Murder most foul, Part 10

It started with my peripheral vision.

This, as I’ve mentioned previously, has been finely honed from years of dealing with Creepy when there were more important things to watch. I was able to remain focussed on whatever I was looking at, but still pay some attention to whatever foolishness was unfolding in the background, just in case I needed to step in and do something about it before it was too late. Admittedly, as far as superpowers go this one was a poor substitute for teleportation, but it had the tangible benefit of usually improving when I got slightly drunk, and it was especially effective when I turned my head to make it look like I was paying attention to the thing I didn’t really want to pay attention to. It did occasionally come in handy.

And oh, it was coming in handy now.

The merrymakers, or at least some of them, were flickering. There, then gone, then relocated. It was highly distracting, and once I’d noticed it – and I had only done so in the first place because of my probably-not-academy-award-winning nonchalant act as I quasi-mingled with the growing crowd of strangers – it became very difficult to ignore. It was actually rather tacky and a little bit stomach-upsetting over time, like a bad bit of stop-motion.

And once I’d noticed that, I began noticing the same cheesy special effect elsewhere around the hideous décor of Dingo Loco. Decorations, doorways, walls. I sniffed my White Russian, wondering if I had been slipped something mind-altering. Well, my nose told me I had, but it was nothing that wasn’t supposed to be in the classic White Russian so I set the glass down and did my best to focus on the optical-illusion people instead, trying to put my finger on what exactly I was – for want of a better word – seeing.

By about half-past nine, I was beginning to get used to it but had still made no real progress in figuring out exactly what ‘it’ was. On the plus side, the bar was now quite crowded so nobody seemed to notice or care that I had crashed a party and was now wandering around its outskirts, squinting sideways at things. Several of the party-goers were already far worse off than I was, after all. One of them was trying to chat up a cigar poster.

But these people. What was it?

At first I thought maybe they weren’t there, as though watching them from the corner of my eye made them vanish and they were only real when looked at head-on, but that wasn’t it. It was even weirder and more random than that.

They were … little, somehow.

One of them – I was actually fairly sure, from the jeers and catcalls, that this was in fact none other than the inestimable Nobbo himself – was sitting in his seat and calling a rather rambling tequila toast. But from the corner of my eye, he was standing on the chair, and still barely managing to keep eye-to-eye with the other revellers. And none of them were noticing.

Okay, I thought, probably not aliens. They’re not grey, and their heads aren’t the right size, and they don’t seem overly probe-happy. But something. Something weird was going on.

It may be an indication of how disturbed I was by what I was not-quite-seeing, that I was relieved when the door swung open and Creepy appeared.

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
This entry was posted in Chuck Dickens’s “A Christmas Carl”, Creepy and Hatboy Save the World and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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