Part 36: A Canadian Love Story
Does Rabies not know what a bunker is?
I think Shock's drank so many of those sodas that he's now in a perpetual sugar crash.
"Talk" implies it was a two-way conversation. Acheron mostly just yammered on about how he's the best character ever that solved everything.
I nod, and tell him it's nice to see him too.
What a bunch of nonsense, eh? And here I thought he was becoming credible. I've never heard such a far-fetched story.
You can't possibly believe that, right? I mean -- we all handle crisis differently. But to validate it with fairy tales?
His problems go deeper than I thought. And he's holding us in here because of it? If that's the case -- we're not getting out.
Well obviously you're going to starve with that attitude. There's perfectly good spiders down here to chew on!
It made sense from his point of view. But he hadn't seen the things that we've seen. He hadn't directly witnessed The Ark or Max's power. To him -- Acheron really was making stuff up.
But I better not tell Shock that I believe him. If he knew I sided with Acheron, he'd be angry. At that was something he was really good at. I decide to change the subject to avoid any drama.
Perhaps he could tell me a little about himself. Ever since we met, he'd been caught in the moment. A little relaxation and breathing room would help him. If anything -- it would help the time go by faster.
I hope you have at least one memory where he wasn't wearing a thong.
C'mon, tell us the juicy details of why you were exiled from the great white north.
Can you imagine what kind of song lyrics this guy writes?
The full picture isn't what you want at all. You glorify the past with specific memories. Sometimes, the bad is completely ignored.
If I went back -- I'd regret it. I mean, sure I had lots of fun. But there was lots of hurt, too.
Of course Klace was a creepy stalker even in childhood.
Couldn't you have buried him in an anthill or something?
They go as far back as elementary school? For some reason, I didn't think it went that far back.
Anyway, my Dad thought we were friends. So he got in touch with Klace's parents. Next thing I knew -- we were hanging out.
I thought my Dad should've asked me first. Now I was -forced- to acknowledge him. This wasn't a school setting anymore.
I didn't have any friends, I was clueless. So I decided to ask him why he followed me. I thought it was a reasonable question.
Klace seems like the kind of person who would, upon hearing that one of your parents was in the military, ask "so, they ever kill anyone?"
Makes sense, what with the general sense of utter dread that radiates from the Canadian legions.
I don't know why -- but they were. And he told me it was for the best.
Unless he was with me, of course. Since the other kids were scared. They wouldn't mess wit him if I was there.
What wars? The Great Maple Conquests?
It kind of made me feel important. I mean -- having someone count on me. So I made sure the other kids stayed away.
We became best friends after that. All the way up until High School. But who -doesn't- drift apart then?
My Dad's military days came to an end. At that point, he was a private contractor. He got a job -- and we had to move.
For some reason I'm interpreting Klace 'taking it badly' as him leaving a really drunken series of death threats on Shock's answering machine.
Are you sure people weren't flocking to see him perform for the same reason The Room got really popular?
Perhaps me leaving was a good thing. He'd be able to focus on his future. Better than us distracting each other.
It took a while, but I got over it. We tried to stay in touch, but failed. You know how that stuff can be.
So I started to focus on my own career. It turns out, I was great at soccer. Enough to get a full academic scholarship.
I could go to any school I wanted. So I aligned with my Dad's work. That's how I ended up in America.
The higher the body count from Armstrong's investor meeting gets, the funnier it gets.
Another mention of an investor meeting?
I wasn't in the mood to continue school. I dropped out -- took a bit of a dark turn. My promising soccer career died with him.
I wanted to join the military. Maybe to follow in his footsteps. But they wouldn't let me do it.
I think what they meant was that they were trying to be polite after you somehow scored a negative number on the ASVAB.
Holy shit, Shock was actually an angry hobo.
Yeah that's what the military wants, rebellious assholes who pick fights constantly.
So Shock, did they make you fight over drugs or was it usually a really undercooked steak?
Jesus Christ, Shock is a psychopath.
That's definitely a colorful background. He lost his best friend -- and his Father. He must have been an emotional basket case. As odd as fighting was, it's good that he found relief.
He must be somewhat out of shape, though. If I'm not mistaken -- Acheron disarmed him quite fast. Or perhaps, Acheron is just stronger than we think.
Yeah, but nobody likes rule-breakers. That's how you get the law involved. And trust me -- they got involved.
I was given a bit of an ultimatum. Stop the fighting -- or go to jail. Obviously, I chose to stop.
"Of course, they still let me brain the odd drifter with a baseball bat."
Shock your imagination is very limited.
Guess all those brawls behind the abandoned Blockbusters built up his hand-eye coordination.
So I started to play at open-mic nights. Then -- the police left me alone. I guess they believed my little act.
It's not that I liked playing the guitar. I just do it when the circumstances need it. I actually started to get noticed.
Klace was getting famous by then, too. To be honest -- I had no idea. My priorities were always elsewhere.
A far cry from the guy I used to know. Fame can change people, I thought. I hoped it would never happen to me.
But then I saw him, right there in the bar. He smiled at me and told me how good I was. He actually came to watch one of my shows.
Usually, it's the other way around. You go to a show, and hope to get noticed. You never hear stories like mine.
You sure you weren't just drunker than any person has ever been ever?
That's when he asked me to play for him. He was about to start touring. Him and his manager were seeking talent.
I agreed without a single thought. And I can tell you now -- it was a mistake. I was driven by my nostalgia.
Back when we were best friends. Back when my Father was alive. I wanted to feel that way again.
How pathetic does your life have to be when your "glory days" consisted of hanging out with a guy who had a history of stalking you?
Touring with him, and reconnecting? It was like rebuilding that broken mirror. We got the good -- then we got the bad.
More death -- more destruction. It became one huge nightmare. I wish I never agreed to join him.
Maybe then, they'd all be alive. Tragedy stalks me, you know. First my Dad -- now everybody else.
And I couldn't even protect him this time! It wasn't like when we were back in school. You can't relive the past -- I was naive!
For some reason I don't think Shock fully managed to vent all his anger during his time with those fight clubs.
That's why I decided to keep people away. I won't get close to anybody again. My true glory days -- they were underground.
I didn't make connections -- I was solo. There was no one around me to get hurt. I think that's the best environment for me.
So when we get out -- that's what I'll do. I'll go back to how things were before. Back when I only looked out for myself.
I can't wait for Shock to start playing at bars that are so underground that their main patrons are mole people.
Heh -- you're good, you know that? I didn't see it that way. Food for thought, at least.
Last time we talked, he mentioned philanthropic work. That would be a much better idea than pedalling back. A relapse would only hurt everybody involved. And Klace would never agree to let him do that!
Yeah -- you're right.
He looks back at me, with tear-filled eyes.
Was this line supposed to have impact?
I don't really think it's superstition more than it's that every character in this game must have a tragic backstory because that's the only way the writer knows how to garner sympathy for them.
There was no way he was responsible for this. It was just an easy way to enact self-pity. He had to move on -- and realize it wasn't his fault.
His losses have been extreme, but he still had himself. As long as he didn't lose his path -- he'd be okay. I hope he stuck to the philanthropy idea.
What are the odds we'll run into another person with a hilariously contrived and "sad" backstory? My magic eight-ball is very confident!