“Cornfield,” The Behemoth muttered to himself as he sat in the driver’s seat of his latest home. He’d already burned down any previous demenses he could live in. And his newest partner, the man he thought was the most solid man in High Octane Wrestling is currently re-enacting Leave It To Beaver with Scott Stevens Jr. in the front yard outside of his window. He thumbed through his iPhone, the tournament was over for the Solex and Byrd Alliance.
Steve was screaming in his direction now, at least it was a nice change to the far too nice act he had been running all day. How had asking Steve Solex to help him figure out what to do with a child, turn into this? Did he just keep the number one dad shirts on reserve in case he ever found an orphaned child?
Even with the insanity, Steve was a better person than Clay was. The Behemoth had offered his thoughts, but Steve was persistent and dead-set on making this child his own. He’d suggested drowning the poor bastard, putting him back in the fire, and he’d even gone as far as suggesting giving the child back to his father… But Solex had put a pin in that idea before Clay could even finish the sentence.
“I’d rather the kid die in a well than go back to Stevens…” It was a fair enough thought, but now here was Clay, trying to sleep in his truck while Solex teaches a child how to cut the grass for the third time today. He wanted the lines diagonal, that’s all Clay could hear other than this latest outburst at the neighbor.
It was comical, sometimes he laughed, sometimes he told Steve to shut the fuck up… He’d parked the truck in Steve’s side yard like normal, but now everytime Steve wanted to talk to him he screamed and called him Frank? He’d never understand the parenting of Steve Solex, but at least the little shit bird was being put to work and getting three hots and a cot.
“What the fuck am I doin’ here?” The Monster from Plainview asked himself rhetorically. He knew what he was doing here, he wasn’t scared of an encounter with Michael Lee Best, in fact he’d invite a confrontation between the two of them. But the escalation, the gang like mentality of the Six-Time members… That was enough to keep The Behemoth parked beside the only friend he had in the world.
And now that guy was calling him Frank…
Clay sighed as he continued to thumb through his phone, the sound of the mower firing up again annoyed him, but this was the only place on the planet he would have backup. He looked over the top of his phone at Steve in the yard, he’d drug him into this. Steve could have been handling his issues, he could have been working on himself.
And instead Clay had acted selfishly.
“Maybe that’s why he hates his fuckin’ neighbor,” Clay mused as he pulled his eyes back to his phone. Steve knew the stakes though, he had watched Cecilworth Farthington break The Behemoth’s arm. He had seen the pain etched across his face. He had seen it all, and he knew what Clay would do.
He’d attack Michael Lee Best and get what he wanted. He’d drag Solex into war with him, whether he wanted to go or not. There was one other potential ally in the struggle against the oppression of the Best family. Clay stared at the face of James Cornfield and Pro Wrestling: Assault.
Sure, they weren’t any better than the six-time academy misfits. But with the dislike for Lee Best and his family growing more apparent, they could be powerful allies. Clay scrolled through the roster page, finally coming to a picture of his opponents. Every fiber of his being called for him to laugh off this absurd idea. For fuck sakes, the one idiot wearing the belt was decked out head to toe in pink.
Clay smirked, as he looked at the photograph of GenoSyde. The color of the jacket bothered him, he had developed an affinity for #97RED after the time in the Best Alliance. The slight color change irked him, he could barely even put his finger on the color… But, he was a big man. Clay clicked a highlight video and watched. His face twisted from a smirk to a look of absolute horror.
“Did that son of a bitch just do a somersault?” Clay said to know one but himself. As he kept watching. Somewhere in the distance, over the sound of the lawn mower he heard Solex scream at him.
“HA FRANK! I’LL WIN THE NICEST YARD AWARD FROM THE GARDEN CLUB NOW!”
“Eat shit and die Steve!” Clay shouted back, he didn’t know if the #1 Dad heard him, but based off the glare Steve gave him, and his hands being firmly planted on his hips, he had indeed heard him.
“IT’S NOT FUNNY!”
Byrd rubbed his temple with his free hand. Steve insisting there was some type of studio audience listening to their conversations was almost enough to get him to pull the truck out of the yard.
Clay kicked his feet up and placed them outside the rolled down window, and rummaged around on the floor of the truck. He finally found a bag of pork rinds and placed the bag on his stomach before going back to watching the video. The kid was a disgrace to being over six and a half feet tall, he was a disappointment to the enormous shoulders and wide stance he possessed.
Clay had grown up watching his father wrestle, so he mimicked the elder Byrd. He’d choke the opponents, he’d smash them with right hands, he’d slam them, then he’d hit them with a Lariat and get himself out of the match. This… this… was an affront to what he believed in. The religion he worshiped at the altar of, praying to the likes of Bruiser Brody, Stan Hansen, and Robert Byrd. This slightly pudgy manchild on one hand disgusted him.
On the other hand? It’d be unexpected.
He glanced back over his phone, watching Steve berate Stevens-Solex Junior for a mistake before putting his eyes back down to the glass screen. He was scrolling through Cornfield quotes. The man made his skin crawl, the used car salesman vibe almost oozed through the screen.
He’d heard of the man before, he’d made his way around to plenty of different areas as a youngster. But he had never gone to Las Vegas to work for this wild man, hell bent on destroying everything Lee Best helped create.
The Enemy of your enemy…
“I know,” Clay said to the voice as he continued scrolling through the article. “Ya see he’s mad ‘bout me committin’ a felony on TV? Like it fuckin’ matters, Conor Fuse got crucified at Rumble At The Rock and he’s mad I burned down the buildin’ of the guy who did it…”
He’s not your friend…
“Who is then?” Clay said as he tossed the pork rinds back on the floor and sat up in the truck. The voice of his father representing his inner thoughts was new to Clay, when he was desperate to fight against the Minister chip the doctors had always asked him if he heard voices. Now here he was, listening to a voice in his head.
It’s not unusual to have a conversation with a dead person, son, it just shows you miss them…
“I’m sure that’s what all the disembodied voices in people’s heads say… I’m sure what I’m lookin’ at in the yard isn’t my next step or anything,” Clay put the phone in his pocket and pictured the conversation with his father in his head.
“Sure son, it’s not entirely normal… but I’m the only thing ya got right now, lord knows ya can’t depend on that Solex feller like ya thought,” the conjured image of Robert Byrd sitting in the driver’s seat said.
“I could have paid Harrison for the sunglasses, I’m sure he’d have been fine with teamin’ up,” Clay said with a smile.
“Yeah, and the day I watched ya hand that drug addled idiot fourty-seven fifty fer a pair of crappy Wal-Mart sunglasses is the day I woulda turned over in my grave,” Robert Byrd said with a chuckle.
“Yer prolly right, so whatcha think, how do I handle this?” Clay asked, even if it was a figment of his subconscious his actual consciousness didn’t have a clue.
“I mean… ya could pack yer bags and go. That’s what most old-timers would suggest in a situation like this. That MOB feller doin’ the promotin’ ain’t gonna do ya any favors and goin’ ta war with Mike Best ain’t exactly been yer best work…”
“I meant with the looney toon in the yard over there… Michael and I will sort our issues out soon enough,” Clay said pointing out the window into the yard.
“I mean ya made yer bed Clay, now ya gotta lie in it… On both fronts…”
“Yeah, like I didn’t know that already…” Clay punched the dashboard, sending a shudder throughout the vehicle.
“Then why ya askin’?” Clay thought on the question for a few moments. It was something exactly like his father would have said. Why was he asking the question? What good did it do him to have a doubt like this before a matchup with his pride on the line.
“Was kinda hopin’ ya had a better answer fer me Pops.”
“Whaddya think kid? I’m some type of omnipotent bein’ now that I’m dead? Ya didn’t believe me back on the Octane when I told ya ‘bout that Palmer kid. Ya didn’t ask me when anythin’ when ya ended up with that weirdo chip in yer head…”
“I prayed… ya didn’t answer,” Clay said under his breath.
“Oh yeah Clay… that’s how that works, now I’m fuckin’ GOD himself…” Clay snarled at whatever subconscious version of his father he had wizarded up in front of him.
“Ya could have said somethin’… anythin’…”
“Ya had it under control Clayton, and ya handled it pretty damn well all things considered. Besides, now ya get the weird flashbacks when ya do somethin’ Max Kael did… That’s what makes life interestin’” The Behemoth rolled his eyes at the last line.
“Yeah… real fuckin’ interestin’ alright.”
The two Byrd men sat in the truck for another few moments before Clay looked over and saw the seat was empty.
“I’m gonna go sort things out and try ta get Steve ta leave his fuckin’ yard alone. Love ya Pops,” Clay said as he climbed across the bench seat and slid out of the driver side of the truck door.
“Love ya too, son”
Clay smiled, the reason he hadn’t gone to see anyone, the reason he hadn’t spoken up and told anyone was right there. Getting to hear those words come out of his fathers voice, even if it was only for him to hear one more time, was worth whatever mental illness he’d come across. The Behemoth walked across the yard and tapped Steve on the shoulder. Solex turned around quickly, almost surprised to see the big Texan standing there.
“Hey partner!” Steve said with a Texas twang and a nudge to Clay’s midsection. Clay pretended to laugh with Solex and tipped his cap awkwardly. He had to play along, hoping to get Steve Solex to the arena one last time.
“Howdy Partner!” Clay grimaced, the word howdy coming from his lips almost made him sick. But he’d begun to understand Solex’s delusions at this point, and playing along with them was the best solution.
“Hunny! Can ya get Clay a beer!?” Solex shouted in the direction of the house, he paused for a moment listening to something talk in his head. Clay waited patiently. “I wasn’t asking woman! I WAS TELLING!”
“Fuckin’ women.” Clay smirked awkwardly and nodded along. No beer was coming, Steve might as well have been yelling at the wall. But eventually Steve would get fed up, go in the house, yell a bit and come back out right as rain, with an ice cold beer in his hand.
This’ll be interestin’
Clay looked over at the figure of Robert Byrd shouting from the truck, he smiled. His father was right, this week was going to be one of the most interesting weeks he’d ever had in High Octane Wrestling. And sadly, his partner was one of the reasons why.
Back in the black pickup truck, wedged behind the seat and the wall of the cab sat a metal disk with a glowing red orb at it’s center. The orb’s illumination flickered for a moment, before the glow dissipated and it was left dead and inert.