What’s In The Box? Is It Puzzles!?
“This meeting will have to go better.”
“There’s no way it can’t.”
We cut backstage to an open door that has the nameplate TEAM V.I.A.G.R.A. The six members of the team are milling about. There are actually eight chairs, and the two empty ones have pictures of sad faces on them. Standing in front of the wrestlers are Shweta Kallemullah, the Chairperson of the Fighting For Nora Foundation, and Baron von Blackberry, the manager of the Winds of Change. Shweta’s hands are behind her back and she’s looking over her charges with grim determination.
Shweta Kallemullah: Hello gentlemen of Team V.I.A.G.R.A. We called you here for a brief motivation and strategy session before your challenge. We were not here last week, but we understand the planning meeting went…awry.
Joe Fontaine: Okay, so it didn’t go well. Gosh. You know, if what happened to me happened to you, you’d understand why it went so poorly.
Sid Phillips: I swear to God, what happened to you does not happen to anyone else but you.
Shweta Kallemullah: To that end, we are going to, pardon the phrase, but let the adults in the room handle the planning for this challenge
Paxton Ray looks up and snarls.
Paxton Ray: I ain’t no baby.
Baron von Blackberry laughs. Because of course he does.
Baron von Blackberry: Yes, I know. You are a big strong boy, Mr. Ray. No one is debating your bigness or your strongness. However, as Culture Shock has definitively proven, planning is not your strong suit. Or anyone in this room, apparently, Shweta aside, anyway. Love what you did with your hair, ma’am. Anyway, my point is, you cannot simply punch your way out of this. Nor can you powerbomb your way out of this, Minion #2.
Sid Phillips: Are you still on about that?
Baron von Blackberry: I would ask what your strategy is, Minion #2, but anyone could see that from the Hubble Space Telescope! But enough about that.
Shweta Kallemullah: What we need for this challenge is cohesion. A unit with a singular purpose. We can’t afford to bicker amongst each other. Isn’t that right, Paxton?
Paxton Ray: That ain’t gonna be a problem this time, Shway. Lover boy is gone.
Shweta Kallemullah: Be that as it may, we still need some unity here. So let’s find something the six of you can agree on. Anything?
Joe excitedly raises his hand.
Joe Fontaine: Ooh, ooh, ooh. Me! Me! Uh. Let’s see. I’m fabulous. I think we should all be fabulous. We could coordinate our fashion and blow the other tribes out of the water with how cohesive it all is.
Sid palms his face.
Sid Phillips: Can I get a new tag team partner? Preferably one with an IQ that isn’t in the single digits?
Baron von Blackberry: Permission denied.
David Fox shakes his head and puts a hand over his face.
David Fox: Yeah, Mushi. This is gonna be a looooooooong night.
Shweta Kallemullah: Moving on…who here has experience with putting together puzzles? It may be prudent to have that person stationed at the bottom to really get the puzzle working. Anyone have good experiences at an assisted living center, or perhaps had a great relationship with their grandmother?
Jonathan Rhine raises his hand.
Jonathan Rhine: I think I’m pretty good at them.
Shweta Kallemullah: Good. Anyone else have any relevant skills they want to bring to the table?
Sid Phillips: I can powerbomb the other team so hard that their souls will depart into the afterlife screaming. Every single one of them.
Joe Fontaine: You must say that to all the girls.
Baron von Blackberry: FOOL! Everyone in this company already knows that it’s all you know how to do!
David Fox: That’s a good idea. Mushi was never much of a climber, but he’s pretty good at puzzles, so he could stay on the ground and put pieces together, and maybe rough up the other teams and keep them away from their puzzles while I climb.
Shweta Kallemullah: There we go. A good answer. A sound answer. An answer that shows a bit of mental ability.
She stares at the members of the Winds of Change, who look over their shoulders at Paxton Ray.
Joe Fontaine: Think she’s talking about you.
Almost everyone rolls their eyes.
Shweta Kallemullah: So I hope that you have understood the idea here. Play to your strengths. Find a role you excel in. Help the team by fulfilling your role. Do we have any questions?
Jonathan Rhine: Yes. Who’s that?
Everyone follows Jon’s finger, which is pointed at the locker room door, which suddenly slams shut. At the foot of the door is a big box.
Shweta Kallemullah: What is that?
Mushigihara and Jonathan Rhine shrug and go over to the box, then move it to the front of the room. Rhine looks down and frowns.
Jonathan Rhine: It’s addressed to Paxton.
Everyone looks at Paxton, whose eyes widen.
Paxton Ray: Me?
Joe Fontaine: Well, gosh, if it’s address to you, you should open it. Right?
Slowly, Paxton stands up and walks over the box. He takes a knife out of his back pocket.
Jonathan Rhine: Woah, buddy! Did you sneak that knife in?
Paxton Ray: No one searched me.
He uses the knife to open the box, then opens it and looks inside. For a second his eyes widen again, and then he snarls and kicks the box. He walks out of the room, snarling.
Shweta Kallemullah: What…
Joe Fontaine walks over to the box and lifts out two things. One is a yellow piece of paper. The other is the detached head of El Hijo Del Super Cool Guy. Confused, Joe reads the note.
Joe Fontaine: To Paxton. From your pal, the idiot. Kissy face emoji, kissy face emoji, kissy face emoji.
Jonathan Rhine sighs, then walks over to Shweta.
Jonathan Rhine: Jared is going to get pummeled, isn’t he.
Shweta nods slowly as we cut.