You stroll through the massive steel gates, and a pale sunken man greets you. "Welcome, welcome," he says, "to the bowels of NBC." Then he cackles in an evil way, as though he knows you'll believe him. You shiver as you watch the man scowl at his fingers, smacking and pecking at shrivels of food, unbothered by the petrifying heat and the stench of rotten eggs. "We are the safe space of media," he grunts.
He belches, then waves his hand, beckoning you to follow, then limps along a shack of a hallway, lights strobing above, frames slanting with broken glass on the walls. Along the floor writhe pale, groaning beggars, soliciting you for some kind of perverted game. "Enter the void," one mutters, then lances toward you, and when you shove it away, it shivers with an unsettling pleasure to its rictus-stiffened body.
You were sent here to investigate the recent claims by an internal NBC investigation, led by NBC Universal's general counsel, Kimberley Harris, and an all-female investigative team determined that there is currently "no culture of harassment in its news division."
Suddenly, giant, growling lizards drool out of the walls, then an announcement rattles out of the feedback of the speakers:
"NBC Universal's investigation was thorough, objective and conducted at the corporate level, outside the News division. The NBC spokeswoman Hilary Smith said so."
The speakers shake as the volume increases and the announcement repeats faster and faster, so loud that your eardrums begin to bleed, until they explode, sending shrapnel in every direction, as bats and ghouls cackle out toward you. You leap backward, landing on a barbed-wire keg of lava and gunpowder. Before you can process it, the tiny "click" happens, then you're sent flying toward the black clouds that hover in place of a ceiling. Eventually, you land. Broken, as dark shadows blink and stare.
You try to lift yourself, but it's so painful. Your leg. Oh, your leg. The bone. You can see the bone jutting out like some kind of calcified chopstick. It's snapped like a toothpick. You try to move, but each time you turn, the pain is so intense that your vision whirls into dark. After a few minutes, you pass out. Then wake up. It smells like rancid milk. "I have to escape," you mutter aloud, teeth gritted in pain. Suddenly. A hush settles over the dank hallway. The roaches and scorpions rush into their grovels.
"Oh no," you mutter, unsure of what comes next, only knowing that's it's terror—sheer terror. Then, in a flash of blinding light, a wall of fire rushes toward you, flanked by 10,000 ghosts that look exactly like Matt Lauer—"LEAVE MY HOLY DWELLING HOLE YE INVADERS." The spirits shriek the phrase on repeat, shifting between octaves, like a Thin Lizzy guitar solo, only not as awesome.
You panic. Is this the end? Will I die in this haunted place. You look down. Your leg. You grit your teeth, you clench your fists, you clench your fists so hard that the nails dig into your palms and trickles of blood sputter down. But you fight. You see the Matt Lauer ghosts' lustful drooling and their groping hands, and the way they say, "ENTER MY OFFICE!"
"NO!" you scream, "You'll never capture me, I know your trick, you'll just lock me in."
After the Lauer ghosts and the nicely-suited goblins chase you down a hall of fog and shrieks and hands that dart out from the walls trying to grab you, you're somehow able to claw your way through spider webs and claw and claw. You pound on the stone hinge of door until it creaks open and you fall, your leg in three pieces, then slide into an alligator-infested swamp.
God only knows how, but you fight off the starving predators, then climb through a maze of poisonous vines, then eventually—months or years later—stumble out onto Manhattan sidewalk. Coughing. Broken. Skinny, more beard than body. "Hmmm," you say aloud, "So that's what they mean by 'mainstream media.'"
This article originally appeared on Glenn Beck