Doc Tesseract

The adventures of Greg Silverman, retail industry employee, prospective college student and superhero.

Monday, August 29, 2005

A Hell of a Town, Part 3: Better Sooner Than Later

So, I got back to the dorm and found Will and Reed waiting for me, anxious to talk.

"Where were you?" asked Will.

Think fast, Greg. "I was... going to the bathroom." Oh, real smooth.

"For thirty minutes?"

Crap. They'd been up that long? "Must've been that barbecue. Spicy both ways, y'know."

Neither of them were laughing. "Will you cut the crap!" yelled Reed.

Will made a shushing noise and pointed at the Anonymous Roommmates, who were still sleeping. "If we're going to talk about this," he said, "let's talk about it somewhere where we won't wake anyone up."

I waited for Will and Reed to get dressed, then we walked out of the hostel and to a Starbucks down the block. We were quiet the entire way. When we got there, we sat down at a table, and conversation resumed.

"Greg, look," Reed said. "All summer long, you've been... different. After what happened at the 12th, you've been acting really strange. You're never around at night; whenever we call, it seems like you're out. Now, I can understand if you need a little 'alone time' now and then; everyone deals with trauma in their own ways. But after what happened, why the hell would you go out onto the streets of New York in the middle of the night all by yourself? G-ddamnit, Greg, there's 'strange', and then there's 'self-destructive'."

"Greg," Will said, "you're involved in something, and it's obvious. That thing you said to us at Obsidian? 'Oh, I just happened to meet a big-time NYC DJ in Philly, charmed his ass off, and got VIP passes'? Horseshit. Whatever's going on with you, it's something big. If you're in over your head, we can help you. What is it, man? Drugs?"

"You sound like my mom," I muttered. "Reed, you're right; we've been friends since second grade. But that's why I want you to stay out of it. You've helped me before, I know, and I've helped you. This time, though... guys, I just want to do this myself. I don't want to hurt you by getting involved."

"You're not leaving us out of this, Greg," Reed said. "Whatever it is, we're not leaving you to deal with it yourself. We're going to help you, whether you want it or not. Now, you can make this a lot easier. Tell me: what are you in on?"

I thought about it. These guys... we've been friends for a great chunk of our lives. I don't want that to fall apart just because I'm a superhero. Besides, it's too much of a cliche.

"Okay. You want the truth, I'll give it to you." Deep breath. "Guys... I'm Doc Tesseract."

There was just a bunch of staring after that. "No," said Will.

I went over to the sugar counter, got a few of those cardboard cupholders, and put them on one side of the table. I put my hand on the table, and ported them, one by one, to the other side.

"Yes," I said. "Now, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat."

"You mean... all this time..." Reed started.

"...I've been bouncing about the streets of Philly at night, clad in spandex. Yeah," I finished. "And that night, at the 12th? That's when I was given these powers. I've got a duty to the world, guys. I can't just turn my back on it."

There was a bit more silence after that. Finally, Will spoke up.

"Well," he said, "at least it's not drugs." Phew.

After that, things got much warmer. Will and Reed asked me all about my heroic exploits. They were congradulatory about my fight with Catalyst, and snarky about when I got burned by the dragon. I ended up telling them about how I got the passes to Obsidian through Zulfikar, but I didn't mention him by name (hey, it's enough that I've blown my secret identity, I'm not blowing anyone else's). At about 5:30, we finally headed back to the Hostel and, after approximately 24 hours awake, we collapsed.

And, quite frankly, I'm glad I ended up telling them. At least things are normal between us again.

Well... somewhat normal.

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