el estándar de oro
Phone call recording..
Unknown: Jesus Christ, you finally fucking answered.
Sektor: [Apathetic] Im here..
Unknown: It’s pretty fucking rude that you keep ducking my calls. Especially if you want a place on my team.
Sektor: I don’t wanna talk to either of you, to be perfectly honest. So why don’t you just cut to the fucking chase and tell me what you want.
Unknown: It’s not about what I want. It’s about what you want. I don’t have time for games, you know how fucking busy I am. So just tell me, what is it that you want?
Sektor: [Bemused laughter] You think I can be bought?
Unknown: That’s usually how this works, ya!
Sektor: Not this time. This isn’t about money, or titles, or opportunities. It’s like I said to Dane, it’s personal.
Unknown: Yeah, and like Dane said, FUCK personal! This is business, Sektor. Don’t go fucking up the twighlight years of your career by suddenly thinking with your heart instead of your brain. This ain’t the time for going soft.
Sektor: Oh I ain’t going soft. That’s why I’m standing my ground with the two of you. This could be my last ever War Games. I’ve come close to winning it twice now. I’m choosing my team. I’m choosing the winning team and I’m going to win War Games.
[The tone was very matter of fact.]
Unknown: Yeah well, you’ve had almost a fucking month now. How long does it take you to make a fucking decision? You’re like a woman! I want you on my team, Sektor, but I can’t wait around forever. I gotta plan shit.
Sektor: You’ll know by the end of the next Refueled, I can promise you that.
Unknown: [Sigh.] Fine! Well, you got a triple threat match against an opponent from each team. Perhaps that might help your decision.
Sektor: You never know. I already know everything I need to know about Scotty, faced him enough times in the past. But Linds..
Unknown: Oh, you haven’t heard yet?
Unknown: We had to switch Lindsay. You got MJ Flair instead.
Sektor: Huh. That’s a shame. I was looking forward to facing, the legendary, Lindsay Troy.
Unknown: Flair will test you, man. Trust me.
Sektor: What can you tell me about her?
Unknown: You should remember her from your time in, UTAH. She used to wear a mask?
Sektor: A mask? Wait, she was Second Coming?
Unknown: Ya. You can figure out the rest for yourself. Hope you make the right decision, man. Bye.
At Sea, a few miles off the coast
Sektor is sat at the back of his, Yamaha 242, boat which he had recently purchased second hand. Paying homage to both his Cuban heritage and wrestling adjective, he promptly named it ‘el estándar de oro.’ 24 feet of fibreglass is a modest size compared to his old vessel, but it’s in good condition and big enough to seat two in the front and two in the rear, with space on deck to swing a fishing pole around. The size is just fine for Sektor, who is unlikely to be entertaining any guests, considering he has become somewhat of a loner these days.
He’s drifting far enough off the coast that the stars in the night sky have doubled in size due to the lack of light pollution. The Gold Standard, wearing denim shorts, havana flip-flops and an open shirt, proudly leans back and drapes an arm over his seat, sipping a cold beer with the other. His shoulder length black hair flickers in the light breeze beneath the most important item of clothing…a white, captains hat, because…well..why the fuck not?
He stares up at the sky, enjoying the hypnotic sound of the calm waves, licking the sides of his boat, as the vessel barely moves in the slack tide.
“Fireworks will be starting soon,” he begins, wiping some beer residue from the tip of his moustache. “Ah, I’m not really one for celebrating independence day. My mother being Cuban, Dad being Irish..it’s not something we really got involved in when we were growing up. But we would always jump on my Dad’s boat, and come out here to watch the fireworks. Together, as a family.”
A brief hint of a smile creeps into the corner of his mouth, followed by a twitch of his eye.
“I don’t even like fireworks, really. They’re a waste of fucking money and all they do is make dogs shit themselves. But, I figured this would be a good night to launch the new boat and take some time to weigh up my options regarding War Games.”
Sektor looks straight into the camera.
“Yes, I bought a boat. It cost me upwards of forty-two grand and It’s on finance. I will now be living off microwave dinners and protein shakes. Anyway, War Games..”
He tightens his mouth, his expression suggesting that he is no further on with deciding which team he will fight for. The Hall of Famer takes a sip from his beer, which is devoid of any label or markings for..legal reasons.
“This day way born from a war. America got its independence, but as time moved on and wounds healed, both nations gained something so much more valuable.”
“America and Britain have been watching each other’s backs for over a century, winning wars, sharing aid in times of depression..People often forge strong bonds and alliances with those they have fought in the past. You never truly know someone until you have fought them.”
Sektor finishes the dregs of the beer and throws the empty into a nearby plastic bucket, causing an ear splitting clank of glass on glass. Barely having to move more than a few inches, he pops open a compartment next to him between the two rear seats and pulls out a fresh beer which had been packed with ice. A satisfying hiss escapes the neck of the bottle as he free’s it with a single twist of the cap.
“I miss being in a team, I’m not gonna lie. Don’t get me wrong, I am a man who loves his solitude and this?” he pauses, using his beer as a pointing ade around the vast emptiness of the sea. “This is fucking paradice to me. But it does get lonely. Seems like everyone in HOW has a buddy they can share an $85 dollar steak with, or play musical instruments with, or go on spa retreats with….where as I have fucking nobody and that’s why I’m floating around, by myself, drinking beer on my little boat, on the fourth of fucking July.”
A heavy sigh relieves itself as he takes an angry mouthful of beer before continuing.
“Ah, I’ve done it to myself. But soon, I will join an alliance. Whether its the new Best Alliance, or friends of Mike fucking Best, or whatever the fuck he calls it….Best Boys? I dunno. But who do I choose? I still have no fucking clue. I weigh up the options. I know Mike’s Team better, I fought them all and beat them all. Whether that means I can trust them more or I’m more likely to succeed against them, I don’t know.”
“Dane gave me some food for thought on the last show. Yeah, the big bad eighties villain tried to intimidate me, but he made a good point whilst doing it. The man is a fucking beast of a competitor, and you know that means something if it’s coming from me. If his buddies are anything like he is then that team is fucking stacked. The evidence so far is very convincing.”
A half-assed shrug suggests that he’s not convinced.
“The problem with both alliances is the same problem that the USA and Britain have right now. And that’s piss-poor, fucking, leadership. I haven’t been shy with my comments on how things have been handled lately in ole H-O-dubya. But, the last couple of show’s have been an improvement. Maybe Lee just needed to find his mojo again. Or, maybe Lee is two-steps shy of letting his foot slip off the High Octane gas pedal again and we will all be left hoping that Mike has the motivation and know-how to make it work.”
He lets out a single huff of a laugh as he rolls his eyes and shakes his head, appearing genuinely positioned between a rock and a hard place.
“Fact is I have to choose. My time is running out, and as much as I’ve enjoyed the spotlight of teasing both sides, my decision has to be made by the end of Refueled six. Whichever team I choose, gets a huge advantage. I’m not just blowing smoke up my own ass. Everyone knows my accolades by now. But I’ve been in three War Games.”
He holds up three fingers.
“I’ve come close to winning two of them. In 2014, I entered War Games as World champion and came this close!”
His fingers pinch together in front of his face, demonstrating how narrow the gap between defeat and victory was for him. The next words out of his mouth spit through his clenched teeth like venom.
“This, fucking, close!”
Flashback to War Games 2014..
The final moments of War Games 2014 begin to roll. Team Mike Best Vs Team Jatt Starr. Max Kael, Jatt Starr, Christopher America, Rhys Townsend, Silent Witness, David Black, Jason P Davidson and Shane Reynolds had all been eliminated, leaving only John Sektor and Mike Best. Mike and Sektor are both bloodied and bruised from everything that had lead up to this point. Mike hits Sektor with a strong right hand which rocks the former World champion. The two men continued to exchange right hands and eventually fell to their knees, continuing to punch each other.
They were so passionately into fighting that they don’t see the building around them starting to crumble around them, as huge chunks of concrete begins to fall from the ceiling of the Best Arena, and walls begin to fall. The fans had ruin ruit, denied access to the show as the men started competing in an empty arena, only for the fans to literally bulldoze their way into the arena, at one point soaking Lee Best in gasoline and attempting to set him on fire, only to be saved by his son.
Bleeding even more, both men threw haymakers as their faces starting to show signs of the brutal blows they were receiving, neither making an attempt to protect themselves. One final punch from Mike is enough for Sektor’s eyes to roll to the back of his head and for Mike to collapse on top of him.
The scene goes dark.
End of Flashback
Back on the boat..
The Gold Standards eyes are closed, softly, as he tries to digest the pain of that memory. Eventually his eyes open, giving the world a peek into his soul. A raise of the eyebrows brush it off as he has had many years to deal with the defeat which ate away at him the most.
“Back then, it didn’t really matter that I’d lost the World title. I was in my prime and knew I would win it back eventually. It didn’t even enter my head that I’d just let, possibly, my greatest chance at being named winner of Wargames slip through my fingers. What bothered me most?”
“I’d failed Lee!”
Flashback to the aftermath of War Games 2014..
Sektor was closely coming too from his Mike Best and War Games induced coma, as the Best Area continued to crumble and fall, piece by piece. Rubble lay all around him as he slowly pushed himself up on an elbow, laying on his side. His eyes rolled around in their sockets as he tried to make sense of what had happened. Dried blood clung to his face like a crimson mask and a thick welk had already began to form under his left eye from the brutal closed fists of the “Son of God.”
Sektor V/O: “It was like waking up from an anesthetic. I didn’t know where the fuck I was or what had happened. But I looked around at the debris and carnage, the pieces of the puzzle soon began to fall into place.”
The dangerous instability of the building was not enough to hurry the former World champion, who was now realising that he had achieved the runner up prize of the greatest match of them all, meaning yet again he was second best. His hand delicately floated towards his head, which was pounding. Panning around the arena, his gaze suddenly stopped dead as he noticed Lee Best, lying still and vulnerable amongst the demolition site.
Sektor V/O: “He had trusted me more than anyone to help his team to victory so that he could keep Mike from gaining control of the company he built. And I’d failed him. All the weight had been put on my shoulders, and as World champion? I was more than happy to carry it. But there I lay and watched as his, beloved, Best Arena literally fell to the ground.”
Sektor grunted and groaned as he forced his way up to his feet, stumbling over rubble as he hurried towards the God of HOW. His left hand clutched his head as he zig zagged his way over to Lee, falling to his knees at his side.
“Lee!” he grunted, his voice hoarse. “Come on, man, get up!”
His hand tentatively reached down towards the fallen God, shaking him gently. With no signs of life, he desperately looked around at the ever present danger of the environment around him.
Sektor V/O: “I considered leaving him there. Survival instincts were telling me that I was too weak to carry his ass and that I should focus on preserving my own life. But that mother fucker has a way of making himself feel like a fucked up father figure, and I couldn’t leave him there to die..”
Sektor stood to his feet and bent down, scooping Lee’s head and legs in his hands. With an almighty roar, he put every fume he had left in his tank into lifting him from the ground and carrying him to safety.
End of Flashback
Back on the boat, Sektor is sprinkling some tobacco into a paper. He cradles it in the middle of his third and fourth fingers as his thumb and index finger work the tobacco into an even line. Rolling it up, he licks the seal and forms a nicely packed, hand rolled, cigarette which he places in his mouth, just to the left of centre.
“The stakes for this years War Games are very much the same. Lee and Mike have a friendly bet, where the winner gets control of HOtv. So who do I fight for this time?”
He flicks open a zippo and brushes it sharply against his thigh, causing a flame to ignite which he brings towards the tip of the cigarette. With the torch lit, he clicks the zippo closed and inhales deeply, breathing out a much needed bloom of smoke.
“Difference is, I don’t give fuck about either one of them. And why should I. What the fuck has either one of them done for me lately?”
Sektor’s expression is stern as he angrily pulls the cigarette out of his mouth and forcefully shoots the smoke out of his lungs.
“Lee? He’s done nothing but fuck me over. We don’t have to talk specifics. We all know he’s fucked me!”
His head rocks back and forth slowly, convinced that what he says is the truth.
“Mike? Spits all over our so called friendship and all the mutual respect we’ve supposedly built for each other over the past five years. Kicked me in the balls as though I’m nothing. NOTHING!”
He huffs out a single whisper of a laugh as he shakes his head with a bad taste in his mouth, and it isn’t the cigarette.
“No, fuck them. I’m doing this for John, Mother fucking, Sektor!”
With that, he takes one last drag and flicks the remnants of his smoke overboard for a seagull to eat. Standing up, he turns to the side of the boat, leaning his arms down on the port side.
“So who do I choose? Which team do I think.. No, believe, will help me win War Games and get that monkey off my back?”
He lets out a deep sigh as he gazes out over the darkness of the water, staring at its vast emptiness.
“Well, at Refueled I get an opportunity to sample both sides. One last opportunity to make an informed decision. A member of each team will compete with me in a triple threat match. And I have to say, my two opponents are the perfect choice for what I need to know.”
“With the exception of Halitosis, I know every member of Mike’s team like the back of my hand. But Scottywood? My biggest question mark sits above your head.”
He turns around and leans on the port side, looking straight into the camera.
“Scotty, Scotty, Scotty. You know, Dane mocked about Mike picking you. A lot of these guys coming in to see you as a joke. You can’t blame them. I mean, you do say the most retarded shit on twitter and bait people you perhaps, shouldn’t be tryna bait.”
A relaxed smile spreads across his face.
“But I know you, Scotty. And I know exactly why Michael hand picked you for his team. Shit, If I was picking a team on reliability factor alone? You’d be damn near the top of that list. You, have stood the test of time and been a pivot of the companies success during those glorious eight years. I’m ashamed to admit that I can’t say that about myself. I was labelled a flake at one time, for fuck sake. But you were always there. Hail, rain or shine, you came out every week and put your body on the line to contribute. And I will eternally respect you for that, if nothing else.”
A slow nod of appreciation.
“However, I’ve sensed a change in you lately, Scotty. You seem to have lost that, mis-placed, and overwhelming sense of self confidence, which I learned to admire as time went by. I always labelled you a nearly man. But then, you proved me wrong and after all the years of trying and failing you finally won the big one and put to bed any doubts or question marks over your credentials as a Hall of Famer. Now you’re questioning whether you can still do this.”
Sektor takes a deep breath and raises a sympathetic brow.
“I feel ya, man. I’ve been in the same boat lately. When I came back, through all the shit with the drugs and all the mistakes I’ve made, I was questioning whether I could still do this. I’d tell myself, ‘Sektor, you’re forty now. You’re body is broken. You’re an addict. No one likes you. Everybody else is better than you. Don’t tarnish your legacy by trying to be one of those washed up has beens that just won’t…let go.’”
A pain of those moments of doubt are visible for all to see as Sektor’s eyes unknowingly downcast towards the deck.
“Mike clearly believes in you, Scotty. But me? I’m gonna need a little more convincing.”
Sektor’s glowering eyes suddenly shoot back to the camera.
“I refuse to fucking carry you, Scotty. Every time I’ve done War Games there’s been that one, cunt, on your team who doesn’t pull their weight, and usually ends up costing you. As far as I can see, Lee’s team is fucking stacked with fomer and current champions who are in the prime of their fucking life. They all know what they’re doing, but I will NOT join Mike’s team if I think for one second that I have to drag your sorry ass through War Games!”
A line appears between his brows as his eyes ask the question of Scottywood.
“You’re gonna have to convince me at Refueled, Scotty. I don’t want some half-assed, pussy getting in the ring with me. I want that unrelenting, insufferable, obnoxious prick in there with me. I wan’t the hardcore badass who used to nail people to crosses and taste their blood.”
The eyes scrutinise as they pierce the lens of the camera.
“I need the LSD legend! That’s right. People always talk about Silent Witness being the greatest LSD champion of all time. Maybe in the Golden era. But in the new era, for me? There’s no question. It’s you. But none of that history is any good to me, if you don’t care anymore. If you plan on just showing up to fill a number then please, just do the right thing and voluntarily withdraw. You have people like Zion and Stevens, begging like Keith Sweat to get involved in this gig. But I don’t want them. I want you, at a thousand percent. So show me at Refueled Scotty. Hurt me. Maim me. Fuck me up with your barbed wire wrapped hockey stick. SHOW ME, that you still have that edge!”
A moment of pause as he hopes his words resonate with the former LSD and World champion, before softening his stance and allowing the handlebars of his moustache to stretch into a smile.
“Now, onto you, Ms Flair..” he continues, his tone surprisingly ardent. “Yes. MJ Flair. Formerly known as Second Coming from, let’s just say it, U.T.A!”
The smirks speaks a thousand words.
“You know, when I joined UTA, my intentions were to take a break from HOW and pursue a different challenge for a while. I didn’t anticipate things becoming so sour between Lee and I. And I certainly didn’t imagine that the company that stood so strong for eight years would soon die. I’m not egotistical enough to suggest that me leaving caused that, but it seemed to spark a chain of events which lead to its eventual demise. But it was never my intention and I always knew one day I would return, refreshed and re-energised for another run of glory. But, I began to fear that I may have burned bridges with Lee and HOW for good, or at least a part of it. And so I started to regret ever joining, U.T.A.”
There’s a glint of regret present on the Gold Standards face, before he screws up his eyes and begins to wag a finger.
“But now, with you and Dane showing up in HOW, I have never been more convinced that everything happens for a reason. The universe wants Dane and I to cross paths again, with so much unfinished business. The question is, will it be as friends? Or foes?”
His expression remains relaxed, not giving anything away.
“Our paths never really crossed in, U.T.A, Ms Flair. Maybe that’s why we have this opportunity now? It seems that since then, you’ve decided to take off your mask and show the world who you really are.”
As he continues to speak, his tone is cautionary.
“But you haven’t shown me yet!”
“Now, I listened carefully last week when the four of you came out at the beginning of the show. Each of you spitting your own narcissistic messages of dominance. You looked so confident. Not even had a HOW match and there you are, laughing at our World champion like he was a joke. A man who had fought his way through legends, Hall of Famers and former World champions to earn that crown. And you’re stood there giggling like a schoolgirl coz you got a cheap shot in on him? And then you tell us all that you and your gang are here to demonstrate that you’re the best wrestlers in the world. Because you can, right? But can you?”
Sektor smiles but squints his right eye, appearing intrigued by the confidence of MJ Flair, but not yet convinced.
“Where does all that confidence come from, honey? Your success in the past? The fact that you’re a girl and beaten some of the biggest, baddest, men on the planet? Nah. It comes from sheer, simple, numbers!”
“Power in numbers, kid. You’re privileged to be stood alongside Legends like Eric Dane, Dan Ryan and Lindsay Troy. And that feeds your hungry soul with confidence. And I get it. I know how immortalising it can feel to stand alongside an alliance of Legends. I’ve done it many times in the past and simply put, you feel like you’re head and shoulders above the rest. “
There’s a condescending undertone as he continues.
“Never mind that you’ve done sweet fuck all yet to back it up. You’re MJ Flair! You’re in the BA! Which means you’re one of the Best!”
“Now this might just be one of the most frightening versions of the Best Alliance we have ever seen. In the past, the Best Alliance has always been a group of hand picked, individuals, who have been forced to work together. I know, I’ve been there in several versions, and each time there was an inward battle to stand out as the best. This team however, is exactly that. A team! The four of you, like you said, have rode into companies together before and dominated. You all know each other inside and out and you’re tight as fuck. Believe me, this is one of the key selling points when I consider joining you guys. But, can I really co-exist with the four of you?”
His eyes squint as he forcefully exhaling through pursed lips.
“We’ll see. After this next show, we’re either gonna be enemies, or teammates. For now? You’re my enemy girl, because we have a match, where I get to find out what you’re truly made of. I already said, you never truly know somebody until you fight them and I’ll preach that shit all day long. I’ve known my worst enemies better than I knew my ex wife. Better than I know my own daughter. So what do I know about you, currently?”
The mood suddenly shifts as his top lip begins to curl in the corner and his eyes burn with a look of disgust.
“I know that I don’t give a flying fuck, about your teen fan-fiction lifestyle. I don’t care about your school girl, back and forth, rom-com love affair with fucking, Kevin. Just fuck him already and get it over with! I’m certainly tired of tuning into something wrestling related and seeing mother fuckers EATING! I hope one of these cunts aspirates on their fucking food and dies, seriously. Like, fuck, every time I watch something lately it’s guys eating $85 dollar steaks, the Steven’s family eating fucking steak, HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO ORDER A FUCKING MEAL. IT’S STEAK!”
His internal jugular vein is visibly pulsing, so he pauses to take a calming breath.
“The only time I wan’t anything food related is cooking with fucking KAEL!”
He angrily pushes himself from his leaned position against the port side and moves to grab his beer, taking a drink and shaking his head.
“You came out the last show with your fam, and started talking like a badass. But really you’re just an insecure little girl trying the old cliche of following in her father’s name. You need the adoration of the crowd because you think that means you’ve really made it. You haven’t. I HAVE! Everyone who matters knows who John Sektor is. My accomplishments in this business is the reason why I have been allowed to literally dictate which War Games team I’m going to be on. You have no idea how privileged you are to have a place in War Games. Guy’s like Stevens and Zion, who have actually paid their dues here, can’t even get a spot. Your name didn’t get you a spot. The names of Eric Dane, Lindsay Troy and Dan fucking Ryan is why you are on War Games.”
He takes a big drink and clenches his jaw, clearly enraged as he takes a hard swallow.
“I’m not tryna be that stifling veteran who treats you like the new kid. I know from the UTA days that you got skills and you’ll probably achieve a lot of success, over time, here in HOW. But there’s a couple of things you need to figure out first.”
“I’m gonna give you some advice if you ever want to make it on your own here some day. Ditch Kevin. Ditch your friends who aren’t in the business or who can’t help you. Ditch your hobbies, ditch your extra-curricular activities and ditch girly days because they’re all just unnecessary distractions that will prevent you from making it in High Octane Wrestling. In the fisher price world, that shit might not matter. But HOW is a different animal, girl.”
His tone is more earnest than patronising as he continues his lecture.
“I’m speaking from experience here, kid. I had a wife. Used to come home from the ring, argue with her, have all kinds of family drama. We had a baby. The two literally drove me insane. I beat the shit out of her, she divorced me. The wife died nine years later so my kid came back to me, I’m a lousy Dad so she’s now in foster care…end of story. Why am I telling you this? BECAUSE NONE OF THAT GOT ME ANYWHERE!”
He purposefully exaggerations the pronunciation of his finals words.
“I barely achieved Jack shit until all that drama was gone from my life. I was suddenly free to focus on wrestling. Every aspect of my life is devoted to this sport, and I live it every second that I’m awake. When I’m asleep? I dream about it and have nightmares about the few losses I’ve endured. My Hall of Fame career only started when I cut all the stupid drama out of my life.”
His brow crinkles as his eyes widen, wondering if his advice will strike a cord or whether it will fall upon deaf ears.
“You dipped your toe in the pool in your first match, and had a legend to back you up. This next show? You’re in the ring with two Hall of Famers. Two former World champions. Two High Octane Veterans. “
His next two words rasp from his throat.
“Don’t you dare underestimate Scottywood, because I know you will. He has been in some of the most brutal matches I have ever seen. The man made hardcore wrestling into an art form. The wrestling canvas is literally his canvas. He won’t think twice about adding his artistic impression to it with your blood. And in my eyes? You’re not fit to lace his boots so you best show him the fucking respect he deserves.”
A pointed finger gives a stern warning.
“And I don’t give a fuck if you’re a skinny little white girl. I’ll punch as hard as I’d punch Chris Kostoff. I will try to answer the question of all those teenage boys who jack off to you when you have a thong slip, by seeing if your legs can stretch behind your head. I don’t, give, a fuck. YOU chose to get in the ring and compete with men. You chose to come to HOW, were fucking murder actually happens. And you are now choosing to compete against two of the most dangerous individuals in its history.”
His face softens slightly and his shoulders relax.
“This match will tell you everything you need to know about whether you can hack it here in HOW. I want to see if you’re a cold blooded killer like the rest of us. I want to see if you have a dark side, a ruthless side. I don’t want a little girl in that ring with me. “
Shaking his head he prepares for another throaty growl.
“I wan’t a fucking murderer!”
He bares his teeth but is soon distracted as loud bangs and whistling sounds can be heard coming from all around him. The deck of the boat is suddenly lit up intermittently with red, green, purple flashes. The Gold Standard gazes up at the night sky and the reflections of the fireworks reflect in the darkness of his eyes.
A distant humming sound can be heard between the bangs. The Hall of Famers eyes flicker as it seems to take him a second to free himself from the trance which the fireworks had put him in. He looks down near one of the seats and spots his phone, lit up and vibrating. Picking it up he studies the display, narrowing his eyes and almost hesitant to answer it. He takes his time to raise it to his ear, preparing for the conversation that may be about to follow.