Please, for the Love of All That Is Good, DO NOT Read This Story

Submitted into Contest #150 in response to: Write a story that either starts or ends with someone (or something) saying, “Please, don’t do it.”... view prompt

69 comments

Creative Nonfiction

Oh no.


Oh, no no no no no no no.


What have you done? Why did you click on this story? Wasn’t the title clear enough?


Listen, I’m going to let you in on something, right from the start. You do not want to read this story. You still have a chance. You haven't gotten to the point of no return yet. You can stop reading now and go and find some other writer to read. Any other. There are loads of great authors on this site that you can read instead. You can read a gripping horror, a beautifully written romance or a thought-provoking sci-fi. It’s all out there. But if you stick with this one you’re going to regret it. Because your day is about to get a whole lot worse.


You’re still here? God, don’t say I didn’t warn you.


Well, first of all, this is a story. And every good story needs a good main character. Mine is called Jimmy.


Stop.


Stop right there.


Do you see what you just did? Because it’s important that you understand it. And yes, let’s get this straight from the start, I am talking directly to YOU reading this right now. And YOU just did something.


Now pay attention. This is important.


My main character is called Jimmy. That’s all I’ve said about the character. And yet, what have you done? You’ve already created Jimmy in your mind. Is Jimmy tall? Short? Fat? Thin? Young? Old? Believe me, the Jimmy in this story might be some of those things but your Jimmy is slightly different. Maybe you’ve based the character on someone you used to know with the same name. And why have you made Jimmy male? At no point did I, the author of the story, say that Jimmy is male.


He is, though, because what parent in the world would be cruel enough to name their baby girl Jimmy? But that’s not the point. The point is I gave you a name and you already started creating this person in your own mind. So now there are two Jimmys. Presuming you’re the first person to read this. If you’re not there might be five or ten Jimmys. If this story does really well – and I really hope it doesn’t – there could be hundreds of Jimmys. Each one slightly different, with varying appearances and personality traits. Some readers, maybe even yourself, will have spitefully made Jimmy female just because of what I said at the beginning of this paragraph.


This is dangerous. I’m giving you an opportunity. Right now. Stop reading. Because so far this story is a little bit quirky, maybe a little bit humorous. But by the end of it, you’ll be horrified.


Jesus Christ, why are you still reading!?


Right then. Let’s continue.


Jimmy is actually a squid. Well, not a squid exactly but a cute little squid-like creature who smiles all the time. He’s the colour you’re imagining him in your mind right now and he fits neatly into whatever object, large or small, that you think a creature like Jimmy might fit into. You might call this lazy writing but you’re the one that decided to keep reading and keep creating your very own little (or big) Jimmy so this is your fucking story now, isn’t it? Not mine. I mean, there is a version of it that’s mine but that’s not the one you’re reading right now, you’re pleasing yourself and making your own version of it. My version, the original, lives in my mind. Just as yours lives in your mind.


And that. Is. Dangerous.


I can’t overstate it. For example, watch this:


One day Jimmy decides to go for a walk. As he strides, a cool wind blows through his hair.


Stop again. Because there is so much to talk about here.


First of all, I bet you’re picturing Jimmy walking on a nice, sunny day? What other writer would describe a “cool wind” in a scene other than a beautiful, glowing day? Well, it’s not a sunny day, it’s snowing. And guess what else? Jimmy isn’t even outside, he’s indoors. The cool wind is coming from a fan. Why does he have a fan blowing indoors on a snowy day? I don’t know. Well, I do, I have an idea. But that’s for my Jimmy. You’ll have no doubt come up with some ludicrous idea about why MY character has that fan going. Go with it.


Also, how does a squid-like creature actually walk, and what does its hair look like? Again, I know the answers for my own Jimmy, but you’ll have your own.


Jimmy’s best friend in the whole world is you. Well, my Jimmy’s best friend is me. But yours is you. Jimmy thinks the world of his best friend. He loves you very deeply. Because you are Jimmy’s creator and you’ve made Jimmy the perfect colour and the perfect size. He’s just perfect for you. The bond between you is remarkable.


And this is a problem.


I honestly can’t believe you’re still reading this. Can’t you see the signs? That this is going to end very badly?


Well, if you’ve come this far I guess there’s no stopping you now, so I’ll stop begging you to cease reading. Although, by this point, the damage is already done.


Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


Here’s something interesting. And pay attention because this too is important. I read The Lord of the Rings just after the first film came out. So when I read The Two Towers and discovered the great, tree-like ent Treebeard, I didn’t base his voice on any movie, because the second one wasn't out yet. I created it in my head. And for some strange reason, my teenage self thought that a massive tree creature would have a tiny, squeaky voice like a mouse. Particularly when he said hoom!


Now, if you’ve read those books or seen the films, you’ll know that Treebeard’s voice is deep and booming.


It’s not hoom!


It’s HOOOOOOOOOOMM!!


But I decided that my Treebeard had a tiny squeaky voice, and so it was.


When I read Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, I thought Roland came from a place called “Gi-lead”. Years later I found out it was pronounced “Gil-ee-add”. Did I start pronouncing it that way in my head? Absolutely not! I travelled for miles with my Roland through pages and pages of drama, tension, horror, anguish, joy and everything in between. My Roland was from Gilead. That’s Gi-lead. End of.


Readers do this stuff all the time. How many people do you think imagined Hermione Granger as looking exactly like Emma Watson when they read the Harry Potter books? Despite the fact that Hermione is described as having huge buck teeth? Many readers get particular ideas about characters and just make them whatever they want them to be. They change characters' hair colour, skin colour, sexual orientation, nationality, whatever! Just to suit what they would like that character to be.


By the way, just so you know, Jimmy is now dancing in my story. I see him doing a sort of tango but you might see your Jimmy perform that vomit-inducing twerk or maybe more of a disco thing? It’s up to you after all. You’ve hijacked my story, just like I hijacked Tolkien's, King’s and Rowling’s. Whatever. Do what you want.


But here’s the thing about those stories. I could imagine the unwritten parts all I like. I could pretend that Frodo Baggins carried around an enchanted doughnut throughout his quest and that might make it real for me, but at the end of the day, Middle-Earth had only one God, and that was Mr Tolkien. No matter how many stupid things we make up in our heads there are certain rules that authors make that cannot be broken. We cannot pretend, for instance, that the ring isn't gold and has Elvish markings written upon it because it is clearly described in this way. In The Dark Tower, we cannot ignore the fact that Susannah is a black woman in a wheelchair because she is described as a black woman in a wheelchair. In Harry Potter, we cannot see the scar on his forehead in any shape other than a lightning bolt.


You see, no matter how much you make the story your own, the author has the final say in a few things…


Which brings us back to Jimmy. Poor, poor Jimmy. Look at him. He’s beginning to realise now. He realises that you’ll betray him. Poor thing. He’s even crying a little. And go on, give him one last thing. Does he cry normal, human-like tears? Or maybe he weeps ink since he’s a squid-thing. There you are. Another piece of Jimmy that’s your own creation. This is only going to make things harder.


I wrote this story. Me. Chris Morris. And no matter how much you’ve tried to make it your own by giving Jimmy his colour and his hair and a little of his history, at the end of the day, I’m in charge. It’s my story. And I told you not to read it. But you did. So now you have to pay the price.


And I see what you’re doing now! And it won’t work. You’re trying to distance yourself from Jimmy now because you know something bad will happen to him and you probably don’t want me to “win” anymore. You'll refuse to create any further things for Jimmy. But you can’t help yourself!


Watch:


Jimmy’s favourite food is…


Don’t fight it! Give him a favourite food. You’ll probably give him your own favourite food, because you can’t help but think of it. And if you haven’t already fallen into my trap, just give him the first food that comes into your mind.


Still not working? Think you’ve beaten me?


Fine. Jimmy’s favourite food is poison.


Now that’s not my fault! That’s your fault! You could have chosen Jimmy’s favourite food for him but you resisted. And you let me do it. And now Jimmy’s in real danger.


But you know what? I’m not going to make Jimmy drink poison. Even though it’s his favourite. And now he’s crying even more because he wants the poison and I’m being a responsible parent and not letting him have it. I’ve saved my Jimmy.


Which is something you won’t be able to do.


Now remember, no matter how much you’ve tried to take control of my story, I am its creator, and what I say goes. So with that in mind, here’s the thing. You’ve created your own version of Jimmy. And that one – the one with all the particular things you chose about your precious squid – that one really exists. There’s actually a proper scientific theory about this. I won’t go into all the details about it, but basically there’s a theory that anything that exists in your mind, anything you create, really actually exists somewhere out there in the universe. So your little (or big) Jimmy is out there somewhere.


But he lives in my world. And in my world, every time someone reads a story and makes a character their own, that character only lives for as long as a reader has the webpage with the story on it open.


Oh shit. There it is. I told you. Don’t say I didn’t.


So whenever you click off this story or close the page or the tab completely, you’ll kill your little Jimmy. Mine is safe, I just locked him in a little box and stashed him in the back of my mind. But yours is terrified.


Look at him. Poor bastard. He’s shaking. He’s waiting for the inevitable. Oh, and also, he won’t die instantly. It’ll be slow. Painful. And he’ll be surrounded by darkness. And he’s afraid of the dark.


And YOU are going to do this to him! You monster! You wicked piece of filth!


And before I end this story and let you make the decision of either condemning Jimmy to his sad fate or keeping my story up on your device until the end of time, let’s let Jimmy plead his own case. Remember, he’s talking directly to you, the person he loves and trusts the most in the whole wide world. Give him whatever voice you like. He’s yours after all. You made him. He’s pretty much your child.


Here’s what he has to say:


‘Please. Please! Don’t do it.’


Now make your decision.

June 13, 2022 21:58

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69 comments

Patrick Samuel
14:07 Jun 20, 2022

Very clever, smart guy. I mean that sincerely, not as a snark. OK, read it as a sincere snark if you're so bent on it. Oh, and my apologies to Jimmy for reading this.

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Chris Morris
15:08 Jun 20, 2022

Unfortunately Jimmy cannot accept an apology at the moment as he has died horribly at the hands of a writer named Patrick Samuel. Thank you, Patrick! I'm so glad you enjoyed it... I think...

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Patrick Samuel
17:45 Jun 20, 2022

Oh I did, no question about that. As a writer, the only thing I enjoy more than killing my characters is killing other people's. Yes I did mean "other people's", not "other people". I think...

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Jay McKenzie
21:48 Jun 19, 2022

Oh my god, Chris! This is insane and marvellous! I loved it, almost as much as I love my own poor Jimmy, edging slowly towards his demise. It's creative, funny, dark and very self-aware. You perfectly led us where you wanted us, predicting where we were going to go next before we knew ourselves. This is so well crafted. I watched an episode of Inside No. 9 recently (highly recommended - and I've only seen two episodes) and this kind of reminded me of that in tone. I think Reese Shearsmith and Co would LOVE this story. You're my hor...

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Chris Morris
22:25 Jun 19, 2022

What an absolutely lovely comment to read just before I go to bed. Thanks so much! I really enjoyed writing this one and I'm overwhelmed by all the nice commenters. I would LOVE to be your horse this week but sadly this story didn't get past the first judge. It's probably only because they wanted to spare all those other Jimmys. Wise decision in the end I suppose!

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Jay McKenzie
03:21 Jun 20, 2022

Too compassionate for their own goods!

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Ava Raim
03:52 Jun 21, 2022

WHAT. This was so great. Witty, inventive, and kept me smiling throughout. Thank you for writing this, I loved it. My Jimmy isn't dead though, he's going to stay in this little area in my head and I'm going to pull him out whenever I think I can't write a certain way. Because I damn well can however I want, as you've just showed me.

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Chris Morris
16:00 Jun 21, 2022

You think you can break MY rules and have YOUR Jimmy survive!? How dare you! Ava, thanks so much for such a lovely comment. To think that this story has had an influence on a fellow writer is probably the biggest compliment I've ever received. Thank you!

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Ava Raim
01:31 Jun 28, 2022

Again, thank you for writing it :)

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Amanda Anderson
13:09 Jun 22, 2022

I like how you made the writer a partial creator of their own story within your story. You show just how creative the mind can be, forcing the reader to create a character in their own head who makes no logical sense. I really enjoyed this rollercoaster of a story. I'm reading to learn different writing styles so I did want to also mention that including the reader was the unique thing I picked out the most here. It's definitely a bold move that intimidates me as a writer. I'm glad you decided to write it though.

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Chris Morris
13:50 Jun 22, 2022

What an absolutely lovely comment to read, Amanda, thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment, I truly appreciate it!

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Esperanza Rivas
16:25 Jun 21, 2022

Wow! This story is so creative! You really managed to keep me in suspense through Jimmy's entire life story. But how dare you play with my emotions like that! ;) You gave the writing a great pace-something probably hard to do with writing like this. At the end of it all, many Jimmys may have died, but I have a bad habit of keeping my tabs open forever on my computer, so go ahead and consider My Jimmy immortal!!

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Chris Morris
17:37 Jun 21, 2022

Keep that tab open! But one day, you'll forget about it. You'll close all of them. And then you'll hear desperate screaming... Thank you so much Ezmari. I'm kind of blown away by the reaction to this story. You reading and commenting is so appreciated.

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22:00 Jun 19, 2022

My favorite quote: "Remember, he’s talking directly to you, the person he loves and trusts the most in the whole wide world. Give him whatever voice you like. He’s yours after all. You made him. He’s pretty much your child." We are the fathers and mothers of our writing; this story was amazingly written, and you have a talent for humor. This story was really well-balanced, Chris. PS: I am so sorry for continuing to read the story, even after so many warnings that you flashed in the beginning. I'm a glutton for danger after all. Cheers!

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Chris Morris
22:26 Jun 19, 2022

Thanks so much for that wonderful comment, it is so appreciated. Also, thanks for being the only person so far to apologise. You SHOULD be sorry!!

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Riley Engblom
18:21 Mar 02, 2023

How did words on a page by a random person make me feel something? How did they convince me that this make-believe character has emotions? I don't know that, but I do know that I bookmarked this tab so I will never forget my little jimmy....🥲

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Chris Morris
09:49 Mar 04, 2023

Thanks so much, Riley! Really proud of this one, but my best didn't do so well in Reedsy-land, so not here very often these days. But I'm really so glad to hear my words meant something to you. Also, my words didn't make you believe Jimmy has emotions. He really does. So keep him imprisoned in that little tab of yours, wondering each day when you might close it. DON'T LET HIM DOWN.

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Sharlene Yang
07:12 Jul 17, 2022

Amazing writing! I love it! I really can’t stop myself from reading the rest since the first sentence, great job! And my Jimmy is still safe… for now :P

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Chris Morris
10:59 Jul 17, 2022

Hi, this is Jimmy. YOUR Jimmy. Please, please don't close the story! I'm begging you! (Thanks for reading!)

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15:06 Jul 13, 2022

Loved reading this story. Thanks for publishing it on this site for us to read. well done:)

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Chris Morris
07:39 Jul 15, 2022

Thank you so much for your lovely comment... However, nobody's supposed to read it!! But really, thank you!

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Tora '
08:05 Jul 02, 2022

No...No, not my Jimmy! (How dare my sister not keep the tab open!) This story is just... Amazing! Nothing I ever read before. Great job and keep writing! :)

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Chris Morris
20:39 Jul 02, 2022

YOU KILLED JIMMY!! Don't blame your sister. This is all on you. The next time someone tells you - begs you in fact - not to read something, YOU LISTEN!! On another note, thanks so much for reading, I very much appreciate it :-)

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Amber Surrett
05:17 Jun 26, 2022

We are not going to talk about the fact that I just drug out paint & a kids paintbrush to paint Jimmy... a very very very rough sketch of Jimmy... but I shall add the hair & his favorite food later... I shall not let my Jimmy Die!

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Chris Morris
20:21 Jun 26, 2022

I'm LOVING the creative ways people are trying to save Jimmy. But what you should have done was follow the instructions on the title of this story and not read it!! Thanks so much for reading :-)

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Nicole Meade
06:32 Jun 25, 2022

My poor Jimmy. Now I have to build a box in my mind too. I cannot allow him to die like that.

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Chris Morris
06:57 Jun 25, 2022

Get building!! Thanks so much for reading!

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Nicole Meade
11:42 Jun 25, 2022

I built it before I went to sleep last night and I'm happy to report that he is still safe and sound and snuggled up to his teddy bear.

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Asia Besant
12:36 Jun 24, 2022

I created an account just to say this story is marvelous!

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Chris Morris
17:11 Jun 24, 2022

Wow Asia, that's such an amazing comment to receive! Thank you, and do stick around, there are some very talented writers on here with stories that you may like even better!

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Molly Moonbeam
18:25 Jun 23, 2022

That is absolutely delightful!!!! I loved every second of this story. My poor Jimmy is now going to stay up on my screen until I've shared it and others can make their own Jimmy to torture :)

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Chris Morris
21:47 Jun 23, 2022

Not only did you read this story after being told not to, you're also going to share it!? What's wrong with you!? Thank you so much for the encouragement! This is definitely the strangest thing I've ever written but it seems like it worked!

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16:21 Jun 23, 2022

DON'T OPEN THIS NOTIFICATION. This comment HATES you. This comment is putting you on trial. My Jimmy likes lemons, and he is not dead. He's a rebel and has made his own rules! He's a flying squid and now he flies over the Isles of Utopia. My Jimmy HATES you for condemning so many Jimmys to die. YOU are a monster. Brace yourselves, for your evil deeds. Don't open your doors or windows tonight, my Jimmy is coming for you! Oh Chris, I'm absolutely sorry for warning about my heretic Jimmy (he's on his way now)🤣. This was hilarious, crazy and ...

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Chris Morris
16:30 Jun 23, 2022

...Toche! I'm overwhelmed at the reaction to this story but I think you might be the only person to have actually defeated me! Thank you SO much for reading and commenting, I cannot express how amazing it is that so many of you have been so kind to me - especially when I was so bad to you all!

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16:36 Jun 23, 2022

My pleasure! I've enjoyed both reading and commenting on this story. Absolutely loved your writing! :)

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Orchid Krizan
17:56 Jun 22, 2022

IM SO SORRY JIMMY!! Also very clever story. I sincerely feel bad for Jimmy. How could you make this story irresistible for me to read and kill little Jimmy? YOUR a monster. 🤣🤪

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Chris Morris
16:33 Jun 23, 2022

I told you not to read it! It's your fault! Orchid, thank you so very much for reading and commenting. The reaction to this story has made my entire week!

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Orchid Krizan
17:13 Jun 23, 2022

Also, I copied and pasted this story on a blank file, so my Jimmy really is Immortal!! I will have him forever!!

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Chris Morris
17:19 Jun 23, 2022

Damn that's clever!!

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Orchid Krizan
18:00 Jun 23, 2022

Why, thank you!

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H L McQuaid
12:02 Jun 22, 2022

Jimmy likes cupcakes, not poison. He loves to decorate cupcakes. In each of tentacles he has a different cupcake, but one of them is poisonous. Would you take a cupcake from Jimmy? This is meta man, and weird, and I liked it. good job.

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Chris Morris
13:48 Jun 22, 2022

Thanks so much for reading and leaving a nice comment! I would take the cupcake from Jimmy, because at the end of the day, I'm in charge of this little world and the cupcake would be banoffee, and it would last forever!

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H L McQuaid
14:32 Jun 22, 2022

🧁🧁🧁

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Arwen DeNunzio
09:20 Jun 22, 2022

If this doesn't win I'm fighting every Jimmy still alive. This was amazing, and kinda insane- but in the best way. Awesome writing :)

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Chris Morris
09:36 Jun 22, 2022

Get your boxing gloves on! This unfortunately didn't make it past the first judge. But the amazing response to this story and comments like yours are really an incredible consolation prize, so thank you so much for reading and leaving such a nice comment.

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23:47 Jun 20, 2022

O you witty rascal -- I just read this twice because you aren't the boss of me! I do what I want -- and I want more of this. Such great fun. BEST LINE: "Fine. Jimmy’s favourite food is poison."

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Chris Morris
15:57 Jun 21, 2022

Your favourite line was about the poor little guy being poisoned!? You monster!! Thanks so much for reading and giving your thoughts, Deidra!

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Moon Lion
09:20 Jun 20, 2022

This was a really clever way to start the story, I had to read it the second I saw it ;0. This story was incredibly multifaceted and funny (even if Jimmy has to eat poison), great job!

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Chris Morris
09:44 Jun 20, 2022

You think it's funny Jimmy has to eat poison!? You monster!! Haha, thank you so much for reading and commenting, I really appreciate it.

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Moon Lion
11:33 Jun 20, 2022

No worries, it was my pleasure! And okay, fine, it's not so funny for Jimmy I guess ;)

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