BUILDING A LASTING PEACE (WITH MY BUDDIES BEEF AND EL JANITO)
We cut to the conference room of the MGM Grand Garden Arena, and the sight that greets the viewers when we get here is one that might take some people aback.
There is a long conference table at the center of the room. Seated dead center in the middle, confusion and panic in his eyes as he realizes that he’s assigned to the dumbest possible scenario in the world – which says a lot considering his relationship with Rezin – is Simon Tillier. The junior interviewer of PRIME has drawn the short straw tonight, in that he was roped into this when the individuals at the table had asked him to be here for an interview.
What he never expected, and the reason he’s here now, is that he’s been asked to appear at a peace summit.
Well, between two parties, seated at opposite ends of the table.
The first party is Joe Fontaine and Sid Phillips of the Winds of Change. Joe is dressed in a dazzling green and black suit, the kind you might wear for a gaudy party and definitely not for a serious sit-down meeting. Sid’s in his singlet, since the Winds are in action later tonight. He has, however, thought to put on a tie. Poorly. It hangs around his neck like a cheap scarf. Conspicuous by his absence is Coral Avalon, who is either unaware of this happening, or is completely aware of it and wants no part of it. Knowing him, probably the latter.
The second party is standing there. Menacingly.
Well, it’s all he can do, really. Wearing his red mask and cape, his cold stare is only heightened by the lack of actual eyes at all. You see, the second party isn’t a person. It’s a mannequin. It’s the mannequin. Everyone knows him by his Christian name, though: El Hijo del Super Cool Guy.
Simon Tillier: Okay, how do I do this? Um. I’m standing here with Joe Fontaine and Sid Phillips of the Winds of Change and El Hi—
Joe Fontaine (interrupting): What the hell are you doing, Tillier?
Sid Phillips: Yeah, what are you doing?
El Hijo del Super Cool Guy: …
Joe gestures at the mannequin.
Joe Fontaine: You see? See? Even he’s asking what you’re doing, and we all know the End Times will begin when the two of us agree on anything.
Simon Tillier: Um, but… I thought I was here to conduct an interview…
Joe Fontaine: No, no, no. That’s not your role to play here!
Simon Tillier: Wait, what? But… I have all these notes, and things to ask, and…
Joe Fontaine: Did you not read the summons we sent you?
Simon Tillier: Summons? Mr. Fontaine, was that supposed to be a summons? I arrived at my desk today and found an unconscious local wrestler lying in the remains of what used to be my desk. He, um… he had a note scotch taped to his chest that looked like instructions about what to do in case GREAT BEAR escapes containment and is massacring the staff of the MGM Grand.
Joe and Sid exchange looks. Sid only offers a shrug because he already decided to not accept blame for what happened.
Joe Fontaine: Yeah. Did you read the back of the notice?
Simon Tillier: (exhausted sigh) Yes… but only so far as you were asking me to be here.
Joe Fontaine: That’s a shame. We weren’t asking you to be here for your interviewing skills. We’re not even asking you to be a mediator even though our guy’s running late. No, we need an interpreter for him.
Joe points at El Hijo del Super Cool Guy, who still stands there. Menacingly.
Simon Tillier: For the mannequin?
Joe Fontaine: Yes. You are the most qualified interpreter left because Jared Blueberry declined to get involved this time.
Simon Tillier: Mr. Fontaine, how am I qualified for interpreting for an inanimate object? Also, you can clearly, uh… “understand” him.
Joe Fontaine: Don’t worry about any of that. Now, go stand over there. You’re on his side now.
Simon looks pleadingly at Joe and Sid, expecting this to be a joke. Unfortunately for him, he catches sight of the look in Sid’s eyes. He knows that look. Everyone in PRIME does.
It’s that mad-eyed look when Sid is one step away from powerbombing everyone in the room, everyone not in the room, everyone in the between state of being in or not in the room, everyone in the other Nine Realms, and at least twenty-three liminal Enemigos. That’s what happens when you don’t let Sid powerbomb anyone professionally for an entire two months. Simon knows this, judging from the look in his eyes.
He almost wishes he’d been dealing with Rezin. Almost.
So, silently, Simon stands and reluctantly walks over to Team SCG’s side of the table.
Simon Tillier: You mentioned you had a mediator? Who?
Joe Fontaine: Oh, they’ll be here soon.
As if on cue, the door to the conference room swings open. Every head except one turns towards it.
Okay, for legal reasons, this needs to be explained. No one knows why they’re here. No one knows how they got past security, especially a security team full of their mortal blood enemies, the Enemigos. You’d think that after the incident on ReVival 8 where they left a call center in flames, after all of the legal troubles that have gone on with their cartoon and the ACE Network, and especially after that one time they tried to destroy King Blueberry and his friends with catapults that Mega Job: The Epic Tag Team wouldn’t ever show up on PRIME television again.
But you’d be wrong.
Beef stands there as though he’d stepped through a time portal from the year 2008. He looks like he hadn’t aged a day. His blonde hair still stands up as though it understands a gravity that’s not our Earth gravity. El Janito stands next to him, with his long black hair and Latino good looks. He, too, appears to have not aged. Both are in the nicest suits anyone had ever seen them wear. They’re almost wasted on them.
Beef: Hello! We were told that we were needed!
Somewhere in the building, a silent alarm has sounded. It’s an alarm that the Enemigos sought to install from the moment they’d been made part of PRIME’s security team. It’s the Mega Job alarm. It only sounds when Mega Job is present on PRIME television. For the record, they also have alarms for medieval siege weaponry, Roderick McRatrick, and something called a “SkyMont”. Most terrible, indeed.
Joe Fontaine: Right you are, my dude!
Simon Tillier: Oh no.
Beef walks in with the casual stride of someone who thinks they’re cooler than they actually are. El Janito, meanwhile, hangs back and does something with the door.
Joe Fontaine: How’s the cartoon going, my dude?
Beef: It’s going great! Lots of thrilling adventures! I think we’re off in search of the Cherry of Relevance now. Also, I have, like, no idea where it’s airing right now. Nobody tells us anything. I guess YouTube? We have one of those, right? Do they call it the PRIMEtube here? The PRIMEview? The PRIMEtron? PRIMEtime?
Beef: Anyhoodle! We heard through the grapevine that you needed a mediator for this very important event! And so we have journeyed across space and time! We climbed the mountains of faith! We traveled through the valley of fear! Hacked our way through the jungle of doubt! Sweated mannishly through the desert of truth! All so we could cross the river of dreams and reach our destination!
El Janito: Also, we flew Bolambair.
Beef: Yes. That, too.
El Janito moves to join Beef at the center of the table. He, too, walks with the casual cool of someone who’s the complete opposite of cool, but trying very hard to take it.
Simon Tillier: I don’t understand what’s happening right now.
Beef: Let your ‘ol pal Beef explain everything to you. See, a long, long time ago… really very too big long yes indeed, there was a big explosion. And then from the scattered ashes from that explosion, creation began, an–
Simon Tillier (interrupting): I meant right now, not how the universe was formed.
Beef: Oh. Well, Janito, you wanna take this one?
El Janito: Sure! We’re Mega Job.
Beef: Yep. That explains it thoroughly and succinctly, and requires no further explanation. Good job, everyone. High five!
Beef and Janito do a high five. Janito’s hand hits Beef in the left shoulder blade, which is impressive since Beef is right-handed. Beef’s right hand hits the air just above Janito’s head. This is a pretty standard high five from these two. After 21 years together – probably longer, we don’t know – they still haven’t figured out how it works. Just let it go, and move on.
Sid Phillips: Somehow, I feel like we’ve got the roles mixed up.
Joe Fontaine: You think? I think it’s perfect.
Simon Tillier: No, you definitely do!
Everyone ignores the pleas of the junior interviewer. He’s trapped in there with him, even if it’s for a few fleeting minutes before the Enemigos find their way inside the conference room to detain the real problems in the room.
Beef: Alright. I haven’t done one of these since that time we had to have a sit-down with Ken War and Adam Nowell about all of the blood and organs ‘ol Kenny kept leaving behind in Adam’s apartment. Remember that?
El Janito: Yeah. They were his own. Good times. Shame we finally went through with that exorcism.
They look off into the distance. Ah, memories. With incredibly terrible typing skills.
Simon Tillier: I’m afraid to ask. Exorcism?
El Janito: You ever hung out with an immortal zombie whose only purpose in life is to die in spectacular ways?
Simon Tillier: Does Rezin count?
Beef: What the hell is a Rezin?
Sid loudly clears his throat, interrupting the conversation.
Sid Phillips: Guys… gentlemen…. uh, gentleguys. Time is of the essence here. Joe and I have a match later. I would like to powerbomb many Bandits. Really, just all of them. I want to hear Bobby Dean scream in terror as I hold him aloft, knowing that the only conclusion is powerbomb. I want to turn the ring into an impact crater with the broken, whimpering, freshly powerbombed corpse of Fred Mayhew. And I know he isn’t a Bandit technically, but I want to powerbomb GREAT SCOTT. Many times. In succession. All for daring to blight our roster with a horrible bear. Until he is an unrecognizable, mangled mass of flesh and bone, completely untethered from its original form.
As Sid talks, Beef and El Janito don’t really get out of their seats, but they do lean further and further away from him as he keeps talking.
Beef: Cool story, bro.
El Janito: Yeah! So, what’s up? What’s the need for a peace summit?
Joe points across the table at El Hijo del Super Cool Guy.
Joe Fontaine: This guy spent the first two months of my life here giving me Canadian Destroyers.
El Janito: What’s a Canadian Destroyer?
Beef: It’s a wrestling move that nerds think is cool.
El Janito: Oh. What’s a wrestling move?
Beef: Those things that always used to happen to us whenever we got into a ring.
El Janito: Oh. I don’t like those. They make me go ouchies.
Beef: Me either. I once got powerbombed by a gothic Lolita cosplay girl, and I’d be lying if I said that was even within the top thirty most embarrassing things that have happened to me.
Sid Phillips: I would know what powerbomb you were struck by.
Beef: It was a double reverse quadruple wheelbarrow powerbomb.
Sid blinks, his jaw dropping. He’s visibly shaking.
Sid Phillips: IMPOSSIBLE! That powerbomb is still in the theoretical stages! It should have… wait, hang on. 6.26 powerbombs… carry the powerbomb… yeah, that should’ve unmade you so hard that two of you would’ve spawned and then they themselves would’ve been unmade! Which then causes a chain reaction of unmaking! You should’ve ceased to exist an infinity number of times.
Beef: It was pretty uncomfortable.
Sid Phillips: YOU SHOULD BE UNMADE!
Joe Fontaine: Guys? We should hear from SCG about his transgressions against me before we get into theoretical powerbombs.
All eyes turn to El Hijo del Super Cool Guy.
El Hijo del Super Cool Guy: …
And then four sets of eyes turn to Simon Tillier. A not-insignificant amount of panic grips the heart of the junior interviewer. He has no idea what to do. Nothing he’s ever learned on the job has prepared him for this moment.
He turns to the mannequin.
El Hijo del Super Cool Guy: …
Is he saying anything?
Simon Tillier: Um. He’s, uh… he’s saying that he’s had time to think about it being in storage all this time, and he’s sorry?
Simon clearly has no idea which part of his ass he pulled that one from. It’s as though the words appear in his head. The other four idiots at the table seem to nod and exchange glances to one another.
Joe Fontaine: I had to go to therapy for months because of him. Which is humiliating, because my therapist doesn’t believe me when I tell her the crap I went through.
Simon Tillier: He’s very sorry.
Joe Fontaine: …Really?
Simon’s already this far in. He might as well see this through to the end.
Simon Tillier: He’s… he’s, um… he’s triple dog sorry.
Joe Fontaine: Oh, shit. That’s how you know it’s real.
Beef and El Janito nod in wise, sage agreement.
El Janito: We acknowledge the use of the triple dog apology.
Okay, maybe “wise” and “sage” aren’t the adjectives that should be used in this case.
Beef: Alright then. So if I can ask a question for, like, knowledge and stuff that I’m definitely not retaining once the Enemigos bust down the door…
A furious collection of noises can now be heard out of the door that Janito had blocked on his way inside. There’s the noisy contempt of several very pissed off, yet wordless Enemigos. There’s the jostling of the door handles that won’t open. There’s a silent order from Enemigo I, one communicated in mere unseen gesture, to the other Enemigos to go get the emergency medieval battering ram. Countless feet run off, the feet of as many Enemigos as it would take to remove Mega Job from the MGM Grand.
Beef: Huh. Sure is noisy out there. Anyhoodle! I was going to ask. What started all of this?
Joe Fontaine: It was a boulder pushing contest. Sid was powerbombing an Enemigo into a boulder to make it go faster.
El Janito: As one does.
Simon Tillier: No one does that!
El Janito (insistent): As one does.
Sid Phillips: We would’ve won that event if the Enemigo dressed in red.
Simon Tillier: That doesn’t make any sense!
Sid Phillips: What do you mean? It makes perfect sense. Red ones go faster.
Simon doesn’t comprehend the Ork logic of Sid’s words, and can only gawk at him. So, instead, he turns his attention back to the only reasonable person in the room. Unfortunately for him, that person is a mannequin.
Joe Fontaine: So, anyway, I’m just doing my job, trying to beautifully roll that cool rock down the Strip, and then this guy escapes the clutches of that douchebag Paxton Ray and next thing I know, I’m ass-over-teakettle unconscious on the Vegas strip.
Beef and El Janito nod to each other.
El Janito: That sounds like how most wrestling goes for us.
Beef: Really makes you wonder why we even got into this business.
El Janito: Anyway, what does our friend here have to say about this?
Simon turns to the mannequin.
El Hijo del Super Cool Guy: …
Simon Tillier: I’m sorry, you were a what?
El Hijo del Super Cool Guy: …
Simon Tillier: I’m not sure that can be said on television.
El Hijo del Super Cool Guy: …
Simon Tillier: Alright, fine. Fine! He says that he only wanted to soar like a majestic “fully-dicked pterodactyl”.
The moment the words leave his mouth, he regrets them. Oh, that’s not going to look good on his performance review. Worse yet, Simon knows that because he’s talking to an inanimate object, he’ll be the one to blame. What would Angie say?
Joe and Sid nod. So, too, did the Mega Job contingent.
Joe Fontaine: I can understand that desire.
Simon Tillier: What!?
Joe Fontaine: Yeah, man. Everybody wants to go full-dick pterodactyl! Are you kidding? Alright, sure. What about all the other times?
Joe pauses, his hands shaking as he remembers a particularly unpleasant memory.
Joe Fontaine: Actually, no. Screw all that. What the hell happened in the maze?
Simon Tillier: The maze?
Joe Fontaine: Don’t tell me you forgot about what happened, Tillier! I watched that match back! I saw El Hijo del Super Cool Guy do things.
Sid Phillips: I didn’t.
Joe Fontaine: You were blindfolded!
Beef: So were we!
El Janito: Yeah!
Joe Fontaine: You weren’t even in the match!
El Janito: Metaphorically speaking, we were blindfolded. …As in, we didn’t watch the match you’re talking about.
Joe Fontaine: Yeah, but everyone knows about the Minotaur.
Sid Phillips: Well, yeah. They’re selling T-shirts at the PRIMEporium now.
Joe Fontaine: For real!?
Sid Phillips: Yeah. The demand’s been really high since that show, apparently. Minotaur’s a real merchandise mover despite not even being a PRIME employee.
Simon Tillier: I bought one for one of my cousins on my company discount.
Beef: Janito and I have matching ones.
El Janito: Yup.
Joe holds his hands up to his head, having learned something he never knew that’d come at his expense.
Joe Fontaine: How the hell did I not know this?
Beef: You should listen to his podcast.
Joe Fontaine: HE HAS A PODCAST!?
El Janito: Yeah. It’s called the Labyrinthine Views of Amazing Mazes. It has a new episode every month about the Minotaur’s latest escapades in the many mazes he finds himself in. It’s great stuff.
Beef: #8 on iTunes, I hear!
Joe Fontaine: I DID NOT NEED TO KNOW THIS!
Through all of the commotion, one voice speaks out.
El Hijo del Super Cool Guy: …
“Speaks” is relative in this case.
Simon Tillier: Um. He says that he’s sorry about that one, too. He’s not responsible for the Minotaur, though. He does think you’ve been unnecessarily mean to him, though, just because of all the accidents before that incident, though.
Simon has no idea what he’s saying. Apparently, someone had given SCG the apologetic head this evening, which is a welcome reprieve from the other, much more horrible heads that aren’t suitable for television.
Joe Fontaine: Okay. Alright. You know what? It hasn’t happened lately. Therapy’s gone really well. I’m able to face you without screaming and running away, and I think that’s important. So I’m willing to forgive and forget. Like, we should be doing more than just fighting all the time, you know? We should be building bridges, not burning them. Think about it. Who helped build this place? You did. By hook, by crook, and by forklift, you laid a foundation in PRIME for all of us to stand. I guess there were some other wrestle boys that helped, too, but you were among them! And I came along and made it much more fabulous! We should work together to strengthen the foundation of PRIME, not try to deliver Canadian Destroyers to one another.
Joe has conveniently forgotten that the Canadian Destroyers had been a one-way street.
He stands up, and offers a hand.
Joe Fontaine: So what do you say? Friends?
El Hijo del Super Cool Guy: …
Simon Tillier: He said “yes”!
There’s cheering throughout the room, and in the viewing audience as well. Somewhere at ringside, Richard Parker sheds a single tear. There’s a celebratory feeling going on right now.
And then the conference room door explodes. I mean, it’s just splinters.
The room promptly floods with Enemigos. There’s more Enemigos than could ever be counted on one hand. Quite frankly, we’re amazed that they could come in such numbers and that PRIME could afford them. Perhaps they’re like the Multiple Man, and there’s a “prime” Enemigo that generates numerous other additional Enemigos. It’s hard to say. But all of the Enemigos come in and surround Beef and El Janito. A few of them are hanging back at the door, behind a medieval-style battering ram that somehow managed to fit in the halls of the MGM Grand.
Beef laughs nervously, adjusting his collar.
Beef: Hi, guys. Been a while. How’ve you been?
They’re upon him.
Beef: OH GOD WHY
El Janito holds his hands up in peaceful surrender.
El Janito: Uh… hi there, XVI. Love what you did with the hair.
They’re upon him, too.
El Janito: *WILHELM SCREAM*
With the two members of Mega Job that showed up detained and captured, the Enemigos disappear behind the door as quickly as they appeared, leaving the Winds of Change and Simon Tillier looking dazed and confused about what just happened.
Joe laughs nervously.
Joe Fontaine: Wow, uh… I didn’t know there were that many Enemigos.
Sid Phillips: Or that they knew how to handle siege weaponry. Hm. Should probably think twice about powerbombing one of those guys again.
Joe Fontaine: Yeah, man. Well, we got a match to prepare for, so I’ll catch you on the flipside, Hijo del SCG. Oh, and Simon? Thanks.
Simon Tillier is too dumbstruck by everything that has happened to properly respond with anything more than a vague grunt. Joe and Sid make their way out of the room, stepping over the remnants of the door on their way out.
Simon shakes his head and looks at the mannequin.
Simon Tillier: I deserve a raise…
He stands and leaves. Only the mannequin remains in the conference room. He stands there. Menacingly.
But for now, we’re off to the ring for our next match between the nefarious Ned Reform and the plucky Alex Steel.