Written by anonymous
This work was last updated March 16, 2019
3 users have favourited this work.
Tom Ruse was brought, kicking and screaming, into the world at 3:32 PM on a Sunday. His mother, Mom Cruise was present in the Flesh, but not in spirit, and that was just about that. His cardinal crime at that time was to be born as a boy who didn’t look like Tom Cruise, and as far as Mom Cruise was concerned, that was the biggest crime of all.
So they didn’t always get along so well. Sue him.
At three years old, Mom Cruise took him to get the first of a series of surgeries that would leave him looking more and more like Tom Cruise. She assured him that this was for a greater cause; that one day, he would understand – and he did.
At twelve years old, Tom Ruse met Tom Cruise for the first time. He had been president for as long as he could remember. Tom Cruise was the president; he had always been the president; he would always be the president. Such was the way of the world.
At age twelve, Tom Ruse was featured in a small local newspaper for looking just like Tom Cruise himself – or rather, what they presumed the ageless Mr. Cruise had looked like as a boy. That story was picked up by the local news, and then the national news, and then, soon enough, the mother-and-son duo had awoken to a-knocking on their door.
They were bundled into an unmarked black sedan, which drove for a while, and within a few hours, they were at the white house. To Mom Cruise’s great excitement, they were brought directly to the Oval Office, and met by Tom Cruise himself.
As Tom Ruse was brought into the oval office, he saw Mr. Cruise look up from some paperwork.
“Ah, a child,” said Mr. Cruise. “I love kids. I was a kid myself, once.”
Tom Ruse nodded. “I too was once a child.” He paused, stilted. “If you have kids, it is the most important thing to create good times.”
They stood there in silence for a moment or two. Tom Ruse looked over at the corner of his office, where the locked drawer was.
“You’ve noticed my drawer. It’s where I keep all the codes… You seem like a bright little boy, and you look like you can keep a secret. Do you want to know what I keep in there?”
“Yes,” Tom Ruse hissed like a snake.
“It’s a bunch of super-duper top secret codes, including the most secret codes of them all – the codes to unlock the magical Bubble Tea Machine at my private space station/prison.”
“Oh my God,” said Tom Ruse, forgetting, for a second, that any mention of god was blasphemy, and that Mr. Cruise was the closest thing they had to God Incarnate, and that mentioning god in his presence was punishable by a lifetime of imprisonment.
Suddenly, bodyguards appeared and dragged Tom Ruse away from his mother, kicking and screaming in much the same way he had during his birth.
Tom Ruse was sent to prison then, and he didn’t see the light of day or his mother’s face for nearly two decades.
Over the course of his third decade in prison, Mom Cruise began to visit, and together, they started to sketch out a vague plan to get their revenge. Mom Cruise no longer idolized Mr. Cruise – no, they were going to destroy him. They were going to wipe every mention of him off the earth until Tom Ruse could take his place.
They stormed the White House a decade after that, and then everything went wrong.
Tom Ruse and Mom Cruise stepped into the Oval Office, quietly shutting the door behind them. The office was empty, and they didn’t set off any alarms on the way in – the coast was clear. Tom walked over to the desk and carefully lifted the book that served as the hidden switch to the secret room that lay just below the office. There was a faint mechanical whirr, and a hatch opened in the middle of the room to reveal a staircase.
“We’re in,” Tom whispered.
The pair descended the steps, which were painted in the colours of the American flag. The Star Spangled Banner played faintly from speakers in the walls, quiet enough not to hear it from the Oval Office when the hatch was closed, but loud enough to rouse a sense of patriotism as you walked downstairs. When they reached the bottom they found themselves in a small room, completely empty except for a large safe that stood in the middle. The nuclear launch codes were written on a post-it note that was taped to the front of the safe, but what they sought was far more important than mere weapons of mass destruction.
“The Presidential safe…” Mom Cruise whispered.
“According to our man on the inside,” Tom said as he started fiddling with the dial on the safe, “The code is simple. Just 1-7-7-6.”
The safe opened with a satisfying click, and together Mom and Tom pulled open the heavy steel door. However, they realised with a shock that something had gone terribly wrong: the safe was empty! Suddenly a bright light shone on them from the doorway, and Tom heard a nefarious laugh.
“You’ve fallen for my Tom Ruse!” President Cruise said with a chuckle.
“That’s my name!” I said, angry at myself for getting caught so easily.
Several soldiers emerged from the light, their weapons at the ready. President Cruise walked down the steps behind them, immaculately dressed and groomed as always. He chuckled again as the soldiers put handcuffs on Tom and Mom, enjoying the satisfaction of such an easy victory.
“You actually thought you’d succeed!” President Cruise exclaimed, “Well I’ve got Tom News for you: I was on to your little heist from the moment you walked in!”
“How is that even possible?” Mom Cruise cried in fear.
“It’s those weak humanoid brains of yours,” President Cruise explained, tapping the side of his head, “They’re so easy to read, and I can sniff out opposition to my rule like a wolf on the trail of his prey.”
“What are you going to do with us?” I demanded, my shaky voice betraying my fear.
“We’re going to take a ride aboard the Tom Crucible, and once we arrive at my space prison you’ll never experience freedom again!”
Tom Cruise used his bulky, patriotic Tom Cruise biceps to drag Tom Ruse and Mom Cruise onto his spaceship, the Tom Crucible, made of American flags and 570 million dollar net worth. “I’ve been chased by the paparazzi all over the world.”
Tom Ruse reached out up slick Tom Cruise’s hair off his forehead like he would do with his own plastic surgeried-hair. Tom Cruise heroically slapped Tom Ruse’s hands like a pesky mosquito unworthy of his godlike blood and hissed, “I’ve been chased by the paparazzi all over the world. No one will ever reach you in space.”
He unceremoniously dumped both of them on a floor made entirely of movie posters featuring his face then winked at Mom Cruise saying, “They smell good. They look pretty. I love women. I do.”
He shimmied his Top Gun ass over to the controls, yelling, “No dream is ever just a dream,” to voice activate the ship.
Mom Cruise whispered, “But your dream will only ever be a dream,” as she pulled her phone from her pocket to call her son’s plastic surgeon and his devious, existential-crisis-inducing scalpel to save them.
Tom Cruise laughed a deep Mission Impossible laugh and downed all the cellphone towers on Earth as the Tom Crucible took off.
As they left the earth’s atmosphere, Tom Ruse walked with a Rain Man gait into the cockpit and shouted, “Talk is overrated as a means of settling disputes,” to try and override the voice activated controls.
“You got that right, you freakishly handsome devil,” Tom Cruise replied as he bitch slapped his doppelgänger across the room.
Mom Cruise, with a sudden case of Stockholm syndrome, got in on the action and bitch slapped him as well.
The Tom Crucible traveled at the speed of Scientology, whatever that means, and the entire way to prison, Mom Cruise and Tom Cruise bitch slapped Tom Ruse.
Tom Cruise smiled a large grin as the jail cell door closed between us.
“Enjoy your stay in prison, and enjoy the mango smoothies. They’re delicious!” Tom Cruise said with enthusiasm and then quickly spirited away.
“Damnit!” I yelled as I leaned against the cell door. “We’re doomed, there’s no way to escape from the Cruise Prison.” I felt fear in my throat and tears beginning to form.
“Sit here,” I turned my head to see Mom Cruise sitting on the prison bed patting the spot next to her for me to sit.
I exhaled and took the seat. Mom Cruise wrapped her arm around me. “Tom Ruse, everything’s not all lost.”
“But we’re trapped in space,” I sorely retorted.
“Yes, we didn’t see this coming, but we’re close to the Bubble Machine.”
I mulled it over in my head. We were trapped in the most sophisticated prison ever built, but we were close to our primary objective.
“Yeah,” I muttered, “we got to stay positive. We can still do this.”
Prison regime was fairly relaxed. Four hours a day of mandatory watching of Tom Cruise movies and then the rest of the day was free time. I got lots of opportunities to chat with the other inmates.
The inmates of the most secure prison weren't so bad. It was mostly famous celebrities that offended Tom Cruise. My conversations were very interesting during my time.
“The bubble machine is locked behind a key that only Mr. Cruise has” George Clooney’s words were cool and suave.
“So all I have to do is get the key and I’ll have access to the bubble machine.” I turned to my Mom Cruise, “Seems easy enough.”
“Did you manage to give Tom Cruise the Tom booze?” whispered Mom Cruise as they tiptoed through the corridors.
Tom Ruse couldn’t hear her through the tapioca bubbles that encased both their heads, but he nodded anyways. As fate would have it, luck was on their side and they managed to catch Tom Cruise in his office, taking his afternoon Tom snooze.
Mom Cruise did a complicated series of hand signals she probably picked up from her army days in ‘nam. Again, Tom Ruse found himself Tom confused, but he managed to follow her Mom cues, coming in with the pincer formation to snatch the key ring off Tom Cruise’s belt. It jangled loudly, but no one could hear it both because of the tapioca bubbles and because there was no sound in space.
However, Tom Cruise’s sharp reptilian ear holes picked up the faint vibration and he began to wake up.
Tom Ruse’s hands were slick with sweat as he fumbled to get the bubble machine key off the ring. He felt like Tom Cruise had suddenly turned into a Bomb Cruise that was his job to Tom defuse. Finally, the key came free and Tom Ruse replaced the ring and army rolled away, giving himself an impressive Tom bruise when he accidentally smacked into Tom Cruise’s Tom shoes.
“Go, go, go,” yelled Mom Cruise.
And they ran off, leaving Tom Cruise quite Tom bemused as he Tom perused his key ring, feeling like he had something to Tom lose.
Now that they had the key, Tom Ruse was ready for the next phase of the plan: accessing that damn bubble tea machine. It was going to be a very difficult thing to pull off, what with the whole place already being on high alert since they’d accessed the codes. Whatever happens next will decide him and Mom Cruise’s fate.
He stopped at the last corner and peeked around it. His stomach dropped as he saw Tom Cruise literally right in front of the door, standing still like a creepy statue (he can teleport). Already Tom Ruse was coming up with ways to take him down, but he felt a hand on his arm.
“I’ll take this one, son,” Mom Cruise said. “I didn’t become an actor to have power, but it just so happens that I have it, and this is an opportunity I can take.”
With that, she was rounding the corner without allowing him to protest. Tom Cruise immediately noticed her, his body tensing on high alert, but she waved at him cheekily. Tom Ruse facepalmed as she moved closer and started speaking in hushed tones, obviously getting her flirt on. Have you ever gotten the feeling that you aren’t completely embarrassed yet, but you glimpse tomorrow’s embarrassment?, he thought, refusing to think about the implications of his mom flirting with a man that looked like her son.
Before he could finish having his crisis, Mom Cruise suddenly hit Tom Cruise in the neck, hard. She must’ve hit a pretty big nerve because he went out like a light, and she turned around and beamed at him and gestured for him to come to the room. Somehow, she’d done it.
His heart jumped in anticipation as he ran over, not caring to check to see if any guards were coming. He inserted the key and click, the door opened. Inside was a large white room, bare except for the large machine in the middle.
“Is this really it?” Mom Cruise asked as they entered, both of them staring at the machine. “After all these years, after all this time, we’ve done it. The power is finally in our grasp, son.”
“It’s incredible. Finally, we’ve reached the end.”
Tom Ruse gingerly stepped forward, a little unnerved about how easy it was to access the machine in the end. He ran his hands down the sides, recognizing the grooves and edges from the endless hours of staring at the schematics. It didn’t take long to find the switch; he looked at Mom Cruise, who nodded at him. Just as she did, a quote from an old friend from a long time ago floated through his mind: nothing ends nicely, that’s why it ends.
Tom Ruse flips the switch.
The first thing Tom Ruse was aware of was the sensation of floating, of no longer being bound by gravity. The second was of something slimy moving against his face. Suddenly panicked, he opened his eyes, gasping in big mouthfuls of air. All around him was space. He was floating in the midst of the ruins of the prison, as well as enormous tapioca bubbles.
“Why can I breathe?” Tom wondered, putting a hand up towards his mouth. Part way there, it met resistance in the form of the bubble surrounding his head, which he had not noticed before. It was clear, so that he could see through it, only tingeing the world around him slightly brown. “Holy smokes, this must be helping me breathe!” He said out loud.
He watched as another prisoner floated by, this one entirely encased in a bubble. He waved, but the prisoner did not seem to see him. Suddenly, he remembered; where was Mom Cruise?
“Mom!” He shouted, unsure if his voice was even traveling in the vacuum of space. “Mom!”
Just then, a figure approached from his left side. He turned, a mixture of emotions roiling in him; was it his mother? Did he even want it to be his mother? Before he could see fully, however, he was knocked across the face, and went spinning away. When he was reoriented, he saw the smirking, handsome face of Real Tom Cruise. He, too, had a bubble wrapped around his face.
“Where’s my mom, you sack of shit!” Tom Ruse demanded.
Real Tom Cruise didn’t reply, instead he closed the distance between them, moving easily in the empty expanse. Too easily. Tom Ruse knew that this was it, the moment of his destiny: he was going to have to fight Tom Cruise.
He drifted back across, rearing up as best as he could. It was ineffectual. For several minutes, the two of them attempted a fight, their motions made weak by the lack of atmosphere. Tom Cruise had an advantage, somehow; Tom Ruse had always felt the comparison between them. He had never been enough Tom, or enough Cruise, and now, Tom Cruise was going to kick his ass.
With the last of his strength, Tom Ruse reared back, and managed to land a kick squarely across Tom Cruise’s face. For the first time, Tom Cruise seemed affected. He looked shocked, and not only that: his face was drooping oddly, as if Tom Ruse had knocked something loose with his powerful kick.
“What the hell?” Tom Ruse demanded. “What are you?”
Tom Cruise’s mouth opened, as if he was speaking, but no sound traveled to Tom Ruse’s ears. After a moment, he asked, “What?”
Tom Cruise rolled his eyes, and then he reached out, popped the bubble with one motion, and then ripped off the skin off his face to reveal…
Tom Cruise, just slightly more green.
“What the hell!” Tom Ruse exclaimed. “Are you even the real Tom Cruise?”
“Of course I am!” Tom Cruise replied, and Tom Ruse could hear him clearly now. “What, did you think I was a real human? I’m far too handsome and perfect and cool to be a human.”
“You were always a fake,” Tom Ruse said in slow realization. “You were always an unachievable perfect dream.”
Tom Cruise reached towards Tom Ruse’s bubble, with the clear intention of popping it. “Too bad you’ve come to this realization just before death, Ruse,” Tom Cruise said tauntingly, his hand creeping closer.
“Get away from my son!” Came a voice, and at that moment, an enormous horde of stuck-together bubbles swept by, plowing into Tom Cruise. Tom Ruse looked around to see Mom Cruise, having triumphantly pushed the horde of bubbles into their way.
“Mom Cruise!” Tom Ruse exclaimed, moving very slowly towards his mother.
At last, they came together in an embrace. “I’m so sorry,” she said. “I should have realized you could never be Tom Cruise. You are good enough as you are, Tom.”
“You won’t get away with this!” Yelled Tom Cruise, from where he was slowly being consumed by bubbles. “You haven’t heard the last of Tom Cruise!”
“More like Tom Lose,” Tom Ruse joked. Then he and his mom high-fived, somehow erasing years of emotional upheaval, and floated away, going to do more crime.