I've always been told it's a big !@#$ mistake to keep a diary, in my kind of work. And they're probably right. Look what it did to Tricky Dick, for !@#$'s sake.
But every so often, I give caution a big ol' middle finger, grab a pen, and scribble down what I'm thinking and feeling. Nothing Shakespearean, to be frank, but I like to remember what was going through my mind at times like these.
Especially a night like this one, which now seems !@#$ing ages ago. The night I got back to to America for the first time in !@#$ing months, after all that !@#$ I had to wade through, and could do it with my head held high again.
The night I could say that, yes, I !@#$ing won.
I made it back to the mainland a few hours ago, after I got the Lost City secured. Not that there's much to secure, anymore. The War Spawn left, and the Imago they didn't eat are being tossed into port-a-cells, to await interrogation and trial.
And yes, the Dragon is dead. I !@#$ed on him until he died. So that's done, and I have properly avenged the man he was, before GORGON took advantage of a dying man's fear, and created a weapon that could have ended everything.
(Rest in peace, friend. I will always love you. I just wish I could have done more for you than killing the !@#$er who stole your face.)
Other than that, I have a number of very !@#$ing scary people (and things that just look like people) from Ju-Kikan watching over the entrances to the city to make sure no one !@#$ing goes into it. And The Dignitary's watching over all of that, too, and no one's going to !@#$ing mess with that.
They're also watching over their Director, who had to fly back to Tokyo to deal with his little secret android secretary girl, who got banged up dealing with the Imago. Poor kid might not recover, and if she doesn't, we could be in for some !@#$.
A lot of !@#$, to be honest, but I don't want to to think about that right now, son.
No, I don't want to think about the weird armies I'm going to have to thank and pay off. I don't want to think about the Strategic Talents I'm going to have to promote, or bribe, or bury. I really don't want to think about all the little things that are going to need tending, or fixing, or whatever.
And that's why I haven't checked in with our headquarters, here in town, or let the Toons know I'm here. That's why I haven't called up Mr. USA to make sure everyone got back from the Antarctic, alright, or called up Randolph to let him know I'm !@#$ing available for the mother of all god!@#$ interviews. !@#$, son, I haven't even contacted our people in the Pacific to see if they found my !@#$ flying saucer, and my cat, yet.
(Believe you me, that fuzzball can take care of himself)
Right now I just want to party like it's the end of a war.
I didn't really get to do it, before, you know. I was too busy in the War, and no one really got a warm homecoming for Korea, or Vietnam. And while we've had celebrations and fanfares for the various, big !@#$ fights that have eclipsed the globe, here and there, all that !@#$ was just superheroes smacking the !@#$ out of someone.
Real wars involve common people. Ordinary men and women who go to fight an enemy, or have to hold down a homefront and deal with what goes on there. Citizens fighting for their rights when an enemy takes them, and either hunker down to survive or actively resist.
And when the whole world gets !@#$ing enslaved, that means the common people of the planet all took part in this war to take it back, which means they all have the right (maybe even the duty) to knock back a few, scream and yell and cheer, and say "we did this, friends and neighbors."
"This victory is ours."
Of course, some people have to take more credit than others, which isn't too terrible a thing. In fact, I was just in time to catch the President's speech on TV, thanks to one of the satellites they threw up in the last day or so.
It was downtown, up on the a big screen they projected up against a skyscraper. The moment he got on the crowd just went !@#$ing wild, like he was a !@#$ing rock star, or something.
Of course, he was a rock star, now. He'd lived, he'd died, and on the way back he'd saved the world. Not a bad day's work, provided you didn't look at the small details.
(Another thing for another day.)
One thing he said, towards the end, really stuck out:
"There will be rough times in the days ahead. There will be days when you wonder if you can go on, and if you should. There will be moments when you think the road is too long, and the challenge too much.
"On those days, you reach out a hand, and we will be there. Your friends, your neighbors, your loved ones, your government. We will all be there, and we will all help each other through this.
"Tonight, America is free. Tonight the world is free. Tonight we are all humans, together, victorious against a foe. And we will have justice for this crime that was committed upon us, yes, but let us put that down as a task for the tomorrow that we have all earned.
"Tonight, let a free people celebrate, all over the world, and say 'Thank God, we are free at last!'"
The crowd went wild there, as they did a whole lot of other places. And for a moment I was carried up and over, and forgot everything I was trying not to remember. I was just one with them, cheering and laughing and crying.
And I felt like I actually belonged to the common clay I've been transcending away from, all these years.
So now I move unseen through the crowds that line and choke the streets of the city, so no one talks to me. It's kind of like that one old story where the country kid goes looking for his Loyalist uncle, only to get to town on the night they tarred and feathered the stupid, King-loving !@#$. Only no one knows this show is being put on for my benefit, and there's no need for masks or disguises, here.
Invisible, I see humanity at its best.
I watch the people as they party and dance in the streets. I see shopkeepers handing out free drinks to the throngs, people playing music from their windows, street vendors keeping them fed and hydrated. I see cheers and parades and people yelling and talking and laughing, free at last to do so without fear of death or accusation.
But I also see humanity at its worst. I see the burning houses of those who got rich and powerful by serving the Imago. I see the bent movie stars and news personalities having to run for their lives, and not always making it away clean and safe. I see the police do nothing, or, worse, help the looters and angry mobs.
And then, just as I'm wondering if I should call the authorities, or reveal myself as one, something amazing happens.
You know those super-kids I was collecting, all those years? One of the ones that I found here in LA (Green Fury, I think) steps up and stops a mob from crashing down on a small family from one of those !@#$ "news" outfits the Imago set up. He stands between the angry and the afraid and tells them that anyone could have picked by them to lie on their behalf. And if everyone really thinks about it, they just might remember that they got fooled, too.
It takes a while, but when it becomes clear he's not leaving, they eventually do. And when the reporter tries to think him, the kid smiles, tells him to shut up and start running, and then goes on to help someone else in a similar predicament.
(Kid bears watching, I think.)
I dance in a massive conga. I weep at the edge of the blast zone, north of town. I get drunk and cry and laugh and !@#$ a complete stranger behind a bar.
There are problems we need to fix, but that can wait until tomorrow. There are issues that need resolving, but we can !@#$ing argue about it later. And there are people who need our help, but that help starts here and now, with this party to end all parties, shaking the world underfoot and making the sky tremble with its fury.
"The Man in the Moon heard the far bellow; "Oho," quoth he, "the old earth is frolicsome tonight!""
And on that note, I think I'm going to quit writing, and start partying again. There's lots more to drink, and people to drink with, and I am going to get my fill of it all.
Because I can.
Because we're free.
* * *
The locals only got it half wrong, but they weren't happy to give him up. And the little !@#$ wasn't happy to come back to civilization, either. So I think some Talents earned their emergency pay, tonight.
Would that we all did.
(SPYGOD is listening to All Over The World (Pet Shop Boys) and having too many drinks to list here)