Saturday, February 14, 2009
The Perfect Storm at Cloverdale's Ice Palace.
The UNSC Spartans had just taken to the ice when a problem arose. Apparently the 14 year old attendant, Brooken Bailey, messed up and doubled booked the Palace. At 9:40 P.M. the Storm Troopers of Cloverdale, a Star Wars club, arrived in two minivans decorated as Xwing fighters. The 'wings' were built from discarded ironing boards riveted to the back of the vans. Tonight was their 'Battle for Ice Planet Hoth' simulation. Half the club's members were dressed as Imperial Storm Troopers with costumes made from multiple clorox bottles cut in half. Half the bottles were placed around the front of the legs and arms and the other half around the back. The halves were strung together by white shoelaces. The face masks were made from paper mache. The blasters were modified paint ball guns.
The other half of the club played the role of the rebel alliance. They had light sabers made of broom sticks painted with fluorescent paint. The rebels were led by the club's president Donnie Drump. He assumed the role of Luke Skywalker at all club gatherings and played the part well. If you asked politely Donnie would model Luke's defiant stand from the first Star Wars movie. He stands straight with one hand on his hip. One foot rests higher than the other on an unseen rock. He stares ahead, looking at the planet's two setting suns. He strikes an imposing figure for a 40 year old out of shape parking lot attendant.
The two clubs met at the center of the ice ring. The teen age attended stood between them. The boy attempted to find a compromise but negotiations broke down. A shouting match ensued. Brooken ran for the phone and dialed 999 for the constable. From his desk he witness the shot heard round the ring. A Spartan fired his air compressed battle rifle. The marshmallow raced through the air in search of its target. Brooken cringed as Donnie Drump was hit square in the face knocking him from his 'Luke Skywalker in the setting suns' pose and onto the ice.
"Luke is hit," shouted someone from the rebel side.
"Attack!" shouted another.
The two clubs surged forward. Broom sticks swung in an attempt to block the incoming paint balls. Marshmallows filled the air and fell like hail on the scrummage below. There was slapping and screaming. There was kicking and biting. There was scratching and hair pulling.
The constable wouldn’t arrive for 20 minutes. Brooken was responsible for the Palace and its equipment. If this continued there would be serious damage. He had to think of something. His concentration was interrupted by the shouting of a voice he thought he recognized. He looked up and saw Darth Vader attempting to slow the advancing Spartans with the Force. His hand was up as if he were a traffic cop signaling oncoming cars to stop.
"The Force will stop you!" he bellowed. It didn’t. A 300 pound Spartan soldier tackled him to the ice. They slid across the ice wrapped in each others arms, slamming into the side board. Vadar’s helmet was ejected leaving his face exposed. Brooken recognized him, it was Wilbur Frumply, assistant principal at the Middle School. Frumply looked like he couldn’t breath Brooken remembered the Star Wars movie and remembered that Darth Vader needed the mask to breath. Brooken was impressed with Frumply's acting skills. Frumply was doing more than acting. He began squirming and pounding his black gloved fist on the ice. Brooken realized he really couldn’t breath. He had the wind knocked out of him.
Brooken had to think of something fast. An idea came to him. He knew that both the Halo and the Star Wars Clubs hated the local Star Trekkers Club. Brooken knew it was jealousy. The Trekkers were a fixture in Cloverdale since their founding in 1968. They held the longest running continuous club meeting in the community hall. The Trekkers were invited to participate in parades and help usher whenever a Star Trek movie was playing at the local Cinema. They were allowed to provide security for the Shire Fair every year and hosted the science fiction writing competition.
Brooken reached for the Palace’s microphone and turned the volume to high.
“Attention, Attention,” he shouted in his squeaking adolescent voice. “We need all of you to clear the building. There was a third group that booked the ice for tonight and they have preference. We apologize for the inconvenience.”
“Who is it,” both clubs shouted in unison from the ice.
“The Cloverdale Star Trek Club," Brooken answered. "They are arriving now by shuttlecraft in the parking lot.” Brooken's voice had a distinct sound of delight.
Suddenly, as if directed by a higher power, both clubs stopped fighting. There was a moment of complete calm - like the eye of a hurricane. Then came the sound of skates on ice as both clubs moved like one angry beast toward the Palace's doors. Their lungs expelled air making the sound of a barbarian on his way to a real blood letting. Both clubs were ready to settle the score with the Trekkers.
Brookens rushed to lock the door after the last Storm Trooper hobbled through. The Palace was quiet and secure. He turned off the lights, locked the cash box in the safe and escaped quietly out the back to his waiting bike feeling very pleased with himself.