THEN A PENGUIN WALKED IN #12
Why me? Was, of course, the granddaddy of them all.
Well, Dominick thought, because you’re the One, obviously.
The One? What the crap does that even mean?
It would mean, I expect, that you have been chosen for something greater. Something more than plunging frozen food into boiling fat.
Okay, but I ask again. Why me?
Because it’s me, isn’t it? Who am I? Just some friendless loser with a dead end job.
You aren’t a loser.
Of course I’m a loser. Look at me. Look at where I am. Look at what I’ve done with my life.
Well, then here’s a chance to do something about that. Here’s your chance to be more than just a fast food cook.
But why me?
Look, you can ask that question all you want. The fact of the matter is that you’re probably never going to get an answer that will satisfy you in any possible way. You just have to have faith, dude.
Faith? Faith in what?
Faith that you’re meant for more. And if the two pixies are right, then you certainly are. You need to embrace that, dude. Not question it.
But they want me to leave this world and go to theirs. I mean, let’s explore that for just a moment. It’s another world we’re talking about here. They aren’t asking me to move to another state or anything. They want me to leave Earth. Earth! You can’t tell me that that’s not all kinds of insane.
Yeah, okay, that is pretty insane. But maybe we need a little insanity in our lives. What else have we got?
But Dominick had no answer to that.
Instead, he pocketed the tiny sword, turned, and strode back into the Happy Hamburger, his heart heavy and sad.
The cook aisle was as he left it, a buzzing hive of activity. Dominick nearly screamed when he saw himself over at the french fry station, scooping fries into a box. But then he, that is the Dominick doppelganger that stood in the cook aisle, turned to him and winked.
Then he understood. It wasn’t him; he wasn’t having an out of body experience. The Dominick working the fryers was Raymond; the pixie that Vivian had explained was taking his place so as not to arouse the suspicions of his coworkers.
Raymond went back to work. Dominick watched as his twin grabbed a fryer basket of onion rings from the fryer and shook it gently to get rid of any excess oil. This guy was good.
It was Mr. Finkleton. He stepped up to Raymond, standing so close that one would think the two were about to dance the Lambada. Mr. Finkleton had never been one to believe in the concept of personal space.
“I need you to stay an extra four hours tonight,” said Mr. Finkleton, looming above Raymond. “Brenda called in sick and I need someone on the fryers until the dinner rush is over.”
“But, I’ve worked two hours late each night this week,” Raymond said, his voice carrying just the right amount of whine. This guy was really good.
“Look,” Mr. Finkleton said, placing a sweaty hand on Raymond’s shoulder. “We all have our responsibilities and priorities in life. You just need to decide where yours lie.”
Dominick watched Raymond shrug and then get back to work as Mr. Finkleton walked away. He thought over what his boss had said as Raymond plunged a basket full of frozen fries into the hot grease. They sizzled and popped. He looked briefly at the hammer on his hand, and then reached into his pocket to pull out the tiny sword and the ring.
He decided that in the end, he didn’t really have to think on it too much. He knew, deep down, what he had to do.
He turned and stepped back outside. There he placed the ring on the middle finger of his right hand and thought about the city that Harold and Vivian had shown him. He looked down at the ring and the symbol to the right of the gem began to glow, then it shifted and moved to appear beneath the gem. The symbol was of a tree with round, stylized leaves. He turned the ring on his finger so that the gem faced inward. Then, taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes and placed his right hand over his heart.
He heard the sound of tearing fabric and opened his eyes to find a rip in the air before him, the same glow flowing out as before.
He turned one last time to the Happy Hamburger, took another deep breath, gave a small wave, then turned and stepped through the tear.
He’d expected some sort of change to come over him as he walked through the rip; a magical feeling, a tingling sensation, maybe even a roaring in his head. But in the end it was as pedestrian as stepping through a doorway in his own home. But instead of moving from one room to another, Dominick moved from his world to a world of screams, violence, and chaos.
Here ends Chapter Three