It was the heart of the 1990's, Blink 182 blastered our boomboxes and schools were bound by the clique social hierarchy. I used to be your average jock, the top of the food chain, girlfriends and popularity was bountiful. Yet, my life to me seemed so...dull. I needed adventure, I needed something different than my boozed up days of straight A's and women.
I was walking home one day, living in the city meant I had memorized every nook and cranny of every lonely street, of every dark alleyway shortcut and everything in between. From the friendly passerby's to the demented vagabonds I would avoid.
As I walked down the empty alleyway, short spaces between exposed brick buildings, I noticed something that court my eye. A sign, one single neon light stood out in a sea of neon "Girls Girls Girls" and "Bar". It said one single phrase that its very image would be etched into my heart forever. I didn't know it then but this phrase would lead to my downfall, a recluse from society.
It said... "Anime Club"
With my foolish 'go-getter' attitude and my longing to find a more interesting life, I walked up to the blank steel door. In a metropolis like this, you could find a store anywhere, even in alleyways. Especially alleyways. The door was locked, that was typical, I've heard of secret clubs required you to know their special knock. This wasn't one of them, I didn't think it would be. I do know of bars that if you were to knock on the door... someone would let you in. Okay thats not creepy but we're getting off track here.
I did my usually new yorkian big fist rap on the door, and heavy foot steps could be heard from the other side. The door opened, I couldn't see anything, it was pure darkness. A light flickered, a horrifying monster stared at me, a small creature, barely could fit his shirt ove his obese stomach, he looked like a castaway - hasn't shaved for months. He looked at me with bespecled beady eyes. "Hi" it moaned, "can I help you" I was terrifyied, but being the fool I was, I didn't run away. I was tough. I was invincible. I was going to investigate this place...Even if it kills me. "Whats 'a-ni-me?' " I ask, feigning a tough but casual voice. It replied, "oh! Anime is a really cool art form from Japan. This is a club where we can watch japanese cartoon, comics and even make your own. Would you be interested?" "Yeah" I replied, I couldn't run away, I stood still like my body was enveloped in concrete, "Show me around". "Right, follow me" it said, "By the way, my names's George, but people call me 'The Cryptkeeper' what's yours?" I noticed his dirty ragged piece of cloth that wrapped around his body said the words 'Cryptkeeper' and had a picture of a skeleton wizard. "My name. They call me XXXX" I said my real name, I wont say it here to protect my identity, not from you, but...from them. "Cool" he replied
We walked through a small antechamber, a place with coat racks. Typical for my cold city. He opened another door, leading to a hallway. Doors lay on different sides. Cryptkeeper described the contents of each room, more shivers ran down my spine with each graphic detail, "...in that room we have the bathroom, in the room next door thats our screening room, the room next door is the cafe - thats where we have the espresso nya ha ha!" Yes, he even gave out a nauesating 'nya ha ha'. Whats with the 'nya' I didn't know.
"And here's the library, only a few people are here right now" He opened the door. It took me a while for me to write this part, it was so trauatic, so i'm sorry if i'm frank on this part. A room covered in booksheleves, packed with comics regulated by genre. Posters of cutsy looking girls and loveraftian-esque cat-human hybrid monster women in suggestive poses littered the walls. In the middle of this foul discovery was a familiar face, it was Jack, one of my mates from Football. "XXXX" he said "Jack?"I let out a low whisper "Sup dude" he said, in his hand was a small book, something called 'Evangellion'. How could you live like this Jack? I wondered "You know him?" Crypt said "Yeah he's the quarterback in my schools football team" Jack explained I just stood in shock and awe. "ugh, I'll leave you two alone so you talk about living the high life" he laughed and left into another room. "I didn't know you liked anime" he said, approaching me. "I dont know what it is" I used to think I was a tough guy, but now I felt like crying. I just wanted to be at home. To be safe. "aww dude, you should totally check it out. Its like, a whole new world dude." he said, "but...well, to warn you...it is a little geeky" "Thats fine" I stumble over my words "Cool, I show you what it is" He showed me this horrifying craft. Of high school students in evangelical giant robots. Of berserk warriors fighting demons. Of...actually I dont know how to describe excel saga. This pain is just too real. "Do you want to join, you get to meet tons of cool people" "are...are their girls in this club?" "Yeah, theres a few, a lot of them are artists and like to draw manga" "...cool" I said quitely, I've accepted my fate, this was just too awesome, too troublesome, I wanted to escape, but wanted to stay. Two worlds, a world of pop culture and individual expressionism - comes at the price of being a geek, a loser, a world of popularity and sex - comes at the price of being a singularity, a toxic boring existence. "I''ll join your club" I say "cool, I'll get you to sign on the members list" I'm a man shattered into a million pieces. My life means nothing. I am nothing. He brings out a membership book. On the leather bound cover is a picture of an anime girl, pointing her finger at me, with the caption, "its not like I want you to join or anything!" "By the way" he said, "is it cool if you don't tell anyone I go here. I mean, they're cool people, but I don't want anyone at school to think I'm nerd, know what I'm saying" "Yeah" I mumble I'm a mess on the inside. I could do the same thing as him, live a secret life. By day, I beat up nerds. At night, I become one. I'm about to sign the sheet. All hope is lost. "Wait!" he exclaims Wait. Whats happening? Could this be a sign of hope. To escape from this hellish paradise? "Membership fee is $5" he says "I don't have any money on me" I'm free! I can escape! I'll leave and never come back! "Aw dont worry about it, we're pretty easy here, you meet up once a week here, you can pay next week if you want". No...No! No no no no no no no no no NO! Theres...no...escape...my fate has been sealed...I will NEVER escape!
I sign the paper with the ink pen. Later that night I walk down the hallway out, I notice the club's group photos, dating back to the 1950's! A month later, a new photo was placed on the wall. Class of 1999 First row, second from the right. XXXX, XXXX.
I left that place different, I saw the world for what it truly was. I'm sorry I can't describe to much else. I left my sanity at the godless place.
Its 2014 now. I live at home with my wife, whom I met at the club...I cry as I write this up now. She's given me the best sex i've ever had, she the most interesting person I've ever met. We've had three kids together. Some kids grew up on spiderman, my kids grew up on salior moon and ultraman. I work as a stockbroker, the geeks at the club helped me understand the language of finance. When the 2009 stock market crash, I was one of the few that predict it a month early and was able to warn my friends from the club, saving us all from that global tragedy.
I'm a changed man. I can't get a job - (I have one, but this is metaphorically unemployed), I can't get laid - (I get laid all the time, thats a metaphor too). I can't go back to that life I once had.
Life is precious, you don't know whats good until its gone.
I hope you heed my words. Don't make the same mistakes I have. And I promise you. I am totally not bragging.