Snow gracefully fell to the ground like a bird falling from its nest. The silent town sat quietly in the falling snow, creating a disturbing silence of premonition. The wind, although not strong, could be heard traveling through the streets.
On top of a rooftop, Steve sat hunched over, waiting patiently with a black cloak tied around him. His choice of wearing a black and grey court jester suit did not seem the slightest bit normal in the town. His face was concealed by a white mask which had an obscure face drawn on it. As poorly as it was made, it served him well for so long.
A door opened behind him. He didn’t bother to look away, too busy watching the streets.
“Steve, you up here?” a voice called out, “Are you busy?”
That was Marco, the baker and landlord of the apartment Steve lived in. It was also the apartment Steve was currently perched up on.
“No come on up,” Steve called.
Marco stepped up onto the roof from the hatch in the ground. As he opened the hatch and climbed up, the smell of sweets being cooked on the bottom floor filled the air; Steve tried his best to not become caught in a trance and lose his sense of thought. But he quickly came to his senses. Marco set down a metal in front of Steve, who turned his attention towards his friend for a moment.
Marco was a short man, roughly five foot. He wore glasses, small and round, that always, literally, were falling off his face. His hair was short and grey, as was his small puffy moustache. He also wore an apron that was covered with tan dough splatters and red sauce stains.
Steve looked down at the tray. Pizza bagels, his favorite! He quickly snatched one and slid it under his mask, quickly devouring it like a hyena on a carcass. If Marco were to reach out for one, Steve would growl like a savage beast and snatch the tray away. He continued to shove pizza bagels under his mask, eating away.
Marco let out a sigh. “It’s always easier to eat if you take your mask off first,” he told Steve, for what seemed like the hundredth time.
“I’ve told you before, Marco,” Steve said downing a pizza bagel, “I never take this mask off, even I’m in the shower or at gunpoint.”
Marco sighed once again. His eye then caught something next to Steve. “Is that a water balloon?”
Steve looked next to his leg. Resting next to his thigh was the water balloon he had made. “It’s red like a water balloon, it’s rubbery like a water balloon,” Steve said holding it up, “So it must be a water balloon. What else could it be?”
“Who are you going to use it on?”
“I’m sure you know…”
That’ll only make his grudge against you worse.”
“He’ll have a good laugh!”
“Soaking him with a water balloon will only get him angry, y’know? It’ll only freeze him in this freezing weather!”
“Whoever said I was going to drench him?”
“Huh?” Marco asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Are you actually thinking that I would resort to this juvenile prank?” Steve asked, holding up the balloon, “This is only part of the prank, a tool in the grand scheme, and the bullet in a sniper’s rifle. My prank is not complete without this ammunition,” With that, he ate another pizza bagel, letting out a satisfying chuckle.
Marco smirked. “The heights you’ll go to for a prank, Steve, are just incredible,” He complimented, patting Steve on the shoulder, “Come on down once you’re done.”
Just as Marco turned around, the hatch to the apartments burst open. Out ran Jamie, wearing a green dress, high heels, and a pearl necklace. At first glance, it would appear that Jamie was a woman. Truth was that nobody knew anything about Jamie except that Jamie was once an actor. His sex, hair color, eye color, and other traits were all unknown to anyone. On his face now was white face powder and blood red lipstick.
“Steve!” Jamie shrieked in a high falsetto.
“What’s up, Jamie?” Steve asked, sliding another pizza bagel under his mask.
“Givoni is coming down the street!”
Steve quickly grabbed the water balloon and crouched down on the roof. He put his eyes above the roof’s edge to see a moving shape down the street.
“There he is…” Steve sneered, “Marco, Jamie, get ready to witness the prank that will have your mayor bested!”
“What? Did I become part of your little plan?” Jamie squawked in an angry, mislead tone.
“Yup,” Steve said not caring about Jamie’s feelings and only waiting for the figure to become visible, “And you did a good job, so now have yourself a pizza bagel.” He was so focused on the character on the street that he would even himself into slavery for everyone to shut up.
Evan in the falling snow, Steve could clearly see Givoni walking down the street, bundled up in his coat and hot chocolate in his hands. Steve was in luck to see his adversary on his side of the street.
Steve lightly gripped the water balloon, ready to launch it downward to the sidewalk. As Givoni neared the sidewalk, in front of his current location, Steve spiked the water balloon to the ground. Everything was going perfectly right now, and Steve let out a slight, satisfying chuckle under his white mask.
That was, until Givoni caught the balloon.
Steve’s eyes almost burst through his mask. “WHAT?” he roared, his voice echoing through the town.
Givoni looked up, his face clearly visible. His piercing blue eyes met Steve’s with strong tension built in mid air. His nose was long and hooked resembling a hawk. His jet-black hair was combed back in a formal fashion.
“Another failed attempt Stephen,” Givoni called in his stuck up, rich and snotty voice.
Steve never understood why he called him “Stephen”. It didn’t make him sound any more mature or impressive. In fact, it did the exact opposite. Steve was just speechless and frustrated with his failure of a prank.
Givoni crushed the water balloon with his hand. As the water sunk through the snow and into the sidewalk, a cardboard cut out of a clown popped up. In the clown’s hands was a sign that read “SUCKA!” in big, bolded letters.
Marco folded his arms and shook his head. “So close, Steve, so close…” He said, slightly disappointed.
Steve held his face down, his mask hitting the concrete edge of the roof. Givoni still stood on the sidewalk bellow, watching his foe. Steve remained silent, not knowing what he would do now. His ideas were running thin.
“Why do you even bother, Stephen?” Givoni called, “Your so-called ‘pranks’ are juvenile and I am not humored by them. Most of the town may be, but I out rule them.”
Steve picked his head up. “It’s what I love to do!” He yelled out, his anger breaking out of his body, “And if you had the slightest sense of humor, you’d realize that they’re just for laughs!”
“I only laugh at you!”
“And I laugh when you can’t even chuckle at what I do!”
“You’re a juvenile man, Stephen, you-”
Steve stopped him. “Why do you even bother calling me that? You’re the only person who calls me that! My name is ‘Steve’! That’s S-T-E-V-E. I was born with that name, and that’s all I’ve been called!”
Givoni let out a long, deep sigh. “You’re just lost, aren’t you? You’re chained to this town and have nothing out there in the world. If I had you exiled, you would die. And I can’t go on knowing that I killed someone.” He turned around and started walking down the sidewalk again, around the cardboard cut out, taking a sip out of his hot coco that was still in his hands, then called “But I suggest you mature and give yourself a better image, Stephen. If I am forced to banish you, and you do happen to end up somewhere else, then you had better know how to act properly or else you’ll die in the world.” With that, he left and disappeared into the snow.
“I can’t believe how ignorant and stuck up he is!” Steve roared, slamming his fist down on Marco’s kitchen table. The cups of coffee shook and almost tipped over. Marco sat across from Steve. Jamie sat in between the two, dressed like a sailor from the 50s with a blue and white striped shirt with a red bandana around the neck. On top was a white hat, gently resting like a sleeping animal. One eye was covered with an eye-patch. The three sat in the empty bakery on the ground floor that was filled with wooden tables and chairs. Two large glass windows were impossible to see out of because of the amount of snow outside.
Steve held his mask in his hands, aggravated, irritated and gathering his thoughts. They were scattered in his head, unable to be caught and domesticated like wild animals.
Marco could easily see how troubled Steve was. “Steve, relax for a moment,” He said across the table, “If you relax for a moment, then you can get your thoughts together!”
“I can’t!” Steve cried, “He’s pushing me to the edge! I’m better off just killing him so he can just go away! Why can’t he just understand that pranks are what I do best?”
“Avast!” Jamie cried in a pirate accent, “Bilge be what ye speak! Begad, that landlubber Givoni be aft yer dogs an’ buckos. Here is what ye do, matey: Ye give ‘em a nice flogging! I suggest ye have the blaggard fool kiss the gunner’s daughter! What ye think of that, ye seadog? “
Steve and Marco stared in confusion in a blatantly awkward silence. “Jamie,” Steve said after the long pause, “What is God’s name did you just say?”
“Arrr!” Jamie cried, “Ye be no seadog!”
“I think I hear the men in white coming, Jamie,” Steve said, leaning back in his chair.
There was a knock at the door.
Jamie quickly jumped up from the chair, running for the stairs to the apartments upstairs. “Those tea-sipping, scurvy-infested lubbers shall never take me away! Never, I say!” Following this little scene, he ran up the stairs.
“What do you think he’s going to do up there now?” Steve asked.
“Hide in the ‘head’, as he would call it,” Marco responded. They both chuckled.
There was another knock at the door.
Marco stood up and answered it. Two police officers stood there, bundled up in the snow. One was a man, whose head was covered by a hood, and a woman, who was around the height of Steve’s shoulder and had red hair sticking out of the sides of her hood. Steve knew these two: Rick and Kia, whom he was good friends with. In Rick’s arms was the cardboard clown cutout that Steve had left on the sidewalk.
“Is there a problem, officers?” Marco asked.
Kia spoke up first: “We found this on the sidewalk,” she said, tapping, the cardboard cut out, “You happen to know who owns it?” She let out a soft chuckle.
Steve raised his hand in the back of the bakery. “Right here,” He called out.
“Obviously…” Rick said, knowing it was Steve’s, “Up to fooling around with Givoni again?”
“Yup,” Steve called back.
“Another failure, I’m guessing?”
“Yup…” Steve leaned back in his chair, letting out a soft groan.
Marco welcomed the two officers in. “Please, come in, I’ll get you two a drink.”
Rick and Kia sat down with Steve at the table. Rick handed Steve the clown. “What exactly were you doing with that?” He asked Steve.
“I was actually trying to make Givoni jump while walking down the street,” Steve said, “I rigged the sidewalk to pop this bad boy up when water made contact with the concrete. I guess it was a bad idea to do that here…”
Kia and Rick chuckled. “I still like the prank you pulled on the commissioner back on 4th of July when you switched the hotdog with a plastic one!” Rick said, reminding Steve of the hilarious prank.
“I didn’t expect him to actually swallow the thing,” Steve said, laughing slightly, “Seriously, does he eat everything?”
“Apparently,” Kia responded, “But anyway, you and Givoni are still at it?”
Rick sighed. “Do you even care if he just accepts that it’s all fun anymore? The lengths you’ve been going to recently make it seem like you just want to prank him now so you can humiliate him.”
Steve shrugged. “I’m not sure, Rick. Part of me just wants respect and the other wants him to prank him to the highest degree.”
“Steve, I think that’s your problem,” Kia said, “You just don’t seem to know when to stop.”
“But I’m not causing anyone, other than Givoni, to be angry, am I?” Steve asked.
“No, but there is a time where you have to take a break and relax for once. You can’t do something your entire life, because you’ll get sick of it. And since this is done to people, they’ll get tired of it soon. We may not be tired of your pranks right now, but we may one day.”
Steve remained silent.
Marco came out with two cups of coffee for the officers, who took a sip out of them instantly.
“Have you ever tried fear, though?” Rick asked Steve.
Steve attempted to recollect any pranks that he scared someone with. “I don’t think that’s my kind of prank to pull,” He admitted.
“Well, give it a shot,” Rick said with an eager tone in his voice, “I hear Givoni has arachnophobia. If you can do something involving spiders, then it’s all good!”
Steve thought for a second. “That would be a good prank… While I may not get him to realize that pranks are fun, I will be able to prank him!”
“I think you should just try and not scare him,” Kia suggested, “He’ll just hate you more.”
“Well, Kia, the thing is,” Steve said, taking a deep breath, “I don’t think I really care anymore.”
Kia stood up, coffee still in hand. “Well good luck, then,” she said tugging on Rick, “We should get going now.”
Rick stood up and headed out the door with Kia, still drinking his coffee.
“Are you going to listen to Rick or Kia?” Marco asked once the officers left.
Steve remained silent.
“I’m not taking a side,” Marco confirmed, “But I do know someone who can help you with the spiders.”
That seemed to catch Steve’s attention.
“Hyde upstairs was working on some robotic stuff, like he usually does. You should talk to him to see if he can make you or lend you anything that can help you.” Following that, Marco departed into the back of the bakery, leaving Steve to decide which path to take.
He was at a crossroad right now. One road led him to a prank that could end in an unfavorable way. Steve didn’t really care about the outcome though. At least Givoni would have had a prank pulled on him. The other road was much longer and tedious. Steve would have to continue to try and prove to Givoni that he meant no harm. But in that time, their grudge would possibly grow strong and it would be even harder to convince Givoni.
Steve stood up from the chair. He let out a loud, annoyed groan and started up the stairs. He got onto the second floor with the doors, his room amongst them to his right. He could just head there and relax. Down the hallway to his left was Hyde’s room. There was the sound of welding and sparks coming from behind his door.
He was stuck and did not know where to turn.
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