John was sitting at the bar with a soft drink and a cigar, watching others around him. "Anything to drink, sugar?", asked the bartender in a soft voice. Staring up at her with his effortlessly intimidating gaze, he swished his drink, as a sort of "I've got a drink" motion. The bartender smiled, saying "Well, ok. Tell me if you need anything.". As she walked away, John blurted out "Oi. What's your name?". Slightly startled by his sudden question, she turned around, saying "Ripley Allen. You?". He glanced back up at her, responding, "John Doe.". Ripley smiled at him and shook his hand, responding "Nice to meet ya', John. You still need anything to drink?".
He sighed and held up his nearly empty drink as she poured more soda into his cup. She then poured herself a soft drink, before going over to sit next to him. "Shouldn't ya' be working?", mumbled John. Ripley smiled, saying "Nope. You're the last customer, Mr. Doe.". He let out a dry chuckle, saying "Sounds about right.". Ripley grimaced while glancing at him, softly asking "Everything ok, sugar?". John stared back at her, mumbling, "...Yes." He glanced around at the others in the bar, and stared back at Ripley. "What did you mean by I'm your last customer, Ripley...?". She chuckled, responding "Well, you're my last customer for now. I'm sure someone will come to me asking for another beer. But for now, I can relax.".
John stared at her emotionless, responding "Relaxing... With a drunk?". Ripley choked on her soda when he said that, and when she composed herself, she stared into his soul and asked "Pardon, what?". John sighed and looked back at his soft drink, mumbling "Nothin'. It ain't important.". Suddenly, an extremely drunk man came up to the two of them and practically punched John while tapping his shoulder. "Hey, you're John Doe, ain't ya'? You ain't no Detective Extrordinaire, you're a Loser Extrordinaire!". John simply sighed, and said, "Let's get you home, yeah?". The man backed away from the unaffected John, saying "Get off of me, loser! I can get my own damn self home!". John sat back down, saying "Leave me alone, please.". The man backed away from him and sat back down with his drunk friends. Ripley patted John's shoulder, asking "You good, Mr. Doe?". John mumbled, "Yeah. I'm fine. This crap has been happening ever since I got laid off.". Ripley frowned, softly asking "You wanna tell me about that?". John sighed and took a sip of his drink, saying "Yeah, I guess.".
"John Doe is a laid-off detective in the year 3006, who finds the only book left in existence. The creator of this book cursed whoever would read it, with great responsibility. The reason is unknown, but it is widely believed that the writer was a being millions of years old that was angry at the world for moving past books, so they cursed the book, calling it the Crying Story. The curse is that whoever reads the book is then given the responsibility of protecting it from the demons inside. There are seven entities in it, and in the wrong hands, they could wreak havoc on the entire world. The most dangerous entity in the book is called The Joyous Day. Those who go to it for guidance have never returned. John Doe is given this responsibility and understands the weight of it. The fate of the world is in his hands." All these details and more are in Julian Ferguson's latest fifth novel, "John Doe: Detective Extraordinaire".