The Post War Dream
All this happened… more or less…
August 4th, 2019
Tampa General Hospital
MJF: Fuck on a stick, it’s bright out.
She reaches into her bag for a pair of sunglasses while the discharge forms are prepared.
Kevin: So I was thinking, we don’t need to go back to New York right away.
MJ smiles at him while forms are placed in front of her.
MJF: You read my mind, man. Anyways, I got a text from Mr. Best this morning, and he needs me back at the arena before they break the ring down for the CMT festival.
MJF: Lee. Why would I call Mike anything but Mike? He says the fact that I look this beat up, that’ll sell what he wants the LSD division ta look like.
He looks at her. One black eye. One bruised cheek. Rope burns around her neck.
MJF: Right? Anyways, he also said that he was askin’ me this as, and I’mma quote, ‘one last favor for your ol’ boss.’ So I kinda feel like, even if I wasn’t stoked ta go, I should go, ya know?
Kevin: Yeah, heard.
She signs something, signs some other thing, and passes her insurance card to the receptionist for more information. The receptionist looks at her, looks at Kevin with a suspicious eye, and returns her attention to her computer.
Kevin: After that–
MJF: After that, we’re going to The Pub for lunch. I’m feeling a diabolical need for some scotch eggs and scotch… scotch.
He tenses, and she notices. MJ takes a step towards him and loops her arm around his.
She squeezes his arm tighter.
Kevin: I was more thinking we head over to your aunt’s in Orlando and lay low there for a few days.
MJ leans away from him, eyebrow momentarily arched before a bit of pain sneaks in.
MJF: No way. We’ve got ourselves an LSD celebration tonight.
And that’s when they caught the attention of the security guard.
Security Guard: Young lady, are you all right?
MJ looks at him, legitimately confused.
MJF: Yeah, I’m good. Why does everyone keep asking me that?
The guard’s gaze turns to a glare as he looks at Kevin, then back at MJ.
Security Guard: Do you need me to take you somewhere, do you need to call someone? Are you safe?
She steps back.
MJF: Dude, you’re like the fourth person ta ask me that today. Seriously, what’s up?
Kevin: You’re a young girl checking out of a hospital with facial bruising and rope burns around your neck, in the company of a man a few years older than you with burn and knife scars on his hands and forearms, some of which are covered with tattoos. I’ve seen enough reality TV, they’ve had you red flagged as a domestic abuse victim since you checked in.
MJ looks at him, then back at the security guard.
The guard nods.
Security Guard: You raise a lot of red flags, ma’am.
MJF: I’m a professional wrestler, man. I was over at the Yuengling Center last night, that’s how all this happened.
She gestures to her injuries.
MJF: And I won a championship – the LSD title. Babe, did you bring my belt?
Kevin immediately reaches into the bag slung over his shoulder, and produces the High Octane Wrestling LSD title belt, along with the as-yet-unattached nameplate of ‘MJ Flair.’
The guard considers this. After thirty or so seconds that feel forty five seconds longer than it should, he moves on. Kevin puts the belt and nameplate back in the bag, and MJ collects her paperwork from the receptionist.
MJF: Fine, babe. Point taken.
She hugs his arm again as they turn to walk out of the hospital.
“Excuse me, young lady.”
MJF: Oh, for holy living stupid fucking fuck.
Yes. Another security guard.
Kevin: So should we just take separate cars?
MJF: Three passions in my life, man.
She holds up one finger at a time as she answers.
MJF: Wrestling, painting slash drawing, and playin’ my guitar. The order varies.
Blaire Moise: Interesting. Where’s the cutie fit in?
The photoshoot long since finished, the LSD Champion sits in the ring with her legs underneath the bottom rope, dangling down the apron. She’s resting her arms on the middle rope while she talks to HOW correspondent Blaire Moise. Sitting in the sixth row of the empty arena, MJ’s boyfriend Kevin is scrolling through his phone, unconcerned.
MJF: He fits in really fuckin’ well, man. I mean, we’ve only been dating for a few weeks now but he’s taken to this shit pretty fast.
MJF: He went through like two weeks of his name gettin’ dragged through the mud just for the sin’a dating me, and he’s still here.
She winks at him. He notices, and he smiles.
MJF: Anyone that’ll deal with guys like Sektor and Scottywood jumpin’ on his existence, and he’s still stickin’ around? Keeper.
Blaire makes some notes, then taps the title belt sitting next to MJ on the canvas.
Blaire Moise: I asked your manager – Adrian? Adrian. I asked him if I could talk to you right after you debuted, but he said you weren’t interested. Now, you’ve got that title and Lee schedules this photoshoot, and I get a message that you’ve requested me to be here. What’s up?
After spending a few hours with MJ Flair, Blaire feels naturally more relaxed than she might normally; the fact is, she has presented herself as a fairly normal, down to earth woman in the time they’ve been talking.
MJF: Well, man… that’s the thing. Dane asked me ta join him and the others, and it was just him and Mr. Best who knew that. Not that I’m a huge get, or whatever, but it was one’a those things. So I was on the outside’a the place from the start.
She picks up the LSD Title belt sitting next to her.
MJF: This puts me on the inside, and the way I learned this shit, if you’re in, you’re all the way in. I mean, I wasn’t against High Octane when I made my first appearance but I’m fully in for it now, right?
Blaire Moise: No, that makes sense.
MJ picks up her title belt and cradles it in her lap, while Blaire joins her, sitting on the ring apron.
Blaire Moise: You seem like you care. And that sounds weird but before War Games, the Best Alliance was presented by everyone else as a team of mercenaries, and mercenaries only care about getting paid. From what you’re saying, and I don’t want to make assumptions about the rest of your team. But you, personally? Day one, you seemed more about the work than about the glory.
MJF: I mean, man… my parents put that work ethic in my brain. The titles, the wins, the fuckin’ ego boost, that’s all cool. But ya gotta put the fans first. That’s like, a no fucking brainer.
Blaire makes a few notes. She looks at MJ, and looks back at Kevin in the stands.
Blaire Moise: Listen, they asked me to come down here to write a few graphs about you being the new LSD Champion. But I’ll be honest, I think there’s more to this than just a title switch. Can we meet up and talk a bit more in a few days?
MJF: Absolutely, man. Anything you need.
“It took two warm – up matches, a war, and the aftermath… but I get it.”
FADEIN on a previously viewed mural. Viewers may or may not recall, during the build up to War Games, we observed a mural showing ‘The Best Alliance’ and all its members painted in a pseudo-photorealistic style, faced off, Fighting Game style, with ‘The World’s Okayest Team’ and its full roster.
There have been some updates. The titles of the teams have been blacked out with what looks like spray paint, as have the faces of Max Kael, Halitosis, Scottywood, Dan Ryan, Lindsay Troy, Eric Dane, and Jack Harmen.
In red spray paint, with a very controlled hand, John Sektor has had a crown painted on his head. Cecilworth Farthington has the phrase ‘A Farty Icon’ across his face, and MJ Flair has the hashtag ‘#LSDLife’ across hers.
“Finally, I get it.”
The scene statics for a moment, and returns on the LSD Champion, MJ Flair. She’s sitting up straight on a stool in front of the mural, showing off the newly- available- for- sale #97red T-shirt advertising ‘HIGH OCTANE FLAIR.’ The LSD Championship is strapped around her waist and her legs are crossed at the knees, showing off her worn – but – polished knee high combat boots.
It’s clearly been some time since War Games, as her facial and neck bruises are all cleared up.
“I didn’t blame anyone for lookin’ at me skeptically when I came into High Octane, Mike Best least of all. Like Mike said to me at Refueled, I’m arrogant, I’m obnoxious, and I’m disrespectful.”
She counts off each pejorative on her fingers.
“And I don’t apologize for any of it, because I’m also determined, confident, and capable as all hell. But I don’t blame anyone who thought the other.”
“If you talk big, then back it up, you’re not braggin’ – you’re just sayin’ what it is. But ya need to get ta that point.”
At this, MJ turns her head and looks backwards at the mural, then back to the camera and down at the title belt strapped to her waist.
“That should’a been that. And it was, for a lotta people. The rest’a my team that wasn’t sure how I’d handle myself in my first ever War Games stepped back and gave me my due. Max Kael, despite being on the booze cruise to celebrate the death’a High Octane, offered me a respect that he didn’t have’ta do. John Sektor, the new Champ, congratulated me on a hard fought war.”
“Even Farty Two Belts was as magnanimous as he’s physically capable’a being.”
She uncrosses her legs and recrosses the opposite, and leans forward with her elbows on her knee.
“It felt good, man. Felt really good.”
Pause. Thousand yard stare.
“And then Scottywood shat all over it.”
Static. Cutto Scottywood, from HOW Refueled VIII.
”I say awarded only cause… you didn’t win that title. You certainly earned that title… I will not argue it… but you didn’t earn it.”
Static. Return to MJ.
“I earned it, which you won’t argue, but I didn’t earn it.”
“What the fuck does that even mean, man?”
“I get it, Scottywood. I really do. You were THE MAN in the world’a the LSD Championship. Five times, nothin’ ta scoff at, man. I could make the joke that’cha also lost the LSD title more times than anyone else… but that’s low-hangin’ fruit.”
“If nothin’ else, five reigns tells us how, even when you lost the belt, you were never far outta contention.”
“Even though your last reign ended almost six years ago.”
And she turns dead serious.
“I’m cool with that, Scotty. I’m cool with your bein’ listed number one contender to my Championship; this is a thing I like about this place. There’s no pandering, there’s no stackin’ the deck by the office, there’s no punitive title defenses. There’s numbers. The numbers say you get the chance ta start LSD Title Reign number six.”
“And you’re twinklin’ around the goddamn universe like you’ve already won.”
Slowly, she shakes her head. No.
“Your justification? Your team won War Games.”
“Think about that for more than seven seconds. Your team won War Games. Despite your best efforts. Before the Ego Buster even hit the ring.”
“But sure, you’re a War Games winner.”
MJ unhooks the belt and holds it up.
“Even though, the moment Lee Best said that this was comin’ back into circulation, I was in the cage fightin’ for my life and you were already twenty minutes into washin’ the shame off your face harder than Cecilworth’s dad.”
And she hoists it over her shoulder.
“Even though, as you were makin’ history as the first person out, I was makin’ history in my third match of High Octane, eliminating the reigning World Champion and the reigning ICON Champion all while enduring a three on one handicap.”
“There’s the difference, Scotty. There’s what separates me from you. Your team won War Games despite your best efforts. My team lost War Games… despite mine.”
“Confidence is one thing. Arrogance is another. Add ‘em together and circle jerk with your newfound clique over the fact that you’re…”
“The new LSD Champion? Where the fuck d’ya get the nerve? And then it hit me.”
She snaps, right next to her head, and hoists the title belt onto her shoulder.
“All that shit about respect? All it was for you was bullshit.”
“Mike meant it, and I appreciate him shakin’ my hand at Refueled. You?”
“You presented as my needing to do two things with respect, Scotty. Learn it and earn it. I shook hands with Mike Best, and I left War Games with this.”
She taps the belt.
“Of course, with you, respect is a one way street and I don’t drive.”
“This isn’t War Games, Scotty. This isn’t two rings, a cage, and no rules. You can’t hook onto Pornstache’s coattails and hope he can drag your dead body across the finish line so you can declare yourself a winner.”
“This is just me, and this is just you.”
“You wanna reach back to War Games, fine. But let’s tell the whole story and not watch the thirty second Youtube recap. First in, first out, against first in, last out.”
“At War Games, I made history while you made a mess.”
“At War Games, your greatest contribution was fillin’ the role of ’Well, someone has to come in last place.”
She stands up and takes a step towards the camera.
“So you’ve got your shot, Scotty. And when we wrestle and you come up short, and you and your team’a construction workers tries to start a fight with Ground Zero, do them a favor.”
“Volunteer to enter the match first. That way, Ground Zero can get you outta the way fast, so the actual athletes can handle their business.”
“Now piss off.”