we all wear masks

This is 314?” David looked quizzically at the cactus the talpa parked the sandwich in front of.

Yup. If you count the cacti in a straight line from the aquarium you'll come up with 314.”

Um, normally I don't notice these things, but this really is the only cactus I've seen here – at all!” David spread his forepaws as if that would help the talpa imagine what he meant by the word 'all'.

“It is. You see, the Know Sharks were using a base 314 numbering system. It's their idea of a little joke.”

David knew that numbering systems didn't work that way, but at this point he would have been very surprised if this wasn't where they needed to be.

Take my paw” the talpa held out her paw and David took it in his. He felt warm and streams of alphanumeric digits frolicked through the outskirts of his memory. The talpa led him around the other side of the cactus which was larger, less cactusy and far more laboratoryish. The sky, the desert and the sandwich just wasn't there any longer. They now stood in a laboratory that smelled of engine grease and dark science. A guy in a lab coat, the same guy from the princess' photograph, stood in front of a clanking machine that reminded David of an old diving bell.

We're here.” the talpa said simply.

“Yes, and you know what I'm here to do.” the man had a voice like steel wool stuffed in a package of baby wipes. “Behold!!” moving more quickly than David would think he could move, the strange man pulled a lever on the machine and it began to open. “Kevin Bacon!!” he said, spreading his arms as the figure within emerged.

Heya guys.” the figure didn't look like Kevin Bacon at all. He actually looked, and sounded exactly like Nicolas Cage.

“Um, am I missing something here?” David didn't follow celebrities but he thought he would have remembered hearing about Kevin Bacon having a 'Nicolas Cage-octomy'.

No, you're not missing a thing. This 'doctor' here wasn't able to clone Kevin Bacon.” she said 'doctor' as if the guy in the lab coat was actually a lizard.

Haha!” the doctor exclaimed, pulling off a mask and revealing himself to be the lizard footman from the castle. “I would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for you two!”

Yeah, we um, really didn't do a whole lot to stop you. I mean, we wanted to and all, but you kind of did this yourself.” David shrugged in a 'I'm not really sorry but feel like shrugging to be polite' manner.

“Haha!” the lizard exclaimed, pulling of yet another mask to reveal himself as not really the lizard, but the mop that advised the king during David's interview.

“Whoa.” David really didn't know of anything else to say.

“Haha!” the mop exclaimed, apparently enjoying this far more than anyone else as he pulled of yet another mask to reveal himself to be the lizard again.

“I'm curious of the thought process you went through when you decided to put on all those masks this morning.” said David a bit whimsically.

We all wear masks” said the talpa almost sadly.

Haha!” exclaimed the lizard who apparently wasn't a lizard after all as he pulled of yet another mask revealing himself to be the king.

Oh!” said David, not for the first time today. “You uh, you finished um, unmasking yourself? Um, your majesty ?” he added that last bit just in case.

“Yes, David. I'm finished. This is me, the king.” he did have the voice of the king which seemed important for some reason.

“Your majesty,” David went to one knee as was proper. “I have saved the princess, just as you commanded.

I'm afraid I haven't been entirely honest with you, David.” the king leaned back against some throne shaped lab equipment. “You are actually the one who needed saving.”

At this the talpa gave David a little mole kiss right on his platypus bill.

The End

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