Dec 13, 2004

It's the Halliburton holiday party! (conclusion)

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

As I was walking back to the bar with my weasel coffee, I saw the minion sitting alone. He was smoking a laudanum cigarette and looking morose. I sidled up next to him. "Why so glum? Don't like the music?"

It snorted. "I can hear individual quark-antiquark annhilations. They scream. Next to that, even 'Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer' is palatable. Cigarette?"

"Um, human. Anything that's not immediately lethal?"

He offered a Dunhill mild, and I jumped on that. Those were my favorite smokes in college. Until my left tonsil fell out.

"Forgot to introduce myself. Designation's Vleggnurff."

"I'm Sean," I said. "Sean Randolph." I took the alias from a story I wrote ten years ago about a rock band: Sean Randolph's Sect of Insanity. That band name was the best thing about it.

"From Texas, right?"

"Yep. Actually, I moved there after college. I was born and raised in New Jersey."

"Oh, that explains your accent. And your smell."

"Sorry. Sure it's not Limbaugh?"

"Nah, he smells like spoiled prosciutto. Listen, Sean..." Vleggnurff twisted his head around and motioned me to come closer. I did, despite the fact I could feel skin cells rotting. He lit my smoke with his thumb.

"You're young for this crowd, so some advice. Don't get cocky." He leaned back and exhaled a plume of toxic smoke out of the side of his mouth. Ann Coulter passed through it and dropped like a stone.

"What do you mean?"

"I've seen this before. These things come in cycles. I remember Carter. We had to put a solar panel on Limbo."

"Hey, look, we won! Might as well enjoy it."

"These people don't know how fleeting it'll be. Last time I saw this? BOOM! Next thing you know, it's the Age of Enlightenment. That was a mess. We had to invent the plague just to get competitive."

He swallowed his cigarette stub and stared at me with his black-rimmed eyes.

"Mark my words. This won't last."

I drained my coffee and thanked him for the smoke.

Then I got the hell out of there.

When I warped back, the pain hit me like a sledgehammer and I barely made it out to the parking lot before I projectile vomited my mythical meat. Fortunately, it was at a Chuck E. Cheese, so nobody noticed. Every nerve in my body was on fire. Spiritual hangovers are the worst. Even worse than Jagermeister.

I staggered back into my car, looking forward to a weekend of bed rest, green tea and the book of Deuteronomy.

Remembering and taking comfort in the party's last words.

This won't last.

Happy holidays, everyone.