The Return

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As the morning swaddled me in lethargy, I kept pouring piping hot coffee down my throat in an effort to seer its grip away. I opened my pack of cigarettes to find its last, solitary member begging and pleading to aide. With the butt held firmly between my lips, I reached into my pocket for my lighter, and confusion strikes when I come out empty handed.

Being not only a creature of habit, but the offspring of a librarian, I've always known there is a place for everything and everything has its place. The lighter is always in the same pocket. No matter the pants, no matter the day, and no matter the events the day will hold; The lighter is always in the right front pocket. 

I got up and began to search for where it may have dropped. The more I overturned papers and blueprints on my desk, the more frantic I became. I moved into the bedroom checking the pockets of the pants in the hamper, and still I found myself coming up short. In one final desperate attempt to figure out where my lighter had gone, I reached up and wove my fingers into my my hair and began replaying the memories since I had last used it.

Darkness. Silence. Like the entire night had lapsed by unrecorded, I couldn't recall anything after I arrived home and tossed my keys on the coffee table. Then came a beacon of light from behind that cut through the blackness of confusion.

*Click*

Adrenaline began pumping its way through my veins, slowing time down to a halt. Panicked, my mind yells out "Grab the knife". I reached into the pocket I had been searching all morning, and with knife in hand, I spun around to face the intruder as the knife clicked open with a one-handed flick. My eyes met the intruder holding my lit lighter in his outstretched hand.

"Is this how you greet yer guests?" I remembered that accent. The Jersey Slur. But it couldn't be...

I couldn't believe my eyes. The cigarette pressed in my lips and the knife held firm in my grip both released from their clutches and fell to the hardwood floor in unison as the shock of realization struck.

"Bobo?!" I said.

"Well I certainly ain't Big Bird, kid." 

I rubbed my eyes in a futile attempt to readjust my vision. It wasn't my eyes playing tricks on me. I really did see a six foot tall, blue, cartoon rabbit standing in my foyer. 

That was it. I'd finally went full on bananas. My mind raced with the realization that I had finally let go of reality, and I was in dire need of psychological help; And copious amounts of antipsychotic medication. My head began to spin. My pulse was racing. My breaths became short and frantic. Slowly, my vision began to narrow into small pinpoints of clarity in a sea of blackened haze.

"Kid, I need your help! Snap out of it!" Bobo swung his massive cartoon hand out and connected across my right cheek. The sting of the slap kept me from the near certain faint I was about to experience.

"How're you-"
"How did you-"
"How come I felt that?" I found myself stammering like an idiot.

"Kid. Shut up for a minute. Look, remember the time you got hungry and you wanted to cook yerself some hot dogs? So you took some paper towels under the basement stairs and set them on fire?"

"What?! Yeah. Yeah. I remember that, I was five. The basement steps caught on fire."

"Well, you told your Grandmother it was me that set them steps ablaze and I didn't say nothin' to nobody about it. I figured you owed me a favor for taking the blame for ya, and now I'm cashin' in that chip." I couldn't help but look at Bobo's face with a mix of bewilderment and frustration. "Don't look at me like that, kid, yer freakin' me out!"

"I don't understand. How is this possible? You were just a figment of- " 
"Yer imagination." Bobo interjected. "Yeah, yeah. Big words coming from a mister fancy pants engineer that can't figure out on his own that reality is nothin' more than your mind's interpretation of your senses. Sheesh, ya help a guy out growing up with crap-tacular parents and as soon as ya need a favor he's gotta insult ya the whole way through. What a world we live in, eh?" My brain was starting to hurt. I could feel my subconscious kicking and screaming trying to get to the surface as if it had something to say.

"I...uh...I'm sorry, Bobo." I'm apologizing to a cartoon. "I just didn't-" Don't do it. "I didn't think you were real." There it is. Call it a night; time for the straight jacket.

"Look, we could spend all night fussing about details, or you could actually give me a hand wit something." You're about to help a hallucination.

"What-What do you need from me?" Nothing good. He isn't real.

"Nothin' big. Just a heavy bag over on Fourth Street. I gotta get it gone in a big way and I need ya to gimme a ride and a hand. I ain't askin' much." Don't trust this.

"I-umm-yeah, I can help with that. I gotta make a pit stop before we get there, but sure." I reached down and picked up my knife and cigarette off the floor. As I put the cigarette to my lips, Bobo lit the end for me and handed back my lighter.

You're going to regret this

"Alright! I knew I could count on you, Draven. My main man!" Hit him in the face and run
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"And that's how it happened. When we got to the alley behind Fourth Street, he pointed out the bag and by the time I got out of the car, Bobo disappeared again. I walked over to see what was inside and that's when I discovered the body. Police swarmed in with their guns drawn and now I'm here."

"Look, as your lawyer, I have to advise you not to talk to anyone. Not your family, not your friends, no one. Okay? I'll speak with the DA about options. You just sit tight."

I can see on the lawyer's face just how screwed I am. About to get a life sentence for a cartoon's murder.

Was it the cartoon? What did you do last night?

Created: Apr 27, 2017

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