The brothers Staal and Margot stood staring into the Valhalla dining room, where Daisy was sitting five feet in front of their doorway, reading Riff n Raff, and laughing her ass off.

“She must have seen me, when I walked in, back from Wuhan,” Margot explained. “And when we all disappeared, while she was called to the front desk, she figured something strange is going on, and has parked herself rigt where she saw me enter.”

“And when she finishes the book, she will know about the tunnel,” said Eric.

“She will, but she will not know how it works,” Margot clarified.  “She will not know that the doorways only lead to the hub, so she won’t be able to get through. We could walk in and out of the tunnel, rigt in front of her, a dozen times, and she would never be able to follow us, and would not have a clue as to why. She would just think we are special, somehow.”

“And, if she told anyone, they’d just think she’s even crazier than they already think she is,” Marc reasoned.

So, what to do?

“We could go back to the hub, and make a new doorway in the parking lot, or any of the rooms,” Jordan said.

“Or,” said Margot, “we could go for a cold one, and wait her out.” A perfect example of Thunder thinking, it resonated with the boys, who immediately agreed that it was the thing to do.

“Good idea, Margot!” Jordan smiled. “And, we can go anywhere in the world for cold one! Where should we go?”

Cold one,” said Marc. “Cold one.” The others hadn’t the foggiest about what he was on about, so he said it, “Antarctica.”

“Nice!” said Eric. “But I don’t think they have beer there.”

“So?” laughed Jordan. “We all go home, get some winter clothing, grab some beers, and off we go.”

Without a specific location in mind, the four of them stood at the doorway and watched a waddle of Emperor penguins. The brothers argued about who was to go first. Eric looked at Marc and smiled. Marc smiled back. They grabbed Jordan and threw him through, all of them laughing.” Jordan landed rigt at the feet of two penguins, who simply looked down upon him curiously. The others piled through, with their cases of Mr. Canoehead, and the party was on. Everyone cracked a beer, and Margot offered one each to the penguin pair. The penguins shook their heads. “Do you understand what we’re saying,” Margot asked the birds. “Are you two left over from Sid’s waddle?” The birds just looked at her.

Although they understood the basic plotlines of the Riff n Raff trilogy, none of the brothers had yet read the book, so Eric asked Margot what she was on about.

“In Riff n Raff, the penguins are aliens, who came to Earth long before humans did. They aid and abet Riff n Raff in their heroic quests to save the world, not once, not twice, but thrice. They prevent a nuclear war, they solve global warming, and they end hatred. The penguins are highly intelligent, and far more evolved than humans. Their leader is named Sid.”

Jordan, who had played with Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh, wondered, “I wonder if Sid knows about this.”

“Wait a minute,” said Eric. “That’s it!”

“That’s what?” asked Jordan.

“That how we win a Cup, or two, or three, in Montreal. We get Sid to sign with the Habs. He still has good years ahead of him, and he wants more rings.”

“You’re rigt,” said Marc. “Sid was all about the Habs, when he was a kid. He’d love to be wearing a Habs sweater, with a C on it, the next time he lifts the Cup up and over his head.”

“Fascinating,” said Margot. “Do you think you could talk him into it?”

The brothers thought on it a while, before Jordan said, “I bet we can, if we sweeten the pot a little more.”

“And how are you gonna do that?” asked Margot. “He’s made more than a hundred million in salary alone, has two Olympic gold medals, three cup rings, a world junior gold. A few more Cup rings he wants, for sure, but he could win those in Pittsburgh”

“He doesn’t have something the four of us have,” answered Jordan. “And he won’t get it in Pittsburgh. But if he comes to Montreal with us, we can give him access to the tunnel.”

The brothers all looked at their spiritual guru, who was opening a fresh can of Mr. Canoehead. “I don’t know,” she said, after taking a long pull on her beer, and thinking. “There could be something unethical about using the tunnel for personal gains. I don’t think you could walk into Fort Knox, and walk out with a backpack full of gold bars.”

“Point taken,” said Eric. “But this isn’t about personal gain. Not financially, at least. We’re all gonna have to take haircuts to play in Montreal, or we’ll be way over the salary cap. So, Sid would have to take one, too, which I am sure he will be happy to do. He took far less than he could have gotten out of the Penguins, so they had money left to keep Malkin on the team. And he did that so they could win more cups. The question, then, is: is winning the Stanley Cup a purely selfish thing, and therefore considered a personal gain?”

Once again the brothers looked to their spiritual guru, who once again took another long pull on her Mr. Canoehead, and thought about it. But only for a half second, “Bringing the Stanley Cup back to Montreal is about as rigteous a mission as I can think of. Let’s go see Sid, and see what he says!”

Laughing, the four of them disappeared back into the tunnel.

One of the penguins looked at the other and said, “So, the rumours of the tunnel are true.”

The other smiled, and replied, “And now we have access to it!”




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