The Second Step
We open on the HOW Rookie as he walks down a winding gravel path. He approaches a small dilapidated shed, his shed where he keeps his few cared-for possessions. As he begins to fiddle with the lock his breathing begins to pick up. The door is unlocked and it swings open without even the slightest force, showing it’s age and decay. Crash Rodriguez walks in and as he approaches a workbench he reaches up and pulls a light cord, dimly illuminating the small room.
“Back here, to reevaluate. Don’t stay for longer than we have to Crash. Just gain focus for our match. Embrace the voice. No, focus on what’s to come. The agony we’ll unleash, the pain we’ll feel, and the bitter-sweet memories we’ll make.”
Crash flips open the toolbox, breaking it’s locking henge. He begins to slowly pull out different items from hammers, candles, cigarettes and a small bible. He holds the bible before opening it up and removing a photograph of a slender woman in her mid-30s. The mostly unknown performer sighs and begins to speak.
“Mother. I’m sorry, you knew better than I. You told me not to follow that man’s footsteps. You warned me of this life. WARNED ME OF THE PAIN AND TORTURE IT’D BRING! I had to mom, it is in my blood after all. I just can’t stop hurting people. I can’t stop hurting myself.”
The 21-year-old has a tear form in his eye as his voice falters and becomes little more than a hushed whisper.
“I know you never would’ve cared for any of this, but I hope you saw last week, wherever you are. I know I lost, but, there was a fire in my eyes. A burning passion I carry with me when I get in that squared circle. A TASTE FOR CAUSING MISERY! A passion I bring with me every night since I started and until I join you.”
Crash quivers a bit, he shakes where he stands as he fights back the tears. His face contorts and his jam clenches as he keeps himself from crying. He calms a bit and eases himself, regaining his composure before speaking confidently.
“I doubt I’ll join you in paradise, not with the acts I’ve committed. NOT WITH WHAT I’LL KEEP DOING! So please, watch me during my match with Jace Savage. I don’t need you to protect, but just watch and understand why I do this. It’s more than the sins of the father. I have to stop the voice. The violence the voice tells me to engage in. THE DECIMATION I ENJOY SO MUCH! The utter indecencies of my actions. I have to do them. It eases the greater pain than anything I’ve given and anything my body has been through.”
Crash tucks the picture back into the bible and slowly returns the bible to the toolbox, along with the hammer and candles. He withdraws a cigarette and lights it with a silver zippo he pulls from his pocket. He inhales the smoke, offering the smallest hint of a cough.
“I don’t know much of this Jace Savage. Some rich boy with daddy issues, trying to follow some foolish dream. An idiot who is willing to step in the ring with me. A NEW TOY FOR ME TO PICK PIECE BY PIECE! I’ll show him the true decadence of our business as I take him down and unleash the unholiest acts that crowd has and will ever see. I’LL SALT THE WOUNDS. I’ll methodically break every bone in his hand.”
The young man takes another drag of his cancer stick and pushes some of his tangled hair behind his ear. He continues combing through his hair with his hand, it getting snagged from the knotted strands of hair a few times.
“Jace Savage, my next victim, that how I should look at it. Don’t view him as a target, utter confidence. I’ll take the fire I brought with me against Noah, and just amplify it by ten. I’m ‘ El Maestro de la Partida de la Muerte’, the master of the deathmatch, so this wall street reject is just another poor defenseless soul in the wake of my storm of destruction. HE’LL FEEL TRUE PAIN! I’LL GRIND HIS BONES INTO DUST! I’ll make him wish he never got into this business. He’s unfit to lace my boots.”
Crash walks over to a table, sitting under the only window in the room. On the table lays an outdated sound system, he grabs the remote laying on top of it and hits play. The speaker is worn and old, making the song sound haunting and distorted, but it’s audible enough to make out the track, ‘That’s Life’ by Frank Sinatra. Crash begins waving his hands as if a conducting the band before letting them hang to his side. As the song plays on in the background Crash steps over a burnt replica of some title. The plastic so distorted and charred it’s hard to make out which belt it once was.
“This week I’ll correct my mistakes. I’ll win this time, no doubt in my mind of that. I’LL BREAK HIS SPIRIT! I will have my arm raised in victory as the crowd shields their eyes from the mangled flesh of the foolish Savage. A name that describes nothing of the man. I’ll show Jace the meaning of the word ‘savage’ as I spill his blood, painting the canvas red. Like a modern-day Van Gogh, I’ll paint beautiful scenes using his sweat, blood, and tears, before discarding him like a dollar store paintbrush.”
The young rookie passes through the shed, exiting through the door and locking it behind him. He put his palm against the dilapidated wood of the door and holds it there for quite some time before he begins to speak, in a cracking voice.
“I’ve does so many things. So many god awful things, yet, I know I’m not going to stop anytime soon. Jace Savage will find this to be a bitter truth. He’ll find the truth tasted like bitter, unflavored cough syrup. He’ll choke up as his world is driven into the pits of hell, by me. He’ll have twisted memories, that’ll linger inside his skull likes ghosts of wartime. There will be blood and we shall bathe in it as we exchange blows before his body can no longer take anymore and falls to the ground, lifeless and devoid of any will to go on. I’ll offer him the sweet mercy of this dark existence we all live. I’ll guide him towards salvation.”
Crash throws his arms out, striking the imagery of Jesus on the cross, his head tilted back as he squeals at the top of his lungs a shrieking yell. Following the shout, he begins to chuckle and his body twitches wildly before finally sliding down against the side of his shed, ending seated with his head resting on his knees, as he lifts his head up, we hear Crash speak in a voice filled with confidence while sporting his crooked smile.
“Take my hand and I’ll lead you down my Crooked Mile.”