Somewhere out in Sector O, an oil-loving transmission is performing routine maintenance and carrying a blue bag, though that bag's contents are classified.
This transmission, named Boot, exists in the future, in a time far beyond the advent of social media, a time when such inventions as floppy disks have made their way into the technological landscape of Boot's corner of the universe. Through the magic of Skype, I was able to reach Boot for a short, time-warping conversation on Tuesday, one day before he sent his most recent transmission to Lincoln, Nebraska, United States, World, a transmission that will inform the performance of the band Thirst Things First, tonight at The Zoo Bar.
"Well, I felt the need to alert the people in Lincoln, Nebraska, United States, World, about oil," Boot says. "So I found two no-name telemarketers named Mike and Al. Mike is somewhat difficult to work with, but Al (Alec Wise) is a lion of a man."
Only if you know the real-life story behind Thirst Things First does that last line reverberate with tongue-in-cheek humor. Speaking during a break from his actual job as a programmer/administrator, Mikey Elfers — of The JV Allstars and under the guise of Boot — was referring to himself. Truth is, Elfers is the mastermind behind the backstory, the songs and the online voice of Boot: on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Pinterest and even Xanga, which will be "really popular on Earth in about five years."
But back to Sector O. Why did Boot pick telemarketers to comprise part of his group of recruits?
"I needed two citizens from the world that didn’t have anything better to do. So I started doing research about no-name telemarketing jobs. I learned that that profession provides a lot of free time, a lot of loneliness, and they were both at a very fragile state when I first touched base with them."
Boot explains that during its first stages, the band then "needed a drummer, and apparently, in Lincoln, Nebraska, United States, World, drummers are very hard to come by. So I built them a joint operative robotic drummer, or J.O.R.D. (Jordan Elfers).
"It was determined at that point that we needed what was called merchandise," Boot continues, "so we invited a man named Laser (a former American Gladiator, or Nate Olson, former Straight Outta Junior High bandmate) who lives with his grandmother to build us some merchandise and play the bass guitar at our demonstrations."
Speaking out of character, Olson says that Thirst Things First's concerts are different every time, even though each one is choreographed to the beat with timed banter by Boot filling the computer monitor the band brings on stage.
"In some ways, it’s better because you know exactly what you’re going to do before you play the show," Olson says. "There’s not a lot of unknowns. … Luckily, we’ve only had a few glitches."
The point of Thirst Things First, as Boot and Laser explain, is to promote oil. Most every song by the band, which plays sort of power pop of the reverted future, regards oil with respect. Oil, after all, is currency, it's anything that one can drink. "Anything can be oil," Laser says.
Thankfully, the citizens of Lincoln have responded to oil in kind.
"Oil has caught on in Lincoln, Nebraska, United States, World," Boot says, "very much so since I first started transmitting. We’ve talked about expanding. There’s a little shithole called Omaha, Nebraska, United States, World, and I believe we’ll be holding a town hall meeting there in mid-April."
Before the plot thickens, though, Thirst Things First has a more immediate town hall meeting tonight at The Zoo Bar. Galaxy Express (from Korea) and Thundersandwich will also play. Before attending, brief yourself on the benefits of oil and the dangers of sand with Thirst Things First's LP1. Stay tuned for the next album, which Boot foretells.
"LP1's main goal was to discuss oil and oil consumption and the dangers of sand to citizens of Earth. However, we needed to discuss other things, so we have put together an EP called SEXAPHONE. It's about my adventures with helicopters and Mike's dead neighbor."
Michael Todd is Hear Nebraska's managing editor. He thanks Boot for his time, whenever it happened to be. Reach Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org.