The Perks of Being a WAHlflower – Part 8

It was some time later. Slowqueen was alone in the flight deck.

She’d managed to tap into the Bowser’s Castle PA system. She’d ordered the assorted tortoises and other minions, and their noisy irritating minds, to go out and claim Peach’s Castle. That left only her, the imprisoned Peach, and the sentient stone traps in the building.

This was more or less the way she liked it. It allowed her to get on with planning her final gambit.

She had found the controls that allowed Bowser’s Castle to fly. They were unnecessarily complex. She’d mastered them already, of course, but she wasn’t ready to take it out for its first flight yet. Its first flight, out of the Mushroom Kingdom, over the Pokémon Archipelago.

She knew the small town she’d hover over. She knew who she’d see come out. She was still working on what she’d say to him.

‘Hey Calem! Remember that Slowpoke you threw out? Of course you don’t, she was just one of hundreds you bred…’ No.

‘Hey Calem! Remember how you said I wasn’t good enough? Is queen of the biggest country on the planet good enough?’ No.

‘Hey Calem! How do those imperfect IVs look now huh?’ Definitely not.

How, with her boundless intellect, had she not yet sorted that?

* * *

Waluigi, too, was alone. A rare moment of peace. He had all too much company these days.

He was in his living room, staring at his bookshelf. It contained relatively few books (those it did were all self-help). What it did contain were trophies. Tennis and dance trophies. Mostly second-place, of course.

Also: photographs. Mostly selfies, some tennis snaps, some of him and Wario. One of him and Peach’s fit cousin, both drunk on cheap bubbly, from the Smash Bros. Festival. All from better days.

The peace was shattered, and so was his front window.

‘WA-LU-I-GI, WA-LU-I-GI! OUT OUT OUT! OUT OUT OUT!’

He peered out of it, just enough to be able to see the crowd without them being able to see him.

Truth was, the Toads had been afraid of Bowser. They were afraid of Slowqueen. They had no such qualms about Waluigi. When news got out that he’d brought the tyrant to their country, they rose up, to an extent. The extent involved forming a lynch mob outside his house, although given the height differential actual lynching might have been difficult.

‘WA-LU-I-GI, WA-LU-I-GI! OUT OUT OUT! OUT OUT OUT!’

They were there for what must have been twenty-two hours a day. The individual members might have slept: the mob didn’t. Occasionally they took group coffee breaks. Then, it was back to the yelling, and the waving of placards, and the spoiling of Waluigi’s house. It hadn’t been a nice house before they started, and it wasn’t in a nice part of town (cheaper rent), but that hadn’t deterred them. Safety in numbers.

They remembered who he was now. He’d achieved that much.

‘WA-LU-I-GI, WA-LU-I-GI! OUT OUT OUT! OUT OUT OUT!’

He retreated to his living room, sunk into the armchair that made a quiet farting noise when sat on, and put his head in his hands.

What he wouldn’t have given to be forgettable again. To pass undetected through the masses. To cease to exist as soon as he was out of sight, except in photographs, or as a corrupted combination of Wario and Luigi.

A little voice in the back of his head said, It’s all very well wishing that now. If you’d wished that before getting involved with Slowpoke, you wouldn’t have this problem.

He sat up in his chair. The chanting faded away somewhat. (Not enough.)

He’d had an idea.

He could still pass undetected. Maybe. Possibly. If he had help.

He looked towards the hall. Another miscellaneous object had thumped through what remained of his window.

Getting the help would be the tough part. Using it would be the tougher part.

* * *

‘WA-LU-I-GI, WA-LU-I-GI! OUT OUT OUT! OUT out oh…’

The crowd died down over the cause of two outs. Who knew why. Perhaps the sight of Waluigi on his doorstep made them realise they were hurling abuse at an actual person, however bad he was. Perhaps the tennis racket he wielded made those at the front feel threatened, and the feeling was infectious. Perhaps the sight of Waluigi wielding only a tennis racket made them feel sorry for him.

Then again, he didn’t wear a sorry-looking expression. He wore a confident one. It had been practised in the mirror prior to leaving his house, down to the minutiae of just how much gel to put in his moustache. Finally, the self-help books had come in handy.

‘Why are you here?’ he asked the crowd.

That broke the spell. Shouts were shouted, chants were chanted, projectiles were projected. Toads have stubby arms, and Waluigi was able to dodge the thrown objects until the crowd died down a bit. There was still a low level of chanting, but it was a level he could shout over.

‘Why are you here, and not in front of Bowser’s Castle? Protesting at her?’

This caused another outburst. It was a bit more subdued, though.

‘Is it because you’re afraid of her?’

‘You brought her here!’ yelled a voice.

‘I did, yeah. That was a mistake! And I’m going to make it right!’ He rode over the derision. ‘But I didn’t oppress you! I didn’t read your minds! I didn’t send out Bowser’s minions to terrorise your families! Chucking stuff through my window won’t change anything! You want to change things, you protest to her!’

That shut them up. Almost entirely.

In their position, he’d have done the same. They all knew what Slowqueen was capable of. She’d shown them the castle’s CCTV recordings of the ‘fight’ against Bowser and the Marios. Protesting against her was a very different proposition to swearing at him.

That said…

‘You know what, guys? I brought her here. I can get rid of her. But only if you lot protest outside her castle, and not outside my dump.’

The derision came back. He was laughed at. He wasn’t believed. It was hurtful. He’d had worse.

‘Why you?’ said somebody.

‘Because who else? Huh? Who knows how long before Mario and Luigi respawn? Donkey Kong’s busy with his own island, he doesn’t have time for you. Yoshi hasn’t done anything useful on his own in twenty years. And Wario is…’ He craned to see. ‘…part of the mob! Bro, how could you?’

There was much turning of heads. Wario, not naturally a small man, tried to make himself so with limited success.

Waluigi ought to have been genuinely offended by the treachery. He wasn’t. That was just how Wario was. Besides…

‘And if you do it,’ he sighed, ‘my doubles partner there will pay you all 250 coins.’

‘Hey!’ yelled Wario in protest.

It didn’t matter. He was drowned out by the crowd. They bustled him along, back down the street they’d came from.

Heroism wasn’t Waluigi’s forte. Being the centre of attention wasn’t Waluigi’s forte. Manipulating small money-hungry minds? Always Waluigi’s forte. He wouldn’t have won, or even played, so many doubles matches otherwise.

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