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The Time to Fucking Party




The Time to Fucking Party

This was all happening way too fast. Here Doug was, sitting in a makeshift… well, he guessed dressing room was the best way to describe it, while just past one thin curtain was a gathering crowd of daemons who expected him to be their fucking god. Who knew what they would do to him if they found out he wasn’t?

For Doug, it was more a matter of “when” than “if”. He supposed he wasn’t bad at talking, but he was no actor, not even close. And it wasn’t like daemons aged or died naturally. Even if Bacchae had been gone fifty years like Kei said, how many of them knew him? Knew how he talked, how he acted? How could Doug possibly ever hope to replicate it, when he’d never even met the guy himself?


He had to get out of here, pronto, before they killed him. But this tent was in the very center of the Soul Market. Too many people would “recognize” him if he tried to sneak away. And then what? He had no idea how they’d even gotten to Discord, let alone how to get out. He was stuck.

Doug stared into the mirror in front of him. There was simply no getting around it. He wasn’t a rock-star. He was a loser. Anyone could see that.

“Well, yeah, duh, but how long are ya gonna keep moping about it?” asked a voice, and Doug jumped as he saw someone else in the mirror behind him. “It’s so pathetic.”

He looked behind him, but of course, there was no one there. Yet, turning back to the mirror, there she was glaring back at him, the pieces of glass embedded in her face glimmering harshly in the light. Cocaine.

“Oh,” Doug whispered. “I see how it is. After all this time of just staring at me all day, now you finally decide to start talking again?”


“You have no idea how much we wanted to.”

He blinked, and there were the other two. Cancer to his other side, Conscience skulking towards the back of the room.

“But now I just can’t keep my mouth shut any longer,” Cocaine broke in again. “Are you going to do that shitty thing you always do, Doug? Where you just don’t do anything?”

“I don’t think Conscience would be too happy about that,” Cancer gestured with one veiny hand over to her, and put the other on Doug’s shoulder. He swore he could feel it, the coldness of her thin, dead fingers.


So he shook her off. “Then what do you want me to do?”

“Well, the way I see it,” Cocaine spoke slowly, like she was talking to a child. “You’ve got two options. You can run away like a goddamn coward, or you can shut the fuck up and kick some ass.”

“Your bias is showing,” Cancer countered.

“Oh yeah, well that’s really easy for you to say,” Doug pointed at the mirror with an accusatory finger. “You’re not the one who’s gotta go out there and get fucking murdered!”


“I mean, we kind of are…” Cancer raised the skin where her eyebrow should be. “We’re just figments of your imagination, after all.”

“Ugh, you guys are both derailing this conversation. The point I was trying to make is that you need to stop being a fucking pussy and do something!” Cocaine fumed. “You made a deal, didn’t you?”

“What part of ‘I’m going to get stoned to death by a mob of angry daemons’ aren’t you getting?”

Cocaine just rolled her eyes. “Oh, you don’t know that. And besides, you keep going on and on about how they’re gonna kill you. But in the end, isn’t that what you wanted anyway?”

“Well, yeah, but no, not like—I mean fuck man, I don’t know.” Doug sat down in front of the mirror and put his face in his hands. “Nothing makes any sense anymore.”


Surprisingly, none of them said anything.


After a minute, he raised his head to look back at Conscience. Of all of them, she was the only one he really wanted to hear right now. She might actually have some good advice for him. And it had been so long since he’d heard her voice.


But she was gone. They all were. Doug was alone in the dressing room. He supposed that he always had been.


The solitude didn’t last long. If he was honest, Doug was grateful for the interruption.

“Alright, I’m back,” pushing aside the curtain, Kei snuck into the dressing room, an odd shape slung over her shoulder.

“What’s that?” Doug asked, trying to pretend that he hadn’t just been in the middle of a hallucination-induced panic attack.

“This is the kingmaker, right here.” With a flourish, she shook out the shape and held it in front of her. “Took me forever to track down Bacchae’s old tailor, but goddamn was it worth it.”

It took Doug a second to make sense of the shape, but he eventually figured out that it was a trench coat. Or maybe it was a pea coat cuz it was thicker, like wool or something; he had no idea what the logistics were of coat labeling. The point was that it was black and long, with weird strappy bits along the collar, shoulders, and cuffs, and in contrast to the rather somber outside, the inner lining was made of silk dyed a garish shade of bright green.

“Well, are you going to put it on?” Kei asked, and Doug realized she was holding it out to him.

He hesitated.


“You can’t very well go out there in that ratty-ass sweatshirt.”

That made sense, of course. Doug just hadn’t really thought that far ahead. Looking at this coat, Bacchae’s coat, the thought of putting it on made him aware that this was really happening. The instant he stuck that shit on, it was real.

But ultimately, hallucination or not, Cocaine was right. He had made a deal. A horribly stupid deal that he hadn’t fully understood the terms of, but one that had gotten him exactly what he’d been after. Abigail was dead, and this was what the price was.

Doug sighed, and grabbed the coat from her.

“Here, these too,” she handed him a button-down shirt and a pair of leather boots.

He took the shirt, but upon seeing the boots he balked. “No way,” he said. “You’re not getting my shoes.”

“Why not?”

“You’re gonna throw ‘em away or something.”

“As grody as they are, I’m not gonna throw away your damn shoes,” Kei rolled her eyes. “But there’s no way that the Lord of Discord would be sliding around with wheels strapped to his feet.”

Doug still didn’t move.

“God! Look, okay, if they’re so important to you, I’ll make sure they get someplace where you can grab them later. Now gimme your goddamn shoes.”

That didn’t make him happy. Not at all. Those were his sister’s shoes. They were the only thing he had left of her. But he guessed if he was gonna get fucking got then it would be nice not to get blood on them.

“You’d better,” he swiped the boots from her grip. “These are the only pair of converse heelys in the world.” Wait a minute. “This world too, probably.”

“Would you just put the clothes on already?” Kei snapped. “There’s a mob of anxious daemons waiting out there.”


He did, but it didn’t stop him from complaining about it. Curiously, he examined himself in the mirror. Well, he certainly looked the part alright. Dramatic silhouette, pointy boots to shove in people’s faces. But he didn’t look like Bacchae, he looked like a fucking cosplayer. A good one, he supposed, yet as much as the clothes fit, he just didn’t… look right in them.


“Oh, I almost forgot,” Kei said after looking him over for a minute. “Gimme your head.”

“What? Why?”

“Must everything be a fight with you? Just do it.”

By standing on her tip-toes she was able to stick something that felt rather like a thick wire to his head and spent a minute securing it with bobby pins. A good amount of swearing was involved.

“That’s better.” Kei pulled back and nodded in approval.


Doug turned back to the mirror once more. Okay, now that was a little scary. With the pair of goat horns wrapping up and around his ears, the effect was a bit strange. He still kind of looked like a cosplayer, but like, one of those really good ones that could be just like the real deal if you squinted a little.


Problem was that unless all these daemons were extremely near-sided, no one was going to be squinting.

“Welp,” Doug said. “I’m gonna get killed.”


“I think you look pretty good.”


“Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it,” Doug sighed. “You can dress me up however you want, but as soon as I say anything…”

“Are you still going on about that?” Kei’s eye twitched a little. “Okay, look, I’m only going to explain this once, so pay attention.” She grabbed his chin to force him to look at her.


“Okay, okay,” he pulled away.


“My deals are binding,” she said. “Like in a supernatural sense. I promised that I would help you kill Hodge, so from that point on, your fate was to kill her. In that same sense, now you’ve promised to be Bacchae for me, and so you will.”

“So what you’re saying is that as soon as I get up on that stage I’ll just know what to do?”

She shrugged. “I dunno. I’ve never been on that side of the deal before.”

He stared at her. “Is that just another lie, so you can placebo me into thinking I’m doing well?”

“I’ll never tell,” is all she said. If this was anyone else, it would have been the confirmation of the lie, but with Kei, there was literally no way to tell.


He really hoped it wasn’t. Thinking that something might, maybe, potentially just happen and it would all go alright was the only thing that kept him from pissing himself as Kei told him to ‘break a leg’ and stepped through the curtain. On the other side, just mere feet away, was the crowd whose energy was already rising to a fever-pitch as she made to ‘hype him up,’ as she put it.


As she emerged in front of that mass, Doug heard a good amount of booing. He couldn’t tell, however, if it was because she was Kei or because she wasn’t Bacchae. “Listen, shu—shut up, shut up,” she said to the crowd over the squealing of a microphone. “I just wanna say one thing before you see him: I. Fucking. Told you. I said I’d go find him and bring him back and none of you fuckos believed me.”

More booing, but it somehow seemed to be of a good natured kind.

“Stop gloating,” someone shouted.


“Alright, alright,” she struggled to get their attention back.

They were certainly a rowdy crowd. Doug wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not. Regardless, he was already about to jump right out of his new, stiff shoes.

“You wanna see him, right?” Kei asked, and the crowd went nuts. “You wanna take your city back from these boring tightwads that call themselves the Tea Party, right?” Somehow, they got even louder. “Okay, then I guess I’ll get the fuck out of his way.”


Doug didn’t think he’d be able to hear ever again after being subjected to the sheer volume of screaming from the assembled audience. That might have been part of the reason why he didn’t sense Kei coming back through the curtain and pushing him out onto the stage until it was too late.


It was a good second before the crowd realized what had happened. But once they saw Doug standing alone on that stage, they abruptly fell silent. There were so many people crammed into the already huge tent, and they were all staring at him. Doug had had people staring at him before, of course, back during his time at the arena, but there had never been as high of stakes.

It took everything he had to keep from shaking—from fear, for once—as he approached the microphone. It was one of those old-fashioned mics that you might see a radio announcer use. Doug wondered if they just didn’t have any better or if it was for aesthetic purposes.


Wait, shit. His mind couldn’t wander now, not when a whole ass room was waiting for him to say something. He had to say something, right now. Shouldn’t the deal juice be kicking in right about now? It was time to say something cool, or exciting, or witty.

“Uh, hi,” was what he said instead.

Just as Doug was about to lose his mind from how idiotic he was, one lone member of the crowd sent up a ‘whooo’ and clapped. It shocked Doug so much that instead of thinking about it, on instinct alone he pointed in the general direction of the sound and said: “Thank you, random citizen!”


And the crowd lost it.

Apparently, that was something that Bacchae would have said. Okay, so maybe this wouldn’t be as entirely foreign as he’d thought. How had he done this back at the arena? How had he commanded a crowd so effortlessly? He hadn’t been concerned with it back then, his performance had just been a means to an end. But now it was starting to come back to him.

“It’s, uh, been a little while, hasn’t it?” He attempted a smile at the crowd after they finally calmed down. The problem was that as soon as he opened his mouth they started going again. Doug raised a hand, intending to tell them to shut up like Kei had, but before he even got a chance they fell dead silent again.

Okay, that was pretty cool.


He grabbed the mic and leaned in over the crowd, the toe of his boot only a few inches away from the nearest daemon’s face. She looked like she might pass out. Rockstar indeed.


“I heard that you dumbasses let some douche-balloon gentrify my city.” Admonishing them was definitely a gamble, but it had worked with Kei before. The crowd looked appropriately cowed. “Though I suppose I’m also partially to blame,” he sighed dramatically. “I swear, you try to take one little vacation…”

“Fifty years is not a vacation!” Someone shouted.

“It is when it’s with your mom.” Again, that was somehow the right thing to say, as a directionless chorus of ‘ooo’s emanated from the crowd.


“But anyway, I’m back now,” he continued, pacing back and forth on the stage, the coat flapping behind him. “And I’ve been walking around the city all day. Lemme tell ya, I’m disappointed. It’s like no one’s having any fun anymore. When I left Discord, I had no idea that lil slimeball Malachi would be the one to step up to the plate. But he’s sure done a bang-up fucking job. I mean, what has he done to my beautiful Tea Party?” He kind of just had to hope that they realized he was talking about the square and not the group. This shit was confusing. “It’s too clean!”


“Yeah!” went the crowd.

“It’s too quiet!”

“Yeah!”


“Most importantly, where’s the fucking party?”

“Yeah!”

“Oh, and don’t even get me started on fucking Sixth Avenue!”


“Boooo!!!”

“So yeah, this high class bullshit he’s trying to pull, it ain’t gonna fly with me. I mean, fuck, how long has it been since those pansy assholes have held a good hanging, huh? I’m genuinely asking, I don’t actually know.”

“Too long!”


“‘Too long,’ damn straight!” Daemons were weird, man. “Well, alright then, let’s bring back the motherfucking party! This s a goddamn revolution now.” The mic squealed as he shouted, but the crowd loved it. “Malachi’s got some answering to do, thinking he can just do whatever he wants with our city!”

At that moment, a sudden light from the back of the tent drew his eye. Kei had opened the flap to the outside. She looked unbelievably smug. With one hand, she gave him a thumbs-up and then gestured for him to come over. For a second, Doug was confused, lost in the performance. But then he remembered the second half of this bonkers plan, to lead the people who had come to hear him speak straight up the hill and occupy the Tea Party. It seemed laughable to him. And yet, as piece after piece of Kei’s plan had fallen into place without a hitch, he had to admit that maybe Discord was just that fucking weird.

“Well, alright then,” he turned back to the crowd. “Let’s go right up there, kick these square bastards out, and have the biggest fucking party of our lives!”


He seriously thought the screaming might rupture his eardrums this time. The daemons reached upwards to him, and without even thinking about it, Doug half-walked, half-jumped into the crowd, letting them carry him all the way to the back of the tent.


It wasn’t until someone pinched his butt halfway across the crowd that he fully comprehended how surreal this all was. That somehow, this absolute loser had convinced an entire room that he was a god. How had this ever fucking worked?


The answer, once he thought about it, surprised him. It was because, for just one minute up there, Doug had convinced himself too. For just a small amount of time, he’d really found himself angry at the absolutely injustice of turning Bacchae’s city boring.


And above all else, he’d actually been having fun.

There was only one problem with all of this. One that was only driven home more when three ghosts at the back of the crowd waved at him. Doug wasn’t Bacchae, and sooner or later, someone would squeal, or Doug would fuck up, and then he’d be dead.


Ironically enough for Doug, he wasn’t looking forward to it.

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