I sleep three quarters of every day. I’m actually not really sleeping. But, I’m not aware and to avoid the real subject, SeventyNine and TwoZeroEight call it “sleeping.” Not, “Being Overcome.” Which is the really nasty version of “sleeping.” NineNineNine seems to get more exasperated with them day by day.
And, when I’m aware of what is going on, I’m aware I’m in a car with NineNineNine. Just her and I. And, I’m aware that TwoZeroEight and SeventyNine each drive a car of their own. I recognize road signs saying miles, not kilometers. We must be back in the States.
Then, I’m no longer aware.
Then, I’m again aware. This time, I awake and I am alone in the car, parked in front of a roadside diner. I am lost. Where am I? What is going on? What happened to NineNineNine? Moments after I awake, really, no time at all, all three of them — 79, 208, 999, are of them are with me. Opening the car door. Saying, “hey man, how are you?” and “you’re awake!” and “are you hungry?” And I’m saying, “Yes, I’m hungry.” and “where were you?” and “where are we?” and “what is going on?”
And, then I’m aware of nothing else, until, I am again. I am in bed, and NineNineNine is in bed with me, and she’s holding me. We are spooning, and our skin on both of our bodies is sweaty. I’m breathing hard and I’m hot and I kick off the covers. And it feels good, I feel strong, but it feels wrong. But, I am not aware of that for long.
I drift, in and out. In. Out. In. Out.
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Then, I am In again. And I’m looking at Robbie. And Robbie is talking to SeventyNine, saying, “Well, we did call it Crazy Rock. So, I guess it’s not a huge surprise it made him crazy.” And I think, wait, what? Robbie is saying I’m crazy? Crazy Rock made me crazy?
But, then I’m gone again.
The next time I’m aware, I’m like, “Robbie? Is that you?” I am sitting at a picnic table by the side of the road. The sun is low and warm, even though the temperature is maybe 35 or 40 degrees, I’m comfortable. I haven’t seen Robbie in over a week. Last time I saw him, it was in a Polaroid photograph of him with his kidnappers.
Robbie says, “Yes, it’s me. I’m okay. And, we’re going to get Jan and Joanna back, too. We’re still tracking them. You know, Rufus and Anna.”
I ask Robbie, “Have they hurt you?” But, Robbie says, “No, it’s not like that. We’ve tried to explain it to you.” Robbie says that, then looks at NineNineNine and says, “He just doesn’t get it. As soon as he understands it, he forgets it.”
And I understand that and I panic. I hear myself say, “What is wrong with me!? Why can’t I …”
And, I’m gone again. Gone. I’ve gone away, but I didn’t leave.
Then, I’m aware of being hugged by Joanna. I hear her say, “Will he ever be normal again?” And I know she’s talking about me. And, I strain for the answer because I want to know, too. Will I ever be normal again? Was I ever normal to start with? But, I don’t hear anyone answer Joanna. At this point, I’m assuming the answer is going to be “no”. No now, no forever.
No is the new normal.
And, I hear them discussing something. Nevada. Arcana. Jan. Joanna is telling them a story. Instructing them. But, I can’t quite understand what is going on.
The next time I’m aware, I’m AWARE. You know what I mean?! I’m back, baby. And, I’m like, what the actual fuck is going on?
We’re in a big empty building, and I’m face to face with Rufus and Anna. First thing I do – first thing ANYONE in their right mind does – is, I punch that asshole Rufus. Right. In. The Kisser. Boom! Hahaha! I yell, “That’s for Jan!!”
Yeah, it feels good. But then, Robbie, and SeventyNine and TwoZeroEight are all grabbing me and holding me back and I’m like, what the hell, man? Blood is streaming down Rufus’ face, but he’s smiling. A big smile with his aggravatingly perfect white teeth. Argh! I wish I could have at least knocked one them.
Anna is standing there, arms crossed. She’s got a smirk, like, “I told you so.” Rufus does nothing to stop the blood flow, which drains down to his lips and mouth and makes him look like Hannibal Lecter mid-meal.
And I’m struggling and struggling before I realize that Rufus and Anna are doing nothing. No guns, no punches. And then Jan and Joanna are there, and everyone is telling me to ‘calm down!’ which makes me so much angrier. Who the fuck, ever, in any occurrence, never, not once calmed down when someone said, “calm down?” You might as well say, “Here’s some gasoline, let’s get this guy really fired up!”
“Calm down.” Puh-lease. Hey, I’m calmed down. My calm is down. My calm is nonexistent. On a scale of 1-100, my calm is at 0. So, I’m down with the calm. What you want from me is to bring my calm levels up. To Calm UP. But, I ain’t doing that either because fuck you, and fuck you, and you and up and all y’alll!
Okay, so, I’m starting to see Jan and Joanna’s point. I take a deep breath and look at Jan. Her face isn’t a big bruise anymore and I realize that she is beautiful. I’d never really thought of her that way. But, she is.
And, what I did next, I didn’t do with a grand plan in mind, and I clearly surprised everyone, but it felt like the right move. I mean, right over there, the bloody nose I gave Rufus was pouring down into his mouth and down his chin and curling under and rolling down his neck and soaking his shirt. A few feet away from that Anna is standing there the way a bitchy ex-supermodel stands when she has to wait for something, and I was being held back by three entirely different human beings when… I kissed Jan.
It felt like the right move because I could see into the future again. And, Jan was in the future.
So, Jan is right there, right in front of me. I crane my neck, and I kiss her. Kiss her just like they kiss in the movies.
Jan is surprised, but she embraces me and kisses me back. It is a strange moment because Robbie, SeventyNine, TwoZeroEight, they are holding my arms and I’m kissing Jan. It hasn’t gone down like that since college.
Then, Jan is touching my cheeks, cupping my face in her hands, and kissing me passionately. And she’s wiping away tears on my face, and tears on her face. We’re crying and laughing and she’s hugging me and I realize.
Oh fuck. The only way I’m back like this, is that they gave me Computronium.
Written, Produced and Narrated by Hans Anderson