The Fucked Up Twinkie Episode

Note: Jesse writes about himself in the third person in this episode. What a dick.

* * *

@summer

I’m getting ready for Saturday morning practice when Lily messages me on AIM:

gracefulklutz: Are you watching this?
summer_girl: Watching what?
gracefulklutz: The SuperMegaNet preempting thing!
summer_girl: What SuperMegaNet preempting thing?
gracefulklutz: Go look at your buddy list!
summer_girl: I’m kind of in the middle of doing my hair.
gracefulklutz: Go. Now.

I sigh and set down my hairbrush. I’ve been friends with Lily long enough to know that when she wants me to do something I’ve just got to do it. No buts.

I bring up my SMN window. Instead of my usual buddy list, though, I’ve got a column of identical thumbnail feeds displaying the inside of a gym. Ernie and Jan are there—and some random guy. Ernie’s stuffed himself into a ridiculous-looking track suit; Jan’s in a tank and sweats; the random guy—short, glasses, major five o’clock shadow, unkempt hair, vaguely familiar—has on a blue-green sweatshirt that’s missing the hood string.

The sweatshirt-glasses guy hands Ernie a box of Twinkies. He points at a nearby weight bench.

Ernie cringes.

Jan sighs.

They approach the camera, the boys in front, the sweatshirt-glasses guy standing behind them and fiddling with a camcorder.

Ernie mutters something under his breath. It sounds like, “I can’t believe you’re making us do this, Gordon.”

(Gordon—Jesse Gordon. So that’s who the sweatshirt-glasses guy is.)

“It’s no big deal,” Jesse says.

“Don’t you dare use the ‘b’ word around me!” Ernie screams. He clutches his belly, massages a hefty handful of fat through his track suit. “Of course it’s a big deal! You disappear for over a month, no explanation. Then your site disappears. Again, no explanation. None of us knows if you’ve been hit by a car or if you were arrested because of a dressing room mishap or what. We sure as hell have no clue where to show up for work in the morning. And it’s not like there’s an unemployment office for out-of-work fiction characters. Theo had no choice but to become a comment moderator at a geek blog. Jan here’s been whoring himself out at all the sex story repositories. Eva…I don’t know what the fuck she’s doing. Probably setting up fake MySpace accounts to sucker horny guys into joining adult webcam sites.”

Sex story repositories? Fake MySpace accounts? Oh, my God! How sad!

Jan blinks at Ernie, goes wide-eyed. “I’m not doing sex stories. Who told you I was doing sex stories?”

“It doesn’t matter!” Ernie flails his arms above his head. “What matters is that Mr. ‘Jesse Gordon—the geek, that is’ left us high and dry! He left me to starvation, you with possible genital warts, Eva with a severe case of the Add Me’s!”

“Ernie, I have not been doing sex stories!”

Jesse waves his hand in the air. “Guys, calm down. I didn’t leave you. I took a break.”

“A break?” Ernie snorts. “From what? You blog once or twice a month and write a novel every two or three years!”

“Um, I also do a lot of other things, thank you very much.”

Ernie wags the Twinkies box at Jesse. “You’ve never had a real job in your life!”

“Ernie—” Jan says, trying to cut in.

“Keep pulling cheap blog stunts like this and I’ll be seeing you on the streets!”

Jan tugs at his sleeve, looks like he’s trying to calm him down before he says something really stupid—but it’s too late.

Jesse’s pissed.

Giving Ernie an imperial look, he says, “Do the Twinkie stunt or you’re off the series.”

Ernie narrows his eyes. “You wouldn’t dare.”

Jesse narrows his eyes. “Oh, yeah, I would.”

Slowly, quietly, Jan steps into the background.

“Go,” Jesse continues. “Find another blog if you think you can do better. But remember this: There are a lot of bloggers out there. And more than a few of them would be perfectly happy using you for, say, a blogfic involving an underage sex scene in a sleazy motel room.”

Ernie blinks, swallows.

“Ever seen Vulgar? Replace Brian O’Halloran’s character with you. That’s how bad it can get, Ernie—”

“Fine, I’ll do it,” Ernie says, cutting Jesse off in a carefully nonchalant manner. “But only because it’ll shut you up.” He starts towards the weight bench (the camera follows). Under his breath: “Lucky for us you’re not popular enough that anyone’s actually reading this shit anyway.”

“What was that?” asks Jesse.

“Oh, nothing,” Ernie replies, turning and smiling innocently. “I was just saying that this should definitely improve your readership.”

Jan clears his throat. In perfect (yet very nearly unintelligible) English, he addresses the camera. “Um, excuse us, everyone. Sorry for the interruption, but due to certain stipulations in our contract, we’re going to preempt your feeds for a few minutes—”

We’re not doing anything!” Ernie shouts, pushing Jan out of the way and framing himself somewhat-center. “This Jesse Gordon character—” He juts his thumb over his shoulder. “—is being a royal asshole and making us pull this ridiculous stunt just because he went and created some lame ol’ SuperMegaNet Facebook group that he can’t get anyone interested in! So, he’s going to exploit the fat kid in the hopes that it’ll attract members! Because everyone knows fat kids love Twinkies. How original!”

Jan shoves Ernie aside. “Mr. Gordon would like to commemorate the Facebook group’s achieving fifteen non-family memberships with an impromptu stunt performed by Ernest Goodale and myself. Without further ado, I present to you the Twinkie bench press.”

Jesse hits the record button on his camcorder. Jan lays on the bench. Ernie climbs above. There’s a moment of hemming and hawing before Jan, cringing, braces his arms in the air. Ernie sits on Jan’s hands. He has to lean sideways somewhat, but it works well enough that Jan can hold him suspended above his chest. He performs his first rep.

“Good,” Jesse murmurs, chuckling. “Open the box, Ernie.”

Ernie opens the Twinkies box.

“Now, eat.”

I’m aghast. And yet I can’t turn away. It’s just one of those things, you know? Ernie sniffles, unwraps a Twinkie, takes it in as Jan trembles below, red-faced. In the background, Jesse’s got his camcorder aimed squarely at the boys. He’s giggling like a little schoolgirl, he’s acting like he can’t help himself—but he can. He’s the writer, he’s created this sadistic scene, and he’s spurring it on for his own personal enjoyment.

Jan does another rep, this one not as certain as the first. Ernie wobbles, over-compensates, and gets a chunk of Twinkie stuck in his eye.

gracefulklutz: This is so sad.
summer_girl: Totally.
gracefulklutz: Have you heard anything about this SuperMegaNet Facebook group, or whatever it is?
summer_girl: Nope. You?
gracefulklutz: Nope.
summer_girl: Sad.
gracefulklutz: Yeah.

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jesse

Book designer and formatter based in southern California. Supreme overlord of the SuperMegaNet pseudoverse.