It was a Tuesday. Authorities had gathered about Todd’s small square abode, cramming through his front door, crowding circumferentially round his purple velour couch. Upon it, sitting rigidly upright, was Todd, board-stiff and both action- and reaction-less. A doctor in full surgical attire worked rigorously upon Todd’s left knee with a spanking new percussion reflex hammer, hoping to induce in Todd some response, some indication that all hope was not lost. Stand back please, he noted to a rather nosy member of the media whose flash bulb intruded his work space. This is a delicate business.
Todd had been missing for over six months before his absence was noticed. Most of his friends, companions, and accompaniments had simply thought Todd – whose ability to blend in would have been legendary if anyone had noticed it – was with them the whole time. Alas, such it was that Todd had gone completely comatose while watching Episode 226 of Season 1037 of the Snorks, the 754th episode in a row the creators had failed to title and was subsequently known as Untitled Snorks 754. Todd had gone to blink his eyes, a habit he’d formed shortly after birth and managed throughout his life without more complication than the occasional intrusive eyelash, when he found, upon closing them, they would not unseal but had become stuck fast in an unopened state. From there Todd felt a chain reaction of switches throughout his body flip to the off position as the conveyor belt of life began to grind to a ceasing halt. Todd, always mindful of his posture, retained his upright position rather than slumping over in a cliche, though he did drop the remote from his hand to the edge of the couch cushion.
For six months, there Todd sat, dead, so that, in actuality, he was not Todd, had ceased to be Todd, was Todd then Todd no longer, for Todd was a word to describe the living, breathing, cereal-and-meatball eating Todd. Todd was a word fit for description of a fellow who might invite Fragg to a river-swim or ask Wanda to a dinner-date or give Bobby Valentine advice on false mustaches. Todd was a word to describe the fellow who’d recently been hired to the sales team at the new clone retail store Clone Rangers, where he seemed to be rapidly moving toward a management position. Todd was a word that described the fellow who twice a year took a room at the Bermu-Delta and hung on the sun-drenched beach sipping a lemony drink with a mind as vast and empty as the vast blue sky and deep blue sea.
How could this non-living remnant of the once-was-Todd still be called Todd?
But of course he was, for though this not-Todd was not Todd, so it was that six months give or take a fortnight later, half a year as the crow flies after Todd had not been Todd, beyond when Todd had ceased to exist and this word Todd, so easily bandied about had – not lost all meaning, that would be the best of outcomes – but come to mean more than it ever did. For back in Todd’s small square abode, as the doctor tapped delicately with the percussion hammer on the knee of what-once-was-Todd, he whispered, C’mon Todd, I know you’re in there.
And suddenly, hearing his name for the first time within an infinitely-dimensional cloud of constantly splitting time units, Todd opened his eyes. But he wasn’t Todd anymore; he was New Todd.