G #11 – Twelve Years of Excellence

Rude: “…Rufus made me drink his shampoo. He wanted to know what it tasted like in case he got some in his mouth. It tasted like burning laundry detergent.”

 Originally Published: 12/30/11 . 46 pages

When the tenth anniversary of the rambles rolled around, I thought it would be fun to do one last ramble to cap things off. I came up with this idea and starting writing it. Then life got in the way and it kept getting pushed back. I worked on it off and on but the ten years came and went. Finally when I moved everything to this blog I knew it was finally time to finish it and complete the rambles for good. I hope you enjoy it!

The Year 2000

(a large tent has been set up on the lawn outside the ramble room. inside there is an elaborate buffet, and many tables and chairs set up. they are set with linen and fine china. it seems everyone from the ramble room is milling around. lark is speaking with reeve, tseng, reno and elena.)

Lark: “So, this is an exciting night for you guys! Rufus is giving the award to someone who works for him!”

Tseng: “Suffers for him.”

Lark: “Any idea who the winner might be?”

Elena: “I think it should be Tseng! He’s done so much good work this year! Rufus couldn’t possibly overlook it!”

Reno: “Why not just glue your lips directly to his ass, Elena, and save yourself breath?”

Elena: *glares* “I know it won’t be you, Reno! Especially after you called him collect from jail all those times!”

Reno: *shrugs* “Hey, if he wants me to come to work, he’s gotta bail me out. Seems fair to me.”

Tseng: “Well, I appreciate the compliment, Elena, but I really think Reeve deserves it.”

Reeve: “Really? Thanks, Tseng. That means a lot to me.”

Tseng: *beams*

Reno: *rolls eyes*

Elena: *frowns*

Bria: *coming over with a plate* “Reeve! There’s more shrimp out on the table!”

Reeve: “Oh! Excuse me.”

(he leaves. tseng frowns.)

Reno: “Well, as long as it’s not one of them, it’s all good.”

(he points to where scarlet, hojo, heidegger and palmer are seated with nida. heidegger has an entire tray of shrimp in front of him.)

Heidegger: “It’s like I already won! Gya haa haa!”

Lark: “I still don’t believe they were invited.”

(then rufus comes up to the podium set up at the front of the tent and starts speaking into the mic)

Rufus: “If everyone can please take their seats, we’re about to announce the winner!”

Elena: “We’re? Who else is part of this?”

Reno: “No one. Maybe that sissy bear he displays in his office.”

(they go and take their seats. lark sits with sephiroth and vincent.)

Sephiroth: “I can’t believe all the fuss over this stupid award! Who cares who Shinra thinks is worth an ugly trophy and some lame prize money?”

Vincent: “Are you still upset because you’re ineligible?”

Sephiroth: *pouts* “He should have said current employees from the beginning.”

(rufus returns to the podium and the tent grows quiet.)

Rufus: “Welcome, everyone, to the first annual Rufus J. Shinra Award of Excellence award presentation ceremony! I hope everyone enjoyed the buffet sponsored by Midgar Irregular Food Supply Co. MIFCO – because irregular food is usually edible. Anyway, without further ado, let’s get to the moment you’ve all been waiting for – the winner of the first ever Rufus J. Shinra Award of Excellence!”

Vincent: *mutters* “That sponsorship certainly explains why they were serving mork at the carving station.”

Sephiroth: “Didn’t stop Zell from having five helpings.”

Rufus: “The winner of this year’s award has had a very difficult year. Losing a position he was very qualified to hold. Being forced to pay for phone calls he NEVER made. Or parties he DIDN’T WANT. Or having someone else eat the sandwich he spent SEVERAL MINUTES PREPARING!”

Sephiroth: “Wait a minute.”

Rufus: “So!” *plops a large trophy on the podium* “I’m the winner, you freeloading haters! I get the trophy and the money! And to everybody who didn’t vote for me as ramble room locker, you suck! Who’s the winner now!?”

Tseng: “That’s not fair! You can’t give yourself the award you made up, put up the money for and put your own name on!”

Rufus: “Life’s unfair, Tseng! Except when you’re rich! Then you use your money to make it better and shove it in everybody’s face!”

Sephiroth: “Well, I’m nauseous. And it has nothing to do with the mork.”

Zell: *looks like he’s gonna puke* “…I think mine does…”

Rufus: *hugging trophy* “Thank you, me! This is one of the best days of my life!”

Almost everyone: “BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!”

(several people, led by barret and cid, start throwing food. rufus flees the stage, shielding himself with the trophy. lark sits there looking horrified, but sephiroth simply leans back in his chair with a smug look.)

Sephiroth: “Well, I’m sure this’ll be the last we’ll hear of the Rufus J. Shinra award of greediness.”

The Year 2001

(rufus is walking down the hall in shinra HQ with algus. he’s talking on a cell phone.)

Rufus: “Really? You’re out of business? Only five people got food poisoning from my last event you catered, and none of them sued – even after that story about the phony mork farms leaked to the press!” *sigh* “Well, take care. Hopefully there will be a day where irregular food is accepted in our society again.” *hangs up* “Sorry about that.”

Algus: “Understandable, my friend! It was very kind of you to take time out of your obviously packed schedule to show me around your prosperous company!”

(they walk past a room labeled ‘rufus’ nap room – slippers only!’)

Rufus: “Uh, of course! But it’s no bother! We may have only known one another a short time, but I feel like I’ve known you for years!”

Algus: “You’re practically the brother I wish I had.”

Rufus: “You know, I’ve been having a pretty good year–“

(he stops abruptly and listens intently for a minute. he then edges closer to a nearby closet where sounds can be heard of things banging around. frowning, rufus grabs the handle and yanks the door open.)

Rufus: “Ah ha! Supply thief–” *screams* “Ugh!” *covers eyes* “You’re not the guy who’s been stealing paper towels! Get out of there! I’ve got a guest here!”

Tseng: “Uh, we were just looking for a broom.”

Rufus: “Where? In his pants? Get to work!”

(reeve and tseng sheepishly slink out of the closet and go immediately into a room labeled ‘break room’. that’s where rufus and algus head next, to the dismay of reno, rude, tseng and reeve who are all in there. hojo is there as well, heating something up in an ancient looking microwave. the room is pretty bare and drab in general. there  are a few battered tables and chairs, where the guys are sitting. there’s a coffee machine that has a sign on it that reads: two cups per day! Coffee isn’t free and neither is my Rich & Pompous Weekly subscription. there’s also a soda machine where everything costs 5 gil.)

Rufus: “Anyway, where was I?”

Algus: “You were about to tell me about what a smashing year you’ve had.”

Rufus: “Of course! So there was this amazing theme park I designed, built and sold for a profit!”

Reno: *sings softly* “Sephiroth land, Sephiroth land, gamble your fortune, of course you can.”

Reeve: “I still don’t know why no one wanted Cait Sith’s autograph!”

Tseng: “Because it’s mean and terrifying.”

Hojo: “Just like that licky licky monster.”

Rufus: “The what?”

Hojo: “Nothing!” *turns to microwave mumbling* “I have not been using company funds to set up an elaborately disturbing breeding program.”

Rufus: “Then there was my highly successful movie that told my fantastic life story!”

Rude: “Ugh. It was awful.”

Rufus: “Hey! It made money!”

Reno: “Only because one film festival paid you to take it back!”

Rufus: “And I’ll have you know one person was approached to act in another movie based on their work in my awesome movie!”

Tseng: “They wanted me to do porn! And I said no! But they’re still calling!”

Rufus: “Don’t listen to them, Algus. They’re just jealous.”

Algus: “I believe you, Rufus. People are always resentful of the rich. That’s why our number one cause of death is envious murder. It’s a national concern.”

Rude: “…Some break this is.”

Rufus: “Anyway, Algus – I’ve saved the best for last! I started and managed an insanely popular boy band: Supa Ego!”

Tseng: “Girls are still mailing me underwear.”

Reno: “I’ll take it.”

Algus: “That’s quite an accomplishment, Rufus! Are they still performing?”

Rufus: “No. Everybody quit. But the residual checks are still rolling in!”

Algus: “You have had quite the year, Rufus! Three fantastic, profitable business ventures!”

Reno: *mumble sings* “…Cover your gambling debts, ‘course you can…”

Reeve: “There’s no way that movie was remotely profitable.”

Tseng: “And you’re lucky Supa Ego can’t get sued for copyright infringement four hundred times.”

Rufus: *very loudly* “Wow, Algus! You’re right! I have had a great year! Perhaps I deserve an award! An award presented at an elaborate ceremony with a cash prize and my name on the trophy twice!”

Rude: “No…”

Algus: “Capital idea, Rufus! You more than deserve it!”

Everyone: *groans*

(rufus smiles for a moment but then turns to glare at hojo, who is still using the microwave.)

Rufus: “What are you heating up in there?! A slab of mork?! Electricity isn’t free!”

Hojo: “…This is an electric company…”

Rufus: *presses stop button* “Elaborate trophies aren’t free either!”

Tseng: “You can’t do this, Rufus. Not again.”

Rufus: “It’s an annual award, and once again, as Algus pointed out, I’m the only one worthy of it.”

(rufus and algus leave together laughing.)

Hojo: *frowning and pressing buttons* “I believe the microwave is broken.”

The Year 2002

(in one of the large meeting rooms at shinra hq, things have been set up for this year’s award ceremony. the tables aren’t set as nicely as they were at that first ceremony. at a table marked ‘honorees’ sit reeve, tseng, reno, rude, elena, hojo, scarlet and heidegger. they all look completely miserable.)

Tseng: “This points system has been hell.”

Reeve: “At least it’s made things fair for a change. Rufus can’t win the award himself for the third year in a row.”

Reno: “Yeah, but I’ve done some messed up sh*t to earn those damn points!”

Rude: “We all have.”

Elena: “Rufus made me go door to door to do a survey on how much people love Shinra. People threw things at my head!”

Reno: “Rufus made me test these prototype condoms!”

Rude: “You’re complaining about that?”

Reno: “Yes! Rufus made them! Would you trust condoms he’s selling? I may have knocked up ten chicks!”

Tseng: “He made you test ten of them?”

Reno: “Well…I took a handful. Didn’t wanna waste any.”

Reeve: “While you were doing that, Rufus was forcing me to design Mr. Jingles’ new clubhouse.”

Elena: “That makes sense. You’re an architect.”

Reeve: “Right. I design buildings. This was a cardboard box. He gave me pipe cleaners and sparkly glue. And then he sat the bear on top of the box to supervise me!”

Scarlet: “Oh boo hoo, Reeve! I gave that monkey chauffeur of his a full bath! And that thing kept groping me!”

Reno: “You can’t blame him for being attracted to his own kind.”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! I ate no erasers all year! Bonus points!”

Tseng: “Rufus made me King Kong proof his office. I tried to explain that if there was such a creature, it could easily crush his damn office, no matter how many banana related traps I set up, but Rufus wouldn’t listen, of course. I hate those movie channels.”

Rude: “…Rufus made me drink his shampoo. He wanted to know what it tasted like in case he got some in his mouth. It tasted like burning laundry detergent.”

Reno: “I had to break in his unicycle! You ever try to ride one of those damn things? It’s impossible! I kept fallin’ on my face! And I don’t think he’s ever gonna ride it! He sat there with some popcorn, laughin’ at me!”

Elena: “I bet you were also drunk!”

Reno: “Well, maybe – but that don’t make it right!”

Elena: “Did you ever have to call people and tell them their mako rates are going up? Because I can guarantee it’s worse! Unless you like being cursed at!”

Reeve: “I actually volunteered to organize Mr. Jingles’ shoes and I still regret it. How many shoes can a stuffed bear have, I figured. More than all of us combined, that’s for sure! He had twenty different kinds of sandals! In a rainbow of colors!”

Scarlet: “I tested Hojo’s new potion! I couldn’t feel my tongue for three weeks!”

Heidegger: “That’s bad for business! Gya haa haa!”

Hojo: “Ah, but your hair had slightly more shine to it, so I consider it a success.”

Tseng: *shudders* “I don’t want to talk about what else I did. It’s…too horrific.”

Rude: “…He made me get him fresh honey. The bees weren’t happy with me. And then I found out it was for Mr. Jingles. He can’t eat honey. He can’t eat it at all.”

Hojo: “I’m rather proud of all my projects, but it’s all far too complicated and nauseating to be discussed over lunch.”

Everyone: “…………”

Tseng: “Did anyone ever find out how many points they earned?”

(but before anyone can answer, rufus steps up to the podium to applause.)

Rufus: “Welcome, all, to the third annual Rufus J. Shinra Award of Excellence award presentation. This year, all the employees were judged on a points system, which allowed me to fairly evaluate who was most worthy of this prestigious award. It was a tight race, but I am ready to announce this year’s winner.”

(everyone at the table holds their breath in anticipation.)

Rufus: “Mr. Jingles!”

Everyone at the table: *traumatized shock*

(zell comes up happily carrying mr. jingles, who is wearing a tux. he plops him on the podium and rufus places the trophy in front of him and puts a small bouquet of fake roses in his arms.)

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! I’m eating every eraser in the building after this!”

Tseng: *glaring at rufus* “…Oh f*ck no.”

Rufus: “Congratulations, Mr. Jingles! This was much deserved!”

Tseng: *jumps to his feet* “Rufus, you can’t be serious! Your bear can’t win the award!”

Rufus: “He sure can! He had the highest amount of points!”

Tseng: “He doesn’t work for the company!”

Reeve: “…Actually, the bear does pull a paycheck.”

Tseng: “Whose side are you on here?!”

Reeve: “I’m sorry, but it’s the sick, sad truth!”

Rufus: “I could do without the commentary, Reeve, but he’s right! Mr. Jingles is an employee!”

Scarlet: “What’s his title then?”

Rufus: “Secretary of cuddling.”

Reno: “If that’s his title, I want mine to be secretary of fuc–“

Elena: “Reno!”

Rude: “This isn’t fair.”

Rufus: “Are you kidding me? This couldn’t be fairer! You all know how the points system worked! He had the most!”

Reeve: “I’d kind of like to know how Mr. Jingles earned his points.”

Scarlet: “I bet he didn’t have to sneak appetite reducers into Heidegger’s food!”

Heidegger: “Ineffective! Gya haa haa!”

Rude: “Or push the new vending machine up seventeen flights of stairs.”

Tseng: “Or pose half naked for the MAFIA’s snap bracelet ad that better only be running in Europe!”

Reno: “Or show up to work on time for a week straight!”

Elena: *gives him a look*

Reno: “What? Hardest week of my life!”

Rufus: “That information is confidential.”

Reeve: “You know, Rufus, you never specified exactly how these points were calculated.”

Tseng: “You probably didn’t keep track of them at all!”

Rude: “And what’s Mr. Jingles going to do with that money? I bet it just goes back to you.”

Rufus: *grabbing mr. jingles* “This ceremony is over!”

The Year 2003

(this time were at a mafia meeting , where rufus, algus, edgar, setzer, sephiroth, laguna and shell are all gathered. Looks like the meeting is just beginning)

Algus: “Now that the roll has been called, we may begin. First I would just like to say that despite the fact that it repeatedly failed the safety testing, I still believe the robot backscratchers were a fine idea.”

Rufus: “I told you to just pay those government people and skip that part!”

Setzer: “Will their shoulders ever have feeling again?”

Algus: “The doctors are optimistic. The metal only penetrated through half of the muscle.”

Sephiroth: “I still think the creepiest part was when it talked to you in that terrifying robot voice. ‘I want to touch you’ – really?! What were we thinking?”

Edgar: “The voice tested well.”

Sephiroth: “With who? The weirdoes in loser land?”

Shell: “They did it for free.”

Sephiroth: “Are you kidding me?!” *mumbles* “I’ve gotta start showing up to more meetings.”

Algus: “Now, now, let’s put all that troubling business behind us and move on to our next business venture. Does anyone have any suggestions?”

Rufus: “I do!”

Algus: “Ah, splendid, Rufus! I am tense with anticipation!”

Rufus: “Well, there’s this really special event I’m personally involved in—“

Algus: “Is this a charity?”

Rufus: “No.”

Algus: “Go on.”

Rufus: “Anyway, this event is near and dear to my heart, and I really want to be able to throw a nice banquet for this presentation. And I think it would be really special if we could step forward and give a little bit to make this the best year yet.”

Edgar: “What kind of presentation is this exactly?”

Rufus: “It’s, uh, a special, um, prize, that’s being…um…bestowed upon someone—“

Sephiroth: “You want us to put up money for your stupid Rufus J. Shinra award of phoniness?”

Rufus: “That’s not the proper name! It’s a registered trademark!”

Laguna: “Cool! I love award shows! Is there gonna be a red carpet? I could interview people!”

Sephiroth: “Who’s gonna win this time, Shinra? Mr. Jingles’ cat?”

Rufus: “Don’t be ridiculous! Master Fluffykins is just a kitten!”

Setzer: “With all due respect, Rufus. We just lost a ton of money on Algus’ deranged robotic backscratcher—“

Algus: “Master Back Rapper had promise, and I will take that to my grave!”

Setzer: “—I really don’t see how funding your award ceremony is going do us any good.”

Shell: “Yeah. How are we supposed to make money on it?”

Rufus: “We can peddle our products and put up ads! I would have no problem changing it to the Rufus J. Shinra Award of Excellence, presented by the XCubeStation.”

Sephiroth: “That’s your own product that has nothing to do with us.”

Rufus: “It’s not really selling well. I’ve gotta plug that baby everywhere.”

(then theres frantic knocking on the door and we can hear zells voice)

Zell: “Rufus! Rufus!! Fire in the TV room! The XCubeStation exploded again! And we weren’t even playing it this time!”

Sephiroth: “Not selling, huh? Can’t imagine why.”

Rufus: *getting up* “Dammit! At least wait until you’re being used to burst into flames, you stupid contraption of mostly irregular and flammable parts!” *running out the door* “Think about my offer!”

(he leaves. All the mafia members look at one another.)

Algus: “All for Rufus’ proposal?”

(algus, edgar, laguna and shell raise their hands.)

Sephiroth: *to shell* “Are you serious?”

Shell: *shrugs* “It gives me an excuse to buy a dress.”

Algus: “All against?”

(only sephiroth and setzer.)

Algus: “Approved.”

Laguna: “Anybody else smell smoke?”

The Year 2004

(rufus stands outside draculas castle at night and he rings the doorbell, looking around in terror after hearing the scream. A few moments later, alucard opens the door.)

Alucard: “Good eve—ugh.” *grimaces and steps back wrinkling his nose*

Rufus: “What? I can’t possibly smell bad! This cologne is made from desert roses! And people have been known to trade those for gold chocobos, which FYI are extremely rare!”

Alucard: “No… Um… Did you happen to have garlic for dinner?”

Rufus: “The best garlic bread money can buy! Boy, that stuff was good! I wish I had some right now so you could try it!”

Alucard: *frowns*

Rufus: “………………….”

Alucard: “………………….”

Rufus: “Oh. Right. The vampire thing. Not a big fan…I guess.”

Alucard: “You’re going to have to come back tomorrow.”

Rufus: “What?! Can’t I just brush my teeth or something?”

Alucard: “I’m afraid that wouldn’t be enough. Garlic is quite…pungent.”

Rufus: “I don’t believe this.”

(the next night arrives. Rufus rings the doorbell, once again cringing at the sound. This time, Dracula answers.)

Dracula: “Ooh! Are you here for my concert? It’s the finest upside down flugelhorn chair dance the elves from the cookie tree have ever seen! They told me so when I was torturing them for the passageway to their secret underground chocolate chip forest!”

Rufus: *blink blink* “…What? No. Look, where’s the other one of you? The one with the hair and that really fun looking cape.”

Dracula: “Buttons?”

Rufus: “…No.”

Dracula: “Ceberus?”

Rufus: “No.”

Dracula: “Skeleton army?”

Rufus: “No…”

Dracula: “Death? Because I’m looking for him too! He stole my best flying buttress!”

Rufus: “No! Your son!”

Dracula: “I don’t have a sun! It would kill me! Besides, they steal!”

(alucard finally appears in the doorway.)

Alucard: “Good evening.”

Rufus: “God, finally! Let’s get this over with.” *goes inside*

Dracula: “I’ll start setting up for my concert! It’s gonna wake the dead!”

Alucard: “Dad…you haven’t been plagiarizing song lyrics from any of those black magic books again, have you? Because I am not dealing with a repeat of the zombie massacre of 1807.”

Dracula: “You took all of those books away from me, Alucard! It’s just an expression this time! Like a silver bullet a day keeps those damn dirty werewolves away!”

Alucard: *rolls eyes* “Okay, dad. You can never be too sure with you.” *to rufus* “You wanted to see the ballroom, right?”

Rufus: “Sometime this century! Not everybody has all the time in the world, you know!”

(so Alucard shows rufus the ballroom, which is dark and dusty and covered in cobwebs.)

Rufus: “Ugh.”

Alucard: “We don’t have too many parties anymore due to dad’s…condition. What did you want to rent it for again?”

Rufus: “My Rufus J. Shinra Award of Excellence presentation. I’m looking for a place people won’t feel comfortable rioting in. Is it always this dark in here?” *rubs chin thoughtfully* “That’ll probably make it harder to throw things…”

Alucard: “…Why would people be rioting?”

Rufus: “Oh, they’re never happy with the winner. They just need to accept the fact that I’m better than them, and I deserve it.”

Alucard: “You’re giving yourself the award named after yourself?”

Rufus: “You want my money or not?”

Alucard: “…Personal check is fine.”

(then Dracula comes in dragging a large drum on top of which are bagpipes, an accordion and a tuba creatively attached together so they all will play when the tuba is blown into.)

Dracula: “Concert time! Where are those damn elves? They promised to sing back up! If they don’t show, it’s back in the microwave!”

Alucard: “…Dad…what did you put in the microwave?”

Dracula: “I’d stay out of the kitchen, Alucard.”

Alucard: *paling* “I’ll be right back.” *runs out*

Dracula: *sets himself up behind his ‘instrument’* “And a one! And a two!” *starts playing and it sounds awful*

Rufus: *hands over his ears* “So deserve it…”

The Year 2005

(where are we now? Why were at uncle shenanigans! Irvine, reno and san diego are behind the bar. Sitting at the bar are tseng, reeve, Elena, rude, scarlet, Heidegger, sephiroth, Alucard and lark. Zell is sitting in a booth with mr. jingles and zidane. Rufus is also in a booth with algus, edgar and setzer.)

Reeve: “I still don’t know why Rufus rented out your bar for the award ceremony.”

Reno: “Does it matter? At least when we all lose, we can get drunk!”

Scarlet: *slams back her drink and then slams it down on the bar and slurs* “’Nother scotch!”

Tseng: “…Or you can get drunk now.”

Lark: “Who’s watching Lily tonight?”

Elena: “Shell.”

Lark: “Shell? How’d you manage that?”

Rude: “I had to promise to buy her a pair of Jimmy Choo’s.” *mutters* “So either way I lose tonight.”

Tseng: “What are you doing here, Sephiroth? I can’t believe you accepted Rufus’ invitation to attend this thing!”

Reeve: “Pretty much everyone else said no.”

Heidegger: “Even Hojo! Gya haa haa!”

Sephiroth: “Alucard wanted to come, of course. He’ll show up anywhere the booze is free.”

Reno: “Uh…the booze ain’t free. It’s a cash bar. You think Rufus would pay for everybody to drink?”

Sephiroth: “What?!” *frowns at Alucard who has several empty beers before him*

Alucard: “…I didn’t bring my wallet.”

Sephiroth: “Of course you didn’t! I pay for everything! Meanwhile, you break a vase in your house and money falls out! Explain that one!”

Zidane: *coming over* “Hey, Reno! Gotta church question for ya! Is it okay not to finish a beer if there’s only that foamy stuff left in the bottle?”

Reno: “Is it domestic or imported?”

Zidane: “It matters?”

Reno: “Greatly.”

Zidane: “Domestic, I guess.”

Reno: “That’s cool then.”

Elena: “What about lite beer?”

Reno: “Please. The Church of Reno doesn’t even recognize that as an approved beverage.”

Lark: “So! Who’s gonna win tonight?”

Shinra employees: “………”

Rude: “…Rufus.”

Tseng: “Or Mr. Jingles.”

Reeve: “The odds are ten thousand to one on anyone else.”

Irvine: “And I’m takin’ bets!”

San Diego: *grins at reeve* “You should win just for bein’ so cute.”

Tseng: *glares* “Don’t make me jump over this bar and shove your legs behind your head.”

San Diego: “Ooh. Kinky.”

Lark: “Who are people betting on the most, Irvine?”

Irvine: “Mr. Jingles.”

Scarlet: *glaring at the bear* “I just wanna rip out every hope and dream that soulless monster is stuffed with.”

Everyone: “…………….”

Reno: *taking away her glass* “Annnnnd you’re cut off.”

(rufus then heads over to the mic thats been set up on the karaoke stage.)

Elena: “Here we go!”

Tseng: “How the hell are you still getting excited about this?”

Rufus: “Welcome, everyone, to the sixth annual Rufus J. Shinra Award of Excellence trophy presentation ceremony. This year many of you have worked very hard. Except for Heidegger. I’m still not sure what he does.”

Heidegger: “Not much! Gya haa haa!”

Rufus: “But this year’s winner… This year’s winner has been passed over before so many times for reasons that I just can’t see. Because this person most definitely deserved it way more than any of the past winners.”

(the shinra employees look at one another excitedly.)

Rufus: *bitterly* “Even after I made a very generous contribution to their crappy organization that they refused to return to me, I still didn’t win. But take this, video game villain of the year award!” *hoists trophy* “I don’t need your stupid prize and the everlasting respect that comes with it! I’ve got my own award! A better award! And it comes with money! So shove it!” *pause* “You get all that, Zell?”

Zell: *has been videotaping* “Sure thing, Rufus!”

Rufus: “I’m gonna mail it out to those morons first thing in the morning! Then we’ll see who’s not a real villain next year!”

(he gets off the stage all happy, clutching his award. The shinra employees all look depressed.)

Irvine: “Uh…for the next half hour, booze is on the house.”

Alucard: “Yes!”

Sephiroth: “And I’ll take the five hundred gil you owe me since Rufus won.” *grins as the shinra employees glare at him* “This is turning into a pretty good night.”

The Year 2006

(we are at the villain support group at the video game character therapy center. Bowser, dedede, nightmare, nemesis, berserk and mr. shinro are all there. Yuri is also there leading the group. Everyone is leaning forward and listening intently to bowser, who looks very upset. Only shinro is leaning back, checking his watch and tapping his foot.)

Bowser: “And then she just walked out the door and I haven’t seen her since. All because of that Princess I don’t have any sexual interest in! I can’t stop! I just can’t stop! What’s wrong with me?” *dissolves into tears*

Yuri: *pats him on the back* “A lot. Okay. Who else has a story of personal trauma to share? The kinkier the better.”

Rufus: “I have one, but it’s not kinky. I don’t even know how a traumatic story can be kinky.”

Yuri: “Look, I’m really bored and we’ve only got five minutes left. Let’s just get through this.”

Rufus: “Well, there’s this award I’ve gotta present soon and I’ve gotta find somewhere to have the award ceremony. Like I have nothing else to do! I’ve gotta go all the way down to the strip club after this because it’s the only place in town that even remotely fits what I’m looking for, and I have to walk because my monkey chauffeur is sick! It’s three whole blocks and these loafers are not made for long distance walking.”

Yuri: “…That’s your traumatic story?”

Everyone: *stares at rufus*

Rufus: “What, because I’ve never been created in a lab or stabbed through the stomach with an umbrella my life can’t be traumatic? And your wife is probably ugly anyway, Bowser. I’ve seen your kids.”

Bowser: *violent sobbing*

Yuri: “Okay, that’s enough for today. Everybody get out of here. I’ve got a porno in the break room that’s not going to watch itself.”

Koudelka’s voice: *over the speaker behind the 2-way mirror* “That’s been found and destroyed already.”

Yuri: *groans* “Oh come on! That had to be special ordered!”

Koudelka’s voice: “I’m sure no normal store would carry anything involving—“

Yuri: “Okay! Out! Everybody out, out, out!”

(so rufus leaves the therapy center and makes the quick walk to the hot package strip club. Inside, dante is waiting for him.)

Dante: “Hey. How’s it going?”

Rufus: *rubbing his sore foot* “Not well! You’d think synthetic mork skin would be comfortable!”

Dante: “…Is ‘mork’ even a real thing?”

Rufus: “It is now.”

Dante: “That’s almost enough to make me wanna go vegetarian. Anyway, ready for your tour?”

Rufus: “Is it always this dark in here?”

Dante: “Well, I don’t have the house lights on, or the one’s by the stage, but it’s no problem to just flip them—“

Rufus: “No. I like it.” *mutters* “…Probably make it harder to throw things…”

Dante: “…Throw what?”

Rufus: “…Bouquets of flowers. To the winner. Who is very deserving.”

Dante: “Then wouldn’t it be bad to not be able to throw things?”

Rufus: *walking forward* “Oh, look! A stage! Perfect! Even if it’s got that pole on it.” *walks around it* “Hmm… Mind if I get up there?”

Dante: “Go to town.”

(and so rufus gets up on the stage and walks around thoughtfully)

Rufus: My only concern…is how a small, stuffed bear might look up here, should he somehow find himself accepting an award.”

Dante “…Oh boy.”

The Year 2007

(all the shinra employees as well as lark, shell, algus and zidane are in a warehouse of some kind. the shelves are overflowing with crap. everybody is sitting in crappy looking metal folding chairs except rude. a makeshift podium has been constructed out of boxes of some product that has clearly just been lying around.)

Lark: “What is this place, Rufus?”

Rufus: “I’ve been keeping all the Disco-center stock here since the place burned down.”

Shell: “That would explain why Rude’s sitting on a stack of old XCubeStations.”

Rufus: “Get off those, Rude! I can still sell those!”

Rude: “…Really?”

Rufus: “Yes, really! There’s nothing wrong with them!”

Rude: “I’m almost positive rats have made a home in these boxes.”

Rufus: “It’s nothing a little tape won’t fix! Now get off them!”

Rude: “There are no more chairs.”

Rufus: “That’s not my problem! You should have brought your own!”

Reeve: “Rufus, are we going to start this torture any time soon?”

Rufus: “What’s the rush? I thought everyone was enjoying a nice night out!”

Tseng: “A night in your drafty, leaky old warehouse is your idea of a nice night?”

Algus: “Rufus, usually I agree with everything you do, but this place is simply unacceptable. I can’t even let my feet touch the floor.”

Zidane: *is acting as his footstool* “Yeah. Thanks a lot, Rufus.”

Rufus: “It’s not that bad! There are plenty of worse places we could have gone! Like an abandoned mine shaft! Or a cave full of angry wolves! Or loser land!”

Heidegger: “It’s true! Gya haa haa!”

Scarlet: “Is it okay if I smoke in here?”

Rufus: “NO! GOD NO! In fact, nobody even sit too close to the merchandise. I don’t think any of it reacts well to body heat.”

Elena: “But honey, you’re using some boxes as a podium.”

Rufus: “Desperate times, Elena.”

Reno: *inspecting the boxes* “What the hell’s a Morkcuber?”

Rufus: “A huge financial mistake. People didn’t even want mork, let alone in cubes.”

Shell: “That animal on the box does not look like it should be found in nature.”

Lark: “It doesn’t look like it should be found in a horror novel.”

Rufus: “Okay! Let’s get on with the ceremony!” *takes his place behind his makeshift podium of morkcuber boxes* “As many of you know, because you turned my own lawyer against me, I am no longer legally allowed to give the award to myself or to my legally adopted bear/son.”

Tseng: *whispers to elena* “And you married this man?”

Elena: *shrugs* “You take the good with the bad.”

Scarlet: “He’s freakin’ loaded. I would have married him if he looked like Heidegger.”

Heidegger: “Maybe I should hit the lotto! Gya haa haa!”

Rufus: “Hey! I’m talking here! Do you want to know who won this award or not?”

Hojo: “I am listening with attentiveness and apprehension and excitement and so on and so forth. I hope you took my many accomplishments into account when deciding on the winner.”

Rufus: “Spoiler alert – it’s not you, you old creep! I’d sooner give it to Heidegger!”

Heidegger: “Everything’s coming up Heidegger! Gya haa haa!”

Rufus: “But he’s not getting it either, of course! I gave it to someone worthy! Someone loyal! Someone I can always count on and borrow a few dollars from when I’m at Starbucks and they refuse to take my American Express Black card because they don’t think it’s real.”

Rude: *frowns* “That leaves me out.”

Rufus: “This year’s trophy and prize money goes to the very deserving and very non-complaining Algus!”

Tseng: “What?!”

Reeve: “He doesn’t even work for the company!”

Rufus: “That was never technically a requirement.”

Algus: “I am flattered, Rufus. I shall take this award money and use it for a very worthy cause – one very expensive haircut. I’m sorry I cannot come up there and actually accept the award, but I simply cannot let my shoes touch this floor. You’re going to have to carry me out of here, Zidane.”

Zidane: “I hate you so freaking much.”

Reeve: “Rufus, this is unacceptable! We staged that legal injunction just so you couldn’t pull nonsense like this again!”

Rufus: “I’m fully compiling with the order! Do you see Mr. Jingles up here posing with the trophy? No. He’s at home snuggled in bed with his sleep mask and noise machine that makes forest noises.”

Tseng: “I can’t believe we came all the way out here for this.”

Reno: “Uh…does anybody else smell smoke?”

Rufus: “Dammit, Scarlet! I told you you couldn’t smoke!”

Scarlet: “I’m not! Besides, Heidegger already ate my cigarettes!”

Heidegger: Gya haa haa! Cancery!”

Lark: *jumps out of her seat* “That whole shelf back there is on fire!”

Rufus: “Dammit! Who stocked the baby formula next to the self-starting fireworks? The Disco-center was going to make a comeback! You know how long it’s going to take me to refill a warehouse with defective and unsafe products?”

Tseng: “I don’t know…a good week if it’s slow?”

Reeve: “I’m glad to see karma kicking in so fast.”

Shell: “I already called the fire department. They knew the address as soon as I told them your name, Rufus.”

Algus: “Carry me out of here, slave. And carry my trophy in your mouth. I can’t touch it until it’s been thoroughly cleaned and shined.”

Zidane: “I can’t fit that thing in my mouth!” *smirks* “First time I’ve said that.” *frowns* “Too bad Bryatt’s not around to appreciate that one.”

(everybody leaves and goes outside to watch as the fire department shows up but the whole warehouse just keeps burning down.)

Scarlet: “Well, this is the worst ceremony yet.”

Heidegger: “True! There wasn’t any food! Gya haa haa!”

Scarlet: “I meant because the building caught on fire.”

Heidegger: “And even I can’t eat that! Gya haa haa!”

The Year 2008

(this years award ceremony seems to be taking place in the ramble room itself. Gathered are: reeve, tseng, reno, rude, scarlet, nida, Heidegger, Elena, sephiroth, Vincent, zell, algus, argath, atsuma and crazy pizza man.)

Reeve: “Rufus has really been bragging about this year’s winner.”

Tseng: “He’s repeatedly promised me it’s someone who hasn’t won before.”

Rude: “Said it was someone extremely worthy.” *frowns* “So I know he didn’t mean me.”

Sephiroth: *confident smile* “I have my acceptance speech prepared and all that money’s going straight into my bank account.”

Tseng: “You honestly think it’s you?”

Sephiroth: “No one’s more worthy of winning awards than me! Besides, I came up with that battle plan that saved everybody’s ass.”

Vincent: “That was a worthy accomplishment, angel, but do you really believe Rufus would recognize you?”

Sephiroth: “How could he not? I’m louder and taller than everybody else, and I’ve been bragging about what a good job I did for months!”

Reno: “That hasn’t been annoying at all, by the way.”

Vincent: “We shall see if you are correct soon enough.”

(meanwhile)

Elena: “What are you doing here, Nida?”

Nida: “I’m here to support my beautiful wife!” *puts arm around scarlet*

Scarlet: *shrugs his arm off* “I told you you’re only allowed to touch me twice a day.”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! I assumed there would be more snacks!”

Scarlet: “I told you those magazines weren’t snacks!”

Heidegger: “Everything’s a snack to me! Gya haa haa!”

(meanwhile)

Argath: “What is this exactly?”

Algus: “It’s an award my friend Rufus presents every year.”

Argath: “He rewards his slaves?!”

Algus: “No! None of these people have ever won the award. I have had the distinction of being a winner, however.”

Argath: “Ah. So it is an award of pity. Now I understand.”

(before algus can reply, atsuma sticks his head between them.)

Atsuma: “Hey! Either of you guys know when the movie’s gonna start?”

Algus: “We are not seeing a movie.”

Atsuma: “You mean the Love Guru isn’t playing here? But I’ve been dying to see that! That movie looks hilarious!”

Algus: “Please cease speaking to me.”

Atsuma: “No problem! Just tell me what time you need me at work tomorrow!”

Algus: “I have been firing you repeatedly for months now. Do not force me to seek a restraining order.”

Atsuma: “Yikes. That doesn’t sound fun. Being tied up is kind of a bummer. Like this one time Makoto tied me up and locked me in a closet because I kept walking in on him trying to wrestle with Toya. I didn’t like it. Especially after I peed myself because he wouldn’t let me go to the bathroom.”

Zell: “Did that really happen?”

Atsuma: “Yeah, but everything turned out okay once I chewed through my ropes two days later. I thought they were licorice, but they weren’t, but I decided since they were already in my mouth I might as well eat them anyway. Makoto had totally forgotten about me! He is so forgetful!”

Zell: “No wonder you don’t like being restrained, dude! That sounds awful!”

Atsuma: “It wasn’t so bad. At least the rats who found me were friendly.”

Argath: “Brother, I am nauseous.”

Algus: “I’m sorry? Oh. Are they still nattering on? Don’t worry. Soon you will become immune to peasant droning as I have. It’s an acquired skill.”

Reno: “Where’s Rufus already? Why does he always have to make an entrance?”

Rufus’ voice: *from outside the room* “I’d like to get this started, if *someone* could manage to do the one simple thing I asked him to do!”

Zell: *jumps up* “Oh, crap!”

(he runs over to a CD player and hits a button. God Saves the Queen plays and rufus enters holding the trophy.)

Rufus: “Good evening—“

Reeve: “It’s two-fifteen.”

Rufus: “And welcome to the whatever annual award ceremony for the Rufus J. Shinra Award of Excellence. This year we have a very special person to award this trophy to. This person is beloved by everyone, and has done a lot for all of us over the years. This person is someone to be admired. Someone who is caring. Someone who is quite easy on the eyes.”

Rude: *frowns* “Yup. Definitely not talking about me.”

Rufus: “But this year’s award is also a sad one. Because it must be awarded posthumously. *holds up trophy* “This year’s winner is Lark, who saved us all for sealing away that evil, child stealing pig monster. Since she’s unable to accept her award, I will accept this handsome trophy on her behalf… And the prize money will be donated to Shinra Cares about Shinra, which the IRS recognizes as a totally legitimate charity.”

Tseng: “That does what?!”

Rufus: “…It gives money…to people…who need…stuff.” *frowns* “No questions!”

Reeve: “Once again you’ve given it to someone who doesn’t even work for you. Also, posthumously means the person is dead. Lark’s not dead, she’s just gone.”

Rufus: “First of all, Lark did technically work for me for awhile, so in your face, Reeve.”

Reno: “You mean when she was a Turk? She showed up less than I did!”

Elena: “That was pretty forgettable to be honest.”

Rufus: “This ceremony is over!” *stands there impatiently* “Ahem.” *louder* “AHEM!”

Zell: “Oh, crap!” *hits the CD player and the music plays again*

(rufus leaves and almost everyone looks surly.)

Argath: “Well, that was dull. Anyone for croquet?”

Atsuma: “I don’t understand any of that, but I’ll play!”

Argath: “I don’t recognize you as human.”

Sephiroth: “If people who are gone can get awarded, does that mean we’re gonna see Shell get an award? Or that guy with the dog who used to come around? What’s his face. Nobody knows.”

Reeve: “At this rate, probably.”

The Year 2009

(rufus walks into the mafia meeting pushing a stroller with mr. jingles and mr. dude in it. Seph, laguna, algus, edgar, setzer, dante and Alucard are already seated.)

Laguna: “I’m so excited my son is finally thinking about getting engaged! Tonight’s the big night when I meet my son’s future father-in-law! We’re going to this really fancy French restaurant. I’m a little nervous!”

Sephiroth: “That’s a situation ripe for comedy.”

Rufus: “Sorry I’m late! Mr. Dude’s therapy session ran a little long.”

Algus: “It’s no trouble, Rufus! We were just about to begin our discussions on our new energy beverage.”

Setzer: “I still think we should call it ‘Zap’. It’s short, sweet and easy to remember.”

Edgar: “And I still believe it sounds violent.”

Dante: “I’m more concerned with the fact that it tastes like rotting puke.”

Alucard: “Might have something to do with the fact that none of these ingredients are pronounceable or even remotely found in nature. I mean, what exactly is elixiarphosphate of mork?”

Algus: “I can’t quite answer that, but we purchased barrels of it for next to nothing from an abandoned warehouse.”

Sephiroth: “That doesn’t sound like a shady place to be buying food products at all.”

Rufus: “Friends, as important as this conversation is, I have a more important problem I need your help with.” *frowns* “So far the response for this year’s Rufus J. Shinra Award of Excellence banquet has not been good.”

Sephiroth: “Maybe because your invitation was a post it note promising ‘cheese and crackers, probably’.”

Rufus: “I wasn’t sure if I’d feel like going to the store or not.”

Algus: “If you’re concerned no one will come, why not change the venue? My brother did that for his last birthday, besides offering the usual cash incentive.”

Setzer: “Your brother paid people to come to his party?”

Algus: “Standard practice in our family. It’s never much, only a thousand or so. Just enough to make your slave jealous.”

Rufus: “Ignoring all the other weird stuff you said, that’s not a bad idea, Algus. Maybe I’ll have it at Franswa’s restaurant. That will get people to come. After all, everybody loves the food there.”

Algus: “Perhaps he could take those barrels of elixiarphosphate of mork off our hands.”

Alucard: “Uh…I don’t think so.”

Dante: “I really think that stuff’s probably poison.”

Algus: “That’s for the government to prove in court.”

Rufus: “I think I’ll call up Franswa right now and reserve the entire restaurant! After all, this year’s winner has overcome a lot and made a lot of progress in bettering themselves.”

(he pats mr. dude on the head and leaves the room.)

Sephiroth: “…Another night that will be ripe for comedy.”

The Year 2010

(crowded in rufus office we have: reeve, tseng, reno, rude, Elena, scarlet, Heidegger, toya, makoto, seph, setzer, edgar, algus, laguna, sunshine and rufus himself. It seems he didnt bother to bring in extra chairs, so most people are standing or are sitting on the floor. Behind rufus is a printed out piece of paper that has AWARD CEREMONY printed on it exactly like that. There is also a much smaller trophy sitting on the desk, which looks like some award you get for being a participant in t-ball.)

Rufus: “All right, let’s get this over with.”

Reeve: “Good. My knees are killing me from sitting on this floor.”

Tseng: “Couldn’t you take two seconds and call maintenance to get enough chairs for everyone, Rufus?”

Rufus: “Obviously not, Tseng! Besides, nobody stopped you from bringing your own.”

Tseng: “Why would I bring my own when I assumed there’d be enough chairs?”

Rufus: “Well lesson learned then. Don’t assume anything.”

Laguna: “Hey, hey! I don’t mind! This kinda puts me in the mood to play duck, duck goose!”

Sephiroth: “Rufus, you told me the whole mafia was required to be here. Where are Alucard and Dante?”

Rufus: “Dracula emergency. Apparently he got lost in a series of tunnels he dug in the yard and those tunnels are now on fire.”

Sephiroth: “Of course they are.”

Rufus: “Now are there any other comments or complaints? Or can we get this over with?”

Reno: “Please! Get it over with!”

Rufus: “So. Award ceremony. Here we go. Thanks to a *second* legal intervention, I am now required to present this award to someone who fits the following narrow and discriminating criteria.” *picks up a piece of paper but stops and looks at sunshine first* “Really, Sun? Again?”

Sunshine: *shrugs* “Sorry. I can’t say no to friends.”

Rufus: *sigh* “Anyway, I am now legally required to give this thing to a…” *reads off paper* “…Living, breathing human being and current full-time employee of Shinra Inc.” *frowns* “That excludes a lot of deserving robots.”

Scarlet: “What’s the cash prize this year? And can I get it in lottery tickets?”

Heidegger: “Or cheese doodles? Gya haa haa!”

Rufus: “Due to the economy—“

Everyone: *groan*

Rufus: *glares and continues* “Due to the economy, I had to reduce the monetary prize. We all have to make sacrifices.”

Rude: “I don’t think you made any sacrifices when you commissioned that gold tandem bicycle for the bears.”

Rufus: “That bike was an investment! …We got two magazine covers, and Cuddly Collectibles is also very interested in a photo shoot.”

Algus: “My friend, don’t feel the need to defend yourself. These peasants should be crying with joy at whatever pennies you choose to throw their way.”

Rufus: “Right as always, Algus. Whoever is lucky enough to win this fine trophy and the twenty bucks that come with it should be more than satisfied.”

Reno: “Twenty bucks!? It costs double that to park at your hotel every night! I know ‘cause I couldn’t afford a room and had to sleep in my car.”

Elena: “Why didn’t you just park somewhere else? Or keep driving?”

Reno: “Let’s just say I wasn’t really in any condition to be driving in the first place.”

Rufus: “Are you going to let me announce the winner of this fine trophy or are you going to keep interrupting me?”

(he picks up the trophy and one of the handles falls off onto the floor. Everyone watches it tumble.)

Setzer: “Uh, Rufus?”

Rufus: “That was supposed to happen. They’re removable.” *tries to shove it back on*

Tseng: “Is that a *used* trophy?”

Reeve: *squinting* “That plaque looks like it used to say something about ‘cutest kitten’.”

Rufus: “No it didn’t! It’s fine! Just because the trophy store had a bunch of display trophies ninety percent off doesn’t mean I bought one and then bribed the guy with Rufus brand condoms to change the plaque.”

Everyone: *groan*

Sephiroth: “Doesn’t Lloyd work at that trophy store? He probably snapped off the handle when he fantasized that it offended him.”

Tseng: “At least we know those Rufus brand condoms will never get used.”

Edgar: “It looks like someone attempted to repair the handle with some chewing gum.”

Rufus: “Everybody stop looking at the trophy! This isn’t all the winner’s getting—“

Rude: “Yeah, we heard about the twenty bucks.”

Rufus: “Besides that, *Rude*. Now if you’d let me announce the winner, you’d find out what it is.”

(everyone is actually quiet. Rufus clears his throat dramatically.)

Rufus: “So this year’s winner of the Rufus J. Shinra Award of Excellence is Toya, because he saved me money by suggesting we switch to that non-FDA approved creamer.”

(a few people clap, but most people, toya included, look confused.)

Makoto: *gives toya a huge hug* “Congratulations, handsome!”

Toya: “I never suggested you use that creamer.”

Rufus: “Sure you did. You had that article and everything.”

Toya: “That article was about how dangerous it is. You didn’t hear me right.”

Rufus: “Oh.” *pause* “Well, we’ve been using it awhile and nobody’s gotten sick. Right, Reeve? You drink that stuff every day.”

Reeve: *spits out the coffee he’s drinking* “Rufus! Did you even look at the article he gave you?”

Rufus: *shrugs* “I heard it was cheaper. What else was there to know?”

Toya: “I really don’t feel right accepting this award.”

Rufus: “Well too bad! Your name is already on this certificate I printed up this morning.”

Rude: “That’s the ‘other thing’ you were talking about. Isn’t it.”

Rufus: “Shut up, Rude! You wish someone cared enough about you to type your name in a box and hit print!”

Toya: “…My name isn’t spelled correctly. It just says ‘Toy’.”

Rufus: “Well you can blame autocorrect for that.”

Reeve: “I don’t believe you, Rufus. No offense to Toya, who is certainly more deserving than some other people here—“

Heidegger: “Like me! Gya haa haa!”

Reeve: “But I have saved this company millions of dollars over the years! And yet you recognize someone for saving you a few cents on deadly coffee creamer?!”

Rufus: “Now I never read or even touched that article, but I’m still gonna say they never called the creamer deadly.” *looks at toya* “Did they?”

Tseng: “Reeve, you’re wasting your breath. The fact is this award is a joke. It’s always been a joke. Stuffed animals have won it multiple times while we slaved for years and got nothing. We deserve awards!”

Rufus: “You want awards? You all want awards?! You don’t think I’ve been fair? Well, how’s this for fair?!” *rips up certificate* “Nobody gets an award! And nobody’s getting another award from me! Ever! Happy now?”

Tseng: “Fine with me! I’d rather go visit Hojo in jail than come to another one of these stupid ceremonies.”

Scarlet: “I’d rather be in court finalizing my divorce.” *checks watch* “Wow, I should probably get going.”

Rude: “I’d rather be working.”

Rufus: “Do you people think I’ve enjoyed setting up these award ceremonies these past eleven years? From the venue, to the food, to the trophy shopping and wardrobe choices – it’s been a pain in my ass! I haven’t enjoyed it either! So we’re all in agreement that there will never be another Rufus J. Shinra Award of Excellence given out ever again!”

Reno: “Fine. Can we go now? I’m double parked.”

Rufus: “It’s the middle of a work day!”

Reno: “…It’s not Saturday?”

Rufus: “Everybody out of my office.”

Reeve: *mutters to toya on his way out* “Let’s purge the building of that creamer.”

Toya: “It’s the least we can do at this point, considering you’ll never be able to fully purge it from your body.”

The Year 2011

(Vincent and sephiroth are taking a stroll through the old, familiar hallways of the ramble room…)

Sephiroth: “I don’t know what gave Heidegger the idea that he could swim naked in the pool! When Rufus hears about this he’s going to throw a fit – he’s going to have to get that company he used when one of the licky licky monsters drowned to disinfect the whole thing again.”

Vincent: “The skunk was in there as well.”

Sephiroth: “That’s way less gross.”

??????: “What’s gross?”

(they turn to see zidane and Bryatt…wearing bathing suits and holding towels.)

Sephiroth: “Unless you feel like swimming in a bunch of Heidegger’s bodily gases and secretions, I’d turn back if I were you.”

Zidane: “Are you serious? Figures. There goes my day off.”

Bryatt: “Was the skunk with him?”

Sephiroth: “What do you think?”

Bryatt: “I can’t be the only one wondering what’s keeping that skunk alive at this point. How long do those things normally live?”

Zidane: “Who am I, Reeve? I don’t know. I just know my plans are ruined.”

Bryatt: “Then we need a new plan. Let’s get changed, which involves getting naked, and we’ll see what happens.”

Zidane: *brightens* “Okay!”

(they go off happily.)

Sephiroth: “…And I thought I was already grossed out to the max.”

(they continue down the hallway, passing barret and red.)

Barret: “So Marlene’s school be havin’ one a them field trips to that there planetarium you love so damn much. If ya wanna be a chaperone, you can get yo’ ass in fo’ free.”

Red: “I would enjoy that.”

Barret: “School pays fo’ lunch too, yo! It’s pretty damn sweet. Plus they showin’ this 3-D movie ‘bout that ass planet!”

Red: “…Ah, yes. The famous ass planet. Should be delightful.”

(they stop in the ramble room where they find reeve, tseng, almost 6 year old lily and a little boy of about one, taj, who they’re strapping into a stroller.)

Lily: “Daddy, when we get to the zoo, can I ride an elephant?”

Reeve: “Sure, honey.”

Tseng: “Reeve, did you pack the extra wipes?”

Reeve: “They’re in my fanny pack!”

Tseng: “Of course they are.”

Vincent: “Going on a family outing?”

Reeve: “We sure are.”

Lily: “We’re going to the zoo! Wanna come, Uncle Sephy?”

Sephiroth: “After my last trip there? I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to step inside one again.”

(Irvine, reno and rude enter.)

Reno: “What’s up, everybody? You throwing a party without us?”

Lily: “We’re going to the zoo! Wanna come?”

Irvine: “The zoo? That’s the worst place to pick up chicks ever.”

Tseng: “Good thing my six year old daughter isn’t looking to do that.”

Reno: “That was a pretty crappy place to chick hunt, but was it really worse than that crummy museum?”

Irvine: “Oh yeah. That was pretty damn bad too.”

Reno: *thoughtfully* “This is hard one.”

Tseng: “As interesting as this conversation is sure to get, I think we better get going.”

Rude: “Have a good time.”

Reeve: “Say bye-bye, Taj.”

Taj: “Bye-bye!”

(the four of them depart. Reno and Irvine are still deep in thought.)

Rude: “…Really, dude?”

Reno: “Shush! Shut up, dude! You can’t rush important decisions!”

Sephiroth: “…Let’s get out of here.”

(they leave and head to the tv room where locke, shadow and yuffie are hanging out watching the reality show ‘storage wars’ where people buy abandoned storage units hoping to find valuable stuff inside to resell.)

Locke: “Why are we not doing this?!”

Yuffie: “I don’t know!”

Shadow: “There could be anyone hiding in there!”

Locke: “I’m gonna pretend you said any*thing* and not that other crazy thing and agree with you.”

Yuffie: “We gotta find one of these storage places!”

Sephiroth: “…Wanna go outside? It probably won’t be much quieter, but at least the air is fresh.”

Vincent: “I’m with you as always, angel.”

(they go out to the porch where algus and argath sit bickering on the porch swing.)

Argath: “Stop laughing! This is not a humorous situation!”

Algus: “I’m sorry, but I have to disagree. The idea of your slave jumping out of your moving car and running away is absolutely hysterical to me.”

Argath: “Nothing about this is funny! I haven’t had my tea in four days! I’m bound to be dehydrated!”

Algus: “Ask your cook to do it. Or your butler.”

Argath: “What is wrong with you? That doesn’t fall within their duties! They’re bound to get confused and ruin it! You must help me find a replacement post haste!”

Algus: “I will do no such thing. Even if I was not on my way to lunch at the club with Edgar and Setzer I wouldn’t even help you tie your shoes, brother.”

Argath: “This is precisely why I never help you! You’re entirely selfish!”

Algus: “Enjoy your afternoon tea.” *heads for his car*

Argath: “Oh, you are a MONSTER!”

(algus gets in his car and leaves as argath stomps inside. Vincent and sephiroth continue their walk, passing the Belmont estate. The elder belmonts watch as richter trains a young duke with a practice whip. Tifa sits on the front steps with baby Olivia, who is about one, watching as well.)

Richter: “Excellent, son! Now banish those heathens!”

Duke: “Back to hell with you, demon vampires!”

Juste: “He’s such a natural.”

(meanwhile yuri and cid are working in the flower bed out in front of their condo while halley rides his bike up and down the sidewalk and koudelka sits on the front steps supervising.)

Yuri: “Ow! One of your damn roses pricked me again, Koudelka! Leave it to you to pick a violent flower!”

Koudelka: “It’s your own fault you’re not wearing the gardening gloves.”

Yuri: “I can’t wear them! They’re pink!”

Koudelka: “So?”

Yuri: “What if a girl sees me?”

Koudelka: “What girl, Yuri? Unless your mom is coming by.”

Cid: *laughs*

Yuri: “Dude, how can you take her side? She’s said no to marrying you like five times!”

Cid: “Six. But I’m not worried. I’ll wear her down eventually.”

Koudelka: “That’s what you think.”

Cid: “That damn sure is what I think!” *drops his trowel on his foot* “#@$@%^$@^#$!”

(continuing their walk, seph and vin run into dante, Alucard, Dracula and Lloyd, who are all standing on the castle’s front lawn.)

Alucard: “Dad, where did that unicorn come from?”

Dracula: “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Alucard! I don’t know the first thing about growing corn!”

Alucard: “The unicorn, dad! The unicorn! The horse with the horn coming out of its head! Where did you get it?”

Dracula: “You sound like an insane person, Alucard.”

Dante: “What’s the big deal?”

Alucard: “Those things are very, very extinct. Clearly dad kidnapped it from some kind of wizard or warlock or other assorted ancient monster.”

Dante: “Your family runs in some weird circles.”

Sephiroth: “Wait, you have a unicorn? Can I see it?”

Alucard: “No! I’m trying to figure out where it came from so I can return it before someone comes to kill us.”

Dante: “…I kinda wanna ride it.”

Alucard: “You’re not helping.”

Lloyd: “Hey, Alucard, if I get your dad to say where it came from, will you pay me? I still owe my old boss at the trophy store hundreds of dollars for all the stuff I broke. And those certified letters are getting more and more threatening.”

Alucard: “Sure, Lloyd, if you think you can work a miracle.”

Dante: “He can barely work a toilet.”

Lloyd: “Shut up, Dante! Watch and be amazed!” *yells in dracula’s face*  WHERE DID THE UNICORN COME FROM, YOU CRAZY, OLD WHACKO?!”

Dracula: “I don’t like this annoying thing, Alucard. Can I eat it?”

Dante: “Yes.”

Lloyd: “Hey!”

Dante: “On second thought no. You’d probably just make him sick.”

Alucard: *sigh* “I don’t believe this. What am I gonna do about this unicorn?”

Sephiroth: “I can’t even see it?”

Alucard: “You wanna help me track down the owner?”

Sephiroth: “No.”

Dracula: “Alucard, come help me feed the unicorn I won at the carnival!”

Alucard: “Dad, you did not win it at a carnival. Who did you steal it from?”

Dracula: “I’m the Whack-a-Mole master!”

Lloyd: “No way! I so am!”

Dante: “Really, Lloyd?”

Dracula: “Let’s get the sparkling oats to feed to him, Alucard! Then afterwards we’ll take a family photo with everyone wearing ridiculous hats!” *flounces inside*

Alucard: *following* “Dad, don’t feed anything to anything!”

Dante: *following* “What if I just sit on it for a sec?”

Lloyd: *following* “I will whoop your ass in Whack-a-Mole any day, old man!”

(with them gone, sephiroth turns to Vincent with a frown.)

Sephiroth: “I don’t understand why I can’t even see it.”

Vincent: “Maybe another time, angel.”

(as they continue walking they run into scarlet and nida. Nida keeps trying to hold her hand but she keeps swatting him away.)

Vincent: “Hello, Nida and Scarlet. I hear you are being remarried. Congratulations.”

Sephiroth: *sarcastically* “I’m sure it’ll last forever this time.”

Nida: “It so will! Scarlet knows she can’t do better than me!”

Scarlet: “Yup. It’s sad.”

Nida: “Hey, Sephiroth – did you hear about Hojo?”

Sephiroth: “Don’t care.”

Nida: “He got beat up in prison!”

Sephiroth: “Go on…”

Nida: “He’s not dead though.”

Sephiroth: “Dammit. What’s wrong with prisoners these days?”

Nida: “He didn’t even have a black eye or anything. Not that I could see through Skype anyway.”

Scarlet: “Why were you Skyping with him?”

Nida: “He was the only one who responded to our remarriage announcement.”

Scarlet: “That’s because he’s in prison and he’s got nothing better to do.”

Nida: “He wanted to send us a re-wedding gift!”

Scarlet: “Oh. Well if that’s the case, Skype that old perverted bastard all day long.”

Nida: “Are you guys coming to our remarriage ceremony?”

Sephiroth: *pulling Vincent along* “We’re late for stuff! Bye!”

(once they’re safely out of earshot…)

Vincent: “We’re not late for anything, angel.”

Sephiroth: “Sure we are, Vin. Escaping that conversation.”

(as they continue on there is rustling and whispering from some nearby bushes)

Snake: “Otakon! There appears to be kidnapping in progress! Should I intervene?”

Otakon’s voice: “Shut up, Snake! You know I have a restraining order!  Call me again, and I’m dialing the cops!”

(next they come face to face with kuja and Seymour)

Kuja: “Ah, Sephiroth. I’m glad we ran into each other. What do you know about your father’s life insurance situation?”

Sephiroth: “Nothing.”

Kuja: “Dammit. I need to make sure my standard of living is going to be protected after his possibly violent death.”

Vincent: “Wouldn’t you inherit his websites?”

Kuja: “Those sites haven’t been updated in years and the money hasn’t been rolling in like it used to.”

Seymour: “And we don’t know the first thing about the porn industry.”

Sephiroth: “I can think of a handful of people who’d probably be willing to help.”

Seymour: “Like who?”

Sephiroth: “Scarlet the prostitute, Dante the almost prostitute, Yuri the sick pervert, Reno and Irvine, general horn dogs.”

Kuja: “Do I really want to take a more active role and be responsible for creating porn?”

Seymour: “I bet you could afford that jewel encrusted evening gown you’ve been coveting.”

Kuja: “I’ll talk to them. Let’s start with Scarlet.”

(they hurry off. Sephiroth and Vincent continue to amble on, passing the condo where nightmare and nemesis live. They have the window open and you can see and hear nightmare singing the end of katy perry’s ‘teenage dream’ while nemesis records him on video. After he finishes the song…)

Nightmare: “Nightmare is sure to impress Glee Project judges!”

Nemesis: “STARS!” *thumbs up*

(Vincent and sephiroth make their way back to the ramble room where everything is quiet…for a moment.)

????: “Hey, ‘Roth!”

(they turn around to find zell running up to them, franswa close behind.)

Zell: “I wanted to give you this!” *holds out invitation* “You’ll come to me and Franswa’s wedding, right?”

Vincent: “Of course.”

Sephiroth: “God, Vin. Don’t always say yes right away. Then it seems like we have no life.” *snatches invite*

Zell: “Awesome! It’s gonna be the best wedding ever!”

Vincent: *to franswa* “How did your family take it?”

Franswa: “Surprisingly well. Although I had to tell way too many people that I won’t be wearing a dress.”

Zell: “That didn’t stop that one aunt from making you one.”

Franswa: “Don’t remind me.”

(suddenly laguna runs up excitedly, followed by kiros and ward.)

Laguna: “He’s here! He’s here! My grandson is here!”

Zell: “Rinoa had the baby?!”

Laguna: “I just got the call! Seven pounds, five ounces of perfection! We’re on our way to the hospital!”

Zell: “Wait for us!”

Vincent: “Congratulations, Laguna. And give our regards to the new parents as well.”

Laguna: “Hey, hey – sure will! Come on, everybody! Ward’s driving!”

Kiros: “That’s because Laguna would probably just crash right now.”

Ward: “Yup.”

(the five of them hurry out.)

Sephiroth: “There are too many babies around here, Vin.”

Vincent: “That’s what happens when people grow up, angel.”

Sephiroth: “…I wonder how Lark and her kid are doing.”

Vincent: “I’m sure they are fine.”

(they next go into the ramble room where rufus is on the phone and putting something up on the wall. Meanwhile Elena is getting ready to leave with 10 year old max, 4 year old rufus jr and one year old charlotte justine who’s in her stroller.)

Elena: “Oops! Sorry! We’re off to the playground.”

Rufus Jr: “Swing time!”

Vincent: *standing aside* “Have fun.”

(Elena and the kids leave. Rufus frowns and finishes hanging up the sign.)

Rufus: “So the new and improved mork made *how* many people sick? …And nobody died, right? ….Well then I consider this a success. …Hey, we have to take what we can get with this garbage. Keep working on it. Maybe feed them fewer mutant hormones. That can’t hurt, right? …Call me when you have an update.” *hangs up*

Sephiroth: “Still with the mork?!”

Rufus: “It’s the food of the future! …The way, way far off future. Let Jetson’s future.” *frowns* “Wait… Wasn’t all their food in pill form? …That would certainly eliminate the complaints about the nauseating texture…”

Sephiroth: “I’ve got more bad news, Rufus. Heidegger was swimming naked in the pool.”

Rufus: “What?! That fat tub of lard! Now I have to have the whole thing sanitized again! Dammit – I’m sending him the bill. I hope I still have that company’s business card.”

Vincent: “The skunk was there as well.”

Rufus: “Forget the skunk! I’d be less disgusted if he pooped in the pool! Excuse me, I better go find that business card.”

(he hurries out. Sephiroth and Vincent wander over to look at the poster he put up. It reads: It’s the Rufus J. Shinra Award of Excellence award ceremony! This Friday in the ramble room. BYOB, Reno.)

Vincent: “……………………”

Sephiroth: “…………………”

Vincent: “I thought he promised no more awards.”

Sephiroth: “Don’t you get it, Vin? It’s never really over.”

– THE END –

Thank you for enjoying the rambles and all your feedback and support!

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