This Happened Once Before.

Today I opened up my mail to find an automated red light camera had apparently accused me of making a right turn on a clear red light (and a Do Not Walk on the pedestrian sign) without making a full and complete stop. Shortly thereafter I made two ill advised tweets on the Twitter tubes that would profoundly affect my future.

You never know when these things will come and bite you in the ass.  For those of us in the, shall we say older Internet generation, we don’t worry too much.  I’m 38.  I know not to say something on the Internet that will get me in serious trouble in my life.  We often act with grave concern at the careless actions of the young today, posting their goat rodeo parties online for future employers to see. But how was I to know the repercussions of a careless Twitter post decades in the future?

Tonight I made the following two regrettable tweets, read from the bottom up:


The reference was to what many of us have always assumed would be John Hodgman’s eventual takeover of the planet Earth. I had just typed the upper tweet with the self satisfaction that only a writer who thinks they have written something funny and harmless and clever can feel when the first time traveler assassins kicked in the kitchen back door.

Remington, our youngest Golden Retriever, reacted in typical household dog protector style.  He jumped the first attacker and began licking him on the face to say hello.  Unaccustomed to actual affection, and the splendid lifestyle that early second decade humans were used to living, the first assassin was momentarily bewitched, while the second one screamed at him “Remember your training, they said this would happen!”  The first killer struggled with his Apple iDe-knowledge gun, which Remington had decided was a chew toy, while the second looked on in shock that we had working furniture and an actual roof.

Coolly, I reached for the cold unopened can of Dr. Pepper I was just about to enjoy.  The first assassin broke himself free of Remington’s playful grip and stood just as I wound up my arm to throw.  He looked at me in shock seconds before his demise.

“Real Dr. Pepper?  Not SynthaPepper?” he said just before the can hit his shooting arm and his weapon discharged right in his face.  The second assassin looked on in fear, surrounded by an alien pre-hodgman world of affluent suburbia that he could not comprehend. “Everything I have been told is a lie,” he mumbled.

Remington whined threateningly with love as he approached the interloper from the side. The killer paled.

“Please,” the assassin said, “Please, we had no choice.”

Remington smiled and panted, excited that this new stranger was about to play some ball. The opportunity was obvious as I reached for my next weapon.

“CHOOSE THIS” I yelled as I threw the jar of Jiff peanut butter at the hapless thug, again striking his firing arm and his weapon discharged in his face.  Before his body hit the floor the next two assassins arrived.

These were different.  Smarter, and dressed in the robes of the high order of the Hodgmans. But upon emerging from the time portal both were distracted by Rochelle’s voice, asking me “Did you just throw my peanut butter at that guy?”

She was answered only by the new assassins training both their weapons on her as one said “A useless life is an early death.”

Rochelle hates a lot of things, but none more than ridiculously stupid quotes from the works of Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe. Before I could even blink, another time portal flashed and two men appeared without weapons, while Rochelle was standing over the broken bodies of the other two assassins.  “I’m sorry,” she said looking down at her handiwork, “was I too Goethe for you?”

“Hi there, please no worries.  We’re just here to clean up the mess and apologize” the first of the two said.  Remington ran forward to say hello but both men shrieked in fear and backed away. “Remington!” I shouted, “Be bad!”

He stopped immediately and growled.  The two men relaxed. 

“John Hodgman sends his regards and apologies for the misunderstanding.” The men said in unison, “This has become quite an embarrassment in the future, you see you end up freezing the bodies and using them as evidence later.  It very much undermines the great overlord’s plans for total domination. We’re here to ensure no more teams are sent to kill you, and we need to take these…um…pieces of evidence back.”

In a flash they were gone, the only record of their being here was a can of Dr. Pepper and a jar of Jiff peanut butter both lying on the floor.

“You were twittering clever nerd jokes about the future again weren’t you?” Rochelle said.

I won’t even get into the next two hours of time travelers from the Xboxitarian 2024 election committee.

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