“We’re All Mad Here” – The Cheshire Cat; Alice In Wonderland
The intense white light blinded Clay, he shielded himself from it with both arms… He rapidly began patting himself down, light’s be damned. He rolled off whatever contraption he was on and landed on the ground with a grunt. He grimaced, he felt tubes pull out of most of his orifices, he ripped an IV out of his arm and threw the pole. His eyes slowly adjusted to the room. This time it was familiar, the blue stucco walls with the paint peeling. Strangely, waking up in the same place was refreshing given the circumstances.
He looked around the room, there were multiple men in the room this time. Much of the equipment that Clay had been attached to was gone, instead he saw doctors treating patients. He felt the back of his head, where the man had found the scar. Just above it, Clay could feel the familiar texture of stitches.
The Behemoth took a deep breath, waiting for the inevitable pounding in his skull to start. He watched and tried to listen to the doctors, they were all speaking in Spanish. Clay could pick out a few words, but not enough to understand any of the conversation. He looked the men over, nobody with a hunchback, or a distorted eye was present.
“Of course he’s not here,” Clay said under his breath. Abduction, possession, whatever the hell it was he had gone through, getting the answers to the riddle clearly wasn’t in the cards for Clayton Byrd. At least not from the man that knew them. He pressed himself up off of the dirt covered floor.
“Where is he!?” Clay shouted, the outburst frightened the other patients. The Behemoth swept a table full of medical equipment to the floor. He charged one of the doctors, and his patient tried to jump into Clay’s path.
Clay smashed his skull with a left hand, sending the man careening backwards into the wall. Two more left hands were fired, while The Monster’s right arm reached out and took the doctor’s neck. Clay pressed the doctor against the wall, squeezing until the doctor stuck his tongue out, gasping for air.
“WHERE THE FUCK IS HE?!” Clay shouted at the top of his lungs. He tilted his head around the room looking at the shocked bystanders.
“TELL ME WHERE THE FUCK HE IS, OR YOU’LL END UP LIKE HIM!”
Clay pointed to the man bleeding from his ears who was slumped beside the doctor. The Behemoth wanted this all to be over. He wanted to be back in California waiting for his match with Jace Parker Davidson. He wanted to be in a gym somewhere, meticulously sculpting his body, he wanted to be preparing his mind. He did not want to be in a Bolivian prison.
The door to the infirmary was flung open, Clay tossed the doctor haphazardly across the room into another pair of doctor and patient. He turned towards his newest adversary, he brushed his unkempt blonde hair from his eyes and saw that he was staring down the barrel of a Glock 19. Clay shot across the room without a second thought, directly into the man’s face. Clay placed his chest against the barrel of the gun while he looked over the man before him. His camouflage uniform identified him as a member of some type of military force. He slowly lifted the gun from The Behemoth’s chest to his forehead.
“PONTE DE RODILLAS!” The man shouted in Clay’s face. Clay looked the man over a second time, an envelope protruded from his pocket and Clay’s High Octane Wrestling bag was in the man’s left hand.
“PONTE DE RODILLAS!” He screamed a second time in The Behemoth’s face. Clay looked him in the eyes, the brown orbs were clearly intense and intent on following some form of orders. Clay was confident if he flinched the man would put a bullet in his brain, and since it was currently working as intended.
Clay dropped to his knees.
The uniformed man stepped around to Clay’s side and took a step backwards out of The Monster’s range. Clay heard his bag drop and glanced to his side, the uniformed man still had his gun trained on Clay’s head. Now though, instead of the bag, the envelope was in his left hand. He lowered himself down to the dirty floor and slid the white envelope across it. Clay picked the envelope up and briefly analyzed it, his name was written across the front in nearly perfect handwriting, and some type of wax seal was pressed to the back. Clay looked at the man and nodded for approval to open it, the last thing he wanted was a trigger happy delivery boy. The man nodded back, and Clay tore into the paper. He pulled the short letter out and read it to himself.
I believe the surgery was a success. It’s difficult to tell with these things. As I expected, I was not able to completely remove the chip; however I believe I was able to deactivate many of the features. Primarily, I was able to deactivate it’s ability to take control of your neural system. The deactivation may have some side effects, I’m sure with the experimental nature of the procedure you understand that.
I was not able to alter the chip’s primary programming, and it still may try to manifest itself through other means. The Minister is an incredible foe, and the technology in the chip was beyond my complete understanding. I believe it has some form of artificial intelligence. I’ll be monitoring you through the same channels I have been, looking for changes in your behavior.
I would have liked to deliver this information to you personally, but with the ongoing civil war in the Kael family I need to return underground. I’ve exposed myself and my organization with this mission. I would have liked to have been there when you awakened to conduct a thorough post operative analysis of you, however I cannot. The man that handed you this letter is a mercenary with specific instructions. He has your personal belongings and will give them to you.
You’ll need to provide him with a sign that you and I would only know, and he’ll remove the firearm from your temple and you will be free to continue your life as you see fit. The other side of the Kael family, if encountered, will attempt to abduct you or destroy you. I’d recommend lowering your profile, but if that is impossible, tread carefully.
Until I See You Again,
Clay paused for a moment and looked at the man, the gun was trained on Clay’s head. He held out his hand asking the man for the bag, the man shook his head and delivered the universal sign for no. His eyes journeyed from the white notebook paper, to Clay, to the gun, and then finally back to Clay. The Behemoth read back over the letter, clearly he had skipped over the part about the sign. Clay inhaled deeply, then exhaled. Did his life or death really depends on a stupid sign? There wasn’t some other test the man could do? He closed his eyes and relived the horror, finally he was semi-confident. He held up his left hand and put his thumb in the air.
“Is this what ya needed ta see?” Clay shook his head as he said it. Being gunned down in a Bolivian prison infirmary would be a hell of a way to go. Surviving the gun battle, a chip possessing him, living through some maniac doctor performing brain surgery in a dirty prison infirmary, to die because he couldn’t remember a simple sign…
Clay’s bag landed in front of him. Clay looked up and the man with the gun was already out the door. Clay slid his cowboy hat over his greasy matted hair and continued through the bag. His ring gear was all there, his wallet, everything that he needed to travel was present… besides his passport.
“MOTHER FUCKER!” The Monster roared as he tossed the bag across the room. He’d always kept his passport in the bag. Clay turned to look at the doctors and patients, they immediately took off to the entrance. As they approached the door the doctors and patients stopped in their tracks and backed up into the Infirmary.
Whatever was on the other side of that door scared them more than The Behemoth. Clay cracked his knuckles and flexed his shoulders as he got to his feet. Whatever they were scared of was enough to put himself on alert. The doctors filed back into the room slowly and orderly, a hispanic man in a light blue suit stepped through the doorway. Clay didn’t see anything to fear by the man’s stature, but just like in High Octane Wrestling, the most dangerous men weren’t always the largest. It was the man who employed the largest, four men stepped through the doorway behind the blue suited man.
“The rest of you can leave,” the hispanic man in the blue suit said, dismissing the doctors and patients with a flick of his wrist. The doctors grabbed their comrade, who was still holding his neck while the other prisoners helped the prisoner with the broken face out of the door. The man looked at Clayton and smiled.
“Looking for this, Amigo?” He said producing the passport from a pocket inside of his sports jacket. Veins were showing in Clay’s neck, his anger was clearly on display for everyone to see.
“Give me it.” Clay said, ignoring the four men that currently surrounded him. The man in the blue suit laughed and put the passport back into his inside pocket. He smirked at Clay and nodded.
“I’ll give it to you…” Clay knew there was something coming, nothing in the world was that easy. He couldn’t imagine a Bolivian prison being any different. “…But I need a favor from you.”
“What is it?”
“I have someone that needs to be eliminated. He’s causing a stir amongst the poor prisoners who can’t afford the luxuries of my section of the prison.” The man said as he took a step away from Clayton and began to pace around the room.
“I’m not a criminal or some henchman for hire…”
“You’re not the guy I watch on television that’s employed as Mr. Best’s muscle?” The man asked with his eyebrow raised.
“I must have been mistaken, I’m sorry, we’ll get a hold of the consulate. I’m sure they’ll get this figured out at some point in the next thirty days… unless you have someplace to be?”
“What day is it?” Clay asked, he realized the passage of time, the recovery from a brain surgery. It clearly wasn’t the Monday after Refueled anymore, or the Tuesday for that matter.
“It’s Wednesday the 27th, and if I remember correctly you need to be in another prison infirmary by the 30th.” The man said with a laugh, he walked behind his goons tapping the spot on his chest where Clay’s passport was stashed away. The man was right, with his passport Clay could return to the United States quickly. Without it, he was looking at weeks of approvals, a mountain of questions about how he got into Bolivia, what he was doing here. There was only one option.
“Can ya get the feller ta come ta the infirmary?” Clay asked, he dried his palms off on the makeshift hospital gown he was wearing. He got paid to beat people up, he got paid to take them to the brink. He’d never taken anyone across it.
“Shouldn’t be too hard to do, I’ll set something up. Glad you decided to see it my way, I’ll make sure your flight is ready to leave when you’re done.” The four henchmen went towards the door and Clay stopped them with a question.
“How the hell am I supposed ta just walk outta here?” Clay asked, the man shook his head and smiled.
“Clay, this is San Pedro. We own the guards that watch us…” He said with a grin and a nod. He went to turn around again before Clay stopped him a second time. Clay didn’t know if he could trust the man, but it was his best shot of getting out of this place in time to be at Alcatraz to handle the problem of Jace Parker Davidson.
“Can ya put a line on the ground just outside that door fer me?”
I’m glad I finally have yer attention. This match has been booked fer what? Two months? Nine weeks? I’m glad ya finally realized ya have a fight fer yer life on yer hands. But I’m afraid it’s too late, all the flirtations with Michael, all the flirtations with Sutler, all the talk about bein’ the number one ranked wrassler?
See where it’s gotten you?
It’s funny to me that you thought if you had worked your way into the Rumble At The Rock main event that you would just leave me in the dust. Jace, do I look like a man that can be just left on the side of the road without there being consequences fer yer actions? Do I act like a man that can be passed over so easily? Just discarded on yer way ta the top?
Jace, that’s not how any of this works. When I’m handed a target, I focus on the target. Things like title belts, main events, big matches? They’ll happen when they happen, as long as ya do yer job, yer granted opportunities. Ya don’t need ta stand outside on the mountaintop screamin’ that ya should be next in line Jace, if ya hurt the people ya get told ta hurt, if ya do what needs done, GOD will bless you.
When’s the last time you’ve done that Jace?
Yer probably wonderin’ why this match even happenin’? How did this booking make its way into that 970,000 page Bottomline contract? We were on the same side, we were in The Alliance together, we were supposed ta be allies…
I’ve been blessed, Jace.
I’ve done what was asked. I went to war for GOD, and fer my reward he asked me a simple question the night before Bottomline. That question was: “Who do you want next?”
I had no idea Mr. Best was going to go into that cage and kneel on the canvas and take that knee to the face. I had no idea The Best Alliance would end and we’d be on our own in the land of High Octane. I had no idea I’d tap in the Sektor stretch. But I knew who I wanted ta face Jace.
So why pick you? What makes Jace Parker Davidson so important ta me?
I looked at that roster, and if there’s one thing I hate Jace, one thing I hate more than anythin’ is a fuckin’ snake oil salesman. There ya were, a member of The Alliance, but why were ya there? What made ya sign the dotted line? It wasn’t money like the rest of us, it wasn’t the joy of causin’ pain and sufferin’ like some of us. Ya were hangin’ out with a pack of wolves, but the truth of the matter? You were nothing but a sheep wearing a wolf outfit. It was Halloween and Jace Parker Davidson was out trick-or-treating as a Best Alliance member. Sure, ya set Ray on fire, but ya did that fer yerself. When it came down ta it, when it came down ta the brass tacks, even the simplest of things alluded ya.
I had massacred Darin Zion, I had destroyed him, and there ya were Jace. Handing Tiny Tim back his crutch after I kicked it out of his fuckin’ hands. Yer little stunt with Ray cost us, it cost the boss financially, and eventually because of yer punishment we had another body ta take care of in War Games. Every breath ya took Jace, ya managed ta make things more difficult fer us. Ya embarrassed us at every turn. Hell, one of yer last actions as a Best Alliance member was deep throatin’ a microphone on television ‘cause a lil fuckin’ gymnast made ya.
Sure, ya had the TV title, and ya beat a bunch of never was’ and has been’s in the ring. Nobody was scared of crossin’ Jace Parker Davidson in the ring. Nobody was pissin’ their pants when they saw yer name on the card. Hell, some idiot who sponsored a pay-per-view ta get a roster spot beat ya. Ya weren’t like the rest of us Jace.
Ya never have been, and ya never will be.
Ya know what really excites me though? Is that ya managed ta get somethin’ added ta the pot, kickin’ the fuck out of ya was gonna be ‘nough fer me. Beatin’ ya ta death was all I wanted, but yer insistence, yer persistence ‘bout wantin’ that #97Red strap added a whole new level to this encounter.
‘Cause Jace, I ain’t gonna try to drag ya over that fuckin’ line in that Infirmary. I’m gonna beat the livin’ fuck out of ya, and I’m not gonna stop beatin’ the livin’ fuck out of ya until I think we’re done. You’ll beg me ta drag ya ‘cross that fuckin’ line Jace. You’ll just want the pain ta stop, you’ll beg me fer the beatin’ ta finish. But I ain’t gonna be done on yer time Jace, naa I’m gonna take my sweet time in there.
You thought that match with Evan Ward was bad? You haven’t seen a fuckin’ thing yet.
So I’ll take what ya want, what ya got added ta this match. I’ll take what ya believe is rightfully fuckin’ yers and I’ll fuckin’ laugh ‘bout it. I’ll keep bein’ the guy put in big match after big match. I’ll keep bein’ the guy that fights at the top of the card. Because I’m blessed Jace, because I’m fuckin’ special. Because doin’ yer fuckin’ job makes ya special. And as fer you? Ya can go back ta deep throatin’ microphones.
So keep tellin’ yerself Monster’s aren’t real Jace, keep pullin’ yer covers up ta yer head and starin’ out inta the dark room. Keep askin’ Momma ta turn yer nightlight on.‘Cause on Saturday night Jace, I’m gonna turn that Ninja Turtle night light of yers off and while yer pissin’ yer pull-up yer gonna come face ta face with a harsh reality.
Monsters are fuckin’ real, and yer fightin’ one.
Clay stood in the infirmary at the San Pedro prison. He hadn’t left since the encounter with the man in the blue suit. Nobody had even approached the Infirmary since the man had left. You could cut the tension in the prison with a knife. Every breath Clay took, he came a moment closer to actually becoming what he talked about. Destroying men was one thing, breaking them down until they wished they were dead, The Behemoth was good at that. He understood it. This? This was different, instead of leaving the faint glow of life, he’d have to snuff it out.
Clay stood in the shadows cast through the window, the moonlight illuminated half of the room but the other half was eerily dark. As the darkness descended Clay could feel his skin crawling, traumatic experiences are still traumatic. No matter how big or intimidating of a man you are. Finally, after hours of waiting in silence The Monster from Plainview heard shuffling outside of the door. He stood back and waited for the door to slowly creek open.
“Carlo?” The voice asked, Clay slipped through the darkness towards the doorway. He knew the man’s eyes hadn’t adjusted to the darkness yet. The man turned to the side and called out a second time, but Clay snuffed the sound out with a giant bear paw. He kicked the door shut and threw the man across the room, the crash of the surgical steel caused Clay to smirk.
“Oh my Go…” The Behemoth exploded forward smashing the kneeling man with a left hand across the face.
“He has nothin’ ta do with this.”
Clay was on his prey driving right and left hands down, each one making a slightly wetter, a slightly more sickening sound. Until finally, the thwaps turned into an awkward sucking sound. That was normally Clay’s que to stop, he could see the man’s teeth were broken in the front of his mouth just like he had done to Lester Moregrimes. But his employer on this day expected more, and Clay was forced to oblige.
He scanned the room, his eyes connected with the IV by his old steel bed. Clay walked over grabbing a hold of the top and snapped the stand off with a simple kick to the base. He turned around to finish off his sputtering prey. He picked the man up, throwing him onto the hospital bed, he wanted to see the face of the man he was going to murder. Clay pulled the IV pole back, positioning the jagged end at the unknown man’s face.
He heard the man’s semi-conscious pleas for mercy in Spanish. Clay didn’t understand every word that came out of the man’s mush-mouth, but he caught enough to get the jist. Clay took a deep calming breath. He was a soldier in a war, this man was preventing him from returning home. Clay would do what he had to do. He started to lunge forward and stopped himself.
A sickening feeling washed over him, maybe he didn’t have the stomach for murder. Snuffing out that last little spark of another human being. He pictured himself doing it, over and over again. The man’s pleading got louder while The Behemoth fought with himself. Each time Clay pictured driving the blow, another image entered his mind. The end of last year’s Rumble at The Rock flashed before him over and over again, but he was looking through the eyes of Max Kael. The IV Pole sticking out of his face, he could almost feel the pain of the moment. The letter from Mortimer had mentioned side effects, but Clay hadn’t imagined anything like this…
It caused his stomach to wretch, he realized he hadn’t eaten solids in days as he dry heaved at the ground. He heard the man slip off the hospital bed and onto the ground, he was dragging himself to the doorway. How bad did Clay want the main event at Iconic? How bad did he want to maul Jace Parker Davidson? How bad did he want a second chance the beautiful #97RED lady? Would he overcome this? Would he kill for it?
The man had almost made it to the doorway, his crawling left a bloody trail to follow to the entrance of the Infirmary. The only way home was snuffing out this man’s life, the only way to mauling Jace Parker Davidson was ending this man’s existence. The only way to the main event at Iconic was eliminating him from the gene pool. Clay kneeled down onto the man’s back. The man began to scream again, his pleading had turned to sobs.
Clay carefully wrapped his hands around the man’s throat and squeezed until he could feel his thumbs. The man flailed his arms trying to reach back and grab Clay, The Behemoth kept squeezing. After a few moments the flailing stopped and he heard a small gurgle of blood, the man’s body convulsed underneath him and finally came to a full stop. Clay held him there for another thirty seconds, making sure the man was dead.
Clay stood up and a sense of calm washed over him, he grabbed the man’s blood soaked hair in one hand, and his bag in the other. The Monster dragged the man to the doorway. Clay opened it and saw the man in the blue suit standing on the other side, with a white chalk line at his feet.
“It’s done,” Clay said as he tossed the body across the chalk line. He hit the ground like a sack of potatoes, limbs flying every which way, uncontrolled. The man in the blue suit nodded his head and smirked. He produced Clayton’s passport and handed it to him, along with $500 American dollars. Clay held out the money confused.
“That’ll get you past the guards,” the man said as he put an arm across The Behemoth’s back showing him the way out. Clay shrugged the arm off once he could see the exit. He walked at a faster pace, he wanted out of this shit hole. He paid his bribe and walked into the Bolivian night, he wasn’t thinking about the man he had killed though. He was thinking about the memory that had found its way into his brain at the critical moment. He was transfixed, the feeling of death, the pain that washed over him. It was all he could think about as he ventured off to an airport.
“Try to kill it all away, but I remember everything” – Nine Inch Nails; Hurt