Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Rufus, Felix Renton, Monique, Wade, and Monkey Fist are characters from the Kim Possible show, created by Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley, owned and copyright © by the Walt Disney Company. The story takes place while Kim and Ron are going to college, a couple of years after “So the Drama,” and shortly after my earlier story, “Drakken’s Trial.” This story © 2005 by cloudmonet.
The bright yellow bigleaf maples in front of the glass and concrete monolith of Mathom House contrasted with the gloomy gray sky left over from the rain. In a room on the third floor with an small orange plastic jack’o’lantern glowing in the window, Kim Possible and her fiancé, Ron Stoppable, were sitting on her bed, surrounded by textbooks and other large tomes, reviewing arcane aspects of the social contract. Ron’s pet naked mole rat, Rufus, stared at one of the books and shook his head.
“How am I supposed to pass an essay test on this stuff?” complained Ron. “I don’t think even the authors understand what they’re talking about.”
“If you can prove it, you’ll get extra credit,” said Kim. “Really, it’s all about corporate supervillains, the kind I can’t fight with kung fu, ruining everyone else’s lives for better profit margins. That’s what I’d like to write about it, even if it does get me a C.”
“What’s the A answer?” asked Ron.
Kim sighed. “I don’t know. Some kind of balanced approach that takes everything into account and tries to optimize the solution, I guess. I just see what looks wrong and want to fight that wrong. But even our missions seem wrapped in ambiguity.”
“Good and evil mixed up with each other in a fractal tangle of complexity,” said Ron.
Kim’s jaw dropped. “Wow, that’s really good!” she said. “That’s an A sentence. Did you make it up or borrow it?”
“Well, Felix showed me this book about Chaos theory, and I thought I’d better check it out, you know, cause Wade used to say the Ron factor’s all about chaos theory. It isn’t what I thought. It’s how little things can sometimes make a big difference.”
“Okay, I can see that,” said Kim. “Little things, hmm—” She lunged on top of Ron and gave him a big kiss, then pulled back and smiled. “That’s for the big difference you’ve made in my life.”
“Knock, knock,” said Monique, carrying a shopping bag. “Did I walk in on party time again?”
“I wish,” said Kim. “Study time. Sociology essay test tomorrow. We’re discussing ideas.”
“Fiancé boy must’ve had a good one,” said Monique.
“Actually, he did,” said Kim.
“Mm hmm,” said Rufus.
“Remind me what it was,” said Ron.
“Global economics compared to some of our missions as a fractal tangle of good and evil. Little causes leading to big effects.”
“Uh, huh,” said Monique.
“What’s in the bag?” Kim asked her.
“Halloween costume for the dance.” She pulled a plush leopard pattern leotard partway out of the bag.
“Oooh, I want to see you in it!” said Kim.
“Well, take Ron on a hike down the hall to the soda machine, have a drink, and come back.”
“We could use a break,” said Ron.
Kim took Ron’s hand and they walked past the lounge, where black-haired, pale-skinned Belinda Brockmeyer was sitting on a couch, wearing a long purple dress and playing an intricate melody on her acoustic guitar.
“That’s really pretty,” Kim said.
Belinda nodded her head in acknowledgement and continued playing. Kim and Ron got two sodas from the machine and brought them to the lounge, where they sat together listening to the music, Rufus perched on Ron’s shoulder.
Belinda made what sounded like a mistake. “I’m sorry,” she said, and tried it again. “Sometimes I get nervous when people watch me.”
“You shouldn’t,” said Kim. “You’re really good.”
“It’s Celtic harp music that I play on the guitar. I like to zone into the ancient bards and druids, you know. I spent many lifetimes in ancient Ireland. You look so Irish, Kim, with your long red hair.”
“Well, on my mother’s side of the family—”
“I knew it. Maybe I was one of your ancestors. Is that too weird? Do you know anything about your past lives? You could be one of my ancestors, too.”
“I never looked into that,” said Kim.
Ron grunted. “Maybe we’d better get back to the sociology test.”
“Oh, are you taking it from Grunion?” asked Belinda. “I knew her from Atlantis. We worked together on singing crystal power.”
“That’s interesting, but we need to study,” said Ron, leading Kim back to her room.
She knocked. “Tell us you’re ready, Monique.”
“I’m just waiting on you.”
Kim opened the door and peeked in. “Wow, look at you!” she said. Ron burst into laughter as he closed the door. “I’m not laughing at you, Monique,” he said hastily, then looked at her. “Wow is right.”
A skintight plush leopard patterned leotard complete with tail covered Monique’s torso from milk chocolate breasts to trim legs in black stockings. High heels, gloves, and a little mask completed the costume.
“Think I should wear a skirt with this?” she asked Kim. “I wanna be hot but not too hot, you know what I mean.”
“It’s perfect just the way it is,” Kim replied, then frowned. “I haven’t even thought about my own costume.”
“So what was so funny?” Monique asked Ron.
“Trying to imagine Belinda with old Dr. Grunion in Atlantis, working on ‘singing crystal power,’ whatever that is. That girl is so whacked!”
“I don’t know,” said Monique. “Belinda’s out there, way out there. I can’t take her seriously but I can’t quite not take her seriously either. You know there’s more to this world than just the material stuff, don’tcha?— mystical monkey power boy!”
Dot dot dadot! went the kimmunicator, which was sitting on the desk with the computers.
“Monkey Fist’s in Egypt,” said Wade. “The Valley of the Kings.”
“What kind of coincidence is that?” asked Ron. “Wait a minute. How’d he get away?”
“Let me check into that,” said Wade, typing rapidly. “Nothing, nothing— wait, no— yes! Bad news. The American charges didn’t stick and they let him go— Wait, they charged him with what? Those aren’t the real charges!”
“He hacked the court’s computer system!” said Kim.
“Apparently,” said Wade.
“Egypt will have to wait till after that essay test tomorrow morning,” said Kim. “It’s all about the social contract and corporate outsourcing, with a dash of post World War Two urban planning thrown in.”
“Fun,” said Wade. “Actually, I majored in math and engineering, so I didn’t take any sociology classes. But I think you could use fractal patterns as a metaphor for the complex issues of benefit and harm, good and evil, raised by postmodern permutations of the social contract.”
“Ron, baby, the super genius agrees! We’re onto something!” said Kim, giving him a hug.
At two in the morning Ron staggered down the hall toward his own room. He was surprised to see his roommate, Felix Renton, sitting in the lounge in his cyber-robotic wheelchair, facing Belinda on the couch, who was holding both of his hands and looking intensely into his eyes.
“Scuse me,” said Ron. “Felix, we got a mission, tomorrow afternoon, Egypt, Monkey Fist. Can you fly the jet?”
“Looks like I’d better get some shut-eye,” Felix told Belinda.
Belinda touched Ron’s hand. “There’s danger for you,” she said.
Ron snapped his hand away from her. “If you want to be my friend, don’t ever try to spook me out just before a mission. They’re all dangerous. But Kim and I beat Monkey Fist before, and we can do it again.” He made a couple of silent sample monkey kung fu kicks, then turned toward his room, no longer feeling so tired.
“I’m sorry,” Belinda told Felix. “I just say what comes through me sometimes. If I inhibit this, I close down.”
“They’re what they are, and you’re what you are,” said Felix.
“Rest well, and blessings be,” Belinda replied.
Wearing a pith helmet and khaki clothes, Lord Montgomery Fiske, otherwise known as Monkey Fist, sat on a lounge chair by the hotel swimming pool, tossing pineapple slices to a troop of baboons. Some of them were high in a date palm, plucking the chewy sweet fruit.
“Eat well and rest, my monkey minions, for tonight we enter the great hall of Nefrekepta!” he said, breaking into spasms of monkey laughter.
A small black jet with “KP” monogrammed on the tail fin flew high above the starlit Mediterranean Sea. Felix sat in his wheelchair at the controls while Kim and Ron talked to Wade with the kimmunicator.
“The Valley of the Kings, of course, is where most of the New Kingdom pharaohs were buried,” said Wade. “It’s not so well known that there’s a wadi off the western side known as the Valley of the Monkeys, after a tomb discovered there with many statues of baboons, one of which is actually on display in the Northwest State University library.”
“Oh, yeah, I’ve seen that,” said Kim.
“Valley of the Monkeys?” asked Ron.
“Baboons are associated with the ancient Egyptian god Tehoteh, who’s usually shown with the head of an ibis, but the earliest wall paintings show him with the head of a monkey. Now, Nefrekepta was supposed to be the greatest magician in Egyptian History. He was the brother of one of the Amenhoteps, and may have briefly been a pharaoh himself. Nefrekepta’s tomb supposedly contained the Book of Tehoteh, and certain other divinely created objects that were not meant to fall into human hands—”
“Oh no,” said Ron. “Ancient Egyptian stinkin’ monkey magic.”
“We don’t want Monkey fist to get his hands on any of that,” said Kim.
“The tomb is only a legend. Even empty, it would be a huge find. At least there will be wall paintings and hieroglyphs. If the grave robbers haven’t cleaned it out, there may be much more— treasure, booby traps, curses.”
“Well, it is almost Halloween,” said Kim.
“Belinda has a copy of the book of Tehoteh,” said Felix. “She showed it to me.”
“What?” asked Kim. “What’s it about?”
“Oh, that book’s just some new age mumbo-jumbo that comes with a deck of tarot cards,” said Wade. “Its relation to the original would be tenuous at best.”
Wearing black ninja clothes, Monkey Fist and his baboons sneaked into the secret tunnel, hidden under a piece of plywood covered with sand. At the end of the tunnel, Monkey Fist held the spotlight while the big male baboons dug into the sand still covering most of a stone door. The smaller females carried buckets of sand away from the hole and dumped them.
Kim and Ron peered over a sandstone outcrop at the baboon ninjas with buckets.
“Okay, we found them,” said Ron. “What’s the plan?”
“Smack monkey,” said Kim, sneaking closer to the hole.
Suddenly she tumbled into action, booting black-garbed baboons away from the hole as they emerged with buckets. Ron was at her side, kicking and chopping at them. Some flew through the air and ran away. A few of the bigger ones tried to fight back, some with kung fu kicks, others with good old baboon bites. Finally four dog sized males, hooded and robed, rushed out of the tunnel, while another pair blocked the entrance.
Now Ron was very much on the defensive, and the baboon ninjas sensed it, three of them chasing him, while Kim fought off the fourth. She rolled onto her back, and as the ninja leaped toward her, she kicked up with her legs, sending him thirty feet through the air to land in a panting heap.
Ron, meanwhile, swung one around by the tail, using him to hit the other two before letting go.
Down in the tunnel came the deep rumble of a stone slab sliding.
Kim joined the fray. One of the baboons lunged for her leg, trying to bite, but she spun and kicked his head. He wobbled, recovered his balance, and ran off screaming. A bunch of smaller baboons were barking at Kim and Ron from a distance but shut up when Kim looked their way.
The two big baboon ninjas who were blocking the tunnel screamed and ran back inside. Kim and Ron put on miner’s lights and followed, crawling through the tunnel to a wide dark chamber forested with square columns. At the bottom of each one were one to four stone baboons. Monkey Fist’s mad laughter echoed endlessly from the darkness.
“Stay with me,” Kim said softly to Ron’s ear. “We don’t want to get separated in here.”
“Which way do you think they went?” asked Ron.
“I don’t know,” Kim said, walking around the wall, looking at the hieroglyphs and paintings. “Be careful what you touch.”
The laughter and monkey ruckus echoes finally faded, then got louder again, then faded again, as Kim and Ron continued. With all the echoes, it was impossible to tell where the sounds were coming from.
“Okay, I think this is a funeral scene,” said Kim. “There’s a body, and women crying.”
“And monkeys,” said Ron, pointing to part of the painting. “Aaggh! There’s something crawling on me. Is it Rufus?”
“Hello,” said the naked mole rat, crawling over Ron’s shoulder and down his back.
“Be careful, buddy,” said Ron. “These baboon ninjas are no joke.”
Rufus ran around the bottom of the wall and stopped.
“What’d you find?” asked Kim, leading Ron toward Rufus. Looking down, she noticed the decorative pattern inlaid on the floor. She stepped on one slightly raised stone, which depressed. “Uh oh,” she said, as a sparkling crack appeared in the wall. She grabbed Ron’s hand and pulled him to one side. The floor was also tipping and buckling. Two of the baboon statues at the bottom of the nearest column sank into the floor. The third one didn’t move. A fourth one was rising out of the floor. The sparkling crack in the wall closed up again.
“That was weird,” said Ron.
“Let me try something,” said Kim, leading him to the next column, and pushing gently on the head of the one baboon statue there. “Nothing,” she said. “Look for another raised floor stone nearby.”
Ron turned to aim his headlight near the edge of the wall. “Maybe that one,” he said.
“Okay,” said Kim, leading Ron to the stone and stepping on it.
The sparkling crack reappeared in the wall, the floor tipped and buckled, two monkey statues rose out of the floor, and the crack disappeared again.
“A monkey puzzle,” said Ron. “I just hope there aren’t, you know, terrible consequences if we do the wrong thing.”
“Do we want the monkeys all up, or all down, or in some specific pattern?” Kim wondered.
“I thought we were looking for Monkey Fist,” said Ron.
“He may be looking for what we just found,” said Kim. “Or he may be looking for something else.”
They continued around the chamber, for now avoiding stepping on the raised floor stones. The chamber was quiet except for the echoes of their own footsteps and whispers.
“Either there’s a way down from the middle of the room, or they opened something up with the monkey puzzle which closed again,” said Kim, leading Ron toward the center of the room.
Unlike most of the edge, the floor here was undecorated. The central columns almost all had four stone baboons, except for one column which had only one.
“Let’s go the way the lone baboon is facing,” said Kim, passing by each column with four baboons till she came to one at the edge with two baboons. She stepped on the raised stone, repeatedly raising and lowering baboon statues at random till there was just one, then led Ron around the wall to the next column with less than four monkeys, found a raised stone on the floor, changed this one to just one monkey, and followed its gaze across the room to— a lone monkey that was already looking at the one they just left. “I thought I had it figured out,” said Kim, stomping on that column’s raised floor stone in frustration.
“Maybe you got it,” said Ron, as a glittering crack in the wall opened up to reveal a room full of treasure, and a few live baboons in ninja garb who rushed out of the room into the great chamber, ignoring Kim and Ron, and straight to the entrance tunnel. “Okay, they’re spooked,” he said. “I don’t like this.”
Kim and Ron stepped into the room, dazzled by all the gold and gold-covered objects arranged on benches and shelves around a stone sarcophagus.
“It’s actually untouched,” Kim whispered. “This is like the tomb of King Tutankhamen!”
“There’s a mummy in there?” Ron asked, pointing a trembling hand toward the stone sarcophagus.
“Possibly,” said Kim. “But it’s nothing to be afraid of, just a dried up body several thousand years old. This isn’t a horror movie or one of your zombie games.”
“Dried up body of ancient Egypt’s greatest magician,” said Ron.
“Point taken,” said Kim, moving around the room. “There doesn’t seem to be a back door. Maybe Monkey Fist used the monkey puzzle to open something else.”
“Do you smell anything?” Ron asked Rufus, who ran down his body, scooted all around the floor, and came back.
“Uh uh,” he chattered, shaking his head.
“I’d better have Wade call the Minister of Antiquities about this room,” Kim said, trying to get a signal from the kimmunicator. She went into the great chamber and aimed it toward the exit tunnel. “We’re just too deep underground, I guess,” she said. “How ’bout you and Rufus guard the doorway to this room and I’ll go out and call Wade.”
Ron had the sudden feeling of Belinda touching his hand and saying, “There’s danger for you!”
“Uh, KP,” he said, reaching for her hand. “We should stay together, like you said before.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” she said, leading him across the great chamber to the door, and crawling out Monkey Fist’s tunnel.
The stars shone bright in the clear desert sky above the wadi. When Wade’s face appeared on the kimmunicator screen, Kim asked him to get a hold of the minister of antiquities.
“At this hour in Egypt, I’m getting voice mail,” Wade said. “I can try the local police.”
The ground suddenly trembled with a deep rumble.
“Earthquake? Monster? What is it?” asked Ron, his voice cracking toward panic.
“I don’t know, but I’m so glad you came out with me,” said Kim, and they both backed away from the entrance to a vantage point behind some boulders. “Wade, these so-called divinely created objects, would any of them turn you into a giant baboon of Tehoteh, or something?”
“Well, the book of Tehoteh is supposed to give you the ability to talk to animals, and to do great magic spells controlling the air and the earth,” said Wade, “but there’s a curse that goes with this.”
“What about the other objects?” asked Kim.
“I couldn’t find much about them. One of them is supposed to be a jar holding the head of an immortal snake who was the original guardian of the book, although another version of the story has the jar buried in the mud at the mouth of the Nile.”
“Getting too weird,” said Ron.
Another deep rumble shook the ground, followed by echoing maniacal monkey laughter.
“Dude, don’t try to make earthquakes while you’re underground,” said Ron, as if Monkey Fist were listening. “Just not smart.”
“I’m thinking it’s the rumble of the monkey puzzle’s mechanism,” said Kim. “Let’s go back in.”
“I’ll call Felix to guard the entrance,” said Wade.
“That’s a good idea,” said Kim. “but warn him about the baboon ninjas. The big ones are formidable fighters.”
Kim turned her headlamp off and crawled into the tunnel, followed by Ron, with Rufus in his pocket. “This way we’ll see his lamp first, if he’s in the big monkey puzzle room,” she said.
Sure enough, when they got to the chamber with all the columns, there was Monkey Fist against one wall with a flashlight, stepping on raised stones to change the baboon statues. The doorway to the treasure chamber with the sarcophagus was now closed. The floor rumbled. In the center of the room, the column with the one monkey that had guided Kim to the treasure room now had three more, and a section of the floor slid aside.
“Now!” said Kim, and she and Ron ran between columns to intercept the wildly leaping Monkey Fist who jumped down the steep stone stairs. They turned on their lights and followed him. Kim and Ron took two or three steps at a time, then Kim tried a leap that might have landed on Monkey Fist’s shoulders, but he was too nimble and made a big leap down himself.
At the bottom was a low tunnel about four feet square in cross section, which Monkey Fist could move through quickly in an apelike stoop, but Kim was considerably slowed. Ron was still about halfway up the stairs, trying to hurry without taking a bad tumble. He crawled into the square tunnel and bumped against Kim from behind.
“There’s a pit in the floor,” said Kim. “Monkey Fist got across with a weird crouching leap I don’t think I can copy.”
“Hairdryer?” asked Ron.
“Shoot it straight ahead, jump and winch?”
“I’ll try it.” Kim shot her grappling hook straight ahead, but this time it didn’t grip anything. She winched it back, and tried shooting a different kind of hook. This one held firm. “Okay, I’m backing up. I want you to crawl past me. Then I’ll hold the rope up, and you cross the pit hanging from your hands and knees. Then I’ll winch and jump and you catch me.”
“Sounds like a plan,” said Ron. He squeezed past her. She backed farther away from the pit and braced the rope over her shoulder. Ron lay on his back with his head over the edge of the pit and hooked his knees over the rope. Hand over hand he pulled himself about six feet before feeling stone again under his upper back, then his rear end and thighs. “I’m over,” he said.
“Count of three, I’m, coming, catch me,” said Kim, crouching at the edge. “One, two Three!” She jumped, winched, and in a terrifying moment landed on top of Ron’s chest. He pulled her forward till they were face to face. She kissed him, then said, “Push me ahead.” She squirmed over him, and resumed crawling. He rolled over and followed.
The low tunnel ended at a large gallery with paintings and hieroglyphs on the wall. Monkey Fist was standing calmly, aiming his flashlight at the arcane writing.
“So much trouble for so little,” Monkey Fist said with a sigh. “The whole story’s right here, Kim and Ron. Here’s Nefrekepta at the mouth of the Nile, battling the immortal snake whose mission was to guard the Book of Tehoteh until the return of Osirus. Here he cut off the head and put it in a jar. Legend has it he buried the jar deep in the mud at the mouth of the Nile, but actually it seems to be in that jar over there.” He aimed his flashlight at a sealed stone container large enough to hold about two gallons. “I wouldn’t open it. Either it has a three thousand year old pickled snake head in it, or the snake actually was immortal, in which case the head’s almost certainly grown a new body by this time, and it’s probably very angry.”
“Ewww—” said Ron.
“Anyway, to make a long story short, Nefrekepta had great power, but a very miserable life. The Book of Tehoteh, actually it was a scroll, comes with a terrible curse. Ramses’ son Setna supposedly stole it from this tomb. He put it back, crawling on his hands and knees. Well, that’s the only way for most people to get in here. What I’ve found here doesn’t exactly match the legend, but it’s close enough to convince me I want no part of the curse. It doesn’t matter. The scroll’s not here now.”
“Ron, block the tunnel. Monkey Fist, if the scroll’s not where it belongs, it’s because you have it.”
Monkey Fist made a gesture, and a breeze began stirring the dust and sand off the floor, the walls, the objects in the room. Kim squinted and made a flying kick at Monkey Fist. He ripped the light off her forehead; she kicked his flashlight across the room. Now only Ron’s light illuminated the chamber. The wind buffeted Kim from every direction but she clung to Monkey Fist tightly with her right hand while pinning and kicking him with her legs and searching him with her left hand. The stone floor seemed to be crumbling into sand, which flew into Kim’s eyes.
“Oh no!” said Ron, as the stone container began crumbling and a large cobra uncoiled, raising its head to study the scene. Ron leaped across the room at Kim and Monkey Fist sinking in the sand, giving Monkey Fist a swift kick to the head which knocked him unconscious. “Find the scroll, give it to the magic snake,” said Ron, as they both felt for it.
“Got it!” said Kim, handing Ron a rounded gold container five inches long, two inches wide, and an inch thick. He tossed it toward the cobra, which coiled around it placidly, pulling its own body and the small container under the sand, which slowly turned back into solid stone. Kim and Ron pulled Monkey Fist out of the sand before this happened.
“That was weird,” Ron said.
“Tell me about it,” Kim replied.
“So how did you know Monkey Fist had the scroll?”
“He smudged the dust when he took it off the shelf.”
“How are we going to get him out of here?” asked Ron.
Monkey Fist reacted suddenly, breaking their hold and knuckle running into the square entrance tunnel.
“Okay, not a problem,” said Ron.
“It won’t do you much good,” Kim called to Monkey Fist. “The minister of antiquities is waiting for you outside.”
“You’re bluffing. I’ll get to the great hall and shut you up inside forever,” said Monkey Fist, leaping over the pit in the middle.
“You told Wade how the monkey puzzle works, didn’t you?” Ron asked Kim.
“I’m not sure,” she replied softly, then whispered, “but I think we can cut our way out if we have to.”
“Engagement ring laser fully charged?” Ron asked.
“Always,” she replied.
Monkey fist climbed the stairs with all four hands in the dark. When he reached the top, an Egyptian policeman snapped handcuffs on him, jerked him onto the floor, and another policeman cuffed his ankles.
The minister of antiquities shone a flashlight in Monkey Fist’s eyes. “Been doing a little unauthorized archaeology, have we, Lord Fiske?” he asked. “Some discovery you’ve made here.”
“You have no idea,” Monkey Fist muttered, gesturing with his cuffed hands again and again, but nothing happened. He gasped. “I’ve lost the power over air and earth!”
“Ron and I call this the monkey puzzle room,” Kim told the minister of antiquities. “Stepping on the raised stones around the edge raises and lowers the baboon statues at the bottom of the square columns. Certain combinations open certain rooms. The hole in the floor was the one Monkey Fist wanted. But certain other combinations open other rooms. There’s one on the other side of this wall that’s filled with treasures almost like King Tut’s tomb.”
“And a sarcophagus,” added Ron, “It might have the body of Nefrekepta.”
“That’s quite remarkable,” the minister replied with some skepticism. “Can you show us how this works?
“Make sure nobody’s downstairs, because that will close up before another room opens,” said Kim.
After everyone was accounted for, Kim explained, “If this column toward the middle that has four monkeys now has one monkey facing this way, and this column also has one monkey facing here, and these two columns have one monkey facing each other, the treasure room opens.”
“How do you remember stuff like that?” Ron asked.
But when Kim stepped on what she thought was the right stone, nothing happened. “I don’t understand. It worked before.” She tried another stone. No matter where she went, none of them moved and nothing changed.
“I think I know why it stopped working,” said Ron. “It’s because the snake is guarding the scroll again. This made Nefrekepta’s power over air and earth stop working, just like Monkey Fist’s did.”
“You’ll excuse me if I remain skeptical,” said the minister.
“Your call,” said Ron. “But there’s an unrobbed tomb on the other side of this wall. You can probably find it with sonar or something and dig your way in.”
“That’s right,” said Kim. “We were both inside it.”
Kim Possible’s small black jet flew over the sparkling blue Mediterranean, gradually rising over white clouds as they headed west.
“Sorry I wasn’t more help,” said Felix. “Monkey Fist didn’t make his entrance tunnel big enough for my chair.”
“Felix, you gave the authorities perfect directions,” said Kim. “It couldn’t have gone down smoother.”
“Dude, we wouldn’t be what we are without your help,” said Ron.
“That was a mission like we used to do,” said Kim. “Bad guy steals something for evil purpose, we foil him, he’s so busted. It really is sometimes as simple as that.”
“Yeah, but there’s no proof Lord Montgomery Fiske, respected archaeologist—” Ron affected an upper-class English accent, badly— “actually stole anything at all. By the time he’s finished smooth-talking the Egyptian authorities, he’ll get slapped on the wrist for trespassing and Wade’ll tell us he’s up to some other scheme.”
“You’re supposed to be the one who sees the bright side,” Kim said with some annoyance. “Oooh, I hope he doesn’t talk himself into getting an excavation permit. Who knows what else might be hidden in some of those tombs?”
“I think we’ve trashed Monkey Fist’s reputation too much for that,” said Ron. “The minister’s a pretty sharp dude.”
“He’s the one who planned the bust,” said Felix, setting the autopilot. “So what are you gonna be for the Halloween dance? I’m going as a foppish lord with a powdered wig and ruffles and all that.”
“Wow,” said Kim.
“You didn’t show me?” said Ron. “Monique showed us her cat suit.”
“It’s kind of hard for me to get it on and off,” Felix said.
“Wait, you’re going to the dance?” Kim asked. “Sorry if I say something stupid about your handicap, and I’m so glad you’re coming, but I thought you didn’t like dances.”
“Because I have to sit out every song?” asked Felix with a smile. “Nah, I just don’t like going alone.”
“You’ve got a date?” asked Kim.
“Oh, yes,” Felix replied.
“I mean Belinda,” said Felix.
“Noooo!” said Kim. “Really?”
“This is freaking me out,” said Ron. “She looks like a short heavy Shego in a hippie dress, and talks in that deep spooky voice like she knows everything about everything, but it’s all just total weirdness!”
“She says she has a deep karmic connection with me,” said Felix. “She’s so sweet.”
“That’s wonderful!” said Kim. “Okay, this could take some getting used to, but we’ll deal.”
“Well, it’s not bad for something improvised at the last minute,” Monique the leopard lady said, looking at Kim’s little black dress and mask. “You supposed to be some kind of witch or something?”
“Knock, knock,” said Ron, wearing green tights and a yellow tunic with a cape. Rufus popped his head out of a pouch attached to Ron’s belt.
“Where’d you get that costume at the last minute?” asked Kim. “It’s great.”
“Belinda let me wear it,” said Ron. “When I asked if I was supposed to Robin Hood or a hobbit, she just laughed.” He looked at Kim and put his arm around her waist. “You got me under your spell, baby,” he said with his sly face.
Kim giggled. “All right, Mr. Bon Diggity Dansah, let’s boogie down!”
Outside the basketball court was a huge jack’o’lantern carved from a five hundred pound pumpkin, with dozens of candles inside. Inside, the band was playing hard rock with spooky synthesizer effects.
Kim the witch began dancing with Ron the medieval dude. Monique the leopard lady danced through the crowd, looking for a partner. A couple of times she found someone who lasted for a song or two.
For the fast dances, black-haired Belinda, wearing pointed ears and an elf dress with multiple layers of sheer blue and purple, shimmered and shook in front of Felix the foppish lord’s wheelchair, while he moved his arms in time with the beat. When the band played a slow song, she sat on his lap, swaying in his arms. Then she kissed him.