Post by Mitch 'The Broken' Heart on Feb 13, 2021 13:02:52 GMT -5
Mitch’s hands were trembling. His face was blanched, his uncovered eye sharp enough to cut sheets of titanium. His breath came in smoky puffs as it clashed with the bitter cold.
This was a mistake. He thought he was making a point. He thought he was setting a clash of kings. But something told him they weren’t going to go through with it. Silvio wanted him to hand the title back- fine, whatever. He wasn’t angry at Silvio, at least not then. Besides, one of the reasons he’d taken the belt was moot now- he wanted collateral. His title rematch was on the books. Might as well give it back if that’s what Silvio wanted. He’d either have it legitimately soon enough, or…
…but the insistence on his presence at ringside bothered him. He agreed to it, but he had a feeling he was about to have his faced rubbed in it like a bad dog. That Silvio and King had no intention of fighting each other but instead planned on teaching him a lesson of some sort.
You should have known whose side Leon was going to be on. Spoiler alert- it’s not fucking yours.
That wasn’t entirely fair. The insulin had been a godsend. He supposed he ought to be more outwardly grateful.
Of course you are. Just like always. Show your belly. Genuflect to the good king. I’m sure he feels wonderful about himself, having lifted a lesser being out of the dirt slightly. He wants the answers so bad- I bet once he hears them, he’ll think you’re being whiny. Unreasonable. And dollars to donuts he wouldn’t be able to tattle fast enough if you told him- exchange of information from one king to another. A silly peasant revolt to be swiftly crushed.
He dropped his phone back into his pocket, reaching instead for his cigarettes. He wasn’t really supposed to smoke while on the clock, but the night was bitter cold- the wall he leaned against outside the Toy Box’s front door was coarse and frigid. Nobody was coming out in this tundra. His fingers flicked at his lighter, the tip of a Lucky Strike smoldering as it touched the flickering little flame.
Funny how all your many flaws were never an issue until you stepped out of line.
He looked at the back of his hand. He suppressed the urge to yank his knife out of his pocket and carve out the offending flesh and throw it into the nearby gutter. But he supposed self-mutilation was frowned upon on the clock, too.
Mitch’d just pulled a long drag off the cigarette and exhaled it when the door opened, a head of brunette hair and twinkling, doe-like brown eyes peeking out at him.
“Mitch, come in here! It’s cold as death, nobody’s coming in, and the girls and I might as well dance for someone instead of an empty room.”
Raya Sunshine’s cheerful, slightly flirtatious voice broke into Mitch’s miserable, spiraling train of thought. He looked over at her and managed a bit of a smile, shaking his head.
“You know the boss’ll chew me out if I’m not at my post, and chew you out for putting me up to it.”
She frowned, the bridge of her nose wrinkling a bit, her lips- coated in a shade of shiny cocoa lipstick that flattered her complexion amazingly- pursing into a frown tailor made to melt the hearts of men.
“Ay, let him chew us out. It’s stupid for me and the others to dance for no one and you to freeze your cajones off out here for no reason. Live a little!”
Mitch looked her over through the slightly opened door. Her smile was bright, her eyes were pleading, and her body was shivering from standing in a draft in next to nothing. He sighed- for as long as he’d worked for the Toy Box, Raya had her eyes on him. She’d tried everything in her rather vast bag of tricks to try and charm him into taking her out. It hadn’t worked yet, but now, alone in the quiet, snowy night without anyone around, and Raya giving him a come-hither hand gesture through the door, Mitch couldn’t help but wonder why.
She was beautiful and charming, yes, but also warm and funny, loved to talk Red Wings. She was an avid reader, and sometimes he’d find himself going home from work with a book thrust into his hands because ‘you’ll absolutely love it’. They both had family at home, bills to pay, and had resorted to using their bodies to make ends meet. He should be into her. He should at very least have taken her up on one of her offers to have dinner, or see a movie, or anything. Why? Why didn’t he…
He didn’t have any more time to think it over. Raya reached outside, her gold-glitter manicured nails closing around his wrist, and pulled him into the club.
It was warmer inside. The light was ambient. Every surface had some trace of glitter on it- it shook off of costumes and hairspray and eyelashes and never came off, embedding itself into floors and tabletops over time. Some song or another thumped over the speakers, but the activity was sparse- the handful of other dancers were sitting around or chatting it up with the bartender.
Coco Creme swished a glass of cranberry juice, sighing in boredom. Heaven Lei flicked through her phone, continuously swiping left. Luscious Bhodi sat on the edge of the stage, her stiletto heels thunking against the side. All of them looked up as Raya whistled, and grinned in surprise.
“Finally got that boy in out of the freezer?”
“He couldn’t resist my magnetism.”
They all laughed, and Mitch found himself laughing along, feeling more at ease than he had in weeks. These girls just wanted to keep the lights on, pay their tuition, pay their transition, become a real star somewhere. Get out of Detroit. Make Detroit better.
Survive. And look glamorous doing it.
Mitch pulled a chair away from a four-top and sat down, the corner of his mouth lifting up a bit.
“I was told I was brought in to break up the monotony. You know, so you weren’t wasting your time shaking your various things for no fucking reason.”
Even on a dead night, a performer can get in practice. Each of the Toy Box’s girls had their own routine- bubbly, sensual, aggressive. Every movement was tailored to get a reaction- in a way, it wasn’t that different from what he did, only his calculated movements were meant to break and bleed rather than entice and arouse.
Not that Mitch found himself either- while he appreciated the artistry of it, the surprising amount of hard work involved, Mitch never really got titillated. It was as a mystery to him as why he couldn’t be attracted to Raya, as much as he thought he should be. Yet, for all the bouncing and spinning and giggling and jiggling as he watched, all he could appreciate was the form and style.
“That’s it?” Raya pouted.
“What, it’s better than ‘not good’, isn’t it?”
“Fine then. I can do better than ‘not bad’, Mitch Heart.”
Slowly, both to weave an air of sensuality and to minimise the risk of tripping over her bright yellow stilettos, Raya slid down from the stage. Her heels clicked rhythmically on the floor as she sauntered over to where Mitch sat.
Come on home, girl, momma cried on the phone, too soon to lose my baby, my girl should be at home...
Her hands planted on his shoulders. She moved in close, her lips brushing against his ear.
“You’ve been hurt too much, Mitch. You do so much for others without expecting anything or caring what anyone thinks or if they even notice. You need to let somebody take care of you for a change.”
...try to understand, try to understand, try try try to understand, he's a magic man...
Mitch looked into her eyes, deep, soft brown pools. He should be falling in love, shouldn’t he? What the fuck was wrong with him, why didn’t he feel anything…
The door slammed open, a sudden cold wind blowing into the club. A short, stocky man stood framed in the doorway, face twisted in rage.
“Raya, what the fuck!”
Earlier that day… “You know, I knew we were gonna cross paths sooner or later. I’m actually kind of shocked it hasn’t happened yet and that it took Zephyr Quinn to set us together on the dance card.”
From up here, Detroit almost seemed peaceful. There was snow everywhere, and the cold was ridiculous- even bundled up as he was in his black hoodie, leather jacket, Red Wings scarf, gloves, and eyepatch, Mitch Heart seemed frozen. Still, he sat on the edge of the roof of a four story building, legs swinging idly. The evening was just beginning to set in, the night bound to make the frigid air even colder.
But that was alright. As he’d mentioned before, the concept of a frozen Heart was fairly apt these days.
“A violent, crazy sonovabitch with a rotten reputation. I’d say we were two peas in a pod, Steel, but you’re even more out there than I am- you got all the smooth, predictable temperaments of a barrel full of rabid cats. And there’s one more thing that sets us apart. See, lately… and by lately meaning since at least last summer?”
Mitch gave a little grin, and lit a cigarette. He gave a long, thoughtful drag before exhaling, and turning to the camera with a smirk.
“You can’t win. I mean, granted, you won the Chaos championship from some guy who I couldn’t understand a fucking word of what he said, you defended it successfully once against an old timer with all kinds of rust on him that Boy really, really seems to fucking hate, and after all that? Lost it to some poodle headed fuck who’s split from here along with his utter tool of a stable buddy. Who, I might add, you also lost to. I mean, it’s one thing to keep losing to Cat Cortez. A lot of damn good people have, and it ain’t nothing to be ashamed of. But losing to King Douche and his Backup Douche In Denial? That’s just sad, man.”
He shook his head. There were quite a few names he didn’t want to mention because they weren’t worth talking about, but he had a feeling those who needed to know would. Steel definitely ought to- if the Son of a Bitch’s mind worked anything like his, he had every defeat burned into his memory.
“Maybe you don’t care, though. Maybe the thrill is enough. Maybe the violence is enough. Expunging the misery inside outward onto others with the aid of chairs, tacks, barbed wire, anything that can cause pain.”
The embers at the end of the Lucky Strike glowed fiery orange as Mitch drew in through it. The plume of smoke he released was thick in the icy air. His expression was almost sad.
“I used to think I was like that. I wish I was as like that as I thought. If I was, then maybe things would be different now. If I could just chalk it all up to a violent revelry where the conclusion didn’t really matter. If I didn’t feel like I was fucking…”
He shook his head.
“...nevermind. I’ll talk on that later on. Anyway. My point is, whether you care or not, your numbers ain’t looking so good, Trent. But hey, maybe you’re due. Maybe a win against a big nasty barracuda like me is just what you need to kickstart your career, and if you’re gonna do it, might as well do it now while I’m half fucking blind and you’ve got the advantage. Unfortunately, I’ve got some bad news for you.”
Cigarette smouldering between two fingers, Mitch reached under his layers with one hand and pulled out a necklace- a pendant he’d displayed when he addressed Annie Lennox several weeks prior. A handgun bullet with a crude crown etched on the casing.
“I told Annie this before, but I’ll mention it again in case you missed it. This is ammunition. Every loss is ammunition for your opponent. Every weakness, every slip-up, every shred of information- you might as well be loading a gun and handing it to the other guy. This…”
He tapped it.
“...represents my loss at UC6. No helping that now. That bullet was forged soon as the ref counted three. But like I said to Lennox, this is the only bullet I plan on bringing into the ring with me when I face down the King of Rats again. This is all I want to hand over to him. One shot. Any more is too much, and what that means, Trent Steel, is that I don’t give a shit what you do to me. Come at me with glass, baseball bats, a fucking Garden Weasel, I don’t care. Because whatever you give to me, I’ll give it right back in spades.”
Dropping the bullet pendant back under his shirt, Mitch gave a harsh stare into the camera.
“Make me bleed, I’ll make you bleed more. Throw me off the Tron, I’ll throw you off the roof. Send me to the emergency room, I’ll send you to the goddamn morgue. You are not breaking your losing streak at Chaos 106, Trent Steel. But you know what?”
He grinned. Savagely.
“I can’t wait to see you try.”
Peter Holt was not what one would consider a violent man. He worked for Chrysler at the Jefferson Assembly plant, had a small apartment and a cat, and had been a regular at the Toy Box since Mitch could remember. He wasn’t a problem. He didn’t touch, he didn’t catcall- in fact, he was downright gentlemanly to the girls, but over time, Raya Sunshine had become his favorite. He always tipped as generously as an auto worker could, and bought her gifts, which was a little unusual but hardly unheard of. Giving him priority attention when he came in slowly became part of Raya’s routine- after all, extra attention meant extra tips.
When Peter started calling Raya his ‘girlfriend’, it made her a little uncomfortable but she played it off. It wasn’t the worst thing she’d ever been called, hardly the most vulgar, and besides, Peter had been a patron of the Toy Box for years. Everyone knew he was harmless.
But now, harmless, well behaved, and, unknown to everyone, dangerously obsessive Peter Holt was standing in the patron-less club, the lights flashing, the music thumping away, brandishing a gun. I’m the cream of the crop, i rise to the top, i never eat a pig because a pig is a cop
“Raya, how could you! I come all the way out here in this fucking cold to see you, and here you are practically straddling the damn bouncer!”
Cocoa was clinging to Heaven, the two of them trembling, partly from fear and partly from the cold. Lucious was taking deep breaths, trying not to panic and think that there was a greater than normal chance she wouldn’t be going home to her wife and kids. Maxwell Roth, the owner and manager of the Toy Box, was stuck in his office, watching the whole thing on the security cameras. He tried to keep his naturally booming voice low as he called the police, hoping they could be bothered to get here before anyone got shot, and that nobody would be shot when they did arrive.
I came to get down, I came to get down
Mitch’s muscles were taut. His eye was burning azure flame. He scanned the room, distractions, angles. How fast was he.
Raya took a step forward. Her voice was a purr.
“Peter, calm down. Put the gun away, would you please? You’re scaring my friends, and you’re scaring me.”
Mitch could see what she was doing- she was slipping into her performance. Not for tips, but to try and diffuse the situation. Peter’s face softened, even showing a trace of his usual amicable smile, but he shook his head.
“Sorry, baby. See, I’ve decided, I don’t want you here anymore. Too many eyes on you. Too many temptations. I’m going to take us home where neither of us are going to have a thing to worry about. But see, these… people? They’re just going to lure you astray, Raya. Back into this world and away from me. You won’t be a little slut anymore, Raya, I won’t allow i--”
She’d tried. She’d tried to play the submissive seductress. But Peter’s words had almost triggered an impulse, and for one moment, just one, everything was red. Her hand, glitter nails and all, struck across Peter’s face regardless of how dangerous it was. A ruddy, hand-shaped mark stood out on his cheek, but was soon lost as the rest of his face went the color of a tomato, his teeth standing out against the furious crimson as he harshly shoved Raya to the ground, his gun aimed at her.
“That’s the way it’s going to be. Fine. I loved you. I wanted to give you a good life, you ungrateful little whore, I…”
Mitch took a step forward. Peter swung around, trailing the gun on him instead.
“You wanna shoot somebody, motherfucker? Come on.”
He took a step forward. Peter had his full attention on Mitch, both hands on his gun now. Mitch threw his arms out, taking another step.
“I’m serious, man. You wanna steal my girl?”
“She’s not yours, you screwed up dipshit. She’s not fucking property. But that’s not what we’re talking about. You’re standing there with a fucking gun, you got it aimed right at me. You pissed at me, you wanna blow me away?”
He took a few more steps. Peter’s hands were shaking, his lower lip trembling. Despite the chill, sweat stood out on his brow. One more step. The muzzle of the gun was pressed directly onto the front of Mitch’s coat. Mitch stared Peter right in the eye.
“You can’t miss now. Shoot me.”
Maybe Peter would have pulled the trigger. Maybe he would’ve chickened out. But before he could decide, the wooden chair that Mitch had previously sat in was brought down so hard onto Peter’s head that it broke apart, the man crumpling into a heap at Mitch’s feet.
Luscious Bhodi, real name Tina Masterson, spouse of Lisa Masterson whose love had proven truly unconditional even when the Timothy Masterson she’d married ceased to exist, stood behind him, holding the now detached legs of the chair, panting.
“Fucking misogynist piece of shit. Good job distracting the motherfucker, Mitch.”
Getting to her feet. Raya wrapped her arms around Luscious and kissed her cheek before going to Mitch’s side. Her fingers laced with his. He squeezed. He was glad she was alright. Glad he’d been working tonight. Glad that Luscious was able to take full advantage of the distraction he’d provided.
Was it a distraction, really? It served well enough as one, but…
...it didn’t matter now, he supposed. He held on to Raya’s hand, and kept holding on until blue and red lights flashed outside, the sirens wailing into the cold Detroit night.