Suggested Audio Jukebox
 Lou Reed “Perfect Day”
 Gil Scott-Heron “War Is Very Ugly”
 Foster The People “Pumped Up Kicks”
 Death in Vegas “Hands Around My Throat”
 Bon Jovi “Blaze Of Glory”
 Alice In Chains “Them Bones”
 Michael Jackson “Beat It (Instrumental)”
 Porcupine Tree “Arriving Somewhere But Not Here”
Is it that time already? Wowzers, I can’t believe it has actually come to this. Over the past few hours I have been required to fight tooth and nail for this opportunity, the chance to face my ultimate nemesis in a bruising battle to the very death. The odds seem a little unfairly stacked if I’m honest as The Grim Reaper is already there. Indeed, it must have been some time since he last felt satin against his skin or flinched after popping that persistent pimple on the particularly painful spot just beneath his nostril crease. His bare bones are devoid of feeling, his cold framework lacking any form of humanity, and his eyes blackened trenches which offer little in the way of hope and/or encouragement. The bottom line is this folks, that death fellow is a wrong ‘un. Not that I’m claiming to be some kind of right ‘un or anything preposterous like that but I do possess a working soul that I didn’t have to procure via a shady hand of poker. He has been loitering with intent for far too long now and I can no longer turn a blind eye to his treachery. One way or another, this ends tonight. Whether suffocating six feet deep or standing on the shoulders of giants come the conclusion, I will have given as good an account of myself as I possibly can and that is all that a wrangler can possibly ask of himself.
While not looking to guzzle from my own gonads, I would say that I’ve earned my place in the hall of heroes I find myself currently residing. There are framed pictures of all manner of the reaper’s success stories plastered up and down the walls – Boadicea, Attila The Hun, Hitler, and Margaret Thatcher to name but a handful of the scallywags who have formerly come and passed. Each has been culpable of atrocities which have strengthened their standing in hell but none of them faze me after what I have been forced to endure en route to my fated showdown with the prince of blackest darkness. Blood has been spilled, some of which has come from my own reserves, and I have felt an entire rainbow of emotion as I’ve taken each tentative step towards my ultimate goal. That said, while all five of my senses have received a thorough workout, it’s the sixth that has seen me through the worst of it. I know full well that a certain someone will be looking to take full credit for this bonus perception but he can take a running jump over the cliff to my left if he thinks he’s getting his paws on the trophy.
I have to be completely honest, Bonus Brain has been fairy invaluable to me during my ding-dong battles and I’m unsure as to whether I’d be stood here now had it not been for his infrequent and sardonically delivered nuggets of wisdom. The problem is, he is something of a loose cannon and cantankerous to the innermost core. I’ve lost count of the number of times when I have desired to cut him loose but I’m under no illusion that, had he not intervened, I wouldn’t have made it past death’s entourage and would likely be worm-meal by this point. Thus I consider Bonus Brain a necessary evil. Regrettably, since offering priceless intelligence on how to dispose of an unthinkable number of “beliebers” it all appears to have gone to his head. While I have prepared for the big fight like any prize-fighter would, he has been lounging around in his jammies pulling his plonker to YouPorn and spilling his cerebral extracts without once considering my current precarious placement. To add insult to injury he farts like a pensioner, a fact made all the more mortifying by his liking for roughage. If the eyes are the window to the soul then I’m reasonably assured where the rear patio leads as I’ve spent the last three hours attempting in vain to fumigate my cranium.
In a perfect world I’d inform him where to put his dumb ideas but it’s those ludicrous suggestions which have spared my blushes so I reluctantly tow his line…for now. Right now he’s on his fourth can of Rolling Rock and belching like a Pointer Sister so I’m leaving him well alone. You see, he has a tendency to run off at the mouth after his third and I have more pressing concerns than learning of his exploits in the Falklands or his penchant for the Olsen twins. I enter this pre-destined skirmish with no misconceptions as it is going to be a titanic battle and I fully expect to take some knocks from such a formidable opponent. To quote the good book, John 14:6: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. Alternatively, in the scripture according to Ash 66:6: “Buckle up Bonehead ’cause you’re goin’ for a ride!” I know the good book has shifted some units but I think I prefer the latter y’know. Inspiration has been critical thus far in remaining one step ahead of that menacing scythe and I’ll take whatever acumen I can lay my hands on going forward. If tonight is my time to perish, then I shall do so with chest puffed out to capacity and pecker at full mast dagnabbit.
Okay so I guess it would be wise to take stock of my current surroundings prior to the big fight. The deep red dawn above me bleeds ominously into the landscape and I’m under no illusions as to the booby prize should I fail to overcome my adversary. An eternity of molten torment for my worries, not what you’d call particularly inviting although I admittedly adore buffalo wings, skinless preferably but I’m not choosy. Oh and hot! Extra hot! On the downside I will likely be stripped of my flesh and dangling upside-down over a stream of smelted sinners but I have a responsibility to the Grueheads to lead them safely forth into a new day and this ossified fuck cannot be allowed to throw his weight around for a moment longer. It’s game time and I’m wearing the corresponding face so he can’t accuse the Brutal Word Wrangler of being ill-prepared. Actually I was a pretty lousy boy scout by all accounts and was banished from the troop after seeing red and charging at my antagonist like a bull in a china shop. But that’s by the bye now as this is my one shot at redemption. Pounding dozens upon dozens of scaled-down Biebers into oblivion was as much holler as hoot but this time it’s full-scale war.
Anyhoots, I can stand around deliberating all day but this battle ain’t going to win itself. The last time I checked, two are required to tango and we’re currently one short on that tally. Could it be that The Grim Reaper, fearsome gatekeeper of hell’s inner sanctum, is actually nothing more than a yellow-bellied milksop? Surely not, skeletons love nothing more than a good grapple, unless my great-uncle Sinbad just fell in with the wrong crowd. He’ll show his gaunt face, of that I have no doubt, and I have no idea what skulduggery he has planned for our face-off as he plays his cards so close to his rib cage. Mental arithmetic has had a run-out before now and I wouldn’t put it past him laying on some kind of brain-teaser to keep me on my toes.
That said, I’d expect no less than us eventually coming to blows as he likes to think himself handy with that elongated sickle of his and it has claimed so many scalps over the years that it has even grown its own eyebrows. As I once remarked, “I’m a lover, no fighter, a lovable blighter”. Choose to read on however and I continued with “but inside lies a ravenous beast”. That’s the very brute that I’m looking to summon tonight. He’s kind of bashful and ordinarily insists on the blood of nubile virgins to stir from his perpetual slumber but, after much persuasion and an all-over massage complete with happy ending, said beast has agreed to play ball for one night only. Can I get a yeehaw? Okay then, what about a rousing thigh slap? Anything? Jeez you’re a tough audience. Guys?.. Guys?
To be quite frank, I could do without all this eerie silence, as it’s far less leisurely when you fully expect it to be broken at any given moment. I believe it is referred to as the calm before the storm and the clouds currently stationed above my head look positively set to burst so it shouldn’t be long before the inevitable downpour. So what should I do to pass the time I wonder. Masturbation would customarily be top of the roster but, having once suffered a paper cut to my scrote, I don’t fancy being caught with my pants down solitary walnut out my zipper. If Bonus Brain wasn’t such a recluse, then a quick round of Uno would go down a treat right now. However, he is far too predisposed with MacGyver to partake in an act so frivolous and I can’t expect anything less from him than absolute ignorance so I think I’ll just engage in a spot of daydreaming as is customary at times like these.
Thank the heavens above and all that is holy and pure for imagination. Without it, I’d be little more than an accountant and would never have been introduced to the Debooks. These impish fiends prowl the darkest recesses of my subconscious, feasting on fear and quenching from my font of consternation. Sounds ominous right? And indeed they are but I’ve grown rather accustomed to their visitation and they provide no end of battle training to keep me in tip-top shape for unforeseen showdowns and the like. Given that this landscape is of my own construction, there is a liberal sprinkling of fluffy bunnies and tree-hugging squirrels also. But the Debooks are too fast for flat-footed wildlife and I once watched on as one kindly bunny was torn asunder right beneath my nose and used as rectal floss. Hearts can be broken and flowers trampled down, but the sun still shines across my mind’s lush vista daily and, unlike those dense clouds of woe, doesn’t see fit to throw its weight around or bid for constant attention. Speaking of which, suddenly the breeze appears to have picked up considerably.
Just as I had been half-expecting, the old customary mind games are afoot and an athlete’s one at that. How terribly unoriginal of death, far too afraid to show his skeletal face, he can only suggest his presence through whispering prose around my ears. This would be an ideal time for a quip methinks.
“Found a nice safe distance have you death? How much did that shot cost ya?”
I’m actually somewhat amused by his gutless antics. Not a solitary peep or its twice-removed half-cousin. Perhaps I hurt his ickle feelings? Or maybe he suffers from irritable bowel syndrome and got caught short just before stepping in through the ropes. I hope not as Bonus Brain just let out a succession of surplus methane and both nostrils are presently ablaze with the smell of colonic excess so I’m not entirely sure I can stomach a second stream right now. I’m a mere pussy fart from comatose and, should any one of those seven deadly sinners have survived their collective dismantling, then I could be in bona fide hot water here. I shall have to remember what to thrust and what to sheath as any mix-ups could be positively cataclysmic and my testicles are beginning to resemble a pair of Farmer Dingle’s multiple prize-winning pumpkins. I’d love to know what he uses as fertilizer y’know.
“Don’t you ever wear yourself out wrangler?”
Is that a trick question?
Quietude once again. I spin around to survey my surroundings further and jolt as he has apparently been standing behind me the whole time, scythe gripped and icy halitosis forming in vapor clouds nestling the seat of my collar. That’s actually rather a cool trick and I should have anticipated no less than the very finest in ventriloquist skills from one harboring Heureux in his ranks.
“Brutal huh? You spleenless little snot bubble, you really have no conception of who you are dealing with here do you?”
Predictably, his opening taunt is delivered with all the whininess of Skeletor after a hard night’s bender on the opiates. Resisting the urge to unleash my battle cat and give its fur a stroke, my rejoinder is quicker than an A-Z of respectable Uwe Boll movies.
“I am fully aware of you death but have you been doing your homework on the wrangler? That’s what I wish to know”
Just as I thought, this incites a fast-crashing wave of belly laughter and I instantly remember that he has had front row seats at each of my previous bouts.
“Duh!.. What do you think?”
Balls. Does that mean it’s Reaper 1 Wrangler 0? I double damn well hope not, I have endured enough heckling tonight to see me through until Fast & Furious 12 is announced and could do with a dash of TLC to break up the foreboding some. Of course, chances of that are slimmer than the reaper’s forearm both before and after a marathon wank. Remember that storm I spoke about a couple of stanzas back? Ready with those brollies? I knew I should have brought along my Pac-a-Mac. Frantically attempting to claw back some respectability and endure death’s century-old gingivitis, I remind him that each combatant he has thrown my way has met with their demise, apart from Statler & Waldorf who I’m hopeful have already perished through natural causes.
“Oh! How terrifying. You beat up on Justin Bieber. I’m quaking in my orthopedic plimsolls”
Trust him to adjust his zoom to that, could he not have mentioned my lengthy melee with the seven deadly sins or the titanic tussle I endured against my greatest personal demon, Monsieur Heureux? Fuck a duck in the ass capsule and make it gnarled, I fought a beast with eighty knees and came away with barely a blemish on my cuirass. But no, it all comes back to that irksome little knob rattle. He really knows how to grind my spices with that pestle and mortar of his. Must uphold my face of braveness, I cannot let him see that he has me ruffled or he’ll take full advantage.
“Nothing you have faced could prepare you for this, my ultimate challenge. I shall not be pulling the strings from afar on this occasion wrangler. This is one on one, mano a mano, a bruising battle to the bloody death with absolutely no comebacks or tap-outs”
Something tells me these words are as hollow as his blackened soul and I fully expect the goalposts to be moved and all manner of banana skins tossed about with gay abandon once we get underway but I shall take him on his questionable word, albeit reluctantly.
“Have at you reaper”
“But you’re not wielding a weapon, at least nothing which would inconvenience a hardened warrior. I couldn’t possibly let you continue without first providing a weapon of choice. Whatever made you think I wouldn’t provide you a fair fight? Tsk tsk wrangler, you really are far too presumptuous”
Do I entertain him, even though I already know he’s setting me up for a fall? You’re darn tooting I do, always the optimist me. I believe gullible is another word for it.
“Okay then, whatcha got for me?”
“Behind you are three containers and you are free to open one of your choice and help yourself to its wares”
How tender-hearted of him, maybe I’ve gotten The Grim Reaper all wrong after all. Heaven forbid maybe we could become drinking buddies after all of this has blown over. Then he reels off the alternatives and I remember I must get my clown shoes reheeled at the first available opportunity.
“In one you will find a ham and cheese baguette, too days past its best-by date and suitably crusty…”
Fan-bleeding-tastic, a weapon I can nibble on should I get peckish mid-conflict.
“In another is a pair of safety scissors and a protractor”
Unholy cowpats, he’s really laying on the goodies for me this time. Whatever next…perhaps a praline flamethrower or blow-up dartboard?
“In the final casket is the most desirable of the three…a fully-fueled chainsaw complete with topped-up Jerry can”
That’s bingo folks. Unless I’m woefully mistaken, we have achieved pay-dirt. I’ll simply opt for the receptacle which closest resembles the shape of a chainsaw and be quids in. Spinning 180 to assess my options, one of the coffers stands out like a grazed knee. Bonus Brain would no doubt have something to say about this but I’m buggered if I’m leaving such an important decision up to him. It has been decades since I last wore a diaper and the time has come to christen these big boy pants dagnabbit. After a moment or two of pensive chin stroking, I come to my conclusion and stride forward purposely. ‘Tis the one in the middle clearly so I lift the lid without a solitary second thought.
A number of words then shoot through my cerebellum, all of which are a darn sight stronger than fiddlesticks. He’s only gone and bamboozled me, before me lays a harmless looking sun-baked French loaf and he lied about the ham & cheese also. Minge licking bastard. However, I need to do my very best impression of nonchalance even though fully aware he isn’t buying my teetering swagger for a nanosecond.
“I accept your terms reaper”
“Then let us commence our little soirée. Shall we dance wrangler?”
“I’d be delighted reaper”
Allow me to inform you of just a few things I’d be delighted by right now. I’d be delighted if he disappeared in a puff of rancid smoke and was replaced by Molly Ringwald clutching a handheld rotary whisk. I’d also be similarly overjoyed by a blow-up doll named Iris with working orifices. And I’d be simply cock-a-hoop over a Swiss Army penis attachment that allowed me to open brewskis after a hard night on the vinegar stroke. Square dancing with a bag of bones most unlovely was never likely to make my top three and he damn well knows such. Nevertheless, the crowd paid to see a scuffle, and it would be most ungracious of me not to supply them one. Death comes to us all, that much is a bitter-tasting given, and you can only outrun it for so long. I just wish he’d come back at a later date as I’ve grown rather accustomed to breathable air and, from what I hear on the poisoned grapevine, it can get a tad stuffy down there in purgatory and my Factor 50 isn’t likely to cut the mustard.
Before this epic skirmish commences, I must take a second to refocus. You see, the whole stale baguette stymie has subtracted a fair share of the wind from my sails and, combined with territorial advantage, and the fact that a six-foot sickle beats a baker’s offshoots any day of the calendar month, I’d say I’m fighting the tide here. Moses may be something of a dab-hand at parting seas, but I’d sink in a bath tub and forgot to pack my inflatables prior to engagement. What I’m banking on here is good-old fashioned wrangler resolve and a dash of blind faith for good measure. It just so happens, belief is something that I now possess in abundance. It was my destiny to make it this far, somebody up there has evidently taken a liking to me, and I refuse to accept that my journey is destined to end here. When I die, and I’m under no illusion that the sand worms will get their snack in their end, I wish for it to be suitably serene and uplifting. That said, Jon Bon Jovi once taught me of another way to bow out, and his way was admittedly catchy. It worked for the Young Guns right? Actually, I have a sneaking suspicion that most of them were shot to ribbons but it was one helluva gunfight.
Time for that all-important square up. Given that battles are traditionally won in the mind first and foremost, this is a pivotal moment in our duel and could well set the tone for the caustic carnage that follows. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t rattled right now as it’s not every day that you are forced to stare death right in his cavernous peepers and the stakes couldn’t be any higher if we threw in a ten buck side bet just to spice things up further. Some nearly men boast of spotting a bright white light as they toss-up whether to make their following breath final but there are no halogens here in this infernal palace, just perpetual darkness and the aroma of decaying carcasses a mile or so beneath the topsoil. I shall need to implement every last trick I have learned up until now to see dawn’s early light or damn well die trying. That said, while William Wallace died a hero, I hear it still took half a dozen ax swipes to remove his stubborn top box. As long as he severs the nerve endings nice and promptly, I’ll take that kind of fate for the team. I just ask that you build a shrine in my honor, nothing fancy, a pile of rocks will suffice and perhaps a quaint water feature. But no gnomes. Absolutely no gnomes. I hear they’re inherently evil.
Reaper’s turn. He floats like a butterfly directly into my most personal of space and materializes all up in my grill, his foul morning breath almost knocking me back on my heels in the process. Maybe now would be the time for a dash of gentle ribbing.
“I have the number for a glorious Swedish dental hygienist who could clear that up for you”
None too shabby for an on-the-spot quip and supplied without any help from Bonus Brain I hasten to add.
“Get used to it cretin as I fully intend on spending the remainder of eternity licking the skin from your sorry skull-cap anyhoots”
How dare he utter the word “anyhoots” right in my face. That’s mine dagnabbit! Suitably incensed, I hoist my baguette high above my head and bring it down onto his exposed shoulder-blade. Needless to say, it shatters on impact, the baguette not the shoulder, sending mayonnaise everywhere and I particularly despise mayo.
“Ouch. Please spare me oh mighty wrangler. I don’t know that I can take another baker’s blow”
Sanctimonious swine, how very dare he mock me this way after how far I’ve come and all the hardships I’ve endured en route. I am the Brutal Word Wrangler, he cannot piss down my geraniums in such a way. I simply will not allow such. Nay I shall rip the spleen from his very scaffolding and jam it deep into his bony rectum for his insolence. Sarcasm is a particular bugbear of mine, particularly when delivered without the requisite kindness. However, I shall not stoop to his lowly level or reveal that he has me swaying like a teenage girl at a One Direction concert.
“This ends now arch-fiend”
I’ve always wanted to say that in a one-to-one and pause to reflect smugly, by which time death has delivered a telling strike of his own. His scythe clatters into my rib cage, doing a seven ten split on my abdomen and instantly I feel my small intestine begin to unravel. Frantically I attempt to seal the wound the only way available, by cramming the broken off business end of my battle baguette into the freshly formed cavity and stopping the rot, at least momentarily.
“How wonderfully resourceful wrangler…”
He appears genuinely impressed by my resourcefulness for a moment but it doesn’t last long.
“Tell you what, I’ve just baked a couple of poppy-seed bagels which would look delightful in your peeper sockets after I gouge both out your eyeballs”
Now, correct me if I’m wrong but I’m fairly sure that was fighting talk from the reaper. The gloves are evidently off now and here comes the haymaker.
“Then I shall proceed to sip Sangria from your hollowed skull and use your femur as a stirring device”
I fear that makes it Reaper 2 Wrangler 0 and he appears to be opening up an unassailable lead so I shall need every last frosty stalagmite from hereon in if I have any hope whatsoever of sitting down for my morning muesli. My heart may currently be heavy but the soul is still under my jurisdiction and I won’t give up ownership without a hefty wedge of rough and tumble. Who needs Bonus Brain when you’ve got Theodore Rumpleton and Brendan “Knuckles” O’Malley, otherwise known as the Fisticuff Brothers, and are not afraid to call them into the fray. I take my new-found strength and use it to reach into his cavernous chest with my one free hand, breaking a complete section of his rib cage in the process. My opposite number recoils in visible agony and, for the first time since this taxing encounter began, I sense victory may be drawing close.
“You are yesterday’s news reaper and tomorrow’s litter tray furnishings. The Brutal Word Wrangler is in town now and there ain’t a punk on this earth lucky enough to halt my march to Havana”
Well massage my mumps and pour me a stem of Bollinger plus umbrella, that sounded distinctly Dirty Harry-esque and it has suddenly become crystal clear that Bonus Brain isn’t necessary in laying the beat down here.
“By the power of Greyskull”
I just couldn’t resist throwing that one in. Alas, I have momentarily removed my eye from the ultimate prize, thus leaving myself wide open like a tweaking crack whore in the back seat of a station wagon for the inevitable sucker punch. It lands as forecast, severing my left leg from the calf down and sending me careering to the ground. Have you ever misplaced a limb? I wouldn’t recommend it y’know. I once landed awkwardly on a seesaw and managed to smush my left nut and that one brought tears to my eyes. However, dismemberment trumps that shit hands down and that is precisely where I’m headed as my balance, which is questionable at the best of times, is compromised in the cruelest manner imaginable. On the plus side, at least there is no strategically placed dog shit down there. Been there and done that already.
“Foolish human, is that Skeletor enough for you?”
I have to hand it to the reaper, he certainly has some game. Moreover, he appears to be on the incline again and I instantaneously regret any cockiness on my part. Maybe I have been too harsh on Bonus Brain after all, I mean, it’s not as though he asked for the gig in the first place and he has never let me down previously. It’s amazing what a sawn-off shin will do to one’s powers of reflection. Mercifully he has been following my inner monologue and appears to have something to impart after all. Please make it nice and inflammatory.
“Face it wrangler, you need me more than I need you”
Guess I had that one coming. I can forgive Bonus Brain for his thorny outburst as, once again, I have discounted his expertise in the field and, once again, I come to him with jockeys at my ankles and death’s spindly digit poised to prune my rectal shrubbery.
“If you want my help this time I’m afraid I’m gonna have to ask you to grovel like a shrew”
Time is at a premium so I agree to his terms and await his words of wisdom. He could bloody well hurry up as right now the reaper has his sickle raised above me and it looks like its trajectory leads straight to my barnet.
“Please Bonus Brain, I’m desperate here”
“A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones. Proverbs 14:30”
That’s it? That’s the sum of his logic? A mystifying quote from a novel written thousands of years ago. Granted, the bible has shifted some units, but I’d have preferred a passage from The Idiots Guide To Defeating Far Stronger Opponents to some whimsical excerpt from the good book right now. Think wrangler think. You know what, I think I just sussed it. Typical Bonus Brain, always looking to me for any legwork, even when I’m one pin down on my usual tally. Unless I’m reading this wrong, I will be required to clear my mind of any panic, accept my fate, and make death green with envy in the process. Just when I consider my apprentice beyond contemptible, he comes out with a doozy and saves the day. As much as it pains me to say this, I love the little fella. We all have our nuances but it is understanding these distinctions which yields the most resplendent results. I must make the reaper jealous and there’s only one way I know how to achieve that. Now where is that pesky lute?
Curses, it has dropped several yards from my position and it will take one almighty final push to reclaim it before the scythe falls once more. Summoning every last drop of bottled stamina in my mental brewery, I commence my mercy crawl. It goes without saying that death soon puts two and toe together and strides across my weary shell to beat me to the all-important punch. However, there’s much to be said for adrenaline, and even more to be said for die-hard resolve and sheer bloody-mindedness when facing certain doom. Combined, they enable me to reach like an inflatable flailing arm tube man and snatch the instrument from right beneath his nasal cavity. A quick glance at the scoreboard confirms it as Reaper 2 Wrangler 1.
Fuck off Grim Reaper and Die While You’re At It
So it all comes to this we have reached the abyss
very soon either you or I perish
you may think me a shoe-in for perpetual ruin
but I won’t accept fate so nightmarish
See I’m not scared of you not a thing that you do
can convince me you’re this suitor’s keeper
never destined to win as you ain’t got no skin
you’re a joke and a bum to boot reaper
Throw at wrangler your best as I’ll rise to each test
and come back bonus primed to destroy you
and failing all that I’ll just wail like a cat
which I’m sure over time will annoy you
I know not defeat as my skill set’s complete
plus I’ve trained for this day without falter
thus I’ll hand you your hide like your laces are tied
guilt-free pleasure I’ll glean from your slaughter
You’ve been far too presumptuous and I tire of rambunctious
so it’s time that the dividend’s paid
now consider this drubbing as a dash of tough loving
as I’m not beyond granting fair trade
Don’t think to boycott as you rot in your plot
as these ears are as deaf as a post
I knew you would whinge so declined that syringe
go ahead now and try that utmost
It will all end in tears can you not hear the jeers
no one dreads death’s cold grip any longer
as you may have some game but I’ll still see you slain
every pain you inflict makes me stronger
When I draw to a close I shall do so composed
not tied in to your terms and conditions
so I therefore decline the denouement proposed
and I’ll see you around in perdition
It’s now all square on the scoreboard and, more importantly, The Grim Reaper has become frozen in awe by my rhyming prowess, and this proposes the fleeting invitation I need to redirect his scythe into his median for that final critical strike. The sheer might of my blow is sufficient enough to clear a direct route straight through his malnourished midriff, sending all manner of osseous matter in every conceivable direction. If only I’d bothered keeping up my Instagram account, there’d be some savage shots to share right now and I’d even be kind enough to tag death in if he so wished. Judging by the fact that he is currently perforating before my bulging orbs, I’m not altogether convinced he’ll take me up on that one y’know. Stubborn so-and-so that one. Ergo I shall have to be content with watching him as he dies screaming for what I would imagine being the umpteenth time this quarter. Call me churlish but it’s never in danger of getting old for the wrangler. The bottom line is this – he already had a sarcophagus picked out ready and took for granted that I’d pose no discernible threat. Well discern this motherfucker – Reaper 2 Wrangler 2. Now here comes that final whistle.
All at merry once, the realization dawns that I have emerged victorious against all bookkeepers’ odds. I could squeeze Bonus Brain until he hemorrhages right now and would even slip in a sly digit if he was at all willing. Just throwing it out there. Regardless, never again will I doubt him. Fuck, I’ll even build him an extension, somewhere for him to sprawl out and eat all the Greek salad he can possibly consume while soaking in countless reruns of The Wonder Years. If he thinks Winnie Cooper’s ever gonna give up that elusive fanny, then he’s a bigger fool than the both of us combined. Once a cock-tease, always a cock-tease Kevin.
Speaking of which, perhaps my next pilgrimage should entail a global manhunt for the whereabouts of Fred Savage. I’m sure a handsome and resourceful (if slightly ill-fated) young man like yourself can snag yourself a whole consortium of wanton Winnies. If I were you, I’d stop hanging out with that nice Jewish kid Paul as he’s effectively Millhouse and never likely to know of the best whorehouses. One’s virginity isn’t something to hang onto like your milk money in the school yard. Remember kid, for every Millhouse, there’s a Nelson. Them’s the bare facts of life right there my distant friend.
“Reaper 2 Wrangler 3. We’ve cracked it Bonus Brain. Can you taste that? That’s last orders victory that is. Tell me you’re not feeling the love my brother in arms. I just know I’ve earned your respect. Confirm this intelligence I beg of you”
It’s like being back in front of The Hecklers again as all I truly seek is approval and, failing that, acknowledgement will do. In typical Bonus Brain fashion, there’s a pause while the jury ponders its decision. Then BLAMMO!
“Right then, listen up cloth-ears as I won’t be repeating this. Perhaps I was a little hasty in my former judgement wrangler. You know, while a rather pathetic excuse for a pulse, you may actually have yourself a vague slither of game after all. Nice work”
Have I died and been delivered to the pearly gates without my prior knowledge? Have Parcel Force upped their game? Could the planet actually be more flat than Hypatia of Alexandria suggested? Was that an actual… compliment? Who cares if suspiciously back-handed, I have won over perhaps the toughest audience of all. While occasionally bumbling, my constant endeavor and never-say-die spirit has endeared me to Bonus Brain after all and that is the greatest victory in my mind. While unlikely that we’ll be lighting one another’s farts and necking back bottles of Bulmers any time soon, he knows precisely who I am and accepts that I’m not going anywhere soon to boot. Together we can achieve so much, sail the red sea in an upturned parasol, conquer the tyrannical Trump Demon, and take back this soiled paradise once and for-all. Or we can wank each other off in unison. I’m easy.
Tonight is a monumental occasion Grueheads as somehow, against the run of play and Bonus Brain’s better judgement, checkmate has been achieved, The Grim Reaper sent back to whence he came, and ownership of my soul has now been rubber stamped. Life may have smarted some, nay downright agonized, along the way but I’ve reclaimed faith from the unlikeliest of locales… myself.
It has been blind at times, but the inner eye has remained ever-alerted, and I have trusted my gut when the chips have been some way down, as opposed to throwing in the towel like a timid housemaid. This battle may be won, but I’m under no illusions that the war rages on relentless. I will rise to the call of man, slay whatever foul wretches stand between me and ultimate absolution, and never again trust a turkey straddling a wrecking ball, whether or not I’m tempted to grab myself a quick fillet or slip in the rib most prime. For now however, I would say I’ve earned myself that breather wouldn’t you? I’m the Brutal Word Wrangler, and one helluva mangler, here’s some thanks for permitting my tale to fandangle ya. Now let’s get the flock out of Grimsville before death ascertains how to operate those conveniently discarded defibrillator paddles.
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2014