Chapter 25, "In Which I Learn Just How Crazy The Baby Cult Is"
As much as I love Xlormp (and I promise, it's totally a lot), I was not altogether thrilled about the idea of going back to the stupid Haberdash's house and hanging out with the stupid baby that had two stupid heads and totally hated me. It was insulting, you know? Forcing myself to spend time with a creature who would clearly rather be heaving themselves off of a brick wall than hanging out with me. I mean, assuming the brick wall was very tall. It could just as easily be a brick wall made of one brick or something, and then no one would really care if they jumped off of it. Maybe I would, since I'm their mother and everything, and I'm supposed to care about things like that.
Anyway, I chagrined the entire spaceship ride back to the house. When Xlormp used his teleportation device to beam us back onto my front lawn, I thought about what would happen if I just faked my own death. Would I still have to deal with a snotty baby? Did it even make sense to call the thing a "baby" anymore? I mean, it was clearly a mutant. CLEARLY.
But I didn't have time to fake my own death, because Christopher ran out the front door. "Frig!" she called out to me, using my name. "You came back!" She threw her arms around me and squeezed me tighter than she'd ever squeezed me before, and that woman can squeeze. I think she could make a living as a professional person-squeezer. You know, should a person ever want to get squeezed to death. Maybe I could talk her into actually squeezing me to death? Hmm...
"I didn't think you would actually come back, even though you said you would, but I didn't really think it, and I didn't know what I would do."
I patted her gently on the head, hoping that the patting would remind her that I needed to breathe, and maybe I didn't want to be squeezed to death after all. I heard someone clear their throat behind her, and I focused my vision to see that Jessica had joined us outside. It wasn't until she made that noise that Christopher finally loosened up a bit.
"Hey," Jessica said, "Wemjox is getting pissy and wants to know when our special visitor is going to show up." She had her hand on Christopher's shoulder as she said this. Why did she have her hand on Christopher's shoulder? What did she want with it? Was she just being nice or something? Because that would be really weird coming from her.
"Stuff a sock down his throat and tell him he'll get here when he gets here," Christopher replied, using her hand to pat Jessica's hand, the hand that currently rested on Christopher's shoulder.
"Guys, I'm his...her...its mother, and I think I should be the one to shove a sock down its throat," I piped up, utilizing sound. "And anyway, who is visiting?"
Xlormp took me by the hand. "No one is going to shove a sock down little Wemjox's throat, Frigling," he cooed. What the heck was up with him, anyway? Did he like Wemjox?
"Well, anyway, come inside," Christopher said, taking my hand and leading me through the front door. "We'll take you up to command central. You've pretty much got full clearance since Wemjox figured out it needs you to continue its demented reign of baby power."
"Thanks," I said. "Seriously, though, who's visiting?"
Christopher didn't answer me, but she shot Jessica a look that probably said something secret that only the two of them could understand or something, and continued leading me down the hall until we got to the elevator. "We're going down," she said. "The baby likes to be near the big guns. Tell me that's not creepy."
I didn't have the heart to tell her that she also liked to be near the big guns, and that kind of made her a little creepy. I didn't have the heart to tell her because she was my friend. My good friend who should not be patting Jessica on the hand that way. I mean, not that I cared or anything. Because I had Xlormp to be with me forever and forever and ever forever and stuff. Also, I tried not to wonder when we'd gotten an elevator installed, but I didn't bother thinking about it too much. Wemjox maybe had magical elevator manifestation powers, for all I knew.
The doors whooshed open into the basement, where everyone was running around like madmen.
Lexington marched straight up to me. "Wemjox said to give you this," she flummoxed beratingly, handing me a small badge.
"What is this?" I demanded motherishly.
"Security pass. You've got full clearance now." She kind of looked like she wasn't too happy about that, and I made a mental note to hate her later.
Tabitha ran by, carrying a plate of something that looked delicious but smelled like evil. "Oh, hey, Frig!" She smiled at me. "It's so great to see you again! I can't talk right now, gotta take this to Wemmy!"
Christopher leaned over to me and whispered, "The little urchin put Tabitha on cooking duty. No one else is allowed to give it any food."
I saw Klaxie run after Tabitha, presumably into the room holding the aforementioned urchin. Who I guess now had a nickname for its nickname, because why not.
"Come on," Christopher grunted, again grabbing my hand and pulling me forward. I shot a look at Xlormp, who seemed perfectly pleased that his progeny had created such a demand for power. I kind of wanted to punch him in that moment, but that wouldn't be very girl-slavey, and why did Wemjox have to be born and ruin my girl-slavehood by making me think clearly? My life from now on should consist of beeps, makeouts, and nothing else.
Christopher led us into a room I'd never been in before. Wemjox, in all their weird, alien-human-mish-mashy glory, were perched on a huge chair upholstered in the gaudiest red velvet I'd ever seen. Klaxie sat next to them, in a much less lavish chair, chatting casually with the babies and Tabitha, who fed the two heads whatever it was on her plate. Hector 2.0 clanked around, catering happily to the creepy things' every whim. I looked around to see Lou and Mr. Haberdash having a conversation in the corner, probably about aliens.
Lou glanced up momentarily and caught sight of me. "Frig!" He called happily.
I have no idea why everyone was so happy to see me all of a sudden. It's not like I was ever nice to any of them.
Lou calling out my name seemed to alert Wemjox to my presence. The Wem part of the messed-up being waved dismissively. "Oh, hello, mother," he spat, and then turned back to Klaxie.
"What's going on, Lou?" I asked my precious hobo, after he had given me an obligatory hug.
"We're expecting a very special guest," he spoke with total coherence. My heart panged a little, remembering Lou's brief interlude with clarity not too long ago. Did Wemjox being around mean that Lou would be back to normal forever? Thinking about this almost made me not care about the special guest. But then I started caring again.
"What special guest? Who? Who's visiting?" I asked. I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. Xlormp had left my side to go google over the baby. Whatever.
"Sable Wheefton!" Lou crooned happily.
"Sable Wheefton? The Hobo King? He's from Spatulas, too! He wants to see the baby." Lou looked like he just might pass out with happiness.
I shook my head. "What? Why? Why does he care about my ridiculous alien baby?"
"Because the baby was able to fix my brain, and Sable cares about me, he is a very dear friend. They want to do a story about me in the Hobo Weekly, isn't that incredible?"
Oh, Lou. Even with a normal brain, he still had a hobo's heart.
"Yeah, that's pretty cool, Lou," I lied sweetly.
Hector 2.0 clanked over to me. "Frig! You are home! Lavish me with hugs and kisses!"
I did the hugging part but not the kissing part, because I caught Lexington glaring at me from the doorway.
Just then, the doorbell rang.
"He's here!" Lou clapped happily.
Wemjox stood up on his ugly red throne. "Okay, everyone," Wem spoke, as Jox gazed on lovingly, "we have an important guest. I hope everyone will treat him with the utmost respect and kindness, as he could prove an essential ally in the days to come. So smiles on, everybody, and let's make Mr. Wheefton feel welcome!" He swiveled his creepy, multi-eyed head to me. "That includes you, mother."
I tried very hard not to smash him over the head with a crowbar.
"Lexington," Wem waved at her, "please show our guest in."
Chapters build strong bones.
I just want to say that all of the movie talk in the comments of the last chapter is amazing. You guys have spectacular taste in actors. And then amythis made a BADASS video depicting those actors as if they were my characters and making their love triangle (quad-angle?) almost seem real. And the poetry book that insipidcalamity is putting together with all of your poems? My socks have been knocked clean off. I think it's been a while since I've really thanked you guys for being so awesome and supportive and everything. I could not ask for more hardcore people to be reading and commenting and all of the other awesome things that you do. So thank you so much for everything, you make this awesome to the point that I sometimes have to take a step back and acknowledge just how lucky I am that this gets read at all, much less by folks as incredible as you. *bows humbly*