CASSIDY BEGINS A CAREER IN PHOTOGRAPHY: Part 23
"That movie ROCKED!" Violet exclaimed on their way out of the theater.
"Yeah, I'm glad we did that instead of that other thing I was gonna do," Joel agreed.
"What other thing?" Elly asked, sucking down a movie-theater slushie.
"You know, finding those... whoevers."
"Oh yeah." Elly's tongue was now green to match her hair. Actually, her hair was kind of fading by now.
"So... we haven't run into 'em yet."
"Maybe we'll find them at the arcade," Joel suggested.
"Arcade!" Violet threw her hands up in the air, but she did care.
"No, guys," said Cassidy seriously, after taking a noisy slurp from her near-empty soda cup, "We need to actually, like, try here! Come on."
"But they could be in the arcade." Elly punctuated this by pointing at Cassidy with her slushie straw.
"I highly doubt that," Cassidy responded, snatching the slushie straw from Elly's hand.
"There was no need for that." Elly frowned.
"It's bad for you anyway." Cassidy shrugged and gave it back.
"Oh, and you're some health nut?" Elly inhaled some more slushie.
"No, I'm just an upright citizen who doesn't want to see a fellow human being throw their life away," Cassidy said half-jokingly, stealing the straw away from Elly again. Violet then stole the straw away from Cassidy.
"Hey!" Cassidy protested.
"Now you know how it feels!" Elly declared.
"Yep," said Violet, cheerfully tossing the straw into a nearby trash bin. Elly pouted and snapped the lid of her slushie, drinking it strawlessly. Cassidy chuckled.
"Hey," Kenneth asked, "what are you chuckling at?"
"Schadenfreude," said Cassidy in an offhand way.
"Oh." Kenneth went back to whatever he and Joel were discussing.
And so they went to the arcade instead of looking for Phil and Andrew. What a surprise.
Violet was overjoyed to be playing the same games she enjoyed on her Atari, and announced this loudly. A couple of 9-year-old kids gave her a pitying stare from about five feet away, but didn't say anything. Elly gave her a pitying stare from two feet away, and said: "You're weird."
"So're you, greenie." Violet beamed.
Elly twirled her hair around her finger and sighed. "You know, maybe I should try blue for a change," she sighed to no one in particular.
"No," Cassidy informed her.
"What, why not?"
"No," Cassidy repeated vehemently.
"Why, do you have the monopoly on it or something?" Elly snorted. "You've only got a couple of streaks. Amateur."
"Is that a challenge?" Cassidy asked.
"It wasn't," Elly said with a grin, "but if you want it to be one..."
Cassidy grinned back. "Oh, it's on."
"Damn straight it is. Come on." Elly grabbed Cassidy's arm and practically sprinted out of the arcade.
Joel and Kenneth exchanged looks, then followed. Violet, she just flounced.
And so, they followed Cassidy and Elly to the store, again instead of trying to, you know, look for anyone.
A guy was at the store. Elly asked the guy: "Where's the hair dye, dude?"
"I think you have enough already," he said.
She stared him down. "I don't."
"A-ah..." The guy backed away and put out his hands in front of him. "It's over there!" He pointed in some direction and then ran for it.
So the group went in some direction, where they found hair dye.
Cassidy picked up a container of "Boppin' Blue" from a shelf. Elly gave her a look of disdain. Elly then went for "Bludgeon-You-In-The-Eyes Blue" instead. Cassidy huffed and picked out the same.
"Copycat," Elly muttered.
Cassidy scowled and shoved it back where she found it. She proceeded to practically ransack the shelf for a blue that would earn her approval from her adversary. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she wondered why she needed her adversary's approval, but this thought was not further investigated. Finally, she found "Extra Strength Pyure-Blue #625". She held it triumphantly above her head and turned to approach the checkout. But she wasn't paying attention to where she was going, so she slammed straight into Violet, who had been standing nearby watching with amusement.
"Hey girl!" Violet exclaimed. "Routing error!"
"Viiiii!" Cassidy whined. Violet obligingly stepped out of the way.
And so Cassidy marched up to the checkout, with Elly trailing grumpily behind her.
"I'd like this," Cassidy said, pointing at the dye she intended to purchase.
The guy checked it out. And then he rang it up. Cassidy swiped her card into the machine and then grabbed the container and walked away smugly.
Elly bought her dye nonchalantly.
And then they left. Still nobody was looking for Phil or Andrew.
They returned to Elly and Joel's condo (which still also belonged to the missing people, but they were missing) to take on the DYE CHALLENGE.
"All right!" Violet said in an announcer-y voice. "The AMAZING HAIR DYE CHALLENGE will begin on my mark in 3... 2... 1... GO!!!!!"
Elly squirted her bottle of hair dye onto the top of her head and let it run down on all sides.
Violet put on some gloves and began applying dye to a hank of Cassidy's hair, while everyone else wondered whether Violet's interference was cheating.
Cassidy didn't seem to mind. In fact, she rather seemed to enjoy it. So did Violet. Violet even began singing a little song. Cassidy closed her eyes and smiled.
Elly was watching this, until some dye dripped onto her face. She immediately headed for the sink. As she rinsed the dye off her forehead, Violet moved on to a different piece of hair, Joel talked about books or something with Kenneth, and Phil and Andrew weren't there. So what started out as a high-excitement battle to the death turned into a leisurely afternoon.
By the time Cassidy's hair was all dyed up, Joel and Kenneth had gone to the living room to watch TV and Elly had a towel over her head.
"All right," said Elly lazily, "I guess it's time to see the result."
Elly removed her towel with a flourish. Joel and Kenneth returned just as this happened, which resulted in Kenneth getting towel-whipped in the face. Cassidy, however, wasn't paying attention: She was too busy laughing at what the towel had revealed.
Elly's hair, somehow, had come out pink.
"Your hair turned out..." Violet let loose a fit of laughter. "You... you look like... Phil's little sister!" She laughed some more until she gasped for breath.
Elly made a confused face. "Wh... But didn't it turn out blue...?"
Cassidy swung the nearby medicine cabinet open. The mirror was now angled so that Elly could see her reflection.
"Okay, let's see Cassie's now!" Violet cheered.
In stark contrast to Elly's result, Cassidy's hair was now a bright, resplendent, cheerful blue. Cassidy, seeing herself in the mirror, smirked. "Ready to vote, guys?"
"Cassidy," said Joel and Kenneth simultaneously.
"Yeah, her!" Violet agreed, mussing up Cassidy's now-with-even-more-blue hair affectionately.
"Hey," offered Violet, "It didn't turn out the way you wanted... but I dunno, it's still kinda cute... I mean, I guess..."
"But I looooooost!" Elly whined.
Violet sighed. "Yeah, you lost." Then she went back to playing with Cassidy's hair.
Elly stood up. "All right, if you guys are gonna get all lovey-dovey again, I'm leaving."
"Lovey-dovey?" Cassidy quirked an eyebrow.
“What, you think I'm an idiot?" Elly said. "Violet couldn't keep her hands off you no matter how hard she tried to pretend." And she walked away.
Joel and Kenneth exchanged looks. They had exchanged a lot of looks lately.
Violet stopped playing with Cassidy's hair. She also stepped back a few feet from Cassidy, reluctantly enough.
"She's so..." she scowled. "Can't keep my hands off... Of course I can... Stupid..." And she walked away grumbling.
Cassidy looked forlornly after her, then cast two separate glances at Joel and Kenneth.
"...What?" She stared. "Oh, wait... are you two..."
"Dudes? Yes," Joel said.
"No, I mean... two dudes, who met in a bar, and..."
Joel and Kenneth responded by exchanging more glances.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," said Kenneth.
Cassidy facepalmed. Kenneth just walked away, whistling. Joel trailed behind him.
This left Cassidy sitting alone in the bathroom with her blue hair. Eventually she sighed to herself and left.
"Hey," said Andrew, "Wanna see the Hydrant of Mystery?"
He did not get anything in response, as Phil was asleep. His mumbling and shifting indicated unpleasant dreams. Andrew retrieved a foam baseball bat from the glove compartment and whacked Phil with it.
Phil turned toward Andrew and gave him an angry glare. "What the hell was that for?"
"For being asleep." Andrew shrugged.
"You.... Jesus." Phil sighed and turned away again.
"So? Do you want to go see it?"
"The Hydrant of Mystery."
Andrew jumped. "If you don't know what it is, you HAVE to see it!"
"Uh, no." Phil didn't turn around to look at Andrew.
"So yes!" Andrew swung himself into the driver's seat and started the car.
"Uh, actually, no means NO, not yes."
"Yeah, that's what they all say," Andrew said dismissively.
"Do they also say that war is peace and ignorance is strength?"
"Yes!" Andrew was maneuvering the car out of the parking lot.
"Who're they, then? And where the hell did you find out about this... Hairdryer of Mystery, anyway?"
“They're me, and I found out about the- HYDRANT- of Mystery- from Tourism for Tourists."
"What the hell is that?"
"It's a coffee table book."
"Of course it is." Phil sighed.
Andrew reasoned the conversation was over.
A long twenty-six minutes later, they found themselves at their destination. Er, Andrew's destination.
"Come on, dude, man, let's go see the Hydrant of Mystery!" Andrew fistpumped.
Phil slithered out of the car like a wet lump of dough. "What the hell's so mysterious about this Hydrant of Mystery anyway?" he muttered. "Is it leaking, or something?"
The Hydrant was standing there, looking rather unmysterious, and there was a small gift shop standing next to it manned by a lady who appeared to be passed out.
"This blows," said Phil.
"Look at it!" Andrew exclaimed, incredulous. "Oh, we have GOT to get T-shirts."
Phil considered asking "Why?", but then he remembered that he had no other clothing besides what he was currently wearing, and decided that even tacky, overpriced gift-shop T-shirts would be better than nothing. "Okay..." he grumbled. They woke up the gift shop lady, who seemed quite shocked that anyone was there.
They bought their stuff. It took a long time because Andrew couldn't find his wallet. Andrew, in addition to his t-shirt, bought a snowglobe with a model of the allegedly mysterious hydrant inside. When he shook it, it looked like the hydrant was being snowed on. Surprisingly.
Andrew wanted to stand around and contemplate the hydrant longer, but Phil was shivering in the cold air and went back to the car. This didn't stop Andrew from standing around. Phil just had to wait in the car.