Chapter 4
Paul Throws Down The Gauntlet

 George ran inside. "Hey, Johnny, Ringo," he said, out of breath. "Where's Paul?"
 "Out. We were starting to wonder about you. Mr. Mousie thought you were 100% dead," Ringo said.
 All of a sudden Paul ran in. "George!!" he exclaimed.
 "Paul? That was you at the theater?" George asked.
 Paul hunched forward. "Yes, it was me. I saw you and Julie." He started towards George. "I didn't like what I saw."
 George backed away. "Neither did I, it was a terrible movie." He laughed nervously. "Right, Paul?"
 "You were just her escort, George," Paul said.
 "I know! I know! But she was the one who kissed me!" George exclaimed.
 "All right, Johnny, you know the drill when someone gets kissed," Ringo whispered. "One, two three..."
 "Ooooooh!" John and Ringo fell on the floor, laughing. Paul snapped at them and they shut up. When he turned back to George, he saw that his prey had split. In other words, George was not in the place that Paul had last seen him in.
 Ringo looked up at the attic with a knowing glance. The ladder was still down.
 "Thanks," Paul said, climbing up the ladder. George was in a corner of the attic, squirming.
 "Please don't hurt me," he squeaked.
 Paul came closer. And closer. His arms reached out for George's neck. Closer...
 George ducked under one of Paul's arms and tumbled down the attic ladder. He ran into the closet and shut the door before Paul came around the corner.
 "Where did he go?? Let me at him! I'll tear him from limb to limb! I'll kill him! I'll kill him! George is as good as dead!" Paul got an eerie smile on his face. George didn't make a sound. He stepped away from the closet door in case Paul came near. Then George found out too late that Ringo had left Mr. Mousie in the closet.
 Squeek! George jumped. The closet door opened and there seemed to be no escape for George. Paul's deranged facial expression got scarier and scarier.
 "Now- now- now- Paul...get a hold of yourself, Paul! Your ankle is better! You can keep going out with Julie! I- I promise I didn't enforce that kiss! In fact, I fainted cold!" George began to shrink into a corner.
 "That's no excuse," Paul said with a psychotic giggle. George could almost see his eyes glowing. This was even scarier than The Vampire's Revenge. "You're dead meat!"
 George whimpered as Paul threw out Mr. Mousie and closed the closet door behind him. He turned out the closet light and George felt himself being shaken by some unseen force. This shaking was making him lose air and choke. John and Ringo sat outside, playing cards.
 "Got any fives?" Ringo asked.
 "Go fish," John replied.
 "AAAAARRRGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!" came Paul's powerful bellow.
 "HELP!!!" came George's desperate plea.
 "Got any kings?" John asked.
 "You know I do," Ringo said, handing over two kings.
 John slammed some cards down. "What is that racket?"
 Ringo walked over to the closet and knocked on the door. "Keep it down! We're in the middle of a game! Mr. Mousie thinks you're being 100% too loud!"
 Paul poked his head out, bruised and sweating. "Sorry."
 "RINGO YOU TWIT!!!! HELP ME!!!!!" George cried.
 "Could you shut him up?" John asked crossly.
 "Glad to," Paul replied, putting tape over George's mouth and closing the closet door. All that came now were thumps and "mmmmph!"s.
 A few minutes later, George ran out, ripping the tape off of his mouth. He dived over the couch just as Paul thundered towards him. Paul did the same thing George had done and pinned him down to the floor.
 "This is one sweet moment," Paul said, raising his fist.
 "Hold it, Paul," John said, coming up. "Do you really want to do this? Do you really want to knock the stuffing out of George and live with the guilt of his terrified glances for the rest of your life?"
 "YES!" Paul shouted, raising his hand even higher.
 "Come now, what would Julie say?" Ringo asked. "She'd never speak to you again. And neither would George. Why, Paul, you could be the one to destroy us."
 Paul put down his fist. "You two really annoy me," he said. "I thought you were on my side."
 "We were until we saw little horrified George running out of the closet like his behind was on fire," Ringo replied. "All you can do now, Paul, is throw the punch. You've gone this far. Mr. Mousie agrees with me 100%." Paul smiled and raised his fist again at Ringo's comment.
 "But-" John continued- "may we remind you that this could be your own undoing. Everyone would hear what a savage, vengeful little hate monger you are and nobody would ever speak to you again. Oh, well. Small price to pay for sweet revenge, eh, Paul? Go ahead and clobber the little weasel. He hasn't a chance."
 "What are you trying to accomplish?" Paul asked. "You're getting on my nerves."
 "Exactly," Ringo said. "We were giving George a head start."
 "What?!?" Paul looked down and saw that while he had been talking with John and Ringo, George had wriggled away and was far, far gone. Far, far, far gone. In fact, he was out of the house.
 George ran down the street, not minding that he was barefoot. He ran like he had never run before, partly because his feet were getting cut up and partly because he was trying to lose Paul. He had already lost him for now, but George didn't know that. He just knew he had to run. George found his feet on Julie's porch. He knocked on the door quickly.
 A groggy Julie dressed in a bathrobe answered the door. "What are you doing here?"
 "Can I come in now??" George asked, looking around him.
 Julie let George in and he immediately ran upstairs. She stood at the foot of the stairs, wide awake now. Shy little George could be really impetuous if he put his mind to it. She walked upstairs and peeked around the corner. George was huddled at the end of the hallway. Something told Julie that maybe he wasn't trying anything.
 A loud pounding came on the door. George hid under the table. "Don't answer it!!!!"
 Julie went downstairs and opened the door. There was a soggy Paul who looked like he was going to snap any moment. "Is George around?" he asked.
 "I'm not here!! Oops!" George cried from upstairs. Paul ran up to where he had heard the voice.
 "What's going on?" Julie asked. There were a lot of thumps from upstairs. A few minutes later, a proud, happy Paul strutted down. "See you," he said to Julie. After that he walked out.
 Julie ran upstairs and saw a conscious yet bludgeoned George. "Help," he sighed weakly. "Band-Aid."
 "I hope that's not your death wish," Julie said, getting out her first aid kit. She was an intern nurse at the hospital, so she was well prepared. She had also been a Girl Scout, and the motto was, of course, "Be prepared." So Julie was prepared. She fixed George up nice with bandages and cold compresses. He laid down on the couch and fell asleep. As she looked down at George, she thought that Paul was a loose end that needed to be tied. Up.

 Paul walked into the house, proud and happy. John and Ringo were still playing go fish. John looked up. "Hold on. Two people left, and only one came back. Where is George?"
 "Someplace," Paul said. "I don't think he'll die, though, so you won't have to worry too much."
 "Where is he? Mr. Mousie is 100% worried," Ringo said.
 "Like I said, someplace," Paul replied, falling asleep.
 John turned to Ringo and asked, "Where is a place George would go for sanctuary?"
 "Notre Dame Cathedral?" Ringo guessed.
 "Try somewhere closer to home," John said.
 "Uh...that place down the street?" Ringo was clearly confused.
 "Try again," John said. "And hurry. We're running out of time."
 "Oh, I see, Julie's!" Ringo said. "Let's go."

 Five minutes later, John and Ringo arrived at the light blue house on the corner of Jade and Farfield. Julie was inside, cleaning up the sleeping George. Ringo knocked on the door. They could see Julie drop the rag she was cleaning George with. She seemed afraid that might be Paul but when she saw who was there, Julie breathed a sigh of relief and opened the door. John and Ringo went to the couch and saw George. He was sort of smiling.
 "What did you do to him?" John asked. "Bad girl. Look at how he's smiling and sweating. And all these red marks!" John clicked his tongue. "As if he's not under enough pressure already."
 "What are you hinting at?" Julie asked.
 "You know very well what we're hinting at. There's no stopping Paul now!" Ringo exclaimed.
 "What in the world are you talking about?" Julie became more confused.
 "You know perfectly well what we're talking about!" they shouted.
 "What do you mean?"
 "You know perfectly well what we mean!"
 "No, I don't."
 John and Ringo stopped for a moment. "Probably just some clever ruse," Ringo whispered to John.
 "Clever indeed. You could cut yourself on a wit that sharp," John replied. "Look at how flushed he is!"
 "So?" Julie asked.
 "There's only two things that could possibly get George that red," Ringo said. "Either he's been beat up bad or..."
 "Like I said, what are you suggesting?" Julie was beginning to get frustrated.
 "You know perfectly well what we're suggesting!" John and Ringo said in unison.
 "NO, I DO NOT!" Julie shouted.
 "Look at his suit! How could you deny that?" Ringo asked.
 "I didn't do anything to his suit. What, do you want me to clean it?" Julie was almost as red as George now. "You guys are so sick! How could you think that?"
 All of a sudden, the door burst open and in came a satisfied Paul. Ringo and John ran up to him and began talking all at once. Paul couldn't understand what they were saying.
 "What???" Paul asked. He clamped his hand over Ringo's mouth and listened to John squeal. It was still hard to understand, but he got it. He got it all right. Paul clamped his fists at his sides and his eyes burned holes through the limp figure on the couch.
 "Don't you even think it!" Julie exclaimed, blocking Paul. "It's not even true, anyway."
 All Paul did was growl. He pushed Julie out of the way and hovered over the unsuspecting sleeping George. Paul seethed and boiled like a mad rabid demon. Julie grabbed Paul's leg and began to plead:
 "Don't listen to them! It's a bunch of hooey! Would I lie to you, Paulie? Huh? Why would I be so unfaithful? Please, Paulie, please? Please be nice to little George. Please?" She looked up at him with big eyes, her lower lip sticking out.
 All of a sudden, Paul stopped acting rabid. He looked down at Julie, then at George. He wanted to punch George's face in- but he didn't! He wanted to strangle George- but he didn't! What had come over him? Let's go into Paul's head to find out, where Good Paul and Bad Paul live. Good Paul, in his white suit, wings, and halo, winked at the camera. He had saved Paul's soul in the nick of time.
 George woke up and saw Paul. "Aaaaaaagggggghhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!" he cried, throwing his hands up in the air, catching them and covering his face, curling up into a ball.
 "It's okay, I won't kill you," Paul said.
 "Will you maim me?" George asked.
 Paul thought for a second. "No. I propose a contest."

 Chapter 5