Mario and Bowser: Frenemies Forever 2
A soggy high heel (Chapter 6)
Disclaimer: Mario=Nintendo Me=not much
"Are you sure you want to do this without Mario?"
"Of course," says the plumber hopping over the fence with ease, entering a protected 'employees only' area. Their third companion after a brief hesitation phases through the barrier like thin air. Last the dinosaur rolls his eyes and hops over as well with a well timed flutter jump.
"We could have at least chosen a less blatant way," Yoshi admits, crouched near the partially obscured back doors with the other two like burglars.
Luigi stands up then. "That's too bad because we have to do something and not just because Mario suggested we do."
Yoshi sees the hurt flash on his features and takes a different route. "Just message him that we couldn't find a safe way."
Luigi shakes his head quickly. "I'm afraid to text anything after this morning. Next I might end up sending all of my friends my private pictures of tropical beaches!"
Yoshi stares at him funny, wondering it that's a euphemism. "Never mind. I have an idea. A safe one."
Boo silently thanks Eldstar for that.
Yoshi turns to Boo. "But we'll need you."
Boo retracts that.
Nass is back at her desk tending to her data sheets. Mushroom Kingdom hospital's front lobby is as straightened up as they can manage but the automatic door is a casualty, broken and permanently stuck wide open. Leaves and dust from outside piles up to the staff's annoyance so Doctor Professor Koopa has just called in an intern from their sister hospital in Southern Mushroom Kingdom to help with clean up.
"Howdy. It's me," greets the mature koopa paratroopa in blue janitor outfit holding a mop bucket. A grey pony tail reaches his back.
"Yup." Unceremoniously he begins tidying up the dust without further instructions. Nass wonders if she should say anything but decides not to as a little boo comes in.
"Nurse I'm not feeling well.." Boo mumbles. Very little of the performance is an act. The jittering, shortness of breath, and general look of unwellness is very typical.
Nass takes one look at their sad state and not even her usual apathy prevents her from pressing the intercom. Right away an older toad woman with a pink outfit, Mariam, arrives from the right wing. "This way deary."
Boo follows down those cold halls, hoping no one recognizes them when someone speaks.
"Run! Get your friends away from here too!"
Boo stops, teeth chattering. The nurse turns back. "Everything fine?"
"Run, dude! Actually, snatch the red letter on Nass's desk since she's not there anymore, then run! Do it!" It's a deep and soothing tone yet still frightening with no apparent source.
Boo struggles to obey the voice, stumbling back to the lobby. The red envelope is there on the desk miraculously. They pick it it up and scan it over.
From: Jimmy M. of Mushroom Kingdom Disease Control Unit in response of an anonymous tip to survey Mushroom Kingdom Hospital East. In accordance to protocol 347a we counted about one-hundred violations and we evacuated five patients that were turning green. By the way, you'll be getting our bill soon.
"Signed: James Monty, Richard Goomba, Parabilly Koopa, Wiggletron Berry, Sebastian Bullet?" Boo reads out loud.
The janitor leans up from vigorous mopping he did near the tables. "That knuckle head younger brother of mine was here? That 'splains it.."
Boo slowly faces the paratroopa. "Y-you know them?"
"Yup. Home base just outta city limits. They raise ruckus on purpose then wheel the sick to that Toadley Clinic in town. Mosey on out youngin 'cause here comes the watch dogs!"
Nass and a few others are coming back around the corner. With the note held tight to their chest Boo gets out of there just in time. With a start, Nass scoops up the MKDCU's empty envelope from the floor.
"How did this get off of my desk and where is the letter?" she pointedly asks the janitor.
"Wind musta blew it away," Probabilly answers, seemingly unbothered.
Doctor Professor snatches it out of her hands and rips it up. "It doesn't matter what happened because I know who is to blame anyway. Okay? Now back to work. All of you!"
Boo ran out to Luigi and Yoshi. "They're at the T-toadley Clinic!" they squeaked while a noki who had just pulled up in a sports car walked past the trio. The stranger had a flat but curious face as he scurried by.
In walked Jelectro, taking in the scene of wet floor signs and bleach in the air. Nass had switched her front desk shift and now seated was Mariam in her pink spotted cap and matching nurse uniform.
"Welcome to MK Hospital. You look like a healthy young man," she spoke with an accent that seemed a little phony. The slight harshness of the consonant reminded him of Dark Land actually.
"Where is the information station? I'm not sick just a tourist," he replied, suppressing his own.
"From somewhere exotic?" she inquired with some mischievousness laced in. "Down the hall to the left."
He played along and went down that hall then diverted as soon as he wasn't being watched. He had on him a pseudo badge that could get him in some important places as soon as he knew where to actually go. All he knew was that Agent N's niece was somewhere inside. The visitor section rose nearly to the ceiling with colorful pamphlets showcasing the Mushroom Kingdom and surrounding. 'Have dinner at the historic Club 64'. 'Come see the Southern hemisphere's famous yoshi wrangling!' 'Take a tour through Boo's Mansion if you dare!' 'Book a cruise to Isle Delfino', though Jelectro knew from just this morning that the beaches weren't quite so commodious and tranquil and devoid of screaming children like the images suggested.
"Jelectro Bond. Come to room 26."
The noki froze in his tracks, hands reaching to see if the earplugs were there.
"Aww, you really think those things stop your powers? If you weren't so handsome I'd call you stupid."
"Would you now?" Jelectro snarked out loud and not telepathically like he meant. The detective covered his mouth.
"Just get to my room already."
The noki debated running away and never returning. He'd do anything rather than deal with a person like that, but he had to get to the bottom of it all for Agent N's sake. Reluctantly he found his way to the message's origin slowly pushed open the door. Inside was a toad with a green cap under covers with his eyes shut. Bandages were all over his face and his monitors indicated steady heart rate and breathing.
"Told you I don't bite. You know, I've met a telepathic whomp, a mouser, not a little noki," he said without looking, or moving his mouth. "Did you like Sirena Beach, French boy?"
Trying to keep a stony composure Jelectro stood beside the bed, though inwardly he felt jitters all over. "What happened to you?"
"Got hit by a bus. For once I do something proactive for an old friend and- oh never mind, I'm not gonna complain. If you are wondering about what's going on here it's horrible. Problem is only Theodore knows the real details and who the conspirator is but that wacko can block me out of his head somehow."
"Doctor Professor Koopa. Just focus on this thug that works for Bowser- the one who did this to me and it'll all come together. Get to the press and get my stuff some kinda way but don't tell Kylie I'm on the mends. Here's some details about me if someone clocks you..Now find my papers on 'chimes'-"
With a grunt, Jelectro held the sides of his head as he unpleasantly got the large bundle of information hot wired straight to his brain. Feeling queasy and faint he fell backwards and into a recliner in the room, nearly knocking it over.
"Whoa! Sorry dude!" Mitch said out loud for the first time. "… I didn't realize you had that atrophy of the frontal lobe like-."
Jelectro blindly bolted out the patient room to be disoriented by horrible buzzing from a hundred distorted voices he couldn't tune out. Despite his best efforts as some sanity slipped back into him, splotches of red dripped onto the white tiles as he stumbled a few more steps into the lobby just time time to catch someone at the service desk, a dark boo with a decidedly thuggish aura.
"Ah, no dearie they aren't around anymore. Nope," the nurse told the boo, smiling but clearly intimidated.
"Alright…" he said sort of slick like. "You did not see me here."
"I did not see you here," the nurse droned back with a sudden vacant expression.
The boo floated right back out through the automatic doors and across the janitor stooping down near some tools he'd just used to repair it.
"Follow 'em." Probabilly said, inconspicuously watching the noki with a nose bleed.
Jelectro caught the boo jumping on an old dirt bike and putting off. He hopped in his own car and followed for a street before loosing the zippy and maneuverable motorbike. Eventually he had to give up and chase his next lead. There was no doubt about it however, that was the 'thug'.
The princess's shoes instead of being embedded in the usual plush sun pattern carpet were instead in a pool of shallow water, very clear and crisp with a hint of shamrock smell.
"It just blew up princess! The world exploded basically," Toadette explained, gesturing to the sky or ceiling rather, the only dry thing left.
Peach glanced all around somehow doubting that.
"Good thing I'm here then, right? I'll see what I can do by myself. Where did it start?" Mario asked the group of toads standing around in the water. There was Toadette, Yellow and Blue Toad, another toad holding a spear, a few others and Toadsworth in the background dragging water logged furniture from the inner rooms.
"The kitchen. The basement. Upstairs. Outside. Inside. I don't know I woke up underwater!" they all answered at once.
Mario felt his head spinning. "That can't be right!"
"Right or wrong what I have now is a flooded castle, sick friends, a backstabbing hospital, anxiety and a soggy high heel!" Peach exclaimed, finally unleashing her emotions and breaking down to cry.
"Don't feel bad, princess. Just be glad to be alive and healthy! Some people aren't!" the blue toad, Buckenberry said.
Peach's downcast expression softened. "Thank you dear- I-I suppose."
"I mean, because just a few streets away there was a horrible bus crash with one death and one serious injury. The dead guy's brain melted! I heard it went everywhere!" Buckenberry continued obliviously until Toadette jabbed him with her elbow hard to shut up.
"Where the chores at least completed this morning?" Peach nearly groaned. "The ones I post up very clearly?" She got blank stares from everyone and sighed. "One day I will hire someone competent. Like Captain Toad!"
"Princess.." Mario reached for her but she moved away.
"Not now, Mario." The frustrated princess wadded through the water to retreat into upper rooms. "Toad was competent but look at where he is now! If only a certain plumber's constant dangerous activities with dangerous people didn't lead accidents like this!"
"How is this my fault?" Mario yelled at the door shut in his face, confused as he was upset. He couldn't believe her attitude. There were only a handful of people that would bicker with the plumber since whether he wanted to admit it or not the general attitude of most in the Mushroom Kingdom was to worship the ground he stood on. Because of that even mild contention from friends had a tendency to stun him. Well Mario knew he deserved it. He was right at MK East yet he didn't get anything done for Toad or Daisy and the head staff there didn't seem to respect him and they all shared and accent- like they weren't from around the Mushroom Kingdom... Like Bowser! Was he involved after all? But nothing really pointed to that. He was getting the head spinning sensation again and let it go.
Mario did what he could for the next half hour, a pipe replacement here, some bolt tightening there, a lot of duct tape, working as quick as he could without getting sloppy. He did pride his plumbing work. Suddenly his phone rang, making him jump. It was from 'lil bro' as the call id stated. "Talk to me, Luigi."
"Actually this is Yoshi. Your brother handed me his phone so he could finally understand it so here's a status report. Luigi had all kinds of stuff going on, messages left and right, including one Kylie Koopa finding some Fungus Up cans. Know about that? She thinks Toad and or Daisy had them."
Mario scratched his head. "I don't recall if they did or not."
"Never mind that then. Big news: Toad and Daisy might be at the Toadley Clinic so can you meet us there?"
Mario held the phone upwards while basement water steadily rose to his knees. "Might be a moment. Do a guy a favor?"
"Can do old friend. We'll check it out-"
"And have you seen Bowser around?"
Knowingly Yoshi continued, "We'll keep our eyes peeled though alright? Bye."
Luigi, Yoshi, and Boo have now walked to the Toadley Clinic, not far from the castle or hospital. They had to avoid Starman Lane due to the clean up and investigation still going on. Yoshi is especially disturbed by what reports on the Toad Town online message boards mention about the sole occupant in the bus apparently being deceased before he veered into incoming traffic. The dinosaur tries to shake it off, to be strong. Now the mushroom shaped building is before them and he lets Luigi walk in first. The Toadley clinic has an area with seating and an intern waiting at the desk. The rest is walled off behind double doors.
"Welcome, do you have an appointment?" she asks right away, a younger toad woman with blonde medium length hair.
Luigi rushes to the desk. "No, not really."
"Well that'll be a problem-" she starts before a voice booms from behind those doors.
"Do I take patients without appointment? No I do not!"
Boo shrieks and hides behind Yoshi. Yoshi looks to Luigi then to the intern. "How long will it take to make one then? We just want to know if some friends are checked in here."
Luigi nods. "Toad Toad and Daisy Bloom. We think some health agents transferred them here."
The intern nodded back quickly. "James did send them here. In fact his crew just left for a late lunch. Did you have any questions?"
"Yeah! What's wrong with them?"
The intern plays with her pen. "...Maybe the doctor could explain." She presses a buzzer. "I'm sending them anyway!" she yells.
"Arrgh! Must I allow if you insist? I must. Come in!"
Cautiously the three enter those double doors where it is much darker. A large room has beds along with their friends and a few more on them. The titular doctor dressed in purple is on the other side of the area where a shrine of sorts is set up. In the middle of shelves of various herbs and powders is a table with a laptop on it. The wallpaper of that laptop is the round crystal.
"Can I answer anything? Yes I can. What do you inquire?"
Luigi steps up after gulping. "..What's wrong with Toad and Daisy?"
Dr. Toadley presses the internet browser icon. The answer appears on screen 'miraculously' and much more quicker and accurately than the doctors old method of supposedly knowing everything. "They have the Mushroom Flu and there is no cure on file and I have no idea how they and the other test subjects- ah hem patients got it-"
Yoshi and Boo gasps.
"-YET! But will I find it? Yes I will! I am currently working night and day doing nothing else but finding that cure!"
Peering at something, Luigi raises one finger. "Is that a computer game open?"
"Luigi!" Yoshi yells.
"I'm just saying!"
As they speak, Boo inches closer and closer to those beds, something beckoning them for a closer look. One is a red yoshi girl who seems to be a child laying back, skin pale and with a sicking green hue. The others are the same including Toad and Daisy in the far corner. Boo has no idea why they tried to be brave all a sudden. So panicked, they float past Yoshi and Luigi who calls out for them and out of the entire clinic.
"So you don't wanna this time?"
"Wanna hang out with you? No, weirdo," replied the first responder Dave, a handsome Boom Boom about three years Emery's senior who always wore an army jacket and got off from the helicopters with a smug laugh. He got the fly that thing all over so who blamed him?
Emery T. sighed and got back to work staring at the clouds.
"Miss Emery," said someone behind her. Doctor Professor Koopa arms crossed, stood there with a bored looking lakitu beside him. "Log out of your workstation."
Emery did as he said. "Am I taking another break?" she asked, walking down stairs and noting that the lakitu was taking her position. She was led all the way down to the doctor's office. Doctor Professor closed the door behind her with an ominous click.
"Are you aware of a certain Sebastian Bullet?"
Emery smiled weakly. "Maybe?"
Doctor Professor sat down at his oak desk, fingers clasped. "Then are you aware of how unscrupulous service reports harm this facility. Of course you are, smart girl."
"But I don't know about that other stuff." She shrugged.
Doctor Professor tilted his head down a little, smiling. "I am an old man you know that, but not a stupid one and I know how these doohickeys operate." He held up Emery's cellphone that she didn't even realize had been confiscated. "You are fired."
Bowser had one foot in the clown car that got him to the Mushroom Kingdom. He was just about to leave Toad Town for Dark Land and just let the entire tennis game go as a write off. It was almost disappointing. Almost. Someone called him and instantly he knew it wasn't his children or Kamek or his old lady Clawdia. Especially not the later... "Yeah, this is Bowser… Oh fangirl chick again. What?"
"I got *sniff* like totally fired!" Emery explained, sitting on the sidewalk outside. She knew mother wasn't getting off work for a while or even acknowledge her termination so she was stranded for the umpteenth time in her life.
Bowser figured that. "Keep going gal."
"Like, can I work for you?"
Bowser paused for a minute. "I know I said I liked ya, but what will that do for me?"
"Lots of stuff! I'm a toad so like I can be within thirty meters of the princess and you can't, for starters."
Bowser gaped at the revelation. "Tell me where you are 'cause I'm picking you up!" The clown car's propellers soon made the vehicle soar. Wind and grass blew right into the eyes of the person whose motor bike was just pulling up. The biker beat a fist against the handle bar but then thought of a new plan so they revved up again and head towards Royal Raceway.
To forget that experience with Mitch Toad Jelectro decided to dive right into work. He returned to the Mushroom Press with a fool proof idea on how to walk in and get the items of that popular gossip writer, forty-one, 'single', living in a complex around Pleasant Path.. He kept reciting those facts, just in case he was quizzed.
"Nice to see you again," Jessie at the front desk greeted.
"Same. I need to pick up some items of Mitch Jamerson Toad. I'm actually his intern."
Jessie hummed with a thinly veiled spark of jealousy. "Interesting. I just thought he was lone wolf these days.. He's a local public figure and others try to steal his stories so you don't mind can you prove that you really know him?"
"He is forty-one, writes for the Mushroom Enquirer-"
"Other than what you can easily find on his website," Jesse laughed. "Something personal."
"Personal?..." Jelectro hesitated at the sole intimate detail he had to spout. "He has hanging in his bedroom behind the bed stand a life sized picture signed by celebrity Zip Toad."
The desk woman's face flushed. "You've been in his?- I knew he was a two timing little!- Ah hem." The human combed her hair back down that was standing on edge. "Go ahead..."
Jelectro quickly walked away from that disaster of a situation and proceeded to the empty cubical space that had Mitch's golden name plate on it. He dug into a cabinet full of manila folders labeled 'aliens', 'ufo', 'super abilities' 'the stars', etc and finally 'artifacts' which had a 'chimes' subfolder. So intently he searched he didn't notice someone standing right behind him.
"Excuse me, sir. What are you doing with his stuff?" Kylie asked.
Jelectro froze with the files in hand. "...I'm Mitch's intern?"
She stared at him hard then snapped her fingers. "Neat. He'd been weird lately so I can see him doing something he doesn't usually do like outsourcing his garbage. No offense."
Jelectro stiffly nodded. "I'm Jelectro and I'm not from around."
"Clearly by your peppiness. No offense again. Nice to meet ya." She shook his hand and he shook back, unaware until then that he was peppy apparently. "Where is he? Not to be nosy."
"He's taking an impromptu vacation and but wants an article on the hospital so I needed to pick things up for him."
"Well I'm investigating the same thing for the Mario bros but for the truth rather than gossip magazines. Okay, I'll stop teasing ya! I've been to the tennis stadium so I was going to visit the hospital their friends were said to be at."
"I think it's on some sort of lock down but I don't really know how that works," he mentioned, belying his understanding of the situation.
"Darn. I have contact with Luigi so maybe lets just get to the princess." She stood up with shoulder bag over her shell, patiently waiting for the 'intern's' response. "I can't believe I'm working with a Mitch associate, but there's something about this case I feel I'm missing. Something big. You know what I mean?"
Jelectro remained stuck in place, feeling a disturbance from far off. "I know exactly what you mean."
Someone far away there was a digital clock on the wall with the red LEDs being the only source of light in the room as a dark figure observed intensely. Without warning the digit went down from 12:00 to 11:59. It was time to make a move. One person whispered into the ear of another and another. Soon the entire population of the nearly ancient building in the desert knew but they chose to not let the secret slip yet...
To be continued:
Author note: The narrative tense shifts were intentional. Just a style I wanted to play with along with the general flow of the scenes. I probably won't return to it though. Also, things are adding up, stay tuned..
Created: 5/24/19, 5/25, 5/27, 5/29, 6/1, 6/2, 6/3, 6/5, 6/10, 6/13, 6/14
Edits: 6/20/19, 6/29, 7/1, 7/30