Wrestling Team Saves the World
by Robert Sumner
Benedict Ames and Aldrich Arnold walk toward the computer lab awkwardly, as if puberty is an alien invader that seized them and extracted every bit of their grace. The boys, both fifteen and dressed unfashionably – Benedict in brown corduroys and an orange polyester shirt, Aldrich in off-brand jeans and an Atari tee shirt – lean under their backpacks like they’re filled with bricks.
“I love that Hollywood is pouring money into adapting graphic novels into movies – The Dark Knight, 300, Watchmen, Sin City,” says Benedict. He pushes his glasses back up onto the bridge of his nose.
“Yeah, our community is finally starting to get some respect,” says Aldrich.
Chet, Sled, and Hemi, three stocky boys a year or two older, approach with devilish looks on their stupid faces. A blue WRESTLING TEAM logo dominates the chest area of their otherwise plain tee shirts.
“What are you two dipshits talkin’ about?” asks Chet. “Can we join yer nerd club?”
“I’d greatly prefer that you...” Benedict begins until Sled lunges at him, grabs the back of his underwear and rips it upward. Benedict howls in pain.
“Ha, ha, ha, deez nuts!” Sled shouts.
“Dawg!” Hemi says with approval and high fives Sled.
“What does that even mean?” Aldrich asks. Chet reaches for Aldrich’s underwear but Aldrich spins around. Chet grabs Aldrich’s feet and flips him onto the floor. Hemi turns Aldrich over, grabs his underwear and yanks hard. A shriek of delight meets Aldrich’s grunt.
“Dawg!” Hemi announces.
“Orangutangs!” Aldrich groans.
“Actually, it’s ‘orangutan’,” says Benedict. “There’s no ‘g’ on the end.”
Chet, Hemi and Sled high five each other as they trot away past a mob of laughing students.
“They just got dawged!” says Hemi.
“Slappy dappy!” Chet agrees.
“Deeeeeez nuts!” Sled reiterates.
“What does that mean?” Benedict shouts as he helps Aldrich up. “What does it even mean???” Both boys valiantly hold back their tears.
In the computer lab, Aldrich removes a laptop from his backpack and presses the power button. The mucus green oval head of Xangorth, a male extraterrestrial, possibly millenia old, appears on the screen. The boys shiver as they behold the enslaver of a million star systems.
“Give us your report, Earth collaborators,” Xangorth commands in a voice that sounds of buzz saws and cicadas.
“Greetings, Supreme Lord Ultra-Magnificent Xangorth,” Benedict is pleased to say.
“Please, call me Ultra-Magnificent.”
Aldrich is all business. “We’ve hacked the data about Earth’s air defenses from the internet, as you requested.”
“That primitive network does have some use after all,” Xangorth says. “Stupendous. After we conquer Earth you will be richly rewarded with your own personal empires.”
“Awesome,” says Benedict. A drop of saliva springs from his mouth. “I’m gonna have a thousand-woman harem and require ten years of rock-splitting hard labor from anyone who played a varsity sport.”
“I’m gonna have topless women fanning me with ostrich feathers just like in ancient times,” says Aldrich. “Also, every room should have a gaming console. At least in newer construction. I might grandfather in older historical buildings.”
“That’s a great idea,” says Benedict. “It’s ridiculous that we have to pause a game just to go to the restroom.”
“Gentlemen, may we proceed with the invasion?” Xangorth asks and raises his mantis-like forearm to glance at his interstellar watch.
“I’m transmitting the data now,” says Benedict as he presses a button on the laptop.
“Go ahead and send it over.”
“I just did.”
“I’m not getting anything.”
Benedict jabs the button repeatedly.
“Maybe those apes damaged it when they attacked us,” Aldrich says.
“Apes?” Xangorth scratches his barbed wire eyebrow. “We did not anticipate resistance from Earth’s simian organisms.”
“He didn’t mean that literally,” Benedict says with sighing condescension. “These shitheads at our school...”
Acidic vapors shimmer between Xangorth’s lips as he gasps. “Wait, were they wrestlers?”
“Yes, how did you...”
“And did they yank up your underwear?”
Aldrich and Benedict look at each other in amazement. “Yes,” they say in unison.
“Blast! It is our chief nemesis, Wrestling Team, who have fomented rebellions across galaxies. They know our communication signals can only be disrupted by wedgies, nonsense words, and other crude behavior.”
“Slappy dappy, Xangorth!” Chet shouts as he gives Aldrich a wet willy, then a wedgie.
Sled tweeks Benedict’s nipples, then gives him a wedgie. “Boop, boop. Deeeeez nuts!”
Hemi rips a fart between Benedict’s and Aldrich’s heads. “Dawg!”
“Curse you, Wrestling Team!” Xangorth jabs his finger at the screen menacingly. “Someday the Xangorthian Empire will discover the limits of your tactical genius.” Static distorts the image of an enraged Xangorth before he disappears.
Wrestling Team rush out of the computer lab, exchanging victory high fives.
Aldrich and Benedict sink back into their seats and stare at the blank screen. “We could still be graphic novelists,” Benedict says. Aldrich nods slowly, searching for the comfort in that.
Robert Sumner grew up in Virginia and has been a Californian for twenty years. His fiction has been published by The Quotable and The Penmen Review. @RobertGSumner on Twitter.