Chapter 9: The Ties and ART of Brotherhood
Don concluded that Scott wasn't incapable of natural communication, but he lacked the spark to maintain a smooth consistency in communication that would make him immediately socially relatable. It didn't make him less likable to Don, but less approachable to the population.
Although Scott's uncanny stare had successfully acquired two recruits, he had unfortunately relied solely on that eye contact strategy which resulted in more odd glances. So Don advised Scott to adjust to another communication strategy: Don't force the smile, just talk. Don't think too hard, it's all about instinct.
Scott would (sincerely attempt to) carry the advice out, approaching passerby with stammers spilling from his nervous grin.
Since the recruitment of the twins, Scott and Don alternated between locations over the next few days, from the path of the library, even in front of the Scaring School, and then finally, Don and Scott eventually agreed to try the Frat and Sorority Row where all the Houses stood.
If only they could afford grander housing. He averted his eyes from the fancy architecture of the scarlet Roar Omega Roar House, scolding himself for not appreciating Ms. Squibbles's simple abode enough.
Scott was busy with a Final that Thursday morning and had yet to join Don at the O.K. booth. So Don was left to wander around the booth for three hours calling out at potential recruits.
Next time, he should give away something like treats, baked goods perhaps, or even balloons, things of affordable cost to attract them. Not the most exquisite idea, but it would be better than nothing.
Now when would Scott be done with that Final?
Then he spotted a familiar slender figure of two heads heading toward him. As the twins marched up toward Don, both perspiring in the sun and lugging a duffel bag. Terry glugged down the last of the water from his bottle then tossed his empty bottle at a public trash can, but missed.
Don, happy to become more acquainted with the twins, greeted them. "Why if it isn't a pair of future Oozmas!" He would have shook both of their hands if weren't for their exhaustion. "What brings you here, fellas?"
"I'm sorry, sir, what's your name again?" Terri wiped the sweat off his forehead.
"It's Don Carlton."
"Oh please, call me Don."
"… Scott ran into us this morning and told us you haven't gotten any members since we signed up. So Scott asked us if we could help and since we're done with our, well, my dancing final, we could help out."
"We can't chance on losing our housing benefit if O.K. starts too late into the next semester," added Terry. Persistence to keep something when the benefit had the chance of waning. Don admired that.
"Well, then! So nice of you to help out."
Despite their breathy and exhausted voices, the twins proved more adept at approaching passerby than Scott. Terry's lower voice blended in seamlessly with Terri's more uppity voice. They applied an adequate use of hand gestures when calling out to students. They waved in unison or they they took turns like it was choreographed. Sometimes one would extend his hands, and the other would speak. They wouldn't make bad salesmen themselves.
Then after several attempts, the twins collapsed on their tentacles onto the edge of the pavement.
"Um, boys, yer up for this? You lookin' quite tired."
Terri had to swallow some air to answer. "That's all right Mister Car,..." He coughed. "Sir, we, um, I just had a dance final. I barely got an A- and Terry just followed my moves."
"Hey, I'll handle it from here."
Someone brushed by Don, and instinctively, he turned and came after the fella', hoping to seize an opportune moment. Don strolled up to the purple melon-headed double-horned on his way to who knows where. "Wanna join Oozma Kap-…" But then Don noticed the fellow already wore a crimson frat sweater, with ROR embroidered on the front. "Whoops, already a frat fella', never mind sir. Have a nice day."
The frat fella' greeted Don's comment with a smug smile, shaking his head at the Perry twins. And then he gave a snide chuckle and he continued on his way.
That laughter. That snideness.
He was one of those anonymous faces who could barely contain his chuckles over his Exam fiasco.
Monsters like these shouldn't phase Don much. Years of sales had brought him to encounter rather disdainful behavior from potential customers.
Yet, it was like a car accident you couldn't look away from. It took the protective hand of the twins, Terry's hands, to divert his attention from the strutting jock.
"Heh, it's that Worthington fella'," Terry spat out these words. "He's the recently elected President of Roar Omega Roar. Comes from a long line of great scarers. The valedictorian of his high school. Saw his performance at his entrance Scaring entrance course. A favorite of Prof. Knight and a tough student."
"I think I've seen him at my Exam."
"Yeah, ROR guys always like to watch rookies Exams to see who's fit."
"Why, the Worthington is quite an accomplished fella'," Don commented. But he had one little quibble he dared not mention out loud: if only the fella's character were not so poor. "And I hope that in Oozma Kappa, ya'll work to become even more of the accomplished fella's ya' already are."
Terry frowned. "Remind me, what's the... gimmick of Oozma Kappa?"
There they go again, those terminologies of the youth. "Gimmick? As Scott pointed out before, we welcome former Scare Students."
Terry rose his singular brow. He must be the sort of customer that never failed for euphemisms and was unafraid of pointing out the product's shortcomings to the seller. He knew well that "former" actually meant "failed."
"Mr. Carlton, that wouldn't sound very 'accomplished' to all these folks." He gestured toward the passing students. "Mr., I really do hate to point it out, but students are attracted to frats and sorority that are known for strengths. And not just general strengths, more like specialized strengths. Roar Omega Roar is elite," He gestured toward the ROR House. "Slugma Slugma Kappa is athleticism." Gestured toward the pastel EEK House. "And Eta Hiss Hiss, is, um, doom and gloom while persevering, I think." Point to the grayed HSS House.
"And so Scott came up with this?" As Terry droned on, Terri was gritting his teeth.
The mocking way Terry spoke of Scott made Don grit his teeth to maintain his smile. "Actually, I gave Scott the idea. But Scott has done quite much better job executing the plan than me."
"Oh, the idea has idea has potential. But if there's any… constructive criticism," Terry replied as the good English major he was, "we need to advertise the strengths of Oozma Kappa. Yeah, we joined for the housing deal cause' we're desperate, but where's the strength? It appears we are about..."
"Togetherness," chimed Terri.
"Well, yes... But that's too generic. So does other frats."
"Simpleness. Humble goodness," replied Don.
But a dissatisfied Terry uttered, "I think these kids out there view us as failures. They look pass the 'simpleness' and 'humility.'"
At his brother's bluntness, Terri buried his face in his hand. Don didn't blame Terri, but at the same time, he had to acknowledge that Terry's input mattered. Even if he was the member in the board room who seemed like he wanted to provoke an argument by voicing out the flaws of someone else's plans, his input might be useful.
Don gently refuted, "But failure ain't da' point, the point is to rise above that failure."
"Mr. Carlton, but is this fraternity about the failure or finding consolation for failure? Because frankly, though the latter sounds better, neither are attractive gimmicks."
Don sustained his usual salesman smile. Yet, he had never expected to be so condescended down to by a young folk, especially by one who called him by the proper mister-surname.
Finally, Terri stated, "Terry, cut it out, stop pushing the guy."
"Oh, all right. But I can get keep getting pushed by you?"
"Look, I know you're still stressed from the dance routine," A pause. "And about last yea-…"
"I've told you to forget it."
"Maybe because I had to live that you were the one who messed up, you stumbled as our faces slammed against the floor, even though I knew how to do it right. You screwed it up right in front of the class, that Worthington fella', the Professor, and not to mention the Dean. And I took the rap too. Your screw up was my screw up."
Terri's head sunk down. "Terry, stop, I just had horrible stage fright, it was one year ago. I thought you've forgiven me."
"Of course I have. But you're right, I haven't forgotten it. Now I have to go along with your dancing pursuits so you can make a good grade. And I have to stiffin' up my body, ignore all my aches in my body, and learn your routine with ya, so you can get your As in Dancing class. And all at the expense of our future in Scaring."
Terry inhaled, exhaled huffs of air, while Terri's lips wobbled, and both of them refused to face the other.
Don did not dare approach them in caution that he could provoke their frustration and possibly irritate them into revoking their Oozma Kappa pledge. He felt frozen on the spot, a pang of helplessness. He had faced many bickering multiple-headed customers before, but Oozmanian Industry never trained him to intervene in personal family squabbles. Not to mention, a scarcity of policies that dealt with multiple-headed clients.
He wanted to resume recruitment, but now he needed the break, deciding it would be best to start over once the twins regained their energy.
Then Don fancied he felt the huff of a breath on the back of his shirt. Oh, Scott, always sneaking behi- waaiit, that was not Scott. He flinched away at the bizarre face just a few inches away from him.
There stood another monster, purple with stripes of lighter purple, with a slinky arch body with two small arms hanging below the face and wide lips like putty and gapped teeth, all complimented by the idle pair of eyes that wandered off into space.
And there was Scott, next to the odd fellow. "I got someone!" He exclaimed like a young eager Scout who earned three patches. "Hey, you know how mom mentioned a fella' who's been trying to climb the aviation school? Turns out mom told him about us and he's interested! And he's an ex-Scare student himself."
At this chance, Don seized the fella's hand, quite a relax hand that wobbled around, for a hearty handshake.
Even when the potential recruit made eye-contact, his eyes stared into space, almost hypnotized by the galaxies in Don's eyes. "Hey," it said in a scraggily voice. "This little dude's mom says there's housing. Months ago, I have been evicted from my dorm, and although sleeping in sewers can be exciting, I would like a roof over my head. Also, Greek Life might be rad for me. I tried getting Omega Howl's attention sometimes, but I guess I'm too good for them." That would be the third Omega Howl reject to join.
But Don felt uneasy upon the the fella's candid admittance of his shady background. But he felt better, when the fellow, without hesitation, eagerly signed his name on the pledge sheet. Ah well, Oozmas welcomed anybody. They shouldn't discriminate. It had the old, the young, the double-headed, and now the checked-past one.
Checking the signature, Don inquired, "Art? Short for Arthur?"
"Nope! Just Art!"
You don't happen to have a surname do you?"
"Nope! Just Art!"
"Also, we need to register you up. You would hafta come with us right now."
"Nope! Just Art! Opps, not the question. Yup, I'll love me a first outing with my new bros!" A fully willing potential member. Jackpot.
Scott jumped up and down. "We got four guys Don! We gotta get to Greek Life office now!"
But he stopped mid-jump and joy when he took notice of the twins, on the ground and glum, refusing to look at each other, and Don was reminded of their dreary bicker.
"Don, did something happen?"
Without disclosing the full details of their aforementioned Scaring fiasco, Don whispered to Scott about the twin's argument and requested Scott to let the twins cool down before they could proceed.
But then the furry fella', Art, began approaching the twins as if they were a shiny museum exhibition. Don wanted to signal the fella' to give the twins their space. At the sight of a purple arch monster approaching them, the twins nearly scurried back on the pavement.
The fella' dangled out a green string that was twice the length of his arm. "My lucky string, use these to make friendship bracelets and you will relearn the meaning of brohood." He flung the string at Terri. It fluttered idly in the wind as it hooked around Terri's wrist.
The twins shot Art an awkward, yet amused look, questioning why this random guy, who passed out friendship bracelets, thought he could resolve their personal problems. So the twins resumed turning their heads away from each other.
"Um, hey, I'm the new member guys. I just wanted to give you a sudden frat gift. Also, I think we're bros now."
"Another brother," muttered Terry as he surveyed Art.
Terri, fiddling with the green string curled around his fingers, replied, "Yes, another brother, Terry, but you'll manage right?"
"Yeah, if I had put up with you for 19 years, I can manage with this one."
"You bet you can!" exclaimed Art.
Don and and Scott chuckled.
The twins did too, but weakly. They still needed time, but they were at least ready to move on.
Oozma Kappa was ready for legitimization. "Well, come along boys, you all gotta' git registered now."
So as they packed up their posters and clipboard to head off to the Office of Greek Life, Don stated, "Now Scott, I hafta remind ya' we haven't picked out some team colors yet." Then Don thought of Art's friendship offering of the little green yarn. "I was a-thinking, green might suit us."
"Oh! And gold to go with the green!" Scott said.
Green and gold it is, as Scott took note of that on the paperwork.
Don felt relieved that it was one less thing to deal with.
"You actually did it," Claire Wheeler muttered as she double-checked the paperwork, flipping through the pledge signatures, the color agreement, the housing agreements (with Ms. Squibbles's signatures with little hearts dotting her 'i's), and all down to the signature agreeing to terms and guidelines. Then the Oozmas each individually completed their paperwork (though it took time for Claire to sort through Art's background check). She stapled every paperwork together and scribbled the approval signature of the Greek Life President, accompanied by the Vice President Pearson's.
Don grinned. "Well, boys, there's our first accomplishment together."
Claire pressed her button on the phone as she handed back the paperwork to Scott. "Well, housing is in order, you are all qualified as an official frat. Now just take that to the Dean Hardscrabble. I'm giving her a call to her office to let you know that you're coming to see her."
Scott clutched the paperwork like a security blanket. Having faced Hardscrabble before on the Scream stimulator have not improved his relations with her.
So Don put his hand on Scott's shoulder. "Scott, why don't I take it to her?"
Waiting was long. There were no books to pursue through in the waiting room of her Office. But no one felt like talking in fear that it would disturb the atmosphere of the Scare school. Or worse, Hardscrabble could barge in and reprimand them.
The twins still had that sour look. They fiddled with the string, like two inattentive students surviving a droning lecture, desperately itching for amusement.
Then Terri's hands began toying with the string. Slowly his upper and lower hand began stretching it around as if he was attempting shapes.
And then, Terry, still not facing his brother, reached for the string gradually. Terri did not protest. And soon, with the artistry of their hands and fingers movement, the string unraveled into diamonds within squares, squares within triangles, then triangles morphing into rectangles and then a star. With the careful essence of rehearsals and habits, their hands waved and flapped the string in unison.
Don whistled as Scott watched, mesmerized. Meanwhile, Art watched as if he prophecized the destined reconciliation.
Then Don noticed their exchange of smiles, Terry's slight mischievous grin and Terri's widening beam. Their hands resuming their performance, they glanced at Scott, Don, and Art, their audience, and continued their act.
The twins then weaved a star. They let the star hover for a few seconds...
Then the office doors creaked opened so eerily.
Don wouldn't be surprised if Hardscrabble did this deliberately (Scarers always do emphasize Noise Atmosphere).
The other Oozma clenched up in her presence. Terri concealed the string out of sight with Terry being swiftly sure to deftly untangle the string on his finger so Terri could hide it. Scott's teeth tightened into a mildly audible chatter. Art slumped back in his seat, seemingly relaxed rather than startled.
"I may see you in my office now," said the sternly womanly voice.
"It's just me, Hardscrabble."
"Ah, Mr. Carlton, pleasure to meet again."
It not appear like she was pleased, but that she sounded amiable enough.
Originally, Art was just going to meet Oozma, and then, bam, he joined them, but being that this was Art, I had to write him a much more substantial introduction. So... friendship bracelet. Yeah. Also, it allowed me to give the origin story of the color choice for O.K.
Another Headcanon that came randomly was the idea that each Oozma, save for Don, were trying to get into Omega Howl. Quite honestly, it didn't make for much gag at all, just a little trivia that got made up on the spot and I thought, oh, what if Art and the Perry twins were trying to get in. In some ways, I felt like addressing Omega Howl's existence as fans noted that only one or two Omega Howl brothers showed up in the movie.
And yup, Johnny Worthington's cameo here. Enjoy it while it last readers! I would write him an origin story, but other fanfiction writers are doing the job for me. There're probably even more Roar Omega Roar origin stories than Oozma Kappa origin stories. Not sure why, but I attribute it to the obsession with antagonists these days.
Do Review! Constructive Criticism needed.
Don Carlton, Scott Squibbles, Sheri Squibbles, Art, the Perry twins, Johnny Worthington, Claire, Brock, Hardscrabble (c) Pixar