July 11, 2023
San Quentin State Prison
20 Miles North of San Francisco
The deafening clang of metal crashing against metal and the roar of hundreds of voices echoes off of the towering stone walls that border San Quentin’s prison yard. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of bodies pack the yard to its limits. The tension of the yard is palpable as a symphony of profanities fills the muggy California air. The yard is filled with confrontation and unpredictability, but in the middle of all the chaos stands a calm, composed and incredibly imposing mammoth of a man.
The warm glow of the setting sun provides the perfect backdrop as the behemoth stands tall with his broad shoulders back and his chin held high. His towering frame cuts a perfect silhouette against the evening sky as his dark skin glistens with the hues of the sun, adding the perfect compliment to his already awe inspiring presence. His mustacheless beard is tough like a brillo pad and as dark as the underbelly of California’s penal system.
A voice, deep and commanding, booms from across the yard and in an instant the California prison falls eerily silent as everyone goes perfectly still. All eyes on the yard turn to the owner of the voice, drawn to it like moths to a porch light.
“I’m talking to you, bitch!” A man roars as he stomps across the cement basketball court with a finger pointed right at the behemoth.
A collective gasp ripples through the prison population, but only tugs at a snarl on the behemoth’s face. Everyone inside these prison walls knows that the number one unspoken rule of the yard is to never call someone a bitch.
That is, of course, unless you’re prepared to fight.
Like a juggernaut in the prison yard, NECKBONE remains still. The monster stands rock-solid like an immovable object as the approaching man’s pace quickens, his eyes burning with intensity. The air thickens with tension as the man takes his final step as the yard prepares braces for an explosion of violence.
The snarl deepens on NECKBONE’s face, his dark eyes narrowed and smoldering, as the man presses his chest into NECKBONE’s. The man looks up, his eyes lock with NECKBONE’s and suddenly the man’s confidence begins to waver as a look of uncertainty comes over his face. The man takes a hard swallow as he comes to the realization that he has pushed too far and that he may have crossed a line that he can never un-cross.
The man takes a deep breath as he nervously scratches at his scraggly chin hair in an attempt to avoid eye contact with the juggernaut. NECKBONE doesn’t say a word, he doesn’t have to. And then, like a flash of lightning, NECKBONE lunges forward, reaches out and grabs ahold of the man by the throat. The behemoth’s massive grip begins to close like a vice around the man’s carotid arteries, cutting off the flow of blood to the man’s brain.
NECKBONE clenches his jaw as he stares into the man’s eyes and with a sudden surge of raw strength he lifts the man a few inches off of the ground, giving a clear demonstration of his dominance in the yard.
The shout of a prison guard rings out and causes the crowd to quickly disperse. The inmates scatter and retreat back to their respective areas, but NECKBONE remains still. His eyes, still simmering with intensity, stay locked on the man’s as the guard shouts out again, “JONES!”
NECKBONE flashes his teeth as he snarls once more before reluctantly releasing his death grip and sending the man collapsing to the ground. In a panic, the man gasps for air as NECKBONE turns his back on him and looks over to the guard.
“You have a visitor!” The guard shouts out.
The behemoth looks back to the man, who’s now on all fours and still gasping for air. NECKBONE plants a stiff kick into the man’s ribs, unceremoniously flipping the would-be challenger onto his back.
The monster looks back to the guard and with a slow and deliberate saunter, he begins to make his way toward the prison entrance. The inmates in the yard watch in silence as the guard holds the door open and NECKBONE walks in.
“Down the block,” the guard says, showing the way by holding his hand out.
NECKBONE walks confidently through the block, each cell going silent as he passes by. The sound of his massive footsteps echoes through the corridor in perfect cadence as the inmates watch on with a deep sense of caution.
As he reaches the end of the cell block, NECKBONE is quickly buzzed into the entrance of the crowded visitor’s area. The juggernaut scans the crowded room, searching for a familiar face, when suddenly he locks eyes with a hulking, bearded individual at the end of the room.
“Motherfuckin’ Steve Solex,” NECKBONE mutters to himself as he playfully shakes his head and flashes a grin.
Solex stands at the end of the room, his arms extended out for a big bear hug. NECKBONE’s face lights up and with a friendly swagger, he jogs across the visitor’s area. The two embrace and NECKBONE wraps his massive arms around Solex and effortlessly lifts all 275 pounds of him into the air like a toddler with a giant hug.
Solex’s face begins to turn beet red as NECKBONE playfully squeezes the air right out of his lungs, the veins in his arms bulging.
“O…k. Let…go!” Solex says as he frantically taps on NECKBONE’s shoulder.
NECKBONE lets out a hearty laugh before he gently lets Solex down to his feet. Solex stands in front of the near seven footer like a child as NECKBONE tussles his hair and gives the former HOTv Champion a blistering slap on the side of his arm. Solex laughs it off as he fixes his hair and runs his fingers through his beard.
“What the fuck are you doing here, man?” NECKBONE asks, his voice laced with a tone of playful curiosity.
Solex smiles and says, “To get your overgrown, sorry ass out of this fuckin’ place. That’s what the fuck I’m doing here.”
The grin is immediately wiped clean from NECKBONE’s face as he licks his lips and a look of skepticism takes over.
“Fuck you mean…get me outta’ here?” NECKBONE asks, his tone deepened with seriousness.
Solex, not taking too kindly to the changed tone of NECKBONE, responds with his teeth gritted, “You heard me, motherfucker. To get you out of this hell hole and back out there with me. I need some help and you’re the perfect guy for the job.”
“Yeah, but how? How do you plan on springing me from motherfuckin’ San Quenin?” The behemoth asks as he caresses his thick beard, contemplating the options.
Solex shakes his head and places a hand on NECKBONE’s boulder-like shoulder.
“You know who I work for, don’t you?” Solex asks in a condescending tone.
NECKBONE nods and says, “Yeah, motherfucker. Of course I do.”
“Then you should know that this man has some pretty serious connections, especially when it comes to fine California prison establishments. Hell, the fuckin’ guy owns a goddamn island not even twenty miles from this shit hole,” Solex explains, his tone still on the higher end of condescending.
NECKBONE turns from Solex and paces a circle before turning back to the HOW Hall of Famer. He bites his bottom lip, raises his eyebrows and gives a shrug.
“Alright, goddamnit,” the behemoth says through a tinge of laughter.
“Give me 72 hours, and I’ll have you out of this fuckin’ place and in Chicago,” Solex says as he turns and begins to walk off.
“Hold up!” NECKBONE demands as he grabs Solex by the shoulder. He stops The Last Man in Wrestling dead in his tracks and asks, “Whatchu’ got for me in Chicago?”
“Have to get you back in the ring, my friend. Little project the man has been working on. A little thing called X-Pro Wrestling. A bit of a joint effort between a few companies, but that’s beside the point. Point is, I’ve gotta get you warmed up,” Solex says, flashing a toothy-white grin.
Still seemingly confused, NECKBONE asks, “Warmed up for what?”
Solex shakes his head and laughs.
“Holy shit, you haven’t changed one fuckin’ bit. I’ve got to get you back in the ring, get that ring rust off of ya’ and then I need you to meet me in fuckin’ South America. A few weeks in X-Pro and you should be good to go. In the meantime, I’ll be in Brazil looking for Christopher America,” Solex explains.
“Oh, yeah. I heard about that bullshit. Fuckin’ Blood Alliance man, they’re some dangerous motherfuckers. You be careful out there, especially in the fuckin’ jungle man. I’ve heard they have landmines and a guerilla army out there just ready to pounce on the first motherfucker that impedes on their territory,” NECKBONE says, as jabs a finger in Solex’s chest in a gesture of seriousness.
“Yeah, I’ve been out there for weeks. I’ve been close, but you my guy… you are going to get me to the promised land. And then you’re going to help me prepare for my match in Australi. You’ve got just the right qualifications. I’ll see you in Rio in 3 weeks, brother.”
Solex gives the behemoth a wink, easing the bit of skepticism that NECKBONE once had. Solex quickly turns back and walks away, disappearing in the crowded visitor’s area.
“Where the fuck you goin’?!” NECKBONE shouts.
“Some place they don’t ruin everything with goddamn avocado! Anywhere but fuckin’ California!” Solex shouts back over the crowd. He never looks back over his shoulder as the scene fades to black.
July 31, 2023
Brazil – Heart of the Jungle
Solex stands alone in the middle of what appears to be an old and forgotten metal building in the heart of the Brazilian jungle. The interior walls are covered in graffiti and intrusive vegetation and the exterior is a myriad of rusty patchwork panels, but in the middle of the building is a wrestling ring. Solex had the ring shipped out here three weeks ago and today it was installed.
“Carmen?” Solex wonders out loud as the woman steps out from the shadows of the corner.
“Hi,” she says softly.
Weeks ago, Solex found himself face to face with a woman named Carmen in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym in the small city of Goiana. The two had a testy exchange, but it was riddled with hints of flirtatious banter. She was a tough cookie, but Solex knew how to handle her and he did. She gave him a tip and put him on the right track to find Christopher America. But, before he could strangle information out of The Black Falcon, Carlos Vargas…Carmen cracked him over the head with a wrench and knocked him out cold, allowing Carlos time to escape.
“You fucking bitch! I knew I’d find you out here. Goddmanit, I was hoping I’d be wrong, but for
some fuckin’ reason…I just fuckin’ knew it,” Solex says as he points a finger in Carmen’s face.
“I was two inches from that motherfucker and he got away. Not because he outsmarted me or outfought me. No, he got away, because of you. Because you snuck up behind me and distracted me long enough for that fucking NERD to slip out the backdoor of that fucking restaurant and dissappear into this abyss you fuckin’ weirdos call a country,” Solex rants, still pointing a finger in her face.
Solex seethes as he clenches his fists at his sides. With a deep breath, he resists the urge to knock her head clean off her shoulders with a left hook.
“You..you goddamn bitch…you cost me the opportunity to find and save Christopher America and you cost me the motherfucking HOTv Championship belt against that prissy little bitch, Shane Reynolds!”
“How is that my fault? Last time I checked, you were the one…”
Solex immediately cuts her off and shouts, “You drugged me you whorish fucking whore! What don’t you remember about that? I spent a week in the fucking jungle in bare feet, jumping into some of the most unsanitary waters with open wounds on my feet and because of that, I got a staph infection…and that, you GODDMAN BITCH, is how I lost the HOTv Championship to that emo-fuck!”
Solex’s eyes burn with a fiery rage as he begins to pace back and forth in front of Carmen.
“And now,” he continues, in a stern and elevated tone. “I have to find that prick all over again and all the while, I have to prepare to beat the ever living shit out of that catatonic, crippled, NERD-bitch Evan Ward. And like some kind of bitch-magic, you’re back again. What are you going to do to me this time? Slip me a mickey? Shoot me with a fucking blow dart like I’m Ace Ventura?”
Carmen gives Solex a curious look as she looks toward the ring, noticing a metal ramp that leads right up to the apron.
“Is that…a wheelchair ramp?” She asks, completely changing the subject.
Solex rolls his eyes and says, “Yeah, it’s a fucking wheelchair ramp. Why?”
“What’s it for?” She asks, her voice completely curious.
“What the fuck does it look like? Fucking wheelchairs,” Solex responds, his voice laced with frustration.
“Yeah, but why?” She persists.
“And who’s that?” Carmen asks, pointing over Solex’s shoulder toward the entrance.
Solex whips around, turns toward the entrance and instantly a giant grin spreads across his face.
“That’s NECKBONE Jones.”