"Rise and Shine, Mr. Freeman. Rise and shine."
I heard a voice. Surely it couldn't be talking to me. I was not Mr. Freeman.
"Not that I wish to imply you have been sleeping on the job. No one is more deserving of a rest. And all the effort in the world would have gone to waste until... well, let's just say your hour has come again."
It was still talking. I realized at this point that I could hear it talking, and therefore I was not dead. The fall should have killed me (or rather, the sudden stop at the end). That cloud was quite a ways up.
"The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world. So, wake up, Mr. Freeman. Wake up and smell the ashes."
My mind was spinning, and I was holding onto a single thought. I suppose, writing this now, it was probably of no importance.
What videogame was that from?
Silence reigned for 30 seconds, and then I opened my eyes.
I was on the ground.
On, what appeared to be a sidewalk. A man in a gray suit was walking away from me, and a trolley passed by me to the right.
And there, at the end of the street, in all its glory, was the Kremlin.
The huge spire's golden orb glistened in the evening light. And there, on the green dome, was something people were pointing at.
It was a broken jar of mayonnaise.
And then it all came back to me. God, George Gershwin, and, most of all, the mayonnaise.
I remember shoving Frances off the cloud, but she was no where to be seen.
I walked down the sidewalk, peering into the shop windows, until I found one I liked.
The sign at the top was easy enough to understand: "Магазин Оружия".
It was the inside of the store that was curious. It was full of огнестрельное оружие. After browsing for some time, I decided on a nice Револьвер. Stepping up to the counter, I asked for some боеприпасы. The store owner obliged, handing me a red box.
The clerk probably would've asked me to pay if I hadn't opened the box right then and put the пули into the палата. I was lucky, because George Gershwin had appeared to have stolen my wallet.
Stepping back out to the street, I inspected my new purchase. People seemed to give we a wide berth when they saw what I was holding. I decided it'd be best if, at this point, I put it into my fanny pack.
It occured to me at this point that I had a fanny pack, but it didn't really matter.
At this point, a kid walked up to me and asked me for some money. I dug through my pockets until I found a quarter. Dropping the quarter into the cup, I asked him where I could find a bank.
I walked into the building and up to one of the tellers and I pulled out a sandwich.
The teller stared.
I ate it carefully, slowly, almost cautiously.
The teller picked put the phone and dialed the police.
I stepped outside as sirens began blaring in the distance. A police car pulled up to me and a policeman stepped out, yelling in Russian.
The babel fish in my ear translated it for me:
"Luckily I don't have to shoot you, unless you say the 25th letter of the English Alphabet."
I answered with confusion. "Why?"
The police officer pulled out his gun and aimed it at my chest. I managed to jump out of the way and pull out the Револьвер, aiming it at the officer. I squeezed off a shot before the world around me froze, the bullet hanging in the air.
A man appeared before me with a gray suit and dark hair cut into a crew cut.
He flicked the bullet out of the air and began talking to me.
"Time, Dr. Freeman? Is it really that time again? It seems as if you only just arrived. You've done a great deal in a small time span. You've done so well, in fact, that I've received some interesting offers for your services. Ordinarily, I wouldn't contemplate them... but these are extraordinary times."
The world around me began fading into nothingness, but this man stayed in focus.
"Rather than offer you the illusion of free choice, I will take the liberty of choosing for you. If and when your time comes round again. I do apologize for what must seem to you an arbitrary imposition, Dr. Freeman. I trust it will all make sense to you in the course of..."
"I'm really not at liberty to say. In the meantime, this is where I get off."
The man opened a door in what appeared to be a world of nothingness, and stepped out.
At this point, I heard a high-pitched screaming noise from above me.
I looked up.
There was Frances
And then Frances hit me.
And everything turned black.
**EDIT** Ah. Wasn't sure which would ruin the effect less, but here's an announcement: Jeff, Tim, and I have started "Triple Threat", a new blog experiment. Check it out.