You ever feel so, just, absolutely defeated?
Like when you’re on the phone all day trying to get your internet to work and it just doesn’t. Or when you’re bumped from a flight and told “Next one” only for there not to be a next one? Or when you get your tax refund and it’s already spent and then some? One step forward, two back?
But life is a roller coaster. If it were just an upward track we’d never appreciate it. Gotta go through the lows to appreciate the highs. Like anything else, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. You’re connected, boarding, finally in the black.
Things turn around with a little elbow grease and hindsight.
The rooster crows, illuminated by the emerging sun as it grazes on a hill side.
A small rural house in nowhere’sville Pennsylvania, two story, wood, a rustic outward appearance. Tire swing in the front. A truely pedestrian home amongst acres of wildlife.
“Bodhisattva” by Steely Dan plays over the docked android sitting on a rustic antique nightstand. Jack Harmen sits up in his king size bed, arms raised letting out a morning yawn.
In the bathroom, Harmen looks at himself in the mirror. He brushes his teeth. He picks up a thing of floss, and then puts it down. He checks his receding hair line. Snarls. He grabs a hand of his long green locks, and then just starts taking a scissor. He snips huge chucks off until it looks like he’s a steam punk Mad Max warrior. Patches of short scruff litter his rounded head, before the electric razer comes ‘round and smooths out the chrome dome.
Harmen smiles at his own reflection in the mirror.
There’s a single burst of static, maybe five frames in total.
Now, the image turns to night. The once bright recesses of the room are now dim, darkened and without light. Besides the change in time of day, everything else seems to remain the same. Until you catch the reflection in the mirror. Now, covered in black veins all over his face, deep darkened circles around the eye sockets. Jack only looks at this version of himself for a moment.
It tilts its head to the side and smiles at him.
Another short burst of static before the image returns to normal.
Flyer shakes his head clear, reaches into his medicine cabinet behind the mirror, and pops his morning pills. He gargles them down and slaps the header of the door as he exits.
Stepping out of his home onto his wooden front porch, Flyer throws some Sony headphones over his ears and hops down the stairs. Wearing sweats and a head band, Flyer takes off the dirt path on his morning run.
Only to run directly into traffic.
If you count traffic as a simple old beat up Chevy Lebaron, kicking up dirt as the bald tires lose traction. The car shifts as it comes to a stop, just a few feet in front of the now paused Flyer. The Lunatic removes his headphones from his ears so they dangle around his neck.
There isn’t traffic on this road unless someone is lost or looking for High Flyer… and the list of people able to look for him here was small. Mary knew about this place. Tony might, if he remembered anything. And…
“Hey Dad,” shouts the youthful exuberance of a Jack Harmen who hasn’t gone through countless wars. Greg hops out of the driver’s side window as if he were in a Dukes and Hazard show. Not that the 19 year old has even seen it. He’d probably go, Oh, the one with the hot blonde singer and the old guy with the mustache?
Flyer bit his lower cheek. “Son.”
Greg laughs as he takes a few steps toward his dad. “Yes, I am your kin. How unnatural of you!” Greg rushes in and wraps his dad in a hug. “This is something CinemaSins would sin.”
“I don’t know what those words mean.” Flyer says as he just takes the hug, not expecting the outward show of affection. “So, you’re here to confuse me?’
“I’m here to thank you!” Greg shouted, slapping his dad on his back. “For the birthday gift. It was too much. You coulda just gotten me a HOW contract.”
“What? Can’t blame a guy for tryin’.” Greg throws his arm around Flyer’s shoulder. “But seriously. Thank you for the car.”
“Oh, yeah, just treat ‘er well. I’ve had her since I started in this business. Rebuilt the engine three times.”
“I remember mom telling you to get rid of it fifteen years ago.” Greg laughs. “I think she hates I have it now. But seriously dad, thank you. It’s gonna make it so much easier for me to travel to shows and conventions, get my name really out there.”
Flyer chuckled to himself. “Of course Son.”
“But you’re my son. Son.”
“Now you’re just doing it to annoy me.” Greg shouts, as he reaches in and rubs his dad’s bald head. “And look at that cue ball. I call next break!”
“I will end you.” Flyer said. “I made you, I can unmake you.”
“You don’t believe me?”
“Gotta catch me first!”
Greg takes off, as Flyer just shakes his head. “What are you, a Disney movie?” He shouts before giving chase.
Multiple Bursts of Static, interlaced with that classic ‘97 HOW Red logo. High Flyer, busted eye and all, stands in front of the side of his home. A large trap door to his left houses a basement that could save someone in a tornado. There’s a large HOW flag in the upper story window. Otherwise, it’s just white side paneling.
Flyer paces from side to side. He’s wearing a hoodie jacket that has the design of a straight jacket. It’s unzipped, so the illusion is a bit broken. He wears plain ol’ dark blue jeans and black hiking boots. His t-shirt under the hoodie is an oldie but goodie, a t-shirt from his days in NFW, with him falling as a silohutte like he was in the opening credits of Mad Men. He just smiles at the camera.
High Flyer: Wow. You know, you told me this time last year I’d be in HOW… yet alone stepping into the ring against Perfection, I would have laughed in your face. But, here we are.
High Flyer: Listen, like I said to Max for months, in another life, if the circumstances were different, I really do think we would get along. Chaos is our middle name. We’re basically related like that. But you and your unlikely friends of Mikey Unlikely, JFK and Andy Murray attacked me and mine to make a splash. I know it wasn’t personal, but it is now. I can forgive, but I won’t forget.
A close up on Flyer’s sly smile, then back to a wide.
High Flyer: And SURE, I was just a footnote in your debut, but I’ll be a chapter in your career. MJF and I are going to take those tag team titles if it’s the last thing I do.
Close up on Flyer’s eyes as they look up in thought.
High Flyer: I should really call her back.
Flyer clenches a fist as we return to a more medium close up.
High Flyer: MJF and I? We’re the number one contenders. We’re not going anywhere. In a field of tag talent that hasn’t been replicated, an almost lethal lottery of contenders, WE, are next in line. The fun is in the journey, but that’s not really true for wrestlers, is it? The fun, is in the championship. The glory. Getting the chance to say… I’m better than you. I’m better, than PERFECTION.
High Flyer: All that said, Perfection vs. High Flyer… who the hell woulda thought that could happen in 2020. I mean, seriously.
Flyer starts pacing again.
High Flyer: How? How have we shared this business for twenty years and never shared a ring? Never battled it out among this glorious stage of gladiators. Never shared fisticuffs, bathed in each other’s blood? Enjoyed the sounds of each other’s bones crunching? I hope we have enough time to have fun with each other. I know it won’t be our last chance to become blood brothers, so for now, I learn. I engage. I understand.
Zoom in on Flyer’s eyes.
High Flyer: I adapt.
Flyer’s demeanor changes. He rubs the back of his neck and seems to not want to look at the camera. His lips tense in a frown.
High Flyer: And, just to get this out there… sorry ‘bout your neck Andy. Twas just business, through and through. I mean, you can always ask Mikey why…
High Flyer: But see, I’m a changed man. I’m… I’m good. Well, I try. Now. Try NOW to be a good man. At least I know, I KNOW, I’m better than you. NOW. I’m a better person than 24k. Now?
Flyer winks at the camera.
High Flyer: I’m better than Perfection.
Time to prove it in that ring.