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I remember exactly when I found it. I remember because that was the day I lost my job.
“Jay, can I have a word?” my boss had said, poking his head around the wall of my cubicle.
“Listen, I know we’ve talked about the Jacobs account,” he said, taking the chair next to me.
My chest tightened. “Right, it’s important to the company.”
“Not just the company,” he had said. His watery blue eyes looked unusually bloodshot. “To me and… to you.” I nodded.
“Jay, I’m not sure how to tell you this. I just got off the phone with their program manager. We lost the Jacobs account.”
I knew it. I kept nodding. In a flash I saw myself explaining to Carla, to the kids, that we wouldn’t be going on vacation this year.
“Jay, you know what the means. I’m afraid you’re being let go. I’m sorry.” He wiped the sweat from his forehead. “Truth be told, it’s not just you. I’m leaving as well. I just told the team.”
“Uh, okay. Thanks Tim. Uh. Sorry.” There was no sense blaming him. Nothing more to say.
I packed my things--the picture of the kids we took last year at Vail, my headphones, a couple books--and headed home.
I was on the corner of 7th and Avenue E when I saw it. A VHS tape like the ones we used to borrow from the video store, back when you could rent them for a night. It had a white label with no name written on it.
I picked it up, at first wondering whether it had fallen from my box of work things. A forgotten presentation perhaps, or an old motivational speech someone had given me. But it didn’t look familiar.
I should have been preoccupied with losing my job. Maybe I was just looking for a distraction, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the tape. As soon as I got home, I dug Mom’s old VCR out of the garage and plugged it in. What happened next changed my life forever.
I popped the VHS tape in. There were a few pops and twitches before the MythBusters intro came on. There was some static here and there, and it had very poor quality. The camera cut to Adam and Jamie brainstorming about what their myth will be.
They stood in the warehouse for an eternity, thinking out loud about what the myth will be. This went on for about ten very boring minutes. I was about to turn it off until:
“So what’s the myth for today?” Adam suddenly said.
“What?” said Jamie in a somewhat sarcastic voice.
“I said, what’s the myth for today, Jamie?” said Adam in a stern voice.
“I can’t hear you, Adam. What did you say?” said Jamie.
“Dear God Jamie, I said ‘What’s the myth for today’!” Adam said that in a more strict tone.
“Adam, please speak up, I really can’t hear you,” Jamie said in a stern voice
“I SAID ‘WHAT’S THE MYTH FOR TODAY?’ JAMIE!!!” Adam shouted.
What was odd was that Adam shouted that in a very angry voice. He usually never gets angry. That wasn’t the oddest thing, though. What was odd is that the screen cut to static for 2 minutes, before it cut back to Adam and Jamie.
“I really can’t hear you, Adam, you know that I can’t hear that good?” Jamie said.
Adam looked as if he was going to burst.
“YOU KNOW WHAT I’M SAYING, JAMIE! YOU CAN HEAR ME! FOR THE LAST TIME I SAID, ‘WHAT’S THE MYTH FOR TODAY?' THIS IS THE LAST TIME I’M REFRESHING THIS!”
Adam was red and so angry, his glasses even fell off when he was shouting.
Then, everyone stood still and went back to brainstorming. Adam or Jamie didn’t think out loud anymore, they just stood in the room staring at the camera, but I could have sworn they were staring at me. At this point, there was complete silence. This went on for a painful 11 minutes, before Adam blurted out:
“Jamie, remember about that old myth we did about if you put a jawbreaker in a microwave then it explodes?”
“Yes Adam, of course, why?” Jamie said, as he was thinking.
“Well, last time we did it the viewers said it was too abrupt. We got a lot of complaints that they want us to do it again.” Adam said.
“Well, I think we should do it and satisfy the viewers!” said Jamie.
After that, there was a LONG period of silence. They stood there for 3 minutes before the screen went black. It cut to static while the background noise seemed to be horrible screaming.
The screaming got louder, the static cut to Adam and Jamie standing in a different room. Adam’s eyes were bloodshot; Jamie's were, also.
“Okay Jamie, let’s get started on the myth…” Adam said.
A male announcer in the background said in a deep, demonic voice:
“SO FOR THIS TEST, ADAM AND JAMIE ARE GONNA NEED A USED MICROWAVE AND SOME JAWBREAKERS!”
The camera turned to static for 3 minutes and 50 seconds before it showed Adam pop a jawbreaker into the microwave. He put the timer to 6 hours, 6 minutes and 6 seconds. The camera cut to what was happening inside the microwave.
I could see the jawbreaker in the packet start warping and contorting into odd shapes. Suddenly, the wrapper on the jawbreaker started to slowly catch on fire. The fire soon engulfed the microwave. Fire engulfed the room and started burning it down.
It started to melt the plaster on the walls, and started warping the windows. Adam and Jamie froze in the whole commotion. They were obviously scared. The screen then cut to static for 4 minutes.
The shelves fell over and work tools spilled all over the ground. The ceiling then started to fall apart. The white labels on each box turned black and burned.
"What are we going to do? Adam!" screamed Jamie.
"I DON'T KNOW!" shouted Adam.
"GET THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER FOR GOD'S SAKE!" screamed Jamie.
"WELL WHERE THE HECK IS IT?" yelled Adam over the burning fire.
"I DON'T KNOW! LOOK FOR IT SO WE DON'T DIE!" screamed Jamie.
"CAN'T YOU JUST LOOK?" shouted Adam.
"JUST HURRY! FOR GOD'S SAKE ADAM, JUST LOOK FOR IT!" yelled Jamie.
"OKAY! STOP SHOU- OH GOD!" screamed Adam, because the fire caught on his leg.
"Oh God Adam… ADAM?" Jamie screamed.
"DON'T JUST STAND THERE JAMIE, HELP!!!"
He flailed his arms and screamed, but then the fire spread all over his body.
"DON'T WORRY, ADAM! I'LL CALL FOR HELP!"
Just then, the whole warehouse collapsed on Adam and Jamie and the camera crew.
Just before the building collapses, Adam says: