by Matthew Baugh
They had only been driving for an hour or so but Faith needed to stop.
"Not for long," she had said, "I just want a drink to clear my head."
Willow had protested, but in the end she had given in. Fighting off Angelus and now racing from one apocalypse to another had worn her nerves thin too. They had pulled off the freeway and found a bar in a section of town that looked only semi-devastated. It would have been a fairly tough place in any circumstance, now the broken windows and abandoned cars made it positively foreboding.
"My kinda place!" Faith said enthusiastically as she glanced around at the tough-looking all male crowd.
"Certainly a lot of muscly types." Willow murmured, "I think they're all human, though…mostly anyway."
They found a pair of bar stools and ordered their drinks. After a moment Willow looked up and caught Faith smirking at her.
"Don't look now," Faith gestured across the room, "You've got an admirer."
Willow followed the gesture and saw a young man with long blond hair and a beard staring at her. When their eyes met he winked and made a shooting gesture with his forefinger.
Willow quickly turned away. "Oh Goddess!" she said under her breath, "I don't need this."
"Don't worry, Red," Faith purred, "I'll be happy to take him off your hands."
"Faith, we don't have time for this."
"Yeah," Faith sighed, "Pity, he's kind of cute."
As the blonde man crossed the room a broad-shouldered black man with his hair in elaborate braids caught his arm.
"Hey dog!" he sounded cheerful as he handed the blonde man some papers, "Look what Goldie dug up on the Internet!"
The blonde man took the papers and glanced at them. "What is this?" he said.
The black man chuckled, "It's a story about you and some character off a TV show! Real hot stuff!"
"Geez Booker," the blonde said, tossing the papers on the table, "You know I hate that kissy-smoochy stuff! What kind of ass-clown writes that kind of thing?"
He continued over to the bar where he sat on a stool next to Willow's. "Hi!" he said.
"Um…hi." Willow responded.
"I noticed you looking at me," the man said, "so I thought I'd introduce myself. Of course, you probably know who I am already!"
"Sorry," Willow said, "But I'm from out of town."
The man looked thunderstruck. "You don't recognize me? Well, let me give you a clue." He lifted his face to the ceiling and bellowed, "I'M THE KING OF THE WORLD!"
"Leonardo DiCaprio?" she responded uncertainly.
"Y2J!" he said but this only drew a negative shake of her head. "Chris Jericho! C'mon, I'm the top superstar in the WWE!"
Seeing Willow's blank, look Faith stepped in, "He's a professional wrestler. A pretty good one too."
Jericho bristled a bit at the words "pretty good" but kept his composure. "I'm not just a wrestler, he said. I also have a band! Have you heard of Fozzie?"
"From the Muppets?" Willow smiled, "I always liked him, but Gonzo was my favorite."
"Even if you haven't heard of us, take my word for it. I'm a HUGE ROCK STAR!"
"You seem really nice and all," Willow said, "But I dated a guy in a band once and it really didn't work out. Besides, I'm in a different…federation now. If you know what I mean."
Jericho was silent for a moment digesting that. He opened his mouth to speak but was cut off by the door banging open. Half a dozen vampires walked in wearing dark trench coats. In the nightmare that L.A. had become they were making no attempt to conceal their fangs, or the bestial hunger that showed on their faces. They glanced around then strode to the bar. With preternatural strength, the leader brushed Jericho aside, hurling him across the bar.
"Sweetness," he said to Willow, "You look awfully tasty!" He glanced around the room. "We're hungry enough that no one here is leaving, but your pretty neck is all mine."
The men in the bar, five in all, stood at this and the largest of them, a bald giant with a goatee stepped forward.
"Pal," he said, "I don't think you know who you're threatening."
"You so don't know!" Faith echoed in a low voice.
The lead vampire stared at the bald man and smiled. "You're a few stupid humans who think muscles are going to make a difference." He paused and gestured to the star of David the big man wore. "Or maybe you think that will protect you?"
The giant grinned. He pulled the neck chain off and dropped it into a pocket. "Now you don't have to worry about that anymore."
A slender youth behind him was looking from face to vampiric face. "Man you guys are ugly!" he said, "I knew vampires had bad teeth, but those foreheads…whassupwi'dat?"
The man called Booker was smiling too. "We know what you dogs are," he said. "And we ain't scared at all. Well…except maybe Greg here." He elbowed the youth in the side.
"Huh?" Greg said, "Oh yeah," he winked broadly at Booker. "I'm really scared. I'd better run and hide!" He turned and bolted into the men's room.
"As I was saying," Booker continued, "We ain't worried one bit about you fools! NOW CAN YOU DIG THAT, BLOOD-SUCKAH?"
The lead vampire glared at the men in disbelief, "You fools!" he said, "Don't you realize you're all going to… urk!"
He looked down at the stake Faith had thrust in his chest.
"Sorry, sweetie," she said, "But if anyone's playing Captain Clueless around here, it's you!" She pulled the stake back as he dissolved into a pile of dust.
The other vampires surged towards her and Willow began to gather power for a spell. Before she could act Jericho sprang to the top of the bar and flipped off in a Lion-sault, carrying three of the vampires to the floor with him. Booker caught another in an arm drag and shot him into the waiting arms of a heavyset man with black glasses who hoisted him high. A black man with white glasses leaped up and caught the vampire's head in a powerful grip and the two (who
bore an odd resemblance to each other) brought the fiend crashing down in their powerful 3-D move.
The bald giant pointed at the remaining standing vampire. "He was just the first," he roared, nodding to the pile of ash which was all that remained of the vampire Faith had slain. "YOU'RE NEXT!"
Charging like a football player he speared the vampire into the bar with shattering force. Then he lifted the stunned blood-sucker high and jackhammered him onto a bar stool with enough force to shatter the stool and drive the fragments through the creature's body. Within seconds it was also dust.
Jericho had caught one of the creatures in the hold he called the "Walls of Jericho," and the vampire was making pained sounds as he struggled to break free.
Booker charged the other two as they rose and battered them back down with a scissors kick.
A few yards away the heavier of the oddly matched brothers had his vampire down. He held the creature's feet while his brother climbed atop the pool table and delivered a flying headbutt to the monster's groin. Then the bigger brother picked the vampire up bodily and climbed to the top of the bar.
"D-VON!" he shouted. "GET THE TABLE!"
D-Von responded by shoving the massive pool table into position near the bar. The large man then performed a leaping power-bomb which drove his undead opponent through the table, shattering it in the process.
"Nice," said Faith as she leap-frogged over the wrestler to land astride the stunned vampire. "But this is the finishing move you need for these guys!"
She rammed her stake through the creature's heart, reducing him to dust.
"Kinda like this huh?" Booker ripped the leg off of a chair and stabbed it into the chest of the vampire caught in Jericho's hold.
"You ass-clown!" Jericho yelled, "You got vampire dust all over my new pants!"
The remaining two vampires tried to bolt for the rear door. One slipped through, but the other found his left arm caught by the bald man and his right caught by the bigger of the brothers.
"Dang it Goldberg!" The brother shouted. "I want to finish one of these guys myself!" He pulled furiously on the creature's arm.
"Get your own Bubba!" the bald giant roared back. "This one's mine!"
He hauled back on the arm he held. For a few moments the two men struggled for possession of the vampire until the creature's tensile strength failed him. The two giants staggered backwards, each holding only a handful of dust.
"He's getting away!" Faith yelled as the final vampire raced past.
"No he's not!" Willow said as her eyes darkened and the power gathered in her hands. Then she paused as a cry came from the men's room. "STAND BACK!" it rang out, THERE'S A HURRICANE COMING THROUGH!"
From out of the men's room sprang a slender youth wearing an elaborate green costume and cape. He sprang to the top of the room's other pool table, posed heroically for a moment, then caught up a pool cue and leaped. It was a spectacular front flip which ended with the green-clad Hurricane flying straight towards the vampire, holding the cue like a knight's lance.
The end was never in doubt.
A few moments later the triumphant group stood looking at the wreckage of the room and the piles of ashes that littered the floor.
"You've got some pretty good moves!" Bubba said to Faith. "You ought to try out for the WWE sometime!"
"Thanks," Faith returned. "I've gotta say…you guys really surprised me too!"
"What do you mean?" Goldberg asked.
"It's just…those guys were vampires." Willow said, "You know, real big nasty monsters. And you guys…you're just humans."
"Man," said Booker, "If you're in this business any time at all you gotta learn how to handle those freaks!"
"Vampires and demons are always trying to get into the rasslin' business." D-Von chimed in, "A few of the really good ones make a name for themselves, but most…" He trailed off and gestured to the ashes on the floor.
"But…" Willow continued, "Wrestlers…I always thought you guys were…"
"Wait a minute!" Jericho said angrily. "You mean you know that vampires, and werewolves, and demons and all that are real, but you think wrestling is fake?"
Grumbling a bit, the WWE superstars all moved away from the two women.