After being kneed through a wall and punted in the cranium at Refueled, The Behemoth had found himself having a fantastically terrible idea. Normally you would smack your friend in the mouth over this, instead of letting him go through with it. But the justifications almost made sense, almost. Up until recently, your neighborhood Texan was living off of a measly fifty three thousand dollars a year. While in rural America that would have been a decent living, when you’re required to eat upwards of six thousand calories a day and pay for your own room and board on the road, fifty three thousand dollars doesn’t exactly go very far.
Hotel rooms are expensive.
All the illicit earnings, the extra money from being a Best Alliance member was being funneled through Clay’s wrestling school. Unlike High Octane Wrestling’s own Six Time Academy that served as a slush fund for a rainy day. The Byrd Ranch was merely using the money to keep the lights on and students fed. So Clay found himself parked in rural north east Pennsylvania staring down a 2006 Coachman Miranda.
His head ached, the pain from the week before hadn’t subsided. He’d managed to steal a pair of Cancer Jiles official BA shades from the concession attendant at the arena before he left. Even there in the arena the soft exit lights had caused him an immense amount of pain. Now he stood in the sun, his hat pulled down on his brow, the Miracle Enterprises shades over his eyes and his head still throbbed. No amount of coffee, water, or painkillers helped him. This was his brain putting the pieces of the puzzle back together. The only remedy was time, and better fucking sunglasses.
“This thing sure is hideous,” The Monster from Plainview muttered, kicking his foot off the tire of the fifteen year old monstrosity in front of him. The white aluminum paneling with the blue, gray, and green highlights screamed octogenarian.
“Well like you said sir, the looks don’t matter,” a young salesman with slick backed hair chimed in. He fussed with his sleeves, making sure they were rolled up as far as possible to deal with the ninety-seven degree heat. The man was right, the looks didn’t matter. What mattered was how the motor vehicle operated. Clay popped the door open and found himself transferred back in time fifteen years. The hideous patterns on the furniture inside, the black faux marble laminate countertop, all the black appliances. Nothing was updated, which is exactly the way Clay wanted it to be. He wanted it to be as cheap as humanly possible.
The Monster from Plainview stepped through the door, and hunched over uncomfortably. He could rarely ever see himself using any of the amenities the RV would bring him. His needs were simple for this trip, the cost of the traveling room needed to be less than the average hotel cost. Traveling through the south east during tourist season was hotel hell. It made this option much more appealing as Clay motioned the salesman for the key. He slipped it in and fired the almost antique camper up. It roared to life, and The Best Alliance enforcer quickly went through checking everything over.
Clay test drove through the Pocono Mountains, taking in the serene view. His head still ached anytime the bright sunlight hit his eyes, the symptom of another concussion in a career full of them. ‘The Coach’ as Clay had affectionately named it, handled perfectly for an enormous travel camper. His knees barely touched the steering wheel as it roared through the wilderness. Uphill, downhill, the vehicle felt like it had been expertly maintained. This may have just become just a fantastic idea, instead of a fantastic terrible idea. Before Clay had made it back to the dealership the two men had begun to discuss the details of the transaction.
One sticking point that Clay would under no circumstances relent on though. The hideous paint job needed a desperate upgrade to suit his needs, and the salesman couldn’t understand why. “Listen, ya either paint the thing black and do #97Red highlights on it or I’m not buyin’ it.”
Clay and the salesman first, then Clay and the manager, and finally Clay and the owner went rounds over the painting of ‘The Coach.’ Finally, Clay had decided to pull out the ultimate weapon, the wad of cash The Alliance had received from winning War Games hit the table. No financing, no payments, just a cheap shitty RV painted to look nice was all Clay Byrd was asking for.
Dahlin’ what in the hell are ya doin’ here?
Yer a gymnast, not a wrassler dear. So why come inta High Octane tryin’ ta piss people off?
That’s what yer doin’ right? I’m sure ya got a kick out of stirin’ the pot with Jace last week, while I got a kick out of watchin’ ya have the taste slapped out of yer mouth. Did ya walk through the front door praying and asking Lee “what’s the quickest way to die I could possibly try short of challenging Mike Best to an HOFC match?”
Did ya think it was funny and grab his ass or somethin’? Maybe Rum described yer snarky fuckin’ smile and attitude ta him after ya walked out of that meetin’. And he wanted Jace and I ta make sure it got adjusted before we ended up with another one of HER on our hands. I mean I haven’t been told anythin’ but ya normally don’t walk in the door and get yourself dropped inta The Alliance’s Murderer’s Row.
Cause that’s what happens ‘round these parts Dresden. If the boss don’t like ya much he makes sure ya ain’t gonna be stayin’ fer long. Do ya think fer some reason yer spunk and guile are gonna make ya different than anyone else? The only thing that makes ya different dear is the part yer missin’ ‘tween yer legs.
Yer basically a walkin’ breathin’ fantasy from a fourteen year old girl who got cut from high school cheerleadin’. What, yer gonna fuckin’ backflip at me? Hun, I’m gonna throw ya like a lawn dart. I might even spend the evenin’ watchin’ the olympic trials ta make sure I get it down ta a science before I give ya a toss.
A fuckin’ gymnast dahlin’ yer a fuckin’ gymnast. A competitive fuckin’ circus performer. I’m sincerely led ta believe that Jace popped yer cherry. First one ta get ta hit ya in the fuckin’ mouth. It’s a shame I get ta have Jace’s sloppy seconds, I really wanted ta see the look of shock when one of my fryin’ pan sized hands blasted ya ‘cross the cheek. Sweetie, I might have been a bit gentler than Jace out there for the first one and let ya feel the back of my hand instead of the front.
Lil girl, yer a full nine inches shorter than Lindsay Troy is, fourty pounds fuckin’ lighter. Do ya really think ya can do things that she couldn’t? That bitch you admonished and claimed ta replace, hun, ya can’t even reach yer lil nose up and smell her fuckin’ hair. That’s how fuckin’ below Lindsay Troy ya are. She wouldn’t let ya clean her fuckin’ boots with yer tongue. And we fuckin’ ended her. We ran a fuckin’ amazonian giantess out of this fuckin’ place, and ya think that YOU stand a chance in hell at survivin’? Give me a fuckin’ break.
Talkin’ ‘bout makin’ a bigger impact than Jace?
Bless yer heart darlin’. Ya must have missed the part where he set another human bein’ on fuckin’ fire. Jace decidin’ ta come back was the biggest news this place had leadin’ inta War Games. A former winner, a multiple time world champion, makin’ his way back ta compete? Just gonna go out on a limb here and say it just happened ta be bigger fuckin’ news than you signin’ a fuckin’ contract.
Bitch, High Octane Wrasslin’ isn’t a fuckin’ game. Ya fight here, and ya can fuckin’ die here before ya blink. All it takes is a moment, just a second where ya aren’t focused. All that has ta happen, all it takes is a feller like me standin’ ‘cross from ya and smashin’ ya ‘cross the ring like a fuckin’ crash test dummy and it’s fuckin’ over. It’s lights out, roll the credits, no Marvel post credits scene, no to be continued. Just the end.
This isn’t where ya cut yer teeth and find out if this business is fer you. This isn’t where ya find out if ya really enjoy the competition. This is where the fuckin’ elite come, the best of the best, this is where they come ta be a fuckin’ legend. They live through the hardships, the pain, the years of frustration fer their moment in the sun. We fight like animals fer it, we fight like the fuckin’ colossuses that we are fer the right ta be the best in this business. And here ya are, green as grass, and fightin’ ta just survive.
Oh and if ya do that pointin’ and laughin’ shit, when I do eventually get my hands ya, I reckon it’ll take me a few minutes. I’m gonna smack yer fuckin’ teeth inta the third row. Then find out if I can toss ya farther than that.
Two days had passed and Clay had finally picked up his black and #97RED camper. He’d driven it through the night to arrive in Washington D.C. on the way to his destination Clay had passed multiple campgrounds on the outskirts of town. He’d deemed them all surplus to requirements. In the last year camping space had suddenly become a valued commodity throughout the world.
Clay hadn’t intended to be like the rest of the world with this camper. That’s why he had spent the remainder of his War Games bonus check on the fancy paint job and a small bribe to a production assistant. As the behemoth pulled into the Capital One Arena loading area he quickly scanned looking for the production truck. He pulled it up directly in front of the large semi and went about his work. Clay looked down at the ground and found the braid of cables running into the building’s power source.
Clay nodded to the men working diligently, running in and out of the arena setting up the ring. He walked right by the stationed EPU agents at the back door of the former Verizon Center. Clay Byrd was a wrestler, he was a member of The Best Alliance he was supposed to be there. The Behemoth continued to follow the cord through a cordoned off area, but nobody was paying attention. Clay walked in and found exactly what he was looking for. He made sure the cord he had paid the production assistant to weave into the cable braid was plugged in and promptly began his next task.
He needed to decorate his newest living quarters, and he knew just where he wanted to start. The Behemoth walked through the bowels of the arena searching. The concrete maze was dimly lit but Clay kept the sunglasses on anyway. The pain had begun to fade, but it still lingered and the cheap sunglasses at least helped to dull it.
Finally, after what felt like forever Clay found what he was looking for. A simple bulletin board full of thumb tacks was The Behemoth’s target this evening. He tore off everything on it, leaving a plethora of thumb tacks in the middle. Clay glanced at the office space beside him, with the red tint of the sunglasses he couldn’t make anything out but decided to go for it anyway. He pulled the board off the wall and turned back down the hallway.
He retraced his steps, his brain still felt foggy from the beating at Refueled, but he had remembered his directions for the most part. Finally making his way back past the EPU guards, waving as he went. The sun had finally set outside, and Clay could barely see anything through the stupid sunglasses. How Jiles wore these things all the time baffled him. He paused at the RV, making sure the connections had been made from the production truck before going inside.
The Behemoth looked at the hanging kitchen cabinets and went to work pulling them off of the wall. The aged particle board practically exploded as he pulled the storage from the wall. He had something far more important to put in their place. Clay tossed the shrapnel from the cabinets outside the door. It was Washington D.C., he rationalized with himself. Some homeless person would stop by and collect it soon enough.
Clay had to break the bottom bracket of the bulletin board, and a jagged section of the bottom off so the board would fit. He looked at it, trying to stand back to make sure it was straight. But his enormous size caused him to bump into the opposite wall. The Monster finally removed his hat and the stupid sunglasses. Tossing them on the bed that was just outside of arms reach.
He’d tried his damndest to ignore the last few weeks, he’d challenged Mike Best out of desperation, trying to give himself meaning. And he had failed. This match against some newcomer didn’t matter, that fight against Mike had just been a distraction. He had tried his damndest to get War Games off his mind and it was still there. And after pulling the photograph from the drawer he was finally eye to eye with his tormentor.
The photograph of Teddy Palmer twirled in Clay’s massive hands, as he delicately picked up the thumb tack with his left. He pinned the face to the board, at the top. The LSD Championship hadn’t mattered to Clay, it was simply a toy to evoke a response from Palmer. It was an item that his boss had simply wanted, and Clay’s quest to achieve that goal, to conquer that task had proved… difficult.
Difficult would be an understatement, as The Monster took out another photograph from a small drawer. The photo of the side of the Octane, Teddy watching Clay fall into the abyss. That night echoed through his head worse than the beatings he had received at the hands of Mike and the 4th Wahl. He knew what the punishment was for, but he didn’t want to admit it. He didn’t want to admit that Lee had punished him for his failure.
The Behemoth snarled and pinned the photograph to the bulletin board to the left of Teddy Palmer. After that match he’d called Teddy a coward, raved about the officiating, he’d done everything he possibly could to mitigate and isolate that loss. To remove the hit it had put on his confidence. Leading into War Games Clay thought it couldn’t get any worse. That a new low was impossible, that he was invincible.
How fucking wrong he had been.
The initial reaction was to whine and cry about officiating, to protest, rant, rave about how the referee shouldn’t have stopped the count to end the match. But to continue doing the same thing, to continue slamming his head into the metaphorical brick wall wasn’t the answer. The officiating hadn’t been the problem at War Games.
The problem had been Clay.
Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades he thought to himself. It meant fuck all in wrestling, almost still meant that you had lost. Almost beating Mike Best had meant that you had lost, and despite his stellar record, Clay felt like the worlds biggest loser. He had printed the photograph of Ted having his hand raised in the War Games cage earlier this week, and Clay pinned it to the right of Palmer’s face.
He couldn’t allow a third embarrassment to Palmer, the Wahl attack had been a warning. Next time Clay made a mistake? The repercussions would be cataclysmic. Having his head punted across the cage like a soccer ball would be the least of his worries. The lingering concussion symptoms would be an after thought. Lee Best would eliminate Clay before he could blink, he’d find a new Behemoth. Based on Wahl’s latest appearance he may already have. Eliminating Eli Dresden from the equation would be the first brick laid on his redemption story. The Captain of The Best Alliance would take back his rightful place. He would be untouchable again.
Just like in Sektor’s case there was no luck, there wasn’t a crazy force that had possessed Sektor and allowed him to defeat Ted. Opportunity had encountered preparation and Sektor had done what Clay couldn’t. Sektor had conquered his demon, and Clay knew it would soon be time for him to conquer his own.