Post by Jay Omega on Sept 21, 2017 2:54:35 GMT -5
“The wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile.”
“The wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile.”
*Welcome back, True Believers! It’s been a while, ain’t it? I’ll dispense with the usual hyperbole, as runtime is at a premium these days, and just jump right to the good stuff. Our scene fades in on a pair of dark mahogany doors, carved with an intricate pattern of interlocking squares that blends together so seamlessly, the only indication we’re looking at double doors would be the two symmetrically placed square knobs of gold. Of their own accord, the doors open before us; a silent invitation to enter the opulent, if darkened theatre within. Row upon row of empty seats upholstered in crushed velvet stretch out on either side of the aisle we traverse; inexorably, we are drawn to a seat in the front row, as is only fitting. The upraised stage before us remains devoid of activity, the heavy red velvet curtain obscuring all but the foremost section of the performing area, until the tapping of footfalls comes from the wings. From the left of the screen and stage appears NIKOLA TESLA - a dark haired Serbian man in his early 30s, impeccably dressed in a charcoal three piece suit. Under the watchful glare of a spotlight, NIKOLA TESLA walks to the center of the stage’s apron, and subsequently the center of our view, then smiles politely as he inclines his head in our direction.*
NIKOLA TESLA: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us today, at this special time of the year. A time when all men and women on the Double You See Eff roster set aside their differences in the common pursuit of a singular goal. Or rather, nearly all of them. For you see, occasionally there is someone who bucks the trend; someone who is motivated by the wrong reasons. More often than not, this leads to the poor soul suffering greatly in some way, though it need not be so. Indeed, sometimes we are given the chance to see the folly of our ways, given an opportunity to change one’s point of view. Such is the case with the subject of tonight’s entertainment, as he shall soon find out. So come, my friends; sit back, relax, and enjoy the following Arcanum Industries production of... A War Ballad.
*NIKOLA TESLA makes a sweeping gesture with his arm as he backs away from the camera, and disappears back the way he had come. As he does so, the heavy curtain pulls back like a crimson tide, and the stage is lit up to reveal the interior of a lavishly decorated master bedroom, replete with a king size canopy bed. The majority of the other furnishings are painted onto the hyper-realistic matte backdrop, though the flames in the large fireplace across the stage from the bed are real enough. An overly loud, dramatic stage snore comes from the direction of the bed, and a misshapen lump of silk sheets rearranges itself to reveal the slumbering features of JAY OMEGA - a 30something Caucasian man somewhat light of coloring. His somewhat peaceful rest is disturbed by a chill wind that snatches the life from the fireplace with an icy gust, and a ghostly apparition lowers itself from above. Pale white from head to toe, and glowing with an unearthly luminescence JOHN MICHAELS - a dark haired, harsh faced man who looks to be in his early 40s - hangs brooding in the air, his chest and arms draped heavily in belts of gold that sparkle mutedly in the dimness. JAY OMEGA opens his eyes and sits up, his eyes going wide as he spies the vision.*
JAY OMEGA: Hunh. When I find out who slipped me the acid, I’m gonna either thank them, or hit them, depending on how this trip goes.
JOHN MICHAELS: Shut up, chucklefuck, I ain’t a hallucination.
JAY OMEGA: But you’ve got to be, ‘cause you sure as shit aren’t a ghost.
JOHN MICHAELS: Fuck you; I’m floating and glowing. I know you believe in ghosts, so why do you doubt your own senses?
JAY OMEGA: Because any little thing can affect them; a mildly upset stomach can turn them into lying fucks. You might be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of hot sauce, a smear of nacho cheese, a fragment of an underdone burrito. Why, there’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!
JOHN MICHAELS: Goddammit, boy, if you don’t shut the fuck up and listen, I’m gonna beat your ass so hard they’re gonna hear it in the fuckin’ States!
*JAY OMEGA huddles up against the headboard, clutching his knees to his chest with a fearful expression.*
JAY OMEGA: Okay, okay! I get it! Shit! All right, so you’re a fucking ghost; why’s your ass haunting me?
*JOHN MICHAELS plucks one of the golden bands from his arm and holds it out before JAY OMEGA. Etched upon the otherwise bare metal surface is the phrase “XWCWF RENEGADE CHAMPION”. Upon receiving a confused look, JOHN MICHAELS reattaches the band to his arm, and looks down at JAY OMEGA pityingly.*
JOHN MICHAELS: It’s required of every champion that the spirit within him walk abroad among his fellow competitors; to travel far and wide and champion the rights of the undercard as necessary. Failure to do so in life, means condemnation to do so in death, and if you’ll recall, I didn’t give a fuck about anyone but myself. So now I’m doomed to drift through the halls of Jobber Hell, offering encouragement to the likes of Al Envy and Fister Mantastic, weighted down by all the gold I so greedily chased in life.
*JAY OMEGA looks thoughtful and worried as he tries to count just how many titles JOHN MICHAELS had won over his career, then compared that number to his own list of accomplishment.*
JOHN MICHAELS: Yeah, that’s right; you’ve been busy, ain’t ya? There was a time when we were evenly matched, but you’ve been hard at work, adding shinies to your collection, haven’t you? You can’t see it, Jay, but I can, and as it stands, you’re going to find it very difficult to move in the afterlife, although you will also find yourself compelled to do so. Just remember that you are the forger of your own bonds; the weight upon your shoulders is one you chose to take up.
JAY OMEGA: Oh yay, a dire warning. You couldn’t have opened with some good news, or even just some idle small talk? I could do with a little comfort, dude.
JOHN MICHAELS: I have none to give. And I wouldn’t even if I did, because I’m an asshole.
JAY OMEGA: I’ll say; you show up just before War, give me this cryptic pseudo warning without really explaining it, and now you’re just gonna fuck off again, aren’t you?
JOHN MICHAELS: Yeah, pretty much. But I ain’t all bad; figured I’d do ya one favour, and put you into my debt for once. So you’re gonna get one - ONE - chance to not be such a fuck up. Tonight your ass is gonna be haunted by three other ghosts--
JAY OMEGA: That’s your idea of helping? Fuck’s sake! Why not set the room on fire while you’re at it; help stop me from catching a chill?
JOHN MICHAELS: Hey! Shut it! You’ll be visited one at a time over the next three promos, and each spirit will have something new to show you. Learn their lessons well, and if you actually manage to make it through this without fucking up, you ain’t gonna see me again. Falter, fail, or otherwise fuck up, and we're gonna see a lot more of each other, real fuckin' soon, got it? Just remember what I said, and heed my warning; my time is up, and I have to go give a pep talk to Grime. If I weren't already dead, I'd ask you to kill me.
*His message delivered, JOHN MICHAELS ascends back up into the darkness above, leaving JAY OMEGA laying wide-eyed in bed. But only for a moment, as JAY OMEGA’s head begins to nod, his eyelids drooping. Despite the traumatic experience of the past few minutes, soon JAY OMEGA is once again fast asleep. It is at this point that NIKOLA TESLA walks out of the wings from the left of our view, and crosses the stage in an unbroken line carrying a large placard which reads “Several Hours Later”. As NIKOLA TESLA exits stage right, a bright flash occurs on stage, and the performing area is suddenly host to not only JAY OMEGA, but also the ghostly visage of JOHNNY REB - a man of indeterminate age with silver hair and a youthful face. Approaching the bed swiftly, JOHNNY REB yanks the closed canopy curtains aside, startling JAY OMEGA awake once more.*
JAY OMEGA: Hey! Johnny! How ya been? Long time no--
JOHNNY REB: Can it, Jay, now ain’t the time to catch up. Or rather, it is but not in the way you’re thinkin’.
JAY OMEGA: Uh, okay. Then if you don’t mind my asking, what’re you doing here, Johnny?
*JOHNNY REB shakes his head, and fixes JAY OMEGA with a somewhat condescending look.*
JOHNNY REB: C’mon now, I’m sure you’re familiar enough with classical lit’rature to figure out what’s goin’ on by now.
JAY OMEGA: This is the worst adaptation of Poltergeist ever. Or is this House on Haunted Hill?
JOHNNY REB: House on-- I said classi-- I’m the Ghost of Wars Past, dumbass! We’re doin’ A Christmas Carol!
JAY OMEGA: Oh. Yeah, I’m only familiar with the Muppets version.
JOHNNY REB: Fuck it, good enough. Get out of bed, we’re goin’ on a trip.
*JAY OMEGA climbs out of bed with an expression of mild apprehension and takes a moment to wrap a dark green smoking jacket around himself, before he reaches out to grip the waiting hand of JOHNNY REB. A flare of brilliant white obscures all vision, and the curtain across the stage draws to a momentary close. A mechanical grinding noise comes from behind the curtain, which is then swiftly removed to reveal a second set stage slowly rotating into place - the timing is a little off; the curtain wasn’t supposed to open until the stage was already settled. Somebody’s getting fired for this, Todd. Anyway, the second stage is set to resemble a front row section of seating at a sporting arena, though the only seats actually occupied are the two which contain JOHNNY REB and JAY OMEGA; all others are either part of the backdrop, or filled with mannequins. JOHNNY REB and JAY OMEGA sit facing us, the portion of the arena containing the focus of their attention existing in some imaginary realm. JAY OMEGA looks around in confusion, then nudges JOHNNY REB with his elbow.*
JAY OMEGA: Well, here we are. Mind telling me where we are, and why we're here?
JOHNNY REB: We’re in Reading, Pennsylvania, circa Two Thousand Eleven. Specifically, it’s October Third, Twenty Eleven, and we’re at the “newly” renovated Dub arena, just in time for the start of War. And not just any War...
JAY OMEGA: Enh, I already know who wins this one.
JOHNNY REB: I didn’t bring ya here just to watch me beat up on the roster, Jay. Y’all are supposed to be learnin’ something from this, what d’ya think that might be?
JAY OMEGA: Definitely not how to kick ass, I’ve got that down pat.
JOHNNY REB: Startin’ to wish the lesson was about humility. No, Jay, y’all are here to learn, or rather, relearn why War is so dang important.
JAY OMEGA: Uh, duh; winner of War is uncategorically recognized as the baddest of asses in the company. When you stomp the shit out of the whole roster at once, people tend to take notice.
*JOHNNY REB turns to regard JAY OMEGA sadly, and slowly shakes his head.*
JOHNNY REB: No, Jay, that ain’t it. At least, that sure as Hell wasn’t my reasoning for putting my all into it this year. War ain’t about proving your dominance, or runnin’ roughshod over everyone in yer way. Technically it’s holdin’ the World Championship that makes a man “the baddest of asses in the company”, and you know it, you just lost sight of it.
JAY OMEGA: Okay then, what’s the big deal about War? Enlighten me.
JOHNNY REB: Y’all gotta figure that out for yourself, Jay; it ain’t learnin’ if I’m just giving you all the answers. But I can point you in the right direction. Don’t tell me why War’s so important to you, see if you can’t figure out why War is important to others.
*JAY OMEGA ponders this in silence for a moment, a puzzled expression upon his brow. When he begins to speak, he starts out slowly, as though unsure of himself, though his tone gains in confidence over time.*
JAY OMEGA: Well, I mean, I guess I should start with Andre Holmes, since he’s apparently the odds-on favourite to walk out with the win this year. Twenty Seventeen, I mean, not this year. But from everything I can see, he’s got the same motivation going into this that I do; kick ass, take names, and make sure people know better than to try to fuck with you in the future. I honestly don’t see Andre as focused on the World title; the guaranteed spot at One is just a by-product. I’m about eighty percent certain that Andre Holmes has no real goal in mind, other than to fight everyone who gets within arm’s reach. And that could be an effective strategy, all things considered. However, the Relentless One is NOT known for his tactics; he’s a straightforward, in your face, smash mouth kind of guy. No finesse, no strategy, and in the end, no hope. I’m not saying it will be easy for me to overcome such an unruly bundle of violence and vulgarity, but it’s definitely not out of the realm of possibility. In fact it’s rather likely that Andre Holmes will be the last person I eliminate, when I pick up my second War win.
JOHNNY REB: You ain’t won yet, Jay; don’t get cocky.
JAY OMEGA: Hey, speaking of cocky, let’s move on to Andre’s tag partner, one Jayson Price.
JOHNNY REB: It that a statement about Price’s arrogance, or a joke about his team name?
JAY OMEGA: Both. Price has enough arrogance to make me look humble, as evidenced by naming his current tag team Mushy Mangina, after his dick.
JOHNNY REB: That’s not--
JAY OMEGA: Don’t care. Fuck, do I really need to say anything about Price? Do I even care what his motivations are? I don’t think he really has any, other than show up, be an ass, get drunk, and fuck shit up. Price has no need to be involved in War, other than Lerch’s hard on for clusterfucks. We’re talking about a guy who has literally done it all inside a Dubya See Eff ring. Well, everything except beat me. But we can’t give him too hard a time for that, folks, since he’s not the only one. You take a look at the list of announced entrants for War, and see if you can spot someone who has a decisive victory over me. I'm not actually all that fond of waiting, so I’ll save you the time: George Murdock, and that's it. But he doesn't have a snowball's chance in Hell either, since I've whooped his ass in every subsequent encounter. And like every other listed competitor who has had the misfortune of coming up against me in the past, Mister Every Singles Title included, Murdock walked away with a resounding defeat. Only one of these chumpstains has beat me, which makes it highly unlikely that any of these chumpstains can beat me. Who the fuck do I have to worry about, Frank Venable? Oldin Baldfart? Gravedigger? Please!
JOHNNY REB: Y'all really shouldn't write off Balfore like that; War is when he's most deeply in his element, maybe even moreso'n you.
JAY OMEGA: I find it highly unlikely that a washed up has been like Oldin Baldfart has the necessary badassitude to withstand a lengthy battle with the awesomeness that is The Omega Man.
JOHNNY REB: Your funeral. All right then, how ‘bout Mikey eXtreme, or Teo del Sol? What d’you think makes them tick in a match like this?
*JAY OMEGA snorts derisively and waves a hand in dismissal. He then reaches into the pocket of his smoking jacket to retrieve his ever-present black cigarette case and gold Zippo lighter. JAY OMEGA shakes out a joint and sparks it up, inhaling a deep lungful and passing the spliff to JOHNNY REB before he elaborates on his response.*
JAY OMEGA: Teo’s got a shot at the World title; I guarantee he’s gonna be putting everything he’s got into that match. And he’s gonna fuckin’ need it, going up against Steven Singh and John Rabid. I have no doubt in my mind that Teddy’s gonna do his best once he hits the ring in the War match, but he’ll be running on fumes at best, unless he manages to topple Singh, thus exempting himself from the match. As for Mikey? He may as well be a chaos elemental; I don’t think even he knows what he’s got planned for War, if anything. Mikey eXtreme is an even looser cannon than Andre Holmes, and that’s saying something. But regardless of the fact that Mikey is unlikely to become Sun Tzu overnight, he’s still a dangerously unhinged individual, and his unpredictability makes him a minor threat that should be taken seriously. I’ve tangled with Mikey before, and while my victory was certain from the outset, that doesn’t mean it was easy, or painless. He can strike out of nowhere, and in a clusterfuck this size, it’ll be damn near impossible to see him coming. But he’s just a wild animal, and while dangerous, he’s easily dealt with if you know what you’re doing.
*JOHNNY REB hands the burning blunt back to JAY OMEGA, who stops speaking only long enough to take a quick but thorough draw from the joint, before he passes it back and continues.*
JAY OMEGA: Not like John Rabid. Rabid in name only, for there’s a coldly calculating mind behind those glittering eyes, and though diseased, still perfectly sharp. John’s definitely someone I need to watch out for; he showed that in last year’s War match, and I can only assume he’s continued operating with the same ruthlessness. Well, I could also watch hours and hours of footage, but that’s boring as shit. Now, John boy might already have that gruelling match with Teo and Singh to contend with, but he’s already shown that he’s got inhuman stamina, almost on par with my own. I’m pretty certain the World Championship is his motivating factor; he’ll either win the match against Singh and Teo, or do his damnedest to secure another chance via War. Which means I’ll either get my hands on him real soon, or there will be one less major threat to deal with, raising my chances of victory.
*JAY OMEGA accepts the joint again and fills his lungs, then both he and JOHNNY REB react simultaneously to some spectacular show of ability; JAY OMEGA with surprise and amusement, JOHNNY REB with amusement and pride.*
JOHNNY REB: Wasn’t sure I was gonna land that. Damn near passed out in relief when I realized I had. What is it about War do you think that keeps bringing people back? Guys like you, or Eff Pee Vee, or Steve Orbit?
JAY OMEGA: Orbit? He’s motivated by the same thing he’s always been motivated by; gettin’ paid. Of course, that’s a powerful fuckin’ incentive to some people, and the winner’s purse for an event like War is quite the substantial paycheque. The guaranteed World title shot at One comes with a fairly large number of dollars attached to it as well; even the loser of One’s main event will walk away with a fat chunk of change. I’m not trying to say the Steve Orbit is greedy, not at all; he’s actually quite generous, in the right context. I’m just saying that big a payday would be likely to light a fire under his ass, and he’s gonna spend the match Pimp Slapping dollar signs into people’s faces. I’m looking out for him, but I’m not too worried. With the possible exception of John Rabid, as I said, there’s nobody in the line up that I really have to worry about, so my biggest opponent will be pacing.
*JOHNNY REB frowns in a manner that’s both disappointed and mildly insulted.*
JOHNNY REB: First of all, I think you might be underestimatin’ Bonnie Blue a bit with that gen'ralization. And secondly, you really shouldn’t just write Odin Balfore off like that.
*JOHNNY REB falls silent, patiently waiting for JAY OMEGA to fill his lungs and pass the blunt.*
JAY OMEGA: Bonnie’s got no interest in War; she’s focused on what’s happening across the Divide.
JOHNNY REB: Bonnie might not much care about War, but she does seem to be pissed off with you, and bumpin’ you out of War might be just the thing to soothe her ego.
JAY OMEGA: That’s actually a really good point. Okay then, keeping an eye out for Bonnie just became a top priority, which is one of the most painful things I think I’ve ever said. But she could be a problem, so I’ll do what I have to. On the other hand, you really think Oldin Baldfart is somebody I’ve got to worry about?
JOHNNY REB: Let me ask you something; this’ll be your fourth time in War, how many eliminations you got in total right now?
JAY OMEGA: Uh... A bunch?
JOHNNY REB: Seriously? It’s eight. You have eight eliminations in total. Since y’all don’t even know how many eliminations you have, I’m gonna guess you don’t know how many Odin has, do ya?
JAY OMEGA: No, but I imagine it’s a fair bit, since you’re making such a big deal out of it.
JOHNNY REB: Fourteen. Not even Logan has that many, and he's won three damn times! An' in case you'd forgotten, as seems to be the case, a full half of those fourteen eliminations happened at War Fifteen, makin' him the record holder for most eliminations in a single match and most eliminations overall. With a recent performance that powerful, you really think y'all are just gonna walk up an' smack 'im around like you would to Zombie McMorris? That shit just ain't gonna fly, Jay; Odin Balfore is a different beast entirely, especially when it comes to War.
JAY OMEGA: That is yet another valid point. But what motivates a guy like him, other than the same thing that’s pushing me, huh? You think Oldin Baldfart wants to take a serious run at the World Championship? Because I don’t think he wants anything more than to remind the Dub that he’s still relevant. He’s like one of the last few remaining members of the old guard, whose only purpose left is to rampage through shit like War, and weed out the lesser specimens; prevent the weak and unworthy from climbing too high.
*JOHNNY REB smiles softly, and hits the half-finished joint held loosely in his grasp before offering it to JAY OMEGA.*
JOHNNY REB: Y’know, I think y’all might be onto something there.
JAY OMEGA: With what? The whole guardian of the upper tier bullshit? Fuck off, don’t give me that. Oldin Baldfart is not some--
JOHNNY REB: Nah, not him specifically.
JAY OMEGA: … But you’re saying that there is some merit to the idea of certain people whose only purpose is to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak? That’s what this has been about, hasn’t it? Not just any one person, but the War match itself… How did I not see it? It’s not lazy booking, or the polar extreme of a love for clusterfucks; it’s a guaranteed method of ensuring that either the World Champion himself - or the man who will face him at the biggest show in the history of sports - is capable of handling the pressure of being the target of the entire roster, of constantly being on guard. That’s what’s so important about War, isn’t it?
*JOHNNY REB grins broadly, and plucks the spliff from JAY OMEGA’s hand.*
JOHNNY REB: Knew you’d get it eventually! Yep, that was the true meaning of War; it wasn’t about showing off, it was about proving you’ve got what it takes to sit in the spotlight. And damn near every man who has won War throughout the last almost two decades has exemplified that, with the glarin’ exception of you.
*Shock, pain, and betrayal all flash across JAY OMEGA’s face as he turns to look at JOHNNY REB.*
JAY OMEGA: The fuck? Ouch, dude. Like, seriously.
*JOHNNY REB shrugs his shoulders and spreads his hands, then passes the joint to JAY OMEGA in an effort to ease his pain.*
JOHNNY REB: I’m sorry, were you expecting pity? You won War, picked up the World Championship in the process, then lost it in your first defence without even a lick of effort put into keepin’ it. Then you just plumb disappear for seven months or so. And that ain’t countin’ the way you were stripped of the Hardcore Championship after Marc Mayhem shelved ya, or the way you were stripped of the United States Championship after Deuce Murdock shelved ya. Or the way you were stripped of the tag--
JAY OMEGA: Okay, I get; I’m a piece of shit choke artist who never should have won War in the first place! You happy?
JOHNNY REB: No. But I ain’t saying this to be hurtful, Jay; these are facts etched in hist’ry, don’t blame me if their edges are too sharp for you.
JAY OMEGA: Enough. I’m done with this, take me back.
JOHNNY REB: Jay…
JAY OMEGA: NO! Enough! I want to leave! Take me back! Take me back!
*His emotions running high, JAY OMEGA reaches for JOHNNY REB and attempts to grapple with him, repeatedly shouting. With a double fistful of JOHNNY REB’s shirt, JAY OMEGA shakes him back and forth while repeatedly shouting “Take me back!”, until another flare of brilliant white fills our view, and the curtain draws closed once more. NIKOLA TESLA appears from the left once again, and marches smartly to the center of the stage.*
NIKOLA TESLA: And so concludes the first act. We will be taking a brief intermission, and encourage the audience to use this time to visit the lobby for some refreshments. We would also like to remind the audience that all proceeds from the evening’s event go toward cosmetic surgery for Corey Black, so that he might one day know how it feels to be of average height, or as he calls it, “really tall”. Thank you for your patronage, and remember that an announcement will be made at five minutes to curtain; don’t be late for the second act!
*NIKOLA TESLA gives a bright and cheery grin to the camera, followed by a smoothly executed bow. The scene then fades to black.*