Act III, Scene I
Take heed, dear heart, of this large privilege;
the hardest knife ill-used doth lose his edge. ~ Sonnet XCV
"Riiidiiiiiii, Pagliaccioooo, sul tuo amore infrantooooo! Ridi del duooollll, che t'avvelena il cooorrrrr."+ The same stirring aria that Bob had sung at the Colosseum that fateful night now sounded melodiously throughout the halls of Springfield Elementary School. Tracing it to its source, three boys walked into the restroom to find none other than Sideshow Bob mopping the floor.
"Dude, is someone dying in here?" Dolph commented on the singing. The boy had a severe overbite and hair that covered half his face.
"My mom's boyfriend sounds like that when he's taking a dump," Jimbo, the tallest of the three, added.
"No I don't!" Kearney, the heavy one, argued. The three boys walked past Bob to the urinals, acting as if he wasn't there.
"Not you, Dingus! Her other boyfriend!"
Bob ignored their remarks and continued singing as he mopped, back to the boys as they used the facilities. "Recitaaarrrrrr! Mentre preso dal deliiiiirioooo, non sooooo pił quel che dico, e quel che faccio!"++
"Dude, is someone drowning Moaning Myrtle?" Kearney muttered, glancing over his shoulder at the janitor.
"You can't drown a ghost, you moron!" Jimbo retorted.
Dolph finished first and turned to face Bob. "Sounds like this dude here thinks he's Weird Al Yankovic! I don't know anyone else crazy enough to sing in a bathroom, do you?"
Jimbo turned to join him. "Only my mom's boyfriend, but he's whacked out on coke!"
"I am not!" Kearney snapped, zipping his pants up and shooting Jimbo a nasty glare.
"I meant her other boyfriend!" Jimbo snapped back.
Hunched over with the mop, Bob sighed and stood up straight, rolling his eyes as the three boys began shoving each other. "Kindly take it outside, gentlemen. I've a urine-soaked floor to mop, and your presence is far from aiding in the effort."
"Hey look, it sings AND talks!" Dolph snickered.
"Of course, if I can do one then naturally I can do the other," Bob pointed out flatly as he flopped his mop down in front of the boys. The action caused several wet mop strings to slap against Kearney's legs.
"Hey! Watch it!" the boy snarled, snatching the handle out of Bob's grip.
"Give that back!" Bob demanded.
"Or you'll what? Mop the floor with me?"
Bob smirked down at him, taking note of the boy's shaved head. "As tempting as that sounds, I fear it would be an exercise in futility."
Kearney gave him a puzzled look. "Wha-?" Bob took the opportunity to swipe his mop back.
Jimbo elbowed his confused friend. "C'mon, Kearney. Let's leave 'Sideshow Mop' alone so he can make out with his girlfriend!"
Dolph laughed. "Yeah, and she's got nicer hair than you too, Clown Boy!"
Bob growled. "I am no longer a clown, and I am certainly no boy. I am a man, which is something you three are a long way from becoming, judging from your current level of immaturity."
"You look more like a mop to me," Jimbo pointed out coolly.
"And you smell like one too!" Kearney added.
Bob sneered. "Hmph. Cleaning up after you vile little hoodlums doesn't exactly leave one smelling of roses, you know." He pushed his mop toward their feet. "Now scoot. You've tracked in dirt from outside and now I have to mop the entire floor all over again."
"Oh yeah?" Kearney, whose deep-treaded cleats were the muddiest, started doing a funky dance around the restroom. His filthy tracks quickly covered the entire floor.
Enraged, Bob threw down his mop and pointed toward the door. "Begone, you uncouth, degenerate little Philistine, before I eject you with a deftly delivered size thirty-seven to your puny posterior!"
"He's saying words we don't know!" Dolph shouted. "GET HIM!"
All three boys lunged at Bob. His struggling was in vain as they picked him up and carried him into the nearest stall, where they proceeded to dunk his head in the toilet. His gurgling curses were silenced by a high-powered flush.
Bob felt as though an ocean wave had swept over him, the deafening roar of rushing water drowning out the bullies' laughter. Some of it went up his nose, burning his brain. More intense than that was the sensation of his hair being sucked down the toilet, which pulled his head down further and rendered him helpless until the water settled. Even then he found it quite difficult to pull his head out. He wasn't stuck for long as one boy yanked him back by the scruff of his collar while the other two had him by the legs.
"Dude! That's the most epic swirly we've ever executed!" Jimbo exclaimed, gaping at Bob's drenched and twisted hair. They laughed again and dragged him out of the bathroom. Bob was too busy retching up toilet water to curse them.
"Now WE'RE gonna mop the floor with YOU!" Kearney declared. He and Jimbo lifted his legs higher as Dolph shoved his head toward the floor. Several students who'd been let out of class for lunch now gathered to watch. Most were laughing and shouting encouragement to the bullies.
As Bob was dragged down the hall, wet hair covering his face, he reached out blindly and grabbed onto something. Judging from the smoothness of that something and the high-pitched shriek he heard, he deduced that it was a girl's leg. He leg go promptly and tried again, this time grabbing onto a pantleg and holding on tight. Whoever it belonged to was pulled to the floor with him as the bullies continued to drag Bob down the hall.
The boy in question grabbed onto another student's leg, who in turn grabbed the student next to him, creating a train of half a dozen students and one janitor being lugged along. The weight of all those extra bodies slowed it down, giving Bob a chance to struggle. He yanked his leg out of Kearney's grip and gave a mighty kick when he felt the boy try to grab him again.
The sound of a groan and a thud was heard, followed by several students gasping. Jimbo and Dolph dropped Bob and turned to their friend, who lay on the floor in a fetal position, covering his groin.
"Dude, right in the nards," Jimbo muttered, looking down on him with pity.
"Not cool, man," Dolph growled, glaring back at Bob who was finally getting to his feet. It took him a minute or two to push and pull his hair from his face, and by the time he could see again, Principal Skinner was standing before him.
"I'm very sorry, Mr. Terwilliger. That sort of misconduct is highly inexcusable."
"I agree one hundred percent," Bob replied as he wrung water from a lock of hair. "Those savage little delinquents ought to be suspended for no less than -"
"Oh, I wasn't talking about the boys," Skinner interrupted, "although their behavior was morally reprehensible. I was referring to the way you, er, ahem, incapacitated young Mr. Zzyzwicz." Both men glanced over to see Miss Hoover, the second grade teacher, help Kearney to his feet. He was hunched over and limping as she led him to the nurse's office.
Bob stammered "I was only trying to -" but Skinner held up a hand.
"I'm sorry," he repeated, "but I've no choice but to let you go."
"You're firing me? For attempting to defend myself?" Bob gaped at him in disbelief.
Skinner nodded gravely. "I'm afraid so. You see, Mr. Terwilliger, nationwide school policies implemented to protect students prohibit all members of faculty or staff from acting in any way that might possibly constitute abuse. Technically we're not even allowed to file a sexual harassment charge after being pantsed."
"Why that is utterly ridiculous!"
Just as Bob spoke, Nelson snuck up behind Skinner, and with a "Yoink!" pulled down his pants. A few students nearby laughed, encouraged by the bully's boisterous "HAW HAW!"
Skinner just stood there and sighed. "Yes, I know." Pants at his ankles, he looked at Bob grimly and held out his hand. "Your keys, please."
Bob sat on a sidewalk downtown, attempting to sun-dry himself. After the incident at the school, he'd wanted to go straight back to his motel room and shower, but the bus driver wouldn't let him on when he was soaking wet. He leaned back against the wall of a building, eyes closed, thinking. What was he going to do for money now? His savings was dwindling fast, allowing him food and shelter for another week at best.
The warmth of the sun was soothing, as was the singing of birds in a nearby tree. The sound of whistling and footsteps on the pavement gradually caught his ear, growing closer as he listened. A shadow flickered across his closed eyelids, and something feather-light landed in his lap, on the hands that lay clenched there. Bob opened his eyes and looked down at the dollar bill, then up at the man who'd dropped it. It was none other than Homer Simpson.
Bob stood up quickly. "I don't need your pity money!" he growled, waving the crinkled bill at Homer.
"Hey! That's my money! Give it back!" Homer snatched it from him and crammed it back in his pocket. The bill fell out again through a tear in his pants. "D'oh! Lousy pockets." He picked it up and this time stuffed it in his shirt pocket, next to which hung his work ID badge. Bob read "Springfield Nuclear Power Plant" in bold letters at the top, above a photo of a glassy-eyed, slack-jawed Homer with far more hair than he currently had. The words "Safety Inspector" also stood out.
Ignoring Bob completely, Homer paused to appraise his reflection in a shop window. Humming to himself, he adjusted his tie, then licked his hand and used it to to slick his remaining hairs back. Bob smirked as he stood behind him, arms folded, waiting for him to recognize his reflection in the glass. After nearly a minute of being seemingly invisible to the man, he decided to speak.
"Aren't you going to flee in terror?"
"Why would I do that?" Homer asked, still sprucing himself up.
"Because you fear me," Bob answered coolly.
"Pffft, fear you? You don't look so scary to me, pal." Homer turned around to look him over.
Bob narrowed his eyes. "You fear me because I am your mortal enemy," he growled.
Homer blinked. "Kelsey Grammer?"
"No, you imbecile! I am Robert Underdunk Terwilliger, multiple attempted murderer of that vile urchin you call a son!"
Homer just stared at him, clueless.
Bob sighed. "Sideshow Bob," he muttered.
Homer shrieked "AAAH! Sideshow Bob!" and ran away.
Bob watched him take off in the direction of the nuclear plant, whose twin cooling towers could be seen from miles away. 'Apparently any idiot can work there,' he mused. 'Which gives me an idea...'
ACT IV: [link]
+"Laugh, clown, at your broken love! Laugh at the grief that poisons your heart." ~ "Vesti la giubba," Pagliacci
++"Act! While in delirium, I no longer know what I say, or what I do!" ~ "Vesti la giubba," Pagliacci