“HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!!”
Can’t stop! Can’t stop now! They’re coming after me! No! No! No!
Everything continues to flash before my eyes. Every moment of Max Kael’s tape. All of the last few months…he controlled me. He controlled my every motion back into HOW. But why? Why did Max Kael try to make me into a sacrifice for any championship reign of his. Why did he manipulate every piece from my rehabilitation. He must need another throw away drone for the Best Korean army. I couldn’t fight. I lost all confidence. But now…I knew it. I couldn’t leave the bunker in Hollywood’s basement. It kept me safe now from the government.
I cranked up my old school radio listening to the radio hosts talk about fireworks as the cold, steel feel of Reynolds wrap caressed my hands as I finished caking my bed in tin foil. I put everything in the room with tin foil. I spent the last 2 weeks hiding…knowing either I was an enemy of the state, or wanted for dead after my match with Max Kael. Paranoia set in. I hadn’t focused on training for Benton Cross….
That sleeper agent for Kael! That’s it! Benton Cross is aimed to deliver me to across enemy lines. Yes! Benton Cross could time travel before Max….maybe he wanted to deliver me to the past and brainwash me. Maybe every move outside this room would lead to my doom.
I tried to lay down in my tin foil sheets, just falling asleep in the depression, the feelings of loneliness locked away as people celebrated the New Years. But I couldn’t with the tin foil racketing all over. I grab my tin foil hat and walk outside of the room, walking Mission Impossible style when suddenly, Shawn Lester walked down the stairs. He took one look at the pile of nothing that sat in front of him and rolled his eyes.
Shawn Lester: You’re a shell of your former self now Darin. My goodness how many of your PWX colleagues would feel about seeing you like…this…
Darin Zion: They’re coming, Shawn…..they’re coming…..
Shawn Lester: Get out of your head space! That’s where you’ve spent the last year. You’ve sat trapped in your own damn head and been your own worst enemy. You’ve overthought every move you’ve made. You’ve trapped yourself into a rut.
Darin Zion: He’s looking…he’s looking….must hide…must hide…
Shawn Lester: For God Sakes snap out of this shit and listen. What happened to the overconfident asshole that walked into places? I miss that incarnation than seeing you just sit pathetically at rock bottom cowering in fear. You think Benton Cross is going to do that when he steps in the ring from you this week? He suffers from PSTD, but he doesn’t let that incident define him. He takes his struggles, continues to pull himself out of those battle lines, fight hard in that ring, and make a name for himself. He has many phases within his plans; he doesn’t let anything stop him. He’s the most determined individual in HOW today. Yet, here sits the broken shell of Darin Zion struggling to find any coherent thoughts after Kael just strolled in your life and stalked you. He stalked you. He controlled you. He used you Zion. Remember when PWX used you? Remember when Boardwalk used you? How Lee Best used you? That pissed you off. It put a fire under your ass.
I sit back and nod for a moment just completely awestruck. I hold onto Lester’s words as I continue to cling onto the tinfoil hat on my head.
Shawn Lester: You set records across multiple promotions. You’ve held nearly 20 sets of championships to your name. You used to command respect. You wouldn’t let rookies talk smack about you. You oozed confidence and now that…
Darin Zion: Gone!
I place the tin foil hat down beside my hips. I look up towards the ceiling just reflecting back to the good old memories of the past decade. My decade that I commanded. How my ego continued to fuel me through constant back injuries. How that stubbornness pulled the best work out of me time after time. How I let my ego completely annoy half the roster. Yet now….every turn over the last year: I kept getting my ego shattered. I couldn’t find that confidence I once held. I lost everything including my own voice to Max’s attempts to shatter my career because I no longer knew who I was touching the alcohol, the drugs, or my old vices. I looked through that tin foil hat I made and continued to see regret.
Darin Zion: I haven’t been the same Darin Zion since I walked through the doors of HOW. Everyone expected I would come back to the same old annoying piece of shit Zion. They begged me to keep running the schtick. But I walked in with no confidence. I walked in with no bragging rights. I lost every inch of the competitor you once know because I stayed in a drug induced state where I never gave two shits about what I said. I shot at you rather you were World Champion or lower card and I picked my ass off the canvas and kept learning.
Shawn Lester: What makes things different now?
Darin Zion: I grew up. I matured. I learned respect for this business. Yet I hate my new self-image. No matter what I would try; I couldn’t get the same title opportunities and chances I once fought night in and night out across the territories. I’ve tried everything to get the attention of anyone in ownership in HOW, and now. I couldn’t even get the revenge I sought desperately to get. I let Max get the better of me again. I can’t catch a fucking break. I haven’t wanted to talk because I’m tired of letting feelings and shit in when I need to step up, man up, and fight my ass off for my opportunities.
Shawn Lester rests his hands on my arm. I can tell he’s trying to empathize with me. Memories of his struggles as a backstage interviewer across the territories flash through my head as I close my eyes as he speaks, just trying to relax every obsessive angry bone in my body.
Shawn Lester: Look I understand. You remember how hard I fought in this business to catch a break. I spent years until you gave me the chance to handle your business affairs. I made mistake after mistake. I tripped over my own damn words. You helped me find that confidence once. You get that opportunity to stand in that ring against Benton Cross. He’s had 4 wins and 1 loss. You have the opportunity to knock off one of the hottest newcomers HOW’s had. He’s taken blow after blow shots from Kael and…
I put my hand to Lester’s mouth. I glare him straight in the eyes.
Darin Zion: That’s just it. I want to put Cross in his place. I want him to teach him respect. He’s looking to fight a war with a grizzled veteran that’s stood against many of HOW’s legends and only treats me like I’m some stepping stone. Is that how I’m viewed now? People can waltz over the tired, downtrodden Darin Zion that doesn’t speak, that’s too paranoid in his head at every motion like I’m trying to fucking please Lee Best like some monkey of his? Fuck no! You know what I want to do? I want to plant Cross’ ass into the ground and get my revenge on Max Kael. I want to make Cross my prisoner of war. I want to torture Cross to send Kael a message. You want to pervert the innocence out of me. You want to stalk me. You want to me broken so I don’t get my Pay Per View bonuses and I die and starve off. Fine. I’m tired of sitting back like a worthless meat puppet.
Darkness started settling deeper into my soul. My smile twisted from ear to ear. I rubbed my hands together. Lester starts stepping away slowly for a moment as my tone continued to darken.
Darin Zion: I’m tired of having a forgettable return. I’m not a directive to Benton Cross. I’m a legend. I’ve fought in multiple HOW Title matches. I wrestled across the world in multiple organizations. And it’s time that I start acting like it. Cross wants my best. Fine. I’ll shove that fucking eye patch down his throat. When I am through with him, his legacy will keep him relatively unknown as they bury his ass. That soldier should have done his research. YouTube exists. My name is out there. My career is out there. I a’int that irrelevant where you can’t find me. And some worthless YouTube hack…fucking please! They gave me cannon fodder for my symphony to Max Kael. Cross will heal my career as I march onto the Final Judgement of Kael’s. Step in my way at Max, Cross and I will leave your worthless cloth eye patch as the only worthless memory of you.
I walk off towards the bunker with Lester ready to tear down this stupid tinfoil that I let my paranoia and fear control.