Disclaimer: Early Edition and its characters and situations are the property of Sony/Tristar, etc...
Summary: Gary runs into another recipient of the paper- but this guy seems a little suspicious...
Who I Say I Am
by Paper Caper
"Mrow!!" The cat and the paper arrived at Gary’s doorstep with a thump.
"Can’t I have a day off for once?!" Gary groaned and stumbled to the door.
"El Derails; Seventeen Dead" the front-page headline read.
"Woah," Gary’s eyes widened as he picked up the paper. "Seventeen were killed and twenty-one were injured when the blue line El derailed at the corner of Illinois and Indiana road." Gary skimmed through the article. "Passengers on the train and drivers on Indiana road were injured by the accident at 8:35 AM yesterday morning."
After haphazardly tying his shoes, Gary bolted down to the bar.
"Gary?" Marissa asked in a concerned manner. "What’s wrong?"
"Eh," Gary grunted and reached for the coffee machine. "I have to stop a train from derailing," he said as he poured a cup of coffee. "Seventeen dead." Gary chugged down the coffee and set the mug down, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. "Ah, caffeine!" he said.
Marissa raised her eyebrows and searched for her mug of coffee. "What are you going to do about it?" she asked, taking a sip from her mug.
"Why does she always do that?" Gary thought. Marissa acted like a mentor, always knowing right from wrong. Gary liked that about her. But then again, she didn't have to save lives every day, she just witnessed it.
"I’m gonna go to the train station and try to stop the El from running today."
"And you think they’re going to stop it?" Marissa asked doubtfully as she raised her eyebrows again, taking another sip from her coffee.
"Well I have to do *something*," Gary grabbed his jacket and stuffed the paper in his back pocket. "Gotta go," he said as he walked out the door.
"Hey!" Gary spotted the control office at the El station and ran up to who was presumably controlling the El.
"Hi, uh, I work for the uh, electronics company and it seems there seems to be some faulty wiring here," Gary explained to the controller as he tried to catch his breath.
The controller let out a short-lived sigh and gave Gary a look like he was crazy. "Are you kidding?" he said. "I inspect every nook and cranny on this machine, and there aint nothin’ wrong with it."
"Well yes there is," Gary moved his hands in an upward motion. "Why don’t you just check it again?"
"Whatever," the controller opened the fuse box and began to examine it with his flashlight.
Gary pulled the paper out of his pocket. "Why don’t you look at the, uh, that green wire."
The controller turned around. "Hey, what do you know?"
"Huh?" Gary scrambled to put the paper in his pocket.
"Hey, what’s that?" the controller asked suspiciously.
"What’s what?" Gary tried to act natural.
"That paper you were holding."
Gary pulled the paper out of his pocket again. "A newspaper, what’s so great about that?"
"May I see?" The controller snatched the paper out of Gary’s hands.
"Hey that’s mine!" Gary yelled.
"Hold your horses," the controller smiled as he read this first page. "What’s this?" he pointed to the article about the blue line derailing.
"Oh, um," Gary scratched his head nervously as he tried to think of an acceptable excuse.
"This is tomorrow’s," the controller looked at Gary.
"Really?" Gary picked up the paper and tried to act clueless.
"This is such a coincidence." The controller said. "I get tomorrow’s newspaper, too."
"You do?" Gary remembered meeting Sam Cooper, who had also gotten the paper.
"You need help with…doing stuff?" asked the controller. "You could let me borrow this if you want."
What would someone who had already gotten the paper want another one for? "Oh, no that’s all right." Gary shook his head and picked up the paper, stuffing it back into his pocket.
"Oh, come on," the controller seemed to be bribing Gary. "I like taking care of that stuff."
"Oh, no, that’s perfectly all right," Gary forced a laugh, but was cut short as his body shook from the upcoming train.
"The wire!" he yelled.
"Oh yeah!" the controller scrambled to the fuse box and rewired the green wire.
"That was a close one, Mickey!" an old man yelled to the controller from the bench. He was wearing a black hat and a black patch covered his left eye. His clothes were a khaki color and appeared very worn. Gary assumed he was homeless.
"Who’s he?" Gary pointed to the man.
The controller rolled his eyes. "That’s just Old Man Harvey. Stay away from him."
"Because he’s stolen my paper and used it for his own advantage. Mostly for money. Boy, he needs it bad." The controller let out a rusty laugh.
Gary couldn’t help but to feel sorry for him.
"Well, back to work," the controller stepped back into the control office.
"Yeah," Gary zipped up his jacket and began to walk away. How odd was that? He’d just met another guy who had gotten the paper. Gary reached into his pocket as he walked down the stairs.
"The paper! It’s gone!" he said. Gary rushed back up to the stairs. He’d left the paper with Mickey. Gary let out a sigh of relief. Mickey would take care of it.
"Hey Mickey," Gary opened the door to the control office. No one was there.
"Looking for Mickey?" Old Man Harvey called from the bench from behind.
"Yeah," Gary called nervously, unsure if he should talk to Old Man Harvey.
"He went to the intersection at Lincoln and Jefferson."
"Thanks," Gary turned around and ran to the intersection.
"Mickey!" he yelled.
Mickey, unaware that Gary had arrived, was chuckling and gathering money from stander-bys.
Gary looked to the right of Mickey. A beige car has banged into a post and was totaled. Steam was seeping out of the hood.
"Mickey!" Gary yelled angrily.
Mickey heard him this time. A look of horror took over his face as he stuffed the money in his pocket and ran off, taking the paper with him.
"Hey!" Gary bolted after Mickey, but his acceleration could not beat Mickey’s.
Mickey, chuckling as he looked back at Gary, stopped short as boot hit him in the head and he fell to the ground in shock.
Gary looked at the source of the boot. It was from Old Man Harvey.
"You need this?" he ripped the newspaper out of Mickey’s grasp and handed it to Gary.
"Thanks," Gary mumbled as he took the paper from Old Man Harvey. "Does he really get tomorrow’s newspaper today?" Gary asked in doubt.
"Naw," Old Man Harvey began to walk away, pulling out gloves from his pocket, and, a newspaper.
Gary stared at Old Man Harvey in awe. What was the date on that paper?
Old Man Harvey seemed to notice the look on Gary’s face. “What?” he shrugged as he listlessly slipped his hands into his gloves. “You’re not the only one who gets it,” he said, eyeing Gary’s paper.
“Wha-” said Gary, still in awe. “Oh,” Gary rubbed his forehead. “Yeah, I met someone who got it before.”
Harvey looked at his watch. “Gotta go,” he said as he secured his paper under his arm. “You know where a payphone is?”
“Uh, just around the corner,” Gary pointed to a payphone down the street.
“Thanks,” Harvey hurriedly started towards the payphone.
“Wait,” Gary rushed alongside him. “Don’t you wanna talk about it?”
“About what?” Harvey curved to his right as he avoided a speeding car.
“About the paper, what else?!” Gary seemed frustrated.
“What’s there to talk about?”
Gary let out a short-lived sigh. “There’s a lot to talk about! A lot of stuff happens to me ‘cause of this,” Gary rapidly shook his paper so Old Man Harvey could see it.
“Yeah well, a lot of stuff happens to me because of my paper, too, but why would I need to talk about it?”
“Is there something you’re not telling me here?” Gary suspiciously eyed Harvey.
“Why do you care? Look, I gotta go stop a kid from getting hit by a car.” Harvey swiftly sped his pace, to Gary seeming as if he did this to avoid him rather than to stop the would-be car accident.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
“What are you hiding from me?”
Harvey gasped in alarm as he spotted Gary outside the payphone booth. “What do you want from me?”
“You first,” said Gary. “I don’t believe you. You can’t get the paper, too. Two editions of tomorrow’s Chicago Sun-Times?”
Harvey fiddled with his fingers as he tried to ignore feeling Gary’s gaze.
“If you get the same paper as me then why do I prevent everything from happening? Articles don’t just disappear from the paper.”
Nervously attempting to find an acceptable excuse, Harvey let his eyes wander around the booth. “I-I get the-” Harvey seemed uncomfortable with telling Gary what he was about to say. “I get the Boston Globe.”
Gary gave Harvey a confused look. “Why would you need to be so secretive about that?” Gary’s eyes narrowed.
“Because I’m not supposed to be here!” Harvey looked frustrated and seemed as if he had revealed this to Gary to get him off his back. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d better get going,” he stormed down the sidewalk in an ascending pace.
“Oh no you don’t!” Gary mumbled. “You’re not getting away this time!” Attempting to follow Harvey, he tripped on a root protruding the sidewalk. Gary let out a yelp as he landed on his ankle.
Harvey shook in alarm as Gary yelped. Looking back at Gary, he rolled his eyes. “Looks like we’re gonna have to see a doctor about that ankle.”
“Wha-” Gary noticed he was grasping his ankle and quickly let go of it. “Me? Oh no, no, I’m fine.” He said, shaking his head.
“I could use the waste of time anyway,” said Harvey as he offered Gary his hand and helped him up.
“Huh?” Gary was confused at Harvey’s statement. He hadn’t even said it jokingly. Remembering why Harvey had said it, Gary said something in hopes of escaping the hospital trip. “Yeah, but- I’m fine. Just hurts a little.”
Harvey shot Gary a threatening look.
“Okay, okay, I’ll go!” Gary stuffed his paper inside his back pocket as he limped alongside Harvey.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
“It’s fine, just a sprain,” the nurse said to Gary as she examined the x-rays. “It seemed like a sprain as I looked at it, I just needed to take these x-rays to make sure. I’ll be right back with some papers I’ll need you to fill out.”
Gary nodded with an affirming mumble as the nurse walked out the door. After looking around the room for a while as a result of boredom, Gary spotted another figure at the door.
“May I come in?” Harvey quietly asked.
“Sure,” said Gary as he slipped his sock back onto his foot. “Hey, you never answered my question from before.”
“What was that?” Harvey raised his eyebrows.
“Well, I guess I forgot to ask it because you took off. Why aren’t you supposed to be in Chicago?” Gary asked.
Harvey looked uncomfortable. “It’s not that I’m not supposed to be here, it’s just that I call this place home.”
Gary stared at Harvey implying that he tell him more.
“Well, when I started to get this thing a while back,” Harvey let out a sigh and sat down on a stool. “everyone found out about it. It wasn’t my fault, I don’t really know whose it was. Maybe my brother’s, maybe my sister’s. It doesn’t really matter. Because when everyone heard about it, they thought I was some kinda nut case. I couldn’t even face my own parents anymore. So I moved here to Chicago. Now I call some of my close friends to take care of the stuff in the paper. It costs a lot though,” Harvey let out a half-hearted laugh. “Long distance calls, every day. But I guess that’s the price I pay for moving away from the source of the paper. Oh well..” Harvey sighed and stared off into space.
Harvey stopped daydreaming like a broken trance as the nurse walked back into the door holding stacks of papers. “I’m sorry, no visitors,” she said.
Harvey stepped up from the stool and walked to the door.
“Wait,” said the nurse, eyeing Harvey. “You look familiar. That patch…” she looked above as she tried to reach her memory. “Are you that gentleman that came in after trying to save his friend from something? You know, this other man came with a rod and accidentally knocked your eye out with it?”
“It wasn’t an accident.” A disturbed look spread over Harvey’s face. “He was trying to prevent me from saving Snow.”
“Snow...” Gary mumbled. Harvey knew Snow? “Snow?” he asked. “Lucius Snow?”
“Yes.” said Harvey. “’Did you know him?”
“Uh, sort of.” said Gary. “He- left something for me, you might say, passed it down?” Gary held up his paper.
“Oh...” said Harvey. “I see. Well, I’d better get going. I’ll wait outside to see you off.”
Gary tried to follow Harvey to keep him from escaping but was stopped short as the nurse handed him a pen to sign the papers with.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
“Hey, pal!” Gary called to Harvey as he spotted him walking away from the hospital. “Wait up!”
Harvey sighed and turned around. “What now?’”
“I still have more questions.”
“No.” Harvey said quickly and sternly. “I have nothing else to say.”
“Please.” said Gary as he tried to catch his breath.
Harvey looked at Gary. “Ask, but I may not answer.”
Okay.” said Gary, preparing to ask his question. “How did Snow die?”
Harvey’s unpatched eye widened. “No.” he said. “I’m not answering that.” He swerved to the left and quickly walked away, this time Gary didn’t bother to catch up. He figured Harvey would never answer him anyway, and he took his best shot. The only loss here was that he would probably never see Harvey again.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
“Meow!” The cat and paper landed outside Gary’s door with a thud.
“Yeah, yeah,” Gary stumbled to the door and picked up his paper. “Good morning,” he sarcastically said to the cat.
Looking at the paper, Gary spotted a headline worth reading, “Baggage filled with woman’s entire belongings stolen at Chicago Airport.”
- - - - - - - - - - - -
“Hey!” Gary jogged over to he assumed was the baggage thief. “I believe that’s mine,” he said.
The baggage thief looked alarmed. “Oh sorry. Thought it was mine.” He quickly walked away.
Gary looked at his paper. The existing headline now read, “City Approves New Stoplight Site.”
Looking up, Gary spotted a familiar face. Harvey.
“Harvey!” he called to him. “What’re you doing here?”
Harvey pointed to a sign to his right. “Flight 1217, Destination: Logan Int., Boston MA,”
“Oh. So you finally worked up the guts to go home?”
“Yep.” Harvey looked around the airport to avoid eye contact with Gary.
Gary suddenly remembered his question from yesterday. He might as well ask it, considering that this was his last chance. “How did Snow die?” he asked flatly.
Harvey’s eye widened again. “Do you really want to know?”
Harvey lowered his voice. “That’s the thing, I don’t know how. He got trapped in a building and I tried to get him out, I mean, he was talking and everything. He seemed fine.”
Gary raised his eyebrow in question.
“So then when I finally got into the building, he dropped dead in the middle of a sentence. The doctors said it was a heart attack, but I don’t believe them. Snow would have shown signs of that before he just…dropped dead. It was like someone- or something- had taken his life away before his time.”
Gary thought hard about this. The day Marcia had thrown him out, Snow died. Maybe Snow was supposed to die as soon as Gary got into a good position for the paper. Or maybe vice versa. Maybe Gary was supposed to get into a good position when Snow died.
Harvey waved to Gary, ending his deep thoughts. “The plane’s boarding, I’m gonna go now.” Harvey handed the flight attendant his ticket and boarded the plane, by Gary never to be seen again...
After losing total sight of Harvey, Gary began walking back to the nearest exit, reminiscing on the theory that his divorce- or Snow’s Death- had happened for a reason. He’d always talked about “God’s Plan”, which would make complete sense except for one loophole- the paper. What was the paper for if everything was supposed to happen? Was there some alternative to these situations that he could create? That’s it! This all fit together! But why didn’t these alternatives happen in the first place?
Gary rubbed his head in confusion, dropping his paper. His previous thoughts were terminated as he bent to pick it up, spotting an article. “Girl, 8, Beaten with Hockey Stick”. This wasn’t there before. Gary skimmed through the article, then looked at his watch. “Fifty minutes,” he muttered to himself as he tried to find a way through the crowd of people who were now lining up at the desk.
“Oof!” Gary was yanked to the side as someone tugged on his jacket.
“All right, where is he?!” The voice demanded.
“Mickey?” A look of alarm spread across Gary’s face. He has thought Mickey was long gone. “What are you doing here?”
“Don’t play games with me,” said Mickey. “Where is he?”
“Who? If you’re looking for Harvey he left for Boston.” Gary’s eyes wandered to avoid the threatening look on Mickey’s face.
“Damn!” Mickey stomped his foot. “Why didn’t you stop him?!!”
Gary’s attitude transformed from confusion to anger. “Why should I have stopped him?!” His eyes stopped wandering as he caught sight of a hockey stick Mickey was holding. “What are you doing with that?” Gary pointed to the hockey stick.
Mickey’s face turned red in nervousness. “Stop changing the subject! That’s not the point! We need to get Harvey off that plane!!”
Gary ignored Mickey’s raving. “Hey do you know anyone named...” Finding the article, he looked at the paper. “Darryl Martin?”
Mickey stopped ranting. “What about him?!” his voice rose in volume and threat.
“Aargh, c’mon,” Gary grabbed Mickey’s arm as he began walking. “You need to help me stop him from doing something really stupid.”
Mickey forced himself free of Gary’s grasp. “Hey, who you callin’ stupid?!”
Gary rolled his eyes. “I didn’t say he was stupid, I said he was doing something stupid, now c’mon!”
Dumbstruck in puzzlement, Mickey stood still.
“Here,” Gary flashed the article in front of Mickey’s face.
“Oh yeah!” Mickey smirked. “I see Darryl’s done well.”
“You knew about this?!” Gary’s voice got higher as he spoke. “Why are you trying to beat up an eight-year old girl?!!”
“And how is that your business?” Mickey calmly began walking down the airport. “Come with me and I’ll show you.”
“Howzat?” Gary stumbled behind Mickey as he walked out the revolving doors.
“You wanna know?” said Mickey as-a-matter-of-factly. “Then shut up and follow me.”
Gary grumbled as he disclosed the paper from his back pocket.
Mickey quickly grabbed the paper from Gary’s grasp and dodged down the sidewalk.
“Hey!” Gary yelled. “Give that back!!!!!”
“What are you gonna do if I don’t, tell the police I stole tomorrow’s news from you?!” Mickey snickered as he jogged down the sidewalk, Gary close behind.
Following Mickey for about six blocks, he noticed Mickey took a turn around an alley.
“Heh, there’s a shortcut this way,” Gary muttered to himself as he turned right, trying to catch his breath.
Gary stopped running as he heard screams of agony. “Stop! Stop! I don’t know!” they yelled.
His eyes widening, Gary raced down an alley to see what was happening. A tall man with a hockey stick was whipping it at a little girl.
“Mickey!” Gary thought angrily. “This is your fault!” Trying to get his mind off Mickey and to help the girl, Gary yelled, “Hey pal! Stop!!” as he rushed toward the scene.
“Stay outta this!” The man, most likely Darryl, held out one hand as he continued to slam the hockey stick.
“Hey!” Gary heard a voice come from nearby. “I know where Harvey is!” said Mickey as he jogged toward Darryl. “He took off to Boston!”
“AARGH!” Darryl slammed the hockey stick down. “How the hell are we gonna get some cash now?!”
Mickey and Darryl stormed off, leaving the beaten girl and the hockey stick behind.
“You all right?” Gary hurried toward the girl.
Already crying, the girl burst out into more tears as Gary asked.
Considering the fact that the girl was badly bruised and bleeding, Gary called 911.
Riiiiiiiiing, Riiiiiiiiing” Gary’s phone rang, waking him up. “It’s only 5:30 AM!” he yelled groggily before picking it up.
Hello?” he asked sleepily.
Hello, why do you sound so tired?” A voice said.
Its....only...five....thirty... AM...” Gary said, struggling to keep his eyes opened. “Who is this anyway?”
Oops, sorry, I forgot about the time difference.” The voice answered. “I thought you’d be up by 6:30.”
Harvey?” Gary asked, slightly awakening.
How’s Alexis?” Harvey asked.
The girl you saved when those punks beat her up. She’s my great-niece.”
ary tried to remember what he was talking about. “You mean-...she’s your great niece?”
Sure is. I’ve decided to move back to Chicago, I’ve got some family here, and they seem to need me more than these folks here in Boston.”
How come you didn’t mention this before?”
It never came up.”
Yes it did!” Gary sat up in his bed.
The past is the past, Gary,” Harvey chuckled.
“Eh-heh,” Gary forced a laugh. “By the way, I’d try avoiding Mickey and his type if I were you.”
“Hey, I do the best I can!” said Harvey. “The important part is that I’m coming back home to Chicago.”
“Yeah...see you soon then, I guess,” said Gary, hanging up as “Sweet Home, Chicago” played in his head.
Email the author: CharCareBear@aol.com