Duplica returns to drawing.  “Let me get this right; because you decided to have a full-time job instead of being a teacher to stalk your children all day, like a paranoid sentinel….” Cat and Jo rethink their life choices for a second.  Okay, back to the sentence, “So, you really think you’re lazy and neglect your Paul?  Now, baby, you and I both know that if anyone asks that boy what he thinks of his mom and dad, you know he thinks the two of you are the greatest parents alive.  I think you’re just having a mid-life crisis with your boy having his first girlfriend.”

    Raising her head as she realizes her depression is, perhaps, premature, Mercy reassures herself that she has a valid reason to be concerned as she reminds Cat, “I’m an Infinite Warrior, which means I can do virtually anything.  On top of that, as a former SG, I have more than enough saved up to never have need of regular employment again.  I just got a job because I grew tired of centuries of perfecting the art of laziness.  I am too busy for Paul because of a selfish hobby, that’s all.”

    The two friends look at each other and roll their eyes.  Jo tries this time.  “Mercy, you specifically have a schedule geared around your child.  You’ve even stomped in here a time or two complaining about your boss’s attitude and how you had to adamantly remind him of the agreement you all have.  I love Ally, and we ALL know she has very legitimate reasons for her crazy schedule, but there’s no reason whatsoever for her, of all people, to be judging others for the time they spend with their kids.  Maybe she should have a talk with her boss about getting some more time off for Faye.  You’d think the girl was sentenced to life in prison the way she’s never around.  But I have more respect for her than I have shoes in my closet, so I’ll gladly help her with Faye any time I can.”

    Mercy nods to this shoe count and thinks about her dilemma.  “Hey, Cat….”

    Giving a loud, teasing sigh, Catherine asks her friend, “Do you still fit in your armor?”

    “You don’t mind?”

    “You’re going to get yourself fired, but sure,” Cat looks at Jo who has figured out which question Duplica anticipated from the overly guilty guardian.

    “Yay!” Jo cheers with her hands in the air.  “So, you’re really coming with us then?”

    “Yeah,” Mercy says with a smile, “as long as there’s no paperwork.”

    “Fat chance, Mer Mer!”  Duplica reaches into her bag and pulls out a stack of blank tests.  “I make up the exams, Jo spell checks them and you will grade them when the kids turn them in later today.”

    Instinctively, Miss Mercury Mama begins to argue with this absurdity before realizing Jo’s part in this.  “You spell check Duplica’s work?”

    “I very much do,” Jo confirms.  “I spell check to make sure no magic has been cast.  This is a Christian fiction.  Can’t be havin’ no witchcraft, now can we?”

     Mercy stares into the abyss.

    Leaving this craziness behind, we visit with the Rug twins and their two friends, Faye and Owan.  As Miss Worley waltzes over to the trash bin, the boys go over the iu-ratings everyone got in the recent fight simulation with Gigi expressing aggravation over her final score.  “I got a score of 710iu because I was lazy last week and focused more on social media than on my training.”  She sighs and concludes, “Oh well, I guess I will just be glad with this for now.  I’m still strong enough to blow up several universes, if not for the Infinites safety locking our powers and all, oh and it being unethical and unnecessary, of course, to just go around destroying people’s storyboards.  Kind of funny when you read the ancient texts of superheroes bragging about breaking this planet or blowing up that moon.  Heh.”

    Elfie would speak, but he’s distracted by the sweet smell of Faye’s bubblegum perfume she’s been wearing lately.  Every time she walks up, the group’s spirits lift to the wonderful aroma.  As she takes her place again by Elfie, Faye consoles Gigi by reminding her, “Hey, you do remember that I got the same score you did, right?  Yeah, you might’ve slacked, but you still did really good, or at least I hope so for my sake.  Paul got 710iu, too, while Kammy got 711iu and the two jocks tied with 713iu.  So jealous….”

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