Thursday, September 14, 2006

Chapter 1: A Stranger Appears

As people go, Bob was just like any other. He was of ordinary height, weight, body mass index, density, specific gravity and even would emit radiation in a normal fashion when exposed to unstable isotopes. In short, he was just like you or me.
But Bob's normal existence was about to be rocked with something so immensely radical that even his wildest imagination could not come close to it. None of the books he read so voraciously - books about knights going on quests, about explorers, about penguins eating tacos, about people who committed minor traffic infractions - could prepare him for what was about to happen.
Let it now be noted that I, the author of this story, also have no idea what will happen to Bob. I am just making this up as I go along. I am shooting from the proverbial hip. It is my hope that Bob will actually have something interesting happen to him. If not, then this will be a long, dull trip for all of us. Yet things to seem promising, so let's keep our fingers crossed (I won't do that while I am typing, however).
It was the 5th of November. There was a little chill in the air, but not so much as one would expect. It had been a fairly warm fall, and the predictions were that the winter would also be mild. Bob found this quite fascinating, as he was part of the small band of radicals to fight the effects of global cooling. This was a fairly small movement - really just Bob and his girlfriend Lucy - which started when Bob noticed that December was a particularly cool month. Lucy noted that January was also fairly cool. This seemed to them to be a pattern worth noting. What is all of this talk about global warming when we have these obviously cool months every year??? Perhaps the global warming movement was a cover-up of the more insidious problem of global cooling. Perhaps major industries were conspiring to cloud this issue of global cooling by making the opposite problem a national issue. Soon both Bob and Lucy were searching the web for any mention of global cooling - they found nothing. It seemed obvious to them that someone needed to stand up and point out that the king was wearing no clothes (although Lucy did not know what this had to do with the weather).
"A warm winter," said Bob, "just what the conspiracy needs to bolster that crazy global warming theory."
"Yes" retorted Lucy, "It's a good thing that good thinkers like you are on the prowl. Without you, the world would be destined to turn into barren Tundra while big business rakes in millions selling cold-weather gear."
"You aren't so bad yourself, little chickie" Bob responded, "Your theories on the power of the snowboarding cartel were a stroke of genius."
This back-patting barrage continued as they walked down a street in their hometown of Cleveland.
"I think they should make you Czar of Ohio. I can't think of any Despot I would rather grovel under than you, Bob."
Just as Bob was about to respond in kind, a strange man wearing a long black trench coat came up to them and put his hand to Bob's chest. "Here, take this. This is from the Boss," said the man in a voice that betrayed fairly large adenoids as he handed Bob a plain brown envelope. "Don't open it until you are sure you know who isn't looking," said the man as he disappeared down an alley.
"He sounded like Tom Brokaw," Lucy said dreamily. "Did you hear how nasally he said the word looking? I sure do miss Tom."
"Lucy, do you realize what just happened? A man who had the nasal voice inflections of a TV anchorman just handed me a plain brown envelope from The Boss!!"
"Who is the Boss?" asked Lucy. "Is it Mr. Zucherman at the fish market? You worked there last year, didn't you?"
"No, I think this is bigger than Zucherman. This is not just A boss, it is THE boss!"
"You mean..."
"Yes, I mean..."
"No, it couldn't be"
"I think it is, it has to be, must be, surely is."
"What would Regis want with us?"
"Let's get to a safe place and find out."