After the wedding in which Mr. Juan Walton became Mr. Juan Shanley, life at Niadon went on as usual. Mia flew into the sky every morning to fight crime, Juan continued his childish pranks and his job as a security guard while Delaney worked odd hours painting murals, and Sierra successfully exorcised a young man who had been possessed by the spirit of Darth Vader.
Only Marcel was struggling in his chosen occupation. Having reached the pinnacle of the natural scientist career many years before, he figured he would have no problem scaling the heights (or should I say lows) of the criminal underworld. Unfortunately a little mess-up during a routine smuggling operation got him nearly arrested, and word came down from head honcho Mr. Valentine that his marauding days were over.
â€œUghâ€¦I KNEW I shouldnâ€™t have asked that cop for directions!â€
Disgusted with himself, Marcel went straight upstairs and lay on his bed. He had been staring at the wall and brooding over his failure for at least an hour when his wife Mia came in. Marcel started to get up, not wishing to explain the reason for his black mood, but Mia sensed something was wrong and convinced him to stay.
â€œHoney, you know you can confess â€“ I mean, confide â€“ in meâ€¦â€
Marcel heaved a sigh before revealing to Mia that he had always wanted to be a criminal mastermind, and that he had been on the right track until the whole smuggling incident. Mia was surprised, to say the least.
â€œWhat on earth have you been smuggling?â€ she asked, wide-eyed.
Marcel frowned down at his lap. â€œWe were smuggling Pez dispensers into Canada.â€
â€œPez dispensers?? They donâ€™t have Pez in Canada??â€
â€œOh, they have Pez,â€ said Marcel emphatically. â€œTons of it. Just not dispensers.â€
Mia made a sound that was half-laugh, half-gasp. â€œButâ€¦thatâ€™s ridiculous!â€
â€œI know!â€ answered Marcel, his eyes lighting up. â€œSee? Itâ€™s for a good cause! And Iâ€™m awesome at it! You should see how many Pez dispensers I can fit into my llama costume!â€
For a long time, Mia didnâ€™t say anything. Then she turned away, muttering, â€œItâ€™s a good thing you got fired. I donâ€™t think I could stay married to a common criminal.â€
The words stung Marcel. How could he ever make her, Ms. Crimefighter of the Year, understand his dark and dangerous ambitions?
â€œAnd now Iâ€™m too old to be a criminal mastermind. Curse you, Pez dispensers!â€
In the meantime, Juan Shanley was working on his own dark and dangerous ambitions in the downstairs bathroom. He was plotting another prank and chuckling quietly to himself when Sierra barged in.
â€œWhat?â€ exclaimed Juan, whirling around.
â€œDonâ€™t you people knock? Iâ€™m trying to have some privacy here!â€
â€œIâ€™m sorry,â€ said Sierra, â€œbut youâ€™ve been in here for like, two hours! I thought maybe something was wrong.â€ She glanced down at the sink and saw the water running over the all-too-familiar form of a deflated red balloon.
â€œJuan!â€ she gasped angrily. â€œYou should be ashamed of yourself!â€
â€œBegone!â€ Juan shouted, shooing her out of the room. â€œVamoose! I refuse to listen to your mystical mumbo-jumbo!â€
â€œItâ€™s not mumbo-jumbo! I â€“ â€œ
Juan slammed the door in her face and locked it before going back to his water balloon.
That night he added Sierra to his list of â€œPeople to Prank Even More Than Beforeâ€. Just thinking about it made him chortle with glee.
â€œYesâ€¦I think a joy buzzer will do the trick. Mwah! Mwah! Mwahahahah!â€
Of course he was still the devoted and loving husband around his wife, especially now that she was pregnant with their first child.
â€œSo can we name it Bozo? How about Krusty?â€
(continued on Page 2)