“You put your whole heart into something. You have all these grand ideas and plans. You spend so many hours and a hundred times the effort to do it right. Everything is perfect, all the ducks are in a line and the pay off… that sweetly anticipated pay off, is just right around the corner.”
Evan Ward stood with his arms folded, gazing listlessly out across a lagoon. A serenely scenic little scene. Perfectly picturesque portrait of a lazily laid-back landscape. The exact sort of location a man would abuse a thesaurus to describe. He turned to the camera in a slow, dramatic sweep.
“And then someone has to go and fuck it up.” He said angrily, the tone of his voice clearly upset. “I was meant to die at Ward Games. It was meant to be my grand exit. My pièce de résistance, my chef-d’oeuvre, my salted-caramel magnum ice cream. But then the ineptitude of a single man, one would assume, buggered all of that up.That man failed to do the one, single job I indirectly gave him. Seriously, how difficult can it be to kill a guy with a death wish? This is HOW for christ’s sake. The home of the biggest psychopaths in wrestling, where people get maimed and murdered on live TV every couple of months. So let me ask you this…
“Why the fuck aren’t I dead?” Evan looked impatiently into the camera.”Well? I’m waiting.” He folded his arms again. “Yeah, that’s what I thought. I’m not dead because whoever it was who attempted to murder me in cold blood couldn’t even kill a polite conversation with an inappropriate joke! I’m surrounded by incompetent assholes… Speaking of such assholes, if that big bald bastard hasn’t fucked up then this video is airing to hype up my match against the aforementioned utterly useless ulcer of a wrestler at the next pay per view.
“It’s sure to be a stunning match, one for which I’ve given Trent full permission to take any measures necessary to prepare me for and put me under any sort of training regime to get me into shape to soundly defeat my opponent and get revenge for their abject failure trying to kill me. Come with me now, on a lyrical journey as I totally demolish my opponent’s mind and soul in preparation for destroying their body at INSERT PPV NAME HERE.”
Ward paused with a cocky glint in his eye after loudly shouting the placeholder for the pay per view name in a monotone voice. He was certain Trent would edit it out for him.
“You might be wondering how I can cut a promo on my opponent when I have no idea who I am facing. Well, let me tell you this, it’s just basic maths and probabilities. There are only 16 possible opponents, and of those 16 I can discount Carry, Zion, Fuse, Stevens and Scottywood from ever having the balls to try killing me. I know none of my team would ever, EVER have turned on me, especially not my best buddy Christopher America, who I am certain is beside me at this very moment, helping Trent prepare me for this match. None of the wild cards were worth a shit, whoever won that pre-show bout probably got eliminated the moment they stepped in the cage, they were such a pointless jobber who had no business being at Ward Games they didn’t even get to throw a punch.
“That just leaves 7 potential opponents.” Ward raised a hand with all 5 fingers ready to be counted up to 7. “From there, figuring out who to cut a promo on was simple. I just recorded 7 unique promos and trusted Trent to read the label properly. As a backup I also cut promos on the 9 other opponents. Simples.” Ward looked extremely self satisfied with how he had made a mockery of time and space to make sure he could cut a promo on a future opponent months down the line.
“Now, it’s time to suffer at the genius dissection of your very being, Clyd Byr-”
The footage suddenly cut away and we instead get to suffer through whatever nonsense Trent was doing because he most definitely did not read the label on the tape correctly.
The scene was now the twilight before dawn in the Australian outback. Like most of Australia, the scenery was more orange than the love child of a former US president and an oompa loompa which used an Essex girl as a surrogate. Judging by the wispy green foliage it inherited its hair from the oompa loompa. A fire was flickering with embers catching in the wind, highlighting the figures sitting around it in an ethereal glow.
Two aboriginal men stood nearby, watching with all the interest and confusion befitting the occasion.
“So what’s he doing?” One asked in his native tongue, leaning on a spear.
“He’s just sitting there.” Said the other, subtitled in English. “He hasn’t blinked since he arrived. He just stares into the fire.”
“He must be a powerful shaman.” The first nodded. “The wonders he must be seeing in the flames. What about the other one?”
“He demanded an audience with our shaman.” Explained the second. “He wants help healing the little one.”
“A great trauma befell him?” Asked the first.
“No, he fell on his head and caused the trauma.” Corrected the second.
“Oof.” The first cringed. “What’s that TV on the moving chair all about?”
“I guess he uses it to communicate.” Postulated the second.
“But why are we on it?” The first pointed with his spear. “Look, it is copying what we are doing right now.”
“Hmm.” Said the second, studying the picture before turning to look directly into the camera floating in the air behind them. “That drone must be filming us.”
The first nodded as the drone flew overhead towards the fire, leaving the two totally insignificant extras to be forgotten in a few minutes. The shaman sitting at the fire was covered in ashen paint in intricate designs full of symbolism which was lost on the guest sitting opposite him. His hair and excessively long beard were all matted and every bit as wild as his eyes. A large bone, sharpened at both ends to needle-like points pierced through his nose. If someone said the “aboriginal shaman” to you, an image fitting this man’s description would no doubt spring to mind, such stereotypical looks he had.
“You, shaman.” Grunted the giant of a man sitting across the fire from him, pointing at the native. “You heal friend. He big fight soon. He face strong warrior. He need be fixed.” It took all Trent’s efforts not to throw in his characteristic swearing, but he made sure to say “fuck” in his head 7 times for good luck.
The shaman frowned at him. “Eh, mate. That’s offensive, right?” The shaman said in a totally not stereotypical wildman accent, but a rather perfectly stereo-typical Australian accent. “I speak English just fine. Get that fucking grunting pidgin English outta here.”
“Oh thank fuck for that.” Trent breathed a sigh of relief. “Look, my mate here is in a bit of a fucking pickle. He’s got a fucking big match coming up against the dude who fucked him up real good. See, the cunt dropped the little dude on his fucking head, spiked it right into the fucking stage. He fucking knew Evan was nursing a fucking aneurysm and knew that would fucking make it go pop. It was attempted fucking murder, man, but luckily my fucking little buddy is a fighter. He fucking clung to life and has kept on fucking wrestling ever since.”
The shaman looked over at Evan, who was sitting in the Warchair and staring intently at the flames dancing in the fire. Despite what the earlier two aboriginals postulated, all Ward saw was flames and to be quite honest they were painful to look at for so long without blinking. If he could look away he absolutely would have.
“He wrestled like that?” The shaman said in disbelief. “You’ve gotta be kidding me, mate. He looks too many steaks short of a barbie to be wrestling.”
“A few too fucking many enchiladas short of a fucking Oppenheimer too.” Trent nodded to the shaman’s confusion. “I’ve been fucking helping him out where I fucking can, like, but dude’s gotta wrestler this fucking match without me, that fucking bitch faced dung weasel he’s facing got me fucking barred from ringside! Can you fucking believe that?”
“Mate, it can’t be good for him to fight in that condition.”
“People keep fucking saying that!” Trent protested, throwing his hands in the air in despair. “I’ve just been doing what any fucker would, helping the dude hit his moves and do his flippy shit.”
“You’ve been throwing him at his opponents, haven’t you, mate?” The shaman sighed.
“Exactly.” Trent grinned widely. “You fucking get it. But now I can’t fucking be there to help him I need to take drastic fucking measures. The fucking hospital tried giving him some fucked up drugs but that ain’t done shit so they suggested fucking electrotherapy… Well, just fucking look.”
Trent pulled a taser out of his pocket and jabbed it into Ward’s kidney. The wrestler involuntarily convulsed in the chair but otherwise showed no reaction. Trent stopped and Ward went back to staring into the fire. “Fucking see? It ain’t doing shit. Even this ain’t making a fucking difference.” Trent pulled out a second taser and jabbed both into Ward’s temples. With the exception of the smoke steaming from his ears, nothing changed. “See? Butt kiss.”
“It’s bupkes, mate.” The shaman threw some powder on the fire, causing it to flare up like a phoenix bursting out of its rotting carcass. No idea why he did that. He was probably just trying to be dramatic. “Your friend is so far gone and, to be honest, mate, I think you’re just making it worse. He needs serious help if he’s going to be ready to wrestle.”
“Exactly why I’m fucking here, dude.” Trent snapped his fingers. “Now you’re fucking getting it. So how about you work some of your fucking shamanic magic and fix him.”
“You know it’s not real magic, right, mate?” The shaman picked up a bowl from beside the fire. He poured in a clear, no doubt highly potent liquid then dropped in some shredded bark and began mashing it with what looked like a femur. “The bark of the Acacia tree is a powerful medicine, when combined with this moonshine I make, it can take you on a spiritual journey to unlock the depths of your mind. It’s also great for seasoning a rack of ribs. Let your friend drink this and his consciousness should find its way back to him.”
“Fucking sweet!” Trent said, reaching over the fire to take the bowl. “Fuck fuck fuck fuckity fucker cuntish twat.” He yelped as he patted out the fire on his arm hair.
The shaman shook his head and stood up to take the bowl over to Evan. He gently tilted Ward’s head back and poured the psychotropic paste down his gullet. Ward’s pupils widened and the corner of his mouth turned up the slightest, tiniest amount. Synapses sparked and neurons fired. If he was in an MRI machine the screen would be lighting up like a fireworks display to the 1812 Overture. Then it ended as Trent accidentally elbowed him in the side of the head really hard as he went to snatch the bowl from the shaman and that faintest glint of revitalised life disappeared from Evan’s eyes.
“The fuck is this shit, anyway?” Trent asked as he downed it. “Doesn’t look like it’s doing shit to Ward and it tastes like fucking arse.”
“It’s a strong hallucinogen, mate.” Said the shaman defensively. He sounded quite offended that Trent would insinuate his renowned medicine was impotent. “It’s like pure DMT.”
“Pfft, I’ve fucking had better.” Trent said dismissively. “Here, fucking try this shit.”
The big stoner pulled out a fat blunt. It was fat with a capital Ph, a capital Th, three capital F’s, a random lowercase L in the middle of them in a place you wouldn’t expect and a lisp with a lot of spit when it was said. It was the FPhFlThFatest blunt you could ever imagine, domed at the end and tapered down to a smoking end thicker than a chunky Cuban. It was also thicker than their cigars. Trent leant into the fire to light it and took a few deep puffs to get the bastard going before he offered it out to the shaman. “Here ya fucking go, dude.” Trent wheezed, eyes watering.
The shaman took it cautiously. The unimpressed look on his face betrayed his expectation of disappointment. Bloody foreigners coming over and thinking they’re hot shit with their substance abuse, he thought as he toked deeply, it’s always overcompensating with excess over sub- “Fuuuuuucccckkkiing hell, mate.” The shaman coughed and spluttered, staggering to sit down on the closest seat before he fell over. The closest seat happened to be Ward.
“Good shit, right?” Trent took the ridiculous joint back and puffed. “Fucking bitch getting that through customs, I’ll fucking tell you.”
“Mate, mate… mate.” The shaman began repeatedly. “Mate. I’ve tried everything the outback has to offer but that… that’s pure enlightenment. You’re right, my shit is shit, your shit is the fucking shit.”
“You’re fucking tell me.” Trent nodded as he handed the spliff back to the shaman, who looked like he was about to vomit already. “So, fucking, ya know, dude. That fucking Arcadeia crap the fucking best you can do? Come on, there must be some fucking bad ass shit you can give us to sort that fucking wimp in the wheelchair out.”
The shaman frowned, concentrating on taking big enough tokes to get a decent hit without being so big that he totally wiped out. “There is one thing, mate. It’s dangerous but it might just work.” The shaman passed the blunt back. “If you’re willing to take the risk, mate.”
Trent shrugged. “I don’t give a fuck. Ain’t me taking the risk, it’s that little fucker.”
“We should get his permission, mate.” Suggested the shaman, a hint of concern in his voice.
“You fucking watched the video.” Trent gestured at the old CRT TV strapped to the back of the Warchair, accidentally knocking a stack of ash the size of a hockey puck off the end of the joint, all over Ward’s head. “Dude said any fucking means necessary. If they ain’t fucking permission I don’t fucking know what is.”
“Well, I mean, a signed legal waiver would be good.” The shaman admitted.
“The fuck would you need a fucking contract for?” Trent said through a raised eyebrow.
“We’re not savages, mate.” The shaman reached into his very long beard and pulled out a rolled up parchment he had somehow hidden in there. The parchment looked surprisingly leathery. Trent thought he could see a belly button on it. “We just need to get him to sign this then it’ll be great, mate.”
“That fucker can’t fucking pick his nose, let alone hold a fucking pen.” Trent complained.
“Oh, no, mate, we just do this.” The shaman took Ward’s hand, pricked a finger on his pointy nose bone and dabbed it on the parchment’s belly button and let the blood soak in. “There we go. Now let’s get going.” The shaman got up off Ward’s lap to lead the way and very promptly sat back down. “Nope, that ain’t happening.”
“Don’t fucking worry, dude.” Trent hit a button on the Warchair and a seat popped out the back with a steering wheel and set of pedals. Trent clambered on, stoned off his ass, and drove the Warchair straight through the fire. “We can fucking ride in style, you point the fucking way! Hope there’s some fucking food there, I’ve got the munchies like a motherfucker.”
“Don’t worry, mate, I’ve got you covered!”
And so the three mismatched adventurers set off across the Australian outback in search of the mythical location where Ward would be healed. They eventually found it, exactly where the shaman had said but not where Trent drove. It took them hours but it was literally five minutes across the other side of the village. The stoned fuck went the wrong way and then in circles while they finished the mega spliff. It took some time, but find it they did.
Up ahead was a grand arch over an outcropping above a wide pit. In front of the pit were a number of tables and benches and a giant grill being tended by a butt naked aboriginal lady with her boobs hanging out down to her hips, nipples joined by a long serated bone, which made a very handy place to hang her tongs, poker and cooking gloves.
“Hey, Barb!” The shaman yelled as they drew near. “Serves us up, mate!”
“Strewth, what you doing, ya drongo?” Barbs yelled back as she saw the overburdened Warchair approach. “Get off that dickhead’s lap, Baz!”
“Piss off and get me my food, you slag!” The shaman, who happened to be called Barry, shouted back.
They stopped by the arch. The sign on the arch read “Baz & Barb’s Barbie Barbie & Ceremonial Snake Pit.” Trent had so many questions, but some were answered when Barb brought a tray of food over. On it were a selection of Barbie dolls. They were the exact shape and size of actual Barbies but they were made of meat and barbecued gloriously with a shining glaze.
“The fuck are those?” Trent asked, picking one up and inspecting it with his eyes and then his mouth. His assessment was that he needed to eat another immediately. Trent was compulsively stuffing his mouth with meat based immigration mattel products.
“That’s a barbie Barbie, mate.” Baz explained. “Tourists love them! We even do little grill shaped meats to go with it.” He turned to the lady. “Oi, put some more barbie Barbie barbies on the barbie with the barbie Barbies, Barb!”
“Yeah, yeah, bugger off.” Barb headed back to the grill.
“While we wait, follow me, mate.” Barry the shaman got off the Warchair and walked towards the outcropping, now sober enough to at least walk, albeit not exactly in a straight line. Trent pushed the Warchair after him. They reached the end and Trent looked over the edge then instantly recoiled.
“What the fuck!” Trent yelped. “You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me! That’s gotta be hundreds of fucking snakes down there.”
“Yeah, mate, thousands.” The shaman said proudly. “A little bite from one of those buggers and your friend will be bonza.”
“You’re fucking joking, right?” Trent frowned, looking down at the mass of writhing, hissing snakes once again. “Couldn’t those fuckers kill him?”
“Well, I said it was risky, didn’t I mate?” Baz shrugged. “Worth a shot ain’t it?”
Trent looked at his catatonic buddy and the sorry state he was in. “Yeah, why the fuck not?” And unceremoniously kicked him into the ceremonial snake pit, Warchair and all.
Ward, in his catatonic state, felt like he fell in slow motion. If you watched closely, and you probably did because the drone flew down in front of him as he plummeted, you could almost see his eyes widen and his jaw clench and his hands grip the arms of the Warchair. Maybe, just maybe this was going to work. The slow motion effect cut off and he face-planted hard in the snake pit and was pinned down by the chair. Yeah, probably not.