To my surprise, the man known popularly as The Samurai responded to the full-page ad this reporter took out in various newspapers and online discussion forums about his mysterious appearances and violent behavior. Through the use of anonymous email addresses and burner phones I agreed to fly to a meeting place specified by him. I can only say that it was in the continental United States per our agreement to keep the location undisclosed.
The dark, empty warehouse smelled of metal and oil and was nearly the length of a football field as near as I could tell. I sat on a folding chair at a card table at one end of the building facing the other end as instructed. Daylight peeked in under various-sized doors at the far end. Two battery-powered desk lamps on the table top provided the only other light, barely illuminating my two pens and notebook that occupied the space between them.
The sound which I first assumed was wind funneled through a crack in the building causing some loose metal or weatherstripping to vibrate grew louder until I recognized it was the high-pitched hum of a well-tuned motorcycle engine drawing closer. The sound of the automatic loading door replaced the increasingly infamous Kawasaki engine and as the door raised it revealed the man astride his motorcycle just outside the door, facing me, the daylight at his back and the darkness inside the warehouse cloaking him in shadows from the front.
The Samurai had arrived.
I could barely make out the sound of the engine idling. Once his head cleared the clanking door, the engine whined a little louder and he began rolling toward me, covering the long distance quickly. He maneuvered the motorcycle so that it was facing me broadside, then removed his helmet and swung his leg over the seat in order to turn and sit facing me. In the weak glow of the desk lamps I could see that he was taller than I expected, with minimal but precise dark facial hair of some indistinguishable style and a strong jawline. He smelled like french fries.
What follows is a literal transcription of our dialogue.
Samurai (S): QUICKLY. MUST PICKUP AT CARPOOL.
Interviewer (I): Seriously?
I: Why a Samurai?
S: NOT SAMURAI! MOTOCROSS! STUPID!
I: But your outfit. Your katanas.
S: FUCKTARD! MOTOCROSS!
I: What is your first name?
I: Well that doesn’t help much, does it?
S: PEOPLE SUNNING ASSHOLES! PEOPLE LOSING SPIRIT OF THE MONKEY!
I: What does that even mean?
S: LIVE IN THE TREETOPS! FIGHT ON THE GROUND!
Ed. Note: He laughed for some time as though this were a private joke.
I: What kind of accent is that? It doesn’t sound Asian.
S: MY ACCENT? YOU HAVE THE ACCENT.
I: You were first spotted in Austin, Texas. Are you from Texas?
I: Then may I ask where you are from?
Ed. note: Sam hesitated for several seconds here.
S: ASIA? HATTERAS. RETARD!
I: You are very skilled on a motorcycle.
S: DISCIPLINE. HONOR. COURAGE.
I: Have you ever competed in motocross or X Games, anything like that?
S: NEXT QUESTIONS!
I: So, if I may ask, people have called you a menace, a bully, and a threat to public safety because of all of these unprovoked assaults. What are you trying to accomplish? Are you sending a message?
S: ALL PROVOKED. JUSTICE!
I: Well these were people, including women, you sought out and attacked and–
I: Well who made you judge and jury over the rest of us?
S: INTERVIEW IS OVER. FLIGHT TO CATCH.
I: Didn’t you say you had to pickup at a carpool?
S: NO CARPOOL! DOCTOR APPOINTMENT.
I: You have to fly to a doctor’s appointment?
Ed. Note: At this point, my cell phone in my jacket pocket began ringing. I had honestly forgot it was there, and leaving the phone in the car had been one of the terms of our interview.
I: I am very sorry. I forgo–
The last thing this reporter remembers is the smell of linseed oil as he pulled a wooden sword from behind him and swung it across the table with smooth, deliberate force, knocking the lamps to the floor. At that point, everything went black. I awoke on the floor minutes later, alone in the empty warehouse, a bruise on the side of my head. Whether he struck me after the lamps, or whether I got the bruise by falling over or some other way, I still don’t know.
While his sudden appearances across the country continued, he never responded to my numerous requests for an interview again.