The following story is recounted using voice-to-text due to my full-body cast and my inability to be near computers due to the magnets still lodged in my bowels. Please forgive any voice-to-text misinterpretations.

It was my friend Kelsey that first suggested we hit up a warehouse party this New Year’s Eve. Her new boyfriend Darris always has the lowdown on the coolest parties and latest trends in Toronto. Two weeks prior, he had introduced Kelsey and I to the latest trend of partying at a divorced Dad’s new, under-furnished apartment.  We had a blast. Needless to say, I trusted Kelsey and Darris implicitly, so when they told me about the warehouse party, I was intrigued. It seemed a little bit passé and played out, but when they told me that you had to relinquish your cell phone and personal identification before entry, I knew it sounded cool.

I should have been tipped off right when we got there. There were two lines to get into the party. One line was filled with middle-aged people with ice-cold stares in gorgeous black-tie attire, while the other line, my line, was filled with a bunch of young people wearing tracksuits and running shoes, carrying crossbows, as was requested on the invitation.

When we entered the warehouse initially, it somehow seemed smaller than it did when we were outside. Once we walked to the back of the warehouse, and the back door was opened, it was quite the opposite. The warehouse opened up onto acres and acres of forest, the likes of which I had never seen in Toronto. It was full daylight even though it was 8 pm and had only just been nighttime. Had we somehow slept without my remembering? Or were we now in some alternate reality? The giant, sentient frog that introduced each contestant answered my question.

I made it through the first three rounds. Past “Mouse-Trap Valley”, into the “River of Forgotten Promises and also of Sharks”, past the “Many-Stingered Bees”. Somehow I survived the UFC round.

It wasn’t until I woke up in the hospital that I had any inkling that I’d won, and by that point I couldn’t be sure that any of it had ever really happened. There was no evidence. Other than the deaths of all my competitors and my invitation to next year’s games.

Happy New Year!

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