"Clang! Clang! Clang!" Two lumps shifted under their respective comforters. A loud banging had pierced the serenity of the night still left over from Sunday. It was coming from down stairs.
They stirred and groaned.
"What's that awful noise," remarked one of the lumps. It was clearly too early to be awake, earlier than either of them were used to at least.
"CLANG CLANG CLANG." The noise came closer to their door
"Everyone up! Up and at em', c'mon guys." The voice was an awful mix of malice and self-righteous authority. One of the lumps peeled away its protective layer to reveal blue feathers. The birds' beak curled in disgust as he peered passed the crust in his eyes at the digital alarm clock.
"Five thirty?" he cried out in the most pathetic voice he could muster. Their door was thrown open.
"Alright you two, get up." The sound rang again, three times in quick succession.
"What the H is that awful noise," whined another voice. From a small exercise trampoline in the corner of the room emerged a tiny brown face, but just the top half.
"Oh you don't like it? What's wrong? Is it too loud? For you two I mean. I wouldn't want to offend our royal guests." The room was suddenly bathed in unforgiving artificial light. The newfound brilliance illuminated a grumpy raccoon and a stubborn blue jay, and both writhed unhappily under their warm blankets. It also revealed a sassy looking gumball machine. One hand sat on his hip, gripping a spatula. The other held the lights switch in the "on" position, as if it would fall upon being released.
"Aw Benson," the indignant raccoon wailed.
"It's way too early," chimed Mordecai.
"Oh, you guys wanted to sleep in? I'm sorry, if I had known I wouldn't have put you through all of this. Here." The light was gone once more.
"Again, I'm so sorry, guys. I really am. Try to get some sleep." The gumball machine's footsteps trailed back down the stairs and far away.
"Woah," the bird gasped
"Yeah, woah. You know, Benson can be pretty cool some-"
"MORDECAI AND RIGBY GET THE FUCK DOWN HERE THIS INSTANT OR YOU'RE FIRED!"
MONDAY, AUGUST 1st
The two roommates rolled out of their beds and proceeded to make their way towards their bedroom door. They crowded into the bathroom and did their separate morning rituals. Mordecai squeezed a bead of "Plak-Smasher" brand toothpaste onto the bristles of his vanilla toothbrush and proceeded to meticulously scrub his well-taken-care-of teeth. Rigby grabbed an almost empty bottle of "Dr. Groban's Bacon Flavoured Mouth Rinse" and poured the rest of its contents into his mouth. The two went about their oral chores, and Rigby was the first to finish. He shot the bacon flavored antiseptic into the sink, which splashed a trace amount of red mist onto the blue jays white belly. Mordecai grabbed the raccoon by his small head and pushed him out the door, never once looking away from his own agitated reflection on the medicine cabinet. He heard four tiny feet scampering away as his friend chuckled his way down the stairs. The blue jay flossed quickly and then, realizing that he would be second, ran after him.
Half way down the stairs he noticed a sweet and toasty aroma that filled the air with humid flavor. He inhaled through his nose. At the bottom of the stairs he could hear a calm but humored commotion coming from the kitchen. His friend was already sitting in the center chair, trying to absorb as much attention as he could from the other diners. The aforementioned diners were a tall white yeti wearing denim pants and a classy gentleman with an enormously rotund cranium.
"Mordecai! Oh Mordecai, splendid news! Benson has made blueberry flapjacks with maple nectar and whipped cream!" He stressed the silent "h" in whipped. Mordecai found Pops to have a warming personality and always looked forward to seeing him. The yeti sat in his seat at the head of the table with a friendly grimace on his face.
"Oh do tell him, Skips, how are they?" Pops added.
"Delicious," replied the yeti called Skips in monotone as he severed the last bite with his knife and chomped it.
"I saved you two some PANCAKES. Don't ask me why." He eyed Pops while he spoke, annoyed with the fact that he had called them "flapjacks." He knew that the man would never get the hint, but he couldn't help feeling annoyed with him. Rigby was already busy munching his portion, and Mordecai graciously thanked Benson before sitting down to enjoy his.
"Wait a minute." Never out of character, Benson wasn't finished ruining their day before it began. He picked up a clipboard off of the kitchen counter and read off of it with conviction.
"It's Monday, and that means that all of the trash cans need to be emptied, and all of that trash has to be taken to the dump. You two slackers will be assigned to all of the trashcans on the west side of the park, Muscleman and High Five Ghost will be assigned to the east side."
"Benson, that's like a million trash cans dude, c'mon!" Rigby complained.
"Okay then, maybe you don't want these pancakes, DUDE." he said, snatching Rigby's plate.
"Maybe you don't want your paycheck either, DUDE. Maybe you don't even want a, gasp, JOB, here in the park." Rigby looked down at the empty spot on the table where his plate had been. It was still covered in crumbs and syrup from the mess he had been busy making up until Benson interjected. The gumball machine gave him an aggressive stare.
"Sorry Benson…" the raccoon faked an apology. Benson slammed Rigby's plate back down where it had been, splashing him with syrup. The little raccoon gobbled his last bite greedily as Mordecai began eating his.
"Skips," he said, adjusting his tone to that of mutual respect,
"You'll be in charge of taking the trash bags to the dump. Other than that, I'm giving you the day off."
"What? No fair!" Rigby belted. Mordecai motioned to his friend to stop, but his temper had gotten the better of him. Mordecai could hear Benson gritting his teeth together, ready to unleash hell upon the both them.
"Oh me, do me! Benson, my good man, what am I to do today?" Pops unknowingly saved Rigby from a merciless verbal beating. Benson clutched the bridge of his nose trying to hold in the screams.
"You don't work here Pops, I'm your employee."
"Oh…" the man trailed off in his most disappointed voice as he retreated into his chair. Pops was one of the only people on the planet that Benson held the slightest bit of empathy for.
"Um, wait. Pops, there is something on here for you. It says that you have to… um…" He was trying to imagine something that Pops couldn't possibly destroy. He snapped his fingers and smiled.
"It says you have to wash every window in the house." Pops couldn't contain his glee and fell off of his chair, slamming his cranium into the hardwood floor with a loud crash. The man groaned on the ground. Everyone gasped except for Rigby, who was angrily licking his plate.
"Pops, are you alright?" asked Benson, genuinely concerned with the well being of his friend. The impact had shaken the table, knocked a vase off of the table and loosened a nail on the back of Skips' chair.
"He probably left a dent in the floor…" Rigby chuckled under his breath.
"RIGBY!" Mordecai and Benson shouted in unison, but before they could scold the wise cracking raccoon, they were interrupted by an uproar of laughter. Pops lifted his head off the ground, which left a small crater in its wake. Rigby let out two "hmms" of approval, and watched the now ecstatic pops dig around for paper towels and cleaning supplies.
"Oh Benson it's going to be smashing! You'll see, they will be the most pristine panes of glass you have ever seen." When he had found the supplies under the sink, he ran away, laughing and talking to himself. All listened in silence until the sounds faded into the house.
"Okay, now does everyone understand what they have to do? No complaints, right?" He emphasized the last word and glared at Rigby. Before he could rebut, Mordecai grabbed the Raccoon's face so that only a few huffs were heard.
"We understand Benson! Absolutely. Are there any other jobs you want us to do today other than all that trash stuff?"
"Yeah, if you're looking to make a few extra bucks, sure. Let me think about it, I'll meet you guys outside later."
"Okay Benson, well me and Rigby are gonna get started on the trash cans, so we'll see you later!"
"Oh Mordecai, one more thing. Could you rally Muscleman and High Five Ghost and tell them to help you guys with the trashcans? I couldn't get them to wake up earlier."
"Sure thing Benson, we'll get them up right now actually. Come on Rigby." Mordecai dragged his friend by the face as they walked out the door and into the rising sun.
Mordecai waited until the two were about one hundred feet from the house before he let go of his friends face. Rigby took in a few gasps of air and smacked Mordecai's hand, which didn't hurt him at all.
"So how did they taste?" Rigby coughed between pants.
"What, the pancakes?"
"No, Benson's gumballs." Rigby snickered a few times before Mordecai knocked him over.
"Ow! What the hell man?"
"Look dude I'm the only thing that stopped you from acting like an idiot and getting yourself fired back there. You should be thanking me."
"Oh, they tasted like grapes and oranges? Figures, bro." Mordecai reached down and flicked the rascals' nose as hard as he could.
"God damn it Mordecai leave my face alone for two seconds, jeez!" They both huffed their way towards Muscleman's trailer.
"Why do they get to sleep in? Why?" Rigby whined.
"Dude first of all, they don't live in the house with us, they own that trailer. Second, we got pancakes. That was pretty cool of Benson. You were being a baby."
"Well I guess you were too busy turning Benson's crank to notice that those pancakes sucked."
"You ate them faster than anyone at the table you freakin' pig. Not to mention you made that stupid comment when Pops fell over, he could have been hurt!"
"Neh neh neh neh nehhhh…" Rigby mocked.
"Alright dude I'm about to mess you up if you don't shut it. You're making this the worst day ever..."
"I hear losers outside," a raspy voice screamed out from inside the trailer.
"Why do I hear losers outside?" he screamed again, this time kicking the front door of his rusty Winnebago open. A wall of smoke poured out from behind an obese silhouette that stood menacingly in the doorway as a guitar wailed from a stereo within the cabin. It drained out of the trailer as though it were a dense gas, enveloping Mordecai and Rigby for a moment before being swept up and discarded by a gentle breeze. A small ghost emerged from a rotten tree stump, and as the smoke dissipated the phantom grew a menacing grin. The two wheezed as the man's ivory skin appeared like an apparition.
"Oh. Hi losers."
By 10 pm the group had done a good deal of work, and were feeling far less grumpy. The two pairs had made a game out of the chore Benson assigned to them. Mordecai and Muscleman tied and bagged the existing garbage, while Rigby and High Five replaced the bags in the empty cans. Each team was assigned to a side of the park, east and west. There was no wager, but that had not stopped the teams from becoming dangerously competitive.
"Aw man there's another one! Get it!" Rigby shouted. Mordecai grabbed the plastic handles of the black bag and tied them with gusto. He then lifted up the bag and slammed it into the back of the duo's golf cart.
"Uh! West Side represent!" Mordecai shouted triumphantly. Rigby was busy fumbling around with the box of trash bags. When he finally found the dividing incision in the seemingly endless sheet of black plastic, he tore off a single bag. He was having a difficult time finding the opening.
"Rigby hurry up!"
"I'm trying, I'm trying!"
"Dude, you suck at this, let me see it!" Before the two could begin fighting over the bag, they heard Muscleman in the distance.
"Woooooo! That's fifty trash cans, East Coast represent!" This was followed by the most cacophonous high five the two had ever heard. Rigby immediately found the opening in the bag and whipped it through the air to open it. He lined the empty barrel with the fresh bag and they both hopped back in the cart.
"Step on it!" Mordecai let off a quick "hmmm" and stomped down on the gas pedal.
"How many did they say they had, fifty, right?" Mordecai asked, as the cart slid through a right turn.
"Yeah, fifty. That puts us behind…" The raccoon held up his fingers one by one, staring at his hands intently.
"Four, dude, it puts us behind by four." Mordecai shouted before Rigby could finalize his calculations.
"What are we gonna do?" Rigby shouted. The engine of the cart made it hard for the two to hear each other.
"We kick it into overdrive, dude!" Their heads were knocked back as Mordecai shot through park as fast as the cart would go.
"I see one!" the raccoon pointed to a full up trash can ahead.
"Rigby, these things have ropes in them, right?" Rigby reached into the glove box and fished out a medium-thickness rope and handed to his friend. The blue jay fashioned a make shift lasso and whipped it towards the overflowing bin. The rope snagged the bag, which was yanked right out of the bin and into the golf cart. Mordecai then attached the rope to Rigby and tossed him, new bag in hand, at the empty barrel.
"Yeeeeaaaaaargh!" he declared. As he fell, the bag opened and decelerated his ascent like a parachute, but only slightly. He lined the empty can with the new plastic slip, and before he was yanked violently back into his cart, he caught a brief glimpse of Muscleman and High Five ghost speeding along in their cart with fifty full bags piled on the back.
"YOU KNOW WHO ELSE LIKES TAKING OUT THE TRASH?" Muscleman hollered as their cart kicked up a fifty-foot long cloud of dust
Pops was still busy washing his first window back at the house at high noon, and in the distance he saw a golf cart flying through the air and passing in front of the sun. He could hear hollering in the distance, though he barely noticed it. When he finally felt that the window was satisfactory, he was filled with boyish pride. He looked down and saw his good friend Benson washing one of the parks many carts with Skips. With all of his might he managed slide the window open.
"Yoo hoo! Oh Benson!" he called down below. From the highest window he felt like royalty.
"Hi Pops," Benson called up with a tinge of forced enthusiasm.
"I finished Benson! Isn't it magnificent?" He cried out.
"You finished that one?"
"Yes, the very same! This one right here!"
"That's great Pops, what about the other windows?"
"The other windows?" Pops looked behind him, and saw that unclean windows lined the hallway. As his anxiety kicked in, the hallway appeared to deform and stretch into the horizon.
"Oh… those windows…" He turned back into the house, feeling discouraged and slightly frightened. He took a few steps, and then stopped.
"Almost forgot to close this one," he said, sliding the window shut. As he walked back into the endless hall of windows a rotten banana peel from Mordecai and Rigby's cart reentered orbit and slammed into the one clean window, soiling it beyond the meager Pops' ability to clean it. Luckily, he never noticed.
"I just think you're being a little bit too hard on him" Skips told Benson.
"Rigby is a punk, and a lazy one at that." Benson sneered, rinsing the windshield with the pistol-shaped hose extension.
"Rigby is an asset, and a member of this family." Skips replied.
"When was the last time he did anything for you, or I, or anyone around here? He's a menace."
"Benson, watch your tongue. You might regret your words some day. It's not about what he 'does' for us. He's a friend, and this place wouldn't be the same without him."
"My father never kept his 'friends' on the payroll." Benson scrubbed the cart angrily.
"Benson, you're being a real creep you know that?" Benson sighed.
"I know. Look, I'm sorry. I'm just getting fed up with his crap." The gumball machine confessed.
"The constant lying, the back talk, the slacking." He choked a little over the last word.
"He's just going through some personal issues. You can relate right?" He paused, allowing his words to set in.
"Remember when you were his age? And besides, he's two feet tall and weaker than all of us. That can't be easy, and he still manages to get his work done, whether you like to admit it or not." Benson knew that Skips was not to be questioned when it came to matters like these. The guy had a level head and a heart of gold, and though Benson had a terrible temper, Skips was incapable of igniting it. Benson sighed again in defeat.
"You want to see how those guys are doing with the trash bags?" Their conversation was cut short by the sounds of distant engines roaring.
"I think we're about to find out." Skips shielded the sun with his right hand and watched the spectacle unfold. The two carts, side by side, kicked up valleys of dirt as they zoomed across the park. The teams had each stockpiled a small mountain of trash bags, and their carts were racing towards Skips.
"Oh sweet Jesus, Skips, what have we done." Benson heaved with regret. The passengers of the two carts hurled insults at each other as they careened down the dirt path leading up to the house. High Five Ghost struggled to keep the bags on his cart from toppling over, and Rigby (still attached to the lasso that he had used to replace the bags,) tailed the two racers like a kite being tossed about violently. As they came closer and closer, Benson gripped both sided of his head in desperation.
"Oh god, oh god, what do we do what do we do?" His fear quickly turned to frustration.
"If they crash into us, if they get trash everywhere, I'm gonna be so pissed." Skips kept his position and retained his stoic expression. Benson looked at skips, then back at the racers, then back at skips.
" Oh Mordecai," Muscleman belched, swinging his sweaty t-shirt over his head.
"Can it Muscleman!" Mordecai swerved to slam the rival cart.
"West Coast baby!" shouted Rigby as he whipped around in the air.
"East Coast represent!" Muscleman tossed his sweaty t-shirt and it stuck to Mordecai's face like fly paper.
"My eyes!" he shrieked. He began to lose control of his vehicle.
"Pull me in, pull me in!" cried Rigby. Mordecai grabbed onto the rope that secured his friend to the left side of the cart and began to pull hand over hand, while attempting to steer the cart straight with his knees. Rigby crashed down in the passenger seat and screamed at the sight of Muscleman's repulsive rag. Rigby grabbed the dripping cloth and yanked it out of his friend's eyes.
"I can see the house, we're almost there!" Mordecai announced as he wiped the fowl sweat from his eyes.
"Rigby, take the wheel." He did.
"Drive up next to them, hurry!" the cart bounced back on to the road and was redirected towards its rival.
"Avert your eyes, man. It's about to get weird."
"What are you gonna do to him?" Rigby hollered, keeping his eyes on the road.
"I'll tell you what I'm gonna do. I like to call it revenge;" he paused, squinting his eyes while forming a fist.
"West Coast style."
"Oh god Mordecai what are you doing? Ewwwwww!"
Benson jumped at the sound of Muscleman shrieking. He watched in horror as the cart swerved. At it's peak, High Five Ghost continued fighting to keep the bags up right. He didn't know what was worse, the potential lawsuit or the mountains of garbage that he was going to have to deal with.
"Skips it's gonna fall, I fucking knew it. It's gonna fall. It's going to fall, I'm gonna get sued, there's gonna be trash everywhere, and they're gonna be dead, and the damn thing is going to fall!"
"Benson relax, High Five Ghost is a pro. He's got it."
"I don't know skips…"
As Muscleman's cart screeched to a halt, the pile flopped to one side. High Five Ghost dove under the pile and pushed it back upward with all of his might, miraculously saving the structure while restoring it to a neat pointed peak. Muscleman ran from the cart and immediately assumed the fetal position. Rigby gave the controls back to Mordecai, who brought the cart to a clean stop. He even threw in a quarter turn, just for style.
"Aw yeah!" Rigby shouted, as he and his bud slammed each other with high fives and chest bumps. Their celebration was cut short when their short-tempered boss regained his composure.
"Unbelievable. You guys are in so much trouble. What the heck were you thinking?" the gumball machine stormed toward their cart, beet red with rage. The two dudes shrank into their seats and eyed each other.
"Do you think this is a joke? You think this is game? Do you have any idea how much property damage you could have caused? And don't even get me started on…"
"Benson," he heard, and turned around steaming with rage.
"I got this one. Go inside."
"What are you talking about?"
"I haven't heard Pops in a while, have you? You should go check on him."
"Benson." He paused.
"I got this one." Benson relaxed a little bit, but with slight hesitation
"Fine, okay. I trust that you'll punish these two morons accordingly" the heat in his voice returned with the word moron, and with that he angrily made his way inside, swearing under his breath. Mordecai and Rigby had watched this quizzical scenario unfold in front of them and didn't know what to think of it. Skips turned his attention on them, and they both cowered slightly.
"You two are coming with me to the dump."
"Aw no fair what about Muscleman and High Five?" Rigby moaned.
"We have two carts filled with trash, we're making two trips. We'll do yours first. Now move ova', I'm driving."
Back inside, Benson called out "Pops!" several times. He returned no answer. At first he panicked, but then he thought to look where he last saw Pops. Benson made his way up to the attic and found the man collapsed on the floor with tears in his eyes. He had made it to his second window, but not much further. A few streaks of window detergent streamed down the panes of glass and onto the wall.
"Benson? Is that you?" the frightened man enquired.
"Yeah, it's me Pops."
"I… I just couldn't take it, there were just too many. Forgive me."
"Well, Pops, sure you didn't finish all of the windows, but the one you did clean…" He looked over at the window that had been soiled by a rotten banana moments after it had been clean.
"I failed Benson. I am ready to receive my verbal repercussions."
"What? What are you talking about? I'm not gonna yell at you."
"But I failed! I have disappointed you. Whenever Mordecai or Rigby fail your punishment is swift and unrelenting."
"C'mon Pops, let's help you up."
Benson led the man to his bed. Meanwhile, Pops' observation about his conditional empathy rolled around in his head like many gumballs…
This fiction is apart of a series called "August," with each chapter pertaining to a different day in the same month. Expect the series to be long and get much more dramatic as the month comes to a close. I will attempt to complete at least one day a week at the very least.
This one's gonna have to be a two parter, but sheesh it was a blast to write.
Tell me what you guys think!