Your recommended auditory companion: DISCHARGE
Peep the scene: We’re in the back alley to the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The back door to the kitchen is only a few paces away, but we’re more focused on the dumpster set behind the building.
Said dumpster is supporting a crudely made shanty of plywood and reclaimed hotel sheets and towels built off the side of it. The ground around the makeshift hobo shack is littered with random junk, disused fast food wrappings, and discarded punk and metal CDs.
It goes without saying that it’s no mystery as to who has set up a home-away-from-home within this dumpster.
Rezin: Well technically, I’m not living IN the dumpster so much as I’m just using it as my south wall. Helps out with the feng shui, ya know? It’s a sweet deal for a guy who lives like me! Free food! Free rent! I got a deal worked out with a couple of the dishwashers! (don’t tell them, but they think i’m high flyer)
Jack Harmen clearly let himself go, if that were the case.
Simon Tillier: Who are you talking to?
The Escape Artist is shaken free from his labyrinth of thoughts. He checks the scene around him. Junior reporter Simon Tillier is there, mic in hand. HAS been there, more like it. So is the camera, which continues rolling as he looks into it, blinking in confusion.
Rezin: Uhh, what’s the score here? Where we at?
Simon looks him over quizzically, perhaps monitoring the Goat Bastard’s high-to-interviewability ratio.
Simon Tillier: I asked, “Are you ready to begin the interview?” Then you spaced out for a few minutes. Then just now, you were babbling about flying high, or something. Anyway, what are we doing out here? You’re not living out here, are you? What happened to your complimentary hotel room?
Rezin’s face stretches into something between a smile of innocence and an awkward simper that implies his guilt.
Rezin: Well… that’s a long story, Simon, but it can basically be boiled down to a disagreement with management.
The junior reporter sighs.
Simon Tillier: Not that I care to know why, but as a representative of PRIME Wrestling, I am dutifully compelled to ask: what did you do this time?
Like a problem child who would rather shatter the cookie jar rather than be caught with his hand in it, the Goat Bastard scowls reproachfully.
Rezin: Hey man, don’t gimme that look! This place just conflicts with my STYLE! Plus, for a casino hotel, this building has some SUPER sensitive smoke detectors!
Simon sighs again. There’s also a hint of a labored groan in there somewhere.
Simon Tillier: Rezin, did you get thrown out of your hotel room for smoking weed?
Rezin’s eyes pop. This probably wasn’t what he was expected to get called out on, but he sees and out, and chooses to roll with it.
Rezin: Umm… yeah. That’s exactly what happened.
Rezin uses his heel to nonchalantly nudge a red gas can under the flaps of his shanty.
Simon Tillier: Whatever, let’s just get into this. Do you remember the last time we spoke, backstage at ReVival Two?
The expression on the Goat Bastard’s face suggests that he may not entirely.
Simon Tillier: …why am I not surprised?
Rezin: Umm… care to gimme a hint here? I mean, I KNOW it’s in there somewhere, but between that and the ten or twelve other memories of recent events I got rolling around up there, I may need some help bringing it to the surface, ya dig?
Tillier sighs again, and presses on.
Simon Tillier: If you recall, I informed you that your opponent in this next round is Impulse, and you had something of a mental meltdown.
The dread hits him again. Rezin grimaces, shudders, and groans, practically shrinking in place. That “subtle” hint was all he needed.
Rezin: Ugghhh… the catering raid. Right, right. Still gotta catch-up with Enemigo IV; dude owes me a jelly donut.
A spliff materializes in his hands and goes into his mouth. He lights, drags, and exhales to destress.
Rezin: Ain’t gonna lie…I kinda lost myself for a bit when you mentioned that name. Opened the floodgates on a lot of buried memories, know what I mean? I was a bit fucked up in the head for a few days, worryin’ my poor brain on how I was going to have to deal with this sitchy-itchy.
He plucks the J from his lips and holds it out in front of his face, staring cross-eyed at the burning cherry.
Rezin: It took a heroic amount of DOPESMOKIN’, and entire listen-through of my favorite audiobook — Anti-Tech Revolution: Why and How by Ted Kaczynski, narrated by the smooth, nihilism-inducing voice of Werner Herzog — to get me to finally settle down and think things through.
Rezin puts the joint back where it belongs and keeps doing what he does best.
Rezin: My first instinct was to find a time machine, with the idea of going back into the past and preventing Impulse from ever being conceived, or something. Terminator style! “HIGH’ll be back!” That way I could just avoid the match altogether. But I ran into one issue there…
Simon Tillier: …was it the fact that time travel doesn’t really exist?
Rezin: To normies like YOU, maybe not! But apparently, the DeLorian Motor Company has been dead longer than I’ve been alive, so… unfortunately, the time machine option was not viable.
Tillier’s face disappears into his hand.
Simon Tillier: Before we delve too far into this rabbit hole of 80’s film references, let me just ask, why would you go to such bizarre lengths to avoid this match?
Rezin: C’maaaawn, this is IMPULSE we’re talking about! Trust me, I’m one of the few that knows not only who, but WHAT this guy is! He’s a wrestling freak of nature, built to succeed against all odds! Everywhere he goes, he climbs the ranks and wins belts!
A scowl that absolutely screams jealousy spreads across the Escape Artist’s face.
Rezin: And he does it all in that fucking annoying, fake-ass wholesome, humble style of his!
He literally makes clutching motions with both hands, menacingly, like some Hanna Barbera cartoon villain.
Rezin: I tell you, he’s INHUMAN, Simon! I had to SCRAPE BY just to outlast that mongoloid, Solomon Richards… but Impulse?! He could hold his ground all alone against TWO guys that size! In a STEEL CAGE, no less! Believe me, Simon… I’ve SEEN IT HAPPEN!
Simon Tillier: Really? Where was his partner?
Rezin’s sneer suddenly melts away into a vacant, dumbfounded expression.
Rezin: …um, what?
Simon Tillier: You said he was standing alone against two opponents. Wouldn’t he have had a tag partner to back him up in that situation?
Rezin bites his lip. Whatever he’s referring to, it’s becoming abundantly clear that he was perhaps more involved than being a mere witness to the events that transpired.
Rezin: Uhmm… well, the partner in question may have already hopped out of the cage by that point.
Tillier looks both skeptical and reproachful.
Simon Tillier: What kind person just abandons his partner alone in the steel cage against two men nearly twice his size?
Rezin: GODDAMBIT, BECAUSE YOU WIN CAGE MATCHES BY ESCAPING THE CAGE!! AND NOBODY ASKED HIM TO GO BE A FUCKING OVER-ACHIEVER AND MAKE THE OTHER GUY LOOK LIKE A PIECE OF SHIT ANYWAY!!
Simon doesn’t push the issue any further. He recalls someone recently saying something about none of this stuff that happened ten years ago really mattering.
Rezin: Look, FORGET IT! The point is, I basically have ZERO CHANCE against this guy! He’s just TOO STUPIDLY GOOD at this sport…
Simon Tillier: Absolutely zero chance, whatsoever?
Rezin: Well, I mean, maybe there is a SLIGHT chance. He could always wake up that day with really bad gas, and he could let one slip in a way where he’d be just a half second too slow on that superkick of his, and maybe my pants would fall down at that exact moment, and he’d trip over me and break his ankle or something. I suppose if all that were to happen then, yes, I could beat the Marathon Man.
Simon Tillier: Even with him coming out of retirement? You don’t think there’s a possibility that he could have lost a few steps over the years?
Rezin throws his head back and cackles. This poor, sweet summer child.
Rezin: PFFHAHAHAHA!! You think THAT is really gonna stop him? Believe me, Simon… I was there back when this guy was blowing shit up everywhere he went. Even back then, you could see he had a gift for this sport. A few years sitting at home doesn’t change that…
He shakes his head, as his ridiculously reddened eyes glaze into a thousand mile stare.
Rezin: Not with HIM. If Impulse is coming out of retirement, I guarantee, it’s not for any mere part-time gig or quick nostalgia payout. When he wrestles, it’s for fuckin’ KEEPS!
Simon Tillier: Well, I guess the only question to ask then is, how do you plan on beating someone you see as unbeatable?
Rezin: My HOPE, Simon, was that I wouldn’t need any plan! I was just gonna walk in there blind and wing it in my usual way! I mean, it’s no different than how I’d prepare myself against any of the other PUNKS in this tournament!
Simon Tillier: How would it have benefited you in any way to walk into this match blind?
Rezin: Cause THAT’S HOW I ROLL! A clear mind is an empty palette of opportunity for a master of CHAOS like myself! You think I’m walkin’ into a match BLIND?! HA!! I’m the fuckin’ ZATOICHI of professional wrestling! What I lack in sight, I make up for in a heightened sense of STONED!
Simon Tillier: There is no “Sense of Stoned”…
Rezin: THAT’S JUST WHAT THE GOVERNMENT WANTS YOU TO THINK, SIMON!! You’d have to DOKE as much SMOPE as ME to understand what it’s like to unlock the TRUE power of the human mind! Not that any of that will help me NOW… thanks to YOU telling me that IMPULSE of all people is going to be my next opponent! Ya done FUCKED IT ALL UP, Simon!
Simon Tillier: I’m… sorry, that I messed up your headspace by trying to keep you informed?
The Escape Artist leans in close to the junior reporter, pressing his index fingers into his temples.
Rezin: You may not be able to grasp this with your tiny, fluoride-riddled, normie mind, but this crooked MIND of mine is a complex, chaotic storm of creative spontaneity and genius! Sometimes, when everything is clickin’, my legs start KICKIN’!
He kicks the side of the dumpster in a fit of anger. In the background, his rickety shanty, leaning not-so-securely against the giant metal trash bin, quakes off the vibrations…
Rezin: But now whenever I shut my eyes and try to tune out the world and get into my ZONE, the only thing I see is THAT FUCKING FOOT OF HIS COMING AT ME AT A HUNDRED MILES AN HOUR!!
…and all at once, his crudely made tent collapses into a heap of broken plywood and shredded cloth. They don’t see it, but they definitely hear it, as told by the Goat Bastard’s face turning a shade of red and the junior reporter going white. Rezin slowly turns around, assesses the damage, and then completely snaps. He shakes his fists toward the heavens above, blaspheming whatever power put him in this situation.
Rezin: FUCK IT!! FUCK EVERYTHING!! FUCKING IMPULSE!! WHY’D HE EVEN COME OUT OF RETIREMENT, ANYWAY!? Like, WHAT MORE does the guy NEED TO DO with his career? Do you think he was sitting at home one day, bored off his ass, looking at the vast wall of trophies and titles he’s collected over the years, and thought to himself, “Ya know what? I think I could throw one more up there.” You’d think with that GENIUS LEVEL INTELLECT of his, he’d be doing something like finding the cure to cancer, or solving the world hunger crisis, or unionizing Amazon employees! Something actually GOOD for society! Impulse could run for fuckin’ PRESIDENT if he wanted to! But NAH! He chose to go back to the life of kickin’ hard working wrestlers like ME in the head, to appease his false sense of self-worth!
The Escape Artist seethes with fury, taking a long and aggressive drag off his joint that nearly burns down half its length. Simon, the every astute up-and-coming sports journalist, can clearly see a thread of a story hanging here, and like any kitten, compulsively chooses to give it a tug.
Simon Tillier: Rezin, I am curious to know, why are you afraid of losing to Impulse?
Something said there triggers Rezin, because within the blink of an eye, he seizes the junior reporter by the collar and shakes the bejesus out of him. Simon, utilizing his one and only survival tactic, freezes up in fear.
Rezin: HEY, MAN!! I AIN’T AFRAID OF ANYTHING!! PUNKS DON’T KNOW FEAR!!
Tillier whimpers, like prey caught in a predator’s claws. Rezin notices, and perhaps remembering that he has the Queen’s protection, he thankfully dials back the rage a bit and releases Simon from his grip. Simon grimaces at the black stains left on his suit.
Rezin: Thing is, Simon… I’m just not looking forward to a humiliating scenario, and unfortunately, that looks like the inevitable outcome!
Simon Tillier: Could losing to Impulse really be more humiliating than something like, say, arriving at PRIME with soiled trousers?
Rezin: For someone like ME it can be! Look, you may not think it, but I worked HARD to get here in PRIME! It took TWENTY YEARS of blood, sweat, and DOPESMOKIN’ just to get to a point where Lindsay Troy could remember my name! Even NOW she still calls me “Raisin”!
Simon Tillier: Everybody does. It’s kinda becoming a thing, in the office.
Rezin almost again snaps and throttles Simon in rage, but holds back and keeps on track.
Rezin: My POINT is… I find myself existing now in the literal and metaphorical “PRIME” of a long, shitty, uneventful career! And after everything I went through — after all that I SCRAPED UP from within myself, just to become the PUNK ROCK BEAST that I am — I’m not exactly keen on being unceremoniously ZION’d out of this tournament without at least first being given a chance to make a STATEMENT!
Simon Tillier: Well, I mean… it’s not like you haven’t made some statement just by being here. For one, you’ve reminded us all that human beings should regularly take showers. For another, at least you made it to the second round, which is more than what sixteen other very talented individuals unfortunately cannot say for themselves. Albeit, in your case, you obviously had to cheat to make it there…
Being reminded of another thing he’d rather not remember, Rezin winces.
Rezin: Uggghh… really wish I hadn’t done all that.
Simon Tillier: Wait, so you actually feel remorseful for screwing Solomon Richards out of a much-deserved victory?
Rezin: What?! NO!! Fuck that hayseed! I regret SHOWING MY HAND so early, cause now every normie in that locker room is wise to the ever-clever antics of the Escape Artist! That’s like breaking a cardinal rule in this city! Now Impulse is gonna wear his tights with the un-grippable waistband, and Timo’s gonna tell his zebras to stay out of arm’s length when making the counts!
Simon Tillier: I mean, have you ever considered, um… not cheating?
Rezin stares daringly at Simon.
Occasionally, he drags off the spliff from one corner of the mouth and spews a cloud of smoke out the other.
The junior reporter looks unsure of just how the maniacal Goat Bastard will react.
Rezin leans forward.
Rezin: …you expect me to NOT cheat?
He gets in even closer. Simon ain’t no limbo champion, but after today, he’s got some good practice in.
Rezin: So what… I’m just supposed to wrestle CLEAN? No antics? No bullshit? Just me at my pure, unadulterated best? Even knowing I’m going up against a superior wrestler? Just raging into oblivion itself, fearlessly fighting until my last breath, without remorse or compromise?
The Escape Artists fists are clenched. He’s shaking with pent up energy now. He comes nose-to-nose with Simon and stares daggers into the interviewer’s wide, innocent eyes.
Rezin: You’re sayin’ I should just go into that ring… walk right up to Impulse… look that fucker right in the eye and say, “Ya know what, PUNK? For years, guys like you used guys like me like stepping stones, but you shoulda kept your ass in retirement, cause RIGHT NOW, HERE, in PRIME, I’M lightin’ the FIRES of REVOLUTION, BABY!”
He backs up, hands on his hips, looking up as the worn, rusty gears in his beleaguered and drug-addled mind grind their way into something of novel idea.
Rezin: Fuck… ya know what, Simon, you stupid sum’bish? You might be onto something here! This “not cheating” thing of yours actually sounds PUNK ROCK as FUCK, now that I think about it!
Simon Tillier: Well… I’m happy to hear I helped convince you of that.
There’s a pyromaniacal little twinkle in Rezin’s eye. He’s suddenly looking more confident and lucid than ever. If you squint just right, he could almost pass for an actual pro wrestler.
Rezin: Yeah, you know what? FUCK IT! I’m GOIN’ FOR IT! Even if it’s all in vain, I ain’t got anything to be ashamed of for putting it all out there! And if I don’t have to be concerned about the outcome anymore, then I guess all I need to worry about is finding a way to TAKE A PIECE of Impulse WITH ME when I leave that ring!
He pounds a fist against the shriveled, black heart tattooed there on his breast.
Rezin: Maybe the Cosmos is finally flowin’ in the ol’ Goat Bastard’s favor, Simon! This tournament has gifted me the very rare opportunity to let ME be the one who kicks HIM in the face! And I can promise you, for however much he may want to win and move on, it’s only a FRACTION of how much EYE want to put the fear of DOUBT in those big, stupid puppy-dog eyes of his!!
Rezin notices the joint has been burnt down to a roach. Without thinking, he stuffs leftover bit into his nostril, snorts, swallows, and keeps going like nothing happened. Simon looks like he’s about to lose his lunch.
Rezin: So how’s this for a STATEMENT, PRIME Wrestling? Here comes this PUNK off the streets… covered in hair and filth… tattoos up and down his body… joint in his mouth… shit in his pants… who against all odds and expectations, takes the so-called “Marathon Man” to a distance he’s never gone to before!
His head is shaking side to side. He’s frothing at the corners of his mouth. He is pure PUNK ROCK fury at this point, and can’t be stopped.
Rezin: Cause I don’t RUN any “marathons”, like some yuppy with too much time on their hands! When I run, I RUN from the AUTHORITY!! I RUN to SURVIVE!! And Impulse be damned, I’m gonna FIGHT to SURVIVE in this tournament!! It’s a new time and place, and PRIME is the time and place where the legends will come to fear the CHAOS brought by REZIN!
He’s got his clenched fists held over his head by this point. Strong Dick Dastardly energy here. The junior reporter lets him have his moment before finally clearing his throat.
Simon Tillier: Well, Rezin, sounds like you’ve finally found your fighting spirit, so I think I’ll leave you to your, uhm… what have you. Real quick, before we finish up here, can we be assured that you’re going to remember to show up at ReVival 3?
Rezin’s maniacal fervor dissipates almost immediately.
Rezin: …hmmm… good question.
The Goat Bastard mulls it over, then an idea somehow forms in his head, as he uses his sludge-tipped finger to write a message into his abdomen.
Simon has to crane his head, but can clearly see it reads, “MEMO – U HAV 2 KICK IMPULSE’S ASS @ REV03 / PRIME / LV”
Rezin: THERE!! Got it covered!
Simon Tillier: Well, I suppose it’s better than nothing. I wish you luck at ReVival, Rezin, and… please, be on your best behavior until then.
Rezin: NO PROMISES, Simon! The PUNK ROCK lifestyle doesn’t make compromises!
Simon Tillier: Right… right…
Simon rolls his eyes and wanders out of the frame, thankful to be done. Rezin watches him leave… then goes back to scribbling words onto his abdomen.
“PS – KEEP SEARCH 4 TIME MACHINE / PHONEBOOTH? / HOT TUB?”
Fade to VOID.