Sunday, February 3
Right ascension 17 31 22.9
Declination -74 16 68
Delta 0.02 AU
This is the end of my journey.
I pull up the motorcycle in front of a pleasant, but modest-enough, home in Redondo Beach, California. The hybrid that Ryan Fitzpatrick had let me take remains in Arizona, abandoned in the driveway of Richie Incognito’s residence after he’d fled at high speed in his own sportscar, leaving me behind to face what he was convinced was a genuine threat from Jonathan Martin. The threat never materialized, because it was completely fabricated (by who, I guess we’ll never know) but I took advantage of it to grab Richie’s fully fueled Kawasaki for the final leg of my trip.
Most people aren’t answering doorbells with anything other than shotgun blasts at this stage of things, but the man in this house pulls it open as if today were any other day. He looks to be at peace. I hold up my cellphone, useless now for any type of communication but still functional as a camera and a video screen, and without saying a word play what is cued up.
Chris Kluwe says nothing as he watches the video of himself, but smiles vaguely.
“I need to know what it means,” I tell him.
He starts laughing. It starts out as a chuckle, but eventually builds to the point where his whole body is shaking.
“I guess those guys were right about you,” he eventually spits out.
I’ve never been a physical person, preferring to use my height and reach to avoid letting anyone get too close, but something comes over me and I reach for him. As my hands bunch in the fabric of his sweatshirt, I realize that he’s wearing the exact same one from the video.
“WHO WAS RIGHT ABOUT ME?” I demand. “WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS MEAN?”
I see the mirth in Chris’ eyes dim very quickly and it’s replaced by something that might be sadness. “You really thought this meant something?”
I let him go and stand there breathing heavily. I clench and unclench my fists. “Who is Handsome Rikki? What is ‘the DFO’? Who are the Commentists?”
“Rikki is the guy who put all of this on. I doubt that’s his real name. I doubt he’s even handsome. Maybe he’s really ugly and the ‘handsome’ thing is a bit. I don’t know. I’ve never met him.”
“DFO is a satire website.”
“Yeah, I guess you could call it that. If you were feeling generous. A lot of it’s nonsense. I don’t know, it’s a bunch of stuff about Spencer Dinwiddie’s shoes and the blood reign of BOLTMAN – or maybe it’s ‘rain’, I’m not sure, they’re very bad at spelling and insist that ‘telling’ is more important – and how to make spaghetti sauce and stuff like that. And open threads, that’s where the Commentists hang out, I guess. I don’t know, I didn’t waste a lot of time thinking about it.”
“And the ‘small men’?” I had learned the hard way that they weren’t referring to Doug Martin and his cohorts. In the end, Doug and Danny and Darren weren’t delusional, they were just pragmatic – they had nothing to lose and everything to gain by acting as though the meteor would miss. But their pragmatic gamble on some kind of magical eleventh-hour solution is all that made it possible for me to walk out of there in one piece, because as Doug hustled me out the front door he swore that defending himself from murder charges was not going to be the first thing he did after the meteor missed.
Chris looks surprised. “Small men? That was Favre. That wasn’t obvious?”
I feel a sense of dread as I realize that of course it was obvious. And somehow I had missed it.
“The War on Christmas? The KSK mothership?”
“I don’t know about the War on Christmas. But KSK was KissingSuzyKolber – that’s where this all started.”
“Where all what started?”
“The dick jokes, man.”
“This was all about dick jokes? You’re telling me that none of this mean anything?”
“Not really, no. I mean, they made a donation to charity, some pet rescue in Puerto Rico. It was just a lark, man. Just a bunch of idiots amusing themselves.”
All I can do is laugh. My lips barely part, and almost no sound comes out, but it’s still laughter, I suppose. It’s all I have left.
“Just one last question, I guess. Why me? Why did you send it to me?”
“They asked me to. They said ‘send it Mike Glennon’. I think they meant it as a joke. They said ‘he’s very tall and enjoys puzzles’.”
Chris looks like he feels very bad for me. I feel very bad for myself, too. I spent the last week of my life, the last week that Earth exists, chasing a ghost.
“Hey, listen,” Chris tells me, “the game’s about to start.”
“They’re going ahead with it?”
“Of course they are. What better distraction has there ever been from the horrors of the real world than sports? And this will be the biggest distraction in human history. It’s a mercy, really.”
I stand silently for a while. “Yeah, I guess it is. I guess it really is. Hey…I’m sorry I grabbed you.”
Chris smiles. “It’s fine. Just be glad I wasn’t Tom Brady. It would have cost you fifteen yards.” He opens the door wider. “Hey. We’ve got some beers, and we’ve got electricity, and we’ve got space on the couch. The meteor will be here in three hours. Nothing’s gonna change that. So why don’t you come on inside, crack open a cold one, and watch the game with us?”
I shrug. Why the hell not? I’ve certainly got nothing better to do.