But now, Bill had no friends. They were all dead, all victims of this senseless brutal war.
"What a senseless brutal war," Bill said to himself as he wandered his street, surveying the devastation. The nuclear bombs had turned the city into a skeleton of its former self. Dead trees were scattered here and there, an occasional house still standing. No life was to be found anywhere. Not on his street. Not in the neighborhood Chevron. Not at the local discotheque. Not at Jim's Tire and Oil on 17th street.
Overcome with grief, Bill Huggins collapsed on the ground in front of the Crudville discotheque and sobbed.
"Why?!" he shouted, shaking his fist at the sky. "WHY?!"
Well, I'll tell you why Bill Huggins. Because this world is just a sick place! Back in the olden days, people had to settle their disputes like men! And that meant a good ol' fashioned fish fight!
"Oh, surely there's some mistake," said Bill to me, whoever I am. "You must be referring to a fist fight."
No, you read it right Bill. You read it more right than you've ever read anything in your life. A fish fight. Slapping each other around with fish. Trout. Salmon. Mackerel. Catfish. White Tipped Reef Sharks. It happened all the time. You may not think you ever saw a guy slapping another guy with a fish, but it happened. Oh boy howdy, did it ever happen. Especially in Arizona. And the western slopes of Bulgaria. And it was a very effective method of dispute-resolving. But times have changed. Nowadays, it's just "Oh, I'm mad at my neighbor Bob for not returning my hedge trimmer, guess I'll type in my super secret launch codes and push the big red button and nuke his house," followed by all of these actions and the ensuing total destruction of a small city. We've become so spoiled, so reliant on our nuclear missiles for resolving our disputes. Well Bill, I'm here to tell you, no more!
"But..." asked Bill. "How else am I supposed to get revenge on that guy who didn't clean his dog poop off my lawn?"
Good question Bill. Before this situation gets out of control and your hand inches for your launch codes, let's just take a step back, gather our senses, and analyze. Is this issue big enough that it's worth leveling the entire city for, and in fact, vaporizing yourself?
"I'll be okay, I've got a bomb shelter!" Bill responded.
Well, I'm just telling you, there may be more civil options that you're not considering.
Bill scoffed, like the scoffer that he was. It was no wonder that his friends often called him Bill the Scoffer.
"I've no need for you!" Bill yelled at me, whoever I am. "I can settle my own problems!"
Yes, sure you can, Bill.
With that, Bill Huggins got up off the ground and ran. Just ran and ran.
You can't run away from me Bill. I'm all around you.
"No!" cried Bill, as he ran. "Get away from me!" At this point, he hopped a pretty tall fence that had the fortune to still be standing. The fence was pretty happy about this.
There is no escape, Bill.
At some point in his running, Bill found a nice bush, and he tried to hide in it. He just sat in the bush, hiding, for several seconds.
I can see you, Bill.
Bill flung a curse word, then scampered out of the bush and resumed running. This went on for awhile. A couple minutes later, he found a nice dilapidated barn that matched his shirt color pretty nicely. He stood still in front of the barn in an attempt to blend in.
Nice try, Bill. You're by the barn.
Bill swore again and resumed running.
But Bill couldn't keep up the charade forever. Soon, he began to grow weary, and within minutes, was bent over gasping for air.
"I...can't...beat you," he said between lungfuls of air.
Well Bill, I applaud the effort.
Bill was cheered immensely by the praise.
And so it came to pass that Bill and I became friends. Bill Huggins, the Emergent, the Scoffer, that lovable old coot, and I, an unembodied mystical intelligence who enjoyed narrating Bill's life and always popping in to offer a treatise or two about various political topics, much to Bill's annoyance. And Bill continued to scoff, and to emerge from things, and we generally managed to get along pretty well surviving in a post-apocalyptic wasteland of death.