The Tragedy of Joe Martinet
When you want to find a failure, here’s what you do. You start at the school, you know the school? You know the school. You go past the smell of porcelain and window washing, and you find yourself on a little cul de sac called Court Street. Coming in from one end, you’ll pass by a house that shoots off every red flag in your mind, but keep walking. Keep walking… it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away. Because past the little, uh, Final Foldasy House you’ll find a house that looks the same. Should be no surprise, all houses in Grand Rapids, Michigan look the same. But what’s surprising, at least to you, is who lives there.
He’s not just any thirteen year old boy, he’s not just any autisit off his meds, or a paper hero like those that inhabit the world. No, he’s something much more sickening. He’s grotesque, wallowing away in his own self pity. He won’t get out of bed, and maybe he doesn’t deserve to. One thing for sure, that’s what he believes. That he doesn’t deserve to.
To many, he’s a mystery. The boy that vanished. But others around town tell ya otherwise, what you’ll find, is that if you show up at his house a little after four in the afternoon but not a minute past five he’ll sit on his porch swing and hold out his hand. And what you’re gonna do, kid, is you’re gonna present to him your phone. Let him play Subway Surfers. That’s how you butter him up, see. Without Subway Surfers he doesn’t know what to do. After that, you present to him a peso, and toss it behind your back, let him know that you hate the Mexicans as much as he does. Hell, he has pretty good reason to. After all, that’s how all of this started. When Andre Borjas shoved a mexican pesos up his nose… and the final thing you gotta do, is give him a Happy Meal. He’ll let you eat the burger, he’s a merciful man, but he wants the fries and the toy. It’s best to know though, don’t get the McNuggets. Because then he’ll take the whole meal for himself, believe me, I made the same mistakes. As he’s buttered up, playing Subway Surfers and chewing on his nuggies, his toes will wiggle in his Despicable Me 3 socks and by then you’ll know you sealed the deal, you’ll know. You’ll know you’re about to hear…
THE TRAGEDY OF JOE MARtINET
A Character Study by SF Hades
“What do you want to know?” He asked, his mouth a beard of crumbs, the sounds of the game on full blast.
I pulled out my notepad, it was mostly just to note his movements. I was recording all of this on a tape my Dad gave me.
“I guess- I guess you could say it all started with this puppet.”
“Then start from there,” I said.
He shuffled in his seat, and I couldn’t tell if it was from nervousness or excitement, “I was always a…” his eyes darted around, as if looking for an emotion, before settling on resentment, “A bit of a weird kid. I didn’t make the best grades, I didn’t- I wasn’t good. At anything, really. When this puppet came, flying out of a window… like an angel from the heavens, I- I knew it was a godsend. I knew that it was my time to be part of something.” He was gripping onto his hands, so tightly they turned white, “And for a while… no one seemed to understand that. Even with the puppet, no one seemed to understand… me? Do you know what that feels like, kid? To not feel like your brother is really your brother, or to be dating a girl who thinks you’re your brother… to lie not only to her, but to yourself, because you’re so desperate. So desperate for somebody. Do you know how that f#@)ing feels?”
I nodded, but I didn’t say a word. I knew, perhaps all too well.
He laughed at my nod before smiling a grin of irony, “That’s the thing… That’s the thing. Everyone who comes here’s just like me. Misery loves company but only once the misery is accepted. That’s the truth of the world, you can only accept it or…” He didn’t finish his thought, instead taking another nuggie from his ten piece. He shook his head as if he was jolting back to life, “Anyways, where was I? Yes, yes. This puppet. Eventually, I found my footing. In hindsight, maybe I never really got anywhere but at least… at least I was happy, y’know.” He smiled, and for a second he looked the way a child should look. Like his whole life was ahead of him. And yet just as quickly, he returned to his seldom state, and the sadness returned to his eyes, “And then Linkin Roades came in…” He shook his head.
“Say what you will about Linkin Roades, I’m sure everyone does, and people say a lot. People say I hate him, and that was true- that was true for a while, at least.”
“Why’s that?” I asked.
“Well,” he smiled again, the insincere kind, “It should be obvious by now but… Linkin was everything I wanted to be, he had everything I wanted out of life. Friends, a girlfriend, the people, they- they loved him. Maybe above everything else, Linkin Roades was…”
“A hero?” I asked.
“I wouldn’t go that far. You’d be d@$) pressed to find a hero in these parts, no. I think all Linkin was was a good person. And maybe that’s more powerful than a hero- maybe that makes more difference. I met Linkin, we worked together.” He smiled once more, though for the first time he showed me his teeth, “Didn’t get along well, at first. Aw, hell, I didn’t get along well with anybody. But we made it work, we,” he kicked the swing up with his feet, “We made it work… if I remember rightly this was only a month or so before, well. Everything.” Though his tone was as cheerful as the rest of the sentence, his tone faded back into his standard, dull, misery.
“I was in art, doing art. I’m an artist, and- and- this kid came up to me. Ace McLargent. Ace now, he…” He paused, choosing his next words as carefully as he could, staring into my neck as if that was the true window of my soul, “… Ace was a queer. And he kissed boys.”
“That’s terrible.” I said… I didn’t support that.
“Ace was all dressed up in his cute skirts and hot makeup, and to get his attention I kept asking him about that.”
“What’d he say then?”
“He told me to shut up or… he said he’d light my butt on fire at both ends.”
“Did he do it?”
The pain in his eyes swelled at the same intensity as the pain in my heart, “…No.” He said.
“Anyways, I kept talking to him. I was just joking around and then my brother told me to stop. Jonsey was one of them, too. But he was a gay person I respect, he didn’t make it his whole personality. I didn’t like it… seeing how woke he got.”
“That’s terrible. What happened then?”
“Well, I told my brother- I told my brother if he didn’t shut up I was going to beat him with my Dad’s Playstation controller. A bunch of other kids, I guess they were… Jonsey’s friends, they- they- they kept on telling me to shut up. They told me I was a weed, but I showed them. I showed them who was a weed.” He smiled, pridefully, “I- I unleashed my inner wolf.”
“The world… it shivers when a nice guy goes wolf.”
“Thought you said you weren’t a nice guy.”
“…I’m not. Not after what society has done to me. After school, I did what I had to do. I pulled out a knife.”
“And what they’d do then?”
“Uh, yeah, I, uh, a kid threw my knife out the window. And then they jumped me after I got off the bus.”
“But then I went wolf on them. I went to the one person I knew I could go to. My oracle, my priestess. Are you familiar with the myth of the Oracle?”
I shook my head.
“She was a priestess of the gods, a voice that they spoke through. There were five, some lived in Delphi. Others lived among the trees. Princes would seek them out before their journeys, and I- I thought myself to be a prince. Now I know I’m nothing but a jester. And my oracle? She was my friend, she was the person I went to when I thought I had none.”
“What- What was the name of your friend?”
“SubscribeToSydneyGamer. That was her name on Roblox. Each time my life would fall apart, I would turn to her in our tavern, Wolf Simulator, and tell her my woes. We don’t talk anymore. But she told me to fight my bullies, to be big. To be strong. Maybe then she would be my girlfriend.
“So the next day, I found the bully who ordered my jumping. His name was Andre. And I told Andre… ‘Andre… Leave. Me. Alone. Or I’ll kill you.’ Then he punched me in the stomach and shoved a Mexican pesos up my nose and that’s why I hate Mexicans, now.”
“In the nurse’s office, I- I saw Ace and he told me. He told me this isn’t over. I should’ve listened. First, he went after my girlfriend.”
“Your Roblox one or…?”
“No, like, the girl I have to be with at school.”
“Thought she thought you were your brother.”
“She did, but I helped her get over it.”
“How’d you do that?”
“… By dating her? Dumba#%. But… he took her from me.” He looked like he was about to cry, “THE QUEER TOOK HER FROM ME!! SHE SAID HE WAS SMART, AND F#$%ING READ BOOKS!! HE ONLY READ THE BORING BOOKS! HE’D ALWAYS TALK ABOUT THE GIVER, B@$)@! IF SHE WANTED A NERD, I COULD TALK ABOUT BOOKS. I COULD TALK ABOUT THE GIVING TREE! THAT ONE’S GOTTA A TREE IN IT!!”
“F#$)ing hate that emo psycho… reading books… canceling me.” He nodded to himself, “It’s literally 1984.”
“Good book,” I said.
“I haven’t read it. But after that, you know what he did?”
I shook my head. “He took my puppet away. Give it to Jonsey, let him be Mario and Luigi.” He paused. He paused for what felt like ages, before shedding a single tear, “It’s not- It’s not fair,” he said, “It’s not fair. I hated how he dated my ex-girlfriend, how he was nice to my brother. And I hated his puppet…”
“…The Boo Crease.” He started crying, “I- I hate him. I hate him so much.”
“It should’ve been Boo Kirigami.” I said.
Through tears, he shook his head, “That- that doesn’t roll off the tongue as well.”
I put my arm around him, “Alright.”
As I listened to him sob, I continued my investigation. “Joe? Joe, what happened next?”
“I tried to warn people, I tried to warn my brother. Tell him that he was doing all of this to mess with me. That it was all about me. Because I was OriMario. Not him. But now I realize…”
“I’m the OriMario society deserves. But not the one it needs right now.”
“That’s… That’s so true, Joe. Is there- Is there anything else you’d like to add?”
He nodded, “I see that look in your eyes son, I see- I see that the world needs me. I’ll- I’ll be OriMario again. Because that’s who I am,” I said.
I smiled, “Really? You’re gonna do all that?”
“Yeah. And if I see Ace again… I’m gonna go wolf on him.”
“Hell yeah, brother.”
As I left, he called my name, “Hey! Joseph! Whenever I return to Rapids… don’t be a stranger, okay?”
“Alright. Bye Joe… I love you.”
And he said he loved me too.
The District Attorney sat upon his seat. “Boss, we- we got a problem,” I said. I slammed the file, my conversation with him, on the desk. “He’s back.” I said.
He shook his head, “It is… as I have foreseen.” He opened his large palm, revealing a cootie catcher. “Take this…” He said. The cootie catcher had big eyes on the flaps, and was a green and orange color. Bowser… The new Bowser…
“You will be the true Bowser-Gami, and you will lead my army against these… Video Pleats. And their entire Origami Universe.”
I smiled, “What army?”
The door swung open, and in came some of Grand Rapids, Michigan’s biggest baddies, the people I had looked too for at this point… years. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was ready.
The Origami Armoses, The Origami Dragon, Dark Link-agami, OriGanon, The Origami Brotherhood, The Origami Ghosts, The Ancient Minister, Evil Zelda-Gami, OriGanondorf, Bowser Junior, Freddy Graham, Team Rip It, Donkey Crease, and The Imposter.
He looked at me, “The army… the new, and improved, SubCrease army…”
I smiled, and took the puppet, “I’m in.” I said.