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Secret Keeper Stacy

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Dear Diary,

Why am I opening with that? Who is Diary? The book? Whoever reads the book? I’m the only one who should be able to read this, so am I talking to myself? That’s a dumb tradition, it doesn’t make any sense. So, you know what? This is no longer a diary, this is a journal.

Journal entry One, I guess.

You know, some girls worry about things like ‘will this look good on me.’ Or ‘will I ever find somebody to love.’ Or ‘should I buy this ice cream thing I’ve never tried before.’ Some girls wonder, ‘how am I supposed to learn a second language in a totally new country?’ or ‘Is my little sister going to survive heart surgery?’ or ‘hey wait a minute, am I actually gay?’ And they have serious problems, don’t get me wrong, but they’re ordinary problems, things that we have a context for. I’m fine worrying about ordinary things like that--well, not fine, obviously, but it doesn’t unnerve me, exactly. See, this is the sort of thing I am equipped to handle.

What I am not equipped to handle is ‘Oh my god, what if I accidentally reveal my best friend’s pet is a secret agent and get him sent away or my friend’s family’s whole memory erased by the government.’

See, I’m an ordinary girl. That is not an ordinary problem.

Okay, to be fair, I deal with the extraordinary pretty regularly. Like, my best friend is pretty weird, all things considered--in a good way. Well, mostly in a good way. A lot of people, herself included, question her sanity, but even if she is crazy she works with it, not against it. Like, sure, she has a nearly irrepressible urge to bust her brothers, and she’s neurotically unsure about herself--like it’s not even a constant self-doubt, it flares up in little five-to-ten minute episodes whenever something she tries goes haywire. But at the end of the day, Candace Flynn has her head in gear and, more and more often, a smile on her face. She works with her crazy and still has a fun and rewarding life.

And of course there are her brothers, Phineas and Ferb, and if you’re reading this and you aren’t me and you don’t know who they are, I’m guessing you dug this up sometime in the twenty-five hundreds and probably have a whole slew of vague references to those two that you don’t know where they come from because history is a bitch mess like that. So, future historians: Two kids, less than fifteen, they started summer by building a city-wide roller coaster in a day and every day thereafter they decided to perform another big project. The roller coaster is about... mid-low on their ‘most impossible thing we’ve done’ list. They are real, by the way. Not folklore heroes. If you deliberately misinterpret that I will ask the two of them to build a time machine so I can come forward to laugh at you in your lecture halls loudly and rudely until you stop.

Man, this is rambly. Back to my main point: Phineas and Ferb do the impossible. Candace deals with the impossible. My little sister is a Fireside girl, so she basically masters the impossible. Me? I’m ordinary. I’ve seen the impossible, and gone ‘hmm, yeah, that’s neat.’ Totally rational thing to do. So, okay, I live on the edge of strangeness, but I’m like... chill. Arctic. Impossible stuff happens to other people. Impossible worries, like fusion reactors and microtransactions, that’s Phineas and Ferb’s deal, or Candace’s deal. I’m Stacy Hirano, I do the whole ‘teenage shopping and fad’ thing. That’s me, ordinary girl.

Except I know Perry isn’t an ordinary platypus, but some sort of pharmi mad scientist fighting secret agent. I mean, this is something I know, something I know he knows, and something I know can actually affect people I know, and it’s big and weird and... see, there’s this thing, right? You find out a big secret, you become part of the big secret. Secret magical world, or robot from space, or hell just ‘whoops I’m actually a millionaire,’ it happens all the time in books! But for me, he’s like ‘Oh hey, I’m a secret agent, don’t tell anyone, kthxbai!’ and I’m all like ‘Sure whatevs, now let me finish watching my movie and go shopping for what the hell ever, this doesn’t change my life at all’ and...

I don’t know. I mean, it just feels like it shouldn’t be me? It should be The Lonely Girl Who Doesn’t Have Any Friends, or The Visionary Artist Looking For Inspiration, or... or something! I should be, what, transformed by this? It’s... not underwhelming, exactly. It’s like I’m the underwhelming aspect. Kind of. I haven’t been really put to the challenge yet. It’s easy not to say something.

I dunno, I haven’t been this confused since geography class. Which is really stupid, it’s not about where things happened, but how they happened right? Also, everybody who writes the books focuses on the wars which--I mean, wars are big and important, but history isn’t just wars, right?

Okay, I’m reading over all this and I’m thinking, why am I even worrying about this. Because, you know what? I know about Perry and that doesn’t change anything in the end. ‘Secret agent’ aside, what, am I supposed to get the kids to look the other way when he needs to go to his spy lair? He does well enough without me. I’m waaaaaay overthinking this. I just need to accept this into my worldview, and hey, I’m golden.

Geeze, though, when mom came home she was super angry. I’m glad I convinced mister ‘home and power’ to stay and talk to her, I mean a missing wall and all is hard to pass off. Perry’s organization must be loaded because he paid off the whole ‘whoops a mad scientist crashed through your wall’ damages like it was nothing. Then again, they do fight with mad scientists, so I guess that makes sense. ‘Oh no, the death ray melted town hall. We gotta patch that up!’ It’s not something you’d put in the story because people don’t want to read about their hero facing lawsuits, but it has to happen sometimes I guess.

So... yeah. My friend’s pet is a secret agent and I have to keep that secret to not ruin their lives, and that makes me very emotionally confused, and also the hole in the wall is not my fault. Oh, and Ginger, if you’re reading this: First of all, how dare you violate my privacy yadda yadda yadda, and secondly, I am being dead serious: Tell NOBODY about Perry. Okay? Okay. Also get me a better lock for the book because, well, you figured out how to open it.

Chapter Text

You know what’s crazy? My friend’s pet being a secret agent.

You know what’s crazier? He’s not the only one.

I mean, okay sure, let’s be real: It’s an agency organization thing. Obviously there’s more than one agent. But I was just expecting, like any sane and rational person, for there to be one agent per town or something. Maybe five, Danville is big and it’s a little weird. It’s not evil-science central or anything. Or at least that’s what I thought yesterday.

Okay, hold on, I’ve got to put this in review in my head. So, today is father’s day, which is great for everyone who has a dad. I mean like a loving dad person, not like, you know, just the genetic donor. Which, let’s be honest, it’s not everyone, but what can you do. My point is, it’s father’s day, and me and Ginger didn’t have anything to celebrate because the man who could have raised us You know what? Not important. What is important is that it turns out that none of Ginger’s Fireside Girl friends celebrated it either. For a bunch of reasons, but they all decided to hang out, and I decided what the heck, sister bonding time, I can be the cool big kid and buy them all ice cream or whatever.

So there I am, chilling with the preteens, and we’re all poking fun at Isabella’s crush on Phineas and apparently, my sister has her eyes on the Indian kid? Curly hair genius guy, which is cute, but why didn’t I know about this? Anyway, we’re all hanging out outside the ice cream shop when suddenly a metal head chomps us all up in one big bite.

I wish I was making this up.

This giant old lady metal head on spider legs turns a corner, its lips peel back, and before anybody can say anything we’re all crushed tight in a metal chamber. I’m against the back wall with Isabella between my legs and my sister right in my face and thank god these were all preteens because I don’t think it could have gotten any more awkward. I couldn’t even move my elbows...

So anyway, Isabella takes charge like she always does, and tells us to be ready when the chamber opens for, you know, basically anything. Ginger tried to tell her that as the oldest I should be in charge, but I shot that down really quick. I mean, me in charge? Of anything? Ha ha ha, no. Especially not in life or death situations. Which, to be fair, I didn’t know if this was, but it could have been. The Fireside Girls have their own... thing. I was just along for the ride this time.

Eventually, we get where we’re going and the robohead spits us up--into a plastic sphere thing. Well, a lot of plastic sphere things. Okay, so first we were put into this frictionless bowl thing and there was a hole at the bottom and we were dropped one by one into plastic spheres... it happened like stupid fast, but the point is we were all in a circle of plastic spheres which are clamped into this circle... tracky thing. And who should stride into the circle but the woman whose giant metal head had gobbled us up?

I mean her head wasn’t giant and metal, but it was shaped like the giant metal head. Without the spider legs. And normal sized. And very, very smug.

This is where it gets weird. Like not like it wasn’t weird before, but I mean... this woman starts ranting about how she’s going to be gorgeous with all our youthful energy and behold the science thinger! The gist of it was she was going to make pills that made her younger looking, which okay, I get vanity, more power to ya, but she was going to make the pills out of us? I dunno if we’d have survived the process, because, yeah, this is crazy nonsense. But while I’m looking around, I see a window across the room and, just outside, Isabella’s chi waha chili haha? chinchilla? twitchy ratdog thing in a fedora.

Because OF COURSE, Isabella’s pet is a secret agent too. Of COURSE he is.

Now obviously, if Isabella finds out her pet is a secret agent, that’s relocation and or mind wiping. Also obviously, we can’t do anything from inside these gerbil balls while they’re locked down, so the ratdog is our only hope, and he sees Isabella and he clearly doesn’t want to get anyone’s attention.

So I turn to miss old madwoman and shout the first thing that comes to mind.

“If you want to look so young, you’re going to need a thousand times what you’ve got!”

Yep. That was my brilliant plan. Heckle the woman who was maybe about to kill us.

I insulted her wrinkles. I insulted her hair. I insulted her dress. Hell, I even insulted her nails. I don’t think any of the Fireside Girls were at all prepared for what I was saying, they’re all so nice and polite and to be fair, I usually am too. But while they and miss crazy are all staring at me, the ratdog manages to break in without noticing and goes all sneaky around the machinery. Which of course means I have to continue to keep all eyes on me so I go on this rant about how the woman’s crazy expectations undermine the value of self and how she’s both corrupting and insulting the youth of today by using them and everybody stays focused on me.

Which is a good thing, right up until she pulls out a freaking RAY GUN from her purse and points it at me.

A ray gun! An actual fifties ray gun, with the antennae tip and the, what do you call them, the disc circle thingies that filmmakers put on anything to say “Mad Science,” and blinky lights and everything. Also, it was pink. And it was pointed at me.

There was, in fact, a mad scientist pointing a pink ray gun at me.

I just wrote that and I am still not quite believing it. I know it happened, I know I was about to die, and it’s still not there. I mean, it isn’t clicking, in my head. Even though it probably should be. I was being threatened by a madwoman with a gun, and I couldn’t run, and my sister was right frickin there and I was probably about to die oh there it is there’s the panic

 

okay, I took a few minutes to have a small panic attack on my bed. And some breathing exercises. I’m good.

Anyway, so she pulls out a ray gun, points it at me, and thank god for egomania because she starts yelling about how she’s never been so insulted in her life and stalks right up to my transparent plastic sphere and is up in my face threatening me and not actually firing the gun in her hands--she says she’s going to, of course, but she wants to know who I think I am to spit in her face like that.

And Isabella’s ratdog has incredible timing because the clamps holding down these plastic spheres release just then. I realize there’s never going to be a better chance for this, so I look the crazy woman right in the eyes and

okay it was cheesy as heck but

I look her right in the eyes and I say, completely seriously: “I’m the gosh-darned Dangerbil.”

I’m pushing my plastic sphere forward before she can even process that, and I knock her to the ground. The Fireside Girls realize “Hey wait, we’re all free!” and they join the sphere-based pummeling. She’s still got her ray gun and she’s shooting it all around, and everything it hits disappears, but somehow she doesn’t hit any of us. Well, up until Isabella deliberately rolls in front of a shot and jumps just before the ray hits--apparently since she wasn’t touching the plastic sphere she doesn’t get obliterated with that.

And, well... girl knows martial arts and she is pissed right off. Half a minute later we’re all free, the ray gun is in pieces on the ground, and the crazy woman falls into her own machine.

So Isabella turns around and sees her ratdog in a fedora. And this is when I pull another one of my moves that seemed genius but was probably stupid: I claimed the fedora was mine. A pocket fedora. Some crazy fad, supposed to bring you good luck, that I must have dropped it when we were kidnapped and that’s how the ratdog found us, and... somehow, everyone buys it. That should not have worked, I mean, a pocket fedora? A tiny hat you carry around for good luck? That’s just insane, but everybody buys it.

Isabella figures that the ratdog must have completely accidentally released us, so he’s a real hero, so we all head down to the pet shop to get him some treats. Then I go around dropping the kids off at their homes, ‘losing’ the fedora in some corner of Isabella’s home, and...

I mean...

Now there are two pets whose identity I have to keep secret. And I’m not sure how many more animals in Danville are secret agents. If any of them find out I know, I don’t know what will happen.

Buuuuut I guess it isn’t too bad, right? Mad scientists and animal agents. Just have to avoid those two things and, hey, I’ll be alright. With a little luck, I won’t get into anything crazy like this ever again.