YNo time for pleasantries.
Cold start tonight, folks.
Literally and figuratively.
Ironically, FWF’s #1 on the Heat Index: your very own Lunchbox Larry, stands over a ghetto campfire shivering his ass off. Despite the hoodie / jacket combo, a pair of long-johns under sweatpants under ski pants, the best made L.L. Bean boots his mom’s money could buy, and one of those Russain looking winter hats with the flappy things you tie up on the sides, the below freezing temps somehow find their way into Larry’s bones.
You could say he’s freezing his… Butte… off. Winky face.
He has gloves, too. But they’re currently off his hands, which he’s rubbing together furiously in a vain attempt to keep warm.
Lunchbox Larry: S-s-soo-ooh f-freakin’ c-c-c-cold… w-why’d I e-e-everrr t-tru-ust th-th-that aaa-asshole...
Fortunately, our frozen friend isn’t freezing alone. Across the lit trash can stands a, presumably, homeless counterpart. Let’s call him Homeless Harry. It fits the theme. Anyway… in a fraction of the outerwear compared to Lunchbox, he shoots looks of pure disgust at the FWF rookie.
Homeless Harry: Are-n’t you that fella from Maine?
As if the question made him forget he was cold, every muscle on Larry’s body stops moving. After seconds of staring over the trash fire in utter bewilderment, Lunchbox snaps to and asks.
Lunchbox: Yea- whoa, wait a sec… how’d you know that?
The mysterious man across the flames smiles a mostly gummy smile. Definitely more teeth missing than not.
Homeless: Not important, kiddo.
Larry’s face scrunches.
Lunchbox: I feel like it’s kinda-
Harry interrupts with a swiftly raised index finger.
Homeless: Weren’t you sent here to meet somehow right around now?
Larry’s chin recedes like the thin air just delivered him a quick jab.
Taking a moment to think clearly, or at least try to, Larry remembers why he was sent to this homeless haven in Butte, Montana. He slowly starts to nod, the skeptical scrunchiness on his face slowly fading away.
Then, in classic Larry fashion, panic. His seconds old, pale face blushes lobster red.
Lunchbox: Actually! What time is it?!?
Harry leans over the fire for extra effect.
Homeless: It’s time, Larry.
Larry takes a step back. One eyebrow raises above the other.
Lunchbox: I’m not sure if you heard me or no-
Realizing how quickly they were getting to nowhere, Harry decided to take over this part of the dialogue. Despite the unexplainable cease of shivering and stammering, it was way colder in Butte than you’d think.
If somehow wondering; fully intended.
Homeless: Why do you think you are able to compete in a match?
Larry’s face returns to ghost white.
Homeless: Or charge in to save your future opponent from an unfair beatdown?
The wrestler’s eyes nearly pop out of their sockets.
Homeless: How do you pull off such feats? When you pass out at the sight of the crowd around you?
Larry’s mouth opens, you can see him mouthing “How?” over and over but unable to vocalize it.
Homeless: Can you use your words and tell me that, Larry? The only difference between the Lunchbox Larry running The Executioner out of the ring and the Lunchbox Larry passed out in the middle of the ring, AT THE HANDS OF NO ONE… was what, a microphone? I don’t believe it. So, how?
Blinking incessantly, Larry finally musters up the air to voice a response.
Lunchbox: I… I… how?
Harry shakes his head.
Homeless: You answer my how. The answer to yours can wait.
Larry nods, almost as if entranced.
Lunchbox: I just… well at Pandemonium three, it was just that… I don’t know…
Larry rubs the side of his face, concentrating. The same hand eventually makes its way above his ear. He scratches the side of his head, squinting his eyes.
It’s almost as painful to watch as a Dick Fury promo.
Lunchbox: I remember watching Stalker’s match. Dad hated me getting into this business, but he always told me to study as hard as I could. Always told me I had to study harder than everyone else…
Harry doesn’t seem surprised.
Lunchbox: So I was trying to study. Then what’s his face stormed down and started whacking him with the thing he had...
Aren’t you glad Larry isn’t telling the stories here?
That proverbial lightbulb you always hear about turns on over Larry’s head. He remembered it clearly now.
Lunchbox: He needed help. It didn’t matter who he was at that point. Everyone asked me why I’d help my next opponent in the World Title tourney… I asked them why they wouldn’t help someone, no matter how insanely large, being cheapshot attacked like that?!
Cheapshotted? Cheap shat? Hm...
Larry throws his arms out to his sides, shooting Harry a rhetorical ‘can you believe it?’ look.
Lunchbox: This is wrestling, Harry! There are rules! No matter what that psycho wants to think, not every match is a hardcore one! And sure, if Stalker did something creepy like his name strongly implies he will probably do someday, then whack him with a stick all you want… but until then, he’s just a normal, white Shaquille O’Neal sized dude who dresses in a scary costume calling himself Demon minding his own business…
Harry’s face glossed over sometime during that, who knows exactly when.
Lunchbox: And it was weird. It was like, I didn’t even know the crowd was there when I ran to help Stalker. I don’t even remember hearing my own music. Or anything. I just remember him. That huge dude with the stupid mask swinging a big, friggin’ stick down over… and over… and over…
Pretty sure he’s talking about The Executioner there, just so you’re clear. At that point, Stalker was the huge dude all bloodied up underneath the huge dude swinging the stick.
Larry shakes his head to snap out of the moment. Then, he brings his right hand to his chin. I think this is what he thinks it looks like to have a smart thought.
Lunchbox: And the only other time before then… was my debut match.
A smile forms across Larry’s face as his head starts nodding at an increasing pace.
Lunchbox: It was just me and my opponent. I didn’t see or hear anything else… just him…
Harry’s finally snapped out of his dumb-induced funk. Realizing that Larry’s finally getting it, he joins in the now empathic nodding of heads.
Homeless: Just… one.
Harry brings his hands together in front of him and warms them over the fire. Apparently the adrenaline of whatever moment these two shared is wearing thin.
Homeless: Now think of the crowd…
Larry’s smile disappears as fast as the Lynch brothers did. The nodding turns to shaking.
Homeless: It’s okay, Larry. There is a very important word I just used…
One quick head nod from Larry.
Lunchbox: Crowd, duh. I’m not that du-
An equally quick shake from Harry.
Homeless: No… THE.
Larry lowers his head slightly, keeping strong eye contact, as if expecting another word.
After a couple seconds of silence, Larry lowers his head just a little bit more… as if begging another word.
Homeless: THE, Larry. THE, is the word…
That one eyebrow over the other thing is happening on Larry’s face again. Kinda like when a puppy tilts its head all confused like.
Homeless: The crowd is ONE, for fuck’s sake! Don’t look at that group of people and see thousands of individuals.
The words send a shrill up Larry’s spine.
Homeless: Don’t! Look at them as they are… they are ONE! Like the twelfth man in football. Not the twelfth-thousandth! Just the TWELFTH! Just ONE extra! That is your key, Lunchbox Larry...
Harry grows a real content smile across his face. He begins to step backward, away from the light of the trashcan fire.
Homeless: Your meal ticket, if you will…
Oh he was proud of that one.
Just before Harry fades into the dark night, Larry jumps forward with an outstretched hand.
The philosophic, probably not actually homeless man stops.
Homeless?: Yes, Larry?
Lunchbox: You never told me exactly what time it was… I was supposed to meet someone here, remember?
Harry’s head falls forward. It shakes back and forth a little while down there. With an exasperated wave, he turns around and walks away without another wasted word.
Larry, unable to grasp the situation at hand, shakes his head as if Harry were the crazy one and begins rubbing his hands over the fire. As we fade, the last sight is of Larry looking over his shoulder, grumbling to himself-
Lunchbox: H-Ha-Harry? Y-you there?... Feel like someone’s watchin’ me or somethin’...
Barely visible now and only audible because he started shouting-
Lunchbox: STALKER, IF THAT’S YOU, CAN YOU PLEASE JUST WAIT A COUPLE DAYS? OH AND HOPE YOU WORKED UP AN APPETITE… CUZ I’VE GOT A KNUCKLE SANDWICH WITH YOUR NAME ON IT! OKAY, THANK YOU. G’NIGHT!
- Raging Dead