“MCF!” he cried over the digital string music, “Didn't you hear me? Your office just called!”
“Damnit, it's my day off!”
“They need you to take care of some urgent layouts, routine but urgent.”
“Can't my boss cover for me?”
“They said he's at the field office today. There's no one else.”
Something was definitely up. I never do my supervisor's job. That just isn't how I roll. Still, I respect my duties, because I'm That Guy. If my pop said there's no one else, there was no one else.
“Almost beat the blasted thing too...” I muttered as I powered down the computer. My cat jumped up on the keyboard to get my attention, but I was already in the other room shaving.
“MCF!! MCF!!” My dad ran frantically down the hall, to the bathroom door.
“I'm OK,” I muttered, stumbling out and glancing at the smoking remains of my bedroom, which shares a wall with the bathroom, “Fortunately, the sheetrock took the brunt of the blast.”
“What the heck happened? Did you get some kind of virus over there?”
“Nah,” I said, cracking a wry grin, “I figure I just installed some bad RAM.”
I didn't want the old man to worry, but someone was definitely trying to kill me. A lot of pieces didn't add up, but some did. My boss and his uncharacteristic disappearance. My exploding computer. Someone really didn't want that catalog to be designed, but I didn't know who or why.
My cat brushed against my legs, casually ignoring the fire on the tip of his tail. Even though he probably triggered the explosion when he walked across my keyboard, he was about as fazed as I was angry with him. I lit a cigar before blowing out his tail. “Looks like I picked the right day to take up smoking.” They tried to get me and missed, and now I would be coming for them. There was no stopping my testosterone fueled righteous vengeance. Never was there a tougher graphic designer. I wasn't just That Guy; the attack had brought out The Man, and nothing could water that down.
“Have a good day! Do good work! Drive carefully! I love you!”
My mom's call from the window faded as I peeled out in my sweet 1989 Mazda 626. What it lacked in air conditioning, it more than made up for in gas mileage. I was badass.
“What the frack? I don't need shock like this today!” I hated to use such strong language, but the construction blocking the road brought out the worst in me. ”Don't call meeee daughter...” cautioned my radio. An old man on a bicycle rode past me, and I had enough.
“Sir! Sir!” I called out, abandoning my vehicle and waving my ID badge, “I need to commandeer your vehicle for a graphic design emergency!” Surprisingly spry, he flipped through the air, drawing a cane and swinging wildly. As I blocked every strike, I surveyed the periphery. An army of the elderly on motorized carts began to surround me. It was so unlikely. “Come in to work,” I muttered under my breath, “Do some routine layouts....”
I ducked one final swing, and hopped on the bike. I pedaled as hard as I could toward a large tree, leaping and rolling at the last second as the inevitable explosion took out my foes. “Looks like nap time just became permanent,” I quipped to a horrified girl on a nearby park bench. I knew she wanted me, but there was no time to get her phone number. It was time to employ something I assume my elementary school gym teacher invented: jogging.
A few minutes later, I was at my office, and I hadn't broken a sweat. No one commented on my blood-stained clothes as they gave me a situation report. “I need a work station, now!” No sooner did I log in, then the power shut down.
“Hello, MCF. Having trouble with that layout, are we?” My screen flickered to life, as a familiar face began to mock me.
“Josh Duhamel! I should have known you were behind this. But what did I ever do to you?”
“I'm Timothy Olyphant, you fat bastard, that's what! You want to make this personal, we'll make this personal.” My hands trembled and rolled in to fists as he held my cat up to his web cam. “If you want your little kitty to live, you're going to do exactly what I say...”
I kept my cool, quietly opening another port or channel or whatever computer gibberish they do on 24. I sent an instant message to my best contact, DominicanWizard616, asking him to trace the villain.
“Did you get all of that, Figure? I don't hear any wisecracks.”
“Oh, I got it just fine.”
I had heard nothing, but my online associate had gotten the address. Olyphant was in a movie theater a few miles away. I had to really jog if I was going to get him.
Outside, I noticed a cement mixer in a construction site. It was starting to drizzle, and I knew it was the perfect vehicle. I negotiated traffic flawlessly, hitting very few parked cars. I did get sidetracked and run into a computer store to play some demos, but quickly remembered I had somewhere to be. Lighting cracked ominously across the sky as I drove straight through the front doors of the theater screaming, “Hickory dickory dock, brother trucker!” I don't know why.
“You!” snarled Olyphant, dropping my cat who ran for safety (or snacks) behind the snack counter.
“Yeah, me,” I spat back, “Witty comeback.”
“I...I beg your pardon?”
“Sarcastic reply coupled with a clever pun that would sound awesome in a trailer.”
“Screw this. Design your catalog; I have to go shave my head, anyway.”
It was finally over. As the authorities showed up and medical experts gave me a cursory evaluation, I nodded to my cat. He nodded back, his eyes darting sideways to direct me to a concerned figure out in the rain. It was the girl from the park.
“No cast,” I told the doctor, shrugging him aside, “I can walk this one off.” Ignoring the pain in my broken arm, I put it on her shoulder, and we walked off as Daughter played from the radios of cars in the parking lot. It was another typical day for this Mysterious Cloaked Figure.
Disclaimer: The preceding is a complete and total work of fiction. Any similarity to persons living or dead is coincidental. No animals were harmed in the writing of this post. None of these events, nor any portion of this story, in any way shape or form even remotely or infinitesimally resembles reality. My reality is a lot quieter, and I live easy with uneventful family life and office work, coupled with the occasional trip to a movie theater with some friends. As for the movies, that's where over-the-top suspend-your-disbelief fun and action can be found, and I strongly urge you all to jog, not walk, to your local theater and see Live Free or Die Hard as soon as possible.