The Highlight Reel
"Welcome all my Jerico-holics to a very special episode of "The Highlight Reel". My guest tonight owes all of you an explanation. Please welcome Eric Hardy!"
"What the fuck is going on?" Eric spit a Pepsi across the hallway, looking suspiciously at anyone and everyone. "I thought I was..."
"Jericho asked for the interview." Brisco responded "You're friends; come on, what the worst that can happen?"
"Honest answer? You don't want to know." Eric stormed through the curtain.
Chris stood in the middle of the ring. He was nervously adjusting his leather pants, hoping his anxiousness wasn't apparent.
"So, Hardy, welcome to the Highlight Reel." Chris stuck a microphone in Eric's face.
"Thanks, Chris, even though I'm not sure why i'm here."
"As I said, you owe us an explanation for what you did last week. Roll the footage."
Eric watched a recap from the previous week's show and even he was shocked. Not by his actions, but by how savage he looked while doing it. Once the clip finished, Chris stuck the mic back in Eric's face.
"Are you waiting for something?" Eric demanded
"I think you owe me, the guys in the back, and these fans..."
Eric suddenly grabbed the mic from Chris' hand with one arm and pushed him aside with the other.
"I don't know what you people think you're entitled to, but that's not why I'm here tonight. I'm here for one reason: closure. What happened last week, while regrettable, was long overdue. I'm not going to apologize for, or even try to, justify my actions to these fans, anyone in the back, or especially you."
"You said you came back for closure. Sounds like you're just making excuses." Chris took back the mic.
"What the hell would you know about it anyway? My husband is still in a coma right now thanks to a group of punks."
"A lot more than you might realize." Chris didn't know the extent of Eric's knowledge and to him just then, it really didn't matter. "I know that you, Adam, and Jeff got involed in a situation that none of you had any right to. If you'd just left it alone, Jeff would be in this ring, competing, and not flat on his back. Although I'm sure that's not an uncommon position for him."
"You bastard!" Eric mouthed, a little confused by Chris' outburst. Was this supposed to happen?
"What the hell were we supposed to do... let Randy get abused any further? That's not my way and you know it!"
"Let's talk about Randy, shall we? Do you know why the Legend Killer was in that position to begin with? For God's sake, the assclown is married! Why is he trying to pick up girls at a bar to begin with?"
"How the hell do you know what happened?" Eric's eyes narrowed into slits.
"I have an intimate connection to your activities. At least I did until you killed him!"
"I don't know with whom you've been talking, but do you honestly think I'm the kind of person who goes around killing people?" Eric understood. He'd been set up. Now he had to some quick thinking and even faster talking. "A guy gets stabbed in a seedy bar and you immediately jump on me. Chris, I thought we were on the same team."
"We were never on the same team." Chris reached into his waistband and pulled out a .357. "My brother is dead and you killed him."
Wide-eyed, Eric tried to conceal the acute terror that started to take hold. "Chris, put that away and we'll discuss this rationally. Maybe I can explain this..."
"You didn't give Mike a chance to explain!" Chris waved the gun around "On your knees!"
"Is this part of the script?" An antsy Vince McMahon asked anyone who would listen.
"I don't think so, Mr. Mac-Mann." In times of stress, Brisco's drawl became more pronounced.
"Get the police on the phone! And get ready to kill the lights!"
"This is Vince McMahon. I have a situation..."
Eric knelt in front of Chris, who placed the barrel against his forehead.
"So what happens next? After you're done with me, then what? You gonna go after Adam, and Jeff, and Randy? We didn't cause this!"
"No, Eric. I don't really care about the others or even that Silvio guy you paid to take the fall. You killed my brother and for that, I'm gonna kill you... any last words?"
"Lose those lights, now!" Vince yelled
The arena was suddenly plunged into total blackness. Those near ringside to make out two shapes fighting in the middle of the ring. Then a loud bang, a flash of light, and one of the figures fell to the mat.
When the lights did come back on, Jericho stood alone in the centre of the mat, the still-smoking gun pointed at Eric's prone form. He'd been shot point-blank in the stomach.
"That's what I do to people who take something from me... what!"
With one of his last breaths, Eric motioned for Chris to come closer.
"Jericho... I got two words for ya."
The arena was so deathly silent that Eric didn't need a mic to be heard.
"Let me guess... suck it?"
"I'm sorry..." Eric gasped and died.
Jeff suddenly sat up. "Eric!" he screamed
There came sounds of running outside his door and it flung open.
"What's wrong Jeffro? Have a bad dream?"
"Mm-hm." Jeff cuddled his rabbit tighter, hoping the stuffed animal could chase the nightmare away.
"You know I'll always be here to protect you."
"I know... it was just too scary."
"Want me to make some sketti? Maybe that will make you feel better?"
Jeff nodded, still anxiously looking around the room as if expecting the Boogeyman to jump out from some unknown hiding place.
"You know, Jeff, if you're gonna have nightmares like this, we're not gonna have an all-night Crow marathon ever again."
"Okay..." Jeff sighed
"Just out of curiosity, were you dreaming about Brandon Lee or that new guy?"
"You screamed 'Eric'!"
"Oh..." Jeff blushed "It's a long dream, Matty."
"Come on, you can tell me about it while I make the sketti."
The Hardy brothers went downstairs to make a very late dinner,
"You know, Jeff, sometimes I wonder about you..." Matt held his still-shaken brother tight.
Over dinner, Jeff relayed his nightmare to his brother, leaving out some of the graphic sex. He had a hard time explaining why he was dreaming about guys doing it with other guys to himself. Trying to do that to Matt was just out of the question.
"...and then Jericho shot him." Jeff finished his story at the same time he finished his pasta.
"Man, little bro, that's quite a dream. If I didn't know any better, I'd say you have a crush on this Eric guy. You've dreamed about him for the last week."
"Have not!" Jeff pouted
"I'm just down the hall. I've heard you calling out his name more than once." Matt looked curiously across the table.
"Is there more sketti?" Jeff tried to change the subject.
"Well, I declare. I think my little bro is smitten!" Matt smiled
"Come on, Jeff. There's nothing wrong with it. It's 2009, after all, not the Dark Ages!"
Jeff looked at his plate, not saying anything. Finally, he raised his eyes to his brother and Matt could see the emotion in them.
"Matty, don't tell him... pleeeeeeeease!"
"Have I even broken a promise to you?" Matt replied, gathering the dishes. "Now, hurry up and get ready. We gotta plane to catch."
"Yeah. You're in the main event."
"Yeah, I know. I get your crush in a no holds barred match. I wonder who he slept with to get a title match in his first week."
"It wasn't me!" Jeff protested
"Did I say anything? I swear Jeff, let it go!"
To their surprise, Matt and Jeff ran into Eric at the airport.
"Hey, Eric." Matt greeted him. Jeff went into spaced mode.
"Ready for our match?"
"If you are."
"I don't know what you've been told, but this is a new thing for me. I'm usually not into street fights."
"Don't worry. I'll walk you through it."
"Cool. Whassup, Jeff? Cat got your tongue?" Eric looked over at Jeff, who'd been too busy drooling over the tall, muscular, hunk.
"Just a lot on his mind." Matt replied, lightly backhanding his brother out of his trance.
"Cool. Same flight?"
"We can discuss our match then." Eric grabbed his duffel bag.
"Alright. This is gonna be the start of something special... I can feel it!" Eric smiled
If they only knew...
Well, there you have it, folks... I hope it meets with your approval... I'd like to thank the Academy for.. sorry, wrong speech. If you liked this, let me know and I'll write more featuring Team Extreme... If not, I have some other ideas floating around in the emptiness inside my head.
I'd also like to thank my brother for the encouragement to continue writing when everything else was falling apart around me! Thanks Joe!
And lastly, to all my fans in the Imagi-nation... Live 4 The Moment!