This is going to be a story about emotion.

This is going to be a story about misery, sorrow, and the loss of will to live.

This is going to be a story about misunderstandings and quarrels and flitbags and faggots.

But, more importantly, this is going to be a story about bookstores.

So I hope you like it.

It was a wonderful battle-less morning, and the afternoon sunlight seeped through the windows like warm Jarate on a crisp new suit.

It was a wonderful opportunity to get out of the base and cease the ceasefire day, and some members of the team decided to do just that.

Medic jammed his feet into his rubber boots with a goosebumping whine-squeak. "Engineah, ya got za keys?" he called across the room.

"Yup." His glove jangled the keychain to accompany his word.

Spy was having quite the hassle adjusting his tie, but he still managed to ask an important question. "Pardon, but we are riding zhe laborer's vehicle, correct?"

Engineer smiled with a friendly "Sure, why not?"

"If yer fixin' to, then ya best fill 'er up at the servo," muttered Sniper, who was lounging on the sofa half-asleep with his hat drooping over his eyes. He sniffed and shrugged his shoulders slightly. "Don't take my word for it, but Oi fairly think we're almost at the E on truckie's."

"Hm." Engineer nodded. "How much a tank?"

"Almost 40 now. Tell me if it rose, will you?"

"Sure will."

"Ey-hey-heeeeeeey!" Enter the Scout. He walked through the doorway at precisely the wrong moment. With a squint, he then detected a familiar hurried 'we're-finally-getting-away-from-Scout' atmosphere floating around the summer air.

Of course, that atmosphere wasn't the least bit acceptable to frail-personalitied inferiority-complexed Scout.

"Woah, woah, woah, woah, WOAH! Wait a second 'ere! Where da hell ya all goin' witout ME, huh?"

"Za bookstore," replied a smirking Medic who was sure the two words would immediately cause Scout to scream and hide.

Spy chuckled as he finally fixed the tie around his neck. "Our apologizes." He tucked its silky end into his vest. "It's not exactly your sort of entertainment."

But Scout did not scream and hide.

"I wanna go!" declared Scout.

Engineer sighed. "Oh boy..."

"Nein. Yah not going vizh us." Medic frowned. "All you ah going to do is run up and down za bookstore aisles like a drunken leprechaun, and ve ah going to get kicked out for your behavior. Yah not going." He flicked a red rubber glove at him like he would to a misbehaving Archimedes. "Schnell. Shoo, shoo."

Scout secretly melted inside. That exact portion of 'we're-finally-getting-away-from-Scout' dialogue brought him back to the good old days, when he was seven and all of his brothers were going out to drink some booze together. He went on his knees and he pleaded and he bribed and he rolled on the floor and he did everything he could possibly do to make them take him, but his brothers laughed at him and slammed the front door in his puppy-dog pout. As soon as they rattled out of the driveway in their rickety red Ford and their madras shirts, Scout had thrown the largest temper tantrum ever. The neighbors had all called the police. His Ma literally had to shove a sock in his mouth to make him stop.


That approach didn't work on everyone. Sniper, who was grumpy from his loud nap-interruption, rolled his eyes beneath his sinking hat and grumbled, "Cool it, sister. They made the plans, not you."

Words of philosophy from the wonderful wisdom of Scout; when words don't work, volume does.

Hence the following.


There was no Ma to shove a sock in his mouth this time.

"Jesus almighty!" interjected Engineer as he threw both hands to his aching eardrums. It was human instinct that compelled him to become so complacent; "Ya can go with us, alright? Don't scream like that."

Once the instincts were reacted-to and the words were said, nothing be taken back.

Everyone rolled their eyes and groaned in unison; "ENGINEEEEEEER!"

He realized what he'd done. "Oh...crap. Sorry, fellas."


"We are most certainly not your 'best buddies'," corrected Spy with a grimace of disgust.

"Hey, uh, yeah y'are, ya fuckin' faggot," replied Scout absently. He turned back to the whole group. "Anyway, where we all goin'? Oh yeah, never mind, the bookstore. Does da bookstore have cool books and all? And comics about Flash? I like that guy. He's pretty keen."

Sniper felt extremely grateful that he hadn't been one of the unfortunate bookworms. "Heh heh. Good luck, mates."

"Da hell ya mean, 'good luck'?" huffed Scout. He crossed his arms. "What da hell's dat mean, huh, Mister Pissy-Prissy-Pants? Ya sayin' dat I'm, like, what...gonna, like, murder 'em on da way dere or somethin'?"

Murder was too soft a word.

Forfeit o'clock. "Vell...zat's it," announced Medic, strutting to the kitchen for some comfort food. "I am not going. Take care."

Spy smiled and surrendered along behind Medic. "Oo, what zhe coincidence! Neizher am I!"

Engineer's goggles grew wide. He raised a finger and limply pointed to himself while whining like a sickly stray dog; "But...but that means..."

It was too late for second thoughts. Spy and Medic had already gone through the archway and began chatting lightheartedly about Engineer and how much of an instinctive idiot he is and how unlucky he'll be.

There's really no compassion on this team, is there?

Sniper shook his head with a smile. "Poor, sweet truckie."

Only sarcastic compassion.


"FELLERS! MEDIC! SPY!" cried Engineer like a young boy on a dentist's chair. "SAVE ME!"

He began to take off towards the kitchen as well, but Scout somehow had found time to latch onto the back of Engineer's overalls to keep him running in place.

"C'mon, let's go a'ready! I can't wait to see all da goddamn books and all and maybe the Flash comics but I'm not sure if dey got them. Hell, if dey did den I'm pretty sure I got all a' dem 'cause, like, I'm a big fan. I hope they have some more baseball bios, though, 'cause Ma forgot to buy me one dis year. I gotta remind her to next time I go home to Boston for a vay-cay. My mom is pretty mad at me now, though. She says I ruin her life and e'ryone's life. I forgive her for it 'cause she's my Ma, y'know? But still. I don't ruin lives, in my opininum." Scout's eyes fixated on the ceiling and he seemed lost in thought. I wonder if, just perhaps, I am implying anything.

Sniper used the time to snuggle into a comfortable nap-position on the sofa. "Hey, Engineer. Be a buddyroo and lock the door on yer way out, will you?" His smile made his words even more gloating. "'Preciate it."

Scout snapped back to reality. "Man, sorry for sorta dyin' on ya guys for a minute. Anyway, let's get dis party started!" His head swerved to Engineer with a goofy grin on his face. "We goin' or what? 'Cause I really got no patients for you, y'know."

Sniper took notice of Engineer's sick face and just laughed.

Engineer actually did look ready to hurl, and one wouldn't blame Sniper for laughing. Except the victim. "Damnit, Sniper, you asshole."

And before anyone knew it, Scout had already dragged Engineer out the door by his overall strap and the adventures began.