PATIENT ZERO FOR BAD VIBES
The chyron at the bottom of the screen tells us we’re backstage, but that brings up specific imagery. Cinder Blocks, concrete, fluorescent tube lights, the odd locker or attendant milling about. This is something very, very different–the only lighting is from a salt lamp and a large collection of candles. The walls are all covered in hanging tapestry. Incense is burning. And the floors have been, wall to wall, covered in carpets, rugs, mats, and circular meditation pillows.
And in the center of it all, the nucleus. The Bodhisattva. Sage Pontiff, his body in a perfect lotus position, some manner of paisley shirt upended all the way up so that he’s visible from clavicle to treasure trail.
Sage Pontiff: Namaste, willkommen, wanshang hao. You are now in a space of healing. You are now in a space of ascension. You are now in the presence of the Bodhisattva, and you are welcomed with the most open of arms. The most open of hearts. Feel my frequency and feel your own frames resonate with it, friends. I have converted one of the unused backstage rooms into a place of tranquility, into something almost womblike. A cocoon, where those afflicted with the malaise of the modern world can come and…release.
He smiles and nods his head in a respectful bow. When he comes back up, he raises a finger, as if he’s making a point.
Sage Pontiff: Release is such a big word–and I don’t mean in size, right? I mean in connotation. Like, think of the meanings. Think of the weight of it, my friends. You may seek release from the worries of the world in this space. You may seek release from the chains of capitalism. But most of all, what I have seen? Is people seeking release from pain that they cannot escape. Pain that they cannot let go of. They need to simply…release.
He holds out a clenched fist. It is tight, so much so that the tendons and vascularity of his arms are approaching topographical map levels of definition–and then he lets his hand open wide. His muscles slacken. On his palm, he has drawn in sharpie an eye and the words “you are forgiven”.
Sage Pontiff: It’s as easy as that. Release. Let go. Because that pain, that hatred, that self doubt, are simply poisons aiming to ruin your life–and the lives of those around you. That’s the thing about infection. It has to spread. Why be a patient zero for bad vibes and damaging vibrations? Why reduce the world around you, drain its natural vibrant coloring and joyous song? We–
Sage slowly contorts his body to look towards the one available doorway, the place the sound emanated from. Every available wall being covered in tapestries does limit one’s visibility, but…Nothing. He knows better, though. His eyes slowly browse the room until settling upon a dimly lit corner. Unfolding himself to his feet, he begins to pace towards the corner, attempting to look calm and curious–but his slow pace and hesitant posture betray him. He makes it to the corner, grasping a tapestry showing the Tree of Life, and pulls it to the side to reveal…nothing. Breathing a sigh of relief, he turns…and stands face to face with Ria Lockhart!!
Sage Pontiff: Ria, I–
Without giving him even a half a second to continue, Ria bursts forward with a Zinedine Zidane headbutt right into Sage’s mouth!! His head snaps back, and he drops to one knee before popping back up, telegraphing a right hook in response–but Ria scouts it, drops low, and sends him flipping with a stiff kick to the side of the knee that takes both his legs out from under him!! Sage lands hard and awkward, sprawled amidst the pillows and rugs, and he begins to crawl away almost immediately…and Ria lets him. As he gets to the doorway, pulling himself to his feet, frantically shoving wall coverings out of the way and trying to find the handle, she gets a two step running start. She leaps. And she kicks him square in between the shoulder blades so hard that he busts through the door and lands in the hallway in a heap! Shouting is heard as he tries to stand up, his nose well and truly busted, his mouth and chin coated in blood! Ria steps into the light and pounces on him, grabbing his arm and fighting him to wrench on a Kimura! Sage’s muscles tighten as he screams, trying to fight her off–and then building security descends on the two of them, starting to separate them from one another!!
Finally, they do, two men holding Ria by the shoulders as another two are interposed between her and the bleeding figure of Sage Pontiff. Lockhart is not having any of that, and seems to be actively fighting the guards holding her–and breaks free!! Ria rushes forward, shoulder blocking one of the security into the other, and pounces on Sage, peppering him with blows!! He doesn’t even get a chance to cover up before all four of the guards get a hold of Ria and peel her off, dragging her down the hallway in a struggling ruckus. The camera pans over to Sage, laying on the floor. Bloodied. Beaten. Breathing heavily.
And wearing the calm, beautiful smile of the Buddha.