saw gold statues from dynasties of long ago, a few wall hangings with Chinese lettering, beautiful fans and a couple of intricate lanterns.
"Isn't this nice?" Mimi wondered. "We hardly ever have any time when it's just us, you know?"
"Yeah," Roger agreed. "This is good."
Mimi couldn't help but smile as she leaned toward him for a chaste kiss. But, unfortunately, chaste kisses tend to lead to something more. And this one did just that. It wasn't long before Mimi and Roger were in all-out make out mode, oblivious to the world of Chinese culture around them. They walked around, attached at the lips, blindly searching for someplace to sit down where making out would be easier. At last they found something to sit on and commenced a lip-smacking rampage that would make anyone want to stop and stare.
Angel and Collins made it all the way to the Fall of Rome when the water Collins had drank at lunch caught up with him, so to speak. Knowing only of one bathroom, down in the small food court, Collins excused himself giving Angel a kiss on the head. Angel, in his absence, wheeled around looking at pieces of Roman columns and the like.
Collins exited the bathroom in relief, with every intention of marching right back up the stairs to the Fall of Rome and after-fall of Angel. However, he couldn't resist the voice he heard when it implored him, "Free samples!"
Meanwhile, Mark, Joanne and Maureen were taking in the sights of medieval weaponry. There were flails, whips, axes, swords, bows and arrows, and many other very scary implements of war. Definitely the wrong place for people who kept having such ghastly accidents.
Mark rolled his eyes and tried to occupy himself while Maureen and a revived Joanne were arguing. Joanne was saying, "I'm fine, Maureen. I don't need the damn wheelchair." She was talking mostly out of hurt and shock (however literal that may be).
"Pookie," Maureen protested, "take it easy. The first aid guy said you might have tremors for several hours. And headaches."
Joanne rolled her eyes, slowing propelling herself out of the wheelchair. "Yeah, let's listen to the eighteen-year-old who took one first aid course in trade school," she sarcastically said.
"Where are you going?" Maureen cried, as Joanne limped strenuously away.
"To the bathroom," Joanne replied. "I have to go see if I look okay."
Maureen sighed and turned to Mark, who was patiently minding his own business. "Women," Maureen said.
"Yeah," Mark agreed, humoring her.
Mimi and Roger were still going at it, and had yet to realize what they were sitting on. Finally, not being able to take it anymore, the man Mimi had sat on said, "Excuse me, but you're making out on me."
This scared the poor couple out of their wits, not expecting the bench they had chosen to already have a person sitting on it. Mimi jumped off the man's lap and said, "I'm so sorry! I didn't see you there."
"Obviously," he said, rolling his eyes.
Roger could only stare at the guy, incredulously as he said, "Why didn't you say anything? We've been making out on top of you for ten minutes!"
The man shrugged. "It was hot."
Mimi and Roger, disgusted and wanting to punch the guy's lights out, decided to leave and be disgusted elsewhere.
Angel was admiring an ancient Roman vase when Collins appeared out of nowhere, jarring her out of her mind. Holding her throbbing heart and shifting her panging bottom, she exclaimed, "Baby, you scared me! What's up?"
Collins, a mild look of insanity in his eye, said, "Can I have twenty dollars??"
Angel miraculously pulled out another twenty. "Yeah, but—"
"Thanks!" Collins cried, snatching the bill and kissing her forehead. He took off back toward the café.
"What in the world…." Angel mused, shaking her head as he gleefully ran downstairs.
Maureen stood next to Mark, wondering when her pookie would return. She gave a worried sigh as she glanced toward the stairwell. She probably shouldn't have let her go on her own. What if she had collapsed from tremors? What if she had cracked her head open? But, then again, what if Maureen nervously went to check on her and Joanne got offended for her thinking she couldn't take care of herself?
"Oh, Markie!" she wailed, suddenly latching onto the poor boy. "I'm so worried!"
Mark, not expecting her to suddenly glomp him, cried out in surprise and lost his balance, launching both of them into a suit of armor. This said suit toppled onto its side, which caused its sword to vault out of its hand, causing all the weapons in the room to start a chain reaction. Mark and Maureen panicked, screaming in terror as arrows whizzed by their hands and swords were thrown, and a general sense of chaos filled the air.
"OW!" Maureen shrieked when one of the arrows clipped her arm.
"Ahh!" Mark cried as the first knight's sword came back and landed on his foot. "I've been stabbed!" he yelled, dramatically, though the sword had merely pierced his shoe.
"Oh, shut up, Mark!" Maureen snapped, carefully removing the arrow from her arm. "I got shot!"
"What is this?" Mark demanded. "The museum of exciting but slow and indefinite death??"
Maureen sniffled at the pinprick of blood that flowed from her arm. "I need a Band-Aid," she said, sadly.
"Let's go to first aid," Mark suggested, gently putting his hand on her back to guide her. "They'll help us out."
Joanne reemerged from the bathroom, feeling better about her appearance. She had washed off the ashy spots that had turned her face and arms to a dark, smoky color, and now looked back to normal. Except for her hair, which under no amount of trying would lay down normally.
Leaving the area, she became confused as to which hallway she had come from. Shrugging when she saw an "EXIT" door, she went through it to find a pitch-black corridor. Against her better judgement, Joanne continued down the hall, groping the wall for support in case there was a bend or stairwell. Unfortunately, what she ran across was a sudden drop, and Joanne plummeted thirty feet into darkness.
Angel, lonesome and fearful for Collins' return, squeaked in surprise when the man came out of nowhere again and abruptly started pushing her along in the wheelchair. "Collins," she gasped, "you scared me again." Getting no response, she wondered suspiciously, "What's going on? What did you use that twenty dollars for?"
"It's really delicious," Collins said, dazedly. "The best thing I ever tasted. I have to have more." They started down the wheelchair accessible ramp. "You've gotta go buy me some more! I'm so broke." His eyes filled with tears of longing.
Angel, feeling a pang of sympathy in her heart and a pang of hurt in her bottom, gracefully volunteered another twenty from her stash of never-ending money. "Here, honey," she said, softly. "If it makes you happy, go ahead and get some more."
"Yarrr!!" Collins exclaimed, sounding much like a pirate. He took the money and ran off ahead of Angel toward the food court. This left Angel going down the ramp, her speed accelerating to a frightening pace.
Collins barely heard the cries of "COLLINS!!! I'M GOING DOWN AN INCLINE!! HOW DO YOU SLOW THIS THING DOWN?? COLLINS!!!!" But he did hear the crashing of glass and the scream of terror, which was enough to shake him out of his stupor.
Thoughts of the perfect candy vanished from his mind as he turned around and saw the broken window at the bottom of the ramp and the empty wheelchair on its side, wheels spinning. "Angel!" he cried, running toward the window.
Luckily for Angel, the window didn't lead to a two-story drop but to a small greenhouse. Unluckily for Angel, she had landed in a cactus.
Collins stepped through the broken window and said, "Oh my god, I'm so sorry." He was determined not to laugh, even though the situation was pretty funny. "Are you okay?"
Angel snappily replied, "Oh sure!" She waved her hands about, sitting on the cactus like it were a stool, which didn't help Collins to control his mirth. "I have a broken butt, and now I'm sitting in a cactus!"
Collins cleverly turned a smile of amusement into a smile of apology as he reached down to pry Angel out of the plant. She cried out as some of the needles stayed with the cactus and some stayed with her. Unable to stand upright without the sharp pins digging in deeper, she remained at half-mast, so to speak as she slowly and carefully walked far away from all the cacti.
"Help me," she seethed at Collins, who was glad her back was turned to him, as he could no longer control the smile that spread across his face.
"Okay," he said, and began the painful process of slowly picking each and every one of the prickly needles out of Angel's butt.
Mark and Maureen left the first aid room, only needing one bandage, and went forth to find Joanne.
"She's definitely been gone to long," Maureen remarked. "It isn't like her to just disappear."
Mark shrugged. "Maybe she got tired and went home."
"She would've told me first!" Maureen insisted. "She knows it worries me if she goes off and doesn't say anything…"
Mark rolled his eyes to himself. "Well, you check the bathroom and I'll check back at the weaponry exhibit….the one that we destroyed."
"Hey, if all that happened so easily, it was bound to happen anyway," Maureen said.
"If we don't find her soon, I'll meet you in the lecture hall at five," Mark said, as he walked back upstairs.
Joanne shook her head to relieve the pain. Thankfully, a mattress had broken her fall. Strange, it was almost as if it had been left there for her, as if someone was expecting her. She stood up, happy to find no further injuries, and walked toward the only light she saw. It appeared to be a small desk lamp, set next to someone's office. It was creepy to think that someone would work down in this dark cavern.
"Hello," a sinister voice said, startling Joanne. She hadn't expected to find anyone. "I've been waiting."
"Y-you have?" Joanne wondered, frightened. She stopped moving, not knowing what to expect.
"Yes, of course," the voice continued. Out of the shadows beside the desk, walked a man, short, hunched over. "What with our history together, I knew eventually you'd end up right here, right where I want you. And now there's no escape."
Joanne began to shake in terror. She didn't recognize the voice and shuddered at what he planned to do. "Look, I-I know I'm not supposed to be down here…."
"Oh, of course you are," the man cut her off. "And now you're going to pay for what you've done to me, Joan."
"Joan?" she repeated. "My name's Joanne."
A pause of silence, then, "Oh, my mistake, I'm so sorry." He flipped a switch, illuminating the room. Joanne squinted at the sudden light and saw that they were in a storage room with old exhibits and empty boxes. The man wasn't quite so frightening in the light, but he was short and hunched over.
"What is this place?" she asked.
"Look, pretend you didn't see this," he said. "I'm still waiting for Joan to show up. She keyed my car last Tuesday, and she's not getting away with it. She owes my four hundred dollars." He opened a door that went back into the museum. "Sorry about the confusion."
Joanne said something like, "It's no problem," as she ran off into the museum, terrified out of her mind.
Mimi sat fidgeting in the lecture hall, bored once again. She wondered where the rest of the group was, having lost Roger to the bathroom ten minutes ago. But, since the lecture was starting in a few minutes, she figured she might as well wait. She was surprised, however, that Angel hadn't already gotten there, having thought that she would have been sitting in the front row for half an hour like a teeny-bopping groupie.
Shattering her thoughts, Mark came into the door, rather swiftly and looked around nervously. He made brief eye contact with Mimi, and then all but dove behind the podium, barely shielding himself from sight. Confused, Mimi said, "Mark? What's wrong?" to which he merely shushed her.
Moments later, Roger came in, looking around, but not at all nervously. "Where's Mark?" he asked. Mimi silently pointed to the podium. Roger hopped onto the stage and said, "Mark, come on out of there." No response. "Come on, man, I'm….I'm sorry. I won't let it happen again. Come on, can't you take a joke? I was just messing with you….."
Slowly Mark began to appear from behind the podium, looking frightened at Roger, but still taking in his sincerity and beginning to stand upright. Just as he was clear from the safety of his podium, Roger grabbed him by the arm and pulled him toward himself. "Don't you ever make me wait that long again!" Roger yelled, as he began dry-humping the cameraman.
"Mimi, Mimi!!" a voice cried, waking her. "It's about to start!"
Mimi rubbed her eyes to the sound of Angel's squeals. "Oh my god, that was some dream," she murmured.
Angel sat beside her, the poor thing still enjoying herself for all she was worth, despite the things that kept happening to her bottom. She had one arm linked with Mimi, and the other linked with Collins, who was shivering from withdrawal. Maureen comfortingly patted Joanne's hand on the other side of Mimi, whispering sweet things of serenity to the frightened lawyer. Roger sat with Mark, the two engaged in (not dry-humping but) conversation.
Angel shushed the group, who were sadly the only people present in the lecture hall, when a man entered and went atop the stage. "Hi," he said into the microphone. "I'm so happy to see that you have all come out to see Margo Fletcher's Hat Lecture series." He smiled amiably at the bohemians. "Unfortunately, Ms. Fletcher has recently come down with a mild case of addiction, something about candy and a gypsy. But, I assure you, if you would like to attend her next lecture in sunny Coconut Beach, she will be more than able to give it then." He left the room without another word.
Slowly, everyone turned to stare at Angel, whose eye was twitching furiously. Mimi rubbed her arm, in an attempt to soothe the upset she was sure would occur. However, Angel merely took a deep breath and said, "I love the beach."
NoV: Yes, the end! I hope you liked, and now you know I have to write a sequel. I had too much fun writing this one to not continue! So next time, (in another story) the gang will visit the beach. Muahaha!