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.