Chapter Thirty-Three: Whoops

The big city of New Metropolis never
failed to impress Charlie. After Belle had left for Brisvegas
without saying good bye, Charlie had decided to head overseas.
Awesomica had always been the one place he wanted to visit, so after
his messy break up with Sunny, he packed his bags and left.

New Metropolis was wonderful. Very
little to no crime, beautiful clean streets, no crumbling dam to
worry about. Public transport ran like clockwork, schools were all
well-funded, there were several Universities to pick from and did I
mention the lack of crime? The capital of Awesomica was definitely a
standard to live up to.
He walked along one of the many long,
bright, happy streets, looking in all of the windows at all of the
beautiful displays. He was about to head back to his apartment, when
he bumped into someone.
“Oh! Sorry mate, didn't see you
there!” Charlie readied himself to get punched out as one would in
Pleasantville, but all he heard was a chuckle.
“That's all right friend. You're
foreign?” The stranger asked. He was dark, tall and grinning.
Charlie grinned back.
“I'm from Pleasantville, Ostraya.
Name's Charlie.” He offered his hand in greeting.
“Damien.” The stranger shook his
hand. “Welcome to Awesomica.”
“Thanks.” Charlie felt great. The
people here were awesome!
“Let me show you around.” Damien
motioned for Charlie to follow him. Damien showed him a far bit of
the city, all of the best places to grab a coffee or a meal or see a
show or some sports. Charlies mind was blown.
“Thanks for the tour!” Charlie
smiled at his new friend.
“No problem. You're free to hang out
with my friends and I any time.” Damien replied.
Charlie watched as his new friend
walked away. He was about to head back to his apartment, when
something he saw changed his mind on Pleasantville forever.
A young lady had been walking past,
minding her own business. She was clearly wealthy and proud of it,
with expensive looking clothes and jewellery. From her shoulder
swung a beautiful red velvet handbag.
Charlie squirmed uncomfortably when he
saw her – anyone who dressed like that in Pleasantville was just
begging for an attack, and it seemed no different here. A young thug
grabbed the woman while another went for her handbag.
She screamed loudly as the two men ran
off. A loud wailing sounded throughout the street as a police car
appeared and took off after the crooks. Charlie blinked. How on
earth did the police respond THAT quickly?
Within the hour the handbag had been
returned and the thugs apprehended. Within the week, Charlie read in
the paper that the crooks had been placed in gaol for a year, where
they would be making bricks to be used in construction. It was a
shock to Charlies system – the law enforcement here actually
Over the next three years, Charlie saw
more and more that made him realise that Belle might have been right.

“Charlie! We need you to help us
with a new campaign!” Damiens boyfriend Jake barged in the door one
“Campaign?” Charlie looked
“They're going to knock down the old
Cat Manor to build apartments!” Jake cried in anguish. “We have
to stop them!”
“If the Council says that the
building is going, what can we do?” Charlie resumed his breakfast.
“If we stage a peaceful protest
they'll have to back down!” Jake pointed out.
“You'll just get arrested.”
Charlie pointed out.
“No we won't! If we keep within the
letter of the law, then they can't do a thing!” Jake grinned.
“Haven't you ever protested before?!”
“Uhhh…” Charlie hesitated. In
Pleasantville, protesting was unheard of. No one dared upset the
status-quo, everyone was too afraid of the criminal element.
“Come on!” Jake dragged him out of
the house.
“My cornflakes!”
Charlie was quite surprised. It was
nothing like what he thought a protest would be like. The very large
group were standing on a large patch of grass just outside the
Council office, singing old songs about history and the Awesomica way
of life.
“And the Council will listen to
this?” Charlie was stunned.
“Of course! They know that we won't
vote for them if they upset us.” Damien pointed out. “There's a
fair whack of the voter base here today.”
“Voting?” Charlie was intrigued.
Voting meant nothing in Pleasantville, everyone knew the Mayor was
just a figurehead who bowed to the will of the Death Valley Mobsters.
“What planet did you come from?”
Jake laughed.
Charlie went bright red. Not from his
ignorance – but from how shamefully he treated Belle. This had
been what she'd been talking about. The people of Pleasantville
standing up and saying “No more!”
And they could do it too. The
civilians and the police easily outnumbered the hundred or so
Mobsters. However, as proven by the peoples wilful ignorance when it
came to the flood, the people of Pleasantville had no intention of
rousing themselves.
While the people around him started
singing of their founding fathers, he thought back to his last few
months in Ostraya.
“Where WERE you?!” Sunny cried.
“Ruby completely kicked our backsides out there! We needed you!”
“Forget it. I'm not doing the whole
Chuckles thing any more. Not without Giggles.” Charlie lay down
on his bed, looking across to the bedroom that held his ex-best
“Why not? What's wrong with you?!”
Sunny sighed. “Belle can't be Giggles any more, she's leaving for
Brisvegas remember? Plus she's still sick from being flooded with
Ruby power.”
She sat down next to him. “Talk to
me Charlie.”
“I just can't. She won't do anything
with me any more. I keep trying to include her but she just won't
have it.” Charlie sighed.
“She just needs some space Charlie.
You know she's been working hard. Plus this has been a bit of a
shock to her, and now on top of losing her aunt she's lost her
grand-father.” Sunny pointed out. “You needed a lot of space
when your grand-father died.”
“She's been pushing me away ever
since we got together! She's nothing but a jealous brat!” Charlie
snapped, slamming his window closed.
“You've been pushing this all on her
since we got together! You were so insistent that we all got along
that you didn't give her time!” Sunny hugged him.
“I just wanted things to be the way
they were. Her and me.” Charlie looked sadly at Sunny, who
“They couldn't be Charlie. It's you
and me now, not you and her.” She smoothed his hair. “You'll
always be best friends, but you can't be joined at the hip any more.”
“I didn't realise dating YOU meant
choosing.” Charlie scowled at her, pulling away.
“It was always going to be that way!”
Sunny cried. “Do you REALLY think that we could carry on together
with HER always hanging off you like the leech she is?!”
“Don't you DARE call Belle a leech!”
Charlie got up. “You're still jealous aren't you?”
“Jealous? I'll ALWAYS be jealous.
Every night I walk into that house and everyone is cold and awkward
around me. They don't know how to treat me well after years of
ignoring my existence, while Belle walks home into hugs and toys and
pampering!” Sunny shot back. “And then I finally get you, but
nooooo, she's still got her little claws stuck into the one person I
thought I could have to myself.”
“You sound like you're only with me
to get back at her!” Charlie spat. Sunny was shocked.
“That's not true!” She defended
herself. But a shadow of guilt haunted her face, and Charlie knew
that while it wasn't the whole reason, it was part of it.
“It isn't, huh?” He stared coldly
at her.
Sunny couldn't bear the cold. She felt
it all the time, and to have it directed at her from Charlie was too
“It WASN'T.” She corrected him,
just as coldly. “It's over Charlie, go back to your stupid
unwanted bastard.”
She ran out of the room, slamming the
door behind her.
Thinking over it more, Sunny had been
right. Belle had needed more time. She also really DID have a need
to study.
A few months after the rally, the Mayor
was voted out in favour of someone who would protect historical land.
Charlie was beginning to understand what Belle had been trying to
tell him – that when people took responsibility for their community
and held their chosen leaders to account, the community benefited.
It wasn't the task of eight kids to stop the Death Valley Mobsters
and their hold on Pleasantville – it was up to the people to hold
the Council to account, and then the Council needed to stand up and
fix the problem.
Belle was studying so she could make a
difference. So she could set an example to others. So she could
even get into the Council and change it from inside, to continue the
work her father was starting.
She had talent, brains and had a
brilliant work ethic. Not like him, who simply relied on sheer dumb
“Oi! Wake up Chuckles!” Damien
“Wha-?” Charlie jumped a mile. Did
Damien just call him Chuckles?!
“Your name is Charlie, which is
shortened to Chuck, and your eyes were glazed over. It was a joke.”
Damien reassured him.
They were sitting on the balcony of
Charlies apartment, sipping beer and looking out over the beautiful
“Aren't you glad the right guy won
the election?” Damien grinned.
“Yeah, it's pretty different from
Pleasantville.” Charlie admitted. “You only get to run for
Mayors Office if you're under the control of the Death Valley Mob
there, otherwise you don't get a look-in.”
Damien looked disgusted.

“If any of our elected
representatives were corrupt there'd be HELL to pay! People would be
marching down the streets demanding a resignation! How do you LIVE
like that?!” He asked, taking another mouthful of beer. “Doesn't
anyone stand up for themselves?”
“We did. My friends and I.”
Charlie said. “Chuckles and Giggles, with the Knights of the Last
Order. We were the local vigilantes.”
Damiens eyes grew wide. “That's why
you were startled when I…you FOUGHT the bad guys?!” He yelped.
“Keep it down, I don't want it going
around.” Charlie chuckled. “Yeah, I did. Managed to get my
hands on the Lions Claw Blade for a short while too before I lost
“Why aren't you fighting any more?”
Damien asked as Charlie took another swig of beer.
“Belle and I had a fight. I broke up
with my girlfriend too, who was a Knight. Plus I lost my magic. The
family magic, the Improbability Clause.” Charlie explained.
“Magic?” Damien looked quizzically
at Charlie.
“Yeah, it was pretty much sheer dumb
luck. Made even better when Belle was around – her family and my
family have been friends for centuries.” Charlie said. “My Dad
and her father are brilliant at using the Clause – apparently
there's some secret about it that they know that we don't.”
“Secret? How did it work anyway?”
Damien asked.
“I'd come up with a brilliant plan,
Belle would pooh-pooh it and then everything would work.” Charlie
Damien thought for a second. “When
you say she pooh-pooh'd it, what do you mean by that?”
“She basically would tell
me…every…thing…that…” Charlie stopped.
Belle would tell him everything that
could have gone wrong with the plan. THAT was why the Improbability
Clause worked. Because when Belle told him off, she was really going
over the finer points of his plan that he missed. His quick brain
would then take her information in and, with a bit of dumb luck,
formulate something that worked every time.
“I am such a moron.” Charlie
sighed. Damien looked at him quizzically.
“Ah…okay.” Damien sat back. “You
said you got a hold of the Lions Claw Blade?”
“Yup. Belle had the Lucky Seven Gun
for a bit there too, a modified Colt .45 with an extra chamber and an
interesting pattern on the handle..” Charlie smiled with the
memory. It had been a few years now since those days.
“I wonder…I have a gun, and Jake
has a whip. It's an average Colt .45 though, but the handle has a
weird design.” He got up and pulled his gun from his holster.
Charlie jumped up.
“That's the EXACT same design as on
the Lucky Seven Gun!” He pointed to it. “Jakes whip, does it
have a small chain with a talisman at the end of it?”
“Yeah, it does. It's called the
Stingrays Tail Whip, and this is the Palatable Six Gun.” Damien
said. “We got them at a sale, the guy was insistent that they be
sold together.”
“I wonder if there are other weapons
like this?” Charlie wondered.
“I bet there is.” Damien smiled.
Charlie sat back down.
“I was horrible to Belle.” He
sighed. He told Damien what had happened between himself, Belle and
“You should go back and apologise.
You've been here for years, surely it's time you went home?” Damien
looked at his friend.
“I know.” Charlie sighed, finishing
off his beer. “Another drink?”

“Of course!”

© 2021 Kezzstar24