Everybody Loves Raymond was a mostly O.K. show. It starred Ray Romano, a stand-up comedian who is mostly famous for cracking jokes about leaving the toilet seat up, watching NASCAR with the buds, belching in public and claiming it's a compliment if you do it in front of an Italian chef, that sort of thing. I bought the DVDs once as a blind purchase and didn't think too much of them, but my mom loves the program so I gave them to her. That decision will haunt me for the rest of my life.... I should probably clarify. My mom loves the DVDs a lot, and nothing bad happened to her or anything. One night I was hungry and in need of a pizza, so I called them using 1-800-COLLECT. It was a pretty big mistake, given that collect calls these days can cost you, like, $576 dollars for six and a half minutes, but I did it as my 80s walkie talkie cell phone has a habit of being way too staticy if the duct tape isn't tied to the antenna tight enough. The conversation began as normal, though I noticed that the pizza guy's voice sounded a lot like the brother character from the Raymond television program.
"What do you want on your pizza?", the gentleman asked. Pepperoni's kinda my thing, though if you asked for that in Italy they'd bonk you on the head and hand you a pie full of hot, steaming peppers.
"Wait a minute. I have to scratch my balls.", the guy responded. Good God. All I wanted was a pizza! I freaked out and without giving my address or credit card information, I hung up the pay phone. Given that I had to drive 70 miles out of my way to find a pay phone to begin with, I knew I wouldn't be able to get back home in time anyway.
I looked up into the sky. The Georgia mountains teased me. I didn't bring anything with me on my vacation besides a hatchet and a copy of The Book of Mormon, which I read every day. The hatchet... can't say I've used it before. I carry it around for protection. I used to just use The Club when it came to making sure nobody stole my car, but once it spread all over the World Wide Web how to hack open that shit, I traded it in for the ol' pickax. I named it Susan, after George Costanza's fiance from Seinfeld.
I stuck my keys into my yellow 1977 Ford Pinto. The engine wouldn't start! Damn it! This meant I was lost in the middle of Georgia without an out! Furthermore, I was still hungry. I picked up Susan and gave her a kiss. I stroked her wood, and she stroked... my heart, I guess. I knew what I had to do. If I was going to survive out here, I had to make my own cabin, and pick fruits and veggies to survive in the short-term. Maybe if I found a cow, I could make my own cheese, and therefore, my very own pizza. Father always said that it tasted better when it came from nature's own oven, rather than your grocer's freezer. I gave Susan a lick (not the sharp part of her, of course) and began walking up the rocky, mountainous path.
A couple miles in, I had some luck; I found an uninhabited tree (no squirrels or any shit like that) that looked juuust right. Without thinking twice, I went chop chop chop. "Tiiiiimber", I cried... even though I hadn't even put a dent in the sucker yet. My hands hurt like hell. I took a breather before starting up again. "I said fucking TIMBER, gah damn you!!!", I yelled.
What happened next sent chills down my spine.
"SHUT THE FUCK UP!", yelled a man who... really didn't have to yell, given that he was now standing right next to me. He looked like an ordinary yokel, but something about his voice seemed so, so familiar. Like I knew this man from somewhere I'd been before. Or something I had watched. Oh, I had a feeling I knew this man, but... from where?
"Do I know you?", I responded sassily, waving my hand in the air like something out of Jersey Shore.
"I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees!", he shouted back with a smile. He laughed so hard and high-pitched that I was surprised that I could hear it, and not just dogs.
"Okay, seriously. Who the fuck are you?", I rebutted with a scowl. I had no time for Dr. Seuss jokes. I was really hungry, my car was broken down, and I needed shelter because a storm was up ahead. (I knew this by looking at the clouds. My Native American blood aids me in using nature to predict weather, too.)
"Some people say I'm a funny man. Others say that I'm just a regular old average Joe guy. Others... call me Raymond." The chills swept back in. The Everybody Loves Raymond!?!? Out here in the middle of the Georgian wilderness? My heart harlem shaked. What were the odds?
"... Wait a minute.", I thought to myself, and probably said aloud because I have a variety of extreme mental illnesses. "This must be a mirage. I haven't eaten in several hours. My blood sugar must be fucked up. I'm hearing things. I'm seeing things. I..."
I was cut off by the courtesy of Mr. Romano himself. He shushed me (which I usually can't stand, but hey, it was Raymond.) "I have a place where we can go. We can sit out the storm, and my wife will heat up some hot cocoa for us. There's only one thing I ask for in return..."
"My unconditional love?"
"No, you stupid, fucking shit--I mean, friend. Susan. Please give me Susan."
How did this tape--I mean, this guy--know my pickax's name? I shrieked in horror, carrying her like that guy in that one famous novel pet that rabbit, and ran, ran, ran! I didn't turn around! I didn't look back! I ran down the mountain, past the rocks, the streams, the birds, the Bullwinkle J. Mooses, whatever! But then I noticed that my inventory... seemed lighter.
My Book of Mormon! I dropped it in the dirt trail behind me! I could make out Raymond's scowl as he picked it up... and made me shit myself. His eyes were glowing red! Not only that, but they zapped my book into pieces!
"What's more believable? This, or that Joseph Smith truly had golden plates?", he chuckled. I found this anti-religious bigotry absolutely unacceptable! I stormed my way--no pun intended, because of, you know, the weather--back into Raymond's way! My Seinfeldian weapon shined in the little sun that was remaining as I hacked the TV sitcom legend into guts, blood, and bone!
"Not everybody loves you! I HATE YOU! I REALLY, REALLY FUCKING HATE YOU!", I screamed as I regressed into a disheveled, animalistic madman! I pounded him so hard that Susan's head flew off into the wind. "Why did you do this?", she tearfully whispered to me as her life was also cut short. I laid down onto the dirt path, and rested my head into Raymond's hack n' slashed torso.
I cried, and cried, and cried, as I realized that I was truly stranded. Not just physically, but psychologically. In the mess, the few remaining pages of my book had been torn to shreds and covered in blood and gorey ooze. I had no possessions, other than the clothes I was wearing (a tank top and classic white underwear.) That was when I remembered my car, but I no longer wanted it. It now belonged to whoever needed vehicular transportation--but as an animal, all I needed were my legs.
I crouched down on all fours. I hadn't shaven in weeks, and I would never shave again. I killed a man that everybody, including myself, loved. And the only way to compensate for it was to live as uncivilized as I was. I wandered off into a foresty area and ate some grass as I remembered my childhood, and how much I hated it. I fell asleep on a leafy bed as the rain trickled down on what was left of the men Raymond and I once were.
I woke up in the middle of the night. It wasn't the lightning that did it, either. My blood-reddened face stared up at a man wearing a Domino's pizza hat, and, conveniently, holding a festive pizza delivery box.
"Pizza delivery for a... Jonathan? No, that's not it. Peter? No, that's not it, either." The pizza man rolled his hand under his chin like The Thinker statue as he tried to recall who it was that had ordered the pizza.
"Are you looking for... Raymond?", I manage to say inbetween gasps of breath. I swallowed one of my teeth in the process, but it was okay because I didn't really want to live anymore.
"Yeah, that's the one! He called using the payphone a couple miles down from here! Funny thing is, our shop is right across the street from the phone! Ha ha, what a barrel of laughs, man!" he said, sounding like one of the characters from the The Beatles cartoon, or something.
"Oh, that'sh really fucking hilarioush.", I sighed. Those 's'es were pronounced like 'sh'es because, my teeth and the shape of my mouth were really fucked up at this point. I sounded like the Geico Caveman or something, but I couldn't save anybody money on car insurance or anything like that. I was a freak of nature.
"Well, here you go. Bon appetit!", he squealed. He handed me the box, and I fidgeted with it, trying to open it.
Inside of the box wasn't a pizza, but a sleekly designed, modern looking cellphone.
"Looks like you have a call!", the pizza delivery man smiled. I told him I didn't know how to handle the godforsaken thing, so I had him answer the call, and then hand the phone over to me.
"Hello?", I struggled to inquire as I vomited up what looked like the agrokrag from the Nickelodeon's GUTS television program.
"This is your mother, Mr. Winston! And I am greatly, greatly disappointed in you!"
Tears rolled down my cheeks as I tried to explain to my mother what had happened. But before I could finish it... everything started fading around me. I guessed that this was what happened when you died. I didn't budge. I closed my eyes. I was ready for life to let me go, as some sort of studio canned laughter sound penetrated my ears in a manner that slowly built up but then rushed into my ear cannels like ocean waves in a great, great tide.
I woke up in a television studio.
"You did an excellent job there, Dr. Ivan Beavis! This is the greatest episode of Everybody Loves Raymond ever." A fat, bald man slapped a high five to a younger, blonde-haired man with a very disheveled look on his face.
"It seems that the serum has produced the desired effects.", a brown-haired gentleman in a doctor's suit suggested. His name tag read 'Dick.' "Eh heh heh. Eh heh heh heh."
I was back in good health, someway, somehow. My desire to live was suddenly back too; so strong that I had no idea how I had ever lost it to begin with.
"What the hell is going on here?", I asked. I wanted to scream it at them, but I was really tired, and still really hungry.
"We're going to go to Applebee's, now.", Richard asserted. "Everything will be explained to you there."
"What... what about Raymond?", I hesitantly, yet curiously, inquired.
"Oh. Yeah, you hacked him to pieces, alright."
I put the palm of my hand to my eyes and let out more tears than I ever had before in my entire life.