How To Even…Be A Pal, Bake A Cake, And Then End A Blog On The Somewhat Wholesome But Still Silly Note That Your Readers Have Come To Expect And Cherish
You wake up. It’s either Wednesday or Saturday. If it’s Wednesday you’re screwed because you’re supposed to be in Puerta Vallarta getting married, which you are clearly not. Where you clearly are is a city alley in winter lying on top of a partially deflated sex doll and empty cans of Tusker lager.
Your memories of the night before are as hazy as the ingredient list in a cup of gas station chili. How did you get here? No idea. Whose suspenders are you wearing? No idea. Why aren’t you wearing anything else except for the bottom half of pink bunny costume? No idea. But the mask is lying beside you, and, after you’ve put it on, you realize it’s full of vomit which may or may not be yours.
You have no wallet, cellphone, keys, or anything else. You do remember who you are, though: you’re Timmy. Beyond that, all bets are off.
You stagger to your feet and look around. There’s a bus pass on the ground which may be yours. There’s the aforementioned bunny costume head. There’s a rat with a smirk who clearly thinks it’s better than you. You can’t really argue with it, at this point.
There’s also a pile of ashes and some bits of plastic. One of them is a partial picture of you. You realize it’s what’s left of your drivers license, which has been burned until that bit is all that’s left. There’s another bit that’s clearly your burned credit card. The rest of the ashes are indistinguishable.
That’s when it hits you what must’ve happened. You’ve finally done it. After years of talking about it, you’ve finally faked your own death. No more putting up with your boss’s bullshit like “you have to wear pants to work here” and “stop crying in front of customers, it freaks everyone out.” No more dealing with your significant other’s demands that you “please for the love of God stop drinking syrup out of the pitcher” when you’re having breakfast out. You’re going to miss your SO, but let’s face it, she’s better off without you.
And most of all, you don’t have to write that stupid How To Even blog anymore. The one that demanded so much time, blood, sweat, and chocolate sauce. Sure, the millions of adoring fans were a bonus, but it was getting hard to think or write, what with all the declarations of love, peopled throwing their underwear at you (sometimes in a good way, sometimes not), very angry people who can’t take a joke and actually followed your advice, and all the police. So many police. And summons. And court dates.
You exit the alley but don’t recognize anything. You breathe in deep the stink of the city and look around. There are people going about their lives, unaware that they’re in the presence of greatness. Probably because you’re covered in sick and grime. The rat has been joined by a couple more. You could swear it just muttered something to the others, and now they’re all snickering. Man, can rats snicker. But that’s okay. Let’s not get paranoid. Let’s enjoy the moment.
Before, the path of your life had pointed downward towards its inevitable end. A marriage that would slowly fade into resentful apathy. A job that would keep you from doing what you want as much as it enabled you to. Old age, aches and pains, and an eventual, undignified death. But now, you’re a bunny man with a fresh start and open vistas ahead of you.
You take a deep breath. You step out into the street to start your new life and are immediately hit by a bus. The next thing you’re aware of is a droning voice, reading what appear to be names.
“Thaddeus. Thomas. Timmy.”
“That’s me!” You say.
“Yeah, I know,” the voice says. “Now get in line.”
You become aware that you’re in the middle of a group of people. A lot of them don’t look right; one guy is on fire. Another is mushed nearly flat. Someone beside you seems to be a bunch of mushed up bits that look like they’ve gone through a blender.
“What happened to you?” You ask them.
“Industrial grade blender. I fell in.” The voice doesn’t seem to come from a mouth, but you hear it anyway.
“Is this heaven?” You ask.
“If it were, don’t you think I’d have my body back?” Blender person asks.
“Timmy?” The voice repeats, impatient.
There’s a line forming. You go to it. More names are called. The line moves. You realize that you’re probably in shock because none of this makes much sense.
The line stops moving, and you realize you’re standing in front of a desk.
“Name?” A very bored looking middle-aged lady asks.
“I was a blogger.”
“How did you contribute to the world?”
“I was a blogger.”
“Hey, is this heaven?”
“If this were heaven, would I be stuck here with you?”
“I feel like that’s not really an answer.”
She stamps a form and hands it to you. It says “MEH” in red.
“What does this mean?” You ask.
But suddenly, you’re falling. You hit the asphalt hard but bounce like it’s made out of rubber, then land on your head and slowly fall over. You’re amazed that you’re not dead. You stand up, but things look weird. The buildings around you are on fire — everything is on fire — not a full-blown blaze, but it’s all smoldering and glowing. You realize it’s also super hot. Then someone clears their throat. You turn and see a demon — classic demon with goat legs, a tail, horns, totally red.
“Shit was my father. You can call me L’il McTurdy.”
“Are you fucking with me?”
“Soon, soon.” The demon refers to a clipboard. “Timmy?”
“Yeah? I mean no! I’m…Bill.”
The demon gives you an old-fashioned look.
“Yeah, okay, I’m Timmy.”
The demon refers to its clipboard. “Says here you were a blogger?”
“Yeah. I wrote instructional blogs. How To Even…”
The demon sneers. “So you taught people how to do things.”
“Not really. I was mostly trying to be funny.”
“And were you?”
The demon gives you an old-fashioned look.
The demon sighs and lowers his clipboard.
“Look, man. we have so many bloggers here. Like, so many. Tell you what. It’s Satan’s birthday, and I’m supposed to get him something. You help me out, I’ll send you back to Earth, you can try again and do something worthwhile this time, like be a plumber or a pizza delivery person.”
“Those are worthwhile jobs?”
“What would you do without plumbing or pizza?”
“Fair point. Sure ok. How about, uh, a cake? Bake him a cake?”
“I’m a demon. I don’t do cakes.”
“Oh. I can probably help, I guess?”
Suddenly, you’re in a kitchen. “Shit,” you say. The demon sits at the kitchen table, eating a scone and drinking what you assume is tea. But probably isn’t.
“Everything you need should be here,” the demon says.
“Is there, like, a cookbook?”
“Seriously?” The demon says. “You don’t know how to make a cake?”
“I just want options,” you say. “You want it to be a really good cake, right?”
The demon sighs. A stack of cookbooks appear. You leaf through the top one. You could go with Devil’s Food Cake, but that might be too obvious. Chocolate is always good, though. Buttercream, is it too hot here to make buttercream?
“Any suggestions? What does the devil like?”
“Souls. And ganache.”
You take everything slow, measuring out the ingredients carefully with a scale and actual measuring utensils. The only cake you’ve made before was out of a box and was also terrible, though that might have been because you used beer instead of eggs.
Now you mix, fold, bake. When Satan’s birthday cake is done, you’re pretty happy with it. You shape a little pitchfork in icing on top and present it to the demon.
“You’re a real pal,” the demon says.
“The secret ingredient is mortal terror,” you say.
The demon nods. You wait. You’re both standing there.
“So…” you say, breaking the silence.
The demon sighs, “Okay, okay. A deal is a deal.”
The demon snaps its fingers.
You’re standing across the street from your fiancé’s apartment. Behind you, is the open road. You could start a new life, as you’d originally intended to when you faked your own death. But you’ve been through so much, seen heaven and hell, baked a surprisingly acceptable cake. Or you can go inside, marry your fiancé, have kids, do the whole 9–5 thing until you die, and maybe this time, you won’t get a “meh.” Maybe you’ll get an “ok, whatever.” No — that’s dreaming too small. Maybe you’ll get a thumbs up. A thumbs up to heaven.
You take a tentative step toward your fiancé’s apartment. Unfortunately, you weren’t paying attention and stepped in front of a city bus. It absolutely creams you. You wake up in a hospital in a full body cast. There are tubes. There are monitors. At least you’re conscious. And on drugs.
You look to the right. Your fiancé is by your side.
“We’re suing the bastards,” she says, “and we’re going to win big.”
“I’ll never work again,” you say. Your fiancé squeezes your hand. Life is good.
And that’s how you do it.
Good luck and good night! And thank you for reading How To Even…