LET ME ASK YOU A QUESTION
The air in Soldier Field is thick with anticipation. Three matches down and Night One of this chaotic two-night event is clearly a roaring success. Various personnel–production, caterers, etc– are buzzing with excitement as various chatter collides in the atmosphere. Rocky de Leon, having come off the second match of the night with Kennade Starr, is walking down a backstage corridor when suddenly a man wearing baggy pants, a baggy shirt, and a mustache and glasses disguise passes him by. At least. Rocky thinks he saw a mustache and glasses.
Rocky stops in mid-stride. Was his mind playing tricks on him? Did Ken-naugh-day hit him a little too hard at some point during their encounter?
Rocky De Leon: Wait a minute…
Turning around, wiping sweat away from his body with a towel he had draped over his right shoulder, Rocky looks back at the man.
There’s… something familiar about him.
Rocky De Leon: Hey! You! Stop!
The man stopped. It’s eerie-like just how quickly he comes to a halt.
As Rocky adjusts his mask, a shiver crawls down his spine. For some inexplicable reason, the lights flickered.
Rocky de Leon: (looking up at the flickering lights) Oh come on!
The flickering lights cast eerie shadows on the walls and floor, creating an atmosphere of foreboding. The man with whom he shouted to stop stands still among these shadows.
Rocky De Leon: What are you… uh… what are you doing?!
The Lion of Laredo walks cautiously down the corridor. Every step he takes, he can feel his breathing grow more rapid. Within an arm’s reach, Rocky clears his throat.
Rocky De Leon: Is that you…?
Reaching out, he puts his arm on the figure’s shoulder. Pulling on his shoulder, he slowly turns the figure around, revealing, as his mind first thought, a man wearing a mustache and glasses disguise.
Suddenly, a menacing figure steps out from the shadows behind Rocky; his face twisted into an unsettling grin.
Rocky De Leon: Oh. Wait, who are y-
Rocky De Leon: AAARRRGGGHHH!!!!
Unbeknownst to him, Arthur Pleasant had been lurking, stalking if you will, in the shadows, studying the Lion of Laredo’s every move, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. As soon as Rocky turned around this co-conspirator in the seemingly premeditated attack, Arthur smashed a Chicago Blackhawks hockey stick into the back of Rocky’s calf. Rocky’s muscles immediately began seizing up, giving him a bad charley horse in the process.
Rocky De Leon: ~SKKKKKRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOOUCCCCCCCCH!!!!! MY LEG!! MY LEG!!
Arthur Pleasant: Quiet, birdman.
THWAAAAAAAACK! THWAAAAAAAACK! THWAAAAAAAACK!
Arthur goes to town on the leg, smashing it into Rocky’s knee, calf, and shin bone. The attack was unrelenting. Vicious.
THWAAAAAAAACK! THWAAAAAAAACK! THWAAAAAAAACK!
Head. Arms. Legs. Shoulder. Back. It seemed like no one body part was immune to the vicious onslaught.
As Rocky calls out in agony, Pleasant looks up at the figure wearing the mustache and glasses disguise. The Nightmare of PRIME motions with his head for this person to remove their disguise. As if he needed the camera to capture their identity.
They remove the disguise, fearing for their life.
Arthur Pleasant: Nice job! I knew I paid you good money for a reason.
It’s Arliss Peters, and he looks absolutely terrified.
Rocky De Leon, barely conscious, bleeding from a nasty laceration in his elbow region, reached up in a defensive position, but it’s no use. Arthur lunges forward with unparalleled speed, grabbing Rocky by his throat and slamming his head against the cold concrete floor. The force of the impact rattles Rocky’s senses, momentarily rendering him disoriented.
Arthur Pleasant: Let me ask you something, birdman.
His words turn to a whisper.
Gasping for breath, Rocky musters every ounce of strength he has left, launching a desperate counterattack. With a swift right hook, he manages to momentarily loosen Pleasant’s grip, allowing him to break free. Impressed with Rocky’s ability to maintain consciousness, Pleasant wipes away blood that forms on a minor cut across his upper lip. He cackles.
Arthur Pleasant: Enough.
Rocky squirms some more.
Arthur Pleasant: I said ENOUGH!
Pleasant grabs at Rocky’s mask and slams his head down onto the concrete one last time, finally rendering his victim motionless. Perhaps unconscious, too.
Arthur Pleasant: Let’s try this again, birdman. Let… me… ASK you something.
Pleasant straddles Rocky. His hands slowly slide up Rocky’s bare chest.
Breathing heavily, Arthur looks down at his defeated assailant. His eyes filled with a mixture of triumph and concern.
Leaning down uncomfortably close to Rocky’s ear, he whispers. Almost seductively.
Arthur Pleasant: What’s behind your mask?
Pleasant stands up, leaving Rocky De Leon beaten and battered. Looking down at him, Arthur cocks his head, listening intently to the shallow breathing.
Arthur Pleasant: C’mon, Ar. Let’s go celebrate! Oh what fun tonight was!
Arliss walks timidly towards Arthur, as if suffering from battered child syndrome. Wrapping an arm around his attorney, Pleasant simply chuckles.
We then cut to ringside for our next match.