Why?:The Von Stauberg Institute for Extreme Cardiac Stress Tests
(Buzzer suspiciously sounds like an Orc's battle cry)
A cheerful voice yells back: "Just a minute please!"
Heavy bolts are being retracted as the creaking wooden door noisily swings outwards.
A small man, smartly dressed, wearing a bow tie and a brown tweed jacket is revealed, wearing a most inviting smile.
"Good morning, sir" he says with an eloquent British accent. "And welcome to the Von Stauberg Institute for Extreme Cardiac Stress Tests. How can we serve you today?"
"Erm . . . my physician send me over. He's a bit concerned about a possible heart condition I might have and asked me to come over and have it checked . . . emmm . . . How long have you been around?"
The little guy's smile broadens significantly as he ushers me cheerfully inside "Yes, Yes, of course. We all need a little stress test every now and then to remove any potential problems or obstructions in the arteries...yes of course. Do come in. Please."
Walking around in the gloomy corridor, I can't help remembering some of the less enjoyable scenes that I saw in Hostel. Obscure, rust-colored stains that seemed to have been scrubbed in a haste can be seen on the ancient looking archways the lead to what would seem candle-lit examination rooms
"What did you say your name was?" I ask the little man walking briskly in front of me
"I didn't" he answers brightly while ushering me into an office. The name tag reads "Doctor E" whilst what follows that is smudged. "Do sit down, please."
I look anxiously at the dusty-looking creaky chair. "Oh please!" he smiles, "It's all quite hygienic. Have no fear." I slowly lower myself into the chair which in its turn creaks angrily. I notice a sledgehammer resting against the wall for the first time.
"So," leans back the obscure little man "Would you like me to tell you how our test shall be conducted?"
"We will go through a variety of stations; each will take your pulse higher and higher until we are absolutely sure that we took you to the limit. Then we shall go a little further —just for the fun of it."
"Ermmmm . . . are those monitored and regulated?" I ask a bit uncomfortable
"Naturally, naturally" assures me the little man "There's nothing for you to worry about. Just lean back and relax."
Heavy pounding can be heard upstairs
The little man see the look on my face and comments "Nothing to worry about, it's simply the bamboo stakes test that the previous client just began."
". . .The bamboo . . .?"
"All in good time, my friend" he rises from his chair. "Please join me for our first station".
Station One: Smooth Operator
The bull-of-a-man standing in the room clearly marked Station One would have looked hilarious in his female nurse uniform but for the serene look on his face and the sheer size of him.
"This is Nurse Helga," commented the little man. "She will perform some initial preparations for the rest of tests. This may feel a bit unpleasant but I assure you it's necessary."
"What is?" I asked, a bit too nervously than I intended.
"TAKE OFF CLOSE," commanded Nurse Helga in a heavy Russian accent.
"Did he mean "Take off clothes?" I asked the little man.
"No no, my good man" snickered the little man "I'm afraid she (and please refer to her as a female henceforth; she's very sensitive about it) meant exactly what she said: take off clothes and close the door behind you. Helga knows that I'm a bit too sensitive for this part." he smiled politely as he backed out and shut the door behind him.
"TAKE OFF CLOSE" repeated Nurse Helga, as he/she shortened the distance between us to mere, uncomfortable, centimeters.
"What is this all about?" I asked as I stripped down to my birthday suit
"WAX. TOO MUCH HAIR, ELECTRODES NOT WORK GOODLY. TAKE OFF CLOSE".
A sudden enlightenment befell me as I saw Nurse Helga take out a huge can of wax from an oven I hadn't even noticed yet. "NOW YOU BECOME ATTRACTIVE. LIKE ME." exclaimed Nurse Helga as he/she narrowed the remaining centimeters between us, with a nasty grin decorating his/her lumpy face "NOW YOU SMOOTH"
"Now look here, I . . . nobody told me this includes . . . no wait . . . HOLD ON!!! HELGAAAAAAAA!!!!"
“The thought of it made me wish I was heterosexual”
~ Elton John
Station Two: The Running Man
“If the subject does not reach the designated pulse within a set timeframe, some initial stimulates may be applied.”
"You God damned . . . !" "Please sir, there is no need for that kind of language" "What the hell were you thinking?!" "I must compliment you, you look very nice, hairless. Your wife would love it."
"I don't have a wife."
"Your girlfriend then."
"I don't have a girlfriend."
"Well, you're sure to get one looking so fine."
"Please sir, calm down, we can't take you into the next test while you're so agitated."
The little man pushes me politely towards a heavy metal door marked with a fading Station Two sign. The door opens into a derelict room, save for a very unusual treadmill stationed dead in the center of the oval space.
"Climb aboard please."
"Ermmm . . . I don't have my running shoes, Helga never gave me back my Close".
"No matter, no matter, we actually prefer that you undergo this test without your shoes on."
"Very well," I shrugged while climbing on the innocent looking treadmill. "Bring it on."
And so he did. Pressing some buttons on his console, the little man brought the treadmill to life, the treadmill moving and shaking like a large, hungry animal. I started walking, feeling confident for the first time since I set foot in this bizarre place. I am after all, in a grand shape.
And apparently the little man figured the same as the time went by and my pulse was kept in check, more or less. Wrinkles creased his smooth forehead. "It would seem that you're doing quite nicely, I'd say," said the little man, punching some keys in his console, "Not too bad at all. Let me take this thing to the next level."
"How do you mean?" I smiled triumphantly "Make it move faster? Tilt it a bit further? I can take it."
"But of course you can, you are a superb specimen, as you were so kind to state yourself as." And with that the little man pushed a big crooked lever.
For the first few minutes I didn't feel a change. It was all quite nice and flowing. But as the time went by, an odd sensation came over me.
"Is it me or is this place getting warmer?" I inquired.
"Whatever do you mean?" questioned the little man politely.
"Could it be that the treadmill's surface is heating up?"
"Did I fail to mention that this is one of our ways to make you run faster, to ensure that you're in fact - breaching the limitations imposed on you by your frail pulse?"
"You're not serious!"
"My good man, why on earth should I not be?"
As the sweat started pouring down my face and my pulse – finally quickened, I felt the surface of the damn treadmill heating up as if my poor feet was raw burger, with some pickles and bacon on it. Damn, I got hungry all of a sudden.
Anyways, as the heat kept building and my running pace kept climbing, I couldn't help to notice, just a minute before I finally stumbled, dropped on my head and blacked out, that little carnivorous smile, playing an encore on the little man's face.
“Did you know that roasted feet taste like chicken? Of course you did. After all, everything tastes like chicken.”
~ Idi Amin
Station Three: One Ring To Bind Them All
“Modern Cinema has become an important tool in pushing the test up a notch.”
I woke up dazed and confused, And as the room swam before my eyes A bizarre feeling of incoherence engulfed me. Some crucial memory eluded me. Something about Kentucky. Something about food. Something about...fried chicken....Kentucky Fried Chicken...Fried Chicken....FRIED CHICKEN!
MY POOR FRIED LEGS! THEY SMELL LIKE KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN!
"What did you do to me?" I demanded from the small man, standing above shaking his head in slow motions, oozing a glacial feeling of sadness.
"I'm afraid sir," answered the little man in an ominous tone "that your results thus far are far from promising."
"What do you mean?" I said as a small sliver of doubt hitched a ride onto my frontal lobe.
"I mean that most of our patients tend to last up to a third-degree-burns on their feet before collapsing. Whereas you only reached some second degree burns. Tsk Tsk."
My angry mumbling was deflated as the little man waved his authoritative hand in front of me.
"Shssh! It is now time for our most crucial test yet! Follow me!"
Despite my rising anger and my roasted (yet silky smooth) legs, the little man rose my curiosity. Again. I guess that cat had it coming.
I clomped uneasily after the small man, who was still presenting his dreamy grin, into yet another barren room.
Only this time, that room had two very seemingly unrelated items stationed within it.
A 48 inch wide Plasma television.
And a comfy chair.
I turned to face the small man with a big ? spread all over my worried face.
"Have a sit," suggested the little man, smiling.
I did not like the curving of his lips.
"Please, please. Don't feel uncomfortable. No foul play is involved . . . " urged the little man
As I sat down uneasily on the comfy chair, I was immediately engulfed by restraining belts all around.
". . . Yet!" completed the little man with his not-to-my-liking-smile curved to an even less likeable angle.
I would have protested if it was not for the large marshmallow shoved into my mouth.
"Like the marshmallow?" inquired the little man. "It's my own twist. Much nicer than a moldy cloth."
As my eyes widened in furious anger the small man continued "Please let me explain what this test contains. We have come to a conclusion that viewing Peter Jackson's films in wide screen and Dolby surround will induce interesting rates of heart bits. We shall start with Bad Taste, continue with Braindead and we'll have our grand finale with Lord of the Rings, the Director's Edition which will take aprox. 22 hours and 37 minutes, without toilet breaks. "
As the first images of Bad Taste bloomed across the wide screen, and thoughts of what's ahead of me planted a sure footing inside my frontal lobe, I felt my eyes rolling back into my head and drool spilling around the marshmallow. Anxious beeping started to sound somewhere within the room as my pulse started to fluctuate.
"I don't feel too good," I mumbled around the marshmallow as the room started fading in front of me, "not too good at all."
The little man stood above me, with infinite sadness in his eyes.
"I'm so sorry," were the last words I heard.
"I'm afraid that you have failed the test."
And as the little man hunched over my test checklist form with a big red rubber stamp...
The room finally...
faded to black...
“The last thing you see before you close your eyes, is
The Ring the little man.”
~ Von Stauberg
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