Kelechi: Mr. Maldark, what are you doing?
Mr. Maldark is sitting in a pool of his own soda. lines upon lines of crushed cans of Mojave Rattler encircle his head on the floor.
Maldark: i am drunk but clear-eyed. i know what i must do. i have been preparing for this all my life. it feels good to have purpose. we all end, it's good to end on your own terms. if i cannot eat i will drink.
Kelechi: oh Mr. Maldark, i hate to see you like this. what would the kids say?
Maldark: it's fine it's just my bladder is a little full. this is all false energy, i know from whence the real power flows. i'll be sure to use my two toilets before we leave.
Kelechi: do you have any advice for me? my time is up.
Mr. Maldark yanks the Power Balance watch from his wrist and hands it to Kelechi.
Kelechi: how will you check the scores?
Mr. Maldark points to his head.
Maldark: with this bracelet i thee wed. please crush this Power Bracelet under your mighty hand Link-style. you don't need tech, no one does. you'll be fine. believe in me if you don't believe me.
a horrible hiss comes from behind the finished fence.
Maldark's two purple lynx cats each stretch as far as their slender bodies will take them, forming into two Cs of fur.
Maldark opens the latch on the gate. the crying cat is wary at first but notices the C-stretch surrendering cats on the ground and sniffs their whiskers using his whiskers. he leaps over them to any apparent food. Maldark has laid out a bowl of cat pellets and a bowl of wood litter, each glinting from the two silvery moons.
Maldark: don't confuse the two now. i better show him, teachers are examples, not explainers.
Maldark gets on all fours and begins eating the food with his mouth.
Maldark: this is yummy. i've decided. i can live off cat food. i'll shop every MONTH now! o the money i shall save!
Kelechi gives him the Kelechi look.
at the track the second race is heating up. it's Kelechi in the modified DeLorean vs. a zamboni. there was a third contestant, a litter, the vehicle that's called a litter. but the sign said NO LITTERING.
Kelechi starts off quick as she always does but quickly slides back to the pack, which is only the one other. the zamboni catches a wave and inches ahead, then begins shooting out orange cones from its rear bumper so any smoothness of the road it causes does not benefit Kelechi from behind. and to top it all off the rain continues just to spritz, never form outright, so ice forms instead of snow. it's a slick raceway instead of the thing being postponed for a snow day. Kelechi loses it by a nose.
Kelechi: *huffing* i'm so sorry, Mr. Maldark, i let you all down.
Maldark: cry not, child. your water will just evaporate. why are you huffing? is the car okay?
Kelechi: the cam engine's shot.
Intendo: and so are your hopes and dreams. i draw no pleasure from this, cos i can't draw. shame. i was looking forward, really wanted to see you in inaction, Maldark. fight for your love.
Maldark calls out across the way to the rich university on Elm with his indoor classroom voice.
Maldark: what do you say? two out of three?
Intendo: we already have two. you didn't major in math.
Maldark: are you scared? are you chicken?
Intendo: no but i could go for some fried chicken right about now. from now on i'll only eat food on sticks.
Maldark: if i can break the time record, the school keeps the money. i don't care about my house.
Less: you can live with me.
the universities, which are all now simply arms of the Government, are interested in Maldark's offer. information is power. especially when he convinces them that by "time record" he meant setting a new record for the speed of light.
Ashley Parker uses her catlike reflexes to slide against the tent sides of the circus until she spots her prey, the keys which dropped out of the backpocket of Intendo when he rose his head to glare at the spotlit fucking taking place on the tightrope wire.
Ashley: got 'em! now for the combination.
she slinks to the back office, strangely located at the front, and jimmies the key in. with a little jiggle from her fingertip and her boob, it locks into place. she types in the code on the databank with her newly-varnished nails like she was an '80s heroine using a payphone.
Ashley: 7-2-0. yes!!!
Comey is still balancing letting his penis rest and relocate.
Comey: or it might have been 730. i crunched it before.
Ashley looks confused.
inside this office is a whole lot of nothing. it is so antiseptic not a drop of dust collects on the stark sterile steel folder encased in manila sleeping in the center of the room.
Ashley: oh i get it. the room itself was the vault.
the dossier is just as the world had suspected. it contains embarrassing revelations about the Bump family that he was mortified would ever get out. apparently Bump's ancestors come from a long line of clowns. performers who wore white paint and made fools of themselves in front of Roman god-emperors.
Mueller and Chris Steele arrive just in time. late.