Bob Returns a Video Tape to Blockbuster – Original Fiction
“It was as humid as hell,” Bob thought gently to himself as he lay horizontally in his recliner, bathed in only his own sweat. The ceiling fan was rocking from side to side in a violent rhythm that made it seem as if it had just snorted a line of coke (not the delicious beverage), but the cool wind generated by these gyrations weren’t enough. Not only was it hot, but the air was filled with the outstanding aroma of stank breath. It was not awesome. Bob had already cupped his hand over his mouth to perform the requisite breath check, and to the shock of the entire universe the stench had not originated from his oral cavity. Determined to handle the noxious smell, yet at the same time put forth as little effort as possible, he slowly slinked off of the sweat drenched opulence of his La-Z-Boy and onto the floor. In one swift motion, Bob flipped himself on to his tummy and proceeded to perform the centipede (not of the human variety, although he was open to the idea could enough people be convinced to join him in the act) all the way to the source of the Limburger-esque odor. In retrospect, he knew that he had not exerted the least amount of effort to get there, but he had found the way to have the maximum amount of fun that could be mined from his predicament, so with that nugget safely stored in his twisted little noodle, Bob forgave himself for having broken a new sweat on top of his musty old sweat.
To his surprise, the putrid funk was originating from a mini-fridge that he had installed in the mudroom. Reluctantly, he cracked the door open and was nearly knocked on his derriere by the shear harshness of the stench that had just doubled down on his olfactory organs. And there it was, an entire mini-fridge full of rotten kale. There was no way to know for certain why Bob possessed that much kale, or for how long it had been sitting there, because by all accounts not even Bob knew why he would buy so much kale. In fact, he hated kale with a passion that rivaled how much Muslims hated bacon (which makes no sense at all, religion or not: bacon is excellent). Bob immediately ran to the bathroom and threw up, cleaned up ran and then ran to the kitchen to grab a heavy duty trash bag and a pair of rubber gloves. On went the gloves and off went Bob as he ran back to the mudroom, threw all of the funky kale into the heavy duty trash bag, tossed the bag in the trash can outside and then back to the bathroom to throw up all over again. He found a mask, and took a large array of cleaning goods into the mudroom to clean up the mini-fridge. He scrubbed, and he cried, and he disinfected, and he sobbed, and bleached it, and yet the smell still pervaded… and so thusly he puked once more.
“Funk dat!” Bob hollered. Having hit the highest point of anger that he was capable of achieving, Bob grabbed the mini-fridge and threw it in the trash can as well. After a brief, yet surprisingly violent, case of vomiting, Bob smiled, because the worst of it was surely behind him. Upon returning to the mudroom to verify that all erroneous smells had extricated the premises, Bob found a curious oddity in the spot with the mini-fridge once held its stinky domain: a lone VHS tape. The tape was for the 1987 turkey of a motion picture titled “Ishtar” starring Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman. The movie was so forgettable… (How forgettable was it?) Thank you. It was so forgettable that Bob had forgotten that he had rented it from Blockbuster Video way back in 1988. Bob picked the film up and noted the white label which indicated that “Ishtar” was property of Blockbuster Video and that he should be kind and rewind as well.
Bob took the tape to the VCR (he rocks the old school tech, hardcore), and watched the movie for the first time in 27 years. During the viewing, he forgot that he was watching it and went and did something else that was equally unimportant. The only reason he remembered the movie at all was because the VCR automatically rewound the tape and then promptly ejected it from the unit. Bob grabbed the tape, not remembering if he had ever seen “Ishtar” and plopped it back in the VCR to check it out. Once more he gave up on the movie and started trolling people on the internet, because that is what the internet was invented for. The tape ejected, having completed yet another cycle, and Bob went to see why his VCR was acting up again. “Ishtar, hmmm, that movie sounds interesting,” Bob thought aimlessly to himself, and as such he started the movie a third time. This abhorable trend continued at least 2 more times before Bob decided that perhaps “Ishtar” was over his head, and common sense prevailed (i.e. he gave up on trying to watch the movie again, again, again). Bob knew what he must do, he must return this cinematic treasure back to Blockbuster video ASAP, if not sooner than even that.
Bob ran through his house, tripped on a taxidermied echidna, bounced between the walls of his halls like a pinball and landed face down on the bed in his room. He jumped up and flew into his closet. After a few moments of what could only be described to a blind individual as a bar room brawl, Bob emerged with a brown suede shirt, a legit 70s pair of denim bell-bottoms and a double legit pair of clogs. Ready to rock, Bob ran back to his living room, tumbled over the echidna again, and upon hitting his head became instantaneously left handed. Using his newfound love for his left hand, he grabbed the VHS tape and ran out the front door and straight into his car. He fired that puppy up and went straight into town.
Bob drove everywhere in town, but he couldn’t seem to find a Blockbuster Video. He stopped multiple times along the way and asked for help finding the store, but most people either laughed at him, while some of them indicated that they had no clue what he was talking about. Bob was furious. He had rented that stupid movie, and dadgummit, he was going to return that stupid movie. He went to the local Electronics Shack and asked for assistance in finding the nearest Blockbuster Video. The tattooed and bespectacled employee just said, “Yo bro, I don’t have like a Blockbuster or whatever, but I can sell you a pack of batteries, or bitchin’ Bluetooth headset, or some random like fuses or something. Sound good?”
“No!” Bob retorted. “It does not sound good. I did not bury Jimmy Hoffa’s body in Cowboy Stadium at the home team’s endzone, because let’s face it…nobody ever goes there, just to be sold meaningless wares from a cocaine cowboy like you! I just want to return a movie, a really stupid movie, a movie so stupid…”
Insert the sounds of crickets here,
“So stupid,” Bob repeated. “So stupid… hey stupid, say how stupid?”
“Say how stupid?” the employee repeated.
“Thank you,” Bob sighed. “This movie is so stupid it makes you look like the highest ranked member of MENSA!”
“What’s a MENSA?” the employee inquired.
“How the hell should I know, kid? Grab an encyclopedia and look it up.”
“What’s an encyclopedia?” the employee asked.
“Shut it!” Bob snapped. “That’s not the point. I just want to take this stupid movie back to where it belongs!”
“What’s the name of the movie, brosephus?” the employee queried.
“That sounds wicked exotic bro, but I’ve never heard or seen one of these so called Blockbuster places. You should totally take this tape to the Goodwill down the street, they love old stuff like this,” the employee said.
“Do they charge late fees?” Bob asked. “Just sayin’, this video might be almost 30 years past due. Lots o’ late fees.”
“Nah man, they only charge money if you buy stuff,” the employee answered. “They don’t ask for money if you’re just dropping stuff off.”
“Huh, so no fees? I can live with that. Video’s a dead market anyway. The real money is in the Zune, everybody knows that,” Bob retorted with a confidant chuckle. “Thank you for your time and information, you are a gentle person and a dingbat.” And with that, Bob took a bow and left the Electronics Shack.
Not surprisingly, the Goodwill store took the VHS tape of “Ishtar” off of Bob’s hands. He had a nice conversation with the lady who processed his donation. They spoke at length about deflated footballs, David Letterman’s retirement, Gamergate, hashtags, and Peyronie’s Disease (google image search that, trust me on this). Bob knew absolutely nothing about any of the aforementioned topics, which was ironic since he personally suffered from Peyronie’s.
Having successfully delivered the VHS tape to somewhere other than his mudroom, Bob gained a sense of accomplishment, as if he had righted some cosmic wrong. He got in his fast car with his ticket to anywhere and drove reasonably within the speed limit home. Once home, he threw his clothes and clogs on the floor, and went to get his favorite house coat from the mudroom. He pulled the robe off the rack and in turn clothed himself in it. A fascinating bit of balance was brought back to the Force when he saw what laid behind the spot where his robe was: the now empty case for the VHS movie “Ishtar”. Bob laughed, a lot, to the point of nearly busting the seams of his favorite house coat. Bob grabbed the case and placed it in the trash can outside, and then summarily projectile vomited again. One final clean up and mouth wash later, and Bob was spent. His energy was so depleted… (How depleted was it?) Thank you. It was so depleted the he fell asleep after tripping again in his living room, this time using the echidna as a pillow. It was sleepy-sleep time for our little Bobbito, which was a win-win scenario: he got a much needed rest and we got to start regaining a modicum of our sanity. Grab it before it’s gone again!
It’s never the end…