Identity Crisis

“So picture this, Murph: a death metal concert in the heart of Amsterdam.  Me and Jason disguised in leather, fake beards, and goth t-shirts . . .”

“I for one do not need to imagine any man much less Rodney in leather,” Sean sighed next to me.

“The beard I can get behind, though . . .” Ryan added.

We all agreed that a man with a beard is a man to be reckoned with.

“If Batman had a beard, he’d be unstoppable,” I considered aloud.

“Man, enough about Batman.  I’m talking about real heroes,” Rodney shouted.  “I’m talking about Jason Borne!”

I chose not to discuss Matt Damon’s heroics or what constituted a imaginary character. Frankly I didn’t have the time.

Rodney frequently enjoys relaying stories concerning imaginary adventures with his partner, Jason Bourne, as they circle the globe looking for trouble and killing terrorists with toaster ovens and rolled up issues of Cosmo.  In Japan, those inflicted with such delusions of grandeur are called chunibyo, as they continue to act out their created characters from middle school and into high school, where it’s supposedly unacceptable to identify yourself as ‘Dark Flame Master’ or ‘Priestess of Unrequited Scorn.’  Being a former chunibyo myself, I can sympathize with drawing yourself into spy-fantasies, but for a 50-year-old black man to suggest that Matt Damon as Jason Borne could kick Batman’s ass . . . Well, now that’s ludicrous.

“What was the name of the band, dude?” Sean asked.

“Memento something?” Rodney considered.

“Mori?”  I suggested, ever glad to dip into that one art history course I took back in college.

“That’s it!” he continued ever grinning.  “So there is Jason and me, wedged between crowds of sweaty half-naked, nubile bodies literally dripping with metal piercings and tattoes of wings and skulls, bouncing, rubbing and eventually grinding against one another so rhythmicly that before the perp opened fire, I swear that legions of grinning moris mementos took flight out of pure esctasy.”

“I’ve had wetdreams that began like this,” I whispered to Kevin.

“Most of my wetdreams end like this,” Kevin whispered back.  “I need to upgrade my imagination . . . or watch more porn.”

“That’s the solution to most of my problems, dude,” Sean joked overhearing the conversation.  “Bad day at work? Porn.  Argument with fiance?  Least I got porn.  Forgot to add salt to my hamburger?  Best drown my sorrows with porn.  It’s surprisingly effective.”

“Anyway,” Rodney coughed.  “We’re in the middle of this deathmetal concert.  Jason Bourne and his sidekick, The Identity” — Oh sorry!  I should have mentioned this before but what he calls himself:  The Rod Identity or The Identity for short.  It’s like Robin calling himself Batboy.  Stupid really . . .  — “when we catch sight of the perp and his enteroge of weapons dealers ’bout to leave the club.  Thinking fast I jump on stage and pull out my harmonica.  Everybody goes all silent: the singer, the crowd, the perp and his legion of low-down drug smugglers.”

“I thought they were arms dealers?” Kevin asked next to me.

“Maybe they’re both,” I shrugged.  “This club has everything, like an criminal 7-eleven.  The one-stop shop for bad guys worldwide.”

“Even the bouncers seem momentarily confused,” Rodney continued, choosing to ignore us.  “‘Cause they all thought it was part of the show, and as the ladies know, I’m not one to disappoint.”  — A snide remark here would have been too easy so we let it slide and waited for something harder . . . That’s what she said.   —  “So I belt out such a sweet solo with my harmonica, I swear that if Blue Traveler or Rolling Stones were there, they would have signed me up on the spot for their next world tour.

“Jason of course uses the opportunity to gain the upper hand.  The man’s a ninja when he wants to be and it wasn’t long before he drew close, ready to take them out one by one just with his bare hands.  I remember when we visited the Tower of London together last month . . .”

“I thought you said there was gunfire?” Sean interrupted.

“Oh, there was!” Rodney smiled.  “You see my music has an affect on people particularly the women.  The girls at this concert weren’t wearing much, but it wasn’t long into my second set with the band before the stage was littered with female undergarments, if you catch what I’m saying . . . It was enough to make any grown healthy man excited, but seeing as I’m a professional, I relied on my inhuman powers of concentration to finish the set despite the mob of ravenous naked women before me.  But the distraction worked a little too well.  My man, Jason, found his eyes blocked by the sudden shower of Victoria Secrets that he stumbled and fell, knocking his fake beard to the ground and leaving his gun skidding into the crowd.  The perp managed to see the whole tumble and realized we were on his trail.”

“So in the movies, Jason has no idea who he is, but according to you, everyone else in the world is capable of recognizing him on sight?”  I asked.  “How is he better than Batman again?”

“Well for starters, Jason doesn’t wear tights.  And even a drugged-junkie would take notice of a gun skating across the dance floor.  Jason was in top form though.  Within seconds, he got to his feet and made for our perp.  His six bodyguards had other ideas, pulling out their knives . . .”

“They didn’t have guns?” Sean asked.

“What the bodyguards?  They did before Jason disarmed them.  My man is the master of martial arts, remember? Guy’s like a helicopter.  All you see is a blur.”

“And I suppose he killed all the bodyguards with their own knives too, huh?” Kevin said.

“Huh, even better,” Rodney smiled.  “The knives these guys carried weren’t used to butter toast.  The blade alone was the size of your arm.  Like Crocodile Dundee big.  I knew I only had seconds before Jason resemble those guys in the iron maiden, stuffed full of  holes.”

“Actually, that’s a common misconception,” I began. “The iron maiden was never used as a torture device . . .”

“Really?”

“So what was it used for?  To aerate lawns?  Make baegels?”

“Guys, let the man tell his story,” Sean chided, with exaggerated apologies to the storyteller.  “Rodney, many apologies for the immaturity of my older sibling.”

“If we’re going to butcher metaphors, please by all means continue . . .” I mumbled under my breath.

“Anyway, within seconds, Jason was going to look like a colinder.  The man could take on a legion of guys, but in this crowd he might accidentally head-kick an innocent.  So the bad guys managed to get a hold on him, allowing their boss a clean get-away.  I needed a plan and fast.  Without thinking, my legs propelled me off the stage at the final note of my incredible harmonica solo — seriosuly, dudes, I practically spit into the audience.  The girls were ready of course.  Hundreds of hands held me there, carrying me to the action.”

Rodney paused here and with a look of intense gravity, he said:

“Men, you know me.  You know my reputation.  Women love me, and I . . . I love the ladies.  I’m no James Bond; perversion and alcoholism doesn’t sit right me, but I know my way around the opposite sex if you catch what I’m throwin’ here.  So when I tell you here and now that that trip from the stage to the Jason, being held aloft by the nimble probing hands of half-naked females, eager to please and fondle The Identity . . . Well, it was one of the most satisfying experiences in my life.  Halfway across Row Q, this one managed to wedge her . . .”

Rodney had begun to drool at this point in the story.  Hell, all the men in the room had perked at the word ‘fondle’ and ‘probing.’

“Well,” Rodney coughed, ” These dudes were seconds from slitting the throat of the world’s greatest secret agent, they were knocked unconscious by yours truly.  Just as I closed in on the rear of the auditorium, I coerced some of the stronger guys in the back of the crowd to  launch me at the gang of counterfeiters . . . or whatever they were.  It’s not important.

“Their hold on Jason relaxed, my man punched his way through and ran after our perp, leaving me to deal with the trash.  Now boys, I had my hands full then and there.  On one side, a group of bloodthirsty  terrorists and on the other a legion of sex-craved females.  I was in a tight spot so I did what The Identity always does in times of crisis:  I played dead.”

Here Rodney relaxed as the climax of his story, and leaned back in his chair.

“Yes, worked like a charm.  The opposing groups crashed into each other and I managed to roll out from the dogpile.  The murderers were knocked cold and the ladies — God, bless their hands — were too confused to give flight.  I found Jason outside a newstand on Charles Street with a copy of People in his hands.  The dude managed to capture our perp with nothing more than a magazine.  As soon as the sirens came we escaped of course.  As you recall from the Bourne Identity, Jason is not used because he’s an awesome assassin but because he does not exist.  So we slunk back into our everday lives.  Who knows when I’ll be called into action again . . .”

Silence.  Rodney stared out the window pensively as if drilling a hole into the universe.  After a minute of this, I began to applaud.

“Dude, you mananged the biggest pile of bullshit I’ve ever heard for three reasons:  1) During the commotion of the evening you somehow magiked yourself from Amsterdam to Baltimore in the span of fifteen minutes, 2) I’ve heard you play the harmonica.  You sound like clown farts.  3)  Most importantly, Batman would have subdued those guys in a minute tops.”

“Yeah, which would make me Robin” Rodney countered with a wry smile, “but once again remember the Boy Blunder wears tights.  No true man willingly wears tights.”

“Imagine those probing fingers,” Sean countered back, “if you were.”  Clearly, my friend had not considered this, and it took him an entire week before he had anything negative to say about the Boy Wonder.

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