by Danger Guerrero
[Scene: Inside Davey’s Ice Cream Shoppe, a popular hangout spot for students of Nationals High. The place is packed, the booths and counter seats all full of Nationals High students who are laughing and carrying on. The door swings open. A stranger enters and saunters confidently toward the last remaining open seat at the counter. He settles into the padded, creaky swivel chair, and the curious shop owner approaches to see what he wants.]
Shop Owner: [scrubbing a freshly cleaned glass with a stained dish towel] What’ll it be, stranger?
Shop Owner: A milkshake in a waffle cone?
[The shop owner turns to fill the odd order, hiding his perplexed facial expression until he is out of view. The stranger passes the time by spinning in his swivel chair and screaming “WHEEEEEE!” The shop owner returns with the waffleshake just as the stranger has mounted his chair, struck a pose like he is riding a wave, and announced “ThisIsHowWeSurfInHawaii” to no one in particular.]
Shop Owner: What in the...? Get down from there, you goofball. Here’s your milkshake.
Stranger: [gets down, takes awkward sip of milkshake] WowThisIsGoodInFactI’dSayThisIsTheBestMilkshakeI’veEverHadActually…
Shop Owner: You need anything else?
Stranger: … I’mJustGladToBeAliveRightNow. IwasJustDownInClearwaterAtAnIceCreamShoppeThereNotUnlikeThisOneTheyServeMilkshakesThere. NotAsGoodAsThisOneButCloseAndISawSomethingYouWouldn’tBelieve. I’mSittinThereByMyselfAndWaitIShouldTellYouThisIceCreamShoppeWasFullOfLowlifes. NotLikeThisPlaceHereNoIMeanBadLikeTheyWereUpToNoGood. I’mSittingByMyselfDoingSurfMovesOnMyChairMeanwhileThingsAreGoingOn. EverybodyWasAllSuperConfidentAndActingLikeThey’reOnEasyStreet. SoAnywayI’mSittingAndInWalksTheMostIntenseManIHaveEverSeen. LikeHisDadOwnedThePlace. NobodyKnewWhatToMakeOrThinkOfHimButThereHeWasAndInHeWalked. HeWasDarkTooButNotLikeDarkSkinnedItWasLikeHeWasAlwaysWalkingInAShadow. EveryStepHeTookTowardsTheLightJustWhenYouThoughtHisFaceWouldBeReveleadItWasn’t. HeyDoesThisPlaceHaveAJukeBoxIWantToPlayThatPayphoneSongILoveThatSong.
Shop Owner: Nope. No jukebox. You know son, you might want to lay off the suga-
Stranger: AnywaySoThisGuyItWasLikeTheLightsDimmedJustForHim. HeTookASeatAtTheCounterAndHeOrderedAWaterAndSatBackAndSaidNothing.
Shop Owner: He ordered a water?
Stranger: YeahButIWasn’tInterestedInHisDrinkBecauseHeWasCarryingThisAwesomeGuitarCase. HeSatItNextToHimLikeItWasHisGirlfriendThenAllTheSuddenHeLeanedInAndSaidSomething. WhateverHeSaidMustHaveBeenBigBecauseTheCounterGuyGotPissed. SomethingLike”WorldFarglingChampions.”
[Everyone in the ice cream shoppe freezes when the stranger utters the phrase. It’s so quiet you can actually hear the sodas fizz.]
Stranger: YeahThatWasIt”WorldFarglingChampions”OhBoyItMadeTheGuyAtTheCounterSuperAngry. AndSomeOfTheBrosInTheIceCreamShoppeNotLikeTheOnesInHereRealJerksTheyGotAngryToo. TheyStartGrabbingTheirFoodAndGettingReadyToHuckItAtThisGuyFoodFightStyle. SoThisGuyRightHeJumpsOffHisSwivelChairAndDivesOnTheFloorWithHisGuitarCaseAndOpensIt. AndGuessWhatWasInItYou’llNeverBelieveItTheBiggestFreakingBatI’veEverSeen!
Shop Owner: You just stood there? You didn’t run for cover or join in?
Stranger: NopeIWasFrozenStiffAllICouldDoWasWatchThisBroTearThePlaceApartItWasAmazing. EverybodyWasWingingFoodAtHimAndHe’sJustWhackingItRightBackAtThemWithHisBatGivingThemMuchDeservedStainsAndStuff. AgainThisWasn’tAClassyPlaceLikeThisNopeItWasFullOfButtheadsAndTheyGotWhatTheyDeserved. ItWasJudgmentNightInThatPlace.
Stranger: ThenHeGrabsAGuyTheLastOneWithACleanShirtAndHeStartsGettingInformationOutOfHim. ICouldTellByTheWhisperingHeWasGettingInformationOutOfHimReallySpillingHisGutsHeToldHimEverything.
Shop Owner: [gulps] Everything?
Shop Owner: That was our last one.
Stranger: [continues unfazed] SoAnywayThisDudeWhipsAroundRealFastAndHeSeesMeDrinkingMyRCCola.
Shop Owner: You saw his face?
Shop Owner: And he didn't do anything to you?
Stranger: NopeNotReallyNoHeJustTurnedToTheGuyOnTheFloorAndDumpedAWholeMilkshakeOnHim. ThenHeWalkedOverToTheGuyAtTheCounterPutDownFiveBucksAndTurnedToLeave.
Shop Owner: The guy at the counter didn't get his clothes ruined? [laughs] The guy at the counter never gets his clothes ruined.
Stranger: NoManTheGuyAtTheCounterGotItWorseThanAnybody. WhenTheDudeWasWalkingOutTheGuyAtTheCounterTriedToChuckAWholeCupOfGrapeSodaAtHimAndHe ... ItWasAmazing. HePulledTheBatOffHisShoulderAllQuickLikeAndSlappedTheCupRightOutOfTheAirBeforeADropSpilled. TheWholeCupOfSodaEndedUpOnTheGuyAtTheCounterHisShirtWasRuined.
[The Stranger finishes his Waffleshake and reaches for his Velcro Ninja Turtle wallet.]
Stranger: [pulls out money] HereYouGoThisShouldCoverIt.
Shop Owner: Milkshake's on the house ... if you remember his face.
Stranger: ThanksButNoThanksI'mClearingOutBecauseIThink...He'sHeadedThisWay. MahaloBrosAloha.
[The Stranger leaves, hops on his moped, and speeds off. For a full 90 seconds after his exit, the ice cream shoppe is quiet and still. Finally a freshman speaks up.]
Bryce Harper: Yeah, right. That was a clown story, bro.
[Everyone in the ice cream shoppe laughs nervously and agrees. As the laughter dies down, a goateed student sitting alone in a corner booth speaks up.]
Jayson Werth: No, it's all true. I've seen this guy in action.
Shop Owner: You've seen him?
Jayson Werth: Yup. Up close.
Shop Owner: And he's as dangerous as that little weirdo said he is?
Jayson Werth: He was the last time I saw him. Word is he may have lost a step, but I wouldn't take any chances.
Shop Owner: So what should we do?
Jayson Werth: Do whatever you like: prepare for war, run for the hills, pray to whichever God brings you peace. Me, I'm gonna sit right here, stay real quiet, and hope he never comes through that door. For all of our sakes.
[The shoppe falls silent yet again. Off in the distance, the faint sound of a familiar song can be heard, getting louder -- closer -- with every beat. He's coming.]