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Afterthoughts: A Polar Bear Fell on Me!

JediCole here managing not to fulfill a promise to myself. That promise being that I would not write an Afterthoughts article for every single episode of the podcast! But then I am a slave to the Ever-Ticking Brain so as a result there was something that had to be addressed when Roadhouse got stuck within my thoughts. I would highly recommend that you listen to the latest episode of the show before reading further…

As the action in Roadhouse draws to a close Dalton escapes death at the hands of the crooked Brad Wesley by the timely intervention of the town elders of Jasper armed with shotguns. After the smoke has cleared on the carnage of the morning the flaming remains of Dalton’s car singe the immaculately kept lawn of Wesley’s estate, a dozen henchmen lie dead or wounded about the house and grounds, hundreds of shell casings litter the grass and the various rooms of the house, and the one-time godfather of Jasper lies dead in a pool of blood and a riot of broken glass. As his myriad trophies and the “good guys” stand in mute testament to all that has transpired the law arrives at last.

Despite the proximity of everything in town to everything else no one seems to have thought to call the cops when a pitched gun battle punctuated with a massive explosion was playing out over a the Wesley place. Prior to this the worst his neighbors seemed to have to endure was his loud topless pool parties and his horse-frightening arrival home via helicopter like Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore of Apocalypse Now! dressed as Mr. Rourke of Fantasy Island. Perhaps this would have dulled the senses (and sensibilities) of the townsfolk to the obvious armed strife that exploded just down the street to the point where no one bothered to complain until the stench of burning tires agitated their daughter’s allergies to the point that action must be taken. And so it was that for the first time in the entire film a member of the town’s law enforcement decided to do his job. Wesley’s heavies plowing Bigfoot Jr. through the Ford dealership in front of God and everybody seemingly could not get the man out from behind his desk!

It is here that my brain began to tick overtime. I could not help but extrapolate backward from the scene in the trophy room where everyone shared an unspoken determination to remain quiet about the day’s events that would rival that of the boys from Deliverance. The Sheriff’s appearance in that room suggested much that was not given coverage on film. Undoubtedly he would have arrived in his patrol cruiser from the front of the house where he would have to have seen the charred and smoldering frame of a car and easily have surmised the path of destruction it had taken before coming to a halt where its remains still belched thick black smoke. This certainly would have piqued the lawman’s curiosity sufficiently to have noticed dozens upon dozens of pistol and rifle shell casings in the immediate vicinity. At this point I would have expected no less than a “Hmmff”, on his part before he adjusted his hat and made his way to ring the front doorbell.

Receiving no reply to his ringing of said bell and the polite knocking while identifying himself in a voice loud enough to be heard but not loud enough to wake sleeping neighbors he would have shrugged his shoulders and made the natural assumption that Wesley and his entourage were around back at the swimming pool as was their habit. Secure in his position as an officer of the law he had no qualms about showing himself to the back yard via the most convenient route around the front of the house. Again he was compelled to voice a curious “Hmmff!” as his eyes fell upon still further carnage in the form of bodies of henchmen both familiar and new that he saw as he rounded the house and entered the inviting open kitchen door. This truly was looking to be the wildest of Wesley’s parties to date. And despite his long association with the small town gangster he felt he might be forced to use some strong words of caution against such riotous fun in the future.

Winding his way through the house along a path that exactly followed that of Dalton some time earlier he found more destruction and death littering the magnificent estate house. Strong words would certainly be in order when he finally encountered the homeowner. But then he could not help but reflect on the further penalty that Wesley would pay for this day’s activities in the form of a stain on his white carpet so severe that it would all have to be taken up and the room re-carpeted. A wry smile undoubtedly crossing his face as he reflected on this and made his way down to that creepy room full of “stuffed animals”.

Looking back on all he had seen he felt that he had accounted for the better part of Wesley’s staff that were familiar to him except for that bumbling but lovable tough called Tinker. Oh what kind of mischief could that boy have run afoul of in the midst of all that he had surveyed up to this point. Nothing in his limited imagination could have prepared him for the sight that met his eyes amidst the collection of preserved examples of Wesley’s prowess as a big game hunter. The room was in disarray, authentic tribal weaponry destroyed, and the very man he sought lay dead amidst the shattered remains of a very expensive table. Around him stood familiar local businessmen, a prominent Emergency Room physician, and some mullet-sporting good-for-nothing who was unfamiliar to him due to his own inaction an all other events chronicled in the movie.

It was only now that he began to suspect that something was amiss. That this was more than just drunken revelry that got out of hand. Perhaps, indeed, there was criminal activity at work in his town! This would warrant further investigation. And as he raked the cobwebbed corners of his memory, casting about to recall his law enforcement training, interrogation sprang to mind. He would need to interrogate the witnesses! Uncertain of how to proceed he fell back on questioning which he reasoned would be sufficiently close to interrogation to serve the purpose at hand. And when his questions were met with replies of ignorance he felt that he was at an impasse, though he would have been incapable of classifying it as such. Finally his salvation lay at hand when by piteous moans it was discovered that Tinker was alive and well if burdened by the weight of a mounted polar bear.

Free of the encumbering dead animal Tinker would prove a stalwart witness to all that transpired. His honesty and integrity were the stuff of legend throughout the town! Was he not known as the Washington of Jasper after all? So again the Sheriff plied his question and was met with an answer that could have easily been gleaned from observation of the predicament from which Tinker had only lately been rescued. Undoubtedly stunned by his ordeal with the preserved bear he would not prove the principle witness that was needed in this case. Yet policy dictated that some reasonable explanation be put forth in writing. A report! Yes, that was the thing. A report must be filed!

What transpired between the awkward assemblage in Wesley’s trophy room and Dalton and “Doc’s” skinny dipping celebration was lost to the editing bay and the constraints of a film that already tipped the scales at over two hours in length. The infamous “lost scene” of the movie revealed that as the group broke up and the clean up began, former auto parts store owner Red Webster stayed behind to help the baffled lawman work out the details. Spinning an elaborate tale that made Wesley and his men culpable in all aspects of the tragedy that had played out the final report cleared the protagonists of any wrongdoing and, with the help of Dr. Clay’s autopsy reports on all of the victims, caused all of the deaths that day and Jimmy’s the day before, to be declared accidental.

So by sounding all of this out I seem to have managed to answer a great many of the questions that had bothered me incessantly since the first time I saw Roadhouse. I have found that there truly is no mystery as to why the Sheriff seemed to gladly accept the innocence of the assembled townspeople without benefit of investigation. And perhaps in so doing I have shed light on the conclusion of this film for many a viewer and fan. And yet one question still remains…

How is it that all four of us, steeped as many of us were in Roadhouse from repeated viewings, that we never once invoked the line, “I thought you’d be bigger!”???

And in closing I can say that in my scant research for this article I discovered something else that explains a prevailing aspect of Roadhouse. The sheer volume of toplessness that I have always attributed to this being very much a film of the 80s actually has another, deeper purpose. It turns out that the sleepy if Midwestern Mafia plagued town of Jasper is in Missouri. And since it is the Show Me State, the women of the town were naturally obliged to give the local men an eyeful of their feminine charms whenever possible!

So until the next time my brain is ticking out of my head after a podcast recording I bid you farewell, advise you that pain don’t hurt, and proudly declare I wish I was Two-Face!

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