It all started with that time travel case. Things got weird and stayed weird. Or maybe they'd always been weird and I just never noticed the dinosaurs, but things were definitely weird now. I should know, I'm Fox Mulder and weird's my business.
I was eating lunch the same way I did every Tuesday when Scully told me to stop muttering to myself. I told her it was Tuesday. She didn't believe me.
I'm Fox Mulder. No one ever believes me.
I could have gotten into a complicated discussion with her about parallel universes and alternate universes and spooky mutant alien universes, but I just told her she was wrong.
She still didn't believe me. She insisted it was Monday. I couldn't change her mind. Even if I was Fox Mulder.
Skinner called us up to his office after lunch. I wanted to ask him what day it was, but with the way he was looking at Scully I knew he'd agree with her. I tried to sneak a look at his day planner instead. I thought I saw my name: Fox Mulder.
This boded no good. No good at all.
Skinner told me to quit mumbling. He also told me I had a new case.
On the plane to California, the stewardess asked me if I wanted a drink. I said to her: "Don't you know who I am?"
No, that's a lie. What I said was: "Of course I want a drink. I'm Fox Mulder."
She wasn't impressed. She obviously never read the paper.
Scully was on the plane too.
She was reading about Intra-arterial Prourokinase for Acute Ischemic Stroke. It made me want a sandwich. That was Wednesday. I checked.
The case was just like all the others except it involved time travel. I wore my best red/green, green/red, red or green tie. It was the same color as Scully's red-green hair, but it was all grey to me.
The rental car was black. It was a convertible. At the airport I pulled up to the curb alongside the dame in the skirt. Scully frowned and told me not to call her a dame, but she got in the car all the same. I knew she would. She's Scully.
Scully told me she knew who she was.
I told her I wasn't talking to her.
We checked into the motel. It was a real dive. I was afraid to touch the doorknob, and I'm Fox Mulder.
As far as I knew, time travel was not a crime, but the three dead bodies said different. No, they weren't talking, but I knew something was up.
I asked Scully if time travel could have killed them. Scully told me to go back to my room. How was I to know she'd be sleeping? I went back to my room. The Late Late Late Show was just ending. I decided I'd try her again in the morning.
I'm Fox Mulder. My partner's Scully. We'll both have the #4. Make the toast whole wheat. I take my coffee black, and if I smoked, I'd carry a silver cigarette case, and a lighter engraved with my initials. I don't smoke, but sometimes I do.
Scully told me I was muttering again. I asked her what day it was. She said, "Thursday." I waited to see if she was joking, but the broad appeared to be serious.
"Thursday," I repeated. I didn't trust her. It felt like a Wednesday. But we'd already had a Wednesday. Maybe it felt like Friday instead.
The waitress came by to pour me more coffee. She asked if I was drinking regular or decaf. I told her who I was. She said, "Does Fox Mulder want this coffee in his lap?"
Fox Mulder does not want coffee in his lap.
Scully told me I was really getting on her nerves by constantly referring to myself in the third person.
I graciously decided to ignore her.
California looked like every B-movie I'd ever seen, except the ones set in outer space, those more closely resembled Texas at night and involved swamp monsters or siliconed blondes washing cars. There weren't any swamp monsters and the only blonde I saw was the waitress, but it was still like a B-movie because I was feeling cheap and Scully was talking to the side of my head. I didn't leave a tip.
Downtown, California looked like a morgue. A dark morgue with dusty venetian blinds covering the lone window. I separated them and peered into the alley to see if Jimmy the Fingers was out there, lurking in the shadows with the trash and the rats. In the hall there was a vending machine and a chair with three legs. Satisfied, I let the blinds snap shut. The morgue was dark.
Scully turned the lights on.
She was wearing light green scrubs that almost looked light grey to me, and her hair was back in a puffy paper cap.
She asked me what I was doing standing around in the dark.
I wanted to say, "Waiting for you." I wanted to take her in my arms and whisper in her ear: "I've spent my entire life waiting for you in every dark, bitter basement this town has to offer, and I never would have found you if I hadn't had that one last drink, that drink that led me to you, fell me on your doorstep and knocked me out cold like a chair to the head. It was fate, it was destiny, it was too much scotch and a heart full of pain."
But this was the first time I'd been to Hollywood and none of it was true anyway. She'd come to me and it had been raining and the water dripped from the brim of her hat as she stood in the doorway, hesitant and young and pretty, pretty like only the wife of a no-good rat could be, and she wanted me to find him for her, find him and get her money back because he was no good and he'd left her and she was so alone, and the rain dripped from the brim of her hat and I grabbed her and kissed her, kissed her hard, right there in the doorway of my office, kissed her until she forgot all about that no-good husband of hers. But that was another story.
Scully was looking at me from under the elastic of her puffy hat.
To distract her I asked: "Why are we standing here in the dark, Scully?"
She pulled back the sheet on the dead guy and I think she must have turned the lights off again because everything went black.
After the lights came back on, I got up off the floor and left Scully to play doctor.
Back at the motel, my room was by the pool. It was the kind of pool that attracted starlets in white bikinis. Or it would be, if it weren't the type that attracted fat tourists in stupid Hawaiian shirts and kids in bright orange water wings instead.
I went into my room and shut the door. Then I got up from the bed, kneed myself in the stomach and introduced the butt of a .38 to the back of my head, then Scully turned out the lights again.
Next thing I know, I'm tied to a chair and holding a gun on myself.
"Listen up," the guy with the gun said, looking exactly like me. He was real cool, but something about him bothered me.
"Who are you?" I asked, real cool.
"I'm Fox Mulder, and I'm from the future."
I finally got what Scully said about that being annoying.
"What do you want?" I asked, stalling for time. Scully'd written a paper about this once. All I'd have to do was wait for her to come back and then she could untie me.
"I have a message for you," he said, peering out the blinds and wearing sunglasses.
"Is it from the future too?" I asked.
"Shut up," he said, more wearing sunglasses. "I'll do the talking here. Now talk."
"I have a message for you," I said. "But it's only from Tuesday."
He never got to hear the message. Scully bust through the door like a ninja in a pants suit and the other guy disappeared through an interdimensionary door to the bathroom.
I sat tied to my chair while Scully glared the hell out of the tiny soaps and the extra towels, but they weren't talking any more than the dead men in the morgue.
Scully washed her hands. Eventually, she untied me. She asked me what happened.
"I came to give myself a message."
The broad made a face like she'd just found alien goo in her desk drawer. I should know. I'm Fox Mulder.
The La Brea Tar Pits were filled with tar and plastic dinosaurs. It was a clue.