Whatever it takes…
Time to formally go on the record.
Today’s tale of the tape begins inside the cozy confines of a recording studio. There’s the typical control desk propped up against the wall– covered in protective plastic for some odd reason. There’s a pair of podiums, because it’s debate season. There’s a fern tucked away in the corner, because it’s cozy dammet. And there’s an air purifier running, because apparently Mandell slept under the table the past couple nights.
Stevens has been busy raking leaves with his mom in the backyard.
Lining the far wall from left to right: a candid, blown-up photo of Data from Star Trek eating tofu, what looks like a fan made sign reading THE BEAST IS DEAD, presumably scribbled in Scott Stapp’s blood, a mockup of Oscar the Grouch portrayed by Mirror Mandell, and a glamor shot of Silent Witness holding a dildo up vertically in front of his mouth.
You can almost hear him.
SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I’ll never tell.
Sure it’s a picture, but you can tell he wants to wink.
Oh, and at the center of it all, a lavish painting of the Maestro. In the painting his shoulders are magnetized to a wrestling mat. A hoof is atop his chest belonging to the torso of a horse with Darin Zion’s upper half emerging from the neck area.
The Centaurazion. The Greek symbol for Luck, probably.
Or for Showing-up-at-the-last-minute.
Two men, both in suits, enter the small room through the only door. Their identities quickly reveal themselves. The first to enter, wearing all white with a 97RED tie, stands out everywhere he goes with those golden locks and Terminator Shades.
THE COOL, COOL JILES
The second, as even the most O’dell of you out there could guess, would be just as easily identified without his tag partner next to him.
But he sure does help.
The modified Boston 97RED Sox cap on the dome does the trick there.
For some. Maybe.
The only curveball, if you will, is the bill of Dooze’s hat facing forward. That’s honestly stranger than him wearing it with the all black and – you can guess the exact code by now – tie in the first place.
Itz cerius bizznes tiem, bois!
Still surprisingly silent, Jiles suddenly snaps his fingers. Then, he rolls his hand toward himself as if directing a vehicle while pointing with his other hand toward the far corner of the room. Shortly after, a mummified Mike Best(gay/brother/uncle/bandit/dead?) strapped down in a wheelchair rolls into the room in front of a Dan Ryan-esque security guard.
Real Dan’s the new bulky.
And Mummy Mike was the Bandits golden ticket into this whole mess. It’s only fair he participate in this momentous, possibly last ever occasion.
The burly guard pushes the mummified remains of Mike Best(gay/uncle/brother/bandit/dead?) over to the corner Jiles chose, situates him appropriately in front of the Data portrait, and heads back toward the doorway. Just before the guard leaves, he shakes The Maestro’s hand– which appeared to have cash in it. With a regretful nod of the head, the guard reaches out of the room and pulls back a cardboard cut out. Jiles nods and takes it from him.
It’s much smaller than Dan Ryan’s.
That’s what she said.
Jiles turns the cardboard cut out around, and places it at the head of the control desk.
Now, all can bask in the glory of the most holy of cutout himself:
The GOD of HOW is spray painted gold. He’s holding an obviously photoshopped, gigantic frying pan in each one of his hands. One of the frying pans reads, Egg, the other one reads Bandits.
After getting Lee set up just right, The COOL turns on a quick heel and makes his way over to his podium. Hint received, Doozer takes position behind the other, making sure he isn’t blocking the view of the mummified Mike Best (G.U.B.B.D?). Jiles shoots the “you ready?” look over to The Dooze and gets a decisive nod. The two simultaneously pull a piece of folded up paper from their respective right pockets. The papers get flattened out and placed on top of their podiums.
A red light flickers.
A third time.
Then it goes stable.
Jiles: Hello, and welcome to the first ever, High Octane Wrestling Tag Team-O-Cratic debate! Tonight, I, The Maestro of COOL, COOL Jiles, and my elderly cohort, The Must Be All Powerful to Still Pee Standing Doozer will be your most honored and gracious representatives. We have prepared a statement, but before that I would like to thank tonight’s host, Lee Best, for being here and moderating this momentous occasion. I’d also like to throw a quick shoutout to his brother, Mike. I know you guys haven’t talked in a long time, and I’d appreciate it if you waited till we were finished to mend fences. Thank you for your understanding.
The look on Cardboard Lee Best’s face doesn’t seem too happy. Missing an eye and dealing with Steven’s yammering on about you will do that to the Best of us.
Oh, real clever.
Definitely explains why Jiles and Dooze are in a good mood.
Now THAT was pretty clever.
Doozer: Thanks, for that… wonderfu-
Before the Dooze can finish, the first of what should be expected to be many personal asides takes place. Jiles quickly turns to his partner in yolk crime, and speaks just loud enough for him and only him to hear.
Jiles: Not yet, old friend. We need you to go the distance today. We can’t start your aging engine too early. Think of it like this. You love baseball. You know you’re old bones can’t throw a full nine these days. Wait for me to pat my arm and call ya in, Wild Thing.
The COOLYMPIAN adjusts his tie and turns back to face his audience.
That would be you.
And I know, we’d all kill for that hair.
Jiles: Tonight, we, The Egg Bandits… The we-are-and-you-aren’t-so-we-will-spell-it-however-the-fuck-we-want Egg Bandits…
A quick pause allows our attention to focus on the razors shooting out of Jiles’ eyes and into Bobby Dean’s enlarged, clogged, and blackened heart.
Wherever he may be.
Jiles: -are here to talk about the issues. We are here to get to the bottom of it. We are here to tell you why we are the only choice, for your High Octane Tag Team Champions. BIG THINGS TONIGHT! BIG! Like, Road to Redemption BOX SET DVD BIG!
Doozer: That’s right, folks. You’re in for a full nine innings tonight. Batting first, appropriately, THE ONE and ONLY! No–
The Maestro of COOL demonstratively pumps both hands downward.
Jiles: Not HIM, and NOT YET. God damn it! And cut it with the baseball shit. War Games is happening at a baseball field, after a baseball game. There, I ruined it for everyone.
Vehement, Jiles slaps his hand on the podium.
Good thing for all involved that CBLB is here to moderate, or this might just get out of hand.
CardBoard Lee Best. Try to keep up.
After a breath and readjusting of his smile, Mr. Jiles calmly continues on.
Jiles: We would like to start off by talking about something near and dear to our hearts. High Octane Wrestling. Our ONE and ONLY home! There is no other like it. And there never will be. Never.
The now melodramatic Cool Jiles turns back to The Dooze with open arms.
A quick throat clear from the old man.
Doozer: Couldn’t agree more. I-
Jiles: EXACTLY! Well said, Doozy. He COULDN’T agree more. NONE of us could. HOW has given us purpose. It has breathed life into our lifeless, rotting corpses. Some, more than others. So, with that… I say this…
Trying to keep his COOL, Jiles straightens up his tie while twisting his neck until feeling a pop.
Jiles: Thank you, HOW. You gave the Bandits a chance they didn’t deserve. And then did so again. And for some of us, again and again. Being such, as any brethren of the egg not named Bobby Dean knows, loyalty is everything to us. We swear. After this coming War Games if High Octane calls it quits, if the doors close and the lights go off, if it burns to the ground at the end of the Tag Team Title match… then the Bandits go with it.
Doozer: As the last ever Tag Team Champions should.
The Bandits close their eyes in a moment of silence.
Jiles: All captains sink with their ship. So from here on, our yolk will no longer bathe mongoloids in the shameful shades of yellow. No. Our yolks, starting this very moment, will forever ooze…
Their eyes open almost in sync. Jiles stares forward with determination and passion pouring out his very being.
Jiles: NINETY. SEVEN. RED.
Doozer waits a second then leans forward, trying his best to subtly get his teammate’s attention. Upon eye contact, he raises his eyebrows and tilts his head toward the control desk to ask if he can go now.
Hesitant, Cardboard Lee Best doesn’t budge. Dooze reads it wrong and proceeds anyway.
Doozer: Sliding into the second inning-
A snicker from The Maestro cuts Dooze off.
Doozer: What? That sucked didn’t it?
Jiles: You sound how I imagine Silent Witness thinks.
They both shiver.
Jiles: Plus, what I’d say about the baseball garbage? Staring at that dumb hat is enough for me, and I actually like you. I can only imagine how they feel about it.
They is you.
You are they.
Welcome, to The Mandell Zone.
A glare from The Dooze travels in Jiles’ general direction before continuing.
Doozer: Right. So… Redemption. The hot topic on the tip of most tongues.
Off script is obviously not Doozer’s strong point. Guy sounds like he’s doing the fucking news. Or worse, like Stevens is doing the news. Then, we all see the exact moment his proverbial lightbulb flickered on. A smile follows.
Doozer: Ya know… redemption stories these days are like prideful, resentful, flip-flopping bleached assholes. Everyone in this tag title match has one and they sure want people to know how good it looks. Maybe that’s how you get over with Lee. Well then. Lee.
The Dooze raises his right hand up to his forehead and turns the Boston Red Sox cap backwards.
Doozer: After spending damn near ten years of not even hitting rock bottom but getting out of the game entirely. AFTER close to a full DECADE of becoming merely a memory– just an artifact on an archived “Mediocre to Best of Year 20XX” page, and AFTER not ONE, but TWO completely FAILED attempts to contribute to YOUR company. After ALL of that, here I am. Here we are. Ready, willing, and deserving of being baptized your Tag Team Champions.
The Bostonian righteously nods his head.
Doozer: We didn’t say we were the best back then. We didn’t have to. Others did. And we would be Jace “The Jail Snail” level high to say anything like that now. But when it comes to redemption. When it comes to proving that we can step in that ring and be what we once were.
Another pause for dramatic effect.
Doozer: Well, when it comes to all that we have the cleanest assholes in town.
An arrogant Jiles rubs at his clean shaven face. The smirk covering it is obnoxious. It’s a wonder that with such a smug mug that his head hasn’t been caved in before.
Jiles: That wasn’t half bad, my fellow running mate. I almost wish we could’ve had Redemption Song playing softly in the background. You know, maybe with the soft and prepubescent voice of Scorpion Boy covering the track.
The Dooze jots down a note for next time.
If there is a next time????
51/49 as of this debate.
Jiles: You know what? Since you did such an eggscellent job sprinting down the road to redemption, unlike some of the others who have chosen to run against us, I’ve changed my mind on the whole baseball thing. Let’s mention it one more time and that’s it.
Vindicated, The Dooze smiles like you’d imagine him doing while someone sings “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” as he tries to fall asleep.
Doozer: Now, let us take this shutout into the third inning, shall we! Th–
Jiles: Third. As in three.
Lord COOL holds three fingers on his right hand up, trying his best to bunt this thing along.
Jiles: Currently, there are only two bandits. Two. Me, and the old guy.
Frowning, he tucks his ring finger in so only two are left standing.
Jiles: Well, two that wrestle anyway. If Bobby Dean had a backbone that could support his coward’s guilt, maybe there would be three of us that wrestled. Three and a half if he can’t lose the weight. That said, don’t be surprised if someone else finds their way to the yolk side.
Confident, The Maestro goes from now holding three and half fingers, to a hearty thumbs up towards whoever might be switching sides.
Jiles: Before you ponder my sincerity, allow me voir dire you. We have many members, both living and not so much living. WE have pull. We have fame. We have OVER EASY eggs, by the farm full. We’ve got The Golden Eye, Lee Best in our corner. We have his brother tagging along for the ride, spinning about in The Dooze’s old wheelchair. We have Dan Ryan’s much thinner and jet skiing twin. We got The Dude. We got Whammy. We have an army, and who doesn’t like an army?
Doozer: I’d also like to add—
Jiles: That we will be right back after a quick word from our sponsors.
As the debate cuts to commercial, a soft tune plays in the background, and you can see Jiles and Doozer having a candid conversation.
Zzzzzzzzzzzz – wha?!
*Nervous paper shuffling*
It’s that time.
*More nervous shuffling*
No, it’s okay. Stay. Take a seat. Our sincerest apologies. Give us a tic to wipe the drool away from our faces.
Or any tears, for that matter.
Not the kind you get from laughing too hard, either.
There we go.
Again, our utmost of sincere apologies. We were just viewing Rags to Redemption Part Two for a possible intermission act, and, it appears… well, it was a rather long film. Not in an Avenger’s End Game type of way, but more so in a tedious, uphill slog type of way.
That said, The Carnival de Grandiose awards all of the rotten eggs for this start to finish alternative to Ambien.
Nah, snitch. More like 480i.
The LoD. You jokers. Do you paint your faces now like the clowns that you aspire to be?
More like, OH WHAT A BORE. Or chore. Or snore. We’ve got words galore.
But definitely NOT A RUSH.
And thankfully, no encore.
Anyway, I guess this break has been brought to you by Silent Witness Productions. So thanks for… whatever you do.
Back to the show!
Jiles: And we’re back! Thank you again for tuning in to the Tag Team-O-Cratic debate. So far tonight you’ve heard us being thankful for a last opportunity, an issue we consider priority one as we head into the August 3rd primary. We’ve preached humility, realizing it’s been a long decade and redemption isn’t something you film or boast about, but is something you have to earn in the middle of the wrestling ring. And, we’ve also teased the VERY REAL POSSIBILITY of a third bandit INSIDE the WAR GAMES CAGES.
The Lord of COOL takes a pause.
Jiles: Now, I’d like to take this moment to address you, the voter. You, the viewer. You, the people of High Octane Wrestling. The Octabandits, and even the non Octabandits. After these past few months, we figured you deserved something special. We gave that to you in the form of the Carnival de Grandiose. We figured you deserved A TRUE TEAM worthy of the Crown, and we captured your imaginations and took you to places you’d never thought possible.
Doozer: Actually enjoying a show segment with Scott Stevens in it for one.
All laugh. Even the technician in the other room laughs. Except Jiles that is. He keeps his Bandit reserve. That, and Dooze plucked that line out from underneath of him.
Jiles: And what has our competition done? Aside from complain and thumb their noses? Aside from crying a different story each and every time they open their contradicting mouths, should they even choose to open them at all. Needless to say, this lot has been hard to pin down. They jump from one boat to the next, sinking the prior one in a single bound.
Doozer starts to nod off.
Jiles: They think being Tag Champions is beneath them, and then they want to be prideful Tag Champions afterall. They hate their partner, then they love their partner. All the while, meandering around the same fucking locations they always do. Bar here, restaurant there, gym this, massage that. Don’t forget your cliche couch Doctor visit. Fuck, it’s been exhausting.
Catching The Dooze in full snooze, The King of COOL slams both hands, palm down, onto his podium.
Jiles: DOOZE! THE MEATLOAF!
Doozer’s arms flail in such a frenzy he almost knocks his cap off. After regaining his composure, he straightens his hat up nice and resumes his professional demeanor.
Doozer: You heard it, folks. Time to bring the meatloaf. It’s all over now. The end is nigh!
Jiles: You forgot where we’re at, didn’t you?
About a half a head shake in, Doozer fesses up and nods. His co-host leans in and whispers to him.
Doozer: Ah, yes… Well. It’s been real, High Octane Nation. As said before, your beloved Bandits are in this with you through thick and thin. Proud to be your next, and possibly last, Tag Team Champions!
Jiles: And we-
This time Doozer’s open palm raises toward the face of Jiles. All fingers except the index curl in as Dooze casually transitions the stop gesture into a Dikembe Mutumbo finger shake.
Doozer: We might not have the longevity. We might not have the 97 red decorated past. We might only have a single win between us.
Doozer: But War Games isn’t a contest about all that. And this tag match isn’t about winning or losing. It’s about SURVIVING long enough for an opportunity to present itself. And if there’s one thing The Dooze does best… it’s getting back up.
He raises his right hand, grabs the hat on his head, lifts it off and drops it to the floor.
Doozer: It’s getting over the past.
He reaches toward Jiles, still dumbfounded from the hand in the face followed by a never before seen hat drop, and grabs the shades off Cool’s face. Then he drops them next to the hat.
Doozer: Lastly, but certainly not least… it’s about DOOZING!
Despite the passion clearly elevating his voice, he calmly removes his suit jacket.
Doozer: AND ABUSING!!!
Both hands grip the buttoned shirt over his chest and rip away. The shirt underneath is not his typical blue with a Superman logo, but a camo with a large white egg and the letters “eB” embroidered in 97RED font on it.
The riled up ring vet swipes his paper from his podium and slams it on top of Jiles’, then storms out of the room without another peep.
Wide eyed and jaw dropped, Mr. Cool reaches out into the void, as he struggles to find the words.
Jiles: Those… those…
Jiles: Whatever it takes.