“…and in the fullness of time, I myself became the leader…the Chief of the Great Northern Tribe,” I intoned in a solemn voice, holding my listeners in rapt attention as they hung upon my every word. “And the ‘Road Warrior’? He lives now…only in my memories.”
You could hear a pin drop in the laundrymat. Finally, one of the children said, “Wow…” and another looked at him and said, “Yeah, wow…” and yet another looked at them and said, “Yeah, me too–I also meant to say wow…” Before long they were all going “wow…”, regarding me with awe and admiration. A bell went DING! and I opened the dryer door and started pulling out my nice toasty laundry and depositing it in a plastic basket.
At that point one of the children, a bratty-looking little girl with freckles, glasses, and pigtails, crossed her arms petulantly and scoffed. “You got all that out of a movie!” she accused in a high-pitched squeal. “I saw it on teevee last night!”
“A movie?” I retorted, affecting a blithe attitude as I pulled some underwear out of the machine and made a show of enjoying its “dryer fresh” aroma. “Why, that’s preposterous, little girl. All of the things I just told you about were entirely 100% true, based on my real-life experiences.” I threw in a “hmmmph” for emphasis, which was echoed by some of the other children.
The little girl was undeterred. “Your stupid story was post-apocalyptic! We haven’t even had an apocalypse yet, so how in the world could you have had post-apocalyptic life experiences, you big fibber!”
This was getting serious. Apparently the irritating little girl had actually seen THE ROAD WARRIOR on teevee the night before, just as she’d claimed, and was putting my claims in grave jeopardy. The other children eyed each other with uncertainty, then looked to me for reassurance. I regarded the little girl with a condescending smile and chuckled.
“My,” I said smugly. “Aren’t you a big, fat know-it-all. Hey everybody, look at the big, fat know-it-all!” I pointed at her and started laughing, and the other children did the same. “And for your information,” I added, “the big apocalypse happened before you were even BORN! That’s why you don’t REMEMBER it, you SMELLY, HORSE-FACED, DOG-BUTT-KISSING RETARDO!!!”
My voice must’ve carried a bit farther than intended, because the little girl’s mother peeked out from the hair dryer under which she was sitting, reading a copy of “Martha Stewart Living” and eating a beef-and-bean burrito. “How dare you talk to my little girl that way!” she blathered.
“HOW DARE YOU not teach your stupid little brat to keep her big, festering cakehole SHUT!” I countered, trembling with rage. Then I extended my hands to the heavens and proclaimed passionately, “I AM THE LEADER OF THE GREAT NORTHERN TRIBE!!! AND THE ROAD WARRIOR LIVES NOW, ONLY IN MY MEMORY, YOU BUTT-UGLY COW!!! YAAAAAAAAA!!!”
My rampage was sudden and unexpected. With a feral scream of utter, animalistic ferocity, I grabbed the woman’s feet and pulled her out from under the hair dryer. Then I yanked off her shoes and threw them out the front door and into the street. A truck ran over them.
She lay on the floor, aghast, her bare feet still sticking straight up in the air. I looked down at her and smirked. “That’s how me ‘n’ the Road Warrior used to take care of Humungus and Wez and the rest of their dastardly bunch,” I said airily. “And there I was, clinging to that huge tanker truck with the whole insane lot of ’em roaring up behind us in their blazing death-mobiles as me and Max thundered down the highway, basking in a heavenly incandescent kaleidescope of raw courageous glory, baptised in utter greatness, and then–“
The little girl stomped on my left foot. “OWWWWW!!!” I screamed, hopping up and down. “OWWWWW-WOWWWWWW!!! YOWWWWWWW!!! MY FOOT!!!”
“Serves ya right!” she sneered. “Those were my mom’s brand new Keds! And you’re nothin’ but the WORLD’S BIGGEST FIBBER!!!”
“SHUT UP!!!” I shrieked, still hopping up and down. So righteously upset was I that I barely noticed that the manager of the laundrymat was already hoisting me off my feet and throwing me out the front door, flinging my laundry after me in great fluttering clumps that draped themselves haphazardly across my prone body. The other kids rushed to the front window and looked out at me, shaking their heads in disappointment and disgust.
“YOU’RE ALL A BUNCH OF WORTHLESS INSECTS!!!” I screamed. “CLOWNS!!! SHEEP!!! IGNORANT PAWNS OF THE ILLUMINATI!!!” I realized that I was wearing a pair of my underwear as a hat and snatched them off. Insouciantly, I pretended once again to appreciate their “dryer fresh” aroma and then stuck my tongue out at everyone. “NYAAAAAAHHH!!!”
“I’ll bet that part about the Gyro Captain wasn’t true either,” said one little boy.
Gracefully gathering up my laundry, I retreated in a dignified manner. As soon as I turned the corner, I grabbed up the nearest pay phone and called the fire department, reporting that the laundrymat was on fire. Minutes later several firetrucks with sirens blaring descended upon the small building and drenched it with huge, thundering gouts of water as everyone inside scrambled out screaming for their lives like a bunch of wet rats.
That night, I watched Tim Burton’s BATMAN and memorized all the dialogue so that I could recount the entire story verbatim to another group of unsuspecting admirers. This time, however, I would have to pick a different laundrymat–preferably on the other side of town. After I climbed into bed later on, I practiced saying “I’m Batman” in a growly voice until I fell into a peaceful slumber, dreaming of the looks of amazement and delight on the children’s faces, and supremely confident in the knowledge that whatever you might say about Tim Burton’s BATMAN, it most definitely isn’t post-apocalytic.