Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: I be at Sea!
Current Game: POTC: New Horizons
Anakin and Han worked in silence until evening fell and it was time to close up the office. Now as you remember, it was Christmas Eve, which meant that Han would of course want the day off the next day, but it was hard to get anything from Anakin. As soon as he clocked out, he strode up to her boss’s deck, where he was still working, apparently unaware that it was closing time. He also seemed to be unaware of his standing there. It took a good five minutes before he finally cleared her throat and caused him to take notice of him.
"So," he said in his usual mean voice, "I guess you want the day off tomorrow."
"Of course," said Han. "It’s a universal holiday after all."
"Well the universe isn’t fair," Anakin grumbled. "They expect me to pay you for no work?"
"Yes!" said Han, throwing her hand on the desk. "It’s the law. If you don’t give me the day off, I’ll report you to the authorities."
Anakin growled. "That’s blackmail, you know that?"
"But it’s still the law that you give me the day off."
Anakin loudly ground his teeth. "It’s a stupid excuse for picking my pocket every year, but unfortunately, since it’s a law, I’m required to give you the whole day." He stood up and leaned in close to Leia’s face. "But be here even earlier the next morning."
They closed up the office, Anakin grumbling the whole time about how unreasonable Han was for wanting the day off and Han grumbling the whole time about how unreasonable Anakin was for not wanting to give him the day off. They didn’t get along very well at all. In fact, behind Anakin’s back, Han was secretly filling out job applications for other people, but with the economy in such bad shape, no one was hiring.
"Okay, was it really necessary to stick in a joke about your planet’s economy?"
Oh come on, Han, I thought it was funny.
"Well are you trying to imply that I can’t get a job even if I fill out a bunch of applications?"
"I mean, even a bad economy, someone with my qualifications should be able to get a job."
Look, you wanted this part, didn’t you? So live with whatever implications it may carry.
"I warn you, if this leads to anything at my REAL work . . ."
O-kay, let’s just get straight to when Scrooge – I mean Anakin – gets home. Strike the set, we’re going to the next scene.
It was well after dark when Anakin parked his speeder at his dismal apartment, which had once belonged to his late business partner, Lando Calrissian. Now as I told you in the previous chapter, Lando had been dead for seven years. That must be remembered, or nothing that follows will seem wondrous.
"Uh hey, was it really necessary to remind them that Lando’s dead?"
Yes Anakin, it’s called literary emphasis.
"They’re not morons, you know. I think they can remember that Lando’s dead."
Hey, I just wanted to make sure.
"It was the first freaking line in the story!! How dumb does someone have to be to forget that?"
Aren’t you supposed to be going up to your door knocker?
"Yeah . . . that’s something else I wanted to talk to you about. Have you ever seen our movies?"
Only about two thousand times. Why?
"Well then you must know that we don’t have door knockers in our galaxy."
"I mean, we have doors that slide open – it’s impossible to have a door knocker without the door getting stuck halfway open."
Well you have a door knocker. That’s how the story goes – Scrooge has a door knocker. It’s a critical moment in the story.
"So how does that work with a sliding door?"
I don’t know –
you just have a door knocker! Okay?
"You’re narrating this story and you don’t even know the mechanics of my door knocker? That’s pretty lazy."
AUGH, all right, all right! Um . . . it’s a holographic door knocker that through electronic sensors makes a knocking sound when someone waves their hand in front of it, okay?
Well DEAL with it – we need to get back to the story before people remove it from their Alert lists.
As I was saying, Anakin had just returned home. He was about to unlock his door when he noticed something quite strange about his holographic door knocker. Normally the hologram projected the face of a savage eopie, but now the projection looked like . . .
The face of Lando Calrissian moaned at Anakin, scaring him so much that he tumbled over backwards, landing smack on his behind. After struggling to his feet, cursing the entire time, he looked at the knocker again, and this time it was back to the regular eopie face.
Anakin sneered, figuring that someone must have tampered with the hologram. "Humdrum."
No Anakin, it’s HUMBUG.
"Again, whatever. If you’d just let me say phony it would be much easier for both of us."
Anakin, being a practical man, didn’t run back into his speeder and drive as far away as possible. Nope, he just walked right inside his house, though he did make certain to lock the door behind him. However, he locked the door every night, so even that wasn’t out of the ordinary.
He changed into his nightclothes, pulling a thick robe over his pajamas, since he didn’t like turning on the heat even in the comfort of his own home. Being the pigheaded man he was, he never wanted to spend money unless it absolutely couldn’t be avoided.
"Pigheaded? Hey, could you maybe lay off the insults?"
Ignore me, Anakin. This is an important part here.
Anakin sat down in a big chair in front of his bed and began eating his supper of unappetising cold food. Yes, he didn’t bother to cook his food either, talk about pigheadedness.
"Grrr . . ."
And he growled at nothing too. Yes siree, he was a big mess.
"I was growling at you."
Anyway, Anakin was in the middle of his meal when he heard something disturbing. He heard a bell begin to ring, followed by another bell, then another bell, then another, then another, then another. Soon many bells were ringing at once, giving a noise so deafening that Anakin had to cover his ears.
This was especially disturbing when you considered the fact that Anakin didn’t own any bells.
"I don’t believe in this!" Anakin shouted, not that it did any good. When the bells finally ceased, that was only to make way for the sound of chains clanking. The clanking became louder and louder and louder until it finally sounded like it was coming from right outside his bedroom door.
"I don’t believe in this!" Anakin repeated, but once again it didn’t do any good. The instant he said that, a ghostly figure materialized, entering right through the locked bedroom door – a figure that looked exactly like his old partner, Lando Calrissian.
"You know something? You really suck at suspense."
I said to ignore me, Anakin! As I was saying, the ghostly figure that looked like Lando was surrounded by a bluish light and it was dragging along what seemed like miles of heavy chains.
Anakin dropped his food on the floor and hid behind the back of his chair, panting in fear. After a few minutes of hiding, he slowly peeked out, trembling the entire time. "Wh-who are you?"
"That’s not a very good way to greet a ghost," said the figure. "I mean, come on, since I’m dead, you should be asking me who I was, don’t you agree?"
"All right, who were you?" said Anakin, still trembling.
"In life I was your partner, Lando Calrissian."
Anakin had already guessed this, but he didn’t want to offend the ghost by assuming that he knew its identity without asking first. He stood up and looked into the ghost’s eyes, which weren’t blinking.
"What? Are you saying I’ve got to keep my eyes open for this whole scene?"
Yes Lando, you’re a ghost. Ghosts don’t blink.
"Well you can’t make me dry out my eyes – that’s impossible. Besides, didn’t Obi-Wan’s ghost blink?"
That’s different – you’re supposed to be a scary ghost.
"No way I’m doing that. Look here, I’m blinking! I’m blinking!"
Okay, okay, the ghost DID blink. Happy now?
"That depends. How much are you paying me for this part?"
Any-way, the ghost blinked, but Anakin kept looking into its eyes.
"How come you keep calling me it?"
All right, Anakin kept looking into his eyes. Just let me get on with this.
"What do you want with me?" Anakin asked.
"Uh . . . okay," said Anakin. "Uh . . . can you sit down?"
"Yes – why the heck wouldn’t I be able to sit down?" said Lando.
Anakin shrugged. "Well, if you’re a ghost, wouldn’t your butt just sink right through the chair or something?"
"Hey," said Lando, "didn’t you see Obi-Wan’s ghost sit down on a log in Return of the Jedi?"
"Well the narrator just said you were different from Obi-Wan’s ghost."
"I’ll prove it to you!" said Lando. He dragged his chains over to the chair across from Anakin and promptly sat down. "There, happy now?"
Anakin just kept right on staring at him.
"You don’t believe in me, do you?" Lando said after a moment.
"Of course not," said Anakin.
"Even though I’m sitting right here in front of you," said Lando. "Are you really so pigheaded that you doubt your own senses?"
"Your senses can lie to you," Anakin argued. "You’re probably just a bit of bad bantha meat or a gulp of sour blue milk. Hembug, I tell you, Hembug!"
No no NO! For the last time, it’s HUMBUG!! HUMBUG!! HUMBUG!!!!
"Yeah Anakin, it is humbug."
You stay out of this, Lando.
Anyway, Lando suddenly leapt to his feet and screamed so loudly that the room vibrated. Anakin once again hid behind his chair.
"So are you gonna tell me that was just your dinner?" Lando said. "I can do it again, you know. Maybe this time I’ll knock the pictures off your wall."
"All right, all right!" said Anakin, throwing his hands up as he sat back down. "You’re the ghost of Lando, I get it, but what the hell are you doing here?"
"I’m here to warn you of the terrible fate that awaits you after you die," said Lando. He held up his chained arms. "You see this? It’s the chain I forged when I was alive. Every time I did something selfish or didn’t help someone when I had the opportunity, I made the chain longer and longer."
"I see," said Anakin. "That’s interesting."
"Interesting?" Lando exclaimed. "I’m in eternal torment and all you can say is that it’s interesting?? What if I told you that you wear such a chain yourself?"
Anakin shrugged. "Well I don’t see how it can be worse than getting all your limbs cut off and your body burned up."
Anakin, stay in character please.
"Your chain was just as long and heavy as this one seven years ago," Lando continued. "And you’ve added on to it since."
"Well what have I done to build a chain like that??"
Lando gave Anakin a disbelieving look. "Why don’t you try looking at the way you behave every single day and answer that question for yourself?"
"I’m a businessman, Lando," Anakin protested. "So were you. Businessmen make money – there’s no shame in that."
"Yes there is," Lando said firmly, shaking his chains in Anakin’s face. "By focusing on money, I lost track of what was really important. Now it’s too late for me to make amends – but it’s not too late for you."
"What do you mean?"
"Tonight, you’ll have a chance to escape my fate," said Lando. "You will be haunted by three spirits."
Anakin gulped over and over and over. Truth be told, he still hoped that Lando was just his dinner, but he wouldn’t say so out loud for fear that the ghost would scream again. "I don’t think I want that," he said.
"Well it’s your only chance, take it or leave it," said Lando.
Anakin was trembling again. "Well, I could probably get used to wandering around in chains after a while."
"I can’t believe what I’m hearing!" Lando shouted. "I’ve been dead for seven freaking years – do I look used to it??" He got up and headed for the door. "In case you change your mind, the first ghost is coming at one o’clock."
"Can’t they all come at once?" asked Anakin. "Then it would be over with."
"No," said Lando, turning back to look at his partner. "If past, present, and future all came at once, the spacetime continuum would collapse and the universe would implode. Besides, then this story would be much shorter. So as I was saying, the first spirit comes at one, the second one comes the next night at two, and the third one comes the next night on the final stroke of midnight." He raised his chained hand to wave goodbye. "By the way, don’t hand your friends over to the Empire – that will really add on to your chain."
With that, he vanished.