The good news is that I’m in New York City, enjoying the beautiful wintry landscape with my millionaire, celebrity, best friend of all time, Todd. The bad news is that we haven’t showered or shaved in four months and it’s January and all I have covering my bare skin is a plastic garbage bag over a pair of old, musty boxer shorts and Todd is no longer in control of his assets so we’re homeless.
I was about to leave Todd in an alley the other day because he’s broke.
TODD: You can’t leave. We still have our quest.
Todd is on a quest to find an ancient spiritual message allegedly written on a cave wall somewhere in France. Once he discovers it, he plans to write a best selling book about it, and share his newfound earnings with me.
ME: Can I just get an advance on those earnings? Two million should do it.
TODD: I don’t have any money. You know that.
ME: Damn it all!
I pondered for a moment.
ME: Then how were we supposed to get to France?
TODD: I do radio shows in the city. They pay me lots.
ME: Let’s go. I need those millions to pay off some bills. And we need to get this stupid quest over with so I can finally ditch you.
We walked to a radio station as the snow fell in chunks and I was in my bare feet.
The doorman at the station smiled at Todd, recognizing him even though he was much thinner than the last time he was in the city, and we both now sported long, filthy hair knotting up in dreads, beards to our chests and faces covered in dirt.
We were soon wearing headphones and on the air.
FEMALE RADIO HOST: Hello everyone. This morning we have famous spiritual leader and writer Todd Hubb to take your calls. Some of you may be experiencing some Holiday blues, and that’s why Todd is here, so call in and Todd will heal you with his words of wisdom as he always does.
TODD: Thank you Kathy…
Todd’s voice cracked with emotion as he said, “ Kathy.” He then burst into loud crying.
KATHY: Hello caller. Pardon me. Todd…
MALE CALLER: Who’s crying?
TODD: Go ahead caller…
MALE CALLER: Well, I find it extremely difficult to wake up in the morning. I just don’t have that zest anymore.
Todd really wailed this time.
KATHY: Todd, are you all right?
TODD: My wife left me! I’m a worthless, despicable human being!
ME: You might be exaggerating a bit.
MALE CALLER: What about me? What about my problems? You suck, you cry baby!
TODD: I wish I was dead.
KATHY: Perhaps we should just go to a commercial.
Another caller came on the line.
FEMALE CALLER: Hello? Am I on the air?
KATHY: Hello caller. If I can just get you to hang on a moment--
FEMALE CALLER: My name is Marie and I think I might be suicidal.
TODD: How do I get to the roof from here?
I had to intercede.
ME: Hello Marie, this is Todd.
I was lying but this young lady’s life depended on it. I continued my charade as Todd ran from the room, shrieking with tragic abandon.
ME: Marie, taking your own life won’t solve anything.
Kathy, the radio host, wiped her brow with a pink handkerchief, nodding her head for me to continue. I nodded back, confidence brimming over. I knew exactly what to do.
ME: Marie… tell me what your problems are and I’ll solve them for you.
ME: You can depend on me.
MARIE: I think my boyfriend finds my sister cuter than me, and I think he might leave me. Todd, what should I do?
ME: Whoa… that’s a tough one. Let me think… You know what, I can’t help you.
MARIE: What? You have to help me, or I’m going to kill myself.
Marie was now sobbing.
MARIE: I mean it. That’s it. I’m done with life.
I looked over at Kathy whose jaw was touching her knees.
ME: How do I hang up?