Here in the United States, it’s Independence Day and you know what that means!
Anyway, it isn’t very often that my books bump up against the actual holidays I myself celebrate, since most of my characters are busy being on an alien world trying to survive too much to care about Trick or Treaters or braiding ribbons ’round the Maypole, but as it happens, not only does Everything Is All Right take place entirely on Earth, but the Fourth of July actually features rather prominently in one of the subplots. Must be Fate, with a capital F, and so I thought I’d share the scene with those of my readers who are following along with my FNAFiction.
For context, for those of you who are reading EIAR, this scene takes place in Part Three: Children of Mammon. I’d spoil too much by setting up the scene right, so let’s just say that she has been given a detailed rundown of the Fazbear franchise’s “colorful” history, yet stubbornly refuses to believe the animatronics are anything but big toys with amazing AI. After all, she’s been at the pizzeria overnight plenty of times and they’ve never tried to hurt her. How dangerous could they be? She’s there right now, as a matter of fact, spending her Fourth of July weekend covertly fixing the roof. She has just spent all day tearing the old roof down and now she’s sitting on the floor in the dining room, looking up at the stars, relaxing with a cold beer before she goes to bed…
Footsteps. She knew without looking it was Bonnie, but she looked anyway, just to prove herself right.
There he was—a blob of purple with glowing eyes staring in at her through the plastic sheets.
Ana didn’t have the energy either to call out or lift an arm for a wave, but she managed to get her foot off the ground and give the cooler an inviting nudge toward him.
His ears went up. He glanced behind him, then ducked through the plastic and limped over. “OH YEAH,” he said, gripping the wall for balance as he stiffly bent and fished himself out a beer. He bit the cap off, opened his mouth to let it drop, then tipped his head back and poured half the beer away. She could hear it fizzing and falling down his silicone throat, foaming up in the sac that was his stomach. His schtick, Mike had called that. Wasn’t supposed to do it, but did it anyway. Bad Boy Bonnie, who stole sips of beer. Had to remember to clean that out or she’d never get the smell out of him.
Tomorrow, she decided. Tomorrow was soon enough. God knew, he already stank to high heaven. A little sour beer could only help.
Ana wiggled herself over an inch, patting the floor next to her. “How’s it going, my man?”
“All g-g-good in the hood-d-d,” he assured her, making a seven-point turn to put his back flush up against the wall. His legs stiffened. He dropped with just a tremendous whump, his legs going straight out and padded ass hitting the tiles hard enough to break most of them. Whatever, they weren’t the only broken tiles in here. “No id-d-dea how I’m getting-ing up again,” he remarked and drank off the other half of his beer.
“Me neither. Guess we’ll have to sleep in my old room tonight.”
He glanced aside at the table as she gave it an inviting pat. “I don’t think-k-k I’ll fit.”
“It’ll be tight, but I’m sure I can wiggle around and squeeze you in,” she said innocently.
His lower jaw dropped an inch or so to expose his bottom teeth. “You’re c-c-cute.”
“And you’re very handsome when you smile. Hit me.”
The instant the words were out of her mouth, she regretted them, but Bonnie merely leaned out and got her another beer. He passed it over and said, “You m-mind-d-d?” even as he reached for the cooler again.
“Help yourself, my man. Me equis es su equis.”
“Thanks. I know it-t-t’s a waste, but-t-t I love it.”
“Can you taste it?” she asked curiously.
“Nope.” He bit the cap off, this time picking it out from between his teeth and flicking it toward the stage. He drank. “You d-d-drink it for the t-t-taste?”
“I have to admit, I do not.” But she did drink it and proved it. Shouldn’t have opened a fresh bottle. She’d bagged her limit for the night and with an early morning ahead of her, the last thing she wanted to get was even a little bit tipsy. So she thought and, thinking it, drank.
“GREAT JOB,” Bonnie commented, running his gaze over the colossal mess she’d made of the dining room.
“Ugh. Don’t tease me, man.”
His ears went up, surprised. “I’m n-n-not.”
“I suck and I know it.” Scowling around the neck of her bottle, Ana took a consoling swallow and made herself put the bottle down. “I’m so far behind, it’s not even funny, and yet I had a seven-hour stretch when I couldn’t use the power tools and I didn’t do a goddamn thing with it.”
His head cocked. “You were-re-re working all d-d-d—DISECTION ALONG THE ENKEPHALOTIC FISSURE,” he blatted suddenly, right in her frigging face. As she laughed and swatted at the beer she’d startled down the front of her shirt, his ears drooped. “Sh-Shit, sorry. You okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.” Ana leaned out to drag her day-pack over and get a dry shirt. “Avert your eyes, my man.”
“Uh…no? Is…Is no an op-p-ption? I vote n-n-no.”
She laughed again and took her beer-soaked shirt off, tossing it indiscriminately to the floor, and put the fresh one on under Bonnie’s extremely watchful stare. “Anyway, I know it looks like I was working today, but you get really good at looking like you’re working when you’re in construction. You only saw me moving shit around and avoiding my actual downtime job for the day, which was to clean out the bathrooms. Seven hours,” she groaned, flopping back against the wall and reclaiming what was left of her beer. “I could have had all four of them done.”
“Maybe not done-done, but dude, seven hours! I could have easily cleared and cleaned all four of them in that time and at least started the real work in one of them and I all I did was stand in the doorway a couple dozen times and then screw around out here. I suck,” she grumbled into her beer. “I can’t keep putting it off like this. I am too fucking old to be pissing in a parking lot.”
“Can I help? WE CAN DO ANYTHING IF WE ALL WORK TOGETHER!”
“You sure? I’m pretty s-st-strong.”
“I remember, but it’s really not an issue of strength.”
“What’s the p-p-problem?”
“I don’t know. It’s complicated.” She thought about it, snorted. “I don’t want to. Doesn’t get more complicated than that, does it? It’s so nasty in there. You can’t smell anything, so you’ll have to take my word for it when I say it is unbelievably foul in there. When sewer lines dry up, the gasses get trapped and just ooze out of all the pipes. Bad as it is in the kitchen, it’s like a Bible story in those bathrooms. Which,” she sighed, “doesn’t change the fact that the ceilings have to come down, the stalls have to come out, and every goddamn inch of rusted pipe has to come up, which means all of it. I hate plumbing. I’d literally rather tar the fucking roof when it’s a hundred degrees in the Utah desert than plumb those fucking bathrooms, and you want to know what bothers me the most?”
“Fucking Lala and fucking Brewster on those doors.”
Bonnie laughed and poured some beer into himself.
“I don’t know why they rub me so wrong, but they do. They really do.”
“They’ve got no business here. Lala doesn’t even fucking live here.”
“I th-th-think the idea was, once F-F-Fr–FREDDY FAZBEAR’S PIZZERIA!” he cheered suddenly and clapped a hand to his muzzle, pinching it shut even as his hyucking laugh came out his speaker anyway. He shuddered himself under control, cautiously released his muzzle and tried again. “Once F-F-F…Fuck me.”
“Yeah, that p-pl-place. Once it opened-d-d, he’d swap them in and out.”
“What, like Brewster and Peggy one month and…I don’t know…Chipper and Miss Kitty the next?”
“Well, that’s…wait a minute, what about you guys?”
“Swapped out,” said Bonnie nonchalantly and drank his beer.
“Oh fuck that! Who the hell would come to Freddy’s if Freddy isn’t even there? I mean,” she said lamely, “unless you guys wanted a vacation or whatever. I guess that really ought to be a factor, before I get all worked up on your behalf.”
“But do you? Want to go to Freddyland, I mean?”
“And do what?” he laughed, waving his beer. “R-R-Ride the rides? Play the g-g-games? Win a plushie-e-eeee Foxy?”
“Or, you know, just get out. Fresh air and all that.”
“I d-d-don’t breathe.”
“Blue skies, then.”
“It’s j-j-just as blue here, isn’t it?”
“The Grand Pavilion Hotel has a bigger stage. You could see your name in lights, my man. Maybe finally get that album.”
“Don’t-t-t take this the wrong way, baby girl, because you know I love-ve—PEPPERONI PIZZA—playing for you, but if I never sing-ing-ing another word of the Hokey P-P-Pokey, that’s just fine with me.”
“And miss out on that hot Fazbear Band groupie action? Think about it. You could catch some room keys, start building Milf Panty Mountain, or maybe just mingle with the other new faces.” She gave him a nudge in his hard, plastic side. “Wouldn’t you like to see Lala up close and extremely personal?”
Bonnie shrugged. “I n-n-never really thought about it.”
“You never thought about all those hot, curvy bunnygirls down in the Bunny Patch, all draped sensuously over giant fucking zucchini and sucking on carrots? Hell, I’ve thought about it and I don’t even like them.”
“What kind of name is Lala anyway?” Ana asked disgustedly and not all drunk. “Fucking…Lala!”
“What, like Oo-la-la?” Ana considered that with a curled lip. “That’s even worse, somehow. Makes her sound like a stripper.” She looked at him. “How do you know it’s French?”
He shrugged, fishing out his third beer and shaking clinging chunks of ice free. “He never had a lot of im-m—IMAGINATION!—when it came to naming-ing-ing us. He d-d-designed and named most of th-them in one weekend, so, yeah, she’s a F-French lop and he g-g-gave her the first French-ch-ch name he could think of. Angie’s an ang-g-gora, Harley’s a Harlequin, Missy’s a messa…mues…uh, Moooossen…newer?”
“Better slow down on those brews, Bon.”
“Ha ha, but seriously. It’s Mess-something. I can’t-t-t remember and prob-b-bably couldn’t pronounce it, but it’s another lop and it already sounds like Missy. Then there’s Pearl the English perlfee, and…and there’s more I’m for-or-getting.”
“Dutch, Checkers, Rex and…Martin, I think,” she supplied. “Martin or Marvin. I’m pretty sure it’s Martin.”
“Yeah, it’d-d-d have to be. There’s a s-s-silver marten, but no m-mar-marvin I’m aware of. All the b-b-bunnies from the Bunny Patch are b-b-based off real rabbits, and they’re all named after their b-b-breed.”
“Interesting that you remembered all the girls and forgot all the boys,” Ana remarked, studying the label on her beer. Still Dos Equis. “So if they’re all real bunny breeds, why aren’t you?”
“Yeah? What are you?”
“P-P-Purebred lapine lavender badass, b-b-baby.”
She laughed. As she did so, Bonnie suddenly tipped his head back and pantomimed the most ridiculously over-the-top yawn she’d ever seen outside of a cartoon, capping it all off with a stretch that brought his free arm down around Ana’s shoulders. She snorted beer up her nose and choked it down again, laughing. “Holy shit, Bon, seriously?! That’s got to be the oldest move in the book!”
“Worked, didn’t it?” His hand smoothed down over the top of her short sleeve and came up again on her bare skin to cup her shoulder. “Look at th-th-those stars.”
She looked obediently, amused and a little startled to think she had been sitting here two hours at least, but had only seen the rafters and not the sky beyond them. “Pretty amazing, all right. You know, I got used to thinking of the sky over Oxtongue as being ‘full of stars’ just because I’d come from a string of cities in which, if you could see any at all on a clear night, it was noteworthy. I forgot what a starry night really looks like.” She studied it thoughtfully, countless chips of light, suspended in the dark, so still and so full of movement. “Like a fire, when it’s burned down to embers,” she murmured, smiling.
“Nothing.” She shifted, trying to make his arm more comfortable without letting him know how uncomfortable it really was. “You ever see stars before?”
“Sure, all-l-l the t-t—TIME TO ROCK!—time.” He had another swig of beer, then added, “Windows haven’t-t-t always been b-b-boarded up. We used-d-d to—”
He was interrupted by a chain of tea-kettle whistles and explosions, each one followed by its own colossal scrape and groan of thunder, and each goddamn one made her jump. She tried to defuse her own tension with a laugh when it was finally over and settled with determination even more awkwardly against Bonnie’s arm.
“You okay?” he asked, his eyes slanting downward just a little.
“I’m fine, I just hate that fucking noise.”
“Those aren’t fireworks. Fireworks are sparkly. I love fireworks. That’s just fucking noise and it’s too fucking close.” She stopped to listen as a rapid series of pops went off, indistinguishable from a gatling gun in some old movie about Nazis…or a new one about zombies, she guessed. Monsters changed, but the movies didn’t. “They’re out at the quarry, which I suppose on some level, I must have been expecting because I put so much fucking effort into making myself invisible from a road that, on a normal day, sees traffic maybe six times. And four of ‘em are mine…four of…the six times…” She drank, puzzled. “What was I saying?
“Out at the quarry,” Bonnie prompted.
“Right, which I must have been expecting on some level, but that’s too damn close. I could hear them whooping it up the whole time I was on the roof,” she added, frowning. “Which means they could hear me if I started hammering, so I didn’t, which is how I spent the day doing everything but the work I was supposed to be doing. I’ve just been waiting for them to run out of toys and go the fuck home, but they’re still there. Fireworks aren’t cheap these days, for Christ’s sake, how many could they possibly have?” Another round of zombie Nazis went down, with victory celebrated by rebel yells rendered scratchy by distance that was by no means distant enough. “Bunch of drunken assholes.”
“C-C-come on now. How do you know th-they’re drunk?”
“Because that—” Ana held up a finger and waited for the obligatory ka-boom. It wasn’t long in coming. “—is the kind of thing that only entertains drunken assholes. And I should be grateful, I guess, because sober assholes would be up here blowing the shit out of you instead. Seriously, now, what would you do if one of them came through that door right now?”
Bonnie shrugged. “I usually start w-w-with something like, IT’S TIME TO ROCK, and see where it leads, b-b-but I’m going to have t-t-trouble getting off the damn floor tonight-t-t.” His head cocked as if he were really thinking it over. “We’d better just offer him a b-b-beer.”
“I’m not sharing my damn beer with some low-rent Utah redneck fuckwaffle.”
“F-F-Fuckwaffle,” Bonnie mused. “Shit biscuits. Hellcake. You kind of g-g-got a thing against bread, don’t you? Let me g-g-guess. You used to work in a bakery and it was the worst-t-t job you’ve ever had.”
“Worst job I ever had was in a Cowgirls Steakhouse. Had to wear this super-tight t-shirt and let the bartender squirt me with beer whenever he wanted. Had to smile when drunken assholes were feeling me up. Worst of all, I had to stop what I was doing every twenty minutes to do this stupid clod-hopping country linedancing horseshit. But yeah, I did work in a bakery once.” She looked at the tattoo on her wrist that proved it, then let her arm drop and her head fall back. “When did we lose this holiday, my man?” she wondered, looking back up at the stars. “The Fourth of July is supposed to be about celebrating our nation’s independence and all the freedoms we have and shit. People should be showing their respect for this country, not blowing the shit out of it and getting hammered.”
“You know, you s-s-say that, but you’re pretty-eeeee—” He casually whapped himself in the throat with his beer bottle, coughed up static, and finished, “—pretty drunk yourself right now.”
“You ever see fireworks, Bonnie?” she asked, sticking stubbornly to what she saw as the point. “Real ones?”
“Not at th-this place, but at Cir-Cir—CIRCUMJACENT TO THE MEDULLA—Circle Drive, son of a b-b-bitch.” He shook his head, muttering static through his speakers, then went on, “It was always a pop-p-pular place for kids after d-d-dark. They’d set-t-t ‘em off in the park-k-king lot and we used t-t-to watch until they saw us or the c-c-cops saw them.” He cocked his head at another shriek and explosion. “But no, not here.”
“Why not? This place is nice and isolated, with a good flat parking lot and a building—Jesus!” she sputtered at the end as a fucking sonic boom went off in the quarry, loud enough to rattle the plastic sheets hanging over the doorways. Only when it was over did she realize she’d been sitting stiffly forward the whole time, straining to hear or perhaps poised to leap up and run. Trying to laugh it off, she settled back against the reeking, scratchy pillow of Bonnie’s hard arm and finished, “A building between them and the road. This would be a great place to set off fireworks. Why are those idiots down in the quarry and not blowing shit up right here in the parking lot? Or—”
She broke off there, blushing, but Bonnie calmly said, “Or in the d-d-dining room?”
“People break in here all the time. It’s dark, it’s secluded, it’s full of bustable objects. It can only attract the very worst kind of person.”
He glanced at her, plastic eyes moving beneath plastic lids while the rest of his head remained perfectly immobile.
She held up a warning finger. “This is not a story about me, but for the record, I swear, I steal, I trespass, I smoke pot and yes, I swallow. I am, without a doubt, the very worst kind of person.”
He chuckled and tipped his bottle.
“And I broke in. So why didn’t they?” Ana asked as yet another barrage of explosions set themselves off. “Why aren’t they here right now?”
Bonnie shrugged, rocking the arm behind her neck, which wedged it in at a different, even more uncomfortable angle. He said, “This p-p-place is supposed to be haunted.”
“By what, the ghost of pizza past?”
He looked at her, his eyelids lowered but level, and said, “Boo,” in a flat, unironic tone.
She rolled her eyes, then slung an arm around his neck and shifted so she sat up a little straighter and could get a little closer. “Should I be scared of you?” she asked in her sultriest voice.
His expression did not change. “Not g-g-gonna lie to you, baby girl, yeah. Yeah, you p-p-probably should.”
“No.” His hand rubbed on her shoulder some more, then pulled her uncomfortably against his side. He drank his beer and said, “No, tonight-t-t, you’re safe.”
“I am,” Ana agreed, losing her smile as more bombs went off at the quarry. “But those assholes are still out there. And you’re in here.” She tried to drink, but her throat was closing up. Her voice was too tight when she said, “What if they come inside?”
“No, you’re not getting it. What if they come…and I can’t stop them?”
He laughed. “You’re c-cu-cute.”
And that’s what she got for thinking she could have a conversation with an animatronic. Sooner or later, he was always going to cross a wire or just spit out the wrong response. He made it so easy to pretend he was real, but in the end, he was just a neat toy with buggy software.
Outside, the quarry boomed.
Ana pushed herself forward and rocked onto her knees.
“Aw, hey! D-D-Don’t go!”
“Relax, I’m not, but your arm is killing me.” She grabbed onto his neck, feeling a hundred years older and five hundred pounds heavier than she was, and shifted herself from the floor at his left side to sitting on his right thigh. “Is this okay?” she asked, settling herself gingerly.
“Hell yeah, it is.”
“I’m not too heavy? Am I hurting you?”
“Naw, you’re g-g-g—GREAT JOB!—good, baby.”
“I don’t want to break your knee again.”
“My knee’s fine. Solid-d-d as a—TIME TO—rock.” He gave it a slap as if to demonstrate, then hooked it from below and pulled it up in a slightly bent position, which tipped her against him, but at an angle that fought gravity more than aided it.
“Can you tip back?” she asked, trying to adjust herself.
“Yeah, sh-sh-sure, hold this.”
She took his beer and he put both hands on the floor and scooted himself forward a few inches, then leaned back into the wall again. This put his head at an obviously awkward angle, which could not help but be apparent, especially when he tried to drink again.
“Are you comfortable?” she asked guiltily, knowing he couldn’t possibly be.
He laughed again. “Comfort-t-t isn’t really a th-thing for me,” he told her dryly and patted his chest. “C-C-Cuddle up, baby.”
She did, nervous as a cat and slow to relax, but he was weirdly made for it. When he tucked his arm around her and braced it on his bent knee, he formed so perfect a cradle for her that it was impossible to stay tense. Her cheek fit perfectly against his chest; his chin rested perfectly on the crown of her head.
“I’ve never done this before,” she blurted, fighting laughter and tears together.
“I’ll b-b-be gentle,” he replied, reminding her yet again of all the furtive fumbling sex that had surely gone down within these walls while the animatronics took notes and added fun new phrases to their ever expanding vocabularies.
Another firework went off, the kind that didn’t jump up and send out sparks, but just boomed. The quarry caught the sound, throwing it out bigger and bigger. It sounded like a war zone out there. She could remember being small, running with David along the rocks with nothing but sparklers, trying to write their names in the air with the flashes. She could do it, but he never could, quite. Later, when it got a little darker and they were full up on soda pop and burgers, they’d sit together, she and David on either side of Aunt Easter with her arms warm around them both and watch the fireworks, real ones, the kind that spit colors or jumped up in the air and burst open. And that was what the Fourth of July was supposed to be. Barbeque and fireworks and family.
And just like that, she was crying. Bonnie couldn’t see it, so he didn’t know. He watched the stars and listened to bombs go off in the quarry, and his hand just stroked gently up and down on her bare arm—cold metal and worn fur, abrasive and unpleasant, welcome.
Footsteps. Freddy’s. They came all the way to the plastic sheets that hung over the doorway and stood there at least a minute while Bonnie and Ana pretended not to know he was there. At last, he grunted—he had ten thousand grunts, did Freddy, and that one said he knew damned well they knew he was there—and walked heavily away through the kitchen to the store room and back through the hall to the employee’s lounge.
When he was gone, Bonnie’s speakers emitted a low scuff of sound, neither a grunt nor a chuckle, but something deliberate, not just a crossed wire. He drank some beer.
“I thought he was going to tell us to leave room for the Holy Ghost,” muttered Ana, pretending to scratch her nose so she could wipe her eyes dry.
Now he snorted.
“He doesn’t like me.”
Bonnie shifted, trying to look down at her, but he couldn’t bend that way and Ana wasn’t budging to allow it. “You’re k-k-kidding, right? You’re part of the f-f-f—FAZBEAR BAND—family.”
She shook her head. “I swear too much and I smoke pot and do highly inappropriate things with the animatronics when I get drunk.”
“Th-There are worse th-th-things you could do.”
“I’m a bad influence,” she insisted. “If this place wasn’t shut down, he’d be throwing me out. And you know, he’s the one—don’t take this the wrong way—but he’s the one I needed, when I was little. He’s the one I’ve been waiting my whole life for. Now I’m here and he doesn’t like me.”
“He loves you,” Bonnie said, stroking her arm. “He’d k-k-kill for you.”
“Freddy wouldn’t hurt a flea to scratch it.”
His stroking hand stopped moving, then started again. “Fun-n-ny way to put that.”
Something in his too-casual tone made her rewind her words as best she could, only to discover they were, in fact, Mike Schmidt’s words.
“You never heard that one before?” she asked, feigning surprise like it was right up there with ‘gentle as a lamb’ or ‘wouldn’t say shit if he had a mouthful’.
“Yeah, act-t-t-ually, I have.”
Was this bad? It seemed like it ought to be bad, but the drugs were definitely kicking in and she couldn’t drum up much feeling for it. She held her bottle up, shaking the last few inches to get Bonnie’s attention and mumbling, “Want the rest? I’m over my limit.”
He took it, swallowed it off, and set the empty bottle aside. “You want-t-t to go to b-b-bed?” he asked, making absolutely no effort to move her.
“Think I might just sleep here. You mind?”
“Do I mind-d-d if we cuddle all night? You’re k-k-kidding, right? Who the hell would-d-d mind that?” He looked around suddenly, frowning in his plastic way. “Is…Is it cold? You okay? You need a b-b-blanket or anything-ing?”
“No. You’re warm enough.”
She watched the stars for a while. Her eyes had a way of staying shut just a little longer each time she blinked until, try as she might, she couldn’t get them open again until another boom from the quarry slapped the sleep right out of her. She couldn’t bolt up, but she flinched kind of all over and clutched at the stiff bristles that used to be a thick ruff on Bonnie’s chest. Once again, and for no reason, tears threatened, but Bonnie’s hand just kept moving the whole time, up and down, up and down, shoulder to elbow and back. Cool metal. Bare skin. Her eyelids grew heavier and heavier and finally closed.
“I’d kill f-f-for you,” he said, when she was too far gone to be much concerned. “Say the w-w-word, baby girl. I’ll g-go right now and take th-those noisy mothers out.”
He could not tense, but his internal mechanisms made new, loud noises as he prepared himself to move. “Yeah?”
“Which…Which bunnygirl do you think is the hottest?”
“Heh.” His machinery resumed their rhythms. “None of ‘em.”
“Who, then? I guess it doesn’t have to be a bunny. Cleocatra? Amelia Owlheart?” She thought back to the poster, groping through impending sleep for names. “Peggy? She’s all about the bass.”
“She is and I d-d-do like bass, but to t-t-tell you the t-tr-truth, I could never g-g-get into furries. God knows, I’m in no position to judge, but that shit’s just-t-t weird.”
She couldn’t open her eyes for that either, but she laughed. He laughed with her, then just sat quiet, humming and clicking beneath his skin, holding her until she slept.
Happy Fourth of July, all! Or at least, all of you who celebrate it. Have a nice day, everyone else! And keep reading my FNAFiction, updating every Saturday on Fanfiction.net and Archiveofourown.org!