Gerald decided he needed a drink. The interview he had finally accomplished with Max had not been productive. Try as he might to garner in facts or insight about the virus or as to what was really going on at Labs of the World; Max, it’s President and face to the public and an expert at the vague, danced and sallied around and basically lied thru his teeth leaving Gerald with a whole lot of nothing. Gerald knew there was a story there and knew that Max knew he knew. Conundrums all around, it was just not going to be his day.
He stood on the pavement trying to figure out where to quench his thirst and spotted the bar with the bulbs flashing out at him in the night. ..INKS it said, with the d and the r dark against the white building. “Well, I am a journalist and penmanship is my forte so this must be the place I am destined to go”, he thought as he wandered across the street. Gerald always looked for signs, for signs from the unknown were out there to guide you, if you paid attention and let what was destined to be, happen.
Easing open the heavy door, he was met with a rush of cold, smokey air and an odor of flash fried peanuts. “Couldn’t be all bad”, he decided and he made his way to the bar. He sat on a raggedy-ass stool and ordered his usual, a Kryptonite, double if you please. Downing the first one with a flourish, he raised his finger at the bartender for another. As the rum flooded into his system he felt the hairs on his head, under the foil beret, start to stand at attention and that feeling of being stared at creeped over him. Casually he removed his beret and let it fall to the floor so that he could be unobtrusive in his attempt to see who the hell was behind him. Bending over he was surprised to see two rather odd small feet in sandals (9 toes on each and webbed?) attached to an equally oddly proportioned body ( is THAT a third boob?), attached to the head of the women who had been peaking at him off and on over at the lab. He had tried to ignore her when she would come over and gaze at him thru the less than fully functioning one way window, she, never realizing that he could see her there, if in a somewhat muddled and fuzzy image. As he raised up to meet her eyeball to eyeball, so to speak, she spoke the words that melted his heart immediately…” I like your beret”.
Gerald was dumbstruck. Nobody had ever said that. He was no fool, odd but not foolish, and had figured out pretty early in life that most folks thought his ideas about aliens and such, were something that he would grow out of. He had not. As life in general for most of the world’s population had gotten more bizarre, Gerald just knew in his mind that there was something, someone….out there after them. He felt protected in his aluminum hats and ignored the snide comments and cutting looks everyone, save this women, normally gave him.
“Er, uh, would you… I mean thank you… I mean would you like to have a stool, er seat,..ah drink, um, fried peanut? Gerald was not the most suave fellow in the world either. “Well, just a little one maybe, something lite”, said the once murky image now coming fully into full-blown female-ish context. She ordered a “Sex on the Beach”, not because she had ever seen a beach nor had sex, but they were Potent as Pluto and with her Alien nature, they were just what the Doctor would stipulate. ( She hadn’t quit gotten those sayings down pat yet).
Gerald took another slug of his Kryptonite…”You’re not from around here are ya”? Not the most original question in the world and he had no idea how spot on and understated it really was. “You work in the lab across the street, I saw you today.” He watched as her eyes got large as she realized he had seen her many attempts of incognito-ism. “Yes, I mean no, I mean, yes I work at the lab and no I’m not really from around here locally I mean,.. this Universe of course, but no not local…..” and she not being used to personal tete a tetes especially with someone who was making the antennae under her left arm start to shimmy( and she Knew what that meant) didn’t know quite where to go after that.
Gerald smiled at her. He too was starting to feel the vibes and it wasn’t the Kryptonite either, there was something going here and his journalistic antenna ( quite different from hers of course) was telling him, this was where the story was. No wonder Max was vague and persnickety with his answers today, he really was clueless about the whole situation. If he was as dense about his employees no wonder he knew nothing about the virus.
“You know I work for the Sunshine News, could I just ask you a few questions?”, Gerald said going full into what he thought was his Bob Woodward persona mode. Taken aback at his forthright question, Aggie drained the rest of her drink and waving at the bartender in her Betty Davis voice murmured. “Bring us both another, it’s gonna be a bumpy take off.”
— — — — — — — —
(1) another, (2) cold, (3) night, (4) let, (5) it, (6) happen