“I’m so excited!”
“Do you think we’ll get to see Bigfoot?”
“The guy who sold me the tickets guaranteed it.”
“Woodruff, this is the greatest thing that’s ever happened.”
“Totally. And I can cross ‘Meet a legendary creature’ off my bucket list.”
“I thought we did that when we went parasailing with The Rock.”
“I’ve told you fifty times, that wasn’t The Rock, that guy’s name was Dwayne.”
“He looked EXACTLY like him though,” Bob said. “And he smiled just like him when you told him he should get a job as a stunt double for The Rock.”
“Yeah, but then he made that unsolicited hotel recommendation,” Woodruff replied.
“We never did find the Smackdown Hotel.”
“I don’t think it exists.”
A rusty pickup truck, with no muffler, rattled by them and billowed exhaust fumes all over sidewalk. Woodruff and Bob coughed and choked on the toxic black cloud. Bob placed his hand protectively over the basket he was carrying.
“Ew, that stinks.”
“I hope he’s not going anywhere near the jam.”
“So what’s a monster jam like, anyway?” Bob asked. “Is it like a party or a convention? Or are the monsters just really enthusiastic about jam?”
“I’m not sure,” Woodruff said. “The tickets just say Monster Jam presented by Talking Stick Resort. The poster I saw mentioned Bigfoot, Monster Mutt, Zombie, and Grave Digger.”
“Do you think Grave Digger is a monster or does he excavate monsters?”
“Good question. I’ve never heard of him. Maybe he’s a monster sidekick.”
Woodruff and Bob crossed the street, toward the arena with a colorful digital billboard flashing Monster Jam. They joined the back of a line that led through the ticketing gate. The group of men in front of them wore greasy old ball caps with black and white checkered bills. Several people in line were carrying old flags with different monster names. The man closest to them turned around with his nostrils flaring, above his bushy mustache, and sniffed at Bob.
“What is that smell?”
“Oh, those are my mullets,” Bob responded. He lifted the lid on the basket he was carrying to reveal a small tank of water inside, with dozens of silver and orange fish swimming frantically from side to side.
“Why did you bring fish to the Monster Jam?” the man asked as he plugged his nose.
“The dude who sold Woodruff the tickets said we’d better get mullets.”
“We Googled it and couldn’t decide if he meant the fish or the haircut,” Woodruff explained. “So Bob brought the fish and I got the haircut.”
Woodruff removed his furry brown hat, with googly eyes, to show his new hairdo.
“We’re not sure if the monsters are going to eat the fish or if they just like them” Bob said. “Or if they find this hairstyle appealing. We just want to make them happy, whatever the case.”
“That ain’t no mullet,” the man said, and spit a wad of chew on the ground.
“The interwebs said it is a hair style that is short on the sides,” Woodruff replied.
“Well yeah, but that ain’t it,” the man said. He turned to his friends and cupped his hands over his mouth. “Hey Hank, take off your lid!”
A tall skinny young man removed his greasy ball cap and spun around. Long luscious locks blew behind him in the breeze and flowed up to a tight crew cut.
“That’s a mullet, business in the front, party in the back,” the man said. “What ya got there is a Mohawk.”
“Do you think Bigfoot will be offended?” Bob asked.
“I don’t know ‘bout that,” the man said. “But ya can’t bring pets or food into the arena.”
The man glanced down toward Bob’s basket of fish. Bob closed the lid and held the basket behind his back as they approached the security gate. The group in front of them, which included the man with the bushy mustache and the tall, skinny, mulleted young man, passed through the metal detectors.
“What do we do?” Bob whispered back to Woodruff.
“Uh, dunno,” Woodruff replied. “Ditch the fish in the bushes and we’ll get them on the way out.”
“And go in mulletless?” Bob asked. “Are you crazy?”
“We have no choice,” Woodruff said. “Be cool.”
Bob quickly stashed the basket in the large potted bush next to the security gate and passed through with his hands in the air. Woodruff removed his belt and placed it on the table, as he followed Bob through the metal detector. The hulking security guard eyed them suspiciously but did not stop them. With forced smiles, Woodruff and Bob shuffled away from the security gate into the arena.
“That was close.”
“Tell me about it.”
“I just did.”
Sounds of revved up engines echoed through the halls of the pavilion as Woodruff and Bob approached the center of the arena.
“Are the monsters going to be driving cars?”
“Uh, I think the monsters are the cars.”
Woodruff pointed down at a black and green truck with Grave Digger written in red and white. Grave Digger jumped off a dirt ramp and drove over a row of smashed up cars. The crowd cheered and yelled as the truck’s massive tires peeled through the dirt and mud on the course.
“Look, there’s Bigfoot,” Woodruff said, pointing to a giant blue truck with big black tires and Bigfoot written on the side.
“Well that’s disappointing.”
“You’re telling me, I shaved my head for this.”
“What are we gonna do with all those fish?”
“We could open an aquarium.”
“In this economy?”
Woodruff and Bob stood in the tunnel that led into the arena and watched oversized truck after oversized truck jump and smash their way through the muddy course.
“This is worse than that time we thought we met The Rock.”
“I still say that was The Rock.”
Bob sighed deeply and Woodruff’s head slumped forward.
“You ready to go?”
“Yeah, let’s bounce.”
“It’s an expression.”
“To leave, depart, or exit.”
“Then why didn’t you just say that?”
“Why would I say that?”
“No, not that,” Woodruff said. “Say let’s leave.”
“I thought I did.”
A voice on the loud speakers said, “Boys and Girls, brace yourself for Robosaurus!”
“That sounds promising,” Bob said.
A forty-foot tall dinosaur-shaped metal beast rolled out onto the dirt track, spewing flames from its nose. It picked up a car with two hands and crushed it in its massive jaws.
“Okay, that was amazing.”
“Now we’re talking.”
“We’ve been talking.”
“It’s an expression.”
“I don’t get you.”
“Do you want to go down and meet the dino-flamy thing or not.”
“That’s what I’m talking about.”
“It’s an expression,” Woodruff said.
Bob shrugged his shoulders and they merrily pranced down the stairs toward the giant flame throwing monster.
“Do you think it likes mullets?”