Hello there, whoever's reading this. I am an Asian immigrant (of sorts), with no food and no home. When I was 13 my mom and dad kicked me out for not being a doctor yet, and after erecting a raft made out of popsicle sticks and gauze I ended up in America. The Land of the Free. And the Home of the Whopper. Anyway, after arriving in California and receiving amnesty from Governor Reagan, I aimed to begin a new life. One far different from what my parents, and my grandfather, wanted for me.
My grandfather... well, it all had to do with World War II. You might think it all started over the Japanese attacking Pearl Harbor, but no, that actually isn't true at all. It had to do with a film reel, which was eventually translated to the VHS tape format in the 1970s. You see, the United States government encouraged its public to approve of entrance into the second great war by showing propaganda cartoons in which we Japanese folk were portrayed as... well, you know, racial stereotypes and such? If you're sensitive I recommend plugging your ears with your fingers or some wires or a coax cable or whatever they're called. *Sigh*... okay, here we go.
They used to depict us as having giant teeth and large eyes and smelling really bad and never showering and not speaking English really well and thinking and behaving like... hormonal Droopy Dogs humping God's leg, or something. Again, I don't approve of any of those stereotypes, and all that has nothing to do with me or my granddad, so whatever.
You can take the biscuits out of your ears now, if you were plugging them. I hope they're nice and moist.
My grandfather held a high rank in the Japanese military: as for what it was, I am not allowed to say. His birth name was Hi-Li Realisti-gor. My father was Hi-Li Realisti-gor Jr., and I am Hi-Li Realisti-gor III. When my father knew I was going to raft to America in disgrace, he offered the tape to me as a farewell present. He let me in on grandfather-san's little secret while he was at it, too... that President Roosevelt sent it to him as a taunt, which is ultimately what did cause Pearl Harbor. As a strike. In revenge. My ancestors were offended by a Popeye the Sailor Man VHS tape, so they responded with force. C'est la vie.
Anyway, I should talk more about this 'lost episode' of sorts, if you will. The writing on the side of the tape read 'The Lost Episode of Popeye the Sailor Man.' I sold my electric blanket and homeless person beanie hat for a VCR because I figured if I was going to die I may as well learn what my heritage was and what really caused World War II. I found a power outlet in the subway area near City Hall, and a young teenage man I knew lent me a TV in return for me not sharing with the world that he's heavily into bondage.
(By the way, I don't know where the cables came from. I just knew that they worked. Probably a little too well...)
The cartoon started with the usual instrumental-only Popeye the Sailor Man theme song. Instead of a production logo or anything like that, there was a Felix the Cat look-alike with the name 'Chesterton' written underneath it in what looked like some sort of juvenile font. I guess this would be no big deal if not for the fact that the name was in blood-red coloring, while the rest of the tape was in black and white. Clearly there was something wrong about this tape. Disturbingly, this image and coloring was followed by the sound of a loud, disheveled meowing by the cat, and what appeared to be a... micropenis was... well, I don't wanna say it, but it was awfully close to the cat's unmentionables. It really, really gross. Yeuck!!!
A... after the intro, Popeye the Sailor Man was depicted in what appeared to be a 1920s or 30s mental hospital, and wearing a straight jacket. He had a horrible frown on his face and was receiving shock treatment for reasons unknown. I do not recall Popeye the Sailor Man being ill, but perhaps the funny shape of his head and arms was because he had hidden tumors or ulcers or something. Hmm... that's pretty sad.
The doctors shook their heads 'no' and left, which was odd because there was no sound anymore and Popeye was just kinda standing there with one of his eyes bulging out as usual. I thought I could see Popeye the Sailor Man crying after the doctors mysteriously floated out the doors with no legs (I assumed this was just shitty animation), but there was actually a single teardrop tattooed under his smaller eye. It seemed like he was far ahead of the times. I mean, I'd share a burger at Hot Topic at the San Diego Mall with him. (We could go to the As I Asphyxiate Contently concert together and get high off of Pabst Blue Ribbon. *Sigh*... anyway) He started singing in his regular cartoon voice:
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man
I have manic depression
I can't get out of bed
I'm fucked up in the head
I'm Fuck Me the Sailor Man
And instead of his corncob pipe doing its usual hooting afterward, it anthropomorphically held up a cartoon sign with an arrow that simply stated 'Help.', with the number 576 crudely drawn on it like it was written in chicken scratch. Very strange.
Popeye then kicked a razor out from under his bed, and used his toes to cut open his straightjacket. That was amazing, but what happened next was really disgusting. He stuck his fingers to the back of the throat and threw up with appeared to be spinach. And again, the spinach was green, and this was supposed to be a black and white film! Maybe they included Christmas colors to cheer people up during troublesome times. That was my best guess, anyway.
Now, I was about to head to my imaginary kitchen and prepare myself some sukiyaki and coke or something--or really, do some begging for Arby's money--when the TV just kinda flickered. I figured that the cold temperature had effed up the tape or the VCR or TV, but what happened next... was disturbing. And proof that the tape was operating as those who created it intended.
Mutilated images of the Popeye characters Olive Oyl and Bruto, and for some reason, Pepe LePew, flashed on screen. Most of them were pictures of decapitations, and in one of them Pepe was skull-fucking Olive Oyl's corpse. That was the micropenis from earlier!!
Now me, I threw up some stomach acid and prepared to shut the tape off or at least abandon it in the middle of the subway.
That was when the voices started playing in my head.
"Now Hi-Li, if you're going to die, you could at least learn the shocking truth of how things ended up this way. All you have to do... is keep watching," one voice said.
"Fuck this shit. I want a McDouble", stated the other. It clearly won its case. I ripped the tape out of the VCR and shoved it in my trench coat before heading to the bench where I usually do my sleeping and begging.
But after five minutes of sitting... things changed. I noticed somebody who I thought I was never going to see again.
He had a birthmark of Puerto Rico on his forehead. He had no hair, though he clearly was using the spray-on stuff that at least paints your scalp black. He had a glass eye, a cut-into ear Vincent Van Gogh style, an already halfway-consumed bottle of Pepto Bismol in his hand, and a bright purple Barney-hued fanny pack tied around his waist.
"D... dad?", I asked.
"Yes, son. It is I. Your Honorable Father." I tried to hug him but he thwacked me over the head with a dulled sword handle. "I see you still have much to learn."
"What?" was all I could muster. I was probably concussed from being hit in the head with a sword, but again, c'est la vie.
"We have an ancient family saying. Those who do not watch VHS tape do not watch life reveal itself to be beautiful butterfly."
I paused. "... What the fuck are you talking about?", I asked.
With that, my dad got really brutally pissed for cussing and smacked me in the temple with his unsharpened blade.
I woke up in a mental hospital in a straight jacket. The doctors informed me that the previous 15 years of my life were just a lie, and I was still very much a Japanese citizen. I had just awoken from a 15 year coma, and I had a lot of lost years to make up for.
My parents brought me home that night, and we enjoyed a meal of sukiyaki and coke and bonded over 80s Japanese sitcoms until... until the topic of the VHS tape was brought up.
"There is no VHS tape!", my father screamed. He was so mad that he drank an entire bottle of pepto bismol in front of me in passive-aggressive rage and let out an enormous, flagrantly dishonorable fart.
Now listen my friend, I've gotta tell you... I'm no genius. I'm no Albert Einstein, I'm no Edwin Hubble, and I sure as hell didn't invent the string-and-a-pez-dispenser vaginal intercourse approach to sex. But what I can tell... is that when something is wrong, it's wrong.
It was the middle of the night. My parents were asleep. I put on a ninja costume and snuck into what would be our living room if we were Americans. Next to the urn containing my grandfather's ashes was the Popeye the Sailor Man VHS tape. Autographed by President Roosevelt, with the words "I'll take your eyes." mysteriously written in Japanese. Given that my father had a glass eye, perhaps this was part of the mystery.
It was just then that I remembered what Voice #1 had told me before I gave up my original pursuit. I had to know my heritage! I snatched the tape and hopped on my bike, riding it superfastlike all the way to downtown Tokyo. I then urgently sold my bike and my beanie hat for a VCR. I found a power outlet in the subway area near City Hall. I called a teenage boy a fat ugly fuck who didn't know who Yogi Bear was, and he gave me a TV in return for ceasing to question his cartoon knowledge.
Thirty minutes later, I awoke in a mental hospital. I had been in a coma. I never headed to downtown Tokyo at all. It was all in my imagination. It was all just a product... of the coma.
That night, after taking me home, my parents kicked me out for not being a doctor. I built a raft and escaped with the Popeye the Sailor Man VHS tape pilfered with me in my trenchcoat pocket. I braved the waves, but I nearly drowned. I passed out and woke up in a mental hospital.
It turned out I was never at sea. I was in a coma, and it was all in my imagination. Well, thank the good Buddha, another crisis avoided! But that night, I escaped again to downtown Kofu. Turns out there was a furry convention there. It made me realize that, my entire life, I was actually a fox and just didn't know it. That was my fursana, anyway. A fox who had finally found the grapes that were dangling just outside of his paws' reach.
I never did watch the VHS tape, but I did become a doctor. My parents were so proud of me. My treatment style of burrowing into my patients' guts rather than using a scalpel caught on, and I made endless progress for furries and doctors alike. A cure for Hepatitis was discovered... by me. My dad gave up his Pepto Bismol addiction because he was just so happy of my life's accomplishments.
But then I realized... I really did want to watch the VHS tape.
That night, I learned that everyone I knew had been murdered by the descendants of President Roosevelt, and the VHS tape had been stolen by a homeless man with a raft and a trenchcoat.
I shrugged and returned to my office. It smelled of guts and looked like it was abandoned for years... but that was okay.
After all: c'est la vie.