When we pulled into the driveway the purple Chrysler was already there. I loved the hell out of Heffalump’s ride, but damn…he wasn’t going to last long in that thing. It wasn’t like he was a door-to-door salesman anymore. His underlings had underlings. It would’ve been wise for him to look for something else.
“I’ve suggested that to him,” Vera said with a quick snicker. “But he said that when he dies he wants to die with his boots on, so I guess the Woozlemobile qualifies as his boots.” The Woozlemobile. That was really what he called it. I understood the ‘go down with the ship’ mentality, but I still wouldn’t commit crimes in a purple Chrysler. I would want to be able to swim away from the ship. I believed in lifeboats. I wouldn’t want to be targeted for driving a stereotypical ‘up to no good’ car.
“Hey man, let me show you something,” Mal pulled me aside when we entered the house. He was on his green laptop. It matched his hair perfectly. Woozle was standing behind him, watching whatever he was doing. It must have been something both interesting and illegal or it probably wouldn’t have held Woozle’s attention.
It couldn’t be porn, because Heffalump said that watching porn with another man is ‘for faggots’. I enjoyed kissing Soren that one night, but the word still didn’t offend me. Sticks and stones, and all that. Worse things had happened to me than being called names. But damn…the Glassway night was now almost a year into the past.
“You need a fake ID if you’re going to be murdering political figures from time to time.” That was a good idea. Could we get one online? “You can get them online with E-coins. They’re unregulated, unmonitored cryptocurrency. E-coins are the future, Ivan. They’re the voice of freedom. No one can tell how many of them you have, as long as you play it safe.”
There it was, staring back at me from the lit-up monitor. The site was called ‘Ship of Revolution’, S.R. for short. On the page was a picture of a fake ID…all that was missing from it was a name. It was priced at one-fourth of an E-coin. How much did one of those coins cost?
“Holy shit, okay. Let’s call me ‘Ivan Terry’.” That sounded good enough to me.
“That sounds good enough to me.” Was Mal in my head too? “Blackbeard420’s Ship of Revolution has set sail! It’s ingenious; it’s a technological magnum opus…and certainly frowned upon. Mr. Ivan Terry, your brand new certified state ID will arrive on Thursday.” Fantastic. This would come in handy.
“Fantastic. This will come in handy” Mal then grabbed my black laptop from underneath his chair. It matched the color of my hair. The hair and laptop thing was starting to seem a bit odd.
“I put project BlackNet on your computer too. It’s the secret side of the digital world. You can find anything there, you just have to use your imagination.” This was terrifically intriguing.
“Fuck, that’s awesome. Thanks.” He handed me back the laptop and Scéléra and I went back to our room. I wanted to explore BlackNet, but I decided to check my email first. It was just junk mail, annoying advertisements, and a couple of other things. One of the other things looked sort of odd. It was a bit stranger-looking than the usual other things were. The subject heading read ‘An Invitation’. I opened it. Click.
“Dear Mr. Terrible,
Have you ever heard of the House of Light? It resides in a very poor side of town. It’s right beside the House of Chaos, ironically. I doubt you’ve heard of either of these places. They try to keep the public out of their affairs…but I’ll get to the point. I would like to meet with you at five o’clock tomorrow at the House of Light to discuss a couple of things. I’ve heard about you from a few dear friends of mine. I found your email address through your social networking profiles and would like to talk further.
I hope to see you soon,
Father Peter Dickinson”
How odd. Who was this guy?
“I’m going into the living room to see what has them entertained,” Scéléra said. That sounded like a decent idea to me. I could hear a myriad of sounds emanating from the TV. My laptop and I followed along after her. We sat down on the living room floor and I began my journey into BlackNet. I clicked a shortcut that Mal had loaded into the browser for me. Click. It instantly brought me aboard the Ship. ‘All aboard the Ship of Revolution!’ was written across the top of the homepage.
“Father Peter Dickinson, forty-one, of our local Catholic Serenity Parish led a successful…” the sounds from the TV distracted me, then the screen went dark. The TV turned off.
“Boooring!” Vera shouted.
“Agreed,” Scéléra agreed. “We don’t need TV anyway. I wonder if Mr. Peter Dickinson was there on the food day.” Yes, that must have been what it was. Somehow word about my lack of Catholicism got back to the priest. Tomorrow’s encounter probably wouldn’t be a very friendly one, should I choose to meet him, so I would have to take precautions. I decided to take Peter up on his invitation. It was a new experience. Then I returned to the Ship of Revolution.
Fake IDs weren’t all that the Ship had in stock. There were fake $20 bills priced at $7.99, random other illegal shit, and drugs…oodles and oodles of drugs. Was this where Mal and Woozle spent their entire bank accounts? It wouldn’t be terribly hard to understand if they did. I debated whether I would this investigate the place farther. Maybe…
Vera made some more of her mystical tea and she and Scéléra drank most of it. I didn’t need any of that right now. I was thinking about too many complicated things to go to WowzaWorld. The two of them were watching kids’ shows, switching between them and giggling wildly, intensely debating what effects the makers of the shows intended to have on the world’s children. What was Happy Fun Land, or whatever was on the TV, trying to subliminally implant in our minds? Hell if I know. One can never be sure.
“Hey man, we’re goin’ down to the Underworld tonight. You wanna come?” Heffalump asked me.
“What exactly do you mean by ‘the Underworld’?”
“A club downtown,” Mal explained. I was looking at a map that showed how to get to the Light House, or whatever it the place called. ‘The Underworld’ just happened to be about a mile away from it. It’s almost sort of funny, how things seem to line up.
“I’ll come.” They didn’t have to ask the experience junkie twice. It was around nine p.m. and the girls were ending their ride down the waterfall of tea. We had all smoked a little bit of weed. They would be fine without us here now, so we then bid them adieu. Au revoir!
“Adieu! Au revoir!” And we were gone. We were in the Woozlemobile this time. Tonight we would be the ones getting out of the car…the car that gloriously pulls up at the entrance to the club. By the time we got there, many other cars had already arrived. The fun had begun already. The Underworld was not your typical nightclub. Scéléra would have enjoyed this place, and Vera had probably worked here in her past life. There were dancers in cages suspended in the air, held in place by silvery chains.
The room was incredibly dark except for all of the glowing neon lights. Shadowy trance music made the floors and walls vibrate with a bubump like a heartbeat. Heffalump and Mal had disappeared, which was understandable. This was a work night for them, and I wanted to discover this new world for myself anyway. I went up to the bar where a group of scantily clad night owls were discussing infinity. How interesting…I wasn’t expecting to hear something so philosophical here. Maybe I hadn’t given The Underworld enough credit.
“Here you go, sir, a gift from us.” Two girls wearing lots of fishnet everythings handed me two shot glasses full of something liquidy and alcoholic. Liquidy and alcoholic sounded good to me. They must have thought I was pretty, but I preferred Scéléra over them. They laughed and bounced away drunkenly to go back to their dancing.
“They think you’re pretty, sweetie.” It was Trix!
“Trix! Goodafternevening. Fancy seeing you here.”
“Do I know you? If not, then I should fix that...”
“Obscurité,” I replied.
“Oh!” Obscurité was some kind of magic memory trigger now. Trix got me two more of whatever I was drinking already, then asked me to dance. The music was a dark German techno-industrial mix. It was like something you might hear every night at Berlin’s version of the Underworld. We spun, and spun, ‘twas so much fun.
Instead of running in place we were fighting in place, fighting invisible spirit-dancers. That’s what it looked like to everyone else. One of the cage dancers soon tired and I decided to take her place. I tried to give them the slut-show they came to see. Did I seem too drunk? Too weird? Too sexy? Maybe all three.
“Why, helllloo!” A tipsy scream came from right behind me. He looked like a frat boy who was questioning his sexuality. I didn’t know if men were on his sexable list too, but he was clearly at least been into women. Holding each one of his hands were pairs of girls, aggressively making out with and climbing up and down each other. Ah, the preface to an orgy! How much had he paid them?
“How are you doing this evening? Are you finding everything to your liking? Is the place unbearably tantalizing? Yes? Wonderful! Fantastic! If it isn’t, then turn around and go home! Aha! The name’s Death Darkness. I’m as dark as death, baby! I run the show here.” What the fuck? You’ve got to be kidding me. ‘Death Darkness’? It sounded like the name of a Lego Junior villain.
Then everything started became very odd. What was happening here that I couldn’t see? All around me swirled subliminal messages and secret gestures, meant only for certain eyes. Were any of these meant for me? Why did I feel like so many people were upset, tired, and ready to go home?
Then I was ready to go home, or at least leave. I went out the same way I had come in without acknowledging his introduction, and stepped out into the night. It was around two a.m. now and I wasn’t quite sober enough to be able to tell the temperature. I found a hidden grassy spot and plooped down upon it.
Mal and Woozle knew that I wouldn’t be going back with them. I had an errand to run tomorrow afternoon. The grass was wet from morning dew, but that didn’t matter to me. Not right now. Maybe it would annoy me in the morning, but alas! Morning came and I wasn’t hungover at all. What a pleasant surprise.
“Don’t be alarmed by the tricks of the priest. You will outwit him and give him a feast.” Shadowshade reverberated in my head. Was this a good omen? Maybe it was a Christmas miracle, but Christmas was far away…so it was a Christmas miracle in advance. I looked at my phone. It was already three p.m.
Mother sucker. I must have been very tired, but I still had two hours left…plenty of time. What was about to happen? I tried not to spend too much time thinking about it. I was, and always shall be, a big fan of improvisation. The answers would come to me all in good time.
I went into a coffee shop located only about a block away from my slumber zone and was met by a team of long-bearded hipsters who were congregated behind the counter. A few were wearing shades and a few looked sort of like ZZ Top.
“Three double shot espressos, please,” I said to the one behind the cash register.
“Really? Alright, you got it.” I wanted to be alert for my encounter. I took my coffees and drank them the same way that I drank the shots at the club. Glug, glug, glugity-glug. Down the hatch! Then nothing…nothing...
“Damn it, come on!” I shouted loud enough to attract a few stares. The espresso gods heard my request. Bing, ba-bing-bing bam! Good! Good coffee! You deserve a treat! The coffeeness arrived all at once. It was a much different feeling than being on cocaine. I wasn’t Jesus, I wasn’t immaculate, but I was still the Energizer Bunny.
I quickly dashed out the door and darted down the sidewalk. Three double shot espressos will really put that pep in your step. ‘Caffeine Use Disorder’ was actually in the professional book of mental health disorders, the DSM-V. Apparently excess means sickness in today’s world. I was probably now approaching that diagnosis, but I didn’t give a shit.
In less than ten minutes I had made it all the way to the House of Light. It looked almost like the church with Anna and the food. The building was literally adjacent to the ghetto, yet looked at least as expensive as any cathedral I could imagine. Damn, how ‘Christ-like’ of them…but I was ready. I was even wearing my murdersuit, which was at least mostly blood-free after I washed a few times. It was a little damp and smelled like cheap vodka, but maybe the Catholics wouldn’t care.
It was four forty-seven, thirteen minutes away from go-time. This was the perfect time to go inside. Thirteen is my lucky number, and it was nodding its head in my direction. What did Peter Dickinson have up his sleeve? I would soon find out, and he’d soon find out what was up mine.
I opened the doors of the building and came into a small yet extravagant lobby. No one was here. Should I look around? No, someone would come to greet me eventually. I was still a bit early. Seven minutes later, someone came. Damn it! Seven…
“That’s no good,” Shadowshade complained. Oh well. It wasn’t Dickinson. It was a woman who was probably a secretary.
“Hello, Ivan, my name is Mary. I’m Father Dickinson’s Secretary.” Was he trying to intimidate me by telling her to say my name? I was too amused to be afraid. It was like a B-horror film or something like that.
“Hello, Mary…dun, dun, dunnn! I know your name too! Are you fucking scared?” I laughed maniacally, thinking that maybe she was.
“Um, just walk through the doors ahead of you. They lead into the sanctuary. He should be in there.”
“Will this be a private meeting?”
“Oh yes, of course. He made sure of that.” How ominous.
“Alright, thank you Mother Mary. The Lord be with you.”
“And also with you, Mr. Terrible.” My name really did have a nice ring to it. I pushed open the wooden doors with great coffeed fervor and zipped into the sanctuary. The lights above the pews were turned off, but all of the lights above the podium were on. They illuminated the place in which Peter Dickinson stood. He was in full regalia, minus the funny hat. Why was there no funny hat? I wanted my money back, and I hadn’t even tithed today. Jesus Christ…and I thought I was theatrical…
“Jesus Christ, Dick. I thought I was theatrical, but this…you’ve one-upped me.” I sort of congratulated him as I entered.
“Hello, Ivan the Terrible. Thank you for your punctuality. Patience is not a virtue that I’ve ever achieved, you see, but I’m working on it. That is what matters. Come up here and have a chat with me. Let’s have a nice friendly conversation. Nothing more…”
That was a little creepy and maybe a little stereotypical.
“Are you going to fuck me, Father?”
“That joke is really getting old, you know. No, I’m not going to fuck you…at least not in the sexual sense.”