Back and Forth

The city glowed neon in the nighttime. Maybe it was just my goggles. They made everything look a little funny. Not that everything wasn’t funny. Not “haha” funny. Peculiar funny. The kinda funny where crooks and politicians do things that don’t make a whole lotta sense. But who’s the crook and who’s the politician?

I’d been followin’ this guy for the better part of an hour. Waitin’ for him to slip up. My client had their suspicions, but I knew he was guilty. They always were. My feet kicked up water from the puddles forming from the rain. It was making my socks wet.

The world flickered. Damn goggles. Hadn’t worked right since I got ‘em. But as much as they failed, they also helped me keep track of whoever I was following. It helps in the private investigation business. Made my job easier, that’s for sure. The guy I was followin’ turned and entered a building. Finally.

I turned to follow and the world flickered again. Instead of a door, I found a brick wall. Smacked m’damn nose on it. I stepped back and tried to make sense of it. The world flickered back and I saw the door again. I grabbed the knob and then-

Brick wall. My hand was encased perfectly in brick. This was a helluva conundrum. What the hell was going on? I didn’t see anybody else on the sidewalk.

“Little help!” I called. No reply. Looks like I was stuck. I’d have taken my goggles off if not for fear I’d get stuck in that personless void. I tried the usual. Kick the brick wall. Punch the brick wall with my free, non-dominant hand. Headbutt the brick wall. As usual, nothing. I just had to wait for the flicker.

***

Hours passed. I actually started to think about life and philosophy. I didn’t like it. Thankfully the world flickered back just as I was getting too deep for comfort and I shoved the door open and dashed inside the building. I ripped the goggles off my face and threw ‘em to the ground. Then I went down the stairwell and into whatever dive bar this guy led me to.

I saw him. Sittin’ there like a typical bastard. He gave off the stench of the type-a rat you wouldn’t even let touch the bottom of your shoe. He was chattin’ up some broad. They held hands and I saw the transaction. When they got up and started walkin’ to the door, I got in their way.

“Norton,” I said with my best mean face on. I stepped forward and grabbed his throat.

*flicker*

I held nothing. I stood in the middle of an empty room, losing my balance. I fell flat on my face. My patience was wearing thin. I ran around trying to find a door. I found it and ran out to the empty street. No cars or anything. Weird. Without rhyme or reason I just started running.

*flicker*

I bumped into somebody and we fell to the ground. The back of his head looked familiar. I flipped him over and it was HIM. Norton.

“I caught you, you son of a bitch!” I said. I went to smack his face for the trouble.

*flicker*

My hand flew through the air. I nearly smacked my own self in the face. I just sat down. What was the point?

*flicker*

Somebody’s knee hit my nose, breaking it. They’d been running. They tripped over me. I was in pain, but not showin’ it. I stood up and hailed a taxi, asked him to take me to my office. I was done for the day. Everything was getting a little too crazy for my taste. We made it halfway there, no incident. Then-

*flicker*

I was sailing through the air at a good forty m-p-h. There was no way this was ending well. I flew through the air for a long time. Before I hit the ground-

*flicker*

I landed on an oncoming car and was terrified, the wind nearly blowing my face off. The startled driver stopped the car and it threw me forward. It took a bit to get my head straight. The driver was angry at me, of course. I threw him aside and, uh, commandeered his vehicle. Bless my stars, I made it to my office. I quickly called my client and told her I discovered her husband cheating. I didn’t want any more part of it. There was no telling if it was the case that made these weird things start happening or if it was just a coincidence. I looked out the window. How could I even be sure what was real anymore? Through the window I didn’t see any people. No cars. No lights. No rain. The buildings looked like cardboard boxes. Everything bland and lifeless.

I’m in the other world. Maybe it’s better here. No funny stuff. Everything’s just the way it is.

I’m hungry.

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