P R E V I O U S L Y I N
'I'd never let you die father,' replied Aronson massaging his hand across his fiery staff.
'You could have fooled me.'
'I only hurt you so that you might better protect Gaia. This - all this - it's always been about her.'
'I'm sorry Spider,' said Vicky, a lone tear streaming down her red cheek, 'I should have stayed out of your head. Now I've brought you back here and - '
'It's not your fault Vicky,' said Spiderfingers. He knew full well that Vicky contacting him in Bellevue was one thing. The corner he was in could only be blamed on his ego and sentimentality.
'C'mon Aronson,' he said, 'Out with it. What fucked up deal have you struck with the High-Father? Tell me, I know you want to. It's the way you think, you can't help it, so get on with the fucking monologue.'
Aronson became mute.
‘I have a death ray in Minneapolis!’ announced Aronson raising his black staff above his head and turning to the room, looking about at the young Dilfs who cowered away from him. Every musclebound Po Villager jostled away, jumping abruptly with every movement he made.
Everyone becomes an incidental character. They all fade into the background leaving just me to focus on Vicky. It's just us in the room.
'Ignore the pain. It's not yours, O.K? Imagine this is happening to some other Vicky, in a book - a comic.'
She's closing her eyes tight adopting my words as her own. A downed warrior unquestionably following the commands of her superior.
'You're not going to die. You've given up more than enough for the cause, so you get to live. It's the other Vicky that gets to die - say it!'
'The other...Vicky gets...to...die.'
'That's right O.G, that'as right. I'll get you out of this. You don't get to die today. No more family deaths, you hear me?'
'Death is the...answer.' she says, 'Operation Genie...Bottle isn't full-proof. Not if...ugh..'
I struggle to understand what she means by this for a second figuring that the poor girl is confused. Tired. Broken. My head feels numb, like it’s been shoved into a deep freeze.
'Good soldier,' whispers Vicky, my little O.G,
Something worthy is in there, somewhere.
She caught the reflection of her face on the screen of her phone. She picked it up and shoved it into her pocket. One day, she fantasised, my life will be a biopic...staring some A - lister. Keira Knightley playing me.
His damning the world via his suicide would need a better build up. Maybe, but subtly was absolutely key. This was the second time she had come up with a story from her dreams and she was going to make it work.
She would present something near-finished to Milo in the next week.
A bee sound travelled from her pocket; a buzzing creeping upon her thigh. Steph ignored the irritant in favour of perfecting a mental note:
Her phone began to vibrate in her pocket; she felt it, still on silent because it might be the Thomas the Tank Engine ringtone. Steph needed to be just a woman for a while. No secondary characters right now, typed Steph, immediately feeling cold and hard and that the armies of the world should conspire to take her out – striking out the sentence not being enough to atone for this manifestation of her selfish imagining.
You’re a mother. Stop thinking like a bitch.
To refocus her mind, Steph read her blurb again, this time out loud:
'The Death of Spiderfingers is my Electric Lady Land,' muttered Steph,
'I need to write my Are You Experienced first.'
She had been doing this a lot in the last few days. One pop culture reference following another, as if someone more knowledgeable was working her mouth and brain.
Steph whisked through the pages of Spiderfingers' scrap book, positive that her new appreciation of its contents would lead to a much more cohesive tale. A work that would become popular, much more palatable than her fragmented tale of a dying god.
The Death of Spiderfingers is a self-indulgent distraction, Steph thought.
There is no way I'll abandon my real mission. It's time for some hero-worship!
Such was Steph's flight of fancy.
'Are you experienced? Have you ever been experienced?'
The labour ended two hours and forty five minutes later. Spiderfingers: Hero Worship part I: My Skull the Vocal Booth.
Now she could rest. One blurry eyed scan of her room dissuaded her. With all these notes and pie charts and character specs on her walls, how could she sleep?
The ex-teacher dragged her aching body to bed, laying her head back down upon her pillow. She stared at the character she and Gideon had made out of Play-Doh. It was Gideon's idea to dub the figurine ‘Danger-Man’.
Steph hadn’t spoken to her son all day.
She remembered her phone, still on silent. Alas, guilt wasn’t enough of a motivating factor to ring him.
Steph wanted to close her eyes to the action stance of ‘Danger-Man’ and his long and pointy red hat. But somehow, she couldn't. It was if the doll was staring right back at her, egging her on with her self-involved mission...
S P I D E R F I N G E R S