- "But if the locks and chains are an illusion, then so is the freedom"
Farewell Performance was a webcomic written by Jim Krueger, drawn by Tim Sale in 1999 with letters by Richard Starkings and Comicraft's Jimmy Betancourt and colors (only in the printed version) by Jason Keith for Series 1 which was included, colored, as the first story in Volume 2.
The story opens in the middle of an Illusionist's show. An audience stares at Bixby, a submerged and chained illusionist. The main character, an unnamed psychology student, scrawls on a note pad.
"What is it about an escape artist that so enthralls people?...Like he is able to do something the rest of us can't. But then, the question remains, why don't we feel free?" The psychology student continues to write intensely in the notepad.
Later that same day the student catches up to Bixby, eager to tell him about the psych paper he's writing about him. However Bixby stares past him at two agents. Without hesitating Bixby takes off sprinting with agents behind him. The student chases after the agents; excited about adding this to his psych paper.
While in pursuit the student muses: "Maybe he's an obsessive compulsive. And everything is something to escape."
With the student in close pursuit Bixby and the agents turn a corner. As the student turns the same corner his is met by a white brick wall. Bewildered he walks past a cigarette advertisement.
"Dream Sticks: Taste the Freedom" are printed on the advert over the image of a lady with lipstick.
The next night the student is again backstage with Bixby. As Bixby is getting ready the student asks him about the agents. Asking if he is having problems with the IRS. Bixby finds this funny and cracks a joke.
The student continues: "I'm doing a paper for my psych 101 class on why people don't feel free."
Bixby then turns to the student. The student thinks "this was the first time I felt like he even saw me. The first time I think I became real to him"
"Why do you think that people don't feel free?" Bixby asks.
The student answers,"This'll sound dumb...but I think it's because despite what we're told...we're really not."
The student describes the cigarette ad he saw the previous day. Remarking that the advert said "Feel Free" but really it's addictive. Bixby asks the student "...You want to know how I do what I do?" And hands him a card reading: "Bixby The Incredible Liberationist For Hire."
Bixby later says: "But if the locks and chains are an illusion, then so is the freedom."
It then cuts to the beginning of the show, showing the agents next to the exit sign. Bixby is chained and being lowered into the tank of water. The student is also in the audience musing on how many answers he wants. All of a sudden the crowd is on their feet and shouting.
Bixby had disappeared.
The agents are on the stage guns drawn, staring at the tank. The agents take the student in custody and ask him questions. The student answers them, answering truthfully telling the agents everything Bixby had told him.
They let him go after two hours. Outside the student looks at the card that Bixby gave him. It now reads : "The Matrix has you" on top of the original message.
It ends with the student: "What is the Matrix? Morpheus will know."
Visual Themes Edit
- "EXIT" is seen many times throughout the comic