“This is the last time we’re doing this.”
She averts her gaze, declining to look directly at the SON OF GOD as she struggles to slide into the last of her black and white sneakers. This was always the weirdest part– the getting dressed. A few moments of awkward silence, as she pretended that putting her clothes back on was undoing the last thirty minutes of her life. The last thirty days. Had it been even longer? It was hard to remember– she only knew that she couldn’t look him in the eyes, after.
Not that they were much for eye contact once the clothes came off, anyhow.
She did turn around once and looked him right in the face, but he fucking waved at her. Who does that? What kind of human trainwreck waves hello at a woman he’s literally inside of? As though being bent over a queen sized bed with an actual Mike Best selfie-comforter on it wasn’t humiliating enough.
“That’s what you said last time.” Michael smirks, pulling a pack of cigarettes off the end table..
She doesn’t answer him with words, but the aggressively passive aggressive noise that leaves her throat gets the message across just fine. Caught halfway between self-realization and self-loathing, she only shakes her head as she disappears through the doorway.
“AND THE TIME BEFORE THAT!” he shouts after her, actually laughing this time.
She stomps her way down the hallway, slamming the door behind her as Michael flicks a cigarette out of the pack, popping it into his mouth.
“It might be bad for you.” he mutters, as the cheap Bic lighter between his fingers sparks to life. “But you know you’re gonna smoke the whole pack.”
One liners for no one.
“Well, that’s cardio down, anyway.”
He tosses the sheets aside, rolling off the side of the bed and stumbling to his feet. His muscles are stiff and achy, but it’s hard to say whether he’s feeling the burn of fourteen years in the ring or a morning full of the kind of gratuitous guilty-pleasure sex that makes the neighbors buy a big dog and a handgun. Kickin’ Butts and Bustin’ Nuts— yet another rejected title for his memoirs, as he stretches out with his arms over his head and his now limp spam javelin flapping in the open air.
“So I will call you Peter…” Michael grumbles, wiggling his flaccid penis in the mirror. “And on this rock I will build my church.”
The full length mirror across the cluttered bedroom stares back at him, a disheveled, sweaty mess of matted hair. A portrait of vanity. The years have been kinder to Michael Best than most— of course, it’s fairer to give to credit to modern elective medicine than his own genetics.
His fingers fall across the remnants of a scar on his left shoulder. Max Kael’s initials used to live there, not that you’d know it to look there now. Amazing how eight grand can make you forget that a human being once carved his name into you, like you were his branded property.
The scar across his neck, from the debris below the Roman Coliseum over ten years ago— the twisted wreckage that birthed the SON OF GOD in the first place, and all he had to show for it was a doctor’s bill and the business card of a pretty sketchy Italian plastic surgeon.
The spot on his abdomen where Chris America once ran him nearly clear through with a metal American flag. It had been lucky enough that it hadn’t ruptured an organ, but even luckier still that Dr. Pherson had been able to work his magic and leave nothing behind but a memory.
While most of these guys wear their age and their broken bodies as a badge of honor, Michael Best had made a life out of erasing his mistakes.
And maybe that was the problem.
“Would you fuck me?” He muses to his own reflection. “I’d fuck me. I’d fuck me hard.”
Jokes. All he’s ever had are fucking jokes.
Far be it for the poor, privileged son of Lee Best to bemoan the troubles of never having to deal with regrets, but the emotional stunting of being able to patch up all your mistakes without hard work, dedication, or lessons learned is perhaps a deeper scar than anything a plastic surgeon could ever hope to smooth over. Ugly scar from War Games? Doc’s got your back, don’t worry about your injuries. Blew all your money in Atlantic City because you just knew you were gonna draw a four when you doubled down on seventeen? HOW’s got your back. Collect the biggest salary in the company, we’ll float you till you’re back on your feet. Lost your seventh World Title because you never bothered to develop the discipline to defend championships? That’s fine. Dad’s got your back, your eighth reign is on the way.
The ICON Title has always been different.
Maybe it was just the right dose of tough love from his father, or maybe it was Lee Best’s own biased fondness for the white leather strap, but no one got an easy ride when it came to HOW’s pure wrestling title. From ripping his first one from the hands of Maximilian Kael, to putting it on the line in countless Lethal Lotteries gone by. From carrying it into pay-per-views, to being forced to defend it for seven straight weeks on the way to trying to set the record for most total days held. The masses weren’t wrong when they said that Lee Best had given his son a lot of unfair opportunities over the years, but when it came to the HOW ICON Championship, it might be the only thing that he’s ever truly made Michael work for.
In truth, it’s the reason it means so fucking much to him in the first place.
To make the main event of the Lethal Lottery an ICON Title match, for the first time in history, means something. It means something, to know that he’ll be standing under the hot lights and fighting a fight on his own— left to sink or swim, by his own accord. And that’s why it was so important to win. That’s why it was so important not to let his father down. While the rest of the roster saw this as another silly award for another week of “Mike Best Appreciation”, the Son of God saw it for what it was.
It was a test.
This whole fucking month was a test. A test to see if, just like always, the ego of The Son would outweigh the work ethic. If he’d rest on his laurels and talk about the good old days, or if he’d grit his teeth and prove that he was worth the decade worth of effort, time and money that Lee Best’s empire has put into him.
This is why he was made a War Games captain.
This is why he got the title shot against Dan.
This is why he got the main event of Lethal Lottery.
The man staring back at him in the mirror doesn’t look like much of test-taker, as he scratches his balls and lets out a half-yawn. The clock on the wall reads 9:42 AM.
Who shows up trying to fuck before Taco Bell ends breakfast?
“Adults, I guess.” He mumbles, to no one.
And no one answers.
Maybe the clock is broken? It has to be moving slow— there’s no way in hell that it’s only been an hour since the last time he glanced at it. What the fuck good is free time if you have absolutely nothing to do with it?
For a moment, the SON OF GOD laments back to the good old days of Thursday Night Turmoil. By now, he’d be two bumps deep with Big Buff and coming up with new ways to make fun of Townsend’s taco truck.
The good old days.
He stares into an open closet. It’s the same closet he’s been gazing lazily into for the better part of the last ten minutes, as though the contents are going to magically change before his eyes. It’s a veritable costume department in there– a three ring circus of golden dragon jackets, plaid blazers, and idiotic cowboy outfits. Most of them only worn once, half of them maybe twice. He’s gone through more ring attires in the last calendar year than Chris Kostoff has gone through in a lifetime, and here they find their final resting place.
An attention seeking graveyard.
The entire apartment is a monument to the stupid shit that Michael Lee Best does when the cameras are rolling. It’s perhaps the one thing that has never changed about him, in all these years– he has always done whatever he could do to get a reaction. Positive, negative, it didn’t matter. Anything but indifference. Indifference was poison. It’s almost like he was an attention starved child with an absentee father, raised by a single mother whose drug addiction and constant need for male attention left her too busy between the sheets to ever hang one of his drawings up on the refrigerator.
Yeah, it’s almost like that.
He snatches an old Five Time Academy t-shirt off of its hanger, throwing it hastily over the bulk of his frame just for the sake of saying he’s accomplished something today. He’d been forced to buy the bulk of these bad boys back after he signed the paperwork for SixTime Academy– all in all, adding a “one” to his brand took two zeroes off his bank account. Nothing like completely unearthing the brand you’ve been building since 2012, going into the red, and ending up with a warehouse full of obsolete t-shirts. Maybe if he’s lucky, he’ll be able to stuff them into a cargo plane next to last year’s losing Super Bowl shirts, and sell them for ten cents on the dollar to some shitty third world country.
“Fuck ‘em.” Michael grumbles, as he slides on a matching pair of sweatpants. “They should try not being poor.”
“Bringing back the ‘M’, bay-beeee!” he exclaims to himself, smirking into the mirror.
He raises the clippers to his face, staring intently into the mirror as the blade approaches the rapidly multiplying grays in his beard.
“Ugh.” he stops, switching the trimmer off. “That’s just… sad.”
He glances down at a notepad full of scribbled out lines, shaking his head in disgust, before immediately scribbling out the newest one as well. The entire page is filled with rejected one-liners, as is the page before that. And the one before that. And the one before that. His right arm weighs heavier than a stiff, wooden mannequin. Or the five wooden mannequins he’s cutting a promo on.
“Teddy Palmer couldn’t draw money…” he muses aloud, as he writes the words long. “If you gave him adderall and tracing paper.”
A heavy sigh.
Another scratch out.
After fourteen years in the game, it was getting harder and harder to do or say anything original. Probably said something like that to Faze back in 2010, if he’s being honest with himself. It wouldn’t be exaggerating to say that over the course of three hundred ninety six matches, he’s probably cut about three times as many promos on half as many guys. Back in the day, you’d get on camera and talk shit about the same guy nine or ten times for a pay-per-view show.
In truth, there’s only so much left to be said.
Max is crazy. Kostoff is old. Lee is bitter. Been there, done that, burned the bit. Scotty is Ronald McRasta, Black Mamba is on food stamps, and Scott Stevens sure does enjoy statistics. Yep, we know, we’ve heard it. All the same bullshit he said about the Industry applies to 24k applies to Max fucking Stryker, and it’ll all apply to Johnny Good Wrestler when he shows up next month with a goal to save HOW.
You’ve got worn out knees.
Mike Best has a worn out schtick.
“I’d make fun of Doozer’s new look.” He winces, emotionally pained as he scribbles down a subpar line and slams the notebook shut. “But I can’t see him.”
Yep. That’s the one.
He hasn’t said THAT since 2009.
When everything you do feels like old hat, it’s time to get a new hat.
The soulless glare of Amazon Dot Com flashes over his glazed over little eyeballs, as Michael Best finds himself with nothing better to do on a Thursday morning but shop for a dashing new piece of headwear. Maybe he’d look hella funky fresh in a beanie? One of those straight brimmed baseball whozits, like the urban kids wear, with the sticker left on the front? An endless world of new possibilities stares back at him, and he can only imagine the career reinvigoration that will come from the purchase of a–
He is not a hat guy. This was a stupid idea.
They say that you should live with no regrets.
Michael Best would tell you that they’re wrong. Or at least he would, if he had the emotional capacity to open up with his feelings, and not assume that it makes you some kind of “F” word that you were totally allowed to say back in 2010 and he won’t apologize for, even if it’s pretty embarrassing in hindsight.
Regrets are what make people… people.
The video on his phone is playing, but he can’t even make out the picture on the screen. It’s just a dull haze– a blurry mishmash of noises that don’t mean much of anything to him right now. It’s barely been two hours since she walked out the door, promising not to fuck him again until the next time she fucks him, and yet it feels like it’s been an eternity.
I mean, not that he cares about her or anything.
That would be… preposterous.
Maybe it’s just loneliness. Not the sex, persay, or even the company. Maybe it’s the idea that there is another human being out there who has lived the life that he’s lived. Experienced the gruel and grind that he’s experienced. Known the loneliness of focusing so hard on your career that you never made time to think about anything else. They might not have a lot in common, but they have that for sure.
And that goes a long way.
“Maybe I should just text.” he shrugs.
No, don’t be a moron.
There is sweat on his brow– he tries not to notice it, still fixating on the video playing on his screen. The voices in his earbuds are getting louder, but for a million dollars he couldn’t tell you what they’re saying.
This is what he does– obsessions, to avoid any semblance of having to deal with his own problems. He’d keep loading coal into that train he’d been running on her, just so long as the tracks kept him headed away from the things he didn’t want to think about. She’d be another dragon jacket. Another M in his beard. Another stupid brand, another shitty gimmick, and another tired flavor of the weak.
She deserved better than that.
Truth be told, so did he.
He doesn’t need distractions. He doesn’t need a “new thing”. For the first time in his life, he needs to work on fixing the mistakes of his past, instead of just putting a fucking band-aid on it. To stop throwing money at the scars that he’s earned, and embrace them. To stop shirking his fucking responsibilities, and grow the fuck up, before this lonely, shallow, bullshit life that he’s living gets too fargone to ever recover from.
Two hours alone on a Thursday felt like eternity.
Imagine what eternity would feel like.
His phone drops lifelessly into his lap– it’s still playing, but he’s given up on any semblance of pretending to pay attention to it. The sweat pools in a mess on his forehead, now becoming impossible to ignore.
This week is a test.
The one thought he hasn’t been able to get off of his mind, all morning. All that feel good bullshit– the rush that he gets, knowing that the ICON Championship is the one thing in his life that hasn’t been made dog shit fucking easy for him. He’d talked such a big game all week, about how they’d have to “pry it from his cold, dead hands”, and yet in the back of his mind, he knew the truth. If he lost the title? He’d get a rematch. And in two months?
Brian Hollywood would be GPSing “SevenTime Academy”.
Another mistake with no consequences.
And he’s fucking done with no consequences.
His legs are shaking. A numbness near his left toe– is this a heart attack, or something? Is the life of the SON OF GOD about to end, just as he’s figuring it all out? It feels as though the vein in his head might bust at any moment, leaving a mess behind on the couch that even his cleaning lady won’t be willing to deal with. But he’s so close now.
So close to figuring it all out.
One bullshit promise, made to hype one Lethal Lottery match, was going to change his life forever. He’d made a lot of promises to a lot of people over the years about what he was going to do, and he’d never done a single fucking thing to back them up. Why would he? No consequences, no regrets. But he was making himself a promise, right here and now:
If he didn’t defend this belt nine times, he would never challenge for it again.
It was time to make a change. It was time to turn his life around. It was time to become a grown fucking adult, the kind of man who doesn’t have to watch a woman walk out the door before she’s even sure that she’s got her panties on straight. The kind of man who could look himself in the mirror, and not be terrified of spending two hours alone with himself. The kind of man who deserved to be the ICON Ch–
“Unnnggghghghghh….” the thoughts leave him, as his whole body shudders. “Awww, fuck.”
The aux cord from his headphones yanks full on out of the phone, as it tumbles hard to the floor below the couch. Immediately, the audio that has been blaring in his ears fills the apartment.
“OH, FUCK ME! FUCK ME HARDER! FUCKKKKK I’M GONNA CUM!”
Pornography. Loud, scandalous pornography from Pornhub Dot Com.
A single bead of sweat rolls down his forehead, dripping down onto his t-shirt. His sweatpants sit idly around his ankles, his #97 red boxer briefs peeking out the top of the waistband.
His hands are a sticky, awkward mess, but the pride in his heart masks any shame he might be feeling over the load that he’s just dumped into his own lap. It’s not every day that you have the epiphany that changes your life while you’re shaking hands with St. Peter, and upon this rock he has built his new purpose in life. There was no generic Pornhub video in the universe that would make the SON OF GOD explode like the realization that his destiny was… I’m so sorry… in his own hands, the entire time.
This is the moment that everything changed for the better, and like all things in this life, sometimes the best way to get a fresh start is just to rub one out.
This is a day for celebration, and in memoriam of the billions of unborn children who died for this moment, he makes a solemn promise to never clean this stain out of the couch.
It’s the first scar that shall remain.