::::SCENE: With Refueled fast approaching, Jatt Starr has taken time to visit the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The HOW Hall of Famer and challenger for the HOW Championship is on the arena floor staring at the empty seats. Standing on the basketball court where the Timberwolves normally compete and where the ring will be set up on Saturday night. Or he believes he is standing somewhere in the vicinity of where the ring will be on Saturday for his HOW World Championship match.
What? Jatt Worried?
Maybe a little.
Or maybe a smidge more than a little…..
The Ruler of Jattlantis knows what this match can mean. Obviously, proving he is the best. He will also prove to the world that Conor Fuse is an epic dud of a champion….he will allow the champion to bask in the glory of victory….until Saturday.
The King of Jatten Island has been continuing his strict workout regimen, watching Conor Fuse matches….Conor Fuse v. Scottywood….Conor Fuse v. Scott Stevens….Conor Fuse v. Sutler Reynolds-Kael….and of course, he relives the classic: Conor Fuse v. Jatt Starr.
And to think, this little twerp started his career by garnering a victory over Erin What’s-Her-Name…Was it Burr? Erin Burr? That sounds familiar but he might be wrong. The Baron of Boca Jatton should have looked up that match instead of the one against Scott Stevens.
But look at Conor Fuse now.
Face of the motherfucking company.
Jatt Starr can just imagine the pencil pushers and number crunchers just getting off on the idea of Conor Fuse versus Mike Best! They are probably already making the posters and filming the commercial.
This match means that after everything he has said and done since “Rumble at the Rock” is justified. He is and always will be Undefeated Against Conor Fuse.
…..plus, it gives him carte blanche to call Conor Fuse the “duckling” for the rest of his career.
It means proving John Sektor wrong. It means shoving the HOW Championship in his pervy fucking face and screaming……..:::::
JATT STARR: I’M BETTER THAN YOU!!!!!!!!!
::::The Starrcelona Icon’s voice echoes throughout the bare, desolate arena. There is a smug smile that forms on his face, an almost Grinchian smile. All he’s missing is green fur and a dog named Max. In the here and now, he thinks of what could be.
Winning the HOW Championship proves that Lee Best’s faith in him was not misplaced.
Defeating Conor Fuse, a video game junkie bastard would be the perfect symbol for Simon Sparrow, THE Jatt Starr conquering his own addictions.
But of course, the inescapable truth is…..
What “COULD BE” is nothing more than a pipe dream. Like one of these nine-to-fivers playing the lottery and the second they have the ticket in their hands, they start thinking of ways to spend it….only for the stark reality to set in when they realize tomorrow morning they will wake up and continue to be Joe Schmoe working in an office listening to mundane chatter about the football game or the latest in baseball’s playoff race.
It’s the regularness of life.
It’s almost depressing.
Today isn’t about “Woulds” or “Shoulds”.
Today is about implementing a couple of brilliant schemes masterminded by the Hero of Jattlanta to almost ensure a victory Saturday…no, Jatturday night.
All he needs to do is wait….
…..ah , crap…..
…..Anton is about as reliable as a screen door on a submarine….
…..somehow he’s going to muck this whole thing—-::::
ANTON: TALLY-HO, OLD BEAN!
::::The portly frame of Anton emerges from the back carrying a box and is followed by twenty fit shirtless men. Some of them more fit than others. They follow Anton down what would be in a few days’ time, the ramp leading to the four cornered battlefield. Anton, his long salt and peppered hair pulled back into a ponytail, sporting a rather raunchy (to be kind) green t-shirt which says “I’d Rather Be in Beaver Valley”, if it were any smaller or tighter would expose his, to be kind, “paunch”.::::
JATT STARR: Did you find them all?
ANTON: Fuck no! But I obtained most of what you had petitioned.
::::The Saviour of ManJattan opens the box revealing t-shirts. Lots of t-shirts.::::
JATT STARR: What are we missing?
ANTON: Chris Jacobs, “barra”, and what’s that prick’s name, the one nobody recollects. At least no one I fucking spoke to. That fucking Wile E. Coyote chap.
JATT STARR: Tony Wyles?
ANTON: Yes! No one knows who the fuck that is. When I asked about that bloke’s t-shirt, I was met with more “Whos” than a fucking owl. Now, can you explain to me why the fuck you had me purchasing a bunch t-shirts and hiring a bunch of models?
JATT STARR: Hand out the shirts and the Ruler of Jattlantis will enlighten you!
:::Anton begins handing the models t-shirts – each one getting a different shirt – Kostoff, Chris Jacobs, El Nutso, Lindsay Troy, Steve Harrison, Hughie Freeman, Ryan Faze, Crow, Aceldama, Chris CK, Mikey Unlikely, Graystone, Darin Zion, Brian Hollywood, Max Kael, Sektor, Darkwing, Bobby Dean, Max Kael…..and Conor Fuse, as Jatt Starr lays out his scheme.::::
JATT STARR: Imagine this, Conor Fuse comes prancing down the ramp to the ring, showing off the HOW World Title, acting like he’s the cock of the walk, basking in the adulation of the fans. Then his Pac-Mac or Q-Bert or whatever music stops playing and out comes these men. Conor Fuse will be confused, he will be all like “Der….What’s going on here?” And the men just drop on the aisle, laying on the ramp.
ANTON: Have you thought this through, mate?
JATT STARR: Of course I have! Suddenly, “Everybody Wants You” erupts from the speakers and, yours truly, the HOW Classic, the Thane of Starrkarth, the Sultan of SeaJattle comes out and walks and steps over these sad, pathetic, vapid douchenozzles who can’t get a real model or acting gig, so they whore themselves out for twenty bucks a pop. Each one wearing the t-shirt of my fallen foes. Starting with Darkwing, I will walk over their bodies towards the ring, stepping over Darkwing then Kostoff and then so on and so forth until we arrive at the fallen Conor Fuse.
ANTON: Two queries, if I may?
::::The Jattagonian Giant, who smiles like the Cheshire Cat, proud of this extravagant opening he has concocted, gestures with his hand for Anton to continue.::::
ANTON: One, why? Don’t get me wrong, I fucking love it, I’m getting half a chubby just standing here, but why?
JATT STARR: Gross. The why, is to get inside Conor Fuse’s head. To remind him, that this old timer has not only beaten him, but has beaten people far more talented than him. To remind him that he’s still nothing more than a video game playing whacknut with a thin grasp of reality that should be pitied and not celebrated.
ANTON: I see, and secondly, is it not customary for the challenger, in this case you, to be introduced first and then the champion?
JATT STARR: What’s that?
ANTON: This whole hubbub you have created seems to hinge on the fact that Conor Fuse is in the ring, witnessing you, like a general on a battlefield, triumphantly walk over the graves of his slaughtered enemies, but he will not be in the ring, as the champion he will be introduced to you.
::::Jatt Starr, the smugness leaves his face and all he can do is blink, unsure of what to say. The computer in his brain is reading “Syntax Error”. For a moment, Anton is sure Jatt Starr will either faint or perpetually remain catatonic for the rest of his days. Instead, Jatt Starr opens his mouth as if to say something, nothing comes out but a light, barely audible exasperated exhale. Finally, the Ruler of Jattlantis closes his mouth and turns away. He suddenly begins doing lunges.::::
ANTON: What the fuck?
JATT STARR: Clearly, I did consider that slight wrinkle. It’s fine. It’s perfectly okay. How much did we spend on the t-shirts?
ANTON: Close to three thousand.
JATT STARR: And the actor/models?
ANTON: If we still plan on using them, it will be close to a thousand.
JATT STARR: This is not good. We will have to shelve this idea. We need something else. Something that will tell Conor Fuse that I am infinitely better than you. Something that says Jatt Starr is more talented, better looking, and with a nutritious, healthy diet you can overcome all odds and be a success. And if there is a way to do that while at the same time completely bringing Conor Fuse down a few pegs, I am all for it.
ANTON: You still have Wabid Wabbit and I to help provide a little strategic distraction.
JATT STARR: Obviously, but we need something grander, something unexpected.
::::The Jatti Master stops doing his lunges and he looks at the actor/models just standing around, some looking at Jatt Starr and Anton, the others are conversing amongst themselves and looking at their phones.::::
JATT STARR: Get rid of these guys.
::::Anton turns towards the model/actors.::::
ANTON: We have your numbers, we will be in touch, now fuck off! Oh! We will want those t-shirts back so if any fucking one of so much as drools one of them, I will fucking destroy you. You will be fucked so hard, you’ll be the ventriloquist dummy for my cock.
::::The model/actors proceed to exit the arena floor from whence they came. Anton turns back to Jatt Starr, who is looking once again around the arena. The King of Grapple from the Big Apple turns to Anton.::::
JATT STARR: Any other ideas?
ANTON: “Fuck Fuse” t-shirts?
JATT STARR: They’d never sell. Besides, we quite literally just did that with the “Fuck Eris” campaign.
ANTON: But it worked.
JATT STARR: No. It needs to be something else.
VOICE: Hewwo, hewwo!!!
:::The clear and unmistakable voice of the Wabid Wabbit resonates throughout the arena. The masked individual, wearing a blue and black plaid suit, approaches Jatt Starr and Anton.:::
ANTON: Oh, “gweat”.
WABID WABBIT: And I am not awone. Wook at the what the cat dwagged in.
::::Emerging from the back is a woman, age thirty-four. She walks with a certain confidence. She is wearing a long, thin trenchcoat which covers her entire body. Alea (her middle name, which she prefers to her given first name, Piper). She has one hand in her pocket and the other (is not giving a high five) swings at her side. Her dirty blonde hair is pulled dback into a very business-like bun. Anton notices something wrong with her gait, but cannot place it.
Jatt Starr, though, all thoughts of how to belittle Conor Fuse escape his mind. He has not seen Alea for over a week. Since she published her book “Maria LaChambeaux and the Elliptical Eclipse”, she has been out promoting it. With her schedule and his schedule at odds, they have been stuck texting and “Zooming”. His heart suddenly beats a bit faster and the churning in his stomach is the result of excitement and anger. The Mayor of ManJattan jogs over and lifts her up and kisses her like he hasn’t seen her in years.::::
ALEA: I missed you.
JATT STARR: I missed you too.
ANTON: Oh gag….
::::Jatt Starr and Alea kiss again, this time more passionate and somewhat sloppy, she wraps one of her legs around his waist.::::
ANTON: Fuck off with this, please. Either drop trou and fuck or cool your jets.
::::The couple reluctantly stops and Jatt Starr looks at the emerald green eyes of his “lover” and sister of the Wabid Wabbit.::::
JATT STARR: Why didn’t you tell me you were in town? Have you finally come to your senses and now you want to see me in the ring?
ALEA: No, I have a book signing at a Barnes and Noble, Connie told me you were here, so here I am.
::::Alea gives a girlish little curtsy, to which Jatt Starr reponds by bowing gentlemanly, to which Anton responds by rolling his eyes, unfortunately the mask prevents anyone from seeing how the Wabid Wabbit responds.::::
ALEA: Have you read the book yet?
::::Alea begins removing her jacket, with the help of Jatt Starr revealing a prosthetic arm from just under her elbow.:::
ANTON: Fuck me, how did that happen?
JATT STARR: Shut up, Anton.
::::The Ruler of Jattlantis folds the trenchcoat and tosses it over his shoulder. Alea, who is dressed in a gray pants and a black short sleeve blouse.::::
JATT STARR: Those kind of books aren’t really for me. A fitness instructor-amputee investigates a murder at a small town gym? Come on.
ALEA: I could get a “Hallmark Channel” deal if they sell well.
JATT STARR: Starring who? Lochlyn Munro and Candace Cameron?
ALEA: Har har. You know damn well she’s doing the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries.
ANTON: You watch Lifetime? Fucking pussy….
:::The Starrabian Knight shoots a fiery look at Anton as if the accusation of watching Lifetime was akin to bombing a health clinic.::::
JATT STARR: It’s “Hallmark”, it’s completely different!
::::Even the body language and expression on Alea’s face, she knows that while yes they are different….how different are they really? Obviously, Lifetime has the “Babysitter Psycho” or “Psycho Babystiller” or “The Day I Fired the Nanny” or “My Crazy Ex-Au Pair” or….the point is gotten. The Duke of Jattmandu returns his attention back to Alea.:::
JATT STARR: Hey, where are you staying? Because I’ve got a room at the Holiday Inn Express nearby and I was thinking we could….
ALEA: My publisher has me staying at the Radisson.
:::Jatt Starr nods, feeling a twinge of envy that the powers that be in the HOW has booked him in a room at a Holiday Inn, not exactly the accommodations befitting a former and soon-to-be World Champion. Lee Best would have booked him in the Radisson. That’s for damn sure. Meanwhile, Alea gets the Radisson. As he looks into Alea’s eyes, seeing her earnest, genuine, smile he realizes how petty he is being.:::
JATT STARR: Soooooo….the Radisson then?
ALEA: Room Five-thirty. Don’t keep me waiting too long….
:::Alea leans in and whispers into Jatt Starr’s ear.:::
ALEA: ….or “Stumpbelina”….
::::Alea takes a playful nibble on Jatt Starr’s ear, for his part though, he feels his knees turn to jelly. Alea knows exactly how to get to him. Alea gives a gentle, caring caress to Jatt Starr’s cheek before they kiss again. She grabs her coat, turns around and starts heading out.::::
ALEA: Let’s go, Connie.
::::The Wabid Wabbit turns to Jatt Starr, the mask of course makes it difficult to gauge what is going through the mind of Connie, the Wabid Wabbit.::::
WABID WABBIT: I would wathah stay with you guys, but I drive huh heah.
::::The Mayor of ManJattan ignores the Wabid Wabbit and instead watches Alea as he goes through the doors towards the backstage/locker room area. Anton walks right next to Jatt Starr, so close, that the Earl of GlouStarr can smell the Axe Body Spray wafting off Anton’s t-shirt.::::
JATT STARR: I love that woman.
:::The second those words escaped his lips, Jatt Starr’s eyes widen. Did he just use the “L” word? Did it come out of his mouth? With Anton right next to him? He cannot believe that he verbalized something he had not felt for another woman in years. Without even turning, he gives Anton a stern warning.::::
JATT STARR: Don’t you ever fucking tell her I said that.
ANTON: Mum’s the word. But, may I suggest something?
::::The Jattinum Standard remains silent. As much as he would rather leave to meet Alea at her hotel room and rev up the Starrlite Sexpress to full steam ahead, he does not stop Anton from giving him his thoughts.::::
ANTON: Maybe you invite her ringside. Let her escort you down the aisle.
::::The Ruler of Jattlantis only manages a thoughtful “Hm.” Alea does inspire him to be the version of himself. Maybe not in the way she envisions. She abhors senseless violence (but supports his career), arrogance, and putting down people who are less fortunate. In other words, some of the key traits that Jatt Starr has that puts the big money in his wallet. But she relishes in knowing that Jatt Starr is serious about his sobriety and maintaining a strict exercise schedule. They are both people that have struggled through different tragedies in their lives and they can be open and share with each other their vulnerabilities without fear of judgment. She knows what’s behind the posturing…the self-doubt, the insecurities, those flaws he buries deep inside himself. Perhaps having Alea ringside will inspire him to, perhaps, win without the need of some extravagant gimmick. Her being there could be the catalyst of him becoming the Champion again. He knows if she is there, he would not want to let her down. To win for her.::::
JATT STARR: That is not a totally crappy idea.
ANTON: Of course not! We workout a play where the Wabbit and I cause a disturbance and you can bitch slap that little shit with your lady love’s prosthetic arm.
::::The Sultan of SeaJattle’s face grows more disgusted the more he thinks about Anton’s vile and repulsive suggestion. And the fact that he did not think of that idea first really hurts. And then he stands there, wondering, how he can love someone like Alea and also toy with the idea of using her PROSTHETIC ARM to bludgeon Conor Fuse? Would he find himself desperate, on the cusp of losing, would he really resort to something like that? Six months ago, definitely. Now? He does not know. “Maybe it wouldn’t come to that,” he thinks. “Maybe just her presence will give me the confidence to win.”
But “maybes” are just as bad as “coulds” and “shoulds”.
And right now, he should be getting to the Radisson. What was that Room Number?