“You guys don’t get it, I’ve got to be back in the saddle before ICONIC!”
Max stared at the three other versions of himself that sat in the burnt out ruins of the Council of Kael. Young Kael looked helpless as he stared up at his older self with nothing useful to add. Wilhelm Kael sat in his Council Chair looking sour and grim, his own blue eye fixed on Max with little sense of amusement. Finally Max Best paced nervously near one of the broken stain glass windows looking like a caged animal.
“No, we get it, we just don’t care.” Wilhelm said with a flat note. “I don’t give a flying fuck about wrestling, you know why? I’m not an insecure spineless little shit who jerks off to Jatt Starr promos before he goes to bed.”
“Hey, HEY! That’s a baseless accusation and completely incorrect.” Max quickly snapped back, his eye narrowing angrily. Realizing he might have come on a little strongly Max tries to play it cool. “Not that I would be judgemental if anyone in this room did.”
There is an awkward pause before Max Best lifts his hand with a look of shame.
“I’ve also jerked off to at least one Mike Best Promo, you know, the one with Tara?” Max Best offered a weak smile. “Hey why did you think I requested a lock of choke holds in our matches?”
“ENOUGH!” Max cradled his face in his hands as he attempted to drive the image of Max Best being choked by his brother Michael and refocus on the task at hand. “Listen, maybe this shit doesn’t matter to any of you but I’ve got a real legacy right now, people. You’re all FAILURES, okay? Yeah, all of you.”
Max glowers at his various selves as he stalks his way back into the center of the chamber. The fires still burned in the distance though they seemed to have grown much smaller in the last few hours.
“You all may not give a rat fuck about what I’ve been doing up there, the good work I’ve been doing but it puts to shame, to SHAME everything the rest of you have accomplished. This stupid Council of Kael? Each of you is just a joke, okay? I mean look at the lot of you.. I’ll go ahead and start with you.”
Max pointed at the younger version of himself who met his gaze with a look of mild confusion.
“..okay, I mean I can’t really say anything too terrible to you, you didn’t have much of a choice in what happened to you and you’ve really be the root of a lot of my personal growth as a person so Young Kael, my boy within, you’re fine. I’m sorry you get lumped into the rest of this trash, you deserve someone better. Thankfully once this all gets sorted out I’ll be back up there living our best life.”
He patted his younger self on the head before the two executed a nearly flawless high five.
“This is ridiculous, what the hell are you talking about Maximillian?” Wilhelm guffed as he stood from his chair, annoyance etched across his face.
Max’s demeanor changed dramatically as his haunting blue eye shifted away from Young Kael to catch the cold glare of Wilhelm. While Wilhelm stood regal and tall Maximillian’s shoulders hunched forward, his head lowered while his metal teeth were left bare.
“What did you ever do for us, huh? Let’s look back over your time in charge shall we? You were a loser. You couldn’t even achieve your final goal, you know that? You were supposed to run the family business just like dear old Uncle Wilhelm..” The Lord Supreme Dictator spat the words in Wilhelm’s face as he jabbed him in the chest with a boney finger. “But no, no a little piece of me made you need to wrestle. Made you need to come back to High Octane Wrestling and then invest more of our family money into the company.”
“You did no such thing, I made that call.” Wilhelm’s tone took a severely sharp note as his upper lip twitched. “I set us on the path to greatness. That body that serves you so well now? I crafted that with discipline something you severely lack you fucking savage. Eight months it took me to build us from some anemic, damaged sack of shit into our full physical potential. You stand here, in front of me standing on the shoulders of my success and throw it in my face as though it was failure?! Fucking pathetic..”
“Wow, geez, great, sorry my fault, didja have a real great year back in 2014? Oh swell, you managed to get us more physically fit, you also gave us a near crippling addiction to Ketamine and you’re, I don’t know, the manifestation of my Great Grand Uncle’s desire to live vicariously through me? I’m pretty sure Scott Stevens has a victory over you which means that everyone gets to say he has a victory over me which, fuck, it’s a pretty big black spot on my overall record.”
Max snorted a little as he thought about how pathetic Scott Stevens was, a good measure of the kind of piece of shit Max was. His moment of amusement was suddenly cut short when he felt the hand of Wilhelm Kael come crashing down across the side of his face.
“Nobody gives a FUCK about your wrestling here!” Wilhelm bellowed back at Max, his face flushed red with anger.
The strike had caught Max off guard and it struck hard enough to knock him back a few steps. His face stung though his pride was far more injured. His thin fingers rubbed his chin as he turned his eye back toward Wilhelm.
“Well, brotacular, to be fair I do also care about wrestling.” Max Best offered stepping forward with a smile stretched across his face.
“Shut the fuck up.”
Both Wilhelm and Maximillian said in unison as Best’s smile diminished into a sad little frown.
“Okay, here then, let me explain it like this. This whole life we have all lived hasn’t been what most people would call normal. I think we can all agree to that, right?” Max’s words were each covered with a poisonous bit of spite but he managed to keep his cool. After careful consideration all parties nodded and Max continued. “And in this long, strange life of ours.. Wrestling has been the only constant, the only thing that’s remained ever present. Even when we steered away from it we always came back.. We always came back to the ring.”
Wilhelm and Max’s glare continued though Max could see the acceptance of his point in the other man’s wilting stance.
“Now Young Kael never saw wrestling, never got to really experience it so how could I expect him to care.. But you two? We.. love Wrestling. Each of us. We love what it allows us to do, what it lets us achieve.. And even if it doesn’t fit the pre programmed parameters of success put into you by our Uncle some part of me is in you.. And if some small part of me is in you.. Then some small part of me knows I’m right when I saw in our life there is no other metric by which we can measure ourselves.” Max says as he moved towards Wilhelm recovering the distance left when he received the strike from his other self.
A low grumble came from Wilhelm’s chest the two continued their stare off. Max had made a point that Wilhelm couldn’t counter, at least not while put on the spot. His expression grew surprisingly more sour as he took a step back and lowered his head. Max’s lips pulled back into a triumphant smile as he leaned forward, his mouth a few inches from Wilhelm’s ear.
“You failed to secure a legacy. You failed dear old Uncle Kael. Don’t let failure but your legacy.. Help me fulfill.. Our.. Legacy.” He whispered into his other self’s ear. He began to pull away then paused, remembering something. “And if you ever hit me again I’ll bite off your God damn ear. The whole thing. Thanks, darling.”
Clapping his hands together Max turns on his heels and stared across the chamber at Max Best.
“You’re up next, Bromantic.”
Max Best pointed at himself as a smile formed on his face again.
It wasn’t to last.
It had been several days since he had met with Kim Jong Un and agreed to.. Something? He hadn’t been sure but it had something to do with ICONIC which meant it had something to do with High Octane Wrestling.. That fresh, fertile land of flesh and violence..
Unfortunately to get there he had to do something with this body of his. It had been years since he was last fully in control and so much had changed. His body was larger, stronger but damaged. Besides the obvious fire damage the Minister could feel his joints, his bones and the muscle tissue ached and strained. Even through the pain the body was slower, physically incapable in some cases of the level of violence he used to engage in.
There was still hope however.
The doctors and nurses that surrounded him as he lay broken in a bed constantly monitored his well being. He didn’t recognize the technology nor the language around him but he could feel it making him.. Better. Stronger.
If things continue as they are he calculated he might be able to rise out of bed in a day or two. Possibly even engage in more strenuous physical activity if he could endure the pain.
The trouble wasn’t the muscles or the bones currently.. It was his lungs.
He could taste the smoke in his throat and feel the burning of his body at all times. Whatever Max had done or had done to him and clearly left them nearly dead. Without the machines he was presently hooked up to the Minister suspected he would die, his lungs too damaged to process air. What a way to live..
…and those cowards threw him up to find a way to survive..
Or be the one who had to suffer the actual death.
The idea had turned into acid and ran through his veins as resentment burned nearly as hotly as the fire that had put him in this predicament.
He dwelled upon his fate until it finally arrived for him..
“It is I! The Herald of the Charred and Charcoaled Maximillian Kael, First of his Name, Long May He Maim! Sub-Marquis Bentley Tennyson Primrose-Farthington!”
The jovial, cherubic face of the Herald popped into the room in a North Kaelrean uniform minus any official markings. The Minister’s dark brown eye turned to look at the boy with an apathetic expression as the low hiss of air being pumped into his face filled the silence that followed Bentley’s introduction.
“Oh you look terrible!” Bentley chimed as he quickly shuffled over to the side of his bed looking at all the clanky pieces of medical equipment he was plugged into. “They told me you looked bad and I was like, I know what the Fast and Furious Maximillian Kael looks like when he’s bad but Woah did I underestimate this. It even messed up the color of your eye.”
The Herald leaned downward to stare into the Minister’s eye and noted how unfamiliar it felt. Still he offered an encouraging smile before he twirled around.
“The Supreme Leader let me out of the Inventory Camp to come help you get ready for ICONIC! How exciting is that?!” The cousin of Cecilworth Farthington exclaimed with great excitement as a large T.V. monitor was wheeled into the room. Nothing too exciting, an old tube t.v., probably no more than eighteen inches wide, the kind of television you might have as your second unit in the mid 90ies.
The Minister’s head tilted to the side as the Herald mentioned preparing him for ICONIC. His gamble had paid off though in a way he had not expected. How, though, remained the question that burned in the back of the Minister’s head as he stared at the Herald.
“As you know you’ve got to face High Flyer.. Or Jack Harmen? Whatever, you’re facing him at ICONIC for your LSD Championship!.. Which.. Uh..” Bentley stuttered as he began checking his various pockets on his uniform until he located a small set of cue cards. Shuffling through them he finally finds the answer he is seeking in them. “..Your LSD Championship is in the trusting hands of Little Lady Sutler Kael at one of your Forward Base Camps so luckily that wasn’t lost in the attack.”
He was the LSD Champion.. Good. Excellent. The Lee’s Special Division always allowed with more fluidity involving rules. Violence at its most delicious what with Lee Best’s blood lust and desire to see carnage. Up against someone called High Flyer Jack Harmen.. Harm Men. Fitting. ..but who was Little Lady Sutler Kael? He had.. Children?
“Anyway, the Supreme Leader might have been worried that you didn’t remember what happened, something about, like, trauma leaving people with memory loss? So anyway here is the last bit of what happened on Refueled XII.. enjoy!” The Herald danced a little jig in place while the television screen statics to life with a shot of Maximillian Wilhelm Kael, in his North Kaelrean uniform, standing atop the Allstate Arena.
The languid brown eye of the Minister stared out at the image on the screen as Max was knocked off the roof falling down into a dumpster where he vanished into the flames. Then, from the darkness of the roof appeared a man with silver hair and a terrifying rib cage.
“Boo! BOOO! Boo that cheater High Flyer! Booo!” The Herald hissed at the screen as the image froze on Jack Harmen’s face staring down at the chaos waging in the parking lot below.
The Minister stared at the face on the monitor, studying it carefully while he tuned out the jeers of Bentley. A determined face, grim.. Ready. He wouldn’t be an easy man to defeat, not by LSD rules. Jack Harmen clearly had no issue with knocking a man off the roof of a building into a blazing dumpster. A man willing to engage in that kind of violence?
A kindred spirit. Like Shane Reynolds or Graystone..
“They tell me you have one more day before they start the operation.” Bentley said in a low and ominous tone. “I don’t know what they’re going to do but the Supreme Leader says the full might of the North Korean Science and Medical division is going to be brought to task. Exciting!”
Tearing his attention away from the screen the Minister locked eyes with the Herald as the low hiss of oxygen stifled a growl.
“I got to see the operating room.. Lots of metal and tubes. But you’re the Powerful and Proud Maximillian Kael, First of his Name..” Bentley declared proudly as he pranced around the end of the Minister’s bed. “Long May You Maim!”
That sounded stupid, the Minister thought. It sounded stupid the first time he heard it, it sounded stupid the second time around.
A wet, gurgling laugh choked its way up the pipes as he turned his attention back to the Jack Harmen’s picture.
Something related to Max sounded stupid..