I go to the same bar every Tuesday to partake in what can sometimes be labeled as a “karaoke extravaganza.” Last Tuesday was one of those nights. Not due to it being extremely crowded or because of any specific karaoke performance. It was because of a small group of unrelated attendees that all seemed to fall into one category. I labeled them the “All American X-Men Rejects.” This is how they gained that moniker.
I’m not sure if these particular quasi-mutants had been there every other week, but that night they were unable able to escape the spotlight due to a lack of other raucous goings on. With such a sparse crowd, they were positioned front and center.
First, there was the guy in the wheelchair whose head was haphazardly cocked sideways and slightly toward the ceiling. Even though his gaze was rarely pointed at anyone in particular, he was constantly issuing a serious 50 yard stare. I had seen him in the bar before, but I had never noticed his stare or his affinity for rolling back and forth in a rhythmic fashion. I remember him, because he is a handicapped fellow with an interesting taste in the songs he “sings” at karaoke. I’m not sure if he has a truly dark sense of humor, is completely oblivious to his song choices, or is just a really big fan of George Strait’s classic country song, “The Chair.” His song choice, however, was not the reason why he made it onto the X-men Rejects team. No, it was his icy gaze. As he rolled from point-to-point throughout the bar, people just seemed to sense his presence and they exhibited an almost hypnotic reaction as he wheeled toward them. He parted the sparse crowd without uttering a word or lifting a finger. It was either paraplegic mind control, or common human decency. Based on my experience in this bar, it had to be the former.
The next near-mutant was an awkward man, who stood no taller than 5’6”, and had a bit of hunch just below the nape. He continuously scurried back and forth across the dance floor and karaoke stage with reckless abandon. His lady-friend was a mammoth in comparison to him, and seemed to rumble about whilst constantly bumping into anything that came across her path. He was a speed-freak who contained an endless amount of energy and gusto, and she was a lady mammoth that contained an endless amount of cholesterol. Together they cleared out about 200 square feet of space for themselves near the entrance. All those who entered the bar that night, did so at their own risk.
It was the 4th and final man who snuck his way into the group toward the end of the evening. He had been incognito most of the night, never revealing his semi-mutant power until much later. To describe him as indescribable would be unnecessary and misleading. It wasn’t that words could not be formed into a sentence that would fall short of a true portrayal. Nope, it was that there was nothing to note about him whatsoever. I think he was wearing a t-shirt.
Either way, T-Shirt Guy (or TSG) made a decision to order a Flaming Dr. Pepper shot for himself. He did not have a lady, a friend or even a lady friend with whom he could share the wonderful buy two shots, get one free special. Nope, it was just for him. Keith the bartender expertly poured the amaretto liqueur and 151-proof rum into a shot glass, and walked away thinking his job was done. It was not. He was going to be needed again very shortly. TSG decided he wanted to test the heat and flame’s authenticity by sticking his index finger into the shot glass. The shot glass was filled to the rim with a tasty alcoholic concoction, so there was no room for anything else in the glass container. TSG dipped his digit into the liquid nonetheless, and the density of his finger displaced the flaming liquid out of the shot glass and onto the surface of the bar. Just as Archimedes did in the 3rd century BC, I screamed “Eureka!” Not because I am such a fan of fluid displacement (although, I am), but rather because of what TSG did next.
The liquid that was spilled onto the bar was quickly extinguished by Keith the bartender (see, I told you he’d be back), but the flaming finger of TSG had yet to be remedied. His first reaction was to raise his hand above his head and bring it downward in a swift motion. This sent a tiny fireball crashing onto the floor, where it would soon run out of fuel, and fade away. His finger still contained enough 151-proof rum to stay lit, so TSG shook it back and forth, sending tiny flecks of fire this way and that. It was at that point that I realized I wasn’t surrounded by a group of X-men rejects. I was standing right in the middle of their self realizations of true power.
They needed someone to lead them, and to teach them how they could use their powers for good instead of evil and general disarray. It should have been me. I think I would be up for that job. I could show the two-wheeled mind controller how to focus his skills on convincing bar tenders to give me free drinks or to get girls to unwittingly give their phone numbers to my friends Zuke and Chris. Speed Freak would channel his endless energy to keeping our co-favorite watering hole clean and tidy. I’m sure he could have just as much fun with a broom and mop as he was having walking and swaying aimlessly that evening. Lady-Mammoth could serve her purpose as well. My friend Bobby usually worked as a bouncer most nights at McCabes, and I assume he will need to take a vacation someday. She could fill in for him, or perhaps work alongside him should the attendance at McCabes rise in response to the notoriety of the All American X-men Rejects. Finally, TSG would make a great sideshow and daily draw to any local drinking establishment. That is, unless he burns himself alive whilst honing his skills. I’d pay to see that though. I really would, don’t judge me.
Alas, there is no time in my schedule for such things. I couldn't give them the expert tutelage they needed to truly reach their full potential. They will have to settle for being X-men rejects, and the source of my weekly entertainment. I think they would be okay with that. That is, if someone told them about my vision of their grandeur. Come to think of it, don’t tell them. I like them they way they are. McCabes Pub of Bradenton’s All American X-Men Rejects.