::::SCENE: A quiet lowkey barbeque restaurant located three miles outside of Tombstone, Arizona called “The Devil’s Pitch Pork”. The establishment is rustic, looking like a hole in the wall in the middle of nowhere off Route 66 as if it had stood there for seventy-five years. It has street signs scattered about the interior. Ceiling fans slowly circulate the air above as Elvis Presley croons “Only Fools Rush In” from the strategically placed speakers. Simon Sparrow sits alone at a picnic table in the middle of the restaurant. His pulled pork sandwich and coleslaw was an eight out of ten in his estimation. The sauce had a more aggressive apple vinegar taste than he had expected. Plus, it did not pair well with his sarsaparilla.
Maybe he should have been adventurous and ordered the prickly pear iced tea.
Simon Sparrow wipes his mouth with the rough napkin which, texturally, had a certain sandpaper quality. He wonders if he took off some of his skin with how aggressively he was wiping his mouth.
The waitress returns with his change. Six dollars and eighty-two cents. Simon pulls back a dollar and leaves the rest for the waitress whose name was “Alice” or “Alana”. Something with an “AL”.
The HOW Hall of Famer places the dollar in his billfold and places it in the inside pocket of his black suede jacket with tan fringe. There is a faint sound of thunder forcing him to reconsider his fashion choice. He knows if this jacket gets soaked, he will spending the better part of the afternoon blotting and trying to absorb as much of the moisture with a towel as he can.
Looking back, he should have opted for the brown duster with the black collar. It was less flashy, but certainly a more practical choice when considering the elements.
However, an unfortunate experience involving a trench coat and a case of mistaken identity with a serial flasher had him wary of that option.
As Simon Sparrow is about to get up from the bench and makes his way towards the impending thunderstorm that is “a-brewing” outside, he is approached by a couple.
The man is older with an average build with a slight paunch, white hair hidden beneath a San Francisco 49ers cap, a light blue tropical shirt with various images of a teeny tiny man on a teeny tiny surfboard riding a wave, shorts, and hornrim glasses looking like a math teacher on vacation. The woman is a platinum blonde that looks to be about twenty-five years younger (although they could be the same age with several clues to plastic surgery including, but not limited to, very full lips, arched eyebrows, and unnaturally smooth skin) with a short bob style with her hair swooping to the right. Her tan looks as artificial as her buxom bosom as she may have a standing appointment at her local tanning salon. She is about six inches taller than the older gentleman and she sports yellow, black, and white striped high waisted pants and a pale orange top. There is a tattoo of a serpent coiled around her wrist to her elbow.
The man speaks in a slow, gentle, soothing tone.::::
MAN: Excuse me, but can we get a picture?
:::Of course, they are in town for “Dead or Alive”. Simon Sparrow looks at the man and then looks at the woman (when looking at her, he has to make an effort to look at her face as opposed to the double D’s she’s a-rocking that are seemingly about to bust out of her top). He looks back at the man and the expectant and hopeful look in his eyes. Of course, in the back of his mind he knows that next to witnessing Simon Sparrow winning the ICON Championship, meeting the Rembrandt of Wrestling and getting a photograph for prosperity might be a highlight of their trip.::::
SIMON SPARROW: Yeah, why not?
MAN: Thank you. You have no idea what this means to us.
::::The man hands Simon Sparrow his phone as the sounds of Elvis Presley are replaced by Carrie Underwood singing “Inside Your Heaven”..::::
SIMON SPARROW: What’s this?
MAN: It’s incredibly user friendly. Just point it and tap that white circle on—-
SIMON SPARROW: I know how to use a smartphone, partner. I thought you were….
WOMAN: Oh my Gawd. You thought we wanted a photo with….
:::The woman speaks in a nasally irritating way like Fran Dreschler as “The Nanny” with a less prominent New York accent. She looks away from Simon and towards the man.::::
WOMAN: He thought we wanted a photo with him.
MAN: I am so embarrassed right now.
WOMAN: Remember what we say….
MAN: Say what….
MAN/WOMAN (in unison): ….you mean.
MAN: I know. I was completely taken aback that he took it the wrong way.
SIMON SPARROW: You know I’m still here, right?
::::The man and woman turn towards Simon Sparrow. They both tilt their head in, what Simon perceives, as pity, the way they would seeing a wounded baby raccoon hobbling across a desolate street.::::
MAN: I’m sorry.
WOMAN: We’re sorry.
MAN: We just got married.
MAN: It’s our honeymoon.
WOMAN: I wanted to get married by Elvis.
:::The Woman turns to the Man, the Man turns to the Woman, they look at each other like they each found their soulmate. Simon Sparrow imagines a world where it would be socially acceptable to open his mouth, stick his finger down his gullet, and vomit all over this sweet and tender moment.::::
MAN: I have those sunglasses in the Winnebago.
::::The Man proceeds to shimmy his hips in an awkward attempt to emulate the King which elicits a chuckle from the Woman and playful slap to his shoulder.::::
WOMAN: Stanley! Stop it.
SIMON SPARROW: I, uh, really don’t care.
::::Their moment burst like a bubble as they once again turn their attention back to Simon Sparrow.::::
STANLEY: Sorry. If I may, Stanley and Wendy Hemingway.
WENDY: Like the author.
SIMON SPARROW: Thank you.
WENDY: I gotta powder my nose, be right back, sweetie.
::::Simon Sparrow cannot help but to roll his eyes as Wendy kisses Stanley on the cheek and strut away towards the nearest server to ask directions to the ladies room. Stanley proceeds to take a seat across from Simon much to his unvoiced dismay.::::
SIMON SPARROW: What’re you doing?
STANLEY: Taking a load off.
SIMON SPARROW: Uh-huh.
STANLEY: Sarsaparilla, huh? I could never stomach the taste of licorice.
SIMON SPARROW: Yeah, sucks to be you.
STANLEY: There is no need for that tone. I’m just trying to be friendly.
SIMON SPARROW: Well, you did interrupt me during my lunch with your stripper-wife.
STANLEY: That, sir, is my wife you are offending. I will have you know that she is not an exotic dancer. She is the manager of a grocery store outside of San Jose.
::::Simon looks at Stanley whose eyes shoot fire arrows at him. A twinge of guilt begins to develop in the pit of his stomach. Or the coleslaw was bad.:::::
SIMON SPARROW: I apologize. I’m just—I’m having a crisis which-which-which was compounded by the fact that I thought maybe you were one of my fans that wanted to get a picture with me.
STANLEY: We are fans of all people. And when Wendy gets back we can get a picture.
SIMON SPARROW: I don’t—I don’t need a fucking pity photo op, thank you very much.
STANLEY: What seems to be the matter?
SIMON SPARROW: It’s a long story.
STANLEY: Hey, I’m retired. I’ve got nothing but time.
SIMON SPARROW: Well, I assume you haven’t heard the name “Simon Sparrow” before.
STANLEY: I have not. Should I assume that is your name?
SIMON SPARROW: It is. And I am a professional wrestler.
STANLEY: I’m more of a football fan, myself. Go Niners.
SIMON SPARROW: Yeah, anyway, I have this show coming up, a huge match against the son of someone that could be perceived as a massive douchenozzle….because, let’s face it, he is one. His grandfather runs the company and he’s just a fucking tool. There’s just a lot of moving parts to this match. It’s for the ICON Championship. The fact that they aren’t even promoting “Simon Sparrow” as the challenger, they’re promoting “Jatt Starr”—-
STANLEY: <gasp> You know Jatt Starr?
SIMON SPARROW: I am Jatt Starr. Or used to be.
STANLEY: I’ve heard of him. So I guess I have heard of you.
SIMON SPARROW: Yeah, um, that’s not the—
STANLEY: My nephew, Henry, was a huge fan of yours. But that was about fifteen, sixteen years ago.
SIMON SPARROW: Yeah, that’s not helping.
STANLEY: I got him a t-shirt. If I remember correctly, it was something Jattlantic or Jattlantia…
SIMON SPARROW: It was probably “Ruler of Jattlantis”.
STANLEY: You would know more than me. Continue.
SIMON SPARROW: Right so, ICON Championship, they’re using my old nom de plum to hype—
STANLEY: It’s nom de plume.
SIMON SPARROW: Can I just….
STANLEY: Go on.
SIMON SPARROW: Aside from this being a title match and the whole name thing, there’s this underlying history that I have with his father from nearly twelve years ago. It’s something that I’ve mentioned in the past, this vile, disgusting act of mutilation to my then wife which caused some issues. People expect me to bring that up like this my revenge tour, but it’s been twelve years.
STANLEY: Well, say no more, Wendy and I have our own checkered histories. I would be happy to, with Wendy’s permission, have an open discussion about that. I would not want to make any assumptions, it’s not my place to share her story.
SIMON SPARROW: I really don’t think that’s necessary. This match shouldn’t be about personal animosity between myself and Michael. Sure, whatever residual anger I have about “Rumble at the Rock Three”, I can use it. But that might as well have happened in Ancient Greece, it happened so long ago. No, it should be about respect. He was basically handed a championship, yeah, it’s arguable whether or not earned it being one of the last two men standing in “War Games” but does he really deserve it? Don’t get me wrong, his father is an asshole, and Tyler treats him like shit, deservedly so. That entitled little dropped out of wrestling school, if I remember correctly. And yet, there’s this feeling beneath the surface, this feeling like there’s some unresolved issues, but, really, I thought it was behind me.
STANLEY: Well, that—-
SIMON SPARROW: It’s these little things that are festering in my brain, living in there, rent free, keeping me up at night. Like the FUCKING name! After everything I’ve done, every degradation I have suffered in the name of the Best Alliance, at the very least-the VERY least, I have earned the right to compete in this match as Simon Sparrow. I shouldn’t be a fucking monkey to be trotted out. I can just hear Lee mumbling to himself “Go on Jatt, say all those little nicknames of yours, each one is a t-shirt opportunity and more money in my pockets. Dance, monkey! Dance for me! Or I’ll stab you in the eye, numnuts!”. It’s like I can’t escape it. It-It-It’s like they want me to be that-that shiteating jerk off. I do not want to be that guy. I fucking hate that I can’t escape it! Sorry, I’m just rambling.
::::Stanley looks at Simon with genuine concern, as if he were consoling a member of his own family.::::
STANLEY: Clearly, you have a few issues to work out. No judgment here.
::::Wendy has returned and slaps Stanley in the ass so hard the chefs in the back must have heard it. Simon Sparrow’s server who was wiping down a table even looked up in their direction.::::
STANLEY: OH! Not in public, my love.
WENDY: You know I can’t help myself.
SIMON SPARROW: Your, uh, husband tells me you’re not a stripper.
WENDY: Fuck you! I’m no stripper! I got big boobs and you think I work a pole for dollar bills? There’s only one pole I work and it belongs to—-
SIMON SPARROW: Nope! I don’t—! You don’t have to finish that sentence!
STANLEY (to Wendy): A minor faux pas. I believe he meant it as a compliment. At least, I hope that was his intention.
SIMON SPARROW: No! Yeah! It’s just you two seem so incompati…uh….you know, not in each other’s…league.
STANLEY: And yet, we found each other. We are each the puzzle piece that completes the other.
WENDY: He sees me. He really sees me.
SIMON SPARROW: Are you for real?
WENDY (to Stanley): He doesn’t understand.
STANLEY (to Wendy): How could he?
WENDY (to Stanley): Should we…?
STANLEY (to Wendy): It might help him.
WENDY (to Stanley): You think?
STANLEY (to Wendy): Only if you want to.
WENDY (to Simon): We met in rehab.
SIMON SPARROW: Drugs?
SIMON SPARROW: Rock n Roll?
::::Stanley and Wendy give each other a perplexed look as Simon Sparrow smirks, hoping there would have been a chuckle at his little joke. There was not.::::
SIMON SPARROW: You were saying you met a Sex Rehab.
::::Looking at the short, average (or slightly average looking) gentleman he becomes as perplexed by the notion that this guy was a sexoholic as they were of his joke. Wendy, on the other, she certainly looked the part.:::::
SIMON SPARROW: You.
STANLEY: I understand. I’m no Alan Thicke. But after my wife was murdered, I couldn’t cope. There were days where I was just numb to the world. I would find ways to feel something, anything. It started with alcohol and then sex. I slept with men, women, men who I thought were women, tall people, little people, skinny, fat, morbidly obese, beautiful, ugly, coeds, elderly widows, prostitutes (and none of them looked like Julia Roberts), you name it. Eventually, my son, he convinced me to go to rehab and that’s where I met the love of my life.
WENDY: That was five years, eight months, and twenty-two days ago.
SIMON SPARROW: That sounds all well and—-
WENDY: See each other.
STANLEY: She doesn’t see me as someone who had a threesome with a bearded lady and contortionist.
WENDY: He doesn’t see me as some slut that blew twenty fraternity brothers in one night.
STANLEY: We have both done things we aren’t proud of.
WENDY: We know about each other’s worst moments.
STANLEY: And it strengthened our connection.
SIMON SPARROW: This is becoming very uncomfortable for me.
STANLEY: We all have regrets. We all make mistakes. (to Wendy) He is having a crisis of identity. People want him to be who he was, which was a real…
SIMON SPARROW: Prick.
STANLEY: …and he feels like no one acknowledges the person he is because they prefer the prick version of him.
WENDY: It sounds like you need to remove yourself from that environment.
STANLEY: It sounds incredibly toxic.
WENDY: So toxic.
SIMON SPARROW: I can’t just up and quit. Especially now, with so much on the line.
STANLEY: Then fuck’em. Let them think what they want to think.
WENDY: The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.
STANLEY: So true.
::::Stanley and Wendy resume gazing into each other’s eyes. The discomfort and the awkward feeling of becoming a third wheel becomes more and more palpable. Simon Sparrow downs the last of his sarsaparilla and gets up. It is then he sees how short Stanley is. Simon has a half a foot on him.::::
SIMON SPARROW: Well, this has been quite the introduction. I wish you both luck and a long, happy marriage. Happy trails and all of that.
::::Simon Sparrow saunters off without giving the newlyweds an opportunity to speak. The HOW Hall of Famer most certainly did not wish to take their photograph. Just dealing with them was mentally taxing. Although, they did make a valid point.
Who Jatt Starr is….
That is not their decision. Lee Best, Michael Best, Tyler Best, and all the rest of them. They don’t get to dictate on who Jatt Starr is.
That is up to Simon Fucking Sparrow.
If Simon really wanted to, he could legally change his name to Jatt Starr and dedicate his life to helping oil soaked penguins in the Caribbean. Or maybe just quit the HOW as Simon Sparrow and debut two weeks later in PRIME or MVW as Jatt Starr.
And doing so with the ICON Championship around his waist?
Reality sets in as he knows that Lee Best would do everything in his power to prevent that from happening.
Tyler is a weasel and Lee, who will literally die at “Dead or Alive”, might put some safeguards in place to prevent a Simon Sparrow victory.
It wouldn’t hurt to make a call or two.