Sure enough, at that very moment, in Brooklyn, it was indeed raining cats and dogs. Jay was walking alone with no umbrella down the rain-slick street of brownstones (Adelphia Street, to be exact) to his (MIB-owned) apartment. After filing his final reports about the very busy evening and some conversation with Kay and Zed, Jay elected to leave his car at MIB headquarters and took buses home from there. He was usually very fastidious about his appearance, but he didn’t care about that now; all he wanted was Laura. Why did she have to leave? Why her? Why so soon? They were just getting a good thing started. He was REALLY beginning to like her. He was starting to feel very comfortable around her (which was weird after all the excitement and turmoil surrounding their initial encounter - a murder investigation, of all things), and he hadn’t felt that way about any female - not even Elle, with the possible exception of his mom back in Louisiana.
Now, almost two hours later, he was faced with the most incredible sense of loss he had ever known. He put up a pretty good front for Zed, Frank and the fellas back at headquarters, but inside he was absolutely devastated. It was almost as if Laura had died.
He entered the apartment and didn’t even bother to turn on the light.
Since rain hadn't been in the forecast, and he hadn't carried an umbrella, his black MIB issued suit was drenched. Now, this was technically impossible because all MIB suits were waterproof. But the rainwater falling right now had a different chemical composition which rendered the super-threads in the suit useless. But Jay was so immersed in his grief this fact didn't even occur to him. Not that he would he have cared if it had.
The rainwater hid several tears, which were also streaming down his face. Jay was really starting to miss this lady big time. He longed to hold her in his arms, badly. He walked up the stairs to his bedroom, water dripping along as he clambered upwards.
He peeled off his sodden suit and simply left the clump of clothing on the bedroom carpet. Jay owned about 10 of these suits and got a new one every 3 months, so the loss of one to the rain was no big deal.
He walked into the bathroom to take a shower. He unhooked his holster and set his cricket gun down on the white granite counter next to the Edge Gel and the Right Guard (product placement is such a beautiful thing). He stared into the mirror. His eyes were red from the rain and his tears.
“Well, Jay, another fine girl. Gone…just like that...” and with this he snapped his fingers sarcastically.
Jay’s heart ached hard. Laura now clearly meant a hell of a lot more to him than just a “witness to a crime”. This was the single most beautiful woman he had EVER, EVER seen in his LIFE outside of his mother, and the nicest, too. Her personality hooked him like a fish being caught off Carnarsie Pier.
This “witness to a crime” might very well be the soulmate Jay was always looking for. Was she Cuban? Puerto Rican? Dominican? Blaxican?
No, she’s a Damn Alien.
Jay imagined her luminescent face on the roof of the office building where the transport was found. “…It’s not fair…”
“No. It’s not fair. Not one damn bit fair.” His stare in the mirror was intense for a second and he cast his head down in melancholy. If he had been really paying attention, he would have noticed the slight change in color happening in his eyes.
Why do all the GOOD ones have to be ALIENS? he thought to himself.
As he and Kay were blasting Serleena out of the sky, Jay had asked Kay what it was like living on the "outside".
For several months now, Jay was getting very tired of performing all manner of gallant deeds, including helping beautiful alien princesses get back home, and no one, especially some potential wife, even knowing he was alive. And THIS affair, it was almost the last straw. Maybe NOW it was time to seriously think about getting out of MIB, getting a civilian job, getting a civilian girl, having a civilian wedding, civilian kids, a civilian Dodge or Mercedes SUV, and actually living the life of a normal civilian guy. Which, since he was career military, career police and career secret agent, was something he actually had never done in his adult life...
And at that moment, almost as a response to Jay's even entertaining the notion of possibly leaving MIB and getting permanently neuralyzed, Jay thought he heard his name ring in his head faintly. He cocked his head back, wondered about that for a second, but dismissed it as fatigue. He wanted to use his new 100 percent cotton terry towels he just bought the previous weekend from Restoration Hardware, but he decided he was too sad to shower.
Jay walked inside the bedroom, over to his dresser. On it were several little items including a necklace made of silvery-gray rock beads and a stone-gray metallic round medallion, which looked like a sun design with snakily undulating rays coming out of the center, with bumpy circles on the rays, similar to fractal designs. It had belonged to his mother.
Then Jay remembered. He stepped back over to his sodden suit, knelt down and reached inside the lapel pocket of the suit jacket, to get a 5x7 glossy digital printout. Kay had handed it to him just before he left headquarters tonight.
It was the exact same photo Laura saw in the royal palace on the planet Zartha. Kay had taken it of him and Laura just hours before on Kay's cellphone, right before they all entered the brownstone where the Worm Guys lived. Jay and Laura were smiling and Jay had his arm around her.
Jay just stood there for a second, staring at this picture, and then the sobs really hit. They hit him like a blast of Arctic air down Madison Avenue in January. Uncontainable heaves of pain and loss, tears flowing down his face like the rain, which was slamming furiously down on the dark and dankly depressing windows of the bedroom. In the back of his mind, he was shocked at his sadness, this was a way different experience for him. Jay didn't have many girlfriends, especially in the years he was an agent. Yes, Jay had been "in love' before - or so he thought. But this was different. In all of his 30 years he NEVER wanted ANY woman the way he wanted Laura at this very moment. And boy, did he ever want Laura. He almost felt like he would die right there in that bedroom if he couldn't be with her.
And all this, for a woman he just met!
So Jay couldn't take it anymore. He kicked the soggy suit into the bathroom with the force of a place kicker, kicked the baseboard of his bed, and then flung his six-foot-one inch body (still damp from the rain) frustratedly on it with Herculean force and continued his child-like wailing sobs. The wails were definitely audible and clearly did NOT reflect his training as a cop or as an MIB agent. He hadn’t cried this hard since he was seven, when his mom had yelled at him for not cleaning his room, about a month before she died.
Jay stopped sobbing long enough to pray out loud. To whom, he was not really sure.
“…if I could do anything to be with Laura Vasquez again, I’ll do it. Even if it means I have to get out of MIB to do it. I love her. I love her. I love you, baby. I love you…WHY’d you have to GO, baby? Why the hell did you have to go?”
A clap of thunder rocked the building. The rain grew even more intent on flooding the street below.
At that moment, almost as if the impulse was broadcast into his soul, Jay began suddenly to think of Momma back in New Orleans, how kind and warm and loving she was to him. The way Laura was acting. It was the same energy, a pervasive, all encompassing love.
“Momma, WHY in God’s NAME do I FEEL like this? Why the hell do I love Laura so damn much?”
Jay sat up on his bed and sighed heavily. “Momma, can you even hear me?...”
“Yes, baby, I can hear you just fine…” It sounded like his late mother was in the room right next to him. NYPD instincts took over for a second and he snapped his head to his left. No one was there. The sobbing and wailing abruptly stopped.
As a result, a pang of fright shot through Jay like the bolt of lightning that had rang out a moment earlier. This sadness, this fatigue, it’s taking its toll…maybe if I try and go to sleep I’ll feel better, at least good enough to go to work. I'm off duty this weekend, but I have to go in at least to hit the gym, maybe check up on Forensics and see how that rookie's doin'...I wish this damn rain would stop. This damn rain just don't want to let the hell up.
Jay laid down and pulled the Wamsutta 300-thread-count sheets (made of 100 percent extra-long-staple Pima cotton) over his head. He began to close his eyes to sleep, and fell asleep rather quickly. All he could think about was Laura. Laura at the pizza parlor, Laura in the park, Laura walking down the street.
He then imagined himself and Laura in a very strange manner:
Jay and Laura were in the middle of MIB headquarters, dancing - no, tap dancing, clapping their hands, slapping their thighs, raising their hands up in the air and back down again, and singing all over the floor, in time with some very loud and brassy big-band era swing music. Jay was leading a bunch of suit-clad agents and Laura was leading a bunch of pizza delivery people, every one dancing and swinging with huge smiles on their faces like they were in some old movie musical from the Golden Age of Hollywood. (Jay had several DVD's of old movies, including several MGM musicals, a fact he shared with absolutely no one back at HQ).
Then the dancing stopped and the room went dark. The next moment, Jay saw Laura in a colossal, intricately decorated bedroom furnished with a very ornate, round bed, sitting up, looking outside a massive round window up at the stars overlooking some kind of palace gardens.
Then Laura turned towards him. "Hey," she said.
"Hey...hey girl, what's up," Jay replied, sweating and trying to catch his breath. "How ya feelin'?"
"A little better, I guess," Laura answered with a slightly embarrassed smile.
"I didn't know you could dance like that," Jay chuckled.
Laura giggled slightly. "I didn't know you were into old movies."
Jay blushed and looked down with an embarrassed grin. "Well, I kind of watch 'em for all the dance moves more than anything else. You know how many hours it took to get that shit rehearsed? The logistics involved in all of that? Those dudes did some amazing shit. Incredible."
"I was on the cheer squad in high school freshman year, I know a little bit about that," Laura replied.
"Well, it shows. You got talent, kid." Laura blushed herself at this. Her smile was utterly radiant and Jay liked seeing that smile very much right now.
Jay looked up for a moment and thought about his answer. The two walked back to Laura's bed and sat down. "Well, I've actually leaned more towards Kelly for his athleticism. You know he danced with the Nicholas Brothers in one of those movies."
"For real?" Laura asked.
"Judy Garland is one of my favorites," Laura replied. "Ben and I used to watch 'The Wizard of Oz' together sometimes after work."
Jay looked into Laura's eyes. Something about them was drawing him to her, strongly...and this also happened to him when they were eating pie in the diner the other night, but he couldn't put his finger on what it was yet. "You must really miss him," he said.
"He was a huge part of my life. It was almost like he was my dad, Jay."
"Well, I hope... I was able to be, you know...of some help to you." Jay's heart began to race a little bit.
Laura took Jay's hand. "Don't worry Jay, believe me, you were a huge help. Thank you."
"Don't mention it. That's my job," Jay said, and looked straight ahead. This sure is one weird looking bedroom, Jay thought. Was this really the royal palace on Zartha?
“Jay,” she continued, “Look, umm, that's kind of what I need to talk to you about. Your helping me out, my being up here on Zartha, and...your job."
Jay got a little puzzled and raised an eyebrow. "OK..."
Laura looked down for a second and looked back up at him. Her eyes were so damn big and so damn cute. "Well...Look, Jay, umm...I know we’ve only been together just a short time, but I feel like I’ve known you my whole life. And when I got up here I was told that we HAVE known each other, a long time ago. We have a history together, Jay, and it’s from BEFORE we met at Ben’s Famous Pizza.”
Jay's heart rate began to kick in a little bit more. “Damn, I wish that were true, baby...” He stared at the luminescent face. This was one HELL of a dream.
“I love you. I love you so much," Laura continued. "I know this is real hard for you, my having to go away so suddenly. But they tell me it’s all for a good reason. I know we will be together. I’m supposed to call you. I’m supposed to send for you when the time is right.
Laura suddenly took both of Jay's hands in hers. The tight grip was a surprise to Jay. Laura's expression was earnest, almost to the point of being frantic, pleading. “They say you must come up here to Zartha with me. Come HOME, Jay. Come up here with me. This is your home. This is where you rightfully belong. I need you here by my side…”
Laura's franticness told Jay that he had to let her know exactly how he really felt, and he had to let her know right this second. “I need you too, Laura. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you before, baby, I’m sorry I didn’t take the chance before you left,” Jay said with a mixture of nervousness and passionate resolve, thinking Laura, in reality, could not possibly hear him. But she did. Loud and clear. Jay and Laura were together just as plain as when they were having pie in the Empire Diner in Tribeca on Wednesday night, for this whole "dream" the two were having was much more than a dream, it was a miracle - an out of body experience in which their souls instantly traveled the distance of millions of light years of time and space - and came together.
Jay said, “What I’m trying to say, baby - I really want to say, well - this is hard for me...I love you, Laura Vasquez. Damn it, girl, I love you! I love you more than any other woman I have ever known, and this is weird, because I just met you, and I feel this way. I feel like...I finally found...well...I guess what I'm trying to say is that I’ll do anything to be with you, baby. ANYTHING.”
Laura’s face blossomed immediately into an intense beaming smile. “Jay, I love you so much too, baby…I want to be with you more than anything else…”
Laura moved closer to Jay. Her huge Afro-Latin eyes seemed to sparkle in the crystalline light coming from the bedside lamp. Jay was slammed now with massive waves of love and desire. Their faces moved slowly together and melded into a hard, strong, long kiss. This was the first real deep, passionate lovers' kiss Jay and Laura ever shared.
“Listen to me baby,” she continued in a soft, low voice, as if she knew he were sitting right there with him. “I found out some things about you. Things you don’t know.”
“What sort of things, Laura?” Jay looked a little puzzled.
“You are not who you think you are, baby.”
“What do you mean?”
“OK...remember tonight, how Kay said I have to go and lead my people on Zartha? Well, it turns out that the people of Zartha are YOUR people too.
"You see, baby, the agency erased your memories. You’re an ALIEN like I am. The Men In Black kept that a secret from you your whole life. Your ancestors can be traced here to this planet, Jay. You are a Zarthan.”
Jay was slightly taken aback by this strange twist in his “dream”, but he decided to go with the flow as best he could.
“Umm...That sounds a little strange, Laura. You know, I wish that were true. I wish this whole dream were true. All I know is that I love you. I always told myself that if I ever found a woman who made me feel as good as my MOMMA made me feel as a kid…I would marry her. So...I guess that means somehow I’m gonna marry you, Laura.”
Laura's eyes widened immediately and a huge smile came on her face. "Oh my god, Jay, is that a proposal?" Laura hugged Jay and started to jump up and down on the bed. Jay tried to control her. "Hey, hey...whoa!...come on now, wait a minute...I said somehow I'm gonna marry you...but I didn't pop the question! Look, baby...I just MET you! We haven't even gone on a real DATE yet! Come on..."
“Well I'm NOT worried 'cause I KNOW I will marry YOU, Jason Edwards. You don't understand, but it's a done deal! Our marriage has already been arranged.” Jay was so into the moment he did not even notice that Laura called him by his real name – up to the point when she left she only addressed him as Jay.
They moved close in for another kiss. Now he noticed something. Her eyes sure had a different color than he was used to…a radiant pale whitish-green. It was weird but kind of pretty. Real pretty. He was drawn to those eyes…That color, that brightness…it gave off an energy that Jay suddenly began to crave like it was food. He HAD to have what was coming out of Laura’s eyes!
Then the room went completely dark. And just like that, his love was gone. What a dream that was. If there were only a way to get up to Zartha, just to look into those eyes again, he could go in the strike cruiser, maybe Kay would authorize a special mission, he could have Zed work it out with the Zarthan authorities...whoever they were...
Jay stood up, and the room became slightly bright again. Rain was hitting a window. The slightly musty smell of hardwoods told him, with a shock of realization, that he was no longer on Zartha, but back in his own mother’s house.
The house was in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was a red brick bungalow on North Gayoso Street, in the heart of the historic Bayou St. John neighborhood.
Jay's childhood memories, at least the strongest ones, were magically getting deneuralyzed, at that very moment. Without the need for any specialized equipment.
“Oh, my God, I’m home,” he exclaimed, with shocked wonder.
Jay tried to go to his old room. But he tripped over an ottoman in the darkness of the house. As he grimaced in a flash of pain, his eyes flashed a flaming reddish orange in the dark room.
Just then a voice came up through the kitchen from the basement of the bungalow.
“Jason!” It was a loud, motherly call to action.
His mom’s voice. Again. Why is Momma calling me from the dead? Why NOW?
“Jason. Come on down here, baby and help me do the wash.”
Jason was visibly puzzled.
“Momma?” he called out, walking through the dark kitchen, past the GE refrigerator and the O’Keefe and Merritt gas stove. He could smell the lingering essence of decades of jambalaya, gumbo, boiled crawfish his dad would bring in, cornbread, grits, black coffee and beignets - he could even smell Nana’s king cake, which was the best he ever had in his life...
“Jason, come on down, baby.”
Jay opened the basement door. He felt the dark, damp coolness.
“Make me some of those beignets, Momma, since I’m here,” Jay said with a grin, and started down the stairs. He still believed he was in a dream. And he was - well, sort of.
As Jay clumped down the wooden steps, the acridly beautiful smell of All-Tempa Cheer and Clorox bleach told him it was indeed his own basement in New Orleans circa 1978.
Jay did not even notice that he had shapeshifted from a 30-year-old policeman-turned-secret agent into a seven year old child.
He immediately looked to his right as he was in the back of the basement.
A brown cat with dark brown stripes immediately ran up to Jay to be petted, which gave him another shock of great, joyful excitement.
"Bruno!" Jay exclaimed with a deep smile.
"Do you miss your old cat, Jason?" Momma asked.
"Yeah, I haven't seen him in forever, momma!", he said, picking the cat up and scratching it behind the ears.
"He's been living in New York at Ben's Famous Pizza," his mother replied.
"Oh," the boy said, not for a second wondering why his mother would be at all aware of the crime scene in SoHo he was investigating a few hours ago - or why his cat was living there.
Then Jason looked to his right. There was his own little play area. He rushed over to his toys. He had a lot of them in a large cardboard box. Fisher-Price toys, Hot Wheels cars, Tonka trucks, a Mattel Electronics LED football game he had just got the previous Christmas. He especially liked all the Star Wars action figures his mother was ALWAYS buying for him every chance she got, and he would place Han Solo and C3PO in his big red Nylint truck, made of metal with the heavy duty plastic wheels. And yes, he did have a Millennium Falcon. It was sitting on top of the pile of toys.
Jay’s mother was at the 1969 white Sears Kenmore washer and dryer, preparing the week’s laundry. Jay’s mother was a tall, strong woman of light complexion, her shoulder length black wavy hair pulled back into a ponytail, showing slightly elfin ears, and (save for the elfin ears) unmistakably West African bone structure. She was dressed in a clean, bright white blouse, black polyester capri pants, and those pink rubber flip-flops you can find from time to time in any supermarket or drug store.
Her powerfully built 5’ 9” body reflected her previous life as a 400 meter runner at Grambling State University. She was also a classically trained signer (there was an upright piano upstairs that Nana loved to play, she even taught Jay how to play a couple of little songs when he was three), and Momma could have been an Olympian - or a mezzo, performing on the Lincoln Center stage - if other more important duties had not taken over. Her large, round eyes looked down at her son, delighted to be back in his home after so many years. He wanted to tell Laura as soon as possible.
“Momma,” he said, in a quiet, little boy voice tinged with quiet, little boy sadness, “why did Laura have to go away?”
“Laura has things to do, baby," Angelique said matter of factly, sorting whites from colors and placing Jay’s little underwear in the Kenmore agitator. She looked at him with the warm smile she often flashed at him.
“What kind of things?”
“Laura has to get ready for you, Jason. Your wedding is in three weeks,” Momma replied.
“Me? Wedding? Does Laura know I want to go up there to see her?”
“She most certainly does, baby. And you will go, Jason. You HAVE to go, baby. You have to go home.”
“You are the Sun of Zartha, Jason. You are very, very, very important to us.”
Jay looked puzzled. “Who’s US? And why is that place home? I’m home right NOW.”Navigation
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Sun of Zartha