Once upon a time, in a land far, far away…
Someone said, blood is thicker than water and YOLK is thicker than blood.
BUT GOD DAMN IT.
Business is business.
That being said.
The time has come.
What has been seen, can not be unseen.
What has been done, can not be undone.
The fall of the Bandits is upon us.
After the closing bell
The eGG Basket
And then there’s them.
Telling. I know.
The show is over.
They still have on their ring gear and stink of loss, while I’m dressed in my 97red jumpsuit and smell of greener pastures. For their sake, I’ve shielded them from the LSD Championship snugly fastened around my waist by wearing my jacket on the outside of it. I’m COOL, not a monster. Also, I know. I wasn’t booked. Why bring it out? Why wear it? Simple answer. I’m a nerd and I wear it everywhere.
Total first time champ move.
They are seated.
Exhausted from losing.
Exhausted from their losing.
Civil, for now, I ask the group with a look of concern mixed with desperation splattered across my face, “What now, Bandits? Where do we go from here? We’ve battled tooth and nail, taking on the best this industry has to offer. We’ve been through SO much together. The Bruvs. CBD. The chase. Coma. War Games. Championships. Language barriers. Old age. Arthritis. Dementia. Gray hair. Boat trips. Eggs… for it to end at the hands of Steve Harrison and Hughie Freeman would be a travesty we’d regret for the rest of our lives. So… what say you?”
No one answers.
It would seem as if defeat and the terminal decision ahead of them has silenced the “in” crowd.
Defeat is a motherfucker like that.
I also know I usually thrive in situations like this one. Where my boot is pressed to someone’s throat demanding the best from them. However, the empty solemness of the situation is doing nothing for my mood.
“Fine. There’s the door. If you want to leave so be it. No hard feelings, just don’t be expecting a Christmas card.”
A lone second passes.
Then, RICK calmly stands and exits the eGG Basket for the last time.
And you HATE to see it.
“Okay. There’s one. Who is next? Dooze? You got somewhere else you want to be? Is your head not in it anymore?” I point to the exit. “There it is, pal. Salvation is just a few steps away. Get out of jail, FREE. One time offer. Boston still loves you, no matter how many times you drop the ball. Fuck, I’m sure you could still catch up to RICK and split a cab to Nowhere if you aren’t feeling homely.”
I laugh at the tension I purposefully create, and then Bobby cuts it with a nervous fart. AKA, a nart. Luckily, it’s only a nart, and a dry one at that.
I know there’s a rumor going around that Bob shits himself when he gets nervous. I know this because I am the one who started it for the well being of this tale.
“Well, now you have added incentive to leave I suppose.” That’s right. No flatuant is going to get the upper hand on me. Dooze looks at me like we are back in Orlando. I instantly feel bad for him, but there’s no room for half in and half out in High Octane Wrestling. He knows this just as much as I do. You either have both feet in the grave, or you’re not standing in it at all.
Adamant, I ask again, “Well? What’s it going to be?”
The old bag of bones stands from his seat, walks over to the doorway, and EXITS. My jaw drops. Bobby starts to well, and Zeb about loses his Southern charm. In some half assed attempt to find normalcy in the moment, I begin to shout with no sense or feeling in my body, “FINE THEN. FINE. JUST FINE. IT’S OKAY! WHO PUT THIS SHIT TOGETHER!?! ME. NOT YOU. I RELOAD IT.”
I can’t believe it.
On cue Bobby starts to cry. He knows it’s going bad when I start to talk like Scarface. To his sobbing; it’s more of a weep if anything, and is one of the most horrid things a human being could ever endure hearing– like the whimper a scared puppy makes from the boom of thunder but just coming out of a grown man instead. Thankfully, he hasn’t wet himself yet. I give him another minute or so before that happens.
Yes, Bob has toilet trouble when he gets frazzled. I don’t know if you’ve heard that about him before.
Zeb makes his way over to the Sobbing Man from Honalee, and tries his best to console him with some voodoo gibberish I presume.
“BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLHA…”
Not one for the waterworks, not someone else’s anyway, I press the issue at hand. “AND what about you two? Still want–”
Without hesitation, Zeb breaks from being a human Kleenex and stands from his seat. He walks to within an inch of my nose and implores, “Stop. Stop it. Right now. Just stop.”
Told you he lost his charm.
Bobby, between sulks and tears, exclaims in a high pitch, “JUST GO. LEAVE.”
Enraged, I spin on a quick heel and dash through the exit. I slam the door shut behind me, closing the only chapter to my wrestling career I’ve ever really given a fuck about.
And then, I sigh.
Oddly, I feel at ease.
I don’t quite understand why.
For the first time…..
In a really long time…
The only person I have to worry about is myself.
THE MAIN EVENT
The day has come.
Not only have the Bandits been broken…
There she is.
Ass in the air.
Such a shame.
That’s right, my fellow Tumors. Finally, my impervious 97red couch knows the taste of defeat.
Fuck Dan Ryan and his bloody face.
And fuck the memento’s of yesterday. No portrait of the fallen is hanging on the wall. No BANDIT LADDER WAR POSTER is next to it. No coat stand with a single ascot gracefully hanging from it. No full moon on the flat screen TV. There’s just a gray haired man wearing sunglasses inside a bright room, sitting on his couch, next to his fern.
And of course, with his LSD Championship on display.
“Hughie. Hughie. Hughie. I got two things I want to make perfectly clear to you.”
I clear my throat to accentuate how important what comes next is.
“One. I don’t care about your prison life, you chapped lip bitch. I don’t care about your meal plan, when you get to exercise, or how the prison garden is coming along. You getting to leave Alcatraz to come face me in a match for MY title is not some weird stay of execution.”
“It’s Lee trying to save money on the electric by sending you to the in home Executioner.”
Formerly known as the Eggsecutioner.
Murderous, I glare.
“This is the MAIN EVENT, Hughie. This is the Best Arena, Hughie. This is for my Championship, Hughie.”
Shameless, I point to my golden acid trip.
Get used to it.
“And just like the last time you were in the main event, and the stakes were high… you will falter. If I’m not mistaken, I believe I climbed the ladder to success while you watched in awe from the comforts of your back? No? Maybe it was some other crumb from Pikey’s Pitt who has a destructive right hand then.”
“AND TWO.” I drag a gentle hand across the top of my treasure. “This is mine. From now, until the end, it will be mine. Never again will it be anyone else’s. Just mine.”
Somewhere, even Scottywood is smiling after hearing that because he won’t have to update the LSD Title history ever again.
“But do not fret, Mr. Knockout Artist. I know the news is upsetting, but you, Hughie, you get to be the first. You get to be the one who makes everyone else hesitate when they attempt to sit atop my throne. You will quiver, so all that follow in your footsteps won’t have to. They will be able to relax knowing, well I’m fucked and that is that and it will all be because of you.”
“You will be remembered is what I’m getting at. Not as CHAMPION of course, and because of such you might not enjoy the memory of this Saturday Night as much as I am going to.” I smile, warming hearts across the globe. “Sorry not sorry.”
Then I spit, because it is customary that I do.
“Hughie Freeman, LSD Champion. Good one. Really. Good one. I almost thought it was April One there for a minute. Sadly, Hughie, I am the LSD Champion for a reason. I earned it. I climbed that ladder, both the physical one and the metaphorical one. Then I was the only one to counter the tomb known as Article 50. I wasn’t lucky when either events happened. I was prepared. And just like then, this Saturday Night I will be prepared. See ya soon, Convict.”
Hughie Freeman has a right hand made out of concrete and sleeping gas. Just catching a whiff of it can put a lesser man to sleep. I’ve seen him knock the French into people. I’ve heard the sound his fist makes when coming into contact with someone’s unfortunate face.
I have him and his Fist of Doom figured out.
I have the perfect counter to getting punched in the face. Two of them, actually. One works quite well. It’s called the Saturday Night Special. It involves yellow mist, a foot to the face, and me easily retaining the only thing I have left.
Is dangerous. Experimental. And a subchapter in Chinese Kempo. Some would say it’s a lost art… or a forgotten technique that is practiced by only a few because of the toll it takes on a person.
The art of relaxing one’s self right before serious impact.
Turn my face, body, and mind into a feather floating in the wind.
Would you like to know how I learned it?