:::SCENE: Backstage in the M&S Arena in Liverpool, the dressing room for <REDACTED> . The Ruler of Jattlantis, feeling the throbbing soreness in his neck, the aftereffects of a hard fought loss and the lingering effects from the Dan Ryan/Conor Fuse assault on him at “War Games” six months ago. He begins craning his neck as he sits on a bench in front of his locker. The Hero of Jattlanta is sporting his red and black plaid suit, a shimmering dark green dress shirt (‘tis the season, after all), and his black Adidas sneakers with red stripes.
The locker room door enters and Madison saunters in self-assured, confident, as always.::::
JATT STARR: Madison!
MADISON: You’re finally getting my name right.
JATT STARR: I always knew your name! The Mayor of ManJattan just didn’t want Jace to think there was a spark between.
MADISON: You seem to be in a good mood considering what happened earlier.
JATT STARR: Is Jace still peeved?
MADISON: He’ll get over it.
JATT STARR: It’s this shoddy officiating….
::::The Champion of Jattanooga rises from the bench and stretches his back, a faint cracking is heard.::::
JATT STARR: Ever since Lee…what is he, dead? Mostly dead? In any case, he’s out of commission and since then, it’s been chaos. We have third rate referees winning battle royals, cheating us, well, HIM, out of a major victory! And tonight….
::::The Jattagonian Giant shakes his head in disgust as if his son had dropped an easy pop fly in the Little League World Series causing the opposing team to score two runs.::::
JATT STARR: …stupid clodhopping Matt Freaking Bitcher…turns his back on my tag. He sees that tag and Farty Peasant and Jimmy Jeff Jim Bob Booberts lose the match. Of that, the Jattlantic City Idol is certain.
:::Madison opens her mouth to say something, but Jatt Starr interrupts.::::
JATT STARR: What are they calling themselves? The Devil’s Apricots or something? The fact that we have a flipping hooligan walking around with a title, what the heck? It really stinks we lost, but it really burns my britches that we lost to that guy! Did you hear what he said about the Earl of GlouStarr? He’s got some Tic Tacs on him talking about penis and vagina jokes! The people love it! Maybe if he had a sense of humor, he wouldn’t be the psychopathic, bedwetting, impotent dilberry maker that he is today.
::::The Baron of Boca Jatton giggling to himself.::::
JATT STARR: That reminds me, what’s the difference between Psycho Jeffrey’s jokes and his penis?
JATT STARR: No one laughs at his jokes!
::::Madison, who probably didn’t want to laugh, allows an ever so slight smile come through as Jatt Starr giggles to himself.::::
JATT STARR: I got at least four more just like that one!
MADISON: Can I say what I came here to say?
JATT STARR: Yes, of course.
MADISON: As you know, there have been recent developments regarding the HOW Championship match at ICONIC, which—-
JATT STARR: I know! Isn’t it great? Yeah, sure, Ole Uncle Ollie might not have faith in the Grand Overlord of Jatturn, but I was able to change Lee’s mind, so I can change his as well! Giving me, the Sultan of SeaJattle, an opportunity at the HOW Championship.
JATT STARR: And the fact that Jace is there with me? How Jattastic is that?! The Starrley Davidson Connection, working together!
MADISON: I understand that you—-
JATT STARR: We can’t Darin Zion or Clay Byrd this thing. We have to make the most of this opportunity and, most importantly, not squander it.
MADISON: About that, Jatt….you might want to sit down.
JATT STARR: No, thank you. Sit down? This is a flipping great time for both of us!
::::There is an almost childlike enthusiasm that Madison sees in El Jattador de Starrcelona that almost makes her feel bad for what she is about to say. Jatt Starr, however, is imagining a scenario where it is an elimination match and both he and Jace are staring each other down to the roar of the crowd. Perhaps, this time, the HOW Classic will be victorious.::::
MADISON: In response to your recent proposal, I am here to tell you that I will not be assisting you with this match. It would be a conflict of interest. Jace is in the match and my attention will be on helping him. If he wants to work with you during the match, that’s his call, I won’t be involved in that. I hope you understand.
::::There is a twinge of slight disappointment but it is something that is not completely unexpected. Jatt Starr nods and his phone starts to buzz in his pocket. He reaches for it.::::
JATT STARR: It’s totally cool. No worries.
MADISON: Are you sure—
JATT STARR: As long as one of us wins, right? Hold on, I have to take this.
::::The Thane of Starrkarth gives Madison a wink before hitting the green button to activate the call and bringing it up to his ear.::::
JATT STARR: Go for Jatt!
::::There is the sound of someone clearing their throat before speaking.:::
VOICE: Hey, um, Jatt…or Simon?
::::The voice is male, vaguely familiar, with a Midwestern accent. It sounds like the person on the other is trying to maintain an even tone. To Jatt, it sounds like one of his hardcore fans trying to keep their poop together when meeting him.::::
JATT STARR: The Ruler of Jattlantis in the flesh. Who is this?
VOICE: It’s me, Gary.
::::Madison begins backing towards the door.::::
JATT STARR: You say that like I’m supp—Hold on. Madison, wait a sec….
::::Jatt Starr holds up a finger to stop Madison and waves her over. He brings up a finger signifying that he won’t be much longer on the phone. He continues to talk to “Gary”.::::
JATT STARR: You say that like I’m supposed to know who you are.
GARY: Yeah, um, it’s, uh, I’m Gilda’s stepfather.
JATT STARR: Ohhhhhh Gary.
::::The Monarch of MancheStarr says Gary mockingly, as if it were an insult. Most of what Jatt has heard of Gary came from Gilda. He was/is a strict business type. Gilda mentioned what he did, probably a few times, but Jatt could not give a rat’s rectum about this douchebag.:::::
JATT STARR: How did you get this number, “Gary”?
GARY: Linda had it.
::::Linda, Gilda’s mother, who spent time raising Gilda is a cult known as “The Children of Ota’Topeht” for the first sixteen to seventeen years of her life.::::
JATT STARR: What do you want, “Gary”?
::::There is a pause. A bit longer than the Starrabian Knight would like, he feels himself becoming more and more impatient and irritable with Gary.::::
JATT STARR: Come on, “Gary”. I don’t have all night.
GARY: I didn’t wanna make this call, I was hoping someone from….um….Gilda was shot.
::::The sentence hangs in the air near Jatt Starr as it is his turn to be silent. The Jattinum Standard thinks maybe he misheard Gary or there was some sort of communication.::::
JATT STARR: You’re mistaken.
GARY: She was…uh….<clears throat>….
JATT STARR: She was filming a movie. She’s a stuntperson, she was shot on film. You misheard.
GARY: We got a, um, a call. She was at a gas station….there was a robbery….she was shot. I heard the chest, it might be the shoulder, we don’t have a darn clue. She lost a lot of blood. They’re…uh…she’s in surgery….
:::The words hit him in the gut like a Mike Tyson right hand. He starts muttering “no” repeatedly under his breath. Madison has a look of concern on her face and her body language screams hesitation as she looks both at Jatt Starr and the door behind her. While she does not know the contents of the conversation, she can tell it is not good.::::
GARY: I’m gonna text you the details….Linda’s a mess….we’re taking a flight out in the morning….They don’t, uh, don’t know if—-
::::Jatt Starr’s arms go limp and he drops the phone on the ground. He begins to feel lightheaded as if he were riding the Cyclone at Coney Island for three hours straight. His legs begin to wobble as if made of Jell-O. He suddenly feels his lungs collapsing as he drowns in a sea of anxiety.
Madison watches as the Grand Overlord of Jatturn collapses in the middle of the dressing room. His head thumps against the side of the bench. Madison, continuing to hesitate, approaches Jatt Starr. If this were Jace Parker Davidson, she knows what she would do, but Jace Parker Davidson doesn’t suffer panic attacks, so she doesn’t have to worry about this.
The King of Jatten Island sits up, his breathing labored. The thoughts fly through his mind like whirlwind….he needs to go to the hotel and check out, catch the next flight out….does he drop out of the ICONIC World Championship match….
Madison crouches down in front of him.::::
MADISON: What happened? Are you okay?
::::There was something comforting in her voice and he forces a half smile. The words Gary said echo in his mind. “Gilda was shot….Gilda was shot….Gilda was shot….”. The fact that fucking Gary delivered the news made it that much worse.:::::
JATT STARR: My daughter was shot.
::::He spoke the words without even thinking, his tone monotone and almost robotic. Madison looks almost horrified and gives him a halfhearted hug. She picks up his phone and hands it to him.::::
MADISON: You’ll need this.
JATT STARR: I have to be there….I need to be there, right?
::::The Sultan of SeaJattle looks up at Madison with almost dead eyes, expecting an answer. An answer she did not want to nor was qualified to give.::::
MADISON: You just stay there, I’ll get someone to help.
::::Jatt Starr begins rocking back and forth, it somehow soothes him as his mind tries to make sense of what had happened. He turned a corner, didn’t he? Conor Fuse is no longer the soulless automaton that he was after losing the HOW Championship to Mike Best partially thanks to him. He’s been attending regular Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. He’s been taking the advice of his life coach, Buster. He’s tried new things.
For some fucking degenerate piece of shit to take a shot at his daughter at a fucking gas station is senseless.
What happens next, Jatt will ponder on the long flight back to the States. Maybe it was the fact that he was one of the last people he thought of or maybe it’s because he was a convicted felon, the closest degenerate scumbag to the degenerate scumbag that shot his daughter, but something in him snapped and he became fixated on Jeffery James Roberts.
The longer he sat there, the angrier he got. The acids in his stomach were boiling over, his eyes were no longer cold. They’re the eyes of a ravenous animal thirsty for blood.
As he rises from the ground, he feels the throbbing pain on the side of head, where cranium met bench. He begins purposefully walking out of the dressing room and into the corridor. Not a soul to be found. He walks past empty tables, garbage cans, empty steel chairs. If there had been anyone around, he doubts he would have noticed.
Simon Sparrow, father (not Jatt Starr, legendary HOW wrestler and showman), makes a turn at the corner. There is a rusty piece of rebar in a garbage can as he passes it. He picks it up. The cold, rough edges in his hand.
He knows he is no killer. He wouldn’t want to kill Jeffrey James Roberts. Deep down he knows JJR had nothing to do with it. But he represents the person they did.
He just wants to cripple him.
He wants the satisfaction of taking a Babe Ruth sized swing and hearing the crack as the bones in Jeffrey James Roberts’s back break.
A right turn, he sees faceless staff members, people whom he will never see again.::::
JATT STARR: JEFFREY FUCKING ROBERTS!!!!
::::Instinctively, Simon Sparrow nails a maintenance room door with the rebar. The door is left with a violent divot. He continues down the hallway and after one more left turn, he sees them.
Madison, the Wabid Wabbit, and a couple of members of the medical personnel. Madison slowly back away and, as much as she feels sympathy for Jatt Starr, she needs to find Jace. The Wabid Wabbit approaches in a slow non-threatening manner, with his hands up as if to show he is unarmed.::::
WABID WABBIT: Jatt, Madison told us what happened.
JATT STARR: Get the fuck outta my way, Connie.
::::Simon Sparrow, no funny nicknames, points the rebar towards the Wabid Wabbit threateningly. The Wabid Wabbit, in his blue and black plaid suit, takes another innocent, careful step towards Jatt Starr, who, aside from the almost crazed look his eyes, almost looks normal.::::
WABID WABBIT: What do you plan on doing with that?
JATT STARR: Just gonna maim a murderous fuck.
WABID WABBIT: Who’s that? Mike Best? Jeffwey James Wobehts?
JATT STARR: How many murderous fucks we got in this place?!
WABID WABBIT: How’s Giwda doing?
::::Simon tilts his head to the side like a confused puppy. The Wabid Wabbit, being Jatt Starr’s AA sponsor, knows some methods on how to get to him. Focus on the problem, change the behavior. Unfortunately, this is new ::::
WABID WABBIT: Where is she? At a hospitaw? Which one?
::::Simon Sparrow, no goofball antics, starts darting his around, getting a sense of his surroundings. There is only one place to go to get to the parking garage where that orange jumpsuited shitbag is being loaded up and off to the nearest cell.::::
WABID WABBIT: You know whichever one it is you’re looking for, they’re not responsible.
JATT STARR: A werewolf eats your family, what? Does that mean all of the other werewolves are fucking pacifists? THEY’RE FUCKING ANIMALS!!!
::::Where the werewolf thing came from confused even him, but one thing rings true to Simon Sparrow, they are animals. But, right now, in this moment, a criminal is a fucking criminal. Someone has to pay. He has to make SOMEBODY pay. A killer is a killer, the Wabid Wabbit named Mike Best but it’s Jeffrey’ smug mug in his mind….the Wabid Wabbit is in his way. Isn’t the Wabbit supposed to be on his side?::::
WABID WABBIT: Gilda! Where is she? Do you know what hospital?
JATT STARR: No, no!!! Fuck you! You’re protecting him! That it?
::::Simon Sparrow brings the rebar over his head and lunges towards the Wabid Wabbit. The Wabid Wabbit sidesteps and all Simon connects with is concrete floor. The reverb shoots a brief yet intense pain in his hands which causes him to drop the rebar. The Wabid Wabbit lunges at Simon Sparrow and pins him against the wall.:::
JATT STARR: YOU FUCK!!! YOU FUCKING FUCK!!!
::::Simon Sparrow starts going for the Wabid Wabbit’s throat and eyes but the rubber mask protects the larger, younger, and stronger man. The Wabid Wabbit places a forearm right under Simon’s chin and he puts all of his weight against the Jattsylvanian Count. Simon Sparrow continues to fight and flail, like a rat in a trap, doing anything he can to escape.::::
WABID WABBIT: CAWM DOWN, JATT!!! CAWM THE FUCK DOWN!!!
JATT STARR: FUCK YOU!!! I’M GONNA FUCKING CRIPPLE THAT CONVICT PRICK!!!!
WABID WABBIT: NOT TODAY, JATT!!!! ANOTHAH TIME!!!
::::Suddenly, Simon no longer has the energy to fight it. His body starts to become limp. There is a group of onlookers surrounding the Wabid Wabbit and Simon Sparrow, some with their phones out. Jace and Madison are among the onlookers but they are not filming it.::::
WABID WABBIT: Anothah time, okay? ICONIC. You’ll get him at ICONIC.
::::The Wabid Wabbit is unsure if Jatt Starr will even be able to compete bt if he is, maybe his fury will have cooled off by then.
Simon Sparrow looks and appears to finally see the Wabid Wabbit in front of him. Maybe it’s the smiling white bunny mask or maybe it’s their history together, but his eyes begin welling up with tears and he begins to not just weep, but blubber.:::
JATT STARR: My little girl….
::::Simon Sparrow clutches the Wabid Wabbit’s suit jacket and drives his face into his chest. The emotional dam has been broken and Simon Sparrow’s eyes flood with tears and his nose runs.::::
JATT STARR: My little girl…..
::::The Wabid Wabbit hugs Simon Sparrow and upon release, Simon Sparrow slowly slides down to the floor as the most of the onlookers disperse. The Wabid Wabbit takes a seat next to him and begins loudly breathing inside his mask. He even lets out a chuckle.::::
WABID WABBIT: That was intense, huh?
::::The words travel in one ear and out the other. Thoughts are again running around inside his head….what happened? Who did this? Was he/she caught? What if Gilda doesn’t….? Simon feels the buzzing of his phone in his pocket, freeing him from the morbid hypothetical question.
There it is again, beckoning him like the Ghost of Christmas Future beckoning Ebenezer Scrooge to his gravestone. There is a part of him that just wants to wake up….this has to be a dream, right?
But it’s all too real.
Arrangements will need to be made. He needs to look at his phone. He pulls out his phone. Six missed calls – Four from “Gary”. He checks his messages. The messages do not instill him with any confidence.
“Daventry General Hospital – Daventry Island, Maine”.
The worry swells from his gut. Where is this place? What kind of medical facility is that? He thought she was filming in Canada somewhere.
He feels another anxiety coming on…..