Description: The most important scene of all time. Lightning Spangles is looking for a partner to take with her to Zack Island, and she can only have one partner: The Hoedown Dillo. The trouble is that she needs another fighter to take on the persona of her most cherished armadillo companion. Who has the gumption, the skill, and the fiddlin' power to take on what is arguably the most important character of all time?
"I'm sorry, Mr. Flav was it?"
Those were the words from Lightning Spangles as she sits at the table, in front of the stage, right outside the beach house. Located on Okinawa Honto, one of the largest island of the Ryuukyuus, it was the scene of one of the most important events in the entire world right now. Several audience stands were set up around the stage, as the actress sits upon the table with two fellow judges, a one famous actress named Whoopi Goldberg, and partnered with the world-famous chef, Gordon Ramsay, to choose the next Hoedown Dillo.
Mr. Flava Flav did not meet the cut.
The aging rapper from Public Enemy stands there, dressed in a Hoedown Dillo costume, with a massive clock around his neck. Whoopi tries to break it to him gently. "I'm sorry sweetie, but while you got the rhymes, and you are one of the best fiddlers I've heard, you just don't got the martial talent." Gordon adds on cruelly. "I've seen better fighting from steamed lobsters than you!" Lightning Spangles just shakes her head. "I'm sorry Mr. Flav, but you won't be..."
"The Next Hoedown Dillo."
Flava Flav sadly saunters off the stage, as Lightning Spangles sighs. Another bust. "Bring on the next potential canidate!" She calls out, as she shuffles her folder. This was heartbreaking.
Was there nobody would could be the Next Hoedown Dillo?
Unreasonably boisterous, barking laughter greets the dejected Flava Flav as he mopes into the backstage area, where candidates great, small, and simply awesome await their turn beneath the bright lights. One stands out amongst the others for more than a few reasons: but right now, most notably, because he's entirely too familiar with the former Public Enemy superstar. In a move that may shock the fighting world...
A hairy, wiry arm is soon looped around those slumped shoulders, and Saishu 'Goddamn' Kusanagi escorts his apparent good buddy to the hospitality area, where an adorable Japanese girl in a sexy armadillo costume greets them with a chirpy, "Ohayo!"
Saishu grunts, scratching at his belly and glancing at the dubious array of corporate-branded products before he waves the girl off and reaches back, producing - from his heretofore-unmentioned costume - a corked bottle of homebrew sake. He bites the cork off and spits it out before offering the heady beverage to Flav.
"Listen, Billy, that woman might be a psychic who can talk to ghosts - seriously, did you ever see that movie? Shizuka and I learned a few lessons from that one, let me tell you! HA HA!" After a good ol' bray, Saishu claps a wide-eyed Flav on the shoulder. He chokes on a mouthful of sake, so he gets another slap that sends a spray of 60-proof booze over the poor, shrieking concession girl. "BUT she doesn't know the first thing about being an invisible armadillo. You had the rhymes alright, but your problem wasn't that you can't fight; haha, remember when we rescued Mayor Haggar from the Taliban? Sure you do, Billy! Your problem - like it was then - is that you, Billy Boy..."
Lifting his free hand to his scraggy-bearded chin, the elder statesman of the legendary Kusanagi clan cracks a cocksure grin, a glint entering his beady eyes.
"You just don't have the fire."
With a vigorous yell, Saishu gives the aging rapper once last mighty boom between the shoulderblades - this one sending him headfirst into a two-tiered cheesecake - and bounds away toward the stage, his scales rattling. Wait, scales?
"Wait'll they get a load of THIS Dillo! HA HA!"
And the next canidate had arrived.
Lightning Spangles smiles brightly, as she looks over the man's information. 'Saishu Kusanagi.' That soundeded innocent enough. Sure, there was screaming behind the stage, and the sound of collapsing. But this was a Hoedown Dillo tryout! That was perfect for building hype for the show! Lightning Spangles tilts her head, staring at the 'resume' that was submitted.
This couldn't be right.
She mutters a bit, as Saishu falls into place, showing the paper to Whoopi, then Gordon. Whoopi's brow furrows, as she stares at it. Gordon himself just looks mad, and begins to stew in his anger. The mutters continues amongst them, as the rattling... the rattling comes forward. Finally, the break away from their conspiracy, as Lightning Spangles fixes her gaze upon the one Saishu as he eases himself on the stage.
"Um, Mr. Kusanagi, is it?"
"Arr har har!!" A loud, yet remarkably tiny and girlish voice, blares over on the audience stands. A diminutive girl wearing a ridculously large pirate hat and waving an equally oversized giant anchor, laughs heartily in approval of the insanity before her. Particularly when Flava Flav was suddenly grabbed by one of the other Hoedillo Hopefuls and thrown clear across the room and into a cheesecake. That's slapstick comedy gold right there!
"Keelhaul those lubbers, matey!! Set ablaze their sails 'fore sending their ships to Davy Jones locker!!" Cheers May who happens to be there for some reason, a real pirate sails where the wind takes her! And it just so happens that she ended up as part of the audience somehow. Overly giddy as she has always been, May doesn't seem to realize that she's cheering on the dad of the kid that beat her up in the Inter-High Tournament.
Thump. Thump. Kerthump.
As Saishu hops up the steps toward the stage, his paces are entirely too light considering he seems to be throwing himself about with all the care and grace of a drunken elephant. He's wearing tabi socks, which might help *slightly* though they do absolutely nothing for the impression of the rest of his outfit, but even so... should a man with a perpetual slouch who smells like a hobo be quite so light on his feet? All the noise is coming from what trails behind him - a big, papier-mache tale whose sharp tip is capped off by a flame. Not a papier-mache flame, mind you.
An actual goddamn piece of fire. Saishu Kusanagi is on fire.
He saunters across the stage with a yawn, revealed in his full glory to the judges - and what glory it is! His costume is elaborate and clearly took a grotesque amount of work, the half-shell upon his back covered in lovingly-sculpted scales (and providing, by sheer chance of course, plentiful storage space mounted as it is upon his actually-quite-trim and toned body). His front side is covered in body paint that's rather more improvized, apparently having been applied with a paintbrush. There are bristles stuck in it. He couldn't find the right kind of neckerchief, so has settled for ripping up his (spoiler: only) gi and looping it about like a tokusatsu scarf.
The Kusanagi emblem has never been less proudly represented.
He's still got the beard of course - he hasn't shaved in three decades - but he's wearing a pointy fake nose held on by a bit of elasticated string, and capping off the display is a pair of big cat ears he stole from some little girl when he got to the audition and realized he'd forgotten something. She's back there, crying, or she was before he offered her a lollipop. Now she's asleep. No, not dead. Asleep. He thinks. He'll check later - there are more important things at hand!
Like why isn't Saishu Kusanagi wearing pants?
He is, in fact; they're just flesh-toned at strange odds with the paint splashed about the rest of his body, and he looks for all the world like he's a nervous first-timer attending a furries n' scalies convention without any trousers. Also he's Action Man. Also he's not nervous, he's completely relaxed, to the point he even squeezes out a little 'parp' of a fart as he stands there for a few seconds scratching himself.
That's all he says, when he's nice and ready, lazily staring at Lightning Spangles as he blinks, ceases scratching himself, and then starts again. So far, so terrible.
"You, my girl," he calls her that because he has no idea who she is and doesn't have time to think about it, "Are looking at the Hoedown Dillo." Beat. "HA HA!"
Suddenly he's wearing a wild grin, his cat ears twitching as he reaches back into his scaley half-shell and hauls out an honest-to-goodness fiddle. Stamping a tabi-clad foot, Saishu Kusanagi glances sidelong at his offstage cheerleader and tosses her a jaunty, gleaming-eyed wink as he begins to play like an absolute pro.
Stamping harder and harder, he fiddles up a storm to rival Ol' Scratch, whittling away with his bow and even taking the time and attention to dance a bow-legged jig, the flame at the end of his tail leaving a trail of smoke as it whips back and forth in time with the motion of - dear god - his buttocks. But really, it's damn good...
It's so good that the fiddle explodes into flame a minute in to the performance, Saishu's bearded countenance lighting up with renewed fervour as he continues to play his now decidely-dangerous instrument, tiny flames whipping about like napalm to soak the stage around him, his face becoming more and more devilish.
When he stops, it's to strike a pose, the burning fiddle held out to one side and the seemingly-unscathed bow held out to the other, a MASSIVE shit-eating grin spread across his features and tail still somehow whipping back and forth even though he's stilled.
Probably best not to ask about that part. He works out.
"HA HA! So how about it, girl? Do I get the gig?"
The stage is still on fire.
"Bollocks!" That girl with the pirate hat in the audience exclaims. "Fire in the poop deck!"
Lightning Spangles, Whoopi Goldberg, and Gordon Ramsey all stare in awe-stuck unison.
There are no words, short of what May yells out from the audience. The rest of the audience, though, is silent. Everyone just stares, in silent dignity, of the man that had arrived on the audience. It was the sheer... the sheer presence of what was happening. A bottomless man had arrived on stage, dressed in the worst Dillo costume any man, woman, or child had seen.
The problem was.
He was actually kind of good.
Lightning Spangles wipes a tear from her eye, as the song comes an end. Already, stagehands were on the move, armed with fire extinguishers, fighting with the legendary flames. "My god..." She begins, covering her mouth. "That was... that was..." Lightning Spangles gasps, choking back a sob.
"The most incredible performance I've seen."
"What an incredible Hoedown." That is all that Lightning Spangles can muster, the emotions overtaking her. Whoopi, meanwhile, stares hungrily at Saishu's exposition, clad in the Dillo garb. "And what a body! Umph!" Even Gordon Ramsey can't muster too much, shaking his head. "Fiddling might be fine, the costume's shit!"
And then comes the greatest mistake so far this evening.
"But what about your martial art ability?"
It's not the first time Saishu Kusanagi has wowed a little girl, or been called 'incredible', or complimented on his rockin' abs, or surrounded by desperate nobodies feverishly trying to put out a fire that won't be quenched. And that's what happens; they get absolutely nowhere, foam spraying every which way as the flames continue to singe the stage. Thick smoke rises as varnish crackles and spits, the smell slowly becoming unbearable, though on the plus side... nobody can smell Saishu's particular odour of careless-old-man-who's-not-had-his-bi-monthly-bath.
It doesn't help the panic. Nor does it hinder the performance.
Saishu stands there grinning, foam in his beard and moisture dribbling off the faux-scales of his elaborately terrible costume. Before it drips off to sizzle into steam. Then Sir Gordon of Ramsay makes the gravest mistake of his life and career, as he questions one of the greatest warriors the world has ever seen...
The fiddle and bow hit the stage with a dissonant crunching squeal of protesting strings.
"Tch!" Saishu grins all the wider even as he voices displeasure, gimlet eyes lighting with the same unquenchable fire-- before it's abruptly quenched, by an almost balletic pirouette rendered with that same eerie graceless perfection of motion that's made this man a legend. The elder scion of flame whips his well-muscled arm out and around, snapping his fingers with a hard *click* that fills the beach house and causes at least one impressionable young woman to flat-out faint in shock and awe.
Flame leaps to his bidding, gathering around those same fingertips--
--and then Saishu is a blur, an outline of the Hoedown Dillo's almighty personage left behind as he crosses the stage and just apparates directly in front of the universe's most belligerent head chef. "HA HA!" That irritating yet confoundingly irrepressible, charisma-drenched laugh rings out. The stage is no longer burning, but the single finger that extends like the world's laziest supersonic missile seeks out a singular target and puts paid to a thousand Kitchen Nightmares in one fell swoop.
Saishu Kusanagi, the Hoedown Dillo, boops Gordon Ramsay on the nose.
An incredible backdraught levels everybody unfortunate enough to still be on the stage, all of that impossible, epic power fortunately turned backward to frame both men in glorious silhouette, and it's only this that saves the judge from being immolated.
It doesn't save him from being launched backward by the Fingerpoke of Doom.
Saishu stands there in the aftermath, the Kusanagi Flame dissipating along with all that rage and force, leaving the old man to shrug loosely and insert the formerly-poking finger into his nostril, isolating a small, hard bogey.
"I've not had any complaints," he grunts brusquely, examining his prize and then unceremoniously wiping it on his flesh-toned underpants.
What a guy.
Why if May had any initiative at all when it came to helping complete strangers out, she would have stood up and tried to put the fire out herself. It's not the fact that she's not authorized to try doing any of that by staff that prevents her from moving, she follows no ones orders as a pirate after all! Its that she's enjoying the show too much to bother trying to stop it. "Arr har har! Blow me down!" She chirps and cheers whilst women next to her faint from Saishu's antics.
And then Saishu gives Gordon Ramsey a devastating flick on the nose that sends the man crashing through the audience stalls and catapulting many of them out, one of them being May who falls forward and gives several rolls on the ground after being tossed out of her chair by a Gordon Ramsey missile explosion.
Then just like that, she's up, covered in sooth and cinder and clapping! "Yoho! Someone give this devil dog a medal of admiral of the seas! Yarr har har!"
"Jolly good show!"
This was going horribly wrong.
Already people were hurling the empty fire extinguishers, and breaking out buckets of water, wet blankets, anything to stop the fire. But then Gordon had to open his mouth. In that strange dance, the flames were gone, drawn back in by the master fighter. The stern, nasty face of Gordon begins to soften, and soon melts away into mild fear.
Those were the words before he is struck hard in the nose, sending him firing away as he is knocked to ground. "AAAARGH! AAAAARGH! AAAAAAAAAAARGH!" Was the screams of Gordon Ramsey as he crumples into a heap. The stagehands, once on duty to fight the fire, now run over to Gordon Ramsey. They throw buckets of water, beat him with wet blankets, and soon devolve into kicking sand upon the groaning frame of Gordon Ramsey, trying to help him.
Quietly, Lightning Spangles and Whoopi Goldberg talk it out.
They are muttering in conspiracy, nodding and shaking their heads. Finally, Lightning Spangles breaks away, her expression... pained. "Saishu Kusanagi, I've been talking it out with the other judge who broken by you, and I'm trying to find the best way to explain this. You are an excellent showsman. Your costume shows incredible heart in the Hoedown Dillo. You are a master of the fiddle, and if we put some pants on you, you would be essentially perfect for the Hoedown Dillo... but..." Lightning Spangles ponders, trying to find the right way to explain this.
"... Don't you have anything other than fire?"
If there's anything Saishu Kusanagi is known for, it's his incredible patience and empathetic understanding of the human race. If only he wasn't so busy building orphanages and teaching the children inside to read, he might be a humanitarian honoured by the United Nations and granted the Nobel Peace Prize for services to both martial arts and the destruction of giant robots. All of this is absolutely true.
So it's rather a wonder that he starts to get incredibly, obviously bored while the judges confer. May might be astonished when he's all of a sudden slumped in the chair beside her, kicking his feet up on on the seat ahead - which incidentally puts those decidedly whiffy tabi socks to either side of the poor bastard sat there. Who's too astonished and terrified to do anything about it because... well... he's in the room. He saw all of that unfold. What would YOU do with Saishu's feet in your face?
"So, little boy," he inquires of the budding Pirate Queen, "You're what, some kind of ninja? Did I ever tell you about the time I rescued Shizuka from the H.M.S. Dauntless and had to fight a giant mechanical ninja-squid to preserve her honour?" Of course he didn't, because he's never met her before and that literally never happened. "Good times, haha!" Reminiscing fondly, he puts his arms behind his head and leans back, snorting back the need to blow his nose - wait, didn't he just empty it? - and wiggling his armadillo-nose around in the process. "Good times."
By this time, the judges are done conferring, and having only just closed his eyes to take a snooze - because who cares what May has to say back to him? - he cracks one open and eyes the rather-dejected cowgirl with a testy half-stare.
"Harrumph," he ejects as soon as she's done, pretty much losing interest until the point she dares to suggest he should fling water or lightning around like some kind of big sissypants loser - like that girl his boy's always flirting with. "Let me tell you something, pardner," yes, he adopts a corny accent straight out of a Clint Eastwood flick. Yes, it's surprisingly good. No, nobody knows why. "There ain't nothing better than FIRE for rustling up a hoedown. You want proof?"
He lets that hang there while he sits up, pops off his ridiculous cat ears and nose and dumps them unceremoniously in May's lap, then waves a narrow steel beam of an arm toward the poor, fire-molested stage.
"Bring on the next loser who thinks he's better than my Dillo-ryuu Kobojutsu! HA HA!"
"Um, I'm a lass." Says the surprisingly unperturbed May when Saishu sits next to her. Birds of the same feather flock together and all that, so it figures that someone as insane as May will just roll along with Saishu's antics. "And I be a pirate! Arr!" She corrects him when he erroneously assumes that she's a ninja. That does not stop her from listening carefully to Saishu when he retells his heroic sea faring stories of saving hapless maidens from robotic giant squids. "Ooooh! Is Shizuka yer maiden? Do giant robot squids taste good!??"
Oh, but then the adults are talking again and May's face saddens visibly when they get the bad news that Saishu didn't get the job. "Aaawrr..." And he would have been such an amazing Hoedillo too.
The pirate girl is all too glad of grabbing hold of parts of Saishu's discarded costume and he might also notice that, despite the smell, May is quick to appropriate herself of them by sticking them inside her hat. 'Part of me loot now.' She whispers to herself.
Then there's clapping! And hollering! "Yarr!" She says sharing in Saishu's enthusiasm. "Send in the next land lubber! Let's see how well their sea legs hold up!!"
The next arrival is heralded not by sight, but by sound. Deep, heavy thumps resonate through the room as a veritable mountain of flesh enters the stage. Hugo defies logic, to the point at first glance he barely seems human. Trunk-like legs carry him forward with a meekness that belies his obvious strength, wearing blue jeans with leather chaps, the most squashed-looking cowboy boots in existence, and a simple vest. The latter only covers a third of his pectorals, bulging at the seams around his gargantuan arms. Atop his head, amidst the crown of dense black hair, is a normal sized cowboy hat. It's an exact replica of Hoedown Dillo's.
It takes a remarkable amount of time for him to reach the center of the stage and then turn towards the front. Children are already beginning to cry. He has a fiddle clutched between two fingers, pinky extended as if it was a teacup. Immediately he begins to sweat and look absolutely flustered.
"Am... am Hugo! Big fan of... of cowgirl show. Watch every day. ...H,Hugo try play now."
He then hunches inwards, carefully positioning the fiddle before himself. A trembling finger poises over it. In one stroke, it explodes into pieces of word with a CLANGRAAAAANG.
"GAAAAH!! MAMA!! I AM FAILURE!!" He immediately collapses to his knees, doubling over in a series of heaping sobs that causes those within a few meters to jump within their seats. A fist repeatedly pounds into the ground, seismic impacts that start horribly denting the stage as if it was made of clay. "WAAAAAAAAAH!!"
Well, someone's going to have to tell him to move, but... the nearest producer is mouthing 'not me'.
Saishu's rampant disapproval of his layabout son - and his refusal to do anything worthwhile like pass an exam, kiss an actual female girl (or woman - an older lady might do him some good!), clean his room or invent any decent techniques without shamelessly cribbing from his vastly superior old man OR thousands of years of respectable martial history - does not extend in the least to being nothing like him.
To whit, the elder statesman loses interest the moment this is no longer about him or anyone he identifies as being worthy of care and attention. Like that boy he was training last summer, what was his name? He honestly can't remember right now, primarily because he's in a deep, snoring slumber, still slumped next to May with his head flung back and a snot bubble inflating and deflating with each obnoxious breath.
Normally, he'd be the loudest person in the room. But... but, indeed!
"Wh-- huh!? Shizuka! Don't put that in there! Let me show you how it's done!!"
Saishu sits bolt upright, wiping at his paint-smeared Dillo-face with a hairy arm and then pausing stock still as he looks around the room. But mostly at Hugo.
"HA HA! That guy's HUGE!"
Grinning ear-to-ear like a particularly terrifying and flambeau-prone Cheshire Cat, the oldest and second best Kusanagi (first would be Shizuka, and don't dare argue otherwise) stares with utter delight at the tantrum-hurling apparition on the stage. Frantically, he jabs a bony elbow into the tiny girl beside him, not bothering to withhold his latent power in the least - and boy, is he in for another surprise...
But he's focused on something else now. Very, very focused.
If he had popcorn, he'd be devouring it hungrily.
"That means he has huge guts! Give it some welly, boy! HA HA!"
To say that May's eyes widen as big as dinner plates when Hugo's arrival is heralded by a freaking earthquake is a big understatement.
The Pirate Queen clings to her seat and starts to look around, almost considering doing the incredibly daft idea of poking Saishu's out of his slumber to see if he can figure out what's going on.
All her questions are answered when the tremendous figure that is Hugo explodes into the scene! In what has to be the slowest explosion imaginable. "Arr har harr!! Thar she blows!!!" The girl's laughter is almost as loud as the man that she's sitting next to, and from her hat she procures a spyglass to get a better look at Hugo, because she /has/ to see this one to believe it. Other kids May's age... and height.. are probably bawling and cowering now, especially after Hugo breaks out into similar incomprehensible sobs after his fiddle explodes, but May is /loving/ everything about this.
"Ne'er in all my years of sea faring have I've seen a whale of that size!" She cackles all while still peering through her outdated spyglass.
Lightning Spangles shakes her head.
"I'm so -sorry- Mr. Kusanagi." Was the pleading tones. He was really good, one of the best Dillos they've seen. And yet, the fire was a deal breaker for Lightning Spangles. The Hoedown Dillo didn't use that much fire! It would ruin the canon. And Lightning Spangles was not willing to ruin the canon, even for a man of Saishu's calibur.
And then the thundering comes.
The heavy steps come on the stage, as Lightning Spangles leans back to look at the massive titan of a man. Her eyes goes wide. Whoopi Goldberg's eyes go wide. And Gordon Ramsey, dragging himself across the sands, cursing bitterly to himself, gets into his seat to stare flatly at Hugo.
That is what Lightning Spangles gasps as she waits eagerly for Hugo's performance. He had the costume, and as he tells his name, Lightning Spangles smiles so wide. This had promise, even though children was crying. This man had potential, he had passion. And then, as he readies the fiddle...
He destroys it.
Whoopi Goldberg winces, as Hugo begins to melt down. The entire ground around them begins to rumble. Lightning Spangles cringes. "Th-there there!" Was the stammer from the actress, as she looks towards Whoopi. Whoopi just gives her a LOOK, before sighing and looking over at Hugo. "No, no baby! You were terrific! Your costume was amazing, and you look like you could really hoedown! It isn't your fault that the fiddle broke! We just need to get a bigger fiddl-"
That is what comes from Gordon Ramsey. He was covered in bruises, and bandages, from Saishu's comment. "Look at you, you big blubbering baby! Are those hands, or fucking hams! You are pathetic if you are going to just cry! If I wanted to see the 'Sobbing Slab Of Beef Dillo' you'd get first fucking prize!"
Lightning Spangles and Whoopi scoot their chairs away from Gordon Ramsey.
"My name not Huge! Is Hugo!!" is returned to Saishu between giant tears, each falling from his face the size of a ping-pong ball and rapidly forming a puddle beneath him. Suddenly he stares at May, before grasping his huge face with both hands. "HUGO NOT WHALE!! NOT WHALE!!"
The children have gone from being terrified to laughing. The seemingly gentle and awkwardly huge figure is obviously a crowd-pleaser, to say the least. He's just absolutely overblown with hysterics, but at least has ceased brutalizing the stage. Even on his knees, he stands taller than anyone in the room.
"..." Suddenly Hugo stops dead. "You... you dare call Hugo BABY?!" Suddenly in an instant, the monolithic fighter is on his feet. He marches towards the table, suddenly as if a different person. "Comparing Hugo to hams is great compliment to hams!! I will show you... that Hugo is strongest!! IN FIGHTING!!"
He then snaps out his arm with surprising speed, grasping Gordon Ramsey by the face. Hefting him up like a doll, both huge arms wrap around him with force.
"Für die Kartoffel!!!"
He then leaps straight upwards. The roof explodes around him, sending timber and a twisted metal beam crashing down, before a series of spotlights that explode in showers of sparks. A few seconds later, Hugo lands upon the ground, so hard that a car alarm in the street goes off. The Andore-shaped indent now houses a completely unconscious Ramsey, as Hugo pushes back to his feet.
"HUGO HAS FINISHED HIS AUDITION. PLEASE BE CONSIDERING ME!"
And then he begins to slowly march to the left, towards the exit of the now demolished stage.
Lightning Spangles and Whoopi Goldberg look away as Hugo scoops up Gordon Ramsey.
"OOOOOH NOOOO!" Was the cry as the brit is taken up by the titanic wrestler. In a flash, the brute had shot up into the air. Whoopi rolls her fingertips on the table, as she waits. When the impact finally comes, both Lightning Spangles and Whoopi flinch, wincing hard. The pair look up, watching at Hugo. Gordon isn't moving. Whoopi begins to applaud as Hugo says he is done. She eventually stops her applause. Lightning Spangles stares at Hugo, smiling brightly. "We will keep you mind, Hugo!" She checks her papers, and then call out.
"Next Canidate, please!"
A thunderous applause sounds from the crowd.
No, not all of it, that's all coming from one person:
Still grinning fit to burst, the legendary master has flailed rapidly to his feet - hitting at least two nearby people in the face in the process - and is pounding his gnarled and calloused hands together over and over with a loud, booming clap, soon joined by that obnoxiously-barking laughter as he shows his appreciation for a man who a) is actually a man, because it's manly to cry and launch yourself through walls and murder celebrity chefs in front of small children, b) inspires him.
Inspires him to do what, you ask?
Like a thunderbolt from the heavens, Saishu has received the gift of enlightenment in the form of his ever-hazy memories. He ceases his applause only to reach down and 'playfully' ruffle May's hair - which, yes, means scrunching up her pirate hat if she doesn't wriggle out of it pre-emptively, and also means he's bestowing enough force to slaughter any other girl her age. Maybe he's a jerk, maybe he Knows Things. In any case, once that's done he claps one hand to his belly, leans back like the laziest mofo that ever lazed while totally upright, and thrusts a finger at the stage.
Aww, he remembers. It must be Shingo's birthday.
...or was it Shizuka's? Hrn. He'll just shout louder, that'll make it all fine.
"GET OUT HERE AND SHOW 'EM WHAT KIND OF MAN YOU ARE!"
Grinning happily, Saishu sits back down and leans toward May with a hand against one side of his mouth, only HALF-yelling conspiratorially:
"You ain't seen nothing yet! Haha! If there's a real Dillo here, it's this kid!"
It's not /all/ Saishu's clapping. May is clapping too, as hard as she can to try and keep up with the elder Kusanagi. Her spyglass has now been tucked insider her hat again and she's laughing and cheering and whistling.
"Ooh! Is he part of yer crew, matey??" Ask May in wonder when Saishu lets her on a little secret about the next contestant. "I hope he sets everything on fire too!" Such a lovely young girl.
The pirate girl also managed to somehow survive the ruffle on her hair administered by Saishu, however, she does spend several minutes afterwards trying to pluck her pirate hat out of her head and off her eyes. "Oi!!"
HE IS HERE!
Don't ask why or how, even Shingo isn't sure. He just materialized out of thin air because the player is too lazy to explore more conventional possibilities.
The remaining judges of Whoopi Goldberg and Lightning Spangles call out for their next... Uh, word?
They call for the next candidate for something or other, and feeling like a right mook in an armadillo suit with a fancy hanky tied around his neck, Shingo plucks at it with a hand-paw-raptor claw. "Don't gangs wear these?!" He cries in innocent alarm as he is shoved from behind, dillo-rolling onto the stage proper just as he is summoned by Mr. Kusanagi-sensei sir.
It isn't his birthday, sir, but judging from the surprise on the boy's painted face, it COULD BE. Such shock. Total amaze. Wow.
He rolls his shoulders, preparing to make the best of what looks like a bad situation, and Shingo really has no idea what he's supposed to even be auditioning for in this hot and muggy outfit. There is a fiddle in his hand because he is magic and thumping the back soundly against his shoulder, overcome with a fit of inspiration, the young man draws the bow across the strings to play...
Lights overhead shatter. Some guy's glass eye breaks apart RIGHT IN HIS SOCKET OH GOD IT WON'T STOP BLEEDING WHY WON'T YOU CALL AN AMBULANCE?! Many clap their hands over their ears at the cacophonous racket and Whoopi appears as though she is entirely unphased, probably because her shower-singing voice is quite similar.
SINGING! I forgot singing!
Over the shrill trill of fiddle-string violation (tee hee), Shingo breaks into the first number that comes to mind, "ONE THING!"
"I DON'T KNOW WHY."
"IT DOESN'T EVEN MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRY."
"KEEP THAT IN MIND I DESIGNED THIS RHYME TO EXPLAIN IN DUE TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII-"
A horrendous snap precedes the sharp squeal of pain as one of those... I don't know, the strings on a violin look like what happened if you had horses, and their hair was iron. HORSES WITH HAIR MADE OF IRON! Shingo slaps himself right in the nose with the bow and crimson dribbles down over his lips. Brown eyes widen roughly to saucer-size, big enough for kittens!
The sight literally has some of the audience...
CRAWLING IN THEIR SKIN.
That aside, he stems the flow with dillo arm and mutters sheepishly, "Thank you for your consideration?" It soaks into the suit, carrying boogers and gross. Yabuki waddles his way to the edge over debris that fell from the ceiling and promptly spills his ass off the side. The collapse of the suit fires him from the neck and he springs to his feet in a flailing display of true acrobatic skill. Shingo sits down next to Saishu, if that's even possible, where he then asks, "Er, Mr. Kusanagi-san, is this part of training?"
Finally, somebody normalish looking.
As Shingo arrives, Lightning Spangles smiles warmly. Gordon Ramsey, fortunately, was not dead. The stagehands were busy ripping him from the car, attempting to get him back into the judge's chair. The actress smiles sweetly. "Hello Shingo! My, what a nice costume!" Lightning Spangles continues to smile, as he begins to ready that fiddle. She had high hopes, after all. If this boy studied under Saishu, then maybe-
And then the hopes go away.
The scream of the fiddle tears across the audience. Lightning Spangles herself just stares ahead, eyes wide, in tandem to Whoopi hereself. She smiles tighter and tighter, her teeth baring. It doesn't end. It refuses to end, the unyielding sound of the fiddle raking the air. And then, finally, it ends. It ends. Lightning Spangles sighs.
And then comes the singing.
Her posture shoots up straight, the cowgirl's expression transforming into an even tighter grimace. Her arms were trembling, as she stares at the boy. It was singing. The singing was worse than the fiddle. THE SINGING WAS WORSE THAN THE FIDDLE. OH NO THE FIDDLE AND THE SONG WERE AT THE SAME TIME. The combination of both is hurled out. Ramsey is plopped in the chair, thankfully unconscious. And finally, finally, it ends. The song ends. Whoopi turns towards Lightning Spangles.
Lightning Spangles does not consult the other judges for this one.
"Nextcanidiateplease!" She belts out loudly at crackneck speed.
Well, that was... it was certainly something. The excitement in the crowd is palpable.
Saishu Kusanagi sits absolutely stock still, his arms having folded over his bristle-drenched, Dillo-painted chest about halfway through his protege's startling performance piece, mouth forming - for the first time on this legendary night - a cold, grim line. His gimlet eyes remain fixated upon the Falldown Dillo until he's made his snotty pratfall and is waddling over, at which point the elder statesman passes judgement...
Leaning once more toward May, he grunts a tightly-coherent, unreadable, "Hrn. Eh?"
Then the old man's elbow makes another fierce jab for her delicate lower ribs.
"Told you this kid was good, didn't I? HA HA!"
Wait, what? Yeah, he's grinning that shit-eating grin again, apparently possessing the most intolerable sense of oversight where the clumsy flameless Boy Wonder is concerned. As soon as the lad takes his seat, impossibly strong, wiry arms unfold and one hand lifts to deliver a thunderous slap across shoulders and upper spine. For a 'slap' it makes a sound awfully like *ker-THUD*. Planting the other set of fingers firmly to his chin, Saishu scratches at his beard, pronouncing with a firm nod:
"Not bad, Shingo-kun! You looked like a real Dillo up there. You really nailed that E-sharp! Next time, just try a little more gratuitous violence and we'll have you in the big leagues in NO time! Haha." Either he's completely ignored his star pupil's question, or-- oh, here we go, "Training, right! You know, Kyo suffered from stage fright as well, and he couldn't even play the bass like that skinny redhead he's always flirting with! The fiddle is a much more sophisticated instrument!"
If this crazy fool Knows Things then it seems, where Shingo Yabuki is concerned, the entire world is missing the point but him. It wouldn't be the first time. Annie Oakley certainly doesn't get it, and Saishu is completely unperturbed.
"You deserve an ice cream, Shingo-kun!!"
A moment later, a little girl at the back of the crowd is in tears and the lovably-awful klutz is unceremoniously presented with a generous double scoop of raspberry ripple with chocolate sprinkles and a caramel wafer. "HA HA!"
What is... a real Dillo?
Is it a man or a machine?
Hold on while I grab a book.
Is a Dillo: Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist, two ranch hands, come together when they're working as sheepherder and camp tender one summer on a range above the tree line. At first, sharing an isolated tent, the attraction is casual, inevitable, but something deeper catches them that summer.
(I hope it is bears.)
Both men work hard, marry, and have kids because that's what Dillos do. But over the course of many years and frequent separations this relationship becomes the most important thing in their lives, and they do anything they can to preserve it.
(Where are the bears?)
(Why am I talking in brackets?)
(I WISH I COULD QUIT YOU, BRACKETS!)
Shingo shifts like an awkward teenager would in his seat, brown eyes peering owlishly at Saishu, perhaps searching for praise or simply the answer to his question. It comes with a heavy-handed slap to the back that almost equals swallowing his own tongue and an, "Erbal berble."
Precisely three hacking coughs later, Yabuki is able to form incomplete question sentences. "Kusanagi-san, really?" His idol is something of a... Show-off. I wanted a word with more 'oomph', but this is what you get. "I don't think he's been flirting with Yagami-san..." rallies the boy to Kyo's defence, only to be brushed off with promises of ice cream.
Who doesn't love ice cream?
-- HANG ON I SMELL A TRICK!
A delicious raspberry ripple trick with chocolate sprinkles and slobber.
Saishu Kusanagi is a motherfucking sorcerer!!
Thanking his mentor's father who mentored his mentor and is now mentoring him, Shingo quitely tucks into his stolen waffle cone of ice cream, because sugar cones are for pricks and the losers of Hell's Kitchen. A lifetime supply of sugar cones. The teen's cheeks burn with embarrassment, as he doesn't follow just why he made a complete ass out of himself.
The Island tournament immediately hooked Johnny upon hearing it advertised. This was perfect; beaches, babes, money, attention? Four things he really loves in life. Not to mention it would give him the chance to promo his upcoming movie: Garthus the Demon Hunter. He's spent practically all last week getting his PR people to see who he could match up with. Hot babes first, cool dudes second, his only rules. His publicist was having a hell of a time getting someone to his standards; so far, he's rejected every single one.
Until the Hoedown Dillo tryouts with Jezebel Faiblesse. Johnny has a spot in his heart for the honky tonk badonkadonk and in his mind, the actress brought it. So when the chance to impress came, he took it. The only thing was, he hadn't bothered researching what was needed for this. As his publicist screamed at him, he assured that he had a plan: be himself.
"PREPARE YOURSELF..." The song begins. "PREPARE YOURSELF..." A second time. Then a third. Finally, "OoooOOOOOH, JOHNNY CAGE IS NOT AFRAID TO DIE!"
A thumping electronic beat follows, as Johnny does cartwheels onto the stage. "Please welcome, mister John Carlton, the blue-eyed actor from Venice, California!" The song introduced. "He's cool...he's hot...he's crazy...he's JOHNNY CAAAAAAGE!" The beat ramps up into a bass-pounding rhythm as Johnny stops cartwheeling and throws his arms up, pyrotechnics behind him.
After this crowd-hyping, several dummies are wheeled out and he begins going to town on them, demolishing their stuffed bodies with kicks, punches, and a few green chi balls for that extra flavor. He finishes with a high split kick to two of them, knocking their heads off.
He runs at the edge of the stage high-fiving those in the front row. He then does some more aerobic moves while a crew wheels out posters of some of his movies: Sudden Violen, Dragon Fist, Dragon Fist 2, Son of Dragon Fist, Every Dog Has Its Day, 24 Karate Gold, etc. Once these are taken out, someone tosses him an electric guitar, which he starts shredding as per what he remembers from his Massive Strike film, in which his character was a rocker. Perhaps he's just miming to a pre-recorded riff, but either way he tosses the guitar back.
The song ends and Johnny is at the judges booth. "Howdy darlin'," he says in a very fake Texan accent. "I'm here."
Lightning Spangle's face was blank as the music plays.
The arrival of Johnny Cage was... different from the previous canidates. The throbbing techno was not Hoedown Dillo material. Jumping in with kicks, fists, and blows was also unusual. Gordon Ramsey had nothing to say yet, as he was dumped in his judge chair, still unconscious. And yet, as he breaks out the guitar, which was another not-Hoedown Dillo feature, Lightning Spangles begins to smile. And when he tosses the guitar away, and plops himself right in front of the cowgirl...
Jezebel can't help but giggle like a schoolgirl.
"Oh my~" She coos, hiding her blushing face. "Johnny Cage, I- oh, I am sorry, I am just a big fan of your movies!~" Was Jezebel's reaction. She begins to twirl her hair around her finger, blushing brightly. "A-And you want to be my Hoedown Dillo? You know, I was just telling Whoopi that I always envisioned the Hoedown Dillo having your voice!" Whoopi looks at Jezebel, and gives her a wink. "Oh sure, girl! She was just saying, that Johnny Cage would be the perfect Hoedown Dillo. You two would make quite the pair!" Jezebel gives Whoopi a little shove. "Oh, stop!~"
"Well I think it was utter tripe!"
Those are the words from Gordon Ramsay, who managed to have revived in the middle of the performance, and he was scowling. Barely bringing himself up into a stand, he just stares -daggers- at Johnny Cage. "Of all the puffed up, bloated, self-absorbed clowns that have come up on that stage, you have been the worst. I haven't seen such an atrocious performance since your movie, in fact, the deplorable Time Smashers! You can't sing, you can't dance, you can't even fiddle, and you look nothing like the Hoedown Dillo!" Gordon ignores the infatuated Jezebel, standing right next to Johnny Cage, arms crossed.
"What is one thing that you can do that makes you worthy of being the Next Hoedown Dillo?"
Johnny is luckily wearing his 'hater shades'. He folds his arms and smirks as Gordon lays into him. "This," he answers. He then does the splits and rams his fist into Ramsay's crotch. He actually likes Ramsay a lot, but he has to put on a show. He'll send the chef a gift basket later.
Relevant to the task at hand or not, nobody can deny that Johnny Cage embodies the spirit of showmanship - and more than a few in the crowd are swept away much like Whoopi and the infatuated Ms. Faiblesse. Seated amongst them, and still (lest we forget) half-garbed as the Hoedown Dillo himself, the fiery Saishu watches with keen interest, smoothing the scraggly tip of his beard and nodding with open approval. He's always had an eye for talent.
With his apprentice absorbed in ice cream heaven, the elder statesman of the Kusanagi Clan gives him a quick sharp-elbowed jab in the side and uses the distraction to dart an unerringly-targeted ultra-calloused hand into the poor boy's own costume.
"Lend me some paper, this gives me some great ideas, ha ha!"
Obtaining the treasured journal and tearing out a single page; he is, notably considering he's otherwise being a massive jerk, careful not to disturb any of the boy's work in the process, Saishu bends forward over his knee, tongue protruding from the edge of his mouth like an excited six year old as he keeps half a gimlety eye on the action unfolding before him and scribbles frantically with the other.
Cage knows how to please his audience, and the old man is no different. He's probably the only person present who ends up with a page full of feverish chicken-scratch notes on how best to integrate the performance into his questionable 'day job', complete with a clumsily-amateurish but passionate doodle of Cage's inimitable crotch-punch on the rightly-savaged TV chef in the margin. Once his work is complete, Saishu tucks the page into his Dillo-hump, leans back and applauds with boisterous satisfaction.
"Now THAT'S martial arts! HA HA! No messing around; right to the point!"
Tomorrow, he'll teach that move to Shingo. If he can't have a student with BALLS, he can at least educate him on the finer points of levelling the playing field.
Those were the last words as suddenly, and quite expectantly, Gordon Ramsay takes a punch right in the nuts. He bends over, and soon collapses to the cheers of the entire audience. There was nobody who punched nuts like Johnny Cage. In fact, Whoopi Goldberg just starts -laughing- as Jezebel sighs dreamily. As Gordon sputters and curses on the ground, Lightning Spangles stands talls.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I've found the next Hoedown Dillo!"
Gesturing towards Johnny Cage, the crowd erupts into cheers. Jezebel looks at her new Hoedown Dillo, clapping along with the audience. "I don't know why, Johnny Cage, but you just have that Hoedown Dillo spark! You have the magic! You have the charm! And well, as far as the fiddling, the square dancing, and the makeup goes... well you have the accent down!" Lightning Spangles blushes even harder, as she coyly toys with her lips with one hand. "Johnny Cage..."
"Are you ready to be my Dillo?"
Johnny motions with his hands at the crowd, eating up their response. "Bro, I really dig the British version of Kitchen Nightmares," he whispers down at the hurting Ramsay. He turns to Jezebel when she makes her proclamation, still smirking - he already knew this outcome. "Jezebel..." he answers, and puts on a pair of sunglasses...over his existing pair. "I was born ready."
Log created on 18:42:14 01/27/2015 by Jezebel, and last modified on 20:39:53 01/28/2015.