Welcome back to Snake Plissken Month, where we are supposed to celebrate Snake Plissken, but I didn’t because I was really nervous about writing a part 2 and not doing as well as I did on part 1. Hey, I’m human. Still, I hope you’re all enjoying the month of Snake, celebrating in your own black-clad way.
If this is your first time joining us, read Part 1!
With only 16 minutes left, Snake has no time to be choosy. He heads for the nearest of the three Starbucks, the smallest building on the left corner. He bursts through the entrance and sends a display of environmentally-friendly, made-from-recycled-plastic travel mugs flying across the store. They ricochet off of walls, customers, and Police Commissioner Bob Hauk’s shiny bald head.
Snake does a double-take at Hauk.
“Hauk,” he hisses.
“Hello, Snake. I’ve been waiting for you.”
“I know, but how did you get here?”
“I have a car.”
Snake’s eyes narrow. A low, raspy growl reverberates from his throat. “If you have a car, why did you send me?”
“That’s not important. What’s important is the syrup –” A sly smile spreads across Hauk’s face. “ – and this place is all out.”
“I’m going to beat your ass, Hauk.”
Hauk laughs. “But you don’t have a weapon.”
Snake grabs a bag of chocolate-coated blueberries from the nearest display case and rips open the top. “Everything’s a weapon to me, Hauk!” Snake lobs a blueberry. The hard, purple confection beans Hauk between the eyes and bounces away.
“Ow! You’re a dick, Snake!”
Snake hisses a laugh. “Sticks and stones, Hauk.” He chucks another candy.
Hauk ducks, narrowly missing another hit, jumps back behind the counter, and sprints for the door. More purple candies pelt the walls, following Hauk to the employee break room, where he ducks out a back door.
Snake pops a candy into his mouth and checks his wrist timer. 14 minutes. He turns away and stalks back outside, where the intersection collision has completely gridlocked traffic. Two police cruisers are parked on the opposite side of the street, their red and blue lights flashing. Drivers are out of their cars, shouting at each other and at the police to clear the roads. Someone sees Snake and points. People turn and stare. More people point.
Snake shrugs back and crosses the street. Horns blare as he weaves between the cars and approaches the next Starbucks, a square brick building with a drive-thru window. By now, he’s feeling a little discomfort in his stomach and he’s thinking about a bathroom.
As he approaches the door, a clerk in a green apron is taping up a sign that says “Temporarily Closed.” Snake pulls on the door anyway, because people who follow signs are sissies. Unfortunately the door does not open. “We’re closed,” the clerk shouts through the door. “Some bald jerk cherry-bombed the toilet. It’s a mess in here.”
Snake’s eyes narrow into angry slits. He hisses, “I’m gonna make him sorry.”
The clerk shouts, “What?”
“I’m gonna make Hauk sorry.”
The clerk presses his ear against the glass door. “I still can’t hear you. What are you doing?”
“Playing with myself!” He turns away and growls, “I’m going in.”
The third Starbucks is on the next corner, inside a Barnes & Noble bookstore. Despite the late hour, it appears to be open and very busy. Snake dodges around the cars and jogs into the parking lot, noting a long line of customers inside who are waiting for a midnight book release. Snake storms into the store and looks around for the coffee counter. He sees it at the far end of the store, tucked behind the magazine section. He tries pushing through the crowd but it’s so thick that he can barely move. The crowd becomes agitated. People start screaming at him, refusing to move in case they lose their place in line.
He ducks into the magazine rack and grabs the latest copies of Guns & Ammo and Maxim magazines. He rolls them up and holds one in each hand. He steps back out into the aisle, arms swinging wildly, yet pointedly, at customers.
Customers start screaming, desperate to get away from this black, eye-patched whirlwind.
A floor manager pushes toward him. “Sir,” he says sternly. “Please —”
Whap! Slap! Slappety-slap! Whap!
The manager wails a high-pitched scream and runs out of Snake’s arm range. Customers follow his example and the crowd parts like Moses and the Red Sea. Snake halts his assault and tosses the copy of Guns & Ammo back over his shoulder. He starts to throw the Maxim, but notices Malin Akerman on the cover. He stuffs it into his back pocket for later.
Snake likes blonde, butt-kicking ladies.
He leaves the bookstore behind, stepping through a small opening between two low walls that encompass the coffee space. He dodges tall racks stuffed with useless impulse purchase items like key chains, bookmarks, and ceramic mugs. A large group has gathered on the left side in a tight circle. Some people are even standing on tables and chairs to see into the middle of the crowd.
There’s no one at the counter so Snake elbows his way into the group – literally. Pained shouts and cries erupt around Snake and the crowd swells, trying to escape, but the bodies are packed too tightly.
A male voice shouts over the crowd, “Stop!”
The crowd stills. Their voices fall silent. Everyone stands frozen, as if waiting for further instructions.
The voice commands again, “Move!”
The crowd backs up slowly, orderly, widening the circle, until Snake finds himself standing face to face with a thin man in a green apron. A sailor’s hat made from newspaper rests on his head and a metal chain with a Pokemon medallion hangs around his neck.
“Snake Plissken,” he says. “I heard you were coming. I also heard you were dead and I thought you’d be taller. Do you know who I am?”
Snake shrugs. “Of course. You’re the Duke of Starbucks, A-Number One.”
“That’s right.” His eyes widen suddenly and he leans in, as if about to share a secret. “Actually, this isn’t a real Starbucks. I mean, we sell Starbucks coffee, but like, we’re actually Barnes and Noble. You know?”
“Yeah.” Snake jerks his head in the direction of the barista counter. “I’m here for the sugar-free vanilla syrup.”
Duke straightens again. He nods. “Yeah, Hauk said you’d be coming for it. There’s only one problem.” He holds up a white iPad. “You’re going to have to compete for it.”
He tosses the iPad to Snake, who catches it with one hand. The crowd murmurs appreciatively.
“What’s this?” Snake snarls.
“It’s an iPad.”
“iPads are overpriced pieces of crap. I prefer electronics that run open-source firmware.”
Duke puts a hand on his hip. “This is a Barnes and Noble, Snake. We don’t have that here.”
“Fine, what do I have to do? Beat you with this until you give me syrup? Because I can do that.”
“No, Snake.” Duke reaches behind him and produces another iPad. “You’re going to have to Draw Something! No one’s ever beaten me, Snake. What do you think of that?”
Snake glares back. His voice is a threatening growl. “I think you better not have stuffed this iPad into your pants before giving it to me,” he says, holding up the iPad, “because if you did, I’m going to come over there and beat your ass.”
“Of course not. Now play!”
Snake looks at the iPad in his hand. User “DukeisAwesome” begins to draw a crude stick figure with frizzy hair, then a second stick figure with an X over it, then a crescent moon. Squiggles are added to the space around everything. The picture is indiscernible. It looks like a kindergarten assignment.
Duke looks up, triumphant. “Do you know what I’ve drawn, Snake? If you don’t, you lose!”
“It’s obvious,” Snake says nonchalantly. “You’ve drawn existential nihilism; the idea that life is without significance, that human beings are without purpose and unable to change the totality of existence.”
The crowd oohs and aahs. Duke’s eyes widen and his cheeks flush a deep crimson.
Snake smiles. “Is it my turn now?”
He draws. His image is of a bearded stick figure with soft, feathery hair and an eye patch beating the crap out of another stick figure wearing a Starbucks apron. Snake draws tiny droplets of blood flying everywhere and a large pool on the ground. On the figure wearing a Starbucks apron, he draws tiny x’s for eyes. A red tongue lolls out of the beaten stick figure’s mouth. The crowd gasps and murmurs fearfully.
Snake looks up and smiles. “Now what did I draw?”
As Duke stares at his iPad, his confident stance changes. His shoulders slump and he hugs his arms across himself protectively. The crowd cheers. A chant starts to emerge in their cheers. Before long, everyone is shouting Snake’s name.
“You win,” Duke says. “You’re the Duke now, Snake. A-Number One.”
“The name’s Plissken. Now where’s the syrup?”
The crowd cheers and swarms around him, clapping him on the shoulder and shaking his hand. Someone hands him a bottle of sugar-free syrup.
Snake checks his wrist timer. He has only 4 minutes to return to Hauk. There’s no way he’s going to make it in time. Even if he hijacked a car, the street is impassible.
“I gotta get out of here,” Snake says.
The former Duke perks up. “I’ve got a glider on the roof. It’s all yours, but there’s no wind.”
“I don’t need wind,” Snake says, tossing his magical mane of feathered hair. “I’m Snake Plissken.”
Snake follows him to the stairwell.
Will Snake make it back to Hauk in time? Will he ever find a bathroom? Stay tuned for next week — for real this time, because Snake Month is almost over.