Choose Your Own Nuthouse

Section 41


            You dive to the left, mainly because you usually dive to the right when cars are trying to run you down, and you think it would be fun to try something new.

            But, of course, the Fates are heinous bitches.  Murphyís Law springs gloriously into effect as your body skids over the edge of a previously unnoticed ravine.

            See kids?  See why you should NEVER try anything new?  It always ends in peril!  Always!

            Because falling to your apparent death isnít enough of a bummer, your face keeps bouncing off the side of the cliff, which for some reason is covered in shards of broken glass, razor blades, fire ants, and rusty nails wrapped in asbestos.

            Then you stop.  You arenít dead.  Ordinarily, this would be cause for jubilant celebration.  Not this time, though.  Compared to that has just happened, gruesome splattery death would be just absolutely swell.  Compared to what has just happened, anything else would be just absolutely swell.

            Youíve come to a stop because your face is caught on the wall.

            Actually, after a bit of the panic eases off, you realize that itís not your face that has stuck, so much as it is your gums that have done so.

            Thatís right, pal.  You are hanging by your gums on a wall of glass, razors, ants, and nails (complete with asbestos!) over a seemingly bottomless ravine.

            You just HAD to dive off to the left, didnít you?

            You dangle there for what seems to be an eternity.  Itís only a few seconds but letís face it: In situations like this, a few seconds will always seem to be an eternity.  In the back of your mind (The front of your mind is busy screaming) you contemplate the concept of eternity.  Itís an awfully long time to be hanging by your gums.  And anyway, can a hum mind even really comprehend eternity?  You wonder if, in situations like this, the mindís internal sense of time shuts down so all your mental functions can be retasked to survival or something.

            But why, then, if such a basic function as your internal clock shuts down, is your brain wasting valuable resources to contemplate abstract concepts like eternity?

            Although, the same thing happens when you get really drunk.  When youíre really wasted you lose your time sense, but you also think of some really deep stuff.

            Yeah, must be the same basic principle.  All things considered, though, youíre really rather be drunk.

            The thought of getting drunk immediately leads you to think about smoking.

            Man, you really want a cigarette.  As soon as the thought pops into your mind, the craving hits you like a ton of bricks.  It would help so much.

            Part of you realizes how absurd this is.

            While you are thinking these thoughts, a frigid wind has begun blowing.  The icy current shifts around, blowing first from one direction, then another.  Sometimes it even blows vertically.  In this manner, you are chilled to the bone evenly.  No part of you is spared the biting cold.  You are very numb within a few minutes.

            Except your gums.  You gums are kept fairly warm by the steady flow of blood which is pouring out of them.  They are the only inch of you that can still feel, and you are very aware of this fact.

            And the cigarette craving is only getting worse.  The gnawing desire and the excruciating pain seem content to share your consciousness, but between the two there isnít any room for anything else.

            The problem, of course, is that you canít seem to close your mouth.  To smoke, you really need to be able to do that.

            Truthfully, you could probably manage to shut your mouth, but it would do a whole lot of damage, and cause even more pain than you are already experiencing.

            Or you could try to smoke through your nose.

            But that hurts.  And it would make everything smell like smoke.  So that idea is out.

            Well, you decide, that leaves closing your mouth.

            You figuratively grit your teeth.

            Here goes nothingÖ

            It is even worse than you imagined; The terrible wall scrapes through your lips, tearing flesh raggedly.  You can hear things scraping your teeth.  It makes a shrill noise, like the ones you hear in the dentistsí offices.

            You wonder if a dentist built this place.

            A nail digs out one of your teeth.  This is a really, really big bummer.  You wonder if it was a mistake to try this.

            But youíre close to success, and you have the promise of a wonderful, beautiful smoking experience to see you through to the end.  You are willing to make this sacrifice of pain for that glorious, warm does of toasted nicotine happiness.

            You squeeze your eyes shut, ball up your fists, and with Herculean effort clamp your jaw shut.

            You are quite happy that you cannot see what this has done to your face.  You would smile with relief and self-satisfaction, but even if you get out of this alive, your smiling days are probably over.

            It takes a while for you to fish your pack of Luckies out of your pocket, and when you finally manage to pull them free, you find you must pass them behind your back so you can use both hands to retrieve a cigarette.  This is difficult to say the least; you fingers have been left totally insensate but the persistent icy wind.  It takes forever, but you force yourself to be slow and careful.  A few times, you are worried that youíve actually dropped the pack.

            Luck, however, favors you this time.  As well it should considering how things have been going recently.  You wedge the coffin nail between your lips, taking care to not catch it on any of the actual nails wedged between (or really Ė through) your lips.  Then having replaced your pack, you take out your Zippo, raise it to your lips, flip open the top, strike the flint and touch the complete lack of flame to the end of the Lucky.

            Fuck.  Oh well.  Take two.

            Windproof my frozen, imperiled ass, you think.

            As an increasingly frantic succession of flicks shows, your lighter is dead.  Damn.

            Damn.  Damn.  Damn.


            Because youíve got nothing to lose at this point, you hold the lighter up and give it a shake.  Sometimes that works.

            But not this time.  Damn.

            Awkwardly, you hurl the Zippo at the wall. 

            It lodges against a shard of glass and sits there, a perfect, unreachable flame dancing up the wick.  A few fire ants sizzle.


            You dangle there, covered in blood and pain and angry ants, watching your Zippo glow in the darkness, with one completely useless cigarette sponging blood out of your lacerated face.

            Damn.  Damn.  Damn.

            Suddenly, the flame grows.  Something Ė you think it might be some of your hair Ė has caught fire.  This would be totally irrelevant if this burning mass had stayed put.  However, it dislodges and falls on your head.


            Now your head is on fire!

            Panicking, you beat your head with your hands, trying to extinguish the flame.  You do not succeed.

            Take heart, though, while you have most unfortunately failed to put out your hair, you have done a wonderful job at two other things:

            1. You have set your shirt on fire. (Damn.)

            2. You have dislodged yourself from the wall. (Yay!)

            The next few moments of your life consists of falling into the darkness of the ravine.  You use this time constructively, removing your flaming shirt.  With the immediate threat of immolation removed, you dedicate a moment to thinking of a way to survive the fall.

            Your rumination is cut short by your impact with a large beam of red hot metal that spans the width of the ravine.  You havenít fallen far enough for this to kill you, which is too bad.  You bounce away and hit another one, and continue in this fashion for a couple minutes, losing a great deal of skin in the process.

            At the bottom of the ravine there is a river, and this river contains a generous population of hungry, angry aquatic life and some very unusual jelly fish which have adapted to the uncommonly high acidity if the water.  It also contains large, pointy plant life, and a cloud of blood thirsty mosquitoes (the size of a grown manís hand), which hover just above the waterline.

            It also has just acquired you.  The acidic water does nothing to improve your mood.  Its PH isnít sufficient to actually dissolve you, but it is more than up to the job of causing a great deal of pain in your already intolerably agonizing wounds.  The angry fish take little bites out of you; the jelly fish enthusiastically perform their sole task in life, which is to hurt things; the rocks are numerous and very solid; You discover you are highly allergic to the Pointy Plant Life;  the mosquitoes waste no time in covering every un-submerged inch of your body.

            You are in the river for a very long time, praying for death or, at the very least, unconsciousness.  These prayers go unanswered.

            After a long, long time, you become aware that the current has slowed from raging whitewater rapids to a leisurely, almost pleasant drift.  This is because the river has widened somewhat.  Not long after you discover this, the current deposits you into a lake.  You assume it is Lake Doomhole, and you are correct.

            Miraculously, there isnít anything immediately threatening to your well-being in the lake.  It is, however, a really big lake and you are exhausted from your ordeal.  Youíre in no condition to swim, of course, so you just float bleeding and naked (youíve no clue where your remaining clothing went), and waiting to either be rescued or to die.

            It is about four in the morning when the Jet-ski hits you.  This results in a massive concussion, eight fractured ribs, and your long overdue rescue.

            Your friends (a happy coincidence) drag you to shore and call an ambulance, which is nice of them.

            You bum a cigarette from one of your buddies and manage to smoke the entire things despite the fact that, at this point, it is a miracle you can even breathe without the assistance of a complicated surgical procedure and several expensive machines.

            Your friend Dave is funneling PBR down your throat when the ambulance arrives.  This is more of less where your adventure ends, except for the terrible series of mishaps which befall the ambulance on its way to the hospital.  However, these are much too unpleasant to print, so weíll leave off at this point.

Go back to section 16, and donít dive to the left this time, numbnuts.