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Shut Up and Spin the Wheel!

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Rat Sajak plows through the dairy aisle, muck raked hands smattering across the glass cases, leaving scummy, brown trails in their wake.  He smashes his face against the glass, nose sniffing loudly so it can be heard past the paper cone strapped over his big schnoz.

“Rat!” a stern grocery clerk shouts, fingers curled underneath their apron into positions that are likely rude gestures.  “You can’t keep doing this!”

Rat Sajak turns and stares down the mean clerk.  He rushes at them, hands still smattering against the glass case.  “Where’s the cheese woman?! I need cheese!”

The grocery clerk brushes her bangs from her eyes and points to the cheese aisle, conveniently set besides Rat.  Mouth now watering, Rat Sajak grabs the handle to the case and tears the glass clean off, crashing it into the oranges bin behind him.  He reaches into the case and yanks cheese after cheese out.  

His first specimen is bright orange and shaped into a full cylinder.  “What the fuck is this?!” he shrieks.  

“It’s cheddar cheese, Rat,” the clerk shakes her head.  “I keep telling you, there’s other kinds of cheeses — this one is Cheddar.  It’s like — sharp tasting and — ”

Rat Sajak zones out, raising the wheel to his big teethie-weethies.  Another sniff. Rat doesn’t believe this woman; he’s been eating ricotta cheese his whole life!  How could it be possible that there’d be other kinds of cheeses? That’s ridiculous. The logic is unfounded!  Like who would even bother with something else?

But this is the price Rat must pay for not preserving enough tins of ricotta in his secret cheese pit down in the sewers.  If Rat is serious about purchasing more ricotta cheese, which he obviously is, he must then face not just the light but everything that comes with it.  

“No!” Rat suddenly stutters, bouncing the cheddar cheese wheel off the tiled floor.  “I WANT RICOTTA CHEEEESE YOU STINKY POOPOO NO GOOD LIAR!"

The clerk rolls her eyes again and lazily drapes an arm in the air.  Rat follows the point of her finger and finds that she has pointed out the ricotta cheese for him, which is actually level with his eyes.  As if Rat would ever look there! Level with his eyes — ridiculous. What is he? A baby who needs things advertised at eye level so he’ll buy them?! 

Rat bites off the plastic lid off the tub and licks his lips, ready to sink his paws into the curds when he feels a rumble hit the floor.  He instantaneously drops the tub which spills across the floor. Rats! (And not like Rat, stop eating our ricotta cheese!   More like Rat! as in Fuck! or Fiddlesticks!)  The clerk groans once again but Rat, a wise man, shoves her out of the way, bracing himself for impact.

“i aM a rOBoT.” Automaton Donkey Kong shouts as all four of his paws drag against the floor.  Rat struggles to maintain his balance in the sight of the vicious beastie. “InITiaTiNg aRrESt seQUeNCe.”

Donkey Kong’s big honkin’ fists swing at Rat who manages to dodge them deftly, leaping about the aisle on all four of his limbs.  His fake tail scotch taped to his backside dangles with each fantastic leap. After dodging one particular packed Giant Punch, Rat vaults forward and sinks his overlarge plastic front teeth into Donkey Kong’s knuckle, drawing blood.

Donkey Kong screams and whines, falling backwards, gently kissing his booboo.  “oW! tHaT’s NoT vERy nICE Of yOU.”

Rat furrows his brow.  No Automaton could be so emotional.  “You’re no robot, are you?!”

Donkey Kong eyes Rat curiously.  “i AM jUST TrYING tO HElp MY frIENDS MANKy aND pROZd…

...aND ANn-maRIE!............. Boop! ” 

Rat’s eyes widen.  He knows those fuckers all too well, and he knows now why Automaton Donkey Kong is after him.  He grinds his teeth together and tries to come with a plan, but woe! Rat is punched! ...ow! If only there were a wheel to spin, Rat could say Shut up and spin the wheel!   But hark!  There is no wheel in sight.

Rat stumbles back, the tantalizing ricotta only getting farther away.  So blindsided by the idea of good cheese, Rat takes another punch to the face and falls on top of a bed of oranges.  Before he can wrench himself free, the Automaton who might not be an Automaton at all steps over him and raises a burly arm to the air. 

A button prompt appears in the air.  A (B) in this case.  Automaton reaches the button input first of course and promptly chops his fist against Rat’s wrigglin’ bod.  This goes on for some time, with (A) , (B) , and (Z) prompts and because Automaton is set to a Hard AI, Rat stands no chance.  

“i aM a rOBot!” Automaton cheers even though he’s anything but.  

Rat thinks fast — how can he stop a raging AI with completely unbalanced settings?  Aha! He just needs to hit Automaton with one of his poopy mini-games. Rat’s Adam’s Apple stretches taut against his throat when he cranes his neck up for inspiration.  Cheese. He’s near the cheeses.  

Aha! 

Despite the bim-bam-boom to his poor tummy at the Automaton’s hands, Rat stretches far enough to reach into one of the freezers.  When his paw returns, he holds a pizza box in hand. Tearing off the cardboard fold-ins, he cuts through the plastic and picks up the frozen saucer and jams it into Automaton’s maw.

“OoH!” Automaton moans as his fat square teeth quietly nibble away at the pizza, taking their sweet time chewing through the cheesy, saucy bread.  “i lIkE ThIS! YumMY!

Meanwhile, ProZD, who was previously Gendo’ing in a dark room where the light made his actual eyes impossible to see, slams his Nintendo 64 controller against his criss-cross apple-sauced legs.  “No Kong! EATSA PIZZA !” 

Back in the grocery store, Automaton licks his lips after eating particularly fine shred of cheese.  “nO WaY, MaN! i wANNa ENjoy tHIS FiNE dElIcAcY!”

This gives Rat ample time to escape.  He jumps onto the orange stand, and the flip-flops up and over, neatly landing on top of one of the aisles.  He peers down, hoping this may be yet another cheese aisle but instead he finds himself confronted by something even worse than Automaton: Dr. Fickledick.

“Fuck you Dr. Fickledick!” Rat shouts because he can’t help himself.  “You and your fucking Dr. Fickledick’s Pickle Dick!”

Dr. Fickledick cranes his big ugly head towards the fluorescents, body resting in the wheelchair.  “My dick is not fickle! Nor is it a pickle!”

Rat titters because he knows that’s bullshit.  “I read it in the newspaper! I read that not only is your dick fickle, but it is absolutely a pickle! 

Dr. Fickledick blushes.  He waves a rubber gloved hand at his back-up crew, the evil Webbers from Family Feud.  “When… when did they publish that in the newspaper?”

Rat shrugs.  “I don’t know.  I just know there was a picture of Oogie Boogie on the cover and he was quoted saying “IT’S SO SMALL!”

The Webbers, those blonde, poshy motherfuckers from Greenwich, Connecticut, all tug on their silk scarves and gather around Dr. Fickledick.  “Is it true?” the Webbers all say at the same time.

“No!” Dr. Fickledick moans.  “I’m telling you! My dick is not fickle or is it a pickle!  And furthermore — ”

Things go sour for Dr. Fickledick’s factually Fickle Pickle Dick, as Rat leaps from one aisle to the next, his heels digging so harshly into the aisle that the shelves tumble out from under him.  Chaos erupts and groceries descend upon the upper-crust Webbers and Dr. Fickledick, killing them.

It is important to note that in the autopsy, Dr. Fickledick only succumbed to death once his fickle pickle dick was crushed, and as Oogie Boogie stated for the newspaper, “IT’S SO SMALL!” sS it took awhile for the debris to stack on, most of it merely tickling the fickle pickle dick, only quickly sickling the fickle pickle dick once enough garbage had gathered to trickle down into the fickle pickle dick.  

Rat falls into the next aisle, momentum shoving him face first into the cereal.  He pulls himself off and thinks about all the blood on his ledger now. Granted, he did kill ProZD’s fictional wife and use Wheel of Fortune as a vehicle for a murder mystery game, but he’s pretty sure ProZD and Manky have moved on from that storyline. 

It makes Rat sad because he did actually kill that fictional wife.  Now she’s dead for no reason. But life goes on. So Rat looks for an escape — meaning the fastest route to Ricotta Cheese Central yum !  But instead he finds himself face to face with a blue shelled Koopa who won’t stop eyefucking him.  

“Hello,” Rat says in a shaky tone, stepping back.  He’s heard of this guy. “I don’t want any trouble.”

Kooper drops his grocery bag to the ground.  The celery, breadstick, and oranges jumble everywhere.  Kooper draws close, his voice dark and ominous, more monotone than Ben Stein.

I am going to kill you Rat Sajak.”

Rat doesn’t like that very much so he runs the opposite way.  He moves fast but not fast enough. Very quickly, Kooper launches himself into a Shell Toss, knowing that he need waste no FP on a chump like rat, and surges across the floor.  Tiles rip from the floor at his passing.

Kooper catches up, his shell just licking Rat’s heels.  Rat squints and prays for forgiveness, but his prayers are not genuine so God ignores him.  But the thought of Ricotta Cheese gives Rat enough juice to stay ahead, so Kooper blows some FP and sparks fly.   

Things get very warm behind Rat, and he feels scared because this must be the Fire Shell.  Rat wipes the sweat from his face, hoping that the flares don’t turn his paper cone snout into ash.  “Why did it have to be Kooper?!” he shrieked. “Why couldn’t it just be Goombario!? No one even likes him!”

“‘Ey!  Over here!” a raspy voice calls out as Rat hits the end of the aisle.  Rat dives to the left and narrowly avoids death, Kooper’s shell crashing past him and blasting into the wall.  An explosion tears apart all the brick and what is left is rubble and debris, like Pompeii after its Vesuvius.  

Covered in dust, Rat looks up from the floor and finds his eyes level with the corpse of Goombario.  He shoves a massive stone off of his side and looks at the fading spark in the distance; Kooper has yet to stop his vicious onslaught.  Rat is lucky, had it been Parakarry and a Silly Storm, there would have been no elbow room allowed for dodging.

“Ey,” Goombario whimpers.  “I’m not dead yet actually.  Hey. Hey.”

Rat blinks a few times, wondering.  Perhaps this boy can help him. After all, SungWon and Alex were so mean to him.  “What do you want from me, child?”

Goombario smiles.  “Lemme Tattle on this room for ya.  The info is reeeeeeally interesting.”

Rat shrugs.  Why not, he thinks.  So he allows Goombario a Tattle.

“This is just an ordinary room.  Do you smell something, though? What a strange odor…” 

Then Goombario dies, and Rat feels nothing but remorse for his wasted time.  Fuck Goombario. Next time Rat plays Paper Mario, he fully intends on never once using a Super Block on the little shit.

But now it is time to move on and Rat finds himself in ruins.  Surely he will be unable to procure riccotta cheese from this establishment.  So he runs into the cold, gray, desolate field before him, but the moment Rat’s outside the store, a pistol nails him in the neck.  Rat crumples to his knees, wrists dragged behind him and cuffed.

He’s hoisted back up to his feet.  A low voice murmurs in his ear. Telling him things like how he’s protected now.  How he’s safe now.  So it must be the proper authorities, not these mercenary monsters.  Though Rat has his doubts. He knows the system too well by now. 

The man, Bagel Cop, tosses Rat into the back of the van, slamming the doors tight and patting the side.  It’s before even Rat sits down that the van starts, and sends Rat cascading down to his rump. Muttering mean things under his breath, Rat finds that he has company.  He looks over to this person with some curiosity for they are not dressed like a normal cop.  

Nay!  They dress like a race-star.  With a blue helmet. Very odd.

“Who are you?” Rat sputters, teeth grit.

The race-star says nothing, so Rat continues, “I’m sick of running.  Do you work for Alex and Sung Won?”

The race-star sits so coyly.  It makes Rat mad. Madder than the coy people who pretend they don’t know the full word or phrase in Wheel of Fortune so they can keep spinning the wheel, making bank off letters they already know belong in the word or phrase.  

Rat gets up with a start.  “Who are you?!”

Silence.

The van hits a bump.  They are far from home now, so finally the race-star gets up and scoops off her helmet.  But before Rat can truly take this woman in, she raises her ray gun and screams, “ BLOOD STORM!”  

Boom.

The van flops onto its side, shockwaves rupturing the metal, shattering the glass.  The metal walls drag against the dirt and peel away. Rat’s head smacks repeatedly against the ground, his hands diving forward to save him, his fingers merely bending at the will of the dirt and the momentum.  He lands in a heap, smeared with dust and dirt and other filth — with no ricotta cheese. This makes Rat feel sad.

All Rat can see is black, his eyelids wounded and almost lifeless.  When he does open them finally, the sun peels through and his vision is consumed by Bloody Marios.  Rat groans, suckling the crimson from his scraped fingertips.  

Thwoomp.  

Thwoomp.

Wendy Oldbag’s boots hit the ground, heel to toe.  Her hips bounce with each step, her tittering inconceivably annoying.  She raises the ray gun, her sights set on Rat. 

“This is how Goofy must have felt when he found out Mickey was one of them now,” Rat groans, crawling backwards, arm rolling up against a tire.  It’s hard to move but he manages to pull it off its hinges, smearing his blood across the tire into — a wheel…a wheel evenly divided into a myriad of prize slots.  He labels them. Things like 1/2 a car. Egypt! Bankrupt! Lose a turn. But most importantly…

Anno & Liven.

“Hey boss!” a thug with a chain smoker croak bellows from beyond the van, having just materialized into this reality.  “Ya got dis!”

“Yeah boss!” the other thug, who shares the same mannerisms, echoes.  “You da Rat!”

“I was tired, Rat,” Wendy Oldbag rasps.  “Tired of the running…” 

Rat spins his newfound wheel, his hand smacking the floor as if to slam dunk dirt.  A pointless maneuver. His eyes trail up to the wheel, slowly spinning and finally landing on Anno and — fuck!  $650! Rat digs deep into the crevasses of his mind and brings about the same painful thought, “FUCK!”  

But Anno & Liven still believe.  “C’mon Rat! Give us the word! We’re gonna break her kneecaps!”

“No!” Rat smashes his face against the wheel and it gives it another whirl.  It once again draws very close to the Anno & Liven slot.  He cheers with much presumption.  “ALRIGHT BOYS — ” but it just misses it and skims over to $300.  “ — DAMMIT!”

The thugs groan even louder. “AW MAN!  COME ON RAT!”

“No boys,” Rat manages to rasp.  “I have to spin your special spot…”

Wendy Oldbag narrows her eyes and clicks the raygun.  “You’re a coward, Rat.  You always were — ”

Rat clutches his head, blood falling from his forehead to his knuckle.  He gives it one last spin. The pain becomes too unbearable and he flops against the ground.  Stricken by agony, he almost drags Oldbag’s raygun to his forehead, but a loud thump! thump! against the roof to the van confirms something else: 

Rat spun the wheel onto the special spot!

Two thugs in trench-coats parkour over the van, dogpiling on to Wendy Oldbag and nailing her with their bats.  Wendy Oldbag screams in agony as she is murdered very promptly.  

Rat shakes his head, spitting chunky blood into the dirt, his mouth dripping like a horrible vampire.  But nay. He’s just Rat. He heaves himself up and winces at the violence. But he feels little for Oldbag.  After what they did to Donald...she… 

Rat shakes his head.  Oldbag is dead now. Who cares for her?  

Ah.

But maybe Rat is dead too.  Like inside, in his heart, he’s a little, y’know, sad.  Rat might be dead and who cares for Rat? No one. Not even ProZD and Manky.  They didn’t even realize they were coming into the final episode of Wheel of Fortune , those fools!  They didn’t even solve the mystery of the dead wife which he worked so hard to construct.  Nyah! It’s not fair! 

Rat kicks deadbag Oldbag and turns away, immediately reverting to the ol’ familiar places.  He cups his hands around his lighter, and pops a cigarette into his mouth. He takes a deep drag and looks out at the gray sky.  

When did things get so messed up?

Thwap!  Thwap! go the bats.  Rat returns and sees his two mooks.  They lean against the side of the toppled van with ugly leers.  “‘Ey, Rat! You gotta pay up!”

“Tsch,” Rat waves them off.  “You know that whenever they spin Bankrupt , I get all their money and you take a percentage.”

“Dat’s not true, Rat,” the thug spits back.  

Rat raises an eyebrow.  What are they talking about?  “Yes it is.”

“Da numba’s make no sense, boss.  Joey in accountin’ says so. Now pay up.”

Wait.  Rat’s accountant did try to tell him this a long time ago...  Some stupid shit like that money doesn’t pop out of thin air… he also said that Rat’s not competing with the players.  He’s actually just supposed to sit there and smile, not elaborately murder their wives and make them spin wheels to his favor.  

Hrmph.  Maybe that’s why his accountant had the nerve to tell him to buy one ginormous tub of ricotta cheese as opposed to a plethora of baby tubs.  But Rat likes the little tubs! They fit right onto his strapped-on nose and it’s funny! 

Oh, but Anno & Liven are drawing guns now.  Fuck.

Rat dives between the thug’s legs, and grabs the wheel once again.  Click!  Click! go the guns and Rat knows he’s got one chance.  So he shuts up and spins the wheel. The thugs seem entranced by the spinning wheel and look up in wonder, one of them shifting their hat by itching their head.

“Aw man, Bankrupt ,” one thug laments.

Rat snaps awake and stares at the wheel.  Yes!

“Yeh, but dat don’t matta Anno,” the second thug shakes his head.  “Dat don’t mean — ”

“Would you skip the Bankrupt cutscene though?” Rat asks with perked eyebrows.  “It’s veeeeeery long.”

“Hm,” the first thug wraps a fat finger to his upper lip.  “Yeh, I usually skip the cutsc—”

The Bankrupt glitch activates and both thugs promptly die because evidently in Wheel of Fortune you are not allowed to skip the Bankrupt cutscene.  Go figure.

Rat runs off again, dashing off into the forest, feet dragging against wet leaves and branches.  It hurts him so much, but he knows if he can make it back to the grocery store and get his tub of ricotta cheese, he’ll be okay.  So he moves fast. Eventually he finds a clearing littered with random objects. 

Dead center to the field is a scarecrow.

 “ NYEH! ” the still scarecrow somehow manages to scream.  The crows — uh, crow — and fly off. The scarecrow continues.  “ CRAWFORD!

“What?!” Rat Sajak jumps back.  “No! Why? Why must we keep fighting?!  SHIT!”

Off in the distance, Lee from The Walking Dead appears and scoops up a crate, observing it like a baby might a present on Christmas.  “This crate is great.” He turns to the some dish soap. “This soap is dope.” Then he furrows his brow at Rat.  “This Sajak makes me yack.”

HI!  I’M TUMBLE! ” a voice shrieks from Rat’s right.  A floating head monster with wide black eyes and a dice for a head materializes in the air.  A whole map of green, red, yellow, and other horrible, horrible, time consuming spaces shroud Rat, a rolling dice appearing above his head.

And finally… “I’M A BIG ORANGE POWER MAN!

The trees shift, shattering into wood chunks and debris as Chief Gant shoves his way through, wide boisterous legs pulling into foliage and tearing it from the ground.  His body is so unrealistically massive that only a good CG artist would be able to properly construct him, and the film director would likely toss in a snap zoom on him to make it seem more realistic.  

Gant closes in far faster than Lee, who takes his sweet time checking the various objects around him so that Clementine can remember this.  

But first the dice block.  Rat smacks it with his head, neck bruising from the blow.  He groans and finds that he has four moves. He scrambles across the spaces, head snapping about to find a green spot that will give him another roll without consuming a mushroom.  He nails it!

Green after green, Rat runs, cheating death by continuously landing on green spaces.  But just as he reaches the green space that will surely grant him the dice roll to give him passage to the exit — 

“ROSHAMBO!” 

Baby Bowser erupts from the Earth, force of the impact throwing Rat onto his keister.  They parry back and forth with rock-paper-scissors and ultimately, Rat fails. He rolls again but his only option is a minus space.  The ground opens its maw from below him and he falls through, warping back to the beginning, just in time for Chief Gant to stomp over his prone form.

“Do you like swimming?” Gant bellows, clapping his hands like a monkey in love with his cymbals, the crashing palms lifting Rat off his feet, his sides continuously accordioning into himself.  After far too many claps, Rat lands on his back, blood somehow dripping from the nostrils of his cardboard snoot.

“This ax,” Lee announces, lifting a rusty halberd over his head.  “...will kill Rat Sajak.”

 “No!” Rat howls, his scabby hands snapping over his chest and catching the rusty blade just in time, the sharp curve nicking his chest.  Rat grimaces and pushes back hard, though it’s only a matter of time before Lee does him in.  

Haha!  Now you will die! ” Tumble laughs, eyes swimming in blissful tears, wavering like ink blots.  He gets in close to Rat’s ear, the fake flappy papers ones tied to his head.  “ You’ll never spin the wheel again!”

Rat sneers.  The perspiration builds and his arms threaten to splinter into sweaty spagetti arms and wave about like those dumb balloons outside the gas station.  Rat thinks of all the funny shirt stories he’s seen on the streets, and how many more he could see if given more time, and twists onto his sides, scooping the ax with him, swiping the dice clean off Tumble’s head.  

Tumble’s cube spins, the man himself bleeding out like that one girl at the end of Kill Bill Volume 1 .  All available parties wait for the dreaded dice roll that will change everything and… 

… Rat gets a number that sends him on a pointless journey.  All that you really need to know is that he hits a few minus spaces, some poorly designed mini-games, and a Roshambo or two and bammo!  Back to start! Tumble would have said “ Oh nooooo you ran out of mushrooms!” but he’s dead so… ya know.

Rat sticks an arm into his ragged blazer and pulls his lighter into the air, bringing it dangerously close to Crawford —

Nyeeeeeh!  Crawford!”

— yes, Crawford.

Lee steps forward with wide eyes.  “That lighter is a fighter!”

The fire licks Crawford’s —

Nyah!  Crawford! ” 

— God, enough of this — it lights up Crawford’s potato sack body, and crawls up, igniting the spooky, scary pumpkin head and blasts it into the sky.  The sky fills with red as smoke rolls over everything.  

 Lee’s mouth hangs wide open.  “This fire is dire.”

“That’s no fire!” Rat giggles like he has already won.  “It’s a signal!”

 “A signal?” Lee scratches his head.  “That signal is — um — uh — hm…I got no rhymes for signal, shit.”

 Gant carefully folds his finger across his upper lip.  “Try flare .”

 “Oh, um, flare, yeah.  Okay. That flare is — um — there .”

 Gant facepalms while Rat cackles along, back into the full swing of his villainy from Episodes 1-8 of Press Buttons and Talk’s Let’s Play of Wheel of Fortune .  Not weird diaper Rat.  Just scary Rat.

More trees blast apart behind them and something comes in fast.  Rat somersaults backwards with the finesse of a hard computer on Magical Tetris Challenge , and his paper cone nose just skims the underbelly of the passing over Kooper.

I have found you Rat because of Crawford’s signal and now I will murder you ,” Kooper explains.

 But Kooper slips right past the anticipatory Rat and instead slams Chief Gant in the stomach, instanously killing him.  Gant’s thunderbolt-shaped spit curls falls over his face and the whole earth quakes from the fallen power man.  

Kooper’s shell flips off the corpse and his limbs splay out, the dead faced Koopa landing on two feet.  He stares ahead blankly. If you knew Kooper personally, you’d recognize the contempt in that blank expression but no one really knows Kooper well — except the Super Blocks that gave Kooper his immaculate upgrades in his seize for power.  

Well played, Rat.  I never thought you’d be a worthy foe ,” Kooper soliloquies.  “ But you know how this must end.  Very powerful people have offered me even more power to end your life.”

Rat licks his lips.  “No one can beat Rat Sajak when he’s been given time to plan.”

Kooper doesn’t understand the reference but Lee does.  “Kooper, Rat’s time to plan is — ah shit…”

Kooper looks up.  “ What? ” he drawls.

“Um, I’m doing this thing where I rhyme a lot.  What does time to plan rhyme with in like — a contextual way?”

Kooper blinks and looks away.  Very gently shakes his head, rolls up into his shell, and Fire Shells ahead, burning everything in his path.  

Rat leans back and preps his hands, waiting for the blue blur to get just close enough for him to — yowch! — grab it.  His fingers run along the tiled shell and he spins around in circles, trying to steady his grip until finally, the shell falls between his index finger and thumb.  He shrieks and spins the motherfucking wheel — or in this case — shell.  

Rat’s fingers burn from Kooper’s badass devilish flare so he stumbles forward, throwing his foot over his head and kicking the shell out of the air.   It soars ahead and nails Lee in the chest.

Lee’s heart beats five more times before death embraces him.  “Ah!” he screams. “This shell is — ”

Don’t say Hell ,” Kooper rolls his eyes from within the shell.

“ — um — ah — ” Lee stutters, utterly flummoxed now.  “ — fuck ." 

Lee dies. 

Kooper rolls back onto his hind legs.  “ Motherfucker, ” he groans.

Rat grins and opens his blazer, digging into the muddy pockets and tugging out a copy of Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door.   He smirks and lobs it over to Kooper who instinctively catches it.

What’s this? ” Kooper asks.

“It’s the sequel game.  Your character archetype is stronger in it, so I thought you’d accept it as a truce,” Rat explains, nervously scratching his neck.  “To be up front, I keep asking SungWon and Manky to play this game, but I feel like everytime I badger them in the comments section, they push my game a month back!  It’s very upsetting.”

Don’t be a fuck, Rat, ” Kooper shakes his head, sliding the game into his shell.  “ Only recommend stuff unless you’re going to send it to their P.O. box or if you donate to their Patreon and they open a poll.”

“Oh,” Rat deflates.  “I’ve been meaning to donate to those guys and get all the exclusive content like their private Discord … I could really use some friends seeing how I’ve just murdered a lot of the fun characters from these Let’s Plays.”

Well, ” Kooper shrugs.  “ Life goes on.  So you offer this game to me to convince me to live?

Rat frowns.  When you put it like that, it’s almost as if this were a set-up for another stupi in-joke only fans of the Let’s Play would understand.  But then Kooper winds an arm back.

Go long, Rat.

Rat raises an eyebrow.  “What?”

I said —

A chorus of slurred voices shrieks from all over.  “GO LONG RAT!” 

Suddenly a baseball mit is on Rat’s hand, and a little white ball is in the air.  Rat limps as fast as he can across the field and dives in the air, just narrowly missing the catch.  Meanwhile, the batter runs around all four bases and the Charlie Brown Adults wildly cheer.

When Rat finally brings the ball back to the diamond, he searches for Kooper but finds no such luck.  All he sees is a mysterious man kicking at the dirt. Rat frowns, and decides to, in all of his rage, pitch the ball at this cretin.  

The mysterious man pokes his thumb into the brim of his hat, just enough to show his eyes.  He smirks, and waggles a finger in the air before fully gripping his bat.

“Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth chooses…”

Rat’s jaw drops. 

“...baseball." 

Slam!   The ball soars high again and Inside Edge darts around all four bases lickity split.  Rat screeches as he runs because he has no friends to be his outfielders.  

This goes on for some time.  Because no matter what Rat does, he can’t get Inside Edge out!  Stupid rubber band AI! What were the game makers thinking when they published this weird ass Ace Attorney game?!

“dOn’T YoU UNDersTANd, rAT?!” Automaton Donkey Kong screams when he punches his ball with a boxing glove.

Dr. Fickledick lifts the hatch of his umpire helm.  “You have no friends to speak of! And you keep lying about people’s fickle pickle dicks — ”

IT’S SO SMALL !” Oogie Boogie cheers from the sidelines.

“ — grr, gragh, gur,” Dr. Fickledick pathetically murmurs.

“We succeed because we work together, Rat,” the Webber explains from all four bases.

You lose because you are lonely ,” Kooper breathes out and closes his eyes.  “ Unlike me you don’t have the power to make up for the lack of love.”

BLOOD STORM!” Oldbag shrieks, so Anno & Liven jump back in to beat the bejeesus out of her.  

Lee steps out from behind a bush.  “These recurring jokes make me choke.”

Crawford and Chief Grant frown, already having prepared that one line they always say.  

Tumble walks up, his dice bandaged back to his weird fucking head.  “ Look at my game, Rat.  You go around helping the people of the Mushroom Kingdom by doing them favors and it makes you strong…”

Rat is pleased to hear Tumble being so real and kind, but off of the forlorn looks of Chief Gant and Crawford, he finds that he can’t help himself.  “Hi I’m Tumble,” he exclaims half-heartedly, as evidenced by the lack of italicizing and bolding.

Inside Edge steps forward, flanked by the Charlie Brown Adults.  “Do you understand now, Rat?”

Rat wishes right about now that he just got the fucking ricotta cheese… but he knows what he must do.  He knows how to rebuild his life, and how to become full of love — he thinks. Honestly, the ricotta cheese thing was really working for him, he doesn’t get why these guys are staging an intervention.

“It’s because we apparently love you, Rat,” Inside Edge sneers.  “But keep in mind, I am a Prosecutor and we all know what Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth chooses…”

Rat rolls his eyes.  “Baseball?”

“No,” Inside Edge tosses off his baseball gear and stands tall in his full fledged fancy ass velvety, burgundy whatever bullshit.  He wags his fingers again and purses his lips. “... Death .”

A trap door opens beneath Rat and he tumbles down, body banging against the sides of a metal pipe.  After hours of falling, he crashes into ProZD’s living room. Rat wipes the dust from his face and looks up to see SungWon, Alex, and Ann-Marie lounging on the couch, staring at him with predatory grins.

Rat doesn’t even know what to say.  Because he knows what they want, but his character arc isn’t developed him enough for him to genuinely come to that realization.

So it’s SungWon that leans forward.  “Rat, it’s time you pay us back that ½ of a Car we won.”

More silence.

Rat Sajak’s horrible face flattens into the dull visage of Daniel Radcliffe.  He frowns and in an unfeeling, British accent, he seals the deal.

“... okay .”