Part the First:
The bus was more crowded than usual. It was bitterly cold outside, and I hadn't prepared for it. I noticed that a fair number of the riders were dressed curiously. As I glanced around, I stretched my feet and kicked up against a large, heavy cardboard box laying under the seat in front of me.
SamuraiFrog then continues the tale:
I looked around for the box's owner. Across the aisle from me, a pretty girl flashed me a smile and cocked her head. She was motioning toward the box. Encouraging me. Sliding the box back towards me, I opened it and was immediately confused. Inside was a plastic rain poncho, a police baton, and a Donald Duck mask. I looked around and saw that several people were wearing plastic rain ponchos. I looked back over at the pretty girl. "You're ready for this, right?" she asked me. "They wouldn't have sent you if you weren't ready."
And now I step up:
I shook my head as I folded the box closed again, and when I looked up at the girl, I chuckled. "They didn't send me," I said. "You're really out of your depth if you think that they send me anywhere. I send them places." I pushed the box over to her with my foot. "And Donald Duck? Really? I'm a Daffy man. If you knew anything about me, you'd know that."
The girl's eyes flashed momentarily, and then she smiled. It was the kind of smile that nice people see when it's the last thing they see in this world, just before the person smiling that smile pulls the trigger on the gun that's aimed at their forehead. "You're not a Daffy man," she said. "Not even close. You can think you are all you want, but we're not about what you think you are. We're about what you really are. And you were so close, really; a one-in-three chance of picking the false prop. No, the mask is real, and you'll be putting it on soon enough, Boy-O."
"And the poncho?" I asked.
"If you're lucky."
I nodded then, understanding. "So the police baton is the fake, huh."
"No, that's real too. That's why your 'They don't send me, I send them' bit just then was so lame that I almost got off the bus right then and there, which I'd have prefaced by kicking you in your smallish groin. If you knew anything about them, you'd know that they don't mess with fakes."
Now I smiled. "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
"Sure," she said. "Whatever. Just shut up and put on the mask. You're gonna be our getaway driver."
"OK," I said as I grabbed the box back, opened it, and took out the Donald Duck mask. Sure, I'll wear this. She's right that I'm not a Daffy man after all, but what she doesn't know is that I hate ducks, all of 'em, every last one. Donald my ass. That's what I thought. What I said was, "How's this?"
The girl sighed. "They sure can pick 'em. Here. Do not lose this." She handed me something from the pocket of her jacket, wrapped in paper. She was acting like it was the Holy Grail or something, and I suppose it was, because when I unwrapped it, what was in my hands was ____.
So, what did she give him> Tell us, Steph, Nettl, Jayme, Tosy and Cosh, Paul, and Simon! You're all it!
UPDATE: I wrote this and scheduled it to appear today...and then discovered that Roger has tagged me with this same thing, although his version of the tale has gone in a different direction, obviously. Hmmmm!!!