It is nearing the end of an afternoon screening of The Expendables II when a sonorous voice, slurred and thick with indignation, rips through the darkened theater:
“Aaain’t that some SHIT!”
One-by-one, the sea of searching eyes settle on a large, solitary figure hulking in the back row. A match flares, throwing the silhouette of a stupendous top hat into momentary relief. The ember of a thick cigar casts an ominous glow over the face lurking beneath the brim . . . and a gasp of recognition shoots through the audience—
For there, shrouded in shadow and smoke, sits none other than The Master of Disaster. The King of Sting. The Dancing Destroyer. The Prince of Punch. The One and Only, The Count of Monte Fisto . . . Apollo Creed.
It is Carl Weathers. And he is drunk.
“STALLOOONNNE!” he cries out, rising unsteadily to his feet. His silken robe of stars and stripes billows with frightening majesty as he reaches back and hurls something at the screen. A terrible storm of Jujubes rains down on the audience as he takes one last puff of his cigar, letting it drop into a cup of Orange Fanta the size of an ancient caldera. “Musta lost my phone number again, huh muthafuckah? I’m coming for YOUUUU, BITCH!”
Face beading with sweat, he begins shadowboxing furiously, shuffling his feet and throwing combinations with intense, trance-like resolve. The momentum of a particularly vicious right hook spins him around and sends him sprawling into the aisle, where he begins rolling toward the front of the theater, attracting discarded confections like the world’s largest and most patriotic lint brush.
Thudding to a stop behind a row of seats on the landing, Weathers lets out a long, whale song of a groan. He shakes his head and draws himself upright, Skittles and Milk Duds coming unglued and falling at his feet like proselytes cowering before a furious god.
Bathed in the light and sound of a tremendous on-screen explosion, he rages defiantly: “I see how it is! No love for Jericho Action motherfuckin’ Jackson in this piece-of-shit sequel ensemble, huh?" he cries, stalking the aisle. "No love for Chubbs from motherfuckin’ Happy Gilmore?” He nods, a menacing grin spreading across his face. “That's right! Range, motherfuckers, range! No love for . . . Weaver . . . ?” He glances around expectantly, as audience members shrug and confer amongst themselves like a stumped trivia team. A noticeable twitch has developed under the star's left eye.
“Force Ten From motherfuckin’ Navarone, goddamn it!” he bellows, slamming his fists down on a seatback, sending his hat toppling to the floor. He snatches it up, only to have it fall off again. This happens three times. “No love for Dillon from the goddamn PREDATOR!?” he finally resumes, full of pride and a tinge of desperation.
“Fuckin’ a, Lando!” An enthusiastic voice shouts out from the crowd. Weathers freezes, head cocked like a man struggling to remember a name. The eyes of a nearby usher narrow shrewdly as he recedes behind a velvet curtain. The actor looks poised to explode as the credits start to roll. Turning to the screen, his chin sinks to his chest. His great shoulders slouch, and begin to heave in time to a soft, rhythmic sobbing, which is joined, momentarily, by the unmistakable sound of urine running through sequins.