This is a re-posting from my website, but wanted to share it with a larger audience.
To those interested, I present my work-in-progress: “The Opposite Effect”
Another night, but the same routine……
The walk home was uneventful. All the stores were closing down for the night, and the type of people who inhabit the night came out in their usual style – as varied as it was. The night people were the more colorful of the lot, with their styles and expressions….their energy that made the nighttime as mysterious and wonderful as it was.
“What it must be like to be one of them” Jet thought to himself as he walked down the streets. “What it must be like to truly live free and be yourself….but what would people think?” This thought plagued Jet all the way home that night.
Arriving home was the same routine too. Pick up the mail, go up the elevator, unlock the door, and flip on the tube. That was pretty much the same routine he’d had for the past few months. Jet looked out the window to see the people below going to the places they go at night, whether it be a club, a bar, a restaurant…and they all seemed so HAPPY. Not like the people during the daytime. Could it be that the sunlight was adversely affecting these people?
“Naaahhh…couldn’t be” he thought. Maybe it was just the cooler air at night. It hadn’t been the same since Jet moved to the big city. He was used to how people did the same at night as they were during the day. He wasn’t used to this change in people at night…..and yet found it intriguing. “Perhaps tonight…I’ll do something different!”
Jet went back out of the apartment building, and decided to go downtown…where he saw a cluster of colorful people going. Black…gold…blue…purple…it seemed like a glittering roadshow or something. The places he passed were not unusual to him, as he had passed them many times during the daytime, but somehow they seemed different at night. Almost as if the entire city had transformed overnight. It was getting colder, and Jet decided that he should go out another night more prepared, so he went back home and thought about it as he went to bed.
The next day was unsettling as Jet had thought about the people he had seen the previous night, and when he looked out of his window the following morning, there were no people like he had seen during the night time. “How odd” he thought “that those people were only visible at night”. Work was the same though….that had not changed. It seemed like he had fallen into a hole in time during the night, only to return to reality the next day.
“It’s not fair” he thought. “Why do those people only seem to exist at night?” Maybe it’ll happen again tonight? Jet couldn’t wait to get home that evening so he could see the colorful people he saw the night before.
That night, when he went home…he made his dinner, and then grabbed his jacket and headed out the door. He walked down some of the streets he had seen the previous night, and sure enough, he saw some clusters of the unusual people he saw the night before. He followed at a cautious distance, so not to arouse suspicion, and kept pace as they went down one street and then the next. They went into a building that was the home of a night club that he had heard about, but didn’t think much of checking out…but here he was. The music was loud, and people were tightly packed in, much like sardines. In this place, he stuck out like a sore thumb amidst the colorful crowd. He tried to make his way around, but only made it as far as the bar before someone noticed him.
“Hey! First time here?” asked the lady behind the bar. She was gorgeous, like ladies he had seen before….but none had quite the shade of hair color that she had…..somewhere between fuschia and lavender.
“Yeah…first time…right.” Jet stammered out as the lady smiled back at him. “Would you like something to drink?” she asked. “Sure. Something in a cola.” he said. She looked a little puzzled, but brought him what he asked nonetheless.
Jet looked around, and couldn’t belive his eyes. “Where did all these people come from?” he thought to himself. He had never seen quite the sight before, and it amazed, and surprised him a little at the same time. It was something new….something he had needed for a very long time. He remained in the club for a few hours, and then decided it was time to head home since he needed to be up early the next morning. As the club closed, the people who worked there started ushering people out the back door. Jet went out the back and made his way back around to the street. He retraced his steps until he was back home where he knew what things were like. He laid down to rest, thinking of the experience he had that night, and how he wished he could live that free.
He closed his eyes thinking “Hmm…back to the real world tomorrow…*sigh*” and fell asleep.
This was the last time anything would be the same for Jet…ever again.
Jet woke up the next morning feeling pretty much the same as he always had….just slightly groggy and almost ready to take on the day. The morning routine was just that – routine, but somehow it comforted him that there were some things in life that stayed as they should. He still couldn’t get the images of the previous night out of his mind.
“Who were those people, and why have I not noticed them before?” he thought to himself as he poured his juice.
Was his life so stagnant and frozen into routine that he had not allowed himself to let his eyes wander from what he’d seen before? He pondered on this as he went to work that day, but as he left his apartment, something else caught his attention that he had not noticed before. The beautiful people he had seen the night before were out again…in the daytime! The people were so vibrant and full of energy – moreso than he had seen before. He rubbed his eyes to be sure his vision wasn’t playing tricks on him, but the people remained as colourful as ever. He quickly pulled on his shirt and finished getting dressed, then ventured out into the seemingly familiar, but now a little strange world that now faced him.
As he opened the door, he saw more of those people that now seemed to be everywhere. For some reason, it wasn’t just the people that were brighter and more colourful, but the whole ambience of his surroundings seemed brighter.
“This isn’t how my street looks” he thought to himself. As he looked around, a lot of what he saw was the same, but still different in some ways. As he went down the street to his usual coffee shop, he saw more colourful people in there, where there were none just the previous day. As he entered, he felt eyes all on him as he went to his favorite seat and sat down. In a way it was uncomfortable feeling all these gazes following him as though he was some sort of sideshow attraction. The waitress came over to take his order – all 7 feet of her if you counted the extreme mohawk and platform boots. Bracelets jangling an assortment of charms off of her wrists.
“Welcome! What can I get for you today?” she asked. She seemed pleasant enough, as though nothing was out of the ordinary, but he quickly dismissed it as just a professional courtesy. It still struck Jet as odd that as otherworldly as his surroundings were, everyone treated the day as just another one in the calendar.
“I’ll have some french toast, eggs, and a cup of coffee”, he said.
“Would you like a regular coffee, or a cafe mocha?” the waitress replied back.
“Just a regular coffee please.”
“Suit yourself….coming right up.” and she walked away. Maybe it was just he didn’t take any notice to the people before, but it still stunned him that he seemed to be the exception to the rule in this place.
“Have I remained so stuck in my routine that I never noticed?” Jet thought to himself. “This all seemed to start that night that I followed those people to that building….so perhaps I should go back there.”
The thought seemed rational enough so he could sort out what was happening, so he set out to find the elusive club that he had seen before. Jet went back home, and then retraced his steps. He rounded one corner and then the next, carefully retracing the steps that he took that fateful night until he was sure he was back to where it all started. Something was very much wrong though…..
The club wasn’t there! Jet just stared at the abandoned building with disbelief. “It WAS here…I’m SURE of it!” He just couldn’t piece the puzzle together. He followed the precise path to where the club was, but now it was gone, and in it’s place was a long-abandoned office building with dust collecting on some windows with others having been boarded over – posters nailed here and there with events long-since past. He went around the back of the building, but that door was boarded up and fenced off – no trace of any person through in quite some time.
He noticed a police car patrolling the area, and walked over to it…flagging the officer down. The car stopped and the policeman came out to see what was the matter. The fact he was an officer seemed perfectly normal to Jet, although the two-foot-high blue mohawk seemed out-of-place with his regulation uniform.
“Can I be of some assistance?” the man asked.
“Wasn’t there some sort of night club here?” Jet asked quizzically.
“Let me see” he said, stroking his chin and thinking. “Oh yeah! There was a night club here many years ago, and then some developer thought this would be a nice place for an office, so they gutted it and put in the offices. Well, since it’s off the beaten path, not much business came in, and the place eventually closed down. Darn shame really.”
“Wait a minute….you mean it was here a long time ago?”
“Yeah…right nice place as I recall it. Too bad those developers came in and took over. Quite a few people lost their jobs when that happened.”
Jet couldn’t believe his ears. “How long ago was the club here?”
The officer looked at Jet puzzled. “About 10-12 years ago…..why?”
At that point, he thought it best to not say too much. “Just curious. Some of my friends told me of a place like this they used to go to, so I thought I’d check it out.”
“I think they told you just a touch late, friend.” and with that, the officer smiled, got back into his car, and left.
Jet sat there, staring at the building, wondering what had happened to him. Had he stepped through time? Was he even in the same place he was the previous night? These thoughts puzzled him more and more as he made his way back home to sort things out and figure out where he really was. The first thought was “this must be a bad dream or something”, but it was to real to be that – not that he hadn’t had any vivid dreams before. He was both intrigued, and just a tiny bit apprehensive about his new surroundings. Each place he went to, it was the same…..all these colourful people acting as though nothing was out of the ordinary, and more of the time, he felt gazes following him as though he was something that no one had ever seen before.
“Well….tomorrow should go back to normal” he thought, since the next day was his return to the working world, and at least there he felt that things would be as routine as he had ever expected. As he headed for home, he saw yet more of the people, but as he followed them around, none of them seemed to be heading for the club that he had seen that one night, so he felt even more lost than ever. After a couple of hours of watching people, he decided to call it a night. He was tired, and just a little frustrated at what has turned his otherwise normal life upside-down all in the space of a day.
When he got home, he found his apartment just as he had left it. “Well…at least SOME things stay the same, thank goodness.” He threw off his shirt, sat down, popped open his soda, kicked back and watched his late-night shows before heading off to bed.
“Tomorrow”, he thought, “things will be normal again”, then he turned over and went to sleep.
The next morning greeted him with the early-morning sun, as it always had. Jet got up, put on his nice comfortable shirt, and then headed to the window to see how his world appeared. What he saw made him stare wide-eyed…….
….the beautiful people….were still there!
“This can’t be!” he thought loudly to himself. “Things were supposed to be the way they were, and they’re not! What happened that night that changed everything??”
It seemed that his apartment building was the only place truly unaffected by all the changes to his world, which in of itself, seemed to be the most glaring anomaly….that, and the fact that the club that the people went to was no longer there. That he could not get out of his mind. It was there one night and gone the next, presumably for quite some time.
He turned on the TV to catch the morning news before heading out, and then got himself some bagels and spread to nibble on while he regained the rest of his consciousness. When he sat down, he just about choked on his bagel at what he saw on the screen……..
The beautiful people were on the TV too! The usual people he’d see on the news had somehow been transformed….or replaced, it would seem, by others who were bright, colourful, and more full of life than people he had seen before.
“Am I the only person in the world who is the way I am?” he questioned himself. He turned off the TV, finished his breakfast, and then headed off to work. He drove downtown to where he worked at the department store, thinking perhaps this too would be changed in this new place.
He didn’t realize just how right that one thought would be. As he drove closer, it was mostly the same as it was, however the items he saw in the window he attributed to some hollywood gala or perhaps Halloween, for he did not recognize any of the stock in the windows. He pulled around back and parked in his usual place, and then got out of his car.
” ‘Morning, Jet! Ready for the new day?” the voice came from around him, and he recognized it as his friend Brad, whom he’d worked with for a long time, but when he turned around, he was not ready for what he saw.
He too….had changed.
“My goodness, Jet…you getting ready for some costume party or something?” Brad asked, as though everything else around them seemed perfectly ordinary. “Come on…we have a store meeting in a little bit, and I have a feeling it’s going to be big!”
They both went inside, and Jet’s head reeled at the sight of his once-familiar store surroundings, as it had all changed over his weekend. He had to accept the fact that his world was gone, and now he had to adjust to this one….or did he?