|20.20|21|22|22.2|22.22|22.222|23|24|25|Those Extra Four…|1|2|3|4|Back Matter|
Might As Well
What Do I Have To Lose
His eyes study the target of their vision, the little voice in his head asking, ‘Yeah, what do I have to lose? I may as well check.’
Jack, after checking once again to make sure Sam didn’t steal his drugs back, drags the ottoman off the area rug that once acted as the trapdoor leading into his friends’ mobile underground bunker. Sitting on the edge of his desk chair, Jack grips the lip of the rug and slowly pulls it back to reveal…
Nothing, just his floor. Sigmund must have repaired the hole that he dug through the concrete foundation, and the hole he cut into the carpet, before they all left.
‘Maybe it’s just a hologram or something, if I…’ as he reaches his hand down to touch the carpet. Jack stops himself before he makes contact though, hastily putting the rug back on the spot. Why would they have left a hologram, so Jack could fall down into a dark tunnel and be trapped in solitude until the sweet, sweet release of death by dehydration? That would be crazy… no, beyond crazy, that would just be sociopathic.
Jack spins back around to face his desk. He picks his backpack up off the floor and balances it on his lap, thumbing through the textbooks, folders, and various homework packets and sheets that his teammates gave him at practice yesterday to catch up on. There’s a book report for English class, a poetry assignment from creative writing, a set of thirty index cards he has to write out about the Cold War for history, a take-home quiz about physical fitness that he has to do because he missed pillow polo in gym class, a copy of Tod’s surveillance textbook so he can transcribe the events of the days that he missed, and… wow, there is a lot of homework in here. It’s going to take Jack all day to just make a dent in this busywork… maybe he’ll check the rug after all.
Why not, right? As out of his fucking mind as Sam is, and he clearly is, some of the stuff that he says holds value. When he was really into his meditation thing he would always talk about how anything in life was possible, it just requires a leap of faith. Maybe Chuck and his gang didn’t shove off to New Manhattan after Jack reamed him last night, maybe they put the carpet back just to mess with him, just to teach him a lesson for being so mean. Maybe this was all set up as an elaborate ruse to get Jack to realize that he did enjoy spending time with Chuck and them. Only one way to find out…
Jack stands up and jumps, landing feet-first on the rug. The rug immediately gives out and gets caught on the wall, giving Jack’s arm a very mild case of rugburn as he falls through the dark pit left in his floor. You know, the one that was once occupied by a smooth metal shaft, not the other dark pit.
The farther Jack falls, the colder the air gets around him. His pupils dilate in the dark, his eyes physically growing wider as he realizes his faith in this leap was sorely misplaced; they didn’t leave him a surprise down here, they left him a way to fucking die.
As he’s waiting for his life to flash before his eyes, Jack lands in a sitting position and immediately slumps over. His mind and the body that interprets it goes quiet.
Then, it’s dark for Jack. It’s dark for a very, very long time.
Then Jack opens his eyes to find himself sitting in a very bulky white chair, a chair that definitely wasn’t in this bedroom when he slept here the other day. He looks down and… ‘Woah, when did my legs get so long? When did I get so much hair on my arms? What?’
Jack stands up and almost loses his balance – his body seems to have matured ten years in the four seconds he spent falling through the abyss underneath his bedroom. The abyss that’s now uncovered for anybody to see… oh wait, no, he locked his door. It’s all good.
Still, the vertigo is real and Jack spends at least five of the next however many minutes just walking around in circles, accustoming himself to these new bodily digs. Outside the door Jack can hear something of a commotion – voices cheering, electronic sounds blipping, pshewing, bloping and ka-powing; it sounds like a good ol’ fashioned party out there!
Jack opens the door and peers out into the common room of the Dirt Eater Mk I. Everybody’s there – Chuck and Tiny Tim are sitting on the couch, maniacally jamming up the buttons on their controllers while their characters on the screen fight a very muscular Sigmund and Jolon, the purple-skinned absolute maniac dual-wielding a pair of tomahawks that strike lightning on the upswing. The volume’s up pretty loud, maybe they didn’t hear him open the door. It’s not too late to turn around and hide back in the be–
Just then, Chuck turns around and takes off his sunglasses with his hands, just to make sure his eyes aren’t deceiving him.
“Yooo, look who decided to come! Ay Tim, Jack’s here!”
“Hello Jack!” Tim shouts over the roar of the can of whoopass he’s opening upon Jolon, unable to pry his livid eyes away from the television screen. “So glad you could make it!”
“Hi uh, hi guys!” Jack says, still feeling a bit timid around The Guys. “Um, how did, like… how did I get here?”
“Oh, well that’s simple!” Chuck beams. “Here isn’t really a here at all; this is heaven. You’re actually dead! I mean come on, did you really think any of this was real, dude? After that fight with your mom you climbed up onto the roof, since you can get out there from the window in the attic where your mom kept you, and ya fuckin’ jumped! Cracked your skull on the patio in the back I’m afraid, your skull caved in and everything. That’s why it was dark for a very, very long time, because you died and shit. Me and Sigmund, see, we’re just projections of the two constantly battling sides of your mind, and Jolon and Tiny Tim? You and your brother which, by the way, you don’t even have a brother, never did. So what I mean to say is you would obsess over aliens and stuff when you were a kid, and we’re all just projections of your mind! And we have been this entire time! Hahahahah! You were a really crazy dude on Earth, but your spirit is at rest now. Welcome to the afterlife.”
“Oh… sweet,” Jack says, looking at his hands as if they weren’t actually his. He then looks over at the anime fighting game on the screen and shrugs, asking, “So do you guys have any other games or what?
Psych! Hahaaaaaah, just kidding. That would be lame as fuck, even if it made any sense at all. Gotcha, sucker!
After Chuck beams over the simplicity of the situation but before Jack asks if they have any other games or what, Chuck actually says, “Sigmund finally perfected that pocket-universe tech and he set up a little BioBot station underneath your room. We didn’t know what kind of um, what’s the word… oh! Yeah, we didn’t know what kind of Botdy you would want to pilot, so we just figured, might as well give him a grown-up version of himself so he knows what to look forward to as he moves on with his life after all this silliness. Hey, if you don’t like it you can always take your maturation in a different direction, but that’s neither here nor there. I’m so glad you came! We’re all going back to New Manhattan, I wanna give you and Tim and Jolon a full tour of the Cape Enterprises building. Did you know it’s the tallest skyscraper in the entire city? And, it’s totally intruder-proof, so even if your actual body was here, no harm could possibly come to you! I don’t know why I’m saying all this, I kinda ramble when I’m high. Am I even high? I don’t know, I left all the bongs at home. I mean at work. I mean on Karen’s desk. AHHH I’m so happy you came back, Jack! I’ll get Karen to put all the bongs in a box under her desk, I know you don’t like drugs. This is gonna be the chillest day ever!”