The Origin of Loss, Part 47 – Mindy

“STOP!” The room fell to silence. The scientists turned to Jimmy. Even he was surprised by what came out of his mouth. “Sorry…I…I think we can get out of here. It seems like that, maybe, the Cloud can speak to us through our minds, with images we’ve seen, with our memories.”

“Yeah, we know. We read the folder.”

“Then maybe let me try again. Please…”

“Well,” Dr. Noritz said. “We’re not stopping you.”

Jimmy nodded and closed his eyes, and a moment later his body was tossed back into the whiteness. He saw the swingset again and walked over. New Jimmy was smiling, laughing, every time he ascended the air and fell. Then he saw who was pushing him.

“Jimmy McDougal. I’ve heard a lot about you. He’s told me a lot. Nothing but good things.” It was Captain Danica. But she seemed…different.

“Danica? You’re alive?”

“Not quite.” She kept pushing New Jimmy. “The Danica you knew is gone. But remnants remain. I’ve absorbed her memories, her dreams, fragments of her consciousness. But it’s never quite the same, every time I try to reassemble things.”

Jimmy, at first, was confused by this. Then he said, “Mindy?”

“Hm. I guess that’s what Dr. Yannis called me. After his ex-wife. The weirdo. You know, at first I was confused why humans felt the need to give everything names. But, I think you have no other choice. You need to make sense of the universe. Otherwise it’s noise and chaos.”

“So…what are you? Where’s New Jimmy?”

She smiled. New Jimmy finally fell back down and Not-Danica stopped the chains. “I’m…I’m not sure. I just know that we are.”

“Is it true? That you’ll eventually swallow up my home? My town?”

She shook her head. “Maybe. In the past. But, things are different now…I’m dying.” Her eyes hinted sadness, but yet she continued smiling the same smile to Jimmy. “But, I can’t control it. I have no choice but to consume, but I will soon fade. And it won’t hurt.”

“Can we get out of here?”

She then started pushing New Jimmy’s swing again. “If that’s what you want. You know, I was thinking maybe keeping you here, giving you the life you always wanted. But, New Jimmy wants to go back. He has a home now. A real home. Something I never had. Something I could never give. I can only give him a dream…a dream that will soon be gone…”

 


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The Origin of Loss, Part 46 – Communication

“Jimmy, are you ok? Do you need more waffles? We can make some–”

“No, it’s alright. Thank you.”

His mother smiled.

“Um, where’s New Jimmy?”

“Oh, your brother is over there.”

Jimmy turned and saw him. It was definitely New Jimmy, standing in the entry to the kitchen. But he was different. His face, wasn’t plastic. It was real. Normal. A normal child’s face. He was grinning.

Jimmy stepped away from the table and approached New Jimmy, slowly. “Hello New Jimmy. Do you know where we are?” New Jimmy nodded. And suddenly, the TV in the living room blared with the music of Family Feud. The two of them entered the room.

“What’s going on?” New Jimmy tugged on Jimmy’s hand and pointed toward the front door. Jimmy opened the front door and stepped outside. And the world became a white void surrounding him.

“Hello?” Jimmy asked, his voice echoing. “Are you…Mindy?”

But then, he caught something in the corner of his eye. New Jimmy was swinging on a swing set floating in the distance. And he was being pushed by someone.

“Jimmy? Hey! Wake-up!” Jimmy’s eyes opened. He was strapped to a chair. Dr. Noritz and Dr. Smite standing over him. A couple of droids at the door. Dr. Noritz waved the folder in front of Jimmy’s face. “Now, what were you doing with this, huh? How come you didn’t tell me about this?”

“He was trying to escape without us,” Smite chimed in.

“Yeah, I know stupid. I’m interrogating him.”

“Well, you’re not doing a very good job.”

Dr. Noritz shot him a look then back to Jimmy. “So, you find anything on your vision quest?”

“I…er…”

“Tell us! Now! Or I’ll have one of my droids tear you a part limb-by-limb!”

Jimmy was scared. His voice wavered. “Um. I–I–I don’t–”

“God!”

“Look, he could have just been sleeping. Maybe he wasn’t communicating with it.”

“Why don’t you shut-up! You think you’re smarter than me? Know all the–”

“You’re just mad because he found a folder that you didn’t see. Because you’re stupid.”

Nortiz’ face reddened. His hands curled into fists. “I don’t know why I’ve let you live.”

“Because you’re a pussy.”

“You’re right. I mean–fuck you! Phillip!”


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12-Minute Tales – The Legend of Johnny Explosion

Tommy wasn’t sure about this. His nerves shook. The sky was dark and cold, but he continued down the damp alleyway. Soon a figure stepped out in front of him. Where did he come from?

“Oh…h-hello…”

“What you want?” The man asked, his bloodshot eyes illuminated by his cigarette.

“Um…I’m here for…the goods…”

The man stared at him for a second. Everything told Tommy to run away, but for some reason he stayed. He was too far gone now.

“You got the dough?”

“Oh,” Tommy said. He rustled through his pocket and pulled out some dough he had snatched from his mom’s bakery.

The man, to Tommy’s surprise, dipped his face into the dough and started violently sniffing it. “Hm. Not bad. Not bad…”

As the man opened his trenchcoat Tommy heard something, and a feeling shot through him. “What was that?”

“What was what?”

But then Tommy heard it again. It sounded like wheels slowly screeching against pavement. Coming closer. Tommy started to panic.

“Is…is that him?”

“Who? You need to calm down or this deal is off.”

“That’s him isn’t it? Johnny Explosion?”

“Pfft. Kid, he’s a myth. A legend hobos tell themselves. Now, you want some crack or not?”

Tommy started to sweat. Then he nodded.

Moments later he emerged out of the dark alleyway into the empty street, the goods in his pocket. But he wasn’t excited, not anymore. His mind seethed with fear. But then he stopped. In the distance he saw it: a scooter staring at him. But there was no one riding it. It was just sitting there.

Tommy froze with fear. He turned around and started walking at a brisk pace. He peeked over his shoulder and noticed that the scooter was gone. He started walking faster and faster until he found himself running through the cold air.

But fortunately, Tommy made it home. He locked all the doors, secured the windows, and went into his room. He stared at the crack pipe with uncertainty. He had been waiting for this all week, but now everything has changed. Fear, insecurity. Negative emotions gripped his brain. He threw himself onto his bed and closed his eyes. He heard the door open and quickly made sure the pipe was out of sight.

“Mom?” But there was no answer. “Maybe it’s just in my head,” he said to himself, deciding not to check at all. He tried to sleep but all he could hear was the grinding of scooter wheels. His eyes shot open and he saw Johnny Explosion in his room flipping and doing neat stunts in front of his bed. This lasted for several moments before Johnny Explosion rode out of his room. Tommy remained in his bed, drenched with sweat. “Wait,” he said to himself, “where is my crack?”

The Origin of Loss, Part 45 – Subject 3303

Days passed. And the three of them occupied the second floor, wandering about, distraught, blaming each other, blaming themselves, while the bodies remained outside. The boat empty.

Well, except Jimmy, who mostly remained quiet. He just couldn’t believe. All those people outside: dead. Yeah, they were probably going to kill them, but…it didn’t have to be like this. If only people cooperated with each other…But Jimmy shook away such thoughts. They were silly. Jimmy was 17, but he was still young and didn’t know much about the world, or anything.

It was no use talking to the two scientists. Bringing up his feelings. And besides, they were too busy arguing. However, one day, Jimmy was bored, and decided to look over some of the files that Noritz had once poured over.

They were mostly garbage, talking about how stupid the corporation is and pointless vagaries. But then, he came across something. A folder that seemed untouched underneath a large stack. The only folder that Dr. Nortiz happened to not have looked at. “Hm. That’s convenient.” He shrugged. Within there were files including some describing someone who Dr. Yannis claimed to have escaped The Cloud:

“Subject 3303 has proven to be quite resilient in comparison to the other subjects. Not only has he managed to escape the cloud, he has managed to escape 3 times. However, each time he returns, his mental state is increasingly perturbed. It will be interesting to see what he is like once he throw him back to Mindy.” (Mindy was the name Dr. Yannis gave to The Cloud.) Jimmy flipped through the documents.

Jimmy snuck the folder underneath his shirt and continued reading it in his room. “Come on. Come on. There’s gotta be something more. Stop talking about how bad the bathrooms smell…” But, finally, he came across something else:

“3303 came back, again. Took him a bit longer this time. We asked him, once again, how he managed to escape, and he just laughed, spat in Dr. Jerome’s face. I admit, it was funny, but not very revealing. But, in some of his ramblings, he did say he was ‘communicating with it’ as if Mindy had half a brain. Pfft!”

What did he mean by communicating with it?

“Hey, Jimmy,” He heard Dr. Noritz’ voice. Jimmy quickly hid the folder. Dr. Noritz appeared in the doorway. “Hey, you seen my ball?” But Jimmy shook his head. “Goddamn useless…” Noritz walked away and Jimmy continued scanning through the pages.

“3303 returned. This would be his fifteenth…sixteenth? Who knows? I’m not keeping track. Anyway, he’s basically babbling at this point. Kinda feel bad for him. But I have to remain objective about this things. We’re doing great work. Great, great work. Once we realize Mindy’s potential we can unleash her, or something. I’m not really sure. So anyway, the only notable thing he mentioned was how he saw his childhood home and thought that that’s how Mindy communicated with him. What a bunch of bunk! I’m a scientist.”

 


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The Origin of Loss, Part 44 – The Hole

“No! What are you doing?” Dr. Smite pointed at the enormous hole where the entrance to the building once was.

“Your buddy said that he didn’t negotiate with terrorists, right? So we’re giving him some terror.”

“Captain, the laser won’t start again!”

The Captain immediately turned to Smite. “How do we get it back on?” But Smite didn’t say anything, standing firm. “Do you want to be thrown overboard?”

Dr. Smite looked around. “What–it’s not water.”

“Shut-up!”

“Captain!” One of the crew motioned to the hole. Droids started pouring out and firing upon the boat.

Dr. Smite ran below deck, locking the door behind him. Captain ran after him and pounded on the door. Crewmembers started jumping ship and swimming through the black.

Meanwhile, Jimmy slowly pulled himself back up. He looked around, but Dr. Noritz was gone. The sound of gunfire outside. Jimmy swayed towards the stairs. As he entered the first floor he saw that the main corridor was virtually gone with only the edges of floor gutting out from the remaining walls.

Moving forward he saw Dr. Noritz, near where the reception area once was. He was floating in the darkness, pieces of a robot in his hands.

“mmmmmAAsssstttTTeeer…” The robot’s voice box floated and stuttered. “Mmmaaaaass–” and then its light stopped. Jimmy couldn’t see Dr. Noritz’ expression, only the back of his head. The gunfire soon ended and he watched as Noritz swam over to the boat which was filled with holes. Bodies of some of the crewmembers dotted the blackness, including Captain Danica’s.

Dr. Noritz had the droids bring Dr. Smite upstairs and strapped him to a chair.

“Is this really necessary?” Dr. Smite asked, but Noritz didn’t answer. “You were always one for dramatics.”

“So,” Dr. Noritz said, looking away from Smite, “You know how to get out?”

Dr. Smite laughed. “No. Of course not.”

“Then what the fuck was your plan?”

“You know what it was. I wanted to kill you. For leaving me. For leaving all of our friends.”

“They were not our friends!”

“After we closed that door you soon abandoned me when you saw the cloud approaching. I fell, and you left me…and now we’re both stuck here together!” He laughed.

“That’s right…Whoop-di-frigging do.”


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12-Minute Tales – The Fall of Johnny Explosion

Von Boris peered over the edge, gazing down as the city swallowed into flame. “Ha!” He laughed a vicious laugh to the sun. “Hahahaha! My plan is finally coming into fruition! Soon this whole city will become a smoldering ruin which will then serve as a foundation for my condominium resorts! HAHAHAHA! Oh, I didn’t see you there…”

Von Boris turned his robot legs and saw him at the otherside of the rooftop, rolling on his scooter. “Johnny Explosion…it’s been a long time. You’ve come to thwart my plans, huh? Well, as you can see, you’re already too late. HAHAHAHA!”

But Johnny Explosion didn’t seem to acknowledge this as he rolled on his scooter over to one of the A/C units and did a killer flip off of it.

“Ha! You think that’s enough to defeat me?!” And that’s when Von Boris’s arm turned into a gun and aimed it at Johnny Explosion. But Johnny kept engaging in top-tier, dual-wheeled trickery on the rooftop. “Hold still…” Von Boris opened fire but kept missing. That Johnny Explosion was just too agile. Too funky fresh on his two wheels. Fortunately, for Von Boris, as Johnny Explosion attempted a stellar grind on the edge of the rooftop he fell over, his body disappearing into the citywide flame, becoming fuel for the inferno.

“Ha! I did it! I defeated the legendary Johnny Explosion!” Von Boris watched over the burning cityscape with a glimmer of accomplishment and satisfaction in his eye. He had done it. It felt like his life was complete. He defeated an 11 year-old on his scooter and now can build as many condos as he desired. But, what now? The end goal has already been nearly attained? What is a life that has realized its destiny? Is a life fulfilled the same as death? Von Boris smirked. “Damn you Johnny Explosion…you’ve got me this time for good…” Von Boris stepped onto the edge and allowed his body to tip over, descending into the fire’s unending maw.

On the next episode of The Totes Awesomesauce Adventures of Johnny Explosion: Johnny has to defeat a giant crocodile that is eating Florida in its entirety, but he also has an important science project that he has to complete in order to impress his half-girlfriend, Michelle Tipper. Whoa! Tune in fellow exploders!

 

 

The Origin of Loss, Part 43 – A Bigger Gun

“Dr. Noritz!”

He opened the window and said to the vessel floating below. “Yes! I heard you! What do you want now?”

“Dr. Noritz–”

“Yes, that is my name!”

“…Dr. Noritz, we know how to get out.”

Jimmy watched Noritz’ face change. Dr. Noritz rubbed his brow.

“Yeah, I bet you did.”

“No, we’re serious. And we can tell you if you let us in.”

“Sorry, I don’t negotiate with terrorists.”

But then, someone emerged from the shadows of the boating vessel and stepped onto the deck. Dr. Noritz recognized him immediately.

“Dr. Noritz,” Captain Danica said with a smile. “We have someone you may know. His name is Dr. Smite and he says he used to work with you.”

Dr. Smite adjusted his glasses. “Richard, it’s me!”

“Yeah,” Dr. Noritz said, trying to regain his composure, “I know it’s you. I’m not blind!”

“You haven’t changed a bit…Look, Richard, I’ve found out–”

“I thought you were dead!”

“No. I’m not. Richard…we let a lot of people die. When you told me to shut that door–”

“Ah, bullshit!”

“Richard, what I’m saying is we have a chance. We can redeem ourselves. We can get out of here and expose Smick Industries and their lies!”

Noritz laughed at this. “You do realize that they would just come after us, right? They’re kinda fuckin’ powerful, Phil.”

“Dr. Noritz. It’s Captain Danica.”

“Yeah, I know it’s you…”

“If you won’t listen to reason then we’re going to have to–”

“Let me guess, you got a bigger gun?”

“No, something even better.” And that’s when three crew members carried out what appeared to be a giant laser gun. Something that was once at the facility, but that was floating out in the void separately, for something reason. “Well, it’s still a gun, but I don’t think you want to deal with this bad boy, do ya? So, what do you say?”

Dr. Noritz shook his head and slammed the window shut. Jimmy shot back up.

“What are you–”

“Phil doesn’t know shit, he’s an idiot.”

“But maybe–”

“If he did then why hasn’t he left yet?”

“Maybe he was coming back for you.”

Dr. Noritz stared at Jimmy and then waved his hand. He ran over to the microphone. “K-49, you hear me? Deploy the–”

“gReeetTTTinnnngs. maaaSSSttterr–”

“Shut-up. Deploy the other droids. We’re gonna finally–”

A sound suddenly reverberated throughout the building, shaking the walls. Jimmy and Dr. Noritz were tossed onto the floor,


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