I AM READY:  Establishing Boundaries

I AM READY: Establishing Boundaries

Posted on March 24, 2023 at 11:57 pm by Darin Zion

Prelude

It’s a bright, sunny day in St. Louis, Missouri.  The golden sunlight beams into the huge, clear windows of the ThriveWorks Counseling Center office of Dr. Shelton Briggs.  Even though the birds outside sign their little-hearts out–silence fills the office of our good doctor.

The dark-skinned intellect leans back in his chair, staring up at the clock, patiently awaiting.  His itchy, forest green sweater annoys him.  The doctor is adorned in formal wear–black, shiny shoes; khaki St. John Bay slacks, and a beautiful red and silver bow tie.  He’s ready for business between two hotheads.

He flips through his notes for the umpteenth time–waiting for Jace Parker Davidson to come crashing through his solid oak door.  Dr. Briggs leans back into his plush, black leather chair, expelling a ton of oxygen from his lungs.  The gray-haired therapist rolls his eyes into the back of his head.

Dr. Briggs:  It’s been 55 minutes…he’s not coming, isn’t he?

Over on his burgundy, leather lounge sofa–REAL LOVE® Darin Zion leans back tossing a yellow stress ball into the air frivolously.  He’s draped with his new #97ToughLovePurple T-shirt, wearing fashionable jeans with holes in them.  The stoic expression on his face tells it all.  Darin scowls as he responds to his therapist.

Darin Zion:  Doesn’t surprise me one bit.  I’ve known this man for nearly 10 years.  Nothing ever changes with him…

Zion’s tan Doc Martens hit the floor.  He strolls confidently over to Dr. Briggs desk.  Fumbling around in his pockets–he pulls out his black, leather wallet.  Extracting out $1,000 cold-hard cash, REAL LOVE® slaps the money in front of his therapist.  Both men’s faces droop down in disappointment.  Dr. Briggs’ eyes sink to the beige and brown, stone-covered floor.

Dr. Briggs:  I can’t accept this…

Darin Zion:  It’s a tip for wasting your time.  I tried everything I could man.  Wish I had more to talk about in this session.  But honestly, I got a lot of that shit off my chest during my Sabbatical.  All I wanted is to close some minor gaps between Patchy the Pirate and myself.  Now the bastard doomed me to hell…I guess…

Dr. Briggs reaches up with his tiny, frail hands–shaking the LOVEABLE ONE’S® hands.

Dr. Briggs:  I wish you the best of luck against Christopher America and Evan Ward this week.  The former Ground Zero members…

Darin Zion:  Oh, trust me, I don’t need to relive my experience with them.  As The Order–those two went scorched earth on my stablemates and me.  You don’t have to explain to me the dangers of taking these two on in tag action.  They’ve only grown more dangerous.  It’s not luck that’ll get me through this match.  It’ll be skill alone.

Zion exhales loudly through his nostrils–his shoulders move him along.  He’s biting down on his lip–holding back his true thoughts.  His beet red face and protruding vein can’t explain the levels of frustration swirling through his head.

Darin Zion:  I’ll try something else out–I’ve got a few trainers that deal with people like America over in PRIME.  I’m sure they’ll put me through the ringer.

Darin pulls in the good doctor for a quick hug.  As he leaves, he salutes the doctor–exiting out the huge, daunting wooden door, feeling empty.

==========

Hell hath no fury like a scorned Vickie Hall. She spent all week converting her PRETTY PINK EXPRESS ® into a full-blown war room. In the front of the bus, she installed a HUGE 70 inch Samsung TV. A vast glass, circular table fitted with bright, pink leather chairs, replaced all the bus seating.  All the pink LED lights were removed, making this setting very serious.

Vickie Hall is on a warpath after Jace, Parker Davidson insulted her earlier this week. She is looking to expose the LSD Champion’s inner most flaws ahead of next week.

The valet of the Vow of Virtue donnes her pink and black army uniform. She forces the remaining LOVE CONVOY ® members into these uniforms. All three men sit at the meeting table with their arms crossed.  They have spent countless hours watching every JPD match on the HOTv app.

The group is under strict orders:  no food, no bio breaks, no rest, and no LOOOOOOOVE until they see anything they can exploit.

All the boys lean back in their chairs, heads tilted, collectively letting out audible sighs. Their eyes all glazed over from the same, daunting, repetitive task.

SNAAAAAAAP!  SNAAAAAP!  SNAAAAP!

Vickie unloads a handful of snaps towards her precious little freeloaders.

Vickie Hall:  Stop it my little lovies!  We can’t let our little piggy Jace Porker Davidsnout outsmart us.  Find anything and EVERYTHING you can so REAL LOVE can upstage that manwhore.

Jonathan-Christopher brushes off his wife’s obsession.  He nudges fellow CONVOY member Tristian-Crispin in the elbow.  Both men giggle like guilty school girls in the corner.

Both men start giving their own commentary to the match, embellishing their voices and actions.

Jonathan-Christopher Hall:  YUUUUUUGE SENTON SPLASH onto Alabama Hick Numero Uno!  I bet he probably is dreamin’ about marryin’ his cousin.

Tristan-Crispin Gladhappy: It’s totes obvi the Ala-bummer Gang are out of their element here.  Those nerds….

Immediately Darin Zion shoots his buddy TC the dirtiest look.  The PSTD wounds from taking a swirly at 36 years old still feel fresh to him. Never in his life did Zion think Lee would force him to relive high school trauma.

Tristan-Crispin Gladhappy: Errrr…those cousin lovin’ yuppies have no chance at winning the tag titles.  The HOT VEE Tag Champ’s game is on fleek.

Both JCH and TCG both slap their knees yucking it up to pass the time.  Unfortunately the same scowl stays plastered on Zion’s face.  It’s not a joke to him this week.

The Current #2 Ranked Wrestler has his mind elsewhere.  Vague daydreams keep plaguing him.  The image of Christopher America crushing his old gaming buddy Conor Fuse replays like a broken record on replay.

Darin begins fidgeting in his seat while he envisions his face replacing The Vintage One’s. The impending threat of the Final Alliance leaves Zion’s stomach with intense knots.  He couldn’t keep his focus.

Joe Hoffman:  Did Jace just abandon Scott Stevens?!

Suddenly, Darin Zion kips up out of his seat.  His finger wags towards the TV screen while he pours his heart out to his best friends, almost yelling at the top of his lungs.  He’s become almost unhinged, his eyes bulging out of his forehead.

Darin Zion:  SEE!  This shit isn’t gonna fly.  This is exactly what I’ve been talking about all week.  The egomaniac will always take advantage of anyone he determines is beneath him.  That’s all I am to Jace–a fuckin’ pawn led to the slaughter house this week.  It’s the perfect opportunity for me to get injured.

Darin Zion yanks on his hair–his fists and body quake with anger.  Vickie Hall comes up to him, resting her hand on his shoulder.  She slowly massages the frantic Zion’s muscles, trying to relax them.

Vickie Hall:  Take it easy, big guy.  Let it go…

Darin Zion:  FUCK OFF!  Lee Best didn’t lead your ass to the slaughter house this week.

Vickie Hall:  Zion…pick your battles.  Get your head in the game, hon.  You need to…

Darin Zion:  I know what I need to do this week, Vickie.  I’m standing in the ring with a psychotic HOW World Champion and his best friend.  The stakes are huge.  It’s my biggest match since returning–it’s also the most threatening.  Christopher America on his own has not lost to a single HOW roster member since winning the World Championship.  Now with his old friend Evan Ward at his side–he’s the most dangerous man I’ve fought to date.  Rebuilding has made him stronger.  And while he’s lost his ever loving God Damned mind–that only increases the threat.

Zion stomps his feet a couple times down on the bus.  He’s boiling so much; he starts to let out primitive grunts under his breath.  Finally, Zion slams his helmet down on the ground.  Reaching for the lever, he throws open the doors to the bus.  His loud stomps echo throughout the bus.

Vickie glares at her husband, who leaps up after his best friend–ignoring his wife.  Flying down the stairs, he watches a small trickle of tears come down–Zion’s eyes.  The sobbing Zion mutters under his breath.

Darin Zion:  It’s fuckin’ hard, man.  All this pressure with my brother still recovering from the stroke.  And that BASTARD teams me with my greatest rival.

JCH wraps his thicc arms around Zion, giving him a side hug.  He wipes the tears away from his BFF’s eyes.

Jonathan-Christopher Hall:   It’s exactly what Lee wants bro.  Mind games!  He knows you’re inches away from achieving your dreams, buddy. He’s trying to break you down mentally and physically, eliminating his most obnoxious threat.

Zion shoots JCH a mild scowl.

Jonathan-Christopher Hall:  Be better than Lee…better than Jace.  You already realize Love Conquers All, friendo.  You’ve got a good head on your shoulders.  Everyone expects Jace’s actions are sus AF.

Darin Zion:  It’s not that man.  This is literally the last step on my journey of growth.  It’s the hardest one…

Jonathan looks into Zion’s eyes, fully grasping what his buddy is laying down.  A tiny smile cracks on his face while he watches Zion’s confusion melting away.

Jonathan-Christopher Hall:  You know what they say…Forgiveness is the best form of Love.

Darin Zion:  Who said that?

Jonathan-Christopher Hall:  I don’t know–I looked that up on Google while Vickie was yammering incessantly about Jace.

Darin Zion lets out a loud snort, struggling to contain himself as he leans against the PRETTY PINK EXPRESS®.  Holding his sides, the LOVEABLE ONE® grins back with glowing eyes.

Darin Zion:  You’re right though…the only way I kill the past and move to the final stage–kill this 10 year grudge I’ve held against the man.  I can’t let shit like that cloud my judgment wrestling the #97Red, White, and Blue Champion and his little butt buddy.  I’ve gotta operate in the here and now.

Both Zion and JCH exchange a fist bump.  Both walk around in the middle of the forest–bonding for a moment, milking as much time away from Vickie as they possibly can.

==========

“God Damnit Jace! 

No, seriously!  In this dire situation, I find your lack of depth perception disturbing.  Like seriously, I never thought I’d say these words out loud.  But if you’re buying into all those moronic conspiracy theories swirling in that head of yours–you’re the dumbest motherfucker on the HOW roster.  That’s saying a lot since we still employ that waste of oxygen named Scott Stevens.

Honestly, I didn’t think when Lee Best took your eyeball – you’d literally stop seeing the big picture.  After all, I thought you were the most intelligent and ruthless HOW LSD Champions of all time.  I’d given you a helluva lot of credit over the past weeks.

As my biggest rival over the course of nearly 10 years–you should know me inside and out at this point.  You know I’m one brash, proud MFer and it’s shown over my career.  It takes a lot for me to PUBLICALLY swallow my pride and make ANY attempt to mend fences with you.  Everyone from the fans to the HOW roster knows my disdain for you.  Never once have we stood on the same fuckin’ side of the ring since our paths crossed.  We’re mortal enemies destined to lock horns until the end of time.  Between our endless Twitter battles to our brutal wars in this ring.  We’ve never shown one single ounce of LOVE towards one another.

This week should have ended differently.  This time, REAL LOVE® understood the fuckin’ assignment.  

Sure, I’m the first one to admit my ways are unconventional for a professional wrestler.  We’re all a bunch of stubborn meat heads who don’t wanna show any weakness.  I get the tough man machismo you’re oozing right now.  I’ve been there myself, Jace.  It took me 4 years to pull my head out of my ass and evolve.  I needed to embrace some self-confidence.  I needed to learn to set aside any petty rivalries to fight for survival here in HOW.  I heavily STRESS this point–I knew our little “partnership” was a temporary business alliance.  I didn’t expect us to walk out of the ThriveWorks Counseling Center best friends.

I’m not looking for a replacement for Xander Azula or Brian Hollywood at this stage in my career.  I want to survive the Final Alliance’s abusive power-trip shit this week.  I NEED to make it to our date with destiny, clashing over the LSD Championship next week.

It’s no secret that REAL LOVE® HAAAAAAAATES Lee Best. I’ve made it abundantly clear since returning to HOW in January.  That dense fuckstick strapped a ticking time bomb to my chest.  And every match I wrestle—the clock ticks closer to midnight.  Fun fact if you wouldn’t skin my promos—this is my last chance in HOW.

After our little “tag match” I’ve got 13 matches left to “prove myself”.  Next week the count dwindles down to 12. It’s Lee’s sadistic form of “exercising control” over the untamed, LOVEABLE ONE®.

But I see this form of manipulation for what it truly is—a toxic, abusive relationship. It’s his sick and twisted fetish to cause Darin Zion pain at every turn.  Even after giving my blood, sweat, tears, body, mind and soul to the HOW Machine – it’s never enough.   It doesn’t matter if I’m dominating the competition or standing like a loyal pawn going to the slaughter.

IT. ISN’T.  ENOUGH!

I know what this man and his Final Alliance is capable of doing.  Spoiler alert – I didn’t need you to lose your eye and your sudden epiphany to explain it to me One-Eyed-Willy.  Hell, even those moronic swirlies they pulled last week didn’t make me see clearly.

My two FUNCTIONAL eyeballs have witnessed this shit for the last 10 years.  Lee Best manipulated my best friend to stab me in the back.  I’ve watched him eradicate my 18 years of hard work across this industry – reducing me to some worthless puppet of his “MACHINE.”  Lee constantly dangles carrots above my head – yanking them back and teasing me.  Hell, the man’s left me in shambles any chance he’s gotten.

You’re now experiencing a FRACTION of what I’ve dealt with and it’s suddenly your cross to bear.

No you shallow motherfucker – it’s MINE.  It’s always been MINE!

Yet somehow, your narcissistic ass still buys the propaganda his dusty old ass spews out about me.  Like all those shallow minded fools in the world – you’ve sold yourself out to “your own research.”  You think I’m gonna sell my soul to the devil himself for some flash in the pan experience–giving up all the morals and wars I’ve battled against my abuser.

As Meatloaf says “I’ll do anything for love…but I won’t do that!”

You’re narrow-minded bullshit doesn’t understand the gravitas of this match.  Lee didn’t just send his two best soldiers to dominate this so-called NERD ARMY.  Lee Best sent the longest reigning and most dominating World Champion and his brain-washed, knee-wielding insurance to obliterate his problem-children.

TL;DR for a simpleton like you – he’s hoping to eliminate his enemies.  He wants to injure us, end our careers, vacate the LSD Championship, and bestow it to one of his little jock meat puppets.

That’s why I invited you to therapy–so we could better coexist and stick it to him.  I wanted to increase our chances of becoming the first two people to bring America down a peg.  Yet you wanted to throw it all away to be the hero of your own story.

So this week, I’m not fighting along your side–since you proved to me you can’t handle the pressure.  I’m gonna do it in SPITE of you.  I’m going to stop at nothing to pin the reigning HOW World Champion to send a clear message to you ahead of your LSD Title defense next week against me.

I maybe on a suicide mission to END Lee Best’s tyranny in HOW–but the #LOVESTILLDOMINATES Title ranks above all else.  Even though next week, you’re the Final Boss, The Glass Ceiling standing in my way to glory – I won’t let you walk all over me like I’m a doormat.  Since you didn’t want to hash this shit out privately–here’s my boundaries in this match:

  • Save our petty bullshit until after the match.  I don’t care if you want to show the world your fragile little “ego” afterwards – do NOT try to stab me in the back at all during the match.  I get one inkling you’re about to pull shit in the middle of this little war–I won’t hesitate.  I’ll drop your ass in the center of the ring and I’ll leave you to die at the hands of the Alliance.   You watched me try to weasel out of facing Brian Hollywood in October of last year.  I’ll shit on my reputation again to prove a fuckin’ point.
  • Don’t pull that shit you did with Stevens.  I’m not afraid to take any losses–I’ve looked up at those lights a helluva lot the last 4 years.  You try to skip out on me, leaving me to take the damage–I’ll embarrass you in front of the world.  I’ll slither out of that ring and take a count out loss.  I’ll make a fuckin’ point to gnaw at the little perfectionistic voice in your head.  Since I know how you tick–you won’t let your pride take the loss due to a defiant Zion.

 

  •  We’re equals in this match.  I don’t care about your Hall of Fame accolades Jace.  We’re fighting to survive this week.  I’m putting aside historic rivalry to stand at your side.  You fail to treat me as such – I’ll fucking do to you what I plan to do to Lee Best.

There’s no hiding. I don’t trust you at all with my livelihood or my life, Jace. That’s the one common bond we’ve got going against Christopher America and Evan Ward.  But if it means we can survive and collide over the LSD Championship, escaping without injury.  You’re damn right I’ll swallow my pride to make history next week.”

==========

Exiting the PRIME training facilities in Las Vegas, Nevada–Zion felt ready to take on the biggest challenge in his way.  Taking his #97ToughLovePurple towel, he wipes away the beading sweat away from his forehead.  He flexes for a moment in the reflective windows, admiring his more toned biceps protruding from his black sleeveless workout shirt.

While REAL LOVE® flexes, he catches a glimpse of a familiar lime green logo popping out from a black van pulling up from behind him.  The door flies open from the van and a bald, 5’6” man drops down to the sidewalk.  This middle aged, black goateed individual wore a gray suit coat and denim jeans.  As the camera crew finishes their preparation–this weird dude rushes up to Zion, shoving the microphone straight in his face.

Shawn Lester:  Ladies and Gentleman–I’m Shawn Lester with Shawn Lester Sports DOT COOOOMMMMM!!!

The awkward interview strikes a weird pose towards his company’s logo in the van.  Darin Zion shoots these shenanigans down instantly.  Rolling his eyes, he rubs the bald dude’s head, giving him a glowing red friction burn on the top of his head.

Darin Zion:  Cut the shit, Shawn–I know who the fuck you are.  We’ve been best friends for 15 years.  I invited you out here.

Shawn crosses his arms against his chest.  Zion doesn’t pay one iota of attention to his friend.  He continues to flex and sell the gimmick.  Lester shakes his head and continues forward with the interview–once again shoving the microphone in Zion’s face.  The annoyed Zion pushes the microphone to a normal level while Lester continues.

Shawn Lester:  Anyways…I’m surprised you’re not out at the HOW facility in Chicago today.  Don’t they usually do all your interviewing needs and handle all this shit for you??

Darin Zion:  I don’t trust Lee Best’s cronies not to fuck up my shit again.  After that egregious and unwarranted attack–I can’t trust Lee’s staff members not to accidentally leave a private gym locker untouched.  Wouldn’t surprise me if America tried to blind side me.  Hell, I’m sure the EPU could arrange an accident.  And the best interview he sends me–Brian Fucking Bare.  If it ain’t Blaire Moise at this point–I’m hiring SLS Live and Walker Stewart to handle my shit.

The sad middle-aged man frowns at Zion who mentioned his rival, Walker Stewart’s name.  The confident smile oozes from Zion while Lester continues to question him.

Shawn Lester:  Speaking of which–I’m sure the HOW fans out there wanna know who you trained with today at the PRIME facilities?

REAL LOVE® raises his silver Oakleys off his eyes.  Darin raises his eyebrow at Lester, before realizing Lester was serious.  Darin groans before the cheesiest, shit-eat grin forms over his face.  He brushes his shoulder while responding.

Darin Zion:  I don’t wanna be RUSSIAN to conclusions…but I may have a TROY-jan horse or two up my sleeves.  If ya pickin’ up what I’m layin’ down…

Shawn Lester:  OH IKYKIK buddy.

Shawn Lester starts elbowing Zion, but before he can continue jostling  Zion–something unexpected occurs.  The annoyed Darin trips his best friend, causing Lester to face plant straight into the ground.

Darin Zion:  I ain’t sharing my secret, you moron.  I’d be dense to divulge that Top Secret Information.  Whoever I met with in that facility–knows Christopher America well.  They understand I’m up against the wall with a worthless ball and chain strapped to my ankle and a ticking time bomb attached to my chest.  REAL LOVE’S up against the wall this week.

Lester gets up off the ground and brushes himself off.

Shawn Lester:  I felt for you when they announced that you and JPD would team up to face Christopher America and Evan Ward.

Darin Zion:  Let’s get something straight here, Shawn.  Under normal circumstances–I’d rather be placed in a 3-on-1 Handicap match than team up with Jace.  But it’s the hand I’m dealt…

Shawn Lester:  But aren’t you worried that the reigning HOW World Champion will…

Zion sticks his hand straight into Lester’s face.  Turning his attention towards the camera–REAL LOVE’S tone changes while addressing the HOW World Champion.

Darin Zion:  After 15 years–you should know I don’t fear challenges.  I rise to them.  Let’s get something straight–I recognize Christopher America as one of the great HOW World Champions of all time.  He’s quite the American hero people once looked up to…

Zion turns his attention towards Lester and emphasizes his next statement.

Darin Zion:  Keyword ONCE…

Shawn Lester:  What do you mean?  He’s still dominating the HOW roster today.

Darin Zion:  It’s crystal clear the man’s only got one damn focus in this match–his imploding friendship with Jace Parker Davidson.  He wants to focus on teaching Jace a violent lesson.  And after a hard day’s work–the poor, perverted unsung American Hero probably wants to film some weird kinky PornHub shit with the #97Red Championship.  The sick bastard’s brain is riddled with the rot and propaganda the Best Administration feeds him for breakfast.

Shawn Lester’s eyes leap out from his sockets while The Loveable One continues with his tirade.

Darin Zion:  You’ve gone too far America–you’ve let that over inflated ego carry your head up into the clouds again–forgetting the smallest details.  You’ve forgotten you’re in a tag team match with me.  You know–the annoying little shit head you told to retire a year ago in a news post.

Zion nods while Lester’s feeling the vibes.

Darin Zion:  I didn’t forget America.  I hold fucking grudges for years.  Well, this little worthless sack of shit you called out a year ago–plans on dealing you a major blow.  The most embarrassing blow to your career to date.  You thought Ivan killed your career.  Wait until one of those worthless, lazy good for nothing shit heads you’ve balked at pins your shoulders to the mat.  Trust me America–ask Jace how much punishment it is to lose to me.

Zion cracks his knuckles while he steps closer to the camera.

Darin Zion:  I can’t forgive you for it.  And I can’t forgive you bastardizing love like you did on live TV last week.  God damn you sick freak.  LOVE IS BETWEEN TWO HUMANS–NOT AN INANIMATE OBJECT.  If you want that shit–go follow JPD to the local porn shop and buy yourself a fuckin’ blow up doll you gimmick-infringing jack ass.

Shawn Lester:  And what about Evan Ward?

Zion’s smile grows as he pauses for a moment.

Darin Zion:  What about Evan Ward?  And before you give me the spiel–I don’t give a rats ass about Evan Ward’s HOW past.  This man’s got ring rust for days.  The man sold his soul to the Final Alliance.  Now he’s rich and has an island.  Is he trying to be Brian Hollywood?  Because that’s a low fucking bar to start.  Brian Hollywood wants the HOW World Championship.  Scott Stevens wants the HOW World Championship.  Every God damn wrestler in the world has the same fuckin’ goal.  Sooner or later–every wrestler sells their damn soul to the devil named Lee Best.

Zion crosses his arms against his chest.

Darin Zion:  You mean to tell me this is another HOW wrestler I should be shaking in my boots who flakes after two matches and pairs up with Lee Best all because he kicked my best friend in the damn face.  He knee’d a former World Champion so hard the world heard it from Old Trafford?  Please…the Egg Bandits pulled this shit when they returned.  Ward will peter out–flounder into obscurity and become like the other faces HOW legends.

Zion points his finger right at his chin.

Darin Zion:  Go ahead Ward…plant your knee right here.  Because I’ll wrap my arms around your throat and suffocate you so fast…they’ll name the next shade of PRIME blue after you, Ward.

Shawn Lester tries to chime in, but Zion cuts him right off.

Darin Zion:  To me, you’re a threat standing in my way to get the ultimate prize next week:  Jace’s LSD Championship.  Both you and America stand in my way.  I don’t give a fuck who or what stands in my way to my Final Level and my Final Boss next week.  I’ll cut whoever the fuck it is down ten pegs and deliver their heads personally to Lee Best’s desk.

Zion’s face is a bright shade of red.

Darin Zion:  To me–you Final Alliance fucks are fodder for the great task ahead.  So I suggest you focus your eyes on me instead of Jace.  I’m a bigger threat than you Jockholes realize.  If not, well looks like I’ll be sending STRONG message to your boss AND JPD that I’m ready for war.

Zion storms off towards his rental car, leaving Lester to stand around like a moron as the scene fades to black.