The food court at the South End Mall was sedate that day, people shopping, eating oversized cookies, dreaming their dreamy dreams. Then, a huge noise and the dust of a collapsing wall enveloped the general area. A blood-curdling scream echoed, and then the words that sent the whole day to hell: “LOOK OUT! IT'S CONAN O'BRIEN!”
The towering talk show host had burst through the back wall of the arcade like a malevolent Kool-Aid man and was now chasing the fleeing masses hither and yon, fingers held like bared claws, a feral beast in a designer suit and immaculately shined leather shoes. He leapt on a table, toppling it as he pounced on a patron eating a New York style pizza slice. Conan picked the slice up with his mouth and shook it like a dog would to make sure it was really dead. Then he ate it with startling rapidity, baying at the skylight when he was done.
The mall security was closing on his location, pushing through the panicked throng with their walkie-talkies at the ready. Sensing the danger, Conan darted for the door and vanished into the surrounding woods.
The well-coiffed television reporter stood with his camera crew in the middle of a ruined downtown cityscape, showing a perfectly proportioned mouthful of grimacing teeth. Small flames flickered from the smoldering window of the TV and radio repair shop he was facing, and a shred of a silk tie wedged in the jagged glass left in the windowpane flapped mournfully in the breeze.
This should at least get me a local Emmy, he said to himself as his field producer gave him the signal.
"This is Bill Eddinger coming to you live from Madison Street. The scene here is roughly what shoppers at the South End Mall and worshippers at the Shadow Valley Baptist Church witnessed over the space of this long, hard weekend." He gestured towards the broken storefronts. "Shop windows have been shattered, raw meat from the butcher shop is everywhere...in other words, a scene akin to the Guns 'n' Roses fiasco from 1992. Incredibly, you are looking at a tableau of destruction created by a talk show host, armed only with his freakish size, celebrity status, and a guitar stolen from musical guest The White Stripes."
The anchorman's voice sounded in his earpiece. "We understand that the scene behind you has been in the making for quite some time."
Eddinger twisted his face into an award-winning look of hopelessness. "Actually, O'Brien has been working this block on and off throughout the day. He pulls up, breaks a few windows, growls at passersby, and burns rubber when the police show up."
"That's an awful situation. Does he seem cognizant of his surroundings?"
"I was on the phone with NBC earlier today, and apparently he's the victim of a new sort of experimental therapy. As long as he doesn't kill anybody, the orders are to bring him in alive, but at this point, it's safe to say he doesn't know where he is. We even have doubts that he knows what he is."
"But he still can drive?"
Eddinger scratched his head, smoothing every hair in his $50 style in the process. "Ummmm, yes, they gave me what they considered a good reason abouJESUS CHRIST!" For at that moment, the red-headed toothpick man behemoth rolled up on the sidewalk, leapt out of the jet-black sports car, and bit the reporter's hand. He then waved dapperly at the television camera, jumped back behind the wheel Starsky-and-Hutch style, and sped off leading the entire police force in his wake.
The anchorman called to the reporter as he was struggling back to his feet. Before they could cut Eddinger's feed, the whole tri-county area heard him snarl "I hope the son of a bitch had his shots."
(To be continued...)