[FADE-IN: on a busy video game shop. Kids hustle and bustle past one another, some hold games up high screaming for their mother, others are handing fistfuls of cash over the counter to the clerk. One boy, in particular, wearing a LEYENDA DE OCHO Sonic the Hedgehog mask, presses his hand to a locked glass cabinet which contains the Legend of Zelda Hyrule Historia Limited Edition. You can hear the “PFAAAAAWRRR” gasp under his breath as he pushes his face closer to the game.]
[A man comes up behind him, wearing a sleeveless t-shirt that is coloured like the French flag. He also wears a purple Vader style mask, with orange edging, and a blazing toast emblem on the forehead. He wears white contacts that show no pupils or iris colouration. He also has a championship wrestling slung over his shoulder. It’s the IWF Mount Ranier Championship. It’s PAIN GRILLE.]
[He claps a hand onto the boy’s shoulder and he near jumps three foot in the air. Spinning around, covering his face with his forearms, the boy expects to be attacked. GRILLE simply steps back, puts his hands up, palms out, to show no threat.]
“Settle down, mon ami. I am only ‘ere to pick your juvenile mind.” [Instantly, the boy recognises him. An accusing finger thrust outward and his jaw gapes open.]
“You’re... you’re pain GRILLE!”
“Oui. But I promise you, I mean you no ‘arm. I only wish to talk to you for just a few moments of your time.”
“What’s in it for me? You just happened to beat up my favourite wrestler last week.”
“I did not beat ‘im up, boy. I simply ‘ad a message to send to ‘im. A message ‘e needed to ‘ear and certain messages cannot be delivered verbally, boy. Some messages require drastic action. And sometimes drastic action requires a demonstration. A demonstration which resonates t’rough to zee very Ivory Tower zat oversees all zat is.”
“You talk funny. But what’s it all gotta do with Ocho?”
[GRILLE snickers and pats the boy condescendingly on the head.]
“From zee mouthes of babes.
“What it ‘as to do avec monsieur Ocho, boy, is zat I am trying to show ‘im zee error of ‘is ways. You see, if you spend your ‘ole career being somet’ing zat zee Powers Zat Be WANT you to be you will not find satisfaction avec your existence. Zee strings zat ‘e allows Nat’an Fear to control ‘im with seem free today... but in time zey will wrap around Ocho’s neck and strangle ‘im. ‘e t’ink s zat ‘e ‘as control of ‘is fate, boy, but I am merely opening ‘is eyes to ‘is own ‘ubris.”
“’U-BRIS! Ne vous parlez anglais?” (GRILLE’s words spit like venom) “Leyenda de Ocho is like a bug in zee ‘and of a child. ‘e does not appear aware to zee impending t’reat zat when zee child’s interest dwindles zere are few options left for zee bug’s existence.
“Will zee child free said bug? Will ‘e let ‘im go on a delicious leaf feast upon for zee rest of ‘is days?
“Or will zee child close ‘is ‘and around ‘im and squeeze zee life out of ‘im? Will zee child’s boot ‘eel come crashing down and destroy ‘im under ‘is weight?
“Poor Leyenda de Ocho. Little bug. I am merely trying to SAVE Ocho, boy. ‘e does not see zee forest for zee trees. I am offering ‘im an olive branch. ‘e can SAVE ‘imself.”
[The boy scoffs.]
“Save himself? How’s he going to do that when he doesn’t need saving at all?”
“Zee irony of explaining ‘ubris to a boy ‘oo suffers zee same fate. You and Ocho are just alike. Two boys ‘oo are entrapped in zeir OWN little worlds. Where zee Legend of Zelda is not just a video game but it is a religion. I must admit, I’ve never been one to drown my hours into pop-culture, boy, but zat is because I understand zee REAL world.
“Ocho does not understand. ‘e only CONDEMNS ‘imself to zee same follies time and time and TIME again.”
[GRILLE pokes a finger into the boy’s chest. The boy is taken aback.]
“What ‘appens to your dear Ocho zee minute somet’ing SHINIER comes into your sights, boy? When zee arthritis kicks in? When zee EXTRA pain killer is required to ‘ead down to zee Guerilla position? WHERE – WILL – YOU – BE when Ocho’s spine is racked with agony and ‘e cannot fly like zee dodo ‘e is?
“You will wash your ‘ands of ‘im, boy. Zee rejoice of fans is NOT forever. It is only for zee moment. And one day... ONE – DAY Ocho will be privy to zee same service you people ‘ave applied to me when I no longer made you laugh. Zee same disrespect you people gave me when I no longer played J. Leslie Voss’ inane cat-and-mouse game of playing zee fool.
“I woke up one morning, after Spinebuster Wrestling’s doors had been shut ONCE – AGAIN and found myself staring at zee only person in zis world ‘oo could save me. Zey stared at me, longingly, begging me to allow myself to be freed of zee shackles zat zis industry ‘ad placed NOT around my ankle...” (subconsciously, he places a hand to his throat) “...but around my neck.
“I was staring... into... zee mirror.”
[Adjusts the title belt on his shoulder. The boy can’t help but draw his attention to the title, finding himself drawn into GRILLE’s words.]
“For me... zere was only ONE person ‘oo could save me. And zat was myself. But I do not live in a fantasy world. I ‘ad my bridges burned to zee ground around me and my ‘ole WORLD crashed down around my feet. Around my brother’s feet. Around zee ‘ole French Foreign Legion. Voss would not take my calls. ‘e ‘ad moved onto zee next project. Onto zee next ludicrous contract zat ‘e never deserved.
“And we were left, once again, scratching at zee door waiting to be let in.
“And if I never saw zee truth in my own eyes I would still be zat SAAAAAD little puppet dancing at zee end of my master’s strings only WHEN he needed to pull me from zee cupboard and allow me to see zee sunlight again.
“I cut my OWN strings. Ocho cannot. He cannot see zee truth. He cannot see zee situation in which ‘e’s allowed ingrate little piglets like YOU, boy, to manifest for ‘is existence and ‘e is suffocating. Slowly. ‘e cannot even FEEL zee air getting thicker. ‘e does not even notice zee stench of Corporate bullshit clogging ‘is lungs.
“’e cannot read zee writing on zee wall.
“And because ‘e won’t listen to me, boy... because my words FALL on deaf ears avec zat fool... I need to share my message to you to share amongst YOUR brothers.
“LEAVE – OCHO – ALONE!”
[With that, GRILLE reaches out and grabs the kid by the mask. The kid latches onto GRILLE’s wrists and tries to free himself but he cannot budge the TOASTED TERROR.]
“IF YOU DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM OCHO ‘E WILL NEVER TRULY UNDERSTAND ZEE IMPLICATIONS OF ‘IS ‘UBRIS, BOY! FREE OCHO! FREEEEEEEE HIIIIIIIIM!”
[The rest of the store see the commotion as GRILLE finally rips the mask up from the kid’s head, revealing a freckle faced ginger kid whose bottom lip tremors from fear and embarrassment. Security guards rush from the entrance of the store to GRILLE, who holds both his Mount Ranier Championship and the stolen OCHO mask high above his head.]
“MY MESSAGE TO OCHO WAS SIMPLE! FREE YOUR MIND! OR I WILL FREE IT FOR YOU!”
[The security guards reach GRILLE. The first receives a striking kick to the belly that they never had the training to cope with. They’re doubled over and gasping for air as GRILLE shoves him into the other guard. He drops the OCHO mask to the ground and spits on it before grinding it into the floor with his boot.]
“My message to Ocho last time seemed to fall on deaf ears. ‘e t’ought zat ‘e could change ‘is mask and...” (fingers quotes) “...power up and zat all would be right in zee world. Yet ‘e failed to take zee belt off Perfection. And ‘e will FAIL to take zee belt off me. And ‘e will fail and fall from zee perch you moronic children put ‘im on in your selfishness.
“Zee sooner you walk away from Ocho... zee better is is for ‘im. Zan ‘e can REALLY see zis industry for what it is.
“And ‘e cannot just look. ‘e must SEE. And if ‘e cannot see?”
[One guard, with his breath finally back, moves toward GRILLE, who holds up a hand as if to halt them. He raises one finger to the guard as if to ask for a moment and the guard uses his better judgement to allow him.]
“If ‘e cannot see... I – WILL – SHOW ‘IM!”
[And for good measure, GRILLE spits on the mask one more time before pulling a wad of notes from his pocket and dropping them on the mask.]
“Buy your game, boy. Cherish a REAL false idol. Ocho’s out of lives.”
[And GRILLE spins on his heels and leaves the chaos he’d created.]
(The camera opens to Leyenda de Ocho sitting on a stool while wearing a pastel-pink mask with his standard-issue Little Mac matching hoodie. Behind him is a Punch-Out!! arcade machine from 1983, complete with terrible graphics and a green-wire-framed hero. Ocho sits calmly, arms in his lap.)
Ocho: “I don’t know if the problem is that you don’t like me, don’t understand me, don’t respect me, or some combination of all three, but the answer is ‘no’, pain. I will not change who I am because an angry Frenchman cheap-shotted me and a handful of his buddies followed up like a pack of hyenas. As much as you would like the world to think that I’m being jerked around by the powers that be, the people who have treated me worst in the IWF are you and the rest of the French Foreign Legion. Call it whatever you want, it really doesn’t matter to me – because like the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. Your actions have made it loud and clear that you hate something about who I am, and I realize that I may never change your opinion…but you need to realize your opinion is meaningless to me. I am not interested in the opinions of a bitter fool who would push people around because they like something.
Furthermore, I will NOT listen to a man who has cut his teeth and made his name on being a brutalitarian, a master of all things Hardcore Wrestling, when he talks out of the other side of his mouth and tells me to change who I am because I might get hurt one day. It’s such a bizarre fear for someone in our world to have – the fear of injury. But you are all sorts of hypocrite if you’re telling me I should change the way I go about my business, Mr. Toasted Terror. I know that careers are short, but as long as I’m young and vibrant, and as long as I have this ability, I’m going to use it. Taking risks is what I do the very best, pain…just like what you do best is scream broken English to anyone who would hear you and fight unfair battles that you can’t lose. Sometimes, my risks don’t pay off – but I’d rather lose with my head held high, knowing I threw everything of myself into battle, than play it safe and wonder what amazing moments may have been. You’re saying the same things that you saw Phil Atken tell me, and even if he did bite my wrist and beat me, ask yourself – where is he now? I meant what I said then, and I’ll repeat it to you now – I would rather hold my head up high and lose a match as myself than use your cheap, demeaning, and shameful shortcuts to win.
You can’t ‘free Ocho’, pain, because I am ALREADY free. I am living a dream life, doing the work I love most in front of raucous support from those who accept me for who I am – ALL of me.
No life can be more free than that. Nothing can be more REAL than that.
So go on, be angry. Hate me for being me. Shout your bile at anyone who will listen.
It’s not going to change a thing.”
(Ocho turns around and presses Start on the Punch-Out!! machine as the camera fades to black.)
[FADE IN: on the IWF “pain GRILLE’s Revolution” spray painted backdrop. Standing before it is the FRENCH FOREIGN LEGION. PAIN GRILLE stands back, out of his usual pivotal position centre stage. RENDRE SINGE holds up PAIN’s IWF Mount Ranier silverware. The monstrous FRITTURES stands with his arms folded at the very back. DRESSAGE holds the French flag on a pole, almost standing at attention in his strange salady attire. BAISERS stands centre stage, with his back to the camera. Evangelist organ music hits loudly and as the sound makes its way through BAISERS’ ear drums he begins to convulse like he were being shocked with electricity. A second wave of organ music and he allows the music to convulse him once more, this time turning him around to face the camera. He holds a microphone in one hand. The music suddenly cuts and BAISERS drops to one knee. PAIN GRILLE pulls a bright pink cloak from behind his back and places it over BAISERS’ shoulders. BAISERS lifts the mic to an audible level.]
BAISERS: (gravelly Cajun evangelist voice)
“Bruddas and sistas-uh... I bin asked buh muh brudda, payn GRIIIIIIII-LUH, ta come out and pray fa da SOOOOO-WHOA-WHOA-WHOA-LUH of Leyenduh de Ocho-uh!
[The organ strikes a chord and the rest of the LEGION raise a shaking hand in testament to the words of BAISERS.]
“He bin capcha’d-duh... by da demons-suh of duh Powers-suh! Da Power dat be-yee-yee-yuh! And his soul-lah! His sou-WHOA-WHOA-WHOA-luh is entrapped-duh in deir grasp-puh! Foul demons-suh! Fow-WOW-WOW-WOW-luh demons-suh! Nathan Fe-yuh! Got Leyenduh by da strings-suh! Poo’ li’l Leyenduh!
“PRAY FO’ HIM-MUH! PRAY-YAY-YAY-YUH!”
[The organ strikes again and the rest of the LEGION take a knee as BAISERS rises to his feet. The pink cloak falls to the floor.]
“I’m prayin’-nuh! Prayin’ fer you-uh, Leyenduh! Pray-yay-yay’ing for yo’ sou-WHOA-WHOA-WHOA-luh! Ta free ya from duh demons-suh! Da demons dat’ve taken over ya mind and body-yuh! Taken over ya very being-guh! Prayin’ youse can see da evil taken ovah you-wah! Can ya feel it-uh? CAN YA FEEL IT-UH?”
REST OF THE LEGION: (minus FRITTURES)
“WE FEEL IT!”
“Can ya pray for him-muh?”
REST OF THE LEGION: (minus FRITTURES)”
“Can ya find it in ya heart-tuh to dig down deep inta ya soul-luh and find some love-vuh? Some love fo’ yo’ fellow man-nuh? Some love so he might find freedom-muh? FREE HIM-MUH! FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIM-MUH!”
REST OF THE LEGION: (minus FRITTURES)
[BAISERS moves around behind PAIN GRILLE, putting his hands on his shoulders, massaging them like a trainer would a prize boxer.]
“Here is yo’ redeemuh, Leyenduh! Yo’ reDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEmuh! Payn GRILL-luh! Yo’ redeemuh! He gon’ say-yay-yay-yay-ve you-wah! He gon’ free you-wah! Free yo’ sou-whoa-whoa-luh! Free yo’ from yo’ puppet masters-suh! FREE YOU!”
[BAISERS pulls the cloak up off the ground, wraps it around his shoulders and takes a backstep. FRITTURES pats him on the back as if to tell him he did good. GRILLE stalks toward the camera. He wears a purple Ninja Turtle style eye mask with orange trim around the eyes. He wears a purple breast plate with a flaming piece of toast in the centre of it. He holds up a finger and waggles it at the camera.]
“Leyenda... I despise you. I loathe you. I cannot stand zee mere SIGHT of you but as zee better man ‘ere,Leyenda... as your peer... I can only offer some advice zat I was never offered as a rookie, mon frère.
“I am offering you your freedom. You can dance as your organ grinder winds ‘is crank, Ocho. Dance for zee pennies OR... you can see zee light. You can see zee error of ignoring zee writing on zee wall.
“Ocho – you might look at me and see zee persecutor. You might see zee man ‘oo attacked you callously and wit’out remorse. I assure you, while I might ‘ave taken some personal pleasure in beating you to a pulp in front of all zose moronic fans zat chant your name... I felt pained. I felt pained zat I ‘ave to reach out to you zis way, mon ami.
“Can you not see ‘ow much trouble I ‘ave gone to to capture you’re attention, monsieur? Must you so RUDELY ignore my offers of sanctuary? A place away from zee clutches of Nat’an Fear? Hmmm?
“ARE YOU SO BLINDED BY ZEE BULLSHIT ZAT YOU CANNOT SEE ZEE TRUT’?
“IS ZAT IT?”
[GRILLE clucks his tongue and shakes his head.]
“Ocho, if you cannot see zis for what it is zen I pity you. Zis is zee man ‘oo ‘as travelled your pat’ and found zat zee ‘igh road is long and arduous, even zough it feels as if you’re travelling at a million miles an ‘our. Monsieur Ocho, you must travel zee path less travelled. Take your machete and cut t’rough your OWN pat’ for your destiny.
“I learnt, mon ami. I learnt zee ‘ard way and I am offering you zee opportunity to free yourself. You cannot free yourself dancing to zee tunes of Nat’an Fear, dear Ocho.
‘You free yourself by listening to my instruction.
“Do not show your face inside of my ring for Fear’s beckon call, Ocho. Do not show your face at all. ‘eed my warning, mon frère, because I say zis for YOUR benefit alone.
“If you turn up inside MY ring to challenge for MY Championship belt I will assume zat you continue to ignore me and I will do my best to end your miserable career before you engulf yourself in zee hypocrisy so deeply you’ll never emerge again.
“I WILL save you, Ocho.
“Even if you cannot save yourself.”
[GRILLE thrusts a fist into the air.]
REST OF THE LEGION: (minus FRITTURES)
OOC: Apologies for getting this up so late. A couple of emergency situations plus running a major festival can really take away writing time. This was written on my iPhone on a train home, and thus lacks some formatting I'd normally include.
"You are really an unbelievable fool, you know that?"
(The camera opens to Leyenda de Ocho in front of a very pixelated IWF backdrop; head shaking, a confused and disgusted look on his face. An ancient blocky Game Boy hangs lazily from his hand, complete with a customized green "1Up" cover.)
Ocho: "Let's say, even if only for a minute, that you're being genuinely honest. Let's say you're really concerned for my well-being, and that you want to see this poor little old rookie freed from the powers that be.
I can only be free if I do what you say??
Do you LISTEN to the backwards and asinine crap you and the rest of your followers spew out, or are you so used to it by now that you're all the victims of Stockholm Syndrome to all things nonsensical?
You're pissed that I have a good gig going, that I'm living out my dreams. You openly say you hate me, that I completely disgust you for not seeing things your way. Forgive me, pain, for picking the side of those who have my back and give me the chance to combine this-" (Ocho holds up his Game Boy) "-with this-" (Ocho points to his brain) "-and this-" (Ocho flexes; he's fit, but by no means about to set any records for muscularity.) "-instead of jackalopes like you and the rest of your French Foreign Legion whose best negotiating tactic is simply 'do zis or vee beat you up, yah.'
Free Ocho of this absurdity, PLEASE.
You know why I think you hate me so much, pain?
Because I'm more successful than you. I have fans, I have people that genuinely have my back who don't dress like salad. I've got my whole career ahead of me, while you're stuck staring at the ruins of what could have been.
And it's inFURIATING to hear, I believe it. You have been so brow-beaten and torn down in your life that you don't trust ANYBODY that isn't in your inner French Circle; and you know, if the things in your life happened to me, I would understand the temptation, I think. I'm stuck with this gosh-darned belief that people, even wrestlers, are a mostly good lot. You've been pushed down, maybe you think you've been screwed over. Your prime, ruined.
The thing is, pain - you do this to YOURSELF. You carry yourself around like you're OWED something. It's followed you around like a poisonous cloud, and you just...can't...SHAKE it.
And I really think that your battle cry of Free Ocho has a deeper meaning: I think you're saying 'Free Me of the burden of this miserable life I've created for myself'.
Threaten me all you want, pain. I'm not afraid of you.
And even if I can't relieve the burden of your heart...I'll relieve the burden of the Mount Rainier Championship."
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