(Iglesia is a serialized novel, published on Tuesdays and Saturdays at midnight ET, you can read all of the episodes by clicking on the tag.)
Balance is precisely what we are dealing with, yes. I am afraid I must confess to ignorance on the subject of a ….batphone? But having now spent a considerable length of time in your …delightful…presence, I believe I have achieved enough of a familiarity with your various forms and tones of communication to dismiss the reference in question as some sort or another of sarcasm or facetiousness. Therefore, we shall move on to the gist of the briefing and indeed, the balance… or to correct myself, the imbalance that is currently directly tied to the fate of your earth and her population, and, I must admit to being increasingly reluctant to say, your critical roles in affecting said imbalance. Unless I am in error?” Smirk and a raised eyebrow. He must be darned proud of that particular load of polysyllabic spewed crap, thought Iglesia.
“Please walk this way,” Rogers said, and turned his back on them with a bit of a flourish and moved towards the cave with his normal clipped and proper gait.
Abe and Iglesia looked at each other, raised their respective eyebrows, smiled at each other…which turned into a shared giggle then a burst of laughter…and then they both mimicked a greatly exaggerated version Rogers “mode of ambulation” as they followed him towards the cave.
“I never, ever expected to get to do that!” Abe said as he imitated Rogers’ walk. “If you would have asked me two weeks…or whatever… ago if I would ever get the chance to do the ‘walk this way’ schtick I would have said something like ‘only in my dreams.’ Come to think of it though, I am still not convinced that this whole little bit of bizarre vaudeville I’ve been walking through for forever now isn’t a dream, complete now, with a fair damsel…though you don’t look to be in much distress. And before he could help himself he eyed her black catsuit, “or any dress at all for that matter!” When Iglesia lowered her eyes and blushed a bit, instead of continuing their shared laughter at Rogers expense…he wished he could bite off his tongue. He was mortified.
They entered the low and apparently shallow cave, with just enough light from the pit fire reflecting off of the chalk white rocks to make out the limits of the walls and roof.
He knew he had to break the awkward silence, so he summoned a bit of a shy smile and loading up his best Bogie, he glanced down at Iglesia…”So, what’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this, schweetheart?”
To his relief, she got it, and giggled. His heart unfroze.
“Don’t ask me, stranger, I just work here!…how about you, you from around these parts, or just a lonely cowpoke amblin’ through town?”
Before Abe could think up a suitable movie cliche rejoinder, they had reached the back of the cave and Rogers was opening yet another hatch. Neither of them should have been surprised by much of anything at this point, but perhaps spending the whole day hiking through outdoor settings had made them forget a bit the nature of this place they were in. So they both stood gape-mouthed for more than a minute as Rogers opened the door onto what looked like a well lit, cavernous….old fashioned high school gymnasium.