Leverage Part 2

Leverage Part 2

Posted on November 26, 2021 at 10:21 pm by Darin Zion

Friday, November 26, 2021

10:15 AM

Belfast, Ireland

Outside The Worthless Coin Tavern

“WHERE THE FUCK ARE MY GOODS, MCARTHY?” I snarled at Patrick McCarty, lifting him up by the collar of his leather coat.

My eyes fixate on his trembling body, flailing around in the air.  I continue to bark out at him.  “My patience with you is wearing thin.  I ordered this shit 3 days ago and gave you half my fucking earnings.  I expect delivery now.  I’ve got to catch a flight to Leeds in 4 hours.  I WANT THE FUCKING PACKAGE NOW!  Otherwise, I’m gonna smash your damn skull against this brick wall behind me.  And I promise you, your fucking kids won’t recognize you when I’m done with you.”

Trashing around like the moron he is, McCarthy fumbles around his pockets like a madman.  He extracts a small zip lock bag filled with a white substance, tossing it at my feet.   “H-H-H-HERE!  I don’t want any more trouble.  You can have my stash!”

Filled with rage, I hurl him back first into the cement below.  Extending downward, I retrieve his personal bag of cocaine.  Inspecting it for good measure, I nod my head slowly.  “You’re free to go, asshole.”  I kick him in the ribs a couple more times for good measure.  As he pulls himself off the pavement in defeat, he shakes his head before hobbling off.

Uncle Morris emerges from around the corner, catching me off guard. Batting his eyebrows, he looks down at the ground, clearing his throat.  I can feel the daggers in his gaze stabbing at my soul.  Taking a massive drag off his Danny Boy Cigar, he throws his shades over his peepers.  A cloud of smoke sails into the air while he speaks.  “Boyo, I still don’t understand why yew needed to buy some coke from THAT man.  He’s a scam artist.  Y’er getin yerself wrapped up in some shady arse shit out here…”

I jump in and cut my uncle off before he could finish shaming me. “John Sektor’s the only other opponent I know inside and out.  Sektor wouldn’t even know the great lengths I know him after our wars in the ring.  I’ve spent hours watching every detail of that man’s life trying to beat him.  Our wars in that ring have become more personal over the last seven years.  They’ve gotten so bad; I know him better than Brian Hollywood at this point.  I can’t let him get another win over me.”

Morris crosses his hands over his chest, deadpanning me.  His thick cigar remains dangling from lips.  Kneeling down towards the steps; he sits down, pondering his next words.  Withdrawing the cigar from his coarse lips, he lectures me again.  He points his cigar-holding hand directly at my face.  The wind burns the hot ashes straight into my face.  “Aye, I wanted yew to find some grit.  But I hoped yew would ‘ave some morals.   Yew shouldn’t feck with another clean man’s life.  Sektor’s pulled his head outta his arse.  The least yew could do is fight him like a man.”

The veins in my forehead pop out in a tame way.  I bite on my tongue for a moment, knowing Morris’ advice comes from the heart.  He spoke from personal experience. I could see the melancholy in his face.  He’d watched my stepfather’s life implode over drug use.  Morris flew out on a personal trip from out of the factory to hold his hand as dad passed away. He only desired the best for my life.

After reflecting on my words for a brief moment, I sink down to my uncle’s level.  I glare him dead in the eye as a somber tone filled my voice. “The John Sektor I know hasn’t done that.  He’s always has an ace up his sleeve against me.  Rather using the Best Alliance or using underhanded tactics, he’s a ruthless fighter.  He only shows concern for his personal gain.  It’s served him well over the course of his decades long HOW run.  It’s what got him into the Hall of Fame. I can’t knock him for protecting his image.  The man built a brand around wrecking his opponents.  Hell, he’s one of the pillars of this company.  There’s a reason why the Machine’s cold and heartless.  He’s one of our symbols of cold-bloodedness.  I can’t sit back and keep playing naivety in HOW.  I don’t have a lot of time left on my career.  Any insurance policy I can have in my back pocket will insure I become LSD Champion.”

Letting out a deep sigh, he stretches his arm, resting it firm against my shoulder.  He draws my head to glare him straight in his baby blues.  You could hear the heaviness coming from his heart.  “I know I’m harpin’ on yew this last few days.  I see a lot of your stepfather in yew now.  Promise me boyo, yew won’t go down the same path.  I worry about y’er choices.”

I wrap my hands around Morris’ body, locking in one of the tightest bear hugs ever.  Contemplating his words, my face radiates my sense of hope.  My bright smile is on full display.  “I promise you I won’t go down that road.”

Burying my hand into my deep jacket pocket, I extract out a small envelop.  It’s a small token of appreciation.  He rips open to find a front row seat to Refueled LXXXI.  An upbeat smile forms on his rugged face. Showing his appreciation, he jabs me straight in the bicep.

“Figured I could use some accountability in the Leeds crowd.  After all, I couldn’t have gotten this far without you.  I need my Uncle out there giving Sektor hell.  Figured this old coot could hassle him more from the rails.  I need my family to crawl up in his mind to cause a misstep.  Every little bit counts.” I assert to Uncle Morris.

A gleeful resonance from his thick Irish accent. “Aye, it’d be me pleasure to givin’ a piece of me ole’ mind.  Anything for yew, Darin.”  He pulls himself off the stairs before he drapes his arm around my shoulder.

A fiendish leer twists my lips as the pieces continue to fall into place.  Everyone knows I’d never played mind games well throughout my HOW career.  I’d always stepped into the ring, shooting my mouth off.  But this match has become all sport.  It’s time to strike with a vengeance as time tickets down.  I needed leverage at any corner to end one of the most prestigious reigns in HOW history.  Everything I had was going into this hunt.  Now armed with two insurance policies, it is time to set up the last one.  I knew that one would hit Sektor the hardest.

==========

Friday, November 26, 2021

7:15 PM

Leeds, United Kingdom

Hotel Novotel Leeds Centre

“YAAAAAAAY!  I get to watch daddy fight!  I get to watch daddy fight!” Lexi shrills out at the top of her lungs.  Her jumps come in rapid succession.  She flies around the room in jubilation at the fact she gets to watch me main event Refueled LXXI.

Unfortunately, Meredith rubs her forehead in great distress.  She draws a long look while she gawks towards my direction.  She crosses her arms against her chest in protest.  You can hear the annoyance in her voice. “Sooooo, you’re saying you don’t me to manage you this week.”

I knead her shoulders gently to ease the pressure off her shoulders.  “Both of us know the HOW locker room is full of assholes who don’t want me to succeed.  Rather some butt hurt dipshit wants to charge the ring to distract me or Sektor pulls a fast one:  I don’t want you in harm’s way.”

Her glaring causes the hair on the back of my neck to shoot up.  Pulling away from her, I step away from our bed.  She lets out an audible huff as she pouts.  “FIIIIIINE!  I understand.”  Meredith turns her body away from mine as she processes the news.

Leaving Meredith to sulk, I saunter over towards my future daughter.  Reaching over to my duffel back, a look of delight overcomes me.  “Lexi, honey!  Daddy needs your help in winning Greenie’s sister.  I got a surprise for you.”

Lexi rushes over towards me.  Her tiny body twitches with excitement.  Pulling out a plastic package, I pull out a #97Red custom print t-shirt out of my bag.   It reads “My Daddy is Better Than Chloe Sektor’s” on the front.  She rips it from my hand and shouts out.  “I’m helping, daddy!  I’m helping, daddy!”

Meredith wastes no time in storming over to the festivities.  She points towards the table with a stark force.  Begrudgingly, I stomp over and plant my ass in the miserable chair.  Struggling in to find comfort, I squirm in place while she sits down.  Meredith leans in towards my ear, clamoring her angst.  “So help me God, if Sektor lays a hand on Lexi…”

“Relax!”  I attempt to assure her.  “I’m toying with my prey.  Sektor’s always gets lost in his fucking emotions.  He hasn’t caught on to his weakness in all our encounters.  While I placed you three within eyeshot of Sektor; you’re closest to the security guards.  If ANYONE tries to fuck with you or her; they’ll strike that shit down.”

Meredith’s blank look conveys her clear stance.  Her nostrils flare up as she’s clinching her fists together.  She shakes her head disgust.

Scooting my chair closer to her, I swaddle her while she attempts to swat me away.  I give her a docile kiss on her cheek.  “You and I both know we need to exhaust Sektor mentally.  He’s trying in constant search of finding his inner Zen.   He’s leaning into this positivity bullshit too much.  I want…no…need you to rally that Leeds crowd behind me.  The 12th man concept is critical for me to securing this paycheck boost.”

Meredith exhales a long breath, acquiescing to me.  “You know damn well I hate this plan, but you’re absolutely right.  Sektor’s been a killing machine.  No one’s dared to fucking throw back against the man.  He isn’t expecting this Zion because he hasn’t paid attention.  Hell, no one would expect Zion to play the psychological warfare.  Everyone thinks you’re a god damn fool making stupid plays.  No one in their right mind knows how much knowledge you have on Sektor.”

Leaning my cheek into the palm of my hand, the daunting task of manipulating Sektor weight heavy on my heart.  It’s the first signs of strain I’ve felt all week.  “God, I hope this works, baby.  I need a fuckin’ miracle to usurp Sektor’s reign of dominance.  I can’t let this momentum peter out this time.”

Meredith pulls me into to reciprocate the kiss from earlier.  “Ground your mind in the hunt.  You can’t show any ounce of doubt or this chance will escape you.”

“That won’t happen!  I promised Lexi her Lisa D belt, and I’m looking for a god damn fight against my greatest rival.   He won’t win this time.  I’ll use any bit of leverage I can to seal the deal.  Mark my words, honey.  I won’t fail our family again.  Just trust the process on this one.” I vow to my beautiful woman before locking lips with her.  Smacking her ass with in a frisky manner, a lustful smile appears on her face.

“You got this, dear.  I have faith this time.  He’s got his mind off the prize.”  She remarks back.

“That bastard has no idea what I fuckin’ know.  I’ve got him scouted this time.  The LSD Championship is within reach.”  I say with a maniacal grimace on my face.

“Why don’t you take, Lexi to dinner.  Daddy needs to hit the gym hard tonight before the match. It’s on me!” I comment while I try to shoo them both away.   Pulling out a wad of cash, I place it into Meredith’s hand.  Both she and Lexi scurry out of the hotel room.

As I change into my workout garb, I take a glance into the mirror.  An appreciation of the LSD Championship pops up, draped across my chest.  Wearing the championship like a badge of honor, I nod a few times.  “The hunts on Sektor.  I will collect my first singles trophy from your cold, dead hands.  The stakes are high, but I promise, I won’t choke this time.  I will choke your ass out.”  I mutter underneath my breath.

Only 48 hours remained before the biggest match of my career.  But I didn’t feel any pressure mounting my shoulders.    I knew once I saw Sektor’s smug face; I would clobber it into submission.   He held the title of King of the LSD Jungle for 155 days.  Now it’s my time to slay the beast.  The lessons I’ve learned from the handful of encounters we’ve shared this era echoed through my mind.  It’s time to give him hell, and it’s time to prove I can still become a singles champion.

==========

“223,200 minutes…

I can feel you counting down the hours, minutes, and seconds left in your dominant LSD title reign, Sektor.  I can’t count any more how many times I’ve stood across that ring from you, Sektor over the past 7 years.  I don’t think you grasp how much of your mannerisms I’ve mastered in that time.  I’ve seen you when you don’t care.  I’ve watched you unleash absolute hell on me.  I understand when you’re focused and when you’re not.  Hell, I’ve never shared a friendship with you like I have with Brian Hollywood.  But I’ve seen some more intimate about your life in the details of the beatings you’ve given me.  Even the most bitter rivals can sense when something about their opponent changes.

Sektor, I can fuckin’ smell blood coming from your wounds right now.  I’m hyper aware to the fact of your fatigue.  You’ve notched 5 successful defenses in that belt of yours.  You have every right to beat your chest at that accomplishment.  It’s the 7th best defense record in the LSD Championship’s history.  Abso-fucking-lutely you can beat your chest that you’ve built up the thrill of the hunt for that belt for me.  It’s fuckin’ sad that the rest of the roster doesn’t grasp the gravitas behind this moment.  You’re a dominant Hall of Famer who’s found a second wind.  You’ve easily torn apart anyone who steps into the ring to steal that belt away from you.  I’m not as dense as you think I am.  Beating you is the true accomplishment I can hang my damn hat on every day of the week.  It’s the shot in the arm my career needs to re-establish my dominant run in HOW.  It can rekindle the spark in my conquest for gold here.

But if you think for one single damn minute, I’ll hang my hat on MVW accolades; you’re fucking delusional. You don’t understand me as well as you boast about in your promos.  I fucking got that lesson when I kicked the doors open to my HOW career 7 years ago.  Kill your past dead and do something that matters here!  I spent the course of 3 years trying to erase my shitty past from my Fisher Price days.  I busted my ass to kill off any stigma that plagued me from those days, Johnny Boy.  It fuckin’ hurt, but it was damn worth it to show my loyalty to the Machine, even when it didn’t have my back.

No, I fuckin’ exploited you.  I intentionally crawled underneath your damn skin to piss you off.  Because I can tell when one of my greatest rivals doesn’t give two shits about OUR prizes.  It’s 2021, grandpa Sektor, word travels at the speed of light these days.  We HOW stars are famous celebrities to the cats out in Missouri Valley.  I know, I’ve wrestled there the last 2 years to kill my financial problems.  I negotiated my deal so I could moonlight there and work for HOW.  I needed the money to crawl out of fiscal hell.

And I’ve built relationships with all the workers down in MVW.  MVW’s a place where HOW stars can hone their craft and new stars can sink their teeth into the spotlight.  I walk in the door, chum around, do my damn job, and leave.  Because of my work ethic and dedication, they share all the stories.  Hell, they make our locker room gossip look tame.

But something struck me to the fuckin’ core when I saw it.  It told me everything about your mentality going into our damn match.  I saw your little spat over Redneck Bill Dickinson where Regan talked you down off the ledge.  I witnessed first hand your veins protruding from your forehead. In that moment, you cared more about some disrespectful cunt who never stepped foot into and HOW ring. You lost your temper because some redneck cutting his teeth pissed you off.  In that moment, you were willing to go to jail.  You didn’t care about losing that LSD child you’ve protected for Lee over 5 damn months.  You only craved Bill’s head getting delivered to you on a silver platter.

Of course, it should fucking rock you to the core when I call you out on shit, Sektor.  It should sting!  I expected that one-liner to crawl under your damn skin, Sektor. We know each other too well for comfort.  You’ve lost your damn priorities and you hated to hear it from me. How could a man with a 33% win ratio in 2021 step up and belittle the most decorated LSD Champion in the Refueled era.  There’s no way a man who’s failed at winning 5 title opportunities should have a fucking laundry list.  He’s a fucking naïve dipshit who most people assume can’t tie his own boot laces.

It’s because I’ve lived that live over the past three years, Sektor.  I’ve sat around letting bullshit drama distract me from securing my prey. I meandered with midcard purgatory.  I let worthless people like Marty Pratt and Xander Azula occupy my mind.  It cost me multiple championship victories.  The mental fatigue almost killed my career here.  By all rights, I shouldn’t have a damn laundry list against you.

But on Sunday, it’s not about the laundry lists and trash talking for me.  I damn well know the stakes of this match.  If I take my mind off you for one second in that match, you will destroy me.  We’ve beaten that dead horse enough the past 5 damn encounters, Sektor.  No, it’s about leveraging your hemorrhaging wounds.  It’s all about taking advantage and exploiting you in front of the damn world in that ring. I have to end the LSD Superman’s reign or I look like a damn fraud.  Everything I said to punch my ticket at Greenie at ICONIC gets flushed down the toilet if I fail again.

You damn well know I won’t let that happen again when I’ve changed my priorities for the umpteenth millionth time.  I’ve put in the work this time and I won’t squander it like Scottywood did last week.   I have my family watching me in that ring to push me on so I can succeed.  I won’t look like an embarrassment to them.  No!

I’m on the hunt for gold, Sektor.  While everything the last two weeks set me in motion for ICONIC, you’re the true catalyst to prove I’ve changed.  You’re the damn trophy I can hang from my mantle and brag about in confidence.  And trust me, I’ll swing these Irish fists with more pepper than you’ve ever seen, puta.  I won’t let the physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion set in and derail me.  In fact, I’m letting my hunger for gold drive me to the biggest match you’ve had for the LSD title.

At Refueled LXXXI, you enter the battlefield with a man hellbent on protecting his family.  I’ll leverage those wounds to wear your body down. I’ll my tenacity and adrenaline to energize me.  When I catch a glimpse of my family; I’ll unlock the cheat codes for infinite stamina.  Whatever you throw at me, I’ll absorb it as fuel and fight back in defiance.  Any time you think about taking a short cut, I’ll pull out an insurance policy of my own.

I plan on wearing your old Hall of Fame ass down before cinching in the Red Rings of Death.  I’ll watch on as your olive complex turns blue as I squeeze the lock in tighter.  I’ll take great pride in watching that stubborn, vile arm drop limp towards the mat.  And like the late Max Kael, I’ll steal your pride and joy right out of your cold, dead hands.

So, no, Sektor!  I won’t shut the fuck up this time.  I’m doubling down this time because I’m tired of letting everyone bulldoze my desires.  It’s time I put my needs first.  It’s time I become a man my family can proudly brag on.  I want pissed off entering that ring.  Because I don’t want to leave any doubts in the locker room’s minds.  I won’t allow people like you and Mike to put an asterisk beside my win this Sunday. I damn well pulled your head out of your ass so I accomplish something worthwhile in my career.

I will beat you at your peak.  I’ll end Sektor’s 155 day dominant streak.  That’s truly use to punch my ticket to ICONIC. So, keep coming at me with your bullshit drama.  Put your guard up when you’ve played the best offense in HOW history.  I caused your ass to change your stance because for once, you fear me.  You’ve seen this look in my eyes when I barged through the doors of the HOW in the second era. You damn well know the fire got lit under my ass.  You can think I’m a moron all you want.  I don’t care about your perception.  At the end of the day, I only care what my family’s perception of me.

The hunt is on, now Sektor, and I will gnaw at your exposed flesh.  I’m going to tear you limb from limb.  I’ll set an example to those smooth brained fucks in the HOTV division, sitting on their hands. They lie in wait hoping Lee will throw them a bone.  It’s time they learned the lesson we know.  You either become the hunter or you’re the prey.  Shoot your damn shot or you’ll lay dying in the ditch.

And mark my words, Sektor, my shot’s fatal this time.  I will become the LSD Champion and leverage any means I have to make this last chance count.”