Monday, July 8, 2013

Co-Created By the Mystery Man: Chapter Three

"You know what's weird?" Mystery Man asked, slumped back in the folds of a patched, green armchair with his arms dangling limply over the sides. His head was tilted to one side of his neck, as though too weak to keep it erect. Without a word or change in posture the black suit disappeared, melting into the pores of his skin. Beneath it he was a dirty-looking individual, with dried flesh cracked up and down like a dessert rock. Prickled hairs, not long and reaching like some folks, poked out like quills on most all but his face, which had the endorsements of a coarse beard. One arm swung up unnaturally stiff, bending awkwardly to press the nipple of a brown bottle between his lips.

His Adam's apple bobbed as he chugged it down. It burned the whole way, but it was a sensation he'd come to love over the years. When the bottle was empty (it had been full when raised) he tossed it to the ground, not caring to cringe as the more enthusiastic bits sprayed up at his knuckles.

"It's weird," he paused for a minute to wipe the brown dribble off on his shoulder. "It's weird... It sucks when your creator begins to doubt your existence. Doesn't it? When you know that whatever force it was which put you on Earth begins to wonder if maybe you were a bad idea? Can you imagine your mom coming over to you one night and saying 'Son, you're a gigantic disappointment to your father and me. Now before you cry, I just want you to know, it isn't your fault. You actually haven't done anything wrong that I didn't press you to do. It's just... well, Son, we weren't ready. We couldn't have known that we weren't, but we just aren't. It's better if you leave now, Son. Leave now, and never come back.'"

He reached for another bottle. There was an airy [i]ting[/i] as his fingernail touched the glass. A simple miscalculation tipped it away. It landed with a thud, then rolled across the wooden floor until finally bumping into a raggedy stuffed rabbit. Mystery Man stared straight ahead, his dark eyes unblinking.

"'Alright, Son, climb back up in the vagina'."

He shook his head before sliding a hand over his face and sighing.

"You should have known, kid. You should have known. I mean, you made us to be mass produced. You made us with the idea of running a company, not of handling it alone. You made us as a media franchise, not a bunch of stories on a blog. We weren't even novels, man. We were comics and cartoons, couple of games. We aren't supposed to end... how the fuck can you keep up with this? And you have twenty more of us you want to write?" He threw his hands forward dismissively, tossing off some spit for good measure. "Good luck with all that. You should probably just do us up like the movies, Jack. Beginning, middle, end. New story. None of this continuous narrative bullshit you're trying. You'll never be satisfied with it. Never.

"Of course, you had to go and try it out, huh? Just had to. Look what you've reduced me too, kid. Look at me."

His disheveled appearance and stained underwear was enough to send even the most hardened men away in fright.

"Yeah, cute. That's what my story's supposed to be. Cute. I'm the funny guy, the wise cracker. I'm your reality-breaking smart ass. But I can't be that right now, can I? You know why? Because you decided that I needed a serious side. How lame is that? Well, guess what? It comes out when my god considers ditching me because he bit off more than he can chew!"

For a moment he was silent. Then, after some calming breaths which seemed only to cause further upset: "Listen, I'm sorry. I'm sorry to you, and to the readers. I know I'm not supposed to be like this. This isn't what we planned."

His expression softened before disappearing behind the returning black veil. This drunken oaf was Mystery Man once more, and he was all but prepared to take on the world.

"Yeah, that's it. You're actually having fun now, aren't you?"

He stood from his seat, shifting his weight from side to side.

"Wedgie. Anyways, you gotta remember, kid, I'm here for [i]you[/i]. You might be sharing me with everybody else, but my purpose here is for you. You've got it inside you—sometimes you even let yourself know that. I can hear all the words, guy. I can hear every single one. That blog about Howard the Duck and Huey and Louie? I heard it. That bit of math you scribbled out to plan your leisure and your work? I heard that, too. I hear it all, so I know you can do it. Of course, this is all part of the plan, isn't it? I mean, it's improv right now, but your grand ultimate goal... that consider situations like this, didn't it? I know it did, actually. I heard it.

"You're like Batman that way. You planned to incorporate your own shortcomings. How fucking incredible is that?"

He reached deep in his chest, ripped out that favorite katana of his. With a whoosh it cut the air, and Mystery Man struck a pose only a heavily-inked ninja could.

"So what do you say, man? You gonna keep going? You gonna show the world and yourself that you [i]can[/i] be a good writer? That you [i]do[/i] have some really awesome stories to tell?"

From outside came the ring of sirens and the flash of blue lights. Tires whirred over wet pavement, and a smile creeped over Mystery Man's face. He dashed toward the window and leapt without a thought. Tumbling in a spin, reaching into his neck for another sword, plummeting face first.

As the air rushed past and through him, Mystery Man called out: "Yeah! There we go kid! That's it! You got this!


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