I come from the games. Through organizations, BOTS and Bosses, to this place.
My format: Wrestler.
To game and to shame.
To shame my new-found enemy.
His hopes and dreams.
To shame him from… BEING A GIANT DICKFACE.
“Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne, the High Flyer theme song
They say Big Boss lives outside the games and inputs fights for pleasure.
No one knows for sure… but I intend to find out.
I recognize the above reference may be lost on you. If it is, damn, you missed out hard. But if you DO know, we need to be friends and fast. I’ve got some openings too after I waste my false hero. Hit me up. I’m a good time.
Don’t worry. Any further references everyone should understand. Let’s get to it…
Can I ask you something? Was wanting to emulate my hero such a bad idea?
We all have someone we look up to. You can’t tell me otherwise. Even the most heinous of Bosses in HOW had someone they would have considered a mentor or idol at one point in time. Hell, two of them are currently bitching back and forth about this in the finals of the Street Fighter tournament, check it out. For me, anyway, my role model was Jack Harmen aka High Flyer.
And then (apparently) he hated me for looking up to him.
Well, Jack, Imma do you one better. In two weeks I won’t emulate you anymore. I will literally replace you.
How’s THAT for a reboot?
They’ve rebooted the Spiderman franchise thrice. Batman, numerous times. Technically Hulk twice while keeping it in the same cinematic universe. (Ya, I don’t know how that works, either.)
I could go on and on but these reboots don’t star the same lead. Someone else is Spiderman. Someone else is Batman (
George Clooney). It’s the same character but a different spirit.
It’s true for video games, as well. They’ve rebooted Tomb Raider three times and they’re working on a fourth installment. Maybe you can’t “star” in a video game but you can certainly lose your license. Ask Core Design, after they made that God-forsaken 6th Tomb Raider game, Angel of Darkness, they never got a chance to make another.
Punt me in the head a few times and feed me to a Mega Boss, Jack, I promise you, you’ll NEVER have a chance to do that again.
Because at March to Glory I don’t just REBOOT you.
I don’t just kill you.
I take your place.
Starbucks in NYC
March 2nd, 2021
Okay, first off… I have no clue as to why I’ve been craving Starbucks recently. It’s pretty average and overpriced. But last time I checked it’s not Conor Fuse vs. Starbucks Ownership at March to Glory, so deal with the fact I’m in one of these… again. We’ll be going to other locations, too. So chill, dear gamer, chill.
One obvious difference is I’m not on the phone with my mother. No, instead I’m waiting for someone else to join me.
Looking down at my watch, they’re more than ten minutes late. They’re always late. After all, this is what it’s like…
To have an older brother.
I have two but the person I’m meeting is the closest in age. He and I used to co-op the wrestling scene together before we went our separate ways. You wouldn’t know him in the High Octane system but that’s why I’m introducing him now. It’ll be brief. He’s not really a talker. He’s methodical, stoic and angry. Christ, what the hell am I doing in HOW? It should be him who’s in my place.
“Took you long enough,” I start as I glance down at my watch and my brother, Tyler, sits across from me.
“I hate people,” He snaps back, “so I walked. Avoiding public transit ensures I don’t bust someone open along the way.”
“Mom says hi.”
Honestly, the conversation would probably stop here if I didn’t decide to continue it. “Listen, yadda yadda yadda, thanks for coming. I really need your input on stuff.”
You’ve probably got a lot of questions about my brother. Does he game? Is he as cool as I am? Well, first off, as you can see he kinda looks like me… just with dark brown hair, he’s a few inches shorter and a few pounds heavier but not much. As far as gaming and things like that… well, I guess? He kinda gave that lifestyle up a while ago. As mentioned, he’s an angry dude. I’m lucky he likes me. Think of a sociopathic bully. Regardless, I’m about to go into a long-winded rant but Tyler cuts me off.
“I thought about what you said on the phone to me the other day…” He begins. “This whole ‘Reboot High Flyer’ thing. It’s not bad.”
I have to cut in. “I know, right? Did you hear his passionate speech after he kicked my ass last week? That might have been the best speech he’s given in some time and I brought it out of him! You can see he cares! He’s really into this! And then, come MSG… I take it ALL away! I leave him alone, dying in the center of the ring. I Mortal Kombat rip his heart out. Not because he cares about me but because if he loses to me, it’s over. He’s done, finished, finito. Totally, totally-”
Tyler cuts me off by raising his hand. “I get that,” he starts, “and I really like this reboot thing you’ve got going on. I’m merely wondering how it fits.”
Fits? FITS!? Whoa, clearly I’m the angry one.
“Well, that’s the thing big bro, as you saw from Re-FUSED, I’m already in the process of rebooting him. He had such passion… such gusto! But the trick is, -and get this because it’s ultra twisted so I bet you’re game for it,- he never fully reboots because I Mortal Kombat rip his heart out-”
“You already said that.” Tyler pinches his nose. “You need to focus. You’re always trailing off with a distant thought here, a distant thought there. It’s like you’re a lunatic sometimes.”
“A… Lunatic?” I inquire. “Oooooohhhh. You may be onto something.”
Tyler rolls his eyes at me. “Listen,” he clears his throat, “I’m going somewhere with this. I know you’re all over the place at times. It’s like you have ADHD or something…”
“What’s that? A power-up-”
Tyler gives me a look. I figuratively zip my mouth closed and throw away the key with a three point shot at the nearest garbage can. Swoosh.
“I know you enjoy your definitions and it’s important for me to write things down for you.” Tyler pulls out a handful of folded notes from his pocket. He slides the first one over.
[ loo-nuh-tik ]
(no longer in technical use; now considered offensive) an insane person.
-a person whose actions and manners are marked by extreme eccentricity or recklessness.
-a person legally declared to be of unsound mind and who, therefore, is not held capable or responsible before the law: a former legal term.
Example. Joe Hoffman: The Lunatic is going to the top rope!
“No longer in technical use, eh?” I rhetorically ask him. Tyler replies anyway.
“Now considered offensive?” I rhetorically state once again.
“And yet, High Flyer still goes by this moniker?”
“So, he’s gotta be really insane to do that. Or maybe have low self-esteem…”
Tyler hears me trailing off so he points me in the right direction. “Here’s the way I see it, okay? You’re not quote-unquote ‘a lunatic’ and neither is he but you are both… colourful at times and you can take a tiny little element, blowing it up into something much, much bigger.” Tyler looks around the Starbucks location. “I’ll start you off on straws. What do you prefer? Bendy straws or straight straws?”
It doesn’t take long for me to think before I open my mouth and start blurting stuff out. “Well, that all depends. You see, if I’m having a hot chocolate, I might as well go with a bendy straw because it really doesn’t matter at that point in time. I’m not drinking a coffee. I’m a 28-year-old man with a hot chocolate, a bendy straw isn’t going to do any further damage to my reput-”
“Okay, okay. Christ Almighty.” I can see Tyler’s fed up with me. “Do you see my point?”
Shit, I do.
“Shit, I do.”
“Good,” Tyler begins, “so we’re onto something. Let me cut to the chase, because I don’t want to overstay my welcome. What I’m trying to tell you, Conor, is maybe you are rebooting High Flyer and maybe you’re not. Yeah, that was a passionate beat-up inside the ring. It left you reeling and he made a great statement. Perhaps, you’re igniting a fire and then you crush his dreams at March for Glory-”
“To Glory, Tyler. To.”
“Whatever, I don’t work there. I’m saying you can do more with it. You can reboot the guy… by becoming him. Hell, you’re basically him already. A better version, though.”
This is why I asked my bro to visit. He’s always got a mischievous direction.
“Conor likes this.” I say, using myself in a cool third-person perspective.
I take a few minutes to think. Most of it is coming together rather well…
“I have a few questions, Ty.” I state. “So I reboot High Flyer by taking his spot. I’m with you there. My only concern is, and it’s a rather big concern, I’m not him. Yes, there are similarities but we are two different people.”
Tyler nods, as if he knew I was going to say that. “What did you tell me Jatt Starr did before he faced you at Rumble at the Rock?” Tyler asks.
First off, I’m honoured big bro’s been watching for so long. Secondly, I really had to think about this. It’s been a while.
“I overheard him telling that Sektor guy he locked himself in a bunker and played video games for, um, two weeks. He needed to be in my head and understand me in order to beat me.”
Tyler nods again. “Well, there ya go bud.”
“You’re losing me.”
“Act more like Jack. Become The Lunatic. Embody him over these next two weeks. Go a little… on edge. You’re already halfway there. Be fun and playful with someone and then snap on a dime. In all likelihood, dude, High Flyer probably meant what he said when he gave you that pep talk. Then maybe you shrugged your shoulders too much or nodded your head too frantically and seven days later he changed his mind and destroyed you because of it. I don’t know. That’s the beautiful thing, no one knows. Lean into that. Go a little wild. And then…”
“Nothing will hurt him more than you ending his ‘life’ in MSG and rebooting him… by taking his place entirely.”
Tyler sure has been talking a lot. Trust me, he’s not normally like this.
“Ultimately, you want to make him pay for breaking your heart. You loved the guy since you were seven. Then you decided to toy with him on this whole rebooting thing… and now, Conor, I say you do it all. You break his heart by beating him. You reboot him by taking his place. And then… you look up to yourself.”
My wheels are turning. “A spiritual successor to my hero. I dig.”
Tyler slides the rest of his papers across the table. “Here are his moves. I know you do the whole scouting report/cheat code thing so you’ve probably got this but take a look. Every move… you can do easily.”
“Oh, I’m taking the corkscrew suplex. ‘Very happy kicking’? I’ve done that for years! Double underhook brainbuster, simple. Frog splash, yes, although I’d have to wear a frog suit while doing it. You’re right, so many of these moves are in my arsenal already. Either consciously or subconsciously, I’ve been emulating High Flyer my whole life!”
Tyler’s had enough of… well, anyone. “My work here is done. Good luck next week.”
But before he rises from his chair, I stop him. We’re not typically for pleasantries, so there won’t be a thank you right now.
“Can I change the nickname, though?” I can see Tyler’s confused. “The Lunatic is nifty neato stuff… but what about the LOONatic. Kinda Looney Tunes and shit. Jack’s more vile and mean than I could ever be.”
Tyler shrugs it off. “Whatever you want, man. Just focus on your attitude. Dive into his headspace. It’ll suit you well for the battle. It’s clear he’s bringing that side of him… so you best bring yours.”
And Tyler walks away.
… … …
Hotel Reception – NYC
March 2nd, 2021
4:00pm check-in time. To be honest, I was a little early. The clerk at the counter is a kid and he’s struggling through signing me in on a laptop.
“Name, sir?” Wow, it’s really weird to hear someone call me ‘sir’.
“Yes, it’s Harmen. Conor Harmen…” The kid types the name into the computer but I can see he’s not getting results. “Oh, maybe I’m written down as the Advanced High Flyer. The Rebooted Jack? The New Neighbourhood Lunatic… oops, sorry, I mean Loonatic. Although what am I saying? You’re probably not hearing a difference between those two names right now HA HA am I right? Am I right? All aboard!”
I stop talking. The kid has stopped typing. He’s merely looking at me.
“Uh, sir, there’s no one in this database under those names.”
“Conor Fuse then.” I sigh.
Forgot. I booked this shit way before I had the master plan to kill, reboot, take over.
I see the kid has found my name. He programs a room key for me. I can tell he’s about to give me a rundown of the amenities. Yawn. Boring. Let’s do something out-of-character.
The second he walks over I grin and raise an eyebrow.
“You wanna…” I look around to my left, right, ceiling, floor… “do some fun shit?”
“Uh, I don’t do drugs.”
I give my head a shake. “No. No, I don’t, either. Let’s do something off the charts! I want to, you want to, it’ll be so fetch!”
“I can talk about whatever, MAN. You wanna go shoot some MF ducks with a gun? And no, I’m not talking about a Nintendo gun I’m talking real ducks!? I got outer space penguins too but they aren’t from outer SPACE… they’re from Outer Heaven! Ahaha, that’s a nice little Metal Gear Solid joke if you know those games. Let’s get reckless and cray!”
I grab the dude by the collar and look down at his name.
“Dennis. Dennis the Menace! It’s perfect! What the hell are the odds that’s your name! I’m bloody BELLIGERENT ATM, man! We can hang out, shoot some ducks, talk about aLiEnS and then I can punt you in the head directly after because I DIDN’T WANNA HANG OUT WITH YOU ANYMORE!”
I can see this kid is growing scared. Good.
“Uh… sir,” the boy starts. “My name isn’t Dennis.”
I look down at his name tag. Lol, he’s right. It reads ‘Eric’. I give a big huff, let go of his collar and tussle the kid’s hair.
“Of course it isn’t. I knew that.” I say with a wink. “Listen, how was my craziness, on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most loopy? I’m really going for this whole uNsTaBlE vibe here.”
The kid looks to be in deep thought. I actually appreciate him reflecting on this. “Maybe a five?”
“A five!?” I snatch the kid by the collar for a second time, speaking directly into his ear as I bug my eyes out. “That’s all I’m good for… a FIVE?”
“Well, yeah. I didn’t get the sense you were actually going to hurt me.” He replies.
“What about now?”
“Uhhh… I’m a little uncomfortable but I still think you’re harmless.”
I let go. If I’m ‘harmless’ then give me a one or a two. But who am I to judge the kid’s rating system. Maybe that’s what instability is. I think I’m an eight but someone else thinks I’m a five? I don’t know. This whole Loonatic thing wasn’t going to come easy.
But it’s a start.
… … …
Hotel – Elevator
March 2nd, 2021
I arrive at the end of a hall and in front of an elevator. There are a few suited men already inside, probably corporate. I slip through the doors before they close. What floor am I on again? Ohhhh, floor 18. However, feeling unpredictable…
I hit the button to every floor.
“Hey man, what the hell!?”
“Going up?” I giggle, ignoring the comments. “I am. Well, that is if I beat my hero in two weeks time.”
The elevator doors close and this interaction gives me déjà vu for some reason. It’s almost as if I recently interacted with corporate people the same way… on a Re-FUSED or something. Eh, whatever, I continue speaking. “Nevertheless, if I lose, I could be going down. Either way I gotta get into the ZONE if ya hear me.”
I spin around and stare at the two men behind me. Suddenly, they don’t look so mad. Rather… concerned, for their safety? I most certainly hope so.
“You see, I’d like to play a game. Oh no, not Jigsaw/Saw/murder type stuff. I want to play a real game, like a video game. Yet, if I invited you guys over to play with me, we’d become friends and YOU’D STAB ME IN THE BACK AFTER ‘CAUSE IT’S A SUPER COOL THING TO DO.”
The lift doors are opening, one floor at a time but the suits don’t dare say a word. I slowly walk up to both men and sniff them. I grab the one I deem the weakest by the collar. I’m better at this already.
“How would you feel if you worked so hard to get somewhere and it’s taken away from you!? And no, I don’t mean the Street Fighter tournament! I mean joining the company your hero works at and then he’s all NO. OUTTA MY WAY OR I’LL BUST YOUR SKULL OPEN IN THE PROCESS.”
The man murmurs.
“What’s that? I can’t hear you in my old age!”
He still doesn’t say much. I don’t know what floor we’re on yet but the doors keep opening.
“Don’t worry,” I tussle the man’s hair, “I’m beginning to find those answers and come Madison Square Garden, I will make sure he pays… with his life HA HA HA HA!”
The doors open behind me again. I think a couple was trying to come on board, perhaps on their way to the spa-level suite for a nice little romantic time in their NYC getaway. I turn around and HISSSSS at them. They jump back and don’t enter as the elevator doors do their thing.
I look at the two men in suits with a smile. “I’m learning! Now, you’re both going to tell me… what would you do in my situation…”
“I said what would you do!?”
More silence… until the man who’s collar I don’t have pipes up.
“I’m sorry- what is your situation?”
I roll my eyes and change my tone of voice. “My hero kicked my ass. He broke me. Now, if you were me… what would you do. Your options are a.) kill him, b.) reboot him and THEN kill him or c.) reboot him, kill him and take his place!”
The second man is about to answer as I slowly let go of the first man’s collar. However, I catch the floor level out of the corner of my eyes.
The doors open.
“Well, that’s me! Good day to you BOTS. I hope you have an amazing time in New York City. Stay off the subway… there’s so many messed up people on them.”
Off I go to my hotel room. Shit, that was fun.
… … …
Times Square – NYC
March 2nd, 2021
I’m standing in the middle of everything. So many people. So many bright lights. So many… weirdos.
I’m not sure I’ll stand out here, to be honest. There’s some dudes on rollerskates wearing pink skirts handing out pamphlets for a new off-off-off Broadway show that’s surely to fail. There’s a guy dressed as Spiderman but he’s definitely overweight. Jesus, is that Bobby Dean?
Definitely a few hookers “undercover” to my left. It’s early, give it time and there will be more. To think I once lived here for a year. However, if you’re an NYC resident, you don’t come to these parts often.
Why is Elmo covered in shit?
But there… the biggest shock yet.
Mario and Luigi. And Luigi takes off his head.
“Oh hell no. Not on my watch.” I march over to the “Luigi” and punt his head across the street. The man looks super pissed at me until I start screaming. “What the hell are you doing, goomba!? You don’t deserve this costume!”
HR Sutler of Catan would be all over this nonsense. Violations everywhere!
Putting my hands on my hips and trying to take a deep breath, I walk away and realize this is no place for me to be a Loonatic. That was an actual outburst. I’d have done it if I wasn’t channeling Jack.
No, this place won’t do. I’ve gotta go somewhere else. Somewhere no one would really want to be.
… … …
NY Rangers game – MSG
March 2nd, 2021
Ya, hi Scotty. I bet you probably creamed yourself at the thought of this hockey game. Honestly, you’re probably in the arena watching right now, too. We could’ve gotten tickets together. I’ll hit you up next time.
I have no real interest in this game, or this team. It’s irrelevant. This is simply a way for me to interact with others a little more, continuing to hammer home how I’m the new High Flyer of High Octane. Also, a way for me to understand this building and what it’ll bring on March 13th. Best Castle be damned ATM.
I turn to the family beside me.
“Wild game, huh!?” I start to the father. It’s a nuclear family, two kids in the middle and the mother on the far end. “As if Messier made that guarantee and came through on it.”
The dad looks at me with this glance as if saying “that was 30-years-old dude” but he’s not mean enough to say it. “Uh ya, boys are playing well recently.”
I laugh. “Yeah, boys. Go get ‘em.” Quick change of topic. “Hey, listen, can you switch seats with your son? I’d love to talk to him- NO, NO that came out wrong! Just want the insight of a kid… you know, how he would feel IF HIS HERO BEAT THE SHIT OUTTA HIM.”
The father smiles uncomfortably. “Ya, Messier really followed through with his promise.” He says and his head slowly turns away.
Ah well… I should have waited for the Knicks to play. That would’ve put me in the most eccentric of mindsets. Might’ve brought out a more experimental crowd, too. Team is a trainwreck. I wonder if a paralyzed Scott Stevens could beat them.
… … …
Hotel Room – Laying in bed
March 3rd, 2021
It wasn’t the worst Day #1 as the newly rebooted Jack Harmen. Don’t worry, I’ll let you in on a secret…
When I end Jack, I’m not going to be acting like this 24/7. I’m going extreme here. Gotta think and act like him for ten more days. Because we have lots of similarities, I thought it would be easy.
Seriously, at this hour?
Alright, I’m up, making sure my Thomas the Tank Engine PJs are on straight as I scamper over to the door. I don’t look through the peephole. I doubt Harmen would so why would I? Let’s see what kinda insane stuff happens because I don’t.
“Dennis” stands in front of me.
“Hey, sir…” he starts, itching his ear and twitching in the process, “figured if you have some time…”
He holds up a ziplock bag with green looking clumps inside.
“I didn’t know if you wanted to blaze with me or not.” He says.
My eyes dart from side-to-side. “Ummm, sure, ya. I blaze all the time. C’mon in. The night is young.”
Honestly, it’s blurry after this. I’m sure my memory will jog and I’ll find more stories for you later. Let the mindset of High Flyer truly commence.
March to Glory, the High Flyer REBOOT is finalized.
But the focus isn’t on you anymore. It’s on me, Conor Fuse.
High Octane’s ultimate high flyer. When I replace you, I’ll accomplish more with your skill set than you could have ever dreamt.
The Yakuza Kick? Mine now. Your goofy zany attitude? I do it better. That switch you can flip from being evil and mean to fun and delightful? Haha, man, that’s so Vintage! I am already Jack Harmen, just with a hip-hopping cool video game twist and a bad-ass, don’t-press-the-buttons-on-my-controller kinda vibe.
And March 13th I become the new and improved High Flyer. For good.
All aboard the crazy train?
TOOT TOOT, I’m the conductor, bitch.