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“Hi. My name’s Steve, and I have the face of an eldritch abomination.”

A mumbled “Hi, Steve” made its way around the room in acknowledgement. Steve, indeed, had the face of an eldritch abomination. Tentacle-beard and all.

“I wasn’t always this way,” Steve explained. “I mean – obviously. Can you imagine what my mother would have said if I’d come out like this?”

The room tittered nervously.

“I’ve always had skin problems,” Steve continued, “but, like, conventional skin problems. Not go-mad-from-the-revelation skin problems. I try to stay fairly upbeat, but…” Steve trailed off dejectedly, staring into the expectant, if uncomfortable, faces before him.

“Anyway, there was a sketchy clinical trial in Fresno and here we are.” He scratched a tentacle.

“That’s not a… normal… side effect, is it?” Meg Guyver was the first to break the awkward silence.

“No, no I don’t think…” Steve took a small orange bottle from his coat pocket and peered at it. “Oh. Oh, I see. Well, it’s certainly not supposed to be common anyway.”

The heavy wooden door of the church cafeteria swung open with a groan, and a kid lugging an oversized backpack made his way into the room. The entire group turned to face him.

“Hey, I’m Billy –” The teenager stopped short, seeing the motley arrangement of persons in front of him. “Uh. This isn’t the D&D club, is it?”

“No,” explained Lazy Boyd, the group chairman. “This is Misfits Anonymous.”

“Anyway,” Steve continued, as Sally Spoonfists guided Billy to a seat in the circle. “I guess I just wanted to say, I really know what it’s like not to fit in. On account of…you know. The whole Cthulhu makeover thing.”

Steve took his seat.

“Um,” said Billy. “I don’t think I belong here –”

“Then you do,” Squidman Fran assured him.

“But, uh, I think I do know something that could help? My second cousin’s best friend’s sister says there’s a genie in the bottle bank at that recycling centre just outside of town. It’s super hard to get to, though. At least, my dad says that’s why we don’t recycle.”

Everyone stared at Billy again, who shrank into his seat.

“Actually, I think that’s a great idea,” quipped Blornax the Unstoppable. Blornax, though slight in stature – very slight, actually – stood with their chest puffed out. “I say we check it out. For Steve!”

“FOR STEVE!” they cheered.

An hour later saw the entire twenty-odd-member support group piled precariously into the back of Meg Guyver’s beat-up pickup truck, driving in hopeless circles while Gassy Pete yelled out directions from a semi-functional GPS.

The device took them to a set of large, chain-link gates topped with those knobbly blade things that are apparently supposed to look less rubbish than razorwire but definitely don’t.

A sign had been set up just beside them: “CLOSED: MONDAY—FRIDAY. OPEN: TUESDAY—THURSDAY.”

The lot of them milled about the entrance, mumbling amongst themselves “Vague” and “Is it open or closed?” and that sort of thing when Meg Guyver cried out, “Hang on! I need a tube of toothpaste, AA batteries and a cantaloupe!”

“Ooh, can you make a lockpick?” asked Johnny Two-Step, checking his pockets.

“What? Oh, no. Just don’t let me forget to pick up my shopping on the way home.”

“So how do we get past this gate?” asked Twizzler Toes.

“There’s a manhole cover just over there,” observed Alli Gator.

“No complaints here!” said No-nose Nelly, stepping forth.

After a few futile attempts at pulling off the cover of the manhole, the group stood around mumbling again. Steve made a vague sound of discontent and began to protest before Billy dropped his backpack pulling out the Dungeons & Dragons 6th Edition Dungeonmaster’s guidebook.

“There isn’t a problem in the world that can’t be solved with this,” he explained, patting the book fondly.

He flipped around a bit, looked carefully at some tables, and finally snapped it shut with an air of great finality.

“I know how we can get through,” he announced. “It’s a push manhole cover.”

He pushed it, and it opened. Morty, who was only a misfit because of his ominous name, took point in the damp labyrinth, guiding the group through and beneath the recycling centre. Soon they’d all crowded up through another, similar manhole cover: this time by pulling.

“So where’s this genie?” asked Benjamin Franklin (no relation).

“Start rubbing bottle banks, everyone!” cried Larry Who Repeats Everything He Says. “Start rubbing bottle banks!”

So they did. And it was sticky.

The project itself was incredibly daunting, but there were just so many of them. Eventually, a rather dramatic shower of glass spilled from the container where Angry Eloise was buffing away. Barefoot Bruce yelped in pain.

The air took on the spooky green tinge of ancient magic.

“WHO DARES CALL UPON MY POWER?” boomed a voice from the glowing, pulsating mist.

“We all do,” said Meg, addressing the genie. “For Steve!”

“FOR STEVE!” the Misfits echoed, except for Bruce, who was still squealing.

“We want to fix Steve’s super messed-up face –”

“Hey!” yelled Steve.

“– so that he doesn’t have to be a misfit anymore!”

“IT SHALL BE DONE!” announced the genie.

With a crack of lightning and boom of thunder, the entire recycling centre shook, glass showering down upon everyone and Barefoot Bruce, who was still screaming. Once the spots faded from their eyes, they eagerly turned to Steve, who looked… oddly the same.

So did everyone else. Not the same as before: the same as Steve. He felt like he was looking through a mirror – or several.

“Well,” said Duckface the Previously Untentacled. “Shit.”

“At least he’s not a misfit anymore,” offered Mandy Mint-Breath. “None of us are.”

Steve looked from one betentacled face to another.

“You know,” he said, “I think it was actually better when I didn’t have to see it myself.”
Written for Flash Fiction Month 2018, day 19, challenge 9: write a collaborative story including the following tropes: Ragtag Bunch of Misfits (played straight); Humanoid Abomination (inverted); No Good Deed Goes Unpunished (exaggerated); and MacGuyvering (subverted). This year I'm also fulfilling a challenge by an anonymous contributor - every character must be queer - though here, once again, it was done very passively.

I wrote this in collaboration with inksoaked and DamonWakes: check out their versions here and here respectively, and be sure to spread your love to both of them as well. :D Thanks to the both of you for a fun time and an excellent story! Somehow this wound up being the first properly silly thing I've written for FFM this year? It's been a month of serious stories!

The rest of today's stories can be found here.

Wordcount: 978.

If you've enjoyed this story, you may be interested in the collection of all my FFM stories this year: Beyond Dreams. You may also enjoy my FFM collections from the previous four years: Borrowed Strength, Ephemeron, Palalgia, and Changeling.
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:iconscfrankles:
SCFrankles Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
This is so, so good ^___^ So many great character names, and so many great lines. I'll just pick out a few favourites:

“That’s not a… normal… side effect, is it?” Meg Guyver was the first to break the awkward silence. “No, no I don’t think…” Steve took a small orange bottle from his coat pocket and peered at it. “Oh. Oh, I see. Well, it’s certainly not supposed to be common anyway.”

“But, uh, I think I do know something that could help? My second cousin’s best friend’s sister says there’s a genie in the bottle bank at that recycling centre just outside of town. It’s super hard to get to, though. At least, my dad says that’s why we don’t recycle.”

An hour later saw the entire twenty-odd-member support group piled precariously into the back of Meg Guyver’s beat-up pickup truck, driving in hopeless circles while Gassy Pete yelled out directions from a semi-functional GPS.

The device took them to a set of large, chain-link gates topped with those knobbly blade things that are apparently supposed to look less rubbish than razorwire but definitely don’t.
[This sentence is the only one I can definitely identify as being by DamonWakes ^____^]

A sign had been set up just beside them: “CLOSED: MONDAY—FRIDAY. OPEN: TUESDAY—THURSDAY.” The lot of them milled about the entrance, mumbling amongst themselves “Vague” and “Is it open or closed?” and that sort of thing when Meg Guyver cried out, “Hang on! I need a tube of toothpaste, AA batteries and a cantaloupe!” “Ooh, can you make a lockpick?” asked Johnny Two-Step, checking his pockets. “What? Oh, no. Just don’t let me forget to pick up my shopping on the way home.”

“Start rubbing bottle banks, everyone!” cried Larry Who Repeats Everything He Says. “Start rubbing bottle banks!” So they did. And it was sticky.


And of course, that final line ^____^ Just excellent. 

(Taking a leaf out of camelopardalisinblue's book - this has been copy and pasted to all three postings.)
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:icongdeyke:
GDeyke Featured By Owner Edited Jul 23, 2018   Writer
Thank you! :D

That line of Damon's you picked out is one of the very few in here that actually has a clear single author: between the communal brainstorming, the switching off every few lines when writing, and the communal editing, this was definitely one of the most collaborative collaborations I've ever been part of.
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:iconcamelopardalisinblue:
camelopardalisinblue Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
I LOVE THIS. You three are geniuses.

(This comment copypasted to you all.)
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:icongdeyke:
GDeyke Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2018   Writer
Haha, thank you! :D
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:iconcamelopardalisinblue:
camelopardalisinblue Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
You're very welcome. Please collab again. :D
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:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2018
That ending just killed me. :lmao:

Some of my favorite lines: 

“Um,” said Billy. “I don’t think I belong here –”

“Then you do,” Squidman Fran assured him.
Reply
:icongdeyke:
GDeyke Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2018   Writer
Fun fact: this was written so extremely collaboratively that it's almost impossible to say which lines came from whom. :XD: I'm glad you enjoyed it!
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