Private: C. Mortgomery Byrnes
If it wasn’t bad enough that he did not want to participate in the match against Dusk to begin with, he found himself standing in front of a forklift that had been parked in front of his locker room door. That, in and of itself, does not make sense, since the door opens inward. Still, as he climbs over the seat, all he can think of is the sandwich he left on the coffee table. Mustard be damned, the sandwich stands no chance of surviving the night. So when he opens the door and sees an empty plate on the coffee table, there is only one thought on his mind – and without thinking he says it out loud…
“Who the hell is leaving in an ambulance tonight?”
The three men in the room look at each other, and it becomes blatantly clear that one of the men did not coordinate with the other two to cover his tracks. Domingo Cruz and Frank Pastore both point their fingers at Mortimer Knightingale, because even without knowing what he is talking about – they all know what Tony Gamble is angry about.
All but one of them. With no previous knowledge (or more accurately, a lapse of memory) of the events within the dressing room, Mortimer Knightingale stands between the two Gamble henchmen, head throbbing as if there were a teeny tiny construction worker operating a jackhammer inside his cranium seeking freedom from the gray matter around him. The effects of being thrown through a wall by a dimwitted, roided up Russian prick who, at this moment, is walking around with “doucheswaggery”.
Mortimer looks at Domingo and then looks at Frank and then back at Domingo and then back at Frank. Their fingers aimed at him loaded with imaginary bullets of accusation. Of course, they have conspired against the masked man. They had clearly split the sandwich and concocted a rather diabolical scheme framing Mortimer Knightingale. Mortimer has no choice but to defend himself. He throws up a finger in protest.
Mortimer might not have all the details down since crawling out of that hole in the wall, plaster covering his mask and face, but if there is one thing he is sure of, he did not eat anything. He would remember something like that. There would be some lingering effects such as belching or sandwich breath or some little piece of food stuck in his teeth. Something. There is nothing so he must not have done it and therefore, he must expose these mooks’ blatant lies.
“Conspiracy eating not I as they believe they would have you to believe that!” Mortimer exclaims in protest and the same vigor he would as if he were accused of stealing presents from an orphanage two days before Christmas much like Oscar the Grouch in that Dr. Seuss story….only this time (unlike the events surrounding the holidays of 2007), he would be completely innocent.
“I don’t even know what the hell you just said,” Tony’s eyebrow cocked as he took a moment to take in Mort’s appearance. Disheveled is an understatement to be sure, it’s like looking at Tony Montana at the end of Scarface. “You don’t look too good, Morty. What’s all over your damn face?”
If Tony Gamble had x-ray vision, he would have been able to discern Mortimer cocking his right eyebrow. Mortimer looks down at his teal and black tracksuit, “G.A.S.” emblazoned on the back. The white powdery substance puffs into the air and into Knightingale’s lungs. Mortimer begins having a coughing fit. Each cough becomes more painful than the last as he feels like his lungs are about to collapse and his head is about to explode “Scanners” style.
“Formica.” Whether or not that is the word Mortimer intended to use or not is unclear. It could very well be that he intended to state the truth (“Plaster”) or came back with a sarcastic quip (“Your mother’s cocaine stash, you pretentious cock”). In any case, the conviction with which he said it and the steadfast look of certainty in those eyes of his….those glazed eyes with the dilated pupils, the right one more dilated than the left. Gamble has to wonder if something is wrong or Mortimer is just messing with him.
“Micah? Micah who and what’re we doin’ for him? Or her? Or them?” Mortimer wonders what the hell Tony Gamble is talking about now. Why is he even here? When did he get here? Perhaps Mortimer was lost inside of his own mind (which feels like a flurry of bombs going off in it), thinking of ways to get back at Ivan Stanislav. Although, he cannot remember what they were.
“How long has he been like this?”
Domingo shrugs his shoulders, as Frank shakes his head and points at the empty plate. “He was sitting there pretty quiet as he ate your sandwich, so not really sure, boss.”
Tony walks over like an overprotective mother and starts dusting Knightingale off. “Were you rolling around in Bobby Dean’s stash of powdered sugar trying to look like a snack? You’re a mess, Morty. Do you even know where you are right now?”
Mortimer Knightingale takes a step back as if The Grin had compared his mother to a common drug dealer. Of course Mortimer knows where he is: The Planet Earth. More specifically, in the Northern Hemisphere. Even more specifically, in this dressing room. Mortimer is not sure what Tony Gamble’s game is, perhaps he is trying to gaslight him into thinking he is part of a time traveling multiverse where he must catch various versions of Jack the Ripper or maybe this is another twisted way Tony is trying to exert his authority over…..in midthought, Mortimer then looks up thinking to himself “What was the question?”
Tony isn’t sure what happened to Mortimer earlier, but he is sure that something is wrong. “Go get the doctor, Cruz.”
The dust creeps into Mortimer’s nose and he lets out a supersonic sneeze which hits Tony Gamble in the face. While there was some spittle, there was, thankfully, a noticeable lack of snot and/or phlegm.
“I don’t need a fuckin’ doctor. Just get me in front of that Ivan Jackoff motherfucker so I can kick his fuckin’ clock like one of them whore-gy people! He is fucked! The only breaks of the clock comes from the fist of my pain!” Mortimer suddenly feels his legs become gelatinous goo, and the room starts spinning like the Cyclone at Coney Island as he drops to the ground.
Alas, it turns out Mortimer was thrown through a wall, Tony was forced into having the match with Dusk, in which he came up just short of defeating him due to Elvis Nixon’s blatant interference, and worst of all Tony never enjoyed his sandwich. The night was essentially a complete and utter failure.
= * = * = * =
“Speaking of utter failures,” Frank Pastore pats Domingo Cruz on the shoulder. “Remember that one time you tried to throw out that bald headed dude that kept grabbing the waitresses ass, and when you had him by the shirt he just threw up all over your beard.”
“That shit was gross, man,” Domingo replies with a bit of a gag.
“I know you’re trying to make me feel better, Frank,” Tony Gamble sat across from the pair with his face planted firmly in his hands. “But I’m just not feeling it right now. Mortimer got thrown through a damn wall, and we didn’t do shit about it.”
“He specifically told us not to,” Frank replies.
The office door swings open and Mortimer Knightingale enters with all the exuberance and vigor of a small child hopped up on Pop Rocks and Pixie Stix. Mortimer, sporting an uncharacteristic smile and an even more uncharacteristic flannel shirt and khakis.
“Do you know what the two most wonderful words in the English language is?” queries Mortimer. But then, asks: “Are? Or Is? Is it ‘is’ or ‘are’?”
Frank opens his mouth to answer but is immediately interrupted by Mortimer.
“Who cares? The answer is ‘Medically Cleared’! It is right up there with ‘Not Guilty’, ‘Exculpatory Evidence’, ‘Free Beer’, and any two words strung together by Alicia Silverstone in basically anything she ever did. To those that would argue and suggest Sarah Michelle Gellar was more of an icon for the time, I say ‘As if’ and, if there is any more arguments of the contrarily type, I would ask that you go fuck yourselves.” Mortimer muses as he pats Domingo on the arm in a still even more uncharacteristic friendly manner.
“You okay there, pal?” a suspicious looking Frank asks Mortimer.
“What? You got a case of the shit in the ears?” Mortimer smugly asks. “Medically cleared! Which means I get to finally get my hands on that Jolly Green Pissant. That Russian asshole is goin’ down like a fuckin’ redwood! Who’s he partnered with again? It ain’t that Angelo Luchadoray prick, is it?”
“Pretty sure it is,” confirms Frank.
“Of course it is!” Mortimer knows this is a slightly deeper battle within this tag team match at Revival. It is not just about Mortimer and Ivan. It is also about how Angelo Luchadoray underestimates Mortimer.
“That filthy whore pox fuckwit knows he was a millisecond away from losin’ to me at ‘The Great American Nightmare’ before the….” Mortimer glares daggers towards Tony Gamble. “….unfortunate state of affairs that occurred of which we are prohibited from discussin’ under these current circumstances which prevented me from capturin’ the Impulse, Intense, Whatever Title. Needless to say, I do have unfinished business with him and finish it I will. ‘We’ will. Ain’t that right, cappy?”
Mortimer slaps the Grin on the back, a slap that reeks of disrespect and repressed anger. Tony knows he deserves it though, it is his fault after all that Mortimer isn’t standing here with the Intense Title draped over his shoulder. Although, he does seem to be the type that would rather wear it around his waist. There’s no way to go back and change what happened, and even if the two may have squashed that beef during their match, Mortimer is allowed to be upset with how this all began.
“Yeah,” the lack of enthusiasm in his response says otherwise. “We were just talking about that.”
What they were actually talking about was Tony feeling as if his lack of actions against the Russian bear proved he wasn’t fit to actually be a leader. Mortimer didn’t even want to be a part of the group, and as the Angry Luchador also likes to bring up, was here against his will. Yet, somehow, Tony felt the need to make sure he fit in and felt like he was a welcome part of the group. He didn’t want to make him feel like he wasn’t wanted, because Tony seriously wanted him to be there.
“Ivan’s going to be tough to bring down, so it may be wise to keep him out of the ring as much as possible.” Tony lifted a finger in the air. “But we can’t take the Anglo Luchador lightly, he’s not easy to keep down either. He’s a crafty son of a bitch, and I’m pretty sure he knows we were the ones that attacked him backstage at Revival 19… So he’s going to be pissed.”
“You’re actin’ like he’s Little Lord Fuckpants,” Mortimer scoffs. “Angelo Luchadoray deserves everythin’ he gets. You think he thinks he lucked out in retainin’ that title against me? No! He probably doesn’t even give it a second thought. Not to be, as my Cousin Mikey would say, beatin’ a dead hooker but that arrogant fuck is screwed six times to Sunday as far as I’m concerned. And that Russian shitstain thinks that he can throw me through a wall and get away with it? Fuck that. And I’m not takin’ this lightly, I’m just exfoliatin’ positivity here!”
“We have to be smart about this, and take our time,” Tony begins, a bit surprised by Mortimer’s uncharacteristic look and attitude toward the group. “You know, I haven’t had much success since my return, but you going full Tim Robbins here has me feeling good about our chances in this match. I feel like exfoliating some positivity too!”
“I’m just shootin’ out the positive vibes to ya, ain’t I, cappy?” Mortimer feels sure of himself, more sure than he has in a long time, almost verging on overconfidence. “Just call me your positive vibrator!”
Tony is left speechless, but the laughter coming from his cohorts is uncontrollable and over the top. It would be on the verge of over dramatic, were it not for the fact that it was actually really funny.
“How about we call you something else in public though,” Tony rubs good chin. “On second thought, having a positive vibrator with GAS is going to go over like ketchup on fries.”