QUASHING A BEEF, WITH FISH
BEEP… BEEP… BEEP… BEEP…
We’re on the loading dock to the MGM Grand Garden Arena, watching a forklift carefully and methodically unload a pallet of Saran-wrapped boxes from the back of a cargo van.
No fog machines. No chocolate fountains. No 90’s classics blaring from the speakers. No jousting. Just some ol’ fashioned forklifting involving a licensed professional by the name of Roger Dawes.
Observing these proceedings from nearby are the tandem of junior reporter Simon Tillier and PRIME’s Five Star Champion, “the Escape Artist” Rezin. Simon, mic in hand, looks slightly confused. Rezin, championship belt around his waist, looks considerably stoned.
Nothing out of the ordinary for these two, aside from the location. Hence the interviewer’s current state of perplexity.
Simon Tillier: Rezin, what are we doing out here? This hardly feels like a suitable location for an interview.
Rezin narrows his eyes at the young interviewer.
Rezin: And just what do you consider “suitable”?
Simon Tillier: I don’t know, somewhere a bit less noisy and… hazardous?
The Goat Bastard scoffs, loud and wet. Simon wisely stays clear of the spray.
Rezin: You should know by now, Simon, anywhere where I presently happen to be is gonna be “noisy” and “hazardous”! As it is, we’re here on business…
Simon Tiller: “Business?”
Roger Dawes: (off-camera) Here’s that overnight package you were expecting, Mr. Rezin!
Rezin snaps to attention as Dawes, having put the forklift in neutral with the parking brake set and the tips of the forks tilted into the ground, as the accepted OSHA standard for leaving heavy loading equipment, steps into the frame and hands over a pair of nondescript boxes.
Rezin: Perfect! Thanks, Rog. Also, ya left the keys in there again…
Roger Dawes: OH GEEZ!
Dawes, who has presumably come under fire for how much his truck has been hijacked these past few months, frantically rushes back to the forklift.
Rezin: Here, gimme a hand with these…
Rezin dumps both boxes into the interviewer’s hands. Simon immediately bares his teeth when he gets hit with a sensation he wasn’t expecting.
Simon Tillier: It’s… cold!
Rezin: Yeah, I should hope it is! Try not to breathe on it too hard, if ya can help it! Now c’mon…
Rezin tilts his head in the direction of the door to give Simon the “follow” gesture and leads the way back into the building…
Then, through the magic of editing in production, the two are backstage. Rezin leads the way down a hallway reserved for private dressing rooms. Tillier is now even more confused, noticing bits of ice leaking from the corners of the larger of the two packages he has in his arms.
Simon Tillier: Rezin, forgive me if I’m missing something here, but where are we going, what are we doing, and what does this have to do with our interview?
Rezin: No interview today, Simon! You and I are on a SPECIAL MISSION!
Simon Tillier: Oh geez… tell me I’m not holding a bomb of some sort!
Rezin: Not this time, Simon! But maybe next week, IF you’re lucky! Tonight, however, I have other, more productive schemes afoot…
They come to a stop when they reach a door that has a simple makeshift sign posted on the front. The sign reads: “GREAT SCOTT”.
A devious grin crosses the Five Star Champion’s face when he turns the knob and finds it unlocked. A sigh escapes Simon as he mentally buckles up for whatever is about to happen.
Simon Tillier: Oh boy…
Expectedly, Rezin enters without knocking. When the two shuffle inside, Rezin’s smile widens, while Simon’s face goes white.
Rezin: Heyyyy there, buddy!
No SCOTT to be seen. Instead, they stumble upon GREAT BEAR, who perks up at the sight of a pair of uninvited guests.
Simon Tillier: Uhh, I don’t know why I waited until now to ask, but why do I have to be here for this?
Rezin: Cause I need a witness! And also, if things go south, I need somebody to throw in the way while I make my escape…
The interviewer audibly gulps as Rezin dauntlessly approaches the beast.
Rezin: Hey there, Shardik! How’s it hangin’? Glad I was able to catch ya alone this time, cause I was wantin’ to rap! Also, got another present for ya!
He takes the larger package from Simon, who appears to be thankful to have it taken off his hands. Rezin tears the tape off the top of the box, and drops it on the floor before GREAT BEAR. The inside of the ice-lined box is revealed to be full of several filets of fish.
Rezin: Here ya go! Fresh caught Atlantic salmon… imported overnight, straight from Alaska!
Simon Tillier: …but Alaska is on the Pac–
The sound of a boot stamping down on Simon’s foot cuts off the junior reporter’s observation, and the junior reporter’s face blossoms in pain. Rezin’s uncharacteristically endearing smile doesn’t leave his face.
Rezin: Sorry the thing with the honey didn’t work out! I had no idea SCOTT had ya on such a strict diet! But this is basically an upgrade, right? Anyway… BONG APPETIT!
GREAT BEAR looks questionably at the box of “Atlantic” salmon in front of him, then back to Rezin, looking for some pawssible explanation as to why such an offering would be made by his best friend’s GREAT nemesis.
Several seconds pass where nothing happens. Things are getting awkward. Rezin leans into Simon.
Rezin: …he’s not eating the fish, Simon.
Simon Tillier: Well, considering who it came from… can you blame him?
Rezin throws him an incredulous look.
Rezin: C’maaawn, Simon… who do you think you’re talkin’ to here? You think I did something to the fish?
Simon Tillier: I mean…
Rezin: Hey, don’t get me wrong, as much as I would find it hilarious to see GREAT SCOTT wading around in a knee-deep ocean of semi-digested meat, cheese, and bear crap, I consider poisonings one of the least PUNK ROCK things a person can do! If I was gonna hurt anyone, I got these fists and feets to make it happen!
Simon Tillier: You say that, but given your spate of random spittings, and stealing from catering, and destroying production equipment, and distributing narcotics among other talent, and public acts of defecation, and holding up people in the parking lot for cash, and–
Rezin: OKAY, OKAY, I get it! Look, I know I’ve done some morally dubious things this past year… but I’m trynna put all that behind me! Where the hell’s the TRUST here, Simon?!
The look on Simon’s face says everything: it’s not a matter of where it is, but why anyone should expect it.
Frustrated, but undaunted, Rezin squats down closer to GREAT BEAR. He pulls one of the filets out of the box and, after a moment’s consideration… takes a bite!
Chewing on a mouthful of raw fish, Rezin’s face briefly grows taut with revulsion. But then he notices GREAT BEAR watching him, and swallows it down like a champ.
Rezin: Eh, I’ve had worse…
Behind him, Tillier looks like he may lose his cookies. Rezin stays on task, speaking directly to the ursine understudy of GREAT SCOTT.
Rezin: Here’s the deal, buddy…your friend and I got our issues with one another, this much is true. And yeah, when he and I hash that out at UltraViolence, it ain’t gonna be pretty. I reckon we’re gonna straight bust each other up. I expect he’s gonna come swingin’ hard, and I promise I’m gonna get soarin’ HIGH! So I don’t blame ya for bein’ apprehensive. But, I ain’t got any real beef with you. We can still be cool, right?
GREAT BEAR’s head thoughtfully cocks to the side as he gives these words heavy consideration.
Rezin: Right! The thing is, my dude, I get that you’re goin’ through a strange and unusual time right now. Your boss has made some profound decisions as of late. Bleachin’ his hair. Growin’ a goatee. Those are signs of a new harder and meaner attitude. And here you are, just a bear, trynna vibe, and suddenly errybuddy’s sayin’ your pal is a bein’ a real dick as of late. The kinda dick that punches dicks, at that.
GB’s head cocks over to the other side. Is this guy fur real?
Rezin: Okay, fair point… I’ve kinda been a dick myself. And yeah, I have to come clean and admit that I’m partly responsible for all that’s happened, thanks to my own dick-punching. But I didn’t think I’d send your buddy over the edge and into full-bore Raging Dick Mode, just by trynna defend what’s mine. And maybe that’s affected you in a negative way. It’s affected a LOT of people negatively as of late. And that sucks. It’s like, my dick move has created an entire ripple effect of dick moves. And that… kinda makes me feel terrible, dude.
The Escape Artist looks away, getting lost in his own thoughts as he continues his soliloquy.
Rezin: Like, can accept myself bein’ a dick. Life’s been a dick to me, so why should I be any different? I just do what comes to me naturally. Runnin’ by instinct. Bein’ of the ursine persuasion, I’m sure you can relate to that. I can’t help but be a dick any more than you can help but be a bear. But bein’ the kinda dick that spreads so much hate and negativity around that I other people become dicks? Do you think that’s PUNK ROCK?
GREAT BEAR doesn’t respond, but Rezin curtly shakes his head anyway.
Rezin: No, Smokey, it most certainly is not PUNK ROCK at all. And that… that is a harsh pill for me to swallow. Knowing that by just trynna survive in this world, I somehow end up makin’ it a worse place for others to live in. I dunno much about “legacy”, but I’m not sure that’s the one I want to put in place for however long I’m representin’ this place as a champion. I don’t wanna make good dudes go bad; I wanna bring out the BEST in ‘em! Know’m sayin’?
He stands up off his haunches.
Rezin: ‘Course you do, Yogi! That’s what’s so GREAT about ya! So, while this probably doesn’t make up for all the harm and the drama I’ve caused, I figured I gotta start somewhere. As an apology, or just as a sign of good faith… I dunno, take it how you will. And HEY, as an added bonus…
Rezin snags the second box from Simon’s grip and tears it open. He pulls out…
Rezin: …a NEW PAIR of Beats by Dre! So you can get your VIBES on again! Or at least until SCOTT chooses to break ‘em over my head…
Rather than risk putting them on GREAT BEAR’s head himself, Rezin simply sets the wireless headphones on the ground and slides them over using his foot.
Rezin: So, we good?
Gears are earnestly grinding in GREAT BEAR’s bear skull. Finally, after a moment, his snout goes into the box in front of him, and he indulges on a snack of salmon. Rezin nods with satisfaction.
Rezin: We good.
Rezin turns to leave.
Rezin: Catch you on the flippy-floppy, Gee-Bee… and tell SCOTTY to keep fresh on his algebra homework!
Simon, watching this scene unfold before him, looks astonished.
Simon Tillier: Wow, Rezin! That was… surprisingly generous of you!
The Goat Bastard throws an arm over the junior reporter’s shoulders while popping a joint into his mouth.
Rezin: Simon, ol’ buddy… the day I don’t leave you surprised, I’ll genuinely feel I failed this company! Take it easy, ya normie…
Rezin exits the private dressing room, and the reporter moves to follow…
Then the door suddenly swings shut in front of him. Simon tries the knob… and finds it locked.
Simon Tillier: Uhm… Rezin?
He looks back over his shoulder to find himself trapped alone in the room with GREAT BEAR, who has finished the feast of fish and now looks upon the junior interviewer as if expecting more. His face blanching, Tillier again frantically pulls at the doorknob to no avail.
Simon Tillier: Uhhh REZIN?! ANYONE!? HELP!!
To the sound of desperate knocking, we cut to VOID.