He handed over the priority pass. The boarding attendant glanced at it thoroughly, then she waved him through. Fifty or so people groaned as he strolled triumphantly ahead of them. I love you AMOK,
Gambit thought smugly.
The robotic rascal rightly recommended Remmy to rebuff this roadblock.
“Don’t stick your hands or feet outside the cart at any time,” a slovenly Disneyland official in a denim jacket said, reaching over Gambit’s shoulder to buckle the safety belt. “The Walt Disney company is not responsible for loss of life or limb on any of its rides. Sign this waver,” he handed Gambit a nondisclosure agreement.
“Why is dere a section for disembowelment?
” He read the waver through a pair of nifty turtle-shell reading glasses. “Dis is a tour.”
Grabbing a nearby rider who had already signed the waver, the official chucked her over the railing. Gambit could hear screaming and growling after she hit the unseen bottom, followed by a muted chewing sound. “Ewoks.”
“Where’d you want me t’ sign?”
“Here, here, and initial here.”
Scrawling unenthusiastically, Gambit handed the papers to the notary public standing to his right, who notarized the document with pride.
“Thank you for your patronage.”
“In the beginning, there was nothing,” the announcer boomed. Gambit slouched in the slow-moving shuttle, scrutinizing the scenery for signs of secrecy. “And then... there was George Lucas.”
A widening beam of spotlight revealed a wax replica of Lucas, in a state of pure Zen beneath a powerful natural backdrop. “And he said, ‘Let There Be Star Wars!
Half the kids started screaming as the theme music blared, and the cart picked up speed. The announcer went on and on about some kind of “ultimate Jedi plan,” but Gambit wasn’t listening; R2D2 was waiting here, somewhere, with key mission data.
“My daddy says this is the best movie ever!
Trying to avoid eye contact with the youngster, Gambit pretended to be fast asleep (no easy feat on an amusement park ride). But alas, the child continued pestering him with generic statements and declarations of happiness: “This movie has robots!
Have you ever seen so many storm troopers?! This is the greatest ride ever!
As he strongly considered using the Lucas statue as a human shield to fight off Ewoks in a brave escape attempt, the lights abruptly dimmed. The robust theme music froze on a single, lonely C#, and all around him were signs of the apocalypse. What now?
“Wow, this is the best ride breakdown ever,
Gambit fumbled for the safety clip, but his hand stopped when the ride whirred back to life.
“Sorry about that brief delay, folks,” a new announcer chortled as neon lights flared. “We’ve been experiencing power outages...”
The shuttle cars let off a hissing sound, and the ride stopped once more. All around him, tourists were getting restless, talking about rebelling and whatnot.
“Sorry again folks, but the Star Tours are offline for today,” yet another announcer declared. “Our utilities liaison reports power outages across California. We’ve had to shut down some of our rides, but you will all receive full refunds. Please wait for Disneyland officials to sedate the Ewoks before you attempt to leave the ride. Thank you for your understanding.”
Gambit was about to blow a gasket when he saw a life-size audio-animatronic R2D2 in front of a neon plate. That plate must be the clue!
Somersaulting backwards onto the display stage, Gambit grabbed the sign and converted the hydrogen atoms inside it into pure energy.
The neon gases heated and swirled; bright orange letters lit up, making him smile like a baby in an industrial park.
“‘Come see Disneyland’s tallest ride, Space Mountain!’” Gambit read. Success!
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” Down by the shuttles, a security guard was waving a flashlight directly at Gambit’s face. Several of the departing tourists turned to look, but the threat of unsedated Ewoks still roaming the passageways encouraged them to move.
“Oh, uh... I was jus’ lookin’ for...” This wouldn’t end well; the heat from his energy transmutation had melted the R2D2 replica, and pools of wax had begun to solidify all over his sneakers. “I’m with de repair crew. Dis sign is busted, look at how it melted de statue.”
“Where’s your Disneyland ID?”
Scenarios played out in Gambit’s mind, each one more bleak than the last. Finally, the perfect plan came into his frontal cortex. “Dere’s no time for dat! See here?” He pointed to the neon wall light, which suddenly went out as he stopped the energy transfer. “De neon is mixing with ten kinds of hydrogen. If I can’t fix it, we’ll have another Hindenburg on our hands. An’ speakin’ of hands, yours are starting to look a little soapy.
The guard turned beet red and huffed off. Works every time.
Gambit jumped down off the stage and galloped full speed through a zigzag pattern of unconscious Ewoks, following the retreating tourists closely—but not too
closely, he didn’t want them to mistake him for one of their own and bond
with him—and swaggered jubilantly from the terminus.