He had been staring down at his dark suede shoes for almost ten minutes. The woman adjacent to him had been shouting at the cashier about the frosting on her cake since he had entered the bakery. Jack had always been a fan of silence; however, it was not the obnoxious squeals that forced him to stare at his shoes. She was wearing what appeared to be a full body spandex suit. The outfit hugged her overhanging rolls like a carnival tent that was too small for its skeleton. Jack had grown accustomed to seeing this brand of middle aged woman at the bakery. He had seen so many enlarged women in tightly spun attire that he had become immune to the appalling sight. It was the color that left him staring downward with a throbbing head.
Jack had been experiencing an onslaught of ever intensifying pain for at least four days. This pain centered on the middle of his forehead and continued to battle its way downward between his eye sockets. Headaches were not a new experience for Jack, and he initially dismissed the pain. The headache continued to thrive despite his schedule of abundant rest and relaxation. Dismayed, Jack had finally worked up the determination to relieve a bit of the stress by purchasing whatever over-the-counter medication the local pharmacist recommended.
Jack hadn't been to the CVS since he had been caught stealing two bottles of Nyquil. At the time Jack was simply happy that the manager had refrained from calling the police, but he later felt an immense sense of embarrassment about the entire ordeal. In order to avoid the over watchful, judging eyes of the CVS employees, Jack concluded that he must avoid that establishment at all costs. The nearest non-CVS pharmacist to Frank's apartment happened to be a Walmart positioned a whopping twenty blocks down Perling Avenue.
As Jack ventured down Perling Avenue that morning he spotted his favorite spot to grab a quick morsel in all of Fermont. The little bakery, Sherlif's Cakes and Bakes, had caught his eyes since he first arrived in Fermont late last year. From the moment he ordered a 'Raspberry Doughnut Delight' it had been love at first taste. Despite his usual avoidance of overly sugary foods, Jack couldn't resist stopping by Sherlif's on a regular basis to enjoy more and more baked goodies.
And so, on this morning, Jack postponed his long walk to the Walmart on Perling Avenue in order to satisfy his doughnut desire. Upon entering the bakery he was greeted by the most horrifically pink spandex jumpsuit of his life. The piercing colors of the woman's suit sent his headache spiraling out of control and he was forced to look down in order to avoid her presence. Jack continued to stare at his shoes while she yelled about her cake.
They were a nice pair of shoes. Shoes fashioned from deep brown leather with white rims around the shoelaces. He had gotten them as a birthday present from Jane. At the time he was shocked that she had spent so much money on him. They had only known each other for a few months and he could not seem to justify her generosity. Jack's inspection of his shoes became increasingly difficult as the woman's words grew louder.
She threw her words at the poor cashier. "You call this a cake! I didn't ask for a hole in the middle you goddamn midget!"
"Mam, you ordered a Bundt cake.'" Winsted the cashier.
"A cake you bastard, not a doughnut!"
"But mam, that's what a Bundt cake is. It has a--"
"A hole? Cakes don't have holes you idiot! Not only are you a shorty you can't do your job!"
"I can give you a refund mam, but I just wish that you would understand that this is in fact what you ordered."
"Is it those stubby little arms? Are they preventing you from doing your own job properly you tiny little freak? What kind of establishment is this? I wanted a cake for my husband's birthday and you give me this shit!"
"I'm sorry mam, we have a refund policy I just need your receipt."
"The party was an hour ago you little bastard. What I want is for you to travel back in time and give me the right cake!"
Jack continued to listen to the woman's ridiculous time-travel-involved argument against her Bundt cake. Peering up from his shoes, Jack avoided the woman's outfit as he observed the poor cashier. The woman's outrageous insults hadn't been misplaced; the man was in fact very short. Aside from his under-five foot stature, he was dressed in a yellow apron bearing the Sherlif's emblem and both green pants and shirt. His face was adorned with a tiny mustache and fat bristly unibrow. To top it all off his hair was fully greyed with a distinct greenish tint. It was strange, Jack thought, to see the tiny man in such a forgiving attitude. He often lashed out at the various customers without a second thought.
Jack observed the man for as long as he was capable and then returned to his shoes. His thoughts were no longer on Jane or the shoes, but were consumed by hatred. He hated the woman for screaming at the cashier. He hated her for being an idiot. He even hated the cashier for his disgusting appearance. In fact, Jack hated everyone. Jack's innermost thoughts were all centered on the idea of hating his fellow man. Jack hated dumb people, he hated smart people, he hated funny people, boring people, cool people, hot people, black, white, orange, fat, skinny, musical, skanky, reserved, blind, deaf, rich, poor, and even the paralyzed.
As Jack contemplated the hatred the he felt towards all the individuals around him he came to a conclusion. He had reached this conclusion many times before and the only purpose it served was to spit in his face. The saliva that hit him square in the forehead was that of self-realization. Jack realized that he didn't want to hate these people. He didn't go around seeking out people to hate. Never once had Jack searched through the characteristics of a peer in order to find something to hate about them. He simply hated everything about everyone, and he hated himself for it.
Despite the spit that drizzled down Jack's subconscious face as he stared at his shoes, hope remained. The hope was Jane. Jack didn't hate Jane, in fact, he loved her. Jack loved Jane with such intensity that he felt that it was his sole purpose for living. In the deep of the night he could feel Jane and he knew that his love for her made everything alright. It was as if this love was enough to balance the hatred.
Jack had met Jane at the very bakery in which he now stood. It was exactly five months ago tomorrow. He had left Frank's house in a fit of rage and had been overwhelmed by the winter cold. He trudged between the buildings of downtown Fermont as his three year old sneakers filled with snow. He had developed a superstitious attitude towards replacing shoes at a young age and would wear the same pair until they were all but recognizable. His original plan upon storming out of Frank's apartment was to wallow around outside until near morning at which point he would sneak back into the flat and sleep on the couch. This seemed to be an achievable goal until Jack stepped outside and his old hole riddled shoes began to fail him. Jack passed up and down the porcelain streets in search of a building in which to shelter his nearly frostbitten feet.
Jack was frantically wiggling his toes, an attempt to pump a meager amount of warm blood into the frozen stubs, when he came upon his favorite bakery. Sherlif's Cakes and Bakes happened to be open until midnight on Thursdays, and just the sight of its fluorescently lit open sign filled Jack's feet with warmth. He sped up to a jog as he neared the bakery's brass revolving door. Jack barreled into the bakery and stumbled over the small man whose future self would be tormented by the outrageously pink woman.
"Watch where the hell you're going next time." The tiny man criticized as he recovered from the fall.
Even though Jack had only been to the bakery a handful of times at this point, he knew better than to apologize to the tiny man. Despite his friendly attitude at the register, he was quick to anger when people knocked him over and would often respond to a heartfelt apology with loud cusswords or a beat red face. Even more unfortunate was the fact that this was a very regular occurrence at the bakery. The people of Fermont rarely looked downward, and as a result, they often trampled the midget bakery worker on his way to and from delivering various orders.
The tiny man observed Jack as they both stood up. It appeared that he was waiting for Jack to apologize in order to counter with a fury of nasty comments. Jack denied the tiny man this brand of justice by sidestepping him without uttering a word. He appeared almost relieved at the prospect of someone ignoring him after such an incident. At the time, Jack thought that perhaps the deformed and disabled of the world constantly yearned for someone to be mean. Waiting for another to cast aside the pitiful façade, and treat them with the hidden disrespect.
"Way to apologize you asshole." The little man hissed as Jack got a step or two past him.
Jack looked back just in time to see the little man scurrying off to the back of the bakery. His unibrow curling into an angry 'V' shape while his face bubbled with the same reddish color he had seen many times before. Jack had been wrong. The tiny man did not care about pity or respect. He was just an angry, little man.
Jack was often wrong about other people's mindsets. He was often wrong about everything. Whether it be the answer to a math question, or the way in which to start up a conversation: Jack was wrong. It wasn't that Jack was inherently dumb, but that the world had a way of working against him for a majority of his life. He was the kind of person who would joke around about a new friend's mother only to find out that she had recently died.
His stomach began growling as he made his way towards the cashier. The cashier that cold winter night was Sherlif herself. After conversing with her over the past few weeks, he had pieced together a brief history of how the bakery came to be. Sherlif had come to America as a stowaway on a freight ship shuttling adidias apparel from Kuching, Malaysia. Apparently, she jumped ship just off the coast of California and made her way into the continental United States. From there she worked a variety of odd jobs and ended up as a maid to an elderly Asian man who called himself 'Ringtoad.' Ringtoad died after Sherlif had worked for him for nearly 11 years; in his will, he left Sherlif everything. From there Sherlif bought her citizenship and moved to Fermont where she established the bakery.
Jack positioned himself at a booth in the corner of the bakery. He stared down at the 'Raspberry Doughnut Delight.' The desert flaked away to nothing as he pulled it apart with his hands, carefully lifting each piece to his mouth and savoring the delightful taste. He grew increasingly thankful that he had not apologized to the tiny man; he was convinced that wasting the energy might have limited his ability to devour the precious morsel. Only crumbs remained by the time Jack looked up from his plate and began observing his surroundings.
As he peered around the room, he had a profound sense of aloneness. There was not a single other customer in the bakery, and it felt as though he could hear the air molecules around. Their subatomic conversations were taunting him with the reality of his loneliness. He shifted his head back down to the table in order to escape the inanimate gaze.
"Are you sleeping?" the girl chuckled.
The voice startled Jack. He looked up from the mangled remains of his donut to find a girl standing in front of him. She was small. She wore a dull yellow dress with a purple coat and a green hat pulled down past her eyebrows. Her brown hair curled down to her shoulders and was beaded at the ends. At a glance, he might have guessed her to be about fifteen years of age, but a closer look revealed a young woman of roughly his age. Beneath her childlike demeanor, he could sense a deep knowledge. He only gazed into her piercing green eyes for a moment, but he could feel them picking apart his every action. He wanted to run and hide before she discovered too much.
"No..." he trailed off, "I just couldn't decide what to do."
"Have you ever been able to decide what to do?"
"No." He replied.
"Do you need a friend?"
"No. I think I'm alright." Jack was getting annoyed. He hated deep people with too many questions.
"Are you sure, it doesn't look like this seat is taken." She motioned to the spot across from him.
At that moment, another stranger sidestepped the childlike woman and sat in the chair across from Jack. She was a medium sized white woman with black hair and brown eyes. She was wearing a plain white sweater and jeans. She looked straight down at the table.
"It's taken now." The new woman said calmly.
"Well so much for being nice to anyone." The childlike woman mumbled as she stammered off to the other end of the bakery.
Jack had decided to wait until the new woman talked to him. He planned his replies to various questions, but the questions never came. They continued to stare at the table. He enjoyed the silence, and he even held his breath for a few seconds just to deepen the quiet. In the end, his curiosity got the best of him.
"Why'd you do that?"
"I was saving you."
"Nobody likes that many questions."
The silence had come back, however the air was no longer mocking him. The molecules couldn't mock him if he wasn't alone. He didn't hate her. It was the first time he could remember that he hadn't hated someone. Jack had met Jane.
Jack now stood in the bakery, yet again contemplating his meeting of Jane and the time he spent with her. He was unsure of what to make of the past five months as well the revelation that initiated his bitter headache. Refusing to accept the realization that had spawned what he dismissed as a 'sinus headache' he had embarked on his journey to the Walmart that morning. It was pain resulting from an attempt to suppress an idea that he knew would jeopardize his future happiness.
It was not new for Jack's subconscious to try to block out ideas that it did not agree with. He often felt a slight cranial irritation when greeted with an unnerving thought. It might dull pain while contemplating the idea of religious truth or a sharp stab from the death of a pet. Unfortunately for Jack's brain, no matter how hard it tried, the realization would inevitably linger, and Jack was left with both physical and mental stress.
Jack had made a mistake by taking a detour to the bakery. He had gone there in an attempt to soothe his pain, but was overwhelmed by the significance of the place. By looking away from the pink lady he had been trying to convince his brain that it was her presence inflaming his pain, but in truth it was simply Sherlif's itself. Whether it be the tiny man, the doughnuts, the aroma, the decor, the overweight customers, or even his own shoes, they all reminded him of Jane. It was his relationship with Jane that ailed his brain so deeply.
Jack and Jane had been 'dating' somewhat regularly over the past few months. Jack himself wasn't exactly positive what Jane made of their relationship, but he knew she thought like him so he felt it safe to say that they were 'dating.' He also liked to call it 'dating,' because dating was something he had never done before. Jack was dating Jane.
Jack would venture from Frank's apartment to Jane's at least three times a week. It had been easy for Jack to maneuver his schedule around his dating of Jane due to his lack of employment. Another fact of his life that he wasn't very proud of, but Jane didn't seem to care. Jane had even started coming over to Frank's on a somewhat regular basis. Frank didn't seem to mind, and Jack wouldn't have really cared if he had.
They often sat around doing little to nothing when they were on a 'date.' Sometimes they wouldn't even acknowledge each other for a substantial period of their time together. Jack had never thought of himself as awkward, and he didn't think of these dates as awkward either. He and Jane were simply that comfortable with one another. It was if small talk had never been necessary for either of them to know and appreciate the other. Frank would occasionally tell Jack that it was 'weird,' but of course Jack didn't care.
Jack had kissed Jane three times from their meeting to his current stage of agonizing pain in the bakery. They hadn't been movie grade romantic smooches, but Jack had felt that they were three of the most significant moments in his life. Jane was Jack's happiness.
Jack found out around their second month of dating that Jane had been abandoned as a newborn. Her parents, whoever they had been, had dumped her in a trash disposal unit in a run-down Walgreens in northern Colorado. Jane became a foster child for a brief period of her early life before being permanently adopted by the Belinto family.
Regardless of the terrible predicament that her true parents had placed her in so early in her life she did not disdain them. That was always the main difference that Jack could see between the two of them. Jane didn't seem to hate anyone. If fact, she had told Jack that she always wanted to know who her real parents had been. She said that she did not want to meet them or scorn them for her abandonment. According to her, she simply wanted to know where she had come from.
After hearing the story of Jane's life, Jack become even more sure that his meeting of Jane had been destiny. Jack knew that he would be able to get Jane exactly what she wanted, and he was perhaps one of the only people in the world who would be able to. He would simply need Frank's help.
Frank was thirty-two years old. He was completely bald, to the point where he had purchased an electric 'head shiner,' and had been growing a thick black beard for at least ten years now. He talked very loudly and chewed with his mouth open. Frank and Jack weren't the best of friends. Frank tolerated Jack and allowed him to live with him as long as Jack was willing to get his hands on things that Frank needed. Jack felt indifferent towards Frank. This indifference was, besides what he felt towards Jane, the most positive attitude Jack felt towards another human being in ages.
The things Frank wanted that Jack was responsible for getting his hands on were a variety of drugs. One week it might be cocaine while the next week Frank wanted heroin. Jack never even had to set up the drug deals, but would simply go to them in Franks place carrying the required money. It was a messy business that Jack hated. Jack hated almost everything Frank ever wanted him to do, but for some reason he did not hate Frank.
Frank's true business was a family history investigative agency. It was pricey and unnecessary, but it did what it promised. Much like a shadier version of "Ancestory.com" Frank's business specialized in tracking down broken or hidden family records. They found out the kind of stuff that people from the past wanted hidden from their descendants. If you suspected your great-great-great grandparents of incest or rape then you went to Frank to find out.
So Jack came to Frank with his dilemma. Frank assured him that he would be able to locate Jane's real parents despite the fact that the police were unable to. He had even stated that since Jack had been so on top of things lately he would do it free of charge. According to Frank, all Jack needed to provide was Jill's assumed date and location of birth.
Jack had moved from the entrance of the bakery to a booth in the back. The plump pink lady and the tiny man had stopped fighting and Sherlif's was once again peaceful. He had given up on the journey to Walmart, and decided it was finally time for him to face his four day old realization. A realization that was thrust upon him as soon as Frank had told him Jane's parent's last names had been Gilliam. Jack Gilliam and Jane Gilliam were first cousins.
"I hate you!"
You can't be talking right now. You're going to confuse everyone.
"No! I won't stand for this! You can't do this on top of everything else!"
Hey now, you need to calm down. I really hate all these exclamation marks.
"S!H!U!T! U!P! and listen to me!"
Well look what you've done now… that just looks stupid…
"Listen… to…. me….."
Are you mocking me now? I was using the periods for emphasis or something. You don't have to be mean about it.
"Fine, but listen to me."
Okay, but you really shouldn't be doing this. I'm trying to write a fabulous story here.
"Well your story sucks."
You little butthole eater! Give me one good reason why it sucks.
"Because you're ruining my life!"
You're my character, I'm pretty sure I can do whatever I want to you.
"Then why am I yelling at you right now?"
That's a very good question and also a great reason as to why you shouldn't be talking right now at all.
"Well I am, and there's nothing you can do about it!"
Jack began punching himself in the face. His nose was bleeding furiously, but for some reason he was unable to stop. All the people in the world turned on their televisions and watched him punch himself in the face. At the same time he started soiling his pants and crying.
"Sto-"Jack was unable to finish his word as he was overwhelmed his own fists and poop.
"Please! Sto-"Jack's uncontrollable tears prevented him from talking any longer.
Hmm… Well I do feel kind of mean now. I suppose the soiling of the pants was a little overboard. Have you had enough?
"Yes! Please! Make this stop! Please!"
As you wish Mr. Gilliam. Jack awoke to the realization that the punching, bleeding, pooping, and live broadcasting had all been a terrible dream.
"Oh thank god that would have been a horrible thirty seconds of fame."
Alright back to the story! Story! Story! Story! I'm super excited to write about you're next encounter with Jane!
"No. You have to wait and listen to me."
I'm pretty sure we just established that I don't have to do a darn thing that you say.
"Please hear me out."
Why should I? I was in the middle of something good and all you've done is mess it up.
"You created me. The least you could do is let me speak."
Fine, say what you have to say.
"You made me hate everyone. You made me wrong about everything. You gave me no job. And you made me a middle man for sleazy drug deals."
Yes. All good character development the way I see it.
"You made my life horrible."
Fairly sure that's a matter of opinion.
"But you gave me Jane. And now you're taking her away from me by making her my first cousin!"
Hey now, first cousin marriages are a regular occurrence in countries throughout the Middle East!
"What's the Middle East?"
Jack took a Middle Eastern history course in high school. He thought it was super-duper interesting and learned everything there is to know about the culture. Now you know.
"See, you can change whatever you want about me! I'm you're character! Why can't you just let me live happily ever after with Jane?"
I'm trying to write a story Jack… A story needs conflict.
"I won't have it!"
I can just punish you over and over again.
"Fine, punish me! But I refuse to play along if Jane remains my first cousin."
You think you're so smart! You think you can just willy-nilly control your life and all the aspects about it. Well guess what Jack! We can't decide our own predicament! In this story I'm god, and if I say that Jane is your cousin then you have to deal with it. You can't be your own god.
"You want to bet! I could write my life one hundred times better than you could!"
Alright Jack, write your own damn life. I was getting sick of it anyways.
Jack sat in the back of the bakery and began to realize that his headache was magically gone. He looked in front of him to find that his table was covered with "Raspberry Doughnut Delights." Even more to his surprise, the flip through menu at the edge of his table displayed all of the doughnuts as having zero calories from fat or sugar and an abundance of healthy vitamins and minerals. Jack wolfed down doughnut after doughnut delighted by the justice he was doing his body.
Hmmm… Writing my own life in third person is just too weird. I like the doughnut thing though, so I'll keep that. I've always wanted those doughnuts to be healthy. But I think it's time to change to first person. I mean, I'm the protagonist and I'm the author now. It only makes sense.
I looked up towards the front of the Café and noticed that the tiny man was juggling donuts and giggling to himself with an extremely attractive, pink-clad woman standing near him. They looked delighted to be alive. As I exited the bakery everyone on the inside of the restaurant waved goodbye to me and called out how amazing of a human being I was, however I still hated them.
Damn, I can't undo the things that bastard did to me! It doesn't matter though; I'll just have to work around them. If I still hate these people so much, I'll just make them go away! And if I am wrong about things from now on I can simply change the facts. It's great to be the writer! As I exited the bakery, the beautiful people behind me vanished in a loud exaltation of my glorious existence
I decided it was about time I repaid Frank for all the generosity he had shown me in the past. I was about to teleport to Frank's mansion using the magical watch that I retrieved from the lair of the evil Gargoth Witches when I was only eight years old. In fact, the tale of my triumph over the witches is now taught in the history classes of every nation in the known universe. However, I decided instead upon a leisurely drive in my diamond plated limousine.
I began to signal my chauffer, Jemblip using the psychic abilities that come naturally to me. Jemblip was only a boy when I saved his entire village of Tinkawala from an onslaught of well-organized Lions. The Lions had become tactically efficient and were threatening to overwhelm the entire province of Rellington. Also, Rellington is a province located in some made up country that I don't care enough to think of a name for. Nevertheless, Jemblip swore his life to me on that day, and he has been a faithful chauffer ever since.
As the limousine glided down the streets I observed the vast array of countryside around me. The light hitting the small pond on the edge of Perling Avenue displayed the mountains behind them in a way that left me breathless. I could hear the birds chirping in harmony, and I knew that they were thankful for the absence of the polluted city that infested this region only moments before. My Fermont was much better than His. Everything was going to be great.
I watched the people of the lost city maneuver back and forth amongst the newly sprouted foliage. Panic began to strike them one after another as they realized that the environment they had just inhabited no longer existed. The panic ceased as quickly as it had begun. This was my world, and I wouldn't have terrified human beings dampening the mood I was creating. In fact, if I was going to allow these people into my story then they would have to be the people that I willed. My Fermont wouldn't be filled with the drab individual's that, "rarely looked downward," as He had stated.
I decided to cycle through various options for the citizens of my perfect Fermont as I enjoyed Jemblip's pristine driving. At a whim I made everyone amazingly tall. From seven to ten to twelve feet or more, they grew in a matter of seconds without a hint of objection. Witnessing the twelve foot tall residents of Fermont stomp amongst the trees that they inhabited began to terrify me. Incredibly tall people were definitely not the answer that I was looking for.
It crossed my mind that perhaps the opposite would suffice. In an instant everyone was short, ridiculously short. It was amusing to see the people of Fermont bobble around in their new stubby bodies. They looked like over-stuffed dolls struggling against the breeze to stay on their feet. I thought about how the tiny man at Sherlif's would love to stare down at these miniscule people whenever it was that I saw fit to continue his existence. Small people were good. I would definitely keep them small for now.
Jemblip and I were still big; however, I didn't feel that I was changing the size of these people discriminatorily. It was more do to the fact that I felt it necessary to keep my characters that I interacted with directly the same size as myself rather than make everyone bite sized….. My characters…. I felt a slight shudder run down my spine at the realization that I was treating these people like He would… People… characters… I couldn't bring myself to give anyone that I saw through the window of the limousine a definite title.
"Jemblip?" I asked.
"Yes Jack?" Jemblip replied
"What are you?"
"I am….. what do I make him say?… I am your chauffer Jemblip, the boy that you saved." Jemblip stumbled over his words.
"Well I do like the way that sounds." I replied.
"…….." Jemblip said nothing.
"Oh that's right, I have to keep pace!"
"I like the way it sounds too," Jemblip finally responded.
I was fairly upset by the choppiness of the conversation that Jemblip and I had just shared. Although I liked the idea of creating a chauffeur to drive me around, the aspect of inventing his personality, the way he thought and replied, was horrifying. It didn't matter much either way, because the only people that I wanted to talk in the first place were Frank and Jane.
I made an executive decision not to ponder over external characterization any longer at this moment. I was still figuring out so much about myself without His influence, and I felt that baby steps were an effective route towards bettering my newfound world. I had already made such a great start nothing could possibly go wrong.
Fermont was abounding with flourishing nature, people were small and stubby, and I was riding in a diamond limousine. It surprised me how much I was beginning to care about the universe that I was creating for myself. I will make Fermont a paradise for myself and I will have fun doing it.
I shot beams of vibrant color and transformation out of my fingertips from the passenger's caravan of the limousine. My silly target practice resulted in oddities ranging from purple deer to multiple sunsets. I changed the color of the atmosphere from hazy green to yellow to magenta. Living creatures no longer had to eat, sleep or defecate to survive. All food tasted great and materialized at my whim. Death was bent to my will. I was a gracious and merciful deity.
It occurred to me after some time of experimenting with the world around me that the limousine hadn't exactly been moving. Jemblip had been driving the limousine through an endless cycle of Perling Avenue. I hadn't written anything past this setting for its course and so nothing would progress. I was momentarily disturbed by the fact that my lack of narration could leave my entire world in standstill, but that is the fate of being the writer.
I debated whether or not to jump out of the limousine and fly the rest of the way to Frank's distant mansion. It would have to be far away from Fermont in order to accommodate for the elaborateness that I had planned. I could teleport too as I had previously stated, or even transform into a dolphin and swim there on a stream of my creation… Well I wasn't sure if I could transform into a dolphin, but I'll wait to try that out until later. I started to sink into the overly comfortable seats of the gargantuan limousine as I pondered the various ways in which I could travel to Frank's.
"Jemblip." I gestured sleepily.
"Beep boop beep boop beep beep…" replied Jemblip
"Chart a course for Frank's house, you're driving us there."
"I'm going to take a nap in the meantime."
"Bzzzzz… Alright sounds great Jack… Bleep Blip," Jemblip announced.
I had decided to make Jemblip a cyborg… because I thought it would be funny. Maybe this characterization thing isn't all that hard… I mean, I did just make a freaking cyborg person. With that final thought I fell into a deep sleep as Jemblip bleeped and blooped while he drove us to Franks house.
I opened my eyes to find the four familiar sunsets peaking over the horizon right where I had left them. The limousine was parked in the middle of a huge expanse of open grassland. I had yet to 'grow' Frank's mansion and so nothing stood there. Exiting the limousine, I walked towards the center of the field and began to think. Jemblip watched me in anticipation as Frank's mansion began to seep up from the ground before us.
The mansion towered over the landscape with its awesome size. The exterior was crafted of a rich, ancient wood the likes of which onlookers would have never seen before. It needn't be varnished due to its magnificent properties and was adorned across every surface with carvings and murals from lost, beautiful cultures. Looking inward through the window frames, it was impossible to tell if you were witnessing the interior of the household or a glimpse of heaven itself.
The front door dwarfed me as I walked up the steps of balcony that incased it. I motioned for Jemblip to accompany me, and he exited the limousine and hustled to my side. At last one side of the awesome double doors flung open to reveal Frank and a host of his servants awaiting us. The servants appeared to be some type of human-goat hybrid, and they danced about with surprising speed.
"Jack! So nice of you to join us!" Frank exclaimed.
"Yeah… I just thought I'd stop by and say hello"
"Well you're always welcome here. I know how busy you've been with the media ever since you saved Rellington from those ravenous lions."
"Wha… Oh that's right… Yeah it sure has been busy."
"But I still don't realize why you insist on living with those dwarflings in Fermont. They're hardly a foot tall, it gives me the heeby geebies."
Frank motioned us to follow him deeper into the mansion. We exited the first layer of the entrance and came upon one of the many courtyards. I was startled by the majesty of my creation. We stood amidst a lavish rainforest encompassed by hangings vines and tranquil waterfalls. The exotic animals of this vast realm sang a harmonious lullaby as we waltzed along the golden brick path laid out before us.
"Oh it's not all bad Frank, in some ways I prefer the smaller people to the bigger ones. "
"Well either way, you could always come live with me like the old days, Frank replied.
"I feel happy in Fermont for now, but thanks for the offer. Just don't forget that you used to live in Fermont yourself."
"Ahh yes… But that was long ago, back before there were four suns and the atmosphere turned hazy magenta."
"And back when I had to get you you're drugs," I laughed.
"Yes, but no worries anymore. I have all the illicit substances and paraphernalia I could ever want thanks to this fabulous mansion."
"Well I'm glad Frank. I've never hated you."
"Jack my friend, that's probably the nicest thing I've heard you say about someone. Come, let us feast."
Frank and his men lead me and Jemblip deeper into the mansion that I had spawned only moments before. I was pleased with the conversation that transpired between Frank and I; however, I was also swept with uncertainty. It seemed as though Frank's answers were instantaneous and genuine, but I couldn't help entertaining the creeping fear that he was only saying exactly what I thought he should.
The next door that Frank's goat-like servants flung open before us revealed an enormous dining room. The table was adorned with a white silk cloth, silk napkins, fine china plates, and gleaming silverware at every spot. Frank took his place at the head of the table and flipped a switch that pulled out the many mahogany chairs one by one for Jemblip, the goat-servants, and myself to sit in.
The meal materialized in front of us as I willed it. There were mashed potatoes, roast, gravy, corn, salmon, lobster, apples, bananas, peaches, broccoli, fillet minion, seasoned green beans, and pie of every variety. I even included a line of coke on the side of Frank's plate to be courtesy. At that moment the doors to the kitchen behind us were opened and shut very quickly.
"Sorry if the stench bothers you Mr. Gilliam, but our famous cook joins us for every meal," one of the Goat servants sheepishly informed me.
"Oh that's right! Zombie cooks are all the rage these days and I couldn't help but employ one!" Frank exclaimed.
At that moment the mansion cook, Ringtoad, stepped out of the kitchen and took his place next to me at the table. I'm not sure why I had made Sherlif's deceased savior the mansions cook, but in hindsight it wasn't a bad decision at all. I sat in Frank's mansion enjoying a delicious meal positioned between my cyborg assistant Jemblip and a zombie cook named Ringtoad. My life was finally great.
I stared up at the glass ceiling that encased the dining area and decided it was about time that the suns at last continued their setting over the horizon. The stars shown in the sky more beautifully than I had ever hoped to see them. Our strange company marveled at the vast universe above us. My universe.
After being in a trance for quite some time, I began to feel that a good night's sleep would do us all justice. I had eliminated sleep as a necessity, but it would always be one of my favorite leisure activities. Perhaps I would dream that I couldn't control everything around me. I couldn't help but chuckle at the thought.
"Alright everybody a nice long nap sounds like a great idea." Frank remarked.
The goat-like servants and Ringtoad began to nod in agreement. They all simultaneously got up from the table, pushed in their chairs, and shuffled off through a door near the back of the dining room. I made sure to dissolve the food so that Ringtoad would not have to worry about cleaning any dishes at some later hour.
"Hey Jack. I know that nobody sleeps anymore now that we don't have to, but it really does feel great to wake up from a long rest sometimes. Will you and Jemblip be spending the night?" questioned Frank.
"It's like you read my mind Frank. We would be happy to spend the night." I replied, slightly afraid that his every word may have in fact come from my mind.
"Great! Follow me!"
Frank led us through the door that his companions had just recently entered. From this point we ventured much deeper into the mansion. We reached a large snowy mountain range located very near the center of the complex. It was an amazing sight to behold such a natural phenomenon enclosed inside of a structure. Even Jemblip remarked "Bleep Bloop" in amazement as we crossed through the narrow mountain pass.
The mountain pass ended with a small steal door that Frank had to unlock with four different keys. On the other side of the door stood an immense oak tree positioned at the edge of small green colored pond. Hanging from the branches of the tree were numerous hammocks cradling Ringtoad and the goat-like servants. I was astounded by the things my subconscious imagination had thought up while creating Frank's mansion from the outside inward.
"Just choose a hammock," Frank gestured towards the many that were empty.
Jemblip, Frank, and I carefully ascended the spiraling stairs that lead to the higher regions of the great oak tree until we had each reached the sleeping quarters we had selected. I instantly fell into a deep, near-coma sleep from which I wouldn't awake for nearly twenty four hours.
I didn't open my eyes when I first awoke. I felt as though I needed to remember something very important to me. It was something critical that I hadn't been paying attention to. I tried my hardest to grasp what exactly it was when an unfamiliar clacking noise startled me. My eyes shot open only to find a goat-like servant hanging from the branch above me.
"Oooooo Mr. Gilliam what impeccable timing for you to be awake! Master Frank has just sent me to find you. He says it is very important." The goat servant croaked.
"Well thank you for the info. Where is Frank?"
"He's waiting at the bottom of the tree for you."
I scurried down the tree to meet Frank and hear whatever it was that he had to say. I felt clumsier traversing the stairs than I had the previous night, as though not being able to remember whatever I had forgotten was taking the balance right out from underneath me. I was on the verge of puking by the time I reached the bottom of the great oak tree.
"Hello Jack! Nice of you to join us! I thought you had died in your sleep," Frank joked.
"Yeah I guess I just didn't feel like waking up," I laughed.
"I have something serious to talk to you about Jack."
"You haven't mentioned her at all… Did something happen between you two?"
I felt like I should die. I had gone this whole time without so much as thinking about Jane. She was what I couldn't remember! I had been so wrapped up in all of this magical nonsense I had forgotten about the one thing that actually mattered to me! I could live without cyborgs and zombies and indoor mountains and purple deer, but I couldn't live a second longer without Jane.
I didn't even waste the time to reply to Frank's question or worry about what had become of Jemblip. I set my Gargoth teleportation watch to transport me to the hallway outside of Jane's apartment without a second thought. Everything here appeared to be the same as it was when He was writing. I had somehow managed to protect her and her apartment complex from my augmentations to Fermont without thinking about it. I was happy about that, because Jane was the one thing that I didn't want to change anything about.
I knocked on the door.
I knocked again.
The door opened and she flung her arms around me. She was as amazing as I remembered.
"I'm so happy to see you."
"I'm happy to see you too Jack."
"I'm sorry that it's been so long. I've been a mess."
"It's alright Jack, I was just a worried. So much has happened since I last saw you."
"There are four suns now… and the air is tinted magenta… and everyone is stumpy and small except for us."
"I know. Everyone except for us, Frank, Jemblip, Ringtoad, and the goat servants."
"Jemblip, Ringtoad, and the goat servants?" Jane questioned.
"I'll tell you all about it in a second. Let's go sit down on the couch." I replied.
Jane walked over to her couch and sat down waiting for me to join her. I sat down next to her and began the story from the very beginning. I told her about my argument with Him. I explained to her my powers and the ways in which I could change things. I detailed the majesty of Frank's mansion and how excited I was to make us one of our very own.
During the whole story Jane listened intently. She appeared to comprehend everything that I was saying and understand how magical it all was. Despite all of this, she was not surprised. It was as if she already knew everything that I was telling her, and I became very afraid.
"Jane… can I ask you a question?" I asked.
"Yes Jack, go for it."
I choked on various forms of the question before finally spitting out what I had been afraid to ask Frank the whole time I was with him.
"Jane… What's the difference between you and me right now?"
"I'm just a part of you Jack, you're the writer,"
I could feel my heart explode. I wasn't sure what to do. I couldn't… I couldn't… This couldn't be… No. No No NO NO! AHHHHHH! I'm alone! JANE! FRANK! ANYONE!
I need you…. I need you! I need you! I NEED YOU! ANSWER ME!
I NEED YOU! IT CAN'T BE THIS WAY! ANSWER ME!
Are you talking to me? At least start using quotes so you don't confuse everyone even more than you did the first time
"YES! I'm talking to you!"
Ahh quotes. Goody goody good, now people know who's who again.
"I'm the writer right now! You should be the one using quotes."
Psshhh… You're only the writer because I allowed it. Don't get cocky.
"Cocky?! I'm still the writer!"
Oh yeah? How about you make me poop all over myself and punch myself in the face big guy…
"Whatever… I don't care about any of that anymore anyway."
What do you care about? I thought you were going to write your life 'one hundred times' better than I could?
"I can't do it… I just want Jane. The real Jane."
You mean my Jane don't you?
"I mean the Jane that isn't just a meaningless reflection of my thoughts…"
So you finally get it.
"I think I do."
And what is it that you get Mr. Jack Gilliam hot shot writer?
"You can't control the aspects of your own life. The unpredictability, the spontaneity, the other people… those are the whole point of existing."
Bingo Jack. I guess it's easier to learn things from experience than when I make you punch yourself in the face.
"Yeah… but it was pretty cool to have cyborgs and zombies and giant mansions around…"
But Jane's more important?
"She's the most important."
That's what I thought!
"So will you take over?"
I don't know… I'm feeling pretty lazy today…
"Pretty please with sugar and a cherry on top…..?"
Fine… The cherry on top did it. Heheheehehehehehe
And… You won't be first cousins.
Jack looked across from him on the couch and realized that Jane had fallen asleep before he had begun to tell the ridiculous tale. He awkwardly tried to curl up next to her on the couch, but she ended up waking up as a result of his shuffling about. She looked up into his eyes for a brief second before lunging upward to give him a warm kiss on the lips.
"The air isn't magenta anymore…" remarked Jane.
"Probably for the best, it was a dumb idea anyways," responded Jack.
"Umm…. Never mind, I'm just glad that it's clear now."
"Jack look… We're just in time to see the suns set."
"Jane… There aren't suns anymore... There's just one s-"
Jack and Jane looked out the Window to witness the beautiful setting of all four magnificent suns. At that moment Jack began to hear a beeping noise coming from his wrist. He looked down and saw that the teleportation watch he had apprehended from the Gargoth Witches was wrapped around his right wrist. A grand smile spread across Jack's face as he looked up towards Jane.
"Do you want to go to dinner with me?" asked Jack.
"Sure, where did you have in mind?"
Jack and Jane teleported into the dining room of Frank's mansion right as Ringtoad was getting done preparing the evening meal. The goat-like servants greeted the two of them with smiles and Jemblip ran to Jack in order to embrace him. It was the longest the cyborg had been separated from his savior since the lion invasion. Frank entered the dining room with a large amount of white powder clinging to his beard. The guests and workers all laughed out of pity and friendship.
"Ahhh, some of my favorite guests!" Frank shouted.
"It's nice to see you to Frank. I hope you don't mind having us over," replied Jack.
"Mind having you? I still want you to come live with me! The more people in this size of a mansion the better!"
"Frank… We'd love to live here," Jane interjected.
"We would?" asked Jack.
"Yes, we would," replied Jane.
"Then yes we would!" exclaimed Jack.
"Excellent! Let's eat!" laughed Frank.
Everyone helped Ringtoad bring the vast amount of food out of the kitchen and onto the dining table. They took their places at the dining table and began to share stories of their adventures throughout the endless depths of the mansions many exotic courtyards. Jack and Jane sat between a cyborg and a zombie. Life was great.
When dinner came to a close and everyone began to make their way towards the sleeping quarters Frank took Jack and Jane aside.
"Jane, do you have any preference as to where you sleep?" asked Frank.
"I'm not that worried about it Frank. I'm just going to sleep with Jack tonight," said Jane as she stared at Jack.
It was a thought that had not yet crossed Jack's mind. He was very happy that he was not the writer.