The deed is done.
The moment that Joe Fontaine’s elbow collides with the back of his weary mentor’s head, his fate is sealed in glue. There’s no going back after this.
Gone are the days when Coral and his wife would accept him into their home and treat him as a member of Coral’s extended dumb found family. Gone are the days when he would have Coral to fall back on if he needs advice. There would be no Kings nor Kingdom, with neither crowns nor popsicles, for Joe or Sid.
An hour later, Joe Fontaine looks at his cell phone and rolls his eyes.
“That’s 84, oh… no, wait. 85 messages,” he says to no one in particular, which is good because the only person around to hear him is Sid Phillips, “Damn, y’all got nothin’ better to do than to blow up my DMs?”
Sid has received way more. He doesn’t care as much about the way they’re viewed. He just cares about the powerbombs and keeping Joe out of trouble. He isn’t doing a particularly good job at the latter, considering that he might have landed the two of them in the hottest water they’ve ever been in.
Of course, Sid isn’t going to tell Joe this.
“What kind of DMs?” Sid asks.
“I got about a dozen from Mrs. Avalon.” Joe says, “So I did what anyone in my position would do. Blocked. Ba-leted. See you never again.”
“Harsh.” Sid says, already having second thoughts about all of this.
Making an enemy out of Coral Avalon isn’t the best plan. He has more friends in pro wrestling than just Youngblood and the Coltons. And his wife is scarier than some of the wrestlers, even two months pregnant. And his wife’s best friend is the scariest human he’d ever met, and that includes the shady ne’er-do-wells he and Joe encountered at New Mexico Wrestling eXplosion that nearly caused both of them to quit the business entirely.
Come to think of it, fuck New Mexico.
Joe might have just increased the difficulty level of this whole wrestling thing out of some kind of sustained temper tantrum.
“Don’t worry about it,” Joe says, “This is all gonna be great. You’ll see. I can’t wait for you to meet Huey, Dewey, and Chuck, too. They’re all with us, one hundred percent, and aren’t just… I don’t know, planning to leave us with our dicks in the wind like some people.”
“You mean Gary, Dirk, and Hank.” Sid corrects him.
“That’s what I said.”
Being best friends and brothers-in-law with Joe Fontaine is sometimes excruciating. Sid hopes that he isn’t coming down with a migraine.
“What about you?” Joe asks, “Any fun DMs?”
Sid swallows nervously. “The worst one I got was from Ria.”
“I bet she threatened to stab you. In the butt.”
“Yeah, she did.” Sid lies. He doesn’t want to tell him that it’s something worse than stabbing. It’s someone he cared about that is very, very disappointed in him. Joe doesn’t need to know all of the consequences of his decision.
Just the important one: that kings have ways to deal with traitors like Joe Fontaine.
The study of Farthington Manor was the kind of room you would expect if you turned into a sexy 1920s drama. There would be a man with a large tumbler full of brandy, swirling it around, asking a lady in the silkiest nightdress to follow him into the study. Oh my! How exciting!
So, you get the scene, many leather bound books, an old oak desk with a level of sturdiness that could kill a man. On this particular day, there were two particular men sitting at either end of the said murder desk. Given the owner of the estate, you would expect Cecilworth Farthington to be sitting atop the large leather throne at the head of the desk, but that honour on this occasion was reserved for The Glue Factory founder, Phil Atken, who had shown up to Farthington Manor with very limited notice.
Atop the table, four binders full of information about top tier PRIME talent, in this case, details on FLAMBERGE, Tyler Adrian Best, Sid Phillips and Joe Fontaine. Phil Atken tosses Phillips’ binder onto the table, with a steely glare in his eye that does not indicate pride at recent decision.
“All this guy can do is powerbomb things. Now, don’t get me wrong, powerbombs are cool but… I’m concerned Cecilworth, I’m concerned you’ve taken our mission and turned it into one big himbo group.”
Cecilworth seems a little taken aback by the words of the founder, squirming and shifting in a much smaller chair. Although a smile is still plastered on his face, it’s clear that he’s not exactly delighted in the current context. “Look, FLAMBERGE was your call and it was the right one… I think… I keep getting weird texts from unknown numbers about remodeling the greenhouse to make it more reptile friendly and I don’t even want to think about those implications…”
“Exactly! FLAMBERGE is a strange young man but under the sticky hand of gluey fate, he has excelled. We don’t even know when he last lost. Even TAB, I get it, you trained him and after the Battle Royal, there’s no argument in my camp. The Winds though…”
Cecilworth was already huffing and puffing at the direction of Atken’s statements but couldn’t hold his tongue at this point “…Soon to be PWA Tag Team champions, Joe Fontaine and Sid Philips give us insurance Phil. One of our boys is morphing into a lizard, the other is still rock hard for grandpappy and you know the dangers of that implication. We need more malleable minds and… well… have you spoken to those boys?”
Atken picks up Joe and Sid’s files again, this time taking a much slower and more deliberate read-through.
“And you didn’t just do this exclusively to piss off your Tropical Turmoil opponent? You weren’t trying the ole “Farthington Tilt” were you?” Atken inquires, his eyes still locked on the files in front of him.
“Oh I mean, that was just a deliciously ironic bonus. I believe in these kids. They should be tag team champions right now, it’s Coral’s fault they aren’t. They clearly needed better guidance, driven by brilliance, not bravado…”
It’s clear from the look in Farthington’s eyes that this is not just old-fashioned flimflam he is hurling in the direction of Phil Atken, he believes every word he is saying. Now, we’re talking about a man who wrestled in a ninety seven minute long iron man match, so perhaps there’s a pot/kettle situation in the whole “bravado” sweepstakes. Still, the words from the man are genuine. Just as he’s about to continue his argument, Farthington’s text tone (which is Hank ripping a big one) goes off. He quickly scans the message.
“Looks like you’re getting an opportunity to see if I made the right call.”
“Alright, it’s off.” Sid says, setting down the camera he doesn’t fully understand how to operate. It’s just Joe, Sid, and Cecilworth, now, without the prying eyes of a national audience to get in the way.
“Are you sure?” Joe asks.
Sid looks down at the camera, and shrugs, “Yeah. Unless you want me to, y’know…”
“Ixnay on the ropertypay amageday,” Joe says, “I’d like to not get fined by the terrifying owl matriarch because you can only turn a camera off by powerbombing it, thanks.”
He tries to look cool to Cecilworth, “So, Cecilworth, what’s on your mind?”
Cecilworth steps in closer to the two young talents, wrapping an arm around each. A feat that is significantly more challenging to do to Sid Philips than it is to Joe. “Two things really. One, Joe is right, Joe has always been right. If Coral Avalon actually cared about you, you would be PRIME Forever Tag Champions. And number two… I want to help make sure you remind everyone of that fact at PWA-02.”
The snake oil salesman smile that has been witnessed in the past by ACE Network cameras is once again plastered upon the face of The Glueminati’s Financier. “But before we look to the future, we must deal with the past. Joe, forgive me for being presumptuous, but I get the sense you wouldn’t mind a little bit of revenge on your old mentor…”
“Oh, there’s a lot of revenge I want. Just a whole feast of sweet, delicious vengeance. Coral’s probably just number one on the list.” Joe says, “Fuckin’ two-out-of-three falls. Who thought that was a good idea? I hope there’s never another one of those matches in PRIME ever again.”
“Multifall matches are a curse created by pathetic executives exclusively to punish talented wrestlers.” Cecilworth is quick to interject. Definitely no residual trauma there.
“I hate wrestle curses!” Joe helpfully adds. Cecilworth’s eyes widen for the briefest of moments, clearly in the fear that Joe is about to embark upon another fantastical tale. Not that they aren’t engaging, it’s just Cecilworth hasn’t had lunch yet, and so late into the day too.
“You know, that reminds me of something…” Joe says, and if the cameras were still rolling, you might’ve gotten one of those wavy transitions…
Deep in the heart of the jungle, our intrepid wrestle wizards found themselves lost once again. They should really consider bringing a map one of these days, but I digress. The point is that our heroes, Sir Fontaine and Sir Phillips, are in search of a witch of the woods. Why? Well, that’s because they’re looking for a way to undo a terrible curse cast upon them by the nefarious and treacherous Avalon, the Crownless Pirate King!
Yes, indeed, this witch…
“Joe, we’re going to miss the revenge window!” Cecilworth blurts out, destroying the tale before it gets a chance to breathe. Not that he wasn’t enthralled by the prospect, it’s just that current matters are incredibly time sensitive.
“Oh, right! Revenge!” Joe says. He raises his fist into the air, and repeats the word, “Revenge!”
Sid’s palm hits his face. Actually, it’d been there for a bit, so he’s had to repeat the motion for emphasis.
“I probably should’ve asked this earlier because a lot of the plan really depends on it. Coral is kinda an oblivious dude, right? Like, he wouldn’t be aware of how mad you are at him, right?” a potential flaw in this whole plan dawns on Cecilworth and he would really appreciate some clarity right about now, thank you very much.
“He has no idea.” Sid says, “We haven’t exactly been in contact with him in the last month or two.”
“So, super double omega oblivious,” Joe adds, “Scientific term.”
With a smirk upon his face that would make the Cheshire Cat jealous, Farthington claps together his hands in delight. “Oh, this is perfect!”, I’d say what the glee did to his downstairs area but that seems more like a FLAMBERGE matter.
“Perfect?” Joe asks, “What did you have in mind?”
For many, the transition from Phil Atken to Cecilworth Farthington in all things Glue hasn’t exactly been the smoothest of situations. We know, for example, there is still a decent level of trust issues and general misgivings from FLAMBERGE and TAB as it comes to The Financier. For one person though, life really hadn’t changed all that drastically.
Dirk Dickwood, at one point or another in his career, had stood by the side of both men. He was familiar with their quirks, their modes of operation, and how they dealt with unfortunate news. It’s for this reason that Dirk Dickwood didn’t raise as much as a single eyebrow as he spotted Farthington walking around the Farthington Manor grounds with a gasoline can. The whimsical whistling of Farthington was clearly a mask, Dirk could see the flop sweat and the look of anguish in Cecilworth as Farthington continued to pour fluid upon the recently rebuilt hedge maze.
“Dirk, I don’t want to hear it. That man is waiting for me to fuck up a single time and then he’s going to yank it all back. He’s called FOUR meetings this week alone.. and now, I’ve got Youngblood in the ring across from me. Do you think Mr. “I Beat Youngblood for The Universal Title” is perhaps going to use ReVival’s main event as a wedge? Yes, Dirk, I agree, he is bad at nicknames…”
Dirk hadn’t even opened his mouth to utter a response and already knew better than to bother. At least by starting the conversation, he’d stopped pouring the gasoline for a few seconds. “I’m starting to wish he had that Ditch Match with Dusk. Might have saved me a lot of headaches.”
Dirk really fights the urge to suggest that perhaps the gasoline fumes could be a source of the headaches. Instead he goes for the more tactical approach, “Buuuut, if you were, you know, to DEFEAT Brandon Youngblood, with a member of the team that currently has a big Atken question mark dangling over…”
“…Please don’t mention anything of Phil’s dangling, I’ve seen those bruised bingo wings.” Cecilworth begins to interject, not quite yet fully processing Dirk’s line of thought, more caught up in spiteful inertia for a few moments. Farthington hard stops talking for a few seconds, his brain in full reboot. “I get what you’re saying Dirk, but even at my unearned level of self confidence, it’s rather brazen to hitch my wagon on the pivot point of humiliating the current number one ranked wrestler, who also happens to be the Universal Champion. You’re right about one thing though, this match could really solve a lot of problems.”
Cecilworth slowly starts to put down the gasoline can and Dirk breathes a sigh of relief.
“You know, I was getting worried for a second there Cecil. After the Toxic Glue Cloud incident, we’re already getting a lot of heat in our direction. Another fire might have been a step too far…”
TOXIC LEAF CLOUD ENGULFS MANOR, MORE NEWS IN TODAY’S ISSUE OF THE SUN.
Joe Fontaine paces back and forth, his hands firmly holding his head.
“Oh god, oh god, oh god…” he chants to himself, in the hopes that maybe a wrestle witch will hear him and curse all of his enemies. And maybe a few innocent bystanders, too, just to keep them on their toes, you know?
If you’re wondering, he’s back home in Phoenix and he’s just learned about the match at ReVival 30. It’s his first main event. It’s his first time teaming with someone that isn’t Sid. And once again, like a banshee out of hell because that’s where banshees come from, there’s Justine fucking Calvin.
So, you know… he’s not having the best of time taking this news.
He stops. He breathes.
“Okay. Calm down. Calm down, Joe,” he says to himself, “It’s only Brandon Youngblood and Justine Calvin. No big deal. They suck and you hate them and they both smell bad.”
This firm, infallible logic calms him. Then he reminds himself that one of them is the Universal Champion and one of them is the very avatar of his failures, and the panic sets in again.
Fuck. A million times fuck.
“Remember, Farthy’s there. Farthy knows how to do the wrestling thing. You’re in the Court of Glue now. The Glue Court. Gluourt. No. That’s dumb. Let’s abandon that.”
He turns, and keeps pacing. Can’t stop, won’t stop.
“You’ve got the Glueminati behind you, now! Think about it. What would FLAMBERGE do?” Joe asks himself. When he next speaks, it’s in the worst French accent you’ve heard today, “Mon dieu! Just collect their dicks! They are all the biiiiiiiiiitch!”
Joe is actually unsure if FLAMBERGE is a dick collector, but he doesn’t know which body part he would collect. He should really ask.
He shakes his head, even he’s recognizing the absurdity, “No, no, no! I’m not FLAMBERGE. All those beautifully sculpted murder muscles and that hairdo… yeah, okay, that’s not me. Okay. What about Ty? What would Ty do?”
He considers it, and tries an approximation of TAB’s voice, “Yeah, I’m going to fucking kill them.”
After a pause, he says, “Close enough.”
Mind you, he’s still panicking. And pacing. He’s definitely doing that, too.
Here’s a sentence that is probably only ever going to get uttered once in the vastness of human history – I really appreciate Arthur Pleasant and Ivan Stanislav. Cartoon villains the both of them, I’ll leave you to work out which one belongs to Disney and which belongs to Comedy Central. The acts they committed at ReVival 29 really helped me to operate in the shadows. Pay no attention to the Lord whispering in the ears of the young and ready to revolt of PRIME, keep all your anger and intensity solo focused on those two awful, awful men. One of them threw a man at a table, which is probably a crime of some sorts. Another one owns a drone, which is definitely a crime.
It’s very helpful to have neon bright pinatas to absorb all the enemy fire. Heroes occupied with caricature villains, Coral occupied with a Hungry Ghost. A lot of chaos going on, a lot of opportunity. Coral was too proud to even consider why his mentees were hanging around ringside.
Still, Ivo and Art, idiots both, proved to be very useful last week…
Actually, they’re still useful next week. See, Youngblood and Calvin, when you want to play the hero, you can sometimes get caught up in too many battles. One affair too many can lead to a costly price being paid. Justine, when Jared faced Arthur Pleasant, you had to have your head on a swivel out of fear of a surprise Russian invasion, do you really feel you’ll be secure standing on the apron, clutching the tag rope? I’d be terrified of being that exposed out there.
Then you have to consider Arthur himself, if he can fly a drone up The Anglo Luchador’s penis hole, which is a term I’ve just used, for the crime of being sassy, what’s he planning for a guy who humiliated him in the ring? What about his partner who stood definitely by his side? Oof, times are tough for poor Justine.
I say you both get together and throw all of your focus into those nasty stalkers. Us nice little Glue Boiz, all we do is powerbomb a few folks and give the occasion unscheduled chiropractic appointment.
You know, I kinda just want to kick Justine in the face about eleventy bazillion times, Farthy.
I… I… how… you know, not even going to question it. This is just my reality now. These are the choices I have made. Yes Joe, you can kick Justine in the face as many times as you want. Plus an extra time. For good luck.
Oh, wait, you were doing a whole monologue, right? Sorry, sorry. I’ll let you get back to it.
No, no, we’re a team now Joe, you can stay here if you want. I’m not sure where here is, or if it’s even tangible, but you found a way in already. So, errr… got any thoughts on Brandon Youngblood?
The Universal Champion? The guy everybody calls a diamond even though he’s just a flesh and blood human made out of suplex parts? The deadbeat suplex dad? Uh. I hope his dick falls off.
I’d be slightly worried what FLAMBERGE would do if his dick falls off. That dude has had a lot of intense downstairs stares as of late.
Doesn’t he collect dicks?
Necks. He collects necks.
Ah, shit, I’m gonna have to go back and correct myself later.
Is that something we can do in this space?
Probably not. It’s out there now.
Well Joe, thanks for your input but I think I can wrap this up now. I’d show you out but… again, not entirely sure how you got here in the first place.
Is he gone?
That was weird as hell. Maybe he’s got telekinesis or something.
As I was saying, The Glueminati has been working very hard in the shadows, and we’re overly joyous to step into the ring at ReVival 30 and give both Brandon Youngblood and Justine Calvin a scrumptious taste of our efforts.
Sadly, I think their minds are going to be a little preoccupied. I know if I was them I’d be worried about appearances from FLAMBERGE, Sid Phillips, Tyler Adrian Best, Ivan Stanislav, Arthur Pleasant, the remaining members of the Voss family and of course, Charles Nelson Riley. It’d be bloody hard to focus on the tag team sporting contest, that’s for sure.
You know, it’s telepathy, not telekinesis.
Thanks Joe for the useful information!
See, we’re respectful tag team partners and we’re going to respect all of your behinds at ReVival 30.
By respect, I mean “kick”.