Disclaimer: I own nothing of Hey Arnold, or the characters therein. Thank you.
"Normal criminals usually have logical motives, but the Joker's insane schemes make sense to him alone."
"Gentlemen! I have good news for our activities this afternoon. For, you see, I have a plan!"
The rest of the boys of P.S. 118's sixth grade class froze. Some looked in horror at their others peers, at a loss for what to do. Others' eyes shot towards all the fastest ways out of the room, inching slowly towards the windows or the door.. Others still just stared at their friend with bemused apprehension.
For they all knew that when Thaddeus "Curly" Gammelthorpe had a plan it generally wasn't good for anyone. Especially when he was grinning like a cat about to pounce on a poor, defenseless canary.
"Er… well Curly," said Arnold, who was generally looked upon by the others as the unofficial leader in delicate situations like this, "we were kind of planning on just playing a game of baseball, just like always."
"Baseball? Feh!" Curly scoffed, "why bore ourselves with the tried and true when we could do something interesting for once?"
The other boys gulped. Curly's idea of "interesting" did not generally line up with a normal way of thinking. And always led to lots of trouble in the end - over the years, Curly had embarked on one nigh-psychotic plot after another, most of which ended in general mayhem, and some of which even ended in mass hysteria. Back in the fourth grade, his habit of releasing zoo animals on a whim or taking crazed vengeance for the most minuscule of slights was kind of funny, but nowadays all it did was make them nervous.
The kid is nuts, it goes without saying. And they really did not want end up stuck in the middle of another one of his cockamamie misadventures.
"I'da figured he'd've had enough of interestin' fur now, on account'a what happened last time," Stinky whispered to Sid, who chuckled while Harold and Gerald, having overheard, nodded in amusement. They all still remembered how the last "interesting" plan Curly embarked on went.
In short, badly.
The specifics are still unknown. All they can tell is Curly had somehow managed to cut off an enormous piece of hair from every girl in their class without their knowledge: from Nadine's locks to Lila's pigtails, if was as if one day every girl was missing a sizable chunk off the top of their head for reasons no one could explain. To say things got a little tense would be kind of an understatement.
Meanwhile, Curly had fashioned all of the hair into some kind of makeshift wig, which he planned on giving to his so-called "main squeeze" Rhonda. Lucky her. From what they've heard, he had apparently gotten the insane idea that if Rhonda wore a piece of every girl in class, she would become a symbol of perfection far above all of them.
Or something like that. Again, the kid is nuts.
Unfortunately for him, he presented this "gift" to her in as "romantic" a way as possible. Which meant loudly and dramatically. In the middle of the lunchroom. In full view of everyone. He didn't even have enough time for Rhonda to get over her horrified shock and throw the accursed thing in his face before Helga and Patty grabbed him around the shoulders and physically dragged out of the room, followed in line by the rest of the girls.
It's still unknown what they actually did to him - the girls aren't telling and he's been uncharacteristically quiet about it. Some stories say they tied him in a garbage bag and left him at the city dump. Peapod Kid (who still can't shake the nickname), claims they force fed him the long thrown out rotten cheese from the last festival. Mostly everyone thinks they just pummeled him for a while, but the most persistent version of events claims that every girl thought of something different to put him through as punishment, and they ended up going with all of them one after another.
Rumor is even Lila and Phoebe got involved, and everyone knew that as nice as those two were on the rare occasions they lost their tempers things got ugly. Fast.
But anyways, it appeared whatever they had done Curly had finally gotten over it. Unfortunately.
"Hold on, Curly," Gerald said, cool as always in the face of crazy, "if this is another plan to mess with poor Rhonda we're-"
"Poor? My Rhonda? Surely you jest," Curly scoffed, completely missing the point, "My girl is the richest girl in school, not that I only love her for her money! No, she's beautiful, smart, and she has the most magical personality."
His eyes glittered with fondness. Arnold and Gerald smacked their foreheads in unison.
"Er… I dunno Curly," Eugene said uncertainly, "didn't she threaten to sic her dogs on you last time you showed up at her house?"
"Oh no Eugene, my man!" Curly leisurely put his arm around Eugene, who looked distinctly uncomfortable. "That's just her playing hard to get! You know she loves me!" The rest of the boys, minus Eugene, joined Arnold and Gerald's synchronized facepalming. "But still, what do you guys think? That I spend every waking moment thinking about her or something? I can make plans about other stuff, you know!"
At Curly's shoulder Eugene sighed in relief, and skeptical as they were the other boys joined him. At least they wouldn't be accessories to yet another traumatizing event in Rhonda's life. Not that his other plans were any less insane, to be honest.
Last October, spurred on by the disastrous bout of trick or treating the kids had done in 4th grade, Curly had come to the conclusion that what the town needed was more Halloween mayhem. In particular, he was disappointed at the lack of "interesting" decorations for Halloween that year and complained loudly to anyone that couldn't avoid him that the previous year had been much more exciting. To that end, he publicly pledged to "spookily" the whole town, watched both versions of The Blob back to back for hours, and paid a visit to the public sewer treatment facility.
The streets oozed with slime for days.
Nobody could prove it was him - his friends decided not to rat him out, plus they only had their (likely correct) suspicions. And even then, who would believe an 11 year old could sneak into a government facility and make all their systems go haywire? The very idea was preposterous.
And speaking of preposterous, back to the present. "And anyway," Curly continued, "so what if after we're done I want to give my lovemuffin a little present? Is that so wrong?"
The boys all once again facepalmed in stereo. So this was about Rhonda after all. Terrific. Hopefully it didn't involve blackmail this time.
"Listen Curly, whatever it is your thinking…" Arnold started.
"You mean, whatever brilliant plan I have to totally make this boring afternoon the greatest, most exciting day ever!"
The boys all paled several shades. "Yes… that…" Arnold continued, "whatever it is, I don't think we'll be able to do it."
"What? Why? You don't even know what it is!"
"Yes… but…" Arnold struggled to put it delicately, "you see, your plans…"
"… always get up in trouble!" Harold butted in.
"Not to mention they tend to be little… out there," Sid added.
"Plumb crazy, more like," Stinky drawled.
Eugene, who had finally extricated himself from Curly's arm, piped up. "Not to mention you always go too far." Eugene happened to know this from experience considering Curly had once willfully tried to get him expelled, which the unlucky young pollyanna had still not quite forgotten about.
"No way we're getting ourselves caught up in your mess again," Iggy nodded from the other side of the classroom.
Joey was already on his way out the door, but left with a simple "count us out, man."
"Sometimes you gotta put it straight, man," Gerald said, bringing up the rear, "you're a nut. I mean, it's cool. It works for you - quirky it totally your thing - but hey, we just can't get with it brother."
"BAH!" Curly shouted suddenly, causing all of them to jump in surprise. "Philistines! All of you! I tell you this plan is not only fun, it's downright genius! But if you don't want in, then fine! I don't need you. I can get fifty pounds of meat, a tesla coil, and a giant vat of plaster on my own, thank you very much!" He started giggling madly, which the others wisely took as never a good sign. "I'll show you! I'll show you all! You think you're better than Curly? Well, you'll see. YOU'LL ALL SEE! Hahahahahaha!" With that he turned dramatically and marched out the door, leaving an echoing cackle in his wake.
There was a long silence.
"Well," Arnold said after a while, "that's not good."
Suddenly, Harold gasped in horror. "Wait, did he say fifty pounds of meat? Mr. Green is out of town this weekend and he left me in charge! If anything happens while he's gone…" When the others just stared at him, he turned a raced after their psychotic friend as fast as his he could, shouting at the top of his lungs. "Curly! You better not be thinking what I think you're thinking! I swear to God I'll break your jaw!"
Arnold once again pressed his hand to his forehead. "All right guys," he said, taking charge, "you know the drill. Someone go tip off Rhonda that Curly's up to something. No sense in her being unprepared."
"I'll do it," said Peapod Kid, who had been hiding behind the door hoping Curly didn't see him. Since his family and Rhonda's knew each other, Curly sometimes got the idea that she might be interested in him. As he found out when Curly had filled his locker, his bag, his desk, and everything he might come in contact with with itching powder bombs, a jealous Curly was not a good thing, and there was no use taking chances. But since he was eager to get back at the little nut for the itching powder and the debacle everyone called only "the pudding incident," he shot off to find the poor girl who would likely be getting a very unpleasant surprise later.
Arnold nodded as they saw him off, "alright, that's good. Next, we need people to watch him, just in case he does something way too far. We don't want this to end up like that time he stole Principal Wartz' car."
The other boys laughed - old Wartz had racked up quite a bit of parking violations when Curly was done with his midwinter joyride, not to mention there was little chance of the destruction derby visiting town ever again after all the damage he cause - but nevertheless Stinky and Sid volunteered through their chuckles.
"Cool," Arnold finished, "the rest of us get ready for damage control. If this is anything like, well, every other time Curly's had an idea, we're gonna need to be ready."
"Yeah, yeah…" Iggy said as the rest of the boys filed out of the room, mumbling and groaning. So much for baseball.
"Well, there goes the afternoon," Arnold grumbled when he and Gerald were the last two people left behind. "I had a new pitch I wanted to try out, too."
Gerald shrugged. "Well, at least today's gonna be 'interesting.'"
"Gerald." Arnold laughed. "Shut up."
Author's Note: Curly, everyone's favorite grade school psychopath. Poor Rhonda. I thought of this story very quickly after watching a little bit of Hey Arnold and thinking of that quote from BTAS. It does kind of make you wonder what it's like being friends with the little oddball, doesn't it?