Private: Balaam the Mask of Malice
[Cut To: A shot of a black pickup truck speeding down the highway on an empty road at night.]
Narrator: 80 miles per hour in a pickup truck somewhere in Oklahoma is where we find our hero Hoyt Williams sitting in the driver’s seat of a 1978 Ford F-150. John Anderson’s #1 country hit from the fall of ’83 “Black Sheep of the Family” blasts from the ole FM radio. In the passenger seat sits Mike Royko Jr. his arm resting on the open windows ledge and the wind blowing through his hair. Crammed between both men is an uncomfortable Joe Burro who really needs to pass wind but is holding it in to be polite.
[Cut To: Interior Pick Up Truck as the camera focuses on a bead of sweat rolling down Burros forehead as Hoyt sings along to the radio.]
Narrator: Many dirty nights have been viewed through the trucks dirty windows as Hoyt traveled across America working the road during the heyday of PRIME. Tonight, was not a work night. It was a celebration for Balaam’s last triumph. When the young man behind the mask was asked what he wanted to do to celebrate, to the chagrin of Hoyt, he said he wanted to Karaoke. Hoyt having just been served with legal papers summoning an appearance by Royko to face the court “maskless”, filed by Royko’s pregnant girlfriend Aurora, Hoyt knew Vegas was too big of a risk to expose Royko after weeks of immersion therapy brainwashing JK to be able to take the mask off in public without remembering his past. Knowing the reason God made Oklahoma was as a place for people who don’t want to be recognized, the willing lost, to exist freely, Hoyt decided this was the way to go.
Royko spits out the window and watches in the passenger side mirror for a moment as the spit floats away into the abyss of small-town American darkness.
Narrator: The mission was really two-fold. First, let Royko have a night to unwind and relax doing something he enjoys. Punishment wasn’t working, so maybe reward is the carrot needed to accomplish the goal of taking the five-star title. Second, was to have a secret meeting with one of the elders of hell who had some information for Hoyt. In the olden days meetings took place in the dark, clandestine nature of the woods. Sometimes ceremonies, or rituals even took place. One time they even had a giant owl and the sacrifice of hookers in a vat of peach Keifer yogurt. This led to witch hunts and conspiracy theorist groups on Reddit making it hard to do the devil’s work (unless you can get on the Supreme Court). What the underworld learned was guys locked in rooms in basements flagged the FBI, and the woods was just creepy, but blending in with the everyday world was easy and nobody batted an eye. As a matter of fact, the last great summit of hell took place disguised as a retirement party at a Hooters in Fort Myers Beach, Florida for a demon disguised as a retiring beach bum. Some of the evilest souls plotted out the horrors of the roaring 20’s while sucking down wings, sipping on margaritas, and glazing at hooters. So mote it be.
Hoyt Williams: I hope this is a low volume kinda Karaoke place.
Joe Burro: I don’t think that’s a thing Mister Hoyt.
RKRJR: I can’t wait to belt out a little Mr. Brightside. What song are you thinking Hoyt?
The pontiff of PRIME smiles and thinks for a moment.
Hoyt Williams: I think I’ll do Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. I bet that will go over well.
Joe Burro: Like a fart in church.
Hoyt Williams: Huh? Aww man did you fart?
Joe and John laugh as Hoyt overacts with comical waving motions.
Hoyt Williams: What sickness exists inside of you? Absolutely rancid.
JKRJR: So, we’re meeting Duke there?
Hoyt Williams: Yea, he took his motorcycle wanted to grab a table and scout out the place.
JKRJR: Cool I’m going to text him our song selections so he can put them in now. Joe what do you want?
Joe Burro: Vicente Fernandez, “El Rey”.
The truck pulls off the highway and shortly later pulls into a gravel filled parking lot and parks next to a black 1965 Harley Davidson Pan Head with a Texas license plate that just reads “Malice”.
[Cut To: A wide angle shot of a yellow and turquoise beach house themed bar with a big neon sign that reads, “The Tropical Atrocity Bar, Grill, and Karaoke Saloon” under the sign is another neon of a cowboy, frame by frame, taking a shot of whiskey.]
JKRJR: Is this heaven?
Hoyt Williams: No son, this is HELL.
The three men walk into the saloon, and the loudness instantly overcomes them. The bar is filled with mostly 20 something half naked girls on the prowl, and adoring guys. Nearly all of them drunk, even the staff. On the stage singing three bars off key is an older cowboy with a dead flamingo wrapped around his Stetson hat. The men’s eyes adjust to the darkness, smell of booze, and watch the dancing glowing blue lights (like lightening bugs) flicker in the darkness followed by the short bursts of aerosol emitting from the kids “vape pens”.
Hoyt Williams: I haven’t been in a sin den in years.
JKRJR: I love a good bar.
Joe Burro: Fashion in these parts sure is weird.
The underworlds top fashion designer is wearing a bedazzled rhinestone shirt with fringe hanging from the arms. The three men belly up to the bar.
Joe Burro: I’d like some booze please.
The bartender is an attractive black woman with her cleavage hanging out aggressively just covered enough to avoid any conflict with the law, or the decency police.
Bartender: Honey you’re going to have to be more descriptive than that.
Joe Burro: Liquid of high potency of alcohol. A whiskey maybe?
Bartender: Any specific type?
Hoyt Williams: Hey lady have you seen any suspicious or scrupulous looking people around here?
The bartender leans in to get closer to Hoyt’s ear like she has some important message to deliver.
Bartender: I didn’t want to say anything but I did spot a short Mexican fellow with a sparkling top, an over sized college frat boy, and a weird bearded old guy who reeks little dick energy.
Hoyt nods slowly and looks around to see if he spots who she is describing.
Joe Burro: The Jack of Daniels!! You want one Royko?
JKRJR: I’ll take a shot of fireball.
Joe Burro: Awww how exotic! Two of these FIREballs!
Hoyt: I don’t see the people you are describing can I just get a Fresca.
Bartender: We don’t have Fresca.
Hoyt Williams: What kind of place doesn’t have Fresca?
The crowd chants “DUKE DUKE DUKE”
DJ: OK give it up for your Honky Tonk Hero Duke Williams doing some Jerry Jeff Walker!!!!
The crowd high fives the Malice Man as he spots Hoyt, Joe, and John at the bar. He ‘s obviously drunk and puts Hoyt into a headlock.
Duke Williams: I hope these scamps ain’t giving you any trouble Jazz. Just put their drinks on my tab and let me buy a round of Wild Turkey for the entire bar. You include yourself sweets!
Duke winks at the bartender who cracks a smile. Hoyt fights out of the headlock and isn’t amused.
Bartender: This one wanted a fresca and I told him we don’t do that here.
Duke Williams: Aww shiiiiiit give him a ginger ale and he’ll be fine he’s my son and a damn teetotaler Imagine that. My own son.
The malice man shakes his head disappointed.
Duke Williams: Honey give me a double barrel of turkey so I can do a shot with them now while you get the bar situated. By the way, here is the start of your tip for the evening.
The old bar veteran slams a hundred-dollar bill on the bar top. The Bartender sarcastically holds it up to the light to make sure it’s real. Duke laughs. She pours the men their whiskey, and a glass of ginger ale.
Hoyt Williams: It better not be the Canadian stuff.
Duke Williams: I once drank Canada Dry!!
The old man laughs until he starts coughing. The drinks are laid out.
Duke Williams: To a future five-star champion!!!
The men toast Royko. The bartender hands Duke a glass of whiskey as the men head to a table in the back. Someone on stage is singing a decent version of Radio Head’s “Creep”. The men sit down. People keep high fiving Duke on the way to the table.
JKRJR: You sure are popular Mr. Duke.
Duke Williams: Hoss it takes a lifetime, but you can get there too if you keep hanging with us.
College Bro: Fuck Yea it’s Duke Williams!! My dad loved you!! Can I get a picture to send him!! Oh, and Hoyt you too. I’m a big fan.
Duke throws his arm around the kid for the photo opp.
Hoyt Williams: I’m a big fan of being left alone and enjoying my own time. I’ll pass sinner.
Duke gives the camera the finger as they snap the picture!
College Bro: Thanks Bro!! My dad is going to love this.
The men sit at the table where a basket of wings is already half eaten. Joe Burro helps himself to a wing.
Hoyt Williams: So what’s the scouting report on the opponents?
Duke Williams: Ahhhh buckaroo our boy’s got his work cut out for him. You remember that bore from back in the day Jake Colton?
Hoyt Williams: “The human rest hold” Ole “Cold Crowd” Colton? Oh yea.
JKRJR: Ha! Who is that?
Duke Williams: He was a hoss from back in the day who thought he was a great technical wrestler aka a bore. I’m pretty sure we had a match in front of a crowd of inmates who had been in the hole for almost a year and this guy was so boring they just sat on their hands. He was so boring he made Hugh Downs look like Elton John the cocaine years. This Colton had the personality of a tube of Colgate.
JKRJR: Who downs?
Duke Williams: Never you mind. You are in a three way, and his son is one of your opponents. Not nearly as boring as his father but a rat’s turds don’t fall far from the rat’s ass if you’re digesting my jive. The Williams’ legacy is legendary. The Colton family tree is a broken-down rassling school. You know those kind of wrestling families? Can’t do, so teach. You’re both young and hungry but the key is going to be focusing on your power and letting him get inside his head. All he’s got is suplexes and your size should block most of his offense. Once these technical queef’s realize their moves are meaningless against sheer raw strength, you’re in their head. They break down. Colton Cold Crowd Jr. isn’t going to know what him. Especially given the nature of a three way I’ll be able to jack someone in the head with the good book for sure. Now his only chance is sneaking in on you after downing the other guy tossing you out of the ring and stealing a win. We’re going to work on awareness training all week. You will not let that happen.
JKRJR: Understood. The other guy?
The Malice Man gulps down his whiskey as fans sneak photos of the wrestling legends.
Duke Williams: Another dildo who thinks wrestling starts and ends with Suplexes. I tell you what you kids today are all Supplex machines or flipping flop artists. That shit wears a crowd out. What you do. Violence. Fisticuffs. Balanced with power moves and high spots. That’s wrestling. That’s what wins. This cat Great Scott…. a guy named worse than Boda! But he’s 4-0. You can’t take that lightly. Great Scott is raw and unpredictable but so was the amazing Criswell, but that never meant he was right. He’s the guy to focus on. Let Cold Crowd and Great Scott out macho each other with a Supplex war. Let them do as much lifting and falling on their necks as possible. Be calculated. I’ll be there to coach you and Hoyt will be in your head. Remember you have the size. When they go to lift you, drop your ass like a Lizzo song is on or Cardi B which ever you prefer.
The young wrestler laughs. Hoyt sips his ginger ale with disdain toward the couple singing “A whole new World” on stage.
Time vanishes as it often does in a bar as the guy’s drink, laugh, and small talk. Hoyt looks around wondering where the hellion elder is. Suddenly the old hippie dude on stage singing, “Running With The Devil” catches Hoyt’s eye as the man from the stage appears to be singing right at him.
Hoyt Williams: I think this is the guy.
Duke Williams: What gave it away? The subtle song choice?
Hoyt Williams: Precisely. Hidden in the obvious our new strategy.
When the man finishes singing Duke stands on top of the table wobbling drunkenly.
Duke Williams: Buckaroo’s everyone have their shotttsss? Ahh buckaroo’s!! Let’s shoot to Oklahoma, its damn fine stampede, and let’s all fucking gobble after it!!! Ready!!
The room full of college kids hold up their Malice bought shot of Wild Turkey. The door guys start walking towards Duke yelling at him to get off the table.
Duke Williams: One! Two!! Three!!! GOBBLE GOOBLEGOOBLE!!!
Duke starts flapping his arms like wings flapping wildly. He does some funky chicken neck movements. Suddenly he loses his balance and comes crashing off the table. The door guys help him, or more so drag him out the door. The DJ calls up Joe Burro as order is restored in the bar. Joe can sing and rips off a heart wrenching version of “El Rey”. The crowd is hooked as the trumpets play and he pounds his chest with tears in his eyes. Duke gets help from the door guys and is now lifting and strapping his bike in the back of the truck bed where Duke plans to nap for a minute. The crowd is mesmerized by Burro.
Joe Burro (singing with passion}:
“Con dinero y sin dinero
Yo hago siempre lo que quiero
Y mi palabra es la ley
No tengo trono ni reina
Ni nadie que me comprenda
Pero sigo siendo el reyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy”
JKRJR: Wow who knew Joe could sing!!! What does that song mean?
The Pontiff of PRIME isn’t happy.
Hoyt Williams: It basically says when I die, you’ll miss me but even if I have nothing and nobody understands me, I’m still a king. Only one king in this family!!! That’s me!!! Stupid song.
Hoyt shakes his head in disappointment at Burro as he comes back to the table. Before he can say anything to Joe, the old hippie who sang, “Running With the Devil” sits down and joins them.
DJ: Alright let’s get John Kennedy Royko up here!!!!
The big man gets up and rushes to the stage to belt out Mr. Brightside. Hoyt nods at the mystery hippie and the mystery hippie nods back.
Hoyt Williams: Where do you come from and where are you going?
Mystery Hippie: I come from the upper east side and I’m going wherever the hot wind blows.
Hoyt Williams: He whom Sups. Now you.
Mystery Hippie: With the devil. Now you.
Hoyt Williams: Should use a long. Half the word. You begin.
Mystery Hippie: No, you begin.
Hoyt Williams: Spo…
Mystery Hippie: –On.
The two men complete the secret handshake of the underworld with a weird spooning motion to their mouths with their fingers.
Hoyt Williams: I hope your travels we’re safe.
Mystery Hippie: Indeed. So I come with news from the order of the upper east side of the nine divisions of Mictlan. The bishop there claims to have found another mask. An even more powerful version of the bone dust of the last worlds you fused. It’s believed to be made by the bones of emperors. He whom consumes it would create an ultimate power.
Hoyt Williams: I can upgrade my monster!
Mystery Hippie: If you can find it.
Hoyt Williams: What happened to it?
Mystery Hippie: It vanished. Some rumors of the local bishop having dealings with a gringo in a luchador mask.
Hoyt slams his fits into the table.
Hoyt Williams: It’s got to be that darned CHEAP MASK!! I knew I wasn’t done with him just yet.
Mystery Hippie: I know of no cheap mask that you speak of. I think it was an African Canadian fella. Igor Must or something like that.
Hoyt Williams: Oh no. I can smell this a mile away I KNOW IT’S CHEAP MASK. He’s trying to take back Mictlan from us.
Joe Burro: Always the gringos taking over other peoples stuff.
Hoyt Williams: What?
Joe Burro: I was singing along to Mr. Brightside Mr. Hoyt.
Hoyt Williams: Oh. Ok. Anyway. I need to think some things over. How about that other thing we discussed over signal? You know taking care of an Aurora problem.
Mystery Hippie: The dawn is not a problem of the creatures of the night.
Hoyt Williams: You can’t take care of her for me? That Aurora needs to fade like a rainy morning.
Mystery Hippie: I’m sorry. It’s a whole new hell. After the signing of the Mortal Interference clause of 2016 are hands are legally bound by the eye of el Dios del fuego.
Hoyt Williams: My father would have your back.
Mystery Hippie: Sorry your Hoytness. Your dad rules the skies.
Hoyt Williams: Right, the god of sun is totally in his jurisdiction.
Mystery Hippie: You would think so but fire belongs to the hells.
Hoyt Williams: Legal mumbo jumbo. Fine I’ll deal with it myself. Prepare for a visit from me in the next few weeks I need to search for this mask.
The crowd goes wild as Royko finishes. The DJ calls up Hoyt.
Hoyt Williams: I got to go. Be safe.
The mystery hippie leaves. Hoyt gets up and heads to the stage to sing, high fiving the passing Royko on his way. The Pontiff of PRIME grabs the microphone, the DJ leans over to talk to him.
DJ: Hey buddy this song is kinda-ah-bummer, do you want something else?
Hoyt Williams: Nope. Fire up the song sinner.
DJ: Hey man I’m telling you it’s a bad selection.
Hoyt Williams: Hit play monkey.
The DJ is pissed but starts up the Lenard Cohen song, “Hallelujah”.
Hoyt Williams (deepening his voice to sing):
“Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
The crowd boo’s loudly.
Hoyt Williams: Silence!! Listen to me I am your LORD!!!!
The DJ cuts the music.
Hoyt Williams: Hey obese sinner return the music or I will turn this entire bar’s beer into water!!
The DJ cuts off his mic as he continues ranting. The crowd is getting angry. Joe Burro starts making his way to the door slowly while motioning for Royko to do the same.
Hoyt Williams: You asked for it, may the lords will be that whereas water shall hydrate the drunks.
The pope of the pile-driver waves his hands and suddenly water starts pouring from the taps and everyone’s beer turns to water. The customers and the bar staff start looking for their Oklahoma pitch forks. Hoyt senses the tension in the room and runs to the door.
[Cut To: Exterior Karaoke Bar wide shot.]
Duke is asleep in the bed of the pickup truck where the door staff already helped him to load the bike into. Hoyt runs to the drivers door, gets in, and fires up the truck. Burro jumps into the passenger seat and turns up the radio which is playing “Rollin” by Limp Bizkit. Royko dives into the bed of the pick up truck just avoiding the Harley and landing on top of Duke startling him awake. The trucks tires spin amongst the gravel as it peels away with the bar customers chasing on foot until they give up.
Duke Williams: What happened?
JKRJR: I don’t know, I guess we’re on our way to the Great American Nightmare….or left one.
“Una piedra en el camino
Me enseñó que mi destino
Era rodar y rodar (rodar y rodar, rodar y rodar)”
[Cut To: Fade to white.]