Darkness. Not a single sign of light.
“There’s an old fable… tell me if you’ve heard it.”
It was the voice of High Flyer, gruff, deeper than usual. Two quick clicks of a lighter before a flame flickers, lighting the tip of a cigarette. There’s a deep inhale before the exhale of smoke.
“It’s called the bulls and the lion. A lion looks on from a cliffside, sees a herd of bulls, congregating and protecting one another. The lion devises a plan, and over time, systematically separates the bulls from one another, through infighting, empathy, false bravado and pageantry. Then, the lion picks each bull apart, one by one, until nothing is left.”
Another quick inhale. The cigarette ember illuminates the face for a moment. It looks strange. Odd.
“First, it was MJ Flair. Off handed comment here, quick mention there… Take down the prize child of the industry. The heart. Let her supernova upon herself. She’s out of the picture.”
Inhale. We see the disfigured eye surrounded by what looks to be concentric circles.
“Then Dan Ryan, questioning his motives, thinking we made him soft. Tear down the muscle.”
The cigarette is flicked clear out of frame, leaving the room completely in darkness.
“And finally, Lindsey Troy… when Mike Best convinced you to join his cause, or whatever the hell happened, got you to defect alongside Dan Ryan… that must have been a weird day. To turn against the Industry and join the very people we fought against for months, the bottom sucking scum of the universe. We vowed…”
The energy dies. After a brief pause.
“Whatever. We couldn’t beat them together. You couldn’t do it alone. I get it. It’s easier. It’s. Just. Easier.”
Just the smallest amount of light shines on the extreme close up of ONLY the eye socket of the damaged High Flyer. A small bit of white surrounds it.
“Weak. You’ll pay first for his machinations. The great Queen of the Ring, bowing to a degenerate spoiled RUNT of a little brat and his crazy rich friends… You’ve sealed your fate.”
There’s a deep sneer.
It’s a clear blue chilly March evening in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. In the old cobblestone streets, off the beaten path, down a small staircase into the basement of a large old brick apartment complex, the Odessa Gym sweats. Numerous young athletes hoping to train and break their way into the wrestling business grunt and sweat their way to their eventual futures. With a good chance of breaking into the development fed of an organization in Louisiana, business has never been better.
At the front of the building sitting in what would be the hostess or receptionist area is Mary-Lynn Mayweather. She’s bright, perky as ever, answering phones. She whispers into the phone’s receiver.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: He’s having an existential crisis.
There’s a beep over a small intercom on the deck. Jack Harmen’s voice comes over it, scratchy, gravely.
Jack Harmen: Please stop telling customers I’m going through an existential crisis. It’s bad for business. Over.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather presses the button on the intercom to reply.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: It’s the truth. And you don’t have to say over when you’re done speaking. Over.
She smiles and looks up, noticing the camera crew.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: Oh. Yes. HOW. Right this way.
She waves them through the simple complex into a small corridor off to the side. Here’s where a few office rooms reside, things like Human resources, marketing, legal and finance reside. In the far edge is a door with a star on it. It reads “Jack Harmen.” MLM ushers the camera crew to follow her as she speaks.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: Listen, I can’t guarantee anything. He’s been locked in his office for the past four days. I don’t think he’s showered. I can smell him from here.
Mary-Lynn cuddles up to the door and rasps on the wooden frame.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: Jack? It’s Red. You okay?
Mary turns to the camera and mimes a drinking motion. She stops and leans back into the door, concerned.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: The HOW camera crew is here for something. Do you want to reschedule?
No response. MLM gives a few knocks as she gently pries the door open.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: Jack?
As she enters, there’s a strong odor of pure BO. Her and the camera crew instinctively cover their noses. They enter, cautiously, almost like they’re on one of those fake poltergeist hunting shows. They tip toe inside, as Mary reaches out and spins the office chair.
No one’s there.
There is a note written there, stabbed into the leather cushion with a thumbtack.
“Went to kill your idol.
She deserves it.
Mary-Lynn snatches the letter from the chair and reads it, before showing it to the camera. She sighs, in disbelief.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: Seems Jack has plans. But you came all this way.
Mayweather looks down, a tear welling up in the corner of her eye. She quickly bats it away. She straightens her shoulders and looks to the disappointed HOW camera crew.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: Let me tell you a story about Lindsey Troy. It was 2009, I was, what, 22? She beat me around the ring like a rag doll, I tell you. At the end of it, you know what she said to me?
“You can’t take a couple licks and keep on ticking, maybe you should try needlepoint.”
MLM chuckles softly.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: I don’t think she even knew what needlepoint was. POINT BEING, if I couldn’t pick myself back up when I needed to, I shouldn’t be here. Jack? He’ll be fine. I mean, he’s not, he’s clearly whacko outta his mental gourd, but… he’ll be fine. For being the lunatic he is.
Me? That’s a different story.
MLM shakes her head from side to side and plops herself down into the bosses comfy leather chair.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: “I get it. Jack’s hard to deal with. He’s, eccentric. He’s narcissistic and overly co-dependant. But he would have been fine T. If only you didn’t join with…
Max Kael, the robotic freak who almost cost Jack his LIFE. Who cost him his WIFE. Or Cecilworth Farthington, the absolute worst human being in the history of human beings. Great wrestlers, for sure, but a collection of a human dumpster fire of a group of people. And Mike, not to mention the so called “BEST” of the Family of Death… that’s what hurt. He’d understand if you wanted to go your own way, forge your own path. He’s his own man too. He’d encourage ya. The whole team thing, it ain’t really his bag unless he’s the clear leader anyway. He didn’t join HOW and the Industry because Lee Best asked him. He didn’t join because you asked him. He sure as hell didn’t join because Dan Ryan or Eric Dane asked him to… He joined because I told him to… I guess I expected better of you, I don’t know. The whole thing cracked him like an egg. Hard putting him back together. I mean. It’s gutted me too. I just… I can’t believe it.
Mary-Lynn looked directly at the camera, almost pleading to no one. Cause Troy sure isn’t listening. Why would you do that to me?
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: I just hope he doesn’t do something to hurt himself. Or you. So, I’ll be there at Refueled, if you have me. I’d usually love to watch my two mentors battle it out. But… for the first time, I don’t think I can look up to my teacher… and my idol. A hero no more…”
Mary-Lynn turns away from the camera, hiding back the tears. She waves the crew off, as she turns completely around. Her shoulders lightly sobbing.
I knew there was something going on, under the surface. I knew it wasn’t just about 24k, about the eMpire.
I knew there was something off, but I couldn’t place it.
I should have known something when you came to me that one Refueled, when I poured out my heart and showed my weak side. My desire to keep us a unit. The fact that I knew, I knew something was up.
Couldn’t see it right in front of me.
Couldn’t see anything after Max turned me blood blind. Didn’t see the truth through Mike Best’s vitriole. Didn’t see the pattern as laid out way back in that match against Cecilworth.
I wonder how long you’ve been playing me like a fiddle. You’re pretty good, Lindsay…
And I know you can’t see it, but if I spelled your name just there, it would have had an “A” in it.
But you’re the God Damn Devil. All ah ya’ll.
You bet you don’t need me. You’d rather bet on Mike Best and the eMpire. You put your life on the line, and bet it on death. Me? I bet you’ll regret it. I bet you’ll regret ever aligning with those foul stenches of what barely passes for human beings.
Any day o’ the week?
I’ll take that bet. Cause you’re gonna regret…
… I’m the best that’s ever been…