Darth Maul Goes to the Newport Folk Festival
Darth Maul was lying around in his boxers, sucking on an Otter Pop ("Our Motto: We Use Real Otters!") and rubbing My Apprentice's belly when Sidious waltzed in.
"Ah, Maul, there you are," Sidious cackled, making Maul feel ill, as always. "I have a new assignment that will hone your rage." He rubbed his hands together gleefully.
"What is it this time, Master?" Maul asked. He didn't even bother to stop rubbing My Apprentice's belly. No matter how bad the assignment was, it couldn't be worse than sitting in his apartment on a Sunday afternoon, listening to his neighbor and Qui-Gon "The Cross-Dresser" Jinn going at it all day. He suspected that Obi-Wan was hooking up speakers to amplify the sound toward the hole in the wall between their apartments.
"I'm sending you to a music festival, Maul," Sidious said.
Maul couldn't understand the glee in Sidious's expression. What was so bad about a music festival? He imagined the havoc he could wreak in the mosh pit. He could light some fires, start a riot. "What music festival, my Master?" he asked. Maybe it would be the Death Metal tour he'd be hearing about.
Sidious cackled again. "The Newport Folk Festival."
Maul shoved through the huge crowd at the gate of the Palpatine's Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt Corporate Sponsorship Newport Folk Festival. He pushed aside women in long flowing skirts, Wookiees with bright purple fur and nose rings, men in long flowing skirts, and bounty hunters with "peace" tattoos. There were tons of really bodacious babes wearing short-shorts and bras, but Maul had suspicions about their extremely short hair, suspicions that were borne out by rainbow and triangle jewelry, and their tendency to stick their tongues down each others' throats at a moment's notice. Also some of them had stickers on their bags that said "No, we don't do men. And this includes you, Jinn."
The traffic had been awful--the route to the festival grounds routed through a shopping district, a children's playground, and a hardware store--and Maul was really looking forward to sitting down and working his way through the large beer cooler he'd brought with him. As he reached the ticket gate, the very large ticket keeper pointed at the sign beside him:
"No large coolers. No Ewoks. No blasters. No capitalists. No employees of Haagen-Dasz. And NO ALCOHOL. P.S. Our bouncers are immune to Whammies. This means you, Jinn."
Maul's depression overwhelmed him. How would he sit through a day of folk music without his Pete's Wicked Ale? Could the day possibly get worse?
"Hi, neighbor! Fancy meeting you here," said a perky voice behind him.
It started to rain.
Maul and Obi-Wan picked their way across a sea of blankets, towels, and lawn chairs, all covered with irrepressibly perky folkies wearing bright yellow rain ponchos. Though the music hadn't started, people were hugging each other and singing along to some music only they could hear. Probably they'd all been to the Jedi Happy Farms. If this day got any worse, Maul would end up there, too.
"Gosh," said the twit, looking around. "We got here so late, we'll have to sit way in the back. We won't be able to see anything!" His voice rose to a near wail on the last word, and tears began to well in his eyes. Maul soaked up the waves of misery rising from the padawan. The Dark Side rose in him, hungry for pain. Maybe this would be okay, after all. Maul looked at the area where he and Obi-Wan would have to sit. The only free space on the festival grounds was very, very far away. Mercifully far from the music. Mercifully far from the falafel stand. Mercifully very far from the "Hutts for reproductive choice" booth.
Right in front of the porta-potties.
To be specific, right in front of 2.5 miles of porta-potties, with a 300-yard line of whining, sniveling padawans crossing their legs and hopping around, churning up the grass into one giant, vile mud field.
"We're sitting up front," said Maul. He grabbed Obi-Wan's hand (only to make sure he had someone to send for coffee while he napped, not because he wanted to spend time with the geeky padawan) and charged through the field of folkies.
"Oh, Maul," gushed the twit, racing to keep up. "You're so good to me."
When they were about 50 yards from the front of the stage, Maul stopped in horror. Ahead of them, the mass of humanity had packed itself in so tightly that a gravity well had formed around it. The front rows were a pulsing mass of what had once been living beings. Now it was a giant amorphous blob, spotted here and there with lawn chairs and "Indigo Gungan Girls" t-shirts.
"Er... let's sit back here," said Maul, backing away from the crowd-thing.
Obi-Wan's gorgeous jaw shut with an audible snap. "Um. Yes. Close enough." He looked around. Here, on the outskirts of the gravity well, folkies were packed dangerously close together. "Where?"
Maul found a space about grass about four inches square between several other blankets. "Here," he said, and shook out his black Eeyore beach comforter. "We shall sit here." He lay the blanket down so that it covered most of the blankets immediately surrounding it, as well as a sleeping woman in a lawn chair.
The resident of one of the blankets approached him. She had a gorgeous body, and Maul could see lots of it--she wasn't wearing a shirt and her white bra had soaked through with rain, emphasizing the piercings. "Hey, you!" the gorgeous woman yelled in Maul's face. "Just because society allows you to manipulate the patriarchy for your own benefit in the corporate workplace, doesn't give you a right to impinge on my space here. Bugger off."
Maul waved his hand at her with his most suave whammy.
"We can sit here."
"You can sit here."
"You like me."
"I ... like you."
"You do boys."
"I ... I ..." The woman rested her head in her hands. "Oooh, I feel sick. I think I'll go sit by the porta-potties." She gathered up her blankets and left. Maul wasn't sure if he should be outraged at the failure of his whammy or pleased at how much extra space they'd just gained.
Just then a woman from the other side approached. This woman had hair down to her waist, and a shapeless long flowing skirt. "Umm? Friend?" she asked, tentatively.
Maul ignored her.
"Sir?" She tried again. "You put your blanket over my sister, sir."
"Sir? My sister?" The woman pointed to a lump under the Eeyore comforter.
Maul sneered. "Yeah?"
The woman looked frightened, but then she steeled herself. "Sir--Friend--if you wouldn't mind too terribly, you put your blanket on my sister. Would you mind removing it? If that's okay?"
Darth Maul grinned horribly (he hadn't had to work too hard perfecting the horribleness of his grin, advanced peridontitis care of that for him). He slowly reached into the pocket of his very tight black jeans. Maintaining eye-contact with the terrified woman, he pulled out his hand and revealed a pack of Bantha Unfilitered cigarettes.
"NoooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooo!" the woman cried, and grabbed her lawn chair and her sister and fled. "He smooOOOOOookes!" Almost immediately, there was a huge space cleared around them as panicky flower children fled from the devil weed. The gravity well lowered in power slightly.
"Hey, great spot, Maul!" cried the twit, tossing down his "Property of Jedi Happy Farms, Not to be removed" towel by Maul's blanket. Then he looked around surreptitiously, lowered his voice, and asked softly in Maul's ear, "Give us a smoke?"
The first singer, as Maul suspected, was a whiny woman with a guitar. So was the second. The rain picked up. Obi-Wan's wet spiky hair looked limp and pathetic. His padawan braid draggled damply against his head. His pearly white teeth started to chatter. His Jedi robes clung tightly to his muscular chest, which had begun to heave with quiet sobs. His sea-green puppy-dog eyes looked up at Maul from his damp face. "Oh," <gasp> "Maul," <whimper> "I'm so," <bite lip> "cold".
With a growl, Maul stood up. "Fine. I'll get you a rain poncho." He averted his eyes from the padawan's dangerous beseeching eyes.
"Oh Maul, you needn't," Obi-Wan called as Maul fought his way down the border of the gravity well. "But try for a pink one! With flowers on it."
"What do you mean there aren't any more rain ponchos?" Maul's temper was not improving as the rain trickled down his horns. Nobody understood how sensitive horns were to cold and damp.
"Sorry, man," said the nose-pierced teenager wearing a Palpatine Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt Corporate Sponsorship Newport Folk Festival t-shirt.
"Look," Maul began. "My bo---My fr---My neighbor is very cold. He's getting ill. Besides, I will beat your head in with a stick if you don't sell me a poncho."
The teenager shrugged. "The truck is held up by rain. But we'll have new ones as soon as the rain stops. You want to put one on reserve? Only 10 republic credits."
Maul honed his rage on the poncho seller. Though his lightsaber had been confiscated at the gate, a rainstick from a nearby stall worked splendidly. The rattling sounds it made as Maul bonked in the teenager's head were oddly calming.
"Psst, you there." Maul spun around to see a Tusken Raider leaning out from behind the booth that sold Wiccan toe-rings. "Yeah, you, wet guy with the great tattoos." The Tusken Raider eyed Maul up and down. "Those are tattoos, aren't they? Otherwise they'd be running in all this rain."
"What do you want?" Maul's temper was shorter than usual. After all this, his twit neighbor had better be very grateful. And he'd better show his gratitude in new and energetic ways. Actually, I'd settle for his old and energetic ways. No! What am I thinking?
The Tusken Raider grinned (which was a grotesque effect, since Maul couldn't really see its mouth). "Looking for a poncho, eh?"
Maul grabbed the Raider by the scruff its rags (each emblazoned with the words "Palpatine's Ice Cream and Yadda Yadda Yadda"). "Where. Is. The. Poncho?"
"Gently, fella, gently," the Raider said, or rather, choked. Maul lowered him to the ground so the creature could speak. "It just so happens that there's a secret cache of ponchos reserved for fair employees. But I'll strike a deal with you. I haven't sold my quota of Huttese sweatshirts today. How about you buy one--only 500 Republic Credits!--and I'll give you a poncho. Very hush hush, you mustn't tell anyone."
Maul though about honing his rage, thought about Obi-Wan sulking at him, thought about killing the vendor anyway, and then thought about how long it would be before he got laid if Obi-Wan caught pneumonia.
He returned to the blanket at the end of the second set with a Hutt-sized sweatshirt and a "poncho". He suspected the poncho was actually a garbage bag with a hole cut in it for the head.
"Ooh, Maul," gushed Obi-Wan. "This shirt is big enough for two! Care to join me? By the way, what's with the torn garbage bag?"
The rain stopped.
The announcer came on before the third set, and Maul braced himself for more horrible music. "Hey, everybody," called the annoyingly perky announcer. "It's the set you've been waiting for all day, you crazy folks! It's the Indigo Gungan Girls!"
The crowd went wild. Obi-Wan was hopping up and down and whooping, but Darth Maul was so confused by the band that he wasn't even distracted by the bouncing padawan. Was that two Gungans on stage? And--oh, gross!--was one of them playing her tongue? When the Gungan chicks started singing, Maul cringed. Oh, Sidious, I'm ready to strike you down.
"The bestest thing yousa ever done for mesa
Yousa hep mesa take life not so-so serious
Only life, yah?"
But when the lyrics stopped, and the tongue solo began, Maul uncurled from his cringe. Shit, these girls are good! When they're not singing, that is. The music was actually raucous, and loud, and the drumbeat was contagious. Not like the whiny girl rubbish that's been playing all day, that's for sure. He just had to dance to this stuff. He looked around for the mosh pit. Hmm, no mosh pit. Okay, how about an area of fast dancing? Hmm, nope. Any dancing? Well, there was a Wookiee in beads snapping her fingers over there. Everyone else was just standing still, staring at the stage like it was a traffic accident. When the song ended, everyone whooped and clapped, but as the next song began, zombification came back.
This time Maul realized he could listen to the music and ignore the awful singing.
"Mesa remember times when mesa near yousa
Left mesa skipty class and oh! run run from school"
"This is ridiculous," he snarled, spinning away from the catatonic audience. "I'm getting out of here." He started to walk away, and froze. It was a good thing, too, or he would have slipped in a puddle of his own drool. Obi-Wan had stripped off his huge sweatshirt and his outer robes, and was gyrating oh so slowly wearing just his pants. His damp pants. His damp pants which clung to every muscle, every curve, every bulge. The music started pounding in Maul's blood, or maybe it was just the testosterone. He started moving with the music, closer and closer to Obi-Wan. Their hips started to gyrate in time. Obi-Wan's eyes were half closed, but he never lost eye-contact with Maul. Maul felt something in his brain get taut, start to give, and then --
"Eeeeeeeeee!" Both Maul and Obi-Wan spun around, distracted by a girlish shriek that they both recognized as Qui-Gon's.
"Look, Jinn," they heard from behind the stage. "That is not a backstage pass, and everyone knows you can't whammy roadies."
Maul was sacked out on his soaking wet Eeyore blanket while Obi-Wan trailed fingers across his back. He knew he was dangerously close to being relaxed--Though better to be seduced by the Light Side than seduced by Obi-Wan in a crowd of hippie freaks--so he concentrated on irritating things. Like the grass stains he'd never get out of his Eeyore comforter. Like the mud (he hoped; there were Wookies here, and everyone knew they had certain control problems) all over his jeans. Like the irritating horn jewelry Obi-Wan had bought for him and cajoled him to wear. Yes, he was most definitely irritated by that jewelry, a hideous concoction of beads and little hearts that draped over two of his horns. There was absolutely nothing that wasn't vile about Obi-Wan buying him jewelry. Really. Besides, the horrid hippy food he'd been eating was threatening to escape.
The announcer took the microphone. "And now, folks, I can honestly say this moment is the greatest I've ever had in my life. It's my pleasure--my great, great pleasure--to introduce Senator Palpatine himself, of Palpatine's Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt!"
Palpatine danced on to the stage and grabbed the mike. He was wearing shorts (which showed off far more of his legs than Maul ever had wanted to see), a t-shirt with big yellow daisies painted on it, a baseball cap, and lots of beads and flowers. And--oh, please no, no it couldn't be--Birkenstocks. With socks. White socks.
Maul felt ill. His struggle to keep down his frozen yogurt and falafel nearly failed when Palpatine began to speak.
"Wowzers, fellow music fans, isn't it great to be here today?" Hoots from the crowd nearly deafened Maul. "Anyone here from Naboo?" In one corner, there were shouts of "Mesa is! Mesa is!" Palpatine continued. "Anyone from Kashyyk?" A rumble of growls and hoots rose from a part of the crowd that had smelled even worse since the rain began. "And anyone from Coruscant?" Maul winced as the twit Padawan jumped up and down, screaming. "Well, then, folkies," Palpatine continued, "aren't you a dedicated bunch to be standing out here in the rain?"
A part of Maul's brain whimpered "Isn't he going to ask if anyone here was raised by Tauntauns?" It was quickly bludgeoned by the rest of his brain, which then tied it up and sold it into slavery.
When Maul paid attention once more to the stage, Palpatine was wrapping up his speech. "Yes folks, the wicked, wicked war-mongers of the senate give 123% of the national budget to the military, and only .03% to education, -5% to health care for retired Jedi with venereal diseases, and 15% to buying Palpatine's Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt for disadvantaged youth! Vote for me and I'll make sure those patriarchal meanies get what's coming to them. And remember, a Vote for Palpatine is a Vote for Order!"
"A Vote for Palpatine is a Vote for Order!" the crowd shrieked. Obi-Wan shrieked it, too, directly in Maul's ear. Maul would have killed him there and then, but as the twit shrieked, he jumped up and down, and Maul was distracted by the view.
"Thank you, thank you, my friends. My Stormtroopers for Peace will be coming around to collect all the money you haven't already spent on sweatshirts, henna tattoos, flowers, and mud baths. Please give them the money, otherwise they'll beat you up for the horrible hoarding capitalist you are. And now, everybody's favorite band, err--some whiny chick with a guitar!"
As the crowd screamed with pleasure, and the Stormtroopers for Peace started beating their way through the crowd with nightsticks, Obi-Wan wrapped both hands around Maul's bicep.
"Oh, Maulie," he breathed, the hot breath against Maul's horns the only thing that kept Maul from killing the twit there and then for calling him "Maulie". "Let's go get henna tattoos! They are soooo sexy."
Maul growled. "In case you haven't noticed, I have tattoos. All over my body."
The twit giggled. "Oh, I've noticed them. All of them." He leered at Maul.
"Then where am I supposed to put a henna tattoo, you idiot?" Maul was determined not to respond to the leer.
Obi-Wan pouted, and the action made his lower lip gleam in a way that just begged to be licked, kissed, bitten--aargh. Concentrate on the music. Right, just concentrate on the woman who is wailing about social justice, off key. This distracted Maul for a moment, until Obi-Wan's face suddenly brightened. Kissable dimples appeared in his cheeks, reminding Maul of the kissable dimples elsewhere on his ... cheeks. No! No no nonononono!
"I have an idea, Maul. Why don't I get a henna tattoo, and you help me apply it? Where do you think I'd look best with a henna tattoo?" Obi-Wan fluttered his eyelashes at Maul, and ran his hands down his own body, slowly, maintaining eye-contact as he did so.
"Here? ... Or here? ... Or maybe here?"
Something in Maul's brain snapped.
He grabbed Obi-Wan, and tossed the twit over his shoulder. He leapt over the next blanket, and then shoved his way out through the crowd. He ignored the outraged shout from Qui-Gon, who turned from the two short-haired women he'd been talking to ("Can I watch? I promise, it's all in the interest of smashing the patriarchy."), and knocked over Yoda, who was wearing a tie-dyed t-shirt that enveloped him like a ball gown. As Maul neared the gate, Obi-Wan said in his ear (with no trace of that giggle), "Oh, Maul, are we leaving the festival? To go back home? For hours of Force-driven monkey love?" He bit the edge of Maul's ear and ran his little pink Padawan tongue around the inside. "I don't know how I'll ever forgive you."
Behind them, they heard the distant sound of a slap, and then of Qui-Gon's voice calling "NooooOOOOoooo!"
Maul smiled as he ran for the car. Life was good.
[Footnote: in real life, it was $56 for a sweatshirt in order to get the under-the-table poncho, and I was so cold I would have paid that just for the poncho.]
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