No Shit, Sherlock. Keep Digging, Watson.

No Shit, Sherlock. Keep Digging, Watson.

Posted on December 19, 2023 at 11:52 am by Jackson Cooley

In the days following Chaos 53, Jackson made good with the Polack and rescued Nick DiSalvo from the meat grinder. Literally. Since then, the two have been holed up at Nick’s sister’s house on the outskirts of the suburbs surrounding the Las Vegas strip. Rows and rows of cookie cutter structures, alien and foreign to the surrounding desert. 

Cooley has taken full advantage of being home. The coffers have been restocked with all types of creature comforts and he’s been high on a cocktail of illicit drugs for about a week.

Now it’s time to prepare for ICONIC. 

____________________________________________________________________________

“Jesus, this is more complicated than navigating a gangbang at the Convention for the Blind, Deaf, and Dumb.”

The camera fades into Nick DiSalvo and Jackson Cooley in a dimly lit room. Cooley stands in front of a pinboard. It is littered with photos, thumbtacks, and scraps of rambling notes. Twine is wrapped around some of the thumbtacks leading to adjacent thumbtacks, but there’s no rhyme or reason. 

Among the photos: Scottywood, Steve Solex, Darin Zion, Charles De Lacy, Shane Reynolds, Xander Zula, Kenneth D Williams, Drew Mitchell, John, Sektor, and Jace Parker Davidson. There are also Polaroids of a pornographic nature and newspaper clippings. This looks like the work of a meth head. And it stands to reason that maybe some bathtub magic was involved in this. 

“Cooley, what the fuck is this?”

“I’m not talking to you until you put the hat on.”

“Come on, we don’t have time for this shit.”

Cooley stares off into the distance, letting Nick know he’s not playing ball. With a sigh and an eye roll Nick leans over and picks up the brown Fedora from the table in front of him. Cooley smiles in adoration: now they look the part. Cooley has the sleeves of his dress shirt rolled up and suspenders loosened from his black slacks. 

From Cooley’s hand dangles a gourd Calabash pipe. A sweet aroma exudes from the light smoke billowing. 

“The answer is here somewhere. We’re just not looking hard enough. Let’s run through it again.”

“Cooley, this is not helping you prepare.”

“Well what am I supposed to do, Nick? Write some motivational quotes on my mirror? Run. It. Through. Again.”

“Ok, fine.” 

At the top of the board is a picture of John Sektor. A little magazine cutout of the HoTV Title is pinned to his photo. Sektor’s photo is circled multiple times in red marker. Cooley taps it with the mouthpiece of his pipe. 

“You got John Sektor. He’s the current HoTV champ. He doesn’t come in until the 4th match. I think. This guy is a monster. He’s run through everyone they put in front of him for the last bit. This guy is methodical, clean, and aggressive. The only thing I see to do here is use his aggression against him. I think the move with him is to strike first. Blitzkrieg. He’s in the Alliance.”

Cooley takes a toke from his pipe.

“What alliance?”

“THE Alliance. The club with the jackets and all. I don’t know, Nick. I haven’t figured out what they’re doing yet, but it all seems like some weird Father Complex fetish with Lee Best. Either way, this guy is nasty. Grappler. I need to be ready to get technical. Also, he writes a nasty letter, so I can’t let him get any pen and paper.”

“What the fuck does that mean, Cooley? Whatever. Speaking of daddy issues, tell me about Zion.”

Cooley waves his hand in the air. A signal of dismission. 

“Not worth talking about. I just need to be careful not to hurt him too badly. He seems to be a masochist with a daddy fantasy, and I don’t need that bad voodoo transmuted onto me.”

A shiver runs down Cooley’s spine thinking about another grown man calling him Daddy.

“Okay, what about this fruitcake?” Nick points with the pipe to Shane Reynolds. “What’s his schtick?”

“Shane Reynolds – he’s long in the tooth, so he’s experienced. He looks goofy, but he can be a threat. Been handed a few hard knocks lately. He doesn’t pull the stunts he used to, but he can still fly when he wants. Stamina will be his downfall. Focus on evading him and he’ll wind up doing himself in. Now this guy,” Cooley nods his head toward Charles de Lacy, “I think he’s the dark horse here.”

Leaning in, Cooley drags from his pipe and nods his head up and down. He examines de Lacy’s photo closely. Aside from his deadpan eyes, de Lacy is a strikingly handsome man.

“I do admire his hair. He looks… regal.”

“What the fuck does that have to do with his fighting, Cooley?”

Cooley puffs his pipe and rubs the stubble on his chin with his free hand while examining de Lacy. “If your hair isn’t right, you aren’t right. Morrisey said that, Nick. And he had phenomenal hair. Never regret thy fall, O Icarus of the fearless flight, For the greatest tragedy of them all, Is never to feel the burning light.”

“The fuck are you talking about?” Nick questions while scratching his forehead under the fedora. 

“de Lacy flew too close to the sun for a mere mortal and now he’s forced to fight for his meals. Yeah, man, he’s like a hundred years old. Will probably be looking to play catch-as-catch-can type. Whole goal with him will be rope-a-dope. Another one I just need outlast. If I pace myself, he’ll be ready for pudding and a nap before I break a sweat.”

Nick points to Xander Azula. 

“We already know this fucking cretin.”

Thoroughly surprised by Nick’s vocabulary choice, Cooley does a golf clap. 

“Well, look at your Mr. Culture. Yes, he’s been on my to-do list since the other week. He’s big and he’s ugly, but he will be lightweight compared to some of the others. Ah, who could forget Scottywood.”

An annoying whine escapes Cooley’s thumb as he strokes it across the picture of the Hardcore Legend. Is that a moniker for Scottywood? If it wasn’t before, it can be now. You’re welcome, Scottywood.

“I look forward to collecting on the blood he stole from me. If he makes it, that is. I hope he does. Gets my juices flowing just thinking about making that Jonathan Davis wannabe bleed. More than likely, though, either Solex or JPD will railroad him before I get the chance.” Cooley sucks his teeth. “C’est la vie. But if he makes it through either of them I need to be prepared to fight dirty. He’s going to bring a toolbox with him, I’m sure. That goddamn hockey stick. Well, he may be the Hardcore Gretzky, but I’m The Great 8 and I’m going to smash his record.”

“Great fucking reference. What about Brian Hollywood? Zach Kostoff? I can’t remember the rest.”

Nodding his head in agreement, Cooley scans the many, many other participants on the pinboard. None of them are cannon fodder, necessarily. There are some very talented men in this group. 

“I don’t blame you, Nick. There’s a whole lot going on here. Hollywood and Kostoff especially will be tough. They’re both great athletes. All of them will be formidable, I’m sure, but will fall with the rest. Slow, methodical, precise. This is a crockpot, not a marathon. The real threats here, outside of Sektor, are Solex and Jace Parker Davidson. Good news is that they will all but cancel one another out.”

In the messy hierarchy of photos on the board that only Cooley can understand, Solex and JPD are “equal”. He runs his free hand through his illustrious blonde mullet. Smoke billows out of the end of his pipe. 

“Yeah, I read fucking Lee’s spiel about Jace Parker wanting to get his hands on him. I’m not spun up enough to know why he wants to kill Lee Best, but the fucker sure does.”

Eureka! A lightbulb goes off in Cooley’s head. 

“Yes, Nick – that’s it!” 

Cooley steps back, taking all of the board and the pictures in. He mumbles to himself, dragging feverishly on his pipe while looking at each picture and note. His head nods up and down as if something has finally cracked in the case.

“Of course! It’s been so clear this entire time. It was right there in our faces. So simple that we’ve been overlooking it!”

“Cooley, I swear to god I have no fucking clue what you’re talking about like half the fucking time you speak.” 

“The why.”

Eyes glazed and hands in the air, Nick still has no clue what Cooley is getting at. 

“You see, Nick, everyone here has a reason. They have a why. Xander has his weird cult thing going on, Darin Zion wants an older man to love him, Sektor is trying to continue his meteoric rise. From the outside looking in, I don’t have a why. I’m too new.”

“Ok, I see where you’re going with this.” 

“Sure, I’ve had some wins, but I lost to that bum Evan Ward. And I’m not established. There’s no enduring storyline, no purpose. No one will take me seriously because to them, I’m a nobody.”

A few more puffs and the glowing behind Cooley’s saucer size pupils mirrors the orangish red of the cherry on the pipe. He’s feeling it now. The spirit is moving him. Not one for showmanship and pageantry, Nick is beginning to get impatient waiting for the big reveal. 

“So what gives, Cooley? What the fuck are you doing this for?” 

“Because, Nick. I am a nobody. But nobodies have shaped this world.”

“What fucking nobodies?”

“Think about it, Nick. It’s not the figureheads or dictators or even the greatest soldiers who have altered history. Achilles and Samson are known for their weaknesses. Whereas some Bosnian peasant filled Archduke Franz Ferdinand with holes. Those bullets were the first fired in the Great War. Lee Harvey Oswald was a highschool dropout that opened the door for Nixon to invade Vietnam. Man, it was some nameless Roman soldiers who washed the feet and nailed the appendages of Jesus of Nazareth to the cross. Pontius Pilate simply ordered it. Look at the bloodshed in the name of or against Christ.”

Energy emanates from Cooley. He’s radiating heat. Maybe it’s the days of crystal meth, maybe it’s excitement. 

“Nothing spectacular. Overlooked by all because they weren’t known. But look at what their actions lead to. Every inch of the Earth has been fertilized by the bodies that fell after their actions. Institutions destroyed. Nations toppled. The core fundamentals of ideology changed. Carnage. This is exactly what I’ve been talking about since I came to HOW. I don’t just want to win. I don’t just want gold. I want carnage. Tear down the pedestals and the false idols that stand on them. My PURPOSE is carnage. I am carnage. My why is as simple as that. See, Nick, I’ve been talking about ushering in a new era in HOW. This is a hot shot. This gauntlet match is taking Ol’ Yeller out in the field, the coup de grace in one fell swoop.”

“Ah, that’s fucking brilliant. You destroy a number of Hall of Famers, unseat the up and coming Golden Boy, and railroad fucking everyone’s plans. I love it.”

“Arive, raise hell, leave. It’s the Cooley way. Now, wait until you see what I have in store for the rest of this week.”

Nick doesn’t like the sound of this. He cocks his head sideways.

“Cooley, what the fuck does that mean? Last time you said that I wound up doing things in Saudia Arabia that I’m still fucking paying a therapist to unpack.”

“Nick, Nick, Nick. We only have a week. No way we’re getting into that kind of trouble. But maybe after ICONIC I’ll reach out to Prince Abu Shamari and see about getting another ride in his private jet. No, this is some local training I’ve lined up. Elementary, you might say.”

Cooley raises the pipe to his mouth and puts his other hand on his elbow, mimicking Sherlock Holmes as we fade to black. 

 

FIN