206: Reno Rhymes
Title text: Did you shoot a man in Reno? Now, I don't mean to pry.
This comic starts with a line from the song "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash. Cash is noted as saying, "I sat with my pen in my hand, trying to think up the worst reason a person could have for killing another person, and that's what came to mind," which fits pretty well with the personality of Black Hat. Rather than react badly, Cueball starts a rhyming game, which they continue until Black Hat refers to the horrifying My Lai Massacre, which is apparently going too far for Cueball.
- You know, I once shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
- Black Hat starts with the original line from the song.
- Really? Well I once shot a man in Reno but I couldn't tell you why.
- Cueball then begins the rhyming game by saying that he can't tell the reason why he killed the man.
- I once shot a man in Reno then I went home to cry.
- Black Hat continues by saying that he got emotional after killing the man... Unlikely, given that he's Black Hat, and it could be him trying to continue, or he could be being sarcastic.
- I once shot a man in Reno then I watered his cacti.
- An unlikely action after you have just killed someone, unless you're elaborately trying to cover up your actions. More likely, Cueball is just trying to continue the rhyme.
- I once shot a man in Reno 'cause they cancelled Firefly.
- Firefly was a TV series that aired on Fox during 2002. Its cancellation was a source of much annoyance to its fans, a fact frequently referenced in xkcd. In this case, Black Hat goes as far as to murder someone for this.
- I once shot a man in Reno, him and all his succubi.
- Cueball says he shot a man and a bunch of female demons. Unlikely to happen in real life, and is just probably Cueball attempting to continue.
- I once shot a man in Reno and a bunch more in My Lai.
- The My Lai Massacre was an atrocity committed by US soldiers in Vietnam during the Vietnam war. Here, Black Hat says he not only shot a man in Reno, he shot a bunch more in My Lai, meaning that he was actually part of the massacre. Cueball is obviously horrified by this, and he ends the rhyme with a "I think we're done," signifying his horror at Black Hat's words.
The title text continues the rhyme, but changes the roles: now the speaker is asking someone else if they shot a man in Reno. It may be a reference to The Princess Bride (Inigo says the "I don't mean to pry" part to Westley).
- [Cueball and Black Hat stand facing one another. Black Hat is on the left.]
- Black Hat: You know, I once shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
- Cueball: Really? Well, I once shot a man in Reno, but I couldn't tell you why.
- Black Hat: I once shot a man in Reno, then I went home to cry.
- Cueball: I once shot a man in Reno, then I watered his cacti.
- Black Hat: I once shot a man in Reno 'cause they cancelled Firefly.
- Cueball: I once shot a man in Reno, him and all his succubi.
- Black Hat: I once shot a man in Reno and a bunch more in My Lai.
- Cueball: I think we're done.
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