Tom Matlack tells the story of a man who ran through the stadiums of Boston without any clothes on.
This is a fictional story from Tom Matlack. It’s also a story that we’re pretty sure everyone—Bostonian or thankfully-not-Bostonian—can appreciate and would love to see happen. It also continues our time-honored tradition of streaker writing.
The cell smelled of urine. No toilet seat. Just a metal bowl and a tiny sink. Dirty, rusty, and old. Men sat with their head hung low. No one was talking. Except the streaker. Tim’s body was still electric. Jumpy. His eyes bugged out. His heart pounded.
Hockey had been the last of the four major sports he had in mind for the first wave of his attack. Baseball had been too easy. The green monster. A rope tied off on one of the stools high above Carl Crawford. Fenway is the oldest park. Left field used to be the home of Manny Ramirez, the man who hit the most post-season home runs in history and also had a bad habit of going into the monster during pitching changes and forgetting to come back out when play resumed.
Just as “Sweet Caroline” was blaring over the sound system during a tight, four-plus-hour playoff game against the Yankees, Tim had removed his jeans, boxers, shirt, shoes, and socks beneath a red cape. He’d folded them neatly and placed them on the ground before throwing his rope over the edge and repelling half way down.
The crowd went wild at the sight of a naked man in red cape with the word “Freedom” spray-painted across the back. Tim had been inspired by the film Man on Wire and by the acrobats in the dozens of Cirque de Soule performances he’d studied. His goal was to put himself in a position where it would take security at least ten minutes to figure out how to get him down. He wanted to perform sophisticated enough movements to keep the crowd amused in the process.
He’d been practicing for over a year. He started swinging back and forth across the face of the Monster by pushing out hard and getting his 200-plus-pound body moving both out and sideways. The effect was batman-like, as his cape ripped behind him.
Once he was sure anyone with binoculars was watching (he had hoped they might put him on the jumbotron or, if he got really lucky, television, but the illegal nature of his performance made that highly unlikely) he began a complex sequence of moves involving the fabric he’d attached to the end of the rope. He wrapped himself up and spun out to reveal, at long last, his naked ass, upside down. Across his buttocks were inked the words, “Feed the Poor.”
As the crowd roared with appreciation and the last bars of Neil Diamond faded away, the cops finally were able to tie a second rope to Tim’s, cut his original rope off the stool and slowly begin to lower him down to a waiting crowd of burly men in yellow vests.
He waved to the crowd as they whisked him through the same door Manny had opened to find his Walkman just a few years before.
In his second act a few months later, he decided to focus on impact rather than time in the spotlight. He’d hung up there on the Monster for seven minutes and 39 seconds according to his $20 digital watch. Well past his wildest dreams. But for the Celtics, he wanted to make a statement in one bold move.
At the start of the fourth quarter of the final regular season game against the Lakers, the TD Garden was rocking. KJ came on the massive HD screen to yell at the crowd, “Get up!” The players waited around on the floor for the TV timeout to be over. Kobe set up on the wing with his hands on his waist. Tim had dressed in drag with a Ray Allen jersey. Everyone thought it was a joke. He was sitting on the floor at the Celtics offensive end, just across from team owner Wyc Grousbeck. With the blond wig and make-up, he was unrecognizable.
With the crowd noise building to a crescendo, Tim stood and flipped off his long blond hair, dropped his dress to reveal an electric pink bikini and the words, “Stop Rape,” penned across his back in Laker purple, with gold accent.
Again, the crowd responded with an approving roar. Before the security guards knew what had happened, the television cameras went live and Tim was out on the floor with a mission. He ran directly at Kobe Bryant and pantsed him. Tim made sure to get a sturdy grip of everything inside those shorts and yanked it all down in one solid motion—something he had worked on thousands of times at the gym with his personal trainer, a Russian kickboxer.
For a glorious moment, the weapon of sexual misconduct was revealed for all to see.
This time, the action was so quick that the television cameras followed it without realizing. The lack of tape delay on live sports worked very much to Tim’s advantage. The producers in the truck had to switch away. But by the time they had done that, the damage was done. Tim had won.
He was mauled and dragged off to the protests of the crowd. He waived and gave a thumbs up. As a second offense, he actually spent the night in jail. But it had been well worth it.
The Patriots had presented a real challenge. After the Celtics, Tim had become something of a celebrity in town. But he had also been banned from all professional sporting events. So he no longer had the option of going in the front door with a ticket. His dream of running through the tunnel with Tom Brady without any clothes on was shattered. Even if he had been able to somehow sneak into the locker room, he just didn’t see how he could reliably pull off that stunt.
He went to school with Michael Bay and had seen an early cut of Transformers 3 at his 25th reunion. The wing suits were the coolest part of the sequence. And they gave him an idea. He tracked down the stunt guys from the movie. They used the batman-like suits to jump off huge mountains in Germany, flying through the air before pulling a rip chord at the last possible moment. Tim trained with them for several months, eventually getting the hang of it.
The first game of the following year happened to be against the Jets, a team that had humiliated the Patriots in the playoffs, more than once, by dancing off the field, flapping their wings like human jet planes. Tim learned that the now-smaller Goodyear blimp would be hovering over the nationally televised game. He tracked down the pilot and let him in on the whole plan. The pilot had lost a son in Afghanistan and was happy to go along.
So just after Scott Brown’s daughter Ayla finished the national anthem and F-1 fighter jets flew over, Tim bailed out of the blimp with his black wing suit, and streaked through the air towards the turf below. The crowd all gasped, thinking they were seeing one of the coolest pre-game shows ever. The Transformers reference was not lost on them.
In mid-air, just over the 50-yard line, Tim pulled the rip chord. All eyes were on him, as his chute yanked him upward. It revealed the image of a Patriot, with the words, “STOP HUNTING BAD GUYS ABROAD, START TAKING CARE OF OUR OWN PEOPLE.”
This time there was no roar from the crowd. It was more like an awkward silence. Many in the crowd had driven pickups to the park. Many were unemployed. But they all knew men who had gone to war, were killed there or had come home with physical or mental injuries. They looked thoughtfully at the sign as it blew in the wind and then fell to the ground when Tim was tackled and dragged off.
It was only later that his stunt was recognized for its bravery rather than being unpatriotic. Bloggers jumped on the bandwagon, citing dollars and human lives taken by the three wars in the Middle East and the impact of the triple-dip recession at home.
So it came down to the Bruins. How could a guy with streaking ambitions deal with ice? And a crowd that would likely be even less receptive than the hard hats at Foxboro stadium.
It came down to a single realization: security guards at Bruins games don’t have skates. They are not prepared for anything to happen on the ice. They are only worried about fights breaking out among drunken fans in the stands. If Tim could get to the ice, it would be up to players and referees to deal with him. Which they would definitely do, but it would take them a while to realize they wouldn’t being getting any help.
Just to avoid any problems with at the front gate, Tim found a Bruins night game that followed an afternoon Celtics game. He waited at the exits after the Celtics game and walked upstream into the Fleet and hid in one of the lower level bathrooms.
Inside, he got his Eurasian brown bear suit on and made sure his skates were ready in his bag. Once he heard the organ music start up for the game against the Canadians, he made his way out. Security seemed to think the guy dressed up as the Bruin was part of the show and left him alone. He hung around the zamboni entrance until after both national anthems had been sung and the players lined up for the drop of the puck.
He pulled on his skates, making sure the laces were good and tight. From there, it was easy to get the gate open and get out onto the ice. He’d played hockey as a kid, so he knew how to skate. The players and refs looked on in amusement as this giant brown bear skated toward them. But when Tim shed the suit to reveal a naked, middle-aged man with nothing but the words, “SAVE THE BEARS!” scrawled across his back in green pen, with a little picture of the globe on each buttocks, the amusement turned to horror.
He got two full laps in before Zdeno Chára, the 6’ 9” Slovakian defenseman, slammed him into the boards. Security slip-slided across the ice to pick up what was left of the streaker. Even though his ribs hurt and the ice was damn cold on his skin, Tim had a dumb-ass grin on his face—that of a man who had just completed the ultimate grand slam.
He inhaled the smell of urine as deeply as he could. It was a victory dance in Tim’s mind. He had accomplished the impossible. Sports radio was buzzing with hero worship of the naked guy who had gone where no man had gone before.
“Hey, Timmy. Murph!” Tim Murphy looked around. Who the hell was talking to him in the holding cell?
“Over here you asshole,” an African-American man with dreadlocks whispered to him. He looked a mess, but his eyes were clear and intense.
“Whatdaya want my man?” Tim answered.
“Just to talk,” he said.
“I got all day. All night too.”
“Name’s Locke, like the philosopher,” he said.
“Funny. Name’s Murphy, like the beer.”
“That was a nice gig you pulled out there on the ice tonight.”
“Thanks, it was among my finest, if I do say so myself,” Timmy said, smiling just a little bit.
“Come over here and sit down my brother,” Locke said, as he motioned him over to the end of the cot he was sitting on.
Murph moved from the bars to the bed. The two men, one white and Irish and one dark skinned and of no particular ethnicity that Murph could tell, sat shoulder to shoulder.
Locke broke the silence, still looking down. “Do you know why you did it, showed the world your white ass, like that was going to make any kinda difference to anyone?”
“No, I don’t. The thrill of victory maybe?”
“Have you ever been married, had a girlfriend, any of that stuff?”
“I’m still a kid. 23. I don’t really have an interest in any of that.
“How about booze?”
Tim looked at his feet, still high from the excitement, wondering if he’d ever top the bear-on-ice stunt.
“Nothing,” he stopped. “Just streaking.”
If you can’t get enough of usually-naked fans running onto courts or fields, check out Ryan O’Hanlon on “The 10 Types of Streakers.”
—Photo (main) Rob Young/Flickr