The Anglo Luchador
“What the hell is this thing?”
PRIME’s head referee, Timo Bolamba, never played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Or Majora’s Mask. Of course, he didn’t recognize the pillow-shaped hunk of granite with the telltale markings of the Sheikah tribe on them. Gossip Stones were one of the weirder additions to the Zelda series, but Shigeru Miyamoto’s brain has always been ineffable. One could forgive him for not recognizing one of the more esoteric pieces of Nintendo 64 lore if he’d seen it on a television screen or on Wikipedia. However, one could TOTALLY not blame him for wigging out with one sitting right in front of him in the lobby of the MGM Grand Casino and Hotel.
“It’s called a Gossip Stone,” said The Anglo Luchador, whose familiarity with the item did nothing to lessen his own confusion as to why it was there.
“But why is it here? Are they shooting a Zelda movie or something?” retorted Bolamba. It’s true, Wade Elliott and his Enemigos were heads of security, but as head referee, he himself took pride in doing his part to make sure PRIME was secure. Safe. Sound. “Let’s see if it’s a prop…”
Bolamba held his foot after delivering a toe kick to the stone, which indeed consisted of stone. Upon striking the weird rock, it started to vibrate, and even spoke, much to the surprise of everyone within a 20-foot radius.
“Booooiiing! Booooiiing! The time is now 17:42!”
“I don’t think it’s a prop, Timo,” said the old luchador. “And I also don’t think it’s a product of my destroyed sleep schedule, because you wouldn’t have heard it either, and neither would have the ladies at the penny slots or the bellhop or Brad Garrett.”
Brad Garrett, still wandering the halls of the casino wearing a Fighting For Nora shirt carrying a collection jar, just nodded in exhaustion.
“What the hell is one of these things doing here? I don’t like it.” The Samoan Silencer looked for someone, anyone with an ice bucket to grab so he could start treating his aching foot.
“Well,” the old luchador started in, “I don’t know where this came from, but my old Uncle Rhoam, who passed last month…”
“My condolences, Tom.”
“Thanks, bud” The old luchador continued. “Anyway, you know how everyone says they have an uncle who works at Nintendo? Yeah, I wasn’t lying when I said that. I barely knew my uncle, who was more like a great uncle, I think he was my grandfather’s brother, but he always had news of weird stuff.”
Timo furrowed his brow while wincing from kicking the stone. “So, you think the stone is from him?”
“I have no idea if it’s true or not, but he DID send me a mask.”
“Your lucha mask?”
“Oh no. Something much weirder.” The old luchador pulled out his phone and Googled “The Mask of Truth.” He showed it to Timo.
“Okay, what the hell is that?”
“It’s the Mask of Truth. It’s an item in both N64 Zelda games wherein you could use it to talk to these Gossip Stones.”
Bolamba shook his head. “So you have this mask, right?”
The old luchador sighed. “That’s the thing. One minute, the mask was sitting on top of a box of Uncle Rhoam’s effects. The next, when I turned around, it was gone. I have no idea where it went.”
The elder ref shook his head again. “And then this stone showed up.”
“Yeah. I think it might be connected, but, like, everything in this goddamn company is so weird.”
“You don’t have to tell me, friend,” Timo replied. “I mean, we confronted Richard Karn sitting on a Taco Throne.”
“I wonder if it’s connected…”
TACO BELL TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMITTEE SITUATION ROOM
“Alright, Roderick,” an annoyed spook in a white Oxford shirt, top three buttons loosed, cigarette hanging out of his mouth, fired at the moustachioed and disheveled interrogation target across the table from him, “This is getting ridiculous. We have been at this for damn near a week.”
“Well, senator,” Roderick McRatrick smirked as he delivered his response, “I have a high tolerance for living mas.”
“Number one, I am not a senator. Number two, the Taco Bell cannot sanction such damage to their brand.” He took another drag off his cigarette, emitting blue smoke. All Taco Bell Truth and Reconciliation Committee agents smoke Baja Blast cigs. “Clandestine orgies of depravity. Secret societies. F-list celebrities meting out vigilante justice. These are not the tenets of living mas.”
“That sounds like a you problem, not a me problem.” Roderick gave one of those sly, sassy looks that Dreamworks gives every single one of their protagonists on movie posters.
“Don’t play dumb with me,” the agent snapped back. “You were the pit boss, or at least the consigliere, or the daimyo, or SOMETHING of importance there. I need information.”
Suddenly, the door to the situation room burst open and another agent, gasping for air, handed the lead interrogator a paper.
“PANIC, gasp, at the VIP Lounge again… pant, our worst fears realized…”
“Yes.” The intruding agent’s eyes widened. “Buttholomew has returned.”
“FUCK! What are we going to do?”
“You’re going to handle that problem and turn this investigation over to the government.” A fourth voice was heard as a figure in a well-appointed three-piece suit and a red mask with the GOP elephant emblazoned on the forehead. Gordon Oliver Powell, chairman of the Office of Wrestler Outreach and Relations, took control of the situation room.
“What the hell,” the original interrogator exclaimed. “This is private industry! We don’t want nor need intrusion from the government here.”
“Agent Poundstone,” GOP remarked back, “it’s only government overreach when a Democrat does it. When we, the only moral and just political entity in the country, act, we are doing so out of a sense of moral obligation and law and order.”
Agent Poundstone sneered and put out his Baja Blast cig in the overflowing ashtray.
“Now, go clean up your mess and leave McRatrick to me,” The Phantom Republican barked. The agents swiftly left the room, panicked at the return of an eldritch horror they thought they’d contained in Pasadena in 2010.
“Are you an angel?” said a bleary-eyed McRatrick, allowing the stone-faced troll routine to drop with the exit of his interrogators.
“No,” replied the world’s most fiscally AND socially conservative former wrestler. “If I were an angel, I would be incomprehensible to you. I would ask you to ‘be not afraid’ while my myriad eyes and flaming visage brought you word from God Himself. I am just a facilitator.”
Stalking into the room behind Powell was a hulking man in a secret service-style tuxedo, earpiece, and black Ray-Ban sunglasses. He carried a satchel, out of which he pulled a white mask with crimson and gold markings, ones that looked eerily similar to the carvings on the Gossip Stone sitting in the middle of the lobby of the MGM Grand Casino and Hotel.
“Thank you, Jeffords,” Powell dryly stated to his bodyguard and chief of staff.
“What is this? Are you initiating me into one of your lucha freak cults?” The temerity in Roderick’s voice was palpable.
“No, you simpleton.” The disgust dripped from Powell’s voice like condensation off a pipe in a boiler room. “Do you even know who I am?”
“WE WENT OVER THAT ALREADY, YOU MORON.” Powell caught himself in a slight lapse of composure and readjusted his tie. “I am your ticket out of here. I need you to take that mask and do what you do best with it.”
“Use it to sell old ladies reverse mortgages?”
“NO!” Once again, Powell caught himself in a lapse of composure that he found unbecoming of himself. “I need you to get in the wind. Become invisible. Make sure no one finds that mask, especially not your former luchador friend and his straight-arrow Samoan partner.”
“What happens if they have it?” the curious conman asked back.
“Then your entire house of cards topples. You go down. Karn, Harmon, Copperfield, Rapaport, Covert, Dacascos, Grillo… even Wayne Newton. You all will come tumbling down.”
“Even Daddy Musk?”
“Unfortunately for you,” Powell started. “He’s far too big to fail. He’ll be safe because of his billions and his uncanny technology.”
“You mean the electric cars that have a 50/50 chance of blowing up upon ignition?”
“More like 65/35 in favor of combustion,” Powell said with a giggle. “But that’s the plan. He’s doing God’s work discrediting the electric car. I’m talking about more classified stuff.”
“Oh,” McRatrick said, nodding in wide motions.
“You have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?”
Roderick snapped back immediately while seamlessly changing his nod into a shaking head, “Absolutely not.”
Powell shook his head. “Anyway, I have a car for you out front. Ford F-1450, the most powerful vehicle known to man.”
“What’s the gas mileage on it?”
“Four mph highway, and amazingly enough, negative-12 city,” Powell laughed as he rattled off the stats. “It’s a marvel of modern fuel consumption. But I did leave a gas card in there with $1000 on it. Should get you far enough away from here as possible without the luchador and that infernal referee tailing you.”
“Where is here, exactly?” asked Roderick.
“Alamogordo,” replied Powell.
“Oh, no wonder why my chest hairs started talking to me.”
Roderick wasn’t sure how many armadillos he ran over leaving Alamogordo. He felt a surprising number of bumps in his armored tank of a truck even as he got on Interstate 10 to head to the only place where he’d know The Anglo Luchador and Timo Bolamba would not dare to tread. Austin, TX. The new headquarters of Musk Enterprises. Roderick would be safe there, he thought as he felt yet another bump in the road. The Interstate Highway System is in such disrepair, he thought. As he rolled into the parking lot at Elon Musk’s main laboratory, a sudden sense of calm fell over the conman. He descended from the high cab in his truck and checked the debris lodged in the monster-sized tires – armadillo shells, traffic cones, a drill bit, and a statue of Sam Houston.
“Whew, no homeless people this time. No prison for vehicular manslaughter this time, baby!”
He ascended up the stairs into the main lobby of the laboratory. His keycard still worked after all, no ill feelings from Mr. Musk for getting the Taco Bell VIP Lounge spot blown to high hell. As he descended down each of the individual, single-floor elevators into the various subterranean laboratories, he started to feel butterflies in his stomach. What if he was walking into a trap? He clutched the mysterious mask close to his chest as he finally got off the elevator to Basement Level 3P1C B4C0N. There he was, sitting in front of his monitor array and motherboard, watching various enclaves around the world. Screens flickered between various speakeasies and breakrooms around his owned businesses. A high-backed chair faced the door where Roderick entered from with low-toned giggling emanating from the opposite side. As he heard footsteps approaching him, he swiveled to face his charge.
“You had better bring me news of epic bacon,” Elon Musk said.
Roderick simply took the mask and extended his arms out to offer it to his grandmaster.
“The Mask of Truth,” he whispered to himself, eyes aglow like the neon sticks at foam parties Grimes used to drag him to. “Epic bacon.”
“You didn’t think I went to Las Vegas to serve you a bill, did you?” Powell’s voice was raspy and snarled enough to wake the dead, convenient because he was in a darkened bedroom. “I knew what you had, and so I had to take it.”
The figure in the bed tossed and turned and grunted.
“Yeah, that’s right, you muffle in your sleep, country-traitor pig,” the Phantom Republican continued. “But I stole from you the one thing that could unravel this entire thing we have, right from under your nose. How does it feel to feel the wrath of the Grand Old Party, Anglo Luchador?”
“What the fuck man, who are you?”
“You know me, I stopped by your campaign rally last week, served you that let…”
The figure in bed threw a pillow at his intruder. “I’m not Tom, dipshit. I’m his brother.”
“Brother? The tattooed reprobate with whom he jogs?”
“He has four brothers, asshole,” the figure in bed rasped back at Powell. “I’m Luigi.”
“Of course not, dickhead. I quit wrestling in 2004. This isn’t my brother’s house. Besides, he already went back to Vegas.”
“Shut up, asshole. Get outta here before I call the fuckin’ cops.”
“The cops will side with me…”
Luigi went into his nightstand and pulled out a Glock 9 mm. “Yeah, well this piece won’t.”
“Fine, fine, I’m outta here.”
“So, do you think we can move this thing?” Bolamba, still smarting from his kick to the hard, stony surface, was determined to get it out of the lobby. His protectiveness of PRIME was borne out of the desire not to see it kicked out of a sweet home. The MGM Grand Casino and Hotel, and the Grand Garden Arena? Sweet digs to a tee.
“We can try lifting it up, but like, did you see it get dropped off here?”
“No buts, Timo.” The old luchador shook his head. “I’ve been seeing ghosts of dead luchadores. Beef’s ass was possessed by a spirit that made it talk, for real, not with voice throwing like Jim Carrey. Balaam is walking around impervious to pain thanks to a mask that Hoyt may have made from the bones of Mictlantecuhtli himself. Bathory looks over his shoulder like he expects to find Cthulhu stalking him, and I for one cannot discount the possibility that he actually is. I’m starting to think we’re in the middle of literal, Biblical hell here. Anything is possible, except moving that fucking stone.”
“Ah well,” said a resigned Bolamba.
Meanwhile, one of the Enemigos had just noticed the Gossip Stone in the middle of the lobby at the MGM Grand Casino and Hotel.
“¡Aye! ¡Dios mio!” he shouted before launching into the stone with a knee strike that was just as easily repelled. He rolled on the carpet holding that right knee, feel like he might have shattered it on impact.
On cue, the Gossip Stone spoke again. “Booooiiing! Booooiiing! The time is now 18:01!”