American Looking Glass: George, Under the Bowler

Without order there is chaos, without Justice there is abuse, without me the fine line that separates the world from the primal abyss would dissolve into nothingness. Despite the essential nature of my quest, even a avenging angel needs a friend some times, and as I sat over a heating element trying to make a grilled cheese sandwich in my barrowed Branson Missouri studio apartment, I needed a friend more then anything, except for that grilled cheese, so searingly, molten, and cheesy. Keeping the cosmic order is lonely thankless work; killing for the sake of maintaining balance is frowned upon in the western world for some reason. It hadn’t been a problem before, oh sure the occasional twinge of regret when I saw two lovers in a park through my telescopic lens a second before separating them forever, or when friends met in their favorite pub, oblivious to ticking time bomb in the restroom that would cut the reunion short, but it had never truly effected me until I had met my first friend.
On assignment in Wonderland a lovable if not slightly dim man had followed me, and had shown me something like…kindness. Sure I had read about such thing, and knew they existed, but only in the cerebral academic sense not in the visceral natural manner. This friendship had taught me that there was more to life then just killing, there were emotions that were reliant on others, something these mortals call empathy, and I was addicted; and like all addicts I now wanted more, I wanted to learn about this strange human emotion they call… Love, which I had thought was only true in fairy tales, meant for some one else but not for me, but it turns out love can be had by anybody, though first I had to eat that damn sandwich.
After chewing that sandwich to hell, I embarked on my quest, and as for any quest into the unknown I would need a guide, I would need my friend. The problem with my friend is that he’s not always himself; he has a split personality, one side a dim lovable Lanyard quisling, the other a mind not unlike an obsidian blade of pedantic furry, which one you get is as much a matter of luck as anything. One side saw me as a friend, the other as a vile assassin who kills for the Lanyard conglomerate which controls the fates of so many, who has destroyed the futures of countless individuals, and that he has declared a personal war against. I don’t actually work for them, it’s just the fact that our interests had overlapped and I felt like picking up a paycheck for once, I want nice things too damn it. Yet, I had to affect some sort of resolution to his hostility, possibly acquiring yet another coveted friend, a kind of two in one type deal. I packed my things and torched the apartment, as the owner no longer had any purpose for it, and I road out in my black 1930’s Cadillac into the night, which embraced me like a weary whore.
After concluding some minor business on the way, and finishing a borrowed books on tape set of the abridged Hardy boys adventures, wondering why they never “finished” the job. I pulled into his driveway, as he was getting out for his 4:30am jog, I waved him down and he ran to me and gave me a hug, a little too hard but beggars can’t be choosers. I was informed that he had recently received a raise, and that Ted “Hawkeye” Muldoon, the greatest of the Midwestern Superhero’s, was staying with him, sleeping on his couch right then. The palms of my hands were itching with desire to kill Hawkeye, as he had unbalanced the scale so many times, but I knew I could only act when the order came; if I killed him now I would be no better then the Germans, well maybe a little better but that is neither here nor there. I decided to meet this self-proclaimed righter of wrongs, and it turns out he is as charming as he is occupationally aggravating. He had never seen me and figured I must be a friendly, and soon I didn’t want to kill him anymore, just cut him up a bit, and after a while longer, I wished him no bodily harm whatsoever. We spent the next few hours playing Monopoly, by which I mean we dressed up as wealthy robber Barons and discussed how the poor are poor because they’re lazy, not the popular board game as that takes too long and often causes people to become overly competitive. After that my friend told me he had to go to work or else he’ll loose his place at the big kids table, and have to take up eating with his stuffed animals again. After he left, Hawkeye and I had a heart to heart, and I explained my situation in its entirety, as friends don’t lie to friends, or at least not until you know each other better, as some believe lying is sign of maturity and closeness, mostly Canadians but it’s still technically a belief. He didn’t believe me at first but I preformed the heavenly Choir and beam of light trick that is the calling card of our trade. He told me he was glad I didn’t lie to him since we had just met and all, those commonwealth nationals, they’re all the same. I explained the situation and reason for my visit specifically, and he was immediately on top of it, “A trip to Tijuana, my good man, the best and cheapest women around” I explained to him how I was looking for love not for a Tijuana street walker, he just shook his head saying “you got to walk before you run man, baby steps, sick, sick, baby steps.” I tried to explain to him how the two were completely different, and the same solution could not be applied to both, he just gazed at me with a lack of understanding that made me almost want to cry, we were both in the same boat.
Just then my host burst through the door and yelled “ My hot, interesting, non-threateningly successful FEMALE!!! Cousin is coming to stay with me for a week, and I need some one to show her the town, she’ll be hear tonight.” I didn’t know why he shouted the word female so loud, but I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip through my grasp. Simultaneously both Ted and I raised our hands, and my friend exclaimed, “ Oh, so you both want to take her out, well I guess we will have to have a contest won’t we, doing competitive and challenging task for…” Ted broke in saying “ If George wants to take her out that’s cool, I was just trying to be polite, I mean its not like she’s Mexican or anything, right?” I could have lied to Ted right there and then, but instead I mumbled “Whatever”, and asked my host, “ Aren’t you supposed to be at work.” He took on a smug look and said, “ Maybe I am or maybe I’m…Oh, shit” and he bolted out of the door and in a panicked frenzy ran into my car on the way out.
My chance had come earlier then expected and it was just then that I realized I had absolutely nothing to wear. The Tuxedo and Bowler look that had worked for so long was only appropriate for eerie intimidation, and I doubt that kind of emotion would be useful in a dating situation…or would it, the answer is no. I needed to get a new look, unfortunately neither Ted or my host were especially stylish, Ted opting for the ruff and tumble Aussie look when off duty and my Hosts non-work cloths all had the Sponge Bob Logo on them, by design or sown on. I had to get a new suit, and fast, I needed Sinore’ Montagna, the greatest Tailor in the whole Midwest, I immediately took forth the Bulls Horn he had given me centuries ago and blew on it calling him from his hundred years slumber, and in a flash of smoke and colorful sparks the great Man appeared at my doorstep. Ted looked taken a back saying, “ There must have been a long internal monologue going on there because I have absolutely no idea why that all just happened,” and he never would. No words were necessary, Sinore’ Montagna new exactly what to do, and me talking would only break his delicate concentration, Ted tried to ask me what was going on, but in my most eerily intimidating fashion I put my index finger to my lips, never saying a word. In an hour he had finished and I bade him farewell as he walked out vanishing into the afternoon haze, and I looked fantastic. From my Alligator loafers to my black fedora, Freddy Maze didn’t have shit on me, for whatever reason he might have to. If any women could resist me, that women would have to be a lesbian, or have some sort of chemical imbalance that decreases libido and increases her bitch factor, a disease which all to often gets passed over in our increasingly apathetic society, but who really gives a shit, I looked good. Ted just turned around and walked away mumbling “Naughty thoughts, Naughty thoughts, Bad Hawkeye, Bad”, and I knew this suit would work just fine.
Just then my host ran through the door and screamed “She’s here, she’s here” and an attractive twenty something hipster carrying two bags walked in shaking here head at her cousins show of emotion. I offered to carry her bags to her room; she just smiled at me and gave me a big hug. I could see the family resemblance. She had come as part of a Hazmat team sent to clean up the abandon Stadium which had mysteriously exploded a few days earlier, but she hoped to see some of the sights and spend some time with her cousin while in town, charming. Then a problem came up, this two bedroom house all of a sudden had four adults who needed separate sleeping spaces, for now, and only one bed and one sofa and a divan, some one was with out bed, and I would have to sleep in the Cadillac, though I did announce that everyone should be grateful for my chivalry, and hoped she noticed. We all sat down for dinner which my host had picked up from the local six flags, I have never known anyone to make an entire meal of Funnel cakes and French Fries, but he made it work. Unfortunately one of the first things she asked me was what I did for a living, Avenging Angel wouldn’t work, neither would hit man, but I had to say something. “ I…make…Fires”, oh shit, that’s worst then the previous two, but Ted was there to rescue me “ He is a conservationist, he has been doing controlled burns for the last couple months. And I just know that because were friends, not because of any weird attraction I have to him…dammit, damn that G-d damned suit, I need to go now.” “ So how do you afford a suit like that on a rangers salary” she asked, to which I responded “ Oh this old thing, got it off a hobo I killed in Reno just to watch him bleed, wait I was just joking a joke, I made it out of spider silk and dreams, crap I need to go to the bathroom.” I ran to the bathroom, I was breathing too hard, I was screwing this all up, I had been in some pretty crazy situations but females are by far the freakiest. Her strange curves and gentle ways were screwing with my mind; I needed to calm the hell down. I went back out and said “ Sorry for that, damned sugar highs, so what were you saying”” no problem” she said, but I knew she didn’t feel entirely comfortable because of me and Ted’s off color remarks and behavior, so I decided to go to bed early, and I stepped out to my car.
I awoke to the barrel of a cold war era AK-47 being brandished by my host who yelled, “ Get the hell out of the car pig, we’re going to have our selves a little party.” I edged out of the car weighing the necessity of striking him down, but decided to see what happened first. Hawkeye stumbled out of the house mumbling “what the hell” over and over, my host replied “ Caught the friggin Assassin, sleeping in front of our house, probably going to kill us in our sleep, or worst try and get us to fill out one of those damn census forms, don’t they freaking realize G-d hates censuses, they’re playing with forces they can’t possibly understand.” To which Ted stated “ No, that’s George he is staying with us for a few days, remember, you two met on the wonderland case, he’s a friendly man.” By this time I had decided Blake had woken up, and now that he had been brought up to speed he seemed to lose the edge. He lowered the gun hesitantly and put his hand forward saying “ Sorry George, just like to wake up all my guests that way, keeps them on their toes, and makes them complacent for the final ‘clean up’ but there is no point in discussing that now.” I knew he was covering for the switch, he must not have told anyone about his condition, but I was just glad there would be no blood spilt. The cousin finally poked her head out to find-out what all the commotion was about, and Blake told her “ Don’t worry Sarah, George and I were just playing Mia Lai, go to sleep, just another crazy day here, it’s a mad house I tell you, a mad, mad house.” Wow, that man can explain away anything, not really that well but who am I to judge, but if somebody is judged and is found wanting well then I get to do a little dance, make a little love, oh I would get down tonight, and by getting down I mean I would kill someone. Anyhow we were all tired, and it was decided that we should all get back to sleep. In the morning I awoke to the far more pleasant sight of Sarah bringing me a cup of Coffee, I tried to stammer out a thank you, but I couldn’t, and it didn’t matter she just smiled and said “your welcome” and walked back inside.
After a shower and breakfast she had to go to work, and Ted and I had to figure out something to do with our time. “ Why don’t we go on patrol mate, I mean purely platonic friend, and why don’t you first change into your work suit for the love of G-d and all that is holy” he said. I responded, “ Do you realize the hardships I have to go through because of your ‘patrols’? Do you understand how many more people I have to kill to even out what you do, sure the people I kill are probably worst and more deserving but damn it its terrible to have to kill anyone, why can’t you just let things happen so I don’t have to spend my nights with the screams of my victims echoing through my head, unable to drink away my pain because of my angelic anatomy, only the pain of trying to eat a too hot grilled cheese sandwich to distract me from what I have done… Gotcha, holy shit man you should see the look on your face.”
After he calmed down it was decided that I would go with him, I’m on vacation damn it and I want to spoil myself a bit, though I convinced him to use my Cadillac instead of the Hawktor as, lets face, it looks retarded, like a tricked out tractor with some decals to define its hawkness, plus I had air conditioning. Just as we were pulling out he got a call on his Hawky-Talkie, and his face took on a hard edge as he told me “ To the demolished Stadium, and step on it for the love of G-d,” it turns out the charges he had set off a few days earlier had not killed but instead trapped several of the Mutants, and the clean up crew had uncovered these terrible giants and they were running amok in the Downtown area. We were there in just under a minute, death was everywhere, and there were three mutants ripping the place apart, and one of them had Sarah. It was demanding that Blake Newberry come forward or else they were going to kill her, I had to do something, and if I know how to do anything its how to do something. I sprung forward, like a PCP enraged hick at a cop, drew my trusty sword from its cane sheath, jumped, and drove the blade into the eye socket of the leading mutant giving it a full frontal lobotomy, instantly taming it. Ted had jumped on the back of the other Mutant riding it like an enraged bull, and yelled at me to go for Sarah. The Mutant had retreated from the fight as he suddenly found himself outnumbered, vulnerable, and in his cowardice he retreated to the top of the Lanyard Dome, there was no way up for those of average stature, but I had a way. I shifted out of reality into the astral plane, and then back to reality right behind the giant, it seems he had underestimated my sneakiness. I tried to creep up on him but his sense were too keen and he whirled about and punched me full forces throwing me back a few hundred yards and embedding me in the reinforced iron of the Dome. He moved towards me, surprised a finishing blow was necessary, but glad to give it. Just as I thought I would be crushed, a spray of bullets forced the mutant back, Blake Newberry piloting a old Fokker biplane and blaring “Ride of the Valkryies” bared down for a second pass, but the bullets bounced off the mutant like a light, non-penetrating, rain. The mutant let loose an arrogant laugh, and as he did I chucked an incendiary grenade into his misshapen maw. He choked and moaned with pain, vomiting blood and then collapsed, and I had to catch Sarah mid-fall, but she was fine. She looked into my eyes, trying to stammer out a thank you, I just said “Your Welcome.”
From that point on I was like one of the family, Sarah and I have quite a bit in common it turns out, including: A love of classical style, an interest in theology, Jobs that require a lot of traveling, and a healthy respect for those who keep the celestial balance. I don’t know if I have truly found love but I do know I have not not found love.