As is evident from the title of this post, I’m starting a new series. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a while now, but have been stalling it. This is the first part, and of course, there’s a lot more to come. Here’s to a new beginning.
“Drink’s on me, Al,” I say, taking another gulp of the delicious peach ice tea.
“You sure, man?” Al says, raising an eyebrow at my pocket. “That sure looks thin.”
“What, my ass? That’s always been thin, from battling all those bad guys.”
“I mean your pocket, douchebag.”
“No worries,” I say, waving dismissively. “I have enough for one last drink.”
“If you say so. Hey, you haven’t tried the Mogu Bar Special, have you?”
“Alright then. Sebastian!” Al calls out to the waiter two tables away from us. “Two bar specials for Spruce and me, please!”
Thankfully, the bar is not crowded at this time but the few people who are there snicker. I sigh and look at Al. “Dude, how many times have I told you not to say my real name out loud in public? I don’t know why my mom decided to name me after a tree.”
Al chuckles. “I like watching your puny little ass get embarrassed.”
In a few minutes, the bar special arrives at our table in a fancy tall glass. But Sebastian is not the one to bring it. Nor is any other waiter. It’s Mogu, the bar owner himself.
“Exercising our bodies a little finally, are we Mogu?” I take a dig at the plump little man.
Mogu laughs good-naturedly. “Just for this one night, Mr Marlow.”
I take a gulp from the glass, expecting something wonderful, but unpredictably, the world begins to swirl around me. I blink my eyes to clear the hallucination, but it doesn’t seem to be a hallucination at all.
Everything- Al, Mogu, the table, the walls- begin to melt away and I find myself standing alone on a moonlit pavement in front of a huge building with multiple lit signs. Men, women and children of all ages come in and out of the building. Many of them carry colourful paper bags. Most of the kids have ice creams in their hands. I turn and see a multitude of strange closed vehicles with people inside them. They seem somewhat familiar. I blink and try to remember where I’ve seen them. They’re called something. It’s not a hard name. Ah, yes- cars. I’ve seen those in the museum.
But how are people riding in them? Before I can even begin to comprehend my surroundings, the world around me goes out with a bang and I’m back in the bar.
I can feel my heart thumping inside my chest. I open my eyes. Wait, when did I close them?
As soon as I recover from the shock, I say- “What- what the hell was that? Where was I? What kind of a hallucinogen did you put in the drink, Mogu?”
“It was no hallucinogen, Mr Marlow,” he says calmly. “That was the real world you saw. She pumps poison in all of us to keep us complacent. I just gave you the antidote, but it only shows you the real world for a few moments. Would you like to join the resistance?”
“Are you sure you’re not drunk, Mogu?” I say, unable to believe it all.
The little French-bearded man shakes his head. “Ask Al if you don’t believe me.”
“What? Al, you know about this too?”
Al nods slowly, seemingly unfazed by Mogu’s declaration. “I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you earlier, Spruce. But it’s because she has a stronger control over you since you’re the protag.”
“Who is this ‘she’? And I’m the what?”
“She is the creator. And you’re the protagonist of her book.”