The Second Step [to Um, Magic?]

We walked into my house in Twilight around 7:30 pm. Door to door, it took about five and a half hours– five and a half hours to get from Narrowbroad, to Twilight City. At most it should’ve been a four hour drive, but rain, defensive driving, and a couple of missed exits had set us back a while. As it happens though, that time spent in the car already felt gone. Like deja vu letting me peak into what was yet to come.

I think Fransuave came down to greet us cause I can’t imagine that I knew the code to my building. I wasn’t that prepared. Regardless of who handled the door, we soon went it– I claimed one of the only remaining beds left– and then we went upstairs to talk about what we were doing for the night.

“Must’ve hit some traffic, huh boys?” Fransuave, an assassin, sharpened the edges of his mustache for style. The points exaggerated themselves and I wondered if he put honey on their tips to attract flies like Salvador Dali.
“Traffic? Oh, we hit some traffic. All the way up, we were getting cluttered by traffic. I think we both came a consensus about a lot of things though.” The Scientist chuckled, sneakily taking out his strange, wavy rod.
“Oh yeah. We had some long talks about some good things, and despite our differences, the trip was really enjoyable.” Flames concentrated on my fingers, making a ball. I wondered if that rod would burn if I wore it out enough. I wondered if he could feel the heat. I slapped him on the back and squeezed his shoulder.
“Well that’s great, you boys trying to do something tonight? I’ve been in touch with Brain, he said he’s down to come over in a bit.” Tiny mustache’d men ran out of Fransuave’s nose hanging up LCD lights on his beard and mustache. They put them to blink and the lights spelled out *Drinking?*
“Oh! I forgot about Brain! Yeah, we totally should.” The flames had changed their intensity. Now, they flicked and licked at each other, playfully spelling out in cursive I’d Love To Play.
“Great, I could probably hit up Cali and he can come over and drink a bit with us.” Now the little men marched back up with a more focused purpose, the lights blinked and spelled out something else, but I couldn’t make out the new word.
“Awesome, yeah, I haven’t seen Cali in a minute. Spyyes, you need anything?” He jumped around with his laser glasses, beaming his eyes into my head. He had a cloak of stupidity too, it seemed, and he knew it put down people’s guards. I took a defensive stance. 
“I don’t need much. I’m excited to see Brain though. I’d love to talk to him.” He plucked on a string I didn’t see, but Fransuave perked up.
“Yes, that’s good my man. This week, we wanna just try to fraternize and spread out. Really get a chance to meet each other and just, chill, understand each other, and build chemistry. That’s a very important part of the process. That’s why we have this week.” Did Fransuave have a pot belly? He rubbed his stomach like he did. He patted it, as if to quiet another bear inside him– perhaps the one that he had eaten to get his pot belly. I think I knew the bear’s name as Satisfaction. Or was it Comfort?
Fransuave went up to the TV, pressing his hand into the back. He walked away as the black screen made a singing chink! then began to turn on. As the monitor warmed up, Fransuave chose an episode of Sunny for us to watch while we waited for Brain and Cali.
“As we talked about Jack, I used some of the funds for a thirty rack of beer.” He patted his belly. He definitely ate Comfort. I clenched my fist. We had talked about it, but no one was coming up. Why buy so much? I nodded my head.
Sunny made me and Fransuave laugh; a rerun but a classic: The Gang Recycles Their Trash
“Remember when humans use to talk about real issues? When did humans start distracting themselves like this?” The Scientist’s face had started to peel, there was a mask under his face. Which was the right one to make eye contact with? Spyyes smiled, continuing: “We don’t talk about anything anymore, we’re fine with wasting our time on this, wasting our time watching nothing and talking about nothing. Why don’t we put on something more constructive, hmm? I know some videos that will open your eyes to the Pineal Gland, they illustrate it much better than me.” With that, he took the strange rod out again. He was maniacally rubbing his the stick. The tip formed into a thick brush, he began dabbing at his peeling mask. How many masks? How many different thoughts, conflicting, fought and burned off one another?
“Well man, you gotta give time to bullshitting.” The pot belly was gone. Fransuave, lean as an otter, stood to his full height. He fixed his stash. With his constant veil of unassumption, you’d forget he was sneaky.
But I just don’t see the–” The doorbell rang.
“That’s Brain!” Fransuave jumped up, happy to leave the conversation tilted in his favor. The Scientist nodded his head. He grabbed something out of the air and consumed it. It couldn’t have been larger than a moth.
I heard Brain from upstairs.
“Yo. How we doing, Frank?” He walked with a false limp, an outfit designed for the deliberate purpose of other’s assuming Brain was less than he was. 
“Hey, Brain my man, how we doing?” Fransuave patted him on the back. His mustache men sized him up, as they always did. A small fleet of hairy men jumped onto the back of Brain and took the measurements of Brain’s body. Satisfied that he was on our side, they retreated.
“Ah, you know, been working till I came up here, now they got in some classes to pass the time.” He adjusted the chip on his shoulder to the other side before billowing up the steps.
“Oh, what do you work as?” I had a flame licking my lips, giving me ears, making me happier, brighter, more entertaining to look at. I wanted my welcome to be warm. I dapped him up into a hug.
“I cut wood.” He was absolutely sincere. I saw the garment I never could possess, a bodysuit of mystique and misdirection, because I projected it onto him. The genuineness of his simplicity was grounding. This would be an interesting show. The Scientist had already gone back to his bag of tricks, searching for something to present to the new body, Brain.

Um, Magic?

It could be that I’m crazy. You always have to keep that in mind, cause when you stop thinking you could be crazy, then you’re usually crazy. So it could be that. Either way, I’ll tell you what I felt.

I was supposed to direct an acting/writing workshop for a handful of days. I had started a couple of nights before to write up a schedule and I had asked about time off for the week that I was coming up to Twilight City. Originally, we were supposed to create a movie this week, but due to conditions caused by accidental overscheduling, we lost half our crew within a month of the shoot. I came up with the idea of an acting/writing workshop to keep  up everyone’s morale, unfortunately, barely any of the remaining cast could make it. Except for one.

What his name was is not important,
he had traversed
had bled and wearied his mind
searching for a truth he wanted to hear.
He knew, and knows many things–
but knowing did blind
so he believed he looked through his third eye.
A Player forever,
dressed as a Scientist of the Strange. 

When he came to my house, he was ambitious to talk about big things like God and religion and oneness, but he wanted to talk. It was he who wanted the conversations and he who wanted to find out more. I was just in the car with him, along for the ride. But I’m always game for a bit of bullshitting.

“We don’t, Jack, we don’t know what is even going on around us.” The Scientist spoke, swinging his forehead towards me.
“I think some people are aware of what’s going on around them– I think a lot of people are aware of what’s going on around them actually. It’s just at different levels.” I parried with my chin, a light blow. I left a little dazed.
“Yes, yes… Different levels…” He searched for a beaker of memory in his mind, a potion of some strange concoction to distract my forwardness.
“By different levels, you mean, you mean, some people can see it and some can’t.” It smelled like perfume extracted from a brainwashed pig. Where did he get these thoughts?
“Everyone’s perspectives are different, but they’re all equally valuable.” I covered my face with hazmat care.
“But some people are open to the oneness and some people aren’t” A flare shot out of his mouth.
“You don’t think everyone is open to oneness?” Thinking quick, I shot at his flare.
“In Islam, we call those closed to openness a kafir and those open to God/Allah/the Quran, what have you,  we call them Muslims.” I didn’t see where he pulled it from,  but he had a bag of tricks, perhaps it was his mind, and he seemed to bring forth from it a large twirling rod that didn’t hit, but misdirected.
“So you– I didn’t know you were a Muslim.” His whiteness shone behind his glasses with a winning grin. I didn’t laugh, he could, be, a Muslim… Shit! Did I mispronounce it? Is he gearing up to tell me so, bragging with wokeness?
“From the sounds of it, you’re a Muslim too.” He put the strange rod away. He smiled daring with his teeth.
“I was raised Cath–
“But you believe in the one true God.”
“Well, I, I believe there is a God–
“And you submit to him.”
“I know there is a God, I’ve felt him before, but it’s not like if you don’t believe in God that you’re bad.” Steam shot out of his mouth as he let out a sigh heated by anger.
“I’m not,” he slapped the steering wheel, “I’m not saying that. What I’m saying is that there are those who are open to it and those who aren’t. Look, men and women are different. They are different, physically.”
“We’re definitely physically different, that’s for sure, bro, haha.”  God I love my cloak of stupidity, when did I get it? Somewhere in between my dad making dad jokes and Eric Andre breaking out as a comedian. I stuck my hand up for a high five.
“No I mean, I mean, they have different energies. They change all the time. For, for example, a woman is better at telling detailed stories than a man.” He really just lights dynamite left and right, huh? He doesn’t care about the social explosions that erupt, even in the intimacy of his car.
“Well I think I tell pretty good stories.”
“Yeah but they’re not as good as a woman. You speak in allegory, they speak in detail.” What? My mouth was a flytrap of confusion.
“You’re looking at me like I’m crazy or something, but that’s how it is. Different physical bodies and different energies, it’s Yin and Yang.” Ah, you fucked up. You fucked around with Yin and Yang. I play better with those. They always talk big after they think I’m dumb.
[I am dumb.]
“Hmm. By Yin and Yang it’s only meant, I think to some degree, that all energies have opposing sides to them. So masculinity and femininity are each other’s opposites, but they also describe each other. But what is masculine and what is feminine isn’t just contained by one’s body, our energies–as you said– derive from something greater than just physical appearance. It’s derived from our decisions and our thoughts. I have a lot of “feminine” traits, but I’m still a man.” Despite that all this was directed to him, I hadn’t looked at him once. I did not strike, but merely tickled him with suggestion.
“Yeah. Yeah. Great, well, great. That’s great. Really. That’s something. Could you grab my EZ pass? It’s in my bag.” I reached behind to the backseat, pulling out his bag. He took his bag in both hands, steering off the road.
“I can take it out!”
“Thank you, so much it’s in the back leather pocket.” 
Yup, the social games. Teasing, projecting on to the other, trying to gain power. Wars had been fought over poor etiquette. We wage battles every day one against the other, trying to trip the other up. Or if we’re kind, and most are, we ask for not so much, for some language dancing to get us out of the dreariness. The Scientist was no different, he just wanted to see it through his third eye.