The Return of the Native

Kris Johnson, OverlordWhen I asked Chris Miller if his return to Cleveland would be similar to his arrival in Los Angeles nine months ago—specifically, heralded by the blasts of ten thousand trumpets as he rode atop an eight-story-tall flaming lion-bear-shark hybrid attended by a squadron of Mark V rocket-propelled android shock troopers—I was not at all surprised at his simple, yet elegant, response.

“No,” he said.

I asked if he would instead descend from the sky in a massive dirigible, bristling with armaments such as have never been seen even in the pages of Soldier of Fortune magazine, surrounded by a swarm of insectoid attack drones, and again he responded in the negative.

“Besides,” he said. “That’s David‘s schtick.”

Would he rise from the depths of Lake Erie in a submersible, escorted by an exotic array of cephalopods, cyborg sharks and the entire race of freshwater mermen we recently subjugated? Again, no.

“I get a little queasy around watercraft,” he said. “And that’s more Natalie‘s bailiwick, anyway.”

Yes, the man said “bailiwick”.

“So what’s the plan?” I asked. “Ride a spout of molten lava through the Earth’s core?”

“I’m not going for a big entrance,” he said. “Nothing too flashy this time.”

“Well how the hell am I supposed to know you’re back?” I asked.

“I will slip in quietly,” he said, “like a ninja in a minivan. The setting of the sun in the West will announce me, and as dusk descends upon northeast Ohio you will know that the passing of the light marks my arrival, for as the day is laid to its eternal rest so shall I rise again to conquer all upon which I have set my eye, my heart and my will.”

“Sounds good,” I said.

“Also,” he said. “I’ll send you a text.”

If you’re wondering whether I received that text, the answer is yes. Nearly two days ago, in fact. Why did I not disclose its receipt until now? Because I wanted to let the feeling of dread that undoubtedly descended upon you at 11:33pm on Monday the 20th of April sink in—absorbed like so much moisturizing cream of evil into your parched skin—for a while before I let you know what caused it. That’s how I roll.

Mr. Miller is back.

Brace yourselves.