This article is part of the Reading Time series.
Man: I don't need an Ultraviolet Shadow Scope Light to see you're a bit of an art collector, Stevie; there's pictures all over this damn cave. Tracy collected drawings, too, but not of superheroes and animals and geezers and whatever else you're into. He just wanted shoes, feet, ankles, even stick-figure legs -- anything to remind him what he'd lost.
Man: Junior had a way with a pencil, but he wasn't too sharp. People told him Tracy didn't have any need for face paintings -- and Tracy was the only guy willing to trade you any food or womenfolk or light bulbs for artwork -- but Junior just kept scribbling out portraits. Tracy got sick of it, and when he got sick of things, he got angry, ugly angry. Lamp Legs didn't move around so good, but he could hide -- the Scope Light had a reverse setting that could make any room darker than the tar up a dinosaur's ass -- and wait, Facey Strikes in hand. Poor Junior never saw it coming, mostly because Tracy hit him with the karate chop first. And the thing is, Junior's eyes were already kinda fucked-up.
Man: The cops came to check out the smoke, but we took care of them real quick and made our getaway. Not all of us got out of there, though, and the ones who did scattered like tumbling dice. Man, last I heard from Smoot, he was... WHOA, friend, get my damn hand out of your mouth.
Stevie: It is a bad story, bad lesson. It was not worth dog hand, so you owe me hand back. The taste is like.... *POOF*
Man: Don't worry, Stevie, the Facey Strikes won't turn your baby face to pizza cheese. You're built too well for that. But you will be taking a long nap. My disguises never fail to impress even myself; I can't believe you didn't recognize your own Instructor Ken Orlock. But why did I reveal so much about my own instruction and methods? Why all the flashy subterfuge, when I could have seized you immediately? And why am I still talking, even though you're mostly unconscious? It will all make sense, you'll see. You'll find all the answers you've ever wanted, where you're going.
Stevie: Ma... max.....
Facility 1349 Instructor Ken Orlock: He's already there, Stevie. He's already there.
Hows about you, me, and five uncomfortable minutes in my basement apartment next to the dusty Christmas tree that's still up from my last visit with my estranged children.
The Upper Kitchen Cabinet Where Your Roommate Keeps His Food: You’ll 'need the footstool' to reach your roommate’s 'fine selection' of 'stale cereal,' but he'll never notice if 'only a little is missing from each box.' Feel less guilty by reminding yourself that Jeff 'acts weird around your girlfriend,' and always 'asks about her.' What a 'creep.'
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Raised and trained in a mysterious facility, piteous brute Stevie seeks answers.