Old Home Café: The Next Generation

By Edward Floden, based on characters and situations created by William D. Fries, Jr.

Episode XXXV: The One About The History Eraser Button

(Originally published in The Legend-News of 2006 April 1.)

Midnight Mike burst into the Old Home Café. “The reset button! He’s pressing the reset button!” he yelled loudly.

Carol, who was still conversing with the movie producer, asked “Who’s pressing what button?”

Mike plopped onto a stool. He was still breathing hard. “The author! He’s pressing it!”

“Author? Author of what? And what’s a reset button?” asked Carol. “Why is he pressing it?”

“A reset button is a literary device that’s used to set a storyline back to a point in the past, ignoring any events which may have occurred after the ‘new’ starting point,” said Mike. “Y’know, like what happened to season seven of Dallas, when Pam found Bobby in the shower at the end of the first episode of Season Eight, or in every episode of Gilligan’s Island. And Ed.’s pressing it.”

“Ed.? Who’s Ed.? The author?” asked Carol. “And the author of what?”

“Yep,” said Mike. “He’s the guy that created this whole thing: you, me, the Café, the producer… Well, not really. He did adapt the basic concept from a combination of sources, those being some television commercials, some record albums and a real-life visit to Pisgah, Iowa. He calls it ‘creative extension’.”

“Ed. is God?” asked Carol. “That’s either impossible or blasphemous!”

“In way, he’s a god,” explained Mike. “But he’s not that God.”

“Then how can he do this? Press a reset button?” Carol was horrified. “Events which have transpired will have never happened? What events? How far back are we being reset?”

“All the way, as far as I know,” said Mike. “You, me, the movie guy over there, we won’t have ever existed.”

The movie guy was still seated in a booth by the window, waiting for Jon Bach to arrive. Everyone in the Café was ignoring him, as he wasn’t contributing to the present discussion.

“What about Avis and Harry and the others?” Carol wondered about the other characters, who were currently off-stage.

“Them, too. All of us. Gone. No trace will remain, except for backup files on an optical disk and maybe some cached pages from Google.”

“But why?” asked Carol. She was almost in tears. “What did we do?”

“We became inconvenient. The author decided that this plot wasn’t progressing well, and he wanted to drop it,” said Mike. “That, and he thinks that he can rewrite the ‘origin’ story that he wrote a three-and-a-half years ago. It did sorta suck.”

“But if Ed.’s a god, will he bring us back?”

“Maybe,” said Mike, “If we’re needed. I’m pretty sure that Avis will return. Not sure about anyone else.”

Carol looked out of the front window. Dawn was approaching, and the twilight was dimly illuminating the parking lot. A half-dozen rigs were parked out there. She turned to Mike. “When will the reset happen?” she asked. “What should we do to prepare?”

“There’s nothing to do,” said Mike. “When it happens, it happens. Can I get a cup of coffee? I’d like my final moments to be pleasant.”

“Sure thing,” said Carol, pouring a cup for Mike. “How about you, Mr. Producer? Would you like another