Hi, my name's Johnny, or Johnnie. I don't care which you use. It's still me. The old rose by any other thing. I'm a teenager. I've always been a teenager. I probably won't live long enough to become an adult, and if I should be so lucky, then I'll probably still be a teenager until the day I die. I've never thought much of adults; they always seem to look for ways to complicate their lives, as opposed to making them easier and simpler.
Oh yeah, they'll make them easy in the sense of finding ways to screw their fellow man out of cash or sex as a way of making themselves feel good or superior. That happens all the time. But actually taking the trappings of life that they wear every day and making it something they can live with and accept? Nope. Complication time.
I'm a positive man. Kid. I look on the bright side of things, at least until I'm battling zombies or slimy monsters that have crawled out of one of my or your comic books. Then I get really nasty, mean, crazy destroy kind of guy. I have to, or I'll be kicking up tulips in a quiet stretch of lawn somewhere off Tulie Lane where they lay out all the so-called dearly departed.
I hate that phrase, because I don't think anyone departs dearly. They usually do so fighting tooth and nail to hang onto one last breath. Even if it means taking you down with them. Hence, the recent news of billionaires looking for the fountain of youth in drugs to extend their lives. Surely, they could do something better with their money, like creating jobs, helping to heal the sick, feed the poor. But I guess when push comes to shove; most people with money have a bigger burden on their shoulders than us poor folk, they can't accept that one day the world will go on without them, as it always has.
Now back to the bright side again.
I'm special. Or at least that's what Cartoon and Laurie tell me. Cartoon's my best girlfriend. She comes from a parallel universe where cartoons are alive and every single cartoon that humanity's every imagined and created exists. Yeah. I know. That could be pretty creepy, considering a lot of the cartoons we draw aren't so pretty and nice.
But Cartoon's very nice. Especially when she gives off her golden glow, which is most of the time, and especially when she's excited or emotionally wrapped up in something.
Like today, she and Laurie are going at it. And their usual topic of discussion, me, is sitting in the middle of "The Battle," to see who is more right about me. No matter which of them wins, I lose, because I don't have any say in it. It's a woman's thing I guess. Their way of keeping us in line so our heads don't explode.
"But Johnnie's taking too many risks!" Laurie scalded Cartoon, wagging her piano finger at her vigorously. That lovely finger that picks out the most beautiful melodies on her electric piano, which she brings over to play often, since she lives only a couple doors down from me in the second hand apartment complex we live in.
Cartoon is not daunted. She flips back her golden hair, fixes her glowing eyes on Laurie and sternly admonishes her. "He doesn't do enough. The world's in great danger. The Zombie King is on the loose still and the Hordes of Darkness are threatening to overwhelm this world."
"Let them threaten all they want." Laurie countered. "We'll nuke them into oblivion!"
Cartoon slumped back on her chair and shook her head. "You humans, you always resort to extreme violence rather than just solving the problem."
"What!" Laurie exclaims. "By transforming into some two bit comic bit hero who can be killed just like any other teenager?"
"Johnnie's special." Cartoon said. She turned her lovely eyes on me, and melting away all the negatives she'd just plied my weary soul with.
"Listen to the cartoon." I told Laurie. "You could learn a thing or two." I dared to add.
Laurie exploded and turned on me. "Johnnie, you're hopeless!" She jumped to her feet and stormed out of my apartment, slamming the door behind her.
I started to relax, when the door slammed open and she stood there wagging a finger at me. "You deserve it if you get your blood sucked out by a vampire, or eaten by Godzilla..."
"No Godzilla." I interrupted. "Yes." I gulped on the fierce look she fixed on me.
"Oh, but there will be. There will be." She said in a creepy Yoda voice, and then slammed the door shut again.
Cartoon shook her head and headed for the kitchen. "Sometimes I think I'd rather fight a monster than argue with that girl."
"Oh, make no mistake, Cartoon. Laurie is quite capable of being a monster and a girl at the same time."
Cartoon spun around and fixed me with a stare. "Is that what you say about me behind my back?"
I stuttered. "Uh."
"Exactly." She said with a tone of finality like an atom bomb going off in my heart, then slammed the door to the kitchen.
I stood up and stretched. All in a day's work. Fight monsters. Fight girlfriends. All the same. You win. You lose. But mostly you lose when it's "The Battle."
I smiled, then opened the front door and went to the balcony railing and leaned on it. It was a sunny day and my favorite birds were in the tree to my right, twittering away. At least some of the people I knew could be happy, even if they were just birds.
I felt, rather than saw, this strange shadow cross towards me. Ever alert, I dropped back into the safety of my apartment and slammed the door shut, locking its deadbolt.
"I know you're in there, Johnnie!" Came the voice of terror.
"Who's there?" I demanded, pretending to be ignorant.
"Koomay and you darn well know it!" She hollered through the door.
I sighed. Hell hath no fury worse than a guy having three girlfriends, one a Cartoon, one a musician and one a waitress, all of them bent on one thing and one thing alone, making his life miserable, or marrying him worse yet.
I grinned. Could be worse. I opened the door to face the music. After all, I'm a comic book hero and I ain't afraid of no ghosts.
Besides, anyone lucky enough to have three girls who cared for him as much as I did could afford a little scalding downtime if it made them happy. Keep telling yourself that, I warned me as I gave Koomay my best morning smile.
"Am I late for work again?"
And then Cartoon walked into the living room. Koomay pushed past me and lit into Cartoon and the "Big Battle" began again.
I sighed and closed the door, slumping against it. If only it were just a bad hair day.
Then I saw the comic book on the stand next to my door, where I kept my keys. The Invisible Man by H.G.Wells comic book was laying there. My mouth made a wicked grin as I touched the comic book, then turned to look at the women battling for my soul.
They didn't notice when I slowly became invisible and vanished from view. Seemed appropriate at the time.