(From Friendly Hostility. Click on image to see full-sized image.)
A month ago, we started with Fatima showing up and telling Fox it was time. Fox kissed Collin goodbye and asked him to avenge him if he doesn’t come back.
Why? It’s their mom’s birthday and they’re getting rid of their dad’s hat for her.
Yes, you heard me right, his hat. The same ratty hat that he was wearing at the start of the series, when Fatima was a little girl and in the hands of cannibals. The same hat Rafi and Nefertari argued over who would get to sleep with, to remember Padma while he was away.
They then try to convince Collin to help. And like any sane rational person would respond (well, okay, maybe sane and rational aren’t proper words to describe Collin, but his reaction to this was), he’s like “what the heck?” (Well, he used stronger language than that. I try to avoid swears though; it’s my belief that if you swear all the time, it diffuses the power of the swear when you have a good reason to curse.)
Their mother tries to talk them out of it. At first you think it’s just more rationality, until the final panel, when she exclaims the hat is also older and wiser. I mean, she’s talking like this thing is sentient or something!
Of course, not every strip is about the hat, or the plot to get rid of the hat. We have a nice little bit with Collin and Bootsie (his slave), and Nefertari disapproving of this arrangement as usual (but not enough to stop Bootsie from singing “You are so beautiful” while carrying a cake to her). (To be honest, I half-suspect Bootsie won’t want to stop being Collin’s slave when her term of service is up. I mean, her home life is unhappy, her school life is adversarial, and I think she only has one friend outside of Collin and Fox. But we’ll come to that bridge in time, I’m sure.) Another bit has a flashback showing that Fatima doesn’t like her mom much (which is okay, she doesn’t like anyone much, with the possible exception of her uncle Rafi).
And when it comes to taking out the hat… Fatima says something about booby traps and it half-looks like the hat is trying to escape… or is she just shoving the hat skyward to show she has it? We’re not quite sure. The joke continues.
Then they sprinkle half of the ashes in a graveyard… and flush the other half down the toilet. I mean, it’s being made out to be something out of a horror movie and the hat is some vampiric denizen of the underworld or something worse.
When all is said and done… their dad is moping because his hat is gone, Rafi gives an inappropriate gift to Nefertari, and Bootsie encounters something in the closet when putting the gift away for her. It sends her running to the other room in fear, her heart pounding against her shirt (nice touch, by the way)… and the hat is back!
I mean, it could very well be the demon that Collin forced to leave the apartment (forced as in bugged Fox until Fox got it to leave). But Bootsie had seen the demon before, and thought it cute. And the demon rather liked Bootsie. I can’t exactly see it scaring her (at least, not on purpose).
So, much like the cat in the song I paraphrased above, the hat came back, it wouldn’t stay away, it was sitting in the closet the very same day. The hat came back, it didn’t want to roam, that very same day it was home, sweet home!