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Evina was awake. That was the worst dream by far! What in the world was all of that about!? He felt like his head was spinning again, and a warm paw was on his forehead. It was very furry. It had to be Pink.
"Are you alright?" she asked in a dreamy voice.
"Yeah, I'm fine," he replied. "I had the craziest dream last night."
"I know," she said. "We all had the same dream. It felt so real. Harry said we should have let the chemicals in the air go out. Any more exposure, and we would have been in serious trouble."
Evina tried to get up, but his vision was blurry, and he felt nauseous. "It has to be real," he said, "because everyone saw the same thing."
"Really, Evina," she giggled. "Do you really think the chairman would do that?"
"No, but I think he was right about the four cog bosses. Living a life in Toontown and having such a rotten boss must be hard on them."
"Hard on them?" a voice shouted. It was Goopy. "This is hard on me. The cogs have blocked off all communications and connections with the outside world. Did you ever think about us? The cogs totally deserve whatever's coming to them."
A few other voices were heard saying similar things to what Goopy had said. Zany came over and told Pink to leave Evina alone. He was tired and still wasn't thinking properly.
"You've been asleep for a long time," Zany said, "even longer than me, and I sleep a lot!"
"Oh, well I'm sorry if I scared you but... why is it so cold in here?" he just realized he was freezing. He was beginning to see things much better and could make out the light blue figure of Zany.
"It's snowing outside!" she shouted, and several toons shushed her. "We need to let the poisonous gasses out," she continued in a quieter voice.
Evina shook his head and struggled to get up. He was beginning to feel better, yet he was still a bit weak and groggy. There was a lot of white seen outside the window. Most of the toons were sitting down with blankets around themselves. They were examining the pieces of the black suit.
Evina was quite interested. They were really stretchy and seemed to look comfortable.
"It's capable of handling really cold and hot temperatures," Harry explained. "It is also extremely flexible and repels water and dirt. It doesn't get in the way of movement, so we can move quickly, and it can be concealed under cog suits easily just like anything else. It's quite an amazing recipe I've developed. We should start sewing today."
The toons had more of those terrible throw gags for breakfast before closing the windows and turning on the heater. It smelled much better. They quickly made everything in the room look the way it should figuring it would be impossible for the cogs to discover what they did the previous day.
Since it was their day off, they decided to finish their own work. It was too cold outside to do anything else, and there were no cog tourist places that they were interested in anyway.
They turned on the TV to see what the latest news was. It was just the kind of stuff they were expecting. A lot of stock reports, more random business talk, and finally a picture of Evina walking out of the capitol.
"Yesterday," a Newsbot announced, "there was a big meeting at the capitol. The chairman of Cogs Inc. was confirmed to be there, so it is believed to be of great importance. From what we are told, it was about the destruction of toons."
"Yes," a Mingler in a light brown Newsbot suit said, "we are all hoping our troubles will be over soon. There is something to look forward to this winter. I'm Jill."
"And I'm Howard!" the anchorman said with extra enthusiasm.
"And this is live six o' clock news from Cogtropolis. We're turning the time over to Larry for our weather report." They said in unison.
Larry was a Telemarketer with a Newsbot suit on. "We're looking at a huge snowstorm today, rather early for this time of year." He was pointing a finger at a massive map of Cog Nation behind him. "As you can see, there is about twenty centimeters of snow from Cogtropolis to Steelberg and lots of freezing ice in the northeast end of the nation. It is zero degrees here at the meteorologist tower, and it is expected to stay this way throughout the next week."
Harry turned off the TV, looking disappointed at the weather and the cogs' enthusiasm in their plan to destroy toons.
The girls sat down at one end of the room as Harry taught them how to knit gag bags. It was tricky, but they eventually got the hang of it.
Evina, Simeon, Goopy, and Catman were to start sewing the toon molds together to make the suits. It wasn't the best method, and not the prettiest, but it still worked.
Harry assigned himself to supervise everything. Ricky and Rocky were assigned to find some edible food. They were running low on throw gags, and even when they had some they were starting to taste disgusting.
"Yes, Harry sir," Rocky said while proudly saluting him. "If there is any edible food within a dozen kilometers, I'll find it!" He and Ricky walked out the door with their disguises. "I wonder if we'll find some burritos."
The gag bags were hard to make because they were difficult to knit in the right pattern. They had to be super-sized to hold a lot of gags.
Evina was almost finished with Ricky's suit. He examined it and noticed how it shined brightly. It gave him a new sense of hope. "Harry," he asked, "why do the cogs use the metric system?"
"They don't want to use the toons system," he said.
"Oh yeah, right," he said feeling embarrassed, but at the same time trying to remember how he had known about the metric system in the first place.
He took a pair of scissors and cut off the edge where he had sewn. He smoothed it with a file and sealed it with some paste. He looked at it proudly and admired this piece of art. He would have worn it, but it looked way too small.
The time went by fast as the toons worked hard. It was tedious, but they were eager to see the results. Rocky and Ricky came back around lunchtime with some tasty looking food. It was also Earth food supposedly from a place called Mexico. All the burritos had already been eaten by Rocky, but there were some other things to try out. After they had satisfied their appetite, they finished up their work.
The girls were finishing the top of the gags bags and inserted a drawstring. The rest of the suits were trimmed and sealed, and they glistened like clean oil. Evina laid his own suit down on the table delicately and picked up a taco. He had spent extra work on his own, and it looked absolutely marvelous. He couldn't wait to try it on. Soon they were finished, and everyone stopped what they were doing.
Harry brought forth an old, rusty washing machine that made large clunking noises when they put everything inside. They readjusted the furniture while their stuff was being washed, and they swept the floors of all the debris they had left behind. All equipment was taken apart and put into Harry's pocket. Soon they were done with everything and ready to see their results.
The washer stopped when they were done making the room clean, and Harry pulled out all the gag bags. They were magnificent. They could carry literally hundreds of gags. Each toon shoved their new bag into their own pockets.
Then Harry reached in deeper and pulled out the black suits. They had shrunk even smaller than before. "Don't worry," he said to answer their shocked expressions. "You'll be surprised that it still fits."
They each took turns to change clothes in the closet. Goopy went first. After a minute, he came out looking something like one of the guard cogs, except not really. He looked very nice and comfortable, which was odd considering the suit did not appear like it would breathe. "This thing actually feels great!" he said. "I feel like a toon again."
Soon everyone had on their suits. It made them feel so free and clean and strong. They were not tight but seemed to move freely as they did. Harry kept rambling about how it had some ingredients in it that made them feel special. He also added a dash of pixie dust too. They no longer felt depressed by their hard week of work.
Something wasn't right, though; something was still missing. There was a large glittering bowl on the bed that they had not cleaned up. Harry put his hands in the bowl and removed a pair of black gloves for everyone.
"I don't think the cogs will be able to sense the magic in these gloves," he said. "I've cloaked the magic radiation with siliconium flodine and put them in pixie dust for extra power."
Everyone tried them on and noticed the immediate effects of the magic. The influence of the cogs was fading. They jumped up and down, feeling like they had been born again. Their money was growing; they had special supplies, food, and everything else they needed. They would have such an amazing story to tell the other toons once they got home.
Evina checked the pockets of his old clothes to make sure he didn't leave anything valuable in there when he got rid of them. Most of it was just really old trash.
He pulled out a few slips of paper with the word help written on them. Suddenly, he was reminded of the reason this adventure was started in the first place. He remained curious about who wrote them, although there were still no clues to give him any information about it.
Then he hit something else. It felt like a heavy folded piece of paper. He removed it and examined it. It was his portable hole. It had been so long since he had used it.
"Aw," Harry said, "I see you've found your hole. Too bad it won't work here."
"Have you ever tried it before?" Evina asked him.
Harry looked surprised that Evina would ask that. "Well... no, but it's not supposed to work."
"It can't really hurt to try, can it?"
Harry thought about it for a minute, but the toons had already followed Evina out of the hallway, and Harry ran after them.
"I think this might be risky! After all the work we've done to hide, you really want to try this?" Harry sounded betrayed.
For a minute now, Evina had felt the amazing power of the suit and the gloves, but it only gave him a small glimmer of hope. He needed to be a real toon again, to feel the way he had been before, and to be able to let go of the anger and depression. This was his chance to go home where he belonged.
He led the toons into a janitorial closet. He assured Harry things would be alright as all the other toons wished him luck. He unfolded the hole and pressed it against one of the walls.
I want to go to Toontown, he thought, and the hole was no longer two dimensional. It was a tunnel that went through the wall. He stared at it, hesitating slightly whether he was actually going to go in.
Then he took a deep breath, climbed inside it, and fell. The light from the hall disappeared as the hole closed up. It had been so long since he had felt this sensation. He was speeding through nothingness. He was falling and didn't feel it. It was that whooshing feeling he got as the wind flew by. He loved to feel free again.
This is odd, he thought. The traveling seems to be taking an awfully long time. Usually, I would be in Toontown Central right now. Is it slow because I'm on the other side of the world? Then he stopped falling. He had broken through the ceiling of the closet and toppled onto the other toons. They didn't seem happy to have him crashing down on them unexpectedly.
They scurried back to their room to get some pixie dust and make themselves feel better. Harry shut the door and turned to look at them. "Now that I think about it, that was a really stupid idea! Besides being painfully pointless, we could have been caught! The cogs could have detected that shockwave it produced!"
"I doubt it," Evina objected. "If they detected it, the cops would be here by now."
Just then, there was a rapping on the door. All the toons got on their cogs suits as fast as they could, hid the bowl of pixie dust, and ran to the door in only a few seconds.
"Hi there," the old Mover & Shaker said as he came in. "I've had several sudden complaints from other cogs on this level of loud noises, funny smells, and a magical disturbance. They said it feels like a toon is here."
The group looked at him like he was kidding although they knew he was dead serious.
"Continuing this behavior may result in fines and perhaps a police investigation. You have gotten all our residents stiff with fear. I don't know what's happening, but if I get any more complaints, or if there is any more magical disturbance, I will call the police."
He marched back toward the elevator muttering "If I didn't know any better, I'd think you were toons!"
Everyone forgave Evina because they wanted to see what would happen when he teleported. They wanted a little hope that their situation wasn't so bleak that there could be a way out of this place. But they didn't want to cause any more magical disturbance with their tooniness, so they reminded themselves to try and act like cogs again. They had a new advantage now. They could be as sneaky as spies now. They felt a little stronger, a little less vulnerable. Evina remained optimistic and smiled. It's time to beat the cogs at their own game.
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