Alex Reynard

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Luxy Bleeder sat on a thin platform jutting out from the blinking red antennae at the very tip-top of Bigwheel Fifty-Two. On Earth, such structures existed to prevent planes from crashing into tall buildings. There were no planes in Phobiopolis ('Except for that one fucking place...'), but it was traditional, so he'd stuck one on. It looked cool. Which was always reason enough for anything.

The bulb turned him cranberry red every two seconds. He was singing to himself between puffs of his cigarette.

"I live for the, way that you cheer and scream for me. The applause, applause, applause..."

Right on time, he noticed a heavenly wingspan descending through the clouds.

He stood up and walked to the edge of the platform, toes dangling off. The winds up here were fierce, so he had to sway a bit to keep his balance lest he plummet through the faux blue sky and die horrifically, impaled on some nice lady's garden sculpture. Fun. He snubbed out his cig on the back of his hand. Not polite to exhale carcinogens into the face of the divine.

He waved. "Well, well, well. If it isn't my favorite foe!"

"Mine as well," Aldridge replied with a friendly nod as he drew nearer. He folded his wings and stood comfortably on nothing.

The raccoon spied the brown paper parcel underneath the angel's arm. "You actually brought it. I'm flabbergasted."

"And why is that? Didn't you think I'd keep my word?"

"Nothing like that!" Luxy was quick to reassure. "I just thought, naturally enough, that you might've had second thoughts about, well... me."

The wizard laughed, warmly and genuinely. "Luxy, I failed my half of the bargain. You didn't. No one deserves to be entrusted with this more than you."

The mayor grinned with all his teeth. "That is entirely true. Can't disagree."

They laughed together.

Luxy sighed. He looked down at his shoes, the lights of his home, and the ground a mile away. "I actually..." He rubbed the back of his neck. "At the party, I didn't get a chance to say that, ah, I'm glad we're talking to each other again. For realsies. It was exciting being your foil, but it could've been more. Y'know?"

Aldridge nodded. "I think we were what we needed to be for each other at the time. And now as well."

A smirk. "You. Always with the wisdom drippin' out of you like jelly from a doughnut. The embodiment of all the good in the world."

The wizard shook his head. "Not hardly. If I were the embodiment of good and you were my opposite, that would mean you'd be evil, which you aren't."

Luxy pointed at the cube-shaped package. "I think we both know who fits that slot a little better."

"Actually..." Aldridge tapped his finger to his lips. "To extend your idea a little, the star being is Good. The Allfilth is Evil. Scaphis is Madness. And I, I'd like to hope, am Balance."

"What am I then?" Luxy asked.

"Truth," Aldridge said simply.

Luxy blinked. That was actually one of the nicest compliments he had ever received. "Geez... Thank you." His grin became bashful "I guess then Toby is the pebble. The one that makes ripples in still water."

"Who's the one flopping their wisdom out now?" Aldridge teased.

Luxy chortled.

Aldridge handed over the package. "Into more capable hands I could not hope to place this."

"I won't let you down," the raccoon said, then performed a beautiful fake drop, catching it on the end of his shoe. "Ha."

"Maybe you're actually the Jester."

"Por que no los dos?" Luxy transferred the cube to his hands. Cripes, he could actually feel the rage radiating off it.

He looked back to Aldridge. There was a moment's uncomfortable silence.

"Say, uh... I've got court in half an hour or something. You wanna come down, sit in the audience? After that we can, I dunno, dick around awhile? Hit some bars? Rob a bank?"

Aldridge was about to decline by default, then stopped himself. "You know what? That sounds absolutely brilliant. I haven't just walked around like a normal furson in ages." With a snap he changed his robes to a dapper blue suit. "I'll be there."

"Aces, jack! You look like a diamond. Let's go clubbing. I've got money in spades and a heart-on to spend it."

Aldridge groaned and slapped his forehead. "Oh god. You've been waiting to spring that one on someone, haven't you?"

"Nope! Just popped into my head right now, in fact!"


The raccoon had several secret offices, but this one was the secretest secret of all.

Strolling down a plain white fluorescent -lit hallway, he could easily hear the rumbling bass thumpbeat of his audience enjoying a pre-trial mosh pit. At a specific point he stopped, knocked two times on the thirteenth tile from the ceiling, four times on the second from the floor, then whistled a C sharp. The section of wall ceased to exist. He entered, and it returned behind him.

It was a cozy room. Blissfully soundproofed. A mattress on the floor with rumpled sheets. Walls full of posters. Old toys, old albums. Trinkets that made him get misty eyed whenever he looked at them.

He ripped off the brown paper and tossed her casually on the bed. He plopped down too, putting his arm around her. "Ah, Scrappy... Brings back memories, doesn't it? Remember how you used to let me fuck you in the ass on this bed? Back when you were interesting?"

A shockwave of pure, crazy hatred emanated from the single drop of blood at the center of the cube.

He noogied it. "Oh, don't be like that! I probably understand you better than anyone else in the world. Did then, still do. And that's why I'm about to offer you a secret proposition. Just between you and me."

The blood quieted.

He grinned. That'd caught her attention. "I been thinking lately. Maybe this job's too much for one furson. Maybe I'm getting old. Or maybe I just need to share it. So..." He tapped irritatingly on the glass. "That's where you come in. Banish all thought of me ever trusting you enough to let you out. Ain't happening. No way, blue jay. You made your legacy and you can fester in it. However, if you feel up to it, I'd be down for bringing you a little mental stimulation once in a while. Problems I'm stuck on. Gain another viewpoint. Whadja say?"

The blood hesitated.

"You're gonna get awfully bored in here if you don't say yes. Your only alternative is, I keep you on my desk as a paperweight and dust you off with my cum sock every four or five weeks."

A soundless scream of virulent loathing.

Luxy tittered. "That's my Scaphis!" He patted the cube and stood up. He glanced at his watch. "I've got shit to do now. I'll give you a gift in the meantime. Think about my offer. As I said, we share twin souls, you and I. So I'm offering you a chance to do something with yourself. But I am neither your teacher or healer. I'm just tossing you a rope. Climb it if you want. That's the extent of the responsibility I feel towards you."

He turned away. Just before leaving, directly across from her line of sight, he unrolled and pinned up a poster showing the symbols for communicating in Morse code.


Loud Kevin was walking back and forth down the hallway, hissing his boss' name through his teeth.


The prairie dog leapt a foot off the ground. "God of FUCKS, Lux!! Are you ever gonna stop doing that to me!?"

"Not till the seas turn to dust. You're the Gordon to my Batman. When're we on?"

"Five minutes ago, asshole."

The raccoon blinked. He looked at his watch again. "Welp, I'm not drunk yet so I must be an idiot." He glanced at the wall to make sure it had reappeared. Nothing but white paint and boringness again. He nodded, then took off at a brisk pace.

Loud Kevin waddled to keep up. He took off his sunglasses, wiped down his forehead, then slotted the blades back into his eyes. "I know your mind's made up, but are you SURE about this?" he asked again.

"You mean about Scaphis? Absolutely." Kevin was the only other soul in Phobiopolis who knew about his plan. "Think of her as a reverse moral compass."

"Yeah, but..." A lightbulb suddenly went off. "You're not going to give her the real deal, are you?"

"On the contrary." A Cheshire smile. "I'm going to be one hundred percent accurate in what I tell her. I'll just withhold the fact that, whatever she decides, that will be the one action I'll know I must not take."

Kevin sighed in immense relief. "Goddammit, man! You had me thinking your brain turned to pigeonshit. Bringing her in on big decisions. Of course you're keeping a step ahead."

Luxy bonked him on the snout with his fingertip. "Remind me to have you drawn and quartered later for insufficient faith in the smartest man alive. She lives for spite. She'll be diligent in thinking about my brainteasers. She'll pick answers that sound very reasonable, even compassionate. All carefully designed to bite me in the ass down the road. Ergo, she'll be useful for eliminating problems I can't see coming."

The prairie dog guffawed.

"Plus, it's a fake room. Molecularly-duplicated down to the smell of my stale armpits. Like I'd ever let her get close to my Cool Stuff again."

"Too much, man! You are straight-up fuckin' hexi-dazmic!"

"Ain't I though?" Luxy sighed happily. "The most inescapable cage is the one with a seemingly open door," he quoted from somewhere. With a spring in his step, he picked up his pace. "C'mon, let's go fuck up some evildoers!"


Started: 10/20/2013 Finished: 04/24/2018 Editing completed: 08/02/2018

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