Chapter 1: A Day In The Life

I read the news today, oh boy
About a lucky man who made the grade

Ed did not watch TV. Ed manipulated the remote control pretty much the way she did everything else in life, in frantic spurts. "Uh...Ed?" Spike asked her.

She was hanging upside down so that her legs were draped over the back of the couch and her head was resting where a normal person would put their ass. "Hmmmmm?" she responded, though she did not stop flicking the channels for one moment.

"You, uh, gonna pick something there, Ed?" Spike asked, trying to be patient.


Spike was not surprised by this response. "So, you're just gonna be flipping all day then?"

"Du-uh," she giggled. "If Ed stops, she'll miss something."

Spike mulled this over for a bit. It wasn't really all that bad of reasoning. He looked back at the TV then at Ed, and then lunged for the controller.

Ed shrieked and monkey rolled off the couch. "No fair! It's Ed's turn!" she proclaimed as she wiggled out of her larger opponent's awkward grasp. She leapt onto the table, which Faye happened to be sitting at, and began clicking from her new perch. It was her turn and she felt the need to click on principle.

Spike dove for her on the table and she swan dived off of it into a heap on the floor. Spike took this opportunity to tackle her and attempt to pry the thing from her iron grip. Through all of this Faye did not look up from her magazine and Ed did not stop changing channels. "You can have the controller, just pick something!" Spike growled through gritted teeth as he tried to remove her finger from the surf button. God, this kid was freakishly strong. He thought he was gonna need the Jaws of Life.

"Ed don't wanna!" she argued.

"Seriously! All the clicking is gonna make me have an epileptic fit! OWWW!" Spike howled. He yanked his hand back in pain as Ed made a bee line for the couch. "You bit me," he marveled as he looked at the crescent moon shape she stamped into his flesh. "She bit me," he turned to Faye as if he was tattling.

"Yep," Faye said without looking up from her article on the lost Kama Sutra. "She sure did."

Ed peeked her head up from over the couch and stuck her tounge out. She was still flipping.

"That's it," he declared as he made one final lunge for the couch. He body slammed into the back of it, which made the entire thing topple over. Ed had managed to dodge the incoming furniture but in the process lost her grip on the remote. It flew in a graceful arc across the lounge and landed with a soft thud on Ein's ribcage. He startled from his sleep with a whimper, looked at the remote, looked back at his two idiot roommates, and went back to sleep. Just not before he gave them a look that indicated he was sooooo above all of this.

"And in psychology news, Dr. Raymond Lessep is making waves with a new concept in family health. The Lessep Clinic of Well-Being was introduced last year as a sort of retreat for families to go when they feel they have no other option. Located in a remote, lushly vegetated compound north of Ganymede, the clinic is dedicated to helping family units work out their, um, issues. Here's what Dr. Lessep himself has to say..."

"Click!" Ed mimed pressing a button at the TV.

"Hold up, Ed," Faye finally looked up from her periodical. "I wanna see what this guy has to say."

Spike gave her a curious glance before making his way to the set to turn up the volume.

" is the glue that holds the fabric of society together. When things are harmonious in the home, all other things fall into place. But when things aren't, those other things can get in the way of fixing the situation. That's why my retreat is so important. It allows families to drown out the outside world and focus purely on each other."

The entire population of the room made a skeptical sort of huffing sound.

"The Lessep Clinic of Well-Being," the TV anchor grinned. "Putting the FUN back in Not DysFUNctional."

The crew stared at the TV for a second before Ed asked, "Can Ed have the remote back now?"

"Yeah," Spike got up and stretched. He had practically taken up roots on the couch anyway. He should probably consider allowing the blood flow to the other neglected parts of his body. "Knock yourself out."

He lit up a butt and hopped up on the table. "So what was that about?" he asked Faye.

"What was what about?"

"Your interest in Mr. It's OK to Cry's little family hug fest. You having abandonment issues or something?"

Faye glared at him, but it was a sort of lazy, I'm-just-fulfilling-my-quota kind of glare. "Hardly. That Lessep guy looked familiar. And not in the 12 Step Program capacity," she leaned her head forward and lit her own cigarette off Spike's.

"Care to be more specific?"

"He looked a lot like a bookie in this one casino I used to,"

Spike's interest appeared to be mildly peaked. "Really. Do you think it is?"

"Could be. I mean, his hair was a different color and he had a beard and wore glasses. But his eyes looked the same. And he had the same nose. And the same voice."

"Ah. The old change my identity by sporting glasses trick," Spike leaned back a bit. "Nothing gets past you, eh, Valentine?"

"Yeah, well," Faye got up from the table. "Lois Lane, I ain't," she smiled seductively before making her way towards Ed. "Ed, you wanna do something for me?"

Ed stopped clicking. "Hmmmm...maybe."

"You wanna dig some dirt up on that Lessep guy?"

Ed sprung to her feet and gave her a huge, sweeping salute. "Aye-aye, Faye-Faye!"

Faye raised an eyebrow. "That means yes, right?"

"Yep! Yep!" she practically barked as she ran to fetch Tomato.

* * *

In about 15 minutes, Ed, Faye, Spike and Ein were crowded around the monitor. Ein was only interested because Spike was eating some beef jerky and he wanted in. "Mr. Lessep Person got his degree at Jupiter Institute of Science and Technology!" Ed declared while speaking through an old toilet paper roll. Spike promptly snatched it away from her and she stuck her tongue out at him for the second time that day. Spike stuck out his in return.

"Are you sure? I mean, could he have faked it?" Faye asked.

"Could have. JIST went bye-bye."

"Bye-bye how?" Spike asked.

"Bye-bye, blew up into teeny-tiny bits," Ed clarified as she brought up an old article. "Furnace went ka-blewie." She reached up and grabbed her toilet paper roll back from Spike. "BOOM!" she yelled into the tube, which she strategically placed two inches from his face.

Spike just nodded. "So all the records burned up. Convenient."

"I'll say," Faye agreed. "Ed, do you think you can find anything on Joe Kahn?" Then she added, "He was the bookie."

"Yeah, we figured, Faye," Spike patted her head.

She ignored him. In a few minutes, Ed had found a good amount of dirt on Kahn as well. "Kahn Person went ka-blewie two days after JIST. Car fire. FUBAR."

"FUBAR?" Faye asked.

"Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition!" Ed screamed into her makeshift megaphone.

"Ed," Spike scolded her but he was laughing. "Who told you that anyway?"

"Jet Person. Kinda fishy two things went ka-blewie like that, huh, Spike Person? What did Spike Person say before? Kinda..."


"Right! Conveeeeeeeniiiiiiiiieeeeeennnnnt," she grinned, happy to partake in the sleuthing.

"So what do ya think, Faye?" Spike asked as he cracked his knuckles over his head.

"I dunno. There's no bounty out for either of them. But maybe we can get one, you know? If we sorta point out that this is kinda shady to ISSP or something, maybe they'll hire us. Like a private contract."

"Private contract," Spike whistled. "That's pretty highfalutin. Talk to Jet when he gets back, though. It's sooooooooo crazy..."

"It just might work, right," Faye rolled her eyes. "Well, if it does work, I would like the record to show it was my idea."

"No problem. We'll just blame you when we fuck up anyway," Spike shrugged as he tossed his last bit of jerky to the dog.

* * *

Jet was immediately interested in his cohort's extra curricular activities. "Joe fucking Kahn," he mused, staring at the picture. "That little prick took numbers for the entire eastern galaxy. The ISSP was after him for years."

"How come they never caught him?" Faye asked.

Jet shrugged. "He was good at covering the ol' paper trail," he said. "But mostly half of our guys were clients." Jet examined the picture a little more closely. "Still, there are a lot of guys who would love to bring him in. Good publicity, you know?"

"Well, then that's our angle," Spike suggested. "We dangle fame in front of some rookie cop's face while we rack in the fortune."

"I dunno," Jet grumbled. "I mean I left ISSP half way because of this sort of bullshit. Now I'm gonna go back and perpetrate it? I'd feel like a hypocrite."

Both of his comrades seemed unaffected by his inner turmoil. "Are you in this or not, Jet?" Faye pressed. "If you've got some honor thing going on that's fine but then I need to start working on Plan B."

Jet acquired a look on his face that neither bounty hunter could quite read. " know I'm in. But I'll have you know I am sacrificing a good part of my self-respect."

"Self respect can be easily bought back, my friend," Spike grinned.



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