The question of the day.
From yours truly, the ever inquisitive, BDJ.
I’m in my vintage, 97red jumper, visiting my beautiful friend for the umpteenth time.
Usually I have a guy that tracks that type of statistical DATA for me, but apparently he’s too busy with pole dancing lessons.
Sorry for the inconvenience.
My T-shades sit atop the bridge of my nose in all their glory.
My hair? Still immaculate.
I look good.
Unlike Doozer’s mobility, there are some things time can’t touch.
Before we dive too deep, I’d like to point out that I’m NOT bragging about such facts when I remind you of them. It’s just, I don’t want to take the chance of Bobby waking up and seeing anything otherwise. The last thing WE need is for me to shock him back into a coma.
Ugly can do that.
What do you think happened to Damian Ryan after witnessing Woodson’s sober makeover?
Plus, if Bob ever thought his condition caused me to no longer care about my spectacular hair and judgemental sunglasses…
Well, he’d never recover from that.
That’s the story, anyway.
And Doozer says I only think about myself.
So, where were we? Oh, yeah. I look good.
Like, real good.
Bob, not so much. He does look better, though. Better than he did in the pre-taped update that aired a couple shows back. His complexion has returned to normal, now that the black and blues finally faded away. No bandages, either. Tough to tell about the swelling. Anyone who’s lost significant weight knows; extra chins are always the last thing to go.
So I’ve been told.
On that note, believe it or not, Bob has lost a ton of weight.
Turns out laying down and sleeping was the answer all along. That, and not eating any solid food for almost three weeks. For real though, Bobby’s drastic weight loss story is sure to lead a surge in housewives visiting the ICU for coma cleanses. Bravo will probably make a TV show about it.
The Coma Cleansers of Chicago Memorial.
Just remember who called it.
“No change.” The empty, void of emotion answer to my opening question comes from the only other conscious human in the room. The cold-hearted, blue scrub wearing nurse who has snatched the soul from my body for the who-knows-how-many-eth time.
Like I said before, my stats guy is on a pole.
“How about now?” I ask again, like an agitated child on a long car ride. And so what if I can’t help but ask how my best buddy’s doing every fifteen to thirty seconds?
I care, dammet.
Unfortunately I keep getting the same, lifeless answer.
Over, and over again.
Such is the way of Shang Tsung, the soul stealing nurse. Being straight with you, Shang’s real name is Greg. His area of expertise is being the guy who cleans up coma patients when they shit themselves. He and his colleagues call the duplicitous defecating, “dropping a Scotty.” Hand to Lee Best. You can go and check the Chicago Memorial nurse’s manual if you don’t believe me.
Poor Greg has really been put through the ringer since Bobby’s admission. He’s been with us since day one, and between my constant badgering and asking for an ashtray, and Bobby only being able to consume spoon-fed soft foods, like APPLESAUCE and other natural stool softeners…
Well, you can guess how the rest goes.
I’ll give you a hint. Bobby earned a nickname among the d.a.S. staff. They call him, The Mud Man.
“Cool.” I snidely quip to Greg, who failed to respond and is now taking his cold blooded heart elsewhere.
He didn’t appreciate the dart-shooting glare that accompanied my last comment.
Now it’s just me and Sleeping Beauty.
Hesitant, I drag my soulless carcass to the side of Bob’s bed. It’s only a few steps, but feels like a thousand. I stand over him, as if I were attending his wake. Sure enough my emotions overwhelm me, and an unfamiliar salty discharge begins to leak from my eyes.
“Bob, my greatest punishment in life has been to keep seeing you like this. Honestly, I don’t know what’s worse: being in the bed or having to see you in it?”
Life is a motherfucker with which only COOL Reality could compete.
I, also the dreamer, optimistically continue. “I’ll have to ask you when you wake up. So, just go on and do that, okay. Please?” I hate groveling so much I would typically never, but waiting so long to see those eyes open has weakened my defenses. “Wake up, Bobby. It’s time. You need to wake up. Greg is tired of cleaning up your mud. The OctaBandits miss you. Even The Blamer. And most importantly, you need to formally introduce yourself to Zeb.”
There’s only so many conversations a young man can have with a beautiful oil painting.
I perk up, reach out, and grab Bob’s hand. “That’s right, Bob. We’re bringing him in like we told you about. You should hear him, too. Such a big fan of yours. So excited to be a Bandit and run amok by your side. He can’t wait to meet you. So, you need to wake up, my beautiful prince. Pretty please?” My head drops so low the shades almost fall off. “I don’t care who, or what you are when you do. I don’t care if you only speak French and pee sitting down. I’ll buy you the finest baguettes. Just wake up. We can deal with it. You just need to wake up. We need you.”
The saltwater leaking from my eyes intensifies,
“I need you.”
Here it comes again.
Close your shower curtains.
The guilt is back.
So much so, I squeeze Bob’s hand hard enough to drain the courage out of him. “I can’t help but think back to that night. How it started… with us three drawing down on each other… and then me just being a total fuck. I’m sorry, Bobby. I truly am. I should have never done that. That moment will steal sleep from me until you’re back.”
That felt good.
But not great.
And that’s because it’s not the worst part.
A deep breath.
I hold it for seconds that feel like centuries.
Then, I exhale the shame harbored within my lungs. “And then… I’d be lying to ya if I said I wasn’t a bitter bitch when you got the chance to go out there and make the Bandits proud. I wanted that Main Event. I wanted to challenge for the ICON Title for the first time in my life. I wanted to color Mike’s face yellow and ruin his appreciation month. But, it wasn’t meant to be. You got it. You, my fellow brother of the yolk. And instead of being over the moon, and being there for you when you needed me the most, I wasn’t.”
The release is real.
He better remember this.
But… I’m still not there.
I’m not at peace.
Because there’s more to my coward’s tale.
Aside from telling it to a man in a coma.
I close my eyes, and watch the events unfold in my mind. “I didn’t leave before the match started, Bob. I was so jilted, I sat there and actually wanted to watch Mike win. I know. Big Dick doesn’t adequately describe me. I’m a top tier motherfucking asshole. Saying it outloud makes me want to cut out my own tongue.”
Good thing I need it to keep spilling the beans.
Lucky, blasphemous me.
“So there I was, Bob. Still dressed in my wrestling gear like a fucking clown, madder than a hatter because jealousy is a hell of a drug, getting ready to cheer for…” I shudder at the thought. “And then you go out there and proceed to mop the mat with him.”
The boulder in my throat is quite uncomfortable.
But I’m here.
So let’s keep going.
“I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. So, I broke your trust, Bob. I shit on what it means to be a Bandit. I grabbed my basket of rotten eggs, and left. I pulled a Doozer, just on a far greater scale.”
No surprises there.
“And when I did… well, it wasn’t long after that you wound up here. Like this.”
Ain’t that a bitch.
T-shades floating, I solemnly finish. “I’m so, so, so, SO sorry, Bobby. It’s all my fault. I should have been there, and I wasn’t. I just hope you can forgive me one day.”
Back to the jungle, monkey.
Good fucking riddance, too.
I’ve been holding that in for a bit.
But I’m still not finished.
“You don’t have to believe me. I won’t blame you one bit. That’s not my shtick.” I almost made myself smile with that one. “BUT, I promise you I am going to do everything in my power to make it up to you. All you need to do is wake up, Bob.”
Completely spent, I fall to my quaking knees. “Come back to me, my beautiful prince. Open those eyes once more, so that I may rid myself of this final burden.”
Desperate, my plea is real. “I beg of you, my friend. Please. Wake up.”
After a few seconds of miserable silence, I hear a voice. “Pick yourself up, would ya. Christ.”
My heart stops. I slowly turn my head, and spot Doozer standing in the doorway. “How long have you…” I begin to ask. He just smiles. The type of smile that signals there’s no need to finish the question.
My head sinks.
“Don’t worry. I HATE seeing him like this, too.” The Dooze calmly says before walking over and placing his hand on my shoulder.
I haven’t felt supported by the old man like this since we won High Octane’s Tag Titles at last year’s War Games.
And it makes me happy.
I stand up, dust myself off, and snort. I need to feel tough with Dooze here, and I imagine that’s what Dan Ryan would do in this situation. “Hey. That reminds me, Dooze. I have somewhere I need to be. Text me if anything changes. I’ll be back later. We need to think up a game plan for Woodson.”
The Dooze nods in silent approval.
I confidently exit.
The House NGW Built
The lights are on.
The camera is rolling.
The COOLEST theme since the day it was born plays like elevator music in the background.
Trust me, I know COOL.
There’s a luscious, six dollar fern next to an unoccupied, 97red loveseat. A gigantic flat screen TV hangs on the back wall. If it were measured in terms of dick length, it would check in at about six and half Jiles’. It’s got a HOW logo bouncing across its black screen that clocks in at roughly one and half Jiles’.
Eat your fucking heart out, Stryker.
And of course there’s me, The Emperor of the Undercard. I casually stroll on to the set and take my seat. It goes without saying, but my hair and shades are still on point. However, the starch in my jumper is starting to run out.
So not all good news.
I lean forward in my chair, and speak as if I’m addressing an old friend. “Hey, Scotty. It is your boy, Cancer Jiles, bro. Surprise. Surprise. Surprise.”
“Cut the music.”
Same for Screamin Jay.
“I want to tell you how flattered I was that you decided to try and engage in some sort of gamesmanship prior to our match. It was impressive, Scooty Wooty, like the various ways you can dismantle an opponent with a hockey stick. To further address your intriguing commentary, I look forward to seeing the rapid decline of whoever the five star prospect is that you’ve managed to beerwash this time around.”
Yes. I am referring to myself as one of the not mentioned, other timers. Some might not know. Others might have forgotten. I know first hand how it works with Woodson. He’s a regular Quagmire in this regard. A post match beer turns into a two year time warp. Simple, yet effective.
Just like him.
“Enough surmising about the unknown. I’d rather talk about things we do know. And one thing I know is you got your wish after all, huh buddy old pal? Play the tape.”
The 6 1/2 Jiles TV behind The Maestro flashes to previously aired, but mostly forgotten footage from Refueled 21. The clip is of Scottywood and the rest of the HATErs. In short, we see a brazen Scotty incoherently calling out the Bandits; challenging any one of them to a match.
Bouncing HOW logo.
And then back to a very smitten me. “It might have taken a while, but fate eventually heard your call, Scoots. And now that it has, and we’re set to waltz down memory lane, I can’t help but feel a nip nostalgic. Because of that, I’m going to do for you what no one outside of your hateful, little clique would. Unlike your War Games opposition last year, and most of your foes since, I will treat you as a serious threat. One I should not, and will not, take lightly.”
I laugh, which turns into me clearing my throat. Normally, I’d spit what came up freely in any direction of my choosing, but this time something’s different. Instead, I pull a tissue out of my pant pocket, ball it up, and throw it as far as I can. Then I attempt to spit on it from about five feet away.
Nobody is perfect.
“I’m serious, despite whatever facial expressions and spit takes might have, and will continue to, occur… Scoots, I know the challenges you present. I know I’m going to need a car to put you down. I know I’m going to bleed, because you never learned to play nice with others. I know you’ve earned the title of Hardcore Artisan, not to mention a spot in the High Octane Hall of Fame. I know just how difficult it will be to defeat you.”
I nod in gracious appreciation of Mr. Woodson’s artistic expression.
“Go ahead. Pinch yourself. I can wait.”
One, one thousand.
“That’s right. Someone who doesn’t share a part of your name is actually talking about you in a threatening, positive light. Heck. I’m a generous man. I’ll give you another moment to soak it all in.”
A hearty thumbs up.
Followed by another pause.
I’m a man of my word.
“Now, buddy-old-pal-slash-former-friend-of-mine, I know you’re incapable of doing the same for me. One, I don’t have the accolades. And two, the gears don’t turn that way on your clock. It’s okay. I understand. However, I don’t want you to feel obligated in any way to repay the… debt, for the lack of a better word. You already got it covered.”
Should have gone with favor, but it’s too late now.
“In order to better understand what I mean, I suggest you liken my sincere gesture to me getting you a gift. Perhaps a nice necklace, or vat of an expensive IPA.” I smile. The devious kind. Almost made it. “That way, and I say this knowing full well you’re one of the Hardcorest of High Octane’s prize whores, we will be even after I make you MY bitch on Saturday night.”
Pimp hand stay strong.
Upbeat, I break the good news. “Luckily for you Scoots, the Maestro’s bitches don’t give gifts. No, they give me their backs. So don’t you worry, like I said, you already have it covered.”
Now that’s a COOL reality.
I told Dooze I’d be back.
Visiting hours stop at 9.
He probably thought I’d catch up with him later. That I wasn’t going to make it in time. That he would be alone…
“Get yourself together, would ya. For Zeus sake.” That’s me from the doorway. Dooze is buckled over on Bobby’s bed hugging the beautiful Bandit like a makeshift flotation device in the middle of the ocean. After realizing he’s not moving, I gladly strut over to pick him up. Literally and figuratively. “There, there, old bear. It’s going to be okay.”
The dick kick.
As soon as I get Doozer upright, he refuses to even look at me. The old, stubborn ox is afraid to show the eldest calf his soft side. Finally, I get the attention of those blue eyes. The electricity is gone. Instead, they’re glossed over and bloodshot. And not the fun kind of glossed over and bloodshot, either.
It’s like seeing your father break down in tears over the death of his favorite dog.
Just before we both collapse into each other’s arms, he chokes out a statement I will never forget:
“We should have been there.”
“Uh, awl catch up wit ya’ll.”
That is Zeb. He picked me up from the studio. I wanted him to sit in on the match prep for Woodson. He was supposed to stay in the car and wait for us to come down, though. I guess Dooze and I got a little, hung up.
Men cry all the time.