I’ve Created a Monster

I looked at my own face in the mirror across from me. I recognized that person, but the reflection that was a few feet in front of me seemed so distant. Who had I become? I felt so far removed from the reality I knew.

My ordeal began unexpectedly. I couldn’t anticipate what was about to happen; after all, who could? Thirsty but needing a quick pick-me-up, I headed into a 7–11 and picked up a beverage that purported to give me extra energy. The oversized aluminum can read, in unmistakable font that elicited images of Jack Johnson if he’d ever tried to join a metal band, Monster Energy Drink. Designed to help keep a person’s energy up, Monster is a caffeine-based syrupy blue soft drink that tastes like paint. Even as I’d purchased the beverage, I knew the stuff was bad for me. But nothing could have prepared me for the true consequences of my decision to try one.

You see, what the media doesn’t tell you about Monster Energy Drink is that every ounce of carbonation literally contains monsters. Inside the confines of the soda can, the drink is full of beastly creatures that can get into your brain and infect it, possessing your spirit and turning you into a completely different person.

And, as I looked at the can with my dry mouth and felt the thirst wash over me like a dust storm hitting a dry New Mexico town, I knew none of this.

I cracked open the can and took a swig. It tasted bitter and strange, but the fluid was somehow refreshing in spite of being overly sweet and carbonated at the same time. I continued to drink until the can was empty, and in doing so, I could feel a layer of film developing on my teeth and tongue. I assumed this was the unnatural sweetener taking hold, giving the drink that metallic aftertaste. Little did I know that the drink in that bottle was trying to take over my soul.

By the time I’d finished the can, I felt sick. Initially, I thought it was because the can is larger than a normal can of soda, and that perhaps I’d just had a little more sugar than my stomach could handle. Had that been the case, I could have gone home, used all the caffeine and sugar energy to do my taxes, and then peacefully crashed in a bubble bath a few hours later.

Instead, the spirit of something brutal and frightening left me intoxicated. I threw my head back, and found myself yelling out, “Yo, like, dude, bro!” to no one in particular. It was obvious by that point that something deep within me was now bursting through the seams. Something was changing, and it wasn’t pretty.

Suddenly, instead of wearing my cute red dress with kittens on it, I found myself in an Ed Hardy T-shirt and a backwards trucker hat. I looked down at my arms and noticed a tribal band on my forearm that had ever been there before. I also had an instinct that somehow I’d ended up with Chinese letters on the back of my neck, too.

“Yo, dude, like, you know, whatever broseph…” I mumbled to myself in a heightened state. The impulses were coming. I suddenly had the urge to go to the gym and bench press 400 pounds in a too-tight tank top.

Before I knew it, the Monster Energy Drink had turned me into the most terrible monster on earth: a frat boy. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t resist the urge to run into a convenience store and buy myself a Mountain Dew Code Red. This wasn’t who I was! This wasn’t who I wanted to be!

As I screamed in agony, I found myself dancing in the middle of the store with a smoothie in one hand to LMFAO’s “I’m Sexy and I Know It.” People around me stopped to stare, taking out their phones and filming me. I knew that next day I’d be all over the internet on FratBoyFails.com, but somehow I couldn’t stop. The monster truly had a hold on me.

I ran into the bathroom and looked in the mirror. What had this strange elixir done to me? And, even more importantly, how was this Monster Energy stuff even for sale at a public grocery store or retailer? My head was spinning, and as I looked around for an answer, there was none to be found.

I ran into the parking lot and saw a jeep full of high school students.

“What’s up? Wanna go surfing? I’d love to show ya how to hang ten.” I asked the young man driving.

“Um, no. It’s like 10 p.m. and you look like a douchebag.”

“Okay, but can you at least tell me where to get a shell necklace? I need it so I can wear it to go see a Dave Matthews tribute band.”

The people in the jeep drove away.

“Wait! I can buy you beer!” I shouted after them. But it was no use. It was too late for me to reach them. I wondered how much longer I could go on like this.

I found myself running to the nearest college campus. Nearby, I spotted a large house with giant Greek letters painted on it. I’d found the motherland. All that was left for me was to make my pilgrimage home.

I entered without knocking, only to find myself surrounded by people who looked exactly like me. It was like looking into a funhouse mirror. The fraternity clones stretched on and on throughout the entire house.

“Hey bro, wanna do a keg stand?” one of my many doppelgangers asked me.

“Yeah bro!” I felt myself being hoisted over the fraternity brothers’ heads. I began to suck on the keg tap, hard.

“43 seconds!” they cheered as they finally put my back down.

I tried to resist, but I knew the night wouldn’t be complete until I spent at least a few minutes playing beer pong.

But, being a frat boy monster, I was a beer pong master, and no one, not even the brothers in the fraternity, could defeat me. Also, it meant I wasn’t getting drunk, so I located a handle of Fireball and started taking swigs directly out of the bottle.

Even after drinking the entire bottle, I wasn’t drunk enough. So, it is with much shame that I admit that, as part of my hazing ceremony, I butt chugged an entire box of Franzia. It was perhaps my darkest moment, a moment I can never live down.

That’s when I blacked out. I don’t remember much more of the night, but I know it involved trying to start a rooftop keg party even though it was only 43 degrees outside.

I woke up on a chair in the JetBlue terminal at JFK, watching passengers board for a flight to Cancun. Only moments before I was about to catch my spring break flight, I felt myself coming down. I’d started returning to normal. My urges to inappropriately grope a beautiful stranger subsided. I knew I’d beaten this demon.

Looking out at all the people boarding the plane, I wondered what had happened to them. Had they all drank Monster Energy Drink, too? Was Monster single-handedly keeping the spring break tourism industry afloat? Probably, but what was I supposed to do? All I can do now is warn others.

Let this be a lesson to all of you: Monster Energy Drink isn’t for the faint of heart. And in case you don’t believe me, I still have the Chinese letter neck tattoo to prove it.