“Your father’s in charge.” Linda said.
She waved, got into the car, and drove away. Lawrence and Candace waved back.
Perry began rolling in a mud puddle.
Sounds of drilling and hammering came from the backyard.
“AGGH.” Candace yelled. “PHINEAS AND FERB! WHY DO YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING BUSTABLE RIGHT WHEN MOM LEAVES ON A WEEK-LONG TRIP?”
Perry climbed up out of the mud puddle and jumped right into the middle. Mud splattered everywhere.
“EEEEWWW!” Candace yelled. “EW EW EW EW EW EW!”
Perry pushed up some mud with his bill, searching for worms.
“Oh dear.” Lawrence said absent-mindedly. He walked back into the house.
“And you are gonna pick me up at six, right, Darren?”
“Yes, Carrie.” Darren was squirting red food coloring on the walls.
“And you won’t forget or back out, right?”
“I won’t, Carrie. Gosh.”
“You won’t not forget or you won’t forget?”
Perry pinned a zombie drawing on the wall. “You know what I just realized? THIS is the zombie apocalypse.”
“Huh?” Darren asked.
“There’s like, zombie everything everywhere. Zombie TV shows, zombie games, zombie movies, zombie shirts. And everyone’s freaking out over the zombie apocalypse. I think THIS is the zombie apocalypse: everyone being obsessed with zombies.”
“I still don’t understand how your mind works.” Darren shook his head.
“Have you ever seen those things online that tell you the object to your left will be your weapon in the zombie apocalypse?” Perry asked.
Automatically, all three of them looked to their left.
“Tape dispenser. I guess it has sharp edges, at least.” Perry said.
“You.” Darren said, pointing at Carrie.
Carrie pointed to her left. “Darren’s underwear.”
“How did those get there? Gimme those!” Darren snatched them away.
Peter wandered into the room. “Hey, Darren. When should I meet up with you for the party?”
“Six-thirty.” Darren muttered.
“Cool.” Peter left.
“What are you guys going to come as for the party?” Darren asked.
“First I was thinking I’d come as Vance Ward. Then I thought I’d come as Thirty-Face from Baseballman. Now I’m leaning more toward something classic, like a ghost or a werewolf.” Perry said.
“I’m going to be a fairy.” Carrie said.
“I’m coming as a warlock.” Darren said.
“Then again, maybe I should just recycle my old Igor costume from last year. Or maybe I should be a pirate.”
“Devon’s in charge of the snacks, Kyle’s getting the music, and Perry and I are decorating.” Darren told Carrie.
“Are there going to be any games?” Carrie asked.
“You have to have games. I’ll help you with those.” She left the room.
“She’s not as skittish as she was last year.” Darren commented. “The food coloring alone would have made her faint.”
“ACK!” Carrie screamed. “I RAN INTO A SPIDERRR!”
“AAGGH!” Screamed Susan the spider. “A CAT RAN INTO MY WEB!”
Perry yawned. “I hope this party isn’t as loud as last year’s.”
“Hey, you started it. You were the one who got into that fight.”
“Was I? I really can’t remember now. So, how do you think Carrie’s gonna react when she realizes you’re going with Peter?”
Darren glared at him.
“How do I look?” Ferb asked.
He came out in his evil serpent costume. His hood had glowing eyes and hissing sound effects. Green slime dangled from the fangs.
“Hm. It’s okay.” Phineas said, fixing his own ghost costume that actually made his body look transparent. “We should have added on some extra special effects, though.”
“You guys made those?” Perry asked. “They’re amazing.”
Phineas shrugged. “They’re okay. We’re going to the neighborhood Halloween party tonight.”
“I have to go to the O.W.C.A one. I hate parties. At least I’ve got a date this time, maybe it won’t be so boring.”
“We have a date, too!” Phineas said.
“Isabella.” Ferb said.
“She asked us last night. She didn’t seem as excited, though, when I told her we accepted. Girls can be funny.”
A knock sounded at their bedroom door. Perry immediately got down into his pet form.
Phineas opened the door. “Hey, Isabella!”
Isabella had dressed up as a witch. She beamed at Phineas. “Woah, your costume is amazing! You should have told me what you were going as so I could have been a ghost too! We could have matched!”
“But then we wouldn’t match Ferb!” Phineas said.
Ferb nodded in agreement.
“Oh. I like Perry’s costume.” Isabella said. “What is he?”
“I think he’s a pirate.” Phineas said.
“Ready to go?” Isabella asked.
“You and Ferb go on downstairs. I need to fix my costume a little more.” Phineas said.
Isabella frowned and started downstairs. Ferb followed her.
Phineas adjusted his ghost robes a little more before turning to face Perry. “Be super careful, Perry.”
“Thad and everything. I don’t want you to get hurt, okay?”
“I’ll try my best. Enjoy your party.”
“The instant we come back, tell us how Darren’s two dates went.” Phineas said excitedly.
“Oh, I’m sure there will be a whole bunch to tell. Have a good time.”
Phineas waved and ran downstairs, his shimmering green ghost sheet trailing a little ways behind him.
Perry waited until he heard the whole family leave. Then he walked downstairs himself.
“This party’s a little better than last year, but I think they could have done better on the snacks.” Kyle said.
“Devon baked those cookies. I’d stay away from them.” Susan the spider said, dangling over Kyle’s head on her freshly made web.
Perry made a mental note to stay away from ALL of Devon’s cooking. The last time he’d eaten something Devon made, Carl had had to inject him with some medical fluid to stop him from dying.
Someone tapped him on his shoulder. He turned around.
“So you’re a pirate. I thought you’d come as a butler and we could match.”
“After my horrifying experience at butlering? No way. What are you?”
“French maid zombie.” Prince responded. “The zombie thing’s been overdone to no end, but I didn’t want to come as something cutesy.”
“You failed. You look pretty cute to me.”
“Well, my father fell into a vat of cutonium before he met my mother. Maybe that has something to do with it. So, what are we supposed to do at these things?”
“I still haven’t figured that out yet. Parties. I don’t understand them.”
“Wish I had some paint.”
“Oh no. We are not repeating last year.”
“So there was paint last year? I should have started dating you again sooner.”
“You love me only for spray paint. I find that sad.”
“Darren, could you get me some punch?” Someone said.
Perry and Prince both turned to look.
“Carrie, this is not a date.” Darren said.
“Who’s dating? I could go for some punch, too.” Peter said.
“Usually inviting someone means you’ll give them punch.” Carrie said.
“Dude, take care of your dates.” Kyle told Darren.
“Since I’m here with Darren, and Darren’s here with Carrie, does that technically mean I’m here with Carrie? Because I don’t mind getting her punch if you don’t want to.” Peter said.
“Fine, I’ll get the punch.” Darren stormed away.
Perry could have sworn he saw Peter and Carrie wink at each other.
“Is that you, Princess?” Harry asked, coming up to them.
Prince raised an eyebrow.
“Sorry.” Harry said. “You just look a lot like someone I knew.”
“It’s me.” Prince said. “I go by Prince now, though.”
“It is you! Whatever happened? Haven’t seen you in a while.”
Perry left the two of them to talk and grabbed a bottle of water from one of the coolers. He sat down in a skull-shaped chair and stared into space.
“You think you’ll last through the whole thing?” Pinky asked, startling him.
“I might.” Perry said.
“Did Prince abandon you?”
“She and Harry are catching up. She’s close by, though. She’ll see me when she’s done talking.”
“You seem tired today.”
“Bright lights, loud music, strong scents. Parties stress me out. At least I have Prince and Darren’s date drama to keep me sane.”
“Sounds like a sitcom.” Pinky said.
“Darren’s Date Drama. Join Darren and a wacky cast of characters as they try to figure out who will be retrieving the fruit punch. Watch Mondays from eight to ten on ‘Why Did You Even Pick This Channel’. Don’t miss it.”
Perry stared off in the distance again. Harry wasn’t talking to Prince anymore, but someone else was. Prince was smiling, but her eyes were narrowed.
“What’s she doing here?” Perry demanded suddenly.
“Oh, I invited her.” Pinky said, shrugging. “She came last year, anyway. And she’s an agent. Seemed only right.”
Perry walked up to Prince. Poppy smiled at him. “Hey. I was wondering where you were. Prince and I were just talking about you.”
“You’ve met Pops, right?” Perry asked Prince, squeezing her hand to try and calm her down.
Prince nodded curtly, still smiling at Poppy.
“It’s weird seeing you after such a long time.” Poppy said.
“How are the pups?” Perry asked.
“They’re doing great. Toto’s good, too. And I see you’re doing great as well, relationship-wise.”
Perry nodded and smiled at Prince, who glared back at him, her expression still seemingly pleased.
“You should meet the pups sometime.” Poppy said. “They resemble Perry more than me. They’re so cute.”
“We’re expecting as well.” Prince said.
Perry nudged her, confused. She pretended not to notice.
“Really? Congratulations.” Poppy grinned. “How long have you known?”
“A couple weeks.” Prince responded automatically.
“I think I need some air.” Perry said. “You know how I get at these things. Come on, Prince, we’ll talk later.”
“See you soon.” Poppy said.
Perry dragged Prince into one of the storage closets and locked the door. “Sorry I didn’t rescue you from that awkward situation sooner. I will personally murder Pinky for you. But why on EARTH did you tell her we were expecting?”
Prince leaned back against a shelf. “We are.” She said quietly. “I meant to tell you. I forgot.”