“What does the passage of time truly mean? They say that no matter how much secrecy is shrouded by the shadows of ones life, the answers will always come to light…one way or another. This was the motto that was slowly starting to become a constant fact reminder in my life lately. I wasn’t about to fight it. It was almost a welcoming change for me. I mean, I had a pretty successful life after all right? At least I felt that way…for the most part. However, there was still pieces of my life that I needed answers to and it was starting to look like the rest of it was coming together like a gigantic jigsaw puzzle. That was what my life was…a big mysterious jigsaw puzzle. It was always like that final boss level you get to that you have to face…that was how it was for me. My life had always been complex…there was nothing simple about it. So here I was trying to figure out what was next in this chapter for me…as it turns out…I didn’t have to wait too long for the answers to present themselves…”
The End in Sight?
Los Angeles, California
It was a bright, sunny day in the city of Los Angeles as the scene slowly opens up outside of a local cafe. It was early afternoon and business was just about over for the day. However, there was still some business left to be done. We are taken inside the cafe as we see Brian Hollywood sitting at one of the far tables, alone. He had a window view as he was looking out watching several passerby’s. He was a tad early to this meeting he had and all he had time was to think about the last few days and the only thing on his mind was the file that Jasper Espinoza presented to him regarding the death of his sister. Nothing was more painful than that memory. Someone taking the life of his sweet, innocent sister, Charity. She had her whole life ahead of her and it was robbed from her. Taken away from her like that second chance to have a fruitful life. This angered Hollywood and not only upset him, but it cut a whole right to his heart. It wasn’t long before that feeling turned to utter rage. Hollywood wanted nothing more than to find the cold heartless bastard who did it. But the biggest thing he also couldn’t get off his mind was that of why The Chair had this particular file in his position.
“What the fuck was he doing with the file? Why the fuck does he even care about this decades long cold case? Why would he use this to prove a point? Then again, maybe he wasn’t trying to. Maybe he didn’t want anyone to know that he knew about it. But why? The Chair would have easily used this on me because he knows it shows weakness. In fact, it’s my biggest weakness. Something isn’t right here…”
Hollywood wasn’t wrong in his thought process. Now this was starting to really fucking disturb him. He had known The Chair for years and he knew ANYTHING the Chair could use to exploit Hollywood’s weaknesses he would. So WHY didn’t he here? Now this was a feeling of doubt and Hollywood was starting to question if The Chair had anything to do with this case. The uneasiness was growing…but Hollywood didn’t have a chance to dwell deeper on it as Hollywood’s meet up had arrived. The man walks up to Hollywood as Hollywood stands up and shakes the guys hand.
Brian Hollywood: “Thank you for meeting me Mr. Donovan. Brendan Donovan, right?”
Brendan Donovan: “That’s right. We’ve met before. We’ve had a couple business dealings over the last seven years. It’s a pleasure to see you again, Mr. Hollywood.”
Brian Hollywood: “Please.”
Hollywood gestures towards the seat as he sits down and Brendan sits down across from him. Hollywood had already ordered them a couple cups of coffee as Brian takes a drink from his. Brendan didn’t come alone. He came with a briefcase in hand. Brendan was the resourceful type. He was based out of Chicago and he was a former detective with the Chicago Police precinct. He had been retired for a few years but the information Hollywood presented to him was a curious one as he had come to him in the past before searching for Charity’s killer all those lost years ago.
Brian Hollywood: “Did you bring what I asked you to?”
Brendan Donovan: “I did. Look…I know how close you were to this case, Brian. You were distraught then and you certainly aren’t far off from that now. But I’ve got to ask…why are you reopening this case again? The last time you got too close to this, you went on a blood bath of rage and it ended up in a direct conflict with the Men in SUIT’s. We all know how that ended. It ended up with a fellow officer in the hospital, one of your best friends, and another one of your closest friends getting beaten down pretty good. If I recall, you weren’t far off from worse from wear as well. So why open these wounds again? Do you really want history to repeat itself here?”
Hollywood thinks about this for a moment. He realized there was a lot of memories here and there was a big shootout that broke out between Hollywood’s forces and the Men in SUIT’s. However, Hollywood proceeds forward anyways. He was feeling pretty confident in his newly foundness of the case.
Brian Hollywood: “There has been a break in the case, Brendan. In fact…it was a former heavy hitter of the Men in SUIT’s who reached out to me with this information. In fact, it was Jasper Espinoza who presented me with this file I sent over to you.”
An interesting look of intrigue pops up on the face of Donovan. This was unexpected indeed. It was hard to tell what was intriguing him the most…the fact that it was Jasper who reached out to him in the first place or the fact that Hollywood allowed to hear him out in the first place.
Brendan Donovan: “Beware of your trust in Mr. Espinoza, Hollywood!”
Brian Hollywood: “What are you talking about? I didn’t have a reason to not give him the benefit of the doubt in trusting him…and you know I’m not the easy trusting type of guys. You know how cautious I am. I’m even harder trusting than Gerald Reeves is and you know how hard it is for the guy to trust ANYONE! So tell me…what is it that has caught your suspicions of the guy?”
Brendan takes a sip of his coffee as he tries to contemplate his words carefully. He didn’t realize how quick this meeting was going to make him grow quickly unnerved about the fact that Hollywood was working with one of the Men in SUIT’s so closely. It was like the alarm bells were going off in his head. Something didn’t set right with him. This seemed to be the pattern of topic of the evening here.
Brendan Donovan: “Well the reason I bring it up is because it seems like the activity has quickly picked up with the Men in SUIT’s unit again. It wasn’t until very recently that there group was reactivated. It had been a good four years since they last were organized. In fact, they hadn’t even been active since you and your friends defeated them the last time. So tell me…is the timing coincidental here? You meet with Jasper and not even a few days later, the group is reorganized again? I’m telling you man…the timing and the place is just mighty suspicious.”
Curious indeed. This caused Hollywood to sit back in his chair as he sips on his coffee slowly, contemplating Brendan’s words carefully. It was peculiar for sure as Hollywood had just heard it out of Jasper’s mouth himself that the group had been inactive ever since their defeat. In fact, it was Jasper himself who told Hollywood that the group was on thin ice with The Chair in the first place. So what changed here? Then, Hollywood had recalled his particular conversation with Jasper towards the ending of their meeting at the docks.
Brian Hollywood: “Where are you getting your intel at? As it turns out, I have it under good authority that the group was possibly going to be reactivated before they even were. You want to know how I know that?”
Brendan Donovan: “Please, by all means, enlighten me Mr. Hollywood.”
Brian Hollywood: “I’ll tell you what I think you didn’t get in your intel. Jasper told me that there would be a possibility that the group would be reactivated by the Chair. I had told Jasper that I wanted to get more information from the Chair’s Lounge.”
All of a sudden, Brendan’s ears perked up. Jackpot. Perhaps this was what was so shocking and illuminating to Brendan’s journey down to Los Angeles to meet with Hollywood. There was never a dull moment when it came to Hollywood’s life. He kept himself busy and he always had eyes on him. However, it was something Hollywood had said that grasped Brendan’s attention in the first place. It was almost as if Hollywood had given him the opportunity to potentially close out his career in the spotlight.
Brendan Donovan: “Did you say The Lounge? Like THE Lounge?!”
Brian Hollywood: “Pretty sure that’s what I said, yes.”
Brendan Donovan: “Dude….The Chair’s Lounge is the EXACT place I’ve been trying to infiltrate for the past decade! How the fuck did you come to learn about that? No one outside of The Chair’s closest confidants know the Lounge actually exists. So if I have had it under extreme wraps, how did you come to learn about it?”
Now this was getting really interesting. It almost sounded something out of Greek mythology. It had appeared that The Lounge sounded like it was mythical. A myth, indeed. But Hollywood was connecting the dots here. If The Lounge was so secretive and even the acknowledgment of its existence was called into question, then how did Brendan know about it. But Hollywood was a smart cookie and he smiled. In fact, he laughed for a good few moments which was puzzling to Brendan. Hollywood shakes his head as he finally answers Brendan’s question.
Brian Hollywood: “Wow. This is some good shit. I’ll tell you what I already apparently know, Brendan. Something that you didn’t have to directly tell me. The answer to your question is that you HAVE to have someone on the inside already. You ACTUALLY infiltrated The Chair’s organization. Which tells me you know more about The Chair than your letting on.”
Wait a minute…was this actually possible? Could someone have infiltrated The Chair’s corporation? This was a MAJOR breaking in the case in Hollywood’s war against The Chair and this could have been a big discovery in ending this war a lot sooner than he had expected. Of course, what this meant, is if Donovan had an inside man in the Chair’s organization, than that meant that he could have had the possible identity on who the Chair was. Now this case just became more valuable than Hollywood was anticipating.
Brendan Donovan: “I wish it were that simple, Brian. That’s why we haven’t had much luck on this case. I don’t have enough intel on The Chair because my contact went radio silent. He was supposed to always check in twice a week at a certain time. Well…the only problem with that is my contact hasn’t reported in……in two years.”
Brian Hollywood: “Two years? That’s a long time. What if your guy is no longer alive? What if The Chair discovered who he was and killed him?”
Brendan Donovan: “If that were the case, we would have discovered he died. But I can assure you….he’s not dead. Something went wrong. We don’t exactly know what happened to him. Could have been a number of things. The Chair could have discovered this with counterintelligence or he could have turned the asset. Or things could have gotten so deep, our guy may have had to go into deeper cover. All I know is that our asset, which his alias is all I’m giving to you, The Stingray, may have discovered something far too dangerous to report on. Which tells me that he is CLOSE! And if that is a possibility….then that means The Stingray has had DIRECT contact with The Chair and he’s seen his face…which is something I know only a HANDFUL of people have seen. I, too, know how careful The Chair is with revealing his identity to the world..”
This was troubling indeed to Hollywood. However, it also presented an opportunity at potentially finding out the secret identity of The Chair for the first time in years for Hollywood. Hollywood could feel how close he was. The fact that he’s stumbling on this now is no coincidence. Hollywood didn’t believe in coincidences. He knew he was close and knowing how close he was…all he wanted to do was press on.
Brian Hollywood: “What if there was a way to draw this out? I’m telling you….I feel like Jasper Espinoza has turned. I don’t know if he’s had any direct contact with The Chair….but what I do know is that he’s pretty high up in his organization. I want to give Jasper more time. In fact, there’s a chance that Jasper may have met your contact without knowing he’s been in deep cover. What if we can connect the two somehow AND get into The Lounge?”
Brendan shakes his head…there was doubts within him. There was a lot about this plan Hollywood was proposing to him that made it almost too dangerous to pursue. However, Brendan knew how much this case meant to Hollywood and he knew he was going to press this on as far as he had to in order to get answers…no matter the consequences. Brendan reconsiders and allows Hollywood to push the issue.
Brendan Donovan: “Alright…against my better judgement I’m going to go ahead and allow you to let this play out. However, it goes against every moral fiber of my being. This is borderline unethical and this can get us both in some deep shit if we allow this play out and it doesn’t go our way. Because if this backfires, this could have unintended consequences for everyone involved…and I’m talking about legal consequences.”
Hollywood nods his head..seemingly understanding exactly what he was putting at stake here. However, with how many times The Chair had the high ground against him, it was his turn to obtain the high ground. Hollywood wanted to pursue this no matter what and there was no changing his mind.
Brian Hollywood: “You know that all I care about is the fucking truth. I’m going to see this through…one way or another. I say let’s take the risk. You know me, Brendan, I’m a man who is always willing to take the risk, if necessary. We’ll here we are. Let’s give this a shot and see what spins out of the water here.”
Brendan Donovan: “Sigh…very well. But any sign and I mean ANY fucking sign any of this starts to go south…and I’m pulling the fucking plug on this operation. Understood?”
Brian Hollywood: “Understood.”
Hollywood nods his head as Brendan is hesitant but nods accordingly. Donovan trusted Hollywood’s instincts and he always knew he had that basic instinct….which is the only reason why he was allowing this to happen.
Brendan Donovan: “Very well….I’ll be in touch Mr. Hollywood.”
Hollywood nods his head as they both stand up from the table. They shake hands before Brendan nods his head and proceeds to leave the cafe. Hollywood takes a seat back down at the table and looks out the window feeling a sense of accomplishment and….hope as he couldn’t help but to wonder if the end was truly in sight. It would have been a welcome sight indeed if it truly was. However, the next sight he would lay his eyes on is something he wasn’t even expecting as he all of a sudden hears a woman’s voice as his ears perk up.
Hollywood’s heart all of a sudden drops as his eyes are temporarily fixed out the window. Could it be? Hollywood’s past was starting to really come blasting out and full circle. It couldn’t be her. Hollywood slowly turns his head as he all of a sudden lays his eyes on a blonde woman. His eyes widen..stricken with a long lost feeling of love as he stutters the only name to lay dormant in his heart. Talk about perfect timing in the worst possible way.
Brian Hollywood: “………AU……AUDREY?!…..”
A Battle Royal of Opportunity
“This was exactly what I needed. I got myself on the ICONIC card like I promised I would. That was never in question. I said I would do whatever I needed to do in order to get on the card and that’s exactly what I did. Because I’m officially entering my name in the Battle Royal for a chance to name the HOFC Group. Surprised? You fucking shouldn’t be!”
“I said I was going to make an impact and an impact is what I’m going to fucking make. You see, despite popular belief, my resurgence to the top of HOW is nigh. It’s been in the making the last few months of this year. I’ve been on a roll and I’ve found my spark again. I’m just getting fucking started too! For too long I was drifting on the sidelines trying to figure out if I was fucking done or not. The question had been impaled in my head like a swift but powerful blow to the fucking head. It was fucking strong, too! Everyone is quick to judge the judged in HOW. But the problem is that sometimes all it takes is the right ingredients to bring a dangerously dormant man out of the shadows and that’s what has happened here. I have no one to thank but the Best Alliance in this regard. You see, the Best Alliance reawakened something long long lost to the shadows. You could say I have the Best Alliance to thank for this entirely, but I would be lying if that were the entire truth.”
“The truth is that I needed to find that in myself, first. I needed to know that I could do it and that’s exactly what I did. But in a way, it all started with Mike Best. That knockout blow on the USS Octane for me was the start to this resurgence. It’s been a resurgence a long time in the making. I never thought Mike was capable of charity but the truth is he is. Something I would ever rarely admit publicly for the whole world to hear. But that is exactly the truth here. It wasn’t just the knockout that did it for me, though. I told you all that I would make a God bleed…and that’s exactly what I did. Did I ever believe I had a shot at beating Mike? Of course I did. But the first step to believing that was believing that I had the ability to make him bleed, first. I accomplished that. And then I got knocked out. You could call that cut and dry all you want…but there was a statement there. That statement also marked my run of singles victory after singles victory. Even in my tag team title defense against John Sektor and Jatt Starr, I wasn’t the one who got pinned in that match. Go figure. John Sektor knew that and he capitalized on that. I applaud him for that. He recognized that I already had two singles victories over the Best Alliance and he knew I had to be on the outside of the ring in order to win the tag titles and he did just that. But I also needed to lose the tag titles in order to keep me focused on what I long believed to be dormant and in the shadows. I needed to lose to realize that my destiny was to always persevere ALONE and I realize that in this battle royal, there may come a time where I need to rely on some help to get to the finish. Let me talk about that briefly.”
“I realize that Darin Matthews is also going to be in this battle royal. Let’s not fool ourselves here. The man will keep getting up and proclaiming he’s ready for the next fight. That’s something I’ve always admired about Darin. The man doesn’t stay down. Kudos to him, really. Can’t say anything bad about the guy. And if it comes to the point where if we have to team up to gun down the competition in this battle royal I have no problem in doing that. Then, when it comes down to it, we’ll square off and it will be the end of that. Because in the end, I only care about winning this thing for MYSELF! Darin, I hope you recognize that. I’ve been hungry for a long time…and it’s time to satisfy this hunger of mine again. I will do just that. It will just have to come at the expense of you….again. Just like old times, isn’t it? In a lot of ways, it always comes to the expense of you which has always elevated my game to the top. I mean, that’s how I ended the last era in HOW on top with all the singles championships in HOW. It’s almost eerie how all of this is setting itself up again isn’t it? It’s like history is doomed to repeat itself. But there is a difference this time, Darin. The difference is that I won’t carry any alliance in getting the job done. In the end, I did it by myself last time….I will do it again this time. But let’s not discount what you will try to pull in this match.”
“We all know that this battle royal means everything to everyone. I feel like there’s more implications in this match than Lee is leading on. Let’s not forget that I know Lee very well. I feel like there is more on the line than just a simple naming of an HOFC group name. Intuition has always been a strength of mine and I suspect there is an underlining stipulation in this match that he is keeping very mum. So I will use that knowledge to my advantage. I would be a fool to mention it to the rest of the potential field. But to remain on Matthews for just a few more moments…what is it that you will actually do in this battle royal Darin that you haven’t promised COUNTLESS times before? That this match is the match that will MAKE or BREAK your career? That you will do anything you have to even if it means giving your life in trying to achieve it? How many times have you threatened those words with us and have come up short? That’s almost like me making every Executive Promise in the world to move forward and have come up short in such events. I’ve done it…but the thing that separates me from you is that I EVOLVE myself and I proceed to change the game. I find a way to keep myself relevant and here I am with the singles success here while you gasping for air. You are on thin ice in the land of High Octane while I’ve backed up my game strongly in recent months. I’ve been able to find my itch again…ironically like John Sektor, who was FINALLY able to snap the streak of Steve Harrison. Congrats on that by the way, buddy. It’s only a matter of time before our paths cross again and THEY WILL! But right now, all focus is on this battle royal. But what I recognize in all of this is that even though I might come up short, I know I will press on because I know what’s on the other side. I think that’s why I don’t have to hold myself in high regard in this match and I fucking RECOGNIZE that! Uh oh…did Hollywood figure something out that no one else did? Wouldn’t be the first time, would it?”
“But I digress. Doesn’t mean I won’t try and prove a point in this battle royal. This is a good chance to prove that I have the versatility to combat a no doubt talented pool of players in this match. We already know Teddy Palmer will be in this match. I’m sure Cancer Jiles will be bored enough to enter, but we all know what I did to him in our last outing. Then of course you have Sutler Kael. The honest to god WILD CARD in this battle royal. You may have your daddy’s name unfortunately connected to you….and that’s honestly your weakness in this match. I know you want nothing to do with your father. It doesn’t put you in good standing with yourself and those are some of your own demons you’re going to have to wrestle with. But the fact of the matter remains…it’s there. I have no problem exposing that in this battle royal. A lot of things are going to present themselves within the next twenty four hours as this field of this battle royal reveals itself. We’ll see just who joins this battle for a chance to fight to gain that next traction in the cog of the wheels of the machine that never stop moving. The question will just be what the next move will be.”
“There is a lot of things that could happen in this match. But who will stand out? I’ve already been chomping at the bit to stand out again for a long time and this is where it STARTS for me…it doesn’t end though if I’m vaulted over that top rope. It just allows me to get my feet wet and to gain the opportunity to push forward again.”
“2021 is going to be a big year in the resurgence of Brian Hollywood. Now what I WILL promise you is that I will eliminate someone or multiple people in this match before this match ends. I’ve waited a long time in getting another opportunity to shine. But I’ve been building my platform carefully and methodically. That started against Mike Best and I’ve been instrumental in continuing that dominance ever since. This may not be single combat, but we’ve all seen how far I’ve come in coming back into the light in my old form. That form will be on full display this Saturday night at ICONIC and ICONIC is no better place than to show that form.”
“Come time for ICONIC…I will continue what I’ve naturally only just started. This is only the beginning my friends and I promise you the only BEST of Brian Hollywood is only on the horizon…and it’s simply only a basic instinct. It’s always simply been a basic instinct and that instinct has gotten me to where I am now…and it will get me to where I need to be in the end game. You can bet that as an Executive Promise…”