Chapter Three- Headhunters
Stanford and Stanley were in the living room watching their favorite television show, Duck-tective. Both stared at the screen intensely, taking in the episode's drama and mystery element it is loved for so much. Ford was munching on popcorn he made, and Stan took his eyes off the screen for a second to try to steal some of it. Ford slapped his hands away from the bowl before he could take some.
The commercial break came on right after a plot twist, and Stanley gasped, "That duck is a genius!"
Ford shrugged, seemingly uninterested, "Eh, it's easier to find clues when you're that close to the ground."
Stan stood in front of Ford and squinted at him doubtfully, "Are you saying you could be a better detective than Duck-tective?"
"I'm just saying I have very keen abilities in observation. For example, just by smelling your breath, I can tell that you have been eating…" Ford sniffed Stan's breath and paused, "an entire tube of toothpaste?!"
"I thought it was frosting at first!" Stanley defended himself. There were traces of sparkling toothpaste around his mouth. "It tasted so good, I couldn't stop."
Fiddleford ran in the living room looking excited, "Hey, guys!" he smiled cheerfully.
"Hey, Fidds!" The twins welcomed in unison.
"How's your first day so far?" Ford asked.
"It's going great!" He answered. "Ria is really awesome! And you won't believe what just happened!"
"You found buried treasure?!" Stanley asked hopefully.
"No, but follow me!" Fiddleford lead the twins to an old-looking door. "So, Maria was showing me around, and she complained about the break room a lot, but when I felt the wall, I felt a door knob under the wallpaper. When she took the wallpaper down, we found this secret door! You have to see what's inside!"
They opened the door to reveal a dark, hidden room. When Ford turned on a flashlight from a shelf by the entrance, they saw different dusty wax sculptures placed around the room. "Whoa!" Ford gasped. "It's a secret wax museum!"
"They're so life-like!" Stanley whispered in awe, poking one of the figures.
Ford aimed his flashlight at another figure and cringed, "Except for that one."
The figure waved at them "Hello!" Fidds, Stan, and Ford screamed in surprise. "Relax, boys," she chuckled. "It's just me, your Grantie Mabel!"
The boys sighed in relief. When their heartbeats returned to normal, Ford asked, "Grantie Mae, what is all this?"
"This," Mae began, "used to be the Gravity Falls Wax Museum. It used to be a very popular attraction, but eventually people stopped coming, so I had to shut it down. I forgot all about this, actually," she walked past some of the wax figures. "I'm glad you and Ria found this room," Grantie Mae said to Fiddleford. "I have all sorts of wax figures, and I made them all myself! Over here, I have wax replicas of my childhood dream boys, Xyler and Craz. Aren't they hot?"
"Eww! Grantie!" Ford and Stan groaned in disgust.
"What?" She asked. "It's true! Anyway, I also created wax figures of Lizzie Borden, Marie Curie, Harriet Tubman, and… um," she stopped at a wax figure of an angry waffle with large arms and legs, "I was, um… going through some stuff when I made that," Mae explained, and made a weak attempt at laughing it off before sighing.
Ford looked around him and shuddered, "Is anyone else getting the creeps in here?" He asked.
Grantie Mae ignored him and continued, "And over here is my personal favorite, Cedric Digg- OH, NO!" She exclaimed suddenly. There was a melted glob of wax on the floor where she was looking at. Sunlight beamed through the window above it. "Who opened the blinds? Wax Voldemort, I'm looking in your direction!" She accused angrily, even though Ford couldn't see a wax Voldemort anywhere. Mae sighed and leaned down to dip her finger in the melted wax. "That was my newest wax sculpture…"
Stanley sat down next to where Mae was crouched, "Cheer up, Grantie Mae. Where's your happy face?"
"Not over here, kiddo," she sighed. "Keep looking."
Stanley poked his grantie's face childishly, "Beep, boop, boop!" His playful attempt to make Mae happy again gave her a small smile. "There it is!" He exclaimed.
"Yep, you found it," Grantie Mae smiled.
"Don't worry, Grantie Mae. We can help you make a new wax figure from all this old wax!"
Grantie Mae glanced at the melted wax, looking uncertain, "You think you can help me make one of these?"
"Sure. you've seem to have a lot of practice, and you can teach us. We can be your assistants," Stan suggested.
Mae chuckled and ruffled Stanley's hair before standing up, "You sure have spunk, kid. Alright," she addressed to the three boys, "how about you ankle biters help me make a new wax figure?"
The boys cheered in excitement for their new task.
Stanley, Stanford, and Fiddleford sat in a small circle drawing out ideas for their new wax figure. "What do you think of this?" Stanley asked. He held up his picture. "It's an angry, bearded pirate!"
Fiddleford nodded in approval, "I like it, but check mine out!" He held up a picture of a fantasy princess. "It's Princess Unatainabelle from Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons!"
"Dude! You play that game?" Ford asked excitedly.
"Yeah, it's pretty cool. The characters are really awesome, and I love how you make up the story as it goes," Fidds added.
Ford gasped, "Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons is my favorite role playing game of all time! We should play sometime!"
"Yeah, we should!"
Stan snapped his fingers, "Hey, nerds! Less nerdy talking and more wax figure planning. What did you come up with, Broford?".
Ford held his up shyly, "I came up with one of those pixies we were chased after."
"When did that happen?" Fidds asked.
"No!" Stanley asserted to his brother, ignoring Fiddleford. "Oh, no! We are not making a wax figure of pixies! Not when they tried to force me to marry them!"
Ford rolled his eyes, "It was the best I could think of."
"...I still like my idea?" Fidds suggested.
Stan shook his head, "Too nerdy. I like mine!"
"We're not doing a pirate!" Ford yelled.
"It's a dumb idea!"
"No, it isn't!"
"GUYS!" Fiddleford yelled. "This is going no where! Let's just think of something else."
The shouting stopped, and after a short silence, Ford sighed "Like what?"
Grantie Mae came in the room without her fez and heels, "Boys, have you seen my hat?"
She unknowingly posed on a briefcase, but that sparked inspiration for Stanley. His eyes grew large when he turned around to the ceiling, "Oh, muse. You work in mysterious ways…."
"Why's your brother talking to the ceiling?" Mae asked to Ford.
After Stanley shared his idea, the others all agreed to it. Grantie Mae guided the kids on how to create a wax figure. Fiddleford, Stanley, Stanford, and, at one point, Maria helped in the creation of Grantie Mabel's newest wax figure. When it was done, they moved back to admire their work.
"What do you think, kids?" Mae asked.
"I think…" Stan began, "it's missing something. I'm not sure what though."
Mae snapped her fingers when she figured it out, "Glitter. Maria, you got the glitter?"
"Yep. Right here, Ms. Pines," Ria said, hoisting a large bucket of glitter to her.
Ford was curious as to why his grantie had so much glitter, but he ignored these thoughts as she tossed the entire bucket of glitter on the statue.
"Wow!" Fiddleford said, amazed. "That looks amazing! What are you going to do with this, Ms. Pines?" He asked.
Grantie Mae smiled, "People, the Wax Museum is going back in business!"
The next day, there is a large grand re-opening event for the Wax Museum. Fiddleford was left in charge of leading people to the entrance, and Stanford and Danny were working in the stand to charge people a hefty amount for entrance.
"I can't believe this many people showed up," Ford commented.
"I know right? Your aunt probably bribed them or something," Dan joked.
Ford held up a dollar, "She bribed me." Danny held up a dollar too, and they snickered.
Once everyone paid a fee and got in their seats, Danny and Ford joined them in the front row. Grantie Mae came up to the stage, wearing her full work uniform. She cleared her throat over the microphone, "You all know me, folks! Town darling, 'Ms. Mystery'. Gentlemen, please, control yourselves!" The men she was referring to were staring blankly ahead with flies swarming around them. "As you know, I always enjoy bringing novelties and curiosity to this lovely town, the likes of which the world has never known! But enough about me. Beast before your eyes… for me!"
She uncovered the the white sheet, revealing a sparkly, wax replica of Grantie Mae, which she had dubbed 'Wax Mae'. Not that many people were impressed, though. Ford and Danny clapped out of politeness, but no one else was joining in. Someone in the audience coughed. "And now," she continued, "a word from the designer and co-creator, Stan'onardo!"
Stanley walked on the stage, who seemed way too proud by his creation, "It's Stanley," he corrected, taking the microphone. "Thank you for coming! This creation wouldn't be possible without the help of my brother, Stanford, and my friends, Fiddleford McGucket, and Maria Alzamirano," he gestured. Maria waved from the crowd, "and last, but not least, my grantie!" He threw up his arms to her. "This sculpture is covered in our blood, sweat, tears, and other fluids!"
The audience looked disgusted by that last part.
"Yeah…" Stan chuckled awkwardly and glanced the other way. "I will now take questions! You there!" He pointed to Crazy Chiu.
"This is Crazy Chiu, local kook," she introduced herself. "Are those wax figures alive? And follow-up question, can I survive the wax-man uprising?"
"Um… Yes!" He answered, even though he didn't fully understand the questions. Another hand went up, and Stan pointed to him.
"Thompson Determined, Gravity Falls Gossiper," he introduced himself. "Do you really think this constitutes a wonder of the world?"
"Your microphone's a turkey baster, Thompson," Grantie Mae pointed out.
"I guess it is-"
"Next question," Grantie Mabel interrupted. She pointed to a formally dressed woman holding a real microphone.
"Tambry Valentino, a real reporter," she glared at Thompson. She held up a flyer. "Your flyers promised free pizza with admission to this event. Is this true?" Several audience members murmured in agreement.
Grantie Mae gasped, "Oh, no! I knew I forgot something!" She laughed into the microphone. "You see… well, I kind of… forgot the pizza. So before you get too upset, I only have one thing to say… GLITTER BOMB!" She threw some of the leftover glitter on the ground. There must have been something mixed with it, because smoke and glitter surrounded her. When it cleared, she was running away with the money she earned from the admissions.
The audience left in a fury. Some even went as far as violence. A red-headed, built woman punched a pole while yelling in anger. Stanley leaned on a table, "I think that went well," he smiled. Ford was too shocked by the audience's anger to say otherwise.
That night in the Mystery Shack, Grantie Mae counted up her money next to the wax figure, "Well look at all this!" She exclaimed. "With this extra cash, I can finally get that spa treatment I've been wanting! And I owe it all to one person: this lovely lady!" She pointed to Wax Mabel.
Stanley jokingly pushed Grantie Mae. "I'm just kidding," Mae smiled, noogying him, "you too, you little rascal. Now you kids wash up," she said to Stan and Ford. "We got another long day of work tomorrow."
Ford and Stan did what they were told. They went up to their room, changed into pajamas, and went into the bathroom to brush their teeth. "Ford, you wanna do a toothbrush race?" Stanley asked.
Screaming was heard from the living room, and Ford and Stan stopped what they were doing to run to the noise. Their Grantie Mae looked distraught, "Wax Mae! She's been… m-murdered!"
The boys looked down to see that the wax figure had been decapitated, and the head was missing. Stanley fainted in Ford's arms.
"W-What do we do, Grantie Mae?" Ford asked.
"I'll call the police," she said. "You stay here and try to wake up your brother."
A while later, Stanley had woken up, and he and Stanford stood in front of the decapitated wax sculpture with Grantie Mae in their pajamas. There was a police car in the yard, and two policemen were talking to Grantie Mae.
"I just left to get ready for bed," she explained. "But when I came back, she was headless!"
"Grantie Mae's sculpture… besmirched!" Stanley cried dramatically. "BESMIIIRRRCHED!"
"Who would do something like this?" Stanford asked.
One of the police officers turned to the other, "What's your opinion, Sheriff Holt?"
Sheriff Holt turned to the Pines family, "Look, we'd love to help you guys, but let's face the facts: this is an unsolvable case."
"What?!" They yelled in unison.
"You're kidding, right?" Ford asked. "There must be evidence, motives, anything that could help us find a culprit. You know, I could help if you want."
"He's really good," Stanley backed him up. "He figured out who was eating all our potatoes!"
"All signs pointed to the pig," he concluded.
"Yeah," Grantie Mae nodded. "Let the kid help. He's a smart boy. He has top grades too, right, spunk?"
"Yep!" Ford nodded proudly. He turned to the officers. "Can I help?"
The sheriff chuckled, "Listen, kid. It's cute that you want to help us."
"But you ain't gonna solve a case with any of your fancy computer phones. You city kids are so adorable, though!" Sheriff Holt cooed.
"Adorable?!" Ford repeated. He was getting frustrated. "I'm not cute, and I'm not adorable!"
The officers laughed at him until they calmed down, "Look," the deputy began, "how about you leave the investigating to the grown-ups, alright?"
Their walkie talkie activated, and a man spoke from the other side, "Attention, all units. Steve is about to fit an entire cantaloupe in his mouth. Repeat, an entire cantaloupe!"
"It's a 23-16!" The other officer yelled excitedly.
"Let's move, deputy!" The officers ran back to their cars and drove away, laughing the whole way.
When they were gone, Ford spoke up angrily, "That's it! Stanley, you and me are going to find the jerk who did this and get back that head. Then we'll see who's adorable. Ah-cho!" He sneezed.
"Aww, you sneeze like a kitten!" Stan cooed. Ford glared at him.
The next morning, the twins investigated the crime scene themselves.
"Wax Mabel has lost her head, and it's up to us to find it," Ford declared. Earlier, the kids had blocked the entire living room to protect the evidence by covering the walls and doors with police tape. White marker tape outlined where Wax Mae was found, with the wax figure's body being moved elsewhere in the house. Stanley took pictures of the tape on the ground and areas around it while Ford continued. "There were a lot of unhappy customers at that unveiling," he turned to the bulletin board that was taken out from their room, where there were notes and photographs of audience members on it. "The murderer could have been anyone."
"Yeah, even us!" Stan gasped.
Ford nodded, "In this town, anything is possible," he took out the journal. "Ghosts, zombies, you name it. It could be months before we find our first clue."
"Hey, look!" Stan pointed on the ground. "A clue."
Ford looked to where he was pointing, and he saw strange shoe prints in the shag carpet. "Footprints!" He exclaimed.
Stan got on the ground to take a closer look at them, "That's weird," he observed. "They've got a hole in them."
"And they're leading to…" The twins followed the footprints until they found an ax on the floor. They both gasped, having found the weapon used to murder Wax Mae.
The twins took the ax to Maria, who was working in the gift shop. She held onto it to examine it.
"So, what do you think?" Stanford asked.
"In my opinion," she began, "this is a very unusual weapon. In cases like this, the weapon would normally be a knife or a gun, like in my soap opera shows. Someone that owns an ax did this."
"Wait a minute," Stanley gasped. "The lumberjack!"
"Of course!" They yelled. They recalled how the red-headed woman got angry at the unveiling.
"She was furious when she didn't get that free pizza," Ford remembered.
"Furious enough for MURDER!" Stanley added dramatically.
Maria handed the ax back to Stanley, "You mean Tough Girl Dee," she corrected. "She spends her time in that biker joint downtown."
"Then that's where we're going!" Stan declared.
"Alright, if it's okay with your aunt, then you can go," Ria smiled. "You two are so adorable. At this point, I should start calling you 'The Mystery Twins'."
Stanford looked at her, annoyed, "Please don't call us that... And we're not adorable!" He added.
The boys went outside, where Grantie Mae was pulling a coffin out of her convertible, "Hey, kids? Care to give your grantie a hand with this coffin? I'm doing a memorial for Wax Mae. Something small, but classy," she explained. Grantie Mae heaved the coffin out of the car and set it down on the ground herself. "Oh, would you look at that," she laughed, somewhat surprised of her strength. "Never mind, then."
"Grantie Mae! We made a huge break in the case!" Ford exclaimed.
"Break in the case!" Stan repeated.
"We're heading to town right now to interrogate the murderer!"
"We have an ax!" Stan showed her. He began playing with it like a toy. "REE, REE, REE!"
"Hmm, it seems like the kind of thing that a responsible parent wouldn't want you to do…" she considered. "Good thing I'm an aunt," Mae posed on top of the coffin. "Avenge me, kids! AVENGE MEEE!"
Once Ford and Stan made it to town, they hid behind a trash bin near the bike joint. It was called 'Skull Fracture', according to the sign, but the place was guarded by an intimidating, large man covered in tattoos.
"This is the place," Ford confirmed. He turned to Stanley. "Got the fake IDs?"
Stan nodded and gave him one. Their fake names Stan put on the cards were 'Ford Fiesta' and 'Stan Lexer'. The IDs were as realistic as a 12-year-old boy could make them, but they would have to do.
Ford looked at his ID and took a deep breath, "Here goes nothing."
The bouncer looked at an ID card, then shook his head, "Sorry, but we don't serve miners."
"Daaaaanng'nab it!" The miner cursed. He spat on the road and walked off irritably. Stanley and Stanford walked up to the bouncer.
"We're here to interrogate Tough Girl Dee the lumberjack for the murder of Wax Mae," Stan explained. He and Ford showed the bouncer their fake ID cards.
"Works for me," the bouncer shrugged. He opened the door for the twins, and they ran in.
Inside the Skull Fracture, Ford and Stan could see tough men and women fighting each other and making a racket. Stanley walked over a body lying on the floor.
"He's sStanping," Stanley smiled.
"Alright," Ford said. He motioned for Stan to stay close. "Let's just try to blend in, okay?"
"You got it, Ford Fiesta!" Stan climbed onto a chair at a booth. "Hey, how's it hangin'?" He asked the biker next to him.
The biker growled at Stanley.
Ford eventually found Tough Girl Dee. She was at the back of the Skull Fracture playing an arm wrestling game.
"Tough Girl Dee, just the gal I wanted to talk to," Stanford began. "Could you tell me where you were last night?"
"I was Punchin' the clock," she answered, keeping her eyes on the game.
"You were at work?" Ford asked skeptically.
"No, I was punchin' that clock!" With her free hand, she pointed out the window at a broken clock. The hands of the clock pointed at the ten and the twelve.
"10 o'clock," he read. "The time of the murder... So, I guess this doesn't look familiar to you?" He pulled out the ax from his bag that was left at the scene of the crime.
"Listen, little girl!" Tough Girl Dee began.
"Um, actually, I'm a-"
"-I wouldn't pick my teeth with that ax. It's left handed! I'm RIGHT HANDED!" She ripped the machine's arm off and began beating the machine with it.
A man Ford had learned was named Gorney showed up from nowhere, and he stood behind Tough Girl Dee and started chanting, "Get 'im! Get 'im!"
Stanford wasn't paying attention to that. He was just given important, new evidence, "Left handed…"
Stanley was still talking with the same biker, "I'm sure your wife is going to be beautiful," he promised.
"You're the best, Lexer," the biker smiled affectionately.
Ford ran up to him, "Stan, big break in the case!"
They left without saying goodbye to the biker, "But will she love me?!" He cried.
"It's a left handed ax," Ford explained as they were walking down the street. He showed Stan a list with names on it. "These are all our suspects. Tough Girl Dee is right handed, which means that she didn't commit the murder. All we have to do then is find our left handed suspect. Since about one in ten people are left handed, there's a large chance that the list will be narrowed down to one or two people. Then, we'll have our killer."
"Oh man, we are on fire today!" Stanley cheered.
"Let's find that murderer," Ford said. The twins fist bumped, and they began their search.
They went all over town and testing people to see if they were right or left handed. They had them sign things, catch things, or they just had to check for casts. Ford and Stan crossed out every name on the list except for the last one.
Ford gasped when he read the name, "Stanley, there's only one person left on this list!"
Stanley gasped as well, "Of course! It all adds up!"
That night, the twins had the cops with them in front of a house.
"You kids better be right about this or you'll never hear the end of it," Sheriff Holt warned them.
"Don't worry. The evidence is irrefutable," Stanford said surely.
"Very irrefutable," Stanley nodded.
The other police officer looked excited, "I'm finally going to use my match stick!"
"Are you ready, Deputy Roy?" Holt asked.
"Yeah!" Deputy Roy nodded.
"On three! One, two…"
The officers smashed the door open with a loud yell, "Nobody move!" Holt ordered. "This is a raid!"
The inside of the room looked like an older-styled office for a journalist, complete with a typewriter. The person using it fell backwards in shock. Thompson Determined hid under the desk for cover, "Why am I being raided?!"
Deputy Roy smashed a lamp, mostly just for the fun of it. Stanford went up to Thompson, "Thompson Determined, you are under arrest for the murder of the wax body of Mabel Pines!"
"You have the right to remain impressed with our awesome detective work," Stanley smiled proudly. He and Ford high fived.
"B-But I don't understand!" Thompson stuttered.
"Then allow me to explain," Ford started. "You were hoping that our Grantie Mae's new attraction would be the story that saved your failing newspaper, but when the show was a flop, you decided to go out and make your own headline. You were sloppy, however, and all the clues pointed to a shabby shoed reporter who was caught left handed. Thompson Determined, you're yesterday's news," he finished smugly.
"B-But I had nothing to do with the murder," Thompson spoke up.
"I knew it!" Stanford yelled, until he recalled what he just said. "Wait, nothing? You said nothing?"
"Huh? What?" Stan asked, confused.
Sheriff Holt stepped in front of the boys, "Then if you aren't the murderer, then where were you at the night of the break-in?"
Thompson looked uncomfortable to reveal such private information, so the officers took the recorded tape from that night and insert it into a TV. When it started playing, the time at the bottom went past ten PM, and Thompson was shown taking something out of his closet. It was a cardboard cutout of Tambry Valentino. "Finally, we can be alone, cardboard cutout of TV news reporter Tambry Valentino, who isn't married to that good-for-nothing Robert Valentino!" He added jealously. Thompson then proceeded to make out with it.
"Eeewww! Yuck!" The boys and the officers cringed in disgust.
"The time stated confirms," Holt said. "Thompson, you're off the hook. You freak of nature."
"B-But i-it has to be him!" Stanford stuttered. "Check the ax for fingerprints!"
Sheriff Holt used a finger duster on the weapon, only to shake his head, "No prints at all."
"No prints?" he repeated.
"Hey," Deputy Roy interrupted, "I got a headline for you: City Kids Waste Everyone's Time!" The adults laugh, while Ford and Stan looked at each other, ashamed for their false accusation.
"Boy, I'm sure glad I'm not you two right now," Thompson chuckled. "If I were you, I'd be pretty embarrassed," behind him, the video of him making out with the cardboard cutout continued to play, but he paid no mind to it.
Once the officers relaxed from laughing so hard, they apologized to Thompson Determined for the misunderstanding, and they escorted the boys back to the Mystery Shack. "Like I said earlier, you boys are never going to hear the end of this," Holt reminded the boys. Once they were dropped off, the officers drove away.
Stanford and Stanley sighed in disappointment. When they walked inside, they saw their grantie dressed all in black, "I'm glad you're here, boys," she smiled tearfully. "Meet me in the wax figure room. The service is about to start."
Five minutes later, the twins were sitting in the front row at the service. The other seats were occupied by Maria, Fiddleford, and the other wax figures. Grantie Mae was at the front, giving her speech, "Kids, Ria, lifeless wax figures," she gestured, "thank you all for coming."
Ria blew her nose with a tissue.
"Some people might say it's wrong for a woman to love a wax replica of herself."
"They're wrong!" Maria stood up and exclaimed.
"Easy, Ria. It's alright," she turned to the headless wax sculpture of herself. "Wax Mae, I hope you're staying glittery in wax heaven," she started breaking down in tears. "I'm sorry," she cried and ran out of the room in despair.
"Ms. Pines!" Ria ran after her and left, leaving the boys alone with the wax figures.
Stanley and Stanford sighed. Fiddleford looked back at the twins and spoke up, noticing their sadness, "So, I'm guessing you didn't find the murderer."
"Not even close," Stan shook his head.
Ford sighed again, "Those cops were right about me…"
"But you guys came so far," Fidds reminded them. "You can't give up now."
Ford stood up and walked up to the coffin, where Wax Mae was, "We considered everything: the weapon, the motive, the clues…" he looked inside the coffin and sighed. Ford paused when he noticed something. "Wax Mae has a hole in her heels," he commented.
"All the wax figures have that, don't they?" Fiddleford asked. He and Stanley left their seats to stand next to Ford to examine the shoe.
"Yeah," Stan replied. "It's where the pole thingy attaches to their stand things to keep them balanced."
Ford looked deep in thought for a moment, before it clicked, "Wait a minute..." he turned to the other boys. "What has a hole on its shoe and has no fingerprints?" He gasped, and his blood ran cold in realization. Ford could feel his heart beating faster in fear. "Guys!" He whispered frantically. "The murderers are-"
"-Standing right behind you."
The unfamiliar voice caused the boys to freeze where they were, before slowly turning around. Before them, all the wax figures groaned and came to life. The one that spoke was a wax figure of a woman wearing an old-timely dress.
Stanley gasped, "Wax Lizzie Borden!"
"Wax Xyler and Craz!" Fiddleford yelled.
"Wax… giant waffle with big arms?" Ford paused. The wax waffle just grunted.
Wax Lizzie Borden took the ax from Stanley, or, Stanford assumed from what he knew of her, took her ax back, "Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!" Stan panicked.
"Congratulations, dudes," Wax Xyler nodded. "You figured out our secret."
"Yeah, bros," Wax Craz spoke. He turned to the other wax figures. "Let's give these dudes a hand!" The wax figures applauded loudly and sincerely. "No, I meant sarcastically," Wax Craz corrected himself. The clapping grew slower and less meaningful. "That's better," he gave a thumbs up.
"B-But… how is this possible? You're made of wax!" Ford exclaimed.
"Are you… magic?" Stanley asked hopefully.
Wax Lizzie Borden laughed, along with the others. "Are we magic?" She repeated tauntingly. "He wants to know if we're magic!" Her laughing suddenly stopped, and she hit the blade of her ax against the coffin threateningly. "We're CURSED!"
"Cursed! Cursed!" The wax figures chanted.
"Cursed to come to life whenever the moon is out. Your aunt created us many years ago on nights when the moon was waxing. She considered it ironic, but remained oblivious to the consequences. The wax she made us out of were bought from a garage sale," she explained. "A haunted garage sale."
Wax Xyler continued, "By day, we were nothing but statues to look at and play with at the Mystery Shack."
"But after your aunt went to sStanp, we would rock the night," Wax Craz said. He pretended he was holding an electric guitar and made noises as if playing one.
"It was a lovely life for us, despite the fact that we were cursed beings…" Wax Lizzie Borden smiled, drifting off in memory. Her smile quickly became a scowl. "That is, until your aunt closed up the shop."
Wax Xyler continued, "We've been waiting ten years to get our revenge on her for caging us in… but we got the wrong dudette."
Wax Borden held up the missing head of Wax Mae, and Ford gasped, "So you were trying to murder Grantie Mae for real?!"
"You were right all along, Ford!" Stan admitted, grabbing his brother's arm. "Wax people are creepy!"
"Enough!" Wax Borden ordered. She set the head aside and drew out her ax. "Now that you know our secret, you must… die." The wax figures growled, and their eyes rolled to the back of their heads. They slowly approached the kids.
"What do we do, what do we do?!" Stanley asked, looking around for a way to escape.
"Why do these kind of things happen whenever I'm around you guys?!" Fidds asked hopelessly.
Stanford looked around quickly and found an opening to the table. He grabbed their hands and made a break for it. Once they were at the table, the boys started throwing things at the wax figures. When Ford threw a hot coffee maker at Wax Marie Curie, she melted, screaming.
"That's it!" Fiddleford gasped. "We can melt them with heat!"
The boys each grabbed an electric candle with smirks on their faces and pointed them at the wax figures, "Anyone move, and we'll melt you into candles!" Ford warned.
"Decorative candles!" Stan added.
Wax Borden laughed, "Do you really think you can defeat us?"
"I-I don't really know…"
"I'm not- I'm not really sure."
"It's worth a shot, I guess?"
"So be it," she pointed her ax at the boys. "Attack!"
The wax figures closed in on the boys. Wax Lizzie Borden swung her ax at Stanley, but he ducked in time for her to accidentally decapitate Wax Marie Antoinette. Fiddleford pulled Stanley out of harm's way to only have Wax Craz corner them. Thinking quickly, Stanley used the candle to cut off his hands. While Stan finished off with Wax Craz by cutting off his head, the hands continued to move, chasing after Fidds. Fiddleford ran over to the door, and he smashed it on the fingers repeatedly.
Stanford swung his candle at the wax figure of the waffle with big arms, "EAT THIS!" He yelled, cutting off the figure's arms. The wax waffle grunted in despair. He moved on to fight his next opponent, "Get lost, Amelia Earhart!" He cut her in half using the electronic candle, and Earhart's torso slid off her lower half. Wax Harriet Tubman ran at Ford with her arms out, ready to grab him, but he dodged just in time. The wax figure fell right into the fireplace.
"Looks like… um, you found a, uh… I don't know, a new underground railroad? Heh. Yeah, okay," Ford stood up to run back into the fight. The three of them continued to fight off the wax figures while watching each others' backs. After a few moments, there was only one full-bodied wax figure left.
"That does it!" Wax Lizzie Borden declared angrily. "It's time to finish you off!"
She took her ax back out and aimed it at Ford. Stanford took the wax head of Grantie Mae and stuck it on the horn of a wall piece of a rhino. Wax Borden swung the ax at him, knocking the candle out of his hand. It broke when it hit the floor. Ford gasped, his only weapon being gone.
"CATCH!" Stanley had heated up the tip of a poker using the fireplace and threw it at Stanford.
Ford miraculously caught it in time to block the ax swung at him. Wax Borden fought him, and Stanford was pushed back while blocking her ax. Stanford backed up the stairs and into the upstairs hallway. Ahead of them was a closed window, but the smallest rays of sunlight were starting to shine through the glass. This gave Ford an idea.
Wax Borden cornered Ford by the window, "Once your family is out of the way, we'll rule the night once more!" She exclaimed.
She lifted her ax with both arms, but Ford ducked and rolled out of the way right as she swung into the floor. Ford opened the window, "Don't count on it!" He edged her on. Stanford climbed out the window and on the roof before Wax Borden could get the ax out of the wooden floor. Once she did, she followed Ford on the roof in pursuit.
"Come back here, you brat!" She yelled.
Stanford slowly crept across the Mystery Shack sign, and when he reached the edge, he turned to see that Wax Borden had found him, ready to swing her ax. Ford defended himself with the poker, even though the tip of it had already cooled down. Both he and the wax figure struggled to maintain balance on the sign while fighting. Wax Lizzie Borden clashed her ax with his poker, only for it to slip from Ford's fingers and off the roof.
She swung her ax at Stanford again, and he jumped back to avoid it. When he did, he bumped into the sign, causing the 'S' in 'Shack' to fall off. As a last resort, Ford climbed off the sign to hide behind the chimney. When he caught his breath, the 12-year-old looked behind him to see where the wax figure was. Wax Borden moved in front of him and kicked him down. She raised her ax once more, "Any last words?"
Stanford looked behind her and smirked, seeing the rising sun, "You got any sunscreen?"
"Got any…? What?" She turned to see the sun and gasped. "NO!"
Wax Lizzie Borden began melting before his eyes, "You know," he mentioned casually, standing up and folding his arms behind his back, "letting me lead you outside? Probably not your best idea."
The wax figure melted faster until nothing was left but her face, "Outsmarted by a mere child! You wretched brat! No!"
Ford sighed with relief, "Case closed!" He wiped the dust off his hands, which caused him to sneeze, "Ah-cho!"
What was left of the wax figure laughed, "You sneeze like a kitten!" She exclaimed happily. "Those policemen were right, you're adorable!" The melted glob of wax oozed off the roof. "ADORABLE!" She repeated, falling to the ground. Wax Lizzie Borden hit the ground with a splat.
"E-ew," Stanford cringed. He made his way back inside and into the room where he left Fiddleford and Stanley. Luckily, both of them were all right, and they were getting rid of the remaining parts of the wax figures by throwing them into the fireplace.
Fiddleford threw the head of Emily Dickinson in the fireplace and gasped when he saw that Stanford was alright, "Ford!"
Stanley turned back to him as well and smiled, "You're alright!"
A gentle smile and a soft laugh came from Ford, "It looks like I really did solve the mystery after all."
Fidds retrieved Wax Mae's head from the wall and handed it back to Ford, "We knew you could do it!"
"Well, I couldn't have done it without my partners," he admitted.
The boys smiled. At that moment, Grantie Mae walked in, shocked by all the melted wax everywhere, "Holy Moses! What happened to my wax figures?!"
"Your wax figures turned out to be evil, so we fought them to the death!" Stanley explained.
"I told Amelia Earhart to get lost," Ford added.
Grantie Mae laughed, "Ah, you kids and your imagination," she sighed.
"On the bright side, look what we found!" Fidds gestured to the head Ford was holding, and he gave it to Grantie Mae.
"My head! My beautiful head has returned!" She exclaimed. "Thank you, boys! You kids did a good job," she set the head aside and opened her arms wide. "Alright, now line up for some affectionate hugs from your grantie!"
The boys looked unsure, but she pulled all three of them into a hug anyway. They laughed, but their moment was interrupted when the police officers drove by and parked a short distance from their window.
"Solved the case yet, city boy?" Sheriff Holt asked. "I'm so confident you're gonna say no, that I'm gonna take a long, slow sip from my cup of coffee."
Ford smiled and waited until Holt was well into his drink before he showed him Wax Mae's head, "As a matter of fact, the answer is yes."
Holt spat out his coffee into Deputy Roy's face, who then screamed and spat coffee into Holt's face. The process repeated once more, before the officers drove off screaming in pain from the hot coffee. After they drove out of sight, a crash was heard. Fidds, Ford, Stan, and Grantie Mae laughed at their comical reaction.
Grantie Mae let out a mixture between a laugh and a sigh as she examined the room, "So what are we going to do about this?" She asked.
The boys looked thoughtful, until Fidds gasped, "I know! We can give it to Ria! She's been saying how she's been wanting a new break room," he mentioned.
"Oh, has she, now? Well," Grantie Mae shrugged, "I do agree with you, and I can't think of another use for this room. If you help her clean this place up, you both can use it," she decided.
Fidds gasped, "Thanks, Ms. Pines!"
She ruffled his hair, "No problem, kiddo. Now all of you, get over here!" She pulled the boys back into a hug, and they laughed peacefully.
Once the laughter died down, Ford turned to Stan, "So, did you get all of the wax figures?"
"I am ninety-nine percent sure that I did!" Stan replied.
"I'm also ninety-nine percent sure," Fiddleford added. "Which would mean that there is a one hundred and ninety-eight percent chance that we got them all."
"That calculation is good enough for me," Stanford smiled.
Up in the vents, the decapitated heads of Wax Xyler and Wax Craz were still intact.
"This is just bogus," Wax Craz complained.
"I know, right, bro?" Wax Xyler asked. Before Wax Craz could reply, a rat came up to them.
"Oh, cool! Look, Craz, we have another bro to hang out with!"
The rat stole Xyler's ear and scurried off.
"HEY!" The wax figures hopped after the rat. "Not cool, dude!"