A Queen Amongst Men
September 10, 2019
St. Peter’s Catholic Church, exterior
“I’ve never been much of a follower, you see.”
It’s warm in Memphis, with temps still in the mid-to-upper eighties; summer still grasping hold of the September days and nights and refusing to let fall tumble in. It’s dusk now, and I’m reclining on the steps of St. Peter’s front entrance, elbows propping me up on the stone stairway as the lamps at the bottom wink on.
Normally, filming in or around a church isn’t my thing; I prefer to find non-sanctimonious locations whenever possible. But since Dick Fury is the pure definition of sanctimonious, and given his proclamations and trumpeting of his disciple, Austin Bishop, as the First Apostle of Fury, the correlation is too good to pass up. One donation to St. Peter’s soup kitchen efforts later, and I’m granted use of the facility, but I decide to remain outside amongst humanity.
I’m sure the inside sanctuary is air conditioned, but I can take a little heat, after all.
“Whether it’s a follower of religion, a follower of leaders, or a follower of orders, that’s never really been my thing. I’ve always preferred to find my own way, make my own rules, form and follow my own creed.
“And because it’s never really been my thing, it’s why I’ve never been one to be managed. I’m a little difficult to handle, way too stubborn, and my way is the right way, or it’s no way at all.
“Going at it alone has served me pretty well over the years. Every now and then, though – sometimes out of necessity, or by sheer chance – I’ll find myself eschewing my One Woman Act and banding together with a few of my contemporaries under some common banner: battling against rival company invaders, or internal anti-establishment types, or something as simple as like-minded fighters having each others’ backs.
“That’s what we formerly-named Best Alliancers are now operating as. It might not have started out that way, but ultimately it’s how it ended up. War Games is in the rearview, and we’re still sticking together. We’re done with the manifestos; we don’t need them to shit-kick our way to the top of HOW. Because that’s always been the goal, no matter how we get there, or how long it takes.
“Not that I’m not flattered by the invitation on Chaos One to join your ranks, Dick. Declaring yourself a Godkiller – a slayer of the Divine?”
I chuckle. Dick’s always been a big talker.
“It’s a bold strategy, Cotton.
“I just don’t think it’s going to pay off for you. Or Bishop. Not this week, anyway. Not when you went and reneged on your offer and I’m left to sit here and wonder…why?
“What changed your mind, Dick?
“What would make a man with your clear eye for talent first beg after Steve Solex, then beg after me, and then about-face?”
A tilt of my head and a dramatic pause for effect. While our paths have never crossed until this week, Fury’s reputation certainly precedes him. MJ’s had her run-ins with him, first in UTA and then in CWF, and being able to pick her brain in addition to watching tape on both him and Bishop has proved extremely helpful.
“Are you afraid that if I agreed to join your ranks, Austin might actually learn something from a true professional of the industry and not have a need for you anymore?”
Extremely likely, however…
“Or is it because you suddenly remembered you’re a complete misogynistic fuckcake who is forever being emasculated by women and you’re afraid I’ll show you up every chance I get? Because you know that’s a guarantee. I also know you couldn’t resist trotting out that one-trick pony of dick-sucking jokes and innuendos, which has been high on your list of Boring and Trite Greatest Hits for as long as I’ve known about you.
“That seems to be a go-to for a few High Octaners as well, I’ve noticed.
“And what kind of a man are you, Austin, that would associate with a man like Dick Fury anyway?”
“A like-minded one?
“A desperate one?
“One who can’t make it on his own so he has to hang his hopes on a charlatan?
“There’s no doubt in my mind that you’re a dangerous man, Austin. No win is ever guaranteed, and the only thing I’m owed is the chance to compete here for them. And unlike your manager, I’m not upset that I’m facing someone ‘outside of my tier,’ because a battle against you is just another way for me to solidify myself as a force to be reckoned with in HOW. It doesn’t matter who I face, where they fall in the rankings, what division they’re in, if they speak for themselves or have an insipid windbag do the talking for them: they get put in front of me, and they’re lucky if I let ‘em walk out with their knee ligaments intact.
“Dick Fury might be a blowhard, but I know he’s a crafty one, and that’s why I’ll be having a Wild Card in my corner on Friday night. That’s what our group is about: coverage, commitment, and – eventually – championships.
“You’ll be my biggest challenge to date in High Octane, Austin, and I’m certainly looking forward to it. You won’t be the biggest, or the baddest, giant I’ve ever faced, but when it’s all said and done, you will be another fallen one that I’ve added to my list.
“I don’t need to kill any gods, boys.
“Men will do just fine.”