I don’t really have a lot to say about you, Rah.
I wish I did. This match was way more fun on paper– I really love hearing Benny scream your name. I do. But I think maybe that’s the problem. I think maybe everything that has ever been interesting about the Bergman-ites was outsourced from somewhere better. Dawn McGill was only entertaining because she was chasing me around as the DREAM Women’s Champion. Halitosis was only interesting because Farthington toilet murdered him into oblivion. There was that golf guy, and he was only interesting because it was 2016 and Brian Hollywood was the end boss of HOW.
You people are only ever stars by circumstance.
I know you’re planning to bring your A+ game this week, and I really just advise that you don’t. I advise that you make your way down to the ring, mediocre your way to a quick and predictable defeat, and let me get back to climbing my way up the card, one defense at a time. You can’t beat me– I don’t mean that in a demoralizing way, it’s just a fact. Dan Ryan couldn’t do it, and he’s the best living, active wrestler on the planet who isn’t me. Max Kael couldn’t do it, and he’s dead now. You think you’re gonna slip one by me? It isn’t worth the risk, Rah– it isn’t worth the humiliation, or the injury. Even if you do the unthinkable. Even if you do the unimaginable. Even if this week at Refueled, you put me down clean in the middle of the ring, win the HOW World Championship, and burn all dreams I’ve ever had of building a legacy to the ground, they won’t love you back.
HOW has never loved me back, and I’m the best in history.
Look, I’m not salty about it. I know who I am and I know what I’ve done. I am a selfish, insecure, attention needing monster who gets off on saying the shit you aren’t supposed to say. An unstoppable scumbag who never gets what’s coming to him. The forever unrepentant bad guy, who doesn’t just play the part, but fucking lives it. Nothing and no one has ever loved me back, and that’s just how the game is played.
I win all the titles.
I win all the awards.
I win all the accolades.
But none of it will ever love me back.
I think that’s why I’m a collector of things. Shiny belts, gaudy rings, fun possessions. They make you feel good without all the risk of rejection. They give you self esteem, when the self esteem factory goes on strike and you stop being able to make it yourself. Being the best wrestler on the planet might not make anyone love me, buddy, but it sure as fuck helps me to believe that I love myself.
Diminishing returns are a bitch, though.
Nine World Titles, and I barely feel it anymore. The rush of a success. The highs and lows. I look in the mirror at the end of the night and I don’t like what I see, because the honeymoon has been over for me and Big Red for a long time now. We’re more like roommates these days, just hanging out at the condo and doing our own thing. Just kneeing a man in the face doesn’t give me the same rush that it used to– beating you clean this week isn’t going to make me jump for joy, or get my blood pumping. It’s what is EXPECTED of me. It’s my default state. Because pro wrestling has never loved me back, but it has always leaned on me like a fucking crutch. It isn’t enough for me these days, Rah. I’m starting to think that I need something more. That I need something real.
And hey, I think I found it.
And any other time, that would be such good news for you.
Any other time.
See, the rules of my universe dictate that I can’t be the champion and live a happy life. That I have to be homeless in the fucking streets, crying over the corpse of another dead fucking girlfriend because I’m really good at throwing knees. I don’t know why this rule exists, but it’s a stupid fucking rule and I’ve followed it for my whole career. It’s like there is a guy pulling all the strings, and he’s figured out that the best way to motivate me is to knock me down to my basest level, and turn me back into an animal over and over again. I never improve. I never grow. I never learn. And if I seem to, I’m sure as shit going to fall right back into my old way of thinking pretty fucking quick. But rules are made to be broken, Rah.
Trust me, I’d know. I’m a bad guy.
This is my year. Get out of my way, or get run the fuck over.
Oh, all hail the sun or something. Praise be.
“Why don’t I want you to leave?”
The worry lines on his forehead crinkle up the ridges of an emotionally confused mountain range, as Michael Lee Best runs a hand through his sweat soaked hairline. Wild brown bedhead curls across his chest, belonging solely to a human being that is currently clung to him like a sleepy, well fucked sloth.
He is physically devoid of cum.
No, really. Literally running so empty that his cock may we as well be on the side of the road waving a gas can. If this woman isn’t pregnant, it’s purely by the grace of years worth of recreational drug use turning the Son of God into the Infertile Crescent. To even attempt to ejaculate again would actually be rude, so why is he so comfortable right now? Why is he not aggressively reminding her how to use the Uber app? Why does he not want her to take her head off his chest, now or literally ever?
“Because you love me.” Katy muses, nuzzling her head into his chest a little deeper. “And you’re a crazy person.”
No fucking shit.
It’s been almost ten years since Mike Best even bothered to ask a woman what she likes to eat for breakfast. In less than twelve hours, despite all logic and in defiance of all known laws of the universe, Michael Best has fallen madly, insanely, and impossibly in love with a woman that he very easily could have never known existed. And now he’s cuddling?
“Crazy about you, anyway.” Michael rests his head back against the pillow, a dorky smile melting across his face. “Ready to marry me yet?”
“Not yet.” she laughs, shaking her head. “I’ll let you know. Promise.”
Two days from now, Michael Lee Best is scheduled to have, without exaggeration, the second most important match of his life, the single most important of his career. Mr. Nothing But Wrestling. Mr. Eat, Sleep, and Breathe Knees. Mr. I Don’t Need Anything But Four Ropes and My Legacy, and he’s fucking cuddling and contemplating whether or not they’ll deliver a pizza straight to his bed so he doesn’t have to get up.
This is an actual disaster.
I’m sorry to suck you out of the story here, but I’m a professional narrator. For ten years, I have followed this piece of shit around, using sentences like “physically devoid of cum” and praying that no one ever Googles me. And now, here we are, at the finish line of a career that will literally put me in the Narrator Hall of Fame (it’s a thing), and this fucking sociopath suddenly has a heart of gold? Manifest my actual dick in your butt, dude. You’re literally facing a guy who worships the sun. THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A GIFT FOR YOU, PLEASE THINK ABOUT WRESTLING.
Anyway stuff is happening and people are making fucking heart eyes at each other. Whatever. I need a drink. Sorry, guys. Sorry.
“Did you say something?” Katy’s eyes rise toward the tops of her eyelids, eyeing him faux-suspiciously.”
A beat. A giggle.
“No.” He shakes his head. “It’s a whole thing. I have a guy. Don’t worry about it.”
He rolls slightly to one side, the tips of his fingers brushing for his phone on the nightstand. He manages to knock it slightly toward himself, just enough to see the ninety seven or so notifications on the screen.
“Oh my God.” Katy laughs, covering her mouth. “Did someone die or something? Oh, shit… wait someone didn’t die, did they? I’m so sorry if someone actually died.”
He yanks the phone from its charger, pulling it toward his chest as he looks over the missed calls. The missed texts. The several Messenger messages. The twenty WhatsApps. The Snapchat notifications. The Google alerts, the tweet replies, the emails, and for some reason one LinkedIn request from an ex girlfriend who didn’t die horribly.
For the better part of ten years, this is the closest thing that he’s had to a life outside of the ring– social media, searching for his own name on the internet, and occasionally masturbating to the results. Talking shit with the few friends that he has in the world, mostly about how shitty everyone is who ISN’T his friend. How did he not even notice his phone going off? How did he not feel the existential anxiety of not being completely plugged in to everything that is going on, all the time? How the fuck did he simply enjoy the moment, in the moment, and not just spend the entire time waiting to text his friends about the fact that he got laid?
With an unceremonious thud, his phone collides with the floor next to the bed. It didn’t fall– he tossed it there. Without a single opened notification. Without the slightest peek at the website. Without a single ounce of concern that he may have missed something important, because in this moment absolutely nothing feels more important than where he is right now.
I’m telling you, this broad is fucking trouble.
We’re gonna lose this motherfucker.
“I’m sure somebody died.” he shrugs with one shoulder, wrapping an arm tightly around Katy. “I’m in mourning. Let’s do something stupid. Wanna get married?”
“Nope.” she playfully headbutts him on the arm. “And I wish I didn’t have to, but I need to go.”
With a pouty groan, Katy begins to pull herself out from the disgusting puddle of cuddle that they’d been laying in the whole night. The sun is beginning to peek over the horizon just outside the window, and suddenly Cinderella seems to be concerned that she might turn back into a pumpkin. That might not be the right metaphor, or even a real one. Not really firing on all cylinders here, folks– anyone hiring voice actors?
“Sorry, Charlie.” He pulls her back into his chest. “No can do. There are at least seven places in this condo that we haven’t ruined yet.”
While the sound that comes out of her is definitely a laugh, there is a distinct nervousness in her eyes that gives him pause. Had he put on too much pressure? Had he finally reached the point of “too much”? Was she afraid of “the implication”? For the first time in his life, Michael Lee Best feels that icky tummy feeling that the rest of us call “guilt”. He immediately determines that he doesn’t like it.
“Don’t you have to work today?” she deflects, rolling back over and looking for her clothes. “Busy busy Thursday for Mr. Hall of Famer, right?”
Something is wrong.
Not just with the situation– she’s very clearly being weird, but that’s the obvious thing. Less so is the weird, panicky feeling in his chest. The racing mind. The absolute give-a-fuck coursing through his veings right now. What is happening? Is he having a heart attack? Is he about to die? Is the last thing that he’s ever going to experience a mild rejection after the single greatest night of his entire life? Oh my God, what if she gets hit by a fucking bus?
Michael Lee Best is experiencing anxiety for the first time.
“Hey look, I’m sorry.” he sputters, suddenly very unsure of his words. “Was it the marriage thing? Cause I mean I’m serious but also it’s kind if a bit and I mean I’ll totally do it, I want to do it, but like I don’t have an expectation that a total stranger is going to—“
“Stop.” She puts a finger to his lips, and a kiss on his forehead. “This was great. I really really needed this. But I can promise you, I know who you are and this is not your thing. You’re fucking cute. I think you might secretly be a big softie under all that dickhead armor. But I’m not at a place in my life where we can do this.”
Katy stands from the bed, carefully slipping her jeans up both legs at the same time and wriggling them up over her butt. Normally, this is the “need to see you go and love to watch you leave” portion of Michael Best’s morning, but he doesn’t even give it a sideways glance.
His heart hurts.
Are we sure this isn’t just a heart attack?
He did a lot of cocaine for a long time.
He throws the covers off, standing up from the bed with just… his whole shit on display. Don’t be jealous, fellas— that’s some average ass dick swinging in the bedroom breeze right now. He quickly stuffs a pair of gym shorts up over his substantially normal penis, chasing her toward the bedroom door as she hurriedly hustles out of the room.
“Whoa whoa whoa!” Michael calls after her, in disbelief. “Look, I know I came on a little strong and I’m sorry. New shit here. No roadmap. Just stay for breakfast and we’ll talk about—“
Turning around slowly, the smile has left her face.
“I am in the middle of a divorce.” Katy says, softly. “I have two children, and one of them still doesn’t sleep through the night. I’m rushing out of here because I have to get them from the sitter— don’t make this more than it needs to be. I had a great time. You are absolutely ridiculous and you might be a crazy person, and maybe in another life I’d be happy to stay in bed all day with you and eat pizza and fuck. I really would. But be honest with yourself… you stopped listening at the word ‘children’. We’ll look eachother up sometime. Promise.”
She reaches for the door handle, now officially running late for the actual important shit she needs to do today. The fleeting moment is over, and as lovely as the fantasy may have been, it’s better to burn bright than burn long sometimes.
“Marry me.” his voice stops her. He isn’t smiling this time.
She slowly turns around, staring back at a dumb, shirtless human being with actual desperation in his eyes. No smirk. No humor. No backhanded deflection of the situation. Just a man, staring at a woman, making a narrator want to be physically ill.
“I mean it.” Michael says, confidently. “Marry me. Not like, right this second. Legally I can’t. But I mean it. I don’t know what the fuck you are or who the fuck you are, or what I’m getting myself into. I am a thirty five year old man child and everything about you scares the actual fuck out of me. And if you walk out that door right now and I never see you again, I don’t think I…look. I’m in love with you. I don’t know anything else, but I know that. Give me a chance to be more than you think I am, and I promise I won’t let you regret it, Katy. I promise you.”
She fumbles around with her keys, her eyes avoiding his.
“You punch people for a living.” she starts, forcing a dumb smile. “I’m raising little girls, Mike. I don’t really know that I can–”
“Yeah, but not… not for much longer.” he interrupts, without a hint of exaggeration in his voice. “I just need to get through this last big thing, alright? A couple more months, and then I’m all yours. One hundred fucking percent yours. I know this is actually insane. I know you have every reason to walk out the door and never, ever look back. I know that I sound like a fucking mental patient. I am. I’m a crazy person. I am hopeless, mindlessly, madly in love with you, and I’ll–”
She stops him, grabbing his hand and giving it a sad squeeze.
“I believe you.” she nods. “But… what if I said it had to be today?”
She looks directly into his eyes, staring into the windows of his soul with the faintest hint of real, actual hope behind them. Eyes that he can’t pretend weren’t made for him. Eyes that he can’t pretend aren’t speaking to a part of that he has never known how to communicate with himself. Eyes that make him feel human. Mortal. Helpless, and worth a fuck all at once.
“What if I said…” Katy doesn’t blint. “That I wanted this too. That I was maybe falling in love with you, too. But that you had to stop right now. Never look back. What would you say?”
He stares back at her eyes, swallowing the lump in his throat.
Thirty five years old, and one week away from actually cementing the legacy that he’d been dreaming of for his entire career. From actually putting his face on the Mount Rushmore of a company that he had given every ounce of his being to, for an entire decade. Paired against what, a woman he met in a bar last night? A single mother of two kids? What the fuck does he even know about kids? What do you even feed to a kid? Orange slices or some shit?
This woman must be out of her mind.
He’s Michael Lee fucking Best, the Son of God and the single greatest wrestler of all time. She wants him to jump through hoops? He wants him to prove himself, and quit the only fucking thing that he’s any good at? To risk everything he’s built, on the hope that maybe, just MAYBE, she’s not going to be like everyone else who ever fucking ruined him?
The thoughts race through his brain, but they don’t find the finish line.
“Then I quit.” he nods, his voice unwavering. “Today.”
The silence fills the room like a deadly gas, permeating every corner of the kitchen in the uncomfortable weight of that statement. He means it. He actually fucking means it. He’ll put that belt on the counter, burn this condo to the ground like all the rest, and run off to fucking Antarctica for this woman. He would drag his dick through broken glass to watch her read a book in a park through a set of binoculars, if she asked him to. In one moment, he knows that he would die for this woman just so that he could watch over her from Heaven, and he doesn’t even believe that that’s a real place.
Michael stares at Katy. Katy stares at Michael.
And then, she laughs.
Sorry, she what?
“Oh my God.” Katy cackles, almost knocking herself over. “You should have… oh you should have seen your fucking face, you goober. THEN I QUIT, TODAY. Oh my God. Omigod. Omigodomigod I actually can’t breathe. Give me a second.”
He can’t find his jaw.
It’s somewhere between his upper lip and the floor, but he can’t even feel it. She was fucking with him. She was fucking with him? She was fucking with him? Making a joke out of the single most heavyweight decision that he’s ever had to make, having no idea that it was literally the worst time to make a joke?
This is his actual fucking soulmate.
“Holy shit.” her voice is nearly raspy, just from laughter. “What kind of psychopath would make you quit your job to prove you love them? What kind of women have you known in your life? Go get some actual pants on. I’m not taking my future husband out with a dick print in gym shorts.”
“Wait.” Michael stammers, blinking his eyes rapidly. “So you mean, you want to– we can–”
Her eyes nearly roll out of her head, as a stupid smile crawls over her face.
“Yeah, dummy.” Katy shoves him in the shoulder, “Get dressed. I love you.”
And she does.
Because this is the year that Mike Best finally wins.