Diary of a Goomba
I’m not entirely sure where I am. I’m not entirely sure what I am. I know that prior to finding myself here this morning I was a mushroom, but I was only aware to the extent that any regular mushroom can be aware of itself; that is to say, barely at all. I believe that I am still a mushroom, though now I can see and move. Instinctively, I traversed this brick expanse, only to find my path blocked by green piping. I reversed course, and found that way obstructed by piping as well. Back and forth, back and forth. Surely there must be more to the conscious life?
WHO IS THIS MAN? And how does he move so nimbly? He nearly landed on me! He springs again! Why is he trying to hurt me? There is nowhere to hide—the bush is just painted cardboard. It’s as if all the world’s a stage, and that man and I are merely players, and that man is also trying to kill me.
What play is this?
I’m back in this place. Green pipes and red bricks. The last thing I remember is the man falling towards me, blinding pain, and then blackness. Why am I here? Another man. He looks like the other one, except he wears green. I avoid eye contact, but he jumps toward me anyway. Just go past me! Leave me here to grasp for meaning among these pixels in solitude! I try to cry out, but my screams are swallowed by these repeating blasts of music. Doot doot doot. do doot do doot. The man in green is next to me.
I… I killed him.
The red man is back, and he appears to be angry that the other man is dead. Does he not understand that death can be the only relief here? Still jumping, this man never speaks. He hovers above me. Time slows. What is time, even? Oh no!
I’m still here. Is this Hell? Did I die in a sparkling forest, only to find myself here in this place where I’m forever damned to traverse the space between the green pipes? I try to stop, but I cannot. Back and forth. At least Sisyphus had a hill. At least Tantalus could smell fruit.
If I’m dead, just leave me to toil in this netherworld in peace. Why must I spend each day pacing, just to be crushed under the boots of the man in red and the man in green? My silent murderers dive bomb me repeatedly to a looping soundtrack of doot doot doot, do doot do doot, do doot do doot do doot doot do doot doot. I have always preferred Mozart.
Sometimes the men perish when they make contact with me, but my respite is only temporary. It’s like the world resets itself, and then the other one attacks. I don’t know what I did to deserve this fate. It’s not as if I worshipped the wrong gods. I was a mushroom, we have no free will. We do not choose our beliefs, our lifestyles, or our actions. We merely are. Oh no, here comes the green man again!
Just let me die. Beyond this place of wrath and tears looms but the Horrors of the shade—but anything is better than this shit. Darkness, take me. If there is a god, why would he choose to torture an insignificant mushroom? What satisfaction could a higher power possibly get from witnessing this? Any being so sadistic is no true higher being at all. I renounce you, so-called God! You’re no better than a bully, a predator, a fungus. Oh, are you a mushroom god? I think I hear someone coming. Do I smell garlic?
I may have discovered a way out. Yesterday started out the same as every day. Back and forth, back and forth. The green man came, and as he began to descend from one of his leaps, he froze in mid-air and his body fragmented. I froze as well. We were both stuck, as if in a photograph. It was then that a great rush of wind came, accompanied by water droplets. A second rush of wind followed, this time dislodging us from our stasis. The man in green smashed me, but not before I had time to notice that all of the brick dust kicked up by my constant pacing appeared to be what froze us!
I am exhausted. I’ve spent the last two weeks kicking up as much dust as I could, having decided that a life spent frozen in time was preferable to daily death and rebirth. Every time I thought I had succeeded, the wind came, setting us back in motion. There is no escape, no blessed relief of death.
I am a Goomba.
And I am doomed.