South Africa, 1975
A truck comes to a stop in a small African village, in front of a large, rough made building, as the sun begins its final descent. A group of men and women emerge from the building. The passenger door opens and a man steps out and stretches. He calls to those gathered, and the group breaks into smiles. A woman gets out from the rear passenger door, followed by two young boys, and a little girl. The woman calls to the children, and gathers them to her.
A large black man approaches the two, as the driver starts to unload the baggage from the back of the truck and roof.
Man: Harry! You made it!
Harry Zybyscko: Hello Desmond! Yeah, we made it!
Desmond: How was your trip?
Harry: Rough. I thought the plane was going to crash once or twice, but we made it in one piece!
The woman, her brood under control, steps forward and gives Desmond a hug.
Woman: Desmond! It’s so good to see you!
Desmond: And you look as beautiful as ever, Katherine! And you brought the children! Hello little man! What’s your name?
Desmond squats down to get on eye level with the oldest, a five year old.
Child: I’m Larry! Good to meet you sir!
Larry sticks out his hand. Desmond smiles, and takes the hand and shakes it.
Larry: And this is my brother Garry, and my sister Carey.
Desmond: A pleasure! Welcome to Africa! All of you, come inside!
Katherine: Larry, bring your brother and sister.
Katherine and Harry, arm in arm, walk inside, and greet the rest of the group. A strange scene of diversity, white mixing with black. Unheard of in South Africa. On the wall, in the main hall, hang banners. One is of a peace sign, multicolored and psychedelic. The larger one says “Black Consciousness Movement”. The adults greet each other and begin to talk, while Larry and siblings are introduced to a group of children, both white and black. After a few minutes, it’s easy to make the conclusion that the group is from near and far, with widely different backgrounds. Some are from the United States, some from Europe, but that they share a common goal. To end apartheid in South Africa. Tales of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago are told, as well as tales of horror in South Africa. The children play on, except for one small boy, whose eyes shine bright with unusual intelligence. He keeps an eye on his brother and sister, but it’s obvious that he’s more interested in what the adults are saying. Especially one hippie in tie-dye who keeps rambling on between hits on a joint, about the powers behind the powers, and where the movement of the sixties went wrong.
Hippie: (puff) It’s all the corporations fault man! They’re the ones with the power! They got all the money! And you know the golden rule, right? (Puff) The one with the gold makes all the rules! HA HA HA! (Cough! Cough! Cough!)
1984, United States, O’Hare International Airport
A man pushes his way through the crowded airport. He holds in his hand tickets. He finally makes it to a small area of calm, where the moving throng seems the break around this island of calm. A woman stands behind her son, her hands on his shoulders, while their luggage is piled up around them. The boy reaches over his shoulder and has a hand covering his mothers. He wears a suit, but one that could have come off the racks at Sears. His expression is one of excitement, and he looks at his father with eager eyes. The father stops and gets his breath.
Father: Whoo! Well, I got the tickets! There’s still time to change your mind Larry!
Larry: No sir! Yale is where I want to go! They have the best business college in the country!
Woman: Are you sure you wouldn't rather go to Columbia? It’s a good school and close to home.
Larry: No mother. It’s Yale for me.
Harry: Now Kat, it’s Larry’s decision. With test scores like his, he should get the best.
Kat: I know. Larry, if this is what you want, we’re behind you 100%.
Larry: Thanks mom! Let’s go Dad!
Larry grabs his bags and starts to move away. Harry and Kat hug each other.
Kat: Where did we go wrong?
Harry: Hush now Kat. Larry knows what he’s doing. He wants to get into business. He’s got his reasons.
Kat: I know, but he would have made such a great doctor, or a writer! Oh! Or maybe a poet!
Larry hears his mother, and turns around, and says, with a teenage expression of embarrassment.
Larry: Mooo-M! Poets don't make any money!
His parents grab their bags, and follow their son. Harry is chuckling and Kat is smiling as well. It’s an old argument, and one of good nature. But it’s no less combative.
Kat: It’s not about money, Larry. It’s about influencing the thoughts and ideas of the greater consciousness of humanity!
Larry: While eating canned beans? No thank you. It’s the publishers who make the money, and with that money, they can dictate what gets printed. It’s all about business. Besides, if I’m going to be president some day…
The family continues to argue back and forth, in the philosophical debate, as they head through the airport, toward the gate that will take them to New Haven. The argument is mainly between Larry and Kat, with Harry playing mediator. Larry makes one last point, before they get on the plane, which stops his mother and father in their tracks. Larry bounds down the gangway and onto the plane, while Kat stammers and Harry laughs. Harry puts an arm around his wife and leads her onto the plane, while Harry smiles and says:
Harry: That’s my boy!
Kat: He’s mine too!
Harry: He’s certainly got your independent streak! And your stubbornness!
Kat: What?!? I am not stubborn!
Harry just laughs and boards the plane, while Kat huffs and then follows him with a smile.
1994, Malibu, California
A flying vase nearly takes Larry’s head off, but he ducks aside and the vase crashes into the wall behind him. Larry stands up looking much different than he has before. His hair is long and drawn back into a ponytail. Earrings, diamond studded, are in his ears. He has a goatee, black and immaculately trimmed. He holds his hands out in front of him and struggles to keep his voice calm.
Larry: Liz, calm down. Look, it’s not the end of the world! We just debuted at #27 on billboard! That’s a good thing!
Liz Phair: “We” debuted? “We” Larry? Why are you always trying to take credit for everything I do? Stop trying to control me!
Larry: I just want what’s best for us! Come on Liz!! We got their attention! We’re on a roll! I’m just asking you to make this one little change! It’s not that big of a deal!
Liz: TO you maybe! But what about me, Larry?!? Huh? Did you stop to think about me? What I want?
Larry: Of course I did! That’s what I’m doing! Thinking about you! This could take you to the next level Liz! Think about that for a second! We’re so close!
Liz: And it’s back to “We” again!
Liz sighs, and walks towards Larry. She puts her hands on Larry’s shoulders and looks him in the eye. Larry tries to look away, but Liz reaches out and takes Larry’s chin and forces him to meet her gaze. Anger and pain are there, along with love. But overall, determination. Larry’s eyes are filled with pain and hurt, and confusion, but he too, has a grim determination.
Liz: Larry, honey, I love you. I know you love me too, but you have to stop pushing me to do what you want. I know, you mean well, but –
Larry: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I know. But Liz - !
Liz: Hey! Let me finish for once! I know you mean well, but it’s my career! Not yours! Let me be me! That’s all I’m asking! I don't want to sell out to some –
Larry: It’s not selling out! Don't you get it Liz? It’s not selling out! It’s just giving the people what they want, and once you have them –
Liz: But it is Larry! I -
Larry: Dammit Liz! Can't you understand? It’s not! It’s just another–
Liz: Stop it Larry! Stop this fucking bullshit right now! Jesus fucking Christ! You think I’m just some stupid fuck toy?!? I know what you want Larry and I’m saying fucking no! Why can't you fucking understand that?
Liz turns away from Larry and puts a hand on her forehead, and wipes away fresh tears with her other hand.
Liz: You know what? This isn’t working out. I can't take this anymore. You and your stupid fucking plan and all that other bullshit. I can't take any more. I need to get out.
Liz walks over and grabs her jacket and keys off the sofa and walks past a stunned and motionless Larry. Larry turns to say something, but the words freeze in his throat. The slamming of the door causes him to flinch. He starts towards the door, but stops after only one step. He hangs his head down, and slowly walks to the door. He puts his hand on it. He stands there for an unknown amount of time. His eyes are closed, but his mouth whispers words over and over.
Larry: Come back. Come back. Come back.
Finally, the ringing of the phone breaks him out of his trance. He still stands, motionless, one hand on the door, the other closed into a fist. The machine picks up.
Machine: You're reached 555-4455, home of the ROCK GOD! Larry Zybyscko! Leave a message!
Man On Machine: Larry! It’s Yngwie! (Yngwie gives a vocal guitar trill) Hey man, I got a huge favor to ask!! I know this is last minute, but I need you man! Give me a call right away at –
Larry: Yngwie! Hey man! How’s the worlds greatest guitar player? What’s that? Your tour manager got hit by a bus? How the fuck did that happen? …Holy shit! What’s that? A tour of Japan? When do you need me?
Larry looks at the still closed door. He sniffs, and wipes his eyes and nose.
Larry: Yeah. I can make it. No problem. Let me just get together a few things and I can hop the next plane out….Hey, no problem! For you, anything.
Wevv hangs up the phone. He looks down at the receiver in the cradle. The silence of the empty flat fills his heart and soul. He looks up at nothing.
Wevv: All I asked was that you trusted me. Just one more time.
Wevv heads to his and Liz’s bedroom, and packs. Minutes later, the door closes again. The emptiness is left behind. And the world changed.
2008. LA Sports Memorial Arena
Wevv Mang stands in front of the LPW and Inferno logo in the interview area. He’s dressed in his ring gear instead of his formal attire. Bright lights shine on him and the video crew shifts nervously. Precious time has dragged by, while Wevv stands, rubbing the tape on his hands and arms, looking off into the distance, one more internal than external. The director moves over to a PA and speaks in hushed tones, his voice barely able to be heard by the rest of the crew. The PA responds just as quietly, except for one sentence.
PA: I’ll let them know. We might have to bump –
A sound guy coughs. Wevv seems to snap back into the present.
Wevv: What was the question again?
Cameraman: What are your thoughts on facing Sheepster at Dead Reckoning?
Wevv seems to stare off into the distance again. The crew starts to shift again, this time with muttering starting to spread. The director throws up his arms and takes his seat, and calls over another PA. He opens his mouth to speak, when Wevv beats him to it.
Wevv: Do you know the face of evil?
The camera crew shifts uncomfortably. Wevv looks each of them in the eyes, waiting for one of them to speak up. None of them do, and some just look away.
Wevv: It’s a simple question. Do any of you know what evil looks like? If Lucifer himself were to walk up to you on the street, and greet you, would you know it was the devil?
Wevv: Now, if Satan had red skin, horns, a tail, and a cape and pitchfork, I’m sure even you dolts would recognize him right away. If a man was running down the street, a bloody knife in one hand and swinging the carcass of a puppy that had it’s head severed, I’m sure even most of you aren't too dense to recognize evil, under those circumstances. If you saw Hitler in a coffee shop in 1946, ordering a latte in German, I’m sure you would be clever enough to say to your friends “That guy is evil”.
Wevv: But today? Perhaps not. In 1936? Definitely not. No, if the monster asked you for the time, you would give it to him, and not think a second thought about it. Take away the dead puppy and bloody knife, and put that man in clean clothes, and sedate him with tranquilizers, and you wouldn’t know what he was. No, evil needs the accoutrements to be identified. It needs a basis to be identified. It needs the voices of many to speak up and identify it, for all to condemn, with loud outcries, with private whisperings, and in back alleys, and on TV.
Wevv pauses and looks around, to see what effects his words have had.
Wevv: Evil, true evil, is not some cookie cutter psycho with an axe and a hockey mask. True evil wears many guises and comes in many forms. True evil can look you in the eye, and not have you run away. True evil will smile and charm you, and bring around to it’s way of thinking. True evil is not just a scary monster with horns and tail. True evil will look like anything and nothing. True evil will say and do anything. True evil is not all or nothing. It’s only after the fact, that you can look upon it and say, “That was evil”.
Wevv pauses again. He looks into the bright lights, and the crew surrounding him. He then looks into the camera.
Wevv: Evil needs to be defined to be known as evil. Otherwise, it can be rationalized away, and forgotten. And evil thrives on ignorance and self-deceit.
Wevv takes a deep breath. He looks straight into the camera, and stretches out one hand, in a beseeching manner, and the other goes over his heart. He smiles a sad smile.
Wevv: I have done evil things but my intentions have always been good. And I say unto you, from the depths of my heart, and in all honesty, I am not an evil man.
Wevv lowers his hands.
Wevv: From day one, I have done nothing but try to make your lives better. I have tried to give you what you wanted. Demanded. Begged for. Excellence, honesty, and respect. I have given you all these things. I told you who I was, and what I was going to do. As a champion, I gave you a champion you could be proud of. I told you what I was, and you may not have liked it, but by God, you could respect it and accept it, and in private, give a little chuckle and smile. That Wevv sure was entertaining.
Wevv smiles and shakes his head. He sighs again.
Wevv: But all of that came to an end.
Wevv pauses. He looks down and off into the distance again. He crosses his arms over his chest and reaches up and rubs his chin. He stops rubbing his chin and uncrosses his arms, and still looking off camera, he speaks.
Wevv: And the like has not been seen since. Oh sure, there have been champions of note, but like Wevv was in his prime? No. I was a champion that demanded and commanded respect. It was the other guys who made the record books and will be remembered with fondness, and accolades. They had made their mark, sure enough, but they couldn't hold a candle to us. Wild Cards, bitches. 4 Life.
Wevv puts his arms behind his back, and looks up.
Wevv: What next for the wunderkind Wevv Mang? What was it that I said I wanted to accomplish? What did I reveal the Plan was, to my former protégé Sick Fixx, in the middle of that ring, for the whole world to hear? Ah, yes. Two things.
Wevv uncrosses his arms and looks into the camera.
Wevv: Check one off the list. I took over the company. Something no single individual has ever done. Just me, myself, and I. But, with great power, comes great responsibility. And I was responsible. I did the right things. I collapsed the super groups. I freed the slaves, and I made the world a better place. I supported the underprivileged and gave them a voice. I handed the hammer to those who wanted to break the glass ceiling. I pointed out the weak spots in the wall, and let the disillusioned go to work on it. And when it came time to step out of the shadows and lead the ranks of the new breed of champions, on the grandest stage of them all, I was denied. Once again, Wevv got the door slammed in his face, by those he let through ahead of him. And on their shoulders, as they marched into that bright new future, singing songs of hope and love, they carried on their shoulders the ones who brought the true hero down. And one face looked on with wonder at this new world, and asked what all the fuss was about in an innocent voice.
Wevv puts his arms behind his back and looks down at the ground. He mutters to himself.
Wevv: Why did the revolution fail? When you rip the brains out of it, how can it succeed?
Wevv sighs and looks up and stands up straight. He rolls his shoulders and looks into the camera again.
Wevv: Did I let it get me down? Did I sulk and cry. No. Well, just a little. But I came back. I sucked it up and walked through that door into the realm I won, BY RIGHT, and handed over my power, as a sign of goodwill towards the upstart peasants. I had already achieved one goal. I still had another. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, eh? But my, what a long strange trip it’s been. Yet, it’s been just like old times. But this time, my reputation preceded me. I’ve been betrayed, and almost killed by a former friend. I’ve been shunned. And the snubbings. Plenty of that, yes indeed. Where was the Uprising? Did they offer to help Wevv break through the glass ceiling? No? How sad. It’s almost like Wevv was being doomed for failure. And yet, yet, I kept on going. Climbing the ranks. From the bottom, up to the top. And the final rungs of the ladder are right there, waiting. Obstacles have been swept aside. Objections put down. And Wevv is ready. Oh so ready, after such a long time. The sweet taste of victory awaits me. The stage awaits, the masses hold their breath. Wevv waits in the wings, ready to step out and take what is his. I’ve got my foot in the door… Except, except…
Wevv had been looking off into the lights, his hand raised, and a smile upon his face. His expression changes like lightning. Suddenly, he’s facing the camera and has a fist raised in front of his snarling face.
Wevv: That God damn son of a bitch shows up again!
Wevv slashes an arm in front of him.
Wevv: Every fucking time!
Wevv: SHEEPSTER! ALWAYS SHEEPSTER!
Wevv: ARII, SHEESPSTER! ARIII, SHEEPSTER! OWNER’S CUP, SHEEPSTER!!!!! That fucking son of a bitch shows up with his god damn moronic grin and his mother fucking amusing quips and FUCK! There goes the Plan!
Wevv calms himself. He takes a deep breath. He holds up his hands in front of him.
Wevv: He’s the albatross around my neck. My own personal walking, talking, grinning, bumbling, fumbling, smiling, Harbinger of Doom. And it goes by the name of Sheepster. But not…this…time…
Wevv draws into himself for a split second, before bursting out:
Wevv: LAST! MAN! STANDING! At Dead Reckoning! Once and for all, I will finally break this curse! No bullshit count outs! No Disqualifications! Just two men and the will to win!
The director snaps out of his coma and sits bold upright in his chair. He’s not alone. The PA starts to shift through her notes.
PA: That’s not on the card!
Wevv: It is NOW! I’ve had it! There’s going to be a final reckoning, and as GOD IS MY WITNESS, this is going to be it! No more of your retarded puns! No more of your stupid bagel drivel! No more Dance Dance Revolution! No more “Oh, we’re on good terms, I don’t understand why he’s upset!”
Wevv bites off his next words.
Wevv: You know god damned why! Your mentally challenged shtick isn't fooling anyone, let alone me! Champion? You want to be a champion? You think you deserve it? Did you re-introduce Samuels to an emotion he thought dead? His old friend Fear? No! That was ME! I look around this company and I see no one I couldn't defeat. But oh no! Sheepster is here! Sheepster is amusing and funny! Sheepster is a nice guy! Sheepster should get a title shot! Sheepster almost won the Owner’s Cup! Sheepster was a Bad Mamma Jamma! Sheepster has friends! Sheepster is a good guy! And no one likes that cocksucker Wevv anyway…
Wevv: That’s what this all boils down to in the minds of the ignorant and blind, isn’t it? Good vs. Evil. Sheepster, the epitome of all that is right and just with the world, against Wevv, the source of all evil. The heroic knight in shining armor Sheepster, coming to save the day, against the devil incarnate, Wevv Mang. To put him down, once and for all, like he should have long ago. What a classic fairy tale! Only the reality was never that simple. This is not some Disney movie. This one will not end like the masses want. Because I will change that ending, to give them what they need, not what they want. And what they need, is ME. Because I can. For the greater good.
Wevv: I know you Sheepster. I’ve pondered long and hard about the events of the past. I know what you can do. I’ve seen it many times. You were the heart and soul of the Bad Mamma Jammas. They haven't been the same since you left. You were part of the most dominant tag team in history. You’re a top competitor, and a challenger. You have the people behind you, while I have only myself-
A loud cough from off camera can be heard, along with a loud sniff.
Wevv: - Or close enough. I’ve come so close before, to only fall short and resort to Plan B. But not this time. I believe in myself. Nothing has been handed to me. I’ve earned all that I have. I KNOW I am better than you. And I mean to prove it. Once and for all. In that very ring. Under those very lights, in front of all those very people. Only one man will be left standing. The better man. Me. Bring it, Sheepster. Bring everything you have. Lay it all on the line, like I will. Prove that you can defeat me beyond a shadow of a doubt. Prove that you deserve to be a champion. Make me a believer. And maybe, the next time that I meet you, I’ll have some courtesy. I’ll have some sympathy, and show some taste. I’ll use all my well-learned politeness. But I don't think that will be necessary. No, instead I think in that ring, I’m going to lay your soul to waste. And then I’ll go on and introduce myself to the rest of the obstacles.
Wevv: Pleased to meet you, gentlemen, I believe you know my name. But what puzzles you, as always, is the nature of my game. But not for long.
Wevv smiles into the camera. A sly, knowing, evil smile. He offers his hand out in a handshake. But then he closes it into a fist, and pulls it back. He chuckles, and then walks off camera.