Sitting in a warehouse, which is being used as an office space, which has false walls set up inside the office space to look like a warehouse, because warehouses are forboding and moody, is Jeffrey Roberts, eating a pudding pop. Chocolate.
There's a television set up nearby with old style rabbit ear antennas, on which Leave it to Beaver is playing. For the record, Mrs. Cleaver is wearing a lovely ensemble.
Roberts is also sitting on a yoga mat, which may or may not be used for yoga, EVER -- but for now it has, splayed out all over it, various photographs of Ken Cloverleaf and his illustrious though decidedly midcard career in A1E and EPW.
Roberts: "So round one was wholly unsatisfying and worthy more of an ambien than of my competitive juices. It took an extra dose of pharmaceuticals to calm me down from the disappointing lack of energy from my opponent. And, though driving my knee through his throat was moderately satisfying in the short term, I had a boner for so much more. When violence is your venom, five minutes with a nobody simply will not do."
"Today, of course, I have my pudding pop, which everyone knows is more than enough to soothe the weary soul, particularly on a day like this, the sun shining, the birdies chirping..... somewhere.... and only three days left until I get back in the ring. This time, Ken Cloverleaf..... ahhhhh Ken Cloverleaf... someone I know all too well. We've crossed paths many many times, haven't we? I've driven sharp objects into your flesh with a frequency that should make our meeting in round two very comfortable. It's like going home again, assuming you go home and get stabbed with foreign objects."
"Now, there have been some surprises in the Ultratitle so far. Joe the Plumber has robbed me of my chance to turn him into a real life voodoo doll, my old friend Kevin Powers is taking a nap at home..... too many of the biggest names in our sport have taken that early siesta, and then, there's me... who nobody knows at all...."
"But you know me, don't you Ken?"
"I think we've tussled over a belt or two. You never really know what to make of me, but then, that's not an unusual circumstance. I don't even know what to make of myself, Ken. I'm here. I exist. Beyond that, I can make no promises. I can't even promise that there will be a match, that I won't have an episode and try to take off some of your appendages and hit you over the head with them. There have been some ugly episodes. Police have been called. I have a liability waiver and insurance on my head, just to compete in this tournament, that reaches five figures."
"But hey, you also know I'm a nice guy. We sociopaths, as much as the label fits, are awfully polite people, aren't we? Charming to a fault, and yes, I'm reading from the manual. I'm nice. I'm also planning to gut you like a wild boar on a hook. It's a wonderful duplicity that defines and drives me, whether I like it or not. It also happens that I'm predisposed, as a professional wrestler by trade, to intense violence. You know my predilection with pain all too well, Mr. Canada."
"It just makes me so happy. If I could tie the pain of others up into a bow and present it to myself on Christmas Day, you know I would. You know I would."
Roberts expression changes, twists into something sinister as he closes his eyes, as if travelling somewhere in his mind.
"And you've made me feel that pain, too, Ken. You've left your mark -- that glorious pain that drives me to inflict even more. The adrenaline rush of blood flowing down my face, looking at you through dark red hues."
"You'll have to make me pass out from blood loss to beat me, Ken. You know how the story goes. I'm relentless, and you're simply my mark of the moment. For the next three days, I am obsessed. I have marked you my prey, Ken Cloverleaf, and I won't stop until you are defeated, or I am dead."
Roberts comes back to us, opening his eyes and smiling. He takes a fresh lick of his pudding pop, which now runs down his hand, melting.
"But look, right now, let us not talk of such unpleasantries. These are disturbing times. Let's spend the next few days living in our own little bubbles of innocence, and when that time is passed, let us slice each other up like processed meats. Look...."
Roberts points his pudding pop toward the television screen...
"My favorite episode is on. Wally gets a girlfriend. How nice. I do love happy endings."
Roberts sits Indian style and licks his pudding pop.....
Fade in to a shot of a golden sun enveloped in a bright blue sky. There isn't a cloud in sight and birds can be heard chirping off screen as the camera pans downward into a metropolitan area where a limousine is headed down a busy highway. Inside the limo is Ken Cloverleaf, professional wrestling's only Perfect, Outstanding, Superstar, dressed in a three-piece suit with a smirk on his face.
KC- Ahh yes Jeffrey Roberts. (smiles) So nice to see you again old friend. It's been a while, hasn't it? Always good to see a familiar face among the sea of putrid wastes fighting to become the next ULTRATITLE champion.
I'm sorry your opening-round match against Demon didn't excite you. I'm sorry he didn't get those competitive, boner-riffic juices flowing the way you wanted them to. I experienced the same issue in my opening-round match, minus the erection. I understand your frustrations though, and I hope the same doesn't happen for me against you this week.
As far as you're concerned Jeff, you don't have anything to worry about. You can rest assured that YOU won't have the same problem this week. You're stepping inside the middle of the ring with Ken Cloverleaf. You're going against the greatest professional wrestler to ever grace the squared circle. I'll have you eliminated from this tournament so fast, you'll WISH you were back in the ring with Demon.
You thrive on violence? I will give you every morsel of excruciating suffering and agonizing torture you could ever desire. You love the pain Jeffrey? I plan to dish out PLENTY of pain this week. The blood will flow like a raging river. You're going to LOVE it!
But I don't want you to feel left out. I'm a nice guy like that, and I know how much you love pain. You want to inflict damage on Ken Cloverleaf too, and that's fine.
You want to make your mark in this match? Be my guest. I've been doing this for YEARS now Roberts. Pain is nothing I haven't experienced before in this business. You want to try and rip my arm off, maybe stab me with a sharp object? Feel free. Just remember, you'll be the one going to jail for aggravated assault, while I advance to the next round of the tournament. I'm fine with that, just as long as I advance.
And, if I have to kill you in the center of the ring to advance to the tournament, well then that's what I'm going to do. But I'm not going to try to cut your head off with a hacksaw, eviscerate you with a meat hook, or gouge your eyes out with a fork.
I'm the greatest technical wrestler in the WORLD baby. So when I tell you that I'm going to lock you in the Texas Cloverleaf, and pull back until your joint pops out of the socket, then you better BELIEVE that's what's going to happen. Maybe if you're lucky I'll tear tendons, shred muscles, and snap some bones along the way. It's well within the rules, and I'm sure you'll enjoy the pain, so we both win out.
As long as I advance in this tournament, I don't care what happens this week.
If you want to go all Jason Voorhees and carve me up with a butcher knife, that's fine with me. I'll still be the one advancing to the next round via disqualification.
But if you want Ken Cloverleaf to inflict the pain and stand over your battered, bloodied, broken body with his hand raised high in the air, then that's OK too.
Either way Ken Cloverleaf is headed to the next round.
And you and your raging boner will be stuffed back into whatever pathetic hole you crawled out of to eat pudding pops and watch old "Leave it to Beaver" re-runs.
The room is mostly dark, slightly lit only by a dim lamp on a nightstand. On a partially elevated cot near the wall lies Jeffrey Roberts, his uncharacteristically neat hair pulled back into a bobbed style, held in place with a pin. Roberts is in formal wear, full tux and tails, on his back with his eyes closed.
ROBERTS: “Your homophobic roots are showing, Ken Cloverleaf.”
“How appropriate though, yes? Sexuality is merely an adrenaline rush by another name, and in our context adrenaline is merely my drug of choice. You like the boner line? If you were a female I might quote Freud here considering your fascination, but instead I think it a fitting metaphor for the truth -- that you are afraid.”
“I don’t mind. Mindless drivel perpetrating to be insult is your primary language, Ken, and the thinly veiled truth is far too uncomfortable for you to admit."
"Everything about you, however, screams at having nothing to say, and every mannerism, every twitch and expression tells me all I need to know. It’s as though we were children on the playground, and while you call me a poo-poo head and neener-neener-neener yourself to death, I stare at you, studying, observing, looking through you to your soul.”
“You talk about assault and imprisonment, and it cheapens the enjoyment of what we could create together. The laws of man have ensnared me before, Kenneth, and yet there are many a slip between a cup and a lip. Somehow despite my violent past, I’m still here and able to compete. How do you suppose that is?”
“As it turns out there is a sizable amount of leeway given to injuries inflicted during the course of a professional wrestling match. It seems that as our sport is inherently violent, we are expected to maim each other, you and I. If there just happens to be something sharp around ringside, and I use it, well… I guess we’ll just chalk that up to one of the perils of the business.”
“On the other hand…..”
Roberts’ head sways a bit to the music as he speaks…
“It seems to me that you’ve forgotten something very very important. I happen to be a very…. VERY good wrestler in my own right. It’s not just a matter of chairs and thumbtacks, my friend. I keep coming back to this because, all in all, it’s the one thing in my life that I’ve excelled at. I’ve succeeded DESPITE my little….. eccentricities, not BECAUSE of them. They are neither weakness nor strength. They simply ARE.”
“In fact, since you’re putting your brightly colored eggs in the basket of being the best wrestler in this contest, I’d like to remind you of A1E’s Sudden Death, which happened around Easter of 2009. And, I’d like to point out that someone defeated someone else cleanly in the middle of the ring. Someone hit a jumping DDT, followed it up with a running Liger Bomb, then hit the Shooting Star Guillotine for a very… very clean three count and won the other man’s championship. Who was it that won that match, Ken? Was it the Easter Bunny? Why, the Shooting Star Guillotine. THAT’S MY MOVE ISN’T IT?!”
“See, a guy like me, a guy who takes pills to remain focused on reality, a guy like that, he…. Well, he can be forgetful. So remind me, please….. Who defeated Ken Cloverleaf for his championship that night, KENNETH?”
“Greatest professional wrestler to ever grace the squared circle….. pinned cleanly, left so frustrated that he turned his attention to brutalizing the referee for daring count his shoulders to the mat."
"If I had a shred of decency in me, I’d have stopped such foolishness and not allowed you to hurt that poor man, but if the truth be told, I was more disappointed you didn’t hurt him even more. I was hoping for something, and once again, you disappointed me. And so it is, as always, that I am left shrugging my shoulders, looking for fulfillment elsewhere.”
“Making my mark with you is the easy part, Ken. Hurting you is like riding a bicycle. All of this is second nature, and the truth is, it’s a lot easier for you to stand there and say you can’t take it, than it is to actually take it. I’ve heard people like you say things like that before, but no less do they squeal like children when I have them locked up in a submission, grinding a nail in their forehead. No less do they clutch their throats and gasp for air when I drop my knee across their windpipes."
"Tearing tendons and shredding muscles is speaking my language, Ken. I’m fluent. Have you completed your immersion in the process? Or are you just a dabbler? Conversational violence is left, aptly, to conversation. And that’s all we’re doing here right now. By now, I would think you’d know better than this, but I guess you’re a slow learner.”
“Your heart isn’t in this, Cloverleaf. You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. If this is all you have in you to bring, I’ll crush you into a thin red paste and be on my way. Eventually I’ll find someone worth creating my symphony for, eventually I’ll find my peace, eventually…. my madness will find its solace. Apparently, though…. not with you. No. Not you. With you it’s just armlocks and hiptosses, ending in another unsatisfying win.”
“Back to the playground, Ken Cloverleaf. Apparently, that’s all you are.”
Roberts makes no other gesture… just keeps his eyes closed and continues to listen to the music….
Once again, the sun is shining, birds can be heard chirping, and there isn't a cloud in the sky as we fade into the parking lot of the arena on a comfortable 65-degree afternoon. The same limousine from earlier rounds a corner and briefly stops at a security booth before entering the parking lot and coming to a stop outside the backstage entrance to the arena. The driver exits his side of the vehicle and rounds the limousine to the back where he opens the door. Out steps Ken Cloverleaf, professional wrestling's only Perfect, Outstanding, Superstar, still dressed in his three-piece suit and wearing an arrogant smirk on his face as he looks into the camera and begins to speak.
KC -- Even the losers get lucky sometimes Jeffrey Roberts.
I'm not going to sugarcoat it. You were able to defeat Ken Cloverleaf fair and square, just the way you laid it out at Sudden Death three years ago for the A1E Cyber Championship. Congratulations on the biggest win of your miserable, pathetic existence. Make sure you get back to me when you hold the A1E World Heavyweight Championship for a year. THEN we can talk.
Because, whether you like it or not, Ken Cloverleaf always, and forever will be, the greatest technical wrestler in professional wrestling history. One loss three years ago to a piece of garbage like you isn't going to change what I've accomplished throughout my legendary, illustrious career.
Hall of Famers lose matches. They lose championship belts too. Just because you caught lightning in a bottle once doesn't change the fact that I am better than you in every way imaginable.
I just think it's funny how you neglected to mention that we met several times after Sudden Death, while locked in a blood feud between the Highland Park Social Club and the Age of Chaos. And whether it was in tag team or singles action, not only did you fail to rip off any of my appendages, maim my beautiful features, or otherwise force me to break a sweat, you didn't even come CLOSE to pinning my Perfect, Outstanding shoulders to the mat OR making Ken Cloverleaf "squeal like a child" as you so eloquently put it.
And through all of your shortcomings against professional wrestling's only Perfect, Outstanding, Superstar, you actually believe in your feeble mind that Ken Cloverleaf is AFRAID of you?!? Please, that might be the funniest thing I ever heard. For all of this talk of being a mad psychotic sociopath, you're about as dangerous as a newborn puppy.
I've faced a lot of sick, sadistic bastards throughout my world-renowned career Jeffrey. I've stood toe-to-toe with monsters, psychopaths, and behemoths, some of them who should be locked away in a state penitentiary.
And you're not even HALF as frightening as ANY of them.
Your addictions, your fetishes, your wants, your desires -- they don't intimidate me Jeffrey. If you want to put the greatest professional wrestler on the planet out of commission, and advance in this tournament, you better come at me with a little more than a collection of idle threats.
You're not going to stab me, you won't "gut me like a wild boar," and you damn sure aren't going to kill me. And that all-important win you speak so highly of three years ago? The biggest win of your miserable career that you hold so close? That won't help much either because you haven't been able to defeat Ken Cloverleaf in several meetings since.
Let's face it Jeffrey, you've lost this match before it even started.
You might as well not even show up. It's OK if you do though.
You still won't be able to stop Ken Cloverleaf from advancing to the next round of the tournament.
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