Dearness Living Community – Common Room
July 28, 2021
I stand dead center in the middle of my war zone, Elders in front as I hold up the mug shot of my next target.
I look around the room at blank faces. It’s time to prime their wheels.
“Who is this?” I snap and choose the first person who MIGHT be able to answer the question.
“Bobby Dean,” Margo says.
“Damn straight, Margo. Great work. And what do we know about him?” My eyes scan the floor and I point to Chariot.
“Former Egg Bandit.”
“Correct. You’re on today, Chariot. No fogginess for you. What else?”
“He’s a Houston native,” Richard pipes up.
“Yep. C’mon people, c’mon I need more, more, more!”
“He’s got a two-and-four record this year,” says Louie, reluctantly. Christ, Louie, Play along. Not like you’ve got anything better to do.
“Bingo. According to the High Octane website Bobby has two wins and four losses.” I confirm Lou’s statement. “I would assume the website to be accurate and updated accordingly. Anything else?”
I once again see blank faces but I try to pick out the correct people. Sometimes it’s tough to distinguish between spinning wheels and battling dementia but I’ll be damned.
Gun pointing to Joy, with a bang after her answer.
“He’s lost weight but love handles remain,” Joy says.
“You GD right, Joy. Excellent work.”
“What was that you said, sonny?” She clarifies.
“I said excellent work, Joy.”
“EXCELLENT WORK JOY!!!!”
“Oh okay, I’ll get you some banana nut muffins from the kitchen…” and off she goes. Whatever. I don’t have time to waste.
“Anything else on Bobby Dean?” I am now standing on the table, orchestrating the Elders to feed me as much information as possible by waving my hands into my body. I’m clamoring! Sometimes you have to communicate through body language more than words in the DLC. “Don’t be shy, shout all at once, I don’t care. I’m young, my ears work. I can process endless information at the same time! Try me!”
I hold Bobby’s mugshot in the air. Cataracts be damned.
Adley bellows with newfound confidence, “he’s the Friendly Neighbourhood Lunatic!”
We were so close, Adley but you gone fucked up. “No, that’s Jack Harmen aka High Flyer but good try. Anyone else?”
“He’s Wrestler of the Month!” Shouts Isaac, struggling to find the words as he bobbles from left to right.
“Wrong! That’s Jace! C’mon Isaac…”
“He is the God of Sunshine!” Honestly, I don’t know who said that because my head is in my hands. I give my nose a pinch.
“Look, I understand it’s almost time for everyone’s afternoon nap,” I remark. “But I’m gonna need a little more from this group before we get there-”
Walter cuts me off.
“He recently defeated Sutler Reynolds-Kael.”
Thank god. I pull my head from my hands. Walter gives me a look like his patience has run thin and I smile back. I can always count on Walt. Guy is the oldest here and smarter than most.
“Exactly, although you could’ve spoken sooner,” I reply, jumping off the table. “He has defeated Sutler and that’s something not many, including yours truly, can say. The High Octane World Champion and arguably the best wrestler in this company lost to… Bobby Dean.”
The rest of the Elders stir, making plans to leave the common room for that afternoon nap. But since it took me an hour to collect everyone, I’m not letting them get away that easily.
“Now, I do not speak of Bobby’s name as a surprise, oh no. Since I’ve joined this system BBD has been of interest to me. He’s got a video game body, that’s for sure. He’s got a quick wit and seems rather fun. As we all know anyone outside of the odd BA BOT can defeat anyone on any given day, as proven by Bobby Dean at Refueled LIV on February 20th of this year!”
I raise my voice to ensure the Elders can hear me while leaving.
“Bobby is not Final Boss, nor BOT! He’s somewhere in-between. And I expect to find that sweet spot! When I step into the ring with him, I’m gonna search for those reasons. Why did he defeat SRK!? How could he have done it!? What skills does he possess that others do not!? And why, for the LOVE OF GOD, why does he still think he’s a POS!?”
The Elders are making their way to the door. If this was a younger crew they’d have been gone already but their slow moving abilities work to my advantage.
“I will unlock his cheat codes. For Bobby Dean is a Game Genie, there is no doubt! The codes will be mine by the end of the night!”
I’m startled by someone touching my shoulder.
It’s Marin, the girl I’ve been seeing on a weekly basis for the past few months. Most of the Elders stop and look in our direction.
“What are you doing here?” I whisper from the side of my mouth, slightly embarrassed.
“We were supposed to meet up,” she remarks playfully.
I can see Margo smirking at our exchange. Ruth loves it, too. No doubt this will be talked about come dinner time. FML.
“She’s gorgeous,” Richard says as he hobbles on by and then looks directly at her. “You’re gorgeous. If you ever stop talking to Conor, my room is 21-”
“That’ll be enough, Dick. Don’t you have some fiber supplement to take before your nap?” I scold as he smiles at me like Marin’s gonna dial up his number tomorrow. Okay pal, sure.
By now the Elders have left. It’s me, Walter and of course Marin.
“Let me go get my things?” I ask as Marin replies with a nod.
“What are you two kids up to today?” Walter interjects.
“I think we’re going to the movies, right? I don’t remember…” My voice trails as my date informs Walter of our plans. Meanwhile, I exit the common room and through the hall, passing all of those who were in attendance. I get the odd “smile” my way, particularly from Margo and Ruth, they love seeing me with Marin. I pay no attention, enter my room and collect my things. I place the Bobby Dean mugshot into my back pocket.
Bobby, you Beautiful son of a bitch, I will crack you soon.
… … … … …
Some random pizza joint, I’m too focused on other stuff ATM
July 28, 2021
“Lay it on me,” she says and not in the way Cancer Jiles would think.
“Hold on, let me bring up my phone again.” I toss the iPhone to her. She immediately snatches it off the table and scrolls through. I’ve gotta say, I’m impressed. I really didn’t take her for someone who’d be interested in my line of work. But she is and it takes little to no effort talking about my career.
I can tell by her facial expressions she’s already got it narrowed down.
“He did it,” she raises the phone and shows me the image of Xander Azula.
Marin pulls the phone back and scrolls through again. “Okay, then it’s him. It’s clearly him.” She’s brought up a picture of Clay Byrd.
“No. Good guess. He came close to beating Sutler a few weeks ago but in the end, he lost.”
Marin’s back to the drawing board and finds another mugshot. “Him.”
“Oh, no, not Darin. He’s got a chance to defeat Sutler this week, though. Then it’s him and I at Bottomline.”
Marin raises an eyebrow. “Really? I was kinda kidding. He doesn’t look angry enough. Darin seems like a nice guy.”
“He is. He hangs with Teddy and I. Oh, say, when do you want to meet Teddy? He’s a great dude and we’ve been hanging out a lot recently. He gets a little rattled at my frantic behaviours but deep down he’s cool.”
The entire time Marin’s saying “mmhmm” but she’s not listening. She’s trying to find The One.
“Okay, last shot. Him.”
And shows me a picture of Doozer.
“No. Dooze is legit, though. I sent him a text a while back asking if he wanted to meet up… share stories of Cancer Jiles and play video games. We’ve yet to meet but he messaged me back and was very nice.”
I wave the phone over to me.
“Enough of this. Let me show you who.” And I show Marin.
“That guy?” Her eyes bulge out of her head.
“Yeah. Bobby Dean.”
She doesn’t believe me.
“He pinned Sutler Reynolds-Kael? The same guy who’s World Champion?”
“…” Marin scratches her temple. “How?”
“Well that’s what I’m gonna find out when I step into the ring with him. Listen, Bob says he sucks. He says it all the time. Bobby lacks motivation. Bobby lacks direction. Imma give him some direction, my dear. Imma step into the ring with BBD and force him to wrestle me as hard as he can. He’s his own worst enemy, okay? Get this. He doesn’t like to climb the turnbuckle. That’s cool. There’s a million ways to wrestle a match. A guy his size can stay grounded and do well. In fact, I think that’s how Sutler wasn’t able to apply The Sutler Method on him!”
Marin’s captivated by Bobby. She keeps looking at my iPhone until I set it down.
“He got out of The Sutler Method?” She asks.
“Sutler didn’t have time to apply it correctly before he was pinned. Was it a troll job? Was it sheer dumb luck? Or was it something else?”
I’m asking these questions rhetorically but Marin replies anyway. “Dumb luck.”
I give my head a shake. “No. No, I don’t think so. Bobby Dean is a Game Genie. When summoned, he appears. Whether or not he procrastinates to put the effort in afterwards is still to be determined. But he has potential. He needs to drop the THOUGHT of anything outside of mat wrestling. He needs to be one-dimensional. It would do him wonders!”
“He defeated Sutler Reynolds-Kael?” Marin’s beside herself. “I can’t believe it.”
“I can. And he’s going to teach me a thing or two…”
I’ve realized Marin has my phone again and looking at Bobby’s mug.
“…Whether he wants to or not.”
… … … … …
Dearness Living Community – My Room
July 28, 2021
It’s getting rather late and I’ve gone through countless hours of Bobby Dean tape. I understand how he works inside and outside the squared circle and yet, I can’t put my finger on how he bested the best. Sutler’s young, sure and he has a lot to learn regardless of what SRK tells you… but he is so meticulous when it comes to locking in his finisher. He moved an inch, not even, when I went for the 450 splash at War Games. It was enough to lock in his triage choke and for me to tap rather quickly.
But you, Game Genie, what are you hiding from me? From all of us?
Why don’t you come out and Play more?
“Having a rough night, are we?”
I’d recognize that voice from anywhere. It’s me, “retired” New-Age Conor. I look up and see him in the reflection of my bedroom window.
“Don’t know how he did it, huh?” NAC inquires.
“Duh, I’m you, can’t you tell?”
“No need to be defensive,” NAC loosely throws his arms up in the air. “Just coming by to see how you’re doing.”
I walk over to my VHS machine and pop the tape out, placing it back in the “Bobby Dean” bin.
“Well you should know how I’m doing, NAC.” I say with a wink, ensuring I lighten the mood. New-Age C’s right, there’s no need to take out any frustration on myself.
“Perhaps it’s more of what Sutler did wrong than what Bobby did right.” NAC explains. “Did you think of that explanation?”
I shake my head. Not really. I’ve watched the end of the match countless times. Sutler goes for his submission but Bobby’s too… uhhh… big boned, easily shifts his weight onto Kael’s shoulders and there is no escape.
“Ground attack, deadly,” I mumble, making a mental note to remove myself from the canvas at all cost come our battle.
I collapse into my Secretlab OMEGA Stealth 2020 Series Gaming Chair, giving NAC a clueless expression. He can tell.
“He hides, New-Age Me. He hides behind his large frame and laissez-faire attitude. You may have a point, NAC. Sutler made mistakes in their match but I have to give Bobby credit, too. When push comes to shove Bobby gets it. He learned from Cancer Jiles and I had a hell of a time overcoming The COOL Guy. I may just have to be comfortable not knowing the answers until I step into the ring with the Beautiful one this weekend.”
NAC grins. “Attaboy.”
“Bobby better bring it, though. If he mails it in then I’m shit outta luck. I need his game genie magic.”
“Anyway, shouldn’t you be drifting off now?”
New-Age Conor creates a moment of silence.
“Good luck against Bobby. I hope you find the answers you’re looking for. If you DON’T, I’ll be back… sooner rather than later. And next time, I’ll point you in the right direction. Next time, I’ll actually be able to provide something useful.”
Leave it to me to talk in riddles and not clarify anything while fading away into the night sky.
“Sometimes I don’t even understand myself,” I say with a sigh.
And back to daydreaming about the upcoming weekend…
— — — — —
I have respect for you. Anyone who can put up with Cancer Jiles for an extended period of time definitely deserves kudos. And yet, I can’t help but be drawn to a recent response you made. I believe it was against Arthur Pleasant when he was running his brief, failed single player campaign. You called yourself the bottom of the High Octane barrel. You said there was a spot next to you.
Well, what I see is someone who’s lost weight, upped his game and taken things more seriously. (Not that there’s anything wrong with being silly at times, hello look who’s talking.) Anyway, I’m strategizing for our match to be quite the contest. I’m coming to it with every combo. I won’t look down or scoff at you. A Bobby Dean victory for Conor Fuse would be huge.
But you know I can’t let that happen.
There’s a force I HAVE TO stop. In some ways, I’ll be looking past you and in others, I have to take you as the most serious opponent I’ve ever battled.
I was once like you. Unsure of myself, down on my luck. Then I moved into a specialized home where I was provided with wisdom, guidance…
And the ability to destroy anyone who steps in front of me.
I have confidence, an upcoming title shot and my own co-op, to name a few. I have taken your former mate down, someone I had lost to on a continual basis until three weeks ago.
Oh, and I’m seeing someone. There’s that.
Hell LOOK at what Big Boss had to say at the end of this week’s Refueled.
Lee Best: Am I really going to count on this fucking video game kid to beat Sutler at Bottomline??
Alright, maybe it’s not the highest vote of confidence in the world but the idea I’ve moved HIS needle tells you something. This guy once booked me in Cancer Jiles’ first title defense because I was deemed Easy. Now he’s counting on me to defeat SRK for the World Championship.
He may not believe I can do it but he’s relying on my gamesmanship skills regardless.
Once low, now hovering at the top of the card. It can be done. This is a motivational commercial.
“You can too, Bob!”
And I’m here to instill confidence IN you. You like video games? Well so do I, clearly! Take me to the limit. Push me as far as I can go. While you may lack confidence, you can make up for it in untapped potential. I’m gonna make you go the distance, push your cardio to optimal Levels and whip you into shape. A force to be reckoned with. You could be on the verge of Mini Boss status and the perfect opponent before I reach SRK’s Castle.
You can be great, I hope you know this. You can be Bobby Dean, The Killing Machine! Man who lost weight, hits hard… even makes it to the TOP ROPE??? Flying headscissors! Bobby takes down “The Vintage” Conor Fuse with a hurricanrana! Exert this Gamer. Make me wish I never stepped into the ring with the former eGG Bandit. Invoke fear!
Or ignore all this.
Be that rubik’s cube I can’t figure out. Because if I have to hear one more word regarding how bad you suck, I will break this console. You are not a goomba. I can see your underlining skills, can’t tell me otherwise. Why the hell did you lose all that weight for then? Just to act the same?
Limp me into Bottomline, Bobby. Bite my ear if you please. Sutler’s pitbull mentality holds no bounds, particularly when he’s thinking about step daddy.
FFS, YOU beat Sutler. It’s been the entire song and dance of my week.
Tell me your secrets, albeit covertly. How did you hang with a man who almost murdered me? What do you know that others don’t on my arch nemesis?
Don’t get cute and coy. Turn this into a joke and I’ll turn you into a joke because if you DON’T meet my effort in the ring… if you don’t hit your combo buttons hard enough… if you fail at connecting with a beautiful dropkick to my forehead…
Then I will make this Easy.
You’ll get exactly what you want.
I will Weapon Get your Danshoku Driver.
I will not hook your leg.
I will pin you one-two-three.
And I will move on.
SRK looms in the distance; Bobby Dean is left behind.