Chapter 2: Ed, We Have a Problem
To the delight of the Warblin' Cobblers, the days slipped rapidly by. Even though Double D was trying his best to contribute to scams and attend choir practice, it was impossible to be in two places at once. Particularly as the date of the winter concert approached, Ed and Eddy had less and less frequent access to their source of brainpower. The weekend before the show, the Eds met in Ed's basement to prepare for the impending giveaway of Super Slurper jawbreakers.
Ed led his friends down the stairs to his room. They sat down and Ed turned on the TV. "Look guys! Haunted Hanukkah is coming on. Cool movie."
Eddy popped open a Mr. Fizz and took a big swig."Finally un-grounded. Geez, it's about time I got outta that house."
"I hate to say I told you so, Eddy," said Double D, who was familiar with Eddy's susceptibility to cabin fever. "Attempting to drive your brother's vehicle through the front door was unwise."
"Well, you weren't gonna take it apart inside and put it back together outside!"
"You never did enlighten us as to how your brother transported the car into the house in the first place," Double D reminded him.
Ed leaned over the back of his chair. "I didn't know your dad could change colours like that," he said, morbidly fascinated.
"Me either. And you guys shoulda seen the vein in his forehead." Eddy finished the soda, tossed the can aside, burped, and flopped over on his stomach. "Me being grounded set us back a bit, so we gotta quit foolin' around. How're we gonna get those brand new free jawbreakers?"
Double D placed a hand on top of Eddy's, wanting to reassure him. "Eddy, I promise you that my musical endeavours will in no way interfere with our personal work."
Eddy pulled his arm away and brushed it off. I think his parents have another fruitcake in the closet.But it didn't matter. He would have the benefit of Double D's brain in the coming weeks, and that was the important thing. "Uh-huh," said Eddy, who had heard just about all he cared to hear about choir. "Here, it's time to come up with a dream scheme. How are we going to be at the front of that jawbreaker line?" Ed whumped down on the floor between his pals to watch the plan take shape.
"Already? I haven't even shared the most exhilarating news of all."
"Good thing I'm already sittin' down," muttered Eddy, drawing a schematic of the candy store and the jawbreaker line on the morning of the giveaway. "What's the big news?"
"I will be performing a climactic duet with none other than Nazz! Her voice has an incredible timbre, a resonance without equal."
Just then, everything changed. Eddy dropped the pencil. The television and Ed's excited laughter were entirely drowned out. I liked him better when he was puttin' the moves on me instead of trying to steal my girl. I gotta put an end to this Christmas gig."Yeah, that's pretty great," said Eddy, struggling to hide his jealousy. He could have done without the singing, but being up there next to Nazz... yeah, he wouldn't have minded if the whole world saw him up there with her. "Can we get to work now?"
"Undoubtedly," said Double D, who was thrilled to feel his friends' acceptance. "If the doors open at 9:00 AM, the line will begin to form approximately 36 hours before that..." Ed reached over Double D's arm to draw himself in line. He had drawn a primitive head when Double D grabbed a tissue and used it to lift Ed's arm out of the way."Keep your hands to yourself, please."
/Double D better keep HIS hands to himself/, thought Eddy. Eddy still wanted the jawbreaker, but he could no longer concentrate fully on that goal. Double D had to be kept out of the choir concert and away from Nazz. Nazz is my girl. I've just been takin' my time to make it official.
Unaware that he had lost the scheming half of his audience, Double D continued. "We have several options. We..."
Ed had forgotten Double D's request for personal space and reached through the crook of Double D's arm to point at his self-portrait's disembodied head. "It'll be just like Haunted Hanukkah when the Maccabanshee took off his head and sent it hurtling back through time. Our heads can wait in line and no one will notice."
Double D removed Ed's hand from the drawing and said firmly,"Setting aside the film's atrocious portrayal of the Festival of Lights, it is entirely unfeasible to decapitate ourselves and continue on as if nothing had happened!"
"Chickens can do it," Ed snipped.
"And I bet Lummox here could too. He doesn't use this anyway," said Eddy, giving Ed a smack on the back of the head. As Ed's head vibrated, Eddy said, "My brother calls that a 'brain duster'."
"My internal clock is blinking 12:00," said Ed, bearing no grudge. Even Double D had to cast off his business-like demeanour to share a laugh with his pals. And Ed had given him an idea.
"In all seriousness," said Double D, regaining his composure, "Ed is on to something. Securing a spot at the front of the line without being forced to withstand unforgiving weather is as simple as being in two places at once."
"I wonder why I never thought of that. Oh yeah, now Iremember. You can't do it!" shouted Eddy.
"An illusion, Eddy. If we simply create convincing duplicates, the late arrivals will be none the wiser." Double D pondered options. "Eddy, we will need to retrieve our figurines from your defunct'Spitting Image of Wax' project and the walkie-talkies from the similarly ill-fated 'Bathroom World.'"
Eddy loved the sound of a plan coming together. It was almost as good as the smell of cash or sweet jawbreakers. "This is it!Somebody's gettin' themselves a jawbreaker," said Eddy, already salivating.
"Watch your antecedent/pronoun agreement, Eddy." Double D looked at his watch. "Oh dear, I best hurry home to Mother and Father. They're expecting me to dinner."
Eddy shrugged. "Sure, whatever. Just come back tomorrow. We got the whole weekend."
"Unfortunately, I will need to practice with the Warblin' Cobblers tomorrow. Nazz and I must work on our duet. Surely you understand."
"No, we don't," said Eddy, and he meant it. Putting singing before jawbreakers? Unheard of! And coming on to Nazz? More criminal than any scam! "Fine, fine. We'll just get to work until we see ya next."
"You mean it? You're not upset?" Double D asked, wanting his friends behind him.
"Yeah, mm-hmmm," said Eddy.
Double D said his goodbyes and made his way up the steps and out the door. Ed's eyes trailed after him. He liked having the group together."Why can't he just send his head home?" Ed asked.
Eddy seethed thinking that Double D would choose singing over friends and lust over loyalty. He wasn't angry, just frustrated. I know where I'd like to send his head. Into last week, that's where I'd send it. Sockhead better stay on his toes. Don't know when, don't know where, but I will settle the score. Eddy did not have to wait long for his chance. It just so happened to come on the day before the concert.
Double D was sitting in homeroom, hands neatly clasped atop his immaculately organized desk, waiting for the bell to ring. First period was geometry, a perfect way to start the day. With protractor, compass, and plenty of graph paper, Double D counted down the minutes. Ed sat next to Double D, checking under his desk for gum. "Whoa-ho-ho!" Ed laughed as he pulled a stringy blue wad, reaching back as far as he could until it broke free. "Wanna share, Double D?"
When Double D saw the gum, he looked ill. "Ed, put that unsanitary substance down, and for goodness' sake, wash your hands!" Ed stuck the gum on the back of his chair and licked his fingers.
Just barely missing the tardy bell, Eddy staggered in, plopped down in his seat, and put his head down on his desk. Why can't they just move the school day later? Ya know, so we can have a fighting chance against bein' bored.
"Good morning, Eddy," piped Double D. "My, you seem especially somnolent."
"Mmmmf fmmg gmmfffuh," growled Eddy. Had the words been audible, they would have earned a blush from Double D and a one-way ticket to the principal's office from the homeroom teacher. All Eddy wanted to do was rewind his morning until he was back in bed and the only sound he could hear was the wind whooshing past the door. Eddy imagined that windy sound and started to drift off to sleep. But the wind gradually increased pitch until it sounded like more of a whine. Eddy opened a sleepy eye to see that it was not his imagination taunting him. It was Sarah and Jimmy outside the door. They were the school's junior office aides, and one of their daily jobs was to deliver attendance sheets to each teacher at the beginning of the day. Eddy heard a lot of yapping about fashions and fabrics, and was just about to cover his ears when the conversation became interesting.
"That's too bad, Jimmy," said Sarah in the sympathetic tone reserved only for her friend. "You'll still look cute."
Jimmy was flattered, but not entirely convinced. "Thank you. But my ensemble won't be complete without my faux-fur cap and matching muff." Eddy started to giggle, but quickly shut up when he saw Sarah glare at him.
"Well, you heard our teacher. He said no hats at the show."
"Clear as a bell," said Jimmy.
Rolf turned his head, catching what sounded like another proclamation of bell-worship. "What kind of bell allows the light to pass through?" asked Rolf, incredulous. "He who rings a bell of glass hears the sound with his flesh."
Jimmy shrugged and trotted out the door behind Sarah."I don't want to start a spat, but social codes should never trump fashion." They scooted out the door. Eddy shifted his gaze to see Double D, motionless, staring after Sarah and Jimmy, then looking down at his math supplies. His breathing quickened, but he said nothing.
Even in the haze of predawn, Eddy knew an opportunity when he heard one. This opportunity wasn't just knocking; it was beating down the door. Double D would be right back on the scam squad full time. Coolly, he rested his chin on one hand and purred knowingly, "What'sa matter, Double D? You're not lookin' so good."
"I am perplexed, nonplussed, bemused. I have an obligation to the Warblin' Cobblers, but..." he went breathless, instinctively clutched the bottom of his cap and pulled it down tight. He then resumed in a tense whisper, "...but to remove my hat? Preposterous!"
"Where do they get off?" Eddy turned the charm up a notch. /Damn, I'm smooth/, he thought.
Turning towards his friends, Double D said, "Surely you both understand my predicament. I cannot stand beside Nazz on stage in such acondition."
Ed tilted his head to one side. He did not like to see his friend upset, and was dimly aware that the discontent had something to do with Double D's hat. Ed sometimes forgot that Double D and the hat were not fused together; he usually processed the hat as being part of Double D's head."Don't smell it, just gel it," said Ed, reciting a hip phrase he had learned during his brief stint as a savvy trend setter. "Gel your hat, pretend it's hair, and then no one will notice your stinky hat." Ed was proud of his contribution and awaited praise.