Monday, December 12, 2005

The Mysteries of the Force

Darth Vader slowly extended his long red light saber, and held it firmly in his stiffly outstretched arm. His plastic cape shifted awkwardly as his left arm swung backward to counterbalance the weight of the right. He did not fall over; the Force was with him. The Dark Lord of the Sith was flanked on both sides by the entire Imperial Army, which consisted of one Death-Squad Commander, two Snow Troopers, one Boba Fett, and six battle-worn Storm Troopers.

Princess Leia had been captured, and was bound with a twisty-tie. Darth Vader had come to interrogate her beneath the ficus in the giant ceramic tortoise. At the far-end of the coffee table, Luke, Han (with the small head), Chewbacca, Lando and Obi-Wan were strategizing the rescue. Obi-Wan had the mad Jedi skills, but Han’s shooting arm was permanently hooked in gun-fight position. So, naturally, Han Solo would be handing out the dark-side ass whooping this evening.

R2 and C3PO were holding vigil in the Millennium Falcon, parked precariously on the sofa plateau, primarily because they did not come with accessory weapons.

The Force was strong with their plan, the time was right. They would send Luke first to draw fire. With luck, he would get hit, as he usually did, and die a hero. And then… It was time for dinner.

It was 1980. I was 9 years old.

Slowly, reluctantly, I collected all of the accessory weapons, and put them in the hermetically sealed Tupperware container. I scooped up the good guys next, and carried them to my room, laying them out on the floor against the wall, ready for action. Next, I collected the bad guys and did the same. This was precise work. I was anal about these things. I could not tolerate the misuse or mishandling of toys. I mean, my god, I still have all of the accessory weapons, even the tiny shard of plastic passed off as Princess Leia’s gun…

The remaining memories of that evening have passed into obscurity. Dinner, probably, followed by homework perhaps, maybe TV. It’s impossible to say. However, the following day has been indelibly burned into my psyche forever.

I returned from school, probably ate a snack, and quickly decided to dive back into the Rescue Under the Ficus! The good guys returned to their stations, the bad guys to theirs. Various appropriate armaments were doled out. However, I discovered, there was one extra gun. It was a Storm Trooper gun, that was plain to see.

Quick count: One, two, three, four, five. Five…. Five Storm Troopers!!!??? OK. Don’t Panic. Check the room. Not there. Look again. Definitely not there. Look under the coffee table. Look in the ficus. Dig through the couch. Look under the bed. Ask mom. Ask dad. Ask sister.

Ah… sister…

No, she had no opportunity. No one visited the house while I was gone. Mom did no cleaning around the battlefield or the bedroom. We had a dog, but he lived outside.

I broke out into a cold sweat. It was gone. Storm Trooper number six was gone. Vanished. Disappeared, with no explanation. It was not where I had played with it. It was not where I had put it away. I had collected its gun, so it had definitely been there the night before, and no one, NO ONE, had a single goddamn answer for me.

To this day, I have no idea where it could have gone. I find myself driving down the freeway, or sitting in arbitration, and my mind will wander through thoughts of conspiracy and secret hordes of stolen Storm Troopers. The truth is out there, but I will never discover it. And worst of all, I still have the goddamn superfluous gun, stored securely in a sealed crate in my parents’ garage.


  1. I really think you should ask your sister again....
    As my brother will never see this, I can admit, for the first time, that it was I that put his Chewbaca figure down the toilet....he really shouldn't have messed with my Barbies

  2. Sisters are evil...

  3. Yeah Richard thought that until I started my nurse training.....then I became his best friend - I'm sure it was nothing to do with the parties in the Nurses' Home...

  4. or the free vicodin...

  5. Storm Trooper10:41 AM

    There really isn't a mystery here. I just got tired of Brian.

  6. And really, don't we ALL get tired of Brian?

  7. I believe Mr. Trooper is here, in Fletcher, North Carolina (still missing his gun, I might add).

    How he got there remains a mystery.

  8. your mom12:27 PM

    Bri, I threw away that box of old toys of yours. I hope that is OK.

    Love, Mom.

  9. I learned from the Howard Stern movie that it is important to be honest with your audience. Embellishing for effect, sure, but basic honesty is important to maintain rapport. So, why are you loathe to admit that the Star Wars figures, in their Darth Vader head storage box, including Leia, her gun, and her cape made of a 1970 orange, pink and yellow sheet are in fact under the house where they have been since Rescue in the Lego Castle a few months ago? Someday you will be able to blame these excursions on the Monkey. Not yet.

  10. Um, is someone going to say something about lessons"learned from [a] Howard Stern movie..."?

    What's that? The joke is already completely apparent from the statement itself? OK, good. For a minute there, I thought it was only me.

  11. Wait, you have a Lego castle? And a Darth Vader storage box? Holy crap! Can I come over and play?


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