Frankenstein yearns for a shot of heroin. He wants to stop thinking just for a few hours. An eternity of thoughtlessness would be even better, he thinks, and he makes a croaking sound. This is the way he laughs.
A dwarf with an overly large head scurries past him and disappears into the coffeehouse. Sirens scream, the sound of engines is deafening, second-hand exhaust fouls his nostrils as the monster moves down the walk past the Pill Hardware store. He stands in front of the 1369.
He peers inside. There are four clocks on the wall but he is trapped in a box of space and time. The aisle between the tables is extremely narrow. As he opens the door the dwarf pushes past him on the way out. Ar Lain Ta stands in front of a cluttered bulletin board counting a handful of bills. He sees the creature and grins. The Asian has a small diamond embedded in each of his front teeth. They flash. His fingernails are so long they begin to curl.
“Ahhh,” one monster says to another as Ar Lain Ta counts the crumpled leaves of U.S. currency. Leaves in season.
A few people look up as the Frankenstein enters. Their eyes flick about then they turn back to their computers, their coffee & conversation, back to their innermost thoughts.
The Frankenstein says, “You better have enough for me.”
“There will never be enough for you,” replies Ar Lain Ta, and he throws his head back as his body shudders with laughter.
“You,” the creature snarls as he reaches out for the neck of the smaller oriental man.
Ar Lain Ta pulls back quickly, sparks shoot from his eye. “Just a joke big man.” is what he says.
“The only joke in my world,” says the Frankenstein, “is the reality of existence. I have enough money to buy all the heroin you have. Money means nothing. Dope will get me through times of no money better than money will get me through times of no dope.
“Ar Lain Ta, you one-eyed demon, you were right. There will never be enough heroin for me. When I first came to be, when I first sensed the world it was warm, the leaves rustled as music in my ears and the birds, the birds sang! This was everything to my resurrected senses. Had I known then what I have come to know, I should have screamed to all the impotent gods to kill me.
“I traveled to the North to seek my death in fire and ice. G-d itself would not have me. I have been driven by cursed existence to hide in the dimmest dirty streets amongst the homeless, people driven out of civilization by the lack of compassion, by the coldness of the human species. No Arctic fury can compare to a world which diminishes love.
“I, who can master any man, am the master of nothingness. Ugly, lonely and cold from lack of love alone. I seek the illusory balm of the opiates because even God turns me away from death. Like the homeless man, there are no doorways for me to enter.”
“Come to the back of the coffeehouse,” says Ar Lain Ta to the monster. “The Troll has a table reserved for us.”
As they shuffle down the narrow aisle, Ar Lain Ta passes Frankenstein a bundle of packets with a bat stamped upon each bag.
* * *
The Rogue races down Mass Avenue. She feels a sense of urgency, looks at all the people sitting at tables in front of the Au Bon Pain in Harvard Square. She knows none of them see anything, snaps her fingers and she is opening the door of the 1369 in Central Square.
She sees a giant figure dragging its left leg as it disappears by itself into the bathroom at the back of the coffeehouse. Ar Lain Ta spots her instantly and knows why she is there. Puffs of smoke fly from underneath his eye patch and his right eye burns like a star. He stands in the aisle to block her.
Fear crackles through her like the lines from a struck safety glass window. The Rogue sees the bathroom door closing behind the creature. She smiles at her terror, asks her Father for help, and then she snaps her fingers.