Bound to the One You Love
"A Cartoon Story"
by John Pirillo
She first realized she was bound to the one she loved when she had to come to his rescue against the Sea Gnats. They were an obscure life form found only in the lowest dimensions of her world. They obscured people's view of them, much like the legendary Sirens of Johnnie's world. They lured them into their hives, and then ate them.
In their less fettered forms, they resembled giant gnats, with multiple eyes, legs and legs. They had no hands, except as illusions. They were mainly eating machine and cutting machine. Mouths to eat their victims and legs to slash them to pieces.
Johnnie had made the mistake of using his newfound powers to touch one of the older Golden Age Magazine covers in the antique book store they had been looking through for information about zombies. Why zombies? Because that was one of the few creatures that didn't need an invite to enter Johnnie's world. Too many people believed in them and thus a portal was always open for them to charge onto Earth and deal their kind of death and destruction.
The newspapers always reported them as members of cults, or serial killers. Cults reported them as demons that had been summoned by them. But the average person just got attacked and assimilated into their hordes, which had been growing by leaps and bounds since she had entered Johnnie's world.
"Hey Glow!" Johnnie slung at her.
She looked up from the book in her lap. She sat in the dark. She didn't need the light next to her, because her body threw off enough light for a hundred light bulbs when she allowed it. She squinted at him. Her eyes were tired.
"Penny for your thoughts." He told her with a smile, slipping next to her on the couch, and putting an arm around her shoulders. She snuggled into him and told him what she was thinking.
"I can't always come to your rescue."
He turned around, letting go. She felt immediately abandoned, but said nothing.
He looked at her face. "Why would you have to? I can take care of myself."
"But what if one day you don't have a comic book on you, or one that doesn't allow you to become what's needed."
"Don't you believe in fate?"
"Yes. I do. The one we make for ourselves through our freewill."
He sighed, and then slipped further away from her.
"Okay. So I don't. Then I deal with it like I always do."
He got up. She could tell he was disgusted with the turn of her conversation. But she wouldn't let go of it. She was too worried. "You could die." She blurted out.
He stopped and looked at her sadly. "Everyone dies."
"But not the way you might."
He nodded, but went outside anyway, shutting the door behind him.
She shut her eyes, thinking why she had allowed herself to become so drawn to this human. He was still a child in so many ways. He didn't even pick up his socks when he threw them on the floor. Then she grinned. Neither did she, but then, she never wore them.
The front door banged open and Johnnie ran inside. "Get ready!"
She jumped up in alarm.
He grabbed her and swung her up into the air, laughing. "Dinner!"
They took the metro downtown to the Denny's he loved. Chicken sandwiches, thick shakes and curly fries.
"Fries. They're called fries. Curly fries."
"They taste sooooo good."
"It's the salt."
"Yeah. They bury them in salt."
She frowned. He laughed and squeezed her right hand.
"Not literally, it's just that these guys have got the French fry thing down. Give the people whatever they want, but make sure it's got lots of salt or sugar, or both on it, then they'll eat anything and love it."
"That's dishonest." She said, putting her curly fry down.
"But doesn't it make you mad?"
"Sure it does, but it sure tastes good." He said, shoving a handful of fries into his mouth.
She slapped him across his left arm with her handbag.
"Okay." He set down his next handful of fries and faced her. "It's like this. I can't change the world. I'm only one person."
"You can change it one fry at a time."
"Don't eat them."
"You've got to be kidding!"
"I'm not. Stop eating them. At least one of you won't be contributing to the lies."
"But then I'd be lying to myself."
"Because I do like them...salt and sugar and all."
With those words he shoved the rest of the curly fries into his mouth.
Across from them at the counter a tall man turned around. It had a handful of fingers in its clasp and shoved them into its mouth. "You should listen to him." The zombie said with a foul grin. "They do taste good. Salt and sugar and all."
Cartoon slammed from her booth and began hammering the man with her handbag.
Johnnie rushed over and stopped her.
The man rubbed his head and got up from his stool as an alarmed waitress grabbed a phone and began to dial.
"Hey! It's Halloween. Can't you take a joke, lady?"
He marched out of Denny's, his face red with anger.
She turned to face Johnnie. He was laughing.
Then she began hitting him with her handbag.
What was a Cartoon to do with such a rascally human being like him? She hit him again.
Johnnie touched the comic book in his back pocket and his form changed into that of an angel. She gasped and fell back. He gave her an angelic look. The waitress gasped and dropped her phone. The other customers began crossing themselves.
"I'm such an angel." He said. "You really hurt my feelings."
"Ohhhh. I hate you, Johnnie!" Cartoon spouted, and then ran into his arms and they kissed.
And that's what it's like to be bound to the one you love, she thought again as she held him close, savoring his breath and his touch. You just love them no matter what...and...her thoughts grew wicked for a moment...gets ready to clobber them when they get off the train tracks.
But she didn't tell him what she was thinking as he lifted her into his arms, stepped out of Denny's, and then flapped into the air and flew her home. After all, he was her Johnnie Angel. For a time.