This is my interview with one courageous goomba who lived to see it all happen.
Me: “How did this all start?”
Gretchen: “It all began when that mustached fellow showed up,” recounted Gretchen Goomba, as she took her daily walk. “My friend, Gary and I, were out for a stroll over by the old plumbing construction site… I never understood what they were doing, really. They claimed they were doing it to help direct the flow of water, but they ended up just building pipes randomly all over the city – and not only that, but the pipes ended up just becoming overgrown with plants!!
Anyway, Gary and I often used one of the pipes as our own personal wishing well. We would throw coins down the tubes and talk about our dreams for the future. So, one day, we were once again at our favorite pipe when suddenly this man dressed in red suspenders came up from behind us and decided he was going to use Gary’s head as a springboard! I was in complete shock! What would compel someone to do something like that? Not only that, but afterward the man in red jumped down our wishing well and took all of our coins!!”
At this point, Gretchen was in tears. I handed her a tissue, which she couldn’t grab because she didn’t have any hands. She smiled anyway.
Me: “What happened next?”
Gretchen: “I shouted for help,” she sobbed. “There were other goombas and even some koopas all around me, but none of them seemed to care. They just kept on their way as if nothing happened at all. It was too late, anyway. Gary was gone.”
Me: “I’m sorry to hear about your friend. Who was the man in red and what was his motivation?”
Gretchen: “Well, later I found out that his name was Mario, and he was in a rush to help some girl he had a crush on or something. What’s the deal with guys now? He KNEW that Bowser had liked her, but he just wouldn’t drop it. I guess he thought maybe she would like him better if he was some kind of a hero, but what kind of “hero” goes around crushing innocent goombas and stealing all of their coins?”
Me: “Do you know why he needed the coins? I noticed there weren’t any stores around your area so it’s not like he’s going to be buying anything, right?”
Gretchen: “He had this CRAZY idea that if you collected 100 coins, he would get an ‘extra life.’ An extra life!?,” she laughed. “That’s a bunch of bologna if I ever heard any! This is the only life you get and you better be careful with it. Gary had hundreds of coins, and did he ever come back??” I saw another tear streak past her right fang.
Me: “Yes, that really does seem like a crazy idea. So Mario was after a girl?”
Gretchen: “Before I say anything, let me say this: Bowser loved that girl. She meant the world to him. I guess he kept her in a cage, but what they do behind closed doors is none of my business. Whenever she was with him, he was the happiest turtle alive. It was Bowser who convinced me to join the UGFMK.”
Me: “What’s the UGFMK?”
Gretchen: “The United Goomba Force of the Mushroom Kingdom. Bowser recognized that Mario was becoming a nuisance, so he decided to form a group to do something about it. I’m not quite sure what the point of it was, though. We never got any real training. He was convinced that all we needed to do in order stop Mario was to walk back and forth and look menacing. The real weird thing was that he would only send out one or two of us at a time to certain areas. You would think the strength in numbers rule would apply, but I guess he thought differently. Regardless, it felt good to know that we were doing something to help the cause. Little did we know what a mistake we were making…”
Me: “Can you recount some of your battle stories?”
Gretchen: “Fortunately for me, I was stationed in areas that Mario would apparently just ‘warp’ over. Don’t ask me how he did it. I guess those pipes were used for more than just wishing wells and plant-holders. However, I did hear some pretty horrific tales. The guys in the castles had it the worst. It got so dirty and dusty in those places, that whenever I saw them they were just covered in filth. Instead of that radiant brown that most goombas show off, they looked gloomy and gray – almost as if they were in a black and white film. Not a lot of those guys made it out alive either. Before they knew it, Mario was upon them and they were up in smoke.”
Me: “What do you mean they were ‘up in smoke?’ You mean Mario actually set them on fire?”
Gretchen: “It’s a fact that goombas are highly vulnerable to fire. Bowser should have never had people stationed in the castles. I think that’s another reason why their skin got so gray. I don’t think you can really call it ‘being set on fire.’ The instant fire touches a goomba, it’s like they’re immediately plucked from the world. There’s no flame, no pain, and hardly a sound. There’s just nothing. It’s a real shame, too, because a lot of goombas are just assumed MIA. There’s not even a chance to find out who they are to hold a memorial service or anything. At least when a goomba is stomped on, we have a split second to identify them, but once the fire hits, they’re long gone.”
Me: “How did Mario get this fire?”
Gretchen: “Okay, the fire. I think this is completely bogus, but they say there’s this flower out there that Mario can pick that will let him shoot little balls of fire from his hands. If there IS a flower like that out there, how come we’re not harnessing that kind of power? Have you ever seen a koopa who can shoot fireballs? Has anyone seen a blooper with fire propulsion? Why aren’t we setting the pipes on fire so Mario can’t just warp wherever he pleases!? I don’t think it’s actually the flower that’s the culprit behind this. A flower is just a flower. I think Mario just carried around a lighter and bouncy balls that are doused in gasoline. THEN, he would only shoot the fireballs after picking up a flower in order to appear all mystical and mighty. It was his secret plan to instill fear into all of us. I never bought it, though.”
Me: “Genius. Terrible, but genius. So did Mario ever find the girl?
Gretchen: “It was the saddest day of Bowser’s life. He thought for sure Mario couldn’t get passed him. He was breathing fire and throwing hordes of hammers at him. There was no WAY Mario could have gotten by that! If it weren’t for that crappy bridge and that inconvenient axe that Bowser always left out behind him, we wouldn’t be where we are today. I remember countless times where I’d go up to Bowser and say, ‘Don’t you think you should put that axe behind the closed door? What if someone comes along and cuts the bridge while you’re still on it!?’ Being the stubborn guy he is, though, he would just shrug and be on his merry way. After all was said and done, Mario took off with his girl and Bowser was left to recover from his lava injuries.”
Me: “What has Bowser been doing now?”
Gretchen: “He’s actually been quite busy since his loss. He has been planning on getting her back for quite some time now. The UGFMK has been commissioned to help him build some airships. There will be eight airships total, and they will be loaded up with an extraordinary amount of firepower. It would take a pretty big anchor to keep these ships grounded!”
Me: “Why does he need eight?”
Gretchen: “Apparently his time with the girl wasn’t a complete waste. After Mario left with her, he showed us seven eggs that were tucked away in what looked like a nursery. A few people in the UGFMK has been assigned to make sure nothing happens to those eggs.”
Me: “Bowser is… expecting!?”
Gretchen: “That’s right! He’s naming them all after famous people and giving them all an airship for their first birthday! It’ll be tough for him as a single father, but he’s determined to get their mother back. He believes that once she sees the miracles that they created together, she won’t be able to resist her call to motherhood.”
Me: “Do you know whatever happened to Mario?”
Gretchen: “I heard that he, his brother, the girl, and a cousin of ours were planning on going to explore some cave somewhere. He’s gotta be one tired guy, though, after all that running around killing people. I bet he’ll be taking one heck of a nap. It really is too bad Bowser is in the shape that he’s in right now, or he could find Mario while he’s sleeping and get his revenge.”
Me: “Do you think Mario will ever leave the goombas alone?”
Gretchen: “No, and you know what? I don’t want him to. If there’s one thing out there that goombas believe in above all other things, it’s true love. Right now, Mario is standing in the way of that dream for Bowser, and as long as I’m a member of the UGFMK, I will help him to achieve that dream. In the end, love is all that really matters, and Bowser deserves his share – especially after all he’s done for us.
Me: “Well, Gretchen, I want to thank you for sharing your amazing story with us. It truly has been a delight. Good luck to you and to all goombas everywhere.
Gretchen: “My pleasure. Thank you!”