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#TheDevilsMalware (The Continuing Adventures of the Gleaner – Episode 6 #AdventCalendar Edition)

The Devil’s Malware 6.1
Guiding Star 1

6.1
(We rejoin our hero as he finally emerges from the wormhole that the Devil has hurled him through, our hero following the light of the star that, at long last, guides him out of the Malevolent Intelligence’s fiendish trap.)

I follow the star.

Bright and beaming celestial being resting peacefully as it shines and glimmers within the magnificent diadem of constellations that stretch across the heavens.

Hold up…

Wait.

Shit!

Tiffany & Co???

The Devil’s Malware 6.2
Guiding Star 2

6.2
15 blocks???

15 blocks!!!

42nd Street to 57th Street!!!

Unbelievable!!!

I’ve tumbled through a wormhole of singularity that has taken me past every point on the space/time continuum instantaneously – I’ve travelled to every point in the universe at every point of recorded time – and I can only manage to get 15 blocks uptown in Manhattan???

The Devil’s Malware 6.3
Guiding Star 3

6.3
Sweet Jesus on high!!

Typical.

The Three Wiseman followed the star through the heavens and found the Son of God. They praised the Son of the Lord by bestowing upon him gifts of their immense wealth. The knelt at his feet.

I follow the star and can’t get past 57th Street.

The Devil’s Malware 6.4
Jimmy 1

6.4
Jimmy is working around the corner.

Thank sweet Jesus on high!

Jimmy has the Gift of Sight. Jimmy sees Truth. Jimmy is Light. Jimmy is Faith. Jimmy is Serenity.

And Jimmy can get his hands on some wicked, killer shake that will take you to the moon and back.

Pronto. No wait. No fuss.

The weed he has access to is grown and blessed by Incan descendants deep in the Andes. Dried by the South American sun and kissed by the lips of an Incan princess.

At least that’s what he tells us when we’re stoned on the stuff.

“What are you doing this far uptown?” Jimmy asks me.

“Jimmy. I need help. The Devil brought me here.”

“What?” Jimmy asks.

“The Devil brought me here. I need to find the fastest way to Queens.”

“The Devil brought you here?” Jimmy asks. And Jimmy laughs. “Man, even the Devil can’t afford this neighborhood anymore,” Jimmy says.

“The Devil’s got a plan, Jimmy.”

“Take a breather, man,” Jimmy says. “You and Billy always going on about the Devil. There’s no Devil. There’s just bad shit people do. There’s just bad shit people say. There’s just bad shit that happens. No Devil required. Most people are just trying to get through the day without getting hurt and without hurting someone. Someone gets hurt and it’s the Devil’s fault. No. I’m telling you, no. No Devil required.”

The Devil’s Malware 6.5
Jimmy 2

6.5
Jimmy needs to hear me. “I’m telling you! The Devil has a plan. He’s taking over the city. He needs my ex-wife and my daughter for his plan. He’s trying to keep me from getting home. He put me in a wormhole and sent me to the other side of the Universe so I couldn’t get to Forest Hills.”

Jimmy looks at me with his mouth open. “Man! What have you been smoking, sniffing, or eating? And, whatever it is, go easy on it. Or, just think about going de-caf. You hear me, man?”

“I’ve been clean for weeks, Jimmy.”

Jimmy keeps looking me up and down. “Maybe you’re having a flashback due to that shit you smoked with Sydney and Suzie three months ago. That shit you got from Mickey. I’m telling you, don’t take anything from Mickey. Nothing. His name’s ‘Mickey,’ for Christ’s sake.”

“Help me, Jimmy. I need the fastest way to Queens. Forest Hills. F-Train? Or the bus over the bridge?”

Jimmy’s got a sixth sense about the MTA. Jimmy knows all when it comes to commuting in this town.

Jimmy points downtown. “F-Train is working express right now. Out of Bryant Park.”

The Devil’s Malware 6.6
Saks Fifth Avenue

6.6
I rush down Fifth Avenue.

Holiday bedlam!

Crowds and crowds watching the Saks display. Tourists on tenterhooks as they snap pictures and videos with their phones.

I weave through the madness.

Need to get down to 42nd Street and 6th Avenue.

Need to outrun the Devil and his minions. The plan in hand. I’m on the clock. My heart is beating and the crowds around me are tittering with delight.
Color rushing up and down the wall of Saks Fifth Avenue across the street from me.

I stop suddenly.

I watch the display across the street. Like a wormhole of another kind. Time and space and light and dark moving back and forth effortlessly.

Think about what Jimmy said. Really think about it.

Is this all madness?

Is there no Devil?

No plan?

No wormhole?

Just a man suffering from a psychotropic flashback brought on by the release of residual chemicals lying dormant in my spine months after a monster LSD trip with Sydney and Suzie?

Did they just leave town? No plot. No conspiracy.

Did Bobby kick the habit, get straight and go back to dancing?

Am I just imagining it all?

Am I just going crazy?

(Tune in tomorrow for the next installment…)

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