Chuck vs the Lost Memories


Jeff and Lester haunted the back streets of Berlin, always moving, trying desperately to blend in despite their total lack of knowledge of the city and the German language. Lester's hoodie hid the black hair which would have stuck out like a sore thumb, but his face was still a bit conspicuous in the land of Aryans. The dark-skinned one had his wallet, which was now empty of both money and ID. The Caucasian had no money, ID, or wallet either, but he had his phone (the last remnant of a failed eBay scam they'd attempted at the Buy More). Jeff didn't count it an asset when neither one of them knew anyone they could call in Europe. It was running out of juice and might even be dead already.

Jeff also had a tiny aluminum vial he had kept in his pocket ever since some wasted fan passed out on his lap after one sniff. He'd confiscated it for the fan's own safety, but decided to keep it as a emergency backup. Jeff preferred sobriety now, but one never knew when one might need to revert to old ways.

Still starving, their nose for food led them to the most bizarre little party, probably meant for tourists, judging by the cutesy Bavarian costumes. They food line was heavily guarded by goons who expected the partiers to pay, but they saw a weakness in the funky little folk band. They had just finished a set and were taking a break. Jeff grinned and winked at Lester, who nodded back with a wink of his own. Without even discussing a plan, they each chose an appropriately sized musician and followed them to a backstage area.

Jeff didn't want to hurt anyone, but he was hungry and this seemed like a way to get food. So he pulled out that emergency vial and unscrewed the top, then grabbed the band dude from behind. Just like his old stash of chloroform, it produced immediate results and the band member passed out.

Lester didn't have the advantage of chemical aid, but the skinny one was crazed by hunger and probably felt less qualm, since he'd already assaulted the train guard. He head-butted his smaller target into unconsciousness.

"Jeff, take his clothes," Lester urged in a hushed whisper.

Jeff shrugged, but he didn't hesitate. It wasn't like Lester hadn't asked him to do far weirder things before.

In a few minutes, they were both wearing traditional lederhosen, knee socks, and Bavarian hats. Jeff didn't say so, but he didn't think it worked very well on the dark skinned, black-haired Hin-Jew.

"Now they'll let us eat for free," Lester said, his eyes wide with ravenous expectation.

They left the backstage area and headed to the buffet line. Grilled bratwurst aroma was so intoxicating, Jeff's mouth watered in eager anticipation.

Mere feet from their goal, someone grabbed both their shoulders and started scolding them in German. Although Jeff couldn't make heads nor tails of what the guy was saying, his tone and the shove toward the stage made it pretty clear the band break was over and they had to go perform. Trapped by their disguises, they dutifully marched to the stage. Lester looked about ready to bolt, but Jeff saw that the band had left a piano accordion. This gave him an idea. He tapped his Hin-Jew buddy on the back. "Lester, we can do this. Let's play."

"Are you nuts? We don't know any German songs. Well, unless you count 'O Tannenbaum.'"

Jeff grinned. "You just need to channel your inner Wayne Newton, like Ferris Bueller." He winked an encouragement.

The lights went on in Lester's eyes. A wicked Grinch-smile formed on brown Indian features. "Let's do this."

Jeff heaved the accordion straps over his shoulders. He was very grateful it wasn't the other kind, because he had no clue how to play a button board. As it was, he was a bit afraid of the bellows and hoped he could fake the squeezebox well enough while Lester rocked their socks with his singing.

Lester picked up the microphone. Jeff did a short intro and then Lester belted out 'Danke Schoen.' The crowd didn't even care most of the words were in English. They didn't seem to care about Jeff's awkward squeezebox handling either. They sang along and applauded wildly when they finished. Jeff and Lester took their bows.

Was one song enough? Could they go get some of those heavenly-smelling bratwursts now? Drawn like animals to a baited trap, the two Bavarian pretenders headed back to the food line.

Someone yelled "Jeffster!" and the gig was up. People mobbed them. Again. Lester cried, "Bratwurst?" in a pathetic tone worthy of Oliver Twist. Jeff whimpered.

A husky feminine voice shouted in German and the crowds magically eased up. Behind the buffet stood a woman in a dirndl and blonde braids. She held out two plates of brats and cheese and other assorted goodies.

Jeff nearly choked on gratitude. "For us?"

She smiled and nodded, reaching the plates further toward them. Jeff and Lester ran to her and grabbed them, gushing multiple danke shoens to the beautiful blonde bratwurst queen.

The fans were thrilled to have them eat among them at their little picnic tables. They chattered on in German while Jeff and Lester devoured the food. Jeff even made an exception to his alcohol fast in order to partake of the free German beer.

It might have been quite a feast, except that the owners of the lederhosen didn't stay unconscious forever. Two dudes wearing their sweatpants and hoodies came running from backstage, shouting something hideous in German.

Lester and Jeff exchanged horrified glances. "Time to go!"

They took off running. When they ran out of breath, they hid in an alleyway behind a big bakery. At least they assumed it was a bakery by the cakes, breads, and pastries in the window. Panting heavily, they stared at each other.

"I look ridiculous," Lester said.

"I feel ridiculous," Jeff said.

"We got some food, but now we're wearing shorts and it's going to be dark soon. We're wanted for assault and subway fare fraud. We have no place to sleep, no nothing."

Jeff pulled out his phone and checked the battery indicator. It was super low. "I don't think we can call, but maybe we can send a text. Who would help us?"

They both stared at the ground in silence.

"Chuck!" Lester said.

Jeff thought Chuck was a genius and a pretty great guy. He'd do anything Chuck ever asked. But Chuck didn't have any reason to help them. "Naw. He's probably mad because we left him holding the bag at the Nerd Herd desk."

"You're right. Morgan would be mad too."

"Wait. What about Morgan's spicy lady?"

Lester's eyes lit up. "Yes! We saved her life! We attacked those goons in the fake bloodmobile and Saved. Her. Life! She owes us."

"True, but I don't have her phone number. John Casey said he would break every bone in my body if I ever called her."

"This isn't a call. It's a text," Lester reasoned.

Jeff shrugged. "Still don't have her number."

"Okay, so text Morgan, but remind him what we did for Alex. Better yet, tell him if he doesn't help us, we'll be calling her."

Jeff was about to point out the flaw in that reasoning, but then he realized it was a bluff. Morgan didn't have to know they didn't have Alex's number. He'd freak just on the threat. Jeff grinned. "Yeah, good idea. But what can anyone do for us from Burbank?"

"Morgan's the big spy dude." Lester curled his fingers in air quotes as he said the last two words. "Let him figure it out. Send a spy plane or something."

They argued a lot on wording until Lester had the brilliant idea to take a selfie in front of the bakery and include the street name sign. Pictures were worth a thousand words, right? That would explain where they were. They would send that after the text, just in case they ran out of battery.

It took them another fifteen minutes to compose the text. When they both agreed on wording, they sent the following to Morgan:

We saved Alex's life. U owe us. On the lam in Berlin, Germany. Phone dying. No way 2 charge. Send help plz. Not kidding. We harass Alex if U no help. U owe us.

Then they took the selfie. It was hard because Lester kept laughing, but if they sent anything happy, it would look like a joke. "We have to look pathetic and dying," Jeff said.

"Don't we look pathetic enough in these ridiculous shorts?"

"The shorts won't show up, just our faces. Try to look starving."

"We just gorged ourselves on brats and beer."

"Yeah, well, who knows how long before we'll get help? That may have been our last meal for days."

With the last bit of battery power left on Jeff's phone, they sent the selfie. All they could do now was wait.

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