|Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner|
|Series||Threadbare South Park|
|Written||December 20, 2011|
|No. of Chapters||3|
|Link||Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner|
Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner (also called Taylor Swift Must Die) is a short fanfiction written and published on FanFiction.Net by ThreadbareSP. It is based on the song "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" by Warren Zevon. The story is written in the form of a script and, in its entirety, is approximately the length of a half-hour South Park episode. It takes place during the winter of third grade.
Charlie tells the boys a spooky story about a headless ghost named Roland who seeks revenge against the CIA agents who planned his murder. When it looks like the ghost might be real, the kids have to save Stan from Roland's wrath.
Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny come to Stan's house for a sleepover. Charlie is invited to hang out with the guys too (on the condition that she "won't do any girly stuff"). Kyle provides the group with Red Bull to drink, and for several hours, the group is wildly caffeinated. Eventually, they calm down and decide to tell scary stories.
Charlie tells the story of a Norwegian Thompson gunner named Roland who fought against the Bantu in the Congo War in '66 and '67. Roland, a heartless psychopath, was able to focus and perform without being distracted by the human suffering the war caused. He was the best Thompson gunner in his battalion; he was so good, in fact, that the CIA paid one of his comrades to murder him. The hitman, William Van Owen, "blew off Roland's head." Roland became a headless ghost and went out for revenge against Van Owen. He ultimately found him and killed him with a Thompson gun. All that was ever found of Van Owen was his head. Charlie goes on to say that Roland also wanted revenge against the CIA agents who plotted his death.
The next morning, the kids are groggy from all the caffeine from the night before. While watching the news, they see a story about the murder of a man named Lieutenant Bargin. He was killed in his own home just days after the publication of a tell-all book about his father, who had been a CIA agent working in the Congo in the late '60s. All that was found of him was his head. The boys are struck by how similar this is to the story Charlie had told the previous night. She tells them that she had actually based the story on the song "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" by Warren Zevon, and that this murder is most likely just a coincidence. Then the news reports that the words "Roland's Revenge" were burned into the grass of Bargin's backyard, and that, among his collection of weapons, investigator's had found a blood-stained, unregistered 1966 Thompson gun. Charlie admits that the situation is indeed strange, but maintains that she doesn't know anything about it besides what she knows from the song. Shelly then walks up to the television and turns on a Taylor Swift concert. The kids (except for Kenny) cover their ears and complain about the poor quality of the music.
At dinner that night, Stan brings up the odd murder. Charlie mentions that Bargin's father had been a CIA agent. Sharon tells them that her father had actually been a CIA agent too. He had worked in the Congo in the late '60s and was involved in the Congo War.
Stan and Charlie go upstairs, where Stan expresses concern that Roland's ghost might try to seek revenge on his mother. Charlie reassures him that ghosts are not real. Just then, the phone rings. Kyle tells Stan and Charlie to turn on the news. There has been another murder, similar to that of Lieutenant Bargin. Elderly Frank Bianco was also killed in his own home, and all that was found of him was his head. A bloody 1966 Thompson gun was found in the home.
The next day, Charlie and the boys meet at Kyle's house, and Charlie tells the group about Stan's grandfather's possible involvement in Roland's murder. Kyle notices that the name "Bargin" appears to be hidden in the song's lyrics, and he suggests that they meet with the lyricist himself to learn more about the story of Roland.
Chef drives the kids to Warren Zevon's house, which appears to be a small cottage in the middle of nowhere. Chef drops off the kids, but doesn't want to go inside. The kids are met at the door by a butler, who leads them to an elevator and directs them to the "negative third" floor. When they reach this underground floor, they find a dank hallway lit with torches. There are psychotic messages scribbled on the walls. While they walk down the hallway, Charlie, scared, holds Kyle's hand. As they get further down the hallway, they can make out a whispering voice, which spouts off random, disturbing sentences. When they reach the end of the hallway, they can finally see that the voice is actually a recording played on a tape recorder. The real Warren Zevon comes out from a hidden door in the wall, laughing about "the old tape-recorder-playing-cryptic-phrases-in-a-dimly-lit-hallway trick."
He ushers them through the door into a stylish lounge, where Kenny demands a scotch and proceeds to get drunk. Stan asks Warren about the song and whether there is any truth to it. Warren looks distressed and says that the song is entirely true; he knows because he was a witness to what had happened. As a young recruit to the army, he was put on janitorial duty at a base camp in the Congo. While mopping a room full of CIA agents, he heard them devise their plan to kill a Norweigian soldier named Roland. A few years later, he saw Roland's headless specter kill Van Owen, the hired hitman. Warren had a guilty conscience because he had heard the plans but did nothing to stop them, so, in order to relieve himself of the guilt, he wrote the song "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" and encrypted the names of the CIA agents responsible into the lyrics.
When Charlie tells him what happened to Bianco and Bargin's son, Warren is not surprised. He tells them that, of the seven agents who planned Roland's death, only one was still unpunished: Mark Denison, Stan's maternal grandfather. Warren tells them that he doesn't know of any way to stop Roland, and that he is afraid that he himself might could be a potential victim, since he had known about the plan but done nothing. The kids become glum, so Warren tries to cheer them up by playing the song "Excitable Boy." The song has an upbeat sound, but is about a psychotic teenager who rapes and kills his prom date. The kids do not feel better at the end of the song.
The lights begin to flicker and a chill fills the room. The kids and Warren see the headless ghost of Roland, who shoots Warren Zevon and causes his body to vanish, leaving only his head. The kids escape by running to the elevator. They meet Chef back outside and drive back home.
At Stan's house, Shelly walks by, again playing Taylor Swift music. Kyle comes up with the idea of warding Roland off by blasting Taylor Swift music throughout the house, saying, "Her music is so horrible we might be able to use it to keep Roland away!" The plan appears to fail when Roland shows up anyway. The ghost approaches Stan, who is playing a DVD of Taylor Swift live in concert, and, through a series of gestures, manages to communicate that he wants to be taken to Taylor Swift. Fortunately for everyone, she is playing in Denver that night.
Sharon drives Roland and the kids to the concert in Denver. The kids approach a guard to ask if they can get in to see Taylor Swift before the show, but they are ignored. Kenny is trampled to death by Swift fans running into the concert venue. Roland and the rest of the kids enter the venue. When Taylor Swift appears on stage and begins singing, the lights suddenly go out and a gun blast is heard. When the lights turn on again, all that remains of Taylor Swift is her head and a smashed guitar. Roland has disappeared. He left a note for Stan in which he states that killing Taylor Swift gave him "more solace than any of [his] murders of revenge."