DEFEAT. 024 – The Hero Gets the Girl

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

Daryl leaned forwards and Vanessa leaned backwards. The hero planted a kiss on his girl’s neck. There was enthusiasm only teens are capable of, a willingness to jump right into the thick of things without worrying about details. And that was for the best, too, ‘cause if Daryl started thinking about the particulars he’d have realized he had no clue as to what the fuck he was doing.

Or, more appropriately, how to do the fucking.

But that didn’t matter, because Daryl was a teenager. And as such, he was imbued with that special prowess of life that is lost when one allows bills and taxes and getting to the office on time and counting calories and changing the batteries in the smoke alarm to take precedence. When that happens life is no longer an experience but a goddamn calculation. Less of something to enjoy and more of something to figure out. Not a gift, but an expense.

Daryl and Vanessa didn’t concern themselves with such misdirecting thoughts. Instead, they went full-throttle into one another, grappling with a passion that could’ve been mistaken for violence had clothes not been removed. Neither had ever gone all the way before, but there was no doubt in either’s mind now.


It was a 7PM showing on a Wednesday — needless to say, the place was empty.   No privacy to be found on Friday or Saturday, but on this October night the theater might as well have been a private function room. And excepting the brief visit of an elderly usher, the only people in the entire cinema appeared to be the two party members of Expedition First Date.

Tom Cruise appeared on the screen – twenty-four years old, a rising star, damn gorgeous. At this point in the film, Cruise celebrates as Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London blares. Projected onto a thirty-foot screen, the goliath Cruise dances about and swings a pool-cue like a damn karate staff. Truth be told, this was Cruise at his finest, his most capable, his most persuasive. In the world of 1986, The Color of Money’s Tom Cruise was the object of every woman’s desire.

So while certainly a virile specimen in his own right, Daryl didn’t expect to upstage one of Hollywood’s most endearing faces. But the strapping young lad found himself to be genuinely entertaining his date, using words to charm her attention away from the screen and towards their moment together. It was an impressive feat, managing to use a Scorsese flick as nothing more than a backdrop, white noise for a more important matter. The last week of Daryl Millar’s life was filled with highlights.

This was one of them.

“I want you to know how nice of you this is,” Vanessa whispered with a batting of the eyelashes.

“How so? If anything, I didn’t think I’d be able to convince you to come out with nothing more than the promise of a movie.” Daryl was holding his cards close to his chest.

“Oh, Daryl, it’s more than just the movie.” The beauty sighed, shaking her head in disbelief. “I don’t know. It’s just that…Well, I don’t get too many chances to enjoy myself. I have to work a lot, to help my family pay the bills. I guess between not having the time…and well, not being noticed by guys, I haven’t really ever considered myself dating material.”

“So…this is a date?” Becoming more confident, Daryl flashed a smile as he tested the waters.

“Easy, Romeo,” reciprocated the love interest, “it’s a first date.” And just to make sure that her suitor didn’t confuse this jest with a genuine attempt to ward off an advance, Vanessa slunk closer to Daryl and placed her hand into his. “But it’s better than I’ve done in a long time.”

“Vanessa, that’s crazy. You’re beautiful. You’re personable. Any guy would be stupid to pass up the opportunity to take you out.”

“Yeah, well, I’m not so sure. There’ve definitely been guys who have wanted nothing to do with me.”


And then a pause. The damsel in distress had to feel out the situation. Gauge whether or not she felt comfortable revealing herself. Of course, sitting next to the man she’d come to consider her one true-love, Vanessa couldn’t help but initiate the self-exposure. “Well, yeah…Actually, the last time I asked a guy out was about a year ago. I was working at GameWorld and he had been running train on the arcade machines all day. I was so nervous. It took all my concentration to even approach him…”

“So what happened?”

“He took one look at me — and admittedly, I was probably sweaty and gross from working all day — and he said, ‘Get the fuck out of my face, you poor bitch. Can’t you see I’m playing Asteroids?!” And that was that.”

“Vanessa, I’m so sorry. Well, that guy was a fucking asshole. You’re better off anyways!”

“Because I’m with you?” Once again, the tension was broken by a playful electricity, spoken as the bottom lip was pulled inward and bitten.

“No — well, yes. What I meant was that you don’t want to get involved with person like that.”

Vanessa rested her head on Daryl’s shoulder. Comforted by the rhythmic bobbing of Daryl’s respiration, Vanessa realized that she was beginning to give herself away. “Yes, and I suppose I’m stronger for having faced such a prick. As my sister Margie always says, ‘If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.’”

And then it hit Daryl — “Wait, your sister says that?”

“Yeah, it’s from our favorite movie.”

Star Wars is your favorite movie?!

“Shouldn’t it be everybody’s?!”

In the darkened, nearly vacant theater, Daryl and Vanessa came eye to eye with one another. It wasn’t just the fact that they could hold a conversation or shared a favorite film. No, the fact was that together they generated an inexplicable chemistry, a magnetic attraction that many spend most of their lives seeking. And something, some sense of a greater purpose on the horizon, told them to capitalize on these feelings.

Two sets of lips smashed into each other.
A supernova of emotion.
Throughout eternity.


And with eternity at his fingertips, the man in the gray trench coat entered the projection room. Without hesitation, he switched the reels. No longer would the collective memory of Daryl & Vanessa losing their virginities be paired with The Color of Money. Instead, this timeless first act of carnality would be forever associated with Back to the Future.