Mario and Bowser: Frenemies Forever 2
'Bros before Koopas' (Chapter 2)
Disclaimer: Mario and co. belong to Nintendo
Luigi groggily leaned up and bed and stretched while Mario snored loudly on the other side of the room buried in covers. This was typical when back-to-back weekend events were scheduled. Mario would sleep a few minutes longer and somehow, to Luigi at least, he'd gain twice as much energy for the day because of it. Luigi wished he could use that tactic but he couldn't ignore a blaring alarm like his brother could. He stared at the darkness for a moment when Mario's cellphone, a basic Yoshimobile identical to his own, rung on the nightstand. Luigi checked the caller id.
"Bowser?!" he gasped.
"Booowzer..." Mario mumbled, tangling himself in the sheets.
Luigi jumped on Mario's bed and shook him violently. "Bro wakeup wakeup it's Bowser calling! WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP!"
'You have one new message.'*Beep*
Mario's eyelids slowly open as the voicemail began to play:
"Hey pipes for brains, wake up call! Bwa ha ha!" A loud 'Koopa Symphony' was in the background of Bowser's voice, being so loud as to go through thick walls. "Friendly reminder for ya: we gotta win, or else! ...Oh and tell the Princess I'll be looking my best just for her!"
Mario rolled his eyes. Luigi didn't notice over the clacking of his own teeth.
"Lastly. Umm, well. What's the recipe for that Couples Cake again?... You know, the one only friends eat together? *Mumbling noises were heard*- Kamek, no this isn't Mario- *mumbling noises* Umm, gotta go. Keep that touchscreen smokin'! That's what phones use now right? See ya, plumber breath."
*Beep* 'End of message. You have no new messages.'
Mario slowly craned Luigi's way, knowing he'd screwed up when his brother sat on the bed slumping. "Listen, I didn't know Bowser took your name off the board until yesterday."
"Just forget it. My tennis elbow's been acting up anyway."
"Don't say that. I would have told you when I got home from Sky Land-"
"About that, are you feeling aright?" Luigi asked all a sudden. He was nearly in bed by the time Mario returned yesterday and didn't perceive much other than the word 'concussion' before he was too sleepy to think about it.
"Just a small headache. Little bro, I promise this whole thing won't happen again.. Bros before koopas, right?" Mario really meant it, but he couldn't tell if his brother realized it when he left the bedroom without a response. Now what did he say wrong?
"Bowser kicked you off the roster and so now you're just gonna spectate today?" Toad repeated to be sure. The twitchy subordinate of the princess ran a concession stand in front of the tennis stadium among others. It was sunny in Toad Town with crowds already starting to gather for the tournament. Toad had a glass tip jar half full of shiny coins testifying to the fact that he was the most successful of the vendors selling useless junk.
"You heard me right," Luigi replied. "Do you have a chill? You've been jittery since yesterday."
"I'll live. Wanna try a shroom shake?" Toad held up a pitcher full of something pale blue. The other flavor was yellow.
"What flavor is that?"
"My favorite, homeboy. Purple flavor."
"But that's blue."
Toad shrugged. "Stop being picky. You're already the player two option so don't be a jerk too!"
"Okay okay! I'll try it!" Well, he didn't want to be jerk did he? So Luigi took a sip, tasting a flavor explosion of every fruit except blueberry. While his head was tilted up Mario snuck up on him and poked him in the back. In alarm Luigi sprayed juice all over himself and Toad's stand.
"Get lost!" Luigi lashed out.
Mario tried to apologize but Princess Peach, ruler of the Kingdom came along just in time to whisk him away. As far as Luigi was concerned, that was good.
Toad was looking at how his yellow cups were now green due to Luigi spitting blue juice. "Whoa. You just made a new favor! Thanks." Toad picked up a megaphone. "SHROOM SHAKES 50% OFF! TRY MY NEW 'LUIGI' FLAVOR!"
"I don't think people should drink that, but I have to go." Luigi really itched to sit down and see the game. Seeing Bowser in his spot wasn't going to be the hard part, it would be resisting the urge to root for Daisy, when ever she chose to show up. He and the Sarasaland ruler talked a lot, but kept it down low. He let the general rush of the audience get past him first and curiously someone else was doing the same.
"Hey, I haven't seen you since Mario Party- whatever number we're on! Do you still play tennis with that mean curve?" Luigi asked the boo diddly who gazed back bashfully.
"Luigi! I was just thinking about you, hehe!"
Meanwhile Yoshi arrived from the bus. The bus system was new to Toad Town in the recent decades along with cell towers and he appreciated it, living isolated from most at Yoshi's Island and otherwise having to rely on boat. Despite the inconvenience he always supported anything Mario did. He hung up on the call he was having with his fiancee Birdo, who stayed home mundanely or perhaps wisely. Toad was packing up when he approached the stand.
"Toad, how's Mario? Is he still going to play? I heard rumors that Bowser rigged the match."
Toad busily stacked up cups and other materials as Yoshi read his banner and dropped a few coins in the tip jar. He tried to support or at least be neutral with everyone but he wondered deep down if it was all just to avoid feeling irrelevant as the oldest hero still running around with Mario and crew. He was older than the famous brothers, the princess, even Bowser!
Toad lifted his head up from the overstuffed bag he was cramming things in. "I didn't see ya. Thanks you crazy dinosaur! Mario seemed okay earlier so I guess Daisy and I will have to knock him out a second time."
Yoshi's smile flattened and his tail lowered, not finding it funny.
"What? Too soon? Here, try a freebie."
Yoshi received the green drink. After a sip or two, he slurped it all up. "Hmm. I like it but why does this taste like Luigi?.."
To be literate was a marvelous thing. Accurate communication was the cornerstone of advanced civilization, even if attributing that label to Dark Land was a stretch. Ludwig Von Koopa would know as the land's prince and commander in chief. 'Reprisal in A minor', his very own masterpiece, played from the closed up auditorium room of Bowser's Castle and he stood outside listening. At least one sibling had great taste. The music stopped suddenly and Lemmy kicked open the door, smacking Ludwig in the face.
"Oops! I didn't see you there." The younger koopaling juggled five bowling pins and was his junior by almost two years. "I love blasting music, especially your stuff. You didn't tell me your hit was on the Top 40 pop station."
Ludwig held the knot on his snout. "I told the record company I only wanted the adult contemporary- Oh forget that. Since you are here I need my radio back, thank you."
Ludwig tuned in to WMUSH for local Toad Town news. The sports coverage was coming right up and while he hated sports if board games didn't count he wouldn't miss it this time.
Bowser threw another dart at Mario. The metal tipped barb dug in an inch deep, straight in Mario's nose. Crudely taped to a wall in the dark locker room with most of the bulbs out was a tattered 36x24 poster of Mario doing a 'v' sign, speckled with innumerable tiny holes.
"Aww, you own posters of me!" Mario watched Bowser assault that poster for thirty seconds, long enough to notice that Bowser's red hair gelled back and a nice smell overall.
"Yes, AND?!" Bowser retorted, jolting Mario from his stare. "These are for motivation to wipe the floor with you in real life. I've been in here for like an hour and I've warmed up. Whatta bout you?"
"I got plenty of warm up. A reporter from the Mushroom Press flagged me for an interview, I ran across a hot dog stand inside of the stadium, I spoke to Princess Peach in the umpire area and then-"
"That ain't exercise!"
Mario walked around in a circle. "Guess again. The hotdog guy was packing up and I had to chase him down."
"So much for that fake diet, eh?" Bowser smirked.
Mario smiled back. "Clever koopa. What's our game plan?"
"Hit the ball hard! Also… don't suck!"
"Sure. We'll do it your way. Just this one time." A great opportunity to get to know 'the enemy' better so that he can be crushed later, he reasoned.
It clicked in Bowser's head that they were smiling at each other for too long so it contort into a scowl. "Exactly moustache. Here's my next tip just for you: have some equipment! Where's your racket? You ain't playing with that are you?"
Mario held out his signature 'M' tennis racket, burnt black from years of his fireball power shots. He swung in the air a few times, testing his grip. "Why not?"
"Your crappy tennis racket is toast. Literally! I could put it on bread."
Mario noticed some black crumbly bits stuck to his glove and quickly hid the racket behind his back before Bowser could see. "So maybe it's well used, but everyone knows you have speed problems on the field so it evens out."
Bowser snatched him up by his collar. Mario flailed as his boots dangle above the ground several feet. Who would be daft enough to pulverize their own tennis partner minutes before the game? Bowser apparently! But then the doors of the locker room opened just wide enough to let the outdoors light bleed in and shine on Bowser. It was Toad.
"I can't see!" Bowser yelled, shielding his face and dropping the plumber with a cracking noise.
"Then we'll win even easier! Nice poster by the way!" Toad said while poking his head inside the room. The door shut and it was just the two again.
"Ugh... Fungusface," Bowser muttered under his breath, "Didn't we have this talk before about extra characters?"
"I think a bad thing just happened.." Mario got off his butt. Thankfully- or not, the crack came from his racket in his back pocket. It was in pieces. Each piece he grabbed shattered into another before it soon reassemble a pile of charcoal.
Bowser with a sigh punched a locker. The door popped open and let his own ragged duffle bag hit the ground. "This is just sad to watch so stop crying. I'm gonna be nice because it might have sort of kind of been my fault, but mostly 'cause we need to play. Here!"
He gave Mario a spare green tennis racket which otherwise resembled Bowser's purple one, down even to the red menacing Bowser emblem on it. Its balance was different but Mario tried to test it out as Bowser observed. "Different flex than I'm used to, but thanks," Mario admitted, feeling weird about what he was saying.
"Just try not to fall on your face, hear me? It's game time." Bowser stomp toward the door like he was satisfied. "Ahhg!"
"That stupid bright light again!" Bowser growled as he blindly stumble outside and bump into people in the sunlight.
Toad skipped back to his team's locker room in the same mood he was always in. How could he not be? He got to live in the castle as a manager, represent every toad ever in games, and play with Daisy who always rejected his efforts to team until now. Daisy was sitting on the benches doing something on her phone. The princess had on an orange tank-top and shorts and her hair was tied back with a hair band.
"You ready Daisy?"
Daisy continued to jab at at the touchscreen with hints of frustration. "Just remember the plan we discussed over the phone."
Toad inched closer. "Are you alright?"
Daisy drop the phone on the bench, shedding the prickly exterior. "It's political stuff from back home. There was an excavation at an old temple near my castle and since then it's just so different there lately..."
"What? They got a gold rush?" Toad guessed. He knew little of her land though.
She shook her head. "I can't even call it that. I posted about it on my wall but Mario scheduled a game on this Friday anyway!"
"Would you rather not play?"
Daisy leaned back against the nearest grungy locker. "I don't wanna miss out on whooping them, I just think the others forget that I live across the globe with other things to worry about sometimes."
He came up closer and almost put an arm around her, except he backed out at the last minute from of shyness. "I'm sure they totally care about you. I care about you!.. Mario and the others were probably just distracted or whatever. You know how much drama they get in. Yeah, basic craziness for them."
Daisy faced his way, smiling for the first time. "I guess you're right. Thanks."
"-And I fight for myself anyway," she remark proudly.
Right outside of locker room as the music was starting, they got ambushed by a delivery guy with a baseball cap tilted down covering his face and a low dry tone when he spoke briefly. He dropped off a paper bag with two 12oz cans in it. He scramed so quickly the duo hardly had time to recognize what happened or tell him thank you. Daisy turned to her left to find Toad gulping his soda down immediately. It was a can of Fungus Up, an expensive beverage and her very own. Could it mean?- No it couldn't. But free was free.
"You can't step on the field with a drink," Lakitu told them, one of several gathering around as Mario and Bowser were arriving from the other side to much excitement. A modest sized crowd gathered in the all purpose outdoor stadium, intended to host small sports events in Toad Town. The right side of the stadium had lots of toads, bob-omb buddies, nokis, piantas, and other friendly species but on the left however were koopa troop soldiers, bandits, thwomps, and other enemies likely to root for Bowser.
Daisy gave the umpire an 'ok' symbol. She burped and then crushed the can, the lemon-lime aftertaste still fresh.
"YEEEAAAHHH DAISY!" she suddenly did a triple back flip and stuck the landing like a pro, exciting the crowd. Toad just ran around in circles in a hyper way but it was enough to get their side of the audience going.
"Ladies and gentlemen...and Bowser!" Lakitu and Bowser exchanged nasty looks. "In this doubles match we have Mario and Bowser verses Princess Daisy and Toad!"
Everyone was now into position. Toad and Bowser were hugging the net and Daisy and Mario farther back. To Mario the competition seemed fierce and both Toad and Daisy had developed a twitch, not unheard of from Toad considering how often he got electrocuted, but very odd for the princess. Even odder, Mario thought, was the slight foaming at the mouth.
The tennis ball hit Mario in the gut, bouncing off to the sidelines. Laughter could be heard from the crowd.
"Bed time's over, plumber boy! Wake up!" Bowser growled. His eyes had well adjusted to the light again by now and Mario could almost feel his daggers.
"For the LAST time, first serve Mario!" Lakitu repeated. Mario could have sworn it was never said a first time. Either way he got up. It was game time.
To be continued…
"Author note: Get Ready To Rumble! Next chapter at least." -taken from Mario and Bowser: Frenemies Forever Chapter 3
Dates: 5/13/19 -5/19, 5/24, 5/26/19, 6/2, 6/4, 6/8, 6/10, 6/12
Page breaks: 8/11/20