I cough and look askance, somewhat. The President just looks at me, sipping extremely !@#$ing pungent tea from an old, chipped cup like he's got all the !@#$ing time in the world.
"And, well... you could !@#$ing tell me better, sir. I just woke the !@#$ up not an hour ago, didn't I?"
"Well, yes, that's true," he says, putting down the cup and leaning back, running a hand through that !@#$ beard he's grown in his time, here: "But do you remember anything after you hit him? Anything at all?"
I smile and shrug. What the !@#$ can I say?
Plenty, actually, son. But we'll get to that in due !@#$ing time.
* * *
So, yes, son. I am !@#$ing alive. Halleluiah, praise !@#$ing Jesus and all that.
Now how I managed to still be alive after hitting Alternate Earth Unhappy Jesus square in the face with a weapon that will most likely kill you after you use it? I honestly have no !@#$ing idea.
You see, the moment I cold-!@#$ed that !@#$ing son of a !@#$, I hit him so !@#$ hard that his head turned inside !@#$ing out. And I guess reality couldn't !@#$ing handle that big of a !@#$ing concept getting its brains splattered by a knuckle sandwich, because the fabric of the !@#$ing world literally caved in around his smashed skull.
A wave of bad energy flew outward from the impact, and I got caught up in it with a !@#$ing vengeance. I had only enough time to see that, yes, I'd !@#$ing knocked his holy !@#$ into !@#$ing orbit, and then I flew the !@#$ back about a quarter of a mile and cracked right into a !@#$ing hill.
I know that my body was flying the !@#$ apart all the way there, too. I probably would have been in super double black secret shock from that, if I hadn't been vibrating like some !@#$ing cartoon character does when he walks into a !@#$ing gong.
See, that ultimate weapon I used? It was not meant to be used, even by someone as !@#$ing durable as my fine, gay self. And I knew that going into it, but I did it, anyway, because this !@#$ world needed saving.
Same old story, son. When it's crunch time, and the bad guys are pulling their triggers, put me between the bullet and the target because, most of the !@#$ing time, I can !@#$ing take it.
This time? I wasn't so !@#$ sure. But no sooner did I realize that I'd tossed alternate Jesus off of Alternate Earth, and incinerated all those !@#$ing angels who'd been cheering him on, and that the Anti-Cities were all !@#$ing smashing into the Moon, than I blacked the !@#$ out and...
* * *
Next thing I know for certain, I'm waking up here, in Altan Aduu's underground fortress, and I feel like I've slept for five hundred !@#$ing years.
Of course, once I wander out of the hole they !@#$ing dumped me in, and all his people throw up a !@#$ing cry of "he is risen," or whatever, and I have to !@#$ing punch someone in the !@#$ face when they get a little too overly !@#$ solicitous of my unrequited man-hugs, I find out that it wasn't 500 years. I was out for a month.
And I wasn't just out for that month, son. I was !@#$ing meat.
Turns out that those Shamans who crashed my skull!@#$ing saw me !@#$ing disappear, not long after the ghost sex incident, and decided to sit around and drink my !@#$ing Kumis until I showed back up again. I mean, free booze and a fire? Chance of more !@#$ing ghost porn? Who could !@#$ing say no?
So they waited by that fire for three days and nights, and then a weird door opened up in reality. Someone walked through, shining like the !@#$ing Sun and carrying what was left of me in a large, plastic box. And while they couldn't really say who it was, I speak enough Mongolian to know "lizard king" when I hear it.
He drops them the box, tells them to go find my friends, and to say "thank you," and "see you next Armageddon."
And with that, and a smoldering wink, he's !@#$ing gone, again.
So Altan gets this !@#$ing knock on his cave door, and there's the shamans, all yellow hats and red smiles, carrying a big, smoking box filled with me. And they'd like some alms for this service and more of that yummy, glow-in-the-dark horse hooch they've been guzzling since they crashed my !@#$ing pity party.
(What's he do? Give them the dregs, knowing that it'll probably cause !@#$ing stomach cancer. Horse-faced bastard's nothing if not highly ungrateful.)
The Spygod Box goes into a corner. Every so often someone comes by and checks on it. Someone also pours in some proper !@#$ing beer, every so often, either to bring me around or !@#$ing keep me out.
And over the course of a month, the pile of smoking me-mulch slowly heals back up again, and I sleep and dream, occasionally coming around enough to say "!@#$ this hurts" or "more !@#$ing beer, !@#$hole."
A smoking !@#$ing skeleton becomes a skinned !@#$ man. A skinned !@#$ man becomes a god!@#$ burn victim. A god!@#$ burn victim becomes me, more or less, sleeping off the mother of all trauma !@#$s.
And then, one hour ago, I wake the !@#$ up. And boy am I !@#$ing relieved to know that (1) I'm !@#$ing alive, (2) I'm back in my own world, and (3) I am not wearing the !@#$ing ultimate weapon, anymore.
(No one found a plastic, glowing ring in the box with me. So either it blew up when I hit Jesus, it fell off when I flew away, or Jim collected it at some point. Hopefully he throws the !@#$ thing down the mother of all bottomless !@#$ing pits and seals it up, or something. That !@#$ thing is way too much bang for one man to handle.)
* * *
Oh yeah, the !@#$ing President.
When I left him, he was in as much shock as I was, and wandering around the caverns like a !@#$ing ghost. I told Altan Aduu that his men better not !@#$ing use him as a toy while I was gone, or there'd be !@#$ to pay when I got back. And after finding out I was under a whole !@#$ing month, I feared the worst.
Turns out I didn't need to be !@#$ing afraid at all. A few days after I was gone, he got his head out of his !@#$ and his heart out of the gutter, and started making himself !@#$ing useful. He actually went out on a few !@#$ing raids and scrounge operations, and has apparently learned to handle himself pretty !@#$ well with a bow.
In fact, when I first saw him, I didn't even !@#$ing recognize him. It was like seeing some weird, alternate President. It wasn't until he smiled at me, clapped me on the shoulders, and told me that he'd missed having me around to pick on that I realized that, yes, this was !@#$ing him.
Of course, he wanted to !@#$ing know everything that happened. So I told him. And he listened to the whole crazy !@#$ing story, sipping his tea, and didn't ask too many !@#$ing questions.
At least until the end, when he wanted to know what happened after I lost !@#$ing consciousness.
And... well, let's just say that's nothing I want to !@#$ing talk about. Not right now, anyway.
So, we get "And." Word. Full stop. End of sentence.
For now, anyway.
* * *
So what does he !@#$ing ask me, next? Just the question I've been trying to ask myself, all this !@#$ing time, and not being !@#$ing sure where to start.
"So what now?"
What can I do, son? I sigh, have another hit of that outrageously stinky tea the President's grown a taste for, here, and tell him I'm working on it.
And I am, son. I really am.
I learned something, over there, on that world I ghost!@#$ed my way into. But it's going to take me a while to really apply it to what's going on over here.
Still, it's not like I don't have any pieces to this puzzle, son. I know what's happened. I know some of what the enemy is, and some of what I don't know. I have balls in the !@#$ing air that I can pluck out and use when and how I need to, provided they were smart enough to !@#$ing duck when the !@#$ hit the fan.
But tomorrow's for planning and plotting, son. The world will keep for just that !@#$ing long.
Tonight? I just want to do nothing but drink tea, talk !@#$, and eat like it's gone out of !@#$ing style. I just want to go get used to being !@#$ing awake, again, and make sure there's a difference between dream and !@#$ing memory, again.
I want to walk out into the desert, look up at my stars, and see how many of them want to !@#$ing talk to me tonight.
You know who you are, kids. Sing out loud and proud. Rainman's !@#$ing back in town.
And tomorrow, he's gonna want to change some luck.
(SPYGOD is listening to L'america (The Doors) and having really smelly tea)