|The Cat (and Earthworm) and the Fiddle|
That's also true. Children are starting to give up on their dreams. Artists-to-be are putting away the tools of their trade, saying they're stupid plans. It's not just weird dreams, either. Florists-to-be are giving up on flowers, teachers to be are giving up on teaching, even ACCOUNTANTS-to-be are giving up on numbers! This is serious!
Today is a day like any other, with kids milling about the high school, doing what kids do in high school. Except there are some kids, if one's astute enough, that have the same resigned expression on their faces that one might see on adults going to work.
Fear not good citizens of Twisted! Earthworm Jim is on the case!!
Jim is perhaps, the best suited person..? Creature? Worm thing-- yeah, that sounds good. The best suited worm thing to converge into Twisted without nary a thought of how weird everything is.
Let's be real now, he's a talking worm walking around in a space suit. The chances of him finding something weird are astronomically low. Although that doesn't mean he isn't creeped out by a lot of things.
Jim was just all fine and dandy when he took a run turn whilst cruising through the universe and landed in Twisted. Though if he knows that he can't get out of here is another matter all together.
Thoughts that must be put to later since Jim has heard the plight of the children at local Kohoku High School and subsequently flew there to investigate.
Its too bad that Jim's idea of investigating is basically blowing things up until something starts making sense.
"Hey there kiddos!" Let's hope its recess time at school, since Jim floats down to the school grounds whilst riding his pocket rocket. The superhero worm makes a perfect landing which he obviously ruins when he steps out of the rocket, tripping and landing on his face with a resounding crash.
"Uh! I meant to do that!" He cries out as he pries himself off the ground with a spatula.
Once he pops himself up, Jim puts his pocket rocket away and looks at the defeated looking children. "What's with the long faces? Been getting a lot of homework lately or somethin'?"
One of the 'defeated looking children' is a young man with glasses and dusty brown hair. He looks at Jim without any emotion at all. It's almost creepy. "What do you mean?" he asks. Clearly the young fellow hasn't noticed anything wrong with himself.
Once of the other students, a black-haired girl, adds, "Yeah. We're in school. Homework's a fact of life while we're in school. No sense complaining about it." She shrugs. "I mean, we're just going to be more people in the corporate grind."
The super hero worm flashes a goofy grin and a thumbs up at the girl to prove that he is in fact A-OK. A motion he then uses to put his fleeting attention to these group of downtrodden looking children. Man, they sure are a sorry looking bunch aren't they?
"What do you mean what do I mean?" Babbles Jim. "Y'all look so depressed! Like the school bunny just died." He glances to the sides. "Uh, that isn't what happened, right?" Not Mr. Fluffles! Jim hadn't even taken a look at 'im yet!
Things just continue to get stranger and stranger when a girl tells Jim in a very matter of fact tone that she is prepared to do homework and has fully resigned to her fate of being just another nameless brick in the wall when she grows up.
"WOW!" The super mutated lumbricus terrestris pulls on his face having never heard something more depressing. His eyes boggling in surprise and his jaw slacking. "Are you kidding me right now?? Boy this school really beat the creativity outta you young'uns quick, didn't it??"
"Come on. I'm sure y'all don't wanna grow up to have desk jobs. Ain't there some after school clubs y'all can join in here?"
The girl pipes up again, "Yeah. We're just normal kids. We don't have any powers or anything like that. We don't get to make the choice, like you do."
"But that's what I'm talking about, y'all!" He then makes finger gun gestures at all of them. "I reckon all y'all need to do is persevere!! Good things come to those that work hard and follow their dreams!"
Wait, where did those fireworks coming behind Jim come from anyway?? They seem to be coming out straight from his backpack...
"That is the code of Justice! Honor! And the Texan way!!"
Jim is certain that if that display doesn't cheer them up nothing will!
"It was hearing that violinist, wasn't it?" the boy asks her. He raises a hand to push his glases up a little on the bridge of his nose. "Whoever it was, they were really good. No surprise it made you discouraged. I guess you could have done a duet with 'em or something."
"Nah," she girl answers, waving her hand. "If everybody who was good at singing was supposed to become a singer, there'd be like a bazillion of 'em. Somebody has to fail. Statistically it's more likely I won't get there, and then I'll have nothing to show for it. Better to have a more secure future, right?"
"Guess so," the boy replies. Looking to Jim, "Same reason I gave up racing. What kind of racecar driver wears glasses anyway? And like she says, it's more likely I won't be able to, and then where will I be when I can't?"
It's weird. Neither of these kids are sad in the slightest. It's just a resigned acceptance, and they seem pretty OK with it. Like... like they were ADULTS or something!
More seriously, it /is/ abnormal. Their eyes are glassy, as if they're slightly unfocused.
"As is being a race driver too, uugh!!" If Jim had any hair he'd be pulling it all right now. He settles for doing the next big thing and just pulling on the top of his head to stretch his face.
Jim being Jim totally misses the glazed look the students are giving him. He won't take the obvious clues laid right there in front of him, he's going to jump the gun and pin the blame on someone completely at random! That's what the Texan way commands him to do!
"You said listening to a violinist made you depressed, huh?" He pulls a notepad and pen seemingly out of nowhere. "Can you, uh, describe him for me?"
The boy with glasses frowns. "...Huh. That's kinda what happened to me too. I was leaving school late because I spent some extra time at a club. I heard a violin. It was a really sad song. And then I'm waking up and it's night-time. I got grounded for that..."
"Alrighty then, looks like I need to have me some words with this here friendly neighborhood violinist that's been running around. Shame that I couldn't draw y'all a portrait of this feller, I've practicing my portrait drawing skills for just this type of occasions!"
"See, watch here." Jim looks at the boy with glasses and quickly starts drawing his face on his notepad before turning it around and showing it to him.
"Waddaya think? Not too shabby, huh?"
That's.. just a stick figure with some glasses drawn on.
"Well, it could be the sound itself," the boy pipes up. "Tigers can immobilize prey with sound, and it's not unheard of for sound ot be able to make people pass out. Though that wasn't necessarily loud enough to do that, so I'm not sure..."
And then the 'portrait' is shown. The girl giggles, and the boy raises an eyebrow. "...It... y-yeah. That's great. I've really never seen anything like it." Not wanting to be rude, after all. But completely true!
"Thanks!" Jim moves right along and takes the 'compliment' to his drawing. "Did one of myself the other day, check it out." The worm turns a page from his notepad to show the boy another drawing and, waddaya know? That's actually a decent portrait of Jim himself. Then again, his 'face' is essentially just a squiggly line, two bulging eyes and a big mouth. Drawing worms and humans is substantially more different.
"When I grow up, I'm gonna an artist! And you better believe it!" Now /that's/ a dream he should give up on.
"Maybe we were abducted by aliens," the boy adds. "I mean... it's not like it's the weirdest thing that's ever happened here. Maybe the one playing the violin is an alien and abducting us to study us or something? Or worse, maybe whoever it is, is making copies of us! Maybe you're a doppelganger!"
"Oh, I am not!" the girl protests.
"See, that's just what a doppelganger would say, isn't it?" the boy responds. It's hard to tell if he's teasing her or not.
The girl gives the boy a look, but doesn't comment. She just looks back to Jim. "Okay, we'll keep an eye out for someone playing the violin. I doubt it's a student, though..."
And hey, wouldn't you know it? About then a thin boy with blue eyes and short, shaggy blue hair and walks past. Oddly enough? He's carrying his bookbag... and a white violin case...
"Whoa, hold on there, folks! Nobody is abducting anybody and nobody's making doppelgangers of nobody neither! I should know! I got these here handy dandy gadget to know if y'all are illusions or not." Jim's suit is super awesome, by the way. He opens his chest cavity and pulls out a scanner to check for energy signatures. "See? No doppeplgangers here! Hm.. though this thing does say y'all are little low on energy. You should eat some more veggies!" He's certain that low energy part is not important at all.
The worm then salutes the children as the girl lets Jim know that they'll keep a look out for any suspicious looking violinists. "Alright then deputies! We'll get this matter solved, don't you worry!"
The appearance of boy carrying a violin case is, of course, noted, and it looks far too convenient of a plot twist to not investigate. "Okay kiddos. Y'all have a real nice day now, ya hear?" Says Jim quickly excusing to go talk to the other kid.
"Howdy there, pardner!" The talking worm waves to the kid as he approaches. "Mind if I have a word with ya?"
So.. what does a boy normally do when a talking worm in a space suit approaches him?
Closer examination of the case will find a ball-chain looped around the handle of the case. It's a small golden key the shape of a four-leafed closer, each 'leaf' made of a clear crystal. It glints in the light, making it quite difficult to miss.
That's sarcasm by the way. Jim's got this guy pegged for a creeper the moment he sees him. I mean, look at this guy, with the fancy violin case and the mysterious ornament that -surely doesn't have magical powers- plus the voice that is deeper for a boy his age. A voice that one might describe as a /singing/ voice maybe??
Plus, this kid looks fairly surprised about seeing him. Which is probably not at all about Jim being, well, Jim, and more about know he's got a guilty conscience!
There was probably more sarcasm sprinkled in there somewhere.
Yeah, Jim has this guy /totally/ bagged.
"Hey man, got a real quick question for ya."
"What's your opinion on waffles?"
Somewhere along those lines Jim's brain just did a loopty loop and forgot what he was talking about.
Wait, we were talking abot something that wasn't waffles, weren't we?
Anyway, after this is admitted, the blue-haired boy asks, "...Was there something else?"
If this kid likes them then that means he's an alright chump and an outstanding citizen to boot!
Apparently that's Jim's elimination process for suspects. The power of waffles.
"Nope! Nothing else, just wondering about that." Jim quickly brings his pocket rocket and starts it on as anyone would a motorcycle. "Hey!" He suddenly looks down at the boy very seriously.
"Don't you ever give up on your dreams, alright?"
And with those strangely fitting words of wisdom, the pocket rocket is engaged and Jim is zooming off at the speed of sun.
A tiny blue-haired catboy fairy appears then, floating down from above. "...That guy's weird-nya," he intones, echoing the larger of the two of them's thoughts. Then he looks at the blue-haired student. "Ne, Ikuto. Ready to go back-nya?"
Ikuto, the student with the violin case, nods and offers an affirmative grunt. And with that Ikuto turns, and the two of them start heading away from the area.