Narfle the Garthok!
I’ve had this dream before…
Dream Sequence #1- The Road to Certain Doom
A car drives down a four lane interstate highway.
Directly above the car- the sky is as blue as blue can be. It’s gorgeous. Perfect.
But far off in the distance- clouds. Not just clouds- a growing, building complex of dark clouds with occasional flashes of lightning visible from miles upon miles away.
What’s worse, the highway is headed directly towards the growing mass of doom.
There’s nothing worse than the feeling of helplessness. The feeling of abject resignation – knowing there’s no escape from what’s coming. I see the storm ahead. No rational person wants to drive straight into the storm ahead. I’d rather find a way around the storm. But when the road you are traveling leads right through it. You don’t have a choice. I don’t have a choice. There’s no way to avoid the storm. There’s no other way through…
(Dan Ryan vs. Halitosis- Refueled 8 / August 16th, 2019)
Lindsay Troy and Halitosis begin to have words and Lindsay threatens to get on the apron.
Benny Newell: She’s got her partner’s back Hoffman. I’d have your back to if I gave a shit about you.
The distraction is all Dan needed as he hits the ropes causing the former World champion to crotch himself on the top rope. Ryan, still gasping for air, makes it to his feet and places Halitosis across his back.
Joe Hoffman: Oh God!
Benny Newell: Broken neck time!
Dan Ryan makes sure Halitosis is out as he hits the Headliner. Ryan shoots the half and hooks the inside leg as Boettcher counts to three.
…no way to avoid the impending storm that was coming. And it was coming fast.
(MAXKAEL JR. and Halitosis vs. M.J. Flair and Dan Ryan- Chaos 4 / October 26th, 2019)
Halitosis stays on her, and he pulls her up by the collar of her ‘HIGH OCTANE FLAIR’ T-shirt, and she turns her head just as she’s hit again with the Lethal Breath of Death!
Mark DuBois: Ryan and Max are both in a pile outside the ring, though there’s signs of life from both! I’m not sure how much of that breath Flair was hit with but Halitosis is in control! He’s got her set up for that dragon sleeper, and he’s-
CUE UP: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” – Billy Ocean
Mark DuBois: THE ICON CHAMPION IS HERE! Cecilworth Farthington has entered the arena!
The sudden appearance of the HOW Icon Champion, Farthy Two Belts, is enough to distract Halitosis in the ring as he drops Flair from his grip and takes a step towards him. Farthington raises his arms in a bit of a challenge –
FLAIR FROM BEHIND!
So you do what you have to. Prepare for every eventuality. Prepare for the worst. You do the work. But on the eve of the biggest match of my career – hours away from the biggest fight of my life, the anticipation, the pressure of the moment – the anxieties and insecurities kick in and manifest themselves in the strangest ways…
Dream Sequence #2- Say Hello to My Little Friend
Halitosis watches his big screen television screen while sitting in his Barcalounger in the ordinary, non-descript living room. He’s watching pro wrestling and wearing his usual lucha mask and iconic black t-shirt with the block letter ‘H’ in the middle.
Suddenly, the screen changes from wrestling to a shot of three men carrying semi-automatic weaponry climb up the steps to the front door of Halitosis’s house.
Halitosis becomes wide-eyed. His face shows the tension and strain on him. He looks again at the television screen.
Check that. There’s five people at the door now.
Halitosis (in a bad Cuban accent…and we mean really bad): You want to fuck with me? Okay.
Halitosis races frantically to the refrigerator. He yanks the door open. With a wild swing, he clears out an entire shelf of food and drinks, head swiveling back and forth desperately searching and seeking for something, anything to fight back with. He finds a grocery bag. Halitosis grabs the bag and throws in on the counter. He plugs in the blender. Then Halitosis starts sorting through the food inside the bag and loads up the blender. Garlic…jalapenos…some green peppers…banana peppers…a little curry powder.
Halitosis (mumbling to himself): You want to play games? Okay.
Halitosis sifts through more food on the table. Tuna and fish. Some cheeses: Brie, Roquefort, Epoisses, Bleu Cheese, and Stilton. He drops the cheeses into the blender. Stinking Bishop cheese- an English delicacy. The granddaddy of stinky cheese- Limburger. Halitosis jams in the final piece of his radioactive nuclear concoction into the industrial sized blender, turns the blender on, and churns up the contents inside.
Halitosis (still talking to himself): Okay. Come on.
Halitosis turns off the blender and removes the top. He tips his head back, he tips the container and guzzles down the content in record time. Then he throws the container to the floor and strides towards the door.
Halitosis (shouts at the door): YOU WANNA PLAY ROUGH?
On the other side of the door, the five men prepare their weapons and get ready to strike. One man starts to count down.
Halitosis reaches the door.
Halitosis (shouting at full volume): SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!
He kicks the door open and unleashes his absolute worst extra paint peeling, eye-watering, mind blowing fragrance of rotting reekiness breath on the first guy he sees.
Then, he unloads his breath on the other four and soon all five men are left writhing and gasping for breath on the ground.
Halitosis (shouting): YOU WANT TO PLAY ROUGH?
Various sounds from the five men: Ack! Choke! Ehhhhhh! More choking sounds…
Halitosis walks past them and out onto the porch.
Halitosis: DID YOU LIKE THAT?
He stands defiantly on the porch of his house.
Halitosis: DO YOU WANT…
Random voice: Yeah!
The smoke clears. There’s twenty people out on the lawn. Semiautomatic guns drawn. Pointed right at him. Ready to fire.
The defiance in Halitosis’s attitude quickly is replaced by the innate feeling that he was completely screwed.
There’s two men on the lawn who get his attention. The first guy has a perpetually pissed off expression on his face. He’s definitely all business.
Halitosis: Oh oh…
And the other guy? He’s the snooty, entitled Brit who’s dressed in traditional late 1980’s Miami Vice attire and let’s be honest, still looking way out of place in this type of setting.
Halitosis: Oh my g-
Halitosis goes for his gun. Except he doesn’t have a gun. The only thing he came out with was- his breath – something that’s grotesquely ineffective when the firing squad is hundreds of feet away out of range.
You know what’s about to happen next.
Halitosis knows what’s about to go down and it’s not going to be pretty.
Several bright flashes of light brighten up the sky like a series of low-flying fireworks going off with the undeniable symphony of semi-automatic gunfire filling the area with its sonic boom…
Super 8 Hotel by Wyndham
Thursday Night November 7th, 2019
Halitosis’s scream pierced the quiet and pitch black hotel room. He shot up to a sitting position, breathing heavily, trying to reorient himself.
“Joe!” the sleepy voice of a suddenly half-awake Laura Bergman called out to him.
She also moved up in the bed to a semi-sitting position and tried to locate her husband with her hand.
He felt her hand against his face, instantly calming him and bringing back into the real world. Then he noticed her hand moving up his face and pulling at the lucha mask.
“Lucha mask?” Laura said. She didn’t expect him to be wearing the Lucha mask to bed. Unless…
Halitosis suddenly felt her hand move down to the neckline area. She tugged on the t-shirt.
“T-shirt,” she said. Exhale. Then a sigh as even in her transitional state from sleep to wide awake, Laura managed to put two and two together. “Let me guess, there’s a HOTv camera in this room right now and this is another one of your pre-show vignettes.”
A semi-familiar voice greeted her from the darkness. “Hi Mrs. Bergman.”
“Yep,” replied Halitosis. “Let me turn on a light so-“
“Joseph Bergman,” she said with a stern and potential malice inferred edge to her voice, “as God as my witness, if you turn on that light, I promise what’s going to happen to you Saturday night at Rumble at the Rock will pale…PALE I SAID DAMMIT!…to what I’m going to do to you.”
(Translation: Laura’s not wearing a top or night shirt in bed)
Halitosis grunted twice using a positive inflection in his voice to signify agreement with his wife’s statement.
Laura let out an audible sigh and relaxed her tone to him considerably: “I already know the answer to this question – but I’m going to ask it anyways.” She sighed again. “What’s on your mind Joe?
“Remember when I said I was going to just relax and enjoy myself and enjoy the moment and let whatever will happen at Rumble at the Rock Nine happen?” Halitosis said.
“Well that’s not happening.”
“Yeah, I know.” Laura knew all too well the stress and anxiety weighing on her husband as Rumble at the Rock Nine approached.
Several more seconds of quiet follow.
“You’re tired,” she finally told him, softening her tone even more and placing her arm around his shoulder – finding his shoulder by touch in the darkness. “You’ve done nothing but press opportunities and PR for Rumble at the Rock Nine for three straight days in between training to defend your title. You’ve got a big match coming up in just hours. You’ve just got a lot on your plate right now and it’s all coming to a head.”
Outside the door of their room, chatter from a couple guests passing by could be clearly heard.
Inside the room, Halitosis couldn’t disagree with her assessment at all. “Yeah.”
“I think you should count your blessings.” Laura paused and listened to her husband breathe. Then she went on: “Yes. Count your blessings. At least until November ninth, you are the undisputed High Octane Wrestling World Champion and there’s nothing that anyone can do to change that until Saturday night. You are one of twelve people who have won the World Title multiple times. You will walk into Alcatraz Prison Saturday night as the man who’s held the HOW World Title the longest in the Refueled Era at seventy one days total – there’s nothing that anyone can do or say to change that.
Halitosis mumbled something incomprehensible.
Laura continued, “I know it bothers you when people talk about the fact no one has won a world title defense in the Refueled era. But I did a little checking and thanks to Scott Stevens’s Facts and Information I found out a few things.”
“Scott Stevens’s Facts and Information?” inquired Halitosis, raising an eyebrow. “Or the Stevenspedia?”
“Yeah whatever. Here’s what I discovered. Of the fifty-four HOW world title reigns, twenty-three of them were one and done title defenses. That’s almost half. By the way, did anyone complain in 2013 when John Sektor won the title and promptly lost it on his first title defense to Mike Best – who then lost the title at War Games 2013 to Evan Ward – who then lost the title back to Mike Best in HIS first post War Games title defense?”
Halitosis didn’t have the answer for her. “I – I really don’t know.”
Laura pressed on. “And in 2015-2016, was there any kvetching and wailing and gnashing of teeth when Scott Stevens won the belt at ICONIC – lost the belt in his first defense to Scottywood – who lost the belt in his first title defense to Reggie Rivid – who then lost the title at March 2 Glory to Brian Hollywood?”
Moving his hands back and forth while thinking, Halitosis drew a blank on that one as well. “Probably not.”
Laura’s voice cut through the darkness, “You’re damn right they didn’t.”
“So, what does that mean?”
“What it means darling is all this nonsense about the world title being devalued just because you defeated Brian Hollywood in a close competitive match – then lost to Max Kael in an equally close, competitive match because you just barely didn’t get your shoulder up in time – who then crapped out at War Games when John Sektor outsmarted everyone in the match – and on the planet – to win the title – only to totally blow up himself when he wrestled you, didn’t take you or the match seriously, and lost the title to you in less than a minute.”
Adjusting his mask and leaning back on the headboard of the bed, Halitosis asked, “So what’s the point then?”
Laura had anticipated his question. “The point of this whole exercise is showing you that the world title has been passed back and forth like a hot potato before in HOW history. Actually, it’s happened a lot.”
“Okay. And thank you Scott Stevens.” Halitosis made sure to thank the source of the bountiful trivia Laura used to try to lighten his mood.
“She’s right you know…” another voice said inside the room.
“WAHHHH…,” Laura exclaimed. Startled by the unexpected appearance of yet another person inside their hotel room, she quickly yanked on the blanket and pulled it up above her chest. “WHO THE-“
The light in the room turns on.
“…oh shit!” She ducked completely under the blanket and covered herself up.
“Just me,” said Coach E.J. Flack, standing against the door of the hotel room wearing his usual ‘Narfle the Garthok’ insignia covered jacket.
Laura had just one thing on her mind at this point – well, besides keeping herself covered up.
“WHO THE FLYING HELL LET BOTH OF YOU INTO OUR ROOM?” she bellowed from under the blanket.
Flack and the HOTv cameraman shrug at each other.
“He did,” they said in unison.
Laura peeked out from under the blanket and observed Flack and the HOTv cameraman both pointing the finger of blame right at her husband – who’s face suddenly turned a dark shade of ‘sheepish’ red to acknowledge that he may have made a slight miscalculation in allowing Flack and the camera guy into their room – at night – while they were trying to sleep.
Halitosis knew he might be in hot water when Laura’s head whipsawed around to glare at him.
“Well?” she asked in the style of an attorney in the middle of a heated cross-examination.
Halitosis chose not to confirm or deny the allegation and just whistled innocently and stared at random things inside the hotel room.
“Yeah that figures,” groused Laura, slipping back underneath the blanket.
“Look Joe,” Flack stepped in. “Everything that we’ve worked on for the past couple weeks has been for a reason. One. I thought it would be a really good thing to try and get the pressure and the attention away from you – lift the fog, the shroud so to speak so you can focus on what you need to do Saturday night – of which I apparently succeeded in doing given the Twitter reaction to what I said- which was totally unexpected, by the way.”
Halitosis leaned in to listen to what Flack had to say. Laura watched her husband’s reaction and kept fiddling with the blanket.
“Two,” Flack continued. “My aim was to put you in the best possible frame of mind to go out there and perform to your very best because I can promise you this- you will not only need to be at your best at Rumble at the Rock Nine but you will need to EXCEED your very best if you expect to walk out of that infirmary with the HOW World Title belt. Do you understand?”
“The whole Narfle the Garthok stuff sounds silly but really, it’s just one big giant metaphor,” explained Flack. “It represents a never give up mantra. It represents the energy you bring to not only your life but to your profession. This is what you choose to do with your life. So you might as well put your heart and soul into it and do it to the best of your ability.”
The HOTV camera focused in on Flack.
“It’s about what you bring to the table, Halitosis. Yes, the odds are stacked against you. Yes, you are going up against two of the best wrestlers in the business. And yes, you’re going to have to make sacrifices to build yourself up in order to overcome the deficit in ability between you and your opponents in order to prevail. You’ve got the gold – the HOW world title belt. What are you willing to give up in order to continue to hold the gold? Are you willing to set a direction in your life in order for you to achieve what you want to achieve- having a productive, positive, and fruitful pro wrestling career. Apparently you are because you could have chosen someone else to steer your training leading up to this particular match and you decided to choose me.”
“It was the work you did with Sheline that really impressed me,” Halitosis commented.
The wrestler in question Halitosis referred to was the brand new MVW Women’s champion Sheline Carrigan – of whom Flack became her manager in March 2019 and led her to gold seven months later.
“You brought her back from the dead to win the Women’s title.”
Flack tried to downplay his involvement in Carrigan’s renaissance. “I wouldn’t go that far. Sheline did the hard work. I just provided a framework for her to regain her confidence and bring out the best in her once again. When I took over as Sheline’s manager, my job was to find a way to extract the most of out her wrestling ability. Sheline is the archtypical small town farm girl from the Canadian prairie – except she’s painfully shy and struggles with her self-confidence. But damn is she incredibly talented inside that ring. My challenge was to figure out a way break her out of her shell so she could return to being the dominant wrestler that she once was. It took a while for her to figure it out and for my program to kick in. But once it did, now she’s finally returned to the top of the Missouri Valley Wrestling women’s division.”
Flack pointed towards the ceiling with his index finger.
“As for you, you don’t have the pure raw talent that Sheline possesses. But what you do possess is just as important- you have the intangibles. You have the grit, the determination, the perseverance, and the ability to be able to do more with less talent than most wrestlers with greater talent manage to do in a career. You grind your way through challenges. I tell people that I eat challenges for breakfast. You, my friend, eat challenges for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That’s the reason why you won the HOW World Title Tournament in June. That’s the reason why you are sitting at the top of the HOW universe once again for a second time. That’s why I believe that despite what anyone says, you are more than capable of shocking the wrestling world Saturday night by winning at Rumble at the Rock Nine. My real job with you was simple- I just needed to remind you of that. I just needed to remind you of everything you’ve accomplished in a very short amount of time in High Octane Wrestling.”
Peeking her head up from the blanket, Laura reached out and rubbed her husband’s back. “He’s right, you know.” Then she turned to Flack and shot him a rather annoyed look. “He-still-shouldn’t-be-in-our-hotel-room-at-almost-midnight-when-both-of-us-have-to-get-up-early-in-the-morning-to-catch-a-flight-to-Topeka,-Kansas (Flack and Laura would be flying to Topeka for Friday night’s Missouri Valley Wrestling House Show),” she spat out in a rapid-fire cadence before taking a cleansing breath to reset herself. “…but he’s right.”
“Your ceiling is whatever you want it to be Joe,” Flack continued on in the style of an old time gospel preacher warming up to the grand peroration of his talk. “If you’ve learned nothing else in the past two weeks of working with me, I want you to understand that your dreams can come true, you can find a way to overcome obstacles and seemingly impossible tasks, you will not be afraid to run into the fight and not away, and you can find a way to out-care, out-give, and out-how everyone else. Keep your eye on the prize, your focus on the process and the result will take care of themselves.” Now his voice began to fill the room with thunder, captivating the HOTv cameraman inside the room and, yes, even Laura too found herself listening raptly to Flack’s oration. “Joe, you have a date with destiny! It is time for you to draw a line in the sand! Leave nothing! Take everything! You’ve earned your opportunity to be in this match. I don’t give a damn who they think you are and how bad they think you are – it’s hard to just knock out the champion – unless you do what John Sektor did and give the title away on a silver platter. Just remember why you’re here and embrace the moment! Win or lose, everything else will work out for themselves. Now…”
“NARFLE THE GARTHOK!” shouted Laura, pumping her arm in the air and coming perilously close to ditching the blanket that’s been covering her up.
As Flack’s, the camera guy’s, and Halitosis’s attention veered towards her direction, Laura’s face reddened in mere seconds and she suddenly felt the ravenous urge to crawl back under the blankets completely to forget what she just blurted out right out of left field.
So she did.
Flack smiled. “Yeah,” he said, eyes focused on Halitosis. “What she said.”