“I’m kind of using them,” Albert chuckled at the wild, wide-eyed, man. The stranger looked over his shoulder at something, then faced Albert again. He grabbed Albert’s shirt and shook him while looking into his eyes.
“THIS ISN’T A JOKE! I need your pants right now,” his head spun around to look behind him again, then back to Albert.
“Hey! Back off, man!” Albert shoved the wiry man away. The action caught the attention of passersby.
“I NEED them!” the stranger shouted and lunged for Albert again. He shoved Albert to the ground and reached for his belt while fighting off Albert’s kicking legs. Two men paused when they noticed the commotion stepped in and pulled the old stranger off of Albert.
“YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!” he shouted as he wriggled against the two men. “THE WORLD IS GOING TO END!”
“Wait a second,” Albert said as he stood from the sidewalk. “My pants can stop the end of the world?”
“YES!” the man shouted and looked over his shoulder again. This time Albert looked to try and see what the was checking. He counted three people running towards them. “HURRY!” the stranger shouted again. Albert chuckled and shook his head.
“I suppose they want my pants too?” The stranger nodded. His breathing was ragged; he wore himself out struggling against the two good samaritans. He fell limp and lowered his voice.
“If they get here before I have your pants, it’s over.”
“What’s so special about my pants?” Albert asked.
“They’re YOUR pants,” the stranger shook his head. “I can’t tell you any more than that.” Laughter ran through the growing crowd.
“Sure you can. Didn’t you say that this world is gonna end if you don’t have my pants?” He made a point of looking past the stranger. “They’re almost here.” the man sighed.
“Yeah, good point. Short version: I’m in a game show. Other stuff happened, but for now, they picked a random stranger…,” he pointed at Albert. “whose pants we have to get.”
“What does that have to do with the end of the world?” Albert asked.
“I’m from this Earth. If I’m out of the game we’re all out of the game.”
“This Earth?” The man on the stranger’s right side asked. The old man nodded his head.
“Hey handsome,” a woman’s voice said. A statuesque woman with bright blue hair approached Albert. “Is there anything I can do to talk you out of your pants?” she asked, then brushed her lips against his. Albert began unbuckling his pants after the brief contact. As much as he was attracted to the woman, Albert specifically didn’t want the man to win whatever he thought he might. He doubted the whole thing and saw no harm in playing along with the woman just to spite the tactless stranger.
“No, I can still win!” the man shouted. Albert shook his head as he handed the wad of denim to the strange woman.
“WE HAVE A WINNER!” A deep male voice shouted. The gathered crowd turned toward the voice and saw a smiling bald man in a suit standing next to a tall, black portal. “Claudia goes on to the next round!” The woman tossed Albert’s jeans back to him then walked into the portal. “Everyone else…,” the bald man shrugged. “Goodnight!” He retreated back into the portal then a chubby teenager stepped out. He wore a light blue faded, tight-fitting vintage t-shirt stretched over his stomach and loose, sagging blue jeans. His hair consisted of a rainbow crew cut. He gave the crowd a half-hearted wave and a polite smile.
“Hi. Uh, sorry about this. But on the plus side…,” an ivory horn drilled out of the top of his forehead. His crew cut grew into a mane of long, wild, rainbow hair. His hands began to glow with intense white light. “You all get to see a unicorn before you die.”