I had nearly forgotten about the incident. I say “nearly” because no one could completely put that bizarre video out of his mind. But it had been 20 years since my internship at Nickelodeon. Now I had a wife, three kids, and a job as a Certified Public Accountant, where nothing odd ever happened. Ever.
Until that night when I couldn’t sleep.
Something had awoken me. I could have sworn I’d heard a knock at the door, but when I looked out the peephole, no one was there. I opened the door anyway.
And my heart stopped.
Looking down, I saw a small package wrapped in brown paper. It had my name on it: “Marc.” I slowly bent down and picked it up.
The instant I took it in my hands, I knew what it was. It had the feel of an old VHS tape. “No,” I muttered. “It can’t be.”
I unwrapped the paper. On the inside, a note of sorts appeared. “Happy anniversary,” it said in an untidy scrawl. “Hope you remember.”
Anniversary? I glanced at the calendar and realized it had been precisely 20 years, to the day, since we had encountered that odd video in the editing room at Nickelodeon. Someone remembered… and wanted me to never forget.
I didn’t want to watch it, but something compelled me. I popped the video into the VCR in the living room.
Static appeared on the TV. The Sandy Cheeks, in her treedome. She looked downcast.
“My funding has run out,” she said. The camera panned over to reveal SpongeBob next to her.
“But that happened before!” he said, clearly trying to cheer her up. “And the monkeys came, and they gave you your funding back!”
Sandy shook her head. “Not this time, SpongeBob. The Ape Research Center has folded.”
“Where will you go?”
“Nowhere,” Sandy answered sadly. “No one in Texas remembers me. And I can’t stay here.”
“Come to work at the Krusty Krab!”
Sandy shook her head. “No. I’m done. I give up.”
“Farewell, SpongeBob. You were a good friend.” Sandy took off her helmet and walked to the door of her treedome. Static.
I switched off the TV.