Huzzah!

Copyright Katie Gilbertson © 2010

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion

"Get a job!" screamed his mother. "I am SO SICK of you down there doing nothing! Why do I need to go out and work so you can sit on your butt all day?"

From his basement bedroom in the suburbs of Minneapolis, Matt turned up the volume of his interactive online video game Castle Expedition and drowned her out. As he played his ranger character he ran around the different online worlds across cities and plains killing alligators and assorted monsters with other online gamers from around the world.

His ranger character Pametron got on a boat to sail to another virtual land. Matt had some time to think while the boat made the journey. He thought that getting a job was probably a good idea, well; getting some cash was a good idea. He was twenty-two and still had to riffle through his mom's purse for beer money. He didn't want a job. Why should he have to get up early and do boring stuff -- standing all day at a convenience store counter, or worse, physical labor? On screen, Pametron walked off the boat and entered a city where there were castles, moats, dungeons and characters dressed in what looked like something Robin Hood would wear. Hey, now wait a second here! He could get a job at the Renaissance Fair. Now that would be cool. There was a big one in a nearby city. He had been to it.

He could see himself walking around all day in a dirty costume, eating turkey legs with his arm around some hot wench. People got paid for that? And when he got tired or bored, he could just lie down and sleep in a pile of straw somewhere and pretend to be a drunk guy. That had to be the best job in the world!

Suddenly sick of online creatures, he signed off and Googled the local Renaissance Fair, learning that auditions would be held on April 10th at The Evergreen Suites Hotel and Convention Center, a big local hotel. He would have to come in costume and be prepared to perform.

"So, mom, can I use the car to go to a job interview on April 10th?" Matt enjoyed the speechless shock on his mother's face.

"Wha -- what job?" she asked when she was able to speak.

"I am going to be in the Renaissance Fair. I need a costume."

Matt's mom was excited that he was at last showing interest in a career and helped by dying some thermal underwear for a costume and fashioning a burlap bag into a fine cape.

For the next week he and friends Jack and Craig watched movies about King Arthur and Robin Hood. He learned how to bow and talk funny. He also looked up Renaissance Fair on youtube. He learned words, phrases and random expressions that would transform him into a man of the past. His nephew Nolan had a plastic sword which Matt took without asking and practiced stabbing at the air.

His buddies helped him rehearse by coming over and after a few beers, would call out "Forsooth my good man. Wherefore art thou?" Matt would then jump into the midst of them brandishing the plastic sword and shouting, "Huzzah!" It never failed to crack them all up.

Jack, who was little more responsible than the rest since he had a job at the movieplex snack bar, gave him some career advice. "There are gonna be a lot of people at the auditions. The ad said you have to perform. You gotta be able to act or dance or sing or juggle or something to make yourself stand out," he said. "You can't just walk around yelling 'Huzzah'!"

Matt and Jack and the rest of their buddies came up with a choreographed move that looked good. It consisted of a leap, then a crouch, then a threatening move with the sword and a sort of stamping motion with his feet all the time saying, "Huzzah! The time has come for me to remove all the vermin that has sullied the fair maids of the town! Begone vile filth!"

Everyone was looking forward to see what would happen and couldn't wait to go to the Renaissance Fair to see Matt at work and counted down the days till April 10th, when he would audition for, and get the job.

On April 10th the Japanese vacuum cleaner company Huzzeh was having its American sales meeting in the Evergreen Suites Hotel and Convention Center. There was a lot of excitement because the new ad campaign would be revealed. They had a special appliance to clean tatami mats. Many young Japanese couples were installing wood flooring since caring for tatami was so time consuming. Mr. Yakamura, the CEO of Huzzeh, wanted to help preserve older traditions. Not only did the new attachment vacuum, but there was also a blower attachment that dried out the area under the mat, eliminating the perennial mildew problem. Huzzeh wanted to introduce a modern solution to a traditional problem. The American-based sales force would be the first to see the product and the promotion. Huzzeh wanted to introduce earth-friendly tatami to the American market along with the perfect way to care for it.

Matt entered the hotel carrying his cape, sword and a leaky old wineskin Jack's dad had used in the 70's. He was surprised to see the hotel lobby packed with people. There was an easel near the entrance listing the day's events but he didn't need to see it. He saw the auditions right away. There were some Asian guys in business suits, bowing like Matt had seen the knights do in the old videos. They were all speaking Japanese but he heard the word 'Huzzeh'.

"That must be the place," he thought to himself. He looked down at the dyed long underwear costume his mom had made for him. "I'm the only one who followed the instructions to come in a costume so I should do really good here."

He tied the burlap cape around his neck, walked to the open doors of the vacuum cleaner convention and, remembering his practice at home, thrust his sword in the air, leapt into the room, went into his moves yelling, "Huzzah! The time has come for me to remove all the vermin that has sullied the fair maids of the town! Begone vile filth!" He ended by gulping from the leaky wineskin, wiped his mouth with great gusto and grinned at the circle of salesmen who had surrounded him. They were stunned into silence then crowded around laughing and clapping at the new ad campaign. This was so clever and just like Mr. Yakamura. He had done it again -- using a modern method to advertise a solution to a traditional problem.

Meanwhile, Mr. Yakamura was waiting in the hall with the ad designer and the new symbol of the Huzzeh Vacuum -- a girl in a 5 foot tall bright pink pig suit. The pig was not only the mascot for the new product, but would also be the host and guide in the video game tie-in that would only be available to those who purchased the vacuum. Huzzeh already had a huge campaign planned with a lot of American celebrities booked to film commercials for it.

Mr. Yakamura heard all the laughter and applause and went into the room leading the costumed pig on a leash to see what the fuss was about and joined the crowd. Matt spotted the pig right away and, drawing on his youtube research, called out, "You swine! Stand forth and receive the thrashing you deserve!" He then began beating up the pig with the plastic sword and the salesmen went wild. The pig ran away while they all cheered Matt for driving off the ultimate symbol of dirt. The pig escaped the room and took off its head, revealing a diminutive, pretty young girl crying her eyes out because it looked like she had just lost her chance of being a celebrity in her hometown of Tokyo.

Mr. Yakamura shook Matt's hand and said in perfect English, "You are the perfect person for Huzzeh!"

"Huzzah!" said Matt. "Wait till my mom hears about my job at the Renaissance Fair! She'll be really happy!"

Mr. Yakamura was not familiar with the term Renaissance Fair, but he did like Matt's reference to his mother. It showed honor and respect which Mr. Yakamura thought was lacking among American youth.

That afternoon Matt went home and told his mother and friends about his new job at the Renaissance Fair. "Well, I wasn't really listening when they told me about the details because I was pretty excited but it has something to do with where I start using an old fashioned broom. Then I say, "Begone vile filth (they really liked that part) and all of a sudden there is a bright light and then 'poof!' I am holding this robot looking thing. And the robot comes to life and fights these animated bamboo monsters like in the Valley of Val 'Ore in Castle Expeditions. And they said something about taking my picture for some new video game. Maybe they'll sell the game at the Renaissance Fair and my picture will be on it!"

That night Matt called all his friends telling them he had a job at the Renaissance Fair.

Mr. Yakamura's young assistant, Mr. Kimoro, contacted Matt about a week later. He said that they wanted to meet with Matt to go over some of the things they wanted him to do for Huzzeh. Matt met with them at a small local cable production studio. Although there was a language barrier, Matt had a lot of fun getting dressed up in the professionally made "knight of old" costume with a real sword and practicing his "Begone vile filth!" line. Sometimes they filmed him and Matt liked seeing himself as his friends would see him when they came to the Renaissance Fair. Mr. Kimoro showed him some papers about his job that he signed without paying much attention. He had to get his mom to find a copy of his birth certificate. They spent a lot of time taking a picture.

"Is this the picture for the video game," he asked.

Matt and Mr. Kimoro spent a lot of time playing the new game. Mr. Kimoro reminded Matt of his other friends. Pretty soon the Huzzeh office looked like Matt's bedroom with empty pop cans, candy wrappers and half eaten Twinkies laying on the floor. He liked the video game and was pretty good at it. The words were in Japanese but he thought the name of the game was Passport to Vi 'Sa because Mr. Kimoro kept saying those words.

The local newspaper was full of the opening of the Renaissance Fair. Matt asked Mr. Kimoro when and where he should show up for work. He learned that the next day he would be picked up by a driver for the trip. He was glad since that meant his mother didn't have to give up her car for the weekend while he went to work. He was told he could bring two suitcases. At first Matt was confused since the Renaissance Fair was only 20 minutes from his house but he liked Mr. Kimoro and did what he was told. Matt packed two suitcases with video games, music, snacks and one t-shirt and a pair of shorts in case he wanted to hang out with his fellow performers after the gates closed.

At 7:30 the next morning he heard his mother say, "Holy cow!" A black stretch limousine had pulled up in front of the house. It was too big to fit in the driveway. The uniformed driver got out and came to the door. "May I take your luggage, sir?"

"Yes, my good man," said Matt, responding to being called Sir.

The driver opened the door for Matt and he stepped inside, enjoying the look on his mother's face and those of the neighbors who had come outside to see the limousine.

"We should be at the airport in 45 minutes," said the driver. "Traffic looks good."

Matt paused. "Airport?"

"Your Tokyo flight leaves in about two hours. It's an honor for me to drive the new Huzzeh star. Here is your travel packet, along with your itinerary, passport and visa information."

Matt frantically grabbed the packet and threw the papers all over the back of the limousine as he pawed through them. Matt discovered he was going to Tokyo to film commercials for some vacuum cleaner company. What the --? He had a passport? When did that happen? The picture in the little booklet was the one they had taken at the TV studio that he thought was for the Renaissance Fair. He would be gone for a month. Matt thought of the one change of clothing he had in his suitcase.

He was flown first class to Japan where he was given a penthouse suite overlooking the insanely bright lights of downtown Tokyo. The ad campaign for the new Huzzeh appliance was the most successful of the decade. He had extra security guards every time he left the building dressed as Captain Chou Houki, which was Japanese for Captain Super Broom. He was often seen in the company of the most famous gravure models, who some considered to be the most beautiful women in Japan. Girls were always trying to sneak into his room; one was even arrested trying to rappel from the roof to the balcony of his penthouse.

He had more money than he could fathom. American celebrities coming to Japan for lucrative commercial work wanted to be photographed with him. A financial advisor made his financial decisions for him. His mother quit her job and moved to Tokyo. Among his holdings in Tokyo was some real estate, including an apartment building. He gave his mother one of the lower level units so now she lives in his basement.

Oh, and Matt's reality show is scheduled to start airing in the autumn.