A Nondescript Warehouse, Undisclosed Location. After Midnight.
T. GUYCOT, a mere caricature of a human, walks through the warehouse doors. He looks around the large open space as if looking for a friend, but he knows as well as anybody that there are no friends here. SAMUS approaches him, their helmet underneath their arm. They have two black eyes, both fresh.
Looking for someone?
I’m not sure. I don’t think I’m supposed to talk about it.
Good answer, kid. You been to SMASH! before?
Sets their helmet on the ground and fumbles with a coffee dispenser.
No. Tonight’s my first time.
Sips coffee for a beat.
Ahh. Well, a little advice, kid: don’t hold back. They’ll sense it. Give it all you’ve got.
SAMUS walks away without another word. T. GUYCOT takes another look around the room. Off in the distance, yelling and grunting can be heard. Sounds like bowling balls smacking a frozen pig carcass reverberate off the tin ceiling and steel beams.
A figure approaches T. GUYCOT from the side, fast as lightning, and taps T. GUYCOT on the shoulder. Enter CAPTAIN FALCON.
You made it.
Yeah, looks like it.
Drinks coffee from a Styrofoam cup, he speaks, but does so absentmindedly. His thoughts are elsewhere.
T. GUYCOT’S THOUGHTS
Where else would I be? New year, new mii, right? I’m sick and goddamn tired of not having control over my life. My existence is bubblegum. If I have to bowl one more frame, I’m going to lose it. That’s why I’m here: to lose it here, so I don’t lose it there—at the Wii Resort. With those shapeless-mindless-boring-caviar-eating fucks. They think they’re alive? Always throwing parties in their little Miitopia. They don’t know the half of it. They don’t know mii.
Hope you’re ready. New players always fight on their first night of SMASH! It’s a rule.
Finishes coffee and tosses the cup to the floor.
Warehouse Interior, Near the Fighting Ring
T. GUYCOT and CAPTAIN FALCON wade through a crowd. T. GUYCOT recognizes co-workers and members of the community. He locks eyes with countless acquaintances, realizing they’ve been a part of this all along. The bruises. The stitches. The black eyes. It all comes together in his mind.
Alright, let’s do this! It’s time to show me your moves!
Punches the air rapidly.
MARIO saunters to the center of the ring. He appears as T. GUYCOT has never seen him before: MARIO’S bare, hairy barrel-chest sticks out from under his overalls. The straps hang loose at his sides. He is not wearing his boots. He wears a red hat, but his iconic ‘M’ has been ripped from it. His mustache is encrusted with blood. Wads of toilet paper are shoved into his nostrils. CAPTAIN FALCON approaches the ring with T. GUYCOT.
A challenger approaches.
Wags a finger at CAPTAIN FALCON.
He’ll fight me tonight. Tonight, he is not a shapeless character with no control over his life. Just as I am not a plumber. We toss all of that aside. Let’s-a-go!
T. GUYCOT feints MARIO’S punch. MARIO steps back, jumps once-twice-three-times.
Here we go! Wah-wah-ya-HOO!
Ducks and blocks MARIO’S kicks. Charges with a vicious knee attack. An onslaught of blows. Flames rise from MARIO’S hand as the lights fade to black.
Outside the Front Doors of Nondescript Warehouse, Undisclosed Location. Night.
T. GUYCOT stands with the help of CAPTAIN FALCON, battered and bruised. They are doused in dim light from a single overhead light bulb.
Not bad for a first timer. He doesn’t challenge everyone, you know. He chose you. That says something.
Blows a gob of bloody snot from his nose.
No need to be glib. You know who we work for.
Enter MARIO from the warehouse doors. He lights a joint.
For the pain.
Takes a drag, and then offers the joint to T. GUYCOT.
Not from the fight, but for what I am. The materialism I represent. Because in there, I’m not who they want me to be. Who they need me to be. None of us are. No advertising. No directs. In there, advertising can’t touch us. Samus doesn’t wear their helmet. Captain Falcon doesn’t wear his mask. I don’t wear my hat. We are us, nothing more—and after tonight, you are too.
T. GUYCOT’S THOUGHTS
That’s where he’s wrong. I’ve never been a part of the brotherhood. The bros. Not truly, at least. Their melees and brawls. I’ve never needed them and I don’t belong. This project of theirs. This mayhem—no. Not my problem if they can’t cope. I don’t have to listen to the voice in my head.
Michael Bettendorf’s fiction has appeared in The Weird Reader, The Mark Literary Review, Brave Voices Magazine, Reckon Review, and elsewhere. Michael lives in Lincoln where he tries to convince the world that Nebraska is too strange to be a flyover state.