::::SCENE: The deafening sound of an airhorn echoes throughout the empty Best Arena. The audience is bare at ringside. Standing outside the ring sporting a red and back one piece tracksuit (or is it more of a jumpsuit?) which is zipped up halfway up his chest revealing a formerly white but now off white t-shirt and several gold chains is Anton. He holds the airhorn in the air and the two participants in the ring stop.::::
ANTON: Time’s up!!!
::::The Wabid Wabbit, shirtless and wearing plain black wrestling tights, his rather muscular and probably zero percent body fat glistens with sweat as he gets up off the mat, if he showed any signs of tiredness or pain, no one would be able to tell thanks to the smiling Easter Bunny mask obscuring his face. Jatt Starr, one the other hand, wearing his 97red and black plaid pants and suspenders is slowly crawling towards the corner, panting, his face says everything you need to know about what he is feeling – fatigue and pain. Gilda, who sports a referee shirt, rolls out of the ring, and starts heading towards the announce table, where there is a cooler.::::
JATT STARR: How did I do that time?
ANTON: You’re fucked, that’s how you did!
JATT STARR: What?! I had to have won that one!
::::Gilda reaches into the cooler and pulls out a green smoothie and begins walking back to her winded father.::::
ANTON: Let’s see, you pinned Bugs Bunny over there two times and made him tap once. You, on the other hand, got pinned three times and tapped out four. You were blown the fuck out!
:::Gilda hands the Mayor of ManJattan the smoothie and he rips off the lid and begins chugging it like a college student at a frat party with a bottle of Jose Cuervo who has been challenged to a race to see who could get drunk the fastest lest they face the paddle. Some of the smoothie begins to ooze down his chin as he finishes.::::
JATT STARR: Well, we have no choice, we have to run it again.
:::There is a collective rebellious groan.::::
WABID WABBIT: We’ve been at this for six houahs.
GILDA: We’ve done this three times.
JATT STARR: We’ve got to keep going until I get it. Restart the clock! Ninety-seven minutes!
ANTON: Every fucking time we do this, I tell you the same fucking thing, but you refuse to listen.
JATT STARR: What? I’m just supposed to let him get a fall over me?
GILDA: Listen to him!
ANTON: Within the first ten minutes, you find yourself in that bullshit hold of Sektor’s—
WABID WABBIT: The Sektah Stwetch.
ANTON: —and every fucking time you try to fight and claw your way out of it without success.
JATT STARR: I will!!! One of these times, I will figure it out.
ANTON: That early in the match, the strategic thing to do is to tap quickly. By trying to fight your way out of it, you’re exerting your energy. Tap quickly, with any luck, he won’t let go for the five count, he’ll get disqualified and the falls offset each other.
JATT STARR: That’s just giving in to him! He would love nothing more than to have me tap out.
GILDA: Dad, you tapped out nine times today. Each time, you tried to fight out and couldn’t.
WABID WABBIT: Except that one time you awmost weached the wopes.
::::The Thane of Starrkarth lets out an exasperated sigh and looks up at the lights overhead. Is he being too stubborn about this? On one hand, they have a point. On the other hand, fuck Sektor. However, they are right, they have been at this for six hours. Three matches of ninety-seven minutes with a few breaks between them.::::
JATT STARR: Anything else?
GILDA: You’re wrestling.
JATT STARR: That’s the point.
GILDA: You’ve gotta fight and you gotta fight angry.
:::Anton begins nodding vehemently in agreement and begins pointing towards Gilda Starr, s Jatt Starr rolls out of the ring. His knees begin to feel like jelly and he takes a seat on the ring steps.:::
ANTON: The little bird is right. There was no passion, no fire. No killer instinct.
JATT STARR: Maybe it’s because Sektor is not six-four and wearing a bunny mask. And how can you say I wasn’t fighting? Did you not see some of that stuff? I had him in the Falling Starr and springboarded off the middle rope! Never did that before!
ANTON: One fucking fall, congratulations. Go buy yourself a trophy.
JATT STARR: Well, peanut gallery….and Gildy…what the hell? Am Isupposed to just say fuck you to everyone and not show up?
GILDA: No, we’re not saying that. Connie, what did you notice when you two were wrestling?
::::The Baron of Boca Jatton shifts his body and cranes his neck — he winces as he feels a sharp pain emanating from his cervical region — to look up at the Wabid Wabbit standing in the ring, looking like he wrestled for five minutes and not ninety-seven.::::
WABID WABBIT: Aside from two or thwee things ya did, you wuh a bit pwedictabu. If I can pick that up, Sektah can too. And he wiw pwedict it.
::::The Champion of Jattanooga turns away from the Wabid Wabbit and looks at Anton and then Gilda. All he can do is shake his head, disgusted with himself.::::
WABID WABBIT: Wook, if it were a weguwaw match, no pwobwem, but ninety-seven minutes? It don’t wook vewy good.
JATT STARR: Fuck.
GILDA: This is a marathon, a chess match. Sometimes you need to sacrifice your Queen to win the match. Like, what if, seconds into the match you kick Sektor in the balls, and roll him up. You might get disqualified, but you might gain the upper—-
::::The Hero of Jattlanta throws up his hand and non-verbally but rather dismissively silences his daughter, who furrows her brow, but says nothing.::::
JATT STARR: I’m sorry. I need to think about this.
ANTON: I had a thought, perhaps we should all wear t-shirts with Sektor’s smiling fucking face on it. That might rile you up.
JATT STARR: SHUT…THE FUCK…UP! I said, I am thinking this through.
:::What he had hoped would be an annihilation on Sektor’s stand-in had the opposite effect. Upon hearing this feedback, the Jattsylvanian Count is left dejected, deflated, and demoralized. There is a part of him that just wants to crawl under the ring, lie in the fetal position, and have a good cry. There is another part of him that refuses to accept defeat, that part of him is currently losing.::::
JATT STARR: This is not how I thought it would go.
::::Anton, the Wabid Wabbit, and Gilda remain silent, which surprises the Jatti Master. He thought for sure Anton would come up with some snide, sarcastic comment, but it does not come. Either Anton is showing him some empathy or he just can’t think of something witty or mildly creative.::::
JATT STARR: You know what the worst part of this is?
ANTON: Getting beaten by a fucking rab—Ow!
::::Gilda swiftly kicks Anton in the shin, shutting him up.::::
JATT STARR: It’s the lack of respect. I was the only beacon of positivity in that prick’s life and he shits on it and flushes it down the commode. I did everything I could for that man. I tried to get him to face his past, to deal with the loss of his daughter. I tried to get him to open up. I tried to—
::::The emotions get the better of the Grand Overlord of Jatturn and he is unable to get the words out. How hard he tried to get Sektor on the path of emotional and mental recovery. He knows how loss can mess someone up. He wanted to be the sounding board for Sektor. The person he could rely on no matter what….no judgment….just acceptance.::::
JATT STARR: It’s funny, you know? That saying “You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends”? I thought it was true. My brothers and my sister? Fuck. I haven’t spoken to them in years. Resentment for….who the fuck knows at this point?
::::The Sovereign of Starrgentina lets out a bitter chuckle and looks away from his daughter and his two employees. “Never let your underlings see you’re vulnerable.”…who told him that? Lee? Nah, no expletives. That piece of advice apparently does not come into play when you have been wrestling for hours on end and you are sore and tired.::::
JATT STARR: I loved that prick like a brother, a real brother. Like, best man at a wedding type of brother. I fucking sacrificed my own well being for that man. My sobriety, for one thing. I opened up to that man. Everything I’ve told him, everything I’ve shared….I never would have turned my back on him. Ever. StarrSek Industries could have been the greatest tag team in the history of the HOW without the use of those bullshit Lynyrd Skynyrd rules! Hell, I put my own needs aside! “War Games”, I was about the team. “Rah! Rah! Team Best Alliance!” “Let’s retain these Tag Team Championships!” “Let’s try to make it to the end together, John.” All the while, that son of a bitch was just looking for an excuse to screw me over.
::::The Ruler of Jattlantis looks to just stare off for a moment. To say he was thinking of something profound to say would be a lie. The fact is, his mind is blank, as a store bought canvas. There’s just….nothing. The longer he stares, the more uncomfortable the three people with him get. Wabid Wabbit finally exits the ring by dropping down and rolling under he bottom rope. He walks over to Gilda and Anton. No one says anything. Wabid Wabbit begins fidgeting. Finally, Gilda breaks the silence by whispering to Anton.::::
GILDA: You should say something nice. Like, I dunno, something you saw him do.
ANTON (whispering): He’s your father, you say something.
WABID WABBIT: Anton!
ANTON: What the fuck am I supposed—-OW! HEY!
::::The Wabid Wabbit forcefully shoves Anton towards Jatt Starr. Anton begins wiping his hands on his jumpsuit and nervously looks behind him to see Gilda shooing him towards the Starrcelona Icon.::::
ANTON: Hey, old chap, at least you didn’t shit yourself in there.
:::The Wabid Wabbit reaches over and grabs the back of the jumpsuit and pulls Anton backwards. The three Jatt Starr cohorts begin whispering, inaudibly, about what to do next. The Earl of GlouStarr looks up, tears welling up, his entire body tenses as he tries to force himself not to cry. He manages to start speaking, teeth clenched, snot running out of his left nostril….::::
JATT STARR: Why couldn’t he…..
::::His voice trails off, perhaps he doesn’t know what to say, perhaps he there is so much he wants to say such as “Why couldn’t he apologize?” or “Why couldn’t he visit me in the hospital?” or “Why couldn’t he accept me for who I am?” He knows the insults, the shots he’s taken, he’s just lashing out. Not knowing the why behind what Sektor did, he can live with that. It’s the knowledge that he knows Sektor didn’t care, that’s what hurts. He looks back….Gilda looks concerned, but she’s changed. Ever since coming back, there has been a certain coldness to her. As proud as he is of forging her own path, there is something about her that is less than comforting.
Who the fuck knows what the Wabid Wabbit is thinking behind the mask? And Anton, well, he’s Anton….selfish, self-absorbed, self-serving, gluttonous Anton.
There is an urge building inside of him, one that is giving him brutal, malicious thoughts involving the ring bell and the Wabid Wabbit’s skull.
Deep down, he knows what is causing this urge….
In four minutes, the three of them will look over and Jatt Starr will be gone….
…..ONE HOUR AND THIRTY-TWO MINUTES LATER….
To call “O’Madiflanigan’s” a dive bar would be an insult to all dive bars. Sure, the similarities are there….the sticky floors, the less-than-pristine Men’s Room (full of lewd and rather creative drawings and limericks), the dim lighting, and the almost non-existent customer base. Of course, the customers at this time of day (which, it should be noted, is 6:30 pm), are the loyal alcoholic types who either want to be left alone or ogle the two waitresses wearing skimpy bikini tops deluding themselves into thinking one of them will actually look past their missing teeth, poor fashion sense, and/or the hacking, phlegm projectiling coughs from years of smoking.
It is safe to say, Jatt Starr falls in the former category.
He stares at the glass of Scotch in front of him. Eighteen bucks. How long has it been in front of him, ten? Fifteen minutes?
The anxiety has been building up inside of him for weeks, ever since he agreed to take on Sektor for the LSD Championship. Cockiness, snarkiness, and swagger masquerading the self-doubt, the guilt, the pain, and the rage that has been slowly simmering inside of him.
But the drink….Macallan 12 Year Old Triple Cask (a shocking find in the establishment that he is, as he would say, currently “patronizing”). The hints of citrus, oak, nutmeg, and vanilla. His mouth almost waters, his lips quiver, as he reaches for the glass.
The King of Jatten Island stops.
He closes his eyes, the conflict of should he or shouldn’t wages on. He looks back up and stares at the glass. All he can hear is the sound of Sektor goading him on to do it, as he has done so before in the past….”One more, what’re you, a pussy?”….His trance is broken by a gravelly voice containing a slight Texas drawl….::::
BOLO TIE: You look like a man in distress.
::::Bolo Tie, as Jatt will nickname him, sits on the stool next to him. The given nickname is due to the Bolo Tie he wears around his neck. He is unusually well dressed for this particular watering hole, but then again, so is Jatt Starr in his shirtless plaid suit.::::
JATT STARR: Fuck off.
BOLO TIE: I will, but, I’m not gonna move from this stool.
::::The Bolo Tie wearing man orders a whiskey for himself, pays the bartender (whose name is Mick, which, to Jatt, seems cruel considering the climate. Bolo Tie looks over at the Sultan of SeaJattle.::::
BOLO TIE: Hey friend, if I could give you a bit of advice. When I am in crisis, I always look for guidance from the Western culture.
JATT STARR: What? California? California sucks.
BOLO TIE: I am referring to the Far East.
JATT STARR: Which is it? The East or the West? It can’t be both.
BOLO TIE: It can and it can’t.
::::The Marquis of MadagaStarr shakes his head, rolls his eyes, and begins muttering incoherent ramblings under his breath.::::
BOLO TIE: If I were gonna make a guess, I’m gonna have to say lost love, maybe your girl dumped you not too long ago.
JATT STARR: It was a guy.
BOLO TIE: I don’t judge, friend.
JATT STARR: No! No, not like that….he was my best—….forget it….
BOLO TIE: Platonic love is love, friend. Be it lover, family, or friend, love is love.
JATT STARR: It’s just—I have doubts. Who am I? My best friend turns his back on me when I needed him the most, my mentor Lee, he just bolts out of my life, with no regard for my feelings. What is it about me that has people….I don’t know….treat me like garbage?
BOLO TIE: It doesn’t sound like they were very good to you. As they say, an insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast. Instead of focusing on those in your life that you’ve lost, perhaps you should focus on those that are still in it.
JATT STARR: And if they abandon me?
BOLO TIE: Then you walk your path alone, friend. That is, until you don’t.
:::The Jattsylvanian Count waves at Bolo Tie dismissing him. This jeans wearing, snakeskin boot strutting, riddle spouting, bearded old fogey doesn’t know him. Instead Jatt Starr goes back to staring at the Scotch in front of him. The more he stares, the angrier he gets…thinking on one hand, he will feel so much better after that drink but on the other, that he’s no better than that part-time junkie fuck, John Sektor.::::
BOLO TIE: Either drink it or don’t. Staring at it won’t solve anything.
JATT STARR: Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.
BOLO TIE: I took an Uber this time and I am sure Ali would be very offended by that comment.
:::Jatt Starr goes to turn back to the drink, but instead looks at the grizzled Texan in the bolo tie.::::
JATT STARR: And on top of everything else, I’m just so….fucking angry! I have this so-called support system which consists of two fucknuts and my daughter, whom I love dearly, but has been a little scary lately, telling me that I can’t do something. They keep harping on what I’m doing wrong, and some of it, yeah, is a little helpful, but you can’t tell me how much of a loser I am!
BOLO TIE: You remind me of the frog.
JATT STARR: I played that game! I got run over more times than I can count, thanks.
BOLO TIE: No. There’s a frog at the foot of a mountain and he tells his friends he is going to jump to the very top with one leap. His froggy friends tell him “No, it can’t be done! It’s impossible!” Well, sure enough, the frog rears back and jumps to the top of that mountain. See, the Frog was deaf, so he did not hear his friends tell him it was impossible, he took his friends’ animated warnings as words of encouragement, and he was able to do it.
JATT STARR: So now, I’m a deaf frog, is that it?
BOLO TIE: No, but you could be. Be deaf to the negativity.
JATT STARR: It’s hard. What makes it even worse is, that I put myself in this position. I could have said “no”. I could have focused on my “Sutler Kale Sucks” sponsorship deal, don’t think I haven’t forgot about that little piece of business….fucking QT Reese….but now, I am faced with the very real possibility that by losing against John, it justifies him for stabbing me in the back!
BOLO TIE: Even betrayal and loss can bring us awakening.
JATT STARR: Oh put a sock in it, Doctor Phil.
BOLO TIE: Friend, if you ever find yourself seeking enlightenment, here is my card. I cannot provide you any answers that you seek, but I can light the path for you.
::::Bolo Tie hands the Ruler of Jattlantis his card. Jatt Starr takes it and puts it in his pocket without even looking at it.::::
JATT STARR: Sure.
::::Bolo Tie downs his whiskey.::::
BOLO TIE: Think about this, friend – A friend is someone who knows everything about your life and still loves you. If you have had someone like that in your life, maybe someone you have lost touch with, reach out.
JATT STARR: I don’t think I have anyone like that.
BOLO TIE: All I know is, you don’t want to drink that, and you have been looking for excuse to.
JATT STARR: Right, fine. Whatever.
::::Jatt Starr gets up and starts heading to the door, without providing the courtesy of a good-bye. With each step the soles of his Adidas sneakers make the sound of velcro coming up off the sticky floor. Even the sound of Nickelback coming from the speakers is not enough to drown out the sound.
As he heads towards the door, he ponders what the old cowboy hippy man had said. There is actually someone out there he can count on. Someone who would never screw him over, someone who would never betray him. There is someone that he can speak to that will give him an honest opinion. Someone who truly values their relationship. Someone he should have called on weeks ago. The man who sent him a cheese basket while he was in the hospital.