PARENTAL ADVISORY: If you eat too much cake, you will die.
the fantastic life and suicide
of mister mary holiday


-- April 14th, 1996 --
``Where All the Good Guys Go."


11:13 pm, Halloween, 1999.

Mary already knew the bunny was always kind of "on the edge", but his reaction to the inspector having been locked in the utility closet was especially reactionary. He had confronted Mary in the lounge, paced, worried and fretted passionately and then was probably extraordinarily upset when he realized Mary had disappeared and left a little note saying "bye" where he had just been standing.
áááááááááááá Now Mary was killing time until the inevitable moment when he'd have to make another decision that would affect him in some way. That was the part of existing he disliked the most.
áááááááááááá Having left the hat in an attempt to dodge the upset bunny, he lay on a particular grave in a small, modest cemetery in the middle of nowhere in particular. Nobody too important was buried here. No politicians, no rock stars, no sports heroes, and really nobody anyone most people would have found interesting alive never mind dead. Worn marble headstones lined the rows of uninteresting dead people with their uninteresting epitaphs and uninteresting causes of death.
áááááááááááá A chill wind shook through the twisted cemetery trees and the dry leaves spun slowly to the ground. Mary noticed this, but was more interested in what was happening down the road to the cemetery.
áááááááááááá For the past half hour he'd become increasingly aware of dim lights and faint noises approaching from the left. They were still a far way off, but he was very curious. He'd come here to be dramatically morbid and Gothic, but instead he'd get to watch humans be really strange.
áááááááááááá Mary leaned back against the cold headstone and adjusted his hat a bit. It was Halloween. 1999. Interdimensional time travel mostly just meant you had to have a much more complicated wrist watch to know where and when you were. He hadn't been around for this Halloween. Two weeks earlier in mid-October he'd been buried here and four days before that he had unceremoniously killed himself in his small low-rent bachelor's apartment. It was all rather silly and he found it kind of embarrassing to think about, so he didn't much. The grass hadn't gotten a chance to grow back in yet.
áááááááááááá One of his favourite games was to sit in cemeteries and try to guess what all the other dead people got for their afterlife. Apparently most people got very plain stuff. It all related annoyingly back to your personal beliefs. Catholics got the standard Heaven/Hell/Purgatory arrangement, Buddhists got Nirvana, Vikings got Valhalla and atheists got stuck in a damp box in the corner of the universe with Catholics, Buddhists and Vikings in it.
áááááááááááá It was apparently worse for suicides. At the time he'd thought it was a lame anti-suicide message, but if he'd known what he was going to get for his afterlife, he would never have done it. He hated conceding to "enjoy life while you can" speeches, but the entire experience so far had just been seriously upsetting. You hate your life, you shoot yourself, you die, you wake up, you get interviewed by a squad of military personnel, you think "Oh no -- God's a Marine" and worry that Heaven's going to be filled with right-wing extremists. After that you're given a big travelling magical hat and told to go complete silly little missions that seemed to make no difference in anyone's life whatsoever. For how long? Apparently forever.
áááááááááááá The gate creaked as the thick wind squeezed through it. Mary could see the lights were close enough to make out shapes now. It was a crowd of tall, angular people, the lights were flashlights and the members of the crowd all seemed to be wearing spectacular glitter clothes that shone eerily in the moonlight.
áááááááááááá Mary set his hat on its side behind his headstone and crawled into it backwards. This way he could watch out into the cemetery and be undetected by the crowd. They stirred through the rows of graves, blue flashlight beams streaming across the ground as they searched.
áááááááááááá It took a few minutes for them to eventually figure out they wanted the one Mary's hat was behind. They didn't notice the hat and if they had, Mary would have made it promptly disappear. They formed a crooked semi-circle in front of the grave, all lights focused on the headstone, their lips moved as they read the epitaph and chuckling to themselves grimly as they finished reading.
áááááááááááá Then, wordlessly, they began to dig.
áááááááááááá It took a few hours. Mary waited patiently through it by imagining he was playing Space Invaders. He couldn't see much from his position, but he could make out the group's individual features fairly well now. They were all very strange looking, but in an overt, "Look at me -- I'm really strange" sort of way. Their clothes were most of it. Plastic glitter jackets and rainbow stretch pants, awkwardly lop-sided top hats, bright green fishnet stockings and various other fashion faux-pas as yet without labels by the critical mainstream fashion world. Written on the back of their jackets were the words, "THE MAD HATTER FAN CLUB" in big sparkly gold letters with their membership numbers just beneath.
áááááááááááá The Mad Hatter Fan Club was a slowly growing obsessional organization. When it had first begun it was merely a bi-monthly newsletter focusing on Mary Holiday sightings, conventions and philosophical interpretations of his few recorded public actions. Most involved the word "fuck" in some way or another.
áááááááááááá In 1999 the Fan Club was still in its formative years. Made up mostly of those already given to bouts of irrational fanaticism: religious fundamentalists, right-wing extremists, and vagrant youth; it was a tremendously successful exercise in organization and focused devotion. Though it was at that time still without its massive political and commercial influence, it quickly became the most rapidly growing repository for misguided, troubled individuals. Interest in White Nationalism, Nazism, and Communism all quickly bottomed out from the shocking lack of new enlistments and the loss of private anti-social funding, which all suddenly went to their new, more interesting and socially unacceptable alternative: The Mad Hatter Fan Club.
áááááááááááá Mary watched the dirt pile up around the sides of the headstone. And here they were, digging up his grave, he thought. He wanted to ask them why, but he was pretty sure he knew, and the one time he'd tried to speak to a member of his Fan Club he'd nearly been sexually assaulted with things he still refused to believe weren't toasters. Since then he'd kept successfully out of reach and hoped to keep it that way.
áááááááááááá Their shovels hit wood and they shuffled around fitfully. Mary heard a loud creaking of the coffin being opened, a pause, and then frantic climbing, yelling, scattering and running as they were all suddenly scared out of the cemetery.
áááááááááááá Mary watched curiously as their lights and jackets bobbed out and faded away into the darkness. Soon it was quiet again.
áááááááááááá He waited there for a while, staring out of his hat into the moonlit graveyard. Dorks, he thought. What were they expecting? You don't spend three hours digging up a grave and then get surprised when there's a dead guy at the bottom of it.
áááááááááááá He crawled out of the hat, put it back on his head and walked around to the front of the grave. Then he saw what had scared them away.
áááááááááááá Six feet down, caked in dirt and tangled tree roots, was a rather battered and scratched open coffin with a little silver doll where Mary's body should have been. He checked the headstone. It read:

"MR. MARY ANN-SCARY HOLIDAY.
1973-1999.

HA."


áááááááááááá It was definitely his. Where the hell did his body go? He jumped down into the grave and picked up the doll. Mary had never seen it before. It was ugly. It didn't even look human.
áááááááááááá "Well, that's certainly distressing," he said to himself.
áááááááááááá He put the doll in his pocket, looked around to make sure there was nothing else he had missed and then pulled his hat down over him.


Mary left the doll with the hat's laboratory for analysis. It seemed the practical thing to do. They told him it would take two to three weeks for a full report, which was fine with Mary as he had bigger things to worry about at the moment.
áááááááááááá The hat kindly reminded him that he had inadvertently taken a hostage and that by now the easily excitable Admiral would have definitely decided what was going on and who was to blame. Mary hadn't really meant to take a hostage; but it was done and he couldn't say he was all that upset about it. What was the worst the Admiral could do? Kill him? He wished he could cackle because now would have been a good time for it.
áááááááááááá


Then he was in Maryland. Billed by critics as "The First Trans-Dimensional Electric Abusement Park", it was the First Trans-Dimensional Electric Abusement Park. It would have attracted billions of excited tourists and starry-eyed kids had Mary ever let other people in it. But he didn't. It was always empty. The word most commonly used to describe it was "vast". It was big. The other word most commonly used to describe it was "scary". It was also frightening.
áááááááááááá It seemed unlimited in size. It sprawled over the horizon to meet the damp green moon which hung uncommittally in the sky. The carnival atmosphere here was thick and overwhelming. Spirals and crooked things and razor-edged primary colours seemed to be the general theme, but artistically it was very eclectic, if not just dizzyingly horrifying. The rest of the hat was disarmingly odd looking, but it all seemed to come to a squinty-eyed head here. Mary had designed it all. It was one of the few works of art he felt anything remotely comparable to "pride" in.
áááááááááááá There weren't even any attendants in Maryland. And although it was all fully automated, everything had very tedious and often quite humiliating manual controls which the bunny would have to run in order for the ride to work. One of his least favourites consisted of him towing a roller coaster on a bicycle while Mary whipped at him yelling "Faster, damn you! Faster!"
áááááááááááá Way up, high above tents and vacant playgrounds and motionless Mary-go-Rounds, slowly turning over the exact middle of the park was the largest Ferris Wheel ever constructed in any part of the afterlife. The simulation heroics that had been required to get this thing built were usually described as "really stupid". The designers literally had to redefine the definition of where the "sky" actually begins. Fourteen engineers went insane and Mary knew it was worth every single one. It was a bright mechanical green, which stood out alarmingly against the dark red sky. It had a post-apocalyptic hallucinogenic quality superior to everything you've ever seen, unless you just survived the apocalypse and realized your jeans are made of LSD.
áááááááááááá And at the very, very top of this Ferris Wheel, in one of the many cages that hung dangerously from it by thin strands of metal, Mary stirred anxiously. He was trying to convince the inspector to be helpful in one of the few ways he knew how.
áááááááááááá "I don't normally like heights," he said, gazing out the grated window, "but I really like this one."
áááááááááááá As their cage reached the top, the Ferris Wheel stopped turning and left it swaying slightly in the air. Mary checked his watch and then stared off over the horizon once again. Maryland was very big, he thought. He grinned back at the inspector, who was sitting on a small blue metal bench looking annoyed.
áááááááááááá "Did you like the closet?"
áááááááááááá "Why did you bring me up here?" she snapped.
áááááááááááá Mary thought about this for a second. "I'm instilling terror," he decided finally.
áááááááááááá "In whom?"
áááááááááááá He shrugged. "Just generally." He leaned a bit closer to the window. "How's the view?" he yelled.
áááááááááááá "F-f-fine s-s-sir," said a very scared bunny voice from below. He had put up a fairly impressive and brave argument against Mary's plan and was now strapped to the underside of the cage.
áááááááááááá "You think you're scaring me, don't you?"
áááááááááááá "Is that a trick question?"
áááááááááááá "No."
áááááááááááá "Is that a trick answer?"
áááááááááááá "No!"
áááááááááááá "Is that a --"
áááááááááááá "Oh shut up," she said angrily. Mary shrugged and looked back out the window. It was a really big park.
áááááááááááá "H-h-help?" tried the bunny pathetically. "P-please?"
áááááááááááá The plan was to get all the information he could about military procedure in cases like these from Maxine. So far he'd gotten nothing of use except for a few witty insults and a reminder to use the word "cram" sometime in the near future.
áááááááááááá "I just want you to know," Mary said diplomatically, "that being my hostage will be a satisfying and rewarding experience."
áááááááááááá "Go to Hell."
áááááááááááá "No, really," Mary said with a little wave, "I've given this some thought and I think it's the only way."
áááááááááááá "I think I-I-I'm b-blacking o-out. G-God, s-save me."
áááááááááááá Maxine smiled politely. "You don't honestly think you can beat the system, do you?"
áááááááááááá "Well, that depends," Mary said slowly, "on how hard it's going to be."
áááááááááááá They held each other's stony gaze.
áááááááááááá "I-I c-can't feew m-my h-h-hongue."
áááááááááááá


Mary charged into the control room followed by three large floppy-shoed, red-nosed clown thugs roughly struggling with Maxine. The bunny walked in slowly after them, shaking nervously and clutching the walls.
áááááááááááá "Incoming message from the Admiral, sir," said the hat.
áááááááááááá "Tell him to shove it."
áááááááááááá Neon violet streaks sprung up from the floor and the Admiral's distressed face suddenly filled the screen. "Mary!" he yelled angrily.
áááááááááááá Mary hit a button on his chair and the Admiral and the screen disappeared. "That guy's really starting to piss me off," he said.
áááááááááááá "Military crafts approaching."
áááááááááááá "You know they don't fire you," Maxine said from the back of the room. "It only gets worse."
áááááááááááá "What do you mean?" Mary said, turning to glare at her. "How could it possibly get worse?"
áááááááááááá "Mines."
áááááááááááá Mary relaxed. "No problem," he said with a sigh. "I'd be batting a thousand if it wasn't for that greasy one in Philadelphia last year."
áááááááááááá "Not MIMES: MINES! If you screw up here they force you into eternal hard labour."
áááááááááááá "But I can't do that!" Mary said, suddenly feeling uneasy about this entire rebellion thing.
áááááááááááá "Why not?"
áááááááááááá "I don't know."
áááááááááááá "Approaching," said the hat.
áááááááááááá "Okay hat, we need to, like, run... away."
áááááááááááá "They'll find you," said Maxine.
áááááááááááá "I'm not allowed to evade commanders," explained the hat.
áááááááááááá "What? Then give me manual control!"
áááááááááááá "You can't have it."
áááááááááááá Mary glared at the ceiling. "What the hell do you mean?"
áááááááááááá "I agree with the hat," said the bunny.
áááááááááááá "So what are you going to do, Mister Mary Holiday?" Maxine teased from behind him. "There's no way out."
áááááááááááá Mary sprang from his chair and climbed on top of some keyboards near the front wall. He searched frantically through video screens and displays he rarely looked at. The other crafts were little dots, closing in on him quickly.
áááááááááááá He paced around the bridge nervously. "Okay, okay," he said, trying to calm himself. "What do we do? Hat? What can I do in a situation like this?"
áááááááááááá "I'm not allowed to tell you."
áááááááááááá The bunny bitterly withheld all helpful advice he might have had.
áááááááááááá Mary's mind raced as he watched the blinking dots get closer and closer to the middle of the screens.
áááááááááááá "Hat, uh, I want you to, uh..." He looked around for inspiration and saw a potted plant. "Escape!"
áááááááááááá "That's the same as running away," said the hat.
áááááááááááá "Flee!"
áááááááááááá "Nope."
áááááááááááá "Depart!"
áááááááááááá "Sorry."
áááááááááááá "Something with impunity?"
áááááááááááá "Without a verb that's not really a command."
áááááááááááá Mary sighed miserably and threw himself at the ground. An idea struck him. "Hat!"
áááááááááááá "Elude, evade, dodge, avoid, and 'survive' are not applicable."
áááááááááááá "Go to the next mission!"
áááááááááááá Everything went a sudden meaningful black.
áááááááááááá


"Hey!" complained the hat loudly as they reappeared elsewhere in time and space. "That was sneaky!" All mission-related commands had priority over the military safety nets that kept people from doing anything treasonous. Mary didn't really know this, but he had already begun to strut.
áááááááááááá "Hooray!" he cheered.
áááááááááááá "I'm actually impressed," said Maxine.
áááááááááááá "Me too," agreed the bunny from the floor.
áááááááááááá Mary continued to dance about the room shouting things like "YEAH!" and "WOO!" and "POW!". He tried to do a few gymnastic moves he hadn't done in centuries and wound up crashing out into the hallway. Maxine and the bunny watched in silence as he increasingly didn't return.
áááááááááááá "Does he do this sort of thing a lot?" said Maxine.
áááááááááááá "Yes," said the bunny. He thought about this. "Yes, he does," he said.
áááááááááááá "How do you put up with him?"
áááááááááááá "He's really not that bad... once you get used to him." He sighed.
áááááááááááá Maxine glared at the door and then looked back at the bunny. "Okay, why do you put up with him?"
áááááááááááá "It's my job."
áááááááááááá "I'd quit."
áááááááááááá He shrugged. "It's my job," he said again, more to reassure himself than the inspector. "It's an issue of loyalty."
áááááááááááá "To whom?"
áááááááááááá Becoming frustrated with this conversation the bunny excused himself politely and left to find a quiet place for a cigarette.
áááááááááááá "So I guess it's just us," Maxine said to the clown thugs holding her. They shifted uneasily.


The bunny later found Mary in the arcade. He was playing a kamikaze space fighter game that he never lost at. It cost a ridiculous number of quarters though. The bunny stood next to him and watched as he played.
áááááááááááá "Maxine has been shown to private quarters as you requested, sir," he said. "I haven't yet found anyone willing to clean the bowling alley, but I'm still looking."
áááááááááááá "Did Maxine finish her inspection?" Mary said absent-mindedly.
áááááááááááá "No, I believe you shoved her into a closet before --"
áááááááááááá "Yeah, yeah. Well, get her on the rest of it." He wrenched the controls furiously and his ship exploded into another one. "ALRIGHT!" he cheered. "I DIED!!" He dropped another quarter into the machine. "Make sure she's supervised at all times."
áááááááááááá "The next mission is still waiting as well. The hat recommends

Escapist - Never

He is no fugitive - escaped, escaping.
No one has seen him stumble looking back.
His fear is not behind him but beside him
On either hand to make his course perhaps
A crooked straightness yet no less a straightness.
He runs face forward. He is a pursuer.
He seeks a seeker who in turn seeks
Another still, lost far into the distance.
Any who seek him seek in him the seeker.
His life is a pursuit of a pursuit forever.
It is the future that creates his present.
All is an interminable chain of longing.

- Robert Frost.

we get finished here as soon as possible as it seems unlikely they wouldn't have a way to track us."
áááááááááááá "Where are we?"
áááááááááááá "Outside a poetry cafe."
áááááááááááá "Thanks."
áááááááááááá "Just doing my job, sir." He waited quietly for a moment and then left.
áááááááááááá Mary stood alone in the noisy glow of the video game making a mental list. The military was after him, most likely thinking he had killed the cleaning staff. His fascist terrorist Fan Club had tried to dig up his body which didn't work only because his body had already been stolen and replaced with a little ugly doll.
áááááááááááá Complacency sucks, he thought.
áááááááááááá He'd irreversibly altered the path which his afterlife was travelling down and was feeling nothing but bitter hatred for everyone trying to back him into a corner. This was fundamental rock'n'roll rebellion. He used to be in a rock band. A great big fucking rock band that smashed things and made noise and vomited all over itself before passing out on the stage and having to be carried off and locked in a hotel bathroom.
áááááááááááá An hour later he went back to his room and found a pen. Then he cleared his desk and wrote all over a nearly blank piece of paper.

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ęCopyright 1996, Brad Turcotte