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Writer’s Note: I recently submitted this in a campus humor magazine, but the rough draft was accidentally printed. Here’s the final version.

Super Mario: Origins

 “Here in the Mushroom Kingdom, first you get the coins, then you get the power-ups, then…you get the women.” – Yoshi, leader of the Mushroom Kingdom “Egg Mafia”

My story begins, as far as I can remember, face-down in a grassy field, wearing nothing but crimson overalls and a cap. I knew neither who I was nor how I’d gotten there. I was in the shadow of something, and when I wearily raised my head to see what was covering me, I noticed a block with a question mark crudely printed on its side floating calmly in the air. It transfixed me. Obsessed me. How did it come to be? How did it float? What did it contain? For days on end, I sat and wondered, breaking only to hide from the squads of Goombas, brown, mushroom-shaped creatures who occasionally happened by, and to search for food. Eventually, the curiosity simply overwhelmed me and I strove to break open the block. Fortunately, it was within reach, and a short hop was all I needed to smack it with my hand. Nothing happened. I leapt once more and punched it lightly. A shudder, and nothing more. Frustrated, I bounced up with tremendous power and slammed the block with my fist.

It sprang open violently, and out came a mushroom – much larger than the others in the area – which paused in the air for a second before falling to the ground and sliding away as if with a mind of its own. I dashed after it, consumed by a sudden hunger. I dove on the mushroom and devoured it. Pure ecstasy. Violent shivers pulsed down my spine. I shook violently and my eyes bulged as I noticed the change overcoming my body. I was growing. Harder. Better. Faster. Stronger. The mushroom made me feel simply…super. Not long after the transformation was complete, and new strength coursed through my veins, did three Goombas wander by, curious about the noise. Overwhelmed with blood-lust, and before the small creatures could react, I leapt into the air and crushed one of them under my weight. The Goomba exploded into a fine red mist, his organs flattened under my feet. His terrified companions turned to flee, but I was simply too quick in my new body, and soon slew a second creature in the same fashion. Before the third could escape, I cut him off with a swift and cruel punch to the face. Through its bloody eyes, the creature saw my fury and began to beg for his life. How pathetic. I allowed him to live on one condition: that he and his kind join me in conquering the Mushroom Kingdom. The Goomba agreed tearfully, and led me to his people, who soon bowed under my heel, for fear of being crushed by it. And so, my army grew – as did my power – on a steady diet of Super Mushrooms. My subjects soon gave me a title. They called me, “Mar-i-O”, a word meaning, “widow-maker” in their language. It was only a matter of time before my violent conquest attracted the attention of the ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom, the young warrior princess, Peach.

Princess Peach summoned me to her palace, requesting a friendly chat. You’d have to be a fool, of course, not to fear her, and I took with me a squadron of my newest subjects, the Koopas. They were turtle-like warriors with death-wishes, and a welcome addition. Even with all my strength, I did not feel safe dealing with Peach alone. And so, we entered her grand meeting hall and saw the warrior princess, dressed in all white, seated on her throne. Her eyes widened at the sight of me. And who could blame her? The effects of feasting on nothing but Super Mushrooms for months on end affected my body in strange ways. It had twisted me into a corrupted reflection of the creatures of the Mushroom Kingdom. A rock-hard shell replaced my soft skin. I had promptly grafted several large, jagged spikes onto it, for war time. My nails had hardened into a fine set of skin-tearing claws. My face…was completely unfamiliar. The moustache I had once been so proud of had morphed into a snout of sorts, hiding the very sharp set of fangs my now cavernous mouth had become home to. I had even found, to my pleasant surprise, that I could now breathe fire. I was perfect. Terrifying. The Koopas called me their king. Their “Bowser”.

“Bowser Mar-i-O,” Princess Peach said, “Welcome to my fucking castle. May I ask why you have been spreading so much chaos across my kingdom? ”

“Simple, princess,” I snarled in derision. “I’ll never be satisfied until everything belongs to me. I want…what’s coming to me.”

“And what would that be?” Peach looked genuinely curious.

“The world, princess, and everything in it.”

“That’s a problem then.” Her eyes narrowed. “I will never let that happen. Why lie to yourself?”

“I always tell the truth, Peach. Even when I lie.”

Peach’s normally cold gaze softened a bit. She sighed deeply and rested her blonde head on her hand.

“Oh, Mar-i-O. How you’ve changed, my pet.”

“Changed? You don’t know me at all, Peach.”

“Why, of course I do…you…you really don’t remember anything at all, do you? Your birth? Your escape? I searched for years. I thought you were dead…”

“…I..what?”

“I created you, my pet. Subject 64. You were supposed to be the perfect human. Devoid of errors, capable of great things, and bred to be with me forever. My protector, my assistant, my plumber…my lover. But you escaped from your green pipe. You killed my subject, Toad. His blood stained your white overalls a bright red. My last sight of you was a crimson blur as you leapt through the window into the stormy night.”

I was stunned into silence for a very long time. Peach and I locked eyes.

“You were never meant to eat so many Super Mushrooms…they’ve utterly twisted you into this…thing. My beautiful Subject 64…now their…” She looked so very regretful. “…Bowser.”

A long moment of silence passed. Was that all I was? An experiment? Some twisted princess’ plumber? No…I had become more than that. I had become Bowser to my minions. I was powerful! Strong! Unrivaled. And there was only one way to prove it.

“Well then! Your monster has returned, Peach. And I see a blonde drain needs plumbing. Koopas! Obey your Bowser! Attack! Capture Peach! I will rule this Kingdom!”

Peach’s eyes flashed with rage, “The fuck?! You think you can take me? You’re gonna need a fucking army!”

The dread princess drew her umbrella and sprang at us, slashing wildly. The heads of four Koopas rolled sickly before my feet before she’d even touched the ground. Princess Peach was upon us. Anticipating her vengeance, I rushed forward, ordering my Koopas to deal with her minions. With a mighty roar, I brought my claw down on Peach’s head. She dodged the blow, rolled around me, and brought her knee into my soft underbelly with crushing force. Peach followed up with a kick to my snout and a cruel, sharp, mocking laugh. Enraged, I breathed out a wave of flames, and, while Peach blocked the fiery assault with her umbrella, I retreated into my spiked shell and spun violently in her direction. The combined might of these attacks overwhelmed Peach, and she fell…defeated. For the first time ever, the mighty Princess Peach – her usually pure-white dress now blood-stained a sickening pink – had lost a duel. The hall fell silent. Nothing but the sound of pained moans and dripping blood could be heard. My troops and I joyously gathered up our prize hostage and strolled confidently out of the meeting hall. As we neared the large palace doors, Peach regained consciousness just enough to shout something strange at her wounded servant, Toadsworth.

“Toadsworth! Release Subject 65! Send him to my rescue! I’m certain to be in another castle! And if he dies, just send another! There are hundreds of them! Please…have them defeat this monster of mine! This…this…Bowser!”

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