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REAL MASCOT SECRETS: THE CEREAL KILLING

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[scene: the cereal aisle of a supermarket, late at night. Every night, after customers and employees have all left, the cereal box mascots come to life in a magical Toy Story/Night At The Museum type scenario. They’ve got their own society, and it’s magical.]

LUCKY THE LEPRECHAUN: HOLY SHIT YOU KILLED HIM

[the mascots are gathered around the lifeless, bloodied body of Toucan Sam. Fruit Loops are scattered around the scene]

SONNY, THE CUCKOO BIRD: [sobbing] I didn’t mean to! He just pushed me too far!

SNAP: He was just teasing you!

CRACKLE: He’s a jokester! That’s what he does!

POP: You beat him to death with a bag of the discount, off-brand cereal! We all saw it!

TONY THE TIGER: It was grrrrrrrrrruesome!

SONNY, THE CUCKOO BIRD: He’s just always been on my case. We’re both birds with giant beaks, but he was always acting like the cock of the walk, showing off his fancy beak stripes and talking about how I’d have as much success as he did if I just “followed my nose” and [sniff] it’s just too much!

COUNT CHOCULA: Death is a part of life! He has sloughed off this mortal coil, and will now enter the world of endless night! His soul will wander in the shadows for all eterni-

LUCKY: Jesus, Fred, give it a rest.

SONNY: He’d gotten so much worse lately. He was spending more time on Facebook and Reddit, and his personality changed. He started calling me “Sonny the Cuck Bird” and, like, that’s a pretty obvious pun on my name, but it still hurt!

BUZZ, THE HONEY NUT CHEERIOS BEE: You know, we’ve all been through hardship. This last decade has been really rough for me, what with broadening awareness of peanut allergies. That doesn’t mean I can snap and strangle the Trix rabbit to death with his own ears.

TRIX RABBIT: I’m sorry, what?

BUZZ: Sure, I’ve thought about it a lot, just sneaking up on him in the night, paralyzing him with a sting, and then just wrapping those stupid goddamned ears around his neck and-

TRIX RABBIT: What the hell, man

SONNY: He knew I was volatile. That’s my whole thing, right? We played it up for the ads, “I’m cuckoo for cocoa puffs!” and all, but it’s not a laughing matter. I needed a support network, I needed caring friends, and the guy who was most like me, the other exotic bird — he tormented me constantly.

THE REALISTIC PANDA FROM THE ORGANIC CEREAL: You can’t just blame your problems on someone else, though, what about personal responsibility, what about-

SONNY: WHAT ABOUT LEARNING TO BREED, YOU ENDANGERED ASSHOLE. NO ONE LIKES YOU HERE.

ORGANIC PANDA: Hey

COUNT CHOCULA: It’s true, we all hate you.

POP: You’re just here for the parents who are fooling themselves into paying two dollars more and thinking it’s not garbage.

TRIX RABBIT: You’re not better than any of us.

ORGANIC PANDA: Well at least I’m not a murderer.

DIG ‘EM, THE HONEY SMACKS FROG: Let’s bury the body.

LUCKY: What?

DIG ‘EM FROG: We dig a hole, and we put ‘em in it.

LUCKY: That’s insane. We need to call the police. Sonny’s a murderer, and we can’t let him get away with it. Toucan Sam was one of us, and though we may not have always seen eye to eye with him-

BUZZBEE: We all considered murdering him at one point or another, Luck.

TRIX RABBIT: It’s true.

CRACKLE: Honestly, I was going to poison him next week.

LUCKY: We can’t be like this! This has to be a society of laws! There have to be repercussions for this sort of thing!

CAPTAIN CRUNCH: [emerging from the shadows] The frog is right. We have to bury the body.

LUCKY: You’ve got to be kidding me. You’re supposed to be an authority figure around here! I thought you’d care more than anyone about the rule of law.

CAPTAIN CRUNCH: Our society is a tenuous one. Our continued existence depends on the humans not realizing that we’re real; not realizing that we come to life every night after they’ve gone home, not realizing that we live, laugh and love in the midnight hours of the cereal aisle.

TRIX RABBIT: Not realizing that we pee in the salad bar.

POP: Right, that we- wait, what?

TONY TIGER: That’s grrrrrrrross.

CAPTAIN CRUNCH: If the store opens tomorrow morning and there’s a dead toucan in the aisle, our world is destroyed. I don’t support the Cocoa Puffs’ bird’s actions, but we cannot involve law enforcement. We will bury the body.

DIG ‘EM FROG: I’ll get a shovel.

LUCKY: We can’t allow him to continue to live among us, knowing what he’s capable of!

CAPTAIN CRUNCH: He will leave this place.

SONNY THE CUCKOO BIRD: But where will I go? There’s no place out there for an unstable cartoon bird with a grotesquely exaggerated beak!

CAPTAIN CRUNCH: I know of one place. They’re good at hiding out people who have left elsewhere under questionable circumstances. It’s kind of their thing. You’ll be a football mascot.

SONNY THE CUCKOO BIRD: But I’ve never played football in my life!

CAPTAIN CRUNCH: That doesn’t matter there.

[weeks later]

SONNY: This costume feels weird.

LES MILES: You get used to it after a while.