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Dead Kittens and Other Prizes by Ray Printer Friendly

You know what pisses me off? No more prizes in cereal boxes. At best, you get a stupid little maze on the back, and if you try to actually work it, you end up dumping cereal all over the place. I remember when they first started phasing out toys in cereal—they tried to wean us by giving us mail-in coupons we could use to order our prizes. It was a bitch move, and I never condoned it. I mean, these people are making millions of dollars for selling us what is basically dried-up grain product that’s covered in sugar. They are making a mint!

And they can’t give us a toy for eating an entire box of their shit? I hate corporations, I think you should know that. I used to hate the corporate heads, the anonymous guy at the top that screwed everything up and screwed everyone over, just so he could make an extra buck. But you know what? I’ve met some of the people that are at the top. Even when they're not anonymous, they still suck.

You’re smiling, hoping that your fly is zipped up, and hoping that your mouth will behave for just twenty more minutes so that you don’t get fired. And you’re talking to these assholes, and you’re smiling this huge smile and making only the jokes you know they want to hear (important people do not like funny jokes, by the way—these dildos are like half a step above “pull my finger,” in the sense of humor department, and sometimes they don’t even have that half-step). And you realize that you don’t like them. And then you start wondering who possibly could like them.

In your head, you’re thinking, “I could totally see an asshole like this taking away the prizes from the cereal box so that he could get another car.” I don’t care who you are, if you’re high up the managerial ladder, you’re a dick. And I don’t mean just at work, either.

Oh, yeah, I’m calling you out, big corporate guys. You have small dicks, unless you’re women, and then you have mid-size dicks, but not in a cool way. People don’t love you, and they never will, because you’re too self-important, trying to make up for the fact that your parents didn’t ever want to have you. When you were a fetus, you should have been coat-hangar decoration, what do you think about that?

Are you crazy, taking away my cereal toys? Assholes.

I finally got old enough to where I can mail stuff in if I want to (when I was a kid, we were never allowed to send in the six UPC symbols and $2.95 for shipping and handling, I don’t know why), but now they don’t even let you do that! Now you have to go to their website, you have to enter all of your personal information, and then you enter a code that they print inside the cereal box. And then? Then you might win a prize, but you’ll more than likely be shown a message that says something like, “Sorry, you aren’t a winner this time, but keep trying!” You know what? Eff that.

Keep trying? You kiss my ass, how about that? I’ll eat fruit, you shitheads. Or sausage. You know what? I’ll eat Spaghetti-O’s, or Hot Pockets, or a million other things that go better with coffee, anyways. And then you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to buy a bunch of cheap crappy toys, I’m going to stand all day at the check-out lanes at the grocery store, and I’m going to give every person a toy if they just won’t buy your product.

“Hey, how’s it going?”

“Pretty good.”

“Good. So I notice that you’re buying some cereal, there.”

“Yep.” At this point, the consumer gets little fidgety and worried, but I don’t mind—everything will be made clear enough.

“Come with a prize?”

“Nah, man—I don’t know when the last time I bought cereal that had a prize in it.”

“I hear you, man. Listen, I’m sort of on a mission to get cereal companies to get their shit together, I want them to get their priorities in line.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Look, how many boxes of cereal you got there? Three?”


“Oh, yeah, four. I will give you four prizes if you go put that cereal back and get something else for breakfast.”

“But I like cereal.”

“I know, man—we all like cereal. But they took away our prizes, man. Don’t you see what’s happening here?”

“You’re right, man,” the consumer will tell me, all the nervous fidgeting expelled—this is a man who wants to make a difference. “I’ll go get some oatmeal.”

“I’ll be waiting here with your prizes.”

I will have cereal companies begging me to leave them alone, but I won’t do it. Not until they pay for what they’ve done. And just sticking cheap plastic toys in the boxes once more won’t even be enough. No, this time we will need compensation. G.I. Joes, Transformers, and possibly cap guns—these are the things you will have to buy us off with now. Bastards.

Anyways, since we’re in such a happy rut, I guess I should tell you: right before I started writing, I was looking at this website. Yeah, I had a good reason, but do you really want to hear it, or are you just going to judge me outright, because that’s the kind of person you are?

Okay, I’m glad you’ll at least hear me out. So I was talking to my princess, I was telling her about this competition I was in when I was a little kid. It was called “Listening and Story-Telling.” What you would do is, you and a bunch of other kids would go in to this room, and some adult would read you a story. Then, you went out to this other room, one at a time, and you told the story to a couple judges and whoever else happened to be in the room—usually some parents, a teacher or two, and a couple of kids that were just in there trying to make you laugh.

So I had made it to the end of this thing, I don’t remember if they had regional or anything like that, but I remember that it was in a different town, and I think it was my first school trip. So I’m in this room, this lady is telling us this stupid story about cats and shit, I don’t really remember what it was about. Anyways, so the mamma cat gives birth (we were spared the horrible details, but being a country kid, I already knew pretty much what this entailed, and was wondering if I should go for some extra credit by adding in a few details that the other children might be a little too squeamish to mention), blah blah blah. The story ends, and it’s time to get out there and impress the judges.

I was doing a good job, too. I was making eye contact, just like I was taught, I was speaking in a loud, confident voice, I was entertaining the hell out of these folks. And then I got to the part where the cat had babies. I knew that the mother was white and the father was gray, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember what color the kittens were. I knew there were three of them. I decided to go with logic, and rattled off something about one of the kittens being white, one being gray, and one being gray and white. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

The other cat wasn’t gray and white. He was orange. The judges handed me my report slips. One of them had scrawled a note about how I was the best story-teller, but I had gotten the colors messed up. “The most important part of storytelling is getting the details right.”

I stabbed him in the hand with my pencil, man. I didn’t even think about it. I just slammed it down, pinning the note to him. He looked like he was doing some sort of crazy dance after that, and all the other people in the room started screaming. The kids that were in there trying to make me laugh started bawling, and some of the judge’s blood spattered on them. One of the mothers passed out on the floor, and I lifted her dress so that you could see her panties (giant yellow things with the KMart tag still on them) and her bra (that same yellow color, but you could for sure see some nipples through the fabric). I didn’t get to participate in that event again.

Okay, that last paragraph? All lies. I was proving a point, though—the most important part of story telling isn’t getting the story right. The most important part is entertaining the listeners (or readers, I suppose). Because it doesn’t matter how accurate you are if people aren’t entertained.

Anyways, so I was telling this story to my princess, and I was explaining to her why I had picked the colors for the kittens that I did when my mind went blank oh so long ago, and then I started speculating about the reproductive process of cats. “I know there are some animals, the sperm from different males gets sort of mixed in there, so that the offspring has traits from all the males,” I told her. “I think it’s dogs, but maybe cats do it, too—maybe that’s why tomcats sometimes kill their babies.” I wasn’t sure if I was basing any of this on any sort of fact, or if I was just making shit up again, but I decided to go with it. Hell, man, I’m not going to pass up an opportunity to research about kittens getting killed. And I came across that webpage. I read the entire thing, and got pretty creeped out. Cats just killing their babies left and right—they’re more like people than I ever imagined.

I finished my reading, and decided to perk myself up by writing a little post.

I think it went well.


And by the way, judge-guy—six years later, on one of those same school trips, your daughter went down on me in the bus. She was wearing a white sundress with pictures of strawberries on it, she was wearing Navy perfume, and she had a red and white scrunchy in her hair that I kept watching. At one point, her left canine tooth scratched something it shouldn’t have, and I almost panicked, but I’m glad I maintained. There were some kids outside the bus that were listening to Milli Vanilli, because that’s what MTV said was cool at the time, and I kept wondering what I would do if someone decided to step into the bus. I never figured out a suitable game plan for that scenario, and it didn’t end up mattering. How’s that for details? Dick.


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