July 1999

PART 2 [You'll need to read Part 1 of this story for Part 2 to make any sense. It's May/June 1999].

So. How does some punk kid go about saving the world from itself anyway? One word...


There's a new world order. If you just happen to live in Antarctica maybe you hadn't noticed. Television rules all. Little images dancing across a slightly bent piece of glass now control the collective destiny of 90% of the planet. It can destroy people and it can make them. It can get you elected, it can sway public opinion, it can create something out of nothing, and it can sell useless contraptions to people who don't really need them and can't really afford them. In short, it's the perfect replacement for thought. You don't have to think anymore because TV's going to do it for you (which is a good thing because it would be both messy and a real shame to see that many heads explode all of a sudden).

And then there's 'the truth'. I would hope that by now you've all figured out that the truth no longer exists on it's own. Instead there is only 'perspective'. Now I'm sure that there are remnants of the truth left out there. You know, those things that make everyone's stomach turn so much that it's just got to be wrong, or right, or justified. But for the most part the truth is mired in perspective. Despite what you've read or been told most of your life, there are not two sides to every story. There's usually at least five. And, unfortunately enough, no one will ever fully understand all of them. Because there are those things that can be studied and dissected and there are those things that one has to experience to know anything about. Most of the time even those perspectives contradict each other. It's a big shit sandwich really. So turn on your TV and take a bite. Because that's exactly what television provides us with. Enough perspective to confuse you along with a little dash of warm, fuzziness to make you feel like everything's going to be a-okay. There are bombs falling somewhere. I'm counting peanut butter sandwiches with The Count. Fucking typical.

It should be obvious to most that the best way to inform the world that heaven is about to be closed for eternity is by utilizing the magic of television. Why? Tom came up with one all encompassing reason: People love to get all worked up about absolutely anything that they can sink their teeth into. And once they get all worked up about something it's all anyone can talk about. What a disgustingly predictable lot we are. So that, my friends, was the lad's plan. Putting it into affect was another matter altogether. So go get some fucking chips and dip and get ready to get all worked up.

'...and on the seventh day Big Eddie rested. And on the eighth day he made cable access and saw that it sucked and said 'fuck it, I'm tired'. And thus, cable access remains to this day...'

Thank the maker for Career Day. Maybe you participated yourself, I dunno. When I was a wipper-snapper I got a work experience gig as a ski tech (though to be honest my Mom scored me the job because I was too lazy to apply at school. So when I was in there one day drooling over a pair of Olin's she asked the manager if I could work for free and, surprise-surprise, he said yes). I eventually ended up working there for the entire season and even got some bobbles for my trouble. It rarely works that way but sometimes kids get lucky and get to stay on after their week of work experience has come to an end. Tom was one of those kids. But before I get into that I should clear up some things first.

The morning after Tom's ascension from mere high school kick-around-kid to new world savior, he found himself standing in front of the mirror in the bathroom brushing his teeth. And for the first time he realized that he was referring to himself as 'Bug'. In his head he heard his mother's voice calling his name. A distant memory from some lazy summer afternoon years before. And Tom smiled to himself as if to recognize the fact that he had just undergone a transformation of sorts. And it had nothing to do with the fact that he had to save the world from itself. It had to do with the fact that, no matter what happened, he had saved himself. And so Tom stood there and, for the first time, he called himself by his real name. And he grew a thousand feet tall in just under two seconds.

So Tom was now a giant. A massive titan walking freely amongst the little people. And this new attitude was so glaringly obvious to everyone around him it was as if he was crushing them all as he strode through their quaint countryside raping and pillaging. And, as one might expect, he really didn't notice it. It wasn't the kind of thing that made him think 'hmm, I'm going to get me a little pay back'. He had bigger fish to fry. But let it be said that everyone at Tom's school saw him in a different light following his return. This was also reflected in the fact that Tom did not press charges against his former friend and kick around boss. He let it slide. That's called 'class' by the way. And I'm not implying that 'class' is something one attains by not doing anything about a wrongful incident. I'm saying that Tom knew it didn't matter in the scheme of things. He knew that Scott would always be like that and that would be punishment enough. Because, like I endeavored to explain in part one of this story, guys like Scott end up doing three quarters of fuck all. Why? Because when you consider the peak of your own personal mountain to be during your High School years you don't bother looking around for a bigger mountain to climb. You just sit there for a couple of years with your eyes closed and then open them only to discover you're sitting on a hill in the middle of the Himalayas. There are a million variables in every life. The most important ones being: always remember where you came from and always remember there ain't nothing in this world that's so bad you can't beat it.

Anyway, it's safe to say that Tommy was fully back in black. A man on a mission, he had formulated his little TV plan after stumbling upon a poster in the hallway. So he decided to apply for a work experience job at the local cable station, Community Cable. And, as luck would have it (and because there wouldn't be anymore story if I didn't deem luck necessary), Tom got the job and went to work for them two weeks later. Now the downside to his first week at the station was the shows he had to work on. Thrilling programs like Gardening with Marv and The Pee-Wee Hockey Game of the Week. But after his initial week, and after the station manager decided to extend his stay, he got the opportunity to work on some more interesting shows. Shows like The Christian Armageddon Hour and Yoga with Mary-Sue (I'll let the guys out smirk at that one for a minute).

Tony Viani was an easy sell compared to the two cameramen that shot 70% of the station's shows. Dan and Gilbert weren't exactly thrilled to learn that Tony was going to allow Brenda to have a show of her own. They were less thrilled when they found out that Tom was going to be the host. In their defense, they were quite interested to see what would happen after discovering that the show wouldn't have any segments. There was just going to be talking. No callers, no pieces, no guests, just some punk kid talking. So they were two thirds unimpressed and one third amused (if that's possible). One thing was for certain, it was highly unlikely that anyone would really be watching anyway. The show was scheduled for 11:30 on Tuesday nights.

    Greater forces play games with things sometimes just to keep them interesting. Maybe Big Eddie's guys gave the last astronaut some special powers to prove his authenticity but Tom had no such luck. Tom was thus forced to rely on something far worse than special powers. DUMB LUCK. Which, if you hadn't noticed, us earthbound types have in abundance. And if you equated all that dumb luck with atoms I would have to say we've been dealing with electron dumb luck as opposed to dumb luck of the proton variety. Be that as it may, the day finally came when Tom sat down in front of a camera and let the truth about his mission slip out of him like one of those terrible secrets that you carry around and just have to give away. Danny and Gilbert didn't bother operating the cameras that night, they just stood there looking at each other wondering what to make of it all. Brenda and Tony were just as perplexed. It seems that Tom wasn't talking about her father after all. And as the half hour drew to a close a great sense of relief came over Tom. The kind of relief you feel when you've said everything there is to be said and don't really care where it goes from there. Tom was quite happy with the fact that he'd gotten it all out and, at the same time, came to the realization that no one was going to take him seriously. His big plan was a load of shit and he knew it well enough. So for the last five minutes of the show he just strolled around in front of the camera having some fun with it all. And that, my friends, is when the dumb luck showed up like a hurricane hitting a cruise ship make out of balsa wood.

    It all started earlier that night at exactly 9:42 PM. The most horrific thing known to mankind occurred. Something so horrible that society was almost snuffed out in one brief moment like some bug hitting the windshield of a car doing 200kph. The cable went out. Mankind has witnessed some tragic events but there's nothing worse than leaving millions stranded with only the basic channels. The truly pathetic thing about it is that no one stopped watching television. They just sat there and suffered through boring shows hoping that cinemax would pop back on before they were forced to commit suicide or something far worse: talk to someone. So everyone sat there and waited. The world was quiet for a short time while an army of technical types scrambled to restore all 59 channels. But it gets worse. Much worse. Not only was cable out but everything from channel 8 up was fuzzy. And I don't know about you but I can't stand watching anything that's fuzzy. So that left everyone with seven choices. Well, six really because one was French. Channel six was local and was in the midst of showing some truly awful piece of shit from the late fifties. Channel five was Community Cable. Channel four was showing a cooking show that would be followed by yet another lame late night movie (this time from the eighties). Channel three was showing it's usual pap (that being something particularly cultural and quite comparable to Nytol). And channel two was teasing everyone by listing all the shows they were missing. So those who could stand the fuzziness watched something from 8 up. Everyone else fled to one of the remaining channels. Using some quick math we can assume that about 20 to 28% of the remaining viewers were now watching channel five. And this is how it played out...

    Picture a man sitting at a big metal desk covered with hundreds of flashing lights, levers, and switches. His feet are up on the edge of the desk and he's slowly sipping hot coffee out a Styrofoam cup while his eyes impatiently watch a nearby door as if expecting someone to come through it. The man's name was Rudy. And Rudy was very happy. Why? Because his uncle Jim had just got him a job sitting at a big metal desk looking at lots of meters, flashing doo-hickies, and a variety of other important looking things. This was Rudy's first week on the job. But that didn't mean that Rudy stopped being Rudy. Since he was the only one there at that time of night he had invited his girlfriend Sarah to come down and keep him company for a while. Thus the coffee and impatient eyes. When Rudy had called Sarah and asked her to come down she instantly formulated a plan (as most girlfriends do when their boyfriends work graveyard shifts). She decided to show up wearing an overcoat, boots, and nothing else. Of course Rudy had no idea that she was naked under the coat. He was formulating his own plan and completely oblivious to the fact that she might have been thinking the same thing. So Sarah gave Rudy the coffee she brought for him and went to the bathroom to loose the coat and take full advantage of the element of surprise. She went in at exactly 11:33 PM and re-emerged at 11:35. It was right about then that Rudy lost what remained of his concentration and concern for his new position. Sarah came walking across the room and immediately launched into one of those frenzied light-speed foreplay episodes that usually only happen in the movies. The two of them did what most twenty something's would do in that situation. They refrained from wasting time by moving to another location or the floor. Rudy's initial reaction was to just bend her over the big metal desk, but Sarah wouldn't have it. She wanted to get up on the desk so she could watch Rudy get that stupid look on his face that he always got when they had sex with the lights on. Being of the male gender, Rudy capitulated immediately. He wasn't about to say something stupid like 'I don't think I should bang the shit out of you while you're on that big metal desk because it's covered with important looking switches and levers and what have you'. No, Rudy just hoisted her up there and went to work. Work, by the way, officially started at 11:41 PM.

    Leverage. Sex on a desk (or table or bench or car hood or in an airport bathroom) comes down to one thing: good leverage. Controlled thrust is dependent on several factors. Height, angle, anatomy, and slippage. The big metal desk offered some problems. For one thing it was a little too high. So Rudy was forced to employ the tip-toe method. He also discovered that he had to keep pulling Sarah towards him by grabbing her hips and readjusting her position. This, of course, thrilled Sarah to no end. But it also meant that as things got wilder Sarah began to lean back onto the desk. So by 11:52 she was no longer interested in using her hands to keep her upper body vertical. And although it helped Rudy a little bit, it meant that she was now lying on a variety of switches, flashing button-lights, and a whole slew of other goodies. She didn't really mind the fact that it hurt a little bit. Her body from the waist up wasn't really her main focus at the time. Rudy, on the other hand, wasn't really thinking about anything. He was caught in that mental limbo that guys enter into when they're half way between the starting line and the finish line. It's that area where the realization that you're getting laid (yippy!) has melted away and you're either trying not to come too quickly or you're getting tired and you're over thinking it so much that you can't. Rudy was struggling with the first problem. So I'd like to take you right now to a specific moment in time. I'd also like to stress that everything you're about to read happened all at exactly the same nanosecond (unless stated otherwise). So bare that in mind. The time: 11:58:23.


Tom: At 11:58:02 Tom started to laugh uncontrollably. Why? Because he realized that he was going down in a big ball of flames and would most likely be committed later on that night. He found that so funny that he just started laughing. A single word kept racing around in Tom's head while he was cracking up. And that word was BOOM.

Brenda: Between 11:48:16 and 11:58:23 Brenda Viani was thinking the same thought. I should have never stopped drinking.

Tony: At 11:51:44 Tony was told that he had a phone call so he left studio 1 and went to take it. At 11:53:01 he learned that the cable was out and a record number of people were watching his station. At 11:53:03 he realized what was being shown on his station and he nearly had another nervous breakdown.

Dan the Cameraman: At 11:58:23 Dan was thinking about his two daughters, Tammy and Terry. He was thankful that they weren't screwed up like this punk kid who was laughing like an idiot on live TV. Little did he know, but his two daughters were the go to girls for half of the High School's weekend inhibition reduction antibiotics. Years later Tammy would marry an abusive man that would push her out of a moving car and Terry would do nine years for trafficking dope.

Gilbert the Cameraman: At 11:58:23 Gilbert was wondering whether his VCR had properly taped Star Trek. He would later discover nothing but snow on the tape and would end up throwing it out a window in a fit of rage. As luck would have it the tape would hit some lady in the head and Gilbert would go rushing outside to apologize. He would end up apologizing for the rest of his life because that lady ended up marrying him a year later.

Mrs. Bug: At 11:58:23 Tom's mom was listening to opera quietly while folding laundry. She had no idea that Tom was even on television.

Rudy: At 11:58:23 our man Rudy reached the promised land and made the stupid face.

Sarah: Between 11:58:03 and 11:58:23 Sarah was trying her best to get to the promised land before Rudy crapped out on her. And in doing so she pushed herself up on the desk. In doing that her hand moved across a big metal covering that protected a big red button. So she accidentally flipped the covering up while pushing herself up and then rested her hand on the button once she was there.

26,089 PEOPLE: Were watching Community Cable at precisely 11:58:23.

Tom: At exactly 11:58:22 Tom looked directly into camera one and said the following word: "BOOM!"


1 Tom had just finished saying 'BOOM!'

2 Sarah's hand pressed a very bad button which, along with a series of other things she had pushed by accident during sex, overloaded the desk and subsequently sent the biggest electrical power surge in civic history to every home in a twenty mile radius.

3 Everyone's televisions blew up along with most street lights, high powered electronic equipment, and local transformers.

4 The pulse from the surge affected three planes that were flying overhead causing them to make emergency landings.

5 The cable came back on.


1 Rudy realized that having sex on the primary control desk at a civic power plant was a very bad idea. He was know making the 'Uncle Jim's going to fucking kill me!' face.

2 26, 089 people were convinced that the wacky kid on channel 5 just blew up their televisions with a single word.

    It wasn't exactly walking on water or healing lepers. But it was good enough.

Two Christians, a Jew, and a Muslim walk into a bar...

I'll admit that it wasn't the prettiest way to do it but it worked well enough. And although only 26, 089 people were watching channel 5 when Tom said that now famous 'BOOM!', a week later there might as well have been a million. Every religious flake from the Yukon to the Mexican boarder had heard about the kid who blew up everyone's televisions 'as a punishment for not heeding the word of god!' as they put it (thank-you very much A Current Affair.) Not only did he destroy TV's but entire power grids as well it seemed. Religious experts everywhere were either trying to explain what had happened in a realistic sense (who would have ever thought) or they were spinning the whole thing so dramatically that Tom was being considered by some as the second coming. The tabloids picked up on the story immediately (of course) and by the end of the month anyone standing in line at a supermarket was being blasted by headlines about 'the new SON OF GOD!'. I know it's a little thin people, but consider this. How many idiots actually fell for that whole 'I saw Jesus in the chrome bumper of my car' gag?

Our man Rudy, by the way, was fired at exactly 12:27:09. The power company was so embarrassed about what had happened that they lied to the press about what had actually occurred. I dunno, which sounds better to you, A or B?

A 'At this time we're uncertain as to what caused the power surge. Investigators are currently looking into it but I can tell you that we've ruled out human error. There's a possibility it could have been a computer malfunction, but we won't know for a couple of days.'

B 'This new kid on the night shift was fucking the stuffing out of his girlfriend on the station's primary control desk and she accidentally hit some buttons.'

You can see why they felt it necessary to lie. But it doesn't end there. They actually paid for Rudy and Sarah to be moved to a new town. Exactly 842.7 miles away. They then gave Rudy three hundred thousand dollars and made him sign a document stating that he would never talk about it to anyone. The document, by the way, also included a fabricated statement wherein Rudy claims to have been 'mopping the floor' when all the commotion started. As a lowly 'janitor' there was really 'nothing he could have done'.

So that's how it all went down. And right smack dab in the middle of this gigantic shit storm was Tom, the year's super-human flavor savior. It got so bad for Tom that he was forced to stop attending school because of all the 'pilgrims' camping out on the school's lawn. This also occurred on Tom's street, where police were forced to set up barriers and some temporary first aid tents (because so many people started suffering from heat exhaustion, dehydration, and a variety of other things that come along with camping out in the middle of a street for three to four weeks). And through it all Tom kept his cool. He spent about a week suffering through his mother's refusal to acknowledge that Tom actually believed anything he said while on the show. She was also rather disgusted that the station was selling video copies of the broadcast. A month and a half after the incident Tony Viani had sold almost 315,000 of them worldwide. But Tony wasn't the only one getting in on the act. Scott's folks started their own cottage industry. They were printing shirts with Tom's year book picture on them and the word BOOM! underneath. It was as simple as setting up a table at the end of their driveway and storing the never ending garbage bags of cash in their basement. It didn't end there either. Everyone that knew Tom was interviewed by every major news agency in the known world. Suddenly he was everyone's best friend. Tom got phone calls from Larry King's people, David Letterman's people, Leno's people, and a host of other people's people. Heads of state called him, religious leaders asked to speak with him, and two of the world's biggest film studios were maneuvering to by the rights to his life story. And through it all Tom just hid in his house, waiting for the wave to crest. And when that wave crested he would hold a press conference and reiterate his message to the whole world.

Don't jump the gun. There were plenty of people that were so outraged by what Tom had said that they organized marches, sit-ins, and a whole host of other 'anti-Tom' events. And that's how four men came to meet one cloudy day in a crowded park. They were attending a unified protest that was put together by four different religious leaders in the area. One was Catholic, one Baptist, one Hebrew, and one Muslim. And though the followers of these faiths would have found it extremely difficult to come together in such a place under normal circumstances, their outrage over the kid from TV was enough to make their blinders hold. So that's what happened. A huge group gathered in a local park and there were speeches by people from all four faiths and there was fanatical applause as each one finished. And that's how the four men met.

Now I'm sure that a public washroom is the last place in the world that one would suspect talk of assassination to arise. Usually it's either drunken yammering or dead silence. But on that day the guys were rather vocal while engaging in relief. And not because they were all boozed up either. They were high but not on any substance. They were high on the most powerful drug out there: HATE. So there's this public washroom in the middle of this park and a couple guys just happen to be in there shooting off at the mouth and suddenly one of them says 'someone should just shoot that boy and get it over with!' This peaks some curiosity. A couple of guys agree and a couple of them don't say a word. This leads to two of the guys talking outside the washroom with two others milling about in the general vicinity wondering just how serious the two loudmouth's are. Eventually the two outsiders find their way over to the two men (who are still going on about it) and enter into the conversation. So now you've got two Christians, a Jew, and a Muslim all talking about killing a teenage boy outside a park washroom. You'd be surprised, but a whole shit load of major historical happenings started just like that. With a pissing contest.

The strangely funny thing about the group was obviously their religious diversities. The two Christians were as far apart as Christians come. The last two were obviously just as polar, one bring Jewish and the other a Muslim. Hell, there's a good thousand years of violence right there. But not one of them even considered the fact that the others were different. As far as they were concerned they had a mutual objective. And that objective was to kill our boy Tom. So they started meeting at night and discussing the idea further. At first it really was nothing more than infuriated talk. But as the nights past their conversations (and convictions) became more serious. By the end of two weeks they had all come to the decision to actually assassinate the boy. And all of them felt that it would make them heroes. I wonder how David's story would have been different if a Shaman and a couple of Celtic Druids had helped him slay Goliath?

And that's how all the stars aligned. I'm not saying that there weren't others out there that wanted to see Tom dead. Since none of them did anything about it I can't rightly add them into the story. But let's just say that there were a considerable amount of people that had given some thought to Tom's eventual demise. And you know, that's the funny thing about one's demise. That eventuality thing is pretty ingrained in the whole process. No matter who you are or what you believe.

Their plan was simple enough. Due to some warped sense of right and wrong they came to the conclusion that killing the boy from a distance like cowards was unacceptable. They also agreed that trying to get away with it clean was also out of the question. They were fully prepared to take responsibility for their deeds and felt that they had enough justification that others would support their actions. So the plan went something like this: all four men would attend the press conference packing hand guns. The first guy to get close enough to use the gun would shoot Tom. If anything went wrong then the others would make sure that Tom didn't leave the press conference alive. And lastly, all four men would turn themselves in no matter who did what. That was their plan. The truly dangerous thing about it being that they were fanatical. That they were willing to sacrifice themselves to rid the world of this evil little kid. Or at least that's what they thought at the time.

There are people in this world that do things before they think. And then there are those that do the exact same thing and then try to twist it all around to make it look like they really weren't the ones to blame. And then there are those that act after thinking because they listen to that little mechanism that most of us have within ourselves which differentiates between bad shit and good shit. And then there's us. We just watch and do nothing and then wonder why everything turns to shit. 20/20 hindsight, it's a bitch and a cop out all at the same time. What a gift.

So the big day finally arrived. Almost three and a half months after Tom blew up everyone's televisions with a single word he was preparing to say it all again. But this time the entire world would be watching and he knew it. This time it was serious and not some half ass attempt to just get it out there in hopes of making himself feel better. This time Rudy's libido couldn't save him. So Tom sat in his room and tried to focus on the 'pure' message. He tried to summate then entire thing in his head so that it didn't come out of his mouth sounding confused or complicated. And he did something else that he'd never done before. He prayed like a madman.

A huge podium had been set up at the end of his driveway. There were countless microphones and news trucks, satellite dishes and crews operating them. There were even a couple of jumbo-trons that had been set up at either end of the street so that the crowd could watch Tom deliver his speech. The police had placed men throughout the crowd and in front of the podium as a precaution. There were helicopters whizzing overhead and literally hundreds of people up on the roofs of nearby houses. It was estimated that over 230 televisions stations would broadcast the speech live around the world. So the stage was set and everyone waited. All that was left was for Tom to walk downstairs and open his mouth.

At exactly 12:20 PM Tom left his room and made his way to the front door. There were two police officers waiting there to escort him to the podium. And as he emerged from the carport into the driveway the crowd erupted like the game winning goal of the world cup had just been scored in overtime. This made Tom hesitate a little. He hadn't been outside since he'd left school and was taken aback by the multitudes that had come to see and film him. So it would have been safe to assume that Tom was trying his best not to turn and run or throw-up all over his shoes. After pausing briefly he started walking again and eventually reached the platform. He went up the stairs, paused again slightly, and then walked over and stood in front of the podium. Just for effect there was one of those classic microphone feed-backs that always seem to happen in the movies. So he stood there for a second longer trying to catch his breathe and then he opened his mouth. And this is what he said:

'There used to be this place I went when I needed to think about things. It's not far from here, just a block or two towards the ravine. Anyway, I used to sit there are say to myself 'Bug, what're you going to do with your life after all of this beginning stuff has ended'. And every time I asked myself that question I could only come up with one answer: 'I'm going to be better than I am now. Everything's going to be better than it is now. And that'll be enough'. I find it funny that I've never told this to a living soul before today and now I'm doing it on live TV (laughs from the crowd). But I guess that's my whole point. How come most people think that way? How come everything that has to do with improvement revolves around the future? How come it just can't be that way now? I realize that a lot of you might think I'm just some naive kid, but I've given it a lot of thought and I don't see that it's such an immature point of view. If the world is just some place where people disagree about everything all the time and we can justify that by calling it 'educated' or 'advanced' or 'enlightened versus unenlightened' then I'd have to say it's all bullshit (a variety of gasps from the crowd due to the use of profanity). John F. Kennedy once said that we all have something in common. We all share this small planet and we are all mortal. I find it hard to believe that the pursuit of eternity can cause such divisions between people. That our mortality itself can be transformed into a barrier that divides people instead of bringing them together. And I'm not going to stand here and say that religious differences are the only root of that problem. Not at all. Social standing divides people, beauty divides people, intelligence divides people, the control of geography divides people, even skin colour divides people. Sometimes it's nothing more than a brief glance in a hallway somewhere that rubs someone the wrong way. And for what? There's nothing more decadent than applauding our intelligence while we allow such divisions to affect our everyday lives. What if heaven wasn't just for Christians or Jews or Muslims or anyone else for that matter? What if it's just like the world? What if it's for everyone? What then? More of the same? Or does everyone suddenly undergo some big change or heart when they get there? I've had the opportunity to gain some insight into it and I can tell you this. It's not so different from life down here. It's not without hate or mistrust. It's just a place to make bigger mistakes because we've got an eternity to make them. If one thing's true about our mortality let this be it: we're given this life to try and realize our mistakes in time enough to learn from them. And in this day and age, after everything we as a species has been though, if we can't learn from those mistakes then we're doomed to repeat them. And not only in this life. Because what are we if not our basic selves? Are we transformed into something more enlightened and understanding? I dunno about you but it's an awful big assumption. Maybe someday there will be a great awakening and all of this will cease to exist as it does now. And when that day comes and the clock stops ticking you might find yourself looking for your own place to think. And maybe you'll ask yourself the same questions I have. And on that day, just maybe, everyone will find the same answers. I'm finished now, so go ahead and shoot…' and through the air came the sound of a great and massive thunder clap. And at that moment Tom's head jerked back suddenly and his body seemed to rise off the ground as if in slow motion. And then there was nothing but stars for Tom. Cool grass and a warm breeze.

Back on earth all hell proceeded to break loose. Millions of people watched while the crowd broke into a frenzy and panic took hold. Several of the police officers in front of the podium had a good line of sight to the shooter and wasted no time in drawing their own guns and firing back. But that just made matters worse. Not only did they hit and kill the shooter but they also happened to hit several innocent bystanders that had been trying to get away from the 'crazy people firing the guns'. And while all of this was going on there were other people trying to loot Tom's corpse for whatever they could get their hands on. Due to the fact that total mayhem was fully in effect there was little anyone could do to stop them. By the time Tom's mom got to her son's body he was half naked. This, of course, was all being transmitted around the globe on live television. The entire incident had been caught on tape and was soon to be rebroadcasted a million times over. All in all it was a rather typical day in TV land. Well, maybe not as good as some seeing that two hundred and thirty odd channels now had prime footage of the whole thing. Somewhere out there Ted Turner was reaching for a bottle of Maalox.

As the days past the details surrounding the shooting began to emerge. Out of the four assassins only two of them were brought to justice. The shooter, who had been shot seconds later by the police, and the Muslim member of the gang. It seems that the other two weren't too keen on keeping their fanatical little blood oath. A massive manhunt would be launched to find the missing two assassins after the surviving member of the gang ratted them out. But after four months the search was called off, leaving their capture in the hands of bounty hunters and a few federal agents. The media, of course, had a field day with the entire thing. A mere two weeks after the shooting there were various poles taken to discover how many people actually believed that Tom was a messenger sent from heaven. 92% felt that he wasn't. And after all the interviews, speculations, panels, and debates not one person realized the most glaringly obvious fact about Tom's death. And that was this: four men from conflicting belief systems put their differences aside long enough to accomplish something. If only...

Tom awoke to a brilliant solar system of stars. Billions of them, all sparkling and filled with possibility. And as he watched them slowly pass in front of his eyes he began to count them, one by one. And as he did that he felt his being slip away and his mind cleared of everything save the numbers. And that's all there is to it I'm afraid. No parades, no medals, no endearing last lines. Just the wind. And the fact that it blows over all of us at one time or another.