Scott, I’m having a bad fucking day. Hell, I’m having a bad month. I’m miserable, I’m frustrated, I’m angry, I’m furious. I’ve thought of all kinds of things I could do to piss you off, to make you feel how I feel. I could have power bombed your kid. I could have murdered seventeen hippos at Pablo’s old house in Columbia with a high powered rifle. I could have done a lot of things Scott.
I could be yelling all kinds of words to you right now. Telling you all about how I got fucked out of the World Title. That somehow the warped grey matter in your brain magically altered your perspective to think we had anywhere near the same kind of encounter with Conor Fuse. But I won’t do that to you Scott, that’s too easy. It’s too easy to poke you with that stick to get a reaction out of you, because we all know that’ll work. I’ll just talk about Stevenspedia a bit, jerk you off verbally to make you think I give a flying fuck about what you think and drop some meteoric hammer about how you actually suck and you’ll be more fired up than Elmer Fudd at Bugs Bunny.
But that shouldn’t be the thing that upsets you Scott, that shouldn’t have anything to do with why you’re fucking furious.
Why aren’t you furious Scott?
You should be here, with us, you should be angry just like us, livid about the treatment of this fucking dumpster fire. You should be asking me where to sign on the dotted line to be a Highwayman, you should be running to the front of the line with your list of grudges a country mile long to fight with us. You should have been the one out campaigning “BRING ME INTO WAR GAMES I WANT REVENGE.” It’s like the Ukranian foriegn legion fighting against Russian oppression, and you’re a Ukranian who’s been beaten and whipped by the fucking Russians every day of your life to the point you had to flee your home, leave your country, and now they fucking invaded and you’re going to sit on the sideline?
They took your fucking kid Scott. The Best family circus took your fucking child from you and you didn’t do a god damn thing about it. You’ve fought Mike Best how many times since then, and never demanded to fight for him? What? Is he not fucking important anymore? Do you lose one and just fucking replace him? Is he a fucking iPhone?
HE HAS YOUR FUCKING NAME SCOTT.
What kind of fucking man are you? What kind of walking, talking, self-defecating, self-defacing, cuckold pile of shit are you?
You should take up self-mutilation like Pleasant or something. At least that would make the smallest, tiniest, itty bitty bit of sense. Instead, you’re the rat fuck, boot licking, jizz gargling, shell of a man who never had a pair of fucking balls in the first place. I fucking despise you Scott, I abhore you, I loathe you more than any other sad sack of shit on this roster. Because all of you jerk off fuckbags play along with their little game over and over again. They take your kid, they take your eye, they take your life, they fucking ruin your existence. And you’re magically willing to sign up on the dotted line to work for them again.
No harm, no foul. Thanks for the fifty bucks and the reach around.
Steve Solex, Steve Harrison, and Joe Bergman have fucking principles. They looked at what was going on, recognized it, and called a spade a fucking spade. The Best family circle jerk had only treated Solex and Harrison like family, just like me. And they decided to fight to end the fucking bullshit. Scott, I told you before, you should be here with us. You should be just like the rest of us, you should be ready for fucking WAR in that ring. You should be tucking your son in at night under the covers and apologizing to him for not being there. You should be doing so much, and yet here you fucking are. Suckling at the teet of the beast without a second thought.
JUST ONE MORE WORLD TITLE SHOT
I CAN DO IT THIS TIME UNCLE MIKE
I WON’T FAIL YOU
Fuck you Scott Stevens.
You failed this kid Steve Solex has to take care of. You failed your family. You failed your principles. You’ve failed everyone you’ve ever fucking encountered, even MOB himself.
But do you know who you failed the most Scott?
Scott, nothing about this is going to go well for you. Nothing about this is going to be a fucking wrestling match, this is going to be a fucking fight. I’m going to beat the unholy fuck out of you, it’ll look like the scene from fucking Gladiator. I’ll be Russel Crowe in the middle of the Coliseum, blood everywhere, your body at my feet, your head in my raised hand, screaming “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?” It’s going to look like a scene from a slasher film when I beat you around that ring like the bitch you are. Then I’ll drag your corpse to the back, with your severed head in my other fucking hand and I’ll put both of them on the desk of Michael Oliver Best. Maybe he can bronze it so someone in the Best family can keep skull fucking you while you’re dead.
You’d probably be okay with it, because you don’t fucking get it Scott. You don’t get this anger, you don’t get this violence, you don’t understand what runs through my fucking veins every day. I’m a fucking machine Scott, and I’m hell bent on getting my revenge, I’m hell bent on marching my ass into War Games. I’m hell bent on captaining my team, I’m hell bent on fighting for my friends, my brothers, my fucking family. I’ll fight for them, and I’ll fucking die for them if I have to Scott. Because I’m a fucking man, and that’s what real men fucking do.
They don’t go out and fight hippos. They don’t go out and beg for world title shots. They fight for a cause, they fight for a fucking reason. They fight because it’s fucking neccessary. I have a cause, I have a reason, I know why I’m marching into War Games. I’m not trying to prop up some bastardized legacy, I’m not out here trying to prove to the world I actually deserve to be a hall of famer. I’m not out here begging and pleading for one more chance.
I’m taking one more chance Scott, and it’ll be at your expense.
That’s the biggest difference between us Scott, you’ll beg for it, and I’ll go fucking take it.
The grass green double steel doors surprised Clay. He meandered through Solex’s perfectly manicured backyard. It had remained untouched by The Behemoth’s rusted out F250 parking in the middle of it, and it still had its charm. The single tree that Clay was originally marching towards had a tire swing hanging from it. The drunken Monster had originally wanted just the tire, he needed it for his workouts. The weight set-up that Solex had in the basement was almost enough. But years of smashing a tractor tire with a sledgehammer and you can’t go back to just free weights.
There was something about the thud of the high-carbon steel on rubber that calmed the enormous man down. He could find peace through any mental storm swinging a twenty pound sledge into a Firestone. But these metal doors intrigued The Behemoth, and he needed to see where they went. The rusted chain and lock that held the two doors shut were clearly meant to keep people away.
But The Behemoth had a sledgehammer.
One swing and the rusted chain and lock on the steel door exploded apart. The steel doors shuddered with the impact and Clay Byrd grinned. It felt good to break something. He whipped one side of the steel doors open and peered into the darkness of the room. The natural light from outside penetrated the darkness. And Clay wiped the cobwebs away from the doorway. He entered, his booted foot touching the concrete stairs, and he slowly descended down. Through the gloom he could make out a single hanging light bulb in the middle of the room and he headed towards it. He reached the bulb, and pulled on the small chain that hung beside it.
The dimly lit room was suddenly illuminated around Clay. A few military style cots were against the far wall. A propane stove and a sink were at the far end of the room. And of course, behind The Behemoth sat a wall full of non-perishable canned goods.
“Of course Steve Solex has a bomb shelter…” Clay smiled with the irony behind the statement. Then he looked around the windowless room. Everything was neat, and orderly. In the far corner boxes of ammunition for Solex’s AR-15 sat beside the wall full of canned goods and MRE’s. In the center of the room, sat a card table with four folding chairs. Clay pulled one of them out and sat down.
The silence in the room was eerie but calming, outside, in the real world; you could hear the sounds of progress. The neighbors lawn mower whirring to life, the cars passing by on the street, neighborly waves, gossiping at the mailbox, the gawking stares. In here it was quiet, in here there was peace. Clay could hear himself take a breath. He could hear the sound of the air enter his lungs. He leaned back with the front feet off the ground and shut his eyes for a moment. Letting his thoughts race.
He hadn’t slept more than a few hours in months, the truck in Solex’s front yard wasn’t an adequate sleeping arrangement. Solex had offered him a spare bedroom, but the room looked like someone died there in 1952 and nobody updated it. Besides the cramped confines, the spectral image of his father still haunted him.
And then there was the rage.
It never let go, the adrenaline was non-stop. His pulse raced every day, even the breathing exercises he looked up on youtube weren’t helping. His body pulsed, he needed to find a way, he had to be planning, he had to be working. He had to be doing something productive to destroy The Best’s.
“Hey! Who’s down there!” The young voice echoed in the concrete bomb shelter and caused The Behemoth to stir. The sledgehammer fell out of his lap and crashed against the concrete. It startled the young man walking down the stairs.
“WHO’S DOWN THERE!?” Clay laughed, of course. He hadn’t ran into the kid in weeks, Solex kept Scott Stevens-Solex Jr. training non-stop. Despite the fact he had been left in Six-Time Academy to fend for himself, to fight for his own survival. Once the child encountered the creature comforts of the world he had become lazy. The drive, the fire, the NEED to survive, it all faded as his strung-out features slowly filled out. He was like his biological father, just along for the ride.
“It’s me kid,” The Behemoth muttered. Scott Jr. could hardly make out the words. But the Texas twang was enough for the boy to sheath his fear and walk into the room. He walked down the steps carefully, and stopped with his feet on the bottom step.
“Dad said we’re not allowed to be in here…” The younger Stevens eeked out uncomfortably. The enormous Texan cut an imposing figure, even sitting in a folding chair.
“He said YOU aren’t allowed to be in here. What the hell are ya doin’ not drinking protein and liftin’?” Clay smiled, trying to disarm the kid. He’d been through more than Clay could ever imagine, and with how hard Solex was on him, he couldn’t help but be nice to him.
“He gave me a break, but I’m grounded from the HOW video game because I played as Conor Fuse.” Stevens Jr. finally stepped deeper into the bunker and looked around awe struck.
“Couldn’t agree with that decision more.” The rage began to rise under Clay’s positive demeanor. The kid didn’t know he was pushing The Monster’s buttons. But mentioning that little gamer fuck brought the memories of Refueled crashing back to the forefront.
“Hey Clay” Stevens Jr said while looking at the old canned goods. He took a deep breath and turned towards the scariest man he had ever met. “Are you gonna hurt my real Dad?”
Clay sighed, how do you tell a kid you’re going to maim his father? What good does it do him? He’d probably heard it from Mike a hundred times. He’d probably had Cecilworth, Max, and Sutler making fun of Stevens all the time at the academy. Scaring the kid wasn’t going to do anything to help the kid out, or help Clay out. But, he couldn’t lie to the kid. Clay was a man of his word, and telling this child anything but the truth wasn’t right.
“Oh…” Stevens Jr. gulped and looked down at the concrete floor. He kicked at a long crack causing a small part of the concrete to flake off.
“That isn’t your Dad kid, he might as well be your sperm donor.” The gruff Behemoth mumbled as he moved the sledgehammer on the floor to set his bag down and began to unzip it.
“What do you mean?” Stevens Jr. asked, clearly confused. Just as Clay was about to answer, another silhouette blocked out the sunlight entering the room. Clay shrugged his shoulders at the young man as Steven Solex trampled down the steps into the bunker.
“What the hell are you doing down here?” Solex’s eyes had beelined to his child. The #1 Dad stomped his foot firmly and pointed up the stairs as he shouted at Stevens Jr.
“Talking to Clay…” The kid said, trying to pass the blame onto The Behemoth. Clay shrugged and half nodded while Solex shook his head.
“Get the H-E-double-hockey-sticks out of here!” Solex shouted, stamping his foot as hard as he could on the ground. Dust flew through the air as Solex-Stevens Jr. marched disheartened towards the door.
“But Clay was talking to me,” the boy pouted as he made it to the doorway. He looked back at Clay, almost begging him for help in the situation.
“Listen to Steve and go get my beer out of the truck kid,” Clay said as Scott Stevens-Solex Jr. scampered out of the bunker. Solex turned to The Behemoth and smiled, as the child got to the top of the stairs Solex pulled up a chair of his own.
“You didn’t have to break it with the hammer,” Solex shook his head at Clay this time. He didn’t have to say anything. His expression was enough to show his disappointment with The Behemoth.
“Yeah I did, I didn’t have the key,” The two Highwaymen started laughing. Clay took a moment and continued to fish around in his bag.
“You see the gamer fuckhead gave me this?” Clay said pulling out the Xbox controller Conor Fuse had given Clay on the last episode of Refueled. The meaningless apology accompanied by the controller did nothing but infuriate The Behemoth.
“Oh, not this shit again.” Solex said, taking the controller from his friend’s hand while looking it over. Solex treated the controller as if it was alien technology and Clay held out his hands to take it back from Solex.
“Fuck him.” Clay said, gripping the controller by both handles, and squeezing as hard as he could. The veins in his forearms were showing all the way up to his neck as he continued to squeeze. Eventually the controller buckled under the force, into a million small pieces.
“Fuck him.” Solex nodded his head smiling, he knew his friend had every right to be upset with Conor Fuse playing along with The Board’s charade. The two sat in the quiet for a few moments, both of their thoughts wandering to the world title match. Solex had almost sacrificed his career for his friend, but living to fight another day was the agreed plan. He could have stopped it, Clay could have won…
“I need you for War Games Steve,” Solex nodded and patted his friend on the shoulder. He pushed the chair in and looked back at Clay who had stood up on his own and tossed his bag onto one of the cots. Steve turned to walk away, but Clay spoke up again.
“I like it down here Steve, it’s nice.”
“You want to stay down here?” Steve said, a bit taken aback. Clay had insisted on sleeping in his truck since he had shown up in his front yard. That had been months ago.
“Could you think of any better place for a man at war to be, than in a bunker?” Clay asked with a smirk. Solex turned his back chuckling to himself as he walked up the stairs.