The Weekly Serial Adventures of The Red Rocket! (Episode 5: A Fullscreen too far!)

It was a typical night in Holly Buster, a small video rental store. Customers milled about aimlessly through the shelves upon shelves of movies, waiting for a particularly flashy DVD cover to catch their eye. The employees – there were just three of them manning the store that night – stood bored and tired at the checkout counter.

A large, beer-gutted man barreled down the wall of new releases, searching eagerly for that new kickass Steven Segal movie. The suspenders that struggled to keep his pants aloft strained against his girth, threatening to snap violently at any given moment. Luckily, this man was a clever one and had also seen fit to wear a belt (just in case his suspenders did, in fact, decide to give way under his immense belly). His wild, hairy visage scanned the shelves frantically until he found it – the DVD he had been searching for.

It was a film (if you could really call it that, I suppose) entitled “Crimson Bladed Torpedo Dawn,” and the cover promised barrels upon barrels of non-stop, mediocre action on the part of stationary beef-tub Steven Segal. His squinty, lifeless eyes peered out from the lumpy confines of his slab-like face, which was home to an expression best described as “hungry confusion.” However, he was wielding a pair of Desert Eagle pistols, and there was a vehicle of some sort exploding behind him. Whether or not Mr. Segal was responsible for this explosion was left up to consumer, but it was fairly safe to assume that the carnage was a product of his reckless automatic-gunfire.

The man simply couldn’t be happier. He grasped the DVD in his sweaty mitts, his head swimming with images of Mr. Segal kicking a ninja in the face, jumping on a motorcycle to avoid a large explosion and eating a meatball sub. But then something caught his eye – something he hadn’t anticipated.

A thin bar of gray cresting the top-edge of the case, containing a short line of black text: Widescreen Special Edition.

The man’s beady eyes narrowed to slits, his beer gut swelled (his suspenders protesting with the loud creaking noise of elastic on the verge of snapping). He gripped the DVD in his steak-like hands and loped up to the front counter, where the employees were already playing “Not It” as to who was going to assist him.

A young, skinny man by the name of Ted was the unlucky loser of the cutthroat gamble known as “Not It,” so he smiled as cheerfully as he could given his job and greeted the man warmly.

“Evening, sir. How can I help—“

“You can help me, son,” the man croaked in an overpowering Southern drawl, “By explaining why this here show is only in Widescreen. Is that the kind with the black bars?”

“Yes, it is, actually. However, Widescreen is actually the preferred standard, given that Fullscreen DVDs actually crop out about 40% of the theater image.”

The man’s face reddened. “Don’t throw your statistics at me, son! I was tossing statistics around before you were squashin’ grasshoppers!”

Ted, not having the slightest idea what the man meant with this absurd statement, was a bit taken aback. He sputtered slightly and struggled to gain a foothold in the argument. “Sir, please. I’m afraid to say we don’t carry Fullscreen versions of a lot of films – it’s a dying format. Widescreen is the standard now for many film distributors—“

His suspenders achieved what they had been threatening for years. They snapped, sending shards of metal buckle at blurring speeds in every direction. The helpless employees ducked to avoid the deadly suspender projectiles. “If there ain’t no Fullscreen editions of ‘Crimson Bladed Torpedo Dawn’ in this store, I’m haulin’ my ass over to Blocky Wood!”

Blocky Wood was Holly Buster’s evil, corporate rival. They lost dozens of idiot customers to Blocky Wood every week. These customers were never missed.

“You just lost a customer!” he shouted, throwing the Widescreen copy of “Crimson Bladed Torpedo Dawn” across the store. This DVD was never found but, like the customer, was not missed.

The tank-of-a-man headed for the door, his pants clinging desperately to his hips without much help from his belt. But as he reached the door, he found that a large, muscled and crimson-suited masked-man was blocking it.

“Hey now, get outta’ my way, bub!” the man bellowed, fully intent on barreling right over him.

“I believe the words you’re searching for, you ape-like, ignorant oaf, are ‘excuse me, sir,’” the masked man replied coolly, not budging from his position.

“Don’t talk to me like that, you tight-wearin’ ninny! If you’re not fixin’ to move, I’ll plow right through you!”

The man prepared to make good on his threat, hunching over and lowering his skull like a battering ram. He grunted, like a bull, and charged, again, much like a bull. He approached the stubborn upstart at a violent speed, aiming to prove his manly worth much like a large, stupid goat would.

But at the last possible moment, the masked-man produced a great, rounded shield, which the bull-man promptly collided with. He fell to the ground heavily, not stirring, unconscious. His belt snapped.

The unnamed hero looked to the stunned Holly Buster employees, flashed them a brief but none-the-less dazzling grin and disappeared into the night.

“Who was that guy?” the shift leader asked, looking wide-eyed at the collapsed man.

“I don’t know, but he just made my day.”

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