Perry jumped up onto Candace's bed, patted down a spot, and curled up into a ball.
Candace's bed was very soft, especially after a hard day at work.
"PHINEAS!" Candace screamed.
Perry chattered. He had been noticed.
"GET YOUR UGLY BLUE BREADLOAF WITH A TAIL OFF OF MY BED!"
"Coming, Candace!" Phineas said. He came into Candace's room. "Oh, there you are, Perry."
"Get him off!" Candace said.
"Okay, okay." Phineas picked Perry up.
"What are you still doing awake, anyway?" Candace asked.
"Ferb and I are reading about opossums." Phineas said.
"Boring." Candace said.
"Not really." Phineas said. "Opossums have opposable thumbs on their back feet. And there's a type of shrimp called the opossum shrimp. You can see through them."
"KEEP IT DOWN!" Linda shouted from her bedroom. She didn't care how late the kids stayed up, so long as they didn't keep her awake.
"Goodnight, Candace." Phineas whispered. He carried Perry back to his room.
Ferb was holding a giant book entitled "OPOSSUMS ARE AWESOME." He looked up at Phineas and smiled.
"Yeah, I'm always up for more opossum facts!" Phineas said, sitting down next to Ferb.
Perry squirmed out of Phineas's arms and hopped into his pet bed. He walked around a few times to get the blanket the way he wanted it, lay down, and pulled Snugglebear next to him.
Perry dreamed he was a baby again, sitting on a little rock.
His mother came over to him and picked him up by the scruff of the neck. She placed him down in the middle of his brothers and sisters.
"Inch-tall rock is too filled with danger." She explained. "You could fall off of it and get sand on your head."
One of Perry's brothers started ambling toward Inch-tall rock. The unconcerned Pansy followed him to bring him back.
It was all very familiar to Perry, save for the giant opossum that was dancing ballet across Danville Zoo while eating hash browns and transparent shrimp.
But then the dream changed. Perry was sitting in his chair at the agency, staring glumly at the floor. He heard the door to his lair open.
It was Doofenshmirtz, driving a golf-cart into the room. He parked next to Perry and banged on a plate.
"Boom-bigga-boom-boom-bigga-bigga-boom-boom!" He sang as he drummed.
Perry woke up then. Phineas was banging on a little toy drum. "Boom-bigga-boom-boom-bigga-bigga-boom-boom!"
"Phineas, you invaded my dreams." Perry growled.
"Sorry. I'm trying to wake Ferb up. He's out cold."
"Is he breathing?"
Phineas kicked Ferb.
"The Phineas life test." Perry muttered. "Kick the supposed dead one in the side."
"It's an inflatable decoy." Phineas said, after a moment. "I wonder where he went."
"Probably out building something." Perry yawned.
"You look funny when you yawn. Your mouth opens really wide."
"So does yours." Perry retorted. "Be quiet, I didn't finish my yawn. You interrupted it."
"How can someone interrupt a yawn?"
"You're doing it again!"
"I don't know, but every time you talk I can't yawn!"
"You're kidding me." Phineas said, all seriousness. "Right?"
Perry finished his yawn. "No, I'm not."
Phineas started to yawn.
"Gumdrop, gumdrop, Ducky Momo apple." Perry said.
"Wow, you're right. Yawns CAN be interrupted."
Ferb climbed in through the bedroom window.
"Ferb!" Phineas said.
"Ferbster!" Perry padded over to him. "Where were you?"
Ferb handed Phineas a small device.
Phineas looked at it. "That's weird. Our energy reader is sensing hundreds of explosives down at the Danville Abandoned Factory. It would have sensed them before if they'd been here before tonight. Did you hear about this before, Ferb?"
Ferb shook his head.
"You only saw it just tonight, huh?" Phineas said.
"This has rogue agent written all over it." Perry said. "And by rogue agent, I mean Dennis."
"Dennis had his memory erased and was locked in the O.W.C.A prison." Phineas said. "But they're gonna let him out again once they've trained him to…"
Perry stared at him.
"Um…" Phineas swallowed. "At least, that's what they SHOULD do."
"Phinny… have you been spying?"
"No!" Phineas shook his head. "I mean, not directly. I planted a recording tape… um… in the conference room."
"Why?" Perry asked calmly.
"I just… I wanted to make sure you were… safe and stuff." Phineas said, looking embarrassed.
"First of all, they wouldn't blow me up. Sure, sometimes they test things on me or I have to go through some intense training, but except for the laser sharks, the agency is pretty safe. Second, you are NOT supposed to worry about me. I can take care of myself. THIRD, Monogram TRUSTS you two! If he finds that tape recorder…"
Phineas looked pale. "…Laser sharks?"
"Sometimes he forgets to turn them off. Phin, PLEASE. Don't interfere with the agency. I'm walking on eggshells around Monogram as is. If he thinks you know too much, he'll wipe your memory and ship me off to another home without a second thought. And I wouldn't like that."
"Sorry." Phineas said in a small voice, his eyes glassy with tears.
"Don't cry. I just don't want you to get in trouble on my account, okay?"
"So, with Dennis out of the equation… what exactly is the explosive reading?"
Ferb frowned. "Well, at the moment, it says the explosives aren't dangerous."
"Duh. No explosives are dangerous until someone ignites them… which someone is probably planning to do."
"What are we gonna do?" Phineas asked. "I mean, it won't affect US, but…"
"If you figure out what the explosives are, maybe I can figure out a way to move them." Perry said.
"They're explosives." Ferb said.
"You're a great help." Perry muttered.
Princess had joined the agency two years before Perry, and not out of will. Both of her parents had gone missing after her birth and she had been taken to the O.W.C.A by a surveyor agent, who had found her wandering around in the woods.
She was a quick learner and had found a friend in Opal, an ostrich who was usually ignored around the agency.
"So you haven't met anyone yet?" Opal asked as they made their way around the maze of picnic tables in Danville Park.
"None of the other agents." Princess said.
"Well, over there is Stephanie." Opal said, pointing to a shrew chewing on a little sandwich. "She's in our division. And she used to be my only friend, before you."
They sat down at Stephanie's table. She eyed Princess curiously.
"Hey." Princess said.
"Hi." Stephanie said.
Princess looked at Stephanie's milk carton. A picture of a piranha was on the side.
"The Perfect Piranhas, Live In Concert." Princess read. She hoped she had gotten all the words right.
"I know, right?" Stephanie said, suddenly excited. "They're the best band ever. Even after Glen quit the group. I still listen to them every day. You know they used to be O.W.C.A agents?"
"I've never heard their music, but I know someone who loves them." Princess said.
"You should check them out." Stephanie said. "They're good. I just love their single, 'Chomping on Flesh'."
Opal's watch beeped. She sighed. "I have to go. Dr. Sandra is causing trouble again."
After Opal left, two animals came to their table. They didn't look very friendly.
"Hi, Stephanie." One of them said.
"Maude." Stephanie said in a shaky voice. "Lily." She tore away.
Maude stared at Princess. "You new here?"
Maude picked up Stephanie's milk carton. "What the heck is on this thing?"
"A piranha, obviously." Princess said, deciding she didn't like Maude's tone. "And is there a problem?"
"Yeah, there's a problem. Because the Perfect Piranhas suck." Maude crushed the milk carton and glared at Princess.
"What's on your head, anyway?" Lily asked. "An attempt at a hairstyle, or Stephanie's dead twin?"
Princess grasped Lily by the shoulders and shoved her back, surprised with her own strength. "I'm not taking this, jerk."
"You are so gonna get it." Maude snapped, throwing a punch at Princess.
Princess ducked, grabbed Maude, and tossed her flat on the ground. She had meant to throw her in the grass, but missed.
Maude landed flat on the concrete, moaning. Agents surrounded her in excitement and shock.
Princess turned and stormed in the direction of the agency. She didn't know it yet, but she would be walking away from a lot of things in life, leaving a mess for someone else to fix.