FICTION: Death of Milhouse

and now, the thrilling conclusion

Hey Bart. I see you’re back with us. Surprised that we’re trapped beneath a radioactive hamburger-shaped car? I guess you would be.

No, you didn’t black out. We’ve been together the whole time. From the moment you poured Buzz Cola in the gas tank of Groundskeeper Willie’s tractor, to the improbable-but-somehow-related meltdown at the nuclear power plant, where Mr. Burns casually flipped a switch that sent us—along with the hamburger car that seems to have shattered both my legs and pierced my liver—plummeting to the bottom of this nuclear reactor. That was one week ago.

Do you remember boosting the hamburger car, Bart?

I didn’t think so.

Bart, I have to tell you something. You and your family have these… episodes. One minute you’re fine, just eating dinner and strangling each other like any other family. Then, all of a sudden, you stop. It’s like you all turn to stone. You don’t blink. Your hair doesn’t wave in the breeze. Moisture on your lips stays there, like a glossy coat of paint. The rest of us in Springfield carry on as usual. Dogs bark, people go to work, the school bus rumbles by. Sometimes I sit outside the Kwik-E-Mart all day, crossing my fingers that you’ll appear, that somehow you snapped out of it. But you and your family are never with us for more than half an hour at a time. Actually, it’s more like 22 minutes. And when you finally move again, you don’t remember any of what just happened. It’s like you’re always starting from scratch. How many times has Mr. Burns been introduced to your dad, even though your dad has repeatedly ruined his plans? How many times have you learned the importance of respecting your elders, only to wake up and slide back into truancy? I’ve tried to tell you this before, Bart. But you always forget. So I gave up. The whole town has given up on you. Now, when you freeze in the middle of a skateboarding trick, we just say, “Looks like the Simpsons are having another one of their episodes.”

According to my Krusty watch, it’s been 12 minutes since you came around. I’ve lost a lot of blood, Bart. My glasses are cracked. Can you get us out of here?

No, I’m not going to eat your shorts. Every time I open my mouth, the puncture wound in my neck gurgles with pus.

Do me a favor, Bart. I need you to remember something. Try really hard, because this might be our only escape. What did Sideshow Bob whisper to you, right before he leaped from the Channel 6 helicopter?

Please. You’re my best friend. If we don’t get out of here soon, you’re going to have one of your episodes, and when you come back I won’t be alive.

Think back, Bart! I know you’ll get us out of here. You always do.

Nelson and Jimbo say I’m an idiot for being friends with a guy who’s only conscious for 30 minutes a week. But you know what, Bart? I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You’re the greatest. Even if you don’t remember the time we skated down a mountain in India with a magic ruby monkey.

Hurry up! The radioactivity is leaking through the giant bun. What did Sideshow Bob say?

You probably don’t know this, since your memory refreshes every 22 minutes, but they invented something called an iPhone. I have one in my pocket. Will you grab it for me? See, there’s an Itchy and Scratchy app, and we can just watch a cartoon until—


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