“Oh, hot diggity, dog ziggity, boom what you do to me, it’s so new to me, what you do to me. Hot diggity, dog ziggity, boom what you do to me, when you’re holding me tight!” – Perry Como, you know, Perry Como, the guy with the voice what sings a lot?
The music had drawn Max across this seemingly endless landscape of rolling hills of green grass and the occasional oasis of trees clustered together in small bunches. The Sun which beat down on Max from above never moved, never slid down toward the horizon or gave Max any indication of what direction he was traveling.
His only compass was the music which had now changed to “Hot Diggity (Dog Ziggity Boom)” by Perry Como, it’s painfully cheerful notes dancing along the gentle breeze calling Max ever onward. He continued on, his face drawn into a tight frown as annoyance boiled just beneath his leathery skin.
“I fucking hate this song.”
He muttered to himself as he continued his slow march onward the song thundered in his brain. Under the circumstances Max really did start to believe he was in Hell, after all what could be worse than an infinite existence of walking around listening to Perry Como.
And then it was gone.
He paused as the music vanished, the sound of it had become so commonplace that in the silence a real sense of dread kicked Max in the gut. Frustration turned to fear as his frown loosened into a sort of pursed outward into a duck like bill. His body tensed as his blue eyes rolled around in his head which had also started to swivel from side to side in alarm.
“..I.. didn’t hate it that much..” Max said quietly under his breath as he tried to gauge how close the nearest tree line was.
“I thought you would have liked it here.”
It was his voice but deeper calling out from behind him. Max quickly snapped around, his fists raised for a fight as the fear diminished into a sneer. In the brief moments it took to register who was standing behind him Max’s expression devolved back into fear as he stumbled back.
“Oh shit, what did I do?” Max asked as eloquently as ever. The man in the white suite smiled back at Max with his own twisted, metal toothed grin.
“For once, Max, you didn’t do anything, none of this is your fault.” the Minister said through a tightly clenched smile. “It’s what Mariella Jade Flair did, it’s what Lee Best did, it’s especially about what Mike did.”
His blue eyes darted back and forth suspiciously before he locked on the burning red eye of the Minister. Taking a step to the side Max started to circle his sinister doppelganger only to be mirrored in kind by the Minister.
“Who the fuck is Mar..rala Jade Flair?”
“..that’s MJF you fucking idiot.”
“Oh.. oh..” Max nodded, his eyes searching for a potential escape route as he continued to circle the Minister. He didn’t know MJF had real first names, he just thought it had been some kind of marking scheme. “..so.. Where am I?”
Reaching into his pocket the Minister retrieved a silver cigarette case with a golden apple emblazoned on it. He pulled out a hand rolled cigarette and slipped it between his lips before he traded the cigarette case for a golden 24k zippo lighter. With a flick of his wrist he snapped the zippo to life and lit his cigarette with a heavy drag before he stared back into Max’s face with his own malevolent red eye.
“This is where you kept me for decades, I just was a lot kinder to you then you were to me. I guess if I had to put a name on it you could say that this is Maxoptamia, you know, that made up country you like to rant about?” he growled toward Max before taking another drag from his dart. Flicking the ash away he turned to point at the far distant horizon. “I gave you an endlessly pleasant landscape to wait out the rest of your life. Well, the rest of our life at least.”
Max’s brow furrowed as he shuffled forward, keeping his distance from the Minister but clearly curious about what he was talking about.
“Fuck me, I thought the Council of Kael took care of all ths stuff? Where is the Tower? Did we just recon all of that shit after we left OCW?” the Lord of Kaelsalvania asked as he stared toward the horizon that the Minister had pointed at.
“No, Max. Remember back when you were facing MJF and High Flyer at Rumble at the Rock for the LSD Championship? You made a deal with me, that we’d share control of this body if I could win that LSD Championship for you and I made good on that deal. Remember when you called on me to help us survive being knocked off a roof into a dumpster fire?” the Minister hissed toward Max before he turned, the LSD Championship resting over his shoulder as if by Brian Hollywood Wizard Magic. “Or how it was I who weathered having that breathing mask graphed to our face? OR how I defeated High Flyer at ICONIC after he nearly tore our fucking face off?”
The Lord Supreme Dictator withered beneath the barrage of questions. Deep down Max had always known but he had been trying to ignore it, trying to pretend like it was maybe something more terminal, like a brain tumor. Biting his lip he didn’t answer, his eyes turning down toward his feet like a broken housewife. The Minister smirked and turned to look back up at the horizon once again.
“You’re fucking weak, Max. Every achievement you have made in the last year hasn’t been your own. Since the last War Games it has been my will and drive behind every success and I let you live in your little fantasy. I let you live up the glory that you so desired, let you enjoy yourself and oh boy did you. Now it’s time to pay the piper though and, all things considered, you could find yourself in a worse prison.”
“Michael won’t let this happen.” Max said, lifting his head to glare at the Minister. A cruel cackling laugh exploded from the Minister’s cracked lips as he slapped his knee. Flashing a silver toothed grin at Max the Minister drew himself up to his full height.
“Mike has already agreed to my plans whether he understands it yet or not. Just like you he lives on the validation given to him by others and by the collection of trinkets and trophies that he can show off. I claimed him eight years ago when he signed the Kael/Best Accords so that he could cement himself in the history books of High Octane Wrestling. Craven and cruel, my bread and butter, heh-heh..”
The world around them grew dark as the Sun washed away into a sickly green moon while the lands grew brown and dry. The trees withered and the scent of decay carried on the wind all while the laughter of the Minister seemed to grow louder and more wretched. Max turned to see the World dying, panic filling up his face before the scent of something burning on the wind caught his attention.
“Fire cleanses, Maximilian, it washes away the decay and the filth with purifying flames. If we want to grow, Max.. if we want Mike to grow..”
On the horizon Max saw an orange glow that grew into a red intensity of angry fire. A hot breeze slapped Max in the face as the fires on the horizon poured over the dying grass and ripped through the rattling trees. Frozen in fear Max knew he should run as the flames raced forward but panic and fear held him in place.
He turned to the Minister but he was no longer there, just the memory of where he used to be standing with the LSD Championship. As the fire raged as a wall of burning wrath threatening to crash down on him Max heard one last whisper from the Minister..
“We’ve locked it up, sir.”
A towering EPU guard approached the Minister who sat in a lawn chair, his shoes set to the side with his socks carefully rolled up into them. His bare feet rest on the cold pavement of the parking lot outside the large, worn down Warehouse in the very worst part of town.
As to what town they were presently at it was hard to tell though the warehouse itself was familiar. It had been Max’s for years, a holding place for all the random things he had collected over the years. There was a tank he ordered off Ebay, a clan of Ninja’s he had hired to attack Mike Best, an entire cult he had won over in a deal, boxes of dildos, Crow’s cousin and on and on and on.
It was a legacy of the absurd and impulsive things that Max would spend his money on, or in the case of stealing from Cecilworth, whatever he could spend other people’s money on. Ownership of the Warehouse had exchanged hands several times between Mike Best and Max Kael over the last decade, Mike liked to store many of his own closet skeletons deep inside the labyrinth of bad concepts.
To the Minister it was in the way of his plans.
Around thirty EPU guards were gathered in the lonely part of town in black uniforms with white masks. Each mask had the #97Red cross painted in the center of it giving the whole thing a fairly cultish appearance.
“Thank you, you and your men can leave now.” the Minister barked as he appeared busy reading in a journal.
The leader of the guards nodded and led his men toward a few SUV’s that would spirit them to their next mission. As they left a smile swam over the Minister’s lips as he reached into his pocket and retrieved a flare gun. He set it in his lap and returned his attention to the journal he scribbled away in. He paused for a moment as something caught his attention. He closed the journal and slipped it into the inner pocket of his white suit.
“Come on out, Elenore, I know you’re there.”
From the shadows appeared the estranged sister of Max, Elenore Sinclair Kael. He was dressed in a smart black dress with white highlights. A pair of silver glasses were set on her thin nose while her sharp cheekbones were covered in a healthy layer of foundation to hide away the hideous burns she had received at Max’shand.
“I would have preferred to meet somewhere less obviously a trap.” Elenore quipped in a sarcastic tone, the echo of her heels on the pavement accompanied her approach.
“I’m leaving for Normandy later this evening, form met with function and this was the best potential time to see you before I left.” the silver tongued devil said as he slithered up from his seat with the flare gun in his right hand. His sinister red eye zeroed in on Elenore, her pale skin like marble in the humid night air. “Let’s get this all out of the way up front. Max is gone, if I did my job correctly, forever. You can call me Minister. Or the Minister if you want to get formal but, you know, naming myself after a title wasn’t my smartest move but you gotta stick by your convictions.”
Elenore jumped back in surprise as the Minister turned and fired the flare gun at one of the larger windows set above the heavy metal door. The sound of it crashing through the glass carried far into the night as the other unbroken windows seemed to glow with a low red light.
“What did you just do?” Elenore asked, her eyes a little wide though she did her best to keep her composure.
“Moving forward, Elenore. Moving forward.” he said as he tossed the flare gun to the ground before he retrieved his handkerchief which he used to clean his hands. “..and I want things to be good between us because I appreciate you. The young girl, Little Lady Sutler, as well as the comatose body of Sutler Kael are returned to your custody. They serve no further use in my plan and it is better they are out of the way for the next phase of it.”
He stared at her for a moment, her cold blue eyes meeting his burning red eye. Two predators stared at each other however Elenore refused to be the first to look away. She had always been cautious around Max however the Minister had always been problematic, both to predict and control. In this instance she errored on caution, ready to mace the mother fucker if he tried to jump at her.
The Minister smiled a cruel smile before he looked back toward the warehouse. Inside the red glow started to grow as orange fingers crawled up the sides of the glass and smoke started to pour through the hole the flare had made. Muffled noises started to come from behind the door, like the sounds of voices and banging. It was enough to draw Eleanor’s attention as she stared toward the heavy metal doors which had been barred from the outside.
“..are there people in there?”
A long silence answered Elenore as her eyes grew a little wider. The noises grew louder as did the banging and yet the Minister remained quiet. He took in a sharp breath, breathing in the smoke that started to fill the parking lot. As the smoke started to get thicker the noises slowly abided and stopped.
“No, doesn’t sound like it anymore.” Minister said as he gathered his socks and shoes. “You can gather the both of them at the Kael Estate in Arkham. With this I burn away the last of Max Kael in this world and, in no small part, a bit of Mike’s past as well. Don’t come calling, don’t come looking. If I need you, I’ll find you.”
Elenore stayed frozen in place as the fire started to lick the panels of the window, escaping out into the night. The sound of metal twisting and breaking joined the ever growing cacophony of noises of destruction rumbling from the burning warehouse. With his shoes and socks in hand the Minister lazily slipped next to Elenore smiling down at her as his hateful red eye stared into her own.
“Have a blessed day.”
A giggle turned into a laugh as the Minister moved past Elenore and into the long shadows of the night.
Elenore stood very still for a few moments longer, some primal fear keeping her stationary before the sound of the roof collapsing in the warehouse and the distant sound of sirens snapped her free of the grip of terror.
She quickly departed in the opposite direction preparing to leave for Arkham to retrieve Max’s two children.
People hate change.
Oh they like to talk about how they like Change. It’s a fucking tradition that on New Years Eve you make a resolution, a decision to change something about your life. Some people say that they are never going to smoke again. Some people promise themselves that they will start going to the gym, some people claim they are going to cut toxic people out of their lives.
Most people are fucking liars. It’s not entirely their fault, of course, we are creatures of habit, animals of comfort. Change means pushing ourselves into an uncomfortable place so that we hopefully can come out of it better. Unfortunately most people lack the willpower to endure that discomfort and so they never really experience change.
Thank fucking God for that.
If it wasn’t for people’s laziness, greed and gluttony, I wouldn’t be here with you right now. If Max actually wanted to become a better person, to control his life and grow, I would have been murdered on the couch of a therapist instead of running amok in High Octane Wrestling.
If Lee Best wasn’t such a selfish, greedy prick he never would have stocked the embers of my existence with the hopes he could manipulate me into being his attack dog. If Lee had thought that helping Max Kael was the better choice rather than feeding his madness I very well could have just been a very involved Live Journal entry instead of targeting everyone and everything that Mike Best had any connection to.
If Michael Lee Best had more value in himself and not in Championships I wouldn’t have lured him into a deal eight years ago where he sold his soul to me. If Mike had just been a reasonable person, if he had just accepted that he might not achieve every goal he set out to make, maybe I wouldn’t be here today prepared to ruin his life.
Fuck I love shitty people.
War Games is just around the corner, I can feel the little butterflies welling up in my stomach. The excitement at the chance to make a person bleed, to break bone, to tear muscle, to hear the screams and wailing of pain.. Fuck me.. Now I’m hungry. Possibly horny. Likely both..
And I don’t think anyone really gets it.
Now I know Cecilworth is a little lost right now, I can’t really blame him. He’s truly innocent in all this, his crime is simply that he is really great at what he does and has a title to show for it. A World Title, the High Octane Wrestling World Title specifically. It is a symbol for many that he is the BEST there is in the company and really, I’m not even going to try and dispute that. Everyone on my team in some way wants to tear that title out of your hand and that really puts a lot of pressure on you.
But you’re a stone cold killer, Cecilworth and for whatever selfish reason that Max called you a friend, it’s that ruthless, murderous quality that I love most about you. I know that when I walk into that ring you’re going to do your best for Mike because you’re a good friend and you’re a dangerous man. You’re going to walk into that match much like you did last year and seek to cause as much pain as necessary to win your team the match. Mike is lucky to have you and if he actually listened to you more rather then having his own, stupid little side projects I think he’d be stronger for it.
Unfortunately right at the moment you don’t have a pussy and a kid in college to really check off a few fantasy boxes for Mike.
Which I suppose brings us to Lindsay Troy. I have no fucking clue what you are supposed to be or what you are supposed to be doing here Lindsay Troy. I hope you enjoy being in the Group of Death because you really deserve to be in the eGG Bandits with Max Shell and the rest of those fucking idiots.
With Mike there is a person deep down inside of him worth saving. There is a real monster ready to be unleashed on the world but inside you?
Inside you is a baby incubator that will produce children. Yup, there it is, it was a joke because you’re a woman. Is it lazy?
It sure is. Fuck you, bitch, I’ve beaten you twice this year, being a woman is the most positive thing about you at this point. Stay the fuck away from Mike, I will literally stab you in the fucking neck. For real, this isn’t just some Jack Harmen bullshit talk, I will take a knife, at War Games, and I will stab it into your neck if I am able to.
Stay the fuck away from Mike.
The same goes for Dan Ryan honestly though killing you with a knife would be considerably harder. It is my expectation that Andy Murray or Perfection will handle you, at least, I hope so. I can’t drag this entire team past the finish line so just be a nice old fuck and stay away from Mike. I know you don’t have much left to give this World, I know the only reason you are in the Group of Death is because Mike needs that clutch hitter, you’re an excellent hand but you will never, ever being at the standard that the eMpire proper is.
Maybe once upon a time but now?
No. I don’t think so but there is potential. Right now, Dan Ryan, you’re holding Mike back while at the same time you’re probably the only thing holding Lindsay Troy’s head above water.
You know I just had a thought.
What if Dan Ryan is being held back by Lindsay Troy. What if, at War Games, Dan Ryan finally does what needs to be done, he breaks the final link in the Industry chain and he cuts Lindsay Troy off?
I think there is something there, friend..
..and of course..
Michael Lee Best.
I did it, Mike. I burned the Warehouse to the ground, every gimmick, plothole, sideline story, all of it’s GONE. I might have thrown a few of the Apostles in there as well.
I did it for you Mike.
I did it for War Games.
There is one more sacrifice coming, one more piece of your past that I will purify.
Until then, Mike.
Have a Blessed Day.