“Err… Mr. Lincoln…” Billy Fields begins as he raises his hand above his eyes, shielding his face from the sun.
“Sensei!” Abe Lincoln barks in correction. The brim of his bowler hat, perfectly matched to his black tuxedo, keeps his own eyes shaded as he walks past the intrepid correspondent. With a white handkerchief, he dabs beads of sweat from his face.
“Right. Sorry.” Fields stammers, trotting to keep up. “It’s just that I’ve uh… I’ve been waiting out here for you for almost two hours and there hasn’t been a lot of shade…”
It’s true that there hasn’t been. A red, empty desert stretches out in almost every direction, featureless save for a sporadic spattering of tussock growing out of cracks in jagged rocks.
Oh, and the wall.
Tall, brown bollards reach into the spotless sky, blocking any view of what lies beyond. Even the sun itself cannot pierce it, leaving the shade that Fields so desperately seeks to be cast exclusively on the other side.
Ignoring Fields, Lincoln exaggerates a spit as he nears the wall. Fields stops in his tracks just behind, doing his best to avoid the projectile saliva. With some luck, he finally finds that relief that he was seeking, as a massive shadow falls upon the ground around him. But this shadow brings a tremendous concern of its own, for it is the shadow of Shujin Yama.
“Mr… I mean… Sensei Lincoln?” Fields asks, nervously flicking his eyes back to the gargantuan sumo. “Why are we in Arizona? We’re really stretching the budget here…”
“We are here, mmhmm…” Lincoln looks up at the great wall, “…to show how America treats people like Carlos Ruiz.”
With a grunt, Yama brushes past Fields, plunging him back into the sweltering heat and almost knocking the poor guy over in the process. He joins his associate at the base of the wall, but refuses to look up and acknowledge that anything could be bigger than him. From inside his jacket, Lincoln withdraws a paper fan with which he sets about cooling Yama with.
Fields slinks around to Lincoln’s side, finding a small comfort in having someone between himself and the Premier American Champion.
“This is America, as Carlos Ruiz should see it,” Lincoln says, keeping his eyes on the structure in front of him. “An indomitable force. Stern. Unwelcoming. Just like its Premier Champion, no? Just like Shujin Yama.”
“That may very well be true,” Fields risks speaking. “Shujin Yama is thus far the only champion to successfully defend his championship here in Classic Wrestling.”
“Bah!” Lincoln waves his hand. Yama gives off an animalistic growl. “‘Only’? No ‘only’! Carlos-San was ‘only’ one undefeated. But that changed. Unlike Carlos-San, Shujin Yama is not happy to rest on his laurels. Shujin Yama only happy when destroying everything in his path. Look no further than In Your Haunted House!”
“Now that you mention it, Freddy Kilgore was able to slam Shujin Yama during their match. How is that playing on…” The look of death on both Yama and Lincoln’s faces tells Fields it isn’t wise to continue that thought.
“One thing is known,” Lincoln says, lowering his voice and continuing to stare daggers at Billy Fields.. “Carlos-San will not be slamming anyone. See Carlos-San has opportunity. Oh yes, Carlos-San has been so happy just for opportunity in Classic Wrestling. But it will go no further than that. This wall here? This is the same opportunity Shujin Yama will give to that ant. Shujin Yama is magnifying glass. It will be too hot for little jumping bean. He will crash! He will burn! He has no choice. This wall was made to keep people out. But Carlos-San is already here on this side, trapped in by the wall. In with Shujin Yama.”
As an exclamation point to the statement, Yama steps forward and drives a mighty palm into the concrete. The pillar crumbles and cracks underneath the force, leaving a hole the size of Ruiz’s head in the wall.
“Carlos-San has opportunity, this is true. But Shujin Yama is the wall that will keep him in his place as little engine who couldn’t. Little hero who didn’t.”
Yama himself turns from the damage, and walks right through Fields again, not even paying attention as the young man is sent sprawling to the ground. Lincoln cackles as Fields scrambles to his feet just in time to watch the villainous duo leave.