by Red Monster
A lot of changes were taking place in the Cafe. Mainly, it was much more peaceful since the brawls in the X-Men room became less severe and frequent since the comic book writers were switched around. The legions of fanfic writers still poured out onto the street, overflowing from the X-Men room, but since "Lobdull" was transferred, they werent as violent anymore. In his place they got a pair of guys named Joe Kelly and Steven Seagle, with whom they were much more content.
Characters were slightly regrouped, too. Deadpool was spending less time with X-Force, and more time up in his own room, accompanied by a supporting cast not nearly as dignified as X-Force, and frequented by new X-Men writer Joe Kelly, as well as a handful of enthusiastic fanfic writers, most of whom pulled him back to the X-Force room to do their magic.
The writers, both those hired by the Editors and those entering the Cafe of their own volition, were good about taking turns with the characters. They all wanted to do different things, which couldnt all be done at once, and often left the characters very confused after being pulled in eight-hundred different directions in one day. So the policy was, only one writer working at a time, or no writers at all. Comic book writers got priority, because they were sent by the Editors and the fanfic writers took pity on them because due to their employment, lost a good bit of creative control. But that was okay because the comic book writers only came in once a month, whereas the fanfic writers could come in whenever they wanted.
John Francis Moore had a deadline coming up. He wanted to spend more time at home with his family, but his bosses, the Editors, breathed down his neck until he grumbled under his breath and headed off to the Cafe to deal with X-Force. He was starting to regret his decision to work with that particular team. When he agreed to start working with them, he thought it would be wonderful because the Editors didnt think very highly of them, so he was pretty much allowed free reign with them. But he soon discovered, he didnt know nearly as much about those characters as he would like to. But he was already their writer, so he couldnt very well ask for comprehensive information now, could he?
"Johnny! Long time, no see!" Illyana cried joyously when he entered their room.
"Its been a month, Illyana, now all of you extraneous characters get out, I need to work with my X-Force right now." he growled at her.
"Dont blow a tube, Johnny." said a voice he didnt recognize. It was a young woman, hiding under the table, tying Warpaths and Siryns shoelaces together.
"Stop that, Red!" James barked at her.
"Oh my God..." Moore began.
"Why dont you just visit for awhile and get to know the characters a little better before you do your monthly manipulation of them?" the young woman suggested. She was a fanfic writer, that much was clear. And James had called her "Red." Could it be...?
"Red Monster, thats very cute, but this isnt the time." Siryn said to her.
"So youre Red Monster. Ive heard so much about you. Rictor once even told me to shove some lithium down your throat if I saw you, and now I can do it, because I know what you look like now." Moore said threateningly.
"Is this true, Ric?" Red asked, untying the shoelaces and climbing out from under the table to grimace menacingly at Rictor.
"No, Red, those Editors are brainwashing him." Rictor said, starting to slink under the table to hide himself.
"Ohhh, youre really in for it now. Anyway, how ya doin, Johnny?" Red asked, manic as ever.
"I need you to take yourself and all your resurrected, fan-created, and non-present X-Force characters out of here for a few minutes while I work with my current team. Id love to let you stay in here and tie shoelaces together, but I have a deadline coming up and the Editors are pointing red-hot bayonets at me. So can you please clear out and give the puppetized comic book writer priority?" he asked.
"No go, Frankie. Ive finally caught you in here, and now Im going to set you straight! I know youre a high-and-mighty overpaid X-Writer, so youre supposed to know everything, but youve been suffering from a real background deficit on these characters since you started working with them." Red told him.
"Is that why youve stopped working with Cable, Domino, Rictor and me as part of the team? You simply dont know anything about us?" Shatterstar asked.
"Thats exactly why he dropped you guys!" Siryn spoke up. "But he was wise with you guys, and hes been wise enough to just not delve into anybody elses past or personality, but with me, hes been screwing up for months."
"Great, Im getting the youre not writing me right speech again..."
"Hey, Johnny, you cant fault her for being frustrated. After all, youve had her tight as an overtuned violin string for over a year now and you havent even tried to get her nationality right yet." Red said.
"So this is where Theresa gets her lecturing skills from." said John.
"Sit down. Relax. Risque, hand me my briefcase, would you?" Red asked.
"Get it yourself. After all, youre the overconfident writer who manipulates us all the time." Risque told her.
"Risque, I never really liked you to begin with, and right now youre not even that cute." Red gave her the same menacing glare shed given to Rictor. Risque lunged for the briefcase, laid it on the table in front of Red Monster, and even opened it up, with a sweet, sincere smile.
"Wow, shes actually got stuff in there!" Domino gasped when she saw the contents.
"Here, Johnny, I want you to have this. Take it home, read it carefully, memorize it, carry it with you, do whatever it takes, and then do your monthly assignment with X-Force, keeping this stuff in mind. I guarantee itll end the speeches from me and Siryn." Red said, handing him a thick manila folder. Inside it was a copy of the X-Force FAQ.
"Red, I appreciate the help, but I told you, I have a deadline..."
"Deadlines, schmeadlines! Ask any reader, wed rather have something late and good than on time and full of errors." Red assured him.
"Shes right, Moore. The readers get restless when the comic is late, but they really get steamed when it doesnt meet their approval." said Thunderbird, the other Johnny in the room.
"Okay, I guess I can get away with being a day or two late." Moore said, sitting down next to Shatterstar.
"All right! Look at this setup, weve got two writers in here, not fighting, and no manipulation is going on!" Red cried joyously.
"Anyone notice how quiet the X-Men room has been lately? We havent heard a brawl in there in months, let alone had a fan get slammed through our door from across the hall." Tabitha said.
"Thats because the fanfic writers have mellowed out since Lobdell got transferred out. Now they have Steven Seagle and Joe Kelly in there to write the comic books." Moore said.
"But doesnt Joe Kelly write Deadpools comic book?" Theresa asked.
"Yes, he writes both. Remember when Fabian Nicieza wrote your comic book? He was working in five rooms at a time." Moore said.
"I miss Fabian." Theresa said.
"Yes, Fabian was a good egg. He tortured me with you, but he let me do some pretty cool stuff while he tortured me with you." James said to Theresa.
"Yeah, Fabian was a good guy." Cable agreed.
"Too bad the Editors annoyed him out of the Marvel wing of the Cafe." Tabitha said.
"So wheres Lobdell now?" Rictor asked.
"He was assigned to the Fantastic Four for a few months, but then the Editors transferred him out again, which was a shame, since the readers up there really seemed to like him." Moore said.
"Lobdell found some readers who appreciated him and Marvel transferred him out again? Thats so typical." Red Monster said.
"Yeah, Marvel has a tendency to do that, they love to inflict hard-working writers upon fans who hate them." Moore said, looking at Red.
"Hey! I dont hate you, I just want you to know more about these characters. Most of the readers who come in here adore you. Only a few of us see any flaws with how youre handling this team." Red assured him.
"Thats right! Most readers in here think Im supposed to be a nasty, uptight, insecure priss." Theresa snapped.
"And what are you being now?" Moore asked venomously.
"Im being wicked because thats what you want me to be! Look at what youve turned me into!" Theresa shouted, standing up. Her baby daughter, Fiona, who was Reds idea, jolted awake and started crying.
"That reminds me: Red, what am I supposed to do with her now that shes saddled with this child?" Moore asked.
"Ill baby-sit Fiona while youre working with Theresa, Johnny." Domino offered.
"No, Ill do it. Johnny still works with you once in awhile, Dom." Illyana said.
"Thank you, Illyana. Shhh, sweetie, its okay, go back to sleep, Mommy didnt mean to wake you up." Theresa said.
"You should have thought about that while she was pregnant, Johnny. Did you think she was going to carry that child in her womb forever?" Red asked.
"Writer-Red did have friend-Theresa carry baby for a very long time." Caliban reminded her.
Then, without warning, the screaming started. Not in the X-Force room, but further down the Marvel wing. First, it sounded like X-Factor. Then Generation X joined in. Then the X-Men joined the chorus. The Cafe was in chaos.
"Guys, I think theyre coming..." Thunderbird said nervously, wiping the sweat off his brow. Red Monster covered her ears and shook her head. They always invaded her life at the most unwanted moments.
"Somebody call? I thought I heard somebody ask for Mommy. Red, I think you could use some help." said Mommy, with the rest of the Greenhill Troupe behind her. They were the ones who had struck fear into the hearts of the characters.
"Get out, you wingnuts! Dont make me turn John Seavey and Jeff Mariano on you!" Red screamed at them. John and Jeff were the ones who had attacked the very first pieces Red had written, accompanied by the Greenhill Troupe.
"Get a more realistic threat, Red. Those two dont respect you, they wont attack us just because you asked them to. Theyll just make fun of the way you phrase your request." said Fluffy, sitting in Loudmouths arms. "Besides, weve grown up a lot since then. We can take John and Jeff." Loudmouth said.
"Let me put it this way: Nobody is manipulating these characters right now, and they dont particularly like you guys." Red threatened. The characters cowered in their seats, not daring to look any Trouper in the eyes. Moore sat in his place, perplexed by the change that had come over the characters.
"Who are these creatures?" he asked.
"These are my family, the Greenhill Troupe. I usually bring them in here with me, and thats probably why Rictor asked you to shove the lithium down my throat."
"You know what, Red? The X-Men room has really calmed down these days! Those fanfic writers and older readers are really pacified since Lobdell left for the Fantastic Four room. But you know where the brawls are now? In the Generation X room. All the fanfic writers and all the readers, except maybe Olav Beemer, are really pissed since Hama took over." Professor of Nuttiness said.
"Yes, there was a scuffle going on in there when I passed that room on the way up here. Im surprised, since I always thought Hama was a fairly good writer." Moore said.
"Well, he sure has screwed up with those kids! Too bad none of the readers in there are three years old." Rose said.
"Get out! Your presence is frightening these characters! I think some of them are about to wet their pants! Scram before you give Cable a heart attack!" Red railed at them. She delved into her briefcase, pulled out cigarette lighter and a bottle of hairspray and went to Plan B. She lit the lighter, and sprayed the hairspray into the flame. The Greenhill Troupe blanched and ran out of the Cafe. Only Red knew how to handle flames. "Theyre gone, guys, you can show your faces now."
There was a collective sigh around the room as X-Force assumed more relaxed posture and uncovered their faces.
"Its okay, darlin, Ill never let them get to you." Theresa cooed to Fiona.
"Weve really got to get a lock on that door." Shatterstar said.
"Then how would Indigo get in here?" James reminded him.
"Indigo can just stay out for all I care! She gave me AIDS." Bobby said.
"I like Indigo. Shes a nice one." Theresa said.
"Youre just saying that because she didnt give you a terminal illness." Bobby said.
"Oh, Bobby, she gave you AIDS, not esophageal cancer, youll be fine as long as youre careful." Dani said.
"She also had you do it with me, so you may be HIV-positive in Indigos next story." Bobby reminded her.
"Well dont worry, neither of you are going to get sick as long as Im in here." Red assured him, when Indigo came into the room.
"Ahhh! Get her away from me!" Bobby yelled.
"Hi, Indigo!" Theresa said.
"Hi, guys. Uh, who are you?" Indigo asked Moore.
"Indigo, meet John Francis Moore, current comic book writer for X-Force!" Red said.
"Ive been thinking: Red, whatll happen to me if a fanfic writer comes in here and kills me?" Bobby asked.
"Death is a temporary condition among characters. It just means that particular writer cant use you in a sequel to that story." Red said.
"Like that time you wrote Natures Wish? When you had me and Terry get really old and die, but after it was all over, you snapped your fingers and we were young and healthy again, and you took us back in here, and it was business as usual." James said.
"Exactly like that."
"You know, the Marvel folks killed me off but that only means the comic book writers cant work with me now." Illyana said.
"Thats what happened to me, too. Of course, they killed me off so long ago, no one cares anymore " Thunderbird moaned.
"I care about you, John!" Red said.
"But no one reads your stuff, Red!"
"Hey, Im working on that!"
There was a knock at the door. Tabitha answered, and there stood Bishop, holding a very bruised, disoriented man by the collar.
"Does this belong to you? He crashed through our door and no one else will take him back." Bishop asked.
"Who is that poor dolt?" Red asked.
"Thats Larry Hama. Poor bastard " Muttered Moore.
"He belongs Generation X, Bish." Cable said.
"They wont take him. I thought he came from that direction, but when I brought him through their damaged door, they denied ever seeing him." Bishop said.
"Well. Your characters wont even let you back in, youre really in trouble now!" James said to Hama. "Ill take him up to the Editors, theyre his bosses, so they have to take him." he offered. Bishop handed the pummeled writer to James, who slung Hama over his shoulder and headed up to the Editors floor. "Who did this, dude?" James asked.
"Everett and Monet beat the crap out of me." Hama answered weakly.
"Man, not even Lobdell got thrashed by his own characters. Time to get transferred again, Larry." James said.
"Youre probably right." Hama croaked.
"Red, do you read Generation Xs comic book?" Theresa asked, back in the X-Force room.
"Yes." Red answered, burping Fiona so Theresa could take a break. "Hamas really doing terribly. I dont know if hes just following orders, or if he really has his head up his ass, but hes ruining that book with startling efficiency."
"The next time you have a chapter scheduled where we visit Gen X, why dont you do something nice with them, to make them feel better?" Theresa suggested.
"Thats an idea."
"Indigo, what are you doing with us for your next X-Force story?" Dani asked.
"Probably sending me further downhill " Bobby groaned.
"Im keeping it a surprise." Indigo said.
"Shes not writing another X-Force story!" Risque conjectured.
"Neither am I, if you guys keep that up." Red threatened.
"Is that supposed to deter us?" Risque asked.
"Well, you guys dont have that many fanfic writers." Red reminded her.
"We have a few, and youre the battiest one of all. I mean, you brought me, of all people, back to life!" Thunderbird said.
"What were you smoking when you did that? Can we have some?" Risque asked.
"What, the pot Im giving you and James isnt keeping you happy?"
"Okay, its really been fun, but I need to get home, read this FAQ, confirm it for accuracy with the clerks at the comic book store, and work up a plot for this months story before I get too far behind my deadline. So, I must make like hair and part." Moore said, leaving the room with the folder Red had given him.
"Bye, Frankie!" Red yelled as he vamoosed.
"Hey, Terry, why doesnt Johnny ever work with Deadpool anymore? Does it have anything to do with that time when Joe Kelly came in here and took you and James up to Deadpools room and you guys came back down looking so shocked?" Tabitha asked.
"Yes, it has everything to do with that little episode. Kelly had Deadpool act like a real horses ass and he had me dump Wade because of it, so now Johnny cant involve Wade with us, and hes free to get me together with Jimmy, but he doesnt make use of his freedom." Theresa described the episode.
"You know what? I followed you guys up there, and after Kelly let you and Jimmy come back here, he had Wade go through some really painful ordeal which I wouldnt inflict on anyone in here, and after that was all over, I sort of elaborated on the part where you dumped him, and I got to work with Al, which was fun." Said Red.
"Wade never told me who Al is, will you?" Theresa asked.
"Yeah, shes this little old blind lady whom Wade took prisoner a few years ago and shes really mean to him." Red said.
"Wade is keeping an old lady prisoner? Terry, I think you should stay very far away from him." Dani suggested.
"You know what? Id love to stick around, but the Greenhill Troupe is probably allowing snakes to breed in my bed as we speak, so I have to get home and put a cap on the insanity. Bye!" Red said as she closed her briefcase and started to swagger out of the room. "Youre free to do what you want with this bunch, Indigo!"
"Anyone up for a cup of hot cocoa?" Indigo asked.
"Could I have my medication in mine?" Bobby asked.
Enjoyable? Insane? Have I passed the point of no return?
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