Tuesday, February 8, 2011

If This Is To Be Our End . . .

". . . we will make it such an end as to be worthy of remembrance."

Big and I finally did it last night. We made sure to use protection, though.

No, no, sorry. What I'm talking about is . . . the final episode of The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine. If our first, intro show was episode zero, then this would be--according to Big--episode triple-zero. In the can.

More than a year ago, I got the idea for us to record our final episode, edit it, and have it set aside for use sometime in the future. We had been told about this phenomenon called pod-fading, where . . .

Well, let's have Big define that for us, since he was the one who introduced the concept to me.

Hi, everybody.

Okay, well, Pod-fading seems to be the way most podcasts out there end. One day they're chugging along at full steam, and then something happens, maybe it's something severe, like the podcaster gets injured, or there's even a death, or something slightly less severe, like a job change or loss. The real problem with pod-fading is that you never really know what happened. But the show will simply fade out. They have episodes that are further and further between, until one day they are gone. They never say goodbye, they just disappear.

Thanks, Big. So, I didn't want to go out that way. I knew--as Big did--that someday, the show would end, and it would be better to have a tearful series finale than to simply pass away unheralded and unmourned. It would be better to have it ready for that fateful day, than just fade away, like so many snowmen (or clones).

For months, I pestered Big about recording that show, but he resisted the idea. Why?

I dunno, Rish. I have no memory of doing so. I think it was always this and that and nothing in particular that got in the way of us doing it. I probably seemed to be resisting the idea, because I wanted to record shows that were for use right away, not something that was going into the Disney vault and not coming out for seven years or something.

Well, fate intervened, in the form of a big-boobed, bug-eyed pop star. I heard, for the first time, a Katy Perry song last week, and it really affected me. Or rather, one particular line in her song (the 2010 hit "Teenage Dream," in case anyone cares), struck me as both sadly naive and craftily profound. I told Big I wanted to talk about it on the show, and he assumed I meant in an episode of That Gets My Goat.

But no, I wanted to talk about it in our Final Episode Ever.

I brought up the subject in our weekly walk, and reluctantly, he allowed it to proceed.

Let me know your thoughts from beginning of that show, Bigglesby.

I just figured I'd lay back and think of England. You seemed to have a lot of things you really wanted to say, and I just wanted to finally hear the story about how you took your pants off in front of Ryan Reynolds that you've been promising for so long. But I guess that wasn't in the cards you were holding to your vest. Right, Rish?

Well, I didn't have an exact itinerary in mind. My thoughts were that this needed to be a really good show, with several points brought up (including the possibility that one of us was dead and/or that we had become enemies), and a nice, satisfied melancholy goodbye at the end. So we started to record.

We speculated what had brought us to this point--Big being much more optimistic, as usual--talked about our favorite shows, and thanked a few folks. Then I brought up that song lyric, and tried to end the show on a "nothing lasts forever" note.

And you know, even though it was long and somewhat painful, I think it ended up being a really good, really poignant episode.

And really strange, according to Big.

It was. It was a little surreal. Because there we were giving a sendoff to a show that wasn't going anywhere. We had to try to drum up the feelings that we would feel were this really the last episode. But it wasn't. It was the middle of it all. I suppose all the shows we do from now on are all prequels to that one. We've become what we most despise!

It was strange the next morning though. I woke up feeling as though what we had done the night before would change everything, because, you know, we'd said goodbye and all that. But we actually hadn't.

It was kind of like having a dream in which you break up with your girlfriend. Then you wake up and go to school, and she walks up and kisses you like nothing has changed...because it hasn't. It was just a dream. And I guess that is what our final show will be. Just a dream.

What, Rish? Oh, you didn't understand my analogy? Well, judging from the dating advice bit we recorded last night, you probably never will.

Sadder, truer words have never been spoken. I pray there are groupies at World Con this summer. But I digress.

So, it's done. And over the next few weeks, I'll edit the episode down to a more manageable length. Then I'll give a copy to Big for safekeeping, and when the show does end (hopefully far into the future, and hopefully due to my death and not his), it will air, episode 000, for us to go out with.

On a high note, if I may be so bold, sir.


  1. Like most of my favorite things, I refuse to believe you guys are ever going to not be doing the show. And given how well that's worked out for me so far... Stephen King? Never gonna retire, no matter how many times he tries. Buffy ending? Still got my comics! The 'final' book in a series I love? Ends with 'The End... for now'... I'm not worried.

    Now get back to work before I wish you into the cornfield. ;)

    So yeah... far, FAR into the future and... well, no, I won't even contemplate it and you can't make me. :-P


  2. Yes, so far into the future that no one will even know who Katy Perry was!