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    Since the dawn of time, man has been obsessed above all with one thing: becoming incredibly powerful for short bursts of time. This experiment hopes to harness that obsession and focus it into research that may prove to be one of the greatest evolutionary leaps mankind has ever been faced with.

    It should be noted that this experiment was inspired by fascinating and overwhelmingly convincing evidence gathered from old Popeye cartoons. Under normal conditions, cartoon antics are rarely the basis of sound scientific foundation. However, the very fact that historical arrogance has prompted us to overlook for centuries the reality of such dismissed notions as Galileo’s research, the city of Troy, and that episode of Rocky and Bullwinkle that foreshadowed the Cuban Missile crisis, makes one very cautious.

    As such, this merits some research.


    Thesis:

    If I can eat the entire contents of a can of spinach in one single gulping motion, I will be granted superhuman power for a brief amount of time; and I will be unstoppable!

    Procedure:

    It was first necessary for me to practice the fine art of gulping down the entire contents of cans of spinach in a single motion. For this, tactics similar to those employed by drug mules became necessary. Massaging my throat, I first practiced swallowing condoms filled with barley to make certain I was capable of handling such loads and prepare me for the task ahead. The next step in the process involved the actual spinach itself. It was of a mushy, green, watery texture. I, at first, dumped it into a beaker and prepared myself, but then paused. What if gulping it out of the can was a necessary element in the whole venture, I wondered? And so I began again. Perhaps there would prove to be some variable relating to the can itself that would combine to prove successful in this equation. From this point on, I would carefully log my results.

    Experiment Journal:


    Day 1 - Couch Lifting

    The objective for the day would be to lift the 300 pound couch successfully over my head, and hurl it out the window. But first, in order act as a control subject for the experiment, it would be done without the aid of spinach fortitude.

    Gathering my strength, I braced my hands under the couch and wrinkled my brow for maximum thrust effort. Preparing for the strain, I swiftly yanked upward and grunted.

    The results were a painful tightening in my groin. Fascinating. It will be interesting to see how the spinach improves upon this.


    Day 2 - Couch Lifting

    Gulping down the entire contents of a can of spinach in a single motion, I prepared myself.

    I braced my hands under the couch and prepared myself in similar manner to the day before. The results were astounding!

    At first, the tightening sensation returned to my groin. From that point, it began to work its way up my body, as if some unnatural “force” were taking control of my body. Dare I say some “supernatural” force.

    But then, I fell backwards, my body locked up, as I began to vomit a curious green substance. I took a sample and resolved myself to further analysis of the substance at a later date.


    Day 3 - Super Vision

    The day was spent at the local college, sitting inconspicuously in the cafeteria examining women’s blouses after devouring the contents of a can of spinach.

    Still can’t see through them. Apparently, the high iron content and Vitamin A and C have yet to give me superhuman vision.

    Hello... something’s happening. I can see the outlines of something, but everything is so fuzzy and sleep deprived now. I will return tomorrow to continue my research.


    Day 4 - Super Vision Continued

    I could have sworn I saw nipple today! Could this be the affects of the spinach upon my optic nerves? Oh God! I feel changes in my body, as if something is happening. Something drastic. That sensation in my groin has returned. There must be a connection.

    I then vomited for a while and continued in my research for the day.


    Day 5 - Contemplation of Results Thus Far

    Is it possible, I wonder, the Popeye music that comes on each and every time he gulps the spinach down is somehow a part of the equation perhaps... acting as an initial catalyst.

    So very tired. Growing weary day by day, but must continue.


    Day 6 - In Bed

    I’m certain the spinach was in my room, observing me the other day.

    I was in bed, asleep, when suddenly I awoke, turning the lights on in a panic. It was as if, in the dimness, I could have sworn I’d seen the can of spinach, simply standing in the doorway. Watching.

    But now, I turn the lights out again and try to relax. Tomorrow will be a long day.


    Day 7 - An Attempt to Reason With the Spinach

    Why had I ever decided to play God? How could I have been so rash; so foolish. Now, I am more convinced than ever that the supernatural properties of the can of spinach have slowly begun to exert their control over me. I look at the can of spinach, turning it over in my hands, and know that there are some forces that were never meant to be tampered with.

    I now know what needs to be done.


    Day 8 - An Attempt to Return the Spinach

    An attempt was made to return the can of spinach to the local grocery store from whence it had come, but they would take no returns on it. When I inquired again, a stout young man behind the counter simply responded by pulling a shotgun on me.

    “Mister. I think you’d better just leave. And take that fucking can with you.”

    As I withdrew myself and turned to leave, I could have sworn I’d heard a quickly uttered Hail Mary behind me.


    Day 9 - A Drastic Turn in Affairs

    Oh God! If only I’d know! But now it is too late. The can of spinach has slipped away, during the night, and is on a boat to Transylvania. If I hurry I can overtake it traveling by train. But the sun is quickly lowering, and I am so very tired.


    Day 10 - A Momentary Interlude. I Meet Up With the Can. A Startling Reunion.

    After my arrival in Romania, and the theft of all my possessions by the Romanians, I made my way toward the path I thought the spinach was certain to take, through the Carpathian Mountains, by carriage.

    I traveled by horse the rest of the way, until intercepting the can’s caravan. It had been a decoy! The spinach had continued to travel by boat and was backtracking!

    Hurrying my way toward the boat, I caught up with it just as night was descending. It was docking for the night.

    Slipping onboard, I picked up rumor here and there. The can had not been well at all. It would only be a matter of hours I heard.


    Day 11 - Ashes to Ashes...

    The boat churned along. The can slowly rolled, its label turning to me. It said nothing, but I could hear its thoughts. “The horror...” and I waited for the next, but it never came.

    “Da can uh spinuch... he expi’had.”

    And with that, the can of spinach had expired, never to moisten a palate again.

    I stepped onto the deck of the ship and looked out into the vast lushness of jungle. The deep green, I found, reminiscent of freshly canned spinach. The jungle slowly receded and enveloped our path, as if a great green darkness descending behind us. And I then realized what the can of spinach had meant by this journey and had been trying to tell me all along. The horror is in each and every one of us, whether we are humans, or cans of spinach just like it. I lit up a cigarette and inhaled deeply, in quiet tribute to the can.

    “Sleep well my friend,” I commented to myself as I eyed the setting sun.

    Conclusion:

    My return trip was rather uneventful. As I unpacked from my voyage, I contemplated my situation over a glass of brandy. If only I’d been able to unlock the secrets held within the juicy can of spinach.

    Perhaps the spinach had not bestowed upon me the superhuman strength I had hoped to attain. But, then again, perhaps it had. The entire ordeal had left me with insight. And isn’t that, after all, the quest man had begun so many centuries before?

    I poured myself another glass of brandy and further contemplated the spiritual journey. Had it been a dream all along?

    Perhaps it had not been a struggle without, but a struggle within all along. And so it was that the spinach had merely been a physical ruse; a means of leading me toward true enlightenment.

    The spinach was buried in the abbey’s dumpster upon my return. No one came to the funeral.


    A Couple of Years Later

    I shall be teaching at Oxford come fall.

    A funny thing happened to me recently. As I was walking down a street by my house, I caught a glimpse of something rolling across a corner, into an alleyway. But when I’d reached the alley, the only thing there was a dented can of peas.

    There was something about that moment that made me pause. I shall never forget it.


    Glossary:

    drug mule: An illegal carrier of narcotics, usually across the borders of countries prohibiting such substances. The manner of drug storage varies from carrier to carrier, yet primarily tends toward stomach, rectal cavity, secret penile compartments, and other such places people are normally unwilling to check (whether they know the drugs are there or not).

    shotgun: A type of gun that shoots.

    *

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