Ah, sunshine. Birds chirping.
Bail is nice.
The double glass doors swing open as I stand there, triumphantly on the steps of the city’s court steps. My attorney, Mary-Lynn, quickly scoots through, her heels clickety clacking on the pavement. Her trademark ruby red skirt suit with her emerald frame glasses.
I take a deep breath of freedom. “Thanks” I say, not even turning to my protégé.
“You’re welcome?” She asks, a bit confused. I could tell by the tone of her voice. “You don’t normally thank me.”
I shrug. “Consider it maturation.” I crack my neck from side to side. “You think they have a case?”
“Well, your turd does contain your DNA…”
“I mean about Lee.”
“Oh.” She hesitates, thinking. “Doubtful. Lee has good lawyers. Plus, no body, no crime.”
“Doesn’t mean they won’t stop trying.”
“Oh, I doubt they’ve ever stopped.” Mary said. “I mean, look at their history. Not the first time death has come to HOW.” Mary reaches out, lightly touching my wrist to grab my attention. “Since you thanked me, I wanted to thank you. Thanks for letting me have the mic alongside Lindsay. Sorry the tag match never happened.”
I shrug. I was too worried what LT might pull I didn’t want to swerve my focus from her. Plus, red’s always had a good yap. Might as well let her do it. “Of course. Y’ know. I wonder what would have happened…”
“What do you mean?”
“When Lee came lookin’ for a fifth for his War Games… If I said no… would you have stepped up?” I lightly chuckle. “You’d probably have done better than I have so far there.”
“High Flyer, second guessing a decision he’s made?” She flashes a smile. “Who’da thought?”
“No No. I’m serious.” Mary says with a skip in her step. “Being introspective isn’t like you. Is this whole lunatic act… ACTUALLY a facade?”
“I’m crazy.” I shrug. “When I need to be.” I look up. “And sometimes when I shouldn’t be.”
“Huh.” She laughs. “That’s the sanest thing I’ve ever heard from you.”
Hmmm. “Nah. I think that title goes to, ‘The bus will be here at 2:30.’”
“Yeah.” she nods. “Oh, right! There it is.”
Sektor claims I play crazy.
He’s right. Sometimes I do.
But sometimes? Sometimes I can’t control it.
It’s an aspect of me, my desires manifesting themselves through my action, without control or oversight. Instinctual violence has been my bread and butter. And sometimes I use that as an excuse to commit optional violence. I mean, I’ve always been encouraged in this business to violence. It’s a profitable fixation.
He knows. Johnny boy knows what it’s like to start wrestling in the extreme triple X era. Barbed wire chairs, scaffold matches, hell, one time I wrestled in a giant glass bowl full of feral cats.
Wrestling is weird.
But John Sektor is a traditionalist. Traditionally, he’s a drunkard. Tragically even. He’s gone through the usual wander wrestler troupes, broken childhood into broken adulthood into broken personhood. I get it. I followed the same path. Lost parents, lost wife, career with ups and downs. Drugs, booze, women. Apologies and acquiescence and resets. But here I am, a semi-functional upstanding member of society. You? Well… You just may have let it swallow you whole. My head’s still above water, crazy outbursts not withstanding. Can you say you’re not drowning? Thrive in the ring sure, but barely survive out of it?
Sure, you got work friends, but we all know how work friends go in this business. You and Jatt are cool now, but you know in six to eighteen months, there’s gonna be money in Sektor vs. Starr. I mean, look at what happened with Ryan and Best. With Max and Best, Ryan and Troy, the Bandits, shiiiiit. I’m glad I’m running solo these days. Less need to look behind my back for the knife.
But man… I couldn’t do what you did. I could never abandon my kid man… I mean, I wanna work with you, I wanna tear the roof down, but I can’t respect you. I mean, I chose this business over my family but I ALWAYS checked in, I made SURE I was part of my boys life. You had that choice John. And you chose wrong.
Listen, whatever. I dig my life. I dig my world. I get to have a family and a career, after years of chasin’ that dream. I’m fighting on the largest stage in the wrestling industry against one of the biggest stars of any era on the biggest show of the YEAR. Life can’t get much better unless it becomes gold plated. A win over you might put me in line.
So, I’ll play your game John. We’ll put on a technical exhibition, cause I don’t need to bring weapons or gimmicks to put on a show. We’ll wow the crowd into a frenzy of holds and stretches and counters. And then, when you least expect it, I’ll slap you clear across the face.
Then I’ll tell you Chloe’s father died the day Mike Best killed him.
Because I want the John Sektor that is an animal in that ring, a caged feral creature ready to unleash his inner beast, stretching and tearing and ripping away at each and every limb and joint and muscle of this now 45 year old body. I want you to try to rip me apart, to make me quit, to make this heart give out.
… That’s when people make mistakes.
Lee Best told you to END me, to DESTROY the vestiges of the OLD Best Alliance. In Lee’s mind, sure, there’s money to be made, but High Flyer vs. John Sektor? It’s not for you to have a MOMENT. It’s for you to END my moments. And here you are, trying to light a fire under my ass?
… That’s a mistake.
You call me a glorified stunt man.
… That’s a mistake.
You call me a kid.
You trust Lee Best. At least enough to join his rag tag crew of misfits.
It’s probably the biggest mistake you’ve ever made.
Well, until you underestimated me.
“Happy Birthday to you…”
I blow out my candles and my ex-wife, her boyfriend, my two kids and a few friends clap and cheer. My eldest hands me a small gift wrapped poorly. It’s probably a smart watch, that’ll make me feel stupid.
I smile and nod, the chatter continues, as I start opening gifts. There’s only a small handful. It’s hard to buy gifts for someone who has most of what he wants. A few knick knacks and some power tools and some random odds and ends. And for some reason, Tony Davis gifted me my own “Club Cowards Club” HOW t-shirt. Said it was on clearance. I don’t know why he told me that…
Sometimes I wonder if I made the right decision. If I ever made the right decision.
Maybe I should have gone John Sektor’s route. Alienated everyone that made me human. Sharped my edges to the point of a ruthless killer. But I like these moments, even if they seem stupid.
What I’ve done in the past has shaped me to who I am.
Which means… what I do now, shapes my tomorrow.
It’s time to focus, it’s time to never give up, never surrender.
It’s time to fly high… to become…