I guess weird shit just follows me and my pet around. That’s the only way I can explain this shit. I mean, it was supposed to be a simple field trip where I could be eaten by insects stupid enough to bite me and my little monster could show off her genius. Now, that had happened and I’m learning a lot about my munchkin, including the fact that she probably has a huge fan club somewhere, but now things have to happen and derail that for the moment. It’s always something.
“Kim, have you seen Gil?” Doctor Lurkin asked the redhead as he walked through the entrance.
“Nope,” Kim answered. She was in the clinic, showing some children proper first-aid for several minor problems that they might run into, like cuts on their knees and things of that nature.
The trim hero had not seen much of Gilbert Moss, Doctor Lurkin’s stepson and graduate student, since she met him a few days ago. He seemed to come and go as he pleased while everyone else did work. He had specific tasks assigned to him just like she did and Big Mike did, but he did not seem to acknowledge those tasks.
She did not think too much of the onyx-eyed boy’s seeming irresponsibility. She was not there to judge anybody or anybody’s work ethic, after all. She was there to help in the clinic, talk about her antivenin, and maybe collect some cold-blooded critters if she had the time.
“Maybe Mike or Zita has seen him,” Doctor Lurkin muttered.
“Possibly,” Kim agreed, even though she doubted that since Big Mike had been taking care of his business.
The blonde doctor went to ask Big Mike if he had seen Gil, but the giant had not seen the ebony-haired young man either. In fact, Big Mike had seen less of Gil than Kim and that was quite a feat considering she hardly saw the guy after being introduced to him. The brown-haired young man was much more into his work than looking out for Gil. Hell, Gil was a grown man, so he should not need anyone to keep an eye on him. Big Mike was also enjoying his time in a village way too much to worry about the seemingly antisocial graduate student.
Big Mike was spending his time talking with the villagers as best he could when he was not going about his work. Many of the young men in the village offered to show the giant where he could find some boas for his own research; he might have to enlist Kim to climb for them, though. Then there were some of the children that were trying to teach him Spanish, but mostly they liked laughing and pointing at him. Zita commented that it was because he was so bad at their language and he argued that he was a biologist not a linguist for a reason.
Zita had not seen Gil either and she told the blonde doctor when he asked if she had. Even though she did not have any tasks set to her like Kim and Mike, she had been focusing on more translating for Mike and getting to know the area more than anything else. No one was really paying Gil much mind because he was not doing what he was supposed. If he had been doing his assignments, he would have interacted with people and they might have noticed that he was missing.
Doctor Lurkin moved on from Big Mike and Zita and searched the village. He happened to go by Shego, who was hanging out with Rosa and Maddie. She had been spending most of her time with the mother and daughter, talking about nothing in general. At the moment, Rosa was telling the pale woman about a stew recipe. Shego had noticed Kim eat three bowls of the stuff last night and thought that it would not hurt to know how to make it. It was an exceptionally delicious dish.
“Excuse me, Shego, have seen Gil?” the blonde doctor asked politely.
“Nope, not recently,” Shego answered. She had noticed the onyx-eyed young man lurking about the village for the past few days, but she had not seen him lately, which she was glad for. He was a creepy looking fellow and he was always frowning for no reason that she could see. The village was all right in her opinion and even she had not been frowning about being there.
Doctor Lurkin appeared a bit worried since he was not getting any information regarding his stepson. He decided to move on. He really wanted to find Gil because the young man had been forsaking his duties since they arrived days ago. He did not bring Gil along to slack off, but to show him how two outstanding former graduate students behaved and how he should act when he went on field trips.
“Who’s Gil?” Maddie asked curiously. She was sitting on the ground while the two women were on chairs. The child was playing with a certain puzzle cube and messing up the green side that had been solved.
“The creepy kid that doesn’t talk to anybody,” Shego answered.
Maddie shook her head because she had not noticed anyone like that. Shego waved the issue off because Gil was not important. He seemed like a lazy kid and he probably only came along on the trip because his stepfather forced him to. He should just go home if he was going to mope, she thought.
Kim sighed as her attention was drawn from her task, which was dangerous considering the fact that she was handling a venomous snake. Most people would want to focus on the harmful serpent more than anything else, but she tried to tend to other matters while making sure to keep a good hold on the reptile. She put the serpent down as her Kimmunicator went off again; the snake had just been removed from a person’s home. She pulled out her communication device.
“Go, Wade,” Kim answered the call while grabbing the snake again as it attempted to get away. She bagged the limbless creature and held the sack away from her. She knew that on some occasions the snakes actually bit through the bag.
“Hey, Kim, Professor Akari hit up the site to report a break in,” Wade reported.
“Cool. I’m like two feet away from him,” the redhead commented.
“Two feet?” he echoed in a baffled tone.
“Well, not really two feet, but closer to him than usual. I’ll go talk to him,” the petite hero stated.
“What are you doing that close?” the computer genius asked curiously.
“Clinic work. I’m so glad to see this place is running so smoothly and nicely. Hopefully, it’ll only get better.”
“You are a busy woman,” Wade noted. He did not know how she did it because just hearing about her life made him tired.
“I try. Let me go talk to Professor Akari before something else comes up.”
Kim put away her Kimmunicator and made sure that she thoroughly secured the snake that she was handling before she went off to go handle her new business. She put the snake away and then set off, only to return moments later for the snake as she realized that she could set it free far from the village while she was gone. She held the reptile in a plastic container and then set out on her journey to see Professor Akari. She caught her mistress’ attention.
“Pumpkin, where are you going?” Shego called when she noticed her pet going off in the direction of the rain forest.
“I need to go see a guy about a break in. It shouldn’t take too long,” Kim replied.
“A break in?” the green-skinned woman echoed in a baffled tone. Who was getting burglarized in the jungle, she wondered.
“Oh, let’s go!” Maddie suggested and she dashed over to the redhead. She leaped onto Kim’s back, which caused the slim scholar to lurch forward. She caught her balance and thankfully avoided dropping the container that she held. They could have been in a spot of trouble if the snake got free.
“You don’t need to come. You can stay and bug Shego,” Kim told the little girl with an amused smile.
“I can bug her later. Let’s go!” Maddie cheered; her chocolate eyes sparkled at the thought of going on an adventure with Kim. Hey, she was only four, so just about anything counted as an adventure to her.
“Okay, fine. Rosa, it seems I’m taking your daughter with me,” Kim informed the young mother.
“Be careful with her,” Rosa ordered in a gentle tone.
Kim only offered her a smile and nod. She trotted off with Maddie on her back and the snake in her hand. She planned on jogging to Professor Akari’s tree house and she wondered if she would be able to do such a thing with Maddie on her back; she was going to find out. Shego watched the pair as they departed.
“I can’t believe you’re trusting her with your four-year-old daughter alone in a jungle,” Shego commented.
“She’s responsible. I know she’ll take great care of Maddie. She always does,” Rosa replied.
The pale woman only shook her head, not really disagreeing, but it was the best that she could do. She could hardly believe how different her pet was out in the world compared to in the apartment. She was still active and cheerful, but she was way beyond that. She was beyond her abnormal status that Shego first thought the girl had. Kim was truly a hero, especially since she did not do anything that she did for praise or reward. She was proud to have Kim as her pet.
“What the hell?” Shego said as her thoughts were thrown off by a passing grasshopper.
The green-skinned woman would not have thought anything of the insect, except there was something odd about it. The grasshopper was furry. Not only was the insect sporting a hairy coat, but it had a tail like a monkey, but fit for a creature insect-size. A few more of the curious critters hopped by and Shego could not help arching a confused eyebrow. She could also tell from the equally bewildered expression on Rosa’s face that the furry bugs were not typical of the local fauna.
“Do you get the idea that something fucked up is going on?” Shego asked.
“I do know that’s not normal,” Rosa replied. Since when did grasshoppers have fur like apes? What was going on?
Kim made sure to keep a good hold on Maddie as she trotted through the lush, green jungle. She had already gotten rid of the snake because she was not interested in having to be cautious with the serpent and the child. She did not want to risk any sort of accidents while she had a child in her care.
Maddie was laughing as Kim leaped through the trees with the agility that the girl would have likened to a monkey. They came to Professor Akari’s home and Kim scaled the tree with great ease, even with Maddie on her back. It seemed that she was strong enough to work without difficulty even with the girl piggybacking.
“Kim!” Professor Akari greeted her as she came in. “You got here fast,” he noted.
“Yeah, I’m not too far from here today. So, what happened? Do you know what was stolen?” the redhead inquired while she slid Maddie to the floor to allow the child to explore the new area, as she knew the girl would want to. The child wasted no time going to look at everything that she could and, boy, there was a lot for her to look at, not to mention touch.
“I think some of my grasshoppers were stolen. Some of my research too seems to be gone. It was about changing the genetic makeup of bugs…although I never made it very far in that…” he trailed off because it did not seem very important to him.
“Well, did you catch it on film?” she inquired since she knew that he was not very much into organizing and that made it difficult for him to know if anything was taken from him.
He nodded. “Oh, yes, I did.”
Kim nodded for lack of a better thing to do and Professor Akari went to show her the tape of everything. Kim kept an eye on Maddie to make sure that the child did not hurt herself or any of Professor Akari’s insects. It was all right until Kim noticed Maddie about to eat a huge beetle.
“Maddie!” Kim called.
“Huh?” the girl asked.
“Don’t eat that. That’s his bug,” the redhead scolded the child.
Maddie pouted, but she did put the bug down; it was hard being four sometimes. She thought that the beetle looked tasty and she did eat insects on occasion. She guessed that since it belonged to someone else that was why she could not eat the bug.
Kim turned her attention back to Professor Akari’s security screen. They did not get a good look at the thief, only the back was visible if anything at all throughout the film. So, all they knew was that the thief had short, black hair and was probably a male from the shape of his back. Kim looked around for clues, but it was really hard to find anything in Professor Akari’s place. After a few minutes, she considered giving up and then her Kimmunicator went off.
“What’s the sitch?” Kim answered the device.
“Princess, where are you?” Shego inquired.
“I’m wrapping things up. Did something happen?” Kim asked. She was not sure if she should be worried as a pet or just someone who liked the village because she did not know the nature of the call.
“There are some really freaky bugs around here and the village is acting all buggy about it. So, Rosa wants you to bring Maddie back because she’d feel more comfortable with her where she could see her and I’d feel that way with you, so come on back,” the older woman ordered.
“Yes, ma’am,” the redhead answered and Shego did not have to see her girl to know that she was saluting, which she was. Kim also wondered what in the world was going on.
The petite hero explained to Professor Akari that something else required her attention for a moment, but she would not forget about his problem. He was very understanding of everything. She bid the short male goodbye and she grabbed Maddie. The child had what appeared to be a tiny stick in her mouth, only the stick was wiggling. Kim decided against asking what Maddie had in her mouth, mostly because she could guess what it was. The little girl eventually swallowed the moving stick as the redhead held onto her and climbed out of the tree-house.
They started toward the village faster than before. Maddie was having a good time on Kim’s back again as she navigated the rain forest with ease. The girl was giggling as they moved. When they got back, Kim saw what Shego was going on about because she could see the crazy bugs.
“Monkey-grasshoppers?” Kim commented as one hopped by her.
“Grasshopper-monkeys,” Maddie argued.
“No, if they were grasshopper monkeys, they’d be more monkey-like than grasshopper-like,” the redhead countered.
“Nah-uh, they’re grasshoppers, so that should come first in their name,” the little girl stated.
“No, the name comes from what they’re more like and that’s why it should be last. They’d be more monkey-like than grasshopper-like if they were grasshopper-monkeys,” the hero continued on.
“No, they wouldn’t,” the child said.
“Yeah, they would.”
“No, they wouldn’t.”
“Yeah, they would.”
“Will you two quit it,” Shego ordered as she and Rosa approached the younger pair.
“What’s up with the monkey-grasshoppers?” Kim inquired.
“Grasshopper-monkeys,” Maddie corrected the scholar.
“Look, they’re just furry grasshoppers, end of story. Did you two see anything weird on your way here?” the pale woman asked.
“No, we didn’t. What direction did they come from, if they came from a specific direction anyway?” the trim adventurer asked while looking around. The insects were there now and did not seem to be coming from a particular direction. They were just wandering the village and worrying people that knew furry grasshoppers were not normal.
“There.” Shego pointed slightly to the left of where her pet had just come from.
“I’ll go check it out,” Kim volunteered.
“I’ll go with you,” the moss-hued officer said because she did not have a good feeling about the weird insects around the area and she would like to keep an eye on her careless pet.
Kim did not argue and she handed Maddie over to Rosa. She told the mother and daughter to go wait for them in the house and they agreed to that. She and her mistress dashed off in the direction that the “monkey-grasshoppers/grasshopper-monkeys/furry grasshoppers” came from. Shego silently noticed how easily her monster moved through the tropical rain forest and all she could think about was how she did not know the kid as well as she thought she did.
Kim, on the other hand, noted how her master was not put off at all by their setting or circumstances. Shego was going through the jungle almost like it was the streets of Go City. She was not disturbed or worried about anything in the tropical forest. She just charged forward. It impressed Kim because she could not think of another person that was like her mistress; she was proud that Shego was her owner.
They ran until they came to a large lake. They looked around the body of water and they could see a plastic container and a mass of hair-covered grasshoppers. Kim picked up the container; it was large enough to hold about a pound of insects. It had a sticker on it.
“This is from Professor Akari’s lab,” Kim said as she read the sticker, which was a label that read “property of Akari.”
“Can he explain what’s going on then?” Shego inquired.
“We can go see. Do you mind taking a jog?”
“Let’s roll,” the pale woman answered.
The duo took off toward Professor Akari with the hope that he could explain what was going on. He could not explain the furry grasshoppers. He just knew that he was missing grasshoppers, but his did not have any fur on them. That did puzzle Kim since she was pretty sure that the grasshoppers were his, especially when he said that the container they returned to him had held his stolen insects. Something weird was definitely going on.
The two women returned to the village and found everyone trying to calm down from the freaky invasion that seemed to be just passing through. Someone had suggested that creatures were demons and most people retreated to their homes. Kim and Shego did not buy the demon thing, but they were more willing to blame what Shego considered more evil than a million demons: science. Kim had learned that it could go either way and she suggested that they wait and see if the bugs were demons or science gone awry, as it usually was in Shego’s opinion.
Kim actually would have been with the villagers on the demon thing, but it seemed too coincidental that Professor Akari was missing grasshoppers and now there were furry bugs were wandering the area. So, she was willing to bet that science had something to do with things. She did not understand why someone would use science to make hairy grasshoppers and then just let them go. The critters were not even doing anything menacing.
Rosa’s house was dark and still; it was the middle of the night. Kim and Maddie had spent the night arguing over the “monkey-grasshopper/grasshopper-monkey” problem and had fallen asleep after Maddie declared herself correct because she was younger. Kim had not been able to debate that fact; well, she pretended that she could not anyway.
When it was decidedly bedtime, Kim crawled over to her mistress and fell asleep right on Shego, who was sitting in the corner thinking about the strangeness of the day and trying to figure out what was going on. Rosa supplied them with a blanket and then cast the pair a lingering look while going to her bed that Shego did not notice; well, she pretended not to notice. Her thoughts shifted at that moment.
The pale woman pondered how Rosa told her that there were probably hundreds of people like herself, namely in love with Kim. To think, the girl had hundreds of fans, admirers, and lovers in a loose sense of the word. It was amazing, almost overwhelming because out of all of the people that she could have had, out of all of the things that she could have had, Kim chose to be with her. Kim loved her. Kim stayed with her.
“Fine, so I’m lucky,” Shego conceded while kissing her sleeping pet’s forehead.
Yes, she was lucky to have Kim in her life. The redhead was an incredible girl and she thought it would be a good idea to remember that. She supposed that she was not only very used to Kim being her lazy pet, but also she was just used to meeting people incapable of doing anything complicated at all, so that she could not count herself lucky when meeting anyone at first. But, ever since she opened that box outside her home and found what she had sworn was a dead body, she now understood that was luck.
What would have become of her if Kim had been left just ten feet further away, namely out of her path? What if Kim had just been propped up on the sidewalk to look like a drunk kid? She was not sure what would have happened, but she was pretty sure that she would not have paid things any mind if they happened that way. Luck had been on her side.
She did know that she would not have been in a hot, humid jungle for one if she had not met Kim, but she even liked that. She was not a spoiled city girl; her father used to drag her out into the woods to go camping with her brothers when she was younger sometimes, so she had no problem with being outside in the wilderness. But, aside for that fact, where would she be with her enthusiastic brat? She did not know and she did not care to think about it. She was where she was and she liked where she was.
Shego settled into the corner that she had been sleeping in for the past few days; Rosa did not have a spare room, despite the fact that Kim visited very often. The moss-hued female adjusted Kim, who was using Shego as a mattress for the most part. She wrapped her arms around the smaller female and then closed her eyes to get some sleep. With luck, they would not have to deal with weird, furry insects later on.
“Has anybody seen Gil?” Doctor Lurkin inquired while walking through the village.
“He loses this kid a lot,” Shego noted, speaking to Rosa, who was pretty much the only person that would speak to her. Her green skin and horrible attitude pretty much kept everyone away, much like in Go City; actually, it was pretty much like everywhere she went in her life.
“You’d suggest a leash, wouldn’t you?” Rosa remarked with a small, teasing smile.
“Man, she told you about that too?” Shego asked with an amused smile of her own. She was not ashamed that she had put the petite redhead on a leash because she believed that was what things called for at the time.
“Yes, she said that she used to choke herself on it a lot,” the younger woman commented.
“Yeah, when she gets excited, she seems to forget that she’s a genius,” Shego replied and then her attention was turned to something else bizarre. “What the fuck is that?” she wondered out loud.
Rosa turned her attention to where the older woman was looking. She could not believe her eyes. The sight before her dared to top the furry grasshoppers of yesterday. They were looking at a snake with feathers and wings and it was flying. The serpent was about six feet long and a bit thick with feathers that probably belonged to a parrot before the snake managed to get them. It almost looked like a dragon. Okay, that definitely topped the furry insects, they both silently decided.
“What is going on?” Rosa wondered in disbelief. She had never seen anything like what was happening, which was amazing considering how close she was to Kim. Kim’s work usually did not follow her to the rain forest.
“Damn it, I hate science,” Shego sighed.
Next time: Find out just what the hell is going on.