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Grudge Match

By Bradley Sands

 

Note: This story is set about fifty years in the future.

Page 1 (three panels)

Panel 1

Establishing shot inside sports stadium.  A middle-aged man-- wearing a suit, expensive shoes covered in mud, and an obvious toupee--stands in the middle of a wrestling ring (complete with ropes), speaking into a microphone that is hanging from the ceiling.  A concrete floor surrounds the ring. 

The stands are filled with many spectators of different nationalities.  Their clothing is shiny, brightly colored, sporty, and futuristic looking.

 

Announcer

This match is for the Petroleum Championship of the World and is scheduled for one fall!

ANNOUNCER2

Introducing first, the challenger...

 

PANEL 2

Switch to a shrub with facial features walking down the aisle, wearing a robe (the back of it says "SHRUB"), and wielding a pair of pruning sheers in his outstretched green hands.  Fans around him are clapping, sneering, cheering, shouting angrily, throwing vegetables at him, etc.

 

ANNOUNCER (O.S.)

The myth, the legend, the contender voted most dangerous shrubbery alive by the British,  

 

ANNOUNCER3

The President of the United States!

 

Panel 3

Switch to a mustache (resembling Saddam Hussein's) walking down the opposite aisle.  The fans are doing similar things as in the last panel.

 

ANNOUNCER (O.S.)

And his opponent, the Sultan of Swagger, the guru of gore,

 

ANNOUNCER2

the President of Iraq!

 

PAGE 2 (five panels)

 

Panel 1

Long shot of the ring.  The mustache (the bottom of him  covered in mud) is jumping off the top rope towards the shrub.  A referee, a sentient scud missile dressed in a striped referee uniform is standing on the opposite side of the participants.  The shrub's hedge clippers are lying in he corner of the ring (on the opposite side of the ropes), next to a water bottle. 

Among the spectators, a few rows back, an old man--wearing a pair of worn, faded blue jeans--stands out in the crowd.  He is watching the match, looking mildly disgusted, as he is talking with the time traveler -- a twenty-something male, wearing shorts, a white T-shirt, a leather jacket, and a set of goggles on his forehead--- who sits next to the old man, looking at him.  In the row behind them, an American with a cowboy hat (drinking beer) and an Iraqi wearing a turban are sitting next to each other and watching the match. 

 

Old man

I remember the old days when presidential elections actually meant something.

 

Old man2

Voting for a genetically engineered shrub?  The voters think they're a bunch of stand-up comedians. 

 

Old man3

Don't blame me.  I voted for Nader.

 

Old man4

What do you think of this spectacle, son?

 

Panel 2

Pull in for a CU of old man looking at the travel, who is watching the match.  The American has dropped a cup of beer, and the liquid is falling near the traveler's head  

 

Traveler

It's all new to me.  I'm not exactly from around these parts.

 

Old man

Where you from?

 

TRAVELER2

The year 2003.  It was sort of dull and drab, with the war against Iraq and all, so I decided to see what was happening around hereabouts.

 

TRAVELER3

I built a time machine by following a list of instructions I bought on the internet for five bucks.

 

Panel 3

The traveler effortlessly dodges the spilled beer.  The cup has fallen to the ground.

 

traveler

You guys have a good thing going here.

 

traveler2

In my time, our President was bombing the hell out of Iraq to take Saddam Hussein out of power. He couldn't care less about the  innocent people that got in his way.

 

traveler3

This way seems a tad more civilized.  No one gets hurt, besides those that deserve it.

 

Old man

I forgot all about that.  So much as happened since then that it's become inconsequential.

 

Panel 4

Pull back a bit.  In the row behind the conversationalists, the American and Iraqi are engaged in a mock fight, wearing oversized red boxing gloves.  Big smiles are on both of their faces.

 

traveler

Remember?  A bunch of people seemed to think that the war was all about getting more sources for oil. 

 

traveler2

That Bush was just trying to make himself and other rich guys some bucks.

 

Traveler3

A lot of them were on the verge of knocking on death's door.  I never understood why they cared so much about getting richer.

 

Panel 5

Pull back to show the ring.  The traveler looks shocked.  The American and Iraqi are shaking hands.  The shrub is punching out the mustache with an extended fist. 

 

OLD MAN

WE FOUND OUT THE SOLUTION TO THAT A FEW YEARS LATER. 

 

OLD MAN2

THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER BECAME A RESPECTABLE NEWSPAPER WHEN THEY BROKE THE STORY.

 

Character3

They found out that the wealthy one percent were actually immortal, shape-shifting reptoid aliens.

 

OLD MAN4

Think about it.  NO AMOUNT OF MONEY IS TOO MUCH IF YOU can LIVE FOREVER.

 

Page 3 (four panels)

 

Panel 1

Long shot of a few young protesters running down the aisle towards the ring with their fists in the air.  They are holding up signs that says "NO MUD FOR OIL!", "CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS", and "FOR PEACE!  STOP THE MUD SLINGING!".  One protester (holding a sign) is addressing the crowd.  A few people in the crowd are taking their pictures. 

Inside the ring, both participants are covered in mud.  The mustache, with whiskers shaped as feet, has hit the shrub with a dropkick.  The referee is standing next to them.

 

Protester

I'M DOING THIS TO commemorate how the u.S. invasion of iraq was stopped by my father and his fellow protesters in 2004.

 

PANEL 2

Pull-in on the ring.  The shrub is down on the ground.  The mustache is standing above him while he smears mud in the shrub's face.  The protester (who spoke in the previous panel) is standing on the ring from the opposite side of the ropes, and has hit the referee on "the head" with his sign.

 

PANEL 3

The mustache has the shrub pinned on the mat and is slapping his hand on the ground as he looks at the referee, lying unconscious beside him, in confusion. 

Large, muscular security men are chasing the protesters away from the ring.  One of them stomps on a fallen sign as he runs after them.  A few protesters are still carrying their signs, but they aren't holding them above their heads, only carrying them as they flee.

 

Mustache

One, two, three.

 

Mustache2

C'mon ref!  Wake up!

 

Panel 4

The mustache has gotten off the shrub and is pouring water on the referee, using the water bottle that was lying in the corner of the ring.  The referee has woken up.  The shrub is starting to get himself up.

NO COPY

 

Page 4

 

Panel one

Medium shot of ring.  The shrub is holding the mustache tightly in his arms as he climbs the top rope.  The mustache is struggling to free himself. 

An angry male thirty-something is standing out of his seat in the front row, as he shouts, accidently spitting, and waving an American flag.  Next to him, a woman is sitting.  She is watching the match and trying to ignore him, although his spittle is hitting her in full force.

 

Man

I've read about proper wars in the history books, and this is an insult to the American way of life.

 

Woman

No one's listening. 

 

Man2

War used to be the most the greatest time in a soldier's life.

 

Man3

Thinking that every day might be you're last.  They had a heightened sense of living.

 

Man4

I regret that I wasn't alive back then.  I would've enlisted.

 

Panel 2

The shrub is jumping off the top rope with the mustache in his arms. They are headed toward the concrete floor outside the ring, in the direction of the man and woman.

 

Woman

Stop whining about it.  Why don't you just become a bomb DIFFUSER or something?

 

Panel 3

The shrub and mustache are both landing head first on the concrete, besides one another, right in front of the man and woman.  They look up startled. The referee is rushing out of the ring and towards them. 

 

Referee

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10

 

Panel 4

The shrub and mustache are each knocked out cold on the concrete.

 

Referee

11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20

 

Panel 5

Pull back a bit.  Shrub and mustache is still knocked cold and looking pathetic.  The referee stands next to them and is shouting.  The crowd looks disappointed.  The old man and traveler are giving a standing ovation.

 

Referee

Both competitors have been disqualified due to a twenty second count out.

 

Referee2

See you all next year.