Stuff happens. Too tired for a proper summary.
I’m not going to talk about the journey, mostly because it was dark, spooky, and I kept stubbing my toes. I didn’t miss stubbing toes at all.
I found Jim buried in...Oh wow.
Comic books. Tons upon tons of comic books. Comic books were serious contraband in Battery City, so they were few and far between. And if you were lucky to find one, it’d be something lame like Superman or Matter Eater Lad.
But this, this is amazing. Back issues, actual graphic novels with glossy covers, blood sprawled across titles and a terrible amount of spandex.
“Toto’s a collector,” Jim explains, not looking up from his issue of Deadpool, whoever that is. I manage some sort of Igoric statement- “Yess Mahsteeer!” “Cahmic boooooooooookssssss!”- and toddle off, looking at what Toto’s got.
Spider-man, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Kick-ass, Batman, X-men.....
“Hey, you think Toto’s got a comic fetish? Like in addition to her robot one?” I call, skimming my fingers over the spines of the books. Jim looks horrified, which is all I need to keep going. “Cuz seriously, maybe she’s got a thing for Spider-Man. He’s cute, right?” I ask, admiring the way the light bounces off my fingernails.
Jim clears his throat, blushing.
“Or maybe she likes stronger guys like, uh, who’s this? Thor? It wouldn’t surprise me if-”
Something whizzes by my ear, and I flinch. The crash of the lamp makes me jump. Shit. I have a feeling that wasn’t Jim.
I turn slowly, and Toto’s standing in the doorway, looking alone and angry.
“You shouldn’t talk about people like that. I’ve been nice to you, right? What did I do wrong?” Toto looks down at the floor, at the scattered comic books. I feel awful. This girl’s a crazy bitch, but...she’s.....I don’t know.
“I was-” I start to say.
Toto shakes her head. “I’m taking both of you back. Now,” she says, glaring up at me from what’s left of her hair. Well, aren’t I a great person?
Jim looks dejectedly down at his comics, then back up at me. Well, thanks a lot, best good friend, for making me feel a hell of a lot worse.
Toto gets us back, a very silent and awkward journey. Back where? Why, to an abandoned diner of course! She doesn’t stick around, either. Yeesh. Would it kill you people to wait?
Wait a sec.
They don’t know we’re here. It’s sneak time!
“Jim. Hey Jim. Let’s uh, look around.”
Jim fidgets, looks down at the ground. Then he looks back up at me. “We’re not supposed to...” he stutters. Unfreakingbelievable. “Where’s your sense of adventure?” I ask of him, gripping his shoulders.
“It got me tased, that’s where it is,” Jim mutters, glaring at the ground. I sigh. Well, now it’s time to play the Best Friend Card.
“Jim, how long have we been friends?” I ask, gripping his shoulders. Jim rolls his eyes. I’ve done this before.
“A really long time.”
“That’s right. Best friends....?”
“Go on adventures and get in trouble together.”
“This seems adventurey to you, right?” I ask, grinning. Jim shakes me off.
Jim: dOnt U smIrk At mE.
Dexter: I’m so not smirking! Who’s smirking here?
Dexter: : ]
Jim: .....I jUst dOnt wAnt tO gEt In trOUblE. thEsE gUys sEEm uh....
Jim: pOwErfUl. And lIkE, dAngErOUs.
Dexter: Oh, Jim.
Dexter: Rules are important, and I’m glad you respect them.
Dexter: But Gerard is an asshole, and we need to greatly disrespect him by breaking rules.
I go forward, Jim skulking behind me. Meh. Screw him, this is important! I run my hands over the Diner, and then a board shifts. Jim clamps his hand over his mouth. “Don’t go in there!” he hisses. I raise an eyebrow. “Why ever not, Mr. Nolan? This is cool!” I whisper.
BAM. Jim gets angry.
“I’m not a Nolan! Damn it Dexter, I can put up with your arrogance and your narcissism and you being an ass, but don’t say that-”
“Fine, fine, sorry, don’t speech on me,” I cut him off because I can hear Gerard speaking.
“-I didn’t know. They weren’t real people. They weren’t real!” Gerard says, high-pitched and worried.
“Well, go tell that to ‘em. They look real to me,” I recognize yellow helmet’s voice.
Jim gets down closer to the board so he can hear better. I smile at him, and he gives me a don’t-push-it face.
“This isn’t your fault.”
“I know that!” Gerard snaps, and I hear feet moving across the floor. They’re talking about me and Jim. Why are we so important all of a sudden?
Jim’s whispering words beside me, but quietly, almost like praying. I move closer to the door, pushing the board further open. Gerard’s talking quietly with Kobra now. I strain to hear them, but then the board swings to the side.
She looks about eleven. Yells like she’s twenty-one.
I shush her, but it’s no good. Kobra and Gerard are over in seconds, guns trained on Jim and I. Jim’s eyes are half shut, and he’s still whispering.
“Oh, God, it’s you,” Gerard says, glaring at me. Really? How mature.
Kobra just rolls his eyes. “What’s up with your friend?” he asks, gesturing to Jim. I shrug.
Jim keeps whispering, and I can make out numbers. What the hell?
I strain to listen, and then I realize it. That Bastard’s running a Ping Message.
“JIM!” I shout, and kick him. His eyelids flutter open.
“....Ohuh?” Jim stutters, stunned to have all eyes on him. “Don’t you ‘Ohuh’ me, Jim. Who was it?” I ask, grabbing his face and turning him towards me.
Jim garbles something unintelligible.
“Jim, gimme a name.”
I let go of him. “Why would you do something like that?” I ask, perilously close to a whine. Jim grins at me. No, Jim. Now is not the time for revenge. Please don’t bring this up now in front of Gerard and Kobra...
“Let’s see.. ‘She’s composed entirely of curves and soft edges, from the curve of her ankle to her calf, the slight bend of her knee, the narrow in of her hips-’”
“I didn’t say that!”
“You were gonna!” Jim says, crossing his arms behind his head. Kobra bursts out laughing, and same with that girl. “Oh my God...” Gerard wheezes. He’s not laughing though, he looks like he could be sick.
“What’s so funny?” Frankenstein rockets around the corner, and does a weird spaz-arm-wave thing. “YOU! Other Gee, my double Brahski buddy!” Frankenstein shouts, and tackle-hugs me. I stay standing, dude’s like Toto’s height. “Brahski buddy?” Jim asks. Little Girl nods. “It’s a friend that you can be a completely stupid jerk around, and they just let it go, because you’re Brahskis,” she explains like I’m an idiot.
“Yeah! Gee’s my Brahski buddy, but since you’re him then I’ve got two Brahskis now!” Frankenstein says, giving me a hug.
I push him off. “Do we get a tour?” Jim asks, glancing nervously to Gerard. “Sure! Frank, please tour them away,” Gerard says, waving his hands at me. I make a face at him while Frank pulls me deeper into the Diner.