THE GAME (ONE) IS AFOOT!
We find ourselves backstage after Coral Avaon and Arthur Pleasant have their match to find four men lounging around backstage, seemingly waiting for someone.
First, you have Joe Fontaine, bedazzled as always. He’s pacing back and forth impatiently, his arms folded behind his back. You had Sid Phillips, who is looking at his cell phone and not paying a whole lot of attention here. You have Kenny Freeman with a towel around his neck, a decent amount of time removed after his battle with Darin Zion earlier in the night. And you have Randall Schwartz, still panicking over the earlier revelation alongside the realization that he is, for all intents and purposes, meant to be competing for the first time in months…and getting more and more annoyed about the delay in getting on with it.
Randall Schwartz: What exactly are we waiting on, again?
Joe Fontaine: FLAMBERGE is supposed to be here soon. I asked Goldie to bring him here.
Randall Schwartz: And Goldie is…?
Joe Fontaine: You know, big guy, kinda quiet, enjoys floral arrangements, but it’s not Hank? That guy. Had to jump through all of the hoops to get him here without us getting fined again.
Sid Phillips: Time out. Floral arrangements?
Joe Fontaine: Well, that’s what I assumed when he showed me his picture collection.
As he talks, the door opens and three beings wander into the room. One is a broad-shouldered, large man in a golden luchador’s mask. It’s quite possibly the same man who brought the Olympic torch last show. The second is Cardsworth, the cardboard version of everyone’s favorite Financier (citation needed). And the third is… well. It’s FLAMBERGE if seen through the lens of madness.
Which is to say that it’s an alpaca in a beret.
Joe Fontaine: There he is! Now we can get started.
Hank frowns as he sets Cardsworth down and hands the leash of FLAMpaca off to Sid Phillips, he holds it like he has absolutely no idea what the fuck to do with this new information that FLAMBERGE is now a South American livestock animal. It’s a situation that he finds so perplexing that even he’s uncertain if he could powerbomb his way out of it.
Joe Fontaine: So, rock-paper-scissors, is it?
The Masters both nod.
Sid Phillips: A powerbomb would defeat all three.
Joe Fontaine: Yeah, but it’s not called rock-paper-powerbomb, is it?
He turns to the Masters.
Joe Fontaine: So, best two-out-of-three?
Kenny and Randall nod in agreement.
Randall Schwartz: And no cheating! These are the Gentlemen’s Games, after all.
The Masters glare in the general direction of Sid.
Sid glares back. However, this is not a staring contest, and so FLAMBERGE makes a strongly-worded demand that they stop doing that. It just happens to sound like a high-pitched bray that catches everyone by surprise, even the Fabulous Gold Mask.
Sid, uh… sheepishly apologizes for the staring.
Joe prepares his fist for RPS action, before he looks expectantly at the Masters. He looks at the doorway, then the Masters, and back to the doorway, and then the masters.
One single solitary knock is all that is needed to turn the attention away from the rock-paper-scissors game, what came next was completely unnecessary. The Beasts of Tokyo step through the door first, followed by a still limping ‘Rhino horn’ Shinji Komiya. A dark shadow fills the door frame, and The Generalissimo walks through with a mysterious birdman walking behind him. Shinji steps forward between all the men and gestures around the room.
Shinji Komiya: You may enter, the Generalissimo awaits your presence.
Everyone stares at Shinji, except for the Monster Menagerie.
Sid Phillips: Did I uh, break him earlier?
Garry Ray-Ray Bolamba: No Sid Phillips, giver of the mighty Dale collectible trading cards, it’s just the only thing Rhinohorn knows how to say in English.
Sid Phillips: Oh…
Joe Fontaine backs away from The Generalissimo and looks over at the Masters sheepishly.
Joe Fontaine: Yeah, so he’s here to officiate…
Garry Ray-Ray Bolamba: The Generalissimo, as one of the premiere gentlemen in all of the world, grants you his personal guarantee of peace for this exciting… what are y’all here for ‘gain?
Joe Fontaine: Rock-paper-scissors.
Garry Ray-Ray Bolamba: Yes… rock-paper-scissors. LET THE GAMES COMMENCE!
Joe turns towards the masters, who are still, very, very, very, very, confused. The Generalissimo waves his hand at the men in attendance.
Garry Ray-Ray Bolamba: You have my guarantee of peace as a mediator, but if any of you…
Garry’s hand points towards Randall Schwartz.
Garry Ray-Ray Bolamba: Especially you.
Garry Ray-Ray Bolamba: IF ANY OF YOU break the truce, you will have an immediate declaration of war from Bolambaland. I will leave Shinji here to watch the events and go largely ignored for the rest of… well whatever it is we’re doing here.
With that, the Beasts of Tokyo take their exit from the room, the Generalissimo follows them out with a mysterious birdman slowly shutting the door while peering his large beady eyes into the room until the last possible moment.
Kenny Freeman: What in…
Joe Fontaine steps to the middle of the room, a large red welt still on the side of his face. He looks around, shrugs, and goes for it.
Joe Fontaine: So, who wants to take on the Red Mountain High School rock-paper-scissors champion…’s second alternate!?
Randall takes a step forward, but Kenny puts an arm out in front of him.
Kenny Freeman: Entertainer, I got this.
With that, Kenny steps up to the presumed battlefield for this contest, also prepared for the fis–er, also preparing his fist for that sweet RPS action. Together, in unison, the two of them perform a chant.
Joe Fontaine & Kenny Freeman: Rock, paper, scissors, shoot!
Joe throws scissors, and Kenny… hits him with the rock. Not literally. That’d be a crime, and the Glueminati has strong opinions about those. No, what we mean is that Kenny is victorious for the first round of the game.
Joe Fontaine: Dammit! I knew I shouldn’t have let Garry slap me!
Sid Phillips: Fine. I’ll do this myself.
Sid Phillips makes a show about removing the jacket of his suit, and then removing his tie along with it. He flexes. He flexes a lot. As though such a thing is very valuable in a simple rock-paper-scissors competition. He stands across from Kenny, ready to do battle… oh, no, wait. He needs to stretch a little bit. You know, because he got to powerbomb someone earlier tonight, so maybe he’s a bit tuckered out.
Okay, he’s ready.
Sid Phillips & Kenny Freeman: Rock, paper, scissors, shoot!
Sid goes with… okay, not a powerbomb, but you know he was thinking it. No, he goes with rock, because it’s the most powerbomb-like of all of the options. Unfortunately for him… Kenny has paper.
Joe can only facepalm.
Joe Fontaine: You’ve got to be fucking shitting me.
Kenny and Randall, naturally, celebrate like they finally won the PRIME Tag Team Championship…which, maybe in another universe, they might have. Who knows. In this universe, they have simply succeeded in winning Rock Paper Scissors, and that is all that matters right now. After they finish celebrating (because the champagne doesn’t come out till the series is won, folks), the Masters extend their hands out to the Glue Man Group as a show of sportsmanship, because of course.
Joe accepts. Sid, though reluctant, follows his lead.
Joe Fontaine: Fair enough. Well-played.
There’s a pause.
Joe Fontaine: But next show! Ohh, next show! We get to pick. And you know what I pick? We’re going to have ourselves a race! In office chairs!
Sid Phillips: Please don’t steal them from Lindsay Troy’s office.
Joe Fontaine: Don’t be ridiculous. We would never steal LT’s office furniture. We’re going to make Fabby do that.
The gold-masked luchador, who’d been silent this entire time, has a look of sheer panic at the prospect, and he wisely runs away from the scene, making a lot of noise as he knocks down the door to escape.
Joe Fontaine: He’ll come around.
Sid Phillips: Well, I hope the Enemigos don’t catch him.
The four men exchange nervous glances before the scene cuts away to whatever’s about to happen with Nate Colton. Oh and Rhinohorn was definitely here.