GAS IS WATCHING
The Anglo Luchador briskly walks through the halls of the MGM Grand, mask on, khaki shorts, Fighting for Jonathan shirt, kicks, Intense Championship Belt in his bag this time. He appears to have singular focus until he sees a familiar face – Nate Colton. He veers ever so slightly towards the youngster.
TAL: Nate! What’s up?
Nate Colton: Oh, hey, not much, you?
TAL: Just getting into the mood for the show, y’know. Hey, I heard you guys were rustling up a posse to take down the Love Convoy. You need any backup? I’m ready to get involved, man!
Nate Colton: I appreciate that, but…they’re banned from the show tonight. Lindsay Troy made the call a couple weeks ago.
TAL: C’mon. When has a restraining order or royal decree ever stopped a true believer? Look at Pax! He keeps showing up. Those nerds…
Nate Colton: I get it, man. But security is on watch for them, and even if they do sneak in, they gotta know I’ve got an eye out too. Same with Brandon and Coral. So I think they’re gonna be walking small for right now. Thanks, though. Anyway, I gotta run–someone in marketing wants to talk to me. I’ll see you around.
Nate gives a half-wave and walks off as the luchador’s posture slumps a bit. He continues walking towards his destination until he sees another face. The first ReVival era Five Star Champion, Hayes Hanlon, walks by, duffel in hand and eyes on his cell-phone. The luchador perks up a bit.
TAL: Hayes! Hey! I know we haven’t really talked a lot.
The Event Horizon looks up, quickly swiping away whatever was on his screen. It definitely wasn’t OnlyFans.
Hayes Hanlon: Oh shi…hey, man.
TAL: But I was thinking, there’s a lot of riff-raff around here. Maybe you and me could team up and…
Hanlon awkwardly pockets his phone.
Hayes Hanlon: Man, I appreciate that, but I’ve got a match a little later I gotta focus on…and I’m definitely not missing Nova and Jiles…but catch me another time for sure.
Home Run Hayes fist-bumps TAL’s shoulder, then continues on, retrieving his phone to re-open Onl…correction: TikTok. Once again, the luchador is deflated. He continues on to find his ol’ buddy, ol’ pal, head referee Timo Bolamba.
TAL: Timo! I am glad to see you.
Timo Bolamba: Hey Tom, uh, can we make this quick? I’m on Cancer detail, and I gotta get him back in the skybox when he’s done urinating.
TAL: How long’s he been in there?
Timo Bolamba: Oh, five minutes.
TAL: You got time. Anyway, I was wondering, if you could shake free, you know, let Dam and Wade handle some of the babysitting, what do you say, you and me, like Batman and Samoan Batman, handing out some vigilante justice. Go looking for trouble. Help out. What do you think?
Timo’s eyes go cold as ice.
TAL: Is that a yes?
Timo Bolamba: You can’t be serious. All the time you’ve known me, what is my number one priority?
TAL: The Asylum?
Timo speaks loudly and plainly so anyone that was listening might hear him clearly.
Timo Bolamba: No, it is my integrity as head official of PRIME. If I’m going headhunting in an extracurricular fashion, what message does that send about my officiating?
Timo looks back and forth nervously and, sure there are no nocturnal birds of prey in the vicinity, leans in to talk to The Luchador.
Timo Bolamba: Look uce, I got a good job here and you know we are Aiga, but I can’t ditch the jet thief and go off on some damn fool adventure beating people up with you, even though I might want to. I am a head official now, and I am focused on having the best team of officials in wrestling history. That is enough for me.
TAL: Alright, alright, I’m sorry I thought to drag you into this.
Timo Bolamba: It’s OK. What’s going on with you? I feel like every time we solve something, you take another dive headlong into another existential crisis. I’m worried.
TAL: Just… it’s alright, uce. You’re right. You’re a ref. I’m a luchador. We have different jobs here. I think Cancer might almost be done peeing anyway.
The luchador starts skulking off while all Timo can do is look on dejectedly and sigh. He heads towards the bathroom, thinking he’s heard a flush, nope still streaming. TAL stops dead in his tracks when he notices someone has been watching him this entire time.
Tony Gamble: You’re not one of them… the good guys in white hats that save the day. You know that, right?
Tony walks over, closer than TAL is comfortable with, the grin on his face that makes people want to punch him repeatedly reaching out for his ear.
TAL: And what do you know about being a white hat, Wingtips?
Tony Gamble: I know you’ve got a fire inside of you that they don’t have, the one that makes you want to go out there and get payback for what the Convoy and Paxton did to your friends… you’ve lost track of what fueled that fire before. The fire that had you swinging around a barbed wire baseball bat to drive your point home for a while.
TAL is seething, his eyes wide as his chest heaves with each breath.
Tony Gamble: The old you wouldn’t be looking to form a posse to get revenge. No, the old you would have already kicked in the door to the Halls’ locker room and taken his pound of flesh by force with no regard of who was by his side, but that fire is burning out a little more each and every week. You can get it back though, all it takes is a little GAS.
TAL: If you’re looking for members, you’ve come to the wrong luchador, kuitlatl. I’d rather take my marching orders from that Putin-loving fake communist Stanislav than work with a two-bit gangster like you.
Tony Gamble: Suit yourself, but with the crap that’s been going on around here… Having GAS may not be as bad as people think.
Gamble saunters off while the luchador finds the locker room he was searching for.