Title: Superlative Fun!
Featuring: "The Provocateur" Arthur Pleasant
Date: 01/03/2021
Location: Casa de Pleasant; Parts Unknown, Las Vegas

Our camera widens to a stock-still medium shot as it accompanies us from a professional grade slow fade-in.  Welcome to the bleakest looking pigsty of an apartment you will ever see.  Rotting food collects on plates that are stacked haphazardly on top of one another; one could almost smell the stench just from looking at it through the crystalline lens.  The unwashed remnants of food particles below each ceramic bottom squishes and squelches down into a hardened, putrid puddle advanced in its decay from the cruel, dry air of winter’s breath.    

Clap.

Clap.

Clap.

Like a shotgun blast to the face, our attention is immediately diverted from the grotesque display of griminess to DEFIANCE’s newest acquisition, Arthur Pleasant, simply golf-clapping into the face of the camera.  He stands tall, wearing torn, stained sweatpants and a plain white t-shirt with a smiley face crudely sketched on it from a black sharpie — a stark contrast from the black business suit Arthur wore at UNCUT 83.  This, of course, being a mere glimpse into the discernable cautionary tale of a man’s unpredictability. 

Arthur’s feet are bare, and the bridges reveal an ashen coating surpassed in repulsiveness only by a blackened scab that supplants a toenail on the right big toe.  Arthur whistles to the tune of something rather meaningless and forgettable as he walks across his spacious atelier, empirically delighted by something nameless.  The Provocateur stops in front of a dirtied, five-gallon fish tank and taps the glass with the chewed down jaggedness of a nail on his index finger.  Moments later, several dead fish rise to the top with their white bellies facing up.  Much to his own surprise, however, there are a few fish left in the tank that remain very much alive.

“FRANKLIN!!  My God!! It is SO great to see you, bud! And… wait… hold on… who do we have here?!  Is that… is that HASHTAG?!” he says with an ever-jubilant tone to his voice. His eyes dart between the two remaining goldfish swimming among the freshwater floaters as he continues, “Glad you’re still with us!  Sorry about Gage, Matt, Kevin’s Dad, Cayle, Brock, Elise, Discord, Jack, Pat, Jay, Lindsay, and A1 Sauce.  Whoops. Should’ve taken better care of them and cleaned their water sooner, I guess.  My bad!”   

He looks back into the camera with a sarcastic smirk that highlights his pale, unhinged demeanor.  Lamenting the recently deceased for an entire nanosecond, he speaks as directly as the crow flies.

“You hold on to your trophies so tightly. It’s cute, really.  How every one of you pitiful indigents strive so desperately to be held with such reverence. Gross. It’s almost as if competing in front of the entire world isn’t enough for you anymore.  So, like an addict… you do what? Why, you chase that next high, of course!  Like an adrenaline junkie, you ache for that next uneven crevice in the mountainside to guide your oh so eager footing. Uh huh. Imagine that. No, no… just indulge me here, okay?  Pretty please?  Cherries on top?  You’re just the goddamn best, aren’t you?!”

He chuckles and grabs the plastic cylinder-shaped container of fish food before continuing.

“Thank you. Now… close your eyes! If you don’t mind, that is. Just imagine, for a moment, the sort of narcissistic, insecure, intravenously gaslit personality it takes for championships, accolades, and fan praise to simply not be enough for someone. Think about that! Truly envision it, friends! Now? Open your eyes and look all around you. You see that? Just LOOK at those ridiculous looking DEFFies you clutch — it’s a regular hall of mirrors out there, isn’t it? It’s a veritable kaleidoscope of desperation and bullshit!  And what’s worse is that it’s allllllllll lit up on a projected image plastered on the side of this cardboard monument you call a wrestling promotion. Fucking pathetic.”

His grin widens as he shakes the cardboard cylinder. Flakes gradually fall out into the tap water surface. Franklin and Hashtag immediately dart upwards like prisoners trying to get to the front of the line for their share of hot gruel. Yumm-O..

“Some taller.  Some wider.  Some louder.  Some quieter. But through it all you share that one common denominator, don’t you?  Suuuuure you do. It’s called pride. And why shouldn’t you, my precious little DEFIANTS?! Clap with me now; YOU-DE-SERVE-IT!  Clap, clap, clapclapclap.  Yeah!  Right ON!!”

Clearing his throat by hocking up a phlegm wad, he swallows it with great spectacle.

“History tells the story of an establishment that should be absolutely brimming with it. The incredible matches and moments everyone here has created through the simplicity of human emotion. The Faithful don’t even know how lucky they are, nor do they understand how good they have it!”

Arthur holds up a hand and pulls down a finger after each spoken word.

“Hatred.”

A finger goes down.

“Jealousy.”

Another one goes down.

“Rage.”

And another.

“Evil.”

Yet another, leaving the pinky.

“Vomit inducing do-gooder nonsense.”

Arthur sticks his pinky in his mouth and pantomimes the act of making himself throw up.  He shakes the cylinder and watches more flakes fall onto the surface of the algae-ridden water.

“Forgive me and my tangents. Relevant though it may be to DEFIANCE’s obnoxious status quo, I don’t think you’re ready for that conversation. Not yet, anyway. Right now, you’re ready for something a little more… superficial?  Yeah. And since you all seem to be so genuinely incapable of surviving a year without being patted on the back and told how good of a job you’re doing, allow me to serve out some superlatives.”

Bending down, Arthur goes through the motions of pulling out an invisible trophy from an equally invisible bag.

“For the best utilization of a nonthreatening designation and having the limitless persistence to run uphill every single day to work, the award goes to… Trashcan Tim!!  Congratulations, Timmy!  Way to show the Faithful how to make chicken cacciatore out of chicken shit!!”

Arthur laughs at his own terrible joke and fumbles with the invisible DEFY award.  Grabbing it with both hands, he sets it down nice and easy.

“OoooooooKAY.  Let’s move on, shall we?!  The next superlative I’m handing out like free candy from Chris Ross’ van goes to the person who is most likely to be confused with an NPC!  And the winner is… Gunnar Van Patton! I guess nobody told this living, breathing checklist of clichés he’d shoot his eye out!!  At least not in time for Christmas, anyway!!”

Piped in laughter overlaps the hushed atmosphere of the apartment.  Clearly the DEFIANCE editing team got a hold of this one before it could be uploaded to the Propaganda Server.  Grabbing the next phantom ego endowment, he pulls it out of the same bottomless bag he pulled the previous ones out of.  Fixing his long, stringy hair a bit, opens his mouth as wide as he can, at an angle, until he can audibly pop it.  Sighing with relief, he continues.     

“Alright, this next one, COMPLIANTS, is the most important one yet.  This next award goes out to the person MOST LIKELY… hehehehehehe.. to become MY best friend.  And the winner is…”

He pauses for dramatic effect.

“Drumroll?  Do we have that capability?”

Like the piped in laughter, a spontaneous drumroll sounds from the editing room.

“And the winner is… well, shit. We have a two-way tie!! The first winner is… MIKEY UNLIKELY! Nice. I can see that happening.  Seems like a natural relationship just waiting to happen, doesn’t it?”

He throws the weightless, immaterialized award over his right shoulder and acts as if he is about to pull out another one.

“And the second winner is… muh… moo… muh… mmmmmuuuuuh… mmmmmmmooooooooooo…. MMMMMMMUSHIGIHARA?!”

Arthur shrugs, unsure of the pronunciation.

“Whatever.  A friend is a friend, even in the end.  Anyway, I’m extremely sorry to have to say this but…  that’s all the superlatives that I can give out!  For the remaining 362 days of 2021, you’re just going to have simply suck each other’s figurative cocks rather than have a third or fourth party do it for you.”

He grabs the fish food and once again shakes the edible flakes out of the miniature holes in the container's top. 

Suddenly, Franklin goes belly up.

“Uh oh.” immediately remarks Arthur.  He stops shaking the container, looks at the camera, and bears his awful teeth with a wincing, eye-popping, mistake- discerning glare.

“Whoops.  Looks like it’s just you and me, Hashy.  But don’t worry, I’ll take even better care of you!”

Looking back at the camera, he smiles.

“See you soon, my loves.”

Arthur continues humming that unknown tune while shaking the fish-food when we…

…fade to black.
 


devil



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