Friday, June 14, 2013

The Dealey Five: Chapter 2

The Dealey Five
Chapter 2 (or, "Why You Should Never Take Amiga Shopping")

Last Episode: Two kids, Amiga and Matsumoto, woke up and found out their world had been destroyed. As the only survivors, they set out to find three other survivors they have been told about.

July 2013.
Universe Y-MH-560-C.

“So, clearly, in this situation there’s only one thing that can be done.”

“And that is...”

“Well, duh! Hold the party at Coney Island! We could even hold it at your apartment...well, after your mother is gone for the night.”

“That night’s a Saturday. My mother will be gone all night.”

“Well, we’ll just turn it into an extended engagement.”

“But aren’t your parents going to be worried that you’ll be at...well, my house?”

“Chill out, Mac. I’ll just tell them I’m at Isabelle’s place.”

“Carissa, they know Isabelle isn’t the real Isabel.”

“So what? I’ve been to her apartment plenty of times before. What makes this any different?”

“What makes this different is that you’re not going to actually be at Isabelle’s. Or Isabel’s.”

“I still fail to see any problem with this. It’s not like I haven’t stayed over at your place before.”

“Yeah, but that was with Isabel, and the circumstances were much more dire at the moment. It’s not like we’re ever going to deal with the end of the world ever again. -- Hang on, is that your phone?”

“Very funny, Mac.”

“No, seriously.”

“Oh.” Pause. “It’s from Mick.”

“Get out. Seriously?”

“He’s saying there are kids from QWERTY on our Earth right now who might need our help, and they may call us if something goes wrong.”

“What else does it say?”

“That’s it.”

“Oh. Really?”

“Mac, if they seriously put me through all that again, I’ll finally understand why Sarah is as crazy as she is. Can you refill this? I need another chai.”


Matsumoto wasn’t sure how he had ended up in the city. There hadn’t been any flash of light or spectacular effects to accompany his journey. He had just been standing in the metal room one moment, and the next he was in this city. But what city was it?

He scanned the immediate area for Amiga and easily found her -- sprawled out, butt on the ground. Apparently landing on heels had been too much for her. Matsumoto made a note in the back of his mind to find the girl some flats.

He wondered to himself why they hadn’t stuck around for Mick to fill them in on more information. They were in a new world, one that was not their own, and he would have liked to have more instructions before Amiga had jumped in recklessly. But, then again, Mick had informed him of that Colemak button, and that made Matsumoto a bit more secure. Mick had even said to abuse it, which meant that all the resources they needed were right in that button.

But first, he could put up with Amiga and her plan. He walked over to where she was sitting and held out a hand.

“You look like you could use some help.”

“Very funny.” Amiga still took his hand and helped herself up. “It’s not like I can’t walk in these shoes.”

“From the looks of it, your walking pattern says something quite different,” Matsumoto said as he reached out and grabbed Amiga by the shoulder again before she fell.

She sighed. “Okay, okay. Probably not the best idea to wear these while we’re in this city. I can’t find our three friends if I can’t walk.”

It occurred to Matsumoto. “So just why are you looking for these other three kids?”

“Simple!” Amiga’s voice was loud and boisterous. “They are from our world, no? Therefore, we should rescue them from this world they do not call home, and find a way to get our old world back!”

“What kind of cloud do you have your head stuck in?” Matsumoto asked. “That Mick guy said our world is gone.”

“And you believe everything he says? Once I get my father on this I’ll --” Amiga stopped talking. “Once I get my father on this,” she repeated.

“Note to self,” Matsumoto said as he whipped out his phone and unlocked it with a swipe, finding a ‘notes’ function and opening it. “Amiga has a father, probably one with a lot of influence.”

“What are you doing?”

“Taking notes. I mean, as we remember things we’re going to want to write them down.”

Amiga peered over Matsumoto’s shoulder. “I’m still curious how we can speak and write in this other language.”

“Well, me too, but someone was too hasty in getting down here to find those other three. And for all we know, they kept their memories and want nothing to do with this entire thing. Right now we have to figure out where we are.” He opened a separate application that read “GPS.”

“You’re really good with that thing,” Amiga said.

“I think it’s inherent somehow,” Matsumoto said. “Haven’t quite figured out how...yet...” He trailed off and his eyes got big as he looked at the phone. “We’re in New York.”

Amiga looked over Matsumoto’s shoulder again. “We’re what now?”

“We’re in New York City. More specifically on street number 59.” Matsumoto zoomed out the picture and showed Amiga. “New York,” he said in his native language.

Now it made sense. “Nueva York,” Amiga repeated. “Sorry. This new language is strange to my ears.”

“You’re telling me. My brain keeps jumbling up the order of the words I want to say.”

“Do you think the other three arrived here in Nueva York?” Amiga asked.

“That’s what Mick said,” Matsumoto quoted, “so that’s what we have to go off of. But New York is big. From what I heard, it’s almost the size of --” It was his time to stop. “Have you ever heard of a place called Tokyo?”

“¿En Japón?” Amiga asked.

Matsumoto sighed. It was going to be a long day. “I’m from a place called Tokyo,” he wrote in the phone. “We are in New York City in America.” He looked up. “So far, it’s just like our world. I thought the world that swallowed ours would be a lot different. Not that I particularly remember what our world was like, mind you. All I remember is my name, and not even that. First things first, though -- we gotta find you some better shoes. Did Mick give us any way to pay for anything?” He was already about to push the Colemak button.

Amiga shrugged. “I don’t know.” She pulled hers out and, after three tries, swiped it open. She looked at all of the labels on the screen. “I wonder what this one does,” she said as she tapped.

“Which one?”

“The one that says Sperry.”

“Oh.” Matsumoto tapped it as well, and a virtual credit card came onto the screen. A slot on top opened up, and the card itself appeared, sliding right out of the slot. “Well, would you look at that,” Matsumoto said as he looked at the card. “Who’s Sarah Dealey?”

“Who cares?” Amiga said with a grin on her face. She took out her own piece of plastic. “Let’s shop!”

Typical of a girl, Matsumoto thought. “Okay, but if there’s a limit, it’s on you.” He could only think of one store, so he opened up the GPS and typed in “Yuniglow,” in English letters. To his surprise, there were a couple of the stores in the city, and one of them was on street number 34.

“What’s Yuniglow?” Amiga asked.

“It’s a popular clothing store in my home country,” Matsumoto said. “Maybe Tokyo. But I think that’s a city.” He shook his head as he started walking. “Seriously, we should have stuck around Mick for a while.”

Amiga took off her shoes and walked barefoot. “Stay calm, cool, and confident, and no matter where you walk, all will bow to you,” she recited.

They walked down the avenue, Matsumoto leading and looking at his phone, and Amiga wondering how he could multitask like that. It seemed that even when he stepped out into oncoming traffic, he would make it across okay while still looking at the device. She didn’t know anything about where he had come from -- or where she had come from, really. It was all still a mystery to her, one that she wanted to figure out.

Goals. There was always a goal to be set and made, expectations to fulfill, obligations and rules and regulations. The thought made her giddy.

“So when are we going to get to this store --” She bumped right into Matsumoto, who had stopped moving and was looking up at something. “What...”

Her eyes traveled upward until they got to the Empire State Building. Then, both Amiga and  Matsumoto screamed at the same time.

The scene must have looked confusing to any passersby who happened upon the scene: two kids in matching jackets, both sane and fine, standing near Bryant Park screaming at the sky. They continued to scream until a nearby police officer approached them. “Excuse me,” he said, cornering them both.

Amiga noticed the police officer and marched right up to him. “Sir, I would like to know what is going on right now.”

“There is nothing going on at the moment, ma’am,” the police officer said. “Everything is business as normal. I would like to know, however, why the two of you are screaming.”

Matsumoto thought ahead and realized what was going on. “We were excited to see the Empire State Building,” he said. “It’s so much bigger in person.”

The officer didn’t look completely sold on that description, but he played along after seeing that the two were sane. “Okay,” he said. “Have fun on your trip.” And he walked away.

Amiga turned to Matsumoto and whispered. “Do you remember what I remember?”

“That the Empire State Building was destroyed by terrorists on September 11th, 2001? It made international headlines.”

“Yeah, and then both sides came together and exterminated the guy in charge. It was a global effort.”

Matsumoto nodded his head. “Yeah. I remember now. Maybe that attack didn’t happen in this world. It destroyed two other places here, right?”

“Mmhmm. Two buildings in the districto federal. But the Empire State Building was the biggest one.” Amiga sighed. “Can we stop talking about depressing things?”

“Sounds good. Let’s get going before we get stopped by any more police officers.”

They made their way to Yuniglow, a simple store with simple clothing. Of course, just because it was a clothing store meant Amiga had to try everything on. It took several hours to go through the complete process, and by the time it was all said and done, it was closing time and Matsumoto had more bags than he knew how to carry.

“Do you have any clue how many pieces of clothing you’ve bought today?” he asked as they (finally) exited the store.

Amiga shrugged. “Don’t know, don’t care.”

“You jet off gung ho because you want to rescue these kids whom you don’t even know, and then instead of finding them, you end up spending the entire day shopping instead.”

“So? You should have been working on finding them while I stayed here.”

“I was too busy monitoring all of your purchases! That Mick person is not going to like you when we finally get back. He never actually gave us permission to use that card. And if he had. I’m sure he would have wanted for us to use it for emergencies.”

“This was totally an emergency,” Amiga said, pointing down at her stylish and flat athletic shoes. “I can walk now.” She had also traded in her lavender dress for a pair of khaki pants and a black t-shirt that was mostly hidden under her jacket.

Matsumoto shrugged. “Okay, fine. But so is lodging, which we should take care of now. We shouldn’t need to use our button yet. If Mick gave us resources, we need to use them lightly.”

Their next plan of action didn’t go as smoothly as their search for Amiga’s new shoes. No hotel would take two underage kids with no identification, and the only one that did would charge up of $500 a night. When Amiga tried to swipe her card, the machine revealed it was out of money, and the hotel owner was not willing to take a chance with Matsumoto’s card.

“Well done,” Matsumoto said. It was now in excess of ten o’clock at night, and they still didn’t have a place to stay. “What are we supposed to do now?”

Amiga sat on the side of the curb in the bus lane. “I don’t know,” she said. “My feet are killing me.”

“Well, that’s what happens when you live in a city,” Matsumoto remarked. “I think my feet are more used to it because Tokyo is a city.” He put the bags down.

“I think your feet need to be more used to carrying bags,” Amiga said. “Especially if you’re going to be around me more often.”

“Very funny.” Matsumoto eyed the Colemak button on his phone, then decided to press it before Amiga could convince him otherwise. They needed a place to stay, and if that wasn’t an emergency, he didn’t know what was. The phone’s screen went to black...then stayed that way.

Matsumoto pushed other buttons, but nothing worked. “What did I do?” he asked.

“Maybe the battery went dead,” Amiga said.

“Mick didn’t give us anything to charge these with, though!” Matsumoto sighed. “We’re stuck in an alternate New York City with a dead phone, no place to stay, and all of these bags.”

“Can we at least go do something?” Amiga said. “I don’t want to sit around. My feet hurt, yeah, but this is too boring. Let’s go to Times Square. There will be lights, and maybe another police officer can help us.”

“Under one condition.”


“No. Shopping.”

“But --”

“I can’t carry any more bags, Amiga.”

“Pfft. Fine. Bebe pobre can’t carry any more bags.” And Amiga marched off to Times Square, this time leaving Matsumoto in the dust.

He finally caught up with her when they reached the corner of 40th and Broadway, right where the action was starting. Times Square proper was a couple of blocks ahead. A huge crowd of people were at the street corner, gathered around something. Matsumoto saw Amiga join the crowd and followed, hearing the music that was coming from the area.

The crowd had circled around a street performer who was dancing in the middle. A boombox sat beside him, blasting the music for all to hear. The person was a blur as they spun around, and all eyes were on them. When the song ended, Matsumoto tried to get a closer look, but he was too short; everybody else was blocking the way.

“Amiga,” he asked, “I can’t see.”

Amiga rolled her eyes and pushed Matsumoto to the front of the crowd. “Happy now, sweetheart?” she asked, rather loudly.

The performer’s eyes went to Matsumoto and Amiga. “Oh, so we have a lovely couple in the crowd!” he said, and most of the crowd cheered.

Matsumoto felt the blood drain from his face. “But --”

“And he’s carrying her shopping bags. How sweet. Come on in here, you two."

Egged on by the crowd -- and Amiga -- Matsumoto was dragged out into the center. “Are you crazy?” he whispered to Amiga as he put her bags down.

She winked. “Play along.”

Matsumoto finally got a good look at the dancer, a young kid who probably couldn’t have been much older than him, in a yellow t-shirt and jeans. There was excitement in his blue eyes -- or he probably just wanted a tip. “So who do we have here?” he asked.

“I’m Amiga,” Amiga said, “and this is Matt,” she said before anybody could object.

“Amiga and Matt. Amiga and Matt.” The other boy grinned. “And how long have you two been together?”

“Too long,” Matsumoto muttered in front of the crowd.

“Long enough to do this,” Amiga said, and before Matsumoto could move, she had her arm around him and gave him a quick kiss.

Everybody in the crowd ooh’d and aah’d -- except for Matsumoto. He immediately pulled away, blushing furiously. “What was that for?” he asked.

“It was fake,” Amiga said, then pointed toward the dancing boy. “And so are you. The song you were playing on your stereo is a remixed version of “Una Madre por la País, a national song from my country. But you don’t look a thing like me. Only people from my country are authorized to play that song, lest you be tried for treason. So who are you? Are you from my country? And can you answer as to why you were playing that song, preferably before I call the police?”

Matsumoto groaned. This was Amiga gone wrong again. “Amiga,” he whispered, “we’re not in that --”

“I don’t care, Matt,” Amiga said, looking at the goggle headed boy. “Furthermore, someone around here has to give me answers! I’ve been walking around this city all day, and I’m tired.”

“Again with the ‘we should have stuck with Mick --” Matsumoto stopped talking as the music started up again, and the boy began to dance.

“お母さんはどこ?” He had it on the tip of his tongue, for a fleeting second, and then it was gone again. He listened to the music and realized -- he knew this, too.

“Amiga,” he whispered as the boy performed, “I know this music. I don’t know from where, though.”

Without warning, Amiga stepped forward and pushed the STOP button on the player, and it abruptly came to a halt. She looked at the boy. “Where. Did. You. Get. This. Stereo?”

The boy looked at the boombox, then at Amiga, then at the boombox again. “It might not even be mine, okay? I just found it in the park when I woke up there. Chill.”

“Do you normally sleep in the park?” Amiga asked.

Matsumoto saw the look in the boy’s blue eyes: uneasy. “What’s it to you?” he said, but instead, Matsumoto heard, “I’m not from here.”

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