City of Wonder™
rating: +40+x

Icky and Lolly screamed in delight as the Frite Lite Roller Coaster zoomed along its twisted path through Wonder World!™. In addition to being the theme park city’s biggest attractions, the roller coasters doubled as metro trains. While their looping and winding tracks may not have been the most efficient route, they made up for the extra distance in speed and smiles.

As much as Lolly loved the Circus, she also loved the chance to enjoy the much larger attractions that were possible at a fixed location. From the peak of the loop, she could see all of Wonder World!™. It was an unusually colourful city, full of pastel buildings with no sharp corners, most of them so oddly shaped they looked like funhouse mirror reflections of themselves. The sky was blue, the sun bright, and the music of songbirds and laughter of children pervaded the air. From the sights to the sounds to the people themselves, everything about the city was designed to project an aura of childlike innocence. Wonder World!™ was intended to be a place where dreams came true, where nothing bad ever happened.

Lolly may have been willing to believe that, but Icky couldn’t help but wonder how many problems Wonder World!™ just covered up instead of dealing with to preserve its squeaky clean image.

As the roller coaster dove down towards the ground again, it began to decelerate.

“Next stop – Wonder Plaza!” an automated announcer proclaimed with the same mandatory enthusiasm it did for all stops. As soon as the roller coaster came to a halt, Lolly hopped out while pulling Icky behind her.

“So I think I’ve had enough rides for today, so we should probably do some shopping,” Lolly told her. “The Neverland Boutique has the largest selection of kid’s style clothes in adult sizes I’ve ever seen, plus all their outfits come in matching doll sizes -”

“Lolly.”

“I can probably get some props for my act at one of the toy stores, and I want to hit the candy stores because everything they sell here is delicious -”

“Lolly.”

“Then we can get dinner - how cool is it that fancy restaurants here serve dinosaur shaped nuggets? - catch a show - they’re supposed to put on an amazing Seussical - and then we can finish the day at the skating rink, or maybe a balloon ride, or maybe -”

“Lolly!”

“What?”

“Just slow down for a second. We're on a date, not running a marathon. Let’s just take a minute to ourselves, enjoy this,” Icky suggested. She pulled Lolly towards her and went in for a kiss. To her surprise, Lolly pulled back.

“Hey, remember we’re in Wonder World. We got to keep it family friendly.”

“Lesbians are family friendly now. There’s like a whole show on Cartoon Network about space lesbians. It’s awesome.”

“Icky.”

“What’s the point of going on a date if we can’t even kiss? Just kiss me and you’ll see no one cares. Trust me.”

Lolly gave a somewhat embarrassed smile and nodded her consent. Icky pulled her towards her and kissed her, only to be interrupted by the high pitch screech of a police whistle.

“Uh oh.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“That’s enough of that, you two, hands where I can see them,” the whistleblower said. He was dressed in a bright blue coat with polished brass buttons, shiny tin medals, and a reflective orange sash. On his head, he wore a comically tall Custodian's helmet with a plastic badge pinned to the front that read 'Wonder World Security Force™'.

“Is there a problem, off— I’m sorry, I was going to say ‘officer’ but you’re closer to a mall cop or something, aren’t you?”

“I’m a Hall Monitor, and you two are in direct violation of Wonder World’s public decency bylaws.”

“Is that so?” Icky asked in a low, cold voice.

“Icky, please stay calm,” Lolly urged her.

“I’m afraid it is. No individuals, be they residents or guests, may engage in kissing on the lips or the fondling of any swimsuit areas whilst in public view,” the Hall Monitor informed them.

“Swimsuit areas? That’s how the law is actually worded?” Icky asked. “You can’t even use grownup words in your legislation? Is your company charter written in crayon?”

“It is, actually. There’s an activity sheet on the back.”

“Icky, you heard what he said. It’s just a public display of affection thing. It’s not homophobic, it applies to everyone, so let’s not make a big deal out of this.”

“Hand over your hall passes and I’ll stamp them with frowny faces,” the Hall Monitor said. “Three frowny faces and your hall passes will be revoked.”

Icky couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of the situation.

“And what if we don’t? What then? Your nightstick is made out of Nerf. How exactly do you plan to enforce any of this if we don’t just politely cooperate?” she asked.

“Icky, think about this. I love coming here, and Wondertainment is one of our suppliers. This isn’t worth it,” Lolly insisted.

“Actually that’s a good point. We’re from the Circus of the Disquieting, which is a decent sized client of yours. Unless you want to risk losing our business, I’m going to have to insist that you waive this particular bylaw, just this once.”

His face sternly resolute, the Hall Monitor unsheathed his nerf bat.

“I’m sorry miss, but the law is the law. Your hall pass, if you please.”

Icky just rolled her eyes and turned to leave, grabbing Lolly by the hand. She stopped dead in her tracks when she felt the soft foam baton strike the back of her head.

“And there’s another one where that came from if you don’t -”

The Hall Monitor immediately fell silent when Icky spun around, her eyes burning with a fierce purple blaze. She telekinetically pulled the bat from his hand and transmuted it into a spiked medieval club of heavy iron.

“Did you seriously just hit me with this?” she demanded, her voice taking on a deep and terrifying timbre. The Hall Monitor stumbled backwards, tripping and falling, too paralyzed with fear to get back up. He stammered inanely but could produce no coherent response.

“Icky! You’re making a scene!” Lolly yelled at her. Icky looked around the rest of the plaza and saw that most of the other people were now staring at them, most with looks of shock and horror. She shook her head, returning her appearance to normal, and then tossed the club to the ground. It landed with a heavy clunk, its spikes cracking the pristine pavement. Grabbing Lolly by the hand once more, the two of them ran out of public view as quickly as they were able.

Once they were gone, the Hall Monitor grabbed his Walkie Talkie off of his belt.

“We have a hostile Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo on the loose in Wonder Plaza. Subject appears to be a female Clown from the Circus of the Disquieting with long black hair, white and purple face paint. Subject is too dangerous for Hall Monitors to engage. Deploy Wondertron 9000. Repeat, Deploy Wondertron 9000!”


The two Clowns ran into the unexpectedly bright and immaculately clean back alleys of Wonder World!™ and paused to catch their breath.

“Icky, what was that about?”

“I know, I’m sorry, I overreacted, but he hit me!”

“Before that. Why couldn’t you just let him stamp our hall passes and be on our way?”

“Because I love you! I love you and I’m not going to obey any puritanical laws that say expressing that is indecent! Lolly, look, I know that when we’re in less tolerant places you don’t see what the big deal is about respecting local customs, but you’ve never been in the closet. You were with the Circus since before you even had an inkling of what you were, and you always knew you’d be loved and accepted.

It wasn’t like that for me. I was terrified of people, especially the people who were supposed to love me unconditionally, finding out I was gay. It sucks living like that which is why I left and why I refuse to live like that again. And it’s not just about me because not everyone has the option to leave a situation like that.

Think of everyone in this city who must be afraid to kiss the people they love. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s being done out of adherence to a bronze-age morality or because they want their whole city to be a kid-friendly fun-zone, it’s wrong!

I… I’m ranting. I ruined our date. I’m sorry.”

Icky hung her head despondently, only for Lolly to lean in and kiss her.

“Don’t be sorry. I never really thought about it before, what it would be like to have to live like that every day, but you’re right,” Lolly said. “I mean, I guess I didn’t want to think about it. I like it here because I thought that everyone else was like me, that they thought it was awesome to pretend to be an overgrown kid. But that’s actually the law here, these people don’t have a choice. Even I don’t want to act like a kid all the time. Icky, I love you a bazillion times more than this fascist tourist trap, and I’m sorry for not supporting you.”

“Well, maybe I should do like you do and take Clown Impulse Suppressant whenever we go anywhere,” Icky smirked. “We forgive each other then, Little Lollipop?”

Lolly smiled and nodded, and the pair exchanged a reconciliatory kiss.

“HALT RIGHT THERE NARE-DO-WELLS!” a booming robotic voice shouted from the end of the alleyway. Standing between them and escape was an eight-foot-tall robot made of shiny chrome, its chassis adorned with many blinking LED lights and buttons, with a winged jetpack mounted on its back.

“What the fuck?”

“I AM WONDERTRON 9000™, DEFENDER OF WONDER WORLD™ AND ALL INNOCENTS WITHIN. YOU HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH COOTIE SPREADING BEHAVIOR, REFUSING FROWNY FACE STAMPS ON YOUR HALL PASSES, THREATENING A HALL MONITOR, CAUSING A PUBLIC DISTURBANCE, DAMAGING CITY PROPERTY, EVADING ARREST, AND, AS OF THIS MOMENT, NAUGHTY LANGUAGE.”

“Hey, I remember you. You’re the robot that came to the Circus when Herman tried to make his Little Mister knockoffs,” Icky said.

“LITTLE MISTERS IS THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF DOCTOR WONDERTAINMENT!”

“Look Wonderbot -”

“WONDERTRON 9000™!”

“Whatever, we know when we’re not wanted. Just take us to a door outside of the wards, and we’ll make a Way back home,” Icky said.

“SPARE THE ROD, SPOIL THE CHILD. IT’S THE NAUGHTY CORNER FOR BOTH OF YOU. SURRENDER NOW, OR FACE THE FULL ARRAY OF MY WONDERTASTIC COMBAT FEATURES.”

The pair of Clowns stared down the giant robot with simmering rage.

“You think we can take it?” Icky asked.

“Definitely,” Lolly agreed. She withdrew her oversized mallet from her pocket and charged straight at Wondertron.

“HOSTILITIES INITIATED. DEPLOYING COUNTERMEASURES.”

A large shield with the Wondertainment Logo unfolded from Wondertron’s left forearm, blocking the first of Lolly’s swings.

"ACTIVATING ONE HUNDRED PERCENT NONLETHAL MEGAPHOTONIC LASER VISION™!"

Twin rays of cherry red lasers beamed out of its photoelectric eyes, moving far too quickly to be evaded. Fortunately, its intended effect seemed to be nothing more than disorientation, and due to a combination of their Circus training and essokinetic abilities, Icky and Lolly were relatively unaffected.

Lolly struck the shield from the bottom, knocking it upwards and into Wondertron's direct line of sight, reflecting its lasers back at it.

"DEACTIVATING ONE HUNDRED PERCENT NONLETHAL MEGAPHOTONIC LASER VISION™. VISUAL PROCESSING AND GYROSCOPIC ORIENTATION IMPAIRED. SYSTEMS REBOOTING."

Taking out her trick cards and engulfing them in a murderous red aura, Icky threw the entire deck at Wondertron while it was rebooting. Though some did make it through its shield, they all just bounced harmlessly off its chrome plated hide. Lolly bashed away at it relentlessly with her mallet, causing many disfiguring but ultimately harmless dents in its chassis.

“SYSTEMS REBOOT COMPLETE. INITIATING KUNG FU ACTION GRIP™!” Wondertron announced as it grabbed Lolly’s mallet by the hammer and lifted it off the ground, with her along with it.

“Put it down you dumb tin can!” she threatened, kicking at its shield.

“INITIATING ONE HUNDRED PERCENT NONLETHAL MAGISHOCK TASER BLAST™!”

Powerful electro-thaumic bolts shot out of the robot’s fingers like Sith lightning. They coursed through Lolly’s body, causing her to convulse and expose her skeleton like she was a cartoon character, then fall unconscious to the ground.

Unsurprisingly, that was all it took for Icky to go full monster Clown. Her nails jutted out of her fingers like claws, her tongue became forked and flickered out between sharpened teeth, and violet smoke poured from her flaming black and purple snake eyes.

Ducking the lightning, she grabbed the mallet and transfigured it into an enormous warhammer, as heavy and spiked as the club she had created mere minutes earlier. Yielding the unwieldy weapon with fury and precision, she knocked off the shield and then swung for the robot's legs.

The hammer successfully punctured the metal limb, with hydraulic fluid gushing out of the wounds. Seeing (and hearing its 120-decibel announcement) that the robot was about to use its taser again, she forcefully pulled the hammer out of its leg and bashed it across the head.

The blow was strong enough to knock Wondertron off balance and send it falling towards the ground. When the creature looked up it saw that Icky was coming in for a coup de grace.

“FAILURE IMMINENT. LETHAL SELF-DEFENSE AUTHORIZED. INITIATING PYROMATIC GUIDED COMBAT MISSILE™!”

“Wait, wha -”

A large missile blasted out of Wondertron’s shoulder, punching Icky in the gut with the force of a freight train and ploughing her into the air with it. The missile soared up and through the city at near supersonic speeds, swerving and jerking to avoid hurting or damaging anyone or anything. Once it had a clear path up it made a beeline for the sky, rising for several seconds until it exploded above the city in a beautiful pyrotechnic display that sadly couldn’t be fully appreciated during the day.

Icky, winded from both the gut punch and the explosion, fell from the sky and crashed into the middle of Mainstreet™, leaving an Icky-shaped crater in the asphalt. As the drivers skidded to a stop to avoid her they caused a 20 car pile-up. Fortunately, they were all bumper cars so nobody was hurt.

Wondertron came soaring in on its jetpack, landing in the middle of the road. In one hand it carried the unconscious body of Lolly, the other it aimed straight at Icky.

“CHARGING NINETY-NINE PERCENT NONLETHAL MAGISHOCK TASER BLAST™!” it said, its voice slightly more ominous than before. “SURRENDER NOW AND NO FURTHER HARM WILL COME TO YOU.”

Since it was taking most of Icky’s essokinetic abilities just to stay alive at this point, she didn’t have much left to put up a fight. Shrinking back to her ordinary form, she placed her hands behind her head.

“REJOICE GOOD PEOPLE OF WONDER WORLD!™, FOR WONDERTRON 9000™ IS VICTORIOUS.”


“Gary? Gary is that you?” Icky asked into the phone she had been provided with. “Good. Listen up. Lolly and I are in the Naughty Corner in Wonder World, their jail basically. They’ve got the Hume-idity cranked up so we can’t use our magic, so we need Manny to come bail us out.

We’re political prisoners! We were kissing in public, which is a misdemeanour at most here, and that somehow escalated to them sicing a giant robot on us! Make sure Manny knows we’re the victims here, and if they actually try to charge us with anything we are suing for police brutality. I was struck by a missile! If they want to keep our business after this we’d better get an apology and a tent’s worth of free stuff!

Yeah, bail’s 5000 Gold Edition Wondertainment Power Play Pogs. No, I don't know what the exchange rate is on that. Alright, thanks Gary.”

Icky hung up the phone and sat down beside Lolly, wrapping her arms around her comfortingly.

“Lolly, I am so sorry this got so out of control,” she said, kissing her on the top of the head.

"At least we still got dino-nuggets," she said, dipping the last nugget from their prison dinners into some honey. "They even got pterodactyls even though they aren't technically dinosaurs. Ca-caw!"

"You are so sweet," Icky said, running her fingers across her cheek. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“I’m fine, I just got electrocuted. You got a lot worse than I did,” she replied. “Looking back on it, trying to fight an enormous battle bot was probably not the best decision we’ve ever made.”

“Yeah, I’m starting to see the appeal of nonviolent resistance. I’m just glad you weren’t seriously hurt. This was probably our worst date ever.”

“In the short term, maybe, but long term it’ll make one hell of a story,” Lolly smiled. Icky smirked and nodded in agreement, ever impressed by her lover’s unflappable optimism. “So where do you think we should go for our next date trip? Three Portlands is probably a lot more gay-friendly. Not as many rides, but more art, and the shops and theatre are probably pretty good too. Same for BackdoorSoHO.”

“We could go hiking in Roadkill County.”

“Roadkill County?”

“It’s just a name. The scenery’s beautiful, lots of free anomalies to admire, you’ll love it. It would be nice to go somewhere quiet for a little while.”

“It doesn’t matter. As long as we’re free to be who we are without being assaulted by giant robots, I’ll be happy,” Lolly smiled. She cuddled up closer to Icky and rested her head on her shoulder to get some sleep. “Happy date night Icky.”

“Happy date night Lolly.”

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