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Joker Over Knave

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He heralds his first visit to the Strider-apartment-sans-Dave with what you assume is supposed to be a rendition of the bucket-of-water-on-the- door-left-ajar trick.

Except that the bucket is a box and the box is full of smuppets and the smuppets are packed in the box so tightly that had you, in fact, been born a complete moron, there’s a good chance that the prank still would have failed miserably.

As it is, you lift that box from the doorframe with one hand and open that door with the other like you’re posing for the cover of you-fucking-suck-at-this-Egbert magazine, featuring Bro Strider as the smug-ass prank Houdini centrefold.

And then he fucking pies you.

With an actual pie.

Right in the shades.

Everything tastes and smells like meringue. You see meringue. You hear meringue. Your world is fucking meringue synesthesia, a cornucopia of nauseating sweetness cut with far too little lemon doing flawless backstroke in an off-white haze of meringue and you start to feel like you are meringue.

He tells you that Dave took a moment out of his busy schedule of playing tonsil hockey with Harley and skipping classes to ask him to check up on you.

You whip the smuppet box at him in heartfelt gratitude.

You never miss.

==>

The second time he visits, he covers your toilet with plastic wrap and fills your shower head with Rock-a-Dile Red Kool-Aid powder. Your hair is pink for days, but you smell fantastic.

==>

The third time he visit, he opens the door to a broad semi-circle of carefully placed smuppets with the vibrate mode on.

You’ve fitted some of them with internal speakers scavenged from a half dozen Tickle-Me-Elmo dolls.

He backs away slowly, but not before you notice that he’s holding a tube of toothpaste and a bag of icing sugar.

You puzzle over what he planned to do with them.

You never find out.

==>

The fourth time he visits, he just cracks open the door to lob a water balloon full of grape jello at you before absconding down the hall and you think that’s a pretty lame prank, honestly.

Only then does it occur to you to wonder why the fuck he has a key to your apartment.

==>

The Littlest Strider informs you that not only did he not give his bucktoothed sidekick a key to your home, he also did not instruct him to check up on you, and the whole affair becomes highly suspicious.

Your suspicions are both assuaged and confirmed when you discover that Egbert has a fledgling career as a stand-up comedian and that he is in Houston- another oddity that you failed spectacularly to give a shit about until this very moment- because he’s struck up a particularly successful relationship with the owner of a small but relatively central venue.

The clientele is fairly adult.

The source of his most successful material is, apparently, you.