Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plot to this story and my OCs. The rest all belongs to Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk, the various songwriters, and to the writers of any joke that may not be mine.
Warning: I did not write this story because I have issues with the religion of Islam or those who practice said religion. I wrote simply because the joke is in poor taste and because it is a known fact that jokes in poor taste are funny in a twisted sort of way, I had to write. Those with sticks surgically implanted in their asses, please take your leave. You have been warned.
Also, Jack's racism is going to show in this story, but, much like Sue's racism, it's said with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Once again, you have been warned.
Setting: Sometime in between Hell-O and Bad Reputation.
Artie Abrams was a man of simple tastes and simple loves. He loved his girlfriend, Tina, jazz band, glee club, Tina, D&D, Tina, comics, Tina…If, constant reader, you're picking up on a pattern, you're not alone. He had simple tastes and simple loves being the point. Also, Artie loved a good joke. Be it a well-timed quip or a meticulously crafted prank, if it was in good taste, he would laugh.
So, Constant Reader, you can understand why he found the current prank taking place to be in poor taste. What was it, you ask? I shall tell you.
It was a giant statue of Mohammad barreling down on the Muslim Student Union as they conducted the Mawlid Procession, an annual holiday that celebrated the birth of their religion's founder, Mohammad. A Sam Kinison-like laugh could be heard as the perpetrator ran down the hall.
Of course, this would be the part where Artie wheeled away, but he couldn't. Not because some jackass had shoved a broom in between the tires of his wheelchair, or welded the brake in place, but because some jackass had stolen his wheelchair to use for this little prank.
To better explain this situation, I think I should go back to the beginning…
The day had begun like any other for Artie Abrams; he was wheeling his way through the halls of William McKinley High School, humming the tune to "Safety Dance" as he did. He came to a stop in front of his locker, popping off the lock, and gathering his books when he felt a pair of gloved hands slide under his glasses, covering his eyes.
"Guess who?" a decidedly female voice asked.
"Not now, Quinn," Artie quipped, "Tina might see us."
Tina Cohen-Chang slapped her boyfriend on the arm. "Jerk," she growled.
Artie pushed his chair back, laughing at his faux-pissed girlfriend.
"You are so lucky you're cute," Tina said, unable to stay mad at Artie. "And I just wanted to be the first person…Well, possibly the third if you're parents already said to say 'Happy Birthday.'" '
Tina reached into her backpack, unzipping it with speed Artie had only seen in the Flash, and pulled out a comic book, wrapped in a plastic sleeve.
"I looked all over the place for it," she said, handing it him. "I finally found it at that store you told me about outside of Carmel."
Artie looked down at his present; it was a copy of The Avengers: Rebirth, a title that was not even close to being released. Artie looked down at the book, then at Tina, then at the book.
"Thank you," he said, almost totally dumfounded at the gift.
"You act like you never got a present before."
"Never one this nice," he added, "from a girl, I mean…A girl that I'm dating."
"So who was the girl?" Tina asked, her eyebrow arching suspiciously.
"My mom," Artie admitted, blushing.
Tina laughed. "C'mon, I'll walk you to class."
"Poor taste," Artie drawled, Tina blushing slightly at her polite faux pas.
The first three periods went off without a hitch, not even a slushie thrown at anybody. The day was still young, however, and Artie knew that something had to becoming. It was a tradition that seemed to begin when he was in eighth grade, which helped since the middle school and the high school were fairly close together. Every birthday something strange would happen to someone or to himself. In eighth grade the event involved a rocket car that resembled the hell-car, Christine, chased the Cheerios through the gym. Coach Sylvester had never figured out who had done it, but she still had a bounty out on the perpetrator, making him, or her, number two on Sue Sylvester's Most Wanted List: The first being the Masked Cheerio Shower Peeper.
His freshman year involved a 10-foot tall James Dean statue that dropped from the top of the school onto the parking lot, crushing the football team's bus. Once again, the perpetrator was never found. He, or she, had vanished once again, putting that person on Coach Tanaka's hit list.
Artie rolled into the music room, coasting to a stop in his usual spot. He had arrived early to have a few minutes to himself. To savor the moment of opening Tina's gift. It was something he always did alone. He didn't have a real reason for this little tradition, although it did remind of Orcarina of Time whenever Link was able to acquire a new item. A bright light would take the room and the triumphant music would play in the background while a little screen would read: Artie got a Comic Book!
He pulled the sleeve open, removing the book with graceful precision, and raised it in the air humming the Legend of Zelda music as did. Artie laughed to himself, some things never get old.
Artie's reverie was cut short by the appearance the other members of the glee club, each one of them discussing the events of the mid-day. Mostly, Artie could hear the sounds of Rachel Berry and Jack Harmon arguing about the celebration of Mawlid that the Muslim Student Union was doing as a group activity.
"You're a part of the group," Jack crowed. "If anything, I'd expect you to be the one person who understands how important it is the devote members of the group."
Rachel did not back down an inch. "I do understand. But, I also understand McKinley High is a state-funded school. And it is extremely important to keep religious practices separate from state practices."
Jack growled at Rachel.
"Quinn, back me up on this one," the tall prankster pleaded to the former Cheerio, "isn't it hypocritical for a state-funded school to allow a group of students, brought together by their common religious beliefs, to form club than tell them they are only allowed to perform the more secular side of their religion?"
Quinn bit her lower lip; the diva and the ego were both out for blood. She rubbed her pregnant stomach, hoping that she could use the baby as her get out of jail free card. Rachel felt a hand touch her shoulder. She whipped around and saw. She smiled, hoping her co-captain would back her up.
"Finn," she began, "don't you think that the group of students, brought together by common religious beliefs, should know that they are in public school," Finn opened his mouth to say something, only to have Rachel cut him off. "And that Supreme Court has already ruled in my favor. I have no problem with religious expression, but I am a realist."
Jack snorted at that statement.
"I am a realist," Rachel repeated. "I feel there is a time and a place for everything. Do you agree, Finn?"
Finn waited a moment, making sure Rachel had had her say.
"I have no idea what you two are arguing about," he said. "I was just gonna ask you if you could please get out of the way."
Rachel's smile left her face. She stepped aside and allowed Finn to pass.
"As I was saying," Rachel continued, a collective groan could be heard from the other members of the club.
Rachel took a breath and was about to continue when Mr. Schue entered the room, a packet of sheet music under his arm and that self-effacing smirk that everyone loved. Rachel took her seat, shooting Jack a dirty look when he stuck his tongue out at her.
"Those two should just bone and get that shit over with," Puck muttered to himself.
Unfortunately, Tina and Artie both heard his statement. They both rolled their eyes as Mr. Schue got the classes attention.
"Okay, everyone," the enthusiastic leader of the group said. "I have got a special treat for all of you."
He began to pass out the sheet music.
"Mr. Schue," Rachel raised her hand, a look of concern and confusion on her face. "Exactly what is the nature of this assignment?"
"Have you taking shots from Miss Pillsbury's hand sanitizer?" Jack asked, far more direct in his line of questioning.
Mr. Schue laughed. "No," he said. "It's come to my attention that, because New Directions is a family away from family, we should know more about each other. I bet most of you don't even know the person sitting next to you's birthday."
Artie squeezed Tina's hand, someone knew when his was. The rest of the group, save for Rachel and Jack, who seemed to tell everyone with a heartbeat and half-open ear everything about their lives, from moment of conception to present day, did not want to seem as shallow as Mr. Schue had described.
"So, what I did," he continued to explain, "was check on all of your birthdays and I located what the number one song was on the Billboard Charts the week you were born. I want you to work on this individually and present the song I've handed out to you, in your own style, next week."
"Mr. Schue," Rachel said, "I have to protest. These songs are all wrong for everyone involved. I've never even hear of Here Comes the Hotstepper."
"I usually don't agree with Rachel," Mercedes said, a twinge of contempt in her voice, "but these songs are all wrong. Except mine." She said to herself, kissing the music that read Dreamlover by Mariah Carey.
"That's the point," Mr. Schue replied. "I want to see how flexible you guys are. The only way to grow as singers is find new challenges and overcome them. Being able to make songs you're not familiar with can show you what you're really capable of, even if you don't know it. But, if you guys don't want to find out how far you can go on faith, I've got other lessons plans that we can use."
The class went silent, allowing their teacher's speech sink in for a moment. After a few moments of silence, Finn raised his hand.
"I'm in, Mr. Schue," he said, his teacher smiling back at him.
The rest of the group raised their hands in a sign of solidarity behind their co-captain. Mr. Schue smiled at this turn of events.
"And while we're on the subject of birthdays," Mr. Schue began, "one of our fellow club members is celebrating his special day today."
Artie blushed; this was definitely not what he expected when he woke up this morning.
"Artie, happy birthday," Mr. Schue said sincerely.
He looked over at Tina, who smiled a smile that said, "I didn't say a word to him."
Of course, the smile was lying, still…BEST DAY EVER.
However, our hero's day would not remain so quiet. As mentioned earlier, something had to happen. And that something happened toward the end of the day. Artie had stopped to grab a drink from the vending machine. Mr. Schue had dismissed glee, mostly because Jack and Rachel's argument had disrupted rehearsal to the point of exhaustion and he would rather they torture each other than everyone else.
Artie laughed over how ridiculous their debate seemed, never knowing that he was about to become a part of the situation before he knew it. Artie was about to place his money in the machine when he heard an unexpected call out to him.
"Wheels," he turned to see Jack walking toward him, "don't bother with that. I've got an extra."
Artie raised an eyebrow at Jack, the guy who couldn't even remember his name was offering him his spare Fanta.
"If you don't take it, I'm just gonna use it as a time-bomb in someone's locker," Jack said, holding the orange soda out to him. "I hate to see orange soda go to waste. I didn't know it was your birthday. Consider it your present before I find you a real present."
This should have made Artie even more suspicious, Jack was Rachel with a five o'clock shadow, he never thought about anyone but himself. Maybe, like Rachel, he was trying to change. Use his powers for good instead of evil. Hell, if it worked for Eddie Brock, it could work for Jack Harmon.
"I'll see you later," Jack said, moving down the hall and disappearing into the gym.
Artie cracked the seal and took a sip. Nothing happened. So, Jack hadn't stooped to drugging people to pull off a prank. That might be considered growth as a person. Artie rolled down the hallway, humming to the tune of the song they were trying to rehearse.
He scanned the hallway, no one was around. He wheeled himself back a few feet, preparing for the race across the room.
"And Abrams is turning the sharp corner again," Artie announced, poising himself.
He raced down the hallway, making the sounds of a stock car going at 180 miles an hour. Thankfully, he wasn't going that fast or the resulting action would've decapitated him. Artie collided with the extended arm of a man decked out in an outfit reminiscent of the Comedian in the film version of Watchmen. The force of the blow tipped him out of his wheelchair and gave him a steady helping of floor in his diet.
Artie groaned, the chair being moved out from under his legs.
"Sorry, citizen," the masked man declared, the wheelchair in his arms. "I must borrow this as a means to fight the criminal element of this city. Or play a really mean, tasteless prank. Totally depends on my mood."
Artie lost consciousness as the masked prankster ran off with his chair.
"Artie!" a voice called out. "Artie, wake up."
It must be one of the angels, come to lead him to paradise. Wham! A hand cracked Artie in the cheek. A very mean angel.
"Puck, I don't think that's helping," the girl said.
"Cause you're not doing it hard enough," Puck suggested.
Wait? Puck was an angel? He must be in hell. Artie's eyes fluttered open, as he tried to catch his breath. He looked around the room, spotting Tina in the chair next to him, a concerned look on her face, to say the least, Rachel, who had gone full-blown ACLU proponent on everyone, Jesse, who was trying to calm her down, and Puck, standing over him, his hand cocked back for another slap.
"Crap," Puck muttered.
"Artie," Rachel shouted, shoving Puck out of the way, "I need to know who did this you? My dads' can have one of our lawyer friends from the ACLU down here in a flash. All I need is a name."
Jesse quickly moved in, pulling his girlfriend away from Artie, who was still trying to balance himself on the chair he currently occupied.
"I didn't see his face," he said. "He was wearing a mask. He kinda looked like the Comedian."
Everyone raised an eyebrow at him.
"From Watchmen?" Artie supplied.
"Movie or comic?" Puck, of all people, asked.
It was now his turn to get the awkward stares.
"Hey, if it's got tits, I watch it, or read it."
"What did you ever see in him?" Jesse asked Rachel, who shrugged at the question.
"Guys," Tina interjected, the awkward stares all turning to her now, "I think the more important thing is that we find Artie's wheelchair. We can worry about the masked guy later."
"She's right," Rachel said. "We'll go and find it. Noah, you take the upper levels of the school, Jesse and I will check down here and outside."
The three vanished from the room, leaving Tina and Artie alone.
"You okay, Artie?" Tina asked, her hand brushing his neck gently.
"I am now," Artie groaned.
"Not exactly I wanted us to spend your first birthday with us as a couple," she added.
Artie smiled, moving Tina's hand from the front of his neck to the back.
"It's fine like it is," he said.
"How can you be so cool about this?" Tina asked. "Someone knocked you out and stole your wheelchair. On top that, they were a kook in a mask."
"You do realize how ridiculous that last statement sounded?"
"Yeah. But, that's my point. You can't let people use you as a doormat."
"Who says I'm doing that?" Tina began to speak but Artie cut her off. "I've been doing a lot of thinking since we won sectionals. Like, why do we get so worked up about things that aren't important? I'm not saying that someone stealing my wheelchair isn't important, but it just seems silly for me to be freaked out over something that I have no control over. My wheelchair was stolen because some nut with even worse taste in clothes than Rachel wanted it. I couldn't stop it, so I'm not gonna carry on about it."
"That's very Zen of you," Tina said.
"Yeah," Artie said. "Comes from looking like a Vulcan."
Tina laughed her boyfriend's quip. She took his legs off of the ground and rested them on her lap, allowing them to cuddle. It was an odd-looking cuddle, but for this odd couple, it worked.
"Wow," a distinctly male voice said from the doorway of the music room said. "This would be absolutely adorable if I was capable of feeling below the neck."
"Of course," Tina muttered, Artie taking a breath and let it out, wordlessly encouraging her to do the same.
"I ran into Rachel and the One with the Confusing Hair in the hall," Jack said, moving closer to the couple. "They said someone clotheslined you and stole your chair."
Jack looked at the red mark on Artie's throat.
"Damn, Wheelman! Any redder and you could be the mascot for the Cleveland Indians," Jack blurted out.
"Do you ever think before you speak?" Tina asked.
"Tina, whoo-sa!" Artie said, doing his breathing exercises.
"No," she said sternly, placing Artie's feet back on the ground and standing up to confront the egotistical performer. "Jack, do you ever run the things that come out of your mouth through a filter. Because some people can't the way you act."
Jack turned away from the window, titling his head to the side, as if perplexed by Tina's sudden, almost uncharacteristic, growth of a spine.
"I wasn't directing that comment at you, Jinx," he replied, his expression was one of confusion. "I was directing it at Wheelman. When I say things to people, I am making a statement towards them, not the person they're standing next to, just the person."
Tina took a breath, it wasn't helping.
"I think you forget that-"
She was cut off once again, this time by Jack laughing hysterically at the sight outside of the music room. Artie craned his head around to a sight that one would only find in two distinct places. The first would be an old-school Warner Bros. cartoon and the other would be Lima, Ohio.
The Mawlid Procession had disassembled, the horrified members of the Muslim Student Union running around in circles as a giant figure of Mohammed chased them around the parking lot. Jack was letting out a full-blown guffaw, his laughing hitching when he let out a screech that reminded Artie of the late Sam Kinison.
Artie's eyes went wide. That had to be it.
"I've gotta go," Jack gasped, fighting for air. "This is too funny. I'm video-taping this shit."
He turned and ran off, Artie noticing something else: Jack's pant leg was torn and the blue spandex from the costume Artie had seen earlier was exposed.
"Tina," Artie said. "I think I know who the Prankster really is."
Hours later, Artie was exiting the school on Puck's back. There were numerous threats, things along the line "Tell anyone and you're dead" and "Choke me and I'll kill you", but it was a relatively easy transition.
But, as they left the school, they found his wheelchair, actually cleaned up, and a note attached to the wheel.
"Dear, Citizen," it read. "Thank you for the use of your wheelchair. I wish I had commandeered it under better circumstances. However, the wheelchair I wanted was not in the country and I wouldn't want to be responsible for the death of Stephen Hawking, so I took yours. That all being said, you should be proud to know that I was able to bust a ring of wheelchair using marauders with the help of your trusted chair. I hope to work together with you in the future, Wheelman. And you as well, Jinx. Although I would find a better moniker, considering that copyright infringement is a serious felony." It concluded with, "Sincerely Yours, Prankster."
Artie had waited back for a few minutes, telling everyone he had some business to take care of with a member of his D&D campaign and they would give him a ride home. He was soon greeted by Jack Harmon, who was in a good mood, considering that he had just been given a book that proved he was wrong and Rachel had been right all along.
"Quite the clever ruse, Prankster," Artie said, as if he was the hero confronting the villain. "But, you made some critical mistakes."
Jack looked around, he seemed cornered. "And what were those mistakes?" he asked.
'That was shockingly easy,' Artie thought. "One, the tear in your pant leg, it exposed your costume. Two, you're the only person I know who is fast enough to change outfits and beat someone to the punch. Three, you called me and Tina 'Wheelman' and 'Jinx' in the music room. And the note called us the same things. Four, your letter kind of rambled on and on, eventually making no sense at all, kind of like Coach Sylvester. Five, I only know one guy with the connections, the money, and the grapefruits to pull a prank that big."
Jack nodded, this guy is good.
"I still haven't figured out why you sided against Rachel on the Mawlid Procession though."
"Or, maybe I set it all up," Jack said.
"I've been doing this for three years now. Although, I never knew it was your birthday. Odd coincidence, but still…"
Jack and Rachel can be seen arguing.
"I argued with Rachel because I knew I wanted her out of the way. And what better way to get rid of her than to create a state of confusion so big that she would storm off to the library to prove me wrong. I swear she's like that bushy haired chick from the Scar-Head movies."
Jack was now in costume, ready to carry out his plan.
"After that, I chose to commandeer your wheelchair and use it as the wheels for my Trojan Mohammad."
He stole the wheelchair and placed a motor under the seat, connecting it to the wheels and placing the statue onto the chair, preparing to launch it via remote control.
"Then it was smooth sailing from there."
Artie didn't know what to say. Wait, yes he did.
"Okay, I get that you wanted to prank the MSU, but what about the clues you left me?"
"Oh, that's the easiest part of the story."
Jack cut away at his pant leg before pulling them on over his costume.
"I wanted to set myself up so you'd figure it out."
"Why?" Artie asked.
"Let me finish my flashback and I'll tell you."
Jack returned to the wheelchair ramp, placing the chair back, now in pristine condition. He placed the note on the chair and got out of sight when he saw the others emerge from the school.
"I figured once this was out of the way, you'd be wating for me."
"Now, I've given you everything expect the reason why I did it," Jack continued to explain, now driving Artie home. "Well, because you and I a lot alike. Granted, I can walk and you can't. I'm sexy as hell and you look like a Vulcan. Still, we have a couple things in common. One, we both comics. Two, we both love to laugh. Admittedly, you have a long way to go before you learn that anything can be funny."
Jack remained his normal, composed self as he circled Kurt.
"Which is why I want you and Tina to join me," Jack finally said. "As a unit, we can do things for each other. I can help you get revenge on those who torment you. You can help me understand why women always slap me. And Tina…Well, wherever you go, she goes, so I figured I'd offer her the deal too. Join me and together, we can rule the school of cripple and prankster!"
Artie was dumbfounded; three hours ago this guy had stolen his wheelchair, used his girlfriend as a chew toy, and given him ring around the collar. Now, he wanted to be best friends? This was beyond Artie's ken…or Spider-Man or any of his other action figures. Jack helped Artie out of the car and back into his chair.
"I'll think about it," he finally said.
"That's all I ask," Jack said. "I look forward to your 'yes.'"
And, with that, Jack Harmon drove away. Artie sat there for a moment before the perfect revenge idea hit him.
The following morning, Jack was walking into McKinley High. He noticed that the Muslim students were eyeing him; as if they wanted to cut off his head on a live internet feed.
"Good morning, Wheelman," he greeted when he saw Artie wheeling his way to his locker. "Have you thought about my offer?"
"I have, Prankster," Artie said, the Muslim students forming a circle around Jack. "And I've decided to decline. I think Tina and I are fine as a Dynamic Duo."
Jack turned to see the students, each one angrier than the other. He moved out a small hole in the circle.
"I'll get you for this, Abrams," Jack proclaimed in a low, threatening voice.
"Now, he remembers my name," Artie quipped.
Jack turned his attention back to the angry Muslims.
"Guys, guys," he begged off. "It was all in good fun."
Before they could do anything else, Jack grabbed Kurt.
"Sorry, Elton, sacrifices have to be made," he said, shoving Kurt toward his attackers. "Take him, he's gayer than Winchesters!"
Jack darted down the hall, the Muslims chasing after him like Frankenstein's monster being chased by the villagers.
"That was amazing," Tina said, her mouth agape at Artie's devious action. "That was calculating, cruel, and beautifully timed."
"Strangely enough, Jack would've said the same thing," Artie stated.
"They're not gonna hurt him or anything. We need him for Regionals."
Artie shook his head. "Nah, they're just gonna scare him. Maybe run his ass up a flagpole. If they can catch, I mean."
Tina began to run her fingers through Artie's hair.
"I'd be lying if I didn't say this was a turn-on," Tina blurted.
Artie's eyes went wide. BEST DAY EVER, PART II!
A/N: Holy crap, people, that was the longest one-shot I think I've ever written. I'll have to go back and check, but damn, this turned out longer than I thought it would.
Anyways, as I've said before I love to hear your comments, thoughts, critiques, I'm open to anything. So, press the little button and tell me your feelings. Unlike a therapist, I can't help, but it may just serve to make me a better writer and that can help you feel better too.