Dan Van Slade
A red dry erase marker swiftly slithers across the white board. The sounds of chit-chat and mumbling in the background. Middle school students sit snug in their desks, appropriately divided into columns, and discuss whatever it is these cretins like to talk about. Their puberty pow-wow is suddenly disrupted by a text book being launched across the room like an Olympic shot put.
The book’s spine crashes against a shelf at the back of the room that displays life-like models of body parts, bone structures, and organs. The students are startled as they watch diagrams of hearts, stomachs, spinal columns, and brains explode in the back of the room. Every set of eyes instantly widens. Even the modern day stoner in the back of the class is a bloodshot deer in headlights.
The usual Monday at this school never starts with such hostility. On the contrary. Each student turns their head in unison, jaws unhinged, surprised eyes, to get the explanation from the human textbook canon, and it’s not their usual teacher. Mr. Muffington called off sick today.
Who’s the stranger that threw the book? Mr. Devianté, according to the red chicken scratch on the white board. This substitute looks a lot like PRIME’s newest superstar. It couldn’t be, could it?
This man has his curly black hair slicked to the left with a part on the side. Pop bottle glasses covered in athletic tape magnify his blue eyes. A pocket protector filled with various instruments (like a fork for whatever reason) pollutes a rather fantastic cattleman button up (the kind with the roses on the clavicle), and that shirt is tucked into a pair of dusty light brown corduroys.
Well, to answer an earlier question: yes, it is unfortunately Dan Van Slade posing as Mr. Devianté. But why? Let’s find out.
“Good morrow,” he says in an obviously mocking English accent. “I am Mr. Devianté,” and the accent fades into an American mix of bass and hoarse, “I’ll be spoiling your character today. First things first – I want you to take your textbooks and respond to my actions by doing the exact same thing,” and he lunges forward to point in dramatic fashion. “Launch them bastards to the back of the room!” He orders the students with a stern shout.
Almost a minute comes to pass and the students don’t budge. They’re frozen in a state of shock and bewilderment. Who is this man and why are they being summoned to catapult their textbooks? Mr. Devianté is stuck in position and patiently waits. It’s silent. A student coughs. There’s a young man near the back that suddenly stands and looks at the mess at the rear of the room. He lifts his textbook, and then pans his eyes back at Mr. Devianté.
The estranged substitute responds with a Swiss cheese smile, and slowly nods. The student, an acne covered youngster with an unfortunate pale complexion, decides to follow suit. The textbook is lofted toward the back of the room like a Frisbee and it falls a few feet short of Mr. Devianté’s.
Another book immediately helicopters over the students’ heads and smashes into the bookshelf. Then another, and one more. Mr. Devianté waves his hands in the air like he’s the maestro of a large deviant orchestra. Eventually every student in the class has pitched their books to the back of the room. Their attention is on the pile of texts and debris cluttering the floor not far from where they sit. Mr. Devianté clears his throat and he has their attention.
“Pretty liberating, am I right?” He asks with enthusiasm as he begins to pace at the front of the class.
“No debate. Nobody questioned it. You threw your textbooks to the back of the room without asking why,” he stops. “I have your answer,” he looks at the students with a smirk and raised eyebrow. “When you give a slave the opportunity to break the chains – they take it. This institution has failed you!”
“Open your mind’s eye, and see the writing on the wall,” he continues. “You’re being conditioned to be eaten by the rich! If you try to challenge them then those scumsuckin’ simps will have you locked away in a padded room somewhere in Vermont and they won’t give one solitary fuck about it. They’ll slaughter you. They’ll eat you. They’ll shit you out, flush you down, and move on to the next.” He pauses to examine the confusion that’s engulfed the classroom.
The message is too complex and these pre-teens don’t have the bandwidth to comprehend the subject matter. Mr. Devianté senses the disconnect and hurries to the white board. The tip of the red dry erase marker squeaks against the surface.
Students whisper to each other. There are some who have begun posting throughout social media about what’s currently happening.
“Our sub just made us throw our books across the room lol!”
“Yo like i cant make this up but dude just called us slaves and that shit don’t fly fam”
“#HELPME this wackadoo substitute got us all trippin’”
Like buttons are pressed. Hearts. Shares. Retwats. Thumbs up. Laughing emojis. Care. Angry faces. Responses to the posts begin to slowly accumulate. The imposter at the white board is clueless, but he finishes inscribing and tosses the marker aside. What’s written on the board seems to grab their attention. Mr. Devianté snickers and twiddles his fingers.
YOU ARE A LIE
Five hours later.
The food court at the local mall.
“You’re lucky nobody recognized you,” David says as he sips from an Orange Julius cup. “I can’t say that I’m not surprised. You’re already up to your shenanigans. That sort of behavior is going to get you canceled, Dan. The only way you’re going to keep this job, and a place in society, is to take the medication and focus on your potential. I’m not blowing smoke up your ass, but you’re a natural and you deserve to be in a Hall of Fame,” David’s words seem to be going in one ear and out the other.
Dan Van Slade, donning his Super Deviant gear (red cape included), is across from his agent and stares at a plate filled with bite sized pieces of teriyaki chicken speared with toothpicks.
“So,” David continues, “Your genius agent got you a match on the next ReVival,” David smiles and leans back in his chair.
“Do tell,” Dan responds as he licks a piece of teriyaki chicken and then flicks it like a paper football at the table beside them. It conveniently lands on top of a stranger’s salad while they’re not looking.
“Dan Van Slade versus Coral Avalon,” David says as he spreads his arms out and imagines seeing it on a marquee. “For the PRIME Alias Title.”
“Oh, wow, who’d ya have to fellate?” Dan questions with surprise, but he’s quick to follow up. “Now David – I told you before that I’d prefer to stay away from female wrestlers in my first few matches. I have to loosen up, and it takes time. You know how uncontrollable I can become when I’m rubbing skins with the opposite sex. I’m a thirsty little whore baby, and I’d much rather not run around the ring at full mast. Ever see that Drew Carrey episode where he breaks it? Big fear of mine. I’m at a disadvantage here, Davey boy,” and he flicks another chunk of glazed chicken at an unsuspecting child walking past. David is confused.
“What? No,” David shakes off the comments made by his client. “Coral Avalon is a man, one, a member of the eGG Bandits, two, and one of PRIME’s most prestigious champions, three. So, this is a very important match.”
“His parents were real assholes,” Dan says with a smirk. “And these people think I’m the crazy one? There’s a guy out here named Coral who is a member of a team called the eGG Bandits. You can’t make this shit up, guy. I’ve always wondered if I wasn’t actually still unconscious in my padded room as a result of a psychotic coma and this is just part of a gnarly dreamscape. Fuuuuck, that’d be so cool. I am an advanced lucid dreamer. There’s a way to recognize if I’m in the dreamscape. I must do something that I’ve always been unable to do in the realm of the unconscious.”
That’s when Dan decides to rip a very loud and obnoxious fart that overtakes every conversation in the food court. Even the mall muzak stops with a record scratch. All eyes are on the embarrassed David and his flatulent client.
“Nope, this is real,” Dan says while tossing a piece of chicken in his mouth. “So,” Dan says between chews. Mall life continues, business as usual, and the muzak is right on cue. “Gimme more on this Coral feller.”
It doesn’t take long for David to make a simple image search on his cell phone. He presents the phone to Dan who leans forward and taps the screen a couple times with his finger.
“What are you doing?” David curiously asks.
“I’m trying to scroll down,” Dan says with frustration, “where’s the rest of his face?” Dan asks with concern as David spins the phone around and looks befuddled. He stares at the picture for a moment and then looks at his client.
“His face is right here,” David says as he shows the image once more. This time he points directly at Coral’s face.
“Ohhhhh!” Dan exclaims as he leans back in his chair and folds his arms. “I couldn’t see it under that forehead. Damn, son. That man has to have an impeccable frontal lobe. I wouldn’t mind dissecting that at some point and taking it back to Hipton for further research. Quite the specimen, David.”
“Do you think that our parents and teachers were ever going to tell us that there’s a universe out there with untapped energy and knowledge?” A pig tailed student in a Daytona Diamonds Sea-Doo shirt asks. The desks have been rearranged and now create a circle in the center of the room. Mr. Devianté stands at the nucleus with a femur bone replica that he’s using as a pointer, although right now it’s a tool to scratch his chin. He smiles and contemplates the young lady’s question.
There’s a rather unpleasant face being stealthy and peeking through the thin window of the classroom door. Another teacher, perhaps? The bulbous and wrinkled visage suddenly looks surprised after catching a glimpse of the substitute. That’s not who’s scheduled to be teaching the class today and this spy knows it. The face quickly disappears to seek answers.
“No,” Mr. Devianté answers the young girl. “There are secrets in life that carry far too much weight and such information can, and will, become dangerous. But, that’s why I’m here. I’ve been sent to ease that education along, and to influence your conversations with new discoveries. Such as the Planet Hipton, the reigning kingdom just on the outskirts of our Milky Way, which will eventually be recognized by NASA. You’ve all heard of U.F.O.’s, right?” He spins around the circle to notice the students nodding their heads. “Yes! Those are not aircraft designed by your government. Those are indeed members of the Hiptonian Space Navy.”
“Whoa, bro, wait, are you sayin’ that them Hiptan aliens also thems abductin’ peeps?” The question interrupts the conversation and Mr. Devianté wiggles his brows with a sinister Tim Curry-esque grin.
“Hiptonians do enjoy a good specimen,” the teacher retorts.
Five hours later.
The food court at the local mall.
“I’m not worried about who they throw at me,” says the Super Deviant. “I’ve been waiting a long time to make these bitches feel that Hiptonian big dick energy. The entire PRIME roster is on notice. Even that burly ass Hessian who looked at me the wrong way in catering a few weeks ago. Simpleton. He’s an ant under my size 14 Reptilian leather Hiptonian ass kickers, or boots for the layman.”
“Let’s just keep your focus on Coral Avalon and the Alias Title,” chirps David.
“Alias. Ha!” Dan’s shout stops a few mall rats in their tracks. The Deviant waves them off. “The sense of humor these Gods have. How fitting. If there’s any man in this Universe destined to be crowned the champion of the Alias then it is I, The Super Deviant, EL TAIMADO, Yokoshimana, The Prince of Deviance! The only thing about Coral Avalon that may have an Alias is his forehead. He doesn’t even care about the Alias Title. It rides backseat!”
“You know, I was thinking,” David leans forward and rests his chin on his hands, “for being the greatest wrestling promotion on the planet PRIME sure has a roster full of unique characters. A lot of oddballs. I’m wondering if the Super Deviant isn’t in over his head? A lot of deviance in this company. Coral and the eGG Bandits are extremely deviant. They may even be more deviant than – well…you.”
That’s a stinger. Dan blankly stares at his agent. He’s frozen and digesting what he’s just heard. There’s nobody more deviant than Dan Van Slade. Even his initials say it (for those late to the party). The mere thought of the first son of deviance being out-deviance’d is appalling. That feeling is written all over Dan’s face.
“He, they, are more deviant than I?” The Prince of Deviance breaks the awkward silence. “Those words don’t math, David. The eGG Bandits are not deviants. They’re not idiots. They’re planetary swine with God gifted personalities and cognitive abilities. Low tier mugwumps of the Animal Farm. They’re the result of a despicable God doing stand up comedy. The Andrew Dice Clay of comedy. It sounds like shit, it’s delivered like shit and it’s nothing but shit.”
“These guys are basically the bread and butter of PRIME,” David adds. “Coral considers himself the…(ahem)…Crown-less King,” David isn’t impressed and rolls his eyes.
“That’s the problem with these Earth peasants, David. They all believe they’re kings,” Dan slowly shakes his head in disapproval. “I overheard a woman call her man King. I asked him what he’s the King of. He laughed at me. Can you believe that? He then told me that he was MY King. Bah! The nerve of these self righteous pissants and their wannabe ways. They know nothing of royalty. He’s probably never seen a battle between a 24 foot tall angry Octavian Marmaduke and the legendary Hiptonian Guard. I have. That’s what ended the Sector 6.09 Revolution for Inner-Planetary Sexual Aggression. You don’t want a two story bung guzzler trying to sex traffic your kingdom, David.”
“Yea, I don’t think I’m allowed within 500 yards of a bung guzzler,” David laughs to himself. “Only kidding, of course. Quite the name though.”
“Coral seems to be distracted by the wrong things,” Dan is fired up. “This won’t be an embarrassment when Coral watches the referee hand me the Alias Title. That’s if he’s conscious. A match against The Prince of Deviance is a high honor! He will be remembered for standing his ground. A foe’s confidence is always so dear to my heart. But, they won’t erect statues for him on distant planets as they have I. They won’t celebrate his birth as an intergalactic holiday; like mine. He will have an asterisk under my name as another addition to my growing dead pool.”
“I dig the confidence, buddy,” David likes what he hears. “I’m in the works of putting together a nice little shindig in a few weeks. We will need to celebrate your victories. That title will look great displayed on stage. I’m close to hiring the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, too. We’re going to have a buffet (pronounced buff-it) of meats, fountains of champagne (pronounced sham-pan-ya), and I was thinking we could play some Twister or something.”
“The celebration will see bursts of corks and sparkling bubblies!” The idea of having a celebration excites Dan. “This isn’t just a celebration for Dan Van Slade, first born son of the Uber Deviant, King of Hipton, but this will be a remarkable milestone for PRIME. The 20th Alias Title holder. A belt that’s been wrapped around the waists of such characters in PRIME lore such as Thug rOC, the ever-so-plain Adam, and the Illustrious Face-Eater. Three names that will now drown in the annals when your humble deviant becomes the 20th PRIME Alias Champeen!”
“That’s a great idea!” David catches his client off guard. “We should invite past Alias champs to the Celebration of Deviance. Not Coral though. It’ll be too soon. Too fresh. The wounds will need to heal,” David looks at his phone. The Super Deviant shares a Cheshire grin.
“Wounds indeed,” Dan says with a furrowed brow.
A hand raises. Mr. Devianté points the femur toward a young boy wearing a Rick and Morty t-shirt.
“So what’s going on over at Area 51?” The boy asks. Mr. Devianté grins and nods. It’s clear that he predicted the question would creep its way into today’s lecture.
“What’s great about any planet is that there’s so much space,” the devious substitute continues. “You will never know how much. There are numbers, but those numbers are not true. This planet is far bigger than you’ll ever know. That’s why so many galactic agencies want it. This place is fuckin’ huge!”
“So, to answer your question,” he carries on, “Area 51 is this planet’s largest virtuoso resort. Within that Air Force facade is actually human made Heaven. Paradise. That’s where some of the Earth’s greatest leaders, thinkers, educators, and entertainers have been taken to assist in the re-development of humankind. It’s a mirage designed to be a place where they experiment on subjects classified to the public. Their genius fools you! They’re writing the plot for today’s agenda, mIiIiIiInNnNd CoNnNnNtroLlLl, and turning you all into puppets. This is your so-called Illuminati, although they don’t call themselves that. They do this while being mused by creative geniuses like Tupac Shakur and the Notorious BIG. Whom they see in concert, and often.”
He’s peaked their attention and the group begins to talk amongst themselves. Did they hear that right? Is there a place on this planet where gifted individuals are taken to assist in a mind control scheme? Is everything they know a lie?
The classroom door burst open. That pudgy, homely spy from earlier is standing with a very large African American man in a dark brown suit. That’s Principal Leroy Merriweather, and the blob is Current Affairs teacher Ms. Wellington (she’s a miss for quite a few reasons). Marriweather is a dominant tower of a man with the squarest jaw this side of the Mississippi. His piercing brown eyes shoot over at Mr. Devianté.
“Who the Hell are you?” Principal Merriweather aggressively asks. He and Ms. Wellington inch their way into the room. Mr. Devianté doesn’t seem concerned and he calmly walks to one side of the circle and hops over the desks.
“That’s a pretty loaded question,” says Mr. Devianté as he starts toward the side of the room where coats hang. He removes a jean jacket from a hanger.
“Where is Mr. Daughtery?” Merriweather asks as he looks at all the students with concern. He directs his attention back at Mr. Devianté. “Ms. Wellington – call the police,” he says calmly. Ms. Wellington pulls out her cell phone. She’s suddenly blinded! Mr. Devianté throws the jean jacket at Ms. Wellington and it covers her unsightly presence. She drops the phone.
“Class dismissed!” Mr. Devianté shouts. He blazes out of the classroom and down the hall. Principal Merriweather jolts toward the door and hangs his head out.
“SOMEBODY STOP THAT MAN!” Merriweather screams, but all he hears is the wild cackling of the imposter as he scurries toward an exit and passes attempts of capture.
Nobody can stop him.