Communication Breakdown; or, Mario Kart: Double-Take
On the last
installment of Hotel Mario: Revisited, Oobi struggled in vain as Wendy's
Casino became the tragic scene of Blizzard Buffalo's final moments. Meanwhile,
Toad discovered that the Marios are quite
difficult to reach, particularly on picnic day, and recruited for his convenience those wily yet misunderstood Warios to take care of a blossoming hostage situation.
Roy found himself on the run from the Marios, and relived some frightening moments of laser tag from his past as he raced through a run-down warehouse. And, in an impressive display of dopiness, the new princess fell into a large pipe, coaxing the Marios into, undoubtedly, giving another wanton beating to an unfortunate Koopa Kid.
No time for
In a remote part of the Mushroom Kingdom there was a region of sprawling flatland, and from the vantage of its pathways an old ruin became visible to the traveller at a mile's distance. The landscape shimmered as a cloudless afternoon passed over it. For an exhausted journeyman, the sunken rubble would provide little relief; with its addled framework it wasn't much more than a rosey salute to the deserted area it inhabited. Dangling over the former entryway of this place was a faded sign which read "Mushroom Circuit", which years ago might have been the harbinger to a festive afternoon. The arena itself had atrophied and fallen to pieces. One side had been completely reduced to crumbs, forming a ghastly ampitheater. As with most abandoned places in the kingdom, the old circuit was now seething with ghosts - or Boos, as they were coined by some clever ragamuffin - and even from a short distance one could see a ghostly haze looming above the abandoned racetrack.
Waiting impatiently in the musky arena, and pretending to be someone else, the Warios must have been some kind of comedy to the Boos who were their audience. An entire legion of them was congregated in front of the sleazy duo, trying to appear inconspicuous.
"Man, where are those guys?" Wario complained to himself.
Waluigi scratched his head. "Who are we waitin' for again?"
"You know, those guys..." Wario shook his hand in the air. "The ones who captured that other guy..."
"But we don't know what they look like!"
"Who else is going to show up? I mean, look at this place!"
Indeed, it was a grim picture; the abandoned race track could be compared to a rotting corpse, in both the decay of its structure and its scent - even moreso than a Pokemon stadium.
There were many such defunct places within the Mushroom Kingdom. An insidious political sideshow had been werning away for years, between changing parties, and casualties like this one were to be expected. This particular case, however, was an especially pointed loss; for years Mushroom Circuit had been a remarkable spring of recreation and good-will, and represented the first attempt on the part of the Toadstool Dynasty to parlay its temporary peace with the Koopas.
Perhaps, the princess had reasoned, arising disputes could be settled on the tennis court, or the life-size game board, rather than on a bridge over a pit of lava. But alas, in a cruel twist of irony, these "friendly tournaments" had become so competitive that they only fueled the burgeoning fire of discontent. Tennis, soccer, basketball - each had become as much a part of the ongoing struggle for power as the conventional kingdom takeover model that had become so much a part of the Koopa Shtick. Moreover, as political bonds weakened, the occurence of these "games" increased proportionately, to the point where no sane-thinking citizen could hear the announcement of a baseball game without a quiet shudder.
"Well," began Wario, "I'm leavin' if these guys don't show up soon. Ya know, I never trusted that Mushroom to begin with..."
Just outside of the old circuit, Iggy and Junior were scampering toward their destination with Toadsworth, hog-tied and thrown over their shoulders.
"You and your Nesquik..." grumbled Junior. "You said you would only be in there for a minute!"
"I didn't know they wouldn't have it there! They had a fridge full of Sobe, though!" said Iggy, defending himself.
"Yeah, yeah," muttered Junior as they climbed over some wreckage.
"They should really just stick to basic flavors. Like, what in the world is Lizard Lime? How do I make a decision based on that? I don't know what a lizard tastes like..."
As they came out to the track, they saw what appeared to be the Marios waiting for them in a very awkward situation with a horde of Boos.
"Look at this," said Junior, pointing at the spectacle.
"Huh." Iggy blinked. "Are those... the Marios?"
Junior gave Iggy
a quizzical glance. "I thought you said that Dad was doing some plan that
"I don't know what happened... they cut me off before it started!"
Junior was silent.
"They could have missed the note, or gotten lost, or anything, I don't know what's going on," Iggy continued with a shrug.
"Or, everyone could be dead," Junior reminded his brother.
Iggy nodded. "Yeah. I don't know... You'd think they get it done that fast?"
"Huh. Well, only one way to find out..." said Junior, composing himself.
The Koopaligns hoisted their captive and headed over to meet the Warios. Noticing their approach, Wario and Waluigi looked at each other.
"Are these the guys?" asked Waluigi, pointing in their direction.
"Yeah, yeah..." mumbled Wario, who snapped into focus. "Now remember, we gotta convince 'em we're the Marios. If you want that banana, we have to do what that jerk Mushroom said."
"Got it..." Waluigi nodded.
And so the Koopalings came face-to-face with the Warios. They were silent for a moment, as no one had yet broken the ice.
"Hey, what's, uh... what's going on?" Junior asked casually.
"... Not much..." replied Waluigi.
"Hey!" Wario shouted, rebuffing his brother. Waluigi shrugged and made a disgruntled expression.
"I'm not going to mess it up..." whispered Waluigi to himself. "It was only once..."
"Yeah? All it takes is once, imbecile, and no banana!" Wario growled.
Iggy and Junior gave each other a strange look.
After a moment, Junior cleared his throat and continued. "So... are you guys... doin' that hotel thing?"
"What-" began both the brothers in unison, grappling clumsily for the response.
They began to argue with each other furiously. The dispute escalated into physical fighting, and ended when Wario punched Waluigi off his seat. The latter pulled himself back up.
"What..." they started, synching up again. Wario gave Waluigi a good shove, who was silently mouthing something in response.
Wario waited for a moment, and went on: "What hotel thing..." he began, pausing.
He looked over at Waluigi, who was silent. After a moment of this, Wario tried again. "What hot-"
"Are you talkin' about?" finished Waluigi.
Wario gave his brother a dirty look.
"All right. Well, anyway," continued Junior, "we have the hostage, so... I don't really want to make this more difficult than it has to be..." he said, rolling his eyes.
"Okay," said Wario. There was a strange pause. "Well, give 'em, up!"
Iggy chortled. "I don't think you understand how this works. You see, you give us what we ask for, and then you get the hostage."
The Warios were silent.
"All right, gentlemen,
allow me to explain," began Junior. "You see, by taking this prisoner,
we have placed you in a compromising position. Normally, you might pound
us if you were so inclined, but here we can harm your friend at any moment.
Thus, to end his torture you succumb to our demands, and... we're all happy
The Warios sat for a moment, and, suddenly, the penny dropped.
"Oh!" the brothers sounded off in unison. "It's a ransom!"
"That makes it - a lot easier!" Waluigi happily added, and looks at you.
"You mean, you never read the note we left?" asked Junior.
"Oh, no... no..." Wario mumbled. "We're being - paid for our services."
Iggy nodded. "Oh... so, is whatever you're getting worth the coins we asked for?"
"Well," Wario fumbled, "the first bank of Mario is - bankrupt."
Iggy and Junior both groaned. "Okay, look: you want to get out of here, and we want to get out of here. Can you just... get the money so we can move on?" Junior pleaded in a serious tone.
"I may not have any coins," Wario began, over-acting his line, "but there is one thing I'm really good at..."
"Yes, NBA Hangtime... Look, Mario, my blood pressure is way to high to start playing that game again..."
"No, treasure hunting," Wario declared. "You see, we are what you might call - Chinese Farmers of the first rank!"
"What does that mean?" asked Iggy.
"It means that we make our living from selling things on Ebay," explained Waluigi, who looks at you.
"Take a look at this," said Wario. He reached into his pocket and produced a Wiimote.
"Oh, wow!" Junior gasped. "I can't find these things anywhere."
"Yeah, a lot of... weird nonsense happened when I picked it up... but that's gone now."
"So, what do you think?" asked Waluigi, who looks at you.
"Well..." Junior thought, scratching his chin.
"Let's do it," said Iggy.
Iggy was silent for a moment. "Yes... yeah, I think, uh... I think you can get a good deal on this thing."
Junior nodded. "Hmm... I agree. All right."
Iggy turned Toadsworth over to the Warios.
"Excellent, haha!" exclaimed Wario. The Koopalings eyed him suspiciously. "I mean, uh..." Wario paused and looks at you.
Waluigi is looking at you.
"Hmm... for a Wiimote, huh?" Iggy mused as he examined the controller. "You said you were being paid by some idiot to come and do this?"
"Yep." said Waluigi, still looking at you.
Iggy walked over to Wario and adjusted his glasses. "Listen, uh... you really have an eye for this kinda stuff, eh?"
He nodded. "Yeah, yeah..."
Wario waited for him to continue.
"I think maybe we could..." Iggy made an odd gesture with his hands, "work something out, ya know? Maybe avoid everything... going up in smoke, next time we meet?"
"Yeah, of course..." Wario nodded. "We need to get going, though...."
"Oh, yeah, yeah. Hey, thanks for meeting with us."
The Warios loaded Toadsworth into their cart without untying him. Soon, they were off to claim their prize.
Junior was looking over the strange device. "Huh... Nice..."
"Hey, Junior, thanks for your help."
"No sweat," he responded, not paying much attention.
"Hey, I'm gonna head to the Square, get somethin' to eat."
"All right. See you later," Junior mumbled, walking away.
With this, the brothers departed.