Archi swung back the ladies' room door, shaking her head. The warble of a drunken Sinatra filtered from the main floor of the hotel and she shuddered.

"Some people should stay dead." She had traded in her evening gown for relatively normal jeans and a t-shirt printed with 'Be like the 22nd elephant with the prime value in space. BARK'. The Indiana Jones hat still perched on her head.

The gold and white tile glimmered in the soft light, and the large mirrors threw back glitzy reflections to the walls.

Nobody was in the stalls. No little red stilettos tapping under the doors or standing on the seats. Archi listened to be sure. She grinned and crushed the book to her chest, its cover flaked and left a dusting of papery dandruff on her shirt.

Archi swung back the third-from-the-left door and saluted the crouching porcelain. "And bidet to you, sir."

We can only assume the toilet was confushed at this comment. And possibly wondering why, being in the ladies' room, it was addressed as 'sir.'

She stepped onto the seat, wobbling a bit as she stood. "Okay, now I've only heard about this once." She frowned. "Well, heard about it isn't really the right word," Archi told the toilet, "more it was in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio drama and I thought it was an interesting concept. Right, so, what we're gonna try here is toilet teleportation. Got it?"

The water bubbled.


Above ground the girl's head crowned.

She staggered from the stall, puzzled, glanced around.

Not the scenery, no, that hadn't changed.

Something about the narrative - it wasn't the same.

Experimentally, Archi peeked out the door.

Still the same old bar, stools, and floor.

"I think maybe the trip scrambled my brain,"

Archi stepped out carefully, shaking her mane.

Sly turned around in front the bar, no longer the barkeep.

He raised an eyebrow, "It looks like there's something I've got to repeat.

"Remember what I said about starting up a plot?"

"Right," she agreed, "Don't change it a lot."

"Yes, well, it looks like to me,"

He frowned, "Don't take it personally - I'm not saying you should


"But when you go and change the genre," he sighed,

"It's really going to mess with the story line."

Archi blushed, scratched her ear. "I really didn't mean to-

"All this ryhming stuff just happened when I came through."

"Oh, O'Shea, you old worry-wart."

Rose chuckled on the squidgy couch, "Just go with the flow - be a


Archi smiled, bobbled her head.

"Yeah! It's fine - your story's not dead.

"Maybe all we needed was a new perspective!"

"Sure," mocked Redhat, "from the girl with the warped introspective.

"Wait." He blinked. "What the hell?

"What's with the vocab? I don't ryhme that well."

"Sorry," Archi shrugged, "But it needed to ryhme.

"I'll -uh- stick to smaller words next time."

The grandfather clock, its chest ticking,

Called out midnight. Went on ticking.

Through the still gaping maw [reopened by Mist]

There comes calling, whispering, a hiss.

A head peered over the ridge.

It wobbled, balanced on someone's shoulders, and unstable a


"Ah-hah! I knew it! She had to be here!"

The man struggled over, gasped, waved for a beer.

"Hey! You forgot me!" a voice from below.

A thin hand waved, bony and pale as snow.

"Just wait, Duchey, dear," the man grinned,

"I've just gotta chat with an old friend." He spins.

"Hello," he extended a grubby hand, "I'm Marquis de DVR.

"And lemme tell ya," he chuckled, "We've traveled pretty far.

"I come with a proposition, an offering, if you will."

The Duchey screeched, DVR sighed, "That woman's such a pill."

As the Marquis turned again, Archi's mind sparked.

"I know who you are!" she jumped up and barked.

The Marquis shrugged, helped his lady up.

"I'd hope you would, you did make us up."

"You're the Duchey of Roaches," Archi pointed at the girl.

The woman is dusty, dreamy, and giggled as she began to twirl.

"And you," Archi fingers the man.

"Yes, yes," he waves, "We get it - we understand.

"Of course we're characters, figures from your mind."

He sighed, reminicing, "Gotta tell ya, it's been a long time.

"You left us stranded in that comma-riddled sentence.

"What did we ever do to deserve such a penitence?"

The Duchey bubbled, swaying, "The least you can do is buy us a


DVR put in, "This last while we've been on the brink.

"Bouncing around in your head for the last month.

"Seems we've only been in a story once."

He frowned, glared at his writer.

The Duchey of Roaches sidled up beside her.

"God! Would you quit rhyming?!" The Marquis fumed. "This is serious. Wouldn't have come if I knew we'd get stuck in a poem."

Archi glanced nervously at Sly. "Heh - Sorry. Does this count as plot?"

"Yes. A little." He shrugged, staring in his drink. "Nobody seems to be caring anymore, though."

The Marquis de DVR, stunning in his layered CD chain mail, crossed his arms and snorted. "What does that matter if it's plot? We've been looking all over for this kid." He clamped Archi's arm. "She owes us a story."

"Wait," Anastasia called from the couch with the bored Konstantine. "It's midnight. Wasn't something supposed to happen?"

"Oh, yeah." Archi blinked, wriggled out of the Marquis' grip. "The REAL owner was supposed to show."

The Marquis de DVR grinned, showing grey teeth. "How do you know we're," he waved at the Duchey, "not the owners?"

"Because that doesn't really make sense," Sly pointed out.

"Why not?" The Marquis puffed himself up. "Characters are the whole reason you guys write anyway."


The group considered the thought.

Sly glanced around at the wrecked pub. "If so, you're paying for the damages."

The End

187 comments about this story Feed