In the parking lot of the Best Arena just mere moments following the fateful encounter of one Rah with the Queen of the Ring herself- Lindsay Troy- to be more specific, the introduction of Lindsay Troy’s boot to Rah’s crown jewels. HOW backstage workers assist the still woozy and unsteady Sunshine God back to his waiting bus where ports Entertainment Barbie, not dressed in regular clothes as she did not appear on the show tonight, sees the stricken Rah being assisted towards the bus.
As for the others, intermittent flashes of light lit up the interior of Rah’s bus giving off a near strobe like effect. That could only mean one thing- the selfie-taking ex-sorority sisters were doing what they always do- taking selfies of themselves and then posting them onto social media.
Sports Entertainment Barbie breaks character and asks Rah in a normal voice.
Barbie: What the hell happened to you?
No response as Rah’s still not capable of talking in a coherent manner at the moment. Barbie just waves him off and turns to one of the workers.
Barbie: Can you tell me what happened?
HOW Backstage Worker: I guess he tried to convince Lindsay Troy to join his entourage and may have referred to her as being of ‘advanced age.’
Not surprised in the least that Rah would do something like that, Barbie closes her eyes and shakes her head.
Barbie: Or in other words, Mr. Self-Awareness strikes again.
HOW Backstage Worker: Um yeah. Something like that. So where do you want us to put him?
Barbie motions towards the opening of the bus.
Barbie: Load him up.
She checks her watch.
Barbie: Might as well get on the road.
Rah is duly assisted by the helpful backstage workers onto his technicolor painted bus with RAH! lettered on the side.
Tooling down Interstate 90 and 94, a now mostly coherent Rah relaxes in his golden throne of solitude located in the back of the bus, curtains drawn to keep the irritating, never-ending flashes of light from the cell phone cameras going off every two seconds out of his sight and a huge bag of ice down his pants to numb the pain from Lindsay Troy’s boot.
Barbie opens the curtains so she can check on the how Sunshine God is doing.
Rah (low, guttural noise): Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Sports Entertainment Barbie: Yeah.
Rah looks out the back window of the bus at the neverending stream of the white and red lights of traffic traveling north and south down the Interstate. He’s mildly surprised at the rate of speed and the ease of how they are traveling through the notorious Chicago traffic on this early Sunday morning. Of course, if Rah had a working cell phone, he could pull up Google Maps and see that there was nothing but green all over Chicago at 12:30 at night save a closure on the Kennedy Expressway north of downtown indicating relatively smooth traffic throughout most of the city.
Rah: Where are we?
On the other hand, Barbie did have a working cell phone and immediately pulled up Google Maps to check on where exactly they were at the moment.
Barbie: Let’s see. We are…
Barbie uses her fingers to zoom in on the Google maps application.
Barbie: …just passing under the West Seventy-First street overpass right before the Seventy-Fifth Street exit on the Dan Ryan Expressway.
Rah: Oh. Dan Ryan huh? That’s interesting.
Barbie: How so?
Rah: Usually they don’t name a highway after someone until they’re dead. Good for Dan.
Facepalm. She’s really not surprised mind you, but yeah, facepalm.
Barbie: No, not that Dan Ryan. The Dan Ryan who was a Cook County Commissioner for thirty-odd ye-… oh never mind.
She pulls up something else on her phone. It’s a text from Lee Best concerning next week’s Refueled 50 show. Her jaw drops and she reacts like Ralphie in ‘The Christmas Story’ after he dropped the lugnuts on the side of the road while helping his father change the tire.
Barbie: Oh fuddddddddddge.
Only she didn’t say fudge. She said THE word. The big one. The queen mother of dirty words. The ‘F’ dash-dash-dash word. The word that’s been said on HOW at least six million, three hundred and twenty-four thousand, six hundred and nineteen times.
Rah: What did you say?
Barbie: Unh. Unh.
Rah: That’s what I thought you said.
Meanwhile, Barbie looks at the text from Lee again and thinks to herself. It’s all over. He’s dead. What will it be? A guillotine? A hanging? The electric chair. The rack. Chinese water torture. Mere child’s play to what surely awaited Rah. Jesus, Mike Best just killed his own brother a few weeks back… and he once killed Chris Kostoff too- even though Kostoff did get better.
Barbie: Son of a bitch!
Confused, Rah glances back up at her.
Rah: Rah would like to know why you’ve suddenly begun to use colorful metaphors.
Barbie: Ah. Um. Well?
Rah: This is so unlike you. May Rah borrow your phone?
Hesitating at first, Barbie hands her phone to Rah. The Sunshine God punches in a phone number and places the phone at his ear.
Rah: Hello! Joe! Did Rah wake you?
It’s 1:35 in the morning at the Joe Bergman residence outside of St. Louis. Pitch black throughout the house. Joe and Laura are sound asleep in their bedroom. The Bergmans have settled in for the night after working Missouri Valley Wrestling’s first house show of 2021 just mere hours before.
♫ Do you hear the people sing, singing the song of angry men ♫
♫ It is the music of the people who will not be slaves again! ♫
The ringtone continues as small light on the nightstand next to the bed suddenly turns on. Joe Bergman, awakened out of a dead sleep, paws with his hand to find the offending source of sound aka- his cell phone. He finds the cell phone and looks at the screen.
Joe Bergman (groggily): O-kay. Why is Caroline calling me at this time of night?
Bergman only answers the phone because the name that comes up is Caroline Lewis aka MVW wrestler C.J. Lewis aka Barbie-Q aka Sports Entertainment Barbie aka… and most importantly- Joe Bergman’s younger sister.
But it’s not her.
Rah (on the phone line): Rah profusely apologizes for waking you up at one-thirty in the morning. I have a matter of most urgency to talk to you about.
Joe Bergman (groggily): Rah?
Joe rolls over to check on his wife. Thankfully for Rah, Laura’s so exhausted from the evening that she sleeps right through Joe’s phone going off or else she probably would have reached through the cell phone and tried to pull Rah’s balls off with her bare hands- the same testicles that took a heavy trauma earlier in the night courtesy of Lindsay Troy.
Rah: Do you know what your younger sister just said to Rah? Decorum prevents Rah from saying the word out loud but…
Rah then discreetly whispers the offending word over the phone to Joe.
Bergman’s reaction when Rah tells him the ‘word’ and demands to know where she heard such language?
Joe Bergman: That word’s been used at least six million, three hundred and twenty-four thousand, six hundred and nineteen times on HOW.
Cut back to Rah’s bus…
He then hears a click and knows that Bergman has decisively put an end the conversation by cutting off the call.
Rah hands the phone back to Barbie.
Barbie: So hey, I’m glad you’re feeling better…
Rah dips his head down while keeping eye contact with her- a look that she read as ‘really?”.
Barbie: …well, generally speaking. Look, Lee just sent a text to advise who you’ll be wrestling next week.
This brightens Rah’s disposition considerably.
Rah: Good. Good. Who is the chosen one, the lucky person who’ll be graced by becoming Rah’s first victim on his majestic ascent up the HOW rankings to glory and all the exaltation that Rah deserves?
Barbie hates the fact she knows she’s about to burst his bubble.
Barbie: Yeah. About that.
Rah: Tell Rah now. Tell Rah his name!
Chuckling, Barbie does exactly that… kind of. First, she clears her throat and then…
Barbie: You’ll be wrestling (voice drops to a whisper) Mike Best for the HOW World Title.
Rah puts his hand behind his ear.
Rah: Rah is sorry. Rah did not quite catch what you said.
Barbie hems and haws and then repeats what she said verbatim.
Barbie: I said – you’re going to wrestle (voice drops to a whisper) Mike Best for the HOW World Title.
Rah shakes his head as if his ears are somehow plugged up.
Rah: Rah is sorry, Barbie. Rah did not get that-
Barbie finally just spits it out.
Barbie: You’re wrestling Mike Best for the HOW World Title next week!
Rah: Rah sees.
…and leans back in his chair, placing his elbow on the arm of his Golden Chair of Solitude and propping up his chin with his hand in a regal but most estudious manner. Rah let’s Barbie’s announcement sit and marinate in his mind for several seconds.
The Sunshine God reaches out to Barbie.
Rah: So just how close are we to the Canadian border?
Barbie starts to punch in information on the Google Maps to calculate the precise time it would take to reach the border- and then realizes what Rah is up to. She then spends the next half an hour telling Rah they’re not going to make a run to the Canadian border, not going to O’Hare International Airport to catch a flight to Bora Bora, and not taking a slow boat to Tristan da Cunha- a small, remote group of volcanic islands in the middle of the south Atlantic Ocean between South America and Africa otherwise known as the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world.
Barbie also informed Rah that he was not going to join the witness protection program, change his name, and move to West Jordan, Utah to live a happy, under the radar, and ordinary boring middle class existence far away from the spotlight.
Barbie: This is why you decided to return to HOW. For this type of opportunity. For a chance to spread your word.
Barbie holds up her hands and decides to change tacks to deal with Rah. She tries to soothe the Sunshine God.
Barbie: Let’s just get out of town and get to the hotel, okay? A good night’s rest will help you process what happened tonight, help calm your nerves, give you a new and different perspective of things, and we can discuss this tomorrow when you’re rested and more able to deal with it.
Rah agrees to this with one additional request- a quick stop to the nearest liquor store. She agrees and once he’s settled down- a little- Barbie leaves him and returns to the front of the bus. However, she hears whimpering from under one of the seats. Barbie stops, bends down, and looks- it’s one of the selfing-taking sorority sisters hiding under the bus seat…
Barbie: Mindy! Hi-OH!
…but still taking selfies. Barbie bats her eyes to clear the bright spots from her eyes.
Barbie: What’s the matter?
Mindy the Selfie Taking Ex-Sorority Girl (distraught): Mike Best is going to kill Rah!
Barbie: No he’s not.
Mindy (whiny, child-like voice): Yes he is, too.
Barbie (comforting, maternal voice): No he’s not.
She puts her hand on Mindy’s arm and has to blink her eyes again when Mindy takes another selfie.
Barbie: I promise you, Mike Best is not going to kill Rah. Now come on out of there.
Mindy shakes her head no.
Barbie: All right. Would you like a shot of Southern Comfort?
Mindy nods yes to that. Barbie pours a shot of the one hundred proof whiskey into a glass and hands it to her. Mindy does the shot and Barbie then leaves her be.
From there, the entourage eventually arrives at the Motel 6 in Lansing, Illinois, south of the city and just off Interstates 80 and 94 at the Illinois 83 exit, check in, and go to bed for the night.
All is well until 4:30 AM when there’s a knock on Sports Entertainment Barbie’s hotel room. She figures it’s kids screwing around playing ding dong ditch and doesn’t initially respond.
Then the second knock on the door takes place.
Barbie: Who the hell?
Grumbling, Barbie throws on a robe and plods her way to the door. She peers through the peek hole and sees a police officer on the other side.
Barbie opens the door.
Police Officer: Do you know this man?
He holds up a photo of Rah. Barbie gets a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach.
Cut to…the hotel parking lot.
Barbie’s concern is warranted when she sees Rah standing on top of the bus with a crowd of people below, smashed out of his mind and in the middle of a completely incoherent rant.
Barbie: Yeah, I guess that trip to the liquor store wasn’t the best idea after all.
It’s a cold night so she cozies up behind a group of tourists, hotel guests observing Rah in full throated, incomprehensible grandeur.
Rah: …o noe, eotg yhe hel.p of duckin Naarbie.
Police Officer: Naarbie?
Barbie: Barbie. That’s me.
Rah: …we a.rr facong Muk.e Vest. Satirsat noght.
Police Officer: Oh. And who’s Muk.e Vest.
Barbie: His opponent next week.
Police Officer: Opponent?
Barbie: Pro wrestler. HOW.
Police Officer: Oh. That figures.
Rah: ,ik. e says rhsy I’m nOt thar inreredtinh snumoRe. b ecause U gace of the ginmi. c k.. U’m ookay wIyh tthar, I’m nit herr tp be intwteesting- U’m here to win matches. Mow Nije is IntrrrsTunh- iN kind of s citcus. traim-wrecj komd og wat.. His matcj witg MaX Kae. ñ? Eo e, Bu.t rhatt’s wgat he doed. Rveeutimw Bast dpeak.s, O hacw ti gsnh ip. thr la.mslobe so je can. stau cinbec res long emoufh too nott kmpq how to ñpg ub to rhw HOW eevaurw…
Barbie taps on one of the tourists shoulder.
Barbie: Do you have any idea what he’s saying?
Tourist #1: I think he’s saying that he is going to smash his opponent like Godzilla destroyed Shinagawa.
A second tourist chimes in.
Tourist #2: Are you referring to the first movie of the Showa era in 1954?
Tourist #1: Yes.
Tourist #2: No, I disagree. I think he says he’s going to defeat his opponent next week like Godzilla does when he gets supercharged with Rodan’s life force and then utterly destroys Mechagodzilla.
Tourist #1: Oh. You’re talking about Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II.
Tourist #2: Yes. From 1993.
Tourist: Right. I disagree.
While watching the tourists debate back and forth Godzilla movies applicable to this situation, Barbie has a sudden revelation.
Barbie (to no one in particular): Oh no. He’s trying to cut a trash talk promo on Mike Best…
Rah: …What I’m sayimg iS tjsT he’s gpt a dko. ppu di dk. Hw mega nttra ay yalk.ing sh.ut.. Thrse ate c.imputer oubd. Kpdrogf– it’s tge nug. sscaRt boz uour wife reada tou mt proMOs pff of,, that you ’tw sftaiD is g.onnA stesl yout aoul…
Barbie: …and he’s drunk.
Police Officer: Okay. I don’t care who’s correct and who’s destroying who and who he’s supposedly talking to. Ma’am, we need to get this man down from the top of that bus and get him back inside the hotel so we can disperse this crowd.
Barbie frantically waves at Rah.
Barbie (calling out): Rah! RAH!
But alas, the Sunshine God is rolling in full-fledged drunken trash talk mode.
Rah: Yhsy’s whst Mike hsS dObe throughout his HOW carwer.. He’s a duckin Hall og Famrt- je deswrv es ,y eesprvt. All rjr Wibddow drrssong, thr Dsrrh Cafee–ish ma je. iv.ee ssidw – he’ a dtiñl onr h. rlk og a wrestlee. The favt rhst aftee evwryyhibg That’s neeb dOn.e yo him,. he. ’s cintinurs yo wtwsttle ar a ducking gogh lebek – thw fac t tjat ge’ s still fteat. – yje da ct h.r wear.s thw Woeld ti. rle aeoumf hos qais. r yells yyouu eceryth. ung that you beed yi kno. w abiuy duckin Mije Brsr the wtesrkrr…
Tourist #1: Perhaps he’s saying that he’s going to go through his opponent like Steven Seagal did in the movie Hard to Kill when he gains revenge on the people who killed his family and left him in a seven year coma.
Tourist #2: Could be. Or like the movie Under Siege where Seagal kills a bunch of terrorists who’ve taken over a warship and threaten to fire a nuclear warhead at Hawaii.
Barbie (calling out): RAHHHHHHHHH!
Rah: …It. ’a goiibh to ve a vgakle.nhe. . It’a goimh to ve a battle. ,az i. sn’t hpImg yp makr thhe ssme mmiistakke he mase in thr fueay ,atch. He’s n ot g. oimf to unndereesyimatw Rag or ta ke the wub gir grAnted.. Je’a the vgampion. I’m hiung to have ro wrwstñe out of my mond yp find a way tp g et tha.t duckin nwlt off od hom.. I’M goi. n. G to. hav.e to diggt lijr O’ve nwcer had ro gughht. nef. ote tp pty yjat. titkw ve ñr frpn his hanfa. I’n Gping. t o ha.ve tp pysg mydelf likw I’ve nrber oushed mydelf bbefire, to duckin lwace th. E Best Srwna in Cjixsgo, IlliNpia thiS Datirsay nighy ad the duckin HOW Wprld duckin Vha.mpIon.
This alarms Barbie even more.
Barbie: What? What did he say?
Tourist: Holy smokes!
Rah: Dejs vi, neo. Orrt rY v. iivud memoroe.d of teMo. ving your headd from tgst nome.xiidtrny fuvjung meck pg youra. doo I’m jist gonn. s sssumr yii’rw just yoo stuood to tea luze ypU’vw brwm frad for four urara, O hibee yoi the wo tld’s. s.hprtest haorciT, yOu doon’t syay d.iwn.
Tourist #1: You know, I have heard instances where people in extreme duress speaking in strange tongues- speaking in torrents of obscenities and swearing pouring out in stream of consciousness.
Barbie whaps the guy in the back of the head.
Barbie: He’s drunk on a bottle of Everclear Grain Alcohol!
Tourist #1: Oh.
Rah: Rha.t’s RIfhtt, I ,ayy not have am duckin beehind mee oe bw baxkwd. chpckk fuull of mpt jusy HOW’s best wreatlets nut aime of tje. best wrwdrlers in pro wrrstlimg perio.d. O mau bw ourmanbes sbd iuygun nef ralent wide – I msy br rhe. ywwo syar sch muvk truong to xompete agaonst fpyt ans gicr drst rskrnts. I may. stoll ve tgw u mder. dog – tthe dark. hho. rse –– thr guy who reeakly shoulfn’t be thete – bbut here I am..
Police Officer: Look ma’am. If you can’t get him under control, I’m afraid I’m going to have to take him downtown and book him for disorderly conduct.
Barbie: Officer, I really don’t think that’ll be necessary.
Rah: Stilk stanfong – stull figgting kike hwlk. I’. vw foy you – tgr ppeople. – yHst II can fe.eed ogg upue Ebergy. I’be got you to lift ne up anD got a deq nInuurra ma ke me aa be.trwt wtestler. Lofr throqs all og us duckin curvwBslla. But ir happen. s. Wims ans ñoddwa happens. Lide japPens…………
Barbie just happens to glance up and notices Rah suddenly doesn’t look too good.
His face turns a nasty shade of green and the big man begins to sway back and forth.
Barbie: Oh no.
Rah retches and retches and retches some more.
Barbie: Oh oh. I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
She taps the officer on the arm.
Barbie: You may want to take a step back.
Police Officer: Huh?
But before either can react, a stream of vomit comes out of Rah’s mouth projectile style like water shooting out from a fire hose spraying the people below, including the police officer and Barbie, with Everclear and remnant chunks of his dinner like a water sprinkler soaking a front lawn.
Barbie tries to shake the vomit off her hands and robe.
Barbie: Ew. Ew. Ewwwwww.
The officer slowly turns his head towards Barbie as he removes the icky vomit from his uniform with his hand. He’s not pleased at this turn of events.
Police Officer: You know I’m going to have to take him now.
Barbie found herself in no position to argue with him until a loud thud is heard coming from the top of the bus. Upon backing up a couple feet from the bus, the officer and Barbie come to the realization that Rah has spectacularly passed out on top of his bus.
Police Officer: On the other hand, he can just sleep it off right there.