Private: Tapioca Puddings
There is no shortage of farmland anywhere you turn in the Gem State, but there was an overabundance of it in Chubbuck. While the Puddings residence sat situated on a well-manicured lawn (weekly chore #376 on Tapioca’s list), all it took was a little ingenuity to trespass undetected onto one of Idaho’s many pastures.
Ingenuity usually meant that Tapioca lay across the top rung of barb wire while Muriel hoisted herself over him. Today, it seemed to hurt a little bit less when the rusty pricks dug themselves deeper into his chest. Muriel still made all of the effort of a sand stuck whale in getting off of him quickly, but what was once agonizing now just felt like a minor inconvenience.
Unfortunately, the real wrath of her deep-fried thunder thighs and low center of gravity was yet to come.
Apparently, the owner of this particular plot of land must have either been apathetic or dead, as this was now the go-to spot for the pastier Puddings’ rigorous training regiments. The tractor tire and old toilet that Muriel had Tapioca haul out with them two weeks ago still sat in the same spot where they’d left them. Not to mention the empty bottle of Pinnacle cookie dough-flavored vodka that the Spud Princess had polished off yesterday.
No, the only thing that was any different today was the result of a thunderstorm from the night before. The usual sunbaked dirt had congealed into a savory slosh, a perfect playground for any child with a hankering for mud pie. Unfortunately for Tapioca, it wasn’t the best environment for someone being forced to do push ups.
Maintaining a perfect 45 degree angle with your arms was just one of the things that made the slippery soil uncomfortable. There was a smell coming from somewhere, but to the naked eye, it was impossible to tell if it was just below where his face was positioned. A slight whinny of a nearby pony sounded a lot like laughter to him, and the horror that she’d potentially deposited would have blended in like camouflage.
Tapioca knew better than to make a comment about it, though. It was a day where Muriel was extra ornery for whatever reason: he knew this because of her wardrobe decision before they’d made the drive out here. A pair of tight beige pants tucked into black combat boots, various insignia pinned to the breast pocket of an olive jacket, all topped off with a five-star doughboy helmet. Oh, and a large white fake mustache.
The Insurance General was back again. She hadn’t worn this getup in about a year, but the memory of the last time she’d had it on still managed to sneak into his nightmares from time to time. Thankfully, she didn’t bring the paintball gun or a length of rope with her today. Maybe she was getting softer in her old age.
She did have that annoying fucking bullhorn, though. Manure soup inches below his nose, and the sound of amplified screeching millimeters from his eardrum. It was hard to say which was worse as he lowered down for his next rep.
Okay, it was the horse shit. Definitely, the horse shit was worse.
You’d think that Muriel’s stupidity would be a little bit of a relief to Tapioca, as her inability to count correctly makes the exercises go by that much quickly. Sadly, when you have been asked to do eighty of them, the occasional skip doesn’t really mean all that much.
“ALRIGHT, LISTEN UP,” she bellows, finally setting the megaphone off to the side and bending down to accost him close up. “ELEVEN! Now, I’m going to go over there to let the camera love on me a little bit, and you…TWELVE…better have finished all one-hundred by the time I get done. And do you know what will happen, Private Pisspants, if you don’t?”
Tapioca grunts and musters up a response. “YES GENERAL MURIEL MA’AM!”
“And what is it that’ll happen, Priv–THIRTEEN-ate?”
His shoulders begin to quiver a bit before he obliges. “A BLANKET PARTY, GENERAL MURIEL, MA’AM!”
“I want to hear you counting them off,” General Muriel commands, standing up and walking towards the old toilet, “but NOT TOO LOUD, because I have important things that need to be heard!”
“I SAID NOT TOO LOUD!!!” she screams, her doughboy helmet nearly falling off her head as she spins back around to chastise him.
“Fourteen,” Tapioca whines.
“Did you know that you can go online and get a great low rate for your automobile?”
Seated atop the old porcelain shitmouth, Muriel puts a bit of gravel and gruff in her voice as she delivers her opening line. It’s her best attempt at impersonating the cultural icon who regularly appears with Shaq to promote cut-rate insurance. She attempts to try and twitch her fake mustache, but isn’t really sure how to properly engage the right facial muscles: so it’s just a repeated raising of her eyebrows.
“I’m just kidding,” she grins, removing the white catastrophe from her upper lip and shoving it down the front of her pants for later. “It’s not really the General. It’s just me.”
Thanks, Muriel. We all thought for a second there it was advertising’s worst animated character, glad you could ease our minds.
“I know that it’s been a while since you’ve heard from lil’ ol’ me, and I understand that a lot of you aren’t too satisfied with your recent Muriel’s Stuff purchases,” she states with an obnoxious little pout to follow. “So, I wanted to take some time out and clear the air. I love all my fans so much, and it makes my heart hurt to know that you might be upset.”
“First of all, everyone has been blowing up my Twitter feed asking when the Muriel fashion line is going to hit the shelves of online retailers. ‘Mussy, you promised we’d be beautiful, just like you!’ Well, never fear, chicks and sexy boys. It is on the way,” the Trashed Potato proclaims. “You see, the glitter, the slippers, the sensual pajamas, the t-shirts, all of it? Supply chain issues.”
“Everything’s fricken’ nutso-butso right now when it comes to shipping the finest quality products here to Idaho, baes! Especially when they are coming from the finest knitting factories in Heaven. So,” she continues, folding her hands in front of her and bowing her head down, “make sure to keep praying every night before you go to bed that it will show up soon. And hey, speaking of which, I got SOMETHIN’ to SAY to Hoyt Williams!”
Raising her head back up and focusing in on the lens, Muriel lets her profound thoughts flow out.
“So, I was talking with God trying to figure out when I can expect that merch,” Muriel recalls, “oh, by the way, Cally, she told me to tell you ‘hey guurrrrrrrrrrl’ and that you looked really cute and did a great job with the treats last week on ReVival. Oh, and Genie, you fricken’ queen you, God told me to let you know that your legs looked even better than the streets of gold she paved the road to…”
As Muriel continued to ramble off the deity’s praises for literally every female on the roster (sans Vickie, but I’m sure she just forgot), the PRIME camera tech pans over to catch up with Tapioca’s exercise routine.
It had been close to four months since his older sister had thrust him back into the world of professional wrestling. The physical fitness program he’d endured was truly a boot camp for the navy of Hell, and the spike-tailed devil in this regiment wore discount perfume from Bath & Body Works. However, the hard work was definitely paying off. Tapioca had become the poster child for every fitness enthusiast that tells you dieting is 80% of bodybuilding. Porridge and raw potato skins doth not muscle grow, but the tissue that was there was as sturdy as granite.
Even the pounding he’d taken at the hands and feet of Hall, Mephisto and Tact (not an injury law firm) in his last match seemed to have had a quicker healing process than usual. Tapioca was normally used to fighting through the throbs of bruises for at least a few days as he went back to his daily routine. By the time that Wednesday had rolled around for his weekly “hoist the household furniture on your back so you can scrub underneath it with your toothbrush” task, the lingering pain from Jacob’s brainbuster had dwindled to only mild spinal trauma. Sure, it did end up coming back when Karen suddenly decided she needed a snack from the fridge while he was still under there cleaning. But only for a little while.
While his strength and stamina had brought about noticeable improvements to his self-esteem, this wasn’t the primary reason that the red-headed dweeb walked around with a smile on his face. After 27 years, Tapioca was finally off the singles market! Hell yeah!
Yes, Tapioca has a girlfriend now. Why would you even question that?
Yes, they have never met in real life. Online dating is really popular now.
Yes, she has made hundreds of thousands of dollars as a Twitch streamer, drug trafficker, and most recently a trailer park slumlord. Real business people call that being a venture capitalist.
Yes, she won’t tweet to him unless she receives her weekly “dono.” No, she doesn’t need it, but it’s still nice to know she’s appreciated. With money.
Yes, she plans to use him as a literal human shield in her first ever death match in a couple of weeks. He’s an old-fashioned guy and knows he has to protect his queen.
Yes, he hasn’t even seen her naked. True love waits.
He was on a high that even the strongest of ketamine cocktails couldn’t replicate. And the cherry on top of his good mood? His strategy to completely ruin Muriel’s reputation was going swimmingly. Hell yeah!
No, none of the other wrestlers were really all that concerned about their own reputations being tarnished for helping to sell the dud merchandise. But they might when the lawsuits start getting filed!
No, none of the customers have contacted attorneys yet to file said lawsuits. But I bet they won’t be cheering for her, much less buy any more of her crappy stuff!
No, I didn’t see the rumor that she’s in talks with TLC about a new reality show called …and Muriel Makes Three where couples considering polygamy get to take her for a “test drive” before committing to the lifestyle. There’s no way that show will get picked up, though. There’s too much quality programming on that network for there to be room for it!
No, I didn’t know that part of the pitch was that there would be a few 90 Day Fiance couples on the episod…you know what, god dammit? Fine.
Tapioca was happy because he was living in a delusional fantasy world. A much better place than his present reality. Which, I should remind you, is performing calisthenics on a horse farm. All in preparation for the very first pay-per-view match of his career and the biggest opportunity in his life…
Against the one person on the roster that actually kinda sorta likes him.
“Fuck you, Lindsay,” Tapioca scathes under his breath, trying to keep it low enough to where his sister nor the camera could pick up. Unfortunately, PRIME has a fantastic audio setup, so that remark will likely come back to bite him in the ass down the road.
Tapioca found himself metaphorically bound at the wrists by opposing ropes. Pulling from one side was the apparition of Dusk. A kind man, a class act. Someone who wouldn’t snatch his ice cream cone from his hands and smash it in his face so that his friends could have a good laugh at his expense and ALLEGEDLY make him wet his brand new Lee Pipes. Not that such an event has ever happened, and it’s PERFECTLY NATURAL to have an involuntary release of urine when you are scared, animals do it ALL THE TIME…but just speaking hypothetically.
Tapioca pretty much hated wrestling anyone, but even a tiny spark of anger in his firebelly would be non-existent staring across the ring from Dusk. He represented the 3% of genuinely good people in this business, and had always been gentle in his speech when talking about him. Heck, even his finishing hold sort of looked like the embrace you would give when you are letting a good friend have a good cry in your chest.
He had no skin in this game and his first instinct would have been just to lie down and let Dusk take the win. But, he knew that by doing that, he would actually let the man down – and he didn’t want to disappoint the one friend he might be able to make in the PRIME locker room. Also, he knew that if he did chicken out, there were still consequences at the end of the other rope around his arm.
She was a constant tugger of his limbs regardless of his opponent. An oversized glazed ham wearing military gear. A convicted felon and a repeat offender of ruining both dreams and ice cream cones that you just bought and didn’t even have a chance to lick yet. Worse, she was BFF’s with the boss. And in the eyes of pretty much everyone else besides him and Dusk, she could get away with literal murder and come out clean on the other end via a shower of praise and applause.
The hate began to pump into the atria and out the ventricles at a quicker pace. Each palpitation surging more and more of his energy reserves into his chest and arms.
“Sixty-seven, sixty-eight, sixty-ni…”
“…real nice. Anyway, after she fed me some bullcrap line about the angels threatening to strike being the reason that the Muriel Friendship Bracelets aren’t done, she asked me if I could drag that big hunk of man meat John F. Kennedy into a closet and straighten him out for the good of humanity. So then I tell her, ‘God, bae, you blessed me with the Heiniewrecker 9000 With New Comfort-Band Belt Technology for a reason, so consider this my tithe for the next two years,’ and she was all like ‘alright then, it’s a deal and I’ll get you that merch soon.’ So Hoyt, I’m going to perform an exorcism on Balaam’s stinky sawmill, and your reign is about to come to a close. Good luck finding the next project, dickhead.”
With the lens now back on the General, almost five minutes had gone by until she had ultimately gotten to the point. Readjusting herself on the toilet seat, Muriel smiles and continues her monologue.
“So, as for the Muriel Fire Starter Kits, I have to come clean. You see, I purposefully designed those to not work,” she admits, shrugging her shoulders and attempting to give the illusion of childlike innocence. As if selling purposefully defective goods was a scheme along the lines of a Dennis the Menace prank instead of Lululemon or Fyre Fest.
“All along, I was trying to spread a message about fire safety. Kids, you should never play with matches,” she instructs, “or lighters, even if they are shaped like extremely attractive women. I’m Muriel the Smokey Bear now, and only you can prevent forest fires.”
The President of Idaho lifts an index finger for another proclamation. “Also, I will be issuing FULL refunds to anyone who purchased a Kit within one week of a written request to the following e-mail address on the screen.”
(Note: Muriel never gave us an email address to edit into this promotional video, despite us asking her several times. A day. – M. Beauregard)
“Thankfully, my bae Lindz was able to work Tapioca in as a feature match on Culture Shock, so his bonus will be going towards making all of my unsatisfied fans fully satisfied yet again. And you know that I always aim to please, so a lucky few of you may end up with an extra surprise in the check envelope for your troubles,” she promises. “So again, make sure to send an email to the address on the screen, and we’ll get those to you right away. Also, do not get mad at me if they forget to put the email address on the screen, as it’s not my fault if they don’t.”
(Note: Yes it is. – Beau)
Getting back up to her feet, the insatiable Puddings stomps back over to her brother who is eagerly sweating the calories away. Retrieving the megaphone from the ground, she again leans down next to his ear and politely inquires as to his status.
“I CAN’T HEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR YOU, MAGGOT!”
“Ninety-EIGHT, GENERAL PUDDINGS, MA’AM! Niiiiiinneeeee-TY NIIiiiiine…” Tapioca whines in response.
Nodding her head, almost as if she was impressed with his efforts, Muriel steps over him and proceeds to sit down directly on top of his extended back, then tucks her legs underneath her thighs in a meditation-like position.
Of course, this makes things a little more difficult for her brother to finish his last and final push-up. His spaghetti arms begin to quiver and quake, knowing full well that he still had one more to go. Her weight, combined with his dwindling effervescence, was unfortunately way too much to bear. His entire body crumbled down into the mud save for his face, which he used every ounce of strength he had left to hold his neck and chin up and out of the doo-doo stew.
“YOU GOT ONE MORE, SHRIMP,” Muriel bellows. “ARE YOU GONNA GIVE UP? ARE YOU GONNA QUIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT?”
In every person, no matter how broken they may be, lies a fuse. Tapioca Garfield Puddings, born on an April Fools Day in 1994, had one that was coiled within his frame that could stretch ten times the length of his intestines. The wick would likely never in his life reach the end of the sticks of dynamite.
But that didn’t mean that it didn’t occasionally burn out from time to time, eventually needing to be relit.
Today was one of those times.
“Maybe if you’d get your FAT ASS off of me, you FUCKING DISGUSTING SOW, I COULD FUCKING FINISH. STUPID BITCH WHORE CROTCH ROT HIROSHIMA OF CUNTS! FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! FUCK YAHGAGAGAGHHHRRRRRRGHAGHAGH!” he shouts.
Not whines. Shouts.
Sadly, the tantrum had expended all of the energy he was using to keep his nose away from the danger zone, and Tapioca’s face lands with a plop into the grime.
Muriel, meanwhile, stayed seated with a look of shock spread across her maw. Once she’d had a chance to digest the outburst, the gape turned into a comic book-style sneer when a villain was just on the cusp of destroying the universe.
“You know what? Blanket party’s been canceled, you rude, ungrateful little booger. Time to break out the paintball gun again.”