Puppet Trouble

"Drink yuh milk!"

"NO!"

"Drink it!"

"No!"

"NOW!"

"I WON'T!"

"IF YA DON'T, I'LL –"

"HEEEELLLLP!!!"

"What's going on here? Can't a guy get a little sleep?" Thomas demanded, walking into the hall where he expected to see two people fighting.

Instead, there stood Tunnel Rat, a green-and-red sock puppet on his hand and a glass of milk in the other.

"Socky won't drink 'is milk," Tunnel Rat said, sounding highly annoyed, "and he won't lis'n tuh me! I ev'n SPANKED 'im!"

Thomas blinked, sagging against the wall and staring. "Are you joking?"

"Why would I joke about somethin' like dis?" demanded Tunnel Rat indignantly.

"Cuz that's a sock puppet," Thomas pointed out. The sock puppet righted itself and stared at Thomas. In a high, squeaky voice, he said "Dat's an insult! I'm a bettah man than ya!"

"Is that so?" asked Thomas, raising an eyebrow.

"Yes, dat's so!" The sock puppet pursed its lips, and Tunnel Rat arched his finger above a googly eye to make it look like 'Socky' was raising his eyebrow.

"You want to see about that?" asked Thomas, taking a step forward. This thing was insulting his intelligence.

"Yeeeeeh, and Oi'll win, too!"

"You little-"

"What's going on here? I'm trying to sleep –" Scarlett stopped and looked incredulously at the sock puppet on Tunnel Rat's hand, then at Thomas, then back to the sock puppet.

"Socky says-" Thomas began, at the same time Tunnel Rat said "Thomas said-"

"Did you just say 'Socky says'?" Scarlett stared at Thomas.

"Yes!" Thomas looked infuriated.

"Okaaay, then. How exactly did 'Socky' insult you?" asked Scarlett in a patient voice.

"He said he was a better man than me!"

Scarlett looked beyond surprised. "Thomas Saburo Arashikage!! It's a sock puppet!!"

"But he insulted-"

Scarlett clamped her hands over her ears and shook her head. "I don't believe this!" she cried.

A black-clad figure was suddenly behind her. Scarlett turned. "Snakes! Thank goodness you're here! These two idiots are arguing over a SOCK PUPPET!!"

Snake Eyes put a hand on Scarlett's shoulder and with the other hand signed [What did the … sock puppet say?]

"He said he was more of a man than Thomas," Scarlett explained.

[I see. And this worries you why?]

"Because it's ridiculous!" Scarlett cried, exasperated. "It's a SOCK! On Tunnel Rat's HAND!"

[Maybe Thomas should duel it] Snake Eyes suggested teasingly.

"Ian Matthew Michaels!" Scarlett groaned, frustrated. She looked over to where Thomas was trying to snatch the sock puppet off of Tunnel Rat's hand.

The small, wiry Tunnel Rat was dodging his every grab, while Thomas was putting every bit of ninja knowledge into trying to get 'Socky' away from his parent.

Snake Eyes jumped over Scarlett and landed by Tunnel Rat. Grabbing him in an iron grip, the ninja pulled Socky off Tunnel Rat's hand.

Scarlett gave a sigh of relief. "Thank good – what are you doing?"

Snake Eyes had slipped the sock puppet onto his own hand and was mouthing something to Scarlett through it.

"SNAKE EYES!" Scarlett screeched.

As she turned and ran down the hall, Thomas, Tunnel Rat, and Socky all called "Goodnight, Scarlett!"