Keeper of the Spatula

Chapter 11: Obsession

Later that same afternoon, the group- now including Plankton, had kelp beef for lunch which SpongeBob cooked on the campfire, using the golden spatula. With the spatula controlling SpongeBob’s cooking, he managed to put on a fancy way of serving lunch, which entertained Patrick and Plankton. Squidward just complained that he was hungry and demanded that SpongeBob stop playing with the food and just give it to them instead.

SpongeBob eventually acquiesced and flipped all the kelp beef onto little handmade plates he fashioned out of leaves and tossed them over to the three.

“Show-off.” Squidward muttered as he turned his back to everyone and ate his lunch. He didn’t think it was the most delicious or classiest meal, but since he was out in the wilderness with the chance of starving to death, he didn’t care. It didn’t help that the spatula didn’t make it as well as it made krabby patties though.

Patrick, of course, had no trouble gulping down his kelp beef while Plankton was eyeing SpongeBob sitting on the ground with his back turned, presumably eating his lunch and strangely being anti-social.

Plankton pushed his dish aside and crept over to where the sponge was sitting. Patrick decided to help himself to Plankton’s disregarded food.

Once he got close enough to SpongeBob, he was surprised to see the sponge hadn’t even touched his food and was still holding the spatula close.

“Hey there, SpongeBob.” Plankton casually greeted, and then coughed in his throat, attempting to start an also casual conversation, “So…you’re not hungry?”

SpongeBob stared down at him and cheerfully replied, “Oh yes, I’m starving actually.” This was proven when his stomach growled from lack of food. “But I thought I’d just take some time to just observe the greatness that Hoagie and I made. I feel like I have to for some reason.”

“Weirdo.” Plankton muttered under his breath. “Say, SpongeBob, why don’t you give me that spatula and I’ll hold onto it while you eat.”

“No!” SpongeBob quickly shouted as he held the spatula closer to his body. “I’m sorry, Plankton, but I just need to hold onto it for a while longer. I just can’t seem to let him go right now.”

“Yeah, sure, fine, whatever.” Plankton responded with an odd look, but then turned around and gritted his teeth in frustration.

As he left the sponge alone, the four were unaware that from behind the plants and bushes, a strange shadow in the dark was watching them before it ran off into the unknown.

A couple minutes later, everyone finished eating (or everyone who chose to eat), and they all continued their journey to the Arctic Ocean. SpongeBob seemed to be holding the spatula closer to his face than he had before as well as humming to himself and spinning around with every other step he took.

He was unknowingly being watched by Plankton, who was walking right next to him. “This might actually be harder than I thought.” He whispered to himself. “That twit is so glued to that spatula that I might never get the chance to take it. I better think of something fast.”

And to make matters even more bizarre, SpongeBob got a large grin as he said to the spatula, “So you like krabby patties?” he asked the spatula as he kept it right on his cheek while retaining his ecstatic grin. “No fooling? Me too! Ha ah ah ah ah!”

“SpongeBob?” Patrick suddenly asked. “Who are you talking to?”

“Oh, it’s just Hoagie, Patrick.” SpongeBob answered. “He is such a riot to talk to.” Then he held the spatula out toward Patrick. “Go ahead, Pat. Say hi to him.”

Not knowing what else to do, Patrick just waved and greeted, “Hi.” But he quickly noticed the spatula did not make any attempt to greet him back.

Patrick became quickly annoyed by this and pointed at it. “Hey! It’s not polite to ignore people!” But again the spatula ‘ignored’ him and Patrick grabbed it by the stem. “I’ll show you to be rude to me!”

Before Patrick could strangle it, SpongeBob quickly pulled it away and scolded him, “Dah ah ah! No touching, Patrick. Hoagie likes his personal space.”

Squidward stopped walking ahead of them and shouted back to them, “Will you two stop playing with that stupid thing and get a move on?”

But SpongeBob seemed to take offense to that comment, “Hoagie’s not stupid! He’s a misunderstood fry cook that makes terrific krabby patties!”

He then glanced at the ground to see Plankton reaching for the spatula. But the single-cell organism quickly stands up straight with his hands behind his back. “You sure are right, SpongeBob.” He said with a grin.

“Whatever.” Squidward dismissed, rolling his eyes. “Are we even going in the right direction, Plankton?”

“Of course we are, Squidward.” Plankton easily answered. “Would I lie to you?”

SpongeBob sighed sadly. “I wish we knew how close we were. Hoagie and I are getting tired already.”

“Maybe if we can see where we were going, we would know if we’re going the right way.” Patrick suggested.

SpongeBob’s eyes lit up as he smiled at his best friend, “Patrick, you genius, that’s it! All we need is someone to scout ahead like they do in the movies and see if we’re on the right trail.”

“That is a good idea.” Squidward sarcastically agreed. “But I’m not doing it.”

“I’ll volunteer.” SpongeBob offered, raising his hand. “Hoagie and I both think it’ll be the perfect job for us.”

“Can I go too, SpongeBob?” Patrick asked hopefully.

“Sorry, Patrick, it’s best you stay here.” SpongeBob gently explained. “Hoagie and I will be fine by ourselves.”

Though Patrick seemed disappointed at not being able to join his best friend, Plankton got between them and said, “I think this’ll be great, SpongeBob. How about I hold onto that spatula for you so you won’t lose it?”

“NO!” SpongeBob suddenly shouted as he held the spatula out of reach. “I…I mean…Hoagie and I will be fine together.”

“‘Hoagie and I, Hoagie and I’!” Squidward repeatedly complained as he walked over to them and faced SpongeBob. “What is with you? Since this afternoon, you’ve been acting weirder than usual; talking to that stupid spatula as if it were real.”

“Hoagie is not stupid!” SpongeBob angrily yelled as he leaned closer to Squidward’s face. “And he is real! He’s in this spatula and has been telling me a bunch of stuff since we’re best friends!”

“W-What?” Squidward stammered, surprised by SpongeBob’s response until he straightened himself. “Do you even hear yourself?”

“I thought I was your best friend, SpongeBob.” Patrick pointed out, feeling hurt by the sponge’s previous statement.

SpongeBob quickly caught what he had said and placed a hand on Patrick’s shoulder. “You are my best friend.”

“Look, gentlemen,” Plankton quickly intervened with an obvious look of annoyance. “I hate to interrupt your personal dilemmas, but we have to keep traveling before night falls.”

“Oh, you’re right, Plankton.” SpongeBob admitted and prepared to leave. “I better go do that scouting ahead thing.”

Before they could say another word, SpongeBob ran off into the woods, gripping the spatula tightly in his hand.

Squidward crossed his arms and turned away with a frown. “That little twerp is probably gonna lead us off a cliff for all we know.” He muttered out loud.

“I don’t think that rude spatula is a good friend for SpongeBob.” Patrick said with a sad look. “He can’t replace me like that.”

Plankton ignored the comments by the two and glared toward where SpongeBob took off. “This isn’t working.” He said to himself. “I need something else to pry that sponge away from the spatula, but what?”

Meanwhile, SpongeBob was walking through the woods, looking for the right trail to walk on that’ll lead them to the Arctic Ocean. But his mind seemed lost of the job and couldn’t help but think of the way he behaved back there with his friends.

“This doesn’t make any sense.” He said to himself as he leaned back against a boulder. “Why would I say any of that? Patrick’s my best friend, and I would never say any of that stuff I thought of saying to Squidward.”

He looked at the spatula and continued saying, “What’s happening to me?”

He stared at the spatula with its gold reflecting in sunlight. He continued staring at it as if expecting it to respond and answer all his questions.

SpongeBob then dropped his arms and turned his eyes upward with a large sigh. “Now that I think about it, it always seems like they never wanted me around.” His eyes widen with sudden horror, “They’re probably waiting to get rid of me just like Mr. Krabs. I know they talk behind my back just trying to come up with a way to- NO!”

SpongeBob pounded his fists on the sides of his head and laid up against the boulder. “It’s happening again! Those bad thoughts that make me wanna do bad things!”

He then bent over and clutched his stomach as if he were about to be sick. “Why would I think that?” he asked himself in an uncharacteristically somber way, “Squidward and Plankton would never do such a thing, and neither would Patrick- they love me!” Then he held the spatula in both his palms and stared at it with a pitiful smile. “And you would never do anything like that to me, would you, Hoagie?”

As he stared at the spatula once again like he was expecting an answer from it, his broken smile suddenly vanished and was replaced with a look of confusion.

“What?” he questioned to the spatula as he dropped to his knees, holding the spatula in the same position to his eyes. “What would they take from me? You know the thing we hold dear to our heart is-”

But before he could finish, he was cut off by the screams of three voices from behind him in the distance. He instantly recognized them and stood up.

“Oh no,” he gasped in fright. “Patrick, Squidward, and Plankton are in trouble. I gotta hurry!”

He quickly pocketed the spatula and made his way back through the forest to help his friends.

Patrick, Squidward, and Plankton screamed in fright as they were surrounded by a group of strange fish in loincloths and tiki masks, pointing spears at the three.

“They got strange masks.” Patrick noticed as he smiled. “Is it Halloween already?”

“Search their bags.” One of the warriors instructed the others. “See if they have anything valuable.”

“Is there candy in the bags?” Patrick asked Squidward.

When the warriors were searching the bags, the lead one shouted, “After you’re done, eliminate them.”

Squidward and Plankton both screamed in horror, but Patrick angrily shouted, “Hey, you’re supposed to say ‘Trick or Treat’!”

One of the warriors went over to the head one and whispered, “We remember seeing four travelers in the woods, but there are only three here.”

“What?” the head warrior asked. “How is that possible? Did you miscount?”

“STOP!” SpongeBob shouted as he stood on a hill, overlooking the predicament as his green cloak blew majestically in the wind for some strange reason.

“That’s him!” the warrior shouted as he pointed at SpongeBob.

“SpongeBob!” Patrick called out to him. “Did you get any candy?”

When SpongeBob hopped off the boulder, the warriors immediately surrounded SpongeBob, pointing their spears at him.

SpongeBob giggled nervously and said, “I see your point, gentlemen. But do you think we can talk this out instead of hurting my friends?”

“Empty his pockets!” the head warrior ordered.

At this, one of the warriors held SpongeBob upside-down by his ankles and started shaking him violently, causing a bunch of items to fall out of his knapsack and scatter on the floor. Among them was the golden spatula that fell out of his pocket. The warriors all stared at the glittering gold of the spatula, presumably having mesmerized looks behind their masks.

“The spatula!” Plankton shouted in worry.

“Spatula?” the head warrior questioned as he picked it up. “This golden treasure is a spatula used to flip provisions off a hot surface?”

“You sure know you’re way around a kitchen.” SpongeBob noticed, still hanging upside-down. “You think you can hand that back to me?”

“You fool!” the head warrior shouted. “This will be going to our chief, who loves food more than anything. After we eliminate you, it will be his!”

SpongeBob’s eyes widen as he viewed the spatula in the head warrior’s grasp. But his look of shock suddenly disappeared into a look of rage. He then growled viciously and did a spin kick at his captor, causing him to let him go and fall to the ground.

Once SpongeBob was on his feet, he ran toward the other warriors with a cry of “HOAGIE!!!”

Squidward, Patrick, and Plankton watch in horror as SpongeBob uses his karate to take down all the tiki warriors that tried to attack them with their spears. The three wince and cringe as they watch the sponge kick and chop at all the warriors, knocking them to the ground unconscious with a shadow over them, showing his progress.

Once all the warriors were down at his feet unconscious, SpongeBob huffed and puffed with a strained look on his face before stepping on the head warriors arm, causing him to release his grip on the spatula and allowing SpongeBob to retrieve it.

After he immediately took hold of the spatula, SpongeBob’s expression turned comforting as he cradled the spatula in his hands. “Oh, Hoagie, I’m so glad you’re safe. I never wanted to let you go.” He spoke in a warm tone.

Patrick then walked over to him. “Nice job, buddy. That’ll teach those guys for not giving us candy on Halloween.”

But once he approached, SpongeBob viciously yelled out, “BACK AWAY FROM US!”

This startled the starfish and almost brought him to tears, but SpongeBob quickly caught what he said and turned remorseful, “Oh my gosh, Patrick, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to yell at you, I just-”

Before he could apologize anymore, Squidward and Plankton went over to him. “Quick,” Squidward urged. “Before these freaks wake up, let’s get out of here.”

“Squidward’s right.” Plankton agreed. “They’ll steal my- your spatula.”

When the group was about to leave, the head warrior suddenly stood up. “Halt!” and pointed a spear at them.

SpongeBob gasped in shock and franticly began to beg, “Please don’t hurt me, Mister! I didn’t mean to whomp ya! I don’t even know what came over me!”

“Silence!” he interrupted. But instead of attacking, he and the other warriors bowed down before SpongeBob. “You’re bravery astounds us, yellow one. Please allow us to take you before our chief.”

He stood there mystified until Squidward elbowed him, and SpongeBob responded, “Uh, gee, guys. I’m honored and all, but we still have a long way to go and we-”

But one of the warriors suddenly pounded his spear on the ground, almost squishing Plankton. SpongeBob took this as a threat and shrugged, “But if you insist, I’m sure a quick visit wouldn’t hurt.

The head warrior led the way as SpongeBob and his friends followed him with no other choice, and the other warriors followed behind them.

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