:::SCENE: The underground bunker of Jatt Starr in Havre, Montana. There is a low hum of the generator doing it’s job powering the Thane of Starrkarth’s personal fortress of solitude. There is the faint citrusy fragrance of Clinique Happy cologne that lingers in the air. Jatt Starr sits alone on the lavender and white paisley comforter on the bed. The bedroom is dark except for the illumination provided by the television across from him. His blonde hair is slightly disheveled. He is sporting a yellow and gray “StarrSek Industries” (now defunct) track suit.
The VCR is paused in mid sentence as the pasty, sleazy visage of Brother Paxton is “reminding” a young Gilda Starr how one day she will take her mother’s place at “the ritual”. The sleazy, skeevy disciple of the Children of Ota’Topeht looks stoned in the image. White lines cross the paused screen.
The Mayor of ManJattan does not know how long he’s been staring at the screen. Looking at the face of the man who once trespassed on his property only for his daughter to brutalize him and shove a potato in his mouth for some unknown reason. He had asked Gilda about that once, she replied “If I keep looking backward, I can’t see what’s in front of me”. It sounded like something Jatt would have heard in AA or rehab.
While Gilda Starr has been off doing stunt work on some B-movie somewhere near Vancouver, her father has been tirelessly getting in shape. He is probably in the best shape of his life. A pescatarian diet coupled with a plethora of different types of smoothies. A personal trainer, tap dance lessons, nutritionists. No red meat. No trans fats. No alcohol. Although, he still gets the urge for the oaky, caramel notes of bourbon.
One day at a time.
But today, instead of running two miles or working on his elliptical machine, he found himself watching this video for the first time in over five months. It was a compulsion. He figures it is the same uncontrollable urge germaphobes get when they sanitize or wash their hands after shaking someone else’s hand. He was drawn to it.
Looking into the dead eyes of a sociopathic acolyte of a cult that worships some false deity, this particular acolyte making a not-so-veiled sexual threat on his then teenage daughter causes his stomach to burn and bubble like a witch’s cauldron. Did his subconscious mind feel the need to remind the Hero of Jattlanta of what his daughter (and her mother) went through as members of this deranged cult? Did his subconscious mind need the Starrabian Knight to see this video again to make sure he realizes this is not just some match with a fourth rate wrestler.
This is a crusade.
Jatt Starr is the Chosen One.
The Champion of Jattanooga is also the Champion of Lee Best. Lee Best is the only G-O-D in the H-O-W. He calls the shots. He makes the rules. Follow him or face his wrath. What Xander Azula is doing is far worse, though. What Xander Azula is blaspheming Lee Best by worshipping some half naked strumpet who eats apples because why? She likes to keep the doctor away? This is for Lee.
The Sultan of SeaJattle, as much as he wants to escape it, is Simon Sparrow. The father of a young woman whose life spent in a cult messed her up psychologically and emotionally. A father who was unable to protect his little girl (or her mother, for that matter) from the predatory nature of these sick bastard cult leaders. While he knows there is no guilt on his part, as he was unaware of Gilda until March of last year, there is something within that questions what is it about him that caused Gilda’s mother not to tell him about her.
Unfortunately, they do not have that type of relationship where he can just ask out of the blue.
And yet, watching the attitudes of these arrogant pricks, it infuriates him. Whether it’s Brother Paxton or the Children of Ota’Topeht’s Founder or Xander Azula, they are all predators and parasites in some way. Taking advantage of those who have nowhere else to turn. This is for Gilda.
What Xander Azula worships – Chaos and discord. He welcomes anarchy and toxicity. Sobriety (and his spectacular new bod), at least in the case of Jatt Starr, is maintained by order and control. Structure. There is a saying they have in Alcoholics Anonymous, “You may not be able to control the disease, but you can control your behaviour.” That means eliminating toxic individuals in your life.
The King of Jatten Island decided to take “eliminating” in a more literal route that was previously intended. John Sektor, Conor Fuse, Teddy Palmer. They will all pay. But first, he must eliminate Xander Azula, agent of chaos. For his sobriety and kick ass, rocking bod.
The buzzing from his phone interrupts the Sovereign of Starrgentina’s thoughts. He looks at the phone. “Alea”. She either has impeccable timing or a psychic as his sponsor. He swipes the little button to answer. He proceeds to flash a wide, phony smile on his face.::::
JATT STARR: Hey! What’s happening?
ALEA: Nothin’ much. Just checkin’ in with ya.
::::Alea’s nasally, thick “lawng island” accent comes through on the phone. If she wasn’t a hot fitness instructor, he would have cut her loose a while ago. Unfortunately, circumstances had developed where he could not just “ghost” her, as the kids say. One might call them sponsor-sponsee with benefits, an arrangement not quite condoned with those going through “the steps”.::::
JATT STARR: Me? I’m the bee’s knees.
ALEA: You exercising? Eating healthy?
JATT STARR: Yes and yes.
ALEA: Simon, I’m—
JATT STARR: Jatt. Call me Jatt.
ALEA: Really? I’m not just one of your little fangirls here. I’m nawt callin’ ya that.
JATT STARR: Jatt Starr makes the money, gets the fame, and the endorsement deals. Simone Sparrow only shows up for meetings. People pay to see the Ruler of Jattlantis, not Simon Sparrow.
ALEA: What’s today’s affirmation, Simon?
:::The Starrcelona Icon rolls his eyes. He had known Alea for a couple of years when he was briefly living in Long Island from going to meetings and she insinuated herself as his sponsor. After he moved back to Montana, she would occasionally check in on him and as such, they would speak less and less. She reconnected with him shortly after “War Games”. As a part of his recovery (both from addiction and his injury suffered at “War Games”) that she implemented was to provide him with daily affirmations via text or email. And, being the health guru she is, she would check up on him, almost daily (no doubt worried that the pain he was in from his injury would lead to painkillers which would inevitably lead him to addiction), and have him repeat it to her. Initially, it was a lot simpler to ignore the affirmations and dodge the calls but then they started sleeping together. But now, it has become second nature.::::
JATT STARR: “I am worthy of being healthy.”
ALEA: And are ya?
JATT STARR: Totally. One hundred percent.
ALEA: Sim—. Jatt. Don’t bullshit me.
JATT STARR: I’m basically one hundred percent.
ALEA: What’s that mean?
::::Alea’s tone was not that of a concerned sponsor but of a girlfriend who was just told something vaguely insulting by her beau such as “Are you sure you should be trying to fit into that dress?” or “I’m sure the homeless would love this goulash you have made. Have you seen the salt?”. These are comments Jatt Starr has made in the past, so he should know.::::
JATT STARR: The Jattlantic City Idol at eighty-five percent is infinitely better than Joe Schmoe Kevin Capone or John Sektor at one hundred percent.
JATT STARR: What?
ALEA: We talked about this….
JATT STARR: You said that if I were medically cleared by an accredited physician, then you would stay out of my decision to return.
ALEA: You were medically cleared by a fuckin’ podiatrist!
JATT STARR: You gave no specifications on the type of doctor. That’s on you.
ALEA: You—-! I didn’t—! What happens if you get hurt again? Huh? What happens then? Your career ends, you end up in a wheelchair or worse? I saw you in the hospital. Depressed, despondent.
JATT STARR: Oh please! It’s not like I’m facing Clay Byrd here! I’m not some junkie puke like John Sektor. I am the Jattinum Standard! The Jattsylvanian Count! The Grand Overlord of Jatturn! The—-
ALEA: Just…stop. Save it for your fans. I don’t think you’re takin’ this match seriously.
JATT STARR: I’m taking the match very seriously. It’s this conversation that I’m not.
:::Alea stops talking. There is an awkward silence between the two of them. Did he insult her? To avoid the pangs of guilt that begin to develop, the Baron of Boca Jatton focuses on something else. Jatt Starr looks up at the television, somehow Brother Paxton’s face has morphed into Xander Azula’s. There’s a part of him that wonders if he might be hallucinating. Alea breaks the silence, her tone more comforting and patient..::::
ALEA: Simon, I care about you. I hope you know that. I just wanted to make sure you’re okay.
JATT STARR: I’m fine.
ALEA: Okay, I choose to believe that you are, but if you’re not—-
JATT STARR: I know.
ALEA: I gotta go. Tell Connie to call me.
JATT STARR: Will do.
:::Before anything else can be said, the Jatti Master disconnects the call. For a moment, he considers staying in the bunker but decides against it. There is a twinge of disdain he feels for Alea. What the hell is she doing bringing up the hypothetical situation about his career ending? Is she trying to get in his head before the match? Every wrestler knows, you can’t be concerned about an injury otherwise, you will.
The King of Grapple from the Big Apple rises from the bed and makes his way from the bedroom down the hall, past the shelves of canned goods (kipper, sardines, creamed corn, spinach, etc.) towards the exit. He opens the steel door into the stairwell. He closes the door behind him and heads up the stairs, the only sound he hears is the creaking of the stairs as he takes those steps in the darkness. Eighteen steps, then he reaches up and opens the hatch in his shed.
The hatch opens and his eyes are blinded by the sunlight coming in from the windows to his left. He becomes disoriented, almost losing his balance on the steps but doesn’t. Jatt Starr proceeds to make his way towards the house. He opens the backdoor into the kitchen. The Wabid Wabbit is sitting at the kitchen table reading the New Yorker while sipping a Coca-Cola through his mask with a bendy straw.::::
WABID WABBIT: He has wisen!
JATT STARR: Your sister wants you to call her.
WABID WABBIT: I’ll phone her latuh.
JATT STARR: How about you make it sooner? I don’t need her calling me in an hour accusing me of not giving you the message.
WABID WABBIT: I told you not to date Awea.
JATT STARR: We’re lovers. We’re not “dating”.
WABID WABBIT: I wish you wouldn’t say things wike that.
:::It may not be present behind the smiling, white bunny mask, but the Wabid Wabbit is cringing at the thought of his sister and Jatt Starr knocking boots. Jatt Starr opens the fridge and pulls out a Dasani water, unscrews the cap and downs the 16.9 fluid ounce bottle like a man who has been wandering the Sahara for days. He wipes his mouth on the shoulder of his sleeve and looks back the masked man sitting at the table.:::
JATT STARR: We set for Chicago?
WABID WABBIT: The awwangements have been made. Anton is aweady theah. He says the last shipment should be in by Fwiday.
JATT STARR: Excellent.
WABID WABBIT: Is this scheme of youahs pwudent? Won’t it just wesult in pissin’ off Xanduh Azuwa?
JATT STARR: Who gives a rat’s rectum if Ziggy A-LOSE-AH gets pissy? What we have planned is, in the words of one Bobbinette Carey-Maurako, “uberly epic”. These culty fops think they can manipulate people into joining their made up religions just so they can get laid and get their egos stroked. In both cases, the leaders are just covering up their teeny weenies. They try to cheat the system by getting tax breaks and most of all, they prey on the weak minded. They tell you what you want to hear, until the next thing you know, your bank account is drained and you end tricking yourself out to some pervy shitstain just so you can get the Founder’s approval.
WABID WABBIT: That’s some fucked up shit.
JATT STARR: People like Xanadu A-LOSE-AH are no better than drug peddlers, but instead selling their wares to junkie scumbags so they can snort or inject the poison into their bodies, it’s their words and ideologies that poison the mind. They sell people a bunch of dog turds and claim it’s a chocolate log.
WABID WABBIT: Gwoss. If the peeps out theah would just wealize that the one thing that winks us all togethuh as bwothahs and sistahs is ouah pain, we would aww get awong.
::::The Duke of Jattmandu drops his head and begins massaging his temples in response to the Wabid Wabbit’s take on what he had just said. Jatt Starr lets out a therapeutic sigh.::::
JATT STARR: I hate you….I hate you so, so much right now.
WABID WABBIT: What?
::::Jatt Starr looks back up and the Wabid Wabbit and shakes his head, debating whether or not to admonish him for trying to make this exchange all about him and his beliefs, as if they are validated or something. The Hero of Jattlanta decides it best not to call the Wabid Wabbit out for now.::::
JATT STARR: Nothing. It’s fine. I just need to impress upon you the dangers of these zealots. Not like Lee Best. He says “Join me, the French benefits are great and if that’s not enough, here’s a dump truck full of money”. If you don’t, well, you’re pretty much screwed. But it’s simple. There’s no middle ground, no matter what the nose ring wearing dingleberry, Sutler Kael thinks.
WABID WABBIT: As they say in ouah meetings, “There’s no such thing as a wong highah powah”.
JATT STARR: Yes there is, Connie. Yes, there most definitely is.
::::The Thane of Starrkarth turns and starts heading down the hallway towards his bedroom, leaving the Wabid Wabbit to his magazine and soda. Jatt Starr stops and does not turn.::::
JATT STARR: Call your sister!!!!
::::As the Wabid Wabbit lets out an affirmative grunt, the Jattlantic City Idol continues down the short hallway, passing photos of himself holding different HOW Championships. In a few short days, Jatt Starr and Premium Posse (working title) will be in Chicago, the Land of Best, and there, he will put on a display, a display that will show Xander Azula that Eris is a false goddess. A display that will show how misguided he has been. The Marquis of MadagaStarr enters his bedroom and smirks as he thinks at how after Bottomline, Xander Azula will bow down to the true god of HOW. END SCENE.::::