“Now not, Slayer. Passions is on in fifteen–it’s Kay’s wedding to Miguel!”
Buffy growled as she hoisted the vampire by his leather lapels and shoved him into the nearest wall. “That thing has Giles, Spike. My Giles. And believe me, I wouldn’t be here if I had any other choice. My Watcher is not gonna die so you can catch up on your soaps.”
“Well, I can’t just pop over to Comcast and sign up for a bloody DVR, yeah? They-”
Buffy raised her crossbow.
“Right.” Spike grumbled, straightening his coat with a leer. “Let’s go save Mary Shopkins.”
“But don’t you ever wonder, Cam?”, Tom Servo asked gruffly, his gumball-machine dome shining under the artificial light. “He knows everything about us, but we’ve shared a ship with him for years and we’re in the dark even on the basics! That’s got to violate some kind of robot roommate code!”
Cambot said nothing.
From his recliner, Crow chuckled, a high-pitched sound like a chicken singing through a kazoo. “Tommy, how he eats and breathes is his bag of potatoes, you know? Let the man have his secrets.”
“It’s not just a show,” Servo muttered to himself. “This is life.”
“Listen, I know Mr. Timberlake is a busy man. I’m a busy man myself,” Benjamin Coffin the Third said, not without some measure of pride. He straightened his tie, flashing his warmest smile. “But if you could just–”
The administrative assistant cleared this throat and regarded him sadly. “Mr. Coffin, I…I don’t know when he’ll return. Truthfully, I’ve never met Mr. Timberlake. My supervisor says it’s been years since he’s even visited the building.”
The news crashed into Benny. “But…MySpace can still recover. My investors and I have a five-year plan.”
“Of course, sir,” the assistant said, looking down.
“I–I’m not sure, Miss. Probably four hundred calories? Maybe three. We bake them from scratch,” the young woman offered apologetically. She wiped her hands on her apron and expertly straightened a cruller. While in training, she had spent many hours straightening.
Margaret Hooper looked flustered. “Can you have the owner get back to me? This is important. I broke the Internet over your raisin muffin.” Her phone buzzed, dancing within her coat pocket.
“Oh, not your fault.” Margaret’s eyes sprinkled. “It was Jolene Millman, and now Leo can’t email due to baked goods. I need answers!”
Sweat dripped into the tech’s eyes. The presence of unauthorized personnel threatened the safety of everyone at CERN under normal circumstances, but it was especially dangerous during an experiment. “Sir, step away from the interferometer!”
“Damn thing won’t stay in tune!”, John Roderick hollered, twisting a 75-lb lever until it shifted the mechanism forward two inches. “I can’t wait for you nerds to fix it!”
“That machine was perfectly calibrated! You’re–”
Blue sparks fizzed from the corner of the room. “I…I tried to avoid this,” the hapless tech whispered. He pressed the oversized button on the console marked BOGGIA.
“Sir, I believe one of those drinks you’re warming has my name on it!”, Paul F. Tompkins said bombastically, grinning like Wile E. Coyote in a roadrunner coop.
“What! I’m afraid you’re mistaken, sir, but that’s astonishingly good cosplay!”, Paul F. Tompkins replied, in a tone appropriate for “what” being used as a declarative statement rather than a question.
“No, you handsome devil–I’m you from the year 2021! Behold!” The nattily-dressed comedian adjusted his cufflinks, paused, and then expertly twirled his mustache.
Paul F. Tompkins gasped. “Holy Jonathan Taylor Thomas!” He raced towards the bar. This required top-shelf liquor.
“You can still UGGGGH walk away,” Danny Rand gasped as Lance Bass’s fist crashed into his face. The billionaire staggered backwards. Gathering enough focus to channel his chi was proving impossible. His fingers curled. “I am the Immortal Iron First, sworn protector of K’un-Lun! I honor the sacrifice of–ARRRGHHH!” His voice dropped; Joey Fatone had shoved him into a wall. Even his yelp sounded pompous.
“Well, I played Mark in Rent, and garnered fairly positive reviews!”, Fatone hooted. “All you do is punch people!”
“But it’s really hard!”, Rand whined, unaware that Justin Timberlake was seconds from bodyslamming him.
“Shit! I’m receiving a signal!! Hold on to something.”
Detective Rothfuss’s beard tingled as he passed 49th and Main. He slammed the steering wheel hard, ricocheting the bullet-hole-filled squad car in the opposite direction. It wasn’t easy, fighting crime with enchanted facial hair. The beard couldn’t detect the exact nature of the clue. Was it picking up evidence? A witness?
His partner, Lin-Manuel Miranda, whooped as he steadied his coffee cup. He’d recently become enamored with raspberry mochas. “Aw yeah, Lit Squad springin’ into action. Ain’t nowhere you can hide from us if you’ve committed an infraction.”
“You must know that I’m grateful for your service, dear, but please do try and be more careful. You’re tracking mud all over my floors, and my housemaid just cleaned them this morning,” the Dowager Countess said with refined reproach.
The Punisher grunted and tried to shift his boots without jostling the table. “Uh. Ma’am, what game are you playing? This is bullshit, you hear? There’s bastards out there that–”
“Yes, yes, we’ll get to the information I promised you,” the Dowager glared. “But right now, you’ll raise that pinky properly.”