The Big News: Shaun is totally missing. We should have listened to that nonsense-spewing weirdo when we had the chance.
So yeah, Cissy goes into Shaun's bedroom one morning, and while his wetsuit and skateboard and juggling balls are there, he is most definitely not. As you can expect, Cissy freaks right the hell out. As you might not expect, everyone leaps into action -- Butchie confronts Cass about John's whereabouts and slugs Linc and winds up believing that wherever Shaun and John have gone off to, they're going to return no worse for wear. Linc makes noises about hiring a private investigator and comforts Tina, who has concluded that, somehow, this is all her fault. Dickstein composes a response to Shaun's abductors. Ramon cooks many, many hot dogs. Dr. Smith comforts a very unhinged Cunningham. Freddy prays to God, though honestly, it sounds more like a threat. Vietnam Joe enlists the help of his VFW buddies to comb the neighborhood looking for Shaun. Bill looks up his old friend Anderson from the police force, who proves surprising receptive to helping Bill out. Everyone deciphers the stick figure messages that start appearing in Avon catalogs and on the wall of the Snug Harbor bar.
The Unfortunate News: Zippy also disappears. Oh Zippy -- would that it were any one of a number of characters other than you. Daphne. Dwayne. Mitch. Yes -- Mitch. I would definitely be OK with Mitch's disappearance.
The Really Unfortunate News: Mitch comes back from Mexico and he brings the guy who used to play Dr. Johnny Fever with him. Cissy is as delighted to see him as you would expect -- i.e., not very -- though Mitch does overcome his astounding self-absorption to aid in the Shaun recovery efforts.
The Unexpected News: I...uh...kinda liked this episode. I know, I know -- I'm as unsettled by this as the rest of you.
Previously, on John From Blue Ash: John goes to great lengths -- even to taping a video -- to let us know that "Shaun will soon be gone." Now what do you suppose he meant by that? Eh. Probably nothing. I'm sure it's the last we'll ever hear of it.
Credits. Let's go disappearing now. Everybody's learning how. C'mon and go vanish with me.
We begin as a particularly shaky handheld camera makes its way up what is a decidedly non-Imperial-Beach-based shoreline -- the lack of hypodermics strewn in the sand is your giveaway -- until we arrive where some old dude is sitting, meditating. Wait a minute...can it be...that's Howard Hesseman. Howard Hesseman who played Dr. Johnny Fever. Howard Hesseman who played Dr. Johnny Fever on WKRP Cincinnati, making him the first actor ever to pull off the coveted Cincinnati-in-the-show-title double-player. I feel like we need to stop the show right now to hold a brief ceremony. The only thing cooler than this would be if Bailey Quarters and Dr. Venus Flytrap were there, too.
Meanwhile, morning has broken in the Yost household. Good morning, living room. Good morning, Shaun's wetsuit hanging up in the tub. Good morning, Cissy going to check on Shaun. Good morning, bed indentation where Shaun used to be lying but isn't now. Good morning, Shaun's juggling balls and skateboard. Good morning, skateboard helm...wait, go back. If I didn't know any better, I'd say that Shaun was nowhere to be found in that room -- as if he were once here, but now gone. Wow, if only someone had tried to warn us about that somehow. Like in a video. Ah well -- spilt milk now.
So, did your household have a "How will Cissy react to this?" betting pool? If you had "scream 'Shaun! Shaun!' in an increasing frantic and high-pitched manner until the lines 'He's gone! My God!' are delivered in a frequency only dogs can hear," then please collect your bets. By now, Cissy has run outside, where her shrieks have woken Palaka, who was reclining outside in a lawn chair. He leaps to his feet and strikes the sort of karate poses that Elvis used to smite smart-mouthed college boys in movies like Roustabout and Spinout. Bill and Freddy also stagger groggily out of their cars. "Kai," Cissy screams into her cell phone, "Shaunie's gone." He's not the only one -- Bill goes to pull Zippy's cage out of the back seat of Freddy's rental, and that's empty, too. OK, Monad -- fun's fun with the kid and all, but when Zippy goes missing, you've made a powerful enemy, friend, and one with a long memory to boot. Ask the people at Top Design what happens when you cross me. "What's Top Design?" you ask? Exactly.