ClickHole

You’re Usain Bolt. Can You Win Gold In Rio And Catch The Olympic Strangler?

You are Usain Bolt. Six-time Olympic gold medalist. Eleven-time world champion. Eighty-three-time iguana owner. The fastest human in recorded history.

You’re about to board a plane to Rio for what will be your third and final Summer Olympics. Accompanying you on your journey is your trusty sidekick and current pet iguana, Calm Duane.

“Hello, Calm Duane,” you say.

Calm Duane nods coolly.

You give your lizard a Duane Snack, which is basically a tiny puck of brandy-soaked pepperoni. He lets out a long, euphoric moan.

Calm Duane goes absolutely crazy for his Duane Snacks.

You board the plane and take your seat.

“Hi there,” says a woman seated across the aisle. “Sorry to bother, but just wanted to tell you that if you go to Rio, you will probably die.”

Sounds like you will probably die if you go to the Olympics. If that’s the case, maybe you should get off the airplane and go home.

Well, that was a no-brainer. No use going to a place if you’re just gonna die. You’ll just wait ’til the next Olympics and try again.

“I said, ‘If you go to Rio, you will probably be fine.’”

Ah, excellent! Good to hear.

The plane takes off and flies to Rio. The flight goes pretty smoothly for the most part, though Calm Duane gets sick and has a seizure at one point. He does this sometimes.

“Greetings, Mr. Bolt,” says a lady. ”My name is Esperanza, and I am a traditional Brazilian samba performer. You may be thinking to yourself, But that’s not how Brazilian people dress, and if so, you are wrong. This is how everyone dresses, and I should know because I live here.”

Your face turns red with shame, having been caught doing a racism.

“I am here to escort you to the Olympic Village. But first, if you would like, I will play for you a beloved Brazilian folk song on a traditional Brazilian instrument, the slippery tube piano.”

“I worked very hard to learn the song for you. I told my loved ones that I would be performing for the great Usain Bolt, and they were all so excited that someone from our humble working-class family would be given such an opportunity. There was a feast in my honor. But I understand; you are tired from your flight. If you do not want me to perform for you, that is fine. My family will be devastated, but they will get over it.”

“Very well. The song is called, ‘Os Cães Arbusto Está Comendo Nosso Veículo (Isso é Bom, Isso é Bom),’ which in English means ‘The Bush Dogs Are Eating Our Vehicle (It Is Fine, It Is Fine).’”

Esperanza begins playing. The song sounds like a much slower, sadder, louder version of “Frère Jacques,” and it drags on for 48 minutes. Still, there’s something alluring and hypnotic about it. You find yourself almost in a trance state, with your head slowly nodding along, your eyes pleasantly glazed over, your dong growing firm in your athletic shorts. When the song concludes, you feel as if you’ve just emerged from a days-long, dream-filled slumber.

Esperanza drops you off at the Olympic Village. As you walk to your room, you notice an open door blocked off with police tape. There is a dead body inside.

“That’s the third athlete since yesterday,” a security guard informs you. “All three of them strangled. There’s a madman wreaking havoc all over the Olympic Village, and there’s nothing we can do about it because things are very poorly organized here. Oh, well.”

That’s super annoying. Having a serial killer on the loose is a big distraction, and a distraction is the last thing you need when you’re trying to win gold medals. If you want to perform to the best of your ability, you’re going to need to do everything in your power to stop this serial killer.

You lean in to get a closer look, but just as you do, a bad-smelling bush dog wanders into the room and starts feasting on the body, compromising the integrity of the crime scene. Any clues that might’ve been there before have certainly now been eaten by the junk animal.

“Guh, guh.”

You look down and see that your iguana, Calm Duane, is barking at you, trying to get your attention.

“Guh, guh, guh.”

“Guh, guh.”

Calm Duane keeps barking at you. Annoyed, you decide to spank him with your belt. But as you go to spank him, you notice that he’s eagerly gesturing at something with his head.

Whoa, Calm Duane found a note from the killer!

“You will never find me / Until I’m giving you death’s kiss / I’m called the Olympic Strangler / But my real name’s Bob Costas.”

Interesting. But what could it mean?

Something in your gut tells you to focus on the “my” in the note. You deduce that it’s a word of some sorts, and most likely a possessive pronoun. But does it impart any meaning? You stare at it for a long time, but unfortunately it doesn’t yield you any clues. Frustrated, you crumple up the note and toss it in the trash.

But as you’re walking away from the crime scene, you’re struck with a crazy idea: What if the word “my” carries greater significance in the context of the sentence? It seems like a moon shot, but you salvage the note from the trash and give it a look. Sure enough, the word “my” is followed by the words “real” and “name.” After a couple dozen Google searches on your phone, you figure out that a “name” is a word that designates one’s identity and that “real” means true or authentic. Couple the word “my,” which indicates personal ownership, with two words that essentially mean “true identity,” and you suddenly get a sense that the killer is straight-up revealing who he really is.

And then it dawns on you. The killer is Bob Costas. The answer was hiding in plain sight all along!

Calm Duane takes the treat and mashes it against the top of his mouth with his tongue until it has dissolved enough to be swallowed whole.

“Gank goo,” he belches, attempting to thank you in the dumb, inarticulate manner of a reptile with extremely limited language capabilities.

You know that Bob Costas is a guy from TV, so you head over to the Olympic media facilities, where all the guys from TV are. Almost immediately, you spot him on a TV set. He is interviewing the Lithuanian dressage star Ugne Gubilus, who captured the world’s imagination during the 2012 Olympics when she jumped her horse so high that it was able to cling onto and inseminate the Goodyear blimp, earning the gold medal.

Bob Costas could start strangling her at any moment, so you better hurry and stop him before it’s too late.

You walk up to Bob Costas and politely ask him to not do any more murders.

“Hi, Usain! You got it, friend!” he replies with a smile. “Your wish is my command.”

“Sure thing, bud! Always happy to hel—”

Bob Costas is cut off mid sentence by a blood-curdling scream at the other end of the studio.

You turn to find beloved Lithuanian dressage star Ugne Gubilus dead as a doornail on the studio floor. Unbelievable! From the looks of it, the Olympic Strangler crept onto set and murdered her while you and Bob Costas were distracted with your conversation.

“Well, you see, my friend Usain, I’m not actually the Olympic Strangler,” says Bob Costas in response to your audible pondering. “For some gosh-darn reason, the real killer keeps putting my name on the crime scene notes, and as a result, folks keep accusing me of murder. But that’s okay! Seems like the fella just likes having a bit of fun at ol’ Bob’s expense. No hard feelings here.”

Ah, that explains it. You briefly consider apologizing to Bob Costas for accusing him of murder earlier, but then you realize that you don’t feel bad about it. Suddenly, Calm Duane starts making a fuss.

“Guh, guh.”

You look down at Calm Duane and see him frantically pointing at something with his tail.

It appears to be another note from the killer.

“The killings will continue / All through these Summer Games / I am the Olympic Strangler / Bob Costas is my name.”

Hmm. If this note is to be believed, then the Olympic Strangler is none other than legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas! And, speak of the devil, he’s standing right next to you!

You stab Bob Costas in the head, and he collapses to his knees in agony.

“Um, not to split hairs, friend, but I’m afraid that, once again, you’ve implicated the wrong fella in the crime!” Bob Costas gasps, maintaining his polite, professional demeanor even while in the process of dying. “No worries, though! I totally understand how you might see my name on the note and get confused in the moment. It’s an easy… mistake… that any of us… could… glerm… pffffff…”

Bob Costas falls face-first to the floor and then passes away.

“Hi, I’m Bob Costas, and you just stabbed me in the stomach,” says Bob Costas in a calm and likable manner, never losing face even as you twist the knife blade deep in his intestines. “If I may ask, why are you doing this to me?”

“Well, if I had to guess, I’d say you’re stabbing me because you saw one of those notes from the Olympic Strangler claiming he was me—even though that’s entirely untrue!” laughs Bob Costas, his voice weakening as he bleeds out on the studio floor. “Folks have attacked me for the same reason three times this week already. I don’t mind, though. If I saw someone who I thought was a serial killer, I’d try to stop them, too. Can’t blame folks for trying to do the right thing.”

“Ah, did the fella leave my name on a note again?” Bob Costas asks, his voice weakening as he bleeds out on the studio floor. “That’s the third time he’s done it this week, and the third time I’ve been attacked because of it! Bless his heart, though, I’m sure he’s got his reasons.”

“Oh, heavens no, I wouldn’t hurt a fly!” Bob Costas laughs, the imminence of death audible in his voice. “Seems like the killer just likes having a bit of fun at ol’ Bob’s expense. And that’s okay! No hard feelings here. And no hard feelings about the stabbing, either—it was an honest mistake, friend.”

Suddenly, your conversation is interrupted by a blood-curdling scream at the other end of the studio.

You turn to find beloved Lithuanian dressage star Ugne Gubilus dead as a doornail on the studio floor. Unbelievable! From the looks of it, the Olympic Strangler crept onto set and murdered her while you and Bob Costas were distracted with your conversation.

“Guh, guh.”

Calm Duane is barking to get your attention. You look down and see him frantically pointing at something with his tail.

It appears to be another note from the killer.

“The killings will continue / All through these Summer Games / I am the Olympic Strangler / Bob Costas is my name.”

Hmm. If this note is to be believed, then the Olympic Strangler is none other than legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas! And, speak of the devil, he’s standing right next to you!

You take a moment to calmly consider the facts. And after considering the facts, you come to the conclusion that, actually, Bob Costas most likely did not murder Lithuanian dressage star Ugne Gubilus, though he has almost certainly murdered some other high-profile people, including JonBenét Ramsey and Steve Jobs.

The identity of the Olympic Strangler is still unknown, and it’s up to you to figure it out. But first, you need to hurry down to Olympic Stadium to catch the Opening Ceremonies.

You arrive at the Opening Ceremonies, and the atmosphere is electric.

“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,” a voice booms over the loudspeaker. “WELCOME TO THE 2016 SUMMER OLYMPICS OPENING CEREMONIES! BEFORE WE BEGIN, PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT EVEN THOUGH WE ARE IN A SPORTS STADIUM, THERE WILL BE NO SPORTS HAPPENING HERE TONIGHT. I KNOW, I KNOW—IT’S CONFUSING. THE THING TONIGHT IS BASICALLY A BIG, LONG, BORING PLAY. IF THAT DOESN’T SOUND INTERESTING TO YOU, FEEL FREE TO LEAVE NOW.”

The crowd boos, and thousands of people file toward the exits.

“NOW WE WILL PROCEED WITH THE CEREMONY. AT THIS TIME, PLEASE RISE AND BECOME SAD AS WE WELCOME VERY OLD ARCHBISHOP GILBERTO BARBOZA, WHO WILL BE LEADING US IN AN INVOCATION.”

“O, Heavenly Father, ruler of all things,” the archbishop begins, his voice old and upsetting. “We thank you for creating the Olympics. They are fun. We also thank you for creating straws, as they help us drink beverages with greater ease. But shame on you, Lord, for creating rapists. That was wrong. You shouldn’t have done that. Amen.”

The crowd breaks out in raucous applause.

“THANK YOU, ARCHBISHOP BARBOZA,” the announcer yells. “NOW HERE TO SING THE CLASSIC BRAZILIAN LULLABY, ‘QUANDO EU IR Á PRAIA, ÁS VEZES EU VER UMA BALEIA VIL,’ WHICH IN ENGLISH MEANS, ‘WHEN I GO TO THE BEACH, SOMETIMES I SEE A VILE WHALE,’ PLEASE WELCOME EIGHT-YEAR-OLD DOROTEIA NOGUEIRA!”

Doroteia is carried out onto the stage by 12 muscular, shirtless men who are probably supposed to represent ancient indigenous warriors or some shit. Behind them, a large model of an Amazonian sundial is wheeled onto the field, symbolizing clocks.

The music begins, and it sort of sounds like “Little Drummer Boy” but played entirely on instruments made of gourds.

“When I go to the beach / Sometimes I see a vile whale,” Doroteia sings. “He comes out from the water / And makes me smell his vile tail. // He makes me do chores, like rubbing cream onto his face / And if I disobey he will throw me into space. // The vile whale! / O, vile whale! / Why must you eat my toys and sneeze oil on my lap? // The vile whale! / O, vile whale! / Please don’t lay your veiny egg atop my bathing cap. // When I go to the beach / Sometimes I see a vile whale / He likes to swallow drifters, / Trap them in his belly like a jail. // Sometimes I hear the drifters scream, ‘Please help us!’ from inside / But I just pretend not to hear / Until the gurgling subsides.”

Just when you think the song is finished, a second spotlight appears next to Doroteia, and it becomes clear that there’s going to be some sort of special surprise.

It’s the vile whale himself! Wow! The crowd erupts into a standing ovation and doesn’t stop applauding for 15 minutes. It’s a very special and emotional moment for everyone in attendance.

Eventually, it becomes clear that the vile whale needs to return to the ocean to breathe, so stagehands tie him to the back of a pickup truck and pull him out of the stadium. After he leaves, a troupe of Brazilian samba dancers come out and do a real snooze of a routine exploring the evolution of the nation’s rich cultural history through interpretive movement. The crowd stays polite for the first 10 minutes or so, but once the dancers get to the Portuguese colonization part and the skimpy tribal getups are swapped out for shapeless Roman Catholic frocks, people start getting restless. Soon, chants of “Bring back the whale!” begin drowning out the performance, and the dancers finally realize how boring they’re being and leave the stage.

Next, Regis and Rango Smith, the only father-son duo to ever win gold in doubles beach volleyball, walk out onto the stage to thunderous applause.

“Please rise and join us in reciting the Olympic Oath,” they whisper in unison. “Citius, altius, fortius, wham. Dingle-dong, zip-zap, hot potato, clam. I vow to play fair and to never once frown, and to whistle for help should my opponent fall down. And though I may hear silly accents from athletes the world around, I vow to never laugh at them because of how they sound. This oath I now make, this oath I will keep. And should I ever break it, may I be killed by a Jeep. Olympics! Olympics! Hurrah!”

“Thank you, you may be seated,” Regis and Rango say. “Now please rise and continue rising as we commence with the Parade of Nations.”

You have always liked the Parade of Nations because it helps you tell the difference between Japanese people and French people.

Leading off the parade is the delegation from Denmark.

Next in the parade is the delegation from Saudi Arabia.

Here comes Romania!

Ooo, there’s the delegation from Morocco!

Next, here are the athletes from Sweden.

There goes Russia!

Ugh, there’s the delegation from Belgium.

Shit! There goes Jamaica, and you’re supposed to be out there with them. Oh, well. This whole thing’s pretty dumb anyway.

After a literal eternity, the long-ass parade draws to a close.

“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,” the announcer says. “JOINING US TODAY IS A VERY SPECIAL GUEST. YOU KNOW HIM FOR HIS WORK AS THE ACCLAIMED HOST OF SURVIVOR ON CBS, AS WELL AS FROM HIS 2013 DAYTIME TALK SHOW. HERE TO LIGHT THE OLYMPIC FLAME AND OFFICIALLY COMMENCE THE 31ST OLYMPIAD, PLEASE JOIN ME IN WELCOMING JEFF PROBST!”

Everyone stands and cranes their necks in hopes of catching a glimpse of Jeff. But 30 or 40 seconds pass, and he still doesn’t come out. The announcer calls his name one more time. Still nothing. An awkward silence washes over the stadium, and people start getting restless.

“Holy fucking shit,” a woman screams. “Someone fucking killed Jeff Probst!”

You wake up just as the Parade of Nations is finishing. Now it’s time for the lighting of the Olympic Torch.

“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,” the announcer says. “JOINING US TODAY IS A VERY SPECIAL GUEST. YOU KNOW HIM FOR HIS WORK AS THE ACCLAIMED HOST OF SURVIVOR ON CBS, AS WELL AS FROM HIS 2013 DAYTIME TALK SHOW. HERE TO LIGHT THE OLYMPIC FLAME AND OFFICIALLY COMMENCE THE 31ST OLYMPIAD, PLEASE JOIN ME IN WELCOMING JEFF PROBST!”

Everyone stands and cranes their necks in hopes of catching a glimpse of Jeff. But 30 or 40 seconds pass, and he still doesn’t come out. The announcer calls his name one more time. Still nothing. An awkward silence washes over the stadium, and people start getting restless.

“Holy fucking shit,” a woman screams. “Someone fucking killed Jeff Probst!”

You push people out of the way, explaining that you’re fastest man in the world Usain Bolt and need to take a look at this dead body.

When you get up close to it, yup, it’s Jeff Probst’s corpse all right. Looks like the Olympic Strangler has struck again—and at the Opening Ceremonies nonetheless! What a dick move.

“Guh, guh.”

You look down, and Calm Duane has found yet another note from the killer.

“I know I lied before / When I claimed I was Bob Costas. / But this time I’m not lying / I’m actually Bob Costas.”

Hmm, interesting.

You give Calm Duane a Duane Snack, and his eyes glaze over in ecstasy.

“Gank goo,” he wheezes, thanking you.

You notice that Calm Duane is starting to get a little fat.

As you run off to incapacitate Bob Costas, most likely by running him over with a car, you hear a voice summoning you.

“Stop chasing the killer.”

There seems to be a mysterious man lurking in the shadows, his face obscured by the darkness. You can vaguely make out the shape of his legs, and they appear to be fucked up.

“If you knew what was best for you, you’d stop chasing the killer.”

“Stop chasing the killer.”

You’re halted in your tracks by a mysterious man lurking in the shadows, his face obscured by the darkness. You can vaguely make out the shape of his legs, and they appear to be fucked up.

“If you knew what was best for you, you’d stop chasing the killer.”

“Do you promise?”

“Great, thanks so much. That’s really cool of you to do that.”

“Okay, I’m gonna leave now. But enjoy your stay in Rio, and best of luck with your events.”

The mysterious man throws down a smoke bomb and scurries off into the night, his fucked-up legs clacking humorously against the asphalt.

Well, your word is your bond, and now that you’ve pledged to stop trying to catch the killer, you’ve pretty much precluded yourself from your goal of bringing him to justice. Many more athletes will die at the hands of the Olympic Strangler, and it will partially be your fault. You have failed.

Oh, well!

“You’re making a grave mistake, Usain Bolt. It very well may cost you your life. Good luck at the qualifiers tomorrow—you’re going to need it.”

The mysterious man throws down a smoke bomb and scurries off into the night, his fucked-up legs clacking humorously against the asphalt. You can’t help but have a chuckle, even though your life was just threatened.

“Nothing’s wrong with them. They’re special. I’m perfect and beautiful just the way God made me.”

“Look, I didn’t come here to talk about my legs. I came here to warn you to stop pursuing the killer. And if you choose to not heed my advice… well, if I were you, I’d watch your back at the qualifiers tomorrow.”

The mysterious man throws down a smoke bomb and scurries off into the night, his fucked-up legs clacking humorously against the asphalt. You can’t help but have a chuckle, even though your life was just threatened.

You return to your room, strip the clothes off of your gorgeously toned body, and climb into bed, but you find yourself unable to fall asleep. There are too many things on your mind: your 100-meter qualifying race tomorrow, the identity of the Olympic Strangler, the sensuous topography of your breathtakingly defined abdominal muscles, pulsing ever so slightly with each inhalation, tiny beads of perspiration trickling downward over your perfect navel and across your mesmerizing, cut-from-marble pelvis as if yearning for your loins—yearning for the profound carnal intensity that only an Olympic-caliber athlete can deliver through lovemaking. It’s all so stressful!

You sleep poorly and wake up feeling groggy and sluggish. Making matters worse, you really need to use the bathroom but can’t figure out how because Brazilian toilets are weird and different. Instead of a bowl to sit on, there is just a slit in the floor through which you can see hundreds of lobsters waving around their pinchers, eagerly clamoring for your waste. But you can’t just shit through the slit. You’re supposed to wait for a king lobster to come up and slap his claws on the tile floor, signaling readiness, but the instructional pamphlet that tells you how to summon him is written in Portuguese, and you can’t understand it.

You can’t let any of this distract you though. It’s time to do what you do best: run pretty fast in a straight line.

You arrive at the stadium and take your place at the starting blocks. You quickly glance around for any signs of the Olympic Strangler, but you don’t see anything unusual except for a pack of tapirs headbutting a nun in the infield, which seems to just be a thing that happens in Brazil.

Suddenly, you hear the starting pistol go off—the race has begun!

You weren’t really paying attention when the race began, and as a result, you get off to a slow start. Everyone is ahead of you except for one runner, who is making alarming gurgling noises at the back of the pack.

Oh, shit! One of your competitors has been strangled to death! In the middle of an Olympic race! What sort of monster would do such a thing?

Yikes, it’s the Olympic Strangler! And he’s trying to strangle you!

You turn around to subdue the killer, but you’re too late. He has vanished without a trace. Frustrated, you turn back around and try to finish the race, but it’s no use. Everyone except the guys from the shitty countries have already finished. You have no chance of qualifying for the finals. So, not only did you fail to catch the Olympic Strangler, but your dream of winning a gold medal has been dashed. Your Olympic career is over.

You’re washed up, pal. Time to go home.

Terrified of getting murdered, you kick into high gear and start running faster than you’ve ever run before. You whiz past the other competitors at a mind-boggling speed, running so fast that your legs become wheel-like blurs, leaving flaming tire tracks in your wake that generate such huge clouds of smoke that spectators begin vomiting from the fumes. You end up winning by a huge margin. This qualifies you for the finals, where you’ll get the chance to win your third consecutive gold in the event.

But it’s a bittersweet victory. Not only has an Olympian been killed, but it’s perennial last-place-finisher Junior Stiletto from Italy, meaning you won’t even really gain a competitive advantage from his death. Why couldn’t the Olympic Strangler have murdered an American or one of your fellow Jamaicans—someone who’s actually got a shot at beating you?

Speaking of the Olympic Strangler, there’s no sign of him after the race. Looks like he’s managed to once again flee from the crime scene unscathed. What a bummer.

“Guh, guh.”

Just as you’re about to walk out of the stadium, you hear Calm Duane grunting to get your attention. He is anxiously gesturing at something on the asphalt next to the track.

You joylessly strike your famous celebration pose, in which you assume a wide stance and point in the direction of the nearest Sherwin-Williams store.

“Guh, guh.”

Calm Duane is grunting to get your attention. Somehow he has managed to escape your gym bag and waddle over to you, and now he is anxiously gesturing toward something on the asphalt next to the track.

Interesting. It’s a traditional Brazilian paper fan, left just a few feet from Junior Stiletto’s rapidly stiffening corpse. The killer must have dropped it when he was running away. This is the first piece of evidence you’ve found that isn’t just a note blaming Bob Costas.

But what could it mean?

You know you’ve seen a paper fan someplace recently, but you can’t recall where. Then it hits you: Esperanza, the lady who picked you up from the airport. She had a paper fan just like this one!

Then it hits you again: You also saw Carlos Santana using a paper fan to cool off a dying mailman.

And then it hits you again: You also saw your very own mother using a paper fan as a big spoon to feed the Iron Giant a bunch of old nickels.

Or did you? Honestly, you’re not sure if you saw any of these things—you have a junk memory. But you need to do something to get to the bottom of all these murders.

“My son, what is this bullshit you are telling me?” your mom asks when you confront her. “I haven’t strangled anybody. I’ve just been sitting here at home all week, teaching Christmas Bear how to read.”

Hmm, seems like your mom is innocent.

“No, this is a fiction that you are making up in your head,” says Carlos Santana when you confront him. “I am playing the guitar 24 hours a day. How could I ever strangle someone if my hands are on my instrument? It is impossible!”

Hmm, seems like Carlos Santana is innocent.

You find Esperanza at the guest services kiosk in the Olympic Village.

“Mr. Bolt, so nice to see you!” she chimes in the amicable manner of someone who has possibly committed murder but has not thus far faced any accusations. “Are you enjoying your stay in Rio?”

For a split second, you see a flash of panic in her eyes, but she quickly masks it behind her cordial, professional gaze.

“Ah, I can see how finding this paper fan might lead to you draw some alarming conclusions, but once you hear all of the facts, you will realize that I am not in any way culpable for any unsavory conduct,” she says. “But before I share my side of the story, allow me to play you a very special song on the slippery tube piano.”

She begins playing the song, and it is absolutely spellbinding. It sounds almost celestial in its pleasantness, like something angels would merrily whistle while giving God his morning bath. It sounds like the blissful, breezy background music that plays in the minds of happy retarded kids, like the love-struck internal melody of a mermaid falling head over heels for an exceptionally handsome gar. The song permeates every atom of your being, and within seconds, you find your mind drifting away from the paper fan at the murder scene and toward a euphoric state of pure nothingness. The song is hypnotizing you. It’s controlling you. And there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

“Repeat after me,” she whispers, pulling the tube piano away from her lips. “Esperanza is not the Olympic Strangler.”

“ENZERPRANSA IS NOT THE OLMPIC STREGGLER,” you shout in the drooly, monotonous timbre of a lobotomized inpatient conversing with a stuffed animal.

“Very good. Now say, ‘I, Usain Bolt, am the Olympic Strangler.’”

“I, UMUS BELT, AM DA OLMIC STREGGLER,” you echo.

“Yes, you are!” she smiles. “And you’ve always been the Olympic Strangler. Strangling people is your entire identity. You have no family or friends, and your sole purpose on this planet is to strangle people.”

“YES. STREGGLE.”

“Indeed!” she says. “Now say, ‘Killing people is so much fun, and I think I shall kill some more.’”

“KIPPLE IS SO FUNCH, I WILL KRELP SOMMORE.”

“Close enough,” she shrugs. “Now, since you like killing people so much, I was hoping you could do me a big favor. Can you do Miss Esperanza a big favor, Usain?”

“YARSH!”

“Great. That’s very kind of you. You’re a very sweet boy.”

“SWEEN BOY.”

“Yes, that’s right!” she beams. “Now, here’s what I need you to do: Tomorrow, I need you to go to the 100-meter men’s gold medal race, and when the starting gun goes off, I need you to strangle as many of the other racers as you can. Can you do that for me, Usain?”

“BUHHHHH,” you moan.

“If you can do that for me, say, ‘I will strangle the other racers tomorrow.’”

“I WILL STREGGLE NUTHER RAYPISS TEHMREH.”

“Wonderful! I’m so happy to hear that.”

“WUDDERFUL.”

“You’ve got a big day ahead of you tomorrow, so why don’t you go back to your room and get some rest.”

“REST.”

“Yes, rest,” she agrees. “Good luck tomorrow, Usain! I know you can do it! Goodbye!”

“BYE BYE!”

You go back to your room and climb into your soft bed. You need to fall asleep so you can be well-rested for the big gold medal race, but you’re having a hard time settling down because you’re so excited to strangle people. You are the Olympic Strangler, and you want to make Miss Esperanza proud.

Uh oh! Look what you’ve done. Ripping your head off was a big mistake, because it didn’t even help you fall asleep. What it did instead was make you die all over the wall and floor, and now there’s a big, huge mess.

Miss Esperanza will be so disappointed in you. You really goofed things up this time.

“SLEEEEEEEP, SLEEEEEEP, SLEEEEEEP!” you yell while banging the wall in your best approximation of a rhythm. “BEEEEEEP, BEEEEEEP, BEEEEEEP! LULLABY, LULLABY, LULLABYYYYY! WHEN GRANDMAS DIE THEY GO TO HELLLLLLL! AND THAT’S A-OKAY WITH MEEEEEEE...”

Your voice trails off and you feel your eyelids getting droopy. The lullaby worked. Now you can sleep.

You sleep for 20 hours. You only wake up because your room phone starts ringing. It’s Miss Esperanza checking in on you.

“Hi, Usain,” she chirps. “Today’s your big day! Are you ready to go strangle some people?”

“Great! I think you’ll do a wonderful job today, Usain. Now, after you strangle people, there’s a good chance the police will try to arrest you. But if that happens, just say that Bob Costas did the murders and you won’t get in trouble. Sound good?”

“That’s the spirit! Okay, I’m going to hang up now, but good luck out there today—I know you’ll make me proud. Adios!”

Miss Esperanza hangs up the phone, though you don’t realize this and proceed to tell her about the alphabet for 20 minutes. When you run out of things to say about the alphabet, you hang up the phone and drown it in your bathtub.

Now it is time for you to go to the big race and strangle some men.

You walk out onto the field at Olympic Stadium, and the crowd goes wild. Thousands upon thousands of people are cheering for you, and it inspires a feeling of greatness deep within you, as if you could strangle each and every one of them without even breaking a sweat, earning your place in the history books as the most murderous Olympian who ever lived.

“GRAGHHHH, I WANT TO HARM YOU ALL WITH MY HANDS!” you shout as you wave to the crowd, your voice drowned out by the deafening ovation. “I AM THE EVUL MURGERER, AND I WILL KILL—”

Before you can finish your emotional proclamation, a TV producer pulls you aside and informs you that it’s time for your pre-race interview with Bob Costas.

“Joining me now is Usain Bolt, the reigning gold medalist in this event, who tonight will be looking for one final 100-meter victory to cap off his storied Olympic career,” Costas begins, his neck vulnerable and enticing. “Usain, since the unfortunate murder of perennial last-place-finisher Junior Stiletto during the qualifying race, the whole world has been abuzz about the Olympic Strangler. Having myself been falsely accused by you on multiple occasions of being the killer, I know that you feel very passionately about bringing this maniac to justice. So, if the Olympic Strangler were to once again invade the track mid-race and begin murdering runners, what, if anything, would you do to stop him?”

Hmm. You don’t really understand what this old boy is saying to you. Miss Esperanza made it very clear that you’re the Olympic Strangler, and if you’re the Olympic Strangler, then why would you try to stop the Olympic Strangler? Seems like Bob Costas is misinformed. You should explain to him that you are the killer.

“I’m having trouble parsing your Jamaican patois, but if I had to guess, I’d assume you were saying that you believe the Olympic Strangler is a cowardly pussy, and should you have the privilege of catching him, you would like to parade him nude before this very crowd so that he could be stoned to death by the masses, sans trial. Furthermore, I believe I heard you say that Sandy Hook was perpetrated by the CIA, deer should be enlisted to provide company to our elderly so we don’t have to waste our time with them, and garages should be illegal because it looks like they’re eating the cars when you close the door, and that is very traumatizing to see. Did I understand you correctly?”

No! That isn’t what you said at all! Yes, you think deer could be good caretakers for old people, but everything else he said was wrong.

“Well, there you have it, folks: Usain Bolt, one of the greatest athletes to ever live, believes that the Olympic Strangler is a dickless chump. Powerful words, Usain. Best of luck to you in your final Olympic race.”

You are very mad at Bob Costas for saying these bad things, and you would very much like to strangle him. But the race is about to begin, and you need to get to the starting blocks.

You go to the starting blocks. You look at all the guys next to you and smile. You are so happy that the starting pistol will soon go off and you’ll get to murder them.

“Guh, guh.”

You are trying to mentally prepare yourself to strangle people, but you’re distracted by an annoying noise from the sidelines.

“Guh. Guh, guh, guh.”

It is a critter. You want to turn away and ignore it, but there’s something strange and familiar about it. Miss Esperanza made it pretty clear to you that you don’t have any family or friends, so you obviously don’t have a personal relationship with this animal. But still, you for some reason feel a strange, warm feeling when you look at it.

You rush over to dispose of the critter, but it gazes sadly into your eyes, and you can’t bring yourself to throw it in the trash can.”

“Guh, guh,” it grunts, gesturing toward the Jumbotron with its head. “Watch video.”

You rush over to eat the critter, but it gazes sadly into your eyes, and you can’t bring yourself to put it in your mouth.

“Guh, guh,” it grunts, gesturing towards the Jumbotron with its head. “Watch video.”

The video is about you. It shows you running really fast and winning lots of races. It shows huge crowds cheering for you. It shows you happily pointing at Sherwin-Williams stores. It is a montage of the greatest moments of your life, and it doesn’t include a single shot of you strangling anybody. Is this really who you are?

“Guh, guh.”

“Goo-sain,” it wheezes, clearly in agony from the physical strain of producing speech. ”I am Galm Duane, your friend. I ruv you. Do not grangle people.”

Oh, my god. You know this critter. It’s Calm Duane!

You love this gross animal! He is your best friend!

But wait. Miss Esperanza said that you don’t have any friends. She said that your sole purpose in life is to strangle people. If she lied about that, then what else did she lie about? You don’t know what to think, and it feels like there are two powerful tornadoes—one sort of shaped like a lizard and one sort of shaped like a traditional Brazilian samba dancer—playing tug of war with your heart.

But this is a bad time for your feelings to be having a crisis—the race is about to begin!

The nice feeling of rubbing a lizard against your leg makes you and Calm Duane both release a loud moan of friendship.

Hoo boy, you’re really feeling confused right now. On one hand, the video on the Jumbotron made it clear that you’re not just a murderer like Miss Esperanza said you were but rather an amazing and inspirational athlete, and it seems like running fast is the thing that makes you happiest. On the other hand, you made a promise to strangle all these guys, and you are a man of your word. Plus, you would like to kill these people so that everyone can see how strong you are and say, “Wow, Usain, you are such a cool boy for being so strong!,” after which you would say, “Yes, please come pose for a picture with me and my strong muscles,” and then when they posed with you, you would strangle them as well.

“Runners, on your marks…”

Oh, shit, the race is about to start.

“Get set…”

Okay. Now is the moment of truth. You have to decide whether you’re going to be a guy whose main thing is strangling or a guy whose main thing is running fast for 10 seconds at a time.

The starting pistol fires.

You are running! And as you run, memories of races’ past come flooding back to you, confirming on a deep, visceral level that, no, you are not a ruthless murder cyborg. You are a guy who runs fast. And you are competing in the final race of your final Olympics, and you own a green hat, and you believe that deer should be domesticated to carry your bags to your car at the grocery store, and you have to watch a YouTube tutorial every night to show you how to brush your teeth. These are the only facts you can remember about yourself right now, but they’re enough for you to realize that everything Esperanza told you was a lie, and she was using her beautiful tube piano music to control you like a puppet.

…So, if Esperanza was trying to use you to carry out murders, then that probably means that there’s no one true Olympic Strangler. The Olympic Strangler is just whoever she chooses to hypnotize into doing her bidding.

…And all those notes claiming that Bob Costas was the killer? Those were probably lies, too! If anything, Bob Costas is a rabid sex criminal who also starves pit bulls in his garage.

Oh, shit! The finish line is fast approaching, and there are still a few guys ahead of you.

Okay, you’re in first place now. You can just phone it in the rest of the way, unless you want to try to break the world record.

Cool. First place. You did it.

Oof. Missed the world record by half a second. Pretty embarrassing for you to try so hard only to whiff.

But if it’s any consolation, at least you finished in first, so you still get your gold medal.

Yay.

Yay.

Okay. You’ve had your fun. Now go bring Esperanza to justice.

You find Esperanza in the guest services kiosk in the Olympic Village, still pretending to not be evil.

Anger burns in Esperanza’s eyes as she realizes that her scheme has come unraveled.

“Usain Bolt,” she begins. “I wasn’t expecting to see you again. I’m assuming you’ve come here to bring me to jail or something?”

“Put me away if you’d like, but it won’t stop the killings. I hypnotized the entire Serbian men’s basketball team with my tube piano earlier today, and by the time we’re done having this conversation, half of the athletes in the Olympic Village will have been strangled.”

“No. I thought about doing that but ran out of time.”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“Will you just call the police already? You’re making me uncomfortable.”

“Why are you giving me $7?”

“Jesus. Just call the police already, dude.”

You call the police and pin Esperanza to the ground so she can’t run away. While you’re waiting for the police to come, you ask her some questions about her diabolical scheme that you were unable to figure out on your own because you’re a bad detective.

She admits that there was never one true Olympic Strangler but rather a series of them, all of whom were men that she hypnotized with her slippery tube piano. Usually they were just homeless drug addicts that she found in the slums, though on two occasions she did put Bob Costas in a trance. Each time, however, he fell into a sewer before he could kill anyone.

You ask her what her motivation was for killing Olympic athletes, and she explains that she herself was actually once a promising young athlete, but she was denied a chance to participate in the Olympics because she was a woman, and women aren’t allowed to compete in the Olympics. When you inform that, actually, women are permitted to compete in the Olympics, she gets really embarrassed, and the years of pent-up bitterness and murderous rage instantly melt away.

And what about the mysterious man with the fucked-up metal legs who threatened you after the Opening Ceremony? Who the hell was that? Esperanza says that she has no idea what you’re talking about—she carried out this plot entirely on her own— but, if she had to guess, she’d say it was probably either Dr. Octopus or some golf clubs leaning against a coatrack.

Soon, the police arrive and take her to jail. And, with that, your adventure in Rio comes to a close. You head back to Jamaica with a gold medal around your neck, a great iguana in your bag, and the satisfaction of knowing that you put a serial killer behind bars.

Not bad, Usain. Not bad at all.

The race starts, and you go absolutely apeshit. You strangle one guy with one hand and another guy with your other hand, and you hurl them into the crowd when they’re dead. You chase down three more guys and strangle them, too. Then you cross the finish line in second place, after which you strangle the guy who took first. Then you strangle a Gatorade cooler for a while before figuring out it’s not a guy. Then you strangle yourself.

When you started out on this whole wacky journey, you had two goals: 1) Win gold in Rio and 2) stop the Olympic Strangler. While you’ve technically accomplished the second goal by strangling yourself, unfortunately you have failed at the first by only managing to come up with a silver medal.

It’s a damn shame, but at least you got to strangle some guys.

You love this gross animal! He is your best friend!

But wait. Miss Esperanza said that you don’t have any friends. She said that your sole purpose in life is to strangle people. If she lied about that, then what else did she lie about? You don’t know what to think, and it feels like there are two powerful tornadoes—one sort of shaped like a lizard and one sort of shaped like a traditional Brazilian samba dancer—playing tug of war with your heart.

But this is a bad time for your feelings to be having a crisis—the race is about to begin!

Calm Duane’s lips are burning hot. This is from the intense feelings of friendship emanating from his soul.

You lunge forward and strangle the old boy. He tries to provide play-by-play commentary of the strangling, but it is difficult to understand him through all the gasping and choking. He dies pretty quickly. You did a good job.

“Freeze, scumbag!”

Uh oh. Someone is yelling at you.

Ah, it is a police.

“You’re under arrest for the murder of Bob Costas.”

“Bob Costas murdered Bob Costas? Oh, my bad. I thought you did it at first, so that’s why I tried to arrest you. Really sorry about that; you’re free to go.”

The cop handcuffs Bob Costas’ dead body and takes him away to jail.

You are caught doing a strangling by the police. You want to strangle more guys, but now you have to go live in a cage at jail. This is not what was supposed to happen at all.

What a sad, sad day for Usain.

You shove your finger all the way into your ear hole, and there’s lots of hot pain and blood. You are afraid and screaming.

“Aw, sweetheart, are you okay?” Esperanza coos, gently dabbing a washcloth against the side of your head to soak up all the pus. “This is why you shouldn’t put your finger in there. It’s no fun, is it?”

Sniffling, you concede that it’s not fun.

“Poor thing. I need you to not hurt yourself with your fingers anymore, okay? You’ve got a big day tomorrow, and I need you to be feeling good so that you can strangle lots of people. Promise me you won’t stick your fingers in any more holes?”

“PROMMISS.”

“Good boy. See you tomorrow, Usain.”

Esperanza winks at you and walks away.

“It will only take a moment.”

You elect to contemplate your running spikes. You think about how, in many ways, they’re basically just regular shoes. They have laces and a tongue, you wear them on your feet, etc. But then, in other ways, they’re actually very different from regular shoes. For instance, they’re spiky, much like how some dinosaurs are spiky. And they’re golden in color, just like your favorite food, omelets. Maybe they taste delicious like omelets, too.

You start eating your running spikes, and they’re only a little bit delicious. Omelets are way better. Still, they taste fine, so you decide to keep eating them. This turns out to be a mistake, because they make you very sick. So sick, in fact, that you have to go to the hospital and get your stomach pumped, and even after that, you still feel miserable. The gastrointestinal anguish is so severe that you decide to drop out of competition. Your Olympics are over.

Unfortunately, this means that you have failed in your mission to win a gold medal and capture the Olympic Strangler. You did a bad job.

You try to focus on running, but it’s impossible—the guy behind you is making too much of a racket.

“Usaaaaaiiiinnn,” he shrieks between gasps. “It’d really be in your best interest to… look… behind you….”

The guy’s voice trails off and you hear a thud.

You ignore the guy and continue running as fast as you can. Then, out of no where, you feel a pair of hands forcefully squeezing your windpipe. You collapse to the ground, and everything around you becomes blurry. The hands squeeze harder.

“I am the Olympic Strangler, and I am currently killing you,” you hear a voice whisper. “What a huge bummer this must be for you.”

And just like that, you die. A huge bummer, indeed.

You stab Bob Costas in the head and he collapses to his knees in agony.

“Um, not to split hairs, friend, but I’m afraid that, once again, you’ve stabbed the wrong guy,” Bob Costas gasps, maintaining his polite, professional demeanor even while in the process of dying. “No worries though! I totally understand how you might see my name on the note and get confused in the moment. It’s an easy… mistake… that any of us… could… glerm… pffffff…”

Bob Costas falls face-first to the floor and then passes away.

“Usain, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news for you.”

Uh oh. As you’re leaving the media facilities, you’re stopped by International Olympic Committee president Dewey Bible Jr., who, as the overseer of a governing body with more participating nations than the U.N., is technically the most powerful man in the world.

“I received a dispatch on my walkie-talkie informing me that you had killed beloved sports broadcaster Bob Costas with a knife. Now, as I’m sure you’re aware, Rule 44, By-Law 7, of the Olympic Charter states that, ‘As a condition precedent to participation in the Olympic Games, every competitor shall comply with all provisions regarding the preservation of beloved sports broadcaster Bob Costas, including but not limited to refraining from blowing him up with dynamite, charring his genitals with a car battery, roasting him on a spit with an apple in his mouth, stabbing him in the head with a knife, replacing his microphone with a cobra, and throwing a rock or rocks at his buttocks.’ While I know it was just a tiny slipup on your behalf, rules are rules, and we’re obligated to hold you to the same standards of conduct as the rest of the athletes. With that being said, I hereby ban you from participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics.”

Ah, crap. You’ve been banned from the Olympics. Looks like you’re not gonna win gold this time, and you’re not gonna be able to stop the Olympic Strangler, either. You did a bad job.

“As you wish.”

Esperanza plays the song again, this time even louder. It makes you feel drunk and ghostly, almost as if you’re completely detached from the world. You notice the euphoric sensation of urine trickling down your leg.

After nearly an hour, the song concludes—far too soon.

“You have had enough,” she replies stoically. “You must now go to the Olympic Village.”

“But what you should know is that in Brazil, the music never dies,” she continues. “The melodies stay alive in you forever, echoing through your bones, breathing through your dance. The music controls us; it becomes us. And should you ever again hear this beautiful song about bush dogs eating cars, every atom of your being will tingle with cosmic energy, and you will realize that you are not an autonomous being but merely a vessel through which songs may have life. Your destiny is not your own, Usain Bolt. It belongs to the music.”

Before you have a chance to process this profound truth that Esperanza has shared with you, a herd of anacondas swarm into the airport terminal, hissing and swallowing every unattended carry-on bag in their path. You and Esperanza sprint for the exit, narrowly escaping to safety.

Welcome to Brazil.


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