A FUNERAL FOR FLAMBOrghini
We return from commercial to the backstage area, where Simon Tillier is standing in front of a pair of doors leading to a conference room, and he’s wincing. He doesn’t want to be here. Anywhere but here. He knows that when the men behind the double doors have specifically requested his presence, only chaos awaits.
But alas, Simon has a job to do, so he opens it up.
The scene is… well, where do we start?
First of all, there’s a small table in the center of the room where four championship belts are arranged thoughtfully. The 5-Star Championship of Cecilworth Farthington is placed on a high pedestal, and the Intense Championship of FLAMBERGE is placed on a slightly shorter pedestal that puts both belts front and center. The silver-colored Bang! With Your Partner Championships are placed at the base of the table, those belong to the erstwhile Winds of Change. Only, they’re called the Glue Man Group now.
The conference room has been rearranged with two dozen seats and a podium with a microphone in front of them. A small shrine is erected at a podium on one side of the room, with a large picture of a certain Lamborghini prominently displayed in the center of the shrine. An organ – yes, an organ – is being played in another corner of the room by a scruffy-looking man that no one recognizes.
Simon sighs as he walks in, and Joe Fontaine – dressed in a bedazzled black suit – smiles and claps for him.
Joe Fontaine: Ah, he’s here!
Several sets of eyes cast distracted glances at Simon Tillier as he walks in. Many of them are simply looking up from their cell phones. One is the 5-Star Champion, Farthington. Another is the Intense Champion, FLAMBERGE, who doesn’t so much sit as he does lie on a number of chairs as though he’s planking across all of them. Sid, also in a black suit, paces around with a cellphone in his hands.
Dirk Dickwood looks like he’d rather be anywhere but here right now. Hank sits stoically to one side, content to simply observe what’s going on. Gary Tongueman, for his part, sent a lovely card but is otherwise predisposed to handling the 5th arson inquiry at Farthington Manor in as many months. There is a mannequin seated with its legs crossed, almost front and center. A webcam and a tablet is mounted where the mannequin’s head should be. Simon appears to be especially puzzled by this.
There’s a very large casket in the room, so large that one wonders how it even got in the room. The casket lies open, revealing scattered pieces of a rusted, waterlogged piece of machinery that could feasibly be considered salvage from a drowned Lamborghini. The pieces are arranged in the vague shape of what a human man should look like, except that they have a tire for a head.
Simon walks in, taking in all of the sights.
Simon Tillier: Again?
Joe Fontaine: What do you mean, again?
Simon Tillier: You’re doing a whole funeral again?
Joe Fontaine: It’s different this time.
Simon Tillier: How!?
Joe Fontaine: Well, first of all, nobody from that last funeral returned my calls. Not a single one. Seriously, it’s like I did something to piss off Captain Justice, Mega Job, and the Bonafides!
Let’s not mince words, he did.
Joe Fontaine: I also tried to call the minotaur, just on the off chance that it might show up, but do you have any idea how hard it is to contact an unknowable entity that only exists in the depths of mazes or bodies of water? It’s not easy.
Cecilworth Farthington: He’s overseeing the hedge maze reconstruction… he’s very specific.
Joe turns to gawk at Cecilworth, who isn’t even looking up from his phone. Before he can start asking questions, Simon interrupts whatever train of thought he has.
Simon Tillier: How did you even get that coffin in here?
Joe Fontaine: Look, man, there’s some questions that don’t need answers, but all I have to say is that you should never underestimate the ingenuity and heroic spirit of the Glueminati!
It probably involves glue. Anyway, Joe wraps an arm over Simon’s shoulders and leads him further into the understated mayhem of the scene. Simon, naturally, shrugs him off very quickly with a curt “don’t touch me”, which Joe takes in stride.
It’s here that Simon recognizes the reason why there’s a mannequin with a tablet and a webcam on it. Joining us from across the pond is the scowling face of Phil Atken. His scowl is so permanent and all-encompassing that it’s entirely possible that this isn’t a live feed, but an animated GIF of the man’s face. Yet, the fact that his eyes follow Simon as he walks by gives him pause.
Simon Tillier: …Mr. Atken?
Phil Atken does not speak to Simon. But there’s a subtle change in his expression. The scowl gets scowlier. That’s a word, now. Either way, it’s enough of a change that Simon knows that Phil is here, and he’s not exactly thrilled about this development.
Sid takes his seat, and invites Simon to do the same.
Meanwhile, Joe walks up to the podium and taps the microphone. There’s mild feedback after the third tap, which annoys everyone in the room and also the one person technically not in the room. After an awkward pause, letting the feedback sort itself out, Joe proceeds.
Joe Fontaine: Friends, fellow wrestlers, glue buddies. As we all know, we kicked a whole lot of ass at Tropical Turmoil. Quite frankly, we kicked so much ass that we ran out of asses to kick and were left with a deficit of asses to be kicked.
Sid Phillips: Okay, but there’s no “we” here. It was just Cecilworth and FLAMBERGE doing the ass-kicking. In fact, I haven’t done a powerbomb in almost a month, and I’m getting antsy.
Joe Fontaine: Be that as it may, while many asses were kicked and left a quivering mass of ass-jelly that no janitor wants to clean up without a pay raise and some quality PTO afterwards… it didn’t come without cost. No. Few victories in this life rarely come without cost. And in this case, we all lost a dear friend, murdered by the cruel hands of a Time Lord. A Time Lord that, quite frankly, I suspect doesn’t actually have a driver’s license.
He pauses to scan the room. Most of the room couldn’t care less about what Joe is talking about. Phil Atken’s scowl might be becoming sentient.
Joe Fontaine: I’m, of course, talking about the FLAMBOrghini.
There’s a hefty silence in the air. It’s the silence that occurs when the fuck dispensary is closed and everyone has to hoard their fucks for the coming winter, unable to freely give any fucks.
Joe Fontaine: The FLAMBOrghini wasn’t just the cool-ass ride of a cool-ass dude that collects dic– I mean, necks. It was a symbol! Immutable, iconic, and prone to smelling vaguely of Abraham Lincoln.
Sid Phillips: You used that exact analogy when we talked about the mannequin at the last funeral.
Joe Fontaine: I did?
Sid Phillips: You even called it “immutable” and “iconic”.
Joe Fontaine: Well, shit. I’ve got nothing, then. Anyone else want to come up here and say a few words about our dear, deceased cool ride?
Cecilworth Farthington looks back over from his new position, throwing a fistful of assorted dollar bills (10? 100? 500? Maybe he’s got that trillion dollar coin they keep talking about) at the entrance to the room, where he’s just randomly tossing cash at a pillar. Most haven’t even turned to notice this action and it’s only from Joe’s position on the podium he sees this cash scramble before him.
Cecilworth Farthington: We’re almost done here, right? They said they needed the room in five, so I thought I should close the bar tab.
Dirk Dickwood: That is not at all how you pay for services, you have to know this right?
Cecilworth Farthington: If they want the money Dirk, they’ll take it. I know how the poors are, I’ve been something of a poor myself in the past.
Joe Fontaine: Oh, we’re not done yet. We still need more kind words for the funeral, my man!
Sid can be seen quietly sneaking a few of those bills into the inside of his suit, though the only person who can see this is Joe. And Joe’s not a narc.
Joe Fontaine: Hey Sid, what are you doing?
Oh. Nevermind. I guess I’m just a liar.
A lot of eyes now turn towards Sid, who has many bills in his hands and looks like a kid with his hand in the cookie jar. Slowly, wordlessly, he starts putting those bills in his suit as well. The only set of eyes that hasn’t turned towards Sid is Phil’s. Phil is still staring daggers at Joe because it’s not like the mannequin can turn its head or anything, and because Phil very likely is considering transatlantic murders.
Cecilworth Farthington: Is Phil’s wifi connection broken or… no… right… good… got it. Joe, speed this up a little. Although I think that’s why this funeral is happening in the first place so… slow it down a lot? I can’t tell, the man is just glaring at me and I’m moving out of tablet range now.
Joe brings his voice to a whisper, presuming that Phil can’t hear him if he does this, and asks Farthington a question.
Joe Fontaine: Hey, Farthy, you’ve known him longer than me, but… Isn’t his face always like that?
Cecilworth Farthington: One time in 2015, he saw a small child burst into tears as his precious Minions balloon drifted off to the sky. I’m not sure if it was the child’s pain or he’s just one of those weird Minions guys but I think I saw a hint of a smile.
Joe Fontaine: Oh, well. Anyhoodle. This whole shindig could get done a lot quicker if you could say a few kind words about our dearly departed luxury ride, you know?
He whispers again.
Joe Fontaine: Just don’t look Philly A. in the eye while you do it, I guess.
Cecilworth rolls his eyes a little but willingly steps forth to the podium nonetheless. After a good twenty seconds of throat clearing, he begins the words deep from his heart.
Cecilworth Farthington: I did not know this car well.
Everyone awaits for the but, there is not but. Jared Sykes is not here.
Cecilworth Farthington: Thank you.
There’s a small smattering of clapping as Cecilworth takes his leave from the podium and out of sight from the original patriarch of glue’s piercing, disapproving gaze. Okay, the clapping is mainly from Joe. No one else cares.
Simon Tillier: How did you guys even get the FLAMBOrghini out of the San Diego Bay, anyway?
Joe Fontaine: Okay, so this is more like a simulacrum of the FLAMBOrghini than the actual FLAMBOrghini carefully arranged into a shape I think we all believe the FLAMBOrghini wished it could be in.
Only Joe believes it should be man-shaped.
Joe Fontaine: Which is to say that we don’t know if anyone actually got it out of the Diego or not. I had to make do with what I could, especially since this is on the other side of the country and all that. Look, I put a lot of work into this funeral, okay?
Sid Phillips: Actually, all you did was sit there and let production staff cater to your insane whims.
Joe Fontaine: I helped!
Sid Phillips: You poured water over the head of Jerry because you wanted someone to experience what the FLAMBOrghini went through in its last, terrible moments.
Joe Fontaine: I was getting him in the mood!
Sid Phillips: He ran screaming from the room and cursed you and your family for all time, which I should remind you now includes me.
Joe Fontaine: How was I supposed to know he was a severe hydrophobe?
Sid Phillips: Most people don’t pour water over someone’s head to simulate drowning.
Joe sighs and throws his hands up, and then turns his attention to the man who planks during a funeral – FLAMBERGE.
Joe Fontaine: Hey, FLAMBERGE, do you have any words you’d like to say about your cool, drowned ride?
It’s important to note that throughout the entire sequence of funeral events, FLAMBERGE has remained still, unmoving, and face down. Presumably he’s conserving energy in order to protect his eggs (the Intense Tlte) from predators (Morty).
FLAMBERGE (muffled): ……nffooo.
Joe Fontaine: Cool, cool, cool.
He turns to Sid.
Joe Fontaine: Sid?
Sid stands up, taking care to stuff some of Cecilworth’s money further inside his jacket. He walks up to the podium and places his hands on its sides as he contemplates what to say.
Sid Phillips: Friends, we stand here at the precipice of the unknown. What awaits this FLAMBOrghini is what awaits all of us in the end. What we do in life matters only as much as we believe it to. What we do here tonight will shake the very destiny of the Glueminati for decades to come. And that is why I have come to you as a humble representative of the one true faith to teach you all in the ways of the powerbomb.
Sid Phillips: Obviously, this is not an easy road to walk on. This is not a path one can take lightly. But I know a man. His name is Terry. Terry will help you achieve the enlightenment that I know all too well. I have never met a man so malleable and easily powerbombed as him. He was born in the powerbomb, just as I have, but only in the taking of powerbombs instead of the giving of powerbombs. With my incredible insight and Terry’s springy, resilient flesh… we can help you all achieve true enlightenment, for we are all powerbombs in the end.
Sid Phillips: Mind you, the path is not easy. You will have to surrender all of your other techniques, useless blasphemies that only take you further from enlightenment. There is only powerbombs. There can only be powerbombs. There will only be powerbombs. In powerbomb we trust, amen.
Sid walks away from the podium to stunned silence, excepting Hank, who was rubbing his chin in thoughtful contemplation. Phil Atken has stormed off, leaving only a view of the back of his office on his display. Dirk has his head in his hands, aghast. Simon is already standing up to leave with too much of his time wasted in this endeavor. FLAMBERGE has rolled off the seats onto the floor with a thud and now begins to worm-crawl towards the door, arching his hips and scooting on his chest.
Even Joe can only shake his head at what he just witnessed.
Joe Fontaine: …seriously, dude?
He watches despondently as FLAMBERGE continues to wiggle his way across the room. Wiggle wiggle.
Joe Fontaine: Guys! I had so much more material to work with for the funeral! Guys? …Guys?
Everyone has filtered out except three men. One is Hank, one is Dirk, and one is Cecilworth. Dirk is too busy being aghast, and Cecilworth is already back on his phone. Thus, the only one who is paying any attention to Joe is Hank, who seems to be waiting for Joe to call him up to the podium. Nevermind that Joe is aware of Hank’s… condition and thus hasn’t called him up. Hank just looks over to Sid and gives a reassuring thumbs up.
Joe shrugs his shoulders, and gives Hank his own thumbs up, evidently thinking that Hank is giving him the thumbs up.
Joe Fontaine: Welp. May the FLAMBOrghini rest in peace, amen… let’s go get some dinner. I’m thinking Arby’s. Apparently, they have the meats. Like, all of them. Crazy, I know.
Before anyone can object to Joe Fontaine’s reasoning, we mercifully move on from this… nonsense.