Plumber Premier (Part 2)
"Ug, what time is it?" murmurs Luigi as he places his pillow over his head.
Mario groggily gets out of bed, and trudges over to the phone in the hallway outside their bedroom. With a stretched yawn, Mario answers the call. "Hello? Mario Brothers Plumbing, no leak too small…"
"Sorry if this is a bad time, but things have gotten so bad with my pipes here, I just had to call. So could you please come over to Myrtle Ave as soon as you can?"
"Of course, mam, we'll be ready in…"
"Oh boy…" groaned Luigi, tightening his pillow over his ears.
"Excuse me mam, one moment…" Mario presses a button on the phone to switch to the next customer. "Hello? Mario Brothers Plumbing, no leak too…"
"Oh thank goodness you're up! My wife just found a huge puddle in our basement, and it's coming from our pipes. Could you come over to Pacific Street? My wife is getting increasing worried."
"Yes sir, as soon as…"
"Oh for…" Luigi glances over to the bedside clock. "…five-thirty…in the morning…really?"
Now Mario was really awake. "Hold on a second, sir..." One button press later: "Hello? Mario Brothers Plumbing…"
"Yes look please come over quick, I've got sewage water backin' up out of the toilet, so could you please come to 10th Street…"
"What the heck?" Mario puts a hand over the speaker as he turns to the bedroom. "Luigi! Could you please check our email box? If the phone lines are-a this bad…"
"I'm on it." Luigi grunts as he slumps over to the computer.
Mario switches lines again. "Hello…"
"HELP!" shouts a female voice on the other line
"Hey, red and green dudes, we have a mondo problem…" says a male teenage voice on another line.
"Hey, Mario, get down right now! This is an immediate emergency!" says a male voice.
Mario begins to get dizzy as more and more calls flood in. Mario leans up against a wall as he tries to collect his bearings. "This is-a really weird!" thought Mario, "So many pipes broken, in one night? And they're-a all around Brooklyn…"
"YIKES! Maaario!" Luigi shouts franticly, "There must be over a hundred requests for plumbing issues. Most of them seem to be clogs of some sort."
Mario switches the line back to the first woman. "Mam, you still there? Good, we'll be over in no time." Mario switches the lines to connect to all who dialed in. "Listen up everyone. There seems to be a city-wide issue with the plumbing. There's only two of me, and we can only work one at a time. So please understand, and we'll get back to you as soon as possible."
Mario hangs up the phone, taking some deep breaths.
Luigi walks up to him. "So what now, bro?"
All the wheels in Mario's head start turning. "So many pipes…a Brooklyn mystery…pipes…"
Luigi puts a hand on his brother's shoulder. "You alright, bro?"
Mario turns to Luigi, a smile stretching across his face, and a fiery passion burning in his eyes. "Oh yes, Weegee, I'm-a better than alright. I think I found that calling I was-a waiting for!" Mario bolts up and sprints back into the bedroom. "Yes! 'Super Mario' is back into action!"
"Woah, woah, slow down a bit!" Luigi follows his brother into the bedroom, where he's already changing into his blue shirt and red overalls. "Shouldn't this be a job for the detectives, or the police, or…we can't handle a situation this huge. We're just plumbers."
"Well then," Mario flips on a red cap, fully dressed, and clenched fists, "Let's-a go practice plumbing!"
Meanwhile, in another world, General Toad gathers his newly organized Toad Patrol near the border of the Valley of Desolation.
"Alright, captains, listen up!" The Toads line up in front of General Toad in a soldier's stance. "We are about to embark on a secret mission. We want no part in a new war. Just because you're given the title of 'Captain', doesn't mean you get to engage the enemy on your own right. Is that clear?"
"Yes sir!" says the Toads nervously.
"Now, our objective is to locate our enemy's camps. Intelligence points to most of them being right across there." General Toad points behind him toward the Valley of Desolation. "So fortunately for us, we won't have to engage them there, this time. However, rumors have recently come about that there are Goombas grouping up suspiciously by Hither Thither Hill, not far from here." A few Toads spit on the ground when the Goombas are mentioned.
"So are mission is straightforward: find out what those traitors are up to, and disrupt them with minimal casualties. Are you with me?"
"Yes sir!" The Toads say with more enthusiasm.
"Then let's move out!"
They pick up their belongings and march behind General Toad, with one particularly worried Toad bringing up the rear.
By 7:30AM, Mario and Luigi go to their first client on Myrtle Ave, dressed in their red and green attire respectively, tool kits at the ready. Luigi wears similar clothes to yesterday, except with a green hat instead.
"I've-a never felt so excited in years!" says Mario as the two walk up the apartment steps.
"We're just going to fix our customers plumbing, right bro?"
"Of course!" winks Mario as they reach the client's door. After a couple of knocks, the woman opens the door.
"Oh thank goodness you came as soon as you did. I'm Mrs. Floyd" greeted the woman.
"I'm-a Mario!" He shakes her hand. "And this is-a my brother, Luigi."
"Hi!" Luigi says, also shaking her hand after Mario. "So what sort of problem are we dealing with?"
"If only I knew" she replied, "Please, right this way." Mrs. Floyd leads the brothers over to the kitchen, and points to the sink. "It started last night; started rattling up like crazy. It was so bad, my husband and I were kept up all night. And when we checked, we also heard strange, faint sounds coming up the pipes."
Luigi put his ear over the sink. "Hm…I don't seem to hear anything right now…"
Suddenly, the sink shook violently in place. Luigi gave a yelp as he jumped back in shock. Mario stood there dumbfounded. "How's-a the water?" Mario asks Mrs. Floyd, "Anything suspicious about it in terms of the sink?"
"No, not really," she replied. "It does splash about when the sink shook, so we turned the valve off."
"Very good. Let me take a look under the sink then." Mario crouches down and opens the cabinet doors to the pipes under the sink, which also shook as much as the sink itself. "Geez, the pipes almost look like they're-a going to bust out of place!" Mario stands back up. "I wonder…have you checked the pipes in your basement?"
"No" replied Mrs. Floyd, "but someone else in the apartment was trying to call you earlier about that."
So Mario, Luigi, and Mrs. Floyd head down to the basement area, and find out that many of the pipes are rattling against each other, ringing as loud as church bells.
"Yikes!" Mario clasped his gloved hands over his ears, as the other two did the same. "Let's-a go back; I think we've seen enough." Luigi nodded in agreement. It wasn't until they went back to ground level and closed the basement door behind them that everything went reasonable silent. "If things are-a so bad here, I'm-a surprised this problem hasn't spread throughout this neighborhood."
"Actually," Mrs. Floyd starts, "my friend down the street has also had plumbing issues. And so have others…"
"Oh no." Luigi facepalmed. "We'll never get every customer done today."
Mario ponders for a minute. "If this whole street is getting backlogged plumbing…then we must get to the root of the problem: the sewers." Mario starts jumping in excitement. "Let's-a get going now!"
"Wait bro, shouldn't we get some more gear back home? We never checked the sewers before in our plumbing careers."
"Oh don't worry. We're the Mario Brothers! We handle just about everything."
"Mrs. Floyd, we'll be back soon, with your pipes back in working order."
"Alright" she replies, "My husband is out busy making sales, but when he returns, he'll be able to pay you then!"
Mario and Luigi head out into the street, and run over to the nearest manhole cover. Mario lifts the cover off, and strange, soft sounds begin to echo out of the sewers.
"Can we go back now?" moaned Luigi, "I think I'd prefer to fix our clients' apartments than this underground hole.
"Are-a you kidding me? And miss out on this opportune adventure? Come on, don't tell me you're-a going to chicken out now."
Luigi looks down at the sewer, then back up to his brother. He sighs, "All right, you do have knack for fixing all sorts of plumbing. But this better be worth the job."
"Then let's-a go!" Mario jumps up and into the manhole opening.
Luigi tentatively puts his legs in, then takes one more deep breath. "Okey-dokey!" Luigi calls back. He hops into the sewers with a small splash. "Eck, well this is just gratifying."
Mario pulls out a flashlight. "Come on."
For a while, nothing but the sound of drips and trickling water fills the sewers. Then the same strange sounds come through. The sewer vibrates like a small tremor.
"Sounds like a compressed boom" Mario ponders. "An earthquake perhaps?"
Luigi holds onto his hat. "It better not be. I don't like the idea of being trapped in here…" Suddenly something begins to walk over Luigi's foot. "WAAA!" he cries as he kicks the critter into the air further down the sewer.
"What was that?" Mario leads a shuttering Luigi over to where the creature fell. As Mario shines the flashlight on it, they see a strange turtle creature, stuck upside-down on its shell, its feet wiggling in the air as it tries to right itself. The brothers look at it confused. "Never seen anything like this turtle before; not like how I pictured one anyway."
Luigi still hides behind Mario's back. "Looks kind of creepy to me."
The Shellcreeper then turns its big beady eyes onto the brothers. The two watch in shock as his shell starts changing in color, from green to purple. "I also don't remember turtles changing colors" says Mario.
The Shellcreeper flips back onto its feet, makes a sort of chirping sound, and rushes at the brothers. Startled, they both jump out of the way as it runs past them. "I also don't remember turtles moving faster than slow…" says Luigi. Suddenly, the Shellcreeper comes running back after the brothers, who drop their tool kits and flee in fright from their pursuer. "I don't remember turtles being this aggressive either!"
The two run through the sewers, turning every way they can to try to throw it off their trail, but to no avail. Eventually, the two make it into a larger area with twisting pipes, where they fling themselves onto the floor just out of the way of the Shellcreeper. It keeps running past them and into a nearby smaller pipe.
"I think…we lost it" Mario panted, standing back up.
"Oh I think…we have certainly…lost it" gasped Luigi. Then they heard a few chirping sounds above them. They slowly look up to find dozens and dozens of green Shellcreepers perched on pipes cascading along the sewer walls.
"Mama mia!" The brothers shouted.
Luigi starts to back away slowly. "Shelled creeps everywhere! Well, bro, I think we've reached the limit of our job description…so…can we go back now?"
Mario looks at the creatures above him. Then he looks down at his two hands, with the flashlight in his right. "Here. I've got a plan." He tosses the flashlight over to Luigi, who briefly fumbles trying to catch it.
"Wait! What are you…what am I…"
Mario puts his right hand into a fist and clasps it with his left. "I think these pipes need a good sponging. Weegee, spot for me. Time for these 'Shellcreepers' to get shell-shocked!"
"Oh geez, the puns, too?"
But Mario already leaps into action. "Hm, these green ones are-a slow like they're supposed to. This should be easy as pasta!"
At first he tries to kick the lower ones, but that only seems to get their attention. As a group of them surrounds him, Mario leaps up to grab a pipe above him, accidentally knocking off a Shellcreeper. It falls on its back, wiggling its feet helplessly. Mario remembers the one Luigi kicked earlier, and not wanting it to get back up with more gusto, he quickly comes right back down and kicks the downed Shellcreeper. It chirps wildly as it slides into a stream of water and out of sight.
"Now we're-a getting somewhere. Weegee, keep that flashlight on me; I need them to be where I can see them."
Luigi steadies the light on his brother as best he can, but that becomes easier said than done, as Mario jumps from pipe to pipe. The red plumber soon gets a rhythm going, punching pipes to cause Shellcreepers to lose their balance and fall over onto their shells. And before they can get up, Mario kicks them down. Even the purple one from earlier that joins the fray succumbs to the plumbers swift jumping and kicking prowess. Within a few minutes, all the Shellcreepers are cleared from the area.
Mario wipes his hands together. "Considering the bizarre circumstances, I'd say our enemies' chances to rise to the surface just went down the drain!"
Luigi slowly recomposes himself. Then he smirks at his brother, "Normally, I'd say your puns are as bad now as they were back in daycare, but after that eye-worthy stunt, I'd say you earned it. As for me," Luigi turns toward the large pipe they were chased out of, "I'd say we go back up and check on Mrs. Floyd to see if this fixed her sink troubles."
Suddenly, a cell phone in Mario's back pocket rings. "We have reception down here?" He takes a peek at it. "It's-a Pauline!" Mario presses a couple of buttons. "Hello, Pauline?"
"Mario!" a hint of panic comes through her voice. "Is this a bad time? Are you busy at work?"
"No, not at the moment. Why?"
"You won't believe it unless you see it. Come down by my house, quick! It's crazy over here!"
Mario looks at Luigi, looking just as confused. "Don't worry, Luigi and I are on our way!" He hangs up. "Seems like things just got weirder."
Luigi begins to look worried. "Oh no, you have that look again."
"Come on, it's-a Pauline, for crying out loud. She could be in danger for all we know."
"I know, I know. But we just dealt with Shellcreepers from who knows where. And I got this feeling that things over by the East River are a whole lot worse!"
"Well, that's why I've got you to tag along, right? We're-a the Mario Brothers! If we can handle a few turtles, how bad could it be?"
The Toad Patrol makes it to Hither Thither Hill, and crouch behind a top of a hill. General Toad looks through a pair of binoculars to spy on some Goombas down the hill, who patrol a small camp that blocks the way leading into an inlet between two hills.
"Hm, I'll bet you fellas eight red coins that there's something between those hills they don't want anyone to see." He looks up at a nearby Windmill, and then puts his finger into the air to check for a breeze. "Alright men, here's what we're going to do. One of you is going to go to that windmill and change the speed to cause a huge breeze over the hills. This should get the Goombas' attention, and the rest of you will follow me past the abandoned camp to take a look at what they're hiding. So, who's going to be our lucky volunteer?"
Everyone else looks down at their feet. The scared Toad quakes in his shoes, praying he isn't picked.
"Alright then, how about you!" General Toad points to the scared Toad, who yelps to attention. "What's your name, soldier?"
"M-m-my name?" stammers the Toad. "It's um, T-T-Toad."
"Ah a strong name" says General Toad sternly. "Then you should have no problem staying by the windmill and making a few adjustment. You mind, captain?"
Captain Toad stands as straight and still as he can. "Y-y-yes, s-sir!"
"Then march to it! Everyone else, let's get into position!"
While the rest of the Toad Patrol head to the right side of the two hills, Captain Toad rushes over to the windmill. Inside, wooden gears and logs grind against each other. Some switch blocks float above the center of the floor.
Captain Toad takes deep breaths. "Okay, Toad, you can do this. Just change the direction…crank up the speed, and then wait…" he gulps "…until the Goombas…come." Toad goes over to one block, and jumps up to hit it a few times to turn the windmill toward the Goomba camp. Then he walks under another block. "…crank up the speed, and then wait…" he gulps "…until the Goombas…come." He starts to hit the block, but as he jumps, he gets more and more frantic. After the tenth jump, he becomes increasingly worried of what the Goombas will do once they get to the windmill.
"Ack! I did it! I'm out!" Toad screams as he raced out the windmill. The blades are already turning at a fast pace, and racing faster still. "I've got to get to the safety of the general! I've got to get to the safety of the general!" Toad runs so fast, he forgets which hill the Toad Patrol was meeting.
The windmill is now creating gale-force winds, getting the attention of the Goombas all the way at the camp.
"What the heck is up with this wind?" says one Goomba.
"It's coming from the windmill" says another.
"Hold on," shouts another, "we can't leave here. The Koopa King said so."
"So what do we do?" says another Goomba, struggling to keep his balance. "We…ah!" The windmill now gets out of control, and knocks the Goomba off his feet, and into some bushes by the right side of the hill. When he comes to, he is surrounded by some startled Toads.
"We've been ambushed!" shouted the Goomba. "Everyone, get into defensive position!" The Goombas converge together into the center of the camp, before stumbling back out to the edge of the camp.
"Sticks at the ready, soldiers!" General Toad hollers. "The enemy has sighted us!" The Toads line up by the camp, face-to-face against the Goombas. The wind still bellowing in their ears as they stare each other down.
"I suggest you get lost, stuck-ups!" a Goomba grunted. "You wouldn't want the Koopa King involved too soon, would you?"
"We don't back away that easily, traitors!" spat General Toad.
The tension builds between them, while on the left hill, Captain Toad watches from a hiding spot. "Oh no…"
"CHARGE!" both sides shout. Some Goombas charge forward, while others leap head-first. The Toads ready their blunt spears in front of them. And then the battle begins.
Mario and Luigi make it to Pauline's house, by cab, near the East River. Pauline is in the middle of the street, helping to prop up another girl who looks half-faint.
"What's-a happening here?" says Mario.
"Oh, Mario" Pauline starts, "It's…"
"Giant fly…" murmurs the fallen girl, "A giant fly…flew up and up…"
"There, there, little girl." Mario starts to pull up his sleeves. "Tell me, where's the big bad fly that needs to get a few manners knocked in?"
Suddenly, all the nearby manhole covers pop off, and hundreds of huge flies buzz out of the sewers, flying every which way. The four of them scream in terror at the cloud of strange bugs.
"See, Mario," screamed Luigi, "you got what you wanted? Because I certainly didn't want any of this!"