Well hey there, Internet Friends.
Today we’re going to tell a story about our good pal Mark, and a very important lesson that he learned one steamy Saturday morning.
Our tale begins in an elevator. Now Mark rode this elevator many times over the last few months, because it brought him up to the 28th floor of the MGM Grand, and his job required him to go there all the time. You see Mark was responsible for watching a man named Jared whenever he would come to Las Vegas for work. Jared was a wrestler. He used to be pretty famous as wrestlers go, but then he went away for a long time, and when he came back it was under a blueberry costume. Isn’t that just the darndest thing?
You see, Mark was hired to fill a very specific role at the casino. It was the kind of job whose description more people would look at and think, “What the fuck, my guy?” But Mark had some student debt to pay off, and his previous job as a barista wasn’t cutting it, so he took the gig without doing the proper research. His job was to follow Jared the blueberry and make sure that he didn’t get into too much trouble. The first few weeks had come and gone without so much as a hitch, unless of course you count the time that Jared put on a white pantsuit and broke into a storage closet full of feather boas and a red fright wig.
One day Jared put on his blueberry suit and stole a forklift, which is not something that anyone should ever do because it’s so dangerous. Would you believe me if I told you that he managed to get that forklift into the very same elevator that Mark was in? I don’t know how it happened, but trust me it did. Best not to ask too many questions about it.
The reason I bring this up is because on that fateful forklift day Jared had also stolen a chocolate fountain, and when he drove that forklift off the elevator so much molten chocolate splashed on the floor, and left a great big puddle. Good thing that the cleaning crew at the resort is top-notch, because they scrubbed that rug day after day for weeks until the stain was gone. Mark had keen eyes for this sort of thing, and swore he could still see it. He always checked when he came up here, but on that Saturday morning he had other things on his mind.
When the elevator doors opened, young Mark stepped out into the hallway and started running as fast as he could, and he didn’t stop until he came to a very specific door. He pounded on that door for what felt like an eternity before it finally opened, and a half-naked emo man peeked out into the hallway.
“You better be about to tell me that someone’s dead,” Jared said. He stood at an awkward angle, kind of hunched over and twisted at the waist with one leg bent, like a boy who’d just been caught with one of them swimsuit magazines by his mother. His hair looked like it had survived a trailer park tornado, and a few beads of sweat gathered on his forehead. “Not that I want someone to be dead.”
Good thing, too. You should never want someone to be dead, my friends. If they’re dead then you can’t mock them for the really ridiculous shit that they own, like a specialized chicken kitchen, for example. Maybe they like to steal kids at the zoo. Who knows. The point is dead people don’t cry, and the tears of your enemies are food for the soul.
Were his shorts inside-out?
“What? No. No one’s dead,” Mark said. Whew, what a relief. It’s always good to be reminded that nobody is dead, my friends. Just scroll up a bit if you need to be reminded why.
“Got it.” Jared started to shut the door.
“Wait! This is important. I promise. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t.”
Mark started to wonder if Jared had some lingering back pain from the night before, when he and his wrestling partner had to defend their championships against a pair of rock-hard, greasy, man-stallions named Barry and Trent.
“Are you okay?” Mark was a kind, concerned type, and when he saw that Jared looked to be in a bad way it was important he reached out.
“Yup, just, you know, practicing submissions.”
“Who’s at the door?” Well heck, that was Justine’s voice coming from inside the room. Welcome to the story, Ms. Calvin. She sounded annoyed.
“Dealing with it,” Jared said over his shoulder. He turned his attention back to Mark. “You have thirty seconds. Aaaaand go.”
The thing about Mark is when that boy gets nervous, all of his thoughts just start falling out of his head. That’s what happened in front of that door: Mark opened his mouth, and created a word puddle on the floor not unlike the chocolate puddle that used to live at the other end of the hall.
“Okay so Great Scott released something this morning about why he did a headphone murder on Paxton last night, but said that ‘Mark has to pay’, and I’m the only Mark who works for the part of MGM that deals with PRIME, so I don’t know what he means by ‘has to pay’ but it sounds like a threat and you’re the only wrestler I know, and am I in trouble? Because it feels like I’m in trouble. Oh god.”
“Not the first time I’ve heard those two words today.”
“So what do I do?”
“Seriously, what’s going on out there?” This time there was a person to go with the voice as Justine stepped out from one of the bedrooms. The t-shirt she wore was definitely not her own. Wearing it made her look like a child trying to crawl out from a pup tent that had collapsed on top of them. When she saw Mark her face flushed red like a summer strawberry, and she ducked back into the bedroom and slammed the door.
Now Mark’s never been one for math, but this is the point in our story where he finally put two and two together. In his quest to get his answer about whatever Great Scott was yammering about, he’d sought out the only wrestler he felt comfortable asking, but somewhere along the way took a wrong turn and stumbled headlong into the middle of a fuck carnival in the city square of Fucktown, USA. There in all his glistening glory stood Jared, the Guy Fieri of Fucktown.
You ever been to a fuck carnival? Why, they’ve got all sorts of rides and games, including a special version of “Pin the Tail” that they don’t let you play at most parties, and Squishy the clown sure knows how to twist a balloon like nothing you’ve ever seen.
See Mark might have been pounding on the door, but that wasn’t the only pounding going on in that part of the building, if you follow my meaning. This isn’t the sort of thing that everyone learns at school, which is why even with his fancy degree from UNLV Mark was left dumbstruck. He never got these lessons.
All he said was: “Oh.”
“Yeah,” Jared the blueberry said. “Gonna go now.”
Then Jared shut the door. Mark heard the sound of a knob turn and a bolt slide into place. You know what it looks like when a deadbolt slides into the socket in the door frame? Well, it’s all Mark could think about, except it wasn’t your standard steel lock in his mind. Again, if you follow my meaning.
Mark wondered what that room would look like if someone with a blacklight went in and turned it on. He and his friends played enough Splatoon in college to have a pretty good idea as to what it could be, but he found his mind wandering back to a YouTube video he’d seen recently where a case of toothpaste was crushed by a hydraulic press. He told himself he’d never step foot in that room again, and if his job forced him in then he would at least make sure not to touch anything.
From out in the hallway he heard some voices chatting, and then laughing, and then something else.
And as quickly as he’d run to Jared’s room, Mark ran back to the elevator all the faster.