I arrived at Nikki’s house in Fort Lauderdale, Florida later that day. I walked inside the home and got an ear full from Nikki about how shitty it is that Brendan’s Father is nothing but a cheap professional wrestler who gives blowjobs to microphones on worldwide television. I swear if it wasn’t for the fact that she was the Mother of my child, I’d backhand that bitch for her smart mouth. After Nikki finally shut up, I made my way upstairs and approached Brendan’s door. I took a deep breath then reached up with my right hand and knocked on the door.
“Hey Brendan, it’s Dad. Can I come in?” The words still felt foreign for me to say after all this time.
“Yeah, whatever.” Said the voice from inside the room.
I grabbed the doorknob and opened the door. Inside the room was my son Brendan sitting on the side of his bed playing on his phone. Not once did he bother to look up from his phone to make eye contact with me as I closed the door behind me.
“Hey kiddo, long time no see. How are you?” I asked, hoping to break the ice.
“I’ve been better.” Brendan mumbled while thumbing away at his phone.
“I bet my week has been worse than yours.” I said with a nervous laugh.
Brendan didn’t reply, instead he just raised his head from his phone to look at me and shake his head. His attention quickly turned back to his phone but it gave me enough time to notice the band-aid that was placed over his left eye. I let out a soft sigh before taking a seat on the side of the bed next to him.
“Listen, your Mom told me about how you got into a fight at school because of me.” I placed my hand on his shoulder.
“It’s not just about you.” Brendan grumbled.
“Then why don’t you tell me what happened?” I asked, trying to dig for more information.
“What’s there to tell? A couple of seniors at school saw Refueled 71 and witnessed you getting that microphone down your throat by a girl.” Brendan shrugged his shoulders. “Since I’m just a freshman and not exactly popular. They started picking on me about what happened to you and calling me the son of a man that eats mechanical dicks for a living.”
Damnit, that hurt coming from your own son. I could feel my stomach knotting up with guilt. Actually, what I really felt was a white hot rage building inside of me. One making me want to march up to that school and beat the ever loving fuck out of some seniors. However, getting arrested before Bottomline wasn’t exactly the greatest idea.
“Harsh but not unexpected, so then what happened?” I tried to play the role of a good Father.
“Harsh? It was freaking relentless. From the moment I got on the bus they just kept on and on about it.” Brendan put his phone into his pocket and got up from his bed. “I made it all the way to lunch but it just got worse. They started throwing food and trash at me and…and I just had enough.”
“You reached your boiling point and that’s how you ended up getting that bandage over your eye.” I slapped my hands down onto my thighs and looked up at my son. “Listen Brendan, I’m sorry that you got wrapped up in all of this mess.”
“You’re sorry? Is that all you got to say?!” Brendan extended his arms out wide. “You know I don’t really expect much from you as a Father but why? Why’d you have to go and get embarrassed like that by a woman in the middle of the ring? Don’t you ever think about me or Mom when you dumb things like that?!”
I shot up off of the bed like a lightning bolt. “You seriously think I had any control over something like that? That I decided it was a good idea to Deepthroat a microphone in front of the world?!” I pointed towards my chest with my thumb. “Of course not! It’s just that HOW is different. It’s dangerous, people lose eyeballs, people actually die doing this. There’s a good reason I make almost six figures doing this.”
“She’s a former gymnast for fucks sake!” Brendan exclaimed.
“Hey, watch your language!” I commanded while pointing my index finger at him.
“Oh, fuck off!” Brendan grunted while folding his arms across his chest.
The tension was high between the two of us. I took a moment to calm down as I ran both hands through my hair. I exhaled loudly and decided to give this another try.
“Look, this is life and sometimes bad things happen. It’s as bad for me as it is for you but I got to live with that. I’ve got to move forward and take care of business as a Champion.” And that’s when I realized I left the HOTv Championship belt at home. “It doesn’t matter if she’s a former gymnast or a freaking ninja. She’s an HOW wrestler so that means she’s not just some chick off the street.”
“You just don’t understand.” Brendan sighed.
“Then make me understand.” I fired back.
“It’s like I said. It’s not like I’m very popular at school. Do you realize how hard it is to get a girl when you’re the son of the King of Deepthroating?” Brendan pleaded.
“Is that what you’re worried about?” I asked, flabbergasted. “Something is bound to happen eventually that’ll make everyone forget all about the microphone thing. But if you’re worried about girls and stuff of that nature I can take care of that.”
“Shouldn’t you be busy training for your match against Darin Zion at Bottomline?” Brendan raised his eyebrow.
“There will be plenty of time for that. Zion is a lazy fuck and won’t show up until the last minute. However, I’m going to give you an experience that someone like Zion could only dream of. Grab your house keys, we’re going out.” I said as I waved my arm towards the door.
“Where are we going?” Brendan was skeptical.
“Trust me, you’re not going to want to miss this and after we’re done you’ll be more than ready to get all the girls you want.” I reassured him.
Brendan thought it over for a moment then decided to grab his keys and follow me out of his room. It was about time I helped my boy become a man.
The drive back to Miami was a quiet one for the most part with Brendan’s attention focused on his phone. His Mother gave me a whole speech about how I was supposed to be on my best behavior and to have him back by dinner time. All of that went in one ear and out the other. The kid needed a quick fix to get the stench of what happened to me off of him and I had just the solution.
“Just where are you taking me? Are we headed back to your house?” Brendan turned his attention away from his phone.
“I hadn’t planned on taking you back to the house but we can stop by there afterwards though if you want.” I smiled.
“That gave me exactly zero information on where we’re actually headed.” Brendan scoffed.
“You’ve barely been in the car for thirty minutes and you’re acting like a grumpy old man.” I laughed but Brendan didn’t find it amusing. “Just consider where we’re going to be a surprise. Don’t worry, we’re almost there.”
“I think I’m a little too old for surprises. If you’re taking me Chuck E. Cheese, I’m going to call the cops.” Brendan threatened.
“You seriously think I’d bring you all the way out to Miami just to take you Chuck E. Cheese? This is about fixing your problem at school and helping you with girls.” I explained.
“So you’re taking me to a strip club?!” Brendan said with a twinkle in his eyes.
“It’s even better than a strip club!” I proclaimed.
“What the hell is better than a strip club?!” Brendan asked, completely confused.
“You’re about to find out.” I said with a smirk.
I pulled the car into the parking lot of a large professional building and put it in park. I could see that Brendan was even more confused than ever as we got out of the car and slammed the doors shut. I led Brendan through the automatic double doors and then headed for the elevator. I reached out and pressed the button to call for the elevator as Brendan looked around.
“So you think that taking me to a Doctor’s office is better than taking me to a strip club?” Brendan said sarcastically.
“I told you this was about giving you an experience that Darin Zion has never had.” I reminded him.
“And what exactly is an experience that Darin Zion has never had? Watching you get a prostate exam? Cause ewww.” Brendan’s face scrunched up in disgust.
“I’m starting to see why you’re not very popular at school.” I sighed. “Focus on Darin Zion for a moment. What do you know about the man and what could he possibly have not yet experienced?”
Brendan thought for a moment. “I know that you tormented the man so viciously back in the day that he had a literal meltdown on social media.”
“Ahhh yeah, good times…good times.” I reminisced.
“Didn’t Zion used to have a thing for your ex-wife?” Brendan rubbed his chin.
A loud ding rings throughout the hallway as the elevator doors open. Brendan and I step inside as I press the button for the third floor.
“No, that was Brian Hollywood but close enough I guess.” I mused.
“Man, you really messed up with that one.” Brendan rubbed his hands together.
“Tara?” I asked with a tilt of my head.
“Yeah, that body was banging and those boobs were A-MAZ-ING!” Brendan bit his bottom lip and pantomimed the shape of Tara’s chest with his hands.
“So you’re a breast man, huh?” I questioned with a chuckle.
“I mean, I like a little bit of everything but some things need to be held up high on a pedestal. Her chest was definitely special and I’m kinda mad you didn’t bring me around her more often.” Brendan folded his arms over his chest.
“Tara was good in bed for sure but was a literal pain in the ass to deal with outside of it, so trust me when I say you didn’t miss much.” I patted him on the back. “But back to Zion, what else do you know about him?”
“Well, he has that manager named Meredith.” Brendan pointed out.
“Are you sure that Meredith is just his manager?” I asked, hoping to lead him down the right path.
“I mean…kinda, sorta, maybe? It’s clear that they like each other but I don’t think much has happened.” Brendan shrugged.
“I believe they’ve kissed but can you imagine how sexually frustrated Meredith must be waiting for Zion to try to stretch a single into a double or a triple? And don’t even get me started on him ever hitting a homerun.” I waved my hand dismissively.
The elevator reaches the third floor and the doors open. I step out along with Brendan and walk down the hall to suite 310.
“Women get as sexually frustrated as guys?” Branden pondered.
“All I’m saying is that Meredith has probably gone through so many sets of batteries that the Energizer Bunny would blush.” I grabbed a hold of the suite door and pulled it open.
Brendan peeked into the suite then walked inside. The woman behind the front desk gave us a warm smile and greeted us.
“Welcome Mr. Davidson, what can I do for you today?” The woman inquired.
“Well, this is my son Brendan and I think it’s about time he gets his first massage. Would Stacy happen to be working today?” I asked as I placed my arm around Brendan.
“Yes, in fact Stacy is here today and available. Just head on back and I’ll let her know you’re here.” The woman behind the desk picked up the phone and began dialing.
I nodded my head and headed towards the back as Brendan still looked confused. He looked up at me and started talking in a low voice.
“You think a massage parlor is better than a strip club?” The kid had no idea.
“This is my place. This is part of what I started doing while I was injured and away from professional wrestling.” I informed him.
“So because I got beat up in school you think a massage is going to make it all better?” Brendan asked in a doubtful tone.
“You’ve got so much to learn my boy.” Oh, if he only knew.
“Then teach me.” Brendan pouted.
“It’s like I said about Zion. The guy hardly knows the touch of a woman. He has a girlfriend and I bet you he hasn’t even copped a feel on her. Some guys in the business swear off sex before big matches because it helps them perform better but it obviously isn’t working for Zion.”
I reached the door to the room Stacy was in then stopped to look at Brendan.
“Your sixteenth birthday is coming up soon and I don’t want to be in your mid-thirties like Zion and have never got your noodle wet. I’m not just giving you a free massage. I’m giving you two of the greatest things you can have when it comes to getting girls. Confidence and experience.” I grabbed the knob on the door and opened it.
I led Brendan inside and standing waiting for us was the 19 year old masseuse known as Stacy. Her brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail and her ample chest bulged from the tank top that she had on. Her denim short shorts hugged every curve of her hips. I feared I would literally have to pick Brendan’s jaw off of the floor from him looking her up and down.
“Hello Mr. Davidson, is this your son that I’ve heard so much about?” Stacy’s voice was sweet and innocent.
“Yup, this is my boy. He got into a fight today at school and has been feeling down in the dumps. I want you to give him a massage and see if that’ll perk him up a bit.” I nudged Brendan with my elbow. “Introduce yourself, fool.”
“Hi, my name is Brendan and I look forward to this.” Brendan said nervously.
“Hello Brendan, my name is Stacy. You’re quite handsome and I promise I’ll do my best to make you feel better.” Stacy giggled a bit.
“I want you to give him the deluxe massage with the extra special ending.” I winked at Stacy.
“This isn’t going to hurt, is it?” Brendan asked with worry in his eyes.
“Don’t worry cutie, if anything goes wrong I guarantee you’ll die a happy man.” Stacy proclaimed confidently.
I grabbed Brendan by the shoulders to get his attention. “Listen son, this is something that your Mother doesn’t need to know about. This is just between us, alright?” Brendan nodded. “Good, now have a good time and believe me after you tell this story at school? No one is going to give a damn about a microphone.”
I patted Brendan on the back and pushed him towards Stacy who took him by the hand then led him towards the massage table. I exited the room and closed the door behind me feeling quite accomplished. I was the best Dad in the world and we weren’t going to be raising no Zion’s on my watch.
Fast forward to the 28th in the evening just mere hours before Bottomline was set to air from the Best Arena in Chicago. We focus on a local gym that seems to be completely empty other than the usual workout equipment. The walls are dull and the paint seems to be chipped away. The gym is dark other than a single lightbulb that illuminates a small area of the setting. Underneath the light sits yours truly, the current HOW HOTv Champion Jace Parker Davidson. I’m seated Indian style on the concrete floor with the HOTv Championship belt proudly displayed over my lap and my head down.
“Boy, when I said typical Zion shit. I really hit the nail on the head with that one.”
I raise my head slowly to face forward.
“Just how many times have we seen this formula, Darin? You’re all down in the dumps about another loss and Meredith or someone else has to pick your sorry ass up out of the depths of despair. Then after a rousing pep talk you’re back to hitting the gym, boot camp, or what have you with renewed vigor and you start making promises that you obviously can’t keep.”
I let out an exaggerated sigh.
“Wash, rinse, repeat. It’s funny you used to preach about how you needed to evolve and how you weren’t the same guy that used to be in Brian Hollywood’s shadow. Yet I don’t see a fucking thing different about you Zion. You’re still the tag-along kid brother to Brian Hollywood that will be forever classed as HOW’s favorite punching bag. No wonder you like working out with them so much. It’s not my face you’re seeing when you hit that punching bag with Ban Hammer after Ban Hammer. It’s your own. It’s the image and persona of yourself that you just can’t shake no matter what you try. You can hit it with an infinite amount of Ban Hammers but it’s not going anywhere.”
I shake my head side to side before continuing.
“You’d think you’d try something different. You swung and missed at your chance to beat Sutler and finally capture #97red. Then you swung and missed at your chance to beat Sektor to capture the LSD Championship. It’s already an 0-2 count and now you’re up against the mountain that you just can’t seem to climb. Look back over the years of our encounters in the ring Zion. Your biggest accomplishments against me are me dropping the ICON Championship belt to you only because I didn’t feel like carrying a secondary HOW Championship belt over to 4CW with me. Then the 3 on 1 handicapped match where I had to be ‘punished’ and caught off guard for you to be able to keep my shoulders down to the mat for three seconds.”
I start snapping my fingers together in an annoyed manner.
“That means the same old shit just doesn’t cut it here in HOW, ya dipshit. However, you won’t change, you can’t change, you’re incapable of it. Why? Cause that’s just what you do. You’d think looking at your track record you’d do something about it. I mean Kneesus Christ man, go and fuck Meredith. At least then after you lose you can say that you got laid. Think about how it is for her. There she is going without it for Lee knows how long now. Dripping wet, ready to jump your bones and what does she get from you? A hearty handshake and a kiss on the cheek. Stop being the lame ass, lazy simp that you are and have some sex, ya fuck. Or at least step out of the way and let a real man handle his business. With that being said, Meredith, sup girl?”
I raised my eyebrows a bit before clearing my throat.
“Let’s get serious for a moment here. What do you honestly expect to accomplish here Zion? You’ve stated over and over again how your goal is to finally capture the HOW World Championship belt and as always you failed. Then suddenly your goal was to win the LSD Championship again and yet again you failed. And now you’re vowing to walk away from Bottomline with my HOTv Championship belt. Saying you’re going to bruise my ego and take away what matters to me. Is it just me or is it that you’re just grasping at straws for any belt you can get your hands on like it’s some kind of participation trophy you’re entitled to? You’re like Kevin Capone, just because you’ve waited a really long time and you want it really bad, you think that means more than a hill of beans to anyone in HOW.”
I reach down and grab a hold of the HOTv Championship belt before placing it over my right shoulder.
“Yet this unrivaled enthusiasm is supposed to bowl me over like one of your little Ban Hammers. Like you didn’t already fail at becoming the first ever HOW HOTv Champion. You came so close but what happened? You let that walking parody from MVW walk in, break your woman’s face, and cost you the title to Solex. So what do you do? You head right back to MVW and think facing some slack jawed idiot that couldn’t cut it in HOW is going to push you to your limits. So much so, that beating him is going to somehow lead you down the path to beating me. Newsflash Zion, there has never been a motherfucker like me before. I am the Conqueror and the King of Everything for a reason. If you weren’t so fucking balls deep into that MVW carny horseshit then maybe you’d know what it was like to be HOTv Champion. Maybe if your focus was solely on HOW and not wrestling robots named after an Avengers movie villain, you’d have finally captured the HOW World Championship belt.”
I spouted with a profound amount of venom.
“But that’s just what you do.”
I adjusted the HOTv Championship on my right shoulder.
“At the moment I’m tied for the #1 ranked wrestler in HOW. I should be heading my way into Rumble at the Rock to compete for #97red. I’ve made the HOTv title prestigious but I’m ranked high enough to have the top belt. So once again I’m faced with the situation of ‘should I drop an HOW Championship belt to Darin Zion?’ The last time I did it you shit the bed and failed to even capture the HOW World Championship belt. When you pinned me in the 3 on 1 handicap match you should have rode that wave to the top. Yet you killed what little momentum you had going mere hours after the win. So why should I do it again? You’re like fucking Antarctica, devoid of any heat whatsoever. You put out any spark, any possible flicker of a flame you might have going like you’re fucking Smokey the Bear. Only Darin Zion can prevent successful careers. Why?”
I paused for a moment.
“Cause that’s what you do.”
I patted the gold plate of the Championship belt with my free hand.
“So I have no choice other than do what I’ve always done when it comes to facing you Zion. That’s to beat you within an inch of life and leave you staring up at the lights. You’ve been deemed unworthy of HOW gold Zion and until I see proof that you can live up the legacy I’ve made for this title. You will not be representing HOW and the HOTv network. You’re not worthy of being showcased week in and week out on HOW television in matches in or near the main event. This belt needs someone that can represent the best that HOW has to offer, not a mere footnote in its history. You think that winning this belt or any other belt is going to make you special. But it’s not the title that makes the man, it’s the man that makes the title. It’s like comparing Brian Hollywood’s reigns as HOW World Champion to Mike Best’s last run with #97red.”
I hold out my left hand to signify Brian Hollywood’s reigns and my right hand to signify Mike Best’s last reign.
“They aren’t even on the same page, the same book, or the same universe. And unfortunately for you Zion, you fall on the Brian Hollywood side of things. Actually, below that since you’ll never win #97red. So in a few short hours Zion you step into the ring and you try to unleash your biggest, best, Ban Hammer on my surgically repaired neck. The advantage should be yours. You have the weakness in your sight, you have all the ammunition in the world with the microphone incident. All you have to do is pull the trigger but you won’t. Cause even back in the day you were a shitty hitman. All you’re going to do is get your head popped like a zit with my boot. Get pinned in the middle of the ring, and then come back later talking about how the ‘next’ is going to be the one you capitalize on. Why?”
I take the HOTv Championship belt off of my shoulder and raise it into the air with my right hand.
“Cause you’re Darin Zion and that’s what you do.”
A smirk spreads on my face as the light shines off of the gold plate of my Championship belt. We zoom out a bit before the light above me goes out, enveloping me in darkness as the scene fades to black.