To Think I've Spent My Whole Life Waiting
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rating: +39+x


The house was massive, and had a… well, it doesn't sound like a beautiful color scheme, but trust me. The dark brown and red were very artfully done. It would have made me happy if it weren't for the big face painted on the top. It felt like it was looking at me. I didn't like it at all. I climbed up the hill and out of the forest, up into the clearing around the house. The yellow pathway up to the house winded unnecessarily, but I followed it anyways because it was a charming detail. The flowers out front were bright purples and oranges and blues. Did anyone take care of them, or was it another product? The Ever-Bright Flowers or something like that. Nobody lived here, right?

I walked to the back porch, opened the chair, and pulled out the key hidden in there. This key let me get to the Tourist Trap from anywhere on earth. Pretty cool, really. More important, though, was that it opened the door and let me in. Going through the back entrance, I walked into the upper middle class looking house. It smelled like freshly baked goods. It always smelled like freshly baked goods. I wondered if it always contained freshly baked goods. I began my search for such a bounty.

I was right, there were fresh cinnamon buns in the oven. They smelled delicious. They tasted delicious. Were there more in the oven? Oh, oh there were! I had another batch of four before I realized my mistake. My stomach hurt like someone had dropped a boulder into it from a great height. I didn't feel like being in the kitchen anymore, with its pink counter tops and infinite cinnamon buns. What else was in this place?

The living room had a great curved HDTV, a semicircular yellow couch, plenty of photos of the great times had in this place — oh wow! There was Tongue as a lass. She looks so young and pretty. And I think that's Mr. Ribbit, but back then he wasn't Mr. anything. He was just Jack. Jack "Jackrabbit" Herring. He looked so average. He was neither portly, nor was he jolly. He looked a little uncomfortable, if anything. There were eight other people I had never seen before huddled around in the picture, and all of them wore these skin tight peppermint suits. A small golden plaque was hidden at the bottom of the image.

CANDY CATALYST TEAM OUTING, FEBRUARY 1983

The Candy Catalysts? Woah, one of these guys could've been my dad. I looked up and down for someone short with jet black hair. Ugh, there were two people who fit that description. Mom never showed me any pictures of Dad. Always was a little agitated about that. Stepping back, the entire wall was covered in Candy Catalyst memorabilia. There were the annual department hockey games from 1989. Candy Catalysts won that year, with the Publicity Puppies coming in close second. That was the closest the Puppies ever got to winning the hockey games — I had a few good pals in the Public Relations Department, and I know it's a sort of inside joke that they always train the hardest and lose the worst. There it was, though. The big medal. It wasn't even inside any sort of glass case — oh, aw, they filled it with peppermints. Was I allowed to take some? It probably replenishes like the cinnamon buns. I stuffed my pockets with a couple dozen peppermints.

What else was there? The entryway at the front was phenomenal. It glittered with some rainbow-y gemstone and reflected you in a thousand different colors. There was a very ornate small wooden table for you to put shoes on, and under it was… wow! That was three tubs of legos! I'd have to check that out later. There were the stairs to the second level. I think that my bedroom was up there. Well, there must be about five, and I could pick whichever I wanted. Going up the stairs, I came upon a hallway with seven doors: three on either side and one at the very end. The two closest to the stairs were the boys' and girls' bathroom. There was a small landing around the top of the staircase, and circling it there was a door that led out onto the roof.

Coming out onto the roof, I looked over the landscape of dense, extradimensional forest. It was funny to think how this didn't really exist anywhere. I wondered aloud to myself how tree seeds spread into the Tourist Trap's territory, or how small animals got here, when you had to say a mantra to get in but not to get out. Maybe all the magic just applied to people. I wouldn't know, big scale things like this weren't my forte. Even on the board game, I only ever designed individual cards. The huge, sprawling hallucinatory landscapes were all the Building Bullies Team, or the Construction Department. Everybody first assumes that the Building Bullies are both mean and menial. They aren't. They have been at the forefront of some of Wondertainment's most impressive projects, including the house that I was in at the moment. They had found a way to woo the mister of the third dimension, and he would do whatever they told him to. This time, they told him to be two hours from anything, and so he obeyed.

I had gotten up to the roof in time to watch the sunset — what time zone must I have been in? — and it was astounding. The reds and oranges and pinks that faded into a long gradient of light to dark blue to black all across the sky. "The biggest stage light to grace the earth. Behold! The universe's electric, heat lamp magnificence! Feel every day is a part of a long, unending show, and you know what little kid? You're the star!" I was getting emotional. I needed to get off of the roof. Turning around, I was startled half to death by the face I forgot about. It really was looking at me, I swear. It's pupils weren't painted there before.

Inside, I leaned over the railing and stared down the stairwell, hoping that I wouldn't throw up. The cinnamon buns weren't helping. My head swam, and I suddenly got the feeling that I might tip over and fall. I sat down and leaned against the wall. My head hurt like hell. Maybe someone did live here — I needed help. I needed someone to help me. I needed to yell for someone to help me.

"Is anyone here?"

I thought I might have heard a response, someone down under the house. Somewhere deep below the floorboards — under the couch in the living room.

"Help me, please, I'm aching!"

"Do you see the sun, kid?"

I began vomiting. All over the carpet, too. I wondered if this place self cleaned. Could they do that? Oh gosh, if not this was going to be terrible to clean up.

"Get me my pills! Please, I need them, I need my pills."

"You see that big ball of gas and fire? Look at it."

I started pulling myself towards the stairs. I needed to get to my suitcase. I needed to get to my prescription.

"It's circling you, kid."

"I'm on the stairs, please! Sir, please, I need help!"

I had to pause and hold onto the railing, watching as more and more bile came out of my mouth and started dripping down the steps.

"Please, oh dear god, please…"

"You're the star, Brian!"

"I don't want to go back!"

"Life's a show, kid."

"Please, get me my pills, I don't want to go back! Please!"

"Life's a show, and you're the star!"

I slipped on my own fluids, and tumbled down the stairs. There was a loud thump as my jaw hit the post.




My stomach burned. My jaw felt like it was trying to make me a snake. A pitter patter on the roof told me it was raining. I loved rain. The sound was calming. My neck was also bending and trying to make me serpentine. I must have banged my elbow, because it was sore as well. My whole body was conspiring against me. There was rain here? How did clouds get in here? Did this even exist on earth? My knees could be doing better. I think I soiled my pants, they felt wet. That was embarrassing. Though, it was pretty far down my leg. I want to go out and feel the rain on my skin. What else could have made my leg wet? It's lovely weather. Oh wait, barf.

Oh no, I must have eaten too many cinnamon buns. That's probably what it was. I ate myself sick, and fell down the stairs. That's definitely what it was. Nothing to worry about. Oh my, I needed to brush my teeth. And change my clothes. Actually, I needed to go take a shower. I really needed to go take a shower… but I also didn't want to move. I was pained. Moving was pain. Everything hurt. Especially my head. My head hurt a lot. Heheh, heheheh, my brain. I was Brainy Brian, and my brain hurt. Heheh, heh, heheheheh. Ow. Ow ow ow. Shower. Right.

It was probably good to have hot water wash over me before going out into the rain. I needed to go do something in the rain. There wasn't much to do in the house, from what I could tell. To its credit, it wasn't meant to be the attraction. It was meant to be two hours from any attraction. Big difference. How long had it been since I took a shower? It can't have been that long, I always kept a good face at work. No, I shouldn't have thought about work. That was a mistake. I should have just kept thinking about the rain. Morning routine. Back to my morning routine. I stepped out of the shower, and stared at myself in the mirror.

While I brushed and flossed my teeth, I stared at my naked mug and thought of how I could color it. The management told me I shouldn't paint my face before going out into public. "This isn't Wonder World!™, you need to blend in." Blend in? If I blended in, then how would people know it's me? How would I maintain my signature Brainy charm? Maybe they had a point though. There were people who don't like weird things, and we always sort of had a love hate relationship. However, I was not magic, my designs were. I should be fine. I mean, if I had painted my face, what would it look like? Well, if I was going in public, I'd be confronted with people. I didn't feel like interacting with people. Oh, perfect! I could have been a mime. I wasn't supposed to though…

Oh screw management. They could go sit on their high chairs and chew their big candy cigars and stop interfering with my life — I was my own man. I was going to be a mime, and that was that. It would wordlessly communicate that I didn't want to talk with people. Yeah, yeah it was perfect. Management could go shove it. Though, it was raining outside. I would take an umbrella, so my paint didn't run.

There! Ah ha, I was beautiful. Black and white, I had a frowning facade and two black tear marks running down my face. I looked absolutely wonderful. The mask felt very fitting at that moment. I was ready to face the world! I could go anywhere! Literally, literally I could do that. Where should I go? I walked out of the bathroom, flicked off the light, and — no, there was something I had forgotten. Was that really my entire morning routine? I had taken a shower, used shampoo and conditioner and wiped soap all up and down myself… I had brushed my teeth, flossed my teeth, applied deodorant. I gelled my hair in a way that I liked it, and I made myself a mime. There felt like there was something missing. Something… important…? I flicked the switch on again, and surveyed the room. The bathroom was so big, and colored this pretty white and gold. There was… the sink. Was that it?

That must have been it. I was worrying over nothing. I flicked off the light, and moved out into the hallway. Oh, hey, I hadn't noticed, but this place really is self cleaning. I had suspected as much. Where should I go to begin with? I didn't have that great of a grasp on the world. I pretty much grew up in Wonder World!™. Where should I go? Well… I supposed I should start somewhere familiar. Start small and build up. I did know one place in this world, and I should go there. Should I try out the car sitting outside? I didn't even know where it was; I hadn't been able to finish my house tour yesterday. Had a full day passed? I decided I should just walk. I wanted to be out in the rain anyways. I grabbed a big rainbow umbrella out of the entryway and walked out into the world. Heheh, look at all that mud! Wonderful. I started down the driveway, and held my arm out from below the umbrella. The rain felt good on my skin. Anyways, no more games. I closed my eyes while I walked, and held my old neighborhood in my head.




There it was, the old colorless houses and dirty grey street. My old stomping grounds. Or, maybe not stomping. My old treading grounds. It was familiar, to say the least. The sidewalks must have been fixed, they were much smoother than I remember them. They didn't have all their signature cracks. However, the road was still pocked full of holes. I guess some things never change. I never knew my neighbors, so I guess I only had one place to go. I walked for a while, turned a corner, and saw my old white house. It really hadn't been repainted? White was such a boring color. I wondered what the living room looked like, or if the kitchen was as I left it, or maybe what my bedroom was like. I really wanted to go in. Would anyone mind? There wasn't a car in the driveway, and all the lights were off. I turned around, and thought that the streets and nearby houses looked very empty as well. Nobody would mind. Was the front window lock still broken like I remembered?

Yes, it was.

I climbed in, careful to make sure I never got my face wet in the process. The last thing I wanted was for my face paint to run. Once I plopped into the kitchen, I stretched and felt at home. It was a long time since I really felt at home. I mean, Wonder World!™ was my new home, and now Tourist Trap was my temporary home, and I didn't feel uncomfortable there — well, I didn't feel uncomfortable at the Tourist Trap. I hadn't noticed that I didn't feel at home before, but it really came back to me as I stood in my kitchen. It really was the way I left it. Untouched, almost. The countertops were just as bland as always, the oven was still an ugly pastel green, and the TV could be seen from where you stood to wash dishes. I had never seen my house from this angle, I was much smaller when I lived here.

I moved into the living room. It was covered in new pictures. Pictures of whoever lived here now. They weren't as good as my family. As my mom. Nobody could live up to my mom. She was a wonderful mother. Nobody could say otherwise. Not my dad, not the neighbors, not the police or my guardians. Not even those jerks at Wonder World!™. Nobody. She did everything right, all the way up to the end. And nobody could take that away from her. These pictures were inadequate. Mom was stunning. These people were bland. That was an unfair comparison — everyone was bland in comparison. She shone like the full moon.

I walked around to the bathroom. I almost opened the door, but I really didn't want to. Never liked the bathroom in that house. Always bothered me. I decided that it wasn't worth the nostalgia. Moving on, I looked up the stairs towards the master bedroom. Wasn't ever my bedroom. Didn't want to go up there either. Actually, I realized that I wasn't interested in any of the rooms except one. I opened the door to my old bedroom.

It had changed significantly since last I left it. It used to be blue, and now it was painted with a bright purple. There was a bunk bed where my single bed used to be — the top bunk was pink, the bottom sky blue. There wasn't my old bedside table, or any of my book collections. I suddenly felt a strong want for a Dr. Seuss book. They must have those, this is a kid's bedroom. No kid's bedroom can survive without Dr. Seuss books. I began to search through the bookshelf next to the door, and sure enough, there one was.

Oh the Places You'll Go, by Dr. Seuss. Did they have Dr. Seuss back at the Tourist Trap? I hadn't seen any. I might just take that back with me. I sat down on the lower bed, set down my umbrella, and began to read…

"You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself,
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.
"

I sure was. I loved these books. They were my childhood. I never imagined I'd be a part of Seuss's world eventually — that came as a mighty surprise. They found me on the streets, selling some little knick-knacks I had made out of the trash in the alleyways. I was creative and bubbly and innocent: all the things they looked for. Of course, it helped that they were looking for me already.

"Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite,
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite,
or waiting around for Friday night,
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake,
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break,
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants,
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
"

Waiting for the next big product. Waiting for the next big project. Waiting for that next promotion, that next holiday, that next hang out, that next break through. Waiting for the next night, then the next day, then the next… the next whatever comes after that. Months, years? Lifetimes? Waiting to meet that one special person, to settle down? What was I waiting for?

"I'm afraid that some times,
you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win,
'cause you'll play against you.
"

There was a glimmer in the closet, between the slats in the closet door. What made that? Was it — it looked wet, and shiny. It twitched and went away. Were those kids?

"Hello?"

That was definitely a rustling. I think I caught a "shh".

"Are you playing hide and seek?"

I got up off the bed, and began towards the closet at a glacial pace. They seemed afraid. What of?

"What are you afraid of?"

Opening the closet door, I took a boot to the face. I got knocked back, and caught myself on the wall. That was my jaw. Again. I resisted my jaw's urge to move sideways, and held it in my hand. There was a girl, about half my size, who was holding two little kids behind her back. She was heaving, and stared at me, still half in the closet.

"Oh, oh I'm sorry, I must seem weird. I know it's not typical for mimes to talk — but, but I'm not actually a mime, I just dressed up this way today! I am so sorry for the confusion, can we be frie -?"

Another kick to the side sent me curled up on the floor. I had the wind knocked out of me, and coughed struggling to catch my breath. The girl was closer now, and hovering over me. Those kids looked very scared. What was it? I told them I wasn't a mime, what could…?

"I wasn't going to take your Dr. Seuss book! I was just looking at it… I used to live here, you know. This was where I grew up — I slept in that bed — augh!"

She kicked me in the navel, and saliva spewed out of my mouth. I felt some bile coming up. Oh no, I had barfed enough yesterday. I can't barf again! I could get stomach problems! What was her problem? I wasn't stealing — oh my, is that blood? — and I wasn't a talking mime. What else could there be? I looked up at her, and saw her angry. She was getting ready to kick me again. Her phone was in her right hand, and the children's hands were in her other. They looked terrified. They were silently frightened. It couldn't have been me, it must have been — they were scared of her. She reeled her leg back, but it never hit me.

I didn't know I could hit people that hard.

She was sprawled out on the ground. I had hit her right in the temple, and it sent her into the wall and then knocked her to the floor. She wasn't moving. The kids were safe.

"Was she hurting you? Did she harm you? What did she do?"

The kids only cried, and suddenly the room was very loud. Tears streamed down their cheeks, and their mouths were agape in wet yelling.

"Shh, it's okay, she's gone! I'll… I'll uh, I'll give her a stern talking to when she wakes up, and uh…"

What was that noise? I had been ignoring the sirens in the distance, because you get used to that when living in an urban environment. But they got close, stopped, and then there was a loud bang in the other room. More of them? More of her?

I leaned down and put my arms around the children. Another couple bangs. Those were doors. Those were doors getting knocked down. I sweat, what could I do? I fondled around my pockets for the key, the key back to the house. Back to Tourist Trap. These kids were in danger — I didn't know why, but something bad was happening here. I found the key.

"We have been wanting to travel the world,
And though we can not find you on any map -"

A bang. A bang.

"You've promised some haven to us boys and girls,
We know you exist -"

Bang. Bang. BANG. A massive, muscular man blew the door open with his shoulder, and pointed a, a gun at me!

"FREEZE!"

"- you're the Tourist Trap!"

A hole opened up below the kids and I, and I hear a loud pow.

"Aaaaugh!!"

A bullet caught me in the ankle while I fell down the rabbit hole, two kids under my arms.




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