“Fear cuts deeper than a barbed wire hockey stick.”
…Or does it?
Scotty, or as I like to call you, Pyramid Head, up there in your castle. Another HOW legend and Hall of Famer, trying to scare away someone coming for your throne. It happens a lot here, I’ve already seen it. Guys (and gals) walk through Big Boss’ door, thinking they can play.
Erin Gordon. Jason Storm. Kevin Capone. Need I go on?
Names that don’t even deserve to be written down in my cool gaming manual. These are the real BOTS of the system, make no mistake about that. Although I can ultimately respect how they want a shot at the throne. You don’t know how hard a game is until you play it, right? Either way, these BOTS walk in, try to hang with the big boys and they get knocked down pretty quick. While High Octane may not be for the first-time gamer, what really matters isn’t how many times you’ve played. Instead, High Octane Wrestling is all about…
I like to game and have a good time. Who doesn’t? But there’s a time and a place where the fun has to end. On HOW’s biggest stage, ICONIC, I think that would be as good of a time as any. And I’ve got the heart to take me right through you, Pyramid Head.
I can see this makes you nervous. Your empire is crumbling. It’s not crumbling quickly, per say… but that clock is ticking my friend.
Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
You have all these cool “Achievements” in the HOW cheat code manual I made for you. HoF. COO. Greatest LSD Champion of all-time. Then a player like me comes along… harmless, silly, fun and for some reason that threatens you. A Boss like you SHOULD have no reason to feel threatened from a player like me. Like I said, HoF, COO, LSD.
But what do you have to show for yourself NOW? I mean RIGHT now.
Because this isn’t 2013 anymore.
That’s right, big guy… nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Just you, empty handed, sitting on your crumbling throne, watching the new wave of single players take over the system…
But here’s the catch, Pyramid Head.
I have nothing in front of me too. I don’t even have a decaying 39% COO throne to sit on! Just some hurt feelings I didn’t game as good as I wanted to. (That and I’m still convinced Jatt Moto paid Big Boss off with some golden coins to referee the match I had against Dan Ryan. I heard Big Boss likes those golden coins…)
Sorry, I go off-path easy. My mind is everywhere!
I digress. I have absolutely nothing in my hands. I have nothing to my name. I have nothing to separate me from the BOTS I named earlier.
And a barbed wire ring.
And the opportunity to make a NAME for myself.
You think Imma come by this easily? You think I’m not ready to go?
It’s funny because three weeks ago I was begging Jack Harmen to hurt me. I screamed “Jack PLEASE bring The Lunatic! Please get me ready for Scotty!” I also giggled for some reason. But maybe I didn’t need Jack Harmen. Maybe I just needed… you.
The “stalking me thing” for three weeks was well done. The attacks, rather coordinated. But what you failed to notice is that I will get back up every single time…
Because I have heart.
And deep down inside I know you don’t have one. After all, how can you talk about losing a love, the LSD Championship, when you have no heart to begin with? You proved this when you didn’t show respect to Max Kael.
Game with me, Scotty. Come along for the ride. You think you’ve been one step ahead this entire time but you’re wrong.
October, 31st, 2020
The bar is getting busier as Conor sits off in the corner at a booth, with two others across from him. Three waitresses move around the room but there’s not enough commotion to make much of a fuss. The walls of the bar convey a throwback theme, lots of neon colours and flashing lights. The music is from the 80s. No wonder The Vintage feels at home.
“Why was he staring at me like that?”
Conor Fuse is face deep in a mimosa, on the rocks, with a twist, hold the alcohol. It’s been a few hours since the Max Kael Memorial Show, where The Minister was laid to rest on broadcast television. High Octane talent took to the air in order to pay their respects (or lack thereof) to a man they’ve battled with time and time again. To Conor Fuse, however, he simply wanted to pay respects to a Mega Boss, albeit one he didn’t know at all.
“Clearly, I saw him watching me.” Conor mumbles to himself. Sitting across the table are two members of the HOW film crew, Bryan and Rory, joining Conor in a drink after they recorded his tribute for the HOW special.
“You’ve got to be careful around here, Conor.” Bryan says before taking a sip of his rum and coke. “People will chew you up and spit you out in a moment’s notice. Have your i’s dotted and your t’s crossed, inside and outside the ring.”
Conor looks up from his orange drink, nodding. “I know, I know. Thank you for the advice. I really do appreciate it. I know this game is hard. I wouldn’t have joined if it was on Easy.”
Bryan’s in his 30s, short brown hair, balding. He seems to be a reasonable guy. Rory, on the other hand, is in his 50s, red hair, pale face, hammering down shot after shot of tequila. It looks like he’s seen everything and tells it straight. “You’ve got to punch these mother fuckers in the mouth.” Rory states, before downing another shot. “You’ve got to make your mark. Lay it on these assholes tough. It’s the only way they’ll show respect.”
The Vintage nods profusely, as if his mind is jotting down notes. “Is that why he was staring me down when we left the interview room?”
Rory kicks back the last shot he has in front of him. “Who? Scottywood? Ahh I don’t know, kid. He probably heard you say a bunch of nice things about Max Kael and got his panties in a bunch. That boy ain’t right… heard him spouting off some shit about the LSD Championship a week ago.”
“Poor guy…” Conor starts, feeling sorry for Scottywood. “I heard he really wanted to win that thing.”
Bryan and Rory shrug.
“He’s the COO of HOW too, isn’t he?” Fuse inquires.
The crew members nod before Rory looks over to the waitress and signals for another round.
“Yeah, kid.” Bryan states. “And he’ll use that to his advantage, you’ll see.”
The Vintage is uneasy. His eyes shift around the bar, perhaps wondering if Scottywood has followed him here. “Great, just great. A fight I can’t win.”
Another round of drinks are placed in front of Bryan and Rory. A rum and coke for Bryan and four shots of tequila for Rory. Conor is still nursing his “mimosa”.
“Scotty’s terrifying.” Conor says, leaning in. He doesn’t want anyone else to hear him. “I don’t know if I can handle a guy like that…”
Rory takes a shot. “Naa kid, you can. I can see it in you. You’re annoying, sure but you’re harmless.”
Conor nods. “Thank you! That’s what my mom says about me. I’m nice and harmle-”
Rory cuts him off. “That’s not really a compliment, not in this situation.”
Bryan agrees as Conor leans back in his chair. “Like Rory said, you’ve got to be careful around here but you also can’t get pushed over. In this case, I highly doubt Scotty’s one and done with you. He’s fixated on you for one reason or another. People are saying you’re one of the hot new things about HOW and Scotty’s been on a fall as of late. No better person to lay into than a newbie. He needs to make a big statement again.”
Bryan looks Conor over, head-to-toe. “And you’ve got it written all over you.”
Fuse lets out a huff, allowing his mind to wander. “Well, I know his history. I have cheat codes written on all these Bosses. He is a good one, I’ll give him that. Hardcore’s not really my style.”
Rory takes a second tequila shot. “I’ll tell you what, kid.” And a third shot. “You want to make a mark in HOW, right?”
“A real statement right?”
Conor nods again.
“Then I say you welcome this shit. All of it. The stalking. The hardcore aspect. Everything. Get right into it. He likes his barbed wire hockey stick. Why don’t you wrap up an NES controller or something in barbed wire?”
Clearly Rory was making a joke but it definitely stuck with Conor. His eyes go wide and he makes a note of it for later. Rory takes his final tequila shot and then calls for another round.
“Plus, you’re smarter than him.” Rory continues. “You already noticed him trailing us after the interview. I’m sure he didn’t suspect a thing.”
Fuse is very appreciative of the support. The Vintage excuses himself and walks over to the bar. “Hey, sir.” He says to the bartender, placing his credit card on the counter. “Can you put all our drinks on my DLC pass?”
The bartender looks down at the credit card and then back up to Fuse. Realizing The Green One’s not joking, the bartender figures he misinterpreted the wrestler, nods and takes the credit card to swipe it. Conor joins back up with the camera crew as they receive another round of drinks.
“Thank you guys.” Conor states. “It’s been great to get to know someone… hell, anyone around these parts. You guys are super cool BOTS for sure.”
Bryan and Rory don’t understand the reference but the night moves on and the three of them continue in conversation… while the wheels in the back of Conor’s head are turning and turning…
Refueled XLIII, Best Arena
November 7, 2020
“The Vintage” is being interviewed by Blaire Moise backstage. He’s in the middle of answering a question until his attention is diverted. In the distance Scottywood stands, watching Conor. The Hardcore Artist holds his barbed wire hockey stick tightly, covered in the blood of Kevin Capone before walking off.
“That was interesting.” Blaire states, while looking at Conor with a sense of concern. However, Fuse does his best to shrug it off. He leans in and asks Blaire an honest question. “Has he… even showered yet?”
Moise doesn’t know what to say. She shrugs it off, too.
The two continue talking for another minute before the signal is given they’re off the air.
“Conor,” Moise starts, “be careful out there, okay?”
Blaire has come to respect The Vintage, if nothing more than the fact he doesn’t hit on her like seemingly everyone else in the industry. Blaire’s not even sure Fuse is interested in girls at this time. He likes his video games, that’s what they say about him. Regardless, Moise’s words echo concern and enforce the idea that Conor should take extraordinary precaution in the backstage area for the foreseeable future, after witnessing Scottywood stalking him.
And yet Conor doesn’t seem worried anymore, not after Scotty left the scene. Instead, he brushes it off, leans over and digs into his lime green backpack. “Oh it’s all good, sis.” Conor states, still searching inside his bag. “Scotty’s been following me all night.”
Blaire raises an eyebrow. “You… knew?”
Conor looks up from his backpack. “Of course I knew. One of my special senses, Blaire.” Conor laughs. “I levelled up on some special skills before I got here. Then I DLC’ed a few more after talking to the camera crew last week. I did my research on Scotty, don’t worry. I’m just thankful he wasn’t a figment of my imagination!”
Moise seems impressed, even if she doesn’t know what Conor meant by “levelling up” or “DLC’ed”. She gets the gist, though. “Still, he’s reckless. They don’t call him The H-”
Conor finishes her sentence “Hardcore Artist for nothing.” Fuse laughs. “I’m aware. I know he’s the COO, too. He has 39% ownership of HOW. He had more, until he bartered it around. Something like that. I’m no true historian but I did enough strategy guide reading to know. You don’t start playing the High Octane game without reading up on the gaming manuals. And speaking of manuals…”
Conor’s finally found what he’s looking for.
“Here it is.”
Fuse carefully pulls out an SNES controller, wrapped in barbed wire. Moise’s eyes go wide, coming to the realization Conor may actually be ready for Scottywood after all.
“This is my new toy.” Conor smirks. “Scotty has a hockey stick… and I have this.”
Fuse stands up and starts whipping the SNES controller around. Even the wire is wrapped in barbed wire but it’s carefully placed so Conor can put his hands where he needs to without hurting himself.
“That Boss comes near me and…”
SMACK, Fuse throws the controller perfectly against the wall.
SMACK, now he throws it against the other side of the wall, missing the interviewer by a foot.
“Everyone be damned! I may look like a dumbass, Blaire but I know what’s up. I certainly need to practice more, though. Sorry for almost hitting you!”
Although she’s not able to make perfect sense of what Conor is doing, it’s a weapon nonetheless. Blaire nods, smiles and thanks The Vintage for the interview. Conor carefully pulls the controller towards him, wrapping the cord and placing it in the backpack… while keeping his head on a swivel, in case Scottywood returns.
“Stupid ass Boss…” Conor mumbles to himself. “Guy has been following me for hours. At least come say HI. I’ll make you say hi soon, though… very soon. I can keep up this ‘being scared of you’ act forever.”
Refueled XLIV, Ringside
November 14, 2020
“FATALITY PUNCH!” Hoffman shouts.
Freeman’s hand is raised after beating Conor Fuse in the middle of the ring. Before an announcement on the winner… Scotty’s theme song begins.
“Excellent…” Conor mentions softly, struggling to raise his head from the canvas. “He does exist…”
Scottywood charges out, barbed wire hockey stick in hand. He slides into the ring and beats the hell out of Conor Fuse with his weapon.
CRACK, CRACK, CRACK… shots to the head.
“We’ve seen these two strangely interacting over the past couple weeks… and now Scottywood is tearing Fuse apart with that hockey stick!” Shouts Joe Hoffman on air.
CRACK, CRACK, CRACK… shots to the chest.
Meanwhile, Benny Newell is loving it. “Blood Joe! BLOOOOOOD!!!!!”
CRACK, CRACK, CRACK… shots to the back.
Finally, Scottywood leans over, runs his hand across Conor’s bleeding face and then wipes the blood across his own chest before leaving. EMTs run down to check on The Vintage and the show goes to commercial. However, this scene does not.
“Whoa…” Conor’s as groggy as ever. Three EMTs make sure he’s conscious but Fuse is clearly in his own little world, rambling nonsense and might be concussed. “I bleed red? I thought I’d bleed green…”
“Conor, Conor. Stay down, okay.” One EMT says as he gets into Fuse’s face. The man digs into his pocket and pulls out a small flashlight. “Can you follow the light, Conor?”
The EMT moves the tiny flashlight to the right and to the left, tracking Conor’s rapid eye movements.
“Ohhh… Continue? Yes? No?” Conor keeps rambling. “I press ‘Yes’! Do I have a lot of Continues left, Mr. Game Developer? I sure hope so! I’ve been saving up for this moment teehheehahabaha!”
The first EMT looks at the second one. “He’s stable but he’s definitely not hearing me.” The second EMT nods.
“Scottywood… Scottywood… Scottywoooooooooooooood!!” Conor bellows.
The initial EMT leans in and tries to get Conor’s attention as the other two men work on stopping the bleeding from Conor’s forehead… back… chest… literally everywhere.
“ScOtTyWoOd CaMe tO pLaY! EYE GET U SCOTTIEEE! ScOtTy! SCOTTTYYYYY!” Fuse shouts. “Scotty with your sTuPiD hockey stick!!”
“Who’s Pyramid Head?” The first EMT asks. Clearly, Conor is not saying the name he thinks he is. “And who has a machete?”
It’s in these questions that refocus The Gamer. Fuse snaps into reality and looks the EMT in the eyes.
“Pyramid Head?” Conor asks. “What are you talking about? Pyramid Head is the Boss on Silent Hill and I haven’t played that video game for years.”
Even though Conor has “come to”, the EMT doesn’t notice the difference between this conversation and the last. Both sound equally as nonsensical. “Easy there, Conor.” He states. “We’re gonna put ya on this stretcher, wheel ya out and stitch ya up, okay?”
Fuse falls back into the fogginess. “Exactly what I needed, doc. So happy Scotty said HELLO!! Teeheeheheee…”
So here we are at the end of my first story, “Scottywood”. I saw you follow me since day one… and I roped you in. You didn’t want to come out and play at first, not when I showed off my new controller skillz…
But you came out eventually, when my guard was down, when I wasn’t ready for you.
I should have known that’s how a Final Boss like you would play. I never said I was going to 1 Up you on everything. You got me that night. You came down and pummeled an already beaten up dude with no barbed wire controller in hand.
And that’s exactly what I wanted you to do.
Destroy me. Kick me when I’m down. A no good, trash BOT with HALF the amount of heart I display would have quit over this. They’d have RESET the system because they lost to Hughie and then faced insult to injury, in the form of a barbed wire stick.
For me? It only made me more passionate about this “game” we would play. It’s given me a huge opportunity this weekend.
And you, Pyramid Head, you reek of desperation. You reek of someone on the verge of losing everything.
A shell of his former self.
A king on a crumbling throne.
A Boss at the end of his castle.
A 49% owner to a 39% owner to one day, a 1% owner.
Hey, at least you had those things. Like I said earlier, I have nothing at all.
Will I be another BOT that you end easily, like so many others that walked through these doors? I think you already know the answer to that. “The Vintage” Conor Fuse is going nowhere and he welcomes everything you bring to the table.
Are you ready, “Scotty”? Cause I’m about to beat you at your own game and the puck hasn’t even dropped yet…