“You're ready, Kim.”
“No, I'm not. And you know it. If we were fighting for real you'd leave me in pieces.”
“I didn't say you were back where you were a year ago. And I'm not suggesting you fight me. I think you're ready.”
“And I think this whole thing sounds ridiculous.”
“Come on, Kim. You're the one being ridiculous. You agree we sponge too much off your parents, but when I try and pay for things you object to where I earned my money.”
“It's almost entirely paychecks.”
Kim rolled her eyes. “And how did you earn those checks? And then I found you were buying our own stuff on eBay to put money in the furniture fund -- then throwing the junk out.”
“Exactly, Kim. It's a pain in the butt to try and do something nice for you. You just end up criticizing me. I want that big Jacuzzi in our bathroom. You won't let your dad pay for it, you won't let me pay for it, and now you won't even take money from the furniture fund. Our bathroom is the last one left to fix, and I'm getting damned tired of looking at it the way it is. We're going to earn that money honestly so you can't whine and I can relax in style.”
“And you relaxing in style is doing something for me?”
“Didn't you read the description? It was designed for two.”
“Okay, Shego, explain it to me one more time.”
“Pretty simple really. You remember when we ended up in the wrestling ring when we were stuck in the Pandimensional Vortex Inducer, right?”
“I sure do, we had fun.”
“Exactly! Well, Ron was telling me how you and he have connections with the GWA, and they're in town in a couple weeks for Mayhem in Middleton Four. Use your connections; we go into the ring as a tag team. You are ready.”
“The GWA doesn't have women wrestlers.”
“Kim, you are ready to take on the best they have -- it doesn't matter. They can't beat us.”
“Shego, there is no way in the world I would do that. I'd be too embarrassed to ever show my face in class or the mall.”
“Well, less time in the mall would save us money,” Shego muttered.
“What was that, dear?”
“I said I think we can go in masked. Call the GWA, at least we can talk with them.”
“Whaddaya want?” Jackie Oakes growled, annoyed that Kim and the other woman had been allowed in to see him.
“You're out of prison?” Kim asked, rather surprised to see him.
“Yeah, the judge bought my line dat the talisman was makin' me steal stuff. So I didn't get much of a sentence. An the GWA needs my promotional skills to survive, so of course I'm back.”
“We had an idea that might be suitable for inclusion in Middleton Mayhem Four.”
“Mizz Possible, if I may call you dat. Let me put it to you succinctly -- drop dead.”
“Kim, would you please step out into the hall for a minute. I want to convince Mr. Oakes that he should not overlook a great business opportunity.”
Kim left the room, and stood in front of the door in case anyone asked questions about the noises coming from inside. “He's auditioning a new act,” she informed the curious.
“Okay, you can roll me,” he said after Kim came back into the room. “But I'm not exactly in top form. I gotta know you can last wit a real wrassler. I gotta duty to the fans ya know. Let's go down to the gym and see if you can handle a real fight.”
Down in the gym Jackie gestured to a couple of the lesser names on the scorecard, “Hey, Chuck, Bruce, come over here and lean on these two dames, willya?”
“Only two of them?” Shego asked. “We don't even need Kim in the ring for that -- I'll take them both.”
Shego climbed into the practice ring and Jackie gave last minute instructions to the two fighters. “There's an extra C-note apiece for you in dis if you show me some serious hurt.”
Kim smiled as she watched. Shego was clearly taking her time, wanting to give a good show. The two wrestlers and Jackie didn't realize that the pale woman was simply toying with her opponents, but it was frustrating for them that neither of the two could get a hand on her. “Finish it!” Jackie yelled at them.
“Should I finish it now, Kim?”
“Yes, you can finish them now.” It ended soon after Kim finished the sentence.
Jackie stared at the two canvasbacks. He had a bad feeling they would want those C-notes -- they had certainly showed him some serious hurt. “Come into my office ladies, let's talk contract.” He wasn't sure which of the two he hated more, Kim for stopping his plans for power or the pale woman for throwing him around his own office. But Jackie Oakes was first of all a businessman, and these two were money. He hoped there was time to change publicity before the show -- these two deserved serious billing.
A large plasma television had been added to the living room, before Kim discovered that Shego was laundering money through the eBay account. Ron had refused to let it be taken back, threatening to withhold cooking, and so it remained. Bonnie had the twins in a playpen by one end of the couch, while Monique and Ron had the middle and other end of the couch.
“Any idea why Kim told us to watch the GWA tonight?”
“Sorry, 'nique, they don't confide in me. But I figure that's kind of like asking me to breathe or sleep.”
Bonnie just stared at the two in disgust. “This is all like, totally fake, you know that, don't you?”
“Don't go calling Steel Toe a fake, he's the man!”
“Two words, Ron,” Monique said, “Pain King.”
“My man is so going to crush him.”
They fell silent as the title flashed on the screen 'Middleton Mayhem IV!”
The opening acts were lesser fighters, who usually put on good shows in hopes of being noticed and promoted to a higher paying role in the program. Bonnie found herself enjoying it as a form of theater, but didn't dare say anything to Ron and Monique after making fun of them earlier.
“Ohmygawd! Did you see that ad they just ran for the feature fight?”
“I was looking at the twins. What was it?”
“They were wearing masks, but I swear it was Kim and Shego.”
“You're kidding, right?”
“Would I kid about a thing like that?”
“Yes, Ron, you would. Or you could be mistaken -- you said they were wearing masks.”
“Yeah, like the comic book characters Batgirl and Catwoman.”
“Don't be ridiculous, Ron,” Bonnie interrupted. “There's no way Kim would do something like that.”
“Not unless they let her wear a mask.”
“Uh, a couple days ago I noticed they changed the advertising spots on the radio,” Monique said. “They claimed the feature fight would be an Intergender Tag Team Match. Batgirl and Catwoman vs. Pain King and Steel Toe.”
“No way they can have Pain King and Steel Toe together! Those two hate each other.”
“Way, Ron, I'm just telling you what the ad said on the radio.”
“Was it really Kim and Shego?” Bonnie demanded.
“I'm just telling you what I saw. It explains why they told us to watch. Ouch, that is so kayfabe.”
“Just accept it and don't think about it too much,” Monique explained. “Shego would say suspension of disbelief or some literary term. But how can they do a match like that? I mean, Steel Toe and Batwoman would both be faces, and Pain King and Catwoman would be heels, right?”
“Faces and heels?”
Ron handled that one for Bonnie, “Good guys and bad guys. Oh, yeah, Monique likes the bad boys.”
“He's got a bionic eye, Ron, that is so much cooler than a steel foot!”
“Why don't you just say good guys and bad guys?” Bonnie complained.
“'Cause then people wouldn't know that we know what we're talking about. Oh, I think I remember the name for what they are doing -- it's a Parejas Incredibles Match. They have them in Mexico, I've seen it on ESPN Two. But I've never seen one that was intergender. Jackie is a genius, he's got something brand new!”
Bonnie refrained from pointing out that sticking two old ideas together didn't exactly count as something new. “It's going to be fun seeing Kim and Shego beat two guys,” she observed.
“No way, Bon. Steel Toe is what this is all about. It's got to be the guys who win. They wouldn't let two new people defeat the biggest draws in the GWA.”
Suddenly the lesser contests became meaningless. The trio waited impatiently for the climactic battle on the evening's program. The twins were fed and changed without ever leaving the living room. All three saw the next video clip, and it confirmed Ron's opinion that Kim and Shego would be in the match.
Finally, the arena went dark and spotlights followed Steel Toe and Pain King, walking in together, waving at their fans. And since everyone there stood firmly in one camp or the other the applause was thunderous. They reached the center of the arena and spotlights picked up two slim figures moving towards the center from the other side. 'Catwoman' appeared unwilling to participate, but the handcuff kept her linked to 'Batgirl.' Some hardcore GWA fans booed the women willing to challenge the two biggest names on the bill -- while other fans seemed to appreciate the tight outfits on the two women.
'Catwoman' and Pain King began the match. The referee was constantly warning the two of fouls and the audience hissed as the two gave a demonstration on every dirty trick in the book.
Pain King appeared to be in no serious trouble when he tagged Steel Toe and sent the GWA hero in to face the Hellcat. 'Catwoman' appeared to have gotten tired while battling Pain King. After a few minutes Steel Toe was able to throw her. She bounced off the cables, then flipped gracefully over and tagged 'Batgirl.'
Even Bonnie joined Monique and Ron bouncing on the couch as they cheered wildly for Kim. “Get him girl,” Monique shouted. “Flatten him!” The crowd in the arena cheered wildly as the two heroes gave them a long show of clean fighting, filled with throws and rolls.
After a long time battling against Steel Toe 'Batgirl' tagged 'Catwoman' and the lithe felon slipped between the ropes into the ring. Steel Toe remained in the ring, determined to bring the fight to an end. 'Catwoman' was really fighting dirty now, and a clawed hand slashed at Steel Toe's pects, leaving four red slashes across his chest.
“Did you see that?” Bonnie asked, aghast at the red dripping down Steel Toes' chest. “What is the referee going to do?”
Apparently the referee had missed it completely. He appeared to be conferring with a ringside official and missed the brutal foul. Reeling with pain Steel Toe tagged Pain King, who slipped between the ropes -- and joined 'Catwoman' in her assault on Steel Toe.
'Batgirl' was screaming at the referee to notice what was happening in the ring.
“Oh, Steel Toe is playing Ricky Morton,” Ron explained to Bonnie.
“It means he's getting beat up. But it also means they wrote a new script. Bet I know where it's going.”
“You'd have to have cheese for brains not to know where this one is going,” Monique insisted.
Bonnie kept silent, afraid of being accused of having cheese for brains.
The referee was over talking with 'Batgirl' now as she gestured wildly at the mayhem going on in the ring. Finally she couldn't take it any longer and vaulted the ropes and went into action.
'Batgirl' engaged Pain King, giving the 'injured' Steel Toe the chance to defend himself against 'Catwoman.” After several minutes of complete mayhem, which the referee seemed totally unable to bring under control, 'Batgirl' caught up Pain King and gave him an airplane spin, flinging him against 'Catwoman.' The heels went crashing into the ropes then collapsed motionless in the ring.
'Batgirl' and the 'injured' Steel Toe joined hands, and the referee raised their linked hands in victory as the crowd went wild.
“You didn't need to pick him like that,” Shego scolded Kim.
“You don't need to tell me. My abs are going to be reminding me for the next three days.”
“What in the hell made you think you were ready for a move like that?”
“Gee, I don't know. Maybe it was my lover saying, 'Kim, you're ready for it.'”
“I said you weren't back to where you were. If you'd stuck with the script you wouldn't be hurting so bad.”
There was a loud knocking on the door.
“Who is it?” Kim called.
“Andrew and Bill, are you two decent?”
“Come on in.”
In their 'civilian' clothes Steel Toe and Pain King bore some resemblance to the movie stereotype of Mafia muscle. “We wanted to make sure Jackie paid you all he promised. He's been known to pull a fast one on temps. You two were great tonight.”
Shego laughed, “Jackie must have agreed with you. He actually gave us a bonus and would like us to get back in the ring sometime. Maybe against each other.”
“Jackie paying a bonus to temps? That's got to be a first. Can we take the two of you out to dinner?”
“We've got to get back to the babies. Kim became a mother about three and a half months ago.”
“You're kidding,” Andrew exclaimed. “No way you can be back in shape that fast.”
“No way that I am,” Kim agreed. “I'm going to be in real pain tomorrow.”
“I'm sorry about that,” Bill apologized.
“It's her own fault for ad libbing,” Shego reminded him. “Hey, want to come back to our place? We have two of your biggest fans watching the girls. One of them is a hell of a cook. I can give them a call and he can start something. We'll stop at the store and pick up a couple steaks to grill for you on the way back.”
Back at Possible Manor an argument broke out between Shego, who insisted that the fights resonated with the fans because of atavistic archetypal conflict, and Bill, who insisted they provided catharsis for an audience frustrated with the complexities of modern society.
“You people have brains, too?” Bonnie asked.
“Oh, yeah. Bill took some graduate courses in psychology while he was wrestling for U of I.”
“Is your chest going to be okay?”
“My chest? … Oh, that red dye Sharon had hidden in her glove? Pain King is going to beat me next time we fight and I'm going to claim I hadn't fully recovered from this match.
“I don't think I can get out of bed,” Kim groaned. “I think I'll break in two if I try and move.”
“I told you that you overdid yesterday.”
“I never doubted you. Can you bring me breakfast in bed?”
“Okay, and then a nice warm bath will help those muscles feel better.”
After breakfast Shego filled the tub in Bonnie and Monique's bathroom with warm water and bubble bath, then carried Kim in and slid her gently into the water. “Scoot forward,” she told the redhead as she got out of her bathrobe and pajamas.
“See this is why we need the Jacuzzi,” Shego complained as Kim leaned back against her. “This tub is just too narrow for comfort.”
“Ummmm, I feel fine,” Kim purred.
“Well my legs are cramped.”
“Oh, too bad. You shouldn't complain. We can't be in here very long before the water gets cold and we have to get out.”
“Hey, you're soaking with a woman who carries her own heat source, remember?”
“You can heat water too? I knew there was a reason I loved you.”
“I thought it was for my sparkling personality.”
“We can get out now,” Kim told Shego. “We've been steeping so long I feel Korean.”
The pale woman groaned, “Or maybe Shego soup.”
Translation Note: Vincere est totum - Winning is everything