08 November, 2005

Second Bananas

"A journey through the Ether." Qui-Gon Jinn knew that he needed to help the spirit of the side-kick before him.
JawaJuice cocked his head to the side, his large bright eyes inquisitive. "Can I come too?"
The ghostly master's shoulder slumped. He gave a fleeting half-smile. "You gotta be dead to get a passport to travel out there, man."
The Jawa's face creased in a frown.
"Hey, you can, like, listen to my vintage vinyl while I'm gone," Qui-Gon suggested, "But no pawning the rare stuff on eBay, man. Or any other pawn shop, for that matter."
JJ nodded. "No pawning. Check." He fiddled with a frayed edge of his sleeve. "Want some brownies for the trip?"
"I want a banana daiquiri!" JoJo said, bouncing on his heels.
Qui-Gon and JJ shot JoJo a glance and returned their focus back to the task at hand.
"I could use some brownies. Something to keep me going," the Jedi said.
JJ rifled through his utility pouches, procuring a packet of brownies. A Journey Pak of Uncle Jinn and JJ's Home-Made Super-Fudgy Special-Spiced brownies. "Good luck, Qui." He handed the packet out toward the ghost.
"Brownies!" JoJo exclaimed.
Qui-Gon shook his head, taking the packet. "What a long strange trip this is going to be."

They had been travelling for 12 hours, non-stop. As both were in spirit form, neither had to walk, but keeping a constant pace while floating, drained Qui-Gon’s energy. He had devoured his Journey Pak of Uncle Jinn and JJ’s brownies in less than an hour, and their soothing effects had long since worn off.
The Ether itself was an environs of peace. It was all colour, meshing, swirling, flowing like water. However, it was in constant motion. The hard lines that formed craggy peaks one moment shattered into fragments of light and bled into the ebb of the skies and rivers. They had ventured through the 'Vast Swirly Expanse,' 'Wow, This Place Looks Just Like The Nothing From That One Flick,' and 'Man, This Place Is Yellowy' plains.
His companion, JoJo the Monkey Boy, was full of bouncing and vibrant energy. Throughout the entire trip he playfully sung the Banana Phone song, as well as a round of Numa Numa.
"...bee doo bee doo..."
His nerves were frazzled and the lack of progress had left Qui-Gon agitated. "Stop."
"Banana phone!"
"I said stop it," the elder snapped.
JoJo's bottom lip jutted out, comically. "What's wrong, bwauth?"
Qui-Gon slid his eyes closed. He inhaled deep and breathlessly. The Force hummed through him, calming the gaps between his tense nerves. "Where are we going again?"
The Monkey Boy plucked a colourful sheet of paper from his back pocket. He took great care in unfolding it and opening to the centre section. He smoothed out each crease with painstaking effort. He licked at his translucent fingers pressing them gently along a pesky fold at the top right part of the paper.
With enhanced Jedi speed, Qui-Gon yanked the sheet from JoJo's grasp. The Monkey Boy continued to rub at the air with an outstretched thumb.
"What is this?" Qui-Gon flipped the paper over, glancing at the type. "Second Banana Heaven."
JoJo shook his head briskly, making an obnoxious noise while doing so. "That's right," he said. "That's the brochure."
The master read over the paper. "Looks like the ideal place for you, man. Banana trees, Cable holo-vid with 12 pay-per-view channels. Free heat and trash removal. And, like, all the government cheese you can eat."
"Bananas plus cheese equals yum!"
Qui-Gon's eyes went wide. On the bottom of the back part of the brochure was the map that JoJo had said he had lost. "What is that?!"
The Monkey Boy grinned, sheepishly. "Hoo hoo ha ha ha ha ha ha! That pesky map. That's where it got to. I looked all over."
"So you're telling me that I've been forced to endure the Banana Phone song for, like, 12 hours, non-bloody-stop, to find out that you had the map the whole time?"
JoJo nodded, smiling hugely.
The elder blinked, his jaw open. "Why?"
For the first time through the trip, JoJo looked serious. "Because I was lonely being dead. I don't gots my buddy Jon around anymore. It's just me and my Banana Phone."
Qui-Gon looked sympathetic, his ethereal blue eyes shining. "I know how it is, man. I'm just lucky I've got JJ, Fluke and, like, Master Yoda." He felt his waning motivation renewed. "Let's see what the map says."
"Does it say... Banana Phone?"
JoJo's enthusiasm was not reciprocated. Qui-Gon sighed. "Don't you know any other songs?"
He began a new tune. "I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts!"
Qui-Gon fell in with the beat. "They're lovely." The two marched in time with the song.
"There they are all standing in a row."
"One, two, three, four."
"Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head."
The elder chimed in with a smile, placing a hand on JoJo's shoulder, "And bigger!"
"Give them a twist, a flick of the wrist.
"That's what the showman said!"
"I've got a lovely..." JoJo skid to a halt, pointing a stuffed mitt out to the distance. "What in the peel is that?!"
Before the two stood Second Banana Heaven, as told by the large neon yellow and green sign. This was one of the permanent locations found in the Ether. These places were not subject to the ebb and flow of the world around them. It was a glorious looking group of buildings, all with balconies and sliding glass-doors. There was a large crystal blue swimming pool.
The two darted over to the entrance where there were two barred doors made of shimmering pearl.
Qui-Gon gave an absent laugh. "Huh huh, I never thought there would really be, like, pearly gates, man. That's, like, really cool. They're pearl. Huh huh."
A gorgeous young woman walked toward the two from behind the gate. She wore a billowy green sports-bra and a billowy-brown wrap-around skirt, showing off her muscular abs and legs. Her hair was straight and past her shoulders, coloured a strawberry blond. She carried a staff, bound with leather straps, and wore a leather pouch at her side. She gave the two a warm, friendly smile. "Hey guys, what can I do for you?"
Both Jedi and Monkey Boy stared for a moment.
"Uh, guys?" the young woman asked at the drooling pair.
Qui-Gon snapped back into reality. "Oh wow, like, yeah," he said, in his disoriented idiom. "JoJo is, like, supposed to be here."
JoJo gave a rapid nod.
"JoJo, huh?" She pulled an ancient looking scroll from her bag. Unfolding it, she read, "Arthur, Babalooey, Barf, Barney Rubble, Booboo, Bucky, Donald Duck, yours truly," she pointed to herself, with a smile, "Gabrielle, Dick Grayson, JoJo, Jughead, Kato, Janine Melnitz, Muttley, Odie, Pinky, Miles Prower, Sancho Panza, Scrappy Doo, Tonto, TV's Frank, and Dr. Watson. That's all of us."
JoJo clapped his stuffed hands together. "JoJo! That's me!"
Gabrielle smiled and pressed a button beside the right gate. With a clicking and squeal of metal, the doors opened from the inside out. She held up a hand. "Hold on, JoJo. Who is this that you are with?"
"My new bestest friend in the galaxy! This is Qui-Gon Jinn! He's a top banana, for sure!"
Qui-Gon smiled and held out his hand in a gesture to shake. "Nice to, like, meet you."
"Likewise." Gabrielle firmly shook Qui-Gon's hand. "The Qui-Gon Jinn?" She looked awe-struck. "You're a legend in these parts!"
The three went to a large white brick building, marked Visitor's Centre. The decor was precisely what one expected in a visitors centre, stiff-backed chairs along the walls. There were framed maps and holo-pics of the grounds. A woman with bobbed red-hair and thick black rimmed glasses sat at a desk, snapping her gum and filing her nails. A holo-vid was playing what looked to be a trashy soap-opera.
"Hey, Janine," Gabrielle called. "We've got a new acquisition. Can you pull up the papers on JoJo?" She gently patted JoJo on the back.
"Typical. I get into my stories, and someone shows up." The receptionist clicked a button on a remote, turning off the show. "Come on over here."
JoJo went over to the desk, while Gabrielle pulled Qui-Gon aside. "It's gonna be a while. He's got about 500 forms to fill out, in triplicate. So," she said, looking closely at the big man's face. "What brings you here to Second Banana Heaven? You should be living it up in the Hero's Palace on the east side."
Qui-Gon shook his head. "I've never been one to settle down."
Gabrielle started for the door. "Let's take a walk."
The Jedi held the door open with a bow.
Gabrielle took the master outside, where they sat in a wrought iron bench that over-looked a small pond. "So you never told me, why are you here?"
"I wanted to help JoJo, like, find his way. He was lost."
A look of seriousness crossed the young woman's face.. "You're a Jedi. I know about you. And how you died."
Qui-Gon looked perplexed, his head cocked slightly to the side. "Like, how?"
The young one smiled. "I've been here a while. I started watching your exploits back when they started airing them in season one."
The master's confusion grew. "Season one?"
"That's right. See, they ran the seasons out of order. They started with four through six and then went back and ran seasons one through three."
"Seasons of what?"
It was the young one's turn to look confused. "You don't watch holo-vid out here, do you?"
Qui-Gon shook his head. Suddenly something clicked in his mind. "I know who you are. Gabrielle." His brow creased as he rubbed his beard, thinking. "The Amazon Princess. With that, like, Xena chick."
Gabrielle flashed a beautiful smile. "That's right. Me and Xena." She heaved a sigh. "Travelled all over the land, saving lives and righting wrongs."
"And bathing together."
The young woman laughed and ran a nervous hand through her hair. "It seems no-one can forget that. Our exploits were chronicled on holo-vid."
Qui-Gon gave a wry smile. "That I know. I, like, watched, like, all the time."
Gabrielle blushed. "So then you know how I met my end."
"Uh," the elder stammered, "Well, about that…" He tugged at the end of his robe. "I stopped watching at about the fourth season. I got, um, busy with, like, these big, um, Jedi things…"
She put a hand on his shoulder, stopping him mid-ramble. "It's okay. Not many people kept watching. But, do you see? Look around." She waved a hand out to those around them. Barney Rubble was sitting on a bench having what looked to be a very large steak burger. Dr. Watson was walking Muttley, with the comical dog leashed, lifting his leg on a fire hydrant and snickering. Miles 'Tails' Prower was leaping from building to building, collecting what looked to be shining golden rings with an audible 'ching' noise. Scrappy Doo shouted a mighty "Puppy Power!" before taking a flying dive into the pool. James 'Bucky' Barnes and Dick 'Robin' Grayson sat at a table under a large shade umbrella, discussing their prior adventures.
Qui-Gon knew nearly everyone of these people. Their lives had been chronicled in one way or another, either by data comics, holo-vids, novelisations, or holo-games. "I think I'm getting this," he said, "All of you are famous sidekicks, right?"
Gabrielle nodded. "In one way or another."
"But you know about me, right?"
"That's right," she said. "I know about you, and Survivor. JJ and the brownies. Yoda. Anakin. Obi-Wan. There is one thing about being in the ether, though. We get to see things before they happen."
Qui-Gon's blue eyes went wide. "The future?"
She nodded. "That's right. Sneak previews. Okay, you guys are currently in Season 2-ish. I've got three through six back at my place, if you want to see."
Moments later, the two were watching hastily loaded holo-vids.
The pain. Sadness. Anguish. Over-acting. The future played out before the master, each scene a look into all that could not be stopped. Hot tears slipped down his cheeks as he observed what was to come. Nothing that he saw he could deny. It was so very real. Gabrielle laid a sympathetic hand on his shoulder.
After the first vid ended, he stood. "I've got to go. Like, this is awful. I've got to warn them." He wrapped his robe around himself tightly, as if he were chilled.
Gabrielle retrieved the disc. "You can't," she said, sadness infusing her tone. "You can't. If you leave, you'll forget everything you've seen."
He bounded for the door. "I have to try."
Flying for the exit, Qui-Gon knew Gabrielle was close behind. He turned. "Thank you. Please, like, watch JoJo for me. And," he said, a ghost of a smile touching his features, "I hope you like bananas."
Gabrielle embraced the big man briefly. "Good luck. I hope you can get to them."
The gates were closed.
"Push the button, Frank!" Gabrielle called. The gate keeper, TV's Frank, did just that.
As the gates creaked open, the master burst through.

His return journey was far faster, taking several hours. The Ether was a blur of whirling colours as he rushed through.
Finally, he came to the doorway in which he came. Pushing through, he was in the flat again. The dull hum of idle speakers filled the area.
Qui-Gon found JawaJuice asleep in a recliner in his recording studio. The small Jawa snored lightly, his chest rising and falling with each breath. His bare feet were kicked out.
"JJ, man," Qui-Gon said. There was a lump that remained in his incorporeal throat. The visions were so vivid. He could hardly blink, as when his eyes closed, painful images leapt forward. "JJ. Come on, man, I gotta talk to you."
The Jawa yawned and rolled over to his side in the chair.
"Get up, man. Please."
JJ turned around, looking the spectre in the face. "That has better be good. Yoda isn't the only one who dreams of big busted women, you know."
Qui-Gon opened his mouth. "Banana phone." That wasn't what he had meant to say. The thoughts had left his mind. Everything he had seen was gone, only strong emotions remained. He began to sob, dropping to his knees. "Banana phone."
The Jawa looked perplexed as he stood from the chair. "I know, man." He patted the ghost's back. "Banana phone is the worst song in the history of history. It makes me want to cry too."
"But, I... Ring ring ring ring ring ring ring... Banana phone."
The dire feeling that something important was to be said remained with Qui-Gon, but all he could think of was that horrid song.
JJ gave the master a concerned look. "I think you need some brownies. Big time." He held out a small Jawa hand, which Qui-Gon took, and helped the ghost to rise.
The two went into their kitchen, but were stopped at the swinging door entrance by a voice. "Thanks a lot, bwauth! It's great here! Hoo hoo ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! There are trees and flowers and chirping birds and basket weavers who twiddle their thumbs and toes and I think I hear the banana phone!"
The crushing emotion had dulled for the ghost. "You're welcome, JoJo... Now, JJ, brownie, me, man."

9 Comments:

At 5:10 pm, Blogger Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

I would say that I can now rest easy knowing the Monkeyboy is safe in Second Banana Heaven, but I wasn't really resting uneasily to begin with.

 
At 6:54 pm, Blogger flu said...

wait... Gabrielle is dead?

 
At 1:01 am, Blogger Obi-Wan Kenobi said...

I hear booze kills unwanted brain cells.

 
At 1:41 am, Blogger Qui-Gon Jinn said...

Fluke, man,
I missed that part in that one, like, season...
And Ben.
Don't you, like, want any of your brain cells?
ringringringringringringringbananaphone
GAHH!
Q

 
At 3:25 am, Blogger JawaJuice said...

Wait...they know EVERYTHING up there?
Even my...eh...video tape collection?

 
At 6:44 am, Blogger Tahl said...

I can see you've been having as much fun as I have. But I never met any shaman.

Should I be jealous of this Gabrielle person?

JJ, \/\/3 kl\l0\/\/ 4b0ut t3h "r34d1ng c0113ct10n" t00.

 
At 9:01 am, Blogger jedisiri said...

jj what have you got?

 
At 3:25 pm, Blogger JawaJuice said...

eeeh....nothing. What do you got?

 
At 4:23 am, Blogger Shaak Ti said...

HEY! I HAVE COSMIC BROWNIES! Come to my blog and bow down to my brownies. Or eat them...

-Ti

 

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