For this week’s episode, Charlie Holiday makes (or rather: takes) another appearance. I don’t know, in the mornings, he just wants to show up and come out of his shell. I’m “free writing” or just throwing out there whatever comes through my fingers, but soon I need to start making it more organized (duh, that’s called a book) and then keep building on the chapters. Until then, here’s Charlie sitting with a group of his new best friends, otherwise known as The Society.
Charlie and some of the seasoned pros are hanging around the bar after a meeting.
“So what’s your story, Charlie?” asked the guy who looked a little too much like Johnny Depp.
“Yeah,” chimed in another, this one looked like a librarian complete with small glasses on a chain. “Usually you’re initiated into the society because something happened in your life of great importance.”
“Or you did something extraordinary,” this voice came from a guy who had no distinguishing features except for his Bono-like blue-tinted sunglasses.
“Or maybe you’re going to do something extraordinary,” said the woman right next to him and she said it more as a question to the group.
“Ooh!” came the collective awe of this collection of a dozen-or-so people Charlie had now known for a total of 29 minutes.
They all seemed to be waiting for Charlie to answer, but he didn’t know what to say. He felt that he didn’t have anything special to add. He searched his mind, but that was apparently taking way too long as some in the crowd couldn’t keep quiet that long.
“Maybe his dad was a secret double agent and he’s being inducted to right the injustices of how that went all terribly wrong.”
“Wait, my dad?” Charlie asked.
“Or the end of the world is near and Charlie is here to save us all before the zombies of the apocalypse slink out of the woodwork and take over the minds of us all.”
“Seriously, Becca? Again with the zombie apocalypse?” the guy next to the one called Becca shook his head. “Can’t you come up with something new?”
“It’s going to happen,” Becca said. “We’d be in good hands if that’s why Charlie was here.”
“You don’t even know him,” said a new one, this one a young guy, maybe early twenties, clean cut, polo shirt, maybe just came from law school midterms. “We don’t know anything about him.”
“I do,” said a woman with Medusa-like dirty blonde hair, something like Glen Close in Fatal Attraction.
“What do you know about him?” asked another.
“I know that he’s here,” said Medusa.
“No, no, I got it,” a new guy spoke up. A sharp dresser in a white button-down shirt that accentuated his probably southern Mediterranean tanned skin. “There’s going to be an attack on Europe as North Korea and Pakistan form a secret alliance and Charlie here is going to infiltrate the secret police in London to gain access to the … “
“OK, OK, Drew, we get it,” yet another new one shut him down. “How many times have we heard that one and how many times has anything remotely like that happened?”
“OK, last one,” a sprightly young dark-haired woman spoke for the first time. “I swear.”
A collective groan erupted from probably everyone. Charlie felt more and more like the new kid in the neighborhood where everyone had known each other their entire lives.
“A vampire mermaid,” she started, but was immediately drowned in chants of “Oh no!” and “Seriously, Maria?”
“C’mon,” she raised her voice. “Zombie apocalypse gets a go but not me?”
Some grumbles floated through the room, but not enough to stop her.
“So, Charlie here is on a fishing expedition … ”
“I can’t do it!” cried her neighbor, but then immediately smiled and hit her in the shoulder.
“He falls overboard not when he’s reeling in a huge marlin, but when he slips on a banana peel,” she put up a hand, “yes, a banana peel on the deck and goes overboard.”
No one said anything. Maria was inspired by the silence.
“The vampire mermaid, who was swimming under the boat, wraps her arms around him and … ”
“Do they have arms? Not just fins?” someone asked.
“Just let her finish, she’s gone this far,” another said.
“The mermaid brings him deeper and deeper to her cave and, OK, I’ll cut to the chase,” she nodded and hurried things up. “He lives two years under water, but then graduates as a human spy and now he’s sitting across from us today.”
Everyone looked at Charlie.
“Well?” one of them said and turned his palms over and shook his head in anticipation of an answer.
“Uh,” Charlie spoke, but just that one syllable. No one said anything else. He was about to ask if they were serious about any or all of this, but by the looks on their faces, they were. He swallowed his snarky comments about their fantasy worlds and wondered if he should just tell the truth.
Just as he thought that, Maria, mermaid gal, commanded him in a whisper. “Just tell us the true story.”
“We’re dying to hear it,” another said.
“Yeah, we haven’t had some fresh recruits in a while.”
“This is going to be good. I have a sense for that, you know.”
Charlie opened his mouth to tell his story, closed his mouth as he hesitated, opened it again as he figured the truth wouldn’t be that hard to tell, and out came his story.