I tried talking to Caper again to get his backstory, and I guess also to figure out what exactly it is he does. I don't know, I don't get around too much, so I don't sit down and chat with agents that often.
Poe came with him today. She's usually hanging around him pretty closely. I think that they must be partners or something. She seems a bit gloomy, though. Never really talks much, always wears these lacy black dresses like she's at some kind of funeral, and spent the entire interview sitting off to the side, barely saying anything. I'm actually glad she came along, though...she gave me a better sense of what exactly was true.
Again, recorded the audio for a decent transcript. It went something like this:
Messenger: So, Caper...let's try this again. And please...please just cooperate, okay?
Caper: Yeah, sure, whatever you say, Messi. Let's do this thing.
M: Okay, um...I guess I'd like to start with what exactly it is you do.
C: Oh, well, me and Poe, we track.
C: Yeah, we hunt down runners. Find out where they are. It's pretty exciting. I get to be a bit of a detective! Like Zeke Strahm, only evil!
M: Uh...huh. So what exactly does that entail?
C: Well, we read blogs. Lots of blogs. We also write a few and use the characters to gain their trust and goad information out of them. You've actually hacked...three of my blogs, I think?
M: Um...sorry about that? Wait, how do you know what blogs I've hacked?
C: Found your list when I was going through your shit. By the way, I should probably give you the list of blogs that those who do this are running, because, like, half of your list is written by people on our side.
Poe: It's not that many, Caper.
C: Okay, it's not that many, but you've hit a few. I'll let you know. Anyway, we pinpoint the locations, and other people go in and take them down. Of course, we do some actual field work, too. I was actually a park ranger for seven years, so I've got some good experience with actual tracking. [At this point, I shot Poe a questioning glance. She just sort of shrugged like she wasn't sure either.] But yeah, we don't often get involved, although sometimes we slip up and have to, well, clean up our messes a bit. Isn't that right, Poe? [Poe nodded, so I guess he's at least telling the truth about that.] You know, Messi, you should really consider tracking. We've got great dental.
P: We've got terrible dental.
C: Yeah, we've got terrible dental. Don't become a tracker. But yeah, that's what we do.
M: So you've been involved in..."cleaning up messes," as you put it? I'm assuming that you experience a bit of death, then. How exactly do you handle it? I mean, it's gotta be tough, unless you're a complete psycho. [I suddenly realized that it was, in fact, possible that Caper and/or Poe was a complete psycho, and that I may have pressed a button. Fortunately, I think I was wrong.]
C: Well, it is. I mean, it really, truly is. The first time you see a man jump out a window and see his splattered remains on the ground below, you can't help but break down. Have a cry. Probably lose your lunch. Spend the rest of the week contemplating your navel. But you grow dull to it. Eventually, it doesn't bother you so much when the guy jumps out the window anymore. By about the fifth or sixth time, you maybe wanna even push him yourself just to get it over with faster. Eventually, it maybe even becomes fun. You know, there was one time I tied a guy to a bungee cord before pushing him out. I think it was a bit too long, though. Ended up being pretty funny: WheeeeeeeeeeeeSPLAT! WheeeeeeeeeeeeeSPLAT! WheeeeeeeeeSPLAT! [He used little hand motions to show the movement of the supposed Bungee Victim as well. I really didn't know whether to laugh or not.]
M: Um...okay...so, how long have you and Poe been...I dunno, Agents? Is that the term?
C: Well, I guess Poe's not really an Agent, but about half a year for her, give or take a month. That about right, Poe? [She nodded.] As for me...dammit, can't quite remember when exactly. I know that it was sometime between November 5, 2004, and last week.
M: ...You're not taking this seriously, are you?
C: No, no, I'll talk. Just give me a minute to collect my thoughts.
M: [to Poe] Do you have any idea?
P: [She shook her head.] He was here before I was.
C: Okay, I'll talk. I'll start with my real name and occupation before all of this, I guess. My name's Henry Gale. I used to give hot-air balloon tours, before all of this. That's who I was. Now for how I got involved. My dad got a job at...some place. I'm not sure. I think it was actually a branch of the PTC. Anyway, a while later, I learned that he was actually fighting The Big Guy. Of course, I didn't get along too well with my dad, and one day, when I was out, I met up with some Agents. I got along okay with them, and while I didn't plan on switching sides, it got me thinking that maybe it wasn't necessarily them who were the bad guys. Anyway, after that, The Big Guy started turning his eye on me. I felt paranoid. I felt scared. I felt unsafe. He hadn't appeared, but I could feel him there. You know, same story that a lot of people had. Anyway, things...changed one night. I was almost asleep, when I suddenly felt The Big Guy's presence. I froze up, unsure of what to do. I knew he had come to claim me, and that if I was alive at the end of the night, I'd be working for him. And do you know what he did? His tentacles came out, grabbed me by the arms and legs, and hoisted me in the air. And then he ripped my clothes off, and the tentacles started coming out like in all those Japanese cartoon things--I never watch anything like this, of course, I just happened to see it once or twice over Poe's shoulder [she looked a bit offended at this]--and the tentacles started...you know, assaulting me in, well...places.
C: And then the one tentacle goes down my throat, right? And he starts really jamming it down there--
C: And the other one goes up my rear, and starts forcing its way up there--
C: And they force their way through my digestive system, until they're both in my stomach, and when they've reached that, I could swear I felt them high-five each other--
M: Caper, shut the fuck up, now.
C: And I could swear that in the aftermath, while I had an extremely loose grasp on consciousness, I could see him smoking a post-coitus cigarette....
[At this point, I lunged at him and started attacking him. Caper's kind of a big guy, and I'm...well, I'm not particularly buff, so I wasn't too worried about hurting him. I think Poe just kind of rolled her eyes a bit, so she mustn't have been to worried either.]
C: Jesus, man, cut it out! I'm kidding! What are you, my drunken mother?
[I stepped back, the urge to kill him subsiding a little as he lay laughing on the floor. I wasn't about to laugh.]
M: Okay, Poe, what's his story?
P: I, um, don't know. Do you want me to tell you the one about his grandfather with a heart condition, or the one where he's a reanimated corpse of some sort? Because those are kind of the ones that make the most sense to me.
M: Reanimated corpse?
P: I've been working with him for months. I've never heard the same story twice. Believe me, that's...one of the more rational ones.
M: Okay, what about yours? How'd it start for you?
C: Ooh! Lemme tell it, Poe! It was Concrete Giraffes.
P: I'd, uh, actually rather not talk about it right now.
And from there, there's really nothing else of any value. It's clear that I'm going to have to just give up on getting anything of value from Caper, but I might try talking to Poe again sometime. I'm also probably going to have to find someone who's not a tracker. See what they do.
-Don't Shoot The Messenger-