::::SCENE: On a warm Saturday night evening (or technically early, early Sunday morning) in Chicago, Illinois, one Jatt Starr finds himself in the basement of Saint Maximilian Kolbe Church, the home of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm to 2:00 am, nestled four miles from the Best Arena.
For the Ruler of Jattlantis is has been an emotional day. As he sits on the uncomfortable metal folding chairs, smelling the odors of stale coffee and cigarettes lingering in the air, ignoring Gary the Alcoholic droning on and on about taking a moral inventory, Jatt Starr reflects on what can only be described as an odd, emotional roller coaster of a day.
As Gary, a good looking man with facial features that look like they were chiseled out of stone, continues on, those fighting addiction in the seats (there’s nine of them present including Gary) look on, nodding their heads, one woman is crying. Jatt Starr looks almost concussed as he stares at the BINGO board that must have been on the wall since the mid-eighties.
The news that the Best Alliance had been dissolved hit him hard. It felt like a betrayal. He felt rejected.
The HOW Hall of Fame Salads sold only eight salads tonight – Three of them were the JPD, four were the El Nutso, and one Chico Chickpea. Wabid Wabbit was right, opening a restaurant is a risky venture especially with a short turn around and limited marketing.
Conor Fuse is the HOW Champion. The thought of that pipsqueak holding the greatest of prizes in the wrestling industry makes his skin crawl and stomach turn. The fact that Blaire Moise and HOW production cut away from the Mayor of ManJattan infuriates him. As he thinks back on that moment, he feels his stomach churning, his stomach acids tearing a hole in his stomach, the ulcers beginning to form.
They cut away from the greatest name in the HOW to Conor Fuse.
And then there’s the Mike Best factor. Jatt Starr has even mentioned in one or two of these meetings in the past how he remembers that gleeful glint in Mike Best’s eye the moment he plunged that bottomline pen into Bethany’s eye. But that is old news. That is the old Jatt.
Alea, his lover and sponsor, tells him that addiction feeds on negativity. She can be a bit much with her constant worrying of falling down that rabbit hole of addiction, but she is someone he can count on. She has every reason to be a shitty person with her background. The Wabid Wabbit too.
That’s why the Wabid Wabbit is around. Connie is a reminder of Alea. He is the one that steers him from his demons and insecurities by promoting a positive outlook, whether it’s steering a conversation away from something potentially damaging or just being a workout buddy. Funny, he doesn’t know what Connie looks like without that flipping rabbit mask.
Gary, the early thirtysomething has decided to sit down. Those around him clap, snapping the Champion of Jattanooga out his trance. Jatt Starr joins in with the clapping, in his case, it looks more like a sarcastic golf clap than anything else.
Jan, who is in her late fifties with long, curly gray hair, giant bottle cap eyeglasses, and looks like she does her clothes shopping in a third rate Goodwill stands up, wearing a long flowery dress as if she were reliving her hippie days and ratty cream sweater. She claps and speaks in a high pitch voice as if she were auditioning to voice a cartoon mouse.::::
JAN: Thank you, Gary. Remember everyone, each is a struggle. We cannot allow other people around to dictate—
::::Jatt Starr rolls his eyes. He can’t listen to this voice. It will just get him angrier and angrier. Like he is going to take the advice of someone who talks like they are perpetually sucking helium.
No, his thoughts are about himself and his transformation. Fuck Sektor and his betrayal. Fuck Mike Best and the nepotism he receives. Fuck Lee for eighty-sixing the Best Alliance. Fuck ReeseMart for just fucking existing. And yeah….::::
JATT STARR: FUCK CONOR FUSE!
::::Jan stops midsentence, her mouth open and eyes darting in confusion as the seven people sitting down turn and look towards the Saviour of Starrkham. Why are they looking at him, he wonders. Did he say that last part out loud? In a church? He looks around almost as confused as Jan.:::::
JATT STARR: What?
JAN: Do you have something to share?
JATT STARR: I don’t think….
TATTOOED AA MEMBER: Who’s Conor Fuse and why should he be fucked?
::::Fuck. He did say it alound and now he’s being questioned by a large, bald muscular man who has blue stars tattooed on his forehead and a chicken eating a drumstick on his shoulder who is sporting a black sleeveless t-shirt and black jeans.::::
JATT STARR: Look, it’s nothing.
JAN: You know what I say, nothing is never nothing in here. It’s always something and it’s usually always something that needs to be shared.
::::Yeah, Jatt Starr dislikes Jan. He has never met her before in his life, but it is safe to say, he does not like her at all. The Sovereign of Starrgentina runs his hands through his blonde hair, resting both hands on the back of his neck, which still has some residual soreness from “War Games”, a dull throbbing pain that comes and goes. He came to the meeting to share. But there is something more than sharing that he wants to do.
Tonight, he was informed that Conor Fuse’s first HOW Title defense would be against the Ruler of Jattlantis. When Connie told him that, Jatt Starr laid a big smackeroo right on that rubbery rabbit mask of his. But the elation of the opportunity dissipated and the bitterness returned. Just the fact that Conor Fuse IS the champion sticks in his craw.
But now is as good a time as any to get up and share.
The Earl of GlouStarr stands up and looks at Jan, Gary, and the other former drunks and addicts in the “audience” who had nothing better to do on a Saturday night (technically Sunday morning). He clears his throat.:::::
JATT STARR: Simon. Alco—-No. Hi, I’m Jatt and I’m an Alcoholic.
ALL: Hi Jatt!
THIRTYISH YEAR OLD WOMAN IN AA: Hey! You’re Jatt Starr!
JATT STARR: Great deduction, Holmes. What was your first clue?
:::The full figured thirty year old wearing less clothes and more makeup than five dollar whore slightly slinks back, the pride she took in calling out Jatt Starr’s identity has been replaced by the red face of embarrassment. Jatt Starr feels nothing for her. She’s just another “normie”.::::
JAN: Jatt! This is a non-judgmental safe space. Remember, we are here to support one another.
JATT STARR: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
JAN: I think you should apologize to Natasha.
JATT STARR: It’s bad enough I have to make amends to people, but I don’t need to say I’m sorry when someone says something stup—obvious.
:::The Hero of Jattlanta catches himself and refrains from having to hear the dog whistle pitch of Jan’s fingernails-on-the-chalkboard voice. But he knows if he does not suck it up and offer some form of apology to this normal person, Jan is going to lecture him. Better to placate her than listen to her. He looks over at Natasha.::::
JATT STARR: Look, I apologize, okay? I shouldn’t have said anything, I should have kept it to myself, alright?
::::The Starrabian Knight turns to Jan but then turns back to Natasha who is smiling at him, exposing her coffee and nicotine stained teeth. Hasn’t she heard of teeth whitening strips?::::
JATT STARR: Let it be stated for the record, this apology by no means indicates that we are friends, acquaintances, or even remotely connected in any way outside these four walls. I have zero interest in even carrying on a conversation with you beyond this meeting. So, to reiterate, I am sorry.
::::Jatt Starr looks over at Jan’s disappointing gaze, who stares at him as if he just farted in front of the Queen of England.::::
JATT STARR: Now, if you don’t mind, may I continue?
:::Jan bows her head and extends her hand in a grandiose gesture to signify that the floor is his.::::
JATT STARR: An opportunity has presented itself to me….and I’m scared. And angry.
::::The King of Jatten Island felt his voice quiver slightly as he spoke. Exposing any sort of vulnerability to these yokels makes him feel uneasy. It is a necessary evil, however.:::::
JATT STARR: I don’t know. Am I angry because I’m scared? Or am I scared of how angry I am? As Natalie over there deduced, I am a pretty big deal and I have a chance to become the HOW Champion. You ask “Who is Conor Fuse”? He’s the champ.
::::He looks over at Jan, Natasha, Gary, the Tattooed Man, the elderly man in the cardigan with the combover, the young lady in her twenties (but looks like she is in her forties), the fat guy in the White Sox t-shirt, and the Latino man wearing a Guns and Roses t-shirt. They each look at him.::::
JATT STARR: I can’t help but worry about it. I tried calling Alea, she’s this chick I’m banging that I met in one of these meetings. Not one fucking word, Jan. I am fully aware that dating someone from the program isn’t ideal. But sometimes you meet people and click. I won’t apologize for dating someone that has me believe that I can be the best version of myself. Unfortunately, she is promoting a book and is in Saskatoon for a book signing, her first, mind you, and it goes straight to voicemail. Sorry, I’m whaddyacallit….
WHITE SOX GUY: Going off track?
JATT STARR: Thank you. Yes. The point is, becoming the HOW Champion comes with pressure and anxiety. The pressure to perform at the level one hundred percent of the time. With pressure comes the anxiety and self-doubt. Am I truly the best? Or was it a fluke? Am I going to go into a title defense and completely shit bed leading to a Doozer HOW Championship reign? And as much as he has pissed me off by getting kneed in the face, shutting down the Best Alliance, and giving Mike Best a title shot, the fact that Lee Best himself has given me the opportunity because he trusts and believes in me as an individual, I can’t let him down. No matter how fucking angry at him right now.
::::The Jatti Master takes a breath and thoughts turn from Lee Best to another he does not want to let down: Alea. At what point did he realize that he actually cared about her? Was it the fact that his fitness instructor lover is now a published author? She is a big reason on why he looks as good as he does.::::
JATT STARR: There’s something else. The last time I squared off against Conor, I was still drinking, I was still poisoning my body with gallons of carbonated beverages containing high fructose corn syrup, I was eating chips, chili cheese dogs, and Snickers bars almost daily, I had toxic levels of trans fats in my body. Now? Look at me….
:::Jatt Starr removes his red and black plaid suit jacket exposing his “Undefeated Against Conor Fuse” t-shirt, which he lifts up exposing his abs. In his peripheral vision he can see Natalie staring at them like a piece of meat….and the thirty year old, just….staring. It’s unnerving seeing a woman staring, almost blankly….expressionless….at him. He pulls down his shirt and begins putting his suit jacket back on.::::
JATT STARR: The point is, I feel like I am in the best shape of my life! I am a damned Adonis. No, I am Jattdonis! What if I can’t beat him looking like this? Is it saying that all of that junk food and drinking was the secret of my success in dominating Conor Fuse? It’s been weighing on me for the past couple of hours. I’m not scared of losing. I’m just scared of losing to him.
:::The Thane of Starrkarth’s face goes from sincere worry to cold, hard, and malicious, as if he witnessed someone kick his puppy….if he had a puppy. Not that he ever would, they piss and shit all over the place and he just does not have the time to housebreak a dog.::::
JATT STARR: And he has the balls to cut me off to mock me by parading to the ring with that championship around his waist. Here I am, trying to better the world and those filthy, fucking slobs that pass for HOW fans by promoting healthy living and he disrupts me!
::::The disdain that the King of Jatten Island has for Conor Fuse is apparent on his face. He looks at the faces of the depressed visages of his co-Alcoholic Anonymous members. Every single of these plebeians massively fucked up their life in some way. At least one of them is only here, not because they want to, but because a court ordered them to. As much as he does not care for these people, he respects their commitment to their sobriety. But then there’s the so-called “Vintage”…::::
JATT STARR: I think it’s safe to say that none of us will be going out for coffee and if we see each other on the streets we can casually ignore each other. We’re “anonymous” for a reason, right? But those of us who struggle with fighting with our addictions each and every day, we’re superior to everyone else. We know what it’s like to fight the urge for that next drink or that next fix. It’s that discipline and respect for the routine that has helped me achieve this kick ass bod.
:::The Ruler of Jattlantis sees Gary nodding in agreement.::::
JATT STARR: We are superior to those nincompoops who go out every Friday or Saturday and get fucking wasted. We are superior because we know where it can lead….a truckload of mistakes and baggage. And that’s why it pisses us the fuck off when we see people succumbing to their addictions and become successful.
GARY: Hell yeah! This guy gets it!
JATT STARR: Thanks Gary but I—-
GARY: Why should I get the shit clients while that brown nosing coke head, Bob Anderson gets the big money accounts just because he can take them out for a “good time”. It’s bullshit! You don’t need to snort coke off a stripper’s tits to land accounts! Fuck him!
JATT STARR: See? Gary gets it! We all have those Bob Andersons. My Bob Anderson is Conor Fuse. This little prick spends his freetime downing Hi-C, Kool-Aid, Mountain Dew and whatever else, munching on Cheetos, while playing video games. Make no mistake, video game addiction is real! His shitty diet combined with hours in front of a screen hopping up and down for mushrooms and coins and saving princesses has warped his fucking brain. Do you have any idea how badly I want to take a sharpened pencil and drive it into my ear, piercing my ear drum and swirl around into my brain every time I hear that fucking twit say “BOTS”?
::::Gary, the Tattooed Man, and the Thirty-something woman, perhaps subconsciously, look over at Jan, who sits, arms folded, stewing in her own negativity, staring daggers at Jatt Starr.::::
JATT STARR: He’s a ducking addict and he’s considered the best in the world? Fuck that! He might have beaten Sutler Kael….but he does NOT deserve to carry that belt! Is it wrong that after what we’ve been through, that we absolutely SHOULD feel entitled? What is that saying? “Wanting to be sober is easy, becoming and staying sober is hard”. Fuck yeah it’s hard with beer commercials and watching these fucking turds in the audience get wasted on empty calories while cheering for Conor “Fucking” Fuse!
GARY: They’re enabling him!
JATT STARR: Thanks Gary, but again, I don’t need your help. But you’re right, they enable each other.
::::Jatt Starr feels the rage inside of him erupting. Instead of doing jumping jacks or lunges, he just gives in to it.::::
JATT STARR: I AM JATT FUCKING STARR, DAMMIT!!! I AM A FUCKING LEGEND!!! THESE FUCKING FANS ARE FUCKING HALFWITS WHO SUPPORT THIS LITTLE FUCKING SHIT BIRD AND WHY??? HE LIKES FUCKING VIDEO GAMES????
::::The Starrcelona Icon proceeds to take a moment. As much of a relief as it was to release some pent up aggression, he knows he needs to calm down. He would hate to have to have another incident at one of these meetings like in Portland. But they were douchebags.::::
JATT STARR: I may despise you all on a superficially personal level because I am famous and you are all normal, regular people, therefore, inherently better than all you, but dammit we share something together and that cannot go unrewarded. When I hit “pause” on Conor Fuse’s career and take what I deserve, I will become your champion. The champion of those who want to change for the better. Those anonymous individuals who suck up their pride and walk that walk of shame when they make amends. Your reward will be knowing that while I cannot stand most of you, I am fighting for you. I will become your Higher Power. And of course…..WABID WABBIT!!!!
::::The Wabid Wabbit pushes open the doors and Anton’s portly frame waddles in carrying a box.::::
ANTON: Oh fuck! It smells like shame in here!
JATT STARR: Shut up, Anton.
JAN: I’m sorry, I just cannot sit back and allow this meeting to become a circus. I am putting—
NATASHA: Put a sock in it, Jan.
TATTOOED MAN: Yeah, looks like we’re gettin’ free shit.
::::Anton drops the box, opens it and starts tossing out t-shirts. This particular t-shirt is black and in gold lettering reads “JATT STARR: UNDEFEATED AGAINST CONOR FUSE 2 – 0”. Jatt Starr, however, goes full Oprah by yelling and pointing.::::
JATT STARR: That’s right! YOU get a t-shirt! And YOU get a t-shirt! YOU ALL GET A T-SHIRT!
::::As his co-alcoholic anonymous members smile and hold up the t-shirts to their bodies, for a moment, the Jattlantic City Idol’s anger and worry disappear faster than the Best Alliance. Although, Jan, whose t-shirt is lying on her shoulder where it landed from Anton’s toss, looks like she is about to explode in her own fit of rage and anger. Anton, who looks constipated, turns towards the Ruler of Jattlantis.::::
ANTON: This fucking place is so fucking depressing I fear I shant be able to get an erection for a week.
::::The Marquis of MadagaStarr looks at his cohort and shakes his head, unable to decide if he should lay a Smack Sparrow on him or just ignore it. He decides to ignore it. Alea is not a huge fan of violence outside of the ring….and by extension anywhere on the property of or around the arena.
Jatt Starr looks up at the Wabid Wabbit and gives him the nod. Without saying another word, the Ruler of Jattlantis slinks out of the bingo hall underneath the church followed by his associates. There is much to do, consider and plan. Tapes to review. Weights to lift. Miles to run. An entrance to plan…..
There is an air of cockiness to Jatt Starr’s gait.
Jatt Starr has a distinct advantage over Conor Fuse.
There is no Cheat Code to beat Jatt Starr.
Jatt Starr WILL be the HOW World Champion.
Besides, doesn’t “The Starrget Center” have a great ring to it? END SCENE.:::::