'New record,' Jodi thought blearily as she finally finished trying to rocket her brains out through her nose. She sniffled, rubbing her eyes. She wanted nothing more than to crawl back into bed and sleep, but she couldn't. Tyler was having a special on his tour today: 2 for the price of 1. He had five day tours lined up and another one for his Moonlight Monster tour, which he was finally able to start after battling his way through all of Twitchell's paper work and snippy comments. Which meant Jodi would be in the store all day, cooking and selling. She couldn't complain; it was bringing in much needed money. A little cold wasn't going to stop her.
With one last heavy sigh, exhaling as much of her sleepiness and mental fogginess as she could, Jodi finally shuffled herself into her clothes and downstairs to start preparing for the busy day.
Jodi had been behind the counter for all of two minutes when Larry pushed his way into the store. He was flipping through a worn looking magazine-one of the replacements he had purchased after the destruction of his old ones. "Hey, Jodster!" he greeted, enthusiastic but a little distracted.
"Morning," Jodi replied, the last half of her greeting getting lost in a yawn.
Larry looked up, confused by her hoarse and rather unusual response. A bit of worry crossed his face when he saw her tired, drained appearance. "Hey, you feeling okay, Jodi?"
"Hm? Oh," she offered him a reassuring smile, though it came off as more weary than anything. "I'm fine. Just a bit tired. Didn't sleep well last night."
Larry looked doubtful. "Are you sure? You don't look too good. Sick, I mean. Do you have a cold?" he asked.
"It's nothing, just a little sniffle. What do you want for breakfast? Oh, and could you go and make sure Tyler's up? If he sleeps in late again today, I'll kill him."
"Okay. And I'll have eggs and toast I guess..." Larry said, standing back up but still unconvinced. "You know, if you want to go back to bed I could handle breakfast for you, too," he offered after a moment.
Jodi snorted. "And let you near my stove? I don't think so, bucko," she threw him a reassuring smile. "Now go on, I'll be fine after I've had my coffee. Promise."
Larry returned her smile, even though he wasn't entirely convinced, and headed out to check on Tyler.
For once, the tour guide seemed to have had no problems getting up early, and was already checking his jeep when Larry walked in, waist deep beneath the vehicle.
"Mornin', Larry," he said, his voice muffled.
Larry stopped near the jeep, close to Tyler's legs, kneeling down to peer under the faded orange vehicle. "Hey, Tyler. What you up to? Jodi wanted me to make sure you were awake."
"I'm sleeping, obviously," Tyler deadpanned. "What's it look like I'm doing?"
"Not sure," Larry shrugged as if not picking up on his sarcasm. "Wait a sec, how did you know it was me?"
"Because you're the only one in this entire valley who owns a pair of Batman & Robin sneakers," Tyler rolled out from under the engine, giving Larry a slightly bemused look. "And wears them."
"Only because I can't find my Marvel ones!" the sci-fi and comic fan replied, almost defensively.
Tyler laughed. "Whatever, man. It suits you anyway." He got up and wiped his hands off on a dirty rag. "I'm pretty much done settin' things up on my end. You guys want any help getting the store ready?"
"Yeah, Jodi could use a couple hands," Larry said. "I think she's got a cold or something."
Tyler frowned. "A cold, huh?"
"Yeah," he nodded. "She says she's okay though."
Before Larry could say more, the local survivalist's power wagon pulled up in front of the store. Burt exited the automobile. "Morning Tyler, Larry," he greeted with a nod to each man as he walked over.
Tyler blatantly ignored the man, barely even glancing at him, his attention still on Larry. "That's good. Probably a lie, but good." He smirked slightly. Everyone in Perfection was good at that. Even if they didn't feel well, they'd bluff their way through. It was when they didacknowledge it that one began to truly worry.
Burt scowled, aware of the fact he was being pointedly ignored.
"Um, hi, Burt," Larry responded, confused as he looked between the two older men. "But, yeah, I'm going to go help her out." He started back towards the store.
"I'll be over after I've washed up," Tyler called after him, turning to head to the back of his garage that served as a house.
"Tyler!" Burt called after him. The man gave no sign that he had heard him.
Burt sighed, rolling his eyes, and walked into the store.
When Twitchell entered the store, the sun was just starting to set over the far-off mountains/graboid barricades. Tyler was sitting at the counter, Nancy cooking behind it, and Burt was sitting at one of the various tables with Larry and Jodi. Which was odd, seeing as Jodi was the one who did most if the cooking in the store.
"Burt! Tyler! Got an assignment for ya."
"Well good day to you too, Twitch," Tyler remarked dryly.
"What is it this time, Twitchell?" Burt asked, not bothering to hide his annoyance.
"A.B.s in a town here in Nevada. Jaquilen," he reported.
"Assblasters?" Jodi looked up with a frown. "How did they get so far along, hasn't anyone seen them yet? Or noticed the bodies going missing, at least?"
"They are in an isolated area," Twitchell informed. "Local police thought they were dealing with a serial killer."
Tyler groaned. "This isn't another Toluca, is it?"
Twitchell rolled his eyes. "They just aren't totally one hundred percent convinced they are A.B.s. But there were a few sightings of 'giant chickens' in the area so the DOI thinks it's a safe bet."
"You up for it, Tyler?" Burt asked purposefully.
Tyler gave no reply, turning back to his fries. Nancy hid a snicker behind her spatula.
Burt let out an indignant huff at once again being ignored. "Fine. We'll do it. When do we head out?"
"Whoa! What? No!" Tyler sat up so fast he nearly fell off his stool. "Dude, tonight is the first night of the Moonlight Monster Tour! Why can't we leave in the morning?"
At the mention of 'we' Burt looked ever-so-slightly satisfied.
"Because they seemtokillonapatternand they don't want anyone else being killed," Twitchell explained, the middle part rather rushed and mumbled.
Nancy turned away from the grill, her eyes narrowed suspiciously. "What was that?"
"The blasters tend to kind of hunt on a little bit of a vague... ish pattern," Twitch said in an attempt at casualness.
"You mean like...a serial killer?" Jodi clarified, raising her eyebrows. "Locals don't sound so crazy anymore."
"Certainly sounds like one," Larry added. "Like, in The Digger episode of-" he started, but was quickly cut off by a sharp glare from, well, everyone.
Twitchell grumbled. "Look, it's not your place to ask questions. It's your job to get in there, kill the turkeys, and get out."
"And what am I supposed to tell my customers?" Tyler demanded angrily.
"That you put on your super suit to go save the world. I don't care."
The glare the agent received probably would've lesser men sweat through their suits. But he wasn't one of those lesser men and so ignored it.
Jodi sighed, which quickly turned into a cough. She ignored Larry's worried look and cleared her throat. "I can reschedule for next week, Tyler, it's fine. They haven't arrived yet, hopefully I can reach them before they come. I think they all live relatively close."
Burt slumped in his chair slightly before getting up. "Since that's settled, might as well get a move on Tyler." Tyler simply slumped against the counter and glared down at his plate.
Without another word, Burt stormed out to his power wagon.
Twitchell looked, confused, between the two men. "What in the world is up with you two?"
Nancy smirked. "Burt tried to shoot Tyler's new pet, Squirtle."
"Squirtle?" Twitchell asked.
"It's his Squouse," Larry clarified.
"Oh, that reminds me. Nancy, can you watch him while I'm gone?" Tyler asked. The potter nodded with a smile. "Thanks."
With one last sigh, casting his unfinished meal a longing look, Tyler got up and left to pack.
"See ya later, bro!" Larry called after him.