Hey, is this thing on? Is it? Oh, good, you can hear me. I hope. I think. I hope, I think, I know. Or I don't know anything. In fact, I didn't know anything. Until I learned something. Something important. Which changed my life forever. No, it wasn't an infomercial in which John Lennon and Paul McCartney blended a beverage made from beetles and real Florida squeezed oranges fruit juice. And no, it didn't involve learning the truth behind 9/11, or the real reason why the Japanese taunted Franklin Delano Roosevelt with a satirical Popeye cartoon. I further assure that you no horses, sexy babes in spacewoman outfits, or haunted copies of John Madden NFL football were harmed in my very special finding. The only person it directly harmed was me. And I...
... I was an intern at PBS. When I was a 6-year old I made the stupid, stupid mistake of assuming that PBS stood for 'Peanut Butter Sandwiches', and I thought that if I pledged my soul in exchange for Conway Twitty's 15-cassette greatest hits collection I'd also fall in with the hip crowd and be granted all the chunky, chunky Skippy that a man could ever ask for until I was dead. But no... it turned out PBS doesn't stand for Peanut Butter Sandwiches. It turned out that everything they stand for... is actually much more darker. Sinister, even.
So, many years passed since I made my pledge. My balls dropped and I went through puberty, although against my will. I ate a lot of convenience store nacho crumbs off my chest, and licked the liquid cheeze (spelled with a 'z' because legally it is not real cheese) out of my neckbeard daily. I spent most of my days playing E.T. and Custer's Revenge on my Atari 2600 Jr. I wore a leisure suit to 6th grade every day even though I was already 35. I tried offering my classmates my grape juice juice packs in the hopes of making new friends, but instead, I got wedgies. My life was going nowhere, and when I got home I stuck a shotgun barrel in my mouth and put my finger on the trigger, until... I got a phone call.
I immediately dropped the gun. The shot went off and into my attic and off into outerspace, in which I assume it murdered an alien who was simply minding his own business, anal probing in peace. (Sorry, alien.) Anyway, I rushed over to my rotary phone and picked the electric tube off my receiver.
"Is this Larry? Larry de Leisure Suit?", the sexy, sexy lady on the other end (ha ha ha) inquired.
"I do be he", was all I could muster. I wanted to exclaim it, but I was too tired from almost purposely killing myself to muster up the strength. I had no idea who this person was, but I didn't care. It was a phone call, and nobody who wasn't a Mormon had even knocked on my door in the past 17 years, and in just as much time I never received a phone call from anyone who wasn't an automated message from a Prince in Uzbekistan who would deposit $50,000,000 into my bank account in exchange for a viral video of me snapping my dick off with brass knuckles.
"Larry: we checked our records, and as part of the reward for your donation, it seems that we only sent you 14 of the Conway Twitty tapes instead of the 15. In hopes of acquiring sincere forgiveness for our neglect, we would like to offer you an unpaid position as a PBS intern. Also, all the Peanut Butter Sandwiches you can eat, babe!".
I squealed. Not in horror, but in that other h-word. No, not horniness. Happiness? Yeah, that's it. It had been 17 years since I last felt happiness, but it was back again. Admittedly, that last time was replaced with a much sadder emotion when I finished my dancing of the safety mambo by accidentally stepping on my pet hedgehog named Sonic, who got mad and sped off and left me after stealing up all my rings, but I was for certain that this time... things would be different.
Oh boy, was I ever, ever so wrong.
The sexy lady sent me a free, one-way plane ticket to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Packing nothing but my trusty mouthspray to deal with my halitosis and a spare leisure suit to deal with the ladies who would inevitably want me as a result of my new gig, I flew all the way there. No, not with my arms, but in a plane. Admittedly I forgot to consider that the job wasn't paying and that I wouldn't have a place to live or money for food, but I had lived as a homeless man for the previous 17 years, so that wasn't a problem at all. I conveniently grabbed a taco from the airport taco stand with my last 99 cents, and prepared to meet my friends at the PBS television station.
Now, I guess so far this all sounds pretty innocuous, and in a way, it is. It makes me wonder if the real problem is me. Of course, I am perfect so it couldn't actually be me, but the thought had at least entered my mind before I squashed it with a hammer like the comedian Gallagher to a poor, defenseless watermelon that simply wanted to serve as food product for man.
Anyway, I'm not very smart, but actually I'm dumber than Forrest Gump, with no hint that I'm actually smart because stupid is as stupid does and what I did was very stupid.
I should have realized that the PBS headquarters being located in the basement of the airport should've been the first clue, but no, I didn't. I took the hammer out of my mind and used it to smash a Puerto Vallarta flight attendant in the head. I proceeded to steal his uniform and ID card so that I could get into the basement. I assumed this was a test by PBS for me to prove that I really wanted the job, so hey, I did it. I began descending the stairs, but heard a creaking along the way as I noticed that the walls were lined with asbestos. I thought I saw Big Bird's shadow too, but it turned out to just be a lamp that someone who was probably also homeless pissed and shat and threw up on before leaving behind a note that read "Was it good for you, too?".
Now, all of this was pretty fucked up, and at that point, I was scared. A chill ran down my spine, and I considered flying back home, even though my ticket was only a one-way (my uncle Al-Jahiri says it's O.K. to hijack planes when you need to, even if you don't know how to pilot them.) I creaked my way back up a couple steps until I heard a voice call my name.
"Larry? Oohhhh, Larrrr--rrrry?", a slow, low, drawn out and not at all suspicious voice rang out. I began to reply, but just then, something very horrible happened. The stairs gave out! I fell over and toward the floor, landing right on my ass and on top of something sharp, like a tack but five times as worse, at least! Blood oozed out my asshole as I screamed for help.
Now, I guess this is where things get kind of weird. The man approached, and it was unlike anyone I had ever seen before. He wore a pirate patch, a black Atari 2600 baseball cap, a t-shirt for the classic NES game Bionic Commando, and he was clearly morbidly obese. He smelled like someone who was probably in a grunge band, too. He offered me a butt plug and I jammed it in, and since it helped stop the bleeding, I assumed it was O.K.
I responded to his presence and the friendly buttplug proffering with the only words that came to mind: "Liber Falxifer", I mustered. He smiled and nodded his head. Realizing that I had made communication with the native, I then uttered my next proposition: "Hello, Sir. I am here for my interview."
"Oh, Larry. Where you are... there are no interviews.", he responded before laughing to himself like a goofy villain from a 1960s cartoon. He looked... disheveled, but I still figured I could trust him, because this was more than likely the President of PBS.
"They're all upstairs. ... Oh, and where are my manners? Would you care for a marijuana faggot, Larry?". At first I didn't know what that meant, but apparently he meant marijuana cigarette. We puffed on our cigs for awhile until I asked him for my first task as a PBS employee, and it was to stick a peanut butter and jelly sandwich into a VCR. After doing that he was clearly impressed with my work, and then... it happened.
The moment in which things really fell apart.
When he offered me another VHS tape, I thought he wanted me to shove it into the same VCR. ... Well, actually, he did, but miraculously the VCR worked anyway and the tape started playing. "Take notes", he said. I was going to, but he suspiciously tied me to the chair with a strong, musty rope and force fed me hard liquor before allowing me to continue watching the tape. I assumed it was part of the PBS initiation process. "Wait for it", he said.
And I did. Oh God... I did. And I wish... I wish I hadn't.
The words "Lamb Chop Gets a Real Job" flashed onto the screen. Apparently this was an episode of Sherry Lewis's classic puppet-based comedy for children, Lamb Chop's Play-Along. I thought it was kind of odd that they called the episode 'real job', because you'd figure that that's kind of a judgmental thing to say and not the sort of attitude you would want to put into young children, but I was an intoxicated homeless person who had just shit himself because he was tied to a chair he couldn't escape from, so I decided not to ask any questions.
The main character from the TV show, Lamb Chop, was a sheep puppet. Apparently he was on his way to work at a factory. What was really strange about it was that despite being a sheep puppet, he looked highly realistic. Hyperrealistic, even. I assumed this was some sort of new CGI technology developed by PBS, so I said "Whatever." to myself. My nameless boss got mad at me for talking, so he told me to shut up and jammed the vodka bottle into my mouth and forced me to drink the rest of it. I pissed my pants against my will, but again, I assumed this was part of the initiation, so I kept watching the tape.
"Shouldn't I be taking notes?", I asked. I half-expected more liquor, but instead he told me that all notes are just physical representation of emotions that we translate into symbols for the sake of understanding them and communicating our experiences with others. I nodded my head and turned back to the screen... only to shriek in horror at what I had seen.
A horse puppet named Charlie Horse was talking to Lamb Chop about the deflation of the housing market, which again, was odd given this was a children's television program, but then... I can't explain what happened. Not to this day.
"I've got a Charlie Horse!", Charlie Horse exclaimed. At first he was shaking around violently as if he had been bitten by a werewolf in the middle ages, but then he... he morphed! What I saw on the screen was a real-life horse. And then it got so lifelike that it was also more lifelike than lifelike... hyperrealistic, again!
That was it. I had lost my mind. As a sufferer of equinophobia (the fear of horses) I began to shake and scream and cry supererratically. My boss came over and told me he would give me ice cream if I would just shut the fuck up, but it was too late. I tried to break my ties, but instead me and the chair fell on the floor. After crying so loud and hard that my lungs had temporarily lost the capacity to cry, I did the only thing I could do, and looked up to watch as much of the television screen as I could take in from the floor.
At this point, Lamb Chop was at the factory. It was dressed up in a hardhat and other factory worker attire, and started talking with its supervisor, which was apparently a pig named Porky the Fascist Anti-Capitalist Statement Hog. "Are you ready to mah-mah-mah-mah-mah-mah-mah-mah... make us some money?", it asked Lamb Chop, stuttering like the Porky Pig of Warner Bros. fame (Warner Bros. are assholes, by the way.) Lamb Chop let out a loud sigh before saying yes, and then...
and then I was scarred for life.
The factory became hyperrealistic too, as if the machinery was real life machinery, or somehow so real life that it was more real life than real life. A hyperrealistic crane picked up Lamb Chop and Porky the FACSH by their pants and held them over what seemed to be a giant, spinning saw. I tried to close my eyes, knowing what was obviously going to happen next, but my nameless boss held my eyelids open with some sort of James Bond esque eyelid-pulling device, and... I saw it.
Lamb Chop and Porky were slaughtered, alive. A real sheep's frantic bahing and a real pig scream accompanied the video. The next five minutes depicted human factory workers packing Lamb Chop and Porky's remains into boxes and loading them into grocery store trucks. Then the actual grocery store footage of a family buying them is shown, as well as a hyperrealistic candle-lit dinner scene of a man and a woman eating the dinners while fucking each other in the ear while screaming "More canal! More canal!".
After shitting, farting, and pissing myself again, as well as choking on my own vomit for a bit before I could chew it back down, and then crying some more, I passed out. I woke up with severe lacerations in a hospital, and they treated me for about five years until I could convince them that I was O.K. And I was. After all, what had happened was now in the past, and I was free to live my life anew, as an ordinary person who had never lived through such horrible hardships.
Back at home, I prepared for sleep on a park bench until my phone rang again. I was pretty darned suspicious, given what had happened to me just five years ago, but I picked it up anyway.
" Is this Larry? Larry de Leisure Suit?", the same sexy voice from five years earlier asked.
I didn't respond. I didn't know what to do. I just breathed really heavily out of fear for awhile, until I could finally mumble some words out.
"I... I thought... it was over...", I mumbled.
"Oh, no, no, no. No, no, no. No, no, no, no, no, dear.", she responded contrarily. Oh God... it was going to happen again, wasn't it?
But no, it didn't. No plane tickets, no job offers... nothing. There was silence for a bit, until I heard a song on the end... on the other end.
This is the song that never ends
It just goes on and on my friend
Some people started singing it not knowing what it was,
And they'll continue singing it forever just because . . .
At first, I started laughing. I started laughing very hard. But then... then I started singing.
It's been 576 days since I got that phone call. To be honest, the call still isn't over. I'm still on the other line as I record this audio on my mom's Hewlett-Packard. And I'm still singing it, somehow. Saying two entirely different things at once--go figure.
I'm assuming I'm in Hell, because I can't stop. Truly, I couldn't if I wanted to. It is the song that never ends, so there is no way that there could be an end. But I have learned to live contently along with the song. After all, it turns out I can listen, sing, and talk all at once. I am thinking of maybe writing a novel while I am singing this song. Or maybe starting a blog about squirrels. Or maybe... fixing myself a peanut butter sandwich. Chunky peanut butter. Two slices. Whole wheat bread, spread thoroughly and evened out. Just for me. Yeah...