:::::SCENE: WGNO News Reporter Genevieve Bruno is standing in front of the Bear Enclosure (a temporary exhibit on loan from Poland). Genevieve Bruno had been working for the eighth best news team in Altoona for the last six years. Hers has been a road consisting of covering pie contests, parades, and Hammy the Hamster (whose claim to fame is the being an all brown hamster with a white marking that resembles Martha Washington). Today is different. Mike Jones called in sick with a flu. That is good news for Genevieve because today, it is her turn. Her turn for real news.
As the red light comes on from the camera, she flashes her perfectly pearly white, perfectly straight teeth across her perfectly made up, symmetrical face. She has been practicing this moment for the last twenty minutes. The police are questioning the witnesses off the side, just enough in the frame. Behind her and to her left is the location of where tragedy nearly occurred. She hears Hank McElwary, the six o’clock news anchor, in her earpiece.::::
GENEVIEVE: Frank, earlier today, one young man, on a school field trip, came to the Altoona Zoo, and here, in the bear habitat, he nearly met a “grisly” end….
::::”Nailed it!” she thinks to herself.::::
GENEVIEVE: If not for the actions of one man. Professional wrestler, Jet Starr.
JATT STARR: Jatt. JATT Starr. J-A-T-T.
::::The man standing next to her invades her private space to lean into the microphone and correct her. She feels her face become flush with embarrassment. She is thankful for the layers of makeup. Jatt Starr is wearing a black and red checked suit and a white shirt. There are smudges of dirt and grime on his cheek, on his clothes, and in his hair. The stench wafting her way, she supposes that not all of that is dirt. She is a professional and she will not allow a little embarrassment and a strong odor of bear shit break her.::::
GENEVIEVE: Yes. Jatt, what happened?
::::Genevieve leans her head backwards, away from Jatt Starr’s as she extends the microphone towards his face.::::
JATT STARR: Oh! Man! It was crazy! This mentally disturbed kid was leaning over the barrier there. And I’m thinking, this kid is nuts. Insane in the membrane, if you catch my meaning. Anyway, he leans forward screaming something about Pokemon or maybe something about being neglected by his parents, I’m not a hundred percent, but he definitely said something and WELLLLLOOOOOOP…..
::::Jatt Starr makes a circular motion with his hands.::::
JATT STARR: Over the barrier he goes. Now, I’m thinking, this kid must be disturbed and possibly concussed because he is just babbling nonsense. So, I look over and everyone is standing around with stupid looks on their stupid faces, their mouths gaped open, like they were braindead zombies. Normally, this is a reaction people would get from watching a GREAT SCOTT match, but that is neither here nor there. Anyway, the bear, Joe-van Bear-gmanislav stood on it’s hind legs, maybe six feet from the fallen kid. Well, at that moment, the Ruler of Jattlantis did what any hero would do…..I hopped over the barrier and wrestled the bear to the ground. After kicking it into submission before carrying the kid back over the barrier.
JATT STARR: The bear’s name. I named it after Ivan Stanislav, some thirteen foot tall eighth rate Russian Communist wrestler with bedwetting issues and Joe Bergman, infamous hater of all animals. Joe Bergman sucks. But, when you are charging a bear that’s twelve feet tall if it’s a foot! With it’s claws out and you send it on a ride on the Starrlite Express, it does not matter what it’s name is. You take it down. You take it down like a mime covered in slime and that is no crime.
::::Genevieve is confused. And she is starting to get pissed off. This Jatt Starr character is beginning to hijack her moment. This is her moment….not his! She needs to bring the focus back to where it needs to be…on her….and the injured ten year old, of course.::::
JATT STARR: …something that not even Christopher America could accomplish? You know that’s right. Christopher America is the biggest embarrassment to the United States since Roseanne singing the National Anthem. No! Wait! Is that too dated? Can we edit it to the Cleveland Browns or New Coke. Geraldo and Al Capone’s Vault!
JATT STARR: The point is, Christopher America humiliated himself and the HOW when he lost to Ivan Stanislav. I just took down a twelve foot Russian bear who may or may not be a Communist bear. He should have been stripped of the HOW World Championship right then there and it should have been presented to a more honorable competitor. Like someone who took down a bear. A BEAR! A bear is thirteen times more dangerous than Ivan Stanislav. I would have slapped that Russian cumberstone back to Siberia where he can drink “wodka” and go looking for “nuclear wessels”.
::::Genevieve suddenly feels a chill down her spine. Her worst fear is about to be realized. She has lost control of this report. This man with a scar on his face and poop in his hair is upstaging her. She needs to regain control.:::::
GENEVIEVE: Did you speak to the child you saved?
JATT STARR: Hm? Oh! Yeah, no I did not. Last I heard he was delusional, talking to the EMS, talking all kinds of poppycock.
GENEVIEVE: Thank you. This is—-
JATT STARR: The time for us to discuss the crimes of Joe Bergman? Absolutely.
GENEVIEVE: —Genevieve Bruno live at the—-
JATT STARR: He eats children’s goldfish while they watch, he boils rabbits alive—
GENEVIEVE: —Altoona Zoo, I will have another report for you at the bottom of the hour, back to you Hank!
::::Genevieve flashes a smile as the doofus next to her continues to ramble on about Joe Bergstrom or whatever. The red light on the camera turns off and Spike, her cameraman, yells that they are clear. Genevieve lets out a giant sigh of relief as Jatt Starr continues to talk into the camera even though it is off and lowered. Genevieve proceeds to walk away, towards the teacher whose back was allegedly turned when the child fell over the railing.:::::
FORTY MINUTES EARLIER……
::::The Ruler of Jattlantis sits on the bench across from the Bear’s Den at the Altoona Zoo. He had intended to sit on the bench reading a newspaper, however, print is dead so he had been looking at the same free zoo map for the past eighteen minutes. If people were to take notice they would think he is some creepy stalker type or some complete moron that cannot read a map designed for first graders.
The sky is overcast. It had been misting earlier but that had subsided. Fifty-two degrees today. Warm in comparison to the last couple of days. Altoona. For Jatt Starr, this is a massive shithole. Only Great Falls, Montana and Cleveland, Ohio are bigger shitholes.
What brings him here today, maybe it is temporary insanity. The thought that Joe Bergman got the better of him and cost him his shot to move on the HOW World Championship tournament has really stuck in his craw. It elicits a certain level of anxiety and insomnia within the Ruler of Jattlantis not seen since Max Kael arrived to the HOW to usurp his spot and Lee Best’s admiration.
That Elf fearing bastard.
It was during one of these insomnia fueled nights that the Jattlantic City Idol found himself falling in an online rabbit hole. He cannot recall how he came to find that the Altoona Zoo was hosting a Kamchatka Bear from some Polish zoo in a city that he cannot even pronounce.
The Lethal Lottery was approaching. The thought popped in the Baron of Boca Jatton’s head that there is a distinct possibility that he could draw Christopher America. Joe Bergman robbed him of an opportunity but, as the fates would have it, the Lethal Lottery is making a return, and thus, another opportunity. An opportunity that the Marquis of MadagaStarr will not squander like a Darin Zion or a Clay Byrd.
In order to defeat Christopher America, the Hero of Jattlanta must get inside his head. How best to get inside his head? Do something that Christopher America was unable to do: Defeat a Russian monster. Since Baba Yaga and Koschei the Immortal have been extinguished by Clay Byrd during the Demonic Crusades of the Twenty-Teens, an eight to twelve foot bear would be close enough.
Perhaps if he was sleeping more than three hours a night, the Earl of GlouStarr might have changed his mind and come up with a less….perilous scheme. Instead, he made arrangements and now, he waits.
Waits for the opportunity to present itself.
A line of about fifteen children – sixth or seventh graders, the Starrabian Knight figures – being led by a teacher and three other adults (chaperones, no doubt) towards the bear habitat. Witnesses to the Great Bear Takedown of 2023. They will sing his praises.
The field trip stops in front of the habitat and one kid gives another kid a wedgie while all the adults’ backs were turned. Jatt Starr knows that kid is a massive dick. No time to get caught up in petty thoughts, he has a job to do.
As the Mayor of ManJattan begins walking towards the Bear’s Den, the Wedgier (i.e. the dick) begins leaning over the railing of the habitat, hocking loogies towards the bear. Jatt Starr assumes the kid must not be firing on all circuits between the ears.
The Champion of Jattanooga approaches the barrier and looks around as he does so. No one is looking. He will garner all of their attention within moments. He starts walking next to the barrier, looking around. He thinks to himself “Ah, fuck it….”
Jatt Starr pushes the bully over the barrier and continues walking. The bully begins screaming. The Jattvian Prince turns, drops his mouth open in overdramatic shock and places his hands on cheek. As the bully begins crying below him, the sound of the Kamchatka Bear is heard growling.::::
JATT STARR: A CHILD FELL INTO THE BEAR ENCLOSURE! OH NO! OHHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOO! OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
::::The bear is about thirty feet from the kid, who is on the ground, holding his head and crying. The other students, the chaperones, and the teachers look on. The Duke of Jattmandu looks at the bear who is clearly agitated and riled up.::::
TEACHER: SOMEONE DO SOMETHING!
JATT STARR: FEAR NOT, COWARDLY MASSES!
CHAPERONE #1: I’M COMING SH—-
JATT STARR: I’LL SAVE HIM!!!!
::::The second that ninnyhammer chaperone attempted to steal the Grand Warlord of Jatturn’s thunder, Jatt Starr has to accelerate his moment. The timing has to be on point. He just hopes that there is still time.
The Sultan of SeaJattle hops the barrier and hands on his feet before falling over into what can only be described as bear poop. Jatt Starr mutters obscenities under his breath as he gets to his feet. He looks up and notices all of the looky-loos’ eyes are squarely on him. He fights backs a satisfied little smirk as he begins charging towards the bear standing on it’s hind legs.
Jatt Starr charges the bear, hoping with everything he has, the timing on point. The Rembandt of Wrestling lunges as the bear’s leg buckles and spears it. Jatt Starr feels a shot of pain in his shoulder as he collides with the mighty beast (which might as well have been a brick wall). The bear drops down. Jatt Starr mounts the bear and grips it into a sleeper hold. The bear slowly fades. Jatt Starr, hair fussed up, dirt on his face, begins checking on the bear. The onlookers may assume he is checking for a pulse but, in fact, he is doing no such thing.
Jatt Starr approaches the whining kid. He begins claiming he was shoved into the den. The Starrson City Icon assures the dickish child that he fell in before picking the child up and lifting him up as his shoulder throbs with some unbearable (no pun intended) pain. The chaperones reach over and take the kid from him and he climbs up the barrier.
There were congratulations abound and Jatt Starr allows himself to smile ear-to-ear.
…..ONE HOUR EARLIER THAN THAT…..
::::The parking lot of the Altoona Zoo. Jatt Starr stands next to his rental 2022 Toyota Camry at the predetermined location. There is a sense of calm that he is feeling. He wonders if fhis were a year ago if he would be an anxious, nervous wreck, pacing back and forth and acting highly suspect.
The Ruler of Jattlantis had been waiting almost ten minutes for his contact who only wished to be called “Rex” (whether this gentleman was a fan of dinosaurs or “My Fair Lady”, he is uncertain).
A red Ford pickup travels down the parking aisle and stops in front of the King of Grapple from the Big Apple. The driver rolls down the window revealing a man in his fifties, a stubble on his face, and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth like he were Humphrey Bogart.::::
JATT STARR: Rex, I assume.
JATT STARR: You know what needs to be done?
REX: You got the money?
::::Jatt Starr reaches into his pocket and pulls out a thick envelope. One hundred and twenty Benjamins. A twelve thousand dollar job. The Savior of Starrkham hopes this experience is worth every penny. Rex reaches out of the truck and snatches the envelope and begins counting, once satisfied it is all there, Rex flashes a grin revealing his brown, tar covered smoker’s teeth.::::
REX: Just so’s there ain’t any misunderstandin’s and such, y’all want me to take down a bear.
JATT STARR: No, no! I don’t want the bear killed, just—-
REX: What you take me fer, Yank? Some kinda an-ee-mall sociopath? I done don’t kill an-ee-mals unless I’m fixin’ to grill’em.
:::Before responding to the berating from someone that Jatt Starr perceives has dropped out of the ninth grade to marry their cousin, Rex reaches over and reveals a vial of clear liquid.::::
REX: This right here’s what yer gettin’ aside from my own ex-par-teece. This here tranquilizer is dang near untraceable. Sold it to a feller up in New York City who done went on of them Sa-fair-ees in Africa and wanted to take down a lion. Ain’t sportin’, if’n ya ask me, but green’s green’n money’s money.
JATT STARR: And you’re sure it will work?
REX: You sassin’ me, boy?
JATT STARR: I would not dare “sass” you.
REX: Once it hits it’s target, in this case, the bear, that bear’s a-gonna be pitchin’ a might, if’n ya catch my drift. But then, within about thirty seconds, it’ll done get plum tuckered out right quick.
JATT STARR: You can hit it, right? I do not want to go in there and get mauled by this freaking thing just because you took a little too much moonshine and missed.
REX: You gonna be disrespectful? Fine, have a nice day, motherfucker.
JATT STARR: I’m sorry. There just cannot be any margin for error here.
REX: I picked off a buck at four hundred yards, I kin hit a bear in half that, I shit you not. You best make sure if’n you’re doin’ what you say you’re doin’ that you get that dart outta that there bear.
JATT STARR: I am not a complete imbecile. If there is any evidence that my take down of this bear is anything less than authentic, I am, in the words of the metal philosopher Bender, “boned”. The second it’s out I will grab the tranq, pocket it, and discreetly dispose of it.
REX: What’s the signal?
JATT STARR: Signal?
::::Rex lets out an exasperated sigh whilst shaking his head and looks down at the envelope in his lap.::::
REX: How in the sam hell am I supposed to know when to pull the trigger if there ain’t no Gaht-Dang signal?
JATT STARR: Oh….okay, what about the “Home Alone” face? You know….
::::The Thane of Starrkarth mimics the Kevin McAllister face, the mouth open wide, the hands on his cheeks.::::
JATT STARR: And maybe I will yell out a bit.
JATT STARR: Maybe an hour or so?
::::Rex rolls up the window and proceeds to speed off down the aisle. Jatt Starr, who was expecting a bit more of a conversation begins to shrug towards the vehicle. As the pickup turns the corner Jatt Starr begins to feel a twinge of doubt. Will this work? Is it even worth it? What are the chances that he would even draw Christopher America? What if, Lee forbid, it isn’t Jatt Starr that faces Christopher America, it’s someone else like Darin Zion or, if Joe Bergman is unsuccessful against Great Scott, him????? Jatt Starr knows Joe Bergman would find some way to cheat Jatt Starr out of his shot at the HOW World Championship a second time. Joe Bergman is evil personified, after all.
But then again, there is always that chance…..that little glimmer of hope….
Here is your winner and NEW HOW WORLD CHAMPION……
Music to his ears.::::