The Tragi-Comic Death of Tom Arnold

by Vince Milo


It was a dark and stormy night. At his Beverly Hills residence, Tom Arnold was pouring what would be his last rum and coke.

The TV funnyman took a small mixing straw from the dispenser on top of the bar, stirred the contents, and absently took a sip from the glass. Ever since the taping of “The Best Damn Sports Show” earlier that day, he had been having the most peculiar sense of foreboding. Though the studio audience had never actually laughed at any of his jokes throughout the history of the show, today the crowd had seemed downright menacing. It was as though every time he cracked one of his trademark one-liners, hushed, conspiratorial whispers could be heard circulating amongst the crowd; despite the laugh-track. He had nervously glanced to his fellow cast-mates for reassurance, but they seemed oblivious to the phenomenon.

After the show that evening, as he was walking to his car, Tom could have sworn he heard footsteps following him through the halls. Every time he stopped, however, the footsteps also stopped. This continued until he finally reached his car. As he was putting the key to the lock, however, he noticed the door was already slightly ajar. He glanced around quickly, becoming increasingly paranoid, but there was no one else in the parking garage.

Must have left it unlocked, he chuckled to himself half-heartedly, but not even his jovial everyman demeanor could shake the growing unease. He started the car and pulled out of his parking space, making cursory glances in-between cars as he made his way out of the garage.

As he passed the parking station on his way out, he gave Juan, the attendant, a quick wave. Though Juan seemed to be looking right at him, he did not return the wave and instead, appeared to shake his head slightly before returning to his newspaper. Tom shrugged, accelerated past the station, and eased his BMW out into traffic, his anxiety continuing to mount.

The drive home was uneventful though he couldn’t shake the feeling that he was being followed. He went through the gateway to his house; pausing to make sure it closed behind him, before pulling into his spacious drive-way and turning off the engine. Oddly, his wife Shelby’s car was gone. She was usually always at home to meet him after work.

Better call her, he thought.

He reached for his cell phone in its customary place in the glove compartment, but it was gone.

Strange.

He shrugged, got out of the car, and approached the front door to his Beverly Hills mansion. He brought the key to the door, but as it made contact with the lock, the door slowly creaked open. Panic initially surged through his overweight body, until he noticed a small pink slip of paper in the doorway.

“Ran out to meet an old friend, will be back later. There’s pork chops in the fridge” – Shelby

Tom gave a sigh of relief. His wife’s liberal upbringing had given her the habit of leaving the front door unlocked – allegedly to display a sense of trust and good-will towards all mankind, or some such leftist nonsense. He snorted at his wife’s silly idiosyncrasy and entered his house, closing the door behind him. He made his way to the fridge, awaiting the glorious sight of the left-over pork chops, but when he opened the door, there were none.

But why would she --?

The ominous pall fell over him once again and his heart began to race.

A drink, he thought, I just need a drink.

He went across his expansive living room to the wet-bar and pulled a bottle of Captain Morgan’s and a Coke out of the small side-fridge. He took a small mixing straw from the dispenser on top of the bar, stirred the contents, and absently took a sip from the glass. Suddenly a voice came forth from the darkness that made his blood run cold.

“Good evening, Tom,” said the voice.

Tom spun to face the intruder, his drink splashing across his promotional Windows XP jersey.

“Who’s there!” he demanded. “Show yourself!”

Out of the shadowy hallway stepped a pale sinewy figure with flaming red hair and a hideous expression on his already perverse face.

“Carrot Top?” Tom said in disbelief. “What are you doing here?”

“I think you know as well as I,” Carrot Top smirked. The prop-comic stepped forward into the living room, dressed in a crushed red velvet robe. In his hand, pointed directly at Tom, was a HK 9mm pistol. “We had an agreement Tom, or did you forget?”

“I – I don’t know what you are talking about!” Tom stammered. But he remembered only too well. Several years ago a group known only as The Consortium had approached the two “comedians”, offering the deal of a lifetime. In exchange for making the most annoying commercials of all time, The Consortium had promised them wealth and fame beyond their wildest dreams. There was only one catch, however:

Tom had to help Carrot Top get laid.

Tom knew it was an impossible task, but at that point he was too washed up and desperate to say no. He had hoped that after his commercial success, Carrot Top would just forget about the whole thing and go back to being a parasite of American comedy. Apparently, Carrot Top had other ideas.


To be continued....
(c)2004Vince Milo