Back to the beginning Chapter 1
Back to last week. Chapter 17
They stood in line at the in front of the old theatre shuffling from one foot to the other trying to defeat the bitter cold. The crowd was not that large but the theater was not open yet even though all the people in line had their tickets already. The movie theatre was an old fashioned a one screen movie house and Gary had initially looked at it skeptically but Andrew had said trust him, this was the best place to see a big action flick and this Justice League movie was just that.
As they stood in line Sharon leaned in close to him, they had spent the entire afternoon in the apartment, keeping the shop closed. They had initially systematically tried to go thru the files, but when Gary had wanted to concentrate exclusively on the file about his father and Sharon had wanted to work thru the files chronologically and Andrew had started following along with Sharon chronologically but then had gone off on a tangent with a report of time travel, it was not long before the apartment was strewn with files laying on top of any flat surface that could hold one.
Gary was the one who had surprisingly called a halt to the file reading and declared they had to leave if they were going to join the customers from the comic book store at the movies. They had just made it in time for the box office to open and then for them to stand around talking to the kids and young adults from the store. Sharon as was the norm was the big hit with the much nerdier customers and some of them were still gathering around her even though Gary and her were holding hands the entire time. Clark and Jimmy were in a deep conversation with Andrew and he had to keep reminding them about spoilers because he had not seen the movie yet. By the time the doors opened and the proceeded thru the lobby they had not been able to have any deep discussion about that they had read in Mrs. Eastman’s files.
Like Andrew had attested, Gary was hugely impressed with the theater, it seems that some time ago a student from the college had come into a large sum of money from a settlement and being a film buff had blown it all entering into a partnership with the old theater owner, they had totally torn out all of the interior and updated the shell with a state of the art projection screen and sound system. The old seats from the 1930’s had been torn out and replaced with fabulously cushioned reclining seats, each positioned perfectly with plenty of leg room. Thus on the outside the movie theater had the classic marquee and art deco design with the flashing lights and neon tubes.
Gary was glad for the distraction of the movie, and Sharon and Andrew were nicely distracted so that he could actually think without seeming to be rude and not answering their questions. He thought that Sharon might have sensed this because she had given him one of her very deep looks that meant many things when he had been the one that broke up the research huddle in the apartment.
Gary had bought Sharon popcorn and somehow Andrew had steered the two of them into one of the many two person seats in the theater and then situated himself and the other customers in rows not close by. As they sat their sharing a large popcorn and a sprite with two straws Sharon whispered to him. “I am not going to ask what you are thinking yet, because I know you have not processed everything yet.”
Gary responded. “Thank you,” then he paused, “So what you said earlier you meant it?”
Sharon tried to bide some time, which was not like her, but stuffing more popcorn in her mouth. “What I said earlier?” She mumbled around the popcorn.
“At Mrs. Eastman’s, you said the you believed her and had seen some strange things yourself.”
Sharon now took a sip of the soda and then answered. “Well not me exactly, I did stretch the truth a little there.” Another sip of soda. “My father, he has seen some strange things in his time and always told us kids to never discount something because it could not be proven.”
“Hmmm.” Was Gary’s response.
They snuggled together in the seat and the previews began. Although out the movie Gary’s mind turned over the details of all that he had learned, and he came to a conclusion, more of a question. ‘What would help him find his father?’ If he decided to disbelieve all that he had been presented, the invisibility, the time travel, even the fantastic story about his father’s crazy creation of a woman, then it would hinder him in finding his father. The entries in his father’s file were sparse. It seemed the investigators automatically dismissed the statements of those who initiated the claim of fantastic scientific discovery’s or breakthroughs as those persons having too much a stake in the claim. The only entries directly attributed to his father were from Mrs. Eastman’s butler, the man in grey, who had placed a single sheet of typewritten page into the file. In it was basic questions, answered with a simple yes or no or true of false answer. The questions were simple and direct. Did you participate in an activity that to the best of your knowledge resulted in a women being formed from you and your friend Gary’s imagination. Answer: Yes. The rest of the statements were pretty straightforward: Did the government assist you in this activity; answer no.
So Gary know had a choice, believe for the purpose of finding his father or decide he did not believe and stop looking for his father because his father had gone down this route of believing these things and that had somehow lead him to disappearing.
It was halfway thru the movie that he decided to at least until his father was found to take all these extraordinary events at face value and temporarily suspend his disbelief and act as though all these implausible things had happened and that was the reason his father was missing. Now that he had that settled in his mind he decided to enjoy the movie, so far from what he could glean from it, it was pretty good with the Super Friends fighting some really nasty guy named Darkside and his cohorts.
Once he was fully engaged in the movie it went by quickly and before he knew it he was back outside with his friends shivering in the cold. They walked briskly back to the comic book store/apartment but not before ensuring that all the “kids” that met them at the movie theater were picked up by a parent or had a ride home. Andrew was the one that made them stop and guarantee this was settled before he would even think about leaving the vicinity of the cinema.
Once back in the apartment the three indulged in some hot drinks and found themselves sitting around the kitchen table where a large amount of research was still lying about.
“Well what is our next step in searching for the Castaways.” Andrew said referring to the Jules Verne book from earlier in the day.
Gary yawned and said fighting another yawn. “I guess finish reading this stuff tomorrow and then back to Mrs. Eastman’s.”
Sharon now yawned. “Ah not tomorrow my dear dear boy, after your stomped off in a huff, Mrs. Eastman told us to come back on Sunday at noon for lunch and she would have more information for us at that time.” Sharon added a stretch and a yawn to punctuate the conversation even further.
After that it was Andrew making a phone call to his mother telling her he would be staying at Gary’s another night and wishing her a Happy New Year. It was then that the three friends looked at each other and began to laugh, here it was New Year’s Eve and the three of them had not the slightest desire but to go to bed before 11:30 after the long day they had had.
The next day Gary was the first one awake and had gone down and changed the sign on the door to say closed until 1:00 pm. Gary figured he would not miss much business last night being New Year’s Eve and all. Then he climbed the stairs from the shop to the apartment and made some tea and toast and was about to sit down and start reading the files when a violent knocking on the apartment door made him almost spill his tea. He muttered to himself and got up as the pounding continued.
He walked to the top of the stairs and was halfway down when Sharon called his name. He turned around and there she was in a very over sized college sweatshirt that was down to mid-thigh. Her hair was a bit tussled but it made her look even more incredible. Gary just stopped dead in his tracts and could not believe this girl, this fantastically beautiful girl liked him and was spending time with him. Then the pounding which had stopped continued. Sharon asked who it was and Gary still incapable of speech just shrugged and forced himself to turn away from the vision at the top of the stairs and deal with the idiot pounding on his door.
Reaching the bottom of stairs he looked thru the peephole and saw no one but the pounding continued. He yelled “Who is it?” In a voice that surely conveyed that he was ticked off.
Then the unmistakable voice of the weird guy from a few days ago came thru the door. “It is Jack Gable; I came into your store the other day and bought a book about Superman.”
Gary decided the pull the guy’s chain for a moment. “Sorry, all sales are final and returns can only be done with a receipt and only for store credit.” Gary looked up at Sharon who was laughing silently and Gary got a chuckle out of that as well.
“It is not about the book it is about finding your father.” The voice of Mr. Jack Gable said coming thru the door.
Gary was interested at this point. “What do you know about my father?” He said with his hand on the door knob about to open it and confront this guy.
“My employer would like to talk to you about finding him and his discovery.”
Gary at this point decided to open the door. Standing there in seemingly the same clothes he had been wearing last time he had seen him, in fact looking at the guys receding hairline it did not look like he had washed his hair since the last time he had seen him.
“Who is your employer and what does he know about my father?” Gary said without as much as a good morning.
“Ah all will be revealed, can you meet my employer at one o’clock at the restaurant of the Double Tree hotel on Elm Street.
Gary decided to play it safe. “No, I open my shops at 1 pm today, tell your boss if he wants to talk come here at twelve o’clock and we will meet in the comic book store.”
Jack Gable shook his head. “Mr. Stuckey will not like that, usually most people who need something come to him.”
“Did I say I needed anything from Mr. Stuckey?” Gary said trying to sound defiant. “Noon, my shop, and I will hear what your boss has to say.”
Sharon by now had come to the bottom of the stairs and was listening to what Gary was saying, unfortunately the smaller man had spotted her and was staring at her doing the creepy licking of his lips again.
Gary caught sight of this and stepped between the two blocking the smaller man’s view of his girlfriend. “Noon Jack Gable, I am sure Mrs. Eastman has plenty of information about my father and that will lead me to finding him without your Mr. Stuckey’s help.” And with that Gary closed the door.
Sharon was frowning now.
“What did I do something wrong?”
Sharon replied with a huff. “Well first off I came down to distract him so that maybe we could get some more information from him, secondly why did you tell him about Mrs. Eastman maybe he did not know about her, and even if he did, now he knows we know about her.” With that she turned and walked barefooted up the stairs.
Gary was torn between watching her go up the stair and enjoying the view and shock in that she had just gotten angry with him about something.