Short Story Saturday: Box Office Champion
Take a break from the hectic news of Hollywood with our weekly look into the world of "what if". Fresh fan fiction happens weekly here at Cinema Blend on Short Story Saturday. This is our latest short story entry... "Box Office Champion".
Mick knew the horrors that awaited him on that ride, but it was Saturday afternoon. He was sick of waiting, sick of looking over his shoulder every time he stepped on any mode of transportation. Besides, there weren’t any kids on this boat. On a weekend at Disneyland, that was practically unheard of. He needed to get it over with now. So, he piled into the back row and looked at the men on board. Mostly cowards, he guessed. Maybe one hero. That poor bastard would get his.
His head darted from side to side, and within a few minutes, he spotted them in the water, wading just outside the Blue Bayou. The clueless woman in front of him was babbling about how lifelike the animatronics have gotten. There was no point in correcting her. She’d know soon enough. Besides, the more he said to anyone now, the more questions he would have to answer later. It was better if he pretended not to know they were pirates or from Somalia or ready to take the boat by force.
Thirty-four weeks ago, Mick beat a man he’d never seen before to death in the middle of a Red Robin. There’d been so many witnesses. Thank God there were so many witnesses who could say he was attacked. Unprovoked. By a raving, gigantic lunatic who snarled like Bebop or Rocksteady. It was violent and animalistic. Women cried. Children froze like deer, and one tall fuck bled to death from knuckle wounds to the head on top of some French fries.
Bath salts and cocaine. That’s what the coroner told the police the seven feet one inch attacker was on. So, instead of a murderer, he was called a hero by the national media, and instead of a trial, he was paraded around by the anti-hard drug establishment as a reminder of why Nancy Reagan was right. Mick knew better. It wasn’t about bath salts or gourmet burgers. It was proof that he was fucking right. No one else would ever believe him, but now, at least he knew he wasn’t crazy and could devise a code in good conscience to stay alive.
Do research. Take every weekend seriously. Stay in well trafficked areas. Order foods that come with a steak knife. Never trust a stranger completely. Stay sober and alert. Be proactive about finding the overlap. Bring a flashlight. Wear comfortable, mobile shoes and relax as best as possible Mondays through Thursdays.
He’d been pretty sure this moment was coming for weeks, but you never could be 100% confident. Back in August, he was sure he’d get to spend a weekend smoking pot or maybe even going on an adventure with a stripper, but instead, he slammed his finger in a door and wound up being reminded over and over again about how worthless and pathetic his insurance plan was compared to the more expensive alternatives he couldn’t afford.
That was the thing. Not only was it sometimes difficult to predict what would win, it was damn near impossible to predict how it would affect his life. One week, he expected to be taunted about his racial background, but instead, he just kept stumbling into pick-up baseball games. Another, he was positive someone would take out a credit card in his name, but he was able to avert that crisis by driving an annoying and loud-mouthed woman a few hundred miles.
Good? Bad? Sexy? Dangerous? Deadly? Vomit-filled? It could be all of those things. That’s why he never drank or got high anymore. There was no point. There was no buzz that could ever even begin to rival knowing you might be just hours away from getting stuck in a hot air balloon, being mobbed by teenage girls or finding out one of your scariest enemies is a contrived fraud. Cigarettes though. Those still hit the spot. A good, long drag had a way of honing his focus. It was against Disneyland policy to smoke on Pirates Of The Caribbean, but everyone had bigger issues to worry about now.
The first Somali pirate made his way out of the water and pulled out a large machete. His partners quickly followed, and a sense of confusion among the dumber passengers and dread among the more observant passengers spread. Mick puffed away on his cigarette and waited. He let the leader talk about ransom money, advise everyone to stay quiet and issue some aggressive threats. The potential hero sobbed quietly on his wife’s shoulder. He wouldn’t be a problem. There would only be one hero today.
Twenty minutes later three dead bodies were floating in the water, and Mick was lying to police officers. “It all happened so fast. Just a gut instinct. One of them must have dropped his machete. Miraculous that it all worked out. No idea what country. Maybe Zimbabwe?”
It wasn’t even four. If he got in his car and headed for the plaza now, he could track down the palm reader he’d condescendingly asked to make his life more like the movies. Exiting the ride, he made a lefthand turn and sat down at a restaurant in New Orleans Square instead.
“I’ll take the pork chop with mashed potatoes,” he said, as his mind drifted to thoughts of a high school prom, a bucket of blood and the week or so he had to prepare.
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