As the famous slogan once said:
“Dinner, it’s what’s for eatin’”
Now the company that came up with that slogan has been lost to the sands of time, or possibly never existed in the first place but that shouldn’t stand in the way of a mighty fine slogan.
So, the question I suppose then becomes why am I mentioning such a slogan. Often times during a relationship on the rocks, the mental and physical wounds are so deep that both parties agree that the only appropriate thing to do is to meet in a neutral location that is incredibly public. Y’know, on the off chance that one of them is seeking to stab the other and perform some form of murder.
I did say the wounds can be deep.
On this occasion, the two diners at the finest Applebees that Chicago can offer, which I think speaks for itself, would be the HOW ICONIC World Champion (who is also half of the Tag Team Champions), Cecilworth M! J Farthington and sitting at the opposite side, a man who Cecilworth hadn’t even laid eyes on since the events prior to Rumble at the Rock, his long time confident, manager
The fact that it had come to light that Dirk had been performing some light sabotage to Cecilworth’s career to ensure that he never quite reached the top of the mountain had been something of a sticking point in the relationship between the two men. To Cecilworth, Dirk was a dead man and he wanted nothing to do with him. To Dirk, he was looking for the moment to strike and find a pathway back into his ward’s life.
The events of the last Refueled before Iconic had provided just that, an opening, a crack, just enough of a confidence knock that he managed to get his former client to at least agree with sit down with him for whatever the fuck they serve at Applebees. Apples? Bees? Cecilworth was just about the find out as a waitress approaches the table.
Farthington: Ah madame, I would like seven of your finest bees please, arranged around a small honey dipping sauce. The irony will make this all the more delicious…
The poor waitress assigned to the table doesn’t quite seem to process the request the Triple Champ of HOW has made. She stares in befuddlement at the many sat before her, adorned in his finest black turtleneck, he has his three HOW championships locked together in the centre of the table forming a makeshift centrepiece.
Dickwood: Cecilworth, maybe you should open the menu and have a look at the options available.
Cecilworth looks over at Dirk with a disdainful scorn.
Farthington: I’ve never ordered off a menu before and I do not plan to start when dining with a fiend such as yourself.
Dirk lets out a weary sigh and slinks back into his chair. Dressed in an off the rack cheap grey checkered suit. He knew that the conversation was going to be a painful one, he’d forgot just how painful it was to deal with his former client, particularly at his most smug. Dirk gets the attention of the poor waitress who has somehow managed to not have her brain turn into the finest mush despite CM!JF’s order. Dirk closes his menu shut and clears his throat.
Dickwood: We’ll take two steaks please.
Farthington: And they better be valued at eighty six dollars or better! None of that Dan Ryan level trash!
Not knowing who or what a Dan Ryan is, and assuming that Farthington is Dirk’s special friend, the waitress scribbles down Dirk’s order.
Dickwood: I’ll take mine medium rare…
Farthington: I will take mine well done, because it is much like myself.
I’ll leave you to create your own punchline for this scenario. It’s okay, I’ll wait.
Oh great. You’re back.
The waitress looks disgusted to have to scribble down such a foul order as a well done steak but it is not for her to judge this man on his steak order, that will be for the good lord God to do upon his inevitable death. She shuts her notebook shut and waddles off as Cecilworth returns his attention to his former advisor.
Farthington: So, Dirktrude, you absolute scum, you’ve got me here. I could have done without the wailing on the voicemail, pretty sure I got tinnitus from it. Still, don’t say I’m not a forgiving man because I’m here now.
Dickwood: You know exactly why you’re here.
Cecilworth lets out a hearty and derisive chuckle at ole Dirk, waving his hand off in a dismissive gesture as he does so.
Farthington: Do I now? I remember your voicemail rambling on about my family falling apart but honestly, it’s hard to make out what you say these days. It’s closer to the high pitched hum of a mosquito doing a drive by on your ear than it is human to my ears.
Dirk settles himself in his chair, putting his elbows on the table like the rude gentleman he is and leans forwards, giving his former client a very focused air around him.
Dickwood: One simple question C-Money, really simple. I see these three belts sitting on the table as a shrine to your own ego and damn, it’s impressive, it really is but I have to genuinely ask you… has it all been worth it?
Cecilworth doesn’t reply, merely eyeing all the pretty belts on the table and scratching the back of his neck.
Dickwood: You hate me right now, I get that. I get that you have no comprehension for the service I was providing you. All you saw was your immediate future, the one where you become HOW World Champion, the one where you and your buddies dominate the landscape of the industry. Hell, I heard OCW had an awards ceremony at the end of the year and just shat awards in you and Mike’s direction. Truly, you had a spectacular end to twenty nineteen but… that’s short term. That’s short sighted…
Farthington: Twenty twenty is going just fine without you Dirk, me and Max are still…
Cecilworth doesn’t even get to finish his thought as Dirk chuckles and interjects.
Dickwood: MAX IS DEAD! He was tossed off a roof into a LITERAL dumpster fire. His own news service has reported him dead. Congratulations, your co-tag team champion is a corpse. Hell of a way to start the year…
Farthington: I mean… I’m starting to get the feeling that North Kaelrean News Agency might be the propaganda wing of some unknown figure. Max could very well still be alive…
Dirk lowers his head, the deep set agony of trying to allow simple facts embed in Cecilworth’s brain causing the utmost human pain.
Dickwood: He’s dead. Literal murderer Jack Harmen killed him much as he has killed others.
Farthington: But murder is a crime!
Dirk rubs his temples as a petulant Cecilworth looks behind him, trying to keep an eye out for a wonderful well done steak that will cure all the things that ail him.
Dickwood: Cecilworth, just… look me in the eye for a second and hear the words I’m about to say.
Cecilworth continues darting his head for a few more moments but finally decides to submit to the big eyes of the Dickwood, they lock eyes and Dirk seems satisfied in this moment.
Dickwood: Look how this year has started for you. Dan Ryan damages your arm and you are humiliated and shamed by him on live television. Mike’s father decides to try and get into a big dick swinging contest and shame his son into fighting you for the World Championship and based on everything I’ve had my sources tell me, IT WORKED.
Farthington: Any issues between me and Mike are tabloid gossip, we have NEVER been closer Dirk. I would even cruise with Mike for at least five days, that’s how close we are right now. That’s a real strong degree of closeness if you ask me.
Dirkwood barrels on, keeping unbroken eye contact, hope that the message with eventually sink in.
Dickwood: Then Max, the other member of your family just up and dies because a crazy man decided he needed to do something with the bulk collection of clubs he drunkenly purchased on Amazon Prime.
Farthington: I was dead and came back once, I’m sure it’ll be the same thing…
Dickwood: Stop lying to yourself, stop trying to bat off the truth I am telling you. You stood before your match with Jack Harmen and basically rubbed it in everyone’s face that the eMpire was a group like no other. You would never war, you would never fight, you would never bicker and only TWO months later, it doesn’t seem like there’s much of an eMpire any more from where I am standing.
Cecilworth remains wordless and begins to listlessly look out to the dining area, keeping an eye out for that delicious and yummy well done steak. I can even hear the entire audience have their mouth watering as they imagine the consumption of such a tasty treat. Dirk grabs his arm over the table and pulls his attention back into the situation.
Dickwood: Just LISTEN. I knew, I KNEW this would happen. It’s a tale as old as time, once people reach the top of the mountain, they self-destruct. They become consumed by keeping their place on the mountain, they let everything fall by the wayside so long as they feel their reign is protected. You may still be bitter, you may still be wounded but I hope that deep down, deep deep down you realise that I was always protecting you. Look at what happened to you since you left me…
The mostly subdued Cecilworth’s face begins to develop into what would generously be described as “blood orange red”, he leaps out of his seat, frothing at the mouth.
Farthington: I BECAME A GOLDEN GOD!
Cecilworth yanks his triple title centrepiece from the table, hurls it over his shoulder and leaves the dining room. Dirk dejectedly shakes his head as he slinks back down in his chair, clearly embarrassed about the spectacle that he just created.
Dickwood: He’ll realise. He’ll get there. Lee will keep working on Mike and he’ll get there…
Dirk’s self-conversation is interrupted by the arrival of two steak dinners. The waitress places Dirk’s meal to his side.
Waitress: What should I do with the other one.
Dirk eyes the burnt husk of the well done steak.
Dickwood: Oh that should go in the garbage, that is a garbage meal for garbage people.
The Five Time Academy is, as we know, the most prestigious wrestling training school in the world. It has produced such legends as Great Scott, Great Scott and we also can’t forget Scott (who is great). As much as the vision for the creation of the academy really did aim to be a breeding ground for the stars of the future, since the relaunch of High Octane Wrestling the only purpose it seemed to serve was as a chillout spot for members of the eMpire to menace and possibly injure any poor soul silly enough to sign up for the “once in a lifetime” training opportunity.
The once in a lifetime referring more to the fact that an eMpire member will mentally scar you day one and you will never return. Still, a memorable experience is a memorable experience is it not.
We find ourself in the training ring of the gym, where our hero, the ChampChampChamp is alone… well, his plus one appears to be a blow up doll so depending on how much of a lonely sad sack you are will indicate whether that is truly a plus one or not. The general darkness of the gym indicates that we are quite late into the night with the only light coming from above the ring.
Cecilworth rolls back the very arm that Dan Ryan had decided to perhaps to a smidge of damage during the Tag Team Championship match and looks over at the doll with a furious rage. The doll is draped across the top rope, propped up by the turnbuckles in the corner. Every roll of the arm produces a wince but this doesn’t seem to deter Farthy All Belts for what he has in mind.
Cecilworth rushes towards the doll at lightning speed and hooks the arm, taking it down to the ground, keeping the arm snug and tight within his grasp. Cecilworth lets out another roar and to pull his entire body back, yanking at the doll as hard as he can in the Article 50. He yells to the heavens as he cranks up the heat.
Five seconds pass…
Cecilworth is looking increasingly frustrated at the results, he can feel that his grip is loosening as the pain shoots up his arm. The memory of Dan Ryan’s Fujiwara rushes through him as he pounds his head back into the mat in frustration. He tries to hold his grip in tightly for five more seconds but by second eighteen, his grip is loosened.
The HOW World Championship falls back into the mat, balling up his fists and pounding down in frustration.
Farthington: Not good enough, not good enough by a long shot.
CM!JF scrambles back up to his feet to inspect the doll, trying to work out the damage done by his weakened Article 50. He inspects the joint between the shoulder and the arm and notice very little in the way of stretching. The champion hoists up to doll and goes in for a closer inspection, hoping for an indication of damage. Some air holes perhaps, warped plastic he hopes but none is to be seen. There’s a good bit of stretching in the elbow joint but this doesn’t seem to satisfy our focused trainee.
Farthington: If I can’t do it to this pathetic piece of plastic, how the hell am I going to do it to the giant chunk of meat that is Dan Ryan.
A distressed Cecilworth staggers back to the corner of the ring and slumps down, staring and counting the ceiling tiles in a sense of great frustration.
Farthington: This is his final ride… I need to put this to bed… I need to be one hundo percent.
Cecilworth begins punching his bad arm in complete and total exasperation, at a loss of what his next move should be.
His head lowers down from the ceiling as he continues to mutter to himself.
Farthington: Maybe Dirk was right… maybe I took on too much. Maybe I deserve this. Family always falls apart. I should have known better. I should have known.
Cecilworth looks back over to the blow up doll that is now prone in the middle of the ring. His mind races with his next move but no immediate answers come forth as he sits down in the corner.
For the first time since to formation of the eMpire, everything is going wrong for our intrepid hero. The biggest match of his career, the biggest night of the HOW calendar is approaching rapidly and there’s no bravado, there’s no certainly, there’s no dominance.
Cecilworth Farthington is injured and alone.