"Ed!" Sarah yelled at the top of her lungs. "You're going to tell me now where my red tablecloth is or else I'll-!" Eddy took a credential that he had written and stuffed it into her mouth. The badge said 'stupid'.
As Double D resented his eardrums, Sarah spat out the card and bit Eddy's hand. He gave a cry of pain.
"Damn it Ed! When are you planning to give your sister her rabies shot?!"
That's how Sarah was, most of the time. One had to be careful with her, or else start to write your will. Although she appeared to be a lady made of metal, the densest metal that is, she was actually a very loving and cheerful girl. Only that there was several tons of toughness and toughness all around that girl, and if the right words were not used to open that armor, the results could be devastating for one. As it's happening to Eddy now.
"Sarah, did you lose something too?" Double D interrupted. But she only listened to Eddy.
"What did you say?!" With her two small hands, she grabbed Eddy's leg and crushed it in full force, as he rolled over in pain.
"Be careful with your teeth, Sarah!" Ed exclaimed in alarm, preparing to separate them.
Despite the harsh and dominant treatment that his sister exercised over him, he adored her unconditionally, as an older brother adores his younger sister. There were only few essential things for survival in Ed's life: his parents, his friends, his fantasy worlds that he fed on through his comic books and movies, his favorite dishes, the chickens, and Sarah. If anyone were to do anything to little Sarah, the entire earth would tremble before the wrath of Big Ed!
"Eddy, don't you think it's a little strange?" Double D asked as he rubbed his eyes.
"Of course; Pets are supposed to be vaccinated in the first few months-"Sarah bit Eddy harder. "Aaaaaarrrggghhhh! Stop it!"
"I don't mean that, silly hair," Double D continued. First, Ed's gun disappears. Now, Sarah's tablecloth.
"It's true, baby sister! We don't know what happened to your tablecloth," Ed said fearfully.
"Sarah, why don't you explain us what is going on? So we could help you."
'Behold again, Mr. Diplomacy to the rescue,' Eddy thought. But he had to admit that his friend's patience and dialogue with brats like this was admirable, at least with Sarah. Their relationship improved after the incident with his older brother three weeks ago, when they all became formal friends.
The little girl began to calm down. She released Eddy's leg, which had been a little warped, like a chewed pencil. And with a sweeter tone, she clarified her problem.
"Well, last night I had prepared everything for a picnic with Jimmy at his house."
"A Picnic? At his house?" Double D asked, in his characteristic soft tone.
"The thing is, he's sick, and since we had planned this picnic all week, we didn't want to postpone it," Sarah replied, somewhat annoyed. Actually this picnic had been scheduled for the past weekend, but the bad weather ended up complicating everything; And to top it all off, in the little ones' grade, the teachers had also been all too eager to overflow the poor little devils with tests all week, as if their sad life depended on it. "And today in the morning, when I got up I saw that my basket had been moved from its place, it was open and the tablecloth was missing."
'It's more serious than I thought' Double D thought.
Eddy, who had already managed to stand up after a great effort, suddenly interrupted.
"And that's why you assume it was us and you attack us?!" Eddy growled.
"Eddy, wait. Don't you realize that we are facing what appears to be a crime?" Double D said. "Whoever it was crossed the line."
"And they also stole my water gun, this is a tragedy!" Ed recalled.
The short one tried to imitate his friend and remain calm for a second, trying to cool his head, but was unable to do so.
'Unbelievable! First they forget our super scam today, and now they want to put it aside to help this Tasmanian devil!'
"For God's sake! You promised to help your best friend in this successful business and now you put it aside! And for what?! For a little water gun and a filthy rag! Crime my undies!" He claimed. As he searched his pockets, he continued without lowering his voice. "It would be a crime if someone stole something with more value, like my wallet…"And it was at that moment that he realized that perhaps he should begin to be more careful with his words, that perhaps his friends were not exaggerating, that this was not going to be a common day like others, that this day, they were going to roll heads. "This can't be! I've been robbed! Eddy has been robbed!" Eddy declared, to Ed's and Double D's surprise, and Sarah's amusement.
"What?!" Ed and Double D exclaimed, very surprised.
'Huh, so this is how it feels like…'
While recognizing full well that what was happening was not a coincidence, Sarah didn't care at all. She was just thinking about her tablecloth.
"But are you sure, Eddy? Don't you have forgotten it at home?" Double D asked, a bit skeptical.
"Of course not! I always have it in my pocket!" Eddy said. He began to feel the hard fist of shame impact with fury on his superb pride, breaking it into a thousand pieces. In the bitterest way, life showed him what was on the other side of that river he knew as deception. All his life he has always been on the winning side, of the one who lies and deceives the other, taking away his dignity. Few times have been the ones he had to be on that other side of shame, but none of those times were compared to this. They had hit him where it hurts the most. His wallet had been stolen, along with his dignity.
For his part, Double D felt even more affected by the situation. He hadn't been a victim yet, but that wasn't necessary for him to feel outrage. He was always a goody two shoes, a person who always does the right thing. Someone who wouldn't be able to cross a red light even if he was alone in the world. Stealing was madness, insanity that threatened morals. Even the Bible says so. So it was immoral, and he hated all kinds of immorality.
"This is serious, fellows, really serious," Double D said, woken up by the situation, and now very determined. "We have to find Ed's gun, Sarah's tablecloth, and Eddy's wallet. I honestly doubt that a thief was responsible for the three disappearances; I do not rule it out. It's just that it's possible that..."
"Listen Ed!" Sarah interrupted, pulling him closer by the brow with her small, slender hands, the appearance of which had nothing to do with the monstrous force they could reach. "You better find my tablecloth before Sunday, or I'll tell Mom!"
"No buts!" —And she left like she came, fuming from her ears like a house fireplace waiting for Santa Claus.
The boys watched her walk down the street. What they had witnessed was nothing new: Sarah delegated her own responsibilities to Ed whenever she could, and he, instead of putting her in her place as he should as an older brother, accepted them with pleasure (or with fear), and that irritated Eddy.
"Now we're in trouble guys, we have to find..."
"We have? He ordered you, genius." Eddy interfered, still trying to understand how his friend could be such a fool.
"Eddy, please, your wallet is also missing," Double D reminded him.
"We have to find Sarah's tablecloth before Sunday or I'll be in big trouble!" Ed declared, trembling like a wet cat.
It was not for less. If there was one thing Ed knew very well it was that in his house, the punishments could be very severe. And that in addition, in situations like this, their parents' preference for their children was as partial as the system that governs the world. 'Everything for her, nothing for me. I have to do what Sarah says, without question, because if I don't do it Sarah will tell Mom, Mom will tell Dad, and Dad will just sit back and watch that program…'
And he had to find his water gun too, and Eddy's wallet.
Eddy was still in shock, trying to process what was happening. Throughout his life, his own pride had given him the strength he needed to continue what he set out to do. Now that pride had been disintegrated, and despite being on the side of great friends as are Ed and Edd, he felt disarmed. So from now on he would just relax, he would try to repress all that frustration, save it and transform it into anger, to release it as soon as he finds the damn thief.
'You don't care until it's your turn.'
"Well, if that's the case, I think I have no choice but to help you," Eddy finally declared, resigned. Double D's eyes widened.
'Do you always have to learn in the worst way, my friend?'
"Really?" Ed asked excitedly.
"That's what friends for, right?" Eddy replied. He was already beginning to learn. Double D gave Ed a look, to see if he heard the same miracle too. The end will be good from now on, but the means will remain Eddy's. "In fact, guys, I have my suspicions..."
"Oh yeah? Who?" Double D asked, surprised again.
"It's obvious, don't you think?" The most suspicious person in this neighborhood… " he replied with some mystery. Ed and Double D just looked at each other.
"Seriously? Jimmy?! Eddy, don't you remember he's sick?" Double D protested. They were in front of his house. "And also why would he do it? We're all supposed to be friends, right?"
"I don't forget when he stabbed us in the back, the day he did bad things and blamed us," Eddy replied, reliving resentment that day.
"It was because you humiliated him in front of everyone!"
"And it was worth it," Eddy said with a mischievous smile, remembering how funny it was to humiliate Jimmy. "Everyone laughed, and you did too! Also, after what he did to us, you have to admit he deserved it."
It happened a long time ago. It was a beautiful summer day, the day of friendship. Everyone in the neighborhood was celebrating in the middle of the cul-de-sac, when Eds came to join in a good way, or at least that's what Ed and Double D expected. Eddy didn't have the same intention; He gave poor Jimmy a wedgie, provoking amusement and laughter from everyone present, except Sarah. It was then that strange things began to happen in the neighborhood. The heart they had made with their own hands had been stabbed; someone had erased Plank's mouth, among other things. Worried, everyone in the neighborhood started looking for someone to blame, like a poor devil needs to find something to believe in. A stained handkerchief in the pocket of Double D and the name of Eddy on the stick that pierced the heart hinted at the most obvious. But the truth was that things had not been as they seemed: they were innocent. Only in the end, the Eds discovered that the mastermind of those attacks had been none other than Jimmy, the harmless Jimmy, as revenge. But it was too late for them: after finding them, the neighborhood kids stuck them on an alley fence to throw fruit at them, as punishment, and expelled them from their circle of friendship until further notice. Then the darkest and most feared trio of witches in Peach Creek claimed their loot for their wicked whims.
"And remember: don't mess with the best, suckers!"
And despite the fact that his unshakable hope in the spirits of youth made it difficult for him to recognize it, he knew it was true. Ed and Double D had done nothing, and yet Jimmy had punished all three equally. Double D had the intuition that it was Eddy who had transformed Jimmy forever, that other day when Sarah, busy with her dance class, commissioned the Eds to the little one to play with him. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Eddy had taught him his most precious art: scamming. 'You have created a monster.' he had told his friend. Looking at it this way, it no longer sounded far-fetched to suspect Jimmy.
Double D was suddenly pulled out from his thoughts, by the sound of the door opening...
"Hello?" Said a pale and weakened Jimmy. "Thank goodness you came, guys..."
"What? Hey, we do the…" Eddy replied.
"I lost Mr. Yum Yum. Could you help me find him? Please?" Jimmy interrupted, his voice hoarse. This surprised the boys.
"What? Y-you too?" Double D asked, surprised again.
"I don't know what happened, I can swear I slept with him last night and today he just... disappeared!" he answered.
Before Eddy made his rash accusations, Double D stepped forward.
"But how did it happen? Are you sure it won't have fallen on the floor?"
"I swear not. Mom says I lost it, or that he fell under the bed, or that I'm a liar. She says it would be impossible for him, to have life and be on him own." For a logical mind, that was absurd, but for an innocent mind like his, no. "But I think it is possible. Toys can be alive, right?"
"Sure Jimmy," Double D replied.
"Sarah also lost her tablecloth, and we lost a water gun and Eddy's wallet," Ed added.
"Hey, at least keep mine a secret, Lumpy," Eddy demanded. He took advantage of Ed's news to justify the withdrawal of the Eds. They already had their own problems; they had a tablecloth to find. Well, Ed had a tablecloth to look for, but for Eddy it wasn't fair to start looking for everyone's things only to receive nothing in return.
For nothing in return, of course, because that is how a business mind should think. If you are not going to win anything, you should not invest anything in the first place. That was one of Eddy's favorite excuses to break free of responsibilities. So they couldn't just search for the lost items.
But they could do something about the thief.
Once Jimmy closed the door. Eddy reminded his friends that this whole situation had already happened in the past.
Johnny 2x4 and his inseparable friend, Plank, as attached as ring and finger, as fingernail and flesh, as Ed and an expired cheese, walked down the street by chance.
"Hey guys!" Said the boy suddenly. He crossed the street with Plank in his arms.
"What do you want, baldy?" Eddy anticipated. "Let me guess: you lost something and you want us to find it."
"What? No! I just wanted to ask you if you haven't seen..."
But in Eddy's alternate world, where logic worked as it suited him depending on the situation, the fact that he was not a victim quickly made him a victimizer. He threw himself at Johnny and, grabbing him by the shirt, threatened him.
"Well, confess, buddy!" Eddy demanded on his face. Drops of saliva landed on the boy's face. "Where's my wallet?! What did you do with it?!"
"Eddy!" Double D shouted. "What are you doing? You have no proof!"
Ed took Eddy by the shoulders to separate him from Johnny.
"Please, Double D. He already did it once, don't you remember?" Eddy reminded him. It was a long time ago, when just like now, the kids' things mysteriously disappeared, and Eddy took Johnny as the prime suspect. In the end he would end up pleading guilty. "And I threatened to wet that piece of wood. Heck, I should do it again!"
"No! Please, not Plank! Take me!" Johnny replied, also remembering being tied to a chair in the dim light of a dirty interrogation room as his bladder exploded.
Ed managed to free Johnny from Eddy's clutches, causing him to end up on the ground.
"But in the end those objects appeared; we had lost them. And Johnny had been innocent," Double D said. "So your accusations so far remain invalid."
Eddy stood up and cleaned his pants with his hands. Again, he had been wrong.
"Urgh, fine!" He replied annoyed. Then he warned Johnny with much contempt. "You saved yourself this time, baldy, but we'll be watching you."
And saying this, they left Johnny alone. Double D gave Eddy a disapproving look.
"I just wanted to see how he reacted."
"Eddy, what are you thinking? We will not find the person responsible making unsubstantiated accusations to every person who crosses our path." Double D reproached.
Now, all three returned to the beginning. They were alone on the sidewalk, on a very beautiful morning. No answers, no culprits, no clues, no objects, no plans.
"Oh yeah? Well, I don't see you proposing anything, Shakespeare," Eddy defended himself. "At least I'm the only one who moves to catch the thief."
"I just know I don't know anything," Ed added.
"Well then, Mr. Pacifist! Tell us what we should do. C'mon, we're listening." Eddy demanded.
"Well, Eddy" Double D replied. Now they were going to listen to him. "The thief almost certainly lives in this neighborhood, right? However, accusing anyone will never take us to them. If my assumptions are not wrong, the others should already be aware of the situation. This is what we are going to do next..."