Fellows, it’s not every day you see a man dressed as some kind of samurai going into battle on the streets of Austin, Texas.
He rode into town on a Kawasaki at dawn, from the east. Alabama, perhaps, or maybe as far away as Georgia or South Carolina. No one knew then, and no one knows now. But with the mid-morning sun at his back and that motorcycle screaming like a horde of feminist berserkers at an NRA convention, all who witnessed his coming somehow knew things were about to change.
Pulling three or four doughnuts in the middle of the street, only the whites of his eyes visible through the full head dress he wore, he skidded to a stop in front of a trendy hair salon that had just opened thirty minutes earlier, and seemed to be launched from the bike’s seat to land on the sidewalk. Barely missing a parking meter, he landed perfectly, his heels on the edge of the curb facing the storefronts. Reaching over his shoulders he drew a wooden katana from the ornately decorated black and red scabbard on his back and, knees slightly bent, held the sword upright in front of him as he slowly scanned the sidewalk from side-to-side.
The bell on the door of the hair salon tinkled as a young man with long hair and a man bun exited rubbing his neck. Hearing the bell, the samurai’s head snapped to the left. Upon seeing the young man, the eye holes of the samurai’s helmet seemed to fill with white as he leapt screaming in the young man’s direction, striking him firmly in the buttocks with the blade of his wooden katana, then as the young hipster yelled, “what the fuck!” struck him broadside in his flabby belly. The chubby hipster doubled over, the wind knocked out of him, as the samurai turned and sprinted for the vegetarian Tex-Mex place three doors down where more young hipsters sat at tables on the sidewalk eating breakfast burritos and drinking fair trade coffee.
“Ahhhhhhhhhhh!” the samurai shouted, the katana high above his head as he leaped the short black railing that fenced the restaurant tables from pedestrian traffic.
He landed between two tables and brought the katana down in a fluid motion that sent most of the breakfasts on both tables flying into a family of six, bits of gluten-free tortilla and vegetables from the destroyed burritos hitting them in the face and torso as the scalding coffee rained down on them from above.
“Hey!” a waiter or waitress–it was anyone’s guess, really–yelled as the samurai leapt easily back over the short fence and, spying two more young hipsters with man buns, set upon them with the fury of the SEC East, dispatching them with ease and leaving them doubled over on the ground, gasping for air.
Another man bun hipster wearing a pink tee shirt with “Non-Binary Soyfriend” across the front in white letters was walking with a young woman wearing a black tee shirt with a large pink silk-screened uterus, the ovaries at the end of the Fallopian tubes replaced with human hands giving the viewer the finger.
Panicked from witnessing the sudden restaurant attack, they quickly jumped on bright green bikeshare bicycles racked at the curb and tried to escape, but the samurai easily kicked the frame of the woman’s bicycle before she could seat her Birkenstocks on the pedals and gain forward motion. Woman and bicycle fell together, hitting the hot asphalt hard. A handlebar hit her in the rib cage with force leaving her also gasping for air as her “soyfriend”, pedaling furiously, his jaw pointed into the wind and a cocktail of fear and confusion and shame on his face, attempted to getaway.
But the samurai was quick and graceful, leaping over the hood of a Volkswagen Beetle and twisting sideways in mid-air, he landed with firm footing in the street well ahead of the rail thin male feminist attempting to flee.
Directly in the path of the terrified non-binary person, the samurai firmly stood his ground forcing the bicyclist to swerve at the last minute. Staring back up the sidewalk at the damage he had done, the samurai screamed, “Haaaaaaaaaaaaa!” and, without looking away, plunged he blade of his wooden katana into the spokes of the fleeing millennial, immediately halting the forward progress of the bike and the blade broke and the non-binary soyfriend was thrown over the handlebars and skidded along the pavement into a parked SUV which he quickly crawled under.
The samurai then screamed again and somersaulted from the middle of the street onto the Kawasaki, spun more doughnuts and headed back eastward into the rising sun.
Eyewitnesses would swear that the motorcycle’s engine screamed to life while he was still in mid-air. And weeks later children would be punished at school for spreading incredible tales of the samurai whistling for the motorcycle, causing it to roar to life and spin those doughnuts on its own as he jumped on it and rode out of town standing on the handlebars.
Even adults, when asked if he’d turned right or left after speeding away, all to a man claimed he rocked the bike back and did a wheelie in the middle of the road, bathed in bright sunlight, then simply vanished.
Although Austin is a large city, this incident was the talk of the town for weeks, and people flocked down to see where the events took place. Some blurry pictures appeared on the internet, taken by bystanders, and some street cams were found with similarly blurry shots, but any information provided was inadequate and led investigators nowhere.
Two older gentleman from ranch country who had brought their wives into town shopping that day were interviewed by police and reporters.
“No, I never felt particularly worried,” one old-timer leaning against his truck remarked.
The other standing nearby agreed. “He seemed to be just goin’ after those gents with girly hair.”
They both spit tobacco in the street and considered the observation as a young mother walked by pushing a boy of about six in a stroller. She shouted something at him but kept walking.
“Black and red on that mascot outfit he was wearing. I did see that.” the old man continued.
“Your eyesight is getting worse,” the other old man said. “That ain’t a mascottin’ outfit. He’s some kind of medieval knight. Must be a waiter at that restaurant where they serve turkey legs and them fellers pretend to knock each other off their horses.”
“Bullshit,” the first old man said. “He’s part of game day. Georgia must be playin’ the Longhorns.”
“It’s Tuesday. We play the Gamecocks Saturday though. Maybe he’s from South Car’lina,” the second guessed.
After that day, we began seeing fewer and fewer man buns around town. Every time a motorcycle was heard in the trendier areas, people would look around nervously, and some men were even seen unclipping their hair on the spot and letting it fall as God and gravity intended. Eventually people stopped thinking about it so much, allowing the incident, those few minutes that changed Austin forever, to slip back into the recesses of their minds.
But after a while–I don’t know, maybe even a couple of years–people started forgetting like they tend to do, and a man bun would pop up here and there. Newcomers mostly. Most ignored the warnings, but as of today, the samurai has not returned.