Tony Sanchez was a rather normal 12-year old boy. He liked watching baseball and eating pizza, and above all else, making new friends at other children's birthday parties.  The problem was that he didn't have very many friends, so that meant very few parties for him. He was a rather lonely little boy, so he compensated by talking to his stuffed animals... and sometimes, they talked back to him.

Now, just like any other doting parent would feel, Tony's mother was deeply concerned by her son's behavior. She kept herself awake day and night trying to deduce how she could make her son more sociable, but the talking to stuffed animals seemed to be too much of a demon for Tony to conquer.

When all seemed lost, she thought about her son's all-time favorite past-time: playing his 8-bit NES, or Nintendo Entertainment System. She knew that video games kept him happy and occupied, and helped him forget that his brother died in a freak pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey accident at his best friend's Christmas Eve bash.

So, Mrs. Sanchez bought a game entitled 'Dr. Mario' off of eBay. Nothing was suspicious about it. The price tag was somewhere around five and three-quarters dollars--not $6.66, or some other suspicious number. The cartridge was in perfectly fine outer physical shape, and the listing adequately described the game. An arcade-style action puzzler in which Super Mario dressed up in a doctor's suit and dropped pills to create color combinations to eliminate viruses. Seemed innocuous enough.

When Mrs. Sanchez allowed Tony to open the cardboard box, she expected him to squeal with delight, grab the cartridge, pop it into his game system, absentmindedly blow into the cartridge when it didn't load (all that does is damage the cart), pour alcohol into it after calling the Nintendo hotline for advice, and then, get the game goin', squealing with delight again at all the beautiful colors and control of dropping the pills down and sideways.

Instead... he screamed in horror.

"What's wrong with you!?", shouted Mrs. Sanchez. She knew her son had some sort of developmental challenge, but screaming at an NES game did not fit the disorder description.

"Sparky says no.", Tony replied. Sparky was Tony's stuffed polka-dotted aardvark, who he hugged and cherished more than almost anything else.

"What does Sparky not like about it?", Mrs. Sanchez prompted gently. She realized that being vicious with the child would probably only further persuade him that there was something horribly wrong with the experience of receiving a game cartridge.

"Sparky says children shouldn't play with pills.", Tony responded innocently.

Mrs. Sanchez paused, lifted a brow... and then smiled. "Awwwww. Tony..."

"I don't talk to strangers! I look both ways before crossing the street! And I don't take pills unless mommy says it's O.K.!"

"Mommy says it's O.K., dear. Now play. Have fun. I'm sure Sparky will have fun watching you play, too."

With that, Tony shrugged, and he did exactly what his mother expected him to do earlier. The only thing that was odd was... the alcohol. Well... not the alcohol itself actually, but... there was an unnerving feeling in the air when the q-tip applied it to the cart.

Ah well, whatever. Mrs. Sanchez hugged Tony goodbye and went to work at the club where she did pole dancing to support the family after her husband left for a repo woman (repo was his fetish.)

"It's time to pop this video game in and play the game!", Tony announced to himself, and perhaps Sparky.

Tony was going to pick 2 player game mode, but Sparky didn't want to play. He kept virus level at double zero, set speed to low, and paused at music type. He was hoping that the game would allow him to play the song "The Sign" by Ace of Base--his favorite--but the option was not available. Tony knew that fevers made you sick and that chills didn't feel so good either, but he didn't want to turn the music off. This meant that none of the music options were satisfactory to him. In his imagination, Sparky rose to his aardvarkish feet and popped in a Linkin Park cassette though, so things were still pretty O.K.

Until it happened.

Dr. Mario, with a pill in his hand. Mouth agape. Mom's word or not... this startled Tony like nothing other. "Feed us, Tony!", the virii (that's plural for virus) pleaded to Tony. It was difficult to tell what was in his mind and what wasn't.

And why in the world would the virii WANT him to feed them pills? Didn't they know that the pills were designed to erase them for good?

A textbox appeared on screen. Tony had never played Dr. Mario before, so he had no idea that this was considered abnormal. "Mama Mia! Assisted suicide falls in line with the Hippocratic Oath!", Mario offered.

Tony didn't know what suicide was. He figured Mario meant sewer side. He guessed it made sense because virii were dirty things, and maybe they lived in sewers or something and needed to get from one side to another.

"O.K... I'll do it.", Tony spoke to himself confidently. Sparky chewed his own fingernails in fear, knowing exactly what would happen next.

Two pills in. A yellow virus. Using a horizontal and a vertical drop, Tony stacked three yellow half pills in a row. The virus... died.

And there was another textbox. "You give me alcohol! I give you something that goes-a good with the alcohol! Here's your prize!". The colors of Mario's text were those of a Satanic flag, and most of the vowels in the message were replaced with pentagrams and crudely drawn ASCII-style goat's heads. But Tony had no way of knowing what that all meant.

Tony opened the cart tray of his NES.

And he screamed.

There it was.

A real life bottle of pills.

Tony freaked out. "Mom's going to KILL me! I can't let that happen!!", Tony exclaimed.

Another textbox from Super Mario himself appeared. "It's O.K., Tony. Remember-a what I said about a doctor's oath!"

I end this story without offering... the details of what happened next.

Video Edit



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