Wank, so named for his favorite pastime and greatest earthly proficiency, finished ripping the Christ out of Destructo--the eight-foot, four-stemmed, steam-powered God-bong he and Tony had spent all semester manufacturing in Mr. Herney’s metal shop class--and began twisting the crank that rotated the spigot over to his friend.
DESTRUCTO: WAR-GOD OF ALL BONG-KIND.
“Dude,” Wank suddenly exclaimed, “I think we need to talk.”
“Shitbricks,” replied Tony, more as an exclamation of appreciation for the monstrous cloud of smoke he could not seem to stop exhaling. “What’s up? Is everything OK?”
“No, man. Not really. Listen,” Wank stood up and began to pace the room, collecting and carefully organizing the words he planned to speak, “I know we screw around a lot. We’re pretty much burnouts, and most of our young lives have been spent in the fruitless pursuit of hedonism. Serious topics are essentially outlawed between us, and our friendship doesn't revolve around ideas so much as the absence of them. But what I’m about to say may breech all of that, and if it ruins our relationship forever, so be it. It is that important. It is a dire and potentially world-changing idea that we need to discuss solemnly, as thinking men. Tony, my friend, I’m talking to you today about French fries. And the fact that I need them.”
FRENCH FRIES: WAR-GOD OF ALL SIDE-DISHES.
“Holy goddamn,” Tony began the long and intricate shutdown procedure for Destructo--a procedure which, if performed incorrectly, could result in a boiler explosion. “Two seconds ago I was not thinking about French fries, but it has quickly become my one and only desire.”
“Then it’s agreed,” Wank said, nodding seriously. “But how? How do we accomplish French fries?”
“I don’t have any cash,” Tony replied. He hadn’t had any money since Terry, the giant dick of a manager at the IHOP where Tony used to work, fired him for starting a deadpool on the regular Early Bird customers.
“And besides, I don’t feel like a reasonable amount of French fries will solve this problem. I need like, the world’s largest naturally occurring deposit of French fries. And I need all of it, for me.”
“Dude, what about the cafeteria?”
“What about it? It’s like three in the morning. There’s no way we’re breaking into the fucking school cafeteria in the middle of the night for some French fries.”
“Listen,” Wank stated, clapping a hand on Tony’s shoulder and looking into his eyes with earnestness, “we are men of action: Lies do not become us.”
If you did not get that reference, there are more valuable things you can be doing with your time.
Wank boosted Tony up through the freshly broken window of the science lab, then scuttled up the wall with Tony’s assistance. They landed in the dark, and something crunched beneath their feet.
“I cannot believe you broke the window,” Tony sighed.
“Couldn’t be avoided," Wank replied curtly, stumbling towards the doorway.
“OK, but did you have to hurl my iPhone through it?”
“What else would you suggest?”
“There are rocks literally everywhere. They are the very foundation of the Earth beneath our feet.”
“Huh. That would have been better,” Wank agreed, at last finding the door and stepping into the darkened hallway.
Rocks: Nature's locksmith.
It took an hour and a half to navigate the roughly 100-feet between the science lab and the cafeteria, including 15 minutes spent walking in circles until Tony and Wank simultaneously realized that they were both following the other; 30 minutes of backtracking to find the bathrooms before simply urinating through the slots of Jenny Spece’s locker (it was unanimously decided on as retribution for her terrible handjob techniques; it’s like stroking a beloved pet, Jenny, not starting a fucking lawnmower); and a full 45 minutes of rapt discussion as to who was the best Transformer, and why. When they finally remembered why they'd come, they quickly located the double-doors to the cafeteria. Wank flipped on the lights and looked for the fryer while Tony found the freezer.
“Wank,” Tony said, his jaw gone slack, his eyes losing focus, “there are no words for this. I must compose a symphony.”
It was the day after delivery. The freezer was stocked with ten 30-pound bags of crinkle-cut french fries.
Three hundred pounds of pre-sliced potato mana; the starchy ambrosia; yellow gold.
“I’m going to make all of them,” Wank whispered in awe. He rushed over and began alternately praying to, swearing at and punching the fryer. After what seemed like a frankly unnecessary flying elbow, he finally managed to hit the "ON" button. The machine kicked to life.
“Dude, just use the manual,” Tony offered the booklet helpfully.
Wank promptly seized it and dropped it into the deep fryer, “Records are for the weak of mind and demented! We are young and clever; we will not suffer instructions!”
“I cannot conceive of a situation in which losing the instructions for an intensely complicated and dangerous piece of machinery has ever ended well.”
“Well clearly it's working: They have become deep fried and delicious. Now you may dine on your precious instructions.”
Tony could not shake an ominous feeling of foreshadowing, but he ate the manual anyway because he was extremely high and that is just what extremely high people do.
"This is the best fucking report I have ever eaten."
“We are clearly breaking some sort of record for net French fry profits here, dude,” Tony had grown paranoid of grease splatter somewhere around the hundredth pound he’d fried, wrapped himself in all the aprons in the kitchen and donned a spare football helmet.
“You look like an ass,” Wank observed, horking down French fries more out of determination than desire at this point.
“I’m safe,” Wank protested.
“Safe? You? I think the safest thing to do would have been not to shatter the auto-shutoff switch with a heel kick.”
“Were you satisfied with eight pounds? Eight fucking worthless pounds? Because that’s what the machine said. The machine said ‘stop at eight, Wank’ and I was all ‘we proceed, machine, gather your nerve!’ and the machine was all ‘I’m scared’ and I was all ‘I’ll hold you, machine’ and she was all ‘you’re so big and strong’ and I was all ‘take your top off, Jenny’ and she totally did.”
"And then the machines got pregnant and I had to drop out of school to work at the mill and wait... what was I talking about again?"
“I think that one got away from you a bit,” Tony observed.
“Dude, we don’t need the bullshit mothering of technology. Whatever safety methods we make up on the spot are good enough.”
“I don’t know dude, I want French fries so bad that it’s basically a sickness at this point. I’m not sure if I should be the one monitoring our safety,” Tony replied, sifting the basket of oil.
“Your vision is clouded by the fries,” Wank agreed, dipping his fistful of crinkle-cuts into a bucket of ketchup and then attempting to shove the entire thing, hand and all, into his mouth.
“Perhaps my desire is making me reckless,” Tony conceded.
“No, I mean literally: There are French fries stuck all up in the grill of your helmet. You knocked over the fryer two minutes ago; you’ve been holding the basket in the garbage can.”
“Holy shit!” Tony swiveled his whole body, unable to move his neck for the many aprons tied there, and finally noticed the flames that had taken most of the cafeteria “Why would you not tell me about the fucking inferno four feet away from me?!”
“Oh that’s hardly an inferno. A blaze perhaps, a fire certainly, but inferno is a bit dramatic,” Wank rose to his feet, sidled up to Tony and turned to survey the flames. “Oh. Oh never mind, my apologies. That is most certainly an inferno.”
When it grows a face and starts screaming for your death, that's officially an inferno.
“Why was this not considered relevant information?!” Tony panicked, hurling off his helmet and stripping off aprons like a nymphomaniacal sous-chef.
“Shit dude, at first I thought it was just like residual flames. I mean sure it was bad, but it wasn't an ongoing situation. Then I was pretty sure the sprinklers would kick on and take care of it, so it didn't seem worth mentioning. Finally, I figured the flames would just burn the cafeteria; no way they’d spread to the rest of the school.”
“Why in God’s name would you assume so many things that just get more consecutively retarded as they go on?”
“Weed?” Wank offered, reasonably.
“Oh, right. Ha ha, do you know I’m so high that I actually forgot I was high? I was like ‘Man, Tony, why are you doing this? This does not seem like a good idea.’ I totally spaced on the drugs.”
“Dude, inferno,” Wank reminded him.
“Oh yeah. Shit! What do we do?!”
“I’ve got it,” Wank exclaimed, fumbling through his pockets, at last coming up with his lighter, “we burn this fucker down!”
“It’s… already on fire.”
“Welp, I’m out of ideas.”
"If arson is not the answer, then I just don't understand the question."
“Maybe if we like, scoop the oil off the floor and back into the fryer?” Tony was already emptying the ketchup bucket in preparation.
“It is way too late for that. Maybe we can get to the science lab and throw some acid on it.”
“What? Why the fuck would you…? Why use chemicals more damaging than the actual fluids?”
“Listen, dude: We’re already going to die here. Might as well make it awesome.”
Tony opened his mouth as if to respond, but had to stop short to consider Wank's logic. His gut instincts couldn’t place what was wrong with it offhand, but his gut instincts were also telling him ‘ignore fire; eat more fries.’ He was starting to suspect his gut was not terribly reliable at the moment.
"You have a moral responsibility: Don't let your greed endanger others."
"On the other hand, Zagnut bar."
“We can call the cafeteria workers!” Tony exclaimed, taking a few steps back for a running start, belly-flopping onto the ground and using the spilled ketchup as a kind of Slip n’ Slide to luge his way over to the phone. “They’ve got to know what to do.”
“Why would they help us?”
“Well, who’s got more at stake than them, right? They must want to help!”
“Dude,” Wank knelt on the empty bucket and used a spatula to push himself across the ketchup lake like a gondola, “we are currently in the process of burning down their place of employment. I don’t think they’ll be too happy with us.”
“What if I give them each five bucks? That’s like… five bucks! Each!”
"As in, per person!"
“I think we’re missing the obvious conclusion here, friend,” Wank said, dismounting from his condiment canoe.
“What? How is ‘fuck it’ the obvious conclusion?”
“Dude, just fuck it. Let’s run away.”
“Oh. Yes. Yes that is good. Let’s do that.”
As they fled the scene of the break-in, arson and first-degree theft of a side dish, Tony couldn’t help but think that this was the last real summer he and Wank had left as children: After this was college, and after that was manhood, and there would be a lifetime of responsibility and moderation. But for now, he simply ran and enjoyed the tangy scent of the summer forest coupled with that of a gargantuan grease fire, gallons of burning ketchup and the caustic sting of the acid they’d paused to throw on everything before fleeing.
It smelled familiar. It smelled comforting. It smelled like freedom.
Mr. Herney the metal shop teacher went on to win the Annual French-Canadian Strongman competition, and started a successful Creperie with the prize money. He lives with his life-partner "Michelle" (that’s a dude in French.)
Terry was arrested on charges of embezzlement four years later. He escaped and fled to Senegal where he started a novelty brothel. He insists that the locals call him “The White Death,” but all they really call him is “a giant dick.”
Tony Hayward would go on to become chief executive of British Petroleum, where he would recreate this accident step by literal step – losing vital records and manuals, neglecting shut-off mechanisms, insisting that volunteer safety measures were enough, using chemicals that are actually more toxic than the oil to clean up the spill and then offering to pay the displaced, unemployed Gulf fisherman to help clean up the mess for him.
Though there’s no official evidence that Tony was directly involved in the accident, it should be noted that Destructo the God-bong was never found, and that the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded on 4/20.
Eleven people died and the ensuing spill was one of the greatest ecological disasters in history.
Wank married a goat!
You can buy Robert's book, Everything is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead, or find him on Twitter, Facebook and his own site, I Fight Robots where he will promise to stop being relevant.