I myself am not a religious person.  I was raised by a scientist father and I am generally not found in churches unless someone is getting married, buried, or baptized.

And yet, I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the Afterlife, especially Hell. And it is a standing joke in the family that I am incredibly superstitious. If I spill the salt, I toss a pinch over BOTH shoulders, just to be sure. I painted the entire house without ever, not once, walking under the ladder. My wife has a tendency to be extremely cheerful and positive, require me to shush her frantically and knock wood like crazy.

I keep a piece of wood in my car specifically for that purpose.  I had to; the whole car is metal and vinyl and plastic and glass, and it was getting embarrassing to have to screech to a halt at the curb in order to leap out and rap knucks against a tree or telephone pole whenever an incautious statement was made.

There is a black cat that roams the neighborhood, named Shadow.  He makes a special target of me, I know he does.  I’ll be driving home, late at night, and he’ll dart across the road in front of my car. I have to slam on the brakes, skid over to the side of the road, and wait until some other car — from either direction, doesn’t matter — comes along to unknowingly cross the path first and take the hit for me. They don’t know, so I assume it doesn’t affect them. But I won’t budge until it happens. Sometimes, if no other car comes, I have to turn around and take the long way home.

I think Shadow laughs at me from the bushes.

One time, around Christmas, I decided to take a detour around the cul-de-sac late at night, because all the houses there were decorated to the nines, and the lights were pretty.  I was just in the cul-de-sac itself, making the turn-around when Shadow — blocks away from his home — shot across the street in front of me.  I stopped and waited, but it was late and there was no other traffic, and no other exit or alternative route.

So I called my wife on my cell and explained the situation.  She told me to park the car and walk home via the horse trail; we could go back and get the car in the morning, when people were going to work and the whammy would have long since vented itself on another victim.

She understands me, she does.  So I walked home in the chilly night, abandoning my car just because a black cat had run in front of it. Shadow probably giggled himself into fits.

I freely admit that all this is stupid and embarrassing and probably the sign of a mental disorder. And the above are just the ones I’m willing to admit.

There’s plenty more, but I won’t talk about them.

Because talking about them is bad luck.

— Bob out

Artist’s Notes:  So here we are, last page of episode two.  Chapter two.  Issue two.  Whatever.  Just getting warmed up here folks!  So in the last panel you see the Strike Gate looming on the left side- I don’t think I ever mentioned this before, but the Strike Gate was specifically designed to resemble an hourglass.  I wanted a kind of visual “ticking clock” metaphor.  Also, you can see here that I’ve discovered the color purple as a useful bridge between orange and blue.  You’ll see a lot more of that coming too.  So that’s that.  See you next week!    -Max