ADULTING ACADEMY: “WHERE WE TEACH KIDS TO BE ADULTS.”
PRESIDING VICE MISTRESS: FIONA HUMPHREYS
CURRENT CASE: “THE SENTENCING OF KENT WAYNE—LOW-DOWN MAN WHORE AND PERPETUAL MAN-CHILD.”
“You’ve been a bad boy Kent! No more butter!”
Vice Mistress Humphreys stands up from behind her podium and points a finger at me.
“No more bacon!”
“Forget about pizza!”
I stumble in place, catching myself against the courtroom railing. I clutch at my heart, which has just begun beating a million miles a minute. The world goes fuzzy and I sink to my knees.
Her next words emerge cartoonishly slow, heavily distorted by my oncoming panic attack.
And then the world becomes dreamlike and sluggish. I’m thrashing against the bailiffs, screaming like Frodo after he’s just seen Gandalf fall into the Balrog’s pit. Tears leak down my cheeks. My face is twisted into a pained rictus.
Manacles snap onto my wrist and something hits me on the back of the head.
The world goes dark.
TEN YEARS LATER…
I’ve been stuck in solitary for a goddamn decade. My mind has been assaulted by countless hours of Powerpoint presentations. My stomach is in constant turmoil; Adulting Academy does not allow casual farting or any splash whatsoever during its battery of Toilet Tests. I’m allowed exactly five seconds a day where I can speak my mind. If the Academy’s Enforcers have the faintest suspicion that I’m engaging in critical thought processes, then they force me to watch romcoms for days at a time. My mind is continually pummeled by the premise that long-term happiness lies in a zany, antagonistic meeting with another woman—a comedy-infused, rocky-start relationship which slowly transforms into a cookie-cutter romance, one that’s accented by a minority friend who occasionally evokes cartoonish urbanity with a strategically loud, “DAY-UM!”
Right now I’m enduring my 10th viewing of some travesty starring Jennifer Aniston and an A-list male whose name I can’t remember; I have no doubt that he’s doing this for the money. Clockwork Orange-style eye-spreaders keep my lids open wide, and tiny whimpers float from my lips.
“Please…” I whisper. “Can’t…can’t…take…any…more…”
A robotic voice blares over the intercom: “THEN SURRENDER YOUR DREAMS, KENT! GO TO THE HAPPY HOURS! TALK THE WATER-COOLER TALK! NO MORE OF THIS WRITING HORSE PUCKEY! WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT 2.5 KIDS AND A SLOW, COMFORTABLE DEATH? YOU CAN’T RESIST THE POWER OF ADULTING ACADEMY! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!”
Suddenly, I see movement in the grill of a ventilation duct. My best buddy Bitefighter—83rd level intellect and Terrier Extraordinaire—is clutching something in his tiny mouth; he’s holding my eReader between his teeth.
He noses the vent open and it drops to the ground, opening to Echo and activating its reality distortion powers. Magic flash.
Martha Stewart crashes through the roof, all yoked-up and huge from her time in the Big House. Guards rush into the room, but she starts punching them in the motherfucking face, her swole-ass arms bursting from their sleeves. At the same time, she’s rapping like a madwoman, spitting out gangsta rhymes like the hardened ex-con she is. Her face is frozen in a furious grimace, and I see tattooed tears running down both her cheeks, displaying her kills for all the world to see.
“MY Man Whore!” she screams, ripping a left hook into a guard’s liver and crumpling his level IV body armor like cheap tin. She knees him in the face and his right eye pops from its socket, dangling by his lips like a hideous Christmas ornament. She crushes his cheeks with a series of punches, pummeling his features into a wet, bloody pulp.
Alarms begin sounding, accented by a series of flashing red lights.
“REEE! REEE! REEE! MARTHA STEWART HAS BREACHED THE COMPOUND! EVACUATE YOUR STATIONS AND PREPARE FOR NUCLEAR-STRIKE SANITATION!”
Martha snaps my restraints and slings me over her shoulder like a bag of potatoes. She punches through the wall with a Punisher-worthy roar, then bounds fifty feet up like Angry Hulk. A helicopter tries to deter us, coming in low and peppering Martha with machine-gun fire, but she’s moving too fast. She bounds toward it, grabs its skid, then chucks it towards the ground. It flies toward the earth in a tumbling spin, then explodes violently, instantly transformed into a giant fireball.
Meanwhile, Martha maintains her hold on me and covers distance with giant leaps and bounds. The whole time, she’s spitting gangsta rap.
Never, EVER get on the wrong side of Martha Stewart!
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