Something I wrote for the 750 words website after I'd beaten The Devil's Playhouse for the second time. I'm still reeling a bit from the ending, even though I've seen it twice.


Sam tried not to think about the Psychic debacle too much. For one thing, it hurt his head too much, thinking of all the time paradoxes that had sprung up from the incident. For another, it forced him to think of his little buddy in a way that he didn't want to.

"Hey Sam, do you think Skunkape and Dr. Norrington'll get married? I'm pretty sure I could get a bill like that to pass!"

"Skunkape's dead, Max, remember? He died in the explosion when the missiles were launched at..."

He didn't finish the whole sentence, but it was too late. A thick silence hung between them, too uncomfortable, awkward, and unfamiliar.

It was still Max, but it wasn't his Max. Thinking that was almost as weird and painful as thinking that he wasn't this Max's Sam. Somewhere, in an alternate timeline in an alternate universe (or maybe one or the other, he wasn't quite sure), a version of HIM had died, too. Perhaps they should have seen this coming when they'd realized that the outcome of Max's visions could be changed; that they could alter history again, after the turn with the time-travelling Mariachis' time machine. The fact that another set of Sam and Max had been wandering around elsewhere should probably have been tended to when they first exited their timeline, but at the time, it didn't seem to be a big deal.

Maybe Past Sam's electromagnetic powers and Present Max's psychic powers hadn't been a weird coincidence at all; maybe it had been the universe's way of sorting out the time paradox and restoring some semblence of balance in their crummy, whacked-up universe.

If only whatever sadistic higher powers out there had found a less painful way of doing it... now he had his little buddy who wasn't his little buddy.

"So, what powers did your old me have? My Sam could lift stuff up without touching it! You should've seen what he did to this one guy with a radiator; it was still steaming!"

...Well, it was still Max. That was something comforting, anyway.

"My Max had Precognition, Mind Reading, Teleportation with telephones, and...uh...a bit of rhinoplasty let him turn into things he could stick it on."

"Oh, man! That sounds cool! My Sam could kind of transform, too-his eyes got all white and luminous. You should've seen the look on the W.A.R.P. Director's face when we showed up; he looked like something out of Apocalypse 5!"

"What possessed you to go there?" he asked, hoping to change the topic of conversation. The less he heard about apocalypses now, the better.

"That was where we found the toy for levitation. It looked like a telescope, for some reason. Hey, how come we never got toy telescopes growing up?"

"Because your dad was worried about what you'd use it for. You used to spy on your neighbors a lot, remember?"

"Can you blame me? Those guys were so weird, so polite but quiet all the time, I just KNEW they must have had an underground anglerfish fighting ring!"

"And yet he let you watch nature documentaries. The mind boggles!"

They continued on like that, walking side by side in their familiar dilapidated city, which had become that much more dilapidated. Sam wasn't really sure where they were going; the DeSoto had been lost some time during...the Incident...Hopefully it wasn't laying somewhere in smithereens. So they kept walking, in search of something to do. Sam hoped Meesta Pizza's was still open. And that they'd paid their tab lately.

In that way, it was almost easy to forget that this wasn't his Max.

"I wonder how Sybill's doing?" he finally asked. The last they'd seen of her, she'd been rushed off to the hospital, in what must have been the last somewhat decent thing that Present Max had done with this life.

Before he could have a chance to get reminiscent or emotional about that thought, Max boisterously answered, "She's gonna need a C-section! It'll be a first in human-sentient monument relations, the birth of an actual hybrid! Oh, I hope there are videos..."

Sam shook his head. "That's unusually creepy and sadistic, even for you, little buddy."

"...Hey, Sam? How did she and Abe...?"

"I'm trying my damnedest not to think about that, Max, and so should you."

"I wonder what it looks like? Does it have Sybil's eyes, or Abe's jowels? Will it have human organs?"

"Don't think about that, either, Max," said Sam.

Well, so long as it was Max, that was all that mattered.