May 10, 2022
I take the last swig of the lukewarm PBR I’ve been nursing for the last 30 minutes, and toss the can behind me, over the fence and into the neighbors yard. Fuck Keegan, that’s my neighbor, and he’s a stone cold bitch. I reach into the cooler next to me, fish around the icy water and pull out a fresh brew. I pop the top, slam the cooler shut and take down a mouthful of ice cold beer that sends a jolt down my spine.
“Gotta love that first drink,” I say to myself, through a burp, as I examine the can of beer before stashing it into the securely fastened koozie in the arm rest of my chair.
I’ve been sitting in this solid wood, lime green painted, Adirondack chair for the last few hours thoroughly mulling over the shit that’s been going on lately and just as a by-product, I’ve also been working on my tan.
“I think I put on too much baby oil,” I mutter, again to myself, bringing the beer up for a drink.
“Eh, fuck it.”
I won my qualifier match, and now I’ve got a shot to win War Games. This isn’t my first shot, but this will be my best shot.
Winning War Games isn’t some pat on the back, “Ata-boy.” War Games is a real fucking accomplishment. And that’s just for winning the match, that’s not even to mention the potential championships you can leave with. Your name is etched in stone as one of the few to ever do it. Etched next to names like Mike Best, John Sektor, Max Kael and his son, and even…ugh…Christopher America.
You all know Christopher America, he’s that guy who’s half the American that I am. The guy who never fought for this beautiful country, but claims to be a patriot.
But right now, War Games isn’t my top priority…and neither is Christopher America. Last Sunday morning, shit changed when I got the booking sheet for this week. It changed when I looked at the top of the card I saw The Highwaymen versus The Devil’s Advocates for the HOW Tag team Championship. I wouldn’t say I was shocked by any means, why would I be? Clay and I deserve it, we were on a tear as a tag team, and The Highwaymen are a top billing right now. But, I was a bit surprised.
I was surprised because JJR and Arthur Pleasant weren’t on my radar…like, not even a little bit.
But here we are, my buddy Clay and I looking to win our first ever Tag Team Championship together representing The Highwaymen. And we will win, there’s no doubt about it…we’ve put in the work, and now is time for the payoff.
This is important to me. This is my main focus.
The Tag Team Championship can be glossed over by a lot of people, but not by me. I’ve only won a single championship in all of the years that I’ve been in HOW, and that was the HOTv Championship. Winning that belt meant the absolute world to me and so will winning the Tag Team Championship.
All of the preparation, the training, the road trips and the hard times will come to a head when Clay and I step into the ring against The Devil’s Advocates this Sunday night. When all is said and done Arthur Pleasant will likely find the exit – again – and JJR will have wished he stayed in his newly remodeled jail cell at Alcatraz with that big, ugly, bitch 4th Wahl. I can see them now, all spooned up late at night as that San Francisco air whips through the windowless former prison. But hey…who am I to judge. I was locked up there once as well…and I probably should have stayed.
“Food was better there anyway,” I say to myself, chuckling before taking a sip of beer.
“What’s that honey?!”
I nearly jump out of my fuckin’ skin. How did she even hear me?
“Nothing, sweetums! Just saying hello to the neighbor,” I shout back, covering my tracks.
“Okie dokie!” She shouts back in the sweetest tone you’d ever hear.
I turn my attention back to my beer and take a swig. Truth be told, I don’t know if I’ve ever even been in the ring with Arthur Pleasant, and if I have…I don’t remember it. It must be tough being Arthur Pleasant and being so fuckin’ forgetful. I don’t even know if I have an opinion on the guy, to be honest. I’m indifferent. In no way shape or form am I threatened by him, nor does he make me nervous at all. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, I’m a bit intrigued. Maybe he’s some Billy Badass from around the block that destroys everyone…I don’t fuckin’ know, and at this point…I don’t fuckin’ care.
The only thing I care about is winning the Tag Team Championship with my homeslice Clay Byrd. That big son of a bitch has been down in the bunker for weeks now and today, it’s been noticeable. The thumping, the screaming…he’s up to something. I sent little Scotty out here with a six-pack for the behemoth, but he couldn’t be bothered. That’s what happens when a killer gets focused; they want to be left alone. And Clay is in killer mode right now, no need to disturb him…I want the killer in him to burst out this Sunday night, and then again at War Games.
“I should get him some Wagyu beef and overcook the shit out of it, that’d really piss him off,” I say to myself light heartedly, before taking a drink and polishing off my fourth beer of the afternoon.
Pleasant and Roberts definitely have another thing coming if they think they are leaving Philly with those belts.
“Fuckin’ Devil’s Advocates…psshh. Keanu Reeves didn’t even like that movie, and he got to bang Charlize Theron. Movie ruined Pacino’s career if you ask me! If you’re gonna rip a name off….at least make sure that shit’s legendary,” I mutter to myself.
I reach down into the cooler at my side and search through a beer in the melted ice.
“Scotty!” I shout for the kid and he busts out the back door like a bat out of hell and jumps over the five steps from the deck to the perfectly manicured grass and sticks the fuckin’ landing.
“His ol’ man isn’t even that athletic,” I chuckle to myself.
“Yes, sir!” He says, standing in front of me in full Soldier costume, saluting with his left hand.
“With your right hand, son!” I shout, standing up from my chair and slapping his left hand away from his face.
I place my hands on my hips and shake my head, staring down at the greenest grass you’ve ever seen.
“Look, you’re not your father’s boy anymore. Start showing some discipline and respect, or I’ll send your little butt over to Harrison’s house, and you know exactly how that went the last time you were over there!” I wag a finger in Scotty’s little face, scolding him for being a petulant little shit.
He stands there, eyes wide and still. His bottom lip trembles and suddenly his eyes begin to fill up with tears. But he doesn’t move, he shows restraint.
He balls his fists and places them at his sides…just like I taught him to do.
The kid listens.
I am the #1 Dad.
Huntington Beach, CA
May 12, 2022
I’ve been in this fuckin’ waiting room for about an hour now, and I still haven’t been seen by the doctor. To say I’m frustrated would be a drastic understatement. The lady at the front desk smacks her gum incessantly, the clock hanging on the wall ticks louder than any clock I’ve ever heard in my entire life, and God forbid someone would turn off that vibrating alarm I can hear in the next room!
“OOOOOOOSSSSSAHHHHHHHHH!!!!” I say to myself, trying to keep it together.
I’m here for one reason, and that’s to get my weekly testosterone shot. I missed last week, and if you can’t tell, it’s got my mood all kinds of fucked up.
“STEVE!” The desk bitch shouts out, as if I’m not the only fucking person in this shitty waiting room.
I don’t respond, but instead stand up and march to the front desk. I stare her fat, red-headed ass down as I clench my jaw. She gives the business right back to me as she peers over her rectangle, dollar store glasses…still smacking her gum.
“Yes?” I ask, coming to a stop right two feet in front of her desk.
“Doc’ll see ya’,” she says, all attitude.
She points a thumb over her shoulder, signaling for me to head back. I scoff at her and she scoffs right back.
I might be in love.
I give her a side glare as I walk by, but she just shakes me off and goes back to filing her yellow tipped nails. I can hear the smacking start back up as I walk through the doorway and into the doc’s office.
“Hey, doc,” I say as I take in a deep – old man – breath and sit down in the chair across from his desk.
“Hey, Steven. How are you sir?” He asks with a big grin on his face.
“I’ve been better doc, I gotta tell ya.”
“Tell me about it,” he says, leaning forward in his chair.
What does he think he is, a fuckin’ therapist?
“Well, I’m moody and pissed all the time. I’m raising a kid that’s not mine, the voices keep tryin’ to come back, and I have a giant cowboy friend living in the bunker underneath my backyard. Like I said, doc, I’ve been better.”
“Well, Steven, that’s all very interesting,” he says, condescendingly.
I look at him sideways, and I’m pretty sure if he says one more fuckin’ thing in that tone…I’m gonna punch a hole right in his fuckin’ face.
“Yeah, it really fuckin’ is, doc!” I shout, slamming a hammer fist right onto the top of his desk.
He leans back in his chair, getting himself out of harm’s way. I’ve got no real intentions of hurting him, but I don’t like this little back and forth we’re having.
“Look, doc…I just want my shot, and I’m sure I’ll be fine,” I say, lowering my voice and softening my tone.
He leans back further in his chair and pulls my file off of his desk. He opens it up, finds what he wants and shuts the file before throwing it back onto his desk.
“Well, Steven, we have a bit of a problem,” he says, interlocking his fingers and placing his hands on his grotesquely fat stomach.
“Yes, a problem. It seems that your testosterone levels are off the charts, Steven.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes, it is so. We like to see our patients with an optimal testosterone level of about 800-1100,” he says.
“Well, your levels are at 1600. This is like, unheard of at your age. And the really interesting part of the whole thing is…we have been giving you a placebo for months now, and your levels have only gone up!” He explains, almost gleefully.
“So, when can I get my shot?” No sense in beating around the bush, so I just ask the question that most might save for the end of the conversation.
“I don’t think you’re understanding, Steven,” he tries to explain, but I just cut him off.
“I understand what you’re saying, and I’m asking when I can get my shot?”
He looks at me confused.
“Look, doc. We can do this back and forth, song and dance, whatever you want to call it…but we both know, I’m not leaving here without my fuckin’ T-shot! So, let’s just skip the fucking foreplay and give me the goddamned shot….right fucking now!” My shouting silences the smacking at the front desk, and has pulled all of the blood from the skinny-fat doctor’s face.
“Is everything ok?” The red-headed assistant pokes her head in to ask.
“Everything is fine!” I shout back. “Now get your fat ass back up front!”
She swallows a gulp of her own spit and then promptly retreats. I look back over to the doctor.
“We can do this the easy way, doc. Or we can do it the hard way. I don’t mind, either way. But I’m going to get that shot. I have a match this weeked for the HOW Tag Team Championship against a formidable opponent and his parter. Do you really think I’m gonna let some pencil neck doctor hold me back from my full potential? I don’t fuckin’ think so. So, quit the shit and lets go.” I saw calmly, pointing a finger in his face.
He slowly reaches over, yanks open the middle desk drawer and pulls out a syringe and a small glass vial, somehow avoiding his finger hitting my face the entire time. He pokes the needle into the vial and draws the testosterone from it.
“I’m gonna need you to pull down your pants and bend over please,” the doctor says, trembling wildly.
“Wanna buy me a drink first? Holy shit, doc!” I joke. It’s not funny to him, but it’s absolutely hilarious to me.
I take my finger out of his face and stand up. I turn around and pull my pants down, showing my finely tanned rear-end to the doc.
“Let’s get this over wi….OUCH!” Without warning, the doctor sticks the needle right into my left butt cheek.
“Holy shit, doc. How about a warning?”
He scrambles to pull the needle out and tosses it right into a biohazard bin next to his desk.
“I have to warn you, Steven,” he begins as I pull up my pants and sit back down in the chair.
“Your extraordinarily high levels of testosterone are only going to get higher with this shot. You will be far more aggressive and may have trouble sleeping,” he says, still trembling.
“I’ll sleep when I’m dead, doc. And the aggression is exactly what I’m going to need when I get into the ring with the Devil’s advocates,” I explain.
“Can I ask you a question?” He asks, his voice still shaky but better than before.
“You just did!” I say, slapping my knee. Can’t pass up a good dad joke, not for a million bucks.
“Who’s the formidable opponent and who’s his partner?” He asks.
“I can’t tell you that, doc. That’d give away all the fun I’m gonna have torturing those two on Sunday night,” I say, slapping a hand on the desk.
“I gotta run, doc. Thanks for the shot. See ya next week!”
HBC Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Huntington Beach, CA
May 12, 2022
It’s been a few hours since I got that T-shot, and my ass is fuckin’ sore as shit. But, I can feel it coursing through my veins already. It’s been a hot-minute since I’ve been to the Jiu Jitsu gym, but I need a few last minute tips. Landing an unexpected submission might be the best way to end this match. The sound of random timers beeping, skin slapping against skin and the thuds of one human slamming another into a mat echo throughout the gym. As soon as I walk into the roll area, it goes silent.
When I was in the Army I was one of the original instructors of Modern Army Combatives. I helped develop the newly designed, hand to hand combat program and was granted a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for my efforts. The only problem with that was and is…people think it’s phony. But every once in a while, I come down to the gym to show them exactly what phony looks like.
“Steven!” Ricky shouts from across the room. He picks up a light jog and waves to me.
Ricky’s been my BJJ coach for years. He’s a black belt as well, but ranked much higher than I am.
“We’re just going over some drills, you want to jump in?” Ricky asks, friendly as ever.
“Actually, that’s not why I’m here, Rick,”
Ricky seems confused and throws his arms out to his sides.
“Then what are ya’ doin here, Steve?” He asks the obvious question, a slight smile on his face.
“Ten years ago, you beat Jose Ruilla with a d’arce choke that no one in the world saw coming,” I say.
“Yeah?” He asks.
“I want you to show me how you did it. I need that choke in my arsenal, and I can’t be practicing it in public. Word will get out, and I don’t need that,” I say, quietly.
“Well, come by the house tonight and I’ll walk you through it,” he says.
“No time for that Rick. I have to fly to Philly, day after tomorrow for this match. I need you to go with me, so you can train me up all day Saturday and Sunday morning,” I insist.
“Well, it’s just…I have classes to teac…”
“Classes to teach? What if I had classes to teach that day in Iraq, huh? What if I decided that my buddy Ricky wasn’t important enough to risk my life for? What if…I left you to fend for yourself that day?”
Ricky’s been my coach for a decade plus now, but before he was my coach…we were soldiers together and one night, out on patrol, Ricky got lost and left behind. I risked my freakin’ life to go back and get him when no one else would. Ricky owes me a favor. He owes me a million favors.
He hangs his head low, staring at his bare feet beneath him.
“Alright, Steve. I’ll be there,” he says, reluctantly.
“John Wayne Airport, 0800 Saturday. See you there,”
I walk out of the gym, but just before i reach the exit I hear Ricky call my name.
“Who’s the big deal anyway? Who’s this opponent?”
“It’s him and a partner,” I answer with a smile on my face.
“Who’s him?” He asks.
I just smile and exit the gym as the scene fades to black.