Your Ass is On the Line
Backstage. A door. This one, unlike the many others of previous weeks, is far from random. It’s the placard that gives it away; a simple piece of embossed plastic that reads: Melvin Beauregard, Special Liaison to PRIME. It’s the kind of thing that would ward away most folks from daring to intrude, but not the ones currently hovering at the threshold.
The first of these is likely the last person Mr. Beauregard would want in his office, invited or otherwise, but King Blueberry isn’t one to concern himself with these things. Neither is Ria Nightshade, who is crouched low and working on the door’s locking mechanism.
El Hijo del Super Cool Guy and Charity are present as well, but they don’t get to have opinions. Because they’re not alive.
King Blueberry: Thanks for helpin’ me out with this. After the way things went earlier tonight, with the group of Survivor weirdos and their “cooking”…
From somewhere deep inside him comes a low rumbling, like the angry, wet wails of a dying plague demon.
King Blueberry: Dude has this one coming. At least no one tried to feed us IcyHot. I mean, I don’t think they did, anyway.
A pause, as the demon slumbers once more.
King Blueberry: Speaking of, how’s the campaign going? You and Old Man Philly gonna throw down?
Ria Nightshade: He better hope for his sake we don’t. I’m gonna take that mask, shove it down his throat, make him shit it out, THEN shove it down his throat again! A vicious, mask shitting and eating cycle!
King Blueberry: Well, that’s, uhh… vivid.
He works to stifle a gag.
King Blueberry: Horrible mental imagery notwithstanding, I hope you get your shot. And after last week – or two weeks ago, whatever, time is weird – I don’t think I’m alone.
Ria Nightshade: Time is paradoxical. You move through time, while it also moves around you. You can only go forward, never back, and only at the speed of which human life allows. Is time linear? Are there multiple timelines? Is it only a few or are they infinite, with every minute decision creating neverending branches?
King Blueberry: Wow. I think that’s the hardest I’ve ever seen someone work to try and dodge a compliment.
Ria Nightshade: I could stab you with this lockpick instead. Which method do you prefer?
King Blueberry: Okay, that’s a fair point. I mean I’ve dealt with chairs, and light tubes, and then there was this one time I just let a guy almost break my leg, so…
He nods, weighing his options. He also subtly switches his positioning, putting a bit of a barrier between them. King Blueberry, champion of nonsense, now hides behind a silicone sex doll.
King Blueberry: I’m-just-saying-I-want-you-to-be-successful-is-all-I-think-you-can-crush-it-okay
The words fly fast, and he braces.
And then, there’s a maniacal laughter. A man walks into frame, and he stands there laughing for several long seconds, despite two different sets of eyes staring at him.
Baron von Blackberry: AHAHAHA… oh, wait. Neither of you are Melvin, are you?
He looks both Ria and Blueberry over.
Baron von Blackberry: No. No, this won’t do. I have a need to yell unceasingly at that man!
King Blueberry: Buddy, get in line.
The Blueberry beams beneath his mask, and then Baron von Blackberry finds himself the victim of an awkward hug, which is only released when agonized cries of that damn plague demon start up again.
King Blueberry: We’re here for some, well, not revenge. More an impassioned plea to maybe not try poisoning half the roster again. Pretty sure one of those dishes winked at me.
Baron von Blackberry: Then you’re in luck! For I, too, am here to make that same exact plea. Because I’m pretty sure Joe took the food even worse than you did.
King Blueberry: Yeah, about that guy…
He casts a sideways glance at the mannequin – the not-sex one. To his credit, Super Cool Guy appears unfazed by the sudden attention.
King Blueberry: How’s he doing? I’m not sure how it keeps happening – the Canadian Destroyers, I mean. It’s the damnedest thing, but sometimes the laws of physics just go hell around me. Just right to hell.
Baron von Blackberry: Beef and Janito did mention something about physics and how they be damned… but if you ask me, well…
Blackberry suddenly notices that there’s someone else on the scene, and looks past Blueberry.
Baron von Blackberry: Oh hey, Ria. What’s up?
Ria Nightshade: I’m close, but a couple of fucking idiots won’t shut up so I can concentrate! I already have one voice in my head bitching at me, don’t need to hear you two blathering on…
Blueberry feigns indignance, but says nothing. Instead he looks at Blackberry, and gestures with his hands.
King Blueberry: (mouthing the words) Does she mean you and me?
He shakes his head. It’s all very dramatic.
King Blueberry: (mouthing again) Noooooo, can’t be us.
Then points with his thumb at the mannequins.
King Blueberry: (yup, still mouthing) Gotta be them.
It’s all very stupid.
Baron von Blackberry: (also mouthing) Almost certainly.
El Hijo Del Super Cool Guy: …
King Blueberry: Dude! She said to keep it down. You already heard what she said she’d do to Anglo, yeah? You trying to get us killed now?
Baron von Blackberry: …Is he speaking in Klingon?
King Blueberry: I have no idea what he says anymore. Not since I had to replace the head. It’s a whole thing.
There’s a moment of quiet that settles over the group, broken only by the occasional sounds of metal scraping against metal, the pick finding its way in the lock. Some might expect the first meeting in years between the berries to be more upbeat, more boisterous. But this encounter has the distinction of also being their first without the third member of the group.
Without Sultan Strawberry.
Without Seymour Almasy.
King Blueberry: This feels wrong, like everything’s suddenly out of balance. The last time I wore this…
He flicks the base of his mask with his thumb.
King Blueberry: Last time I wore this there were three of us. Now it’s just us, Baron. You and I are all that’s left. Don’t get me wrong, it’s incredible to see you again, it’s just… Shit’s not fair.
Baron von Blackberry: I know, Your Highness. It never seems to be.
The king just nods.
King Blueberry: Hey, Ria, you don’t have to keep going. I’ve wasted enough of your time, so if we’re not close we can just call it. I appreciate you for trying.
As the last words leave King Blueberry’s mouth, an audible CLICK can be heard. Ria’s ever present smirk finally returns to her face as the door slowly swings open.
Ria Nightshade: You were saying?
A little bit of the light returns to King Blueberry, a hint of a smirk playing at his lips.
King Blueberry: Ria, you’re my hero for this. Absolute hero! And if there’s any heat for this – fines or whatever – I’ll take all the responsibility. Want you to know I’ve got your back, okay?
Still crouched down, lockpick in hand, Ria stares up at King Blueberry. She takes his words in for a moment… Before stabbing the lockpick into the right butt cheek of KB.
First is the shock, then the realization, and then the pain, sharp and radiating. Blueberry sucks in a long breath through clenched teeth. His eyes, already starting to water, are closed tight.
King Blueberry: Yep. Totally warned me about that.
A closed fist pounds a slow, steady drum beat on the wall behind him. The demon in his belly picks this time to growl again.
King Blueberry: Goddammit that sucked.
Baron von Blackberry: Thanks, Ria!
King Blueberry: Dude!
Baron von Blackberry: For the door!
Ria Nightshade: You’re welcome! For both!
Blueberry exhales a hard sigh, the latest in a string of many tonight. Still hunched over, he looks first to Blackberry, then to Ria, and then to the lifeless forms of SCG and Charity.
King Blueberry: So. Mannequins in naughty poses on Melvin’s desk?
Baron von Blackberry: AHAHA! He shouldn’t have left the door unlocked! THE FOOL!
With their plastic people in tow, the three dip inside the now-open office of Melvin Beauregard, special liaison to PRIME. Later, when he returns to his office, the first thing he’ll see is the visage of Charity staring blankly at him from across his desk. The second thing will be Super Cool Guy, also staring from behind his desk.
Look, I’m not explaining any more than that. No one here’s trying to get stabbed for real, okay?
What the rest of the internet will see later tonight is all of this, in addition to the many cell phone photos that were taken of all the other places both dummies were posed.
Unfortunately for Melvin, he’ll also be the first one to discover a private sink full of whatever King Blueberry ate during Survivor.
Sucks to be him.