The Video Camera Part 1
After a bath and a cup of hot cocoa, he curled up onto the sofa and asked me if I had listened to the tape. I was in my little computer corner again, and deep in a MSN argument with someone who hadn't read Morgoth's Ring. "Huh?" was my bright response.
"Did you listen to the tape I gave you?"
"BRB" I typed then scooted away from the desk. "Yeah, I did." I said this nonchalantly, trying to hide the fact that I had listened to it thirty times a day to get that transcript ready. "I have a few questions about it actually." A few was an understatement. I had a prioritized list that I typed up, but realized that I didn't have an address to send them to.
David smiled wryly. "I thought you would. I'll only allow you one question, because I'm weary of questions right now."
One question? That was obvious. It had been at the tip of my tongue ever since he appeared at my door. "Were you the person being interviewed?"
He visibly flinched. "Yes." His ears were sticking through his hair, and he suddenly became conscious of them, and patted his hair down. Then he smiled brightly and said, "See, told you I wasn't on the run from the police. Can you still keep a secret?"
Keeping the blanket around his shoulders, he walked over to the grocery bag he came in with, and unwrapped another tape. "This is a video tape, you'll need a cover for it to work." He handed it to me, and I saw scabs around his wrists and a few fingernails that had been broken into the pink. Seeing my face, he re-iterated, "No more questions."
Another dull room. This time, Alger is curled up in a corner, snoozing. The screen shows Alger from above, at an angle, as though the camera is in the very corner of the room. There is no doubt: David is Alger.
"Good evening, Alger."
His head snaps up, and he glances about the room. He spots the camera, rolls up his sleeve and waves his tattooed arm at it. "I feel almost as though I have been here before, am I correct? I am honored that you would be able to bribe a police station into housing a nutcase's interrogations."
"And, what if I am part of a government conspiracy-"
Alger waves his finger at the camera, as though he's scolding a child. "Don't demean yourself so. No non-totalitarian government is that organized. You are nothing but an obsessively bored and wealthy old man."
"And who are you?"
"Last time we met, you proved to me that I am an immortal." He mimes putting pieces of paper on an imaginary table before him.
"I mean, what is your name?"
"You also told me my names."
"Your real name."
"All of my names are real."
"The first name you ever owned."
He stops miming to scowl at the camera. "Pilimorion."
"That would be your father name, one of the essi, correct? What does it mean?"
"Son of Blackarrow. My amilessë (mother name) is Legrist or Keensword in English." He flattens his hair over his ears. "May I have a chair, or are you keeping me uncomfortable on purpose?"
"After what you did with the last chair we gave you, no you may not."
Laughing, he stretches his arms over his head. "That minion didn't have dental insurance?"
"If you are uncomfortable, we can give you a single pillow, that's all."
The door opens for a split second, and someone throws a cheep bed-pillow into the room. He doesn't bother to fetch it. Before he has another chance to distract the conversation, Grimvoice says, "What are the names of your parents, and what are their nationalities and jobs?"
"Were. They are dead."
"Forgive me," Grimvoice says quickly.
"How could you know? They died before I came here. No tell-tale driver's licenses." Alger looks at the floor, obscuring his face a little. "Once you know my story, are you going to kill me?"
An awkward pause passes. "No."
"If you send me back to the Valar, I don't know what will happen to me. I may be treated as one who went willingly against Eru and the Valar, never allowed to join my kin in Mandos and never allowed to be reborn, like Fëanáro."
"Ah, so you're scared. You broke rules to reach our world, didn't you? I always wondered why you didn't flee back to Aman after your imprisonment by the Nazis. You spoke to that young man in the trenches out of fear: you thought you were going to die, and you wanted someone to know who you were!"
Alger leaps to his feet, glaring into the camera as though he could reach the mind on the other end, and somehow destroy it. "Likewise to you," he says quietly. "You record this so that you have documented proof I exist, like a biologist preparing to dissect a rare specimen." His hands begin to shake, so he clutches them behind his back. "Then I am trapped. Tell my story and be slain, or wait until you become impatient in your ailing health and slain me."
"You were about to tell us about your parents."
He slumps to the floor like dejected rag doll. "Right. My parents."