Well, the long-haired ‘freaky’ people had it right after all.
The end of the world didn’t come on the mushroom-clouded nuclear explosion we dreamed of in the 1980’s, nor was it the ‘pandemic’ of the early 21st Century that destroyed humankind. The end of the world came in the back of a familiar looking turd-brown cargo van driven by a pink-haired, gender-neutral millennial, who was engaged in an online social media battle on how best to conquer those who disagreed with their favorite ideology.
Tia Whitmore, formerly known as Andrew, never saw the bio-hazard sticker on any of the sides of the cardboard box she nonchalantly launched onto the dock. Apparently, Tia missed the fragile stickers plastered all over the container as well.
The seepage that leaked from the cardboard container would eventually spell doom for all of humankind but first, it would set matters straight in the Capitol of Stupid, the Home of Empty-Headed Charlatans, Hollywood, California.
“Un-mmm,” I choked out, as I tried to clear my throat to give my deepest voiced musing into the tape recorder. “My name is Jake Mika Tate, and I am the coolest stunt man in this here Hollywood.” I was excited. My favorite actress, Ms. Emily Stanley, was on set today. She was famous for her screams in horror films and low-rent Science Fiction Feature Films.
I took a deep breath and tried to settle my nerves.
Emily Stanley would be on hand to witness my most dangerous stunt as of yet. If I nailed it, everyone would shudder with the elation, if I didn’t nail it, there’d be a corpse driving the blood red Porsche 911.
A knock sounded at the door. My best friend, Ted, burst into the room. He gave me a high-five and hollered, “ARE YOU READY?!”
“Yeah, dude. Let’s go make this jump.”
“Dude! You’ve got ice water in your veins. Look at you man, they’d have to shake you to see if you’re alive.”
“Cool,” I said matter of factly, ”that’s how I like it.”
Ted slapped me on the back and gave me a wink. I gave him a quizzical grin in return. He walked in front of me and stopped. Then, he put his hands up with a big grin on his face.
“Alright, try to remember to breathe, okay. Emily Stanley is sitting on the front row to watch you nail this sicko trick, bro! Emily-freaking-Stanley, bro! Go out there and bang out this thing!”
People rushed to-and-fro, checking on the safety harness that’d buckle me into the car, fire extinguishers were checked, people shouted out directions, and above it all the director screamed, “ACTION!”
I got into the car and strapped myself in; the helmet I wore covered my entire face. The camera zoomed in and got a close up, and I fired up the engine. The throaty rumble of the turbo-charged engine ignited the fire in my blood. I grinned like a madman under the helmet.
The go-signal was given, and I floored the accelerator. As I passed Ms. Emily Stanley, I chuckled and whispered, “watch this.” My speedometer had tapped out at about 160 m.p.h., and I hit the ramp.
It was clear sailing as the tiny sportster denied gravity and went airborne. In seconds, it was over. I landed with a thud, the front end screaming from the abuse, and I jammed on the brakes.
The car skidded to a stop inches away from the wall. I unbuckled my belt, as people rushed toward the car. Ted was in the lead.
“DUDE, YOU’RE A MADMAN!”
People crowded about me and slapped me on the back. In the middle of all the congratulations and job well-dones, I looked for Emily. She wasn’t in sight.
“Dude! She totally saw it. Her face lit up like a Christmas Tree.”
“Ted, if she was that impressed, where is she?”
“Her boyfriend called her outside. She watched you nail the landing though. Good stuff, bruh!”
The excitement of the moment forgotten, Ted and I walked back to my room so I could change. On the way back, we bumped into Ms. Emily Stanley and her most current beau, B.D. She gave me the most perfect smile and extended her hand. I resisted the urge to kiss it.
“That was a helluva stunt! I’ve never seen nothing quite like it in all my life.”
“Thank you,” I said, overcome with excitement at having the opportunity to speak to her. “I appreciate it.”
B.D. looked up from his phone and scowled at me. Then, he turned to Emily and said, “Come on, boo. Let’s get out of here. You don’t gotta talk to the grease monkeys.”
He was probably three hands taller than me, but I still wanted to crack him in his perfect jaw and teeth. For a moment, I imagined smiting the behemoth with a piece of exhaust pipe, and then swirling Emily around in one arm, kissing her full lips.
Ted brought me out of my daydream by saying, “yeah, we better let them get back to it, boss man.”
I gave Emily a small wave and grin and said, “it was nice meeting you.”
She gave me a smile and a nod, her cheeks blushed. B.D. looked up long enough to notice the blush, then whisked her away. Emily shrugged the backpack onto her shoulders. She disappeared into the tunnel at the back of the set, and we walked back to my room.
It was Friday afternoon. I had nailed my stunt and met the most gorgeous woman in Hollywood, and I couldn’t wait to see her again.