Stu’s cell rings. He reads the caller ID and sees it is the house at the end of the col-du-sac. Jeff’s house. Not Jeff’s cell, but the actual phone that sits downstairs on the kithen wall much like we all had growing up in the 70s.
Stu only recognized the number because that was all they had to communicate before he turned 14 and got his cell. Before his world changed. Neither Jeff nor Stu had used that wall phone since then. It was not only weird to get a call from the house phone, but to get a call at all. Why didn’t Jeff send a message.
Nobody calls anybody anymore really, except Stu’s mom of course. No matter how many times Stu teaches her how to text, she still calls. Stu had the exact phone hanging on the wall till a few years ago when they redecorated.
I remember when I was a bit younger than Stu is now, I heard that Britain’s phone system was billed per call, or per second or something, and nobody was adopting to it. In the early 60’s in Europe, if your phone rang, you know it was going to be bad news because that call was costing somebody some coin.
Stu of course had no memory of that random trivia but his concern was similar. If the land line is ringing, it’s probably something bad. I could see it in his face. He knew this must be serious.
Stu answered; “Hello?” but with a fear hidden in the word that changed it’s tone from greeting to a question. This was my first time witnessing today’s events from Stu’s perspective and it was clear he was more upset by the call than I anticipated, even before Jeff broke the news.
He didn’t answer casually as he might greet Jeff in person. No; Hey Jeff, what’s up?
“STU! STU STU” came from the other end, repeating in beat with the pants of an excited Jeff. Stu was instantly relieved because, although Jeff was shouting like a mad man, he was not shouting like a terrified man. Nobody had died, or anything like that. Stu’s whole body language changed, and he waited paitietly till Jeff was calmed enough to start telling Stu his story.
I’ve always wondered how different real life would be comparred to how they portray this kind of thing on TV. Our stories are filled with fiction of greatness beyond what we know to be reality, but they’re all fiction, so the author has to imagine how it might be when the inevitable reveal to your best friend is depicted.
When Superman reveals he is from another planet, or when the Winchesters reveal ghosts are real, the story has to be made up, and nobody really can comprehend how it would go. I never really believed it would be easy as the movies make it seem to convince smebody that the universe they grew up in is a little bit more complex than they know.
Back in the 60s when films were black and white and before we’d landed on another planet, it would have been even more difficult. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to convice me my best friend was an alien. I would have litle context. It might have literally blown my mind. It would be easier to deny, and punch my biddy on the arm; “Good one Rick. ha! How are you really lifting that car? Come on… show me the trick”. I think it would have been nearly impossible for me to believe him, even if he could leap tall buildings in a single bound.
As a side note, 60’s Superman wasn’t able to fly. Of all his powers, science coudn’t even come up with a way to explain a single human flying. I get that. I always liked Superhero or Alien movies that I could at least comprehend. That’s why I was so taken aback that day when the previous owner of this castle told me the story I just shared with Jeff. It’s not an easy one to hear, and certainly not an easy one tio share.
That’s actually why I was watching Stu through his skylight tonight. I needed to know how he’d react. I needed to know his brain wouldn’t explode but more importantly, I needed to know he wouldn’t immediatly need to run to somebody and try to retell the story.
From experience I know it never goes well. In the 35 years I’ve kept this secret, I’ve seen a few people’s lives be ruined. I was able to salvage a few but sadly one was not my best friend, and it was hard dealing with this great responabsility on my own. I wish I’d been able to have a sidekick as it were. It would have made so many things easier.
This was the first run through for Stu, and by all accounts, it looks like a keeper. It looks like Jeff and Stu will be the new cartakers of my Castle. I sure hope so, because Jeff is my third choice and this is the 17th different way I’ve tried to break the news.
Despite my suggestions and practice runs that we’d tried, Jeff’s call to Stu still didn’t go as planned, but it went well enough. By 9pm, we were all meeting at my front gate, and I was about to let Stu in on the tour, and ultimatly at least the big part of the secret. I hope I’ve chosen wisely. I believe I have.
I remember the first week after I took re
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