Arnold had been on his way to his appointment at the hospital when he stopped to rest. It was difficult for him to walk across the city without several stops. He was just beginning and had gone into the Porthead Tavern. He choose an abandoned booth, where someone had left behind a few schematics and equations.
He pushed them to the side and ignored them. They might as well be gibberish at the moment, he could barely add or subtract anymore. Math had been a casualty of his injury, and so far had showed no signs of improvement.
He ordered a drink when his head began to hurt and then rested his head on the table It was over an hour later when a man dressed in dark sunglasses and clothing approached him drunkenly, a Bloody mary in his hand, and woke him up, “Heard through the grapevine you’re drinking soup through a straw you mangey flea-bed.”
Arnold looked up at the man, and then strained himself for a moment trying to recall him, and then shook his head, “No…but who are you?”
Sunglasses countered, “Who are you?”
“I…” He paused for a moment, and then replied honestly, “I don’t know yet. You can call me Arnold.”
Sunglasses looked about wildly, as if he’d heard something behind him then half stumbled into the booth opposite Arnold. He took another sip from his drink. Arnold noticed tomato juice staining the man’s unshaven chin. “How about I call you flea bed?”
Arnold looked the man up and down a moment before he shrugged, “Only if I get to call you poor.”
“I am poor on so many levels.” The man appeared to stare off in the distance though admitted it was hard to tell with the sunglasses. “An apt name.” he said before draining the glass and slamming it on the wooden tabletop. “Do you value your life?”
The stranger had his curiosity, it didn’t occur to the cat the man might be violent, “Redefine the question.”
Sunglasses stared at him intently despite his intoxication, “Do you care if tomorrow everything came to a screeching halt and only an unfathomable darkness remained?”
“No.” He had thought about the answer only a short time, it wasn’t helping his headache though so he put his head down on the table. “I can’t find it in me to get worked up at the moment.”
“You may very well be the smartest person in this city.” Sunglasses sat back with a cynical smirk. Sunglasses actually seemed more relaxed now, The Bloody Mary must be working somewhat. “It’s a good thing – there is no point anyway. We live a meaningless existence and what does it all come down to in the end. The contents of a hot air balloon, my damaged, furry friend.” There was only a short pause as he looked to the door. Sunglasses reached down beneath the level of the table. When he brought his hand up again he held the Colt. He then placed the weapon with an audible bang upon the wooden tabletop between them. “Do you drink?”
The action had made the cat jump, which made him twinge as he gripped his head, but he answered, pointing to the glass nearby, “I have been.”
“The way it should be,” Sunglasses replied looking past the cat. “I have been on a trip – a trip to the very centre of the earth. Do you know what is there?”
“The center of the earth?” Arnold frowned, he wasn’t sure if that was possible. But everything had surprised him after he woke up, this could be true as well. “No, I can’t say I do…what was it like there?”
“Like?” The man smirked again then frowned suddenly as he appeared to focus sharply on the cat. “Something is coming…that is all I can say.”
“From the center of the earth?” Arnold asked.
“And I *will not* be around when it comes! “What will they say about the man when the time has come. That he was a kind man? Never that. That he was an evil man? Perhaps. That he was a man with a vision? Most definitely!”
Arnold looked at Sunglasses confused, the man himself began to play with his empty glass. The cat had spent enough time back in the asylum to remember that not everyone did what they claimed. Shaking his head Arnold began to lap at his drink once again.
“Do you know Lighthouse?”
“Oh…yes, I have met him.” He had even remembered some things about him, though not much. “I worked for him at one point.”
“Tell him I still plan to kill him – he doesn’t deserve that girlfriend.”
Arnold frowned and sized the man up again, “And your name is?”
The man smirked before replying, “What need have we of names when the darkness comes?.”
It would make a poor warning for Emerson if he couldn’t tell him who had threatened his life, “If I describe what you’re wearing now, would that help him?”
“I am wearing what I always wear – dark clothes and sunglasses.”
He agreed to deliver the message and it was some time later that the cat was given another missive to deliver to the Gangplank about someone named Brother Lapis. He wished that he’d had a chance to write it down, not that he could do so very well at the moment. He didn’t think he had forgotten anything that happened since he woke up, but then if he had he would be the last to know.