When I was a child, I was traumatized by many things. One was my crazy uncle's forced trip to such a magic show, and the requisite pulling of a rabbit from a hat. I always wondered where the rabbit went to when the hat was worn.
I asked my uncle, but he told me to shut up and enjoy the show. "It's not fun if there's no mystery, (NAME REDACTED)" he said, as though I'd asked him how God and the Virgin Mary had done the deed.
So I imagined the answer. I thought there might be some little house for the poor fellow, tucked away inside that tall hat. He smiled to think that he might sit there, surrounded by rabbit-sized furniture like the animals in the illustrations from Wind in the Willows, eating carrots, !@#$ing, and generally looking as stupid as a Democrat who's lost his protest sign.
A week later we passed by the same theater. Someone took a trash can out and on the top was the same rabbit, dead. Flies were playing gin rummy across its pink eyes and looking for nice, moist places to drop their worm-babies.
You could have knocked me over with a lovetap. As it was, my uncle just boxed my ear and told me not to dawdle. This was the bad part of town, apparently.
So no, I never liked magic shows. They remind me of real life just a little too much. Only real life has a lot more blood and horror.
In real life you saw through the box and the pretty girl's in pieces, instead of grinning with her legs tucked up under her chin. In real life generals and majors say "abracadabra" or "presto" when they push the button down on nasty toys that kill thousands. (No joke.)
In real life the show stopper really does what it says it does, and applies it to entire countries.
That and I never ever trusted a tall, smiling man with a black tophat. My analyst would say that's psychic debris left over from the costumed villains we used to fight after the War, but my analyst also says I should be ten kinds of medication and in aversion therapy.
(That's why I shot him in the face with alien love god penis pellets the last time I saw him, about ten years ago. I wonder if he ever got over that psychic debris? Must remember to visit him where he's hiding, in Miami.)
You may be wondering why I'm bringing all this stuff up, son. Well, it's because while SPYGOD was off at SPYGOD SCOUT CAMP, the folks at GORGON decided to pull out of West Papua.
I had some people there, keeping an eye on things (if you'll pardon the triple entendre there) and, about last Wednesday or so, moving day occurred. Thousands of people who'd clearly been False Faces just vanished, leaving some towns and villages almost completely deserted. Sometimes they killed their families, friends, and neighbors on the way out, sometimes they left without leaving a mark.
On Thursday morning, about 8:45 in the AM, the sea boiled open with dozens of large submarines of uncertain make and model. Streams of dangerous-looking folks drove their high-tech personnel carriers through the streets of Erwang, on the Southern coast.
And when they had left, and authorities moved in, the entire town was full of human shapes with no minds or memories left. I think we know what that means, don't we?
So they're gone. Again. Which makes me wonder if they were ever really there. Was this entire episode just a feint after I pointed my finger at them and said "bang"? Or were they really in West Papua all along, but when I went after ABWEHR, instead, they had enough time to bug out?
This is the problem with this kind of work. You try and stay ahead of the doom curve, but most of the time you never know the full truth until it's either too late or academic.
You never know where the rabbit meets the hat until the poor bunny's flopped over a bushel of rotting carrots in a greasy alley, somewhere.
Not that this is a dead end, of course. I have allies under the sea. They couldn't move that many subs around without someone noticing. There will be a round two.
I just hope I'm not too late to stop whatever they've got planned next. If they had that many people false-faced in West Papua of all places, I shudder to think how many people they've got elsewhere, and who.
And if I'm worried, you should be petrified.
(SPYGOD is listening to Abracadabra (Steve Miller Band, remixed) and having some very strong coffee)