Before and After and Before
I wanted to mention that Watchface made his presence known again. I got a PM from him the other day when I was looking up the reviews for the Pyroman movie that I mentioned previously when a pop up window came up, obscuring my view of vile and vitriol for the less than stellar production. Sigh. I swear if I ever had a dream job (as I mentioned before) I would walk right up to Nedor comics (or Dynamite, I think they got bought out recently) as who was in charge of the line and ask for the keys to kingdom. Regrettably, even in my fantasy life, I don’t have the experience for them to even countenance such a blatant fanboy request. Though, and this is just a suggestion, if you happen to know who has final call on that one (I can’t find it), or if Derrick Dunhour is just tired of being editor in chief and is willing to give a rookie a shot just so he can point and laugh at how hard the job really is and how the public, like that which I was part of, could tear someone else apart, then someone please relay these words: Temporal Playground. I would love to have that discussion of desperation.
Man, do I ramble. I have to work on that. Anyway, he finally got back in touch. Strangely enough it wasn’t on the boards but to me directly. This is doubly interesting as I don’t have him as a Facecase friend specifically. I just took it as read. Below is a snippet of our conversation. This is not a copy and paste job and I tend to think in full sentences. For clarity sake: I have left out the strange spelling/grammar errors. For instance, I had to look up what catechism was. It means formal question.
WF: Dude! Where have you been?
Me: Where have I been?! What about you? First off it’s good to see you aren’t dead.
WF: No, first off a couple of questions! Have you moved to Space City yet?
Me: No, not yet. We are still looking for work there while we deal with our day jobs. Once we know
where our jobs are, the better we have to figure out where to find an apartment.
WF: Good. Next question: What color is Bobbi’s hair today?
ME: I guessed Magenta. I used to have a better eye for color. Turns out it was a particular burgundy that is only seen on Olympia brand Wine. You will never guess who one that one…
WF: Don’t care. Did Semper SubRosa banish Ultimatum from your site?
Me: Is that what happened? That bit with Mr. Simian?
WF: Good now we can talk.
Me: No, now you can explain what has been going on. And how did you know it was Semper?
WF: I would like to say there isn’t time but…
ME: So start at the beginning.
WF: As you wish. You remember when we were talking the other day?
ME: That was months ago.
WF: This isn’t going to be easy is it?
ME: Let’s start this: Where were you? I tried to contact you. Nothing. I tried to contact your sister. Now I have a closet in the middle of the wall when it used to be next to the windows.
WF: I’m at home for what it’s worth. I always have. Just call it a staycation and call it done, is that ok? As for why I haven’t written back, well, there hasn’t been time enough. You know how things go, catastrophe after catastrophe.
WF: oh, also, don’t contact Vectrix until she contacts you. She is….
[Pause. I get up to get another cup of tea and see what Kay is doing. She is knitting and thinking I am doing more writing. I really should be. The tea takes a few minutes and by the time I get back to my desk, the chime hits again.]
WF: … over protective of her big brother. Also she doesn’t have the same connection I do so she gets confused sometimes. How’s the wall?
[A framed poster of Darth Maul I had signed by the actor himself falls off the wall as the closet shunts suddenly back to its or original position]
ME: How the hell does she do that?
WF: Dude, we are metas. How many times do I have to tell you that?
WF: Oh. Yeah. I didn’t mention that before did I? Just don’t ask us about it, ok? We know it goes into your blog.
Me: Fair enough. You are metas who can move closets and get confused about things quickly. Got it. And did you just call me “Dude?”
WF: Focus here! Look things are coming down the pike that are going to affect you but not until you encounter the White.
ME: What exactly the White?
WF: It’s like the Red only it isn’t.
ME: That was an answer only it wasn’t.
WF: Every time….
[I take a deep breath knowing this is going to be head-poundingly frustrating for the next few minutes. I like Watchface, I really do. He’s nice, quirky, and tells me about all the new movies and TV shows coming out, which to see, which to miss, which will fail. I guess he is part of the entertainment industry or something. But he is really disorganized. He doesn’t always make sense.]
ME: Does this have something to do with that all-white hero flying around that looks like that meditation I did?
WF: Oh that’s Ivory. Nice guy. But no. I’m trying to figure out how to tell you what the Red and White is all about but there really aren’t words in the English language to describe it. Even if I did have the words I would sound stoned or Lovecraftian and neither are really helpful right now.
[My mind flickered back to the several identical copies of Lovecraftian fiction I saw at that one bookstore. But this was my ADHD brain taking a sentence, breaking it open like an autopsy and over examining the words and ideas until they resembled just about anything. ]
WF: There is just so much. Start at the first thing first. Did you know that Mr. Atomic wasn’t always Mr. Atomic?
ME: You mean that hero from the 50’s and 60’s?
[Actually there were three Mr. Atomic’s since the original’s appearance in 1956. He retired and wrote a book. The son of his loyal sidekick is now the current Mr. Atomic. Works with both Paramericans and the Questers. ]
WF: He’s not from the 50’s. That’s just the only place he could stick.
[My eyebrow went up again.]
ME: When was the last time you got any sleep?
WF: I know what you are thinking, but hear me out. There are great things moving about again. I’m trying to give you a couple of points to start your research. You have to be the one to do this.
ME: Watchface, what are you talking about? I’m not a researcher, a reporter, or anything like that. I’m a bad administrative assistant with dreams of being a science fiction writer, a chaotic philosopher and quite possibly the worlds laziest sorcerer. Hell, I’m not even in the greatest of shape.
[This last was true. To be honest, thanks to the depression and other issues, I was in quite possibly the worst shape of my life. It was something I hated…. Which added to the depression…which adds to the bad behaviors…which adds to the weight... which adds to…. You see where I’m going with this.]
WF: But you are writing this. And you believe. It’s the best way I can get this out.
ME: Believe in what?
WF: Heroes. You believe in heroes. It’s something. I’m hoping it’s enough. Oh. Is this going on the blog?
ME: Most assuredly. I’ve gotten two requests to find you and one who asked the I give you the finger, quote “For what you had done.”
WF: Did that last one give a name?
ME: Yes. Equinox.
WF: Oh him. If you give you any grief, tell him finger received.
ME: Sure. Another thing to add to the switchboard. J
[It should be noted I have a particular role in life that I don’t understand. This isn’t something I chose so much as it happens to me constantly. I act as an intermediary between so many people know I can’t think straight. People just say “Hey, could you tell…” This usually ends with a long list of things to remember and an offer of thanks. Things get muddled a bit in the receiving but hey, I’m not the post office. It’s been suggested that I would make a great negotiator for reasons like this. People tell me things. Like Watchface for example.]
ME: So assume I believe you, that I am a devotee in the hero tales and I believe in the Capes, like you said. Fair enough. I am a fan.
WF: You know. And that’s the best way to start. Also you write and that helps people know. Even if they don’t believe you.
ME: All right. What do you have for me?
WF: What if I told you that there are people who are not from this world living on your planet.
ME: That’s what Dr. Quantum talks about in his book. Though according to him, after the issue with the Entity, Dimensional travel is near impossible.
WF: That isn’t true. There are people who travel all the time. It’s just the percentage which is limited. One in every 200 Million people have experienced the transit. One direction to the other. This is nothing to worry about… mostly.
ME: Got it, People are not what they seem. In other news, the sky is blue.
WF: Sure, where you are…
WF: Next have you met Jingle yet? Has he become part of the Mark and the Untouchables?
ME: Yeah, I so keep meaning to make a post about it. (Sorry Jingle)
WF: Write your post. Mention to him that Dread Midnight knows where he is and he is going to die.
ME: What?! You tell him. Like now!
WF: It has to happen this way. You have to tell him to visit his brother in the Sentai Lions. She will know what I’m talking about. Tell him that Assencia the Blood Queen will use his talent and all hell breaks loose. The lions will keep him out of harms reach for long enough. After that, he should probably transfer schools. Penelope too by the way.
[I hope to the divine you are reading this Jingle? Bobbi? I know you are in Jingle’s class and I know you read this. Tell him that someone figured out to touch the Untouchable and get his ass to San Niebla. And relay that bit to Penelope. Thanks. I know this form of communication sucks but I don’t have your phone numbers. I’ll resend to Bobbi’s email just in case.]
WF: I can’t. Due to my restrictions and, well, let’s just call them “Rules,” I am limited in who I can communicate with.
ME: Rules? What kind of Rules? Are you with GTI or something? Are you part of an intergalactic empire like the Dragonesti or the Bex who would like nothing more than to exterminate the human race and harvest the metahumans as cannon fodder for their next great war in the far off unknown but only you stand in the way?
WF: What?! Fugate No! You are thinking of Ganamydes Game.
ME: Sorry. Science fiction writer. These things do happen. But who makes these rules of yours?
WF: Rooks and Ravens and that’s all I’m going to say. There are only a handful of people I can talk to physically and a couple dozen I can contact like this. Rules are for me and me alone in this matter. Do you accept that?
ME: I get you. I’ll leave it alone.
WF: Thank you. There will be more coming soon. If you need any info and I’m not here, Semper knows. He knows far more than what you can imagine.
ME: You mean like the Raeliens invading with the shadow people? Or that Interest rates are kept low to help the lizard people in the government get their hands on as many Lemorian Seed crystals as they can? Say how many Lemorians do you get with a seed crystal anyway? J
WF: I know it all sounds silly when you match up metas and conspiracy theories. But I can tell you from experience, that he is one of the few people who know the whole truth. Just believe me.
ME: Fine, let’s just assume I believe you.
WF: Good. I Can tell you this; three Quantums want to talk to you. Expect them soon. You’ll meet one at the costumers. You still have that Comic convention coming up right?
ME: Yes. I’m planning on a few autographs before we go. Maybe few commissions…
WF: Once you meet the first, contact me. Just msg me ok?
WF: Thanks. You have been a help and real pal you know that?
ME: Thanks. You too.
[I wasn’t sure if it was true exactly, but it sounded like the polite and nice thing to say.]
WF: And I’m sorry. I really am. Please Believe me.
ME: Sorry for what?
But his screen went dead. I still felt really weird, that sudden shift in realities that happens so often after an intense conversation. I felt like I needed a hot shower, a stretch, and another cup of tea just to feel human again. I sat back and thought about what he said, his empty screen back lit against the image of the title screen of Sentinel Society, back when they had an animated series based on their adventures. It was my current desktop. I tried to think about what he was talking about, what he meant. I pulled an old notebook, one of those faux-leather books with an elastic band holding the green cover closed over unlined blank pages. It was a bonus from one of the temp places I worked. I also pulled out a larger black hardcover art book I got on sale as a two pack. I had things to write down.
In all honesty, I had no idea what I was doing. This was just a little something I did, my blog; a nice idea my father thought I should do so I could keep writing stories and maybe put my novels up for sale on (soon… need cover art.. and confidence). And here I was getting ready to do some serious research. Thankfully, I had the internet for most of it but still. It was like having your world view pointed out and where you can see the pixelization of real objects. And yet it felt like a quest of some kind. For the moment, I prepped, not knowing what else to do. I hoped I could hold onto that feeling of right, like I had found my will and my drive in life. I had seen it slip before and now I just needed to feel that and just write.
Not more than a five seconds later, my screen popped up a Contact Request. “Hi, Most people call me Watchface. I have been reading your blog for a long time and would love to add you to my contact list.”
Still shaking off the after affects of emotional adrenaline, the doorbell rings. Kay sets down her knitting and yells that she got it. I heard the door open and close. Delivery guy, I didn’t catch the service. Bright green jumpsuit. She signs for the package and certified letter, thanked the guy and closed the door.
“You have a package.” She calls back. I meet her halfway down the hallway as she is coming towards me, her eyes on the envelope. “And a certified letter from…” Her eyes narrowed to double check the obvious logo printed in the upper left corner. “Golden Triscale believe it or not.”
I thanked her, gave her a kiss and took the parcels. I set the package on my desk, some PO Box return address but my full name and address. I wonder if it’s from Nile.com. I tear open the letter and slide out the single sheet of paper. GTI of all people, would like to talk to me about a research position. Interview Thursday Morning, 10:AM. Considering that I don’t remember applying to any position at GTI in the recent weeks let alone a research position, one for which that I’m probably grossly under qualified, I immediately assume it’s some sort of scam. The embossed logo on the header sheet however, dissuades me from that idea pretty quick. No scam is ever this meticulous. Kay is excited at the idea of me getting a better job, one that plays to my strengths in ways that my current job could never hope to amount. The proposed increase in pay is also appealing. She gives me a quick peck on the cheek and heads back to her knitting project, giving me space to open my parcel.
I set the letter down and opened the package. It was small, as if made for a loose action figure. Inside, blue paper surrounded a smaller bundle, something small but solid. Something pointy at two ends but angled at the center, like a strange ten sided die. I unfolded it out from the paper. Unable to face it, I placed it on the table and stared at it.
A single metal top lay there. I’m scared to look at it and yet... Apparently, Mrs. Plumber has a message for me.