20

The prison looked like a party house. Most of the people you knew in Fiery Creek were there: the Kulmala family, the Italians, Denna Sanders, Vee, Eleanor West, Ba’al, Jennifer the trans-alligator post office manager, Alex Cooney and I were all there. The prisoners, that is, Mamma Luca, Laurel, Amanda, Erin and Joana were also there. You went to sit next to Erin, and greeted everyone. Frank the goat had just arrived, too.

“What the fuck, guys” he said. “Had you fucking forgotten about me, or what?”

I looked at him. “Oh. You’re still alive”.

“Yes, I fucking am, and not thanks to you precisely, you fucking urinal mouthed bitch” Frank answered. “The Author fucking forgot about me, and I was in the Limbo of Forgotten Characters for all of this time. Now the idiot is trying to make it look like a natural comeback, like I was busy for four fucking months with some shit. Truth is that the scatterbrain Author had me there with stupid side characters that are never going to fucking make it”.

“He did remember you, though. You should be thankful” Erin pointed out.

“Be thankful my ass. Next time you go into the filthy Limbo of Forgotten Characters you tell me how fucking grateful you are that you’re back now” Frank spat on the floor. “But you are one of the main fucking characters in this series, and that’s never going to happen”. He suddenly saw and recognized Denna. “That newcomer and her stupid bitch sister have had more exposure and character development than I’ve had”.

“Hey!” Denna said.

“Whatever, I don’t care about your fucking opinion. I was here first. Even that fucking post office alligator abomination has had more showtime”. Jennifer looked offended, but didn’t say a thing. Mamma Luca looked at Frank for a while. “What are you looking at, you old hag? You sure as hell are going to come up with some ‘I’m Italian and everything that is Italian is better’ bullshit. But you know what? You Italians just fucked up at copying Chinese pasta, so get over your fucking cuisine, it’s good, but not that good”.

“I would so cook you in my oven” Mamma commented, almost ignoring Frank’s sass.

“See, that’s why you Italians have heart trouble. Because you don’t fucking stop eating” Frank said.

Amanda produced a drink, mixed it up with some herbs and offered it to Frank. “Here, drink this”.

Frank spat into the drink. “Fuck that. You are the filthy plant expert who is here only for diversity purposes. They needed to get some black person, of course. Do not go thinking you are important, you stupid bitch”.

Joana held Frank from the neck and broke it in a violent move. She then looked up and saw everyone looking at her. “Mmm… sorry?”

“No, no, don’t be sorry” I said. “He deserved that and more”.

“Also, make sure that he drinks this” Amanda said, offering her drink. “It will keep him quiet for a while”.

While Joana opened Frank’s mouth, Erin poured the drink down his throat. You took that time to bring out the envelope from your bag. “So, guys, today I received this envelope… And it’s quite weird, it only has a shining ‘It is time for you to know’ in glowing letters”.

Jennifer recognized it. “Oh, yeah, had the guys in the office deliver it today. I almost forgot about the whole thing, because it’s been in the office for so long”.

“What do you mean?” you asked.

Jennifer thought about it, while scratching at her snout. “I received that envelope back in 1975, and I remember because around that time I was having my first crisis over whether I should transition to an alligator or not. I mean, society is not very open about it right now, but it was way worse at that time, and…”

Ba’al interrupted her speech. “Jenn, you’re getting off topic. We can discuss your transition into an alligator later” he smiled.

“Yes, sorry. So I received the envelope way back. It was actually part of a stash with several letters to be delivered to several people, with clear instructions on what date I should deliver them” Jenn explained. She looked around. “Actually, I think most of the people here have letters from that stash”.

Liza Kulmala got into the conversation, while her husband played with the kids. “Ve alzo got one of zose letterz”.

“Same here” Denna commented. “Though mine also had some note about my sister wanting to murder me”.

Everyone looked at her, worried. “You should really do something about your sister” Erin said.

“She is quite crazy, and her articles are getting more and more aggressive” Alex Cooney commented.

Joana brought out a knife from a pocket and did a gesture indicating that she should cut her sister’s neck. Everyone was still getting used to Joana’s presence, but everyone sort of agreed with this one, so we just nodded. You got back to the point of the conversation.

“But how would anyone know about me, or where I would be living to this day? I hadn’t even been born at the time!” you pointed out.

Mamma spoke in a serious tone. “There is only one person who could know. And considering what happened to the Town Hall building… What do you think, Ba’al?”

Ba’al stroked his chin. “Must be part of her doing” he then saw Denna sitting next to him. “Also, that letter about your sister, that’s probably her doing”.

“Whose doing?” you asked.

Erin understood. “Diane’s doing”.

“Diane Vines?” Eleanor West asked.

“Yes” Ba’al confirmed.

“I think you guys need to do a lot of explaining” Vee said.

Frank woke up. “Who has been the motherfucker who has broken my neck?”

Joana put her knife to his neck. “I have. And you better shut up now”.

“What, have we arrived to the epic explanation of the Plan moment, which is such an overused trope in all stories? It’s just so fucking stupid” Frank said.

Joana slit his throat and all of his blood came out in a burst. Laurel cleaned up the mess and Frank woke up again.

“Fuck! OK, I get it, I’ll shut up!”

Joana nodded.

“Was there an actual ‘Master Plan to save the Multiverse’ kind of thing?” Amanda asked.

Mamma sighed. “There was, but that doesn’t matter anymore. Only the history of Fiery Creek matters”.

“We have to retell everything from the beginning, ever since Mary arrived here” Erin said.

Ba’al cleared his throat. “Let me get started”.

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