I know, right?
But the thing that convinced me to go was the fact that there would be two people there that day that I had always dreamed of meeting. The first was Dirk Benedict, the man who played Face or Templeton Peck on the A Team. The second was Derek Mears, who was not only an actor but stuntman, and was in the 2010 Predators movie. He was the predator.
When we walked into this place, there were tables as far as the eye could see. Behind each one was an actor, artist, stuntman, or voice-over. The first table I spotted was Derek’s; he had a long line, so we decided to walk around and see what there was to see. Another thing I noticed, was that people dressed up as characters from different movies. There were lots of them walking around.
Enter a man named Jeff Cochran, also known as Wickedbeard.
We were halfway down the back of the aisle when I noticed someone dressed up as Jason Voorhees, the main character in Friday the 13th. At the time, I didn’t know who the character was or what movie they were in, but I knew enough that I didn’t want to be around him. Mama didn’t raise no fool and all.
I didn’t know at the time that the man behind the mask was Wickedbeard, I didn’t know that he liked to dress up in these life-like interpretations of terror. I didn’t know that he was looking for someone to scare. And, I didn’t know that he not only spotted me coming down the aisle, but he also noticed my frantic pivot in the other direction, which then, in turn, put a target on my back. All things that I learned later.
I remember my husband saying, “Don’t act scared like that, he’ll notice.”
First of all, I’m not acting. I AM SCARED. There is a man coming at me in a mask with a weapon, who’s very being dripped of murder.
Everyone get in the car, we’re going home!
My good friend laughed it off and told me there was nothing to worry about. People dress like that just for those events and it was all good. Why didn’t I believe that?
I turned around to find that the mask man had completely disappeared into the crowd. If I were lucky, I could hide from him the rest of the day, while I collect my two little autographs and hopefully escape with my life.
When we came back around, Derek’s line had freed up. So, my husband and I got in line, while my good friend stood towards the front of the line taking pictures. Derek was greeting the folks in front of us at his table, taking pictures, talking, signing, the usual. From the moment I saw the dude in the mask, I made it a point to tell my husband that we needed to leave quickly. There was no telling where this dude was. He could pop out at any second. My husband just laughed it off and told me not to look so scared. Thank you, honey.
There were about three or four people in line ahead of us, talking to Derek. I stood there beside my husband, reevaluating my life’s decisions up until that point. I couldn’t help but fidget. You guys know I can’t handle these things. My husband wrapped his arm around me, I assumed to partly comfort me and partly hide his amusement at this point.
If he gets me, buddy, you better bet you’re coming too.
My friend was still taking photos at the front of the line. She was glancing at me and smiling, I thought at me. Then she just stopped taking photos. That’s odd. I told myself that I needed to chill out—I probably looked like a lunatic standing there. I decided to focus on Derek’s table, all the posters, and signed things he had laying out.
It wasn’t long before I realized something was hovering just over my right shoulder. Glancing over, I noticed it was the top of a metal spear. I felt my own face twist in confusion as I followed the spear behind me.
I remember the start of my husband’s sentence, which was, “Don’t—”
I assume he was going to say don’t turn around, but we were far past that now. Attached to the other side of that spear was none other than, Jason. Donned in his mask and ripped-stained clothes. He was literally breathing down my neck.
Y’all, I dang near wet myself.
In the next two seconds, I made a spectacle of myself, in front of the predator, guests, friends, and everyone else in between.
The sound that came out of me then, was something I can only describe as true fear. It was the sound nightmares were made of. My husband jumped and the three or four people in front of us jumped and whirled around. Even Derek Mears himself jumped. He seemed confused at first, but I didn’t have any time to explain. I’m sure he thought I’d lost my mind.
I don’t actually remember moving, but I did. I ripped myself out of my husband’s grasp and catapulted to the front of the line, cutting in front of everyone there, so I could cling to my friend, who was now horse laughing. I lost the feeling in my hands and feet, but I clung to my friend as best I could. My heart was about to bounce right out of my chest and run, leaving me behind. I wanted to follow but my body had just accepted the inevitable and shut down right there.
“Wow,” Derek yelled, “Put her in a movie!”
Has anyone called 911? I need them.
Everyone laughed it off, including my husband who now folded his arms across his chest and stared at the man in the mask.
You’re all sick. Sick!
“Laura, that’s Jason,” my friend explained, “He’s from Friday the 13th.”
Well, what is he doing here? It’s Saturday!
The guy just stood there, without a word. Staring at me. Swell.
“She’s scared of you,” my friend called to him.
Really? What gave it away?
She smiled at me and then called to him, “Do you guys want to take a picture together?”
Oh, I need to lay down. You find out who your friends are I suppose.
While everyone watched, I moved as close as I could force myself to, so she could snap the picture.
“Alright, smile,” she called.
ARE YOU SERIOUS? JUST TAKE THE PICTURE!
I tried to smile. Even before she snapped the picture, I could feel myself pulling away from him unconsciously. That’s when he took it upon himself to reach out and grab me. He pulled me close to him, in a type of bear hug. I squeaked. I wasn’t sure if I couldn’t breath because I was about to faint or because his grip was that tight.
Once she snapped the photo, he simply turned around and walked away. He never said a word. I turned to see the crowd had departed and I was next in line to see Derek. I don’t know if he was smiling because he was just a happy guy or he was laughing at me on the inside, but I willed my legs to move towards him.
“So, do you want a scary picture where I grab you by the neck or a nice picture,” he asked.
Sir, I can’t take much more. Just smile so I can go crawl into the fetal position somewhere.
During the next several hours, we bounced from table to table. Occasionally, I’d look up to find Jason standing very far off from us, looking at me. I don’t know if that’s a movie thing or what, cause again, I never watched it, but--
Sir, do you know CPR? Cause if you keep this up, you’re going to have to learn.