Posted in The Disinclined Purveyor of Sequential Art

The Disinclined Purveyor of Sequential Art – Chapter 23

the escapistxmen

Chapter 1 (The Beginning)

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

The three looked at the lamp in the middle of the room. Gary was the first one to break the silence. “Okay we need to replace that bulb.”

“Why?” Andrew asked.

Sharon spoke up now. “We need to recreate whatever it was they were doing in this room, even if it does not make sense.” She had added this last part when Andrew got a confused look on his face.

“Well I got that part covered, this does not make any sense.” Andrew replied.

Gary laughed. “Well this stuff is not really supposed to make sense, this Disruption Field Generator does that, make things that don’t make sense become reality.” Gary stopped and scratched his head for a minute. Then he walked over to the lamp and unscrewed the burnt out light bulb. “Okay I need you too to go to a hardware store or any kind of store and find this exact same light bulb, except no substitutions.”

Sharon grabbed the bulb and examined it, then took out a notepad from her bag and made some notes after quickly looking over the base and top of the bulb. Then she grabbed a bandanna from her bag and wrapped the bulb up while still holding it in her hand. “Don’t want to take any chances.”

“Okay we can find the bulb, I know all the hardware stores in town, in fact I know the owner of the one right around the corner, but where are you going?”

“Back to the comic book store, I have to do some research.”

Sharon nodded her head. Andrew again looked confused. “What type of research?”

“I need to figure out what Gary was thinking about on the day the two of them disappeared.”

The search for the bulb took longer than they thought, first off the hardware store was closed, so they had to convince Andrew friend that it was an emergency for the bulb to be replaced that night. Then the bulb was not on the shelf and they had to go looking through the back room for the exact light bulb. After a hour away from the lab they returned but did not find Gary inside, they waited a half an hour and Sharon was about to call Gary when he came through the door with a box of comic books and DVDs.

“What is in the box?” Andrew asked.

Sharon spoke up from across the room. “I am guessing it is stuff from older Gary’s room, am I right.”

Gary put the box down on one of the cabinet’s in the inner lab. “Yes, yes it is. From what I could tell this was the stuff he was watching or reading when he went missing.”

Andrew pawed through the box. “Yeah Sliders I remember him talking about this show.” He said pulling out several DVD cases.

“And this is what I found on his beside.” Gary held up a trade paperback, ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths”

Sharon spoke up. “Yeah that is about alternate realities of Earth.”

“A similar premise to Sliders, same world different outcomes from same events.” Gary said.

“What about these books?”

“Found these in his bathroom in the magazine rack. ‘Time Scout’ some sort of accident causes doorways to open into the past, and a travel industry grows up around it, Ancient Rome, Victorian England, all can be traveled too.”

The three of them were silent for a few minutes as each of them looked at the items in the box. Then Sharon broke the silence. “So this is what Gary must have been daydreaming about when your Dad was doing his experiment.”

“Yeah I am sure watching water boil was not senior Gary’s idea of a good time.” Andrew said.

“But that does not explain the splitter or the use of two light bulbs.” Sharon said and revealed the replacement light bulb to Gary.

“Ah good you got it.” Gary said.

“Oh yeah by the way you owe me $50.00 Gary.” Andrew said nonchalantly.

“$50.00 dollars, what do you guys have to have it specially made.”

“No the light bulb was only $6.50, but my buddy was very irate about me making him open his dad’s hardware store on a Sunday night, so he made buy $43.50 on a hammer, screw driver and a box of nails.”

Gary was perturbed for a minute, but then he thought about it. “Okay, but I want the hammer and screw driver, you can keep the nails.”

Andrew simply gave him thumbs up sign.

Gary continued. “I am betting, that Gary was playing a joke on my Dad, Dad was probably doing something that distracted him, like putting notes into a notebook, or went out to fill or empty a beaker of water and Gary decided to drive Dad crazy thus the splitter and the two light bulbs.” While he was talking Gar took the bulb gently from Sharon. “Okay here is the plan.” Gary was carefully taking the bulb out of the package and slowly screwed it into the empty socket. After a few twists the bulb light up.

Something changed in the air immediately, it was not something anyone could put their finger on, no noise, no vibration, nothing noticeable, but something did change.

“Okay I don’t know what just happened but let’s go with it.” Gary said. “I will continue doing my father’s experiment, and since you too are more in touch with the fiction in the box, infinite worlds and such, you too start thinking about parallel worlds and wormholes and the like, rifle through the box and get your imagination on.

The two nodded and starting looking at the items in the box. Sharon the Time Scout novels and Andrew started to read the back of the Sliders DVD box set. Gary looked at the chart and placed a beaker of water on one of the hot plates and turned it on. Andrew was the first to notice the change.

“Hey guys look directly over the light.”

Sharon and Gary stopped what they were doing and looked up. There on the ceiling directly over the light a spot of blue light was growing. It shimmered and sparkled, dimmed and brightened, but was growing bigger with each passing second, then after a full minute when the blue light almost filled the ceiling, it seemed to collapse inward. It did not get smaller it just got deeper, that is when the noticed a slight breeze coming from the ceiling as though someone had opened a window.

“What is going on?” Andrew asked in a soft voice.

“I am thinking we are seeing what happened to Gary and my Dad.” Gary looked over towards Sharon who was reaching into her bag. She grabbed something and turned around. Gary saw that she had a spool of rope or twine and was tying an end to a table leg.

Gary was about to ask her what she was doing when he noticed the breeze coming from the vortex was getting stronger, he looked up and saw, that the light was starting to swirl around in a clockwise direction.

Sharon came over to him and made a loop with the string and placed it around the belt loop of his jeans, Gary looked at her confused. She spoke up. “It is military grade 550 cord, able to hold about 550 pounds, so if something starts to suck us up instead of blow down, we are anchored. Gary looked at her with a bit of suspicion. “Remember I said my Dad was an electrician among other things.” Gary mutely nodded his head and Sharon finished her knot. “Well the other thing was and Adventurer specializing in Alternate Dimensions and other weird and crazy stuff.”

Gary just shrugged and looked back up at the ceiling than back at Sharon. “Okay.”

Sharon smiled while quickly walking to spool away from Gary and over towards Andrew where she performed the same knotting of the belt loop.

By this time the spinning of, Gary guessed he could call it a vortex was moving faster than a blender set to puree, it made him dizzy so he looked down, this helped but he could still see it spinning in his peripheral vision. He noticed the wind, it could be called a wind now and not a breeze was coming down mostly along the edges, he inched closer to the lamp in the center of the room and noticed the strength decreasing. Almost like the eye of a hurricane he thought. “Hey guys move closer to the center, the wind is less intense here.”

As his two friends moved closer to the table something hit Gary firmly on top of his head. “Ow.” He said more out of surprise than pain.

Andrew reached down and picked something off the floor. “Hey a wallet, this wallet just fell out of that thing.” He said motioning up with his left while holding the wallet with his right.

It was right then that Sharon pulled open a Velcro closed compartment of her bag and pulled out a short sword.”

“Hey what are you doing with a gladius? Andrew asked. “And can I get one.”

“Ah honey, what are you doing with that sword?”

“It is called a gladius; it was the sword of the ancient Roman soldiers.” Andrew added the geek it him coming out.

Sharon put the sword down and was tying up her long blonde hair into a ponytail. “Just being prepared dear, you never know what may come out of an inter-dimensional wormhole thingy.” She motioned above her head.

“Yes, like this wallet.” Andrew said interrupting.

Sharon continued. “It is good to be ready for just about anything.”

“After this is over we are going to have a long talk.”

“Okay.” Sharon said smiling.

“Hey Gary, I think this is your father’s wallet.” Andrew said with the wallet open, he handed it over to Gary.

Sure enough it was his father’s wallet, his driver license, two credit cards, and a several pictures of Gary, going from kindergarten to high school. Gary looked up and Sharon and Andrew were looking at him. “It is his, we are on the right track guys.” It was just as he said the last part a pair of shoes came falling out of the vortex. Gary picked them up, a pair of red Chuck Taylor high tops, tied together.

“Those are Gary’s, older Gary’s I mean.” Andrew said picking them up.

Sharon looked over the shoes. “Did he usually tie them with rawhide strings?”

Andrew looked over the strings. “Ah no, just normal white strings…”

Gary did not hear what the rest of his statement was, because they were drenched with what must have been hundreds of gallons of water. Sharon was knocked over and Gary was hit with somethings that were definitely harder than water. Gary helped Sharon back to her feet, and she was licking her lips. “Salt water.” She stated.

“What kind of fish are these?” Andrew said holding up a fish and just as quickly dropped it when it squirmed out of his hands.

Gary looked at the fish, they were a bright orange, not orange like a gold fish more like the color of a brand new construction cone but it was like nothing he had ever seen before.

“The wind is picking up even more.” Sharon shouted.

The things falling out had distracted him and now he looked around and saw the wind was blowing enough to make the three be buffeted around, even in the center of the room. It was then that the lightning started, it was like the vortex, blue and restricted itself to the vortex, somewhere past the roof line.

“Hey no thunder.” Sharon shouted.

Gary nodded and looked straight up into the vortex. He saw a black spot, getting bigger and bigger. “I think something else is coming in guys.” He pointed up.

Sharon and Andrew looked up. Gary followed the spot, and it continued to get bigger and bigger. The spot did not go in circles as he had guessed it would, but seemed to jink back and forth far up inside the vortex, and it was definitely getting closer. All three gasped at the same time.

“It’s a person.”

The speed at which the person was coming was closing faster and faster but due to the bright blue light of the vortex all they could make out was a figure who seemed to be straddling something.

“Guys we should step back.” This was Sharon who started pulling the other two back toward the door to the lab.

Gary fought her. “That could be my Dad.” He said struggling with her.

“Yeah it could but I am sure he does not want to fall on you, I mean his wallet already did.”

“She is right dude.” Andrew said helping Sharon pull on Gary’s arm.

Gary had kept his eyes on the figure coming down from the interior of the vortex, he yelled. “Dad, Dad I am here.”

Behind his back Sharon and Andrew looked at each other with the message between them hoping it was Gary’s father, but Sharon carefully released the locking mechanism on the sheath of the short sword so she could quickly react.

The figure was close now and Gary shouted again. “Dad, Dad down here.”

At that point the figure turned and looked down. It was then the figure did some sort of twist and then came rapidly down. Unfortunately he misjudged and landed with a heavy thud on the table in the middle of the lab, right on top of the lamp and the momentum carried him off the table. In a split second everything stopped, the wind cut off, the vortex disappeared and the ceiling of the room reappeared solid and whole. The figure seemed to be struggling with something on the far side of the table. Sharon held onto Gary as he was about to rush into the room, but after a half second Gary caught himself. The person stood up behind the table, and hefted what could only be described as a huge saddle onto the table, the figure was in a dark green cloak, shirt and pants he was also wearing a pair of dark goggles and a cloth wrapped around his head. He looked around the room then he saw the door and the three of them standing in it. “Gary?”

“Dad?”

The figure unwrapped his scarf from around his head and removed his goggles.

“Dad.” Gary screamed and ran into the room that is when he reached the end of the tether Sharon had tied, he stopped and almost fell. Sharon without being told unsheathed the gladius and cut the cord holding the three of them together.

By this point Gary’s father had come around the table and the two of them hugged.

“So your name is Sharon?”

“Yes sir.”

“I am so glad to meet you, you seem pretty quick with that sword, you seem to be prepared more than most.”

“Family trait, family training.” Sharon said modestly.

“Andrew I am glad to see you to, I am glad you came back from your Army training safe and sound.”

“Yes, sir a couple of weeks now and I am glad to see you and all but I don’t need to be nosy, but where is Gary, older Gary I mean.”

The room got silent as the other three sets of eyes looked intently at Mr. Donnelly, he paused and he took a breath. “We got separated a couple of weeks back, I am not sure exactly where he is now but I do know he is alive.”

“How Mr. Donnelly?” Andrew asked quickly and he saw he had beaten the other two to the punch.

Mr. Donnelly held up a his left wrist and showed them a silver bracelet handcrafted with three glowing stones set into the bracelet. “During our travels a craftsman made these for us, it shows the wearer that the other people in his traveling group are healthy and alive.”

“So who are the other two stones for?”

“That is a very long story son and there will be time later for it, but right now where is that lamp.” The four saw the lamp, crushed and broken lying on the floor. “That is a problem.” Mr. Donnelly said.

Well folks that is the end of the story. But due to some feedback I left it open for a continuation. I have written this by a chapter every week for the past 22 weeks (the second posting I placed two chapters in one week) and I have been just hitting the self imposed Saturday deadline by forcing myself to write. This would not have been so hard if I had an outline completed before I started the story, but it just kind of developed as I went. Hope you all liked it, any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I would have done things a little differently but with releasing a chapter a week, you cannot go back and change things otherwise your readers might be confused, heck I am the writer and sometimes I am confused. It is far from perfect and looking back I would go back and edit it, but all in all I am proud of myself for sticking with it and putting out a chapter a week on time and consistently.

I received inspiration for this story from Comic Book Men on AMC, and I thought what if a guy worked in a comic book store who did not want to, but was forced to.

Again feedback would be greatly appreciated, particularly if I was to get someone to do a cover for this book what cover art would you suggest.

What next, stay tuned.

Your friend out here on the web A.A.

Posted in The Disinclined Purveyor of Sequential Art

The Disinclined Purveyor of Sequential Art – Chapter 10

 

captamericacover

(and in case you don’t know by now, this cover has nothing to do with the story)

Chapter One and in case you want to go back a week and get reaquainted with where the story left off Chapter 9.

Chapter 10.

“Okay let’s do this.”

Sharon and Andrew were standing beside him looking at the shelving unit mounted on the wall, he pulled the card, not that he really needed it now. He just wanted to be absolutely sure. “First Hawkeye. Andrew was closest to that title and he pulled all the issues off the shelf and examined the space behind it. Then he noticed that the part of the shelf behind this was stuck to the wall at a funny angle, he put his fingers behind it and it popped off. The other two were right behind him and he handed them the small wooden panel.

“Magnetics, and it was sticking to an old fashion metal toggle switch, the switch was in the up position with no label on it.” Andrew announced.

Sharon and Gary leaned in to look at it. Gary was about to flip it when Sharon grabbed his hand. “Not yet, let us find what is behind the rest of the books.” She stated cautiously.

Gary just nodded, and looked at the list again. “JLA.”

Sharon was closet to this title and moved all the issues off the shelf and on to the table. She again found the panel with the magnet, but this toggle switch was in the down position.

“Okay now for the last one. Kevin Smith’s Bionic Man.” Gary moved to the end of the lowest shelf and then to the top of the next one looking for the title, he found it on the next shelving unit over and repeated to procedure, but this time the backing was not sectional, it was one long piece and nailed to the rest of the shelf. “Something is wrong, no section it is one long piece.” He shook the self and all the comic books moved.

The other two came over and looked as well.

“Something is wrong, we missed something.” Gary exclaimed.

“But what, the first two were exactly where they were supposed to be.”

Gary stated the obvious, “Well I supposed we could take down every comic book and look behind each one.” He shook his head at the thought of all the work, and looked at his watch if they started right now, they had nine hours till the shop opened on Saturday morning, and sales lately had been very good lately on Saturday, a lot of people buying something for the geek in their life for Christmas.

Sharon leaned against the table and looked at the shelves, and then she snapped her fingers. “Do you remember what you told me the first time we met?”

Gary was puzzled. “Ah don’t be late and taking Wednesday off was grounds for immediate termination.”

She punched him. “No, the instructions you received from you father thru the lawyer. No major changes to the shop.”

“Yea so,” He motioned around the shop. “same as when I first started running it, same stupid mismatched furniture, same cash register with a broken 3 key, and same ugly carpeting. Same stupid store.”

“Not exactly, remember I talked you into changing you orders. A few more copies of some titles, and we got rid of a couple because they never sold.”

“Yeah so.” Then the light went off. “We changed how we stocked shelves.” He turned to Andrew. “Where is that photograph of you and my god father?”

Andrew had been watching the two of them as they worked it all out together, and realized at the same time about the photograph and was reaching for it on the counter. “Here it is.”

They all gathered around the photograph that showed the same shelf the other two switches had been found on.

“JLA is in the same place.”

“Hawkeye, too.”

“But Bionic Man was all the way down here.” Gary said pointing to the lowest part of the middle shelving unit.

The three of them looked at each other, Gary moved to where the book used to be placed. “Huh, Joe the Barbarian,” Gary said moving the books. “How is that selling?”

Sharon responded. “Does it really matter right now, is there a switch or not?”

Gary responded with by producing the telltale click which revealed the same setup. This switch was also in the down position.

They all looked at each other and Gary reached out and flipped the switch. The three of them looked around the shop and looked for something to happen. Sharon was near the first one they uncovered and she looked at Gary and she reached over and switched it in the opposite direction, in this case down. The three of them paused and looked around, the empty store.

“Andrew would you flip the second switch?”

“Sure.” Andrew stated calmly, and reached out and flipped the final switch in the opposite position.

This time the group waited a full minute, listening intently, all they heard was the occasional car going by outside the shop on the street.

Sharon spoke up. “You don’t think this could be operating something upstairs, or in the basement?”

Gary shook his head. “All the instructions I got from my father’s lawyer were about this shop.” He said motioning around. “Nothing about the apartment, besides no way my father could have foreseen Andrew helping out. No I am thinking he would have set it up so I could find it, whatever ‘it’ is, all by myself with no help.”

Gary walked away from the shelf, and rubbed his chin. Sharon came and leaned against the table, and Andrew walked over to a chair, turned it around so it faced away from them and then straddled the chair and sat on it backwards.

The three of them were silent for a few minutes finally Gary broke the silence. “Well let’s not make the same mistake we made before.”

“What mistake was that?” Andrew asked.

“Well we thought it was about the comic books, it wasn’t, my father was not into them, he was into puzzles, electronics, and classic novels.”

Sharon chimed in now. “Yes, like the puzzle box he sent you.”

Gary snapped his fingers and the other two looked at him. He got up and walked over to the last toggle switch found, stared intently at it and then very gently flipped the switch. He flipped it back and forth four or five times. Then he looked at the two of them. “It is another logic problem.”

“Huh?” Andrew stated.

The switch can either be in the on position or the off position. There are three switches. So they can be exactly eight settings overall. Either all off, all on, or some combination of on and off.” Gary was talking faster and faster. “So I am thinking that went we get all the switches in the proper position, whatever that is, then we will get the next clue, maybe even the answer to where my father is.”

“Makes sense.” Sharon said. “Guys, I have to run upstairs for a minute, please don’t do anything till I come back.”

“Well I might lay out all the positions, but I promise not to touch any of the switches till you get back.”

Andrew nodded as well.

Sharon gathered up her high heel shoes and walked quickly upstairs. Gary walked over to the counter and got a pen and piece of paper.

Andrew stood up and stretched, then looked at his watch. “Whoa, almost one.”

Gary did not respond, just kept working on the diagram.

“So does Sharon live here with you?”

Gary looked up. “No, she lives a couple of blocks away.” Then went back to the paper.

“So how long have you guys been a couple?”

Gary looked up again, with a confused look. “Oh well, we are not exactly going out. In fact tonight was supposed to be our first date.”

Andrew whistled. “Hey man I am sorry, I ruined your plans.”

“Dude, things like this have been messing us up all semester. Don’t sweat it.” Gary said and waved he hand dismissively. He looked at the sheet of paper. “Yeah I was right, eight permutations, of off and on for the three switches.

“Only eight, well this should not take too long.” Sharon said from across the room.

Andrew saw that she had changed into a pair of blue jeans, black Converse high tops, and a college sweat shirt. Even wearing this she was very pretty. He was a little jealous of Gary.

“Okay everyone man a switch.” Gary instructed.

They each got to a switch and they all placed their hands on them. “Okay, first thing, everyone flip the switches down.

Three clicks. Nothing.

“Everyone up.”

Three more clicks. Nothing.

“Okay everyone listen carefully,” Gary said looking at the paper. “Sharon flip yours down.”

Click. Nothing.

“Okay, switch yours back up Sharon, and Andrew switch yours down.”

Click. Then they all heard it, and felt it as well. A deeply recessed dull click and the whole shelf moved slightly toward them all.

“Okay that was weird.” Andrew said.

Gary looked around quickly. “I think this whole shelf is on a hinge, and I think,” and he pulled on the shelf, and it moved towards him. “Step back everyone.”

They all moved away from the shelf and very slowly with some effort Gary pulled the shelf away from the wall, with one end as the pivot point, and the end where Gary pulled opening like a door away from the wall.

“Can you guys pull the table back?”

Andrew and Sharon rushed around to the other side of the table and pulled it across the room and then ran around and moved the chairs out of the way. Gary then opened the bookcase entirely.

It was just a cinder block wall, but mounted on the wall were three large pieces of plywood wood painted white. Each with something different mounted on them.

The top one was a large poster board with two lines of various stick figures in various poses, some standing on their heads, some with flags; it almost looked like they were dancing.

The second board was a series of small electrical resistors, each with different bands of colors around them, fifty resistors total. Lined up in five to a row, ten rows total.

The last board was the simplest. One large box separated into five rows across and seven rows deep, with nothing in each block, just empty spaces.

“What the heck is this?” Andrew said.

The 1st Board.

photo

Click here to go to Chapter 11

Posted in Outrageous Lies and Tales, The Disinclined Purveyor of Sequential Art

The Disinclined Purveyor of Sequential Art – Chapter 5

The continuing Saturday posting The Disinclined Purveyor of Sequential Art, Chapter Five, if you want to start at the beginning (and I have no idea why you would not) click here for Chapter 1.

Chapter Four

Chapter 5:

Gary pulled open the box and the key fell into his hand. He studied the key for a few seconds, it was larger than a typical key, brass colored with no lettering or marks. He dropped it onto the table from a few inches above the surface and it gave an almost musical note. He looked inside the inner chamber of the box to see if there was anything else. No nothing.

“Now that is a clue.” Sharon said alternating between an intense scrutiny of the key and looking at Gary to see what he would do next.

Gary did not know what to say at first, so he did what his mother did every time she talked about his father and his best friend Gary. He rolled his eyes and sighed.

“What?” Sharon said after a few seconds. “Do you know why that key was in the box, or what it opens, or why your father wanted you to have it.”

“No but knowing my father it will turn out to be something incredibly stupid and immature, especially if he let Gary influence him in any way, shape or form.”

“What are you talking, this has got to be some sort of clue, lead, trace or hint to where your father and god father are or at least where they went.”

“No it is probably just the key to Gary’s secret stash of vintage Playboy magazines or something like it.”

“What are you talking about?” Sharon almost shouted.

Gary was shocked, how come this girl, who had never even met his father, care so much about where he was. He looked around the shop quickly and realized it was empty, and decided to lay it all out for her. “My father’s best friend Gary, was an idiot. They have known each other since kindergarten, and my father never got into trouble unless Gary was around.”

“That can’t be true, I am sure your father was just as much to blame Gary.”

“No, no, no.” Gary shook his head strenuously and vehemently continued. “Every story either of them ever told, weather together or apart, and every story I have ever heard from my mother, or Uncle Chet, or my grandparents started out with ‘Gary had this idea’. Now sure my father went along with all the stupid things but Gary was and always will be the one who started the trouble. Heck he barely made it out of high school, never finished college and borrowed the money from my father to open up this arm pit.” He said motioning around the store. “In fact that is one of the reasons my parent split up, because Gary was slow in paying them back, and when he did some of the checks bounced.”

“But, that does not mean, that this,” and she picked up the key from the table “will not help us find your father. No personal notes, but you said that every year your father sent you a coin, well guess what no coin this year, but this key.” Sharon held it up in her hand displaying it. “The key is important, it means something, and the fact that your father is not around, but he still wanted you to have it, means something. What if they are in trouble somewhere, and this leads you to them. What if he was counting on you to help them get out of whatever jam they are in?”

Gary leaned across the table and put his hand out. Sharon placed the key in his hand.

“My father wants my help, ha.” Gary slammed the key down on the table. “Ha, ha, that is a good one. My father left the house when I was ten, and I would come to see him here in this stupid store, one week every summer and he would drive an hour once a month to come see me. He left me high and dry, my mother had to teach me to drive, she did everything for me but my father could not be bothered. His research into computers and high resolution television research was way too important. He never came to a single soccer game, or to my graduation from high school or a single birthday since he moved out. Even before he moved out he would work late all the time and miss more things then he got home for, heck my Uncle Chet who is a raving nut job Marine Corp reject taught me how to ride a bike, because my father was too busy working on a “new” interactive video game input device. You know what happened to that new input device three years later? Three years of my father’s life, three years where he invested everything into a stupid game controller.” Gary was angrier now then he had ever let himself be in his life. “The revolutionary input device my father worked on failed miserably and he lost his job. He left home six months later and never came back.” Gary threw the key across the shop and it hit some Batman comics and dropped to silently to the carpeted floor . “So I don’t care where he is, or if he wants me to find him, because he never cared for me.” Gary stormed across the shop, and grabbed his coat, he was about to go out the front door when he thought of something. “Lock up the place and take the rest of the week off.”

Sharon went to the store every day for the next week. No Gary, she even went into the upstairs apartment and she saw that he had come back the night after the blow up and some of his drawers were open in his room and some clothes were gone. His old F-150 pick-up truck which he kept parked in the rear of the store was gone from its normal spot. She kept running the store, she took the delivery on Wednesday and closed the store when she had to go to class, but other than that she kept the store open as much as she could. She did not know what else to do, but she wanted to keep the store running. She had found the deposit slips and was putting the end of the day deposits in the bank. It was eight days later when Gary showed back up. She was talking to a couple of the regulars about the new Justice League movie when she heard the door to the upstairs apartment open.

“So are you guys going to the midnight showing?” She asked. All of them said they were, and they invited her along, Sharon begged off saying she would be home with her family when the movie came out on Christmas Day but maybe they would make a second run when she came back. All the boys agreed, a few of them a little too enthusiastically, but she shrugged it off. She left the counter and said she had to talk to the boss, the guys looked over at Gary and moved towards the big table. It was clear to Sharon that most of the customers did not like Gary, they had not told her in so many words, but they did call his god father Cool Gary and were always asking when he would be coming back. To this she would always shrug, the few times they asked the younger Gary he would give his typical answer, ‘don’t know, but I wish it was right now.’ The few that had pressed further than that got a grumpy non-committal mumble from him before he walked away.

Gary made his way towards the two comfortable chairs in the corner and Sharon walked over and sat down in one as he took the other.

They both started to say ‘I am sorry’ but they stopped and laughed.

“Me first.” Gary said. “I am sorry I walked out on you, I am sorry I lost my temper, and I am sorry I have been such a jerk, basically since I met you. Every day you come in here with a positive outlook and all I do is give you grief and throw myself a pity party.”

Sharon just smiled back and nodded.

“I looked over the deposit slips, thanks for keeping the store up and running.”

“It was no problem really.” Sharon said. “I want to apologize to you, it is not really any of my business about your father and all. I was being nosey, it probably comes from being the baby of a family of six, and we were always getting wrapped up in each other’s problems, I guess I just have a lack of boundaries when it comes to people I care about.”

This caused Gary to look up at her in surprise. Sharon realized what she said and tried to cover it up quickly. “I mean you are my boss and all.”

Gary smiled and nodded, he may not have the best track record with girls, but he let her bow out that last part gracefully. Gary held up the key. Sharon leaned forward in the chair. “I went home and stayed with my mom for a couple of days and talked to her about all this.” He said putting the key down on the little table between the chairs and then motioning around the place. “She said I needed to work this out, get some closure with my Dad, if I could.”

“So what are we going to do?” Sharon said leaning forward even more so she was almost out of the chair.

“Well for now, we are going to put the key out of our minds, and when I think I am ready we will figure out what this opens, if we can.”

Sharon heard this processed it quickly and made a sour face, just as quickly she smiled a knowing smile.

“What, I just saw a thought cross your mind, what was it?”

“I just remembered something my Dad use to say.”

“What was that?” Gary said leaning forward.

“You cannot start someone’s adventure for them.”

“Who is your Dad, Yoda?”

Sharon smiled. “Maybe.”

Chapter 6