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372pages We Will Get Back

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                Conor and Mike were bent over their desks, scribbling down notes for the morning’s recording of 372pages podcast. They happened to also be on a con-call, or “conference call”. 

                “Well, Conor, I, seem to have tumbled to a new joke for tomorrow’s podcast.”

                “That’s very good, Mike,” Connor replied to Mike gleefully. “I don’t quite have enough jokes for tomorrow’s podcast, and with yours I’m sure we’ll have just enough for the podcast tomorrow.”

                Suddenly, a crack of thunder broke through the sky. 

                “Did you hear that, Mike?” Conor asked.

                “I sure did, Conor. In fact, I think we are having the same storm.” 

                A few minutes after the thunder, Mike heard a truck outside his house. A bellowing voice shouted through the dark: “WHO’S THE SHERIFF OF THIS PODCAST?” Mike recognized the voice. “Conor, I don’t think you’re going to believe this, but Sean Penn is outside our house.”

                “Mike, does he have a dildo?”

                Mike flicked the window blinds closed, blinking twice to make sure he saw what he really saw. It was true: Sean Penn was standing in the yard in front of a truck. He hurried outside to meet this famous actor. 

                “Hi Mr. Penn, I read your book.”

                “You know, Mike, I own a heated pool. I don’t need to be here at your house with a truck.”

                “What’s the truck for, Mr. Penn?”

                “Well Mike, I’ll tell you over a cherry water. You see, Chad and Dale leant me this truck and said it’s of great importance that you get these keys.” And with that, Sean Penn disappeared in a puff of smoke and all that was left was a puddle of ass-piss on the pavement.

                Easy come, easy go. Mike said, jangling the keys in his hand as he walked into the truck.

                Starting it up, he noticed there weren’t any seatbelts. “Ah, must be an albanian thing.” 

                The road to Conor’s house was long and uneventful, except for the brief stop off in Ohio to pick up Ernest Cline. His Delorian had broken down and needed to make a popular gaming competition in Canada where his girlfriend lives. 

                Conor answered the door with a slice of banoffee pie in hand. Since the first attempt, he has filled his home and neighbors homes with banoffee pies in search of the perfect recipe.

                “Mike, you put me on hold 13 days ago. Where’s Sean Penn?” Conor spat with pie dripping off his crusty lips.

                “Sorry, Conor, but a lot of stuff happened. Mr. Penn is just in this jar of ass-piss now.”

                “Hey are we close to Canada?” A familiar yet awful voice sounded from behind Mike.

                “Oh yeah and also Ernest Cline is here to meet his girlfriend who lives in Canada.”

                “This isn’t Canada, but we sure are near it maybe.” Conor assured them both.

                Getting settled in the truck was easy business. Conor had thought to bring fuzzies and a few tarps and other knickknacks. Cline had brought a sack of masturbatory aids. There was only one road but Cline knew a shortcut thanks to his tour route of spoken word poetry. Mike drove, Conor was in the passenger seat, and Cline was in the back slopping around because the “seat” was actually just a stack of all their stuff. 

                “This jar of ass-piss formerly known as Sean Penn said that Chad and Dale sent us this truck to get Cline to his girlfriend’s place in Canada?” Conor asked Mike for a third time. Sitting in a truck with Ernest Cline for an indeterminate amount of hours didn’t seem like the best way to spend a week.

                “The jar didn’t say if it was for Cline specifically, but I imagine the rest of the plot will become clear to us as we press on.”

                “Hey you guys read my book, right?” Cline asked, shouting over the rustle of the road. “Did you like it?”

                Conor and Mike glanced at each other momentarily.

                “We liked the pizza drone.” Mike chimed.

                “The roving hordes of soccer moms was a nice touch.” Conor appeased.

                Cline opened his fanny pack up. “You know fanny packs were a thing in the 80’s right?” He had said to Mike just days before. “It’s so classic. I can fit my Tab and my Nintendo Switch in it. Cool, huh?” Mike had eyed the duct tape in the glove compartment thoughtfully before deciding to let Conor handle Cline’s Earnest ness.

                “Well the pizza drone thing was for the movie . I can’t believe what Spielberg did to my novel . I mean, they didn’t even have the Uberbetty! That was the entire crux of my---I mean Wade’s emotional journey!”

                Conor made a go for the duct tape as Cline digressed from his self-indulgent prattling and began on a new topic. “Oh, I see you’re wearing a sportsball cap , Conor. Haha. I’m going to put that joke in Ready Player Two.”

                And with that, he was bound and gagged.

                “If only we had a torture pole.” Conor mused, glaring wistfully out the window while listening to the sultry sounds of a new DJ-turned-classical-pianist he had found on his Sonos.