Here’s the thing about people, well good people anyway, we’re always changing. We refuse to be pinned down, our tastes change, our opinions, ideas, beliefs, all grow, shift and evolve as we go through this disaster called life.
And of course, I’m no different. So when I look back at some of the things I’ve created over the years, sometimes I do so with immense pride. Other times I see only what improvements could be made.
Presidential Deathmatch is one of those pieces which holds up pretty well, Andrew Jackson getting into Heaven notwithstanding.
Still, as I ramp up to the release of Presidential Deathmatch 3: I’ll See You in Hell, it’s become apparent that the original masterpiece is in need of a bit of touching up.
So that’s what you’re about to read, an updated take on a classic tale first penned by my good, nay great, friend Mike Barbato and I. The original was weird mix of us drafting Presidents we’d thought could kick some ass, combined with those simulations from Deadliest Warrior. Given how the franchise has evolved, it seemed necessary to adapt the format a bit.
I hope you enjoy:
Presidential Deathmatch: Remastered
Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States of America, sits alone at a booth in a bar. More specifically, he’s at his favorite bar The East Wing, Heaven’s premier hangout spot for dead U.S. Presidents.
“He’s late,” Roosevelt says with an annoyed shake of his head, before downing what remains of his whiskey.
He begins to rise, preparing to leave the bar and head back home for the night, but tenses as he does, not quite making it to a full rise. A noise catches his ear, something he recognizes.
It’s the tell tale clopping of President Andrew Jackson’s cane. “Theodore you old bear,” he says warmly.
Roosevelt nods to him, polite, but not overly courteous. Though he understands the Almighty’s plans are ineffable, he’s never quite worked out why ALL Presidents go to Heaven. Bit of an All Dogs Go to Heaven situation perhaps.
He’s also not quite sure why Ike puts up with Jackson, nevermind why he puts up with him. Fortunately, the pair are spared the indecency of forced small talk by the arrival of the third member of their group.
President Dwight David Eisenhower slides into the booth next to Jackson, across from Roosevelt, and despite Teddy’s reservations about Ol’ Hickory, they begin to have a grand time.
Minutes turn to hours as they exchange stories, struggles of their Presidency’s and regrets over choices made. A fresh plate of Andrew Jackson’s beloved Extra-Buffaloey Buffalo Wings (made from the wings of real buffalos) arrives at their table, steaming hot, they smell absolutely delicious.
Before anybody can take a bite, Teddy tenses again, he detects something his companions do not, the vibes are off.
He notices a slight shift in the atmosphere around them, suddenly everything feels colder, quieter, a feeling reminiscent of an approaching storm front on the plains.
Someone approaches their table from behind him, situated as he is with his back to the door, multiple someones.
Before he can turn to see who it is, someone in the mystery group clears their throat. Not in a polite way mind you, but in an absolutely pompous way designed explicitly to interrupt.
Teddy turns to see President George Washington, flanked by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Herbert Hoover. Roosevelt and Kennedy are close, though overall the groups have a pre-existing beef, stretching back decades at this point, over who has dibs on this particular booth. Never mind the fact that there are always enough tables at the East Wing, this is personal.
“This is my table, so these must be my wings too”, George Washington says, reaching out to grab one of Jackson’s beloved wings.
Quick as a viper, Jackson lashes out, plunging a knife through Washington’s hand, pinning it to the table, before he can reach the wings.
Washington screams, writhing in pain as he attempts to dislodge the knife. All parties, besides Jackson, are aghast, sure they’d bickered in the past, but this is a precipitous escalation.
Herbert Hoover, seemingly the odd man out, recovers his wits first. He smashes his bottle of Mike’s Hard Lemonade over Jackson’s head who collapses to the ground.
Teddy stands up sharply, using his chair as a shield from Kennedy who he senses flanking him.
“Gentlemen, let’s calm down. Heaven has the best hospitals, we can patch all this up before things get truly ugly”, he says.
Unfortunately the time for common sense has fled.
Hoover launches the remnants of his bottle at Teddy, who deftly ducks to avoid, but Kennedy tackles him as he does so. Meanwhile, Washington manages to pry the knife out of the table and from his hand.
Eisenhower comes over to wrap his hand and hopefully get Washington to the hospital, but his intentions are misinterpreted by George who attempts to stab him with the knife so recently buried in his hand.
Ike knocks the knife out of Washington’s hand as the pair spin off, somehow finding enough space to duke it out, fisticuff style in the middle of what had been a crowded bar.
Though they’ve cleared out of the immediate area the remaining patrons in the bar continue to drink, this is Heaven after all, surely things won’t get that serious.
The pair should share a formidable bond, they are both not only former Presidents but former Supreme Commanders as well. Yet the hostilities over the table have soured things.
Eisenhower and Washington are like a pair of heavyweights in a ring. Not since Balboa v. Drago have two more powerful fighters been pitted against one another.
They exchange an unreal flurry of blows until Washington gains the upper hand.
“I hate you Dwight David Eisenhower, I hate your guts!” He yells as he rains blow after blow to Ike, who falls to the ground, attempting to ward off the vicious attack.
Washington doesn’t let up, continuing to hammer Eisenhower, blinded by fury and the pain in his hand.
With a shock he comes out of his fog, gasping in horror at what he’s done.
Backing away, Washington stares at the blood on his hands, dismayed, floating in a world of grief.
A pair of hands afix themselves to the side of his face, Andrew Jackson has returned to the fight. With an unholy crack, he snaps Washington’s neck, killing him instantly.
While Eisenhower and Jackson had been fighting, Roosevelt had his hands full with Hoover and Kennedy.
Though Roosevelt had been mostly handling himself well, the youth of Kennedy, combined with Hoover’s strength made them a rather formidable duo.
Having dispatched Washington, Jackson rushes to the aid of Roosevelt, wrapping his hands around Hoover’s neck, intending to strangle him.
Hoover utilizes his Ultimate Hooverball™ strength to flip Jackson around, wrestling him to the ground.
With this momentary respite, Roosevelt surveys the scene, and notices for the first time the bodies of Eisenhower and Washington.
He flinches, as if though struck, as rage washes over him. “JACKSON,” he bellows, before Kennedy springs on him in a renewed attack.
Jackson, still rolling on the ground with Hoover, glances up at the sound of his name, Hoover takes this opportunity to attack, scoring a vicious punch to the side of Jackson’s head.
Ol’ Hickory springs up in a berserker’s rage, knocking a table over. Hoover desperately tries to crawl away, but Jackson is too much.
He’s on him now, and despite Hoover’s immense strength, the rabid wolverine like intensity of Jackson is too much for him.
Kennedy and Roosevelt continue to spar. Roosevelt hopes to avoid injuring Kennedy, but yearns to end the fight so he can put an end to Jackson’s mania.
Just as he gains the upper hand, hoping to sweep Kennedy’s legs out from under him, Jackson is on him!
Kennedy, happy the fight is finally over, walks over to the bar, where he begins to hit on Mary Todd-Lincoln.
While Kennedy had survived relatively well against Roosevelt, Jackson, despite his rage and prodigious killing abilities, is fading fast.
Unburdened by a desire to protect a friend, Roosevelt is merciless, undoing Jackson splendidly.
Roosevelt pummels Jackson with body blows, sending his foe reeling. As he gains a bit of distance from Jackson he yells, “Get ready for an uppercut you’ll never forget!”
Closing the distance, he lands a savage hit, directly to Jackson’s chin, launching him off his feet.
He lands on the ground in a crumpled heap, blinking rapidly, as if though waking up, Jackson extends his hand to Roosevelt, for all the world he appears to beg for mercy.
Though he has reservations, Teddy’s better nature wins out, and he extends his hand to Jackson, readying to help him to his feet. However, Jackson has other ideas.
Pulling out a knife, he attempts to stab Roosevelt, who pushes off, spinning away from his former drinking buddy. Jackson slips on Hoover’s blood, falling to the ground with an awful crack.
Satisfied in his foes demise, Roosevelt looks around the bar with hopes to make amends with Kennedy for the hell the night has become.
He spots Kennedy and Mrs. Lincoln, poised to leave the bar together and briskly walks over, clearing his throat to announce himself.
“I’m glad you’re alright John,” he says.
“And I you Teddy, but now, if you don’t mind, I have some business of my own to attend to”. With a nod to Roosevelt, he turns towards Mary Todd-Lincoln, only to see she’s vanished.
Kennedy is visibly enraged by this development. He snatches an umbrella from the holder near the door and launches an attack on Roosevelt.
Roosevelt leaps atop the bar, finding the Big Stick he keeps hidden there for emergencies, and shouts. “It’s over JFK, I have the high ground!”
“You underestimate my POWER!” JFK retorts, beyond reason now.
“Don’t try it…” Roosevelt pleads.
Kennedy leaps into the air, meaning to land next to Roosvelt and continue their duel. Teddy is too quick however, and strikes quickly, breaking JFK’s knees and right arm.
John F. Kennedy lands on the ground in a crumpled, humiliated heap, driven mad by lust and excruciating pain.
Roosevelt is heartbroken, not only by what’s transpired this night, but by what he’s been forced to do.
“You were the Chosen One! It was said that you would destroy the debt, not increase it! It was you who would bring balance to the Political Parties, not leave them in Darkness!”, he yells in emotional agony.
“I HATE YOU!”, Kennedy replies, in physical agony.
“You were my brother JFK, I loved you.”
With that Theodore Roosevelt departs the East Wing, victorious, but with a heavy heart.