Wherein Shit, Specifically This Shit, is Something for Which I am Getting Too Old
Well, actually if I’m being honest, it had started before that, too. It started during Creepy’s retirement party.
I don’t want to give you the wrong idea about what a retirement party looks like, when it’s Creepy’s retirement we’re talking about. Most parties there are guests, snacks, drinks, some kind of programme. And alright, technically we had all of these things. There was me, and Carla, so that was enough to qualify as plural-guests. And we always had snacks and drinks, although they weren’t exactly party fare. I suppose it depends on the party. They weren’t retirement party fare … but then, super-sidekicks don’t really retire.
This, if anything, constituted the ‘programme’ of the evening.
“It’s not retirement,” Creepy said yet again. “We’re just moving on from the agency, back to our normal super-sidekick duties. It’s really more like a back-to-work party.”
“We know,” I told Creepy’s panic-glazed face. “We both heard you.”
“We both heard you the first twenty-five times you said it, too,” Carla added.
“Creepy has a problem distinguishing reality from narrative causality,” I explained. “He’s seen so many clichéd representations of the ‘old cop just days from retirement’ thing that-”
“I heard the twenty-five times you explained this as well,” Carla snapped. “And that’s not even including the times you explained it before tonight.”
“I’m not going to finally fix up the old jalopy and go driving through the winery region,” Creepy babbled desperately, “or buy a boat and go tuna fishing in the archipelago of-”
“Why am I even here?” Carla suddenly exploded, as was her habit.
“Well, like it or not, you’re a part of this,” I said, leaving it clear in no uncertain terms that the or not was very much the dominant element of this platitude, and that it applied to my own feelings at least as much as it did hers, if not more. “You’re our … contact.”
“Our client,” Creepy added.
“Not anymore,” I said. “Retired, remember?”
“Right,” Creepy said, “but it’s not really retirement retirement. I’m just-”
“I’m going to kill him with that bowl of jelly babies,” Carla warned, pointing at the bowl on the table as though it made a difference which of the three bowls of jelly babies she used.
I considered it. “You know, if he was going to choose a way to go…”
At some point around three in the morning, Creepy brought out the spatial intersplicer and Carla decided it was time to leave.
“Should have thought of this hours ago,” Creepy said cheerfully as he spread out the interface node mat and Carla slammed the front door behind her. “It’s always been a great way to get rid of guests for some reason.”
“We haven’t had enough guests for that statement to really hold up as a construct,” I said.
“I mean in theory,” Creepy said, and glanced demonstratively at the door. “And now also in practice.”
“Where are we going?” I said, eyeing the spatial intersplicer dubiously. It wasn’t that the technology was dangerous or undependable – on the contrary, it was stable to the point of being dull – but there was a certain amount of user-related mishappery that inevitably occurred when the user was Creepy.
“First I was thinking Ωzz∞,” Creepy declared.
“Ωzz∞,” I said. “The planet at the end of the universe.”
“Right,” Creepy said. “Feet on the red spots, obviously.”
“I’m getting too old for this,” I grumbled. “Where do we go from there? It’s not like there’s much in the way of options.”
“Ωzz(∞-19), obviously,” Creepy said. “Then a quick jump to Ωzz952500. Ωzz992395 if the sundae machine on Ωzz952500 is broken or cleaning itself…”
“Why are we going to Ωzz∞?” I asked, stepping onto the red interface nodes.
“Well, to see if the effect spread all the way out there,” Creepy said. “We should have actually done this ages ago, Hatboy. I blame your childish insistence that we play at being love detectives.”
“Now hold on just a second there,” I objected. “First of all, don’t say the words ‘love detectives’ while we’re calibrating the spatial intersplicer’s transit network. And second of all, it was your idea to-”
“Ωzz∞ here we come,” Creepy announced, planting one foot on a red relative-distance node and leaning sideways to put a hand on a green lateral-realignment node. Before I could muster further objection, he’d stretched across with his free hand and spun the actuator.
The spatial intersplicer arced up and transcombobuported us with a flash of multi-coloured light and a woohoo of nuclear intersplication.