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Everybody loves raymond was a great show, but it actually had a lot of messed up moments that not a lot of people know about. I myself work at olive garden 40 hours a week. While I spend most weekends serving up piping hot pepperoni pizzas and delicious garlic butter breadsticks, I was recently forced to quit my job, banned from all future Olive Garden employment opportunities and warned that if I ever go anywhere near Ray Romano again, I’ll be getting served more than just meatballs aplenty and delicious complimentary Andes mints.

I was bussing tables when the manager told me to go into the back and zip up because my fly was down and restaurant patrons could see my pencils. I looked across the restaurant when who did I see… Ray Romano! Star of Everybody Loves Raymond! At my olive garden! I began to cry and shake because my childhood hero was in the restaurant. I shuddered when I noticed he was leering at me, and he dragged his index finger across his neck, and mouthed the words “I’m going to fucking kill you, Deborah.”

As the legend goes, Ray Romano always orders the Tour of Italy. Instead of touring Italy, you are instead given three delicious microwaved Italian-american meals. It was truly a tour of Italy. Chicken parmesan, alfredo sauce and lasagna. All served up hot and fresh, courtesy of the olive garden. Except today was different. Someone had put a pubic hair in Raymond’s tour of Italy. When the manager asked how he knew it was a pubic hair, Raymond claimed he just knew, and if you kept asking questions he’d punch you in the ballsackmuffins. He complained that this wasn’t real Italian cuisine, and promptly left. We later found out that it wasn’t ray romano at all, but a paid ray romano impersonator.

Instead of leaving a tip, he left me a VHS tape of Everybody Loves Raymond. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Oh great. A VHS tape. I mean the last 60 fucking times this happened, things got a little messed up. But this time, things were gonna be different. Don’t ask me how. We’ll both find out. I don’t know either at this point, but that isn’t stopping me. I went home, dusted off the VHS tape player, made myself a baker’s dozen of fresh muffins, did an excited cartwheel into the VHS room and put on a classic tv show, everybody loves Raymond. My tip. And what a tip it was. Here’s a tip: stop listening/reading this if you want to claim your mortal sanity, because you’re going to walk out of this more damaged than when you came in.

The episode didn’t start as normal. The house was dark and frank barone, father of Raymond, was sitting on the couch. He’s staring outward, at no one in particular. What really concerned me was what he said. His eyes were closed. He opened them, and looked off into space. “You know, I envy you, your youth. Go out, get laid. ‘Cos in the end, we’re all fucked. More or less.” I had no idea what he was talking about, and the word “fuck” wasn’t even bleeped. Then Raymond walked in, except he had the head of a praying mantis. You hear weird white static noise and chittering emenating from his teeth that radiate out of his mantis head. He has a human body, but still. It was kind of disturbing. The animatronics on the mantis head were really well done. If they were animatronics.

He goes over to the fridge and opens it, revealing he’s cut off all of the faces of the other cast members and glued them to the fridge.

I’m sorry I just can’t watch this. I shut the tape off. I picked up my phone and called my boss, the boss of the Olive Garden where I work. I told them that the ray romano impersonator had given me a very offensive tape of an episode of the show. I wasn’t sure how he’d gotten the tape. “What are you talking about?” My boss said. “Everybody Loves Raymond!” He immediately shut the phone off and disconnected the call. It wasn’t Raymond. It was a Raymond impersonator.

The next morning, I went bright and early to the olive garden to start working. But I went in a little earlier than usual because I wanted to have a word or two with my boss.

What I saw in that restaurant shocked me to my very core. Oh, I got my tour of Italy that morning. In the form of creepy crawly insects! Spiders, worms, various beetles, butterflies, ants and scorpions were being baked into the lasagna! I screamed. “What’s the matter, Deborah?” My boss smiled at me. My name wasn’t Deborah. “Who comes to a picnic never invited?” He smiled wider. “Ants!” He yelled, pouring ants into the microwaved chicken parmesan. “How about I take this face mask off?” He took the mask off, revealing that he was Raymond. He had been wearing a shitty Halloween mask that he’d purchased at a costume store for the past eight years I’d been working here. “What letter can hurt you if you get too close?!” He sneered. He threw a bee at me, stinger first, but it was dead. “A bee!” He yelled. But I already knew it was a bee based on the joke.

“What do you call a fly without wings?!” Raymond hissed venomously. “A walk?” I guessed. “A walk!” he yelled, completely ignoring my correct response. I went over to his fucking laptop and saw that he had a goddamn jokes webpage open and he was just reading them out loud. “Fuck you Raymond.” I said. “Everybody doesn’t love you. You’re putting insects in the olive garden food and I don’t think that’s cool. I dislike you, if you are Raymond.” I said.

I ran out into the dining area and started pulling the food out of people’s mouths. I grabbed an old woman’s tortellini and threw it on the floor. “Don’t eat it!” I yelled. “It’s full of insects! The olive garden is full of insects!” I screamed. Raymond walked out and smiled at me. “What are you talking about?” He said. “We at the olive garden use only the finest Italian ingredients, made from SCRATCH!” He took out a pincer claw instead of a hand and scratched me, drawing blood.

All of a sudden Raymond fell on the floor. Some people helped him onto a table and he laid backwards. He began to groan and heave in pain. “One thing you should know about insects…” He grunted. “We reproduce…asexually!” He yelled. That wasn’t true at all. Regardless, he pushed a tiny blood Raymond fetus out of his reproductive vent as various people at the restaurant began to scream in horror. The little insect Raymond baby leered up at me with blood red, demonic eyes. The little harlequin fetus smiled at me. It had insect wings, pincers and meaty claws. I left the restaurant.

I strongly disliked Raymond now. Not just the death threats or the insects in the Italian cuisine, the messed up tape or the asexual insect birth of baby Raymond the 2nd. I looked at the VHS tape. This wasn’t everybody loves Raymond. It was “everybody loves gray man.” Regardless, I was uncomfortable from the whole thing and I needed to find a job before my landlord evicted me.

That cut on my arm from where Raymond had scratched me was really starting to hurt. It had made a bloody vent that was pulsing with some weird greenish goo. This wasn’t good. I saw on the news that my neighborhood strip mall was under quarantine from suspicion of insects. If only they knew. I woke up the next day chafing from pain from the cuts and abrasions. The skin of my face was starting to peel off. It was really starting to hurt. I went and got the VHS tape out of the garbage because I needed to know what the hell was going on. I fast forwarded to the end and saw twenty six raymonds with dilated pupils eating calzone. I screamed and ran into the bathroom. My skin… was slipping off. I was…Raymond. “No!” I screamed. “Noooo!” I screamed again. I was turning into an Italian American comedian right before my fucking eyes. It was then that I noticed the spider at my window, speaking at a frequency only I could hear. “What’s the matter!?” It whispered. “Everybody Loves Raymond!” I screamed.

I couldn’t drive my car because my bones were fragile and paper thin. I had to run to the hospital, but it was easy because I had the fucking legs of a praying mantis or some shit (I don’t know google it.) I stumbled into the hospital emergency room, crying. “Help me!” I screamed. “I’m turning into an Italian American comedian!” I suddenly realized that I smelled like onions. Dr. Ray Romano walked in with a stethoscope. “What’s the matter, ray?” Ray said. “We’re all ray now.” I looked into the waiting room, horrified. 237 ray romanos were all sitting there. Some had moth wings, others were shedding several layers of skin. One was even a spider. “I told you, everybody loves us!” The spider smiled.

“If only you could love yourself.” The doctor said. “My diagnosis: a broken heart.” This wasn’t a real medical procedure.

I ran out into the fields, in an attempt to leave town. By my calculations, six billion infected ray romanos asexually producing at a rate of twelve ray romanos per day would be equivocal to 26280000000000 ray romanos per year. That was more raymonds than the entire state of texas combined.

I didn’t want to be Raymond. I wanted to be me. I got out a kitchen knife and sliced my own face off. It was extremely painful. It’s like cutting an avocado except instead of fatty avocado flesh, there’s blood, muscle tissue and sinew. I threw my Raymond face in the garbage and looked at my pulsing, scarred blood face underneath.

I never looked so beautiful. I smiled at myself in the mirror. I was like a realistic Halloween costume come to life!

I put on a tuxedo and waited for the mothership to arrive. None of these people were actually Raymond. They were just a copy of a copy of a copy. A false reproduction of the original. That’s what happens when you copy someone else. It always ends up being inferior to the one that came first.

According to the local news, the insect sample from Mars was infected. The aliens had inferred, through transmission broadcasts, that the titular star of the program “everybody loves Raymond” would be the most likeable and affable individual to clone from their host virus.

At 2 AM several scorpions and insects of the hierarchy Lepidoptera ordered us, at gunpoint, to leave our homes. We were led into the woods toward the mothership, a massive glowing olive garden made of liquid titanium with bendable poles that float because they disrupt space time. My boss was there, Raymond. With baby Raymond in a carriage. His extended family ray was there, and they were all eating Italian food. Not homemade Italian food, but mass-produced, heartless, microwaved Italian food that was still cold in the center. And full of worms and snails.

Supposedly, everybody loves Raymond, but I wasn’t Raymond. I was me. The endless Raymond clones began to lurch toward me, the only individual in the group. The skeleton man in a tuxedo who wanted so much to be different that he cut his own fucking face off with a knife.

The doors of the olive garden opened and a bright beam of light brighter than a thousand suns hit me in the eyes. The imprinted face of the mother insect was glued to the back of my retinas. I now felt heavy and nauseous. The insect queen began stripping off their fleshy disheveled Raysuits and digesting their carbon into beams of energy to fuel the mothership olive garden.

It was then that I heard gunshots as NASA agents came running through the forest. The olive garden exploded, sending molten hot breadstick-shaped plasma across the forest, immolating everything in the immediate area. Now I’ll admit, the breadsticks are quite good. They shot the raymonds in the face. Many began to molt or produce larvae. I recall a centipede Ray trying to steal my wallet.

They killed Ray, all the Rays, but I wasn’t Ray. No, the faceless bloody man in a tuxedo just sat there in a cheap plastic lawn chair, smiling away. One of the Ray Romano’s lay on the floor, bloody with a bullet hole in his head. She looked me right in the eye and said “I don’t love you.” I was ok with that, I mean if the only way to be loved is to be like everybody else, I don’t want to be loved. Conformity is a disease of the soul, and if you’re not careful, you might wake up one day and look in the mirror and see a face you don’t even recognize. But not you, no, they’ll never buy or sell you. You’re genuine. It’s one thing to be loved, but to be loved for what you truly are is something else entirely.

I’ll tell you one thing: NASA doesn’t fuck around. Try googling any of this, and nothing will come up. They even use scrambling tactics to make it seem like (REDACTED) is off the map. They’ll tell you Mars has water. That it has life. That it can support insects in a network of underground tunnels. But they won’t tell you about the floating fucking olive garden and mutating insect ray clones that populate the catacomb of its hollow innards. Don’t believe me? Google “face on Mars.” That’s him, that’s ray, and everybody loves him. But not me. I might even go as far as to say I hate Raymond.

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