Marauders of the Mid-Card
The Casa de Halitosis
Halitosis’s Voice (calling out from the bathroom): Laura! Honey! Where’s my mask?
In the living room, Laura Bergman aka the wife of the ‘The Luchador with Insanely Poor Oral Hygiene’ Halitosis, looks up and rolls her eyes.
She stretches out her five foot six, one hundred sixteen pound frame in an easy chair dressed in a simple t-shirt and shorts with her long black hair scrunched up under a baseball cap.
Laura’s reading the latest wrestling dirt sheet. Or at least she’s trying to.
Laura Bergman (shouts back): Check the bedroom!
Halitosis’s Voice: But I’d have to walk through the living room to get to the bedroom and there’s a camera there.
Laura Bergman: And?
Halitosis’s Voice: We don’t want to break keyfabe now, do we.
Laura turns to the camera that’s filming them.
Laura Bergman: Keyfabe.
She puts the dirt sheet down and talks to the camera.
Laura Bergman: It’s a good thing I’m used to ‘keyfabe.’ You see, I’ve been married to the man you know as Halitosis for ten years now…
Laura straightens her legs and presses down on the arms of the chair to push herself up.
Laura Bergman: …we met in 2008 at a Political Championship Wrestling house show. Halitosis worked part-time as talent enhancement at PCW while he was putting himself through college.
She jumps up from the chair.
Laura Bergman: In 2009, Halitosis and I started to date and things went so well we decided to get married later on in the year.
Motioning to the cameraman to follow her, she heads towards the bedroom.
Laura Bergman: You know, as the wife of a pro wrestler who’s spent the past few years scuffling through the independents, you’d think I’d be ecstatic that my husband has finally reached the big time and signed on with High Octane Wrestling.
Laura hangs a left and starts down a hallway.
Laura Bergman: And I am. I’m very proud of what he’s accomplished. For ten long years, we’ve led a nomadic existence- an existence many wrestlers deal with on the independent wrestling scene. I’ve followed Halitosis from town to town all over the country and from company to company.
Another hallway. The camera continues to follow along.
Laura Bergman: Do you know what else I’ve put up with? His awful diet. I’ve at least figured out how to deal with his horrible breath…
She points to large box of industrial strength Listerine on the floor as they walk by.
Laura Bergman: Right turn.
She pivots right into entrance of the bedroom and stops.
Laura Bergman: Now, the past three years or so things have been stable. Halitosis got hired on full time at Missouri Valley Wrestling and won the tag titles with Rah twice. It was a very steady gig. Rah and Halitosis were the current tag team champions when High Octane Wrestling came calling and the rest is history. Don’t get me wrong, the money was good before. We lived comfortably. But the HOW deal was too good to pass up.
She turns around and surveys the bedroom.
Laura Bergman: Balls.
The room looks like the Tasmanian Devil went through and emptied out every single article of clothing on the floor, bed, furniture, and over the fixtures.
Laura sighs audibly. She rubs her forehead like she’s suffering from a ringing headache and wonders to herself why?
Laura Bergman: Really?
So, finding Halitosis’s mask was going to be a little more challenging than she thought.
Laura Bergman: It’s like…everything has been a mess ever since he signed the deal. When we were down in the Indies, we had limited funds. We knew we had limited funds. Halitosis focused like a laser beam on working out and trying to improve as a wrestler. When he worked with Dawn McGill in MVW, she was the strong influence he needed…she gave him direction…she made him toe the line and stay on task. Dawn brought out the best in him.
Cameraman’s Voice: Over there, ma’am.
Laura Bergman: What?
The cameraman points towards the light fixture above the bed. The mask is hanging off the fixture.
Laura Bergman: How in the hell? Ugh.
Laura steps up onto the bed and reaches up to snatch the mask from the light fixture. She hops down to the floor.
Laura Bergman: Now, our life has been turned upside down and I’m concerned about the way my husband has been training for his first match. He’s become distracted. I mean, for example. This whole thing about his manager. Matt. Look, Matt’s really a nice guy. Matt really means well. But if Halitosis isn’t good at the whole talking thing, Matt’s so bad he actually makes Halitosis look semi-competent at cutting a promo.
Laura looks right into the camera to clarify her last statement.
Laura Bergman: I said, semi-competent.
With mask in hand, she whirls around and starts towards the bathroom. Left turn out of the bedroom.
Laura Bergman: The second problem is that he isn’t going to crack the whip with my husband and make him accountable for doing what he needs to be doing. Halitosis really needs that or he gets out of whack. I even called the guy Halitosis used to find Matt in the first place and told him exactly the type of manager I thought my husband needed. I was told given my husband’s ‘limitations’ in the ring that it might be helpful to have some sort of comic relief foil as his manager to, and I quote, give him a little color and make him a little more interesting.
She shakes her head.
Laura Bergman: I mean, I guess the fact that he puts together the most noxious, disgusting, vile concoctions and drinks it down as if he’s shotgunning a can of Schaefer beer isn’t ‘different’ or ‘colorful’ enough.
Laura cuts left.
Laura Bergman: I get it. In a company with strong personalities like Mike Best, John Sektor, Max Kael, Scottywood, Mario Maurako, and newcomers like ‘The Incredible One’ and Madman Szalinski II, it’s going to be imperative that my husband finds a way to stand out from the rest.
Back through the living room. Laura points down.
Laura Bergman: Watch out for the table.
The cameraman suddenly veers hard left to get around the coffee table just to the right of the easy chair. Laura stops at the entrance to the bathroom.
Laura Bergman: Here’s your mask!
She wads the mask into a tight ball, rears back with her right hand, and fires a fastball into the bathroom.
Halitosis’s Voice: Thank you! Right in the face!
Laura Bergman: You’re welcome!
Laura doubles back past the cameraman- he has to swiftly wheel around to follow her- and goes back to what she was doing before.
Just as she gets resituated in her easy chair, her cell phone dings. She glances down. It’s an email from HOW with a big announcement.
Laura’s eyebrows raise.
Laura Bergman: Whoa!
She has to read it a second time.
Laura Bergman (shouts): Hey honey! Guess who just signed with HOW!
Halitosis’s Voice (off screen): Who!
Laura Bergman: Lindsay freakin’ Troy.
Halitosis pokes his head (with lucha mask on) around the corner.
Laura follows him as he sweeps through the living room and heads for the bedroom.
Laura Bergman: That’s a huge signing. I remember Lee Best was courting her to come to HOW back in 2015-2016.
She pauses as the bedroom door closes.
Laura Bergman (louder): Honey, are you headed to the gym today?
Halitosis’s Voice: Meeting.
Laura mouths ‘meeting?’ and shakes her head. The only meeting you need to be attending is one with your trainer.
Laura Bergman (faux-sweetly): Meeting for what?
Halitosis bounds into the living room. He’s casually dressed…sweatshirt and jeans.
Laura Bergman: Production?
Laura Bergman: Production for training?
He goes to the closet and grabs a jacket.
Halitosis: I’m meeting Matt the Manager and a couple other people. They’ve got a couple ideas so we’re going to brainstorm some stuff.
Laura Bergman: Brainstorm some stuff?
Halitosis: Stuff. Production stuff. You know. The in-ring presentation.
Laura nods…the knowing nod that on the outside signals an understanding of what her husband just said…but in actuality conceals her opinion that what Halitosis really needs to be doing right now is brainstorming ways to produce a positive in-ring performance and a win against Aunt Flo and then David Black at Refueled on April 8th.
Laura Bergman (tone of resignation): Oh. Okay.
She opens up the dirt sheet again and buries herself in the latest news while Halitosis searches for the keys of his car.
Laura Bergman (still reading): So…sweetheart…
Halitosis: Yes dear?
Laura Bergman: When exactly did you plan on going back in the gym and start training for Refueled?
Halitosis: THERE THEY ARE!
Halitosis had somehow caught a glint of light reflecting off the keys three quarters of the way pushed underneath the couch.
He plucks the keys and raises them in the air.
Halitosis turns to his wife and is met by the withering glare of disapproval. He tries to chuckle and make light of her concern. She ratchets up the ‘look’ with an expression that bores a hole right through Halitosis.
Sufficiently shamed, Halitosis decides to try a little contriteness.
Halitosis: Tomorrow. Promise.
He guzzles down some Listerine and then kisses his wife.
Not two minutes after Halitosis exits out the front door for his ‘appointment,’ Laura’s phone goes off again. She casually picks the phone up and then reads the message.
Her eyes widen…big time. Her jaw drops.
Email from HOW.
Eric Dane signs for HOW.
Yeah. THAT Eric Dane.
Laura Bergman (stunned): Oh. My. God.
Laura leans back in the chair and skims through the story again.
Laura Bergman: Wow.
Two weeks ago Halitosis was wrestling the likes of the Dork Dynasty, P.M.C. Banks, Kirk Walstreit, ’Canadian Bad Boy’ Justin Beaver, the Beer Bellied Softball Playing Ninja, Jobber D’Hutt and obnoxious French sports talk show host Dan LeBasterd.
On April 8th, Halitosis walks into a refueled High Octane Wrestling that already boasts the return of Best, Sektor, Brian Hollywood, Bobbi Carey, Chris Kostoff, Darkwing, Kael, David Black, Cecilworth Farthington, Chris Diamond, and Scott Stevens bolstered with the additions of The Incredible One, the Madman, Graham Clausen, Cancer Jiles, Aunt Flo, and now…Lindsay Troy and Eric Dane.
Laura Bergman: Fuck.
He’s going to have to up his game…big time…or he’s going to get killed.
Halitosis Business Meeting
Local Banquet Room
Friday March 22nd
Halitosis, Matt the Manager, Cue-Card Guy, and Scriptwriters 1 and 2 are in the middle of giving a presentation to their business manager- who just also happens to be Laura.
Halitosis stands over an open cardboard box right next to his feet with an easel sitting to his left with cards covered up by a blank white card. A video screen rises up behind him and the rest of the group.
Matt the Manager has his arms folded and exudes uncomfortableness. Cue-Card Guy makes sure he’s prepared enough cue-cards to get through the presentation. Scriptwriters 1 and 2 prepare their pencils for use.
Halitosis: …so, taking into consideration that talent-wise, I may be a little behind the curve compared to many of the wrestlers in HOW and the fact that I don’t do trash talking all that well-
Laura’s Voice off screen: Pfffft!
Halitosis stops and looks off camera as if he’s hurt by the interruption.
Halitosis: Aw come on! You said you’d listen to the whole thing before you made any comments.
Laura’s Voice: Sorry.
Extending both arms as if to drive the point home to his wife, Halitosis pauses.
Laura’s Voice: I said I was sorry. Carry on.
Taking a deep breath to purge himself of the distraction, Halitosis continues.
Halitosis: So, also taking into consideration that I’m not good at trash talking and my technical ability inside the ring is pretty good but sometimes hit and miss, we need to admit the obvious here.
He removes the blank card from the easel. The card underneath reads: “We are not the elite.”
Halitosis: We are not the elite. If you look at the amount and quality of talent Lee Best has assembled for the reopening of HOW and this tournament, I have to be realistic. Why?
He turns to Matt the Manager and his Cue-Card Guy and scriptwriters.
Matt the Manager, Cue-Card Guy and Scriptwriters 1 and 2: WE ARE NOT THE ELITE!
Halitosis: That’s right. I want to win matches. I want to succeed. I’d like to win this tournament. But I know I’ve also got limitations and talent-wise I just don’t stack up to the same level of many of the wrestlers in HOW.
Reaching down, Halitosis pulls out a shirt from the box.
Halitosis: As you know, I’m known as the Luchador with Insanely Poor Oral Hygiene. But on a larger scale, we need something that people can latch on to and connect with. So…
He holds the shirt up. On the front it says: “MOTM.”
Cue-Card Guy: MOTM. Man of the match?
Halitosis pulls off another card. It reads: ‘MOTM. Marauders of the Mid-card.’
Halitosis: Marauders. Of. The. Mid-card.
Cue-Card Guy: But in the English football world, MOTM means man of the match.
Halitosis turns his head to follow the dialogue as it switches.
Scriptwriter #1: But you know, he could be making a statement that in any wrestling match, he’s always going to strive to be the ‘man’ of the match.
Scriptwriter #2: That’s actually kind of ambitious.
Scriptwriter #1: It is.
The scriptwriters high five.
Cue-Card Guy: Okay. I can go with that. Matt?
Being called upon startles Matt the Manager. He nervously looks around…shrugs…and hopes the spotlight goes somewhere else.
Cue-Card Guy: See? It’s a good idea.
Raising his arms, Halitosis tries to get the conversation back on track.
Halitosis: Right. People…can we get back on track here. Now, the other part of this plan involves…
He pulls another card off. The next card reads: ‘The Music Video.’
We hear a spit take off camera.
Halitosis jerks his head around.
Halitosis: Honey! You promised .
Laura’s Voice (trying not to laugh): Sorry.
Brief stare off.
Laura’s Voice (forcing herself not to laugh): I’m sorry.
Halitosis clears his throat.
Halitosis: A music video will be a sound and visual representation of what we’re trying to do.
He points to the video screen. The lights turn down.
A line of men. Halitosis, dressed in his usual wrestling attire…black t-shirt with the letter ‘H’ in front and black pants. The rest wear the MOTM/‘Marauders of Mid-card’ t-shirts.
Marching band-style introduction.
(sung to the tune of ‘Men in Tights’ from the movie Robin Hood-Men in Tights)
Halitosis and the others strut forward in a Broadway-style kind of way.
“I’m some guy, in wrestling tights.
Marauding through the mid-card every night!”
He turns to clothesline the guy next to him. But he doesn’t get close enough and whiffs, missing him by two feet.
The guy falls anyways and sells it as though he’s been shot.
“I’m some guy, in wrestling tights.
With just one breath, I’ll turn out your lights, that’s right!
Halitosis turns to the right and breathes on the new guy next to him. This guy clutches his throat and falls to the floor.
“I may not look too threatening!
But if you’re booked against me you’ll get a good fight!”
Everyone trips all over themselves trying to avoid poor guy on the floor. It quickly turns into a demolition derby. Bodies pile up on the ground while Halitosis gamely tries to carries on. He climbs up to the top rope while lip-synching the song and prepares to put Matt the Manager through a table.
Matt the Manager: What?
Matt does not appear to be too pleased at this idea.
“I’m some guy, in wrestling tights…”
Halitosis does his High Angle Swanton dive off the top rope. At first, it looks good. Matt braces himself. It doesn’t look so good for him.
“…Marauding through the mid-card every night!”
But then it becomes clear Halitosis has misjudged the jump…
…and misses the table all together.
Close up- a dazed Halitosis lying face first on the floor next to the table.
When the lights come back up, Halitosis looks at Laura hopefully and awaits her verdict.
Laura finally enters the scene. In a business suit and a pair of smart heels, she more than acts the part of Halitosis’s business manager.
She breezes past Halitosis.
Laura Bergman: Okay. Let’s start with the positive.
Laura stops and spins on her heels.
Laura Bergman: Okay. Now that we’re done with that.
She looks down and shakes her head sadly.
Laura Bergman: I love you. I support you. I have been your wife and business manager for the past ten years. So please know that what I’m about to say to you is being said in the most loving and caring way possible.
Halitosis braces himself.
Laura Bergman: That sucked. Don’t ever do that again.
Laura Bergman: Don’t ever do anything like that again. That was probably the most poorly thought-out and ill-conceived ideas you’ve ever had.
Laura Bergman (interrupting): My eyes are bleeding from watching that video.
The cameraman snickers behind the camera.
Cameraman (to himself): Oh yeah…this is so going out on You Tube.
He presses the upload button on his cell phone and sends the video up.
Laura Bergman: But let’s get down to the real problem.
Laura looks her husband in the eye and points at him.
Laura Bergman: None of this addresses the real issue that since you signed the contract to come to HOW, you’ve done absolutely nothing to prepare yourself for your first match. You potentially have two matches coming up on April 8th. Are you ready for them?
Hemming and hawing, Halitosis makes a few nonsensical sounds but does not actually form a coherent response…or even a word.
Laura Bergman: Do you think Florence Kearsey is sitting around making music videos to get prepared for her first round match against you? And what do you think David Black is doing right now?
Halitosis has no answer. Laura walks up to him and pokes him in the chest with her index finger.
Laura Bergman: Right. You’re forgetting that it’s one thing to get offered a contract from HOW, it’s another trying to stay there. The road is littered with the carcasses of good wrestlers who signed on to HOW with the promise and grandiose dreams of gold and fame and fortune only to flounder, flake out, crash and burn.
She grabs both of his arms and shakes him back and forth.
Laura Bergman: You worked so hard for this moment.
Laura pulls out her cell phone.
Laura Bergman: And I’m sure as hell not going to let you blow it.
She pushes down on a button.
Halitosis: What are you doing?
Laura Bergman (into the phone): It’s time.
Which gets Halitosis wondering.
Halitosis: It’s time? It’s time for what?
Laura Bergman: I remember a time a couple years ago when your career was at a crossroads. You were just starting up with Missouri Valley Wrestling. You were offered an opportunity to wrestle with Rah at a tag team tournament held by 4CW. But it came with a condition. Do you remember that condition?
The door opens.
The sound of the whip commands everyone’s attention.
Cue-Card Guy: What the-
Laura Bergman: That condition was you would commit to a strict training regimen and did everything the woman who is about to walk through that door told you to do.
Halitosis gets a sinking feeling.
Halitosis: Oh oh.
Laura Bergman: And it worked didn’t it? Well, guess what.
Halitosis knows who’s about to walk through that door.
Laura Bergman: You’re about to do it again.
And he would be correct. Dawn McGill strides through the door dressed in all black with a pair of knee-high black boots on that add a couple inches to her six foot height. McGill also has a whip in her right hand at the ready.
Both scriptwriters look at her in the same awestruck wonder the toy space aliens inside the electronic arcade claw machine in the Toy Story movie do when they are plucked and lifted into the air by the giant metal claw.
Scriptwriters 1 and 2: Oooooooh.
McGill does not look pleased. A feeling that she manages to project all the way across the room to Halitosis who becomes wary as Dawn approaches.
Halitosis (nonchalantly): Hey Dawn. Long time, no-
Halitosis (not so nonchalantly): …see?
Dawn McGill: When was the last time you ran?
Halitosis: Well, I guess that depends on your definition of running-
Halitosis involuntarily jumps at the harsh sound of the whip cracking uncomfortably close to him.
Dawn McGill (commanding tone): Now!
Halitosis: Yes ma’am. Running.
Without hesitation, Halitosis takes off on a dead sprint around the room.
Dawn McGill: I don’t think you appreciate the gravity of the opportunity you’ve been given.
When Halitosis finishes lap number one…
Dawn McGill: This isn’t the minor leagues. This is the big time.
She watches like a hawk as Halitosis races around the room. He finishes lap number two.
Dawn McGill: MOVE IT!
Halitosis does a quick hop as if the whip may have made contact with him.
Halitosis: OWWWWW! Hey!
That one might leave a mark.
While Halitosis runs away at full speed from the whip wielding McGill, Laura goes over to her.
Laura Bergman: So what exactly is the plan?
McGill puts her arm around Laura and smirks.
Dawn McGill: I’m thinking- training regimen from Rocky Four.
Halitosis hears her as he passes by.
Halitosis: Aw come on! Not the training regimen from Rocky Four a-
Some Wooden Shack in the middle of the Arctic
Sunday March 24th– Friday March 29th
HIGHLIGHTS OF HALITOSIS’S ROCKY FOUR TRAINING REGIMEN
-Survivor’s “Burning Heart” plays as the soundtrack in the background.
Halitosis’s feet move up, and back, and up as he appears to be jumping rope. That is until the camera zooms out and reveals he’s just doing some goofy dance thing.
McGill tosses him an actual jump rope.
Dawn McGill: How about we try using this.
He mimics McGill saying ‘how about we try using this.’
And that spurs Halitosis to immediately start jumping rope at a rapid clip.
Halitosis: Jumping! See? Jumping rope!
Halitosis tries to do the sit ups where he hangs upside down off a ledge with Matt the Manager and Cue-Card Guy holding his legs down and he has to use his core muscles to pull himself up.
Halitosis: Yeah, give me a second okay?
Halitosis tries to chop wood outside in the subzero chill but he keeps missing the piece of wood and nearly takes off the bottom part of his leg.
He goes inside. Ten minutes later, he comes back out with a chainsaw.
The chainsaw works better.
McGill just shakes her head.
Halitosis works the big bag. His first punch is a wicked right hand-
Face grimacing and half bent over, Halitosis shakes his right hand.
Someone left the punching bag outside in the minus fifteen degree air before the training session…
He continues to shake his hand.
Halitosis still attempts to do the sit ups hanging upside down from a ledge with Matt the Manager and Cue-Card Guy holding his legs down. McGill also watches from down on the floor.
Dawn McGill: Just one…
He strains so much just trying to do one sit up that he feels his core muscles are about to burst out of his body like the scene from Alien where the alien pops out of John Hurt’s stomach.
After guzzling down one of his noxious concoctions, Halitosis breathes on a potted plant.
The plant immediately turns black, shrivels up, and dies.
Now, Halitosis tries to pull down on a rope over a pulley to lift up a net full of heavy boulders. He puts his full weight into it…
…and nothing happens.
And he tries again.
Lying flat on his back, Halitosis tries to raise his legs and torso into the air by using just his core muscles.
We’ll come back to that one later.
Halitosis goes up to the wall and breathes on it. The paint peels off.
Back to the heavy boulders.
Halitosis, Matt the Manager, Cue-Card Guy, and the Scriptwriters all simultaneously pull down on the rope to lift the net of heavy boulders into the air.
Still not working…
Back to the sit ups where you hang upside down off a ledge with someone holding your legs down. McGill continues to urge Halitosis on.
Dawn McGill: Come on. Let’s do just one.
Halitosis again tries. But in the process of using every muscle available to him to complete just one sit up, Matt the Manager and Cue-Card Guy lose the grip on his legs. Halitosis’s legs kick up and belt both Matt and the Cue-Card Guy in the jaw knocking them out.
McGill watches then as Halitosis’s legs snap up and over him sending him over the edge plummeting downward…
…landing on the grime covered wooden floor below.
Halitosis steps outside because he’s having some gastrointestinal issues.
He lets out a loud belch.
Cut to: Stock video footage of what happens to a forest after a nuclear bomb goes off nearby.
Halitosis nods approvingly.
Halitosis: Ah. Much better.
Former Russian Premier Mikhail Gorbachev sits at a table next to Halitosis.
Halitosis (confused): Okay, why is he here?
Gorbachev does the same slow turn of the head towards Halitosis he did in the Rocky Four movie to Ivan Drago’s manager when Rocky Balboa seizes control of the fight and the Russian crowd begins to support him.
Halitosis: Okay, why is he looking at me like that?
Halitosis subtly edges away from him.
McGill, Laura, Matt the Manager, Cue-Card, and the scriptwriters are loaded into a carriage and Halitosis has to lift the long extended wooden fork that attaches it to the horses.
Of course, it’s a struggle.
Matt the Manager: Everyone…into the back.
Everyone save McGill jams into the back. The weight shift makes it more conducive for Halitosis to lift up the forks. And he actually gets it off the ground with a mighty push of his legs.
Halitosis (shouting at the top of his lungs): DRAAAA-GOOOOOOOOO!
Laura Bergman: Who?
Dawn McGill: Never mind. He’s on a roll.
The wagon continues to tip back due to the weight pushing down.
Dawn McGill (alarmed): Um…guys.
Now tilting up even higher, the forks pulls Halitosis up off the floor.
Dawn McGill (really alarmed): I don’t think this is a good idea.
Halitosis lets go. He falls to the ground. Without the counterweight, the forks go full upright and ejects everyone out of the cart.
Then the forks come right back down.
Halitosis looks up just in time to see the impending hurt headed his way.
Halitosis: Oh shhhhhh-
Halitosis lies on the floor knocked out.
Everyone else is strewn across the floor on the other side of the cart.
Laura’s Voice: So is this how Ray McAvay got started?