Pseudomonia benedicci, also known as Benedicci, is a symbiotic bacteria found in humans and several other animal species. Believed to be a highly advanced evolution, or mutation of, probiotic bacteria, Benedicci is most famous for its beneficial relationship with its host. Unlike other diseases, Benedicci regulates itself to not cause harm to its host, and increases the effectiveness of several bodily functions, primarily the immune system. The effectiveness of this improvement varies between individuals, and is commonly referred to as a Benedicci reaction.
The bacteria is transmitted in conditions similar to the common cold, i.e. airborne droplets (aerosols), direct contact with infected nasal secretions, or fomites (contaminated objects). Upon successfully transmitting to a new host, the bacteria begins to intentionally attract the immune system. At this point the host may develop cold-like symptoms that dissipate over the next twenty-four hours as the host and bacteria acclimate to each other. This process is nearly always guaranteed; however, in rare cases, the host's immune system may never accept the bacteria and instead may attempt to eliminate it as a normal infection. Reapplication of a different strand of Benedicci can sometimes overcome this issue. The rate of transmission and acclimation of Benedicci increases during Odd Summer, giving credence to the theory that it is a Powered Disease.
Once accepted by the host's immune system, the bacteria incubates and gathers at key organs within the host: the brain (primarily amygdala) , heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. When an injury or infection by other diseases occurs, the Benedicci clusters will release Benedicci cells into the bloodstream, which will coordinate with white blood cells to eliminate harmful diseases.
In addition to supplementing the immune system, Benedicci can also help several other bodily functions, such as clearing out toxins or harmful drugs, and slowing blood flow to open wounds. As a result, hosts of Benedicci rarely succumb to shock.
In about ten percent of cases Benedicci will synergize with its host more than normal, providing enhancements in other bodily systems. This is commonly known as a good reaction, or high reaction. The opposite (such as when the body rejects Benedicci) is known as a bad reaction, and happens in less than one percent of cases. Good reactions can sometimes be so strong that they mimic powers. Examples include increased reaction speed, and wounds that close so quickly you can view the healing process with the naked eye. However, these extremes are very rare.
Benedicci was first found in a town called Last Stop near the Alaskan Barrier Wall. It came to the attention of Heroes who were tracking down spreading outbreaks of Mutavus, believed to have originated from a breach in the wall during Odd Summer a year prior. While most communities nearest the wall had fully succumbed to Mutavus, many citizens in the town of Last Stop had proven resistant to mutation, appearing fully human. An analysis of the unafflicted individuals showed that they hosted a previously unknown bacteria (named later as Benedicci). It was then decided by heroes at the scene to spread Benedicci to communities around Mutavus outbreaks to try and contain its spread. While containment measures ultimately failed, Benedicci is still a recognized preventative measure for Mutavus, and its use is credited with preventing millions of mutations across the globe.
Next time you turn in an essay late, at least refrain from parroting the wiki to me. See me after class. -Mr. K
Mikey woke up at 6:30 am, and for a second the thought that he was late for school had him struggling to escape his tangled blankets. Then he remembered that school was over, had been over since Friday, and he collapsed back into the mattress. He wouldn't even need to be at work until ten, evil minion hours were surprisingly reasonable.
Mikey froze. That thought was like a cold splash of water, ruining any chance of going back to sleep. He was a minion. An honest-to-god, load the money, lower the hero into a vat full of lava minion. How had he ever thought this was a good idea? The explosion, the hostages, Turbo showing up to stop them, it was insane! True he had signed up for it and attended the orientation, but it hadn’t felt real until the job on Sunday. That had been what really hammered it home for Mikey.
Not for the first time, he wondered if that was kind of the point.
Deciding he wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep, he kicked off the tangled knot of covers and went about dressing himself. Dark jeans and a shirt with no identifiable marks was all it took to be ready for the day. Hellion’s Henchmen didn’t really have a uniform per se, but he had been advised that clothing with no real markings and that avoided bright colors was the recommended.
That and the mask. Mikey’s eyes drifted to the little black “wristband” sitting on his desk. It unfolded into a standard domino mask easily as long as you knew how to twist it correctly. Ha, “standard.” Somehow it contained a simple communications system, an onboard map of E13, and lens to protect the eyes, all inside a tiny cloth band that matched the current fashion trends. The unassuming piece of tech was probably the most expensive thing Mikey owned, and the lady who had given it to him had grabbed it out of a box containing dozens more.
He grabbed the wristband and put it on before he forgot it. Then he wandered into the kitchen, and turned on the small t.v. to the news while he put together some cereal using the last of the powdered milk.
It seemed Odd Summer was definitely gearing up. The new casters didn’t even bother trying to list everything going on, simply talking about politics, or covering the new hero announcements, while a list of the worst affected sectors scrolled in the background. Not too bad actually. The east and west sectors usually got the worst of it, but today only S8, S9, and SW8 where under alert, with only NW5 under a lockdown warning. All of it well away from E13.
It wouldn’t last forever though. The casual bets of E13’s residents were never on whether or not E13 would see some shit. They bet on when it did happen, would it be bad enough to cause a lockdown, or if it would be caused by some bad trigger, or a monster, or maybe a fight with the local villains.
Mikey grimaced at the errant thought. It wasn’t a big deal. Like the lady had said, he could make the money he needed, then quit. A few days of grunt work, and then he could pay for college, get a degree or certification or something, get a legit job, and never mention this summer again. All he had to do for now was keep his head down.
No big deal.
Having lost his appetite for the cold cereal, he dumped the rest of the bowl in the sink, and headed out the door. He still had plenty of time before today’s job started (just placing devices for Hellion’s tinker again, thank god), but with nothing better to do, he headed in the direction of the local gym which hid the secret elevator.
That had been another surprise to Mikey. Secret entrances! Underground bases! Sure people knew there might be a lair here or there, but Hellion’s tunnels were extensive. For most of his life Hellion’s Henchmen had been that local gang in the background. You saw the graffiti tags, or the odd person in a minion mask near the more disreputable areas, but the realization that Hellion’s Henchmen was such a large player in the cowl community shocked Mikey. The past few days felt like he had sneaked a peek behind a theater curtain, only to discover Atlantis behind it. A super secret evil villain organization practically under his house! Tim would have gone nuts to learn about it all.
Mikey grimaced at the thought. Tim could never learn about this. He was the brother Mikey never had, but he was also as straight a shooter as they came, and a hero fanatic to boot. Mikey could only imagine Tim’s disappointment if he found out...
Mikey shook the thought away as he entered the secret passage into the elevator and donned the minion mask. Tim wouldn’t find out. Mikey would earn enough money for college, quit, and then he’d be able to stop lying to his best friend.
The elevator ride was smooth as normal, entirely at odds with Mikey’s tumultuous inner thoughts. Finally it stopped, and Mikey exited into the corridor that housed the multitude of elevators. It always felt like he was sneaking in for some reason, a bit magnified this time as he realized he really did have a lot of time before today’s job actually started. Perhaps he should have tried harder to get back to sleep.
He exited the elevator corridor into the large main chamber, and wandered in the direction of the garage, when he noticed a minion in a white mask waving at him. He tensed for a second, but relaxed immediately when he realized it was Tofu, and then chuckled as he walked over. Tofu was sitting at one of the tables with a small pile of muffins in front of him and his cellphone out, somehow utterly relaxed despite being surrounded by other minions eating breakfast, quite a few of them wearing the bone-white masks that marked them as being powered. He’d only known him a week or so, but Tofu just had this way of derailing serious situations that made him easy to like, and he had become a fast friend.
That and the whole getting Mikey’s money back and finding him a job thing. Mikey owed him big time for that.
Mikey sat and greeted Tofu, yawning as he did so. He really should have tried to sleep more.
“Mornin’ Tofu. Got enough muffins there?”
“No, but I was told you aren’t supposed to ‘hog’ them. Here, have one.”
Tofu handed over a muffin, and Mikey was surprised to find he was feeling hungry again.
While they ate, they talked about what had happened yesterday. Apparently Tofu had gone to the Red Zone, snuck into an Espada hideout, and rescued some guy named Jasper from the super villain Sanguine. Completely crazy, and yet Tofu had spent a mere five minutes retelling that adventure (glossing over most of the details), and then went on to tell Mikey about the company dinner in excruciating detail for nearly a half hour. That and a game on his phone called Griblin Tamer.
“Would you happen to know how to get past level five?”
“Nah, I’m not to big on mobile games.”
“Dang, and Viper wouldn’t tell me either. I’ll ask Nicole later then.”
“Why don’t you just look it up?”
“Nicole said only cheaters do that.”
“And asking others isn’t cheating?”
“No, it’s teamwork.”
Mikey laughed. Tofu was definitely an odd guy, but he was a good one.
They talked a bit longer, and Mikey was immensely glad to find out Tofu was on the same job crew today, but eventually they finished up and made to head out. Unexpectedly, Tofu headed in the direction of the gym.
“Tofu, where are you going? Garage is this way.”
“Morning training with Adder. I didn’t get to yesterday.”
“The job starts in like an hour.”
“Which gives us an hour to train. Are you not coming?”
“Ehhhh…” Mikey remembered getting the stuffing knocked out of him during orientation, and he wasn’t exactly eager to repeat the experience.
“Come on Mikey. You can’t miss both food and training. They’re important!” said Tofu.
Mikey let himself get dragged to the gym, and an hour later he was reconsidering whether Tofu was really a nice guy. Adder’s workout regime was brutal, or at least more than he had ever wanted to do in the morning. By the end of the hour, he felt like he had done more exercise than in every P.E. class put together, and Tofu hadn’t even broken a sweat despite getting tossed around the practice mat by Adder. Damn exercise addicts!
He grumbled half-heartedly, and rinsed his head under a faucet in the bathroom before heading to the garage with Tofu. There they found Fred and Brilla (minus hangovers today he noted), and another newbie called Tedic.
“Da fuck. Someone give you a swirly?” asked Tedic.
“Finished a workout.”
“Sure, whatever you say man.”
Mikey… didn’t much care for the guy. Yesterday Fred and Brilla had admitted to being hungover, and pulled seniority to have Mikey and Tedic do most of the heavy lifting while they set up the electronics. Tedic… had done some of his share of the work. Between talking about his “experience” in other gangs and how he was going to “climb the ranks,” with a not-so-subtle implication that Mikey should get into his good graces while he could.
“Alright guys, same as yesterday, load the truck and let’s skedaddle,” said Fred, this time helping to load the truck himself now that he was sans hangover.
Tofu and Mikey chatted about the Gribblin game Tofu was trying to beat, and Mikey got a kick out of Tedic realizing he was already friends with Tofu. Tedic tried to join the smalltalk, but was woefully uninformed about games, or cooking, or any of the other topics that Tofu tended to rapidly switch to, and Mikey had to admit that watching Tedic try and fail to endear himself to Tofu was in no small amount cathartic after all his big talk yesterday.
The last of the boxes got stored, they piled in, and they drove off for what Mikey hoped would be another uneventful day.
The job was simple enough. Take the devices Socket had made, and install them in places where they wouldn’t be noticed. Under mailboxes, on top of buildings, some of the devices were even small enough to tape to the sides of buildings and spray paint over them so that they fit in with the years of old graffiti.
Of course, in a few cases they had to check spots where devices had failed for one reason or another and try to recover them, which was why Mikey had climbed up to a billboard to replace a real clunker of a gizmo. This one was really strapped tight for some reason.
Mikey cursed a bit. That static had hurt for real, if it wasn’t a battery leak or something. He hoped the gizmo wouldn’t explode on him or something stupid.
“Yo Mikey hurry it up already!” Tedic yelled from below where he was keeping “lookout.”
“Gimme a sec, this one’s finicky!” he yelled back. Bleh, he wished for the hundredth time that he had gone with a different nickname then his own, but he hadn’t been thinking all that clearly when he was in the interview. He doubted he could have actually kept anything from an organization like Hellion’s anyways, but at least it would have kept idiots like Tedic from yelling it in public where anyone could hear.
He searched through the bag of tools he had lugged up with him, and found a pair of heavy duty gloves which he pulled from the bag. Then he got to work trying to unstrap the belts and fastenings keeping the device in place. Why the hell was this one so complicated? Some of Socket’s devices were rather ambitious (one had been indistinguishable from a large blue mailbox), but this one was a bit strange. Most of Socket’s stuff looked like it could have come off an assembly line, but this one looked like it had been hastily slapped together from dumpster parts. In fact, if Mikey didn’t know any better he would think-
One of the belts he had been trying to loosen snapped, and several metal braces and wires snapped together on his hand like a bear trap, before the whole thing sparked to life.
“Holy fuck!” Mikey yelled as the rogue gizmo tried to zap him into submission. Luckily the gloves worked, and the booby trap (for what else could it be) spent itself without doing more than sending a tingle up his arm and giving him goosebumps, though his hand remained stuck in the contraption.
“Mikey! What the hell happened!?”
“It was booby trapped! My hand’s stuck in it! Get up here and help me open this thing!”
“Uh, can’t you open it!?”
“Not one-handed, now get up here!”
“I’ll uh, I’ll get the others! Be right back with help!” Tedic yelled as he ran down the alley.
“Tedic! TEDIC! Goddamnit.” Mikey struggled with the trap before slumping and giving up. He didn’t want to accidentally make it worse somehow, you never knew what surprises a gizmo might have for you.
He settled in to wait for help, hopefully they’d get here soon. Someone had set this trap, and none of the possibilities were good. A hero (unlikely given the type of trap), a vigilante, some villain not associated with Hellion. A vigilante might just rough him up a bit, but if it was a villain…
“You alright mister?”
“GAH!” Mikey jumped at the unexpected voice, and spun as best he could with his hand trapped to look at the source. It was a kid! A mutant kid. He was about twelve if Mikey had to guess, and had an extra pair of arms that stuck out of tears in the kid’s shirt. The kid’s overalls were weighed down with the weight of all the items in his pockets, including a slingshot that stuck out of one, and for some reason he was wearing a pair of swimming goggles.
Mikey gaped at the new arrival, unsure what to make of him. Sure he was just a kid, but it was Odd Summer right now. Mikey had forgotten about the fourth option of the trap just being set by some nutjob.
“Need any help?” asked the kid.
“Um... I mean, if you can get this trap off my hand,” said Mikey unsurely.
“Sure, no problem! Two hundred bucks.”
Mikey sputtered. Was this kid actually trying to shake him down!?
“I seem to have left my wallet at home kid,” spat Mikey.
“Awwww, oh well,” said the kid in a sad sounding voice. Then he perked up, “Oh! Neat bag!” and before Mikey could stop him the kid grabbed the bag of tools, pulling it out of his reach.
“Hey! Give that back!” yelled Mikey, straining to reach.
“I will, I will. Oh hey! A cold iron! I’ve always wanted one of those,” and the kid stuffed the tool into a pocket before rummaging around the sack more.
Mikey began to struggle harder with his caught hand. He wasn’t about to let this brat steal from him. True, he didn’t know how valuable a cold iron was, but he would rather not explain how he lost a bag of tinker tools to a fucking twelve-year-old. Damn, his hand was really wedged in there, but maybe if he could…
Mikey wrenched one of the looser metal bands away from his trapped hand, and strained for all he was worth. A took a few good pulls, but finally his hand slipped free from the glove, and he fell backwards away from the trap...
...and perilously close to the edge of the thin metal walkway meant for workers to service the billboard. He gasped and scrambled back from the edge in a hurry, trying to keep his heart from leaping out of his throat.
“Later loser!” came the young kid’s voice. Mikey’s head whipped in the direction it came from, only to see the kid leap from the metal walkway to a second level bridge nearly twenty feet away, a leap that Mikey was sure he couldn’t have made. The kid landed easily and ran for it, soon out of sight around a corner. He hadn’t taken the bag of tools with him, but there was no telling how many he had stolen.
Hahaha “By a little kid!” laughed Tedic, to Mikey’s chagrin. If Tedic had actually been there it wouldn’t have happened.
Mikey had met Tedic and Fred on the way back to the van, and Mikey had explained about the strange kid who had stolen his tools.
“Ah don’t feel too bad, we didn’t bring any tools that are hard to replace,” said Fred dismissively, “And the kid was probably a member of the Tinker Tots, they operate in this area.”
“The Tinker Tots?” asked Mikey, disbelievingly. Tedic went into a new round of laughter.
“Don’t sound so surprised,” said Fred, “You know all that weird architecture north of Ashwood St? They do most of that. They’re also like half the reason we need to replace Socket’s network devices so often, they steal them for parts.”
Mikey mulled that over for a while. “They’re really all tinkers? I thought that was rare.”
“Eh, probably only one or two of them are real tinkers. Just think of them as the local ragamuffins. They cause trouble, but it’s nothing too serious.”
“Why don’t we just get rid of em?” asked Tedic.
“Pft, cause they’re a bunch of kids, that’s why. What you want us to do? Blow them up? Besides, sometimes they’re useful.”
They made they’re way back to the van, and drove to the next area to set up more devices. Although Tedic insisted on telling the story to Tofu and Brilla himself, to Mikey’s annoyance.
“Are they a threat?” asked Tofu seriously, derailing Tedic’s mirth.
“Naw, just a bunch of brats,” replied Brilla.
“Okay,” confirmed Tofu, and he went back to fiddling with his phone.
Mikey shivered in the sudden cold atmosphere the question had created. He was glad it had shut Tedic up, but the way Tofu asked reminded Mikey of how Tofu had handled almost killing his mother’s boyfriend.
“Hold on back there!” yelled Brilla, as she wrenched the steering wheel and sent them careening into a tight alleyway, just barely making the fit. Behind them a cop car screeched right before it hit the corner of one of the enclosing buildings, as it hadn’t been at a good enough angle to copy the maneuver. The van full of minions burst through the alley at the opposite end, and quickly (and at a safer speed) headed down the street and into more labyrinthe alleyways to make sure they had lost the cop car.
“See? Easy peasy,” said Brilla.
Mikey wasn’t too sure about that. Brilla had been swearing up a storm not two seconds before they ditched the cop car, and Fred had a white-knuckle death grip on the overhead handle. Mikey wasn’t feeling too disgruntled, but he had distracted himself by keeping the boxes of tinker devices from bouncing around the van. Tofu was his usual unflappable self, and Tedic had his head between his knees as he muttered prayers beneath his breath.
“What now?” asked Tofu.
“Now we continue to the next spot, same ol’ same ol’,” answered Brilla.
Tedic groaned, and Mikey suppressed one himself. He was ready to be done for the day.
“We can get lunch afterwards,” Fred offered, “Feeling a bit peckish myself.”
They drove to the next spot, and left Tofu to guard the van while they split into pairs to place the final few devices. Luckily Mikey was paired with Fred this time.
Fred navigated up to the second level, and they slapped thin devices disguised as yard sale posters to out of the way walls as they went. But there was a small surprise waiting for them as they came to a makeshift bridge that had been set up where the original architecture had been destroyed. It was a metal and wire affair that seemed solid enough, but it was blocked by a short barricade that had been set up, complete with a miniature toll booth to the side that was manned by a kid in a fake police getup.
“Ten bucks to cross the bridge,” said the kid.
Mikey raised an eyebrow, and Fred just laughed before saying, “Nice try kid, but Fortress City doesn’t have toll booths.”
“Well this bridge doesn’t belong to the city, we made it. Twenty bucks to cross.”
Fred rolled his eyes and said, “Yeah, I think we’ll pass on your death trap,” and gestured for Mikey to follow him. They headed back the way they had come, but were surprised to run into… another barricade. It had been rolled into place behind them, complete with its own little tollbooth and another ragamuffin to man it.
“Toll is fifty bucks,” said the young kid.
“Ha. Ha. Very funny kids, but we’ve got real work to do,” said Fred, and he stepped over the barrier.
“Hey! You can’t do that!” said the tiny toll officer.
Mikey followed Fred over the barrier, and they got about twenty feet before something whizzed by and hit Fred in the head.
“AGH! Fuck!” yelled Fred as he clutched his head where the stone hit him.
“That’s what you get you jerks!” yelled another voice, one Mikey recognized. It was the four-armed kid that had taken his tools. The kid was standing back behind the barricade with the toll booth operator.
“Hey! That’s the brat who stole the tools!” Mikey exclaimed.
“Really? And hey look, my patience for kids just reached its end,” said Fred, scowling. He approached the barrier, and the four-armed thief pulled the smaller kid back, but that wasn’t Fred’s aim. He walked over to the miniature toll booth and kicked it, denting the side.
“Hey!” yelled the kids, but Fred ignored them and continued to destroy the toll booth. The four-armed kid with the slingshot started taking more shots at Fred, which only prompted Mikey to help Fred trash the kid’s little business venture faster.
He… did feel a bit bad when the toll booth operator started crying, but it was fair comeuppance as far as he was concerned. The trashing of the barricade continued until suddenly the kids scattered, and Mikey had just enough time to wonder why before a deep voice spoke behind them.
“Well I’ll be, have Hellion’s Henchmen sunk to bullying kids now? For shame.”
Mikey turned around and froze. He knew the man before him, it was hard not to. Brick could be seen on the local news all the time, usually beating up two-story monsters with his fists. He was one of the supers that didn’t bother with a full suit, just camo pants, a tank top, and a blue mask that only covered the top half of his face. Brick looked smaller in person than Mikey expected, but he knew that was just an optical illusion from normally seeing Brick ten feet tall and beating up evil-doers with his power on.
Mikey was in so much shit.
“Stay calm,” whispered Fred, then he raised his voice and addressed the hero, “Hello officer, can we help you with something?”
“Yeah, I came here on a report that some kids were running an illegal racket. Glad to see I can arrest some real criminals instead of wasting my time lecturing kids.”
“Don’t know what you mean, we haven’t-”
“Save it. You’re wearing masks at the scene of a crime, and we both know I need less than that to haul you in. We’re all gonna take a little walk down to street level and wait for the good police officers to come pick you up. Unless you’d like to try running?...”
Fred didn’t respond, instead just dropping the bag of devices he’d been carrying and putting his hands up. Mikey followed suit, and Brick picked up the bag before having them walk in front of him. Soon they were at street level where Brick had them sit on the curb.
Mikey was mortified. He was getting arrested by a hero he had cheered for multiple times in the past, and now Tim was going to find out he’d been arrested for minioning. Unless Hellion’s promises of lawyer support were real. He reallllly hoped the lawyers were real.
“You know, we really weren’t doing anything. Those kids actually stole from us,” Mikey hesitantly ventured.
Brick snorted, “You must be new. Let me tell you the same advice I tell all you minions. Get out, before I have to kick you out.”
Mikey shut up (it had been worth a shot right?), and sat contemplating his fate. He expected a police cruiser to show up any second now, which was why he was really confused when a black van pulled up instead, and Tofu stuck his head out the window.
“Hey guys, we’ve been looking all over for you,” said Tofu.
Mikey gaped at Tofu. Was he just seeing things? Nope, Fred was goggling too. And Brick was already growing as his power took hold (holy shit he’s big) .
“Step out of the van and put your hands up! Only warning!” yelled Brick.
The sliding side door of the van opened, and Brick tensed for a fight, only to freeze at the sight of the occupant. Out stepped the four-armed kid who had been causing trouble for the minions! The kid looked around with wide eyes before running to Brick and hiding behind him.
“He was trying to steal more stuff from us,” said Tofu, “You should arrest him.”
Brick glanced down at the kid, who stuttered, “I-I um, I s-s-stole their s-stuff. It was m-my fault. S-sorry.”
Brick looked back up at Tofu, “Be that as it may, when the patrol shows up you are all coming to the station on suspicion of henching.”
“But we were going to get lunch.”
Apparently Brick didn’t know how to react to that any more than the rest of the minions. Which meant the awkward silence was only broken when the police patrol vehicle blazed down the street while on fire. Everyone stared at it as it passed.
“I’ve been noticing that a lot lately,” said Tofu.
Mikey made it home after what felt like forever. He was sore, tired, and with more than one bruise to both his body and ego. Brick had given up on arresting them, apparently deciding that getting the kid away from the strange powered minion, and coordinating with the efforts to stop the flaming squad car, was more important than arresting some minions that had allegedly done nothing wrong. Fred and Brilla called off the rest of the job after that debacle, and they had limped themselves to a Mega Burger for Tofu before calling it quits.
Mikey had been tempted to hand in his notice and call the entire thing quits. This had been such a close call! But upon arriving back at the base there had been a paycheck waiting for him.
A fat paycheck, with more than two zeros. His emotions and logic warred over his sudden riches, when finally his brain gave up, and he decided to shove the decision to another day. Mikey dragged himself home not soon after, collapsing into bed and falling dead asleep.
It was several hours later when he woke. It was still evening, and Mikey could have slept longer easily, but his phone was ringing. He grabbed it to turn it off, but the caller I.D. stopped him, it was Tofu. Hesitantly he answered it.
“Hey Tofu… everything alright?”
“Sorta. I tried to cook some tofu burgers, but I didn’t have any pans, so I tried to use my hands and that didn’t work, and now my stove is on fire. Would you happen to have a frying pan I can borrow?”
“...I’ll be over in a bit.”