Chapter One Hundred and Nine: Chuckles Musings
Today it was Charlies turn to stand at the Pleasant Dam and look out over Pleasantville, his mind ticking over like an engine ready to blow.
So many things didn't make sense to him. Like why, even though Dingbat had been murdered, were people ignoring his many faults and jumping directly to replacing him? Weren't they even going to investigate WHO killed him? Or was that just going to be another one of Pleasantvilles dirty little secrets.
Then there was Belle and Lara. How had their relationship mended so quickly? Belle had said that between a mother and a daughter sometimes things just didn't need to be said. Masters, they were so EMOTIONAL…
And speaking of the Masters Clan, why all of a sudden were Harold and Lady poking about? Surely they would have known they would have zero chance of winning Belle over to the Haunted Maze Troupe, not after how much effort she had put in to trying to bring Demon Jones down. If anything, they'd want Belle dead. That wasn't even touching the fact that Belles alter-ego was none other than Giggles the Great Defender, and if they'd known THAT little titbit it'd be on for young and old.
But the one thing that was troubling Charlie the most was – you guessed it – Daniel and his behaviour over the past week or so. He was the only one who hadn't stood by TJ at the big police funeral for Wallace Dingbat, he was acting out, he was avoiding everyone…Belle believed that he was just exhausted after yet another setback, and while Charlie could definitely relate – they all could – it just didn't seem like Daniels character to just give up. He was the leader of the Noble Knights of the Last Order, and he had nearly always been the one to provide order and poor batting.
Charlie sighed. Maybe it was just that being a leader had finally worn him down, just like it had when the flood had hit. Charlie wasn't certain though. He rubbed his face, his beard scratching at his hand. He just didn't have all the pieces of the puzzle, he needed Belle for that. Belle had already given him every scrap of information that she'd been able to source.
Still, it would be nice to have her here to bounce ideas off. She was out with her mother and sister, doing shopping for a family picnic that they were holding that weekend. Charlie sighed, and was just about to leave when Daniel appeared.
“Hey Charlie. You come here to think too huh?” Daniel walked over, looking a little pale, a little tired.
“Yeah, but it doesn't really work without the other half of the Improbability Clause here.” Charlie grinned as Daniel leaned on the guard rail. “You look absolutely wrecked mate. Anything I can help with?”
“Just tired and fed up of everything.” Daniel sighed. “It just feels like I can't do anything right.”
“Oh, I hear you 100%.” Charlie chuckled. “Just ask Belle.”
Daniel grinned, but the grin didn't make it up to his eyes.
“I was pretty impressed when you told us you're the heir to the Silent Lake Gang.” Charlie continued. Daniel looked surprised. “I mean, your whole childhood would have been based around being groomed to take over, even after your parents died. To turn your back on that and lead the Knights of the Last Order…mate, that takes GUTS!”
Daniel smiled, this time looking a bit more genuine. “It was them, really.”
“Them? Oh, you mean the others?”
“Yup. Before the private school shut down, the public school was tiny. There was barely anyone to make friends with. TJ and Petunia started school not long after my parents died, and I think their saviour complexes got the best of them. TJ has always wanted to be a cop and protect the innocent, and Petunia is just the most mothering and beautiful soul. That's why Sammy and Tammy latched onto us.”
“Sammy said Tammy latched on to Petunia because she was so kind, and he looked up to you especially. You've always kinda been his hero.” Charlie said, looking out over Pleasantville. “He'd do anything for you.”
Daniel nearly told him. He nearly told him that the great Sir Lionheart who everyone loved and admired was nothing more than your everyday killer. He nearly admitted that he was the criminal that he had been raised to be.
He didn't, but boy did he want to.
“You and Belle are two sides of the same coin.” Daniel chose to brush it all off instead. “Thanks for the chat.”
“No problem.” Charlie stretched. “And good timing, Giggles is here to give me a lift!”
“Hiya boys!” Giggles landed between the two. “Coming Chuckles?”
“Sure am!” Charlie pulled on his beanie and tied a scarf around his face. “Later Dan!”
“See yas.” Daniel watched as they headed towards the city. He couldn't help himself though. “Three…two…one…”
Do I really need to tell you what happened next?
It was still on Chuckles mind as he watched the new Inspector Andrew Haiter was sworn in at a rather overdone ceremony a few days later. Next to him, Sunny had once again stepped up as Giggles.
Belle was standing with the rest of the Council employees, and in front of them were the Counsellors, with Peter Masters standing behind Judith Jofrey. TJ was standing perfectly still in the police ranks, and Petunia was standing in the crowd.
Chuckles wished like crazy he had his best friends ability to see all the little parts of the situation that he couldn't. No matter how hard he tried, he never seemed to notice the tiny little details that made the difference. Even from where they were standing on a nearby building, the real Giggles would have been able to pick out interesting little details that when put together would perhaps reveal a clue to what their next move should be.
But hey, Chuckles grinned to himself, if he could do that, it wouldn't be the Improbability Clause anymore, would it?
Later, he caught up with the real Giggles as she finished putting her costume on.
“So, what did you see at the ceremony?” He asked her as she pulled on the Backpack.
“The police weren't in a great formation, half of them were bunched together a little closer, although it wasn't too obvious. TJ is pissed, he was in charge of the formation. Demon looks like a pig in mud, hope he falls down the stairs one day, and I swear Haiter has the perfect poker face.” Giggles finished fastening up the Backpack.
“There's a divide now in the police department. We just have to find the battle-lines.” Chuckles deducted.
“Also Dad didn't look to healthy.” Giggles added.
“He drank waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much beforehand.” Chuckles finished his deduction.
“Sounds fair. Come on, let's go.” Giggles picked him up and the pair flew over the city.
“I spoke to Daniel at the dam recently.” Chuckles said as they soared through the air.
“So did I. Did you get the feeling there was something he wanted to tell you but didn't?” Giggles maneuvered over a power pole, nearly smashing Chuckles foot into it.
“WATCH WHERE YOU'RE FLYING!” Chuckles roared.
“I AM!” Giggles shot back. “Did you even hear what I asked?”
“I DID!” Chuckles snapped. He thought back to his talk with Daniel. “Yeah, I think I did. Do you think he's gonna quit the Last Order?”
“I don't know. It really seems like he needs a break from it.” Giggles landed on the Pleasantville First Bank. “But…”
“There's something else going on.” Chuckles finished her sentence as a plane flew overhead with a “BELLE MASTERS SHOULD JOIN THE TROUPE” banner on it. “I just don't have enough pieces of the puzzle to figure it out.”
The pair sank deep into thought for a minute.
“Maybe we should suggest he takes a break.” Chuckles mused.
“That would be a good idea. Why don't we run it past the Knights first? It's technically their area after all.” Giggles suggested.
“Even better!” Chuckles grinned.
The pair hugged, before taking off and flying right into the “BELLE MASTERS SHOULD JOIN THE TROUPE” banner.
And then falling into the lake.
“That's actually a good idea.” Sunny smiled as Belle emptied her Giggles helmet out onto the ground of the tip.
“Who's gonna be the leader of the Knights in his absence though?” TJ asked.
“Sammy or Sunny.” Tammy said.
“In that case, I vote Sunny. She's older and more experienced than I am.” Sammy said.
“Except one thing – I'm a parent, and I'm not always going to be able to get out.” Sunny pointed out.
“Unless it's the Crusaders and Daryl is around.” Charlie teased.
“That's a special case.” Sunny shrugged with a grin.
“Maybe two leaders then.” TJ suggested.
“That would work!” Sammy said.
“I think that would be great!” Petunia added. “Two heads are better than one!”
“Two heads are better than one for what?”
Everyone looked as Daniel walked over, still looking tired.