Misery With Mel, by DoofusPrime
Notes: Hey, everybody. I'm guessing there is little or no fandom for a cult cable show that's been over for at least a year or two and has what looks like about 3 stories total on this site, but I couldn't resist writing this. So, if anybody out there actually reads it, hopefully you'll enjoy it.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. This work was not created for profit. No copyright infringement is intended.
Things were not looking good for Bessie. The snow was falling harder and harder, and the winding road was getting more treacherous by the minute. Jemaine peered past the truck's windshield as the wipers worked as hard as they could, but it was impossible to see more than a few feet ahead of them. Bret was driving slowly, but if he went too slow, they'd end up getting stuck. Jemaine knew they shouldn't have gone out in this weather.
"We'll find her," said Bret. "Don't you worry, Jemaine. Bessie couldn't have gone far."
"Why did we drive up the side of this mountain, then?"
"It seemed like a good idea at the time."
Jemaine's knuckles tensed as the car took a turn, sliding over the slick film of snow rapidly piling up on the road. "How will we even see her in this weather?" he asked. "A white sheep, in the white snow. Did you think of that?"
"We can't just leave her to die, Jemaine. Bessie needs us."
Jemaine supposed his friend had a point there. Now that they were herding sheep back in their home land, they had a responsibility. A responsibility towards every single one of their little woolen friends. Maybe they had spent some time in New York in the pursuit of fame and fortune, but you could never forget your roots. And leaving a sheep behind was one of the worst things a New Zealander could do.
"I can just imagine her out there," said Bret. "Shivering in the cold, wondering where her little sheep companions have gone. I can't believe you left that paddock gate open, Jemaine. Did you really forget that much while we were in the States? You should be ashamed to be a Kiwi."
"What? Me? You were the one who left the gate open!"
"You take that back," said Bret, gripping the wheel tighter.
"I will not. You're the sheep murderer."
"How dare you."
Bret slapped Jemaine on the arm – coupled with a sharp turn in the road, this was enough to make him lose his grip on the wheel. The two of them squealed in panic as the truck skidded sideways, the view through the windshield a white blur as their wheels lost traction and slid down a dip past the edge of the road.
Bret lost all control of the truck. All they could do was hold on for dear life as they rolled downhill. They reached the edge of a copse of pine trees running alongside the raised road; branches and green pine needles whizzed by in the headlights, specks of white peppering the windshield as the truck gained speed, faster and faster. A huge tree loomed up out of the darkness, straight ahead of them. The last thing either of them heard before losing consciousness was the sound of crunching metal as the truck slammed into it.
The first thing Jemaine saw when he started to regain consciousness was a swirling canvas of white. He blinked in confusion for a moment, wondering if he was looking at the snow-covered ground, and reached to his face to adjust his glasses. As he started to get his bearings, he realized he was looking at a white plaster ceiling. He felt something soft beneath him. He reached down with his hands; not snow, but bedsheets. Turning to his left, he saw Bret laying beside him in the same bed.
"Bret? You okay?"
Bret took longer to regain consciousness, but when he did, he was just as confused as Jemaine. The two of them looked around, wondering what had happened. Bret remembered the car crash, the winding, treacherous mountain road, but they were in a comfortable room now, warm and safe from the elements. Or maybe not so safe, now that he began to look at his surroundings. Jemaine noticed, too. The two of them glanced at each other, eyes crinkled with concern. The walls of the room were plastered with a number of photos, posters, and T-shirts - there were even a number of particularly unsettling hand-drawn pictures. And they all had one thing in common:
They were all plastered with Bret and Jemaine's faces.
"Oh, I get it now," said Jemaine. "We're dreaming."
Bret nodded in agreement. "Oh, yes. That makes sense. We're both dreaming we're stuck in Mel's house. Soon, we'll wake up and freeze to death."
Jemaine smiled, happy to have figured out their confusing situation. The two of them lay back on their pillows, silently deciding it was best to go back to sleep and wait for the end. There was no point in getting upset over their disturbing surroundings. The room was quiet and peaceful. They lay in bed together for a few minutes. Jemaine couldn't get to sleep, but he was feeling too bruised and tired to get up or try to do anything else.
Bret felt the same way; he tried to move his leg and felt a stinging pain around his ankle. He seemed to have been injured in the car crash. But could you feel pain in a dream? Bret wasn't sure. He remembered one dream where Mel had eaten both of them after a particularly good concert of theirs had driven her into a frenzy, but he couldn't remember if it was actually painful to be eaten by her. Psychologically scarring, yes, but painful?
"Wait a minute," he said, breaking their silence. "If this was a dream, how could we both be having it?"
Jemaine turned to his friend and pursed his abnormally large lips, thinking.
"Maybe we're both just dreaming that the other one is in our dream."
"But that would mean I'm dreaming the same thing as you, Jemaine."
"No you're not. You're just a figment of my imagination."
Jemaine propped himself up on his pillow, took off his glasses, rubbed his eyes, and looked harder. "I think so. Pinch me."
Bret reached out and twisted him on the arm hard enough to make him cry out in pain. So maybe Bret was real, thought Jemaine. Before the two of them could discuss the issue any further, the bedroom door opened, and Mel came bounding into the room, carrying a tray of breakfast food that almost upended in her enthusiasm. They recoiled in horror at the sight, trying to back away until they were stopped by the wall behind the bed.
"Surprise!" she shouted excitedly.
"We were wrong," said Bret. "This is a nightmare."
"Silly Bret - this is no nightmare! This is real life!"
Mel climbed onto the bed and scooted towards them on her knees, placing the tray between them. Bret tried to roll away, but the pain in his ankle prevented him from moving far. Since the bed was in a corner of the room, Jemaine – to his right – was blocked from escaping by another wall. The two of them lay uncomfortably as Mel rolled the bedsheets down from their bodies, her hands touching them far more than they needed to. For the first time, both of them noticed they weren't wearing anything underneath the covers.
"I had to get you out of those wet clothes," she said. "You were lucky I heard the car crashing down the road!"
"Wet clothes?" asked Bret. "So you just found us?"
"Oh, no. That was four days ago. You were both in a coma."
"Then how did you have breakfast ready for us?"
"I make it every morning, in case you wake up! Then I listen at the door all morning. I heard you both wake up and start talking to each other earlier. I'm so glad you two are alright – I don't know what I'd do without you. Probably go crazy or something, right?"
Bret and Jemaine both laughed nervously. "Right."
"Eat your breakfast, guys. I want you two full and healthy when you start writing."
"Writing?" asked Jemaine. "What do you mean?"
"Writing your songs, of course! Oh, Jemaine – you're so cute when you pretend to not understand anything I'm saying to you. You guys need to be at your best when you're getting those creative juices flowing."
Something about the way Mel said 'juices', along with a certain flutter in her eyelids, made Bret and Jemaine shiver with fear and horror. A window was set into the wall on Jemaine's right; he looked out at the snowy landscape for the first time. Were they in New York now? Was it snowing there, too? Maybe Mel had somehow flown all the way to New Zealand and kidnapped them, and the whole accident was a bizarre-
"I moved here," said Mel, sensing their confusion. "Doug and I thought it was best to move to New Zealand and keep you guys company. I just couldn't stop thinking about the two of you, all alone and across the world after you got deported by those heartless bastards at the INS, without your biggest fan around to be your muse. We were going to come down the mountain to your sheep farm and say hello as soon as we were finished moving in, but then the weather got bad. Luckily for me, you guys came here instead!"
"Well, it was nice of you to save our lives," said Bret, "but we should get back to our sheep farm. We were looking for a lost sheep, and she may still be-"
"You can't leave."
Bret and Jemaine gulped.
"I'm just kidding," laughed Mel. "Of course you can leave!"
Ignoring the pain in his ankle, Bret shifted himself in bed until Mel placed a hand on his bare chest.
"But really, you can't."
"Um – why?"
"You're injured, Bret! You need to stay here and recover."
"We can go to a hospital."
"This is New Zealand! The nearest hospital is on the other side of the country."
Being Kiwis, Bret and Jemaine knew that, of course. But it had been Bret's last ditch effort. Both of them were now out of ideas, unless maybe Bret could reach over to that lamp by the nightstand and get Mel over the head before – but no, it was too late. Mel had already reluctantly left the bed, pointing at their tray to convince them to eat. "Can we at least get some clothes?" asked Jemaine. "And why are we in the same bed?"
"I only have one guest bed," said Mel. "Doug didn't want you guys in ours, for some reason. Sometimes he's such a complainer. And you don't really need clothes, do you?"
"We really need clothes," said Jemaine.
"Doug!" she screamed. "Doug, get in here!"
Doug popped his head through the door.
"Get Bret and Jemaine a guitar and some writing supplies, please."
Doug nodded and disappeared for a moment before coming back with an acoustic guitar, some notebooks, and a few pens. He entered the bedroom and set them on a table. "Hi, guys," he said.
They both nodded. "Hello, Doug."
Mel clapped her hands and let out a strange excited gurgle. "Okay! Now get to work – but first eat your breakfast! I'll look into the clothes thing."
After a few false turns back and forth, as if she couldn't quite force herself to actually leave the room, Mel closed the door and left them with their food. The two of them looked at it for a moment, wondering if it was poisoned – but of course their greatest fan wouldn't kill them. Probably. Bret took a piece of toast and a knife, looking for some peanut butter and jam. He noticed a jar of something in the middle of the tray and picked it up to read the label. His brow wrinkled with disgust as he flung it away.
"What was it?" asked Jemaine.
Bret nodded in agreement. Mel had gotten her national cuisines confused; there was no way in a million years either of them were putting some disgusting Australian imitation barf paste on their toast. But still, they had to eat. And after that, maybe they could think of a way to escape.
Jemaine strummed a chord on his guitar. The strings were bad. That, and it was hard to tune properly when you were trying to concentrate while being held captive in the house of your single crazed megafan.
He and Bret had been trapped in Mel's house for what felt like weeks. They had lost track of time, locked in the bedroom when Mel and her husband weren't bringing them something or checking in on their progress. Mel popped in often, of course, but she was doing a surprisingly good job of resisting the urge to spend all her time in the bedroom with them. Apparently she knew she needed to give them some privacy if she wanted them to complete an album.
Bret was fairly sure his ankle had long since healed, but escape seemed impossible. Mel insisted on them staying in the room to recover from their horrible – and mostly nonexistent – injuries, the window on Jemaine's side of the bed wouldn't budge, and they both felt bad about throwing something heavy through the window and breaking it. Maybe Mel was insane and possibly going to kill them if they didn't deliver the musical goods, but she had pulled them from a snow-covered car wreck. That counted for something, didn't it?
"It's so much fun here with our number one fan," Jemaine half sung, half hummed as he played a few odd notes on the guitar. "Trying to flee is not part of our plan..."
"We don't need to patronize her," said Bret.
"I think we do."
Bret sighed as Jemaine tried to get a good hook going. They had barely made any progress, and during some of her most recent visits to the bedroom, Mel was starting to sound impatient. They never would have moved back to New Zealand if they had known Mel would follow them here. Not that "moved" was quite the right word, but that didn't matter now. In New York, they could scream for help, and with the way those apartment blocks were cramped together like sardines in a can, someone would hear their cries and be there in seconds. In New Zealand, people were so spread out that there wasn't a living soul for miles. Most New Zealanders would be completely alone if it wasn't for their sheep.
"If you'll let us go, we'll meet all your demands..."
Jemaine's singing was interrupted by the door creaking open. Mel's curly hair popped out, then the rest of her face, as she peeked inside with a beaming smile. When the rest of her body appeared, Bret and Jemaine were seriously concerned. They had been half expecting her to come in naked – but no, what was concerning was the sledgehammer she was holding with both hands as she pushed the door the rest of the way open.
"Look what I have!"
The two of them whimpered in terror.
"Why are you acting so scared?" laughed Mel. "I'm just going to fix Bret's broken ankle, you big babies. I read a little about ankle bones on the internet, and I know exactly what to do now. All we have to do is take this piece of wood," she said, fishing a wooden block out from where it had been stuffed in her pants, "and put it right between Bret's legs! Then, I give the the broken foot a little smack, and pop! The ankle bone goes right back into place."
"That doesn't sound scientific at all," said Jemaine.
Bret nodded vigorously in agreement. "I think the ankle's gotten better," he insisted.
"Don't be scared, Bret. Mel's here to take care of you."
She advanced to the bed, sledgehammer swaying ominously in one hand, and tried to grab Bret's leg with the other. He thrashed wildly, trying to get away from her grasp, and Mel laughed as she dropped the sledgehammer and used both hands to try to pin him down. "Quit playing games!" she yelled happily. "We can do that later, but right now it's important that we make you healthy, Bret!"
"Jemaine, help me!"
Jemaine shook his head and drew back as far as he could into the corner of the bed against the walls, hoping he could avoid getting hit by what seemed like an inevitable sledgehammer assault. Mel whipped a coil of rope out of her pocket, straddling Bret by the waist as she tried to tie his hands to the bedpost and keep him still, but before she could wrap the rope around his wrists, the sound of a backfiring engine reached them from out the window. They all froze in place. The noise happened again; this time it was louder, closer.
Mel frowned and stared out over the snow-covered front yard in front of the house. The vague outline of a road twisted off around a rocky corner past the yard, going down the side of the mountain. After a moment, a car came sputtering into view. She got up from the bed and disappeared through the door. Bret and Jemaine breathed a sigh of relief. The car drew close to the house, just out of sight of the window, and they listened carefully at the sound of a car door opening and closing. A moment later and the front door opened; they heard faint voices speaking outside the bedroom. Bret hoped against hope; he really didn't want to have his foot smacked off by a sledgehammer today. Or any other day, really. Sledgehammers and feet were just things best kept apart.
The voices grew more insistent. The two of them heard Mel's voice rising a little – not so much angry as whiny. Then, the sound of footsteps grew louder. Someone was running towards the door. They sat up in bed, staring at the door with a mix of hope and fear, until it burst open and hit the adjacent wall with a loud bang. The two of them felt a wave of relief wash over their bodies at the sight of their rescuer. They were saved!
"Bret! Jemaine! Let's get out of here!"
Murray stood in the doorway, waving for them to get out of bed. Fortunately, Mel had been thoughtful enough to actually give them clothes earlier, although now that Bret looked down, he realized she had only given him boxer shorts and a shirt – no pants. The two of them jumped out of bed and followed Murray into the house, heading for the front door. Mel came into view in the hallway leading out of the bedroom, blocking it with her body. Her eyes looked wildly at Murray, blocking her captors as the three of them edged forward more slowly.
"Now, Mel," he said, "I need these two to start the band, don't I?"
Mel looked hesitant. "But they were going to write music in there!" she said.
"But I'm their band manager. They need me to schedule when to write the music."
Bret and Jemaine had no idea what he was talking about, but they quickly agreed.
"That's right," said Bret.
"Yes," said Jemaine. "We need to have a band meeting."
"You can have it here!"
"No, there are – all our special band meeting supplies are at the sheep farm. We promise we'll write the album when we get back down there. We just need to get together with Murray and do a little planning, that's all. But thank you for saving our lives and being such a good hostess."
Although they seemed to be getting to her, Mel didn't want to move from her position in the narrow hallway; the three of them had to squeeze awkwardly past her on their way to the front door. Doug stood in an entryway to the kitchen, wearing a chef's apron as he watched them go. "Bye, guys," he said.
Murray opened the door and motioned for Bret and Jemaine to make a dash for the car. Bret realized his ankle was not in fact healed, but he wasn't going to worry about that now. He limped out of the house with Jemaine, taking his first steps through the snow and remembering that Mel hadn't given them any shoes or socks, either. No time to worry about any of that. Right now, his only priority was to get away from that sledgehammer.
"I'll come down and visit you guys!" said Mel, walking out into the snow with them. "Call me when you get to the sheep farm, okay? So Doug and I know you got down alright."
"We'll definitely do that," said Bret.
"You'd better make that album," said Mel, wagging her finger at them. "Or else!"
Her awkward laughter sent a chill down both their spines. They waved as they got into the back seat of the car. "Goodbye, Mel."
Murray keyed the ignition and started backing the car out of the clearing in front of the house. As they headed out, Mel raced from her doorway and pressed her hands against the back windows of the car, watching Bret and Jemaine as her frosty breath fogged up the glass. Murray had to take it a little slow as they edged away from the house and down the winding road – partly to keep from spinning out like they had done with the truck, and partly to keep from accidentally running over Mel. She followed them down the road a good way until the car sped up enough that she tripped while trying to keep up. As they gained some distance from the house, Bret and Jemaine looked back in their seats, watching as she struggled to her feet and waved them off before they finally turned a corner that was obscured by a rocky slope beside the road. They sat back in their seats, breathing a sigh of relief.
"Roll call," said Murray, looking into the review mirror. "Murray, band manager, present. Bret?"
"We're not in a meeting, Murray. We just escaped from-"
"Come on, guys. Let's do this properly, eh?"
Bret and Jemaine sighed. "Present," said Bret.
Murray nodded officiously as the car made its way down the snowy road. Bret and Jemaine caught sight of their wrecked truck, almost covered in a snowdrift, off the side of the road and down a forested slope. "I told you guys I'd pay you a visit when I came here on embassy business," said Murray. "I got your distress text message, Jemaine, and came as soon as I could. Quite a frightful situation you had going on up here, I'd say!"
"You sent him a text message?" asked Bret.
Jemaine nodded. "Of course. As soon as Mel gave me back my pants."
"Wait a minute," said Bret, frowning at the sight of Jemaine's well-clothed legs. "She gave you your pants."
Bret crossed his arms petulantly. "Why didn't you tell me you texted Murray, then?"
"You can't keep a secret, Bret."
Bret was about to protest the accusation, but he decided Jemaine was probably right.
"I texted you the same day we woke up," said Jemaine. "It felt like she kept us there for weeks - I thought we'd never escape, Murray. How long we were stuck there?"
"About a day and a half."
"By the way, guys" said Murray, "Something exciting - I have a message from Dave. He wanted me to give it to you when I got here."
Murray stopped the car and fished a piece of paper out of his shirt pocket. Bret and Jemaine looked nervously out of the back window, uncomfortable about stopping; if they slowed down even for a minute, Mel could catch up to them. She was nowhere in sight, but sometimes Mel could pop up when they least expected it. There was a good chance she was still following. "You don't have to read that now," said Bret. "We can wait."
"Yes, but Dave asked me to read it to you," said Murray, unfolding the paper and coughing officiously. "Let's see. Here it is: 'Hey, what is up, you crazy Kiwis. I have been rolling in mad tang over here. How about you guys. I bet you guys are getting a lot of that Newfoundland tang, over there in Newfoundland. Well, that is it. Come back to New York soon. Your friend, Dave.' That's all it says. I don't know what he meant by Newfoundland."
Bret shrugged. "At least he got Kiwis right."
"Well, then," said Murray, starting the car again. "Back to the sheep farm, I suppose?"
The two of them nodded. "I hope Bessie is okay," said Bret. "I wonder where she is now."
"Probably in sheep heaven," said Jemaine.
"That's not nice."
Murray turned back at them. "Bessie? She's okay, guys – I remember that name tag. Those are some fancy name tags you guys have, by the way. I counted all the sheep in the paddock, and they're all present and accounted for."
At this news, the two of them glared at each other for a moment, each blaming the other for blaming each other earlier, before giving up; one of them must have just missed the count. It was a good thing Murray came when he did. All New Zealanders, of course, had an unspoken agreement to count their friends' sheep whenever any of their friends weren't around, just to make sure the flock was okay. It was the New Zealand way.
Now that they were free from Mel's clutches and headed back to the sheep farm, Bret and Jemaine could breathe easy. Bret in particular was glad that Bessie was safe, as she had always been his favorite from the flock. Still, there was a nagging sensation of dread that kept coming back to him. Judging by the way Jemaine kept flinching convulsively beside him, his friend was feeling the same thing. And they both knew what it was. Maybe they were free for now, but Mel had promised she'd visit. And in New Zealand, there was nowhere to run.
"What do you think we should do when we get back to the farm?" asked Jemaine.
"I don't know – what do you think?"
As they thought about it, the image of Mel with a sledgehammer formed in both their minds. There was only one option. They both answered each other at the same time.
"Make an album."
Notes - That's it! And yes, it was a parody of Misery by Stephen King. Any reviews would be appreciated, even negative, if only to see there are other fans of the show still around. :)