M.A.D. In The World
I shot a politician with a crossbow the day the world came to an end. My morning began simply enough. The alarm clock sounded at 3:17 a.m. I rolled over and saw two naked women in my bed. They were twins and very pretty. At first, I was concerned the alarm would wake them. Then I noticed the two of them weren’t breathing. I remembered they’d mixed uppers with downers, and that’s never a good idea. But I hate cooking for three, so it didn’t bother me at all. By 4: 43 a.m. I’d finished nineteen unfiltered cigarettes. I only smoke before I get up. Next, I put on some Velveteen Rabbit underwear and did jumping jacks to my workout room.
I shadowboxed for twenty-nine minutes while thinking about celebrity golf tournaments, black holes forming as a result of particle collisions, and children who pour salt onto slugs. I was exceptionally angry. Then I did somersaults to my kitchen.
Breakfast was ten-and-a-half organic gooseberry muffins and three lines of cocaine. I’ve been meaning to cut back on cholesterol. I halfway watched the news while digesting my food. An ugly local reporter mispronouncing pretentious words he didn’t learn in college was discussing M.A.D—mutual assured destruction. I undercooked the muffins. He whined about fail-deadly and the inevitability of worldwide devastation. Afterward, he started crying and said something about it being his final broadcast. I hate self-important pricks who state the obvious and then expect others to be impressed—especially when they’re on television. So, I kicked the T.V. off its stand and drank fifteen cups of strong coffee. I hate cappuccino.
During my shower I turned off the faucet as I was soaping up, because wasting water should be a crime. I dried off with my Bambi-decorated towel and dressed in a Kermit-green suit and Big Bird-yellow tie. Then I placed a Smurf-blue snap brim hat atop my head and laced up my custom-made Winnie the Pooh combat boots. An old girlfriend bought me the outfit. She jumped off a bridge.
I finished my bathroom routine and studied myself in the mirror. My reflection was handsome, and I felt confident about the day. I went back to the kitchen and made ten crunchy peanut butter sandwiches on toasted pumpernickel bread. Next, I grabbed my overdue library book on ethical relativism and the lost art of blind dating. Then I tucked a switchblade in my left sock and walked to the garage.
The dead twins’ car was parked next to my unicycle. It was a Pink Panther-pink Humvee, and I decided to take it instead. I stacked the sandwiches and library book on the front passenger seat and found the keys in the ignition. I then enjoyed a fresh piece of gum, started the engine, and reversed out of my driveway.
As I left my cul-de-sac and approached the interstate, I noticed a lot of cars for the hour. I switched on the radio to check the traffic report, but all I heard was a lot of frantic gibberish about first and second strikes. Eventually, one station played a soft-drink commercial. I hate carbonation.
To my right, a man driving a Bullwinkle-brown Corvette had a heavily waxed mustache. I swerved into him, and he crashed through a billboard. Then I reached for a sandwich and smashed my foot into the accelerator. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
When I got to work, I found the building empty. It was locked. I felt like dropping someone from a hot-air balloon, because I’d left a fresh pack of gum on my desk the day before. Then I saw my boss vomiting behind the dumpster. He was wearing a see-through thong and holding a half-empty liquor bottle. I sauntered up and asked for the key. He blabbered something about the end of the world and tried to kiss me. I hate kisses from drunk men wearing transparent undergarments. So, I used a tightly executed left-handed uppercut to break his nose. He fell to the ground and was bleeding a bit. The look on his face was indescribably stupid. It made me hate bosses even more.
He passed out, and I threw a brick through the front window. It shattered, and I climbed inside. I was careful not to cut myself. Then I flipped on some lights and weaved to my cubicle. As I turned on my computer, I noticed someone had opened my fresh package of gum. I considered torching the building and checked my jacket for a lighter.
When I got online, there was a crisis countdown headline. It concerned a payload and receiving it within eight hours. Yawning, I decided to do seven lines on my keyboard. Then I made two pots of strong coffee. I swallowed eleven cups, urinated eight times, and updated software for two hours and thirteen minutes. At 10:39 a.m. I munched an atomic fireball and decided to leave. I left a note about the broken glass, set all the trash cans on fire, and climbed out the window frame.
Except for my boss, the parking lot was empty. He was snoring and covered in puke. I hate lazy people. So, I stomped on his head. Then I noticed some scuffs on my boots and got depressed. As I started the dead twins’ Humvee, I thought about the seventy-seven cans of shoe polish in my pantry. Next, I enjoyed a fresh piece of gum and sped off.
I decided to take the long way home, through the city, so I could complete some errands. The traffic was even worse than usual, and a lot of cars had luggage and camping supplies strapped to their roofs. I hate people who take sudden vacations. So, I calmed myself with three sandwiches and imagined cutting their brake lines.
There were many discourteous criminals creeping around the streets and looting shops. I ran over twenty-six of them. They didn’t seem happy. Then I decided to go shopping.
I pulled into a grocery store parking lot and checked the dead twins’ Humvee for cash. I found some hundreds in a cup-holder and a chrome-plated magnum in the glove box. I tucked the pistol in my waistband and opened the driver’s door. Once outside, I saw some kids with zits chasing after a well-known criminal defense attorney. So, I shot the lawyer through his ankles and gave the kids money for acne medication. They looked kind of scared. Then I wandered into the store, thinking about what I needed: fresh packages of gum, imported coffee beans, atomic fireballs, condoms, organic gooseberries, and a toilet plunger.
The store was empty except for a homeless woman in the toiletries aisle. She appeared confused while I explained why I hate the 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioners. The radio in her rusted shopping cart was going on about panic in Russia and China. The report made me hungry for borscht and stir-fry, so I added beets and rice to my list. When I was finished shopping, I left a hundred dollars on a countertop, along with a note about a spill on the automotive aisle.
Back in the parking lot, I put my groceries down and shadowboxed for twenty-five minutes. I thought about cell phone ear pieces, The Drake Equation, and adults who put mayonnaise on hot dogs. I was markedly discontent.
As I got into the dead twins’ Humvee, I remembered the overdue book. So, I did five lines on the dashboard and raced up the street to the library. I drove over ninety-nine parking meters before I rolled to a stop. Then I noticed a lone baby turtle, sunning itself alongside the road. She was beautiful. Thirty-one people nearly stepped on her. My fists delivered jabs and concussions. Afterward, I stroked her shell. Then I eased her into my left pants pocket. I enjoyed a fresh piece of gum, palmed the book, and jogged up the hill.
Besides a single librarian who was too short and had long hair, the library was vacant.
I asked her where to find an article on aggressive pacifism for the vegetarian pugilist. She just screamed about Armageddon. I thought some cocaine might help her, but after a few lines she began overturning bookshelves. Her shirt was embroidered with puffy tigers, and I decided to adopt a kitten.
When I inquired about the way to the animal shelter, she pointed to the Dewey decimal system. I hate impromptu nonsense. So, I popped her in the face with a copy of the Divine Comedy. She fell down. Then I noticed I’d gotten a paper cut and stomped on her head. The communal coffee pots were full but switched off. I guzzled ten cups, cold, in sixteen minutes. Next, I feasted on four atomic fireballs and urinated. I left one hundred dollars for the overdue fine, along with a note concerning a torn magazine.
My next stop was the animal shelter, but I needed to know how to get there. I approached a vagrant by a crosswalk and traded my organic gooseberries for directions. As I was driving away, I looked in my rear-view mirror and witnessed him rubbing them on his genitals. Abusing produce should be a crime. So, I backed up and used a crisp left hook to crack a few of his ribs. He looked rather uncomfortable.
When I got to the shelter, I found the entrance secured. The hours were posted on the door, and I saw they should have been open by eight a.m. That made them four hours and twenty-two minutes late. I hate unpunctual people. So, I thought about driving through the walls. Then I cupped my hands on the glass. I could see some employees cowering like blind ferrets. I yelled as loud as I could and banged on the windows, but they ignored me. Then one of them flipped me off. I took it as an insult. Three more sandwiches calmed me down. After the snack, I drove the dead twins’ Humvee through the front doors. It surprised them. They were complaining about a launch, and one man called me insane. I hate judgmental people. So, I removed the switchblade from my sock and stuck it through his left shin. Four sharp right crosses knocked out the rest of them. I chugged their leftover coffee.
Next, I strode into the kennel. The smell made me want to pour sixty-one gallons of hydrochloric acid over the manager’s kneecaps. I left a threatening note, along with a hundred dollars, to cover the adoption fee. Afterward, I found a kitten. He was orange and very cute. I named him Frederick. Then I carried him up front, shot an air hole in the trunk lid, and lowered him inside. I enjoyed a fresh piece of gum, backed out of the building, and headed home.
With the exception of a few people lying on the sidewalks, the streets were barren. I stopped to inspect their shoes. One man was still alive. I recognized him as the ugly news reporter from T.V. Then I noticed his loafers were badly scratched. So, I polished them with a dirty handkerchief, urinated, took his watch, and stomped on his head.
Three blocks from my house the engine started smoking. Yawning, I pulled over and got out. I shadowboxed for eighteen minutes. I thought about automobile rims that spin, the term “elegant” in reference to mathematics, and grown men who wear bow ties. I was monumentally annoyed. When finished, I calmed down with my last two sandwiches. Then I got Frederick from the trunk, retrieved the groceries from the back seat, and used the rest of my bullets on the dead twins’ Pink Panther-pink Humvee. It exploded.
I cut through someone’s backyard and found a family floating face-down in their swimming pool. The water wasn’t properly maintained, and I saw some green algae. I hate green algae. So, I placed Frederick on my left shoulder and put the groceries down. I treated the pool with some chemicals from their shed and then took a rest in a lawn chair. I chewed three atomic fireballs. They were spicy, and I thought about taking a swim. But Frederick meowed, and I felt he wanted to watch a movie. When I picked up my purchases, the paper sacks ripped, and I had to carry everything in my arms.
Two blocks from home I stopped at a movie store and was glad to find it open.
There were two teenagers having unprotected sex in the adult section, and I scolded them for their irresponsible behavior. They were perplexed and said that everything would be over in a few hours. I asked if they wanted to pet Frederick and then offered them some cocaine. Their eyes widened, and they said they’d love some, but I laughed and threw them my condoms instead. Then I pocketed my favorite film, “Milo and Otis,” and ambled to the counter. There were sweetened coffee drinks on display. I hate sweetened coffee drinks. So, I consumed only six of them. Next, I did four lines off the cash register. I left a hundred dollars for the movie, along with a note suggesting a cleanup in the adult section.
There was a tall mirror by the exit. I saw a Kermit-green suit and Big Bird-yellow tie. My head sported a Smurf-blue snap brim hat. There was a chrome-plated magnum tucked in my waist band. Winnie the Pooh combat boots covered my feet. I had an orange kitten on my shoulder. In my right arm I held a new toilet plunger, fresh packages of gum, and imported coffee beans. In my left arm I held atomic fireballs, rice, and beets. Then I strolled home.
My neighborhood felt like a ghost town, but there were people rolling around on their lawns. It looked like some of them had shot each other and others had shot themselves. Their bodies were crushing insects, and that should be a crime. So, I stomped on their heads, urinated, and then meandered to my back yard. I opened my sliding glass door and went to check on the twins. They were still dead.
Thinking Frederick might be thirsty, I prepared him a bowl of whipped strawberry soy milk with carob shavings. He licked it twice and then pooped on the floor.
Suddenly, I noticed the neighbor’s Rottweiler had trotted into my living room. He growled at Frederick and threatened to steal his beverage. I sprinted to the hall closet and snatched my competition crossbow. Then I went back to the living room and loaded it with an arrow. Frederick looked like a brave appetizer. As I steadied my aim, my feet slipped on the poop, and I flew sideways across the room. I squeezed the trigger and the arrow flew out the open doorway. The Rottweiler took off, and I heard a thump and a groan, followed by a gurgling sound. I hate irritating noises.
I hustled to my patio and found my neighbor with an arrow through his neck. He was on his back, lying on my newly planted grass. His name was Todd, and he appeared a little flushed. I helped him remove the arrow, and he didn’t even thank me. Then I told him to crawl home. But he was a politician and didn’t listen very well. He just made the gurgling sound. I thought he might be upset, and the last thing I wanted was a lawsuit. So, I went back inside and grabbed “Milo and Otis” and my new toilet plunger.
Back on the patio, I gave him the movie in exchange for his promise to refrain from suing me. I explained the plot and suggested he might one day show the film to his grandchildren, if, that was, he ever got married. He only gurgled. I felt he was challenging me. So, I placed the plunger over his face. He didn’t seem to like it.
When he stopped moving, I put him in my recycling bin and went to make some borscht, stir fry, and sandwiches. After I was finished, I set a place at the table for Frederick, and we enjoyed several helpings. For dessert, I had eight cups of strong coffee, just as many lines, and a fresh piece of gum. Then I looked at the ugly reporter’s watch and saw it was 4:21 p.m.
About that time, I remembered the bomb shelter. My dead politician neighbor had mentioned it to me once before—before the plunger incident. He said it was in his basement. So, I removed the fifty-three padlocks from my titanium pantry door, and packed only the essentials: two trash bags of fresh gum, one trash bag each of atomic fireballs and imported coffee beans, four cartons of unfiltered cigarettes, ten loaves of toasted pumpernickel bread, five jars of crunchy peanut butter, thirty-eight pounds of cocaine, a manual on nihilistic fatalism and indefinite fasting, and a clean pair of Velveteen Rabbit underwear. Next, I put Frederick on my shoulder, got a firm grip on my supplies, and trudged next door.
The bomb shelter wasn’t hard to find. I hated the decorations. There were 107 sketches of mentally challenged albino midget transvestites, nude and playing hopscotch. I was ready for the world to end. But, when I stretched out my legs, I noticed the scuffs on my boots. I realized I’d forgotten my shoe polish and thought I might get depressed. Then Frederick purred to remind me of the baby turtle. I took her from my pocket, kissed her shell, and named her Anastasia. She curled up with Frederick and fell asleep. Smiling, I forgot about the polish.
Eleven minutes and fifty-nine seconds later, I sucked an atomic fireball. It was very hot, and I started shadowboxing. I thought about air pumps in tennis shoes, the Little Albert Experiment, and people who idolize street mimes. I was profoundly mad. Then there was a tremendous boom from above. I hate tremendous booms…
Copyright ©2008 Jon Neralich