Have you ever watched the show 'Green Acres'? Neither have I. How about 'Ally McBeal'? Yeah, I haven't seen it either. But there was an episode of Salute Your Shorts that... well, it's disturbing. Like a seagull, after consuming mentos and Alka Seltzer. Sea urchins. I'm dying inside, and it's all your fault, human. Anyway, this ep scared me sh-tless when I was a kid, and it probably spooked you, too. Then again, since I don't know you, it's possible that you're still a kid right now, so you'd be too young to remember Salute Your Shorts. You were probably still in your momma's womb when Zeke the Plumber got his nose bit off by a parrot, and Donkeylips received permission to join the wrestling team and enjoy a savory lobster dinner. These memories might seem eccentric to a person like you who doesn't understand how to read or write, and that the greatest of comedy doesn't come from your everyday clown at the circus, but from... tragedies. Real life tragedies. (your mom)
Ug Lee was the name of the counselor at Camp Anawana. This was where the show took place: a summer camp in which students would do activities, explore nature, and hopefully nurture enough bonds that they wouldn't grow up to become sociopaths. That is... if they ever did grow up. The kids were generally iffy about Ug, but in actuality, he was an O.K. but irritable guy who wore a goofy beach hat. As for me, seeing how I'm much more important than the affairs of fictional characters: I received the VHS tape in a rather unorthodox manner. While attempting to purchase a rental of Weird Al Yankovic's UHF from a grocery store Redbox, I got so mad at the machine that I kicked it where its nuts would be if it was a person. The cashier warned me that, if I did it again, he'd pants me and upload the picture to his band's MySpace... and I wasn't interested in that. However, I was really pissed at both the video dispenser and at my celibate love life, so, one swift kick to the Redbox later, Mr. Garcia abandoned his register and stormed at me, disheveled, administering a horrifically painful wedgie that I still remember in horror to this very day. Righteous suffering, but somebody's got to do it. I wrote the Acme Family Markets HR department in protest, and three and a half weeks later, a singing telegram informed me that pancing customers broke the store chain's guidelines for employee etiquette, that the employee had been permenantly denied bathroom privileges, and that I was owed reparations. I managed to forget about the whole thing for a little over a month until something arrived in my mailbox, which happened to be a red box. When I tore away the packaging...
Yes, as you may have guessed: it was a VHS tape. 'Salute Your Shorts Episode 27: The Curse of the Blonde Haired Girl'. Huh. This... made my spinal cord tingle in terror. There were only 26 episodes in the show's original run! Smothering in anticipation, I hopped into my hybrid car and drove to Starbucks to pick up one of those unicorn drinks that the internet is so ablaze about, before setting up my coax cables and preparing the trusty ol' VCR in nervous delight.
From the getgo, I could tell that something was not quite right about this episode of Salute Your Shorts. Instead of the usual piano opening, the campers were performing some sort of... nu-metal, Linkin Park style arrangement. This severely dated the episode, but that wasn't the scary thing about it. It was the altered lyrics.
"Camp Anawana! We're going to eat your heart! And when you scream out to god, you'll die of excessive farts!"
Now, that was pretty messed up... but it got worse. Budnick, the redneck looking kid with the long hair... well... the lyrics came true. He farted and farted and farted again, crying out in endless, extreme agony like a banshee with birth pains until he took the Lord's name in vain, and... Budnick...
Budnick exploded. He wasn't swapped out with a mannequin or a body double or anything, and there weren't any special effects. What was on screen was so realistic that it... it had to be real. Or someone drugged my unicorn drink somehow?
The screen briefly changed to a short, German man flashing a Nazi 'seig heil', before the meat of the episode began. Sponge was expressing distress that a lot of their bunkmates had gone missing, and that all of the camp counselors just shrugged when asked about it. "Maybe they're spending a week out in the woods, doing activities", a girl suggested. The athletic, African American girl responded by pointing out that no one liked doing any of Ug's activities, let alone spending an entire week doing them. Something suspicious was clearly going on.
The next scene was really... strange. It was Ug, sitting alone at a table, eating a nighttime meal of liver and fava beans. It went on for what must've been seven or eight minutes, before he smiled sinisterly and winked at the camera. Directly at me. "You're next", he uttered, cocking his brow and vomiting. It was then that I realized that I finished my unicorn drink, so I paused the VHS and drove back to Starbucks to purchase another. What was... strange... was that the cashier wasn't making eye contact. His name tag read 'Kahn', so I assumed that he was an East Asian immigrant who was still learning American English. I thanked him for the beverage and started for the exit before he said... something to me that I'll never forget.
"Get it right... or you'll pay the price."
At first, I thought he was suggesting that I forgot to pay him, or that I owed him a tip, or something. But when I turned back around... he was gone. I assumed that he went into the kitchen to milk some unicorns, or however it was that they made the stuff. Oh well. Whatever.
When I got back home and unpaused the tape, something... strange happened. The tape didn't pick back up where I had left it, and instead, it played an ad for Bush's baked beans. It was the trippiest bean commercial that I had ever seen. It was a gathering of beans in astronaut suits, hanging out on Neptunian soil and... eating beans. Beans. Eating beans. Surrealistic cannibalism. There was no audio until... it startled me. It was so... loud! A roar of flatulence sounded off, booming out of my speakers, and... Neptune exploded. Several minutes of exploded cosmic dust drifting out into the vacuous cosmos was displayed, before the tape returned to the kids at their bunks, as if nothing ever happened and we were supposed to forget about it. But I sure couldn't. I never would...
Sponge had a book open. He had visited the camp library to research famous serial killers, and he was reporting his findings to the other campers. "It's the curse of the blonde haired girl, you guys! She went around having lots of promiscuous sex with all of the campers in order to learn their fetishes and write a book about it!" ... What the hell was this doing in a Salute Your Shorts episode!? I could feel a vein popping out of my forehead from my disheveled anger and disgust. I hurriedly slammed the stop button on my VCR remote before getting so mad that I tossed my unicorn drink out of the living room window. Whoops. I knew what that meant: I had to go back to Starbucks.
Khan sold me my third beverage, but this time, I felt too disheveled to go home. Finding a spot near the fireplace, I grabbed myself a seat and drifted off to sleep. Now, I don't know exactly when it happened, but I dreamed the most surrealistic dream of my life. I was flying on a winged unicorn, high in the sky, drinking a unicorn drink and not thinking too deeply about things, such as how the drink managed to stay in my hands instead of flying out to the earth's surface below. I was so happy that I screamed the very first thing that came to my surrealistic, lucid dreaming mind. "Panic at the Disco!", I hollered, as we ascended higher and higher into the clouds. This all seemed pretty innocuous until... something truly horrifying occurred. We were flying so high that I was having trouble breathing. We were reaching outer space, ascending far beyond the earth's stratosphere and into what I presumed to be the sun. Keep in mind that this was a dream.
When I woke up, I was in a hospital. It turned out that I hadn't fallen asleep, but was experiencing delusions from sugar poisoning from guzzling too many unicorn drinks. I signed a waiver for my release, and told the nurse that I had herpes before stopping at Starbucks for my fourth unicorn beverage on the day and pressing 'play' on the VCR when I got home, since I was tired and always had the TV on to help me get to sleep.
The next scene was... well, I wouldn't wish that kind of television upon my own worst enemy. Budnick was alive again, and he had Donkeylips pinned to the camp ground, with a knife grasped in a clutched fist. What was even more disturbing was that Budnick was wearing a blonde, girlish wig. Budnick... was dressed in drag. I was scared.
"Whatcha into, baby?", Budnick asked. Donkeylips gasped for air. "Ice cream.", he replied. "You like ice cream?", 'Ms.' Budnick responded in an inquisitive, disbelieving tone. "I, uh... yeah. With... lots of syrup. And a cherry on top." "And what else?" "I... I don't know." Budnick didn't like that response very much. He pressed the dagger so close to Donkeylips's gullet that I'm still surprised that he didn't strike blood. "Say it." "Say what?" "You know it." Donkeylips shuddered, before... before Budnick stabbed him. In the balls. Budnick shook his head in disappointment, as if poor Donkeylips was somehow supposed to know the answer. "Chopped nuts." He tossed Donkeylips's severed testicular remains into a pot of gumbo that was steaming away for dinner. "Mixed nuts." Budnick stared directly into the camera. At me. "Chopped."
I put the tape back on pause to check if I had any chopped nuts in the fridge. Sure enough, I had an economy sized bag full, and I popped them all into my unicorn drink before taking a sip and returning to the Salute Your Shorts Nickelodeon television program. The next sentence was the last sentence that I needed to hear. Blonde-haired Budnick stared directly into the camera, as if he was... as if he was looking directly at me. "You get it right... or you pay the price." The rest of the episode was just the surviving campers sitting around a campfire, eating out of cans of baked beans with a spoon, before they all took turns farting out the show's theme song and emitted such excessive flatulence that they all exploded, engulfing my television set in blood, guts, sinew, and slithered lizard entrails. I could only assume that the gore was all real.
This was all... so confusing. I hadn't heard anything about all of the actors dying, before. I also didn't know that excessive flatulence could cause people to explode and die. I was highly offended by what I had witnessed, so I grabbed a pen in disheveled anger and wrote Acme Markets about my horrifying television viewing experiences, asking how this could possibly be my reparation for thousands of years of slavery to the corporate machine that they tell you is democracy but is really just big brother's eye on top of a pyramid pissing down on a disenchanted people who've been brainwashed into thinking that that brand new car or studio apartment is the answer to their spiritual emptiness I like turtles.
Three weeks had passed. I was awoken by my doorbell ringing. When I answered it... well, it was strange. A guy in a squirrel costume asked me if I could spare him my nuts. Hoping to help a neighbor in need, I--just kidding, I took my leftover unicorn drink from previous night's dinner and splashed the squirrel man in the eyes. He screamed and fell over, grabbing at his crotch and rambling about having no eyes or some shit, which made no sense given that I hit him with a
- cold* beverage.
As for more recent times: six months have passed since the initial squirrel man incident. And he kept coming back. Every morning. This was terribly annoying, because it kept me from getting much sleep, and on days in which I actually had nuts, I had given him the only nuts I had. I was pretty sure that my diet was lacking in protein as a result, but I was too nice of a guy to turn down a furry friend.
Then one day... 'ding dong.' 'Yeah, what do you want?' 'What do you like?' 'What do you mean?' 'What do you like?' 'I don't...' 'What do you like?' '... Do you want my nuts, or what?' 'Nuts...' 'Huh?' A large, squirrelly grin became all of the cryptic confirmation that I needed. 'You got it right. ... You no longer pay the price.' He walked off and left, and I had a sneaking suspicion that I'd never see the bizarre, humanoid, woodland hybrid creature ever again.
But last night, Budnick came to my house and stabbed me in the balls and ran my underwear up a flagpole and now I'm dead.