Chapter 8:

Vol. 1, Ch. 8: Every Song in the World on Your Playlist

The Integrity of the Super Club [Beta version]

Crickets chirped their chipper songs to the stars over Thugwood. Rover and Quintegrity walked down the street through the residential neighborhood on their way to the local grocer.Bookmark here

Dinner would be a grandiose affair that Wenno-day evening.Bookmark here

The couple crossed the cable bridge over the Gubbuh-Plardy River. Their path was illuminated by the bridge’s streetlamps, as well as the headlamps of passing vehicles.Bookmark here

“You’ll get to meet my parents tonight,” Rover said, watching his phone as he played Glove Alien Fight; the standard game, not using the augmented reality.Bookmark here

In front of Rover, Quintegrity’s slow high-step marching and exaggerated arm swings kept to a steady, funky groove that bumped its beat through her brain.Bookmark here

“I’m looking forward to it very much,” she replied, not altering her forward march.Bookmark here

“To be honest,” Rover told her, gripping his phone tighter as he defeated a Boogeyman Drunkard in the game, earning magnesium coins, “I’m a little worried. My family is full of picky eaters. I’m kinda picky, too, but not as bad as the rest of them.”Bookmark here

“It won’t be a problem.”Bookmark here

“I don’t know… You don’t understand how my family is.”Bookmark here

“Hey.”Bookmark here

Quintegrity stopped walking. She turned around and blasted Rover with the energy from her most powerful “thumbs-up and bold smile” combo. It halted the boy in his tracks.Bookmark here

“I told you we’ve got this!” Her sunniness beamed through the boy. “Their socks shall be knocked right off.”Bookmark here

The attitude shockwave from the girl’s confidence alone was enough to chase away rifle-toting vultures from a roadkill buffet. However, Rover was no vulture…he was a Chork, and he wasn’t backing down.Bookmark here

He pocketed his phone. “Mom is happy she won’t be cooking tonight, that’s for sure. I’m not saying this’ll be a bad thing.”Bookmark here

Continuing with her high-step march to the funk music in her head, Quintegrity gestured toward the sky, bridge, river below, all of Thugwood, and pretty much everything…all with sweeping arm motions that appeared almost like she was stretching after a lazy nap.Bookmark here

*Step. Step. Step. Step.*Bookmark here

“Take a look around,” she told Rover in a serene voice, her multiple shadows stretching as they passed the last streetlamp on the bridge and as a Bun Gator truck rushed by. “Feel the rhythm of the world as reality’s favorite band strikes up a funky beat. That’s how you know which dance to do and which beat to step to.”Bookmark here

The sidewalk widened past the bridge, and Rover took the opportunity to move next to Quintegrity as she continued her in-tempo strides.Bookmark here

He gave her a flat look. “Is that your way of saying to just go with the flow?”Bookmark here

“It is.” She smiled at him as they approached the grocery store parking lot. “You just gotta tune in to the rhythm of life, and go with the funk-a-tronic boogie that flows through everything!”Bookmark here

Rover listened to the crickets. He looked at the starlit sky. Quintegrity’s words kinda made sense to him, though, as if he could sense this “boogie” in the scenery around him.Bookmark here

He chuckled. “I always knew each member of my family had their own ways of going through life. Their own ‘songs,’ as you might say, never made much sense to me, or to each other…but sometimes I think there’s a common theme among our tunes.”Bookmark here

They stopped walking, the glow of the grocery store’s signs painting their faces with iridescent florescence, their neon hums adding to the symphonic cricket cacophony.Bookmark here

Curious and intrigued, Quintegrity looked at Rover.Bookmark here

“What do you mean?” she asked.Bookmark here

The boy thought for a moment. “Well, it’s like how everyone is different. That would mean that everyone has their own groove, right?”Bookmark here

She nodded. “Mm-hmm.”Bookmark here

“But there are people who have the same songs on their playlists as other people,” Rover continued. “Like, they listen to some of the same stuff. Like this funky groove you talk about. It’s unique for some, but many of us share the same tunes from time to time…ya know?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, I think I understand.” Quintegrity grinned. “You get it!”Bookmark here

“If so,” Rover added, “with my knowledge of my family, and you, uh…being you…then we’ll cook them up something that matches everyone’s dinner rhythm!”Bookmark here

All this talk about the funky boogie throughout the universe was hard for Rover to comprehend, and he still held skepticism toward pleasing his family’s palate.Bookmark here

I think I’m not just spouting nonsense, and that I’m actually offering insight to what Quintegrity’s saying.Bookmark here

Yet, amid his doubt and nervousness, he held out his hand for his girlfriend to take.Bookmark here

Without missing a beat, Quintegrity took her boyfriend’s hand.Bookmark here

“For sure!” she replied happily. “Just imagine…every song in the world on your playlist! Then there will never be a moment of misunderstanding!”Bookmark here

At that, they hurried toward the grocery store entrance.Bookmark here

The automatic doors slid open.Bookmark here

Rows of possibilities were lined up before them where arrays of ingredients and foodstuffs were waiting. Quintegrity danced amid the aisles, twirling and springing as she grabbed the items and placed them in their shopping baskets.Bookmark here

Parsnips and parsley! Arugula and artichokes! Beef flanks and beet filling! Chicken and chutney! Potatoes and tomatoes! Carrots! Onions! Garlic! Thugwoodian allspice!Bookmark here

More…Bookmark here

More!Bookmark here

“MOARRR!!!” Quintegrity cackled as she raided and paraded, stuffing and stashing nary a missed ingredient into their baskets. Really, they each carried three baskets on each arm, filled to spilling at any moment.Bookmark here

Rover offered to pay with the Adamantite credit card his parents lent to him for the occasion, but Quintegrity swiftly beat him to the punch with her superior Mythril credit card.Bookmark here

The cashier man scanned each item like the good robot he was paid to be.Bookmark here

*Beep*Bookmark here

*Beep*Bookmark here

*Beep*Bookmark here

Quintegrity didn’t even flinch at the total price racking up as she brandished her Mythril card.Bookmark here

*Swipe*Bookmark here

[Payment Approved]Bookmark here

And they hurried back to Rover’s home.Bookmark here

8!8@8#8$8%8^8&8*8(8)8_8+8Bookmark here

*Chop chop chop!*Bookmark here

*Grate. Grate. Grate.*Bookmark here

Quintegrity’s knife-work showcased her remarkable sleight of hand. The blade caught the lights in the Chork household kitchen, appearing as flickering glints of radiance in the midst of fillet-slaying, veggie-eviscerating movements.Bookmark here

Rover sped around, matching the girl’s movements, sorting through the prepped food and throwing them into appropriate skillets, pots, pans, ice baths, and wave-cookers. His skills at motion-capture arcade games were very handy around the kitchen.Bookmark here

The steaks and chicken fillets hit the hot oil in the pans, searing the marinated scents right out of them and into the air.Bookmark here

“Mmm, smells good!” Dad commented as he passed by the kitchen.Bookmark here

Juices and spices dripped from the skewers and into the mini charcoal grill, sending their olfactory previews wafting about the house.Bookmark here

“There are great things happening in here,” Mom sang as she passed by the kitchen.Bookmark here

The top crusts of multiple pies and pastries crisped and flaked in the oven, pumping the sweet aromas of caramel and berries and cocoa into the environment.Bookmark here

“Oh wow, I can’t wait!” Adele remarked as she passed by the kitchen.Bookmark here

And that was only half of the feast!Bookmark here

Rover and Quintegrity scrambled, flambéed, and fricasseed. Confits of garlic and duck and pork belly were assembled in ways Rover had never seen on plates as Quintegrity stacked towers of gravity-defying entrées. Medleys of greens and peppers and gourds were drizzled with rivulets of seasoned oils Quintegrity had never imagined would make complimentary pairings as Rover blended and upended daring vinaigrettes with chilled villainy of tasty treasures.Bookmark here

Thus, the full spread of fixings were completed within minutes of each other. Nothing hot had gone cold; nothing cold had melted. The timing was perfect.Bookmark here

The couple high-fived, and then they set the dinner table.Bookmark here

One-by-one, everything was laid out in front of the wide-eyed, water-mouthed family.Bookmark here

Feeling triumphant and proud, Rover took his seat.Bookmark here

However, Dad watched as Quintegrity sat next to Rover, and he smirked at his son.Bookmark here

“So, tell me,” Dad said to Rover, his face loaded with more mischief than the baked potatoes were loaded with bacon, chives, bourbon salt, black pepper, and garlic oil, “…how far have you gone with Quinn to learn how to cook food fitting for a king?”Bookmark here

Rover’s face imploded as if he’d eaten the leftover lemons not used in the lemon-lime tart-strudels.Bookmark here

Hrrk!” He choked on his embarrassment. “Wh-What d-do you mean ‘how far’?!”Bookmark here

Gross, Dad,” Adele muttered. “Please don’t assassinate my appetite with your pervy crap.”Bookmark here

“Oh, don’t tease Rover,” Mom said, hitting Dad on the shoulder. “He’s already a hormonal ball of fire. Don’t pour kerosene on it.”Bookmark here

“You’ll understand, son,” Dad said with a devious smirk. “Sometimes, the best moments sneak up on you. Heh-heh-hehhh!”Bookmark here

“Gah!” Rover was lost for words, his hands quaking too much to handle his silverware.Bookmark here

A shadow suddenly did sneak up behind him.Bookmark here

Startled, he turned to see Quintegrity’s smiling face only centimetres away. She reached around behind Rover, put her index and middle fingers on the table, walked her hand up to the salad spoon protruding from the salad bowl, and catapulted a cherry tomato from the greens—it landed perfectly in her mouth.Bookmark here

Sweating at the table was uncomfortable, but Rover couldn’t prevent it.Bookmark here

Is Quintegrity thinking about Dad’s comment?! he wondered as the heat rose from under his collar.Bookmark here

Quintegrity said nothing about it, though, which made dinner very awkward for the boy. At the least, his family of picky eaters was utterly enchanted by the meal, so he was grateful for that.Bookmark here

Together, he and Quintegrity had successfully found (and nailed) his family’s common tune…a song in the key of F (for “food”).Bookmark here

Food Major.Bookmark here

As Dad consumed his helping of duck confit like a savage animal, a blissful expression washed over him.Bookmark here

“This is stupendous!” he said between bites. “What’s for dinner next time, Quinn?”Bookmark here

Quintegrity responded with an entertained smile. “Oh, you know, the usual. It’s a simple formula: ‘Maximum’ plus ‘Most’ equals ‘What’s for Dinner.’ Remember that, and you’ll be whipping up something like this every single meal!”Bookmark here

“I don’t think we can afford ‘Maximum’ plus ‘Most’!” Dad’s face and voice were jubilant, but the tear streaming down his face was probably more from sadness than joy.Bookmark here

“And talk about a caloric overload,” Mom added, sipping her wine with a thin smile. “If we do every meal like this one, then they won’t be special anymore.”Bookmark here

“You’re right,” Quintegrity giggled. “We don’t want to lose that specialness. Right, Rover?”Bookmark here

“Uh, right!”Bookmark here

Throughout dinner, Adele shot the occasional glance at her brother and his girlfriend. There was still that telltale nervousness on his face, as his smiles were too frequent and overdone. However, Adele noticed there was something else inside him. Alongside his jittery idiocy was sincerity…a true kind of happiness that played well with Quintegrity’s vigorous positivity.Bookmark here

Perhaps, Adele thought as she chewed on a piece of succulent yellow snapper sashimi, something she normally despised any other time, they really are a better match than I’d originally thought.Bookmark here

*******Bookmark here

<<<STATUS>>>Bookmark here

Rover… Lvl 689Bookmark here

Allowance… {T}35,000Bookmark here

<<<EXPENSE GOALS>>>Bookmark here

Anti-Grav Skateboard… 499,999Bookmark here

<<<CURRENT EQUIPMENT>>>Bookmark here

Gloves… ButlerBookmark here

Armor… Ape Laser ArmorBookmark here

Acc. 1… Yeet-Line ChucksBookmark here

Acc. 2… Farm Equipment
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