Near the top of an unfinished skyscraper that was under construction in downtown Danville, Vanessa Doofenshmirtz had found herself stuck in the conundrum of a lifetime. One that could change the rest of her life.
Or end it.
She was standing on top of a temporary stiffener attached to a metal beam extending from the main body of the building. Said stiffener was designed to hold the beams that ran into it up until those beams could be welded together. But it needed a support beam underneath to hold it in place... and this one did not have one. And then someone obviously decided to attach three beams to the 'floating' ends and... this situation developed.
To her right, hanging onto the edge of one beam by his fingertips, was her father, Doctor Heinz Doofenshmirtz.
"HELP!" he screamed. "Vanessa, I am your father! Rescue me!"
Straight ahead, holding on for deal life from a different beam, was her father's rival and her master, Doctor Aloyse Everheart Elizabeth Otto Wolfgang Hypatia Gunther Galen Gary Cooper von Roddenstein. But everyone just called him Rodney.
"HELP!" he bellowed. "Vanessa, I am your master! Save me!"
And finally, to her left, acting unemotional but still clinging to the edge of yet another beam was... Ferb Fletcher. Yeah, Vanessa did not know what his relationship to her was, but she knew he cared for him.
But as he was a man of very few words, instead of actually yelling for help, Ferb just took one hand off the beam, waved it up and down wildly for a few seconds, and then used it to grab a hold again.
"Who do I save?" Vanessa asked aloud.
If the beams had been properly supported, she could have easily saved all three already. Her only dilemma would have been figuring out the order in which to rescue them.
But the conundrum was that the weight of trio on each of their respective ends was pulling the beams downward. And the only reason they had not snapped already was because Vanessa was standing directly on top of the fastener holding them up. The second she made any sort of move, the entire flimsy supported unit would come apart, and it would all go falling down to the ground, some thirty stories below.
At best, she would be lucky enough to save one. At worst, she not only would fail to rescue any of them, but would also slam smack into the pavement below with them.
Three of the most important men were around her, pleading to be saved. Vanessa controlled all of their fates. And it was the sort of pressure that was too much for a 16-year old to handle.
("So this is the story of my life. Getting mixed up in father's evil schemes, and stuff like this happens! Okay, so this particular instance isn't all his fault. But still, they probably wouldn't be in this mess if it weren't for that one question he just HAD to have an answer to.
"'Vanessa... why don't you want to be evil?'
"And why do all my stories start with some perilous event that makes the readers wonder, 'How did it get to that point?' And then we flashback and see what led up to that situation. Is it wrong to ask to actually start at the BEGINNING for once?
"Ugh. I'd gripe more, but I better figure out how I'm going to get out of this. In the meantime, let's go back to yesterday and see how this all could have been avoided.
"I'm gonna need a summer vacation after this summer vacation.")
"She's My Bad Girl Now"
Story Written by Freedom Fighter
So welcome to the third and (for now?) final story in the 'Vanessa's Moral Wars' trilogy of stories starring "Phineas and Ferb" character Vanessa Doofenshmirtz. The first two stories in the trilogy were "A Family Feud" and "Doofy and Doofus," and I strongly recommend that you read those before tackling this story.
Expect a lighter tone this time around closer to the actual series, as in "A Family Feud," as opposed to the darker one of "Doofy and Doofus."
Disclaimer: The characters of 'Phineas and Ferb' belong to Disney.
Chapter One (03.07.11)
24 hours ago...
(Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated!)
"Dad? Dad, are you here?"
Vanessa had just walked into her father's apartment, having entered after finding the door unlocked.
"That's strange," Vanessa said aloud as she scratched her head. "I called him half an hour ago, and he said he'd be here..."
Suddenly, she heard a familiar scream coming from the balcony, followed by the sound of something breaking after being thrown at a wall. Vanessa sighed as she glanced down at her watch.
"I didn't realize it was that late in the morning already."
She headed for the balcony and her suspicions were confirmed, as they always were. Her father was locked in a battle of good versus evil against his mortal enemy, Perry the Platypus. Only her father was representing the bad guys, to her dismay.
Today was definitely one of the more odder ones that she had ever seen, as they both had white-face clown makeup on and they were dueling with balloon animals as if they were swords. Her dad was wielding an elephant; Perry, ironically enough, a platypus.
"Really?" Doofenshmirtz laughed. "I've got a giant pachyderm, and you've got a silly semi-aquatic mammal! Who do YOU think is gonna win this one, huh?"
Perry presented his case by thrusting his platypus beak-first right into the elephant's belly. Doofenshmirtz's animal popped instantly, leaving the evil scientist with nothing more than rubber on his face and on the floor.
"Yep," he sighed. "Shoulda seen that one comin'."
Perry tossed aside his balloon platypus, leaped up into the air, and delivered a swinging right hook right to the side of his nemesis' face, knocking him to the floor in one blow. Perry then jumped on top of him, grabbed him by the lab coat collar, and was about to deliver the knockout blow when...
"Ahem!" Vanessa coughed.
The two turned to see Vanessa standing there, tapping her foot impatiently, annoyed at having to watch them fight while ignoring her arrival in the process.
"Vanessa? What are you doing here?"
Vanessa walked over to the mounted cabinet in the corner of the room and pulled out a key from it.
"I'm borrowing the truck."
"You mean the 'Big Head?'"
The 'Big Head' was the monster truck which had a passenger cabin shaped like Doofenshmirtz's head, pointy nose included, and it sat in a far corner of the apartment, collecting dust due to recent non-use.
"Now, hold up... Perry the Platypus, would you take five? I need to have a talk with my daughter."
Perry complied, hopping off and walking out to the balcony, while Doofenshmirtz made his way over to Vanessa. Once there, he reached over and snatched the key from her before she could stop him.
"Don't 'Dad' me, young lady!"
Vanessa sighed. "Look, if it's about the ONE time I forgot to fill you after I got back..."
"Vanessa! You're 16!"
"Going on 17," Vanessa shot back in song, "I know that I'm naive! Fellows I meet may tell me I'm sweet, and willingly I believe!"
Doofenshmirtz seemed dumbfounded at first, then angry.
"First off, if you EVER sing anything from 'The Sound of Music' again, I will disown on you the spot..."
"Dad..." Vanessa giggled.
"I'm serious!" Doofenshmirtz snapped, quickly silencing his daughter. "And second... you're old enough now to stop getting things from me for free!"
"Dad... just what are you saying?"
Vanessa winced, already anticipating her father's dreadful answer.
"Vanessa! I want you... to get a..."
"Please don't say the J-word..." she pleaded.
"Forget it! Job! J-O-B, JOB, JOB, JOB! There, it's been said!"
Her father started heading to the cabinet to return the key to its rightful place.
"From now on, the 'Big Head' is off-limits unless you're using it drive to and from work! Comprendez?"
Vanessa nodded, believing she could not sweet-talk her way out of this decision. That is, until...
Doofenshmirtz had started heading back over to resume his fight with his nemesis, but stopped upon hearing Vanessa's voice.
"I'm sorry, Vanessa, but nothing you can say can change my mind..."
"Okay, but... how am I supposed to go job hunting if I don't have a car, or perhaps a truck, to go look for them? After all, most of the trendy hotspots ARE on the other side of downtown!"
"Hmmmm..." her father rubbed his chin, weighing this new piece of information, "You can only use it if you have a job, but you need it to actually find a job..."
Vanessa waited with baited breath for his decision. Once she saw her dad reach in and grab the key, she did a small midair fist pump.
"You get ONE chance," he warned her. "If you don't come back with a job, no more using me! And by me, I mean the 'Big Head.' Got it?"
"Oh, thanks, Dad!" Vanessa shouted jubilantly, wrapping her arms around him and giving him a hug. "I won't let you down!"
Vanessa took the keys and bolted for the truck. She hopped in the cabin and started it up. She waved goodbye as the hydraulic lift built into the floor lowered her out of the apartment and down towards street-level. Once Vanessa and the truck had disappeared from sight, Doofenshmirtz turned his attention back to Perry, who had returned from a brief trip to the balcony.
"See, Perry the Platypus? Now THAT'S parenting! Refusing to consent to any exceptions! I put my foot down, that's for sure!"
Perry frowned, uninterested in his boasting. Doofenshmirtz sighed when he realized that Perry had not been there for any of it.
"You missed all of it, didn't you? Ugh... cannot believe... can this day get ANY worse?"
Perry then jumped up and slapped the evil doctor across the face with his tail, leaving part of its pattern embedded in his skin.
"As if I could even get more hideous," he quipped sarcastically.
By the time Vanessa had reached street-level and could drive away from the building, she noticed out of her driver side mirror Perry flying away from the building via a jetpack, followed closely by a minor explosion, and then her father's familiar scream.
"CURSE YOU, PERRY THE PLATYPUS! Hey... what happened to my voice?"
His voice was all squeaky-sounding, due to the fact that the blast had come from the half-dozen helium tanks he had used for his balloon animal schemes.
"Great," he squeaked. "Just... great!"
One short drive later, Vanessa was sitting alone at a table inside a quaint little cafe nestled in the heart of the commercial district. She was sipping from a cup of mocha latte while she chatted with her best friend, Lacey, by phone.
"I wish you were here," Vanessa griped, "so you can see the disgusted look on my face after my Dad INSISTED I get a job!"
Vanessa waited for Lacey's response, but was not pleased when she got it.
"What do you MEAN he's right? Lacey, you're MY best friend! Not his!"
Lacey issued another response, then Vanessa offered a rebuttal.
"Do I LOOK like an everyday Jill who wants to slave over a grill at a fast food joint just to buy the next hot fashion to come out?"
Another response from Lacey, another disgruntled grumble from Vanessa.
"Right? Like you being a billing assistant at a world-famous dentist's office is any better! You know what, Lacey? Call me back when you get your priorities straight!"
Vanessa promptly hung up. But as soon as she did, her angry facade shattered, and she groaned as she lowered her head onto the table.
"Why does my life suck so much?"
"I don't think it does."
Vanessa pulled herself up and saw a curly-haired redhead male barista standing next to her table, with a smile on his face.
"Hey, Marv," Vanessa greeted him.
"Hey yourself!" he said back. "And you should buck up, Vanessa! It looks bad for business when one of my favorite regulars is glum!"
"Sorry... but I'm just kinda bummed. First my Dad won't get me a car! Now, he won't even let me use his unless I get a job! I can't believe he'd do that to me!"
"Well, my dear, if you're looking for a job..."
Vanessa's face brightened up, as hearing the word 'job' from a worker at her favorite cafe, who also happened to be the weekend manager, was much more preferable to hearing the same word from her dad.
"You mean... YOU'RE OFFERING ME A JOB?"
Marv was taken aback by Vanessa's jumpy assumption.
"Actually, no. I'd love to hire ya, darling, but we're not looking for any new baristas right now."
The smile on Vanessa's face quickly turned itself upside down once again, going back to a frown.
"Say, your uncle's Mayor, right? I'm sure he could find you a desk job, or internship."
"Probably," Vanessa shrugged, "but him and Dad aren't on speaking terms... and I really don't want to get in the midst of that."
Vanessa watched him walk to the register, pick up a flier from the stack next to it, and walk back with it in hand.
"What's this?" Vanessa asked, even before Marv handed it to her.
"Some guy came in this morning," replied Marv, "canvassing the entire shopping center, looking for a lab assistant. I thought he was on the level... until he said he only wanted me to give it JUST to girls your age. So, yeah..."
Vanessa looked the flier over, and it confirmed everything that Marv had just said.
"Creepy. And yet..."
Vanessa decided to prod for more information.
"What did this guy look like?"
Marv gasped. "You're STILL interested? Well, okay... he was this bald guy with an oddly-shaped head. And... hold on, trying to remember... I think he was wearing a lab coat of some kind."
Vanessa nearly did a latte spit-take upon hearing that. But she managed to keep her mouth close and avoid a moment of embarrassment as she covered it with her hands until she gulped it all back down. Marv motioned for one of his baristas behind the counter, a young woman only a couple years older than Vanessa, to hand him a towel.
She retrieved one for him, and he took it and handed it to Vanessa, who gladly took it to wipe the few drops that had managed to slip out and run down to her chin.
"Are you okay?" Marv asked. "The way you reacted... it sounds as if you KNOW this guy!"
"I'm not a hundred percent sure," replied Vanessa, staying noncommittal. "But..."
She gulped down the last of her latte, then tossed the cup into a nearby trash can with a small circular opening in the top... and directly in, without bouncing off the rim or anything.
"See you next week!" Vanessa shouted as she ran for the door, waving goodbye to Marv and the rest of the staff.
With that, Vanessa exited. Marv was about to wipe down the table she had been sitting at, but the towel-passing barista seemed concerned.
"Are you sure you should've let her pursue that?" she asked. "The guy DID reek of desperation. And evil."
"To most girls," Marv replied, "I would've advised against it. But you don't know Vanessa Doofenshmirtz like I know her. Trust me... she's plenty capable of handling herself."
"Well, boss... if you say so!"
"Now... start getting some fresh coffee brewing! The midday rush will be in soon, and you know that's our busiest time on weekends! Chop chop!"
Meanwhile, Vanessa was driving to the address listed on the flier, and was not surprised when the nondescript building she had pulled up to... did not belong to her father's half-baked evil company.
"I should've known," Vanessa told herself as she stepped out of the truck and locked it behind her. "Dad's a lot of unsavory things, but targeting and hiring underage girls? Even I know he's not THAT evil."
Vanessa glanced at the building, which had no defining signs or marks on it, but looked well-kept and sparkling new, even though she easily spotted the year '2000' engraved into the a block near the corner of the building, indicating the year it had been constructed. Despite the look, though, she was hesitant to go in.
"But if this isn't one of his schemes, then..."
Curiosity got the best of Vanessa, as she headed inside the building.
Following the instructions, Vanessa got on the elevator and rode up to the top floor, which was the seventh. She got off there and turned left, as told to do so by an arrow pointing her towards the office listed on the flier, which was given as 'Doctor Von Roddenstein and Associates.'
"Strange," Vanessa noted, "this looks and feels like an ordinary office building. I don't see what's so creepy about this."
Suddenly, she began to hear loud chit-chat and talking as she got closer. She reached the hallway leading to the office, but was surprised to see it filled with dozens of girls her age, of all sorts of body types and dress, there. She could see the door at the end of the hallway, and a few chairs near it. But the number of girls present far outnumbered the seats, so most of the would-be applicants were either sitting on the carpet or leaning against the walls.
Thankfully, they were leaving room in the center of the hall for people to pass by, and Vanessa used the opening to make her way towards the door.
"What's going on here?" Vanessa asked herself, "And did this guy really attract all these girls WITHOUT telling them what kind of job he's offering? Or why he's only after sixteen-year olds?
Just as she reached the area where the seats were, about twenty to thirty feet from the door, she bumped into a tall, burly man in a yellow lab coat, who was sitting at a table with a stack of forms to one side and pens and clipboards on the other.
"Are you applying for the lab assistant position?" he asked sternly.
"Uh..." Vanessa hesitated.
She was again being noncommittal, but this time more cautiously so. Regardless, the man took a clipboard, which had an application and a second page detailing the listing of job duties attached, as well as a pan, and handed them both to Vanessa, along with a small piece of ticket-sized paper, which had the number '77' written on the back of it.
"Fill it out, then step forward when your number is called," he told her.
Vanessa nodded, then walked away from him and found an open spot along the wall to lean against while she filled the application out.
"I'm still not sure about this... but if I don't get a job..."
She reluctantly began to fill out the application. She got about halfway through when she stopped and looked up upon hearing the door to the office open up.
"I'm sorry, but you're not what I'm looking for! Get out!"
Three teenagers walked out, all with sad looks on their faces. They were followed out by a bald man with an odd-shaped head. And he was wearing a lab coat. Well, it resembled a lab coat at first glance, but the tasseled shoulder blades and button pairs going down it rather than one single column of them, made it look more like a military uniform coat.
"That must be him..." Vanessa thought, peeking out from the gaggle of girls and making herself visible. "Doctor Von Roddenstein."
Dr. Roddenstein stepped over to his associate at the table and picked up another triplet of complete applications.
"Alright, where are we? Let me see numbers nineteen, twenty, and... CHEESE AND CRACKERS!"
Everyone mumbled strangely, wondering what number 'cheese and crackers' was. Meanwhile, Dr. Roddenstein grabbed his henchman by the collar, pulled him towards him, and pointed into the crowd.
"Who is THAT?" he asked.
The henchman followed the direction his boss was pointing... and saw that he was pointing at Vanessa.
"Don't know. She just got here."
The evil scientist put his finger down, having the fortune of having no one notice whom he had been pointing to. He pulled out his wallet and searched through it for something. Seconds later, he found it.
He pulled out a small photo of Vanessa from a few years ago, then used it to compare it to the real-life thing standing among the nobodies in the hall.
"There's no mistake... that's her alright!"
"Um..." argued the henchman, "the girl in that picture is only eight!"
"Of course, you dunderhead! Heinz gave me this photo of her back when the two of us were still acquaintances! That was a few years ago! I've never met her in person... but I must say, she's grown into a beautiful young woman."
"Heinz? You mean that Doofenshmirtz guy? Don't you hate him?"
"I do. Which is why he's going to flip out when he learns of this!"
"Learns of what?"
The doctor cleared his throat, then called for the group to quiet down.
"It's come to my attention that I've found my new lab assistant!" he announced. "So all of you, shoo! Go home!"
A lot of mumbling, moaning, and grumbling could be heard as the applicants all started heading for the elevator.
"WAIT!" he shouted.
Upon hearing his command to halt, they stopped.
"Except for number... um, number..."
"Seventy-seven," his henchman whispered to him.
"Ah, yes! Number seventy-seven!"
Vanessa had shouted her shocked reaction, and the crowd parted to leave her standing in the middle of the hallway, all by herself.
"Congratulations, young lady! Welcome to the first, and last, job you'll ever have! MWA HA HA HA HA HA!"
To be continued...