You step into the warm dark atmosphere, mellow jazz and blues rumble over the juke-box and a heavy cloud of smoke lingers in the air. The place is pretty packed, but you find a place at the bar and nestle down between a smoking haggered man with glasses on your right, and a rather large man, with food in his beard to your left.The haggered gentleman turns to you as you sit down, through drunk glazed eyes he extends a hand. You shake it and he speaks,
"Hello. Have a drink" He swaggers in his seat. "Have a smoke while you still can, states're passen smokin' bans left and right." He sways again, "Smoke if ya got em I always say, so tell me, do you have time for a story?" He hick ups, and tho you begin to speak, he cuts you off(its now that you realize he is more of a Story Teller, then a conversationalist). Pulling a deep drag off his cigarette he holds it in. Speaking with held breathe "Bar keep, Bar keep.. " with no response from bar keep, the Story Teller bangs his hands on the bar "STEVE, FUCK MAN!" The bar tender turns away from the blond at the other end of the bar and moseys over to the Story Teller. "Get my friend a drink," He looks at you, and adds "Anything you want, if it's not on the menu, just tell Steve how to make it." Steve makes your drink while the Story Teller offers you a smoke, "Normally, I would ask what brought you here, but today, I happen to know why you are here. You've come to hear my story. It's a little long, there are many characters of influence, that have altered the way your world is lived. This is the story of the truth, the cosmic history of existence. Of course, being such a grand and involved story the question is where to start. " The Story Teller smiles, inhales deep on a fresh cigarette, lit by the end of his previous smoke. " I think we'll start somewhere in the middle, with the two greats. Have you seen "Dogma"? Kevin Smith's Genius take on the Role of the Angel of Death, post the great war of heaven. Well, it's said that souls, like matter are neither created nor destroyed, only changed, morphed, and recycled. Did you ever wonder what happened to those angels? Surely their souls were put to use somewhere??" The Story Teller pauses, and with an extended finger presses down on the rim of your glass. "In order to continue with the story, we need to create a bond of trust, nothing extravagant, just believe me when I tell you that the magic your about to witness is real." His finger lifts and your drink begins to glow. It starts out pink, shifts to blues, greens, silvers, and amber, and settles on a metallic golden red. A circumference of frost forms around the base of the glass, this transformed drink is cold. You look around you and the bar has frozen in place, the only animation is you, the drink and the Story Teller. "I know it's hard to believe, but magic and fate really do come together to amaze the ordinary person. Drink from this golden elixir of life, and prepare to experience this story first hand, as though you were the omnipresent narrator. You will know the inner thoughts, and motivations of the characters, you will walk along side this grand story as tho you were a fly on the wall. Or, you can turn around, and talk to that other guy... what will it be?" You look to your left, the large man has more food in his beard, and visible chunks of chewing tobacco stuck in his teeth. You look around the bar, everything from the smoke rising from the bar tenders cigarette, to the liquor he's pouring is effortlessly suspended in time, you look at the drink. You take the frozen drink down in a surprisingly smooth single gulp. The Story Teller's big smoky grin gleams, and for a moment his cold glassy eyes flare out past his glasses, fear rushes through you, but is quickly replaced by the warm embrace of the elixir. Your world begins to shift colors, and a calm darkness falls upon you as the Story Teller begins to speak again, " Now that we trust each other, and your mind is beginning to become a little more lucid, let me assure you, that although reality is currently vary malleable, you are safe, you are sound, and complete. You've just opened your mind to a new sense, like sight, sound, taste, feel, and smell, you will now know the experience of the imaginative sense. Hold on, and prepare to leave the bar." You notice the bar again, still frozen in time, but slowly objects in the bar start looking different. You find yourself floating away from the scene as The counter top slowly mutates, elongating and wrapping around to form the base of a round fountain. Bar stools fly into the air, and fuse together in the center of the fountain to form an elegant statue of four fish jumping out of water, each moving in an opposing direction. Glasses off the counter float out to form stars along a dark horizon, and customers are transformed into trees, park benches, street lights, and cars along the road. When you finally find your self oriented your looking at two young men sitting on the base of a giant fountain of four fish leaping out of water. A hedge of bushes encircle the fountain, and the makings of a public city park set the stage.
"I don't know man, I think the answer to the worlds problems is lining the heads of state up at the Lincoln Memorial steps with a guillotine and reenact the french revolution with that grand statue of Lincoln smiling upon the finally free peoples of the world." John, out of breathe pauses to pull a few nugs of weed out of his bag. He sat his tri-fold wallet laid out on his lap, a worthy weed tray he thought. "Hey, James, can you light this with your phone's light man? I can't see a thing." James held his phone over John's lap as he broke the weed up. John was a papered stoner for the most part, the cigar was already broken and empty, with the weed broke up it was just a matter of rolling it. "I just think a blood drenched Lincoln Memorial steps would leave a lasting impression on the future generations of government. A message that would say, "we the people refuse to be fucked with, your job as Government is to protect and provide, not police and control. Time to man up." I mean the French get Government sponsored baby sitters. Do you know why? Because the French Government remembers The White Terror, and the fate of Robespierre and Marie Antoinette! " James, who as usual, wasn't really listening had been lacking on his light duties, "James, come on man, light man I can't see shit," John says.
"Sorry man, I was watching that guy over there," James points across the way to a very awkward man, bicycling down the street, in the direction of the park. "It's 3am, what the hell is that guy doing?"
John's face however says it all "Uhm.. .yeah, weird, but all I'm saying is the French government is afraid of it's people. Here in the states, the people fear the government."
"Yeah, that is true, but in this day and age, do you really think people will stand for violent displays like that?"
"Well, they accept Jackass and Viva La Bam as quality television programming. I think America would love it."
However, their conversation was interrupted once again by the biking drunk. They watch in awe as he flew his rusted and squeaky bicycle behind them. John lit the spliff he'd rolled as both young men focused on the drunk. He rolled up to a play ground, jumped off his bike and let it drop to the ground. With a certain amount of dramatics, he placed both his hands on a bar of the merry-go-round. He waited for a moment and began spinning wildly.
"That's fucked up, what is he doing?," John puffed a question with the spliff, handing it to James.
"I don't know man, it looks like a crazy man spinning a merry-go-round at three in the morning with no one on it?" James hit the joint responding, he held it in. "Or, maybe he like, had a kid who got hit by a bus or something? Maybe he thinks there's someone on it?"
But as our hero's laughed and smoked, the old haggered man noticed, and began to bitch and holler. Not at our friends, but at the imaginary passenger. "Hurry up fucker, come on. We've been seen and have to get out of here!" The old man grumbles. Jumping on to his bike and scurrying off he continues to bitch and moan.
John and James looked at each other, over at the Merry-Go-Round, over to the man biking away, and back at each other. "What the fuck just happened?" The two burst into hysterical laughter, choking and smoking themselves to tears. However, in the bushes, two other characters were hiding, watching, and waiting. Fluffy and Muffy, rabbits, Special Rabbits, who happened to be waiting for this drunk to appear. They made their presence known over the low rumble of the laughter.
"Excuse me.. Excuse me.. Sirs." Fluffy spoke hopping out of the bush, standing in front of the two stoned men.
"A talking rabbit, this is good shit down here man, thanks for bringing me, " James said.
"No problem man, I'm glad to have ya, it's been tough by myself down here." John's eyes never left the talking rabbit as it spoke, he took the blunt in his mouth.
"Well, despite the quality of weed in the area, are you aware you just fucked up a six month investigation!" The white furry face of Fluffy was bright red, his fury obvious. "Six months! toil and trek, do you know where I'm supposed to be tomorrow? Hawaii!, HAWAII! Not Central Illinois, no, HAWAII! " He hoped back and forth, steam was actually leaking out of his ears.
"Fluffy... relax, you'll be in Hawaii tomorrow. These are the guys we're here for." Muffy, a white and black splotched flop ear rabbit hoped into view. "We're not here for Dioxion, he's their problem now. That's what it means to be a replacement."
Fluffy stoped in his tracks, "replacements?" for the first time in their lives, John and James saw a four legged furry creature stand on it's hind legs and dance a physical jig. "Fuck yeah, It's over, I am going to Hawaii! But I thought we were apprehending Dioxion."
"Well, the Director knew if he sent you on a mission to debrief your Replacement you wouldn't show. He remembers the last time he took you off a case. You remember Stryker don't you?" John and James were awestruck, they just passed the blunt in silence, watching as the two bunnies talked.
"Of course I remember Stryker, the director told me to stand down and I had a shot." Fluffy began to defend.
"Yes, a shot that missed, blowing the whole damn mission." Muffy turned to John and James, "Okay, the deal's pretty simple really, you guys are being charged with what you could call, a holy crusade. You've been recruited to the Army of God, in the war against Hell for Earth. Now, I know you guys probably had other plans, and we can't really make you do it, but It's the Army of God, is it really a difficult choice. Fluffy here will fill you in on the details, get you up to speed...."
"Steve, another round please." The story teller is facing you, as the bar hazes back into view. "Hey, I'm sorry to interrupt, but I need to light another smoke and get us some more drink." The world of John, James, and the Two Rabbits have drifted away but seem still so close to you. You find yourself missing the cool night air of the park. You feel strange, but as the Story Teller Promised, safe.
"Ah, thanks Steve, much abliged, can you slide me a fresh ash tray?" Steve takes the ash filled glass tray and replaces a fresh clean one. The Story Teller smiles, inhaling off his fresh smoke.
"So, where was I?" The bar freezes again, but this time pixelates, breaking into millions of small squares and rearranging itself into the warm moonlit night at the park.