River: (cough, cough)
Sorry. And River's nightmare, the soot-ball. River, can you tell us a little about yourself? Who are you? What is your role in the story?
River: I'm just a twenty-something schizophrenic homeless guy trying to find his family. And understand women. And not make any more bargains with demons. I sell sketches to feed myself and spend a lot of time hanging out in libraries. No one minds if you loiter in a library as long as you're reading.
Sammie: River's being modest. He's the man who saves three dimensions.
Smokey: He is a traveler of the multiverse and a clever negotiator. (Smoke streams from Smokey's nostrils, and his thick bull brows pull down.) He also has a talent for destruction and chaos.
River: It wasn't my fault. Destroying the dimension, I mean. Well, it was my fault, but it was for a good cause.
What's the challenge that you're trying to overcome during the story?
River: Sorting out what's real from what I hallucinate. Facing my nightmares.
Soot-ball (swirls around River's face)
River: Um… not that kind of nightmare.
Sammie (frowning at River): Are you sure you aren't hallucinating the soot-ball? Because none of us talents can see it.
River: Smokey sees it.
Smokey (batting at soot-ball while it zooms in circles around his head): Like its creator, the soot-ball is both tenacious and annoying.
Sammie (looking askance at the demon): Maybe Smokey pretends to see it so he can manipulate you.
Don't medications help with your schizophrenia? Wouldn't they stop the hallucinations and make you a 'normal' person, more like a typical hero?
River (shifting in his seat): It's a common misconception that schizophrenia meds make everything better, normal. But they don't always work. They also have a lot of nasty side effects. And how would I get them? I don't have money to pay for prescriptions. Before you ask, have you ever tried to get services at a community mental health clinic? There's always too many people in need and never enough budget to go around. Besides, they might put me in a mental ward again. I'd rather be crazy than incarcerated.
Sammie: You shouldn't dwell on River's mental disorder. He's more than a condition, and he compensates in so many ways. You should thank your lucky stars he was there to save the multiverse instead of questioning why he isn't 'normal.'
If you could make one wish, River, what would it be?
River: To find a home, a place where I'm wanted despite being crazy. If I can't have that, then I wish the light bulbs would stop singing off-key. No, scratch that. I'd like the light bulbs to stop singing, period.
Light bulbs talk to River Madden; God doesn't. When the homeless schizophrenic unintentionally fractures a dimensional barrier and accidentally steals a gym bag containing a million dollars, everyone from the multiverse police to the local crime boss—and an eight-foot tall demon—are after him. Can he dodge them long enough to correct his mistakes and prevent the destruction of three separate dimensions? If he succeeds, will the light bulbs stop singing off-key?
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Genre – Contemporary, Urban fantasy
Rating – R
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