Chess With Jokers

Chess With Jokers

Posted on July 9, 2020 at 9:42 pm by High Flyer

This, is a particularly interesting matchup. High Flyer. Chris Kostoff. One on one for the first time. Thing is… Lee knows how much of a fight I’ll put up. Is he using me to get to Kostoff? Weaken his foe? Am I his tool? Aren’t we all, in some way? Play things arranged on the chess board….

There isn’t really a Wildcard in chess, but a pawn can reach the furthest depths and come out the other side a Queen.

I’m not going to fight Lee’s war for him, I’m not going to fight Kostoff for Lee. But if I garner a bit of favor with Best by making violence, doing what I’d do anyway if given the chance, who am I to turn away the bosses’ approval? Who am I to spur the man who signs my pay checks.

Who am I to side against BOTH Bests?

I may be crazy, but I’m not an idiot…


FADEIN: We’re sitting on a small wooden table in a park, playing Mary-Lynn Mayweather in a game of chess. The sun shines bright on this summer day, birds chirping, the park is a bustling, it’s busy, active, I miss the fresh air.

“So,” Mary-Lynn says, moving and then clicking her side. “Kostoff.”

Hmm. “Yeah.” I move a piece, it’s a pawn. It’s a distraction. “Kostoff.”

“You know what this means, don’t you?” Mary-Lynn says, as she moves her horse out and clicks the clock.

“About Lee?” I move another pawn. Click.

“Yeah. Lee.” She frowns. I usually confuse her. Don’t use conventional strategies. Hardly have one at all to be honest. “There’s a reason he chose you.”

“Because I’m good at my job?” I reply. It’s a fact.

“Yeah,” She says, before moving her boob in a diagonal. “But he’s choosing you not because of your skill, but your desperation. He can use that.”

“How do you know I’m desperate?” I say, moving the horse out.

“Cause you’re stroking the bishop like you’d gently play with a nipple.” Mary-Lynn points to me holding the boob piece, before taking her turn. “And that’s not even talking about your wrestling career. You’ve gotta get yourself out of this rut, both personally and professionally. Kate’s gone. She’s not going to be yours again. You guys want different things. Just be lucky you got the time you had and you two still get along.” I move. She moves quickly again. “The Industry is done Jack, even your friendship with MJF is taking a break. It’s time to focus on you. If you want me to come in and manage you, hell, even team with you…”

I raise my hand to stop her, as I make my move on the chessboard. I shrug. “Maybe,” I don’t trust her and HOW. This place almost ate me alive. “Listen, I just gotta crawl my way back up to the top the hard way. All there is. Gotta earn my shot at the Troys, the Ryans… the Bests…”

“And that starts with Kostoff.” Mary moves. “You give Lee what he wants… maybe he gives you what you want.”

“Yeah.” I grit my teeth. “I thought about that. Just wonder…”

“If the cost’s worth the price of admission?”

I look across the chessboard at Mary. She already knows she’s won. I can tell. I see the same look on Lee Best’s face during last week’s show.

I’m not the ace up his sleeve…

…but I’ll be useful as his wildcard…

**MULTIPLE BURSTS OF STATIC interlaced with that RED97 HOW logo. The red logo bleeds into the static, causing the black and white static to turn blood red.**

**MULTIPLE BURSTS with a black matte.**

My cheshire like grin, looking back at you. Pearly white and sparkly. I even told the post guy to add a little sparkle on the front lower fang.

High Flyer: Oooo, I have been WAITING for this.

I tell the techs to shoot me in a medium shot. Show a bit of distance. Have our camera ops slowly dolly in. The slow creep to a close up lets the scene build tension. I’ve been doin’ this a while.

High Flyer: When you look at the history of a place like High Octane, one of the last bastions in this sport. A place bred through blood, evolved through violence and dismembered by corruption, about what BEST, is BEST, you see a champion in Kostoff. A man of the people… And then you take a look, at a man like me. My history reads like that of a HOW Christmas card. You could take at least fifty percent of the highlights of my career, stick a HOW logo on ‘em and you could assume they happened here. Hair lit on fire? Shaved off? Check. Sent flying overboard a crew ship? Maybe a stretch, but not really. Rode a giant inflatable Snoopy in the Mall of America into a wheelchair and rocket power clotheslined someone? Blew someone up with explosives? Stole someone’s identity? Faked cancer? None of those seem out of the ordinary for this place. One of the reasons I love it here. This place is the definition of chaos.

The camera finally finishes it’s dolly closer, and only the bottom of my jaw and my bald cue head are in frame. My eyes wide, my expression manic and wild.

High Flyer: We were made for each other. Starcrossed lovers of pain. Not only myself and HOW, but Kostoff? You and I? We are cut from the same cloth. I can see it on the marque now…

The camera’s gotten to a close up. I turn to the camera, looking into the lens for the first time. I toss both hands out to mimic a marque, making a production of my stage presence.


I smile. The techs get a close up on my cheshire grin. I allow it. It’s good for effect. They tried to put in another sparkle but I cut that shit off at word one. The camera slowly dollies out to a medium shot.

High Flyer: Listen Chris, I ain’t gonna stop you from taking your hand in justice, bathing in your righteous pint of blood of Lee Best, but I am gonna ask… why Revenge? I mean, there’s a lot of things a man can fight for. Money. Women. Fame. All that being said, I don’t mean to put down your decision…

I pause. This is tough to say, as I rub the hair standing on edge, located at the nape of my neck.

High Flyer: To be honest, it’s the decision I’ve been wanting to make for the last few months. It’s been the decision I’ve made my entire life. I love vengeance. It feels so warm in the cockles of my blood. It’s fuel to the fire of passion. I get that, all of it. In fact, I think I’m trying to convince myself as we speak that vengeance is the right path.

I wince. I know things I don’t want to.

High Flyer: But… it’s not. It’s not the right path. It’s not. It’s the EASY path. The path of least resistance, for men like us at least. I’ve been a student of revenge so long I’ve become a teacher. What I’ve learned, which I’m sure you have too? It’s like a god damn hot pocket. It never satisfies. It’s empty, it’s unfulfilling. And when the wrong sort of men get a taste… just the littlest taste… when men like you and I feast? We burn villages. World’s crumble. The end is NIGH. I GET IT. Sounds fun! Can I join?

I shake my head. Keep your eyes on the prize Jack. Focus.

High Flyer: No. I shouldn’t. No. ‘Cause it’s not revenge men like you and I crave… at the heart, at the very core, the essence of desire… it’s the violence.

A quick cut of my wide bloodshot eyes.

High Flyer: It’s the bloodshed.

A close up of my lip, which I bite and produce a drop of blood that dribbles down my chin.

High Flyer: It’s the carnage.

I smile. I have my foot on the camera and press my boot so the lens cracks. You can see up my leg and to my eyes as the lens shatters.

High Flyer: It’s the hunt. I can respect that.

I crush the camera and all that’s left is static.