Poor Qui Ney.
After the Beautiful Man from Honalee waltzed to the rubbing rooms, Zeb’s eyes quickly drifted to a giant plastic platter filled with naked crustaceans lining the circumference of a finger bowl full of viscous, red liquid. Mind you, any rational human being would have questioned how long the shrimp had been sitting out, or why such an establishment would offer something like that for their guests to enjoy in the first place… And when the conclusive answer to both of those questions came back as simple as an, “I’m not sure…” Well, you’d like to believe the aforementioned, purely hypothetical normal person might’ve exercised caution at the thought of eating 37 of those little ocean boogers.
However, the Blue Booted Bandit known as Bobby Dean was well into the throes of his rubdown when Martin lifted good, old #38 to his lips. And that’s when things got weird.
Just before insertion, he heard the faint sound of sobbing and a voice carrying the same characteristics of a cartoon mouse began to plead with him.
Mikey, we apologize for the deja-vu.
“Please, Mister! Please don’t eat me!”
Zeezy’s fingers straightened out of shock, dropping the shrimp immediately to the floor. Slack-jawed, he watched the it slap the tile between his boots and transform into hundreds of spiders that scurried in all directions toward the walls of the parlor. The young’n startled as if one of the arachnids found its way up his pant leg.
“Dang, man…” He muttered while witnessing the completely insane event that just transpired below. Looking up, his bloodshot eyes follow the words “Dang Man” which formed into a gelatinous, purple text cloud that began to extend and then whip around his head. Those same words slowly transformed into the shape of a feminine figure, emerging just a few feet in front of Zeb’s seat.
It was a nude blob. Kinda striking in its appearance. Ya know… in a sexy, science fiction sort of way.
“Hey there, Earth stranger. Can I interest you in some cosmic sex?”
The eGG Den
I can’t believe this shit.
I don’t even remember the last time I let my phone die.
Did I leave it in the sun for too long?
I’m the General. The ONE reliable Bandit in this basket…
Why else would Zeb call Jiles? Out of nothing if not pure spite, we all know Cancer never answers his phone. Plus, he likes texting you right back with some sort of snarky remark about why he “Just missed ya!” That’s why I haven’t called him since 2012.
“ANSWER THE FUCKIN’ PHONE ALREADY!” As if speckled with spikes, the words scratch my throat as I shout them out. RICK, in his best attempt to quell a possible confrontation, rushes to the phone. Before he can read the screen, Jiles defensively swipes it away and brings it to his face. “It’s them. It’s Zeb.”
Not fond of RICK’s admonishment, Graybush sulks. “That’s low.” Then with a tap of the finger, he answers the call, puts it on speaker for all of us to hear, and shouts out, “ZEB! That you? Don’t forget I need the tux for tomorrow. They close at five.” That comment gets him a stiff punch to the arm courtesy of yours truly. RICK inflates with bated breath like he’s about to say a new word, but before he can I notice Count Coolio purposefully blinding The Three Word Warrior, directing the sun’s glare from off of his T-Shades into the Candian Bandit’s eyes.
Not surprised. He’s a little prick like that.
Kendrix knows how difficult those are to deal with.
There’s an audible sigh over the speakerphone before Zeb’s inevitable reply. “Reckon cain’t make that happen, CJ.”
I can see Jiles’ eyes roll from behind his T-Shades. That’s how long I’ve been reading his stupid face underneath them. It’s more of a curse than a gift, really.
“And why not?” My long time tag partner spits.
“G’on be hard tuh get back tuh Chicago by then.” Zeb mutters back over the phone.
I shoot a raised eyebrow at RICK. He shrugs and turns, giving Graybush a quizzical glance.
“Wait,” I figure it’s time to interject, breaking the stupored silence. “Where are you guys at, Z?”
“Da Nang, I reckon.”
The lack of appropriate emotion in his response reminded me of a Bruvs promo.
YOU DON’T SAY THAT! Pfft. I do.
“DA FUCK!?!” The Maestro confusingly half asks, half exclaims. I know him well enough to realize his worry stems not so much from Zeb’s inability to communicate his location, but because it just dawned on him that he’s going to have to pick up the tuxedo himself.
The labors of being COOL.
“We g’on be alright.” Surprisingly calm words come from Martin across the phone, who reassuringly continues, “Don’t worry ‘bout us. I promise. I got this. Bobby’s gettin’ his head right, and then we’ll be back.”
The urge to demand specifics grows from my gut, but the charme from Zeb’s calming, southern demeanor somehow settles me. “Uh… okay?”
“Hey, real quick ‘fo I go, do y’all know if yew kin get the clap from an alien? Aw, sna-”
The phone cuts out.
Then, in typical Jiles fashion, “Well, at least we know they’re alive. Sucks about my tuxedo though.”
Something finally snapped.
“Fuck you, Cancer.” I never call him that, so he knows it’s on. “You act like you don’t give a shit. Why? Get the fuck over yourself. What, you went on and won a title by yourself and you’re going to go back to the asshole you used to be?” I shake my head so hard I can feel my brain rattle. “Nah, not gonna work. You give a shit. More so than any of us, probably. You finally cracked and revealed that to everyone. There’s no going back now, bud.”
I can’t even describe the look on his face right now. Deer in headlights is the closest.
I don’t give him a chance to choke a response out.
“Like it or not.” I point my finger at him, just to emphasize the point. “You’re the leader of this wolfpac.”
As I lower my pointed finger, I notice the faintest sign of a smirk developing out of the side of his mouth.
The finger returns.
“So fucking act like it.”
It’s Still Time
I gotta say.
That gray haired motherfucker said they’d be matching couches.
I’m not trying to sound ungrateful or anything. This one he probably snagged outta the dump’s wicked comfy. Plus, it doesn’t reek like week-old weed resin mixed with cheap hair products.
Focus. Finger point.
First and foremost, Bruvs.
I know my dumb ass friend has been telling everyone in his path, since you two took CBD from us, to blame you assholes for their misfortune. For the impending doom awaiting when they met in the ring as he exacted revenge on any who stood between him and this match we have coming up.
But the truth is…
All of them.
And especially you two dumbasses.
Should blame me.
Wink. It hurts to feel like him, but had to happen.
And wouldn’t you like to know why?
But before I get too far down that lane. Let me take a moment to acknowledge you guys, the Hollywood Bruvs, High Octane Tag Team Champions. Don’t take this any way other than how I’m saying it right now, you two are the cream of the crop.
No wink. No smirk. No bullshit.
I know what it takes to win tag titles. I’ve done so plenty of times, plenty of places, and with plenty of partners. Fuck I’ve even held them by myself before.
Winning the tag titles, just like any fucking title, at High Octane is different.
And I can’t say I know what it’s like to defend them.
Golf clap. Sincere, but filled with vitriol.
So you best believe that, more than anyone around me, I appreciate what you two idiots accomplished. You’ve done those belts more justice than I ever have. And I know, at the very least when it comes to Mikey, that you care way more than you let on.
So sip your frappes.
High five your slaps.
But you know nothing can replace those straps.
More than anything, that’s why you two need to take a step back and realize what’s about to stare you down in the ring at No Remorse. Not only is my gray-haired friend on an absolute rampage with your asses as the ultimate target, but I’ve had the better half of you two schmucks sized up for over a decade now. You know it, whether you like it or not, Mikey.
I mean Jesse.
Sure, Kostoff helped me adjust my attitude about what’s more important in the ring; the outcome or the message. But what really spurred my lack of interest in the result of my bouts against Darins, Brians, and Jacks? What was the real reason I wanted nothing more than inflict pain, win or lose?
Your faces on theirs.
Daydreaming about Doozing and Abusing the two douchebags drooling all over my gold.
We are going to Totally Eggsecute you; Hollywood Bruvs.
We are going to share our loss with you when we take your titles.
We are going to even the scales with your bones and blood.
We are going to turn your carcasses into a monument for our fallen brethren.
And more importantly?
We are going to make sure no one forgets what happens when you cross the Bandits.
Now where the fuck were we?
What he said.
–“DOOZER YOU MOTHERFUCKER! NOBODY STEALS MY SIGN OFF!!!!”
Should have gotten matching couches then.
“Hell yeah, you can!” The youthful Bandit replied in earnest, jumping up to his feet. The floor, at that specific moment, morphed to a quicksand-esque state that sunk Zeb deeper with each step. It was difficult to trudge through, but thankfully the pulls of gravity also began to evaporate for Comer’s favorite son. Zeb began to cartwheel in the air towards the Promised Land of putting his pecker into a Martian’s rip in the space-time continuum.
Seconds felt like centuries as time slowed to a still… pulsing, thrusting, pumping…
And then –
There was light!
“Hey, you up now, buddy?” That soft, soothing tone couldn’t belong to anyone else.
It wasn’t the first time that Bobby checked in on the kid in the last twelve hours, but this time Martin snapped out of the euphoric trance that claimed his consciousness. Zeb clamored to pull himself into a sitting position against a midst of cleaning supplies and cardboard boxes as he wiped his eyes and gazed upward at his friend.
“Wh-where am I?”
Smiling down, the Beautiful One offered a paw to help Zeb to his feet. “Good morning, Vietnam! You’re in a utility closet, buddy. Me and the girls had to lock you in there after you ate all of that laced shrimp.”
“Huh?” Z’s world was still a blur.
“Uh, yeah. Apparently they put a little ketamine and LSD in the seafood here,” Bobby explained. “Then they try to pressure their customers into eating one so that they aren’t as upset when they find out that none of them are licensed massage therapists. But you ate like twenty before they could stop you. It was hilarious!”
Martin scratched his head. “Dang man.” For some reason that sentence felt a little odd coming out. “What you been up to since I’ve been in here?”
“Giving massages. And eating a shrimp every now and then,” The lovable, edler Bandit winks. “I’ve made like eighty bucks in tips so far!”
Zeb eventually accepted the offered hand, allowing Dean to lift him to his feet.
“You been givin’ massa…wait,” Zeb stops. For a second, he realized exactly what type of establishment he was in, as well as the fact that Bobby still had a firm grasp of his hand. Shooting a puzzled look, the expression on his face asked the question that’s presently on everyone’s mind.
“Eighty bucks in tips,” Answered The Bob, without a hint of shame in his tone.
“Cain’t argue that, I reckon.” Zeb concedes. “We could get rich ‘n’ make off like them Hollywood Brother types.” Adjusting his Ricky Rudd cap back onto his head, Martin put a hand on his buddy’s shoulder and gave him a sly little smirk. “Uhhh, they got anymore uh dem shrimps?”
“Now you’re talkin’, buddy! But first, let’s check in. I’m sure the boys are worried.”