Exit Conference: Part 2
Maybe haze is the better word. Can’t seem to focus enough to know what’s Best. Or who’s Best?
I’ll do ya one better. Why is Best?
It’s weird, though. I’m in a hospital, I think. Everything’s white. There are a bunch of machines whizzing, whirring, and beeping around me. And that weird thingy is stuck in my arm. I hate those thingies.
So yeah, gotta be a hospital.
It’s just… it’s fuzzy… like, “am I really even here?” fuzzy.
Am I fucking dead?!
I can’t be dead. I’m booked next week… somehow I’m one of the most active members of the roster now. Not to mention back to back Main Event Title bouts. Although that was a mention. Could be more mentioning later, though.
There definitely will be.
But what if I am dead?
They always talk about the whiteness… but they didn’t say shit about the computers. I hate computers. So I can’t be… ‘cause this can’t be Heaven.
Not dead. Phew…
No. Don’t even think it. Can’t be hell.
I no-showed a few times over a decade ago. Maybe took part in a controversial in-ring seg here and there, but that can’t mean…
Plus, I don’t hate computers that much.
So still not dead. Phew…
That place fucking blows, allegedly. Isn’t it supposed to be, like, less ruthless than hell… but way more annoying?
Yep… I’m in fucking limbo. Maybe I’ve been here for a while… isn’t time kinda fucked up here or what?
Calm down, Dooze.
What’s the last thing you remember?
Well, there was Refueled. We weighed in Deano with help from Dane. That was awesome. But that wasn’t it. No. We had to weigh Bobby again.
That’s right. It’s starting to come back now.
The whole knee injury was acted way up. Man, Jiles really pulled a good one. Way better than my wheelchair intro way back. That was fucking stupid. But back to Cool. He pulled it off and got us a good jump on the Dying Breed. Kinda hate how we’re resorting to tactics like that, but whatever it takes… right?
Zion and Hanson sure gave whatever it took, too. They were impressive, not gonna lie. I remember now. We were absolutely shocked. Couldn’t believe we lost our first defense.
Then… they came.
Out of nowhere.
Shit was Ludacris.
There had to have been a dozen of them. Maybe more. Maybe less… but probably more.
Sure fucking felt like more.
Felt like pure Chaos.
But if we really got the absolute snot kicked out of us like that, then maybe this really is a hospital…
A real hospital, I mean.
Wait, that’s right… I remember now. We got straight buried by them. Like LITERALLY buried.
Then… oh, SHIT!
Jiles summoned the shades.
That means Plan C is in effect.
That means HE’S back.
Maybe that’s how it’s gotta be. Maybe he’s right bringing him back. Maybe my biggest mistake was forgetting who I was… who I am.
Maybe that’s my way out of here.
Ugh. What the fuck…
I can’t believe I just seriously thought that. Christ, I must be losing it. The hat? HAH… you’re as crazy as Can- ahem, you know who… but he did get his shades back.
Maybe he’s not the crazy one.
Well… I guess if no one’s around…
HAND UP –
This is awkward.
I wonder if I have to think extra hard or maybe mutter something under my breath?
Ugh. This is sad.
Look at me, a broken down has-been… holding his fucking hand up above his beat down carcass, hoping an old Red Sox hat comes zooming to it like Thor’s fucking hammer.
I don’t even know if this is real life even and I’m fucking embarrassed.
Then again, I just got pinned by Noah Hanson.
… Fuck it…
NOPE! Not really. Something happened between the last hundred-thousandth microsecond of that slow motioned moment that just passed.
Talk about a lot over nothing.
And now I feel nothing.
Maybe less than nothing.
Those fucking computers aren’t even making their annoying sounds anymore.
There’s no more white.
Everything turned black again… what the fuck’s going on here…
The world was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, let there be pain: and there was pain.
A whole lotta pain-
Doozer: Holy fuck on a christstick!!
Close enough, right Dane?
Suddenly, Doozer’s surroundings sharpen into focus as an influx of acute pain shoots through his old bones. The source of the pain stands above the beaten and battered warrior. A tall man, compared to the average, quickly shuffles backwards after hovering inquisitively over The Dooze with pity in his deep, dark eyes. There were probably better ways to check if the bed-ridden wrestler was alive than poking him in the ribs.
Fully clad in a beige blazer and slacks with brown accents like he just landed the Delorean coming back from the 70s, the ominous figure beside our beloved straightens his tie. Then he thrusts his right hand forward, fingers extended together and thumb up, while clearing his throat.
Beige Suit Guy: The name’s Nosell. Howard Nosell. Famed journalist and professional wrestling enthusiast extraordinaire!
With the rush of pain subsiding, the room fogs back up for our poor Doozy. You can see it in his own set of cloudy, faded blue eyes. No sign of the electricity surging through them as recently as a week ago. They dart around in their respective sockets, then finally both land on Howard. Doozer’s brow furrows.
Doozer: H-How’rd C-c-c…Cosell?
Howard’s hands and head shake in unison. The Dooze, not alert enough to notice the gesturing, leans out over the edge of his bed toward Howard. Doozer grabs Howard’s blazer to pull himself up close to the journalist. Luckily for Howard, there’s no mirror on the far wall to reflect Doozer’s bare-naked ass from the lack of back on his patient gown.
Doozer: A-am I d-d-dead, t-too? Hhhhow’rd?
Still shaking his head, Nosell pushes the large, half-naked, drug-induced mess of a man back into a resting position.
Howard: No. You’re not dead. And you can think Cosell, sure… I do similar work to what he did back in the day, but only wrestling! That’s the big difference between us. Well, that, and I’m not dead. However, no one acts like I exist. So I guess there’s that.
“So it’s not just a clever name.” – Wayne Campbell
Reassured, and blood pressure normalizing, Doozer starts feeling the full effect of the drip again. He lets out a long yawn. His eyelids begin gaining weight like he, too, forgot about the man beside him.
Howard: Please, no. It took too long to wake you up the first time. The drugs they have you on must be something else, son.
Eyes remaining closed, Doozer’s right hand pops straight up into the air. His index finger pointing to the ceiling.
Doozer: No drugs here, officer!
Hopefully by now it’s obvious, but just to be clear, Doozer’s pretty fucked up. To be honest, I’m not even convinced Howard Nosell is real.
Is there a fifth wall? Is there a crack in it?
Howard: You sure you’re up for this?
The droopy-faced wrestler’s head sloshes up and down.
Howard looks dumbfounded. Figuring it would be a total waste of time to walk away with nothing, he shrugs while shaking his head and sets up his phone to start recording.
Howard: Alright, Howard. Don’t screw this up. Surprised the boss didn’t can you for the last fuckup. And who knows how long we’ve got until old, Doozy No-Drugs goes lights out on us.
Doozer jolts up into a sitting position like a pecker on viagra and shoots the previously used right pointer finger out toward Howard like a man possessed.
Doozer: Say no to blow, kiddo!
Just like that, he collapses back onto his bed resuming his semi-vegitative state from before.
Howard collects himself. He’s been through worse. He interviewed Jiles once back for during his Defiance World Title run. Needless to say, Mr. Cool was on top of the wrestling world back then.
The interview lasted 10 hours.
Howard, being the seasoned pro he is, shakes off the DARE Program demon that just channeled through Dooze for a split second and moves on.
Howard: Ladies and gentlemen of the wrestling world, welcome to another edition of my podcast, Howard: Only Wrestling.
Too soon to reuse the Wayne quote?
Howard: With you, as always, is yours truly – Howard Nosell. We don’t have much time to waste with our special guest tonight. So, I will say that in the true essence of our fun talk tonight, please remember… while we might be overly competitive with the games we love, and in the end, the numbers of wins, losses, and most importantly championships earned are what we reflect on… and for all that, some of us will do whatever it takes…
He looks down upon Doozer, the same pity from emaniting even stronger.
Howard: A wise man once said, sport is the toy department of human life. So, I’d like to extend that, and take a moment to consider what that implies for sports entertainment.
A moment of reflection.
Howard: Now, it is my honor and pleasure, to bring to you a figure in sports entertainment who has spanned three separate decades over his career. Starting back in 1998, our guest recently came out of retirement after almost ten full years to join a company no one ever thought would let him back. He is a former High Octane Tag Team Champion, and a founding member of the eGG Bandits… I hope you’re all excited to chat with our very own, Doozer!
A hand shoots up in the air. Puzzled, and a little unsure how to proceed, Howard speaks up with one eyebrow raised.
The hand lowers.
Doozer: Are there gonna be autographs after?!
The raised eyebrow lowers. The other one raises.
Howard: Um… are you saying you want my autograph after the interview? I gue-
A loud cackle turned snort interrupts him.
Doozer: NO! Doozer’s, silly!
You can see Howard take a really deep breath after looking down as his feet. Exhaling, he brings his eyes back up to meet Doozer’s… which is near impossible as they continue to flail aimlessly around being unable to focus on anything. Howard attempts to force a fake laugh, desperately trying to keep this moving.
Howard: Ah, there’s the Doozer we know and love. Always a prankster.
Doozer’s head snaps around and he looks over his shoulder in hopes of seeing someone, then back.
Howard: Now, it’d be remiss of us to not discuss your upcoming ICON title match with –
Like the words together completed some ancient incantation, Doozer jolts back up into action like Lee’s typically limp dick after the pill kicks in.
Doozer: Cecilworth. Em. Exclamation Point. Jay. Farthington.
Nosell is rendered speechless. Damn near motionless, for that matter. The explicit verbalisation of the punctuation mark instead of exclaiming the ‘M’ caused a head tilt, but other than that nothing.
Doozer: A fine lad, to be sure. A nice boy, if you will. Strapping. Cunning. A lot of promise. Could get adopted by Lee one of these days he’s so good at wrestling. If he grows a goatee, you heard it here first folks!
There’s that wink. And there’s the electricity back in those blues. The energy of the Dooze winning the handicap match against pain and drugs is quite the sight.
Doozer: Now, not like I paid for the ascot or anything, but guilt by association should go in the positive, too… ya know, to be fair. I think we all know what that means here.
Do we, though?
Okay, maybe the energy’s not winning in a landslide… but definitely gaining the upper hand.
Doozer: To be honest, I don’t even think he said thank you.
A pregnant pause while The renewed Dooze gives Howard that “yeah, can you believe the audacity?” look. The kind you see a lot on shows like Real Housewives and shit.
Cecil will get it, at least.
Doozer: And speaking of saying thank you. Can’t wait for me to get mine from my old pal, Mike Best.
Oh we’re doing this now?
Doozer: Headlining the tag title match at War Games. Busting my ass all over those twin cells, and climbing up a twin ladder after that unfortunate turn of events to get my belt. To give High Octane fitting Tag Champions to start off their new run with… then turning around, and getting booked in the Main Event the very next show. When basically everyone else who fought at War Games had the night off. I’m forty six, though, so makes sense you’d Main Event me instead of any of the twenty some year olds who can heal overnight.
A quick head shake from Howard as his eyebrows scrunch in confusion.
Howard: That actually doesn’t make any sense at-
Doozer: Thank you, whoever you are! No it doesn’t. But did I bitch? Maybe a little. So what? Did I promote the fuck out of that match? Maybe not, but my fellow Bandit in eGG sure did. And that’s what he does. He builds up, I hammer down. He Doozes, I Abuses.
Doozer: But the real point is, I went out there again. With my people. And we put up a fight. Jiles with his bum knee, to boot. Sure, it wasn’t as bad as he led everyone to think… but it was hurting him. Definitely cost him a step we couldn’t afford to lose. Not with Zion that determined. And… blehhhh…
Just the thought of Hanson causes Doozer’s stomach to twist.
Doozer: Then, well then we all know what happened. So the week after I give everything I had left in the tank… I lose my belt, and get the beatdown of a lifetime…
Trying his best to break the suddenly melancholy moment, Howard lands a friendly jab on Doozer’s near shoulder.
Howard: Could be worse, right? Not like your dog died or anything.
Love you, Sandy.
Woof. Pun sadly intended.
Doozer: You ever lost a title, no name?
Obvious head shake response.
Doozer: You think, hey, at least you got one! Right?
An awkward shoulder shrug.
Doozer: Fuck you, then. Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. That’s loser talk. Winning titles used to be like a drug to me. For Christ’s sake, I convinced the owner of Dream Wrestling to let me compete in the Women’s division because it was the last belt in the company I hadn’t won.
You can tell Howard’s biting the inside of his cheek in a desperate attempt to block a smile from spreading across his face.
Doozer: Yeah well I became the first ever REAL Grand Slam Champion, so the joke’s on you!
Doozer: Not even the point! The point is that that spineless one-percent fuck running this place is already, obviously, settling me up for failure. I get this ICON title match. It looks like a gift. It looks like recognition. Deserved for being ranked #1 Contender… somehow. Funny how my shot comes the show after I get left for dead and land in a hospital. The same show everyone got off who gave it their all just the show before that.
A pause in an attempt to catch his breath and try to calm down a bit.
Doozer: And the fact that it’s against his little man crush. None of this is coincidence. I know Mike from before High Octane. Before Best. Nothing, with this asshole, is EVER coincidence.
With that, and at this point exhausted from the tirade, Howard claps his hands together and smiles.
Howards: Well, it’s sure been-
As if the hand clap was the end cue of whatever trance the mention of the ICON title match put Doozer into, he was now out of it… just like that, the eGG Bandit flopped back into the bed and fell into an instant snore.
A top pro, Howard is quick to hit his recorder and avoid capturing the chainsaw like sound escaping Doozer’s nasal passages. He quickly scans the room to make sure he wasn’t leaving anything behind, then makes his way toward the door. Just as Howard reaches for the knob, it swings open. The nurse bursting through nearly jumps out of her shoes, obviously not expecting Doozer to have any company. From her ruffled hair and sweat-gleaning skin, she’s obviously in a hurry and doesn’t care to interrogate possible help.
Nurse: Great, a guest. He’s really needed one since his friends left. One of them left him this, by the way. Said he didn’t feel right keeping it away. And that he’d need it’s… powers… with Plan C around the corner. I dunno, buncha gibberish to me!
Howard takes the red, official Boston Red Sox hat from the nurse. He looks down at it, confused as ever, and back up at the nurse who’s already on her way out of the room.
Howard: Any idea who?-
Nurse: Don’t know. He had weird gold hair and was wearing sunglasses inside, if that helps. Kinda strange fellow. I gotta go now. Thanks!
Howard smiles. He knew. He turns back toward Doozer, who’s forming a decent river of drool down the side of his face.
Howard: Good luck, Dooze.
He lays the hat down on Doozer’s chest. As he does, a note pops out from a seam.
- Fuck them. Do you. – Plan C