Beep. Beep. … …
“What the fuck!”
“Maybe try it this way…”
… … …
“Son of a bitch!”
When you’ve spent the majority of your life avoiding nerds and things nerds create, simple tasks like a self checkout line inside a Home Depot could seem insurmountable.
“Whatever. Shit’s fuckin stupid, anyway. Besides, this can is full of yellow paint. Yellow paint is for pussies like Clay Byrd.”
With a flick of the wrist, the can of yellow paint soars through the air, way into the back of the store where its impact is noted via a loud thump. Warrick pauses, putting on his best ‘intense’ face at everyone around, ensuring there’d be no issues.
There are none. People, at their core strive to avoid confrontation at all costs.
The Wizard snares the three bags full of paint and follows Warrick outside store. An middle aged man with a loud and proud ‘manager’ tag pinned to his shirt watches from a window. His eyes staring at a plain, white van parked in the only handicap spot in the lot. OCW’s legend Bob Grenier sits behind the wheel with JAM G next to him, although both men are hard to make out. The van appears filled with smoke.
“Yo! Let’s go!”
Warrick kicks the side of the van. The doors open and smoke pours out of the van. Warrick takes a moment to lean back, and inhale. The Wizard pins his nose.
“That’s a lot of paint.”
Bob Grenier, a man of few words.
“Well, it’s a big fucking van.”
Change is never easy. Even if it’s so fucking obviously necessary.
“Do we have to do this?”
The Wizard was feeling nostalgic. The white van he’d been using for most of his adult life. And adult life that saw less pussy than an HOW after party.
“Look, we just dropped a few hundred bucks in there. No turning back now.”
BOB spent the few hundred bucks. Thanks to his OCW salary, he’s the only one of the four helping to fund this little excursion out west. An excursion that will wind up in Tombstone, Arizona on the 14th of August for Dead or Alive.
Warrick looked for a tap atop the can. We can only guess he assumed it would open like a can of soda.
“Give me that.”
Living on the Grenier Family Farm means a man must use his hands. A man must cohabitate WITH the land. A man must acquire certain skills. Even seemingly impossible skills, such as opening a can of paint.
“JAM, do your thing.”
Bob held the can of paint up and JAM dove forward with his metal masked face, breaching the lid. Bob stuck his calloused finger into the hole and ripped back, tearing the metal open.
“Here you go.”
A light sniff of the fumes. Okay, maybe not a LIGHT sniff, more like a complete inhale. Warrick enjoyed the scent, as evidenced by the first smile he’d flashed all day, eyes shut. His vision returning, he stared at the van. Our shot cuts to a POV from the van, Warrick staring at us like a predator about to pounce on some prey. He leans back and slings the can of paint forward. Light blue paint splatters everywhere, ending the scene.
A SHORT WHILE LATER
Change may seem weird or wrong, at first. But you’ve gotta give it some time to percolate. Some time to fuckin breathe.
“I mean, it’s not white anymore.”
Three of the four weighing in with their thoughts on the van’s new look. All waiting for the vehicle’s owner to speak up.
“It looks like a rainbow ejaculated all over my van.”
The other three give a reflective, ‘hmm’, tilting their heads, hands on their side. Warrick laughs.
“Fuck yea it does! Let’s ride!”
The Wizard is left sulking in the parking lot while the other three climb inside. Slowly, he steps forward, entering his new look van.
SEVERAL HIGHWAY MILES LATER
“Our chi is off.”
“Yes. Your brother is throwing off our chi.”
Bob is a big believer in chi, along with several other supernatural, invisible forces. Warrick doesn’t really know what CHI is, but considering Bob is financing this little adventure, he does his best to fix it. Turning around from the passenger’s seat, staring into the back of the van, he sees JAM G playing with the brand new JAM G action figure. He rolls his eyes and then finds his brother, arms folded, head down. His giant Wizard hard and beard concealing his face.
Warrick throws his fist up, punching the roof. His brother looks up.
“Fix that attitude, bud!”
His brother continues to pout.
“Pout all you want, but we had to paint this shit. We had already been pulled over seven times on this road trip. SEVEN TIMES. And, I don’t know if you’ve noticed this or not, but we’re all WHITE.”
Yes, everybody in the van is of caucasian ethnicity. As for the racial or sociatal intonations in his comment, we’ll just kinda let him have his opinion and leave it at that.
“Van was holding us back, bro. They thought we were all a bunch of pedos joyriding across country from school to school. So you just fix that fuckin attitude or I’m gonna tie you to the top of the van for the rest of this trip.”
This ain’t teen wolf. Van surfing is not a fun, care free activity. It’s actually pretty fucking dangerous and more than mildly unpleasant.
Bob’s eyes widen as if to say, “Family matters. Not my business.” He pulls out a joint and lights it up, passing it off to Warrick to calm the angriest member of the group down. In the back, JAM G looks over at his mystical backseat buddy.
JAM G has a good heart. A big heart. He reaches into a backpack nearby and pulls out another action figure. It’s an old WIZARD action figure, from his days as a wrestler. He tosses it into The Wizard’s lap. The Wizard picks it up and stares at it, memories of his in-ring success meshed together and playing like a violent kaleidoscope. JAM leans forward, his action figure upright. WIzard leans forward, doing the same…and, the two grown men with adolescent brain waves start to smash and clash their action figures against each other.
“What the FUCK is that noise?”
Bob reaches over, grabbing Warrick, assuring him that he does not want to look at what’s going on in the backseat.
SEVERAL HOURS OF MEN DRIVING DOWN THE HIGHWAY LATER
Gotta stay sharp. Gotta stay focused. Can’t let any detail go unnoticed. Otherwise, imminent failure awaits.
JAM G’s mind drifts as he mans the wheel deep into the evening. The Wizard is fast asleep in the passenger’s seat. Warrick and Bob are crashed out in the back of the van. The road is dark and desolate. These men are heading out west and, well, if you’ve ever been out there you know the population seems to shrink while the terrain expands.
Not a great place to get caught having car trouble.
Which, is exactly what seems to be happening.
The van sputters. It spurts. It begins to operate inconsistently. The Wizard sits up, opening his eyes. “What’s going on?”
JAM G has no idea, so, he says, “I have no idea!”
The Wizard leans in, checking all the gauges before leaning back, frustrated, “We’re out of gas!”
“WHAT!” Warrick’s voice booms from the back.
Grenier crawls up, grabbing JAM’s shoulder, “I thought you were stopping to get gas. What happened?”
“Well that exit looked really complicated and I figured I’d wait until the next town.”
Yikes. Unfortunately, out in this part of the country, the ‘next’ town can sometimes reside a few hours away.
“We have to pull over, otherwise we’re gonna be stranded on the highway like a bunch of idiots. Like a bunch of Highway Men.”
All four passengers stop and deadpan the camera.
We cut outside the vehicle to see its colorful shell shaking and trembling as it takes the next exit, disappearing into the unknown.
WHY DOES CLAY BYRD HAVE SUCH A STUPID NAME? OH, YEA, A FEW MOMENTS LATER.
It’s tough, leaving something you love behind.
“Chin up, bro. It’ll be there once we get back. Trust me, nobody is stealing that fuckin van.”
“I don’t know, that stellar paint job might attract some attention.”
“It says “SLAMBUSS” on the side! Very off putting to potential thieves” Bob snickers, as does Warrick. The Wizard pulls away and runs ahead, trying to hide his tears.
“Aw, c’mon, bro. Don’t be such a pussy!”
The Wizard stumbles up a hill, dropping to his hands and knees. Embarrassed and a little pained, he looks up and spots a small town nestled down below. Soon, his three companions reach him.
All four men stand atop the hill looking down on this small town that seemingly popped up out of nowhere. How serendipitous, right? RIGHT?
It’s dark. They’re tired. They’re hungry so they make the trek down the hill into the town.
DID YOU KNOW CLAY BYRD IS VERY TALL AND WEARS A MASSIVE COWBOY HAT? AND, OH YEA, A FEW MOMENTS LATER.
“People around here are a little weird,” Bob discerned before diving into a plate of breakfast. Warrick leaned back, arms stretched across his side of the booth, taking in the sights. To his right, his brother devoured a giant plate of food. And, diagonally, next to Bob, sat JAM G.
All three men eating. Warrick leaving his plate untouched for the time being. He took stock of the people within this diner that would make The Waffle House look like Outback steakhouse or some other chain poor people think is really fancy.
They’re outsiders, sure. But that doesn’t explain the type of attention they are receiving. These people aren’t looking at them like they are intruding. Or, like they’re some sort of foreign menace. Nope. There seems to be some type of hopelessness in their eyes. A silent plea.
“Oh well,” Warrick shrugs, diving into his food.
A shitty ass motel connected to the diner would have to lodge the four wrestlers for the evening until they could find somebody to transport them, and a can of gas, back to the van.
Warrick wanted four rooms. But, since Bob was the financier of the mission, he sprang for two. One room housing Bob and Warrick. The other holding JAM and The Wizard.
Before bedtime, all four men ran down the itinerary for the following day.
“Okay, so once we get some gas in that fuckin van, it’s back on the road to Tombstone,” Warrick instructed while Bob paced, puffing on his signature joint.
“We can’t miss that. We can’t.” JAM G shook his metal masked covered head, “I hate Clay Byrd. Hate him. He’s so stupid!”
Warrick chuckled, eyeing JAM, “You serious?”
“Of course I’m serious! Clay Byrd is STUPID!”
Glancing over his shoulder, Warrick eyed Bob as if to say, ‘is this the best this guy’s got?’ Bob sighed and slid the joint into the corner of his mouth. “Maybe that’s your problem,” his deep, gravelly voice uttered.
Bob slapped his hands together, bringing his voice up from calm to stirring. “Promo practice. JAM, I want you to cut a promo on Clay Byrd as hard as you can. Hold nothing back.”
JAM looked around, a bit nervous. Warrick fell back onto one of the two ‘queen’ sized beds, sliding back against the headboard, arms folded, “This should be fuckin good.” The Wizard leaned against the wall, looking far more apprehensive than Warrick…a little nervous, even. Bob remained standing, motioning for JAM to get started.
JAM froze. His mind hit a wall. He stared at the three accomplished wrestlers all staring back at him. What the fuck. Why was he being put on the spot? Was it because he let the van run out of gas? Was it because he’d been pinned several times over the past month, holding Bob Grenier back from his spot atop OCW? Yes.
Bob’s voice had never been more clear.
“Okay, so…Clay Byrd. Right? I mean, why does he use a ‘y’ in the name BYRD anyway? Seems stupid to me. Probably cause he can’t spell. And Clay? Does anybody even LIKE clay? It’s so thick and hard to dig through. I personally hate it. It Reminds me of that scene in ghost when the ripped Patrick Swayze is cuddling up to Demi Moore and…”
“STOP! STOP! STOP!”
Bob’s voice shakes the walls within the shitty motel room. Warrick stares at the floral, thin comforter atop his bed, shaking his head, “Ghost? WTF.”
The Wizard cringes.
Grenier approaches JAM with compassion. “This is a huge fucking problem.” He rolls the joint around his lips, sighing, “Step aside. Take notes.”
“August 14th 2022, High Octane Wrestling presents: Dead or Alive. I’m crossing into foreign land and I’m taking the HOWt Title back to OCW where live on Monday Night Massacre, August 15th in the year 2022, I will take a shit on it. Stay tuned! Classic OCW, Baby!”
Bob’s stirring promo has certainly picked up the vibe within the motel room. That’s how it’s done. That’s how you cut a promo. JAM is, indeed, taking notes on his smartphone. Warrick, never one to give too much praise, offers a simple, “Not bad.” He looks up at his brother. “You wanna give it a try? Your shit could use some work.”
“Nah, I’m good.”
Warrick sneers, “Fuckin pussy.”
All four men spring into action. Did Clay Byrd hear them? IS IT THE HIGHWAY MEN?!
Bob nods at JAM to open the door. JAM does. Bob and Warrick are ready to pounce. The door is slowly opened and behind it stands the manager of the diner.
“Geezus,” Warrick falls back on the mattress, “You almost gave me a heart attack. Do you know we have men from the highway after us? Fuck’s sake!”
“What do you want?” Bob asks.
The meek manager shuffles in, head down. “I…I…”
“Well, spit it out. Shark Week rerun about giant makos starts in about half an hour.”
Warrick loves the mako shark.
“You out-of-towners seem like you know how to handle yourselves. Especially you…” he points toward The Wizard, who stands nearly a half foot taller than everyone else.
“WRONG!” Warrick yells back.
The meek man cowers. Bob pats him on the back, “Just tell us what you want.”
The manager proceeded to tell them a story about a small, esoteric town few people knew about. A town thriving in obscurity. A town that refused to let modernity and all its flaws infect its happy and peaceful community. It sounded whimsical and pristine. Like a place any rational person would want to visit.
And that’s when the story took a turn. A group of bandits happened upon the town not too long ago and, ever since, have been terrorizing the town and its inhabitants. Stealing whatever they desired whenever they wanted.
Since their arrival, these townsfolk have been blanketed with fear. Terror choking out the life and vivacity that once made this place so very special.
Color had turned to gray. Smiles bent into frowns. Hope spoiled into depression.
Until these four foreigners happened upon their town, very much like the bandits. A group hardened by the outside world. A group with, perhaps the street smarts to take down the bandits and gift this town with their old lives.
“Wait,” Warrick interrupted, “you want us to kill some people for you?”
“I didn’t say KILL,” the manager stammered, “just run them out of here.”
Grenier’s voice expressed sympathy, “Look. We’ve gotta be out of here early in the morning. We’ll contact the police and…”
“Not the police! Sir, if you get them involved then this town will never be the same.”
Bob threw Warrick a puzzled look. How did this town function, exactly? I mean, they had to have a form of currency, right? Where did they get their electricity? So many questions. Questions that they didn’t feel like asking. It was late and they were tired.
“Whatever, man. Sounds like your problem, not ours. Adios.”
Grenier gently urged the man out of the motel room.
“WE CAN PAY!”
Warrick sat up, “Excuse me?”
“Money, we can pay.”
“Well, this just got fuckin interesting. How much?” Money, the lone reason Warrick was on this slapdash adventure to begin with. Money, something he’d been sorely lacking in recent years. Money, the one thing that could fix all of Warrick’s problems.
“One thousand per man, if you run the bandits out.”
The four men looked at each other. Was this worth taking? Bob didn’t think so. He was worth millions. JAM, The Wizard, and especially Warrick, however…they could use the money.
“Two thousand,” Warrick fired back.
The manager hesitated. He thought. He looked over his shoulder at a group of townsfolk staring up at him, anxious. Their hopes for freedom resting upon his negotiation skills.
“Fine, two thousand. You run the bandits out of town and I will personally hand each of you two thousand dollars.”
Bob started to speak.
Warrick beat him to the punch, “You’ve got yourself a deal! Point us in the direction of these bandits and we’ll fuck them up.”
“You can find the bandits in Tombstone, Arizona. Be warned though, These guys are tough. I think you’ll be needing this…”
The manager produces a bullrope and hands it to Bob who cradles the weapon of mass destruction in his hands.
“Watch what I do with a f*****g bullrope.” Bob states confidently.
A short time later a sign reads “Welcome to Tombstone! The town too tough to die.”
In the dead of night. The OCW crew officially reached their destination. As soon as they did, Bob drove them down a long back road. They wind up in a desert somewhere.
“I’m hungry!” Jam squeals from the back seat. Warrick and The Wizard nod in agreement.
Bob stops the van. He gets out and retrieves a shovel from the backseat. He begins to dig.
Jam pokes his head out the van and asks “What are you doing?”
“Digging a hole.” Is the only reply Bob can muster.
“When we take down these bandits, We gotta dispose of the corpses. Don’t we?” Bob snaps back.
The OCW crew laughs hysterically.