Private: Cecilia Ryan
”The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.” – Aldous Huxley
The street lights shine through the half-opened window in the bedroom of Cecilia Ryan’s apartment. The traffic below emits a steady stream of noise, giving it the feel of a place in the middle of New York City somewhere. Believe it or not, there’s an area in Tampa called Brooklyn Heights, but there are no heights in this place. It’s very, very modest… very ordinary.
The small studio apartment is decorated very sparingly. There’s a small standalone mirror, one of those kinds that flip around, the kind Jackie Chan would use as a prop in a fight scene. The ornate carvings on it make it looks like a valuable antique, but it’s just some dingy thing she picked up at a thrift store nearby.
Cecilia sits on the bed, hands clasped behind her head, and watches through the window, looking at the night sky.
The music of her neighbors arguing, talking, laughing, or all three, is the only soundtrack playing. The walls in this place are paper thin. You might as well be in the same room with your neighbors because you can hear every word quite clearly. And what an interesting bunch of people they are. On one side, you have Scott, who apparently is deeply in love with Denise, but the only problem is that Denise is deeply in love with his best friend Chris. Harmless, but annoying. As the apartment building turns, it would seem.
The other gentlemen, on the other side of her, is a bit more troubling. You see, Mr. Derringer confided in the building’s mailman and convinced him to go along with a scheme to help see him get launched into space by way of a rocket.
Ridiculous on its face.
But so many things are.
Still, the conversation was fascinating.
Our mailman, Mr. Bennett, was at the door, assumedly delivering a package of some sort, and Mr. Derringer invited him right in.
Derringer: Have a seat, Bennett. Make yourself comfortable. Would you like some brandy?
Derringer: It’s alright. Feel at ease. Brandy?
Mr. Derringer liked to offer fancy drinks to people. One day when she was just coming home from a training session, Cecilia had been accosted by him, dressed in a red velvet robe and puffing on a pipe like an English professor in his study, and he offered her a sherry. She didn’t even know what sherry is, but she knew better than to trust this weirdo. So she passed.
Derringer: Here you are… take a sip. Enjoy and feel relaxed. I need to ask you some questions and I would like you to have as clear a mind as possible for optimal thought.
Bennett: Yes. Brandy certainly helps one get optimized for optimum thought.
Derringer: Lovely. Now, if I was to build a rocket ship, what would be the very first thing I would do?
I need to interject clarity here. He did, in fact, ask this question, but although she could imagine his guest looking at him like he was from outer space, she could not from the next apartment see him to know for sure.
Bennett: A rocket ship, sir? For space?
Derringer: That’s right. I want to leave Earth at once and fly into the outer reaches of space until I hit Mars.
Bennett: I see.
Bennett: Well, what, sir?
Derringer: What do you think is the very first thing I should do to build my rocket?
Bennett: Well, I would have to say that you would need to reach out to experts in the field?
Bennett: But, sir…why would you want to go to Mars, if you don’t mind me asking…you apparently have everything here.
Bennett: Death, sir?
Derringer: That is correct.
Bennett: What do you mean by…death. sir?
Derringer: You do know the definition of the word?
Bennett: Yes, sir.
Derringer: There you have it. I wish to shoot myself into orbit by way of a rocket, in order to die. A much more exciting adventure than what dear old father had done.
Bennett: But why on Earth, sir?
Derringer: Is that a pun?
Bennett: What, sir?
Derringer: A pun my dear boy, a pun. And I’m asking you about rockets!
Bennett: Are you feeling…well.
Derringer: I feel spectacular.
Bennett: Right. Sir, when do you plan on having your rocket built?
Derringer: Well, first there is a level of research, is there not? And then, then there will be time for construction and finally, a launch date. Which reminds me, I will need you to be solely responsible for the launch date.
Bennett: Launch date, sir?
Derringer: Launch date. I want you to make sure all arrangements are met according to this paper right here!
Cecilia could hear some paper being exchanged between the two of them.
Derringer: As you will note, there is a checklist box next to each number. There are a total of seven things I wish to be done by the launch date in order for the launch date to go off. Please read everything over on your own time, absorb it, begin collecting, and be done with it. I do believe, realistically, I will be launching myself into space within four years’ time.
Bennett: Four years, sir?
Derringer: Four more miserable years of this asinine existence and POOF, off to space I go to meet my alien friends. Yippee!
There was another pause, during which she assumed that Mr. Bennett was looking around for the exits.
Bennett: Will that be all, sir?
Derringer: All? Why yes, all for now. Get to work! Oh, one must remain hush hush about my rocket. by all means.
Bennett: By all means, sir.
Derringer: By all means.
Bennett: Yes, by all means, sir.
Derringer: By all means.
Derringer: Yes! Be gone!
This was Cecilia Ryan’s introduction to apartment living in the inner city. Her dad was great, but he had this annoying habit of making her work for everything she got. Something about not wanting her to be raised in a great big mansion guarded away, not able to talk to ‘normal’ people. Apparently, that’s how Paul McCartney raised his kids. Little known fact. Dan Ryan is a big Beatles fan.
But that’s beside the point.
She was stuck in this hell hole, so…
Yes, this was her introduction, and it really set the tone for what she was about to face. Another babbling fool with who knows what kind of delusion to make her claim to be what she claims to be. Time and space and time streams and space, and time… and space.
But you can’t argue with a moron. All it does is drag you down into the mud with them, living out science-fiction fantasies and sitting cross-legged in the corner eating crayons.
Everyone has to deal with this sort of thing eventually. Might as well get it out of the way.
Mr. Derringer didn’t look too big or tough. If he makes an asinine comment or suggestion in her direction, Cecilia decided she would break two, no, three of his fingers, and perhaps a thumb.
She may be paying her dues.
But she’s taking some payment back. Enough of this shit.
”If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill themselves, is it considered a hostage situation?” – George Carlin
Hello there, Anna Daniels.
I’m not gonna say it’s nice to meet you. It’s not. But I will be meeting you nonetheless.
Deep breath for me here. Pardon me.
So you’re a Time Lord, eh?
And you’re from Gallifrey.
Well, it just goes to show you… everybody’s from somewhere, or some time, or whatever.
God this is so stupid. Am I actually supposed to pretend like I believe you’re an interdimensional time traveler? Listen, if I really wanted to watch some barely original Dr. Who interpretation, I’d watch the weird Whovian porn that I once caught one of my male cousins watching.
No, more than likely you’re a delusional nutjob with multiple personalities and a really big hankerin’ for some good old-fashioned cosplay. I used to enjoy dressing up like a superhero when I was a little kid too, but right now all I can think of is how I want to rip that stupid red robe off your shoulders and strangle you to death with it.
PRIME really is pullin’ em in from all four corners of this great sport of ours, isn’t it? Lots of legitimate athletes, some nice, some, like me, not so nice, some characters, funny guys and girls, serious, determined, and then there’s you…. The Time Lord whose grand celestial purpose is… to wrestle.
What a sad commentary on the time stream, if such a concept were reality, that in all the infinitesimal possibilities of existence and influence, a fucking Time Lord… just wants to throw down with some arm drags. Can’t a girl just lock up without being forced to fulfill some galactic plan every now and then?
I can see you pouting to the other Time Lords, upset and stomping your feet because they want you to fulfill a grand destiny when you just wanna dance!
Seriously, the robe, or pretty much anything I can find in the moment. I want to strangle you.
Listen up, Miss Annaperennaepsilonomnicrexsupercalifragilisticexpialadocious, I’m gonna make this really really simple for you. The moment you get within arm’s reach of me, I’m going to break every bone in your stupid, pathetic body. You may think you’re some kind of mythical hot shit, but get this through your fucking skull. I’m the next generation of a motherfucking dynasty. I didn’t come to PRIME to fuck around with some pretentious Comic-Con panel shitbag who couldn’t wrestle their way out of said shitbag.
But maybe you really are just mentally ill. I say ‘just’. Mental illness is a very serious thing. You truly believe you are a Time Lord. Okay. When a personality is created out of a trauma situation, the personality can watch and learn by looking and hearing out of their eyes and ears. The personality doesn’t have to be the one in charge of the body to know what is going on. If the personality is created while you are of a very young age that personality can remain at that age, even though you are growing and maturing. A personality can also be hidden within the memory that created them and they don’t realize time has moved on.
So I guess the real question is, who hurt you, Anna Daniels. Who prompted you to waltz around in a big red cape and tiara like a much less interesting Wonder Woman? Is your entire life the mutterings of an autistic child staring into a snow globe? Or the mindless wanderings of a sociopath? They say time heals all wounds, but that presumes the source of the grief is finite. But there is no time stream, you poor deluded idiot. Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why. It’s an illusion. Do you know who said that? Albert Einstein. Brilliant man. Never wore capes or tiaras.
It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it, and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one. Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time – past and future – the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.
And therein lies the whole of man’s plight. Human time does not turn in a circle; it runs ahead in a straight line. That is why man cannot be happy: happiness is the longing for repetition.
We girls here on Earth are filled with similar nonsense. It starts so young, and I’m angry about that. The garbage we’re taught. About love, about what’s “romantic.” Look at so many of the so-called romantic figures in books and movies. Do we ever stop and think how many of them would cause serious and drastic unhappiness after The End?
Why are sick and dangerous personality types so often shown a passionate and tragic and something to be longed for when those are the very ones you should run for your life from? Think about it. Heathcliff. Romeo. Don Juan. Jay Gatsby. Rochester. Mr. Darcy. From the rigid control freak in the Sound of Music to all the bad boys some woman goes running to the airport to catch in the last minute of every romantic comedy. She should let him leave. Your time is so valuable and look at these guys – depressive and moody and violent and immature and self-centered. And what about the big daddy of them all, Prince Charming? What was his secret life? We don’t know anything about him, other than he looks good and comes to the rescue.
So maybe I’m not one for archetypes or fantastical stories that stretch incredulity to the point of absurdity. Maybe I’m not buying into this Time Lord bullshit because I’m cynical. The world has already shown me in my short time on this planet what the truth is. I don’t need a quantum physics lesson from you, so pre-emptively, just shut the fuck up.
Get in the motherfucking ring and throw down, or I’ll break your fucking neck.
Get that? Won’t find that in a Dr. Who script.
Probably why you didn’t think to say it first.
”You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.” – Charles Buxton
Cecilia Ryan walks in through the front door of her Aunt Lindsay’s gym in downtown Tampa. There’s a huge picture window on one side looking out of the water of the bay, and there are lots of students of the venerable Ms. Troy working through their various goals on the treadmill, or the weight circuit, and then of course the gym bro section, monopolizing the free weights.
Set out toward the middle of the room is a wrestling ring. A bit stronger of a light shines down on it. The rest of the room isn’t exactly dark, but this clearly is the focal point.
It had become a daily occurrence, her coming in and getting her work in, trying to fine-tune the things she lacks, or maybe, she just wants to be better. One of the trainers, a new face, saunters over to her and looks her up and down.
“What’s up kid? You here to apply for the open secretary position?”
She ignored him, this pasty, pudgy fellow with hair that’s disappearing rapidly from his hairline, and a greasy-looking dark blue t-shirt. She was sure it had grease stains all over it, but she turned her eyes away too quickly to know for sure. Walking past him, she bumps him with her shoulder but keeps going. This gets his attention.
“Hey you, I’m talkin’ to you.”
His sleazy creepy voice cuts through the air like a dead fish. Fish don’t cut through the air. That’s the point. He was trying to intimidate her with Michael Jackson’s voice. She pauses, drops a bag from across her shoulder, and lets it fall to the floor. Then she turns around and smiles.
“So you are. Sorry, I didn’t hear you. I smelled you. I didn’t hear you.”
He grumbles. “What the hell is your problem? This is a real-life training facility, not some babysitter’s club. Why don’t you get your shit and get the hell outta here? I don’t need no uppity little bitch runnin’ around. Go on, scoot.”
She slowly walks back toward him.
“Oh… I think it would be a lot more fun if you tried to make me.”
By now, there are other people taking notice of the confrontation, and a small crowd starts to form nearby.
Greaseball laughs, then crosses his arms over his chest. “Oh sure. Who the hell do you think you are, coming in here with all this attitude? Do you think you’re gonna intimidate me? Do you know who I am?”
Cecilia looks to the crowd and takes notice of the nervous expressions on some of the faces, you know, the ones who know exactly who she is. She smiles, broadly.
Without another warning, she rushes forward and dives through the man’s left knee, and he falls face-first to the floor with a sickening thud, screaming out in pain as he does. In a flash she’s on top of him and pulls an arm around to his back, then locks her other arm over his face and chin, pulling back on his neck. She grits her teeth, then leans down to his ear.
“I think I’m Cecilia Ryan, daughter of Dan Ryan, daughter of Alaina Troy, niece of Lindsay Troy…”
His eyes go wide.
“And you’re nobody.”
Within a few more seconds, his eyes slump closed and she releases the hold, satisfied. Standing up, she turns back to the crown and walks directly toward the center of it.
“Get the fuck outta my way.”
They do, immediately, and the seas part. She walks through, heading to the ring, while the others just stare at the unconscious lump on the gym floor.
She jumps up onto the apron and swings her legs through and into the ring. With a running start, she bounds off the ropes and then comes back and hits the other side, arm stretched out to take the impact.
She would have to do most of this by herself. She couldn’t depend on the family anymore, but she would not surrender her birthright. The parent is protector and trainer, but never the ultimate teacher. Every parent is responsible for teaching their kid basic moral conduct, manners, the difference between love and hate, and right from wrong. However, after maturity, the child must set off to seek knowledge on their own. There is no one right way. The many ways are as varied as the colors of a rainbow.
No matter what daddy says, the time has come to demand what is hers.
She has no intention of paying any more dues.