Shawn was gone last night, but I don’t remember the reason. He said he had a meeting, and since I had the night off after winning the HOTv Championship against Darin Zion and Zeb Martin. I figured I’d stay home and get some shit done around here. But I must have fallen asleep early, cause this place still looks like shit and I don’t remember much of anything.
I’ve never really had memory issues, up until now, at least not any that I’ve noticed. I’ve felt like there’s been moments where I’ve lost a few minutes here and there, but I’ve always blamed that up on post traumatic stress, or even traumatic brain injury that I endured thanks to the concussive blasts from the IEDs I encountered during the deployments that I’d been on in Iraq and Afghanistan. But now, these last couple of months…things are getting worse. It’s not that I’m not missing minutes anymore; I’m missing hours. Days sometimes, even.
Shawn flew in last night, it must have been late. He didn’t even bother calling me for a ride, like he normally would, he must’ve taken a cab or some shit. But that didn’t stop him from getting up early this morning and waking my ass up as well.
We’ve been sitting across the table from one another for about an hour now and he hasn’t said a fuckin’ thing. To make small talk, I relay my memory loss concerns to him. He leans back in his chair and shakes his head.
“Quit being a bitch about it, and pull your head out of your ass. That’s your fuckin’ problem, Steve. You never quit bitchin’,” Shawn says over the top of the mug of coffee at his lips. I’ve tried voicing my concerns over these memory gaps before, but I’m always met with the same level of resistance and bully-like tactics. Shut the fuck up and move on, that’s what he wants me to do. I just have to be capable.
“I mean, holy shit. We won the fuckin’ HOTv Championship and the only thing you can remember is holding the belt high up in the air once the match was over. These memory gaps can’t be that bad if we’re still winning. Am I right?”
Still winning? That’s an odd thing for Shawn to say, considering the track record I’ve had over the last year or so, but at least he’s seeing the silver lining for once, I suppose.
He’s also right that I don’t remember competing in that match. I don’t remember even leaving the house. The last thing that I remember was Shawn getting into that car with Clay Byrd and heading to the Best Arena. That’s the last thing that I remember, and I’m still confused as fuck. I’m legit concerned, and all that Shawn wants to do is sit in his bathrobe, sip his Splenda sweetened coffee, and stare at the HOTv Championship belt that has been laid out on the center of our shitty kitchen table.
“It’s a real thing of beauty, Steve. We’ve finally done it. You and I. After all these years, we’ve finally gotten us some of that HOW gold, and now all of the haters can slam their lips together and collectively shut the fuck up!” Shawn exclaims, holding his coffee up in the air. He laughs and takes a sip of the coffee.
Knock, knock, knock.
A gentle knock at the door perks my attention, and I whip my head around in its direction. I hear Shawn’s chair push back from the table. I look back toward him, and he points at the door. “Go get it, I’ll be upstairs,” he says as heads out of the kitchen and up the stairs.
I take a moment to gaze over the HOTv Championship on the table. I clench my fist and take a moment to appreciate the fact that I have finally won myself a championship. Remember it or not, I’m a fuckin’ champion now.
Knock, knock, knock.
Another gentle knock at the door, albeit a bit more forceful than the last. I shake the smile off my face and head toward the door. I take a deep breath before I swing the door open.
That sweet voice.
The draft from opening the front door drags in the smell of her perfume. I can’t tell you the brand, I can only tell you that it makes my stomach turn to butterflies and makes my heart race a million beats per minute. She leans against the door like you’d see some hot seductress in a fifties black and white detective flick. A cigarette hangs from her lips, stuck perfectly to her red lipstick.
She’s a Bad Betty.
“Got a light…champ?” She asks, her voice low and sultry. Constance never talks to me this way, this is the kind of shit I hear her say to Shawn. I wonder what’s got her in such a good mood.
Maybe there’s a new big dog in town?
Shawn would never let that happen.
I pat my shirt for pockets, but no lighter. I pat my jeans pockets, but no lighter. I circle around looking around the house quickly.
“I think. I think I’ve got one in the kitchen. If not, you can always use the stove,” I nervously say. I can tell she wants to scoff at the idea, but she fights through it and continues smiling at me. She bats her eyes at me, and I fall for it like the chump I am.
“Sure thing, honey,” she says, as she steps over the threshold and into the house. I turn toward the kitchen and head that way. I try to tell myself to be calm, be cool as she follows me in.
I rummage through the drawers as quickly as I can, but can’t find anything. I lean over the counter top, and prop myself up. I look back at her. She plops her little teddy bear backpack onto the table and crosses her legs just as I look back. Her flannel skirt rides up her thigh revealing her black garter belt.
The cigarette remains unlit between her lips.
I’ve never seen her so cool and calm. She’d usually be thrashing my self-confidence right about now, but she’s not. I walk over to the stove and light it up. She gets up from her chair and walks over. She leans over the stove. I take a peak and watch her skirt ride up, just below the creases of her rear.
I can’t help it. I want her.
But she belongs to Shawn.
I have to get rid of her.
“Wha…what are you doing here, anyway?” I ask, stuttering like a damn fool.
She lights up her Marlboro light and goes back to her seat at the table. She crosses her legs and looks me up and down. She takes a slow drag of her cigarette.
Something about a chick smoking a cigarette gets me going.
“I saw you on TV last night.”
I wasn’t on TV last night.
“They said you were the champion.”
I’m not THE champion, but I don’t correct her. I see where this is going and now I’ve fully realized her intentions.
“And?” I ask, trying to be the confident prick I used to be…before Shawn.
“And,” she says, getting up from her chair. She slowly walks into my direction, and I nervously lean back against the counter. I cross my arms, again…I try to appear tough.
She walks right up to me. She tosses her smoke in the sink behind me and presses her palms firmly into either side of my chest.
“I was just wondering, what you were up to today?” She rubs her hands up my chest and onto my shoulders. She grabs a hold of them and gently tries to pull me in. She closes her eyes readies herself for a kiss, but I hang back.
“I don’t think so, Constance.”
What the fuck am I thinking? This is what I’ve always wanted.
“What?” She says as her eyes open quickly.
“I don’t think this is the right time for this,” I say in a firm, but uncertain tone.
Her hands drop from my shoulders down to her side.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” She says in that attitude filled tone you never like to hear from a woman.
“Just because you’re the champion now,” I still don’t correct her, “doesn’t mean you’re too good for me now. I’m not some whore you can just bang and toss out whenever you feel like it.”
I’ve never been intimate with Constance and I’ve never been good to her. I’ll never be too good for her.
“You don’t think?” I ask, my arms still crossed. I didn’t mean to say that, it just came out.
She tsks her tongue at me and storms out of the room, grabbing her teddy bear backpack on her way.
“You asshole!” She shouts as she charges out of the front door and slams it behind her.
“Fuck, I thought that bitch would never leave,” Shawn says as he walks back down the stairs.
I ask him what her deal was, and he doesn’t give me much of an answer, he only shrugs his shoulders.
“Fuck her, man. We’ve got other shit to worry about right now, not some Harley Quinn wanna be – slash – case of schizophrenic skank.”
I tell him that he’s right and I try to shake it off, but I’ll be thinking about that shit later…I just know it. She was too hot to forget, but I’ve got to get my mind right. As much as I hate to admit that Shawn is right sometimes, he is right now. This is an important week for me…for us. I’ve…we’ve got our first title defense and Shawn knows that we’ve got to prepare. But almost just as important we’re back in the main event.
“We’ve got High Flyer this week, ya’ know?” He asks, but he knows that I know.
“We’ve beaten him before, I’m not overly concerned that we can’t do it again. BUT, this is our first title defense and I think we’ve got to be absolute, one-hundred-percent sure. We can’t leave anything to chance, Steve. This is our time, not his. He got himself a win last night, Steve. And ”
We’ve never beaten High Flyer before. I’ve beaten High Flyer before. I beat him before I ever even met Shawn Kutter. But somehow he’s managed to convince himself – and me – that he deserves some kind of credit for it.
I nod in agreement, but his rant isn’t finished. He’s never finished ranting.
“We’re talking about a guy who’s in his forties that still rocks green hair Steve.”
I point out that High Flyer is coming off a win this week and that his hair color should be the least of our concerns. Shawn laughs off my comments.
“Yeah, but against Lester Moregrimes. I mean, for real, Steve? I could’ve beaten my meat and Lester Moregrimes at the same time, and I probably would have sold more tickets that that withered old fuck. You saw the match. The only thing that he’s high flying these days is the luggage he stows in the overhead compartment on show days. By releasing Dan Ryan this week, in a brilliant move to save some cash, Lee Best has ensured that the last remaining member of The Industry in HOW is High Flyer, and he’s one-hundred-percent counting on us to send his old ass packin’.”
I hadn’t even realized that until now. The mission is becoming more clear the more Shawn lays it out for me.
“He is the last link that ties HOW to Lindsay Troy, can’t you see that? This is what Lee wants, and I know for fucking sure…this is what we want.”
There it is: purpose.
“The woman who destroyed your legacy. This is how we restore your fading legacy Steve. This is how the Best Alliance gets rid of any remnants, any memory of Lindsay Troy once and for all. This is how we cement our spot at the right hand of Lee Best. This is how we re-establish ourselves as the enforcer of the Best Alliance. This is how we do everything we ever set out to do. This isn’t just a title defense, this is the beginning of our path toward the World Championship. This isn’t just your ordinary match, Steve…this is a fuckin’ hit job.”
He’s right, about almost everything. This is our path to glory but I do have to remind him that Sutler Reynolds-Kael is the champion and that until he’s not, we will never attempt to be. That wouldn’t be in the best interest of the Best Alliance or Lee Best. I remind him that Sutler has been chosen by Lee Best and that for at least right now…he is the chosen one
“Yeah, Steve. But we can position ourselves appropriately. If we know our role, and we support the Best Alliance and Lee then we can position ourselves as the number one contender for the HOW World Championship, and that’s what we can do to help. And when…I should say if…Sutler ever loses the title, we will be right there to collect it back up for Lee Best. We will be the saviour of the Best Alliance, and all of that starts when we defeat High Flyer. All of that starts when we show High Flyer the motherfuckin’ door this Saturday.”
I agree with Shawn. We can be at the right hand of Lee Best, and we can be there to save the Best Alliance if we position ourselves properly in the rankings. We just have to be strategic and not do this with blunt force. We have to be smart, and Shawn’s a smart guy, I mean…just look at how he weaseled his way into the Best Alliance, just last night. Promises of taking over. Taking over what, I’m still not sure.
I ask him, out of sheer curiosity, if he’s even signed with HOW yet, and if not how the fuck did he manage to get a spot in the Best Alliance.
“I don’t need to be signed to be needed, Steve. Lee knows what I’m capable of, and I think he knows what kind of liability I am to HOW if I am signed. He would be responsible for anything I did, so I think this way is just easier for all involved parties. I’m a free agent, Steve. But we’re not. We’ve got a match against High Flyer, and that’s what you need to concern yourself with, not my HOW status. You think that 4th Wahl shit would have happened to you if I was in the building? I don’t fuckin’ think so, Steve. So just count your blessings that I’m now a part of the team, if you know what I mean.”
I don’t know why I let him talk circles around me like this, but I do. Nothing he just said makes any sense to me, but I go with it anyway…cause that’s the kind of friend I am.
“And this,” he says, pulling the luchador mask that Lee Best gave him last night from his back pocket. He holds the mask up, displaying it perfectly. “Is none of your motherfuckin’ business either, Steve. So don’t even bother asking.”
He pulls the mask over his head, putting it on. It fits like a fuckin’ glove. He raises his head, showing me his pearly whites through a giant smile.
“This is my ticket to a championship of my own, and that will happen when my potential is fully realized. That will happen when the inevitable happens,” he says, now smiling sinisterly.
I ask him what he means by the inevitable.
“When I take over.”