By Hendrick Ducasse
As a man’s soul leaves his body, it passes through many realms. Down the road paved with good intentions and across the river styx. Gated by hellish winds and a neon glow is an enigmatic existence. The clear doors foreshadow his impending doom, the smells wafting through the air offend his senses and corrode his will. As he makes the mistake of stepping inside, the very laws of the universe crumble to dust. Acts of greed and degeneracy become commonplace as morality melts away. Time dilates, stretching the acute pain of every second into a decades of tortuous consciousness. This place is purgatory. This place is Applebee’s.
Something I’ve noticed is that of the four Applebee’s I’ve been to in my short time on this earth, not a single one lacked the aforementioned traits. My first experience with the hellish stench that accompanies every Applebee’s ever erected by mankind in a foolish display of our own hubris was with my preschool class when I was 4. One of our teachers, who I’m sure had the best of intentions, decided it would be a fun idea to take us to Applebee’s that thursday. Walking inside, any hopes I had of an enjoyable experience were immediately dashed as the smell of cheap liquor burned my nostrils. My group had made reservations in this vile pit, however the architect must have been Satan himself because the reserved seating area was only separated from the grill by one almost intentionally thin layer of plaster. The scent of low grade beef being burnt to charcoal combined with the alcohol in the air, making the whole room, that we paid extra to be seated in, reek of a smell I can only describe as hopeless. The despair of the trip was punctuated by the news that I would be paraded back every week for the foreseeable future, invariably greeted by the same smell every time.
Common features of my visits to the Gehenna known as Applebee’s were the demons. These demons did not have pointed ears or wings, instead they chose to identify themselves using the uniforms of “sports teams”. They looked human enough, but as soon as they ingested the poison from behind the bar, both their physical appearance and demeanor changed drastically. Their skin would turn from a pale tan into a hellish red, and their language became slurred as they began to speak in tongues. Even the most mild mannered turned into a raving lunatic after being exposed to the vile concoction, they would break glasses, jump up on tables, and sometimes even barge into our reserved room before our jailors forcibly removed them. There were days when they would congregate in force as well, particularly “Saint Patty’s Day” while I know not who this Patty was, he must be called a saint out of some twisted sense of irony. On this most wretched of afternoons, they unleashed a new weapon, the vuvuzela, on me and my small group. The din of the terrible machine penetrated even the walls of our prison. Many of my comrades did not survive that dark, dark day.
Although in the time of the mortal realm I may have only spent a total of 24 hours in the Abaddon called Applebee’s, I can assure you that within those walls every hour was a year if not longer. After placing my order of a medium rare steak with extra sauce, I began counting the apples on the wallpaper. I counted all 362 apples at least 5 times before I was brought anything to quench my thirst. Our room, having been placed behind the grill, heated up to ungodly temperatures regularly, and the air conditioning was always turned all the way up, meaning that while my upper half sweat like a mule, my long socks couldn’t protect my legs from frostbite. After enduring this torment for what may have been hours, I was brought a plate containing some unseasoned french fries, a tiny cup of steak sauce, and my medium rare steak which had been charred on the top, left essentially raw in the middle, and somehow still managed to be as chewy as leather even with the extra sauce which I asked for because I knew they would skimp on it. This is to this day, the best meal I have ever had at any Applebee’s. Other examples of the cruel and unusual punishment that is being forced to consume shoe leather and ketchup include but are not limited to, a salad that consisted of lettuce and shredded carrots and almost nothing else that sated like a plate of dish soap, and a half rack of ribs all drenched in a sauce that was extremely spicy and sickeningly sweet to the point where I ended up sending it back only to receive the exact same monstrosity with more sauce.
Something I’ve noticed is that much like purgatory acts as a temporal punishment for transgressions here on earth, Applebee’s acts as an eternal punishment for transgressions anywhere outside the Applebee’s. As the body is punished, the soul is cleansed in the realm of purgatory, much like the feeling of the night after consuming Applebee’s, your body is wracked with physical pain as your insides are forcibly cleansed. Upon making these observations I have concluded that Applebee’s must be some earthly form of purgatory. This explanation is the only way any sane man could reconcile the terrible food, awful service, and noisy patrons with the success of the still growing chain. One day I hope to vanquish this blight on our earth, but until then keep yourselves and your families safe.