Welcome back, one and all! Now that the Eds have managed to tame the Bullies, things should get easier, right? If you answered "Yes", then you don't play many video games, do you? After such an epic fight, I figured that it's time for the Eds to take another breather from violence. However, that doesn't mean that they can't get mixed up in another misadventure. Seeing as this is the start to the Preppie struggle and they utilize boxing, I've decided to name this arc The Marquess of Bullworth. So, sit back, relax, and above all else...
While sleep came easy for the Eds, the events of the previous day managed to take a toll on their dreams. Visions of their former friend Gary as he stood over them victoriously, managing to catch up to them no matter how far they ran, and leading an army of intergalactic mercenaries were keeping the boys from any form of peaceful rest. Even as the alarm clock reminded them that they did have classes to attend that day, Double D and Eddy groggily acknowledged the shrill sound while Ed managed to sleep through the noise, drowning it out with his heavy snores.
"Come on, Double D…" Eddy groaned. "Did you have to set the alarm so early?"
"While my short-term desires incline me to agree with you, Eddy," Double D began, "I'm afraid that our commitment to our education far outweighs our fatigue…no matter how strong the latter feels." Double D's argument was weakened by his prolonged yawn midway through his sentence. As he rose out of bed and began to fix his sheets, Eddy growled and looked up towards the ceiling.
"We deserve a day off after what we went through," he muttered. "Can't we take a sick day, Sock Head?"
"I'm afraid that would be a terrible idea," Double D explained as he finished his task. "If we wanted to claim that we've fallen ill, then we'd have to go to the nurse. Not only would she notice that we are not sick, but that our bodies show signs of trauma linked closely to fighting, forcing us to explain how we managed to receive them to her and possibly Dr. Crabblesnitch." As Double D made his way to the closet, Eddy begrudgingly rolled out of bed and let out a lengthy yawn.
"You're lucky I don't want to talk to that guy," he muttered. "Now, how are we gonna wake up Sleeping Lumpy?" The strongest Ed let out a snore at the sound of his nickname, followed by muttering something his friends didn't understand and rolling over.
"The best thing that we can do is tread lightly," Double D whispered. "With Ed's overactive imagination, a sudden reintroduction into consciousness would result in a blurring of the fine line between his dreams and reality."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Eddy muttered. "Take it easy so Ed doesn't get weird. Got it. Now, let's get him up before we're late." Double D nodded in agreement and joined Eddy in tiptoeing towards the bunk beds. As the boys made their way towards their slumbering friend, they were startled by a loud thud just outside their door. Eddy and Double D looked up in shock as the noise jolted Ed upright in his bed just as he had managed to get his hands onto a quadruple barrel laser gun and pointed it defiantly at the new leader of the mercenaries from Raptoreium 7 in his dream.
"INVADERS MUST DIE!" he bellowed, jumping down to the floor, determined eyes scanning the bedroom for any signs of alien life.
"Oh, dear," Double D sighed in defeat.
"So much for 'treading lightly'," Eddy scowled. Before the boys could calm down their friend, the sound of knocking at their door caught their attention. Ed, wasting no time, rushed towards the desk and grabbed the chair.
"Ed, control yourself!" Double D urged. Ed paid no attention to his friend as he dashed back towards the door and held his makeshift weapon above his head with one hand and carefully reached for the doorknob with the other. His friends shut their eyes as they heard the sound of the door being violently pulled and slamming into the wall.
"TAKE THIS, MUTANT MERCEN…" Ed began to yell, only to stop himself as he realized who was knocking at the door. "Hi, Petey!" Double D and Eddy regained their composure and saw that Ed had dropped the chair and was waving at their mutual friend. Pete seemed slightly shaken up after a near run-in with Ed, but was still able to smile politely at the boys.
"Hey, Ed," he greeted. "Double D. Eddy."
"Greetings, Pete," Double D replied cheerfully.
"Before we get rolling on the 'How ya doing?' part, I gotta ask you something Petey," Eddy began as he walked over towards the timid boy and put an arm around his shoulder, his calm nature managing to lull Pete into a false sense of security. "Why did you decide to come over and bang on our door…AT SEVEN O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING?!" Ed and Double D flinched as their friend's infamous yell pierced the quiet air, watching as the intended target nearly jumped out of his skin.
"Geez, sorry," Pete muttered as he rubbed his ears tenderly. "I just figured that now would be the best time to give you this." Eddy's scowl immediately faded into a look of curiosity, matching that of his friends, as Pete reached around the wall and began to strain as he lifted up a large burlap sack.
"What the heck is that?" Eddy asked. Ed reached over and grabbed the bag, looking at the parcel at all angles.
"Feels lumpy, Eddy," he informed his friend as he gave it a sniff. "And it smells like dirt and memories!" This piqued his friends' interests, prompting Double D to reach for the knot and untie the sack. The three boys looked inside and discovered that the sack was filled with a variety of produce, mostly potatoes, corn, and onions.
"Strange…" Double D muttered. "Where was this package sent from, Pete?"
"As a matter of fact, there was a letter that was attached to the sack," Pete explained as he reached into his pocket and pulled out an envelope. "I'm not sure how to pronounce the name, but the address says it's from Peach Creek."
"Well, this makes guessing where the vegetables came from that much easier, doesn't it?" Double D rhetorically asked as he took the envelope and carefully opened it, greatly reducing the level of patience that Eddy was managing to hold onto. Fortunately, the sock-headed teen had pulled out the letter and had cleared his throat before his short friend could begin to complain.
"Greetings Ed-Boys," he began. "The son-of-a-shepherd wishes to inform you of the current goings-on in the Cul-de-Sac. While the attending of the halls of learning has been both time-wasting and stressful on Rolf's noggin, fortune smiles down upon Rolf, much like my great Nano did as I protected the flock from the beasts from my home country. The time for harvest has begun, and Rolf's crops have provided him with more bounty than Rolf could ever imagine! If Rolf were to complain, though, it would be that no one cares to assist the son-of-a-shepherd in gathering the produce. Kevin is too busy with sports, frail Jimmy is much too weak, and Nana will introduce Rolf's posterior to the shoehorn of shame if he is to request the assistance of Go-Go Nazz-girl or Loudmouth Sarah. Jonny-the-Wood-Boy offered to help, but his time as nincompoop was short lived as he grew angry with Rolf when Rolf was witnessed chopping wood for the fire. Perhaps, if Rolf were to admit it, it would be better if the Ed-boys were around to assist in the work, especially Strong-in-Back, Weak-in-Brain Ed-Boy. But never fear, as Rolf shall not be conquered by something as simple as the spud! Anyhow, please accept Rolf's gift of extra roughage, as Rolf has too much in his cellar already. Farewell, Far-Away Ed-Boys! Rolf."
"Gee, Rolfy, you shouldn't have," Eddy sarcastically said, rolling his eyes as he as Ed began to dig into the sack. "What are we supposed to do with a bunch of vegetables?"
"Perhaps we could donate them to the cafeteria," Double D suggested. "The cook down there should have more use for Rolf's present than we would."
"That old hag who makes gruel every day she's in the kitchen?" Eddy asked in a state of furious disbelief. "She's probably never even seen a fresh vegetable in her life, let alone cooked one."
"While I'm inclined to agree with you, I seriously doubt that we could consume the entire sack of roughage before they spoil and leave a permanent stench in our room," Double D retorted. As the boys discussed what they should do with their gift, Ed had pulled out a potato and stared at it intently.
"I KNOW WHAT I MUST DO, GUYS!" the strongest Ed shouted, calling all attention towards his direction. Pete, Double D, and Eddy all watched as their friend dropped down to sit on the floor and began to drag his thumbnails along the skin of the spud in an attempt to peel it.
"Man, what a freakin' day," Eddy groaned as he led his friends out of the cafeteria and into the hallway. "First, Old McBurrhead decides that not only is he gonna keep Rolf's sack of vegetables, he doesn't get dressed until he peeled the potato with his bare hands, almost making us late for class."
"Doth my ears deceive me, or did they just hear Eddy complain about nearly missing a class?" Double D mockingly asked, a gap-toothed grin being returned to the shortest Ed's scowl.
"Anything to stay away from Crabblesnitch," he muttered. "And even though we made it to Chemistry, it managed to get worse. Watts assigns the class to make some itching powder, and that Wu girl 'accidentally' bumps the container and spills that crap all over me." At the recollection of the incident, Ed began to let his laughter go unchecked and echo through the halls.
"Dr. Watts made you get into your boxers and shoved you into the shower in the corner, Eddy!" he exclaimed, pointing towards his friend as his laugh grew stronger. Infected by the antics, Double D couldn't help but succumb to his urge to chuckle at Eddy's expense, while the victim of the joke began to grit his teeth as he silently seethed.
"Come now, Eddy," Double D finally said, recognizing that Eddy wasn't about to take much more of the joke. "Dr. Watts was able to successfully rid your clothes of the compound without having to submerge them in water, allowing you to wear them now rather than sit in the class and wait for them to dry."
"Doesn't mean much when my boxers keep bunching up," Eddy informed his friend, his voice showing how uncomfortable he was. "Let's just get to Galloway's before something else could go wrong."
"Do you think that Mr. Galloway's gonna have a red nose again today, guys?" Ed innocently asked his friends, causing Double D's mood to suddenly darken.
"Oh, Ed," the sock-headed teen sighed. "While I'd like to tell you 'no', I'm afraid that Mr. Galloway will continue to 'have a red nose', as you so eloquently put it, for as long as he continues to let his problems dominate his good sense. I mean, what has the world come to when a teacher feels that they need to consume alcohol on school grounds…during class, of all times! It's as if all common…" Double D's rant was cut short by Eddy's hand covering his mouth.
"Enough already," he muttered. "Bad moral fiber and junk. We get it."
"My mom makes me eat high fiber cereal, guys," Ed informed his friends with a grin. Ignoring the non sequitur, Double D and Eddy led their friend towards their next classroom. However, when the trio got to the door, they noticed that it was shut and a yellow sticky note hung on the door handle.
"Did Double D's parents come here, guys?" Ed asked his friends.
"Guess they wanted to remind you to iron your sock, Sock Head," Eddy jokingly mused as Double D pulled the note off of its resting place.
"Ha, ha, ha," he sarcastically laughed. "No, this note appears to be from Mr. Galloway and, in my opinion, he could work on his handwriting."
"Are you gonna grade it or read it?" Eddy asked his friend, who shot back an angry glare. The shortest Ed held his hands up defensively, prompting Double D to turn his attention back to the note.
"'I have canceled class for the day. The assignment will be cancelled and everyone will receive an automatic 'A'. Enjoy your day off, Mr. Galloway,'" Double D read for his friends. When he looked up for their reactions, he soon discovered that Eddy was leading Ed towards the front door.
"Just when you think that things are ruined, Galloway swoops in and saves the day!" the shortest Ed cheered, snapping his fingers in the air. "You read it yourself, Double D. Let's go back to the dorm." At the two boys reached the end of the hall, they turned to find that, instead of following behind them, was looking into the classroom through the door window.
"Now what's he doing?" Eddy rhetorically asked.
"Double D's looking in the class, Eddy," Ed explained, not knowing that Eddy didn't want the answer. "Let's go see what he sees!" The strongest Ed grabbed his friend's arm and dragged him back towards the English class. Eddy rolled his eyes and gave up on resisting when he arrived at the door, choosing to join his friends in peeking into the room. The trio saw that their math teacher, Mr. Hattrick, was standing in front of Mr. Galloway's desk with a glass bottle in his hand. He was gesturing towards the bottle and pointing a nagging finger towards the English teacher, who was hanging his head over his desk.
"Looks like Hattrick's ripping him a new one," Eddy commented. "And what's he got in his hand?"
"I'm fairly sure that's one of Mr. Galloway's bottles of alcohol," Double D theorized. "I guess Mr. Hattrick has discovered our English teacher's greatest secret." At that moment, the Eds watched the math teacher begin to walk towards the door. Fortunately, Double D and Eddy were able to push Ed away from the door and near some lockers.
"Quick, fellows!" Double D whispered harshly. "We need to act inconspicuous."
"How do we get in con-spike-you-us?" Ed asked his friend. Before the sock-headed Ed could explain what he meant, Eddy took the opportunity to make a joke.
"Well, Ed, I'll tell you how," Eddy smirked. "All you need to do is hit your head against this locker." Giving his friend a smile and a salute, the strongest Ed reared his head back and sent it on a collision course for the metal door. As the sound of his skull slightly caving in the locker's door, Mr. Hattrick had just walked into the hall and turned to see the spectacle. Thinking quickly, Eddy began to pat his friend on the back and gave him a sympathetic look.
"Awww… too bad, Ed," he said to his friend. "Better luck next time." Believing that he had failed his friends, Ed began to feel tears well up in his eyes.
"I COULDN'T GET IN, EDDY!" Ed sobbed, leaning onto his friend's shoulder and letting his emotions drain onto the sweater vest.
"There, there, big guy," Eddy consoled, doing his best to hold back his laughter. "We'll go and get the combination later." Having seen enough, Mr. Hattrick turned away and began to make his way towards the stairs, shaking his head as he left the boys behind. Eddy looked over towards Double D, who couldn't help but raise a condescending eyebrow at his friend's stifled laughter.
"If you're done manipulating Ed's emotions," the smartest Ed began, "I think we should take this opportunity to see how Mr. Galloway is doing."
"What are you gonna do?" Eddy asked. "You gonna give him the same soapbox treatment you gave us?" Suddenly, without any precursor, Ed shot his head up and began to look extremely frightened.
"Soap?" he repeated. "Soap bad for Ed!" He immediately rushed past his friends and into the classroom. Double D and Eddy looked inside and saw that their friend was throwing various items out of the utility closet, making room for himself before he jumped in and slammed the door behind him. The sudden sound snapped Mr. Galloway's attention up towards the remaining Eds. He gave them a drunken smile and extended his arms wide, revealing that he had another bottle that the math teacher didn't discover.
"Ah, welcome, Eddward and Edward," he greeted the boys as they approached his desk. "I suppose that was also Edward who decided to reorganize my closet. Ah, well…looks better this way anyhow." Double D and Eddy noticed that the man's eyes were extremely bloodshot and his speech was heavily slurred. Then, much to their surprise, the man put the bottle to his lips and began to heartily drink the contents. The boys were able to see the label of the bottle, which depicted a scruffy looking red squirrel and read, "Conker's Own Scotch. 50% alcohol by volume. For whenever you wake up to a bad fur day."
"This guy's got a gut that could rival Monobrow's," Eddy commented as Mr. Galloway brought the bottle away from his lips in order to breathe. He looked back to the Eds with a sudden surprise, as if they had just appeared from thin air. The English teacher still welcomed their presence, however, and extended the bottle towards them.
"Care for a spot of spirit to increase the value of your days?" he asked. While Double D was beginning to lose his patience, Eddy decided that there was no better time to take advantage of a situation that rarely shows itself.
"Don't mind if I do, Galloway," the shortest Ed smirked as his hands began to reach for the scotch. Before he could grab ahold of the bottle, Double D snatched it away and began to march it towards the window. The look on his face caused the English teacher to look on in curiosity, while Eddy rolled his eyes at the precursor to his friend's next moral tirade.
"Mr. Galloway, how could you?" he began. "I mean, it's sickening to think that anyone would consume a substance in such an abusive manner, but you're a teacher! Not only are you drinking at school, and not only during school hours, but in front of your students! I mean it's…it's…just WRONG!" The smartest Ed's intensity had managed to achieve three things as it peaked. It had caused Eddy to rub the back of his head, Ed to emerge from his hiding spot, and Mr. Galloway to let out a prolonged sigh.
"Yes, but there are things you don't understand," the teacher said in an attempt to defend himself. "A job like mine comes with very little dignity, and when combined with the lack of respect I receive from the student body and certain members of the faculty, the levels of stress are quite overwhelming. I've tried many different ways to relieve myself from the constant strain, from macramé to building up a large collection of magazines depicting nude women in provocative positions." The mentioning of such magazines was more than enough to cause Eddy to smile sheepishly at the thought of his own stash.
"However, none of those things were able to dull the pain as effectively as scotch!" Mr. Galloway continued, putting emphasis on his drink of choice. "But now…that ass, Hattrick, who has been a constant thorn in my side, has discovered my habit and sees to report me to the head! I'm as good as fired…" As he dropped his head into his hands, Double D's attitude shifted into pity for the man.
"Well, given the assumption that this is your first offense, I'm sure that Dr. Crabblesnitch will put you on a probationary period," he began to say. "Granted, it would require a great deal of effort and a willingness to change on your behalf, but it would still be possible."
"I'm sure it would, but Hattrick brought evidence with him, which will only lead the headmaster to discover the rest," Mr. Galloway said in a defeated tone.
"No big deal, Galloway," Eddy interjected. "All you gotta do is get rid of what you got." Ed, who had been cautiously inching towards his friends in an attempt to keep himself away from any surprise soap attacks, finally reached his friends and tapped the shortest one on the shoulder.
"How is he gonna do that, Eddy?" the strongest Ed asked.
"I'll answer that question, Ed," Double D smiled as he began to open the window. "And I'll do so through a demonstration." His friends and teacher watched on as he began to pour the contents of the bottle out onto the shrubbery below the window. While Ed and Eddy remained unfazed by the action, Mr. Galloway felt a twinge of sadness as his precious scotch flowed down into the grass.
"Precious mana of the gods…wasted…" he muttered to himself as Double D shook out the remaining drops. He turned to face his friends and breathed a content sigh.
"And that's the end of that," he told them. Ed began to mimic his friend's smile, while Eddy shook his head at how the sock-headed Ed made such a big deal of the whole situation.
"Actually…" Mr. Galloway began to say, calling the Eds' collective attention back to him. "There are three other bottles that need to be disposed of…"
"No sweat," Eddy told the teacher, extending his hand out towards him. "Cough 'em up and Double D will start the process over again." The boys waited for the teacher to begin searching through his desk for the remaining alcohol, only to find him chuckling nervously.
"Well, you see…I've actually taken the liberty of placing them in hiding spots around the school grounds," the English teacher admitted to his students.
"Where, exactly, did you hide three bottles of alcohol in a building that is constantly filled with underage children?" Double D asked, doing his best to control his anger.
"Nowhere where they could easily get them," Mr. Galloway assured. "I hid one in the trophy case, which is always locked. Another should be in the kitchen. I've never seen a student or a faculty member brave enough to wander back there ever since Edna took over as the head cook. And the final bottle should be in the out of order stall in the upstairs girls' facilities. No one had fixed it since it broke last year, so I'm sure that you'll still find it there."
"Hold it right there, Booze Hound," Eddy shot. "Maybe I'm not so good with hearing, 'cause it sounded like you just said that we'd still find it there."
"Well, of course," Mr. Galloway said. "I mean, you are going to help me in retrieving my bottles before Hattrick does, aren't you?"
"I don't know, Galloway," Eddy sighed. "Sounds like a high risk job, and something like that doesn't come without a price." Double D, feeling a mixture of sympathy for the pathetic English teacher and a desire to prevent Eddy from taking advantage of a weakened man's desperate state, he immediately stepped in between his friend and Mr. Galloway.
"If I may," the smartest Ed told the teacher before pulling Eddy aside and started to whisper to his friend. "Eddy, if we were to offer our assistance to Mr. Galloway for free, he would be so grateful that he would feel indebted to us. Think of all the benefits from having a faculty member as an ally." It didn't take long for the shortest Ed to smile at his friend's proposition, eager to make the idea a reality.
"Alright, Galloway!" Eddy cheered. "We'll help you out."
"The League of Super Duper Eds is on the case!" Ed exclaimed, putting his hands onto his hips and smiling wide.
"Almost forgot you were here, Burrhead," Eddy chuckled. "Alright, Sock Head. What's the plan this time?"
"I'm fairly certain that if we traveled in a group, we'd take far too much time and run the risk of Mr. Hattrick discovering a bottle before we could retrieve it," the smartest Ed theorized. "If we were to split up and go after one bottle per person, our odds will greatly increase in our favor." As Double D finished his plan, Eddy immediately placed a finger to his nose.
"Not it on going to the girls' room!" he shouted. At that moment, Ed decided to quickly mimic his friend's actions.
"Not it!" he cheerfully repeated, leaving their sock-headed friend to realize what course of action he would be forced to take. Rather than argue with his friends, Double D let out a defeated sigh.
"I suppose it's for the best," he muttered. "After all, I don't have the skill set to pick the lock on the trophy case, nor do I have the digestive constitution to go anywhere near the kitchen."
"Geez," Eddy said. "That really narrows down who does what. Guess we better get moving."
"Before you do, I should tell you how I'm going to try to make things a little bit easier for you," Mr. Galloway said, interrupting the boys' planning. "When you retrieve the bottle, make haste for the broken down bus in the parking lot. Someone who knows my secret will be there to help finish the task. To make things easier, I'll give them the empty bottle so you'll know to trust them." He gestured to the now dry bottle of scotch that had been left on the table.
"Your assistance is much appreciated, Mr. Galloway," Double D responded with a polite smile. "And don't you worry. Ed, Eddy, and I will finish this task with the utmost care and urgency."
"Yeah!" Ed chimed in enthusiastically, only to begin to look confused. "Wait…what are we doing again?"
"It's real simple Lumpy," Eddy told his friend. "All you gotta do is go downstairs into the cafeteria's kitchen. When you get there, go look for a bottle with a little squirrel on it and bring it to the old bus. Got it?" Ed didn't respond with a normal affirmation, choosing to run out of the classroom as soon as the shortest Ed finished explaining the task.
"I'm coming, squirrel!" he called out as he made his way to the cafeteria, unconsciously letting his friends know that he understood what he had to do.
"Well, I guess I had better hurry as well," Double D said. "Wish me luck." The sock-headed Ed then began to speed walk out the door and towards his destination, leaving Eddy as the last one to leave.
"Don't worry, Galloway," he assured as he began to stroll out the door. "Me and my boys will get this done in no time flat." He kept his leisurely pace as he climbed the stairs until he reached the trophy case next to the headmaster's office.
"Alright," he muttered to himself as he began to survey the contents. "If I was a bottle of Conker's, where would I be?" His eyes lazily scanned over the assortment of cups and plaques, only widening slightly when they discovered a smirking squirrel in between the third place basketball cup and a participation award for a debate team from 1992.
"Bingo!" he smiled as he reached into his pocket and pulled out his lock picking set. As he began to work his magic on the pins, the sound of familiar voices coming from the office caused him to stop focusing on his task and begin eavesdropping on what was being said.
"I'm telling you, the man is a drunk!" Mr. Hattrick's voice echoed. "This should be more than enough proof of the fact."
"An empty bottle?" a voice sounding like Dr. Crabblesnitch's retorted. "That's hardly enough evidence, seeing as how most of your testimony is hearsay at its most basic form."
"But…" Mr. Hattrick began to say, only to let out a prolonged sigh. "Fine. But I know how his kind function. He's bound to have more than what I've found."
"Very well," Dr. Crabblesnitch said. "Until you do, please don't interrupt my work again." Figuring that the discussion was finally ended and time was winding down, Eddy began to regain his focus and restarted his work. He listened as the pins clicked in the lock, sliding the glass door open just as he heard the math teacher tell Ms. Danvers a quick goodbye. Eddy immediately reached for the bottle, trying his best to blend his speed and caution as he removed the bottle from its resting place. He shut the glass door, maneuvering himself so his back was to the wall. The shortest Ed also took the precaution to hide the scotch behind his back just as Mr. Hattrick walked out into the stairway, noticing the boy out of the corner of his eye.
"Just what do you think you're doing here?" the math teacher inquired. Eddy, without missing a beat, looked up at the teacher and gave a smile while pointing towards the office with his free hand.
"Ed needed to get his locker combination, but he got a stomach ache," Eddy began to explain. "Must've been something he ate for lunch. Anyways, I'm waiting for him to get back so I can write it down for him. If you want, you could go and check on him to make sure I'm telling the truth…" Mr. Hattrick turned his nose up in disgust, not willing to risk offending his sense of smell just to verify a student's statement.
"That won't be necessary," he informed Eddy. "Just don't expect to be able to loiter around the halls anymore. Am I clear?"
"Like a crystal ball, sir," Eddy cheerfully responded. He maintained his smile as he watched the teacher walk away, making sure that he was long gone before sticking his tongue out at the uptight teacher. The shortest Ed then pulled the bottle out from behind his back and began to twirl it in his palm.
"Hope this goes as easy for Sock Head and Monobrow as it did for me," he muttered to himself as he made his way down the stairs and ran for the front door.
The cafeteria was completely devoid of student life, a state that many of them liked to keep it as often as they could. This would be broken, however, as Ed jogged down the steps and towards the table. With a quick chuckle, he dropped to his hands and knees and began to peek under each one, his eyes searching for any sign of what he was told to find.
"It's ok, little squirrel!" Ed called out. "Ed has come to help you find a new home!" When the creature showed no sign of itself, the strongest Ed immediately picked himself off of the ground and began to scratch his eyebrow, trying to picture where else a squirrel could hide. Before he could come to a reasonable conclusion, however, his nostrils caught wind of a certain aroma that could only cause his mouth alone to heavily salivate. Acting on instinct, he let his legs carry him towards the source of the scent, passing the serving station and entering the small kitchen behind it. Although he wouldn't care, he didn't notice how unsanitary everything seemed to be, from counters to the utensils. The only thing that Ed was able to focus on was the pot on the stove that was emanating the fumes that tantalized his tongue.
"Mystery Mashed Meat with Sour Spice," he happily spoke the dish's name as he licked his chops. As he panted near the dish, the large woman stopped stirring the pot and took notice of the boy. With her hair barely contained in her hair net and the lit cigarette dangling from her lips, she didn't fit the ideal image of someone who prepared other people's food. Edna, however, wasn't one to take any form of criticism seriously.
"What the hell are you doing here, kid?" she asked Ed, taking a moment to recognize the boy. "Hang on…ain't you that kid who keeps asking for extra helpings?" Ed nodded furiously, his eyes barely able to pry away from the pot long enough to look up at the cook.
"Can I lick the spoon?" he asked, clasping his hands together. "Pleeeaase!" Edna's eyes widened at the sight of someone actually begging to get a taste of her meal. After taking a long drag from her cigarette, she exhaled the second hand smoke in a raspy laugh.
"Tell ya what, kid," she smirked. "I'll do ya one better, seeing as how you got good taste. I'll let you have as much as you want." While she didn't believe that any student, let alone one who could stomach her creations, could possibly eat more than a bowlful, she watched as Ed's smile grew wide and his hands clasped the sides of the pot, lifting it off of the burner.
"Past my lips and through my tooth, I'll eat it all and that's the truth!" he happily rhymed just before he tilted his head back and began to pour the mysterious dish down his gullet. The cook watched on in shock as the strongest Ed managed to put away nearly half the pot and showed no signs of slowing down. Realizing her mistake, she reached over for the pot's handles and began to pry the dish away from the boy, whose reluctance and strength made it all the more difficult.
"Jesus, kid," she muttered as she managed to get the pot back onto the stove. "You ate too much! Now I gotta add some more so I can serve it over the week. Do me a favor and go to that fridge. Grab the first packet of meat you find and bring it back here." Ed wiped his mouth off onto his sleeve before giving Edna a quick salute. He then trotted towards the steel door and pulled it open, marveling at the variety of colors he found in the school's meat locker. What had really stood out to the boy, however, was a small red squirrel on a bottle that stood between some grey hamburger and orange chicken breasts. The sight of the cartoon mascot immediately sparked the memory of his friends' plan, causing Ed to forget about his task helping the cook. He grabbed the bottle of scotch by its neck and dashed out of the kitchen.
"I FOUND THE SQUIRREL, GUYS!" he shouted out to his friends as he exited the cafeteria, leaving a puzzled Edna standing over her stove.
"I thought I cleaned out the squirrel stock last month," she muttered to herself as she went back to check her refrigerator once more.
Double D was surprised that he managed to make it as far as he did without having any second thoughts on what he was about to do. They had waited until he was five feet away from the entrance to the girls' bathroom before they began to nag at his good sense. He felt beads of sweat begin to form on his forehead, along with the hairs on the back of his neck standing up.
"N-now, Eddward," he stammered to himself. "You m-m-must remember…you made a p-promise to Mr. Galloway. Albeit, you seemed to forget how great a risk you're taking in attempting to eradicate evidence of a crime." The smartest Ed swallowed hard as his honor and his morals began to battle within his mind. After taking another minute to breathe, he pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket and dabbed his brow dry, shaking his head slowly as he returned the cloth to its place.
"Curse my lack of foresight," he silently chastised as he rushed into the bathroom, knowing that no one had walked in or out since he had arrived. As swiftly as he could, Double D rushed for the stall with the sign that read "Out of Order". He shut the door behind him and locked it as a line of defense against anyone who might discover his identity.
Ok…now where would the best place to hide a bottle that holds 750 milliliters and has a rough volume of 392 cubic centimeters? Double D thought to himself as he looked all around the stall and found no signs of it anywhere. As he began to question the possibility of someone discovering it, his focus immediately found the tank of the broken toilet. His eyes widened in disgust, knowing that the area in question was perfectly capable of housing the bottle he was searching for.
"I never thought I'd say this…" the sock-headed teen whispered to himself as he reached for the cover. "…but I hope that someone else discovered the bottle on the floor." He strained as he shifted the heavy porcelain cover so it could rest on the side of the toilet. Hesitating slightly, he looked into the tank and saw that the bottle was placed inside and, fortunately for him, the water had appeared to have been drained out for some time. Erring on the side of caution, however, Double D pulled off a few squares of toilet paper and used them as a protective shield as he picked up the bottle of Conker's with care.
"Most fortunate," he commented to himself as he undid the stall's lock. "Now, to hurry to the next destination before I am discovered." As fate would have it, the smartest Ed soon found that fortune had quickly turned its back on him, as he walked out of the stall and stood face to face with Mandy. After a brief silence, the head cheerleader broke it with an ear shattering scream.
"HELP!" she cried out as she ran into the halls. "There's a pervert in the bathroom!" The sudden shock had put Double D into a frantic state of mind. He drastically searched for a solution to get him out of the trouble he had wound up in, but every plan he could come up with was met with the worst case scenario. If he ran out as fast as he could, he'd run into a teacher and only expedite his punishment. If he chose to hide, whoever came to investigate the claim would discover him eventually. These thoughts kept him frozen in place, his breathing becoming labored and his sweat beginning to pour out of his body. Suddenly, the sock-headed teen felt a hand grab his arm and pull him back. He watched as the owner of the hand immediately shut the stall door and locked it, turning to face him with a finger to her lips.
"Shhh!" Beatrice whispered. "Stand on the seat, quick!" Without thinking, Double D stepped up onto the lid of the toilet, making sure to stay crouched behind the door. As he got settled, he heard the sound of heels clacking their way into the bathroom.
"I heard that there was a boy in here!" an old woman's voice called out. "Show yourself!" Remembering Beatrice's warning to stay silent, Double D cupped his hands over his mouth and did his best to control his panicked breaths while Beatrice turned towards the door.
"Mrs. Peabody?" the nerdy girl called out. "Is that you?"
"Is that you, Beatrice," Mrs. Peabody responded. "You haven't seen any sign of a boy in here, have you?"
"No, ma'am," Beatrice lied. "If he did, I guess he's long gone by now." Her attempt to dissuade the teacher from investigating any further was met with a brief moment of silence. While he knew that it only lasted ten seconds, the adrenaline surging through his veins caused time to grind to an achingly painful crawl.
"Ok, then," Mrs. Peabody finally said. "I'm heading back to the dormitory. Be sure to be back in time for homework hour."
"Yes, ma'am," Beatrice replied. The nerdy girl and the sock-headed Ed proceeded to listen as the clicking of Mrs. Peabody's heels sounded her exit of the room and slowly faded away. When Double D felt that the proverbial coast was clear, he released his grasp on his mouth and breathed a long sigh of relief.
"That was too close for my tastes," the smartest Ed nervously joked as he stepped down onto the tiled floor. "It appears that I owe you a thank you, Beatrice, for protecting my reputation and my permanent record." He politely smiled at the girl, who began to feel her blush creep over her cheeks and shyly turned away.
"Please, Eddward," she said softly. "I don't require your thanks. But, if you don't mind my asking, what are you doing in the girls' bathroom?" She looked up at the boy, who couldn't help but inadvertently turn his head to the bottle of scotch he had in his hand. Her eyes widened in surprise as they followed his gaze and realized the answer to her question.
"Ohmigod!" she gasped, placing her hand over her mouth. "I had no idea that you…"
"Now, Beatrice, let me explain myself," Double D began to defend himself, ignoring his pet peeve of interrupting someone. "I have this friend, who has decided to quit this habit, but he requisitioned mine and my comrades' assistance in assuring that…" His train of thought was cut off as the nerdy girl placed her finger on his lips.
"I had no idea you were so…bad," she said, a sly smile creeping onto her face. The grin, while coupled with innocent eyes looking through her glasses at him, prompted Double D to recall how a certain blue haired girl would have a similar expression before going in for her kill. The sock-headed teen quickly shook those thoughts out of his head, rationalizing that Beatrice wasn't seeking to torment him.
"I'm afraid…ahem…that I must be going now," Double D began to explain. "Ed and Eddy should be waiting for me and I really shouldn't make them worry." He attempted to maneuver himself around her and get closer to the door. Beatrice, however, had other plans and managed to keep her position between him and his exit.
"Before you go…" she said, dragging her finger down to Double D's chest where she, in a combination of seductiveness and clumsiness, drew circles around his heart. "…perhaps you could do something for me? Something that I've been dreaming about…" Double D's eyes widened as his mind flashed back to the passage he and his friends had read from her diary. He knew that he wasn't emotionally ready to fulfill those kinds of desires, but also knew that he needed to figure a way out of the situation he was in before it was too late. After taking a moment to muster up all the courage within himself, he shut his eyes tight, placed his hand gently onto her cheek and leaned in, pressing his lips against hers. He listened as she contently sighed, relaxing her body and allowing her hand to fall away from Double D's personal smartest Ed then pulled away, opening his eyes to find that she was frozen in her position with her eyes shut. As he cleared his throat, he slowly made his way past the nerdy girl and undid the latch. Before he left, however, he was able to see a faint layer of fog on her lenses, causing the sock-headed teen to shudder at another reminder of the memory he and his friends wanted to repress.
Double D carefully made his way out of the stall and towards the exit, carefully peeking his head out into the hall. Satisfied at how empty the halls appeared, he started to briskly walk his way towards the stairs, hiding the bottle in the side of his sweater vest. As he hurried his way down the stairs and out the exit, he transitioned his stride into a run, worried that his friends were starting to lose their patience waiting for him. By the time he had arrived to the parking lot, he couldn't help but bend over at the waist and attempt to catch his breath.
"HI, DOUBLE D!" Ed's exited voice brought the smartest Ed's attention towards the bus, where his friends were staring back at him. Ed was seated beside the bus with his bottle cradled in his arms, while Eddy preferred to lean against the broken down vehicle and spin the bottle around in his hands.
"Greetings, fellows," Double D replied as he made his way towards them. "Have I kept you waiting long?"
"Nope." Eddy said simply. "I got here first, then Lumpy came running in just as I got settled. You only kept us waiting for about two minutes."
"Very well," the smartest Ed smiled, showing his bottle to his friends. "It also appears that we have successfully accomplished our individual tasks as well."
"Yeah!" Ed beamed as he held his bottle over his head. "And Ed got fed!"
"Whatever that means, Burrhead," Eddy laughed. "Now, all we gotta do is wait for Galloway's friend." Double D nodded and joined his friends in watching the parking lot entrance. After five minutes, the boys noticed a woman in a grey turtleneck sweater walking into the lot, carrying a purse under one arm and a covered canvas under the other.
"Isn't that Ms. Phillips?" Eddy asked as the boys watched her as she began to search the parking lot.
"It is," Double D answered. "Perhaps she must've forgotten where she parked this morning."
"HEY, MS. PHILLIPS!" Ed called out. "DO YOU NEED HELP FINDING YOUR CAR?" The shout immediately caused the art teacher to discover the Eds who, save for Ed, watched in horror as she began to approach them.
"Ed, you dolt!" Eddy whispered. "We still got the alcohol!"
"What are we going to do, Eddy?" Double D asked his friend, his nerves getting the better of him once again.
"Hide 'em here!" the shortest Ed informed his friend as he snatched Ed's bottle and hid it and his behind the flat tire. The smartest Ed quickly did the same and joined his friends in an attempt to act casual.
"Ah, the three Edwards," Ms. Phillips sighed as she approached the boys. "What brings you to the parking lot during your class off?"
"Not much, miss," Eddy lied. "We just like the fresh air we can get right here. Right, boys?" Double D nodded nervously while Ed began to search through the lot for a sign of her car.
"I see," she murmured, setting her contents down onto the pavement. "Well, seeing as how you're here, perhaps you'd be interesting in seeing something I have." The boys nodded absentmindedly, figuring that she was talking about her painting that she insisted on taking home. To their surprise, however she had reached into her purse and pulled out a familiar glass bottle with a smirking squirrel on the label. The Eds looked up towards the knowing smile of Ms. Phillips, immediately being put at ease.
"So, did you manage to find his hidden scotch?" she asked.
"Yeah," Eddy said as he reached into the hiding spot and began to pull the scotch bottles out into the open. "It was easy, wasn't it, Sock Head?"
"Save for a few unforeseen hiccups," the smartest Ed muttered as he began to help carry the evidence to Ms. Phillips.
"No hiccups for me, thanks," Ed laughed. "Maybe next week." Eddy and Double D ignored their friend as they handed the remaining Conker's to their art teacher. She quickly placed them into her purse and placed her arm through the straps.
"Thank you, boys," she said with a smile. "Mr. Galloway appreciates this more than you could imagine. Can I rely on you to help if any more…situations like this come up again?" Her gaze caused the Eds to begin to break out in a nervous sweat. Feeling their tongues go dry, leaving them unable to respond with anything other than slowly nodding their heads.
"Good!" Ms. Phillips exclaimed as she reached for her painting. "Now, I had better get home and dispose of this." She nodded towards her purse and made her way towards what the Eds believed was her car.
"Another good deed done, I suppose," Double D sighed.
"And it wasn't all that bad, after all," Eddy admitted.
"And I am Ed!" the strongest Ed smiled.
"What did you eat today, Lumpy?" Eddy asked sarcastically.
"Mystery Mashed Meat with Sour Sauce," he told his friend, causing the shortest Ed to slap his forehead in disgust and let out a groan.
"Something tells me that Ed should probably get some rest," Double D mused.
"Good enough for me," Eddy muttered. "Let's get back to the dorm." As they began to walk towards the sidewalk, Ms. Phillips had started up her car and rolled down her window.
"Oh, Eddy!" she called out. "Before I forget, Mr. Galloway wanted me to tell you something that he forgot to say before you left him." The Eds, curious as to what the message could be, turned to face their art teacher. Eddy grinned, thinking that it was a message that conveyed the English teacher's gratitude for the Eds' assistance.
"He told me to tell you," Ms. Phillips continued, "that you're supposed to say 'my boys and I' when you said 'me and my boys'." The shortest Ed's mouth hung agape at the realization that he had just been corrected on his grammar. As the art teacher drove out of the lot, Eddy led his friends back to the boys' dormitory, his anger refusing to let him answer his friends when they asked what Ms. Phillips had meant.
Guess I should've warned you that there is a slight undertone of "Please drink responsibly" in this one. Hey, as long as no one's getting endangered, I won't preach. But enough PSA, what did you think about A) Rolf's care package, B) Eddy's skills picking locks, C) Ed's cast iron stomach, D) Double D's...scene, and/or E) the chapter overall. Let me know in a review.