Life's a Show

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Hmmm. Hmmm, hmm hmmm. Hmmm… Hmm hmm hmm. Hmm hm hm hmmmmm. Hm hm hm hmmmmm. Hm hm hm hmmmmm hmm hm hmmmmm hm hm hmmmmmmm. Da da… da ta da ta da dada da, a toddily da, a toddily dee, a toodily toddily a doppity da! A ta ta taa… A taa taa taaaaa… Hmm. Uh, hmm…

…Bear necessities, those simple bear necessities… uh… Window, to the tulips, by the garden, by the willow tree… In a land of pure imagination, you'll be… uh… I was born a unicorn, something something, unicorns are people too! A da da da, a ta da ta daddily da, ya pa teedah bah doodily do…

Golly gee whiz, being dead is boring. I thought, uh, that it'd just… poof. Gone. No more thoughts. This is different. This is super weird and not cool and I kind of maybe don't like it. Umm…

There she comes, now in veil… she's walking down the aisle… so close, now she winks, I recognise that smile… a spider and I, a fly with white gloved hands, wait! Something's amiss, but this wedding has been planned…

I'm gonna miss listening to music.

How does she know that you love her? How does she know that she's yours? How does she know that you love her? How does she know that you love her? How does she know that you really, really, truly, love her? How does she know that you love her? How do you show that you love her? How does she know that you really, really, truly, love her?

Whoops, sorry! I'm loud…

Sunshine, on my shoulders, makes me happy… sunshine, in my eyes can make me cry —

Okay, where am I? No, seriously, I am clearly not dead. I'd be super dead by now, I'd know if I was dead. This is not dead. I may have never been dead before, so I am not the expert on the matter, but this is most certainly not dead. I am very alive. Look! Those are my fingers. Hey! Those are my toes! That's my face, there's my chest, here's my hair — all my mentionables and unmentionables are where they should be, so I am not dead. Decidedly so. Good. We have that figured out. Step one to the puzzle, figure out if you're not dead. Check. Not dead. Did it. Good. Step two.

Uh, step two. Step two, where is Brainy? Brainy is… purgatory! Step one, is Brainy dead? Checkmark. Yes, Brainy is dead. Step two, where is Brainy? Check, yes — I mean, uh, yes Brainy is… somewhere, Brainy's in purgatory! Awaiting judgement! Oh gracious gods, lords above, please bestow upon me your heavenly judgement, help me atone for my sins and reward me for my good deeds, I have always… worshiped you…?

Step one, is Brainy dead? No. Step two, where is Brainy? Unsure. Step two point five, is there a god? No. Should there be? No. Not in purgatory. Start again. Step one, is Brainy dead? Unsure. Step two, where is Brainy? Brainy is in a place that is so empty it's not even dark anymore. It's just nothing. Only Brainy exists, and he's bored out of his mind, and really concerned. Where is Brainy? The world may never — !


Summon… let there… give me a… lollipop! Woah! And another one! And another one, and another one, and another one! Mmm, kiwi watermelon. Mmm mmm mmm. Step one, is Brainy dead? Check, heck no! Brainy is, in fact, enjoying some great lollipops right now! Step two, where is Brainy? Oh I am so glad you asked, you handsome young fellow, you see… Brainy is in his Headspace! My very own Headspace! Step three, how did Brainy get here? Simple! Backup plan! I forgot about this. Plan B! Of course Brainy wouldn't fail, Brainy never fails. Instead of fails, Brainy prevails! And his rhamms neva get stale, uh, unless he does! Bi… bi… bicycle! Shimmy to the right, unh, shimmy to the left, unh, shimmy to the shimmy to the shimmy to the left again! Yeah!

What would Brainy be, without a Plan B? Brainy wouldn't be so Brainy, would he? Whenever he dies, he does what he please — because Brainy is named Brainy for a reason, ya see? With glorious speed Brainy does conceive that if he dies in the future he will need a release, so he builds himself a body out of spare parts he found and now he still can strut his stuff all around the town! Unh! That's right! Give me a… big house. Ooo! And a kiddy pool! And a landscape — think The Lorax. That's it! Give me a good song! Oh, Headspace, this couldn't be…? Oh my god, you know me like the back of your hand! Idiot Song by Idiot Flesh. Admittedly a guilty pleasure, but I have been a little indulgent as of late.

I completely forgot about this. What did I call this project way back when? It was something cliche, I remember that much. Oh, yeah. The Lazarus Model. Tee emm. Trademark Brainy. Brainy did this. I did this while working side by side with people who didn't know how to shut stall doors in the bathroom. Brainy is King! Brainy is King! King Harding, master of the Headspace! Give me a Ferris wheel, and a roller coaster, and a space ship, and a… friend.

Oh, hello, Thomas Timothy Thompson.


That's me!

"Where are we?"

We're in my Headspace, 3T! There are two possibilities right now: you are dreaming and I'm really talking with you, or you're awake at this very moment and what I am seeing is a figment of my imagination. Isn't that cool?

"Brainy, aww, you didn't have to bring me out here! This is so good of you. I didn't even know you had a Headspace. How much did it cost?"

Nothing, I made it myself.

"That's cool. That's the coolest cool thing I've ever had the privilege of calling cool. You're really good, Brainy."

Oh I know. Don't need to tell me twice.

"You have no sense of humbleness."

And proud of it — look, 3T? The thing about this, is, uh, you're not gonna like this, but I'm… dead.


Yeap! Super dead. Took the gun to my head, and uh… Bang. Pretty 100% certain I'm dead.

"Oh my god!"

I know it sounds bad now, but I was in a pretty bad place. I'm better now. Being dead and all. Thing is, I'm not really dead. In fact, I have a new body. I look the same, but I took the liberty of clearing out a few cosmetic issues, you know?

"Why did you go and do that?!"

Shush, 3T, you're not letting me get to the good part. See, I'm in my Headspace, and my body isn't really… real. Right now. I only exist in my Headspace. Isn't that cool?

"Why did you k-k-k-"

K-k-k-kablammo my head right open? You'll find out, look, you are really interrupting my thought process, you know I think better when I'm talking, so please shush and hush alright? My Headspace, right? Usually the exit is where I'm dreaming from. But I ain't dreaming. That means the exit doesn't really… know where to exist. For anyone but me, that'd be a bad thing, because you'd never be able to get out. But I'm not anyone but me, 3T, I'm me! I'm Brainy Brian! I've stumbled a few times as of late, but I am flying with adrenaline, and I have backup plans on backup plans on backup plans. I am… oh gosh I've been a bit mean, haven't I? I'm sorry. I was just so excited. I start losing all my sense of social workings when I get all excited like that.

Anyways, the point that I am trying to make is that nobody will believe that this dream happened. Brainy couldn't possibly have a Headspace, you aren't going to get to management with the news of this dream before the news gets there normally that I've kicked the hay. They'll think you've either made it up or had it because of the stress of losing a friend.

But believe me, 3T, I am not gone, and this is not the last time we will meet. Continue with business as per usual, make your toys and make them well like you always have, I have more hugs to give and kisses to share and I love you, Thomas. We will reunite. Wait patiently. I have a plan. I can't go back to Wondertainment — like I would want to. I've always been meant to perform, and that's just what I plan on doing, Thomas. I plan on living life to the fullest and going out and experiencing the world. Next time you see me, I'll be on stage. I love you like a brother. You know that.

Happy trails. Smooches. Bye!

Thomas Timothy Thompson awoke with a start. The world was never dark in Wonder World!™, but it was dim and hard to make things out. His bed teetered and tottered this way and that as it rode down the Sleep with the Fishes™ creek. He was in a long tunnel, and soft glowing caricatures of cartoon sheep glowed and blurred as they frolicked silently on the walls. 3T turned over and let his left arm dangle into the water, feeling a bed of moss and Sugar Weeds™ on the bottom of the canal. He picked one and began to chew on it — it was at once bitter and sweet, tasting faintly of some strand of persimmon. He tried to make sense of his dream. He wondered if it really was a dream, or if it was what Brainy had said. He wondered what could have driven Brainy to sh… sh… he couldn't even bare to think the word, the whole ordeal was a terribly alien concept to the innocent mind of 3T. He floated out of the tunnel, and saw the cityscape. The place glowed with faint pinks and blues. For a city, it had a very minimal nightlife — everyone had a bedtime and followed it religiously.

3T sat up, and let himself be perplexed. He knew it was bad, but it just seemed to be getting worse. At the next convenient stop, Thomas crawled out of bed and onto the shore of the ride. He stretched and yawned, and guessed the time was something close to midnight. He went to the lockers by the entrance and got his clothes out (the lockers had no locks, because of course nobody would steal; that would be indecent of them). He didn't bother to put them on, though. Still in his pajamas dotted with T's, which were a gift from Battery a year or so back, he strolled down the big grassy hill and past the Wonder World!™ suburbs' Lifesize Gingerbread Houses™. There were no cars to fill the streets, though bumper cars lay abandoned at every street corner, so he walked in the middle of the road. He had never been up this late. It was an odd feeling, but he simply couldn't fall back asleep. Not in a mood like this. He passed down all the candy stores, toy shops, Ferris wheels, mini marts (you sent tiny mouse people in to retrieve your goods for you), roller coasters (the Flying Fire™ in particular), and some other various rides. He walked by big curvy hotels and small pudgy motels, big fancy restaurants, small dingy diners, and the Multiverse's Biggest Ball Pit™. It really was, by the way. With the light outside so dim, all colors were muted and gave the place a lonely look. 3T had never seen the world so empty before. The pink and blue glowing orbs ((I Wish I May I Wish I Might Wish Upon the) Bright Night Lights™) floating above the city cast only the most basic of light over the buildings. No logos of anything could be made, no real concrete details. Everything was only shapes and impressions. 3T had never thought he could feel that Wonder World!™ was so foreign to him, but his whole perspective felt strange. Thomas felt odd. He needed grounding.

Finally, he arrived at an apartment complex. He walked through the door and into the small lit up lobby area. He stared down the buttons by the elevator — Billy the Magical Bean, Sammich, Marvelous Marvin, Elepant, and Percy Pinwheel. He clicked and held the very last button, and began to speak softly into it.

"Pinwheel? I'm in a bad place. It's me, Thomas. I need a friend."

3T stepped back, and waited for a response. His leg bounced, and his clothes, hung over his arms, jingled softly. Nothing. Thomas approached again, and held the button again, and then he spoke again.

"I know you're a light sleeper. Are the fans too loud? I want some company. Please."

3T stepped away once more, and sat on the bench next to the lift. If nothing else, he could sleep here, he thought. Maybe use his clothes as blankets. That would have been nice enough. He drooped under his own weight, and began to nod off before the elevator dinged. The doors opened and beckoned him inside. 3T sauntered into the tiny room, and the doors closed. The machine whirred to life (though fairly silently), and took him up to the topmost floor. The doors opened, and he heard all at once the sound of tens of fans all going off at once. Myriads of pinwheels were strewn all about the room, spinning at incredible speeds and creating a soft flapping hum. Percy appeared from behind a corner, wearing only a bathrobe and holding a plate with two cups of tea.

"Chamomile?" Thomas asked in a croaky voice, red eyed and cheeks sunken.

"Dream Catcher Chamomile, tee emm."

3T took it, and sipped on it. It was already drinking temperature, just like any Wondertainment tea. He knew that Pinwheel only kept this in stock because he liked it. Percy was a greater fan of Pillow Pecker Peppermint™, which 3T knew must have been what she was drinking. Her apartment always smelled like peppermint. She wouldn't have been a Candy Catalyst without her pervasive peppermint smell. She sat down on the couch and patted the seat next to her. He sat with her, and they sipped on their tea in the dark. Only the sound of wind and pinwheels was present. They enjoyed each others warmth and company, and drank in silence. After they were done, Pinwheel opened her arms, and 3T clambered on top of her and used her right breast as a pillow. She wrapped around him, and he closed his eyes. She smelled wonderful. 3T began to frown, and shivered. She played with his hair and rubbed his back, nuzzling into his forehead and kissing him there. Thomas hugged her tight and nuzzled back at her, into her chest. Engulfed in warmth and comfort, he spoke.

"I don't think this world is a happy place."

They shifted and curled around each other even more, sharing emotions wordlessly through strokes and pats and squeezes. She knew just what to do with him. Sometimes, 3T thought, Percy knew him better than he did. He pulled away only enough to look into her eyes, which he could only make out in the darkness as two sparkling stars in the corners of her pupils.

"I want to leave."

"Where do you want to go?"

"…I don't know."

They breathed each other's breaths, felt each other's heat, and loved each other's company. They were two links in a chain, unbreakable and stronger together. Pinwheel and Thomas fell asleep and awoke the next day, bombarded with the news that Brainy had been wiped from the earth, and they decided to call in sick.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome to the ring our naughtily nautical naked Nereid: Nixie!"

The bright red curtains pulled back and revealed a large glass dunk tank, swimming with piranhas of neon pink and greens. High above the tank sat a mermaid, clad in naught but three seafoam bracelets, on a wide sky blue diving board with her back to the audience. Many an "ooo" and "ahh" emanated from the audience, along with a couple nervous squeaks at the harrowing series of events that were sure to play out within the next few moments.

"Not to worry folks, Nixie's an expert at evading serious and terrifying problems. I would know, we used to date."

She turned, waved, and winked, and then pulled herself backwards off of the plank and gracefully into the open air. Her rainbow fins shimmered and glistened as she spun and pulled off three full back flips before diving into the water with not so much as a "sploosh". As soon as her first fingers had touched the water, the glowing ravenous fish had been magnetized to her position, creating a swift moving flesh eating light show that danced within the confines of the tank. Nixie didn't stay underwater for more than a split second before she had lunged out into the open air above once again without a single scratch. She repeated this trick several times in quick succession, adding minute flourishes and tricks into her every swivel and curve. Almost imperceptibly the cartoonishly curvaceous Ringmaster had shimmied onto the edge of the diving board above and dropped a large red ball that threatened to disturb the perfectly contained dunk pool. Before it could grace the surface of the water with its presence, Nixie batted it perfectly back from where it came with her tail. The spectacle also tossed a small crowd of neon piranhas into the air, which threatened front seat audience members into fits of frightful tremors. Thankfully, they fell harmlessly onto a small pit of wooden spikes that surrounded the tank, making shish kebabs that stage hands quickly picked up and began to cook.

After the ball was effortlessly kept from its downward descent by increasingly spectacular motions, it was sent flying up to the woman on the board. The Ringmaster's violet eyes followed the ball as it rose above her only for a girl to pop out from under her top hat and burst the ball with a pin. After the loud noise that followed and the confetti that broke out, something else began to fall. Out of the popped ball a long black eel, highlighted with color changing lines down its side and on its fins, coiled and twisted and hissed (eels hissed?) before splashing into the dunk tank. Nixie, looking thoroughly confused and frightened, collided with the frilly oily serpent in mid air and fell back into the tank with a slap sound. The audience let loose short, wondrous, concerned gasps. The piranhas seemed to swarm on a single spot in the tank, and shimmers of the golden fins of the eel were caught at glances in the spots between the hungry school of fish. For a full four seconds, nothing seemed to happen. The crowd was held in horrendous shaking and horror as they perceived themselves to be witnessing a horrible carnival accident. Suddenly, the piranhas began to circle, yet didn't seem to swim — soon, the whole tank was spinning, and the water threatened to spill over the sides. Nixie shot out of the very center of it, shaking a few fish off of her tail effortlessly onto the shish kebabs below. She returned to the whirlpool and swam in circles, leaping out while the eel followed her like an iridescent shadow. The crowd cheered and hooted and hollered, throwing their voices at Nixie in glad celebration and relieved ecstasy. Suddenly, however, Nixie looked concerned once more.

Something distracted her from the uproarious applause and the tricks and sports. The eel had given up chase, and the piranhas had all gravitated to a dark spot in the water, and — by god, was the water turning red? A hand with sharp nails, covered in bites, scratches, and blood, shook itself out of the water and tried desperately to hang onto something. Nixie acted on instinct and dove towards the figure, the crowd continuing unknowingly in their obnoxious loud approval. She swam towards the fish feast and pulled the eel off of the being's neck, chucking it out of the water and up and over onto the skewers. The thing twitched and flailed before succumbing to the spiny wooden death. Soon enough, something else sputtered out of the water. Nixie, carrying the man with piranhas flying off of them, flopped disgracefully onto the side of the stage, where she feverishly pulled fish off of (or more likely out of) the man in an orange and black pinstripe suit.

The curtains closed on the emergency, and Nixie heard the Ringmaster trying to control the crowd in their confusion. She called for Dr. Tinkles while two stage hands came and picked the man out of her arms. The man, soaked in his own blood and pricked with teeth that had broken off of the fish, coughed and wheezed and yelled.

"I'm so sorry! I'm so so sorry! I didn't mean to interrupt your show! You were great! You were -" hack "- so great, keep it up! Ow, HOLY jimminy cricket! Gosh diddly CHRISTMAS! I'm really, so — AUGH — sorry, fudge! Fiddlesticks, barnacles, CREPE on a STICK and call me SUNDAY, GET ME TO A MEDIC!"

The man moaned and writhed as they brought him out of the tent and off into the circus. Nixie pulled herself further off stage and into the wings and clambered onto a chair. The bastard had ruined her act. What the hell kind of asshole just goes and appears in your tank like that? What kind of idiot teleports himself into an aquarium of hungry flesh eating fish? A speed walking Man with an Upside-Down Face appeared from behind a corner, furrowed brow (though it really came off as more of a furrowed chin) and all, inquisitive as ever.

"What just happened?"

Nixie took another couple deep breaths, glaring at Manny and attempting to regain her composure.

"Nothing good."

Nixie grabbed a fish kebab and crunched on the colourfully crispy characiforme.

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