Post by Teo Blaze on Oct 4, 2015 5:12:29 GMT -5
Here is your winner, and NEEEWWW Television Champion, Los Tiburooooones!!
NEEEWWW Television Champion!
Part 1: Cheap Whiskey
The scene slowly fades in from black on a run-down, neon lit watering hole, the kind of oasis that welcomes weary travelers and regulars alike. Cigarette smoke hangs heavily in the air, mixing with the old forgotten tunes forcing themselves from one half of a dim Jukebox’s speaker. Behind the counter, a grizzled old bartender absentmindedly rubs a dirty rag over a dirty glass, his attention on a small CRT television placed haphazardly on a stand that wouldn’t sell for $1.95 at the local flea market. The crowd has died down for the evening, and a pretty young waitress goes from table to table, calling in tabs and collecting tips. In the very corner of the bar, away from the lowered murmurs of the other patrons, sits a rather unlikely pair.Propping himself up over an emptied glass is a gentleman who has seen better days, his patchy coat and missing teeth perfectly complimenting the alcohol on his breath. He laughs loudly, slapping the table, and reaches into his pocket, withdrawing small brass pocket watch. He flips the cover open, revealing only broken glass and exposed gears. The man nods purposefully, and sticks the watch back into his pocket with a rather unnerving squish.
“No, I tells you, it was ash big ash a combine! Loudest I’ve ever heard!”
The man breaks into uproarious laughter, slapping the table once more as the camera slowly pans across to the other figure, revealing Teo del Sol, his simple black T-shirt clashing with the shock-white wrestling mask. His face bears the marks of the cage match, nicks and bruises mark what little flesh the mask exposes, and a medical bandage has been pressed over his right eye with tape. Yet despite his injuries, he joins in his drinking buddy’s revelry, offering his own hearty chuckle and applauding the punchline.
“Oh Mark, I have no idea what you’re talking about, but I love the way you say it!”
“Eh, wordsh is overrated, anyhow! Say, aintcha thirsty? You’ve been workin’ on that one all night!”
Teo looks down at his own glass, still completely full. He hadn’t let on that had only ordered a pineapple juice, but Mark hadn’t seemed to notice.
“I’m not really in a drinking mood, Mark. I drink when I’m happy.”
The drunken Mark looks at Teo with a confused look on his whiskey-warmed face.
“Ain’t I what?”
Teo lets out a deep sigh, leaning back in the booth, looking down into his drink. Despite the murky nature of the juice and the dim light, he can make out his own reflection in the juice.
“Let’s just say it’s been a bad week.”
“Aw come on, it can’t be that bad”
Teo grins at his newfound companion, a halfhearted smile over his face.
“I lost something. Something I worked hard for.”
Teo chuckles, his voice slightly tinged with regret.
Mark leans back momentarily, nodding at Teo’s comment.
“Well, I can’t say as I ever had anything gold. I mean I gots my watch, but that ain’t no gold. Still, I’m sorry to hear that, even though I dunno how it feels.”
Teo stirs the straw around in the juice, nodding.
“Lost, stolen, either word fits. All I know is that right now whoever has it is gonna ruin it.”
“Well why don’t you go get it back?”
Teo freezes in place, and looks away from his drinking buddy. A few moments of silence pass as the two friends sit quietly.
“…Cause I don’t want to lose it again.”
The comment hangs in the air, and Mark goes deep into thought, looking every few moments to the bartender, then to a sign.
“You know, you gets too hung up on this idea of havin’ it.”
Teo looks inquisitively at Mark, the homeless man reaching into his pocket and withdrawing a small wooden pipe. He continues talking as he fumbles around in his jacket.
“See, the way I sees it, when we’s born, we’s got the whole world to use as we see fit. There’s houses, there’s cars, there’s instruments, there’s toys, and we all get to share ‘em. Everybody’s gotta take turns. Ain’t nobody gets to ‘have’ nothin’. That ain’t fair to everyone else. So the way I see it, anyone who wants to ‘have’ somethin’ don’t deserve it.”
Teo raises an eyebrow, looking to his companion with a quizzical stare.
“Now you, see, you gots a problem of someone takin’ what’s yours, I understand that. But what you gotta remember is that it wasn’t yours to begin with. You’s borrowin’ it from everyone else, until you either go on to the next life or don’ t need it no mo’. Till then you gotta take care of it.”
“…So what are you saying?”
Mark chuckles, finally withdrawing a match from his coat and lighting the pipe.
“I’m sayin’ that you say this cat’s not takin’ care of what he took from you. So you gotta get it back. Simple as that.”
Teo stares blankly at the drunken homeless Mark sitting across from the table, absentmindedly puffing away at his pipe. Slowly but surely the wisdom of Mark’s words begin to set in, and he begins to feel a new determination well up inside of him.
“Mark, my friend, you are right! This injustice cannot stand!”
“I am going to march right back into that arena and I am going to take back what was stolen from me!”
Teo’s voice has been raised, and the bar patrons begin recognizing him from the television. Cheers of recognition mix with rounds of applause at Teo’s assertion.
“But first…I am going to pay for our drinks. Mark…. Thanks man, I really needed some perspective.”
“Anytime, Mr. Teo, anytime.”
Teo pushes himself up from the booth and walks over to the bar, as people pat him on the back and offer encouragement. In the midst of the bustle of activity, Teo can’t help but feel blessed, to be able to once again be among the people was a feeling that he cherished. He approaches the bar and begins counting out bills, as he hands the total over the bartender, offering an ample tip of course, he feels a tap on his shoulder, and turns to see the pretty young waitress smiling at him, her auburn hair shining in the neon Budweiser sign and a WCF T-shirt on her slender figure; Teo had been so focused on his own miseries he had missed the detail on his way to the table. She offers a coy smile and begins to speak.
“I just love to see people help out in the community, poor Mark has had a rough time lately.”
Teo grins bashfully, placing one hand on his head.
“Oh, it’s nothing, really! He’s such a nice guy, he deserves a drink or two!”
The waitress giggles and grabs Teo’s other hand.
“Still, you celebrities don’t have to come down here with us common folk… It’s nice to see the human side once in a while, ya know?”
Teo nods his head, finding himself strangely embarrassed to be talking to this pretty young thing, an odd description to come up with, now that he thinks about it. But before he can reflect on his impressions of her, she has already slipped back into the crowd. Teo refocuses before realizing he now holds in his hands a small piece of paper with a hastily scribbled phone number. Unsure of how to proceed, he walks back to the table to find his companion.
But no one is there. Where once sat a friendly, homeless man now was just an empty booth. Teo looks around, but his new friend is nowhere to be seen. He glances around with confusion before noticing a gleam of metal on the table, where there now sits a small brass pocketwatch.
Part 2: As Seen on TV
The camera now bears a WCF logo, and Teo stands on an empty stage, as though in an auditorium. His head is hung and his hands are crossed across his waist, the shining mask matching the White sequined Jacket and Blue Jeans with Gold Flames across them. A single spotlight shines down on him from an unseen source, and he looks directly in the camera and begins to speak.
“Tiburones, before I begin, I would first like to say congratulations.
Congratulations, my friend, I didn’t think you could do it. Three times now you have come at me with every single trick in the book, third time’s the charm man, you finally did it! You managed to steal away the Television Title, to prove me wrong, to let each and every one of these people know that title belts can be stolen, so for that, I have to say…well done.”
Teo begins pacing, looking at the dark red curtain hanging over the stage.
“But my friend, the curtains are still drawn, the show must go on as they say. You and I, we are reaching our climax, our dénouement. It has been a wild ride, hasn’t it?
In the first act, you appear on the scene, a rogue, a knave, and you declare your intention to steal away the treasure!”
As Teo speaks, ghostly images appear in the background, replaying the events of Teo and Tiburones’s first encounter.
“Now at this point, I admit, I underestimated you. I called you a coward, a cheat, and I dismissed you because I was the hero. Sure enough, you proved me right. You let me chase you right out of the ring and then pulled my leg so we would both lose, so technically, technically there was no victor. Now I’ve thought long and hard about this, and I think I finally realize why you were willing to let our match end so anticlimactically.
It’s because you were scared.
You walked into our match with an ego bigger than Wade Moor, which by the way is no small feat, and you expected to just blow through me like tissue paper, and you were surprised when a scrappy little luchador began beating you about the ring like you were filled with candy, eh?
Now I know it’s a bold claim to call you, Los Tiburones, the shark of all things afraid…Sharks don’t feel fear, sharks cause fear!...But then we enter act II…we face off once more, and this time you bring backup- you have your little Beach Krew minions at ringside, and they grabbed the very treasure I was keeping out of your grubby little mitts and they bashed me on the head with it! Now I am no genius, but that does not sound to me like the act of a confident man, oh no, it seems to me like there’s a bit of doubt running around in the back of your mind, like maybe you can’t get the job done…
And so to act III! The villain has been cornered at last! Trapped in the unforgiving walls of a steel cage, we crossed blades for the final time! Back and forth, risking life, limb, and everything in between!
And that’s when you decided to go off script.
That is when I had you beaten, I had you at my mercy, and I knew that it was time to give you exactly what you deserved, to deliver unto you the greatest dishonor any luchador can possibly face, I tore your mask from your face and I let everyone see you for exactly what you are!
And do you know what we saw Tiburones? We saw desperation.
We looked right into the eyes of the shark and we saw that fear, that knowledge that your curtain was closing, saw that you had nothing left to give, that you could not win the Television title!
Teo holds up his arms, gesturing grandly as the sound of applause fills the arena. He takes a deep breath and closes his eyes.
“…So you cheated.
I don’t blame you, fear makes men do crazy things, you saw an out so you took it. But I have to ask, Tiburones, was it worth it?
Was it worth knowing for the rest of your life that when it really came down to it, that you didn’t have what it takes to beat one luchador? That you managed to steal the Television Title in front of each and every one of these people? That when the time came to fight, you walked away?
You may technically be the champion Tiburones, you may have that belt, but the fact remains that you have never been able to put me down for a 1-2-3, so congratulations again Tiburones, enjoy it while it lasts.
Tiburones, we enter this world naked, screaming, and new, and we only have so many days, so many minutes, so many moments before we go back to mother earth, and when we go, all we take with us is our actions in this life.
See, that’s the difference between you and me, Tiburones. I have gone in each and every week, I have stood in battle with the very worst and the very best that the WCF roster has to offer, and I have won or lost on the strength of my will alone! I look at you and I see a man who needs the Television title, needs a shiny gold belt to prove that he is important, to prove that he is a success! But I need no proof!
I need no proof because every week when I walk down that ramp I look out into that crowd and I see the smiling faces, I hear the roar of the crowd, and I know that I have made a difference! The WCF faithful are the greatest fans in the world, and every time I hear them chant my name I know that I am a champion!”
As Teo speaks he looks out into the auditorium which begins slowly filling with screaming fans, Teo holds his arms out and beckons to them and they begin chanting.
“I have heard you though, I have heard you say how you have people fooled, how they have underestimated you. Oh no, Tiburones, you have underestimated them.
You see you may think of yourself as some kind of puppetmaster, that you have us fooled into thinking you’re a drunken fratboy, that you are Machiavelli or Sun Tzu waiting to spring the trap, but you are only fooling yourself!
You see I could be like you, Tiburones, I could lie and cheat and steal my way to titles I don’t deserve, could surround myself with sycophants and yes-men and little bubbleheaded bleach blondes who spend more time on their back than Andre Aquarius, but I choose the path of honor!
Each and every one of my opponents has said the same thing, and oh boy have you been saying it, Tiburones, that ‘Teo del Sol gives the people what they want.’ But you know what? That is not true! I do not give people what they want, I give them what they deserve!
When I stood on top of that cage, I could have simply rolled over and dropped to the floor, and we wouldn’t even be having this conversation, I would still be champion and you would go back to the Sea World security guards’ watch-list.
But when I looked out at each and every one of these WCF fans, and I looked down at you in that ring, I knew it was time to give the people what they deserved. Each and every week we have had to put up with you and Beach Krew running your mouths, talking about how you’re going to take over, to dominate, to turn us into your own little aquarium, I knew something had to be done. So I threw myself off of that cage and onto your prone form because I know that each and every single person in that arena and every single person watching at home around the world would have done the exact same thing!
You think anyone who watches that match is going to remember it for you walking out the door?
I guarantee you that every single history book, every highlight reel, every DVD that Seth puts out is going to show that High Dive, not only because it looks good on Television, but because in that moment, you got exactly what you deserved! And Tiburones, there is nothing that you or anyone else can ever do to erase that moment, to erase the knowledge that you won your first title by running away.
See, that was my mistake, when you really think about it, I gave you too much credit, I guessed that you had any shred of honor, even the slightest semblance of self-respect to understand what it would mean to tear that mask from your face. I guess I gave you too much credit. You have as much honor as Kyle Kemp does humility, as Wade Moor does Shaving Cream, or as Andre Aquarius has wins. Okay, that may be unfair, Wade Moor may be huffing shaving cream in the van, I don’t know for sure what you guys are into, only that the last time we brought a drug sniffing dog into the parking lot it exploded.
But alright, Tiburones, if you want me to take you seriously, then congratulations, you have gotten exactly what your heart desires. You are now a serious threat, and do you know why? It’s because your back is up against the wall, you know that everyone’s eyes are on you, you know that you have played all your cards and are hoping that I’m not holding any aces. I expect that at the very first opportunity you will fall back into the old habits, and you know what? I welcome it. In fact, I personally would suggest blinding powder, except Sanchez beat you to it. I want you to cheat and to sneak and to do every single thing you can to try and steal your first win over me, because you know what? It would be unfair not to let you.
It would be unfair to ask you to stand and face me man to man, to try and make you fight with any semblance of honor, of fair play, because let’s face it, I’ve given you the chance to play fair and it hasn’t gone well for you.
So bring it on, man! Bring your thumbtacks, your Steel chairs, your banana peels, and your Sandy Coconutz! Do every single thing that you feel is necessary to win, I don’t care! I don’t care because the people know who the real champion is! You can scheme and lie and cheat and obfuscate all you want Lost Tiburones, but these people can see right through your little games!
Do you want to know why they cheer me and boo you, Tiburones?
It’s because I work for them, because I give them my all each and every week, because I realize that this business is bigger than you, bigger than me, bigger than Seth Lerch. They are this business, Tiburones, and if you don’t have them, you have nothing. I give these people the respect they deserve, and they have seen fit to reward me for it. That is something you’ll never have, no matter how many matches you “win”
This Sunday Tiburones, we step into WAR, we walk between those ropes and we don’t walk out again until one of us is finally put down for a 3-count, and the curtain will finally be drawn on this little rivalry of ours.
I hope you’re ready for the final curtain.”
Part 3: A Friend in Need
This close. I was this close to getting him back in that ring. Why did I think he would care? Why did I think that it would matter if his mask was off. He doesn’t give a damn about Lucha Libre, he just wanted a quick win, some paycheck. He’s probably snorting cocaine off of that belt right this second.
Teo moves through the alleyway, his thoughts plaguing him, how it all went wrong, the moment it was torn away from him, exactly how Hector had predicted, down to the low blow, his face ground against the mesh.
All I had to do was go for a pin, all I had to do was just cover him and it would have been over, but I had to be the hero, I had to tear his mask off, to expose the villain, to lose my belt over it. I could have just pinned him, or walked out the door, but I had to do it again, had to get caught up in the moment. Every time, you stupid fool, you should have listened to Hector, should have taken the title defense against Denise D’eville, should have just walked out after the high dive.
Teo stops in place and grabs a garbage can, hurling it down the alleyway in a blind rage
“You stupid son of a bitch!”
The can crashes down the alleyway before coming to a halt with a clatter, Teo breathes heavily, feeling the adrenaline pulsing through his system. Every vein in his body was crying for him to go back to the arena, to kick in the door to Beach Krew’s van…
But it was too late. They’d be on the road already.
“Now sir, the accuracy of that statement aside, it is rude of you to point it out.”
Teo stops suddenly, embarrassed by his outburst, and looks to see a figure sitting near a dumpster not ten feet away. The figure wears a patchy jacket and shoes with holes in the sole, his equally patchy beard clashing with his missing teeth. It is clear he’s been through some hard times. Teo quickly turns towards him to apologize.
“Oh, I wasn’t talking about-“
“There there, I understand. Them cans make me pretty angry too.”
Teo can’t quite bring himself to look at the homeless man, and stares down at the pavement.
“Name’s Mark, now it seems to me like you’ve got something on your mind.”
“That’s…not important right now, look, I’m sorry if I startled you, but-“
“Think nothing of it, we all gots some bad vibes we gotta work out every now and then, it just makes ya human.”
Teo sighs and leans back against the brick wall of the building behind him, placing his palm on his forehead.
“It’s just, look I don’t want to talk about it.”
“No really, I- wait, what?”
“Alright. You don’t wanna talk about it, that’s fine.”
Teo stares at the man for a few moments, the man simply looks down the alleyway, humming to himself. After a few minutes, Teo breaks the silence.
“Say Mark, you wanna go get some drinks?”
Part 4: T-Shirts and Title Belts
The arena is bustling with activity, and Teo del Sol finds himself once again at the merchandise stand. It has become something of a routine at this point for him to interact with the fans, although this week he finds himself approached by Hank Brown, cameraman in tow, his face flushed the way it is when he is looking for a story.
“Mr. del Sol, a few minutes of your time, please?”
“Sure thing Hank, but first, could you get a shot of the crowd? I mean it’s not every week people get to be on TV!”
Hank gestures to the cameraman, who quickly spins around as the audience roars, and chants “WCF” in between waving posters and souvenirs.
“If I’m going to be challenging for the Television title, I need to make sure these television cameras get put to good use, right Hank?”
“Sure thing Mr. del Sol, now, the people want to know, how do you feel about your big title match at WAR?”
“Hank, I am glad you asked, I have to be honest, when I first felt that title belt taken away from me, it was as though a giant weight had been lifted from my shoulders, I knew that I no longer had to win every match, that I would have to defend it every week, and it was a relief. But do you know what?”
“I began missing it. I wanted that pressure back, wanted to be pushed to win every single week. And you know what else? I do everything I can to make my fans happy, and I get the feeling that it would make them happy for me to win that Television title back.”
The fans roar in approval at Teo’s suggestion.
“Aren’t you worried about Beach Krew’s interference?”
“Hank, let me tell you something right now about Beach Krew, they are only as frightening as you make them out to be. They have power because they know they can get away with it, but once that bell rings, I have the advantage. If they get their boy disqualified, that belt comes home with me.”
“Do you think you can beat Los Tiburones?”
“Do I think I can beat Los Tiburones? Hank I know I can beat Los Tiburones! I have had him hit with the habanero high dive and at my mercy twice now, and it is only because of a combination of luck and underhanded tactics that these people aren’t asking why the guy at the Long John Silver’s counter is wearing a shark mask.”
“You sound very confident, but you haven’t been able to get a win yet. What will be different this time?”
“Hank, what is different this time is that I am no longer the champion, now I am the challenger. See the Television title is by nature a challenger’s belt, there is no one except John Gable who has been able to hold it for any length of time, so as soon as Tiburones won it, the odds slipped back into my favor. See, he may think of himself as a shark, but I am going to be a piranha. I am going to keep coming for that belt, keep swimming after him, and I am not going to let go until I get it back!”
The crowd begins chanting for Teo as he gestures for them to get louder, they quickly comply and before long the noise is drowning out Hank’s questions.
“Listen here Hank, Tiburones thinks that he has won because he has the title belt, but this sport is not a matter of wins and losses, it’s a matter of endurance. The one who walks away with the championship is the one who keeps pushing themselves every single day, who keeps getting better and better, and who never gives up, who always stands back up, win or lose and gets back into that ring! And when it comes to that category Hank, I’m undefeated!”
“Tiburones may think that I have dismissed him because of his behavior, because he uses more powder than a Colorado ski resort and has put more than one strip club out of business by stealing away its talent, but I promise you that is not it! I may think of him as a degenerate, as a coward, and as a lying sack of garbage, but I base my opinions only on his actions in the ring! Until he can go into that ring and prove to me that he deserves to be there, that he is not just a pretender, a sad imitation of a professional wrestler, then I have no choice but to think of him that way! I am going to go into WAR and I am going to take back my Television Title, and I don’t care what anyone says otherwise!”
The Crowd roars and begins chanting “WAR” at the top of their lungs. Hank is unable to finish the interview and signals for the cameraman to cut the feed.
The lights are dimmed once more, Teo finds it much easier to prepare without a blinding glare in the locker room. He sits on one of the benches, stretching his calves. His wounds have finally healed, and despite a rather large scar over one eye, the bandages have been removed and the stitches have been taken out. As he finishes stretching, his routine is interrupted by a strange noise. He stops and listens, and recognizes it distinctly as a ticking. He turns toward his locker and looks onto the top shelf, where Mark’s pocketwatch lays. He picks it up, having assumed it broken, and listens as it continues its ticking. He taps it gently, as not to disturb the mechanism, and a few motes of dirt fall to the floor.
He turns the pocketwatch over, and holds it up to his ears, definitely hearing a tick from the inside, but as he holds it up, his finger pushes the opening mechanism, he quickly moves it away from his head, and as he does he notices a faint glimmer on the inside.
He turns it over and squints, and sure enough on the inside of the pocketwatch he sees a small inscription that he can barely make out:
Mark Randall Jr.
Teo stares for a very long time, then closes the pocketwatch and places it back on the shelf.