November 25, 2005
Week 30 - Hero Worship 2
Harry sits in his office staring at the display case that hangs on the wall. The case is empty.
Rantz walks in. "Well, I checked all around the office," he says. "No sign of my laptop."
Harry nods. "What about Kagen?"
"Nowhere to be seen. He obviously stole it. And there's more... Celeste told me that her wallet is missing from her purse. The bastard must've ransacked the office while we were all sitting in the conference room."
Harry waves in the direction of the display case.
"Oh no!" Rantz says, as he looks at it. "He got your action figures!"
"Jesus, those things meant... I know they meant a lot to you." Rantz reaches for the phone on the desk. "To hell with this! Let's call the police!"
Harry shakes his head and blocks Rantz's hand. "Let me tell a story, something I've never told anyone before in my life..." He shuts his eyes and then opens them again. "When I was a kid... I was always... you know... I was fat... and, I guess I was awkward... I wasn't what you'd call popular, I spent a lot of time alone... But I had this fantasy... The earth gets attacked by an alien species that has this paralysis generator. It puts the whole population into a coma. But I've got... sort of a genetic mutation that gives me immunity. So, it looks like I'm the only human who's conscious when these crazy little bug eyed monsters land and start to take over the planet. But then I discover that I'm not completely on my own. There's one other person with the same immunity I have. It's this beautiful girl. So, we meet, and we decide to work together to screw up those aliens' plans. And, we do it... We figure out where the paralysis generator is and we sabotage it. Everyone else wakes up and beats the crap out of the invaders. The girl and I become heroes and, naturally, by this time, we've fallen in love."
Rantz stares at him. "I don't understand..."
"Listen... I must've told that story to myself about five hundred times. It got me through some pretty rough spots... But the thing is... I didn't really come up with it on my own... It was from a novel... my favorite book of all time, 'Two Against A Planet'."
Rantz takes a deep breath. "By William Kagen?"
Harry stands up and walks to the display case. He rubs his hand against an empty shelf. "I'll start a new collection. The company'll buy you a new laptop, reimburse Celeste for whatever she lost... But we're not calling the police on William Kagen, you understand?"
After a few moments, Rantz nods. He stands up, pats Harry on the shoulder, and leaves.
Harry sighs and stares at the empty display case.