We woke up in the kitchen screaming, “How the hell did this shit happen?” But that was just to fool any nosy neighbors who would later be questioned by police. We knew. We knew exactly how it had happened.
It all started two weeks ago when I won second prize in that beauty contest. Or that’s what I was supposed to have done anyway. The fix was in. Everybody betting was about to lose a ton of money—except for Jerry Bartowski who had bet the house that I would finish second, and who was paying me to do just that. As always though, I got greedy.
Instead of being on stage to deliver the perfect second-place performance, complete with a cryptic one-word response to the judge’s question, “What is your greatest aspiration in life?” I was performing a back-alley reconstructive soul surgery in exchange for one cup of liquid gold from nine pounds worth of pageant trophies. Jerry was pretty pissed and I had to give him all my gold.
Maybe this started further back than just two weeks ago. I remember when soul surgeries were covered by insurance. This used to be America. How was I ever stupid enough to believe I’d make a living on an incorporeal surgeon’s salary? Four years of spectral medical school, two years as a Sorcerer’s apprentice, I had barely started working 9-to-5 just to stay alive when Congress outlawed all nonphysical surgeries.
Everywhere I looked there were signs saying, “soul not for sale.” You don’t have to be an incorporeal surgeon to know that without a fresh supply of souls—you’re out of a job. Times were tough. I looked at my Doctor of Spectral Medicine degree one last time. “Probably won’t make no money off this,” I thought as I crumbled the diploma into a ball and tossed it in the garbage can fire I used to heat my studio, “Oh well.”
The bills began to pile up. I lost the apartment and checked into a haunted hotel. It looked okay from the outside, but NONE of the televisions worked and all the rooms were located off one long-ass hallway, so it was super loud. Plus most of the tenants were Beetlejuices or dressed up like the characters in Dead Presidents. I had to get out of there.
I rode my banana-seat bicycle across town and got a job at the roller rink inside of an old American Apparel store. That’s where I first met Jerry. He liked to say he was “flawless” because he was really great at verbal irony. He took me out to Coney Island for the day and then we got drunk on the beach. Besides getting drunk, our two favorite beach activities were horizontally vogueing in the mouth of the waves and covering our heads with wet t-shirts. Later that night he took me to an underground hardcore punk club where human beings were able to exist at a variety of speeds.
Anyway, I’m getting away from myself. What happened last night is that I was temporarily swept into a frenzy after a paparazzi bulb flash triggered my LightRage. I should mention, I developed a condition wherein claps of light drive me into frenzies. It was during my stay at that haunted hotel and that’s all I care to discuss regarding the matter.
You might be surprised to hear that as a hustler/beauty pageant non-winner/semi-retired spectral surgeon I’m forced to ride only in limos for fear of kidnappings. Blame my friendship with Jerry. Jerry’s famous from his former career as a televangelist, which explains both why people would try to kidnap his friends for ransom and the paparazzi who are constantly hounding him.
Anyway, during the blitz of my LightRage I murdered Jerry by crushing his skull in the partition of my limousine. Or at least I thought it was Jerry. Unfortunately, I had hallucinated some of the incident and confused Jerry’s head with my leftover Subway sandwich. Honestly, if you knew what Jerry looks like, you’d see why this really isn’t a stretch.
I was reeling. Sliding in and out of reality and mourning the loss of either Jerry or my sandwich. Jerry or my sandwich, whoever was not dead, walked me into my apartment. We drank a ton of vanilla wine (a drink I invented which contains neither wine nor vanilla) and passed out on the kitchen floor.
When I woke up I saw Jerry alive and hungover. I scanned the room. A small fire in the recycling bin, a purple cat, some old doorknobs strewn around, and seven My Buddy dolls dressed in tuxedos. Everything seemed to be in order. Then my eye hit my Subway sandwich. It just laid there, motionless. That’s when I began to scream.