"Quit fooling around and bring that vacuum cleaner over here, Marie!"
"I'm coming, I'm coming... Do you always have to be so bossy?"
The Kanker sisters were cleaning their home, their mother's orders. May cleaned the furniture in the living room, Lee raised the chair, and Marie used the vacuum cleaner.
"We never have a day off, and when we do, Mom gives us a job!" May whined.
"Less whining and more action, or else I will go and you two can take care of all of this alone."
Their mother (unknown to everyone in the neighborhood because of her complicated daily schedule) had not done a good job regarding her own future, and there was the result: a small, rented trailer, and three little devils that are unable to do anything if not persuaded first. Well, at least the latter was already being handled pretty well; she believed that assigning responsibilities to her daughters would help in their formation as people. It would make them more responsible, teach them how to earn their daily bread, and perhaps they would learn new things, like feeding themselves.
"You can't do that! You know we'll tell mom!" Marie protested.
"And I'll tell her that you're lying and that I did everything, and since I'm the oldest, she'll believe me," Lee retorted. She already had the answer ready. "So why don't you just stop crying and hurry up?"
Marie knew that was true. The older siblings had advantages like that, while the younger ones had other advantages. Tough luck being born as the middle child. What really bothered her was that someone like Lee had the authority over them. The problem was not having an older sister and having to obey her in certain circumstances, the problem was when she abused her power. She knew that her sister could face everyone and stomp over them by just wanting to, and she admired her for that, but was it necessary to do it with her family too?
"Don't fight, girls. You know union make..."
"Shut up, May!" The two demanded.
Like every firstborn, Lee felt entitled to order her sisters however she wants, wherever she wants, and whenever he wants. However, it wasn't her highly cunning or superior ambition that it gave her the right. She did it because she knew that the responsibility fell solely on her. If something happened to those two, it was obvious to suppose who would mom scold and that was what her sisters did not fully understand. That is why she in exchange to put that weight on herself; she also took the right to wield her authority (in mom's absence) as she pleased. That was the fun part of being the oldest. She loved her sisters, but she also loved taking advantage of them. Only sometimes, when she got up in a good mood, she decided to share the sweet throne of superiority with Marie, to play some prank on May. And it was in very few cases when she just didn't feel like bothering anyone.
"Don't play dumb and hurry up, you hardly did anything!" Marie demanded of her younger sister, chewing on her gum.
"I did more than you!"
"These girls… Where's a man when you need one?"
The sound of the door being knocked reverberated in the living room, abruptly interrupting all operational activity of these sisters.
They left everything they were doing to exchange glances between the three of them. Seconds later, a short but intense race toward the door began. From one moment to the next, all tasks had been suspended. The vacuum cleaner and broom were allowed to rest on the floor. Hitting, grabbing, kicking, pulling hair, and much more. A small civil war had been fought inside the trailer.
May was the first to reach the knob and open the door, and then...
As if it were a sappy romantic movie, where the Prince Charming crosses rivers and mountains and faces monsters and dragons to see his beloved princess, the scene recreated at the door was very familiar to her. She associated the current event that occurred in front of her nose with the Disney cartoons that she still watches. She melted in seconds at the door of her house, at the presence of the tallest Edward.
"It's my boyfriend!" She exclaimed with great joy.
As she prepared to pounce on her Ed, she envisioned plenty of ways to savor and enjoy him to its fullest.
Lee and Marie rose from the ground and focused their attention on the newcomer, instantly noticing that he was alone.
"Um ... Hi... Hi girls," Ed stammered nervously. He was trembling, but in fear.
"Well, well, well, look what we have here," Lee was contemplating. "And where are the others? Where's my man? We have a lot of work at home..." Eds were always welcome at their house.
Marie remembered Double D. If perfection existed, it couldn't be anyone but that boy.
"Yoohoo! Dreamboat! Where are you?" Marie was calling her boyfriend. Suddenly she could hear a knock. It was a weak blow, but since the neighborhood was empty and quiet, nothing could stop the noise from spreading. Lee heard it too.
"What was that?" The sisters asked themselves.
"You stepped on me! Be more careful, you genius… " Eddy protested. Double D had accidentally stepped on his foot, causing him to move in pain and hit his rectangular head with the rearview mirror of the car in which they were hiding.
"Wait," his friend silenced him. They were listening to the voices of Ed and the three demons, until suddenly everything fell silent. Double D imagined the worst. They both looked at each other, exchanging all their fears through those looks. Then, by unspoken agreement, Double D took a risk and poked his head out to see...
'It was your idea Sockhead'
His heart was beating a thousand times a second. Beads of sweat poured out of his hat and landed on the gravel. Very slowly, he peeked out the front trunk. What I got to see was Ed and the Kanker sisters outside the trailer. May was already on top of the poor lad.
"There they are!" Marie pointed out.
It was obvious. He couldn't see anything without show the tip of his geometric beanie first. He guessed that the terror of the moment skewed his mind. Even knowing what would happen; Eddy was very scared with the situation.
"Run away!" Eddy shouted with great fear.
"That's enough Ed! Let's go!"
In just an instant Ed left his position, leaving May on the ground.
"Don't let them escape!" Lee ordered.
Double D and Eddy were already at the entrance to the trailer park, a few meters from the small creek that separated them from civilization.
"Wait for me, guys!"
"Forget about cleaning; let's have fun girls!"
Believe it or not, for the sisters, the presence of the Eds in different situations not only meant a little bit of fun, entertainment and other slightly stronger feelings, but it was also the best remedy to calm the atmosphere. At least it was for Marie, who upon seeing her sweetie pie running away from them like a scared puppy, was able to completely forget all those negative thoughts about her older sister's excessive abuse of power. 'He's so cute!'
Double D was the first to cross the creek over the bridge, which consisted of a five-meter board. At the end, he turned and saw that Eddy had stayed on the other side, waiting for Ed to pass. For a moment he thought that Eddy was making a good gesture. It was not exactly that: he decided to be the last to cross so he could remove the board when he reached the other side, leaving the sisters without a path. However, their joy was short-lived: May didn't stop running, diving into the creek and returning to the surface on the other side, completely soaked, but still running; Marie swam across it, and Lee just jumped it, landing on the other side with a stomp that shook the floor, causing Double D to lose his balance and nearly fall.
"You're mine, Eddy!" Eddy heard Lee and his hair stood up on end again.
"Watch out!" Double D warned about the huge root coming out of a very old tree. Ed tripped over that root, cutting more than half the distance with the girls, but within seconds he managed to catch up with his friends again.
If there was anything better to ease tensions and lift your spirits than to hold and caress a hand-sewn Ed doll, it was to hold, caress, and kiss the same Ed, but the one with flesh, bone, and smell. Although just having a visit from them was enough to brighten their day, for a Kanker nothing was ever enough.
"They're catching up to us! The witches are catching up to us!" Ed exclaimed in horror.
They crossed a wooden fence that ended about 8 meters to the left. Eddy jumped it over the top. Double D made a detour. Ed just went through it.
"More speed, please! It's only up to the neighborhood!" Double D asked, agitated but serene.
"If they catch us, I swear I'll kill you!"
Double D turned to look at Eddy. Terror was imprinted on his face, like every time those girls had to be dealt with. He gave him a smile, one of those with which he confirms that "everything goes smoothly" and Eddy relaxed. It was one of those confident smiles that he would never make if he didn't have the absolute certainty that the plan would go well. And Eddy knew that if he had the security to do it in these circumstances (with three wild creatures, hungry for "love", two centimeters from his back), there really was nothing to worry about.
Double D was sure the sisters would never catch up with them. He had calculated everything, from the position of each one to the speed of the girls and their acceleration in case of falling. It was risky, since if the situation was different, such as if the distance to be traveled was only a few meters longer, he had no doubt that they would have caught them.
As the Kanker sisters crossed the fence through the big hole Ed had left for them, the boys had already reached the street. The rest of the tour was not a big problem: the boys achieved what they wanted.
The girls crossed the end of the alley and entered the street. They saw them enter through the door of the house of one of those fools whose names they always had trouble remembering. With Lee at the head and without slowing down, they entered that house.
Everything was dark. They heard voices around them. A smell of meat filled the place. They immediately recognized the type of meat they use to cook the Kankerburgers.
All of this managed to confuse the Kankers. After a few seconds, the lights came on.
It was a beautiful and spacious living room, whose main characteristic was to be adorned almost entirely with meat of all kinds. Cows, pigs, even fish. Yellow walls were hidden behind all that decoration.
"What's this, a slaughterhouse?" Lee questioned between pants.
They were in Rolf's house, in addition to the Eds and the Kankers, there were other kids: Johnny, Nazz, Kevin, Sarah, Jimmy, and of course Rolf.
"The three witches! Help!" Exclaimed a pale Jimmy.
"Easy, Jimmy, nothing will happen," Sarah reassured him.
"Thanks for waiting ... guys ..." Double D said, recovering from the run. "Since we are all there, we can deal with the problem at hand."
"Finally! I was about to get out of here." Kevin protested.
Before the kids' patience and the Kanker sisters' remarkable confusion, Double D climbed into a wooden drawer where he could make himself better heard, and started the meeting.
"Very well, as everyone should know, there have been numerous cases of..."
"A thief! There is a thief on the loose! A damn thief stalks us guys! We have to catch him and-!"
Rolf, Sarah, Jimmy and Nazz confirmed Eddy's accusation, since they too had lost an item.
"Oh, Ed! I don't see my tablecloth around here," her sister reminded him singsongingly. "Do I have to remind you what I'll do if-?"
"Give me time, baby sister, I beg you."
Johnny had not been robbed but he was aware of the facts; Kevin declared he did not know anything about that; Marie and May were still draining their clothes, while Lee only watched with curiosity.
"They steal from each other. I told you they were hypocritical."
"Wow, what a discovery! You should move to a lab, Marie." Lee replied.
'Screw you, Lee.'
Kevin had no idea what they were talking about until a few minutes ago, when Nazz revealed to him that she had lost her new high-quality camera. Then, Double D was in charge of clearing any doubts he had. He didn't notice anything else that caught his eye, other than Jimmy's cold or Rolf's dark circles.
Eddy noted Kevin's low involvement in the events and, reduced to his stubborn frustration, started again...
"What about you, Kevin? How strange that nothing was stolen from you, right?"
"What are you implying?"
"Don't try to be a smartass, buddy. Confess the truth or else-"
"Or else what, dork?!"
"Hey, that's enough, both of you," Nazz stopped them. Kevin was already holding Eddy by the ankles, head-first, and Eddy, in turn, had him by the neck. "Kevin didn't know about this, but that doesn't make him responsible."
"Exactly, Nazz," Double D added, yawning. He had small but striking dark circles under his eyes. "We must not fall into fallacies that lead to unfair accusations."
"Fallacies? Please, Double D, it's just common sense," Eddy defended himself as he stood up. "I'm sure everyone here should be suspicious of this guy."
"Prove it," Kevin challenged.
"Well then." Eddy produced a very small urn and a bag with pieces of paper. "Double D, hand me a pen."
Double D couldn't believe he was going to do what he would end up doing after all. Eddy called everyone to vote for who each believed was a cul-de-sac thief. Eddy's stupidity surprised him so much that he forgot to watch him so that he did not commit fraud. He didn't do it anyway.
Kevin, Nazz, Johnny, Plank, Double D, Rolf, Ed, Sarah, Jimmy, Lee, Marie, May, and finally Eddy passed.
"From where I come from, we decided everything old school style," Rolf added. No one wanted to know details.
"Do you think so, Plank? Yeah, I also think the same."
Double D took a small portable blackboard out of his hat and began to write down.
"One vote for... Eddy," he announced without surprise.
"Oh, come on!" His friend complained.
"Another vote for... Eddy. Another one for... Eddy. One for... Eddy. A blank vote, another for Eddy, another for... the Joker? A vote for... Eddy, another for Eddy." He stopped writing on his board. "The result was overwhelming. One for Eddy. One for Eddy. Another for Eddy, and the last for... well, Kevin."
"Very funny guys," he felt each vote to his name like a drop of water impacting his heart, whose persistence over time ended up driving one crazy, but he remained calm. They couldn't be serious.
"Funny? We're really starting to consider you," Kevin replied.
"Yeah, sure, I stole my own wallet! And I also stole Jimmy's stupid bear because somehow my life depended on it. And I don't know why I would want a water gun, but I stole it too!
"No one claims you are the thief, this result only shows that your tactic is unsupported," Double D said as he put away his blackboard. Then he addressed the others. "Here we all are innocent until proven otherwise."
"Plank says the thief is in this room, but it's not Eddy."
"Thanks, Johnny, but you voted for me."
"No one took your vote seriously, dumbass," Sarah replied.
"Double D's right. If we want to find him we need proof,"Nazz said. "We can't accuse someone who turns out to be innocent, since we would only be lowering ourselves to the thief's level." She rested her arm on the boy's shoulder, making him shiver. She didn't see when Marie stared daggers at her.
"Umm...w-well... does anyone want to a-add something...?"
The Kanker sisters, who until now had stayed away from the discussion, finally gave signs of life.
"Well... we weren't-"
"Shut up, May." She was silenced by Lee. She said in her ear. "Do you want them to think that we did it and bother us?"
The girls already had everyone's eyes on them. Marie was beginning to realize something she must have thought about as soon as she entered this house. What happened in this alley should be a matter only for those who lived here, and they did not live here.
"Hey, if it wasn't Eddy..." Kevin added slowly, "I'm sure these three had something to do with it."
Is that why they brought them?
"What did you say, douchebag?" Snapped Lee, who was easy to anger.
"Hold on, hold on!" Double D calmed again. "May wanted to say something and you didn't let her. Could you please repeat it?"
Lee released her sister and she spoke.
"W-well... I was saying that nothing was stolen from us... We were just cleaning at home when you arrived and made us come all the way here," she finished reproachfully.
"Oh really? And why didn't they want you to say it?" Eddy accused.
"You would have blamed us even if we didn't. Wouldn't you, Eddy?" Lee replied.
The others simply watched the dispute. The Kanker sisters were just Ed, Edd and Eddy's business and not theirs, thankfully.
As she took one end of her black tank top to drain, Marie watched Double D's attitude. So dismayed, but why? Could it be that...?
"No Lee, we don't..."
"Double D..." Marie finally interrupted, in a voice much softer and weaker than usual, which frightened the boy. "Do you really think it was us?"
There it was again, another girl who made him shiver. He had his doubts regarding them. He was not sure of anything, but among all the people present, the three of them were closer than anyone to committing actions of that severity. They had already done things of equal gravity several times.
"No, o-of course not, but..."
"But what?!" Marie's unexpected scream spread throughout Rolf's house, even awakening poor Victor and the others.
"I-I... I-I'm just saying that... t-the situation..."
"What situation? You doubted! You think it was us!" Marie exclaimed. Now she was furious, worried, and offended. She was furious, yes, but not at him, but at herself, and this was followed by all the other feelings. She didn't deny the flashy record of things that had been done to the Eds, but it was the first time she'd seen Double D this outraged. And she knew perfectly well that the most logical thing would be to suspect them, and for someone logical like him that was a fact, but this was different. She couldn't accept that the boy she adored now would do more than fear her. That he could now see her as an... enemy?
"No, Marie, I didn't..."
"Well you know what?! You and your stupid friends are dead to me! You jerk!" Her statement surprised everyone present, especially Double D himself. Then she shoved him away and ran away with tears.
"Marie, wait!" Asked the boy, but it was no use.
"Wait for us!" May followed, with Lee hot on her tail. The Kanker sisters were gone, leaving a puddle of water in the middle of the room.
"Hey! Where do you think you're going?!" Eddy thought for a second about chasing them, but then reasoned at the stupidity of his idea.
Everyone was silent for a few seconds, looking at Double D.
"Why, Rolf had not seen such an intense scene since he lived with his grandparents." Rolf was the first to break the silence.
"Are you happy, sockhead? You let them get away!" Eddy was now leaning against the door frame.
But Double D wasn't listening. He was still trying to process the situation. The girl who loved him now hates him, and while that didn't worry him much, it did surprise him. He didn't suspect them; he only had doubts, as anyone would have. Does she think he hates her?
"I really think it was them," Kevin said. "Either them or dorky."
"Mmmm... Rolf doubts it," his best friend said with a yawn.
Ed just watched silently, he really had nothing to contribute. He could only focus on his 9mm water gun that one of his "friends" must have right now.
"Plank says that..."
"Nobody cares, Johnny," said Sarah.
Jimmy, whose cold so far had relegated him from attention, limited him to ponder silently, decided to break the awkward silence a bit to share his point of view.
"Well, I think that..." Now he had everyone's eyes on him, "Maybe... there is no thief."
"What do you mean there is no thief, fluffy?" Kevin protested wearily.
"Perhaps nobody is a thief. Maybe... maybe we just lost our things. That's all. If we search our homes we will probably find them," Jimmy argued, regaining some assurance about the end of his statement.
Everyone thought about it for a moment, and understood that Jimmy's point was logical. It had happened once, a long time ago. Maybe it could have happened again.
Jimmy's hypothesis brought Double D back down to earth. He stopped thinking about what had just happened with Marie and concentrated on what the boy had said, concluding that most likely he was right, that all this mobilization against the so called thief was nothing more than the product of their troubled minds, along with the excitement of putting on a raincoat, grabbing a pipe, and playing detective for a while. The emotion caused by the possibility of applying all his intellect to help all his friends had blinded him to the most obvious explanation. The simplest explanation was often the correct one, and he had bypassed that explanation.
"Well, fellas" Double D repeated. "I think we should do the following: search our homes for objects that we lost. If we can't find them..."
"Go prepare your weapons."
It was still difficult for Eddy to accept that he lost his wallet, since those green pieces of paper meant (along with his coins) his purpose in life, the reason for his existence.
"If we can't find them, we'll get back together to help each other, or talk, you know..." Double D finished. Everyone agreed. Kevin and Sarah, not so convinced, accepted anyway. Jimmy was glad he had managed to solve something. "By the way, Rolf, I almost forgot to thank you for letting us use your house."
"It's nothing, Ed boys," said Rolf, rather subdued.
"How stupid, I must have left it in the bathroom or on the backyard... Kev, will you help me find it...?" They were all leaving the house, except Rolf and the Eds. When Ed was about to leave, Eddy held him by the arm.
"Hold on, guys."
"What is it, Eddy?" Ed asked.
"Don't you think it would be a good idea... to spy on the Kankers?"
Eddy's idea even surprised Rolf.
"Wow, Ed boy. Rolf didn't know you were into those things… " he said with bulging eyes. Eddy turned red.
"What? No! Never! I mean, let's go find out if they're really hiding something." Eddy had already reflected on the Kankers. If he had a suspicion of them, those suspicions were now heightened. He was convinced that they should go investigate those bandits. His fear of them was great, but even more so was his courage, the simple courage that made him think that his money could be there. Just imagining those three stupid girls wasting every penny he had worked so hard to get made him sick. Even that dramatic chase from the trailer to Rolf's house was long gone.
"You think so? For me, their reaction was very sincere. I mean, I was hesitant but I think they were really offended… "Double D replied. "And also, Jimmy-"
"Come on, Double D. You know as well as me that there is a thief. We got nothing to lose by spying a little to make sure."
Double D, still not entirely convinced, agreed to go see them.
"But don't make me knock on the door this time, Eddy," Ed asked.
The boys said goodbye to Rolf and headed back to the dark trailer park.