Cracked.com's Editor in Chief Jack O'Brien purposefully power-walked up to my desk. In his right hand: My latest Cracked piece. In his eyes: Fury.
"Dan, we need to talk about your Thanksgiving Day Piece," he said when he approached.
"What about it," I asked, without taking my eyes off of the internet pornography I was currently viewing.
"What about it? What about it? Dan, I can't print this. I can't print it, out of a professional obligation, as an editor of this site, and I can't print it out of a moral obligation as a responsible human being with a soul." Ugh. He was always going on and on like this. We get it: You have a soul. Move on.
"I gotta tell you, Boss, I'm a little bit surprised. You were the one who asked me to write it, in the first place. Remember?"
"Dan, it's November, which means one thing," Jack said. I already knew exactly where he was going with this.
"Hookers," I shouted. "Way ahead of you, Boss, I'll get some right now." I picked up my phone and hit "2" on my speed dial.
"No, Dan, November does not mean hookers."
"I'm not sure I follow. You're saying you want less hookers, or just fatter hookers?"
"Hang up the phone, Dan." I hung up and threw my phone across the room as hard as I could. Why even have a phone if you can't use it to buy hookers. Jack sucks.
"November means Thanksgiving, Dan. I'm gonna need you to write a Thanksgiving-themed article. The pressure's coming from upstairs to do a genuine Thanksgiving piece. No jokes, no gimmicks, no bullshitting. Something factual and authentic. And I need you to do it."
"Me? Why me, Jacktkus?" He squinted at me, clearly not getting the reference.
"Oh, 'Mr. Shatkus' was the name of my English teacher when I was a freshman in high school."
"Wow. That was a pretty bad nickname choice."
"Well, he was a pretty bad teacher. But anyway, why me? Why can't you make one of the other guys do it?"
"Because the other guys produce quality work on a regular basis, and none of them have cost this company millions of dollars in Hannah-Montana-related lawsuits." He had a point.
"Fine. But what the hell should I do about Thanksgiving?"
"I don't know. You could do a history piece; discuss the birth of Thanksgiving and its evolution over time. Or, go out and volunteer at a homeless shelter. Feed people, help people and write about your experiences. Real human interest stuff. Do something nice."
"Well that doesn't sound like something I'd do."
"Come on, Dan. It's Thanksgiving time. Look into that big heart of yours and do some good in this world."
"'Big Heart?' Jackula, the Sweet Baby Jesus saw fit to bless me with only two extra large body parts, and I can assure you that my heart is not one of them. One's my sweaty, throbbing brain, and the other one, well...it would impolite of me to mention it."
"I really apprec-"
"My weiner. "
"The other one was my weiner."
"Are you positive I haven't fired you yet?"
"Look, you're straying from the issue. The point is, you want a Thanksgiving article, so I'll come up with something. Some kind of dogshit 'History of Thanksgiving' thing, yeah? Sound good?" I love pitching articles when I know for a fact I'm not going to write them. This was one of those times.
"Dan, I don't care what you do. As long as it's an authentic piece about Thanksgiving and gets you out of this office for a few hours I'll be happy."
"See, Jackawanna County? You said I could write whatever I wanted. You said you didn't care."
"I also said it had to be factual," Jack whined, like a big baby. I made a mental note to remember "Jactual" as a future nickname.
"Right. Mine's factual. Mine's got dickloads of facts." Jack started grinding his teeth, like a giant baby, but with man-sized teeth.
"There is nothing factual about this," Jack shouted, slamming my piece down on my desk. I looked down at it for a second, admiring my work.
"I'll be honest: I see nothing wrong with this."
"Really? You can't find a single thing wrong with this article? Really? You and Andrew Jackson, despite the fact that neither of you were present at the first Thanksgiving? Despite the fact that it's impossible for you two to ever meet? You can't find anything wrong with that?" I couldn't. I mean, gun to my head, I guess I could say that there wasn't enough nudity on the cover, but there's more than enough nudity in the comic itself to make up for that.
"Why don't we dive right in, then," Jack said, "because the Prologue alone has enough historical inaccuracies and graphic descriptions of your genitals to get this comic banned in any self-respecting library."
"It goes on like that for a while, Dan. Do you know that you never once mentioned Pilgrims in this entire comic? You did 617 pages about the first Thanksgiving, and you didn't give Pilgrims even a passing acknowledgement. "
"Well, to be fair, Boss, I wanted to stay as true to the real story as possible. Frankly, the pilgrims didn't play a big enough role in the original Thanksgiving. There really wasn't any room for them, with all the important stuff that I needed to cram in there." Jack started flipping pages.
"Important stuff like this?"
"Uh, yeah, Boss. What could be more important than killing Robot Hitler? I'm beginning to think you know nothing about history."
"Skipping ahead, you've got this bit about a bomb, in the White House." Jack peruses his notes. "Yeah here it is. 'Our heroes go to the White House and beat Robot Hilter at Mixed Martial Arts fighting, only to find out that there's also a bomb they need to disarm. Now, even though there's like six retarded things in that one sentence alone, I'm a little confused about this page:"
"This all seems pretty straightforward, Boss. Robot Hitler's heart was a bomb."
"Right, I got that. Who the hell is the Snake Wizard?"
"Oh, I was gonna introduce him in the Christmas Edition. Andrew Jackson and I met the Snake Wizard when we had to take down Bizarro Jesus in the Alternate Future...I guess I can understand how that might be confusing to a first-time reader, I'll be sure to footnote that or something. Thanks."
"There's no need to footnote it, Dan, because there is no way this comic book is ever going to run anywhere. I mean, did you do any actual research for this article? At all? Historical butchery aside, you've also got this convoluted subplot about Santa Claus inventing AIDs." I nodded severely. AIDs was no laughing matter.
Jack massaged his temples.
" Dan, I don't even know what particular group is even supposed to be offended by that, but I guarantee you that, whoever it is, they will shut us down for it."
"I'm willing to make sacrifices for my art. If you need to get fired, or even kicked around for a little while, I am more than willing to let that happen." Ignoring me, Jack kept flipping through the comic. He found something that appealed to him. Or, possibly, outraged him. I was never good at deciphering someone else's emotions.
"Here, you've got about 26 pages of you and President Jackson double-teaming Pocahontas, and that just won't do, Dan, it simply won't. I've let a whole lot of your crap slide in the past, but I draw the line at you and a former President "Eiffel-Towering" an Indian Princess." What an oddly specific place to draw a line. "Some things are off limits, and Pocahontas is one of those things."
"More like Poke-ahontas, am I right, Guy?" Jack slammed his fist down onto my desk.
"They sound exactly the same. That's not a joke that works in a spoken conversation, god dammit."
"Okay, you're clearly mad about something, so I'm just going to give you some time to relax and calm down. Maybe when you publish that comic, you'll feel a little better."
"Dan, I'm not publishing this. Aside from a bit in the prologue about smallpox and this awful Pocahontas Sex Interlude, you never discuss the Indians, you barely mention turkey, and, if you consult a history textbook, I think you'll find that the first Thanksgiving was between the Pilgrims and Indians, (not you and a dead president), involved turkey, (not Guinness), and happened out in the woods somewhere, (not a Hooters in New Jersey)."
"I'm sorry, but I can't publish this. And I guess I'm not really that sorry, actually."
"Jack, if I could just plead my case one last time," I said, unzipping my pants.
But he was already gone...
And that, Dear Readers, is the story of the First Graphic R-Rated Story of the First Thanksgiving Story. Because of Jack's fear of new and exciting ideas, the actual comic will never see the light of day. (And isn't that the kind of close-minded thinking that inspired the Pilgrims to leave England in the first place? I'm honestly asking.) Instead, you get these samples, and you have to just trust me that the rest of it was even more incredible. That's a promise, folks. An oath that I swear upon the bones of Pocahontas that I have stored in my pantry. (I bought them years ago, planning to use them in an extremely elaborate practical joke that didn't quite pan out.)
Perhaps someday this comic will make it to the stands and perhaps, on that day, families will come together to read and enjoy it. Together. They'll be so thankful that they got to read it, perhaps they'll even share a meal to celebrate. That's the kind of world I want to live in. Until then, I guess there's truly nothing in this world that's worth being thankful for. That's the truth.
Anyway, Happy Katanakka everybody.