• • •
“Yes, for a long time,” dismisses your magical negro. “Trust me, I know all about it. I’m here to bust you out, but you need to do something for me first.”
“What?” Jonathan Knox pleads as the sweat begins to drip. “What must I do? Anything, please, just tell me–”
“Listen, Jonathan Knox. Go along with me here. The thing who locked you up – he calls himself a reverend, right?”
“Yes, Reverend Neil Campbell…” The furious rage Jonathan Knox feels is so great he huacs up a glob of salivic mucus and splatters it on the floor, right on the goddamn floor. That is how much Jonathan Knox hates Neil Campbell, he spits right on the goddamn floor. “…the slimy son of a bitching preacherman.”
“You know,” Sharpton cautions, “he’s not a real reverend, right? He’s an alien is disguise.”
“Yes, yes that’s just it! But how did you know? ”
“Because I’m the same as him, but different. Y’understand?”
Fear drops into Jonathan Knox’s face like a dead bird out of the sky. “No… you’re a Neptunian, too?”
“Don’t fret, Jonathan Knox,” says the magical negro, patting Jonathan on the shoulder. “I’m from a planet called Juliana, but that’s not the point. I go by the name of Reverend Al Sharpton. This prison room you’ve been locked in for however long it’s been is at the very bottom of–”
“The Compound ‘neath Atacama,” Jonathan Knox finishes with a sickened irreverence in his voice. He spits again, that’ll show ‘em. “It’s the secret base of the Neptunian High Race of the Dali Straits. They’re here on Earth – this version of Earth, I should say – to overthrow the human race. I know all about it, Al.”
“Good,” as Sharpton rubs his hands in a miserly fashion. “So you probably know what I need you to do, then. Go ahead, you tell me.”
Jonathan Knox says nothing. Figures. Sharpton sighs, then claps his hands four times. Jonathan Knox phases through the table, leaving the many needles and even more tubes to dangle by their lonesome, and lands on his feet. His clothing becomes clean and pressed, his hair excretes product and bends into its proper Marlton style, and the arms of his bulky square glasses loop around his ears, fastening the eyewear to his face.
“Give me your hand.”
Jonathan Knox opens one hand and gives it to Al Sharpton. Sharpton places a small device roughly the size and weight of a golf ball with a single button sticking out of it into Jonathan Knox’s palm.
“What you got there,” Sharpton expositions, “is a detonation device, Jonathan Knox. You press that button and two things will happen: One, a whole slew of explosives I’ve planted inside all the walls and technology in the Compound – especially the nuclear reactors – will go off simultaneously, causing a chain reaction of catastrophic explosions which will eliminate not only the Compound ‘neath Atacama on Cosmic Earth, but all of Cosmic Earth itself; Two, an impossibly tiny portal will open up and suck you through the Universe, saving you from death via planetary cataclysm and plopping you into the Lake Atacama of Bionic Earth. From there you can do whatever the hell you want, and… well, that’s it. Any questions?”
“Just one, Sharpton: Why are you helping me? Why not just destroy the Cosmic Compound ‘neath Atacama yourself? Why do you even want to destroy the Compound in the first place?”
Jonathan Knox snickers unabashedly at himself. “I guess there was more than one question, wasn’t there?”
Whatever vibe Jonathan Knox is feeling, Al ain’t catchin’ it. “Because this Compound was supposed to be mine, Jonathan Knox. This whole planet was supposed to be mine, everything was all lined up by the big guy up top, I was entitled to Cosmic Earth… but then the Neptunians came in and stuck their slimy gills where they didn’t belong.” Sharpton makes tight fists and his fingers crack. “They came in and took what didn’t belong to them, and I’ve tried my best to take it back, but no matter what I do, it won’t work. It’s almost like the Universe Herself doesn’t want me to directly interfere with the events of Cosmic Earth. Not the events I want to interfere with, anyway. But She let me plant my explosives, and She let me free you from the table, fix you up lookin’ nice. She let me place the detonator in your hand, Jonathan Knox, and I have a feeling She’s gonna let you press the button when the time for pressing the button comes. So uh… whenever you’re ready, you go ahead and do that.”
“Wait,” Jonathan Knox says, stalling just a tiny bit longer. “How will you escape? Are you coming through the portal with me?”
Sharpton’s lips curl into a devilish smile. “See, I’m not like you, Jonathan Knox. I’m–”
“I know, you said you’re like Reverend Campbell, that damn dirty slimy bastard of an alien scoundrel.”
“Yes, but I’m not really like him, either. See, you? You’re just a Being. Campbell? He’s only a Being, too. Maybe even a High Being. Me? I’m a God, the Master God of Life in fact, and I have abilities beyond your wildest imagination. As soon as this little palaver we’ve got goin’ on here ends, I’m going to teleport out just as quick as I teleported in behind you. I’ll be fine, Jonathan Knox. I’ll be just fine.”
“Where will you go?”
“Nowhere you’ll be seeing me again, that’s for damn sure,” Sharpton says with confidence. “You done yet?”
“Almost,” Jonathan Knox says as a plan comes to boil under the hood. “You say you’re the Master God of Life, that you have abilities beyond my wildest imagination.”
“Yeah,” says Al Sharpton, Master God of Life, “that’s right.”
“So do you have the ability to bring Reverend Campbell into this room?” Jonathan Knox lets rip a devilish smile of his own. “I want to see that slimy son of a bitch perish when the bombs go off.”
Sharpton smirks, then winks. “Consider it done.”
Jonathan Knox is alone in the prison room at the bottom of the Compound ‘neath Atacama of Cosmic Earth, surrounded by featureless blue metal walls and the bleak light shining down from the ceiling. A rectangular section of wall opens up before him, revealing an elderly man with a kind face dressed in long black priest’s robes.
“Knox!” the preacherman snarls as he rolls his sleeves up to reveal featureless rubberesque arms. “How did you get out?!”
“I hope you’re comfortable, Reverend Campbell,” Jonathan Knox ordains, holding the detonator above his head like a bible. “Welcome to your new home.”
Jonathan Knox presses the button. Calamity ensues.
This has been the end of the first subchapter of the first chapter of the book Over the River: The Emancipation of Jonathan Knox. Here is everything you need to know about it:
Over the River
The Emancipation of Jonathan Knox
Over the River is the third book in a trilogy called The Fall of the Seven Earths. I’ve also released that trilogy as a single book called The Fall of the Seven Earths. Here’s everything you need to know about it:
The Fall of the Seven Earths
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
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