Chester hopped down off the bed and stretched his sleepy corvid wings, deciding the best way to break the silence. "So what sort of adventures shall we engage today, Captain?" was the best he came up with, and he admired his own glittery purple talons once again.
Captain Beautiful stood up, tall and thoughtful, "Today, my friend, I believe we should stay in. Yesterday's emotions seem to have taken a toll on us both, and I'm feeling a great need for a long replenishing bath." He walked slowly--almost drifting--toward the window and looked out into the back alley of the hotel."I was thinking tonight we could order pizza and listen to that Aviary record you picked out yesterday. How does that sound, my little Hadesian brother?"
Chester nodded. "Sounds fabulous, Captain, but we don't have a stereo system to play the record on yet. And there would be no poultry on the pizza, would there?"
Captain Beautiful's glow returned, and the room lit up. "Quite right, Chester, and that will be your job--acquiring our stereo system while I'm bathing. And right again: no poultry on our pizza, you have my word." The Captain rummaged through his backpack again and removed some small glass vials, and a towel that he slung over his shoulder. "While I'm in the bath--for it shall take a few hours--you should go downstairs and talk with Bobby...let him know about the Aviary record and that we'll need a stereo system so that we can listen to it this evening."
Chester eyed the small and sparkling glass vials in Captain Beautiful's hand and asked, "Bobby sells stereo equipment?"
Captain Beautiful chuckled, "No, my friend, but he is our go-to man...he knows how to find anything we could ever want and will have it delivered to our room promptly, I'm sure."
"I see," Chester mumbled, "I will do that then." He was no longer able to resist touching one of the glass vials, and removed one of them from Captain Beautiful's hand. "What's in this vial? It's beautiful...it glistens like nothing I've seen before--like a powder, or maybe a gel--I can't really tell."
"Ahh," Captain Beautiful responded,(and he enjoyed Chester admiring it) "these are Hadesian bath spices...they enhance my glow and shine, and replenish my spirit. Pretty, aren't they? Come now, my friend," and the two super heroes left their room and headed down the long hallway of the Moore Hotel. The Captain turned left and opened a door to the bathing room and entered, while Chester flitted to the right and headed downstairs to the lobby.
Bobby was seated behind the desk perusing the remains of an old newspaper when Chester appeared on the counter, and tapped his lovely talons. Bobby was genuinely happy to discover someone to speak with. "Well, how are you, Chester? To what do I owe the pleasure?"
"Greetings, Bobby!" Chester projected, "Captain Beautiful is taking a long replenishing bath...he sent me to see you about getting us a stereo system for our room. We acquired a record album yesterday, but we have no way of playing it."
Bobby slid the old newspaper into the trash and adjusted his glasses ever so slightly. "Well, that's great, Chester...I'll have no problem getting you set up with top notch gear so you can enjoy it. Is the album something I'd enjoy?" Bobby was quite a fan of music, and loved sharing stories of all the rock stars he'd met over the years.
"I'm not sure," Chester replied, "I found it in the $3 bin and I liked the cover. It is a band called Aviary. I liked their name too of course," Chester chuckled, feeling quite proud he'd made some sort of a clever joke.
Bobby sat up straight and squared his shoulders. If he picked up on Chester's attempt at a joke, he didn't show it."Ah yes, I remember them well. Oh, that Brad Love--he has such a great voice--and he's no hack at penning a tune either. Truly, one of the more underrated of the Seattle bands if you ask me. I think they came along a little too early, or perhaps a little late even. You'll enjoy it for sure!" Bobby adjusted himself in his chair again and pushed his glasses up, "They were a class act too. I remember years ago I was working in a sandwich shop up on the hill, and there was this lady that always used to come in. She never had any money...and so one day she--" Bobby cut himself off, realizing he had already given Chester too much to process. "But that's a story for another day, Chester. I'll enjoy finding you guys a great stereo system."
Chester edged a bit closer to Bobby. "I'd like to hear that story sometime, Bobby. You know Captain Beautiful and I were up on the hill yesterday--that's where we found the Aviary record--we were visiting the cemetery where my old family resides--from when I was just Cedric."
Bobby relaxed and sank a bit into his chair. "I see. And how did that go?"
Chester shrugged his wings a bit. "It was interesting...emotional...but not like I thought it would be. Captain Beautiful assured me my family wouldn't recognize me since I had died and been resurrected. But down from the tree hops a crow that insists he is my uncle Reginald, and he tells me I'm lost in madness again."
"I see," Bobby said softly--almost whispering--then raised his voice a bit: "I'm sorry you had to go through that, Chester, I know it's a hard thing to digest. I think I see the REAL reason Captain Beautiful sent you down to talk to me--besides needing the stereo, of course."
Chester settled in upon the desk. "Do tell, Bobby."
"I think, Chester, that Captain Beautiful is wanting you to understand more about him...things he'd like to be able to tell you himself--but can't--because he has no memory of them. He's still quite a mystery to all of us that know him, but I can tell you how he arrived here at our hotel a few years ago. Those are the pieces he's probably wanting you to understand."
Chester tilted his head down just a bit. "I feel heavy, as you speak those words. Not exactly sad, but dense--overcome by gravity."
"Captain Beautiful came here a few years ago, escorted by an elderly, well-dressed gentleman--Mr. Smith the elderly gentleman introduced himself as, and he asked to speak to the hotel owners about making arrangements for Captain Beautiful to stay here on an extended basis. I got the manager, of course, and the three of them went into the office and shut the door. It was all so strange...Captain Beautiful glowed--you could 'feel' his presence, and he had a gentle smile--I'll never forget the first time I saw it. I assumed at the time he was some sort of famous rock star I didn't know about--we have gotten lots of them here over the years you know. Anyway, they were in the office for probably about an hour. When they came out, Captain Beautiful and Mr. Smith walked across the lobby and sat down upon the couch, neither saying a word. My manager pulled me to the side and spoke softly to me. I can't remember it all word for word, but he was explaining how Captain Beautiful was going to be staying here in room 301 for the foreseeable future." Bobby then got up, turned, filled a mug with coffee, and quickly sat back down.
Chester hopped down and rested upon Bobby's shoulder, suddenly feeling a brotherly connection with him. "I already feel closer to Captain Beautiful," Chester said.
Bobby brushed his fingers gently across Chester's head, and stroked his beak. "My manager told me that Captain Beautiful was once a young man named Brian, but that I was never to call him that--only Captain Beautiful or some abbreviation of that. He explained that Mr.Smith had set up some sort of financial trust and that I'd be one of the powers of attorney of it...that anything Captain Beautiful asked for, I should provide him with--no questions asked. I was very confused, of course!" Bobby took another sip of coffee.
Chester dipped his beak into the mug to taste the coffee as well, but shook his head vigorously and exclaimed, "Ugh! How do you people drink this stuff?! And of course you'd be confused, Bobby, as I would be--and am now even!"
Bobby went on, "Still thinking we were dealing with some sort of celebrity here, I asked my manager if there'd be some sort of guest list to tend to, and he shook his head right away. He informed me it was nothing like that. I was told that Brian--now Captain Beautiful--had a very troubled and tragic childhood, and that he fell into madness as way to cope with his pain. Captain Beautiful was his safe place, his way of getting through the days. The reason I was instructed to never call him Brian, I was told, was because he wouldn't remember that name..he had lost all touch with his former reality."
Chester let his head fall down a bit. "So Captain Beautiful isn't a beautiful, glowing being from Hadesia? He's just an insane person?"
Bobby squared his shoulders again and tapped Chester on the beak. "No, Chester, I didn't say that at all. I'm only telling you what my manager told me. Captain Beautiful has told me much about himself in the years he's been here, and I have to say I don't believe my manager was telling me the truth...or at least not ALL of it. Remember how I said you could 'feel' Captain Beautiful's presence?"
Chester squared his corvid wings. "Yes, of course, and I know exactly what you mean when you say it. There is a spirit to him that goes beyond words.Madness or not, there is something very real, and something very powerful behind it."
Bobby smiled. "Exactly. You know, Chester, many dark and silent spirits have haunted our halls at the Moore for many decades. They all went away the day Captain Beautiful arrived. As you said, it goes beyond words, but there's something beautiful and powerful behind it. Our neighborhood has never been the same since he moved in."
Chester smiled, turned, and looked into Bobby's eyes. "Thank you, Bobby...you have set my heart aflame today. I will enjoy that Aviary record even so much more tonight...if you get us that stereo!"
Bobby stood up and beamed. "You know I will always take care of you two...that stereo will be there before sundown."
Chester flitted off of Bobby's shoulder and hopped down onto the floor, walking toward the stairway. "I will ask Captain Beautiful if you can join us for record listening and pizza tonight...if you'd enjoy that?"
Bobby glowed. "I would love that. Whenever you guys are ready for me, just call down to the desk. I'll get someone to cover me, and make a beeline for room 301.
Chester winked. "I adore you, Bobby. See you in a few hours."
Bobby smiled softly and sat back down as if to get back to some sort of meaningless task--and adjusted his glasses once more. "I'll be there, my friend!"