“Just like that I felt free again. It was very liberating…but at the same time, something still felt off within me. I was inching closer and closer back to the life that I left but the biggest question is did I leave another behind? Did I leave another behind that I had been unaware of? It seemed there was a lot that I didn’t know…but that was part of the price of leaving. There were secrets that developed that were building on top of other secrets that were buried under the surface. Everything was coming full circle but there were still a lot of unanswered questions that were pressed for answers in the short term. Now I return to address them…but I will try and pick up the broken pieces of my absence and we see just how bad things truly have gotten. Nothing I wouldn’t be able to handle though. I mean, I’ve been through a lot, after all, I know what hardship meant. My life was a perfect example of it…even though a whole of people never knew what happened behind the scenes. Now here I was, about to endure another hardship. It was starting to get sad, you know? The fact that I was maintaining hardship after hardship and the fact that it was normal to me was fucking pathetic. Oh the ironies that were to follow…oh how I wouldn’t even begin to comprehend the word…
—Brian Hollywood–quoted after events prior….
Los Angeles, California
June 11, 2020
It was hard to believe Brian Hollywood was back in Los Angeles again. It felt the same but it felt different all the same to him. And maybe another reason why it felt different to him was because he was in the back of some random uber…
Brian Hollywood: “I really need to get my limo driver back….these rates, not to mention these fucking seats, are just not up to par…”
Anyways, Hollywood sighs as he looks out the window. He recognized the skyline alright. However, he was being driven in a particular area of town that he really knew…and he didn’t exactly know how to feel about it. Of course, it was Hollywood Enterprises that was in question here. He was particularly close to it…but that’s not where the uber was heading. Oh no…it was heading just to another part of town close by. It was a back alley bar. One that Hollywood never particularly came to that often. The only time he had come to this bar was in a past operation against The Chair when things got pretty heavy when he faced the Men in SUIT’s. In fact, Hollywood had bought this bar from the previous owner and turned it into a literal looking out of business model bar as possible. In fact, it had a literal name to it, too.
Uber Driver: “Empty’s? Are you sure this is where you want to be dropped off at? There is literally nothing here!”
Brian Hollywood: “I’m sure. Ironic for a name, don’t you think?”
Uber Driver: “Name? I just think it’s a god damn typo…there’s nothing here, mate!”
Brian Hollywood: “Well thanks for the vote of confidence! In fact, thanks for a free survey! I’ve always been wanting to freelance one out but for confidential reasons…yea, you get it. Anyways, uh…here…”
Hollywood reaches into his jeans pocket and finally pulls out a ten dollar bill in which he proceeds to hand to the uber driver.
Brian Hollywood: “Oof…sorry meng…I’ll compensate you better when I get re-acclimated.”
Uber Driver: “Whatever dude..take care. Don’t get killed out here…back alleys aren’t safe anymore…”
Hollywood looks at him as an eye brow raises up. Not exactly sure what he meant by all that…but that was beside the point. Now Hollywood was playing the waiting game. He obviously didn’t need a key to get in because the place was designed to LOOK deserted. Hollywood looks in and proceeds to walk in. It was just a big old empty room. Looked like it might have been an old roadhouse from the eighties but we won’t speculate on that, because, you know, references could go on forever! Hollywood then approaches a portion of the wall. It looked like it was just a normal wall to the naked eye…especially for those that didn’t look long enough…cause, you know, walls aren’t that interesting to just stare at. Hollywood ponders for a moment before he speaks out loud.
Brian Hollywood: “God damn it…what was that fucking password again? It’s been awhile…”
Hollywood attempts several combinations, but fails epically. As frustration starts to set in, a lightbulb all of a sudden flashes in Hollywood’s head. Before long, Hollywood hums along as he sets of a sequence of knocks that emulated go go power rangers as the wall all of a sudden slides open to Hollywood’s delight. Hollywood walks in and we see a whole other section with a few desks and cabinets. It was a war room…and it was a place needed to hide out off The Chair’s radar where Hollywood and his group of friends and work colleges couldn’t be detected by The Chair or his cohorts. Hollywood begins to reminiscence about the lowly hideout. He was alone. This place has been deserted for a good while and while Hollywood was appearingly waiting, he couldn’t help but to begin to let out his thoughts. Darin Matthews was still fresh on his mind. Everything about Matthews was a contradiction and it was something that pissed off Hollywood to his very core. Hollywood lets out a scoff as he begins letting out his thoughts.
“Darin…it’s fitting that I find myself in this room. You’re not the only one alone now. But you made it that way, didn’t you? Darin, I’m still at a loss for words what happened to you. But now here I am…in this very room. In this fucking WAR ROOM and it’s here that I have to finish this war that you had to restart with me. What the fuck happened to you Darin? What made you jump over the fucking edge? I still don’t quite understand what started it. You seem like I’m the one who left you scarred for who you are…but I’m not the one who did this to you, Darin. YOU DID! It was always fucking you!”
“I’ve told you for a long time what our friendship meant to me. I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights thinking of the way I treated you. When you became the enemy…you became a target of hatred by me and I took that to another level that is definitely not seen in friendships. I exploited that friendship…and for that…I am sorry. I can only apologize so much for that. But here I’m the one who is trying to reconcile with you. I’m trying to bury our past but you just won’t let it go, will you? This has constantly been the problem of why you can’t overcome your issues with me, Darin. I’m not about to address you by Matthews because that’s exactly what you want me to do. Oh no, Darin, you will ALWAYS be Zion to me because you are two sides of the same fucking coin! You condemn everyone on the roster and you condemn and prance around all irate and fucking butthurt when we tried to acknowledge that you are the same person. Well I wonder why that is, Darin. I wonder why that fucking is! You only need to look into a mirror for that information…but what do I know, right? I told you I’m not going to entertain this latest facade from you because we all know it’s a shield. It’s a shield that hides your personal problems and it’s emotional trauma. That’s all Matthews ever is…is just fucking trauma and it’s time to get the fuck over it. It’s time to stop crying wolf. No one fucking feels sorry for you! I tried to help you, but you didn’t want it. So now you can’t sit there and fucking whine about it!”
“Get the fuck over it, Darin! You’re not fooling anyone and you’re sure as fuck not fooling me! This war is going to end at War Games…I fucking promise you that it will! I will look you in the eyes like a fucking man and tell you to your face before I knock it the fuck off. I won’t even apologize before I do it because that’s not good enough for you anymore. It looks like it never was. But here we are…here I am in this lonely, lowly, room and oh the fucking irony of it all…but I digress…I will do what I must to put you down and apparently I need to put you down like a fucking dog because all you are is a rabid dog, Darin!”
“You used to be a good man…before you lost your collective shit! Now look at you? You got bit by a fucking rabid creature, and now that same rabidness runs through your veins. I no longer recognize the man you were Darin..and that’s why I no longer will feel responsible for what the fuck happens to you! This WILL end at War Games Darin…and you won’t like the result when it’s all said and done.”
Suddenly, Hollywood is cut off from his thoughts as the wall reopens and Hollywood turns around and sees Niles Omega walk in. Hollywood takes a deep breath as he tries to find the feelings that’s running through his body. He felt happy…but at the same time, ashamed. Circumstances happen and those circumstances brought Hollywood back here to one of his closest friends.
Brian Hollywood: “It’s good to see you Niles!”
Niles Omega: “I never expected to be back here…this place of all places. Hell, I never thought I would be standing in front of you again. You kind of just….left…and that kinda left a lot of salt in people’s wounds.”
Brian Hollywood: “You don’t have to explain it to me, Niles. Words can’t begin to describe how I’m feeling right now. I had to leave, but at the same time…I feel guilty for doing it. I know we’re in a war right now…but it’s just…The Chair has gotten ominously quiet…I just felt it was the right time to do it.”
Niles Omega: “Well…I wish I could be here on happier terms…but the truth is….I just can’t be. I told you we couldn’t talk on the phone. I told you we had to meet in person. I’m glad you came back. It’s about fucking time that you did!”
You could detect the level of betrayal in Niles voice. He had every right to feel the way that he did. But he couldn’t begin to understand it on Hollywood’s level. How could he? Hollywood pats him on the back as he lets the sting of betrayal set in. Hollywood deserved it. Gerald sure as fuck told him a couple weeks ago…but Gerald even tried to leave that out and warn Hollywood of the dangers close to home.
Brian Hollywood: “So what was it you wanted to tell me, Niles? What was so important that you just couldn’t talk to me over the phone about it? I mean, for fuck sakes, this could have just waited until I came back to Hollywood Enterprises….so please Niles…I’m all ears..”
Niles Omega: “Perhaps you just better look for yourself…”
Brian Hollywood: “The fuck are you talking about?”
Just then, Niles hands over a video tape to Hollywood. Hollywood looks at it and he can clearly see that it has his name written all over it.
Brian Hollywood: “Oh this ought to be good! I was wondering when The Chair was going to show his ugly face back up in my life! So I’ll just go pop this in over here and we’ll just take a look at it.”
Niles Omega: “It’s not The Chair, Brian….”
Brian Hollywood: “What? Well if it’s not The Chair then who the fuck is it? Who else would send me a god damn tape like this?”
Niles Omega: “Just watch…”
Hollywood puts the tape in and is surprised when he sees that it is Darin Matthews. Hollywood is bewildered and left speechless at what he was watching. More puzzling was the fact that Darin was playing games with Hollywood but he wasn’t sure why he was going this far as to send Hollywood a tape. Hollywood gets to the end of it and after its over, Hollywood just stands there in silence for a few moments. Niles watches his friend take in all of the content and by the looks of it, it appeared that Hollywood took it seriously. Niles felt comfortable in that solace, too.
Brian Hollywood: “HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!”
Or not. Hollywood didn’t feel threatened by it at all. Oh no. Quite the opposite. This definitely worried Niles and he actually gets angry about it.
Niles Omega: “What the fuck is your problem?!”
Brian Hollywood: “THIS?! This is what you have to tell me? Have to show me?! Dude…I thought there was something wrong at Hollywood Enterprises! I legit thought something was going on. But what do I find? Darin Zion going sadistic and crazy. What else is fucking new? No, Niles…this is nothing new…in fact, I’m fucking disappointed..”
Niles Omega: “Are you fucking kidding me right now?! What the fuck has happened to you? You left as a particular man, but you’ve come back as a completely different one. I don’t know who the fuck you are anymore, man.”
Brian Hollywood: “This is Darin Zion we’re talking about! You fucking know the man! The man is all talk and no fucking show! If you’re seriously this disturbed by this video, you obviously haven’t been in my world long enough!”
Niles Omega: “Maybe that’s the whole problem, Hollywood! I haven’t been in your world…but I know what’s been going on in the one that you SHOULD be in! This is a different side of Darin that I’ve never seen before! You should be wise to heed what he’s been saying! That look in his eyes…the tone in his voice…something has obviously happened…but you won’t take this fucking serious!”
Brian Hollywood: “Why should I Niles?! I thought this was The Chair! Darin Zion is not the fucking Chair!! There’s not a single fucking thing that Darin can fucking do to even remotely be as close to the kind of man The Chair is! This is a waste of my time, Niles!”
Niles Omega: “I really don’t know what’s happened to you, but you obviously won’t take this seriously. I don’t know how more blunt I can be. He’s a threat, Brian….he might have been your best friend at a time…but this isn’t the look or the words of a best friend…but keep telling yourself that.”
Niles starts to walk towards the door. Hollywood puts up his hands…he doesn’t know why Niles can’t see what he sees.
Brian Hollywood: “What is your problem, Niles?! I fucking know this man!!”
Niles Omega: “No….you don’t…”
And with that, Niles walks out of the room and leaves the Empty’s. Hollywood is once again alone in the room. He’s not sure what’s been getting into everyone lately but he doesn’t understand why he thinks Niles thinks Darin is a threat. Darin has never been a threat to Hollywood…and that is going to remain the narrative at War Games. None the less…Hollywood just sighs as he begins to get lost again in deep thought but not before walking over and flipping the light switch off as the entire room goes dark..leaving Hollywood there with it just left really thinking and pondering Niles words carefully as the scene slowly fades to black…