Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Time to Die"

Reggie Mushroom was vomiting into some dirt when he decided it was the perfect time to die. He had just been beaned in the chest with a ninety two mile-an-hour fastball thrown by Ralph Wolfstain, the most disgusting pitcher in the Majors. Wolfstain had a face someone could only love ironically, with spiky teeth jutting out in every direction and the sort of fat grey cheeks that look like they belong in a deli freezer. Wolfstain loved beaning new players almost as much as he loved snorting cocaine, putting on a canine costume, and participating as a sled dog in the Iditarod.

Reggie was the hotshot new shortstop for the New York Mets. The buzz around him had been loud ever since his college days, when he always covered himself in honey. This was his first game in the Bigs. He was doing well; a single, a triple, and now an easy stroll to first base on account of the hit by pitch. An easy stroll except for the blood he coughed all over his chin. Reggie figured his career batting average was 1.000 so if he were to die tomorrow, he would go down as the greatest hitter of all time. He also had other reasons why now was the time. He had purchased the last bucket on his list needed to complete his collection, and he had finally gotten closure with his father. Also, his wife caught him fucking the cotton candy girl on top of the visitors’ dugout.

Reggie decided to end his life peacefully by swimming to the ocean floor and waiting until his oxygen tank wheezed empty, a flawless plan he read about on a Geocities webpage. Reggie bought scuba equipment from a morbidly obese man named Flip-Flop Gomez, who had himself acquired the gear by devouring a banana-flavored diver named Chip Simian.

Reggie sped into the Atlantic in his amphibious German Schwimmwagen, which he had won in a game of regular roulette with a bunch of Russians who had later shot themselves in the face. He parked it about a mile out from the shore and flipped over the edge. He swam deeper and deeper, past sunken boots and abandoned Outback Steakhouses, until he reached the sea floor. He sat and stared, waiting for the gentle grasp of death to lead him to the other side. He imagined his face, cast in bronze, hanging in the Hall of Fame.

Something tapped Reggie on the back. He turned around and staring at him, with its spiky teeth practically touching the fogged lenses of Reggie’s mask, was a six foot long brutally fat Angler Fish, its jaw open wide. It was a mirror image of Ralph Wolfstain, except Reggie figured the Angler Fish probably had sex with human women more often. Reggie flinched into action and poked the beast’s eyes out in a show of amazing muscle memory. Reggie had dealt with an Angler Fish before. When he was thirteen one had rang his doorbell in search of late payments for magazine subscriptions.

Reggie was horrified. His heart pounded against his ribs as if Neal Peart himself were inside Reggie’s heart (which was impossible, because Neal Peart was at the time inside Reggie’s shoe). Suddenly everything became clear. A thought flashed across Reggie’s mind: If I die now, I’ll never eat any more Newman’s Own cereal. I’ll never get revenge on Ralph Wolfstain. I won’t see my daughter graduate. I’ll never try the other varieties of Honey Bunches of Oats.

Reggie sprang off the ocean floor towards the light. He saw that he had ten minutes of oxygen left. He would make it. He would survive. He would get his revenge on Wolfstain by disguising himself as a rock of crack cocaine, selling himself to Wolfstain, being snorted into Wolfstain’s nose, and springing back to full-size inside Wolfstain’s body, which he would wear as a costume. He would then control Wolfstain’s body to apply to be a contestant on Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, win the preliminary rounds, making it to the televised competition, and then answer the first question incorrectly, causing Wolfstain endless embarrassment. It was a flawless plan.

Reggie kicked his muscled thighs harder than he had since he last played soccer, when he was forced in the penalty box to stomp grapes to make wine. He began feeling light-headed. “I’m exerting all of my energy,” he thought. “Gonna get a little tired. But being alive never felt so good.” He was pumping his arms and kicking his legs so hard that he forgot to breathe. He could only focus on getting to the sweet surface.

Reggie’s head burst into the air and he opened his mouth. “I ascended a thousand feet in two minutes,” he thought. “That’s got to be a world record. I’m the best!” He pumped his fist in self-congratulation and felt an incredible pain. His veins were inflated with nitrogen bubbles and his arms were swelling like water balloons ready to burst. He felt an immense pressure in his chest, as if Freddy Mercury were inside, studying for his MCAT. Just as Reggie remembered something Flip-Flop had said about the seriousness of equalizing lung pressure while ascending to the surface, his chest began expanding, inflating like Flip-Flop’s waistline after Fat Tuesday, which was every Tuesday for Flip-Flop. Reggie’s lungs swelled and blood poured out of his face. Reggie thought, “Could this pain be in my heart? Am I aching on the inside for acceptance? For love?” One thousand microscopic air sacs burst inside his right lung. “Nope,” he thought, “this pain is in my exploding lungs.” His ribs popped one at a time, each resonating a tone higher than the previous, like Mickey Mouse ascending a staircase. Reggie’s wetsuit stretched and split open and as his brain oozed out of his nostrils, he mumbled, “I don’t want to—“ but was cut off when his lungs exploded, sending meaty flaps of Reggie Mushroom soaring into the sky and splashing into the calm Atlantic Ocean.

Six miles away, Napoleon Snorkle, the Mets’ second baseman heard a loud pop and echo. “What was that?” he said.

“Don’t worry about it,” said Elizabeth Mushroom. “Let’s have some more sex on Reggie’s bed.”

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