Silence in the library was suspicious.
by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2018
In our previous episode, Tati and Tony tried to disguise themselves as a pair of famous videogame plumbers after meeting at the Greater Cachalot Mall in international waters. Little did they realise that something dodgy was happening right behind them…
Right in front of their very eyes was a mysterious man in black, and he was trying to make off with one of Tony’s suitcases. Tati didn’t even need to think. She immediately dug into her pants pocket and withdrew a mint lollipop. In one smooth over-the-shoulder movement, she lobbed it at the man in black and hit him squarely between the eyes. He crumpled to the ground like a tarpaulin full of bricks.
“You! Hey, you!” Tati lightly kicked him with the tip of her shoe. “Are you alive?”
“What the hell?!” hissed Tony like a goose. “There’s no need to sink the boot in! Isn’t it enough that you knocked him down?! What was that anyway? A candy cannonball? Jesus!”
Tati stood there confused. She thought she had done the right thing. “It was just a lollipop I bought in Zhmerynka’s Duty Free. Do you think it could be expired, and that’s why it’s so hard?”
“Either that or it’s got a tiny anchor in the middle of it.” Tony kneeled beside the man in black. “He’s out cold.”
“No, look, he’s coming around.”
The mysterious man in black opened his eyes, but the sight of two squabbling Mario brothers made him go faint again. And who could blame him? Anyone in his place would have done the same. One brother was strangely effeminate, and the other had two moustaches, one of which was stuck to his brow.
“Nope. He’s out again.”
Tati looked around. “We need a bucket of water.”
“What? Are we gonna drown him now? I think the guy’s had enough!”
Losing patience, Tati shrugged her shoulders then grabbed the man in black by his shirt front. She yanked him into a sitting position. “Who are you?” she growled to his face. “Why were you stealing Tony’s suitcase?”
“I don’t think he can hear you, Tati.”
Tati pulled a vial of acetone from her other pocket.
Tony regarded her with a not unwarranted degree of suspicion. “Erm, why are you carrying stuff like that with you? And how the hell did you get it through customs?”
Tati gave an annoyed tut. “Don’t ask questions you wouldn’t like the answers to!” And, with that, she shoved the vial right into the man in black’s nose. With an almighty fit of spluttering and coughing, he opened eyes.
“Good sir,” asked Tony politely, “could you please let us know why you need my suitcase?”
Before the man in black could respond, Tati shouted, “I’d just like to know who the fuck died and left you stealing other people’s suitcases!”
The man in black whispered, “Please, don’t kill me, mighty Mario brothers. Let me live and I’ll reveal a big secret to you.”
In our previous episode, Tati and Tony met at the Greater Cachalot Mall in international waters. As they nitpicked at one another, a mysterious man in black turned up and quietly made a beeline for Tony’s suitcases…
Tati sighed. “Okey dokey. Let’s go to reception. I’m dying to take a shower.” She pulled a map from her pants pocket and unfolded it over a nearby café table.
“Why couldn’t we have met in front of the hotel itself?” asked Tony, scratching the top of his head with a quizzical look.
“Conspiracy?” Tony blinked in confusion.
After ascertaining the most confusing and circuitous route to the hotel, Tati rummaged through her backpack and withdrew a couple of items. “Now, take this moustache and cap. No one should recognize you!”
Tony took one of the moustaches from her hand and put on the green cap. “But I already have a moustache!”
“It doesn’t matter. Stick that one over it.”
Tony blinked slowly at his reflection in a nearby store window showcase while Tati put on a moustache of her own, and a red cap too. “Seriously, we look like the Mario Bros.” She giggled at Tony’s comment. He had two moustaches on his face, and he did rather look like a famous, portly, videogame plumber’s brother.
“Does this make me Mario?”
Tony blushed. “A female Mario, yes.”
Tati folded up the map and stowed it away. “Okay, you can stop scratching your mushrooms, brother. Let’s a go!”
Rolling his eyes, Tony turned to retrieve his suitcases…
In our previous episode, Tony introduced Tati to ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books. But Tati, like a real clever dick, quickly googled it, pretending to know what they were. Suddenly, a mysterious man in black appeared out of nowhere…
They’d decided to meet at the Greater Cachalot Mall, which was more akin to a bustling mini metropolis than an actual mall. Located on an island in international waters, it lay somewhere between Ukraine and Australia, and required no Visa to visit. Tati travelled there via the Trans-Zhmerynka Portalway while Tony took the TUMS Oceania Tube.
Tony arrived first, lugging three huge suitcases behind him. They were filled with god knows what, and the hotel staff were understandably curious. Who could possibly need that much crap? What the hell was it? Was it clothes or something nefarious like money for a drug drop? Tony did have the bedraggled appearance of a dealer after all.
Tati appeared twenty minutes later with her habitual backpack and a mint lollipop. She slapped Tony’s back, causing him to choke on his soda. “Are you drinking that slop again?” Tony winced at her pointed question. “You boob! When will you drop dead from diabetes? I won’t be coming to your funeral! And don’t complain that I didn’t warn you!”
They were looking at each other with a mixture of love and hate, and therefore didn’t notice a mysterious man in black slipping quietly behind them and making a beeline for Tony’s suitcases…
Catch the first episode in this series:
THE PILOT // Where Tati Makes Tony Blush
“Hey, Tati. Do you like interactive stuff?”
“What? Cooperative staff? What do you mean?” Tati blinked in confusion.
“Stuff you can interact with. Like a knob or Rubik’s Cube.”
“Hmm… knob. I sense a trick.” She narrowed her eyes in suspicion. “Do you want to beep my nose again?”
“Could I?” Tony’s mouth broke into a sly grin. “Although that’s more like a button really, not a knob.”
Tati wrinkled her nose in distaste. “Tony, I won’t fall for this shit again. You and your speculative staff!”
Now Tony blinked. “Well, I’ve never heard it called that before…”
“What? These were your words! You asked me if I like copulative staff only a moment ago. I’m not crazy. I know what I heard!”
“Actually, I was referring to ‘CYOA’ books. My knob… erm… knobs in general… erm… staffs… Shit. Let’s just say Rubik’s Cubes.” Tony pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. “Look, I was just using these as examples of things that could be interacted with…”
Tati stared at him. He slumped his shoulders and said sheepishly to himself, “Damn. I’ve become a dirty old man, haven’t I? I always promised myself that wouldn’t happen.”
“C’mon you! Old ass!”
Tony blinked again. “Hey, hey, hey! No need to get insulting!”
“‘CYOA’ books! Doesn’t this mean ‘C’mon you! Old ass!’ books?”
“No, it really doesn’t. Please, Tati, do save me from your endless guessing, okay? Let me put you out of your misery.”
“Well, you can try. But, please, without your silly euphemisms like ‘knobs’. I’m a big girl. You can say ‘interactive dick’ if what you mean is ‘interactive dick’.”
“Good lord. Now you’ve got me blushing…” And he really was!
“Well, out with it!” She tapped her foot on the tiled floor, impatient.
“Erm… yes. ‘CYOA’ means ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’.”
“NO! Not with dicks! What’s wrong with you? This isn’t an adult version of ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’ y’know!”
“Such a pity. Okay, so what is it?”
“It was a series of children’s books that began in the seventies. Each story was written from a second-person point of view, and each section of the story would end with a list of choices for how it could progress.” Tony was in full professorial mode now. He was so cute when he got like this. “You could be a pirate, an astronaut, or even an investment banker. Actually, I don’t think there ever was one with an investment banker in it…”
“Tony, stop your verbal flood. Couldn’t you have said just one word at the start?”
“Actually, that’d be in the list of choices. ‘If you decide to listen to Tony’s lengthy, long-winded explanation, thus running the risk of slipping into a coma, turn to page 17. If you decide to convince him to use fewer words, thus saving yourself valuable drinking time, turn to page 21. If you decide to slap him in the face with a wet fish, turn to page 34.’”
“WOW! And what will happen if I jump right to page 45?”
“Then the story won’t make any sense! You can’t just go skipping pages!”
“Tony, actually I’m teasing you. I understood almost three hours ago what you’ve been saying about gamebooks.”
“I’ve never read such books, but I suppose it could be fun. So, what is your idea?”
“Well, I was thinking that you and I could try writing one of our very own…”
“So, why are we still sitting here beating the air? Let’s write!”
Tony blinked, then smiled. “Hang on. How are we going to do this? Should I come over to your place and we can write there? Or you come over to mine?”