Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Microstory 1937: Pinpricks of Glory

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Leonard: *whispering* Hey, I can stand guard now. Go back to sleep.
Myka: *looking at watch* I wasn’t gonna wake you up. I was just gonna stay on and watch over you two, and then rest on the way back, since I can’t drive.
Leonard: You can always count on me to sleep exactly seven hours, give or take fifteen minutes. No matter what, that’s as long as I can go without having to relieve myself.
Myka: A walking clock. Well, anyway, do that real quick, and then just go back to sleep. I’m fine. I like being awake under the stars.
Leonard: *sitting down* Yeah, they don’t have these where I’m from. [...] I don’t mean literally. I’ve just always lived in the city, where there’s so much light pollution, so I don’t usually get this great of a view. I’ve been around the world a bit, but generally just to different cities, and at any rate, I couldn’t appreciate the beauty when I was young.
Myka: Yeah, same here, though I’ve not done much traveling at all. There were plenty of places to rob right near home.
Leonard: Yeah.
Myka: You don’t take issue with my criminal past?
Leonard: A lot of P.O.s get into the business hoping to keep bad guys behind bars. They like the idea of catching their parolees red-handed, instead of waiting until someone else calls in an issue. They get a kick out of it. I always tried to listen to my people, and while I was never a jerk about it, I started to empathize with them even more. I don’t believe in evil; just unproductive or counterproductive choices. It’s not my job to catch bad guys. It’s my job to try to help them figure out a better path. Or it was, anyway. There were others like me, of course, but one thing a lot of them never understood was that the right path isn’t the same for everyone. Like you said yesterday, driving is a trigger for you. For someone else, driving could be the only thing keeping them out. I liked to look for those positive outlets. It was my favorite part.
Myka: So you really got to know them. Tell me about your favorite parolee.
Leonard: It was the guy who told me about all this alien and parallel universe stuff. He felt like an alien himself, and didn’t think there was anything he could do to contribute to society. So I had him work with me. We went on a lot of missions together that weren’t exactly legal, but they were positive, and I think that helped. We were pretty good friends...too good, probably. I never told my bosses or co-workers.
Myka: Was he...more than a friend, then?
Leonard: No, nothing like that. I was married until recently. In fact, I had just signed the divorce papers when I was whisked away to your world. Hmm...I wonder if that had anything to do with it. Whatever, I dunno, tell me about yourself.
Myka: You can probably guess a lot about me. I’m not remarkable. I grew up in an average household with insufferable parents who drove me to a life of crime just so that I could exert some control over my own life, and learn to take care of myself without having to answer to anyone, or worry about other people’s needs.
Leonard: Wow, that’s quite insightful of you.
Myka: *smiling* I’ve had a lot of counseling since I got clean.
Leonard: Tell me more. Who was the first person to try to really help you?

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