Rufus was blissfully asleep. He had a great time at the Stanhope’s barbecue and kissing Ellowyne goodbye. He was going to miss her but he was glad she got the chance to go somewhere exotic for spring break. He had fun afterwards with Penn at Tequila Mockingbird, everyone’s favorite Mexican restaurant. He got in around 2:00 AM and hoped to sleep at least until noon and head out to the computer lab that afternoon. A statistics major, he relished the task of evaluating the new software. However, it was time-consuming and he was getting by on no more than six hours of sleep each night since the project began. Hopefully he would finish during spring break and his schedule would revert to normal. And although he didn’t want to admit it, he looked forward to spending time in the computer lab without any distractions, especially one as alluring as Ellowyne.
Suddenly, he was jolted awake when his phone rang. He had a special ringtone assigned to Penn: Batman’s Joker maniacally laughing. He ignored the phone twice, but by the third call, he knew Penn wouldn’t stop calling. When Rufus finally answered, Penn said, “Dude! It’s 9:00! In the morning! We can’t spend spring break sleeping!”
“What do you want to do?” Rufus asked while stifling a yawn. Actually, sleeping through spring break sounded like a great idea! However, he didn’t want Penn to think he was an indolent weenie, so he planned to go along with whatever he suggested. Within reason.
“Get this! Batman movie marathon! Every Batman from Michael Keaton to Robert Pattinson,” Penn gushed. “It’s at the Cineplex 16, the one with the heated massage seats and food you can eat at the movie. Real food, like burgers and pizza! Beer, too! It starts at 10:00. I’ll pick you up in 15 minutes.”
“Uh, that’s seven movies, right?”
“Eight! Awesome, huh?”
“Yeah, awesome.” Rufus stroked his unshaved face and decided that Batman was worth a little stubble. Besides, Ellowyne complained that his beard tickled the last time he skipped shaving for a few days. He yawned again. Maybe he could snooze a little during the George Clooney Batman film.
But a nap was not to be had. Penn kept elbowing Rufus whenever something interesting was on the screen. It didn’t matter if it was Michael Keaton’s Batmobile or Val Kilmer’s bat-suit or Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight. Penn made sure that his BFF didn’t miss anything. During intermission, Rufus texted Ellowyne and apologized because he probably wouldn’t text her again until another break in the movies. The guys got burritos and Penn got a beer, and Rufus opted for a vile drink that Amber used to drink when she was doing child pageants: a concoction of Mountain Dew and Red Bull that she called Go-Go juice.
As they were headed back to their seats, Penn noticed a sign on the poster for the movie marathon. “Hey!” Penn said. “There’s something special at the end of the movies for everyone who watches all of them. Let’s do it!”
“So far we’ve seen, what, the first three movies?” Rufus asked while waiting for his burrito to cool a little.
“Yup! Next up is the George Clooney movie!”
Rufus groaned. “That movie sucks.”
“Old chum, you need to see Batman and Robin from a different perspective. You know the 1966 TV show? This movie captures the campiness and kitsch of the show. Does it measure up to some of the other films? No. But watch it with an attitude of pure silliness. You can thank me later.”
As much as Rufus hated to admit it, he found the movie amusing as he watched it from Penn’s perspective. They got up, stretched their legs, and got some more food.
The next three movies were enjoyable. Each of the guys had seen them previously but it was still fun. And then it came time for the last movie. Rufus noticed that it ran for almost three hours, and realized they had been in the theater for fifteen. He tried to doze just a little but Penn was right there, making comments about the villain du jour, who was the best Joker, and Robert Pattinson’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne.
After the last scheduled movie, the theater manager thanked everyone for coming and announced that the special treat was The LEGO Batman Movie, and each person in attendance would receive one limited-edition LEGO minifigure from the film. Rufus got the elusive Disco Batman and Penn gave him the equally rare Disco Joker, but he was too exhausted to be excited.
The marathon ended almost nineteen hours after it began. Incredibly, Penn still had stamina and was wakeful and alert. Then again, he was used to keeping erratic hours as an Army medic and a student nurse. Penn drove his friend home, and Rufus stumbled into the house. He splashed his face with water, brushed his teeth, and crawled into bed. He read some texts from Ellowyne and texted her back. He told her that he loved her, that he got some rare LEGO minifigures, and he would text or call her later.
He closed his eyes but, after drinking so much Go-Go juice, Rufus couldn’t sleep.