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Running Man

At the time, I happened to be in an interesting rockband during college to make ends meet...

The gig was at an open air Pig Roast in very rural Northern Minnesota, in the middle of nowhere, catering to a hoard of raging locals. The atmosphere was insane.

Our stage was two hay carts in front of a huge dirt edifice that surrounded the entire field. Darkness had replaced the blinding summer sun. The soaring humidity had remained, which amplified the stench of two day old sweating bodies, smoked pig, and stale spilled beer, which only added to the misery of swarming, intelligent, and accurate 4 pound mosquitos.

Our stage was illuminated by two pick-up trucks, lights on, aimed in the general vicinity of the stage.

The night wore on, the band played on and previously shy people miraculously morphed into seasoned Broadway dancers.

It was becoming a truly weird scene: hundreds of leering lurching people, some coupling behind the dirt edifice, some attempting a lewd form of dancing.

Dirt and dust were everywhere...

The majority of the crowd was, by now, completely wrecked, howling lustily at the ecstasy of the moment. We were buzzing along on some song, the PA at full tilt volume, people everywhere...absolute pandemonium..

It was at that moment the band members began notice one individual who was enjoying the full effects of his euphoric state: he found it amusing to simply run circles around the stage. He was festooned with a full smile and was laughing loud enough to be heard over the din of drunken music. Once and a while this individual would stop, just outside the beams of light from the truck headlights, jump laterally into the darkness and reappear again in the light, stopping to stoop in full gut laughter. He recomposed himself to a focused state and returned to running around the stage. This pattern repeated itself in an endless loop.

If you saw the scene from a distance, you would have noted that every member of the band was literally following his progress, around and around the stage. The rhythm of his running legs actually controlled the tempo and meter of the songs played.

All this time the lead singer of our group, his facilities gradually eroded , was lost in drunken, pathetic, rock god repose. His mind was lost in the belief that he was, in fact, Jim Morrison. He was in the moment, and he completed this vision with dramatic gyrations, bends, twists and groans, completely oblivious to anything beyond the channeling of Crazy Jim, at his finest.

The song was nearing the end and the music began to crescendo, building momentum, climaxing, all in time with the relentless patter of the Running Man.

All of sudden the singer came out of his stupor. He turned to me, threw the microphone on the stage and declared:

"I am outta here..."

He took two steps back and LAUNCHED off the stage into the air. He was a big athletic his efforts to fly were manifest. The man threw himself upward and outward into space, arms and legs in front of his body, amplifying the full effect of inertia. We were literally looking UP at him from our vantage point.

And then, and I swear this is true, the Running Circles Man, appeared out of the darkness, laughing like a hyena, his head back and running at full bore.

The singer began his downward arc.

Somehow through the din of madness and chaos found all around the stage, each band member somehow simultaneously focused on the scene that was about to unfold.

We simultaneously sensed and recognized the significance of the moment.

We held the last note...

....cymbals crashing, amplifiers raging until the very moment of impact.

The collision was legendary.

The combined physics of inertia, linear speed, Newton's gravity and unbelievable synchronicity culminated in a skin slapping, dust churning and bone crunching event as the Running Circles Man and lead singer collided in perfect unison. The two self propelled human beings hit each other with such force that an audible gasp came from the crowd.

When the dust literally cleared, the singer was found in a fetal heap, completely unconscious. Immediately, some kind souls began to peel him off the ground.

The Running Circles Man pounced up, wide-eyed, gained his footing and immediately began running an eerily focused Zig Zag pattern directly through the crowd, flailing arms above his head, and screaming incoherently. He found the line of darkness past the truck lights, stopped to peer suspiciously at the crowd, dashed out of sight and was never seen again.

At that very moment, when the entire unmoving crowd was stumped into silence and absolutely nothing stirred, our drummer hit one single, definitive cymbal crash.

That was THE funniest moment of my life.