THE SWORD DOG IS MY SECOND
Jonathan Rhine walks around the backstage area looking for someone. We quickly find out who he is looking for as he talks to a staff member.
Jonathan Rhine: Have you seen Paxton Ray? Tall, beard, punchy?
The staff member shakes his head and walks away. Jon continues to walk, then finds himself near the tag champion locker room. After a moment, he knocks on the door and walks in.
Jonathan Rhine: Jared, you in here?
“No, they moved us this week.”
Behind him, in the hallway, stands the king of blueberries. His left hand is newly bandaged, with white tape over a heavy pad of gauze in the palm. This is why when you find yourself in a situation where a dog has a sword, you don’t try to pull it out of its mouth. Or maybe just don’t give the dog a sword in the first place.
King Blueberry: Something about that room needing… You know what, nevermind. What’s up?
Jonathan Rhine: You seen Pax anywhere? My match is coming up and he isn’t around to give me backup.
King Blueberry: I haven’t, no. Things got a little weird on me tonight, so I’ve been stuck in one spot for a fair bit.
He flexes the fingers on his left hand, wincing a little at the sting.
King Blueberry: Why? Did he go missing? He’s not on some crazy punch rampage, is he?
Jonathan Rhine: God, I hope not. He kept telling me that he was going to take it to the Bandits tonight, but I haven’t seen him or Bobby, and I asked Wade if he had seen him earlier and he said no. So I think that should mean no rampage.
Jon sighs and begins to close the door, then stops.
Jonathan Rhine: Actually…you’ve got an off night, right? Want to come with me to the ring to make sure Bathory doesn’t pull anything funny?
King Blueberry: I can do that, if you want the back-up. Honestly, after “dog with a sword” I feel like whatever the MESSIAH boys get up to is probably pretty tame.
He pauses, just long enough for the new thought to register.
King Blueberry: Wait, is Shanahan even going to be out there, or is Bed Bathory & The Infinite Unknowable Beyond doing this one alone?
Despite himself, Jon laughs.
Jonathan Rhine: That’s a good one. Yeah, I think he’s by himself, but…I don’t trust him regardless. MESSIAH is evil and secret. There are probably 3000 members in the dark, waiting to do his bidding. I’d just feel better knowing I had someone to help me.
King Blueberry: That’s a fair point. Just know if I get hit with a moon rock and we fuse into one person, then apologies in advance for the, ummm, vivid thoughts about some people we know that you’re suddenly going to become aware of. I’ll go halfsies on the therapy bill though.
Jonathan Rhine blinks twice, then shrugs.
Jonathan Rhine: Works for me. And I’ll come with you ringside for a match in the future too. I’m already feeling a lot better.
They’re interrupted by the sounds of screaming, as Patience and Decius bolt down the corridor away from the bounding Bucky Rex Daniels and his latest squeaky toy – a 4-foot bastard sword with a smear of blood drying on the blade.
And before anyone asks, yes, it counts as a squeaky toy if that’s the sound people make when you chase them with it.
King Blueberry: Jon! Move! Now!
The pair quickly spring up onto the crates that line the near wall, narrowly avoiding being trampled by the Montgomery twins. Or worse.
A moment later, and a door is flung open. Reina Raspberry peeks her head into the corridor, spotting two grown men balled-up on top of production equipment.
Reina Raspberry: Would someone like to tell me what the hell that was all about?
Her eyes fall to the bandage around Blueberry’s left hand.
Reina Raspberry: And what happened to your hand?
King Blueberry: Would you believe me if I told you the answer to both of those questions is “dog with a sword?”
Reina Raspberry: You know I used to think a lot of people said about you was bullshit, even though the videos are all there online. But actually being in it? Makes a girl think.
She glances over his shoulder at Rhine.
Reina Raspberry: Well, at least you had the decency to find an adult. Hi, Jon. I’ll apologize on Jared’s behalf for… whatever he’s done this time.
Jonathan Rhine has been friends with Jared Sykes for long enough to know exactly what comes with the friendship. But it’s possible that he forgot during their issues, because he does not immediately respond, his eyes widening. Then, he laughs.
Jonathan Rhine: It’s fine, Cal.
He turns to King Blueberry as he begins to get down from the crate.
Jonathan Rhine: If you can get Bucky out there with us, Jared, I’ll feel even better.
He cocks his head to the side.
Jonathan Rhine: I think.
King Blueberry: If you want the dog out there, then the first thing I need to do is see if I can find a crate full of armor. Or, at the very least, a sturdy codpiece.
His eyes fall to his partner, who is staring back at him emotionless. She slowly shakes her head.
King Blueberry: What?
She says nothing as she steps back into the locker room and closes the door behind her. What follows is the sound of something heavy being pushed across the tiled floor, ending with a thunk as it braces the door shut from inside.
King Blueberry: Okay, serious question: you think she’s hiding from me or the dog?
As both men return to safe ground, Jon puts a hand on King Blueberry’s shoulder.
Jonathan Rhine: Yes.