Driven insane by falling into Chemicals at a card factory, a man who cannot remember his own name, or home finds a new identity and purpose in life. Even as he leaves his sanity.
Earth-3 A Long Halloween
Vol I the Court of Owls
I’ve never met a Richard who wasn’t a Dick
His skin burned, his eyes burned, every single cell in his body seemed to burn but that didn’t compare to the fire that seemed to spread across his mind. His thoughts were scattered as he tried to pull himself together.
It’s so hot trees are whistling for dogs
He struggled to keep his mind together and focused but it was a struggle. Random thoughts entered his head at times making the simplest of movements difficult. Somewhere a lantern is missing that fire. The man raised his arm looking at his burning hand knowing the flame wasn’t there; he had gone in Seine after all. He pulled himself from the river onto a low walkway close to the Pont De l’Archevêché. He looked across the river to see Notre Dame de Paris, completed in 1345. Wait, that didn’t make sense, the Paris states weren’t that old. Nothing here of that nature was found before the revolution and the formation of the United States of Europe in 1792. No, it was destroyed in nuclear fire in 1962 when both superpowers lost their pants, their minds and nuked each other and everything in between.
Is the glass half empty? Is it half full? Doesn’t matter the water is radioactive anyway.
No, wait, that didn’t make sense either. The man wondered why his mind kept telling him Paris was part of France, and it was far older than he knew. That Paris was In the old world, not the new one, and it was not part of a super power. Each time he looked at the Notre Dame de Paris he saw something different, some slight variants, one time it was a smoking rubble, mutated vines growing among the ruins.
“You look silly in that getup” The man looked up to see one of the Owl man’s talons looking right back at him wearing the colors of his master. Birds of a feather prey together. The Owl’s little toady, Richard said the same thing, the kid was a jerk.
What happens if an owl is caught by a wolf? He learns to howl
The owl, the talon lay at his feet bruised and broken. When had that happened? The man rummaged through the talon’s back pouch to find the rope to hang, to find the rope to tie him with. The man wasn’t sure where he learned how to tie the knots he did but within a few moments, the Talon was tied to a pole leaving him a view of the seine and Notre Dame across the river.
Pushed, that was how he ended up in the seine. He was in a factory but what was it the factor made? No silly factories don’t make anything workers in the factory do that. What did they make? Oh, they made Playing cards. The man found himself looking at his arm uncovered by the sleeve of the coat he was wearing. Pale. Way too pale. The man took off his gloves to see his entire hand looked like a sheet of paper, perhaps even whiter than that. His fingernails were worse. Instinctively he raised his hand and felt something other than his face, a helmet? Didn’t he realize he was wearing it before?
Well I skipped right past alabaster and went to porcelain
Somehow he had made it to the closest mirror he could find, a car parked outside a shop, was this car his? It seemed familiar. Pale skin and bright green hair, even his eyebrows greeted him in the mirror. This is a joke, it has to be. No, I’m the joke; I look like a Joker on the playing cards. He found himself laughing at the absurdity of the situation, the cruel humor behind what happened.
He fell, that was it. He was in a card factory, the Owl Man had paid him to be there to put on a show. The Owl Man wanted to play a trick on a colleague, he even got that fat Cop Harvey Bullshorn, he got that fat cop, Harvey Bullock, to show up. Something went wrong, however, and the man was certain Bullshorn, the man was certain Bullock said something he shouldn’t have. The little jerk Richard struck him, the Owlman struck him. Did they both strike him? He had fallen for what felt like forever into the chemicals of the card factory. But he didn’t wake up in the vat. How did he get out again? He remembered swimming down a long tube and then freedom, he remembered being flushed out of the pipe from the vat he fell in.
Why shouldn’t you play poker with a plumber? A good flush beats a full house every time.
Someone had delayed their “friend”, and the Man wondered if he would have met the same fate. One of the little owls got an ow, the fatal kind. He wasn’t supposed to know it was a trap, he was the bate, he was the bait. It was hard to keep his mind straight and from running off on tangents. He found himself walking down the street not certain what direction he should head in, only that he needed to be somewhere. No there was no hurry, she left him when he couldn’t bill the pays, she left him when he couldn’t pay the bills. He had tried his hand at everything he could think of but was good at none of it, not even as a comedian. His jokes just weren’t that funny.
She was only a whiskey-maker, but he loved her still.
The Owl-man offered good money and the man thought that with it his wife might just return to him. He never saw a penny of the money, he was to be paid afterward. He should have at least gotten that up front. The man looked down at his hand as he pulled the wallet of the talon from where he had placed it. When did he take that? It would be too late to return it and besides they owed him now after what they did.
“I see a birthday party is missing a clown.”
The man looked up to see Richard standing on the roof of a building, looking down on him. He watched as the Talon, in his uniform continued along the rooftop towards the river. What was that brat doing so far out here? Probably to see the distraction that ruined their plans. The man walked past the said distraction some distance down a street, it was clear enough it was a bad incident. Even at a good distance away he could see the ambulance and police cars roping off the area. He didn’t dare go any closer given how he looked, like a fool out for the night. He pressed on and eventually found himself outside another abandoned factory, what was his luck with these things? But he couldn’t remember where to go home so this would have to do. His mind focused as he entered the factory, he would get back at that Owl for what they did to him, and to that jerk Richard, after all...
He had never met a Richard who wasn’t a Dick