Friday, December 17th, 2021
It’s date night, and We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful evening. I’d set our table up so we could peer out into the amazing London Skyline. It’s the perfect scenic backdrop! We could gaze out and catch a glimpse of the famous Big Ben clock out into the distance.
Meredith’s blonde hair glistens under the bright, vibrant moon lit sky. Her neck moves to and fro while I approach our table. She perks up by noticing my confidence stride to our table. A tender smile appears on her face, her eyes fixated on my blue blazer and khaki pants. I can’t help admiring her gorgeous jade dress perfectly fitting her voluptuous body.
Biting down on my lips while I pass her, my heart skips for joy when seeing her. As I pass by her, I lean down, kissing her on the top of her forehead. My boo and I kick off a passionate make out session, distracting her from my surprise. I sneak a golden gift bag I concealed behind my back onto our table. As we finish up, I can see the gold glimmering from her pupils. She rips open the gift bag, revealing two gifts. She sits down a bottle of Blanc de Noirs from London Cru first, followed by a box of chocolates from Melt London. I watch on as Meredith cannot hold back her jubilant shrills.
Following all the festivities, reality sets into Meredith’s mind. Folding her over her face, she inquires, “How the hell did you afford all this?”
A sly grin manifests on my face. I pull out a leather bound notebook out of the satchel. Sliding it across the table, I reveal my new HOW contract. Tears swell from Meredith’s eyes as they illuminate. I assert my comments about the whole situation. “I guess that Hall of Fame nomination yields me a hefty $15K salary increase. Honestly thought ole Lee would cut my pay this year. We both know I under performed his expectations. Guess the old hack does have a soft spot in his heart for my annoying ass…”
Meredith seems vexed with these sudden changes. In recent times, we discussed reducing frivolous spending. To her, I derailed our plans of building our future home budget. She drones on, cutting me off. Her uneasiness like she’s convincing herself she’s not worth a splurge.
“I thought we agreed to cut back this Christmas. Home prices skyrocket every day and we have to prepare our budget for a down payment. You don’t need to buy me grandiose gifts. I love the simple things you do for Lexi and me…” She remarks before I interrupt her back.
“I guess Lee’s offer changed my perspective on things. Under normal circumstances; I’d counteract all his bullshit. But this year, he unexpectedly perceived my value. His kind gesture provoked new feelings. For once in my career, I want to apply myself more to HOW’s future. After the meeting, I applied myself for the first time in three years. I took some initiative. I began to ponder a better future for our family.”
Meredith’s body perks up, expressing her shock. “Wait?! You can’t be serious! You’re scheming again, aren’t you?
My eyes go deadpan at Meredith’s reviling. The gears in my head work overtime. I spend an ungodly amount of time convincing her of my plan. “Dead serious, I’m afraid, Mer Bear. Oftentimes I’ve surrendered myself to the wrestler lifestyle. Training…interviews…bullshit schemes. This time I’m pushing myself towards a promotion. HOW needs a Chief Financial Officer looking after its best interests. While Lee’s numbers and stats are on point; we need someone to manage our financial future. Outside the squared circle; I’ve run spreadsheets. I’ve managed the books for many businesses. I can turn HOW’s profits around to increase our paychecks. It’s a genius career path for when the time comes for my retirement.”
My ears perk up as Meredith groans under her breath. “For fuck sakes, Darin’s lost his mind. God, why can’t this man understand what’s at stake at ICONIC?”
Shaking my head in haste, I reach into my blazer’s pocket. I slide over a cocktail napkin I scribbled on during my meeting with HOW officials. After all, every successful business is born from napkin notes. On the note it read my grand master plan.
How to save HOW money in 2022:
Step 1: Brian Hollywood vs Mike Best (Singles or Tag Action) X 20
Step 2: Brian Hollywood vs John Sektor (Singles or Tag Action) X 15
Step 3: Brian Hollywood vs JPD (Singles or Tag Action) X 10
Step 4: Brian Hollywood vs Conor Fuse (Singles or Tag Action) X 5
Step 5: Brian Hollywood vs Cecilworth Farthington (Singles or Tag Action) X 2
Step 6: Profit from preventing Hollywood’s win bonus from activating
“Look, Meredith, it’s a sound business plan! Google ‘Brian Hollywood’s 2022 HOW deal’ and you’ll see! He gains a significant bonus every time he wins.: I exclaim as she continues to study the flimsy document.
She cups her hands over her forehead, rubbing in a gentle motion. Her long drawn out sigh shows a telling sign. She wants to poke holes in the plan.
“You realize Brian only wrestled 12 matches in 2021. He only won 5 matches, which would yield him a few thousand extra. Your attempt at petty revenge won’t win you the damn match at ICONIC. He out negotiated you this time, babe.” Meredith bickers at me. Driving the tip of her finger down with brunt force on the table, the sound echoes across the London skyline.
I scoot my chair closer to hers before wrapping my arm around her shoulders. I wave my arm across the sky to paint a better picture. My animated tone complements my furor.
“Honey…don’t you realize the HOWse always must win. Every penny saved is a penny HOW earns for its future. We can turn that small drip into a waterfall through investments. This isn’t about any narrow-minded squabble Mr. Hollywood and I have against each other. Besides, we haven’t interacted with each other in a year. I’ve let bygones be bygones at this point.
Mr. Hollywood wants more ‘opportunities’ in HOW. He always rambles on about the same bullshit tirade in every promo. He’s held all the HOW Championship at once. He only mentions it in every single damn promo he cuts. Shit, I bet you he’ll deliver the same ‘motivational speech’ he always does. He’s the only person in this match to win a title this era in HOW. He’s successful and blah…blah…blah!
If Mr. Hollywood wants the chance to prove himself against bigger fish, he can be my guest. He didn’t have to wrestle main event caliber stars all year like I did. Bastard didn’t wrestle in War Games. He never got a World Championship match against a Kael or a Best. Fucker didn’t wrestle Sektor on his better days like I did. He didn’t have to take on handicap matches alone. Hell, he never even tussled with the King of Everything.
Clearly by his contract negotiations; he wants to replace me as HOW’s main event punching bag. If his greed causes him to lose sight of how this MACHINE works; it provides me with new horizons.
Besides, I’m looking to expand my resume. I want to build a better Zion brand and Hollywood’s stupidity offers me that chance. The bastard lost sight of how the Machine works. He made a fools deal with the devil. He reaps what he sows. So what if that bastard won Greenie before I did. He didn’t extend his ass once on this journey to ICONIC. He sat on the damn sidelines as always begging for God damn handout. Never once did he build HOW’s biggest show of the year. Hell, his thick fucking skull doesn’t allow him to evolve once.
He’s the one guy who plays the same song on repeat 5 billion times. One day he hopes that golden oldie will strike a chord. But the listeners move onto better platforms. Rather he’s making decrees or offering to martyr his lousy ass up for sacrifice; it’s a boring cycle with him. One week, he’s reinventing himself. The next; it’s a path to self-discovery. The poor bastard must have forgotten to pay the electric bill. The dust has settled on his pathetic career.
Between Hollywood and I, everyone knows I’m the better executive. I might be self-proclaiming myself as the future CFO of HOW; but I’ve taken my shots. I’ve taken more risks than that asshole in the last cycle. I picked up that damn microphone and I sold my ass off for a title match at ICONIC. I’ve owned up to my mistakes and failures; I’ve grown and accepted who I am. Now I want more and this is my chance to prove it. It’s a New Year, New Me. I can exist as the same loveable Zion, but now with a purpose.”
As my attention shifts back to Mer Bear, her arms crossed against her chest. She bats her eyes with vigor before responding. “You done? Because it seems like you’ve lost your damn mind after losing to David Noble. For once, I want a simple date away from your work. You OWE me that after you fuckin’ left me with Jace last week.”
“He broke my damn phone! I’ve apologized a million times for that horrible experience. I’m sorry, babe! At least JPD and I RECONCILED after the whole fiasco. You don’t have to worry about that shit happening again.” I confide in her while I let out a groan.
“THEN FOR GOD SAKES FOCUS! YOU’RE LIKE A DAMN CHILD LOST IN A CANDY STORE! You’re so damn indecisive right now. Come on! It’s draining!” Meredith scolds me. “You got your match at ICONIC. It might not be the one you wanted, but you have the chance to prove to the world you’re the best damn wrestler in HOW.”
A sarcastic smirk shapes against my face. “You’re damn right, Meredith. I want to climb the corporate ladder. My career will ascend to new heights when I prove I’m more executive material than Brian Hollywood. I’ll crush his brittle hopes against the cogs of Lee Best’s machine. HOW’s Self-Proclaimed CFO will slash Hollywood’s budget. I’m going to go out there and prove I’m the Money of Sex and Money. When I win, I’ll secure my new promotion and prove my worth. I’ll collect HOW all the green in the world; I’ll cash in my chance at winning Greenie from that murderous muttonhead. Besides, baby, Hollywood’s distracted in protecting his grandfather’s business. He’s too busy stroking the Chair’s dick to even care about HOW. He’ll strut out and pretend to be a wrestler. But me, I’ll out wrestle the damn bastard. I won’t tolerate Mr. Hollywood 11:59ing his ass into another title shot. I’ll chuck his ass off the top of the ladder and end his pathetic third run in HOW. And after I end his career, I’ll wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Meredith’s eyes roll into the back of her head. She elbows me in the ribs, and I rush back to the opposite side of the table. “Okay, stop practicing your next promo and focus on me for a change. I dealt with that shit all week with JPD and his fucking OnlyFans promos. Let’s have a romantic date and go back to the room…if you know what I mean.”
The lust in Meredith’s eyes flare up as she licks her lips. My arm shoots up into the air as I howl out. “WAITER!!!!”
Saturday, December 18th, 2021
Darin Zion – Self Proclaimed CFO’s Office (aka O2 Center Bathroom)
My eyes sagged from a long night of passionate love making with my love bug. But it would not deter me from earning my next promotion in HOW. For someone to cash in the big dividends in life; you must wake up early. After all, the old adage goes “the early bird catches the worm.” Exhaustion wouldn’t hold me back from seizing my moment at ICONIC. Executive level employees don’t slack off on weekends. They take initiative to find weaknesses in their opposition.
Sitting at my make-shift desk of a card table lined up in the bathroom, I play through David Noble’s last promo. Sipping on my coffee to stay awake during it, my mind wanders off into the abyss. I sip on the stale coffee at my side. God how I loathe it’s bland and chalky taste. It torments you like the garbage coming out of Noble’s mouth. My nose crinkles with each sip while I fight off the exhaustion. But Noble’s lifeless, mundane promo acts like a lullaby. I doze off into a light trance while David spews from his mouth. The abrupt acknowledgement of my name jolts me up from my slumber.
I struggle to lean forward in a comfortable position as the tuxedo I wear hinders movement. Nonetheless, I listen in with intent to his babbling before slamming my fist down on my desk.
“CHIIIIIIIVES!” I squawk out beckoning my new executive assistant to my side. “CHIIIIIIIIIIIIVES! God damnit! We need to have a meeting now!”
Sombering out of the tiny cubicle I made out of a nearby bathroom stall, a British hobo out of fear. The scent of stale bourbon burns away all my nose hairs. He flops his ass on the folding chair in front of my desk. His slouching posture does not impress me. The veins in my forehead protrude while I connect with my cheap new employee.
“First off, I need a status update on the budget project I assigned you. Have you delivered my first proposal to Mr. Best’s office? I need some good news after this shit show of a promo I saw from Mr. Noble.” I blurt out.
“Yes, Mr. Zion! I’ve sent your documents to Mr. Lee’s representatives…” he retorts before I heckle him some more.
“With the gifts?” I ask back of him. For a few seconds, he squirms in place before he responds back to me.
“Yes, sir! Mr. Best will receive only the finest escorts and liquor money can buy. It’ll enhance his experience of your first budget report. Just like you asked me to do.” His thick British accent doesn’t help quash my anger at Noble’s scathing rant. My face radiates a beet red color as we sit in silence for a moment.
“Excellent!” I exclaim before pausing to turn my tablet towards my faithful employee’s direction. I roll my fingers across the desk, letting out an awful screeching noise. I scratch my chin for a moment to ponder our next direction. Reaching my hand over to play back Noble’s vile crap, I stand up and begin to pace the room.
“This is the reason I summoned you to this meeting. Watch this shit!” I grumble out at Chives as he shakes in a violent manner from alcohol withdrawal.
“This bastard right here gets a few wins over a few struggling talents and he thinks he’s hot. It’s beneath him to wrestle HOW veterans like myself to prove his damn worth. He besmirched my name without hesitation. Do you know what Mr. Noble did right here, Chives?”
Chives’ silence speaks volumes to me. Chives shakes his head like a mindless buffoon before I get right up in his face. The hot air from my breath ricochets right back into my face. My eyes flare up while I begin to crack my knuckles.
“This bastard recycled the same playbook the rest of the HOW roster does when they face me these days. This asshole couldn’t cut an original promo to save his damn life. He acts like it was his fucking talents that got him booked on ICONIC. All he did was cut an aimless promo about High Flyer and never acted on his shit. Noble takes more time balking at my name and fails to continue to acknowledge what I bring to this table. I’m the most consistent employee on the HOW roster. I’ve remained loyal to the Best Family through thick and thin. Most wrestlers who had the opportunities I’ve earned and failed would have flaked. Those assholes rushed out the door when their free rides ran dry.
David Noble’s like all the other failed Defiance rejects in HOW. When Lee eventually grows tired of his new toy; Noble will discard himself along with the other trash. He lets his ego hold him back from a more stellar start. He’s like all the other Misfit Fisher Price losers over inflating past accomplishments. He acts like it’s his talents that carry him.
All the while, this bitch can’t put any respect on anyone’s name. He acts like he’s God’s greatest gift to professional wrestling. Yet he fails to realize HOW already has a talent like that. This fuck stick is trying to emulate Mike Best and he’s doing a piss poor job at it. Acting like his 5 seconds of HOW fame means more than the 15 years combine the other three of us put in. This bastard stops and starts more than a fucking broken down GMC truck. He’s got a subpar record too. He’s failed to impress audiences with his lackluster performances.”
Chives nods in blind agreement with my tirade. Not once does he utter a single word. He leans back at my desk with his feet propped up like a slacker. Pulling my desk from out of his feet, he falls forward. Chives climbs back to his feet and pulls the notepad out of his pocket.
“Okay, okay, sir! I’m taking notes! We need to punish David Noble for his insolence against you. What did you have in mind?” Chives replies back while I continue to pace the floor.
“The Noble Tax! Issue him a $5,000 fine for lack of original content. I won’t tolerate him cutting the same promo the HOW talent uses against me. If he wants to do better;at least he can watch an old Mike Best promo on HOTV. At least when Mike called me mediocre; it possessed a certain flair to it. I’ve seen better charismatic promos come from Cool Cancer Jiles than this fucker. He couldn’t even explain to the world what makes him different. He doesn’t outright define what makes him more impressive than the other HOW talent. He couldn’t bother to explain how he’ll stand out.
I’ve wrestled at this show numerous times over the years. I’ve won countless clusterfuck wars with legends in this business and I’ve lost some. I know the importance of what ICONIC can do for careers. I’ve spent the last seven years crafting my talents against some of HOW’s best talents. I’ve failed and grown up, but never once did I get frustrated. Never once did I expect Lee to hand me a present for winning a simple ladder match to impress the fans.
I put more effort forth in the last few shows building my path to this show than he did debuting. Diet Noble Hollywood needs to shut the fuck up. He’s never wrestled a War Games match here. He’s never won against a fucking champion. He hasn’t survived one whole year in the machine without bitching about something.. He’s too pissed off to wrestle the same damn match over again. Hell, if he continues this shit; he might bore himself to defeat. I don’t need pressure to show I’m one of the best talent members on this roster. I go out there and I impress the damn crowd. I rally them up in the curtain jerker because it sets the tone for the rest of this show.
If he can’t respect what opportunities he’s been given; then our office must insult Noble with his pay check. You might know your place on the damn card. But you don’t know the importance of why Lee made you repeat the process; Noble’s already failed the assignment.
This match isn’t with a bunch of average wrestlers. It’s a bloodbath of hungry HOW hopefuls looking to impress the boss. If you’re not content to shine in every match; then you’re worthless to the Machine. Noble doesn’t need pressure to excel. He needs his damn teeth kicked in. He needs to roll with the bullshit and stop acting like a stick in the mud.”
Chives attempts to stand back up, but I get up in his face and continue to yammer onward.
“Noble wants to see the difference Zion brings to the table? Fine! I can unhinge myself and leave a path of destruction in the way like I’ve done at ICONIC ladder matches before this one. I ended John Pariah’s career here and I conquered Brian Hollywood here too. I’ve performed this match in my damn sleep when all the top level talent left. I never once bitch and complained at the chance to steal the fucking show. I stole it! I appreciated the chance to shine even if it wasn’t what I desired. I gave my entire damn heart and soul and it yielded me another ICON Title reign.
Humility does great things for a man’s character, Mr. Noble. If my fine doesn’t wake his ass up to appreciate the hard earned dollar, then he can leave. Any penny spent on his pathetic, gripping ass is a wasted penny. Now get on it, Chives! Insult that rat bastard. I want him lost in his rage.”
I point my finger towards Chives stall and he scurries off to work. I bellow out my final instructions to him. “I want the stamp of approval delivered to my desk by the end of the day. Every penny HOW earns is a penny saved. Now, get back to work! That’s how we earn fucking money!”