A wise philosopher once said “Life! Don’t talk to me about life!” With a brain the size of a planet, you would expect them to have deeper, bigger words to say about life, some sort of revelation beyond human comprehension, but what could be apt a statement than a flat out refusal to even humor a discussion about life? Honestly, you couldn’t exactly expect more from a fictional android in a comedic light sci-fi novel. Stop being an idiot and just accept it for what it was, geez, it was just a throw away line written for a joke, why are you so hung up on it?
But seriously, don’t talk to me about life. Life can go do one, right up the chuffer. After ending the year on such a high you’d expect me to be much more chipper and upbeat about everything. After stealing the show at ICONIC with one of the most insane and over the top matches in HOW history, which given HOW’s history was really quite an achievement, it did feel good, it felt incredible. I had beaten Rhys Townsend. I had destroyed him. I had out-wrestled him. I had out-brawled him. I had… out-hardcored him? Hmm, that didn’t roll off the tongue right, but I guess it gets the notion across. Was it the match of my career? Eh. Debatable, but it was up there for sure. Not too long ago beating Rhys seemed like an insurmountable challenge but now, eh, it was #Predictable.
The furnace had gone from my old friend’s heart and now he was just a rusted hunk of scrap. He put up a valiant effort against Mike, sure, but the soul, his competitive spirit just wasn’t there. The shell still seems to be rolling on, but let’s face it: I broke The Machine when I dropped him into that exploding ring. Yay, celebrate, bonanza, whoopty-do! A career making achievement, for sure.
When I left that warehouse, staggering and barely able to stand up right, the blood loss making the world all fuzzy, I felt elated. As I collapsed against the wreckage of Townsend’s Taco Truck I thought this was my time. I had toppled the gatekeeper, the man right up at the top of the World Championship division, the next in line. This would surely be the tipping point where I move on up to the main event, finally clawing my way back to that World Championship. As all the emergency services arrived, and I do mean all of them, I felt on top of the world… but only for a moment before I blacked out.
The elation was short-lived. Once the new year rolled around and the first match was announced it felt like someone had reached into my guts and pulled out my intestines, ready to be stir fried with veg and noodles… That sinking feeling that for all the hard work, all the success and effort, life was still a fucking cunt which can go swivel on a barbed wire wrapped poker. I didn’t have to wonder why, despite being carted off to intensive care, barely clinging to life, his finger all chewed and mangled, Townsend was rewarded with a shot at the World Championship. I knew exactly why. I knew it was my own fault and I had to do something about it. I needed help. Serious, clinical help, which was why I went back to the shrink who had helped me come to his epiphany during his recovery after 97Red, the man who arguably helped fix my brain so I could go on and win at In God’s House…
The scene was a therapist’s office. The date Tuesday the 6th of February. The weather was chilly. There’s no point in describing the details because we all know what they look like and that’s a crutch the author likes to lean on. It was just a boring old therapy office like all of them with their oak shelves of books, the large and ornate writing desk, the very comfy looking wing-backed chair for the therapist to sit on and the less comfy couch for the client to lay on. It was all standard. Every therapist’s office had a taxidermied bear with its paws raised and teeth bared, a dozen mounted heads of your standard game kills on the walls. There was a head of a deer, buffalo, fox, cow, crow, badger, sheep, hamster, house cat, elephant, Chinese dragon, you know, standard to adorn the walls. Say what you will about the cruelty of hunting and the psychopathy of mounting the trophies on the wall, but the elephant’s trunk certainly made a handy coat hook.
“It be good to see you’s again, Evan.” Said the therapist, still sounding very much like a Jersey farmer. “I’m glad you’s decided to see me in t’office and not down at the beach.”
“Are you mental? You expect me to be at the beach in Ohio in January?” Evan scoffed. “I’d freeze my tits off.”
“No, I wasn’t suggesting we’s do this at t’beach.” The psychiatrist looked over the top of his glasses at Evan. “You’s know this, Evan. Deflection via jokes and insults is a common defence mechanism but it impedes the process. If you’s want help you’s need to be open and honest wit’ me.”
“I’m honest and open with your mum’s legs.” Boom. Oh-no-he-dun-didn’t. Mic-drop. Sick burn. Evan congratulated himself in his head for the juvenile and obvious response.
“She has been dead for years.” The therapist said calmly. Evan thought he should probably learn the therapist’s name, rather than just calling him the therapist, but reading it off one of the many certificates which adorned the wall directly behind where the therapist sat felt like too much effort and it would just humanize him.
“Oh… That’s why she tasted like jerky.”
The therapist grunted and made some notes and then flicked through a few papers and changed the subject. “So, Evan, you’s seem to be doing better now. Medically speaking, you’re pretty much fully recovered from last year’s misadventures…”
“Hah!” Evan couldn’t help but laugh. “You make it sound like I got lost on a road trip. Yes, I’m fully recovered. Tip top shape. Well, apart from all the cuts and bruises from ICONIC but, you know, by the time I’m back in the ring those will all be fixed up too.”
“But I notice a difference in you, eh?” He set his pen down on his pad and looked up at Evan lying on the coach, picking his nose. “You’ve changed, more than a little. Tell me, what really brings you’s here?”
Evan let out a heavy sigh. It had taken a lot of effort to bring himself to do this. Like any mental health issue or addiction problem, the first step was admitting it and asking for help. Compulsions are so difficult to deal with on your own and despite how much Evan had believed he was strong enough to do it he could not shake the desires which flooded his brain. “I need to stop eating people.”
The therapist froze, as if he were trying to hide from a T-Rex standing in front of him. “Eating people?”
“Yeah, I need to stop, dude. I need your help.” Evan swallowed a lump in his throat and steadied his quivering voice. It’s been going on for months now. I’m always hungry and never satisfied with… normal food. Thoughts of biting chunks of succulent, juicy flesh out of people, the metallic taste of their blood saturating my tastebuds, won’t stop running through my mind no matter what I do. I can’t go on like this, sooner or later it’ll make something bad happen…”
“Hmm, and that’s why you did that to yourself?” The therapist pointed at the bandage wrapped around Evan’s forearm, barely visible under his jacket sleeve. “In these situations guilt can be a very strong emotion and drive you’s to desperate measures, but self harm is never the answer.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Evan looked confused and sat up. He looked at his arm and rolled up his sleeve to reveal the bandage fully. “This? I didn’t do this out of guilt. Fuck’s sake, dude, you don’t understand anything. I don’t feel guilty. I like partaking in the forbidden meat. That’s not the problem.”
“Uhh… Okay?” The therapist was more confused at Evan’s response than Evan had been to his. “Why did you’s do that then?”
“Obviously I tried to eat myself.” Evan said casually.
“Ahh, so the cravings are so bad you’s be eating you’sself to relieve them? That is a problem indeed.” The therapised nodded knowingly and made some notes.
“Dude, shut the fuck up if you don’t know what you’re talking about.” Evan snapped at him. “I thought you were meant to be some sort of brain expert or something, geez. No, dude, I thought I’d try eating myself because I know what happens to people who I eat.”
“And what happens to them?” The therapist asked cautiously, in same sort of tone one would ask a pack of wolves to calm down and not pounce on you.
“They obviously get a World Championship, don’t they?” Evan stated as a matter of fact. “Every time I eat part of someone they end up being booked in a big time title match. First Jatt got given a shot at ICONIC, now Rhys got a shot at it last night and totally fucked that up. I figured I’d try to eat myself so I’d get a shot at the title, if it works for everyone else then surely it must work for me, right?”
“And did it work?” The therapist was frantically scribbling notes in his book. This was the most exciting session he had had in years. The paper he was planning to write about it would send him to superstardom in the psychiatric world, he might even be able to write a best selling book about it. Evan Ward would make him famous.
“No idea, after I made a small cut I realised what a stupid idea it was.” Evan shrugged. “What was I even thinking? Cutting my own flesh out of my arm to get a World Championship shot? I was so fucking stupid!”
The therapist nodded. “It is good when you’s recognise such a delusion for what it is.”
“Exactly. I couldn’t eat my own arm! What if it had worked? I’d get my shot but I’d be missing an arm! How could I wrestle like that?!” Evan exclaimed. “It wasn’t worth the risk. But it’s true that everyone else I eat gets a shot at the big boy belt, which is why I need your help. I need to stop eating my opponents so no one else gets a shot at the title before I win the LBI. I can’t have anyone else winning that belt off Mike. That’s my belt, it’s time it finally returned to my waist and, at this point, Mike’s the only obstacle left for me to conquer in this federation. Ending his reign the same way I broke Townsend’s competitive spirit will be the absolute peak of my career.”
“Evan, I can say wit’ absolute certainty that you’s eating habits didn’t make you’s opponents get title shots.” The therapist proclaimed confidently, trying his best to set Evan’s mind at ease. “It be a coincidence, nothing more. They’s were going to get those title shots anyway, the fact you’s ate a chunk of their flesh right before has nowt to do wit’ it. T’is just a fabrication created in you’s mind to explain why they’s got a shot and you’s didn’t.”
Evan sat forward and rubbed his chin while contemplating the suggestion. He had been certain about it, he couldn’t fathom any other reason why Jatt Starr and Rhys Townsend would have gotten gifted title shots after being so soundly defeated by the most awesome wrestler in the federation. He had thought that, if it wasn’t anything to do with the magic powers which ingesting their flesh granted, then it must have been a reward, or at least consolation, for their matches against him and Evan knew that Lee would never reward failure like that. Could those matches have been in the pipeline already before Evan ate them? Could it be that his matches were utterly irrelevant to the subsequent booking? The thought gave him anxiety. The fact his matches were the most important on the card were, without a doubt, the most important in the company was a core belief he held in his mind. The possibility they didn’t have any influence on what came next was a world-shattering notion… But it made sense, right?
“My god in HOWven…” Evan said softly through the shock. “You’re right. You motherfucking bastard, you’re bloody right. Even if I hadn’t eaten Jatt’s ear he’d still have faced Mike and Stevens at ICONIC. Even if I hadn’t put Rhy’s finger like a taco he still would have bottled it against Mike yesterday… That means…”
“Yes, that means you’s don’t need to feel responsible for them’s getting opportunities.” The therapist reassured Evan, looking smug that he had caused a major breakthrough in this very complex case.
“Don’t be stupid.” Evan fired back, obliterating that sense of achievement in an instant. “It means I can eat all of Noah Hanson’s extremities and don’t have to worry about him being booked in a World Title match next week!”
“No, no, no, no.” The therapist protested, a sudden cold sweat coming across him as he realised he had just encouraged his patient to eat continue his cannibalistic activities. “Don’t eat anyone, that is not what I meant.”
“Thank you, doc, thank you so much!” Evan stood up and shook his therapist’s hand profusely. “You’ve really set me straight again. You’re such an amazing therapist. I’ll tell everyone about what you’ve done for me.” He headed to the door and turned back to look at the speechless therapist. “And, hey, remember to tune in on Monday. I’m sure you’ll feel so proud and think ‘I did that, that was all because of me!’ when I feast on Noah Hanson.”
Evan walked out, leaving the therapist to wipe the sweat from his brow with a handkerchief in a shaky hand. He breathed deep and picked up his phone.
“Hello, dear.” He said, voice cracking slightly. “You’s were right, I’m getting too old. Let’s just retire somewhere nice, maybe without an extradition treaty… oh, no reason.”
Noah Hanson was a name I had heard bandied around in the same sentences as Darin Zion and Brian Hollywood. They were part of the tag team called “Sex & Money & A Third Wheel” if I remember correctly, but I couldn’t tell you which was which. No, I’d heard his name but he was after my time. My first run in this federation, this industry, had come to an end around the time he joined so, until now, our paths hadn’t crossed.
It sure would be easy to lump him in with the likes of Zion and Hollywood, as the buttends of jokes of the federation, simply because of his association with them, but that would be disingenuous. The guy’s just come back, I never knew what he was capable of the last time he was here and have no idea what he’s like now he’s back. For all I know he could have spent the last however-many years training up a mountain with the wrestling monks of the Sacred Squared Circle, honing his skills to the highest degree, shaping his body to the utmost of human perfection. That’s just as likely as him stepping in the ring as a blubbering mess of flab who couldn’t get down the ramp without looking like his heart was going to explode.
Both were as likely as each other, but if you were to prepare for one you’d be a fucking idiot to expect the latter, especially as he didn’t look like that when he battered Mike with that bucket of concrete on Chaos. He certainly came out with the intensity of a truly driven man, but that’s easy when you’re sneaking up behind a knackered dude and wallop him with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Concrete. Stepping into the ring is very different.
I don’t know what beef with Mike is, Noah, but you’re not getting to him. There’s only one possible match up to look forward to at March 2 Glory’s main event: Evan Ward Vs Mike Best for the HOW World Championship. A match a decade in the making. You can bring bring that intensity with you on Monday. Bring all you skill and talent. Any less will be a disappointment. I have spent weeks guessing and predicting who the secret competitor would be. I have been preparing to face the best. I’ve been preparing to face the literal Best.
Bring that bucket of concrete. I don’t give a fuck. We all know this group is going to be a crazy showcase of hardcore maniacs. We have the barbedwire hockey stick wielding hardcore legend, Scottywood. We have the greatest LSD Champion of all time, Silent Witness. We have you and your bucket. Then we have, well, me, and my appetite. Whatever crazy stipulation Lee whacks on our matches, it’ll be a bloodbath. I know this, Witness knows this, Scotty knows this. I hope you understand this too. Bring your bucket of concrete, Noah.
Me? By the end of the match I’ll be munching down a bucket of Kentucky Fried Hansen.