“Jo,” Mercy says in a voice that spells treachery, “please don’t be mad at me. I know you two can handle things just fine. So, I leave Paul in your wise care.” And with that, Mercy sneaks away.
“Fiddlesticks,” Doug says.
“That was my line,” argues Jo as her friends all deserted her, as if she’s not as important as Cat.
“Well,” Doug says begrudgingly, “we’d better get started before our kids fail their exam and have to beg on a street corner somewhere.”
“Oo!” Jo pops up with excitement. “Is it morally wrong if I throw eggs at them to continue their training while they beg?”
“Nah, protein and exercise are essential parts of panhandling, I imagine.” Looking at his notes, Doug walks towards the kids, Jo very much ready to watch this movie play out, and with a decently loud voice, he says, “Alright, you chumps, Lady Duplica has come down with a bad case of skipping school, so we’re down a man, a wo-man.” Paul applauds. “Thank you, thank you. Somebody just passed their exam today. Now, as you know, we’re going to be visiting around our own universe today, which means meeting a lot of your mother’s friends, Elf and Gi. Be on your best behavior as my life may depend on it, ha ha. And try to learn something. Hey, you’ve got me soldiering on with you, so I’m sure we’ll learn something substantial, and we’ve got Lady Jo to keep the spirits up. So, any questions before we leave?”
Many hands go up. Most of the questions simply echo Hart’s rant earlier, so there’s no need to repeat a paragraph or two. The only question important to Doug comes from Owan, “So does that mean we’re going to do nothing but go around, meeting the pretty girls Mom has become friends with?” Gigi slaps him on the back.
“Unfortunately,” Doug murmurs. “Your mom sent me a new schedule anyway, so if your wise substitute thinks we need to make a few more adjustments along the way, that’s what will happen.”
“What happened to doing everything Cat tells you?” Jo asks, biting her lip with joy.
“Ephesians 5:22 is all I have to say to that one.”
As a mix of chuckles and coughs fill the lunch room, Jo admits, “That is something I’m sure she could practice a little more. Nonetheless, let’s start the trip before we have to worry about Exodus 20:13 or Matthew 17:15.”
“Matthew 17:15? What’s that one?” Owan asks.
Jo waltzes over to Ent and places her arm around his shoulder, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and sore vexed.”
As Owan dies at this explanation, Ent wants to know, “And why does this have to apply to me?”
“With parents like yours, kid, it’s a wonder you’re not off your rocker, he he.” Jo pats him on the back as he rolls his eyes, smiling and giving her a half hug.
“Now, if we’re done harassing the men folk,” Doug declares, “we will hurry off to the first destination. As you recall, there are ten populated galaxies in our current universe, so we will do a little visiting in each one today. So, in counting down, we’re going to cruise around our own Dogwood Galaxy for a while. Are you guys ready?” The group is disappointed that Lady Duplica’s not coming along, but they still give a cheer of excitement, so it’s not too dull. Mr. Rug then opens a portal and leads the class through…back into the lunch room. “And voilà, here we at in the Dogwood Galaxy!”
“He he, Daddy, we’re still in the lunchroom. It’s cute, but corny.” Gigi shakes her head at the punny papa.
“Ey, when you’re the teacher, we’ll do it your way, ha ha.” Doug has Jo entertain the class for a moment while he makes a few quick calls. Moments later, he thanks Jo, saying, “We have a winner.”
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