The most excellent Damon Lindelof has kindly offered to share a serialized story with NextDraft readers to help us, and him, through the quarantine. To be continued, daily…

I’m Starting To Get Really Scared And The Daily Is Only Making It Worse

Brad was a beardsman, which meant he had the best beard.

Brad was tall… quite tall, actually. People he met would ask him if he played basketball (he had, but he had gotten hurt) but that was just a preamble for what they really wanted to ask, which was how was it possible that his beard was so fucking awesome?

The secret was not in the products, though he had extensively tested them all over the years. Amateurs use the same shampoo on their heads as they do their beards, but Brad was no amateur and he knew that beard hair is four times more coarse than head hair and thus requires a product chemically composed accordingly, that’s why he only used Spartan’s Den. The helmet on the label reminded him of that movie where that one guy shouted, “THIS IS SPARTA!” and kicked another guy in the chest and into a goddamn hole. That guy was ripped and he wore a cape and oh sweet Christ, did he have a fucking beard.

The secret was not in the apparatus. Brad’s beard brush was boar bristles, a hundred percent boar bristles, in fact. When he first bought it, he boasted to Candace, “My beard brush is boar bristles.” And she said, “That’s alliterative.” And he said, “Bitchin’.” And they fucked.

No, neither product (we will not get into the balms and oils here, suffice to say they were essential) nor apparatus was the secret to the cultivation of Brad’s perfect beard…

The secret was time.

A television screen is made up of individual pixels. Every pixel, on its own, an infinitesimal part of the greater picture. A beard is made of individual hairs. Each hair, on its own, an infinitesimal part of the greater beard. Brad had thirty thousand individual hairs in his beard and just a single one, either too long or too short or too dark or too light could ruin the whole goddamn party on his face — These hairs had to be hunted and exterminated at all costs for the sake of the greater beard and yes, that took time.

Too much time, Candace would sometimes suggest. But Brad was ready, willing and able to wake up every morning at quarter to four to search and destroy the illegals on his face, so really, get the fuck over it Candace. He was still in the shower by five thirty and ready to kick ass for the boss by six.

And this was why everyone asked him about the exquisitely shaped monument of manhood. Because they somehow sensed it was more than just a beard. It was something they all wanted, but had never achieved…

It was pure.

Which is why Brad was not at all surprised to hear a voice say “Great Beard!” as he walked to his Escalade.

Brad was, however surprised to see the voice belonged to a kid. A boy, maybe ten, stood in the parking lot, smiling and overconfident in a way that defied every teaching surrounding the laws of children and strangers. “Thanks.” said Brad, and opened the door to the Escalade.

The kid kept staring at him as he slid behind the wheel and at this point, Brad got the uh-oh feeling. There could only be one explanation for a boy all by himself waiting in his parking lot and staring at him with that goofy smile and those dark, dark eyes. Oh yes, Brad had seen enough episodes of MAURY to know where this was heading all right. The boss would understand, of course… Brad’s stock would only go up for siring a bastard. But Candace was going to absolutely shit.

Brad was not a man who delayed the inevitable. If bad news was coming, better to just stand there on the tracks and let the train come. He rolled down the window and said to the kid, “Can I help you?”

“As a matter of fact, sir, you can…” said the kid as he approached the Escalade, extending his hand cockily, his smile even more delightfully sinister up close…

“My name is Alden Rosenberg and I’m from the future.”

To be continued…



Chapter 1

Chapter 2