Anybody still out there?
“Yeah. I think she knows me. Or at least I think she thinks she knows me. Or thinks she knew me. Or something like that.” Just for the record, I’m never flustered. It’s not like this is the first time I’ve had a kid. It’s not like this is the first time I’ve found out some time after the fact that I’ve had a kid. This is, however, the first time I’ve been inexplicably drawn to a diner in the middle of Monkey’s Nut, TX while en route to find my estranged wife of some innumerable number of centuries only to be confronted with the unmistakable evidence of a past indiscretion. So I might have been a little more rattle-prone than normal.
“Well, how does she know you? ‘Cause I don’t know you, and it ain’t like this is that big a town, and really, I’d remember anybody as close to my age as you who looks like you if you’d come through any time recent.”
Yeah, that whole immortality thing? I look like I’m about 28. Forever. It has its advantages, like never having to worry about Grecian formula, but one of the drawbacks is that if you see the same person with a ridiculous amount of time between visits, you look the same as the last time they saw you. This becomes somewhat inconvenient when you’d rather the mother of your most recent offspring not drop a cup of coffee into the middle of the floor upon your arrival.
“It’s a long story. Look, here’s a buck for the coffee. I gotta roll.” And I stood up to head for the door. Except, of course, there was a problem with that. There’s always a problem. I mean, I understand the need for some dramatic conflict, but seriously, the last guy to write about me was Moses, can’t I give up a little on the conflict by now?
Myra had made it back into the diner and was headed my way, an inscrutable look on her face. It was almost a cliché, the way she ran into my arms, grabbed me by the back of the neck and kissed me like she was checking for recent dental work. Then, after she held me like there was no tomorrow, she pulled back, hands on my elbows, and hauled off and slapped the ever-loving shit outta me. I saw it coming, figured it was coming from the moment she dropped the coffee cup, really, but didn’t bother trying to stop it. I just took it, and let me tell you, a woman who’s spent a couple decades slinging hash at a roadside diner in Texas knows how to lay one on a guy.
“I deserved that.” I said, whipping a little trickle of blood from my lips. Yes, we can bleed. We can be hurt, we just don’t die from it. You don’t want to know exactly how exhaustive some of our testing of that fact has been. The details are a little disturbing, and the memories of those times a little embarrassing.
“You’re goddamned right you did,” Myra said, drawing back to lay another on me as I turned the other cheek. I didn’t turn the other cheek out of some retarded sense of pacifism, that’s just what naturally happens when somebody slaps the piss out of you, you turn the other cheek. I caught her hand before the blow landed, and did the only thing I thought might defuse the situation: I kissed her.
In retrospect, kissing Myra in her heightened state of emotion only had about a one in three shot of ending the violence, but it was a better shot than anything else had, and I really didn’t want to get physical with her. Not just because I don’t like hitting women, but also because the cook had come out of the kitchen to watch the floor show, and he looked like he could cause some serious damage if so inclined.
So I kissed her, and I poured everything I had into the kiss. It’s not like I have any supernatural abilities, other than immortality and a little bit of extra-sensory perception where Eve and Lucky are concerned, but after a couple of eons you pick up a few things. And since I spent most of the 15th century in France, I learned from some of the best.
When I felt the iron melt out of her spine, I stopped kissing her, looked into her eyes, and said “We should talk. Outside. All three of us.” And I led her to the door, Emily in tow. We walked out of the diner, around the side of the building to a couple of concrete picnic tables that I remembered from my last trip where the crew took their smoke breaks, and I sat Myra down. Emily sat next to her, and I sat on the table cross-legged facing them.
“So, I guess I have a little explaining to do,” I started, trying to figure out how I was going to get part of the story out without telling them the whole thing, when something new happened.
Now let me interject something here. This was something new. That’s a big deal. I hadn’t really been surprised by anything that happened in the world since Alexander made his great sweeps across the world. And that was just more me being impressed by his audacity and drive than actual surprise. But what happened next had never happened to me before, at least not since we left the Garden.
“You do indeed, Adam. You do indeed. And I think both of these young ladies deserve to know the truth. The whole truth, as they say.” The voice came from behind me, and I knew it instantly. It was Michael, the first unfallen angel I’d seen in the flesh since we left the Garden, and he did not look happy to see me.