One day at work about 15 years ago (we were kids...25 for me, 23 or so for Slyde), Slyde gives me a call or takes a walk over to my office and tells me that his favorite comic-book writer, Peter David, is going to be at a comic-book shop in Port Jefferson signing books for us geeks.
Peter David is an uber-prolific writer, with titles ranging from Aquaman to X-Factor and everything in between. He is also a big draw for the Trekkies for the dozen or so books he has written in the Star Trek-iverse. Slyde, as I mentioned, is a huge fan. Not as much for me, but I was a fan of his work on The Incredible Hulk and Spider-man. So we were both kinda excited to go meet the man. Slyde, in particular, wanted to ask him about a certain sub-plot that he introduced in The Incredible Hulk that he had previously written a letter about.
Wow...that looks incredibly fanboy-ish written out like that. Seriously, it wasn't that bad. Just something cool he wanted to talk to the man about. Something that they had already traded correspondence about, and Slyde wanted to see if Mr. David remembered him. That's all.
So, early one bright Autumn morning, we take a ride into Port Jefferson to see that a line had already formed outside the shop with about a half-hour to go before the signing. We dutifully take our places at the end of the line, behind this tall, unkempt younger guy and his seriously unattractive girlfriend (who was wearing a Punisher t-shirt...this becomes important in Rounds 2 and 3). The two in front of us are almost out of their skin with excitement to meet Mr. David, and they are starting to annoy every single person in the line with their geeky comments and attitudes.
Especially Slyde and I.
We even try turning our backs on the duo, but they just keep at it with inane shit like "Hey, remember when Peter David wrote about the Hulk fighting Wolverine...wasn't that cool?" Yeah, dipshit. It was cool...now stop talking to us, ok?
Now Slyde had a bit of a temper back in the day. I'm talking a long time ago...15 or so years. He has mellowed into a semi-mature adult these days. But back then all it took to send him in a rage was a jackass like this. A jackass who was about to ruin his day. Peter David hadn't even shown up yet, and he (and I, to be honest) just wanted to kick this fuckhead's ass. Just for justifying the stereotype of geeky comic-book fans to the rest of the world.
Finally, the line starts to move. Jackass has forgotten about us for the time being as he is concentrating on the task at hand. He and his Punisher-clad girlfriend get up to the table and they give him a couple of books to sign and they begin to engage in the kind of questioning that comic-book creators must absolutely hate. "So what were you trying to say about the Hulk's state of mind on page 12, panel three of issue 276 when he was playing with the clock?" Just inane shit. See the beginning and ending of Mallrats for clarification.
He was starting to hold up the line, so a store clerk came up and asked him to move on so that Slyde, I and the rest of the line behind us can get our shit signed. He says "Oh, sure...I'll just move over here so we can keep talking." And that's what he does. He stands to the side and he keeps talking while Mr. David, trying to be nice, replies with a lot of "Uh huhs" while quickly signing the rest of our books. You could tell the man just wanted to get out of there at this point.
Slyde is furious now. Peter David signs his books while barely looking up to see us because he has this asshole chatterbox on his hip, firing one stupid question after another. He tries to interrupt, but asshole is having none of it. After a half-minute or so of waiting, the store clerk comes up to us and asks us to move along.
Slyde and I aren't going to be beaten that easily. We move off to the side, but this asshole keeps on talking. And Slyde just keeps getting angrier and angrier. You wouldn't like him when he gets angry...just like the Hulk. After 5 or 10 minutes of this we finally decide to get out of there. I literally don't think I have ever seen Slyde this mad. He was so pissed on the ride home, and I have to say that I probably wasn't a big help there. Because when he gets mad, I start laughing. And it just makes him angrier.
Now, as 20-somethings will do, we begin to come up with stupid names for this tool. We settle on "Moriarty" - a nod to Arthur Conan Doyle, and Slyde on that day swears that he will someday get his revenge. Vengeance will be his!
Next: "Someday" comes a few months later at a convention at the Nassau Coliseum.