The Simpsons-Renew Your LOLS [Fanfiction]

 

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RENEW YOUR LOLS

 

PROLOUGE:

THIRTEEN YEARS EARLIER

“Hey-key wakey kids” Krusty the Klown yelled at the top of his lungs, which were quick to give out on him due to some excessive smoking mere minutes before.

He wanted to curse out his bodily functions, but regardless of his ill intentions, his show was on the air and he had to abide by its rules, which meant persisting with a smile

He tried to skip over to the hot line, a red mobile phone perched on a pedestal in the center of the stage. It had long been a more traditional handheld telephone, but the networks had it changed to keep things more concurrent. Krusty felt like this was an insult to the art associated with the occasional throwback to a golden age.

As hard as he tried, he found skipping, or even hopping over, to the phone left his knees knackered and his incredibly un-trim belly bloated. He was reminded lately of going up to his father’s old attic to pull out some nostalgic albums and he could barely move around because of his weight issues, and could barely even sit down in order to mount the ladder and scale back down to the floor.

He needed to remind himself daily to try and keep in tip-top shape. Each day that vow would go unfulfilled.

“What we’re going to play with here” Krusty said to his excited child audience, “Is ‘Laugh Line’, this is the big one kids, whoever calls in and answers this Krustacious question, will be granted the ability to call on my services at least one time in their lives. That’s right, if you’re feeling like that smile remains upside down, be it at school, at your parent’s therapy sessions, at your dodgy thanksgiving arguments, just ring the number on the screen beneath, 0-5-7-8-KRUSTYKALL, and you’ll have me in your life for a 24 hour period. A little ray of sunshine on the cloudiest of days…so let’s roll on if we want to get someone rolling on the floor, who do we have on the line Mel?”

“Line Five” his sidekick Sideshow Mel revealed

“Keep him off” Krusty replied

“Sir, its Line Five” Mel insisted.

“No, we’re banning him outright from this”

“Why?”

“Why? Because he’s had enough goes. I’ve seen him plenty of times. So much so he’s become as famous as me…and it was just as fleeting”

“Krusty, I think you’re being a bit harsh”

“That’s the thing about fans kids” Krusty said, addressing his audience “They think they’re entitled to everything, they know what they should GET, but sometimes they don’t necessarily think about what they NEED. Sometimes in life, they NEED to move aside sometimes and let someone else muscle in. Fresh turf is where we surf from here on out, so anyone BUT line five will do”

“Fine, we’ll skip over to line six” said Mel.

“Hello?” Krusty said, picking up the phone.

“Hi” came a squeaky feminine voice

“What’s your name?” asked Krusty, tapping the phone

“Kristy” said the voice.

“And here’s the question…who am I right now?” Krusty said, tapping a wooden table

“The one who knocks” said Kristy.

“She got the joke folks, congratulations Kristy, you have my services whenever you want it” Krusty responded.

Watching this unfold on television was caller five, who had been denied.

Bart Simpson hated to be denied.

Was Krusty right though? Had Bart been around Krusty so much he saw him more as an associate than a fanatic that needed his constant attention?

“Bart, Laura’s at the door” said Marge from the main hall.

Bart got up and opened the door, greeting his old neighbor and babysitter, as well as one of his earliest crushes, Laura Powers. Her t-shirt bore a Captain America with his letter “A” on his chest and the flag on his mask, completely the wrong way around, but it was a tell-tale sign of how much she always liked to turn things you expect to stay the same on its head.

She looked as lavish and as beautiful as ever, her chestnut brown hair was tied back and her jeans were tattered, but her eyes were still spell-blindingly striking and her smile was infectious to the heartstrings.

“Laura, hey, is everything chill?” Bart said nervously, the old butterflies from yesteryear hadn’t quite subsided around her. They never could.

“Just my luck champ, ’cause I’ve got something wicked cool just for you” Laura said in a familiar voice

“Line Six? YOU were Kristy?” Bart said in astonishment as he picked up on the voice.

“Nifty trick huh? Mom wanted me to enter that talent competition, but after finding out the winner of this year’s search was for a dog act that required a stunt double for the participant, she’s sort of discouraged me”

“Gee, Laura, thanks” Bart replied

“You’re going to have to promise me something though”

“What?”

“Use it when you’re older”

“Why not now?”

“Because you have everything to live for right now. Your whole lives in front of you, wait ’till you have everything in the palm of your hand, and whenever you feel like it’s slipping, then is the time to smile about it”

“Great, save it for adulthood” Bart dryly and sarcastically remarked, huffing “People grow out of things, Krusty’s already growing out of having a persistent fanboy, what good’s a Clown when you have anything my dad guzzles down at that age?” Bart asked.

Laura brushed Bart’s hair with her right hand, “You’re little, but you’re big on improvising, when you see a chance, you’ll seize it”

“I’ll go one better, I’ll do it for you. Anytime you’re in a jam, I’ll ask Krusty to get on top of it”

“Rather it than me” Laura replied,

Bart looked confused

“Never mind, big person humor” she said, “I’ll hold you to your promise, but take it to another level for me…do it for any kids I might come to know in the future. Kids your age. The right age. I’ve kind of grown out of that stuff”

“Consider it done” Bart said, high-fiving his former sitter. “Say, how long you in town for? I’d love you to drop by again, I have the WHEW network, we can sit down and watch that” asked Bart.

“Oh, just catching up with a few Holograms” said Laura.

“I don’t follow” said Bart.

“Oh you know, just what I name my gal pals, you know, after that Jem movie?”

“That’s an awful film. I should know I’ve seen the full trailer” said Bart.

“I know, it drives my friends nuts when I call them that” Laura replied. “Don’t worry, I’m on social hang-outs, look me up, we can be online pals for as long as it takes to grow beyond those shorts you tell people to eat”

“And after that?”

“Who knows?” Laura said, “Maybe then I’ll have a man rather than a cow” Laura teased.

“You ok?” Bart asked.

“Just waiting” Laura replied.

As Laura left, Bart pondered the meaning of her words, and looked at the phone number she had left.

An opportunity to call Krusty at any point.

In a period where Krusty may no longer want or need him.

A thought occurred to him.

How would that define the pair of them if he were to use it years from now?

***

THIRTEEN YEARS LATER

The sun was right to invite itself as the dour mood from the huddled crowd surrounding the grave was suddenly lifted by it. The spectators looked up and took in the exhilarating summer air that accompanied it.

Bart couldn’t process that mentality. It was the same with people who go to spread ashes in the ocean. They all end up taking a dip, they all cool themselves off, and they all swim.

Swim merrily along while portions of their souls are drowning.

Drowning in grief.

There was no perfect pitch to the healing process, yet people always strive to find some solution. It may look a pleasant sight, maybe to an artist painting a picture nearby, or has a camera handy to capture the moments.

Laughter was to follow as someone made a joke that the person occupying the grave would have made. There was cheer and adulation.

It sickened Bart.

He then began to wonder just where Lisa was.

She shouldn’t have missed out on this.

Maybe her husband didn’t feel comfortable with being around so many people. People that had hurt him in the past.

Bart shook his head at the potential reason for eluding this event. He had been hurt many a time by the occupant of the grave, to the point he once raised an army against him. A time where he fancied himself a General. Water balloons at the ready, a day where the bullies of Springfield were given a taste of what a true uprising looked like.

A simpler time.

Bart looked to his right; the gravestone that had done the man in had been put back in its original place.

He expected the little kid to the middle of the mourners, Calvin was his name, to bear all and urinate down the side of it, an ill-intentioned mark of territory. A mad dog upset with that which slid off its foundations and crushed it’s master.

In Calvin’s case, his father.

A way to say ‘I owe you’

As the procession ended and the laughter grew ever louder, Bart slipped away back to his car and drove back along the bustling streets paved with road works and intolerable traffic pile-ups to reach the apartment blocks.

The rain suddenly switched itself on. Bart stormed through the rain and pressed the buzzer at the right of the door, the door unlocked and he went inside, he climbed up the stairs, making sure not to inhale the fresh coatings of paint on the unappealing and blank walls, turned to his left, and entered the second door in the hallway.

Once inside, he made a bee-line to the kitchen, where he found the most charming and feisty woman his formative years in life had ever known making him a sandwich.

To the right of him, in the center of the kitchen table, was a high-chair containing a true bundle of life and joy, the perfect remedy for a day dosed in dreary feelings.

“How did the day go?” said Laura.

“Well I didn’t poke the body with a stick” Bart joked, and leaned in for a kiss with his wife.

Laura grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and poured her lips into his, giving him a surge of an emotional sensation that did more to clear his head than the adulation and brightness found in the mass crowd that had accompanied the funeral of Nelson Muntz.

“How was that trick?” Laura asked.

“It’s a kind of magic” Bart replied.

“You never forget that line” said Laura, walking over to the table and feeding the baby some yoghurt.

Bart sat down at the table, leaning back in his chair with his hands folded behind his back, he stared at the child before him, it looked back at him, curious eyes staring straight into him, she stretched her arms outright, expecting an embrace, and getting one as Laura scooped her up and waltzed around with her. Bart took in the sights and saintly sounds as Laura began singing to her kid.

Granted, it was a Beyoncé track, something not too close to his chest in terms of musical preference, but he was hip about it.

“You know I was thinking a lot today” Bart said, “Remember that laugh line number you got me when we were young?”

“Little Maize is way too young” Laura said, “She’s not even old enough to process a knock knock joke, the closest thing she has to cutting edge late night is when you and I pull goofball faces to her or to one another when we can’t get any shut eye”

“No, not for Maizie, for the kids who saw the accident” said Bart.

“You reckon that’s why Lisa and Ralph didn’t show?” asked Laura.

“Maybe not the whole reason, but I could understand it if it was their kids, they were traumatized” said Bart, “I go to Lisa’s house usually every second day of the week and their faces are just so vacant these days, not a drop of mirth coming out of their mouths, and they used to laugh at anything, especially Dad trying to work off an exercise bike and breaking it in two as soon as he stepped OFF rather than ON”

“So Krusty could be up to it? It’s been a long time” said Laura

“Hey, he owes you, and you’re family now, you know Lisa’s kids, you babysit them, so consider this me living up to my promise years back. Kids you know are going to get an injection of quality laughter”

Laura walked over to him, wrapped her arms around him and stuck her tongue out at baby Maize. She giggled.

“They’ll be no talk of injections around this table, Maize’s scheduled for a jab this weekend, I think she senses it coming” Laura said.

“I’ll be more wise with my words babe, trust me” said Bart.

“Just be sure about calling on Krusty too” she said, “Nostalgia makes you high on things that can leave you low”

***

Aztec and Olmec Wiggum were through waiting, even if their scheduled appointment had not come through just yet.

They were taking charge of the waiting room’s play area. They were going to command attention, anything to drive them to distraction from what they were currently feeling.

They would take the toys in the play area from those indulging in them, even the ones without that many accessories attached, because they’d all been pilfered by other children on visits to the therapy clinic, and they would try their best to act out a domestic family argument. The content of their play was enough to disturb the parents, even if the haplessly innocent children in the clinic were more concerned with waiting their turn.

As she anxiously waited for the Doctor to call them in, a frustrated and concerned Lisa Wiggum tried to keep her children under control, but her eyes wandered to where her husband was seated.

Ralph was starting up a conversation with a young male to his left.

Just her luck.

“I couldn’t help but notice you were humming Crash Trolley’s theme song, did you see the Wrestling event last night or what?” asked the male.

“Yeah” said Ralph, “But I want my wife to see the rerun, so no spoilers”

“Really? You don’t want to take my mind off of…y’know…this?” asked the male, pointing to the foreboding cream blue door in front of them.

“You can take clothes off, not minds” said Ralph.

The male backed away ever so slightly.

“You’ll have to forgive my husband, he’s always thinking a little too literally” said Lisa.

“Doctor Ullman will see the Wiggums now” came the voice over the intercom.

Lisa approached her children and pried them away from the dollhouse and fire engines just as they were about to enact a bit of drama over a domestic disturbance that had resulted, in their minds, in a fire. As they were dragged into the door, they could be heard to make small explosive noises, which seemed to inspire the other kids in the waiting room to echo the sounds in unison, much to their parent’s annoyance.

Sitting down in the compact therapist’s office, Lisa and Ralph looked tensely at one another, clutching each others hands tightly while their kids chased each other around them in a frantic circle.

Doctor Ullman turned her chair around to face them, having spent some analyzing some notes she had been preparing.

“How many hours have you had sleep?” she asked

“We tried taking him down from five grams to two, but it didn’t agree with him” said Lisa.

“Silly, pills never argue” said Ralph playfully.

“You’re being a clown” Lisa said, “We agreed not to act like that around the doctor”

“The duck lady is in a flap. I can tell” said Aztec as she grabbed Olmec and put him in a tight headlock.

“Duck lady? Mrs. Wiggum…have you or any member of your family been calling me a QUACK behind closed doors?” asked Doctor Ullman, with more of a fire ignited in her mannerisms.

Lisa stared at the floor in embarrassment

“No, but their grandfather always cares enough to speak his mind on these matters. Whether I like it or not” Lisa said, embarrassed as always by what her father could say in the heat of conversation.

“How long have the children been displaying aggressive symptoms?” said Ullman.

“Oh, they’re not that aggressive” said Lisa, looking back up to the doctor, only to find Aztec and Olmec had wrapped the telephone cords around their fingers and dragged the contraption off the desk.

“I don’t need a phone to tell you that was a bad call on your part” said Ullman, “The kind of behavior they were exhibiting in the waiting room has me concerned”

“You were watching?” said a shocked Lisa.

Ullman pressed a small oval shaped button attached to her desk; a monitor screen slid up from underneath her observational window and displayed a series of black and white CCTV recordings.

“The walls have ears as much as people do Mrs. Wiggum” she said.

“She should send those in to America’s Home Videos” said Ralph. Lisa tightened her grip on his hand, trying to hurt him, to control him, but he seemed oblivious to the intent.

“Enacting a domestic spat that can only end in violence is a touchy subject for any child to be thinking about, and it’s something commonly connected with what they seem to be expecting of you two. Have you had any disputes that could lead them to consider these left-field concerns?” asked Doctor Ullman.

“No, no, Ralph and I love each other, we’ve loved each other since we were kids, we’d never break a bond that goes back as far as that, even after all of this” Lisa said in protest, resting her head on the shoulders of her husband.

“Something clearly happened at that graveyard, something that’s making them act out these fantasies, if you have such wedded bliss, why are they acting as if you would do anything to disrupt that?” probed Ullman further.

Ralph slowly began to breathe a bit more deeply; Lisa could tell straight off he was starting to struggle with how heavy this all seemed.

“Can we schedule this for another day?” said Lisa.

“Here you go again, something new emerges that requires our attention, and you flee from it just on the cusp of a break-through, I’d rather we get this all out of our way right now” insisted Ullman.

Ralph began to sweat a bit, “I feel hot” he said.

“Its nerves Ralph, nothing more” said Lisa, stroking his back, “Don’t let it strain you too much, you hear me baby?”

“Your husband may be a man-child, but he’s not oblivious is he? Exactly how much of this experience have you been honest about when talking to your family about it?”

“They know it had an effect on the kids, that’s all” Lisa revealed.

“And what of the effects on you? On Ralph? It seems he’s more traumatized than they are” noted Ullman.

“Please, don’t push me, I don’t want to push back” said Ralph, a few tears pouring from his eyes.

“Ralph, keep calm” said Lisa.

“Mrs. Wiggum, stop coddling him and be straight with me. What happened those few weeks ago that could affect him worse than the children?”

“If I tell you the truth, Ralph will pay the price, surely you can understand me wanting to keep my cards close to my chest”

“Oh you’re a royal card alright Mrs. Wiggum, and if you’re not careful, your whole family will be flushed” said Ullman in frustration

“Look, let’s reschedule, I just think everyone needs a bit of comedy, something lightweight to take them off this roller coaster…renew our laughter out loud” Lisa suggested.

“Medicine is the best medicine Mrs. Wiggum” replied Ullman sternly, “Laughter is a mask”

“Maybe, but I’ve found that so long as you leave the mask on, you can be just about anything you want to be” Lisa replied.

***

Bart reckoned it was an afternoon well spent.

Putting his feet up, sitting back on the couch, the idiot box lit up, a good game of football on, a Duff bottle held firmly in his right hand, and nacho cheese chicken crumb stains all over his checkered shirt.

This was incriminating evidence that he had been raiding the family feast portion of the fridge and tucking into a fine meal ahead of the evening.

If she were anything like his mother, Bart would be lectured on that for hours.

Bart could be the sensitive sort, but he knew when to bottle himself up, but women always made him weak at the knees. Their disapproval of him always made him cry more.

He cast his mind back to when Edna gave him an F.

He felt so trapped that day, so helpless. That nothing he said or did mattered to anyone.

So he spoke out. He tried to turn the tide. In a moment of kindness from God, fate, whatever you want to call it, Edna caved in and changed her grading.

And Bart kissed her.

Women. No matter what the age, they had an influence on his soul, pulling him in so many directions, sometimes a benefit or a blight to others depending on the people he met.

One thing that concerned him was how flawed most of them were. Even the adults like Edna.

Jessica, the rest, they were negative influences despite their saintly looks.

Even Laura, beautiful Laura, gravitated to the bad boys. Just ask Jimbo Jones.

Just ask Bart Simpson.

But as adult life eventually seeped into his own, Bart didn’t feel like much else could happen that he hadn’t accomplished as a child. The ‘bad boy days’ as he knew them seemed to peak at the age where he was still just a boy.

He was barely out of his teens now, settled, committed. He always had visions of futures where none of this would work if he stayed who he was as a youngster.

Everything ending in the worst case scenario.

Broken hearts, weak knees, court battles, custody clashes.

“Not here” he thought, “This is what I have, and it’s something I’ll work hard at keeping . They deserve it. I deserve it”

He looked at the photos on the mantelpiece. Photo booth kissing, riding bikes down a lavish hillside, a picnic near the power plant, pretending to tuck into a three-eyed fish.

Homer actually taking it too far in one photo and coming close to feeding Maggie it.

Bart grinned.

Homer.

Maybe a call was in order.

He got off his Kester and moved over to the phone, he dialled up the familiar numbers that connected him to his family abode on Evergreen Terrace.

“Hello? Do we want any?” came a laboured and lazy voice, “I know Marge always tells me to say we don’t want any, but I’d like to give it a whirl if the price isn’t so steep”

“No Homer, I’m not trying to sell you jack, it’s just me” Bart said.

“Boy” Homer said, before bursting into a fit of laughter, “How’s the game? The Spring Steps are getting jacked right off the pitch at the moment”

“Laura bet on the Shelby shooters. I’ll be tucking into a bigger and better meal tonight with those earnings” Bart replied.

“Whatever happened to rooting for the homer-town team?” Homer replied.

“You know this happens whenever a nest is emptied” Bart responded, picking up one of the photos of Homer covered in mud and aggressively attacking a cameraman from the period he was mistaken for Bigfoot. “Sometimes you just go a bit ape for the alternatives”

“How’s little Lisa?” asked Homer, “And don’t sugar coat it….hmmm….sugar coating….”

“Train of thought Homer” Bart urged, “Stay on track”

“Yeah, totally. How is she?” he asked.

“She’s alright, all things considered. Was thinking of calling in a favour from an old face”

“I’ll be there in a jiffy…unless you mean Grandpa, if so, he’ll be there more all tipsy”

“He’s still drinking?” Bart replied, “At his age?”

“Told me it was just a little, but at the rate he’s going, a little is more than a lot”

“I didn’t mean Grandpa, or you, I meant Krusty” said Bart.

“Be wise boy, Krusty isn’t so sure on summons these days. One time he went to a birthday bash, and a few drinks later, he ended up taking the ‘bash’ part a little too literally”

“That was more a grown-up’s gig. He adapts different mentalities where that’s concerned” Bart said, “This will be with kids, he’ll sort everything out”

“Let’s hope you’re right boy, I’d hate the kids to be standing in another’s rain. D’OH. Sorry boy, had a bit of a lady mondegreen there”

“Dad, you got it right” Bart replied

“Got what right?” said Homer

“The mondegreen. The misheard lyric, you actually got it right, everyone interprets it as ‘standing in another’s grave’, but the rain part is exactly right”

“Whoo-Hoo” Homer yelled in triumph.

“Take care Homer…Dad…I love you” Bart replied, and after a hearty exchange of that, he put the phone down.

The buzzer on the door went off. Laura and the baby were home. Bart let them through.

As Laura made her way upstairs and entered the apartment, she examined Bart’s shirt and casually shook her head while smiling.

“Did the Springsters lose their step? Because if not you are so paying for the diner tonight” she replied.

“Rival school is the rule of cool so far” Bart said.

“So 90s” Laura continued, removing her jacket before scooping Maize up in her arms.

“How’d her jab go at the clinic?” Bart asked.

“Valiant with the vaccine” said Laura, “How about you? You still want to make the call to your Clown?”

“Well, I’ve already run rings around a member of the family circus, how can one from an actual one hurt?” replied Bart.

“You sure you can pull off a convincing female voice over the phone?” she said, “He’ll still think you’re Kristy”

“Hey, you know how long I’ve been practicing, I’m starting to think a women’s voice fits me like a glove” Bart joked.

“Still wondering why I won’t do it?” asked Laura, pinching his cheek.

“Tell me over dinner. I can digest anything you say better than anything on a plate” said Bart

***

Lisa paced up and down the room, looking at Ralph as he sat in the old wooden chaired given to the family by her grandmother at the center of their living room.

The kids had been put to bed early, even a few hours ahead of curfew.

That’s how serious Lisa was treating the situation.

“The television isn’t on” Ralph said.

Lisa switched it on, but made sure to turn down the volume.

“I want to watch something” Ralph insisted.

Lisa folded her arms and stared at him.

“We’ll watch something when you’re better” she said

“Have I caught something? Am I with diseases?” Ralph asked, a little anxiety growing in his voice.

“You’ve got something that’s not making you take anything in” Lisa answered, kneeling down and resting her head on Ralph’s legs.

“Count to me” she said.

“800” replied Ralph. He was quick to stop after the utterance of the number.

“Still can’t get past that number?” Lisa asked, her fingers lightly dancing across Ralph’s lap lovingly.

“The internet is a bad place” said Ralph.

“It is, isn’t it? Is that how the little ones found out? Did you tell them?”

“Nelson made me do it” Ralph insisted, “He told me I’d be famous if we found out together”

“It was a lie though wasn’t it? Oh honey, you were being manipulated by him” she said, moving her arms over Ralph’s shoulders and tightly wrapping them around his neck as he leaned forward.

“Every time I’d nip down to the shops, for milk, or cakes…I like cakes, they would be there asking why I hadn’t had a shave, or a wash…and then they asked me if the Easter Bunny was real, and then they’d tell me things about the town, and I never knew if they were true or not” Ralph said, his anxiety levels slowly creeping up on him again.

He took in a few intakes of breath. Lisa moved forward and gave him a gentle kiss.

“I love you” she said, “Keep going, we can push through this if you want to Ralph, I believe you can. I won’t judge you for it. Just admit it to yourself”

“Nelson told me about the 800 orphans, their bodies, where they were, in the septic tank near the graveyard, he said there were 800 bodies in there, and if we found them together, we could share the credit, I’d have money, we’d be like Roseanne after the lottery”

“You took the kids with you” Lisa said.

“They wanted to see the bodies…their Aunt Laura likes poking them with sticks, so they brought some. They got carried away with them. They started poking Nelson and Calvin with them. Wish they could see the look on their faces, but their eyes had made contact with the wooden ends of the sticks”

“That’s what set them off didn’t they? Aztec told me Calvin pushed him into one of the open graves”, Lisa continued, convinced she was making some kind of break-through.

“Nelson got piping hot. He seemed to grow as he got mad, like a giant off the beanstalk. So I brought the beanstalk down on him” said Ralph.

“No, this is not a fairy tale Ralph, you have to accept that, you have to get to the root of the problem, with you, with this…it wasn’t a beanstalk, and you didn’t topple a giant”

Lisa took Ralph up from the chair and proceeded to waltz around the room with him. The formal dancing gently eased Ralph’s nerves.

The two made eye contact, their pupils ignited with reflection, revelation, light, and love.

“I…I…it was a headstone. An Angel was on top, arms spread wise, like it wanted to hug him” said Ralph, “So she did, and he liked it, he didn’t let go. It was funny to see her on top of him”

“Is it funny Ralph?”

“Renew our laughter. That’s what you said to the Doctor, I’m trying my best” said Ralph.

“Nothing over something as morbid as murder Ralph” said Lisa, “That’s what it was. You killed Nelson because he threatened our boy”

Calvin still thinks it was an accident” said Ralph

“I don’t know” Lisa said, “but…Ralph, I want you to know, this is something I’ll keep to my grave”

“No, keep it to my grave” said Ralph.

“Deal” Lisa said, drying her eyes as gentle tears came pouring down.

As the waltz continued, Ralph stared at the blank television.

“I miss the moving pictures” he said

***

At the bustling food bank that was Moe’s Family Feedbag (either second time’s the charm or I pay for half your housing bills), Bart and Laura Simpson were savouring the delights that their earnings from the Football bet had provided for them.

Laura took the time to tell Bart a little bit about her day at work.

“I get the strangest requests from this one crank that befriended me on Facebook” she said, “I know I was supposed to be occupying my time with charting digital sales and e-mailing them, but the requests were so insistent and bizarre I had to take time out to get to the bottom of it. This one girl, no kidding, wanted me to buy her a box full of 90-era Bongo comics. [U]Mint [/U]condition. Fifty dollars, on e-bay” she said as they tucked into a noodle and curry pizza with all the delicate manners of a piglet at a troth.

Even Maize Williams Simpson was tending to her small morsels of meat with more fines than her parents.

People stared. The couple were content to allow them to. They were the ones having the time of their lives.

“So level with me. Why won’t you do it?” Bart asked his wife, with the question pertaining to why she wouldn’t call Krusty and put on what would have been a more convincing act than him.

“Take the responsibility away?” Laura replied.

“You reckon Krusty will see through my cheap imitation? Because I could totally land a better gig with this” Bart said, putting on his feminine voice.

“You’re used to being yourself Bart”

“Yeah, but if he figures out it’s me…he’ll…”

“He’ll what?” Laura asked, “You’ve met him loads of times since I got you that number, he was always coming through for you then”

“Maybe it ought to be different this time” Bart replied, peering into the distance.

Laura took a napkin from the table and cleared Maize’s stained mouth with it, she grabbed onto the napkin and playfully tugged at it with her mother.

“Is it because of what I said earlier? About nostalgia getting you all high and then reality rendering you low?” Laura asked.

“I’ve seen reality with Krusty. Up close. Once the magic’s clear to you, it kind of fizzles out. Krusty isn’t the type to hide it either” Bart answered, taking another bite of his food and talking while gnawing away at it.

“Well, maybe that’s just what Lisa’s kids need. Someone who can make you laugh, but rarely sees the funny side. You’d be surprised how many can pick up on that”

“You always had an eye for what young scamps like me could think” Bart replied, “We’re walking books that you’re just able to read”

“The book of Bart was always my favorite” Laura said, tucking into her own food with similar ill manner, almost as if to disturb the more sophisticated types trying to dine on their own dinner.

“How long do you reckon before we’re kicked out?” said Bart.

“As soon as we start tucking in with our feet” said Laura.

“When do you reckon we do that?” Bart asked.

“Oh let Maize do it first, everyone will fawn over her” Laura suggested.

***

As the late evening crept in, Ralph was sound asleep, but Lisa just couldn’t shut her eyes and join him in merry slumber.

She got out of bed and crept down the stairs, entering the kitchen to pour herself a soothing glass of hot coffee.

She nursed the cup steadily in her hand, looking outward at the photos of days spent in her youth with her brother, her younger sister, and the young Wiggum lad that allowed his heart to be stolen by her.

It would take a lot of hard work, but in time, she would let him know that he had stolen hers.

Or maybe he always had, and all that was left was for her to slowly realize it.

She thought she knew what she was getting into when she married someone like him.

Anxieties, a playful blend of innocence and ignorance, a kind but irreverent soul.

All the qualities Lisa was often insistent on eluding, out of fear of social ridicule if anything.

At the time she didn’t want another Homer in her life.

She had been thinking of calling her family, as Bart already had when she got him on call to arrange the play date for Krusty,

Her husband had taken a life.

Not just any life.

The life of a boy she had crushed on.

A boy, who terrorized her brother, yet had stirred her own soul.

And here she was, vowing to never tell anyone what Ralph had done.

She wanted to question herself, question her ethics.

To challenge herself.

She didn’t want to feel trapped.

Too many instances had occurred in her childhood where she felt that way. She liked to think it was a predicament she had learned to grow past.

She had to face the big black world as an adult.

What terrified her most was Ralph’s obliviousness to it all.

How would it affect the outlook her children had on the world? Knowing this incident was a part of their all too fragile lives.

Would the tears of a clown be any better than the tears of a heartbroken mother? Or their own tears later in life as the full magnitude of Nelson’s death came down on them?

Would they blame her?

How many questions could she think aloud?

How many days would she count maintaining the secret before it spilled out in the heat of an argument?

No.

No.

She would think of only that one word.

That one simple answer.

She would not entertain the idea of cutting loose.

Not in front of her kids.

And not in front of Ralph.

She was a Wiggum now. Not just a Simpson.

The Wiggum word was law.

She knew the law in Springfield could be unjust, it could be unfair.

But it also had maintained some semblance of order for what had felt like generations more than a couple of decades.

And that largely in part to Ralph’s father having connections, and being made of stern stuff in order to deal with all kinds of shady stuff.

Maybe she needed to seek out his advice.

And maybe she should consider her options.

If she told Clancy, she would condemn Ralph to a daily reminder of disappointment and hurt from his own flesh and blood.

Would he then blame Lisa for that?

Another question.

So many.

Lisa realized Krusty’s visit would not stamp out the approaching firestorm. If anything, it would be like drenching a spark with oil.

She still thought his presence was required, but she wanted something different.

She wanted Krusty to be himself.

Warts and all.

By giving her children the world outside her window, it would ready them ideally for when they stepped out into it.

Would she be forgiven for the risk?

Dammit.

Another question.

She finished off the hot coffee and gently strolled back upstairs to the bedroom, she would gaze upon the face of her slumbering husband, she would check on her children in their own room, and she would come to the only logical conclusion she could as a mother and wife.

To renew their laughter, she would first see fire set to tears.

***
Bart tossed and turned in his sleep. He awoke for had now been the fifth time.

He couldn’t try a sixth turning, he decided to get up for the time being.

He did some stretching and combed his hands through his spikey hair, as his weary and baggy eyes stared at the clock.

3:15 AM.

He groaned and made his way to the living area.

He couldn’t believe Laura was still up.

Spread across the sofa, chowing down on cold noodles watching the teleshopping infomercials on mute.

“Hey champ, what’s keeping you cooking?” she asked, noticing how much Bart was sweating,

“The weather’s pretty chill, is it the radiator? I’ve been meaning to lower the temperature on that” she said.

“How do you do it?” asked Bart.

Laura smiled and leaned her head upside down over the side of the sofa, a small noodle hanging out of her lips, her eyes fixated on her husband.

“Do what?” she said.

Bart leaned over and took the loose noodle out of her mouth, kissed her on the lips, then deposited the noodle back into his mouth.

“Hang with the baddest of boys?” said Bart, sporting an alluring and mischievous grin.

“Because I know you’re just too good to be totally bad” said Laura, reaching out for Bart’s nose with her finger and squeezing it.

“You reckon Lisa’s kids will be able to handle Krusty next weekend?” said Bart as Laura got up, and offered him a seat on the couch.

“They can handle anything. They’ve got Simpson blood…their blood runs righteously red. A brave color, a strong color. It isn’t as yellow as our features”

Bart wrapped his arms around her and gently stroked his hands through her hair.

“How did I do it? Meet you, make Maize, make it all work…how?” he asked.

“You put in the hours…amongst putting in other things” Laura said in a playful manner, “And your finest hour is yet to come”

Bart took a small note out of his pyjama pocket, he opened it up.

“What’s that?” asked Laura.

“A speech I wrote for Nelson’s wake” Bart answered.

“Why didn’t it follow the funeral?” asked Laura.

“Not everyone could make it. This will be the official get together to make up for that” Bart said.

“Are you still going? Nelson victimized you. A lot. You don’t owe him any charity” said Laura, “Besides, Jimbo will be there and I’d rather not open up the skeletons left in that old closet”

“No, I think I’ll take the little poem I wrote and use it at the get-together with Krusty this weekend”

Laura put on her reading glasses and took a look at the bottom half of the eulogy speech. Bart sat back and admired the sensational sight of his wife looking like the kind of formal librarian fantasies he and his father would often think about when withdrawing books back in the day.

“Bart, these are lyrics from a TV show” Laura said.

“I know…but they’ll remind Krusty of times spent in television. Forever his home y’know?”

“These specific lyrics will make him feel a bit old given how many years they’ll take him back to” said Laura.

“think that emphasizes the point of all this” said Bart, taking the glasses off of Laura’s face and planting his lips delicately onto hers once again, before disembarking and moving his lips towards her right ear.

“We’re all a little older” Bart whispered into his wife’s ear as the pair locked into an embrace and allowed their passion for each other to ignite.

***

The following morning brought news and nurture to the Wiggum household.

As Aztec and Olmec argued at length over which of the final two Variety breakfast pack to choose from, Lisa had taken to her study area to do some light reading, and had found that her husband had snuck back on it again.

His own laptop had been in the PC repair shop for a record breaking fiftieth time. He had never quite learned his lesson about downloading spyware. He had often mistaken it for “Eyewear” following a misquote or two in a conversation with Groundskeeper Willy.

Ralph figured he looked more presentable in glasses. Lisa never agreed with that. She figured he was doing it out of fears she still had thing for Van Houten.

Lisa calmly read what Ralph had been typing away at on her own computer.

A poem had been plastered publicly across his Facebook profile.

Somber Footsteps

By Ralph Wiggum

On a patch of Earth

Our home, our land

Comes somber footsteps

Along the sand.

As winds gather

And tides are tossed

We take a breath

We count the loss

There are those that walk still

Who fled so far

There are those that stayed

As the sun swayed to stars

It’s those we thank

For staying guard

In our sombre footsteps

Across the scorching sands

We reach out to your hearts

And hope you’ll take our hand

It already had fifteen approved likes.

Lisa logged in and quickly added her own like, following it up with the comment, “Very proud to be your muse as well as your Mrs.”

She knew he’d like that.

“Mom, someone’s at the door” yelled Olmec. Lisa darted out to the hall to greet the visitor.

Her heart almost leapt out.

She felt like forming a fist and swallowing it whole to keep from hyper-ventilating. Or screaming. And both.

It was Chief Wiggum.

It was the law.

Was he here to investigate what happened to Nelson?

Had Ralph confessed?

The options of what to do and not do in this situation dragged up every volatile emotion she had spent the previous evening softening. In one instant, everyone came back up and stung her mind’s eye like a splintered dagger.

“I’m afraid…” Wiggum began.

“So am I” replied Lisa.

“Huh?” said Wiggum, confused.

Lisa caught herself and try to remain compose, “Nothing” she said, “Thinking out loud, go ahead”

“You were expecting Krusty this weekend? Ralph told me, I’m afraid he was detained coming into town. Something about immigrant monkeys”

“Isn’t that bit racey?” said Lisa.

“No, I mean it. Monkeys. Genuine monkeys. He said it was for a show, we did some filing on it and it turns out they were being put on show. Auction even”

“Oh those poor things, how could he possibly do that?” asked Lisa.

“We’ll be holding him over the next three days, just thought I’d let you know he’ll miss the dinner with the family, same with the brat pack ruled over by your brother”

“Still never quite forgave Laura’s mother for that car chase did you?” said Lisa.

“How’s the home fire burning with Ralph anyway? Teach him any new tricks?” asked Wiggum.

“If anything, he’s teaching [I]me[/I] Clancy” Lisa replied.

 

***

Krusty squinted his eyes as the phone was handed over to his outstretched sticking out of the prison cell bars.

“For me?” Krusty spoke

“For you” said the officer.

“You’re a big guy” joked Krusty.

“C’mon, that film’s ancient history” said the officer.

“No shame in a little Bane” Krusty replied back.

“Here are your notes back” said the Officer, “Chief reckons you could make a mint more off of what’s in there rather than what you were going to sell”

“How does he reckon that?” Krusty asked.

“It touched his heart, it didn’t break it” said the officer.

“I’m the only one with the literal kind of shattered heart around here” Krusty said, pointing to his pacemaker

“Just take the damn call” said the Officer.

Krusty placed the phone to his ear.

“Hello?” he said.

“Hi Klown, taking the hard knock knock joke on life?” said what sounded like a grating and syrupy female voice.

“Knock it off kid, you’re terrible at this” said Krusty.

“Terrible at what?” inquired the voice.

“Putting on some dame’s accent, I’ve been around the world and counted every accent imaginable, only one who ever sounds like that is your mother”

Bart slowly emerged from the shadows.

“Only actual grown I’m used to” he said.

“You mad?” said Krusty.

“Oh it angers” Bart said, keeping the gnarly voice.

“Yeah, you’re going to have to do that for both of us kid, I got nothing”

“Thirteen years ago, my wife reckoned you’d still have something, something I needed. Evidently, this isn’t what I want, but it’s definitely something YOU need”

“And what would that be?” asked a despairing Krusty.

“A chance to renew your laughter out loud” said Bart, “It’s something for my sister, something for me, something for the one family that’ll always cut you a break even when you cut our hearts to ribbons”

“Maybe I can touch that heart of yours with something then” said Krusty, taking out his notebook.

“A little something I wrote after I wished a pal of mine a happy birthday on her Facebook” said Krusty.

“Can it make me laugh?” said Bart.

“If you see life in a certain way, yeah” said Krusty.

“Just read it, then we’re bailing this joint and taking you for a parole hearing all your own at our place. You better have some corn and not be a flake”

Krusty read aloud from his notebook, a small yellow hardback tome full of personal poems he had written over the years.

ONLY CONNECT

Eight long years separate

Why did we wait?

Loved ones dismiss us with a piercing glance

Why must they hate?

Daily comments of her lives online

Well wishes for a birthday

It sparks a notion all day long

Let’s go out for coffee

She was shy, small, and keeps no eye trained long

We talk her whole life over

A most familiar song.

When the talk ends, she turns

She thanks me for the meal

I ask if we can stay in touch

If time was ours to steal

She says it depends on the day

In a tone so tellingly flirty

She snuck past her parents to make this day count

The girl is well past thirty!

As she strolls along the high street.

Her world knows no doubt.

I sat there nursing a hot mug

What was that all about?

Krusty closed the book and handed it over to Bart through the bars of the cell.

“Keep it, only poetic thing left for me is justice”

“I had a plan. You squandered it” Bart said.

“At least you came out in order to come through for me kid, I appreciate it” Krusty replied.

The cell doors slide open, Krusty emerged.

Bart, having paid for Krusty’s bail with Lisa’s help, escorted him outside, where Laura, Lisa, Ralph, and their children were greeting him.

“Is that the Powers kid?” said Krusty, smiling at Bart, “Boy, you sure had to grow into a man quick to catch up with her”

“I’m still a kid Krusty; question is…in this moment, for this day, will you be?”

“Kid, you should know by now when it comes to acting well below the guidelines for maturity, I’m very much a monkey’s uncle” joked Krusty.

“Then let’s renew our lols” said Bart.

The families Simpson and Wiggum clambered into their vehicles, and, with the sounds of sincerity and signing, made a merry and mellow drive away from the prescient and back to the Simpsons abode, aiming to make a man less of the monkey he’d become.

 

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That Spells Owl [Original Story]

THAT SPELLS OWL

 

Typing.

It’s heartache.

The letters are laid out on the keyboard before you, all in the wrong order.

Christ, not even the alphabet is spelled correctly.

That’s what awaits you as you leave this not-so-perfect world even for a minute to indulge in crafting fantasies for others, you are tasked with bringing to life in another reality what you cannot offer where you are presently.

People stutter, people stammer, they can’t produce the words sometimes in presentations or speeches, so what makes you think you have the power to make the fiction surpass the reality?

Spell checker you ask, you must always use spell checker.

Connected to a vast library of proper pronounciations, capable of detecting a typo, all you have to do is screw up.

It won’t judge you.

In the final assesment, that’s all up to you.

Keith understood that as he typed in the instructions, the sentence structure, to the beta model of O.W.L, the latest line in a series of L.O.L models.

It was no joke, L.O.L.

Ladies Off Limits.

A booming artificial escort enterprise, named the way they are for their difficulties passing legal channels, and sold at steep prices.

“Hey, it’s late, you want to head out to Rousey’s place?” Keith’s friend asked as he entered the work cublicle, put on his coat and checked the time.

Keith turned his chair around, scratching the back end of his neck.

“Nah, nah I’ve got to get the typing right otherwise she’ll just be uttering gibberish” Keith replied.

“I’ve never much cared for volume on these puppies” his friend added, walking over to the beta model and stroking her breasts firmly with both hands

“Hey, don’t touch that” Keith cautioned.

“Oh pipe down, she does’nt feel it” his friend said in protest.

“She’s meant to Fred, alright, that was the mandate that came in” Keith replied.

Fred suddenly had modest interest.

“Really now?” he asked, “They want emotion in motion? Why, does it give other customers a thrill? What happened to the chirpy inspirational speeches that let them know the loveless could be loved?”

“Some don’t go for that, some don’t want anything out of that” Keith explained.

“This is too weird, since when did this order come in? What changed the old man’s mind?”

“It’s got nothing to do with the old man, it’s his son, he pointed it out”

“Pointed what out?” Fred asked

“He heard her speak alright” Keith revealed, the tension visible on his features as he straightened his tie, “He was down in the lab, he wanted a demonstration, I gave him one. She spoke, he listened, he went to the board, talked it over a bit, he came back and gave me the mandate. Old Man does’nt know about it”

“Then how can it go ahead? Everything goes through him” Fred continued. Keith just stared into him, depending on his friend’s instincts to lead him down the neccersary deduction.

Fred did not disappoint.

“You telling me you’re being privatley contracted? The young kid wants

“Ask her what her name is” Keith asked

“What? I know the broad’s name. O.W.L is’nt it?” said Fred.

“Ask it” said Keith.

Fred walked up to the beta model, he took out a ciggerette from his pocket, he lit it.

“Ok lady, spell it out for me. What’s your name?” he asked.

“Ow” she said

“Excuse me?” Fred asked, a little perplexed.

“Ow” she said.

“Spell it. Spell your name” Fred said, starting to get a little excited.

“O.W” she continued.

Fred was surprised, as well as a tad ecstatic.

“You dyslexic motherfucker, you spelt her name wrong in the protocalls did’nt you?” said Fred, his eyes gleeming with mischeivous intent.

Keith tensley wiped the sweat off his forehead and resumed working at the keyboard.

“Yeah, now I have to make sure I get the remainder down to a precise science” he explained.

“Hey, you know what O.W.L stands for right?” Fred asked

“It’s supposed to stand for One Without Limits” Keith replied.

“No, no that’s where you’re wrong…now she’s One Without. No wonder the kid started pining for her. Her name is pain, lack of compassionship counts as some kind of pain…yeah, it’s endearing. Maybe he thinks he can complete her…but with a name like that…a status like that…she’s the perfect fit for like-minded men who can’t make the most of thier dicks”

“Sounds like you want to pitch this really badly” said Keith.

“Maybe I do, maybe the board need extra persuasion. I’ll schedule an appointment in the morning” Fred said, taking one of the ciggeretts and plaing it in the Beta Model’s mouth.

“Here doll, I think you’ll be more in need of these every day than me” he said.

As Fred left, Keith’s thoughts turned back to the reality he was, and the reality he was shaping for …or O.W, and the power of typing in instruction after instruction.

It was heartache.

But typos in his world?

They were heartbreak.

Amazing Spider-Man-To Teach Is To Learn Twice [Fanfic]

Amazing_Spider-Man_logo


Within the apartment of Stark Enterprises C.E.O Mary Jane Watson, two souls, once distant through a series of reluctant and regretful choices, were again coming together in a tender and long desired embrace

The kiss was tangible, real, and true.

The two souls, Mary Jane and her best friend, the fallen tech mogul Peter Parker, giggled uncontrollably as the splendor of their kiss allowed sensations and memories familiar to both of them to come to vivid life.

Wild, priceless images of passions shared at the likes of airports, and the top of the empire state building, merged into a seamless tapestry of joy and pleasure.

“You’re one hell of a scientist Parker” MJ said as she hastily unbuttoned Peter’s shirt

“Why do you say that?”

“You just proved time travel is possible, one kiss and we’re right back to the way things always should…”

She stopped mid-sentence as Peter’s shirt gave way, revealing a familiar black emblem on a red and blue costume underneath.

She reeled back.

“What’s wrong?” Peter asked.

Mary Jane played delicately with her hands, she bit her lip and turned her head, placing one hand gently under her chin. She began to ponder, anxious and unsure of what to say.

Peter stared at the Spider emblem on his costume, and instantly understood the problem.

“Oh. My web-thing” he said.

“Your web-thing” Mary Jane replied.

“Look, if this is making you uncomfortable…I should go” Peter said.

Mary Jane’s response surprised him.

“No” she said

“No?” Peter said.

“No…no it doesn’t bother me, it should, but…I don’t think it matters anymore”

“You feeling ok Red?” said Peter.

Mary Jane moved over to his side of the couch again, a little more prepared, she tugged more at the shirt, urging Peter to remove it and to let her see him in his costume.

“Peter, I work with Stark, he works with superheroes..if I had as much of a problem with your kind of work as I thought I did, I would have caved instantly, I’d never be as involved as I am now with it”

“When we were investigating Regent, you said working with Tony was different, that it was easier than dealing with my life” said Peter.

“In a way I was right at the time” Mary Jane explained, “It seemed easier, but the experience with Regent taught me life is never easy for your type Peter, I learned that as soon as I put yourself in your shoes, and not for the first time either, when I helped you and Tony tackle Regent. You taught me there, just as you taught me when all of Manhattan shared your powers, that while nothing is easy, your efforts ensure that everything-anything– is possible. That’s why I thanked you when you went off to free the other heroes…for everything that you taught me in that instant, for everything you continue to teach me through the hardships and great falls you overcome”

“MJ…when I was teaching, back before it all went crazy, when I thought I’d lost you the first time, I learned from my experience a very valuable asset…to teach is to learn twice, the tutor learns from the students just as much as the opposite does…you’ve learned so much from me, but I’ve learned to trust in my fellow man through your humanity and faith in me, it’s what pushes me, why I strive to be better, and what keeps me running up that steep hill. You learn, you teach, and you complete another phase of your journey…our journey” Peter replied, stroking her red hair delicately with his hands.

“Did you learn any secrets of a successful marriage while teaching?” MJ snarked.

“Don’t go there” Peter replied.

“Too late, something in the back of my mind always does” MJ explained.

“Really?” Peter asked.

“It’s tucked neatly between my common sense and a deja vu sensation we got when battling Regent, that sense we’d done it all before…only back then we were…whole”

“Like now?” said Peter, kissing her gently on the forehead, MJ curled up and snuggled up next to him.

“I’m not sure what this’ll become” she said.

Peter’s eyes stared at the clock.

“It’s getting close to midnight” Peter said.

“You want to stay?” MJ asked.

“Sure, why not? Before you know it, it’ll be a brand new day” a confidant Peter replied.

Power Rangers Super Megaforce-Legendary Battle [Fanedit]

 

 

 

DOWNLOAD LEGENDARY BATTLE EDIT HERE

The shutdown of my Vimeo channel and the purging of many of my edits left me with enough free time to put together a revised version of older ones, and this one has always been a particular favorite.

Mixing together footage from the aborted MMPR fanfilm and material from the Death Battle between the Green Ranger and Ryu, as well as providing an alternative ending borrowed from the previous episode “The Wrath”, this take on the finale of Power Rangers Super Megaforce aims to give the show a bit more action, darkness and sense of definitive closure that the original version was lacking somewhat.

HBO’S Power Rangers [Fanedit]

HBO

DOWNLOAD HBO’S POWER RANGERS HERE

The world of fanfilms produces just as many examples of Sturgeon’s Law as fanfics  and official media do…and some online communities let them know it. Such is the case with Power Rangers.

Over the course of this decade, a wealth of Power Rangers fanfilms have circulated, each of their own varying quality…but the one  ccmmon theme that binds them together is that they’re all…pretty grim.

Which is fine. Perfectly fine. Power Rangers for all it’s cheese-ball presentation is essentially a story about the youth being recruited by higher powers to fight a large-scale war, where the villains know their civilian identity and can target you, your school, your loved ones. It’s pretty scary, and you dwell on the consequences of that a lot more as you get older, when you’re faced to put up with real wars on the news day in day out, sometimes even participating in a few yourself. The reality of Power Rangers makes for a harsher reflection of our own world.

The fandom can’t really take to this though, they just want fun goofy escapism, so any attempt at creating a near-the-knuckle product outside of their conventional perimeters is often met with disdain and dismissal…which sadly doesn’t leave much elbow room for projects like this.

Fortunately, I’m a broad enough chap to be open about the possibilities, and there’s enough of this material out there to put together a nifty little “proof-of-concept” pilot. A friend of mine, DANLAV05, put together a pitch pilot edit for a CW-led Power Rangers spin-off called “Wrath of Zedd”, which I contributed some small suggestions to. The edit is a lot of fun, comprised of various non-official PR material.

My intention, inspired by his edit, was to take it to another level. While he aimed at a teen audience, I’d aim for an older demographic, which meant using the material that included graphic violence and profanity. To this extent, I had to use much of the Power/Rangers fanfilm to stitch together a cohesive narrative.

This means the only Ranger that represents the original character is Jason David Frank as Tommy in the Super Beat Down videos where he tackles Ryu and Scorpion, where as Kimberly, Rocky and Jason are represented by different actors in their respective segments.

I opened the edit with Kimberly being captured on her wedding day from Power/Rangers…for the purpose of this edit, the man she’s married is not meant to be Jason.

Here’s the remainder of the timeline

-“Double Trouble” short from the aborted MMPR fanfilm project

-Back to footage from Power/Rangers showing a derelict city, which transistions us smoothly into

–Footage from the MMPR Fanfilm’s trailer with Lord Zedd

-Cut to footage of Zack taking on the Koreans from Power/Rangers, followed by Kimberly’s interogation

-Have Kimberly’s narration transition us to the Ryu vs Tommy beat down footage

-Briefly cut away from Tommy vs Ryu to more from Kimberly’s interrogation, and some more footage from MMPR

-Back to Ryu vs Tommy

-More from the MMPR fanfilm shorts (the one with the hacker finding the Project_Ranger files)

-Back to Kimberly’s interogation

-Cut to Tommy vs Scorpion

-Cut back to Kimberly’s interogation

-Cut to Red Rising fanfilm to show what Jason’s been up to…and there’s your cliffhanger

There you have it. HBO’S Power Rangers pilot…coming sometime never

The aspect ratios were a particular pain in the ass to sort out. To get the best results I had to stitch the edit together in 4/3, so please don’t get on my case for the wonky presentation of this.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-The Gang All Here (Rewrite) [FANFIC]

logoanim

Download “The Gang’s All Here (Rewrite)” Here

I took a stab at adapting/reimagining the Fred Wolf TMNT episode “The Gang’s All Here”, replacing most if not all of the original dialogue, addressing a few plot holes, and adding in an original romantic subplot

Here’s the original episode

 

 

And here’s the story

“I am seriously starved dudes” bemoaned Michelangelo as the Turtle Van sped through the city, carrying all four of it’s occupants, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, to a fateful rendezvous with their dreaded enemy Shredder.

“You’ll have to monitor your munchies Mikey” cautioned Leonardo, “April gave us a big tip on the Shredder’s whereabouts, this is as good an opportunity as we’ve had had to nab him”

The van stopped in it’s tracks as the traffic lights turned red. From a distance, a pair of infamous individuals known to the Turtles were closely monitoring the four’s activities, and seized their own opportunity.

“Alright Bebop, time for you to play damsel in distress” said the repulsive man-rhino Rocksteady, handing his warthog friend a small triangular device. Bebop looked at it and let out a heavy sigh.

“Hey, what’s the matter? You picked the short straw, that means you gotta do it” said Rocksteady.

“My straw was longer than yours, you bit half of mine off” Bebop added.

“What’s the point of being a bad sport when you can’t be bad to go with it? Life ain’t fair, so stop wasting time and help us make life miserable for them Toitles” Rocksteady replied.

Bebop snarled and triggered the device. His entire physical appearance was transformed into that of a dour looking elderly lady carrying a small handbag. Rocksteady grabbed the device and used it to transform himself into a gruff and heavy looking thug.

“Try to be convincing, put up some kind of struggle” Rocksteady said, and leapt towards Bebop’s handbag, grabbing it and setting off an aggressive tug of war between the two.

“Gimme that bag you..you old bag” remarked Rocksteady.

“Never, unhand me you evil man” said Bebop.

The commotion caused by the two seemed to pay off, as Leonardo spotted what was going on.

“Uh oh guys” he said, “Looks like we have another crime in progress”

“Shredder’ll have to wait” Donatello replied.

“Let’s cream that creep” Michelangelo added.

The four quickly exited their vehicle and approached the pair.

“You do know picking on the elderly is right up there with taking candy from kids” remarked Raphael, tapping the thug on the shoulder, unaware of his true identity.

“Yeah, says who? I don’t see a badge anywhere on ya” said the thug, who was swiftly hit on the head by Bebop.

“You ought to learn some matters you awful beast” said Bebop, who was really getting into his character, much to Rocksteady’s chagrin.

“We fight with a badge alright, a badge of honor” said Leonardo, grabbing the thug while he was left dazed from the bag attack, scopping him up and pressing him over his head.

“Hey, put me down” said the thug.

Leonardo obliged, tossing him to the left side, instructing Raphael to catch him. As Raphael did so, he leaned back on his shell and spun himself around, keeping his arms firmly attached to the back of Rocksteady, sending him on a dizzying ride, before tossing him again to the right.

Michelangelo caught him this time, and in a most unique manner, hoisting his back up and balancing Rocksteady delicately onto it.

“I’m not the type to carry this kind of weight on my shoulders” Michelangelo remarked, and quickly threw the large load off of his back and sent him crashing down on his keister.

“You freaks sure showed me, I’m tailing it” said Rocksteady, making his way down the street with Michelangelo in brief pursuit.

“What a wimp” exclaimed the Turtle, “Not even a patch on old tin-grin”

Leonardo approached the elderly woman, helping her get her bearings as she appeared visibly shaken.

“He won’t be bothering you again ma’am” assured the Turtles’ leader.

“Oh thank you my dears” said Bebop, almost heaving as he put on his most insincere of sincere voices to express his ‘gratitude’.

“Hey, no thanks needed” said Michelangelo.

“Such bravery demands a reward of some kind” Bebop continued, and rummaged through his handbag, ultimately producing a small brown box.

“Here you are” he said, “Chocolate Chip Cookies. My own recipe, freshly baked too” he said, handing Leonardo the box.

“Thankyou ma’am” said a cheerful Leonardo as the ‘lady’ made her way down town.

“I’d best be off, take care now” she replied.

“What a sweet old lady” said Leonardo.

“I don’t know Leonardo, from the way she helped us takcle that thug, she seemed perfectly capable of handling herself, and her voice sounded awfully familiar” Donatello noted.

“She can’t be all that bad, her cookies smell delcious, mind if I take a bite?” Michelanglo asked, but Leonardo kept the box far from his grasp.

“Mikey, your cravings will be your undoing one day, we still have Shredder to deal with, and if we’re to stand any chance against him, we have to be in trim fighting shape” Leonardo replied.

“Yeah Mike, I’m positive there’s something more to this set-up than meets the eye, that thug gave up way too easily, and the lady actually went down the same street he fled down, what’s to stop her from being attacked again?”

“Should we tail her and find out for sure then?” said Raphael.

“No, for now, I think it’s best we run some tests on these cookies she gave us, just to be on the safe side” Donatello suggested.

“Besides, the traffic lights turned green more than a couple of minutes ago, the van being where it is is causing a bit of a traffic jam” said Leonardo, pointing to the line of cars and impaitent drivers blaring their horns.

“Man, the lights may be as green as our faces, but they’re the ones looking a bit red” remarked Michelangelo.

Bebop and Rocksteady soon rendevouzed with their master, Shredder in a downtown alleyway.

“Them Turtles bought it hook, line and sinker boss” said Bebop.

“You two puilling this off is the biggest surprise of this episode thus far. Those cookies you supplied them with will soon prove thier downfall, and will fuel our own appetite for destruction” hissed Shredder.

Back at the lair, a hungry and desperate Michelangelo refused to let up.

“This is such a waste of my stomach’s good time Don, there’s nothing wrong with those cookies” he protested as Donatello examined the snack more throughly.

To the surprise of the group, the beaker that Donatello had deposited the cookie into turned from yellow to green as the chemicals mixed with the baking soda. The cookie dissolved and an odious, vapor rose from the beaker.

Donatello cautioned the remaining Turtles to hold their breath as he disposed of the contents of the beaker in a nearby trash can.

“Just as I thought, they weren’t made with baking soda, these cookies were laced with some kind of reverse-engineered strain of mutagen” concluded Donatello.

“Shredder’s doing no doubt” replied Leonardo.

“I guess that’s the way the cookie crumbles” remarked Raphael.

“One bite of one of these, and we would have mutated into the most degenerate lifeforms on the planet Earth…human beings” Donatello revealed.

Michelangelo’s eyes lit up at the prospect.

“Human beings? That sounds like the kind of pary I oughta be invited to” he replied.

“You can’t be serious” Donatello said, grabbing the bag of cookies as Michelangelo reached out to take one.

“When is he ever serious?” Raphael snarked.

“Think about it, humans get all the perks in life, and more importantly, they get all the chicks”

“Mikey, you’re about as random with this line of thinking as Leo is whenever he trails off and talks about wanting to ride in a western rodeo” Raphael replied.

“That is the conundrum you face my students..is the difference even worth the price?” uttered the wise sense of the Turtles, Master Splinter, as he entered Donatello’s lab.

“I’m not about to let any of us pay any kind of price over this Master, I’m putting these cookies in the garbage” said Donatello, tossing the box into the trash.

“Ah well, it was a sweet dream while it lasted” expressed a down heartened Michelangelo.

Deep beneath the Earth’s core, at the heart of the colossal war machine The Technodrome, the Turtles’ formidable enemies were salivating at the prospect of their plans succeeding.

“As soon as the Turtles consume those cookies, they will be transformed into meek, timid human beings” Shredder boasted.

“Yeah, it’s a good thing Krang added that little touch to the formula, otherwise it would’nt have made much difference to how dem Toitles usually act” Rocksteady revealed.

“Until I heard that part, I was fully prepared to call this the least thought-out plan hatched by that brain bag” Shredder remarked.

“What makes you think the Turtles will eat the cookies boss?” asked Bebop.

“I have a feeling they already have their suspicions, but even if they piece together the puzzle and realize what the retro mutagen is capable of, they are still Teenagers, constantly conflicted about their place in society, they may still be tempted by the prospect of living a life free of scorn and ridicule, a chance to be normal” revealed Shredder.

The group were soon interupted by Krang, who was keen to carry out the second phase of thier plan.

Krang turned their attention to the central monitor, operating a few control panels and bringing up the image of a cargo ship docked in New York’s central harbor.

“This ship has a cargoe of electronic caches we need to make the neccersary repairs to the Technodrome. Rocksteady and Bebop, you will infiltrate the vessel and steal them for us” Krang instructed.

“Just us? No help?” Bebop inquired.

“Don’t be ridiculous, we need people who look like the kind you find on the waterfront, surely you two still know where to find your old gang?” Shredder asked.

Rocksteady teared up at the notion of reuniting with old friends.

“Gee, our old gang, I haven’t given them a moment’s thought since I grew a horn” he said.

“I wonder if they’ll even recognize us?” added Bebop.

“If you two botch this assignment, you won’t be able to recognize yourselves in a reflection” Krang replied. “Now scramble”

An unnerved Bebop and Rocksteady nodded in acknowledgment of the threat and dashed towards the transport modules.

On the top floor of the Channel Six News Building, Burne Thompson was in a state of panic as he glanced at the latest batch of ratings coming in for the daily evening news bulletins.

“If we don’t stop this slide soon, our collapse will be what makes our next big story” he vented to Vernon Fenwick and his star reporter, the Turtles’ best human friend April O’Neil.

“How about a show all about matchstick collecting?” Vernon replied.

“Next” Thompson said, turning immediatly to April for a suggestion without giving Fenwick’s option a second thought.

“I’ve got just the ticket…an expose on city gangs” April suggested.

Burne found the prospect tantilsiing.

“You may very well have something there April. A typical New York family audience craves crime and violence in the evening. I can schedule your story for the Tuesday time slot, peak viewing hours, get on it”

“Right chief” said April, hastly retreating to her office where her co-worker Irma was waiting.

“Did he like your pitch?” she asked.

“He went one better Irma, he gave me the green light” April revealed, hastily looking through her drawers and pulling out a dusty black jacket as well as a headband, she quickly changed into the fresh pair of clothes, and ruffled up her hair ever so slightly so she looked a little rougher.

“Wow, you really planned ahead” Irma observed as April checked herself out in a mirror.

“Not too bad, I think I definitely qualify as gangland material” she said.

“So you want me to cancel your 3: 30 for today?” Irma asked.

“What? That blind date you arranged for me? You know me Irma, I don’t have much time for anything outside of a story” replied April.

“You sure? He knows where the best parks in town are, and he’s a Turtle lover just like the pair of us” Irma added.

“That’s sweet of you to recommend him Irma, but this girl is only interested in one kind of date…one with danger. Mean streets, here I come”

Some hours later, back at the Turtles’ lair, Michelangelo was making preperations for his own date with destiny, as he snuck into Donatello’s lab dressed in a hawaian shirt, sporting blue shorts, clutching a skateboard.

With the Turtles due to awaken from their afternoon siessta, Michelangelo knew he had to act fast.

He scoured the trash can, managing to locate the box Donatello had discarded, and within that box, the forbidden contents.

He took a bite out of the first cookie he grabbed, and waited patiently for a few minutes for the changes, if any, to kick in.

Nothing seemed to be happening.

He checked a digital wrist watch he was wearing, and let out a sollem sigh.

Time’s almost up he thought.

He reached for his Turtle-Com, intending to contact someone he trusted and update them on what had been happening when a strange sensation coursed through his body. His eyes rolled over, he found himself in a dizzying daze and the room’s contents began to form into a shapeless blur.

The physical contortions became too much to bear, and, collapsing to the ground, the young Turtle soon slipped into a state of unconsciousness.

This state of being did not last long, and before long, he regained a sense of awareness. He steady reached out with his hands to grab hold of something, he eventually latched on to Donatello’s desk.

Michelangelo steadily rose to his feet, and as soon as he could grasp his surroundings, he found himself struggling to grasp with a new found identity.

His hands were no longer green, but white, pasty, fleshly. Very much human.

Excited, Michelangelo walked over to a nearby mirror to check if his features were in any way the same. He was in seventh heaven when he discovered this was the case.

“I look bodacious”, he said as he glanced at the reflection, “Now we’ll see if I can score a touchdown” he remarked.

Grabbing his skateboard, Michelangelo stepped out of the lab and towards the nearest manhole exit that he knew. It was time to put his new found humanity to the test.

Michelangelo’s first port of call was the skateboarding park located at the far right end of the city. As he pulled up to one of the ramps on his skateboard, he was greeted by a slender black teenager dressed in a manner becoming of a mail man, flanked by an even leaner boy wearing a cream shirt and blue shorts.

“Nice wheels dude” complimented the boy as Mikey pulled up on his skateboard. “Think you can shred the course?”

” Are you for real dude? You just happen to be talking to a highly skilled Ninja Tur…erm, I mean, most tubular teens around” Michelangelo responded.

“Alright Whizz, work your magic” the boy said, slapping him gently on the back, causing Mikey’s skateboard to tip over the edge of the ramp and begin to hurtle down the tunnel.

“Hey wait up, I wasn’t ready” Michelangelo screamed, but it was too late, he was well on his way, proceeding to crash into every obstacle designed to obstruct a skateboarder’s path . The resulting calamity brought tears of laughter to the two rival skateboarders.

Michelangelo’s descent culiminated in his skateboard hitting a rough patch of grass, sending the former Turtle hurtling into the branch of a tree. By this point, the boys had tired of the humilating sight and decided to take their business elsewhere, leaving Michelangelo void of bragging rights and a shred of decency.

“Gee, maybe being human is’nt all it’s cracked up to be, maybe it was a waste of time after all” Michelangelo spoke aloud to himself as he took his leave of the park, only to have further misfortune befall him as he walked past a muddy patch on the side of the road.

Without warning, a car sped past him, it’s wheels striking the mud and spraying Michelanglo with huge portions of it directly in the face.

“That tears it, I’m heading back home, maybe Don can patch me up and get me looking green again” he said.

As he turned acorner, he heard a loud shriek and a cry for help. Rushing past him was a young and lively woman. Unbenowst to Michelangelo, it was April.

“Gee that dudette looks like she could do with a helping hand” Michelangelo observed, before he was shoved to the curb and trampled on by what appeared to be four or five people eager to maintain pursuit.

Michelangelo’s temper rose as he got up and dusted himself off.

“Ok, now I’m really steamed, nobody leaves treats this teenager like literal dirt” he said, snarling, and took off after the thugs on his skateboard.

The gang’s pursuit of April reached it’s climax inside the tunnel of a nearby park bridge, where April found one of the thugs on the other end blocking her path with the remainder of the goons chasing her swooped in. He was brandishing a plank of wood.

“Alright doll-face, just what do you think you were doing snooping around our neck of the woods?” asked the thug, a thin and weasly looking bald man.

“I, well, I’ve been…” April began, her nerves getting the better of her.

“That girl’s voice sounds awfully familiar” observed Michealngelo as he approached the bridge and began to evesdrop on the conversation.

“Give me five minutes with her Lugnut, I’ll teach her not to spy on any of us” asked one of the thug’s friends, grabbing April by the arm and giving her a sniff.

“Hey, she’s got quite the fragrance on her, maybe she’d be worth a happy hour or two” he continued, this repulsed April, she realized she had to make good on an excuse to spare herself further humiliation.

Or worse.

It was at this point Michelangelo realized who April was. He froze like a statue, he could feel the tense sensation of dread wash over him, knowing his dearest friend was in danger and that there was potentially little he could do in this body to prevent something horrendous happening to her.

He was helpless.

“I wasn’t spying on any of you, you’ve got it completly wrong, it’s more like I was checking you out” April replied, which was not entirely a lie, as her mission since this assignment began was to get closer to how gangs in the city operated.

“You were checking US out?” Lugnut replied.

“That’s my girl… a tough act for a tough crowd, keep doing your thing dudette” whispered Micheangelo, his apprehension dissapating for as long as April could sustain her act.

“Yeah” April said, a bit more confidence in her voice, “I wanted to see how you guys could handle having me as a member of your group”

Lugnut and the remainder of the group broke into fits of laughter.

“You really think you’re that tough?” asked Lugnut, taking the two-by-four in his hand and biting one of the nails embedded in it clean off.

“Well…fairly tough” April said, her confidence briefly sapping.

“Alright then, then you won’t mind putting your money where your mouth is. You can be target practice for Jersey Red and her knuckles. Make it past her and we’ll consider you for membership”

A large red-haired woman with a dog collar around her neck approached April, licking her lips.

“I’m gonna ground you into pizza dough” she snarled.

“Man, Jersey Red has some mighty fine taste in food, but I don’t think April’s got the stomach for a fight like this” said Michelangelo, his anxiety getting the better of him again.

Lugnut led the remainder of his gang out of the tunnel.

“We’ll be back later ‘Red, try to leave just enough of this chick for us to identify when we get back” he said. Michelangelo ducked behind a couple of barrles to avoid detection.

April found herself swiftly ejected from the tunnel also, but only because Jersey had scooped her up and tossed her as far as she could.

April knew she could’nt run, it would deny her the story, and word would spread quickly from this particular group that she was weak. On the other hand, there was the very real possiblity Jersey Red could seriously harm her.

She was psychologically trapped, one way or the other, she would come out worse for wear.

This did’nt scare her, but it was scarring Michelangelo as he was coming to the exact same conclusions as April was.

As April dusted herself off and charged back into the tunnel to continue the fight, Michealgenlo cursed his present situation, his rage was building.

He wished he could do more.

Suddenly, his hands trembled, and to his surprise, began to turn green again. Soon his entire body had reverted back to that of the tubular teenage Turtle he’d always been, and by his reckoning, not a moment too soon.

“Totally timely, I’m back to normal, it must be the adrenaline in my blood stream, or something super-scientific. Donatello’s not around so I have to make do with explaining the surprise to the audience”

“You’re not up to learning lessons are you?” taunted Jersey Red as April approached her, “I suppose I’m gonna have to pound reality into you” she continued, and, in a miraculous feat for someone of her size, she leapt at the young reporter.

“April, duck” cried out Michelangelo as he pushed April out of the way and intercepted Jersey Red as she extended her legs to crash into her target full force.

He grabbed both of her legs and tossed the hulking mass of humanity around with considerable ease, throwing her with maximum effort into a dumpster perched just outside of the tunnel on the far right.

“Turtle power does it again” Michelangelo exclaimed in triumph.

Lugnut and his group had caught wind of the commotion and were heading back, forcing Michelangelo to make himself scarse. Jersey Red, still groggy from her whirlwind experience, clambered out of the dumpster in a dazed and confused state.

Lugnut approached April, who looked just as lost as Jersey did in regards to what happened.

“I don’t know how you did it, but it looks like we got ourselves a winner” he said, raising April’s hand in the air to make her triumph official.

“So I’m in the gang?” April asked.

“Not just yet, there’s still one more test to show if you’re really cut out for our line of work. You need to burglarize a pad and bring us the loot”

“Burglarize? As in breaking and entering?” April quizzed.

“Should be a cakewalk for you toots…unless of course, that yellow on your jeans runs all the way up your back” taunted Jersey Red.

This ruffled April’s feathers to no extreme.

“I’m no chicken, and I know just the name to rob. It’ll even make the eight o’clock news” she revealed.

“Great, we’ll rendezvous back here at 7 PM, you can lead us to the abode of your choice then” Lugnut revealed.

As the gang disassembled, Michelangelo, having reverted back to human form, once more felt slightly anxious.

“April’s in way over her head. I’d best keep close to her, for her own good”

Back at the Turtles’ lair, Michelangelo’s absence was being noticed at the dinner table.

“Any idea where he went off to?” Raphael asked as Donatello handed him the salt shaker.

“Yeah, we prepared this pizza specially to help raise his spirits after the cookie fiasco, it’s not like him to skip a meal like this” Leonardo replied.

“Maybe there’s something else that’s eating away at him” Donatello theorized.

“Oh please, Michelangelo’s the most laid back of all of us, whatever could be weighing heavily on him?” Raphael asked as he tucked into Michelangelo’s slice of pizza, having finished his own portion and not wanting good food to go to waste.

“Remember what he said one of the perks of injesting that reverse mutagen was he would get to pick up chicks? There was something in his voice that makes me think he did’nt mean that light-heartedly” said Donatello.

“You don’t think that time we were laced with a love potion and went crazy for Irma stayed with him do you?” Leonardo asked.

“Mikey’s had a crush on someone even before then, remember Kala of the Neutrinos? These experiances, both past and recent, may have given Michelangelo hope that he could feel something similar for someone else more down to Earth” Donatello replied.

“Ok, but if Michelangelo is’nt infatuated with Irma like the rest of us were, and Kala is a whole dimension away, who else is there?” Raphael aske, before he suddenly caught himself entertaining a stirring notion in his mind.

“No…no it could’nt be” he said aloud, and went back to finishing off Michelangelo’s portion.

Suddenly, the entire room was rocked with a violent explosion which knocked the Turtles off of thier chairs

“What in sam hill was that?” said Raphael as he cradled his head, having landed on the floor hard.

“It came from my lab” said Donatello.

The Turtles dashed towards the source of the disruption, finding a smouldering concotion within the trash can.

“It’s the anti-mutagen. It exploded” annalyzed Donatello as he scooped up what remained of the box containing the cookies.

“So if we had taken those things, not only would we have been able to mix in with mankind, we’d also be walking time bombs?”

“It’s a good thing none of us tried that stuff” said Leonardo.

“I am afraid one of you did my students” spoke Master Splinter as he joined his students, a note clutched in his hands. He lent it to Donatello, who read it aloud to the others.

”Dear dudes, if these cookies check out, I’ll be a dynamic human dude, and just in time for my date. Cowabunga”

“We’ve got to find Michelangelo and bring him home” said Leonardo.

“Yeah, and when we do, he’ll have a lot to answer for…like who he had in mind for a date?” said Raphael, though he already a growing suspicion creeping into the back of his mind.

“Do not be so impetious my students, for you must find a means of curing Michelangelo before you can reach out to him” cautioned Splinter.

“I’ll get to work on one right now Master” said Donatello, swiftly putting together a collection of beakers and test tubes filled with various chemicals.

Donatello had his work cut off for him, as the process took up a great deal of his time. Much time had passed, and for Michelangelo, the eleventh hour was upon him.

Or much rather the seventh.

He checked his watch again, just to be sure he wasn’t late for this most fateful of appointments.

“7 PM. As Sure as Shirley” he said to himself, almost out of breath.

Outside an apartment building well known to him, the very human Turtle found the process of clambering up the catwalk of the complex exhausting.

“Man, this was so much easier when I was part of the green team” he said.

As luck would have it, April had left her window open, making entering her room a breeze.

Below him, April and the gang had converged on the apartment, April dashed up the steps.

“You sure you know your way around this place?” Lugnut asked.

“Hey, I’ve been in and out of this apartment block so many times with loot, I practically live in it” April remarked.

If only he knew.

“Give me a few minutes, I’ll be back with the stash” she said, and swiftly entered the building.

She made her way to her apartment, fiddled with the lock excitedly, and went inside.

As soon as she entered, Michelangelo came out from behind the freshly opened door, almost catching her off guard.

Almost.

“Yo dudedette” he said, only to be swiftly grabbed by April and violently tossed over to the other side of the room, landing with a rough and thunderous thud.

“Hey, chill out, I’m a friend” said Michelangelo as he nursed his aching sides.

“Oh yeah? Prove it” said April.

“I’m the dude who took out that hot piece of garbage Jersey Red for you” Michelangelo replied.

“So that’s how I was able to ‘overcome’ her, I had help, that means you’re also the one to tell me to duck” April realized.

Michelangelo nodded.

“So what are you doing in my apartment?” April asked, heading to her dresser to find a few items that would convince Lugnut and his gang that she had found some goods.

“I’m here to warn you about that gang, mixing in with them isn’t groovy girlfriend, what if they find out you’re not all you claim to be?” Michelangelo asked.

“Your concern is flattering, but I’m a reporter on a hot story, and I’m not about to let go of it. If push comes to shove, I have friends that can help me take care of any risky buisness…maybe I ought to introduce you to them”

“I’ve heard about your friends, it’s what made me want to take the fight to gangs like yours in the first place” said Michelangelo, now getting a kick out of spinning half-truths about himself to impress April more.

April opened her dresser and took out a few pearl broaches.

“What do you think? Will they settle for some of this junk jewelry of mine, or should I try something a little more expensive?” April said, eager to hear her intruder’s opinion.

Before Michelangelo could respond, his adrenlene levels kicked in and his human apperance began to destabalize. He hastily tried to excuse himself, but the suddeness of the transformation caught him off guard.

“What’s happening to you?” April asked.

Michelangelo tried to make a quick exit via the open window he had climbed through earlier, but it was too late, he had reverted back to his Turtle form before a startled April’s eyes.

“Michelangelo, it’s you” April said with a gasp.

“I guess I’d better give you the straight scoop” Michelangelo said, asking April to take a seat on the couch.

He talked for well over ten minutes recapping his entire day, from fending off the thug and saving the ‘sweet’ old lady, to Donatello testing the cookies, to Michelangelo coming to a fateful decision to take them.

“Mikey, why would you risk everything like this?” said April.

“On any other day I would’nt have taken this radical risk, but today was just different I guess” he said, just as his Turtle-Com went off.

“Irma, can this wait?” Michelangelo replied as April’s friend patched through

“I’ve been trying to reach you all day mister” Irma replied

“Yeah, sorry about that, I only remembered to turn it on when I decided to tail someone I knew, I figured if she got in over her head I could contact the others” Michelangelo explained.

“Well, whoever your friend is, she obviously meant more to you than the date you arranged. April called it off by the way, I did my best to persuade her, but she was all about finding a lead story, not a leading man…or Turtle in your case.”

“Uh, Irma, now’s really not the right time” said Michelangelo, feeling sweat wash over him as nerves took hold.

“Not that I ever found you guys all that attractive to women anyway…well, ok there was that one time I blushed at Donatello, but that was before he brought up the whole thing with the sattelite dish…” Irma continued, forcing Michelangelo to turn his Turtle-Com off to prevent her from rambling on further.

April, however, had heard enough.

“You…you were my 3: 30?” she realized.

Michelangelo nodded, unsure of what to say, this was the most difficult conflict he had faced yet, as either a Turtle, a human, or as a hero.

“I thought if you gave me a chance as a regular human, we could have a real swell time y’know?” he said.

“Michelangelo, I don’t know what to say…you pulling a stunt like this seems far too consequential in the long run for just a simple day out…there’s more to this is’nt there? Please, just say it, don’t hold it in. Whatever it is, I can take it”

“You can?” Michelangelo said.

April held his hand and clutched it tight.

“I will” she promised.

Michelangelo took a deep breath.

“I think you’re a great gal. You’re all about the risk and you pursue it knowing that if you overcome every obstacle, there’s a reward on the other end. You’re always there for us and you know what we like. You know every inch of this city and you have time for all the little people in it, not just the big guns. You’ve had your own share of mutations, stuff that’d bring any other human being to the edge, and you came back from it. We’re made of mutagen, but you? You’re made of steel”

April smiled, as nervous as Michelangelo, her thoughts only briefly drifting back to the time it was taking for all this to come out, and what it entailed for Lugnut and his gang waiting for her below.

However, her full attention was demanded here, a friend was bearing all to her, and he needed the time to say what was on his mind and his soul

“April, I, uh, guess you could say I…” he began, April cut him off.

“Not now, not yet” she said.

“Really?” said Michelangelo

“We’ve got way too much distracting us at the moment and I can only process so much” she said, pressing her finger delicately on his lips, “Whatever you say next, wherever it is we go from here, You can hold on to it ’till we’re done with this. Deal?”

Michelangelo nodded. Unsure of where this was leading, unsure if he’d ever be able to say what he wanted to again.

“I’d best be heading back” April continued, putting the pearls in a bag.

“I’ll come with you” Michelangelo said

“Thanks, but it’s best you keep out of sight when I join up with them” she said.

“Anything for you babe” Michelangelo said, and followed April out of the room.

“You might want to lock up your window next time” he said to her as they came down the staircase.

April laughed.

The two friends stepped out of the apartment into the crisp, cold evening air.

As they walked down the street, Michelangelo decided to briefly change the subject to that of everyday life.

“I had the munchies all morning April” he said

“Oh I know the feeling. Went into the office with only half a bacon sandwich. Irma had taken the other half” April replied.

“I was wondering what she was chewing when she was arranging our get-together” said Michelangelo.

“The bacon wasn’t that steller…it reminded me of food I found in a hotel during an international assignment I took in England. It was like rubber, tasted like the yolk of an egg as well…in fact I’m dead certain there was egg in it, Irma must have helped herself to that as well”

Conversations quickly shifted from small talk about what they’d been getting up to in the week to the urgent matter of April’s mission.

“April, this is really dangerous, this mutagen’s done weird things to my metabolism, I feel weaker, like I’ve lost a lot of my skill and power” Michelangelo explained.

“That’s ok Michelangelo, really I don’t need anyone’s help” said April.

“So much for gratitude then” Michelangelo said, bummed out that April had forgotten his valiant rescue of her just that afternoon.

April suddenly caught sight of Lugnut’s gang just ahead of them.

“Uh-oh, they’re all waiting for me, you’d best duck out of sight” said April

Michelangelo didn’t like leaving April alone against the gang, but honored her wishes, vanishing into a nearby alleyway and eavesdropping on the conversation as quietly as he could.

“Ok toots, you got the merchandise?” asked Lugnut

“Sealed with a kiss” April said, giving the bag a peck. Lugnut hastily grabbed it and emptied out the contents.

“Yeah, this one sparkles, just my kind of thing. Well done toots, consider yourself one of us” he said.

A violent tremor suddenly made all of them tremble, the pavement beneath them came away as a huge transport module surfaced before the startled gangmembers.

“What the heck? Did someone decide to extend the subway or something?” asked a befuddled Lugnut, mistaking the module for a subway car.

The hatch of the module opened and out stepped two hulking figures all too familiar to April.

Oh no, it’s Rocksteady and Bebop she whispered with a gasp.

“Aw bummer, it’s those two freakazoids” noted Michelangelo also, trying to keep out of visible detection as he crept closer to the action, concelaing himself behind two trash cans.

Rocksteady and Bebop briefly took some time out of their arrival to lecture one another on steering the module properly, as it had taken them hours to reach their destination.

“Next time, leave the directions to me” said Rocksteady

“Why should I? You’re the one who’s ambidecstrous, you could’nt tell right from up and left from across” said Bebop

“Will you two out-of-sight animals pipe down and get off our turf?” said Lugnut, having no time for their foolishness.

“Hey, this is our turf too” said Rocksteady.

“Yeah, or at least it used to be” said Bebop.

“What are you getting at freaks?” said Lugnut.

“Don’t you recognize us?” said Bebop.

“Yeah, we’re old pals of yours…Bebop and Rocksteady, remember?” Rocksteady added.

“You ain’t fooling us, you guys are way better looking than those two ever were” joked Jersey Red.

Rocksteady pondered how best to prove their authenticity to the gang, opting to charge a nearby wall with his horn and plowed straight through it.

“Wow, is that supposed to confirm who you are? Some dumb stunt? I ain’t buying” said Lugnut.

“If you ain’t convinced by that, maybe you won’t mind when he starts charging through you next” said Bebop.

Lugnut, unnerved, quickly changed his mind.

“Ok, ok, for the sake of my health, I’m convinced” he said.

“How come you two changed into animals?” One member of the gang asked.

“There’s time for that later, meanwhile you got a job to do” said Bebop.

April was beginning to wonder whether or not Michelangelo was right in warning her not to overstep her boundaries, but her story had taken yet another surprising turn and she wasn’t about to retreat from it.

Elsewhere, the remaining Turtles were searching the streets for any trace of the unstable Michelangelo.

Donatello was making use of a device he had recently invented to trace his brother Turtle’s footsteps.

“This ray will make any traces of the anti-mutagen glow the same colour as us, green” he explained.

“I hope we find him sooner and not later” said Leonardo.

Finally, the trail began leading them somewhere, as emerald green traces could be found leading into a nearby park, and from there, the tracks led to the harbor.

“This is it guys” said Donatello.

Meanwhile, at the docks, Bebop and Rocksteady had assembled the gang at the ship Krang had sent them to pillage.

Lugnut instructed the gang to remain where they were while he explored the ship.

The tension was palpable, Jersey Red twitched ever so slightly, April felt a cold chill travel up her spine.

“Hey, you anxious?” said Jersey Red.

“Not as much as I was when you were trying to toss me like a rag doll” said April.

Jersey smiled and gave her a fierce elbow.

“Nobody plays with dolls in this gang” she argued.

“Right, you and me, we fought like wild cats. That a better analogy?” April asked.

“You got the upper hand that time, I’d like a rematch some time, just to make sure we have a tiger and not a pussycat” Jersey insisted.

“Oh beleive me, there’s been times in my life I’ve had literal claws out. You would’nt want me to leave a scratch” replied April.

“I’m begining to like you” said Jersey, patting April on the head and ruffling her hair a bit.

“Asking for another fight is your way of expressing admiration? I would’nt want to be on a picnic with you guys” April whispered delicately to herself.

Lugnut finally gave the all clear for the gang to join him aboard the ship.

“Really?” said April.

“What’s wrong?” said Jersey.

“Security is so lax here they’ve left this vessel unattended?” asked April.

“Hey, it must be a cheap episode, only so many extras” Jersey argued.

The gang assembled aboard the ship and looked down at an open hatch which contained boxes stacked with the electronic supplies they needed.

They had been informed of the mission, they knew their purpose, they just needed to know the next move.

They turned to Bebop, who in turn turned to Rocksteady, who himself had completely forgotten the mission at hand.

“I wish the boss were here” said Rocksteady, distant and with an expression reflective of a lost puppy in need of his master.

“Should we try and take the electronics using a crane or something?” suggested an on-point Lugnut.

April reckoned, with everything so disorganized, that now was the best time to slip away and alert the authorities of what was going on.

She looked high and low for a means of contacting people as quickly as possible. Her luck paid off with a nearby communications cabin situated jsut north of her.

She entered the cabin and made use of the radio.

“Hello? Hello?” she began.

Outside, Bebop was operating a crane, attempting to lower it and lock on to the electronic cargo located in the hatch beneath the deck of the ship.

“Left, left, lower on my signal” said Rocksteady.

Bebop lowered the crane and latched on to something. He was jubilant, something was going off without a hitch.

Or so he thought.

As he hoisted the crane upwards, he heard bellowing screams, he looked down and found he had wound attaching the crane’s hook to the back of Rocksteady’s pants.

“Ah, lower me, lower me” he said.

Bebop was about to do as instructed, when Rocksteady realized he was being lowered towards the ocean

“You trying to drown me or something? Turn right, turn right” Rocksteady demanded.

Bebop again complied with a swift pull of a lever, resulting in the crane propelling Rocksteady straight into the side of the communications room, the impact collapsing a side of the wall and exposing April’s activities.

“Hey, what is the heck is toots doing?” said Lugnut.

“Looks like she’s trying to squeel on us” said another gang member.

Jersey clenched her fist and gritted her teeth.

“I was beginning to think you were alright…now you won’t be” she vented as her heartache turned to quick and sudden anger.

Rocksteady detached himself from the crane, got up, and dusted himself off.

“Yeah, that’s that reporter babe, April O’Neil, grab her” he said.

“Time to spread my wings, let’s just hope they don’t get clipped” said April, dashing off as Rocksteady and the gang gave chase across the deck.

“Hang on April” bellowed Michelangelo, as he swung in from the top of the cabin holding onto a firm piece of rope attached to the crane that Bebop was operating.

“Not a bad Tarzan impression huh?” Michelangelo boasted as he and April landed safely atop the opposite side of the vessel.

April delicately placed a finger on his lips and slapped him on the torso, “Don’t go mistaking me for Jane Jungle Boy” she remarked.

“You wait here, I’ll cream those clowns” said Michelangelo, swinging down to meet Rocksteady on ground level.

He grabbed his wrist in preparation to toss him over his shoulder, a standard trick of combat he’d used earlier in the day and many times before hand, only to find his strength once again diminish as the transformation to human form kicked in again.

“Michelangelo, what’s happening?” yelled April from her position.

“Bummer, my body’s gone schizo over whether or not to keep me green or not” said Michelangelo, as Rocksteady gained the upper hand and gripped Michelangelo’s fleshly body tightly within his own hands.

“Well well, guess you had an appetite for Shredder’s cookies after all wimp” gloated Rocksteady.

“Let go of me before I really cut loose on you horn-head” replied a defiant Michelangelo. Rocksteady could’nt help but laugh.

He took a grapplnig hook dangling from the crane and latched on to Michelangelo’s t-shirt.

“Haul him away Bebop” Rocksteady bellowed. Bebop nodded and hoisted Michelangelo with the crane, intending to slam him hard against the ship’s walls until there was nothing left of him to smear.

“Banzai” came a defiant battle-cry from behind Rocksteady as Leonardo leapt onto the ship and threw his sai blade directly at the grappling hook attached to the crane, detatching Michelangelo from it.

The remaining Turtles soon joined him, cracking their knuckles.

“Turtles fight with honor” they yelled in unison.

Rocksteady, unimpressed with this show of force he’d experianced first hand many a time, including today, climbed up to April’s location, picked her up with the simplest of ease and proceed to climb up the ship’s mast. Michelangelo went after her.

“Hold on April’s help’s on his way” said Michealngelo.

Lugnut and some of his underlings attempted to assist Rocksteady, only to have their path blocked by Raphael

“I don’t know where it is you came from, but we intend to see you back to your own dwelling in pieces” proclaimed an enraged Lugnut.

“I fall to pieces at the very notion of that” said Raphael, the bite evident in his snark, before picking up an axe and cutting a nearby bit of rope, which released a net directly on top of Lugnut and his men.

“That there is what we mean by the term ‘net neutrality” said Raphael.

Leonardo also made use of the ship’s resources, throwing a slick cannister of paint across the deck, forming a slippery and trecherous path that felled Jersey Red and another member of the gang and sending them straight off the ship and into the murky waters below.

As Leonardo watched the pair paddle to safety, he saluted them.

“I’ve gotta give them credit, they litterally gave me the slip” he remarked.

Donatello finished off the remainder of the gang by blasting them face first with water from a nearby hose.

“Forgive my dry sense of humor, but you’re all washed up” Donatello said jubilantly.

Bebop, sensing the end was approaching, made preperations to leave.

“Rocksteady, c’mon” he hollared to his friend. Rocksteady, however, would not budge from his posisition at the crow’s nest.

He had leverage with which he could use to hold the Turtles at bay as long as he wished and he was reveling in the power he had within his grasp.

Michelangelo had carefully posistioned himself to the left of the hulking mutant and, forming the rope in his hand into a lasso, he prepared to make a move.

With careful aim and precision timing, Michelangelo latched the makeshift lasson onto to April. He tried to pull her out of Rocksteady’s grip.

Rocksteady, however, was’nt budging.

“Ha, what good are you gonna do with that? You don’t have any strength to hoist your reporter babe anywhere, you’re just a puny human” he said.

April tapped him on the shoulder

“So am I” she said, before elbowing him in the stomach and poking him in the eye. The distraction caused Rocksteady to loosen his grip and the lassoed April found herself thrown from the crow’s nest and into Michelangelo’s arms.

Rocksteady lost his balance and fell into the water below, Bebop dived in after Turtles watched them scarper back to dry land.

Once everyone was assembled, Donatello sprayed Michelangelo with a special spray containing a chemical that would serve as the antidote.

Michelangelo beamed as his human form reconfigured into his far more familiar outward apperance.

“I’m yours truly again” he said, urging his brothers to join him for a group hug

“This time it’s permanent” said Donatello.

“Turtle or human, you’re the greatest” a grateful April said

“You were freakishly fiesty yourself” said Michelangelo

“Made of steel remember?” April remarked.

“Yeah, you sure are” Michelangelo replied.

“And that means I’m tough enough to deal with whatever comes next with us” she said.

April leaned over to Michelangelo, her eyes full of sincerity and purpose, and pressed her lips passionatly against his.

The kiss wasn’t brief, it lasted a while, but for the two of them, the moment felt like a lifetime in the making.

Something so perfect, so natural, and so special, was happening and neither wanted to let go of what it was, nor forget all too easily what it meant.

April eventually, and carefully, pulled back, her face awash with jubilation. Michelangelo’s features were similar, only his cheers were bright red.

“What do you say? You want to try and make this work?” she said.

Michelangelo, still blushing from cheek to cheek, was unable to say a word

“Careful there April, stunts like that might turn him human again” replied Leonardo.

The now calm and tempered evening swiftly transitioned into the bustling and finetic day.

After a well-earned rest, and though their all-nigthter on the docks had forced them to sleep through the duration of the morning and throughout most of the afternoon, most of the Turtles all assembled at the table ready to make up for a lack of breakfast and lunch.

Most of the Turtles, but not all.

Once more, one was noticeably missing.

“Where’d Michelangelo go this time?” asked Raphael.

“He was up for most of the evening talking to April over on the Turtle ‘Com after she went home” replied Leonardo. “She insisted he get some shut-eye but he said he’d only manage it if she agreed to meet him on the roof of her apartment. He must have gotten up before the rest of us”

“I still can’t beleive she’s willing to go through with dating one of us, it just does’nt fit her character” Raphael remarked.

“It is a pretty big step for both of them” said Leonardo.

“Yeah, but Raph has a point…April used to think we were of two entirely different worlds” Leonardo argued.

Master Splinter, overhearing the conversation, chose to interceed with sage advise.

“It is a wise choice to walk in between worlds, but a braver act to bind those worlds together. Having faith and appreciation of your dearest friends can lead to many changes in the mind and the heart”

“Women changing their minds…average day for the species” remarked Raphael.

“I think Michelangelo had an altogether different reason for bailing early guys, he may have remembered what we had scheduled to eat today” said Donatello, carrying a piping hot pizza in for the Turtles to chow down on.

Leonardo inspected the food.

“Choclate Chip Pizza?” he replied.

“It’ll be a while before he has a craving for that again, all the more for me I guess” Raphael remarked, taking a slice and devouring it with considerable relish.

“I take it we won’t be saving him a slice?” said Donatello.

“Nah” both Leonardo and Raphael said in hasty unison.

Meanwhile, back at April’s apartment, an exhausted and deflated April made her way up to the room of the building, where, true to his word, Michelangelo was waiting for her, lazily slumped in a deck chair wearing shades, looking out at the steadily setting sun.

“How’d the day go?” he said.

“I’ll let you know when my bulletin’s due in about two hours, I can’t stay here long”

“Hey, no rush, I’m a Turtle, it’s our natural instinct to take things slow and easy” Michelangelo replied.

“Just so you know, Thompson had to edit my piece. He thought it was best I not mention you guys”

“He can cover up the facts just like that?” Michelangelo replied, slightly annoyed.

“He thought I was joking, he said there’s no way you guys would be hindering that gang, but would probably be helping them. He’s never given any of you their fair due”

“So how do you explain what happened with the gang? That they turned themselves in? That they surrendered as soon as they caught wind of a siren?”

“The authorities picked up my mayday on the ship, that’s as far as he’s willing to let me travel with that end of the story” April explained.

“So we do all the work, and you’re left with the credit. Smooth dudette” Michelangelo realized, leaping out of the seat, grabbing April’s hips and hoisting her up in the air, giving her a twirl.

“You’re not mad?” said April excitedly.

“No way, now the whole city will know just what you’re made of, kind of like I already do” he said.

Putting April down, the two walked over to the edge of the roof to take in the view of the city and the setting sun.

Michelangelo wrapped his arms tightly around her waist and gently kissing the back of her neck.

“Comfortable there babe?” he asked.

April stroked the side of his cheeks gently with her right hand.

“Sure, but I’m more glad you’ve learned how to be comfortable in your own skin” she said with a reassuring smile.

Side by side, the two friends, now something more, watched the sun set on the first day of the rest of their lives.

Doctor Who-The Bells of Saint John [Fanedit]

drwhothebellsofsaintjoh“We picked the mystery box…hop in”

(To download, please join FE.Org and PM Zarius)

I put together a version of this in the past, but with a little more experience and a few new ideas, I’ve chosen to revisit it. Think of this one as the “Page One Edit”, named so because we get to find out just what “page one” and that whole deal with the leaf was all about before the episode ends, rather than wait for a filler pre-titles when you reach Rings of Akaten.

You might think I’m robbing Clara of any and all intrigue by tossing in her origin at the very end of this episode, but not only does her character have very little of that to begin with (as well as any sort of trait to go along with it), I thought it makes for a nice little subversion of the triumphant way the original cut ends, with The Doc having gained a new companion and the thrill of new adventure and mystery on the horizon. Here, he solves the mystery and is utterly perplexed by it. I think that serves as a better ending…don’t leave it with the feeling the Doctor WILL get to the bottom of things, point out very clearly that he CAN’T.

A mystery The Doctor can’t solve makes us worry, and makes us wonder. That is how you kick off a new series of adventures, that is what we call a jumping on point.

In addition to the new ending, I’ve gone in and added the prequel minisode from the series seven DVD as part of the pre-titles. While it’s a little too on-the-nose and doesn’t add much, I still think it’s a nice refresher course if you’re not too familiar with this stretch of the series or Clara.

A few scenes have been rearranged too. Clara accessing the wi-fi now comes before the helpless man’s ominous warning to the internet community, and I removed the whole talk about the Woman Twice Dead and The Doctor’s madness to better seaugeway into him receiving the phone call.