We’re smack dab in the middle of the hot Nevada desert… and man, that never means anything good, does it? The vast, unobstructed sky is dark except for the faintest hint of a red glow that is peeking out from the eastern horizon. This tiny bit of light is enough to make out the scattering of cacti and jagged brown cliffs. A small, barely visible road runs from the desert floor up a winding set of cliffs until it ends at the top of a solo plateau that is surrounded on any side by flat desert land as far as the eye can see.
And it is on this road where a single car speeds frantically, sending an endless cloud of dust into the air behind it. The black car (with tinted windows) turns and winds up the road as it leaves the ground and travels upwards toward the top of the plateau. Whatever this car’s intentions, it is clearly in a hurry.
We’re just officially at what could be called “dawn” when the car reaches the very top of the cliffy structure. It screeches to a halt, sending even more dust into the air, as all four doors swing open. Out step four men in suits. The men don’t smile – their countenance is stoney and all business.
As three of the men take position surrounding the car’s trunk, the fourth man – the only one brandishing a crowbar – quickly unlocks the trunk and then steps back defensively. All four men have tensed up, and as the trunk door swings upwards, we see why: two figures, both wearing hoods over their heads and with arms tied, are squirming for freedom inside the vehicle. Crowbar Guy turns to one of the other men – a bald man we can now assume is the leader – with a questioning look. Baldy nods, and Crowbar Guy reaches in and yanks one of the figures out of the trunk and drops him to the cold, sandy ground. He repeats the same action with the second figure and then takes a step back.
“Up,” commands Baldy. Next to Baldy, a third man – let’s call him Scowly Jones – cracks his knuckles.
Because their hands are tied, it takes the two figures a second to get vertical. They use the car to help position themselves as they both rise to their feet.
“Got anything to say for yourselves?” asks Baldy.
“Mmmmphh,” comes the reply from under one of the hoods. “Mppphhh ffyyy.”
Baldy shakes his head. He gestures to Crowbar Guy who again steps forward and now yanks the hoods off the heads of the two captive figures.
With their faces now unencumbered, the two prisoners take the opportunity to breathe deeply. One of them, a large pale-skinned man with cool blue eyes and a medium brown beard, turns to lock eyes with his captors.
“Fah be it from me to criticize how you live your lives, boys,” he says, “but I think one of you left an egg salad sandwich in the back of your trunk. I don’t know how that happens, but this nose don’t lie. You probably want to get it cleaned up.”
When he speaks, we can hear the faintest sound of a Boston accent, because we’re listening to “Black Out” Pat Cassidy, one of the newest members of the PRIME roster.
Next to him, the second man blinks his eyes as they adjust before turning to take stock of the picturesque scenery. In contrast to his partner, this guy has dark brown hair and facial hair that is more neatly trimmed. His complexion is also noticeably darker. He whistles and shakes his head as if he is impressed.
“Hot damn, Cass,” he says. “We’re not on the strip anymore, are we? Look at that sunset, dude.”
This is, of course, Pat Cassidy’s partner in crime – and tag team glory – the second half of The Saturday Night Specials, “The Innovator” Brock Newbludd. Both Saturday Night Specials turn to look at the slowly creeping red sunrise.
“Holy shit,” says Cassidy. “That *is* cool.”
Their would-be captors all share a confused glance at The Saturday Night Specials nonchalance about this whole situation. Scowly Jones steps forward and barks:
“Hey! Shitheads! We brought you here to beat your asses!”
Brock and Pat turn from looking at the horizon to sharing a glance with each other. Brock rolls his eyes in amusement while Pat mimics the threat. “Ooooh, gonna beat our asses. How scaaaaary.”
Scowly Jone’s face flushes red with anger as he takes a step forward toward the defiant tag team, but Baldy holds up a hand to stop him in his tracks.
“You disrespected our bosses club,” says Baldy. “He can’t have that. You guys ran your mouths, and now you’ve got to pay the price.”
“Woah woah woah,” interjets Brock. “Listen Tiny – we didn’t disrespect anybody. We were having a blast! But you know, Cass and I happen to dabble a bit in the hospitality business ourselves…”
“We’re legitimate businessmen,” interjects a proud Pat Cassidy. Brock continues.
“…and we were simply remarking on the quality of the entertainment. Your boss needs to be able to take some criticism, boys. It’s part of the game.”
Cassidy cuts in. “Uh… I think I might have peed on the piano, too.”
“Yeah, but did you hear how off key he was?” responds Brock. “It was deserved.”
“Enough of this!” growls Scowly Jones, cutting Brock off. “Let’s just take care of these clowns and be done with it.”
“No!” shouts Brock. He steps forward, blocking his tag partner from the view of the thugs. “If you’re gonna shoot somebody, shoot me! Let him go!”
Cassidy’s eyes narrow. He also steps forward. “Dude. What are you doing?”
Brock Newbludd turns to face him. “Your sister would never forgive me if I let you get shot. You gotta live to tell my story, dude.”
Cassidy considers. Shrugs. “Okay, that makes sense.”
Brock’s face falls. “Wait, what? You’re just gonna let me do this? You’re not gonna… I dunno, protest or say it should be you or something?”
Pat shrugs. “I dunno man, it seemed important to you. Far be it from me to stand in the way of your heroics. I’ll be sure Siobhan thinks of you often. She won’t date anyone else for like… at least three months.”
“Seriously?” Brock turns back to their captors. “You know what – changed my mind. Shoot him.”
“Woah woah woah!” protests Pat. “Maybe we should rock paper scissors for it or something? I mean there’s got to be a fair way to do this.”
“ENOUGH!” barks Baldy. “We’re not going to shoot you. We don’t have a gun.”
Both members of The Saturday Night Specials stop mid-bicker. They slowly turn to look toward Baldy – both wearing looks of disbelief. Finally, Brock speaks.
“You… you don’t have a gun?”
A beat. SNS again turn to look at each other. At the exact same moment, they both burst out laughing.
Baldy is not amused by this. “Shut the fuck up!! We don’t need a gun!”
Baldy reaches into his pocket and flips open a knife. It gleans off the red light of the dawn. “I got all I need to teach you two punks a lesson right here!”
Baldy motions, and the other three men begin to move in to deal with The Saturday Night Specials.
“Hold on!” protests Brock Newbludd. “That’s all well and good… but just give us a moment, will ya fellas?”
The hired thugs are absolutely confused by what exactly is going on here as they all look back and forth to each other in bewilderment. Brock and Pat, for their part, begin to speak as if the men aren’t even there.
“Okay, so… we’ve got a knife,” says Brock. “That one guy has a crowbar. We’ve been in worse shape, right?”
“Oh yeah, for sure,” responds Cassidy. “Wanna do the Whisky Sour maneuver? It worked like gangbusters in Detroit. Worse odds then.”
“Nah, I don’t think so,” says Brock. “That’s more of a six guy thing and we’re only dealing with four here. I say we bust out the old Moscow Mule. That saved our asses last Christmas.”
“Let’s do it,” says Pat. “Just remember what happened against The Stevens. This time, you go left and I go right.”
Brock clicks his teeth and shakes his head. “I dunno man… right really seems like my direction.”
“Your direction? What the fuck? You don’t own a direction,” protests Cassidy. “I can do right. I can go right.”
“You just… seem like more of a left guy, you know. It’s more your thing,” responds Brock.
“Alright! Fuck this shit!” interrupts Crowbar Guy, who charges in for the kill. Both Saturday Night Specials lean backwards to dodge the crowbar shot, and Brock Newbludd gets a knee up to catch Crowbar Guy right in the mush as the momentum from the missed swing brings him downward. Crowbar Guy hits the ground hard and now the other three are all over SNS. Cassidy headbutts the fourth guy while Baldy tries to drive the knife in Brock’s stomach, but Newbludd twists at the last second and manages to catch the knife and the man’s arm in between his armpit. He twists, and there’s a brutal snap sound – followed by the knife hitting the ground. Brock flies backwards, driving Baldy’s shiny head into the car.
Meanwhile, Pat Cassidy has managed to spear Scowly, but with his hands still tied there’s not much else he can do on offense. The fourth guy pulls Pat off Scowly and punches Cassidy hard in the stomach. Brock drops to the ground, slowly inching himself toward the fallen knife until he’s able to brush the rope that is keeping his hands tied against the pointy end.
“Hold on, buddy!” he cries as he works the ropes up and down, getting closer and closer to cutting it.
“Take your time!” yells Cassidy as Scowly lifts him up and punches him right in the head.
“What is this? A butter knife!? C’mon!” Brock yells in frustration as he continues to work the dull blade through his restraints. His eyes go wide in delight when the thick rope suddenly falls from his wrists.
Finally, Brock is free – he quickly pulls Scowly off his partner and drops him with a brutal right hook to the jaw. This allows Cassidy, who still is constrained – to nail the fourth guy with a brutal headbutt that leaves him laying. All four men are down – only The Saturday Night Specials are left standing.
“I should’ve gone right,” mumbles Cassidy as Brock uses the knife to free him. With his hands now free, Cassidy turns to look at Baldy, who is slowly crawling across the sandy ground with his arm outstretched – he’s inching desperately toward his fallen car keys. Pat steps over him, reaching down and picking up the keys just before the hired heavy gets to them.
“Looking for these, dickhead?” asks Pat. He turns, and with a yell, chucks the keys as far as he can off the plateau and out of sight to the ground hundreds of feet below. “There’s your keys!”
Cassidy punctuates the statement by kicking Baldy in the face, sending him to dreamland. He looks to Brock, very proud of himself – but his fellow Saturday Night Special is not smiling.
“Dude,” Brock gestures to the car. “Why did you throw the keys?”
Cassidy blinks. Turns to look at the cliff. Turns back to look at the car.
Several Hours Later…
The sun is now fully in the blue sky and beaming mercilessly down onto the desert below. Waves of heat obscure the horizon and one dare not look for too long directly into the sand. Our heroes, now shirtless and sweating, walk slowly alongside the paved road. With not a building or other sign of civilization in sight, The Saturday Night Specials are forced to make the slow tredge back into town… ready at a moment’s notice to stick out their thumb should some sort of vehicle come down the lonely road. In the distance, a green sign: “45 Miles to Las Vegas.”
“So run this by me one more time,” says Cassidy, sweat pouring off his beard as he walks mindlessly through the humid air. “The Culture Shock deal. Explain to me like… tell me like I’m four.”
“Okay,” sighs Brock, “well…” he turns to look at his partner and his eyes go wide. “Shit, dude… you okay? You look like a fucking lobster.”
“My people don’t do well with the sun!” barks Cassidy. “Just tell me about the thing. The PRIME thing. It’ll take my mind off it.”
“Yeah. Okay. So… we’re in this ‘survivor’ type thing…”
Cassidy interrupts. “So like… we’ve got to run with torches and jump over barrels and some crap?”
Brock shrugs. “Not totally sure. Something like that. They’ll tell us when we get there I’m pretty sure.”
“But…” Cassidy squints. “We’re not fighting?”
“Nah. It’s a competition. You know… like Survivor.”
Cassidy shakes his ever reddening face. “Didn’t we sign up for this gig to fight people? You know… like wrestle?”
Brock shrugs again. “When in Rome, buddy. Think of it like a less murdery Squid Game.”
“Yeah. I just don’t get why we can’t just fight people to get the belts. Seems like that’s usually how things go. Why do we need to get so cute? We need to talk to LT about this. I wish those jackoffs didn’t break our cell phones.”
Brock wipes a bead of sweat from his forehead as he narrows his eyes into the hazy distance. “That’s not the worst part of it, though, buddy. Cause we’re not doing this alone. We’re in… a tribe.”
“Right, right,” says Cassidy while trying not to hallucinate. “It’s on and some other teams.”
“Yep,” Brock says as he steps over a large rock. “It’s us. Nova and Garbage Bad Johnny. A team called… The Masters of the Multiverse?”
“Sounds badass,” says Cassidy. “I can live with that.”
Brock stops walking. He turns to look at his partner, who also stops walking. Brock folds his hands behind his head. “And there’s a fourth team…. The Hollywood Bruvs.”
Cassidy’s eyes go wide. “Maybe it’s the desert sun, buddy… but I swear you just said Hollywood Bruvs.”
Cassidy blinks. Thinks. Blinks some more. “Are you fucking shitting me?”
“I am not. Wish I was.” Brock shrugs. “We’re on the same team as Mikey and Kendrix.”
Pat Cassidy throws his hands up. Gestures to the desert around them. “So wanna just die out here then? Cause I figure our odds are better than being in a toughness competition with those two fuckwads. They’re gonna fold in two seconds if they don’t get their fucking frappes. We’re screwed.”
“Nah.” Brock shakes his head. “We’re gonna do what nobody does better than us, buddy. We’re gonna march in that fucking place like we own it, kick some ass, and then enjoy a cold one or seven with the PRIME tag team championship around our waists. Bruvs or no Bruvs, match or no match, Survivor or no Survivor… we do what we do. We show them who The Saturday Night Specials are.”
After that little pick-me-up speech, Brock Newbludd extends his fist for the pound. Cassidy grins and pounds back.
“Hell yeah… let’s do it.”
The two friends smile… before Brock’s eyes go wide. He points over Cassidy’s shoulder. “DUDE! Look!”
Cassidy turns. “What is it? The Roadrunner?” But when he sees what Brock is pointing at, he stops joking. “Shit!”
Barreling down the highway toward our heroes is a large bus. Both men immediately hop into the middle of the street, waving their arms frantically. When the bus gets close to them, we hear the screeching of the breaks as it begins to slow down. The automatic door hisses as it opens… and out steps a young woman… a rather attractive young woman… in a bright bikini… holding two mugs of frothing cold beer.
“Hey guys!” says bikini lady. “What’re you doing out here? Need a lift? Me and my girls… sorry, I should explain… we’re a traveling trope of bikini models… we’re on our way to the Vegas craft beer convention to eat some steak and then to drink ourselves stupid all night long. You guys look like you could use a ride. Wanna come with?”
A beat. Brock turns to look at his tag partner. He speaks slowly.
“There’s… there’s no way that’s real… right?”
Cassidy, eyes wide, shakes his head. “Who… who cares?”
Brock nods in response, and the two tag partners fist pound one final time before walking toward the bus… mirage be damned.
THE SATURDAY NIGHT SPECIALS ARE COMING TO PRIME… EVENTUALLY. WE THINK.