I climbed out the bathroom window, and landed on the freshly fallen snow. It seems that winter had come to my life in more ways than one today. Time to button up the coat. I figured, I might was well do up all three jackets. That would keep me toasty warm. It was dark by the time we left the diner, and I wasn’t much in the mood for having a chill. Len didn’t seem bothered by it, however, and cheerfully made a snowball. He tossed it up and down.
“Hmm… Not what should I do with this little beauty, I wonder.” He eyed me and smiled.
“If you do I will be forced to burn your house down,” I suggested to him. It’s not something I would actually do, but I would certainly consider it.
“Fight snow with fire, eh chum? A fairly obvious solution, until the snow melts. After that they combine in glory. Remember, fire and water are the parents of the air.” He laughed, and threw the snowball as high into the air as he could.
We both scattered, and then watched it come crashing back to the ground. Len merrily danced around the spot where it had impacted, and I just shook my head. I found it surprising that I would hang out with somebody like this, but he had such an irresistible draw I couldn’t help not to. That’s when we heard the car skid out from the left. It spun once, and then twice, then a third time, and finally slowed down, and came to a stop, up against a lamppost. Len and me were just about to go over and see if the driver was all right, when another car burst out of the direction and slammed itself directly into the first. The crash was terrible, and had this been a Hollywood movie, I’m sure the explosion would have been great. The driver from the second car was thrown to the ground, a few dozen feet from impact. We hurried over, after waiting a second to see if there were any more surprises, but before we got there the shadowy figure from the second vehicle raised himself and took off. Which was odd, since he should have been way too injured to even sit up properly.
The first car was blue, and looked like your regular, run of the mill, average car that everybody has. I’d tell you the make and model, but I’ve never really known anything about cars. It was a Saturn though. I could tell by the letters on the back that spelt out “Saturn.” The other car was black, and looked more like a fancy official government type deal. The kind that you’d see flanking the president’s limousine if Canada had a president and a budget, or if you happened to have cable, and could watch American programming. Len ran over to the blue car, and looked in the back window. He saw a man in the driver’s side, and a briefcase on the back seat, but nothing else of note. Jumping over the roof of the car, Len grabbed the driver’s side handle, and pried open the door, while I checked out the black car. All I could find were a whole lot of candy bar wrappers. I turned back, to see if I could help my friend out. Len had already gotten the first car’s driver out and laid him on his back, in the snow. He was a well built looking man, with nicely cut blonde hair, that I’m sure was combed impeccably when in situations that were not just taking part in a car crash. His faced seemed somewhat familiar, but I couldn’t quite tell, due to the neatly trimmed beard covering it. He wore a dark red button down, and a pair of blue jeans, but that was it. I took off my outer coat, and we put it on him. I ask Len if we should be moving his body like this, since he could have whiplash or something, and we could be doing more harm than good. Len said not to worry, he was sure the guy was fine. We could just take him to a hospital to check it out. The nearest one was only a few blocks away, and how hard could it be to carry this guy?
Turns out it was hard to carry him. A lot hard. When we finally made it to the hospital we got into emergency, and told them that this man had just come from a car crash. They told us we had ought to take a number, and fill out some forms. Guess who got stuck with the forms. That’s right, the so-called writer. I’d never filled out hospital documents before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Luckily it didn’t matter since Len and I were both hustled over to a small room by guys in suits before I had a chance to look over them. I saw another one carrying the bearded man away. Nobody else seemed to take much notice of this, but why should they? They were all busy with paperwork of their own. Fucking government owned hospitals.
Right around then is when I think one of them hit me over the head. I think this because I suddenly blacked out, and when I awoke in the back of a car, my head hurt. It’s another of those educated guesses. We were out on some country road that I had never heard about and Len was humming alongside me looking pleased as punch. There was another car coming along behind us, and I could only it was of a similar model because of the fact that the two men in the front seemed to be of a similar model. Honestly they looked pretty much exactly the same, and strangely familiar, although I couldn’t quite place their faces.
“Why are you humming?” I rudely asked as I shuffled over towards him. “Do you know these guys?”
“No. I think they are from the government. But not Canada ’s government because… Fuck, come on.” He motioned towards them with his head. They did look pretty official to me. Like they had actual money or something. Definitely not our style, but why would agents of the U.S. of A. want to kidnap a couple guys from Canada ? Maybe it’s for some kind of top-secret experiments, like in the Weapon X project. I was about to mention this when Len piped up. “Hey do you think they want us for some kind of top-secret experiments, like in the Weapon X project?”
“Don’t be stupid,” I shot back. “This is real life, not a comic book. It’s not even stupid enough to be a novel that was written in a month.”
We passed a bit more nothing, with some patches of trees thrown in for good measure, and made a left turn, through some gates marked “Restricted Area.” Through the sound of wind blowing and the car engine I thought I heard what could only be described as fun time circus music. It couldn’t be real, I thought to myself, what would a circus be doing out here anyhow? The answer to this question would not be something I enjoyed.
As we rolled along, I could see we were approaching some large structure, with smaller things all around it. From this distance it looked like a giant greenhouse or something, but as we got closer I could see it swaying and tell it was made of a looser, fabric-like material. That’s when I saw the flag at the tip of the tent. We were at a big top, and the circus was spread over this land like a cheap porn star at Ron Jeremy’s funeral. There were hay and caravans and cotton candy machines. I couldn’t tell which smelt worse, the carneys or the elephant crap. I settled on them both smelling like each other in the end. This pungent sent was put off by the delicious aroma of popcorn. I know, I talk about smells a lot, but hey… I have a huge nose all right? I didn’t want to bring it up before, because I’m rather sensitive about it, but it’s true. My shnoz is enormous.
The car, which I will call a black sedan for dramatic effect, pulled up under a tarp, which someone had tied between two caravans and came to a stop. The other one turned slightly left and parked lengthwise just behind us. Me and Len were forced out of the car by the two guys in shades and forcefully pushed toward the other car. A couple more shaded figures got out of there and one of them went to the rear to remove the, now conscious, man with the beard. After this we were all moved into the big top, and taped into some chairs, centre ring. Clowns drove their tiny cars around us, while acrobats in bright red and white body stockings flew above us, this way and that. To the left I saw a bear riding a motorcycle, and too the right, and elephant standing on a ball. The show was in full swing, although there was nobody in the stands. Then, suddenly all the lights turned off, save a spotlight, directly on us. The sounds faded and everything grew still.
The bearded man struggled to stay awake, and kept glancing at me. The familiarity of this entire situation was racking my brain but I just could not figure out why. My mind seemed to be as blank as my grandmother’s pure white gravestone. That was when he spoke.
“You… You’re Tim aren’t you? Tim Arcane. Well I’ll be damned,” said the bearded figure, a delightful smile taking up residence on his face. Even though the hairs covered his lips and other features, I could tell those dazzling pearly whites anywhere. It was my old friend Henry, if you’ll recall from the start of the book.
“Henry! Gosh, I’m pumping into old acquaintances left and right and left today.” I smiled, although it was horribly fake. It caused me to recall how we had actually parted ways, but before I could muse on that too long Len piped up.
“Well isn’t that just god damn the hell something? My name’s Len, by the way. Nice to meet you Henry.” I’m sure he would have offered his hand had it not been wrapped in too much duct tape and stuck to a chair. “Would you mind telling us maybe what the fuck is going on here, and why we’ve been kidnapped, and why you don’t seem very fucking injured considering that car crash you were just in? Oh, and what the holy hell was fucking up with that guy just getting up and running off like this was nothing?”
Henry blinked at Len. He seemed a bit shook up by the comments, which was odd since the situation would have been the one to shake me up, if I hadn’t convinced myself that I was obviously dreaming and none of this was real. Gaining composure, Henry spoke up, with an air of confidence he used when he was trying to prove that he was in complete control of a situation that he was obviously not in complete control of. “Okay, let me start at the beginning. You see way back in 1956 my parents came over here from Sweden . They had been a part of Hitler’s supposed supreme race…”
“No wonder your mom was always so fucking stacked,” Len chimed in, although I was certain he’d never met Henry’s mom, so how did he know that she was stacked?
“Right. Anyhow,” he continued, “they came to America and made big stinking bucks, and then moved to Canada where their riches were worth even more. Little did they know that there was an underground Nazi movement that was all the while secretly keeping tabs on them. This movement claimed to be keeping Hitler’s brain alive through various scientific means. I know this because about five years ago, they contacted my father and asked him to join up with them. Obviously he didn’t want to, so some threats were made, and we broke off all ties with everybody and flew to Brazil . That’s where they managed to kill my entire family. I escaped however, by hiding in a large suit case that was being taken to Hawaii . Once I got to Hawaii , I swore to devote my life, and the rest of our fortune to tracking down those Nazi bastards and avenging my family. During the course of this fools mission I came across something very strange. It seemed that there were aliens from a distant galaxy who were coming to Earth and pretending to open circuses. They had very advanced cloning techniques and were making…”
His blabbering was cut short, as he was shot square between the eyes. It seemed a terrible waste of such a fit young man.
“Clearly the insane ravings of a madman,” a voice said from the darkness. I concluded the voice was from the shooter, even before a gun emerged from the shadows. A gun that was attached to a hand that was attached to a wrist that was attached to a forearm that was attached to an elbow that was attached to the rest of the arm of the shooter. He spoke again. “A pity. He really would have been useful. He knew so much about manipulating people. Could get them to believe he had done anything, was anybody.”
“Well isn’t that just god damn lovely?” Len piped up, as he struggled with his bonds. “Isn’t that just god damn the shit lovely? But tell me, my friend, what does the circus want with somebody like that? Unless you aren’t really a fucking circus at all. Now I don’t go in for all this alien bull crap because, come on, what would aliens want with Earth, but there sure as shit is something going here, and I don’t fucking like it.”
I though that maybe Len was looking to get himself shot and end the insanity that was flooding this situation like the sewer in the end of Jason Takes Manhattan, with my life as the drowning, yet flaming body of the psychotic regenerative killer, but realized that was something I’d rather do. The man talking to us had not completely stepped out of the shadows yet and all I could see of him was a brown, gloved hand, with a blue suit sleeve clinging to it. Len fell over in his chair.
“Now now, is that any way to treat your host’s furniture,” The gun wielding figure said, in a soft spoken manner. “I don’t come over to your house and put my feet up on the living room table.” He chuckled at this, and stepped closer to us, finally revealing his overall appearance.