The Janus Trick: Door #5875
by Jason Fischer
Jason says: When I agreed to do this, I questioned my source on his preference for referring to himself in the second-person. He’s still not been able to explain the Janus Trick, not without coming across as a lunatic. His constant use of ‘you’ instead of ‘I’ is frustrating at best. I’m finding it incredibly hard not to write off my source as a time-waster, but if he’s telling the truth...
(from my interview notes)
“When he stole the Janus Trick and stepped through that first Significant Door, he became a not-person, less than a hitcher or a watcher. There was no I, no We, just the eyes of the other, a You.”
This door has bars, and there is no chance to make sure you enter with the right foot. You are pushed in, none too gently.
You’re absolutely off your face, drunk to the point of abuse. Even with the Trick it takes a moment to remember. There’s blood all over your shirt front, and your two-thousand dollar suit is ripped and soaked in beer.
Colin. Anna’s new man. A liberal amount of dutch courage, and a flurry of violence that ends in a night in the lock-up.
Now, as then, you press up against the door. Hollering at the guards, demanding a phone call. There’s still a smudge of ink on your fingers from being finger-printed at the charge counter. That is when they are meant to offer you a phone-call, but you remember (from reading the report later) that you lost bladder control at this point. Because the cleaning staff have left for the day, it’s up to the cops to clean it up. They’ve thrown you into the drunk tank.
You get your phone call, when you finally convince them that you’re a lawyer (now as before, but not for much longer). This time around, instead of phoning your furious father, you call Pamela.
‘Pammy, it’s me,’ you slur into the phone. ‘Please, don’t catch the 7:57.’
You plead with her, with all the earnest of a drunk. The right words fail you. She tells you never to call again and slams the phone down.
Looks like tomorrow will still be the worst day of your life.
The Janus Trick: Door #25
by Jason Fischer
Jason says: This is the first entry of an ongoing chronicle, as trusted to me by a nameless individual who has rediscovered the Janus Trick. As far as I can tell, these episodic narratives are the only record of his journeys through the Significant Doors...
It’s the back door, the one made of chipboard with the bottom half covered in muddy puppy scratches. You reach up and twist the handle, an indoor fitting covered in paint and salvaged by Poppa. Very carefully, you step into the kitchen. Always with the right foot first. Those who use the left foot never end up where they mean to go.
Nanna only has a few grey hairs, not the silver patchy locks that you last saw her with. She’s made your favourite, scones with jam and cream. You sit at the grown-up table, now as then, even though your feet don’t touch the ground. You’re in sandals and shorts, scabby knees and a little knitted vest, but you’ve got the knowing of ages in your head, the wisdom of times yet to come.
But what good the knowing of computers, when the only ones about are the size of refrigerators? What good the understanding that two towers will fall, or what the market will do over the next twenty years or so? Some of the information is slipping, and it may be sometime till this brain grows and accepts these knowings.
You try to tell Nanna about the Janus Trick, and she humours you. She’s got the impression you’re talking about one of your cartoons, or maybe a comic book. When you mention the imminent passing of Roscoe the fox terrier, she gets a dark look. The scones are gone, and there is nothing but banishment to bed.
You sit on the edge of the overstuffed bed for ages, watching the sliver of afternoon light creep across the high-ceilings. You’re running your hands with wonder all over the stuffed frog she sewed for you, the one wearing the bull-fighter outfit. It’s still some years before the arthritis will take away all her little enjoyments; her knitting, sewing, flute-playing.
She comes in later, and makes you say the Our Father and Hail Mary before tucking you into bed. She says “Holy Ghost” which sounded funny at the time because at school they made you say “Holy Spirit”. With the added weight of years this makes you cry a little, because Nanna was the last person you ever heard saying it that way.