“ARRRGH! This has to be hell! No one tells me nothing! I’m sick of it!” He glared at the screen. “Cough up some answers or nothing’s going to happen!”
The screen flashed in a multitude of colors that played over the wall, splashes of red dotted with neon blue and white squares half covered by dingy yellow splotches. The sheer three-hundred-and-sixty degrees of riotous colors washing over each other in a psychedelic display gave Travis vertigo. He dropped to his hands and knees and struggling to stay there. The colors seemed to roll through him, churning him up like an old washing machine, until he couldn’t tell up from down. His vision began to darken as the churning sped up for a moment, then vanished so suddenly he dropped prone on the grey floor. What was that?!
‘That’, the letters spelled out in tall thin white against a mauve background, ‘was a full opening of you. What you were was laid bare. I have to say, I’m very surprised you don’t know the reference.’ The pressure rolled over him in a more speculative manner, and not nearly as invasive. It receded, then a square of white appeared. A grainy ‘5’ in a circle counted down to ‘4’, and then to ‘3’, at which point there was a blip of light.
The square went black, then faded in again as a little boy, looking like he was dressed in goofy shorts with suspenders and a weird little yellow shirt with a huge collar and blue bow-tie, instead of a T-shirt, was watching this little thing in a tuxedo and top hat, look up at him. The two appeared to talk, then it seemed that some kind of tune was playing. The little thing in the tuxedo hopped like a grasshopper, and started strutting along, hand on hat. What’s he saying, I wonder. Are they trying to whistle? He remembered the conversation earlier, ‘You have to ask for it’.
“Hey, does that come with sound?”
‘Point for you, yes it does.’
Suddenly the singing was coming across, and he heard the little thing say “give a little whistle”, and then a moment later, “Not just a little squeak, pucker up and blow!” Which the boy tried to do, then another line, “and if you’re whistle’s weak, yell!” to which the boy answered, “Jiminy Cricket!”
Jiminy Cricket?! He’s calling me a cricket?! Travis started a slow burn once more, then he heard the last part of the refrain, “and always let your conscience be your guide.” Everything fell together. Jiminy, the view he was getting, the ‘boss’ reference, the smarmy lettering. I’m a conscience?!
‘You can learn when you put your mind to it’ the letters scrolled with what seemed a relieved-yet-irritated manner.
“Okay so what can I ask for, I mean besides clothes and sound? You said I had to learn to choose, so I’m saying tell me what choices I get to make.”
The wall faded to black, darkening the entire room, then brightened once more. Travis was looking at the large black girl staring down at the ‘boss’. “So you got the J?”