Author's Note: For those of you familiar with my stories, like everything else, this takes place in my series, set up by the events in my first story "More Than My Friend" where the big event is that Frankie adopts Mac and becomes her guardian. If you haven't read that story yet, I strongly suggest you do so now, or else you might get terribly confused.
Now, for some explaining - at first, I ended the series several months ago due to lack of free time to get any writing done, which to be honest, is a problem I still have. However, what was already to submitted to the site actually weren't the only stories that I wrote. To be honest, I have a fair amount of stories I like to call the "rejected" works, which are fics I didn't upload for one reason or another. However....well, I don't have a good, or even complicated reason why I'm choosing to finally clean those particular stories up and uploading them other than simply, "well, why not?"
So for a little bit, I'll be dragging these stories up out of the bowels of my computer, edit them, and then upload together in a collection, for all you to hopefully enjoy in a bit of a last hurrah as the cartoon itself finally comes to an end after all these years.
"…Hey! Hey, c'mon! Not so rough! Not so rough! Is this even legal? You didn't even read us our rights or anything like that, nope, you're just yanking us around like we're not full American citizens with our free and equal rights or nothing like that at all, and in case you haven't heard, this isn't the Soviet Union where you can just ship us off to the gulag way way out in the middle of Siberia or…"
The infuriated little girl protested shrilly every foot she was forcibly dragged along by the stonefaced museum guard, no matter how much her presumed partner-in-crime gestured frantically for her to put a lid on it.
"Goo!" Mac whispered urgently. "Settle down-"
"Settle down? Settle down?" she snapped ferociously. "You're telling me to settle down? Why don't you tell that to Mr. Guilty-Until-Proven-Innocent here? We didn't do a single thing, nuh-uh! Nope! Nothing at all! Didn't do one thing wrong! Totally innocent! Yeah-huh! We didn't…"
As his ears were incessantly violated by the high-pitched squeals of outrage, the guard just shook his head and sighed exasperatedly as he continued to keep a firm grasp upon the miscreants while he took a sharp turn and dragged them through a small doorway into where museum security was based.
"Hey, Pete! Are these the ones who were raising hell down in the Mesozoic Exhibit?" another guard asked from behind a counter as soon as he spotted them.
"Unfortunately." Came the groaned reply as Goo angrily jabbered on and on, her ire knowing absolutely no bounds.
"You can't do this! You can't! You can't! You can't! You can't! You can't! We didn't do anything! Not one thing! We only came here today to have a fun time, but not any fun time, a fun time where you can actually learn something and it won't bore you to tears in five seconds like in math class on Friday when we were talking about long division but-"
"Tell that to everyone you scared half to death." The hulking man replied grouchily as he lugged them into a small room and forced them to take a seat upon two uncomfortably hard plastic chairs.
"But we're not lying!" Mac argued. "Seriously, we really didn't do anything! It was-"
One fierce scowl was all it took to frighten the two silent. The children promptly clammed up as the irked guard glared sternly with daggers in his eyes.
"You two listen up, and you listen good, because I'm not repeating myself; both of you aren't moving an inch from this spot until whoever was in charge of you for the day comes and gets you. And don't even think about trying to sneak of here and getting off scot-free; Ted up there is going to make sure of that you're not going anywhere."
"But we didn't-" Goo, her tone having softened to a pitiful whimper, tried to explain one final time to absolutely no avail as the irritated man snapped at them
"Thanks to you little punks, I have to go back downstairs and try and take care of the mess you made, and when I come back, we're going to have a nice long talk about why no one fools around at the Natural History Museum. Got it?"
"But-" Mac protested in vain.
"Nuh-uh!" he quickly cut the boy off. "You two are going to get it, you understand? And if you thing I'm going to be bad, then you probably don't even want to think about what your mom's going to do when she comes looking for you little rats and finds out about this…"
"How am I going to get them out of there?" The young woman wondered aloud with a grimace as she scouted the scene from behind the cover of a large potted plant. As her mind raced for ideas, the little blob by her side glanced up and shot her a quizzical look.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Bloo asked curiously. "Seriously, what's so hard about this? You walk in, tell the guy up front those are yours in the back room, and then-"
"Aren't you forgetting something?" Frances "Frankie" Foster asked the blob with an angry glower.
To her enormous annoyance, thanks to the azure figment's unbelievably bad memory, he just gave her a glassy stare for several moments before suggesting, "…Do you need to say 'please' first, or something? Ow! Hey, what gives?"
Moving faster than the eye could follow, Frankie promptly cuffed him sharply upon the head as she hissed furiously. "Bloo, the only reason they're in there is because of you!"
"Oh c'mon, I was only-" he whined in his defense.
"Don't lie! You told me that you were the one jumping out of dinosaur skeletons and actually screaming at people! The only reason you're out here is because you slipped away while they were crawling around in the ribcage of a God-knows-what trying to stop you from-"
"Yeah, and it was awesome!" the imaginary friend started gushing excitedly. "I mean, people come here to look at the bones of dead things, right? But no one expects those dead things to start yelling at you, or anything! It was the perfect prank-OW!"
Again Frankie swatted him square on the noggin. "Bloo, as far as security's concerned, Goo and Mac were the ones causing all that trouble! And do you have any idea what they're going to do to me when I stroll in and tell those guards I was supposed to be watching them while they were supposedly spooking people and crawling around in ancient fossils? There's no way there's going to let me off the hook easily at all! As soon as I tell them, they're probably going to-"
"All right, cool it! Don't freak or anything!" Bloo replied as he nursed his aching head. "Sheesh! So just sneak in, and-"
"Sneak in?" she shook her head furiously. "There's only one way in! No way I'm going to get by without-"
"All right, so….uh…" the imaginary friend muttered, before taking a quick pause to try and cook up a scheme. "Hmm…how about…you could...um...oooh! Oooh! How about you go in there and tell them there's a cool bug crawling around outside?"
"….A cool bug?" she repeated in disbelief, rolling her eyes.
"Yeah!" he whooped enthusiastically. "And when you do, the guards are all going to come rushing out, ready to see this totally cool bug, and while they're looking for it, that's when you go to the back and-"
"They're not stupid, Bloo!" she snapped. "I don't think that telling them a weird bug is outside is going to make them-"
"Hey, lay off!" the figment snapped indignantly. "I'm the one who's making an effort here to come up with something. You're just sit there on your butt and criticizing everything that I'm thinking up-"
"You've only come up with one idea so far, and it was without a doubt one of the dumbest things I've ever heard in my whole entire life!" the redhead grumbled. "C'mon, we gotta figure out a way…to…try and…"
Frankie abruptly trailed off as soon as she spotted the hulking museum guard depart, leaving the one who was still busy minding several camera monitors. As she observed the last remaining guard, without warning, inspiration suddenly struck. "Hold on…I think I have an idea…"
"Yeah..." she grimaced. "It's not much...but if they don't know who exactly is coming to get the kids...and if they have Lost-and-Found in there, then maybe..."
"Mama's not gonna like this." Goo muttered glumly, looking as forlorn as a prisoner on death row. "I'm gonna be in soooo much trouble when she finds out…and not like, walking-inside- the-house-without-wiping-your-feet trouble, but like, stealing-the-car-and-driving-it-through-a-church-picnic trouble, y'know, like-"
"But it wasn't our fault." Mac reminded her, trying to sound optimistic but only able to conjure up a shadow of a reassuring smile.
"I know, I know, I know." Goo sighed gloomily. "But still, we…"
As the children spoke in hushed tones, the museum guard up front paid them little attention as he kept his gazed dully fixed on the security monitors, dutifully making sure nothing was amiss while he slouched in his chair.
"Excuse me?" someone suddenly inquired gently. "Sir?"
"Hmm?" the young man grunted distractedly as he swiveled about in his seat. As soon as he peered into the pair of sparkling jade-green eyes of the redhead standing before him, in an instant the fellow immediately sat straight and rigid as a steel beam as his eyes almost popped right out of their sockets.
"H-hi!" he immediately blurted out with a grin as he stood up straight with a start. "Do y-you need anything, miss?"
Just like that, her scheme quickly hit a snag, and Frankie immediately paused for a few seconds once it became clear he was ogling her somewhat. Fortunately, it seemed that at least neither Mac nor Goo had described her to the guard, but unfortunately, to him she was little more than a pretty face to get excited about, as they were roughly about the same age.
Needless to say, she wasn't exactly pleased with the way the smitten fellow was gawking at her like a magazine spread, and for a moment she felt the impulse to put him to shame with a snappy remark, or even a snarl. However, she managed to battle off the impulse when realization quickly struck her; well, she was trying to divert his attention. Surely, it wouldn't hurt to use this at all to her advantage would it?
Not sure if she wanted to answer that question or not, she took a deep breath, and swallowed her pride; this wasn't by far the most honorable thing to do, but it was all for the children, she reminded herself. Turning up the charm as much as she could, she clasped her hands and nodded in what she hoped was a convincingly coy manner.
"I'm so sorry, I don't mean to be a bother or anything. It's just that...see, I'm looking for...well..." The young woman went on in the sickeningly sweetest tone that she could muster. Meanwhile, the instant they heard the extremely familiar voice, Mac and Goo leapt from their seats and together they peered in from the doorway, making sure to stay out of sight lest the guard scolded them.
"Oh, are you looking for two kids?" the smitten young man immediately inquired. "One short with brown hair, and the other one a little taller and-"
Much to the children's dumb shock, Frankie immediately grimaced at the suggestion, as was part of her original plan. As the two thunderstruck little ones mutely watched on, the caretaker made a face in disgust and spat, "Blecch! I hope not! I just can't stand kids; they're nothing but a bratty nuisance, if you ask me. I can barely handle being in the same room with even one pest."
"That makes two of us, I guess." The young man replied, and immediately Frankie faked a giggle.
"Oh stop it, you!" she tittered, causing him to blush a little. "Anyway, could you help me with my itty bitty little problem? I lost my bracelet about an hour ago, and I was wondering if anyone found it. It's about the same color as…wait, hold on…"
With a few deft movements she tugged off her scrunchie, allowing her crimson locks to tumble down to shoulder level. As she gracefully flipped her hair back with a shake of the head, the slack-jawed guard just gawked unblinkingly at the sight, completely entranced.
"It's about the same color as this." Frankie explained with a winning smile as she flashed her pearly white teeth. "Do you think you could be a sweetheart and help me out? Pretty please?"
If she was forced to go on like this anymore, she honestly felt like she would make herself sick to her stomach; this by far was not one of her proudest moments. This wasn't even close to the performance of a lifetime for her; one would probably find better acting in a fifth grade play. Fortunately for her churning gut, she had already achieved the desired result. As soon as she batted her eyelashes for good measure, in an instant the guard was bent over in his chair and leafing furiously through a small box under the counter.
"Of course!" he babbled like a nitwit as his face glowed bright scarlet. "I-I'll go check and see if-"
Frankie leaned over and tried to coo convincingly, "Oh, that's so kind of you! I'm sorry for being such a nuisance, I really-"
"No, no, it's okay! No problem!" he jabbered on as he searched on, meanwhile forgetting completely about the miscreants in the room behind him. "Let me just check the Lost-and-Found here, and we'll see if… hold on, gimme a sec…"
While the two made small talk, all the while Mac and Goo wordlessly observed, unable to make heads nor tails of what they were witnessing. As the little girl's eyes almost bulged to the size of saucers in bemusement, her friend struggled to figure out whether this flirtatious girl was really in fact his guardian or not.
As if Frankie could read his mind, an instant later Mac received his answer. Once the museum guard almost buried his head in the box at his feet, Frankie's eyes darted briefly in the direction of the little ones. The second her arm shot up and she began to frantically point toward the exit with a look of utmost urgency etched all over her face, instantaneously all became clear, and automatically the children began slowly sneaking their way out, moving as silently as humanly possible.
"I'm sorry, miss, but I can't find a-" the young man started to explain as he began sit up straight once more. Immediately Frankie suppressed a yelp of dismay as she leaned further over the counter and jabbed a finger down below into the box of assorted lost items.
"A-are you sure?" she asked, praying fervently the nervous tremor in her tone didn't betray the plot that was afoot. "Maybe you just haven't looked hard enough! Please, if you could only be a-"
In her efforts to make sure he remained effectively distracted, she failed completely to realize how much she was leaning over until her wallet tumbled from her jacket pocket and landed at the guard's feet. Extremely eager to please the pretty face, he quickly blurted out, "Don't worry, I got it! I…"
As he trailed off, Frankie's heart skipped a beat as she suddenly drew in a sharp intake of breath. The mere fact that he wallet had hit the floor of course was nothing to raise a fuss about. The fact that it opened up while it landed, revealing a photo of her hugging an odd blobbish creature and two very familiar children, however…
"Hey…" the bewildered fellow murmured as he glanced to her, to the photo, to her again, then started to swivel his read around. "What the….wait…these kids look...hey, they look just like…"
It was about then that he spotted Goo and Mac standing halfway to the door. Once he laid eyes upon them, Frankie's face paled, while both little ones froze like a pair of deer trapped in the headlights of an oncoming truck. Meanwhile, so shocked by it all honestly didn't know what to do at first, for a few seconds the guard just gawked stupidly at the others.
Completely caught in the act, the dismayed redhead wracked her mind frantically for a hasty Plan B. Unfortunately, she was too stricken with horror to come up with anything at all, and could do little more than draw a complete blank. Finally, unable to think of anything else at all in her surging panic, she tried to plant on a weak excuse for a smile, forced a chuckle, and asked, "Um……you…uh….want to…see a cool bug?"
"Oh for heaven's sake! This is absolutely absurd!" Mr. Herriman fumed as he checked his pocket watch. "Never in all my-"
"I'm sorry, Mr. Herriman, but could you try to settle down a little? Please?" A gangly red beanpole of an imaginary friend implored.
"Master Wilt, I specifically ordered everyone to be back here on the bus at three o'clock sharp, and not one minute later!" the uptight figment snapped. "And when I stated so, I thought it was clear that there were no exceptions! When I said three, I meant three! Not three-eleven! Who does Miss Frances think she is by showing such flagrant disregard for our field-trip schedule? Does she think that just because she's house staff means she gets to dillydally all that she wants? This insubordination is completely unacceptable! For goodness sake, she's the driver-"
"Coco co! Cococo Coco!" an imaginary melding of plant, aircraft and bird squawked in defense of the caretaker, earning her nothing more than a stern glower.
"Miss Coco, argue as eloquently as you may please, but I simply shall not be swayed!" Mr. Herriman barked. "This is simply unthinkable! Not only is she failing her duties as resident caretaker, but she's also failing in her duties as a proper role model! As you can plainly see for your own eyes, neither Master Mac nor Miss Goo are anywhere to be seen right-"
No sooner had he spoken when as if by magic the children were suddenly right there, grasped tightly in the arms of a breathless young woman as she abruptly clambered aboard the bus. Before the startled imaginary rabbit could react, Frankie wasted not a single moment and promptly deposited the kids into the nearest empty seat, dug the keys from her sweater pocket as she took her place at the front of the bus, and in a heartbeat the bus was tearing out of the museum parking lot as if the legions of hell were pursuing them.
"Miss Frances!" Mr. Herriman yelped as he nearly flew out of his seat and into the aisle, as did half the others onboard. "My word, what are you-"
"Don't what to get caught in late afternoon traffic, do we?" Frankie managed to gasp raggedly as she swiftly improvised an excuse.
"Well…" he murmured, safely seating himself before conceding, "I guess not, but that still doesn't give you the right to drive like a maniac. Besides, if you're so concerned about getting caught in a traffic jam, then why on earth didn't you show up here as we planned-"
"Gift shop!" Mac blurted out the first thing that came to mind, as Goo quickly chimed in and elaborated.
"Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!" she squeaked, nodding furiously. "Y'see, we were about to meet you guys out here, but on the way out we came across the museum gift shop, and we were all, 'hey, let's take a couple minutes to have a little look-see', and we were like that 'cuz we had a couple extra minutes to spare, and yeah, so we were browsing around, looking at the postcards and posters and models and books, and we got so caught up over all the cool stuff they had, we just lost track of the time! Totally had no idea until we looked and the clock and were all-"
Much to Frankie's everlasting relief as she glanced up into the rearview mirror, Mr. Herriman appeared to buy into the fraudulent tale if his expression was any indication. "Well...that should teach you what happens if one dawdles too long in those dreadfully overpriced shops. Next time, please be more attentive to-"
"Hey…where is Senor Bloo?" Eduardo suddenly inquired innocently after glancing around the bus in hopes of finding the imaginary blob.
After immediately letting loose with a howl of dismay, Frankie abruptly jerked the wheel and without even thinking, did a spectacular u-turn, sending almost everyone flying to the left side of the bus as she began yelling, "Oh, for the love of-"
Obviously, the flocks of children examining the fossilized tyrannosaurus hadn't been expecting the long-dead beast to suddenly erupt into a ferocious roar. The second the fearsome cry rang out, the little ones burst out screaming in terror and immediately fled to safety, scared half to death that the massive skeleton was ready to start gobbling them down one by one.
While the crowd of kids dispersed, Bloo started giggling gleefully as he tucked his little stubs behind his head, made himself comfortable inside the skull, and patiently waited for his next victims. "Best…idea…ever."