The American Douchebag’s Guide to Europe- Scotland

Overview

Scotland has a long history of fighting with people.  They fought the Romans (Hence the construction of Hadrian’s wall by the Romans), the Vikings, The British, and of course each other. The Highland clans were like the street gangs of their time, and the Clan Campbell and the Clan MacDonald were the Crips and Bloods.

In 1703, Scotland was officially taken over by England, and was incorporated into the U.K., which it remains to this day since their damn referendum to secede fell through.

A fun side fact: The flag that everyone thinks of as the British Flag, the Union Jack:

Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom

Isn’t actually the Flag of Engand. This is:

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If that doesn’t make sense to you, look at the name of the first flag. It’s called UNION Jack. It’s named that for a reason. That reason is if you take the British flag and combine it with the flag of Scotland:

Flag of Scotland

And the flag of Northern Ireland:

Flag_of_Northern_Ireland

You get the Union Jack.

And if you are wondering why the Welsh flag isn’t also a part of this, it’s because Wales was only a principality when the U.K. was formed. They never added an element of the Welsh Flag when it was declared a country because to Hell with Wales.

Although that dragon would be pretty bitchin’ on the Union Jack.

Although that dragon would be pretty bitchin’ on the Union Jack.

Initial Thoughts

“You know, I always expected Scotland to have a lot more kilt and bagpipe shops than there is in reality. It’s pretty disappointing, actually- Oh wait, there’s one. Never mind. And wow, we only left the airport 5 minutes ago.”

Let it be known that Scotland would look exactly like England if it wasn’t for all the Kilt and wool shops and their flag flying everywhere like the ghost of William Wallace. Which, by the way, if you do ever go to Scotland and you decide to stay out after 2:00 AM, you will see Wallace’s ghost. Be warned.

Accommodations

We, by which I mean my boyfriend Dave and I, stayed at the Motel 1 on the hilariously named Cockburn street. I assume Motel 1 was named that ironically, since not only is it not the only motel in Edinburgh, but it isn’t even the only Motel 1 in Edinburgh. The other Motel one was less than a mile away from the one we stayed. You could see it from the main entrance to ours.  Way to try to monopolize Motel 1 corp.

I'm glad we didn't stay here.

At least we didn’t stay here. This place sounds painful.

This motel was styled in a very modern, yet also somewhat rustic fashion. The lobby and dining areas had tables made from repurposed whisky casks, and the bench seating along the windows had blue plaid cushions and sheep skin blankets.  Yet, everything had clean lines and stainless steel accents. The room was no different. Have a look:

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You cannot tell from the picture, but the design that is on the brown pillows is also on the carpet and the drapes, which could lead into a multitude of pube jokes that I’m just going to pass on for now. Instead, here’s the bathroom:

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Infinite selfies!

Infinite selfies!

I will, however, say this about the bathroom: It was too small to be equipped with such a shitty fan. The bathroom would turn into a steam room within 5 minutes of me getting into the shower. I learned to leave the bathroom door and the window to outside open for ventilation, but ugh, that’s a pain in the ass when I could just do nothing instead. Thanks for nothing, Motel 1.

Sites

In Edinburgh, The majority of the more famous sites can be found on or near the Royal mile. The Royal mile is a road that goes up the hill from Hollyrood Palace to Edinburgh Castle. The castle is the older of the two structures and is situated on the highest point in Edinburgh. Hollyrood is the more modern palace (The Current Queen stays there in the summer), but it is also where Mary Queen of Scots lived until the murder of her first son. After that she moved up to the Castle to protect herself and her unborn child. While Holyrood palace still maintains the elegance of being a working palace, the castle has gone full tourism mode.  Most of the buildings are used as museums or displays of what life (palace life, the dungeons) was like back in the day. The castle has around 5 separate gift shops inside it, which makes me think that they ran out of ideas of what to do with all the extra space.

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Along the Royal mile itself  are a series of shops and restaurants. Most of the shops pretty much all sell what you would expect from Scotland: Kilts, miniature bagpipes, canned haggis, anything with a clan name printed on it, and vaguely Celtic items. The more touristy place sold shot glasses and other forgettable souvenirs. However, there were still quite a few shops along the Royal mile that are unique and contain items that I didn’t see anywhere else. Old Town Context is one such store. Old Town Context is actually part of a small chain of stores in Scotland that sell old fashioned curiosities. Miniature stair cases, hot air balloon mobiles, and old tin signs are just some of the many interesting things you can find in this store of curiosities. Here’s their website if you want to see what it’s like. Other than Old town Context, there was a shop the sold various Celtic items, such as Celtic knot window hangs, and miniature recreations of Pictish runes. Then there are whisky shops, and shops that sold wool, and two different Christmas shops. The Royal Mile, has a shit load of stores, is basically what I’m trying to get at.

The Royal Mile, right before the zombies attacked.

The Royal Mile, right before the zombies attacked.

Other sites to see in Old Town Edinburgh are The People’s museum on the Royal Mile, The Scottish Parliament Building, the Scotch Whiskey Experience, and Edinburgh’s hiking spots: The Salsbury Crag and Arthur’s Seat. If you want to witness the best views of Edinburgh, The top of Arthur’s seat is your destination. However, if you’re the typical fat American, be warned that it’s a long hike and there isn’t a single escalator to the top. Get on that, Edinburgh.

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The Queen's gallery, Arthur's Seat,the Scottish Parliament building, and Scotland's famous vanishing cars.

The Queen’s gallery, Arthur’s Seat,the Scottish Parliament building, and Scotland’s famous vanishing cars. And on the far right, you can see the edge of existence.

In New Town, there is the Walter Scott Monument, The Edinburgh Monument, The National Gallery, The Modern Art Gallery,  and the tourist center. And all of it is within walking distance,  which is good unless you’re really against walking. And in that case, why did you decide to go to Europe in the first place, hypothetical lazy traveler? All of Europe is the walking capital of the world.

The Walter Scott Monument

The Walter Scott Monument

Outside of Edinburgh,  I also got to see Loch Ness, The highlands, and The Borders. Although, The Highlands of Scotland are less of a “tourist site” as it is “A natural geological formation that covers the majority of the country.” Loch Ness, despite it’s fame, Isn’t all that fascinating. It’s just a lake. Even the Loch Ness monster isn’t that mysterious. Here’s a picture of me about to punch it in it’s easy to find face. Way to suck at hunting things, Scotland.

I won the fight against Nessie, but only because I was wearing my Cracked.com shirt when I fought her.

I won the fight against Nessie, but only because I was wearing my Cracked.com shirt when I fought her.

She turned out to be super chill. We're friends now. I also credit this to my t-shirt.

She turned out to be super chill. We’re friends now. I also credit this to my t-shirt.

The Higlands, on the other hand, contain some of the most beautiful mountains I’ve ever seen, and I’ve  rock climbed up the Rockies, hiked up the Alps, and copped your mom’s titties.

Here's some aloe vera for that nasty burn.

Here’s some aloe vera for that nasty burn.

The Mountains in the highlands are so sudden, and I think that’s part of what makes them beautiful. There are no foothills to these mountains, unlike the Appalachian or Rocky foothills, Only steady, rolling plains and then mountains. But once you get to the first ones, Then you’ll be traveling between valleys for the rest of the trip. It is amazing.

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Pictured: Not Loch Ness

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This is Loch Ness- just a normal, everyday, poorly spelled lake.

Food

There really is only one meal that is regularly associated with Scotland, and that food is Haggis.  Haggis is so infamous, that one of the most common questions I was asked once I got back was “Did you try the haggis?” (The second most common one is “Did you buy a kilt?” because everyone thinks I would look hot in a skirt.) And the Scottish really do eat it, once in the morning with their traditional Scottish breakfast (2 sausages, 2 pieces of english bacon, grilled tomato, grilled mushrooms, baked beans, haggis, a fried egg, either hashbrowns or potato scone, and 2 pieces of toast) and for dinner in the form of haggis, neeps, and tatties.  Before I go into the “neeps and tatties,” portion, I need to explain what haggis is. Haggis is, and how do I put this for your delicate sensibilities, a boatload of organs meat. More specifically, it is sheep lungs, liver, and kidneys, chopped up and boiled with  beef fat for six hours. Spices and oats are then added to it, the mixture is stuffed into a sheep’s stomach, and then it is boiled some more. It looks exactly as appealing as it sounds:

Haggis is the greyish sludge at the top of the plate.

Haggis is the greyish sludge at the top of the plate.

For dinner, haggis is served with neeps and tatties, or mashed turnips and potatoes. Despite everything haggis has going against it, it’s actually pretty good. It’s flavorful and hearty, and while its savoriness might become overwhelming after a while, the neeps and tatties do an excellent job at balancing out the flavor with sweet and starchy. Really, the main hurdle to get past with haggis is the fact that it looks like what you’d expect it to look like when it comes back out of you. Try not to think about that when you eat it because it will ruin the whole experience for you.  Also, if you want to eat haggis and not be grossed out, then do not read about how it’s made… I probably should have mentioned that earlier. That one’s on me. Sorry.

Haggis 2

Despite what I said about how good haggis is, Bangers and Mash had to be my favorite meal in Scotland, and not just because it sounds like a buddy cop show on the USA network. Bangers and Mash is sausage, mashed potatoes, and gravy. That’s it. It’s so simple, but delicious, and I’m a little mad I never thought of trying that before. Although, I don’t know why they need two different words for mashed potatoes. It’s like mashed potatoes are to them what snow is to the eskimos.

Alcohol

Just as you don’t go to Japan and not try the wine made with fermented baby mice, you don’t visit Scotland and not drink their scotch whisky.  Scotch whiskey is whiskey made with single malt grain, usually barley, which is then cooked over an open fire of peatmoss, which gives the whiskey its unique flavor.

Dave and I tried 6 different Scotches during a scotch tasting event I participated in (The event was that the bar was open and serving drinks).

The first whiskey we tried was from the Highlands:

Whiskey 1

We thought this one was sweet and mild. A nice starter whiskey- whiskey training wheels if you will.

The second one was from Speyside:

Whiskey 2

This one was much stronger and had a much smokier and peatier taste to it. This one needed more water than the rest to make it drinkable.

The third was from the island of Islay:

Whiskey 3

This one had a little bit more of a smokey taste to it, as well as more peat.

The fourth was another Highland scotch:

Whiskey 4

This whiskey had less smoke than the previous one, but was still detectable. It was also smoother than the previous one. This was our favorite.

#5 was another whiskey from Speyside

Whiskey 5

It was sweet, and had a very light smoke flavor to it

And finally #6

Whiskey 6

Apparently, this one was crafted in the boiling waters of hell and heated with the burning corpses of murderers. My trip-mate would describe the taste as sweet and syrupy, but I totally disagree and think that it tasted more like a million people screaming in my head. I only managed to take one sip of this one. And since my gag reflex desperately fought with me on that one sip, I didn’t try it again. But on the bright side, I didn’t throw it back up in the middle of the crowded bar. I’m calling that a win.

People

The Scottish people are actually some of the friendliest I’ve met in my travels. But that’s not what I want to talk about. What I want to talk about is how passionate they are about political issues. As luck or the fates or whatever would have it, Dave and I  just so happened to be in Scotland the day they voted on a referendum on whether or not they would secede from the UK. This would have been incredibly historical, since they have not been an independent nation since 1707. So if they would have voted to secede, we would have been there on their first independence day in over 300 years. Guess which side we were rooting for.

Unfortunately for us (and probably Scotland too or whatever) 55% of the people voted against seceding, so instead of partying out of my mind with them, they went on with their normal lives. How boring.

But the people there, at least the ones we talked to were passionate. Everyone we had talked to absolutely wanted independence, and they were quite willing to explain why to us. And if anything immediately humanizes a person from a foreign country, it’s listening to them talk about their government. Because many of their arguments are the same that we here in America: Politicians suck, the government is fucking us over, taxes are too high… It’s actually a little reassuring to hear that we aren’t the only ones going through this bullshit.

Oh, but my favorite thing about the Scottish people is the frequency they use the word “Cheers.” They use it all the time. All. The. Time. When they serve you a drink: Cheers. When they server you your food: Cheers. When a conversation comes to an end: Cheers.  When you buy something at their store: Cheers. I have no clue what the rules are for using that word, but they say it more often than a fraternity uses the word “bro.”

I also met this dog. It was the highlight of my trip.

I also met this dog. It was the highlight of my trip.

Overall atmosphere

The atmosphere of Scotland pretty laid back. Everyone is friendly, everything is easy to find and get to, and with a native population that is outnumbered by sheep, you’ll never find a section of Edinburgh that is overcrowded and loud. And the city (like any city in Great Britian where Tourism is big business) is kept very clean.  But while Edingurgh has the cleanliness of London, it is more condensed, making all the sites easier to get to, as well as a distinct historical district. Simply put, Scotland was amazing.

Ok. Here’s more pics:

Scotland has these. What a great country.

Scotland has these. What a great country.

A random courtyard that I took a picture of because it looked European. Please note that people live in those houses, so me taking a picture of them is a little creepy.

A random courtyard that I took a picture of because it looked European. Please note that people live in those houses, so me taking a picture of them is a little creepy.

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A foggy night in Edinburgh. Also. that sign fucked up my picture.

Hollyrood Palace

Hollyrood Palace

The ruins of the Abbey at Hollyrood

The ruins of the Abbey at Hollyrood

The gardens looking towards the ruins of the Abbey at Hollyrood

The gardens looking towards the ruins of the Abbey at Hollyrood

The Edinburgh Castle lit up fabulously

The Edinburgh Castle lit up fabulously

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People celebrating Scotland’s attempted (and eventually failed) succession with candles

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The weapons in Edinburgh Castle’s great hall

Hero dog cemetery

Hero dog cemetery

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The (incomplete) Edinburgh Monument

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A beautiful day on Cockburn Street (I can't stop saying that name)

A beautiful day on Cockburn Street (I can’t stop saying that name)

The Salsbury Crag

The Salsbury Crag

The view from atop Arthur's Seat

The view from atop Arthur’s Seat

The valley (or Glen since this is Scotland) between Arthur's Seat and the Salsbury Crag

The valley (or Glen since this is Scotland) between Arthur’s Seat and the Salsbury Crag

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England is much less welcoming.

England is much less welcoming.

WHERE HARRY POTTER HAD HIS FIRST FLYING LESSON!!!!!!!!

WHERE HARRY POTTER HAD HIS FIRST FLYING LESSON!!!!!!!!

Just an average Scottish person.

Just an average Scottish person.

Peace, you bastards.

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The Worst Commercials Currently on TV (Part 2)

Hey Everybody! I’m not dead! I know that most of you were probably worried, and maybe some of you were hoping it to be true. I’ll even bet that some of you were a little disappointed that you didn’t get to do the job yourself. Well, I’m not dead, so I think we should all be relieved. That is, unless you were hoping I was dead- in which case, why are you even reading my blog? Man, you have some serious misplaced priorities.

The truth is that since October, I have been busy doing a shit load of writing, It’s just that none of that has been for this blog. I’ve been working on my novel: Awesomesquad! Assemble! The Novel! Which I am still working on and hope to get finished this year (which means that my blog posts will be sporadic until then). Also, I have been writing for two TV shows. One is called VR, and is currently on hiatus, and the other is called The Chosen Ones, and technically, that one isn’t on hiatus. It’s hard to explain the situation with that show. As it turns out, writing for a small production company isn’t the most reliable of writing jobs. You think TV shows would make that point more apparent.

Liz Lemon has made fools of us all.

Liz Lemon has made fools of us all.

But none of that is why I’m writing this today. Instead, I’d like to talk about TV commercials. As someone who has written  scripts for the part of TV that people actually want to pay attention to while surfing the internet, I imagine that writing a script for a commercial must be a pretty thankless job. You have to create a situation with dialogue that promotes a product without being too pushy about it, and have characters or the situation itself be memorable enough to stick in the viewer’s brains long enough for them to buy the product you’re trying to sell to them. And all of this has to be done in thirty seconds to a minute. That is about a page of script, max. That is not a lot of space to get that done.

On the very rare occasion that it’s successful in doing all that, people will raise it up as a testament to brilliant marketing. It could even become a meme, which is the best thing you as an advertiser could hope for. But when it’s bad, your commercial will be ridiculed. The heartless monsters lurking around the internet, who have no joy in their lives and must spread their misery onto everything they come into contact with like some horrible bad vibes plague, will pounce on the advertisement you worked so hard on creating and bludgeon it to death with their evil, hateful words.

Guess which of these two scenarios is about to happen now.

KFC- How do you KFC

For those of you who inexplicably don’t know what KFC is, it is a fried chicken restaurant chain. And for those same people, I have a series of questions about your bizarre up bringing that lead you to this blog before introducing you to the artery clogging deliciousness that is Kentucky Fried Chicken. For instance, are you from a county that the US hasn’t already culturally invaded? And which country is that? I’m totally asking out of curiosity, and not to see to it that we corrode your will against us by introducing you to our fattening cuisine.

Anyway, take a look at this KFC Commercial:

Here’s my problem with this commercial: as I mentioned earlier, everyone has heard of KFC, even if you haven’t eaten there (although, that is still difficult to imagine as an American, since they are fucking everywhere). If you’re making video blogs about your amazing culinary adventures, why in the extra crispy, batter dipped hell would you visit KFC once, let alone three times. How are there no more interesting restaurants where you live that you have to rely on a national chicken chain to fill three days’ video blogs? I can think of four restaurants in my town that would make for a better food blog, and my town is mainly populated by roaming gangs of possums and deer.

And of course the chicken tastes good. It wouldn’t be a national chain if it didn’t. But since it’s a national chain, that means that 99% of your viewers have also eaten there, and therefore are bored by your new-found amazement of KFC.  . There is absolutely no reason for you to mention a chain restaurant in your food blog. I’m not saying that as a writer that knows what good content looks like (even though I kind of am), I’m saying it as a potential viewer who has no interest in your love for fast food chicken strips. You’re not letting anyone in some unknown culinary gem, you’re just wasting everyone’s time and valuable internet space that could have been filled with niche porn and pictures of cats.

But the worst part about all of this is that these women aren’t alone. According to KFC commercials, there are a staggering number of people who have discovered KFC after the internet, blogging, and smartphones:

Did you watch that last one? The guy in it was genuinely amazed at the sorcery of KFC’s pot pies, as if it were impossible in any form of reality for a chicken restaurant to come up the idea to sell chicken pot pies. However, in another commercial, KFC claimed to have sold since the 1970’s. So according to KFC, their loyal fans are tech savvy enough to film and edit their own video blogs, yet so behind the times that they neither watch TV nor have ever heard of a KFC before. Or worse: They could be so uncreative that for them, KFC is an adventure. KFC is not an adventure, unless you consider high cholesterol an adventure. And that goes for you too, Dairy Queen.

Butterfinger Cups- Therapist

First of all, this has to be the worst marriage counselor ever. I’m pretty sure knowingly having a guy lurking around in your office in the middle of a couple’s therapy session breaches the patient-doctor confidentiality agreement, doctor. Secondly, How the hell is an impromptu three-way that the husband isn’t totally on board for supposed to help with their relationship? This couple has a serious problem: their major desires for their relationship aren’t matching up. Chocolate clearly wants something new, but Peanut butter is happy where he is. That’s going to take some work getting through, and surprising the Peanut butter with a two dude three-way isn’t exactly going to help solve the couple’s problems. In fact, it could make things worse. There is a serious lack of communication and compromise coming from both parties, and what they need more than having sex with a strange guy that their therapist set them up with is to actually find something new to do that they’ll both enjoy.
But let’s take a step back for a second. These are just characters in a commercial. Who cares about whether or not chocolate and peanut butter’s marriage is about to go to hell? They’re just characters. That’s right- they all are just characters, each one designed by Butterfinger’s add agents. So, why did they choose such a skeevy looking man to play Butterfinger? Seriously, look at the guy. He looks like the kind of person who would own a whole fleet of rape vans.

Maybe even an armada. Who knows?

Everything about a messy haired man in a track suit gives off a sex offender vibe.

The man is greasy looking, unkempt, obviously a pervert, and worst of all, a track suit enthusiast. Who would let this man join a threeway? Apparently the doctor thought it was a good idea, but I’ve already pointed out how shitty of a psychiatrist this schnitzel eating (His accent is German, because apparently Sigmund Freud is the only psychologist worth trusting) douche is. This makes me wonder if Butterfinger is secretly run by Scientologists (They think psychology is a pseudoscience. Try to keep up).

Geico and M&Ms

OK, I actually like this commercial, but sometimes you have to destroy the things you love, so here we go.

The main problem here is that, while yes, it’s a great strategy for two unrelated companies to work together on a commercial both financially and to create a memorable ad, it will make the consumers needlessly associate M&M’s with Geico. How is that supposed to help either demographic of people in search of either the product or service? Is some uninsured driver going to stop once he sees a package of M&Ms and realize the error of his ways? Is this going to make someone actually looking for an insurance quote buy M&M’s off of Amazon? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that the connections they’ve forced upon us are any more necessary.
Also, if it wasn’t for the “Chocolate’s better with M” card, it would be difficult to tell what this commercial was selling. There are far more references to Geico commercials than there are to M&Ms, so you could be forgiven if that’s what you thought the commercial was trying to sell.

Gamefly- Be Amazing

If you pay attention, everything in that house, (and subsequently, everything that Griffin crashes into) are outdated, or at least not something that a man in his mid to late twenties would be interested in. So that must mean that everything that Griffin destroyed belongs to an older relative to either of those men, who now have to figure out a way to replace all of that crap because by the end of the commercial, Blake is attempting to fly back into the destroyed TV, not giving a single fuck about all the property he destroyed.
But there’s something even worse here: Griffin is trying to convince the guys to get a subscription to Gamefly, a videogame rental service, after destroying the TV. That TV is one of the bulky, Cathode ray tube Television sets, a type that has been obsolete for going over 10 years now. The particular TV set in the commercial is one with dials, which has been outdated since the 80s. If this really was one of those men’s house, then he clearly did not have enough money to update his 30+ year old television, let alone buy a game console that probably wouldn’t be compatible to that old ass TV anyway. So, instead of sitting there like a dumbass while a basketball player wrecked his house, one of those men should have said, “I would love to get a subscription to Gamefly, but It looks like all my money is going to be going to  fixing my house and buying a new TV that you just destroyed, you thoughtless prick.”

Old Spice- Meeting

The video starts off normally enough (relatively speaking), a dude with an obviously fake hair piece looks across the board-meeting table to his sexy female coworker. But then the commercial quickly turns into an old Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror episode, when the man’s hair climbs off his head begins to flirt with the woman. We can assume this because the woman giggles and writes down her number instead of shrieking in terror and setting the abomination on fire- you know, the reaction any sane person would do in that situation. If you see a woman react the way this woman did, then you to keep the fuck away from her, because she’s serial killer and she will absolutely gut you and add you to her collection of taxidermied  horrors.

I’m really not even sure what this commercial is all about, since I couldn’t see anything other than the manifestation of one of my darkest nightmares and I couldn’t hear anything beyond the screams of a million angry souls.

Dannon Greek Yogurt- Seeing John Stamos

Let’s just get the biggest issue out of the way: This is blatant false advertising. This yogurt does not turn the next person you see into John Stamos. I even tested this out to be sure. See, I have a certain item on my bucket list that requires John Stamos (I want to hatefully spit in his mouth), and although this technically wouldn’t be John Stamos, I figured it would be close enough for my liking. But no, every asshole that I looked at after eating Dannon’s stupid Greek yogurt still looked like their normal-ass selves. And there wasn’t even an asterisk anywere to indicate that it wasn’t possible. You win this round, John Stamos, but one day you’ll slip up. And on that day I’ll be there to spit in your mouth.

Some day, Stamos, some day...

Some day, Stamos, some day soon…

The other thing that really bothered me about this is the fact that if we are witnessing two couples, then we are witnessing two wives that find their husbands so unattractive that only magic yogurt can make them tolerable to look at. There is no reason they should react in such disgust; they’re married, they should have seen each other naked at least once by now. And no, the husband is not attractive, and he is a little bit on the creepy side, but those are observations that she should have made on the first date. She’s obviously not attracted to him, and he does seem like he’s be annoying as shit, so why didn’t they get a divorce years ago. Shit, these two make Chocolate and Peanut Butter from earlier look like soulmates. She’s going to need a lot more yogurt than that if she wants him to throw his dick in her, because unless she can come within the five seconds after penetration, Stamos is going to turn back into her farmer’s tan, buck toothed husband. That’ll make her pussy dry up faster than an ill prepared jogger on Mercury.

How great of timing did the husband have, by the way? If he would have come in fifteen seconds later, those women would have eaten each the yogurt while staring at each other. Remember, it’s the next person they see after they eat the yogurt that turns, and both women were ready to dig in when the husband interrupted in his awkward swimsuit. Were we about to witness two women kiss? OR two John Stamoses kiss? Was this all an elaborate trick by the one woman? I guess we’ll never know, thanks to the gross, twat swatting husband.

OK everyone, I’m done for now. Hopefully I’ll have something for you soon.

Peace

The American Douchebag’s Guide to America: …Iowa?

What the fuck, Iowa?! How the hell, in all the thousands of other, far more interesting, places I could have chosen, did I come up with fucking Iowa as my next place to visit in this series? Can anyone even find Iowa on a map anymore?

Is it the one that kind of looks like an oven mitt?

Is it the one that kind of looks like an oven mitt?

You know what, whatever. It’s fine. I’ve got some goddamn journalistic integrity, and I’m going to talk about Iowa because the media is afraid to, and fuck you if you think you’re going to stop me. Good luck with your time machine dickmite, I’ve already written and posted this shit. Boom!

Overview

So, Iowa is apparently a state in the Midwest. “America’s Heartland” if you will…. Believe that America’s heart pumps out in the middle of fucking nowhere.

The Territory know known as “Iowa” was originally controlled by a bunch of beret wearing, baguette eating douchebags (No, I’m not talking about Modernist painters). The French sold the territory, which back then was part of the larger Louisiana Territory, to The Spanish, or more commonly known as the  tanner French with a fetish for getting impaled by bulls.

In 1803, the territory was bought by the U.S. during the Louisiana Purchase, which didn’t make the Native Indians living on the land too thrilled. By the end of the Black Hawk War in 1832, The Americans were able to force all the natives out of the Iowa territory and subsequently name it after them in the native’s honor because, let’s face it, the settlers were total pricks to the Indians.

In 1846, Iowa was officially named a state under President James K. Polk, a real president, not just one I made up because I didn’t actually feel like looking up the answer. He did exist.

Now, the state is mostly known for its agriculture (despite agriculture being only a small part of its economy, falling far behind manufacturing somehow) and for the fact that World’s Greatest Punk’der, Ashton Kutcher is from there. So yep, those are pretty much the two things you really need to know about Modern day Iowa: tons of corn and the spawning place of Kelso from That 70’s Show.

This is what the gene pool in Iowa looks like.

This is what the gene pool in Iowa looks like.

Also, I guess State fairs are really big there too.

Initial Thoughts

What the shit, I have to cross a goddamn moat to get into Iowa? Is Iowa some kind of fortified Bastille of a state that must protect its borders at all cost? Oh wait, that’s the Mississippi River. That’s cool I guess…. What’s with all the fucking hills?! I thought this was supposed to be part of the great plains! You lied to me, Iowa, you lied to me.

Accommodations

I stayed at the majestic hotel named, “Paul’s Apartment.”  Paul, as you probably don’t remember, was one of the many friends I made when I terrorized Europe for a month. Paul is actually a New Jersey native, not that we should hold it against him (too much), and is currently attending Grad School in Ames. So as one can expect,  the accommodations were that of a student going for his Master’s Degree: The apartment was relatively small and always fully stocked with beer, I slept on the couch, and within a day, my shit was everywhere (figuratively. Unfortunately, my literal shit got everywhere on day 3).

There were a couple of things that I genuinely loved about his apartment. First, Paul lives in a gated community, so I was able to keep my car door unlocked without worry. Secondly, he was on the ground level, which made it exceptionally easy to get in and out of his apartment when the need arose. Then there was the community gym. It wasn’t a big gym- definitely not what I’m used to using, but it had enough equipment that I was able to get in solid workouts whenever I went to lift. As a part-time muscle head, that’s important to me, bro.

They also had really nice bathrooms in the gym area, which is good because when I was there, Paul’s toilet was broken, and also without toilet paper. That means that my end of night ritual (which involves me squeezing out a fudge log) meant a quick little jaunt to the gym. Let me tell you, however inconvenient walking for three minutes in the middle of a cold, windy night to give birth to a mud dragon in a different building sounds, it’s nice to know that once you taint that building with your unholy colon stink, you can just leave and not worry about having to explain yourself to anyone. Clearly, people with outhouses have the right idea.

Sites

Des Moines and Iowa State were pretty much the only two sites I could find. I’m fairly certain that their state fair was over by the time I got there. And even if it wasn’t it probably would have been somewhere far from where I was staying. I guess the University of Iowa could also be considered a site if I’m going to consider Iowa State one, but the Univeristy of Iowa doesn’t have Paul, and is therefore inferior.

So first, we have Iowa State University. It is a college, so they have things like a stadium:

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I snuck into the stadium for this pic.

I snuck into the stadium for this pic.

A quad:

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A Student Union that overlooks a lake:

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And a Farmhouse Museum because, you know, Iowa:

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They also have a crazy amount of statues of people scattered about the campus, so you know I got all artsy with those pics:

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What the hell is with all the reading?

What the hell is with all the reading?

However, probably the weirdest thing about Iowa State is how secluded you feel walking around in parts:

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I took this pic on a path right behind the Student Union. Literally right behind it. If you were to turn to the right, you would see a path that would lead up to its parking garage. But the thing is, I had no clue it was the union at the time.  The path I was on was so deserted, that I figured that I had wandered to some remote corner of the campus, not the center, and especially not less than two football fields away from the main part of Ames.

Then, there’s Des Moines. The main three sights in Des Moines (By which I mean, the three sights I saw, and therefore, the only ones worthy of being talked about) are The John and Mary PappaJohn Sculpture Park, East Villiage, and the State Building.

The John and Mary PappaJohn Sculpture Park, which unfortunately does NOT serve free pizza with every tour, is located only a couple of blocks west of downtown, right between Grand Avenue and Locust Street. Their sculptures range from the charming:

Sings "Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting!"

Sings
“Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting!”

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To the bizarre:

I spent 20 damn minutes looking at this damn thing, and I couldn't find a single damn word on the list.

I spent 20 damn minutes looking at this damn thing, and I couldn’t find a single damn word on the list.

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To the inadvertently sexual:

They say that isn't a boner, but then what is that all I see when I look at that statue.

They say that isn’t a boner, but then why is it that all I see when I look at that statue is a dick?

To full on, land of 1,000 horrors creepy:

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Holy shit. Did I just stumble upon something from the novel "John Dies at the End?"

Holy shit. Did I just stumble upon something from the novel “John Dies at the End?”

This one is my favorite, and probably the creepiest. The spider one is pure horror.

This one is my favorite, and probably the creepiest. The spider one is pure horror.

On the other side of down town, and just across the river is Des Moines historic East Villiage. Over here you’ll find a series of shops and restaurants geared towards the younger population. There is an arcade bar that is pretty popular (it was closed when I was there), as well as several well-known hipstery clothing shops that also sold pot paraphernalia. Then there were these couple of headless, nude, department store mannequins  that oversaw the goings on of this section of town:

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Even farther east is the Iowa Capitol building, where state legislation is written and world food prizes are awarded, apparently. As you can tell, the Capitol building is surprisingly extravagant for something in Iowa, a state pretty much only known for its corn, but then again, they must have had a lot of extra cash once the rest of America started sucking on the sweet corn syrup teat.

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As you walk up to the capitol, you’ll notice a series of cannons, probably used to ward of pirates and lost French Settlers:

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But if you go around to the side, you’ll find yet another sculpture garden, this time all centered around the state itself.

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OK, I actually don't have a clue what this means.

OK, I actually don’t have a clue what this means.

So, all in all, Des Moines is actually a beautiful city, and small enough that a motivated person can walk around and explore in a day. Now, obviously there is more to explore in Des Moines than what I saw: Their Botanical Gardens, The Birthplace of John Wayne, The State of Iowa Historical Museum, which Paul and I happened to walk past twice, but didn’t even think to check out. There are other things you can do in Iowa too that you can find on your own. What am I, their tourism board?

Food

I ate a shit ton of Buffalo Wild Wings while I was there. I think I’m addicted now. I’m getting the shakes just from thinking about their Parmesan Garlic wings.

I really didn’t eat a lot of food that would be considered “Iowan.” I had some barbeque for lunch one day, but apparently it was a Texas style barbeque. Damn you Texas. I ate at a Mexican Resturant, an Irish pub, and cooked dinner at Paul’s place, and I doubt anything I ate was considered classic Iowa cuisine. I’m sorry, I failed you all.

However, there is a food story that I would like to share with you, and it’s pretty hilarious and awful at the same time. On Tuesday morning, I decided that Panera sounded like a great place to have breakfast. It was a crisp, early autumn day, and I wanted a warm sandwich to keep me full and happy as I wondered around Iowa State University for the day. I cannot really remember what the sandwich was, it was hot and had eggs on it, that’s all I remember, but I do remember what kind of coffee I had with it. See, I always drink my normal, homemade, straight from the coffee pot, gussied up with sugar and flavored creamer, coffee. This week, however, I decided to splurge right the fuck out. Every day I had a Café Mocha, and I sucked on that sweet caffeinated nectar like I was being nursed at the bosom of the gods. Tuesday was no different, and I bought my coffee at Panera. I finished my sandwich and took my coffee with me as I drove back to Iowa State to see what there is to see.

I hadn’t been walking for long before I started to feel a rumbl’n in my intestines. I casually wrote this off as “coffee poops.”  For those of you who don’t drink coffee (freaks), coffee has the tendency to make you want to poop. I, a mere mortal, have no clue why, but it happens. I’m sure Google knows the answer. Anyway, I am able to suppress the poop, and usually only have to deal with a cramp until my innards calm back down. This is a process I am both familiar with and accepting of.

I ignored my bowels plea for help and I continued around Jack Thrice Stadium, up the hill to the Alumni center, down the street to the fitness complex, then across the street and through a maze of buildings to their quad, my stomach growling and cramping more with each step. By the time I took the pictures of their bell tower, My innards were demanding relief, and I decided to call it quits for the day and head back to my car. Unfortunately, my digestive tract was impatient, and I only just made it to the men’s room inside the food sciences building.  After I had finished the dark, unholy deed, I decided that I had had enough exploring for the day and I decided to go back to Paul’s apartment and recuperate.

I hurried away from the Food Sciences building and the evil stench I no doubt left in my evacuation’s wake, and made it to the parking lot my car was in. That’s when I saw Paul. He was just getting back to campus and asked if I could drive him to his building. I obliged, but I began to feel the dark unsettled rumble in my bowels once again. I dropped him off, drove through campus, got lost, but eventually found my way back to his apartment complex. As I was driving past the complex gym (the one with the working toilet and toilet paper) I decided that I was probably well enough to stop at his apartment and drop my camera off before I drive back.

I was wrong.

As soon as I stepped inside his apartment, my emergency evacuation valve was turned. I waddled into his bathroom (the one with a broken toilet and no toilet paper) and I pretty much exploded. The sudden pressure change both inside and outside my body caused my ears to pop. Basically it was just like this scene from Dumb and Dumber, only less fortunate and without an attractive redhead.

My Lloyd is Panera’s coffee.

My Lloyd is Panera’s coffee.

Alcohol

I pretty much just drank beer in Iowa. Sure I had a couple of Jack and Cokes, but beer is what I consumed the entire trip. I didn’t even think to look to find local beers (they’d probably be made out of fermented corn anyway) so I either got high quality craft beers that will get you drunk quick, or the kind of piss water that will really make you evaluate your life choices. You know, Like Natty Light.

Natural Light: If you drink us, it’s because you don’t know any better.

Natural Light: If you drink us, it’s because you don’t know any better.

People

Well, there was Paul, but he doesn’t really count since he’s from Jersey. There were a couple of really friendly baristas in a Des Moines coffee shop that gave us a map of the city, and while I didn’t talk to many people at Paul’s school outside of his circle of friends, everyone seemed to be relatively nice there, and Paul’s friends and coworkers were pretty cool as well. Good Job with the hospitality, Iowa. And no, that wasn’t sarcastic.

Overall Atmosphere

Honestly, Iowa has a slightly-more-country Central Ohio feel to it, like if all the more rural parts of the state grew like weeds and were strangling out Columbus and Ohio State of their precious sunlight and space. But on the bright side, it doesn’t take long to walk from one  interesting place to another. Not like Paris.

But they do have a lot of Sundials. What the hell is up with that, Iowa?

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These are the two that I saw, but I bet I could find more.

These are the two that I saw, but I wasn’t hunting for sundials, so I’m sure there’s more.

Paix

That’s French for “Peace” motherfuckers.

Fighting a Hoard of Gypsies With Zac Efron

This is a sequel to an earlier post. You might want to read that first.

If not, then enjoy!

***

Minigan sat in the open field, staring up at the overcast sky, and then to the jar in his hands. The jar, which appeared to house some kind of large insect, glinted in the late morning sun as Minigan rolled it in his hands.

“How do I get you back up there?” Minigan asked himself more than the insect.

“Dude,” Zac Efron interjected, sitting up from where he was laying, “Maybe we use a slingshot!”

“We’ll never be able to achieve escape velocity with a sling shot, Zaccy Effs. We’ll need a rocket. But even then we need to get it to the sun.”

“You could just let me free,” The insect squeeked.

“No can do, Kinish Asia,” Minigan replied, “All you’ll do is bring about the end of days on Earth. I cannot have you do that. I think it’s best if we launch you into the sun.”

“But that will kill me! And my name is ‘Kinich Ahau!’”

Zac and Minigan replied with disinterested, “meh’s” and continued with their activities: Zac lying down and tossing a ball into the air, and Minigan mindlessly spinning the jar, making the Mayan Sun God tumble around in his glass prison. Kinich Ahau roared (which sounded as if a chipmunk was trying to imitate a panther) and blasted fire at the glass.  Casually, as if he had to do this on an hourly basis, Minigan jostled the jar and sent Kinich bouncing back and forth.

“How many times do I have to tell you,” Minigan said into the airholes of the jar, “I made sure that the jar and its lid are impervious to flame. And don’t bother trying to heat up the glass to make everything on the outside of it burn: I already thought of that and saw to it that the glass insulates the heat from escaping.”

“What kind of god are you, Minigan?” The Mayan diety asked.

“I wouldn’t call myself a god,” Minigan said, blushing, “A demigod, probably, but not a god- god.”

Zac sat up and whined, “How much more time is left, bro? This is boring.”

“It should be done any minute,” Minigan replied as he leaned over to check the time on the old Easy Bake oven, which continued to putter away at its task.

Then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a woman step off the gravel parking lot and head directly for them in the field. Minigan looked towards her and immediately recognized her. She was tall, very pregnant, and wore a bandana around her head. It was Della.

“Minigan,” she shouted to the men sitting in the grass.

“I’m sorry, but Minigan isn’t home right now” Minigan answered in a telephone operator’s voice, “Please leave a message along with the date that you called and he will get back to you.”

Della stopped, her expression changed from one of determination to the one a person makes when they leave a message on voicemail (You know, eyebrows raised, nostrils flared. Think about it next time you leave one). Della replied, “OK, Well tell Minigan that I need to speak to him about his birthday present for me, and that he needs to get a hold of me. Or he could just talk to me now since I’m staring at him right now, and I’m not an idiot.”

“Damn,” Minigan whispered to Zac, “I almost thought that worked.”

“Me too bro!”

“Minigan!”

“Hi Della! What have you been up to lately, other than being knocked up? When did that happen?”

“Cut the shit, Minigan,” Della snapped, “You’ve been dodging me all summer, but now it’s time. You need to do something to fix the damage you’ve done on my birthday.”

“But that wasn’t even your birthday!” Minigan cried, jumping to his feet, “And besides, how is it my fault that the gypsy that I had enslaved to make your cake cursed it so that it would unleash snakes and a shit monster inside your house?”

“Do you even listen to yourself talk?” Della asked.

“Shit, dude, did that really happen?” Zac asked as he sat up.

Della did a double take at the actor whom she just realized she was in the presence of, and then asked “And why the hell are you and Zac Efron sitting in the middle of a field with an Easy Bake Oven, a bookbag, and a jar with a huge bug in it?” She gasped, “You didn’t kidnap Zac Efron, did you?”

“Not this time,” Zac replied as he cast a glare Minigan’s direction.

“Nope,” Minigan added, “Zaccy Effs is here because of his own poor decision making abilities.”

“OK,” Della replied, “But that still doesn’t answer the ‘Why.’”

Minigan picked up the jar with Kinich Ahau in it and tossed it to Della. Inside the jar, Kinich screamed a tiny scream as he flew through the air.  When Della caught the jar, he fell into a pile of himself on the bottom. Della looked inside curiously as the Mayan god of the Sun returned to his feet, brushed himself off, and then began punching the glass with his bare hands. Each hit bouncing off the glass with a light “clink” that just barely escaped the airholes.

Before Della had a chance to ask, Minigan stated, “That is the Mayan god of the Sun Kinish Asia-“

“Kinich Ahau!” the little imprisoned man interjected.

“And last year, he tried to bring about the end of the world. Zac and I stopped him, and now we’re trying to figure out how to get him back to the sun.”

“Why’s he so small?” Della queried.

“We had to keep him somewhere,” Zac added, “If he touches the ground, the world will end. So Minigan decided to shrink him down and put him in a jar until we could get him back to the sun.”

“Ok,” Della replied, uncertain, still staring at the captured Mayan diety, “So you two were sitting out here because?”

Minigan replied, “Because NASA won’t let us borrow one of their rockets so that we can blast a jar into the sun-“

“Obviously.”

“The selfish Jerks,” Zac interjected.

“Yes,” Della retorted snarkily, “That is the problem.”

“So, I had to go about my normal methods,” Minigan continued, “By which I mean taking a drug that will let me warp reality to my will.”

Minigan ushered Della towards the Easy Bake Oven. He continued, “Cooking in the Easy Bake Oven right now is a drug I like to call Olivia Wilde. It’s a powerful hallucinogen that will send the user on very realistic trips.”

“I hate to break it to you, Minigan,” Della replied, “But that Easy Bake Oven isn’t cooking anything; the plug is stabbed into the ground.”

“It’s all in accordance to how you make Olivia Wilde, Della!” Minigan cried, “You must cook the specific ingredients in an Easy Bake Oven with its plug in the dirt, the morning before the First Quarter Moon.”

“Minigan was supposed to have a batch already done, but apparently he was ‘too busy’ to spend four hours in a clearing as he waited for the drug to cook last month, even though he promised to.”

“I had shit to do!” Minigan cried, “I’m sorry that my career hasn’t given me so much down time that I can waste a morning like you clearly can.”

“How will a hallucinogen help you warp reality, though?” Della asked.

Minigan answered, “By mixing it with this…”

Before Minigan continued, he began to rummage through his bookbag and pulled out two jars. The first was a glass masonry jar, similar to the one in which Kinich Ahau was imprisoned, but this one had a metallic coating on the bottom. The other was plastic with a blue lid, was filled with ice, and had a red and white object lodged in the center.

“Once the Olivia Wilde is complete, you mix one of these,” Minigan shook the plastic jar, “into the powder to create the drug that lets the user change any aspect of reality that he or she sees fit.”

He handed both jars to Zac, and began another search through his book bag. This time, his search yielded him a lighter, an unused red candle stick, a small glass vial filled with a clear liquid, and an eyedropper. Minigan  sat Indian style on the ground and had Zac place the two jars in front of him. Minigan then sat the candle stick and the eye dropper on his lap and arranged the vial and two jars in a line in front of him. He opened both jars, and pulled the red and white object out from the plastic one. The white of the object turned out to be a paper towel, and the red was the blood that seeped through. Della and Zac recoiled in disgust as Minigan unrolled the paper towel to reveal three severed fingers. With his thumb and index finger, Minigan gingerly picked up one of the fingers and dropped it into the metal lined jar, then rerolled the remaining two fingers and returned them to the ice filled jar.

Minigan raised the jar with the finger it to a grossed out Della and Zac, and stated, “This is one of Charlie Sheen’s fingers. If you remember his outbursts from 2011, you’ll remember all the crazy things he said about himself: that he is a warlock from mars, that he has tiger blood, that he himself is a drug. That last one is true. Sheen had done so much drugs during his life that he can now be classified as a narcotic. Of course, Charlie Sheen is dangerous by itself, which is why I always cut it with Olivia Wilde.”

“So, you’re telling me that that is one of three severed fingers of Charlie Sheen that you just have?” Della asked with a look of suspicion and disgust frozen upon her face.

“Damn Minigan,” Zac added, “That whole thing happened two and a half years ago. Those jokes are so tired, dude.”

“SHUT YOUR MOUTH! SHUT YOUR GODDAMN MOUTH, YOU PERMINANT CASE OF BED HEAD MEGA-DOUCHE!!!!”

Zac Efron after being attacked by a colony of bats, probably.

Zac Efron after being attacked by a colony of bats, probably.

As if Zac had said nothing at all, Minigan continued, “Della, yes, those are Charlie Sheen’s actual fingers. He can regenerate them. He actually gave me three because he is getting tired of me bothering him all the time. Anyway, I first have to burn the finger down into ash before I can cut it with Olivia Wilde. That’s what this other stuff is for. I learned that if I light the finger in a silver lined jar, with a virgin candle made of beeswax, and then add a drop of Alaskan glacier water, the process takes a few seconds instead of a few hours. Watch.”

Minigan lit the candle, and then pressed the flame up against the finger. Once the flesh started to blacken, and the smell of burning meat crept out of the jar and into the air around them, Minigan pulled the candle out, took a drop of water from the vial, and dropped it onto the burning finger. Instantly, the finger burst into vibrant blue flames. It spun around madly in the jar, emitting a high pitched squeal as it did. The flames quickly engulfed the entire inside of the jar and were shooting out the top. It did this for a couple of seconds before an orange fireball erupted from the jar and straight up into the air. The fireball fanned out to form a tiger, and as it did, disembodied guitar riffs rang out from the jar itself. Just as quickly as the fire had begun, it was extinguished, leaving only the smoldering ashes behind.”

“What the hell was that?!” Della cried.

“The raddest fucking thing I’ve ever fucking seen, that’s what that was!” Zac answered. “Minigan, bro, do it again!”

“Sorry Zaccy Effs, but I need to keep the other two fresh until I need them.”

Della pinched the bridge of her nose, “So you’re going to cannibalize Charlie Sheen’s fingers after you mix it with whatever you’re not cooking in that Easy Bake Oven.”

“I wouldn’t call it ‘cannibalizing.’ And I already told you, The Olivia Wilde is cooking.”

Della pulled the hair on the sides of her head, quickly losing patience with the situation, snapped, “No, Minigan. Nothing’s cooking. You have that damn toy plugged into the dir-“

The Easy Bake Oven’s timer went off with a “ping.” Zac cried excitedly and grabbed the oven by its sides. The hissing sound of searing flesh and the second degree burns that accompanied it transformed Zac’s excited cry into a pained wail.

Easy Bake Oven: burning stupid kids since 1965!

Easy Bake Oven: burning stupid kids since 1965!

“Damn it, Zac,” Minigan shouted as he slapped the back of the actor’s head so hard that it knocked the oven out of his hands, “How many times do I have to say it? Oven- Hot. Oven like fire. No touch.”

As Zac whimpered at his blistered hands, Minigan used the purple pusher/ spatula to retrieve the cake pan containing the drug. Della wasn’t sure what exactly she was expecting to see, but what came out what definitely not it. In the pan was a flat, homely, moldy green disk. It had a texture similar to old corks, and its scent was akin to warm compost. Minigan overturned the pan, and the disk plopped heavily into his hand. Despite the heat from the Easy Bake Oven, the disk was surprisingly cool to the touch, and Minigan was able to hold it in his bare hands without even a wince. Then, Minigan dropped the hideous green disk into a plastic bag. Minigan then snapped the disk in half, and both halves turned to a brilliant royal blue. He broke the pieces in half again, and the color shifted from blue to indigo. He split the four pieces in half again, and the crumbling chunks turned violet. From there, he crushed each piece into powder, and once all eight pieces were nothing but dust, the color changed one last time from violet to hot pink.

Minigan dumped the Charlie Sheen ash into the bag, gave it a light shake, and then announced, “Alright. It’s ready. Let’s launch this Mayan God into the Sun.”

“But what about fixing my house!” Della cried, “I’m going to have this baby soon, and I’d really appreciate it if my living room no longer had holes in the walls or stink like a sewer.”

“C’mon dude,” Zac requested, “We can send Kinish Asia-“

“Kinich Ahau!”

“into the sun after we fix that house. It won’t take that long; we can just montage it!”

“That’s not going to work,” Minigan replied, “We’re talking about powerful gypsy magic here.  That isn’t something our drugs can fix on their own. We’ll have to find the gypsy and ask him to change it back himself.”

“This is why you don’t enslave gypsies, Bro!” Zac scolded.

“You shouldn’t be enslaving anybody!” Della added. Then, remembering that nothing she could ever say would affect how Minigan acts, she asked, “Do you have any idea where the gypsy would’ve gone after he escaped your capture?”

Minigan pondered for a moment, and then answered, “Well, he was a Polish Gypsy, but he and his clan were nomadic, so I’d say somewhere in Eastern Europe.”

“Oh, well that narrows it down,” Della replied sarcastically, “If you would have said all of Europe, I would have been like, ‘Let’s just give up- that’s too much land to search.’ But since you said Eastern Europe, that’s much more doable for the three of us.”

“It will be once I take this,” Minigan  replied as she shook the drug filled bag in front of her.

“Why you?” Zac asked.

“Because I remember what happened last time I let you take the drugs without me.”

“Honestly, Minigan, I’d feel better about this whole thing if you weren’t the one with reality warping superpowers,” Della insisted, “Let Zac have it.”

“But… But…”

“Minigan,” Della begged, “I’m asking you as a- well- friend. Please let Zac have this.”

Minigan felt defeated, but he obliged. He shoved the bag into Zac’s chest, and Zac immediately started pouring the powder into his mouth. Almost immediately, Zac Efron’s eyes began to roll in opposite directions.

After a few seconds of doing this, his pupils darted back to the center, and he stated, “OK. We’re going skydiving.”

“OK-What?!?!” Della and Minigan cried in unison.

A blast of icy wind hit them both from behind as their diving instructor opened the door of the plane. They looked to Zac, who was wearing an Army green jump suit, aviator sunglasses, and a parachute back pack.

“Are you two ready? Zac Efron asked the uneasy Minigan and the terrified and still very pregnant Della. The roar of the wind made it hard for them to hear, but Zac made sure to yell it loud enough so that they could.

“No!” they answered in unison.

“We don’t even have parachutes!” Della added as she tried to step away from the airplane’s open door.

“It’s too late to start worrying about those kinds of luxuries, dudes,” Zac replied. He then grabbed a hold of an exposed beam above his head, swung both of his legs out in front of him, and kicked Minigan and Della in the rears, sending them tumbling out of the cabin of the cruising airplane. Zac did a running front flip out of the door, and zoomed down to his freefalling compatriots. Della was face up, her arms and legs flailing wildly and her long, dark brown hair obscuring her face. Minigan was facing the rapidly approaching earth, his mouth open wide and the wind expanding his cheeks, making it look like he was breathing out while his mouth was pressed up against a window.

Zac spun, dipped, darted, whirled, and whipped around them, making him look like he had the flying capabilities of Superman. He spun around to face them both and yelled, “Don’t worry, you two will land lightly on your feet when you hit the ground.”

This didn’t sooth either of them. As they plummeted for the next thirty seconds, both Minigan and Della panicked and flailed their limbs accordingly. But Zac was right. Right as they were about to hit the ground, all three sky divers slowed, and their legs swung down thanks to some invisible force. Each of their feet  gently touched the cracked, unkempt concrete as if they were only coming down of a single step.

“Minigan, Della, Welcome to Pryipat Ukraine.” Zac announced brightly to his shaking and panting cohorts.

Once he caught his breath, Minigan charged at Zac, yelling, “You kicked us out of a plane you son of a bit-“

“You’re a flaccid penis monster, Minigan!” Zac cried just Minigan swung a fist at his jaw.

The penis monster Minigan toppled forward into a pile on the irradiated ground, but not before landing a soft punch across Zac’s face. Zac laughed hysterically as the puddle of penises that was once Minigan Blackwood feebly gasped for air, his penis ribcage too weak to prevent his body collapsing upon itself.

“Despite how much I love seeing someone giving Minigan a taste of the torture he inflicts upon the rest of us,” Della said to Zac between sucking in lungful’s of air, “There is no one on this planet I hate more than you right now. So change him back before I punch the dick off you. Do you understand, bro?”

“Ugh, fine,” Zac replied, “Minigan isn’t a penis monster. Just his normal self.”

Zac reached out his hand to help Minigan up, but when Minigan swung his arm up, he missed Zac’s hand and punched him directly in the groin. When Zac leaned over and instinctively clutched his pummeled genitals, Minigan hit him with a right hook that sent him toppling to the ground.

As Zac, rolled on the ground, his hands wrapped around his crotch, as if doing that was the only thing keeping his balls from falling off and running away, Minigan climbed to his feet and said, “Really, asshole? You made my bones flaccid dicks too!?”

“Oh, shut up, Minigan,” Della snapped, “It’s your fault we’re here in the first place.”

“My fault?! Let’s not forget who decided to give fucking Troy Bolton here “Drug Fueled Leader” status.”

Della didn’t reply, but instead looked around at the long since abandoned amusement park they had landed in. Directly behind them was the bumpercars; the years of neglect had stripped the pavilion of its roof, and allowed tufts of foliage to break through the floor between the rusted cars. About thirty or so yards to their left was the Ferris wheel, its weathered skeleton looming over the area like death itself.

Nothing good comes in a setting with an abandoned Ferris wheel.

Nothing good comes in a setting with an abandoned Ferris wheel.

“Why does this place look so familiar to me?” Della asked.

“Have you ever heard of Chernobyl?” Minigan replied.

“Yeah.”

“Well, this was a neighboring town that was evacuated because of the Chernobyl disaster. Usually pictures from Pripyat get lumped in with the ones from the city of Chernobyl.”

“So, we’re in a place that was evacuated because of its deadly levels of radiation.”

“Exactly,” Minigan answered. Then, realizing what Della was getting at, he nudged the still incapacitated Zac with his foot and said, “Hey, you need to make us immune to the radiation here.”

“We’re immune,” Zac coughed.

“Good. Now get up, asshole, we need to find this gypsy.” Minigan and Della headed towards a series of apartment buildings that sat on the other side of a line of trees. Zac climbed to his feet, and as fast as he could while still cupping his balls, waddled to catch up with them.

“So where are we headed?” Zac asked.

“The gypsies are probably staying in one of these buildings. We’re going to search through each one until we find them,” Minigan answered.

“How do you know where they’re living?” Della asked.

“That’s where they were the last two times I found them.”

“Two times?”

“Yeah,” Minigan stated, “Two times. The first time so that they could teach me how to make the Olivia Wilde drug, the second so that I could kidnap and enslave Vanlow.”

Della rushed in front of Minigan and put her hand out, effectively stopping him. She stared at him with a combination of disbelief and anger when she said, “So not only did you know the gypsy you were going to enslave, but you also knew that they could do magic when you enslaved one of them?!”

“I wanted to make you a really nice cake! Besides, I was going to let him go afterwards.”

“It doesn’t matter you sociopath! I cannot believe I have to say this, but you shouldn’t enslave anyone, especially someone who you know can perform magic!”

“Uh guys,” Zac interrupted, tapping them both on the shoulder.

They looked to him, but he didn’t look back. Instead, he was focused on something several yards ahead. Minigan looked around Della to see what Zac was staring at. It was a little girl. Together, the three Americans cautiously walked towards the girl, who stood perfectly still, staring directly at them. The little girl, Minigan decided, couldn’t be older than seven years old. She wore a long dress that looked like it was stitched together from different patterns of fabric. Her blouse was baggy. Minigan wasn’t sure if it was tan or just discolored from lack of washing. The girl’s dark brown hair reached her waist, and was so wild that she had to keep it in place with a bandana similar to the one Della was wearing. In her hads was an old baby doll, obviously abandoned by the original owner during the evacuation in 1986, and wore only a gas mask over its face.

The Eighties were a weird time for everyone.

The Eighties were a weird time for everyone.

They were mere feet from the girl now; she just stared at them. She didn’t seem scared, or even wary of the intruders upon her home, she just stood and waited for them to get closer. Zac, Della, and Minigan stopped. No one said a word.

The girl stared at them with her teal colored eyes for a second or two, and then looked to Minigan and said, “Minigan Blackwood, Vanlow has been waiting for you.”

“Where is he,” Della asked before Minigan was even able to open his mouth.

The little girl looked to Della and said, “Follow the smoke.”

She then turned and made an underhand throwing motion. A cloud of crimson smoke formed about ten feet off the ground, and then darted off towards the buildings. Zac, Minigan, and Della quickly looked towards one another, and then rushed to catch up with it.

As they hurried along  the abandoned streets, Minigan regularly glanced upwards towards the forlorn buildings and through the darkened windows for any sign of life. Every once and a while, he would even glance behind them to make sure they weren’t being tailed. Not even the little girl with the gas mask doll was to be found.

The tree of them followed the smoke as it made a sharp left down an alleyway, and Minigan muttered to the other two, “Keep a lookout for gypsies; this is probably a trap.”

“Don’t worry Bro and bro-ette,” Zac replied, “If any try to ambush us, I’ll just spit some acid in their face.”

To demonstrate, Zac breathed deep and spat at the nearest wall. Oozing saliva (still a pale pink from the drugs) foamed up and ate away at the wall. In a matter of seconds, Zac’s spit had eroded a hole big enough for a person to climb through and it continued to expand. The already weakened structure began to sway towards the alley.

“Shit, Run!”

The building crumbled over them, showering the three with larger and larger chunks of debris. The thundering crash of the one building toppling into the other encouraged Della, Zac, and Minigan to run faster. The collapsing building chased them in return. Della, with the weight of her unborn child slowing her down, started to fall behind the two 25 year old men in peak physical condition. Realizing this, Minigan stopped, picked her up, and began sprinting down the alley once again, the toppling building raining pieces of brick and mortar upon them as he ran.  Minigan and Della escaped the alley with only a second to spare before the building Zac spat on collapsed entirely into the other, which then folded in upon itself, leaving a colossal pile of rubble where the two buildings and alley once sat.

Zac looked back at the destruction he had caused and said, “My bad.”

Minigan lowered Della’s feet back to the ground, and in an irritated tone, replied, “Nevermind. Let’s keep following the smoke.”

They followed the trail of crimson smoke through the desolate ruins of Pripyat for an uneventful ten minutes, the smoke winding its way through the city, it’s vibrant color stood out brilliantly compared to the dull off whites of the surrounding buildings. Finally, the smoke brought them to a town square. The crimson smoke darted towards the center of the square, and then stopped. The three hurried up on it, and once they got close enough, the cloud of smoke shot straight down.

Pripyat Central Square

Zac and Minigan hurried to the spot, with Della hobbling behind, grumbling about her aching back and feet. The three looked down at where the smoke had rested, finding it resting on the ground in the shape of a circle not much larger than a fist. Suddenly, sixteen lines of smoke began creeping from the circle, fanning out across the ground.

romani protection symbol

Curious, Minigan stepped away from the central point and watched as the sixteen lines spread outward from the center. It took a second or two, but Minigan finally recognized the symbol.

“We need to get out of the circle!” Minigan cried to Della and Zac, who were still fascinated by the arms of crimson smoke stretching across the pale grey concrete, “NOW!”

All three ran towards the ends of the smoke lines, but it was too late. The lines stopped, connected to each other with an outer circle, and in a flash, a semi-transparent dome erupted from the circle, trapping the three inside. Minigan had managed to extend his arm across the line as the dome formed, but the dome formed around it, trapping him and leaving his arm flailing on the outside. Minigan tugged on it, but I could not pull it through the dome’s force-field wall.

“Uh, guys,” Minigan begged, still pointlessly pulling, “A little help please?”

Della and Zac both grabbed onto Minigan’s torso and began to pull. Still nothing.

“What the hell is this, anyway?” Della asked as she wrapped her hands around Minigan’s bicep and tugged.

“The sixteen spoke wheel,” Minigan explained, “It’s a protection symbol for Gypsies. I remember seeing it drawn on Vanlow’s hand in icing when he was making the cake for you. I looked it up after he had escaped.”

“How did he escape, anyway?” Zac asked.

“I’m not sure- Della, stop digging your nails into my arm. I would like to keep it attached.” Minigan continued, “Della and I went to confront him after we survived the attack of the shit monster, but he had already escaped. He was able to perform some magic, but nothing like this, at least, not like I had ever seen. His magic seemed to be more potion based. I think he may have picked the lock or something.”

Wicked cackling erupted from behind them, making all three of them jump and Minigan wince in pain from his trapped arm. They turned around to see the little girl who had directed them there standing at the other end of the circle, grinning a devious grin at them.

I’ve waited long for you, dog.” She said in a voice more suited for an old hag than a little girl.

The little girls eyes sunk into their sockets, and the area around them darkened. Her fingernails grew into axe blades, and her teeth flattened into large bladed scoops, similar to shovels. She charged at the three, her toothy mouth opened wide to devour her captors. She lept. Zac spit. His spit hit her right on her cheek, and immediately began to eat away at her face. She fell to the concrete, shrieking and writhing in pain.

“Nice work, Efron,” a male’s voice with a light European accent said from outside the dome.

It was Vanlow. He was fairly young, no more than a year older than Zac or Minigan, but his dark features made him look much older. His hair was jet black and just long enough for the natural waves to stand out. He wore a pair of loose, dark blue pants that looked like they were made from some repurposed canvas cloth, which was tied with a weathered looking rope. A battered button-up shirt that was several sizes too large for him draped over his torso, and its sleeves he wore rolled up past his elbow. Confidently, he stepped through the force-field dome. Once inside, he turned to the wailing and now disfigured witch and made the sign of a cross. The witch instantly exploded into a cloud of crimson smoke, which continued to hang in the air , giving the light that passed through it a pink haze.

“I knew I should have never entrusted a witch to capture you,” Vanlow said with a grin, “They do have a tendency for eating their prey, do they not?”

Vanlow then grabbed onto Minigan’s trapped arm, and, with no concern about Minigan’s comfort, yanked his arm free from the dome, which sealed the hole his arm had left. He let Minigan fall to the ground, and slowly paced away from Minigan, Zac, and Della, to the other end of the dome.

Minigan rubbed his freed arm, and begrudgingly said, “Well, thanks, I guess.”

“Now now, Minigan!” Vanlow cried as he turned on his heels and faced him, “That is such an improper tone to take with an old friend such as I. After all, I did teach you how to turn those fingers into ashes, did I not?” He started to walk back towards Minigan, his eyes flashing malevolently. “I assume you’re here to capture me once again? I’m sorry to say that that will not be happening today.

“Actually,” Della interrupted, “We’re only here to ask you to remove the curse you put into the cake. It destroyed my house, and I would really like for it to be back to normal before my baby arrives.”

Vanlow looked to her with mild surprise, “Your house? Minigan, you didn’t.”

“No. No. No. He absolutely didn’t have any involvement in me getting pregnant.” Della interjected, “Nor will he ever be. I have a husband that I love very much, and I’m very glad that he is nothing like Minigan.”

“I like you,” Vanlow said to her with a friendly smile, “Did you know that he had enslaved someone to make it?”

“No! Well, kind of. He mentioned it right before we ate it, but Minigan wouldn’t accept me refusing to eat a piece!”

“So you ate the cake, knowing that it was created by slave labor?” Vanlow asked as his friendly smile morphed into a dark glare, “Then I cannot help you. You did this to yourself.”

“C’mon, Vanlow” Minigan said as he returned to his feet, “Just change it back, and then you’ll never see us again.”

“How dare you!” The gypsy spat, “You enslaved me to make a cake!”

“And you’re being a real asshole about it right now, so I’d say we’re even.”

“OK, I’ve had enough of this,” Zac stated. He then pressed his wrists together, aiming his hands at Vanlow and yelled, “Hadouken!”

I burst of blue fire shot from Zac’s hands and at the chest of Vanlow, sending him sailing far outside the dome prison. Zac then turned to the dome and began to feverishly spit on it. Each wad of spit sailed through the dome as if nothing was there. Almost instantly, Vanlow was back on his feet and inside the dome, with tendrils of dark blue smoke stretching out from under his shirt and wrapping around Zac. With a light flick, the smoke tossed Zac across their prison, and he slammed hard into the force-field wall on the other end. Zac fell to the ground in a heap and didn’t move.

“You see, Minigan,”  Vanlow explained as we flicked his wrist and made the dome grow arms that grabbed Minigan and bound him to the wall, “I knew you’d come back to capture me again, so I have been practicing my magic. Impressive, no?”

“Very impressive,” A struggling Minigan replied, “Who knew being a raging prick was actually a form of witchcraft?”

“Even in the face of defeat, you still make your belittling jokes. You have no sense. Your ego makes you stubbornly refuse to bargin.”

“You never said that bargining was an option!”

“Bargining is always an option with Romanis.”

“Well then, what do you want?”

Vanlow paused for a second, scratching his chin as he pondered. When he figured it out, his eyes lit up with excitement and he answered, “I want a slave, just as you enslaved me.”

“Alright,” Minigan answered, the sound of defeat in his voice, “I’ll be your slave on the condition that if I escape, we’re still even.”

Vanlow laughed a hardy, booming laugh, “Who said I want you as a slave? I want her.”

“Her?!”

“Me?!”

“Yes, her,” Vanlow stated, “Enslaving one of your friends should be a much better punishment than enslaving you. Plus, when she gives birth, I’ll have a second slave. That’s just a better deal, is it not?”

“Then no deal,” Minigan replied, still struggling against the dome’s hands, “The whole reason we’re here is to help fix Della’s house. This isn’t fair to her. Just enslave me instead.”

“Listen to him!” Della pleaded frantically, “He’s strong! He can lift a lot heavier things that I can! You can put him to work!”

“This isn’t your decision, miss Della,” Vanlow said dismissively.”

“This decision directly affects me, of course it’s my decision!” Della snapped.

Minigan and Vanlow simultaneously shouted, “Stay out of this, Della!”

“I have a magical gypsy axe!” Zac shouted from the other end of the dome.

Vanlow turned around and watched in horror as Zac swung his axe down at the crimson smoke marking on the ground. The blade severed one of the sixteen lines, and the wheel symbol, as well as the imprisoning dome, vanished.

“No!” Vanlow roared.

“Hadouken!!”

Another blue fireball shot out of Zac’s hands and hit Vanlow, sending him flying for a second time. Della and Minigan rushed to him just as dozens of gypsies poured out of the decrepit buildings surrounding the square and surrounded them. The gypsies quickly had them surrounded, each one poised to attack with their various weapons or magic.

“Hold” Vanlow called from somewhere in the hoard. He stepped through the crowd, his wavy black hair disheveled from the blow, and his eyes bloodshot and furious. He picked up a stone from the ground, held it in one hand, and squeezed. From the rock dripped water as if the rock were a sponge.  When Vanlow opened his hand, all that was left of the stone vanished in a puff of dark blue smoke. He glared at them for a second or two before saying, “So you have chosen to fight, yes?”

“You got it, asshole,” Minigan called back.

“Fine,” the gypsy replied, “But the Romani are a close knit family. If you fight one of us, you fight all of us.”

“Bring it on!” Zac yelled. He then leaned over to Della and muttered under his breath, “Get on the wagon behind us, I have an idea.”

Della looked to find the cart sitting there, waiting for her, and she did just what Zac has said.

“Family, Attack!”

The clan of Gypsies charged at the three Americans. Zac and Minigan ran around to the other side of the wagon, pulled down of the handles so that Della’s end raised, and together, they began to push. Within seconds, Zac and Minigan were on the receiving end of a series of punches, blows from various chains and clubs, and blasts of smoke that were filled with needles or caused the two to feel dizzy. Whenever he could, Zac spat at the gypsies, effectively incapacitating them with the acid in his saliva.

Minigan, still taking a beating and unable to fight them off, yelled, “Zac, we need more superpowers to fight them off!”

“You’re right,” he replied between spits, “Della, stop them with your queefs!”

“My what?!”

“ Your queefs! You have superpowered queefs! It’s the classiest superpower ever!”

“Ever, or that your pathetic mind could think of?!”

“I meant me!” Minigan cried as a fanned away a turquoise cloud of smoke that was making is eyes swell.

Zac and Minigan spun the cart around, knocking over several gypsies in the process.

“Della hit ’em!”

With a look of pure loathing plastered on her face, Della leaned back, spread her legs, and squeezed. A light “pfft” sound crept out of her crotch. Suddenly, the tree gypsies coming up on Della were blown across the plaza, as if being carried away by some great wind. The gypsy hoard saw this, and out of either shock or fear, hesitated to move any closer. Taking this opportunity, Zac and Minigan spun the cart around again, and pulled it through the newly made gap in the crowd and towards the edge of the Plaza.

“What are you waiting for?!” Vanlow roared, “GET THEM!”

The mob obliged. Several steams of different colored smoke shot into the air like arrows, and then arched down at the fleeing Americans. Della aimed her pelvis and squeezed again. After about a second, the smoke collided with the queef, turning each trail of smoke a sickly green. The smoke trails then changed their direction and rushed back at the gypsy hoard, attacking their former masters. Panicked shrieks echoed through the otherwise quiet plaza. Chaos erupted from the clan as the clouds of queef tainted smoke assaulted the people who had cast them, many of them frantically running around, blinded by the haze. In the center of the Pandemonium, Vanlow stood, seething as he watched Minigan and his friends escape the plaza.

“What direction are we headed?” Zac asked between heavy breaths.

“I think towards the amusement park,” Minigan replied, “Let just try to get a much distance between us and those gypsies before we head back home.”

“But what about my house!” Della cried, right before she blasted a queef at a burly and mustachioed gypsy whom managed to break away from the carnage in the square and catch up to them. The queef hit the man, instantly binding him with ropes. He lost his balance and fell to the ground, squirming to break free from the bindings.

“I’m sorry, I totally forgot about your house,” Minigan replied to Della sarcastically, “maybe if we just stop and ask Vanlow nicely, he’ll change his mind.”

“Can we argue about this later?” Zac interjected, “I don’t think just distance is enough to keep those people from catching us.” he pondered for a second or two, then exclaimed, “I’ve got it! These buildings can shift to form a series of blockades!

Just then, the ground beneath them began to rumble. The shaking became more and more violent, to the point where the already decrepit apartment complexes began to sway. Then, slowly at first, with the sound of concrete rubbing on concrete, each building started to move. They spun and slid over the streets, and slammed into one another, forming an impenetrable maze of abandoned buildings in Minigan, Zac, and Della’s wake. Even the ones a head of them shifted, creating an escape route that lead directly to the Ferris Wheel. After not much time at all, the three had escaped the moving buildings of Pripyat, and were racing towards the vacant lot where they had begun.

Imagine it as the cheap version of Inception.

Imagine it as the cheap version of Inception.

Della, after she carefully scanned the now still buildings for signs on approaching gypsies, uttered “I can’t believe you, Minigan.”

“What did I do?”

“This is all your fault. If you hadn’t taken Vanlow as a slave, that cake wouldn’t have destroyed my house, and I wouldn’t in the Ukraine queefing at an angry mob of magical gypsies.”

“But I’m not the one to decide that the frat guy from Seth Rogan’s new movie should take the reality bending drugs!”

“Hey! I’ve been doing a good job!”

“You kicked us out of an airplane and almost collapsed a building on us, you dick!” Della snapped.

“That’s right!”

“Hey, I don’t even need to help you bickering douchebags!” Zac snapped, “How is any of this my problem?”

The three continued to argue, and as they did, they failed to notice the plume of dark blue smoke rise over the buildings and fly towards them. The smoke arched, and then rocketed to the ground, landing mere feet away from the arguing trio. Out of the smoke stepped Vanlow, still notably furious, but also wearing a look of triumph on his tan face.

“You really thought you could escape me so easily?” Vanlow announced, but Della, Minigan, and Zac payed no attention to him, opting to continue arguing instead. Flabbergasted by such an unusual response, momentarily paused, his anger robbed from him. Once it resurfaced, he roared, “HEY!”

Minigan, Zac, and Della stopped and looked to him. In unison, they said, “Will you shut the hell up, we’re in the middle of something!”

Zac added, “You wait until the Americans are done talking.”

With a flick of his wrist, Vanlow whipped up some dark blue smoke. The smoke raced down to Zac’s ankles, wrapped around them, and then shot upwards, making Zac flip in the air and land on his neck. Minigan charged at the gypsy. He counter acted with another burst of smoke, this one throwing Minigan across the parking lot and into the bumper cars pavilion. Minigan slammed into one of the weather worn cars and collapsed onto the ground. Vanlow shot seven more smoke blasts at the pavilion before turning to face Della.

Vanlow smirked at Della, “You’re coming with me.”

“Stand back,” Della cried, “My queefs will rip you apart!”

She closed her legs and then opened them again, and her vagina made a sound similar to that of a cocking gun (see what I did there?). Vanlow was undeterred, and took a step towards her. Poot. The shock of the queef made Vanlow stagger backwards, but he quickly regained his composure and stepped up to face Della again. He raised his right hand, and emitted a thick cloud of smoke that darted at the pregnant Della. She queefed again, and it collided with the smoke, turning it a sickly green color like the others. But it didn’t attack Vanlow; It just hung in the air for a second or two before bursting into flames.

“Oh, come on, my Queefs aren’t that deadly.”

Vanlow didn’t reply, but instead shot another plume of smoke at Della. Della was too slow that time, and the smoke hit her directly in the stomach. Della didn’t feel a thing. She gave Vanlow a confused look, that is, until she felt her pants get wet.

“Guys!” she yelled, “My water just broke I think!”

Zac, with his face planted on the concrete, mumbled out of the corner of his mouth, “I’m fine.” Feeling better, Zac stood up, jumped on the cart, and yelled, “This cart can move by itself, and wants to keep away from Vanlow!”

The bed of the cart leveled, and with an awkward lurch forward, sped away from the vengeful Romani smoke lord. Vanlow created a pool of blue smoke at his feet. He closed his eyes as the smoke swirled and rolled around him, undulating as if something alive was stirring beneath its surface. The swirling waves of smoke grew more violent, and then Vanlow opened his eyes. The smoke shot up into the sky, carrying him with it. Within seconds, he was several stories up in the air, and arcing downward towards the fleeing cart. Vanlow rocketed at Zac and Della, looking like a hipster Iron Man with a serious suit malfunction. The cart sped up in an attempt to avoid the flying gypsy, but Vanlow was too quick, and within seconds was about to crash into them. That’s when Minigan dove into Vanlow’s path, and collided with him, sending both men spiraling  away from the cart.

-a few minutes earlier-

Minigan landed on his back, his body spread out on the bumper car pavilion’s floor. Struggling to sit up, he watched as seven blasts of smoke followed him into the pavilion and crashed into each of the cars. Instantly, the cars came to life and charged at Minigan. Despite feeling worn down already, Minigan jumped to his feet and dove over the first car. The second and third car charged at him at the same time, so Minigan jumped at the last second, causing them to crash into one another. He landed on the yellow one that had pink graffiti scrawled on the hood, and from there hopped over the metal fence and out of the pavilion.

You can see the murder in their non-eyes.

You can see the murder in their non-eyes.

Racing away from the bumpercars that were desperately trying to break free, Minigan looked up and saw Vanlow’s smoke trail streaking down towards the fleeing cart. As fast as his burning legs could carry him, Minigan sprinted towards the cart. At the last second, he dove, managing to grab a hold of Vanlow as he passed.

The two men hit the rough concrete and rolled several feet before breaking apart and coming to a stop. Minigan was back on his feet first, but was unsteady. His warm blood oozed from the newly formed scrapes on his forarms and face, and the dull throbbing pain in his skull made it hard to see straight.

From behind him, Minigan heard Zac yell, “You’re fine Minigan! Kick that dirty gypsy’s ass!”

“OK,” Minigan replied, his vision cleared and his head feeling fine, “Just help Della give birth!”

“What?!”

“You heard me-“

A loud clang of metal hitting pavement indicated to Minigan that the bumper cars had escaped. He looked to where Vanlow had been, only to realize he had vanished. Minigan ran back to the zigzagging cart, deciding that that was the perfect opportunity to give himself an edge against Vanlow. He dug his hand into his pocket and pulled out his secret bag of Olivia Wilde and Charlie Sheen. As best he could, Minigan dumped the contents into his mouth and swallowed.

“I’m on the cart,” he announced.

“Holy shit,” Zac stammered, looking both terrified and sick, “H-How did you do that?”

“No time for questions Zaccy Effs,” Minigan replied brightly, “Where is Vanlow?”

“That’s a question!”

In a pained voice, Della replied, “I don’t know. God this hurts!”

“Good to know. But while he’s still gone, we need to figure out how to stop him.”

“There’s no way to stop him!” Zac cried, a little more frantically than he normally would have, “He is more powerful than the drugs. Nothing I tried has stopped him yet.”

Minigan pondered for a second, and then asked, “Quick, what’s the one thing Gypsies are powerless against?”

“Nazis?” Della answered between breaths.

“Soap?” Zac added.

“Ugly jewelry?”

“Peddling their half assed fortune telling chicanery?”

“Bondage!” Minigan shouted, “They’re mostly nomadic. They hate being tied to a particular place! If we are able to tie him up, then maybe that will weaken him!”

“But you tied him up before and he escaped,” Della noted, “oh God, here comes another contraction!”

“Minigan please don’t make me help with this,” Zac pleaded over Della’s pained yells.

“Vanlow picked the lock- he didn’t use magic, Della. And Zac, you need to help deliver the baby, it’s the only way.”

“Why can’t you do it?”

Just then, the leading bumper car rammed into the back of the cart, making the wooden bed tilt back and forth like a seesaw.

“That’s why,” Minigan said as he pulled a handful of mines out of his pocket.

“Where the hell did you get those?!” Zac asked, “Wait a second, did you take some Olivia Wilde?!”

“Yes.”

“I thought you didn’t have anymore!”

“I had to lie to you cause I figured you would try to dick me over again,” Minigan explained, “So this was my back up in case shit went afoul,”

“You deceitful little bastard!” a red faced Della shouted in a much deeper voice that usual, “You’ve been giving me shit all day about letting Zac have the stupid bag of drugs when you had more! You petty little shit. If I wasn’t about to have a baby, I’d beat the hell out of you!”

“Hey, if I wanted someone to ride my ass, I would’ve just twerked with Robin Thicke at the VMA’s.”

Without another word, Minigan dumped the mines onto the ground in front of the cart. The cart rolled over them with no problem, but as soon as the first automatous  bumper car drove over one, it exploded into thousands of pieces of flying shrapnel. The other cars were destroyed in the same way, one at a time, exploding into pieces.

“Impressive, Minigan,”Vanlow’s voice said from behind him.

“Oh, God, the baby’s coming!”

“Tell it to wait a little while longer!”

“Vanlow,” Minigan demanded, “End this. Let us go.”

“Never.”

“Fine.” Minigan snapped, “Vanlow is tied down with chains!”

Vanlow looked at the thick metal chains that were binding him. He scoffed, and the chains vanished in a puff of Dark blue smoke.

“The three of you know nothing about me,” Vanlow muttered darkly, “Nothing about the Roma! Nothing about our culture! You don’t even know one of our oral traditions.”

“Yeah, but I’ve got a few oral traditions of my own, if you know what I mean,” Zac interjects. He goes to give Della a high five, but she just glares at him.

“Shut up, Zaccy Effs,” Minigan commanded.

Ignoring Zac, Vanlow continued, “So let me give you a lesson!”

“You’re a penis monster, Minigan.”

Vanlow shot several spike shaped clouds of smoke at the penis monster Minigan, but all they did was disperse once they hit him.

Penis monster Minigan smirked at the dumbfounded Vanlow and quipped, “So, was the first lesson that you guys are pointless?”

Vanlow let out an angry roar and dive tackled Minigan. The two men tumbled out of the rolling cart and onto the metal strewn concrete. Vanlow rolled away from Minigan and quickly stood up, and then backed away from the Penis monster on the ground, clouds of blue smoke puffing erratically out of his ears and nose. Penis monster Minigan stood up and faced his foe. Noting that Vanlow seemed to have lost some of the control of his smoke after tackling him, Minigan charged.

Vanlow dodged Minigan’s attack and screamed, “You want to fight as monsters? I shall fight you as a monster!”

The gypsy vanished in a billowing plume of smoke that grew upwards about forty feet. The swirling, dark blue cloud expanded and expanded until it blocked most of the rearranged Pripyat from view. Then, with a deafening high pitched roar, a 24 headed dragon stepped out.

Della screamed in pain, which was echoed by Zac and Minigan, who admittedly were screaming about two different things.

The dragon, with a single swipe, snatched up Minigan in its claw and brought it up to one of its many faces.

“Stop Pushing, Zac!”

“YOU stop pushing, Della!”

“THAT’S NOT HOW THIS WORKS, EFRON!”

“Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit!” Minigan cried, as he stared into the gaping mouth of the 24 headed dragon.

“You’ll never stop me, Minigan,” The dragon roared, “Either give me the girl, or I’ll destroy everything you love.”

“How about you not take the girl and not destroy everything I love?” Minigan asked.

“That also works,” The dragon replied.” And how about we sit down and drink of the finest wine, and eat meat that no man has ever eaten?” The Vanlow Dragon joked, “This isn’t a fairy tale, Minigan! In the real world, dragons aren’t so easily outsmarted!”

Vanlow closed his claws around Minigan and squeezed. Bursts of pain shot through his body as his bones and internal organs were squeezes to the point of breaking or rupturing. Minigan began to feel the blood vessels in his eyes begin to burst and the oxygen escape from is lungs.

Thinking quickly, Minigan used his free hand and, with what little breath he had left, squeaked, “My penis fingers are highly elastic.”

Minigan’s elastic penis fingers stretched out and wrapped themselves around the main head of the multi headed dragon.  This didn’t do much, so Minigan had his fingers urinate on the Dragon. All twenty four heads shrieked in pain as the urine burned its skin. Out of the combination of anger and pain, the dragon threw Minigan to the ground. Minigan bounced to his feet, and while the Dragon was still wailing because of his burns, Minigan ran to the cart.

“Della,” Minigan shouted, looking at her through his strained and bloody eyes, “I need your afterbirth!”

Della- Why must the all the focus be on what comes out of my vagina today?!

Despite taking deep lungful gasps of air, Minigan managed to retort, “You’re expelling a human being from it right now. Try to keep up, Della, this is important.”

“Fuck you Minigan!” Della screamed through clenched teeth.

“The head’s out!” A shaky Zac interjected, “One more push I think. At least that’s what the movies say.”

Della screamed, gave a final push, and little Myka was born. Zac caught it, and spanked its ass, causing the newborn to start crying. Zac then wrapped the baby in a blanket that he pulled out of nowhere and handed him to an exhausted Della. She looked into her baby’s eyes, and for a moment, everyone was at peace. Nothing mattered except that the baby was ok, which he was. Minigan breathed a sigh of relief and patted Zac on the shoulder, which Zac returned. Della, for the first time in months, was smiling.

But of course, the moment was ruined by the livid twenty four headed dragon lumbering towards them. Minigan quickly  gathered up as much after birth as he could, doing his best not to gag, and placed it into a large plastic bag he had pulled from nowhere. He tied the bag, aimed, and threw.

Majestically, the bag of placenta sailed high into the air, catching the light of the setting sun as it did. Not so majestically, it exploded on one of the faces of the dragon. The other twenty three heads began to screech and flail, and one by one, exploded into blue smoke.

Just as the dragon’s body did the same Minigan ran forward yelling, “Vanlow is tiny and I have a jar that is impervious to all kinds of gypsy magic!”

I tiny sounding cry rang out from the blue smoke, and Penis Monster Minigan did a running somersault to catch the miniaturized  gypsy. He caught the four inch tall man in the jar, and immediately twisted the lid on and sealed it.

“Let me out, Minigan,” the tiny Vanlow cried, “I demand it!”

“I’m so sorry, Vanny Low,” Minigan replied, “but I’m afraid I cannot do that. I gave you enough opportunities to not be an insufferable butt-hole, but you refused. This jar is where you shall stay.

“You want my curse undone?” Vanlow bargained, “It’s done. The curse has been lifted, and her house is back to normal.

“Oh yeah,” The penisified Minigan said incredulously, “We’ll see about that.” He then shouted to no one in particular, “We’re all back at Della’s house, in her living room.”

Regular Minigan turned around to see Della resting on her living room couch. The ceiling and walls were neither stained with sewage nor containing giant holes and exposed pipes. The air was heavy with a sweet smelling potpourri, not the smell of human excrement, and there wasn’t a single terrified snake in sight.

“See,” Vanlow cried, “Now can you let me out?”

“Sorry. Not gonna happen.”

“But we made a deal!”

“I’m sorry?” Minigan snapped, “We made no deal. You did this on your own; I didn’t agree to anything.”

“But bargaining is always an option!” Vanlow cried.

“Bargaining was an option until you turned into a dragon and tried to squeeze the life out of me.”

“But…”

Minigan refused to hear another word from Vanlow, and instead stuffed the jar into his bookbag. He then joined Zac, Della, and her husband and sister in celebrating the new life.

Hours later, when Minigan finally got back home, he went to his room, shutting the door behind him. With his bookbag, he climbed up to the shelf above his desk. He pulled out the jars of Kinich Ahau and Vanlow and placed them on the shelf.

Then, with a lingering look over at the rest of the empty shelf, said, “Hmm…”

THE END… FOR NOW

Life Before Cracked: Exploring the Comedy Websites I Used to Frequent

It’s been about four years since I first discovered Cracked.com. I don’t remember the exact date, but I do remember the exact article I read that made me take notice of the site. It was Ian Fortey’s article about awesome cases of Internet vigilantism. I knew I had been to the site before, but Stumbleupon had brought me back there. I ended up liking the article so much that I  decided to browse the website on my own. Then, I either read this story by Robert Brockway or watched this video by Michael Swaim and Katie Willert . I’m not sure which one I experienced first, so let’s say it was both of these that turned Cracked.com from “the funny site that I only kind of knew about,” to “The Greatest website ever why haven’t my shitty friends already been converted?”

And that basically did it. I’ve been a fan ever since. And just like a very persistent cult member, or a regular member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, I’ve been spreading the word, and annoying the shit out of my friends with their articles ever since. I even stopped visiting the other websites I used to visit, because now Cracked filled just about all my other comedy website needs.

Eat a swarm of angry dicks, Buzzfeed

Eat a swarm of angry dicks, Buzzfeed

However, I am the kind of person who loves to go back through my old writings, jokes, or passtimes to see how I’ve progressed as a writer and as an overall human being (I may have been a bit quick to judge Buzzfeed up there). That’s what I’m going to do right now. So, below are comedy websites (or websites with comedy on them) that I used to frequent before Cracked came along and screwed everything up for them.

1. T-Shirt Hell

Ah, T-shirt Hell. I’ve known about this website  since 2003, which makes it the oldest comedy website that I visit. I remember my first shirt from there. It said, “What Would Jesus Do (for a Klondike Bar).” Over the ten years since my brother showed me that site, I’ve amassed a collection of 29 shirts. If you’ve ever seen a picture of me, then you’ve probably seen me wearing one of their shirts.

Like this picture from my Instagram:
IMG_0076

Or this one of me and my baby cousin Carter (who is wearing the T-Shirt Hell-Baby Hell shirt that I got for him):

Clearly, no one has ever taught me how to hold a baby.

Clearly, no one has ever taught me how to hold a baby.

Or this one where I display my patronage of Christmas and girl-on-girl action:
DSCN2425

What I’m getting at here is that I have a veritable fuck ton of these shirts, so part of the reason I stopped visiting there as often is because I really don’t need another T-shirt. Maybe ever. And since I’ve seen all the shirts that they have at least a thousand times, I think it’s a better use of my time to read dick jokes on Cracked.com and save paying attention to T-Shirt Hell whenever they send me a new shirt notification.

2. Stumbleupon

Stumbleupon was the biggest victim to my new found fan-ship of Cracked, which is particularly sad, since it was the website that introduced me to Cracked in the first place. A student I was tutoring introduced me to it back in November of 2008, and for the next, say, 10 months, I was Stumbling upon (Stumbleuponing?) random websites any time I was at a computer. Looking back, I was kind of like an internet hobo: riding the rails of Stumbleupon, traveling from website to website just looking for a laugh. You had to be a man back in those days. The only person who’s got your ass was you, and you could bet every penny remaining on your Amazon gift cards that that needle eyed bastard ShockerLovr69 was watching you, just waiting for the perfect opportunity to pounce on top of you and pound you with rape jokes. Sure, I’ve seen men die- many from my own hands. But I ain’t no killer. No, no, I’m a survivor. Killin’ meant that you lived another day on the Stumbleupon railway…
…Jesus Christ. What the fuck am I talking about?

These guys don’t know. Lousy Hobos.

Anyway, after I found Cracked, I stopped visiting Stumbleupon entirely. And other than that brief period 2 years ago when God had forbidden me to use facebook and I needed another way to waste my time, I hadn’t been back on the site since. That is until about two weeks ago. Now, I mainly use it in a not well thought out attempt to find inspiration to write. It never works. I honestly should never get back on the site since I know it’s going to waste my time, and I absolutely do not want that. But how else will I find out about the crazy awesome new green-homes that are featured on Dornob.com? And another thing- Stumbleupon, please stop taking me to the websites I already frequent. I know I liked articles from the Onion, Vice Magazine, and Cracked, but I go to those sites all the time now. Anything you try to show me, I’ve probably already seen. Take me to a site I haven’t been to yet. No, not the last page of the internet. You’ve shown that to me on three separate occasions. The novelty has worn off, and I think we both know that I’m going to continue browsing.

And while I’m on the subject of seeing the same thing over and over again…

3. The Cheezburger Network
I cannot honestly say that I was ever a “fan” of The Cheezburger Network so much as “prey to one of their joke traps on Facebook.” What would happen was someone I knew would post something from the site, and in my moment of weakness, my curiosity would get the better of me and I would click on the link. The next thing I’d know, it’s three in the morning and I’m on page 40 of Roflrazzi reading a photo comic involving Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey McGuire. So while my stupid friends still occasionally post pictures from that internet shit gutter, I’ve long since chosen to stick with my Cracked articles that at least teach me something other than how we English Majors get a little too worked up over the differences between “Your,” and “You’re” when there are far worse atrocities being wrought upon our beloved language.
Note: I didn’t actually visit The Cheeseburger Network at the time of writing this because I’m trying to have this post up before Christmas.

1. Acid Cow

Ugh, this was a dark time in my comedy life. I visited this site heavily during Stumbleupon’s reign on my free time, and Acid Cow was one of the sites it directed me to. Back then, I only ever visited the website so that I could find funny pictures to make into motivational posters. I’ve long since given up making those posters if favor of jokes that are actually funny. During the year or so that I made those posters, I crapped out about 230 of them, with only a handful actually being funny enough for me to be only mildly embarrassed by them. Here’s the funniest one:

Slut

And that picture isn’t even from Acid Cow. That’s one I took in New Orleans of my one time friend, Lady Gaga fan, and potential mass murderer, Lady Caggiano. So, I essentially wasted all that time searching through Acid Cow’s bottomless pic dumps looking for funny pictures, only to use those pictures in what I would describe now as the dregs of my comedy writing career. I guess I shouldn’t credit Cracked.com with me no longer visiting this site, as it was more of my own new-found hatred of Motivational posters that did it. But I’d like to give credit to Cracked.com anyway. Thank you Cracked! You saved me from a life of telling not funny jokes over pictures that could be classified as the “Two and a Half Men” of pictorial comedy. You wonderful people are heroes.

Some more than others

As I was writing this post, I moseyed over to Acid Cow for the first time in at least three years to see if I found any of the pictures in the pic dump funny. Out of the 79 pictures in that dump, one made me laugh. And that was of the new Wendy’s spokesperson (You know, the red haired nymph that magically appears only to gloat over random people’s fast food choices) taking a wide mouthed and eyed bite at a sandwich. Shit. I’m so embarrassed by my past self.

5. Cyanide and Happiness

Oh man, I was fucking obsessed with this site before I discovered Cracked.com. I have my best friend and knife aficionado to thank for that. For those of you who don’t already know, Cyanide and Happiness is a web comic featuring crudely drawn stickish figures and all of their wacky, sometimes amoral, adventures. I was actually a pretty hardcore fan of the site until Stumbleupon came along and ruined everything. Here is probably my favorite comic they’ve ever made:

Recently, I liked the comic on Facebook, and now I get the latest comic strips on my news feed on a regular basis. And this brings me to a very important question: Why in the spinning tirade of fiery fucks did I ever stop visiting this site?! There is no excuse for it. For all the other sites I’ve mentioned, I’ve had a decent reason: I’ve matured as a writer, I found a better site, I have enough offensive shirts. But there is no excuse for me leaving Cyanide and Happiness. It’s a web comic- it’s not like it will suck up all of my time. Quite frankly, I’m ashamed of myself, and the only way to rectify this glaring mistake of mine is to go back and read every single comic of the last four years. So if you’ll please excuse me, I need to atone for my comedy sins.

Peace

The Tale of the Unwanted Box of Gushers

 

After work Tuesday morning, I bought a box of gushers. When I opened the box to devour the little gem shaped goo sacks, I found bizarre scrawlings written all over the inside. As it turns out, they were journal entries, and I thought I would share them with you. Enjoy:

 

Day  1:

Dear Journal,

Hello! I am a box of Gushers fruit snacks, expiration date 11 Jun 2014, and today is the day that I finally moved up to the front of the line on the shelf. I’m really excited. After all, I have been waiting for this moment ever since I’ve had my insides stuffed inside me and my ends sealed with hot glue. That sounds painful but it’s actually quite nice- you feel whole afterwards. Anyway, I just know that any minute now a person (or possibly a younger person with the case of the “munchies” as I’ve heard it) will take me off the shelf, and carry me off to their homes where…

Actually, I don’t know what happens then. No one does. There are stories of course- some say that we spend the time before we expire relaxing with other items, doing whatever we want- standing there, lying down, falling over, you name it. Then, of course, there are the boxes of gushers that believe that we’re going to be tortured and possibly eaten by these giant people. These boxes hang out in the back of the shelf, sometimes behind other products like Fruit Roll Ups until a worker person finds them. Personally, I like to believe that I will spend my remaining time playing with the miniature people (children, as they’re called), seeing as though they are the ones who usually ask for us by name.

But whatever happens, I will find out soon! I’m at the front! I can see the floor for the first time since the brief glimpse I stole as I was being put on the shelf. That feels like such a long time ago now. But it doesn’t matter, I was made for whatever happens to me next! Oh, and look! A person is coming! I think this one is called a “man.” He has short hair, is larger than the “womans” I’ve seen, and is wearing nice looking clothes. I especially like the shiny black things on his feet and the piece of dark blue cloth that starts at his throat and hangs down in front of his chest. It looks fancy. I wonder if he’ll let me wear it.

He’s getting closer now. He’s pushing one of those carts, and it has quite a good amount of stuff in it already, but I see room for me! I’m standing up straight, making sure not to wobble, and my logo is clearly visible. There is no way he is going to miss me. He’s still walking towards me! Getting closer! Getting closer! He’s right in front of me!

He passed me up. He didn’t even notice that I was there. Maybe I did something wrong. Maybe my colors weren’t bright enough to get his attention. There is a tiny bit of space between me and the edge of the shelf; maybe I should’ve been forward a little more. I wish I knew what I did wrong. No. It’s OK. That was the first time a person walked by while I was in front. I cannot start beating myself up just because that man didn’t want me. Someone will, and pretty soon I will be taken home by that person, I can feel it in my pouches.

Gushers, Expiration date: 11 Jun 2014

Dear Journal,

I’ve been taken off the shelf! A very nice sounding woman snatched me up and tossed me lovingly into her cart. I like her- I think we’ll make a great pair. She’s older, has a fun round shape to her, and leans onto the cart as she walks, like she’s trying to get closer to us!

By “us” I mean the other products and myself. I guess you could call them my new friends. Or well most of them. At first, I tried hanging out with a bunch of colorful things in bags. They called themselves fruits, and since fruit is part of my name, I figured I belonged with them. I was wrong. They called me a lot of hurtful names like “fake” and “candy” and “nonperishable.”

“Why don’t you hang out with the other junk food,” the apples said in unison.

I was hurt, but obliged them, and I decided to talk to the other boxed items like me. There was tall box called Saltines, and a box that was closer to my shape named Hamburger Helper. They were much nicer to me. As was the blue plastic package called Oreo, who was put in the cart after me. I liked my new friends. We all shared storied about our time in the factory and on the shelf, as well as our theories on what happened to us next. Apparently, no one knows for sure, but every rumor I heard from the other Gushers were also told to them, so I wasn’t much help in solving that mystery.

After a while of our person wandering through the store, she grabbed a big white thing and set it down between me and Hamburger Helper. This new guy, who’s label said “Homogenized Milk” was the weirdest thing in the cart. He was easily the biggest thing in there, but he was also kind of squishy.

“I’m filled with liquid,” he explained.

“But then why are you so cold?” Hamburger Helper asked.

That was a good question. He was very cold, and after not too long he began to sweat.

“Why are you so moist?” I asked after I accidentally touched him. The water was quickly absorbed into my cardboard and the area started to swell. I fell away from him to prevent it from happening again.

“Well, shit,” he replied, “That’s just my condensation. It happens to all us cold stuff. Don’t worry though; it’s not dangerous and will evaporate again soon.

“Why are you even talking to those Nonperishables, Homogenized Milk?” the cucumber at the other end of the cart asked, “Their expiration dates aren’t this month. They’re not even next month. How can you trust something that lasts longer than two months?”

“Hey Cucumber,” Homogenized milk retorted, “You’re just a jar of vinegar away from being nonperishable yourself, so how about you fuck off.”

The cucumber didn’t say anything back, but instead started a heated conversation with a bunch of bananas.

“Don’t worry about those guys,” Homogenized reassured us, “They’re produce, and produce goes rotten real damn quick. You just have to ignore those fuckers.”

We all laughed with Homogenized milk, and pretty soon he had given us all nick names. I was “Gush”- which I liked- it sounded cool, Hamburger Helper was “HH,” Saltines didn’t seemed too pleased with “Cracker,” but he didn’t complain, and Oreo was given the nick name “Big O.”

Big O then said to Homogenized, “We should call you Homo!”

He liked the name and adopted it as his own, and finally our little group was complete. Well, that is until our person stopped the cart. I looked up at her. She was looking from a slip of paper to us and frowning. Then, without a single word, she picked me up and pulled me out of the cart. With a look of both disappointment and annoyance, she set me down on a nearby shelf and then returned to the cart and walked away.

“Homo! HH! Big O! Cracker! Help!” I cried, “She’s leaving me, she’s leaving me!”

“Gush!” they cried back. But it was no use. She turned the corner and they were gone, and I knew I was never going to see them again. I wanted to cry. I really did. How could my person do this to me? I wasn’t even on the right shelf. I was far, far away from where I was supposed to be. How was I supposed to get back? Why would she abandon me here of all places- behind a bunch of little boxes of Lotrimin Ultra, and under hanging Dr. Scholl’s inserts? Why did she even bother to get my hopes up if all she was going to do was to leave me somewhere else? Are people really this cruel? Will anyone pick me up if I’m here? I took a deep breath after asking myself that last question and said to myself, “hopefully they will, and hopefully it will be soon.”

Gush, Expiration date: 11 Jun 2014

"You think this is funny, don't you? WHY IS THIS A GAME TO YOU?!?!"

“Woe is my existance.”

Day 2

Dear Journal,

No one picked me up today. Most people barely noticed I was there. I don’t like it here. It’s cold. See, on the other side of the aisle there are shelves sitting in a cooler, and they are filled with bottles of different colored liquid. I’ve overheard them call themselves “Juices.” I wondered if they’re similar to Homo, and was thinking about asking them, but the memory of Homo and the others made me too depressed to speak.

Throughout the rest of the day, I took in my surroundings. I was on a very small shelf- much smaller than the one with all the other Gushers. Despite the fact that I was towards the back of the shelf, I could still see the floor over the packages of Lotrimin Ultra. Speaking of the Lotrimin Ultra, if you ever get a chance to talk to them, Journal, Don’t. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not mean like the produce, but they’re just really, really weird. Anytime a person passes, they feel compelled to talk about the person’s feet. They discuss which person’s feet would have the worst fungus, or which ones had unhealthy looking toenails. I seriously think they get off on it. When one of them finally said something to me, all it asked was, “Do you like feet?”

“I don’t know,” I replied honestly, “I’ve never seen them outside of those things they wear over top of them.”

Several Lotrimins moaned with pleasure, and I made a note to never mention naked feet ever again.

Somehow, the Dr. Scholl’s inserts above me were even worse, all they talk about is how much they want to be stepped on by particular customers. They call some customers “Flatfoot” which sounds like equal parts an insult and a sexy nickname when they say it, and whenever they do, I realize just how out of place I am on this shelf. I really don’t like it here, but I’m hoping that a worker person will pick me up soon and take me back to the self with all the other Gushers.

Honestly, I’m not huge on the idea; I’ve seen boxes come back before, and it’s always embarrassing, but the feeling of embarrassment cannot possibly compare to the feeling of loneliness and rejection from being stuck in a place you don’t belong. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be back over there. I guess we’ll see.

Gush, Expiration date: 11 Jun 2014

Day 7

Dear Journal,

Sorry I haven’t written over the past couple of days, but I was busy trying to figure out how to count the days. I had to guess with Day 2. Luckily for me (I guess) one of the Lotrimins told me that whenever the lights in the juice case come on, it’s the start of a new day. Once I was told that, I had to count backwards in order to figure out how many days it had been, and then find a way to record them. I decided to mark the day with a little line on the inside of my box. I have marked six since I’ve been here, so that means it’s day 7.

Crud, I’ve been here seven days and not a single worker person has bothered to pick me up. I know they see me; I’ve seen them look directly at me. But no, all they do is look at me and keep walking.  I always see the same few too. First there are two women. One is shorter and has red curly hair, and the other is a bit taller with much shorter hair that is always sticking up. They are the ones that usually add more Lotrimin and Dr. Scholl’s to the shelf, so I don’t understand why they haven’t taken me back yet. Then there are a series of people whom I mostly see the backs of, as they deal with the juice. I doubt any of them have even noticed me, despite the fact that I’m at least five inches taller than the backs of the Lotrimin boxes.

Then there is another person that only comes in around the time the Juice cooler lights go off and leaves around the time the lights come back on. This person has long hair, so originally, I was inclined to believe it was a woman. But judging by its voice and how its shaped more like a man, I’ve convinced myself that it is one. It (or, I guess “he”) is usually the one to put the juice on the shelf. He brings the cases out on a large, flat, wooded thing and usually sets it down right in front of me. Because of this, he seems to be the only one to really notice me. Granted, he only glanced at me the first few days, but with each new day, he notices me more and more. I was hoping that he would be the one to take me back, that is, until I heard him mutter, “not my damn problem” after looking at me yesterday. I had never heard those words before, but there was such a cold dismissal behind them that I couldn’t help but feel insulted. When I could, I caught a glimpse of his name tag. “Minigan” it read. Well, you’re a jerk, Minigan. I’m pretty sure that I am your problem, since you work here after all. It’s not like I’m demanding that you take me home with you, just back to the shelf. And that shouldn’t be too far for you because you have legs. Are you really that lazy?

I’m sorry Journal, I got carried away. I think it’s time I end it for the night. The lights in the cooler just went off, so Minigan should be here any time now.

Gush, Expiration date: 11 Jun 2014

Day 11

Dear Journal,

I’m still here, on the tiny shelf behind the Lotrimin Ultra. No one has bothered to pick me up yet. I’m beginning to think that most of the worker people are just trying to avoid me. They must think I have a disease or something. All they ever do is look at me and keep walking. At least that Minigan person has had the decency to give me a reason why he isn’t bothering to take me back to my rightful place. A couple of nights ago (apparently the time that the lights in the cooler are off are called “nights”), he once again saw me on the shelf, standing in roughly the same spot that I had been for the past 10. He chuckled to himself and said to me, “Someone still hasn’t taken you back to eight?!”

I couldn’t answer because I have no lips.

“Well,” he continued without me, “I would, but you’re in Aych Bee See’s department, so they should be the ones who fucking take you back. Plus, I’ve got a lot of damn juice to work.”

I wanted to be angry at him for leaving me there again, but that was the most honest a person has ever been to me. Plus, his use of the words “fuck” and “damn” reminded me of Homo, whom I missed dearly. I hope he was happy at his new home with Big O, Cracker, and HH. It was in that longing that I decided to give this Minigan person the nickname “Homo 2.”

Although they shared some of the same vocabulary, Homo and Homo 2 are widely different. Homo 2 has a tendency to talk to himself, and if he had black things in his ears, sing to himself. One night he spent at least a half an hour singing about a party in the Yu Essay. I don’t know what a Yu Essay is, but he must like partying in it a lot. Also, other than his snappy remarks at the produce, Homo seemed to be pretty peaceful. Not Homo 2. He throws cases of juice across the floor just so that he doesn’t have to carry them, and I’ve watched in horror as he tosses the single bottles up into the air and catch them before placing them on the shelf. It makes me glad that he wasn’t the one to put me on my old shelf. But even still, at least he noticed me, and seeing him come around means that I don’t feel so lonely.

Until tomorrow, maybe,

Gush, Expiration date: 11 Jun 2014

Day 16

Dear Journal,

I hate these worker people! All of them! Every. Last. One! Today, while I was sitting in the same stupid place I had been sitting since I was unceremoniously dropped off by that awful woman, one of those Aych Bee See workers that Homo 2 mentioned came by to restock the shelves, and do you know what she did? She pushed me out of her way! She just knocked me on my side and continued to work, as if I had no feelings at all! And then, when she was finally done, she left me laying here on my side! I can’t even see past the backs of the Lotrimin boxes now. That was all I had; the ability to see what was going on in the world beyond this tiny shelf, and now even that’s been taken from me. How do these awful think so positively of themselves.

And do you know what makes it even worse? Whenever that jerk Minigan (he lost the privilege to be called Homo) came in a little bit ago, he saw me laying on my side, laughed, and then took a picture with his phone. He’s getting some kind of demented amusement from seeing me here day after day. And know that it’s obvious that I’ve been moved, he’s getting an even bigger kick out of it. I swear I would give anything to be taken away from this shelf and never see that long haired “man” again.

An angry Gushers, Expiration date 11 June 2014, tolerance expiration date: Now

gushers 1

“Don’t just stand there grinning and taking pictures, set me back up Minigan!”

Day 17

Dear Journal,

I decided to focus my energy on socializing with the Lotrimins that I was lying behind today. I didn’t learn much, but I did learn that they absolutely hate a group of products called Tinactin. At first I didn’t know what Tinactin was, but then a customer walked by and a chorus of “Booms” came from somewhere along the shelf. One of the Lotrimins groaned and informed me that anytime I hear a “boom” it’s coming from a Tinactin product. Apparently they have a stupid spokesperson. At least that’s what Lotrimin, Expiration date May 21 2015, said.

Later in the day, Minigan showed up for work, pulling his “pallet” of juice behind him. When he saw me, he chuckled, said “still here” mostly to himself, and then stood me back up. That would have redeemed him if it wasn’t for him deciding to take another picture of me. He revels in my humiliation. After all, we’re all just objects to him. We have no feelings, no emotions, no hopes. We’re just things that he tosses around to amuse himself while he’s working. What a sociopath.

Gush, Expiration date: 11 Jun 2014

Day 18

Dear Journal,

I take back every negative thing I said about Minigan. He just picked me up and put me in his cart. He said that the only way I’ll move anywhere is if he goes ahead and buys me, so that’s what he’s gonna do! I’ll have a home today! He’s even picked up friends for me! They’re both bottles of oddly colored juice. One is black and calls itself Dr. Pepper, and the other is green and goes by the name Mtn Dew. It tells me that it’s pronounced “Mountain” not “Mit-in” like I was saying. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll be happy with Minigan-

Wait… Oh, God. Minigan just said that it’s been a long time since he’s eaten Gushers. Eaten??? Those paranoid boxes of Gushers that hid behind the Fruit Roll Ups were right this whole time?! We are just food to these people!? This cannot be happening! Please let him change his mind, please! Someone needs to rescue me; he’s theorizing how long it take him to eat all of my six pouches.

Someone please help me!

Someone please help me!

“Not my pouches!” I tried saying to him, “Anything but my pouches! Please Minigan, please don’t eat me!”

But he didn’t hear me because I have no lips. As he marched me down an aisle, I called to the products on the shelves, “Help me!” but none of them reacted to my pleas.

“We’re food!” I shrieked, just trying to get their attention, “All we are is food to people!”

But not a single one of them responded, and my fate is sealed as Minigan wheels his cart into the lane of an open register.

Final entry of Gush, Expiration date: 11 Jun 2014, but it’s likely I’ll never reach that date.

 

Well, shit. That was kind of grim, wasn’t it? Sorry everybody.

Actually, knowing that Gushers are sentient beings and have human emotions makes them taste even better!

Actually, knowing that Gushers are sentient beings and have human emotions makes them taste even better!

Ways I Would Ruin A Date With Anna Kendrick

If there’s one thing I like to do, it’s to play with my cellphone while I poop. If there’s two there’s two things I like to do, it’s to play with my cellphone while I poop and to imagine scenarios in which I’m on a date (or at least having a conversation) with a celebrity. If there’s a third thing I like to do, it’s to overuse already worn out humor clichés.

Picture Unrelated

Picture Unrelated

But as for that second thing, I like doing it because, well, most of my time I’m imagining scenarios in which I’m fighting celebrities, so it’s fun to mix it up every once and a while and think up situations where they are stuck by my suaveness and charm instead of my mighty, mighty fists. Also, I might have an unhealthy fascination with fame culture in which I demonize it, yet secretly yearn to be a part of it. But that kind of deep psychological self-examination has no place in my blog. No, this blog is a gaping void of classlessness that I’m trying desperately to fill with dick jokes.

http://www.stormbowling.com/products/balls/classic/second-dimension

See what I did there? I know, I am a genius. But let’s move on.

However, despite all my awesomeness which must be incomprehensible to you hu-mons, I try to honest with myself, so I’m sad to say that a date with Anna Kendrick would probably not end well. I mean, let’s face it- we love celebrities so much because we only see a fraction of what they really are. We see the characters that they play/ hear the music they make/ read the words they write/ etc. but don’t ever see them more that a two (or sometimes one) dimensional prop in the slash fiction plays that we constantly create in our own heads. So while in my head the date would go swimmingly and she would be thoroughly wooed by extensive knowledge from half remembered Cracked articles and delightful array of fart jokes, in reality she is a real, living person with her own separate thoughts, emotions, and reactions that the real life me would not be prepared for. And that’s why I’m going to completely undercut what I just wrote in this paragraph by making sweeping generalizations about Miss Kendrick’s personality despite knowing very little about what she is like in her private life in order to prove my point. Sorry Anna.

“Oh Minigan, I think it’s sexy how you’ve turned me into a paper doll for one of your weird fantasies.” –The Anna Kendrick inside my head.

“Oh Minigan, I think it’s sexy how you’ve turned me into a paper doll for one of your weird fantasies.” –The Anna Kendrick inside my head.

1. She is so much cooler than me

This probably isn’t the ideal place to explain who Anna Kendrick is for those of you who don’t know, but I didn’t have a good place to put it before now, so here will have to do. Anna is an actress. She was in the cult movie “Pitch Perfect,” which came out last year, but has also been in “The Twilight Saga,” “50/50,” “Paranorman,” “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World,” and according to her IMDb page, the Broadway musical, “High Society.” She also has a hit song out called “Cups,” but I’m going to get to that later.

Frankly, she seems like she would be a pretty cool person to hang out with even before you know much about her. She just seems to have a look about her that makes you think that if you ever met her, she would probably be pretty damn chill. That’s what I thought at least. And then I started following her on Twitter. Holy shit, guys. If you’re not following her on Twitter, you need to get with the goddamn program. Seriously, look at this shit:

Anna Kendrick Tweet 1

I understand that there are a lot of shitty things that happen on Twitter. Believe me, I know. It’s hard not to think that are language be dying when you see some of the stupid shit the masses on Twitter post (My tweets included), but this single tweet has to make up for some of that. It’s just so simple, so perfect, such an incredible use of hashtags- which at times feel like shameless pleas for attention. But not in this tweet. No, the hashtags only add to the beautiful simplicity of it. I don’t remember what I tweeted for my 1,000th tweet, but I can assure you that it wasn’t nearly as awesome as this one is.

Oh my God, you’re amazing!

Oh my God, you’re amazing!

And this is why I’d ruin the date. I cannot compete with this. I’d walk into the date all cocky, like I’d be able to handle the violent cyclone of awesome that is Anna Kendrick, so I’d be totally unprepared for it when her awesomeness slaps me in the face. In reality, Anna’s level of coolness would, in all likelihood, tear me the fuck apart. The date would consist of me saying something that I think is good, followed by something amazing she would say, and all I would have to say in reply to her would be, “I have nothing to add. You’ve just conquered the human language, you beautiful monster.”

Of course, that’s if I’m able to talk at all, because…

2. My social awkwardness would probably ruin our date before it would even begin

Here’s how I’d imagine the first exchange of the date would sound like:

Anna- Hello, Minigan, It’s very nice to meet you.

Me- hurr…argle…gooorg…ba-ba-bargle…

This is how every real life conversation I have goes if I'm not already comfortable with you.

This is how every real life conversation I have goes if I’m not already comfortable with you.

That sound I made would be the sound of my tongue, fearing that I was about to say something stupid, retreating down into my throat and inadvertently choking me. But let’s just say that I don’t become a bumbling mess of spoken word when she says “Hi” to me, and instead think of how an actual conversation would go between us.

Unfortunately for me, I am incredibly inconsistent when it comes to meeting people for the first time. Sometimes, I can be open and social and seem like I actually do fit in as a functioning member of society- like when I met the people that would eventually become my fellow writing tutor friends, or when I met the people I would be traveling through Europe with. Then there are time where I just refuse to talk to or even acknowledge a person for the first dozen or so times I meet a person. And then there are times when I start off seeming social, but manage to ruin it with my innate ability to fuck up any nice conversation. I once met a friend’s girlfriend who used to make a webcomic I enjoyed, and when I went to complement her on her work on the comic, I said, “Yeah, I enjoy your work on the internet… well, not that kind of work.” That last part was a porn joke. The woman I said that to was not in a porn, nor will she ever be, and that shit flew out of my mouth before I could stop it. Granted, my phrasing was shitty enough that she probably didn’t understand what I was referencing (see: she was never in a goddamn porno to begin with), so she probably just ignored the last part, chalking it up to me being strange. But I knew what I meant by it, and I seriously considered jumping out a window to flee from the conversation. I was so embarrassed by my stupidity that I barely said another word to her that night. So then I probably seemed like I was actually a dick. Granted, that’s better than creepy, but not by much.

Seriously, this is me.

Seriously, this is me.

So, if I’m able to speak at all, then I will probably make some terrible joke that will make everything awkward, and she’ll get up to go to the restroom and never come back. And honestly, I wouldn’t blame her. It would be a smart move on your part, Anna. Trust me.

3. I cannot do the “Cups” clap.

I told you I would be getting back to this. For those of you who don’t know what the “Cups” clap is, then I suggest you watch this video. Or rather, watch this video regardless of whether or not you know what the “Cups” clap is.

That is the video for Anna’s single, “Cups.” The song is short, but it’s so catchy that it’s been classified as a Class 2 addictive substance in 23 states. I had it stuck in my head so bad that no song, not even the Oscar Mayer Bologna song, was able to get it out of my head. I watched the video once and then immediately downloaded a copy of it from iTunes, and I never do that. That’s how powerfully addictive that song is. It’s like ear crack.

Now, here is a video of me trying and failing to do the clap that is featured in the video:


I assume that during our date, I will mention how much I enjoy her song, and she will proceed to test my worthiness of her company by having me attempt the clap. I will, of course, fail, and she will deem me as an unworthy suitor and cast me asunder.

"How can one man be so terrible at such a simple clap? Throw him into the snake pit!”

“How can one man be so terrible at such a simple clap? Throw him into the snake pit!”

So, Anna, if you’re reading this, I would be honored to go on a date with you, but I fear it would be a complete waste of your time. Don’t put yourself through all that.

…Unless, of course you want to. In that case, call me.

But until then, Peace.

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