Fond du Lac, Wisconsin: Kool-Aid Man, the beloved commercial spokesgolem of yesteryear, was committed this week to the Edgecomb Hospital for the Freakish and Deranged. Man had been living by himself since the death of his mother in 2008.
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Famed for his exuberant commercial appearances, Man’s career peaked in the 70s and 80s. His star shone brightest during the so-called golden age of commercials– after Madison Avenue had perfected its art, but before television recording devices came into widespread use allowing viewers to skip commercials. During that time it was hard to watch television without seeing Man’s scarlet, bulbous form come smashing through a load-bearing wall to the delight of a gaggle of well-scrubbed–and miraculously unharmed–children.
In retrospect, it’s astonishing that Man was able to perform the stunt successfully for as many years as he did before someone got hurt. “When little Billy Wexner was crushed,” Man said in an interview years later, “It was the beginning of the end.”
It was also the end of the end. Kool-Aid quietly paid off Little Billy’s parents, and through their lawyers let Man know his services would no longer be required. Said Man, “After fourteen good years–fourteen years in which I turned down some good offers–they just let me go. Not Kool, man. Not Kool at all.”
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Friendless, broke and cracked, Man drifted through a variety of jobs, occasionally picking up work as an extra on cable shows like Silk Stalkings. Eventually, even those jobs became too difficult to maintain. Man developed a reputation for flakiness.
“I was in a lot of pain, and it seemed like nobody wanted to give me any work. So yeah, I drank.” The punch-filled creature’s life had spun so far out of control by that time that he was reduced to offering $5 blowjobs to rangy weirdos in the Gary, Indiana Greyhound station.
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“That’s when I bottomed out.” Four days later he was back at his estranged parents’ house in Fond du Lac. Man’s father died in 2002, and after his mother died in 2008 the freakish creature lived a hermit’s life. There would be occasional reports of a large red serving container walking the streets in the late hours or in the very early morning, but Man mostly kept to himself.
Given the pains Man had taken to keep a low profile, the bloody carnage of a few days ago is puzzling. The citizens of Fond du Lac have no answers–they are still reeling from the devastation caused by the creature’s rampage. Twenty-three people, including two firefighters and a police officer were killed when Man stormed the town’s main street.
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Gleeful roars of “OH YEAH!” could be heard among the screams of the dying and maimed early in the episode. Once the gas main was ruptured, the resulting conflagration forced the police and SWAT teams to act as rescuers, breaking off their efforts to take down the fire-resistant Man.
In the end capturing the raging creature proved startlingly easy. He was found in the remnants of the Old Spaghetti Factory, weeping. Most of his Kool-Aid core had boiled away, but in most other respects he was unhurt.
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Man’s doctors say he has so far adjusted well to a life of confinement. Privately, however, they worry that if Man decides to go on a rampage, no wall will stop him.