TWENTY-ONE GUNZ SALUTE
We cut to the great outdoors, because that’s what we think of when we think of “PRIME’s Biggest Supershow”. Specifically, we’re at the side of a lake, with the words “somewhere in America, earlier today” written at the bottom left of the screen.
The camera pans to the left.
Simon Tillier stands there with a microphone. He’s wearing a coat over his usual suit and bowtie, and he looks very uncomfortable to be there.
Simon Tillier: Hello, PRIME fans, uh… I’m here in…
Simon talks, but there is static as he attempts to say the name of the place he’s in.
Simon Tillier: And, well… this is happening, I guess.
He steps aside after his less-than-professional introduction. He’s had a tough go of it since Rev 20, between the peace summit, Rezin teleporting him all over the place, and now this. He wants nothing more to be in a warm bed and to sleep off this whole year of PRIME over an entirely-too-short Christmas break.
A few people gathered around an open, simplistic wooden casket. The kind you built in your backyard because your dad runs a carpentry company and might have scraps of wood lying around. The kind that you might build on the cheap. The kind you might build when you’re planning to set it on fire in the middle of a lake and probably put a lot of toxic fumes into the air.
There is a makeshift stage built from two overturned rowboats and a long wooden plank balanced between them. A podium is placed in the center of this stage where a man stands ready to begin the eulogy. We’ll get to him. The crowd is full of people wearing black suits, many of them familiar. Some of those people aren’t exactly welcome in a building holding a PRIME show, but then again – this isn’t a building where a PRIME show is being held.
There are the three members of Mega Job – Beef, El Janito, and Steve. All three of them look exactly as they usually do, except in suits. Steve, who is just under four feet tall, is obviously the coolest and most menacing person here. The Jimmy Bonafide Dancers – that’s Charlene, Misty, Noelle, Carle, Janelle, Cinnamon, and Biff – are here as well.
And then there’s Joe Fontaine and Sid Phillips.
Joe is wearing a funerary veil. Because of course he is. Sid is wearing a black version of his singlet and a necktie. Because of course he is. At least Sid had the decency of getting help tying it on correctly this time.
And then there’s the brickhouse of a man standing at the podium.
His massive frame is contained within a suit for the occasion. His star-spangled necktie stands in stark contrast to the rest of the ensemble, though, like he doesn’t own any other ties except the American-themed one. Of course, the other thing that stands in contrast to everyone else is the American flag luchador mask he wears.
Captain Justice, the former protégé of Mr. Silver, Chairman of PRIME, stands there with an impatient frown on his masked face. Based on his body language, he isn’t very happy to be there.
Captain Justice: Sit down and shut up.
Nobody sits down. And considering some of the personalities here, are you really expecting any of them to shut up?
Joe Fontaine: Hey, now, where’s your decorum? This is a funeral.
Captain Justice: By the stars and garters of George Washington, man! We are having a funeral for a mannequin! And he’s from Tijuana! You’re lucky I had nothing better to do – and that I’m being paid very well for this – or else I would’ve told you to !@#$% right off.
Joe Fontaine: Whoa! What’s with all those symbols?
Captain Justice: I’m an American, son. A SUPER American, even. When we curse, no letters of the alphabet can possibly express it.
Beef nods sagely.
Beef: It’s true.
Sid Phillips: Man’s got a point.
El Janito: Super Americans always gotta be extra.
The Captain sighs.
Captain Justice: I have long suffered the indignity of being associated with you buffoons. And now you’ve added new buffoons to associate me with. Some of these buffoons I don’t even recognize. What the hell is a Jimmy Bonafide, and why does it have dancers?
The seven Jimmy Bonafide Dancers exchange looks, and all of them offer Captain Justice a shrug. Biff’s shrug comes out about five seconds after the others, because his arthritis is like a mega arthritis. The arthritis to end all arthritises.
None of them speak, of course.
Joe Fontaine: Look. This has to be done, okay?
Captain Justice: I mean, you’re paying me and Miranda said it was alright, so whatever.
He shrugs his broad shoulders, then reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a case for a pair of glasses. The Captain puts them on his masked face, and then reads from his paper. As he does, a number of the participants finally do sit down, minutes after being instructed to “sit down and shut up”.
Captain Justice: Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebr-
Joe Fontaine (interrupting): No, no, no! Wrong one! That’s the wrong one!
The Captain stops and stares at the piece of paper for a moment, scanning the paper thoroughly. While we can’t entirely see his face, it’s almost as though the red, white, and blue of his mask is fading away to a gray.
Captain Justice: Who the !@#$% is “Charity”?
He crumbles up the paper and casts it over his shoulder. Littering is the American way, after all.
Everyone waits patiently as the Captain digs through his pockets to find a second sheet of paper. After a quick glance through, mouthing some of the words that might make him say funny symbols, he proceeds.
Captain Justice: Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered together today to celebrate the life and times of El Hijo del Super Cool Guy, who was taken from us far too soon by the chain-wrapped hands of the Redneck Bayou Butcher Einstein and the supple flesh of his chosen murder weapon, the frail and broken body of King Blueberry.
The Captain looks up at the camera.
Captain Justice: And though he may be dead, his legacy shall live on! And though he may be the first true casualty of the ReVival era of PRIME, because nobody misses math, his legacy shall be remembered for untold generations! We can’t be… we can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it is fate that today is Colossus Night One, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom. Not from tyranny, or oppression, or eGG Banditry… but from annihilation. We’re fighting for our right to live – to exist. And should we win the day, then Colossus Night One will no longer be known as a PRIME holiday, but as the day when the world declared with one voice: “We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight!” We are going to live on! We are going to survive! TODAY! WE CELEBRATE! OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY!
There’s raucous cheering.
Well, from the Bonafides.
Everyone else is dumbstruck beyond measure.
Joe Fontaine: Bro. That isn’t the speech I wrote.
Beef: Wasn’t that just the speech from Independence Day?
Sid Phillips: It was.
Beef: God dammit.
El Janito: We are definitely going to get in trouble for this.
The Captain slams his fists down on the podium, which is clearly made of a non-American material (in his estimation) because it leaves small fist-shaped craters on it.
Captain Justice: Philistines! Independence Day is a perfect American film and I will hear no slander against it!
Beef: Okay, sooo… just to keep that same energy, what are some other perfect American films?
Captain Justice: You know… American Pie, American Psycho, American Beauty, American Movie, American Sniper, Coming to America, Team America: World Police, Air America, Once Upon a Time in America, An American Werewolf in London, An American Tail, An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, and Hannah Montana: The Movie.
Simon Tillier: Um, not all of those are about America…
Captain Justice: That sounds like un-American talk to me. Are you a filthy un-American coward, Tillier? Actually, come to think of it, Tillier doesn’t sound like an American name. And neither does Simon.
Joe Fontaine: But Cap, you have a brother named Simon. He’s my uncle.
Captain Justice: !@#$%!!!
Joe Fontaine: I mean, I guess technically, that would make you my uncle, too, huh?
This actually takes Captain Justice aback a bit. Clearly, it’s not something he’s considered.
Captain Justice: I… wait, what?
Joe Fontaine: Yeah, my family’s pretty crazy. A lot of really scary wrestler mans married into it, you know. Like, I think Brandon Youngblood might be like a brother-in-law of mine. Never really asked him. He’s super scary. He sometimes looks like he wants to invite everyone to his entire extended suplex family reunion, and they’re all hopped up on Puerto Rican coffee and looking to steal some airships.
There is a long pause.
Silently, everyone there, from Mega Job to the Bonafides to even Sid and Captain Justice, all silently agree amongst themselves that absolutely none of them should ever go up to Brandon Youngblood and confirm if any of that statement is true.
Sid Phillips: So, who’s giving the first speech?
There is silence before Joe speaks up.
Joe Fontaine: Well, I guess it has to be me.
Joe hops up on the platform in a very funeral inappropriate kind of way, with an unnecessary flip involved. He actually lost the veil doing it, and he didn’t care much about picking it back up again.
Joe stands at the podium for a few moments, digging through his suit until he finds a speech he’d prepared for the occasion. He clears his throat, and speaks.
Joe Fontaine: I first met El Hijo del Super Cool Guy out on the Las Vegas Strip. You know, where I also met our mutual good friends, the Jimmy Bonafide Dancers. And, you know… we’re just out there living our best and most beautiful life, really. Sid’s powerbombing an Enemigo half to death against a boulder to make it go faster. Jonathan Rhine was still walking among us. Mushigihara could still only speak in his native language of “OSU” before an English fairy kissed him. I already forgot who the fourth team in our tribe was.
Joe tries to restrain his anger for the next part.
Joe Fontaine: And, you know, this is all before Paxton Ray didn’t reveal himself to be an asshole golem built from an entire tribe of asshole golemmancers who got together one day and decided that they would build an asshole golem to end all asshole golems. They forged that prick from the very assholes of the worst assholes in professional wrestling history. It’s why Foster Nackedy can’t poop any more. Fuck that dude with a flute. May it sing the carrion song of his doom. Can I get an amen!?
Joe pumps his fist into the air.
Joe Fontaine: Hell yeah!
He turns to walk away. And then he remembers that he didn’t actually finish his point, so he turns around and gets behind the podium again.
Joe Fontaine: Anyway. We met under interesting circumstances. He was in midair. I was practicing my jujutsu and expanding my domain to include all the boulders we had to push. And then one thing led to another and I was on the ground, destroyed in a Canadian manner. From that point forward, that was the relationship. A man in midair, about to take another man on a Canadian journey of self-discovery. Also, self-destruction.
He sighed. He leans hard against the podium, looking down at it for a long moment.
Joe Fontaine: You know, a lot of people… a lot of people think I’m crazy, wanting to do something like this for a mannequin. An inanimate object. Just something you throw clothes on at a Tijuana Macy’s. Technically speaking, we’re all just pretending that he’s really people out here. I know that. I think we all know.
Beef: Wait, he’s not real!?
El Janito: Dammit, not again!
Joe Fontaine: Okay, so most of us know.
Joe Fontaine: It’s just… he’s more than that. He’s more than that for all of us. Not just those of us in attendance here at our service today, either. El Hijo del Super Cool Guy is more than just a mannequin that came from a Macy’s in Tijuana that somehow learned to embody the Canadian Destroyer and all that it stands for.
He looks straight at the camera.
Joe Fontaine: He’s a symbol.
Then Joe walks to his right, but keeps his head turned towards the audience as he continues to speak.
Joe Fontaine: He represents what PRIME can be. He is who we are. Immutable. Iconic. Surprisingly flexible when involved with flip piledrivers. When you tuned into the ACE Network, he would be there. Sometimes he had vampire teeth. Who in PRIME hasn’t had vampire teeth at least once, really?
Captain Justice: I didn’t.
Beef: Yeah, that’s kind of lame.
El Janito: Vampires are super played out.
Sid Phillips: Yeah, gonna say “no” on that one, buddy.
Even all of the Bonafides nod in agreement. Simon… we know Simon’s opinion by now: a lot of confusion and maybe a little existential crisis.
Joe Fontaine: …Okay, you’re all right. But still. Think about it.
He turns and walks the other way, keeping his head pointed at the camera as he speaks.
Joe Fontaine: If it weren’t for SCG, Sid and I wouldn’t have met you guys. Wouldn’t have met Jared, for better and for worse. Wouldn’t have met Justine, even if she dropped me on my head at the last pay-per-view. Wouldn’t have met Ria, or Jon, or Nova, or Johnny, or any of those guys. Maybe we’re just flashes in the pan. Maybe Sid and I would’ve just been one-note jokes that go away after a couple of months, like the Hollywood Bruvs. Did you know they were in PRIME once?
Sid Phillips: No.
Joe Fontaine: Me either. My point is… the Winds of Change wouldn’t be where we are without this stupid mannequin we’ve got lying in this coffin. So that’s why we’re giving him a funeral. Thank you, everyone, for coming.
Captain Justice: I’m getting paid by the minute for this, right?
Beef: In waffles?
El Janito: Dude, we haven’t been paid in waffles since the last time we were in PRIME. That’s actually kind of exciting to get that kind of payment again.
Captain Justice: You guys are idiots. It’s all about the American dollar, the most powerful of all dollars.
Beef: In this economy?
Captain Justice: Yes. Problem?
El Janito: I mean, in our experience, waffles always spend the same. In our stomachs. With the dollar, you gotta worry about market fluctuations or which direction your market chairperson farts on that particular Friday and whether he saw his own shadow or not. There’s too many variables, but the waffle remains true.
As Mega Job and Captain Justice squabble, Joe takes his leave from the podium.
Steve takes his place, carrying a stepladder with him. He climbs up the stepladder so that he can appear above it. Lording over it, as Steve does.
Steve clears his throat, and then makes his epic speech.
Well, he has to pause meaningfully first. Give him a second.
Steve climbs down off of his stepladder and walks away, and everyone (except Simon Tillier) stands and claps as though Steve’s made the most poignant speech in the whole thing. There are tears, and hugs all around. Steve had said so much.
It’s just so… beautiful.
Then, wordlessly, Misty of the Bonafides stands.
The tears and hugs stop instantly.
Everyone gathered watches in stunned silence as she silently walks up the bricks that serve as the steps up to the platform, and gets behind the podium. No one expected a Bonafide Dancer to stand up in front of a podium and be expected to deliver a speech. No one expected any of them to be capable of speaking. Yet, here Misty stands. Even the other Bonafides are shocked.
Misty speaks with the clear and beautiful voice of a woman who might have been mainlining cigarettes since her fifth birthday.
Misty: Blessed be we, for we brought DA HEAT for the occasion.
Misty pulls out her guns.
We’d insert some sweet GUNZ GIFs here, but we try to keep our owlings to a company mandated minimum of about seven around here, and even suggesting it could merit an eleven owl alarm fire.
A lot of people duck and cover, since Misty has clearly never heard of the term “trigger discipline” and chooses this day to prove this to all attending.
Misty: An’ though this one Super Cool Guy done died, ain’t no way he goin’ quietly in that Macy’s in the sky! Ain’t no way! When Jimmy done left us via a straight fuckin’ mysterious circumstance that may or may not gots to do with a monster truck drivin’ by somebody that ain’t got no business behind the wheel of a machine what crushes cars like ‘ol Janelle used to crush beer cans with them sweet cheekz, all of us done lost our purpose! How can we be “the Jimmy Bonafide Dancers” if we ain’t got no Jimmy Bonafide to dance for?
The Bonafides all exchange glances and nods. Biff is, obviously, a little slower glancing and nodding than the rest, what with the mega arthritis (megarthritis?). Meanwhile, Simon has his head in his hands.
Simon Tillier: I have no idea what’s going on any more. I thought I did. I really did. Oh god, is this what an existential crisis feels like?
Misty continues, slamming the butts of her GUNZ onto the top of the already-cratered podium where she’s standing. Fortunately for everyone attending, neither go off.
Misty: So you know what? Fuck the fire! Fuck it hard, fuck it hard, and fuck it long! That’s two hards! That’s how you know it’s fuckin’ hard! There ain’t but one way we do this funeral!
A light bulb goes off above Captain Justice’s head, which goes to show that you should never underestimate the powers of America when you can manifest a light bulb over your head.
Captain Justice: Ah. By exercising our God-given Second Amendment rights?
Misty: The fuck is that? No, I’m talkin’ about GUNZ. Second Amendment? The hell is that? You messin’ with me, Cap?
Simon Tillier: Wait. Wait. You mean… you don’t know?
Misty: Yeah, honey, don’t know what the hell a “Second Amendment” is. You eat it or somethin’?
Captain Justice: …To be fair, the education system is something of a weakness in our great American culture, and we should really explore better ways to teach the less fortunate. But, uh… for your purposes, the Second Amendment speaks of the right to bear arms.
Misty: Bear arms? The hell do I want with those?
Sid Phillips involuntarily shudders. Joe immediately knows something is wrong, and waves his arms in front of Captain Justice.
Joe Fontaine: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, NO! We just got Sid off that subject! Please don’t mention the “B”-word around him!
Sid Phillips: I don’t know, maybe everyone needs to hear what I got to say.
The Captain sighs, and walks away, throwing up a middle finger over his shoulder as he walks off before the sheer amount of blinding stupidity has a chance to make him ever dumber by association.
Captain Justice: !@#$% this.
Simon Tillier: Uh, this all seems exceedingly dangerous.
Joe Fontaine: Only a little bit.
Sid Phillips: I would’ve suggested just powerbombing the casket into the murky deep, personally. That option’s still on the table, you know. We could just… get me out there on a boat, and I could powerbomb this casket so hard that it will wake up Cthulhu. And yeah, that might be bad for everyone involved, what with Cthluhu’s awakening being the End Times as he drives all of us to raving lunacy. But watch as I powerbomb that worthless Julian Bathory wet dream into the core of a burning star. That’ll show him. Fuck Cthulhu and the misshapen, non-Euclidian horse he rode in on.
Sid pauses, observing the stunned silence of all onlookers, and then adds.
Sid Phillips: Also, fuck bears. Can’t stress this enough. They are worse than Cthulhu.
Mercifully, he doesn’t go any further than that.
Joe Fontaine: So, you’re saying that we should just fill SCG’s boat full of lead instead of setting it on fire.
Simon Tillier: I mean, really, considering the level of talent at this funeral, do you really think anyone here could be trusted to handle bows with flaming arrows and not set ourselves on fire? I mean, really?
Everyone turns to Simon.
Simon Tillier: What?
El Janito: Just… that it feels like we dodged a bullet.
Misty: Y’all can’t dodge a bullet! They done go super fast.
El Janito: What about Boris the Bullet Dodger?
Misty: He ain’t real!
El Janito: …Are we?
There is a very, very long pause. There are a lot of uncomfortable glances around at the menagerie of idiots gathered together for the expressed purpose of this funeral.
Misty: …Ain’t never thought of that. Hm.
She turns back to the Bonafides.
Misty: Aaanyway. Y’all, point I’m tryin’ to make is… we gots to send SCG to the beyond the way ‘ol Jimmy would’ve wanted.
Beef: At the bottom of a monster truck driven by Muriel Puddings?
Misty: Naw, fool! With GUNZ! So say we all!
The other Bonafides – Biff took his time, as he does – stand and gather around the casket that contains what’s left of El Hijo del Super Cool Guy.
JBDs: So say we all!
The camera cuts to look inside the casket.
SCG’s head is still missing. His pieces are collected in disorganized fragments in the vaguest shape of what used to be his body, almost hastily thrown together. Leg pieces were among the torso. Torso among the arms. Pieces of the arms had been used to reconstruct something resembling a head. A scrap of red fabric lay where his head would’ve been. Despite some thorough attempts at cleaning the pieces, much of it is still discolored from Jared Sykes’ blood.
Yet, the amount actually recovered of the mannequin is impressive. A lot of care might not have been taken in reconstructing his body, but plenty of it went into recovering as much of it from that conference room as possible. Also, his “head” pieces are arranged in a smiley face. A big ‘ol “:D”. It’s disconcerting.
Misty leaves her place at the podium to join the other Bonafides. Together, the six of them (and Biff, who isn’t really helping) carry the casket onto the waiting boat. Joe comes over once the Bonafides have prepared SCG to drift. He lingers for a moment.
Joe Fontaine: So long, buddy. I’ll see you on the other side in, like, seventy years. Maybe eighty. Medical technology providing. Well, maybe by the time it’s supposed to be the end of my life span, humanity will just discover the secrets of immortality and I won’t actually see you after all, but you know what I mean.
He places a rose in the casket. Yes, he always had that. No, we won’t explain where he’d been keeping it this whole time. Just know, you shouldn’t always stop and smell the roses. Especially in this context.
With a powerful shove, Sid and some of the JBDs sent the casket adrift. It floats for a while, and Joe turns to Sid and the Mega Job boys.
Joe Fontaine: You know, I think we all learned something today about how we should cherish the ones closest to us. You know, because one day, we might all have to go to that Tijuana Macy’s in the sky, just like SCG. I think that we need to call up all our friends and family some time and tell them that we love them. You know? Oh, hey, Sid, there’s something I kinda found out about the Rainbow Mafia that you should probably kn—
Six Bonafides, the Captain, Sid, Beef, El Janito, and Steve all pulled out their GUNZ. Yes, someone actually gave Mega Job firearms, which is why the local shenanigannery advisory board for [REDACTED] has been going haywire since before this segment started. Also, Biff pulls out his GUNZ several seconds later.
There are many Berettas. Four Uzis. At least two Glocks. An assault rifle. Steve has a gods damned minigun, and we’re not even going to begin to ask questions about where he got that thing, how he’s able to operate it, or how he’s managed to keep that concealed for so long when he’s not even four feet tall.
If you’re familiar with how Orks work, you should know what “more dakka” means. It’s easier to hit your target when you have a wall of bullets to hit them with as opposed to accurate shots that require, you know… skill or finesse.
That’s what happens here.
The sound is cacophonous.
And oh man, there is screaming.
Most of it is from Simon Tillier who never expects any of this and ducks and covers behind the podium. Some of it is from Steve, who is screaming in the style of Rambo as he rips bullets across the lake. The Bonafides empty their clips and then stop to reload. Then they all open fire again. It’s almost unceasing. It’s almost illogical how there’s so much constant gunfire despite the limitations of time, skill, budget, or ammunition.
After a few long, eternal seconds of this symphony of gunfire, it stops.
Well. Mostly. Biff’s still firing. That megarthritis is rough, after all.
Once Biff is done, everyone looks at one another, and then they look out onto the lake.
The casket isn’t so much sinking as it’s in disorganized pieces, floating out in the middle of the lake. Very little of it is actually sinking, because so much of it is buoyant. A bunch of dead fish are slowly floating to the surface, full of bullet holes.
After a short while, a large shape appears from within the water and starts claiming the dead fish. Observant viewers would notice that the shape has the horns of a bull and a scuba tank. Those observant viewers might panic a little at the prospect of the return of an ancient Greek abomination that normally lurks within a labyrinth, but then the figure sinks back into the ocean and disappears. Hopefully never to be seen again.
Overall, this is all very terrible.
Then Joe turns to the crowd of people who are still trying to figure out how sounds still work.
After a long moment, he jerks a thumb over his shoulder, away from the lakeside and back towards where they parked their vehicles.
Joe Fontaine: So! Anyone up for Denny’s?
He has to say it several times, because no one can hear his cool ending line. In fact, we finally cut away to Eddie Cross just as Joe says “Anyone?” for the fifth time.