WESTERN STATE HOSPITAL
July 3rd, 2007
“Santa Claus.” says a teenage version of Arthur Pleasant with a considerable amount of sarcasm present in his voice.
Sitting side-by-side with him is a middle-aged female doctor with a name badge reading “Dr. Dolores Zulaski”. Dolores, as she insists on being called by all patients of hers, calmly pulls away a medium-sized white card with an inkblot printed directly in the middle after Arthur blurted out what he saw. Giving no indication whether this is a right or wrong answer, Dolores calmly places the card down onto a stack of about five or six others previously presented to him. Holding the cards from the bottom with her mauve-painted fingernails pointed upwards toward a darkened, low-hanging drop ceiling, she says nothing. By remaining silent, this affords the young Arthur full autonomy to proceed at the pace of his own choosing.
Dolores shows him another card. The equipoise of its design and placement is just short of perfect beyond what the naked eye can discern.
“An elf.” he says happily, this time nearly giggling at his own response.
Once again, Dolores says nothing. Maintaining the controlled environment by not indicating a response one way or the other, she calmly places the card on top of the others. Again, she shows him another card.
“A reindeer.” he says, sticking with the Christmastime theme.
Suddenly, the boy points at Dolores.
“Got you.” he says.
Caught a bit off-guard, Dolores responds.
“Did you?” she asks, trying to maintain the sense of discreet hegemony between doctor and patient. However, she knows full well that the eyelid beneath her right eye twitched as soon as he gave his answer to the card. If this were a game of poker, Arthur would be pushing the bet with a pair of cowboys and Dolores would be folding.
“Your eye twitched.” he says rather triumphantly.
“You noticed that, huh?” she says, smiling and giving a slight wink as if to say ‘You’re too smart for me! You got me!’.
“Does it bother you that I’m not taking this seriously?” earnestly asks Arthur. He brushes a few strands of his dark and glossy raven’s hair to the side before placing both elbows on the metal table before them. His palms touch at the base of his hands on the underside of his chin in classic childlike boredom.
“You’re not taking this test seriously? Why is that, Arthur?” she asks dutifully to the young and psychologically resplendent Arthur Pleasant.
He smiles as his eyes narrow, “You know I’m not. That’s your job, isn’t it? To know when your patients aren’t taking your tests, or you, seriously?” The silent struggle for ultimate dominion over the immediate room is as evident as a festering wound on a battlefield.
She nods, allowing Arthur to ’win’ this round. Though it was most likely seen as design in the eyes of the afflicted, yet exceptionally astute, young prodigy.
“It’s part of my job, Arthur. You’re right about that. But, it isn’t that simple. Still, you’ve a very keen mind.” she offers plainly and honestly.
Unsure of how to receive this positive affirmation, Arthur scoffs.
“Yeah well, you’ve a very keen fucking ass, Dolores.” he says, attempting to bait her into an admonishing for his expletive-laden crudeness.
Dolores chuckles, elegantly refusing to acknowledge the obviousness of his forced vulgarity.
“Shall we continue, then?” she asks. Arthur simply nods.
Holding up another card, this time with red ink as well as black, Arthur’s surprise reveals itself from his shifting form. Removing his elbows from the table, Arthur sits upright and clears his throat.
“Something wrong, Arthur?” Dolores intuitively prods, knowing the sudden introduction to the color (97)red throws her patient off of the throne he believes he sits upon.
“No. It’s just-”
“Just what, Arthur?” she interrupts assertively yet furtively.
Arthur turns his head from the card and looks to his right at Dolores.
“It’s beautiful.” he says quietly. Ruefully, even.
“You like red?” She asks, knowing she’s finally onto something a bit more tangible with his sudden revelation.
“I guess.” he responds modestly.
“No, no. I-I do. I like red. It’s my favorite color, actually.” he admits.
“I don’t want to do this anymore. Not today, at least.” he says in a rare moment of honesty.
Dolores looks at Arthur curiously.
“Is it because of what day it is?” she expertly prods.
Arthur nods, “Yes. I’m just not in the mood today. Can I go to my room?”
Dolores sets the cards down, immediately shifting focus from the Rorschach test.
“Not yet, Arthur. In a bit. First, I want to explore that a little bit. Why does today bother you so much, Arthur?” Dolores asks.
The teenager, rife with impatience, heaves a disturbing glare.
“You know why. Please. Stop.”
“I do. But I want you to come face to face with it, Arthur. You can’t heal without facing what hurts.” she persists.
Arthur folds his arms and closes his eyes.
“I killed her. Shot her right in the heart for breaking mine.” he says softly and woefully, “And he just abandoned me. Tossed me in this place and told the world to throw away the key. Fucking coward. Should’ve shot him, too. Maybe when I get out of here, I will.”
“Arthur… you know you can’t be saying things like that. It does not help your situation any.”
Young Arthur stands up from his chair without warning, tipping it over. Though he is only thirteen, he still stands at an impressive five-foot ten-inches. Startled, Dolores senses immediate danger.
“Arthur, please. CALM yourself.”
Without warning, he lunges at her with his fists clenched. He connects across her jaw, jettisoning a tooth and a decent-sized splatter of blood across the room. With murderous intent, Pleasant looks deep into the eyes of Dolores — now wide-eyed with fear — and points his index finger at her face while raising his thumb. Sticking his finger into her mouth, Arthur cocks his finger gun and smirks wickedly.
“Told you red’s my favorite color.”
Before Dolores can even yell for help, the door buzzes and three whitecoats come rushing in to Dolores’ rescue. But not before Arthur pulls the trigger by snapping his thumb down.
He laughs sadistically as he’s tackled off of Dolores.
The screen immediately goes to static.
SOME SHITTY MOTEL
November 30th, 2021
The static gives way to a new locale with a cold and jarring open. Closing in on the camera that stands on a tripod six-feet away from the edge of a shitty looking motel room bed, Arthur Pleasant– all grown up now– grabs hold of our stationary equipment. Wet strands of raven-like hair cling to his pallid skin along the front of his scarred and overall uniquely disfigured face. Moistening his lips with one clean lick, he removes his partial, bearing to all the sections of missing and/or jagged teeth– remnants of his deathmatch exploits– as his cheeks sink in. Looking at his partial, he gives a macabre looking grin before reinserting the set of false uppers and lowers on the left side of his mouth. Lining it up inside his jaw so that he can speak without difficulty, he does so in his trademark sepulchral voice that everyone has so longingly missed.
I’ve spent the last six months touring the world. On ‘excursion’, I’ve made my crimson mark in every corner of this Godforsaken planet. For better or worse. From Cleveland to Shanghai, Arthur Pleasant has invoked fear and dread into the very bedrock of every waiting arena I’ve been invited to.
It’s been fun, but there comes a point in a man’s career when it’s time to put responsibility over frivolity. Despite this, see, whether you choose to believe it or not, my goal has always been to return to these hallowed halls. Regardless of what my purpose for it ultimately was. The term “unfinished business” comes to mind, though, if I’m being honest. And as I look around? There sure is a fuck ton of it.
Thing is? I never had any designs to do it…alone.
Nah. I knew then, and still know to this day that, if the Provocateur were to ever come back to what is essentially the heart of Chicago, it’d be hand in hand with Calamity itself. Because if there’s one takeaway from the part I played in War Games earlier this year? It’s that… alliances? They are so very important. Yes, indeed.
More than that, though, friends are essential. Necessary, even, to those who wish to see their castles in the sky built to perfection. From foundation to fucking flagpole.
And like Jesus him fucking self, what carpenters we are, Jeffrey and I.
Like Noah built his Ark to protect his family from the world-engulfing flood, we are building ours to protect each other from the great flood of mediocrity and impotence that has drowned this sacred land for far too long.
His bare upper body can be seen just over his shoulder within the rectangular parameters of a standing mirror. Our camera’s point of focus zooms slightly to an upside down cross tattooed across Arthur’s back. An exact-to-dimension echo of the one exquisitely scrawled across Jeffrey James Roberts’ chest.
So now? I’m back, motherfuckers. I’m back and my eyes have been fucking opened. More now than they ever were before. I’m back because a man with a vision, a man who speaks to God like so many of you boot slicks of human shit speak to each other through witty emojis and GIFs, has called for help. I’m back because a man with the power of vision had the foresight to use a lifeline, if you will, in order to reach out to someone with similar ‘interests’.
Interests that are too taboo and distasteful for the weak-minded and acutely sensitive.
Interests and grand designs that, to most, are too violent, sadistic, and morally grotesque. Of course, the “most” I speak of are the simpleminded, self-aggrandizing shitchickens that speak in circles week after week, month after month, and as the Hall of Famers will surely remind you by their tongues flapping about their oh-so glorious “Four Touchdowns at Polk High” moments… year after fucking year.
Pleasant jangles a vial being worn in necklace form around his bony neck. An indistinguishable piece of matter shakes inside the yellowish embalming fluid therein. The Hand of Calamity smiles as he mindlessly toys with the glass between his fingers.
Jeffrey James Roberts is that man with the vision I speak of.
Jeffrey James Roberts is exactly the sort of friend I needed.
Jeffrey James Roberts and Arthur Fucking Pleasant share a passion for blood, destruction, and all the uncomfortable, unspeakable violence in between. With this, we will not show mercy. To anyone. We will not give clemency to a single flesh pod who dares to cross our blood-drenched paths.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the HOW World Champion or the LSD Champion. Birthrights and death grips be damned.
It doesn’t matter if you’re at the bottom of the ranks like two lost souls wallowing in the nostalgia of their former glory, or a legend of the past pontificating to the people about the legitimacy of their legacy and all the pathetic fucking vicissitudes they so proudly vomit out to anyone who will cup an ear to such vapid diatribes.
We don’t fucking care if you’re from the class of 2002, the class of 2021, or hopped out of your time machine with Elon Musk and proclaim to be from the class of 2069. Everyone, and we mean every-fucking-one, will be held accountable for their part in the flood. This isn’t a patreon and there are no tiers.
Everyone will be victimized for their ineptitude and ignorance.
Everyone will be cleansed in the bloodstorm that broods on that looming horizon; the inevitable, unforgiving tempest that is about to rain down upon this irrevocably damaged landscape.
What I did to that miserable little imp at Refueled pales in comparison to what awaits those who choose to ignore these warnings. These avowals of… how did my friend put it?
A smile crawls over his face like maggots harvesting on the sunbaked surface of a spoiled piece of meat.
The old timers shouting at the clouds, Darin Zion, and anyone else who’ll listen as they constantly remind themselves what they’ve accomplished to overcompensate for the void that fills their dampened souls, can pretend to not give a shit and shoot from the hip in all their false bravado and self-loathing snarkiness. I… we… could not give any less of a shit about your lack of imagination and shoddy display of mindfulness to your own exploitable weaknesses.
In fact, we welcome it. We fucking implore each and every one of you to keep ‘doing you’ and bring that laissez-faire attitude and lazy posture to the table. Bury us by blurring the lines of reality and conferring with the incomparable 4th Wahl as you brandish your golden shovels all-the-while calling that a promo.
It doesn’t change what’s coming. ‘Cause this goes beyond the scope of self-promotion or wrestling a match, rest assured.
Lethal Lottery, like War Games or Rumble at the Rock before it, is just another schism in the foundations of our sport, designed by the false creators of already established tenets to revel in their misperceived ingenuity. With each passing crucible, these fucking heretics reveal their own hypocrisy and silent misgivings by manufacturing a sense of chaos and disorder.
We break that plane of false existence at Refueled, one meaty tendril at a time.
Through jaw-dropping domination and inhumane physicality, all that has become balanced will be corrected into imbalance. To this? We assure you, there is nothing manufactured about our brand of chaos. It is real. It is pure. And it will undoubtedly be seen as a radicalized crusade. Or perhaps better yet, the HOW equivalent to a wrestling jihad.
Arthur releases his death grip on the camera and backs up a few feet, revealing the same pair of wrestling tights we saw him in all those months ago. The stain of Scottywood’s blood remains all over them, caked and petrified like syrup left out in the air and unprotected from the elements for far too long. It’s almost as if you can smell them through the screen of whatever device you’re currently using.
Leaning forward onto a splintery wooden desk of whatever sleazebag motel this happens to be recorded in, the Provocateur shakes his head. Laughter erupts from his lungs and quickly, in a horrifying sound, escapes through his mouth. Moments pass by and he tries to stifle it the best that he can. Smashing a fist into his own temple, he grins devilishly.
For each choking sound lifted from each desperate hand that reaches up for survival, these fucking charlatans and liars simply capitulate their original intentions by tossing you all a life preserver in those rugged waters you hilariously struggle to keep afloat in.
We offer no such safety.
Instead, we offer the soles of our fucking boots. To push down on your fucking foreheads to ensure your lungs fill up with water until what was once your hot, uneven breaths chill the air by their quick and sudden absence.
It doesn’t matter who, if anyone at all, I am chosen to face. Champion or not, I will cut you to fucking pieces and leave little left, if anything, for anyone to identify. I will enter that ring with unyielding resolve unlike anything you have ever witnessed, and I will then leave it with the blood of our nonbelievers on my hands, the smile of success on my face, and if luck has any part to play in this lottery… the gold of triumph snapped securely around my fucking waist.
Oh, of course. If by some chance fate forces me to face my newfound friend?
Well…let’s just say I hope Joel is wearing a raincoat, ‘cause it’s gonna be a little slippery out there.
Between Jeffrey and myself? May the best man win. No matter which one of us ‘wins’ that fight, so too does the order of chaos.
To everyone else with the rotten luck of having to face one of us?
Prepare if you can.
But endure the pain of Calamity and the helplessness of Chaos, you will.