Liner Notes’ first reunion show started at 6:00pm sharp, just as the sun set. To Mitch’s surprise and utter delight, Darius and Basil agreed beforehand to get their faces painted like Zevon; he had to hustle to get himself done up after he saw them, and almost missed curtain call. Later, he learned that Jodie and Louis coordinated the whole thing, and he was touched by everyone’s efforts. Even if he couldn’t be in the ring that night, it was the next best thing.
Being on stage with the guitar’s solid weight in his hands and the microphone in front of him brought about a fresh set of nerves, but in an unusual way. Perhaps sobriety was the reason, but he found himself acutely aware of every little misstep. Still, he performed as usual: raw and frantic, while struggling to not overcompensate. He couldn’t even remember the last time he felt this alive and unconcerned with every other facet of his crumbling life, living in the very moment. And at the very least, he liked the way that he looked. He originally debated wearing the Morticia/Elvira dress, but elected to go with a Jailhouse Rock tribute in hopes of channeling a little Elvis into the routine. Maybe he’d rock black jeans more often.
The third song wrapped up with a rockabilly-inspired version of Spooky Scary Skeletons, and half way through it, Mitch realized that he didn’t comprehend why past him was so quick to cast all of this away. He knew full well that he wasn’t making sound decisions back in the day, and trying to rationalize his thought process was an exercise in futility; but between the roar of the crowd and the jubilant expressions that he exchanged with his bandmates as they set their instruments down and reconvened felt like a punch to the chest. They could have had this the entire time if only he hadn’t been hellbent on torpedoing his own life.
And that they took him back so easily stung as well, because he knew that he should have to prove himself worthy after all of the damage and pain that he inflicted. But instead, they helped him pull this off on a moment’s notice for the sake of his other extracurricular activity. So few people out there had such good friends and such good fortune, and he needed to give a shit about that.
The three of them stood together against the back wall and watched the first match, but despite the fact that there was a sexy costume battle royale happening right in front of him, Mitch spent less time paying attention to the ring and more time stuck in his head. Not even Nate stuffed in a scantily clad maid outfit could distract him as he pored over his mental notes about mistakes that he made during the set. If he truly wanted to atone, he needed to stop messing around and get better for Darius and Basil, should they all decide that the band was worth reviving. At some point Jodie snuck over and handed three cash envelopes to Mitch; he discreetly removed the contents from the one meant for him and divided it up between the other two. Already owing Jodie his life multiple times over, he didn’t need payment from her.
More matches came and went, most of which were the culmination of feuds that’d been building for several months. Sadly, Bad Moon Rising never made it past the semi-finals in the tag team tournament, but as a consolation Lucian had a match against Lagoon Goon since both Zevon and Sandy’s honor were at stake. It was scheduled prior to intermission, which was an important place on the card since the title matches would be taking place afterwards.
Goon came out first and received a mixed response, which was peculiar since they were normally over as a face. A change in the air weighed heavily, charged with an unfamiliar energy. Mitch braced himself for the boos and jeers while double bass pedal cued up over the speakers. Through the curtain charged an unsettlingly stoic Louis, his corpsepaint like something from a nightmare and his shoulder length black hair drenched. Desdemona introduced him to the crowd as “The Black Metal Beast, LUCIAN.”
“THAT’S MY FUCKIN’ GUY!” Mitch pointed and shouted from where he stood, popping the audience before applause broke out.
“This rules,” Darius leaned over and commented as Lucian circled the ring and stalked his prey like the wolf he was portraying. “Haven’t been to a wrestling show since I was a kid.”
“Loulou’s great,” Mitch beamed with pride. “And you should come out to shows! Bring the wife, make it a date.”
“I’ll talk to her.” Darius chuckled. “But if y’all ever need live music again, I’m in.”
“We’ll see what Jodie has to say later. It’d be great to incorporate, but y’know. The budget.” Mitch stopped talking once the bell rang, and slow claps broke out as the opponents circled one another. Lagoon Goon, not a small person by any means, was completely dwarfed by Lucian, as most of the people were. And while Louis was the most laid-back guy Mitch ever met, Lucian was a ruthless, cold-blooded monster, and quite difficult to prepare for a match against. Mitch was just glad that they were on the same side.
Though the origins of this match were entirely accidental, the end result was this incredible feud between two hosses, because sometimes things in wrestling just worked out. Zevon and Lagoon Goon had their fair share of matches, but this was Goon and Lucian’s first bout against one another. Lagoon Goon attempted to slow down the pace and utilized a much more technical moveset, similar to how they held their own against Yours Truly in the past, Mitch noted. But Lucian was hungry for vengeance and appeared rabid. Despite numerous attempts to take out his limbs, especially his legs, he shook them all off and proceeded to hoist Goon up in the air for powerbomb after powerbomb.
The most devastating blow was when he slammed Goon’s back against the ring apron and their limp body dropped to the wooden floor with a sickening thunk. Mitch cringed as the referee counted down and wondered how Arin fared under the mask, but the merciless onslaught continued. Lagoon Goon was lifted up once more and their head tucked under Lucian’s arm, only to fall back and have their skull driven into the floor for the nastiest DDT that Mitch ever witnessed in person. From where he stood, he heard the announcers declare that Lucian had snapped, and how the referee needed to call the match before Goon suffered permanent injuries.
As the massacre proceeded and everyone’s attention stayed on that, dry ice billowed from behind the entrance curtain. Mitch spotted it from across the room and wondered if one of the ghost characters were due to interfere, as was the modus operandi of the more malicious ones. However, the hair on the back of his neck stood up, and he couldn’t keep from staring in the direction of Gorilla position.
Then, something burst through the fog with the force of a cannonball and was in the ring before anyone could process it. Within seconds, the bell repeatedly rang and Lucian’s back hit the mat as someone that wasn’t Lagoon Goon assailed him.