The year is 1984. You are a renowned mercenary, skilled in the art of espionage and willing to work for the highest bidder. Today is your day off. You are strolling through the park in your parachute pants, humming along as your favorite band – Frankie Goes to Hollywood – plays on your Walkman. You relax for a moment on a bench near a fountain, closing your eyes briefly. When you open them, you are surprised to find a cassette tape next to you on the bench. Your name is written on the label.
Listen to the tape
Go get a cheeseburger
You remove Frankie Goes to Hollywood from your Walkman, replacing it with the mysterious cassette. You press play, and an obnoxiously confident voice fills your ears.
“I am Prussia and you are not. My awesomeness is exploding at an alarming rate even for someone as awesome as the Great Prussia! Now is the time for Prussia to rise like a magic Jack-in-the-Box Warrior Demon. For this to happen, I will need your help because you are renowned mercenary. Meet me at Scooter’s Smoothie Shack in one hour.”
Meet Prussia at Scooter’s Smoothie Shack
Just kinda chill out for a little while
You consider listening to the mysterious tape, but find yourself unable to stop jamming out to Frankie Goes to Hollywood. And, really, who can blame you?
Your stomach grumbles. You rise from the bench and make your way to Charlene’s Charbroil Grill, your favorite restaurant. You place an order at the counter for a cheeseburger and grape soda before finding a table in the corner. Your meal arrives.
After taking a couple of bites, you are surprised to find a folded piece of paper between the meat and bun.
Investigate the folded paper
Get totally grossed out about the paper in your burger
You arrive at Scooter’s Smoothie Shack. Prussia waits at a table in the corner, sipping a kiwi-strawberry-banana-ginger-choco-grape-kiwi smoothie. You sit across from him, and he wastes no time getting to business.
“As you know, because I am telling you, Russia and America are in a cold war to rule the world. What this cold war even means, I do not know or care. Is a snowball fight? No matter. This gives amazing Prussia amazing idea. While the stupid superpowers distract each other, the Great Prussia has chance to strike and return to former glory! I will unleash secret weapon, one I have kept hidden all this time. You want to hear more about secret weapon?”
Listen as Prussia explains his secret weapon
Let Prussia talk while you think about your plans for the upcoming weekend
You investigate the folded paper from your burger. It is a note that reads: “Sup! Sooo, act casual, but look toward the bathroom.”
Just as you look, a young man in a bomber jacket pokes his head out from inside the bathroom. He motions for you to keep reading. The note continues: “Anyway, check it. I’m America, and here’s the deal. In July 1947, a ranch owner found something totally crazy in a tiny little town called Roswell, New Mexico. So when I heard about it, I had to go take a looksy. If you want to know what I found when I got there, come to the bathroom. I’ll be waiting.”
Get out of there. Like, now
Meet America in the bathroom
“Cats,” Prussia says. “Cats are the secret weapon!”
He sits back in his chair with a self-satisfied smile. You tell Prussia that you don’t understand. Obviously annoyed, he explains his plan.
“You know the VCR, yes? The new Video Camera technology? These machines, they are the future. You see, we record cats of all sizes and shapes and colors. We video them in all manner of situations. Funny cat accidents. Funny cat meows. A cat who can drive a boat, maybe.”
“Then,” he says, “We send one cat video tape to every house. People will love to watch the cats. They will show their friends and grandmothers. They will send the tapes to their aunties and co-workers in the mail.”
“But there is something that the grannies and aunties do not know!” he says. “I have put subliminal messages on the cat tapes! As the people watch the cats prance, their brains are told secretly in hidden messages how the amazing Prussia is their amazing leader. In no time, the people will line up to worship me. They will have no choice! Not a bad plan, right?”
Prussia stops to catch his breath.
Ask Prussia what any of this has to do with you
Tell Prussia that his plan is stupid
Curious, you make your way to the bathroom to meet America and ask him to tell you more about the Roswell incident. He’s eager to share the information.
“So, I talk to this rancher, right? And he says he found this weird metal. It’s like totally crazy! It’s not like anything I’d ever seen. So, obviously, I’m like, duh. It’s totally alien. It is undeniably part of a UFO from outer freakin’ space!”
“So, I tell my boss. But he says, nope. No way. It’s a weather balloon. I’m all, no way. It’s a UFO. But he’s all, nope, weather balloon. Little did he know, I could totally prove it was a UFO. Want to know how? Wanna see the proof?”
As a renowned mercenary, you are used to finding mysterious cassette tapes. Everyone knows that mysterious cassette tapes are the best way to communicate with renowned mercenaries. Since it is your day off, you choose to ignore the tape and close your eyes again.
As the smooth sounds of Frankie Goes to Hollywood fill your ears, you drift off to sleep in the warm afternoon sun. Perhaps if you had listened to the mysterious tape, you could have prevented the nuclear war that erupts as you nap. While you dream of land where cats can talk, the world ends and your day off is totally ruined.
You are, simply put, totally grossed out. Sensing a commotion, the manager arrives at your table. Without looking up, you begin complaining: “DUDE, THERE’S, LIKE, TRASH IN MY BURGER. WHAT KIND OF DUMP ARE YOU GUYS RUNNING HERE? YOU EXPECT ME TO PAY FOR THIS?”
You are still eyeballing the burger with disgust when you hear a familiar voice. “Oh, you shall pay dearly. WITH YOUR LIFE!” As you begin to hallucinate, growing queasier by the second, you turn toward the “manager” and confirm your worst fear. Your nemesis – Igor Von Wombatten, aka The Wombat – has finally defeated you.
“Yes,” he proclaims. “Feel the poison course through your veins!”
With the last of your strength, you say, “Wait. You stuck poisonous paper in my burger? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. That doesn’t even make sense!”
The villain looks confused. “What? No. I poisoned the mustard. The paper, well, I don’t know what that was all about. You know, this place is sort of a dump. Anyway, I thought you were a vegan. Didn’t you used to be vegan?”
With your dying breath, you tell The Wombat, “For… a… couple of years… in college.” “Your plan is genius,” you tell Prussia. “But what does any of this have to do with me?”
Prussia explains, “I am the awesome Prussia, yes? I cannot simply run around with stupid camera taping cats. It is beneath me. I require minions. Underlings. I am better at the bossing around rather than the running around. So, I pay you to run around. What is your price?”
You think for a moment and explain your demands. Prussia agrees.
25 Years Later: Prussia’s plan, unfortunately, did not work. Your plan, however, worked perfectly. Rather than accept a cash payment for your efforts in 1984, you convinced Prussia to let you keep all of the Cat Master Tapes. You hid them away in a mountain cave. Decades passed and you waited.
You waited and you watched as the internet was created. And then, you struck. You unleashed the cat videos upon the world, profiting from every view, every click. As your wealth multiplied, however, you realized that money could not buy you happiness.
Prussia excitedly begins telling you about his secret weapon. Something about cats. Some cat thing about movies or video tapes. You’re not sure, because you’re not really listening.
You nod and smile occasionally as Prussia waves his arms in the air. His eyes widen and his voice rises and don’t forget that you need to get your oil changed this weekend.
Oh, and Saturday, that’s right. You’re supposed to call Steve about the bowling league. Did you leave the iron on? What time was that thing on Sunday with – Prussia slams his fist on the table.
“So,” he asks. “Are you in on the awesome plan? It’s a really fantastic secret weapon. Right? Can I count on you?”
Feeling like a jerk for not listening, you just say yes. Prussia slides a plane ticket across the table. “Perfect! I guess you should get going then!”
Twenty four hours later, just before your small aircraft crashes into the Arctic Sea and you are never heard from again, you think to yourself, “Yeah. I’m pretty sure I left the iron turned on.”
America’s invitation to join him in the bathroom has you feeling uncomfortable, so you flee Charlene’s Charbroil Grill. You realize that maybe you’re growing tired of secret meetings in bathrooms and mysterious tapes and strange notes in cheeseburgers. Yes, you think, enough with all of this mercenary stuff.
You feel a burden lift from your shoulders and you notice the birds singing for the first time in ages. With your life of international intrigue already slipping away into the past, you turn your thoughts to a peaceful existence.
Maybe you’ll get into gardening. Maybe you’ll try your hand at interpretive breakdancing. Maybe you’ll volunteer at an animal shelter. Maybe you’ll realize that you should have been paying more attention, just before you walk absent-mindedly into an intersecti- HOLY CRAP. YOU GOT HIT BY A BUS.
You tell Prussia that his plan is stupid and exit Scooter’s Smoothie Shack.
Cat videos? Really? You laugh as you try to imagine a world where people would waste their time trading funny cat videos. It’s 1984, you think. People have more pressing issues on their mind than funny cats.
Of course, cats are adorable, you think. Dogs, too. As you walk down the sidewalk, your heart fills with sadness. The life of a renowned mercenary is a lonely one, and all of this talk about kitties and puppies has now convinced you that you might benefit from some animal companionship.
You arrive at a pet store, hoping to find a little buddy that will make your days a little more pleasant. You decide that an international mercenary requires a more exotic pet and ask the shop owner if you can hold the small purple lizard from the glass case in the rear of the shop.
Unfortunately, you had no way of knowing that you are violently allergic to Brazilian Bearded Skunk Geckos. Your throat closes up and your insides turn to goo. Play him off, Keyboard Cat. “Show me the proof,” you tell America. “Prove to me that aliens are real.”
America pushes one of the bathroom stall doors open. “I’d like you to meet my newfound bestie,” America says. “This is Tonny!”
A tiny little greyish guy with big red eyes walks from the stall.
“Tonny’s from space and he wants to hang out here and since we’re BFF, I’d kinda like to show him around.” You ask America what any of this has to do with you.
“It’s simple,” he says. “Since you’re kind of a big deal mercenary, I was thinking maybe you’d like to go to space on a mission or whatever. See, Tonny’s boss wants Tonny to come back, but like I said, hello, we’re best bros now, and Tonny doesn’t wanna go back!” Tonny nods in agreement.
“So, we told Tonny’s boss that we’d send a human back instead! Like a trade! And that’s you! You down?” A moment passes before you say, “No. Way. Not a chance.”
America’s face tightens.
“Well,” he says. “Then I guess this is probably gonna be a little awkward.”
A glowing beam of warm light surrounds you. In an instant, you are sucked through space and time. As you travel at the speed of light to your new home among the stars, you accept your fate and actually start to feel good about your role as humanity’s diplomat.
But you know what would make you feel even better? WINNING A TON OF HETALIA PRIZES, OMG! And you can win them ALL since you totally survived this adventure! YOU’RE A LEGEND! I SORTA WANNA MAKE-OUT WITH YOU! IS THAT WEIRD?
Just fill out the form below. Be sure to include your name and mailing address! That’s it! Totes easy, amirite?
It’s weird enough that America hid a note in your cheeseburger. It’s even weirder that he somehow got you to meet him in a bathroom. And now he’s talking about aliens, which you don’t even believe in? You tell America that you aren’t interested in seeing his proof and make a hasty exit from Charlene’s Charbroil Grill.
You run from the building, more than a little creeped out about the whole experience.
You turn into an alley after a few blocks and lean against a brick wall in the shadows. Happy to have left America behind, you give a sigh of relief, not noticing the soft clicking noise coming from deep within the alley.
You also do not notice the triangle of small red laser dots that appear on your chest. You don’t feel a thing when your torso explodes. The Predator disengages his cloaking device and walks to your limp body.
His gaping mandibles open and close as the dark corners of the city echo with alien laughter. Though you’ll never know, your skull makes a fine addition to the trophy room within the beast’s spaceship.