The Samurai: Race Riot Retribution

Note: This is a preview of The Samurai’s return. Going forward his exploits and adventures will be exclusive to The PunchRiot Magazine.

“Death to fascists! Death to fascists!” chanted the youngsters wearing hoods and marching with raised fists down Main Street. They flooded into the intersection at First Avenue where a wall of law enforcement officers in full riot gear stood alongside an armored vehicle with a loudspeaker announcing that the event had been declared a riot and ordering the crowd to disperse. The effect of the combined noise of the crowd and the police only made the rioting teens and twenty-somethings raise their voices and shout louder. This drowned out the high-pitched scream of the Kawasaki and its helmeted rider speeding up Main Street from the opposite direction, his relaxed silhouette dark against a low, full moon on the rise and the flames of burning storefronts far behind him.

Nobody heard or saw The Samurai before he was upon them.

The crowd of rioting youths parted as The Samurai reached back over his shoulder and smoothly drew his hickory katana from the scabbard on his back. He maintained speed as he raised the sword with one hand and guided the screaming Kawasaki through the crowd with the other. The distracted and those with slow reflexes suffered the most and would later be treated for bruises, cuts, scrapes where they were caught by a wheel or a boot or an elbow. An unlucky social justice warrior lighting a molotov cocktail near the rear of the crowd cocked his arm to throw the bottle with the flaming wick when The Samurai sped by and expertly flicked the katana against the improvised firebomb.

“FIRE BAD!” yelled The Samurai as his wooden sword knocked it loose. The bottle tumbled from the man’s hand and burst on the ground engulfing the man in flames. He was last seen running in the direction of the police with his hair and ass on fire.

“JUSTICE IS DISH BEST SERVED HOT” yelled The Samurai. Executing a near-perfect kick turn once he was clear of the crowd, he spun back toward the riot where the crowd armed with bottles and bricks advanced on the cops whose backs were turned to them as they put out the molotov specialist’s ass and hair.

“KNOW JUSTICE!” The Samurai shouted as the outstretched katana broke the wrists of several rioters holding blunt force weapons as he sped by. “KNOW PEACE!” The rioting crowd on that side of the street were scattering now, running, looking from right to left and behind for the source of their terror.

Two masked men pulled a thin rope between them in an attempt to clothesline The Samurai, but the rope was yellow and he spotted it immediately. Leaning to his right he turned directly into the unlucky rioter who happened to be on that side, knocking him down. The Samurai stood slightly as he drove over the rioter, breaking his leg and dislocating a shoulder. Once clear of his victim’s head, he spun again in time to see his partner drop the rope and, interestingly, most of his index finger. The unfortunate lad had wound the yellow cord around the finger which had detached from his hand when The Samurai’s handlebars caught the loose end dropped by the rioter he ran over as he spun the motorcycle back toward the crowd.

The man with the severed finger knelt in the street weeping as some of his compatriots shouted curses at the mystery rider from behind a flaming dumpster. Oblivious, or perhaps ignoring them, The Samurai gunned the Kawasaki and the front wheel popped high. He rode the wheelie for half a block before dropping it and speeding past a group of citizens demonstrating their interest in civil rights by looting a drug store on the corner.

Within minutes some video of the incident appeared on various social media sites. Some posts hailed The Samurai as the vigilante “we need right now” while others called him an enemy of the people and a servant of oligarchs and capitalists. The debate on some sites escalated into death threats and one older gent from the southern United States challenging “commie pieces of shit” while invoking Code Duello in the Southern tradition, but nothing ever came of it. In the following days it was widely reported that some young rioters had been treated for serious burns and severed digits. A few charges were even filed, but the matter was soon forgotten and The Samurai was never seen in that jurisdiction again.

The Samurai: Social Distance Doomsday

The bungalows on both sides of the street near Birmingham’s southside sat high atop well-landscaped properties that all sloped gently downward to the sidewalks below. At one particularly large house and property on the corner overlooking the intersection, a woman in a sunhat and sunglasses sat on a gently swaying porch swing sipping lemonade while her husband stood on a step-stool and sprayed a section of the large picture window with organic, all-natural glass cleaner and wiped at it with a paper towel.

Suddenly, all was not well. The woman cocked her head at the high-pitched whine of an engine. As the sound grew louder she set her lemonade glass on a flower petal-shaped coaster on a side table, walked quickly to the other side of the porch, and grabbed the handle of a small wicker basket containing eggs. The man also heard the engine and looked back over his shoulder when he saw his wife heading down the steps with the basket, he turned around and shouted, “Karen! No!” just as she burst into a fast jog heading straight for their corner of the intersection.

“Stay at home, Jeremy!” she yelled as she ran down and across their yard. “Just stay the fuck at home!” She reached the intersection at the same time as the mystery rider known popularly as The Samurai cruising down the street on his red and black Kawasaki racing bike throttled down in advance of the stop sign.

“Karen!” shouted her husband.

Two eggs in hand, Karen cocked her arm back but before she could fling them at The Samurai, he jumped the curb and circled behind her, already gripping his well-lacquered bamboo practice katana he quickly smashed the eggs in her cupped hand and used the tip to knock her sunhat into the street. He then executed a perfect skid stop and caught the egg basket under the handle with the katana, pulling it out of the shrieking woman’s grip. As he spun the motorcycle on its front tire with the rear wheel high in the air, he flipped the basket up and over with the katana causing all of the eggs to fall on the now crying woman’s head and shoulders.

“THROW LIKE GIRL!” The Samurai shouted as her husband ran up with a roll of paper towels. He swung the katana backhanded and knocked the roll of paper towels into their gnome garden.

“GAY HUSBAND!” observed The Samurai as he gunned the engine and sped off leaving Karen weeping and choking on the smell of rotten eggs while Jeremy retrieved the paper towels from where they had rolled into an ivy bed.

Jeremy ran to the curb and began wiping at the rotten yolks and whites soaking Karen’s short, curly hair. “You’ve got to stop this, Karen,” Jeremy said calmly. “Just look at yourself.”

“Get a fucking life!” Karen shouted back.

They both stared down the long road away from the city and watched The Samurai’s
shape grow smaller as he disappeared from view riding westward towards the
setting sun.

Karen did not approach the street again for the remainder of the quarantine but still yelled at cars and joggers from the porch while Jeremy sat beside her reading motocross magazines.

Months later, when the stay-at-home order was finally lifted, she and Jeremy divorced. Despite many false alarms and continuing cases of mistaken identity, The Samurai was never seen near Birmingham again.

Interview with a Samurai

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?

S: QUESTIONS!

I: Why a Samurai?

S: NOT SAMURAI! MOTOCROSS! STUPID!

I: But your outfit. Your katanas.

S: FUCKTARD! MOTOCROSS!

I: What is your first name?

S: SAM.

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?

S: NO.

I: Then may I ask where you are from?

Ed. note: Sam hesitated for several seconds here.

S: EAST.

I: Asia?

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–

S: JUSTICE!

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.

S: VIOLATION!

I: I am very sorry. I forgo–

S: CONSEQUENCES.

I: But–

S: CONSEQUENCES!

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.

###

The Samurai: Holiday Greetings Nightmare

Most members of the crowd held an unlit red, white, or green candle as the woman on the steps of the Episcopal church smiled broadly and called for them to gather in the fading light of dusk. Street and security lights clicked on as a dozen or so carolers shuffled closer together and closer to her, kicking up a little snow in the process.

“Welcome! Welcome all good people, and Happy Holidays! I am the Reverend Eucalypsis Wollstonecraft Meriwhether!” she announced as though she were revealing the grand finale of a magic act, then feigned a W.C. Fields-styled inside joke or backhanded secret whisper. “But most people conserve their oxygen and just call me Reverend Stoney!”

Sporadic chuckles fluttered throughout the group standing on the snow-blanketed lawn.

“Yes, there’s a story behind that name. Yes, you are perfectly welcome to ask me about it some time,” she continued. “Oh, and before I forget, they/them, and I thank you in advance,” she added with a flourish, a partial genuflect. “I’m very glad to see Reverend Eustis from the Unitarian Universalist church here with his partner, Bodi, is it? Bota? Anyway, ‘B’,” she said with a self-deprecating laugh and gesture. “I’d also like to recognize my special friend, Mitch, who is leading the singles ministry at the progressive Methodist congregation she–er, he–just helped start downtown. Please, greet everyone while manifesting the peace of the solstice.”

The members of the crowd exchanged enthusiastic, cheerful greetings of “Happy Holidays!” while Reverend Stoney continued talking over them.

“Mitch will be passing out these flame stickers,” she said, holding up her index finger to show them the orange and yellow sticker clinging to her fingertip. “Actual flames are not only dangerous but also tend to trigger anyone who ever survived a house fire or cross-burning, so please be respectful and do not light yours!”

Most of the crowd nodded although a few looked confused.

“And finally, if you look in your folders you will see that the lyrics of these wonderful carols have been rewritten to better reflect the inclusive non-religious spirituality we’ve all come to expect in these dark time–”

The sudden blaring of a sound they were not familiar with–and which was later described by a disheveled caroler as some kind of “out of control, demonic kitchen blender of the patriarchy”–announced the Samurai’s arrival.

No one saw which way he came from. Suddenly, the crowd parted and backed up forming a ragged circle with him at the center where he was recorded spinning up three perfect donuts by someone quick with their phone. What they didn’t see was the plastic charcoal lighter fluid bottle he was squeezing as he spun. The crowd gasped as he locked eyes with the phone’s owner and drew his pickled-oak katana–almost white–from the scabbard on his back. The words “Merry Christmas’ could be seen written in ragged red letters on the blade as the Samurai caught the man’s offending phone with the tip of the sword and launched it into a nearby non-binary manger scene, then pulled a several large, lit matches seemingly from nowhere and dropped them on the ground.

The lighter fluid immediately ignited causing the carolers to back up quickly. A few turned and ran.

The Samurai then executed a flying spin toward a couple of younger teenagers holding up sticks supporting each end of a “Happy Holidays” banner. “CHILDREN GO!” he yelled as he brought the sword Merry Christmas up through the banner, tearing and mangling it so that it was unusable. He slowly turned three hundred sixty degrees holding Merry Christmas in front of him at a high-ready position until he found himself facing Reverend Stoney who was staring in horror from the porch steps. The Samurai ran toward her but suddenly heard someone shout “Oh no you don’t!” as a large woman expertly covered the distance and intercepted the Samurai before he could reach the porch steps.

“Midge!” Reverend Stoney yelled. “Be careful!”

“It’s Mitch,” Midge yelled in response. “Goddammit!” Midge drove her shoulder into the Samurai from the side, her head sliding expertly in front of his rib cage. Rather than fall, however, The Samurai took the hit and let it carry him away from Midge, performing a twisting side flip with the precision and grace of a trapeze artist or olympic diver.

The Samurai landed back where the flames encircling his Kawasaki were quickly going out. He jumped on the bike and it screamed to life. He sped across the yard toward Midge, who threw a surprisingly muscled arm out in a last-ditch attempt to clothesline The Samurai who deftly ducked the arm, circled Midge, and used the centrifugal force generated by the bike to slam the katana broadside into Midge’s ample backside while shouting “NOT A MAN!” loudly and clearly through the mask. The sword emitted a loud crack as Midge fell forward into the snow.

Speeding away toward the manger scene and holding his cracked katana close to his side, The Samurai performed a perfect skid stop and looked down. A small girl doll was laying in the manger as two male dolls dressed like Mary and Joseph gazed down upon her. Three female dolls holding boxes labeled “gold”, “frankincense”, and “myrrh” were holding the reigns of camels at the edge of the display and appeared to be walking toward the manger. In the manger stall at the rear of the display, a doctor doll had been positioned sitting on a milking stool and holding a partially untwisted coat hanger.

“CONSEQUENCES!” The Samurai shouted before spinning the bike back up and doing some quick donuts and cuts in several piles of reasonable fresh dog shit that stood out vividly against the white snow melting from its edges. His rear wheel showered dog shit upon the outrageous creche with expert, almost preternatural precision, then encircled it quickly, the Kawasaki revving and screaming as he kicked it over with his foot and threw his broken sword at Midge, who had regained her wits and was sprinting at him across the lawn, kicking up snow as she ran.

The thrown sword, despite being almost broken in two, spun like a well-thrown boomerang, crashing into Midge’s legs just above the kneecap and taking her out.

“MERRY CHRISTMAS!” he yelled as he sped across the lawn on his back wheel, the front high in the air, ultimately disappearing around a row of neatly squared off hedges and out of view.

Most of the crowd was hiding behind cars and trees at this point. Several lay on the ground amidst all of the scattered candles and dog shit against the white backdrop of snow, torn grass, and mud.

Later, while giving statements to the police, the Unitarian Universalist minister was captured on video yelling, “This was a FUCKING HATE CRIME! Did you hear me? What he said? And we all heard it! I just can’t say it,” he said. “Please, someone, I can’t even say it.”

“It was, Merry Christmas!” Reverend Stoney confirmed, shouting at the officers from across the lawn. “Merry Christmas!”

###

 

 

The Samurai: Social Justice Overdrive

It was early morning just after dawn but a dozen or so protesters were already tumbling out of a dilapidated old Winnebago near a hemp shop in downtown Portland. They got out slowly, stiffly, attempting to stretch despite lacking the physical coordination to even bend at the waist and touch their toes while keeping their balance.

“I think we’re just in time,” said someone. “Driving all night was a good idea. But that weed was too fucking much. I’m thinking, breakfast tacos.”

“Where is everyone?” asked a very thin woman wearing a pink “pussy hat” and a black t-shirt emblazoned with Animals > Humans across the front. “I didn’t think it would be this cold. I was going to take off my shirt and write “SLUT” in red lipstick across my chest.”

Several “No, don’ts” erupted amongst the crowd of social justice warriors. A man in a purple sequined dress and blonde wig wearing a rape whistle on a cord around his neck checked his clipboard and said, “Something’s not right, folks. We were supposed to meet up with at least three hundred people here today.”

“Well this is the only hemp shop around here, Loretta!” shouted a fat, blue-haired woman in some kind of European military surplus camo. “I told you we shouldn’t have hit that shit ’til after.”

“You hush now, Jack,” Loretta said, setting his phone on speaker. “That road trip was epic.”

“Loretta!” a voice shouted urgently against a backdrop of crowd noise. “Where are you?”

“I’m here,” he replied. “Portland. Where are you?”

“Same!” shouted the voice. “Things are going great! We need you. The Oregon State Police just arrived and–”

He ended the call quickly, his face darkening with deep shame, cracking his makeup around the corners of his mouth.

“Did he say, Oregon?” someone asked.

Loretta stared at the ground, scratching his stubble.

“Dumbass!” Jack-of-the-blue-hair shouted. “This is fucking Maine! How the fuck do you make a mistake like that?”

“Dude!” someone at the back of the group shouted, unaware of the geographical mishap. “I see the Pacific! This is awesome!”

“No that must be a lake. You can’t see the Pacific from here,” said a chubby male wearing a black plastic trash can. Wide straps had been fastened to the front and back to fit over his shoulders and hold it up. He wore a section of a black sweatpants leg with eyeholes as a hood beneath a dented catcher’s mask.

“Everyone please simmer down for a minute,” Loretta said to the rumbling group. “Let me think.”

They stood arguing about tacos and doughnuts, weed and mushrooms until a faint sound like a swarm of bees only more mechanical began intruding on their conversation.

“Do you hear that?” black trash can asked. “Sounds like…is someone using a camera drone? Did the cops deploy drones on us? Fucking pigs!”

A man standing at the back of the group wearing a “Beachside Sushi” t-shirt cocked his head. His eyes widened at the sound. He quickly grabbed a woman dressed like Jane Fonda in Barbarella and began running away from the intersection without shouting any kind of warning or calling attention to himself or his companion. They disappeared into the nearby hemp shop just as the armored motorcycle rider known popularly as The Samurai topped the hill a quarter mile away, grabbing big air as the screaming Kawasaki landed smoothly on the downward slope and bore down on the protestors.

“What the?” Jack said as the mysterious rider known popularly as The Samurai spun around, smoothly drawing his Koa katana and lightly scraped her temple as the masked rider flicked his wrist sending Jack’s blue wig into the gutter and down a storm drain. Everyone gasped at her skull-capped head.

“REVELATION!” yelled The Samurai as he executed a quick stoppie, pivoting sharply while tilted forward on his front tire with the rear wheel several feet up off of the pavement, and changed direction.

“Fraud!” yelled Loretta pointing at Jack. “That bitch wears a fucking rug!” he continued screaming at Jack while adjusting the binding straps of his form-fitting dress.

He was beginning to sweat which was causing his foundation to run, revealing light stubble. “Jason!” he yelled at the man wearing the black trash can who was attempting to run away. “Drop!”

Jason hit the pavement hard with his knees just as the Samurai swept past and dropped a hissing ferret into the gap between the man’s soft body and the trash can enclosing it.

Jason hit the ground and raised his fist in defiant victory. “Missed me you–” he began, then let out a bloodcurdling scream as the ferret began attacking his ample flesh. Unable to reach into the trash can to remove the errant weasel, Jason’s spastic flailing caused him to fall over and roll down the hill, his head and legs protruding from the barrel, his screams fading as the barrel swung wide left, popped a curb, and disappeared from sight still rolling down the hill through a playground.

“GEOGRAPHY!” shouted the Samurai, spinning once again. The Kawasaki’s engine screamed as he pointed it toward Loretta, whose heavy, running makeup gave him the appearance of a spent Alice Cooper after a marathon show.

Running over three women and another obese individual in a Wonder Woman outfit whose biology was unclear, Loretta screamed “OUT OF MY WAY, BITCH!” and sprinted for an organic bagel shop on the far corner of the intersection as The Samurai executed a perfect spin, outflanking him on the right. He swung the sword chest-high and broadside hard into the fleeing crossdresser.

The koa katana collided with Loretta’s chest, clotheslining him with such force that the katana snapped as Loretta dropped hard onto the pavement tearing loose dozens of purple sequins from his dress.

“SAMSARA!” the Samurai yelled as he executed three perfect donuts and sped back up the hill in the direction from which he had come. Patrons streamed from the coffee and bagel shops along the street, attempting to capture the action with their cell phone cameras, but all that would show upon playback was a dark blur beneath a canopy of elm branches and the sound of a screaming motorcycle engine.

Loretta sat up, surrounded by the glittering purple sequins, dabbing at his bleeding nose with the ragged hem of his dress.

“I’m going to get that guy,” he said to Jack who was sitting up nearby. “I will make him rue this day like the strong, independent woman I am.”

“Pull the dress down, dude,” she said. “Your junk is out.”

The protests in Oregon turned into riots that lasted throughout the weekend and resulted in millions in property damage and numerous arrests. Maine remained relatively quiet and undisturbed except for the few injured protestors from Nebraska who went east instead of west, the only disturbance caused by the mysterious rider known as The Samurai, last seen speeding away back through the shadows in the general direction of the rising sun.

###

The Samurai: Occultic Gaming Freeboot

The screaming Kawasaki engine quickly overwhelmed all podcasting microphones just before the screens went dark. The nine people watching this satanic ritual disguised as a harmless nerd game immediately lit their black Covenant Candles(tm) and consumed the blood of innocents  (i.e. cranberry jell-o shots).

“I thought he didn’t ride at night!” someone shouted from another location. “What the FUCK?”

Five of the six denizens of Torment acting as vassals of the Dark Lord (Supreme Shall He Reign) cursed and went to their kitchens for more beer and pepperoni sticks, unaware of the suffering being inflicted on the sixth.

“CHAOS MAGIC!” the Samurai could be heard shouting through crackling speakers by the curious audience, now down to eight, staring intently at the black video window on their computers and smartphones hoping to catch a glimpse of the marauder.

“Hey, that’s my beer, man!” the sixth man shouted amidst clinking and breaking glass. “You don’t just molest someone’s beer, man!”

“TOMFOOLERY!” the Samurai shouted as the audience, now down to 6, typed furiously into the live chat window:

BrutusMagnificanus30-30: “Who was that screaming? Who’s losing his beer? goddammit…WHOSE LOSING HIS FUCKING BEER?”

DickFloggsUs: Bunch a fuckin retards.

Trent4Men: I have a bow.

LarryMitsubishi: What manner of soy is this?

_Bob_Burns666: If they’re burnin, it’s cause they need to burn.

Trent4Men: Anyone want to see it?

LieutenantLibertarianism: This game is fucked. This chat is fucked. You’re all fucking fucked.

MetroJesus: The vibrations here are all wrong. Consider yourselves blocked.

BrutusMagnificanus30-30: @LL, but you’re playing the game, right?

LieutenantLibertarianism: Fuckers

_Bob_Burns666: this is about as entertaining as getting jerked off by a sperg chick wearing a metal mesh fillet glove in the dark corner of a bar listening to a bad Sabbath cover band

Trent4Men: Bow pics on website!

LarryMitsubishi: You boys are really letting down the team.

All screens remained dark and the noise increased. The power went out at all three remaining locations with viewers still online just as the commotion reached a crescendo which viewers would later liken to the mournful wailing of a thousand damned souls suffering in hellfire forever. Or Joy Behar’s voice.

Just as suddenly as it started, the channel went silent and the power returned at all locations. As the lights came up, the YouTube stats display indicated the number watching had suddenly risen to 666 active viewers, and 666 likes, 0 dislikes.

But the six original players were gone. Each player’s window was now filled by the Samurai, and only the Samurai, still and silent, staring back at the audience as the lights went out forever.

###

 

 

 

 

 

The Samurai: Sidewalk Sushi Bloodbath

He appeared at dusk speeding along the coastal highway atop the Kawasaki, heading east with the hazy pink sun setting at his back, the engine screaming like a pack of male feminists at a midnight he-she show in Bangkok promising nothing good–just chaos and a bad night’s sleep.

The engine sound progressed from a faint hum to a louder buzz like one of the small, low-flying planes towing advertisements for local businesses in the sky just off the surf.  By the time the screaming Kawasaki drew near to the trendy beachside sushi bar, it had drowned out all other ambient noise much like vacationing diners were drowning California Rolls in deep bowls of soy sauce in the outdoor dining area.

Seemingly out of nowhere the Samurai jumped the Kawasaki up the curb, spun the bike three times in the sand near a legally-protected dune, and catapulted himself into the dining area. This time it was the Samurai screaming “Aiiiiiiihaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii” as the wooden katana, having the appearance of finely-sanded Koa wood, cleared the scabbard on his back as he landed securely on his feet in front of a table of four.

“Lightning!” he screamed as he swept the blade along the table, upending the impossibly large platter of California Rolls with the katana and sending it clattering onto the nearby sidewalk, the rolls skidding into the road where it was promptly flattened by oncoming traffic and finally clung to the hot asphalt along with various roadkill–small birds, mostly–and dried dog turds in the middle of the street.

Leaping onto the table with another shout, the Samurai rained blows on the backside of a young caucasian man with two-inch earlobes dangling like taffy, swinging loosely like the floppy labia of a retired Women’s Studies professor as he attempted to scurry to safety under the table.

But there would be no safety. Not in that place. Not on that day.

A tall butch woman wearing a black t-shirt reading, “I Want Your Flower” and dressed like the lead singer for Judas Priest during the Screaming for Vengeance tour ran up and addressed the Samurai, facing him in an awkward, poorly-formed  Shizen-tai judo stance. The Samurai’s eyes narrowed in the eyeholes of his facial armor as he affected a moment of stillness, regarding her.

This agitated the butch woman, who lunged at him, screaming, “Flower power!”

The Samurai engaged fully, stepping into the lunge with a slight twist and bringing the koa Katana up sharply broadside into her solar plexus, causing her to double over and vomit a low-viscosity, greasy paste of fried calimari, tuna tataki, soy, and saki on the mock-cobblestone floor.

Leaping from the table, he planted one black-sneakered foot on the back of the doubled-over, vomiting lesbian and somersaulted back toward the kitchen, knocking three wait staff down. He landed near a family of seven where a young woman wearing a sorority jersey, isolated at one end of the table and oblivious to the pandemonium unfolding around her, awkwardly fumbled at scissoring her chopsticks around a California Roll which–due to entropy and mindless conformity–lay disintegrating in a bowl of soy sauce.

“Thunder!” yelled the Samurai as the tip of his Katana appeared at her mouth just as she grabbed a soup spoon and shoveled the ridiculous, broken mass of food stuff toward her face. With the deftness and almost preternatural skill of a brain surgeon, he excised the foul lump of popular nonsense from the spoon without spilling a drop on her shirt. With a nearly imperceptible flick of his wrist, the buggered roll sailed in a high arc above the heads of a dozen diners with confused, awestruck looks in addition to soy sauce on their faces, its trajectory taking it directly into the mouth of a trash can whose lid was just that moment being lifted by a bus boy.

“You there!” yelled a young, wiry lad with some faint muscle definition and a man bun as the Samurai placed a card with a phone number in the mouth of the sorority girl, yelled, “DINGALINGUS!” and executed a perfect jump kick, sailing over two tables and landing beside man bun who was already throwing a punch that caught the Samurai in the side of the helmet. “OW!” yelled man bun, withdrawing his hand as the Samurai brought around a pound of perfectly shaped and sanded koa broadside up and into his testicles.

“SASHIMI HA HAHAHA!” yelled the Samurai as he turned immediately, jumped smoothly atop the nearest mesh bistro table and, leaping from table to table, sprung over the short fence railing  onto the Kawasaki, yelled, “EXPERIENCE!” and took off like cannon fire, heading eastward as the last remaining rays of the setting sun enveloped his fleeting form, causing him to almost glow slightly in the fading light of dusk.

Later, eyewitnesses would swear the katana had somehow sheathed itself, promise they heard the Samurai whistle, earnestly insist they saw the motorcycle stand upright on its own as the Samurai landed perfectly on the seat, the engine screaming to life as the bike fishtailed violently, throwing sand over the remaining diners and their food, ruining expensive platters of California Rolls and Edamame.

The restaurant closed a few weeks later as summer ended. It would reopen the following year as a trendy Tex-Mex joint called, Taco Tool. Some other sushi restaurants in the area briefly removed California Rolls from the menu despite still offering them by request. Eventually, they were reinstated.

Life returned to normal here, eventually. Long-time residents and returning vacationers would occasionally mention the incident when a particularly loud aircraft flew low over the beach or the distinctive sound of a high-performance Japanese motorcycle echoed through the popular resort town, and young boys began buying motocross armor, painting it red and black to resemble The Samurai as they spread out across town on their bicycles. Some even bought wooden katanas from Amazon and began attacking combo meals at fast food restaurants. Of course, parents were called, katanas were burned. This life we live continued and the Samurai was never seen along our stretch of beach again.

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The Samurai

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.

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