Wait, not the weirdest fanfic ever — I’m scared to even consider what that might entail. But is the weirdest fanfic ever by me.
Not that I’ve written much before this. I’ve never felt even the slightest bit moved to write fanfic, ever, but this scene, this weird neo-Saturday cinema serials thing, just popped into my head, very loosely based on this TV show I’ve been watching. Don’t click on the link: if you don’t know the show, the weirdness won’t hit you (though you should check out this program, it’s worth watching). And if you do know the show, the characters should be instantly recognizable.
“Mr. Draper,” he heard her cry out as the Pinto jounced over the still-writhing bodies. Thud, thus, crack, thud. Madison Avenue was… charred. A series of charred buildings, row on row of blackened nothingnesses, with the shadows of the ships above still flickering across the ruined streets and molten glass and steel. Invaders from outer space, and he was fleeing in a Pinto, of all things. With this one, he thought to himself.
“Don’t call me that,” he said, one eyebrow raised. As if it were obvious she shouldn’t.
“Then what should I call you?” she asked. Her voice was clear and blunt, but soft, as if she knew she ought to be careful, but couldn’t figure out just why or how.
He didn’t answer her right away. Eyes on the thickening pillars of smoke out in the suburbs, he slammed the accelerator down. Didn’t know why it felt right. The ships, the… invaders, they could just as easily be attracted by the faster motion, but his instincts told him that speed was the key to surviving this.
Eyes on the road, he spoke just loud enough for her to hear him over what passed for the roar of the engine in a Pinto. And what he said was, “Because I’m not going to be him anymore, and you’re not going to be Peggy. Not if you want to live through this. What you were, what I was, those people are dead. They could never live through this. They were cocoons, and we’ve left the cocoon. Time to fly away. It’s time to move forward.” He sighed, and then added, “Got a cigarette? Mine were in my jacket.”
She fished around in her oversized blue purse for a moment, and fetched out a pack of Luckys. “They’re not mine,” she said, as if worried, fending off judgment. “I only carried them because…”
“What makes you think I care?” he asked, turning his head for a moment to cast at her that deliberate, simple glance that had unarmed so many women before her. And she didn’t care how he looked at her. She didn’t give a damn, she thought to herself, as a flaming blue ray streaked out of the sky and through the roof of a church. Which church? She couldn’t remember.
“I just… I don’t know.” She closed her eyes for a moment, and a priest on fire flashed through her mind. “I just… well, you saved me.”
“No I didn’t,” he said. “You made yourself worth bringing along, that’s all. I’m not saving you. I’m saving myself.”
“I see,” she said. “And your wife?”
He furrowed his brow. “Why do you want to know?” And when she was silent too long, his face softened, and he said, softly and a little sadly, “The radio. They said… my neighborhood was incinerated first.”
A wave of panic washed over Peg… her. Nameless, worldless, unfamilied her. Her son was still in Brooklyn. She could save him, she realized. This son who didn’t know her name, her face. Who would never call her Mommy.
“Can we stop in Brooklyn?”
“No,” he said. “We have to leave the city.” And then, “Why?”
And out the window, a streaming ray of blue fire slammed across the landscape, melting concrete and splitting in half both a newspaper stand the the man inside. She was scared, now, that if she got out of the car, he would be gone when she came back. That she would burn with the rest of the city. Maternal instinct? What was that? She wanted to live. She searched inside herself for some stronger impulse, but she couldn’t find it. Anyway, she didn’t know where he lived now, with his new mommy and daddy.
“Never mind. Just get us out of New York,” she said, firmly, and for the first time in her life she knew that she would never see her son again.
“Gladly,” he said, as nameless as she was, and shocked, but alive. He could make it like it had never happened. Like this life of his had never, ever been. Of course he could. He’d done it before.
“There’s a bottle in the glove compartment,” he said. “Get it out.”
Real post coming tomorrow!