The computer screen illuminated Evan’s face with that unhealthy blue glow in the dimly lit library. It was late at night and Evan was intensely studying the screen with a furrowed brow. Scattered all around him were piles of open reference books, a handful of notepads with calculations scrawled on them and curious notes about chickens.
“This makes no sense.” He muttered. “It just doesn’t add up.”
He tapped away on the keyboard, entering figures and running calculations to try to solve the problem he was facing. His face said it all. He had been at this for hours, trying to make the figures add up, trying to make some sense of the data but was at a loss. He couldn’t understand it. The sums simply did not explain the result. He looked utterly defeated, a picture of pure disillusion. He looked over his shoulder to look for some help.
“Oi, you’re good with numbers and shit, right?” He called out. “Come over here and check this out. Try to make this add up.”
“Too fucking right, I’m good with fucking numbers.” Trent bellowed back from his seat at a table. He loved visiting the library, there was no end of papers to roll a joint with. “Fucking born numerical genius, me, they said I beat the fucking odds just being born.”
“What… No, that’s not what they…” Ward frowned as he trailed off. The urge to correct the seven foot tall idiot was strong but he resisted. “Just get your ass over here.”
Trent stomped on over, every step reverberating through the silent library. Some books fell from wobbly shelves as he strode past. Others fell from sturdy shelves. Trent really needed to walk more carefully.
“So what’s the fucking problem, dude?” Trent asked, dropping himself onto a chair next to Evan. He then picked himself up off the floor, kicked away the detritus and sat more gently down on the chair on the other side this time.
“I mean just look at this.” Evan pointed at the screen. “Right here”.
“Yeah?” Trent raised an eyebrow. “That’s a fucking nice pair of fucking pivots on that bitch.”
“Right? And check out these impressive curves on this one.” Evan swept a finger across the screen, following said curves.
“Ooo, fucking that’s hot shit.” Trent grinned. “I’d fucking lay that one out on the fucking table.”
“Yeah, man, I put all this data into the spreadsheet, got all these graphs and you can see it’s all correct, everything is right.” Ward explained, forgoing the double entendre to get on with the business at hand. “But, look down here, at the bottom.”
Trent frowned. “Well that’s fucking stupid. What the fuck, dude?”
“I know right!” Evan threw his hands up in despair. “I’ve been over it so many times and the equations just don’t add up!”
“How could it ever fucking work? Look at this shit…” Trent backhanded the monitor. Luckily it was an ancient CRT so it just wobbled, buzzed, and flickered for a moment. “I mean, that’s a thirty and that’s a fucking fifteen there ain’t it? But that, that’s fucking five and this one’s fucking zero. Naught. Nada. Jack fucking shit. How the fuck does minus four even fucking make sense compared to even that one?”
“That’s just what I can’t figure out. We all know that twenty one is correct, but you’d expect, like, the next one along to be twenty or nineteen, right?” Ward pointed at the screen as Trent nodded along rubbing his chin. “And even taking it down a tier, obviously ten should be up next.”
“Fucking obviously, there’s not fucking better choice, is there?” Trent agreed with a nod.
“But there’s also like these four other ones, they’re all single figures but they’re still actual positive values. At the very best it should be third tier, but even that’s a push. So, tell me, Trent, how does any of this shit make sense?”
“I don’t fucking know, dude. Those fucking numbers are such fucking bullshit.” Trent shook his head.
“Numbers don’t lie, Trent, and the numbers say Jatt is the least deserving of any title shot in the federation, let alone shots at both the LSD and World championships. What’s bullshit is being rewarded so richly for failure after failure like that.”
Evan dramatically slammed The Big Book Of Excel 4th Edition shut out of frustration. The sound echoed through the library in the silence of the night. He couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to the Alliance, to Lee Best. This wasn’t the brutal, efficient, feared Alliance he remembered going to war against back in the day and it saddened Evan enough that he felt he needed to voice a highly controversial opinion.
“Dude, Lee’s gone fucking soft.” He declared loud and clear.
Trent audibly gasped, the shock at those words permeating through his cycloptic face. “Duuude! You can’t fucking say that!”
“Why not?” Ward replied indignantly. “It’s the truth. Back in the day, if he demanded you decimate someone in the ring, he’d have ballpoint pen ready to stab an eye out if you only did half a job. Now he’s handing out participation trophies and title shots as consolation for shitting the bloody bed and completely, utterly failing in his duty to represent the Alliance with all the power and dominance it deserves. It’s pathetic. It’s fisher-price. If I were Lee I’d kick the entirety of the Final Alliance to the kerb and start afresh with dudes who’ll actually go out there and eat their opponents for breakfast.”
“Dude, we’ve fucking got to get you in to fucking see a dietician.” Trent said with a hint of concern in his voice. “Your fucking new eating habits ain’t fucking healthy, dude.”
“Does he actually expect Jatt to beat Fuse?” Ward asked. He ignored what Trent said but thought those big lobes of his would go nice as a steak topper. “Ain’t gonna happen, man. Jatt’ll just go in there, dick around, have an ear eaten and then lose, Fuses retains and Lee still gives Jatt the championship welcome. It’s sickening.”
“Dude, I fucking thought you were gonna fucking give the Final Alliance shit a rest and move the fuck on with, ya know…” Trent gestured vaguely, but lengthily, in the air around them. “Stuff.”
“I am, Trent, I really am. This isn’t about vengeance or getting back at them for shit they’ve pulled. It’s the artist formerly known as prince-apple of the whole thing. Jatt is there, an old many, past it in so many ways, barely able to make it down the ramp without bleeding everywhere, being gifted all these shots he’ll inevitably shit the bed at… He’s taking away opportunities from young up-and-coming competitors who have been working hard and really deserve the shots, dude!”
Trent rolled his eye. “Urgh, you’re hardly a fucking up-and-comer dude, and you’re far from fucking young.”
“Dude, I’m flattered you think I really deserve the shots Jatt is getting. It’s so touching to know you believe in me so much.” Ward put an honest hand on his egotistical heart. “It’s true, I’ve been working hard and right now I’m top of the division and so close to surpassing the LSD champion himself, the dude who barely lost against Mike and ended STRONK’s career. So many people would say that if anyone deserves an LSD title shot, more than anyone else in the company, it’s me, and that Lee Best is doing the roster, nay the entire HOW fanbase, a huge disservice by withholding the glorious match which would be Evan Ward taking on Connor Fuse for the LSD championship in a Table Ladders & Chairs match. But I’m not that big headed to ever suggest such a thing, but everyone’s saying it.”
“Riiiiggghhhttt….” Trent didn’t believe that last comment for a single moment. “Just like every cunt’s saying I’m the fucking handsomest dude in the fucking world.” Said the truly ugly man.
“No, dude, I’m talking about guys like that Drew Mitchell character.” Evan continued to ignore Trent’s disrespectful comments, but he made a mental note of it nonetheless. “The poor kid, he’s worked his bollocks off to make it up to the big leagues, out of whatever backwater gym he trained at, and has been trying his damnedest to make his mark on the company. A shot against Fuse for the LSD title would do wonders for his confidence. Sure, Fuse would literally run circles around him and make a mockery of the little brawler who could… but it would spur him on to learn some actual technique. It might make him think there’s more to wrestling than throwing a few punches, booting someone in the face and hoping they fall on your knees.”
Ward stood up all of a sudden, out his foot on the chair and hands on his hips, raising his head high and thrusting his chest out like he was making a huge declaration of importance.
“A title shot against Fuse would inspire Drew to not only develop his wrestling skills but also to develop an actual personality! He’d be psyched up to make his own way in this harsh world and speak for himself instead of coasting along behind some hag from Missouri whose personality is barely any more interesting than his own. Jatt is taking away Drew’s chance at growing beyond the forgettable Manc from XPro, whose only notable accolade is barely maintaining a winning record against Scott Stevens. Everyone knows XPro wrestlers are just jobbers for the rest of us-”
“Fuck you, I’m an XPro wrestler!” Trent complained, but it didn’t stop Ward’s flow.
“By taking these opportunities away from guys like Drew, Jatt is forcing him to keep that label and not be welcomed in as a fully fledged HOW wrestler in his own right! By god, I will fight for the voiceless roster members like Drew and make the whole world see exactly what Jatt being pushed with a silver spoon up his arse is doing to them! Where they could be given meaningful shit at greatness to feed their growth in this business they get stuck being fodder in meaningless matches against guys who’d sooner end their careers than give them an inspirational speech, all because of Jatt! ”
“Dude, don’t you have a fucking match against Drew on fucking Chaos?” Trent enquired poignantly.
“Exactly!” Ward exclaimed, kicking the chair away and slamming a fist on the desk. “I’m gonna cripple the bitch! Because of Jatt, Drew is having to face me instead of getting a shot at growing; he’s just going to end up with a broken arm and a missing ear. He’ll end up forgotten like Shane Reynold’s mysterious influencer cousin… seriously, what the fuck happened to that guy? I’m doing this all to help guys like Drew get the shots they truly deserve in this federation. I will leave Drew helpless, drowning in his own pain induced vomit as a protest against the mistreatment of the rookies in this federation! Why, Jatt? WHY? Why did you have to make me do this?!”
Evan stopped suddenly, spooked by a sound in the distance of the night in the empty library. It was the clattering of a door. “What’s that?” He whispered in a hushed voice.
The clattering was followed by what sounded like footsteps. “Fuck!” Trent whispered in a bellowing shout. “It fucking sounds like footsteps.” He could almost be a narrator.
“If anyone’s in here, come out!” A distant voice shouted. “I’m armed and authorised by the state of Nebraska to arrest any trespassers!”
“Fucking fuckity fuck!” Trent yelled. “It’s the fucking rozzers!”
“Quick, hit the music and leg it!” Ward yelled back. Trent hit a button on his phone and music started blasting out of a bluetooth speaker sewn into his jeans as they ran off towards the darkness of the library, in the opposite direction to the security guard.
The music in question was to the classic Kenny Loggins tune, covered by Trent’s thrash metal band Buried.
Writing your equations
Listen to her graph ‘n’ score
Number under tension
Beggin’ you to chart and go
LIBRARY FULL OF DANGER MATHS!
EXCEL TO THE DANGER MATHS!
Headings color twilight
Spreadsheets in the bin tonight
She got you embedding in a deck
Shovin’ into PowerPoint
LIBRARY FULL OF DANGER MATHS!
I’LL CALCULATE ALL OF THE DANGER MATHS!
The song faded out as they ran off away from the computer. By the time the security guard got there it was silent again. The guard looked at the absolute state of the room. It was despicable. He studied the computer screen, still displaying the complex calculations filling the spreadsheet. He sighed and picked up his radio.
“Bob, it’s all clear here. Probably a couple of kids playing Danger Math again. That damn TikTok has a lot to answer for. They were dumb enough to leave the computer logged. Tell the cops one of the perbs was some mook called Jatt Starr.”