Friday, August 13, 2004


Did I scare you?! I hope not. If I did, then you’re an incredible weenie.

Now catch your breath, you’ll be in for many more scares before the day is through. I’m not just saying that because Alien vs. Predator opens today. It’s Friday the 13th!

I’m sure you felt it this morning. There’s something creepy in the air, no?

Well, no actually. There’s nothing creepy about Friday the 13th. There never is. Personally, I’ve never been assaulted by a machete wielding madman. Not on Friday the 13th anyway.

But enough about my childhood. It’s time to get to the meat of this post. Or should I say the rancid rotting flesh of this post. No, meat…let’s stick with meat.

As I was saying, I’ve never been scared on Friday the 13th – until today!

Oh, yes, in true manic TAM fashion, I’m changing my tune. Mostly because I have a horrifying tale of the macabre to tell you. And it’s all true.

Sit back, dim the lights…if you dare, because here it is. Get ready to be macabred by…

The Thing that Wouldn’t Go Away!

It was Friday the 13th and TAM had just woken from a terrifying dream. He wiped the sleep from out his eye and rejoiced to find himself safe in his bed and not onstage with a forgotten script.

Bet then he felt it. Extra weight. Around his midsection.

Not the normal dead weight of his girlfriend's slumbering, cover-stealing arm. No. This was something altogether different.

There was something attached to the outside of his abdominal muscles. An alien? A Predator?

Worse. 20 pounds of useless flesh.

He tried not to panic. He didn’t want to scare his girlfriend. She might inadvertently hit him in the boys. Again.

He slowly and quietly put his feet on the floor, careful not to rouse the slumbering gonad-crushing machine that lay next to him. It was worse than he had anticipated.

20 pounds of extra fat. Just sitting there. What was it thinking? Where did it come from? And more importantly, what did it want from him?

TAM surreptitiously tugged at the fleshy parasite. Nothing. It would not release itself. And the pain from all the tugging told TAM that this parasite had set its roots in deep. So he did the only thing he could do. He covered it with a shirt. Maybe no one would notice?

TAM’s exit from the bed woke his girlfriend.

“What’s the matter?” She asked.
“We need to go to the gym,” he replied.
“Well, of course, that’s why I set the alarm for 6:00,” she sounded confused.

Of course, though TAM. 6:00. It was all coming back to him. She had set the alarm clock the night before. Had she seen…it? Did she somehow know that he was being overcome by some strange fatty being?

He tried to push it out of his mind. It was the only way he could keep his sanity.

But it was no use; the next 15 minutes were a blur. He remembered something about contact lenses and tooth brushes. But it all seemed like some kind of hygienist’s dream.

His wits came back to him as they drove down the large, mostly-empty city street. They were on their way to the gym. He knew that because it was too early to go to McDonalds. But he still wondered how this…thing…could have appeared. Almost overnight. It was Kafkaesque. But still, he thought, faced with the choice of looking like a big fatty or being a giant cockroach, most people would start searching for a giant cupboard to spend the night in.

They pulled into the crowded parking lot. TAM looked over to his girlfriend. She looked tired, but it didn’t seem as if she’d noticed anything out of the ordinary. He couldn’t decide if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

The attendant at the front desk swiped their membership cards with loads of disdain and a insincere “have a good work…” she trailed off.

They found two cross trainers. The sun streaming through the large bay windows seared into their eyeballs. They couldn’t see the TVs, but at least they got to use machines that actually worked. Besides, even in his confused state, TAM could remember one thing…it was weight day.

The 5 minutes spent on the cross trainers seemed like at least six. They worked their way up the steel covered steps to the weight room.

TAM could feel it. Pulling him down with every step. Maybe that was its mission, to keep him from climbing stairs? Could it be that simple?

No, he thought. It couldn’t be.

At the top of the stairs, a rush of memories swept over him like a typhoon. This was the place. This modern torture chamber. This was the place he almost died. It became even more vivid now, provoked by the endless sea of twisted machines. He remembered the trainer, he remembered stretching, but mostly he remembered the week of pain.

Is that why this thing had shown up? Was it somehow a manifestation of his fear of exercise? Could it be that simple?

No, he thought. It couldn’t be.

His girlfriend continued to move from machine to machine like nothing was out of the ordinary. But he could feel it. There was something strange about this place today. This Friday the 13th. It was almost unnoticeable. A weirdness.

TAM wove his way through the machines too. From one to the next. The thing followed. Silently sitting there. Carefully working against him. Slowly feeding off his energy.

Finally they walked back down the steel steps to the ground level, passed the plastic smile of the desk lady, and into the parking lot.

His girlfriend hadn’t noticed a thing. But TAM did. He felt a strange sensation earlier on the weight-assisted pull-ups. A sensation of floating. As if somehow he was lighter.

He still felt a little lighter. Maybe it had left him? Maybe he could finally rest easy? Maybe he could fit into the half of his wardrobe, now cover with a protective layer of dust?

His girlfriend got into their car. TAM followed, taking his seat behind the wheel. He felt better somehow. Lighter, free, like he had accomplished something.

As TAM shoved the key into the ignition, he looked down. Just for a split second. But that’s when he saw it. It hadn’t gone...

It was IN THE CAR!!!!

Whoah! That was scary! Did I startle you with the yelling at the end?!

It was all true.

Well, mostly true.

Happy Friday the 13th everyone!

Fun Fact: The new TAM cartoon is up! Yip-yip-yipee!

I know, this fun fact is a cop-out, but what do you want from me? I told you a story!

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