Is This Thing On?

 
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[The video screen quickly springs to life. No dramatic fade in. No ornate beginning. A few seconds of *fuzz* followed by the unsteady shot of pavement as the cameraman makes a few minor adjustments with the tripod before settling the camera into place. Suddenly, the view swings violently upwards and everything shakes while the camera is secured. Things now being set, we see nothing ahead of us but a concrete wall. We are outside, and it is a sunny, presumably warm day. Early afternoon one would guess. The wall in front of us is a faded, light-gray concrete, with numerous cracks and crevices running down it’s face. Weeds struggling their way out from some of the cracks. Other than that, it is a simple wall, and as such, pretty unexciting to us the viewer. A male voice speaks. It is a rather expressionless voice; formal. The personality behind it seems to be straight and to the point. If he could be seen, he’d most likely be a clean cut, not-quite-nerdy-but-not-really-cool-either type of college student. It is the voice of the Cameraman, a Cameraman who seems uninspired by his current assignment. Such is life.]

Cameraman: Well, sir, are you ready to go?

[There is slightly muffled cry of “Yeah” heard from off-camera and soon enough, a figure staggers into view. A young man of average size but above average build nearly trips into view, his head down as he surveys his own appearance. Regaining his footing, he sweeps the thighs of his pants a few times with his open hands before finally looking up at the camera. His face is bright and young, but somewhat vacant as he stares just off to the side of our view, as though he were looking at the person operating the camera rather than at the lens itself, which of course, he is. He has long dirty blond hair that is tied back into a ponytail, and soft blue eyes. His face is cropped by long, thin sideburns, and his mouth is surrounded by a neatly trimmed goatee. He is shirtless, but wears a leather vest, giving us a decent view of his well developed and hairless chest and upper body. Although the screen ends just around the crotch level, we can tell that he is wearing wrestling tights, full leg length to be exact, that are black in color. Other than that, there is nothing overly remarkable about this young man. He is clearly a wrestler, most likely a cruiserweight, and not much of anything else. But wait, he speaks…]

Wrestler: Okay, um… how do I look?

Cameraman: Fine, sir.

Wrestler: Good. Good.

[The onscreen figure makes a few last minute preparations to his appearance, including reaching down and adjusting his, shall we say, “manhood”, rather extensively. He also manages to reach around with his right arm to alleviate a rather annoying “wedge”. He checks his breath by blowing a quick shot into his cupped hand (like it matters on video, dummy), and satisfied that he is ready to go, makes with some more words.]

Wrestler: So… are we just about ready to go?

Cameraman: We’re rolling, sir.

Wrestler: We’re rolling? What do you mean we’re rolling?

Cameraman: I mean, the camera is going and you are being recorded.

Wrestler: Oh. So I should start then?

Cameraman: Not unless you want to stand there all day and look like a moron.

Wrestler: Gotcha. [there is a pause as he stares blankly into space — contemplating, as it were] We can, we can go back and edit this all out, right?

Cameraman: Yes, sir.

Wrestler: Good. You know, because if this part was on the finished product, I’d end up looking kinda foolish, wouldn’t I?

Cameraman: You sure would, sure. So, we’re rolling…

Wrestler: Right. Rolling

[The young wrestler takes a long look into the camera, almost transfixed by it. He snaps himself out of his haze by shaking his head back and forth a few times. He does a couple of quick over-exaggerated breaths to try and calm himself down. This done, he puts on his best serious face (which isn’t that good) and attempts a look of intimidation. He fails. Suddenly, his thought process changes…]

Wrestler: You know, I’ve never done one of these promo shoots before. I mean, nobody does this sort of thing when they’re just playing in high schools and American Legion Halls. Are you sure this is how they are done? By just looking into the camera and talking?

Cameraman: Yes, sir. Most promos are shot just like this. It’s pretty standard.

Wrestler: Okay, standard. That’s good. [deep breath] Say, let me ask you something. What do you think I should say? I mean, should I like, get all mean and talk about how tough I am and how I’m gonna kick everybody’s ass and how they should all just bow down to me?

Cameraman: [clearly growing annoyed with the assignment and it’s loser star] Well, let’s see. What kind of impression are you trying to make?

Wrestler: A good one.

Cameraman: [under his breath] Came up snake eyes on that roll. [to the dimwitted grappler] Look, are you trying to leave the impression that you’re some sort of tough guy?

Wrestler: Well, yeah, I guess so. [he thinks for a moment] Well, no, not really. I mean, I consider myself to be pretty tough and all, but I don’t know if I want people to think I’m some sort of bully. I knew this bully when I was in elementary school, he used you always try and take my…

Cameraman: [interrupting] Uh, sir.

Wrestler: Oh. Sorry. I know. How about I show them how dedicated I am to my training. You know, I could get down and like, do a whole bunch…

[The camera pans down as he gets down on his hands and knees and begins to doing push-ups with his right arm only, his left hand wrapped around and resting on the small of his back. Surprisingly, he does them well.]

Wrestler: …You know, military pushups, or whatever they call them. Would that be a cool shot?

Cameraman: I suppose. If you wanted people to think you were a discipline freak. Are you?

Wrestler: [stopping the pushups and getting back to his feet; he brushes himself off] Well, my Dad always taught me that discipline was important, but I don’t wanna be a Marine Drill Sergeant if that’s what you mean. Okay, I had another idea. I noticed that a lot of the big name stars have cute women with them. What do they call them, ballots? Ballets?

Cameraman: I believe the term is “valet”… Sir.

Wrestler: Oh, right. That’s it. Well I thought maybe if I had one of them, and I was all like, you know, partying and stuff. Here, let me show you.

[He disappears off to the left and we hear the Cameraman mutter to himself, “This guy can’t be for real.” Within seconds our young friend returns dragging a rather obvious and might we add skanky looking prostitute. Her hair is a very fake bleach blonde, teased up high with an assortment of gels and sprays, and secured with a number of neon hair clips. Her face is made up (thankfully) with all sorts of outrageous color combinations: hot pink lipstick; metallic purple eye-shadow outlined with a sort of lemon-yellow trim; heavy red rouge, which is blended in quite poorly. Her eyebrows have been plucked out and drawn back in. Each ear is the unfortunate result of our nation’s fascination with piercing as little or no flesh is visible through the myriad of earrings and studs. She wears a lime green, push-up bra, and a hot pink mini-skirt. Her arms and wrists are the home to a small army of bracelets and chains. As she snaps her gum and stares blankly into the camera, we can make a conservative guess of her age, say – 45. Meanwhile, the boy wonder stands at her side, a small brown sandwich bag in his hand, which apparently carries a bottle. As a couple they are, well, perfect for each other.]

Wrestler: Huh? What do you think? Is she hot or what?

[There is no response as our friendly neighborhood cameraman has been stunned into silence.]

Wrestler: I knew it. You’re speechless.

Cameraman: In a word.

Wrestler: Well, let’s get this going. She charges by the minute.

Cameraman: How appropriate. Listen, sport, what’s in the bag?

Wrestler: Well, it’s supposed to be a… like… what do they call it…. a forty?

Cameraman: I see. But it’s not really?

Wrestler: Well, no. I mean, I don’t drink.

Cameraman: So what is it then?

Wrestler: [pulling the bottle out of the bag to reveal a Very Fine beverage indeed] Apple Juice. It was the only thing I could find that had the same shape.

Cameraman: Of course.

Hooker: Is this gawna be on teevee? Cuz I guts a recud, and I don’t wahna get bustid again.

Cameraman: Listen, ah…. what’s your name, buddy?

Wrestler: Devo. Devo Tremors.

Cameraman: Devo? Alright, that’s a… a story for another time. Listen, Devo, I’m thinking maybe the whole “girl thing” ain’t the best idea.

Devo: Yeah, you’re probably right. Wouldn’t want to scare off any other babes by making it look like I’m attached. We’re not really together, you know. [he comes right up to the camera and whispers] She’s really a prostitute.

Cameraman: Never would have guessed.

[Devo begins to push the “young” lady off screen.]

Hooker: Hey, I’m still gawna get paid, right?

[The two disappear off to the left. The cameraman is left alone with his thoughts.]

Cameraman: I could’ve been a doctor. But, nooooooo. I wanted to go to *film* school.

[Devo appears again, still carrying the bottle.]

Cameraman: You might want to lose the bottle.

Devo: Oh, yeah. Good thinking.

[As he looks around for a place to put the bottle, a small eight-year old black boy carrying a chocolate ice-cream cone (with sprinkles) appears at Devo’s side. He takes a few licks of his frosty delight, looks into the camera, licks again, the tugs on Devo’s vest.]

Boy: Hey, mister. Watcha doing?

Devo: Well, hello there, little guy. I’m filming a video.

Boy: I know you, you’re that guy.

Devo: Oh, so you recognize me. [turning to the camera] Kids. They love their heroes. [back to the boy] So, you’re a wrestling fan, huh?

Boy: Wrestling? No, I think wrestling’s stupid. I thought you were the guy who played with the big white Tiger.

Cameraman: Ziegfried and Roy?

Boy: Yeah. You’re nobody. Forget you. [he wanders off]

Devo: Hah. Kids.

Cameraman: Listen, pal, we gotta wrap this up. What exactly are you trying to do here?

Devo: Well, I’m trying to get a job with one of those big name feds. I’m sick and tired of playing rinky dink little promotions. So this is sort of like my resume. Well, not really my resume. It’s sort of like, an example of my work. Well, actually, my work is done in the ring. So I guess… this is sorta… you know, I’m not really sure what you’d call this.

Cameraman: So you’re trying to show a prospective booker why you’d be a good fit for his Federation? Why don’t you just send in a video of one of your matches? Wouldn’t that be a better indication of what you can do, as opposed to this phony promo?

Devo: Well… yeah…. I suppose if….

Cameraman: Look, why don’t we…

Devo: [interrupting] I’VE GOT IT! A catch phrase!

Cameraman: A catch phrase?

Devo: You know, a catch phrase. Something really cool that I always say in my interviews, and that people can say along with me. Like Rocky Maivia’s “Do you smell what the Rock is cooking?”, or Tony Pride’s “What’s causing all thiiissss!”, or that thing Sabu says.

Cameraman: Sabu doesn’t speak.

Devo: Really? Hmm. Who was I thinking of?

Cameraman: So you’ve got a catch phrase?

Devo: Well, no, not really. But I could come up with something. How about, “I’m Devo and you’re not!”.

Cameraman: Not really all that memorable.

Devo: Okay, then maybe… ooh, how about, “Don’t make me have to shake your booty!”?

Cameraman: It’s not likely to scare people. It’s a dance move.

Devo: Really? Hmm. “Soup is good food”?

Cameraman: No.

Devo: How about…

Cameraman: [interrupting] Listen, why don’t you just forget all the stuff you’ve seen other guys do, and try and be yourself. Talk a little about who you are. That kind of thing.

Devo: I don’t know. That sounds kind of boring. Are you sure it would work?

Cameraman: It’s gotta be better than anything you’ve come up with so far.

Devo: Well… OKAY!

[He leaves off left and comes back moments later with a beat-up folding lawn chair. He sets it up in front of the camera, then takes a unnecessarily long time trying to get seated and comfortable. Finally, mercifully, he does.]

Devo: Alright. Here we go. [pause] Hello there Mr. Prospective Boss, my name is Devo Tremors…

Cameraman: Umm… we’ve got a problem. We’re out of film.

[Suddenly, the video portion of the tape kicks out and we are looking at a blank screen. However, the audio portion hangs on long enough for us to hear Devo, in a small, disappointed voice…]

Devo: Crud.

[The sound kicks out and the screen becomes *fuzz*.]

 
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