High Up in the Sky
“There is a code of conduct among the eGG Bandits. Then, high above said code eggsists Rule One. Rule One states that there are no rules. Bandits do as they please. The word permission need not apply to them. It is foreign. Like Timo.” – Jiles’ Journal, August 27th, 2022.
The Fourteenth ReVival had concluded.
There we were.
The three of us.
About to pull off the heist of the century.
Bobby was uncharacteristically showered. Doozer was visible, yet still very old. I had finished meeting with PWA brass, and instead of looking like the usual 97-million dollar bill I am, well, no spoilers.
It was late.
Instead of spending the night in Vegas and then going to wherever High Octane Wrestling’s Chaos was being held, we decided there was no time like the present. Plus, COINCIDENTALLY, our window of opportunity was open. What I mean by that is true to form and also true to my word, and me being me– the GREAT Confiscator if you will…
… and more accurately since that painted rat had taken so much from me…
…I thought that if I colored my face similar to Timo Balaamba, infant WARRIOR style so to speak, and showed up to his SHIELD hanger with henna sleeve tattoos, that maybe, since no one is really paying attention to Phase 4, I could “borrow” his fancy jet and use it henceforth as the Bandits’ way of navigating double bookings.
In defense of my plan: I’m tan, I like the purple box Girl Scout Cookies, I can act rich, and by “act rich” I mean make Dooze and Bob carry my bags and berate them in some made up gibberish I was passing off as Native Soman.
Yes, that is to say I liked our chances.
You might be thinking just use the ship for travel, and while the USS Octane is great for trips overseas when it comes to bebopping and scatting around the country you need something that’s accessible. Nimble. Comfortable. Something that is expensive, AND certainly not yours. Not to mention the week prior us Bandits flew commercially and there’s no way we can do that again. Bob got charged for three seats, and people were staring at Dooze like he belonged in a museum.
A Jurassic one.
Or maybe it was because the people on the plane were trying to figure out who he was?
Doozer, Third Tenor.
Or why for portions of the flight I was talking to an empty seat?
Cancer Jiles signs an autograph for the Air Marshall and joins an exclusive list.
However, none of that matters now.
Our troubles are gone.
I can fly.
Air Bandit Ninety Seven.
People not recognizing Doozer is no longer an issue.
Bobby taking up the room of three human beings is no longer problematic. Schematically speaking that is. I’m sure his heart and other internal organs would say otherwise.
The window was open.
We climbed through it.
ReVival had concluded. There we were. The three of us. Thousands of feet up in the sky aboard Air Bandit Ninety Seven. I will say that Timo’s G-something jet is a fine piece of aircraft. It has ALL THE BELLS AND WHISTLES. He’s even got three different face paint color dispensers in the bathroom. No soap though, the dirty bastard.
Any who, we we’re maxing and relaxing on our way to a land before time. It was the dead of night. The moon lit up the sky, and could be seen shining through the left window.
That was just Bobby bending over to pick up a pretzel bite.
“So, Dooze is going to do all the talking?” Bob asked with a spit of apprehension in his voice. He was seated across from me, sprawled out like a throw rug.
“Yes. That is the plan.” My answer was confident. Kind of. My voice didn’t crack at least. “He drew it up. He gets to shoulder the load. It’s what he wants.”
“You’re sure about this?” Bob pressed me again.
“God no, but this way if it goes belly up we can dump the whole thing in his lap and come out of it somewhat unscathed.”
Bob and I nodded agreeingly with my sentiment, which caused the Old Bull to rise to his feet. A fever brewed inside of him as he looked down upon me and Bob. He grabbed an extra phonebook we hadn’t used in the Atken gag, tore it in half with ease, and coldly said to us, “I am right here. I’m not doing that thing that I do. YOU CAN SEE ME. Fuck you both.” I gasped. Bob did, too. Dooze continued, “We all said yes to this. Some more than others, but it was a collective yes.”
I reached my hand out, as if to talk to Dooze like he were a horse. “Whoa! Easy there! Save your energy! Don’t waste words on us. Sit down. Rest.”
Dooze ignored me. His eyes grew wide from repression. “I’m done resting. Only the blood of the lamb can fuel me.”
“Easy there Mark MESSIAH.” I shouldn’t have said it. But I did. Dooze threw one half of the phonebook at me. He didn’t go for the hair or face because deep down he is a gentleman. Deep down, he is a vile, despicable, detestable gentleman. No, he threw it at my feet. I lashed out, “HOW DARE YOU!”
He responded, “NO! HOW DARE YOU!”
I responded back, “NO! HOW DARE YOU!”
He then said back with a jab of the finger, “NO! HOW DARE YOU!”
Dooze and I went nose to nose, and continued DARING back and forth at each other. The stewardess locked herself in the cockpit for her own safety, and Bobby quickly fell asleep. The prior conversation really took a lot out of him. Then, much to everyone’s chagrin, out from the back a stowaway emerged. I don’t even know how she got on board. Maybe she saw the notes to our plan on her Dad’s Etch A Sketch which I had told him to shake away.
“HEY!” Belle, Bob’s teenaged luggage, called out. He didn’t budge from his slumber. However, Dooze and I both froze. Dooze because he really is a gentleman, and me because I started running scenarios on if I should jump out of the plane or have her trip out the door. She then added before turning back, “Keep it down out here I’m trying to sleep!”
Just like her Pop.
No manners at all.
On cue, Bob farted.
The Gold Watch
“From Dusk till Dawn.” — Jiles’ Journal, September 3rd, 2022.
There I sat. On my couch. On my thorne. It was good to be back. It was good to be home. My T-Shades were on. My hair was just right. My tracksuit was red, and radiated ninety-seven shades of…
“Taking things for granted. Hubris. Walking under a ladder. Placing your neck under my boot.”
I point to my shoe.
“That’s what you have done, Dusk. You laid down right there.”
Some people just don’t know. They usually are the ones who have retirement matches on the pre-show.
“I don’t claim to be overly intimidating. Well, unless you fancy winning and being the center of attention. Which, Dusk, you obviously do not. And MAIN EVENTING of course. Which, yet again, you obviously do not.”
I shrug. Not everyone is cut out for this line of work. Just ask Pete.
“But, for you to insult me like you have. So overtly. So randomly. To look ahead and to think that Larry Crumb is promised. To think that UltraViolence is in your future. To think surviving me is a given.”
The thought of popping Dusk’s knee against the ring post, or concussing his brain to dust runs through my mind.
Devious in nature, I grin.
“To think you’ll have another match after entering the ring against me — a BANDIT — after all I said the last time I competed– about going on super early while being enshrouded by Bobby Dean’s shadow, and about HOW mad it made me. HOW angry. HOW mistreated. HOW defamed. HOW backstabbed. HOW it drove me to madness and stupid things, and here we are yet again.”
You lose one match to Lizard Lip Hanlon.
“HOW DARE YOU!”
Erratic, and insulted, I jump from my seat.
“You should have canceled the ‘retirement’ match as soon as the card for ReVival fifteen was released! That would have been the smart thing to do! That would have been proper! That would have paid respect.”
“I could have let you get in a few moves then. There wouldn’t have had to be any pain. No stretcher. No MRI. No ears that will continuously ring. No COOLYMPIAN YOLJK to purge from your eye sockets. No shame to wash away in the shower. No worries. No problems. You get your pre-show romp at You-VEE, and walk off into the sunset a fulfilled, albeit mediocre man.”
I brush my hands together.
“It could have been easy, Dusk.”
That’s a lie. It was always going to be uphill. With Bob being ahead of me on the card again and Dusk being the one that knocked Bob out of the Almasy Invitational it was always going to be on sight for the soon to be reitree; I just chose to keep that to myself since I don’t want Bob getting all soft on me.
“You might have even snuck in a two count. Just think about that. What a headline it would have been– Dusk almost beats Cancer Jiles, rides a wave of euphoria into UltraViolence against Larry Tact.”
I look out at an imaginary biplane that’s flying through the air towing the prior message behind it. Of course it then crashes into the ocean. I then wonder if I could do that with Timo’s jet? The message bit, and not crashing it into the Atlantic.
“Now though, I want to be rotten. I want to hurt you. I want to spoil your little moment. You offended me, Dusk. You stepped on my Salt Whites.”
Another point to my salted shoes.
“And, if I may be ONE HUNDRED percent honest, I can’t afford to lose. I can’t suffer the embarrassment, the set back, the trouble that comes with a Dusky defeat. I saw first hand what it did to Bobby Dean.”
Toxic Noxia much.
“Not only that, I need to be convincing in my victory. I need to be seen as strong. I’m in the MAIN EVENT of UltraViolence for Christ sakes! I’m challenging for the UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP.”
Again. For the third time. Charming, ain’t it?
“I’m going up against one person whose punch would sweeten, and another who would grow in height with me losing to you. I simply can not and will not allow such an advantage to occur. No way.”
A nod of the head. It’s a heavy headed nod, but a nod nonetheless. I sit back down atop my throne. I clear my throat. I take off my shades. My eyes should be bloodshot from intense cryotherapy.
“Losing to you would be absolutely perilous to my future endeavors. That said, good luck, Dusk. Maybe you get there in the end. Maybe you don’t. Maybe the dawn following our encounter will be kinder to you than I plan on being. Maybe it won’t.”
“Air Bandit Ninety Seven looked wonderful on the top deck. Better than I had ever imagined. Who would have thought my old buddy Laser had his pilot’s license?” Jiles’ Journal, September 4th, 2022.
So, I quickly found out that jet life, or pee jay life as the Hanlons are calling it these days, is fun until you have to find a spot to park it. Especially so when conventional means aren’t an option. Can’t go leaving her at McCarran so Timo can steal his jet back. That would be like losing to Dusk levels of bad.
No, what I need is a secure place. A place I can trust. A place that isn’t accessible to the plebian. As fate would have it, the Gods of COOLYMPUS shined favor upon me.
The USS Octane.
The USS Octane provides me with all a stolen jet owner could ask for. No one in their right mind would ever seek out the vessel. If they did, they would find it very hard to board, and even harder to take the Air Bandit Ninety Seven. Not only do TOP men patrol the deck with ballpoint pens in their holsters, but Chief of ship security, Laser, is a friend of the Bandits. He’s been instructed to fly Air Bandit Ninety Seven to safety in the event of a breach. Plus, keeping the jet on the Octane gives me an excuse to frequent the ship, and get out of the MGM Grand to take in some much needed fresh air. Then there’s the added bonus of the ship’s on board training facilities. Though among the harshest known to man, some claim they are the Best in the world. The cryo chamber for instance is a walk-in unit. One of One. You can actually train inside of it.
Eat your rich heart out Timo.
And after hearing through the grapevine that Dusk is in the best shape of his life ahead of his matchup against me, maybe it’s best I stay onboard for a little while.
I did talk up a big game the other day in the Tower. Threats were made. Promises anchored.
“Laser! My man! It’s been a bit! Where’s my old toothbrush?”