Something metallic clicked faintly against the outer threshold, then my front door exploded inward along with pieces of the frame, and Brian Mossop walked into the foyer. In his left hand was the cane topped with the heavy silver wolf’s head that had made him the stuff of dark legends in the Caucasus. He used it to casually knock a mirror off the wall as he walked toward me.
“Enjoying your spring break, ace?” he purred.
“Brian,” I said. “Nice of you to drop by.” Steady now, I thought. Show no fear.
The community manager of PLoS Blogs continued to stroll through my apartment as if through a gallery, taking it all in. “Such a nice place. So full of distractions. I can see why you’ve been so busy,” he nodded, and the trailing end of his cane knocked the lamp from the table beside the sofa.
“Do you know,” he continued, “what makes a community? What makes it a true community, I mean, and not just a bunch of random strangers?” Sidling over to the book case, he pulled out the hardcover volume of Sagan’s Cosmos, glanced approvingly at it, then flung it across the room. “What makes a community is the spirit of giving back. The involvement. Without involvement—” and he punctuated the word with a rap of the cane against the bookcase that splintered a shelf—”we’re no better than beasts.”
Brian walked over to my computer. I expected his cane to crash down on it next but instead he placed his hand daintily on the keyboard. “Oh, how sad,” he sighed. “It’s cold.” His eyes fixed mine.
“So you’re wondering why I haven’t been blogging,” I ventured.
“Not at all,” Brian said. “Why live in the past, I say. I’m just very, very excited about all the new blogging you’re going to be doing for us.” He wandered to the picture window that overlooked the street. “You might want to take a look at this.”
I joined him at window, trying to look unperturbed. The wolf’s head cane pointed through the window to a midnight blue sedan parked out front. Its back door was open and I could see the struggling figure bound with duct tape on the back seat. Her blonde hair shook like wind-tossed ribbons.
“If you ever want to see your wife again, I expect to see a new blog post in the morning,” he whispered in my ear.
“Brian?” I asked. “You do realize that’s not my wife?”
“What?” He fell back a few steps, then squinted more intently at the car.
I looked more closely, too. “I have no idea who that is. Does she even live in this neighborhood?”
“Crap. Crap. This isn’t good.”
“Seriously, do you know what my wife looks like?” I asked. “She is going to be really annoyed about the door and the lamp, by the way. What were you thinking? Kidnapping? Vandalism? Over blog posts?”
“Yeah, yeah, fine.” He was leaving at not quite a run, but still managed to spin and backpedal to face me.”Look, I gotta put her back, but that doesn’t change the fact that we want you to put up a new post right away. It’s been weeks!”
I yelled after him, “We could have done this with a phone call!”
Anyway, we will now attempt to return to more frequent, regular blogging. Thanks for your patience.
The The Nudge from Management by Retort, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.