Don't Forget The Milk

1

Before you play, find four pennies: one for flippin', three for trackin'. Put all three trackin' pennies in front of you—this is the amount of time you have left.

Answer this: are you better at punching or kissing?

It's a fine day in suburbia. You've got your car, your pants fit right, the sun is shining, your favorite song is on the radio and you don't have anywhere else you'd rather be.

It's just this: you're holding a shopping list your girlfriend, Nancy, just gave you and tomorrow is World Tuberculosis Day (March 24, it's real, look it up) and you know, you know deep down inside that all your neighbors are fixing to celebrate. It's going to be a zoo.

The shopping list reads: bread, cereal, milk. The milk is underlined three times, which indicates serious couch-time if failure happens.

The store closes early on Sundays. You've got one half-hour. And most of all: don't forget the milk.

You stroll into the Shop-Right, feigning nonchalance. Go to 7.

2

The lights overhead flicker ominously as you enter the dairy aisle. The cases are all empty; some of the glass in the doors are broken and shattered. Some minor war must have happened here. There's spilled milk on the floor, but you refuse to cry.

There's one person here, an employee pushing a mop. She looks angry.

If you're good at kissing and want to talk, go to 6.

If not or you want to search the aisle more, go to 5.

3

You're standing in the cereal aisle, a deranged funland of cartoon mascots and sugared-up kids pinging from wall to wall. The hoard of feral children are busily dismantling boxes of Captain Crunch for the prizes.

If you're good at punching, you wade into the midst of the barbarian horde, flinging toddlers left and right. You liberate a box of sugary comestibles from a snot-nosed runt and head back to 7, box of cereal in hand.

Otherwise, flip a coin. Heads, you chat up a four year old about the wonders of "My Little Pony, Friendship Is Magic" and, just when she's the most distracted, you swipe a box of Kix from the counter behind her and hightail it before she notices. You head back to 7, box of cereal in hand.

If the coin toss came up tails, you don't find jack. Your attempts to get a box are thwarted by a pint-sized snarling wolf-pack. You head back to 7 before they can dog-pile you.

4

You're in the bakery. The place initially looks empty and the shelves are completely ravaged by the shoppers. You see movement in the back. Glancing left and right, hurriedly, you decide to jump the counter and see what it is.

The baker on duty, a mountain of a man who looks better suited for blacksmithing and smashing orcs, is about to stick his head in the enormous gas oven. You've seen your share of World Tuberculosis Day-related suicides, so you know what the next move is.

If you're good at kissing, you talk him out of it over the course of seven tear-filled minutes in which he fills you in on the Cliffs Notes of his rather awful life. In that time you both fend off a concerted attack from desperate last-minute bread-shoppers, he tells you his secret for making white bread (it's meth, basically) and he gives you the final loaf. You head back to 7.

Otherwise, flip a coin. If it's heads, you wrestle him away from the oven and slap some sense into him. Then you take the last loaf, more-or-less secure that he probably won't off himself today. Head back to 7 with your bread.

If the coin toss came up tails, he kicks you in the head while you attempt to rescue him. You black out and come to in 7 with no bread and a massive headache.

5

While you dig around the empty cases, a deranged customer comes charging into the dairy department. She swings a bottle at the employee, who squeaks and tries to dodge.

If you're good at punching, take the milk from the customer using your mighty kung fu and go to 7.

If you're not, flip a coin. Heads, you take the milk anyway and go to 7. Tails, the employee gets it and the milk is spilled. You don't get the milk. You do, however, get to call 911 and head back to 7.

6

"Those bastards. Those damned filthy bastards. They run in here and trash the place, like it's the first World Tuberculosis Day that's ever been." Swish, swish, swish. The floor is getting cleaner by the pass, but her facial expression darkens.

"Don't worry about them," you say. "It's a fine day. Forget them, let them have their own miserable life. Worse things happen at sea, you know."

She immediately brightens up. "You know, you're right. I'm not going to let them piss me off. Ruin my day...ruin this, motherfuckers."

She pauses. "There's more milk left in the back if you need any."

Yes, you do. You acquire milk and head back to 7.

7

You're standing in front of the checkout lanes, where the cashiers are waging a losing battle against desperate customers and boredom. A small brigade of World Tuberculosis Day carolers are singing Tuberculosis Day hymns near the door: "Hark ye now, Bacillus Calmette–Guérin, inventor of our favorite vaccine..." You ignore them since you gave at the office already.

You can cash out and leave; you can head deeper into the store towards dairy; you can go right and take a hike through the breakfast aisle; or you can go find the bakery.

Remove a penny from your stack. If you don't have any left to remove, you ran out of time: fish out your wallet and head home. Go to 8.

If you still have pennies, but you have everything you think you need, also head to 8.

Go to 2 if you want to brave the dairy aisle.

Go to 3 for the cereal aisle.

Go to 4 for the bakery.

8

Do you have the milk?

If yes, go to 10.

If no, go to 9.

9

You return home, with a hopeful look and a shopping bag which is either completely nonexistent or suspiciously light.

If you got the cereal but not the bread, you pour yourself a bowl of Kix. With no milk to soak it in, you debate whether it's better to use water or whiskey to replace it. While you're mulling it over, Nancy leaves you for your best friend, who owns a dairy farm.

If you got the bread, but not the cereal, you find yourself fully capable of making that shit sandwich Nancy is feeding you.

If you got neither, you stop yourself before you pull into the driveway and go to Mexico instead.

You lose!

10

You return home, triumphant.

If you only got the milk, Nancy gives you That Look, the one that says there should be a lecture forthcoming, but you look so pitiful standing there with your mostly-empty bag she can't help herself.

If you got just the cereal, you pour yourself a big bowl of Kix and settle down to watch some TV. As the newest episode of "My Little Pony, Friendship Is Magic" begins to air, a secret decoder ring falls out of the box. Today's encrypted message reads "Your relationship is saved!" Nancy kisses you. It is.

If you got just the bread, you wind up skipping breakfast the next day but have everything you need for your planned World Tuberculosis Day picnic. As you two sit, snuggled beneath a blanket, watching the World Tuberculosis Day fireworks displays and group clog dancing competitions, you have no regrets. The cereal would probably have just given you diabetes anyway.

If you got everything, Nancy has the radio playing as you walk through the door. A really bad-ass song kicks in just as you enter. Maybe Darth Vader's theme from Star Wars. You feel like a million bucks. You set the bags down and sweep her into a long and deep kiss, just as that sweet part with the bass drums and trumpets kick in.

You win!

2 comments:

  1. I am good at both punching and kissing, but I picked punching, because it seemed like a perfect way to get groceries while avoiding Tuberculosis.

    This was freaking *hysterical* and I *loved* it.

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  2. You have no idea how much I needed a complement yesterday. Thanks. :-)

    I'm glad you enjoyed it! Also, I just noticed I was missing a win condition: milk, but no bread. Curses, now it's even MORE over the 1000 word limit. But structurally complete.

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