VOICEOVER >>> BLACK SCREEN
Does it really shock you?
No, not that I’m back. That was always… well, I guess you could say ‘inevitable’? Time is such an underutilized tool in the art of war.
That I’m back and in the corner of another person, though? That’s the real ‘novus’. To even consider for the slightest of moments that, Arthur Pleasant, through all of his sheer manipulation tactics and ¿OMG¿ ¡CUUUURAAAAAAAAZZY¡ personality traits, could form an alliance with anybody else walking this Earth is what I suppose may be shocking to some.
But again, I ask you this: does it really shock you?
To the keen mind, it shouldn’t. Look at the person with whom I’ve aligned with. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon or rocket scientist to figure out how our personalities could possibly connect in this environment. After all, the only thing more dangerous than a man willing to commit atrocities in the name of a cause… are two men willing to commit atrocities in the name of a cause.
The cause? Complete and utter dominion over High Octane Wrestling.
The last time I graced the Flame here, I took home part of an ear from someone as a trophy. A Hall of Famer, too. Since then, I’ve kept it as a memento. A totem of recollection, if you will. Not for the person for whom it belongs to, but for the fulfillment I experienced in the match from which it happened. That’s an important fact to keep in mind about this upcoming tag team affair between us, gentlemen.
Because once you run afoul and speak down to us classmates of 2021 as if we are irrelevant to you — as so predictably do the tenured veterans here with their large noses in the air and their fat tongues up their own asses — you will need a reminder of just what exactly the situation is that you’ve managed to fucking put yourselves in.
ALL DAY HAUL AWAY
September 18, 2021
From a widened panoramic view of a landfill, Arthur Pleasant seemingly materializes before us, sniffing the surrounding cold air. The closer we zoom in on him, the more one might notice his nostrils flaring and black eyes narrowing.
“Hm.” he muses.
Sniff. Sniff. Sniff.
Arthur’s eyes dart back and forth, processing a scent traveling up his once broken and fixed (ad infinitum) nasal cavity.
“Ooof.” he interjects with pure revulsion.
Now his eyes water; the synapses in his brain confirming what he smells is, in fact, putrid as fuck.
A dry heave escapes his mouth. Nothing solid, thankfully, aside from a bit of spittle and a little esophageal erosion. The bits of stomach acid we can visibly discern are a telltale sign of a man whose voice sounds raspy and strained while he speaks. This being one of the many unanticipated side effects of all the many symptoms of brain trauma he’s experienced over the course of a meteoric career. A career immersed in sadistic violence over an exceedingly and increasingly dark and bloody timeline.
The God of Defilement, as one of the many names he has been self-anointed with upon re-entry into the Land of High Octane, has become quite accustomed to the acrid taste of bile. One might even go so far as to say he has been conditioned to savor it as one might a delicious glass of champagne. Process that. Unpack that, even. Because the man we are staring at suffers unto no one’s foolish plight or woeful existence.
The Entity of Evisceration grins at his own surroundings. For a man who has been accused of being a garbage wrestler because of his unmatched affinity for violence and destruction, standing inside the confines of a garbage dump is nothing if not à propos. Embers from a path laden with fire, and the annihilation of hundreds who have hazarded to cross it, have floated up towards the skies from the months lost since his untimely departure through to his timely return.
“I don’t really understand why we had to meet here.” says a heavily accented voice of Japanese tonality as another figure waltzes into the darkened picture. Some of the lighting gives off a green effect to the immediate surroundings.
“Because.” shoots back Arthur, “I just wanted to see if I could get you to go to a fucking landfill in the middle of the night. Looks like I’m already ahead by fifty bucks on the HOG Betting Lines.”
Sure enough, the pieces connect and the darkened surroundings look more and more like a landfill. Or is it something else entirely? Has Arthur just planted the illusion of a landfill deep into your psyche and that’s all you can see at the moment? Are those flies buzzing or children playing? Is that trash juice squishing at your feet or the rotting flesh of an animal carcass? Maybe instead of a landfill, we’re actually in a burnt cornfield in the middle of the Heartland.
No? Fuck off, then. Use your imagination.(But it’s definitely a landfill.)
The mysterious figure that has agreed to meet Arthur brushes off a suit jacket, suggesting this is a man of wealth somewhere up high on ‘The Hierarchy’.
“Enough.” the Japanese man of importance sternly admonishes. “What do you want?”
Pleasant laughs delightfully.
“Brass tacks. You gotta love it. Listen…”
He pauses while walking closer to the figure, quickly closing the gap between the two. The Japanese Suit stands uncomfortably while he watches Arthur move closer and closer to his position. Reaching into his breast pocket, the Japanese Suit withdraws a silver cigarette case.
“I want all the information you can get me on someone working for High Octane Wrestling.” Pleasant asks matter-of-factly.
“HOW?” responds Japanese Suit with a tone of surprise in his voice. “You’re going back?”
Pleasant giggles at his question.
“Are you really that surprised?” he says, laughter hiding in his voice, ready to jump out at the slightest opportunity.
Japanese Suit searches for a lighter on his person, but the search goes on a little too long before Arthur approaches.
“Need a light?” Pleasant says, with a sinister tone tattooed to his voice. Japanese Suit nods and without hesitation, Pleasant pulls out a gold zippo lighter with a symbol of Japanese kanji written on the side that says “火が上がる”. Lighting the cigarette, Pleasant snaps the shimmering lid to his lighter shut and places it back into his waiting pants pocket.
Pleasant remains silent. The beeps of a nearby blue garbage truck backing up — with the number/tagline ‘1-800-GOT-JUNK?’ on its side — drown out the squawks of pesky magpies inching closer and closer to their snacks of litter and mold-ridden food waste.
Without warning, Arthur slowly, methodically even, removes a massive, wire-framed partial. As we’ve seen before, the removal of this fixed prosthesis causes his cheeks to sink ever so slightly, earning a gasp from our Japanese Suit. The dental work that has been done here has most likely been extensive and expensive. Removing what appears to be a rogue food particle from under the pink lining with the flick of his thumb and index finger, Arthur shrugs before shoving the partial back into his mouth, generating the expected clickety-clackety sounds of acrylic teeth tapping against the enamel and cementum of the few real ones our point of focus has left.
“His name is Jeffrey James Roberts. He’s a murderer. And as it just so happens, he’s the HOTv Champion. Put some urgency on your findings, will ya?” he says before turning away.
“If you already know he’s a murderer, what is it exactly you’re looking for?” Japanese Suit asks rather impatiently.
Pleasant turns his back to the Japanese Suit. He goes to move but half-stumbles from the act of preventing himself from tripping over the remains of a broken stove that’s half-buried itself amongst metals, plastics, and various other materials jutting out from the wet and shiny ground. Arthur allows several moments to pass by, yet still… he doesn’t turn around. Instead, he allows the question to linger in the sour air between them before finally breaking the silence.
“Anything, Masahiko. A killer who stands atop a mountain is bound to have a use for a man who piles a valley of bones around him.”
GREATER MANCHESTER AREA
December 6th, 2021
We transition from the raunch of a landfill to a magnificent tourist destination in the Imperial War Museum North of Manchester, England; specifically, the Greater Manchester area. While everyone remains inside the museum, examining every exhibit to their heart’s desire, Arthur Pleasant stands on the viewing balcony of the ‘water shard’ that overlooks the Manchester Ship Canal.
Pleasant looks out at all the passing ships from inside the exceedingly disorienting complex, with his back facing the camera. His hands are behind his back with his left hand clutching the wrist of his right with body language often reserved for people inured to Japanese culture.
Jeffrey James Roberts.
The Devil you know, gentlemen.
A beast of a man.
A bonafide fucking killer.
But tragically… shackled.
Limited through the laws of the land in what he can do from beyond the pale.
This has been the story of Jeffrey James Roberts.
Now is the time when the shackles come off.
Now is when the Hand of Calamity helps guide the Creator of Chaos, arm in arm, toward the sweet-n-saltiness of freedom. And as the jaws of confinement relent, so too will our obstructors repent.
Pleasant turns around slowly. His gaze is prominent with just the right amount of emotion. Not too much. Not too little. Just enough to let anyone staring into it know that he is a man of quite the violent predilection. As an out-of-focus ship passes by from over his shoulder in the far-reaching background, Arthur continues.
Tag Team partners speak with an inherent trust in one another. To be successful in vanquishing all challengers and completing all trials, a tag team must rely implicitly on one another and their bond…nay, their faith… must be unbreakable.
That’s where I come in.
The devil you fucking don’t know.
A grin replaces the near-vacant expression. Lifting his fingers up, he somewhat puckishly makes a couple of “devil horns” behind his own head.
You may think you know me after studying the tape extensively from back in May when I initially brought my brand of violence and psychological warfare to HOW, but that is too far removed from where we are now. In the battle royal, everyone was instantly blessed to have a taste of this new devilry when I shotgun drop-kicked the fuck out of Jatt Starr’s empty skull and sent him flying to the outside. But that’s all you were presented with. A mere taste.
In the aftermath, we saw emotion overtake rational behavior and saw two incompatibles come together to make the ole college try to take out a perceived threat. For a moment, it worked. But only in that flashing moment. In the next moment, we saw precisely what happens when emotion possesses the soul.
It fucking haunts you.
So here’s where I brandish my index finger and say ‘Tsk, tsk.’ to you both. You may as well have just finger-booped me like Eliza did Jeffrey, because the punishment for such negligence will not be swift, nor will it be soft.
It will be slow.
It will be fucking severe.
And the inherent begging and blood-curdling screams will fall silent upon the deaf ears you’ve misperceived as colleagues who actively listen to your dull, contrived, meandering fucking bullshit.
Pulling out an avocado from his right pocket and a steel-serrated folding knife from his left, he cuts little marks into its skin. Every couple of inches, he peels off the skin and tosses it carelessly in a random direction.
How infuriating it must be, truly, that someone who has been HOW World Champion for as long as you once were, Jace — a credible one, despite what anybody else may think — has to play second fiddle to a flaming fuck wagon who sounds like he’s speaking Simlish for thirty minutes every time the red dot turns on. To make matters worse, this Jattaloon has the audacity to wear a Hall of Fame ring, a #Red97 colored jacket, or whatever the fuck else before you?
That stinging sensation you’re feeling in the back of your neck could be pride, but I’d put money on the fact that it’s more embarrassment than anything else.
My partner touched on it briefly, but If I were you, instead of being the “and” of such an ungainly tandem, I’d be campaigning every second of every day until Refueled came around to supplant my partner’s ill-begotten enthronement into the charity-case wing for something you obviously deserve more. But, of course, I wouldn’t want to speak out of turn here. Heh.
For all we know, you may actually respect a man who relies on the inane, low-hanging fruit of endlessly recycled puns. You might even be fond of a try-hard who neglects the importance of wrestling in decent ring gear by ignorantly utilizing tacky suspenders and unyielding corduroys, and sometimes polos, instead of contacting a decent seamstress. You might actually fucking idolize a fool who transcends the art of sToOpiD the likes of which even Michael Scott couldn’t reach.
I mean, in all honesty now, why the fuck else would someone WILLINGLY team with such a bulbous example of mouth breathing inconsequence on more than just one occasion?
He shakes his head with a palpable sense of disgust and disappointment. Leaning back on the wooden handicapped railing, Arthur sighs. Clearly and utterly vexed, he continues onward.
Regardless, O’ Curmudgeon Who Stomps, you will never get the chance to brain me against the mat again.
You turned the safety off of your gun and fired your best shot against me in an unsustainable environment, Jace. An environment that rewards sneakiness and cowardice to someone who hasn’t come out on the winning side of a one-on-one contest in years and gets to waste a coveted opportunity that someone more qualified could have better capitalized on. So congratulations on shooting your load prematurely, you fucking cunt.
Instead of saving your game-ending finish for something that actually matters and could very well adversely affect your future here in HOW, your momentary, marginal, soupçon of success has only determined your inevitable failure. ‘Cause I mean… now I know where to take cover and how to dodge even your sharpest of hollow points.
But if you’re feeling a little too emotional — just like your Hall of Fame partner there after his elimination — and can’t understand what I’m trying to tell you? I’ll simplify it for you as best I can: you fucked up bad, Jace. And now you’re going to own your incredible recklessness by not just bending the knee to us, The Devil’s Advocates, but by bowing down completely.
Being number one doesn’t come without its difficulties, Jace. And when the smoke clears after Jeffrey and I are standing tall with our hands raised in the air? The mess beneath our feet that used to be Jace Parker Davidson’s insipid and lazy fucking existence will illustrate that point to absolute perfection.
With his legs supporting his weight, Pleasant gradually slinks down into a seated position. Legs bowed, he rests his hands on top of them. In the distance, a steel-hulled widebeam sounds its mighty horn. Pleasant then curls his legs into the criss-cross, tomato sauce style he can usually be seen in when speaking in front of a camera lens.
As for you, Jatt? From the moment I arrived in HOW, I could smell the stink of imposter syndrome coming from you. As you egregiously held a championship that (should) recognizes a veritable toughness in the person who holds it, I could see through the transparency that is your career. Every place has one of those types, and sure enough, you’re that person here in HOW.
At least Zion and Doozer stick to their levels of competency, mostly.
Arthur pauses suddenly as he attempts to stifle a laugh. This being directed, of course, at the cruel nature of the aforementioned reality, he just brought to the forefront of people’s soft little minds.
So do us — and yourself — a favor. When I’m taking your head and bashing it repeatedly into an exposed turnbuckle until your cracked lips split open, your beady little eyes swell shut, and your navy colored pants turn to #64WengeFuckingBrown, I want you to remember your partner’s face like the blubbering, perennial clinger-on you are.
Then, when I stop and tag Jeffrey in to finish the job by ripping your fucking throat out through your shit-digesting, septic tank of a belly, I want you to remember the faces of a couple of men who are better than you and 100% responsible for sending you even further down the ladder. Maybe even past eGG Bandit territory, who knows. While Jeffrey takes his foot and jams it into your child-sized skull, breaking apart at a molecular level whatever chemical compounds have been holding your harebrained thoughts together for this long in HOW, I want you to picture… us.
Jeffrey James Roberts and Arthur Pleasant.
The fiercest fucking force of nature this place has ever bear witnessed to.
No subterfuge here, Jatt. I want you to picture your tormentors while your skull is excavated for the cotton inside. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Pleasant slides down even further so that his neck is awkwardly positioned against the wooden railing while his legs remain criss-crossed. A laugh escapes his crooked mouth as he realizes how Gumby-like he looks right now. Fluttering his lips like the springy, white-capped door stopper we all flicked at in our youth with childlike wonderment, he continues once more.
To borrow a parallel from our resident gamer? You duffle-bags full of severed cocks are wandering in the plains of Hyrule without a sword, shield, or even a decent tunic to protect you from the harsh elements. Elements that will kill you outright if you decide to not heed the warnings of the hairs rising on your weak little arms and in the back of those stacks of pennies your peers mistake for a pair of fucking necks. And we are the feared Guardians who have our lasers set on your low-leveled, baby-soft foreheads, about to reduce you both to the ashen remnants of overvalued mediocrity that you are now and forever will be.
So feel free to get the fuck out of our way while you still can, gentlemen. Once the Hand of Calamity delivers Chaos from the adamantium clutches of his cage?
It’ll be far too late to repent from the sins that haunt you.
Pulling himself up from the increasingly awkward position his body slid down to, Pleasant sighs with relief as he stands tall once again. Looking out into the Manchester Ship Canal, Pleasant whistles contentedly as he turns to face the river once again. He then stops fucking around with the avocado and slices into the magical super fruit. With the tap of the knife onto the top of the pit, he expertly pulls up on it and flings it behind him, hitting the lens of the camera with zero fucks given.