The Duckburg Incident
The rain pounded against the roof of Heinz Doofenshmirtz’ shed, in Milo Murphy’s backyard. It was almost one in the morning and he was staring at a white board full of complex calculations. He frowned at it, as if something was missing. After a long moment he turned to Perry, who was standing, on top of a pile of boxes examining the white board. He chittered his teeth at Doofenshmirtz, who sighed.
“Yeah, I know Perry the Platypus,” said the disheveled looking scientist, “but the möbius loop collapses almost immediately, look.” Doofenshmirtz picked up a pad of paper, scribbled out some calculations and handed them to the platypus. Perry took them and studied them intently. He shook his his head, chittered at Doofenshmirtz, picked up a pen and wrote a new set of equations. He handed them back to Doofenshmirtz, who took them and examined them closely. He muttered under his breath, “Hmmmm….well, perhaps….maybe if….and then….yes.” He looked up and turned to Perry, “yes,” he said excitedly, “that might work.” Doofenshmirtz walked over to the white board and wiped it clean. He picked a marker and began to hurriedly write out Perry’s calculations, pausing here and there only to make slight modifications. The mathematical equations that Perry had written describe a modified möbius loop which would allow a properly shielded vehicle to travel along the length of the loop, stop at any point and return the temporal co-ordinates of its starting point. Of course, mapping out the mathematics of temporal physics was easy, actually building a vehicle that could safely navigate the time stream would be much, much harder. It would require facilities and precision equipment and funding and…..he pushed the thoughts away with difficulty. Perry had generously arranged to provide Doofenshmirtz with all of his OWCA pay as seed money for Doofenshmirtz’ research, and he was grateful for that. Doofenshmirtz had owned a large building in downtown Danville, however, his building had been destroyed by the Pistachions when they had tried to manipulate the timeline and take over the world. As a result he had lost his building, all of his personal effects, his equipment and most of his inators. Because of this, Doofenshmritz was living in a shed in the backyard of a thirteen year old boy, who by all accounts, including his own, was a walking catastrophe.
Doofenshmirtz pushed the thought away with difficulty. He knew he should be grateful to Milo and his family for taking him in and giving him a place to stay, but thoughts of his childhood came bubbling to the surface any way. Heinz Doofensmirtz had been born in Gimmelshtump, Drusselstein. From an early age Doofenshmirtz, had shown considerable intelligence, which had gone unrecognized by his family and teachers. The other children at school had claimed that the young Doofensmhirtz had smelled like pigs, and consequently the intelligent young boy had had no friends. As a result of his isolation Heinz had retreated into himself, focusing on building his inators, which became increasingly complex over time. When he was ten, Heinz was taken the Gimmelshtump Public Wetness Maker on one of the alternate Thursdays in which it was full of water. In the traditional rite of passage, Doofenshmirtz has been made to climb to the top of the tallest diving board and jump into the water below, however upon reaching the edge, his nerves had failed. Disappointed, his parents had disowned him. Shortly thereafter, Heinz’ father had brought home a puppy, which as if the emphasize the point, he had named Only Son. Only Son had gone on to become a champion show dog and had brought fame and wealth to Doofenshmirtz’ father, however, for Heinz there was nothing but misery. The family lawn gnome had been confiscated and Heinz had been dressed as a lawn gnome and forced to stand in front of his parents’ house in its place. Around the same time, Doofenshmirtz’ mother announced that she was expecting again. Convinced that the baby would be a girl, his mother had sewn a large number of dresses. To their surprise, the baby had been a boy, who, they had named Roger.
Roger quickly became the darling of his parents’ eye, while Heinz continued to receive nothing but neglect. He was forced to wear the girl’s clothing that his mother had made while she was pregnant with Roger, which had led to even more ridicule from the other children. In an effort to win his parents affection, Heinz had spent his entire allowance for a year on a teddy bear, which he had given to his mother, who immediately gave it to Roger. As Heinz grew into his teenage years he began to develop an interest in shadow puppetry, and as young man was eventually sent by his parents to seek his fortune in America, where he developed an interest in art. For awhile he struggled to find his muse, but eventually painted a masterpiece, at least until Roger spilled food on his work. Discouraged, Heinz abandoned art and attempted to become a poet, however he met with little success and his career as a poet proved to be short lived. He attempted to reinvent himself yet again, this time selling bratwursts. When this failed, Doofenshmirtz became determined to get back everyone who had ever wronged him and enrolled in evil school, which he failed after failing to blow up the moon in an effort to impress his teacher Dr. Gervaarlik. Around the same time, he briefly dated a young up and coming singer named Linda Flynn, but the relationship didn’t last. A short time later, he married and fathered a daughter named Vanessa, but this relationship also hadn’t lasted.
In the intervening sixteen years, Doofenshmirtz has devoted himself to doing evil. During this time his activities had come to the attention of the Organization without a Cool Acronym. OWCA had assigned Perry to thwart Doofenshmirtz’ many evil schemes. In spite of their often combative relationship, Doofenshmirtz had come to view the platypus as a friend. He supposed that was because he had always known where he stood with Perry. After OWCA had offered him the choice of prison for his many misdeeds, or community service, Perry had been assigned to keep Doofenshmirtz out of trouble. The previous year, shortly before he had lost his building, he had an encounter with a future version of himself, as well with a pair of time travellers from the late 22nd Century. He had been astonished to learn that he would eventually become the inventor of time travel. He stared around the cramped and cluttered shed. The rain drummed like incessant fingers on the medal roof. Boxes of inator parts were piled haphazardly in the corners and mathematical equations and sketched designs for new inators were taped to the walls. An unmade bed occupied the majority of one wall and a workbench occupied the majority of the opposite wall. Doofenshmirtz turned his attention back to the calculations on the whiteboard. They seemed to stare inscrutably back at him. Could he actually do this? he wondered, unlock the complexities of time travel in just fifteen years. For a second it seemed as though his hunched frame became even more round shouldered, as if was trying to hold up all the expectations that had ever been heaped on Doofensmirtz and wasn’t quite succeeding. He rubbed his eyes and stared and the equations again. Perry chittered at him.
Doofensmhirtz turned to face the platypus. “Yes, it’s late, Perry the Platypus,” he said. “Perhaps one more pot of coffee.” He picked up an empty coffee pot balanced unsteadily on top of a pile of books, walked to the door and went out into the rain.
The walk from his shed across the yard to the back door into the kitchen only took a couple of minutes, but in the pouring rain, Doofenshmritz was immediately drenched. He reached the kitchen door, pulled it open and went inside. A light over the stove cast a dim gloom over the room. He clicked on the overhead light and rummaged through the pantry looking for the instant coffee and the coffee filters. He quickly found them and filled up the coffee maker sitting next to the toaster oven at the end of the kitchen counter. He placed the coffee pot in the empty receptacle, pushed the button and waited for the coffee to brew. As he was waiting he heard the clatter of small objects hitting the floor overhead, followed by the sound of footsteps on the stairs. A second later, Milo sauntered casually into the kitchen. He was dressed in a pair of gym shorts, a faded Dr. Zone T-shirt and bare feet. As was always the case, his backpack was slung over his back. Without taking it off, he pulled open the flap on top and produced a grabber arm. He managed to pry open the refrigerator door, this time without breaking off the handle, reached inside and with the arm, pulled out six cans of Pep, depositing them into his backpack, one at a time.
“Oh, hi Doof,” he said causally. Distant chatter and laughter drifted downstairs through Milo’s open bedroom door. He had invited Zack, Melissa, Amanda, Phineas and Ferb over for a sleepover.
“Hi, Milo,” said Doofenshmirtz. His pot of coffee was almost full and the coffee maker gurgled loudly. Doofenshmirtz watched as Milo finished rummaging the fridge and turned to go back upstairs to his friends. “Uhhh…..Milo…..”he began awkwardly. The thin, round shouldered boy turned to face the formerly evil scientist. “Yeah, Doof,” said Milo expectantly.
“Ummmm……look, Milo,” continued Doofenshmirtz, “I never…..I mean…..I’m not very good at this sort of thing, but I never thanked you…..for well…..” he trailed off into an awkward silence.
“Oh,” replied Milo, “well if it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t have been able to stop the Pistachions, and your building getting blown up was partially the result of Murphy’s Law, so I guess in a sense we owe you one.” He turned to go back up stairs, to where his friends were waiting for him.
As Doofensmirtz watched Milo turned to leave, he suddenly thought of his own chaotic childhood again and how this skinny kid calmly lived in the middle of a hurricane of chaos. Before he could stop himself, he blurted out, “how do you do it, Milo?”
Milo stopped and turned face Doofenshmritz again. “How do I do what?” he asked. Doofenshmirtz looked stricken. He wasn’t sure at all why he was having this conversation with Milo. He felt as though he was asking the teenager to divulge an intimate secret. He wanted to say, “how do you live a normal life?” but couldn’t bring himself to actually say it. He started stammer, but Milo seemed to read his mind.
“Well, I had a really good babysitter,” replied Milo, after a second’s thought. The question had surprised him. No one had ever actually asked him how he managed to live with Murphy’s Law.“Veronica taught me a lot. She gave me my backpack.” He nodded at the heavy backpack still slung over his shoulders, “and Dad has been really helpful too.” Milo’s father had also been born with Murphy’s Law and Milo had come to greatly value his father’s advice and guidance. He looked at Doofenshmritz. “Why do you want to know?” he asked.
For a second, Doofensmhirtz looked as if he were about to confess his doubts about his future as Professor Time fifteen years from now, but he pushed the thought away. He was definitely not having that conversation with Milo. “Never mind,” he said dejectedly. “It doesn’t matter,” He picked the now full coffee pot. Milo gave him a searching look. “Well, OK,” he said after a long moment. He turned and went back up stairs.
Doofenshmirtz went back out into the pouring rain.