TO NOT BE IN ONE’S PLATE
Following the match and the advancement of Chandler Tsonda in the Almasy, the camera cuts backstage to Don Winters standing in one of the arena’s back corridors. He’s changed back into his white suit and crimson button-down, his auburn hair has been slicked back neatly once more and he looks tired. Despite a shower, dark circles hang ominously beneath both of his eyes. The Revelator sighs loudly, staring wearily into the camera.
Don Winters: I have failed Him here tonight. There are no excuses for being tricked by the devil. I cannot admit Cancer Jiles is the better man, the better wrestler, because I refuse to believe those things in my heart. However, I have unequivocally failed His Word and Light, and there will be consequences.
The Revelator leans his weight against the cool concrete wall.
Don Winters: I know Jiles thinks this is over. That he can just move on to the next round of the tournament, hold on to his Golden Ticket for another couple of weeks and never think about The Revelator again. I want PRIME and specifically Cancer Jiles himself to know that I am not done with him. His Word and Light is not finished. False idols may win battles, but they cannot prevail in a war. It might be weeks, or months before we cross paths again, Jiles, but I will not forgive and I will not forget. He demands your absolution and I must grant it.
Winters pounds a fist against the wall, and his eyes narrow. The anger is building.
Don Winters: I deserved this tonight. It should have been mine. Cancer Jiles doesn’t DESERVE this. He hasn’t EARNED this. There is something sinister at play here, something bigger than all of us. Jiles is a demon that must be banished, he and his unholy prophets cannot be allowed to…
The Revelator trails off as the very familiar set of omnipresent brown slacks, overcoat and pointed military hat appear on frame and pass down the hall. The Russian takes one step past Don Winters and pivots around to face him, a wry grin on his face.
Alexei Ruslan: Oh! It appears that little Charlie Buckets has failed to win Golden Ticket?
Don Winters is exhausted, beaten up, annoyed and ready to go home.
Don Winters: Bucket. It’s Charlie Bucket.
Alexei Ruslan: Buckets? Whatever. Do not fret, dear boy. I am sure you prayed long and hard to win match, did not you?
Alexei Ruslan: How did that work out for you? Did you know Ivan Sergeiovich did not pray for his match against Brandon Youngblood and he won Universal Title with ease. Something to think about, hm?
Winters has resigned himself to having to listen to this play out.
Alexei Ruslan: Cancer Jiles did you big, big favor tonight, preacher man. Ivan would have broken you in half without a second thought. быть не в своей тарелке (To be not in one’s plate), preacher man. Or as you might say in your filthy English language, you are fish out of water. Consider for a single moment what our Universal Champion would do to someone like you. Someone who misplaces their faith in imaginary things! Believing in ghosts, spectres and the make believe? Best to believe in something true and glorious like The Red Army!
Winters pushes himself off the wall and stands at his full height, a full inch taller than Alexei himself. His attempt to make himself intimidating makes Alexei giggle. He knows the Revelator is no threat and he’s enjoying the game.
Don Winters: If that’s the case, Alexei, you must have bigger fish to fry somewhere else around here, no? Or should I be grateful that you’ve decided to take time out of your busy schedule to visit with me.
The sarcasm is beginning to bite through the usually reserved Winters.
Don Winters: We could go back to my locker room together, and have an impromptu confession. I’m sure there’s a lot you’d like to get off your chest. I’m sure there’s a lot of things you do for Ivan that hang heavy on your conscience. I can help ease that pain, Alexei.
Alexei spits on the concrete floor and sneers at The Revelator. His eyes twinkle with a barely hidden malevolence and glee.
Alexei Ruslan: On no, dear Mr. Winters. I represent The Red Army, the Universal Champion, and Mother Russia. Yes, I have done some awfully terrible things in my life. And I have enjoyed every one of them. Keep your false prophets, preacher man. Pray to your empty God for thanks in fact that Jiles beat you, but know your words flitter away into nothingness.
The Russian continues unabated, with Winters watching him with a mix of amusement and confusion.
Alexei Ruslan: Furthermore, you should be so incredibly grateful that I decided to even give you the time. Did you know that I was once World Champion? Yes, Mr. Winters, I was. Here I am, minding my own business, walking down hallway to find you and cameraperson taking up all the space, crying into your Bible. So, being nice man I am, of course I decide to say hello to you. Why?
Don doesn’t reply, but he knows that rascally Russian is on a roll.
Alexei Ruslan: Because this is as close to greatness as you will ever be. So take care, Mr. Winters. I am sure we will not be meeting so soon again, for your sake. Hah!
With the squeak of his heel, Ruslan turns and begins to walk away while the grin he wears on his face radiates satisfaction.
Don Winters: Alexei, one last thing.
The Russian spins around on his heel to face the Revelator.
Don Winters: It may not be me, and it may not be anytime soon, but Russian giants fall just as easily as Philistine giants. Remember this and maybe someday both you and Ivan will be granted absolution.
Winters watches with a wry grin as Ruslan walks away and we cut to commercial.