The old guard is out.
The new guard is in.
The roster has seemingly doubled overnight. The pressure to perform, and keep ahead of the pack, doubling right along side of it.
Showcasing a shitburger of a track record, and with the lights now brightly shining down upon them, it begs the question; how will The eGG Bandits handle the high stakes?
High Steaks. Harmen and Stevens Tag Team name, or shithole casino restaurant?
Before we get to the state of mind, let’s deal with the body first.
Tampa Medical Center.
Post War Games Apocalypse.
The Bandits are still licking their wounds.
But they do so proudly, as “THE GREATEST TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH!” – The Dude, probably.
There’s one among them with an injury that has raised some alarm bells at Camp Bandit. He’s The Cool mofo Jiles. And his newly acquired, alarming injury happens to be a not so cool knee.
To be clear, it’s not the figurative high knee any of you future tag title contenders will inevitably kiss. It’s the other knee. His right one. The one Brian Bollywood decided to tornado twist during a failed attempt at being the next Nostradamus.
Cool, Briguy. Real COOL.
Most importantly, it’s the very same right knee that Jiles uses when he kicks people in the face.
Let it be known to young and old, black and white, male, female, or other. Straight. Gay. Purple. Kostoff. Doesn’t matter. Cool Jiles is an equal opportunity private kicker.
Luckily for The Maestro, not only is he an equal opportunity private kicker, but he also qualifies as a Champion athlete who gets to visit the knee specialist early in the morning when the plebeians aren’t around.
For being where he is, and in his current situation, Jiles remains fairly calm. He’s sitting with his right leg stretched out across a therapy bed. He’s chatting away on his phone. With that devilish twinkle in his eye, he’s staring at a sign that says “no cell phones please.”
Must be for the plebs.
Jiles: Yeah I’m just wrapping up now. It’s fine, Sugartits. Like I told you before, I didn’t hear a pop. And, the MRI they just took came back clean. ICE and REST, Dr. Soy’s orders. Do that and I’ll be dancing on the graves of fallen Mongoloids in no time. His words..
Who the COOLYMPIAN is speaking to is uncertain. However, going off of his friendly tone and the debaucherous nickname, one could assume it is the deep six mole that no longer lives behind enemy lines.
Jiles: What? But we just fucking WON!?
Anger begins to spread across the newly crowned Tag Team Champion’s face.
Jiles: And everybody else has the night off? Even Flair!?! Unreal. I see how this is going to be under the new regime— can’t say I’m surprised. I know he’s hated you from day one, Bob. That whole theme music fiasco. I’m not blaming you. I’m just saying.
Perplexed, The Maestro scratches at his chin while listening to the now identified man on the other end of the line, Bobby Dean.
Jiles: Wait, you think it’s me? I mean sure, I’m friends with the guy. We got him an ascot. Still, I don’t see why the new boss would be jealous of that? It’s not like we are trying to recruit The ICON of eGG. Nor have we ever made cool promotional posters about him. The two of us just eat lunch together a lot. That’s all. Never once poached eggs.
Out of the proverbial hole, Jiles once again begins nodding along. This time around it’s disinterestedly in sync with Bobby’s theme music ramblings. Eventually, the tune changes, and the upcoming card gets dialed back into the mix.
Jiles: Of course it’s the main event, Bob. It’s us. We’re Bandits, not Benchwarmers. Try to remember that. And while you’re at it, try telling me something I don’t know. Like, I dunno… maybe who we’re facing?
Optimistic, Lord COOL begins to start nodding along yet again.
The egregious and overdone nodding session comes to an abrupt stop. The Maestro goes red. His eyes bulge, going bloodshot almost instantly. A strand of that perfectly straight, golden ‘do crosses its neighbor. Jiles catches sight of the atrocity in a mirror across the room.
The cup on the stand beside him goes airborne, contents spilled everywhere the eye can see.
Jiles: Against who??? NO. Rhetorical. Don’t you say that name again. God dammet! Not him. Not my Zionite!
Aghast, the Philly native tries to pull himself together through a series of vigorous breathing exercises. The exercises aren’t random either. Ever since Bobby came back he’s been teaching them to Jiles to help when The Cool heats up.
If you’re wondering what makes Bobby Dean the authority in this field, he practices them before naps in order to keep the big bad Sleep Apnea Man away.
That’s more naps than Noah Hanson took while “preparing” for War Games.
After a final exhale, while internally counting down from ten, a slightly still perturbed Maestro carries on.
Jiles: Fucking guy is my foil, Dean! If Homerun Hanson hadn’t hit a dribbler down the line… well, I can’t even comprehend what might’a happened. I’m talking like Duce just thinking about it!
The COOLympian snaps as a new stream of thought hits his consciousness.
Jiles: Hey! Wait a second. You sure about this, Bobby? Didn’t those two have dinner at Pomodoro Rosso and do the whole it’s not you, it’s me but we really know it’s you because I’m perfect thing? What gives?
Before Jiles can continue with his call, the specialist he’s visiting enters the room. He’s Asian, and the name on the tag of his white jacket reads, Chen.
In Dr. Chen’s grasp, crutches and a knee brace. Not the type of brace you buy at Dick’s either. It’s got metal. And straps. No copper. No Tommy.
Jiles: Fuck me. I got to go.
The next day.
The Bandit War Room.
Turns out the eGG Bandits snagged Brian Hollywood’s version of the Shield helicarrier on AirBnB. The one he doesn’t use, of course. The brothers of yolk have gathered together for an important strategy session. They have all made themselves at home and have taken a seat around Jace Fury’s desk.
They heard it didn’t get used much.
Not to be confused with Dick. On either of the last two statements.
Aside from the setting and the desk, and the fact that these guys are best known for throwing eggs at their co-workers, the tone is serious.
Trepidation fills the air with a Zionesque stink.
Jiles’ golden hair has returned to perfection. However, the brace on his knee and the bag of ice that will never melt sitting on top of it indicates the rest of him has not.
Doozer, in all black sweats with yellow lining and a white eB on the chest, sits across the table from his fellow Tag Champ. Still no Red Sox cap in sight, revealing his rarely seen dark brown with hints of graying hair. He looks at the elephant in the room with concern crawling all over his beat up face.
Oh? What’s that? He’s just old and ugly? Oopsy.
Bobby, the once lost but now found Bandit, is also there. He’s atop a built in treadmill that the gigantic and lavish War Room had to offer. He’s wearing a box of trash bags in order to maintain a constant bead of sweat during his rest breaks. It’s not only helping him make weight, but also deal with the very real possibility of defending the Bandits newly won High Octane Tag Team titles.
We pick up midway through what has been a heated conversation. Moreso for the one who ironically goes by COOL. Jiles remains adamant thus far in his claim to be good to go for their first defense. Doozer remains skeptical. Bobby remains stuck in the middle while drenched in his own perspiration.
Jiles: Listen, I’m telling you both. I’ll be fine. The swelling is already down. When I got out of the shower earlier, only part of my leg was black and blue. I’ll be kicking people’s privates in no time. Bobby, don’t… sweat it… I guess? Jeez, sorry pal. Bad choice of words there. Like saying Stevens and Megastar in the same sentence without a negation of some sort.
Before Dean can thankfully and excitedly remove part of his weight loss ensemble, Doozer quickly extends his hand and firmly shakes no. The shrinking, but still large wrestling star whines.
Bobby Dean: But he said—
In his best Dad voice, The Dooze interrupts.
Doozer: I don’t care what your mother said.
Jiles’ face twists up like he just caught wind of a fresh skunk spray. Or like O’dell just walked by.
That’s next level stink right there.
Doozer: We can’t afford to take the chance. WHY would we take the chance? IF ole knee buckler over there can’t go. Which, if the match was tomorrow, would be the case. And we let you go tip the scales to where you can’t compete, which would also be the case if the match were tomorrow… what the fuck am I supposed to do?
The Maestro snaps his fingers impatiently and gives a little locator whistle.
Jiles: First, I’m right here Dooze-asaur. Second, ole knee buckler is you. Me, I’m The Maestro of COOL. Third, so we don’t have to witness a homicide while Bobby sweats himself to death over there. He should be doing things more his speed in this quest for fitness… like sleep walking.
Empathetic, Jiles turns his attention back to the human sweat shop known as Bobby Dean.
Jiles: Go ahead, Bob. Deblouse, if you wish. Unburden yourself. Sorry for what this archaic monster put you through.
Bobby’s still pudgy face shows signs of relief beneath the blanket of sweat wrapped around his forehead.
Bobby Dean: THANK. GAW–
The allure of respite is short lived though. Before Bobby can derobe, The Dooze goes waving that Dikembe Mutumbo finger again. Before He Hate Them can further plead the case of sanity, Lord COOL snidely cuts him off.
Jiles: Fourth! CBD is available.
That did it. Doozer’s face blushes 97RED in a hurry. His jaw clenches so tightly, the other two would be wise to protect themselves in case his dentures pop out.
The now thrice returned ring vet didn’t come this far to throw all their progress away. The 46 year old’s right hand crashes down upon the table so hard the sound echoes in the large, empty room.
Doozer: Cut the shit for fucking once, Jiles. I get it. I understand. I know what’s going on, and it’s fine.
A deep breath enters and exits his lungs before continuing.
Doozer: Zion is better than you. No doubt with your knee the way it is right now. But, he and Hanson are not better than us.
The Bostonian is sure to point out Bobby as part of the equation. The Beautiful One cracks a prideful smile under his deluge of sweat. It’s a nice, little moment for Dooze and Dean.
The Maestro on the other hand, could melt diamonds with his glare.
Jiles: Say it again. I dare you.
Beautiful Bobby’s worthy smile vanishes. The sweat starts to pour out of him like IPA’s on a Scortywood blind date victim.
That last word was chosen very carefully.
Bobby Dean: Uh, guys.
Seething, Jiles paws at his knee so real pain can cover the humiliation brought upon by Dooze’s prior remark. He looks down, breaking eye contact from his tag team partner, and mumbles.
Jiles: Fuck him.
Though Jiles’ poignant quip might seem like it was intended for The Zionasurus. It was not. Doozer heard it, but he pretends he didn’t.
Doozer: So, when did this specialist-
Yes, there were air quotes around that word.
Doozer: –doctor of yours say you could go back to work? You did ask him, right?
Jiles: Of course I asked him. He said I’d be fine for Refueled…
The failure to maintain eye contact told Doozer everything he didn’t hear.
Doozer: Oh yeah, wise ass, which one?
A sheepish shrug.
Jiles: I forget.
Though the joke could normally bring the house down, no one currently on stage looks amused.
The Dooze cracks his neck and slowly stands from his seat. He leans forward, ultimately resting with both arms straight and hands down on the top of the table. His electric blue eyes still dead-set on his teammate, but this time more empathetic. He addresses his friend like just that… a friend.
Doozer: Listen to me, okay? Nothing wrong with being a little scared. I am, too. We haven’t been in this spot for a long, long time. That said, I like it here. I know you like it here. I know Bobby, after he gets done dropping those pounds, will like it here. I also know WE ALL LOVE those shiny gold belts we just won. And I, for one, don’t want to part with them any time soon. Or ever. That’s why we’re scared. We have something we don’t want to lose. And you have to defend it, hurting, against someone who’s beaten you before. That’s even scarier. But if we take every precaution, just like we did with War Games, we will be ready. And if it’s just me standing-
Jiles raises a finger.
Doozer: Without assistance-
Doozer: – well… if my old ass is the only one supporting itself at the top of the ramp, we won’t just lose those belts. With Mike in charge, who knows… we might never get another shot. That what you want?
A defeated sigh escapes from The Maestro’s soul. Usually, he has the shades to hide moments of weakness like this one. However, due to a deal made with the devil for two straps of leather with about ten pounds of gold on each, they are gone. Thus, so is a large part of his emotional shield.
Jiles: Fine. IF I can’t go, Bobby needs to be ready to step up. You’re not wrong about that, Doozer. But I’m going to be fine. MRI was crystal. Soy said no structural damage. Bad sprain, big bone bruise. Looks much worse than it is really.
The welcomed back Kotter Bandit frowns at all the bad news laid out before him. He inches closer to Jiles. Not to comfort him or do anything weird, poor fella’s just trying to get near the bag of ice to catch some of the cool air coming off it. With a moment of reprieve, his clear mind sees the right path.
Bobby Dean: Don’t worry, guys. It’s for the titles. More importantly, it’s for the Bandits. I will lose this weight and be ready to compete! Whatever it takes.
Plan B has been activated.
Later on that same day.
The decks are clear.
Doozer and Bobby left the helicarrier hours ago. There wasn’t much left to be said after the heart to heart.
Alone, The Maestro sits. He stares, slumped in his chair, at his bum knee with a blank expression.
The look of hope lost.
As if the proverbial cloud over his head begins to clear, he addresses his state of mind.
…There’s no fucking way I don’t compete.
I put this shit together.
I brought him back.
I got Lee to sign him.
I revived the Bandits.
I’m the yolk.
Fuck a Zion. He’s not better than me. I’m the tag team champion. Not him. It doesn’t matter that he pulled the belt down first, WE pulled them down last.
When it mattered.
Hey! Shut up you!
Fuck him and his painting.
The Maestro of COOL.
Don’t you worry, Doozy.
I’ll be ready.
I am ready.
We’re the talk of the town.
The Bandits of HOTv.
We’re not losing ground.
Not on my watch.
Whatever it takes.
God damn it hurts…
If I can’t…
If this fucking knee of mine won’t bend…
Will it break us?
Can Bobby carry the weight of the Bandits?
He’s used to carrying a lot of weight.