Friday, July 24, 2009

Rorschach's Journal July 24th, 2009

Rorschach's Journal Friday July 24th, 10:53 pm

Lag in journal writing. Attribute to laziness. The summer in DC has been unusual to say the least…unusually cool. And low humidity to boot. Must be the sign of end times. Perhaps my sign is more accurate than I’d like to admit! Normally the city is a sweltering miserable humid mess by the end of July.

Been spending time eking out a living, collecting the usual recycling, turning it in for pocket money. Been more frugal lately. The economy has been terrible. Harder for street folk to get by. The local shelter closed. Another down the block not looking very healthy either. The first to suffer are those who need the help the most. It all boils down to greed. Us against them mentality. The Stranger Taboo.

I have even been lax in getting to the library. Miss Dorian and Daniel must have thought I disappeared off the face of the earth. Again. Daniel was used to my stretches of silence, but Miss Dorian is a new friend and doesn’t know that side of my personality. In fact, I hadn’t seen her since the day she went shopping for clothes with me at the local thrift store. Though an amusing time for the both of us, of course after I got used to the idea of changing clothes in the changing room, it had ended on a bit of a sour note. I thought that perhaps Miss Dorian might have thought I was upset with her. But I was not, just taken by surprise and feeling a wash of my famous defensiveness.

I thought about making amends to her but I hadn’t wanted to bother her. She was busy. I knew that she had wanted to help with my crime fighting, but in all honesty, I had simply been patrolling the streets. There hadn’t been any serious situations I needed to research. Now, I had been interested in a few of the gangs in the area, but wasn’t sure if diving in head first alone was the wisest of decisions. But then again, I made many an unwise decision. Perhaps Chief Brennan would like a little help with that. ** Note: Call Brennan soon.

It was fairly late, nearly 11pm. The night found me wandering the unusually quiet streets that were usually very busy by day. How funny that I patrol these streets by day and by night. For some reason it felt a bit like walking in circles. I stopped a few times to look into store windows, making sure the stores were quiet and all was well. Besides, it was entertaining to see the kinds of things on display. My own faint reflection on the window glass stared expressionlessly back at me. The black swirled to make patterns on the white background that was my face. At times I thought to myself, was this still my true face? Or did I go back to Walter? Perhaps a little of both. They were both my true face, just reflections of my personality.

I continued to wander, lost in thought, my hands tucked into my coat pockets. I came around the corner, passed the new travesty that is the modern Gunga Diner. I hadn’t been in there since that day Dorian revealed that she knew my identity.

Passed the Average Joe’s coffee shop. It was closed, of course. For a moment I imagined myself dressed like this and going in and ordering a tall drip. The snarky teen at the espresso machine would get a slap back for his rudeness for once. I laughed for a moment at that thought.

“Oh dammit!” A woman’s voice shouted in frustration from across the street. The Library. Red haired woman, likely Miss Dorian, juggled bags on her arms and doing battle with a disobedient door.

I trotted across the street happy to help and wondered why she was there so late.

“Close damn you!” She uttered angrily as she repeatedly pulled the door closed. She had the handle in one hand and a key in the latch with the other. It hadn’t been latching for her was my guess and as soon as I approached the door latched with a loud click and she turned the key.

“Oh I see you’ve got it now.” I said as I walked up behind her.

Yaaaiieeeee!!!!” Miss Dorian turned with a loud shriek and instinctively swung one of her bags at me.

I blocked it. It was quite soft actually. “Anita, its Rorschach!” I said succinctly and stood there, passively.

She leaned up against the door, panting and held her hand up to her chest over her heart. “Oh my God, you scared the hell out of me.” She said, recovering herself.

“Quite a weapon you have there.” I said with my dark voice.

Anita looked down. The bag she had used against me hung off her arm, “Oh God, stuffed animals. I guess I was going to fluff you to death.” She laughed as she stood upright again. “I….” she stared a moment, “I’ve never seen you in your outfit before. Not in person anyway, Walte….”

I held up a finger. “Never call me that when I am dressed like this.”

“Oh yes, yes, of course.” She gently smacked her forehead, “Rorschach, I mean.” She continued, “Just that you were here all of the sudden and I was distracted with this stupid stubborn door, and to be honest, you are a dark figure without a face and I just lost it.”

“No, it was my fault, I move quietly, and I had forgotten about that.” I paused a moment, “I apologize.” I never really apologized to many people in my life. Never really had to, never really cared, actually. And most people never cared either, well, except for Daniel and well now Anita.

“Oh no no, it’s ok.”

“Anita, what are you doing here so late at night? You usually get off work earlier.” I looked around the streets. Safe enough for now.

“I had to teach a class tonight and it ran long and then when it was over everyone just kind of abandoned ship.” She paused, “I don’t really like being here so late.”

“Well then, I’ll accompany you to your car.”

“Except that I took metro today and parked out at East Falls Church.”

“I’ll still accompany you to your car.”

“If you’re sure, I mean I don’t want to put your out or anything.”

I started the walk to the nearest metro station, “No trouble.”

“But what if there are people on the metro how….” She walked with me.

“Ridden the metro before like this, many times. I don’t have a car, that is how I get around the city, just like I did back in New York.”

“Well, ok, I don’t mind if you don’t mind. I just don’t want to put you out.”

“Not putting me out. “ I added.

We walked for a bit. The night was a little muggy and I had to admit, it was a little hot in my outfit, but not so much so. I was used to it, after all.

“So, I hope you aren’t still mad at me, Rorschach, I mean, you know from the other day.” Anita started the conversation.“No, I wasn’t even mad then, it’s just….” I paused, “Dark past and all, you just surprised me. How could you know, you don’t know anything about my life, not many people do, so no you didn’t make me mad.” I said, feeling oddly chatty. “Some day I’ll talk to you about what made me say that. About how things were for me, and why I operate the way I do. Sometimes I wish I could overcome it, and sometimes I think I am.” I noticed she’d fallen silent for a bit, “Things that people do and say to children, it scars them deeply, for life in many cases.” I paused, “Let’s leave it at that for a while.”

Ok. Whatever you feel comfortable with. No pressure. But I’m happy you aren’t upset with me. I hadn’t seen you come to the library lately, so I worried if you were ok.”

“I am fine, I assure you.”

Our footsteps echoed on the cobblestone of the Washington DC street as we approached the entrance to the metro. It was fairly quiet. The station, though still open, was an out of the way entrance. It was a weeknight so not too many people stayed out late to ride the train.
Anita had to buy a pass card, I had my own smart pass. They cost more, a minimum of $10 but got me in and out of the train station quickly.

We rode down the elevator and onto the train platform . We were the only ones there and we sat on one of the granite benches and waited for the train to come.

“How was your 4th of July? I’ve not seen you since!” Anita chimed in, changing the subject. “And how’s your cat!”

“Well James is quite well. He’s a year old now. How time flies. I’ve only had him four months. Which reminds me, I may have a favor to ask of you soon in regard to my cat. But I’ll ask when I know my plans better.”

“Sure, anything.” She smiled.

“How was your holiday first, I have a long and odd story to tell.”

“Oh we just had a cook out, shot off some fireworks, nothing big. I baked a pie.” She laughed, “Blueberry. It was terrific! I could have eaten that whole thing for dinner!”

Hurm, perhaps one day you could bring me a slice.”

“Oh heck, I’ll bring you a whole pie if you want one! Oh you ought to come out to the house sometime and meet my husband!” She lilted.

“Well, we’ll see.” I commented, sure that her husband would not like the likes of either Walter nor Rorschach in his house.

“So what about you then?”

I paused, “Well, I was up on the roof of the Department of Transportation building watching the fireworks. Believe me, it was not an easy task staying unnoticed when close to a half a million people were on the Mall that night. I had my suit on…” I pointed at my head covering and trench coat, “just in case any trouble makers were around.” I lowered my voice when I noticed our voices were echoing a bit in the station.

"I used to go to the Mall, with my best friend, it’s a lot of fun, but I’ve out grown it I think.”

“You went voluntarily? You ARE a brave person!” I said, a little amused, “Department of Transportation is a bit removed from the scene but still a good place to watch the Washington Monument, so I had a little bit of peace and quiet, when I noticed quite a lot of fireworks behind the building and then some screaming. It was long and drawn out, as if someone was on fire.

I made my way to the edge of the roof to look over. There were three men there, one older, the others younger looking. Two watched on as the younger of the three stood in the middle of the lightening and fireworks. They all watched as he screamed, with his arms out stretched and a sword in his hands. Out of the two men watching, only one was struck a few times by the electric streaks. And, oddly enough, they didn’t seem to be in pain.”

I sat there, realizing how ridiculous this all sounded. “Honestly I didn’t dream this.”

Anita laughed, “I believe you!”

“Not knowing what was happening, I strained a bit to see a body lying on the street…a headless body. The other younger man took a moment to tap the decapitated head with his foot. Knowing this wasn’t right I took my grappling hook…..” I paused and turned my face to Anita, “I have a grappling hook.”

“So I’ve guessed.”

“And I lowered myself slowly. Amidst all the cacophony, I crept closer.

‘Honestly Methos how is this enjoyable for you people’?
‘Oh it’s worth it. It’s better than being the corpse, that’s for sure.’

‘I guess I’ll never understand immortals.’

I slipped up behind the tall thin one quietly and then grabbed one of his hands and whipped him around, “Just who are you and what do you think you’re doing!”

‘Ow, ow, ow.’ The one called Methos replied.

The older man started swatting at me but I managed to bat him away.

“You are assisting in a murder, do you really think you’ll get away with it? Who is your friend and…..”

The old man came at me with his cane. I lifted Metho’s hand and snapped back a finger.

‘For crying out loud Joe, knock it off and back up, and dammit that hurt!’

Just at that point the lightening died down and the other young man, the one with the pony tail, fell to his knees to recover.

Methos looked up at me, ‘Suppose you just let us go and….wait I know you!’

“uh huh right, let three murderers go How do you know me.”

‘Oh yes, I remember you, from New York, I never forget a face. Or a mask as it were.’ He smiled at me. His large nose cast an odd shadow across his face. ‘You’re Rorschach! Very good work you do. Very good work, I don’t suppose you would mind letting go of my hand? How about I buy you a beer. Joe, let’s go get a beer with Mr. Rorschach.’

I snatched another finger ready to break it when I heard an angry scream sound from behind. The dark haired pony tailed man charged toward me with his idiotic Japanese sword. ‘Release him now!’

‘Oh God, Macleod calm down, everyone just calm down!’ Methos managed to wriggle away from me.”

Anita and I noticed the lights flashing on the platform. A train was on its way.

“So what happened then?” Anita questioned.

Methos got everyone to stop and listen a moment.

‘Rorschach, I can’t explain much, but just know that what happened tonight is the same brand of justice you serve. I won’t make things complicated here, but this man was a vile evil man and had killed many in his, well, his time.’

I paused to listen. “Tell your friend to put the sword away.”

Macleod, please, humor me. Please?’ Methos started to pinch the bridge of his nose from stress. Macleod tucked the sword under his long black overcoat and watched. ‘That’s a good man. Anyway, Rorschach, suffice it to say, there are others out there, fighting on the same side of the law as you do, just in different circles.’

I crossed my arms across my chest.

‘And well, honestly we’re here to make a difference too….I’m not making much sense am I?’

I shook my head silently.

Ok, we’re immortals and there’s this mission we need to achieve, though some of us, like myself, really could care less about this mission and just want to live and learn and all that.’

“Immortals. Like Doctor Manhattan. He’s the only immortal I happen to know.”

‘Er, well, in a way, sort of. And, oh bloody hell.’ Methos grew frustrated, ‘I’m telling you the honest truth!’”

“Oh, here’s the train.” Anita said as the train rushed into the station and with a squeal of breaks it came to a stop. It’s doors opened with a chime. We rode the center car, all the while continuing with my story, not noticing that there were one or two still in the car.

“So, we all stood there in silence a moment until I remembered something that Manhattan had said. “Well, Doctor Manhattan did mention something about not being entirely alone. That there were others out there, but not of his kind.” I looked at the three men.

‘That would be us.’ Macleod commented, ‘I hate to make this party short, but we’re going to need to get going here, Methos, Joe.’

‘But…..’ I interjected.

‘Rorschach, it was nice seeing you again. Jog your memory, you may remember more than you think.’ Methos winked a moment with a smile, ‘I’m still serious about the beer, come to this address in New York any time you’d like.’ He handed me a card and turned and the three of them went on their way, leaving me behind.

“Not wanting to be connected to a decapitation I removed myself from the scene, but still, something does come to mind. I find that since, you know….” I looked up. And then down and tipped my head toward Anita to hide my face from those who were entering the train at the next stop. “….you know the whole winking out of existence and then being brought back, I still have memories come back when I don’t expect them.”

“Wow, Ror that’s quite an experience. Who on earth do you think those people were?”

“Not quite sure, but now that I think about it, I do remember Methos, somehow, a little.” I let out a soft grunt of frustration.

Before long we reached our stop, East Falls Church station. The ride had been uneventful up until we walked out of the Metro station.

“Oh I so don’t want to go to work tomorrow.” Anita groaned as we approached her car at the far end of the parking lot.”

“Hey, excuse me.” A short man suddenly appeared out of the nearby bushes. “I need some change, got some change?”

“I suggest you leave, right now.” I said, my voice sounding menacing and cold.

Taken aback the man hesitated a moment then recomposed himself, “I suggest you give me your God Damned Money right now.”

“This is why I wanted to walk you to your car, Anita.”

“Thanks Rorschach.” Anita said as she feverishly rummaged through her bag looking for her keys.

“Hey, I said, give…me…your…God…Damned….Money, NOW, Asshole!” The man produced a pistol, but not fast enough.

I wheeled around and slugged him in the face as hard as I could, laying him out on pavement. I then thrust my hands in my pocket as Anita leapt in to her car. “How about that instead, scum.” I spoke to the unconscious man.

“Go on get out of here before he wakes up! And thanks so much, I’m so happy you’re ok!”

I shooed my hands at her for her to get the heck out of there immediately. I did the same.

Climbed back on to the metro, even more deserted than before. Before long I made it back to the streets near my neighborhood. It had been a long day, it was approaching 1:30 in the morning, and I was tired. Decided I had enough for one day. Went back home, left the streets to themselves.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rorschach's Journal, June 27th, 2009

Rorschach’s Journal, Saturday June 27th, 2009

Spent the day as typical Walter hobo. Had been a pretty day. Warm, no humidity, birds singing, fluffy clouds. Generous people on the streets of DC with their donations. Managed to scrape up enough money for a sack of dry cat food and some snacks for myself. Unhealthy stuff, but I had some weight to gain, so it didn’t really matter.

Yes, the day was beautiful. The sun looked down on the politicians crumbling with their own corruptions, sitting in their white stone law factory on Capitol Hill. Another one--admitted he had an affair. Second politician in a week. The GOP was no longer my father’s party, nor mine for that matter. All replaced by selfishness and opportunism. The Democrats weren’t much better. I was starting to believe Anarchy was starting to make sense.

I munched on Oreos as I puttered around the apartment. James watched me from his cat pillow as I unfolded the pair of Jeans I was to wear tonight. He meowed, suddenly.

“I can’t take you with me, you know that.” I said to him as I leaned down and patted his head. He purred and rolled over on his back in a comical maneuver. I laughed at him and rubbed his stomach for a bit and then got back to the clothes.

Earlier in the day I had stopped by the local YMCA and managed to actually take a shower. I didn’t have much time for such things, but it was handy on occasion. I’d always been so busy fighting crime. I was the most focused back in the 80s, just after….just after finding out that little Blair Roche had been butchered. Something took hold of me then. That something still had a hold of me, though not so much as to make me completely give up on life as I once had. Nothing else existed for me then. When at first I completely became Rorschach, when what I was as Walter was no more. It had been pushed out by rage, by injustice. How I wish I had these friends I have now back then. But then, I wouldn’t have allowed them in my life back then anyway. It was impossible. I alienated myself to everything that wasn’t about searching out crime and putting an end to it.

Perhaps now I’m in balance, somewhat. Able to embrace that I am both Walter and Rorschach and not one or the other, that they are both who I am, as a person. I had regained my Walter identity, my humanity back then, when Manhattan dissolved my body. I still felt I could never have a normal life, my life would still be consumed with finding the truth, finding and punishing crimes. “Maybe I haven’t changed so much, huh James?”


“Still a paranoid psychotic.” I shrugged, remembering back to how people would describe me back in those days. What did their opinions matter, the streets were safer with me on them doing their dirty work. Work that they were too pure to do. And now I, the only sane one, am a hero. Still that fearful Rorschach, spiriting through the streets at night, but having revealed the truth, the truth about that blond monster.

“Too complicated.” I said and thought for a moment, “I need to call Daniel.” And at that I removed the labels off the clothing I’d bought. I slipped on the slacks, boots and blue plaid shirt. Tucked in or out? I didn’t remember. Anita seemed pleased with how it looked untucked. I felt like an idiot with it untucked, in my day that was so slovenly. But, these were different times. I ran my fingers through my hair. The curls had tightened up after being washed. Finger combing, my only comb, would soften the look. I probably should have shaved, but oh well. Five o’clock shadow was going to have to do. Besides, red hair never really looked heavy on my face.

“You be good.” I said to the cat as I poured him some dry food. James behaved, at times, like he was the most starved cat on the planet. I fed him well, not sure why he was so utterly eager to eat as quickly as possible and ask for more.

The sun was starting to set as I stepped out of my apartment building and into the streets. By all rights, I should have been suiting up in my trench coat and black and white face for my usual evening of finger breaking and mayhem, but a promise was a promise. Fortunately, Shari’s home was right off the metro, so it would be easy and quick to get there. I had ridden metro many times, both in my Walter costume and as Rorschach. No one really paid me any attention either way, except for perhaps a tourist now and then. I noticed no one in the first and last cars, so I headed for those. I had the front car all to myself all the way to Shari’s stop off the Red line.

The reason those cars had been empty was due to the tragic metro accident a week ago. Nine people killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time when trains collided. Front and back cars a death trap. It didn’t worry me. New York had its share of subway accidents. It was all still safer than driving.

Arriving the destination, I exited the station and briskly made my way up the street and around the block to Shari’s address. Standing outside, I noted that there were quite a few cars parked out front street parking, as well as all the lights on in her townhome. Of course, there was noise of too loud music and the sound of laughter. And for a moment, I felt like turning right around and going back home. This wasn’t my kind of thing, and I felt terribly uncomfortable being exposed to all these people. I would just go in for a little while and then leave.

I climbed the stairs to the door and was ready to knock when I noticed it was open. Quietly I opened the door and walked in. Not sure if quietly would have mattered or not. The place was very noisy and boisterous with loud music playing. Not my kind of music, hippy hop or whatever they called it. Still it was innocuous enough.

Shari’s place was roomy and light with a few contemporary pieces of furniture in neutral tones. Definitely not the same taste as her mother. As I recalled, that night I entered her mother’s house to confront her, that house was decorated in fine French provincial furniture and antique porcelain. Then again, most of her things were probably stolen or acquired by nefarious means. Shari seemed to have very different taste.

Most of those at the party were in their 20s, like Shari. I noted one or two older people, and her lawyer, that man who gave me the thousand dollars in the street. All of them were laughing and chatting happily. To the right spread out a few tables enrobed with white tablecloths. On those tables were many platters full of beautifully prepared finger foods as well as meal type fare. One of the things I recognized was mashed potatoes. And all the fixings. I wondered how much this party cost young Shari.

To the left was the bar, a place that entertained a dozen or so who milled about around it. A few had had too much already and the party had only been going on for an hour.

I slipped my hands in my jean’s pockets and continued to look around. A few noticed me and smiled as they walked by. I nodded at them. Well, not exciting to but not horrible, at least not yet. But I had my eye on that buffet table. I didn’t feel right, however, just digging in without at least saying hello to the host.

“Well well well, the hotness has arrived. Tell me, who’s the owner of this great backside! Because I…..” Shari came up from behind me, “Holy Shit! Walter?!” Drink in her hand and a very surprised look on her face, “Oh my God, what the hell! Who knew you were so gorgeous.”

“Er.” I felt my face blushing as I pulled the hem of my shirt down. At that point I wished I had a longer shirt. Had she really said those things about me? Did she remember I was her pan handling street friend?

Shari leaped at me and threw her arms around me. I did my best to return her hug, which was better than the last hug she attempted. This time I was prepared for a hug and I patted her on the back.

“I am so happy to see you! And my God, who knew?!” She beamed again as she patted my shoulder, “All these muscles?”

“Well, I’ll not be staying long I…..” I was desperate to change the subject.

“Oh poop on that.” She laughed, “Can I get you a drink?” She waived at the bar.
“No no, well do you have something non-alcoholic?” I said as I rubbed the back of my neck in embarrassment. A few others joined the two of us. A few ladies as well as the Lawyer. The ladies beamed at me. Made me feel uncomfortable, but not as uncomfortable as the Lawyer beaming at me. All of the sudden my face felt flush.

“Sure sure, we have juice and tea and coke and….” Shari waved at the other end of the buffet.

“Coke, I’d love a coke.” I said, stepping away from the entourage a little.

“Sure help yourself, and make sure you get some food. Eat as much as you want, we have a ton. I mean it. And take some home with you too.” Shari said as she looked up and waved at someone walking through the door.
I turned to see an older woman. She looked familiar. Where did I see her before?

“Walter, this is Sister Mary. She was the one you told me to call that day at the Hospital. She’s been amazing with helping me get my lawyer and taking care of everything. I own so much to her, and to you too for helping me when I needed it.”

Sister Mary approached, “Sister Mary this is my friend Walter Novack.” We shook hands. She didn’t remember me. What a difference a shower and clean clothes made. Sister Mary excused herself to find a drink.

“Walter had you come across Rorschach at all since I invited you? Do you know if he’s coming?” Shari looked at me expectantly. For a moment I opened my mouth but no sound would come out of it. Finally I answered, “Shari, how on earth am I going to get a hold of Rorschach? I doubt he’ll come anyway.” I said looking around at the food, “He’s probably out fighting crime or something.” I inwardly wanted to roll my eyes a moment.

“Oh Crap, I wanted to thank him for saving my life that night. I figured that you see all kinds of people on the street, you may know him, like know him when he’s not in disguise and all that.” Shari rambled on and on.

“I’m sure he knows your gratitude.” I added as I looked at her and smile softly.

“You think?” Shari said as we both wandered over to the buffet.

“Oh I’m sure of it. That kind of person, they do the best they can for people.” I felt odd speaking about myself this way, but I had to. It was bad enough compromising Anita Dorian’s safety with my secret but I couldn’t let Shari on to the truth. She wasn’t as emotionally equipped as Miss Dorian.

A moment later and I had filled a plate to the edges with food, to include two scoops of from the mashed potato bar with full garnishes of bacon, gravy and cheese. Shari, as a host, had to go to mingle with new comers at the door so I ended up sitting on my own near the DJ station, one of the only places with single chairs rather than sitting with others on a couch. I managed to eat my way through half the plate when a particularly obnoxious song started to play.

“Come have some fun this beat is sick, I wanna take a ride on your disco stick… my ass spanked by sexy cupid now he wants to play wants to play a love game a love game.”

Ug.” I grumbled to myself, putting my fork down in disgust.

“Not the best kind of music for children these days.” Sister Mary wandered up with a more modest plate of food. “May I?” She pointed at a chair near mine.

“Certainly, Sister, please have a seat.” I said respectfully.

“By your expression I gather you don’t like the song.” She said smiling at me as she ate.

“Not really, too wanton.” I paused, “What’s a disco stick?” I said taking a mouthful of food.

“Not sure, but I’m sure it’s not good.” The nun laughed. “Have you known Shari long?” She started to make conversation.

“No, only knew her just before her parents were killed. She was running with the wrong crowd. She’s been telling me she’s straightened up her act.”

“She sure has, I’ve been so proud of her.” Sister Mary continued to eat, “She said a friend told her to come to me. Was that you? I remember she said his name was Walter.”

I finished my plate of food and my second Coke as we spoke, “Yes, I bumped into you at the Michelangelo exhibit. I wasn’t dressed very well, Sister.”

“Well, I have to say, Walter, I am grateful I bumped into you that day. Shari’s life has changed so much, we’ve really been able to help her. And you know, you are always welcome to come worship at the Immaculate Conception.”

I nodded. “I’ll remember that, Sister.” It almost sounded like Sister Mary was trying to sell me on coming to the church, but then again, all religious people did. I was a Catholic once. Back in my childhood. Did really well in my studies in fact. But those days were gone long ago. They were before some of the things I’d done. Justified, but somehow it didn’t’ seem right to get back to religion just yet.

An hour later, and a second plate of food and a few desserts and my head started to buzz from all the loud music and noise. The party was starting to get into full swing but I had just about had enough. I hadn’t spoken to Shari since I arrived, and I figured my time here was coming to an end. Just at that moment a particularly loud song blasted forth, about Fergalicious or something like that. I put my plate on a spare table and quietly walked straight for the door.

“Leaving so soon Mr. Novacks?” A voice called behind me. It was the Lawyer.

“Yes, I hadn’t planned to stay long, and Shari is very busy.” I said wanting to escape.

“I’m sorry you feel you have to leave. Shari has been planning this party for weeks and spoke very highly of you. I only got to meet you once, that day when I gave you the money. You seem to be a bit better off now, I hope the money made a difference to you.” The lawyer smiled as he took a sip of his drink.

“Yes, well, it has, actually. Mr….I’m sorry I didn’t catch your name.”

Steadman, Jim Steadman.” He held out his hand for me to shake.

“Walter Novack.” I shook his hand but noticed a twinkle in his eye. “And if you would excuse me, Mr. Steadman, I need to be going. Please give Shari my regards.” I nodded at him as I turned to finally leave. I had to push past people at the door to get outside.

Once outside, I took a deep breath, feeling I’d escaped impending doom with all the flirting. Especially from the Lawyer. I was NOT that kind of man. For a moment my skin crawled.

“Wait wait, Walter!” Shari’s voice sounded from behind me as she ran toward me, a white paper bag in her hand.

I turned to see her approach.

“Oh thank you for coming. Please, Walter, come see me, any time. Really, I miss you and I’m so thankful that you’re my friend.” She said as she hugged me again. This one I wasn’t prepared for and I just stood there, feeling like an idiot. She then released her hug and handed me the bag. “Doggie bag. I meant it, take some food home! Everyone is getting one!”

“Thank you. Well, be careful, Shari. And have a good night.” I said and smiled at her just as a police cruiser pulled up in front of the house.

“Oh crap, they’re going to tell us to turn it down.” Shari’s attention was averted enough for me to slip off unnoticed. I managed to make my escape without my paths crossing with that of the police. Was just as well, I hadn’t felt like dealing with much more tonight. I could probably go back and change into my Rorschach clothes and patrol the streets, but in all honesty, I was too tired and too full!

Quietly, thinking back on the various friends of Shari’s, I rode the metro back to my neighborhood, my apartment and my beloved newspapers of the day. James had been a bad boy in my absence, having unstuffed his pillow again. It had a hole in it and I was constantly restuffing it.

Removing my good clothes, I put on my every day clothes and laid on the bed, thinking about all of the people in my life I never had before. The luxury of having a few friends. And oddly, it made me feel good.

For now, Rorschach

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rorshach's Journal, June 25th, 2009

Rorschach's Journal, Thursday June 25th, 2009

Hot, humid day in DC. The summer season had begun. Low 90s, sticky, poor air quality. Not much better than the rest of the country, frankly. I’d remembered how many muggy NY nights I’d spent wandering the streets fighting crime.

I flexed my wrist. For the most part, fairly well heeled, slight stiffness but no more pain. Fortunately a minor injury.

On a mission today. I had put off purchasing passable clothing for Shari’s party which was happening this Saturday. I was still committed to it. I hadn’t seen her since the hospital, so perhaps it would be a good thing to speak to her face to face again. I just wasn’t so sure about the setting. Shari was a young woman and surely she had young friends and crazy music and drinking and God knows what else. I frowned.

I wandered passed a few street front shops. Nothing really appealed to me. Besides, all too expensive. I fumbled around with the $20 in my pocket. That would have to be my allowance for this endeavor. Not sure it would get me far. Also, I had thought about getting some kind of lighter shirt as the long sleeve was getting way too hot, even without the blazer over it.

Thrift store. This would be acceptable. The shop, “Second Hand Roses” greeted customers. Proceeds to benefit the Humane Society. Good cause. I wandered in. It was a large store, however, I hadn’t the faintest idea how to start looking, other than stumbling over to the men’s section. No one else was in the shop save for the owner. The slightly built older man waived at me as I entered but offered no assistance, which was just as well anyway.

After browsing some of the clothes on the rack I was still clueless. What did people wear these days? And to parties? I pulled from the rack a pair of grey houndstooth slacks. Ok, they looked nice but what size were they? Did they look too old? They would have been suitable in my time in the 80s but perhaps not now. I put them back and sighed. What did I know about any of this, my best suit was purple pin stripe. I loved it, it was me, it was Rorschach, but I figure it may not go over well in a social setting, plus it was pretty dirty.

I looked around more at the old appliances and knickknacks and then gave up and wandered out. Frustrated.

Then a thought crossed my mind. Anita. It had been a good week since I’d been in the library. Surely she must have thought I abandoned her after she revealed to me that she knew my secret. I hadn’t. I had actually decided to allow her to continue to be part of my life just as she had been previous to her discovery. Not only could I use her for more in-depth crime research, but, she was a good friend and I trusted her. She and Dan, just about the only two people in the world I truly trusted. Which reminded me, I needed to write him a letter soon.

A few minutes of walking found me across the street from the library. Anita was just leaving at her usual time. She stopped as she looked up at me from across the street and smiled and waved. She then looked both ways and trotted over to me before I could cross the street.

“Walter! I’m happy to see you! “ She said cheerfully, “So then you, thought about it, I hope, you know?”

For a moment I caught myself in a chuckle, “Yes. Yes, I thought about it. Decided you know what you are getting into. I hope you do, in any regard.” I paused, “Anita I need your help with something.”

Anita stared at me a moment, a little surprised. “Sure, what do you need? Is it a criminal? A syndicate? Can I look up some missing person you are tracking down?” She started to look quite excited.

“I need your help buying some clothes.” I said, sheepishly.

“Clothes?” She blinked a moment.

“Yes, I…have a friend who is giving a party and I have nothing but my every day clothes and that other thing I wear.” I paused, “I have no idea what’s in style or anything. I thought if it wouldn’t be too much trouble to ask your advice.”

Anita smiled, “Well I’ll be happy to help, err, where is it you’d like to go?”

“The thrift store is all I can afford. It’s just down there.”

“Oh Second Hand Roses, I love that place. I shop there too.” She said as we started to walk back to the Thrift store.

“Did you have a good day at work?” I attempted to make small talk.

“Nope.” She laughed, “Just the usual crazies that come in.” She stopped herself. I surmised that I would be classified as one of the crazies. It didn’t bother me, it wouldn’t have been the first time I’d been called that and worse. Psychotic comes to mind. What the hell did they know anyway? They didn’t have to be me.

“I mean, just really unreasonable people, you know? They are so selfish and demanding. One ran off with our coffee pot today. Can you believe it? And full of coffee too! I can’t imagine her wandering the streets with a full pot of hot coffee.” Anita laughed, “I’m going to try to find a new pot at the Thrift Store.”

I paused a moment, thinking about someone wandering around with a steaming pot of coffee, “Well, I had a fairly nice day. Found some good things on my route. Managed to turn in some recycling for my clothing budget.” I put my hand in my pocket to make sure the money was still there, “I have 20 to spend.”

“Easy, this place is reasonable. Anita said as we approached the store and wandered in. Still alone. It was a slow day for the shop. “Ok, men’s section.” She said as we walked straight to the racks.

I stood there, looking useless, as Anita scoured the clothes, “So, Walter, what size trouser do you wear?” She questioned.

“I don’t know.” I offered, stupidly. Really, I had no idea.

“What size are you wearing right now then?” She said as she kept browsing the slacks.

“I don’t know.” I again offered, stupidly.

Anita looked up, “You’re not making this easy, Walter.” She laughed as she then looked around the store. “Ok, the men’s changing room is over there, maybe you ought to go in and check and meet me back out here?” She suggested and pointed toward the corner of the store.

Obediently I went to check. I sat there, in the changing room, staring at the tag in my trousers which were down around my knees. It was so faded and the light was so poor that I could barely make out what it said. Suddenly I heard Anita’s voice outside the changing room.

“Any luck?”

“I can’t read it, it’s too dark in here.” I felt uncomfortable.

“Oh criminey.” Anita said sounding both bemused and amused all at once, “Ok, slide your trousers under the door, maybe I can read it.”

“My trousers?” I felt completely naked all of the sudden, even though I still had my undergarments and was behind a locked door. It took a few moments before I could get myself to relinquish my pants. I sat there, staring at myself in the dingy mirror. What the hell was I doing there? How ridiculous.

Ok you’re a 34 medium.”

“They are a little loose.” I announced.

Ok, we’ll look for 32s then. You wait here, I’ll just go get a couple of pairs and you can try them on and model for me.”

“Model them?” I questioned, sounding a little horrified.

“Well I don’t expect you to ham it up, but we have to see if they fit you right.” She said as her voice trailed off a moment.

I sat there, continuing to stare at myself. I looked tired. Many late nights. Too bad I couldn’t go to the party as Rorschach and just tell Shari Walter couldn’t make it. Sure, then she’d figure it out also, if she hadn’t already. I didn’t have faith that she had.

Ok, since it’s a party and since you want good value, I picked out some jeans for you. They go with everything and these ones are nice.”

Two pairs of jeans slid under the door. One was a very dark pair, the other lighter. Both looked fairly new, but lightly worn. The first pair, the dark ones, fit perfectly. Taking a deep breath, I opened the door. “Ok, I like these.” I said quickly.

“They look great! “ Anita said as she circled me with scrutiny. “How about the other pair? I had to get you 34s they didn’t have a 32 in that color.”

I looked back at the other pair, “They will be ok too.”

“How about a shirt, let me go see.” She stopped, “What’s your shirt size.” She smiled at me, and laughed.

I pressed my lips together in earnest, “I believe they are 16 ½.” I valiantly guessed just as Anita pointed at my collar so that she could have a look. Turning my back to her I unbuttoned the next button of my shirt and she looked at the tag from behind.

“You’re right!” She said as she then scurried off to find something suitable.

“I need a short sleeve too, nothing special.” I called after her.

“Here you go.” She said, trotting back with a pale green short sleeve shirt and also an off white shirt with a light plaid in blue. “Fancy.” She held up the plaid, “Every day.” She held up the green. “This is fun!” She said as she handed me the fancy one first and waited as I held it. “Ok, you should try it on.” She coaxed gently.

I closed myself behind the changing room door and slipped off my grungy shirt and slipped on the plaid one. It was short sleeve. The bottom hem reached down to around the trouser zipper. “Well, it fits.” I said as I wandered out and looked in the mirror.

Anita scrutinized again, “The arms aren’t too tight are they? You’re pretty well built.” She said as she slipped a finger under the hem of the sleeve.

I gazed in the mirror, looking like a different, cleaner version of myself. The shirt fit me perfectly and looked quite attractive. Maybe too attractive. “You don’t think this will get maybe too much attention?”

Anita thought for a moment, “Don’t hide your light under a bushel, I think you look fine!” She smiled, “Walter, don’t be so nervous.” She added encouragingly, sensing my unease.

A few moments later and I had changed the shirt to the green one. Also fit nicely. “How much is everything.” I commented, forgetting the prices. To be honest, this was a bit fun.

Anita looked at all the tags and estimated without tax that it should total under $15. I had money left over for a snack if I had wanted one.

“Do you have shoes?” Anita then questioned.

“I have my boots, they will be fine, I think.” I said as I went to change and paused in the mirror. I had indeed been looking a bit skinny. The doctor was right last week. I flexed my arm slightly in the mirror. Still pretty fit though, considering my main form of exercise was running and climbing fire escapes and brick walls.

Anita and I brought the clothing to pay. Sure enough, the price was under $15.

“That’s awesome!” Anita announced, “If we’d have bought these things at a regular store they would have been about $60!” She said as she spotted the coffee pot she was looking for.

With our purchases we exited the store.

“I think you looked really nice, Walter.” Anita said to make conversation, “Just think maybe you’ll meet a nice girl at the party.” She offered with a smile.

I stopped a moment. Anita wandered ahead till she noticed I had stopped too. “It’s not my intention to meet a girl.” I said, very seriously. “I’m not doing this to find someone. I’m doing this for a friend.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it to….” Anita said as she walked up to me, concern on her face. “I….”

I stood there for a moment, “It’s a long story.” I paused, looking uncomfortable, “Too long for a walk on the sidewalk.” I offered and left it at that and frowned deeply.

Ok, well…” Anita said looking very apologetic. “Walter I’d better let you go, I know you’re busy and….”

“See you soon, Anita and thank you. I will let you know how things go at the party.” I simply said as I watched Anita wander off. For a moment I felt bad letting her go like this but she had struck a nerve with me at her comment. It was an innocent enough comment, but for me, that was a world in which I didn’t live. A world of desire and need. A world where my whore mother brought every sordid customer home. I wouldn’t have minded so much if she did it to support me. But she made it very clear to me that I was the reason she did it, that I was the reason she was miserable. Made me wonder if all that was why my father left so soon. I hadn’t wanted anything to do with women after that. I divorced myself from human needs. But found them continuously popping into my life. I was always so conflicted by it. I remembered back to when Shari exalted that Rorschach was “hot”. Made me proud and dismayed at the same time. I should have been numbed to the reaction, actually. Rorschach has had the misfortune of being beset by many an admirer. Not sure what people were thinking.

Suddenly I shook myself out of deep thought and found myself still standing on the street corner with my bag of clothes in hand. I would visit Anita in a few days to smooth things over. I hoped she wasn’t too upset by my reaction.

Stopping to buy an ice cream I went on to bring my clothes home and put them away and awaited night fall to stroll the streets.

For now, Rorschach

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rorschach's Journal, June 17th, 2009

Rorschach’s Journal, Wednesday June 17th, 3:30 pm

Finally able to write in blog again. Had run in the other night with gang member’s car. Hadn’t anticipated they’d jump in and try to run me over. Escaped with a sprained wrist, my writing wrist. Only now able to hold a pen and write in journal again. Fortunately, the local hospital had a free clinic to visit. Normally I would have swallowed the pain, but it had felt broken. Needed to make sure so that the city wouldn’t suffer from my absence.

Been laying low since the sprain. Keeping it elevated, been eating more. Hospital informed me of my weight. Amazingly I’ve lost 8 pounds. They recommend I try to get more to eat. Easier said than done. Fortunately, the local soup kitchen wasn’t far away and the landlady has been generous lately. Met her in the hallway last week and she sent me back to my room with dish of pasta and a few cans of tuna and baked beans. I’d put them to good use.

James, on the other hand has been well fed. Many times I will not eat so that I can afford to feed him. However, he’s been “earning a living” lately catching a mouse here and there. He’s turned into an adept hunter.

I had been in to visit with Miss Dorian and check my mail over the week, but Miss Dorian had been out when I visited and the computers had been down for a few days. I had managed to get an email from Shari before the malfunction. Her party had been postponed another week, so I still had time to find something suitable to wear.

Today had been a miserable, rainy day. I had had a bag over my hand to keep the Ace bandage dry. Wandering the street with a sign and a bagged hand proved to be a bit of a challenge. Did manage to go to the hot soup kitchen for lunch, but was looking forward to some coffee with Miss Dorian today, if she was in this time.

strolled into the Library. Looked around. A sign informed that the computers were still down. Three days in a row. Miss Dorian was at the front desk. As she saw me she smiled and waved when I walked forward.

“Hi Walter!” She said cheerfully, “I’m so sorry the computers are still down.” She said courteously.

“That’s fine. Things will have to wait.”

“Well, it’s really not the computers it’s our Internet connection, there’s some issue with all the rain we’ve been getting. It’s knocked out the cable line. We don’t have TV in the kid’s play room either.” She said as she reached under the desk and slung a bag over her shoulder.

“I will check back in a few days.” I paused, “Are you leaving?”

“Yep, I sure am. Still up for that coffee we talked about the other day?” She said as she circled around the desk and joined me.

“Yes, something warm would be welcome right about now.”

“What the heck happened to your hand?” She questioned as we walked out of the library.

What should I tell her? “I tripped and smashed my hand against one of the parked cars out near the Mall. Sprained. Been resting.”

“Oh no, I’m sorry about that!” Anita appeared genuinely sorry, “Did you have it checked out?” She fidgeted absent mindedly with the fobs on her bag. I noticed that. Something she hadn’t done before.

“Yes, no break, just a sprain. It’s getting better.” I said as I flexed my wrist a bit.

“Well, good.” She said as she then looked up at the front of our usual coffee shop. “Say, do you mind if we go to this new place I found?” She said as she looked back at me. “It opened up a couple of weeks ago and looks like something from back in New York.”

I nodded; it didn’t matter where we went so long as it was dry and cheap. We walked along for a moment, pummeled a little by stray umbrellas. “I wish some people would watch where they were going.” I grumbled under my breath, forgetting myself and slipping into the Rorschach voice.

“Oh I know what you mean. People can be so distracted these days.”

“You are far more generous about that description than I am; I would call it self absorbed.” I batted away the prickly ends of another encroaching umbrella when we turned a corner and there it was, the front of the diner. “Gunga Diner?” I stood there, surprised. For a moment I remembered back to my days in New York, all the times I sat there staring out the big plate glass window, at all manner of humanity that passed by keeping an eye out for the drop spot trashcan across the street from it. Gunga Diner was practically a home for me back in those days.

“You’ve heard of it!” Anita exclaimed,

Just at that moment a car whizzed by and splashed and entire puddle’s worth of water all over us.

“Dang you!” Anita shouted at the speeding car then returned to our conversation. “Of course you’ve heard of it, those floating elephants were all over the place up in New York. Look!” She looked up and pointed. A giant purple elephant floated from a wire anchored to the top of the building.

The cold rain water jarred me out of my little flashback and I wiped back my wet hair, “I used to go to Gunga Diner a lot. I am very curiou….wait.” I dug in my pocket and produced a rumpled up wad of damp coupons, “I completely forgot about this.” Unfolding it, I handed it to her, “Buy one meal get one free.” I gave her a rare smile.

“Brilliant!” She said as we happily walked in.

The atmosphere was not the same as the old New York diner. It was indeed a diner, that was unmistakable. It was just new, sparkling, with some kind of space age decorations, fancy winged flanges here and there and swooping chrome nonsensical details. I wasn’t used to the Gunga Diner looking so sanitary and impersonal.

We were quickly shown to our booth and presented the menu. I placed my End is Nigh sign on the seat next to me, out of the way.

“Boy! The menu sure changed since I’ve been in one of these places!” Anita exclaimed, “A gourmet section? “

I frowned, “Progress, I suppose.” I said as I scanned the menu. There were some familiar things in the “Old Classics” section. “Well, some of the good old American Diner fare is still here at least.” I muttered, “But I don’t know about these Pacific Rim Specialties nor the Fiesta Siesta sections.” I hurmed.

The fakely bubbly waitress approached us giving us a well rehearsed speech about the day’s specials. She wrinkled her nose at me with a bit of disapproval. I looked at Anita a moment and then closed my menu, “Just coffee I think.”

“Oh no, remember it was buy one get one! I’m eating! I’m starving!” She laughed.

“Do you need a few minutes then?” the waitress, “Tiffany” questioned and left before getting her answer.

“Walter, I’m getting myself some dinner. Rob is out of town on travel and I don’t feel like cooking. You can have the free meal. It was your coupon anyway.” She stated her case. I couldn’t argue with it.

“Well, I suppose.” I said as I looked back over at “Tiffany” who waltzed back to the table and started with Anita.

“I’ll have the Vegetarian chili, and grilled cheese with tomato please. And some iced tea. And also a bagel with cream cheese.” She paused, “Are the bagels like the ones in New York?” She questioned, “Gunga Diner used to make their own bagels.”

“Um.” Tiffany looked dumbfounded.

“Never mind that, please bring the bagel anyway, with cream cheese.” I sped along the process since I hadn’t wanted Tiffany to blow any more brain cells than she could spare, “I’ll have the meat loaf with mashed potatoes and a hot coffee.” I said.

“And?” Tiffany said as she wrote. “And?” She said again. “You get another side.”

“Oh, green beans.” I added, hoping for the best.

“I’ll bring your drinks and your bagel right away. You want that toasted, right?” she said as she flitted off.

I ended up unwrapping the plastic from my hand and flexed my wrist again.
“Does it hurt much?” Anita questioned, looking a little uncomfortable, no, apprehensive for a moment.

“Not really, just really stiff, and a little sore.” I said as I sat back and looked around the restaurant.

“That must have been a bad fall.” She said as she placed her hands on the table and fiddled with her silverware, looking like she wanted to say something, but stopping herself.

“It was, odd angle…” I was interrupted by the waitress with the drinks and the bagel. She spilled a bit of coffee on the table as she turned and left.

I doctored up my coffee and took a sip as Anita cut the bagel in half and pushed the dish toward me, “We’re splitting this, a little taste of New York…I hope.” She laughed.

“Well I don’t know about that, nothing is New York like in this town. Too bad, I miss some of that great stuff there. Judging by looks it won’t be anything like back home.” I said as I took a half of the bagel with cream cheese and took a big bite of it and chewed. Anita took a smaller bite and we stared at each other a moment as thoughts of food analysis crossed our faces.

“Well, not so much.” Anita laughed, “It’s not awful though.” She said as she watched me take another bite. “Walter, I, I really need to say something, and I’m sorry it’s a weird time, but I figure I should say it while we’re just relaxing and talking and…..’ she said for a moment. Her hand was shaking a little.

I looked at her a moment unexpectingly, chewing on my mouthful of bagel.

“I know.” She said as she leaned in and spoke softly.

Youf Knowfff wfhat?” I muffled through my chewing.

“I know it’s you. It has to be you. Rorschach.”

I stopped chewing. She knew. For a moment I stared at her, stunned. Did this mean I had to kill her now? I didn’t want to kill Miss Dorian. She had become a friend. My stomach lurched as I placed the bagel down on the plate and pushed it away, “What do you mean?” I swallowed and questioned, sounding quite calm. I placed my hands flat on the table and stared at her with unwavering blue green eyes, expression leaving my face. My fingers rested in the small pool of spilled coffee.

“I mean, I know it’s you, Rorschach.” She said as she looked over her shoulder. She leaned in and whispered, “I don’t know how else to explain that.” She gazed at me, her china blue eyes wide, “I figured it out about a month ago. One of the times you signed your name on the log Walter Kovacks, not Novack. I don’t think anyone caught it, but I remember when you were arrested and it was revealed that you were Rorschach and sent to Sing Sing.” She said very very softly. “I work in a library, I looked it up. Took some digging, seems the world forgot about that after Veidt destroyed all those cities.” She paused, “And that it was revealed that you and Nite-Owl were the real heroes.”

I was silent a moment. What an idiot I’d been. Signing my birth name. Stupid foolish idiot. Doddering forgetful. But I kept my reaction inside so as not let on that she was right. “Anita, be sensible now. That happened back in 85. That guy was in his 40s already. I’m 46 here in 2009.” I said as the waitress wandered up with a few plates of food. Tiffany then placed the food in front of us and asked if we wanted anything else. I waived her off.

“Well, that’s true, you certainly don’t look like you are in your 60s, but I have a feeling Dr. Manhattan had a hand in that.” She said as we sat there, not touching our food. But good God the food smelled good just sitting there. My empty stomach rumbled.

I never broke my gaze, “I should be going.” I said as I motioned to stand.

“Oh no you don’t.” Anita jumped out of her booth chair and blocked me. I could have pushed passed her but I hadn’t wanted to hurt her or make a scene.

“Are you missing something? Can I get you something?” Tiffany walked over, looking at me accusingly.

“Please, we’re fine.” Anita said as she dismissed her with annoyance.

I sat back down calmly and placed my hands on the table again…picked up a fork and started to eat.

Anita sat back down as well and moved her spoon around her chili.

“Yes. You are quite correct. I’ve been very sloppy and forgot myself and signed the wrong name. I am Walter Kovacks. Rorschach.”

“I knew it.” Anita said as she smiled a moment and took some bites of food.

“I’ll not trouble you again, Miss Dorian. I thank you for the time you….”

“I’m on your side, please don’t.” Anita said, “I only wanted you to know that I know and that I won’t say anything.”

I shook my head and continued to gaze at my food. “I am not sure I can take that chance.” I looked up at her, “What if someone hurts you because of this new knowledge, or you blurt it out to others, or someone bribes you….”

“But that won’t happen.”

“Are you sure? Perhaps it would be for the best for me to find a new city now.” I responded. I reached over toward the salt shaker and Anita flinched a moment. “You see, you are afraid now. Afraid I’ll hurt you.”

“No I’m not I….” She knit her brows with concern. “Look, what you did, going up to face Veidt, up to Karnack, knowing that you’d be killed, that was some real bravery. And then to have your journal published and to have that monster convicted? I admire you for that. I may not agree with the violence you practice, but I do understand what you are doing and want you to know you can trust me.” She said, a tear running out of her eye.

Pausing, I salted my food calmly, “Anita, you will need to let me think about this now. I will need your word that you will not divulge this information to anyone.” I said as I handed over my paper napkin for her.

“Please don’t leave.” She said as she blew her nose. “Look, I know I may just be a librarian to most, but I’m pretty good at finding information. And all sorts of people come into my library.” She sipped her tea, “I’d wager I could be of pretty good use to you. Maybe help with finding out more about the things you are investigating.” She said as she noticed my discomfort. “Of course, I’m not pushing, but please, think about it, ok?”

I chomped away at my food and nodded. She had a point. She was a very smart woman indeed. But I still had to think about implicating her now in my activities. For now, I simply motioned calmly at her to finish her meal. “Never call me Rorschach while I am dressed like this.” I added simply.

“Of course I won’t.” She said as she gave me a faint smile.

We finished our meals quietly. After pockting some of the packets of suger at the table, I thanked her for her generosity. We parted ways after her insistence that I take home a colossal slice of the towering chocolate cake. I made my way quickly back to my apartment where James waited for me.

I sat and thought about what had just happened. “Well, James, looks like someone else knows our secret.” I said as I sat and stroked the purring cat.

The chocolate cake was at least as good as it had been in New York.

For now, Rorschach.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rorschach's Journal, June 4th, 2009

Rorschach's Journal, Thursday June 4th, 2009

Been a long two weeks. Dodging countless motorcycles in town for the Memorial Day holiday. Tourists everywhere. Good for donations, however. Bikers quite generous, actually. Managed a good 200 dollars in hand outs and looking through trash. Collected quite a few aluminum cans to crush and bring in for money.

Able to get James some extra nutritious food and a few more toys. He had shredded what few toys he had. James spent the better part of the last two nights chasing a feathered ball around the apartment. A few times I felt myself on the receiving end of a swat to the head. James was fairly gentle, most of the time, but apparently a few times play had gotten the better of him and he flew around the apartment, barely touching ground.

Been a rainy day in the city today. Not too hot for June, oddly. Promises of severe thunderstorms, however. The radio had informed we were in a flood watch until midnight. All of the spring rains had saturated the ground. I had had enough of rain for a while.

Some door to door religious canvassers had stopped me in the street today to inquire about my End is Nigh Sign. Proceeded to ask me if I'd ever heard of Jesus Christ. To which I questioned if they'd thought I was stupid. Still they were pleasant enough and left me literature about their religion as they patted themselves on their black suited backs and wandered off having spread their word. I deposited their pamphlets in my "special file", the pile of papers I carried home with me to tear up for the cat box. Not that I had no respect for Jesus, just that I didn't believe in their brand of religion. Self centered lip service with no true help for the needy. They hadn't even left a penny in my collection container. So much for spreading the kindness of Christ.

It had been a while since I visited the library and I did owe Dan a letter. It had just been a little over populated in DC due to the holiday and I preferred to collect money and get some good meals rather than sit idly in the Library. I wondered if Miss Dorian thought I disappeared. Besides, I rather hoped to sit down to a coffee with her today. It would be nice to talk to a sincere smiling person for a change.

It was just about quitting time for her, so I made my way over to the library, sign in hand.

Miss Dorian was there. Smiling. I gave her my sign. Signed the log in sheet.

"Good to see you Walter!" She said as she initialed the sign in sheet. "You've not been here for a while, I hope everything is ok."

"Fine, Anita, just been sick a while, then the holiday." I looked around. My usual computer was available so I excused myself to get to work. I wondered, for a moment, why Miss Dorian was always so friendly. I rarely spoke much and never seemed to be that jovial. Perhaps she was just doing her job. Perhaps she was just a nice person. In all honesty, I appreciated that, even if I didn't show it much of the time. It was just so hard to be warm and fuzzy, not after all these years, not after the horrible childhood. There had been no warm fuzzies in my life; I guess it was one of those things that never was ingrained in me. Well, with the exception of James, and well, my friendship with Dan and….good God maybe I WAS becoming warm and fuzzy! For a moment I stopped before reaching the computer and thought about that.

Then I snapped out of it and sat down at the computer and logged in. Checked my email. So many damned spam messages. They angered me. I especially abhorred the male enhancements ads. There was more to life that that! But some treated it as the only reason to live.

Another email from Shari, inviting me again to her party. It would be in a week. On the weekend. I thought for a moment. I shouldn't go. Who would want me there? I didn't even have anything to wear. But then, she was nice enough to include me. I sort of felt protective of her, and I wagered she thought of me as a kind of family, since she was now with no parents. Or perhaps I was just imaging it. Before I could think further, my fingers typed in that I would make it, but not to expect extravagant dress or behavior from me. She had mentioned Rorschach in her letter. She wished she could invite him too, for changing her life. Little did she know, she had already invited him. For a moment I chuckled under my breath.

Now on to Dan's letter. He had written me another small one, relaying some kind of joke and reminiscing a bit. Though it was just a small fluffy email, I did miss his goofy humor. It was good to see he was still his old self.

"Dear Daniel,

It is regrettable that you are going through relationship problems. I recall you had always been a kind and honest person. You are right in saying that I never had trusted Silk Spectre all that much. And you are right in guessing my actual opinion of her. However, I do remember how she stood up for me when Manhattan returned me to this world and I am thankful for that. I am wondering if she is going through some kind of change of life or a mid-life crisis? Sometimes these kinds of things, be they mental or physical, can affect people's behavior. Still I hope for the best for your happiness.

No, I've never watched that television show, American Idolatry, however, the chatter about it on the radio is incessant and annoying. Now that you relay that Laurie is involved with the host I am even more likely to avoid it completely now. As you may guess, I don't watch much television, apart from the news. And even then the news is slanted and corrupted. It's not very reliable. Not like New Frontiersman. I am pleased that after all these years they still publish. I am also pleased to know that you have been reading it! It is one of the only true places to obtain honest news!

And yes, you are correct in your assumption that I have returned to my "work" as it were. You understand, I dare not speak of it in this form of communication."

I paused for a moment, realizing I was starting to sound like a robot and tried to soften the letter a little.

"I am pleased to hear of your sons' excellence at school and that you have raised them up properly. Perhaps they will be the next generation that takes over for us when we are done. I only hope that we can fix the current mess so that we don't leave them something impossible. Perhaps, as my meager legacy, I will leave my “face” to one if they so choose to use it. But as you know, that won't be for a while yet.

As for me, I am making due. I am still living very humbly, taking care of serious situations as they arise, as you know what I mean. I have, believe it or not, made a couple of friends. Women friends at that! Try not to pass out. I've decided not all women are whores and some can be very dependable! I have also obtained a pet and have been having many new experiences caring for him. If I could I would send you a photo. Suffice it to say, he's a brown tabby cat.

Yes, do think often of our now quite large age difference, thanks to Manhattan. I am feeling a bit of my 46 years, however, it cannot compare to over 60 years. Have you kept in shape? It can be harder with sore joints and what not.

I have managed to accumulate a bit of a nest egg and would like to come across country to visit with you and your children, my god-sons. I would like to know, when would be a good time? It may take me a while, however, I think I can manage, and I think the city would be alright without me a while. But barely.

Well, I ought to allow you to get back to your life. Please let me know if a visit is possible.

Also, I am pleased to be in communication with you again.


I wanted to put that I missed him, but hadn't wanted to sound maudlin.

I reread my writing and then, pleased with what I wrote, sent the message and browsed the internet a while. I casually browsed different ways to travel across country. Then browsed sites on cat behavior and the proper way to keep cats out of the toilet.

Finishing my time at the computer, I turned to collect my sign from Miss Dorian.

"Well, Walter, you have a nice day!" She said with a grin.

"Don't you usually get off around this time, Miss….erm, Anita?" I questioned quietly.

"I do but I've got a meeting with the local humane society tonight, so I figured I'd work an extra half hour before going off for the meeting." She paused, "I'd love a coffee though and to catch up, will you be in tomorrow?"

I thought about it a moment, "I'm not sure, actually, perhaps in a few days." I said, admittedly feeling a little disappointed.

"Great! Well then I'll see you then! Have a great day Walter!" She said as I took my sign and left.

I waived at her nonchalantly as I exited the Library. Next order of business, newspapers, food, and drying off. A crack of thunder and a bolt of lightning spurred me to look to the skies a moment, just as hail started to fall. I used my sign to shield my head and I hastily made my way. Would be a wet night tonight. Didn't like to get the "face" wet. Well, maybe I'll make it a short evening.

For now, Rorschach

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rorschach's Journal, May 20th, 2009

Rorschach's Journal, May 20th, 5:49pm

Rorschach’s Journal

Quiet Night tonight. Feeling under the weather. Spent most of the bright sunny day sniffling with a sore throat. Grumbled to myself for the most part. Didn’t really feel like doing much of anything, honestly.

Spent the afternoon eating fairly well at the local soup kitchen, Martha’s Table. Amazingly staffed by caring people.

With a full stomach and an arm load of today’s papers, resolved to spend the evening in, with the windows open. It had been perfect weather for a late spring day in DC. Blue sky, gentle breezes.

Walked up the stairs to my apartment. Wandered passed the Landlady. She smiled at me generously. I nodded in return.

“Mr. Novaks, how is that little boy of yours doing these days?” She questioned, friendly neighbor talk.

“Fine, growing.” I said succinctly. “He’s a little frisky, but amusing.”

“Aw, well, I’m glad he’s doing well. I had a feeling you were a cat person when I saw you.” She said as she looked at me. “He’s not tripping you anymore?”

“Eh?” I looked at her.

“That night, you had a black eye…”

“Oh yes, no he’s not tripping me anymore.” I had almost forgot that that was the story I had told her that night I had the fight with that gang and came home with a black eye and some bruises. “Have a good evening Ma’am.” I nodded at her as I let myself in my apartment. She called after me to have a good evening as well.

James had been waiting for me. He had been sitting in a small pool of light that had cascaded in from the window. My room was west facing so I would get evening sun. It being a little late, the last of it was beaming in and James always took advantage of it. He stood up and meowed at me.

“Well hello, stinker.” I said as I knelt down and stroked him on the head.

James responded by purring and chin rubs. He was growing fast. He was going to be a large cat. His legs were fairly long and still had yet to grow in to them. The black pattern of his coat was getting darker and more pronounced, and his eyes had deepened from a pale yellow to a greenish gold. He was shaping up to be a really beautiful cat. For a moment I wondered if I deserved to have him. Did I ever deserve anything good in my life? I hoped so.

I cracked the window open just wide enough for some air, but not so much for James to get out and sat down on my one chair. James hopped up into my lap as I sat and read my papers, sneezing occasionally.

For a moment I looked at my forlorn mattress on the floor. I had procured It last week. A close out sale at the local charity shop. Fortunately, it was clean enough, no bugs, and it had afforded me, finally, some good sleep, relatively speaking.

I groaned a moment from feeling ill and just sat and pet the cat a while as I stared out the window. No going out tonight, would just be radio and the cat. Justice would have to wait another night.

For now, Rorschach

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rorschach's Journal, May 13th, 2009

Rorschach's Journal, Wednesday 3:10pm

A beautiful day, at last, in the DC area. The weather is dry, sky blue, temperature moderate. I hoped that crime would be down too, but knew that it never would be.

Spent the morning looking through the usual trash bins. Managed to find a few useful items. A bent fork. Straightened and cleaned it would be useful around the house. Found an odd earring. Gold colored with come clear stones. Not sure if any of it was real, but put it in the pocket as well. Who would throw away diamonds, after all?

Found the latest issue of a local visitor's guide. That would serve me well for making my rounds, to know where all the tourists go so that perhaps they may be inclined to offer donations.

Lastly, some coupons for cat treats as well as for jello cups and some kind of wine. I left the wine coupons. Didn't drink. Dulled the senses. The jello would be a good treat, however.

Managed to stop in local soup kitchen for a bit to eat. Didn't make it a routine, just that lately I hadn't been eating all that much. Still been saving the remains of the $1000 that Shari gave me. I have about $800 left after vet bills and pet supplies. I hoped to use that money to travel across country, if Daniel wanted a visit.

Speaking of Daniel, decided I ought to check my email at the library. Hadn't been in a while and though I am eager to check it, I hadn't wanted to make it a habit. I had heard that email and the computer was addicting. I could see that the computer was a valuable tool; I just hadn't wanted it to suck me in. I wondered if Miss Dorian was in today.

I made my way to the Library as usual, wandered in and checked my sign at the desk. Dorian wasn't there. I thought to ask for her, but to what end? Small talk? There was no sign of her, not even her easy laughter from the back area. So, I made my way to my preferred computer and sat and logged in.

Upon logging onto Yahoo mail quickly revealed three messages. One from Shari updating me on her progress. All was well. She was throwing a party in a couple of weeks and asked for my presence. Not sure it was wise; however, I endeavored to think about it.

The other two were from Daniel. I smiled slightly for a moment and opened the older one. What assaulted me was a letter that looked to be pages long. For a moment I questioned my decision to contact him, however, Daniel was always an eager and forthcoming friend. I wondered if I had enough computer time to read the entire letter!

It started out: "Dear Rors, oh my God! It is you! How've you been? Where are you now? I've missed you! Why haven't you contacted me sooner?"

"Your phone number didn't work." I grumbled under my breath at the screen.

"God so much has happened since I last saw you, what was it, 8 years ago? 9? The kids grew up! They're off to college now! You'd be so proud of them, Rorschach, they really matured once they hit 16 and really hit the books. One is studying Law and the other is studying Zoology. A chip off the old block, if you ask me."

I paused from reading that, I wondered if his son was going into ornithology, something Daniel had always wanted but never managed.

"I even went back and got my Masters! You guessed it, Owls. What else? LOL! So anyway, Laurie divorced me, Rors can you believe it?"

For a moment I sat back in my chair and snorted under my breath, "Yes, I can believe it". I never really trusted her, not since the whole boyfriend hopping she did back in the 80s. Found Daniel right away and instantly got involved. I frowned. She had a God and didn't appreciate it. I simply was wondering how long her time with Daniel would last if a God wasn't even good enough. I wondered a moment what would have made her want to leave. I leaned forward and continued to read.

"I know you don't like her, Rors, even though she did defend you to John last time back in, what was it 2000? But still I figured you'd be surprised. Anyway, she told me I was too focused on the crime fighting and the Owls. I really can't believe it because she was totally into the owls and the crime fighting there for a long while. But I guess when Wally got involved with Owls too she drew the line. Didn't help that that is his focus for his Zoology degree. Now Wally wants to get into crime fighting as well…actually so does Danny Jr. and Laurie just flipped out. God, how can a woman be so damned conflicted about something is beyond me? And the crime fighting with her, she drives me up the wall. She'd say 'I hate it, I love it, Mom forced me, I want to do it, we're a team, you forced me to do it.' God help me, I still love her, Rors, but you know, she won't even talk to me. She's hooked up with some celebrity or something. I forget which show he's on, American Idolatry or something like. Not a major celebrity or anything, just the host, I think. Ryan Oceancrest. Have you heard of him? Anyway, it's kind of a May September thing and the whole Cougar relationship. She's still pretty hot!"

I sat there, at my computer, my cheek resting on my hand as I continued to read. Daniel was prattling, actually.

"She just said one day, 'I can't take it anymore, Dan', which was a surprise to me because we hadn't really been fighting much lately. I guess she just kind of got bored of me. You know me, I'm kind of a simple pleasures guy and I like beach walks and nice dinners and hanging around the house reading and I guess that wasn't exciting enough for her. Why did she marry me in the first place if that's not what she wants?"

"Um, because she's a whore." I commented at the computer screen.

"I know what you are probably saying, that she's a whore. And I don't think you're right, it's not as cut and dried like that, but I'd say that Laurie is the kind of person who will never be satisfied with anything. I just hope that she doesn't decide to be with me because I'm her last choice or that she's exhausted her excitement, you know? I don’t' want to be the left overs. In all these years I've decided that I deserve better, you know?"

I looked at the time on the computer clock and then continued to read.

"So anyway, with and without Laurie I made a few trips around the world. I've been to a lot of European countries, my favorite one was Italy. So beautiful! And I've been to some South American countries and I've been to Japan. Met up with some people who were crime fighting out there. It's not banned outside of the United States, so it was a lot of fun. It's amazing how the crime rate is so much lower everywhere else. At least, Thank God Veidt is still in jail though, huh?"

My time for the computer was nearly out so I started to read more quickly.

"That's kind of the major stuff in a nut shell. Say I'd love to hear from you, old friend. Or should I say young friend, huh? You're younger than me now. Must be nice. But then again, I guess being exploded and in limbo wasn't so much. Anyway, here's my number 310-555-0634. Call me any time, you can even call collect!

Your friend, Daniel."

"Whew" I said as I closed the email. "That was long." I uttered and then opened Daniel's second email.

"Oh, I'm so sorry, I was so busy talking about my stuff that I hadn't asked you, what are you doing these days? Are you still fighting crime? I heard rumors that there was a mask operating in DC, and I figured it was you. New Frontiersman kind of hinted at your return, but it was really vague. I noticed they're reprinting your journal! Wow what times, huh? Anyway, let me know, maybe sometime we can get back together and make a run out in Archie for old time's sake. Daniel."

I blinked at the screen. Daniel had always been talkative. I was not surprised to see that it hadn't diminished in his 60s. I also was not surprised to hear of Laurie's departure.

I would have to think about a length response to Daniel's questions. I simply returned an email to him, "Daniel, thank you for your letter. I use the computer at the library and do not have enough time currently to respond, however, I will respond in a few days with details of my life as well as perhaps give you a call. Your friend, Rorschach."

As I suspected, he wanted us to meet again. At least now I knew he was amenable to the idea. A moment later, I checked the computer clock. My time had expired, so I signed out and made my way to the front desk to collect my sign. All the while thinking of Daniel and his lengthy excited letter.

Onward to a cup of coffee, the newspapers of the day and home to James. Tonight would be a good night for a 'walk' as well.

For now, Rorschach