The CSWA returns to action after a three-month hiatus forced on it by a struggle for power in the courts. At SHOWTIME in New Orleans, CSWA co-founder Stephen Thomas, presumed dead in a plane crash four years ago, returned with a vengeance, showing up with a lawsuit that turned the company on its ear.
Three months later, CSWA owner Chad Merritt has been forced out of power until his court appeal can be heard or a full stakeholders' vote can be taken. With the next stakeholders' meeting scheduled for November, it leaves Thomas with the chance to consolidate his power and show what he can do.
In a recent press conference, Thomas made his mark, regardless of previous decisions or tradition. Thomas stripped Dan Ryan of the CSWA World Title, intimating that Ryan may have a substance abuse problem, and putting the title in the hands of the original champ sixteen years removed, Joey Melton. Thomas also decided to put the company back on the road, or actually, the water, by announcing the return CSWA PRIMETIME would take place on the ocean liner, the Parsons Cruise Liner II.
CSWA PRIMETIME: LABOR DAY LAYOUT changes the CSWA landscape with a new owner who has usurped power, a new (old) champion fighting to prove he deserves the title, and several undercurrents that will inevitably affect everyone in the CSWA.
(FADEIN: Outside of Merritt Auditorium. Two men work on a scaffold feverishly taking a crowbar to the lettering on the Auditorium’s marquee that used to read “Merritt Auditorium”. Only the last “T” in Merritt remains.)
(CSWA Chairman Stephen Thomas watches thirty-feet below on ground level as the crew digs in harder. The last of Chad’s stranglehold over the company refusing to let go; fighting for its namesake, though he’s nowhere to be seen. It’s the sort of loyalty Chad strived to instill in every able body that worked under him. It’s a lesson lost on his former best friend and business partner.)
MAN: It’s not coming, boss.
THOMAS: Have you tried using your teeth?
(The man looks at his co-worker and shrugs defensively.)
MAN: Well, no....
THOMAS: Then open wide. You tried to eat me out of house and home sixteen years ago, P. You can make amends for essentially stealing money from me back then. I want that man’s name off this building, you hear me?
P.VICIOUS: Yessir. It won’t be long. I’ve actually kinda loosened it up. Nino, gimme a hand with this.
(El Nino picks a sledgehammer off the bed of the scaffold.)
THOMAS: Are you sure that idiot knows what he’s doing?
P.VICIOUS: (smiles) Look who you’re talking to...
THOMAS: I know who I’m talking to...
(El Nino takes a violent swing at the “T” knocking it off, but the letter flies off and slices through the left-side rope holding the scaffold up. The left-side dips dramatically, sending both men tumbling thirty-feet to the ground.)
(Hortense rolls up next to Thomas in a golf cart, driver’s side weighed down, scraping the pavement as it moves.)
THOMAS: (looking at the marquee; impressed.) Very good work.
HORTENSE: Sug...you’re on in ten minutes.
THOMAS: Huh? (He stares at his newly-wed wife for a second, and considers running.) Right. (Thomas climbs in the backseat of the golf cart.) I feel good about this. How bout you?
HORTENSE: Baby, you goin’ ta knock’em dead.
THOMAS: You think? Speaking of which, get on the cell and get Marvin out here to check on those two bodies. And if they’re able to move, get’em back to work. There’s much to be done, and so little I can actually do myself...
"I was five and he was six
We rode on horses made of sticks
He wore black and I wore white
He would always win the fight.
"Damn, it's good to be home," said Ivy McGinnis, as she entered a room marked 'Early Years' and looked around. The first thing she saw was a blow-up of the faceoff between Joey Melton and Degadeth in the match that ended Joey's first run with the title.
Ivy walked slowly through the CS Enterprises' Hall of Champions, the area of the headquarters building dedicated to the CSWA's history and legacy. There was a massive blow-up of the final bell of the Hornet/Wall rematch, there was a shot of America's Team with Ray S. Cornette in a compromising position. There was CS Express mid-match with the Boulevard Warriors, their most difficult, ruthless opponents.
Joey Melton in the cage against Steven Flair.
Mark Windham faced off with Mickey Benedict.
The Parsons Family all together in the Nashville “SKYDOME.”
Craig Miles and JW Collins of Full Force, plus Randalls with the UNIFIED Championship title belt over his shoulder.
And she stopped...
"Where are you?" asked Ivy of the empty room.
Face to face, with a massive portrait of CSWA Co-Founder Chad Merritt.
"Nobody's sure," said a familiar voice.
Ivy turned, and saw CSWA reporter Rudy Seitzer headed toward her. Rudy had been with the CSWA since before Ivy showed up. They became fast friends based on her intense interest in the art of writing - something Rudy was good at. The Psycho Bitch took two steps toward the old man and flung her arms around his neck tightly.
"Rudy!" she replied, "Thank God, someone familiar."
Rudy was taken back for a moment, but returned her hug.
"He shot me down, bang bang.
I hit the ground, bang bang.
That awful sound, bang bang,
My baby shot me down."
They stared at Merritt’s picture for a moment. "So nobody knows?"
"That's the rumor," continued Rudy, "Thomas pulled the power play, Merritt left. Marsha said he's not at his place in the Caymans, he's certainly not in Greensboro anymore. And this isn't like he was leveraged out or anything. If the official reports are accurate, Merritt may not own any of CS Enterprises anymore."
Ivy shook her head. "That doesn't make any sense. And it certainly ain't something I'm comfy with. Thomas is insane, Melton is overly egotistical, and if the rumors I've heard are true..."
Rudy looked at her. "Rumors?"
"That Thomas is putting F'king Teri in charge of media."
"Damn." It was all Rudy could say.
They continued through the Hall - the exhibits stopped in the fall of 1995, with a shot of Ivy and Hornet.
"It's strange," said Ivy, "This is the CSWA. This is Greensboro, this is you'n me surrounded by history, but it's not the same at all. It's like going home a year or so after your parents have sold the house."
"Familiar, but not welcome?" asked Rudy.
"I think the person in the picture's bringing that on."
Ivy thought about it. "Have you heard any kinda reaction from Hornet about it?"
Rudy shook his head. "Can't imagine he's happy, but none of us really know what to expect from Thomas."
"Seasons came and changed the time
When I grew up, I called him mine
He would always laugh and say
'Remember when we used to play?'
"So what's Eli think of all this?" asked Rudy, trying to change the subject, "He's been in a strange state of mind all year, can't imagine he's really hit that hard."
"You kidding?" replied Ivy, "I doubt he knows. You know how it is when you're trying to do something to the exclusion of everything else - Eli doesn't go online, Eli doesn't read the dirts. Me and Miles are the only people remotely associated with the CSWA that he even talks to anymore, and Miles is dubious at best."
Rudy shook his head. "So you decided simply not to tell him."
"Exactly. Between the two of us, I'm the one more capable of rational thought in a tight situation--"
Rudy kept laughing.
"Seriously," insisted Ivy, "I want to see for myself what's gonna go down in the Thomas/Melton power play. Who knows, right? We could both be wrong, Thomas could have a completely pragmatic approach to the CSWA, Melton could be in for a renaissance, he's certainly not lost a step in the ring."
"Sure," replied Rudy, "and you and Hornet could get back together. Anything's possible."
"Possible," agreed Ivy, "but highly improbable. And like I said, I want to see for myself."
"I shot you down, bang bang.
You hit the ground, bang bang.
That awful sound, bang bang.
I used to shoot you down."
They stopped and looked at the wall of titles - every design that the CSWA World/Enterprise World/CSWA UNIFIED championship belts have had over the course of the promotion's existence. Nearly every belt had the name "HORNET" or "WINDHAM" or "GUNS" or "RANDALLS" inscribed on the nameplate.
"Still can't believe the ol' girl's still around," mused Rudy, "she's taken some punches over the years but that belt right there--"
--he gestured to the current design of the title--
"--still means a helluva lot to a lotta folks."
Ivy smirked. "This is still the CSWA, Rudy... those letters mean a lot to a good number'a people. Same as the CWL or the UWA. There's still some people who consider that belt up there, the one that Melton's wearing, to be the biggest prize in this sport. Heh, almost like a holy relic."
"Music played, and people sang
Just for me, the church bells rang.
"It just worries me to think that Melton and Thomas have control of a holy relic, as you say," replied Rudy.
They began to leave the museum of the past, as the hour drew late and the night of action rapidly approached. The afternoon was still warm, but Ivy shivered at an invisible chill.
"Why do I get the feeling all'a the stuff we're afraid is gonna happen... is gonna happen?"
Rudy chucked quietly to himself. "Just goes t'show you've been paying attention for the past decade."
"How do you do it?" asked Ivy, "Merritt comes and goes, Thomas comes and goes, the roster is half crazy and half genius. Midgets die all around us and don't ever want t'stay dead, and there's a twisted, vindictive bastard on the roster who goes by the monicker of 'The Muppet Kid' and you seem to just take it all in stride. Pardon my french, Rudy, but what the fuck?"
"Cussbucket," was Rudy's entire reply. Ivy glared at him, but handed over a dollar.
"Thank you," continued Rudy, "and I take it all in stride because that's my role. I tell the people what happens. You comment on it. I don't comment on it because you do so far better than I ever could."
"Bulls--," started Ivy, "Bull. Everything I know about writing I got from you."
"And you improved on it," commented Rudy, "The names on the marquee change, but the four letters CSWA stay the same. And as long as there's people who want to know what's happening, I have a responsibility to tell them. Personal politics have no place in black-and-white facts. Even when you don't personally agree with the people still around."
"Now he's gone, I don't know why
And till this day, sometimes I cry
He didn't even say goodbye
He didn't take the time to lie.
Outside, Rudy's car was parked in his space near the entrance to the building. He clicked the keyless entry button and gestured to Ivy to enter the passenger side. Papers were stacked in the backseat, nearly covering the entire floorspace.
"Contracts, tour schedules, personnel," explained Rudy to Ivy's questioning gaze, "Thomas has been outta touch for a while, he wanted to know what's been happening in detail."
"Interesting," replied Ivy, "Hasn't he been paying attention? Isn't that kinda... important for the boss to do? To know more than the people who work for him?
Rudy didn't answer right away.
"He shot me down, bang bang.
I hit the ground, bang bang.
That awful sound, bang bang..."
"Look on the bright side," said Rudy, "Changes in ownership, championship, and direction, we're both still gainfully employed and both still have something to contribute."
Ivy shivered again. "Why don't I find that thought more comforting?"
"...my baby shot me down..."
(CUTTO: PCL Ballroom A. The makeshift backstage area. Everyone currently on the CSWA Roster, and staff, is seated behind a 60-inch HD Television waiting for a company meeting to start. You could hear a pin drop.)
(CUTTO: CS Towers. Thomas’ office. CSWA Chairman Stephen Thomas sits behind his gray Italian marble desk waiting for his cue to go on camera.)
THOMAS: We ready Marvin? Rod’s FREEVIEW concert starts in twenty...
MARVIN PARSONS: Just about sir. This change to digital’s been hard. Some of us older folk don’t learn as fast as we used to---
THOMAS: Let me know if I’m asking too much of you. I never know how much to expect from a Parsons.
MARVIN: (Still fiddling with the HD camera) Good one sir.
THOMAS: That wasn’t a joke. (looks off to Hortense, who’s nervously pacing off set) Why do people around here think I’m teasing when I say they’re incompetent, and in general, useless?
HORTENSE: Sugar pay Marvin no mind. He’ll get it. Sit up straight... (Thomas arches his back) That’s it, baby. Proud as a peacock, proud as a peacock...
THOMAS: I’m proud as a peacock...I’m proud...
MARVIN: As a peacock. Noticeable difference sir.
THOMAS: Yeah, thanks Homer.
MARVIN: BOOM! I believe we’re ready.
THOMAS: Really? And only half a day later than when it should have been cooking.
MARVIN: Well sir---
MARVIN: Yes sir.
THOMAS: I’m assuming you know how to count, and again...from day one I’ve continually been surprised how much the Parsons family really can’t do...the basic concepts that appear to be out of your grasps, but if you’re able...let’s wish upon a star, count from 5...and do this.
(CUTTO: PCL Ballroom A. Thomas appears on the HD set.)
THOMAS: Hello people. Thank you for making it to the show on short notice. To those who chose to change your plans to be here, I won’t forget it. And for those who didn’t...look around...they’re no longer with us.
The CSWA’s roster has been a family for sixteen years. We might not have always agreed, or been proud of one another, but we’re a tight knit unit. Merritt lost sight of that fact, and he’s been left to make his own travel plans. It’s as simple as this: if you’re in the ballroom right now watching me on Hi-Def...you have a job.
I apologize for the interruption in work. Losing three months out of the year is never ideal, but it was most certainly necessary. I assure you. I’m here, in this office, so that we won’t be out of work again. Not for a month, three, or indefinitely. Let’s be honest, this company’s fed most of you for the last decade. It’s been the springboard for other ventures, or the pinnacle of your career.
In short, you owe me. You owe the name, the ghost, and the fans of the CSWA.
And now...I’ve come back to collect.
The CSWA’s lost sight of what it once was, and what it could be tomorrow. It’s changed with the times, as it should, but has watered itself down to the point where there’s no difference between working here, than for Charleston, or Disney.
We’re better than them. We’re a four-lettered word to the rest of the business. I look at our competition and can’t help but laugh. This is what we created? A bucket of leagues who half-ass ultimate fighting, a regional promotion that had to pay Merritt to use our name, brand, and most cherished trophy just to turn a rating, and a league that’s light-years behind our marketing and production skills...
Make no mistake, this business is dying because Chad let it, and the lot of who you work for outside of here, aped our blood, sweat, and tears.
Let me be clear. I don’t give a rat’s ass about the name on the other checks you collect. Any promo, article of clothing, or passing thought on our premises that promotes another company is severely frowned upon.
We’re the CSWA.
And I will break my back, and most of yours, to get us back on top.
There’s no more farming out our talent, or lending a helping hand to the broken promoter who asks us to bring Christmas early.
When the ULTRATITLE’s finished being soiled, it’s coming home. To stay.
Our champions, WILL NOT take our belts to other promotions. Our dearly departed Dan Ryan passed around the World title like it was the Stanley Cup, and...well...look around. He’s not here.
Maybe I’m an ass, but nobody lent a hand to Chad and I sixteen years ago. And I’m not about to do it on our way back up. Let’em reach like hungry beggers for us as we climb over their backs...they’ve been doing it for years already.
Merritt became weak in the last couple years. He was a pleaser. A dreamer. Hoping that someone would come and save this federation, because he no longer possessed the drive to do so himself.
I expect to be your first priority. I expect this league, and it’s fans who’ve made each and every one of you, to come first. God, and family just about us, that’s fine...but if we’re not third, you’re not here.
Total devotion means, we all make more money. If you’re in this for the sport of it, I’m sure Ivy can book you in Coop’s Gym once a month in front of deadbeats and other New Yorkers.
I’m interested in the World.
I’m interested in having this business choke on the letters...
This business is lost in what we accomplished ten years ago. And I see; the only men and women capable of pushing this business forward...are in that room. And they work for me.
They’re property of the CSWA.
And they’re damn proud.
And if they have any questions, or complaints...they know my door’s always open.
Teri should’ve informed you of the booking for the next month. Looking forward to it.
Hope you are as well.
Have a great first show back.
And remember the name on the front door.
Because if you forget it, it’ll be the four-lettered word hitting your ass on the way out.
(CUEUP: “The Girl Is Mine” by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney.)
(CUTTO: A fatigued Dan Ryan's arm being raised in the Merritt Auditorium as he clutches the CSWA World Title belt in the other arm.)
(CUTTO: Hornet and Tom Adler shaking hands at the end of their CSWA15 match.)
(CUTTO: Kin Hiroshi's 'thumbhold' on Jean Rabesque during their Greensboro Title match..)
(CUTTO: JJ DeVille getting the pin at CSWA15 and raising one of the Unified Tag belts over his head.)
(CUTTO: Mark Windham saying "Yes, I Quit," and Eli Flair dropping to his knees.)
(CUTTO: Timmy Windham standing over Mark Windham with the remains of a flaming wooden chair.)
(CUTTO: Eli Flair being loaded into an ambulance after being attacked in the parking garage.)
(CUTTO: Thomas pinning Gethard in 2000 to win the CSWA Presidential title.)
(CUTTO: Joey Melton in 1988 addressing the sparse crowd at Merritt Auditorium after winning the CSWA World Title.)
(CUTTO: Thomas strapping the World belt back on Melton at a recent press conference at CS Towers.)
(CUTTO: The Parsons Cruise Liner leisurely tearing through the Atlantic Ocean, escorted by a school of dolphins. Is the sea ever happier than when the CSWA comes to visit?)
(CUTTO: The outdoor pool deck. Troy Windham leaps out of the pool and spikes a volleyball over the net, giving his team of beautiful babies a game point.)
(CUTTO: PCL Ballroom B. A thousand rapid fans mug for CSWA cameras as we pan around the room. The CSWA’s back and nobody knows for how long. Enjoy it while it lasts.)
(CUTTO: Ringside. Buckley and Benson with game faces painted on (fake excitement to be here, to be working with each other again), wait their cue to kick off LABOR DAY LAYOUT.)
BB: Helllloooo wrestling fans! Welcome to somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean!
SB: I knew we were lost Buckley! Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean...why don’t you just go ahead and say it? We’re in the middle of nowhere and the fans watching tonight are seeing our last moments FREE on NCN!
BB: It’s CSWA PRIMETIME: LABOR DAY LAYOUT from the Parsons Cruise Liner! And we couldn’t be happier to call the CSWA’s return to action!
SB: I could. If I’m going down with the ship, I want people to have to pay to see it. Trust me, there’s more than a few people that wouldn’t mind coughing up a buck or two to get rid of me.
BB: I won’t argue that. Unless you’ve been living in a cave...
SB: Or the majority of Canada...
BB: You know the latest. The CSWA shut down for the last three months as former Co-founder Stephen Thomas made a successful power play to win control of the CSWA out of (Name Censored)’s hands!
SB: I never thought I’d live to see the day when (Name Censored) had nothing to do with this promotion. But either I’ve outlived my expectations, or Thomas is smarter than I thought. Really, of all the things to have to decide between. I can’t do it, Buckley.
BB: As of a week ago Thomas is running the day-to-day operations of the CSWA, Sammy.
SB: Thanks Buckley, but don’t tell me tell the morons at home. What this means is either Andy Lawrence or Mark Hamill will be joining us in the booth next week. We’re well aware of the man’s love for gimmicks, but now that (Name Censored) isn’t around to play the part of a filter, I’m bracing for the worst.
BB: Sammy, could it get worse? We’ve had a midget killed on air, a telethon birthed for unfortunate looking women, mistakenly hired PETE Russo instead of VINCE, and the Parsons Cruise Liner Numero Uno is still lying somewhere at the bottom of the ocean in the Bermuda Triangle.
SB: THAT’s the point I was going to open with, but lost it. Yeah, why the hell did we rebuild this ship again? And with the Parsons name? It’s like asking for it to sink again.
BB: Exactly. You’re calling for worse...it remains to be seen what’s left up Thomas’ sleeve, but already the new chairman of CS Enterprises has turned the wrestling world on its ear. Dan Ryan was stripped of the CSWA World Title and Joey Melton named new champion.
SB: And rightly so. Joey Melton’s an entertainer on par with Wayne Newton, Tim Conway, and the guy in the butterfly costume of the new MSN commercials. Ryan’s a tough man, but in this business it’s about givin’ the audience what they want, night in and night out. Nobody’s done that better than Melton since Woody Allen. A man who was no doubt rolling over in his grave at the sight of Dan Ryan parading around as champion.
BB: Sammy, Woody Allen’s not dead...
SB: Sure he is.
SB: Just read the cards, Buckley.
BB: Great show for you tonight, folks! Timmy Windham, who made a shocking return at ANNIVERSARY and retired Mark Windham, is back in action against Tsunami!
SB: Yeah, that’s one for the kiddies to see. I pity the first fool who makes the mistake of tossing a beach ball into the ring.
BB: In a Top Contender’s match: Shane Southern is up against the Presidential Champion Eddie Mayfield!
SB: A bit of trivia for ya Buckley, Southern and Mayfield went to high school together, and actually, (laughs) this is funny, dated the same woman simultaneously. Eddie took her every odd period, Southern every even numbered period.
BB: I’m not even going to respond to that.
SB: It’s true.
BB: And our Main Event tonight: Joey Melton puts his (cough) hard-earned World title on the line against Hornet!
SB: Buckley, it’s no secret I’ve hated That Damn Hornet ever since the ELVIS LIVES Return card when he received a shot at Degadeth for said World title, a night AFTER losing the US Title to Monte Farris. Poor Farris never got the shot, and now he’s probably lying face-down in soup somewhere in an unmarked kitchen.
BB: One of the CSWA’s greatest rivalries resumes later tonight, but after a quick break it’s the “Muppet Kid” and DANGERMAN!
SB: What life? I’m in the dark here...!
Tsunami vs. Timmy Windham
BB: Ten years ago, Sammy... even five years, did you think we'd be seeing these two men take each other on in 2004?
SB: No clue, Buckley. After everything that's gone down with Timmy, with Tsunami and Wildstar and Valiant, this is enough to shock even me.
BB: Both these men are former World Champions of one stripe or another. Tsunami was the youngest man to hold the Unified World Championship, while Timmy's claim to fame came by winning the Enterprise World Championship. And both men have been Unified World Tag Team Champions before as well.
SB: Yeah, and both their old CSWA Wrestling Buddies were anatomically correct. Stuffed in the right places...
BB: That's enough.
SB: Is it?
(CUE UP: "The Hate in Me" - Godhead)
BB: Timmy Windham, the Muppet Kid, accompanied to the ring by Catherine Windham, of all people. That can’t be right...
SB: It’s not. She’s been CGI’d in by Thomas. What you’re seeing isn’t real. Your eyes can deceive you don’t trust them.
BB: Oh shut up.
SB: Just trying to get an early tie-in with Hamill. You know it's coming.
(Timmy pulls the middle rope up allowing Catherine to gracefully enter in the ring. She’s a beautiful woman who hides the ounce of class she may have. Dressed in a short denim shirt, white tank top, and denim jacket, Catherine parades around the ring suggestively eying the crowd. Men attached or otherwise, stand on their seats hollering to the ring believing they have a chance to score. This is why you come on a CSWA Cruise; to catch a glimpse of Teri Melton from a distance, and hit PCL bars at two in the morning on the off chance Windham will be there, drunk and willing.)
(Timmy, sporting a sleeveless white t-shirt that reads ‘Last Windham Standing’ sneaks up behind her, hands on hips, gently turning her to his face. He smiles, his greasy hair falling between his lips casting the appearance of a gap in his front teeth to those close enough to see. He darts in and plants a kiss on her candy red, readied lips.)
SB: Good Grief. Windhams On The Loose! This is worse than Gore porking his wife on stage down the stretch of the '00 election campaign!
BB: Geez Sammy. Thanks for that image as well. Timmy and Catherine...okay, I'm not going to call in-ring smut, I'm sorry.
SB: You have for sixteen years Buckley. Or what'd you think; this was all the dream of an austic child? I grant you, it's possible, but highly unlikely. But, if you're taking the highroad...I'll go low. Timmy making out with his ex-sister...he's got her by the back of the head...
SB: He poses...yes! He dips her...and THERE'S ANOTHER KISS! Good form on that one, Buckley. He really loosened her outer defenses there.
(The crowd groans like a studio audience at an old taping of “Saved By The Bell.” It’s not Zac and Kelly, but it’s as close as you’ll come on the PCL.)
SB: I don’t believe it. The “Muppet Kid”’s getting tail, and before your son Billy to boot!
BB: Billy’s married, thank you!
SB: So are you...
BB: Good point.
(Timmy and Catherine strut around the ring, holding their left hands out for show. Letting the faithful who turned their back on Carnival in favor a Don Parsons’ driven trip, blind themselves from the glare of two diamond rings.)
SB: Buckley...you can’t be serious.
BB: THE MUPPET KID MARRIED!? If we’re to judge a book by it’s cover, Timmy Windham and Catherine are married!
SB: Yikes (laughs). The irony. I guess now Timmy really is Mark and Troy’s brother. Somewhere good taste is dying.
(CUE UP: "Tom Sawyer" - Rush)
SB: Tsunami's gonna need help. More help than Jimmy V there, if he wants to top Timmy's bombshell. Maybe he'll have photo documentation of Kobe's accuser.
BB: Tsunami, the Posterboy for the Hardcore Generation, is a former UNIFIED Champion! He defeated JT Tyler merely a month after Tyler dethroned the unparalleled Wolf, only to lose the belt to Alexander Karelin at Fish Fund X in the IRONMAN of CHAMPIONS tournament.
SB: Who defeated Karelin?
BB: Steven Flair, actually, and he went on to lose the belt to Hornet in his record third reign.
SB: And then?
BB: You were there, Sammy - Hornet was stripped of the title following his injury at the hands of—
BB: Shut up, Sammy.
SB: Darn. Had a bet with Billy over how long I could get'cha to drag that out.
BB: Patrick Young calls for the bell, and Timmy with a slap to Tsunami's face!
SB: Dirty Jap.
BB: Jimmy V heard that, Sammy - and I bet he'll tell Tsunami.
BB: Better. They locked up, and Tsunami with a quick elbow to the chin! And a side headlock! He's got it on tight, Sammy, and we may see a submission today! Tsunami backed into the ropes, and Timmy with a whip! Tsunami to the other end, ducked a clothesline, and a baseball slide just clipped Timmy Windham's ankle! The Muppet Kid stumbled forward—
SB: I always knew muppets were evil! And ticklish just under the chin...
BB: --and he held onto the top rope to keep from hitting the mat! DANGERMAN ALERT~! Yakuza kick to the back of the head, and Tsunami with a hook and a bridging back suplex, ONE... TWO... KICKOUT! Timmy is far from finished!
SB: Just a moment ago you were predicting a submission, and now he's far from finished?
BB: That was then, Sammy.
SB: Just making sure.
BB: Tsunami pulls Windham to his knees, and a chop to the throat! Jimmy V cheering like mad for his protege, and Catherine Windham, Timmy's new wife!, shouting instruction to her man! We could very well see a fight on the outside, too!
SB: Catherine's a Windham, Jimmy Valiant is a manager. No contest.
BB: Ivy was a manager too, Sammy.
SB: Forget I spoke.
BB: Impossible. Timmy backed up into the ropes and Young calls the Dangerman off, and-- did Catherine just slip him something?
BB: Looks like brass knucks!
SB: Of course not.
BB: Timmy back to his feet, and the two men lock up once again, and a scoop and a slam by Timmy! Kick to the ribs, and Tsunami clipped his knee! There's a lot of fight left in the Dangerman-- TIMMY JUST CLUBBED HIM IN THE FACE WITH THAT OBJECT! AND AGAIN! Tsunami has been broken open at the forehead and the chin, and Patrick Young calls for the bell! These fans are booing like crazy!
SB: Booo! The Dangerman just got served by the Muppet Kid? I'd be booing the Jap, too!
BB: Young pulled that object - what is that?
SB: It's just athletic tape.
BB: Cute, Sammy. Timmy Windham continues to show off this new violent streak of his, complete with a disqualification here tonight. He barely gave this match a chance! What else could we possibly see tonight, Sammy?
BB: Not likely.
BB: Fans, we'll be right back after this commercial!
(It's earlier in the day, about an hour before the Parsons Cruise Liner II is scheduled to depart. Hornet's in line at the security checkpoint. As he goes through, two of the checkpoint lackies huddle together over the bag-checking X-ray machine, then come over.)
"Excuse me, but aren't you...um, Hornet?"
"I'm, um, sorry to bother you, Mr. Hornet, sir. But, um, we have to search your bag."
"What's the problem?"
"There's an odd-shaped item or two inside that we need to take a look at."
"You mean the belt?"
"The belt, sir?"
"The championship belt. It's probably what you're seeing."
(The line has slowed down enough to attract the eyes of a supervisor, who has nothing better to do than meddle.)
"Is there a problem here," the supervisor asks.
"No sir, we just need to open a bag."
"I'm sorry for the inconvenience, sir. If you could just step over here. I'll also need to see your boarding pass and ID. It shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes."
"No inconvenience at all," Hornet replied, handing over his documentation.
(The young X-ray technician opens up the bag, prodding through clothes and a toiletry back. He smiles as he takes out Hornet's wrestling boots, and then puts his hands on the CSWA United States Championship belt. He holds it for a moment before setting it aside and poking through the duffel a little more, then puts everything back inside and zips it up.)
"All clear, sir. Sorry for the delay. You're good to go."
"Actually, not exactly," the supervisor interjects.
(Hornet doesn't respond, just stares at the man as he slides the duffel over his right shoulder, the question obvious on his face.)
"Sir, this boarding pass is incorrect."
"It's the one they gave me on the way in."
"Yessir, but it's for that boat over there, not this one."
"This is the Parsons Cruise Liner, right? The one with the CSWA show on it?"
"Then this is the one I'm supposed to be on."
"Yessir, but like I said, the boarding pass is incorrect. I'll have to ask you head back to the office and..."
(Hornet takes the offered documents back and turns away, headed for the office. He doesn't mean to be rude, he knows the man is just doing his job... but there's something else going on here. The trusty cell phone is already in his hand, opening a vocal gateway to CS Towers in Greensboro, NC.)
"Marsha? It's Hornet. Somebody screwed my travel documents up. I need Travel to call down here and get things straightened out. Otherwise, I'm not going to make it on the ship..."
(CUTTO: Parsons Cruise Liner - Joey Melton’s Cabin.)
(Melton stands in front of a full-length mirror posing with the World Heavyweight title around his waist. He’s radiant. It’s a shame the world burns through so much fossil fuel, when all it’d take to supply every nation with free energy is the foresight to hook Joey’s smile up to expensive machinery. The man’s recharged; a King back on his throne. And, he won the championship without breaking a sweat. At 41 he’s mastered his craft. Who else can say that?)
MELTON: Which one says more...
(Melton throws the belt over his left shoulder and turns his head the opposite direction, thoughtfully.)
(Joey reverses the exact pose.)
MELTON: Which drew the bigger reaction?
LITTLE VOLTRON: Stick it Melton.
(Adrian Evans, AKA Little Voltron hisses at Melton from three feet away. He’s reclined in a mini-bean bag, reading this month’s issue of “Home and Gardening”.)
MELTON: Are you still mad about last night? You were drunk, man. That last shot took her from a 5 to 9. I had to pull the plug for your peace of mind in the morning.
LITTLE VOLTRON: It’s not about last night, Joey! If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you.
(Melton turns from the mirror to Evans.)
MELTON: You’re like a woman, I swear.
LITTLE VOLTRON: Kiss my---
MELTON: Careful. (Adrian sits up, tosses the magazine away and heads for the door.)
LITTLE VOLTRON: I need some air.
MELTON: You’re a weird creature, Evans. Sometimes I don’t get you.
LV: (stops dead in his tracks) I got to hear this.
MELTON: I break my neck winning this title, trying to make a better life for the both of us, and you’re in maniac depressive mode. WHAT? WHAT is it man? What do you want from me? Has it not been a non-stop party since I got the gold back? Aren’t you living higher than any midget has dared to live before? It’s about the good life, Evans. For the last four years we’ve toured the world together, dreaming of this moment. And now that it’s here...you’re looking for a razor to cut yourself...
LV: No, Joey, you lost our dream along the way. You remember Tokyo in ’01?
MELTON: (smiles) How could I forget?
LV: That match meant something to me. My father was there. My dad’s never seen me wrestle before, but he was there that night. He was there to see you. He was there to see his son wrestle the great Joey Melton.
MELTON: And he saw him take the great Joey Melton to the sixty-minute time limit. He saw his son score the first overtime pinfall. And he saw his son walk out with a draw.
LV: Listen to me. For once, just stop talking...
(Melton’s concerned, but silences.)
LV: For the first time ever, he told me afterwards...he told me he loved me. (Adrian tears up) For the last few years of my life I’ve followed you to the ends of the earth, putting on shows, wrestling for the World title. The only World title that matters. The World title that we made together, Melton! When the wrestling world turned it’s back on you, when Merritt cast you off like a fart in the wind, we had each other. My whole life people have seen me differently. They’ve whispered as I’ve walked by, pointed, laughed, and thrown rocks. But not you. You took this midget by your side, and created something that can never be taken away. Except...by you.
MELTON: Adrian, you’re scaring me.
LV: (holds up World junior title) THIS is Joey Melton. Not that paper belt around your waist.
MELTON: Give it to me straight, little man.
LV: There’s only one way for our dream to be complete, for you to show me your heart is true...UNIFICATION.
MELTON: (pause) Adrian... (Melton walks to Evans, and puts his hands over his shoulders.) That’s my dream too...
(Out of the corner of his eye, Melton catches Lindsay Troy walk by the doorway.)
MELTON: Troy! Troy!
(So much for sneaking by undetected. She silently stopped, turned, and folded her arms in front of her.)
TROY: What, Joey.
MELTON: (smiling) Adrian and I have proof great minds think alike.
TROY: (sarcastically) Well, that certainly is a very touching thought. Are you going to propose to Adrian as well?
MELTON: What? Be serious. I don’t even think that’s legal in most states.
(Troy rolls her eyes and walks on. Melton eyes Evans, wondering what he did wrong.)
LV: Not legal in most states? F*ck you.
(Melton grins and walks out of the cabin. He catches up with Troy in the hallway before she got too far ahead.)
TROY: (whirling around) WHAT NOW?!
MELTON: Where are you off to? We’ve got work to do.
TROY: No, you do Joey. I’m not a part of this little “team” anymore.
(She moves to leave, but Joey grabs her by the arm.)
MELTON: Says who?
(Troy yanks her arm away and glares daggers through Joey’s eyes.)
TROY: Look Melton, I represent real champions. Not over-the-hill egotistical pricks that get World titles handed to them on silver platters. Dan’s my friend. Maybe one day soon even my brother-in-law. I’m not about to go out there and carry on as if it’s business as usual, because with you, there is no sense of normalcy. I know, quite well, you have no personal ethics…but what about professionally? I couldn’t have been completely wrong in assuming you have some small measure of pride...
MELTON: Open the back door to the glass house and step outside with us, honey. Don’t stand there and tell me you haven’t paid a friend or two in this business to lie down for you.
(Troy decks Melton, hard.)
TROY: When this ship docks we’re finished, Joey. End of story. Have a nice time defending a belt that you did jack to earn.
(Lindsay turns on her heel and starts off, but Melton’s chiding laughter doesn’t fail to reach her ears.)
MELTON: I’ve got a contract that says differently, sweetheart. So go take your walk and cool off, but don’t wander too far. We’re on in thirty minutes. You can phone Ryan after the match and tell him you’re sorry.
(Melton slips back inside his cabin, where Adrian has resumed reading his magazine.)
LV: (sarcastically) It’s like attending a free relationship seminar.
(Angry footsteps stomp back towards the cabin, and Troy disgustedly sticks her head inside the room.)
TROY: I don’t understand why you need me, anyway. Adrian’s here. The two of you together make one normal human being. That ought to be enough to get counted out.
MELTON: Oh, that’s cute.
TROY: In case you haven’t picked up on things, I can’t stand you. Never could.
(She leaves in a huff. Melton looks after her before throwing himself onto his bed with a sigh.)
LV: I’ve pretty much picked up on that for the last year.
MELTON: Ah, shaddup. She’ll come around. They always do…
Shane Southern vs. Eddie Mayfield
BB: Melton can’t be serious! Unify the CSWA World Championship with the joke that is the “World Junior Jr. Title.” It was created by Melton as a prop to make some money to pay off his debts.
SB: I’m still trying to figure out why we have cameras in Joey’s dressing room. Is he aware of this…or are they usually used to catch the action between he and Queenie?
BB: Just when I think you can’t go any further…
SB: We’re on the open ocean, Buckley. Let the FCC come after me here, you bastards!!!
BB: Whoa there, Smarty Jones.
SB: Did you just call me a horse?
BB: Pretty much, yeah.
SB: You could’ve at least picked one that won the Triple Crown.
BB: Fans, this next bout determines the new Top Contender for the CSWA World Championship. It’s another change thrown into things by Interim Commissioner Thomas, and one that can’t make Shane Southern very happy. At our last SHOWTIME event, Southern defeated Hornet to become the #1 contender – and instead of facing our new World Champion tonight, he’s forced to take on the Presidential Champion just to get back to that same spot.
SB: You’re really determined to tick off Thomas on your first day back to work, aren’t you?
BB: I’m just bringing the fans up to date, Sammy. If I can’t keep up with all the changes and I get paid to do it… how do you expect them to?
SB: Eh, they’ll figure it out soon enough. All they really need to know is that the CSWA World Title is once again around the waist of someone who deserves it… even if his choice in company has gone downhill.
BB: Are you talking about Troy or Little Voltron?
SB: Both, actually.
(CUEUP: “Voodoo Chile” by Ben Harper)
BB: The Presidential Champion is on his way down to the ring to fight for his chance to face Joey Melton for the World Title. Last we saw Mayfield, he had engineered a way to keep (Name Censored) out of his own CSWA event, as revenge for not resigning his “Professionals” partner, Craig Miles’, contract.
SB: Yeah, but (Name Censored) is gone. Maybe Mayfield can get a midget of his own and we can have a mixed-species tag match.
BB: ‘Little people’ aren’t a different species, Sammy. They’re as human as you and me.
SB: Says you! Me, I don’t believe it.
(CUEUP: “Ain’t Goin’ Down” by Garth Brooks)
BB: This crowd is on its feet as the former US Champion and the rightful #1 contender makes his way to the ring, high-fiving the fans all the way down.
SB: Anybody that has a harmonica as part of their theme music doesn’t deserve to be the top contender. The top chump, maybe.
BB: You’re slipping.
SB: Hey, even I can’t be perfect all the time.
BB: How about we try for semi-close-to-almost-perfect every once in a while?
SB: Speaking of slipping…
BB: The bell rings, and the match is underway. The two circle and quickly lock up as each one tries to establish dominance early. Southern uses his slight size advantage to force Mayfield into the corner, but the Presidential Champ recovers with a quick standing switch and a knee to Shane’s gut.
SB: That’s ‘cause he’s a Professional, Buckley.
BB: Not anymore… not unless he’s pulling a new tag team partner out of his pocket tonight.
SB: Be careful what you ask for, Buckley.
BB: Mayfield pulls Southern out of the corner with a snapmare, then goes to one knee with a reverse chinlock that looks an awful lot like a choke. Referee Ben Worthington checks the hold and calls for the break, but Mayfield holds on almost for the whole five-count, just avoiding a disqualification. Southern rolls towards the ropes, but gets caught with a knee drop from Mayfield…and another!
SB: Eddie just keeps coming after ya, Sammy. (Name Censored) found that out and now, so is Shane Southern.
BB: I think Shane already knew it, Sammy. Keep in mind, Eddie was the one that once cut off Shane’s ponytail…he’s the one that had he and his Intruders stalk Shane’s every move and moment.
SB: Well, there is that.
BB: Eddie pulls Shane to his feet and then drops him to the mat with a facebuster!!! He climbs on his back and quickly hooks in a camel clutch! Southern’s in trouble early!
SB: Mayfield’s hungry for this one, Buckley. You can see it – he’s not just content to be the Presidential Champ, he’s not just content to be the one who got rid of (Name Censored), he wants to finally prove that he’s The Man, with the big gold belt strapped around his waist.
BB: Waxing poetic, are we?
SB: I do what I can.
BB: Southern is struggling to make his way out of the camel clutch or to get to the ropes, but Mayfield has it cinched in the middle of the ring. Southern can’t quite manage to escape, but he refuses to give up, even though you can see the pain etched on his face.
SB: That’s just gas.
BB: That’s not right. Southern with another attempt to get some leverage underneath him, but Mayfield wrenches back on the hold one more time, trying to get Shane to give it up. He should know by now that that’s not going to happen.
SB: See, Buckley, you’re giving Southern the benefit of the doubt…that he’s not gonna give up. Mayfield’s got confidence in himself… he knows that he can make Southern give up.
BB: You might be right. But it looks like he’s about ready to mix things up. Eddie lets up on the camel clutch that has dominated the match and pulls the former US Champ to his feet. He sends Southern into the ropes and catches him across… HOT SHOT! He just dropped Southern neck-first on the ropes! Quick cover! ONE….. TWO…. NO! Southern kicks out, barely in time!
SB: And Eddie’s not done yet!
BB: Mayfield with a quick knee to the head and now he covers again! ONE… TWO…. NO! Eddie pulls Shane to his feet…Russian legsweep! And now he hooks in a cobra clutch!!! Southern tries to scramble out, but he’s caught in that submission hold. Southern stretches out his right leg, his foot just inches away from the ropes. He’s got enough ring-sense to know that he’s right there, but he just can’t make it.
SB: I think that ‘ring-sense’ is just him twitching from the pain. Hail to the Chief!
BB: Eddie wrenches back as Southern tries to stretch a span of three or four inches to hook his toe around that ring rope. Shane struggles against Eddie’s grip…and he just barely gets that foot around the rope! Ben Worthington calls for the break, but Mayfield has no intention of letting go one second before he has to.
SB: And that means he’s got until Bennie boy gets to four…
BB: Which he does…and now Worthington is actually prying Mayfield off of Shane.
SB: He better be careful or Eddie might lay a Presidential proclamation down on him.
SB: There are only so many jokes you can make involving Presidential authority.
BB: I’m sure. Southern gets the break and quickly rolls outside, trying to get a breather. Mayfield follows him out, but Shane immediately heads back inside the ring. He’s not taking any chances for any “Presidential” shenanigans outside. Eddie seems almost disappointed.
SB: Hey, he’s been working hard, he wanted a breather too…now he’s just gotta get back in and kick some more Bourbon Street trash around.
BB: I love how you never let your bias show.
SB: It’s a gift.
BB: Southern waits for Mayfield in the middle of the ring, and the Presidential Champ quickly rolls inside and charges. Southern dodges a quick clothesline attempt, but Mayfield charges by, using the ropes… but there’s Southern with a takedown via that Cajun leg sweep!
SB: So you’re saying the Russians didn’t invent it, but the dirty Cajuns did?
BB: Mayfield quickly back up, but Shane is ready…TILT-A-WHIRL!! Southern doesn’t waste time with a cover, he simply gets to his feet and gets ready for Mayfield’s next charge. Eddie’s up…Southern whips him across…LARIAT!! But again, Mayfield charges to his feet as quick as he can, and again, Shane is ready. Southern grabs hold and whips him across again….THESZ PRESS! ONE…….. TWO………. THR…NO!!!! NO! Eddie Mayfield gets an arm up, keeping Shane from sealing that top contender’s spot for the second time in a row.
SB: Eddie’s too good to give up, and Southern’s too stupid to.
BB: Southern still has control of this match, but he may still be behind the eight-ball after that series of submission moves that wore him down early. These two continue at a breakneck pace…Southern again tries the ropes, reversal by Mayfield sends Shane into the corner. Mayfield follows in, but Shane rolls out. Shane pulls Eddie out of the corner with a snapmare and quickly follows with a rolling neckbreaker! Quick cover! ONE…. TWO…NO! Eddie powers out again.
SB: You can feel the fans getting behind him. ED-DIE! ED-DIE!
BB: Um…that’s you, Sammy.
SB: Like I said…the fans.
BB: The fans are definitely into this match, but I’d have to say that the majority are still pulling for Southern. Both men up, but Shane has Eddie by the hair and quickly sends him into the ropes. They charge across…double clothesline!!!! Both men go down, but again, they’re up! They collide again, and this time Mayfield hits the mat! Southern goes down to pull him up, but Eddie catches him with a thumb in the eye!
SB: All’s fair in love, war and matches to determine Top Contenders.
BB: Mayfield to his feet, and now he sends Southern to the ropes…LOOK OUT! FRANKENSOUTHERN! FRANKENSOUTHERN!
SB: Those stupid, stupid Parsons and that move…
BB: Mayfield got flipped halfway across the ring. Southern’s to his feet first…he’s still trying to clear his vision, but he’s setting up for that famous superkick. The fans are on their feet as Eddie slowly gets to his. They all know what’s coming…because the PARTY’S OVER!
BB: NOOOO!!! Mayfield fell out of the way, and referee Ben Worthington got caught out of position!!! Worthington’s out from that superkick!
SB: Poor stupid refs.
BB: Southern goes to check on Worthington…NO! Mayfield spins him around….SCREWJOB! He just nailed that spinning tombstone piledriver on the rightful top contender!
SB: Not ‘rightful’ anymore. Count it with me, Buckley. ONE….. TWO….. THREE!!!
BB: But there’s no referee to count it! And Mayfield knows it. He kicks Shane outside the ring.
SB: Worthington should be suspended for this.
SB: Allowing himself to get kicked like that. What a boob.
BB: Meanwhile, Eddie’s got a semi-conscious Shane outside the ring, and he’s dismantling the ring steps!
SB: Maybe he needs a seat.
BB: Or maybe he’s setting Southern up for another Screwjob on those steel steps!!! He could literally fracture Southern’s head! Here comes senior official Patrick Young!
SB: Too little too late.
BB: Mayfield sets up...oh no… WAIT! Southern with a backdrop!!!! Shane saves himself and kicks the steps out of the way as Young rolls into the ring. He’s still got a chance to win this one!
SB: He’s already been pinned once! You mean Eddie’s gonna have to do it again?
BB: Eddie gets up from the backdrop….whoa, Shane just pushed Rhubarb Jones out of his ringside seat.
SB: Aw, poor Roob just spilled Dr. Pepper all over his rented tux.
BB: Eddie spins Southern around…
(SFX: CRACK!!!! followed by a thud as the chair is thrown against the barricade)
BB: Shane just pasted Eddie with that chair! The Presidential Champ just went down like he was shot!
SB: We need Secret Service! NOW!
(CUTTO: Eddie Mayfield’s face, where a trickle of blood from the forehead is threatening to become a gusher, and then, of course, a cliché ‘crimson mask.’ Eddie tried to pull himself up using the nearest thing..which happens to be Southern’s leg. Shane pushes him away, back into the barricade by the fans. Fans reach down to touch him for some reason…one coming away with a hand smeared with blood.)
SB: That’s really gross. Is there a reason ringside fans think they get to TOUCH the wrestlers? It’s not a strip club for goodness’ sakes.
BB: The bell has sounded, and we’re told that Patrick Young has ruled this one a double count-out.
(CUTTO: Patrick Young in the ring, tending to the nearly-conscious Ben Worthington. On the outside, Southern looks down at Mayfield and simply walks away, towards the rampway.)
SB: So who’s the Top Contender?
BB: I’d think that Shane would retain the spot, but since Thomas isn’t recognizing anything that happened under (Name Censored)’s regime… I don’t have a clue. Folks, when we come back, it’s Joey Melton in his first CSWA World Championship title defense in over ten years…and he takes on former four-time champion, Hornet. Right after this commercial break!
(CUTTO: CS Towers - CSWA Interim Commissioner Stephen Thomas’ office.)
(Thomas sits on a gorgeous black leather couch with his wife, Hortense, feet propped on a marble coffee table, watching the telecast on TV.)
THOMAS: This or Discovery Channel?
HORTENSE: Sugar, you’re the boss now. Free time’s a thing of the past.
THOMAS: (hatefully) I thought that it was marriage that killed it off...
(Hortense laughs, and throws her big, flabby arms around Thomas’ neck.)
(The office door is kicked open.)
(Thomas turns around, startled, the camera pans out and we see Jean Rabesque, Greensboro Title over his shoulder.)
RABESQUE: So what the (bleep) is going on?
THOMAS: What are you talking about, Rabesque?
RABESQUE: You know exactly what I'm talking about. You strip Ryan, and you put the belt on Joey Melton? JOEY F'N MELTON? What the hell has he done to deserve ANYTHING around here?
THOMAS: Well, probably as much as you the last I checked.
RABESQUE: Cute, Thomas, real cute. So while you're in the mood, why don't you just go ahead and strip Hornet of his title while you're at it? If you're going to throw a cheap allegation at Ryan, there's no mistaking Hornet is in the same situation. Except that he’s an admitted pill popper, is he not? We could just go ahead and dig up Little Voltron and give him that title!
HORTENSE: Little Vol ain’t dead! Sug and I saw him on TV not ten minutes ago. He’s looked better, but...it’s his kidneys, Sug...they’re bad.
THOMAS: What the hell is your point here?
RABESQUE: My point is that I am the last shred of credibility the CSWA has, and you're going to keep over-looking me and giving titles and shots to your boys. This is the Greensboro Title. THIS is the roots of the CSWA, and as I see it, I am the ONLY legitimate champion this company has anymore. And that means that I am the RIGHTFUL CSWA World Champion.
THOMAS: Rightful champion? Look who you're talking to? I’m the man who took that CSWA World Championship belt so proudly held by Joey Melton back in 1988, and made it the biggest belt in the world today. The title you represent right now is representative of ONE CITY, and that's it. Joey Melton represents the entire world of wrestling with the biggest belt in the business.
RABESQUE: What do you want me to do, Thomas? Because you need me, without me, you have lost ANY ties to the world WRESTLING in your title. Without me, the entire CSWA is a sham, a pool or corruption and hell, of nepotism for all I care. I am the rightful CSWA World Champion, and if you refuse to believe that, then you're just going to have to find that out the hard way.
THOMAS: The hard way? Sixteen years ago, son, we paid some hick to engrave “World Champion” over a leather belt, and we called it the CSWA World Championship! Even with Merritt pulling on this company like an anchor, I took that ‘World’ belt and went city to city, conquering every square inch. That belt represents what it does because of hard work, and the ability to put punks like you in their place. You want to prove something to me? Do the same. Go from city to city, putting THAT belt on the line. Stop coming to me for handouts. It’s not my job to feed you, son. You want a bigger piece of the pie? Seek and destroy. Win over each town like I did sixteen years ago, i.e. PROVE to me I’m not insane for not firing your (bleep) the second you charged in here, hell-bent on making an (bleep) of yourself.
RABESQUE: (chuckling) Me prove myself? Damn, it feels like I've been doing that my entire life. Ok, you got it, Steve. But allow me to remind you... Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.
(Rabesque charges out.)
THOMAS: How can I have a champion who uses that old line? This is the age of catchphrases and witticisms. And what about respect? What happened to “Mr. Thomas, sir”?
HORTENSE: (Quietly) I like him.
THOMAS: (looks at her like she’s crazy…then concedes.) So do I.
for the CSWA World Championship
Joey Melton vs. Hornet
BB: Welcome back, fans to this special 90-minute edition of CSWA PRIMETIME: LABOR DAY LAYOUT! Up N---
SB: Buckley...How long are these shows usually?
BB: Two hours, Sammy. We haven’t been gone that long.
SB: Hmm. Without commercials it’d be fair to say they consisted of 90 minutes of action as well, no?
SB: Is tonight’s broadcast commercial-free?
BB: You haven’t noticed the odd two-minute breaks here and there I’ve been announcing for the last hour?
SB: I just assumed you were letting the moments play out.
BB: No, Sammy, it’s not commercial-free. Why---
SB: So, what exactly is special about this PRIMETIME? That we’re fleeing Hurricane Frances in the Parsons Cruise Liner? That the bars and onboard casinos shut down for two hours last night so everyone’s full attention could be on Thomas’ fantasy football league draft? Or are we simply celebrating a getaway weekend without Merritt near to remind us to “Be careful, don’t get too much sun, and use fake names if you’ll regret bedding the woman in the morning?”
BB: I’m not answering this question.
SB: That’s okay. I already have silently.
BB: Well, happy day.
(CUEUP: Bonnie Tyler – “I Need A Hero”)
(Joey Melton steps through the stage entrance in a custom- made black diamond-studded robe. He’ll wear it once, then sell it on Ebay for twice what it’s worth. Is there any limit to what people will pay to have a morsel of the man in their life? On their shoulders? Seeping through their skin into their very soul? He struts down the aisle, careful not to move too fast. It’s been over ten years since the man’s worn the belt that made him, that changed the free world as we know it. Joey poses, while some irritant in Nebraska watches, dreaming of being the highest bidder. Lindsay Troy grudgingly walks out behind him, holding her head in her hands and silently praying that she's not really hearing that theme music, that Melton's not really holding a belt that was given to him by a psychosomatic nutjob, and that the past fourteen months didn't really happen. Oh, but how wrong she was.)
SB: I’m just saying...for the last week the wrestling world’s been wetting itself over Thomas’ return, yet I’m wondering how much has really changed. But, maybe it’s a good omen that he’s managed to package and sell a wrestling show with, in fact, less action than what his predecessor was putting out as the Grand Return To Prominence. What this really is, Buckley, is a clearance sale. This ship’s sinking faster than a normal human being’s heart upon seeing “CCruise” on their cell caller ID.
BB: You could take a year off and really not miss a beat, huh?
SB: It’s like a well-oiled machine. But don’t mind me, I’m just subtly recycling old material here.
BB: By all means...Joey Melton in the ring with Lindsay Troy. With Dan Ryan’s World Heavyweight Championship around his waist...
SB: Excuse me?!
BB: You heard me. I may have been contractually obligated to come back, but I don’t agree with Thomas’ politics in the slightest. Dan Ryan spilled blood for this country. He sold out arenas, and to be treated like this, is a travesty. He deserves better. On behalf of the CSWA, Dan, I apologize for Thomas’ actions. This match may be for the World Title, Sammy, but the real champion is at home right now!
SB: The real champion? Melton is the sole reason your wife can afford to eat five pounds of ham a day. Joey Melton has made all this (motions with his hand) possible.
BB: What? A 90-minute cry for help on a cruise ship?
SB: AND DON’T YOU FORGET IT!
(CUEUP: I Mother Earth - "Like The Sun")
BB: Listen to these fans as Hornet’s music plays!!
(Slow pan of the packed ballroom.)
BB: They’re beside themselves!
SB: It’s a cruise, Buckley, these people have been stuck on ‘orgasmic mode’ since realizing the buffet was free.
BB: The buffet’s free? You really have to question that business decision...
SB: Eureka! Finally a light over Buckley’s head, sixteen years late.
(HORNET comes charging down the ring. Fans erupt.)
BB: Here’s HORNET! Melton versus Hornet once again for the big gold belt! These two, no strangers to each oth---
(The fans suddenly get quiet as Hornet slides into the ring and starts bouncing off the ropes.)
SB: He looks so much bigger on TV.
BB: I don’t believe this...
(CUTTO: Ring. A close-up on Hornet reveals, he’s not Hornet at all. Craig Miles, in full Classic Hornet gear. Make-up, lime green leg-length tights, and a heavy silver jacket with beautifully constructed lime tassels hanging from the arms. Somebody broke their back making that jacket. Miles wears it with pride.)
BB: That’s ‘Cocky’ Craig Miles! That...That’s not Hornet!
SB: (laughing) No, it’s something much better. A recovering addict in a clown’s suit. I’m officially on board the Thomas bandwagon...
BB: “Cocky” Craig Miles left the CSWA months ago (SB: So did we...) and apparently he’s been allowed back in!
SB: Wow, you’re good. You could probably spot a penny at the bottom of the outdoor pool in a matter of seconds.
(CUTTO: Melton. Shocked, but then amused.)
BB: Melton’s reacting as if he wasn’t in on the joke. I’m sorry, Sammy, this is horrible. This is Thomas’ big plan for the biggest belt in this business? A parody?
SB: It’s theater. Inland you have to pay good money for something this entertaining, but here on the high seas on the Parsons Cruise Liner, it comes with the meal.
BB: Patrick Young, checking Hornet’s—-ugh Miles!-- boots... this match can’t go on!
SB: Why not, we’ve had worse over the last sixteen years. I can rattle off about fifty that still make me cringe. Fifty-one if you let me count full years...1990 was an embarrassment for me professionally...
BB: Enough Benson! There’s the bell. Fans I can’t call this one. The CSWA once stood for something, and to see this...
(Melton and Miles circle each other; laughing.)
SB: Oh stop Buckley. This league took our pride ten years ago. A midget was murdered on air! Santa Claus handed a certifiable loon a lump of coal as the payoff to a PPV, and 1996’s newcomer of the year, as voted on by the humanoids, brought a wheel barrel of POO to the ring. That leg your standing on has been broken for a while...
(Collar and elbow tie up. Miles throws Melton into the corner, and then howls!)
BB: You know...
(Melton locks up Miles again, same result.)
BB: You’re right. “Hornet” and Melton lock up for a third time, and its Miles with a strong hip toss!! Melton’s reeling from that one!
SB: Good boy...sell it...sell...
BB: STANDING DROPKICK from “Hornet”! Melton up fast, ANOTHER DROPKICK THAT SENDS MELTON THROUGH THE ROPES! Joey’s dazed in the early going, as Troy rushes over to instruct her charge...
SB: This is clearly the result of Melton not getting any tail for a year. I hate to say it, but one of my boyhood heroes has died. Melton’s much better when he’s laid five days a week, and half lit at that. Troy’s doing her damnedest to turn the World Champion into a man...and the result shows...
(Miles from the apron with a double-axe hammer to Melton and Troy’s head! Fans roar as both he and Troy hit the floor.)
BB: “Hornet” has Melton and Troy’s heads in his hands...this filled to capacity Don Parsons Ballroom is begging for him to do it...DOUBLE HEAD KNOCK!
(Miles beats his chest and howls.)
SB: Nice work Buckley...
BB: Eh, it always takes the first show back to get my bearings and realize we’re not doing serious work here.
SB: Welcome back.
(Miles clothesline outside on Joey!)
BB: “Hornet” nearly took the champ’s head off with that one! Young’s counting inside the ring, but if he stopped it here the fans would stone him to death on the front steps of the arcade.
SB: Quite possibly. Log on to www.thecswa.com to vote now.
BB: Melton’s in early trouble...and it’s only getting worse, “Hornet” reaches for Joey---OH! Thumb to the eye! The champ reaches back...KNIFE EDGE CHOP!
(Miles staggers briefly, but shrugs it off.)
BB: Melton, KNIFE EDGE CHOP AGAIN!
(Miles smiles it off, and flexes in front of Melton.)
BB: Joey’s begging for his life! The fans are egging “Hornet” on, they want to see Melton get what’s coming to him! Joey on his knees, BEGGING “Hornet” to give him time to recover...Miles cocks his fist....
(Troy flies at Miles from behind, clipping his left knee.)
BB: Troy with a key save!
SB: It’s nice to see a woman who knows her role. Good girl.
(Melton pulls referee Patrick Young aside and complains about a ringside fan, while Troy works Miles over.)
BB: PATRICK! Somebody turn that goof around, Lindsay Troy’s taking a few managerial liberties!!
(Troy side-Russian leg sweeps Miles outside.)
SB: Choke him out, baby, and let’s get off this blessed ship and go home with the title!
(Melton steps into the fans with Young and angrily points to a fan who’s harassing him. Young remains clueless.)
BB: Good grief. Troy off the ringside apron, LEG DROP! This is highway robbery! This is a Title match...if she can’t act accordingly then send her backstage!
SB: It’s time to have the woman’s role in sports discussion again, isn’t it, Buckley?
(Troy stands over Miles and hooks both his legs under her arms.)
BB: Young, finally getting back to business after wasting a good...
SB: Special 90 seconds by my watch.
BB: The tide has turned here and the World Champion didn’t have to do a dag-gum thing!
(Troy smirks at some kid ringside in a HORNET t-shirt and falls backward, vaulting Miles in the air...)
BB: FLYING CLOTHESLINE! Troy sent “Hornet” for a ride, but he caught Melton in mid-air! Troy can’t believe it!
(Miles rolls in the ring.)
SB: It’s a relatively new team here. Melton and Troy have only been working together for a year. These things happen.
(Melton gasping for air, motions to Troy, who then rolls into the ring after Miles.)
SB: You kinda have to judge managerial pairings by Dating Game years. After a year together, what the hell do they actually know about one another? Enough to get into the second round, but it’s the couples who have already stopped having sex that always wins. Keep that in mind.
BB: Thank you for that. Ahem. Troy’s trying to make amends for her screw up right here...she turns “Hornet” around, KNIFE EDGE CHOP! NOTHING!
BB: Troy, KNIFE EDGE CHOP AGAIN! That one, Sammy, only served to annoy “Hornet”!
(Troy’s worried. She looks around for help, but doesn’t see Melton. The fans are on their feet, tearing the roof off. Troy, backed into a corner fires a foot at Miles’ crotch, but Craig catches it with one hand, spins her around, and delivers an atomic drop...)
BB: ATOMIC DROP!! Troy flies head first into the turnbuckle!
(Quick cut to a delirious fan in the front row. He’s so excited, he’s so excited, he’s so...he’s so...scared.)
SB: Come on honey, you gotta make a bigger impression than that. MELTON NEEDS YOU! WE NEED YOU!
(Miles grabs Troy’s hand and whips her across the ring into the opposite corner, where she hits with a resounding THUD.)
BB: HERE IT IS!!
SB: Bugbrain’s #1 playlist. He can’t do it. Not today. Troy will move...come on doll...reach deep...search that cavernous pit of a soul...and be a winner. FOR JOEY... FOR AMERICA...FOR...
(Quick cut outside the ring: Melton calmly taking a sip of someone’s drink and handing it back.)
BB: HORNET SPLASH!! HORNET SPLASH! HORNET SPLASH!!
(Miles pumps his fists to the fans, and stomps on the mat manically.)
BB: These great people here tonight can sense it!! THE CSWA’S BACK! “Hornet”’S BACK!! And he’s rock’n’rollin tonight! He turns Troy over...THIS COULD BE THE SCORPION DEATHLOCK!!
(Fans turn to one another and high-five. Some grown men break down and cry. It’s been a hard three months without CSWA action, but it’s back. And so is a reason for living. Even if they’ve just had a huge bait-and-switch pulled on them…it’s still something.)
BB: MELTON FROM BEHIND...nut shot! That drops Miles to his knees...
SB: I’ve seen Melton bring down wild boar in the African Bush with that move. He practices it on Cameron Cruise five hours a day. It’s the little things that make champions. Ratings...knowing the right people, and the ability to knock a man’s nuts into his throat. Ah, watching the great ones never gets old.
(Troy, who hasn’t turned around yet...climbs to her feet. She turns quickly and SUPERKICKS Melton!)
BB: OH!! Lindsay misfires again! Joey’s out!! And Troy can’t believe it!
SB: That one was uncalled for. It’s almost as if she’s got an axe to grind here, Buckley.
BB: She’s trying to make amends with Melton, but he won’t have any of it! Personally, I say it serves ya right for trying to cheat!
(Troy and Melton are arguing heavily in the ring, as the crowd excitedly watches on. Arms flailing, yelling in each other’s face; not their finest hour.)
BB: Melton waves off Troy...then PUSHES HER! Troy PUSHES right back and Joey hits the mat! All hell has broken loose!
SB: Too much...
BB: Sorry...Melton’s up...and right back in Troy’s face!! He grabs her by the neck; fist raised...HE’S GOING TO HIT A WOMAN ON NATIONAL TV!! And the Queen Of The Ring is begging him to do it...
SB: Joey, no. Keep your morals! Don’t let that dumb (bleep) ruin your good name!
(Melton hits the mat, pulling Troy with him, as Miles misses them with a clothesline.)
BB: “Hornet” with a high-risk move that comes up empty. So close to killing two birds with one stone there. Melton backs Miles into a corner, and KNIFE EDGE CHOP! (The THUD from the blow can be heard throughout the ballroom.)
SB: Miles’ isn’t shaking that one off.
BB: No, Sammy, he’s not. Melton with ANOTHER! AN ELBOW TO THE HEAD, and another KNIFE EDGE CHOP! “Hornet”’s doubled over. The force of those chops beginning to take their toll on the US champion.
(Melton winks at Troy as she climbs out of the ring.)
SB: You can only put up a brave face against the World Champion for so long. Eventually Joey Melton breaks you down. Man, woman, Olsen Twin...he gets the end result.
BB: Joey hooks the tights, VERTICAL SUPLEX!!
(Miles pops right back up, much to the fans’ delight.)
(Joey has his back turned, taunting a fan from inside the ring.)
SB: JOEY! Joey, don’t let these irritants take you off your game!!
BB: I think it’s too late Sammy, Miles charges...but Troy’s in the ring again and she’s thrown herself around “Hornet”’s legs!! He can’t get a hold of Melton!! Troy hanging on for dear life as “Hornet” struggles!!
(Melton climbs out of the ring and confronts the fan in the first row.)
SB: Come on honey, do what you’re paid to do...
BB: He’s left Troy in the middle of the ring with the Franchise! “Hornet” breaks free...and faces Troy in the middle of the ring!
(Cut to outside the ring: Melton slaps a drink out of some fan’s hand.)
BB: Lindsay off the ropes, DROPKICK!! Miles doesn’t budge! Troy off the ropes again, flying body press, but “Hornet” has her!! BENCH PRESS SLAM...NO! Melton with another nut shot!
(Troy lands on her feet as Miles kneels. He’s visibly pissed.)
RHUBARB JONES: Ten minutes, ten minutes remain.
SB: This is beautiful. Lindsay Troy and her main man, working together as a cohesive unit to protect the World Title! It’s enough to make a father proud...and make no mistake this one was a difficult birth.
(Miles has crawled to his corner.)
BB: Only ten minutes remain! Another Hornet/Melton classic! Granted it was a twenty-minute time limit, but...
SB: You have to work with what you’re given.
BB: Yup. Melton brings Miles to his feet and digs a short right hand into Craig’s face!
(CLOSE-UP: on Miles, the face paint wearing off. Stringy pieces hanging on for dear life.)
BB: Thumb to Melton’s eye! “Hornet” JAW BREAKER! That was almost out of desperation Sammy...
SB: What? Miles’ move, or the two of us agreeing to come back?
(Miles reaches into his silver jacket and pulls out a bottle of whiskey.)
BB: Miles...drinking from a bottle of whiskey in his corner of the ring. Is now really the time?
SB: I heart Miles.
(Craig reaches for his face and wipes off the face paint. He’s become bored with it all.)
BB: Melton slowly charging, (Miles angrily breaks the bottle over Joey’s head) GOOD GRIEF! Craig Miles just broke a full bottle of whiskey over Melton’s head! Sammy, he’s busted wide open...
SB: Joey’s in trouble.
(CLOSE-UP: of Melton lying in the middle of the ring. Bloodied and out cold.)
BB: This has gotten out of hand in a hurry.
(The fans are eerily silent. Who killed Christmas?)
(Miles backs into the corner and lights a cigarette, as Patrick Young calls for the bell.)
SB: Once again a prime example of how alcohol ruins a perfectly good evening. I’m headed back to the bar...
BB: Craig Miles has just been DQ'd, and for good reason. That was uncalled for. Just sick.
(Troy grabs Melton by the feet and drags him out of the ring.)
BB: Craig asking for a house mic. Don't let him have it. You hear me...don't let that (bleep) talk right now.
(Unfortunately, a ring rat does bring Miles a microphone, further demonstrating that this league has officially gone to hell. Miles exhales a smoke ring as the crowd keeps booing loudly. The 'Cocky' one laughs it off and looks down at Lindsay Troy - who looks seriously pissed.)
MILES: Oh c'mon honey…as far as Joey will be concerned, he'll actually believe this was my best booking job yet.
BB: Well, its official fans. Craig Miles has broken out the 'shoot' comments in less than 3 seconds. That's a new record.
MILES: I'm sure right now Bill Buckley is talking about how I'm ruining professional wrestling as we know it…
SB: He must see dead people, too.
MILES: …but don't let yourselves be fooled. The reason this is happening, the reason this league is about to become part of something bigger than itself…is simply because for too long, the men at the top have been (BLEEP!)in' selfish, (BLEEP!)in' stupid and (BLEEP!)in' blind to the EVOLUTION of this sport.
(MILES hops onto the turnbuckles and takes a seat, an eerie bizarro reflection of a match long ago featuring Hornet and Guns….and the infamous one hour mic spot over a dead body…)
MILES: Life is a circle. And while you, the brainwashed fan of the CSWA, don't see the irony of my seat at this moment, you will learn shortly that my words are more important to listen to than anything you'll ever hear for the rest of your meaningless lives.
BB: Someone definitely spiked the cooler…
SB: The one time I should drink water on-air…
MILES: Ten years ago, when I cracked Hornet across the back with a steel chair in an empty auditorium during a Unified Title match with Mike Randalls…I gave this company a GIFT. One they never PERCEIVED…and one they obviously still don't understand.
(MILES inhales and exhales…)
MILES: For once, the glass ceiling was broken. Mike Randalls and I knew back then who the true enemies were…the HOMEGROWNS. Hornet. Windhams. America's Team. All a (bleep) SMOKESCREEN. You're talking about the most arrogant, sinful (BLEEP!)s that walked this planet. And you all ate it like candy. I want you to look at EACH of these men NOW…and tell me that what I did ten years ago WASN'T right…
MILES: Think Poison Ivy disagrees? Think Eli Flair disagrees? Hell, right now - Mark Windham could be bouncing his daughter on his knee and the truth would be…he knows I'm RIGHT. For TEN YEARS, Chad Merritt forcefed you (BLEEP!) and you all ATE IT like apple pie and vanilla ice cream.
(Ash and continue…)
MILES: I'm here to tell you that tonight marks the BEGINNING of the END. Nine months ago, 'Paul is Dead' set me free. Two nights after getting my head caved in, he blamed me for trying to sabotage his career over in the Wild Frontier. He brainwashed the whole roster into believing him…and I resigned.
(Miles places the cigarette out on his barefoot and hops off the turnbuckles)
MILES: That night, Paul…you made things PERSONAL. You opened up a Pandora's Box on THIS SPORT. You think I'm joking? Take a look at the (bleep) fans Wrestling organization and pat yourself on the back - you gave me TIME. You gave me MORE EXPOSURE. And now, I'm coming back, Paul. I'm coming back to do the one thing I wished I thought of ten years ago in that empty auditorium…
(The camera closes in on Miles…there's no smile…just dried blood and bruises and one serious psycho look in those twinkling blue eyes…)
MILES: …break your (BLEEP!)ing BACK. What's happened in the fWo is on your shoulders, friend. What'll happen over in the Frontier…that's on your head…and what happens here…will be on your back. I'M FREE, Paul. Free to roam and with no ties to bind me down. MY friends are YOUR friends. MY enemies are YOUR enemies. You may THINK you know who's with me, but you DON'T. You may THINK you know what I want, but you DON'T.
MILES: You're gonna BURN, Paul. You're going to (BLEEP!)ing hell, NOW. And if you don't believe I can bring it…if you don't think I'll do it…
(A cigarette for the road…)
MILES: Go find Deacon and ask him from his hospital bed.
MILES: The Party's Over, Paul…but this WAR…has only just BEGUN.
BB: Fans, we’re out of time! (Thankfully…)
SB: You know; we really need an on-air decoder so the people on planet Earth can understand what Miles is saying. Man alive, that’s an argument against 24-hour cold medication right there.
BB: Seeya next week!
Told You Not To Drink The Water
(CUTTO: Thomas at the bar in his office at CS Towers. There’s little to choose from. Merritt learned with the roster he had, plus Benson roaming around the premises on the days when he was in to do voice-over work, that alcohol at work was the equivalent to ‘casual Friday’ at other offices. From a grave of papers at his desk, a stiff drink was never more than a mirage: a temptation that had the staying power of a teenage virgin. The running joke was, after your first three months Merritt gave you a small increase, after six, Benson made you a key to Chad’s office. Good times that were insensitively dismissed by Merritt’s health kick.)
(Thomas pours himself a glass of imported Chilean water, and waits a beat for the liquid to absorb the ice’s temperature.)
THOMAS: Lunatics. Broken glass, blood, backroom deals. It wasn’t always like this. Was it?
(Thomas raises the glass to his mouth and lets the water run down the back of his throat.)
THOMAS: She’s mine again though. It’s all in how I reshape her.
(He gets distracted looking at a framed 4x6 of he and Chad backstage after the original FISH FUND.)
THOMAS: What happened to us, Chad?
MAN’S VOICE: Am I interrupting something?
(Stephen jumps off the ground, startled. The drink escapes his hand and shatters into pieces after hitting the floor.)
MAN’S VOICE: Take a deep breath before you give yourself a heart attack, Thomas.
(Stephen regains his composure as he turns to see an old man in an expensive business suit standing before him, a wry smile on his face, and stoned look in his eyes.)
THOMAS: What do you want, old man?
OLD MAN: To offer my congratulations. Not a bad show.
THOMAS: Got a little messy there at the end, don’t you think?
OLD MAN: I prefer to think of it as receiving full entertainment value for my dollar.
THOMAS: I don’t like treating Melton like this.
OLD MAN: Melton? Since when did the CSWA care about Joey Melton? He’s a pawn in a larger game than he can wrap his mind around.
THOMAS: I want it toned down next week. Period.
OLD MAN: Right. Let me be clear, Thomas. You’re on a very short leash.
THOMAS: What you gave me was a donation. Nothing more. You are what you are because I made you, and I’m about to make you again unless I come to my senses.
OLD MAN: You always were the sensitive one. Why, we’re partners Thomas. Both of us want the same thing. To get this league out from under that... big contract.
THOMAS: Spare me the evil grin. Just do your job and get him out of my hair. This company’s buried alive as long as he’s here.
(The old man walks to the door, turning when he’s in the doorway for a parting shot.)
OLD MAN: The problem with making a deal with the Devil, kid, is there’s no way back up.
(Stephen waves his visitor off, turning his attention back to the bar. He begins to pour a second glass when...)
(Thomas jumps out of his skin, nearly cutting his hand on the broken glass.)
HORTENSE: Limo’s ready...
(CUTTO: Thomas and Hortense in an elevator.)
HORTENSE: Don’t tell me it’s not possible. I know my body!
THOMAS: Sweetie, I don’t think either of us has been in church enough for that to happen.
HORTENSE: I want a baby, sug!
THOMAS: How ‘bout a dog? You like dogs, right? Who doesn’t.
HORTENSE: But you’re allergic....
THOMAS: We’ll even let it sleep in the bed. If I have to sleep downstairs in the guest bedroom, so be it. I just want you to be happy.
(Elevator doors open; Stephen and Hortense step out into the Tower’s parking garage. The couple takes a few steps, then stop cold in their tracks.)
(Hortense gasps in horror.)
(CLOSE-UP: Thomas’ personal stretch limo. Beat to hell. Tires slashed. Windshields busted. Rear-view mirrors repositioned. Dents carved into the body as if someone took batting practice on it for a good five minutes.)
THOMAS: Get back inside. Go!
(Hortense runs back in the elevator.)
(Thomas circles the car inspecting the damage carefully. He inches to the back fender and out of the corner of his eye a figure standing at the opposite end of the garage catches his attention.)
(Dan Ryan, leaning up against the garage wall, casually cuts a 36-38 oz. aluminum Easton bat in the air.)
(Best workout Ryan’s had in quite a while. By far.)