I recently discovered the show Johnny and the Sprites via youtube, and have since become a huge fan. The show has a wonderful charm and humor to it, and the Broadway-worthy music is a huge added bonus. (And it doesn't hurt that John Tartaglia stars!!)
But while reading some reviews, I noticed a lack of love for everyone's favorite little Earth Sprite, Basil. So I decided to remedy that situation by spoofing the episode Turbo-Car Johnny with Basil as the main character. Strap yourself in for some male bonding between Basil, Johnny, and Carl (sorta).
Disclaimer: John Tartaglia is the most amazing human being. Ever. And I'm not him.
Basil couldn't help but look over his shoulder as he silently tiptoed into Johnny's house. He was being stupid, he knew that, but it was an instinctive reaction to walking into a deserted house.
Get a grip, Basil, he thought, giving himself a small shake. You know for a fact that Johnny and Ginger are both out playing cloverball and Lily is helping Root with his growing powers. And Gwen always makes her presence known very well before she comes inside, so you have nothing to worry about!
But Basil couldn't help but feel guilty as he crept further into Johnny's main room. He had told the sprites he would be working in the untamed gardens far out in the grotto today, but instead he had gone through the portal to Johnny's house. Looking back on everything, it would have been so much easier to just tell the truth from the beginning.
Too late now, Basil sighed. You really got yourself in a mess this time.
Pushing these unpleasant thoughts out of his head, Basil looked around the room, trying to locate his destination. Last time he had found it - which had to have been at least three days ago - it had been… Ah! Perfect, Johnny still kept it out on the table, even if he didn't use it.
Basil made his way over to the large wooden table, floorboards creaking slightly under his small weight. His fingertips were very cold and he felt an uncomfortable gurgle in his stomach. His heart decided now would be a wonderful time to start a game of fuzzy tag, and the back of his neck was feeling very warm. He licked his lips impatiently, reaching out with numb hands to clumsily grasp the now familiar object in front of him.
The video game control slid into his hands naturally, as if it had been made just for him. Basil flipped a switch on the side of Johnny's picture-box, and the beginning screen of Ultimate Turbo Car Racer flickered into view. Basil's first reaction was to turn the noise knob so the game was virtually silent.
Yep, the obsession that had once held Johnny in its death grip now was slowly fastening its cold hands around Basil's slightly plump body. Johnny had freed himself after a nightmare in which he had been nearly as old as Sage and had been playing the game for almost a hundred years, getting a good enough hold on his will power to let himself play once in a while. Ginger and Lily both thought it was a pretty dumb game, but Basil had found the flashing lights and moving pictures intriguing. Johnny taught him the basics (while Carl watched) and had so passed along the disease.
But Johnny had no idea that Basil was struggling with an addiction. Nobody did, in fact. Basil had scared himself the first time he had found himself dreading his sprite responsibilities because they took away time with the game, so he had decided to keep it a secret. He didn't want the other sprites and Johnny to find out how (dare he say it?) dependent he was on the game. He especially didn't want Lily to find out, because she severely disapproved of video games.
Basil had taken to sneaking around Johnny's house when he was out with Gwen or the other sprites. So far everything had gone well; nobody caught him and his sprite duties were always fulfilled (albeit a bit sloppily).
Maybe today I'll finally beat Johnny's high score from when he played Turbo Car all day long, Basil thought as his fingers began to fly over the control, toggling and pressing buttons as if he was born to do so. He loved the way the toggle switch felt under his thumb; it had ridges along its surface that tickled if he didn't apply enough pressure.
Basil had barely started playing when he heard a knocking sound. He dropped the control hastily, turning so his back was to the screen. What was he going to do if someone found him here? What if Johnny got really mad at him for sneaking into his house? What if the sprites wouldn't be friends with him anymore?
But Basil needn't have worried. The knocking was coming from underneath the table. Carl the fuzzy popped out of a loose spot in the wood, a sloppy grin spreading across his face.
"Carl!" Basil exclaimed.
"Let's play!" Carl exclaimed, emitting his signature gruff laugh. He settled himself in a slight indentation in the table, watching the screen expectantly.
"Okay," Basil was rather nervous. Carl had never watched him play before; he was scared that Carl might go tell the sprites what he had been doing. But the control was calling him, the toggle switch just itching to be touched by Basil's green thumb.
Deciding to ignore Carl all together, Basil continued his game. He was so close to beating Johnny's score that he had surprised himself. Just two more levels and ten thousand more points and he would be the new leader! His eyes not leaving the screen for a second, Basil made his little orange car pass the blue one, barely avoiding a collision.
"Come on, come on," he found himself coaxing the car as if it could hear him. "One more level, now. Just turn right… there, and… yes! A thousand more points!" Beside his elbow, Carl was bouncing up and down, laughing again.
Basil lost himself completely in the game. He became one with the car, forgetting that it was inside some box and he somehow controlled it with the press of a button. He turned and shifted his body with the car, and he barely noticed Carl doing the same. His eyes felt swollen the longer he watched, but he daren't look away.
He didn't notice when he passed Johnny's record, and didn't so much as acknowledge his progress when some flashing words told him he was on the last level.
But Basil did notice when someone cleared their throat loudly behind him.
He dropped the control, his car careening off the track and into the grass. Carl let out a shriek and disappeared under the table, leaving Basil alone to face whoever was behind him. Taking a deep breath, he turned slowly, dreading to see who it was.
Please be Root, he began begging, for the youngest sprite wouldn't lecture him or give him disapproving glares. Please be Root. Please be Root. Please be… oh spoffle.
Basil's eyes fell on a pair of red sneakers, neatly tied in two almost identical bows. Resigning himself for the worst, his eyes traveled upward, over the slightly baggy blue jeans and red T-shirt. But there was something very different about Johnny today.
Basil liked Johnny for a thousand different reasons, but one had to be his friendly smile. But Johnny's mouth was set in a straight line now, and his eyebrows were slightly furrowed. There was no sparkle in his eyes, and his usually cheerfully flushed cheeks were pale.
"H-hi Johnny," Basil stuttered, not able to keep eye contact and letting his eyes travel down onto Johnny's shirt. There was a small spot up near his left shoulder. Did Johnny know it was there? If he hadn't been so nervous and scared, he would have pointed it out to his friend.
"Basil, what are you doing?"
Thank goodness he doesn't sound angry, Basil thought, slightly relieved. But he does sound confused… and a bit disappointed.
"Were you playing Ultimate Turbo Car Racer?" Johnny continued, walking past Basil to look at the picture box, which was now flashing the words, 'Game Over' in orange letters. He picked up the fallen control and set it carefully in front of the picture box before turning back to give Basil a stern look.
"I'm sorry, Johnny," Basil found himself close to tears. "I wanted to tell you I liked playing it, but you know how Ginger and Lily get when someone talks about your picture-box."
Johnny chuckled a little, confusing Basil a bit. He relaxed when Johnny smiled and took a seat next to him at the table.
"So you like video games," he was still laughing. "Who'd have thought?"
"What?" Basil was still rather perplexed. "Aren't you mad at me? Is there a lecture coming?" His speech quickened abruptly. "Because you know how I am with speeches. They're fun to give, not so much fun to get. So if you could just skip to the throwing me out part…" He trailed away, making to walk over to the door.
Basil turned at Johnny's words, to see the human smiling in his usual good-natured way. He laid a hand on the chair next to him, indicating that Basil should sit down. Basil obliged, though still not sure what was going on.
"I'm not mad, just confused. Why are you in my house? I thought you were going out to the far reaches of the Grove today."
"I did say that, didn't I?" Basil said as he sat down. "But I wasn't really going there at all. The truth is, Johnny, I've turned into you."
"What?" Johnny looked down at himself and then at Basil. "Um, Basil, you're still a sprite. I don't think -"
"No, that's not what I meant," Basil cut him off guiltily. "I mean, well… Remember when you first got that game?" He gestured to the picture-box, and Johnny nodded. "Well, you couldn't stop playing with it. I… well, once I started playing it, I haven't been able to get enough of it. It's just so much fun!"
"But then why didn't you just ask if you could play it? You know I would have said yes."
Basil did know that Johnny would have said yes. Johnny could never say no to anyone, be they a fuzzy, sprite, schmole, or human. He was always willing to help out or let someone borrow something they needed. He had even taught Basil himself about sharing, so Basil know Johnny would be more than happy to share his game.
"I'm sorry, Johnny." Basil hung his head, embarrassed at his own stupidity.
"It's okay, Basil," Johnny opened his arms to give the sprite a hug. Basil was more than happy to oblige. "You know, this gives me an idea."
"No," Johnny broke the embrace and got up from his seat. Basil's eyes followed him as he walked across the room to a large wooden chest. Johnny opened it easily and pulled out another game controller.
"I never thought I'd need this," he said as he returned, "but my sister said I should have an extra in case I had company or something." He plugged the control into the side of the picture box and gestured for Basil to take the other one.
"What will this do?" Basil asked, watching the screen as another car appeared.
"Now we play against each other," Johnny pointed to the orange and red cars. "That one is you and this one is me."
"Spofulous!" Basil exclaimed, very excited.
The two started the race, their eyes not leaving the screen for a second. Carl returned now that he deemed it safe and started up a chant of, "Basil! Johnny!" Basil and Johnny just laughed, playfully teasing each other.
"You know Basil, I think you've improved. You might be able to almost beat me!"
"Please Johnny, I'm the master sprite at this."
"And who taught you everything you know about video games?"
"You didn't teach me… this!"
"Yes I- oh, no, that's a new one…"
It became a weekly tradition for Basil and Johnny to get together and play Johnny's video games together. Basil couldn't believe how happy this made him; it was much more fun than sneaking around! He and Johnny even picked out a new game to try and waited on the steps of Johnny's house for a week until it arrived.
Lily and Ginger couldn't understand why the human and the sprite liked the strange picture box game so much. They just shrugged it off and decided it was a 'guy thing.'
Please review? I need to find another JATS fan!!