If you see a soda called “Uncle Al's Pop” at your local gas station, leave it on the shelf. I already lost a friend to it, and now I'm a victim of that evil drink as well.
I guess I should start from the beginning.
My friend Jenny had just picked me up in her red pickup truck and was driving me to her house. We were talking most of the way there, and our conversation transitioned from the upcoming Star Wars movie, to there being more deer in this town than usual, to this new soda Jenny had bought at the gas station.
“It's called 'Uncle Al's Pop',” she explained. “Generic name, I know. But I've only drank a couple cans, and I'm already addicted. The stuff is freaking delicious. Best soda ever. You'll have to try some when we get there.”
Sure enough, as soon as we arrived at her place, she took me onto her back deck where a blue cooler sat by the steps. Inside the cooler, mixed in with the ice, were a dozen pale green soda cans with the name “Uncle Al's Pop” written on each of them.
She pulled out two cans, one for me and one for herself. “Try it,” she said, handing me my can.
I pulled the tab open, and a bit of the soda fizzed out. It was a sickly yellow-green, a color I had never seen in soda before. Despite this, I remembered the lesson of Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham: Don't judge food by their color. I tilted the can back and took a small sip.
I regret taking that sip, for two reasons. The long-term reason, you'll find out later. But the short-term reason was that the soda tasted horrid. Like piss mixed with ink. I wanted to spit it out, but didn't want to offend my friend, so, after much struggling, I managed to swallow the awful stuff.
“What do you think?” she asked.
I placed the can on the table. “Not my favorite,” I said, wincing from the nasty aftertaste.
Jenny shrugged. “To each their own,” she said. She chugged down her can before tossing it into the recycle bin and going to the cooler for seconds. She clearly felt the opposite about this soda than I did.
It didn't surprise me that much. Jenny had always been a lot less picky eater than I was. I had seen her tolerate strange dishes from durians to oysters. She always made fun of my inability to handle these foods, calling me “tender tongue”.
While she drank from her second can, I noticed a brown spot on her arm. The spot started out small at first, looking like a freckle that hadn't been there previously. Then suddenly it was the size of a quarter. Then I noticed a bunch of other brown spots forming on her arms and legs.
“Um, Jenny...?” I said.
She lowered the can from her lips. “Yes?” she asked.
I jumped as she gazed at me. Her face looked more elongated than it had previously. Her nose was turning black. Her ears looked longer and larger.
“Um...” I said, struggling to find words.
I didn't need to. Jenny looked down and let out a cry as she noticed her now completely brown arms and legs. She scratched one leg, and I noticed what appeared to be fur on that area.
Then she reached up and felt her face, before screaming and running inside. I followed her to the bathroom, where she slammed the door and locked it.
I put my ear against the door, where I could hear her panicking.
“No, no, no, no! What's happening to me?! This isn't happening! Help! OH GOD, AUUUGGHHH! HEEELLLLLLLP! AAAAHHHHHHH! GOD, HELLLLP! HEEELLLLP! UUUURRRRGGHHH!!!”
I felt chills run through my bones. I had never heard her this terrified before. She sounded like she was in severe pain of some kind.
Ten minutes passed of her screaming and sobbing in the bathroom. Soon, the screaming was accompanied by banging. It sounded like a frightened animal was trapped in there, kicking on the door and walls. The screaming began to turn into a braying sound that reminded me of a wounded goat.
What is happening in there? I thought to myself the whole time. What should I do? Should I call 911? Should I unlock the door and get her out of there?
My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of breaking glass, which I instantly realized was the bathroom window. I ran to the living room and peeked out the window there, noticing a deer galloping from the area where the bathroom was. The deer turned and looked in my direction, and I swear to God I noticed a strange expression in its eyes. An expression that resembled a mixture between fear, confusion, and sadness.
After a few minutes of staring at me like that, the deer turned and ran off into the woods.
The next day, I got a call from Jenny's mother, telling me that her daughter was missing and asking if I had any idea where she was. I lied and told her that I hadn't seen her recently. I mean, would you believe me if I told you I had seen your daughter turn into a deer after drinking a magic soda of some kind?
She told me she'd call the police if Jenny wasn't seen by tonight, and I hung up. That's when I noticed the brown spot on my arm. Identical to the one I had seen on Jenny. I touched it with one finger. It felt like fur.
I realized to my horror that whatever was in the soda was affecting me as well. Clearly my transformation wouldn't be as fast as Jenny's, since I didn't drink anywhere near as much soda as she did, but sooner or later I would be a deer like her.
And then I remembered the growing deer population. How many other people had drank that soda without knowing what was in each can? How many folks were now running around the town losing their mind in the body of a hoofed mammal?
It's been about a week since my transformation started. I've locked myself up in my basement, since I don't want anyone to be freaked out by the mutant deer monster running around.
Every hour, I feel my organs and bones slowly reshaping. God, it hurts. As horrific as Jenny's transformation may have been, at least it was fast compared to mine. Only lasting about ten minutes as opposed to being drawn out over a week.
My fingers are becoming hooves, making it quite hard to type. I also have to turn my head to get a good look at the screen, since my eyes are a lot further to the side than they used to be.
I'm posting this here hoping that other people will heed my warning not to buy any of that cursed soda. Call a friend or family member, and tell them about it as well.
In the meantime, I wish that hunting season would come sooner. Then me, Jenny, and all of those other poor innocent people turned deer will finally be put out of our misery.