It was my nephew's birthday and he decided he wanted to go to the Family fun center. This sounded like fun to the rest of the family. So grandma and grandpa, loaded up the truck, drove an hour towards civilization and the family fun center. On the way, we discussed go-karts, laser tag, and roller skating. Those were everyone's favorite things to do. Roller skating not on the list for grandparents, though.
We got our tickets and headed out to the go-karts. This time it was disappointing activity. So, we tried again with the laser tag. The local family fun center needs to update the equipment really badly. That was a little disappointing too. But nothing can be disappointing about roller skating. Still in hope for a good time, the family group abandoned the bowling alley for the roller rink.
Being the only adult on roller skates, I set out on the floor with the younger nephew. He had never been on roller skates before. He bravely set out to learn. First I took him to the small practice area, where he learned some control over his spaghetti legs. My nephew, then, wanted to go where the big kids rolled. So, I carefully escorted him out of the practice area and onto the main rink.
I followed him around a couple times. I wasn't paying much attention to what was going on in the rink. But as my nephew became more comfortable on skates, I had the opportunity to look up. There wasn't many people there, five or six at most. But then, a swift gust of wind blew by me as an advanced skater zipped past. My eyes nearly burst out of head and shock rumbled through me.
A guy with brilliant blue-eyes, long black hair, fair skin, and well defined northern features, rushed by me and spun around on skates. He was wearing jeans and a tee-shirt, displaying the logo of a TV show called Supernatural. Handsome was the first thing that filled my head, as he spun out and continued around the rink again. His identity didn't occur to me until he came around, and slowed down to match my speed.
"Hey, glad to see you made it" he said.
It was now that I realized who this was. It was the realization that I was the only one who could see him. My nephew didn't look up at him. The five or six other people had not given him even a backward glace to his advanced techniques. My son rushed past us on his roller blades didn't ask who this guy beside me was. And my parents, who watched proudly from the sidelines, completely ignored him.
"No, you aren't nuts, Jay," he said. "I am here."
"Why?" I asked, under my breath. "What the hell is Loki doing at a skating rink in nowhere Tennessee?" I looked around to see if anyone was paying any attention to me.
Loki laughed. "Relax. You're a Doctor Who fan, think about it."
I relax. The entire Doctor Who fandom understands what he meant. The Doctor had spoken of it before. People pay little to no attention to things outside themselves. People brains automatically delete visual weirdness. It's a science fact. There's a TV show that discusses it called Brain Games. I was in no danger of being noticed as a "weirdo talking to herself."
"You didn't answer my question though," I said. "Why are you are here?"
"I wanted to see you and I haven't been roller skating since the 70's," he shrugged. "Sounded like fun night out."
I laughed. "Since the 70's?"
"Yeah, it was fairly popular then. Check it out," he said. He zipped past me and spun around fast. His shape blurred for a moment. His spin slowed and he started to skate backwards. But now, he was wearing tight, white jeans. The white, shiny, polyester shirt was tucked in his pants and buttoned only on the bottom. His chest was at full view, so I could see the large gold chain around his neck. His hair was now a full blown afro, with a gold pick stuck in the back. His belt buckle, also gold, showed off the male symbol in silver. All of this glowed under the black light of the rink. He smiled broadly, and performed a quick recreation of John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, on skates.
I nearly fell over. As I fought to keep my feet under me, he spun around and rushed over to help steady me.
"Sorry," he said. "I thought you would find that funny." He was back in the tee-shirt and jeans.
"I did find that funny. That's why I nearly fell over." I said, finding my balance. "Or I should say funnier."
"What was the first joke?" He asked.
"Um, how about an ancient Norse god on roller skates in Tennessee, in a Supernatural Tee-shirt?" I said bluntly.
"That's why I wore it," Loki laughed. "It's a great ice breaker, don't you think?" He smirked and then raised his brows. "Besides that, don't you think think this is a nifty invention? I mean, wheels on shoes! It was cool the first time. But with the discovery of rubber, it made the whole idea better."
I shook my head. "Don't turn this into a history lesson. I want to relax."
"And you should. I have been reading your blog," he said. "I like it. Some of the topics are weird, but I am familiar with you. I appreciate weirdness."
"Then, you also like Muppets," I replied quickly.
"You know I do," he said, just as quickly.
"Where's your accent?" We continued to glide around the rink, side by side.
"Dumped that ages ago. I am immortal and adaptable. Accents don't prove anything. Can we skip this part? I expected more of you."
"And what part might that be?" I asked, defensively.
"The part where you try to prove to yourself that you aren't actually talking to me. Whether I am "real" or not doesn't make a damn bit of difference" said Loki. He moved ahead of me and skated backwards again, and pointed at me. "Which by the way, you have written a piece on. The article in which you say something about acceptance of the supernatural and paranormal bizarre. It is easier to accept what is happening at face value."
I sigh. He was correct, after all. Which also proved that he was reading my blog. I did write something about bizarre paranormal and/or supernatural activities. The acceptance of them, so as not to freak out. Deal with it, and move along. In the end, the idea of whether something is "real" or not isn't what is important. The point is that something, your own brain or an outside source, is trying to point something out to the observer. What the observing person believes is the outside source, glitch in the matrix or God, doesn't matter either. What matters is that it is happening to the observer and that is what makes it "real." I roll my eyes. "Fine," I said. "We will skip that part. What next?"
"Just enjoy the moment, Jay! You are roller skating with Loki!" He laughed and winked.
Loki was right and suddenly, I didn't care if it was real or not. It wasn't even weird that he looked a little bit like Tom Hiddleston (They share the same check bones and brow shape. Although, this Loki was far more muscular in the arms and thicker thighs, btw) So we went around the rink and I watched him show off a bit. Even though, deep down, he wasn't showing off as much as he was "letting his hair down." I honestly expected more arrogance to show through. But in retrospect, I think I was confusing this Loki with Marvel Loki. It wore off as we skated around the rink a few times.
My nephew rediscovered his spaghetti legs. I skated up behind him and helped to steady him once more. Loki slowed down and followed us around the backside of the rink. Falling down while learning to skate is normal. But I was paranoid about my nephew falling down and busting a bone. The last thing I wanted was to return him to his mother, crying and broken. As we continued slowly around the ring again, there was a sudden explosion of noise. Roughly nine kids, suddenly appeared on the rink. Loki sped up and skated around them, laughing and having fun. But it turned out, that wasn't such a good idea.
These kids went nuts. They didn't skate around the rink, they skated across the rink. Back and forth, with no regard for the safety of other skaters. The group of fools turned the episode into a game of "crash." They began to intentionally trip other members of their group for fun. These pile ups began to effect the other skaters. This went on for a few minutes, until the "crash" game almost put my nephew in danger. I didn't care anymore, I starting screaming for the manager. As I said, I was paranoid over the welfare of my nephew and I didn't want to spend the four hours in an emergency room with an ADHD, 5 year old, who had a broken something. Then, explain to his mother, why it happened.
The manger came, parents were alerted, kids calmed down. Loki came to a slow skate next to me again. "Sorry about that. I have that effect on kids," he said. "Wasn't paying attention."
"Not everything is your fault," I replied.
"Yeah, in this case, I was an influence. It isn't easy to regulate when I am relaxed and not paying attention."
"Never mind, kids will be kids. Everything is fine now," I said.
"Well, yeah it's fine now," he said. "They're gone."
I looked up and the rink was almost empty. "What the deuce? How the hell did that happen?"
"I merely suggested to the birthday boy that the arcade was a better place to make mischief," he chuckled. "Now, we can have the rink to ourselves."
Loki said this right before my nephew looked up to me and said, "Aunty, I want to take a break."
"Plus fifty modifier to diplomacy checks," He said and laughed harder. "Let's do some skating together."
My nephew skated off towards the grandparents. It left the rink nearly empty. That was okay with me. I sped up to do the round. Loki stood in the middle of the rink and watched. I am not an advanced skater. I haven't had the desire to skate backwards or learn spin tricks. I skate to relax, not to race. So, he laughed at me. Then, after two rounds, he joined me again. This time he took my hand.
"Why did you laugh?" I asked him.
"You reminded me of this Amazon I knew. Which reminded me of the last roller derby I attended," he said.
"Roller derby? You follow roller derby?"
"Yes, why is that surprising?" He asked. "There was this game that the Amazons played. Roller derby, is that game on wheels."
"You just like watching girls fight over balls," I replied.
"I am a dude. Dude's like watching women fight over balls," he said. "I'm the normal one." He laughed again.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"You are the one talking to Loki, not me," he said.
"A little joke to lighten the mood. I know you have had some problems lately."
"Life has been difficult for me. But I am here aren't I?"
"No, you aren't and that concerns me," he said. "You live through your blog. You smile when you write it. You have energy and passion when you write. It seems to be the only thing you are doing that you love," he said.
"As I have discussed with the Divine, writing doesn't support my physical living. I do not get paid to write. My disabilities..."
"You are falling through the cracks," he said.
I shrug. "It is what it is. It's not my fault if nobody reads my stuff. It is not in my control if I don't get noticed by a publisher. I must continue with what I know and hope for the best."
"I am sorry about the bees," he said.
"I am not ready to talk about that either," I said. "What did you come her to tell me? Really?"
"Jay, I came here to tell you that I like your stories. Even the one about Slepnir. I don't want you to stop writing, no matter what," he said. "I am a fan. Truly."
"I am going to write. This year should have proved that. Why are you really here?"
Loki sighed and paused for a moment. The music of the skating rink filling up the silent space between us. "You don't know that something really good is coming. And we are afraid that when it does come, you are going to be so blinded by your past and fear that you won't be able to handle it."
"Okay," I say. "I'm working on it."
"Well, you write so much about how to handle the intangible, you have given no thought to how to handle the tangible," said Loki.
"That is my greatest weakness, I think. The inability to walk the masculine path," I said.
"Well, Echo thinks that is what you are both working on. And Medusa agrees," he said. "I shouldn't have to remind you that those two rarely agree on anything. So, we are concerned."
"My thought on that is that it doesn't affect..."
"Don't be stupid, Jay," he interrupted. "I know that defensive crap. I have pulled it myself."
I go quiet and Loki continues to lecture me. "So, all these blogs are dancing around the idea that human and their myths are symbiotic. Where humanity makes a change. so do the myths. It bounces back and forth like that. What you are doing is adjusting myths and the divine is answering you back. Why do you think I am here?" He went silent. When I didn't answer back, he growled to me. "Because you invited me here."
"What? So now I am sending invitations?'
"Yes, Jay. Whether you know it or not, doesn't matter. Whether you accept it or not doesn't matter either. You are meant to be a writer. And the only person who doesn't seem to accept that is you. We don't understand it. So, we are concerned about it."
"Fine. I am a writer. I am also crazy, too," I replied.
"Seriously, Jay. If you are going to be crazy, what a fantastic way to be crazy. Who else gets to talk to Loki, Echo, Persephone, Hades, Odin, and Thor?"
"Other writers do," I said.
"Then, that makes you not crazy because others have done it too," said Loki. "And I might point out that other men have done it before and have started religions as a result. Why is it "crazy" for a women to do it without the intent of making money?"
Well, that was me told. Why was it "crazy" to think I was talking to Loki? And why did I have this strange need to label it "insane" when so many others before did the exact same thing, some with not so innocent intentions?
He shrugged. "It's okay, you know. Everybody does it."
"Be their own worst critic. They spend so much time defending themselves, they leave no room for the improbable to happen. Or when it does happen, they can't see it. But you are different. You proved it already."
"Oh yeah? When?"
"Two words, Jay. Wil Wheaton."
Blast that smooth talker! He was right, despite my own reservations. I never in my whole life ever thought I would ever get to meet Mr. Wheaton, much less get the opportunity to hang out with him. But when that opportunity rose up at a Comic Con, I took that moment and made it mine. In that moment, I was literally, and figuratively, the captain of my own ship. That, for me, was an improbable moment. Yeah, it was a game. But it was also the closest thing I was ever going to get to living a dream. Captain Hayashida with Commander Crusher as my Chief Engineer, avoiding Klingons in two dimensional space.
"That moment was a test. You recognized that moment. That was a turning point for you. And that is why you had a complete break down afterwards," he said. "You are so cool and don't know it. I mean, you had an opportunity, not realizing you had an opportunity and you nailed that too!"
"When the hell was that?"
"Two more words, Jay. Adam Savage."
Damn it! He was right again! That Mythbuster didn't know it, but I had a direct effect on him at a Naka Con, in Kansas City. No-Face offered me some chocolate coins, and I turned them down. Accepting gold from No-Face is bad luck (Did you see the movie?). And without "knowing" exactly who he was, I asked him if his name was "Adam" because I had an intense...super intense... feeling that I was supposed to know who he was under all that cloth. The poor guy had to enduring 20 questions from me, because I was trying to work out why I had such an intense motivation to know his identity. Then, later on, after teaching my class, Adam had to take back gold coins he had given out that day because I told my class it was bad luck to accept gold from No-Face (Because it is).
"If that doesn't convince you, then there isn't anything that will," he said. We both went silent and went around the rink a couple more times.
"So, you are here to tell me to have faith in myself and in the improbable," I said. "To keep my chin up and keep moving forward."
"And for a date. You desperately needed a date," he laughed. He let go of my hand, spun around in front of me, and turned into Sheldon Cooper. "And just so you know, coitus is out of the question."
I laughed really hard. "I am going to write about this later."
"And no one will believe it either. That's what makes a story really great, don't you think?" He spun around again, returning to his tee-shirt and jeans.
"Anything else I should know?"
"I'll be around. So if anything comes up, I'll let you know," he said. Loki spun around clockwise and stopped. "You have friends in low places," he said as Garth Brooks. He took off his cowboy hat and winked. Then, he spun counter clockwise and turned into Ricky Gervais. "Honestly, that is where you should have friends. Communication is easier and more reliable than ever." Loki spun around again, returning to the tee-shirt and jeans. He kissed my hand and skated away. "See you around."