:::SCENE: Sunday. 1:48 AM. The cool wind is swirling on the roof of the Best Arena. The stars are in full view. Jatt Starr, still sporting his red HOW Hall o Fame polo shirt, white pants, and black sneakers, is stargazing. His normally parted blonde hair, after being subjected to the wind for the past thirty-two minutes, has become an homage to the Flock of Seagulls.
Losses hurt. They always do. After being unable to kick out from Brian Hollywood’s Danger Zone, that stung. It stung with disappointment. Jatt Starr successfully defended his ICON Championship twice against Brian Hollywood in 2015. Gilda Starr, his own flesh and blood, someone with not even a tenth of the experience of the Baron of Boca Jatton, beat him just a couple of months ago.
Simon Loveless. The Egg Bandits. Kevin Capone. Conor Fuse. All fell to the Ruler of Jattlantis. Granted, Kevin Capone is as useless as a remote without batteries. But the others? Lightyears ahead of Brian Hollywood. Especially Conor Fuse.
He should have beaten Hollywood.
It was that disappointment that fueled his rage afterwards.
But the King of Grapple from the Big Apple knows the truth. It was “them”. It wasn’t until after the match was over and he, Sektor, and Steve Solex (resident psycho Magnum P.I.) laid waste to Brian Hollywood and that other guy, he realized the truth. Something he had long since suspected.
The door to the roof squeaks open and a shadowy figure emerges from within the Best Arena. John Sektor, co-owner of StarrSek Industries, approaches the Thane of Starrkarth.::::
SEKTOR: What the fuck are you doing up here?
JATT STARR: Hey John. I was expecting you….
::::Jatt Starr pulls out his smart phone from his pocket. The light from his phone illuminates his face a pale blue.::::
JATT STARR: Twenty minutes ago.
SEKTOR: Blame Hugo. He had the squirts. He was in the bathroom for fucking forever.
JATT STARR: I knew I should have sent a text.
SEKTOR: Why the hell am I up here?
::::The thoughts that have been going through the Sultan of SeaJattle’s mind over the past couple of days are crazy. He knows it’s crazy. He tried to ignore them but the end result in his match earlier in the evening has made him reconsider everything. Now, he can’t not think about it. When someone with anxieties and a handful of compulsive disorders, such as Jatt, gets a thought in his head, it festers. A seed of thought can grow to the size of a redwood tree in a matter of moments. Thoughts such as these cause him anxiousness and insomnia. Sometimes, it is something as simple as whether or not he locked the shed door. If he doesn’t act right away, it consumes him, then it’s the only thought he has. He has to get out of bed and put on his black velvet robe, put on his Minion slippers (they’re both Bob, of course), grab a flashlight, walk outside, go the shed housing the entrance to his apocalypse bunker, and check that he put the padlock on the door. But that’s not enough. His mind then goes to “What if the lock is broken or defective?”, so he has to tug on the cold, smooth lock to ensure it’s still effective.
And then sometimes, he gets lost in Skyrim. Feeling the need to complete the next quest, fight Alduin, seek out the cultists on Solstheim. The cure for that is clearly a tough love kick to the head.
But these past few days? It’s been something else.::::
JATT STARR: I should have won tonight, John. Brian Hollywood bested me tonight. Brian Freakin’ Hollywood! The guy is a walking horse fart! And he beat me!!! It’s like the New York Jets blowing out the Kansas City Chiefs!
SEKTOR: Fuck that. You lost a battle, Jatt. We’re winning the fucking war and we ARE taking those tag team championships from those two pendejos.
JATT STARR: How am I going to beat Lindsay Troy if I can’t even take down a cumberworld like Brian Hollywood? How can WE win the tag team championships, if you can’t count on me in a clutch situation?
SEKTOR: I know, I know. Bro, all you need to do is have a drink or five, get piss assed drunk, and wake up tomorrow ready to fight again. WE set the standard for everyone else!
JATT STARR: Do you believe gods exist? And I’m not talking about the Almighty God or Christianity. I’m talking about gods, plural. Like Greek mythology. Poseidon was the god of the sea. Hades was the god of the underworld. Aphrodite was the goddess of love. Norse mythology had Odin, Loki, and that dude Idris Elba played in Thor. The Mormons have whatever they have.
SEKTOR: Have you been drinking?
JATT STARR: No.
SEKTOR: Then, what the actual fuck are you talking about?
JATT STARR: Max visited me in my dreams.
SEKTOR: Sounds more like a nightmare, mi amigo.
JATT STARR: He’s been telling me about…
:::The Jattinum Standard leans over towards the Gold Standard who is standing approximately six feet away from him and whispers.::::
JATT STARR: …..”them”.
SEKTOR: “Them”? Who “them”? Hollywood and—-
JATT STARR: “Them”. Those that control it all.
SEKTOR: The Illuminati?
JATT STARR: No.
SEKTOR: The Skull and Bones Society?
::::Jatt Starr begins nervously and frustratedly pacing, choosing to ignore the intense pain radiating in his leg. He begins groaning as if he is constipated.::::
JATT STARR: No!
SEKTOR: Then who?
JATT STARR: The HOW gods.
::::Jatt Starr blurts those words out like a bad teacher condescendingly correcting a student who got an obvious answer wrong in class. John Sektor stands there, looking at Jatt Starr in silence, his expression unchanging. Finally, he brings his hand to face and begins stroking his marvelous moustache. There’s the faint sounds of the city streets — sirens, car horns, gun shots (or fireworks going off) filling the continuing silence.::::
JATT STARR: Well….?
SEKTOR: The “HOW gods”?
JATT STARR: Yeah.
::::Sektor continues to stare at Jatt Starr, continuing to stroke his ‘stache. The Ruler of Jattlantis looks at him expectantly. Waiting for a response. Jatt Starr opens his mouth as if to ask or even demand a response from his best friend but Sektor holds up a finger.:::
SEKTOR: I’m thinking.
JATT STARR: About?
SEKTOR: Whether or not you’re just fucking with me or if you are being serious.
JATT STARR: I’m as serious as a Bill Belichick press conference.
SEKTOR: Max is fucking dead. You probably feel some kind of way about it and it’s coming through in your dreams. Shit, if it were Max, you’d be the LAST fucking person he’d want to visit. And, HOW gods??? Did Hollywood scramble your brain with that kick?
:::Jatt Starr lets out a resigned sigh. He feels like he’s been kicked in the gut. A large part of him knew that Sektor wouldn’t believe him. But there was hope. That sliver of hope you get when you buy a lottery ticket that maybe, just maybe, this is a big winner.::::
JATT STARR: My brain is fine. The signs have been there. It took Max’s death to truly open my eyes to the truth.
SEKTOR: You need to get your head on straight.
JATT STARR: Who’s to say that I am wrong?
SEKTOR: Sane people.
JATT STARR: Hear me out, John.
:::Sektor has heard those words from Jatt Starr many times over the past few weeks. Whether it is Jatt explaining my parmesan garlic is superior to the standard buffalo wing or how Hawaiian pizza is not a real pizza or how the moon landing was faked by Stanley Kubrick to prevent the Russians from getting their first in the world’s eyes.:::::
SEKTOR: Do I need to sit down?
JATT STARR: If you want to.
::::Sektor looks to his left and looks to his right. There is nowhere to sit other than on the roof. Sektor says to himself “Nope”. Never underestimate the locations where Bobby Dean or Mike Best may or may not have performed acts of depravity. He opts to stand and he crosses his arms against his chest.::::
SEKTOR: I’m waiting.
JATT STARR: Lee Best is not a “god”. He’s just a man. If he were a god, he sure as heck wouldn’t be blinder than Mister Magoo right now. But there are gods in the HOW. They are unforgiving, brutal, vengeful gods who smite the blasphemers.
SEKTOR: Are you suggesting the Best Arena was built on an ancient burial ground?
JATT STARR: Is it??? That would make so much sense!
SEKTOR: I don’t fucking know!
JATT STARR: You brought it up!
SEKTOR: I was thinking you were going to say something like that.
JATT STARR: Well, I wasn’t.
SEKTOR: My mistake.
JATT STARR: What was I saying?
SEKTOR: Lee Best is not—
JATT STARR: Right. Whether he knows it or not, Lee is just an instrument the HOW gods use to punish those that are deemed unworthy. If he were a god, he would be immune to the wrath of the true HOW gods. They used Kostoff to punish Lee because, well, you can’t bestow the title of “god” on yourself without pissing off actual deities.
:::Jatt Starr’s eyes begin darting and his pacing intensifies as he continues on, as Sektor just listens with skepticism.::::
JATT STARR: My loss last week to the Pauly Shore of the HOW, as horrible and pathetic as it was, had absolutely nothing to do with talent.
SEKTOR: I can agree with that.
JATT STARR: I angered the gods. They were chastising me for my lack of conviction. Look at Mike Best. Why is he successful? It’s not because he’s Lee Best’s devil spawn. It’s because his life IS the HOW. At Rumble at the Rock, he curried even more favor from the HOW gods by sacrificing Max Kael, his adopted brother.
SEKTOR: You honestly think Mike Best’s intention was to sacrifice Max and not feed his own bloodthirsty tendencies?
JATT STARR: It doesn’t matter what his intentions were, it’s the perception of the gods that matters. The fact is, he killed Max and, in doing so, knowingly or not, he has appeased the HOW gods. And Max, who had willingly given his life for the HOW, has transcended this, what do you call it, corporal realm and has become the Messenger of the HOW gods.
SEKTOR: I need a fucking drink.
JATT STARR: John! In order to be successful in the HOW, you must give yourself over to the HOW gods. That was my mistake and the mistake of countless others. I got married and had a child. They were my focus. So, the HOW gods willed Mike Best and the Best Alliance to punish me by breaking my leg and arm, forcing me to watch as Mike Best drove that fountain pen into my wife’s eye. You were there! You saw it!
SEKTOR: That was Mike and—-
JATT STARR: No, I thought it was Mike! See, I came back before I was ready. I was obsessed with avenging my family. I failed……miserably. I failed because, again, I was doing it for my family. The end result? My wife took Anakin and left me. She completely eviscerated me in the divorce AND made off with quite the settlement from the HOW legal team. Without me, she flourished, and still is as far as I know, whilst I was stuck in the past, unable to let go for the longest time. Fast Forward to now. Gilda came into my life. A life that, let’s be honest here, had zero purpose. She gave me purpose, John. But, I was drawn back into the HOW because I thought I was helping her channel her rage.
:::The Starrabian Knight stares up at the stars for a moment. Remembering Gilda, he begins to feel choked up with emotion.::::
JATT STARR: She became my reason for being. I thought I was helping her. No, I did help her. We helped each other….
::::Sektor looks naturally uncomfortable, a normal feeling when involved in a conversation with an emotional Jatt Starr. Jatt sniffs and clears his throat.::::
JATT STARR: The truth is, the gods did not want Gilda Ockelman, they wanted me in the ring. Now, I’m not saying “they” caused her to leave. But leave she did. Knowing what I know now, it’s probably for the best. Get as far away from this place as possible.
JATT STARR: And I stepped in. I was able to show that I am still the Ruler of Jattlantis. My job was to eliminate the obsolete fodder from the HOW. I was undefeated. Until tonight when the gods decided to impose their will on me.
SEKTOR: Alright, look, I’m not saying I’m buying into this whole “god” thing but I’ll humor you. Why now? Why, all of a sudden, did these “HOW gods” decide to have Brian Hollywood “beat” you tonight?
JATT STARR: Elsa Bannister, of course.
SEKTOR: Oh for fuck’s sake! That bitch again???
JATT STARR: Elsa, in that skintight Julie Newmar leather Catwoman outfit. The way she looked at me. Our conversation was real, it wasn’t forced. I felt a connection with her. I felt that she could fill a void.
SEKTOR: I think you just wanted to fill her void, if you get my meaning.
:::The Savior of Starrkham glares at Sektor, as if he crossed a line between friends. The thought that Sektor would interpret what he was looking for with Elsa Bannister as something seedy, burns his up inside.:::
JATT STARR: Don’t be filthy about it.
SEKTOR: Sorry. I was just busting your ball.
::::Jatt Starr produces a sarcastic half-smile knowing Sektor’s sense of comedic timing and comedic style can come off as dubious even if it is as the expense of Jatt Starr and his singular testicle. But it is Sektor…and dammit, Jatt can’t be mad at him. It’s just not in him to hold a grudge against his bestest friend in the entire world. He chooses to continue. He begins to struggle getting the words out. Accepting that you must do something that you don’t really want to do….what your compulsions say you must do….is difficult, especially when vocalizing it. Showing vulnerability can be a weakness. But Sektor won’t judge him for that and Jatt knows it.::::
JATT STARR: You see, they knew I would continue to go back to that diner in hopes of seeing her again and have some eighties rom-com moment. Something Tom Hanks-ian. She was distracting me from their purpose for me. Don’t you get it? If you have anything in your life, anything of value, they will take it from you until all you have is the HOW. They took Chloe from you—
SEKTOR: Don’t you dare bring her into—
JATT STARR: They took Sutler from Shane. They rewarded Max by giving them to him. They’ve rewarded Mike, a freaking limp dicked cokehead, with otherworldly powers! But we made the mistake of having something to care about outside the HOW. And right now, I got nothing, John. There’s nothing in my life. This is all I’ve got. And I am not going to end up obsolete nobodies like Chris CK, Professor Keller, or Michael Norcia. I am also NOT going to be looked at as some falled, broken down hasbeen clinging to past glory like Scott Stevens. Clinging to the past is preventing me from moving forward. And I am positive as poop not going to suffer another humiliating loss to Brian Hollywood! This brings us to why I summoned you here.
SEKTOR: Jatt, hombre, no one—
JATT STARR: I requested your presence here tonight to be a witness, John.
::::The Jattlantic City Idol slowly makes his way towards the edge of the roof. His breathing becomes heavier, the anxiety builds in the pit of stomach like a child anticipating the arrival of Santa Claus.:::
JATT STARR: When Max appeared to me, he told me to “come on down” and that I must give myself to the HOW gods and only then will I be deemed worthy enough to be considered their Champion and Emissary and if not, I will be cursed with soul crushing defeats and ultimately stoned by crazed fans armed with a lifetime supply of turtle wax.
SEKTOR: I don’t believe this.
JATT STARR: Granted, he sounded exactly like Rod Roddy when he said it, but the content is what is important. So, with you as my witness, I am no longer looking in the past. I am letting it all go. I hereby renounce Lee Best as the one God of HOW! He is no god but merely a simple, but incredibly rich man! I humbly ask that you, the nameless HOW gods, allow me the honor of being thine champion!!!
::::Sektor cannot help but roll his eyes as if the Starr-celona Icon had just told him about his collection of candy canes which are all in “mint” condition for the twelfth time. Sektor continues to look on as the HOW Classic looks up into the night sky with his arms outstretched like a four year preparing to catch a football for the first time.::::
SEKTOR (to himself): Dios mio, could you be more dramatic….
JATT STARR: I, Jatt Starr, giveth myself to thy bidding!
SEKTOR: Is that it? Are we done now?
JATT STARR: Not quite. Max said that was just the first step. The second, and most critical step. “By taking a leap of faith, the old gods will protect you and guide you to the prosperity that you seek.”
SEKTOR: What the fuck is that supposed to mean?
JATT STARR: It’s obvious.
::::The Mayor of ManJattan walks over to the edge and next to the railing. He turns to the Gold Standard and leans against the railing. Sektor narrows his eyes for a moment, piecing together what this whole scenario is about.::::
SEKTOR: What the fuck are you doing?
JATT STARR: It’s okay.
SEKTOR: Don’t do this, Jatt.
JATT STARR: If I’m right, I will become the Emissary of the HOW gods. And WE will become HOW Tag Team Champions.
SEKTOR: If you’re wrong, you’re a pile of human sausage in front of the building! Get down!
:::The Ruler of Jattlantis puts his foot on the railing and turns to Sektor who is showing uncharacteristic and genuine concern for his partner. Sektor extends his right arm and slowly walks towards Jatt Starr. Jatt Starr turns towards Sektor, one leg over the railing, holding onto the icy, steel railing with his hand.::::
JATT STARR: I’m fine. I’m doing this for us. Trust….
::::The Hero of Jattlanta makes the mistake of looking down. Unfortunately, it is not well known that Jatt Starr does suffer from a slight case of acrophobia. When he looks down he happens to see a couple of teeny, tiny figures walking under the street lamps as a red hatchback drives by the front entrance of the Best Arena. A strong gust of wind hits the Jattsylvanian Count. Suddenly, Jatt Starr feels an intense wave of dizziness. The world is spinning out of control.::::
JATT STARR: Actually, John, I don’t think this is a good….
::::Jatt Starr’s arm gives out and slips off the rail.::::
::::Sektor desperately lunges forward as Jatt Starr’s eyes roll into the back of his head, his leg gives out and falls forward over the railing. Sektor freezes as the Jattinum Standard disappears out of his view…….plummeting to the ground.
Sektor is never one to panic. In fact, he doesn’t even know what that word means. But he experiences a feeling that is unknown to him. It’s a type of fear. Fear for the concern of Jatt Starr, his (and he does not ever want to admit this aloud) friend. He trepidatiously moves towards the railing, as if he were a coed slowly walking down the staircase to the basement after finding the dismembered bodies of her boyfriend (usually a jock) and her best friend (usually blonde and promiscuous) in the bathroom.::::
SEKTOR: Fuck me. What the fuck did you do, Jatt? What the fuckity-fuck did you do?
::::Suddenly, he hears a combination of pained coughing and laughter. Sektor immediately begins fumbling around his pockets for his phone. He retrieves it and activates the flashlight setting.::::
::::A wave of relief comes crashing down onto Sektor as he runs over to the railing, he peers over the edge, and shines the flashlight down the side of the building. The light reveals Jatt Starr laying on his stomach, bleeding from his mouth. Upon falling over the railing, Jatt Starr landed about three stories down, face first into a suspended scaffold was being used by union window washers earlier in the day.:::
SEKTOR: HOLY SHIT!!!!
::::The Thane of Starrkarth rolls onto his back, pain radiating from his leg and sternum, coughing and laughing. Each cough and each moment of laughter causing intense agony in his abdomen. Jatt Starr gasps again for breath, the wind knocked out of him, his lungs feeling like clogged pipes. With each cough, spatters of blood spout from his mouth and drizzle down onto his face and shirt. And yet, he smiles..::::
SEKTOR: Stay right there! Don’t fucking move!
JATT STARR: John!!!! Max was RIGHT!!!! HE WAS RIGHT!!!!
::::After another chuckle, he stops, and takes slow deep breaths. Jatt Starr continues smiling as looks up at the stars. There is a sharp, throbbing pain in his jaw, the metallic taste of blood in his mouth. He presses one of his back molars with his tongue and pushes a loose tooth caused by the fall, dislodging it further.:::
JATT STARR: Humbuggery.
::::Jatt Starr has a brief moment of fear that he will need to go to a dentist but it subsides quickly. The gods of the HOW have found him worthy. Jatt Starr’s normally overactive mind and compulsivity is quieted. He lays there, at peace. He stares up at the twinkling little stars in the sky and, as a red shooting star flies past in the night sky (it could be a UFO, Area 51 and Roswell are real after all), he thinks he hears a voice. Faint, as if carried by the wind. It was the voice of Max Kael (not Don Pardo) saying “Well done”. The HOW gods will reward his unwavering loyalty. The HOW gods will protect him. More importantly, there is no one that will protect Brian Hollywood and…..that other guy. END SCENE::::