Ch. 4: This is probably going to end well.
- Ch. 1: Science has to be right all of the time. Magic only has to be right once. Or twice.
- Ch. 2: There comes a time when a decision has to be made. Well, someone does. Ideally not me. Gotta run!
- Ch. 3: Please be careful as passengers may have shifted during flight.
- Ch. 4: This is probably going to end well.
- Ch. 5: Take me where I need to go. Show me what I need to learn.
- Ch. 6: Depth of Field
- Ch. 7: Mirror, mirror on the wall … who’s the guy behind me?
- Ch. 8: I thought this was a volunteer position?
- Unknowing Majestic Mystic: The Plot
- Ch. 9: Isn’t there a back office job in the superhero department?
- Ch. 10: There is no manual for superheroes. Is there?
- What if magic were closer than we thought?
But could I get some numbers on that probability, please?
I could not ask questions and keep walking and pretend this happened to be me every day. Sure, I could do that. Watch me.
I walked for at least seven full steps and then I couldn’t take it anymore.
“So,” I began intelligently but hesitated as that was about all that I had in my vocabulary at that point.
“Yes?” she asked, but also knowing that I had no words, I didn’t even have ideas or thoughts that might begin to form words. I wasn’t just at a loss for words, I was at a loss for ideas.
We walked more and when she finally figured out that I had used up my well of my one-word vocabulary, she helped me out.
“Why you?” she asked, but I was immediately confused as I was looking for answers, not questions. Or at least, not questions I didn’t have answers to.
“Why not me?” I asked back, using up pretty much all of my brain power to come up with something unique.
She nodded in approval. “Bravo,” she said.
I walked a few more steps basking in the glory of my deep knowledge of, well, I wasn’t sure. But I was basking in it while I had it. I knew it wouldn’t last long so I enjoyed every step.
“Ready for more?” she asked and I had kind of hoped we might talk about what we were doing here at all, but I didn’t really seem to be in control of the conversation–or of anything at this point–so I let go with whatever was going to come out of my mouth.
“No,” I said.
She looked at me. She was one of those people who didn’t need to say much, but could yet say so much without words.
“I mean yes,” I dutifully followed up.
She did a quick nod of her head as if to say, Glad he’s falling in line with the program. which is exactly how I felt even though I didn’t know what program she was referring to.
“There,” she pointed with her chin as she raised it up towards another café coming up on our left. “In the café.”
“Uh, yeah,” I contributed excellently.
She again did the quick nod thing with her head and I wondered if she could talk more, but I wasn’t about to ask that.
We kept walking.
I looked hard into the first row of café goers and scanned them for, well, I wasn’t sure what. Maybe another glowing marble. I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. I squinted. I closed one eye. I closed the other. Oops, that was both. I opened my left eye. Still just people. I looked to her, but she was looking at the people in the café. I returned my gaze to the people in the café. Still nothing. Back to her.
She looked at me in a way that might have meant something, but I needed a translator. I wasn’t getting whatever she was getting at.
She closed her eyes slowly as she walked. When she opened them, both of them had the emerald rivers of green flowing in them. Even sparkly like one of those uber-cheesy velvet paintings with the moving backgrounds. Glittering flecks of gold in the rivers of her emerald eyes.
She closed her eyes again slowly, opened them, and her pupils were back to a deep brown. I returned my gaze to the café and to my astonishment it was different.
Snowflakes seem to defy gravity and fall in slow motion. Maybe it’s just the romantic in me who loves snowflakes, but what I saw in and around the café was something of a snowstorm. Except that the glowing little flakes weren’t only defying gravity in that they were making a slow descent but they were floating in and around people.
Maybe more like an allergy commercial where pollen is floating around someone. They’ll have red eyes and will sneeze and look miserable. Until, of course, they take the medicine and then they’re smiling and jumping with their ridiculously happy kids with perfect hair.
Except there wasn’t a field where the floating pollen could come from. There weren’t clouds where snowflakes were created. It was a café. It was just me. This is what I could see.
I felt a little faint and wasn’t sure where or even how I was walking. I took just two steps towards the canal and used a tree to balance myself as otherwise, I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t fall over.
Emerald-eyed girl noticed that I had stopped and she came over and stood next to me.
“What does it mean? What am I seeing?” I asked.
She again didn’t say much, but only looked at me and then looked back to the café. I knew I could only take the silent treatment for so long. I needed answers. This was fun and all, but I had things to do. Important things. Well, I probably did. At some point. But what could be more important than discovery?
The dust particles continued to float in and around people in the café and I watched as if it were the exciting part of the movie. Just like a good movie, I felt part of it and I wasn’t as much aware of my own surroundings as I was a part of those people and the specks of dust or light or whatever they were.
“Are you going to tell me or do I have to keep guessing?”
“Keep guessing,” she teased.
“You think this is fun, right?” I asked.
“I do,” she said while not looking at me and staring into the people as if they were a sunset that was about to go down over the horizon and she didn’t want to miss that last disappearance of the glow, hoping to see that green flash that apparently is real.
“What if I don’t think it’s so fun?” I asked.
“Do you not think this is fun?” she asked.
“Do you ever answer a question with a statement?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said and I could no longer pretend to be mad or frustrated or even curious. She was toying with me and she was loving it. I needed to play her game if I was going to win. Well, forget win, at least be in the game, maybe just get off the bench.
I opened my mouth to come back with an incredibly witty rebuttal, but nothing came out. I realized that if we were going to go back and forth, toe to toe, I was going to lose. I needed to change the game.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“Snowflake,” she answered immediately and still kept her gaze on the unsuspecting souls sipping yummy sugary café drinks.
I didn’t even need to look at her to see that she was smiling. Have you ever watched a parent and child, often in a supermarket aisle, where they come to a point where the child is so hysterical that the parent can’t take it seriously anymore and the harder the child screams and cries and wails, the more the parent loses it and just smiles and laughs. In case that’s not clear enough, I’m the child.
I twitched my mouth back and forth trying to figure out what to do or say next and realized it was something I never did. I exhaled and it was louder than I intended.
“Lisa,” she whispered.
“Is that your real name?”
“What does probably mean?”
“Probably the best beer in the world,” she said and this shut me up and shut me down completely as she quoted word for word one of my favorite ad campaigns. How much did this Lisa know about me? Or was that just a coincidence?
“How do you … ” I trailed off. “Why is … ” No, no, I knew what to ask. “I know that … ”
But I had nothing. Not only wasn’t I playing her game, I wasn’t even on the team. I wasn’t even in the stadium. I was at home watching the game on TV. It wasn’t even live, it was a replay. I might not have even put in enough extra time on the recording in case it went long.
I was that far from what I knew, from where I was comfortable. I was at a complete and utter loss for what to say, do, or even think.
It crossed my mind ever so briefly to just walk away. But I realized in the next instant that I didn’t want to. I wanted to know what this was all about. It wasn’t even so much that I wanted to know, I needed to know. Why was I involved? Who was this Lisa? Why could I see an allergy commercial’s worth of floating, shimmering dust particles in and around people in a café That glowing marble in jean-jacketed girl? The whole Italy and the cellar and the moving receipts? I needed answers and I needed them now.
“I’ll tell you everything,” she said as we both looked into the café dwellers.
“Everything?” I asked.
“Everything I know.”
“How much do you know?”
“As much as I tell you.”
“Do you ever give a straight answer?”
“Yes,” she said.
As annoying as Lisa was, there was an undeniable sense of play that was so attractive that I couldn’t stop, well, playing.
“I’ll tell you everything,” she said again in a way that it was clear that I could rest assured that I would learn everything that she knew and even if that meant it was only a little more than what I knew, it was more than zero, which is about where I was.