The Great Danville Cold Wars

(The Illustrious Crackpot)


There was a miserable groan, as well as a loud snuffling noise, and a long, thin arm poked groggily out from beneath the bright pink bedspread. It groped around a little, slender fingers scrabbling over the surface of the nightstand, fumbling across a framed photograph, an alarm clock, and an address book without success. Then, with a heartwrenching "AAAAAAAARGH!!", the hand simply ripped off the covers and the girl sat straight up in bed, banging her fists against the wall.

"This is STUPID!!" Candace cried, snatching a box of tissues off the floor now that she could see where it had gotten to. Tearing sheets out like wings off of flies, she slammed her already-bright-red nose into the stack and blew hard, the resultant noise ending up just slightly softer than a foghorn. Once finished, she dropped the pile into a nearby wastebasket—then froze in horror, and with another cry was forced to tear another wad out of the tissue box and repeat the process over again, feeling progressively more winded each time.

"WHY," she gasped, eyes nearly streaming, "DOES THIS ALWAYS HAVE TO HAPPEN TO ME??"

Not quite in answer to her query, but still perfectly on cue, her mother strode in from the hallway, eyes focused on the thermometer in her hand. Three little figures were tagging at her heels. "Well, your temperature's a little elevated," began Linda Flynn, sitting down on the edge of the bed and diverting her attention to her daughter, "but not too much more than normal."

Candace just sunk even further beneath her covers, sniffling indignantly. "Great. THAT means I'm going to DIE."

"No, no no..." Linda transferred the thermometer to her pocket, then impulsively placed her hand on Candace's forehead, just to make sure. "It just means that this is probably a normal cold. Nothing to worry about."

" 'Nothing to worry about'," Candace muttered sarcastically, blowing a short raspberry—then blowing her nose again. "Except for the fact that I can't be more than two inches away from a tissue box at any given time." She glowered at the other occupants of the room, who were standing unobtrusively in the doorway, but apparently could still be considered threats to her sanctuary. "And what're you twerps doing here, huh?" Box, tissue, blow, basket, tissue, blow, basket. "Come to gorge yourselves on my misery?"

The little redheaded boy blinked innocently. "Of course not. Ferb and I just wanted to wish you well—isn't that right, Ferb?" Phineas nudged the blank-eyed boy beside him, who offered the bedridden girl a thumbs-up.

Candace just narrowed her eyes at them. "And what about that?"

"Oh, Perry?" Phineas bent over to grab the platypus, but Ferb had already scooped Perry off the ground and was holding him out to the redhead. Grinning good-naturedly, Phineas extended his arms, and Perry was deposited into his grasp. The boy rubbed the platypus's head affectionately, to which Perry chittered. Or growled. Or whatever it is that platypuses do. "Perry wants to offer his condolences too!"

Groaning loudly, Candace prepared to offer a sardonic remark, but was interrupted when she was forced to dive right back into the tissue box. "Like that's gonna cheer me up," she spat at length, sounding rather congested by that point. " 'Good wishes' from a dirty, germy animal!"

Perry blinked, offended.

"Well, actually, Candace," broke in their mother, folding her hands on her lap, "Perry's one of the cleanest animals I've ever seen. Why, he hardly ever needs a bath, and I don't think I've ever seen him sick!"

Phineas nodded vigorously, putting the platypus back on the ground. "Yeah. How 'bout that?"

His response was another massive nose-blowing.

Giving her daughter one last pat on the head, Linda rose to her feet, remarking, "I'll send your father in to keep you company, all right, Candace?" before she headed for the door, gently herding the two boys out into the hallway. "I think your sister wants some alone time, so, boys, please don't bother her today. She's going to have it rough enough as it is."

The woman glanced at the antique cuckoo clock on the wall, then clicked her tongue and started rifling through her purse. "Now, I've got to go to my cooking class, so I won't be home for a few hours. And according to the head chef, if I answer my cell phone one more time during class this week, he's going to 'surrender, then force me into cooking only fatty foods'. ...The French can be odd that way." So saying, she dug out her phone and handed it to Phineas, who looked it over with mild interest. "So I'm going to trust you to field my calls, okay?"

"Neat," replied Phineas, tucking it into his pocket. Then his face fell slightly. "But I don't think you're going to be getting too many with Candace as sick as she is."

His mother chuckled, then ruffled his hair, ruffling Ferb's hair as well to show that she still acknowledged his presence even if he didn't speak up. "Don't worry, honey, it's just a cold. She'll be over it in a day or two."

"Yeah..." Phineas sighed—even if he didn't go out of his way to show it, he still cared for his sister, and even this minor illness of hers worried him a little. "Isn't there any medicine, though, to cure it instantly or something?"

"Awwwww, you're so sweet." Pausing to hug the boys again, Linda turned to head out the front door. "But, sad to say, there is no cure for the common cold."

Her footsteps receded, the door slammed shut, a short murmuring of indistinct words as Linda held a brief conversation with her husband, and the car started up and drove away before either Phineas or Ferb moved a muscle. Then suddenly Phineas punched a fist into the air. "FERB, I know what we're gonna do today!"

Wait for

"Hey...where's Perry?"

As it happened, Perry was waddling inconspicuously down a nearby corridor—then, seeing that he was alone, he jumped up onto two feet and slapped a fedora on his head, all super-spy-sneaky-like. (DUN dun! DUN dun!)

He glanced around shiftily, narrowing his eyes at the hall around him. He was standing in front of a bookcase. A very suspicious bookcase. A bookcase that VERY WELL could conceal a SECRET ENTRANCE to a TOP SECRET, HIDDEN SUPERSPY PLATYPUS LAIR!!

Perry started towards it. Then he turned and shuffled to the end table right next to it, pulled open the bottom drawer, and got in.

Once closed, rocket boosters activated on the outside of the drawer, propelling it and its cargo into a super-secret tunnel inside the very wall itself. It zigged, it zagged, it loop-de-looped and doubled over on itself, leading to the secret drop entrance—right beneath the bookcase.


"Ah, good morning, Agent P," greeted the gruff voice of Major Monogram as Perry quite literally fell into the chair just below the massive TV screen. The Major opened his mouth again, then abruptly paused. "You know, I say that to you EVERY day. Why don't we try to make things more exciting—spice things up a bit? Whaddaya say?"

He cleared his throat and puffed out his chest, affecting a very trying (and rather failing) British accent. "Aaaaah, so we meet again, Agent P. I trust that your secret identity is still a secret, eh wot?"

Perry just gave him a lidded stare.

"...It's...not working, is it?" the Major resumed a little sadly in his normal voice. "And I was practicing that ALL LAST NIGHT."

Perry was still giving him a lidded stare.

" just want to talk about the mission." The gray-haired man sighed, his shoulders drooping. "That's all you EVER want to talk about. Have you even CONSIDERED how I feel about that? To you, I'm just a—just a face on a giant TV screen, huh?"

Same reaction.

"Oh, whatever." Straightening up and regaining a somewhat more professional demeanor, Major Monogram continued abruptly, "Well, Agent P, your old nemesis Doctor Doofenshmirtz has been acting extremely suspicious since early this morning." His shoulders slumped again. "Like he does EVERY day." But, sneaking a quick glance at Perry, the Major drew himself back up and resumed. "But this time it's REALLY strange—he was sighted this morning at the Danville 'Halt And Buy' grocery store purchasing four hundred cans of Kahmbull's chicken noodle soup"—a picture of said product flashed up on the screen—"eight dozen cartons of orange juice"—a picture of an orange attached to a milking machine came up—"and 'some big weird machine-ish thing with lasers on it'." A picture appeared of a large gray blob with a question mark over it, lingering for a few seconds before cutting back to Major Monogram, whose expression right at that moment was less than joyful. "Due to an INEFFECTIVE SPY," he spat derisively, "we were UNABLE to figure out just WHAT the 'big weird machine-ish thing with lasers on it' IS."

"Heeeeey!" interrupted a nasally voice from off-camera. "Don't blame ME! I was hiding behind the checkout counter disguised as a snake, just like you told me to! Those snake costumes don't exactly have EAR HOLES, you know!"

"Of COURSE not!" The Major scoffed loudly. "Who ever heard of a snake with ears?"

From his seat, Perry made no move and made absolutely no sound, but all of a sudden Major Monogram jumped. "Oh, Agent P! Don't scare me like that, it's not good for my health. Anyways, your old nemesis Doctor Doofenshmirtz has been—" He trailed off there, rubbing his mustache. "Wait, no, we already went over that...where were we...oh yes! Although Karl failed MISERABLY in observing Doofenshmirtz's mysterious purchases—"

("I did NOT!" protested Karl.)

"—we still have sufficient evidence to believe that he is up to no good. As usual." Major Monogram just waved his hand aimlessly. "So go and...put a stop to him, I guess...or whatever you normally's all the same to me."

Finally free, Perry leapt out of his seat, saluting sharply before turning and running towards the ultra-secret exit, his theme song fading up from the background.

"...You know," sighed the Major at length, shaking his head, "showing up to work without pants just isn't doing it for me anymore."

"Hey, Phineas!"

Phineas halted in the middle of the crosswalk, Ferb stopping short just behind him. "Hey, Isabella," replied the redheaded boy as he spotted the familiar figure just ahead of him, as well as the group of girls clustered together on the opposite sidewalk. "And the Fireside Girls."

Several of the girls waved, but they all stayed put.

Isabella grinned widely, clasping her hands behind her back. "So...what'cha dooooooin'?"

Ferb nudged his brother, who glanced off to the side before turning back to the dark-eyed girl. "Well, if we stay here a moment longer, I'd say that we're practicing to be road pancakes."

So remarking, he and Ferb lunged for the curb, dragging Isabella along with them, just in time to avoid being flattened by a giant eighteen-wheeler truck.

"CRAZY KIDS!!" bellowed the driver, sticking his head out the window. "STAY OUTTA THE ROAD!"

Brushing herself down, Isabella leapt back to her feet, shaking a fist at him. "YOU'D BETTER WATCH WHERE YOU'RE GOING! RUNNING OVER PEDESTRIANS ISN'T VERY NICE!"

But the truck was already out of sight, their last glimpse being of the small burst of text on his bumper sticker: "I Drive Safely; Do You?"

The children remained motionless on the sidewalk for a while longer, then Ferb lifted Phineas to his feet, and the conversation resumed. "Seriously, though, we're going to cure the common cold for Candace. She's sick, you know."

"Oh, how sad," lamented Isabella, a phrase that most would dub insincere but, when coupled with the girl's naturally high-pitched voice, it sounded (and probably was) completely genuine. "But how're you going to find a cure where medical science has so often failed?"

"I dunno." Phineas shrugged, his brother mirroring the action beside him. "But these things usually work out for us."

Isabella nodded in agreement, her pink bow bobbing up and down. "They certainly do."

There was another short silence, then one of the Fireside Girls—a little blonde with glasses and pigtails—piped up, "Isabella, don't we still need our 'Advances In Modern Medicine' patch?"

"Oh, yeah, that's right!" Not even pausing to look back at the poor, nameless little incidental character, Isabella just cocked her head sweetly at Phineas. "Can we help you guys out?"

(Some of the Fireside Girls grumbled in annoyance at having to go through this sort of thing again, but they were quickly shushed.)

"Sure!" replied Phineas brightly, continuing on his way down the sidewalk. Ferb tried to fall into step beside his brother, but Isabella had beaten him to it, so he walked behind Phineas instead and just glared at the back of the girl's head. "We're goin' to the drug store right now. Won't be a minute."

Well, actually, they were a minute and forty-three seconds, to be precise. But forty-four of those seconds made up the trek through the front door of "The Phrantic Pharmacist" and all the way to the counter in the back, where a brown-haired woman with thick glasses was staring absentmindedly at a magazine. Until Phineas's fists—and a twenty-dollar bill—slammed down on top of it.

"Give me all the cold medicines you've got!" he demanded overdramatically, banging the counter again for more (totally unnecessary) emphasis. "Over the counter, under the counter, through the counter—heck, we'll even take the counter!" He paused as Ferb poked him in the shoulder, then resumed in a slightly less theatrical voice. "Oh, and some ginger ale."

Reflexively, the pharmacist started reaching under the counter—then stopped, eyeing the boy suspiciously. "...Aren't you a little young to be buying prescription drugs?"

Phineas blinked, glancing around at his companions, then shrugged. "I I?"

"Yes...yes, you are."

He blinked again. "Does it matter?"

A pause.

"No, I guess not," the woman conceded, and reached inside the front pocket of her lab coat for a slip of paper. "Sign here, please."

"Aaaaaah-choo!! AHHHHHHHHHHHH-CHOO!!"

Yes indeed, Candace was still suffering from her monstrous cold, was still confined to her bed, and was still unable to move more than two inches away from a tissue box. But, as painful and disgusting as those last two sneezes had been for the ailing girl, they had also been anything but accidental; no matter what kind of coughing and choking and phlegming they brought on, it was still a worthwhile distraction from the bespectacled man perched on the edge of her bed with a large book open on his lap.

" '...and Flopsy Cuddlemuffins cried "Oh no!" But then Peter Pelicanhead, who was starting to feel very sorry for what he'd done, said, "It's not too late, Flopsy! We can still have our Arbor Day party without the chocolates and lemons and pistachios!" And all the friends from the forest and the dell and the creek and the trailer park went off and...' "

"ARRRRGH!" Candace wailed, to which her stepfather was utterly oblivious—and then she sneezed again. By that point, the skin on her nose was completely raw from the constant rubbing of tissues across it, and any sort of nasal activity felt like someone had started a bonfire on her face, so she whimpered pitifully.

"Oh, don't worry, honey, they'll get through the party all right," Lawrence reassured her distractedly, his eyes never leaving the page. " ', even though it surprised Flopsy Cuddlemuffins, the party was a huge success, the greatest that had ever been in all the land! The neighbors even said that it was nicer without the chocolates and lemons and pistachios, as there was no need to...' "

He continued on like that, and so Candace continued on also, tormenting herself with her illness to avoid being tormented by the nonsensical children's story, which in her opinion she had outgrown ages ago. Or perhaps just a few months.

But somehow, even trapped between these two great evils, Candace's ears still stiffened when an almost inaudible voice drifted out of the hallway and into the room through the closed door.

"...very honored you could make it, Professor Povenmire, and you, Doctor Marsh. How convenient is it that you just happened to be in town for your Nobel Peace Prize ceremony and barbecue?"

"...Phineas?" muttered Candace incredulously, the gears in her mind already starting to whirl. Blowing her nose again—and suffering some indescribable pain as she did so—the girl threw off her covers, slid out of bed, and tiptoed straight over to the door, pressing her ear against it without her father ever batting an eyelid.

"...' "Thank you for the best Arbor Day party ever, Peter Pelicanhead," said Flopsy Cuddlemuffins, giving him a great big hug. But Peter Pelicanhead shook his pelican head, replying, "Oh NO, Flopsy Cuddlemuffins. Thank you for the best Arbor Day party ever." And she responded, "Oh no, Peter Pelicanhead, thank you for..." ' "

The strangers in the hallway, however, were telling a very different story. "Well, it's not actually a barbecue," clarified a man in a thin voice. "It's more like an intellectual pizza party, if you will."

"Oh yes," agreed a different man, his voice slightly deeper. "Last year there was a piñata."

Candace bit her lip, the curiosity eating her from inside. Then, cautiously, she inched the door open, revealing her brothers standing in the middle of the corridor with two men in tuxedo-patterned lab coats, wearing stethoscopes in lieu of neckties.

"Sounds like fun," Phineas replied, grinning sociably. Behind him, Ferb was doffing a large, gaudy sombrero. "But you'll do it, right? I mean, helping with our experiment and all."

"An experiment?" Candace repeated in a hoarse whisper, eyes widening with suspicion and nose twitching with another unborn sneeze. "It might be worse than I thought!"

"Of course, of course!" The scientist on the left waved his hand airily. "We intellectual types don't get out much."

His partner nodded solemnly, surreptitiously glancing around the hallway. "Too true, too true. Now, eh...where is it?"

Phineas raised his eyebrows in temporary confusion, then unexpectedly laughed. "Oh, not here! We just had to stop and pick up some stuff." He turned around. "Hey Ferb, you got everything?"

The sombrero had somehow disappeared, though Candace could have sworn that she hadn't taken her eyes off the green-haired boy for a second, and suddenly Ferb was hoisting aloft a ridiculously large armload of cheese.

"Great!" commended Phineas, relieving his brother of some of the upper slices, then dumped this pile into the arms of the nearest scientist, who accepted it bemusedly but without protest. "Everything's set up in the drug store parking lot. We were actually gonna drag it all here and do it in our backyard, but then we thought, 'Hey, why bother? We could just get it all done right here!' "

Candace gasped, then sneezed again, then was forced to run back to her bed and extract several more handfuls of tissues from the forgotten box. "Th' drug store?" she echoed, definitely sounding congested this time. "Even th' drug store parkin' lot? They are SO bus—ah-CHOO!!" She moaned again, but then her spine snapped right back up with renewed vigor. "They're SO busted!"

Jerking open the top drawer of her nightstand, she dumped its contents into a pile on the floor and started digging through it, throwing random items over her shoulder in her haste—a brilliant magenta skirt landed on her father's head, but he just kept reading unabated. Finally Candace snatched up her cell phone, giggling almost maniacally as she punched in the necessary numbers.

"I dun' know wha' they're doin', but at th' very leas', no one c'd EVER poss'bly need tha' much CHEESE!"

She heard two rings, then someone picked up. "MOM?!" Candace bellowed, sneezing again. "WAAAAA-CHOO!! MOM, MOM!"

"Wait...Candace?" inquired a familiar high-pitched voice.

Candace didn't pause for confirmation, just jammed her face into another tissue, blew, and kept on yelling. "MOM! (gasp) MOM! YA WON' B'LIEVE WHA'—" Before too long, her brain caught up to her mouth and she stopped cold, twitching. "PHINEAS??"

Whirling around, she spotted Phineas looking into her room from the hallway, one hand holding their mother's cell phone and the other waving enthusiastically at her. "Hi, Candace!" He stuffed the phone back into his pocket, grinning widely the entire time, an expression which the still-cheese-laden Ferb duplicated with eerie accuracy. "Glad to see you're feeling perky enough to get out of bed! Good for you!"

Candace bared her teeth, snorting loudly as another wave of congestion hit her. "I'll show ya 'p'rky', ya li'l—"

Completely ignoring the almost-threat, her brother just waved his companions on, calling over his shoulder, "Don't worry, Candace! Your misery will soon be over!"

"H-hey!!" Candace rushed back to the doorway, but the little boy and his entourage were long gone. She prepared for pursuit. Her nose dripped with cold mucus. She ran back to the bed and the tissue box. She blew her nose.

Then she stiffened as Phineas's exact words sunk in.

"My...'MY MIS'RY WILL SOON BE OV'R'??" Candace screamed, clapping her hands to her head as, at long last, her illness completely distorted her sense of reality. "OH MY GAWD! THEY'RE PLOTTIN' TA' KILL ME!!"

However, after shaking in overwhelming terror for a moment or two, an unearthly calm settled over Candace's frame. Her fists clenched by her sides. Her bedraggled hair straightened out. Her nostrils even flared a little.

"But they won' git away wi' it," hissed the girl steelily, digging her heels into the floor. "I won' let 'em!"

So declaring, she sprinted straight out the door. Then she sneezed, and had to sprint right back in to the tissue box. Then she sprinted straight back out the door. Then she sneezed and had to sprint right back in to the tissue box. Then she started to sprint right back out the door, but halted right at the entranceway, struck by a sudden flash of insight, and sprinted back inside, tucking the tissue box under her arm before she departed, screaming a war cry at the top of her lungs.

" '...and since they had both thanked each other sufficiently, Flopsy and Peter held hands and skipped straight back home to their pirate ship! The End'," finished Lawrence Fletcher at last, snapping the book shut with a flourish. He sniffled a little, wiping a tear from the corner of his eye. "Those endings really get me, you know..."

"Dooby dooby doo-wah, dooby dooby doo-wah—A-GENT P!!"

The platypus punched a button on the dashboard of his hovercar, and his theme song cut out just in time for a particularly evil jingle to start up. Right on cue, too, as the secret agent was mere seconds away from the tall, oddly-shaped office building. He slammed on the brakes, skidding to an abrupt halt, so close to crashing into the side of the building—but the hovercraft shuddered into motionlessness with only the merest tink! of the fender against the villainous lair. Perry let out a silent breath, relievedly wiping some sweat off his forehead and pausing for a moment to fan himself with his hat.

Then he whipped the fedora back onto his head and stomped on the accelerator.


Impressively backlit by the newly-acquired floor-to-ceiling window, Perry flipped out of the cockpit and onto his feet just as a lanky, hunched-over man in a black turtleneck and lab coat whirled around to face him. "PERRY THE PLATYPUS!" gasped Dr. Doofenshmirtz loudly, dropping a wooden spoon on the ground in his surprise. But he quickly scooped it up, dunking it back into the massive pot behind him, and regained his composure with a delightfully evil grin. "What an unhealthy surprise...and, by 'unhealthy', I mean COMPLETELY HEALTHY!!"

After this cryptic remark he paused, anticipating an attack or at least some sort of response from his nemesis. But Perry remained stock-still, frozen in place and blinking mutely up at him.

Doofenshmirtz crossed his arms. "Yes, yes, Perry the Platypus, I know that I am a fascinating fountain of manly evil, but it's impolite to stare, especially when—" Suddenly his shoulders jumped in realization, and he disentangled his arms in order to pull at the edges of the his frilly pink apron. "Oh, oh, you mean this?" The mad doctor snorted derisively, though the tips of his ears reddened a little. "All right, all right, it's my ex-wife's apron, it got mixed up with my stuff by mistake back when we were getting the divorce, and I must admit that it's very comfortable, et cetera et cetera, and it's also much cheaper to wear this one instead of buying a new apron just because of a silly gender stereotype. OKAY?"

Finally tearing his mind away from the impossibly bizarre sight before him, Perry cocked a skeptical eyebrow at his nemesis, waiting for some helpful exposition on what exactly was going on.

"Okay, okay, so you want an explanation...but, just so you know, Perry the Platypus," Doofenshmirtz began cautiously, his arms ready to shoot up and cover his head if the secret agent made any sudden movements, "this is not part of an evil scheme."

Perry narrowed his eyes.

"No, no, really..." As nonthreateningly as he could, the (usually) evil scientist took a few steps to the side, allowing Perry to amble up and inspect the nearly fifty-foot-wide metal pot taking up a good third of the room. Because of the high walls of the structure, though, Perry couldn't even see over the rim of it, and so—again, extremely carefully—Doofenshmirtz grasped the platypus under the arms and held him up to observe the contents. "See? It's just chicken noodle soup, I mean, there's nothing evil about that. ...Well, unless one of your good friends is a chicken."

Still a bit dubious, Perry narrowed his eyes at the pot's bubbling contents—but, for all intents and purposes, it did look like a batch of steaming chicken noodle soup. He sniffed it a little, just to be sure, and eventually had to conclude that, at the very least, it was something that looked and smelled very much like chicken noodle soup. Which would make sense, considering the report that had sent him on that mission.

"Okay, okay, so you see all that?" implored Doofenshmirtz, gently replacing the platypus on the floor and stepping back more quickly than was necessary. "See, I'm not doing anything evil. Absolutely nothing wrong here."

Cocking his head a little, Perry pointed to the giant vat of soup.

His nemesis blinked. "Oh, you want some? Well, I suppose I could spare a little—but you'd have to keep it between us, you know, no telling any other villains and ruining my reputa—"

The platypus shook his head emphatically, spreading his arms wide to indicate the astronomically large quantity.

"Wait, you mean the astronomically large quantity?" Doofenshmirtz put his hands on his hips. "Well then, you should've just said so! You really need to speak up a bit more, Perry the Platypus."

Peering over the rim of the vat again to remind himself of just how astronomical that quantity of chicken noodle soup was, the doctor turned back to his nemesis, gesturing aimlessly. "Well, I suppose I didn't need quite that much soup, but it's easier to buy these things in bulk, you know..." There was a low rumbling sound, and Doofenshmirtz grinned embarrassedly. "O-okay, and I was feeling really hungry—I didn't even have time to eat my delicious nutritious Villain-O's this morning—and you know what they say about grocery shopping on an empty stomach."

Not entirely convinced, but accepting the answer in light of the familiar eccentricities of the villain's personality, Perry pointed instead at the giant wooden shelf just above the vat, which was cluttered with what appeared to be eight dozen cartons of orange juice.

"Oh, those? There was a special on fruity beverages." Opening up the front pocket of his apron, Doofenshmirtz pulled out a glossy magazine and passed it to the platypus, who started leafing through it. "With every six cartons I bought, I got a free copy of Evildoers Weekly—and it's got my picture on it!" gushed the doctor, pulling another copy out of his apron and pointing to the cover photograph of himself standing in the middle of a large playground and getting pelted with fresh vegetables. "...Just ignore the caption."

Having flipped through to the back of the issue, Perry rolled it up and stuffed it into his hat, jamming it firmly back onto his head. Then he started tapping his foot impatiently. Yes, he did agree that, on their own merits, an obscenely large vat of chicken noodle soup and a year's supply of orange juice were not exactly the most diabolical items in the world. What mattered was what one was going to do with an obscenely large vat of chicken noodle soup and a year's supply of orange juice—as well as the "big weird machine-ish thing with lasers on it" that he had been informed of—and that was something that Dr. Doofenshmirtz had completely failed to expound upon.

...Total silence reigned.

Perry tried tapping his foot a little harder to get his point across.

Doofenshmirtz just continued staring blankly down at him.

So Perry tapped a little faster.

And still nothing happened.

"Okay, okay, you're waiting for a plot point," the doctor clarified at length, crossing his arms again. "So the fact that I'm wearing a frilly pink apron just isn't enough proof of my non-evil intentions, huh? Where has all the trust gone, Perry the Platypus? Where has all the trust gone?"

Perry rolled his eyes.

Dr. Doofenshmirtz tried to hold his ground a little longer, then finally he gave in, tossing his hands up into the air. "All right, all right, fine!! You're a distrustful little platypus, but you're thorough, okay, I'll give you that much." Turning away from his nemesis for a moment, he pulled a small green notebook and pencil out of his apron pocket and began to scribble something. " 'T-H-O-R-O-U-G-H'," he muttered, then stowed everything back in the pocket from whence they'd come.

And then, for the first time in the entire scene, his expression saddened.

"You see, Perry the Platypus, my beloved only daughter Vanessa is horribly ill." He sighed heavily, turning his gaze to the ceiling. "It all just started last night—I thought that maybe she'd get over it after a good night's sleep, 'cus, you know, that's how I got over the series finale of The Muppet Show—but she's been in bed all morning. She didn't even respond when I knocked on her door to announce the reign of terror we were going to spread over the Tri-State Area!" Noticing that Perry's expression had hardened at that last sentence, he amended quickly, "That was before I knew that she was still suffering, of course. You don't honestly think I'd be crass enough to cause pain and terror across a large land mass when my little girl is sick in bed, do you?"

That was a rhetorical question if ever there was one.

"So I went out and got her some chicken noodle soup—just like mother used to make, back when she worked at the canning factory!—and some nice refreshing orange juice!" finished Doofenshmirtz a little more cheerfully, spreading his arms—and then he paused as if remembering something. "Oh yeah, and this too!"

He strode quickly over to the other side of the room, where a "big weird machine-ish thing with lasers on it" just happened to be standing. Well, it wasn't too big, as it was only about as tall as the doctor himself, but it certainly had lasers on it, and they were all concentrated on a small gap near the middle of the tower-shaped apparatus, as if waiting for something to be placed in that gap that they could focus on.

This, of course, immediately raised Perry's hackles.

Unconcerned, Doofenshmirtz patted the top of the machine proprietarily, even humming a little under his breath. "There's nothing more beautiful than a fully-operational Germophobe-inator™, Perry the Platypus—by those same geniuses who brought you the Cuisinart™!" On impulse, Doofenshmirtz threw his arms around the machine and hugged it. "With just one push of a button—not even the yank of a lever or the twist of a corkscrew—it can totally destroy any and all harmful germs within ten feet of it! And all it needs in order to activate is the DNA from one of the healthiest species of life on the planet."

Slowly, very slowly, Perry started to back away.

"Now, Perry the Platypus," resumed the mad scientist, releasing the Germophobe-inator and grinning in what he apparently thought was a disarming manner, "have you ever considered getting a haircut?"

", mm-hmmm...yup, that's movin' along nicely...I have no idea what it is, but what the heck! It looks great!"

Seeing as most of the stations were getting along fine without his direct interference, Phineas just kept pacing up and down the aisles, offering moral support wherever he saw fit. Yes, aisles—although they were in the middle of the pharmacy parking lot, with cars pulling into spaces on either side of the sprawling setup, there had been so many shelves of cold medicines in the store that they'd simply dragged whole display stands outside, arranging them as conveniently as possible without violating too many state ordinances in the process. Necessary equipment had been set up wherever there was empty space on the shelves, which had caused a few problems at the outset, as someone moving their elbow too much to the left could end up knocking a whole box of painkillers into someone else's materials. But with more and more of the different medicines getting used up, that became less and less of an issue, with some experimenters even gaining a full shelf for their endeavors.

"How's it goin', Ferb?" inquired Phineas, lowering his goggles over his eyes and securely fastening his blue lab coat as he approached his brother's station. Ferb was bent over a complex arrangement of test tubes and beakers, the liquid contents of some of the vessels connected to others by virtue of thin glass pipes, and still other containers being heated by a plethora of Bunsen burners. Holding up a rubber-gloved hand to silence his brother, Ferb squinted through his own goggles at one of the heated test tubes, where a thick red substance was bubbling rapidly. Then, as carefully as possible, he dipped an eyedropper into another beaker—this one containing a pale purple liquid—filled up the dropper, then, arms nearly quivering, he released one bead into the boiling red substance.

The test tube promptly exploded.

"Keen!" Jotting something down on a clipboard, Phineas patted the green-haired boy on the back excitedly. "Great work, Ferb! Keep it up!"

As Ferb began to sweep up the remains of that experiment, Phineas moved on to the next station, where Isabella and the Fireside Girls were working. They too were wearing rubber gloves and goggles, but they were grinding up solid medicines like capsules and tablets using a mortar and pestle, stirring and mashing until all they had was fine dust. Then one of the girls would lift out a small chunk with tweezers, which would be passed to Isabella and scrutinized closely under a microscope.

Phineas stepped over to the examination area, peering at the small sample currently under observation. "How's it look?"

"Like a finely ground-up piece of cold medicine," replied Isabella frankly, switching to a higher-power lens. "Whoops! Now it looks like a bunch of atoms."

Drawing back, Phineas nodded, making some more notes. "Sounds about right, I suppose." He raised a hand, and, without even looking up from the microscope, Isabella gave him a high-five. "Awesome! We're on our way to curing Candace!"

Just then, Candace certainly did look as though she needed curing. Not only was she a) still forced to blow her nose every five seconds, but she was also b) running down the middle of a crowded street, c) completely ignoring the fact that there were very large vehicles hurtling past her at about sixty-five miles an hour (including but not limited to that same trucker who had almost squished her brothers), and d) screaming like a newborn infant watching a horror movie. Oh, and e) she was still wearing her purple floral-patterned pajamas.

"GE' OUTTA MAH WAY!!" she screeched, waving one arm wildly at any oncoming cars—she would've waved the other as well, but that one was busy keeping a death-grip on her tissue box. "COMIN' THROUGH! SICK GIRL WI' MURD'ROUS BROTHERS DOIN' UNSAFE EXPERIMENTS COMIN' THROUGH!!"

All of a sudden she skidded to a halt, causing a massive traffic pile-up behind her. "Aaaaaaaah...ahhhhhaaah...AH-CHOOOOO!!"

From somewhere near the back of the line of cars, Linda Flynn's head snapped up from her steering wheel. "Candace?" she gasped, sticking her head out the window in search of her daughter. It was nearly impossible to see anything beyond the giant mass of cars, however, and seeing as traffic started to move forward again without any further sign of Candace, the red-haired woman just settled back in her seat and laughed it off. "Just my imagination, I guess. I'm sure Candace is fine...Oh, and there is that one thing I have to do before I go home..."

Unfortunately for her, Candace was not fine, her face buried once more in a giant wad of tissues as she sprinted down a narrow side street, coughing and blowing wildly. Heedlessly tossing the used tissues behind her—and earning herself some nasty remarks from the streetsweepers in her wake—she continued on, head whipping wildly around as she searched desperately for her goal.

"Gotta find th' drug shtore, gotta find th' drug shtore, gotta—"

Without any warning, Candace froze mid-stride, eyes bulging and nose stiffening.


Thunk! KEE-RASH! "OWWWW!!"

Rubbing his head, Dr. Doofenshmirtz peeled himself off the side of the soup vat and dove out of the way just as Perry landed a kick where the doctor's stomach had been, bounding off the wall of the giant pot. Before his nemesis could recover, Doofenshmirtz jumped to his feet, waving a pair of scissors high in the air.

"You cannot escape, Perry the Platypus!! AHAHAHAAA!"

So declaring, he dashed full-tilt at Perry. Perry, meanwhile, sprang into the air, whacking the villain's scissors-holding hand with his tail. Doofenshmirtz stopped short as the scissors were knocked out of his grip, spinning a bit until they halted, midair, blades pointing rather predictably down at his head.

"Note to self," he stated in the moment he was allotted before gravity officially took effect. "No running with scissors."

Then, with a high-pitched yelp, he scrambled out of the way, and the scissors stuck quiveringly in the ground. Seeing as that had been a rather harrowing escape from certain pain, Dr. Doofenshmirtz paused to catch his breath, clutching his apron like a vice. However, a sharp noise brought his head snapping back up, and his eyes refocused just in time to see Perry racing to reach his hovercar.

"Oh no you DON'T!!" cried the doctor, bodily tackling the platypus, and the pair tumbled straight across the room before Perry was able to extricate himself from under his assailant—but then Doofenshmirtz's hands clamped shut, one around his enemy's right wrist and the other around his left ankle. Panting furiously, straining from the effort, Doofenshmirtz somehow managed to pin the struggling platypus to the ground, wrestling furiously to try to keep him from escaping.

"It doesn't have to be a—oh geez this is difficult—it doesn't have to be a fur sample, you know, Perry the—AAAAGH!—Perry the Platypus." Even with sweat dripping down the back of his neck and his teeth half-clenched, the villain's tone was almost conversational. "I'm sure I've got some—OUCH! Heeeey!—I'm sure I've got some q-tips in here somewhere...want me to take a cheek sample instead?"

As his answer, Perry drew back his free fist and let loose, catching Doofenshmirtz by surprise and thrusting him, without a captive, back into the side of the giant pot. However, as the blow had been delivered from a lower angle, he hit the vat at a higher point than before, his shoulders already teetering over the rim.

"Well this doesn't bode well," Doofenshmirtz remarked as he stared upside-down at four hundred cans' worth of boiling chicken noodle soup. Following which, as expected, he lost his balance and fell over the edge, landing with a sickeningly thick splash. "YOW THAT'S HOT!!"

Hissing a little, Phineas drew his finger back quickly from the edge of the pitcher sitting on top of the hot plate. "You're right," he affirmed matter-of-factly, shaking his hand vigorously from side to side. "That is hot."

"Of course," replied one of the guest scientists, crossing his arms. "It's a pitcher of boiling water."

"I see." Phineas stopped to write that down, then paused, pen hovering over the clipboard. "...But what does that have to do with curing the common cold?"

The other scientist smiled serenely, bending over to stare at the rapidly moving bubbles inside the pitcher. "Absolutely nothing. But it's fascinating, isn't it?"

Phineas cocked an eyebrow at him, but the first scientist just exhaled, repeating tiredly, "We scientists don't get out much."


All heads in the immediate vicinity snapped around to locate the source of the noise, which turned out to be Ferb with a small whistle in his mouth. Removing the whistle, Ferb lifted a small clock from his shelf, tapping it very pointedly.

The bubble-observing scientist quickly straightened up. "Break time?" he asked hopefully.

"Nope...even better!" Phineas's fists shot into the air as a very simplistic, country-style acoustic guitar rhythm began fading up from the background. "Obligatory musical montage time!"

He dove over to Ferb's lab station, snatching up various flasks and beakers and combining their contents, pouring random liquids into other random liquids and maybe swirling them around a bit just to see what happened. Smiling thinly, Ferb did the same, tossing several eyedroppers into the air and catching all the falling droplets in a single container, pausing to add a slice of cheese to the mixture. As the whole thing burbled promisingly, the guitar music became louder and louder, until finally a very monotone, country-style male vocal began to warble "The Ballad Of Germ Warfare".

There's a germ across my fender
There's a germ inside my blender
There are germs all 'round, as everybody knows

Isabella and the Fireside Girls, while still working furiously with their mortar and pestle, were now suddenly dressed like single-celled bacteria, swaying their hips slightly in time to the music.

There's a germ inside my closet
One's upon your back deposit
And each day I think the number of them grows

Several blocks away, Candace barreled through the double-doors of "Phil's Phriendly Pharmacy", screeching to a halt on the sidewalk and glancing around desperately for any drug stores she might have missed.

Germy illnesses abound
All in the street and in the town
You'll get sick if you don't go and watch your back

"PHINEAS!!" she shouted hoarsely, then, feeling that familiar twitch again, lunged for another tissue—but the box was empty. "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!"

We all are just so hard-y
So don't try and be a smart-y
We must make up for what our i-mmune systems lack

Inside the Doofenshmirtz Evil, Inc. skyscraper, Heinz Doofenshmirtz was agonizingly hauling himself out of the vat of chicken noodle soup, covered in red burn marks and thin pieces of spaghetti. Perry was watching from his seat in the hovercar, if only to make sure that the doctor was all right; after all, as Doofenshmirtz himself had said, his intentions hadn't actually been evil.

You gotta bulk up your insides
If you're gonna keep yourself a-live
I'm tellin' you, it's all extremely simple

But waiting there ended up being his mistake, as the doctor thrust his arm up to the wooden shelf above him and snatched a carton of orange juice, hurling it at the platypus. Having lousy aim, he hit the hovercar instead—though the impact itself did little damage, the juice that spilled onto the dashboard completely short-circuited it, sending the craft and its pilot back to the floor, where the tussle began anew.

Find a cure for all your troubles
Then sit back and watch the bubbles
And I don't mean those that give your face a pimple

Back on ground level, Candace was running around like a chicken with its head cut off, her nose already building up for another monumental sneeze and absolutely no tissues or bust-able brothers in sight. "OH NO!! OH NO—" Suddenly she paused, hands clapped over her nose, as the sound of an acoustic guitar reached her ears. "Wai' a minnit...Izzat montage backgroun' music?"

Yes, germs are sort of icky
And I'd say they're kind of sticky,
Germs are rough and germs are nasty
(Almost like a rhinoplasty)
Don't get sick if you can help it
Or if a germ comes, you can whelp it
And tomorrow will be healthier for you, oh yeah!
And tomorrow will be healthier for you!

(...Unless you get the flu.)

In the parking lot of "The Phrantic Pharmacist", the entire group held their collective breath as Phineas slowly poured the Fireside Girls' concoction into his and Ferb's final mixture, then, when that showed excellent signs of not blowing up, dumping that into the scientists' pitcher of boiled water. There was a puff of smoke, a quick sizzle, and the final chords of "The Ballad Of Germ Warfare" sounded in the background.

Following that was a short moment of silence. Then—

"WE DID IT!" exclaimed Phineas, bearing the pitcher of now-green liquid aloft, to which all assembled burst into loud, raucous cheers.

And then Candace sprinted into the parking lot, puffing and wheezing and in general looking like a total wreck. "HOL' IT," she demanded loudly, in between breaths, "RIGH' THERE!!"

" this a bad time?"

Dr. Doofenshmirtz stiffened with surprise, instantly recognizing the voice even if he couldn't turn and face its owner. This was, of course, because right then he was cross-legged on the floor, a wildly thrashing Perry the Platypus restrained against his abdomen, with one arm compressing the platypus's windpipe and the opposite leg pressed against his tiny stomach, his free hand hoisting the rescued pair of scissors high into the air.

"Vanessa?" gasped the doctor, almost releasing his prey by accident before he recovered himself and tightened his grip. "Vanessa, what are you doing up?"

The long-haired teenager was standing in the doorway, fully dressed, hands on her hips and a perplexed but amused smirk on her face. And, as far as Perry or anyone else could see, she looked absolutely healthy. "Actually, Dad, I believe the question is, what are you doing down there?"

Perry successfully managed to kick Doofenshmirtz's leg away this time, and had almost entirely slipped out of his nemesis's grasp when Doofenshmirtz suddenly leapt back to his feet, slinging the platypus over his shoulder instead and trapping him there rather effectively. "Oh, just whipping up a quick antidote to your terrible condition," he replied casually, completely ignoring Perry's frantic squirming.

Notwithstanding the fact that, without the expository dialogue given a few scenes earlier, this explanation seemed to have absolutely nothing to do with wrestling a small platypus into submission, Vanessa was clearly confused. "What are you talking about?" she demanded. "What condition? ...And is that Mom's apron?"

Doofenshmirtz opened his mouth to answer when suddenly an expression of absolute terror exploded onto his face, and he rushed over to his daughter's side, transferring the scissors to the platypus-restraining hand so he could press his unoccupied palm against Vanessa's forehead. Then he gasped again, more loudly and more squeakily this time. "OH NO! Not only has your deathly illness made you completely delusional, it's actually lowered your temperature!!"

"WHAT?" Vanessa pushed her father's arm away, sending him stumbling back a few steps. "Dad, I'm not sick!"

"Yes you are!" he insisted panickedly, barely even noticing the fact that Perry had gone oddly still. "Don't you backtalk, little girl, you were coughing ALL LAST NIGHT!!"

"Last..." Suddenly the girl's eyes widened, and she clapped her hand to her temple with a groan of frustration. "UGH! I knew you'd do this! Dad, like I told you before, I only coughed ONCE!"

The doctor's expression never wavered. "Well that was once too much." Disregarding his daughter's outrage, he simply continued, "Besides, you've been in bed all morning! What do you have to say to THAT, huh?"

Vanessa just glared dully at him. "Dad. I'm a teenager. That's what we do."


Before any further arguments could ensue, Perry's tail whipped around and smacked Doofenshmirtz hard in the face, causing him to loosen his grip with a startled cry. Within seconds, the platypus's feet were planted firmly on the villain's shoulders, and, after a flash of silver metal, he dove back to the ground and bolted full-tilt for the Germophobe-inator.

"Oh NO!" cried Dr. Doofenshmirtz, preparing to flee in terror—then, after a moment, he stopped, grinned smugly, and crossed his arms. "Ha, Perry the Platypus, your efforts are futile! The Germophobe-inator DOESN'T HAVE A 'REVERSE' SWITCH!"

Right next to the machine by that point, Perry flipped around to face his nemesis, that same unconcerned expression on his face, and removed both hands from behind his back—one clutched Doofenshmirtz's scissors, and the other had a death-grip on a thick lock of russet-brown hair.

One hand instinctively slapping against the back of his head to locate the site of the hair-theft, Doofenshmirtz paled, voice raising several octaves. "NO, Perry the Platypus, don't do it!! It will—" He paused, lowering his hand. "Actually, I don't know what it will do...hmmm...well, considering the odds, it'll probably backfire in my face, as usual, but..."

Giving up with one last groan, Vanessa just shook her head and stalked out the door. "I'm going back to bed."

"Heya, Candace!" greeted Phineas brightly as his sister lurched to a halt just in front of him, both hands over her nose and her eyes watering profusely. He slid out of his lab coat and pulled off his goggles, with Ferb, Isabella, and the Fireside Girls following his example just behind him. The scientists were both slumped over nearby cars, snoring loudly. "You're just in time! Look at—"

"I dun' CARE!" Candace blubbered, teetering on the brink of incoherence, her voice practically dripping with mucus as she tried to keep her nose from doing the same. "Any'a' you gots a tissue?"

Ferb pulled out his pockets to demonstrate how empty they were as everyone else just shook their heads. "Nope," Phineas responded for them, then held out the pitcher. "But that doesn't matter, 'cus—"

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!" Screaming, Candace jumped backwards, clamping her hands tighter against her nose. "'S POISON! YA ARE TRYIN'A' KILL ME! GYAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!"

"No, no, it's not poison!" insisted Isabella, stepping forwards quickly. "It's the cure for the common cold!"

"We assume," muttered one of the more bitter Fireside Girls.

Candace heard none of this, as she had already scurried halfway up a nearby lamppost—a very impressive feat, considering that she'd only used one hand to do so. "KEEP IT AWAY FWOM ME! BACK, YA DEMONSH, BACK!!"

But the pressure was already building up inside her nasal passages, and with a cold shiver of dread Candace knew that she wouldn't be able to hold it all in for much longer. "Oh no, OH NO—" Whimpering like a small child, she just threw her head back, wailing miserably. "I'VE GOTTA BLOW!!"

"Candace, just drink the medicine!" Phineas called up in desperation, shaking the contents of the pitcher. "It'll make you feel better!"

Ferb added an affirmative nod to make the statement seem more sincere, even waving his arms around a bit.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" shouted Candace reflexively, hugging the lamppost more firmly...but, as though it were some sort of sign, rather than keeping her stuck to the pole, this action actually caused her to slide down its length and back to the ground, where her brothers and their concoction were waiting.

Her nose itched. Her throat was burning. And, as much as she tried to insist otherwise, she had never been able to successfully resist the double-barreled power of Phineas-and-Ferb-brand puppy dog eyes.

"Oh, aw'RIGHT aw'ready!!" With that, she snatched up the shady-looking pitcher and downed all its contents in one gigantic gulp.

...And nothing happened.

"Well, tha' wus a waste of—" she began heatedly, but was forcibly interrupted as she suddenly shot straight up into the air, hovering several feet above the ground. Without warning, steam started gushing out of her ears, accompanied by a high-pitched whistling sound. She flipped over in midair, twirling around upside-down for a minute or two, then, hiccuping out one last puff of smoke, somersaulted straight over her brothers' heads and landed on the ground in a perfect split to a corny burst of trumpet music.

Phineas nudged his brother softly. "I didn't know she could do that."

Helped to her feet by a few more of the perpetually-nameless Fireside Girls, Candace groaned nauseously, then emitted an impressive burp. "Cheesy," she remarked—then gasped, clapping both hands to her face as she felt the unspeakable bliss of open sinuses. "OH MY GOSH! IT WORKED! OhICan'tBelieveItIJustCan'tIt'sTooAmazing—I'M CURED!!"

"Yes!" High-fives and handshakes were shared liberally amongst the successful medicinal practitioners, as well as the odd victory dance. Which were mostly done by Phineas and Ferb, but, at length, Candace joined in, and suddenly the parking lot became host to a rollickingly triumphant dance party, complete with music and everything.

"Candace? What are you DOING here?"

The music abruptly skidded to a stop, and Candace's jaw dropped open. "MOM?"

Yes, that was Linda Flynn standing frozenly beside her car, one hand still on the door handle and her gaze focused on her pajama-clad, crazy-looking daughter. Talk about your odd coincidences. "Look at you, Candace!" she exclaimed, not even seeming to notice the other children in the background or the suspicious-looking drug store displays and scientific equipment scattered around. "Why, you're not even dressed...and no SHOES either! What in the world—"

"Uh—uh—I can explain!" Candace babbled, panicking immensely. Summoning up a huge burst of strength, she snatched both her brothers up by the backs of their shirts, snapping them up to their mother's sight line. "THEY DID IT!"

All trace of skepticism gone, Linda smiled kindly at the two. "Hi, boys."

Both waved at her, though only Phineas spoke up, as per usual. "Hi, Mom!"

Seeing as this wasn't going very well, Candace shook the boys up and down, as if that might cement their guilt. Or whatever she was trying to pin them for. "Mom, don't change the subject! These guys CURED me! THEY CURED THE COMMON COLD!!" Absolutely desperate by then, Candace whirled them around to face her, wild-eyed. "SHOW HER, PHINEAS! SHOW HER THE MAGIC JUICE!!"

"I can't," Phineas replied simply, unfazed by his sister's extreme actions. "You drank it all."

Something in Candace's head ground to a halt. "Wuh—" she stammered, "wuh—wuh—wuh?"

"But we still have the recipe!" piped up Isabella, pulling a small sheet of paper from behind her back. However, the wind chose to pick up right at that moment, blowing it out of the girl's grip and straight across the parking lot.

"THE RECIPE!" Abruptly dropping Phineas and Ferb onto the asphalt, Candace shot over to her mother's side, grasping Linda's arm and pointing at the drifting piece of paper like a girl possessed. "You see it, Mom? You see it? THAT'S THE RECIPE!"

Linda just gave her a lidded stare. "...We'll talk about this later, Candace."

She gently removed herself from her daughter's grip and started walking past, to which Candace, smelling defeat, immediately began jumping up and down hysterically. "I'M JUST GONNA GO GET IT, MOM! I'LL SHOW YOU! I'LL SHOW YOU ALL!"

And she ran off after the piece of paper.

"Remind me to sign her up for therapy," Linda mumbled to her sons as she approached their scientific setup. "But at least she does seem a little more energetic than this morning..."

Then she glanced around, suddenly seeming to notice the large collection of shelves, medicines, glassware, and Bunsen burners surrounding her. "Where did all this come from?"

Phineas blinked, then, as his mother's gaze seemed to be predominantly on the lab equipment, he assumed that that was what she was inquiring about. "Huh? Oh, they brought it," he replied, pointing at the still-slumbering scientists—because it was true, as they had supplied most of those pieces. He grinned. "They're going to a barbecue later."

"How nice." Linda started digging through her purse, then paused. "You still have my cell phone?"

"Yup." Phineas pulled it out of his pocket and handed it to her. "No messages."

"Thank goodness." Stowing the phone in her bag, she slung it back over her shoulder, starting towards the door to the pharmacy. "I'll just be a minute, I have to pick up some medicine for your sister. Wait right here."

Just as the double-doors scissored shut, and just before someone could think to inform the woman that all the cold medicines were already in the parking lot, Candace managed to corner the errant piece of paper not ten feet away from the setup. She cackled loudly, savoring the moment before reaching down to pick up the incriminating sheet.

As could be expected, the sound of a faraway (but rather loud) explosion caused her to pause, but then, as a large mass of something fell screamingly out of the sky and crashed dramatically into the middle of the parking lot, she was stunned entirely, not even noticing that a stray ember had lit the recipe on fire and was conveniently destroying it beyond recognition. No, no, she just stood there, unblinking—until part of the burning hulk moved, and then she bolted straight for the pharmacy door. "MOM! MOM!!"

"Oh, there you are, Perry," greeted Phineas casually as the platypus, back on all fours, waddled unscathed from the center of the blaze. Rather than seeming the least bit concerned that his pet had just fallen out of the sky in a flaming mass, Phineas just scooped Perry up and nuzzled him. "Where've you been?"

Not that Perry was about to answer anyways, but just then everyone became distracted at the sound of groaning coming from the rest of the unknown detritus, which slowly sat up and assumed the shape of a thin man wearing a lab coat and the remains of a stunningly pink apron. "Now that I expected," he muttered to himself, appearing to be absolutely unaware of the fact that he was on fire. "I did not expect it to bake a batch of muffins first, but I did expect that."

Then suddenly the man sneezed, catching it quickly in his palms but also getting them coated with a thin layer of mucus. That quickly burned up in the blaze covering him, but he still wore a disgusted look on his face, though that too swiftly turned into another sneeze.

"Hey," he called out to the nearby group of children, wobbling to his feet, "does anyone know where can I find some cold medicine?"

Phineas opened his mouth to answer, but Ferb cleared his throat loudly, pointing at the row of shelves behind him. "Aisle seven."

And that was The End of that.