Mutually Assured HandiWipes

Sir, I’m not quite sure how to explain this to you….maybe it’s just better to look at the satellite photographs for yourself. Do you see right here below the treeline….it’s tough to make out, but we have confirmation from the ground that what we’re looking at is a roast beef sandwich twenty feet high and thirty-two feet wide. Which can only mean one thing: Arby’s penetrated our cover sometime last year, got a look at the giant fish stick, and fired this damn project up in one hell of a hurry. What we have to determine somehow, maybe with lower fly-overs of the area, is if the roast beef sandwich is just a deterrent like our giant fish stick, or if they intend to put it into operation somehow.

I want to take this opportunity to apologize for ever even drawing up the plans for the giant fish stick in the first place, and most of all for suggesting, insanely, that we just drop it on the lawn outside of our corporate headquarters as a “warning” to other fast food companies. Again, I’m not sure how this “warning” was supposed to develop into an actual action plan of some sort; I just thought it was time that Long John Silver’s put the industry on alert that we were, you know, not to be trifled with. And I believe I have re-iterated many times that I wasn’t certain how the giant fish stick would keep in this climate, or what possible negative effects it might have on customer perceptions. I was in way over my head; I see that now.

But back to the matter at hand. What does this mammoth roast beef sandwich mean? Just looking at it gives me chills. Considering that it cost us $40 million to make the fish stick, we’ve got to assume Arby’s spent twice as much on this thing. They spend that much constructing a towering sandwich at the same time they’re laying off five percent of the workforce….I don’t know, it just seems a little frightening. Sometimes I think what is written in prophecy might be coming true somehow.

What? Oh….well….that’s a little off-topic, but I like Paula just fine, just fine. Good worker, very pleasant. As a woman? Um….I really think we should be focusing on other things right now, especially what is written in prophecy, but yes, I guess she is quite attractive.

Really? She said that about me? She’s really okay with all the Grease collectibles? She understands that I can love them and only them until the mountains crumble into the sea? Wow. That chick’s got problems.


Please Pick Up an Orientation Folder at the Front Desk

Right this way please, watch your step, the floor is a little sticky….there you go, sit anywhere in this row you like. How’s everything been so far? Not too horrible, right? Yeah, Hell is really not the worst place you can wind up, all things considered. Of course you’re always going to have your fainters---I think I just stepped over one---and the chronic bellyachers, but for the most part people just roll with the whole agonized acceptance thing and don’t make too much fuss.

Okay, I’m just going to staple your hands to the armrests real quick, the pain shouldn’t be too bad…there you go, and you can even still get at your straw to sip your Diet Pepsi during the show. The screening will last anywhere between six and eight months, depending on how often you fueled up your car in life. Essentially what you’re going to watch is single-camera unedited videotape of every instance since birth when you stopped for gas somewhere, or if not yourself, your family or friends while you waited in the car. Does that sound unpleasant? Yeah, it can get a little boring, I’m not going to lie to you. You don’t learn much watching yourself fill up your tank while grabbing a Caramello from the snack rack four thousand times. It’s not like there’s a musical soundtrack or anything either, it’s really just back-to-back-to-back episodes, kind of like the worst reality show you could ever dream up. But hey, this is Hell, we’re not exactly getting paid to show you The Incredibles in Ultra THX, am I right?

All right, I’m going to leave you now, you look nice and settled. Just go ahead and go to the bathroom right where you’re sitting, feel free to doze in and out, and your soda will be refilled whenever you’re within an hour or so of dying from thirst. I forget when feeding time is exactly, maybe every four days or so, so just wait for the occasional piece of hashloaf to drop from the ceiling.

Oh, I almost forgot, there’s about a month of trailers first, all for movies you had absolutely no interest in when you were alive, and the volume is going to be pretty cranked. Plus some commercials too, slipped in there in a blatantly irritating way. I’ll get out of your hair now, and when it’s all over sometime in November, I’ll come back, pry you out of your chair, and phase two of the Tortures of Hell can begin. You’ve worked retail before, right? Ever worked in a second tier museum selling tickets to a cheesy motion simulator ride involving the War of 1812? No? Well, get ready for the adventure!

Oh, and may I say, I always thought you were absolutely wonderful on that show, Mr. Newhart.


Benefits Included

Though I don’t have a clock in here---ha, can you imagine them giving me a clock?---I can sense when the Magic Time is imminent. Sometimes when I think it’s about to come I start counting down the minutes and seconds in my head. That’s how much I love Magic Time!

Not that there aren’t an awful lot of good things about being in here. There’s time to think, re-evaluate. (For instance, I came up with a great idea for a romantic comedy that would be perfect for Daniel Craig!) There’s the peace and quiet, of course, and I’ll tell you this too, although it sounds kind of crazy: the total lack of a window or light bulb of any kind can get you re-acquainted with the miracle of your own human form. Sometimes in the pitch dark I just feel my hands or my head or my elbows and think “Wow, how perfectly made…someone up there sure knew what He was doing!”

The food? I actually don’t mind it at all. Sometimes you get some corn that’s almost perfectly boiled, not too overcooked or with ice in the middle, and two slices of store-brand white bread are dropped off every day a few hours before Magic Time---and I am not joshing when I tell you that once there was peanut butter on it!

But of course my time here revolves around the main event. If I had my druthers, I suppose I might go back in time to the moment when I severely injured those two guards by literally lifting the cafeteria table off the floor and hurling it at them while shouting "I'll suck your blood through a straw I stick in your grave!", but if it gets me those wondrous nine seconds every day (whether it’s morning or night, of course, I couldn’t tell you), I’ll take that deal for ninety days, no sweat.

Going back to the Daniel Craig movie, though, get this: he’d play a guy with a mascot job at a theme park, and he falls in love with a girl who’s a different one! How’s that for nutty??

Oh my God…is that the click of the latch I just heard? Oh yeah, OH YEAH, here we go….hello, Guard Simmons, how are you toda---

AAAAHHHH WHEEEEEEEE-HAAA!!! Yeah, nail me with that ice cold hose water! Flatten me against the wall with its awesome force! That’s right, get the feet! Get the feet! BINGOOOOOOOO!!!! WHAAA HOOOOOO!!!

Oh….oh man….that was a short one, but quality over quantity, I always say. Now I got it all----I’m lying in the dark in cold, soaking wet clothes, I have the rest of the day free, and I can fill in the rest of the cast list at my leisure. What’s JoBeth Williams doing these days? Any idea?



I say again: I’m very sorry that I snapped at you, Pinwheel. You know I’m usually a very calm person. But lately your conversation gets on this one stupid track, and I’m sorry, but I can’t take it anymore. I don’t want to hear from you about systems thinking or performance measurement or project implementation, and I don’t care about how much your Strategy Formulation professor supposedly likes you, because you are a CAT, you get me? You are a small white CAT, and NONE of this is ever going to amount to anything. So congratulations on taking out $44,000 in school loans, because I’m sure that in five years the CEO of Smith Barney is going to be thinking, “Hey, you know who we desperately need heading the Acquisitions team at our Boston branch? A small furry creature with no thumbs and no ability to communicate with humans except through a series of vague mewling sounds that only his beleaguered owner can understand.”

What? What did you just say? Oh….whoa. Whoa. Okay. I had no idea your gambling debts were that out of control. Did you just say two hundred thousand? Really? Oh, gee. Now I’m starting to get the big picture. Good Lord. I’m sorry. All right, here’s what we’re going to do: we’re going to put plan C into effect. I don’t see that we have a whole lot of other choice at this point, frankly, because I owe about ninety grand to Benny Slam myself, thanks to Tiger’s inability to make a lousy nine foot putt.

I never told you about Plan C? Well, it’s pretty extreme, I have to say. Essentially we’re just going to put you in a wheelchair, throw a blanket over you, stick some sunglasses and a little cat hat on you, and I’m going to push you around town all day muttering to myself. When the dark cloak of night settles over the city, we’re going to find a clear spot between two bridges and just set up camp, and then the process will repeat itself the next day, and the next. We’ll have no identities, no paper trails. Sound good? So we’re just gonna need a wheelchair, a blanket, some sunglasses, and a little cat hat.

The long stick with the string that has feathers dangling from it? Um, no, Pinwheel, we better not take that with us. We can’t let any attachments slow us down---we have to be able to walk away the moment we sense the heat coming around the corner. Tell you what though, I think they have an online version of it, we can use the computers at the library once in a while to see what it’s up to. My book group meets there on Tuesdays anyway. I’m only into them for like ten thousand from the hockey playoffs, so they should be cool.


Danger Code: Orange

What I’m proposing, Gerald, and I sense you’re ready to completely get on board with me here, is a simple system wherein we can both admit to our belief in the existence of sea monsters in our kitchen sink while sparing us the embarrassment of having to say it out loud. I’ve been working on this for quite some time---since I noticed the very first bit of greenish goo around the drain (definitely NOT liquid dish detergent, as you claim) and heard the odd slithering sounds in the middle of the night (the ones you hilariously insist are coming from residual water wash inside the pipes). Okay, follow me here and we can both unburden ourselves with an absolute minimum of shame. These are the steps I propose:

1) Below the monthly inventory we make on the dry erase board of stuff we need for the bathroom, I will today place a single blue check mark, which may or may not denote my belief in the presence of sea monsters in our kitchen sink---for all anyone knows, it’s just a single blue check mark to acknowledge that I have read the monthly inventory and approve of its contents and suggestions.

2) If I walk past the dry erase board on the morning of 5/20 and see a twin blue check mark beside the one I made, I will take it to mean that you have either joined me in your belief in the sea monsters or are merely confirming the accuracy of the bathroom supplies list---again, neither one of us has come forward directly about the sea monsters, protecting us from public and private ridicule, especially from Jeffrey and Sethmadesh, who I know will never join us in our concern over this matter, because they’re living in a dream world.

3) I shall circle those check marks in yellow. If that yellow circle has not been erased by the evening of 5/25, I will know that you indeed truly share my belief that we are facing an imminent sea monster crisis here in our very own home, and we will take steps accordingly to deal with this issue head-on instead of cowering from it.

If you have any procedural questions or need more information about this threat, which I am aware you are still somewhat hesitant to embrace, feel free to contact me either in my room or via email. We have a sea monster problem in our sink, Gerald; let’s deal with it before we wake up one morning inside the belly of a serpent the size of Yankee Stadium.

Thank you. As a side note, I will be tardy with the rent once again this month; not my fault, as my daily medications now include a very expensive tonic called Root of Primal Presence, which also accounts for the stench of radishes currently pervading the rec room. Be not alarmed!