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“Okay, time to move!” Vera shouted in my ear and woke me up. “Moving, moving, moving day! Lala, lala, laylay lay! Weew!” She had already been to the North Pole for some snow that morning. Scéléra was sitting next to me on the couch. She didn’t seem to be doing very well at the moment.

“I’m scared…” She didn’t have to tell me, but she did anyway. “There’s a warrant out for my arrest, Ivan! You know that they’re on your trail too. They are …how long will this last? Can we run forever? I heard of a place called the House of Chaos, where those who go in don’t ever come out again. I hope that it’s true, don’t you? I’d love to go somewhere bewildering and never return. I don’t want to know where I am anymore. It would be like magic. Why does anyone want to know where they are? I couldn’t imagine wanting that.”

Oh, to get lost and never be found! She was right. If heaven is real, that would be it. I had indeed heard of the House of Chaos. Was she trying to tell me that she knew I had been there? I highly doubted that. I was probably just reading into things too much, wasn’t I?

“It seems like we’re going somewhere else and never returning already. We’re moving today and we won’t be here again.” She nodded her head in agreement.

“I just wish that we didn’t have to hide…and from our own species! ‘Homo homini lupus est’. It’s Latin and means ‘man is wolf to man’. No other animal is as cruel and selfish. We can’t let them find us. They’ll break down our doors, separate us from those we love, cage us like swine, maybe put us down…they value cohesion and agreement over logic and open-mindedness. They have no idea how to deal with sudden change. They attack personal freedom, while speaking of its importance just to keep the horde at bay.” She was right.

“You’re right,” I replied. “We were born before our time. We were meant for the second age of enlightenment, but maybe we could give birth to it ourselves.”

“Of course!” Vera jumped into our conversation. “We are the only ones who can create the universe we were meant for!” She shot past us and zoomed right out the front door. Zing.

“Let’s finish this paranoid moving thing before we start a revolution,” Scéléra suggested. It was a good idea…first things first, and all. Sometimes I just prefer to have my last things first instead. The move wasn’t going to take long at all, for Heffalump Woozle and his entourage were here to help. We would be able to move everything in one trip. It’s nice having connections. They’re like family that loves you for your dark side instead of shaming you for it.

I wondered what the public must have been thinking as our seven car motley crew convoyed through the bustling almost mini-metropolis streets. Where were we going? Where were we moving? I didn’t know the answer to that yet, but I told them not to tell me. I hate when people ruin surprises. We were stopping at Hotel Obscurité. What? Why here?

“We’re moving in!” Vera answered before I could ask. “Mistah Woozly is renting out his suite. He owns a suite here, you know.” No, I didn’t know. What a strange and unsettling coincidence…was it only a coincidence? I found myself asking this question far too often. I guessed that the suite would be on the same floor that Janglehorn’s had been on.

“I bet the suite will be on the same floor that Janglehorn’s was on,” I said aloud. The suite was indeed on the same floor as his, but thankfully it wasn’t the same exact room. With the help of Heffalump’s gang we were settled in after just over an hour. I liked this place quite a bit more than our last, in spite of the fact that it was located right in the middle of memory lane.

The whole place radiated a very modern atmosphere and looked like it could have come here from the future. Maybe we had made it to the future…but even when you travel to the future, you haven’t really made it there. You’re just in the present at another point in time. So we didn’t travel into the future, but where we were became the past.

“Okay, we’re done! We’re settled in! Hooray!” Vera was ready to celebrate.

“Have you anymore tea?” Scéléra asked. They tea partied more often than they chose to disclose.

“Yeez!” Vera passed her a bottle with some tea left inside. She quickly drank just over half of it and passed the rest to me.

“I can’t stand it when things start making sense,” Scéléra said. I could certainly relate to that. “I don’t think I would like for anything to make sense ever again.” Agreed. I had fallen in love with nonsense. Our suite had come with TVs, and one near us was on…

“Police believe that the murder of John Janglehorn and others may have been committed by a young man named Tristan Anderson, a man who disappeared nearly two years ago. His whereabouts and whether or not he is really still alive remain unknown.”

“Dee Gaggles!” Vera exclaimed. What? What an odd exclamation. “Tristan is you! That’s no good. Lay low for a while. I think you should.” What a splendid proposition, but it was soon overcome by a sudden urge to venture outside.

“Scéléra, let’s go do some improv.”

“Improv?” She asked. “What do you mean?”

“Come and see.” I left the room and made my way to the elevator. She was close behind me. Ding! Now we were in the hotel lobby. No, I thought. We shouldn’t try it inside our place of residence…so we walked outside.

“Ready? Like this.” I walked up to a young timid looking couple who were walking along the sidewalk. “Hello, friends!” I met them with a cheerful greeting. “Would you like to take part in a very brief paid survey?”

“Yes, let’s!” The woman decided.

“Great! We’ll go ahead and get started. First question: how many apples would you have if you had a dozen dozens of them?”

“That’s an odd question. I have no idea…one hundred twelve? That sounds sort of dozeny,” the man replied.

“Nope! Wrong! Incorrect! Next question! How active is your sex life?”

“Very,” said the man. The woman didn’t seem to be convinced that he had given a truthful response, but she didn’t object. I guess she wanted to keep him around.

“Oh? Describe it explicitly.”

“What?” He was unnerved and caught off-guard by this PG-13 conversation and had no intention of helping me make it to an R-rating.

“Damn it, man! I’m just an imaginative handsy hobo! I can imagine lots of different things…” I stared at both of them with my eyes wide open.

“How dare ye!” The sir bellowed.

“Oh the horror!” The lady cried. Holy hole, were people really this easy to offend? I wasn’t even trying.

“I’ll sue you for sexual harassment!” He yelled at me.

“I’ll shoot you in the face if you don’t walk away immediately.” I pulled out a realistic looking black airsoft gun and cocked it with great grandiosity. They immediately walked away. Imagine that. Airsoft guns are very scary I suppose.

“Improv seems like a wonderful game.” Scéléra was interested when I returned.

“Try it yourself.”

“Of course.” So she tried it herself. Along came a man, not much older than we were, walking down the sidewalk. He was Scéléra’s first target. What a lucky fellow indeed! “Hey there, would you like to make a donation to a cancer research foundation? You could be one of the saints who make finding a cure possible!”

“I will not be donating today, friend. ‘Cancer research’? Bullshit. You didn’t sell me on that. You’re just trying to make some cash off of the feebleminded, hmm? Sorry that I don’t fit that description. Poor luck for you. Don’t ask me for anything, hon. I’m not a very charitable man. Do I look like Mother Theresa to you? Good day.” He seemed interesting to me now…just interesting enough that I sort of wondered who he was.

“Oops.” She hurriedly came back to me.

“That wasn’t too bad.”

“Yes it was! Look! The sky is purple!” She was suddenly unnaturally excited, but she was right. There was a very purple sky today. Maybe the tea was responsible. It darkened as deep purple rainclouds gathered up above us and soon rain began to fall. Down it came, all at once. The people on the sidewalks were running for their lives, trying to find the closest dry place. Many of the cars that filled the streets turned around and went back to wherever they had come from. Why?

“I’m melting! I’m melting!” The people shrieked as they rushed by. Why didn’t they like the rain? Scéléra was beside me spinning around and around and around. We weren’t having panic attacks like everyone else was. They were like ants in a pile that had just been struck by a heavy stone. Some of the scrambling scramblers didn’t even seem to know where it was that they were trying to scramble to.

Scéléra’s hair, which had been purple since her blue-haired mugshot came into being, was dangling wet and heavy. It drizzled water all over her face and arms. She looked splendiferous to me. Soon we swam along back to Obscurité. We took the short (ding! ding!) ride in the elevator and then made our way back to the suite. Knock. Knock. We knocked on the door.

“Who is it?” Mal asked warily.

“F.B.I.!” Scéléra yelled. The door unlocked and opened.

“That’s not good.” I reprimanded him. “When a person claims to be the F.B.I. it should not make you more willing to let them in here.”

“True, but I could see her.”

“Something has happened!” Vera flew out of their room to greet us. She was clearly distressed.

“Oh?” I had a bad feeling about this…


Knock. Knock. Knock.

“Police!”

Scéléra and I were out doing our improv, and while we were gone Mal and Vera received a visitor. They swiftly made sure that all of their frowned-upon things were well out of sight before opening the door. Vera answered it.

“Hello, ma’am. I’d like to ask you and your fiancé a few questions. Neither of you are suspects, but we believe there is a possibility that you could help us answer a few questions.”

“Certainly,” she replied as Mal entered the room.

“I’m only here to ask some questions,” the cop said to Mal. “You two aren’t suspects or anything like that. You’ll be fine unless you lie, but hopefully we won’t run into that problem. If you lie then you’re fucked. We can write whatever we want to in the report. We leave out what happens when folks lie.” How charming, police brutality…

“Ask away,” Mal answered casually.

“Alright. We believe that Tristan Anderson, potential triple murderer, and Scéléra Lavier, who is also wanted for a number of crimes, may be cohabiting. Our sources found that the two of you knew both of them, in some form or fashion, until at least a few months ago. We need any information you have about where they could be, their habits, anything else that seems relevant.”

“We haven’t heard from either of them in about six months,” Vera began. “They told us that they were homeless so we let them stay with us for about a week. We found out about their excessive drug use so we kicked them out.”

“They’re probably somewhere lying dead in a ditch by now. They’re certainly dangerous, relentlessly spontaneous and unpredictable.” Mal added a nice touch; the investigator seemed to be buying it.

“Do you have any idea where they might have gone?”

“I really don’t have a clue about that, sir. Maybe the train tracks? I’ve seen a few groups of homeless people there.” There were quite a few there, but Scéléra and I were not among them. Not yet, at least.

“Alright, thank you both for your time. Call us immediately if you discover any information that could lead to their arrest. We’re offering a reward for that kind of info. Have a safe and uninteresting night.” With that, he left the hotel.

“Shit.” Mal and Vera said it together.


“So that’s what happened.” They were done telling the story. “We think it’s best that we don’t live together anymore. You aren’t safe here with us and we aren’t safe with you. Heffalump will keep doing business with you, if you so desire. Vera and I can stop by from time to time, but we need to take this seriously. It’s time for the two of you and the two of us to be living separately. Mal was right. None of us were safe anymore.

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