Thank you all for coming.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m tired. I’m tired of the stares. I’m tired of the questions. I’m tired of this burden that I bear. It’s finally time to tell you all what happened on Mt. Kilimanjaro that fateful President’s Day weekend.

Which is why I’ve brought you all here to the Las Vegas Convention Center. I’m sorry for the cramped quarters, but I thought it’d save time if the relatives of all 200 men in the expedition were told all at once. You see, I lied when I told you all that your friends and relatives were alive and well and had simply decided to live on top of the mountain forever.

As you may have suspected, the letters many of you received from your loved ones in the last week were actually written by me. I’m very sorry for getting your hopes up, and also for misspelling so many of your names. And when did so many boys end up with girls names? Dakota? Taylor? But I digress.

In the throes of this sudden anguish you’re now experiencing, many of you might be wondering why I now weigh 800 pounds. You might say, that in a very special way, your husbands, wives, sons, and daughters are all still here with me.

What? Yes, you in the back. Oh no, I didn’t eat them! Just all their supplies and insulin. And some of their clothes.

Okay, no, seriously. Here’s the truth. Things went bad right from the start. We decided to celebrate the trip by drinking Safeway Select Cola. I alone refused to drink the soda because the bubbles burn my nose. As we reached 10,000 feet and the air thinned, something started to happen. The cola expanded in the team’s stomachs, and, without warning, they all exploded.

Yes, the sobbing man in the red shirt, you have a question? Yes, quite insightful of you. I am totally lying again.

I’m very sorry. Way sorrier than I was a few seconds ago. You all deserve the truth or at least something remotely plausible. Give me a minute to stand here and think while moving my eyes up and to the left a lot and I’ll see what I can make up. I mean, remember.

Okay, how about something involving a yeti? Anyone?

…You know, let’s break for the day and we’ll meet back here tomorrow and give this another go.

Again, I’m very sorry. On your way out please stop by the tables at the back and collect your loved ones’ teeth.