In anticipation of this fall's more sci-fi themed Legend of Alm: The Vanished Colony, here's a neat old movie trailer.
Concept Art tomorrow!
...Editor Daat Praen, while working odd jobs for a strange new man in the neighborhood named Bull Mayday, has just stumbled onto Bull's secret when he went to eat a round of cheese and bit off more than he could chew...
So there I was with a mouthful of Bull's jewels, and he's just come home. I'm still reeling from the fact that he's smuggling them through groceries, or whatever he's doing, and now he's standing there cracking his knuckles like he's getting ready to pop me.
"Listen," I say, defending myself, "the delivery came early, so I took it in. And then I got hungry, just, really, like two minutes before you came home. I didn't see nothin', I can forget the whole thing."
"Well, see, the problem is, Daatee, now you're keen to it," Bull said matter-of-factly. "There's no pretending you don't know what's going on. Say the police come around. You're not gonna rat me out, are you, Daatee?"
"I never would, I swear. I'll just leave, and that'll be that," I said. There was something in my teeth. I couldn't tell if it was a piece of goldquartz or a peppercorn.
"Nah. You're gonna have to stay," Bull said with a sigh. His eyes lit up as he thought for a moment. "Say, this might be okay. You're gonna stay here, so I don't have to so much. You can take care of things."
"Your mother?" I asked apprehensively.
"No, I'll still do that," Bull said. "You stay away from her. But you can handle the deliveries."
"But what about my dog, Marv?" I asked.
"Bring him over," Bull said.
Just to appease the strongman with the wild ideas, I told him, "Sure, okay. Let me go collect some things and then I'll be right back."
"Sounds good, Daatee," Bull said as he started to hum with satisfaction. "Oh," he added as I was heading out the door, "don't you try to go run away anywhere now, Daatee. Because I'll find you!"
It was both menacing and playful, surely the sign of a diseased mind. A real sociopath. My only option, it seemed, was to jump my apartment, to go and live with my sister on the other side of town. As far as I knew, Bull still didn't know my last name. I'd grow a beard, gain some weight. Something.
So I get home and Marv is going crazy, he hasn't seen me in hours and hours. He jumps up and knocks his food over, like he always does. I tell him we're going on a trip and he collects his favorite toys by the front door. What a good dog, Marv. So smart.
I packed a small suitcase and turned off the water and gas, and then I heard a pounding on my door.
"You in there, Daat?" It was Bull. He must have followed me home.
I'm one leg out the back window when he lets himself in. I can't remember if I had locked the door or not, but it wouldn't have mattered anyways.
"Where you off to?" Bull asked as he came in the kitchen.
"Uh... watering the plants?" I said with a shrug. We both knew it was a lie.
"Right. Come along, then. It's almost time for dinner," Bull grunted.
With his bear-sized paws pressing at my back we walked up Cahl Street to his mother's apartment. Marv was with us, but he seemed timid and scared, which wasn't like him. What had I gotten myself into? It was like I was being led to the stocks. Or jail.
But then, I'm not halfway up the patio to Bull's apartment when a car comes screeching down the street. Mind you, there weren't too many cars back then, they've really only caught on lately. So this car comes squealing along, right towards us, and then the windows roll down. Out leans the ugliest mug you've ever seen and his quickshot. Bam! One, two, three shots, right into Bull's chest. I duck inside the house as Bull's screamin' something after the car, a rat bastard until the end.
From inside the apartment I looked out at the front steps where Bull's tremendous form was slumped. Blood trickled down onto the sidewalk. I spun around towards the kitchen full of smuggled jewelry. And then I heard a watch siren go off outside. The neighbors all knew Bull and I spent a lot of time together recently. The police were going to have questions. What was I gonna do? And so I made a quick decision. And it changed my life forever.
NEXT TIME: MEERO CALASTRI or NEW MONEY
I kept trying to avoid Bull Mayday after that first encounter, but he wouldn't let me. Why he was so eager to get to know me, I don't know. Thinking back, it was probably because I was the first person he'd ever met that refused his money.
At first I just walked along the other side of the street. That's Cahl Street, where Bull had taken up residence at his mother's apartment. It was also where my bus stopped. Either I got off a few buildings down from where Bull invariably parked his big green car, or I waited ten more blocks and had a twenty-five minute walk home. So I kept my head down and walked as fast as I could, but, like I said, it was no good. Bull would catch me every time. "Daat!" he'd call. "Daateee!" If I ever ignored him, someone would invariably do me the unwanted favor of pointing my attention his way. The man proved positively unavoidable.
So I start biting the bullet and just assuming I was going to stop to chat with the permanently sweaty bear of a man. Sometimes Bull would just ask how my day was, other times he'd have me help him around the apartment or in the garden. I never did see his mother; her door was always well closed. A part of me would always wonder if there was anyone in that room at all.
Bull would always pay me real well for helping him, though I always refused it. It got to where he'd just give me a hundred goldquartz or so at the beginning of the week. I think he didn't like the offering and refusing any more than I, so he just cut down the time he had to do it. My work at Dog Lovers Magazine was suddenly halved that fall, what with the publication shortening its run to six issues a year. With the chill in the air and little to be done around my own apartment, helping Bull wasn't so bad. This was.. let's see... six years ago now? Seven? Must be seven. With all my extra time, I was able to help Bull install a new tub in his bathroom, one that would be more accessible for his mother. If he was lying about her being there, he was going to great lengths to conceal it. I wouldn't say the two of us were friends, really, but we came to know and anticipate and understand each other as well as any other friend I've ever had. There was a distance, surely, but I liked it that way. Bull gave me something to do, and extra money. Where he got it all from, his money, I had no idea. He was always dressed well, and he ate ever better.
I'd help him take in deliveries every weekend, of enough food to feed an army. And this was every week, he'd need my help again every week with just as much food. Now, he was large, but not that large. Unless his sick mother could really put down the pork and broccoli, certainly there was something else going on.
Still, I was surprised when I found out the truth. Bull had taken a call on the patio; I was in the kitchen enjoying some glint. He then rushed in through the airy white curtains and pulled his coat off the back of a chair.
"I've got to go," he said abruptly, throwing his jacket on and the making for the door.
"Should I leave?" I asked, feeling like I should.
"Nah. I'll be right back," he said. "You've gotta help me with the delivery." And then he was gone.
I considered at first going into the mysterious bedroom, to see what exactly was in there. I had still never heard a peep from his 'mother'. Sometimes I'd be over his apartment for ten hours at a time, and still I never saw him go in the room to feed her or help her go to the bathroom, or anything. But then a knock came at the door. I didn't know if I should answer it, but I figured, what could it hurt. I was living life a little more loosely lately, being bolder.
"Who's that?" I asked the door, imitating Bull's bark.
"Groceries," the voice on the other side said.
I checked the clock on the living room wall. The grocer was an hour early.
"You're early," I said.
"I know. Issue with Napo," the grocer said.
I assumed that was some sort of code, and so got up to open the door.
"Where's Bull?" the delivery man asked suspiciously.
"He had to go out. Probably something to do with Napo," I said. Yes, I actually said that.
"Figures," the driver said. "Well, come on. Looks like you're helping me," he said, and then hoisted the first of many, many boxes of groceries into my arms.
Half an hour later and still no sign of Bull. I'm sitting in his kitchen, surrounded by wooden crates full of vegetables, meats, and cheeses. I was wondering, should I put it away? Should I leave? Bull was supposed to pay me that day, and I really needed the money, so I didn't want to leave just yet. Marv had to go to the vet the week before. He swallowed my toothbrush.
In any case, I was hungry. What would Bull miss if I ate some of his stockpile, I asked myself. A tasty-looking block of cheese was right across the table from me, so I grabbed it and bit in. It was a soft cheese, a smoky one. I've never known too much about cheese, other than that some are good and some aren't. This was a good one. I went to take another bite, but my teeth hit something hard. When I pulled the cheese away, something fell out onto the table. It was a gemstone! An oily, cheese-covered blue marten! I know my gemstones, don't ask me why. I dug deeper into the cheese, and uncovered brits and martens like I was going through a jewelry store. So I thought, okay, let's see what else we've got here. I broke a cured meat log open: it was full of goldquartz. It looked like old Bull's snacks were just a bit too rich for my tastes. Good thing I hadn't choked to death. And then I heard the door handle jangle and in barged the man himself.
"Well," Bull said with a laugh when he saw my hands full of jewel loaf, "it looks like you've got quite the appetite, doesn't it?"
UP NEXT: THE RELUCTANT EDITOR or BULL IN A CHINA SHOP