His match against Rah wasn’t the biggest match of his career up to date. That was technically his match against Dan Ryan, a match that, if he had won, might have propelled him to the finals. It’s very possible it would be him facing his uncle, Mike Best, and not 65 million years worth of calcified bunions brought to life by a voodoo magic 50 or so years ago known as Dan Ryan.
Or at least Sutler liked to tell himself that as he nursed his wounded ego.
No, his match with Rah wasn’t even the second biggest match of his career up to this date. That dubious honor went to Bobby Dean who also defeated him this year in a match that would have at least allowed Sutler to salvage the idea that he was still undefeated in a regular match. Instead he now sat near the bottom of the rankings with an abysmal 0-2 record.
This wasn’t the biggest match of his life, not by a long shot, but it was most definitely his most desperate one.
He had pushed himself physically, training harder under the impression that it should sharpen his in ring performance but that didn’t seem to help. His raw talent seemed to have reached a plateau of sorts and now, with his Uncle distracted, his real father missing and Max dead, he had no one to look to.
Sutler would never turn to Lee and he despised the idea of giving into his Aunt Elenore’s assistance, the trio of Jeremine, Herman and Dolores. He’d find a way, he was certain of it, how could he not?
The nervous teenager nervously chewed on his lip as his mind wandered into dark places. Anxiety began to gnaw at him at levels he had not experienced since his father had died and he had no real understanding of why.
A loud noise clattered from inside his desk causing Sutler to immediately jump back, his normally pale face growing a shade whiter, his earlier thoughts scattered to the wind.
The desk jumped with another loud sound bangs from the desk draw, as if something was pounding on it, trying to break free. He felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up as goosebumps covered his arms. Reaching out his fingers curled around the draw handle pulling it open cautiously.
Hateful light poured out illuminating Sutler’s face with an infernal #97red glow that pulsed with a steady rhythm, like the beating of a heart. The source of this malignant red light was a chrome eye that sat in a crimson pool glaring up at him with all the unfettered rage and insanity he saw swirling there when it was in his father’s head..
I.. Am..The.. Ŵ̴̢̧̞̖̦̠̪̠̩̱̓Ä̷̼̮͔̭̺̩́̌Y̶̳̦̮͓͐͒̀̽̆̚
The cruel voice boomed in Sutler’s head ringing like the sour note of a cursed bell. The pulse of the light intensified as he felt pain rip through him, white light shimmering from the edges of his perception.
“..no.. you’re..dead..” Sutler managed to sputter as he sank to his knees, the world spinning as he felt his body losing its strength.
Pain. That was all Sutler could feel as the light overwhelmed him.
That bright light that seemed to consume everything before shapes started to come into view. The edges of his vision seemed to fall back into shadow while the light took form and the world started to settle into place.
He couldn’t remember who it was that was looking down at him asking if he was okay, that terrible voice still haunting his thoughts. Where was he?
What had happened?
Another looming shape came into view.
Dan Ryan, the silver back he was, regarding the young man with indifference. Reality flooded back to him as he realized where he was, what was happening. He had been fighting Dan Ryan in a cage for the HOFC Championship. Dan had managed to lift him up and..
As he was dragged out of the cage as he heard someone asking him if he knew where he was, what was happening. Sutler hadn’t quite pinned it down himself yet so he refrained from answering. What the fuck had he just dreamed?
Sutler ran the last few moments though his mind again. The office, the desk, his record..
Only one thing made sense.
Blinking away the last vestiges of haze from his vision Sutler managed to croak out the only theory he presently had.
“..He fucking knocked me into the future..”
“I’m so glad you decided to come and see me.”
Sutler noted that Jeremine was doing an exceptional job not throwing any amount of bite into that last statement. He suspected that as a doctor of psychology he had mastered hiding his true feelings and on the inside he was quietly gloating about all this.
“Well it was you or I seek advice from a glowing red-eye and this seemed like the healthy of the two options.” the Son of Scions admitted with a shrug. “So what, I talk to you about my family and you tell me how it’s not my fault or something?”
The doctor peered at Sutler with a pair of thoughtful blue eyes. Not cold or distant like his aunt, more complex, deep but not unwelcoming. Likely another psychological doctor trick.
“These first few sessions will be mostly centered around us getting to know each other. We’ll talk about things you want to talk about and if there isn’t anything then I do have a few questions I’d like to ask you and some homework I’d like you to do, if you can.”
The older man smiled and once again it wasn’t threatening or predatory. There wasn’t even a real sense of arrogance, it was like Jeremine was attempting to offer some comfort. Alarming to say the least.
“Okay, well.. Okay. Well I haven’t really told anyone anything but I’m having a bit of a crisis between determinism and destiny,” Sutler said as he pulled a cigarette out of his pocket. “Determinism being that one’s actions determine the future while destiny implies that there is some divine order, a predestined future against which there is no avoiding.
“Please, don’t smoke in here.” Jeremine asked kindly.
“Thank you for saying please.” Sutler nodded toward the doctor before pulling a lighter from his pocket. “So anyway this is gonna sound crazy but a few weeks ago I was in a UFC style fight in a cage against this guy named Dan Ryan. Had a solid back and forth but ultimately he dropped me on my head and knocked me into next Tuesday. Only not next Tuesday, like, maybe two or three months into the Future.”
Sparking the lighter Sutler ignited his cigarette and took a quick, nervous pull. Displeased but not about to stop his patient from sharing, Jeremine dug an old crystal ashtray out of his desk and put it on the desk between the two of them.
“Now I know you’re thinking how do I know I was knocked into the future and what does any of this have to do with my current crisis. Allow me to elaborate a little for you. While I was unconscious I dreamed about being in an office with my dead father’s mechanical eye in my desk worried about my record going into a match against Rah. I was undefeated when I had that.. That.. Vision.”
Sutler took another drag, the smoke turning in the air as he expelled it from his lungs. Flicking the ash into the crystal ashtray the doctor had set out Sutler noted the ugly triangle symbol in the center with a skull. It stood out in his mind as a rather sinister looking symbol for a doctor to have, brushing it off as he continued.
“I think nothing of it when, the imagination runs wild sometimes. I’ve heard of guys having crazier things happen when they get knocked out in the ring but part of me starts to think about that office, it gives me an idea to become the President of Human Resources, right? So I do, I convert an old closet in the Best Arena into my office, get Grand Dad to sign off on it, the whole nine yards. Meanwhile I lose to Bobby Dean and am presently sitting at zero wins for the year.”
He huffed in disappointment before taking another puff.
“Shitty but you know, mostly this is just trivia shit. But then my Aunt shows up with this eye. My father’s mangled red-eye and it’s fucking flickering. And it’s in my God damned desk back at the Arena and I just fucking know if I sit there, in that place, feeling sorry for myself that fucking thing is going to start talking to me… and I don’t think I can do anything about it. I saw the future and now I can’t fucking change it. Because.. I think I made the choices that got me here but what if, because I saw the future, I subconsciously decided to make those choices to put me here. And despite all of what we are doing here, at some point, in some place, I’m gonna be seated at a desk.. And that eye.. That fucking eye man..”
At this point Sutler’s hand started to shake as he took another nervous drag. The awkward silence between the two is broke by Jeremine.
“Does it matter?” the Doctor asked.
With a blink Sutler snapped his head toward the doctor with a puzzled expression.
“What the fuck do you mean does it matter? Of course it matters, don’t you care if you are in control of what you do or if something is pulling the strings behind the curtain?” the Son of Scions blurted out, outraged at Jeremine’s apparent apathy.
“As you just explained to me in your scenario there are only two possible outcomes, you are either in control of your fate and you have and continue to have control over everything you do or you don’t and nothing you can do will ever change that. In either case all you can control is how it makes you feel and if it doesn’t matter, it has no power over you.” Jeremine’s rational explanation leaves Sutler a little stunned.
He sputtered as he took a moment to think further about what Jeremine had said.
“..but see.. I.. If I don’t..” The gears were working overdrive and still the flat simplicity of the doctor’s case had caught Sutler so off guard he couldn’t cobble together a defense. “..well.. Fuck.”
Smashing the cigarette down into the ashtray stared down at his feet with a growing intensity. If he was destined to end up behind that desk with that eye it was true, he couldn’t stop it. And if he could, he just simply had to avoid sitting behind that desk.. Or like, maybe just throw the eye out? Standing up Sutler shook his head, chuckling to himself.
“Fuck me, you’re real good Doc! Man I can not tell you how much that had weighed in on my mind! Just.. focus on Rah, don’t sweat this stupid eye. My father is dead and he’s never coming back.”
Looking up Sutler paused, the left eye of the Doctor burned away, blood dripped from hanging flesh that surrounded the ruined occular cavity. Crawling through the meat and bone was a pulsing mechanical red eye.
The voice pounded in the back of Sutler’s head, a wretched, raspy voice. Sutler immediately regretted putting out the cigarette as he licked his dry lips. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes and opened them again.
Jeremine offered a comforting smile as his blue eyes, both of them, revealed a concerned look.
“Are you sure everything is okay?”
“..like you said Doc..” Sutler offered a lopsided smile as he turned toward the door. “..Does it matter?”
So here it is Rah, our big match at March to Glory.
Are you excited for it? You know I am. You know why? Because recently I decided to just embrace what life has thrown at me and most recently it has thrown me you. I don’t know if you can beat me, hell I don’t know if I can beat you but I do know that I have a Destiny.
Do you know what that is like?
I know there is path set out for me by powers that are beyond my understanding. Once upon a time I might have struggled against that but now I realize, what’s the point? So many of us are trying to reinvent ourselves or create something lasting, a legacy or a name they can leave behind when they’re gone.
I even used to think that your genes played a role in your success.
Holy fuck was I wrong.
I mean sure, I’m the Son of Scions, I got a lot of stuff going for me. I’m the biological son of Shane Reynolds, I’m the adopted son of Max Kael, I’m the nephew of Mike Best, the Grand Son of Lee Best, I was practically raised in a fucking wrestling ring. I never had a choice in whether wrestling was going to be a part of my life, that was decided for me when Shane Reynolds shot 20cc of Sad Jam between my mothers legs.
Could have been worse I guess.
Yet even with that I’m on a losing streak. My credibility has tumbled like the value of a .Com company. You like? I snuck a 90ies reference to keep you in on the jokes, I don’t want to lose your attention. But also I am haunted by my failure.
Both of us need this win, man, but only one of us can get it. Personally I’m walking into this looking to take away that win from you. My destiny needs me and that path unfortunately leads right through you sunblossom. Though I heard you recently let go of your little lady friend who convinced you to attack me in my office.
Dumb move, she was a pretty smart chick. Had I the option to attack you in your office you know I would have taken it. Fuck I didn’t even know it was an option and you threw her away?
Shame on you but hey, whatever you destiny calls for, who am I to judge right now?
Now I’m sure in a few weeks this blissful nihilism I’ve stumbled into will wear off but for now it’s a delightful distraction. It’s exactly the kind of cathartic thinking that is going to make beating your fucking Sun God ass all the more delightful. I heard you’ve even been working on some new fancy move, I’m eager to see what you bring to the table. Personally, I’ve been working on my mat game, counters holds, submissions, you know, the pinnacle of credible professional wrestling.
Or maybe depending on the situation I’ll just take a page out of my uncles book and drive the point of my knee or elbow into your skull, back or groin. Knock your ass out in the center of the ring with all the grace of a hurricane. Maybe I’ll buy a fucking tank and run you over before the match even begins!
What I’m trying to say is at March to Glory I’m going to munch down on some tasty Rahberry Crunch. Your destiny doesn’t end there though, when I shit out what’s left I’ll flush it down to Missouri Valley to win a couple more meaningless belts.