over the shoulder, thick over thin, wrap the thick, run the loop, pull, straighten.
Usually such a procedure delighted Eddward to no end, but not tonight. Not under this circumstance.
Dolefully, he straightened his tie and took a good look at himself in the full-sized mirror in front of him. He was dolled up in a straight white suit, so bright in its whiteness it nearly blinded him. Despite the time he spent to make it look as neat and clean as humanly possible, he was less than confident in his appearance. The blazer was obviously too big, the cuffs hanging past his wrists, and for all he knew, his argyle-patterned tie couldve been completely clashing with the striped shirt underneath. Hopefully no one would notice.
With a heavy sigh, he turned away from the mirror to face the over-stimulation that was his best friends room, from the shag carpet to the disco ball glittering above their heads. A record spinning atop its turntable produced music of questionable taste, something between cabana and disco, a strange comparison, he noticed.
He directed his attention towards his two chums, bopping to the music as they prepped themselves for the night. Ed was laughing his trademark laugh as he squirmed into his wrinkled dress shirt, the lovable oaf. Eddy was posing in front of his dresser mirror, flicking accessories left and right to the beat and positively ruining the current song, as if it wasnt bad enough, with his obnoxious voice. With all those flamboyant movements, Edd wondered just who he was trying to impress.
As he rapidly sprayed on his Man Stink cologne, Eddy caught the sight of Edds sulking face in the mirror, turning to give him a disapproving glare. Hey, lighten up, Sockhead! Were going to a school dance, not a funeral!
At this point, Edd wouldve preferred the latter. How you talked me into attending the schools aloha dance is beyond me, he lamented, coughing as Eddys clouds of hair spray crept into his nostrils. You know Im horribly awkward at these type of affairs!
Aw, come on, Double D, you gotta get yourself out there! Eddy argued, poking a deadly comb into Edds sternum. Im not gonna let you rot in that cluttered cuticle you call a bedroom!
I believe the word youre looking for his cubicle, Eddy.
Im the ice cream man! Ed proclaimed as he wrestled into his blazer, its sleeves twisting around him in confusing twirls.
Hard to believe he can dress himself in the morning, aint it, Double D?
Ed! Youre stretching the fabric!
It wasnt me! came a clueless shout, followed by a thud, as Ed had completely wrapped himself up.
Edd sighed, exasperated, making his way over to help his friend, whilst Eddy proceeded to laugh his face off like only he could.
Lifting his delightfully dopey pal onto his feet and dusting him off with a compact feather duster, Edd continued to express his doubts. In all seriousness, Eddy, call it intuition, but I have a terrible feeling that something will happen tonight that I shall regret deeply
Like what? Eddy questioned incredulously. Whats the worst that could happen?
Edd visibly gulped, flicking a speck of dust off of Eds shoulder in desperate distraction. G-good as new, Ed. Now, careful with those sleev
Will do, Double D! Ed delightfully chorused while squeezing the dickens out of Edd. The poor boy held his breath in order to prevent himself from inhaling Eds profane body odor.
Alright, put him down, Frankenstein, Eddy intervened, pulling Edd out of his massive arms and handing him a clip-on bowtie. And put this on. While Ed examined it, Eddy turned back to Edd. Anyways
you gotta relax, Double D, its no big deal. You dress up, you dance, you drink punch, and thats pretty much it.
Yup. Oh, and compliment your date on how great she looks, or else
well, you know the saying
Hell hath no fury like a womans scorn?
I look pretty, Ed cooed as he gazed at himself in the mirror, the bowtie settled nicely on his heavy brow.
Ed, you numbskull! Eddy yanked the bowtie off and set it on Eds collar. Its a bowtie and it goes down here!
Ed evaluated his look. Suave with a capital J!
Youre hopeless, Ed.
Edd looked on in amusement, chuckling, as he faced the mirror one last time, adjusting his beloved hat accordingly. Then his brain did a subconscious rewind to a few statements ago, and his boost of confidence vaporized.
Eddy? he called, trying not to freak out.
Thats my name.
Who exactly did you enlist to be our
dates for tonight?
well, who do you think?
Edd bit his lip, sweating. Oh my
A trio of brain-sucking mutants from the planet Zorg?
Shut up, Ed.
Evening fell over the tranquil grounds of Peach Creek Junior High, but the lights were lit and the place was ready to get a jumping. A line of students waited outside the gymnasiums outside doors, collecting tickets and school IDs in order to attend to exclusive dance. If Eddy hadnt scammed a helpless 6th grader out of ticket money, the Eds wouldve probably never gotten in.
But looking at their situation now, perhaps the alternative wouldve been better. The Eds were standing parallel to each other in line, each with their corresponding Kanker sister linked possessively at the elbow. May was staring quietly and dreamily at a profusely sweating Ed beside her, whereas Lee and Marie were too preoccupied with their hair to be paying much attention to their own dates.
Remind me again, Eddy spoke up monotonously, doing his best to ignore the magnitude of their predicament.
what couldve possibly gotten me into recruiting the Kankers as our dates.
I think it had something to do with verbal threats on their part and your concern for social status, Edd replied blankly.
Oh yeah. What was my reasoning again?
Going stag isnt cool, I believe.
Yeah, that sounds about right.
I am not in my happy place, Double D, Ed muttered tightly, a pool of warm sweat gathering around where he stood. May heard this, but the oblivious broad took it sweetly, glomping him and calling him her silly bumpkins.
Edd quietly urged.
Dont sweat it, Sockhead, he slyly whispered. Well lose em at the buffet table. No problem.
May was now hanging off of Eds side like a monkey, giggling. There was much discomfort reflected in his horrified expression.
Edd sighed deeply. It was going to be a long evening.
The gymnasium was decked with modest decorations, following the Hawaiian motif the aloha dance demanded. Big, paper, tropical flowers hung from the ceiling in dazzling colors, and murals of palm trees, calm beaches, and bright sunshine lined the walls. Fake flowers trimmed the buffet tables, and the dimmed lights and starting music set up a lovely atmosphere, one the students did their best to ignore.
Surprisingly, Eddys oh-so-brilliant escape plan was successful. Immediately upon entering, the Kanker sisters took over the buffet tables, gorging themselves on candied sausages and whetting their lips on tropic fruit punch. The Eds took their lucky break and escaped them and the other protesting kids, and were now safe for the time being. All they had to do was stay on the opposite end of the gym as the uncouth trio of girls, and it was all good.
The festivities progressed as the night went on. Eddy commented on the groovy music, Edd questioned his taste, and Ed frolicked about the dance floor, getting his boogie on, by himself or with whomever he bumped into.
Whoa! Watch it, big guy!
Skip to my Lou!
Move it or lose it, bub!
Shake it like a Polaroid picture!
Hey, go bug someone else, dork!
Do the twist! Ed then proceeded to twirl Kevin in multiple circles until he couldnt stand up straight.
That Eds an animal! Eddy laughed, chugging the last of his current cup of punch as he and Edd watched their pal from the sidelines. Go, Lumpy, go!
Its nice to see Ed having a good time, Edd commented delightfully, sipping on his own cup of punch.
And now its our turn! Eddy proclaimed, yanking Edd by the scruff of his blazer. When his progress was halted, he turned back to give his shy friend a questioning glance. Hey, you coming or not?
A-actually, Im quite content right here, thank you, Edd ventured with a desperate grin.
He expected Eddy to protest and shove him towards the dance floor, but all he did was grin. What, by the punch bowl? I guess peoplell have to come up and talk to you if they want any punch. Not a bad strategy, Sockhead.
Wait, Im not
But mark my words, he pointed a finger into Edds forehead in mock threat. At some point, Im getting you out on that dance floor even if it kills you!
Dont you mean if it kills you?
Thats what I said.
But you meant
Whatever. He yanked the finger away, unknowingly flicking Edds nose, much to his chagrin, and slinked into the excitement to show off his own moves. Just as he was about to do so, however, Ed plucked him off the ground and jerked him this way and that in bumbling movements.
Get on board the Ed train!
Edd chuckled to himself. It was comforting to know things hadnt changed throughout the school year.
He turned around to refill his cup, idly glancing down the table. Rolf was mocking the tiny sausage delights laid out, when Sarah came by and brutishly knocked him aside to allow her and Jimmy to nosh to their hearts content. Edd cringed, as the force of the blow was strong enough for him to almost feel it, and wisely focused his attention back on the salmon-colored drink pouring out of the ladle and into his cup.
Hey, Double D.
Edd nearly jumped out of his skin at that particular voice, briefly playing hot potato with his punch and miraculously not spilling any on himself. Regaining his composure, he turned to face his addresser, only to lose it all over again.
Nazz was embellished with tinsel and glitter, her dress a platinum silver. With her ravishing, blushed face and her blonde hair pinned up in a perfect bun, she looked simply drop-dead gorgeous.
It took all of Edds willpower to keep his legs from collapsing.
First time Ive ever seen you in a place like this. You having fun?
Yes, of course, loads of it, he blubbered.
She let out an angelic giggle that nearly made him melt. You look nice tonight, Double D.
W-why, thank you, so do you, Nazz.
Although your tie and shirt kind of clash, but thats okay.
Drat! Well, um, I, er
HEY! Suddenly, a grip of death grabbed him by the droop of his hat, pulling him into the greedy arms of Marie Kanker. Back off, doll face! Hes MINE!
Nazz gave her weird look. Whatever, she shrugged, and Edd watched helplessly as she trotted away.
Ive been lookin all over for you, dream boat! Marie purred, fondling his chin affectionately with a dangerous, manicured finger. What do you say we heat things up on the dance floor, huh, sugar muffin?
While hurling Eddy to and fro, Ed abruptly halted and released his grip. Eddy hit the polished wood floor hard, much to the amusement of the bystanders.
Ed, you dolt! Whats wrong with you?
Ed replied by lifting him up by the face and thrusting a finger towards their friend in peril. Double D has been ensnared, Eddy!
Instantly, Eddys expression shifted to that of dread. Get outta there, Sockhead!
Meanwhile, Edd frantically fished for an excuse. Um, uh, no thank you, um, oh! I think my chums are calling
Forget them! Marie only pulled tighter, stretching his precious hat. Lets dance, oven mitt!
Youre dancing with me whether you like it or not, mister!
By the time anyone realized she was pulling too hard, it was too late.
The hat finally came off with a tiny pop.
The audible sound carried throughout the entire gymnasium. The music stopped, everyone turned, and time seemed to have abruptly crashed into a brick wall.
Edds gut plummeted into his shoes as light-colored strands fluttered down into his eyes.
There then came a heavy flap, like a shaken dirty rug, and out from atop his head rolled a full surf of saffron hair with tinges of mahogany, like a slightly tarnished halo, unraveling down past his shoulders. When it finally settled, the mop drooped limply and framed his ovum head, fully exposed to the world.
Every single pair of eyes in the room were glued to him. He trembled violently, and his eyes, blinded by both feathery bangs and welled-up tears, looked about ready to burst.
Ed still held a grip on Eddys head, but both were too busy staring to notice. It wasnt as much as a shock to them; they had seen this before, and Eddy had often used it as blackmail to make Edd do his bidding. But standing there, seeing the devastated look sulking his face, neither of them were sure what to say or do.
Finally, after stewing in his humiliation a few more seconds, Edd broke out into a heartbreaking sob, turned on his heel, and escaped through the doors and into the interior school hallway. His light footsteps and loud cries echoed on until the doors slowly swung closed.
Nobody moved. Well, almost nobody, as Kevin burst into boisterous laughter without a care.
I think Double Ds upset, Eddy, Ed finally muttered.
Oh, really? Eddy replied, voice dripping with sarcasm. Next statement, Captain Obvious? Wiggling out of Eds grip, he looked down at the spot were Edd once stood.
hey, whats that?
There on the floor laid three dark strands, one of which Ed picked up and examined with intense contemplation.
are those fake? Nazz asked, slightly repulsed.
Ed gasped when realization hit. They were discarded as Double D went through his final stage of metamorphosis!
No other voice seconded this notion. Kevins laughter only grew in intensity.
Ed, shut up already! Eddy gave him a good whap upside the head. Youre not helping!
Marie stood rigid, the hat still clutched in her hand and hanging limply like a shrunken head. The revealing completely threw her off her rocker, and for a moment she wasnt quite sure what to think of her appointed boyfriend.
Dude! You should keep that as a trophy! Kevin blurted out, continuing his merriment.
It took him a moment to realize he was the only one in the entire gym who was laughing.
anymore punch left?
Edd found his sanctuary in a nearby boys bathroom, but found little comfort in the cold tiled floor or the blank walls. He was now leaned over on of the sink counters, bawling miserably, his tears forming a neat little stream down into the drain. His hands clutched at his goldenrod locks, and if he had the guts or the strength in his flimsy arms, hed rip out the accursed mop in scorn.
As far as he was concerned, his life was pretty much over. Well, okay, maybe it wasnt over, but it would never be the same, that was for certain. How could anyone take him seriously with such a ridiculous mane crowning his noggin? All those years of keeping it concealed, thrown out into the garbage.
So deep he was in his sorrow, he barely noticed the creak of the door opening or the pitter-patter of tiny feet entering the bathroom. He did notice, however, when a gentle hand patted his lean shoulder comfortingly.
A penny for your thoughts, Double D?
Sniffling, Edd drearily looked up to face a concerned smile, offering a kind dose of support.
The youth handed Edd a hanky, and he blew his nose with a loud honk. I
Finally, he cracked, shaking Jimmy back and forth. I LOOK LIKE A DELINQUENT!
The shaking ended with Edd burying his face in Jimmys shirt hopelessly, much to the boys initial surprise. But he was expecting this, of course, and responded with another pat, atop his head this time. There, there, dont be silly, silly! You dont look half as bad as before, honest! He lifted a golden strand and scrutinized it. Though I must admit, I least expected something like this hiding underneath that hat of yours all this time.
Thats just it! Edd wailed. How can I expect to maintain my dignity when all Ive got to show for is this
ragged tangle of savagery? He began to pace around the bathroom anxiously. I dont even know how it GOT this long!
Jimmy thought this over. Are you certain you have no idea? Denial isnt just a river in Egypt, you know!
This snapped Edd mostly back to his senses. He halted his pointless march and sighed. No
I suppose its not.
Go on, do tell!
Edd twiddled his thumbs for a moment, hesitant to delve into his childhood memories and dig out the traumatic experience. W-well
it happened quite some time ago
what was it, my
fourth year of living? Mother and Father took me to the barber shop one afternoon. They were ecstatic, our little Eddward, getting his first haircut, they said. I was a tad bit frightened, of course, but they had succeeded in soothing my anxiety and convincing me to go through with it
He paused tensely.
well, lets just say his method was quite similar to that of a weed-whacker.
horrid incident, neither I nor my parents have trusted barbers since.
And I dont blame you! Jimmy agreed, caressing his cowlick lovingly. I wouldnt let those butchers near my locks if my life depended on it!
As I grew older, I assured them I would trim it myself whenever it grew untamable
But you didnt, did you?
Edd moped, ashamed. Of course not. My hands are so unsteady with a pair of clippers
He loosely fingered his extended golden tips, sighing heavily. If they were to see it like this
to see how uncontrollable Ive let it become
Heaven knows what they would say
A dry sob escaped his throat, and he cried, I mean, I look like a rag-a-muffin, for crying out loud!
Jimmy giggled. Well, of course you do! He lifted a few of the limp threads up. I would say the same of my hair was this flat and greasy!
What I mean to say is that these tresses have the potential of looking simply marvelous, but all those years of keeping it hidden and unattended have left it flaccid and lifeless, he explained, bringing Edd over to one of the mirrors. You must breath life into it and make it come alive! Controlling it doesnt necessarily mean cutting it, but making it look presentable! And since its such a big night, Ill tackle on the task for you!
Edd let out a tiny gasp, touched. You
Youd do that for me?
Of course! Allow me! Out of thin air, he pulled out a fanny pack containing various hair products and accessories.
where did you ge
No questions, please! Jimmy examined his assigned work as he pulled out his tools. Any particular style you desire, Double D?
well, hair styles arent really my forte, so Ill just trust you know what youre doing. He paused in thought. Oh, but now cowlicks please. No offense.
None taken, Jimmy assured, running a finger through one of his curls. Not everyone can make one look this good.
Edd nervously gulped as he faced the mirror, watching as Jimmy pulled out a stool and climbed atop it. He popped up behind Edds head with a comb and hair tie in one hand and hair spray in the other.
Ready to be molded, Double D?
Very well! And with that, the trial began.
Gradually, the dance resumed, though it was nowhere near its previous intensity. Anyone who really cared about Edd and his problems was too busy worrying, or otherwise.
Its been a while since Jimmy went to go find him
Nazz remarked, properly concerned.
This is all your fault! Eddy, on the other hand, felt it was best to verbally attack Marie. If you and your stupid sisters would just leave us alone
Get over yourself, mammoth mouth!
When their quarrel came to the point of becoming physical, it was rudely interrupted when once again Ed yanked Eddy aside by the face stiffly.
Ed! If you touch my face one more time
Look, Eddy! He pointed towards the door dramatically, adding a quiet, Something this way comes.
His announcement had been carried throughout the gym, and everyone turned towards the said door, where light poured in from the hallway, framing Jimmys tiny form.
Ladies and gentlemen, if I could have your attention please, thank you! he announced courteously with a small wave. After much shake and sweat, I present to you, new and improved, but still your friend and mine, Double D!
He slid to the side, out of the doorway, allowing the object of interest to nervously step into the gym. He froze when a spotlight flashed, conveniently shining right on him.
His head of blonde hair, once matted and uninteresting, had become full and velvety, glistening in the light. Most of it had been combed into the front, framing his face in a soft, perfect fringe, shaped like an upside-down w. The rest of it was pulled back into a neat ponytail, coasting down the nape of his neck in a graceful curve.
No one spoke for several seconds. Edd started shaking again, dreading their reaction. After it registered through, it came out with the rapidity, energy, and surprise of a jack-in-the-box.
Edd stood there, dumbfounded, as mostly all of them crowded around him to get a closer look at the hairdo that amazed them to no end.
Double D, you look so cute!
Oh! Well, uh
Your wheat-like head of hair reminds Rolf of the sunny corn fields tilled in his homeland, cat-out-of-bag Ed boy!
Why, thank you, I
Your do looks awesome, Double D! Its so modern!
Jimmy sure does good work, huh, Plank?
DOUBLE D! Salvation can in the form of a hand grabbing the scruff of his blazer, pulling him away from the mob and in-between his two best friends in the whole wide world.
Dazed, he muttered, Ed
Look at you! Eddy exclaimed with a huge grin. You look like a million bucks, Blondie!
I do? Really?
Double Ds noggin is soft and fluffy like a chickens little tail feathers! Ed proclaimed giddily, petting his mop a bit roughly.
At that moment, all of Edds previous worries melted away from the warmth radiating from his heart. Oh
my dear friends.
Naw, aint that sweet?
So sweet I could gag!
At the sound of the virile female voices, the trio suddenly felt very afraid, huddling together in fear.
Oh no, Kankers! Edd cried out. And were out in the open!
Make them go away, Double D, make them go away! Ed whimpered.
They froze when a manicured hand each pinched at their ears.
The night is still young, boys!
Lets sweat it out, big Ed!
All three cried out in protest as they were yanked away from their protective circle and thrown against their will onto the dance floor, forced into awkward positions with the amorous females.
I love a man with lengthy locks, Marie crooned, stroking Edds flaxen mane as she held him in a dip. So rebellious!
WHOA! Eddy was much too busy being thrown about like a rag doll, courtesy of Lee. Ed, DO something!
Hold on to your mustard! Ed pulled May closer, much to her confusion. Pardon me, maam. He then sent the Kanker sister careening into the far wall, leaving a smoky, May-shaped hole and tons of rubble.
HA! Good on ya, Ed!
Next stop! Ed leaped in between Lee and Eddy next, separating them and hurtling her at another wall. Finally, he cleaved through Edd and Marie, yanking him aside by the hair and throwing her towards the only wall that wasnt yet damaged.
My chums are safe to live another day! declared Ed as he triumphantly lifted Edd up by the ponytail, a highly painful position for the lad.
um, thank you, Ed.
No problemo, Blondie!
Nice work, Monobrow! Eddy approached the two, pausing.
Let go of Double D already. I mean, that cant be comfortable for him.
oh! Cluelessly, Ed released his grip, allowing Edd to crash to the floor below. Are you comfortable now, Double D?
As Ill ever be, Ed, he replied dizzily.
Will you two quit messing around? Theres a dance going on, remember? A new song with a bopping beat began, catching their attention. Alright, lets mambo! Both of you ladies, up, on your feet!
Like this, Double D! Ed roughly jerked him up and waved his light frame back and forth. Put your right foot in and shake it all about!
Okay, yes, I get it, Ed! Edd wriggled free of his grasp, leaving the bumbling oaf to prance around on his own. After brushing his sleeves based on habit, he took a moment to allow the beat the soak in, and before he knew it, his hips were swaying left and right, and he began a modest little dance. He felt the music, as tacky as it was, move throughout his body, and he actually began to
enjoy the sensation.
Aha! In between his boisterous dance moves, Eddy slinked up to his side slyly. Told you Id get you out on the dance floor at some point!
I guess so. And it almost did kill me, didnt it?
Their miscommunication came to a halt when Ed lifted the both of them into his colossal arms and began to skip about. One plus two equals boogaloo!
Eddy was squirming to escape, but Edd didnt bother. He was internally much too elated to even care about whatever ghastly Ed-stink he was being wrapped in. With a heavy burden lifted off both his shoulders and his head, he felt simply lighter than air. All he could do while Ed twirled the two around was grin and laugh happily as his slightly mussed bangs fell into his face.
That genuine smile remained on his face for the rest of the evening.