This story is not by 'Anonymous'. It's by DaveTheUseless.
Oh man, do I hate childhood memories. Terrible nostalgia. I used to believe that love is only for girls, that babies were punishments for parents who hurt other families’ feelings and made them move, and that the moon was a planet that God didn’t love. But all that started to change as I blossomed into manhood, and I got a girl pregnant when I was at the ‘ripe, old age’ of 14. Turned out that my special milk was actually an ingredient to making her a milk machine. I named my son Samson, because my name is Sam, and he was my son. My wife filed for divorce before realizing that we were never really married—promises you made on the playground don’t count as being legally binding. Mercy, mercy me.
So, she raised our baby alone. Twenty years have passed, and I haven’t heard from either one again. I learned that one of my childhood misconceptions was actually true—babies do make people move away. Unloved, I endeavored into an endless ritual of retail store management and dollar store diet. That was, until one fateful day…
I was playing with myself and trying to remember the name of a 1990s one hit wonder, when I heard a knock on the door. Frightened, confused and high, I got up and opened the apartment door. It was Harold, the scruffy looking, middle-aged maintenance guy. “Found a rusty looking DVD ‘by the ventilator’”, he began. “Was wondering if it was yours”. I didn’t recognize it, but I nodded anyway. Push come to shove, I could use it as a beer coaster. “Thanks”, I remarked, snatching the disc and offering Harold absolutely nothing in return. It was a thankless job, but I was glad he did it, anyway.
I was wolfing down a bag of off-brand cheddar cheese popcorn when the knack finally knicked me. I mean, why not give the DVD a play? I had no friends. Nowhere to be. So, I stuck my finger in the disc hole—the closest I’d been to doing, y’know… something like that in years—and grabbed the remote, not even considering that I hadn’t bothered to check what the movie even was.
Then the menu screen loaded. Cheerful little, fuzzy, furry critters, of every color of the rainbow. ‘The Fraggles in: The Grass is Always Greener’. Well, I had been smoking a lot of green grass lately, so perhaps it was only fitting. The Fraggles were in their underground cavern home, and began to sing the show’s theme song:
“Dance your cares away/We’re gonna pray the gay away/Don’t let your children play/There’s a pedo in the park”. … The fuck? Okay, I’ll admit it: I burst out laughing. That was exactly my sense of humor, juvenile or not. I assume that some local college students put the thing together as some sort of inside joke among frat buddies. This… intrigued me, actually. So I kept watching.
On the Fraggles TV show, there was this farm, or ranch-like, area called ‘The Land of the Gorgs’ in which obese humanoids who would be considered to be tall to both human and fraggle alike domiciled. They lived off of radishes, but probably weren’t all too different from your everyday human family. As for the scene itself, it showed the radish patch along with a park bench, which a mostly bald gorg with gray, frizzled hair on the sides of his head was sitting. “Should we come out and play?”, one fraggle whispered. “No way, man. You know what the Trash Heap says about strangers. We’re one step away from getting fragged by a Gorg!”.
“Oh, c’mon, man—quit being such a faggle!”, the one fraggle said to another. It was typical college kid humor to a use word like that, but it still felt really wrong, hearing it from a Jim Henson puppet. The one fraggle grabbed the other by the hand, and forced him to run with him, out of the cave and straight into hostile, ‘Land of the Gorgs’ territory. “But… he’ll eat us!”.
At first, the old man on the park bench didn’t pay the two much mind. He was looking into what appeared to be a photograph, laughing to himself. “It doesn’t matter what any of us look like on the outside”, he mumbled to himself, kinda whistling his ‘s’ sounds like a tea kettle. “It’s on the inside that slowly eats us out.” He stared point blank into the camera, before pointing his index finger… toward me. Then he laughed again. “Wanna see what’s in my pocket?”, he proferred. Well, no thank you! I had an idea where this DVD might be headed, until I went to reach for my remote, and I—
I felt a zap. How… was this possible? This made less sense than a McDonald’s serving Kentucky Fried Chicken with Burger King logos on it. I reached for the remote—and I fell and hit the floor again, writhing in pain. At this point, I could hear the knob of my apartment door jiggle, and when it finally opened—it was Harold, holding some sort of antennaed device with a button on it. I raised a brow in perplexment. He removed his black-and-gray whig and went into my kitchen, turning on the faucet, and… when he returned to the living room, the old man makeup had run down his face, and the makeshift wrinkles had been removed, revealing—
No, I still had no idea who it was. But clearly, this had been some sort of disguise. The entire time I had known him. Still unable to get up, I briefly turned my attention back to the TV. What I saw was just… awful.
It was the frightened fraggle. Sort of. It was his skeleton, and then his usual, purple bodied self. He was also being zapped. It was a close-up of his face, and with every zap, that skeleton showed, his mouth’s formation contorted. He yelled in excruciating pain.
Suddenly, the sound went off, leading me to believe that the program was about to end, but no—it was closed captioning. The camera zoomed out, and they were revealed to be in a mad scientist’s lair. The closed captioning, paired with the emergence of the old man from the park, revealed the tormentor’s name to be ‘Mike’, with his last name abbreviated to a single ‘P’. “This is legal, you know.”, it read on the screen. What in the blazes was this supposed to mean?
It was at this point that it occurred to me that I was a victim of an addiction. Soda addiction, to be exact. Perhaps this program was about the warnings of addictions, whether psychological, physical, or spiritual. I assumed that I had somehow discovered the right answer, because I could suddenly feel my fingers and toes and was able to pull myself to the feet. Invigorated by this gift of new lift, I ran to the fridge and emptied out 5 2-liter bottles of mountain dew, 7 1-liters of Pepsi, 2 12-packs of Shasta, and what may as well have been the last 20 oz can of Surge in existence, for all I knew. Down the drain. Washed away. The stuff that was rotting my teeth and making me a junkie. A slave to manufactured chemicals.
I pulled a seat from the kitchen table, overcome by the emotion of this change in my life. I let out a loud sob, forgetting for the moment that the tormenter was still in my apartment. “I’m sitting on the can.”, he shouted. “Then we can talk things over… pops.” Pops? But I wasn’t—oh, wait. I got it. I totally remembered, then. In some parts of the country, ‘pop’ is slang for ‘soda’. I’m sure there’s a meaning for that, but I’m not an English teacher so I decided to head back to the living room, shut the DVD off (I could actually do it this time) and slunk back in my couch seat, hands in my pants and thinking about the nature of biochemical addiction.
Five minutes passed. Harold wasn’t making any noise. No grunting, no sounds of a toilet flushing or hands washing. Instinctively, I wanted to ask him if he was alright in there. But I didn’t. “You know, Harold.”, I began. “I’ve been thinking about the nature of biochemical addiction.”
I got a response back, so soon that it was almost like I hadn’t even finished my sentence yet. “Of course, you have…”, he said with disdain, and a hint of a sigh. “Your biochemical addiction. It’s all about you, isn’t it, Sam?”. I paused. It hadn’t ever dawned on me that I might be a selfish person, before. I offered to go back to the kitchen and hand him some sesame sticks, but he turned me down. I’m guessing he was afraid that if he opened the bathroom door, I might see his junk, or something. I’m not into looking at other men’s junk, though.
At this point, I felt kinda bored, so I put the DVD back on. There was a Gorg sitting at a kitchen table, wearing a bib that said “Kiss the cook”, and it had a picture of the rock band KISS on it. I assumed it was some sort of clever double-entendre. I munched on a sesame stick. “When’s dinner?”, the Gorg asked another Gorg who apparently wasn’t in the room. “It’s all about you, isn’t it, Gorg Jr.?”, a raspy female voice responded. I assumed that it was Gorg Jr.’s mom, or perhaps grandmom.
I assumed that the old lady would eventually come in with a plate of roast beef or a cup of minestrone soup or something, but instead, the scene jumpcutted. No transition, no anything. It went straight back to a mountainous underground villa, which I instantly recognized as the Fraggles’ cavernous domicile. The difference is that… there was no life. No fraggles, of no shape, size, race, or religion, if the fraggles even had such a thing, whatsoever. There weren’t any objects, either. No chairs, toys strewn about, cupboards—nothing. Could all of the Fraggles had gotten up and moved somewhere? But there wasn’t any other place inhabitable nearby, except for the Land of the Gorgs, and… well…
I took a bite of another sesame stick. To my sheer horror, I had hurt myself. Cut myself. I chipped a tooth. “Well, motherfucker.”, I callously stated, in control of my emotions other than the use of profanity. “It’s funny you should say that…”, the homicidal intruder mumbled from my bathroom. Well, whatever, he could go fuck himself for all I cared. I got up and knocked on the bathroom door.
“Hey, I really need to get in there. I chipped my tooth and I need to apply first aid.”
“Oh… you need to do more ‘you’ things for you?”, Harold muttered with what I could only assume was a sneer. At this point, I was beginning to get more than a little pissed off. I stomped back to the kitchen area, and tossed the sesame stick bags right into the trash. Fuckers deserved it for chipping my tooth. I’d let them go to waste instead of nourish any other human beings. I rummaged through the drawers in search of a towel or something else that I might use to staunch the bleeding from my gums, but instead I found…
Harold’s antennaed device. “Oooh”… I thought to myself, hoping that I didn’t accidentally make that pleasure sound out loud, revealing the secret of my discovery. I finally had a weapon for countering the inquisitions of my insidious intruder. I pointed the antenna right at the bathroom, lifted my index finger, let out a cackle… and pressed down.
And zapped myself.
Well, fuck me. Wouldn’t you know it? The antenna was a clever ruse to make me zap myself. Harold exclaimed an enthusiastic “Yes!”, stormed out of the bathroom door, ejected the DVD from the player, and… he shoved it in my mouth. I was helpless to protest. “Do you want to know what happened at the end of the episode, Samuel?”, Harold asked sardonically. I tried to shake my head no, but my spine was out of commission now. “I’m glad to see that you’re so eager.”, he expressed with sarcastic approval.
“The Gorgs ate the Fraggles, Sam. All of ‘em. Every last one. And now you get to eat the Fraggles, too. Just like you ate my childhood.” The fuck? I had nothing to do with this man’s childhood. I darted an objection with my eyes emoting. “Oh, don’t claim that you haven’t figured it out yet, Pops. And don’t think that you can make up for it with…”, he nonchalantly galloped into the kitchen. I hoped against hope that he would just jump out of the window and leave me alone already, but I knew that had no chance of happening. I heard the trash can lid go up, and he… he gathered the plastic tin of sesame sticks. “You thought you’d bribe me off with food, Samuel.” He leaned down, dangling a sesame stick above my mouth. Then he… he smiled. Full tooth-grinned. And laughed. Full tooth-laughed. And he chomped… away. On a sesame stick. Right in my fucking face.
“Oh, I’ll go now. Your spine should be back to normal in some days, or weeks, or months, whatever. I’m off to sell heroin to crack babies who don’t know any better. I guess that’s how life works out sometimes, without a dad.”
And with that, he left me. And my life, for good. The mysterious man, who I will never understand. Not who he was, or why he went through so much trouble to harass me and be a hindrance in my life. 576 days of shitting in a bag later, I was finally released from the rehabilitation center a new man, with feelings returned to his fingers and toes, with a new lease on life. The nurses returned my iPhone to me. I knew that I had been evicted from my apartment for missed payments in the meanwhile, but that was alright. Obamacare would’ve covered it, but I don’t do handouts. Shit happens. Hoping to put on some tunes and watch a cartoon or two, I was… greeted by some suspicious wallpaper. My phone background was… … a blue fraggle? With a blood red message…
“Check your bank account, S-man.” The fraggle had presumably written this message on a white, padded wall. Instead of a pen or a crayon or a colored pencil, though, he was holding… … well, I don’t know, but it sure looked like a piece of shit. How did he get a reddened hue out of a piece of shit? I considered texting one of my artistic-minded friends about it, but I had no friends, so I checked my bank account, and I… I let out a shrill scream of terror that may as well have shattered my spine for good, this time.
Every day. Every single day. One for each day that I had been inside of the facility, hoping to recover, and become a brand new man. There was a charge on my bank account. The same charge, same name, every single day. And it read… and I kid you not…
Overdue Child Support.