Feb 012001

Skip WhitleySo I was at this video game developers conference, just, like, hanging out. It was being held on the deck of an aircraft carrier for some reason. I was just cruising around through all of the different display booths, minding my own business, when all of a sudden my cell phone starts buzzing the theme to Space Ghost—priority call, man.

“Hello?” I answered my phone.

“Yo, dude. It’s me, the Necromancer.”

I was like, whoa. The Necromancer and I had been homeboys back in the day, but I hadn’t heard from him in five years. He had some brass, calling me up like this. How the hell did this clown get my cell number?

“Hey. What’s up?” I said, all casual like. I wasn’t gonna be the first to blink.

“I’m going to visit my buddy down in L.A. You remember Timmy the Squeegee?” he asked.

“Oh yeah,” I groaned. “How could I forget that guy?”

“Point taken. So anyway, I’m riding a cab to Timmy’s. We’re turning the corner to his street right now…” Suddenly there was a bump, and I could hear somebody in the background, cursing in Farsi. “Sorry, dude,” the Necromancer said a few seconds later. “Cabbie hit a pot hole, and I dropped the phone.”

“It’s cool,” I said. “Where are you now?”

“We’re pulling up to his apartment building right now. I’m getting out of the cab.” Thump. “Now I’m getting my suitcase out of the trunk.” Thunk. “Now I’m paying the cabbie…” Jesus, I thought to myself, what’s up with this guy and the play-by-play? “I’m pushing the button on the intercom,” The Necromancer continued.

“Well, don’t leave me hanging,” I said.

“Okay, Timmy’s buzzing me in.” I could hear a door opening, and the sounds of the Necromancer climbing a staircase. “I’m on the third floor, walking down the hall. I’m knocking on Timmy’s door.”

I heard three sharp knocks. A few seconds later, I could hear Timmy’s door opening. Its hinges creaked like they hadn’t been oiled since the dawn of time. “Well?” I asked, after several moments had passed.

“I dunno, man. It looks all dusty and shit in Timmy’s apartment. I’m looking through the doorway and…”

The silence stretched on for several seconds, and started to really freak me out. “What…” I started to say.

“IT’S A TRAP!” the Necromancer screamed. There was a thumping noise, then there was some sort of scuffling sounds, and the line went dead.

“Necromancer?” I queried. No answer.

I put my cell back in its custom leather carrying case, and started wandering around the rest of the convention area. Half an hour later I was talking to this penguin that was trying to sell me the first-person-shooter game he had just completed.

“Do you do any Linux programming?” I asked the penguin.

“Nah, man,” he answered, shaking his head. “I get asked that a lot, though.”

It was at about that time that my phone rang again. “Hello?” I answered.

“Well, I managed to escape the pygmies,” the Necromancer said, breathing hard.

“How did you manage that?” I asked.

“I gave them Steve,” he replied.

“What?” I said incredulously.

“I know, I didn’t think they’d go for it either.”


“So now I’m out on the street. What do you think I should do?” the Necromancer asked, sounding a bit out of sorts.

“You’ve got to get out of there. I told you that L.A. was a fucked up city.”

“Okay, okay,” the Necromancer replied. “I don’t see any cabs around. It looks like the whole place is deserted. I’ll just start walking down the street. I think the airport is this way.” For several minutes, the only sounds I heard were the Necromancer’s Nikes hitting the pavement. “Hey, they’ve got one of those porta-potties on the corner here,” the Necromancer said. “Maybe I should…”

“Don’t do it, man!” I cautioned. “Don’t get distracted. You’ve got to get the hell out of there.”

“But I have to go really bad!” the Necromancer whined. “I’ll just take a quick pit stop…” I could hear the door to the porta-potty being slowly peeled open by the Necromancer, then the sound of it snapping shut behind him.

“Well?” I asked.

Sniff. “It kind of stinks in here, and it’s really dark,” the Necromancer complained. “I think maybe I’ll wait for… IT’S A TRAP!” There was a sudden thump, and a splash, and then the line went dead.

I decided that I had had enough of this shit for one day, so I headed home. Several hours later, I was sitting in front of my computer, when my phone rang again. “Hello?” I said.

“Yo, dude. It’s me, the Necromancer. I got away from them again,” he proclaimed.

“Really?” I asked. “How did you manage to get away from them this time?”

“I gave them you!” he responded.

So I turned around to look, and there they were.

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