If you don’t know who Dark Tom is, then I’ll go ahead and tell you – Dark Tom is what they sometimes called me in college, and usually it meant that I was drunk.
Yes, I know, tell us all about it Superdad. It was the nineties – high school kids could drink with the flimsiest of IDs, nobody cared about anything at all, and terrorists didn’t exist yet. I’m sure there was stuff going on in the rest of the world, but the Internet was in its infancy, so there was no way to know for sure. All we had to do was make a token effort to recycle, watch Seinfeld and knock out the rent.
You know, they weren’t exactly kicking ass in the seventies, either, right? So go ahead and climb down out of Dark Tom’s butt, will you – he was all right.
Now, Dark Tom’s origins are pretty straightforward. Because I was a pale, scrawny, Cambodian Freedom Fighter-looking pixie of a man, I adopted a defense mechanism whereby I walked around looking weird and possibly crazy all the time. I wore a black, wide-brimmed hat, a long black coat, and I had two feet of wavy brown hair. Frequently I walked home alone across campus at three o’clock in the morning, and I was never mugged once.
In fact, far scarier people than me would typically cross the street as I approached.
Dark Tom was prone to vanishing, Batman-style. One moment you were having a beer with him, the next moment he was gone, and an investigation might reveal his empty Molson bottle by the back door, his diabolical laughter still mocking you in the darkness.
Dark Tom might also steal a giant cardboard stand-up or two from Blockbuster, or he might climb through the window of your dormitory during a fire drill, or he might punch you in the face on New Year’s Eve and then somehow grab a cab within seconds, and leave you and the rest of your pals stranded in a Bethel Road bar.
Dark Tom moved in many strange and mysterious ways, and who indeed are we to question him, now that his wife and three daughters have relieved him of his hair and his hat, and now that his hilarious, unpredictable antics have become a myth, only whispered about in bars on St. Patrick’s Day?
So, anyway, you can imagine my surprise when I clicked on an intriguing article entitled Man In Cowboy Hat Robs Two Businesses, and found a photograph of what appears to be Dark Tom, aged hard and ragged, and clearly from a parallel universe in which he never married or had children or even stopped by his mom’s house once in a while.
Several things surprised me about the article. First, I had no idea I was wearing a cowboy hat that whole time. I thought it was a Mind Reader Defense Hat – the inside was lined with tin foil, after all, and to my knowledge, it worked. If you ever thought that you read my mind while I was wearing that hat, you were really just guessing and it turned out I wasn’t very complicated, that’s all.
And sure, I was also surprised by the fixation on the cowboy hat itself. I mean, surely the man has removed the cowboy hat by now. Are we all certain we should still be on the lookout for a man wearing a cowboy hat? Or should we maybe be on the lookout for a white guy with more hair than Jesus (all due respect), who looks permanently tired?
That’s kind of a thing these days – for some reason the news, in what I guess is a nod toward political correctness, really hates identify the race of the people they want us to look out for. Seems like that is a pretty basic description point. I mean, you don’t have to say “white” or “black,” you can use the proper nomenclature, sure.
The point is, they can’t take their races off, but they can take their cowboy hats off. See how that works? I know, I’m like a criminal mastermind.
Anyway, when I saw that picture, I thought, man, that’s so obviously Parallel Universe Dark Tom that I should probably lend a hand in apprehending him. I know where he likes to hang out, what he likes to do, where he likes to bowl, how his mind works. I know how he ticks.
For example, do you want to know his weakness? It’s easy, just push him down on the ground and then kick the crap out of him. He’s not going to do anything – he’s drunk and his muscles have atrophied and as far as he’s concerned, there are three of you.
But there is a good chance he’s hanging around with larger dudes who think he’s funny. That might count as his superpower, so watch out.
Anyway, if you see the guy pictured in the article, they want you to call the cops and let them know about it. But that’s not what I want you to do. I want you to knock him down and steal his hat and mail it to me. The cops can track him down themselves, after that.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation, Alert Citizens. End transmission.