The author Abby Sher, like my cousin Noah, knows a thing or two about eclecticism. When I met her in Chicago a bunch of years back, she was a featured performer at Second City, the world’s great comedy theater; in the years since she has continued to do improv comedy (in New York), written for publications like the New York Times, penned a delightful YA novel and a fascinating memoir of mental illness, and (most recently) Breaking Free, a nonfiction book about human trafficking.
All of which is to say that I didn’t know what I would get when I asked Abby to participate in the Reverse Blog Tour—what she wrote, you’ll agree, simply never could have been predicted:
After all the hubbub about climate change and carbon emissions, it was the glutens that would do us in. A six-kilometer-wide bagel was careening towards our atmosphere, and it had a 100 percent chance of smashing into Earth.
The one to discover this, of course, was Private Investigator and Astronautical Commissar Benjamin H. Winters. PIAC Winters had been an old friend from our days working at a mail-packaging store in Poughkeepsie. I worked in tapes; he stocked styrofaum peanuts. Okay, full disclosure: we were fierce enemies who’d once shared wasabi.
After investigating me for a ponzi scheme – (I was selling pocket-sized ponzi’s out of an open dumpster) – I agreed to stop if he’d grab some veggie sushi with me. Halfway through our first California roll, he got an important call and left. I dumped the rest of my ponzi’s as a tip and moved to Quebec to brew kombucha. Sent him a note of thanks but forgot to get an international stamp. So, long story short, I doubt PIAC Winters ever wanted to see me again.
Sometimes an apocalypse can bring out the best in people.
It wasn’t easy to track PIAC Winters down. After all, he was a PI long before he was an AC. Then again, he’d gone on television and publicly announced that the end of civilization was imminent and he was stocking up on lox and schmear if anyone was near Indiana. Then he gave his exact address.
So here I was, knocking on is door at approximately 22 minutes before the apocalypse.
“Yodelayheehoo!” I wanted to sound cheery even if I was nervous. It was the last time I’d knock on someone’s door in ever.
“Hello?” PIAC Winters was exactly as I remembered him – tall and bespectacled, a smile plastered to his face. Sideburns down to his shoulders.
“I don’t know if you remember….” I began. He cut me off with a tight embrace.
His house was filled. In the living room, the cast of The Lion King was giving an impromptu performance. In the kitchen, Deepak Chopra led a meditation circle. There was a wild game of Candyland on the porch.
“Who are all these people?” I asked PIAC Winters.
“People I love, people I don’t love, people I met today, people I’ve known my whole life. One guy who says he’s Babe Ruth but he’s never heard of the Yankees.”
“Wow,” I said. “That’s generous of you.”
“Always meant to have a house party.”
“Do you really think it’s the end of the world?”
PIAC Winters laughed. Then he cried. Then he told an unrepeatable knock-knock joke, did a little shimmy and moonwalk and held my hands in his.
And that’s where we were when the first poppy seed touched down.
And now I wish I could rewrite the last line of World of Trouble. Ah, well. The Reverse Blog Tour will continue tomorrow evening with Adam Sternbergh, and meanwhile you can see all my guest appearances on OTHER people’s blogs here, and find out where I’ll actually be in human physical form here.
Hey, book’s coming out! It’s a busy time.