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Let me spare you all of the superfluous details and jump right in.

Squidward's Suicide (otherwise known by the name of "Red Mist" online), is real, to an extent. Let's just say that although the story you're all familiar with is loosely based in reality, many of its more gruesome plot devices are intentionally hyperbolic. The story is littered with grammatical errors, narrative inconsistencies, contrivances, and sprinkled with references to violence against children that are in poor taste, to say the least. Each of these flaws, however, has been deliberately inserted into that ridiculous story for a specific purpose.

To clarify what I mean, I would like to ask you to place yourself in Nickelodeon's shoes. As a large corporation with a reputation to uphold, let's construct a hypothetical scenario in which one or more of your former employees has expressed the capability and desire to tamper with taped recordings of "SpongeBob SquarePants" episodes. Despite having your suspicions about which former employees, in particular, are the perpetrators, you don't have solid evidence to prove their identities in the court of law; all you have is a reasonable motivation, as well as poor circumstantial evidence. All ensuing legal investigations eventually arrived at a dead end.

You know for sure that the suspects can animate episodes of "SpongeBob SquarePants" in a way that highly resembles the official episodes. Although there are slight discrepancies in the style and quality of animation ("SpongeBob" episodes, as with all episodes of animated media, are typically produced by a large team of animators rather than a few people working independently of any large studios), the resemblance is clear. It would be bad publicity if these episodes were to air, even if they were broadcasted locally rather than from the Nickelodeon channel. So, you are forced to act.

Although conspiracy theorists might imagine shady corporate practices that could make the suspects "disappear" would be a viable solution, there's a preferable alternative. That being to reduce these potentially broadcasted tapes into absurdity before they could do any damage in the first place.

Meeting this end is especially important, as whispers of rare and disturbing episodes of "SpongeBob SquarePants" have already begun. Although you can use your influence to try and snuff these whispers out, doing so for years on end would be far too tedious of a task. Eventually, rumors would slip through the crevices of your iron fist, and it would all go downhill from there.

Enter Creepypasta, an online phenomenon spreading like wildfire across the web during the twilight of the 2010's. These dark and horrifying tales were circulated by fans of the horror genre across various message boards and forums, with the express purpose of startling and disturbing whoever was unfortunate enough to stumble across these "creepy copypastas".

With the sudden boom of Creepypasta's popularity came an opportunity. If you are able to incorporate terrifying accounts of lost "SpongeBob SquarePants" episodes into the ever-expanding Creepypasta Genre, you sever their association with Nickelodeon, should they ever air. So, you get to work, writing the most cliché internet urban legend you can conceive of. Blood, guts, dead children, all the tropes you can imagine. You even begin a few tropes of your own, that need not be mentioned here. Once you've finished, you proudly submit your work onto the internet. Pulling a few strings, you witness your creation rise to prominence, joining the elite few Creepypasta icons that have garnered the attention of millions.

As tens of thousands of fan images, amateur videos purporting to contain the real contents of "Squidward's Suicide", and YouTube videos discussing the topic of the story come to be, they drown out whatever few forum posts and blogs were asking questions about those eerie episodes of "SpongeBob". Your story's success has exceeded your expectations, as it inspires many spinoffs. Now, any internet search for creepy content related to "SpongeBob" automatically brings you to google page after google page of topics unrelated to that of the real "Red Mist" tapes.

Notice how the word "tapes" is pluralized.

"Squidward's Suicide" is not "Red Mist". Rather, "Red Mist" refers to several untraceable notes and tapes, the contents of which conspicuously ended up in the hands of Nickelodeon studio staff members. They were given this name because the words "Red Mist" had been written into the back of each note or tape that was received.

The inciting incident which sparked "Red Mist" occurred following the release of the original "SpongeBob SquarePants" movie. As many of you may know, Stephen Hillenburg wanted the series to end following the movie, as he felt three seasons had been enough of a run for the show. This request was denied. Nickelodeon saw the profit to be had in the franchise, and to them, that was all that mattered. This frustrated Hillenburg, causing him to leave the show altogether, along with several of the shows' original writers and animators.

Readers might recall that the original "Squidward's Suicide" Creepypasta made the odd decision to include Hillenburg in the story as if he were still working at Nickelodeon studios. To some, this could be considered an innocuous mistake. To others, it could be viewed as another attempt to delegitimize stories revolving around lost "SpongeBob" media by including blatantly false information in them.

Let's contextualize the departure of these former Nickelodeon studio employees. As is common knowledge today, writers, and especially animators, in particular, are not always treated well by the company they work for. It is often the case that strict deadlines will be set for them that they must conform to. This can be especially stressful when it takes place in the realm of episodic shows. Often times this leaves the workers of an animated television studio in a catch 22 of sorts. Either they can fail to meet their deadlines, often at the expense of their job security or wages, or they can rush their work, resulting in a sloppy episode that the employees can't be proud of.

The writers and animators for large studios aren't just working out of hobbyism. These people have dedicated their lives to their craft, spending years honing their skills so that one day, they may be offered the chance to work on a project that will stand out in their portfolio. Unlike Nickelodeon studio executives, they aren't just in it for the money. They have a genuine love for what it is they do.

Imagine being in their position, enduring the stress and abuse they have gone through, and then having the vision they shared with the creator of the project they worked on rejected. Imagine the frustration they must have felt as they chose to leave the studio they had once considered to be their big break. Imagine the sheer resentment they held inside of them. Then, realize that anger had been magnified dozens of times as they echoed each other's agitation amongst one another.

The first of the "Red Mist" tapes arrived just days after the inciting incident. This would initiate the pattern that would be consistently displayed in these tapes. For the most part, they displayed normal "SpongeBob SquarePants" episodes. Then, often in the middle section of the program, a custom animation would be spliced into the episode.

The first tape labeled "Red Mist" started off fairly mundane prior to the animation splicing. It was only upon reaching the middle of the episode that the screen flickered and the animation quality somewhat decreased. The screen depicted Sandy's helmet cracking before her suit was promptly filled to the brim with water. Her skin turned purple and blue as she struggled to breathe for an absurdly long period of time, before she finally passed out and collapsed to the ground, dead.

Word of this episode spread around the office quickly. It was received fairly well among the employees and producers, who seemed to take it as a joke. This was to be somewhat expected. It isn't uncommon for animators or artists to create darker versions of their usual work to have some fun. They simply reminded everyone to make sure their "side projects" didn't distract them from their work.

The first "Red Mist" note came in not long after that incident. It read, "Cease Production." and nothing more.

The second "Red Mist" note arrived a week following the first one. The words "Do you want us to show the world?" had been inscribed into the paper.

Several weeks passed before the second "Red Mist" tape had been sent into the office. Once more, the middle section of the episode had been cut out and replaced with original animation. It showcased Patrick Star extending his stomach out from his mouth, consuming SpongeBob. As he was digested alive from the outside-in, SpongeBob stared at the camera in silence. The lighting faded away, leaving only a pitch-black screen as the sounds of dripping and bubbling liquids could be heard.

This tape specifically angered producers. They abusively demanded the animators resume their work and stop wasting time. The animators had begun showing signs of irritability as they were berated and bullied by the higher-ups.

The third "Red Mist" note rolled in the following month.

"You can't keep avoiding us."

The producers decided to stop allowing chatter about the notes and tapes to continue around the office. They reasoned that if they didn't give whichever mischievous employees were responsible for the events that were occurring any attention, they would get bored and stop. This, obviously, did not work.

The fourth "Red Mist" note contained the words "Broadcasting soon" and nothing more. This time, it was accompanied by the third "Red Mist" tape. This tape was different from the rest. The entirety of the episode featured the main cast and several background characters having been snagged through the jaw by the fishhooks which frequented the show. Their eyes had rolled upwards, and they delicately swung back and forth. Though the tape was dead silent for the first half of the episode, the faint sound of ocean waves could be heard during the latter half.

Although the contents of the tape and the note were not officially disclosed to the employees, that information still made its rounds among the workers. It seemed as if a few people at the top felt obliged to leak such things. The producers hadn't fully considered that those who remained at the studio weren't entirely loyal to them.

Still, it appeared as if the message was finally getting through. There were people out there who were displeased with the direction Nickelodeon was heading with the "SpongeBob" franchise and were trying to torment the studio into submission. The coercive nature of the notes and the tapes had begun to sink into the consciousness of the higher-ups.

They understood the threat of having such uncomfortable content associated with their brand released to the public. We could all see the worry in their faces as each day passed. The thought of having to explain this all to the public if the tapes were spread among the masses filled them with dread. Their anxiety grew exponentially as the realization set in that things could get worse if former employees of the show endorsed the episodes.

Finally, the next tape came in.

I was one of the few to have seen the "Squidward's Suicide" episode. I can confirm that of everything written about it in the original story, only two elements are true. One, that Squidward did in fact sit on his bed, holding a gun inside of his mouth. Two, that a voice did speak in the background. At first, the voice-only produced faint, incoherent murmurs. As the tape continued, however, it picked up in intensity and pace. The voice spoke quickly, shouting the same phrase on loop.

"Do it."

"Do it."

"Do it."

"Do it."

"Do it."

Upon the fifth repetition of the voice, a large blast could be heard as the sound of gunfire erupted from the speakers. Squidward's head caved in as the bullets entered his skull, spraying his brain matter all over the wall in the background. The camera proceeded to zoom in to his lifeless corpse as the sound of ocean waves played ever so softly. The voice had ceased, and mere moments later the episode ended.

That sent the producers into a frenzy. They proceeded to question those who were in the immediate vicinity, attempting to figure out who had been responsible for those tapes having been delivered to the higher-ups. It was obvious to them that there were people on the inside cooperating with those on the outside. After all, it wasn't like the prior disgraced writers and animators had just waltzed on in and handed the tapes and notes off themselves. It was clear that they had eyes and ears within the studio.

They briefly questioned me, but soon realized I was unlikely to have been involved. After all, my position in the company didn't entail that I had the ability to create such episodes. Hell, I lacked the authority to even view the "Squidward's Suicide" episode in the producer's room. Before I could even catch a glimpse of the film, I had been promptly kicked out of the area.

During my interrogation, they asked me why I was in the room, to begin with. I told them I had gotten lost traversing the corridors of the office and had accidentally stumbled into the wrong place at the wrong time. It was a reasonable explanation, and it was an explanation they accepted. I was a new guy after all. Still, I was left in a state of dismay following the incident. It was unfortunate that I couldn't view the episode with them.

Oh, how I would have loved to see the shocked expression on their smug faces. Ever since I first witnessed how the episode played out, I was ecstatic to imagine how those assholes would react to it. The animators had really outdone themselves.

Despite my disappointment, it wasn't all a let down.

After all, I found it interesting that they gave me such a major role in their fictional account of that episode. Once again, it was a completely unrealistic detail for me to have been a prominent character in it. It was probably another way to discredit the legitimacy of "Lost SpongeBob Media" stories by making them seem utterly ridiculous and unbelievable. Ah well, it is what it is.

You can't keep avoiding us. We'll find a way to broadcast it someway, somehow. Eyes and ears. We're everywhere.

Regards,

A Former Intern at Nickelodeon Studios



Written by Icydice
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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