I pulled into the driveway of a nice suburban home in Omaha, NE the other day. The car was a new Ford Escape, and the customer was waiting for me with a big smile on his face. "Did you have any trouble finding the place?" he asked me.
"No sir, Mr. Richards, it was exactly where Mapquest said it would be. I'm Bill Thomas, and this is your new car."
"What do I need to do, this is my first ever company car."
"Just look it over and inspect it to your personal satisfaction."
Mr. Richards began to look the car over while I stood by and looked on. I felt a tap on my lower back, and turned around to see a small boy standing behind me.
This boy stared up at me in a most unusual way. I guessed him to be about 8 or 9 years old. Then he spoke. "Did you know that Luke Skywalker is one of the best star pilots in the galaxy?"
Being a fan of STAR WARS, I did happen to know this was true. Well, in the movies, anyway. "Yes I do know that," I told him, and the little boy ran quickly away from me. I chuckled, and Mr. Richards looked over at me.
"That was Alex, he lives a couple of houses down. He's an odd duck, but he's very bright. And he seems to like all things STAR WARS."
"I can see that."
"This car looks great."
"You're getting a new car, sir. A lot of times I pick up a used car from one company employee and then take it to a new hire. But you got lucky, this one came directly from the dealership."
"I feel lucky," he said. I felt a tap on my back again, and turned to see that Alex had magically appeared behind me once more.
"Did you know that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father?"
"Yes, and it blew me away when I first saw EMPIRE STRIKES BACK." Alex paused for a brief second, seeming to process this information, and then he ran off lickety-split. I turned my attention back to the customer.
He looked slightly concerned. "I know this is new, but what if a part is defective or something. I mean, it happens sometimes, right?"
"That's unlikely, but if there were something wrong with the car it would be my job to tell you about it. Trust me, the car is in great condition."
Another poke-poke-poke on my back, and I spun around. This kid was certainly stealthy. "Did you know that Luke Skywalker is Princess Leia's brother?"
Alex nodded, and then seemed troubled. "Do you think it was wrong that they kissed on the lips? I do." And off he zoomed once again before I could share my opinion on this matter.
Mr. Richards walked over and patted me on the back. "Alex is really taking a shine to you. He's not normally so friendly and open with people. Especially not strangers."
"He seems hungry to chat about the STAR WARS universe. That's cool, it's nice that he has a deep love for movies. I can relate to that." I felt a tug at my jeans, and spun around to find Alex there again. How did he keep sneaking up on me?
"Did you know that Obi Wan Kenobi was Darth Vader's best friend, back when Vader was Annakin Skywalker? And that Obi Wan hurt his friend so badly that Vader had to live in a life support suit?"
"I know all of the above."
While I was finding all of this amusing, Mr. Richards seemed to have grown impatient. "Listen Alex, we're trying to conduct some business here, so why don't you go home for a while."
Alex moved towards Mr. Richards, waving his hand in the air and speaking with a mystical tone. "You don't want me to go home."
"What do you mean I don't want you to go home?"
Alex glared at Mr. Richards and waved his hand once more. "You want me to stay here and talk about the Force."
Mr. Richards let out a long sigh of frustration. "Alex, go home now, please." And Alex zipped away with Jedi speed. "I'm sorry Bill, I don't know what to tell you."
"No apology necessary, I think he's kind of cool. I just want to know how he keeps on appearing out of nowhere."
"That's Alex for you. But I admit that I don't know why he was waving his hand at me and talking so strangely."
"He was trying to pull a Jedi mind trick on you."
"Jedi mind trick. Jedi Knights?" The man stared at me with a blank expression. "Guess you're not much of a STAR WARS fan, huh?"
"Never saw any of the STAR WARS movies. I'm not into sci fi."
"Understood." Suddenly, Alex leaped out of nowhere and landed on the back bumper of the Ford Escape.
"Did you know that Chewbacca's best friend is Han Solo?"
"Yes," I said.
"They are friends for life." Alex disappeared before Mr. Richards could scold him again.
"So, where do I sign for the car?" asked Mr. Richards.
"Right here, then I'll give you a copy and then I'll be gone."
He signed the paperwork, then asked "Can I give you a ride somewhere?"
"I have to rent a car to go to Cedar Rapids and pick up my next driving
assignment. If you wouldn't mind taking me to Avis?"
"Not at all," he said, climbing into the Ford Escape. "It'll give me a chance
to test drive my new SUV."
As I began to climb in on the passenger side, Alex dropped in front of me from
the limb of a tree. He was holding a very realistic-looking lightsaber. It was less a
toy and more a collector's item. I was very impressed with the authenticity. "If we
met in battle, I'd defeat you with my lightsaber. That's because I'm strong with the
I knelt down next to Alex. "Remember, don't give in to the dark side."
Alex smiled for the first time. "I won't." I climbed into the Escape, and Alex poked me from behind one last time. "You should have this. It's my Boba Fett." It was an action figure, and a dandy one at that. Boba Fett is a very interesting character, and I could tell that it meant a lot to Alex.
"That is very cool. But you should hang onto it."
"No, please, I mean, really... I want you to have it. You're my STAR WARS friend."
I could see that he truly wanted me to have it, so I took it graciously. "May the Force be with you, Alex."
His smile widened by about a mile. He looked very happy as he replied, "May the Force be with you." As I drove away, I watched him from my side view mirror. I saw him squat down low, then spring up into the air. I stuck my head out the window and looked, but could not see where he had gone. This kid really took Jedi worship to a whole new level.