Dec. 6, 2072
MALIBU–Officials at the Malibu Hospital for Actors and Sports Personalities confirmed this evening that American-born actor Sir Robert Downey Jr. died earlier in the day from advanced, irreversible neural tissue asphyxiation caused when his air-way was obstructed by a piece of “viral sushi” during his lunch at a trendy new restaurant in Los Angeles’ City of Industry neighborhood. “It was a very unsettling scene,” noted a diner present at the time. “We were all just very excited to see him and to be eating in the same room with him, he’s seen in public so rarely. And then this terrible thing happened. It’s a real tragedy.”
Sally Okibuchi, speaking on behalf of the restaurant, was careful to point out that the accident was unrelated to the viral content of the sushi: “At Sony’s New Fish Experience we use fish spiked with sophisticated, tasteful, and fully treatable viruses and bacteria. Mr. Downey’s accident had nothing to do with the way in which our fish is prepared. Our cuts are traditional in size and shape.”
Viral sushi is the latest culinary craze in avant-fad circles in the Southland. With names like “anthrax maguro,” “hamachi scrapie,” and “tamago salmonella”–popularly known as “tamago sal”–viral sushi dishes include traditional cuts of raw fish that have been treated with formerly deadly and debilitating viruses. After treatment, the fish is tenderized and incubated, sometimes for hours, sometimes for days, depending upon the characteristics of the fish and the desired result. Enthusiasts and food experts sing the praises of the infected fish: “Fish spiked correctly with anthrax achieves a richness and dimensionality of flavor that uninfected fish can only approximate,” explains New York Times food critic Aimful Spee. “The auto-immune response of the tissue, in particular the poignant flavor of an immune response which is inadequate, failing, that is the essence of this innovative cuisine.”
In addition to their culinary qualities, certain cuts of viral sushi, through planned interactions with the more common treatments, induce euphoric seizures and periodic dissociative sensory reveries. Patrons and employees believed Downey Jr. to have been experiencing one of these “taste epiphanies” during the forty-five minutes for which his air-way was blocked by an inadequately chewed piece of “tako coli.”
“We are deeply saddened by this tragedy,” explains Fish Experience’s Okibuchi. “Something like this is an unexpected and unfortunate accident. We sympathize with the loss all of his many fans must feel.”
Downey Jr., only the second American to receive the honor of British knighthood, was best known for his decades-long performance as a troubled, drug-addicted actor in turn-of-the-century Hollywood. Widely recognized as the first actor to fully realize the potential of autobiographical celebrity performance, and widely revered by the generations of students studying his methods, Downey Jr. is survived by two clones and a corporate subsidiary.