Who likes my cartoon? No one? Well stuff you, nonexistent reader.
Sigh….here’s the next chapter.
“Daniel!” I was screeching.
He was not responding, even when I rolled him over, away from the roads. The Delusion had vanished from sight, and there were barely any cars around. I was alone.
I grabbed him and tried shaking him awake. “Don’t leave me here!” I screamed at him. “Say something!” I collapsed on the ground, sobbing uncontrollably. He couldn’t die, how can someone die if they aren’t real?
Then I heard him. Very faintly, he whispered one word: “Something.”
He wasn’t dead.
Daniel was still here.
With that thought in mind, I whacked him across the face.
I scrambled up and kicked him in the side. “That’s for scaring the crap out of me.”
I kicked him again. WHACK! “That’s for disappearing off the face of the earth whenever you got remotely pissed at me.”
WHACK! “That’s for the suggestion that I should open my legs for a taxi drive earlier! And finally…” I kicked him again. “That’s because made me cry!” With that, I picked up my stuff and started walking again. “And you are dead lucky I had forgotten to wear shoes,” I told him.
He called after me. “When did I tell you to hook up with a taxi driver?”
It was on the train, when Daniel was grumbling about more walking, and saying that if we wanted to get there at some reasonable hour then we should grab a taxi. Then he began subtly bringing up the subject of prostitution…
Then I threatened to throw him off of the moving train.
And he shut up.
Quickly, I darted across the road. I managed to get to the soft smooth pavement in the middle when the cars on the the other side started coming through. I stayed where I was, figuring out my next move. I knew I had to walk along that road, but I didn’t know for how long. And after that, I wasn’t sure where the road to turn at was.
Eventually, the last of the cars went through. And I was still standing in the middle, thinking.
Then I heard someone cursing.
I looked to the other side, and there was a large man yelling at me to move.
He was drunk, and swearing, but I didn’t care. It was a human, who hopefully knew his way around.
I dashed over to the other side. “What are ya fucking doing?” he said.
“I’m lost,” I told him.
“You drunker than I am?”
“Nope, just lost.”
He frowned. “You from around here?”
“Nope. I’m looking for the shelter, around Tweedledee Street,” I said.
“The shelter? Oh fuck…” The drunk man shook his head. “Sorry about cursing at you, I probably scared the fuck out of you.”
“It’s fine, there’s been scarier people I’ve come across,” I said, thinking of the Delusion I encountered only minutes previously.
“Look, the place where you need to go is a long way up this way,” he said. “Now look, I know you don’t know me from a bar of soap, but are you a runaway?”
I grimaced. “Kind of.”
“Fuck…” cursed the drunk man. “Look, like I said, you don’t know me from a bar of soap, but I need to make sure you arrive safe. Now look I know you wouldn’t want a guide, especially not one who’s pissed as I am, but it would be a weight off my mind to know you arrived okay. Okay?”
“Okay,” I said. The next day, I would probably be eradicated from his memory, but I felt safer with an honest drunk man than by myself with my head.
Thus I made the acquaintance of Sam the Drunk Man.
“So what’s your name?” he asked as we walked along.
“Cat,” I said. Cat isn’t my real name, but tonight, I had become used to calling myself that. It was easier that way.
“And where did you come from Cat?”
“Wonderland,” I said.
“There’s no way…how the fuck did you get here?”
“I took the train. After I walked to the city,” I added.
“Get fucked!” he said again. Then he noticed my feet. “Without shoes?”
I nodded. He responded the same way. “That’s fucking mad,” he said.
“Yeah, well, I sort of am.”
“Fuck… Well I’ll walk with you, but just to let you know, I’m not going to rape you in the bushes or anything, I swear, I’m not that kind of guy,” said Sam. “I mean, you don’t know me from a bar of soap, but I’m not a rapist, believe me.”
“It’s okay,” I said. “I can usually trust drunk people.”
He laughed. “I’m drunk, but I’m honest.”
We walked along for half an hour. Sam helped me try to make a call to Papa Willis, who wasn’t answering for some reason (grumblemumblecursedpotato…). He also called his wife and let her know he was escorting a kid to Tinoca, and not getting it on with a prostitute. The reason he was walking was because, well, he was drink first of all, and second of all, his wife refused to pick him up. She seemed okay with this story, and she sent me her love. Like I said, you can trust drunk people.
The door to Tinoca House was surrounded by a giant cage. I figured it was so whoever was inside could open the door and talk to people without getting attacked by angry parents. I rapped on the window, and a lady came out. They were expecting me, so they let me in. Waving goodbye to Sam the Drunk Man, I followed them in.
Even more questions were asked. Was I under the influence right now? Why did I run away? Did I have any friends I could stay with? What would make me go back home?
Then they explained to me how Tinoca House worked. While I stayed here, I would be paying rent. It was $16 a night, which was pretty good, when you think about it. This included beds, food, Internet, TV, games, etc. During the day, you had to leave the house to go to work or school or whatever, with the exception of weekends and public holidays. As it was Sunday tomorrow, I would be helping to clean the house with the other inmates.
So I was shown to my room, and I was shown where everything was. I was introduced to everyone else, who eyed me in uncomfortable silence. They allowed me to use the computers to let my friends know where I was. Upon entering the computer room, guess who I encountered?
Daniel was scowling at me. “I,” he announced, “am not happy.”