RORSCHACH’S JOURNAL: OCTOBER 12th, 1985:
Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over all the vermin will drown.
A vehicle drives by with symbol…Pyramid Industries. Something stabs at memory but does not puncture. I think of Veidt. Veidt and his fortunes. Connection? Investigate further.
Dark. Police long since gone. Red cloud drips across face of the moon. Again reminded of something can’t quite grasp. Image seems purposeful rather than random. Each piece of street flotsam full of portent.
Carried gas-powered grappling gun under overcoat entire distance to crime scene. Death of Comedian surprising, but not unexpected. Remember Dreiberg, who designed gun. Useful.
Only I am left.
Fire the gun and begin my climb.
Rorschach’s faded and stained gloves find purchase on the metal braces that protrude like the ribs of a whale through the shattered panes of glass. The apartment of the former Minuteman is silent and dark, but he can just make out bits of bright yellow police tape and the hulking shadows of expensive and tasteful oversized furniture. He feels oddly at home at the site of the recent murder.
He takes a step inside the room, heedless of the shards and crystals of broken glass underfoot, ignoring the possibility of damaging the integrity of the crime scene. He takes a moment to recover his breath from the ascent up the face of the building…
Suddenly, the lights in the room come up, far more intensely than makes sense for simply apartment lighting. Rorschach instinctively takes a step back and covers his eyes–his symmetrical chiaroscuro mask no protection against the blinding brightness. He glimpses familiar outlines, surrounded by camera crews, apparently, but has no time to wonder at their purpose.
NITE-OWL: We got you good, Rorschach! Admit it! Ha! You should have seen your…well, your mask, I guess!
DR. MANHATTAN: Sometimes the comedic value of a situation escapes me.
SILK SPECTRE: Just relax…it’s all in fun! Rorschach doesn’t mind a little joke, does he?
RORSCHACH: A joke? Someone is killing masks.
OZYMANDIAS: Oh, I hardly think that one random act of violence indicates a conspiracy, Rorshach.
NITE-OWL: C’mon, where’s your sense of humor?
RORSCHACH: That’s what they’re saying about me now? That I have no sense of humor?
SILK SPECTRE: No, Rorschach, everyone thinks you’re a laugh riot. This show was a stupid idea. Jon, take me home.
DR. MANHATTAN: A funny person and an unfunny person contain the same number of particles. Structurally there is no difference.
NITE-OWL: Nice job, Rorschach. Way to get the joke. Guess we’ll see you in another five years, huh? Jesus.
OZYMANDIAS: I’m afraid I also must leave, as I have pressing matters to attend, in Syria, I believe. It’s been…interesting. Best of luck to you all.
RORSCHACH: … Could come in window again.
NITE-OWL: Never mind. It’s too late now.
RORSCHACH: Would try to act surprised.
NITE-OWL: I said forget it!
RORSCHACH’S JOURNAL: NOV. 23rd 1985
Wake up angry. Former friends made fool of me. City is overrun with drug-addled gangs and nonsensical graffiti. City is like bag of puke stuffed in dead goat’s bladder, with green holes leaking. Notice bean juice spattered on face of alarm clock. Reminded of something. Every circle in city has splash of red. Irritating.
Remember stopping rioters with Dreiberg in silly flying vehicle. Even remember the Juspeczyk woman dressed…dressed that way. Long ago. Remember. Have spoken to no one from those days in five years. Have hardly spoken to anyone in months…
Should have acted surprised when came in window.
NITE-OWL: Rorschach? You in there?
RORSCHACH: Hehn. Urm. Don’t open door, Daniel. Maid is on vacation.
NITE-OWL: Come on, I don’t care what your place looks like. I just want to…well, I wanted to say I’m sorry about last night. Are you there?
RORSCHACH: Am picking up cans of beans.
NITE-OWL: Right. Okay, well…we shouldn’t have surprised you like that. It’s a television show. They want to do a show about masks–about funny things that happen to masks. Could be fun. We should have told you…it was supposed to be a surprise, but we should have told you.
RORSCHACH: Sorry about mess. Not many visitors.
RORSCHACH: Have water. Milk. Crackers somewhere.
NITE-OWL: No, I’m…uh…I’m fine. I should go, really. Just wanted to say I’m sorry.
RORSCHACH: …Daniel. I know sometimes it is hard to be my friend. If you think a television show is wise…I will do the show.
RORSCHACH’S JOURNAL, CONT.
Go downtown. Meet ED MCMAHON and DICK CLARK. Always smiling. Possible homosexuals? Investigate further.
RORSCHACH’S JOURNAL: OCT. 14th, 1985
Television is a glittering cesspool filled with feces and decay, then left in the sun to rot, then covered in peanut shells and sprayed with dead bugs. Big juicy dead bugs. Television fears me.
Am getting used to camera crew. Not as bad as I suspected. Learning that so-called “bloopers” are in fact staged. Dr. Manhattan comes off as stiff in our scenes together so must crank up my performance. Juspeczyk woman predictably popular with young male demographic, due to outfit. Dreiberg has nice comic timing. Is attempting to develop catchphrase to compete with “Hurm.” So far, “Let’s do it with our masks on!” not gaining nationwide acceptance, despite repeated usage weekly.
Catering brings Sweet Chariot sugar, but not in individually wrapped cubes. I go to my trailer and do not come out til hour later. Today is big scene with Top-Knot informant.
INFORMANT: I swear, man! I don’t know anything about it! Don’t break my finger, man! PLEASE!
RORSCHACH: Hurm. Don’t sound convincing.
INFORMANT: AAAAAAAAAH! JESUS, MAN! AAAAAA!
RORSCHACH: Hehn. My back was turned to camera. Can do better in retake.
INFORMANT: Retake? Aw, no, man! Come on, please!
DIRECTOR: Are you sure, Rorschach, baby? I mean, we’ve done five takes already!
INFORMANT: SIX! SIX ****ING TAKES!
RORSCHACH: Feel I can nail it this take. Energy is positive.
INFORMANT: AAAAAAHHH!! The camera wasn’t even ROLLING! AAAAAH!
RORSCHACH: Was rehearsing. Am ready now.
RORSCHACH’S JOURNAL: NOV. 26th
Today is another attempt to gain fans for Dr. Manhattan and grow his Q rating which is lower than Joe Piscopo. He is to pull another witless “practical joke” on me. Am growing tired of predictable scripts scenarios. Image consultant begging me to leave show for half-hour sitcom.
DR. MANHATTAN: Rorschach. You must hurry through this door. You have…that is to say someone…I mean to say that you have an urgent phone call. And the phone is in the other room, so you must exit from THIS SPECIFIC door, because that is where I have placed a bucket of…I mean, that is the quickest way. I am already laughing in one form, at the expected moment of the bucket’s impact upon your head. Yet another form is mating neutrinos in the heart of the sun. I look forward to your completely unexpected immersion in H20, in 7.8 seconds, that is to say, you have a phone call.
RORSCHACH: *sigh* Very well, Doctor. Shall answer obviously imaginary phone call in next room, via suspiciously ajar doorway.
DR. MANHATTAN: Now you see, Rorschach, that there was indeed no phone call, and the entire sequence of events has been a ruse designed to douse you in water, with hilarious results. Ho. Aheh. Ha. Hee! Oh, the jocularity of unforeseen mishaps! Oh, how the robbery of a man’s dignity fills our hearts with mirth!
DIRECTOR: Say the LINE!
The crew applauds and breaks out in rapturous laughter…
NITE-OWL: Saw your scene today. Pretty funny. I must admit you have a gift for this stuff.
RORSCHACH: Are you blind, Daniel? Manhattan was a waste and the payoff telegraphed from mile away. That scene was a dead fruitbat clinging to the buttocks of a chainsawed Clydesdale soaked in urine and vomit.
NITE-OWL: Take it easy, okay? I got some bad news today. Hollis Mason, the original Nite-Owl, was murdered in his home today. They killed his dog, even, Walter. I think you may have been right after all. Someone’s killing masks. First Eddie Blake, and now Hollis. And I have a terrible thought who it might be.
RORSCHACH: All very interesting, Daniel. Will take a few days during hiatus to investigate, perhaps. Must read lines tonight for big scene tomorrow. Fall with face in wedding cake. Great moment of stunned surprise with guest John Stamos.
NITE-OWL: Rorschach, did you forget who you are? This Hollywood thing…it’s not important. Hollis Mason. HE was important, and his murder can’t go unpunished. Don’t you KNOW that anymore?
RORSCHACH: Here is cocaine. Chill out, Daniel. Let me call the Fleiss woman for you. If you need to talk, will be at Spago’s with Madonna.
NITE-OWL: Aren’t you the one who said, in the face of Armageddon, that there was good and evil, and that you’d never compromise?
RORSCHACH: That was before tasted smoked duck liver pizza and slept in non-urine-soaked bed with singer of “Borderline,” Daniel. TTFN. Hurm.
RORSCHACH’S JOURNAL: DECEMBER 20th, 1985
Have split with Madonna. Find her clothing objectionable. And her singing. And her armpits. Heard crazy, awful thing–alien invasion–destroyed Manhattan, killing hundreds of thousands. Glad I moved to West coast! Learning to boogie board today!
“We all have our selling price.” Gail Simone, 2001