Have You Seen Watchface?
So I have this guy I know…
Yes, I understand. Very rarely has any good news or bright ideas started with that phrase. For all the weight of tragedy it might offer up is equal to “Dude, I have an idea, hold my beer.” But seriously, it’s not that bad. Mostly it’s confusing.
So there is a guy I know on several of my message boards who managed to get his hands on my direct email. I don’t know his real name other than the handle “Watchface.” He sends me all sorts of strange and cryptic questions and news reports, like he’s trying to get my opinion of various headlines and occurrences, most of which involving the Questors, Paramericans, anyone and everyone. I like the interaction and the ideas he brings up. Sometimes his hypotheses are interesting and worth noting. Between him and SubRosa, I get half the inside scoop on so many of the heroes. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have some crudely drawn schematic of Lord Quantum’s Satellite. Granted this is a structure that most government agencies deny exists yet still can be seen in orbit with the right telescope, so badly drawn shouldn’t come as any surprise. Still, this is a guy who is feeding me information about what is possibly the most secure place above the planet before you hit the Dragonesti Moonbase or Captain Mongo’s Living Ship. And why? Because he asks my opinions; about the architecture, the layout, the possibility of transport, even a possible crew roster of villains who are up there in hiding. Then he always ends with “does that seem right to you?”
I guess he reads my blog, which is nice of him. It’s always nice to meet a reader. Why else do people go to conventions? Well that and the money and exposure. I should really set up a booth.
I would tell him my ideas but mostly marvel at how he got the info in the first place. After the third of fourth time he sent me things, I asked him “What do you mean, does this seem right?”
He didn’t reply with words. The next thing he sent me was a huge video file that took a while to fully download. (Thank the gods for a decent connection and an active anti-viral.) After checking it out, making sure it wasn’t going shatter my computer or do anything harmful, I opened it. It was some very well made fan movie about Doctor Quantum, as if it had been done in the late 80’s. Doc Quantum wasn’t active during those years. The movie was over exaggerated, almost cartoony, and some star named “Thomas Dolby” played the lead role. Honestly, it wasn’t the best take on Doctor Quantum I had ever seen, but it wasn’t bad, just a little over the top. He seemed to lack some of the characteristic warmth that we see. His costume also looked off, though if you asked me, I couldn’t tell you why or how.
The next file he sent was a huge collection of something called “Free Change Comics,” a series of comics going back to the early 60’s. Guess who was front and center in most of the stories? If you said Doctor Quantum, you would mostly be right. A whole plethora of heroes and villains made appearances, even dozens I had never heard of. The publication information mentioned a parent company “Parallax Comics,” but I never encountered them. Overall, the stories were pretty good, save for that time when for some reason he is stuck out in space with the Dragonesti then got trapped on a dungeons and dragons sort of world. Later on, he loses his sidekick, Stinger, in what can only be called gripping story telling. Quantum did mention in his autobiography his connection to a Libby Mega, one of his first of the Quantum’s Questors, who died years ago. Here’s the strange thing, the comic is dated 1987. Libby Mega didn’t die until 2007, 20 years later.
This was all fascinating and confusing. Each week, he would send me a digital bundle of comics, movies, animated series, TV pilots, and archival footage. This lasted for about a month before it stopped completely. I wrote and thanked him, to no response. I emailed him to find out if he was ok. Nothing. I asked SubRosa, who told me, “that name is unknowable” to him and “cannot be told.”
For the record, who uses the term, “Unknowable?” What does that even mean?
After a while, I figured this was a very intelligent man who either moved on with his passions or had real world issues to deal with before he could return to his obsessions like the rest of us. I lit a candle for him, just in case.
Two days ago I get another message from Watchface asking me how I survived Grand Master Grav. Then he told me to tell a few people I had never heard of ‘hi,’ and “everything was going to be ok.” When I asked him what he was talking about wrote in all caps;
“DAMMIT!! I OVERSHOT AGAIN!”
Two days later, earlier this afternoon, after a very unpleasant job interview, I get another email from him, cc’ed to a “Vectrix,” “Triassic,” and “Green.” I knew from earlier conversations Vectrix was his “twin” sister but not who the others were. (He was the one who always put quotes around it. I have no idea why.) His tone read as very formal. He introduced himself to me, said he really enjoyed my work, my blog, and my interactions with the metahuman community as a whole. He asked how I managed to get an interview with the Scythe, how did is managed to survive when the Arcade Gang attacked, and how did I manage to convince Enrique the Sheep to give up enough wool to Mrs. Biggles to make the MetaArmor?
I laughed a bit. I thought my internet friend was having a little bit of a laugh or he had gotten his hold on some strong narcotics. With that, I asked him what he was going on about, that we had communicated for months.
That was the last I heard from him since then. I really worry for my friends sometimes. I get to see so few of them in the flesh anymore that I rely on internet communications for any sort of human connection. So if anyone has heard from him, let me know. I would love to know he’s ok. He’s a strange one, polite, and an interesting guy, but still, you can tell his heart is in the right place.
[Edit: I got a blip from him two minutes ago. So far all it says is “Grav is coming.” Then “It all started with Quantum and they are many.” Then “Jenny is watching you.” I thought that was the end but as I write this I got “Who can make the sunrise?” “Ghost Owl Vs. the Arcade Gang,” and “Mrs. Plumber still knows all, and always have.”]
Watchface, I feel you. I worry about you. Let’s talk about what this means soon, ok? This is getting esoteric even for you.
If anyone else knows this person, please let me know. I’m told he likes gold as a color and might dress in it commonly. I tried email Vectrix but every time I do the closet in our bedroom keeps moving to the left by two inches. I have no idea why but I’m not going to push it.
In the meantime, if anyone can clarify what he is talking about, I would love to know.