The Writer eyed the expectant crowd and then looked down at his story. He hoped it would go better than his morning. In his twenty-something years of life, it was one of his worst.
His girlfriend said she was leaving him for their veterinarian, even though they did not have a pet. He stubbed not one, but two of his toes kicking what he thought was an empty box she was going to use to move, and then he cut himself shaving. It did not get better when he left the apartment. He tripped on the curb leading up to the local coffee house, and then a woman cut directly in front of him in line when he managed to get inside. He did not take this kindly, and with words that should have been said an hour earlier to his ex, he berated the line-cutter, ending his tirade by yelling that he hated vets. Upon cooling down on his walk to read to the kids at the hospital, he realized how some people might have thought he was commenting on veterans and not veterinarians, and felt like a total idiot when he could not rationalize a reason anyone would or could hate either. He now had to find another coffee shop.
The Writer looked up at the stern nurse who stood to the side of the room. It didn’t help that she had been the same line-cutting woman from earlier, and so with what he tried to make a soothing breath, he focused again on his story and hoped he could ad lib the ending he had meant to write that morning. He felt bad, as he wanted the sick kids to enjoy his short tale, especially with Christmas approaching, but with the trajectory his life seemed to be on at the moment nothing was a guarantee.
He began to read:
“They had no clue how to approach the crowd. This Lennon fellow had stirred them up real good. If it was the real John Lennon, things would not be turning so sour. If it was the real John Lennon, the protest would be about peace. This was something for the Three Wise Men to discuss thought Sgt. Pepper, de facto leader of The Heroes and, along with Christmas, the other target of the growing mob of people.
“I heard Lennon was a wife and child beating misanthrope,” said Lucy. She was floating casually a few feet off the ledge of Righteous City’s tallest building, The Imperion.
To Pepper’s left stood Imagine, who could transport them into a dream world, thus, calming the crowd. To his right stood The Walrus. With bones as strong as tusks, he could plow through them, giving Imagine time to focus his power on Lennon. The Wise Men stood behind them by the roof access door, discussing the philosophy behind Christmas, and protests, and peace. When they did emerge from their debates, they had the power to confuse a person so much that they were rendered useless and turned into a bumbling, mouth-frothing babbler. With the crowd so riled up, no one would listen to them anyway, so best leave them to their debate.
Pepper thought of giving everyone his signature sneezing fit, but then, thousands of people sneezing on each other might induce a pandemic of something and also, they didn’t want to hear about all the mucus clean up from the Mayor.
“So can I diamond them?” Lucy said.
“We have to remember these people are innocent,” Pepper said.
“But then what of the havoc they have already caused?” Walrus chimed in.
“Do we even know where Lennon is?” Imagine said. “If we can just find him, I can take him away and then whatever power he has over them will be gone.”
“They’ve done little damage so far, beyond the expected that a throbbing mass of people tromping through a city would do,” Pepper said.
The Three Wise Men began discussing throbbing masses and their relation to Christmas lights and wreaths.
“I have a plan,” Pepper said and the group, even the Wise Men looked at him. “Walrus, you will jump to the ground and grab the mob’s attention. You will then run to Major Square Park and once every one of them has arrived, Lucy will contain them within a diamond circle. Imagine, you will then lull them into a happy dream world, but not so happy that an orgy breaks out. By then, Lennon will have to react and we will have him.”
“But what of us?” the Wise Men said in unison.
“I will call you if necessary and you can charm them with your wise words. Until then, continue being profound and not at all annoying and confusing,” Pepper said.
“Cheerio sir,” the Wise Men said again in chorus, before forming their familiar triangle and speaking on the merits of decent breakfast cereals.”
The Writer paused and took a deep breath. He had no clue how to end it. He looked up at the children and then worried about the orgy comment when he saw another scowl from the nurse. Here goes nothing, he thought.
“And so the plan worked out perfectly with zero kinks and zero need for any aid from anyone. Lennon showed up and he died and all the bad people died and the world was saved again by The Heroes and everyone lived happily ever after and evil was vanquished and nothing bad happened to anyone who didn’t deserve it and Sgt. Pepper and Lucy got married and consummated their relationship on top of the Imperion while the Three Wise Men talked about married sex versus other sex and everyone deemed December 3rd National Heroes Day and the entire world linked hands even over the oceans and sang Kumbaya while also lighting candles and that saved the ozone layer and all the animals and plants and everything in the universe and aliens landed and everyone cheered.”
“The end,” he said.
He looked up from his pages and at the confused faces in the audience.
“Weak story, bro.” The critique came from a blonde boy of about eight wearing a Superman t-shirt. “Did you just make that up?”
“No, it actually took me a couple days,” The Writer said.
“Should have spent a couple more,” blonde Superman said.
“What do you have anyway? Cancer? Infant AIDS?” The Writer said without pause for thought, inciting a death-like silence in the room.
The Writer looked over at the strict nurse. Her downturned brow and quizzed mouth gave off nothing but a stern appraisal of his story. The same look had assessed his appearance when he showed up in his favourite red hoodie that he removed to reveal his lucky Megadeth t-shirt. It also didn’t help that literally every hair on his head was askew.
She waited a moment before approaching him as the twenty or so children and a handful of parents stared expectantly, as if wondering the various ways he could be slaughtered for his insensitive comments.
“These aren’t the sick ones,” she said into his ear.
“Oh, thank god. I can’t imagine what you all are going through. Especially at this time of year,” he said.
“Amen,” said the nurse.
The air in the room lightened a bit as his villiany was somewhat forgiven with his words of sympathy.
“Plus, I was worried one of them was going to die while I was reading and how awkward that would have been,” he said, seeing the first of what would end up being every fist in the room come at him.