by Great Siberian Dragon, a.k.a. Daria Angelova

It's a quiet family evening at the house of the Titans. Hydros relaxes in the swimming pool, playing with the cute rubber duckies, sipping Diet Coke and watching her favourite movie Waterworld on the giant screen. Nearby, Pyros and Stratos sit on the couch, eat Hawaiian pizza and watch the final moments of Titanic.

Stratos: This movie SUCKED! (she turns the TV off in disgust)

Hydros: I told you it WASN'T about cute Titan teens' graduation party! But no-o-o, you had to listen to that idiot! (she points at Pyros) Don't you remember how you and Lithos asked him to rent something special, and he brought home Con Air for you and The Rock for Lithos?

Stratos: All those dodgy hairdos! Ugh!

Pyros: (sobbing uncontrollably) Titanic was so sa-a-a-ad!

Narrator: Large fiery tears roll down his cheeks, fall down and burn right through the Guardian's favourite couch, pink with cute orange kittens.

Stratos: Oh, Pyros, don't be such a bloody sissy! Just because a stupid piece of junk sunk and a few dumb humans kicked the bucket, it doesn't mean you have to cry your head off!

Hydros: Hehe, Flameboy, Guardian's gonna lock you up in the fridge AGAIN!

Stratos: Oh, that's it! We're renting no more chick flicks! I'm sick of flying around the Ethereal Void at 3 am looking for a substitute couch! I mean, these shop assistants are so rude!

Pyros: (making puppy-dog eyes) Come on, sis, it only happened once or twice

Stratos: ONCE OR TWICE?! City of Angels - one burned couch, Sleepless in Seattle - two burned couches, Casablanca - three burned couches

Pyros: OK, I get the point.

Stratos: (ignoring him completely) And yesterday, when we watched Romeo + Juliet, you've burned the bloody couch to the cinders!

Hydros: Yeah, together with the cushions, remote control and Guardian's pet torax.

Pyros: I could never understand why Guardian likes toraxes anyway. I mean, they're dumb, they're slow and they eat all the time.

Hydros: (with an evil grin) Like pet, like master!

Stratos: (in a scared whisper) SSHHHHHHHHH!

Hydros: No, really, if he continues to stuff himself at McDonald's, they'll have to build a much, MUCH wider Black Gate!

Narrator: Meanwhile, Guardian appears on one of the screens, slurping loudly on a king-size chocolate milkshake.

Hydros: (quietly to the other Titans) Told ya so!

Guardian: So guys, how's going?

Narrator: All Titans jump in front of the screen with idiotically happy faces, while Pyros tries to shield the ruined couch.

Titans: (in chorus) EVERYTHING IS JUST FINE!

Hydros: (with a sly smile) Pyros didn't burn any couches at all!

Pyros: (smacks Hydros from behind so that she chokes on her Coke) Gee, thanks!

Guardian: OK, gotta go. Must catch up on my mea TING!

Narrator: The screen shuts off, and everybody sighs in relief. Then Pyros picks up the couch and, with an inhumaner, inTitan cry, hurls it at the pool. Instead of hitting Hydros, it lands on the pool's edge, squashing twenty rubber duckies, then splashes into the water and gracefully goes to the bottom of the pool in circles.

Hydros: Oh my God! You killed my innocent rubber duckies! You bastard!

Narrator: Just when another family fight is about to take titanic proportions, the Black Gate opens, and Lithos comes through. He's wearing purple suit with large yellow polka-dots, funky red shirt with orange stripes, blue Gucci tie and green pointy slippers. His suit is stained with green lipstick and Baby food, and stinks with "Rotten Flesh No.5" perfume.

Stratos: So, how's the big date?

Lithos: (grinning sheepishly) Just pur-pur-purfect! A moviea dinnera cozy motel roomRowr!

Other Titans: YOU AND THE AVATAR???!!! YUCK!!!

Lithos: Oh, you mean the Avatar?

Stratos: Lithos, baby, you were supposed to get your stone ass straight home after you meet Mister Metal Pot You naughty, naughty boy

Pyros: Who was your date anyway? Some ghoul chick from that disco club at the Lower Catacombs?

Hydros: Hey, I've been there once! Jesus, that place rots!

Lithos: I swear, I didn't go to that club! I didn't go anywhere! I just got stuck in the traffic!

Hydros: Yeah, and a sexy Golem wench offered you a lift on a bike

Lithos: Well, what about you, Water Rat? You and the movie freaks (he points at Stratos and Pyros) are supposed to keep an eye on Avatar and rehearse your lines

Other Titans: (in chorus) BO-O-ORING!!!!

Stratos: I'm sick and tired of watching that klutz drowning every five seconds! He's just so pathetic at jumping! They should have given him some Jane Fonda videos before sending him here!

Lithos: (dreamily) Mmmmmmmmm... That Barbarella babe surely made ME bounce...

Stratos: I'm talking about fitness videos, you idiot!

Pyros: I know my lines by heart! This script sucks anyway! At least Lithos gets to boss the Avatar around and say "kneel before me, worm"! Why does he always get the best parts?

Stratos: (rolling her eyes) Ah, cut your whining! You've got these cool special effects like lava and stuff. How would you like to be perched on a tiny isle hundreds of metres above the water and wait for hours until this pathetic excuse for an Avatar gets to you? These heights make me wanna throw up! And my on-screen personality is so bloody nice and sweet I wanna puke some more!

Hydros: (quietly to Lithos) Gee, thanks for bringing up everybody's favourite topic

Lithos: Guys, guys, calm down! And come on, we do need to check on the Metal Pot, just in case. If I'm correct, he should be half through his way to those Zealan losers

Hydros: Half through?! Come on, you give this dummy too much credit. I bet my favorite rubber ducky he's still stuck at that lever puzzle

Pyros: No one wants your stupid ducky anyway

Hydros: What are you muttering there, couch-destroyer?

Pyros: Um, I said: "Yeah, right, let's take a look".

Narrator: They press a pea-sized red button which says "Press here if you're bored stiff, depressed with your life, and you feel you need to see a REAL loser like the Avatar to cheer yourself up a bit". The screen flicks on and the Titans scream in surprise as the Guardian's puffy face fills the screen. Apart from silly milkshake moustaches around his mouth and breadcrumbs stuck to his lips, he looks perfectly evil and menacing.

Lithos: Er, hi Guardian!

Guardian: Don't 'hi' me, you worthless piece of rock! Where is Waterbomb?!

Hydros: (so nervous the water boils around her) Um, guys, gotta check on the apple pie...

Narrator: She crawls out of the pool and heads towards the kitchen door on tiptoes. Because she's looking over her shoulder all the time, she doesn't notice the Guardian coming out of the Black Gate and blocking the doorway. With a loud 'BOING!', she bumps into his soft and springy middle area and bounces off back into the pool.

Guardian: (in a voice so sweet you could bake honey pastries from it) Hydros, sweetie...What do I look like?

Hydros: Huh?

Guardian: I said what do I look like?

Hydros: You're b-big and r-red...

Guardian: ...and...?

Hydros: ...and you're fa... ntastically evil muppet!

Guardian: Do I look like a TORAX?

Hydros: Huh?

Narrator: Guardian strikes a flame bolt into the pool, and the water evaporates instantly. With a loud 'AAAAAAAAH! BOOM!', Hydros plummets right to the bottom of her 700 metre deep pool, cracking the base upon landing.

Guardian: I said do I look like a TORAX?

Hydros: No! Not yet, anyway...

Guardian: Then why'd you try and stuff me like a torax?

Hydros: I didn't!

Lithos: Guys! Now he's going to quote from the Bible and shoot Hydros! Hooray!

Guardian: Ha! I would, but the author of this dumb story can't remember what the quote was because she watched that movie just once!

Narrator: Don't you dare call my story dumb, you ugly muppet! Only I can do that!

Stratos: (puzzled) What was that voice?

Lithos: (equally puzzled) I guess we left the radio on...

Pyros: Guardian, what's happened anyway? And how are you going to punish Hydros? (leaps in the air from excitement)

Guardian: Don't you get it, dumbo? I'm gonna punish you ALL! I will lock you all in a room full of Hanson posters, strap you to the chairs, and make you listen to MmmBop a thousand times!

Hydros: NOOOOOOOO!!! I'd rather live in a toilet bowl for the rest of my life! PLE-E-EASE!!

Pyros: (whispers to Stratos) How come we have that crappy song and those awful posters in our house?

Stratos: Why, don't you remember? Lithos used to have a huge crush on Taylor Hanson, until he discovered that the little brat was actually a guy.

Pyros: Yeah, I remember that! They even printed some of his love letters in TV-Hits! <SNIFF>They were so touching, I nearly cried...

Hydros: (from the bottom of the pool) Guys, guys, you wouldn't believe how many things are lying around here! There's a T-Rex skeleton! And my half-eaten cheeseburger! And a crashed Millenium Falcon! And Guardian's false teeth! Oh, and Lithos, remember how you brought home that sweet girlfriend of yours, and she disappeared while you were fixing some Cappuccino? Well, she's right here, and she ain't looking good!

Narrator: (interrupting everybody) Hey, you, red fatso! Maybe you want to tell everybody WHAT'S HAPPENED, for Christ's sake?!

Guardian: (smashing the radio with the VCR) When I find this sonofabitch DJ I'll put him in my sandwich! (to the Titans) OK, you wanna know what's happened because you idiots haven't bothered to keep an eye on Avatar? I'll tell you! He got a hintbook from somewhere!

Narrator: Titans gasp in disbelief.

Lithos: Damn! I KNEW I shouldn't have sold it to that pawnshop in Tenebrae...

Guardian: Wha-a-at?!

Lithos: But Guardian, I wanted to give some money to that gorgeous Salvation Army chick...

Hydros: More correctly, to pay your poker debts...

Lithos: Besides, that hintbook was in Japanese, and the last pages were ripped out!

Guardian: It's not just the hintbook! Avatar's got a cheat code to make himself totally invincible!

Pyros: Oh, you mean like that IDDQD code in DOOM?

Guardian: Yes! Not even fiery mushrooms can stop him now! That means he's gonna pass the whole game twice as fast, and they still haven't finished building that Ethereal Plane thingy...

Stratos: Ethereal what?

Guardian: Well, you know, the place where you have to pretend like you're all stuffed into that big black obelisk and scream your heads off... By the way, did you rehearse that part yet?

Hydros: Twice! And I'm not doing it any more - it's so hot and stuffy in there, I can barely breathe! And every time we're inside that obelisk, I get my face stuck into Pyros's hairy armpit! Yuck!

Pyros: But why it's not finished? Did someone put angeldust in the builders' food?

Guardian: Well, from what I know, those suckers went on strike. They whined that Origin wasn't paying them enough money, and they also demanded that they get to play minor roles in the game.

Stratos: So?

Guardian: Yeah, they got small parts all right. They will be playing some of the dead bodies later in the game.

Lithos: I don't understand: how did the Avatar get that code?

Guardian: Oh duh, how the hell should I know? Why don't you ask the author of this dumb story?

Narrator: That's it! Call my story dumb one more time, and I'll turn you all into fruit jelly!

Stratos: Uh-oh. I guess it wasn't radio after all...

Pyros: Jelly...yum... Which flavour?

Narrator: Avocado!!!

Everyone: (including the audience) AVOCADO?! YUCK!!!!

Guardian: Okay, okay, I'm sorry! (quietly to the Titans) Gee, some people are so touchy! Can't take some constructive criticism...

Stratos: Gee, it was so constructive you could build a second Statue of Liberty from it...

Guardian: What? Oh, you mean that sulky female statue I brought from the Earth and put in my garden? Say, it goes perfectly with my pretty dandelion flowerbeds...

Hydros: You stole it? How come FBI loonies didn't catch you?

Guardian: (proudly) Because me smart! Stupid humans never noticed I put a giant plastic copy in its place! It's the cheapest souvenir you can buy at those Ethereal Void tourist shops; they're sold in millions!

Stratos: So, how do we delay the Avatar? I presume we can't just knock him unconscious and keep him trussed up in that cheat room for a few days...

Lithos: I know! Why don't we distract him with a couple of scantily clad barmaids? It worked perfectly in the Serpent Isle!

Guardian: Are you mad?! That Lucilla wench got pregnant, and is now suing the Avatar and Origin for a 1000000 Monetari! They don't want any more scandals like that!

Pyros: I've got an idea! How'bout we send a bunch of sex-starved daemons after him?

Guardian: Negative. He's invincible now, remember? Lovely idea, though... (grins)

Lithos: Hmm... How'bout a bunch of bloodthirsty skeletons?

Guardian: Are you deaf or what? I said he's INVINCIBLE!

Hydros: Maybe a bunch of Golems?

Guardian: (screaming at the top of his lungs and banging his fists on the table) I SAID HE'S INVINCIBLE!!!!

Stratos: (quietly) You! Careful with the old man! We ran out of heart medicine last week! And if he has a heart attack, I'm not doing resuscitation this time!

Hydros: Well, how'bout sending a bunch of...


Narrator: Guardian collapses to the floor in cold sweat, laughing hysterically, and begins to blubber something about his Mummy taking him to the ice-cream parlour.

Hydros: Hey, I just wanted to say: how'bout sending a bun.... a crowd of lawyers, dentists, door-to-door salesmen and crazed Ultima fans?

Guardian: (from under the table, already recovered) We want him delayed, not dead, you idiot! Well, we DO want him dead... But you know that we'll never work in this town again if something ugly happens to the Avatar outside the script...

Stratos: (with a smart-ass smile) But why can't we ask to rewrite the script, just a bit?

Guardian: What's your idea, smart-ass?

Narrator: Stratos kneels to the floor and begins to whisper something into Guardian's ear.

Guardian: (brushing her away) AH-HA-HA-HA! Stop tickling my ear!

Stratos: Sorry. But did you get my brilliant idea?

Guardian: (with a chillingly evil smile) Yeah... Not bad at all... And for giving me that idea, my Strati-smartie, I'll cut your punishment to 999 times you have to listen to MmmBop!

Stratos: Oh Guardian, *sniff*, you're so cool! (to the other Titans) Nyah, nyah, suckers!

Guardian: (getting up from the floor) All right, children! Let's go listen to some music before sleep! Daddy's got some phonecalls to make! And gee, somebody should sweep this dirty floor...

Narrator: Everybody leaves the room. A few minutes later, deliriously happy voices of Hanson brothers come from the other room, along with the torturous screams. Suddenly, one of the screens in the deserted room flicks on, and a scrawny angry-faced McDonalds employee appears.

McDonalds employee: Hey! Has anyone seen a red fat dude around? He's ordered 200 Happy Meals, and then just disappeared without paying! (he sees that nobody bothers to answer, and smiles an evil smile) Ah well. The bastard left his driver's license at the checkout... He won't get away...

Narrator: Slowly, the screen darkens, accompanied by the spooky funeral tune and McDonalds employee's maniacal laughter...


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