A few hours had passed since Simon and I tossed piss-filled balloons into Mike Best Office. Daylight sprung up over the horizon and the sunlight beams down on my cold, motionless face. Last night, we partied like it was the end of the world as we knew it. The Z-Pack and I obliterated the 4Z Party bus’ insides. Waking up as my insides churned, I observed the damages with a smile on my face. Yet still, something about it all felt empty. Shrinking my shoulders up, I put on my usual front with a jovial smile plastered on my face.
Darin Zion: Hell fuckin’ yeah, Chives! Gottta party hard like it’s 199Z this next couple weeks. The viZION is almost completed. In a few hours, we’re heading over to Ukraine and gonna bring the party to that war riddled city. The 4Z Network’s about to brighten up their dull, war filled lives. Everyone there’s about to taste Cold, Refreshing Iced Z for the first time. And I promise, bro. I’ll bring the end to World War Z! Let’s blog about it now.
I struggle to turn my stiff neck in place, trying to get an entire glimpse of what happened. Clothes had flown everywhere in this bus. Leftover food and drinks got spilled everywhere. The burning noon sunlight pierced my eyelids. While my arm flails around to grab my streaming phone, I hit the record button on my iPhone. I didn’t give two shits about my public seeing the torn velvet seats or the mess at all.
Darin Zion: Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s only a few more days to the World War Z games. The War to end all games stops through YOUR 4Z Network. And my GOD! We’re about to party our fucking asses off…
In quick fashion, Chives slams my phone towards the ground. As I try reaching underneath the sticky seats of the bus, Chives grabs my arm and pulls me up. My manservant wastes no time in finding me a bright pink 4Z shirt I handed out to everyone the previous night. While I threw on the clothing, I could see Chives’ face. .My butler and confidant’s face sagged straight to the ground like a depraved dog. He’d held the tears back in his eyes so hard. Before speaking, he regained his composure to scold me.
Chives: I don’t think that’s wise, Master Zion. You mustn’t speak out about things which you don’t understand. My family’s caught up in the middle of this conflict. Your feeble mind can’t comprehend the horrors you’re about to see. Master Sparrow…
An intense fire burns from my eyes while I silence Chives. Gritting my teeth down, I flash my manservant a sneer unlike any I’ve given anyone. My knuckles pop while the veins in my forehead pop out.
Darin Zion: BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! Sir Simon Sparrow gifted me this moniker because he thought I could do great things. Yet that man continues to yank my chain. Did it ever occur to you that he’s holding me back because he’s scared? The poor man can’t handle one lethal dose of Vitamin Z!!! Meanwhile, I’ve built up Z-Mobile and the 4Z Network over the past few weeks. For the first time, I’m seeing things in the 4th Zi-mension. My PerspecZION on this matter is 20/20. Simon’s afraid what will happen when I upset the balance in HOW.
Chives’ eyebrows raise up while the young man stares at me with a blank glace. He scratches his chin while I continue rambling on. While I continue to pace in place, I rub my hands together.
Darin Zion: My wonderful mentor in SparrowDynamics thinks I’ll leave him behind in the dust. It’s clear 1080z why he wanted to waste time with such childish antics. Those shenanigans constantly devalue the NFZ. I entertained his ridiculous games to remind myself what’s at stake.
Gazing down at the ground, the flashbacks of my constant wars with John Sektor flash through my mind. My body becomes rigid and tight while I clench my fists tight. The look in Chives’ eyes widens while I snicker.
Darin Zion: It’s this brand that Sparrow and I spent weeks crafting. We ended the Gold Standard in HOW and paved the way to a new future. Without it, I don’t become the man to SINGLE-HANDEDLY retire John Sektor. I continue spiraling downward. I’d throw all this momentum I earned over the past 10 years down the fucking toilet. I’d become the caricature of Jeffrey James Roberts or Scott Stevens. I cannot allow myself to become another pathetic loser who SQUANDERS his momentum.
Chives: But, sir, one would argue…
Darin Zion: That I’m still the little brother of HOW? I haven’t earned my GOD DAMN SPOT IN THIS WAR GAMES? The Zi-llennials will tell them what JOE PECCI knows. I punched my ticket at the AMZ theaters for this Pay-Per-View. I’ve conquered the most dominant wrestler in all SEKTORS. I’ve ended the Gold Standard in HOW forever. Hell, I’ve out done 90% of my team in War Games PERIOD. I’m the most reliable member of the Locker Room. I’m tenacious, dedicated, and enduring. What most of these feeble minded sycophants on Team Best forget; I almost won TWO WAR GAMES in one night. Their revisionist history will conveniently leave out the revoluZIONary moments of my career.
I latch onto Chives’ collar and lunge right into his face. My stewart can feel my warm, stale morning breath hitting his nostrils.
Darin Zion: So go ahead and cast me aside. I’m tired of everyone else writing the defiZION to my story. I turn my back on my ethos and the fans still want to blindly cheer me.
Why? Because everyone with eyes can see what these bozos on Team Best does. They’re nothing more than feckless puppets with hands stuck up their asses. Every last one of them mimics what their ringmaster tells them to say. All they want to do is craft a narrative where everyone else is the enemy. When I step foot into Ukraine; I become the life of this party, bud. We run through the same endless cycle becoming nothing more than husks of ourselves. Look at the sad faces of everyone in Ukraine. It’s time for the 4Z Network to come alive and par-tay hardy on all the media junkets. It’s about time I unleash all the charm that SparrowDynamics taught me.
I slap the gentle server across his jaw before driving my knuckles into his skull like a brother. His face grimaces while he pulls away. My minancal cackling bursts across the bus while he pouts. Muttering under his breath, he issues his retort.
Chives: You’ll see once you get there…
Jerking the poor man’s cufflinks, The Zenith of GenZ looks to persuade Chives. The apprehensive servant needs to let his mind go. Reaching into one of my pockets, I pull out a little baggie. Dangling it in front of Chives face, the manipulative smile forms on my face.
Darin Zion: Come on, Chives. Take this DMZ! It’ll release the tension in your shoulders. My victory at World War Z Games is divine invenZION. The gods have ordained it. Chill out old man, relax and let the good shit roll.
Only 15 more minutes before we land in Kyiv, the site of War Games. Even though storm clouds lace the skies; our flight has gone like a dream. We’ve experienced no turbulence, no attacks, and no malfunctions. Laying back in my chair wearing my business casual attire, I pull back my sleep mask. The Innovator of NFZs awakens from his 10 hour slumber, greeted by flight attendants. A simple wink and smile from my face enlightens their day. Stretching out, I lay on the charm some more.
Darin Zion: Thank you for waking me ladies! Over the past few days; I’ve trained to perfect the optimizaZION of my muscles for World War Z Games. I’d let you feel how stiff I am, but I’m sure that’s not kosher for your company.
Both ladies let out a skittish giggle, walking away and continuing on with their jobs. I mutter under my breath, pulling the chair to its upright position.
Darin Zion: Their imagiZIONs ran off with them. Always works when I lay on a little extra Vitamin Z charm. It’s too bad they can’t come back to NYZ with 4Z. I’d continue to lay on the extra pizzazz, maybe buy them a Long Island Iced Z on the rocks. Hell, I could have let them take a ride on the Mile Zi Club for good measure. Anything to bring me some extra flare when we go to the next home of Zion; Zi-ev Zi-krane. It’s the site of World War Z on the 4Z Network. I could do this all day, but…
Taking a glimpse over to my left, Chives still lays in a somber rest. My personal attendant cuddles up close to his pillow like a sleeping baby. You can almost see Chives sucking his thumb.
Darin Zion: Oh who am I kidding?! At this point, I’m babbling my thoughts to nothingness at this point. I better enjoy the last few minutes of this flight before…
A faint explosion in the background arouses my ears. My body stiffens up like a steel rod, not allowing me to move a single inch.
Darin Zion: HOLY FUCK!!! We’re about to…
I tune out the static-induced captain’s voice while everything around me unfolds. As I cawk my neck towards the window, I observe 2 fighter planes. They’re flying about 100 yards away. Before I can process everything, two missiles launch towards our plane. A massive, orange explosion fires off while our captain outmaneuvers the on-going airstrike. The glowing flames reflect off my pupils while my jaw sinks to the cockpit floor. Goosebumps rise from beneath my skin while I stare off into the distance. I witnessed the deaths of two soldiers in front of my eyes. The tenseness of my body makes it hard to feel movement. Everything becomes a blurry mess to me.
Time stands still while I continue to replay precious life moments. I didn’t notice our rough landing. Nor could I recollect exiting the airport. Once my mind jogged back, Chives made sure the limo picked me up. As the burning rubble registered in my brain, I remark to my dearest Chives.
Darin Zion: WHA?! THE HELL?!
Chives: It’s unlike you to remain speechless, Master Zion. Never in the few weeks I’ve known you have you ever shut your trap. Now you can barely utter a single word out of shock. It’s like you’ve seen a ghost from your past.
I look back to Chives before scratching my rugged face. Jolting back to reality, a sobering look befalls my face.
Darin Zion: Maybe I’ve done my fair share of harm to others…
Chives: But you’ve never adventured out of your comfort zone? Have you?
I shook my head while Chives continued sharing the lore behind the war. The melancholy manservant explained the past with a monotone voice.
Chives: My family and the Russians have feuded for decades. Pestilence, violence, and turmoil inflict our lands. Even when President Zelesky promises it all ends, everything still burns. The Russians want our land to build their corrupt empire. You wouldn’t understand with all that 4Z privilege you experience over in America.
Resting my hand over Chives’ shoulder, I rub his back for a moment. I motion over to our driver who wears his formal gear to stop. Taking a deep breath in, I soak in the bleak reality around me.
Darin Zion: Can…may I experience this tribulation first hand? Like can you let me off right here and pick me up later?
Chives: My dearest Zion, I can’t do that. If we left you here; we’d put your life at risk. High Octane Wrestling wouldn’t appreciate us leaving one of its performers on death’s door.
Darin Zion: Then I’m not asking you to protect me any longer. I’ve sat back in that HOW locker room protected for years within my innocence. I don’t think you understand how crippling that can feel to a man when they constantly protect you. All they’ve wanted me to become is some bastion of optimism. They beg me to act like a beacon of hope. Every time I cast those shreds of my soul to the side to paint my heart black; they force me to return. I’m tired of them perverting my life’s viZION for myself. They can’t stand up the pillars of the 4Z network. I’ve got to do it myself. So I’m demanding you stop and let me experience what your people do. Because trust me, it’ll open my mind up more than living a sheltered life.
The door opens to the car while exhaust pours into the night sky. Before I can exit, Chives scribbles down some information. The Humbled Servant slides me my extra zPhone for emergencies.
Chives: Tread carefully, master Zion. You have no idea what’s in store for you.
Darin Zion: Don’t worry, Chives. I’ll make damn sure these fucksticks don’t mess with me. If you don’t see me back at the hotel room this time tomorrow; feel free to send Steve Solex after me. Believe me when I tell you, I’ll stay safe.
Exiting the car, I slam the door behind me. I shred off the sleeves of my polo shirt. I toss some dirty around my cheeks and scuff upon. Underneath my breath, I mutter to myself.
Darin Zion: To become greater, I must sacrifice my comfort. In order to become a true vi-ZION-ary; I must walk amongst my people.
20 Hours Later…
Hobbling into the lobby of the Royal Olympic Hotel, civilization barely recognized me. I’d handed out my expensive shoes to a poor family. I’d ripped off parts of my slacks to wipe to local’s mouths. I’d spent some of my NFZ’s to feed hungry families. Even my polo looked ragged. Dirt and grime covered my feet while I limped to the door of my hotel room. When Chives threw open the door, a ruthless smile formed on his face.
Chives: I see you’ve come back in one piece. I’d take it that your experience yielded a lot of fruit.
I nod at him before flashing him back a perverse grin that rocks the depths of my blackened heart.
Darin Zion: These people…MY PEOPLE…need a man with true viZION casting experiences. They need a benevolent leader who holds their best interests to their hearts. They’re all tired of everyone treating them like puppets. The Russian army feasts off their resources and bleeds them dry. And the Americans crush them under their knees to set up a shadow government. They exploit them like toys for their own needs. It’s exactly what HOW and its fans have done to me for the last 10 years. Every time I exhibit kindness and compassion; it’s thrown in my face. Every time I step out of line; I’m met with force. They silence the Zenith of Generation Z. They tried to obliterate the 4Z network. They mock and scorn me. It’s why I sold out to Simon Sparrow last month. I had a revelaZION when people like Xander Azula threw me under the bus. I needed to take back my career with force.
As the passion in my heart swells, Chives nails a slow clap. Nodding in approval, he pulls me in for a giant hug. After celebrating my breakthrough, he feeds me and gives me water.
Chives: Now you comprehend the Greater Good which brings you here. Now you can fulfill your destiny to become the greatest masterpiece to the Rembrandt of Wrestling. You’ve reached your destination.
Darin Zion: That’s destinaZION! Get it right.
Chives: Right, you recognize you have NOTHING until you’ve earned it. You’ve let the world corrupt you into consumerism. You complain and gripe while failing to fight and strive. It’s your last life lesson.
Darin Zion: Damn straight, and I mark my words, the people…MY PEOPLE in Zi-ev will have a new leader in their revoluZION. They will bring me their weak, and I will give them Zi-quility: a rest like no other rests. Their oppression ends now with the Great General of World War Z coming to town.
Chives: Excellent, Mr. Zion!
Darin Zion: Yes! Excellent indeed. I must go spread the good news of the 4Z network from the corners of Zi-Krane. The Great LiberaZION begins now.
Fiendish laughter echoes from my belly while I clean myself up in the hotel room. I leave the beard and the raggedy hair still growing on my head. Looking for more simple clothing, I prepare to embark on my greatest journey into the wilderness. The blank stare coming from my eyes hides the haunted motivaZIONs I have. I must bend the knee of Zelensky and make him ZION-lensky. Joe ZI-Ben will bend his knees to me. And Russia will fall to the Great 5 Star General of World War Z. I will earn and protect my territory, no matter what the cost. I will not fail to secure the #97Red and execute my brand of justice on anyone who stands against the 4Z Networks rise.
“By now, the fabled folklore of my HOW career has spread across the land. Poor, poor Zion’s about to ramble off a list of excuses. The Ultimate Underdog and Rallier of #RallyZion movement is marching down to the ring for another World Championship. OH, IT’S ANOTHER FEEL GOOD STORY LIKE CINDERELLA. Let’s have the feeble Darin Zion share the good word with the peons and peasants of Ukraine to make a quick buck. Gotta get that the fans hyped up on that hope drug really fast. Dopamine sells! Let’s bore them with all the same banal, mediocre details.
If you think you’re gonna hear the same, sad story about Zion’s dreams getting fulfilled once he wins #97Red, fuck that shit. I’ve told that sad old story hundreds of times. I fornicated over Lee’s brainchild more than enough times for you to know it matters to me. If Lee needs me to give him another proverbial reach around to fluff his shit up, maybe the bastard should have backed me years ago. Instead of turning me into the jaded, pissed off old man I am today.
If you’ve ever felt downtrodden, subjugated, or disadvantaged; you now understand how I feel. I’ve watched life starve me of multiple opportunities in HOW. It becomes a sad state of affairs when society treats you like a pariah, especially when you yield a lot of potential. When everyone starts lining up to bury you, it grows tiresome. Every mistake, gaffe or sin you commit against the machine gets held over your head. Eventually it all drains the excitement out of you. I don’t blame the locker room or the Bests for my state of affairs anymore. They’re all a bunch of sycophants who latch onto their systems of oppression to survive.
Let’s take a look at Clay Byrd. That attention whore of a Texan walks out of a team meeting when Conor rallies up the troops. Hell, let’s list off some of the sins the Bests do. They’ve sat on top of the industry for the last 10 years telling the same damn story on repeat. They’ve become an untouched dynasty; they’ve grown complacent. It almost seems like they’re reaching into JJR’s playbook coasting off the same family legacy. I guess we’ve pounded the son’s legacy into the ground. Let’s dig up some random unprivileged orphan boy and make him a Best too. Let’s retell the same Mike Best stories on replay until we’re blue in the damn face.
Over the course of the past few weeks, I’ve experienced an epiphany. Yes, I’m entering this War Games pissed off. I’ve got a chip on my damn shoulder. Especially when I’ve sat back for the last 10 damn years and allowed you to pick on me like I’m the little brother. I’ve spent nearly a third of my adult life spinning my damn wheels in purgatory not realizing my potential until Sir Simon Sparrow had the gall to take me under his wing. That man has a brave soul. But the one thing that bastard taught me is acceptance.
It’s time I accept the things I can change and accept those I cannot. It’s about damn time I took some fucking ownership in my career or I’ll end up like Stonk Godson’s junk after his ‘protein powder’ abuse. I certainly don’t want to climax like JPD did 8 years ago. Hookers don’t respect minute men. I sure as hell don’t want to end up like Scottywood, a shell of my former self, acting like someone else’s bitch. Man did he fall from grace. But that brought me to the realizaZION I’ve squandered my time here in HOW. I wore my little brother status like a badge of honor. I’d accepted mediocrity and persistence as my prize. And all that left me emptied handed.
Well I’m tired of walking out of matches with no titles. I’ve spent the latter part of the last 3 damn years, hoping that patting myself on the back would give meaning to my life. Spoiler Alert: it didn’t. None of those rallies gave my life meaning. Hell, none of the time wasted in developmental did me any good. All it did was fuel the damn jealous I had for #97Red the entire fuckin’ time. Every time I saw someone like Noelle Rivers, JJR, or Arthur Pleasant get the rub; it fed my anger. Every last one of those squandering fools pissed away their limelight. So I did what anyone would do. I took that fuckin’ personal. I ripped straight into their precious Gold Standard and I ended his career. I took down Lee’s most trusted advisor and burned him to the ground. I latched onto his apathy and choked what remained of his pathetic career out of him.
And for the first time in my life; it fuckin’ felt good putting myself first. I didn’t put the company first in my decision. Nor did I put my team first in my choices. I made the statement no matter what it fuckin’ cost everyone else. Because that’s what HOW has done to me. It’s bled me dry, hoping the honor of having a job would put a smile on my face.
Let John Sektor be an example to the rest of you asshats in this match. I don’t care if you’re locker room or team Best; you stand in my way of winning War War Z games; I’ll fuckin’ suffocate you. I’m tired of everyone throttling the 4Z Network from reaching his potential. No one is holding me back anymore. I’m not walking out of Zi-ev without gold around my waist.
This is your only warning. I’m not playing nice this round of things. Playing nice hasn’t netted me jack shit. I’m not looking for the gentleman’s honor in putting your asses over on my journey to the destinaZION. I’m flat out going to bury your asses for my own damn pleasure. Don’t give me your crocodile tears for the abuse. Because you all certainly enjoyed mine when you pissed me off.
This round, I vowed to launch off something, taking more risks. I’m either gonna impress or get fired faster than Scott Stevens returned. Because at this stage of the game; I’m tired of taking that walk of shame without #97Red. I’m exhausted that I still haven’t won War Games after putting 10 years of my heart and soul into this game. It’s time for me to take my boot and squash each and everyone of you underneath it.
So prepare yourselves; the 5 Star General of World War Z is coming. The ViZIONary is born. And mark my words; I’m here to unleash chaos.”