“That’s a damn shame,” says the detective, kicking the blogger’s foot with his hands in his pockets. “He only had one more blog post til he could retire.”
“Same old story,” says an inexplicably superhot lab tech chickaroo, snapping gloves over her hands. “These guys go out onto the blogosphere like it’s a playground or a daisy farm or something. Start screwing around on the social networking sites, fall in with the wrong crowds…”
“Pretty soon their brains explode,” the detective agrees. “They just get so…”
“Full of themselves,” the tech finishes for him, checking the blogger’s teeth for some reason, frowning in there with a flashlight. “BLAM! Like a beer in the freezer.”
“They never learn. He got any ID on him?”
“Yeah,” the tech says, fishing something out of the dead blogger’s coat. “Name’s Future Tom.”
And then the detective turns toward the camera and it turns out he’s really a bear, and he goes “ROOOAAAAAARRRRRR!!!”
Spang snaps up straight in bed, gasping and drenched in sweat. His wife splits the air next to him with her remarkably strident flatulence, and mutters, “Christmas trees,” three times in a row, while Spang sputters and searches the room, patting himself down for his wallet or something.
“What a terrible dream,” he says, fanning the air in front of him. “I think I was a bear in that one. A bear detective.”
His wife has a name, but nobody knows it. Probably Veronica or something. She waits five or six theatrical seconds just so he doesn’t start thinking it’s Time to Chat or anything, and then points out, “That sounds like an awesome dream, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“And Future Tom’s head had exploded from overblogging.”
“Well, as the philosphers tell us,” she mumbles to the pillow, “life is fleeting and we’re all circling the drain anyway. He had a good run.”
“No, that was no normal dream. I think something’s wrong, Veronica,” Spang tells her, narrowing his eyes and then turning for some reason away from her, where perhaps a camera might be if this were a movie. Then after doing that for a few solid, pointless seconds, he snags his laptop and pulls up Facebook. Starts poking around.
“He’s not here,” he says finally. “Future Tom’s not on Facebook.”
And Spang’s flatulent wife Veronica bolts upright, her expression gone wide-eyed and white. “Oh. My. God.”
I guess Spang gets a little shut eye at that point and also loses interest in the phone, because the next thing we know, he’s over at Future Tom’s house, knocking on the front door. Mrs. Future Tom answers wearing a flannel bathrobe, a pair of lit cigarettes hanging from her lips, a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a shotgun in the other.
“You from the bank you sumbitch?” She mumbles. “I’ll kill you. I’ll kill you all.”
Spang stands there and blinks at her and she blinks back, then she closes one eye and really gets a look at him and then says, “Oh, howdy Spang. I thought you was about six guys in suits from the credit union. You want some biscuits and mustard?”
“No, ma’am,” Spang tells her. “Just looking for Future Tom. I had a horrible dream that I was a bear detective and he was like dead or something, and it was really tragically ironic because you know, he’s only got one more blog post before the year’s up.”
Mrs. Future Tom says, “How’s that now? Yer some kind of bear?”
“No, I’m not really a bear. That was a dream I was talking about, and now I’m talking about his blog. You know, his blog?”
“How he puts up eight hundred words a day, and, like, blogs it. Up on the Internet.” Spang makes some typy-typy motions in the air in front of him. “Facebook? You know.”
“What with the what now?”
“All right, damn it. Where’s your husband, ma’am?”
“I ain’t seen that motherscratcher since yesterday morning. He’s probably off gambling away my butter-n-egg money, since that’s all he ever does. Betting on them ponies and puppy dogs.”
“The puppy dogs race, mind you, they don’t fight each other. Except Wednesdays. Wednesday’s Dog Fight Night.”
“It ain’t as bad as it sounds though. Sometimes they let the horsies fight too, and shooooo-wwweeee. They can fight, yes sir. Ain’t nothing like a game of Horsie Versus Puppy Dog.”
“Here’s a few addresses where he might be,” she adds, and really helpfully has them written down already, which makes the scene end that much faster, really streamlines it, you know?
Spang jumps in his Ferrari, slams in the Magnum, P.I. soundtrack, and hits the gas.
Meanwhile, across the planet, the impending end of The Curse of Future Tom is ripping the fabric of society apart – turmoil in the Middle East, the shutdown of the federal government, people pointing cameras at Donald Trump and turning the sound on. Pandemonium.
A weeping species shakes their desperate fists at the sky and laments Why has Future Tom forsaken us? Were the Mayans right and also off by about seventeen months or so, and also were they talking about a blog instead of the whole world for some reason? All the pieces seem to fit.
“I don’t know,” Future Tom tells the bartender. “I guess I just felt kind of like blowing it off today, you know? I figured, screw it, 364 days is pretty good, no reason to showboat, right?”
The bartender is one of those old-fashioned types who wears an apron and keeps a ball bat back there and is always wiping stuff off. He says, “You’re the boss, Apple Sauce.”
“Guess I just bit off more than I could chew, you know? Couldn’t quite make it – close, but a man mustn’t push himself too hard, not to any ridiculous extreme. That’s just too. Much. Blogging. Eff it, right?””
“I know when I bite off too much a something,” agrees the bartender. “I spit it out into a beer mug and give it to my cat, rinse it off good and forget about it. I like to put my boot prints on the butt cheeks of the past, every single time I see that peckerwood.”
Glug, glug. Future Tom smacks his lips and says, “Ahhhh. That’s a tasty beer. Say, Schmitty, you know where a fella could scare up a game of dice?”
And that’s when I walk in, pushing through the saloon doors, because I guess it’s sort of an Old West kind of joint for whatever reason. Mainly cause I wanted to push through doors like that.
“Future Tom,” I tell him. “I think it’s time you and I had another talk.”
And Future Tom stiffens in his stool – he’s always known this day would come – and then he turns and says, “You.”
I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say we reach an understanding at last, Future Tom and I. Sure there’s a brawl, and yes, it goes on for several hours, like that fight in They Live over whether or not the black dude should put the sunglasses on. Because Me and Future Tom are pretty evenly matched – that’s the sort of Kirk Vs. Kirk fight that could go on for eternity, except we fight like girls and yelp the whole time.
Thankfully, Spang bursts in and breaks it up, and then we all take our beers out onto the patio, where we hash out our feelings and concerns. Future Tom seems to have some kind of issue with how much work I dropped in his lap last year, whereas I am much more concerned with what a crybaby princess boy he is, and how much he always complains.
We get it worked out, and then have a good, Sensitive Eighties Man cry about it, and then we’re squaresville. I agree to give Future Tom two weeks off, and he agrees to completely, digitally shut the hell up for the entire time.
“You can have as much whisky and books as you want,” I tell him.
“Word,” he agrees.
Then we all kind of sit there, nodding and getting a little bored. I tell Future Tom he’s writing a book when he gets back from his hiatus, a complete novel and he’s got three months to produce a final draft, and he just shrugs. “Okay.”
After a while Spang says, “You know, I think I would have closed with the sort of allegorical one, you know, about running? Seems more like a statement than whatever this is.”
“Totally agree,” says Future Tom. “You’re dumb like that sometimes, Tommy C.”
“This,” Spang gestures around us at the cowboy patio bar we’re sitting around on, with our beers. “This is just like you don’t want to stop typing. Like the whole thing’s over and you’re just being stubborn and clingy about it.”
“Generation X dudes were ruined by Stand By Me,” Future Tom observes. “You guys both look like you’re going to cry.”
Then he gets up and excuses himself briskly. “Got something in my eye.”
Well, that’s plenty of that. “I’ll tell you who the reader is that I’m going to miss most of all.”
And I put out my forefinger and swing it around until it’s pointing out your monitor, right at you.
“You are,” I tell you – and yes, I’m talking to you.
Isn’t that nice?
All right then, party’s over. Everybody’s welcome to crash here but stay out of my ice cream and NO PAY PER VIEW. Old Tommy C.’s going to get some shut-eye.