Post by The Madness Menagerie on Feb 22, 2021 14:26:06 GMT -5
The metallic sounds of weights clanging together echo throughout a forever sweat-smelling building as Sebastian Hawke raises the elevation on his treadmill as well as the speed, pushing his limits and scowling. His headphones in, he was barely listening to the music as he pushed himself further, jamming his finger into the increase button until his muscles screamed for him to stop. After pulling enough muscles in his short career, Seb listens to his body and slows down, lowering the elevation but keeping a nice and steady pace.
He was still Chaos champion but… Why wasn’t he happy about it?
The closing moments of the match echoed throughout his mind like an old reel movie, stuck playing the same thing in an endless loop. Zeroing in on the win and the sudden, jarring, searing pain of being crotched unexpectedly stops him in his tracks. The bell had sounded distant and far off and he barely heard his name declared as the winner due to disqualification. The humiliation of being put to sleep and only barely coming to, just to see Cas standing above him, holding his Chaos Title high over his head.
Sebastian growls to himself as Cas’s stupid, smiling face laughs in Seb’s mind’s eye and the current, reigning Chaos Champion looks to push himself some more. He can’t go far though as a hand reaches out and grabs his arm before anything could be increased.
"Sebastian! My favorite crab!" Ken smiles sheepishly. "Sorry, I've had Kyra and Adina staying with me and the kid's been on a '’Little Mermaid’ kick lately."
Sebastian jumps, nearly throwing him off the treadmill as he recovers quickly, and looks curiously at the former World Champion, Carnage Legend, and a man that Sebastian almost had his debut match against over a Twitter spat, Ken Davison. His eyes never leaving Ken’s, Sebastian jabs his finger a couple of times at the control panel before he’s finally able to hit the emergency stop, flinging himself into the panel and bouncing off. “Meant to do that…” He grumbles to himself as he hops off of the treadmill and looks up at Ken. “Is this about that Twitter thing from when I first was hired? Look, I was a different person back then and I’m sorry about that, maybe we can have a match later on down the road to settle the score, but right now I have to get read…”
"Hey, listen, I'm sorry about that. I was a different person, too. I've grown, at least that's what everyone keeps telling me. But, anyway, I'm not here looking for a match. I'm here because I wanted to talk to you."
Sebastian blinks and looks uncertain. “Okay, uhm… If it isn’t about our only interaction before now, what else is there?”
"I've heard through the grapevine that you were talking to people and my name came up. Something about the kind of champion I was…" Ken pauses watching for some kind of reaction from Seb. "I'm not mad. From what I understand, it was a fair assessment. I just thought that maybe I would talk to you and give you a different perspective on things. It might not be the right perspective, so to speak, but it's mine."
Sebastian scratches his head, hair tied back into a thick ponytail, everything beginning to get more complicated by the second. “Dude… You personified the word ‘godly,’ or as close to anyone that I know of could do. You were on top of your pedestal and while you got there through questionable means, I guess it’s something to note that you got to that place. My first challenger to the Chaos Title, Cas English, reminds me a lot of you.” Sebastian shrugs. “Obviously, not as successful, but still managed to get under my skin.”
“In some ways, yeah, I could see that. But he seems feral. A smart man wouldn’t let his anger overtake him like that. It’s something I used to have an easier time with. Be that, as it may, I wouldn’t exactly have called myself a successful champion. Not while holding the World title, at least.”
“At the rate, I’m going? More successful than my current reign. Challenged my opponent to an ‘I Quit’ match and I don’t even have a submission move to call my own.”
"See... There's the sign of a smart man. Technically speaking, you don't have to make him submit. You have to make him quit. However, if it's a submission hold you're after. I'm a virtual encyclopedia." Ken holds a finger up asking for a moment. "Before we get too far off the topic and I forget, I want to share a little secret with you. I didn't learn this until after Silvio beat me. It's not simply holding a belt that makes you a great champion. It's what you do with it."
Sebastian looks in awe at the former champion. Everything he knew up to this point painted a picture of an arrogant and narcissistic Ken Davison. The man standing in front of him was being, Seb couldn’t put his finger on it, but he was honestly curious. Silvio taught Ken a lesson about being a champion and did it by assimilating different moves from different people. Why shouldn’t Seb do the same and add something from Ken's repertoire to his moveset? Nodding more to himself than to Ken, Sebastian finally replies. “Silvio is good like that. One of those gurus that teach you a lesson without trying. Glad he got through to you though, he helped me find a path away from where I started, happy to see you seem to be doing the same…”
Sighing, Sebastian reflects on Ken’s words about what makes a champion, a GOOD champion. “What I’m going to do with the title…” Sebastian’s words are silent, more to himself than anyone else but still loud enough for Ken to hear. “I held a belt on the indie circuit, but this… This is different. The only thing I can think of is to defend the belt with everything I have, evolve as a champion, and fight to the best of my ability every time I get in that ring. I want Cas to look up into my eyes and realize that he was just put down by the Chaos Champion. I want that recognition from him because as of right now, all I have is a pair of sore… You know and a fear of being put to sleep.”
"Funny how fear affects a person. My fear used to be losing matches and titles. You've got a bit of that fear now, but you've got nothing to be afraid of. People look up to you because you are genuine. You inspire people because you are true to yourself. You fear that you'll let other people down… I understand that now that I've got people to let down. As long as you fight your hardest and do your best, you have nothing to fear. Your friends measure you by the kind of lesson you are, not the title you hold. Wish I’d learned that lesson sooner."
Sebastian shrugs. “Guess the important thing now is that you learned it. Glad to hear you’re on a different path than before though. Not to cut things short, but I have to figure out what kind of move I need to master in a week and a half.”
"Sorry. I get on these reflective tangents," Ken apologizes. "The thing to keep in mind with submissions is tactics. Some people want to hurt other people or put them to sleep, but I've never really been about that. When I started, I was one of the smaller guys, so I needed a move that could be used on anyone. It's hard to bring a bigger opponent down, which is why I settled on clawholds. Is there any particular weakness you are looking to exploit?"
Taken aback and not expecting an apology, Sebastian stands open-mouthed. “You just… Apologized?! Wow, no need but I appreciate it!” Relaxing some and beginning to trust Ken, Sebastian pauses to think. “I’m honestly not sure if the guy has a weakness. I honestly think the only way to beat him is to outlast him.”
Ken thinks for a moment. "In that case, I would recommend the mandible claw. The beautiful part of that move is that you don't have to wear down any particular part of your opponent's body. When you get it locked in, it compresses the nerves in the jaw. This causes enough pain to make someone tap out and that nerve hold is what prevents them from biting your fingers."
Sebastian nods. “Ok, that makes sense. I don’t suppose you could spare a few moments to teach me the basics can you?”
"I mean, sure. If you've got the time. Thought you did you had to get ready for," Ken realizes Sebastian never said what he was getting ready for. "Sorry if I was holding you."
The young superstar shakes his head. “Nah, dude. I wasn’t expecting you to be as cool as you are being right now. Truth be told, I can do all the research I want when it comes to finding new moves, but nothing beats having a mentor.”
"I'm up for it if you'd have me. Besides, if I'm supposedly 'Godly' I probably should act like what the word means."
Sebastian’s eyes grow wide as Ken leads him to a sparring room. “What should I call you then? Like, do you get a different title if you start mentoring someone? Do I get a new title?!” His voice growing with excitement he is nearly vibrating with high amounts of energy as Ken stands opposite him.
"Honestly, I'm not sure. Never really thought about it. Let's do what we can and figure it out later. Sound good?"
Sebastian nods. “Fine by me, now how do we begi…?” He doesn’t have a chance to finish as Ken has a mandible claw locked in! Sebastian goes down and he taps after realizing struggling wouldn’t do anything. Standing, he rubs his mouth. “So that’s a mandible claw, huh? My turn?”
Ken beckons him to come at him and Sebastian tried his hand at the maneuver, Ken able to quickly get out of it and stand back up showing off his experience. Together the two go back and forth, Ken giving Sebastian pointers. Sebastian soaked up the practice, and by the time the gym closed, Sebastian felt he not only had a new friend, but a new move added into his arsenal. More than ever, he felt ready to face off against Casanova English. The sounds of Baltimore surround Sebastian Hawke, Carnage’s Chaos Champion, fresh off of his first title defense, like a blanket swaddling a newborn. Sure, the ambiance of the city took some getting used to, but once Seb had gotten used to his new home, he didn’t mind walking down the city streets and exploring, meeting new people, and taking the occasional picture with a fan. The cold should have bothered him, make him shiver and shake, but instead, Sebastian walks onward, stoic and flat.
He walked away from Chaos 106 with his Chaos Championship still around his waist, but not before it was tainted by the hands of Casanova English, the man’s face haunting every corner of Sebastian’s mind. Finding the spot, Sebastian pulls his phone out and messages Axton that he had made it to their favorite frozen yogurt spot a bit early before he sits on a nearby bench to wait.
For every positive thought, Sebastian tried to distract himself with, there was Cas to ruin it; his face appearing everywhere. All Seb had needed was time and a lot of ice to feel physically better, but he’d be lying if he said that Cas was in his rearview mirror already. Maybe that was a good thing. Sebastian was looking to build a legacy and no great legacy has existed without some trials and tribulations.
He didn’t have to wait long; soon enough the jingling of dog tags on collars signals the approach of one-half of Carnage’s Tag Team Champions. Axton is sporting a camo coat over a hoodie and sunglasses, walking his Aussies on a double leash. Upon spotting his stable partner, he lifts a hand in greeting, removing his shades as he approaches.
“Hey, Sebbykins. How’s your neck?”
Sebastian rubs the back of his neck and shrugs, “Sore, but otherwise operational. How are you? Ready to defend those tag belts against evil cult numero uno?” Sebastian smiles though there isn’t much buoyancy to his words like usual with Casanova English occupying most of his mind-space.
“Ink and Succ? Oh yeah. Not worried about it,” Axton chimes, trying to push a little extra cheer into his voice to lift Sebastian’s spirits. He sets about tethering his dogs to the patio railing. “I dropkicked that guy in the back of the head and I’ll do it again. Anyhow, let’s go load up some froyo with way too many toppings before we sit down and analyze your vibe.”
Sebastian shrugs as he turns to the shop. Led by Axton, the Chaos Champion decides on a basic vanilla froyo with all of his favorite candy pieces on top. For the first time in what felt like forever, Sebastian’s eyes light up as he looks at his cup. Following close behind, Axton pulls a swirl of pistachio, smothering it in waffle chips and chocolate sauce. In a second cup, he swirls some plain frozen yogurt for his furry friends waiting outside.
Sitting down Sebastian takes a bite and relishes his treat before saying, “Yep, this is a welcome start to a nice road to recovery.”
Axton’s shoulders relax, happy to see his friend in slightly better spirits. Sinking into a seat and dunking a waffle chip into a pool of chocolate syrup, he looks up.
“So, vibe check. And don’t worry about Entourage stuff right now--this is about you, Chaos Champ. How’re you feeling going into this thing? This English guy seems like the real crooked type--and that’s coming from a guy who spits vodka mid-match.”
The vision of Cas ending the match with a low blow followed by putting Seb to sleep creeps into his mind, forcing Seb to put his spoon down. “I… Don’t know. The dude is a grade-A toolbag, and I kinda feel like I was playing right into his plan when I challenged him to this ‘I Quit’ match. Like, what business do I have in a match like this?! I don’t even have a submission move in my repertoire!” Sighing, Sebastian tries to calm himself. “I just… I keep seeing, feeling the ending of that match. The crotch shot, the feeling of getting put to sleep and then having him gloat because he did it. None of it sits well with me.”
“Yeah. Sorry about your nuts,” Axton says with a wince, looking off for a moment. “Well… I think he’s underestimating you. Thing is, he’s fresh meat--he hasn’t seen firsthand what you can do. There’s a reason I wanted you on board, Sebby, and it’s not just because you’re adorable.” A little wink. “No one’s got an optimism drive quite as strong as yours… it’s what makes you the perfect fit for Chaos champ. It’s the hardest belt to hold onto but that doesn’t put you out of owning it every day it’s in your hands.”
Axton taps his spoon against the edge of his cup. “You have another advantage here, too--you’re familiar with the company. You know people you can trust. This guy? He’s all alone. No allies, no friends. You? You’ve got plenty. Those people are resources. So… tap them.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right.” Sebastian picks his cup up and takes a thoughtful bite. “Endurance might be my best friend here. I just -- Do you think I made a mistake by jumping straight to a match that on paper, favors my challenger?”
The Rockstar shakes his head immediately, swallowing a mouthful. “Mm--Nah. I think it’s ballsy if you’ll let the painful pun slide for a hot minute. You’re telling him you can beat him on his own turf…”
Axton looks serious for a moment, sitting forward. “And this bit is true in real life and not just in the ring, man… people who go low aren’t gonna feel any shame or apprehension when you go high to maintain some kind of moral ground or whatever. When some bigot calls me a slur, I don’t turn the other cheek. I tell them to kiss my ass while burying their entire family. When they go low, you go low. Meet them where they’re at… but do it better and for the right reasons. The people watching? They know who’s right. You don’t need to prove that to English. You just need to show the Legion you’re willing to stand up for your principles on clean ground and in the mud with the pond scum.”
Nodding, the familiar fire that led him to make the challenge in the first place reignited, Sebastian starts to dig into his frozen treat with more fervor. After several enthusiastic bites, he looks up at Axton, “You’re right. I made the challenge so I could meet him on his terms, with no rules, nothing to hold back. If that’s what he wanted in the first place well… Might as well give it to him, right? Maybe I’ll start practicing my crotch shots, yanno, for the right reasons.” He winks at Axton and laughs.
“Go for the taint,” Axton says with a sage’s nod, licking chocolate syrup from his spoon. Sebastian snorts into his froyo as he continues to indulge his inner sweet tooth. Suddenly, the image of Cas in his head changes to just his stupid face. The stupid face that would utter the words “I quit” when Sebastian shows him exactly what makes a champion, a champion.
A sign stating, “Surviving through Adaptation,” hangs overhead of Sebastian Hawke, his Chaos Title firmly around his waist. His trademark smirk is on his face, but his voice tells the story of a person who has fought with himself over the last two weeks. Seeing the camera on him, he beckons them to follow as he heads into the exhibit. Without a word, he reaches the tank for the giant Pacific Octopus where he watches the cephalopod swim through the tank effortlessly.
Sebastian turns to the camera. “A man who promised to walk out of Chaos as champion. A man who claimed they would show the world that my ‘bubble gum’ personality wasn’t enough to cut it. Wouldn’t be able to stand in your way, wouldn’t be able to stand up against the uncrowned champion that is Casanova English. I have to give you props dude, you took me to my limit and showed me exactly where I need to expand my horizons to become a better champion. OH, and if you need a reminder,” Sebastian says as he takes the Chaos Title off of his waist and holds it up high, “I’m STILL the Chaos Champion, despite your best effort, despite you ending the match on your terms when you realized I had your number, and despite you putting me to sleep. I’m here and I bet it REALLY makes you angry that I beat you to making this challenge.”
Sebastian glances back at the octopus, now firmly attached to a piece of the reef. “This business is built on the principle of constant evolution. Finding ways to become better so that you can consider yourself to be the best of the best; at the very top of the proverbial food chain. Let me tell you something Cas, people don’t get there by staying in their lane and refusing to challenge themselves to become something more. They blaze their path, create their narrative, and are unmoved when people try to get them to budge. Take my friend, the giant Pacific Octopus, as an example. A creature older than dirt and to survive for this long, the species had to evolve. Over centuries, the cephalopod adapted and evolved. It got better at hiding itself and if matters call for it, defend what is theirs.” He sighs. “Since Chaos 106, people have just assumed that I’m running scared, that I have no earthly chance to retain this belt a second time. You showed me exactly the type of person you are Cas, and now that I know that fact, I can adapt to it. I can become a better version of myself and I KNOW for a fact that I can beat you again. Do you honestly think that I’m running scared Cas? I invited you into this ‘I Quit’ match, NOT the other way around. You might not have any reservations to hold you back but you know what Cas? Neither do I this time. Anything you can do, I’ll do better, and the fact that I can do whatever I please to make you submit? Even better.”
The confidence now flowing, Sebastian tosses the belt over his shoulder and looks adoringly at the faceplate. Courage overtaking him Sebastian’s voice has gained a razor-sharp edge to it, “I told you Cas, legacies are made based on the rivalries had and how the champion goes about handling themselves. Are you blind to the obvious? I’m meeting you head on Cas, in a match that you can make yourself right at home in, to defend MY title. I plan on looking back on this title reign, my first in a professional setting, as one of my longest, and the one that taught me the most about the road to the top. I have to say, I’m grateful to you for the lesson in evolution and adapting to predators; it’s a necessity when a person is a champion. Oof, sorry. I’m sure you’ll understand that feeling soon enough.”
Glancing back at his friend the octopus, Sebastian smiles. “It’s just not going to happen for you at my expense. Do you want to play with no rules? That’s fine, I’ll happily join you in that playground. With the power of The Legion behind me, my friends at my side, and my skills in that ring; Cas there’s no way I’m going to lose! So come at me with all of your piss and vinegar. Hit me where the sun doesn't shine and try to put me to sleep. I promise that I’m faster than before, smarter, and I’m not going to fall for the same shi… Er, crap twice." Shaking his head, Sebastian continues. "Act of Defiance. I can’t think of a better name for this event than that Cas. For all the things you put me through you STILL think you can make me quit. ‘Defiance’ can be described as bold and daring opposition to an opposing force. Congrats Cas! You are my first rival for this title and after Act of Defiance, you will be my former rival when I make you utter ‘I quit.’ I’m going to enjoy watching you realize exactly what happened in those closing moments as you watch me celebrate with my title. Maybe then, you’ll finally start to understand what being Chaos Champion or ‘champion of Chaos,’ truly means.”
With that, Sebastian walks off, leaving the camera to center in on the octopus, its weird pupils now focused on the camera lens.
Post by Casanova English on Feb 27, 2021 15:58:36 GMT -5
Carnage Wrestling Presents
A Casanova English Original
Imbeciles would call what I accomplished this past Chaos a failure.
It’s just a matter of perspective. And I can’t blame you idiots for only seeing half the picture.
I got what I want.
A big PPV match -- my name in lights -- the talk of the town and I haven’t even been here three months.
You can craft the narrative the way you want on Twitter like some former authoritarian like leaders -- but people saw what happened at Chaos with their own two eyes.
Yes, I hit you with a low blow. Yes, the bell rang. Yes, on paper Hawke won the match.
I’d be a liar if I said I played by the rules 100 per cent of the time. I am willing to admit I am an opportunist. In a real fight. In the real world -- where I come from -- where I manifested through grit and determination -- we’ll coming up I’ve been hit with low blow after low blow -- it's just a way of life.
In the real world getting hit below the belt doesn’t stop the fight -- it keeps on going until someone can’t stand. That’s when the bell is supposed to ring.
Kid, I’m living rent free in your mind day in and day out -- maybe at Act of Defiance I do you a favour and open it up. Crack that skull open and relieve the pressure building up.
An I quit match? Sebastian honestly thinks I would be scared -- intimidated by the prospect of being able to put my cigarette out in the centre of his forehead and it’s all legal? Fuck, that’s why I came back. That’s why I’m here.
I’m a fucking pretty boy killer -- a Goliath slayer -- I’m the Modern Day Messiah.
Ransom was telling the old ‘I told you so’ story over and over again. He trounced around my apartment, his size-12 work boots still on. He sat down on the couch opposite me forcing me to close down my laptop and stare away from the repeat of the match I had for the Chaos Championship. I had watched it twenty times at least, studying Sebastian's movements -- where he slips up -- where he makes mistakes.
“Watching the match again?,” Ransom asked.
“You know it would have gone differently if I was out there at ringside shouting support, giving you a heads up, distracting the referee if need be.”
“I don’t need it,” I say staring away from him.
“I’m not saying you NEED anything -- I’m just letting you know I could have ensured you were Chaos Champion. I don’t get it. Why bother getting me to come with you if you aren’t willing to put me to use. I should have just stayed home.”
“You haven’t been giving the best advice, this is a two way street,” I snap back. “Last week you had me looking like a fucking fool messing around with some bullshit witchcraft to try and beat Sebastian.”
“Doesn’t work too well if you aren’t a true believer.”
“Listen to yourself for Christ sake,” I say, snickering. “I think the problem is I put the tiniest bit of faith in that mumbo jumbo. I wasted my time expecting him to slip up like Voodoo predicted… but when it didn’t come to fruition I had no other choice but to end the match.”
I lean forward from my chair and snatch up the pack of Marlboro Reds off the wood grain coffee table. I slide one up out of the package by half an inch and put it the rest of the way with my lips.
“That isn’t going to happen this time. Not at Act of Defiance. I can’t let him walk out with the championship. It’s not even that I need it or want it that bad. I just have to hear that little shit squeak out the words ‘I Quit.’"
“Sounds like you are getting a little obsessed,” Ransom said.
I pull a lighter from my pocket, flick it, put the flame to the end of the cigarette.
“It seems to me like this is a way for you to really prove you are back in this thing in a full capacity. Who better to do it against than someone who is on the cusp of his prime. But you and I both know that’s a double edged sword Cas,” Ransom said leaning back into the couch cushion and looking to the ceiling.
“If only there was someone who could guarantee… just in case things get bad. I know you want to prove you can do this all on your own. I know this conversation feels like it is on repeat -- but it’s time to pull the trigger on getting me in that ring -- you know I am ready for it.”
“Just a few more matches. Once I establish myself as a force in this industry once more I’ll pull you in and let everyone know who is the reason for my condition -- for my success,” I said, hoping to keep him buttered up.
Iron sharpens iron -- but I can’t let Ransom know about his true potential yet. The guy was my retirement plan. When all this is said and done -- when they have to pull Casanova English out on a stretcher and they think its all over -- The Orphanage is gone. Then Alex Ransom will rise, a man groomed to destroy their heroes, their poster boys and girls.
It was all part of the master plan. But not til I am done. Then I’ll be ready to tutor the take over -- march in an army and truly establish the revolution. A real one -- not this bullshit they talk about on the news.
“It just isn’t time Ransom. When it is we both will know.”
I could tell it was about to happen again. He was going to get up, walk out of living room, out of my home and slam the door.
That’s exactly what he did. Like clockwork weekly, the same every Wednesday evening to the point where I was suspicious he was starting this fight on purpose so he had an excuse to leave. He always comes back late. Staggers through the door I leave unlocked for him and passes out on the couch.
I have to think he is relapsing-- but he isn’t sick in the morning. No smell of liquor on his breath, no track marks up his arms. And he’s always in a much better mood.
I sat there smoking my cigarette, staring at the ember and blowing clouds into it. I set the camcorder up holding the cigarette between my lips, as I flick it on it starts with an up close shot of the ember as I slowly move back sitting in the chair letting out a sigh.
“Well, I should be sitting her in front of you as the Chaos Champion -- but as fate would have it -- the bell preserved Sebastian’s championship reign. I know it’s a loss on my record book, I can accept that, but we all know Casanova English is no one trick pony and now my actions have lead to an even bigger match… an even bigger opportunity… but something has been eating away at me when I look back at the things Sebastian said before out match at Chaos. It worries me about how you squander opportunity Sebastian so let me offer a little insight on how I would handle things if I am to become Chaos Champion.”
I take a sharp drag off the cigarette before letting it fall from my lips gently to the ground. I don’t even stop it, just let it burn slow on the hardwood floor.
“See you refer to the tile you hold as an entry level championship, and I am not above calling a spade a spade. But you need to learn to take that opportunity and do something with it. It’s not just a championship, it’s a platform, you’re holding the fucking talking stick and the sad part is you have nothing fucking interesting to say. Don’t blame being vanilla on the championship, that’s a poor excuse. I’ve always been a man that believes the man behind the belt makes the title mean something. Not to get sappy, and I won’t… this title is called the Chaos Championship for a reason. I am more than ready to cease and appreciate opportunity. I’m ready to take that title from you and defend it each and every week, to cut my teeth on Chaos week after week putting on classic after classic just like I have the past two matches. You can’t sit here and tell me I have not been elevating this product.”
I slowly pick the cigarette up off the ground and put the burning ember to my exposed forearm, there are three faded circular scars.
“Where I came from the fellas just loved pissing contests. Loved to try and punk each other out. A lot of the time I was the target of that being the smallest guy. I’m not telling this story for sympathy. I am telling it for context. We’d fuck around putting cigarettes out on each others arms, chest, face… well one night this jock and egged me on, I pushed three cigarettes into my forearm. So did he, the most anyone had done. No one really wanted to have that much scaring -- but when I pushed him he pulled a log from the fire -- both of us stuck our arms out and the burning log was dropped at the same time. I moved my hand away at the last second and Chad didn’t -- let the log hit his arm and it melted his flesh on impact. He shook and shook as the log burned into his skin. I remember him shrieking into the night -- he managed to keep his arm -- but he sacrificed his football career.”
I pull the cigarette away from my flesh and put it out slowly on the coffee table.
“I tell this story for context Hawke. It’s a warning about impulse. The thing I do is kick out, the thing I do is keep fighting, and if I can’t well… you saw what I am willing to do to save face. See Sebastian, in retrospect I think that Tweet you sent asking for an I Quit match will serve as the world’s shortest suicide letter. You didn’t do you research. You don’t understand even after being in the ring with me… what I am truly capable of.”
I lean back in the chair relaxing, letting out a sombre sigh.
“Don’t worry Mr and Mrs Hawke I won’t send little Sabby home in a body bag. I’ll drop him on his neck so he’ll have the perfect excuse to go back to the suburbs with mommy and daddy -- wheelchair ridden -- bedsores pending.”
Hawke and Ransom weren’t all that different. They were unappreciative of opportunity. Ungrateful of where they are now and where they came from. I think it’s time to remind small men, things like guns, steroids and championships were just invented to make them feel tall.
It’s all an illusion I aim to chatter.
I snap the camera off and start pacing my living room. I had to figure it out. I had to know where Ransom was going. I couldn’t truly focus on Sebastian and the Chaos Championship til I figured out where he was going. And I think that weirdo Voodoo is the only one who might know where he vanishes once a week.
I hear thuds as I approach V’s apartment door. The smell of incense lingers in the hallway. As I went to knock on the door it seems to swing open by itself and invite me inside. A ouija board sat on her kitchen table with skulls hung along the wall staring.
None of this bullshit helped me deal with my opponent last week -- but to each their own. If a crystal up your ass gets you out of bed and rocks your chakra -- all the power to you.
I could still hear the whacking echoing through the entire apartment. I followed the sound. Slowly, I opened a door to see V in a tank top, camouflage cargo pants and her dreads tied back in a ponytail. Sweat flowed in beads off her shoulder. Across from her was a life size dummy, the disturbing cutout image of Sebastian Hawke’s face stapled to it. A wild tuft of hair was glued to the top to represent Hawke’s mane.
V was wielding a kendo stick. She was leaning back taking a few steps and hammering it in the chest of the dummy. She turns around, I startle her -- she swings the stick toward my head and I lean back quick enough just to feel the wind on my nose.
“Yikes, watch where you are swinging that thing. Shouldn’t someone prevalent in the dark arts know I am coming.”
“It’s not a dark art,” she says offended as he lays another hit on the fake Hawke.
“Well whatever the fuck it is it sure as hell didn’t help me win the championship from Hawke.”
“You probably didn’t believe enough. Faith plays a huge part in everything.”
That was the exact same bullshit Ransom was trying to sell me.
“Well maybe this will help huh? Trying to give the poor kid black lung or some shit by beating him in the chest?”
“No, I’m trying to visualize and bring to fruition your win. Maybe if I have enough faith, your lack won’t really matter… and we can get a step closer to getting Ransom in the ring.”
“Why… why is he so hard-up to get in the ring?”
V turns to face me, she poke the kendo stick into my chest.
“He needs it. You don’t understand… he’s living sheltered… he’s living reserved… he needs that outlet for his anger, or…” She swings as hard as she can letting out a scream as the stick thuds into the chest fo the dummy. “Things will get bad. He’ll fall into old habits Cas. I know that neither of us want that.”
“Well maybe you know where he stomps off to when he’s feeling pissed off?”
“No idea really,” V said. “But when I came to town he did give me this card.”
She walks over to a dark wood end table, she leans the kendo stick against the wall and pulls a drawer out. From the drawer the pulls out a small card and sticks her arm out toward me holding it between two fingers.
I go to grab it but she pulls away at the last second.
“Cas, I know you don’t know me like you know Ranson. But the way he talked about you for all those years training. The way he waited for you to come back, said that’d you’d be coming to set us all free. That’d you were the only one who could carve a path to the mountain top. I’m not sure I’m sold on you,” she gestures at the shrunken heads hanging from the doorframe of the small office.
“Just like you aren’t exactly sold on all this. But I am sold on Ransom, he has a good heart and he can be great. I know you aren’t ready to step aside quite yet, but you can help each other. You just have to let him.”
She offered the card again. I took it -- nodding in affirmation.
I held up the card in front of the bar itself. Ransom's number scribbled on a card for Leon’s Backroom. I finished my cigarette and stomped on it before stuffing the card into my pocket and approaching the door man.
“Hey, cover tonight?”
“Free on Wednesday’s,” he said, moving aside and letting me in -- not bothering to ask for ID.
I could tell by some of the rainbow and LGBT+ oriented decor that this was a gay bar -- for lack of a better term. I mean the answer is obvious, but I don’t want to make assumptions. Maybe this is a place for Ransom to escape, to go to and have a drink without anyone bothering him or me finding out where he was and coming to disturb him -- too late.
I could see the top of his head just popping out from a booth and I trotted over.
“Thought you could hide from…,” I said not realizing a smaller man was sitting across from him. He wore faded blue jeans, a Slayer tee and a pair of well worked boots.
“Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t mean to interrupt.”
Ransom’s face grew flush red with anger and embarrassment.
“Sure you didn’t,” he said.
“Look, I had no idea there was someone else in the picture," the smaller guy with a 5 o’clock shadow said.
“No, it isn’t like that,” Ransom protested, his eyes locking on this man then veering up toward me.
“I better get out of here. I’m sorry, maybe we’ll be in touch.”
The man is up quick brushing past me and heads for the backdoor so no one sees him exit from the front -- maybe that’s how the bar got it’s name.
Ransom isn’t talking to me. He lays a $50 on the table and gets up to walk toward the same back exit his buddy did.
I smelled the liquor on his breath as he brushed past -- but it wasn't about that… it was deeper now. I bust through the backdoor and meet him halfway down the alley way. I grab his shoulder spinning him around to see tears streaming down his face.
“I’ll go back to fucking Canada. Just let me get the shit form your house and I’ll be done and out of your hair just like you want,” he said. “Fuck, I wanted to tell you… but I knew… I knew how this would turn out.”
Ransom hauls his arm back and cracks his fist into the raw brick wall -- skinning his knuckles and bloodying them all to hell. He did it again -- sobbing -- a man over six feet broken down. I grab his arm before he can break his hand completely.
“No one wants a fucking queer as a bodyguard, no dude wants to be opposite the ring of a gay man.”
I just grabbed him. I pulled him close and held him as he cried and collapsed to his knees. I knew Ransom’s past. Where he grew up -- it was more accepted to be an addict then it was to be gay. It all made sense on why he couldn’t go home to the wife and kids -- he wasn’t the same person… and I was part of the reason he found himself… now I was making him feel rejected because I didn’t want him coming to the ring with me. I could never reject him now -- I like to think the world is above this now.
“It’s okay, I don’t care. I didn’t understand how me not letting you in, how me not letting you achieve your potential was affecting you. You don’t need to hide from me.”
I loaded Ransom into a cab, took him home, ran him a shower and made sure he got to sleep on the couch.
I retired to my room where I sat at a computer desk in a large leather chair. I turn on the MacBook in front of me to once again address the fans. I push back so the webcam gets a good shot shoulders up.
“No one reached out after Chaos last week asking if I was okay Hawke. I’m not saying that to highlight the small amount of friends I have. I know what happened counts has a notch in your belt and not mine. I know that forever you will be able to rub in my face… you beat me. Even if it was because of my own actions… but see like I said earlier today… I got what I wanted. The little fish took the bait and after our I Quit match at Act of Defiance people are going to look back at is as one of the most brutal matches in Carnage history. You thought lawyers shutting down Havoc was a big deal... the whole company might get sued into bankruptcy after what I do to you.”
I laugh to myself pulling the pack of Marlboros up off the computer desk and spinning it around between two fingers casually.
“I said it before and I’ll say it again Sebastian, the champion makes the championship… not the other way around and I am willing to give it a good home. I even saw the Carnage World Champion chime in and wish you luck. You know the bullshit he spouts about rising all ships. We will see if he sings to the same tune when I take this Chaos Championship and it reflects the spotlight directly into his eyes, and when he rubs them…. Comes too… just like you Sebastian he’ll see me as the undeniable face of Carnage.”
I pull a single cigarette from the pack and toss it back down on the table.
“You dug your own grave. Not giving up is what I do best. You’ll have to lob off a couple limbs, empale me and tie me down with my own fucking entrials if there is going to be a hope in hell of me uttering those words. If there is on fact that is undeniable -- it’s when the nuclear war hits the only thing left standing will be cockroaches, Twinkies… and Casanova English.”
I put the cigarette between my lips -- but continue talking.
“Last time we were in the ring I showed you what a main event really feels like. I get it, you are just out here trying to get your name in lights, trying to feel the heat of the spotlight… because then you can say mommy and daddy were wrong when they told you being a pro wrestler was a waste of time. I get it… you might have the money fight now, you might have the whole world watching… but if you can’t beat me… it’s all back to square one. Enjoy your 15 minutes of fame… because Sebastian… when I am done with you I’m not backtracking. People are going to understand that bell saved you on Chaos. I did you a favour… but at Act of Defiance… when I lock in the Silence of the Lamb… the only way I am letting go is if you squeak out those words… or go limp.”
I light my cigarette and close the laptop down abruptly.
We bullshit ourselves every single day. We act like we're fighting for a promotion, relevance, trophies and world championships.
Hawke wants to be noticed as great. I want to open people’s minds -- enlighten them.
Voodoo, she just wants to be free to practice what she believes.
Truth is, just like Ransom, in some way shape or form, what we’re really battling for -- really killing ourselves for -- is acceptance.