It was 1986. Metroid came out on the original Nintendo, which had a female protagonist alien destroyer who reveals her bushy Red Sonia hair at the end after tossing off her futuristic, intergalactic helmet with a badass, nonchalant, superhero flourish, as if Molly Ringwald and Stan Lee had a dreamy comic book baby creation come to life. Matilda Singing Rose Kornbluth was in the fourth grade, spending more time now stargazing with her new telescope she got for Hanukkah than playing Metroid, because she saw how tweaky and sketchy her younger brother got once he got addicted to winning Metroid before his big sister did.
Her younger brother Arthur would now sneak downstairs to the basement to pound his secret stash of later-discontinued Jolt Cola, which was the equivalent of six cups of coffee, resulting in him becoming the most sleep-deprived first-grader since Sam Kinson hooked up Drew Barrymore with his coke dealer at the Comedy Store.
But her younger brother didn’t finish off all of his Jolt stash in the garage, because Matilda had snagged the rest to stay up for Haley’s Comet, which she couldn’t afford to miss because she had to write a paper about it for class.
Actually, Matilda’s fourth grade teacher, Mrs. McCracken, gave her a permission to stay up late for Haley’s Comet by any means necessary, saying, “Isaac Newton wasn’t sent to jail for proving the earth was round, for her to punk out and be a lazy brain, goody two-shoes square.”
Now Matilda is pounding more Jolt and noshing on some leftover Milky Ways from Halloween that she discovered hidden in the garage, eagerly awaiting to spot the world’s most famous comet blaze across the sky, knowing she won’t be able to see it again ’till 2061.
By then, Matilda saw herself as a retired, famous astrophysicist who would eventually go viral (despite the Internet not having been invented yet), where she tells Carl Sagen on Real Time With Bill Maher her big bang theory, which was, “His mother was an atheist cunt, too.”
Matilda realizes she’s out of Jolt, and in a frenzied spurt, she darts downstairs to grab one more Jolt despite her inner square telling her that she was getting more into the tweaky sugar rush high than catching a twice-in-a-lifetime event (if you’re lucky, knowing it was still 1986 and Wonder Bread still ruled everything around us before Benjamin’s become common vernacular after Puff helped Bigg blow up bigger than you-know-what. Meanwhile, Matilda’s younger brother Arthur was on his final stage of finally winning Metroid downstairs in the TV room, his eyes two feet from the TV as he sits Indian style in sweats and his NY Giant Mark Bavaro Rambo shirt from Big League Threads.
As Matilda zooms down the stairs, she spots Arthur, still up playing Metroid. Normally, Arthur would be oblivious to all other action around him while playing Metroid, especially in his pursuit to finally the win the game before his big sister; yet, unfortunately, she inherited her dear dada’s clunky, heavy feet (which made it impossible to ever stay out late past curfew when she got older, especially knowing the creaky, old wooden colonial steps weren’t helping her stomping trail of sound subside anytime soon, either).
Arthur turns his head, spots Matilda, and yells, “You didn’t see me. Don’t tell Dad. I’ll tell him you drank Jolt—on a school night, too.”
Matilda says, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Arthur. I’m not Matilda—you’re just hallucinating from major sleep deprivation. I’m actually surprised you’re not partially blind, like Han Solo after Leia unfreezes him from carbonite in Jabba’s place.”
Arthur adds, “Don’t BS, me ‘Tilda. Wait a minute. I didn’t press the reset button to pause it.” Now Arthur’s Metroid character gets his marrow sucked to death from a giant green force field-enclosing, brain-eating alien bug. Arthur freaks out, as expected, yelling, “I got killed, ‘Tilda! I’ve never been this close to winning. I’m gonna get you back for this. Can your telescope fly out the window? Let’s find out.”
Matilda says, “Don’t even think about it touching it, Arthur. I haven’t even seen Haley’s Comet yet.”
Matilda and Arthur bolt upstairs to his big sister’s room to wrestle control over the telescope, waking up her dad in the process. They barely squeeze in through her bedroom door together, almost becoming crazy glued together like a pair of tweaked Siamese twins.
As they finally push loose through the door, they trip over each other, landing on top of her red, waxy bean bag with the discarded Milk Way wrappers on it.
Dad comes in and says, “What’s all this commotion about? And why is everyone still up? Haley’s Comet just flew by 5 minutes ago. The show’s over, baby.”
Matilda, who has Arthur in a headlock on the bean bag while giving him a brain-drilling noogie, looks up to her Dad and asks, in perplexed, enraged disgust, “Why didn’t you grab me for Haley’s Comet, Dad?”
Dad says, “But, then I’d miss it. Plus, these telescopes don’t grow on trees. Besides, you get to grow up with Alf. He’ll provide you all the comic relief you’ll need.”