And so we stood in front of the couch.
I hadn’t taken as long to prepare as Creepy had, for the twofold reason of a) being reasonably sure that nothing was going to happen and I would end up knee-deep in a couch while Creepy and Michael stepped in from the next room where they’d somehow managed to spirit themselves and then they and Wesson would have a good laugh at my expense because they were all in cahoots, and b) that if Agent Wesson was for real and the non-event horizon was an actual thing, we would die instantly and preparation would only mean I died after spending my last precious minutes of life wasting my time.
So instead, I’d spent my last precious minutes of life eating the last bag of cheezles and drinking the last of the spearmint milk and iced coffee from the fridge, as well as setting my assortment of in-case-of-death countermeasures and booby-traps in place. This didn’t take long, as it was mostly a matter of flicking a few switches, putting a sheaf of letters into the plastic tube under our letterbox for an associate of ours to deliver if I didn’t take them back within forty-eight hours, and putting a battered old Christmas LP on the player. I’d rigged the player to start up the next time someone came into the living room. It would surge gradually up to normal speed in the middle of Let It Snow before coming to a deliberately-placed scratch, and beginning to loop repeatedly over the line “we’re still good-bye-in’ / we’re still good-bye-in’ / we’re still good-bye-in’ / we’re still good-bye-in’”, which I figured was nice and spooky even if the next people in through the living room door were the members of Wesson’s mythical ‘team’ and they would know why there was a gutted couch slanted across the living room with a rope attaching it to the television. Also the song had a pleasantly soothing effect on Yool, the anxiety-inducingly buff Christmas tree who has been here the whole time.
I won’t bore you with all the details of my preparations, but I calculated it had still only been about twenty-two minutes since Michael had disappeared. I didn’t like to prepare unduly for death anyway, since it put forth an expectant vibe into the universe. Plus, worry about it too much and you end up setting your in-case-of-death traps every time you have a shower or walk down to the corner store.
“Now,” Wesson said, pocketing his not-really-a-phone, “the closer we get to the non-event horizon, we can reasonably expect less things to happen.”
“Less, or fewer?” I felt compelled to ask.
“Both, actually. Things will happen less frequently, as well as with less impact on cause and effect. The laws of physics, the spaces between atoms and their behaviour, it doesn’t so much break down as run down. To put it simply, your buddies fit into the couch and are no longer tangible because they’re so close to the non-event horizon that they’re essentially compressed into a nongularity and the external universe literally can no longer be bothered to express them as multi-dimensional objects.”
“Actually only one of them is really what you’d call a buddy, and even then-”
“We can probably start by using the rope that’s already there.”
Wesson grabbed the rope – it had remained taut even when I’d moved the couch across the floor, pulling as if something in there was winding it tight – seated himself on the edge of the frame, and swung his legs over into the springs and beams.
“So why hasn’t the couch collapsed?” I asked, stepping up beside him. “Or ceased to exist as a multi-dimensional wossname?”
“Well – and we’re still very much in the realm of theory here – at a guess I’d say it’s because it has a resistance to the non-event horizon’s effects, for reasons that you’d probably get insulted about,” he glanced up at me. “Again.”
We went in.
He has resurrection devices?
So they have an associate that comes by to check the tube daily (or probably more often, because how else would he be able to keep track of the deadline)?
(I know, I’m really focusing on what’s important here. But you pepper and saturate these stories with so many little hints and nuggets that suggest ever so much more. Part of the charm and your narrative modus operandi, sure, but also infuriatingly vague and attention-grabbing.)
Okay Fido. I’ll answer properly!
We-e-ell … Possibly. I guess in this context, that would be what a “countermeasure” could be. But then, the dictionary defines “countermeasure” as “an opposing, offsetting, or retaliatory measure.” So these countermeasures could be a lot of things.
Of course, the unforeseen is huge in this story. There’s little chance Hatboy could have a payback mechanism, let alone a resurrection mechanism, that would take into account Creepy and Hatboy being sucked into a non-event horizon, for example.
And Hatboy’s a bit more practical than to have such measures – although arguably Creepy might.
There have been instances of resurrection and other such things, in the wider mythology. One time, Hatboy brought a bullet-riddled Creepy back to life using spackle (because it fixes anything). But generally speaking, these countermeasures are more like the proverbial gun on the mantelpiece. You’re likely going to see them used eventually, but right now they’re just being mentioned. They’re probably nothing you could reasonably or rationally expect.
Creepy and Hatboy have all sorts of associates. The Three-Quarters Man, for example, is mentioned in another blog post or two. There are several options that could provide a vigilant watcher who has no need to “come by” at all. But would just know.
I know, and I love it. And I’m so pleased that you pick up on this stuff. That’s what the creepy-arse smile was about.
(Please note lower-case usage there, for the sake of your sanity.)
Thank you for indulging my smart-ass-ish questions. And speaking of questions…
Just out of curiosity: How many Creepy & Hatboy stories have you written? How much Creepy & Hatboy content and mythology is there altogether? (I’m not asking a total word count here, merely a rough estimate in whatever unit seems appropriate.) Do you still have everything saved somewhere (on paper or in ones and zeros) or has some stuff gotten lost over the eons?
Well, let’s see if this satisfies. I have most of my random docs on the Creepy and Hatboy topic in a single folder, here’s what it looks like:
As you might be able to see, there’s one large book, and then a scattering of other stuff. “Murder” is the two-part Christmas Special epoxy I wrote in 2013. “Creepysmachine” is the short story that I got printed. As you can see, many of them have not been touched in a long, long time. Like, a solid decade.
But that should be most of it. A few randoms from this blog haven’t made it to “solid” file copy, I should probably do something about that.
Then there’s the entire anthology of Creepy’s writings, of course, which is also canon.
Neat! This is the first time I’ve ever seen how an author organizes their stuff on a computer. Weirdly exciting. (Then again, I’m big on organizing files.)
“All My Shit”? Really? 🙂
What’re “creepysmachine” and “torquisinmachina”?
Hee hee, glad you enjoyed. That’s not a particularly exciting folder, I really should rearrange stuff a bit more and get copies of everything.
Yeah, I’ve had an All My Shit folder either on my desktop or in My Documents since my first computer, it’s where I put every non-program object on my computer. Then it’s just a matter of copying that one folder onto my backup drive, and walking away while it backs up. Which I should do more often too.
As for creepysmemory and torquisinmachina, well obviously, they’re short stories. One’s about Creepy’s … memory, and the other (less obviously) is about a Conanesque barbarian fantasy hero, Creepy and Hatboy in a high fantasy parallel world, and a horse named Torquis In Machina.
Sounds like a winning combo. (Well, no idea about the horse, but the name’s certainly something else.)
Actually you’ll love it, the hero’s name is Yoru, and I made him up after Creepy (the real Creepy) made a typo on the word “your” on usenet about 14 years ago. Yoru’s legend has been growing ever since.
I’m thinking I will probably split the short stories up and post them on the blog anyway, it’ll be a lazy way to fill out my post-per-day requirement during peak newborn season. And since my new plan is to put together some free-e-book story anthologies to increase my reader-base at some point in the future, I’ll be releasing it all anyway.
Will have to finish the current story first, of course.
Even more important, though, I wrote a sentence with ‘instead’ twice in it. Argh, must fix.