From a possible police photo lineup. The accomplice is to the left.
My dad called me this week to relay a story told to him by my brother, a rising sophomore in college. I hope I can do it justice with words, though the highlights are the great mental imagery.
Last weekend my brother and some of his buds from high school ventured down to the beach. Amongst this jovial group was their high school class president. A rather quiet lad, according to my bro. Never too crazy, rarely wild. Imagine Barney Rubble with glasses. That’s him.
The group was strolling through a Wal-Mart one night when inspiration smacked Barney. He suddenly looked wide-eyed at the fellows and said quietly (I’m paraphrasing), “You know, I wonder what it’d be like to run naked through a Wal-Mart.”
(A brief pause – I should point out that my dad did not specify whether alcohol was involved in this .. um, tale. I have yet to talk with my brother for confirmation, but I would not rule it out. The story resumes).
His buddies looked at him like a spider to a Jehovah’s Witness fly (“Mind if I enter your web and chat with you?” “Sure, come on in. Have a seat right here in the middle. Coffee?”) They laughed at his insane revelation, but were keen to feed it.
“I’m serious,” Barney said. “I really feel like running naked through this Wal-Mart. I really do. …. I think I’m going to do it.”
This was met by the typical guy reply – a $20 bet. Now indeed it was on! Unsuit up or shut up! Barney swore he’d do it.
First he needed an accomplice. He chose my bro. He pulled him aside and laid out his plan. It was a simple. It involved a cell phone, his truck and perfect timing.
The challenge defined, my brother headed out to the parking lot to start the truck. He would wait for Barney to ring his cell, then head for the door. Meanwhile, the rest of the guys became an expectant audience. This was gonna be too rich to miss. While they staked out good seats, Barney marched to the men’s room in the back of the store.
No one thought he’d really do it. They would all be gleefully disappointed.
Now imagine my brother sitting alone in a truck in a darken Wal-Mart parking lot. His cell owned his attention. It lay quiet. After a few minutes, it awoke. Bro answered. Barney spoke just two words:
With that, my bro hit the gas to get the bare ass. The nut(s) were loose in Wally World.
My bro kept the phone open as he headed for the front of the store. All he heard were screams and shouts. Customers expecting rollbacks instead got a bareback. Barney loved every second. He was yelling back.
As he neared the finish line he was bathed in the sight of his truck parked just beyond the clear glass doors.
” I did it!” he must have thought as he ran swinging to the doors. “Hell! Yeah! I’m the man. I’m the man. I’m the … Uh-oh.”
His thoughts were cut off when he almost went headon into the automatic doors refusing to automatically open. His streak was stopped. Escapist enthusiasm met abject horror. WTF?
Again I must interrupt his tail. I assume that, unbeknownst to Barney, Wal-Mart management became alarmed by the sounds of an uprising in men’s (lack of) wear. They must have put the store into lockdown, which sealed the doors shut.
Idling so close yet so far, my bro had a front row seat to a grand work of thespian expression. His buck naked friend was doing standing pushups against the glass doors, trying to shake them open. His mouth a large unglazed doughnut. His eyes stolen from a deer in a semi’s headlights. Shivers were evident not only along his spine.
In his panic, he slapped from door to door until finally – thankfully – he hit the non-automatic door (the one few shoppers bother to exert themselves to use) and it swung open. He was free. FREE! He boogie-dy, boogie-dy to the truck and screamed – “GogogogogogogoGO!”
They made a clean getaway. Later, my bro learned the streak had struck a nerve. Barney could speak of nothing but the thrills and chills of baring more than his soul to the world. He was a new man. A braver man. Today, Wal-Mart. Tomorrow, Target!
Good luck with that.