DeepSeaElkFish

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3. Steve

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Davy was not surprised to see the mysterious door had disappeared. He made it back into the library, closing the door behind him. He had turned around to see it was gone. Davy thought about his classwork and figured he’d been productive enough today. He got a lot of reading done at the library. Also, he found out about his destiny. It was probably okay to pack up and go home.

As Davy began packing his books, he remembered Lady Gut Possum’s mention of his companions. There were supposed to be three, right? And one was waiting for him nearby. He looked around the library; no one else was in sight. That was probably good. Davy wasn’t sure that he wanted to deal with another law student on his quest to find whatever these relics were. Still, Davy wondered what kind of people were waiting for him. He assumed that when Lady Gut Possum said companion, she meant companion as in cohort or ally, and not companion as in stately-euphemism-for-courteous-night-lover. Davy was sure the latter would just be uncomfortable for everyone. If no one was in the library, though, Davy figured he should probably head outside.

As he made his way to the exit, Davy decided to change. He had always assumed the worst about any situation and that things would always go poorly for him. He had often refrained from doing things that were interesting, because as soon as he had an idea, he would immediately come up with a thousand different reasons why his idea would fail. Ultimately, his expectation of failure and his assumption that everything would always go poorly kept Davy from doing anything worthwhile with his life. He was in law school, because it was something that everyone else told his was a safe way to go, not because he particularly was drawn to the subject.

But a possum told Davy he was special. It may be difficult, but Davy decided he could take some risks, and maybe things don’t have to go badly for him. He was going to be more open-minded and optimistic from now on, even if it killed him. Davy was finally feeling confident and self-assured, a feeling that immediately disappeared when he saw Steve Sharma waiting for him outside.

“Davy! Good to see you again” Steve shouted enthusiastically.

Davy was taken aback; he hadn’t seen Steve in a few years. “Steve! What are you doing here?” he said.

Steve grinned. “Just got back in town and wanted to see my best friend,” he answered.

“But what about your job? Aren’t you still supposed to be up north for another-”

Steve interrupted him. “Nah, it wasn’t working out. Besides, I’m actually working here now. I got a new job. I’m an astronaut!”

Davy was not surprised to hear Steve say this. “An astronaut?” he began. “Aren’t you supposed to have years of training for that?”

Steve looked to the side. “Um, yeah. I trained. So many years of training,” he replied.

“When?” Davy asked.

“In college, don’t you remember?”

“You majored in public relations.”

“Yeah,” Steve mumbled. “But, uh, during the summer I also studied … astronaut-ics.”

“Astronautics?” Davy asked.

After a pause, Steve replied. “Yes.”

Davy decided it was probably better not to push the subject. “So you’re back in town,” he said. “That’s great.”

Steve regained his prior enthusiasm. Davy thought of this as Steve’s default mode. “You know it!” he exclaimed. “So what have I missed? Anything exciting happen while I was away?”

Davy figured he might as well tell Steve. “Well, I met a possum lady this afternoon, and she told me about my destiny.”

“What was she trying to sell you?”

“Nothing, I don’t think,” Davy replied. “But she told me that it was my destiny to help some little kid save the world from an impending age of darkness.”

Steve shrugged. “Wow, that’s kind of cool,” he stated.

Davy wasn’t sure how to respond. “Kind of?”

“Yeah, I mean, it’s kinda contrived, isn’t it?”

“Maybe, yeah,” Davy conceded, though he still wasn’t clear on where Steve was going with this.

Steve continued. “I mean, you’ve got, like, a Joseph

Campbell, Hero’s Journey type of deal going on.”

“Well, I didn’t want to just call it out like that.”

“But you’ve got this Obi-Wan Kenobi type telling you that you’re destined for some great destiny,” Steve said authoritatively. “Did she say that there was a prophecy or something?”

Davy shrugged. “I think so, yeah.”

Steve sighed. “So this possum lady says you’re important, because this nondescript prophecy says so. You haven’t shown any indication that you’re important. You’ve just been told you’re important, which somehow means you actually are important.”

Davy frowned. “That kind of hurts,” he said.

“But it’s just kind of a lazy way to set up a story. And it’s been done a thousand times.”

“I’ll be sure to tell her that her prophecy is a cliché next time I see her,” Davy replied.

“I’m sorry,” Steve chided. “I’m just not crazy about how this was set up, it feels like bush league writing.”

Davy wasn’t thrilled about being told his destiny was bush league quality. “But I’m not sure you can just call it out like that,” he said.

“What?”

“I mean, this whole set-up, it may be cliché,” Davy began. “But it’s still happening.

“Sure,” Steve admitted.

“So, calling it out is fine, I guess,” Davy continued. “But if I’m supposed to stick with my quest and stuff, doesn’t it feel like by criticizing the situation but committing to it anyway, it’s like I’m having my cake and eating it too?”

Steve shrugged. “I guess.”

“I just think I’d be a hypocrite if I did that.”

Steve seemed to understand Davy’s point. “But what if I want to call out the narrative shortcomings of your quest?” he asked.

Davy thought to himself. “I dunno,” he said. “Go for it, but I guess someone else might call you out for calling the quest out.”

There was a moment of silence. “That sounds really confusing, Steve finally said.

Davy didn’t disagree. He was still trying to wrap his head around what he had just said. This conversation was getting stupid.

Steve rubbed his chin. “So, Davy,” he began.

“Yeah?”

“This quest of yours…”

“Yeah?”

“Can I come?”

Davy figured this was coming. “I think you’re supposed to,” he answered. “The possum lady said I’m supposed to have three companions.”

Steve scowled. “Not like, stately-night-lover companions though, right?”

“I don’t think so,” Davy replied. “But she said the first companion would be waiting for me out here, and I guess that’s you.”

“So, I’m in the prophecy?” Steve asked.

“Yeah.”

Steve tried to stifle his smile. “…that’s cool,” he admitted.

“You think this will get in the way of your, uh, astronaut gig?” Davy felt obligated to ask.

Steve laughed. “Nah, the guys at the astronaut, um, place offer pretty flexible hours. Actually, they totally told me just before I saw you that I could just come in whenever I want, and they’d be cool with that.”

Davy again decided not to push the issue. “Sounds like something they would say at the astronaut place,” he stated.

Steve, seemingly trying to suppress his enthusiasm, held his hand to his chin. “Well, what happens now? With the prophecy?”

“I was told to find seven artifacts,” Davy flatly replied.

“Where are they?” Steve asked.

Davy shrugged. “I dunno.”

“Then what do they look like?”

Davy shrugged again. “I dunno. The possum lady said I’d

know when the first one shows up.”

Steve was getting mildly agitated. “So we’re just supposed to sit around and wait until the relic just shows up?” he asked.

Davy decided to shrug a third time. “I guess.”

Steve was silent again. Finally, he said, “Yeah, whatever. Wanna get some tacos or something?”

“Sure.”

This seemed to satisfy Steve. “Cool,” he said. “Also, do you know where I could find a place to live?”

Davy was not surprised to hear Steve ask this. Everything Davy heard Steve say just now was completely in line with the Steve he had known for years. Still, it would be nice to have his company on this quest. They left to go get some tacos. As they walked away from the front of the law school, neither of them heard the disembodied voice that quietly filled the air where they were previously standing.

“LDFS DLHFUE HFUEWOFINV IJDSJVND JKLAVBGRUI LNHELIV HALDUIHGA BOON BOON BOON!”

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