Scott and Mark: Chasing Bessie
"Dude, whose do you think this is?" Mark asked, holding up a shiny red ballerina slipper.
"Dunno. You might want to try asking Glinda the Good Witch," Scott answered, looking away from Dave's gallivanting. "Wait, what are you doing?"
Mark pulled his nose out from the confines of the shoe.
"Uh, I kinda have, like, a thing"
Scott held up a hand. "Just stop right there. Please, just stop." Mark giggled awkwardly and tossed the shoe back onto the front lawn of Dave's. He stuck the offending hand into the pocket of his hoodie. A moment later, he took it back out and furtively held it to his face. Scott tried not to gag.
"Did you see where she went?"
"Why would I ask you if I knew?" Scott said, trying to curb his snappish tone. Mark didn't pick up on it; he was preoccupied with staring at the shoe hungrily.
"Hey, I think I got an idea, dude. Let's hit up a bus stop and go from there. You got a pass?"
"Yeah. So where are you thinking of going?"
"Don't worry, man," Mark said, smiling. "Enjoy the trip!"
Scott stared at Mark dumbly. Taking it as approval, Mark spun on his heels and walked towards the sidewalk with a purposeful stride.
"Fish and chips and vinegar, vinegar, vinegar!"
"It's our war cry. Fish and chips and vinegar! Pepper, pepper, pepper, salt! Let's do it round robin. You start after the first vinegar,' okay? Ready, dude? Fish and chips and vinegarScott? Hello? Are you listening, dude?"
"I'm trying not to."
"Okay, dude, let's try again. Fish and chips and"
Scott looked up at vermillion clouds and mumbled through his verse. Mark kept it up until they got on the bus, at which point the driver told them to shut up. Scott took a seat next to Mark near the middle of the bus, calculating the chances of Mark and Dave being related. Mark took up the chant under his breath, nudging Scott to follow suit. It was going to be a long ride.
"Happy birthday, dear Micah, happy birthday to you!" The raucous cheers that followed made Scott cringe. A multicolored trough of ice cream pocked with candles passed by the table he and Mark had gotten in the middle of the shop. It left a sticky trail of melted ice cream as it made its way to the lucky boy's table. Seated across from Scott, Mark was busily devouring his own mountain of frozen goodness. Scott hadn't known until fifteen minutes ago that you could get a banana split sans bananas.
"Yeaghf?" He garbled, ice cream spilling out of his mouth to splash back into the bowl strategically placed for such an occurrence.
"Can you explain to me again why we're at Farrell's?"
"Ith lie," Mark swallowed, "It's, like, a kid's dream! Dude, look at their hats! There's, like, candy and ice cream everywhere, it's all bright and stuff. Ice cream!"
"Yeah, I get it. Ice cream. So why are we here?"
"Who wouldn't come here, dude!?"
"Are you saying that that Bessie girl would come here just because it's a place people like to come?"
Scott scooted his chair away from the table, the gritty sound of wood against wood barely audible in the cacophony. How many kids had a birthday today? The place was packed; he had to serpentine his way out while trying not to crush sugar-fueled children underfoot. Mark hopped up with a full spoon. The contents splatted onto an unsuspected grandmother.
Scott waited outside in the encroaching dusk, grateful he was free from the cloyingly sweet air trapped within the shop. The temperature was dropping but he wasn't cold; rather, he was comforted by the familiarity. Mark tottered out of the front door, a few pounds heavier than when the two had entered.
"Hey, do you know what time it is?"
Scott shook his head. "No. I don't want to stay out all night looking for her, though. We do have school tomorrow. I think there's a test I'm supposed to study for."
"We can't let Dave down!" Mark wailed. "He's counting on us!"
"You can explain to him why you found it necessary to take us to the next town over to get food."
"I was sooo hungry, dude, and I, like, figured we'd see some sign of her."
"We went to a taco truck, hot dog stand, falafel place, dim sum and you got fish and chips. Ice cream was the next logical step, I take it."
"Definitely! Now I totally have the strength to, like, divine where that Triple B chick is."
Scott watched in awe as Mark pulled out his fluorescent frisbee from somewhere within his hoodie.
"How did you fit that in there?"
"I always have at least one on me, dude. Anyway, watch. I am about to blow your mind."
Mark crouched in the doorway of the shop, blocking a couple who was trying to leave. Ignoring their repeated excuse mes, he placed the edge of the orange disk on the cement and spun it like a top. It maintained its rotation for full minute, much to the couple's frustration as Mark held out his arm to stop them from stepping over him, before clattering to a stop on its face. Mark rubbed his chin to consider the orientation, smiled then stood up. The boyfriend put an arm around his partner's shoulders and escorted her past.
"Heh, sorry, man," Mark said to their backs.
"Well?" Scott asked. "What was that all about?"
"I told you, dude, I'm divining that chick's location. The frisbee knows all."
"Can we at least move away from the door?"
"I can do you one better than that, bro. I'm gonna lead you straight to her right now!" Mark flung his arm to point up the block. The frisbee slipped out of his hand, nearly clipping the couple who were now trying to get into a small car. Mark gasp and rushed after it into the middle of the thankfully empty street.
"Whatever," Scott said to himself, "lead the way."
Mark, frisbee once again hidden, was waiting for Scott at the end of the block. He was looking left and right, sniffing at the air. Scott reached him as the light for them to cross began to flash.
"Hurry up!" Mark said, stepping down into the crosswalk. "This is where my frisbee sense is telling me to go."
"How exactly do you know she's that way?"
"It's kinda deep, man," Mark replied, running a hand through his mussed brown hair. "You have to become one with the disk, you know what I mean? It's like, a really intense ritual. I still have the scars."
Mark held out his right hand and showed Scott his palm. A thin, circular scar stood out in the center.
"One with the disk. It has to be, like, part of your soul. You have to be part of the frisbee's soul. When I throw the frisbee, man, I'm throwing myself. Our spirits are connected, you know?"
"Mark," Scott said, voice flat.
"How the hell does this have anything at all to do with my question?"
"Aw, man. I guess you just have to experience it to understand," Mark said, shrugging. When I get home, Scott though, I'm just going to make a poker face mask. He decided to let the subject drop and play along with Mark's frisbee-given intuition.
It was completely dark by the time Scott completely gave up on listening to Mark. They had been through sketchy alleys, parks, backyards, a cemetery and an attached arboretum. Scott sense of direction was completely tangled as he tried to stay close to Mark in a heavily wooded area. Mark was holding a zippo in front of his face. The flickering flame cast ominous shadows and Scott wondered how long it would take until he broke his ankle. Mark had wrested a knobby branch from the undergrowth and was using it to carve a path through the foliage.
"Dude, I think I see a light!" Mark said, motioning with his stick. Squinting, Scott thought he saw a lighter area among the trees ahead. "We're almost home free!"
Mark sped up, swinging the branch zealously. Scott was repeatedly slapped in the face as the smaller branches Mark was knocking aside rebounded. He shielded his face and blindly followed the clamor Mark was making until he walked headfirst into something solid. Mark was standing in someone's side yard, arms extended.
Branch in one hand, lighter in the other, he inhaled deeply.
"Thank The Roundness, The Ever-Spinning Frisbee. Gyrate into infinity. We, dude, have arrived."
"You're saying Bessie's around here somewhere?"
"No doubt, man," Mark said, walking out onto the street. "The fris provides."
"Mark," Scott said, looking around.
"That's Dave's house, isn't it?"
Mark blinked at Scott and looked in the same direction.
"Uh, it does kind of look like it."
"That's Dave and Andronicus going into his garage."
Mark narrowed his eyes. "Um, it could be somebody else. I mean, like, other people wear capes, right"
"No, Mark," Scott said dryly. "No, they don't." Scott crossed the darkened street, Mark bashfully taking the rear. He thought he heard someone laughing. Suddenly, a woeful howl of "WHY!" boomed from within. Scott hesitated before opening the door. He had a feeling he knew what had pushed Andronicus to despair and he was not happy about it.
Mark was peeking over his shoulder as he opening the door. The first thing Scott noticed was Andronicus, collapsed onto the floor and weeping uncontrollably. Next was Dave, head thrown back and laughing maniacally with tears streaming down his face. Finally, he looked towards the back of the garage. Melody was seated with her hand folded on her lap in front of a small table she had acquired in their absence. Next to her, a tea cup halfway to her mouth and brown eyes wide, was Bessie.
"You have got to be f--king kidding me."
"Dude!" Mark said, slapping Scott on the back. "I told you we'd find her!"
Bessie flushed and shakily set down her cup, folding into herself with an endearing, chubby meekness. Scott noticed the shiny red shoes Bessie was timidly pointing together. Mark gaped openly and pointed.
"Those were yours!"
"II'm sorry. I didn't mean to cause you all, um, so much trouble," Bessie said in a soft yet lilting voice. "I just came back for my shoe"
"Triple B, my love!" Dave cried, moving towards her.
"What?" Bessie piped, leaning back as if to escape once more. "You're what?"
"It was no trouble at all!"
"Yeah, dude, it was no problem! We're just glad you're back," Mark added, eyes glued to her feet. Bessie turned fearful eyes towards him. Scott looked at Mark sidelong, worried for Bessie's safety. Andronicus still hadn't recovered and Scott opted to stay near the door. He thought he might pull a Bessie and book it.
"Hey Scott, hey Mark," Melody said, waving. "Good timing. I've finished up the songs. Bessie was a big help," she added, smiling kindly at the quivering girl who was now clutching her pleated skirt. Dave and Mark were attacking her with praise and increasingly invasive questions. "Her voice is amazing. She has incredible range."
"Hey," Scott replied, stepping around Andronicus. Scott gave the distraught actor a tentative pat on the back, which seemed to bring Andronicus back to reality. He stopped the crying but remained in his position. Pulling up a milk crate, Scott sat down next to Melody and took the notebook she was handing to him.
"Sheet music. I added thelyrics Dave came up with. I'm not much of a composer," she admitted, grimacing, "but at least we have something to play."
"I can't read music," Scott said, reading the lyrics. "What is with these lyrics?"
"Yeah, I know," Melody responded to both, "The music's more for myself." She picked up the chord book. "This shows how to make the chords on the guitar; even Dave can understand that. I'm going to have to, at the very least, teach Andro the different notes on the keyboard. You and Mark can just free style for the time being."
"Seriously, what is with these lyrics?"
Melody snorted. "Dave's problem, not mine."
Hearing his name, Dave stopped the barrage on Bessie and turned around.
"Everyone's here?" He asked. "Alright! Time for our first ever official practice!" Dave magicked a pair of drumsticks from within his sleeve. He sidled over to Scott, holding them out. Scott reluctantly reached for them. Instead of letting go, Dave pulled the drumsticks, and Scott, towards himself. He put his face uncomfortably close to Scott's and stared deeply, passionately, into Scott's. His electric blue eyes contrasted sharply with Scott's own stormy grey.
"Today's the day, Scott."
"The dayWE BEGIN OUR PATH TO VICTORY!"