Billie and Johnny and the RingThursday
I was at Dumb Baby Headquarters doing what I do every Thursday night: play Risk by myself. I have to practice because Johnny always comes over on Saturdays nights to play Risk and eat lots of ice cream. We stay up all the way to 10:30pm before we get tuckered out. But that night, Johnny came over holding a VHS tape.
"Oh my God! Oh my God!" he said. "My cousin got this tape from a friend. He says it's a real messed up video and after you watch it, you get a phone call telling you that you have seven days left to live. Let's watch it!"
"Ok," I said, "but why did you come over here? Couldn't you have watched it at your farm?"
"I don't have a VCR," Johnny told me. "I'm not a loser like you."
Johnny and I sat in the living room and I pressed play on the VCR. The video began to play. It was a collection of disturbing images appearing briefly in a disjointed way that didn't appear to create any sort of story. We saw a pig's head spinning on a pole, a mad's scientist's laboratory, a monkey on a cross, and a man in aviator goggles, among other things. What did it all mean?
"This isn't that scary," Johnny said. " I think this is just that one Nine Inch Nail's video that was censored on MTV."
"That's probably why MTV censored it," I reasoned. "If they would have played the whole thing on TV, everyone who watched it would die."
After four and a half minutes, the video ended. My phone rang. Johnny and I both wet ourselves. The phone continued to ring. I didn't pick it up.
"Answer the phone," Johnny said, pressing against my sofa cushion to dry his pants.
"No," I replied. "I'm...going to let it go to voicemail."
The phone stopped ringing and the answering machine kicked in. That's when we heard the horrifying message:
"You've reached Billie Green of Dumb Baby. I am not in right now, no doubt out with some of my many friends at a party. Please leave a message after the beep."
It was a young female's voice. That was all she said.
"Wow," I said. "A woman called me."
"Dial star 69," Johnny said and then giggled, "ha ha 69."
Some milk came out my nose. "69," I said, "tee hee hee."
After I put that in my phone, the long number that had dialed me flashed on my phone's small screen. I told the number to Johnny and he typed it into Google.
"The internet says the country code is for Japan and the area code is for Tokyo," said Johnny from my computer. "Why do you have what appears to be an eight year old boy wearing a petticoat as your desktop background?"
I didn't answer Johnny as the phone had just picked up.
"Seven days," said the same voice.
"Yeah...um...it's Billie Green, you just called here," I stuttered. "Does this apply to Johnny too? It should. You know he watched your video the whole way through, too, even though just me answered the phone."
"Yes, you are both going to die, Yankees. Now don't call here again." She hung up.
"Whatever," said Johnny. "Like some Japanese person is going to tell me what to do."
"I think we had better head what she said," I said. "Unlike you, I actually met a Japanese person once. I was in a mall downstate and my dad gave me money for the food court. I didn't know what I wanted until I saw a restaurant called Yummy Japan. There was a guy giving out free samples of teriyaki chicken, but he wasn't like some American worker giving out free samples at a grocery store, with our flashy uniforms and pushy sales. This man just stood there silently holding a plate of delicious chicken. I didn't even notice him until I went past him and bam! he stuck some chicken in my mouth. That's what got me to eat there."
That night I had a truly disturbing nightmare. I found myself in the large living from of the Tanner house from Full House. I was alone in the living room until that bastard Joey Gladstone steeped in from the kitchen. He was holding that God damn mother fucking asshole woodchuck forest ranger puppet of his.
"Why what do we have here?" Joey said to his stupid puppet as if it was alive. "It looks like an attractive young person. Probably over 18, not that it would matter to me."
"A young person?" Joey said in the woodchuck puppet's voice. "What do you think should be up her butt...maybe some wood?"
Joey let out an inhuman cackle and continued in his normal voice. "Yes, yes, I believe I can provide a little bit of wood for the butt hole. Just a little bit of wood."
The rapist began to approach, waking slowly and hunched over towards me and my bottom. I did not want to lose my butt virginity before I lost the rest of my virginity, so I quickly ran for the one place in the house I knew I would be safe: Uncle Jesse's attic apartment. I reached the upstairs bedrooms ahead of Joey, but I could hear him, as in his menacing puppet voice he would say "Wood...wood...wood in your butt." There was a 13 year old Stephanie Tanner lying on the hallway floor snorting cocaine.
"Dude," she said. "I am so fucked up right now. This is awesome shit!"
Joey would soon be upstairs and Stephanie was blocking my way so I did what I had to do. I grabbed the girl and threw her down the stairs.
"Ah," I could hear Joey say. "This will be a good place to put some wood."
"Bummer," said Stephanie.
I was not proud of what I just did, but it's everyone one for themselves in this situation and Stephanie had been raped by Joey plenty of times before anyway. But Joey Gladstone is no good with women so it would be mere minutes before he was back after me. But all of a sudden, a warm white light enclosed me. The next thing I knew, I had been teleported to the attic apartment of Jesse Katsopolis. He was sitting on a large gold chair fit for a king and was wearing a maroon robe made from the finest silk, while watching a motorcycle DVD on his television.
"Mr. Katsopolis, Mr. Katsopolis.," I pleaded, addressing Uncle Jesse the respect he deserved. "You have to protect me from Joey, he wants to rape me."
"Fear not my child," Jesse said to me. "You are safe here. We are high above where the ogres who dwell in the dungeons can reach."
Aunt Becky came in from the kitchen. "Dinner is ready. I see we have a guest."
"Yes we do," said Jesse. "We have food for you to eat and a bed for you to rest. Tomorrow, I will take you home on my motorcycle."
The three of us sat down for a large feast, a seven course dinner that included pumpkin pie, fine caviar and centered on a turkey as big as a refrigerator.
"Mr. Katsopolis," I said, "I have a question and it is something I have always wondered about. You have a really impressive attic home here. The walls looks like they are twenty feet high. But when you see exterior shots of the house, you see that it only has two stories and there is no space where an attic can exist. How did you do it?"
Uncle Jesse just winked at me, while presenting a smile that sparked in the sunlight. He let me know he understood, and that was all the answer I needed. Then he simply said, "Dream over."
And I woke up. That's when a I got another phone call.
"I know, I know, six days," I said, expecting it to to be the Japanese girl.
"No it's me, numbnuts," said Johnny. "I had a scary dream. I'm calling from my parents phone because I want to sleep in their bed now." Johnny's nightmare involved him being chased by angry beavers, the beavers from the Nickelodeon cartoon The Angry Beavers, in fact. We knew that the girl was haunting us in our sleep. We had to stop her curse before the seven days was up.
We now had six days left to save our lives. Johnny called his cousin for help. His cousin told him that the only way to save ourselves was to make a copy of the tape. Johnny told him we were screwed because we had no way to copy the tape.
"Why don't you just buy a second VCR?" his cousin said. "They're like twenty bucks these days."
"Why don't you shut up your face?" Johnny told him. "You can do that for free."
This was our night to play Risk. I was almost about to win the game as I controlled Africa, Europe, the Americas and, having just gained Asia, was moving into Australia with more than a hundred troops. Johnny's forces were confined to small number of infantry in Eastern Australia and it was still my turn. But before I could say "Western Australia is going to attack Eastern Australia" Johnny had flipped the board over, spilling all the pieces and ending the game. "Oh well," Johnny said. "The world was hit by a big earthquake and we can't finish the game. Looks like nobody won."
On Sunday I had to update the website. Johnny sent me another Watership Down review and I spent all day on the phone with him making sure the names of the rabbits were correct. I've only ever seen the movie, and that was when I was really young. I had no idea it was ever adapted into a television show. After that was done, I went back to trying to find more pictures of boys in petticoats. The nice thing about having a humor website is that if anyone ever catches me looking a this stuff, I can claim I am working on an article making fun of it for my website. Then I have to explain that I have a website and if people ask about it, I tell them the address. This makes them look up the website, look at it for a little bit, and then tell me I am not funny.
On Monday Johnny and I went to the mall so we could buy some new summer shoes. The nearest mall is an hour away, so we always make a day of it, but we forgot to buy a VCR. We were too busy being held in dismay over how the mall has gone downhill over the years. The food court doesn't exist anymore. When we were children, all of the food booths were taken by restaurants. Up until a few years there were only two remaining, but then they went away because no one is going to pay four bucks for one slice of pizza. For a while there was a taco place that wasn't any good. Now there are no places to eat in the mall. One of the food booths is now taken up by a bank. Also, the space that was occupied by an arcade is emptied out and now hosts displays for the local community college. Just as well, I don't think arcades can do as well these days when people can buy game consoles that are more powerful than the ones in an arcade The arcade companies shouldn't stop being so stubborn and start actually producing games that have better graphic power than a Super Nintendo.
This would have been a good day to find a way to copy the tape, but Johnny was no where to be found. He later told he was with his girlfriend putting together more Seal of Approval comic strips. Apparently, Johnny has a girlfriend. I have never met this Nancy person and sometimes I suspect it's a fictional persona Johnny created for the comic strip. I spent the day reading old issues of Zoobooks at the library.
On an unrelated adventure, I was kidnapped by Somali pirates off the coast of the horn of Africa. Don't ask me how it happened. The pirates demanded my employer pay a ransom or I would be killed. My boss told the pirates to fuck off and said they didn't have the guts to kill me. Then he farted over the phone. With no other options and my life on the line, Johnny rescued me, singlehandedly beating the pirates iin combat one by one until he untied me from my restraints. What should have been our moment of glory was soured when one pirate said, "The white knight had saved his beautiful little princess." Then the other pirates laughed and called us gay. Johnny and I just sulked away and then Johnny placed me on his dingy and took me home.
Johnny came over to watch Degrassi. The N was having another marathon which meant our evening was booked.
"Hey," Johnny said, talking slowly while his mouth was full of Fiddle Faddle. "Weren't we supposed to do something by now? Something about a tape or something?"
"Yeah," I said after putting ketchup on my hotdog. "I think. Oh well, we will get to it when we get to it."
All of a sudden, the room went dark. The power had gone out. Gone out, except for the haunting glow of the television set. The imagine changed from the hallways of Degrassi Community School to a field with a well. Something climbed out a well. It was a young girl, with long black hair that shielded her face from us. She moved closer and closer towards the screen of the TV.
"What kind of lame new The N show is this?" I asked.
The girl came out of the TV.
She now stood in my living room and walked toward us, her legs and arms moving in a jagged inhuman motion that suggested she wasn't human, but a monster. Johnny and I cowered in fear, hugging each other. The girl was almost over us, ready to kill us.
Then she saw it.
I have a Hamtaro poster on my wall. When the girl saw it she stopped and starred. Then, she changed. No longer was she a pale, ragged monster. Now she appeared as a bubbly, sunny teenager waering a schoolgirl's uniform. She let out a girlish squeal.
"Hamtaro, I very much love Hamtaro. He is a super cool Ham-Ham. My name is Misha Tamagoshi and I am in the fifth grade at Yokosuka Elementary Girl."
Johnny and I were relieved. Who doesn't like Hamtaro?
"Would you like to watch Hamtaro?" Johnny asked Misha.
The three of us watched some Hamtaro tapes Johnny had made sure to record before Cartoon Network stopped airing the show. The bastards.
"Is it true that on the Japanese version of Hamtaro, the hamsters are superheroes that fight dragons?" Johnny asked Misha.
"Yes, yes," said Misha. "The Ham-hams are brave warriors. I wish I had a hamster of my very own."
Misha looked at both of us. Then I blacked out.
I awoke on a pile of finely ground woodchips. This was not the Dumb Baby Headquarters. I was in a cage. There was Johnny next to me. He smiled...but looked different. He was smaller and furrier than the other day.
Misha used her Japanese people magic to turn us into her pet Ham-hams. We live in a cage in her bedroom. It is not a bad life. Misha keeps us well fed with sunflowers and we often have adventures outside while Misha is in school.
It was an adjustment at first. When I pointed out that we had to share our one hamster wheel, Johnny proposed a schedule.
"I will get to use it during the day and you can get to use it at night when we go to sleep."
"I don't think that is a fair way to share it," I replied.
"Sure it is," Johnny and he went to play on the wheel.