2007-12-10: 48 Missing Explosions


Hiro_icon.gif Lee_icon.gif


The fourth wall is completely destroyed.

Date It Happened:

December 10, 2008

48 Missing Explosions

The Alhambra Theater, New York City

Lee doesn't attend the kind of movies that are shown at the local SuperMetroMegaPlex, but even arty theaters have to stay in business, so this neighborhood movie theater shows both first-run action-packed explosions-and-guns shows and obscure subtitled foreign films, with a boisterous, crowded coffeeshop for after-film drinks. Lee, for example, is here to see the gloomy Romanian drama "Sober/City". And wow, what do you know, his girlfriend had something else to do that night! Still, he stops in to get coffee, hot milk and sugar and caffeine to bolster him against the frigid cold, pushing himself through the throng looking for a place to stand.

Hiro is not a movie goer. Oh, sure, he went to see quite a few movies back before he discovered his powers but since then he hasn't really had any time to do anything that doesn't involve saving the world. That was, of course, until a few months ago when (during his prolonged absence from the lives of the Hero-folk) he learned that taking some downtime actually helped to keep him focused.

So Hiro has taken a few hours out of his search for his father to see a movie. He was going to see Molly tonight but by the time he got around to it, it was pretty late so he reasons he'll go in the morning. And seeing as he has no house, spending the intervening time in public buildings should do the trick.

Lee ends up shoved half-against Hiro, but he manages, through a pained and half-supernaturally-assisted sort of lean to keep from spilling his coffee all over the shorter guy next to him. "Whoa, sorry." he asks. There seems to be enough room for the two of them to lean on a tall table whose tall chairs have been taken away, but that's about it. Lee puts his coffee down to avoid further shoves. "It's cold out there, huh?" Lee says. "Which movie did you see?"

"Explosiontown," Hiro answers, not drinking coffee himself but instead finishing off a large box of candies that is still rattling with a generous serving.

Hmm, something familiar about this fellow. But then, even if he wasn't familiar, Hiro would probably chat with him anyway.

"What did you see?"

Lee has an aghast expression on his face at Hiro's choice. "'Sober/City'….you seriously watched Explosiontown…on purpose? That's the one with the psychic powers, right?" he says. "My condolences. I can't believe you still have hearing left." He sips his coffee. "What did you think?"


Hiro asks over the persistant ringing in his ears before he realizes what the question was and shrugs his shoulders, "It was okay. Not as many explosions as the poster said there would be."

Lee says, "I heard it was an evil corporation movie, did they actually have a decent business plan or were they like all evil corporations, with a big question mark between evil and making a profit? That kind of stuff drives me crazy. If you think it would be a lot easier to make money at their cover business - greeting cards or whatever it is - than at the evil, it sort of makes you question their brains at being evil in the first place." Clearly Lee is a devotee of the cinema and likes discussing it. "The…poster promised a particular number of explosions? And you counted?" he asks baffledly.

Hiro shrugs his shoulders. Of course he counted. And the poster did indeed promise two hundred and five explosions. And he only counted one hundred and fifty-seven.

"Yes. It was an evil corporation. But they also kept changing between who was a hero and who was a villain."

Lee chuckles. "Right. The hero causes all sorts of horrific things to happen and the audience is supposed to overlook it because he has the right soundtrack and a lot of sympathy…hey, did they have a scene where the really horrific badguy does one good thing or makes one admission that - boo hoo - he's an addict or from a broken home or he's an addict from a broken home? They always have one of those." he says with apparent satisfaction at his mastery of the genre.

"They did," Hiro says with a nod of his head, taking a piece of candy from the box in his hand and beginning to munch on it, "You could always tell when he was going to be evil, though. They would always play a piano in the background when right before he did."

Lee nods solemnly, "The soundtrack." he says. "If only we could hear it. I would have to say the soundtrack is not the strength of 'Sober/City'. It was trying just a tiny bit too hard to be obscure. You know, like the music guy is the sort that gets a huge thrill out of name-dropping bands nobody's ever heard of." People like that, sheesh!

Hiro blinks a little in return to that. This is not the sort of conversation he has had in what seems like years, and even then he's never had a conversation like this in English.

Lee introduces himself, "I'm Lee. How long have you been in the States?" He doesn't assume Hiro is just visiting, this is New York after all. He puts out his hand, warmed by holding his scrumbled-up coffee drink.

"A year," Hiro says, offering a nice round number since time traveling and teleporting around the globe means keeping track of that little fact isn't quite that easy. But that name. And the overall look of the guy …

His mouth is agape suddenly: "9th Wonders!"

Lee says, "Sorry? Oh, the comic book, yeah. Lots of people mistake me for that… I think the artist was trying to draw that guy from that weird time travelling movie about the Iraq War veteran…" He plays it off masterfully. Clearly he has practiced it. "My sister owns a comic book store, so she showed it to me. We had a good laugh over it."

"No," Hiro says, shaking his head as he begins to rapidly put the pieces together, "9th Wonders!"

How can he get this guy to teal the truth? Oh! He knows!

Hiro jumps up and throws his arms out to either side, "Yatta!"

Lee's eyes widen. "What? Is…did you just call me something nasty?" he asks. "Seriously! What's 'yatta'?! Just because you like a crappy movie doesn't mean we have to fight…"

Hiro struggles a minute to recall the English translation, although when he throws his arms out again it is decidedly less enthusiastic.

"I did it … ?"

Lee says, "You did what? What did you do? Besides almost knock over that woman's half-caf double latte with a twist of lemon?"

Hiro sighs, looking disappointed and exasperated at the reaction - or lack of a reaction.

"I am Hiro."

Lee says, "…I know enough to know that is not some kind of Japanese greeting. You're just having fun with the dumb American, I get it." he laughs. "Yatta. Haha, good one. Yeah, people can be ignorant. It's like, they always put one foreign character in the main cast, but just one. People with English, Scottish and Irish accents excepted from the rule, of course."

"Hiro Nakamura!"

Hiro insists, pointing at himself as exasperation grows, "I am in 9th Wonders! too."

Lee says, "Oh yeah! Yeah, that's right, I thought I saw a Japanese guy in the comic, but I thought the artist was just trying to draw one of the recurring extras from that hospital comedy show. Are you sure it's you and not that other guy? Because it could be that other guy."

"It is me," Hiro answers, frowning and crossing his arms over his chest almost like a sulk.

Lee says, almost comfortingly, but not quite: "Right, it's you. So, yeah. Was it in the comic that we meet up here after you see a crap movie and you almost knock over that woman's latte, or have we forever altered the grim future? There is," he adds, "always a grim future."

Hiro takes his box of candies in his hand and holds it for a moment, looking at Lee carefully, "It was not in the comic."

Lee says, "That's surprising, I would think with that sort of bande dessinee verite approach, a go-nowhere conversation like this one would find a natural home." cheerily enough. "So what did it have you doing? Apparently it had the guy that looked like me at a hospital getting robbed." And redirecting a flashbang grenade to save Las Vegas Niki Dot Com and a doctor and a hurt security guard.

"Many things," Hiro answers, although he's more than a little grouchy at being disbelieved. He should be used to it given Ando's initial response, but recently everyone has decided to believe him immediately about the comic books and running across someone who is /in/ them who doesn't is grating on the usually-chirpy guy.

"I am a main character."

Come on! No laughs for 'bande dessinee verite'?! Lee worked on that joke all week! He winces slightly at how flat it falls, he can't even console himself with the fact that English isn't Hiro's first language because the joke is in French. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Lee looks sympathetic, "God help you then. You're in for non-credible plots, bad dialog, shallow characterization, being surrounded by idiots…not to mention I bet more people recognize you. The book is pretty popular at my sister's shop. Can't say why." Maybe because it's true?

"Which shop is that?" Hiro asks, tilting his head to one side.

Lee says, "Secret Lair. Actually my parents founded it, but they split a few years ago. My sister owns it, her best friend Kory runs it. You guys would get along, she's a huge fan of the series. Me, I wouldn't cry a lot if all comics were in a plane that crashed. Into a plague zone."

Ah, the plot thickens. Hiro suddenly looks less grumpy and more self-satisfied, smiling to himself as he nods his head, "Maybe I will visit?"

Lee says, "Sure, come on down, it's in the Village. You can't miss it, look for the X-Men X-Mas Nativity scene. Assuming you don't have any taste - if you have even the faintest shred, I recommend averting your eyes. It won't just make your skin crawl, it'll make it crawl away and hide." brightly enough. "Do they have a love interest for you in this comic? My girlfriend didn't make it in, which is good for me because I like her being a decent conversationalist."

Hiro looks downcast for a moment, "She died."

Lee seems taken aback by his own quip hitting so close to home, and uncomfortably - if genuinely - says, "Sorry to hear that." He tactfully omits asking whether he swore dark revenge over her ravaged corpse, or whether she had last gasped words of devotion and mystery.

Hiro stands up now, making sure to avoid knocking over any coffee-wielding women as he does so but keeping his candies close all the same, "I am going."

Lee nods. "All right." Who wouldn't want to end the conversation after that? "Was good to meet you. I'd say 'see you in the funny pages', but well." As parting quips go, it's not too bad, if perhaps a bit culturally specific.

Hiro gives the man a bemused look for a moment, tilting his head to one side.

And then, as a parting jab of his own, Hiro squeezes his eyes shut and disappears completely. Middle of a crowded coffee shop, sure, but he's disappeared in plenty of crowded places. Most people are too concerned with themselves to notice.

Most people. Usually.

Lee blinks, he looks around, stunned. He even looks under the table. Hiro's short, after all. He shakes his head, eyes wide. Finally he concludes: "Damn, the guy turned invisible." he mutters to himself, into his coffee. "How's he ever going to get a cab that way?"

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License