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A Mypiot's Gain is a Mypiot's Return

Written by:
Cousin Whitney

(Please note that this story is a sequel to Cousin Lauren's stories Vice King and A Hero for Mypos Sake)

Part One

Kara came into the living room with bowl of kettle corn popcorn.  "Hey Kels, what're you doing?"

Kelsey was sitting on the couch watching TV.  "Watching my favorite TV show Perfect Strangers."

Kara said, "You are always watching Perfect Strangers.  You love that show."

Kelsey shrugged her shoulders. "I canít help it; I like me some Balki Bartokomous.  He has a great personality; innocent, smart, funny, and cute!"

"And heís an immigrant from a weird country." Kara threw in as an extra.

Kelsey said, "I donít care, I would date himÖ if he was a real live person."

Kara said, "And be living by some weird immigrant ways, and eating weird foods."  Kara scrunched her face up.  She continued, "Well luckily you donít have to worry about that because he is not real, and you are too young."

Kara got up from the couch and went upstairs.  Kelsey ignored her sister.  She continued to watch TV then drifted off to sleep.

*************************

The apartment was a nice-sized apartment for two people.  There was a nice-sized living room with a nice-sized television, a sofa-bed, coffee-table, two end chairs, a fireplace with a mantle, a bookshelf behind the sofa-bed, two bedrooms and a bathroom in the rear of the apartment, and a kitchen to the right of the apartment with a bar where Larry Appleton, a short, curly haired figure, sat looking at some photos he took and making notes on his article he was writing for the Chronicle.

Larry absorbed the quiet atmosphere.  Although that feeling wouldnít last long when the apartment door flung open and a tall brown-haired figure came rushing in.  He stepped on the couch and jumped off the small end table barely knocking the lamp over.  "Cousin!  Cousin I have some fantastic news!" said the accented man.

Larry said with an annoyed face, "Balki what have I told you about stepping on the furniture?"

Balkiís high energy quickly faded away.  "Donít do that."

Larry said sternly, "Thatís right.  Now what fantastic news you have to tell me?"

Balkiís high energy quickly came back.  "I met a girl today!"

"Really?  Thatís great!" Larry said, sounding interested.

Balki continued, "Sheís nice, smart, sweet, tell funny jokes, and we have some things in commonly."

"Thatís in common.  Things in common." Larry corrected him.

"Cousin, would you like to meet her?" Balki asked.

Larry said, "Sure, when would you like to bring her over?"

Balki said, "How about meeting her right now?"

Larryís eyes bulged as if they were going to pop out.  "Now?!  Balki the place is a mess!  You forgot to wash the dishes last night, you havenít vacuumed, the place hasnít been dusted, and God knows what your room looks like."

"The place doesnít look that bad Cousin Ö besides all those things you mentioned." the innocent immigrant said.

Larry sighed, "Well bring her into our dirty home.  Sheíll probably think we are not well-mannered, either.  First impressions are always a good thing."

Balki said going to the door, "Cousin she is not going to think that.  Donít jump off the deep end."

Balki opened the door and motioned the young lady to come in.  "Sorry Kelsey it took so long, I had to make sure that it was okay with my cousin."  He closed the door and led her over to where Larry was standing which was between the sofa-bed and the coffee table.  "Cousin, this Kelsey Brighton, Kelsey this is my Cousin Larry."

The young lady extended her hand out and said with a questioning looked on her face, "Nice to meet you Cousin Larry?"

Larry said shaking her hand, "Just call me Larry.  Cousin Larry is just what Balki always calls me."

Balki motioned Kelsey to sit down while he went to his bedroom.  Larry sat in the chair facing the coffee table.  Larry started the conversation to ease the awkwardness.  "So you met Balki today?"

Kelsey said, "Yeah I had just got done shooting a scene and I was getting something to eat."

Larry said to make sure he heard her right, "Shooting a scene?"

Kelsey said, "Uh huh, Iím an actress, well a voice-over actress but I do TV and do extra work in films as well."

Larry said sounding impressed, "Wow thatís amazing to hear!  So you live out here in Chicago?"

"No, I stay in California, just on assignment here.  I graduated from the University of Nevada - Las Vegas."

Larry said surprised, "Really?  Balki and I have been to Las Vegas.  We actually won the trip.  The prizes were either the trip or a refrigerator that talks.  I wanted to take the refrigerator but Balki insisted that we go on the trip."

Kelsey giggled, "Balki told me that story.  Heís been telling all kinds of wonderful stories.  Especially the one of how he came to America and you took him in and taught him American ways.  The right ones and the not so right ones."

Larry was afraid to ask but wanted to know.  "Which ones has he mentioned the most?"

Kelsey said with a definite face, "The not so right ones."

Larry muttered, "Thatís what I figured."

Kelsey said quickly to bring Larryís hope up, "He mentioned other good things as well."

Before Larry could ask what the "other good things" were Balki came from his room.  "Here Kelsey, this is the other special person I wanted you to meet."  He held out a small stuffed gray sheep.  "This is Dimitri."

Larry gave a questioned look, "Balki you wanted Kelsey to meet your stuffed sheep?"

Balki said, "Uh huh."

Larry continued, "Balki heís not even a real person."

Balki quickly covered the stuffed sheepís ears.  "Cousin watch your mouth, he can hear you."

Larry shook his head with confusion.

Kelsey said holding the stuffed sheep, "Oh Balki, heís so cute!"

Balki said, "Heís one of the things that I brought that reminds me of home."

Kelsey still holding the sheep said, "Balki I want to learn more about Mypos."

Larry said, "Well I have heard the topic of this subject one too many times, so if youíll excuse me Iím going to get back to my article.  Nice to meet you Kelsey."

Kelsey said, "You too Larry."

Balki motioned Kelsey to sit back down on the couch.  "Iím going to go to the kitchen and get some refreshments and then Iíll tell you more about my Mediterranean island."  Balki went into the kitchen and got some lemonade, some potato chips, and French onion dip.  He put the items on a tray and took it into the living room.  "Kelsey I hope you like lemonade, po-tah-o chips and French onion dip."

Kelsey said, "I love those things.  Thanks Balki, so you were going to tell me about Mypos."

Balki started, "Well Mypos is about South of Greece, it is a small tiny island with beautiful lands and crystal clear waterfalls, instead of houses we have mud huts, like America has a president we have a king named King Ferdinand who runs Mypos.  Our government is not as organized as American government but King Ferdinand does his best to keep the criminals and bad people out.  And he is the only person on Mypos who has indoor plumbing.  We also have many and all kinds of livestock.  As I told you before I was a sheepherder before I left, well head sheepherder."  Balki said this in a deeper and proud tone.  "You know it is not very easy to become head sheepherder."

Kelsey said being so engaged in Balkiís story, "Mypos sounds like an interesting place.  But you said your government is not as organized as ours?"

Balki said, "No, Mypos is normally a quiet and safe place.  Every now and then weíll get a bad seed and normally they come from Sceptos, our rival island.  Myposians doesnít like Sceptics."

Kelsey asked, "So what do you do when a criminal surface?"

Balki said, "Well they are thrown in jail that is made out of stone and guarded by a goat."

Kelsey said, "Hmm interesting."

Balki looked away with a sad look.  "Even though some of those things happen sometimes, I still miss my homeland."

Kelsey gave him a friendly pat on his back.  "Balki itís natural to miss your homeland, I miss California at times, but the good thing about the work I do is I meet new and nice people."

Balki and Kelsey shared a moment.  Then Balki leaned to hug Kelsey, but Kelsey made the move first and gave him a passionate hug that almost knocked him off the couch.

"Wwoww." Balki said.

Larry came out of his bedroom heading toward the kitchen.  "Oh Kelsey youíre still here?"

Kelsey said, "Yeah Iíll be leaving in a minute.  Balki weíre still on for tomorrow?"

"Of course we are, donít be ridiculous."

"I cannot wait to try Myposian food."

Larry stopped what he was doing when he heard this.  "Kelsey youíre going to try Myposian food?"

Kelsey said, "Uh huh, heís going to make me three Myposian dishes."

Larry asked, "What dishes does he plan on fixing?"

Kelsey looked to try to remember the names of the dishes.  "Uhhh I hope I am saying these right."  She looked at Balki as she said them.  "Ding, ding machmud, moolinki loaf, and bibbibabkas.  Is that right?"

Balki clapped his hands as she said the Myposian dishes correctly.  "Thatís right!  Very good!"

Larry gave a more worried look.  "Did Balki translate exactly what are in those dishes?"

Kelsey said, "Yes."

"And youíre still willing to try them?"

Balki interjected, "Of course sheís willing to try them Cousin.  She is not nervous and scared as you were."

Larry said defending himself, "I was not nervous but the ingredients that are in Myposian food tend to make an American cringe a little.  And I certainly wasnít scared."

Balki said with his arms folded, "Cousin you were as scared as a sheep that was going to get sheared."

Larry made a face.

Kelsey asked again, "So Balki weíre still going to meet up to go shopping for the ingredients?"

Balki said, "Of course my little lamb kabob."

Kelsey said, "Okay, see ya tomorrow.  Bye Larry."

Larry said, "Bye Kelsey."

Balki closed the door and leaned against it dazed.  "Isnít she wonderful?"

Larry said, "Yes she is and must have a stomach made out of steel."  Larry sat back at the bar.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door.  Balki came out of his dazed state and opened it.  There standing was a delivery man.  "Iím looking for a Balk-eye Bar-toko-mouse?"

Balki said, "Iím Balk-eye."

The delivery man said, "Can you sign for this certified letter?"

Balki signed his name Ö in sign language.

The delivery man said with a puzzled look on his face, "I meant with a pen."  He held a pen out.  Balki took the pen and signed the clipboard, took the sealed envelope, and closed the door.

Larry said from the bar not looking up from his work, "Who was that Balki?"

Balki said, "A delivery man delivering this letter, it looks like itís from Mypos."

Larry said still not looking up from his work, "Ohhh!"

Balki tore open the envelope and said excitedly, "Itís from King Ferdinand; it must be important and urgent because he wrote in Myposian."  Balki started translating the letter in English as he read softly, his voice faded as he continued to read.

Larry asked continuing to work, "So howís the king?"

Balki didnít say anything.

"I asked how the king is." Larry said still writing.

Balki still didnít say anything.

Larry set his pen down and turned around on the bar stool.  "Balki?"  Balki still didnít answer.  He just stared out.  Larry got up and walked over to the couch with the same concerned look on his face.  "Balki whatís wrong?"  Balki still just stared out.  "Is something wrong with the king?  Is he sick?  Is there some kind of war conjuring up?  Balki tell me whatís wrong?" Larry asked frantically.

"I canít Cousin." Balki said still with the upset look on his face.

Larry asked again, "Please tell me what was in the letter."

Balki snapped out of it and got up and walked over to the bar.  "Nothing was in the letter Cousin."

Larry walked over to where Balki was standing.  "Something had to be in that letter, then you wouldnít have been sitting there stiff as a board."

Balki sighed and turned toward Larry.  "Cousin if I tell you what was in the letter promise me you wonít get upset."

Larryís brow arched.  "Usually when you say that something is wrong or you are covering something up."

"Promise Cousin." Balki demanded.

Larry gave in.  "Okay I promise I wonít get upset."

Balki motioned Larry to sit on the couch as he did the same.  "Okay Cousin." Balki said as he took in a deep breath.  "Remember when Eriki came and kidnapped you when I was taking my Vice King quiz, then we had to go to Mypos and stop him from stealing things from the Great Debate?"

Larryís eyes bugged as if they were going to pop out.  "You mean heís escaped AGAIN??!  What is up with this guy?  Come on Balki we have to get out of here!" Larry said as he was pulling Balkiís arm.

"NoÖno Cousin." Balki struggling to pull back.

Larry said as he clenched his teeth together, "What do you mean no?!  We have a mass kidnapper, thief, and possibly a murderer coming here after us!!!" Larry stressed.

Balki said trying to calm his overly-excited cousin down.  "Cousin would you calm down?  Eriki has not escaped from jail."

Larry stopped pulling on Balkiís arm and said in a calmer and questioned voice, "He hasnít?"

"No." Balki said.

Larry flopped down in one of the chairs with a sigh of relief.  "Ohh what a relief.  So what was in the letter that had you so stiff?"

Balki sighed again. "Well Eriki has a twin brother named Edriki and King Ferdinand has written that he is set out to avenge his brother for us putting him in jail."

Larryís eyes seemed to have grown wider this time. "You mean heís headed toward Chicago?!"  He started pulling on Balkiís arm again.  "Come on we have to get out of here, we have to move out of here, forget moving we have to RUN out of here!!!"

Balki said struggling harder to pull back than before, "Cousin would you calm down.  What the big deal is?"

Larry stressed, "What the big deal is?!  Balki we have the brother of someone that we put in jail coming after us!  And you said heís a twin."  Larry stopped and asked in a regular and calmer voice, "Is he an identical or fraternal twin?"

Balki said in a agreeable voice, "Heís an identical, yeah, yeah."

Larry went back to his frantic voice.  "Heís an identical twin and it has been proved a scientific fact that one twin can feel what the other one is feeling.  And I bet Edriki is feeling veeerrryyyy angry about what we did."

Balki said, "Cousin would you calm down before you have a nervous break dance?  Now listen, Chicago is a big and windy city.  Also I know Sceptics very well and they do not like to finish what they started.  Thatís why Mypos always win against Sceptos when we have our competition games.  Once he gets tired of walking around the big and windy city looking for us, heís going to think three times."

Larry said with a hopeful look, "Are you sure about that?"

"Well of course I am, donít be ridiculous.  Now I am going to pick out my best vest to wear when I go shopping with Kelsey tomorrow and donít worry Cousin, everything is alright."  Balki got up from the couch and went into his room.

Larry sat on the couch still having the worried look on his face.  He wanted to believe his immigrant, naive cousin but he just couldnít.  This had already happened to him twice and with Larryís (bad) luck it would happened again.  Larry got up from the couch and went into the kitchen and took two big swigs of Maalox to calm his upset stomach down.  He stopped by the bar and looked at his work he was working on and realized he was too upset to continue.  Too much excitement had happened to him in one night so he decided to go to bed.

During the night Larry tossed and turned.  He couldnít get the letter off his mind.  He decided maybe a glass of juice would help.  Larry got out of bed and put his robe and slippers on.  On his way to the kitchen he stopped and checked in on Balki.  He saw his cousin sleeping soundly away.  Larry wished he was soundly asleep as Balki was.  He quietly shut the door and headed for the kitchen.

He got a cup from the cupboard and poured himself a glass.  He picked up the cup and went over to the couch.  He turned on one of the lamps on the end table and sat down.  The letter was still on the coffee table.  Larry eyed the letter and finally picked it up.  He tried to translate it but couldnít.  Balki had only been teaching him Myposian for a few months but not enough to translate a full letter.  Larry laid his head back against the couch.  Just too much was going on.  Larry was used to this kind of excitement but barely adapted to it.  And it seemed like ever since Balki had moved in the excitement just kept coming even more than when he was living home with nine brothers and sisters.  Larry loved his immigrant cousin dearly and loved to learn about his heritage, but sometimes he wished his heritage was simpler and less stressful.  Larry really wanted to believe Balkiís words that everything was going to be alright but for some reason he couldnít.  Larry continued to lay his head against the couch until he drifted off to sleep.

*************************

The next morning Larry woke up on the couch to find himself covered with the couchís throw.  He threw the throw back, got up and rubbed his eyes as he walked toward the dining area.  There on the table he saw a well-made breakfast.  Larry smiled at the plate of food.  It was obvious that Balki had fixed him breakfast.  He smiled even more that it was made out of REAL food.  Larry gobbled down the food.

After he was done he put the dishes in the sink.  He assumed Balki was already gone on his date with Kelsey to the supermarket.  Larry thought it would be a good time to go down to the Chronicle and work some more on his article a little bit.

*************************

"Sir, Iím sorry were out of pig snout." said the supermarket clerk.

"You canít be out of pig snout.  Please can you check again?" Balki pleaded.

The supermarket clerk got on the microphone and said, "Can you do another check to see if we have pig snout in stock?"  The supermarket clerk kind of chuckled as he said this as well as the other shoppers.  "Are you a carnivore?" the supermarket clerk asked Balki.

Balki said not realizing that the clerk was making fun of him, "No, I am Myposian."

The clerk just shook his head.  Another clerk got on the PA and said, "No snout in stock.  I guess the pigs werenít available."  He chuckled as well as the other shoppers who burst out laughing.  Balki now realized that everyone was making fun of him.  He felt really embarrassed.

Kelsey saw the embarrassment on Balkiís face.  She said, "We donít have to have ding, ding machmud.  We have all the ingredients for the moolinki loaf and bibbibabkas.  Letís just get them."

Balki said kind of in a whining voice, "But Kelsey I wanted you to try one of the dishes that is the staples of the Myposian diet."

Kelsey said, "Well you can make that for our next dinner.  It will be something for me to look forward to."

Balki said in a disappointed voice, "Okay.  Just these items please."

Kelsey could tell that Balki was very disappointed of not being able to get all the ingredients.  She really wanted to cheer him up.  She noticed a gift store in the shopping center of the supermarket.  Kelsey said, "Balki while you pay for the items and load up the car, Iím going to go look in this store right quick.  Iíll be right back."

Balki said in the same tone of voice, "Okay."

Kelsey walked into the gift store that was similar to Hallmark.  It had all types of cards, porcelain and glass figurines, candles, and of course stuffed animals which is the aisle Kelsey headed down.  As she was looking she spotted a girl stuffed sheep.  She thought, "This would cheer Balki up and Dimitri would have a friend to be with."

As she was admiring the stuffed sheep a guy came down the aisle browsing.  He looked at the different types of animals on the shelf.  He noticed Kelsey.  Kelsey saw him out the corner of her eye.  He said trying to cover up his accent, "Excuse me, what gift would you recommend for letís say an old friend?"

Kelsey said kind of coolly and not looking, "It depends if the friend is a girl you could get them flowers, candy, jewelry, or stuffed animals.  If itís a guy and he collects things you could get something he collects, a wallet, a tie, or some cologne.  Excuse me I have to get going."

The guy stepped in front of Kelsey.  "Wait.  You think you have five more minutes to spare?  Thereís another gift shop in this shopping center and it looks like it has better gifts.  And you seem like youíre really good at picking out gifts and I really need this gift picked out by the end of the day.  Please just five minutes."

Kelsey thought and looked at the guy who had sort of a desperate look on his face.  Kelsey said, "Alright, no more than five minutes, my friend is waiting on me.  Let me pay for this sheep."  Kelsey headed to the cash register.

The guy muttered with his full accent, "Itís going to be more than five minutes of your time."  As said this he let out an evil laugh as he walked toward the front of the store.

*************************

Larry was on the couch still working on his article.  Balki came bursting into the room with his arms full of the groceries very frantic.

"Cousin!  Cousin!"  He dropped the groceries in the chair and plopped down next to Larry.  "Have you heard from Kelsey?"

Larry said in a concerned voice, "N-no I thought she was with you and you all were at the supermarket getting ingredients."

Balki said, "We were, but the supermarket didnít have all the ingredients for the ding, ding machmud and I got disappointed and she said she was going to look in one of the stores and never came back.  I have been calling her cell phone but havenít been getting no answer.  You think she stopped being my friend?" he said in a sad voice.

Larry said putting a comforting hand on Balkiís shoulder, "No Balki.  Iím sure thereís a perfectly good explanation."

Balki said finally calming down, "Maybe youíre right Cousin."

Larry finally realized a part of Balkiís story and asked in disbelief, "The grocery store didnít have all the ingredients for ding, ding machmud?"

Balki nodded.

"All it is is just pig snout and saffron." Larry said.

"I know, but they were out of pig snout.  I donít think they got the pigs in." Balki said.

Larry muttered, "Perhaps thatís a good thing."

Balki said as he was getting up, "Well I guess Iíll start dinner.  Iím sure Kelsey is going to be pretty hungry when she gets here.  I think Iíll get started on the bibbibabkas because as you know cousin you canít just 'whip up' a batch of bibbibabkas."

Larry said, "Oh boy donít I know."

Balki took the groceries into the kitchen and started getting organized.  He mixed up a batch of dough, set up a small table, put some saran wrap down, and sprinkled some flour on it.  Then he picked up the rolling pin like it was a sacred scroll.  "All right Rolly, time to get to work."  Balki positioned himself and began singing the first line as he moved his body in a wave-like motion, "When you rolling out the dough, just make sure you roll it slowÖ"

Larry eyed Balki with frustration.  "Balki?  BaÖ Balki?"  But Balki was so into the song that he didnít notice Larry calling him.  "Balki!!" Larry cried.

"Yeah, huh?" Balki asked.

"Can you please stop singing, I have to concentrate." Larry said.

Balki pleaded, "But Cousin you know you canít bake a batch of bibbibabkas without belting the bibbibabka ditty."

"But Balki, I know that buddy, but if I donít get this article finished by tonight, Iím going to be in big trouble." Larry said.

"Bummer Cousin." Balki said in a disappointed voice.

"Thank you Balki."

Balki leaned against the counter with his arms folded.  "But Cousin what am I going to do while youíre working?"

"I donít know Balki." Larry said.

Balki thought then said, "I know Cousin, why donít you sing the ditty with me?"

"No Balki I really have to work."

Balki pleaded, "Oh please Cousin."

"Balki I said no." Larry said sternly.

"I want you to sing with me!!" Balki said and lowered his head, crying.

"Oh!" Larry sighed with frustration, then gave in.  "All right, all rightÖIíll sing with you...but only for one bibbibabka."

Larry put his work aside and walked over to the kitchen.  "Alright, letís get this over with."

Balki picked up the rolling pin and positioned his body the same as before.  They both started singing the first line, "When you rolling out the dough, just make sure you roll it slow."  Both sang the second line while Balki was wiggling his shoulders and moving from side to side while Larry used a wooden instrument to make indentations in the dough, "If you make the dough too quick, bibbibabka make you sick."  Both sang the third line while Balki piped the filling into the center of one piece of dough, "When you pour the filling in, just make sure you wear a grin."  Both sang the last line while making a limbo-type motion, "When you smile on what you bake, bibbibabka turn out swell!"

Balki took the finished bibbibabka and placed it on the baking sheet.  "All right Cousin, on to the next bibbibabka."

Larry said sternly, "Nooo Balki, I told you I would sing for one bibibabaka only.  I have to get back to work."

Balki started to argue with him and Larry argued back until Larry finally said as if he was talking to a child, "Balki!  Why donít you wait till Kelsey gets here, then you can both sing it together!  Iím sure you havenít taught the ditty to her."

Balki smiled as Larry went back over to the couch.  Balki said, "Youíre right Cousin. Iíll just get started on the moolinki loaf.  But first let me try calling Kelseyís cell phone again."

Balki went over to the phone, picked up the receiver and dialed, and waited for an answer.  After so many rings Balki hung up the phone.  "Still no answer." Balki said sounding disappointed.

Larry said not looking up from his work, "Kelsey is probably busy and canít get to the phone at the moment.  Iím sure when she gets a minute sheíll return your call."

"Okay Cousin."  Balki went back into the kitchen and prepared to make the moolinki loaf when there was a knock at the door.  Balki said excitedly while running toward the door, "Maybe that's Kelsey!!!"

He opened the door but didnít see anybody.  He looked down and saw a girl stuffed sheep with note attached to it.  He stuck his head further down the hall to see if there was anybody out there.  Confused he picked up the stuffed sheep, the note, and went back into the apartment.

"Who was it Balki?" Larry asked.

Balki said looking at the stuffed sheep confused, "No one but someone left this stuffed sheep outside the door with a note attached to it."

Larry being nosy set his work aside.  "I wonder who itís from."  He eyed Balki worriedly asking, "Itís not another letter from Mypos again is it?"

Balki said looking at the envelope to see who it could be from, "No Cousin, thereís even no address on it.  It just says 'To Balki.'"  Balki observed the letter a little bit longer, then said, "Oh well." while tossing it on the coffee table and heading back to the kitchen.

Larry gave a stunned look to Balki then to the letter.  "Wait Balki, arenít you going to open it and see who itís from?"

"Cousin I donít have time, I have to get started on the moolinki loaf." Balki said.

"Arenít you curious to know who wrote it?" Larry asked.

Balki said pulling a mixing bowl from out the cupboard, "Iíll read it later."

"But BalkiÖ" Larry said trying to make it seem like Balki needed to open the letter.  "Someone took their time to sit down and come up with ideas and actually put pen to paper to write these ideas."

"YesÖbut." Balki tried to explain.

But Larry interjected, "And then they took even more time to put the letter in the envelope."

"YesÖbutÖbut."

"And to think they even took more precious time to deliver the letter and this mysterious sheep to our door."

"YesÖbut, but, but."

"Who knows Balki they could have been coming from the other side of town." Larry now said in a sincere voice, "Now Balki you donít want to make this person think of you as inconsiderate and you hurt their feelings now do you?"

Larry accomplished his goal: he made Balki feel guilty.  Balki ran over to his cousinís arms crying.  "Oh Cousin!  No, I donít want to do that!" Balki said crying on Larryís shoulder.

Larry said comforting Balki as if he was a child, "No, no, of course not."  He pushed Balki up to face him.  "So you know how you cannot do that?"  He picked up the letter and held it close to Balkiís face.  "Open the letter."

Balki took the letter, sniffed, and said, "Thank you Cousin."

Larry said with a slight evil grin, "Youíre welcome."

Both Larry and Balki sat down on the couch as Balki opened the letter.  The letter said, "Dear Balki, how have you been ole buddy, ole pal?  How has the American life been treating you?  Having the nice job, living in a nice apartment, and driving a nice car.  Well all your niceness put my brother in jail for a long time.  So I have found my way to the windy city and I have someone you may know.  Her name begins with a 'K.'  So if you want to see her again meet me at the abandoned Pinchot Warehouse on Linn-Baker Ave.  Sign an old friend."

Balki looked at Larry with a worried look, "Cousin, Edriki is in town and he has Kelsey."

Larry said, "What?"

"Edriki has kidnapped Kelsey.  That explains why she hasnít been answering her phone."  Balki got up and went toward his room in silence.

"Balki where are you going?" Larry asked.

"Iím going to figure out a way to rescue Kelsey."

Larry got up with a concerned look, "Balki this guy is dangerous.  He seems more dangerous than his brotherÖ"

Balki cut Larry off, "Cousin I am not concerned about that now.  I am concerned about Kelsey.  Sceptics are more meaner to girls than guys.  I mean Cousin all you got was a flesh wound.  But he may make her take care of their sacred snake, constantly clean up the Sceptos house, or even clip his toenails."

Larry's brow arched in confusion, "Interesting."

Balki went into his room.  Larry rubbed his curly hair with worry.  He looked at his pile of work.  He knew he wasnít going to get his article done now.

*************************

The abandoned warehouse was the typical abandoned warehouse.  Broken windows, holes in the roof, old equipment and furniture, cobwebs, and dust everywhere.  Kelsey looked around the building as she sat tied to a chair.  Edriki walked in the room.  Kelsey quickly turned her head with disgust as he approached her.  He chuckled as he folded his arms.

"Still not talking?  Thatís okay."  He walked over to a desk and leaned against it.  "Iím sure youíll be talking when you find out whatís going to happen to your precious Mypiot."

Kelsey raised her head with curiosity.  He chuckled as he walked around the desk to sit down.  Kelsey wanted to ask what he was going to do, but was afraid of what the answer may be so she changed the subject.  "Why do you dislike Balki so much?  What could he possibly have done?"

"Why do I dislike him?!!!!"  The Sceptic said in a voice that kind of made Kelsey regret asking the question.  He slowly sat back down in the chair and leaned back in it.  "Sceptics have always disliked Myposians.  They have thicker hair, they are more handsome than we are, and they donít have flaring nostrils, crowís feet, or the lines around their eyes."  Kelsey eyed the Sceptic as he turned around and slightly shook her head with agreement then abruptly stopped as he turned back around to face her.  "And Ö that meddling Mypiot always interferes every time Sceptos tries to take over Mypos.  Our island has been trying several times to open businesses in Mypos with the businesses in Sceptos."

"Wh-what kind of businesses?" Kelsey asked.

"Illegal businesses, illegal trading of livestock, goods that are sold in Sceptos that is not sold in Mypos.  And each time King Ferdinand finds out and refuses and itís all because that Mypiot tells him.  A few years ago my twin brother Eriki tried again and was refused.  Also at the time King Ferdinand was looking for a Vice King, and Balki is nine hundred and eighty-sixth in line to take over throne."

"I take it you were nine hundred and eighty-fifth." Kelsey said.

"Eriki was nine hundred and eighty-fifth, I was nine hundred ad eighty-fourth, but we moved to Sceptos when were younger.  When Eriki found out that King Ferdinand wanted a Vice King he grabbed at the opportunity to get at it again, but knew Balki would have a better chance of getting the title because of his well-meaning personality.  Well Eriki was thrown in jail but because he got bailed out by some friends he was able to take over Sceptic government and had plenty of power.  While that was going, Balki and that scaredy cat cousin of his stopped Eriki from stealing government artifacts from different palaces during the Great Debate."  Kelsey gave him a look of confusion.  Edriki sighed not really wanted to explain what the Great Debate was.  "The Great Debate is where governments of the Tri-Island area meet together and talk over ideas to better countries.  Anyway, now Eriki is in a maximum security jail for life and I am going to get my revenge against that always sticking-his-nose-in-business-where-it-doesnít-belong Mypiot."  Edriki raised a powerful fist in the air.

Kelsey thought about what Balki had said about bad seeds coming up every now and then in Mypos and they seemed like the bad seed.  "Wh-what do you plan to do?" Kelsey asked kind of sheepishly while adjusting in the chair because of the tightness of the ropes.

Edriki said, "There is going to be a duel.  An old-fashioned duel with swords.  Only thing is my sword is going to have poison on it from our sacred snake.  As soon as I stab Balki with my sword, he will die instantly from the poison."  Edriki let out an evil laugh.  Kelsey sat as stiff as a board after she absorbed what was just said.  "Then we will go back to Mypos, release Eriki from jail, de-throne King Ferdinand, Iíll become King and make you my Queen, and make all the people of Mypos our servants and peasants and force them to obey us."

Kelsey said in a demanding voice, "I am not going to Mypos with you and I donít want to be queen or make the citizens of Mypos servants or peasants."

Edriki gave her an angry glare. "If you donít decide to go to Mypos and become my Queen you will be in the same position as the Mypiot.  The choice is up to you!!!" Edriki stormed out the room.

*************************

"Balki I am real nervous for you to go through with this." Larry said as Balki was gathering some things together.

"Cousin I got to."

Larry pleaded, "But Balki do you realize how dangerous he is?"

"Well of course I do, donít be ridiculous.  But Kelsey is a good friend to me as you are and I wouldnít want anything bad to happen to the people that I care about.  I wouldnít be able to live with myself." Balki said as he put the last few items in the bag.

Larry interjected, "Well at least I should come with you."

Balki put a comforting hand on Larryís shoulder.  "Cousin even though you are ľ MyposianÖ you cannot fight well."  Larry gave Balki a somewhat hurt and confused look.  Balki continued, "You get nervous and upset too quickly.  I think itís best if you stay here."

Larry said pleading to prove his bravery, "What if I can be lookout?"

Balki said with a confused look, "What are you looking out at?"

"No, no a lookout is someone who keeps an eye out just in case the bad guy is coming and warns the other person to be careful."

Balki said, "Cousin with how scared you can get I donít think you are lookout material."  Larry gave Balki another hurtful look.

Balki said putting the bag over his shoulder, "Well I better get going.  Cousin donít worry, Iíll be fine.  Once I get back with Kelsey, weíll do the Dance of Joy for her and have a big celebration!"  Balki walked out the door.

Larry sat on the couch.  He looked around at the empty apartment then to his pile of work.  He was definitely not going to be able to concentrate, but had to try.  He picked up his pencil and notebook and tried to start writing.  Larry could NOT concentrate.  Knowing that his cousin was going to be hurt or maybe even killed.  No, no Balkiís life was more important than some article.  He had taught and been through too much with Balki to lose him.  He did not care what Balki said, he was not going to stand around and let something like that happen to him.

Unfortunately Balki took the address for the warehouse.  Luckily for Larry being a journalist he knew how to get his information.  He picked up the notepad that Balki wrote the address on, took a pencil and rubbed it across the pad to make an impression of where Balki had written.

"Ha!  I got it!" Larry said triumphantly.  Larry ran to the door and said as he was taking his coat off the rack, "Balki here I come!" And shut the door.

*************************

Edriki had not returned yet.  This was a good thing for Kelsey because no other threats were made toward her.  Kelsey was tired.  She was more than tired she was HUNGRY.  That Myposian dinner sounded good right about now.  In fact anything sounded good right about now.  She wished Balki would come and rescue her.  Then she suddenly remembered what Edriki said he was going to do to Balki when he did show up.  She didnít want that to happen.

She thought maybe she should do what Edriki said and go to Mypos with him.  Maybe he would spare Balkiís life.  If she did decide to go to Mypos she would be very far away from her family, friends, and lose her wonderful career.  And plus she was too young to be Queen.  As much as she wanted to see Mypos as Balki had described so beautifully she didnít want to see it this way.  She would prefer to see Mypos with Balki and learn all about the little Mediterranean islandís history from him.  Kelseyís head started to swim with all the what-ifs and maybes and especially for the fact that she was extremely hungry that she drifted off to sleep.

Balki approached the half-dark warehouse.  He took the bag off his shoulder, opened it, and pulled out a flashlight and walked into the building.  Inside the building the front was still in good standing.  Great standing actually.  There was nice furniture, computers, clean carpet, televisions, etc.  There were all kinds of modern paintings hanging on the wall.  There was even a working fountain going.  There was a hallway that led straight to back.

Balki walked down the hallway carefully just in case something or someone jumped out unexpectedly.  He carefully turned the knob.  When the door opened he shined the flashlight around the room.  The only light that was on was the desk lamp.  Balki continued to the shine the light around the room until he saw Kelsey sitting across from the desk soundly asleep.

Balki ran over and lightly tapped her.  "Kelsey!  Kelsey! Are you alright?"

Kelsey groaned and barely opened her eyes.  Balki lightly tapped her again.  Kelsey strained to open her eyes.  She was unfocused and her vision was blurry.  She blinked her eyes a few times.  The more she blinked she began to recognize the dark-haired figure with the accent.  "Balki?" She said weakly.

"Yes it is me.  Youíre not hurt are you?" Balki asked.

"No, just tired and really hungry."

"Donít worry, everything s alright now." he said as he began to untie her.  He struggled with her ropes.  "I hate the way Sceptics tie their knots." Balki cursed.

"Balki I got something important to tell you." Kelsey announced.

"Kelsey not right now." Balki said.

"But Balki itís really important." Kelsey pleaded.

"Kelsey, shh I have to concentrate."

"Bu-Balki." Kelsey argued.

"Kels-shhÖ"

"Well, well, well I knew you were going to show up.  Sooner than I thought." Edriki said as he stepped into the room.

Balki got up on his feet.  "Hello Edriki." Balki said in snobbish tone.

They both walked in unison in a half circle and performed a ritual greeting by snapping their fingers, clapping their hands, flexing their knees, and ending it by popping their mouths.  They resumed their angry stances.  "Let Kelsey go." Balki demanded.

"I donít think so, Myp-idiot.  Not until what I came here for has been taken care of and that is what you did to my brother."  He started to walk around.  "You see Balki you have always interfered with us Sceptics and itís time to put a stop to that." Edriki threatened.

"Kelsey had nothing to do with that." Balki interjected.

"No but she is an accessory to you just like that that wimp of a cousin you got."

"Donít you talk that way about Cousin Larry." Balki demanded.

"However I will be willing to let her go by having a duel.  An old-fashioned duel.  Winner takes all." Edriki said.

"All what?" Balki asked.

"WellÖif I win Kelsey goes back to Mypos with me, then I de-throne King Ferdinand, release Eriki, and rule Mypos and you and the rest of the Myp-idiots become my servants and peasants." Edriki sneered.

"What if I win?" Balki asked.

"I will go back to Sceptos and wonít bother Mypos again." Edriki said sincerely.

Balki said, "I will agree to your terms under two conditions, Kelsey stays here in America and there is no harm to her or Cousin Larry."

Edriki thought, "Well okay but that means you will be my main servant." He said although he crossed his fingers behind his back showing he wasnít going to go by Balkiís conditions anyway.

"The terms are agreed on then." Balki said as he took in a deep breath.

"Balki no! Itís a tra-." Kelsey tried to say but Edriki cut her off.

"Shut her up or she will be gagged."

Balki went over to Kelsey and kneeled down in front of her.  "Kelsey donít worry, Iím going to be alright.  Iím going through with this duel."

"But Balki itís a trap." Kelsey tried to say quickly to Balki as he rose to his feet and faced Edriki.

"Letís get ready to rumble." Balki sneered.

"Oh no!" Kelsey whimpered softly.

Edriki tossed a sword to Balki.  He caught it.  Edriki picked up his sword.  Balki and Edriki held their swords opposite of the opponentís shoulder circling each other.

"Letís see what you got Mr. Well-Mannered sheepherder." Edriki taunted.

Balki lowered his eyebrows.  He was getting just a little annoyed with the name calling.

They began to sword fight, exchanging swings and continuing to circle each other.  Then they moved back and forth clashing their swords in the air.  Kelsey would look away but then again would look at the action because she had never seen a sword fight up close.  The sound of the swords going against each other of the two immigrants fighting continued.

Larry snuck in from one of the back doors and crept over to where Kelsey was.  "Kelsey are you alright?" Larry asked quietly.

"Oh Larry I am so glad to see you.  Balki is in danger." Kelsey said.

Larry looked up and saw Balki doing his fancy footwork.  "Well he looks like heís doing alright to me.  Balki has done sword fights before." Larry explained.

"No, Edrikiís sword got poison on it and he plans to stab Balki.  And when he does stab Balki with it he will die instantly.  And Balki doesnít know.  I tried to tell him, but he wouldnít let me." Kelsey explained.

Larryís eyes grew wide.  "Oh my Lord!  Okay we have to warn Balki Ö somehow." he said as he began to untie Kelsey.  "I donít understand why Sceptics have to tie their knots so tightly." Larry complained.  He finally got her untied.  "Come on letís go over this way." Larry said as he pointed in the direction he was talking about.

Kelsey got up and rubbed her wrists to bring the circulation back into them and followed Larry.  They snuck behind a pillar and peeked from behind it.

Balki and Edriki continued fighting.  "You might as well give it up Mr. Well-Mannered sheepherder.  Mypos is mine!"

Balki brought Edrikiís sword down and formed an "X" and paused to say, "I donít think so."

"Yahhh!" Edriki hollered.

They continued to clash their swords together.  Larry and Kelsey continued to watch from behind the pillar.  Kelsey whispered, "I donít think we are going to be able to warn Balki, Larry."

Larry whispered, "We have to try.  Iím going to prove my bravery here.  Iím tired of being classified as a wimp.  I am a brave guy.  Really I am!" Larry said as he began to whine.

Kelsey begged, "Larry, I am going to need you to calm down."

Larry gave Kelsey a hurtful look as she turned him back around to where the action was.  Balki was starting to get exhausted.  Edriki knew and could see this.  This was the perfect opportunity to do what he planned to do.

But Balki was way smarter than that and not tired enough not to pull one of his super moves and knock the sword out of Edrikiís hand.  Edriki looked at his sword on the ground in shock, then saw Balkiís sword directly in front of his face.

Edriki dropped to his knees and held his hands in a prayer position.  "You have prevailed.  Please, please let me go.  If you do I will never bother you, Mypos, or your cousin again.  I will take myself directly back to Sceptos and never surface again."

This was the perfect opportunity to finish Edriki off, but Balki opted not to.  "All right, Iíll let you go.  You gather your things and go back to Sceptos and never return to Mypos or even think about trying to take it over.  Mypos is a good country and it intends to stay that way.  And donít ever talk that way about Cousin Larry again." Balki stated.  He dropped his sword to his side and turned around.

"Oh I hate when he does that." Larry moaned.

Edriki got a slight evil grin on his face, grabbed his sword and got on his feet.  Balki saw Edrikiís shadow move and turned around quickly to find Edriki charging at him.  They both began to clash their sword against each other again.  Edriki noticed Balki was not guarding his right side as much.  Edriki took his sword and jabbed it into Balkiís right side.  Larry and Kelsey gasped with horror.

Continue to Part Two . . . .