“99 Bottles of Fear on the Wall, 99 Bottles of Fear,” by Luke Roloff

Jun 30th, 2021 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

99 bottles of fear on the wall, 99 bottles of fear, take one down and pass it around, 100 bottles of fear on the wall.

100 bottles of fear on the wall of your Facebook, 100 bottles of troubling information, take one down and spread your speculative angst about the unknown to friends and family and strangers, 2,000 bottles of fear on the wall.

2,000 bottles of fear on the wall, 2,000 bottles of untested conjecture plastered across your digital touchpoints, take one down and launch an air raid of rhetoric loaded with overblown anecdotes and divisive subtext causing conflict and worry amongst us, 26 million bottles of fear on the wall.

26 million bottles of fear on the wall, 26 million bottles of fearmongering elixir floating through the pipes of American hearts and minds, take one down and let this invisible disease metastasize through the veins of our existence with a firehose of cocksure guesswork flooding your feeds, spraying observations like the plague, spouting statistics and projections like a newborn baby monkey spitting up beer that is actually pouring lighter fluid over a global wildfire, sheesh this song almost seems like it’s breeding a negative impact of some kind, 350 million bottles of fear on the wall.

350 million bottles of fear on the wall, 350 million bottles of combustible confusion boiling over misinformed napalm, dripping veiled paranoia into mass media echo chambers where jagoff spin doctors hypothesize how the human race should proceed, transforming the rest of us into agro robots trolling each other in an apocalyptic dystopia where we wipe out the old people, take one down and we’re all scheming and plotting and freaking out in a home carnival of parasitic edgelords, rabble-rousing fever pitch rants and choking on the smoke of our own crystal balls, whoa, come to think of it, this silly little jingle isn’t so much fun anymore at all, I’m quite frightened actually, I just wanted to go online to kill a few minutes and now everyone is about to kill each other, 8 billion bottles of fear on the wall.

8 billion bottles of fear on the wall, 8 billion bottles of liquified conspiracy-nectar individually hand-juiced by savage zombies wearing helmets with pointy little spear tips on top, an army drunk on dread and Netflix, circling their horse carriages like vultures, yikes this isn’t a fun bar where everyone knows your name and they’re always glad you came, take one down and, no this is everyone used to be Sméagol and now they’re Gollum, suspicious and smelly, lurking behind boulders, speaking in third-person, clueless of the world they left behind, inhabiting a state of mind with no return address, just a bunch of hell-riding gypsies slithering around with fleeting flashbacks of a time they weren’t schizophrenic, but so fleeting that they conveniently forget all the crackerjack hot takes that collectively fanned such a flame of panic ultimately suggesting cannibalism suddenly wasn’t such a bad idea after all, zero bottles of fear on the wall.

Zero bottles of fear on the wall, zero bottles of fear because everyone ate each other, take it all down and the species is gone, I guess this song is over now.


Luke Roloff is currently one of the people in LA. His writing has appeared in Sports Illustrated, McSweeney’s and The American Bystander. Please stop what you’re doing and go to www.lukeroloff.com immediately.


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