Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Mantis Man: Enthusiast, or Super Villain?

Buena Park, CA: Ride operators on Knott's Berry Farm's popular Xcelerator thrill coaster got a lesson in loading Tuesday by an enthusiast only known as "Mantis Man." "He’s been here all day," said one of the park employees, clearly not sure whether to be amused or frightened by Mantis Man’s actions. "We can’t get him off of the platform."

Mantis Man's M.O., it appeared, was to linger on the exit platform and spring, insect-like, into any available seat. When the open seat was on the loading side of the platform, this bold enthusiast did not hesitate to tell people to move.

While the crowd marveled at what riding Xcelerator with no interruptions might do to one’s internal organs, the Mantis Man made sucking noises against his fingertips and then tapped his wristwatch compulsively, only adding to his insect-like appearance. "Sometimes, when the train is pulling into the station, he taps the Mantis logo on his t-shirt with his fingertips," said another ride operator. "It frightens me."

Above: Mantis Man springs into action

Push came to shove when, in a bold move to force the Mantis Man off the platform and back around into the nearly empty queue, a ride operator attempted to lock down an empty seat before Mantis Man could occupy it. "Pay attention!" the evil insect barked. Finally, after his 48th ride, security was called to remove him physically from the platform. "Oh, that’s OK, I’ll just come back tomorrow!" he said with an evil glare in his eye.

Little is known about Mantis Man or the nature of his powers. When asked in a brief ARN&R interview if the evil creature had a family or job, the Enthusi-insect hissed, "No, I have a season pass." He tapped his upper lip, growled "48 times," and vowed to "get [his] revenge tomorrow."

Mantis Man is just one of the new breed of Super Villain Enthusiasts who have been spotted around the globe. So far, there has been no link to the Unknown Enthusiast, but here at ARN&R we are ever vigilant to spot these evildoers!

Coaster enthusiasts, consider this your notice: ARN&R is everywhere. Oh, yes, we see you. The funny thing is, you shouldn’t be surprised to be written up. We’re wearing our uniforms proudly and in plain sight. Be more like Hulk Guy and we’ll be nice.


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