Hey. Hey there. Listen up. Listen good. I have something I've gotta share with ya. Why you? Because you're here. Lend me your ear. Thank you. I promise you'll be rewarded in the afterlife, after I fucking kill you. But first: let me tell you my story.
Do you remember the show 'Fawlty Towers'? Odds are you don't, unless you're British and shit yourself while waiting for your dole funds to direct deposit into your social security account. Or if you're Scottish. Though they just voted to stay a part of Britain. Fish and chips, bangers and mash. Finger fuckin' good, just like the colonel promised before he died of polio. Anyway, it starred John Cleese of Monty Python fame as a super aggressive hotel owner slash manager who hates his life, his wife, his foreign Spanish helper, and anyone and everyone else in sight. Sounds an awful lot like my dad. Mr. Basil Fawlty fucks up constantly, lies about fucking up, and when he gets caught, he blames his wife for all of his life's problems, no matter how big or small. Sounds an awful lot like my dad.
So, about eight months ago, I bought a VHS collection of Fawlty Towers at a local yardsale. This assortment of television viewing pleasure encompassed 3 tapes, which contained the series' entire 12-episode run... plus an episode I had never seen or even heard about before. I bought them off a fat toothless man who I affectionately refer to as 'Chesterton', after my now deceased cat. The man probably had a name, but I'd rather pretend he was a cat, to fill the hole in my heart Chesterton left me after a comedic piano tragically fell on top of him. It was sadly ironic that the piano was made of catgut. You just can't make this stuff up.
The episode began as normal. Someone rearranged the letters of "Fawlty Towers" on the sign outside of the hotel, which is a run-on gag in the series. My heart skipped a beat when I read aloud what the letters spelled out this time. "The Government Caused 9/11", I uttered. Strange. I guess they had spare letters for the other letters in the alphabet after all. I also guess it's weird that a show that aired decades before 9/11 referenced it, but that actually didn't cross my mind at the time.
The initial footage of the hotel lobby was... well, it was empty. The lights were off, and there was no noise. No characters, no audience effects, nothing. At first I thought there was a problem with my tape, so I took out my gun and shot my television. My TV was broken at this point, but that was O.K. because I also had a spare and a VCR in my bathroom and I really needed to take a shit. I slid my pants down and grabbed a tub of Vaseline as I slid the tape back in.
The hotel was still dark. It remained this way for about 4 minutes, 17 seconds, and 34.59 milliseconds. The silence suddenly broke when the Spanish helper named Manuel burst into the room with tears streaming down his face. He looked morbidly depressed, like a man who was just told that his son has a bizarre fetish. Reminds me of my relationship with my dad.
Anyway, Manuel ran around blurting "MEESTER FAWLTY, MEESTER FAWLTY!!!" in his thick Spanish accent, but Mr. Fawlty was nowhere in sight. Since I was an intern for a hotel once, I knew exactly what Manuel would do next: he rang the front desk bell, of course.
This worked, and maybe it worked a little bit too well. Not only did Basil Fawlty storm out of his office, but he was visibly pissed, with slanty English eyebrows and a vein popping out of his neck. It was like he could murder someone. And I had a feeling he was going to murder someone.
What happened next wasn't a murder, but it sent a chill so deep and frozen down my spine that I realized what Frosty the Snowman would feel like if he was a real person.
"You Spanish Bitch Whop Dick Dego! This better be important!"
"Eet, eet is meester Fawlty! The health inspeector ees back, and he leeft me with a meesage!"
"Uh oh.", I thought. In the last episode of Fawlty Towers that aired, a health inspector came at a most inopportune time. The Fawlty Towers crew was trying to hide a rat, but it ended up in the festive dessert tray that they ultimately offered to the inspector himself! I assumed that they shut the hotel down, because what inspector in his right mind would allow such a mickey mouse operation to continue running? Apparently... there was actually much more to it than that.
"Give me that, you...!"... Basil gnashed, before saying the n-word. This wasn't the first time they said the n-word on that show, but I still felt horrified and offended. He ripped what appeared to be an envelope out of Manuel's hand. The camera briefly zoomed in on the envelope--it was really annoying because the picture only lasted for, like, half a second before it zoomed back out.
I guess that was supposed to be cryptic, but it was actually pretty annoying. When I rewound the tape and paused at the right moment, I noticed ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic letters on the envelope. ... Well, alright then.
Basil read the letter aloud.
"Dear Mr. Basil Fawlty,
I had the most unpleasant time during my hotel stay. Not only did you fail to remove the dead birds from the roof, but there was a mouse in the house!"
Basil sighed, closed his eyes, and made crying noises. The audience laughed, and then I think I heard someone fart. And then it was a blend of both laughter and crying. This was most unusual.
"Anyway: I could close you down, sure. But I would rather give you a choice. A... Sophie's Choice."
Basil gasped... and so did I. You don't have to have a degree in English, or read books--which I don't--in order to understand what this all meant. Basil would have to kill somebody if he wanted to keep his hotel.
But this still didn't make any sense at all! Why would there be a Fawlty Towers episode in which the main character had to... kill a member of his staff?
Basil laughed. It was a nervous laugh, and not at all unlike what one might expect from a madman. Basil always was a madman on the show, so in and of itself that wasn't too scary. Sounds an awful lot like my dad.
"It doesn't take a Churchill to figure this one out.", he hissed at Manuel.
Thinking on his feet, Fawlty broke a glass panel and removed a fire extinguisher! He was going to smash it against Manuel's disheveledly Spanish face! Manuel let out a shriek of horror as he ran upstairs. ... Which was a very stupid decision, given that that meant he no longer had a way out.
Cleverly, Manuel ran into the room Mr. Fawlty and his wife live in. Mrs. Fawlty was present, and given that she was generally more sympathetic to the Spanish servant man than to her autistic husband, this was a good omen for Manuel. As usual, she was smoking a fag. It means cigarette in Britain.
"What is with all the racket, Manuel? Is my husband thinking we're at war with the Spanish again?"
"No, meeses Fawlty! He's trying to keel me!"
Surely enough, Basil ran in, fire extinguisher in hand. Manuel shrieked so loudly that I was surprised that it could fit into the spectrum of human hearing. Manuel burst into tears again, quickly opened the window, and put one leg over the window sill. Rather than face certain death at Basil Fawlty's hands, it appeared that he was choosing suicide.
"Manuel!", Basil began. He let out a loud sigh before continuing. "... Did you know that a pez dispenser can pleasure a woman as well as a finger can, if you tie it like a shoelace when you shove it in? If you're having problems tieing a knot, try using your finger. At least that's what grandmum said, before I got married to a fat bitch named Sybil who spends all day eating Americanized food and masturbating, rubbing chicken grease all over her vuhjayjay and clit. But that's not important. At least not right now..."
Mr. Fawlty never used such profane language on the show. Sybil just kinda shrugged like she was used to it, and took another puff on her faggot.
"What I mean to say is... happy Halloween, Manuel."
Manuel let out a lengthy gasp. Could it have all just been a practical joke? "You mean...", he whispered.
"Yes, Manuel! And to all of the folks at home, Happy Halloween from Fawlty Towers!"
Wow: after all that confusion, it seemed that this whole thing was just a ruse. This was actually just a long lost, unaired Halloween episode of Fawlty Towers! Manuel stepped back from the window, and smiled. He extended his hand to Basil for a handshake. I exhaled in relief. It seemed like things were all going to be O.K.
Basil smiled back. He smiled real wide, real toothy-like. I mean... he smiled really, really wide. And then he smiled some more, like he does when he's really, really angry. He pranked Manuel, alright... but not in the way he had so recently suggested.
Basil lifted the fire extinguisher, and with full force, smacked it against Manuel's forehead. As Manuel's face split open and I witnessed more gore than any sitcom had ever showed in the history of television, I bent over my knees and cried, puking in front of my toilet.
Reminds me of my dad.