Care

Care

Posted on April 13, 2023 at 7:07 pm by Christopher America

Christopher America awoke in a brightly lit room. His head was pounding and the taste of blood was on his lips. He tried to sit up, bringing himself onto his elbows. Instinctively, he held his hand upwards, moving it somewhat haphazardly trying to block the source of the light. Before he could get his hand placed properly, the sound of two quick knocks came at what America assumed was a door and then the sound of someone entering the room. Two hands were placed on his shoulder, pushing him back into a laying position.

Doctor: No, no, no. Lay down.

Christopher America: Where am I?

Doctor: You’re in the trainer’s room. We’re getting you checked out.

America did not resist. He closed his eyes and put his hand down and let a groan escape his lips. The pounding in his head seemed to grow.

Doctor: You took a nasty beating.

Images flashed in America’s head. Glimpses of fists and boots flying fast and furious. As the images flashed, he felt lingering stings of pain in his jaw, the side of his head, and his gut.

And then the realization hit him.

Christopher America: Ward!

America struggled back onto his elbows but the trainer again put his hands on America’s shoulders and struggled to push him back down.

Doctor: Chris, please! I need you to remain still! You can check on your friend later.

America’s head pounded harder and harder as he began to fade.

*******

One day later, Christopher America returned home to find his house empty. Oh sure, the furniture, the electronics, the appliances, the memorabilia from his wrestling career were all still there.

But Bill wasn’t.

Having him there, waiting, greeting him the moment he walked in through the door, it was something that America had grown accustomed to for the past year. Over the past few weeks, America made excuses in his head. Excuses like ‘he’ll be along shortly,’ or ‘he’s probably out running an errand and be back after that.’

But the truth was that he wasn’t. Anymore, Bill only came when summoned.

Angrily, America threw his bag against the wall. It smacked the wall with a THWAP before sliding down the wall and hitting the floor with a THUD. America whipped out his phone and speed dialed Bill.

America placed the phone to his ear, crossed his other arm across his chest and began tapping his foot impatiently.

Bill: Hello!

Bill answered so cheerfully that it grated on America.

Christopher America: Where the hell are you?

The words were practically barked into the phone.

Bill: At my office. Why? What’s wrong?

Christopher America: My house. NOW!

America hung up his phone and made a beeline for his living room. He began angrily pacing. Through his head ran thoughts of everything that he was going to say to Bill. He may not be his friend, but he was still his agent. America had certain expectations of those he employed and Bill was going to fulfill those expectations. Otherwise, he would… he would… America’s thoughts trailed off as he didn’t want to go there.

Not yet, anyway.

He continued working himself into such a frenzy that he could hear his blood pumping in his ears. The corners of his eyes seemed to pulse with the beat of his heart.

After 20 minutes, the sound of a car door shutting heralded Bill’s arrival. A few seconds later and Bill casually walked in through the front door. He took his time to set his stuff down and hang up his jacket. As he walked into the living room, Bill adjusted his glasses and raised his eyebrows. He saw America looking angry. Quickly ignoring it, he then looked around the living room. Seeing nothing out of place, to the best of his recollection, Bill looked back at America, confused.

Bill: What’s going on? Everything alright?

America was genuinely taken aback at the audacity. He looked at Bill incredulously.

Christopher America: Alright?!? DO I LOOK ALRIGHT?!

America motioned to the large gash on his lip, the swollen skin on his left cheek, the discoloration that was beginning to form, and the bandage on his forehead. Undeterred, Bill simply shrugged his shoulders.

Bill: Tough match, I’m assuming?

Christopher America: Tough…TOUGH MATCH?!?! I had no match! I was jumped in the parking lot by Conor Fuse of all people! I got a busted lip, a bruised cheek that the trainer said was a few more BOOTS TO THE FACE away from being fractured, a cut on my forehead, and I was knocked out! KNOCKED OUT!

Bill: I’m—I’m sorry. I didn’t know.

Christopher America: What do you mean you don’t know? You watch the show! How did you not fucking see when the rest of the god damn world saw?

Bill: I stopped watching weeks ago, Chris.

Christopher America: Wait… what?!?! Why?

Bill: Why?!

Why not?

I don’t help with your training anymore. That’s Luis. It was Mateo, but you know. Hospital and all. I don’t help you gather your things for training. That’s Richard. I don’t help with cleaning up afterwards anymore. That’s Alexei. My job is to simply keep your schedule and book the venues for things like appearances, media dates, gym times, flights, and hotels.

All of that doesn’t require me to watch the show.

Christopher America: Well, I’m ordering you: WATCH THE FUCKING SHOW!

Bill raised his shoulders like it was no big deal.

Bill: As long as you’re willing to pay the overtime. You know my rate. I double it for off hours work and it’ll be attached with the normal invoice that you receive.

America’s brow furrowed.

Christopher America: Man, what the fuck is going on with you?

Bill: All those things that you want me to do, those were things that I did for free. When we started out, you hired an agent. Over time, I like to think that I did a good enough job that you entrusted me with more and more responsibilities. I anticipated what you wanted, what you needed. I knew when and where you were going to be and what you expected out of me. I fulfilled that for you.

America held up his hand.

Christopher America: So where were you then? If you anticipate when and where I need you… where were you after I was attacked? Why didn’t you call Dr. Weyland and have him at the ready? Why weren’t you here?!?

I’m not asking you to be my friend. But I damn sure expect you to give a shit. I expect you to care when your only client gets the fuck beaten out of him in the parking lot.

Bill: To care?

No.

My job is not to care.

I don’t owe you anything other than my duties. The contract that we signed when you hired me says nothing about my emotional state or my feelings. I don’t have to care about you to be able to do my job properly. If you wish to give me more duties and responsibilities, we can talk about that. If you wish to renegotiate our contract, we can do that, too.

As for what happened to you, I’m sorry. I’m sorry you got beat up. I’m sorry to see you got injured. If you want me to call Dr. Weyland and set up and appointment, that’s part of my job. But, I don’t have to care about you to do that.

Also, I’m NOT going to be there for you.

That was also your choice, not mine. I offered numerous times to join you at the events and you were adamant that you didn’t want me there. In fact, I distinctly remember you calling me a liability.

Christopher America: Okay, fine. But if you watched the show, you could’ve done something. Had the doctors or trainers look at me sooner! I WAS LYING IN THE PARKING LOT FOR A HALF HOUR BEFORE SOMEONE FOUND ME!

Bill: And where were your Alliance friends? Why didn’t they come and find you?

Christopher America: I…

America stopped and searched for an answer. No, not an answer. A lie. An excuse. Something to disguise the truth. Because the truth was so much more terrifying.

Christopher America: I don’t know. And I don’t think I can’t trust them anyway.

The honesty surprised both men, but Bill remained steadfast.

Bill: You didn’t answer my question.

Christopher America: I don’t fucking know! They probably left already! Why does it fucking matter?!?

America fumed before settling down somewhat and letting the next words softly escape his lips.

Christopher America: I was… I was alone.

Bill opened his mouth to say something, but he caught himself. His shoulders slumped somewhat. He looked contemplative and sad for his client. He still liked Chris. Deep down, he truly did, but he knew this wasn’t the way. He wasn’t going to get through to America by letting his guard down.

Bill straightened his back and his face relaxed.

Chris looked at his agent and started to let his guard down. America held up his hands as he unloaded his feelings.

Christopher America: Bill… it’s beginning to crumble. I feel trapped. I feel like everyone is looking at me like a piece of fresh meat. They look at the championship like my days are numbered. And it’s not just the usual suspects.

America lowers his voice to whisper, as if others were listening in.

Christopher America: It’s the other members of the Alliance.

Bill cocks an eyebrow and the left side of his lip curls slightly upward in morbid curiosity. He muttered something under his breath.

Bill: They played you.

Christopher America: I don’t know who to trust. Evan Ward… he… he claims to be my friend and sure, he helped me put down Jace, but he looks at the title and… THE TITLE!

America frantically looked around his living room, as panic sets in. He didn’t see the title anywhere. He rushed towards the entryway and looked at his bag he threw against the wall earlier. His eyes went wide with horror. He moved to the bag and fell to his knees. He closed his eyes with regret, said a silent prayer of forgiveness, and unzipped the bag.

There, inside, was the HOW World Championship. America let out a pained groan as he scooped the title into his arms and cradled her. He pulled her close to his chest and began rocking on his knees.

Bill popped his head around the corner and rolled his eyes. Whatever progress Bill seemed to make on getting through vanished at the mere mention of America’s World Championship. And Bill had had enough.

Bill: Anyway, Chris, if we’re done, I’ll leave you two alone.

Christopher America: So then, you’ll do it?!

The hopefulness in his voice, the look of groveling in his eyes… Bill hesitated for that moment before thinking better of it.

Bill: Pay me and I will.

America’s shoulders slumped in defeat. He looked down at the title and then back up angrily at Bill. He didn’t like what he heard and he didn’t like what he saw. Bill was now standing over him, looking down on him with a pity and contempt that America hadn’t felt in ages.

Christopher America: I already gave you a fucking raise! What more do you want?! Why can’t you just fucking help me?!?!

Bill: I’m grateful for the raise. But that doesn’t offset the work you are asking me to do in my off hours.

America was flailing, verbally, trying to grasp at anything to help his case.

Christopher America: You don’t care what happens to me, do you?

I mean… what is this about? Is this about Mateo? I – I can do better. We’re going to Mexico for War Games! I can send him back to his roots. He can…

The desperation in America’s voice was evident. But Bill was unmoved. Instead, he sighed, exhausted with where this was going.

Bill: Look, Chris. I’m not going to rehash the same argument we had a few weeks ago with you. You figure it out. I’ll call Dr. Weyland and set up an appointment. Need something else? Call me.

Bill began to put back on his jacket that he left hanging on the coat rack.

Bill: You should also know… well, you should it from me first… you’re not my only client anymore.

Christopher America: There’s someone else?

Bill looked down at the floor and nodded. Clearly frustrated, angry, and hurt Bill left, leaving America on his knees.

Kneeling in front of the thing he cared about the most.

*******

Do you know what my favorite part about HOW is?

They hypocrisy.

I love watching the men and women of this company call others to the carpet for things, only to turn around and do them right back to others. I love it when wrestlers in this company complain about the effort of others and then expect everything to be handed to them. I love when wrestlers reap the benefits of being in the Alliance, complain about those same benefits when they’re kicked out, and rejoice when they are welcomed back into the fold.

No. Don’t say it.

I know that you don’t believe me. No one ever does. It always takes a little hand holding from Christopher America as he shepherd’s you through the bullshit and deception.

Come along. I won’t steer you wrong.

Excellent.

Let’s start with something simple.

“Caring.”

Yes, you heard that right.

“Caring.”

You know what I care about?

I care about the HOW World Championship.

I care about this championship so much that I evolve for her on a daily basis. I care about this championship so much that I find myself… CONSTANTLY… swallowing my pride and ego so that I can team up with someone from WALES!

But I would gladly do it in a heartbeat if it meant keeping the HOW World Championship, especially keeping it out of the hands of people like Clay Byrd and Conor Fuse.

And people chide me for that. They derisively mock me for doing anything I can to keep the title.

Well… I ask you, the viewer…if you wrestled for HOW, what would you care about more than anything else?

That’s right, boys and girls, the HOW World Championship.

See?

Following along isn’t hard.

And while you all rightfully said the HOW World Championship, do you know who doesn’t feel that way?

Clay Byrd.

Oh sure, he claims he cares about the title, but that’s just his hypocrisy.

No, Clay Byrd treats HOW and the HOW World Championship like he came out the loser in a divorce settlement. He treats this company and this championship like they were the children he never wanted and yet feels obligated to fulfill his visitation rights for.

America picks up an imaginary phone and holds it to his ear. He holds his index finger up towards the camera, as if asking the viewing audience to wait.

What’s that? Oh really? Good for all of us, I guess.

America hangs up his imaginary phone.

Clay Byrd is going to grace us all with his presence this week at Chaos, ladies and gentlemen. The Monster from Plainview, who gets beat the fuck down by every World Champion in this company, is doing his contractually obligated once every six week visitation to the land of High Octane. But don’t worry, kiddies, this time will be different. I’m sure Daddy Byrd won’t go back out for the gallon of milk or pack of cigarettes after his match. And if he does show up more frequently, it’s only because I called out his bullshit.

Clay Byrd doesn’t care about anything. Not this company. Not this championship. Not the wrestlers. Not the people in the office. Not even his own War Games team. Don’t believe me? I’m sure if you give him the chance, he’ll tell you over and over again. He’s made no bones about it before he faced me, and he’s made no bones about it since he faced me.

And maybe that’s the problem, Clay. You don’t care about anything or anyone. You don’t even care about yourself. You don’t improve. You don’t change up your style.

The last man that I encountered who cared about NOTHING… I dissected his body.

You’d think for a man that’s nearly seven feet tall and nearly 300 pounds you’d be able to win the World Championship just once. I mean, think about all the other World Champions in wrestling who won on their sheer size and strength alone. They could do it, but you fucking couldn’t?

And when your size and strength fail you, do you tap into mind games? Do you get under your opponent’s skin? Do you do the dirty work necessary to make yourself look like you’re superior?

Nah.

That’s too much work. Too much effort.

Instead, let’s do what Clay Byrd always does. It’s just Clay Byrd out in his truck again, talking to himself about how much he doesn’t care, isn’t it? It’s Clay Byrd doing FUCKING NOTHING in the backstage area. It’s Clay Byrd not even showing up to the building. It’s Clay Byrd not giving a fuck about being left OFF of March To Glory.

Clay Byrd doesn’t come out to the ring and demand championship matches. He doesn’t come out to the ring and demand he face the number 1 ranked wrestler to prove his superiority. He doesn’t even get back at Steve Solex for turning on the Highwaymen.

My God, Clay, Scott Stevens has put more effort into seeking revenge for whatever wrongs he felt have been perpetrated on him. He’s spent more effort into chasing this championship in three weeks than you have for your entire career. He’s more World Championship material than you are.

And unlike you, I show up every fucking week because I love this company. I give my thoughts and talk about matches that don’t even concern me… because I love this company. I have rid this company of pretenders and usurpers because I CARE that damn much.

You? You’ll lie. You’ll lie to all of us. You’ll lie to yourself. You’ll talk about how much you do care about the championship. Or about how you care about sticking it to me or sticking it to Lee Best, the two men you need constant validation from. Hell, suddenly, you’ll claim to care about proving that you’re better than Conor Fuse.

But it’s not true.

What is true… is that you’re a coward, Clay.

You’re afraid of what the success of winning the HOW World Championship will do to you. You excel at failing because it’s comfortable for you. Defeat is a warm bed for you to crash your hulking frame into and land softly with.

And your tag team partner, Clay, is the man who has made you look like a chump more than any other person on this roster. The man that you couldn’t put down for the World Championship if your career depended on it.

But what does Conor Fuse care about?

Is it the HOW World Championship that he quickly abandoned and forgot about after he lost at War Games last year?

The same title that he wanted so badly that in order to retain it, he drafted Arthur Pleasant because he was the LSD Champion at the time. I mean, it’s not like the LSD Championship’s history isn’t riddled with wrestlers who couldn’t hold on to the championship for at least 30 days, right? What’s that? There’s actually a ton of them? Oh wow. Sounds like he should’ve gone with a proven commodity rather than a potential flash in the pan.

You know who’s a consistent commodity that could’ve delivered more than Arthur Pleasant? His BFF, Bobbinette Carey. But he passed on her… MULTIPLE TIMES.

Speaking of Carey, it’s weird how her friend Scottywood returned and Conor didn’t bother to pick up the phone to check on her or see how’s she handling the news. It’s weird that he didn’t call her ahead of time and let her know that he was returning to attack Ward and I. Almost as if he felt like he doesn’t trust her and doesn’t care about her.

And we all saw how little he cares about the environment if he willingly leaves banana peels on the ground, hoping someone else will put it in the trash.

Just a reminder, you wannabe gamer, when you want to come for me, the guy in first place, use a blue shell next time. Every actual gamer knows that.

So what does Conor Fuse care about?

Simple. Conor Fuse cares… about his ego.

It’s why he attacked me and Ward.

Speaking of which, Conor, why did you attack me?

Was it because I ambushed you backstage in the lead up to March To Glory? Is it because I broke the rules during our match and low-blowed you in the middle of the ring? Is it because I attacked you in the parking lot the first Chaos after March To Glory, sending you to the hospital?

Wait, no.

I didn’t do any of that.

No, I respected you as a competitor. I did not violate the rules of our match. And I certainly didn’t leave you at possibly less than 100 percent heading into our match.

But you did.

Say you and Byrd beat Ward and I at Chaos. That isn’t because of your wrestling ability. It’s because you attacked us prior. Because you don’t care about the sanctity of wrestling and you sure as hell don’t care about the fans who were hoping to see a few World Champions and whatever the fuck Clay Byrd is tear it up, each of us at one hundred percent.

Because you care about satiating your over inflated ego.

Because you got embarrassed at March To Glory and you want revenge.

Because you realized that I’m the fucking end game of this company. Not you.

You’re just a self-entitled, self-indulgent prick.

But please, Mr. Hypocrite, tell me again how you’re the “real” good guy.

At Chaos, you and Byrd WANT this win more than Ward and I do because you want to prove to people that you’re still a threat. Clay Byrd may have been the number one ranked wrestler in 2022, but ask him if he feels like he came out of that year a winner. You were undefeated in singles action in 2022. I made sure that you started off 2023 with a fucking ONE in the loss column.

And while you may WANT the win, Ward and I NEED this win. Because nothing gives me more pleasure than watching the enemies of the Alliance come up short time after time. I need to rob you of the things that bring you joy. I need to further erode your credibility. I need to reinforce the doubt you’ve built up in yourself. I need to watch as you and Byrd completely and utterly self-destruct.

So that I can focus on what I care about the most: winning War Games for the HOW World Championship.

*******

Pleased with himself after his promo, America hoisted the HOW World Championship on to his shoulder and walked out of his house towards the car that was waiting for him. As he climbed into the back seat, he placed the World Championship next to him and buckled in.

Surprisingly, America’s face fell. His brow furrowed and he felt like he was forgetting something. His eyes darted around, scanning for a trigger of what he was forgetting.

And then it hit him.

In all the talk about what he cared about, he didn’t mention America.

Not once.

His focus was solely on the World Championship as the thing he cared about.

Upon this realization, questions began to flow but the one that rushed to the forefront was…

Christopher America: What’s happening to me?