“It means I’m not really here,” Happy said. “And Joshua isn’t really dressed like a regular person. We should get you some real clothes, actually.”
“So you make people see things that aren’t really there, and you can actually move things?” Sarah asked. “Like telepathy combined with telekinesis?”
“Yeah. We don’t know what triggered it, but it seems this power has been buried in our subconscious our whole lives. Mom and Dad are afraid of it.”
“A lot of people will be afraid of it,” Sarah said. “You should probably make yourself look like a regular person.”
“But I’m comfortable like this. I was a regular person earlier at a restaurant, and it didn’t feel right. This is who I am.”
“Then you’re going to have a lot of trouble fitting in.”
“The only people who fit in with idiots are other idiots,” Joshua said. “We’ll deal with it. There must be people who can appreciate what we can contribute.”
“I’m sure there are,” Sarah said. “If it gets too hard or you need a place to crash, you’re welcome to stay here.”
“Until the police start staking the place out,” Happy said. “That’s what happened at Mom and Dad’s house. They haven’t contacted you, have they?”
Just then, Sarah’s cell phone started playing Ace of Base’s 90s hit, “The Sign.” She answered it. After a moment of chatter that Joshua couldn’t understand, Sarah said, “No, he hasn’t been here. I don’t see how he could get here so fast anyway. He’d have to go on a hypersonic jet or something.” Then more chatter on the other end. “I will. Bye.”
“That was a weird coincidence,” she said after she hung up. “Do they know about the things you can do?”
“I don’t know,” Joshua answered. “A few cops saw us disappear, and some others saw us fly away at Mom and Dad’s house, but I didn’t think they’d report it.”
“Well, they think it’s possible that you made it here already, so they seem to have some idea that the normal rules don’t apply to you.”
“We should move on then,” Happy said. “We don’t want to put you in danger.”
“Can’t you make it so they can’t see you?” Sarah asked.
“Yeah,” Happy replied, “but if they have a camera, they can see us. Joshua doesn’t want to have to hurt anyone even if they attack us first.”
“Do what you have to do then. But remember that you have a home here if you need one.”
“Thanks, Sarah,” Joshua said. “We appreciate that.”
Despite Joshua’s protests, Sarah gave him some money so he could get some proper clothes. He decided it was better to use money that was willingly given to them than to pay for things with money that didn’t really exist, especially when dealing with something like clothing. A store clerk could be fired for the price of even a single shirt being missing from the register. Then they left and walked to the Triplet Pines Mall about a mile away. Whenever they saw a cop, Happy made sure they were unrecognizable. If they had body cameras, as they were supposed to due to a history of abuse of power by police officers, they would later see that they’d passed by the escaped mental patient Joshua Peterson, but by then, they’d be long gone.
Because the Triplet Pines Mall specialized in outlet stores, discount stores, and cheap knockoffs of expensive brands, Joshua and Happy were able to get a few outfits and a small suitcase to hold what he wasn’t wearing. They chose clothing that didn’t stand out—polo shirts, khaki pants, and plain-colored t-shirts. They also got a few essentials like a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, deodorant, and a yo-yo. Happy insisted on the yo-yo. It all fit neatly in the black suitcase. Happy eased its heft by augmenting Joshua’s strength with his own.
As they walked through the shopping center, Joshua looked at all the people and wondered if any of them had any idea they were living in a world where a person’s imagination could literally take on a life of its own. He wasn’t like them any more. He couldn’t live a normal life.
That’s ridiculous, Happy thought to him, hearing his thoughts as if they were his own. What is a normal life anyway? Getting a job? Having relationships with other people? We can still do those things. We’re still a person.
What kind of job could we get? Joshua replied. Nobody wants to hire a crazy person and his magical imaginary friend.
Dude, we can do things that nobody else can do. We’re like Superman. What would Superman do if he wasn’t fighting bad guys?
Joshua thought about it. It was easier to imagine what someone else would do with similar abilities. Superman could transport people all over the world in a fraction of the time it would take them to take an airplane. He could similarly deliver packages. He could work construction or in a warehouse. He could be a cop.
We could be a cop, Joshua proposed.
I thought you didn’t want to hurt anyone.
We wouldn’t have to. We’re way more powerful than any bad guys out there, and we wouldn’t have to worry about the police catching us. I know I said before that we’re not a super hero, but maybe we kinda are.
Usually, you’re the one raining on my parade, Happy said. I should remind you that that would mean going public and going through the normal application process, which includes a mental health evaluation. You’re diagnosed with a few mental disorders.
Joshua’s excitement died down. Happy was right. Contrary to what he’d thought as a child, having super powers wasn’t making his life any easier.
Happy continued, We don’t have to decide anything right now. Let’s just go and do whatever. We’ll see the world. We’ll meet people whose minds are open enough not to look at us and see a crazy person. We’re not crazy. We can make this work.
Joshua smiled. He trusted his figment. His friend.