You know, in another life, I could have gotten along with Max.
We could have been blood brothers. We could have set HOW literally on fire. It would have been glorious.
But I don’t think I’m that man anymore. I never wanted to see Rome burn just to watch the flames. I destroyed things with a purpose. Even if it wasn’t always known.
There was one place a gang once infiltrated, hellbent on destruction. I let it happen cause I hate the boss. Was happy to let it happen. I’m me. I’ll land on my feet.
Another time, I took action against another promotion, but it was all in an effort to make sure my son got a job.
I didn’t care the outcome. I just didn’t want to be a lap dog.
But here. For whatever reason, I care about the outcome. I want to see LT best Best. I want to see Cecilia Douchenozzle lose one of his belts to Ryan. I wanna make sure Max Kael doesn’t destroy HOW with the entire North Korean army.
Call me stupid…
DECEMBER 24th. bethlehem, pennsylvania. AFTER DINNER
Too loud. Kids are running around playing, chasing each other. Well, the twins, to be honest. Nancy is sitting on the staircase playing her switch, with her father right next to her, also playing his switch.
In the main room, Carrie is tickling the ivories with some piano inspired Christmas tunes, as Tim sings off key. Mary-Lynn and Mark are having a quiet conversation in the corner. Mark extends a small gift wrapped box that MLM excitedly grabs. Under the Christmas tree by the embering fireplace, Jack Harmen hands a small bag to his son, Greg. Greg reaches inside and pulls out.
An old pair of weathered wrestling boots. Greg looks up, confused.
Greg: Thaaanks dad?
Jack Harmen: Those are my boots.
Greg: I figured that. How long you have ‘em?
Jack Harmen: Since my first match.
Greg lifts the boots up and studies them.
Greg: You know, I’d like to try to wrestle barefoot.
Jack Harmen: Yeah but you’re gonna break your ankle if you do.
There’s a loud shrill of joy, as over in the other corner, Mary-Lynn wraps her arms around Mark and thanks him with a kiss. Jack turns to his son.
Jack Harmen: See? She’s thankful for her gift.
Greg: You want me to react like her? Give you a kiss?
Jack Harmen: Stop.
Greg: On the mouth?
Jack Harmen: Stop it.
Greg: With tongue?
Jack Harmen: She’s using tongue?!
Jack turns to look, but their lips have already departed. Mary is quickly fascening a set of earrings onto her lobes. Jack turns back to Greg, but he’s already slinked away.
Jack Harmen: Oh, is my gift silence?
Jack takes a deep inhale.
Jack Harmen: This is nice. No eMpire. No twitter. Just loved ones.
From another room, there’s loud shouting from Harmen’s ex, Kate.
Kate Young: Can someone help me with dessert?!
Jack is quick to move, but not as quick as young Mark it. Mark pats him on the chest and says.
Mark: I got it old man.
Mark pats him once more and walks off, leaving Jack behind as Mary-Lynn walks up to him.
Jack Harmen: (muttering) old man…
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: He’s great, isn’t he?
Jack Harmen: I might kill him.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: Oh good. That means you like him. Phew. I was worried.
Back in the kitchen, Kate Young is leaning over the oven, looking to pull out a large bake tray. She looks over her shoulder and reacts with a bit of surprise at Mark, who’s just standing at the entrance, hand pressed against the doorway.
Mark: Need some help?
Kate Young: Oh yeah, thanks.
Mark walks up over to help.
Kate Young: Can you grab…
There’s a large SMACK.
She looks up at Mark in shock. He just slyly smiles back at her.
Kate Young: Not that.
Mark: Listen, I’ve seen you eyeing me all night.
Before he can react, Kate turns around and grabs the man’s arm and twists him into a hammerlock. She shoves him stomach first into the refrigerator. It rocks back and forth from the impact. She raises a large kitchen knife with her free hand and gently rubs it against Mark’s cheek.
Mark: Hey Hey. There’s enough of me to go around sweetheart.
Kate Young: Not after tonight.
She gently caresses the knife’s blade up his cheek just below his eyes. She puts additional pressure just below the adam’s apple as Mark winces. Just then, Jack Harmen walks into the background over Kate’s shoulder, notices, and just watches. The knife causes ever the smallest droplet of blood.
Kate Young: Because when I get done with you, there won’t be enough to fit in a ziploc bag.
She backs up and shoves Mark toward the other door. As Mark tries to raise his hands in submission and begin speaking, Kate raises the knife and points it at him.
Kate Young: You better leave my home right this moment before I chop your dick up like a cucumber.
Mark: Alright. I’m going. MARY!
Jack takes a step and shouts, as if he’s just entering the room.
Jack Harmen: What’s going on in here? Mark? You’re leaving? ALREADY!? Why?
Mark: Your ex is a psychopath.
Jack Harmen: Yeah. It’s one of the reasons I married her. Doesn’t answer the question.
Mark turns, beat red. He shouts and points toward Kate, a furious anger from a man who’s been angry maybe twice in his life. The anger of a man who could have had twenty more dollars so he’s not satisfied with his 8k a week.
Mark: She. She just threatened me with a kitchen knife!
Jack Harmen: Re-Re-Re-REEEEEAAAALLLY?
Jack says sarcastically as he turns to his ex.
Jack Harmen: Kind of a turn on. Did you do that?
Kate Young: Yeah.
Jack Harmen: And, why… pray tell, did you do that?
Just at that moment, Mary-Lynn enters, holding out Mark’s evening sport coat.
Kate Young: Cause Mark stuck his finger up my ass.
Harmen looks smugly at Mark. Kate Young looks pissed. Mary-Lynn just does one of those hesitation walks as she stops in place. She was extending Mark’s coat to him, but her hands just fall to her side slowly.
Jack Harmen: Cause he — Wait seriously?
Jack stops being smug and looks at Kate as he double takes. Kate just nods her head in response. Harmen’s nostrils flare as the pupils of his eyes reflect the embers of the fireplace in the other room.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: Is… Is this true?
Harmen’s expression changes, softens as he looks over to his heartbroken pupil. Mary-Lynn stands resolute, shoulders firm, even if the gulp between her words belies her welling sadness.
Mark looks to her, then back to Kate, back to Mary.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: Of course it is. She wouldn’t make this up. Would you Kate?
Kate is taken back by the question. Mary doesn’t wait for an answer. She looks right back at Mark with cold dead eyes.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: You should leave.
Mark: C’mon baby, please, it’s you and me.
He reaches out to grab her hand but she refuses, shrinking into herself even further. She screams for a moment.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: DON’T! Don’t touch me.
By now, the music has stopped in the other room, and everyone is so obviously listening in.
Mark: Baby. I love you.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: Don’t give me that! Your lame pet name. Do. Do you even remember my name?
Mark: Of course I do baby.
Mary-Lynn waits. Mark doesn’t say anything. That’s all the proof Mary needs, as the internal war between anger and sadness converges to a quiet rage. Those are the most scary.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: You have ten seconds to get out of this house before I call the feds and tell them all about your insider trading.
Mark’s mouth slack jaws, as he stammers.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: Yeah, you think I’m stupid. I’m a lawyer.
Jack Harmen: A LAWYER!
Harmen chimes in. There’s a moment where Mary-Lynn shoots him the angriest glare. He slinks back as Kate grabs his wrist and pulls him so.
Kate Young: Not now honey.
Mark makes a bunch of grunts, throwing his arms out to the side a few times before turning back to Mary-Lynn.
Mark: Listen. You drove me here. How am I going to get home?
By this time, everyone has stopped listening from another room and has started to actively participate in this very room. They stand around Mary-Lynn, crossing their arms and starring Mark down. Especially the twins.
QUICK CUTTO: Outside, Mark stands in the snowy patio, just as the door is slammed in his face.
After a brief moment, the door flings open. Mark turns excitedly.
Mark: Baby I knew-
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: And take these with you!
Mary-Lynn tosses the christmas gift, her new set of earrings, off her lobes and at Mark. She then slams the door. Mark just has his shoulders slump. He reaches into his pockets, fumbling for something. Frustrated, he shouts.
Mark: I left my phone charging inside!
After a moment, the door opens. Mark eagerly takes a few steps toward the door before Mary-Lynn takes Mark’s phone and slams it against the exposed brick. Mark’s expression drops, before Mary-Lynn just throws it so it clatters down the patio steps to him.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: There. I deleted my phone number.
The door slams once more.
Mark: What about my coat?
This time when the door swings open, it’s Jack Harmen. He closes the door behind him. He has the man’s jacket in his hands.
Jack Harmen: I hope you know…
Harmen throws the coat at the man’s feet.
Harmen: I hurt people for a living.
There’s a loud ZIP sound, and then the sound effect of a stream of water splattering onto cloth. Harmen looks at Mark the entire time. When finished, he shakes once, zips up, and nods. With nary another word, Harmen heads back inside, and slams the door behind him.
The sounds of a North Kaelean Army gathering, marching, conquering… in unison.
SIXTH DAY OF 2020. chicago, illinois. JUST AFTER SUNRISE
There’s a slight breeze blowing some debris in the wind. A homeless man sits against a road sign. It’s a quiet undisturbed morning in front of the Chicago Police Department.
There’s a cough from a homeless man. His breathe lingers, contaminating the air.
The glass doors break the silence with a loud creak, as a small bell jingles. Pushing both doors open from the center and entering the brisk morning sun is none other than High Flyer. He’s all smiles, even though he’s dressed like a prisoner. He turns back to the police department and salutes.
High Flyer: Pleasure doin’ business wit ya! Told ya, it’s just WRASSLIN’!
He chuckles as he walks with a strut. Quickly rushing up behind him, carrying the clothes he was wearing the night he was arrested, is none other than Mary-Lynn Mayweather. Her high heels stomp as she’s dressed in a burly black wintercoat. She covers her hands in her armpits and catches up with Flyer. She shoves his belongs into his hands.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: You got lucky.
High Flyer: I got smart.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: Don’t give me that. You got lucky. Some fool at some airport somewhere saw Kael and you get to walk.
High Flyer: No. I got bail. I get to go to Iconic, and if Kael shows up there and doesn’t press charges, I’m golden pony boy.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: He might press charges just to spite you.
High Flyer: Nah. He won’t. He respects me too much to. He knows I would never do the same to him.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: This the robot you’re talking about? With unfeeling emotions?
High Flyer nods, still not even taking a single look back toward Mary-Lynn or the police station.
High Flyer: It’s in their programming.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: Their?
High Flyer: The others. You know, like me. Swimming upstairs.
As the pair turn a corner, Flyer finally turns and faces toward Mayweather, pointing to his head.
High Flyer: Only mine are held down by medication these days.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: You two are more alike than you think.
High Flyer: I know. I always thought my dad was a cylon… what if my dad is Max Kael?
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: Stop it. You’re a God damn fool.
High Flyer stops in his tracks, as Mary-Lynn keeps walking. It takes her a moment to realize, before she turns back. The two are just in front of a bus stop, so, of course, a bus pulls up and stops right at that second.
Stunned, Flyer can’t react, but Mary-Lynn shakes her head and ushers for the bus to continue on its way.
High Flyer: So what if I’m a fool? If a fool dreams big. Think strange. Imagine what the world should be, not what it is. Is that a bad thing? The world is a horrible place. Reality is garbage. I’d say it’s a fool who doesn’t play denial with the world.
Mary-Lynn squints. She studies Flyer an excessively long period of time.
High Flyer: Did you have a stroke?
She smiles, and nods.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: So, it all fell apart again?
High Flyer: What can I say? I destroy the things I love…
Flyer pulls out his watch from his bag of prison stuff and takes a hard look at the ticking second hand. Without deviating his stare, he says to Mary.
High Flyer: Hey, can you go get the newspaper on the corner stand down there? I wanna see if the destruction of a North Korean Sympathizer made the front page.
Mary-Lynn rolls her eyes.
She walks off down the sidewalk. Just at that moment, a cab pulls up, opens it’s back door. Flyer quickly steps in, and the cabbie doesn’t even have to ask where to go before he speeds off.
Just in time for Mary-Lynn Mayweather to turn around, and notice the taxi speeding away.
Mary-Lynn Mayweather: Mother…
**MULTIPLE BURSTS OF STATIC**
Interlaced with a test pattern of the North Kaelean army. It says.
“Long may we wait.”
“Forever Shall He Maim”
Jack Harmen talks over this image, in a voice over.
“Max Kael. I hope you hear this, in whatever backwater cave you’re currently reconstructing yourself in alongside the help of the doctors who built the six millon dollar man. I want you to know that what I did was mostly only professional.
The falling off the roof thing was just a simple crazy random act of happenstance, one I fully endorse and honestly think you would to.
Y’know, if it wasn’t you and your robot body.
If you can make it to ICONIC, my dear Kaelean Soldier, I know it’s because you WANT it, ever so desperately. To stand across the ring and batter me with everything you have. It’s what I want. So I hope you want it too. And we’re too similar for you not to. (Laughs) Y’know, sometimes, we get exactly what we want, and it’s the greatest thing ever. Sometimes, we get exactly what we want, and it’s just a bit too much to handle.
I honestly feel we both might be saying that when it’s all over.
But we want it. Both of us. We want the violence. We want the blood shed. We will become blood brothers, bathed in the arena lights, immortalized upon each other’s spirit. You will imprint yourself on me, forever altering my very DNA and essence, in a battle of bloodthirsty vengeance. And I…
Well. After ICONIC?
… You’ll never get me out of your head…”
DECEMBER 25th. bethlehem, pennsylvania. AFTER DINNER
Cock-a-doodle doo. The sun rises. The snow melts. The evening’s festivities imprinted all around, in the quiet still of the aftermath. It looks like Greg got into the liquor cabinet and passed out in the kitchen. The twins passed out on top of each other from their constant two man game of tag. Mary-Lynn curled up in a blanket on the couch.
On the staircase, Tony Davis and his daughter Nancy continue their marathon Switch sessions. They look almost undead with lack of sun and sleep.
Upstairs, Tim and Carrie share the guest room. The elder daughter shares Victoria’s room, where the quiet hum of Billie Eilish provides the soundtrack.
Inside the master bedroom, Jack Harmen holds his ex-wife in his arms. The two are under the sheets, clearly naked. Only Jack is awake, as Kate nuzzles into his arms.
He says nothing, but just smiles.