"Karma has no menu. You get served what you deserve." - Unknown (But Really, We All Know It Was Scott Hunter)
I said at the onset, Mort, that if you’re going to play ‘psycho’ with me, then at least learn how to play the part. I literally said this to you. Verbatim. Couldn’t have been clearer than an actual piece of crystal.
But you didn’t heed my words, Mort. Maybe it’s because you don’t have a Jabber account? Who knows. I have one myself and barely look at it anymore since all it seems to be is a bunch of gaslighting nitwits all trying to be the funniest person in the room.
Truth be told, I shouldn’t be surprised at the predictability of a simpleton. But here we are. I’m still shaking my head, flabbergasted, at your actions against me.
You beat up some poindexter kid intern from Arliss Peters’ law firm that has less-than-nothing to do with me as some sort of misguided message that… I should be scared?
Was that it?
No, seriously. That wasn’t rhetorical. So If you could enlighten us on that a bit, that’d be fantastic.
‘Cause honestly? I don’t have a fucking clue if your aim was to make me feel scared, or flat-out amused.
Right now? I’m leaning on the latter.
Somewhere in Northwestern Illinois
8:23 PM CT
Conceptualizing a plan of attack took great effort for those who wanted the memory to last forever. Such was the case with Arthur Pleasant and his ongoing issues with one Mortimer Kjedelig.
First, in order to implement said plan of attack, he needed a venue.
But not just any old venue. He needed the perfect one. One that would stay with people forever, not unlike the speech itself he had been frothing at the mouth in delivering.
Sitting with his hands at the bottom of the steering wheel at five and seven o’clock, Arthur Pleasant thought for hours on end during an inspired location expedition.
Campground? Too many people. And bears. Lots of bears.
Some undisclosed warehouse? Too cliché. Probably run into Morty himself.
Sewers? His name wasn’t Georgie. Or Rezin.
That’s the precise moment Arthur felt a lightbulb burst into a blinding effulgence atop his jet-black raven’s hair. Its radiance shone brilliantly down upon him in all its figurative glory as the Provocateur realized he knew exactly where to go.
It was time for a little trip to the Midwest.
The Driftless Plains of northwest Illinois were seemingly endless. So too was the laborious search for his venue. The perfect venue.
For the perfect eulogy.
It took him hours, but Arthur religiously set up this most perfect of places. The holes in the ceiling allowed icy raindrops to fall to the pews below, and the rotting wood flooring cracked, creaked, and groaned soothingly with every step. The abandoned church had just one more moment of grace to give and Arthur, and to some degree Mortimer Kjedelig, had been chosen to accept this final gift.
Lifeless mannequins were placed in various positions throughout the church. Their plastic skin had deep cuts all throughout their bodies, exposing white fiberglass underneath. It was as if a mad butcher had been sharpening their blade over and over again, creating a simulacrum of wounds for macabre effect. Every humanoid figure had its head hollowed out and a printed-out picture crudely stapled where a face should’ve been. It was clear the pictures were recently printed as the ink began to run down the longer the cold rain fell upon them.
Though it needn’t be said, it was a truly disturbing sight to behold.
More disturbing yet, this humanlike diorama setup throughout the sanctity of this woebegone church seemed to represent something even more sinister. Each member of the PRIME “family” that had made it for the impending celebration of Mortimer’s life seemed to represent a person from the PRIME roster.
Towards the back was the likeness of Sid Phillips. To represent the sheer bulkiness of PRIME’s resident Powerbombenheimer, this uninhabited soul seemed to have come from a plus-size section. It was the only size befitting a man of such powerbombocity, to be fair. More towards the center, from left to right with about the length of five bodies between them, were the likes of Ria Lockhart, Anna Daniels, and Sage Pontiff. Given the saturation of rain, Ria’s “mascara” seemed to be running off the computer paper faster than Anna’s; a fitting site to be sure given Lady Lockhart’s inherent snowflake nature. Inharmonious to the whole setup, Anna’s ink seemed to be completely dry, thereby defying nature itself. Sage’s entire “presence” reeked of skunk weed and how Charles Manson indubitably smelled on a daily basis in prison.
Max Kael?’s mannequin and accompanying lifelessness was probably the truest representation of a PRIME roster member for reasons only a few others would possibly know. The General of all Kael?’s sat in the front row, away from the others. A great gust of wind had torn half of the paper away, exposing a cavity behind it.
At the front of the dilapidated room, was Arthur Pleasant. He wore a three-piece crimson, black, and gold suit with his hair slicked back. Behind him?
There was an open casket.
Inside the coffin was something different entirely. Though it was as lifeless as all the other “attendees”, this one seemed to be a class unto its own.
It was a skeleton. A patch of fabric had been placed onto its empty eye socket.
The same piece of fabric torn from the mask of C. Mortgomery Byrnes at ReVival 31.
As the rain fell harder from the heavens, the pitter-patter from it hitting the hard exteriors of the mannequins filled the church with an unexpected calm.
Clearing his throat, Pleasant looked out at all of the people who made it to what was obviously a funeral for the fallen Morty. With a deep breath, Pleasant began his speech.
“I want to start by thanking each and every one of you out there for being able to make it to tonight’s celebration,” he said, pausing in his words. “A celebration of the most underhanded, egregious idiot that’s ever taken a breath in professional wrestling.”
Arthur stifled back laughter as he continued.
“Without all of my brothers and sisters out there, this commemoration wouldn’t have been possible. So, bless you. Bless all of you, fine sirs and madams!”
At this point, Pleasant reached into the pocket of his suit jacket and pulled out a bottle of tears. The white bottle literally said “TEARS” on it, noticeably etched onto it in magic marker. Unscrewing the top, Pleasant tilted his head back and squeezed a couple of drops in each of his eyes. Once he twisted the top back on, he placed it back into his suit jacket.
Suddenly, Arthur feigned a sniffle and wiped them from under his eyes.
It was at this point, unbeknownst to Arthur, that Alexei Ruslan had actually arrived at the abandoned church. He stood directly behind Pleasant so as to not give away his presence. For good reason, too. Placing a hand to his mouth, Alexei was shocked to see what exactly he was getting himself into by accepting the very real invitation he received from Pleasant just a few short weeks ago.
“Though the man wished to be buried next to the love of his life, Kohime Mori will, unfortunately, be buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in the mountain of Japan where nobody will ever give enough of a flat dry fuck to ever visit,” he said with a smile. Turning back to “Morty”, Pleasant mouthed “Sorry!” to the skeletal remains that were inside the plain wooden casket.
Continuing, Alexei seemed absolutely appalled by the contents of the casket and the psychotic nature of what was happening before his very eyes.
“Fear not, though! What I have planned for you tonight is no different than what’s planned for you at UltraViolence!” Pleasant said, cackling at what he was about to do.
The Nightmare of PRIME reached into his suit jacket once again and pulled out a zippo lighter. As he looked behind himself, Arthur saw Alexei standing there in absolute horror.
“ALEXEI! COMRADE! I’m so glad you could make it, friend!” Pleasant said. He then pointed toward a set of red canisters that had been resting side by side against the church wall.
“Want to give me a hand?” Arthur asked.
Alexei froze. “Why was he doing this?” he thought to himself as Pleasant licked his lips with great anticipation.
Arthur chuckled and gleefully skipped over to the canisters. Cocking his head with a crooked smile, Pleasant waved away Alexei.
“Ahhhhh that’s okay, friend! I didn’t mean to put you on the spot! I got this!” he said, feeling the uncomfortability exuding from Alexei.
Clutching onto the lighter with one hand while raising the red canister with the other, Pleasant removed the lid to the gasoline. One of two cans, to be precise. Lifting it up, he poured the contents out onto the pews and into the “audience”. While soaking everything in sight, he hummed the tune of something very familiar.
It was “Till There Was You”.
“Stalin’s Ghost!” said Alexei as he watched Pleasant throw down the can before going for the second one.
With the second canister in his hand, he undid the top just like the first. A Cheshire cat grin emerged while he furrowed his brows and bore all of his fangs at Alexei. Instead of pouring the gas out onto the pews, he dumped it into the casket that held the “remains” of Mortimer Kjedelig.
He flicked his thumb across the flint wheel’s rivet, generating a spark that ignited a bluish flame.
With his back to the rest of the church, Arthur sighed.
“Thanks for coming, everybody. I’m sure Mort would’ve loved this.”
Let’s be real, Little Mermort. Were you seriously trying to scare Arthur Pleasant? Think about the context of that question before you answer like the bloated dope that you are.
Lest we forget, I’m the guy who gnawed on another human being’s skull until his blood splattered onto Elvis Nixon’s shoes. Do you really think there’s anything you can do to frighten me? Was that truly the intent there? I should fear the walking redundancy and self-parody, who beats up interns and blindsides people. Why, Morticia? Because they didn’t understand the plot line of She’s Just Not That Into You? The fact is, I don’t know Kohime Mori anymore than I could lawn-dart Bobby Dean, but I’d imagine she wouldn’t be into someone who has even less of a grasp on the English language than she does.
To say you are comically stupid— you know, for starting this war for the attention of a whore— would be a painfully obvious thing to say. It’d be like the moon telling the sun it looks hot on its surface. But alas, given my audience, it must be said anyway.
You were so desperate to make me uncomfortable, that you talked me into a bathroom and took a co-op piss. You violated all the cardinal rules of which urinal you used based on how many guys are pissing, which is inexcusable. And honestly, the sound of our golden essence spraying in unison was far better than anything you’ve had to say to me since day zero of this bullshit between us. I’m sure Kohime would be proud if you weren’t such a fuckup.
That’s just creepy for the sake of being creepy, Mortadella.
While I simply fucking AM.
The Best of Friends…?
Having just delivered the eulogy of a lifetime, Arthur Pleasant sat down to eat some chow with a true friend in PRIME. Someone who, from day one, was willing to extend his hand in friendship when no other soul in that locker room would look his way.
Alexei Ruslan looked at the Chinese takeout menu with utter disdain as the sounds of soles unsticking themselves from grease-covered tiling emanated from under the poorly kept table for two. The corners of the white, diner-esque table saw thin plastic curling up from its edges, while the center had bubbled and warped completely. Each unattractive mark on the table was an indicator of a great amount of heat suffocating its patrons for days on end.
Arthur gleefully leaned forward while sipping tea from the stone carafe they were provided and asked fervently, “Did you like my performance, Alexei? I think it was one of my best ones yet!”
In the presence of a friend, Ruslan did away with the stone-faced Russian looks and openly showed his confusion as he blinked at the menu. He flipped it over as he searched for something, before finally looking flatly at Pleasant. “Do they have vodka here? I think I need drink after… that.”
Pleasant guffawed at the idea of vodka in a little hole-in-the-wall place like ‘No. 1 Chinese Food’. Various cooks clanged away back in the open kitchen with their woks and spatulas as the aroma of Kung Pow Chicken and Beef Curry filled the air with a distinct pungentness.
“You see, that’s what I’m talking about! It feels nice to be appreciated,” Pleasant said. After taking another sip of his hot tea, he continued, “People like TAL and Mort have tried to bring me down. Over and over. Be it on Jabber or a blindsided attack in the back of an arena. But you? More specifically, you and Ivan? I can feel the respect. And I just want you to know, Alexei…”
Pleasant grabbed one of Alexei’s hands. He caressed the knuckles, thus causing a look of immediate concern on Alexei’s face. Pleasant sighed relaxingly and patted Alexei’s hand.
“…that the feeling of respect is reciprocated.”
Ruslan didn’t hesitate to pull his hand away but played it off as fixing his tie. “Your sentiment is appreciated. I speak for Ivan as well when I say this.” He cleared his throat and ran his tongue along the inside of his lips. “I do not think I have much of appetite right now.”
“Would you care to go somewhere else, Alexei?” Pleasant asked with genuine concern in his voice. He would be damned if his friend, perhaps best friend, would walk away from this day feeling anything but satisfied.
“Oh,” Ruslan shrugged as he removed his hat and brushed a hand through his dark hair, “when one is in such, ahem, pleasant company, what does the venue matter? We just live constantly with jetlag, you know? That is all.”
Arthur placed his hand on his chin, thinking about all the places where he could’ve taken Alexei. Leaning forward, Pleasant peeled at his dry bottom lip a bit before flicking the dead skin away from the table. Having seen the dead skin land on the apron of a passing patron made him giggle like a kindergartner.
“I’ve got it! How does some fine Italian dining sound?” he said, pausing to take a deep look into Ruslan’s eyes as to whether or not he was interested.
Alexei’s disinterest betrayed him before Arthur continued with an excited demeanor about him, “I’m not sure if you or Ivan ever heard of it, but it’s a fancy little place with exquisite wine and a superbly prepared set of entrées called ‘Olive Garden’. I’m even buying!”
Ruslan shifted his jaw in his mouth for a moment. “Ah.. well… I think about it, yes? I admit I need to uh… use restroom.”
He rose quickly and tipped his hat before making his way towards the bathroom in the background. To Alexei’s joy, the bathroom was directly across from the exit. After a glance back at the distracted Pleasant, he turned on his heel and fluidly left the building.
Pleasant sat there alone at the table for what seemed like hours.
Then it actually was hours.
Arthur did everything he could to be a good friend to Alexei. The constant correspondence. The invitation to his dinner party all those months ago. He put his best foot forward to try to be the best friend he could possibly be to someone he respected and everyone else reviled. Maybe even loved like a brother.
Arthur remembered some of the things that he was taught by his old psychiatrist, Dolores when he had an extended stay at Western State Hospital all those years ago.
“Avoid overthinking, Arthur,” she would tell him whenever he thought about mustering up enough courage to socialize with the other patients.
This theory worked against itself as all it did was make him overthink the situation even MORE.
Fuck. STOP overthinking it.
Maybe he’s just really gotta go in there.
The minutes turned into an hour.
The hour turned into several hours.
Daylight turned to twilight.
He’s not coming back.
Disappointed that he was just ditched by someone he thought to be a friend, Pleasant stood up from the sticky floors somewhat forlorn. He looked like a jilted lover who thought a relationship was going somewhere in the right direction but, in the blink of an eye, simply didn’t. Having the Chinese labor force up his ass and yelling at him in Mandarin for hours, Arthur had finally had enough. Brandishing his fangs, Arthur hissed in their general direction.
The entire fetid-smelling, rancid-looking, generally unclean restaurant turned to absolute silence. The kind of silence one might see in the vastness of space and across its cluster of starfields.
Even one of the cooks in the back had stopped pouring pineapple juice in with the chicken cutlets to tenderize the meat in order to see where the incredibly disturbed hissing sound was coming from.
Pleasant threw his tray of Kung Pow towards the clerk at the cash register.
He hissed again and jumped up onto the counter on all fours like a rabid quadruped. Dipping his head into a bowl of delicious complimentary mints like a dog would a bowl of kibble, Arthur came up with several. Spitting all of them but one out of his razor-sharp mouth, Pleasant bit into the mint, wrapper and all, and began to suck the peppermint flavor from it. Smirking, he jumped down from the counter and made a bee-line for the exit. In yet another act of disturbing behavior, Arthur extended a leg out and delivered a Provocation to the horizontal bar of the commercial storefront door.
Everyone looked at him as if he were crazy.
“It worked,” he thought as he used the momentum from the impact and rolled back to his feet. Just as the door was about to swing shut, Pleasant did a nifty dance slide in between the door and the frame, narrowly escaping being hit by it.
The restaurant workers were so distracted by his erratic behavior they all forgot he didn’t even pay for the meal that was supposed to be shared with Alexei Ruslan.
Like a fox.
Your fellow cultists have all been trying to help you through this, Mort. For good reason, too. They know what the rest of PRIME and the entire world know. That impetuousness you exhibit? They know it proves that your bafflingly myopic plans will not only be your downfall, but it’ll also be GAS’s as well.
But they can no longer help you.
This is the end of the line for you, friendo.
As a wrestler.
As a man.
As a human being that inexplicably found his way out of his Mother’s womb.
When you were put down by Mr. Zappenstein, I think it rattled something inside of you. Other than the obvious physical reaction, of course.
So, Cunt of Morty Cristo. It’s time.
You’ve had months to close the deal on me and move on with your shitty, meandering existence. But instead?
You fucked around and found out.
Now? Unlike you?
I’m going to finish the goddamn job. Just like I said I would the moment I tasted the cold, bitter, metallic flavor of rebar.
Keep the fang, dickhead.
Consider it a reminder of when you fucked up for the last time. Keep it close to you when you sleep. Store it on the magazine rack so it’s within arms reach every time you take a shit. Place it in a vial and make a necklace out of it so that it’s with you when you’re standing on the unemployment line. Please. I want your little keepsake to be a constant reminder of just how naturally sadistic and violent some people are in this world. I want your blood to run cold and your stomach to drop into those microscopic testicles of yours every fucking time a glimmer of light reflects off of it.
So, please. Mortimer Kjedelig.
Just keep it.
I’ve got more than enough fangs left in my mouth to exsanguinate you at UltraViolence.
Arthur’s phone dinged.
A text message.
It was Alexei.