"The Face of Me," A Cartoon Story By John Pirillo. Just how big an ego can you get when you have super powers?
The Face of Me
"A Cartoon Story"
By John Pirillo
"It's really quite simple." Einstein told him as he sat comfortably in Johnnie's chair at the table. He had his pipe in one hand, which he used to punctuate points he was making and Danish in the other, which he ate between words, rolling his eyes with pleasure.
"I must take some of these back with me." Einstein said, nodding at the stack of Danish.
Johnnie looked at the back of the kitchen where Cartoon stood, glowing softly, her eyes lit up with amusement at Johnnie's discomfort. "Uh, Al, I don't think that is going to work."
"Why not?" Al protested.
"Because..." Johnnie took a comic book he had his hand on and flipped it onto the kitchen counter.
"...You're a comic book character and not real." Johnnie finished.
He got up, eyed the missing Danish. "Cartoon, how come he was able to eat these?"
"You made him real. He lives by the standards of your world's physics."
"But he didn't even realize he was a comic book character."
"That's because to people like him, everything's a comic book creation. They can't tell the difference. If you were to go to my world, Johnnie, it'd seem real to you while you were there. You'd also be subject to all the rules of that universe."
"I have and I was." Johnnie agreed. He sat back down and played with a Danish for a moment. He took one, bit a chunk out, and then set the rest back on a small plate in front of him. He grabbed his glass of milk and washed down the chunk. He dabbed his mouth with a paper napkin, then eyed Cartoon again.
She had been waiting for this moment. He could see it in her eyes.
"I want to go to your world again."
"To test a theory I have."
She smiled. "You might be disappointed. Theories have a way of fizzling where I live."
"You live here."
She came over and sat next to him and put her head on his shoulder. "I don't want to go back."
"But you do. All the time."
She sat straight in her chair and then sighed. "I'm a Princess. I can't just abandon my people."
"Gotcha!" He said rising from his chair. "So let's go."
"You need me to help you transition..." She never got to finish her sentence. Johnnie was there one moment and the next...Gone!
Johnnie stood on top a steep hill with flourishes of cartoon flowers of radiant blue, red and yellow dotting its sides. A small pavilion of marshmallows stood behind him. He gazed at the incredible Wizard of Oz type palace that hovered several yards above the plain some miles in the distance. The morning suns cast huge shadows from it, which criss crossed the hill he stood on, casting it in colors of the rainbow.
"Shadows are so neat here." Johnnie said as Cartoon stepped from his world into hers and stopped beside him. He didn't even watch as the opening between worlds closed without a sound.
"How did you do that?" She asked.
He shrugged. "Just sprouted one day."
He turned to smile into her face. It was solemn. Her face.
"I don't know what's going on, that's why I called old Al up. I've been talking to him for about a month now."
She gave him a shocked look. "I thought..."
"I know." He said gently. "But I can't wait for you to wake up, or come back for me to get on with my life."
He waved at the distant city and the hill and the skies, which were like turbulent fields of clouds shifting colors constantly. "I need to understand all of this. Why it exists. Why our world exists. Why..." Here he paused a long moment, searching for the word, then said. "...Why I exist?"
Cartoon took his right hand in hers. "You exist because you do. Why do you need to know more than that?"
"That used to satisfy me. I exist, therefore I am. Therefore nothing more need be said. To paraphrase an old philosopher I read in my Philosophy class, but it doesn't change my innate curiosity about all of this.
"Cartoon, I'm human. You're not."
She gave him a sad look.
"I don't mean in that way. I mean physically. No matter how many times you visit my world, you will always be a cartoon. No matter how many times I visit your world or transform into comic book characters, I will always be...human."
"But the glow you've started to emit." She pointed out.
He held his hands out. "Not glowing now."
She frowned. "They don't glow here."
"Another weird thing to consider." He admitted.
He hugged her briefly, and then turned his attention on the distant city. "It's so beautiful."
"I know. Johnnie, you're avoiding my questions!"
"Actually." He smiled. "I'm avoiding mine."
Before she could respond to that a huge shadow crossed over them. They spun around. Without thinking Cartoon pulled her glowing sword from its scabbard, which had appeared when she crossed into her own world and prepared for battle. Johnnie just stood there looking at the huge face examining them. It looked somehow familiar, though he couldn't place it yet.
"Different." The face said to them.
"Nah. We're like two peas in a pod." Johnnie retorted, grinning devilishly.
Cartoon wanted to give him a hug and kiss at that moment. It was what turned her on so much about him. He could joke in the face of danger. He wasn't being stupid, or silly. Just being himself. Amused at the life strokes he was dealt.
The Face frowned. "What are peas in a pod?"
Johnnie shrugged. "No big thing really. So what's up, Dude?"
The Face frowned even more deeply. "I am not...a Dude!"
Johnnie shrugged again. "No offense meant, just a turn of the tongue."
The Face's eyebrows knotted together angrily. "You play with me, mortal?"
Johnnie's eyes narrowed. "Then I have to assume you're some kind of god."
The Face lost its anger. "I am that which I am, even as you are what you are."
Cartoon suddenly brightened. "Johnnie, it's..."
"I know. Me!"
The Face smiled, revealing spiked teeth. It eyes were not human at all. "I am not...you!"
"True enough." Johnnie said, eyeing the face uncertainly. "But you sure got the curiosity of me."
"What is a me?"
The Face recoiled as if struck. "I am not me!"
Johnnie broke into laughter. "I'm sorry, but this is just getting more and more ridiculous by the moment. Please excuse me, Cartoon; I've got to return home. Got a job at the diner to do."
He winked out of existence.
Cartoon stood there looking at the Face. "Why have you come here?"
"I am always here." It paused, its eyes rolling in thought. "I am always there."
Cartoon frowned deeply. "I think you should leave now."
"How can I leave when I was never here to begin with?" The Face asked and vanished.
Cartoon stood there uncertain and fearful a moment, and then she stepped between the worlds.
Johnnie was gone. She went to the front door to look out. The Landlord stood there, his eyes wide as saucers."You won't believe what I just saw leave your apartment!"
Cartoon smiled kindly at the lecherous old man. "He was kinda in a hurry."
"A giant face?" The Landlord blurted out, then shaking his head, he headed for the stairway. "What are these kids on these days?" He froze for a moment, halfway down. "Hell, what am I on?"
Cartoon blocked the laughter from issuing forth and shut the front door.
Johnnie stood framed in the bedroom. She gave him a startled look. "But I thought..."
"Oh that!" He smiled.
"I figured it out."
"Figured what out?"
"Who the giant face was." He held out a comic book. "The Super Ego Monster Strikes!"
She took it. This gigantic face floated above a helpless city while it hurled thunderbolts against it.
"Found this at an antique store. It never made it past this issue. I guess people get enough big egos in their lives. Don't want to read more about them on top of that."
Cartoon shoved him back towards the bedroom. "We've got to do something about that ego of yours. It's getting too big to handle." She quipped.
He gave her a hug. "How about we take a rain check on that ego buster fix you got in store, gotta rush or I'll be late for Al's Diner."
She crossed her arms, angry at him as he rushed to the door, but when he looked back, all the love she saw in his eyes and the warmth of the smile on his lips blew all her anger away. He blew a kiss at her. "Keep the motor running. I'm ready for a wild ride!"
He shut the door.