Evil Empire

A self-proclaimed 'God of Video Games' with a real-life god complex is determined to rule gamers, girls and the world.

Also, he adds, "Ed leads the lifestyle that a lot of gamers wish they did."

Powers may be on to something there.

Evil Ed calls himself "a living animated character." He is an obsessive halter-top chaser who lives to party. He arrogantly announces every thought in his head and recklessly gets into fights. Evil Ed just might be the human embodiment of the repressed video-gamer id.

Evil Ed enjoys his favorite pastime in his subtly decorated apartment.
Paolo Vescia
Evil Ed enjoys his favorite pastime in his subtly decorated apartment.

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Evil Ed meets the real world.

The idea is wonderfully low-concept and pure Evil Ed. It has nothing to do with video games, but Evil Ed is convinced his God of Video Games persona can launch a non-virtual, non-televised business concept.

This . . . is Extreme Bikini Bowling.

Extreme Bikini Bowling combines two seemingly disparate activities: flirting with bikini models and bowling. Each player pays $25 for four hours of lane use. Evil Ed guarantees a scantily clad girl will bowl at each lane. The models will rotate lanes, "so you don't get stuck with the same girl."

It is a truly visionary idea because it is so difficult to imagine.

At the debut of Extreme Bikini Bowling at Tempe Village Lanes, Evil Ed is uncharacteristically nervous. He paces the alley wearing his favorite red jersey, the one with "Evil Ed" printed on the back. Evil Ed says he invested $6,500 on the advertising materials and promotion.

Extreme Bikini Bowling is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. It's a few minutes past, yet there are only about 100 bowlers here. Many of them are Evil Ed's friends and did not have to pay at the door.

"It's because this is Phoenix," he says. "If this were Los Angeles or Las Vegas, this place would be packed. Phoenix has no sense of culture."

Men bowl to the music of Mötley Crüe and ZZ Top. The lane lights are turned low, giving the alley a nightclub feel. The girls are huddled in bikini-thonged packs in the back of the alley and have yet to join the bowlers.

Evil Ed explains he originally booked the Kiss Wear Bikini Team calendar girls to bowl. Then he did the math (12 months = 12 calendar girls = not enough girls for 30 lanes). So Evil Ed also invited the Bud Girls and the Castle Boutique Girls.

Now the calendar team leader, Kristi, is angry that Evil Ed invited the Boutique Girls to their "clean" event. She sets up a table for her girls to sign calendars instead. Her girls will not associate with the Castle Boutique Girls, she says, they will not bowl.

By now it's 10:30 p.m., and Extreme Bikini Bowling has yet to begin. The bowlers are irritated. They glare at Evil Ed -- what's the holdup?

Evil Ed tries to summon the girls to the lanes on the bowling alley PA, but they ignore him.

"The next time I'm not going to get nice girls," he mutters. "The next time I'll get strippers."

He urgently flags two Bud Girls.

"Will you bowl?" he asks.

"Oh, no!" says one, laughing. "I can't bowl."

Evil Ed turns to the other. "What about you?"

"I'm a horrible bowler!" she says.

"But . . ." Evil Ed struggles. "That doesn't matter!"

At 11 p.m., Evil Ed's few paying customers have become a dangerous liability. Burly, impatient bowlers hunt down Evil Ed and square off against him.

"This is a fuckin' joke," says one. "You're a fuckin' joke. I want my money back."

"Hey, I'm doing the best I can," Evil Ed says. "What can I say? The girls won't bowl. Who can tell what women are going to do, right?"

Evil Ed floors the charisma pedal, offering to buy the men a drink. It works. They're shaking hands and backslapping within minutes. Once his customers are satisfied, he runs into a crowd of chatting models.

"Bowl! Bowl! Bowl!" he yells.

But, alas, Extreme Bikini Bowling is a lost cause.

Evil Ed retreats to the bowling alley bar.

He orders tequila and Budweiser. He hangs his head. Mortal, after all.

"Somebody cut my balls off if I ever come up with such a stupid idea again," he says. "I have a television show. I should stick to television from now on."

He sighs.

"You know what my Grandfather said just before he fuckin' croaked?" he asks. "He said, 'Man makes plans, God fuckin' laughs.'"

Two more disgruntled Extreme Bikini Bowling customers are hunting for Evil Ed. They enter the bar.

Edward Green looks up.

There's no Reset button anywhere.

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