The next time I saw Jack he was pushing me against the wall of a clothing shop I was examining in the plaza where the space pod took me upon exiting the station.
Didn’t take long for him — one of his selves that is — to give me a pointed message. Don’t meddle in the affairs of this town. Stick to the rules, the instructions as he called it. Play the game and then leave. Else everyone gets confused, fearfully so. And, most likely, violently so.
But I was determined not to leave without the information I *wanted* (not needed). I was ruthless like that. I didn’t know that, just underneath the surface, was an interplanetary and interdimensional conspiracy ripe for revealing. I had stumbled not into a bottomless pit this time but the unveiling of the face of God at the bottom of it, Mexico and Canada combined unto one.
Later Ruth showed up working the plaza’s coffee stand and I was back to need not want. Trouble is, John was there too, staring at me staring at her. She was aware of eyes on her but decided not to acquiesce — play hard to get, as her character demanded (she had a secret). And then another John passed in the distance but I missed it.
And then Jack shows up walking toward that clothing store again, pheh. Clones. Town’s full of ’em. I fit right in.
(to be continued)