Part Two: Things Get Worse
The Schmoedown degenerated quickly, but we were all too close to see it happening. That is, until it was too late. Kristian came to see me after the removal of JTE from the Patriots.
“Bibs,” said Harloff, “I need to talk to you.”
“Growl, growl,” I said, never out of character.
“Listen, I’m worried about this Dagnino thing. I’m nervous about exactly what he may be planning.”
Looking back, I wish I would have taken Kristian more seriously because he was the only one who was truly on track.
“I want you to face Sneider in his number one contender match. I think you are the one to save the Schmoedown.”
“Save the Schmoedown,” I joked. “That would make a great hashtag.”
Taking a deep, calming breath, Kristian continued, “Nonetheless, Dagnino and the Lion’s Den are a serious threat to the Schmoedown. Once he gets a taste of power…”
“Too late, Harloff.”
Tom Dagnino slithered into the room with Team Action, Ben Bateman and Andrew Ghai, following behind him closely.
“Your days of making decisions are thru,” said Dagnino.
“You’re an idiot,” said Harloff.
“Sorry, Beast, but I’ve already scheduled you for a match. Critically Acclaimed will be going against Team Action…so you are unavailable for a number one contenders match.”
Again, with hindsight, I shouldn’t have been so quick to accept this match. It would change my life forever.
“Growl, growl,” I said, looking at the smarmy Team Action. They were uncharacteristically quiet. It became clear immediately that Team Action knew there were bombshells left to detonate.
“I have scheduled you and your little buddy Ellis for your one-on-one match,” Dagnino boasted.
“We agreed to have a match if we reached 2500 patrons. We just reached 2100 yesterday,” said Kristian. “What’re trying to pull?”
“We’re at 2500,” said Dagnino. “You can check with Brianne if you don’t believe me.”
“That’s not possible,” said Kristian.
“I know some people down in San Diego… I reached out to them. And then I called Frank. Stallone. He owed me a favor.”
Kristian glared at Dagnino with a nervousness. He could feel there was more to this.
“And…since I am Commissioner during this match…I’m setting a stipulation to that match. Loser of that match will have to leave the Schmoedown for a year.”
“You can’t do that,” Kristian said.
“I believe I can. I remember it happening before,” said Dagnino
Dagnino’s bright used car salesman smile defined his position. He was in control and he knew it.
“OH, and Sneider will face Josh Macuga in that number one contender match and when Sneider wins, not only will he be number one contender, but I will be made the permanent commissioner.”
My blood ran cold.
Everything went downhill from there. Josh Macuga did his best, but someone had plied him with liquor, which only made him yell “Wildberries” more. Sneider won. Macuga sold some t-shirts. Dagnino became the official commissioner. Thadd Williams joined up with Dagnino as his personal lackey.
The Harloff-Ellis matchup did not take place. Both of the Schmoes refused to participate in the match and Dagnino suspended them both.
With Dagnino and Ken Napzok at the desk, Jeff Sneider became the new Schmoedown Movie Trivia Champion by defeating Samm Levine in a match that set the YouTube comment boards on fire. Cries of “fixed” were all over social media as the contest was anything but fair.
Dagnino did not care.
In my own match with Team Action, my partner Whitney Seibold no showed. I have not seen him since. I was forced into a handicap match. It had happened once before with Rachel Cushing and I felt for her then.
Unfortunately, I did not get to finish mine.
As I spun the wheel in round two, one of the slices from the wheel, Festival Darlings ironically, flew from the wheel and was embedded in my left eye (though I do look like a cool pirate with my new eye patch, growl, growl).
But worst of all, Dagnino started showing up less and less, and he was being replaced by….
To be continued:
Part Three: Rise of the Horsemen