Rocky de Leon
Flip de switch, Pedro.
I know what it means when he says lights, shut up
Then why do you not flip de switch?
You haven’t given me time or shut up long enough?
Andele! Andele! Flip it! Flip it!
Shut UP, esse, I do my job!
…Sorry, Angel! This idiota would not let me flip de switch.
Why you sunnofa… may your toilet seat always be cold.
*GASP* You do not mean that.
The sound of a high powered electrical circuit connecting briefly filled Little Mexico. A conical yellowish-white beam filled the air between the rafters of Little Mexico and the puppet stage erected in front of the wrestling ring.
“THE LEGEND OF THE LUCHA! PART 317!”
“AND IT WAS ON THAT DAY… the Lucha was betrayed.” A sock puppet with the top portion painted green appeared on stage. “Rocky was feeling despondent.” The puppet flopped on its back. “He had lost several matches in a short span of time. He began to feel… unworthy.”
The Rock-sock puppet opened its mouth.
“WHY DO I EVEN BOTHER? WHY DOES ANYONE LOVE ME? ALL I DO IS LOSE. I AM UNDESERVING OF THEIR ARDOR.”
The sock puppet flailed in random directions, flopping this way and that, lying still only to speak a single sentence before flopping at another angle to deliver the next.
A second sock with flimsy plastic glasses popped up. NERD was written in bold capital letters across the body of the sock.
“YOU ARE GOOD WRESTLER,” Spoke the nerd sock, “THE DATA SAY YOU SHOULD BE WINNING. KEEP GOING. AVERAGES WILL BEAR OUT.” The sock puppet pulled a small tripod with a line graph on it from below. “THIS IS JUST BAD LUCK STREAK. WINS COME SOON.”
Rock-sock popped up his fuzzy green head. “YOU ARE RIGHT, STU. THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING ME. YOU ARE MY FRIEND.”
The socks hugged. Rock-sock bounced out stage left.
Nerd-sock slowly bounced to stage right where a cardboard cutout rotary telephone rose from below the stage. Nerd-sock picked up the handset of the phone in its… uh… mouth, I guess. Look, man, you try describing how a sock puppet-person picks up and dials a phone. I’ll wait. No? Ok, then, moving on. Nerd-sock dialed the phone.
*cough cough* ring ring… ring ring… ring ri-CLICK
The narrator made noises as if in homage to Charlie Brown’s teacher.
Nerd-sock held the phone and wandered the stage, pacing for conversation effect. “DO IT. I DON’T CARE WHETHER HE WOULD LIKE IT; HE DOES NOT NEED TO KNOW. HE NEEDS TO WIN. DO IT I, SAID!!!” Nerd-sock hung up the phone and bounced off stage.
“And just like that, the bonds of friendship were cracked, unbeknownst to either The FDP or his manager. For you see, the road to hell is paved-”
WITH GOOD INTENTIONS!
What the hell, Hector?
Is this not an audience participation moment?
NO!!!! NO!!!! NO!!!!
My bad. Sorry, Angel.
Angel sighed. “With Good Intentions.”
Ria Nightshade. Hmph.
Name’s a little much, isn’t it? Poison River. Is it meant to be a threat or self deprecation? Or are you a potato?
It’s probably that one. You’re a potato. Salt of the earth. Fleshy. You go good with butter, bacon, sour cream, and chives.
You strike me as sort of a Russet. No… no, that’s not quite it. Yukon gold?
Still not right.
Oh, hey – Tomatoes are nightshades, too, you know. Kinda weird, wouldn’t think potato and tomato are related, but they are! Maybe that’s why the names rhyme? Though that idea doesn’t account for eggplant, which is a nightshade with an identity crisis (we’ll come back to this later).
Maybe it’s something more unique like the Adirondak Blue or Vitellote – you know, one of those weird colored potatoes that everyone thinks looks pretty, but they’re honestly afraid to taste if they haven’t ever put it in their mouth before because we all know potatoes aren’t supposed to be fucking purple. Who wants a goddamn purple potato? No one, that’s who. No one orders a steak and potato meal expecting half the plate to be purple. They expect white plant flesh. Maybe yellow.
You could probably get away with almost any color if you mash it, load it up with garlic, cheese, bacon, and… ok, got a little off topic there. Maybe I should come back to this after lunch.
At the back of the stage, a projector screen displayed a series of animated images.
“He lost to a gringo with lips on his pants, and broke his jaw.” A fist repeatedly punched Rocky in the face at approximately 4 frames per second, with odd numbered frames showing the wind up and even numbered frames displaying eyes bugging out of a chibi masked FDP, blood and teeth flying behind him, and a fist across his face.
Yikes, tough out.
Yeah, but like, they cheated, man.
Brass knucks are for cucks.
“He removed his mask and lost to the Butcher.” The same animation played, but with a third frame added to the sequence displaying a cross hair over Chibi-Rocky’s chin.
Ai yai yai!
No! He didn’t!
I don’t believe it. I won’t believe it.
“He served his community selflessly at the border and succumbed to Cancer.” Chibi Rocky handed out bottles of water before being jumped on by a chibi blonde in a green dress. Then it fell over and died.
I feel faint!
Oh, Papi, Nooo!
Wait, are we still doing the Cancer wordplay?
“He even went on a spirit quest after dropping a truly heroic amount of mescaline… then lost to something like twenty people.” Chibieffdipi swayed back and forth with spiral eyes as psychedelic colors flashed all over the display.
How much is a heroic amount?
Are we glorifying drug use, now?
Do battle royales really count? Fuck, I’m out of popcorn.
“Fact was, our beloved and most bountifully dicked pterodactyl… was a loser.”
You can’t say that!
I mean, it’s technically correct.
The best kind of correct.
Sure, but not about THIS.
It’s not like we WANT him to be correct about this.
I said, “hokay fair!” Shut up!
“Whether by any fault of his own or not, the record reflected the sad reality. Despite this, and all odds being against him, the Master of Moonsaults was undeterred. He trained. He meditated. He ignored rumors started by old horny ladies.”
She is a GMILF. That is a Gra-
“…and while he did, his manager engaged in back water tactics. Diving deep into the underworld of prime. He sought information, started rumors, and commissioned espionage against all of those who would seek to do his protege harm.”
Why? Why would he act so dishonorably?
“Honor is a tricky thing, Pedro. The FDP’s favorite nerd engaged in dishonorable actions, but he did so with the most honorable of all intent. He sought to protect his charge out of a sort of love… a love for the Lucha.”
“A love for the mask and what it stands for.”
YAI YAI YAI!
“But most importantly… a deep brotherly love for the man who had become his closest friend. A man he could not continue to watch be beaten in such a way. He could not risk his friend becoming physically, or worse – mentally and emotionally, broken. So he did what he thought he had to do – that which the FDP swore that he, himself, would never do. He got on the level of the worst of Prime. He dragged himself down with the Crumb Kings,”
“the Cajun Pig Choppers,”
“and Mortifucks that sullied the hallowed halls of PRIME.”
Fuckin’ cockroaches, man. Gross.
“Stuart Weiler dirtied himself so that The FDP, The Master of Moonsaults, The Angel Pro Tem, and the Almighty Sultan of SKREE… could stay clean as fresh snow and pure as the white of my battle garb.”
So… what happened next?
“We’re not sure.”
Esse, this is unacceptable. You freaking cock tease.
We talked about the unreasonable cliff hangers last week, Angel.
Angel chuckled, “I am sorry my friends, but truly we have come to the present. The tale I have described for you happened all this week. I saw it with my own eyes. Mr. Weiler is not always the most observant, and I can be, shall we say, very sneaky.”
You were in Donny’s bathroom, weren’t you?
“Shut up, Hector. We shall see what happens this week, friends. Maybe he will win against Ms. Nightshade. Maybe he will not.”
Is he prepared?
“Probably? Maybe? Last I saw he was eating a cheeseburger.”
Mmm, oh hell yes, mph… goddamn, that hit the spot. Thinking clearly now. Sorry ‘bout before.
On further reflection, I’m guessing you’re probably not trying to say you are a potato. Probably trying to make the name a threat. “Trying” is the key word here. Thing is, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. If you’re a poisonous river, there’s only going to be one or two people that drink from you, tops. They get sick, they die, they tell others. I mean, they don’t tell others after they die, that doesn’t work. Unless they’re haunting people, which is cool and all but the creep factor would outweigh the message.
Or other people find the bodies. Oh, or hey, maybe it turns the water purple. Like the potato I was talking about before – you look at that shit and you’re all “Fuck this, that isn’t meant to go in my body. It’s purple, and it’s not a grape. I ain’t ingesting it.”
No, no, sorry, no more potatoes. We’re past that now.
Point being, a poison river isn’t going to have many human victims because humans learn, we find ways to warn others, and generally as a species we just aren’t stupid enough to keep drinking poison fucking water.
So, like I said, the threat… it’s just a particularly dumb threat. I don’t get it. So maybe that’s not really what you’re after.
So what now?
What does he do?
What do WE do?
“We wait.” The house lights returned; Angel walked from behind the puppet stage and took a seat on the edge of the wrestling ring to address the field of lucha in front of him. “We wait, we hope, and if he comes here we offer him training and guidance.” He munched on a bag of cheetos which sat strategically at ringside.
Who’s going to tell him about Wiley Weiler?
“…no one.” Angel stood and slowly paced away from the wrestling ring toward the crowd.
But… but Angel!
Not our circus, not our monkeys.
“On the contrary.” Angel walked amongst the seated wrestlers. “It is precisely both our circus and our monkeys. Where the FDP goes, so goes the fate of the Lucha in this world. However,” He stood and paced the room, “There are some things a man must discover for himself, and some journeys he must take alone.”
Sounds a lot like you’re just being conflict avoidant.
Angel paused his pacing. “…maybe.” His eyes shifted in his mask, his body attempted, and failed, to close in upon itself.
Maybe you should stop being such a wuss, Angel.
“Maybe your mom should stop being such a wuss.”
Mi madre esta muerta, Angel.
“Lies, I saw her at the market last week.” Angel grinned beneath his mask.
WHAT?! Where? How did you…
“She was pulling a cart full of apples. She held the reins in her teeth.”
May your chair produce a sound similar to a fart, but only once,
such that you cannot reproduce it to prove that it was just the chair.
Angel gasped, “You do not mean that!”
He laid a hand on the shoulder of the motherless lucha, “Our fearless pterodactyl will be fine. All things in time. For now, we must prepare to watch him engage in honorably beating up a young woman.”
I think I figured it out, Tater Tot. You’re really an eggplant. No, seriously, hear me out on this – I promise I’m not just hungry again.
The eggplant doesn’t know what it wants to be. It’s right there in the name – doesn’t even know whether it’s an egg or a plant. It looks like a wannabe squash, but it’s bright friggin purple. You know – the color we’ve established people don’t want to eat outside of grapes and desserts that are purple-flavored. Eggplant is having a full-fledged food identity crisis.
You’re the same, aren’t you? You *want* us to think you’re toxic, but that’s because if we look closely for long enough, we’ll see that you’re really just a squash. I mean, er, we’ll see that you’re just insecure and using assholery to puff yourself up in a world full of big people looking to break each other in half.
You want us to think you’re poison… but you’re not. You’re not holly; you’re not baneberry. You’re not even an annoying weed. You’re a sapling trying to step out of the shadows made by a canopy of redwoods and get some sun. Mortifuck Thousandnames is idiotic, misguided poison. Paxton Ray is a vile, murderous poison. Cancer Jiles is crumby, eggy poison. But you… you’re just a woman still trying to find herself and her place in the world. I’m not really sure you’ll find that in the ring, but I applaud you for trying.
Honestly, I’m glad you’re not toxic. It means we should keep you around, Little Potato River. Maybe if you get your head set right you can help me clean this place up a bit.
…I’m still gonna kick your ass, though.