Well there it is, you came out..swinging? You want to know a secret Darin?
I made a bet with my dear adopted brother Michael Best and my good friend Cecilworth Farthington that if I spoke in the framed reference of faith and religion I could bait you into falling into doing the exact same. How long did you think about which biblical character you were before you decided upon Job? Ten minutes? An hour? Or maybe you’ve felt it your entire life, an excuse for why the wheels just keep coming off?
I made a second bet with Michael and Farthington. It was that you wouldn’t have the wherewithal to put anything out there without me doing it first. So I waited, patiently, I cultivated my trap, designed it to be as alluring as I could. I considered my options and never doubted for a moment that you would be waiting, frustrated and eager, for whatever bait I set with snare.
And just like a bottom feeding crab drawn to the cage filled with moldy old hotdogs you wandered into the cage and didn’t even notice the door closing behind you. You did exactly what I expected you to do you fucking simpleton.
Men like Eric Dane, they don’t know you and so they fall for your little tricks. They go boldly forward and do not plan for the kind of man you are. You’re not a superhero, you’re not really a good guy, your a mongrel desperate for the taste of victory using people’s underestimating of you.
I don’t underestimate you because I know you down into your marrow, down into your tiny, selfish raisin of a heart. We both know you can’t do this without piggybacking on someone else’s effort, cobbling together someone else’s ideas and relabeling it as your own. The only thing you could possibly beat me with is the one thing that is beyond your grasp.
A surprisingly original thought.
Allow me reiterate for you, you’re nobody special and what you did to Dane is just what you fucking do. You tried that shit to me and what did we end up with?
Job. Fucking predictable, laughably so. If you don’t feel a rush of shame listening to me right now you really should. Stop, take a breath, reflect on what is happening here.. You spent a few minutes in a tub trying to cut a promo on me using the material I spoon fed you. How long were you spending sitting around waiting for me to give you something to do?
Did you just sit around watching Rocky on repeat hoping to absorb some of his greatness through osmosis? Was the concussion so severe that you just spent a week drooling over yourself while your manager screamed into your ear?
I am disgusted by you and now, more than ever, am driven to keep you from allowing you to become the World Champion of my beloved High Octane Wrestling. You clearly can not be bothered to come to this place, crawl into that ring and put out something original. It’s become obvious that the only heat you are able to garner is the one you’ve stolen from greater men and women like some kind of thief in the night.
So here we are, Darin. Just a few days away from the time when you get to come out to the ring, chipper and brave, when you get to live out your Story of Job, cry to the heavens for Justice and then get chosen to live Happily Ever After because you endured all the Trails of Heaven and Hell.
That’s how the story goes right? That’s the whole journey of Job, right? To remain true to your faith, to trust that GOD knows what is best, that his justice is pure, that his judgement is righteous? And once you’ve managed to survive the likes of people like me, the troubles of addiction and the trepidation of cruelty you’ll find your family, your fortune, your glory eternal?
It’s a fucking story, Darin, and it’s not a terribly great one. It’s been repeatedly told by people in power to keep people like you, the hopefully idiots, compliant with their place in the world, tilling the soil, taking plow-sheer to wheat, grinding out soul sucking desk jobs all based on the faith that it will pay off. Don’t worry buddy, I’m here to open your eyes and share some real basic fucking truth with you.
It won’t. Not against me, not the way you are, not laying down in a tub, not getting screamed at by a Burgess Meredith motherfucker, not as a tortured soul just trying to edge out a little glory in a world that shits on you.
I could go on and on, friend, and I use that term ironically. I’m disappointed in you. I’m disgusted by you. I’m not angry though because I’d need to find some degree of outrage in my soul for that and between the two of us and everyone else who’s going to take the time to hear this, you don’t even register as a blip on the hatred spectrum.
John Sektor? I fucking hate that dude. He never apologized for being mean.
Michael Best? My brother and I hate each other in a way you have wet dreams about describing him as some kind of Archrival.. yeah, let’s take those expectations and walked them back down to the enemy version of the friend zone.
Dirk Dickwood? I hate that guy because he stole my fucking chair and made me conduct an interview off Camera Right.
Karen at HR? I hate her because she had to have a talk with me about what I did at a Make A Wish event.. Who the fuck wants ME at a Make a Wish event and doesn’t expect what happened, KAREN?!
But you? You’re a standard measurement for mediocrity, you’re a stale piece of toast that is neither satisfying to smell or eat. The only satisfaction that will come from me stamping you into the mat will be knowing that you aren’t going to touch the High Octane Wrestling Championship, otherwise you’re a frustratingly mundane..
Like the Peacock you spend a great deal of time displaying your feathers trying to impress. Like a Peacock you still keep your head down low picking bugs out of the muck, just a pretty display with about as much depth as a man with one eye can perceive.
Trust me when I say that, I’ve only got one eye.
I don’t care what you have to say to this. Don’t try to talk to me. Don’t try to be clever with me, it won’t work. I’ll simply finish this conversation in the ring.
So fuck off back to Legoland, Darin Zion, you’re not wanted in this tournament.
Maximillian Kael, First of My Name. Long May I Maim.
5 Time Academy
In our lives we always have daydreams of facing off against the men or women that have wrong us, done something to draw our ire and fury. Maybe it’s a bad boss who steals the credit for all your hard work while constantly berating you for not doing enough. Maybe it’s a treacherous lover who used your trust and kindness to stab you firmly in the back. Perhaps its an arch rival who always seems one step ahead of you, just clever enough to make you feel stupid and unworthy.
We all have that moment that we wish we could shuffle off the constraints of society and let loose a hay-maker. Send a stiff dick kick into our enemies to trade our emotional trauma for their physical suffering. Even the kindest person has been tempted by violence but we, for the most part, are all well trained. We stay the course, remain within the confines of our social norms. We grit out teeth and bare it as it were.
For Sutler Kael his entire life has been leading up to this moment. His hatred for his adopted father and all the anguish, both mental and physical, pushed him to train. To learn from 5 Time Academy how to defend himself and how to impose his physical will in the ring and outside. He never thought he’d find himself wanting to become a wrestler when he was young. He saw what it did to his real father, Shane Reynolds, a man who drifted between darkness and a desire to do what was right. Truly, at the end of the day, the only thing Shane did right in Sutler’s life was allowing him to fall into an adoption agency. Sadly we all know how this story turned out.
The young Sutler Kael’s life after being discovered by an obsessive Max Kael turned rather sour. Max proved a poor father and an even worse custodian of the young boys future. He lost Sulter to Michael Lee Best for a time without any particular concern. Elenore Kael and her vindictive father Wilhelm Kael secured the boy at one point attempting to turn him into the heir apparent to the Kael family fortune. He even endured brainwashing in the hopes that he would eventually be the weapon needed to take Max down, a plan which ultimately failed because Max simply didn’t harbor any real feelings for the young man.
Yet for some reason Max still had Sutler in the orbit of his existence up until he disappeared in North Korea around 2016 and Sutler Kael found himself, for the first time, alone.
It took time to secure passage from South Korea back to the states and even then he was unsure where to go. Thankfully there was 5 Time Academy and while Uncle Mike Best might not have had any particular interest in Sulter the trainers there did. More specifically one of the Academy’s long time trainers, Darren Washington, who saw in Sulter a potential nobody else did.
He saw a fighter. Not like Maximillian Kael, a brawler with a vindictive streak, nor like Michael Best, a precision wrestler with strong ties to the MMA styles. No, Sutler was a much leaner, faster and more dexterous talent capable of incredible speed, flexibility and a fearlessness born from a life under the misbegotten gaze of a Kael. Like his father, his real father, Sutler was built to fly, built to run the ropes and dazzle with an array of near suicidal offensive maneuvers.
And he was good.
A little unrefined perhaps, a little untested but the raw talent was there. The potential that Darren Washington had seen and explored with young Sutler was undeniable. Of the many recruits here at 5 Time Academy he was one of the most promising if only he didn’t have the one flaw that he shared with his own biological father.
An enormous chip on his shoulder.
“I’m telling you, he’s not ready for this Max!”
Darren’s voice was a mix of concern and frustration as he stalked across the gym floor pleading his case to a stoic Maximillian Kael. The HOW Hall of Famer rolled his blue eye and let a low chuckle escape his lips.
“He certainly seemed ready when he attacked me last month and I trust that you’ve really shown my boy what he needs to survive in that ring against.. Well.. anyone, right?” Max said in a coy and demeaning manner. Darren picked up on the tone, his face darkening as he let his disdain in Max show.
“He’s young, he’s never had a proper match, it doesn’t take a genius to know getting into the ring with you isn’t the smart move. And don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing here, Max, you don’t care about how well he’s doing, you just want to punish a kid for making you look stupid.” Darren snaps back at Max, quickly stepping in front of him as he puts a hand against the Lord of Kaelsavania’s chest.
Max pauses, his smile vanishing as a cruel snarl latches itself onto his face. He looks down at the hand and then back up at Darren, his curly, greasy hair slipping over his face while he lets out a low growl.
“Don’t tell me my business, Mr. Washington, and don’t try and stop me. My brother, Michael Lee Best, put ME here as the senior trainer and.. What was the title? 5 Time Grand Inquisitor? I make the final decisions when it comes to that ring in the absence of my brother, not you Mr. Washington.” He sneered while batting Darren’s hand away, shoving his way past. “Besides my son is the perfect warm up for facing a flipity, flopity technical monkey like Darin Zion.. he won’t match his weight class but from what I’ve read their style is similar enough. And this Academy is for training.. correct?”
Darren’s frown deepened as he left Max’s question unanswered. He’d have to speak to Mike about this whole arrangement with his friends in the eMpire, things were getting out of control here at the Academy, particularly when Mike wasn’t around. Washington let out a sigh and stepped up his pace to keep up with Max as both men stalked toward the large ring in the center of the Academy’s gym floor.
“CLEAR THE FLOOR!” Max bellowed as he sent an eye glare toward the various different 5 Time Academy trainees who were milling around. They all acknowledged Max but it wasn’t until Darren nodded his head that they obeyed the order save for a defiant young man who stood in the ring wearing simple black trunks and wrestling boots with a haunted, pale expression.
Sutler Kael stared daggers down at his adopted father who returned the gaze, a smile slowly stretching across the senior Kael’s face.
“I’m not leaving and you can’t force me too. Academy Rules, Max, there has to be a trained First Responder on hand for every potential sparring match, a hold over from when Mike let Durango train here.” Darren Washington said in an determined tone. Max didn’t seem to care, waving his hand toward the senior trainer without breaking his gaze with Sutler.
“Fine, stay if you want. I’ll enjoy showing you the shortcomings of your teaching style…heh-heh..” the Prime Minister of Maxopotamia said with a disgusted degree of mirth in his tone. Darren looked up toward Sutler, worried but hopefully that his student might surprise or even out maneuver the slower, larger opponent. Hope was just about all Darren had to operate on as he watched Max slither up to the ring.
With a languid, oozing movement Max made his way into the ring, his Cheshire smile widening flashing his jagged teeth like a feral dog. The height difference was an immediate tell, Sutler stood at six foot and had a total body weight of just under one hundred and seventy pounds. Max was a full six inches taller and a full fifty pounds heavier.
“Just cause some legal document says I’m your son doesn’t make you my daddy.” Sulter snapped back at Max as he stepped forward, his fists raised eager to start the sparring match. A wet, sickly laugh escaped Max’s lungs as he let his hands fall to his side, his head tilting backward as he stared down at youthful reflection of Shane Reynolds.
“No, I suppose not. I guess that makes what’s about to happen a little less tragic.”
“I guess you’re still angry about what happened last month, huh old man?” Sutler said with a snarky verbal jab, circling to the right of Max as the Warrant Officer of WORTH slowly turned to keep his adopted son in front of him.
“Not angry just disap-”
Before he could finish Sutler darted forward sending a fist to the side of Max’s face, striking his jaw though unlike before Max head simply turned to the side, his smile undiminished. Sutler backed up and looked toward Darren who made an encouraging gesture indicating he should continue with his offensive.
Another fist flew through the air and struck Max even hard this time causes Max to back up slightly though the smile still remained defiantly upon his face, his blue eye glittering brightly with a sadistic madness. Sulter didn’t back down though and immediately flew back into the ropes before charging toward..
It was then that Max finally acted. With surprising speed and reserved strength often attributed to wiser, older veterans like himself, Max turned to the side and drove a knee hard into Sutler’s abdomen lifting the young man up off his feet while driving the air out of him. Thin fingers gripped Sutler’s thick black hair and yanked him back hard driving his head down into the mat with a thunderous crash.
“Max! No hair pulling, that ain’t fair!” Darren said, his hands slapping the ring mat, helpless outside the ropes.
“Life isn’t fair, Darren, and neither am I.” The senior Kael chortled off hand as he sent a stiff boot to the side of Sutler’s head knocking spit and blood from his mouth. Darren closed his eyes and turned his head well aware of the kind of brutality that Max was willing stoop too. What could he do? This was.. Well.. this was part of the life of a wrestler.
Sutler’s expression was wide out and pained. He was taken completely off guard by Max’s strength, how hard a simple knee and a kick could really be from a man who wasn’t looking to appease anyone but his own desire to cause pain. Rolling onto his stomach the younger Kael pushed himself up onto his knees.
Another stiff kick to his ribs drove what little hair Sutler had managed to pull in over the last few moments, a pathetic whimper escaping his throat as he curled up, his arms wrapped over his chest and gut.
“When you step into this ropes, boy, you’re not in a place of mercy or kindness. The weak don’t survive here, the pathetic don’t thrive here. Right now.. That’s all I see, Sutler… Reynolds. A sad, pathetic, weak excuse of a human being.. “ He lifts his head and turns to look at Darren Washington, a smirk on his face. “.. which makes you the perfect practice for Darin Zion.”
Washington met Max’s gaze and slowly shook his head. He knew what was coming, he knew what Max wanted to do and he hope, he prayed deep inside that he wouldn’t. Maybe.. Maybe somewhere deep down inside Max had some humanity, some kind of caring and love for the boy he had adopted and called his son. Maybe..
..but then Max was a Best as well and they had a certain penchant for misusing the word Love.
Max’s expression soured as he looked away from Washington, his blue eye fixating on the young Eighteen year old boy who clawed at the Lord of Kaelsalvania’s boots. Furious, defiant eyes flared up at Max, the blood dripping from the corner of his mouth and his nose highlighting his pale, ghost like flesh.
For a moment Max didn’t see Sutler Kael..
He saw Shane Reynolds.
Max became lost in what he saw. He roared though he did not hear his own guttural rage as reached down and grabbed Sulter by his hair, pulling him up to his feet. Clasping his adopted son’s head between his two hands he glowered into Sutler’s eyes, his lips peeled back into a malevolent grimace.
Max drove his forehead into Sutler’s face, his son’s eyes rolling upward from the sudden strike.
Another vicious headbutt breaks open the flesh between Sutler’s eyes, blood oozing out.
Blood splatters across Max’s own face as he breaks his son’s nose, the area darkening and swelling as Sulter’s eyes close, consciousness leaving his body.
The sound of Washington’s voice cuts through Max’s rage and madness, his bloodshot blue eye blinking before he took in the sight of Sutler’s broken visage cradled between his spider like fingers. He could taste his son’s blood on his lips, feel the hot wet vitae slipping down his own face given Max a sudden high one can only achieve when inflicting violence upon another living thing.
“..I suppose it is..” Max said in a hushed tone before allowing his unconscious boy to slip from his fingers and crumble to the mat in a heap. Even as Max turned to leave the ring Washington was scrambling under the bottom rope and across the ring to check on the brutalized kid.
Max could hear Washington yelling and berating him while he checked over Sutler but the words were lost in a haze of sadistic ecstasy. Beating Zion wouldn’t be as easy but..
..Max suspected he’d feel just as good about it.
Washington’s berating of Max turned to screams for help. Somewhere across the gym floor doors were opened and the dismissed trainees rushed toward the ring. Max ignored them as he slipped through the ropes and slunk towards the exit.
He had sampled his son’s pain and it brought him joy.
He looked forward to sampling Zions.