The Excessive Stretchification of English
Just a cutesy little piece of humor I wanted to do but couldn't fit into the structure of DNG. I'm listing it as incomplete for now, in case I get ideas to continue it. If I don't get any ideas for long enough, though, I'll change its status to complete.
Beast Boy had, as far as his friends could tell, gone completely insane.
Of course, this wasn't as strange for Beast Boy as it would have been for one of the other Titans. He went insane on a semi-regular basis, from coffee, catnip, or just plain hyperactivity. Indeed, Raven would opine that he never really stopped being insane. However, Beast Boy also had a very short attention span. Which was why this particular bout of craziness was noteworthy, as it had revolved around a very narrow object for an entire month so far.
He would say 'Behold!' very loudly, and then enthusiastically describe something at random. A banana, Robin's cape, a new or old video game, high-tech training equipment, or even something abstract like a battle strategy or a political belief, anything was suitable fodder. At first it had been kind of cute, but the duration of the 'joke' combined with the increasing frequency had long past worn out its welcome.
"It's like he's turned into a retarded Doctor Light," Cyborg said at one point, whereupon Robin sternly repimanded the, err, cyborg, on the use of 'retarded' as a pejorative.
"But yeah, you're right. I don't know why he's so hyped up about the word, but enough is enough. This has to stop."
Unfortunately, the alarm sounded before they could get around to figuring out who would be best to give their favorite changeling the obligatory slap upside the head.
"Remember, Beast Boy, it may only be Control Freak, but he's unpredictable and therefore a challenge," Robin said en route in the T-Car. "So don't start getting too careless out there. Keep it icy."
"Yes, sir," came the solemn reply.
"You know I can see you sticking your tongue out at me in the rearview mirror, right?"
"Uh... I do now? Heheh."
As it turned out, all the fuss was over a Playstation 3, apparently the only unpurchased one currently in Jump City. Walmart really did have everything. Someone had seen it before Control Freak and the nerd had retaliated by somehow turning video game characters real.
Which made Cyborg and Beast Boy deliriously happy, amused Starfire, stressed out Robin, and really, really annoyed Raven.
"Dude dude dude dude dude!" Beast Boy exclaimed between morphs that barely dodged a certain blue hedgehog's super-fast blows, "you have got to race Kid Flash and the Spanishy kids! It'll be totally awesome! Please please please? AHH, KOOPA SHELL!"
Both hedgehog and superhero sidestepped the green projectile. Unfortunately, Raven happened to step on it and slid twenty feet into a wall with a resounding crash. Beast Boy grinned at the resulting mutterings.
"Rooobbiiinnnn!" he called out in an I'm-gonna-tell tone of voice. "Raven said a bad word! And I'm not gonna say which one, 'cause then I'd have to say it too, and I'm a good superhero, not like Raven, but it rhymes with duck!"
And then he realized that Robin was a department and a half away, busy dodging Kirby-launched projectiles. In fact, other than the still slightly indisposed Raven, no one else was near him.
Except for Sonic, polishing his spikes menacingly.
And Alucard, polishing his sword menacingly.
And Mario, polishing his plunger menacingly.
"What game do you get a plunger in?" Beast Boy demanded of the plumber incredulously, before they surrounded him, looming with great portent of thirty-two bit doom.
Oh dear. If it was just Sonic or Mario, he thought he could handle it, but Alucard? It wasn't even wussy Castlevania 3 Alucard either, it was the badass Symphony of the Night one! Nothing beat that cheesy poison mist move! Except for things immune to poison, and he didn't think he knew how to turn into anything like that. He was out of options!
Except for one.
"Yes, that's it, it's just crazy enough to work," he muttered to himself, hoping that saying those magic words would increase his chances of not getting beat up on. The erstwhile game heroes looked at him like he was nuts. Which he totally wasn't. "Okay, guys, you asked for this!" He drew himself up dramatically as much as he could... about half an inch. Alucard was still looming, but whatever. "BEEEEHOOOOOLLLLLLDDDDUUUHHH!" he yelled in his coolest I'm-announcing-stuff-without-concern-for-the-wellbeing-of-my-lungs voice.
The trio drew back from him nervously, obviously anticipating some kind of super move.
Instead, he turned into a rabbit and darted off, giggling frantically in his mind, and let Raven take care of them. To even things out, he beat up Donkey Kong.
Cyborg appeared to be occupied for most of the fight smacking around the brown dog from Duck Hunt.
"SNARKY LITTLE MUTT! LAUGH AT ME WHEN I MISS A DUCK, WILL YOU?! WELL, WHO'S LAUGHING NOW, HUH?! WHO'S LAUGHING NOW?! GET BACK HERE! BETTER BE GLAD I DON'T HAVE A GUN THIS TIME, YOU FURRY LITTLE BASTARD!"
Oohhhh, Cy was so gonna get it from Robin. Half the store had to've heard that!
And Cyborg did indeed get a reprimand on the way back. But what struck Beast Boy as completely unfair was that he got one, too!
"And Beast Boy, I told you to take things seriously! What made you think joking around with this word obsession of yours again was a good idea? I'm disappointed in you."
"Dude, be fair! It was the only thing I could think of! It was a totally valid tactical manhoover!"
"Maneuver," Robin, Raven, and Cyborg all corrected him simultaneously, while Starfire just looked innocently blank. Too innocently blank.
"Would you like to explain to me why screaming out 'Behold!' in the middle of a fight was a good idea, then? And while you're at it, why have you been using that word all the time, anyway? It's about to drive the rest of us up the wall."
"Well, you see," Beast Boy replied, trying to sound like a wise British philosopher, "the basis of language is to communicate one's personal state to others so that they may empathize with it, yes?" Raven was goggling at the sudden impromptu linguistic philosophy. "Assuming for the sake of argument that this is so, then we may judge a word's correctitude by how close it comes to this ideal. Therefore, the least imperfect word, or most funnest and usefulest word, is that which gives to the hearers the emotional state of the speaker. Therefore, I submit that the best word in the English language is, in fact, behold. Because no other word fully imbues the audience with the level of exhilirification and excitosity that that word does. I used it in a calculated manner in combat to stun my opponents while I made a careful retreat."
"Err, at least, that's what the Russian Doll thought," Beast Boy said in his normal voice, rubbing the back of his neck, grinning nervously.
"Ooohhhhh," everyone else in the car said thoughtfully.
That explained a lot.
The Russian Doll, poor, pathetic, but manically cheerful and melodramatic sub-villainess, had passed on to the great doll cabinet in the sky not too long ago. Beast Boy had befriended her, but had refused to put up a tombstone or anything else in her memory... so it made a lot of sense, in a way, that he would choose to honor a goofy person's demise by carrying on that goofiness.
And bad guys did like to say 'Behold!' a lot when they were unveiling Death Machine #572. And then laugh sinisterly. At least the changeling hadn't gone around cackling like a nutbar.
"Alright, I guess I can see why you'd want to give everyday life a dose of the Russian Doll's style of melodrama," Robin said finally. "But don't you think you're taking it just a little bit, uh, far?"
"Dude, no way! It's so much fun saying behold this and behold that! It's better than winning a video game! Better than eating tofu! Better than mastuhactuallynevermindthatlastpart..."
"Mast what, Beast Boy?" Starfire asked, confused.
"I'll tell you later," Raven said lowly, while the male Titans in the car tried to repress heart attacks.
"Beast Boy, come on," Robin said just a little desperately, trying to get the conversation back to safer territory. "It's just a word. A string of sounds to represent an idea. It can't be that fun."
"Oh yeah? Have you ever tried it?" Beast Boy asked, shockingly (for him) reasonably.
"Actually, I don't think I've ever even said the word before," Cyborg put in thoughtfully. "Huh. Maybe it is fun. Who knows? I mean, if I'd never had chocolate before I wouldn't believe how delicious it could be."
"Don't encourage him." Raven, both voice of reason and perpetual downer.
"Or like the mustard," Starfire mused, following along with Cyborg. "There are no such tangy beverages on my planet. I did not know what I was doing the missing of until I sucked some from the tiny plastic tube!"
Beast Boy knew when he was winning an argument. Maybe only two were on his side, but Starfire would pull Robin with her, however much the boy wonder dragged his heels. Raven alone was too quiet to overturn the rest of them unless she got really mad and went all demony. Victory was at hand!
"Tell you what," he suggested in a wheedling voice, "how 'bout this? When we get home, we each take turns beholding something. And if you guys don't think it's as fun as I do, I won't use the word more'n... like... once a week or something."
Even Robin was being swayed by this point. "Well, that sounds fair. Good for you, Beast Boy, I'm glad you're learning how to compromise."
"This can only end badly," Raven declared monotonously, staring out the window.
Beast Boy insisted on taking his turn first, to show them how it was all done.
"It has to be about something you can get excited about. Something you wanna impress people with." He grinned and pulled out a ball of rancid clothing he'd been fermenting under the couch for a long time now. "BEHOLD! This beautiful specimen of stankballery consists of seven layers of thick wooly socks, with the durability to hold the ball together and keep that odor locked inside where it can only escape to your nostrils! Each layer is carefully arranged so the stinkiest parts are on the outside while keeping the whole ball firm and tight. They are wrapped around a core of my oldest, nastiest boxer shorts, whose natural aromaticry I enhanced by rubbing it with a bad onion before imprisoning it within the sock layers."
"X'Hal, it is truly pungent!"
"Ugh, man, that is rank!"
"I can't believe that was under the couch and I never noticed..."
"Raaaveeennnn? What do you think about my mighty super stankball x-3? Huuuhhhh?" He held it closer to her for proper inspection, and the half-demoness shyed away, eyes watering.
"I think I'm going to be sick."
"PERFECT!" he crowed triumphantly. "So, guys? Don't you feel excited and impressed? Don't you? Huh huh huh?!"
"Mostly I think I'm shocked that you went to all that trouble," Robin said. "But... yeah, okay, a little impressed. In a completely disapproving way."
"Totally what he said. Except I approve." Cyborg gave him a big thumbs up.
"Friends, friends! I wish to try the announcing of an object of great pride with the behold word now!"
Raven just held her head in her hands. If anyone bothered to listen, they could have heard her praying for a benevolent and merciful God to strike down all the idiots in the world with wrath and locusts, but no one was bothering, so no one heard.
Starfire didn't need to go anywhere for her presentation... except for two feet to her left, to stand in front of Robin. She grinned, somewhere between bashful and smug. "Behold, friends!"
"Louder," Beast Boy whispered.
"BEHOLD, FRIENDS!" She gestured at the team leader. "This wonderful specimen of the human male is my friend who is a boy, with whom I share exclusive physical affection and sentimental gestures!"
Beast Boy and Cyborg were initially too startled to react. Beast Boy recovered first. "Get the popcorn out of your popcorn compartment," he whispered to Cyborg quietly, without looking away from Starfire and a paralyzed-with-embarrassment Robin. "And don't say you don't have one, 'cause I know you do."
Even Raven dared to look up, the tiniest bit of a smirk on her lips.
"As you are able to observe with your eyes," Starfire went on with her presentation, showing Robin off like a slave in a slave market, "my friend who is a boy is waving with musculature at every point of his body where it is appropriate and physically possible for a human male to have musculature. His teeth are as white as the xlarklax of Folobarik IV, his hair has sufficiently large amounts of artificial caring for hair products to keep its rugged and noble shape in even the most hostile of conditions, and his procedure when engaging in affectionate oral contact is very 'fine,' as the people of your planet say, which I shall demonstrate for you now."
And she did.
"You see how glorious my friend who is a boy is, friends? You are all suitably impressed with beholding him, yes?"
"I feel so violated," Robin whimpered softly.
The remaining three Titans were doing their best not to completely crack up. Of the three, predictably, Raven did the best job of maintaining a straight face.
"What an informative presentation," she deadpanned. "I feel so very excited now." The other Titans stared at her suspiciously, but relaxed when she very deliberately yawned.
"See?! It's working! The word is doing its magic! Weren't you excited, Starfire?! Wasn't it fun?!"
She giggled. "Yes, it was very fun, friend Beast Boy! I believe I shall be beholding things to people more often in the future."
"Ooh! Me next, me next!" Cyborg squealed girlishly, hopping from one foot to the other.
He led them the T-Ship, which he'd been modifying extensively lately. Other than Raven muttering about what fresh layer of Hell awaited her next, no one talked until he started his beholding. Starfire and Beast Boy were too giggly, and Robin was still in rape victim mode.
"BEHOLD!" Cyborg belted out roaringly with a grandiose gesture, and not even Beast Boy had anything to correct in the performance. Cyborg would've been one dang good mad scientist. "While you puny flesh and blood mortals have whiled away your slothful hours of slumber in your soft, wussy beds, I, the mighty Cyborg, genius of tech and unparalleled champion of more video games than Beast Boy can cry over, have been slaving my strong, hard, African-American technologically-enhanced hands away on this beautiful specimen of engineering and scientific achievement! You might look at it and think there's nothing new, but oh, you'd be WRONG, baby! Because exactly two and a half weeks ago I juiced up the thrusters so we can go two hundred, yes, an entire two hundred percent faster. Say you come up to me and ask me, hey Cy, I need to get to this place we usually get to in ten days, can we do that? And I turn to you and say, O foolish mortal, TEN DAYS? POPPYCOCK AND BALDERDASH, I SAY! I TELL YOU NOW AND FOREVER, WHAT WAS ONCE TEN DAYS SHALL NOW ONLY BE FIVE DAYS! Ooohh, but Cyborg, golly, that's gonna cost us a lot more fuel, won't it? But hold on to your hats here folks, because it won't! Yes, you heard me right. It won't cost us a drop more in fuel because I improved the fuel-processing efficiency while I was at it! So BEHOLD, yes, BEHOLD my magnificent work of art, my living creation, my MASTERPIECE, ye squishy meatbags, and DESPAIR!"
Broken finally by...
"That... was totally awesome..." Beast Boy whispered, tears of appreciation in his eyes.
Robin nodded in speechless agreement, snapped out of his trauma.
"This is such a waste of time."
"Raaaaveeeennnn! Come oooonnn! You have to admit this is fun! Everyone else has given in to the beauty, the glory of beholding! Right, guys?!"
The three others chorused agreement. Even Robin, who hadn't beholded yet.
"I have to admit, Beast Boy, this is silly... but enjoyably silly."
"So, dude, what're you gonna behold?"
Robin smirked. "Oh, I know exactly what I'll behold. But I want to save it. For just the right moment."
Starfire started to look nervous.
"Heheh, whatever you say, dude. Raven? Give it a try, puleeeaaaze? You'll understand when you do it, I swear!"
And somehow or other, the rest of the Titans ended up chanting 'Do it! Do it! Do it!' at Raven in an attempt to convince her. Well, Starfire chanted 'Commence the doing of it!' But Raven got the message.
"FINE!" she snarled loudly enough that for a moment her friends were fearful of demonic assault. Her eyes didn't glow, though, and her telekinesis didn't wreak randomly destructive mayhem. "You want to behold something? Behold this!" Whereupon she stalked off, and the rest of the Titans trailed after, wondering if they'd gone too far.
The journey ended at Raven's room. She stepped in and immediately turned around, leaving them on the outside of the doorway, peering inquisitively.
"Behold!" she hissed with a gesture as filled with showmanship as Cyborg's had been, black tentacles waving menacingly around her (or maybe that was just the overabundance of creepy shadows). "My lair, my abode, my room, where all things dark and terrible wait to confound and drive into ruination the minds of any too weak to withstand them! Behold the shelves that house over a hundred tomes of grim and forbidden lore, written in eldritch words that would blast your tongue from your very mouth should you ever attempt to speak them aloud! Behold the bust of G'Zet Col'D'Har, also known as the Great Serpentine Pyromancer, who burned down the greatest city of his world in a day and then sat to blow spit bubbles in the ashen rubble! Behold the Necronomicon of the 'Mad Arab' Abdul Alhazred, a work that describes at length some of the most ancient horrors so terrible and great that even their vaguest depictions would turn every hair on your skull white in fearful despair! Behold the portrait of Mímameiðr the Sleeper, mightest of the elder drakes who drift timelessly in the ether void, destined to awaken only at the end of the world when they shall serve as mounts for demons with the heads of locusts and hands of flaming scythes! Behold the vial of Universal Solvent, which will eat through anything save for the glass of the vial, which is itself composed of crystallized hydra blood! Behold the chimeric sphere riddle that drives half those who fail to complete it into complete madness, the Corsican strings that twist the fates of any who fail to untangle them, and the living, sentient teeth of Sredni Vashtar, who devour those that fail to treat them with the proper respect! Do you see every mystery and wonder in this room?! Do you COMPREHEND the magnititude of what you are witnessing?! Do you BEHOLD AND FEEL THE PROPER FEARFUL REVERENCE?"
The four Titans quaked in fear and nodded frantically.
"Good," she said coldly. "Then be fearfully reverent from a distance. Morons."
The door slammed in their faces.
They were all quiet for a moment.
"I think she's getting a lot more sociable," Cyborg said after a bit.
Beast Boy nodded. "Oh, yeah, totally."