“I help keep a balance, in a way. I help bring happiness to your world. I am the sun that shines after rain, or a pleasant surprise. When something bad happens in your world, I am there to do som...
"Come now, Donnie, he’s not that bad,” Ben said. “I suppose you're right, Sandman. Let's be on our way then,"
"Wait a minute," I said, running a hand through my hair.
"Yes?" Crab answered.
"I'm sorry, but I still don't really understand all this…" I said, flustered.
"It's not that hard," Donnie murmured.
"Donnie!" Ben scolded. "She's from a different world; I can only imagine how difficult this must be for her,”
"What would you like to know?" Ben asked calmly. I tried to prioritize the mass amount of questions running through my mind.
"You said before you could travel from this world to the next," he nodded. "Why…would you need to?"
"It's sort of a job requirement,"
"What exactly is your job, then?"
"I help keep a balance, in a way. I help bring happiness to your world. I am the sun that shines after rain, or a pleasant surprise. When something bad happens in your world, I am there to do something good," he beamed, proudly. “I guess you could say I control happiness in the normal world,”
"Wow, that must be a fun job, cheering everyone up," I said, inadvertently smiling.
"I was born to do it,"
“What do you mean by that?” I asked, curiously.
“Well, in our world, we follow a system much like colonial times in your world,” he began. “If you are in a magical family, you learn the trade our father learned, and so on. Although, it only passes on to the son of the family,” I nodded, understandingly.
"Alright, next question?" Sandman asked, impatiently.
"Fine," I said, returning his attitude, "What are your jobs?" I asked, addressing the other guys.
"I control luck," Crab said, "Good and bad. I can give it and take it,"
"I never really believed in luck," I said, sheepishly.
"Read it and weep, sweetheart," he said, gesturing to himself. "I'm as real as it gets," he smiled goofy.
"I catch stuff," Donnie said, uninterested.
"Don't downplay your skill, Donnie," Ben said. "He's the world's greatest catcher," Donnie rolled his eyes.
"I create dreams," Sandman said, bored. "And put people to sleep,"
"You create dreams?" I asked, rhetorically, "Does that mean you create nightmares too?"
"No, no. Nightmares are purely your subconscious taking over. I have no control over that," he actually looked like he cared now. He spoke almost defensively. "Why do you ask?"
"I don't think I've had a good dream since I was little," I said, quietly.
"Not one? Only nightmares?" he asked, incredulously. I nodded. "That’s…strange…"
"Tell me about it…" I murmured.
"So now you know about us," Ben started, "Any other pressing questions?"
"Yeah," I answered, hesitantly. "Who is Kaleidoscope Eyes?"
"It's not a ‘who’, it's a where," Sandman smirked, condescendingly. At Benzedrine's request, we began walking. "I have a friend there, the Ringleader; he owes me a favor," I nodded.
“Oh, here,” Ben said, taking off his jacket. “You can wear this on the way there,” he handed it to me.
“Thank you,” I smiled at his chivalry and put it on. I had never had a boy give me his coat for anything, and no matter how silly it sounds, it made me blush.
This place was unbelievable. We walked into a city that looked like a caricature of LA. The tall buildings were painted in thick, cartoon like colors. The sky, a bright, almost blinding blue, was full of fluffy clouds and airplanes. The place was a wash of color, and I definitely stood out. The people were dressed equal, or on some occasions, stranger than my new band of…friends? They gave me odd looks, as if I was the weird one. Which, I suppose, in this world I was. Though
Mr. Benzedrine’s coat helped me from completely sticking out.
"So how is this Ringleader character supposed to help me?" I asked H.S. Crab.
"He's a popular fashion designer in the area. He designs some of Hollywood's best clothing." He said, smiling as if that was a joke. "Sandman's garments were his proudest 'work of art'," he did air quotations. I laughed along with him. I noticed that his big blue eyes sparkled as he laughed. It reminded me of Joe, whom he had striking likeness too.
Actually, they all looked extraordinarily similar to my friends back home. Crab was the spitting image of Joe, just as Donnie was to Andy, and Sandman was to Pete, and Ben to Patrick. Perhaps the whole parallel universe idea matched fairly well to the many Sci-fi movies I had watched over the years. Maybe each universe had a version of you. Would I meet my twin while I was here?
My thoughts were interrupted as we approached an old-fashioned looking building; it reminded me of a antique shop back home. Ben, being the gentleman, opened the door for me with a little bow.
“Thanks,” I muttered shyly.
Walking in, it took a moment to get used to my surroundings. It looked like a steam punk version of Forever 21. It was amazing. Fabulous, colorful clothing, similar to the boys' outfits lined the walls.
"Whoa…" I said, taken aback by the store. It was like a fantasy shopping trip.
"Yeah, he's got quite a flair for the dramatic…" Donnie muttered.
"I'm glad you enjoy it!" a voice said from behind me. I turned around to see a man dressed in a bright red coat, white shirt with a black vest, a large black top hat, and white gloves that held a long black cane. He smiled at us, a charming, but sort of deranged, smile.
"RL! It's good to see you again," Sandman said, giving walking up and giving him a bro-hug.
"Long time no see, old friend," he responded. "Now, I know you don't just visit because you miss me," he smiled, knowingly. "How can I help you?"
"We need to ask a favor," Ben said, walking up to me and putting his hand lightly on my shoulder.
"Our friend here needs some clothes,"
I took off Ben’s jacket and returned it to him, letting my actual clothes show.
The Ringleader's mouth fell open. He walked over to me and began to circle me. I longed for Ben's protective hand on my shoulder. I felt exposed and I didn't like it.
"You’re not kidding, this girl is a train wreck!” he exclaimed, not caring if he offended me. “Tight denim pants, t-shirt, hooded sweater with a zipper, and, don't tell me you're wearing sneakers…?" I didn't respond, just crossed my arms, angrily. I liked my clothes and I didn’t care if I looked foreign, he shouldn’t be acting so rudely!
"Well, this all has to go,"
"I wouldn't let you leave my shop with such an atrocity on, darling, it would ruin my reputation," I scoffed, offended.
"I mean, look at you! Drab hair, thick makeup, piercings," he said, shaking his head. "And, glasses…I mean really? This will be quite the favor," he threw a glance at the boys. He looked back at me, examining my face. "Where DID you find this girl?" he asked, without taking his eyes off of mine. That made me majorly uncomfortable.
"Um…California…?" Ben offered.
"California? Where the heck is…" he stopped a moment, putting two and two together. "You're from the Normal World?" I guess he got four. I nodded. "What's your name?"
"My name is Allie,” I said, hesitantly.
"Well, Allie, I've never had a normal-worlder before," he said, still holding my gaze. "This should be fun," he said, a grin forming on his face.