He staggers into the office, closing the door and flipping the lock. He doesn't think he was followed here, but a healthy dose of paranoia never killed anyone; he slumps against the doorframe, peering through the blinds at the shadowed hallway beyond. It's empty. He's finally alone.
"Abed, did you just lock the door?"
Not alone after all. He turns slowly, taking her in. She's a blonde bombshell with legs down to the floor, casually sitting at his desk with an air that suggests she's been there for a while.
"Never can be too careful," he says, loosening his tie as he slides down into a tired sprawl at his desk. "Take you, for example."
She looks flustered. "Me? What about me?"
"I have no idea who you are or how you got in, but here you are." He pushes up on the brim of his hat, giving her a closer look. "Either I need a new lock or a new secretary."
"Abed," she says, sounding worried. "I don't understand. It's me, Britta. Britta."
"Britta," he says, testing it out. Doesn't sound like her real name; it's probably an alias. "Yeah, sure. What can I do for you, Britta?"
"Hold on a minute, sweetie," she says soothingly, pulling out her phone. It's an old model, seen better days. She's fallen on hard times, maybe, or wants him to think she has. "I'm just going to make a call—"
"Abed." The other door – the one he'd conveniently forgotten to lock for narrative purposes – swings open, and in walks Jeff Winger, his hat pulled low over his eyes. "I'm afraid I have some – bad news." He pauses for a beat. "It's about your partner, Troy Barnes."
"That's not right," Abed says. As much as he hates to break character— "We haven't met Troy yet, so you can't have bad news about him until later."
Jeff folds his arms. "If there's a script, I quit."
"Wait, what?" Britta swings around to glare at Jeff. "You mean you're playing along with this?"
"All it actually requires is that I look hot in a fedora and occasionally say intensely dramatic things," Jeff points out. "That's me, but in a fedora."
"Yeah, I kind of just wanted the hat," Troy says, walking in behind Jeff and pointing up at his own fedora.
"I hate it when we do genres," Britta mutters, putting her phone away. "Next time, I at least want some kind of warning."
"Howdy, ma'am," Troy says, tipping his hat to a clique of really hot girls. "Um, ma'ams. Ladies."
The really hot girls giggle at him and look away. Troy can't even pretend to be surprised; if he were a hot girl, he wouldn't hit on him right now, either. Abed said they were doing a cool, John Wayne kind of western, but Troy is wearing chaps and girls won't look him in the eye and he kind of thinks they're doing one of those really stupid westerns where cowboys sing and dance and stuff. He doesn't want to sing and dance. He's supposed to be John Wayne.
Jeff tips his hat to the hot girls, too. "Ladies."
The girls don't laugh at Jeff, which makes Troy maybe want to punch him in the face. Jeff looks ruggedly handsome in chaps, like he might actually go rope a steer or shoot a bad guy or something. Troy, on the other hand—
"Do these chaps make me look gay?"
Jeff laughs. "Do your chaps make you look gay."
"Whatever, man, you're wearing them too."
"I'm wearing them with panache," Jeff informs him. "Or maybe as an ironic statement. I haven't decided yet."
"Ironic statements are totally gay," Troy mutters, glaring at the floor. Next time Abed says something like, I got these from the theater department, what do you think? Troy is going to say, I think chaps are really, really gay, Abed. Next time.
"I think you're a little too focused on things being gay," Jeff says, giving him a look.
"Jeff! Troy!" Annie runs up to them, out of breath. She's wearing – Troy doesn't know what the hell she's wearing; he can't figure out if she's a slutty cowgirl or a lady of the night or what. "Come quickly, y'all! There's a standoff in the cafeteria!"
"Annie, we're western, not southern," Troy says. This is what happens when you let girls play.
"Whatever, Troy, I don't know what western sounds like," she snaps, and then her excited smile (and her ridiculous southern accent) springs back into place. "Abed says it's high noon for Chang and Professor Duncan. They don't have guns or anything, but they do have pie, and it looks kinda serious."
"Awesome," Jeff says. "Listen, Troy, you can stay here and worry about how gay you might look in those chaps, or you can come watch a man – maybe two – take a pie to the face. I know which one I'm going to do."
That must be Jeff's exit line, because he walks off without waiting for them, thumbs hooked on his belt.
"Pie," Troy says, nodding. "Yeah, I pick pie."
"Hurry, before we miss it," Annie drawls, and they run after Jeff, clutching their cowboy hats.
Abed sneaks into the study group room, ducking behind a couch and peering up over the edge. The room looks empty: no one by the snack tables, no one at the punch bowl. He hits the button on his radio, whispering into it. "Study room is clear. No sign of City College forces."
"Abed, we're almost ready to disable the power to the library," Troy whispers back. "That should give you two minutes to rescue Shirley from the periodicals section and get out."
"Two minutes isn't much time," he says, warily clutching his super soaker. "Periodicals is heavily guarded."
That voice isn't on his radio. Abed turns around slowly, looking up at a looming man in a dark mask. He jumps to his feet, blasting the man with fruit punch.
The man sputters, raising his hands defensively. "No, I am your father!"
"No," Abed says, stunned. "No, that's not true. That's impossible!"
"Abed!" The man takes off his mask. It's Abed's father. "Your crazy friend Britta invited me."
"Oh." Abed holsters his super soaker. "Sorry."
Abed's dad scowls at him. "Where is everyone? Why are you shooting people with fruit juice?"
Abed thinks back, carefully sequencing events in chronological order. "Well, some frat guys from City College decided to stage a hostile takeover of the Halloween party, and Britta said they were all enormous jerks with insecurity complexes, so they locked her in the book return and we had to stage a rescue, and then Jeff got mad and said we weren't going to let any City College goons take over our party, so we launched a strategic attack on their car—"
The room goes dark. The power is out. Abed has two minutes to rescue Shirley from Periodicals and get them both to safety.
"Sorry, Dad," Abed whispers. "No time to discuss this as a committee."
"I can't believe I pay for you to go to this school," his dad says.
"I know," Abed whispers, nodding. "It's great."
"I found this in one of the old Greendale yearbooks," Annie says, unfolding the paper and spreading it out on the table. "I think it's an old map of campus. Look, there's the library, that's us."
"Yeah, interesting," Jeff says, not sounding even remotely interested.
Troy leans over the map, at least pretending to check it out. Okay, it isn't that interesting, but it's more interesting than their American History homework. "What kind of campus map is this? None of the buildings are even labeled."
"This one's labeled," Pierce says, pointing at a squarish building near the middle. "It's called 'X'."
Shirley shakes her head. "I don't think that's the building name."
Jeff lowers his newspaper, starting to look interested. "An X? As in 'X marks the spot'? As in Annie found a secret Greendale treasure map in the library?"
"Whoa," Troy says, staring at the map. "You think?"
Abed snap-points at the map. "I'm going to need a grappling hook, a torch, a motorcycle—"
"We can stop by your dorm on the way and pick up your Indy whip," Troy suggests.
Abed nods. "And my hat."
"Whoa, whoa," Britta says, putting a hand on Abed's arm the way she does when she thinks it's time to stage an intervention. "You guys, there isn't a secret Greendale treasure. It's a crappy old campus map – who even knows what that X means. Maybe someone was marking their classroom, or their office."
"Or maybe someone was marking their treasure," Jeff says, snapping his newspaper shut and rising to lean over the map. "The way I see it, we can do our homework, or we can look for treasure."
"I vote treasure," Troy says immediately, raising his hand.
"Treasure," Abed seconds.
"Guys, we should really do our homework," Annie says, turning a pleading look on Jeff.
Jeff holds up a hand to block Annie's look from his field of vision. "You girls can do homework if you want. The men are going to look for treasure."
"Men, my ass," Shirley says, grabbing her purse and standing up. "I'm looking for treasure."
"The men and Shirley are looking for treasure," Jeff amends.
Britta gives Jeff a disgusted look. "You really don't want to do your homework, do you?"
"You have no idea how much," he says. "Let's go get Abed's whip."
"Did you see that?"
Abed looks up from his notebook, following Troy's gaze to a vent near the floor. "See what?"
"Eyes," Troy says, slowly rising from his chair and cautiously moving toward the vent. Abed shuts his notebook and follows Troy's lead, joining him in a huddle to one side of the vent. "Little ones. You don't think – one of the lab rats—"
"We could leave out some cheese and see if it takes the bait," Abed suggests, running through his mental inventory of non-duet-related rat traps. It isn't a very long list; in fact, cheese and duets are the only things on it, and he thinks duets only work if you train the rat to like them first. "I could go get some from the cafeteria."
"Wait," Troy says, grabbing Abed by the wrist. "Look."
Something is in there, watching them from the other side of the vent. Abed thinks it's too big to be a lab rat, though, and he's still trying to decide if that's good news or bad news when the vent rattles, swinging open from the inside.
A monkey stares up at them, brandishing a purple pen.
Troy gasps. "Annie's Boobs!"
"And Annie's pen," Abed says, several mysteries solved at once. He likes it when loose ends are all wrapped up together; it's neat, clean, but not so neat as to look cheap. He's definitely using this for his web series.
Annie's Boobs scurries past them, heading for the table. Troy makes a dive for him and misses; Abed follows suit and knocks his head against a table leg, sprawling back onto the carpet. Troy climbs over him and jumps to his feet, chasing Annie's Boobs around the table.
"Abed, get up," Troy calls, running behind a couch. "Come on, you have to help me catch Annie's Boobs."
Abed's head feels kind of weird, but he didn't see stars, so he figures he's okay. He starts to get to his feet, turns toward Troy, and trips over the monkey, going face-first onto the floor.
"Stupid monkey," Troy shouts, chasing it under a computer desk.
Abed rolls over and sits up, carefully looking for the monkey before trying to stand again. So far, so good. He takes a cautious step forward, and another, intently watching where he's going—
And then the monkey launches itself at him, climbing up to his shoulder, and Troy grabs the monkey and the monkey grabs Abed's shirt and Abed's shirt is kind of choking him, so his attempt to say Annie's Boobs is choking me comes out more like, "Abse chkm—"
Abed has an epiphany.
"Ikgt," he says, surprised he didn't see it sooner. He knows which movie they're in, now; it all makes sense. He's Cary Grant, which means Troy is Katharine Hepburn, and – and Troy has freed Abed's shirt from Annie's Boobs. He can breathe again. He tugs his shirt down, coughs to clear his throat, and lowers his voice into a more appropriate register. "I might have known it was you. I had a feeling just as I hit the floor."
Troy glances over from where he's wrestling with the monkey. "What?"
"I figured out this movie," Abed says in his Abed voice. "I'm Cary Grant and you're Katharine Hepburn."
"Katharine Hepburn is a chick," Troy objects.
Abed doesn't see his point. "When you're done with Annie's Boobs, we should go back to my room and watch it."
"Sure, whatever." Troy sighs, letting Annie's Boobs go. The monkey runs back to the vent, pulls it open, climbs inside, and slams it shut behind him. "Well, at least we know he's okay, right?"
"He'll be back," Abed says, making his way back to the table. "There's always the sequel. Though I think this was the sequel, so maybe it's a trilogy."
They gather up their stuff, heading out of the study group room. Abed automatically reaches out to turn off the light as they leave, and then reconsiders, leaving it on. Maybe the monkey likes it better with the lights on. If Abed were a monkey, he would.
"Abed," Troy says, glancing at him now and then as they walk toward Abed's dorm. "Is this movie, like, a romantic comedy?"
Abed nods. "A classic."
"Uh-huh." Troy makes a rolling gesture with his hands, which usually means there's something else he's trying to say. "And you're Cary Grant and I'm Katharine Hepburn?"
Abed nods again. "Right."
"Uh-huh." Troy stops walking, briefly touching Abed's shoulder to make sure he stops, too. "And you don't think that's weird?"
Abed thinks about it for a minute. "No. Should I?"
Troy stares at him for a moment. People stare at Abed a lot, but Troy usually doesn't, so that seems significant.
"Nah," Troy finally says, shaking his head. "I guess not." He starts walking again, giving Abed a sidelong smile when Abed falls into step with him. "So are you gonna tell Annie about her pens, or am I?"