"Step right up, don't be shy, folks! Let the Eds tell you the secret to seeing the future!" the loud, raucous voice of Eddy cut through the quiet air of the cul-de-sac, "That's right! Be an amazing prophet, just like Notre Dame-us or Muhammad Gandhi!"
"Mahatma, Eddy…" corrected Double D from his sign-painting position behind Eddy.
"Huh?" Eddy turned to look at Double D, confusion and irritation on his face.
"It's not 'Muhammad'; 'Mahatma', Eddy…" Double D corrected again.
Eddy merely blinked a time or two.
"Sure sure, 'hakuna matata' Double D; now stow the lion talk and get back to work!" he said eventually.
Double D sighed and returned to his task of completing yet another eye-grabbing sign, this one reading 'Seecruts of Scryeing, Revealed!'
"And another opportunity to higher the education of this layman's show, wasted..." lamented Double D as he added the finishing strokes to his project. Standing, he hoisted his sign and carried it over next to Ed, who sat in his underwear and was done up to look like a stereotypical mystic man, and drove it into the ground.
"I knew you would do that, Double D!" Ed declared, pointing triumphantly at his friend from the one of Eddy's many large throw pillows that he sat on. He then chuckled and added, "It is all in the towel…" He poked knowingly at the fluffy pink bathroom towel adorning his head.
"I'm sure, Ed." Double D replied flatly, but Eddy decided to roll with it.
"Yessir, did ya see that?!" he broadcast to the neighborhood, "Even a lump like Ed can be a bona fide seer of the future, when you know the secret of the universe! Only 25 cents! And only at Ed's Mystic Makers!"
Amazingly, his spiel did not go unheard. He actually turned a couple of heads amongst the wandering kids who were out and about. Jonny in particular seemed interested. He leaned onscreen with a wide smile before galumphing his way over to the many strings of paper lanterns running around Ed and Ed's yard, which gave him a mystical glow, as well as prevented looky-loos from venturing too close to the prophet.
"Gee, that's really nifty, huh, Plank?" he asked his inanimate companion; to Ed he asked, "So what's the secret of the universe, oh great swami Ed?"
"Ah, ah, ah! First they gotta cough up a quarter, lugnut..!" smiled Ed.
Jonny giggled. "Oh, right. I forgot about that part." He dug into his pocket and dropped the extracted quarter into the jar that Eddy's elongated arm had pressed under his nose. The arm removed itself and Jonny looked back to Ed. "So what's the secret, Ed?"
"Turn their attention to Eddy, monobrow, cuz you're just the pretty face that lures their attention." beamed Ed; he extended a leg and pinched Jonny's face between his bare toes, turning the boy's head to look at Eddy, who was busy staring greedily at the lone quarter settled in his cash jar.
Double D tapped Eddy's shoulder, and then pointed to Jonny to let him know he was needed.
"Oh, hey there, Jonny-boy!" greeted Eddy, "So, you wanna know the secret to predicting everything, huh?"
"Lay it on me, Eddy..!" Jonny perked, not seeming to mind his toe-pinched face.
"Great," Eddy told him. He cleared his throat dramatically. "Just wait for something to happen and say you saw it coming. No one'll ever know. Thanks for stopping by, come again soon!" He waved as Ed transported Jonny back to the sidewalk and released him.
Jonny sat where he was deposited for a few seconds, letting that sink in.
"Wow, keen!" he said at last, "That actually makes a lotta sense, huh, buddy?" he then asked of Plank. He got up and wandered away. "Whaddya mean it was a rip?! Was not…was not…was not..!"
Eddy giggled happily as he watched them go. "Jonny's such a sucker..!" he grinned, "Alright, who's next?!" He surveyed the cul-de-sac eagerly, and found Rolf approaching their lawn site with an expression of extreme skepticism.
"Hiya, Rolfy!" said Eddy, "So, you wanna know how to predict everything too, eh? Well, for just one quarter-!"
"Spare me your drivel, short in the stacking Ed boy!" Rolf interjected, "You claim to know the secrets of the universe, and yet I did not see the wood-toting Jonny perform the Dance of a Thousand Kumquats, which one cannot help but do upon hearing such secrets, as they are so joyous. Did you see the Dance of a Thousand Kumquats? No? I thought not. So, grating on one's nerves Ed boy, tell Rolf this 'secret' of which you speak, lest you make Rolf prematurely give you the Beeting of Disrespect."
He leaned on one of the posts supporting the lantern strings while he waited for Eddy to speak.
Eddy tugged at his collar nervously. "Hey, hey, Rolf, no need for beatings here…at Ed's Mystic Makers we assure quality wisdom is spread to all; and, uh, our secret is, well, uh…"
"There is no joy in painting a mud fence, Rolf!" Ed cut in helpfully. Rolf raised a calm yet scrutinizing eyebrow at Ed. Eddy smiled in a hopeful, nervous way, nodding as he raised both hands Ed's way. Double D merely gripped the brim of his hat and tugged it over his face, cowering from what he was sure would come.
"As Rolf suspected. Fraud! Fraud!" he called out to the cul-de-sac, "The Ed boys pass off common gardening knowledge as divine wisdom! Come, join me as I deliver the justified Beeting of Disrespect!" He pulled from nowhere a giant burlap sack.
"Come on, Sarah, let's go deal out justice!"
Gladly, the few kids about heard Rolf's call and flocked to the scene and joined Rolf in taking oversized beets from the sack.
"Oooh, beets. I get it." Eddy stated flatly before the many aloft beets were unleashed, pounding mercilessly down on the Eds and destroying their setup.
As the color faded back in, a field of destruction and beets was seen to be the replacement of what was once Ed's front yard and the site of the Eds' latest scam.
There was movement amongst the beets, and Eddy and Double D were made present above the rubble. Double D sighed.
"Don't you ever get tired of this, Eddy?" he asked irritably, sitting up and letting the debris cascade its way off of him.
"Get tired of what?" returned Eddy, sitting up as well.
"The 'scam of the century' predictably (a fitting tie-in to today's little farce) turning sour and coming down on our heads like so many loads of bricks?" Double D tried, "It's never going to work, I tell you! Why don't we try selling our peers something honestly for a change? I'm sure it'd be so unheard of, the Eds operating honestly, that they'd give us their money out of pure shock!"
"What're ya talkin' about? We just haven't found the right scam yet..!" Eddy argued.
"That's what I'm talking about, Eddy..!" Double D reasoned, "These scams are getting us nowhere..! If you really want to make money, don't you think we'd stand a better chance of turning a profit running a legitimate business?"
"But scamming's what always worked for my brother…" defended Eddy.
"Do not live in the mighty oak's shadow, Eddy..!" burst Ed, erupting from the debris immediately under Eddy, so that Eddy was supported by his torso on top of Ed's head.
After the surprised pause caused by Ed's entrance, Double D went on. "Ed's right, Eddy. You've got to stop trying to be so much like your brother. Who knows? You might find you're even better at being honest than a swindler…"
Eddy looked back and forth between Double D's pleading look and Ed's blank smile.
"I'm just asking you to give it a try, Eddy. Please? For me?" Double D smiled sweetly, clasping his hands.
"And for the Giffer?" added Ed.
Eddy looked between the two a few more times before letting out a growl and relenting with an, "Alright, fine. So long as it ain't account work."
The Eds, now congregated in Ed's kitchen, tried to come up with a good, honest marketing ploy they could use.
Ed and Eddy sat at the table while Double D stood opposite them, ready to write anything down on a giant paper easel.
Tapping his chin with a marker, Double D offered, "Well, we could try a show of some sort…"
"Nah, we've done that before. I hate repeats." groused Eddy.
"Well, alright then, maybe a benefit concert, or perhaps a mail service." Double D tried again.
"Yawn." was Eddy's retort, and he shifted restlessly in his chair, slouching low and putting a leg on Ed's table.
Double D showed disgruntlement at Eddy's lack of participation.
"Oo, oo! I got an idea, Double D!" Ed raised his hand, waving it wildly.
Perking, Double D said, "Yes, Ed, what is it?"
"I wanna draw it!" said Ed, running around the table and snatching the marker.
"Uh, very well, then…" consented Double D as Ed already began scribbling away at the pad.
Eddy and Double D watched, their expressions growing increasingly confused as Ed drew.
At last Ed spouted, "Done!" and stood back proudly so his friends could gaze at his work.
"Um, Ed, what is that?" was all Double D could say.
Ed looked as though he couldn't believe that they couldn't tell. "It is the Great Blozznar of the planet Kreptude, attacking a barber with his fire balls and lightning breath; but the barber is secretly a space ninja, and retaliates with his comb blades of doooom! Do you not see it?" He seemed slightly hurt.
"Oh…yeah, totally." said Eddy, tilting his head slightly and trying not to laugh, "What's wrong with you, Double D?" he chided his friend.
Double D threw Eddy another look. To Ed he said, "While I may not be terribly informed in the ways of space monsters, Ed, I think barbering is an excellent idea for a legitimate business." He gave Ed a pat on the head, to which Ed melted happily. "What say you, Eddy?"
Eddy considered it. "Sounds like a good scam to me; let's go for it!"
"No, Eddy, this is supposed to be a proper money-making venture, remember? No scamming allowed..!" Double D reminded him.
"Yeah, well, I don't know how to cut hair; do you? How can we be all proper-like if none of us can cut hair?" countered Eddy.
Double D was stumped.
"Hmm. Good question, Eddy." he pondered, "I admit, I'm not used to applying our actual skills." He laughed. "Usually our haphazard contraptions cancel out the need to know anything about a given profession."
"Back to the drawing board, fiddle dee dee?" asked Ed.
"No, no, now hold on a minute," Double D said absently, flipping the easel page and scribbling on the blank one below it, "I think we can manage…just let me…there! What do you think of that, gentlemen?" He awaited appraisal confidently.
Eddy's face broke into a curly greedy sneer. "I think we're in business…" he answered, rubbing his hands together.
"Um, what is it, Double D?" asked Ed.
A peach colored hand rapped gently on a front door. The door opened to reveal Jimmy's questioning face.
"Greetings to you, sir!" Double D said boisterously, "Might I be able to interest you in a low priced, high quality hair cut on this fine day?" He and the other Eds had donned long white barber coats and cheesey barber mustaches to go along with their pitch. Ed carried a barber's pole, which he spun vigorously.
Jimmy's look turned suspicious. "High quality? I don't buy it; what's the catch?" he demanded.
"Why, no catch at all, young Jimmy," assured Double D, "I assure you that The Three Ed's Portable Barber Shop is all about quality, and giving you, the customer, the best possible deal."
He brought forth a suitcase and extracted several cut outs to show Jimmy.
"Just choose any highly fashionable template from our vast array, and our trained stylists will shape your quaff to your liking with meticulous care. No obligation to pay if you aren't 100% satisfied with your cut."
"Hey, you didn't say nothin' about not having to pay..!" Eddy cut in tartly. He was cut off by Ed wrapping an arm around his mouth. Double D maintained a nervous smile while Jimmy tapped his retainer in consideration.
"Well," he decided at length, "It sounds legit. Ok, Double D, cut me. But I swear, if you ruin my glossy locks I don't know what I'll do." He stroked his hair possessively.
"Not to worry, Jimmy; if you'll just step outside here…" said Double D, stepping back and unfolding a sort of recliner chair from the suitcase on the lawn; it was amazing that the chair could fit in there, but it did. Full size, cushioned black leather, and a working foot pedal all expanded itself and sat ready for using.
Jimmy 'ooo'ed at the fancy looking chair, and eagerly bounded his way into it. "Oh, cushy!" he beamed, kneading at the arms with his fingers.
"Quality makes the cat go moo, Jimmy..!" stated Ed, still trapping Eddy in a one armed hug.
"Mm, yes, well…please choose your hairstyle, then, Jimmy." Double D said, holding up an array of cards for Jimmy to look at, "Oh, and Ed, I think you can let Eddy go now; he appears to be losing consciousness…"
Ed looked down to find this was indeed true; Eddy was blue and limp, unable to protest with his mouth covered.
"Oops, sorry Eddy…" Ed said, releasing Eddy immediately. Eddy flopped limply to the ground.
"Eddy..?" Ed questioned. "Eddyyyyy..!" He knelt and scooped Eddy into his arms. "Wake up, Eddy!"
"Ed, just give him some air…" Double D told him. He was distracted by Jimmy tugging at his sleeve. Smiling, Jimmy held up the card he'd selected.
"Oh, I see you've selected. Ok, uh, Jimmy, are you sure you want this one?" Double D inquired. Jimmy nodded resolutely.
"Well, to each their own, I suppose…" Double D took the selected template and clipped it into place with the help of strategically placed string around the headrest. In the background, Ed attempted to 'give Eddy some air' by executing mouth to mouth.
As Double D flipped some panels out of the chair's back and grabbed some of the shampoos there to lather up Jimmy's hair with, Eddy came to, much to Ed's joy, but then Eddy proceeded to repeatedly bash Ed's skull in. Ed ran away with Eddy in hot pursuit while Double D rinsed Jimmy off and picked up scissors and a hairdryer.
He snipped, cut and fluffed as Ed and Eddy ran back and forth behind him. Eddy got tired quickly, but Ed continued to run and scream as if he were being chased. After panting for a few moments, Eddy then noticed that Double D was almost done. Double D combed Jimmy's hair to complete the fluffing.
"And voila! I believe we're done..!" Double D informed Jimmy, removing the template and handing Jimmy a mirror from another pocket in the chair.
Jimmy stared at his reflection, stunned for a moment, before tearing up and saying, "I..I don't know what to say..! I love it, Double D, thank you..!" He leapt from the chair and pranced gaily about on his lawn, his new girly, flowing, and wavy hair floating behind him. While he tossed dandelions and daisies in the air, Eddy came up next to Double D.
"I don't believe it..!" he said, "He doesn't hate us..he actually likes what you did! Double D, there might actually be something to this whole crazy idea of yers..!"
"I'm glad you think so, Eddy." Double D beamed, "I knew there was a decent person in there somewhere." He touched a finger to Eddy's chest.
Eddy slapped the hand away in annoyance. "Yeah, yeah, I'm a saint. So, how much does the little twerp owe us?"
Double D sighed. "Oh yes, I'd almost forgotten what this was really about…say, Jimmy," he addressed the prancing boy, "Would you say that, oh, 50 cents is a fair price for your haircut?"
Jimmy pranced to a halt in front of Double D.
"50 cents?" he repeated, "I'd say that's more than fair..! I'd say that's a dream come true bargain..! Here you go, Mr. Miracle Worker…and I'm going to tell all my friends about The Three Ed's..!" He deposited two quarters into Double D's hands and sprinted off, no doubt to spread the good word as promised.
Eddy eagerly snatched the quarters from Double D, staring so closely at them that his eyeballs almost touched them.
"Two quarters!" he cried, "That's twice as much as usual, Double D! I'd kiss ya, but I just got plenty a' that from Ed..!"
Double D blinked unsurely.
"Aaaaaaaaaaa-oof!" On cue, Ed careened into the shot, colliding with Eddy and Double D and causing the three of them to heap onto the ground.
He caught sight of the shiny objects glinting in Eddy's extended hand.
"Hey, look guys, quarters..!"
Throughout the day, the Eds, through Jimmy's excellent review, got many more interested nibbles at their haircutting business. They made house calls on practically everyone in the cul-de-sac.
After Jimmy, naturally the Ed's next customer was Sarah. All three of them washed, cut and fluffed away, and much to her chagrin, Sarah couldn't deny that she loved her swooshy new movie star hair do. She reluctantly handed her money over to the triumphantly sneering Eddy.
That pretty much clinched it for the rest of the kids.
Nazz got her hair done next, in a swirly prom queen style, followed by Rolf, who wanted a really crazy, apparently native style with all sorts of twists and curls. Double D had to make a custom template for him, but they got it done, and Rolf was pleased.
Even Kevin had to admit, the jock-y buzz cut the Eds gave him looked pretty sweet.
Yes, everything was going extremely well. In fact, it was going a little too well. With each customer, the zeal with which the Eds performed was wearing a little thinner, and the excitement of pay proved less and less even for Eddy.
As he scrubbed the scalp of the completely bald Plank, Double D let out a small yawn, trying to hide it by turning away slightly.
"I saw that yawn!" shot Eddy accusingly, popping up beside him, "Admit it, you're bored with all this 'honest business' stuff, too..!"
"Why Eddy, I-I never..!" denied Double D, "I'm…just a little tired from working so hard, that's all…"
"Yeah right!" countered Eddy, "Please, don't try to hide it Double D…this just isn't fun anymore..! Where's the risk?! Where's the thrill?! The money's just not as sweet this way, Double D…I miss my pidgeoooonnnsss..!" Eddy ended in a wail as he clutched Double D around the waist, sliding to the ground in a sad slump.
Double D looked empathetically at Eddy, but he still didn't want to admit he found an honest living somewhat mundane. He looked to Ed, who stood with his eyes half lidded with disinterest, continuously squirting shampoo at Plank's head. As he squirted, Ed started to blink rapidly, and then nod off; in mere seconds he was snoring.
"Dyyyy-alright! I admit it!" burst Double D, surprising both Ed and Eddy, "I too find this to be extraneously tedious! I don't think I could wash another head without falling asleep! Well you know what? I say we abandon this mundane practice, and get cracking on something much more suited to our hare-brained normalcy..! What say you, fellows?"
"Right on, Double D!" cheered Eddy, flying joyously off the ground.
"Eddy scam for Ed!" cheered Ed, throwing his arms up with glee. He ran forward, taking a friend under each arm and carrying them off, disappearing into the distance.
The portable barber shop, along with their client, was left abandoned.
Jonny, who was waiting nearby for Plank to be finished, said, "Gee, Plank, I guess you're not gettin' your rinse… But y'know what? I totally saw that coming..!" He laughed amusedly.
Plank just sat there.
"Yes, I am still going on with that prediction thing, thank you very much!" Jonny retorted.
Plank again did nothing.
"Well I think it's fun, so there!" Jonny blew Plank a raspberry.
"Ahh, I tell ya boys, there's nothin' better than scammin' some poor sucker out of their hard-earned allowance." sighed Eddy, handing out their latest scheme (Model kits of everyone in the cul-de-sac – but the parts were just old action figure bits!) to the throng of kids clamoring for it.
Behind the stand, Double D and Ed hurriedly packed empty boxes with the broken toys, smiling as they did.
"I can hardly believe I'm saying these words, but you're right, Eddy." agreed Double D, "It's almost as if someone has preset the course of scammery for us, which we are destined to take. It's as if someone has drawn us, if you will, to this calling, to fill some unknown and possibly comedic purpose in our episodic lives…"
"Yeah, yeah, quit yer yappin', Shakespeare, and get back to work..!" demanded Eddy, "We've got stuff to sell..!"
"Yes sir, Captain Eddy..!" smiled Double D, and he hastened his efforts.
"Uh oh, guys, the happy crowd, it turneth angry..!" Ed suddenly called out.
Indeed, the kids were starting to realize their merchandise was a rip-off, and were slowly turning into an angry mob.
In a nearby tree, Jonny watched, happily kicking his legs, as the stand below was pelted with toy parts and then trampled by said mob. The Eds didn't seem to mind as much as usual, though.
"Saw that one comin' too, buddy..!" Jonny announced to his immobile friend; then he turned to the audience and said, "But then again, who didn't, right?" He chortled to himself as the screen circled in on him, and then into nothingness.