Here we are. The finale. Enjoy.

rob

It seems like I’ve been waiting here forever. How is it possible or a time
traveller to be late? Ah, there’s the tell-tale puff of smoke that signals the
return. That large black man getting out of the capsule must be the guy I’m
supposed to meet. Good! He doesn’t seem to have any ill effects from his
journey.

I begin with the scripted phrases, “Good morning, sir. I was appointed to
interview you on your return. First of all, I don’t recognize you. Would you
be able to give me your name and a summary of your travels for the record.”

“What do you mean, you don’t recognize me? I’m the all-time home run leader!
Heck, I’m the first person to travel in time! Damn it, I’m Barry Bonds! Man, I
always used to think I got no respect from reporters, but this is unbelievable!”

“I’m sorry Mr. Bonds. I meant no offense. What do you mean about the all-time…
You know, never mind. Let’s try to get back on track. When did you go for your
excursion and what did you hope to accomplish?”

“I went back to 1946 with kits to detect greenies in a player’s urine,
scientific data showing the negative effects, and a list of high profile players
who were suspected users, such as Ted Williams. I thought that if people knew
then what harmful effects PED’s had and who all was using them, there might be a
movement to keep the game ‘clean’ much earlier. Obviously, in a clean game, I
wouldn’t need to take anything (not saying that I ever did…) in order to be
competitive. Clearly, this would result in my getting the recognition I
deserve. So, I’m not exactly sure how these retroactive changes occur. Do I
need to go find a record book, or do you think all my rings and trophies are
waiting at my house?”

“Um… maybe I should give you a little insight into how things are in the here
and now. Sports in general and baseball in particular have undergone a major
transformation in the last 60 years. When the news first broke that baseball’s
greats were drug users, people were shocked, but gradually, they embraced it.
Throughout the years, PED’s have become as commonplace as tobacco and pine tar.
Juan Pierre and Yuniesky Betancourt are perpetually vying for the home run
title. Wade Boggs’ chase of 900 home runs drove the popularity of baseball to
new heights and a premium has been placed on high contact hitters, since
anything they can hit and elevate goes for a homer. I haven’t heard of you,
though I think a Bobby Bonds played for a few years as a fourth outfielder, but
he couldn’t stick in the majors because of his enormous strikeout totals. So
you said something about playing? Were you in the minor leagues or something?”

“What! You’ve got to be kidding! What kind of sick person are you, anyway?
I’m the one who broke Aaron’s record! I’m the best baseball player of this
generation, maybe the best ever. I was at the heart of the baseball renaissance
in the 90’s. Why do you think I was chosen to be the first man to travel
through time?”

“Um… you aren’t. If you were, do you think I would be the one to interview
you? I just won an online contest a while ago so I was added to the queue of
interviewers. I figured it’d be a good thing to put on my résumé. The first
person to travel in time was the visionary, CarterHayes. I think you’re the
762nd person, but no one really keeps track anymore. So, are you interested in
getting you souvenir photo, or are you memories good enough for you?”

“Why you little! I’ll get you for messing up my life.”

“Security! Take this guy away! He looks like he’s in some sort of drug rage…”

After this rather sordid interchange, my cameraman, rob, commented wryly, “So,
nibbish, were your many attempts at winning spookymilk survivor worth the prize
of this interview?”

“Heck, rob, I don’t know. I suppose this is as good a reward as I could hope
for. At least now I can say I met Barry Bonds, I guess.”

B: Once it was revealed who the time traveler was (very early), the plot follows to a fairly obvious, routine conclusion. I did smirk at “762nd person” Most of the requirements seemed tacked on whether than woven in.

1 – Creativity in the manner in which the guidelines are followed (i.e. – your choice of famous time traveler and consequence) 2 points
2 – Hilarity (or poignance if things take a dramatic turn) of the cameo(s) by the other contestant(s) (0-5 points) 2 points
3 – Integration of the time-travel consequence. How well does the change serve the plot? (0-5 points) 3 points
4 – Overall enjoyabilitude (0-5 points) 2 points

Total Score: 9 points

S: 1 – Creativity in the manner in which the guidelines are followed (i.e. – your choice of famous time traveler and consequence) (0-5 points) I rather like the idea of a time traveler, chosen because of his fame, going back and altering time in a way that ruins his legacy. I’m cynical like that. 4
2 – Hilarity (or poignance if things take a dramatic turn) of the cameo(s) by the other contestant(s) (0-5 points) The mentions were cursory, which was fine for me. I have a feeling rob wrote this one, so it was pretty interesting to see nibbish as the interviewer. Of course, maybe nib wrote this so it’s not so tricky after all. 3
3 – Integration of the time-travel consequence. How well does the change serve the plot? (0-5 points) I guess I sort of covered this already. 4
4 – Overall enjoyabilitude (0-5 points) Overall it’s a pretty clever idea. I wish Barry was a little more whiny, or desperate, or something. I wouldn’t have minded the payoff being that he wants to go back and stop himself from going back in the first place, either. Still, a good entry. 3 (total of 14)

Overall: 23

nibbish

Rick Astley may not be the first person you think of when you hear the words “TV Star”. In fact, he probably doesn’t crack the top five thousand. Even so, he won an online vote to determine which TV or movie star would receive the incredibly prestigious honor of being the first human being to travel back in time. The public immediately suspected vote tampering, but it was decided that his cameo on the short-lived British comedy “Just the Two of Us” did fulfill the qualifications of being a “TV Star”, and Mr. Astley was allowed to make the trip to the year 1814.

Surprisingly, though no one has ever broken the bounds of linear time in human history, Alexandria’s own Echo Press was the only newspaper that bothered to secure an interview with Mr. Astley.

Echo Press: Welcome back!

Rick Astley: Why, thank you.

EP: First and foremost, how surprised were you when you heard that you had won the poll?

RA: Well, I was floored, really. I certainly don’t consider myself a television personality in any way. I mean, I thought my 15 minutes were up after that whole ‘Rickroll’ thing.

EP: Obviously other elements were at work here.

RA: Well, that could well be, but I think the real story here is that I just returned from traveling back in time.

EP: Oh, of course! So what was the past like, then? What did you do for those seven days before the time machine brought you back?

RA: It was a marvelous time. I walked amongst the streets, and saw the way things were back then. It was fascinating to take it all in – totally unlike anything I’d ever experienced.

EP: Sounds… interesting. Did you do anything else?

RA: Not really, I was going in an observational capacity only. The prep crew was very clear about the potential consequences of any timeline interactions. For the most part, I kept to myself and tried to stay out of the way.

EP: So, you didn’t step on any butterflies while you were there?

RA: *Laughs* No, I actually was very careful to not make any changes while I was there, short of giving a poor man on the street some money to buy a meal on the night before I left.

EP: Wait… what was the beggar’s name?

RA: I don’t remember… Something Hayes, I think.

EP: Robert Hayes?

RA: Maybe, why?

EP: Robert Hayes grew up in poverty, but one night in the early 1800’s, an anonymous man gave him a little money for food. Instead, he invested that little money wisely, and eventually because a multi-billion dollar metallurgical mogul. His factories were site of unending misery, and he was heavily involved in the mid-1800’s slave trade. His grim legacy lives on to this day.

RA: What… my god… are you serious?

EP: Ha, no. The dude probably bought booze with your money and died penniless and alone. Everything’s all right.

RA: This isn’t exactly the type of interview I expected for such a momentous occasion. You really have no idea how to conduct one of these, do you?

EP: What do you expect? You’re Rick Astley. If certain internet groups hadn’t rigged the vote, we could have had someone cool go, instead. “Walking the streets”? “Seeing how they lived”? Come on, Rick, you know the rules of this game, and so do I.

RA: Are you kidding me? A Rickroll reference? That hasn’t been funny in 3 years.

EP: More entertaining than the rest of this interview. What am I supposed to come up with? “Rick Astley went back in time and walked around, and it was boring and stupid. The End”.

RA: Why did the newspaper send you to do this? Even a sports radio talk-show host would have done a better job, I think.

EP: And David Caruso would’ve done a better job of going back in time and actually doing interesting things. I mean, you didn’t even go to Mississippi and fight with Colonel Jackson?

RA: What are you talkin about? I’m not going to risk death or possibly messing about with the timeline just so that I can live out an old Johnny Horton song.

EP: No, you’re just going to be the most boring interview subject ever.

RA: This interview is over. Goodbye.

EP: I thought you were never gonna say goodbye!

RA: *From afar* Still not funny, jackass!

B: nibbish, could you be any more obvious that it was you? Still, I love Echo Press jokes. Okay, this made me laugh out loud a couple times. I was afraid this was going in an obvious direction and then–bam–the rug got pulled out. And then I knew Rickroll references were coming and I still couldn’t help but smile.

Problem I see is that there was supposed to be a change due to the time travel, if even an insignificant one. I don’t see it here.

1 – Creativity in the manner in which the guidelines are followed (i.e. – your choice of famous time traveler and consequence) (0-5 points) 3 points
2 – Hilarity (or poignance if things take a dramatic turn) of the cameo(s) by the other contestant(s) (0-5 points) 2 points
3 – Integration of the time-travel consequence. How well does the change serve the plot? (0-5 points) 1 points
4 – Overall enjoyabilitude (0-5 points) 4 points

Total Points: 10 points

S: 1 – Creativity in the manner in which the guidelines are followed (i.e. – your choice of famous time traveler and consequence) (0-5 points) I found Rick Astley to be campishly hilarious even when he was popular (by the way, wouldn’t the Rickroll business technically be a second 15 minutes of fame?). Funny choice, although very little of him was used besides the obvious. 3
2 – Hilarity (or poignance if things take a dramatic turn) of the cameo(s) by the other contestant(s) (0-5 points) Well, the chance meeting ended up amounting to nothing, because of the joke that was told, but until then it seemed pretty okay. 3
3 – Integration of the time-travel consequence. How well does the change serve the plot? (0-5 points) Again, hard to say, since there was no consequence and the consequence was just used for a gag. I did like the gag, but I think I would have liked it even more if the interview had gone somewhere dark and horrible as a result of Robert Hayes’s treachery. 3
4 – Overall enjoyabilitude (0-5 points) No big laughs, but I grinned a lot throughout. 3 (total of 12)

Overall: 22

CarterHayes

FYI – This entry references the recent discovery of an apparent time-traveler found in a Charlie Chaplin movie, which you can learn about here if you haven’t already heard about it.

A Wrinkle in Time

In an apparent run in the fabric of time, the groundbreaking and recently top secret time-travel effort undertaken by two administrations was interrupted in an entirely unexpected turn of events. As the President stood by, the capsule reemerged from the past, carrying with it the knowledge of the existence of an alternate timeline and greater implications for the present and future than anyone had anticipated. In connection with these events, several key individuals were interviewed, and their most pertinent comments are included below.

A national poll, administered jointly by Major League Baseball’s Advanced Media arm and the White House, was conducted in the alternate timeline. Americans from all walks of life voted for the celebrity they most wanted to send across time in the capsule to the year 1928, chosen at random by the Senate Committee on Time Travel. According to the analysis of our timeline’s director of MLB Advanced Media, an information technology specialist known only as “Nibbish,” in the alternate timeline fans are allowed multiple votes per day for electing their favorite players to baseball’s all-star team. Apparently this provision was left into the code, allowing the Central Intelligence Agency to game the system and send one James Belushi, brother of Tonight Show host John Belushi and an actor in the alternate timeline, into the past. “Nibbish” explained that the CIA was apparently concerned that sending a major celebrity into the past would create significant problems with the space-time continuum, but that a celebrity of James Belushi’s status would likely not draw much attention. Our baseball commissioner, former Texas Rangers owner George W. Bush (apparently a former President of the United States in the alternate timeline), did not speak directly with reporters, but issued a statement affirming that “electoral legitimacy is of great concern to Major League Baseball and this office, and I am proud to stand behind our one-vote-per-fan policy.”

Communication with James Belushi is restricted to mission-critical topics at this time, facilitated by a modified iPhone, broadcasting to a narrow-band transmitter which sends a signal back through time. Officials have confirmed Mr. Belushi’s presence in the past, as his instructions were to establish his bona fides by walking through the set of Charlie Chaplin’s 1928 film, The Circus, during filming while talking on the modified iPhone. Apparently Mr. Belushi, for reasons unclear to many, has chosen to pose as a middle-aged woman. Government officials have confirmed that Belushi, dressed in a hat, fur coat, hose, and heels, briefly walks in front of the camera while talking on his mobile phone, and film buffs across the World Wide Web have been fascinated by Belushi’s heretofore unnoticed cameo. A statement prepared by Mr. Belushi was sent back, cryptically stating, in part, that “I’m my own grandpa.” His older brother John issued a statement of support, saying “My family was greatly concerned by Jim’s disappearance last week, and we hope to see him safely home after his historic mission is completed. On a personal note, learning of my early death in the alternate timeline confirms for me that entering drug treatment in February 1982 significantly extended my life.”

The Santos administration is struggling with two major consequences of the time travel event. First and foremost is the traveler who reemerged from the past, beloved actress Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to win an Academy Award. When asked for comment on Ms. McDaniel’s situation, White House Chief of Staff C.J. Cregg stated, “Quite clearly, one of the major implications of sending Ms. McDaniel back to her own time is surrendering her to the endemic racism of the United States in the early twentieth century. Our most basic sense of right and wrong tells us that Ms. McDaniel’s quality of life will be better if she continues to live in our time, but clearly this causes far-reaching conflicts which impact the lives of many Americans across both timelines.” For her part, Ms. McDaniel stated, “I came here, quite accidentally, in place of Mr. Belushi. I consider myself at the service of the President, and while I am learning many things about your time and about my life after 1928, should I stay I will leave my acting career and dedicate my life to raising funds for breast cancer research. My life in my timeline was cut short by the disease, and I hope that, in this day and age, we can find a cure.” Ms. McDaniel inadvertently triggered travel in the time capsule when she entered the capsule, disguised as a small Chinese laundry located at the corner of Sunset and Vine.

The other concern is the alteration of the other timeline, in which the sitting President is Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill), the first African-American elected to the office. In an exclusive interview, President Santos offered a personal comment on this situation. “I greatly appreciate the irony of this situation, as, by restoring the timeline, we may witness the evaporation of the first Hispanic-American presidency, and the restoration of the first African-American presidency. I want all Americans to know that I am entering into consultation with Senator Obama, former presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Josiah Bartlet, and Glen Allen Walken, and that any decision I make will be made only after I have considered their concerns and recommendations.”

While many serious issues have been raised by the conflation of the timelines, topics of a lighter nature, brought to light by NASA’s release of historical data related to the other timeline, have elicited senses of wonder and amusement. Upon hearing that the Minnesota Twins, the three-peat World Champions in this timeline, have repeatedly been eliminated in the playoffs by the futile New York Yankees, a Twins fan named Rob commented on the irony, saying “The Yankees need to model their management after Brian Cashman’s [two-time champion] Knicks. Keith Olbermann is probably the worst GM in baseball, and the idea that [manager] Paul O’Neill’s Yankees could extract themselves from salary cap hell to challenge anyone in the American League is amazing.” Apparently Minnesota’s recent dominance of professional sports – the state recently became the first to claim four championship teams in the Twins, North Stars, Timberwolves, and Vikings – is not enjoyed in the other timeline, where hockey is played in Dallas, Nashville, Phoenix, and Tampa (among other unlikely cities), and Tampa, Phoenix, and Washington DC host baseball franchises.

The Times has been unable to confirm with the Santos White House the persistent rumor that former Senator Mike Gravel (D-Alaska), advocate of the National Initiative, a direct-democracy system for national referenda and ballot initiatives, has been placed in charge of an executive committee which would administer a nation-wide vote on whether to restore the timeline and send Ms. McDaniel back in time.

Danny Concannon, who prepared this exclusive report, was Senior White House Correspondent for The New York Times during the Josiah Bartlet administration.

B: Not every joke here is on the money, but what I love about this entry is that it really tried to weave a plot. This is the only entry that had be fondly remembering Day of the Tentacle and its plot twists and subtle humor. Plus, Jim Belushi. Ha!

1 – Creativity in the manner in which the guidelines are followed (i.e. – your choice of famous time traveler and consequence) (0-5 points) 5 points
2 – Hilarity (or poignance if things take a dramatic turn) of the cameo(s) by the other contestant(s) (0-5 points) 2 points
3 – Integration of the time-travel consequence. How well does the change serve the plot? (0-5 points) 4 points
4 – Overall enjoyabilitude (0-5 points) 4 points

Total Points: 15 points

S: 1 – Creativity in the manner in which the guidelines are followed (i.e. – your choice of famous time traveler and consequence) (0-5 points) Down the celebrity ladder we go! The idea of a lame B-celebrity being “safer” to send back in time really felt honest to me. 4
2 – Hilarity (or poignance if things take a dramatic turn) of the cameo(s) by the other contestant(s) (0-5 points) They weren’t really used for anything that elicited emotion nor laughter, I guess. Well, “rob’s” comments sold the story, at least. 2
3 – Integration of the time-travel consequence. How well does the change serve the plot? (0-5 points) This one was very dense; I had to read it slowly, repeating passages, since it dealt with multiple realities. My favorite change was W’s “one vote per person” policy. The plot worked very well. 5
4 – Overall enjoyabilitude (0-5 points) This one lives on being clever without being belly-laugh funny nor deeply serious. Still, I found myself intrigued by the world-building. If I could make a change to this one, it would be to simplify a bit and talk about one change in great detail rather than several in little detail. As it is, I feel like the one-page story could have been at least twenty pages long. Not really a huge gripe, but there it is. 4 (total of 15)

Overall: 30

————————————————————————————

These are your “elimination posts”:

Third place in Spookymilk Survivor VII: nibbish

B: You were my dark horse candidate to win this thing about ten weeks back, so I’m not surprised you finished second (K: third, technically). You really turned things up these past few weeks. You win our consolation prize: a year’s worth of ganja!

S: Every “season” I pick two people who I think could win after the first three challenges. This year, I picked nibbish and Hayes. Pretty clever, eh? I correctly predicted the elimination of some major threats because they were major threats. Anyway, you were consistently funny, and when you had a solid concept you were always one of the weekly highlights.

Second place in Spookymilk Survivor VII: rob

B: Kudos for making it this far. You were a little outmatched, but your effort was never questioned. And I’ll always fondly remember you crushing your girlfriend in a junkyard. By the way, I know a good shrink.

S: For the most part, you lived and died on concept; your dialogue didn’t always feel real to me but sometimes you’d tell a joke or present a gag in a way that had me roaring. The Mr. Clean suicide hotline and the crushing of the girl in the junkyard stand as two of my favorite entries in this game, ever.

Here is your winner of Spookymilk Survivor VII: CarterHayes

B: Congratulations to CarterHayes. We were worried earlier in the competition that you’d no-show your way out of things, and if not for a concurrent no-show by Nick Punto’s Fury, we wouldn’t have had the luxury of reading your inspired entries (that baseball game from week one still haunts me). If you remember way back at the beginning, I offered to take the winner out to Target Field in 2011.. The offer still stands if you make it out to the Twin Cities next year.

S: I love the unpredictable nature of this game, but Hayes, I honestly had you pegged as my winner from near the beginning, with apologies to six other dudes who could have done it in an alternate timeline. Your obvious love of referencing little-known curios of pop culture and your interesting usage of your military history always made for riveting reading. I’d send you the traveling trophy for Spookymilk Survivor, but once upon a time, the girl in possession of the trophy attempted to ruin my marriage so I never saw it again. Sigh.

…so there you have it, folks. Thus ends the World’s Greatest season of Spookymilk Survivor, and I’m not just saying that because you all came from the WGOM. Cheers, dudes.

It’s all according to how your boogaloo situation stands, you understand.

-Wolfman Jack