Violet looked around herself in disbelief. Here she was, back on her Earth, in front of her library. Hey, Sylvia's bench is back. That's odd. Violet took a step towards the library, eager to tell Sylvia all that had happened the past few days, but paused when she noticed a post-it stuck to the door.
"Gone to Red Lobster, back in two hours."
"Great. How do we know when they left?" Violet addressed her question to her brother, but couldn't seem to find him. "Sven? Billy?"
"I'm right here, Violet, but I'm not sure where your brother is hiding," Billy joined Violet in her search.
"Sven! Where are you?" Violet was starting to worry that she might have to destroy the collider on her own, and just when she and Sven had started working as a team. As Violet walked around the library, she noticed that the mailbox was back in its original spot. This is too weird. How did it get back here? “Oh!” Violet jumped back in surprise as the mailbox rocked slightly from side to side.
“Vi! Help! I’m stuck in a tiny box. Are you there? Violet?” Sven’s voice was muffled from inside the mailbox, but still audible.
“I’m here, Sven. I’ll get Billy to help you get out. Billy! Come get Sven out of this damned mailbox.”
Billy gazed at the mailbox for a moment, and then the familiar scent of burnt cookies filled the air, and Sven emerged from a cloud of purple fog.
“Ahhh.” Sven stretched his arms wide and smiled at Violet. “Now we can get to work. Who are your new friends, Billy?”
“That’d be Dr. Vanderslice and Junior Mint, Violet’s doppelgaenger. But she’s not on Octopi’s side, so don’t worry. There’s just one problem: when I left them to come retrieve you guys they were in the library, and now they’re at Red Lobster.”
“Probably trying to pick up rich men,” gibed Violet. She still couldn’t understand Sylvia’s obsession with that chain restaurant. Besides, shouldn’t she be in the library? It was still supposed to be open–it was late morning.
“Good thing my car was still in the lot,” Violet said as she parked next to Sylvia’s car outside Red Lobster.
“So explain this restaurant to me...aren’t all lobsters red?” Billy was clearly from a different time and country.
“Nevermind that,” Sven clipped, “and why are turning purple, Billy?”
“Oh dear. I was afraid this might happen. Ever since Nickel pressed the initiate button on the collider in the future, I have felt myself...slipping away. The part of me that Dr. Octopi converted into anti-matter is dissolving due to the influence of the collider on time and space. I may very well disappear altogether, so perhaps we should form a plan.”
“But Billy, we need you! Without you, how will we know how to destroy the collider?” Violet was about to question him further, but they had reached the booth in the restaurant that housed Dr. Vanderslice, Sylvia and Junior Mint. “Junior Mint??” Violet thrust her arms towards her feline friend and scooped her up in a loving embrace.
“Hi! That’s me! Er–I guess you meant your cat. Sorry. Here I am!” Junior Mint the doppelgaenger turned red with embarrassment and turned back to her cheesy biscuit, enjoying the delicious texture for as long as possible, as she had noticed that she was beginning to emit a purple glow.
“W-well nice to meet you, I’m the first Violet Mahoney.” Violet could barely stammer out a reply, so excited she was to hold her cat in her arms again. “I missed you shnookums, oh you’re a sweet kitty yes you are...”
“Billy, my lad! Great to have you back. Would you prefer the endless shrimp or some surf n’ turf? Whatever you choose is on me.” Dr. Vanderslice patted the booth next to him and scooted over to make room for Billy.
“Actually, doctor, we need to get moving. I may not have much time left to help you save Earth. The anti-matter part of me is rebelling against the human part, and I have only so much time. We need to get to the collider before Dr. Octopi’s plan is realized.”
“Let us away, then!” Dr. Vanderslice motioned grandly towards the exit of the restaurant, making a commotion among the rest of the customers, who then watched as an unlikely group quickly walked to the parking lot.
Upon arriving in the parking lot, the group noticed a change. There were no cars. Instead of cars, there were various items, all lined up in parking spots, ranging from a burning leather sofa to half a jacuzzi tub.
“Okay...first things were coming back, now things are being replaced? This doesn’t make any sense.” Violet cling more tightly to Junior Mint with this sentiment. “I guess we have to walk. How far is it, Sven?”
“Actually not far. Dr. Vanderslice and I often walk over here on our lunch breaks. It’s just down this way..”
As the group travelled the few short blocks to the collider, they continued to encounter anomalies of all sorts. While passing a shoe repair shop, Violet noticed that all the shoes’ laces were tying and un-tying themselves in rhythm to each song that played over the speakers in the little shop. She also managed to hear the disc jockey on the radio announce the next song by the “Hee-Bees,” and was confused. Sven also heard the “Hee-Bees” song and began to unconsciously disco down the street.
“Alright,” said Billy, “we’ve got to have a plan. The only way I know of to stop the collider is to physically interact with it. Now, I can’t do that since I’m part anti-matter, but one of you can try to throw a metaphorical monkey wrench into the machine.”
“Junior Mint! Where are you going?” Violet looked down at her cat with champagne eyes. The cat sashayed over to Billy, where she jumped up into his arms, as if that had been her reason for leaving Violet. Billy stroked Junior Mint’s ears and pressed her head to his cheek.
“What’s that? Mmmmrrrrow. Meow. Mow mow..mrrrrrow. Alright everyone. Let’s continue!” Billy handed Junior Mint back to Violet and started scheming with Dr. Vanderslice about how to begin their plan.
Sven. Did you just see what happened? Billy just talked to my cat. Did you know he could do that? Violet thought towards Sven, concerned she had just hallucinated the entire sequence.
“Violet, I’m sure there are a lot of things that Billy can do as half-mirrorling that we could never imagine. Also, he did speak in a language foreign to me when he finished Dr. Octopi off, so perhaps he comes from a place where speaking to animals is commonplace?”
“Actually Sven, I was in line to be the next shaman in my community. For a shaman, speaking to animals is requisite, but never commonplace. It is a skill that must be honed. Violet, your cat was just letting me know that she wanted to be a part of our plan to save earth.” Billy’s voice grew fainter with each word he uttered, but he continued to walk alongside the group, now leaving a hazy purple trail behind every step. Junior Mint was having similar problems, but she didn’t know what was happening, and cared very little, to be honest.
Violet looked down at her feline friend in awe, but the cat was merely nibbling on a cheesy biscuit it had pulled from Violet’s purse. Violet wondered how her cat could do anything to help them.
“Here we are. The Large Hadron Collider. Or for us particle physicists, home number two,” Dr. Vanderslice said with a grin. “Let’s destroy her!”
Sven took in the sight of the collider and wondered if it would be the last time he saw it. He hoped it would be the last time he saw it as it was now: awash with purple fog. As he pondered his fate and that of the collider, he was joined by Billy.
“Sven,” Billy whispered, unable to raise his voice much louder due to his deteriorating vocal cords, “I know your relationship with your sister is strained, but her cat just asked to be the monkey wrench thrown into the machine. Literally. You have to throw Junior Mint into the collider in order to save Earth. I know this sound risky, but this is the best way to disrupt the event put in motion by your colleague in the future. Violet will forgive you.” With these last words, Billy sat down on the curb outside the building and purple fog began to rise from his back.
The world around them also began to look a lot more purple than before, the sewers emitted a hazy, vaguely purple steam instead of the usual gray, and the exhaust from the few cars that still drove by had a hint of purple. Objects were still appearing and disappearing around them, but they changed at a fixed ratio.
For the second time that day, Junior Mint jumped from Violet’s arms to climb into those of another. As she ascended into Sven’s arms, she kept the biscuit clenched tightly in her jaw and raised one paw to wave at Violet and purred as loudly as possible to let Violet hear her love.
“I wish you had a pet bird!” shouted Sven as he tossed the cat high into the air, sending her on a path over the collider.
"Mewww!" Meowed Junior Mint. (This is commonly translated as "for science!")
“SVEN! How dare you! Junior Mint!” Violet collapsed on the ground in a pile of tears and cursed her brother. Just when I thought I could trust him, he throws the only being in the world who loves me into a dangerous machine! Violet sobbed herself into exhaustion and laid back on the grass outside the building, staring up into the sky where her cat had so recently been.
While she laid weeping on the ground, the others rejoiced at the loss of purple in the
landscape. Where there was purple exhaust before, now there was gray. As soon as Junior Mint
dropped her cheesy biscuit from high above the machine, the purple began to recede. Once the
biscuit dropped onto the machinery, all the purple in the area concentrated above the machine
and was sucked down into the remaining vortex.