Heiko Julien

TAMPA BAY, FL - You are 47 years old, morbidly obese, screaming at your doctor for refusing to refill your Vicodin prescription at a follow up appointment for injuries sustained slipping and falling in the gift shop at Busch Gardens when you realize you forgot your keys on the bumper cars and politely excuse yourself.

You have a season pass so cutting to the front of the line is no problem. The associate lets you search around the rink for your lost keys.
 

You check under the seat of your car.
 

Nothing at first, then wait a second what's this.

It's an autographed picture of Keanu Reeves.

But you didn't put this here.

“But I did," says a voice from behind you.

You turn around to see none other than Seth Macfarlane doing his best Keanu Reeves impression.

He wants you to know he's doing it as the white dog from Family Guy and he's impersonating Dr. Alex Wyler, Keanu Reeve's character from his 2006 romantic drama The Lake House.

This was Keanu's first film costarring with Sandra Bullock since their star making performances in Speed (1994), Seth reminds you.

You assure him that you are very interested, which he finds encouraging and goes on to recite more Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock facts.

You decide to lay down for a little bit, which turns out to be an ill-advised move.

Not only have you offended Seth Macfarlane, the bumper car operator has grown impatient and has started the ride again.

An excitable tweenage patron drives straight for your head. Your life flashes before your eyes.


Suddenly you are filled with regret. 

 
 

You wish you had played catch with your dad more often.

You long for the embrace of your girlfriend you ghosted on in college when things got too serious too fast.

You wish you'd spent more time listening to others perspectives and less time reiterating your own opinions.

You wish you hadn't wasted 7 years of your life as a trainer at SeaWorld.

The bumper car approaches and you close you eyes, preparing for the end when suddenly it powers down and stops abruptly.

Is it a miracle? The bumper car attendee kneels down beside you and tosses you a pair of keys.

"Here you go, boss."

Boss?

You must have hit your head harder than you thought.

After a few minutes of explaining, your employee is able to bring you to your senses.

You remember that you are the owner of the Busch Gardens Orlando franchise.

Years of training orcas had finally paid off and now you had worked your way up to the top of the ladder. 1

You slipped and hit your head when Keanu Reeves very sneakily pushed you over a mop bucket after you told him you didn't really like The Lake House (2006).

Which explains why Seth Macfarlane would be taunting you with his voice during your period of weakness.

He was never a good friend to you.

Faced with his treachery in the cold light of day, he has no choice but to accept a lifetime ban from all your theme parks.

"I deserve this," he mutters to himself in one of his stupid voices as throngs of cheering patrons jeer the disgraced cartoon mogul's forced exit at the hands of security.

You've never felt this alive.

You don't need the painkillers.

You don't need anybody.

You just stay and ride roller coasters all night until you puke.

Sometimes you have to puke on the coaster.

You just let it fly.

The vomit flies through the air and back into your face, getting up in your nostrils and in your hair.

You love it like that. This is it.
This is living.
This is Life.

This is the madness that they promised you, that you'd long since forgotten throughout all those long days in orca school studying killer whale diagrams, yawning through another tepid rehearsal.

When the big bull whale pulled you by your foot to the bottom of the tank, you secretly prayed for death.

The behemoth didn't grant you the sweet release you craved, not that time. But soon, you hoped.

You begged for it with your eyes every time you trained for those big splash downs.

Do it, you sick freak, you told him with you stare. 

 

You know you want to.

It's been coming to this for a long time now.

It always has been.

It's always been our fate so what are you waiting for, just crush me you 12,000 pound fool.

I want you to, you whisper in his ear at night when you scrub his teeth. And yet that day never came.

Probably because he knew what you needed and how badly you needed it and he couldn't resist watching you squirm.

Windswept puke hardens in your eyebrows as the ride comes to a stop. It's over now.


The ride is over. 

Heiko Julien 🙇🏻 is the author 📚👓 of "I Am Ready to Die a Violent Death" ðŸ’€ðŸ˜‚💯

Illustration by Guy Field.