Stars, Hide Your Fires; Let Not Light See My Black and Deep Desires

Stars, Hide Your Fires; Let Not Light See My Black and Deep Desires

Posted on August 25, 2023 at 2:57 pm by Dan Ryan

”I thought he’d never shut the fuck up.”

– Tommy DeVito, Goodfellas


Jesus Christ, are you done now Townsend?

God, thank you so much for that highly informative trip down memory lane. Today I have learned all about old musty gyms, bipolar expressions of deciding whether or not to give a shit, and fucking tacos.

Absolutely nobody gives a shit about your fuckin’ tacos. It’s a goddamn ancillary bullshit waste of time when grown fucking men are out here killing each other to be the best in the business.

You don’t give a shit about ‘lesser’ titles? You do? You don’t? You can do it if you try?



Most dominant wrestler in the history of HOW my fucking ass. Don’t say that stupid shit when Mike Best is still around and wrestling on the same shows as you. Don’t you do it. You have no case for calling yourself the most dominant wrestler in the history of HOW. None. Go tell him man to man that the LSD title doesn’t mean anything to you, or that the ICON was a lesser title. Go ahead, see what happens to you.

Nobody gives a fuck about tag belts?

Fuck you twice, you meandering, rambling sack of taco grease and ass cheese. When I’m in the ring, fucking everybody gives a shit, but you know what? Nobody is too keen on getting their fucking faces caved in, and that’s what the fuck I do. If anybody who gets in the ring doesn’t give a shit, they don’t get another match. They end up drinking their food from a fucking straw.

See, you think your big disappointment came when you lost to John Sektor, but John wasn’t trying to put you in the ground. I’m the one that gets sent to finish the job, you understand? Your pathetic kindergarten attempts to bait me into something with your dopey ass rhetorical questions and dumb as fuck non-answers are a joke.

Tell me some more about how much work you’ve put in to be able to get a shot at STRONK. You want people to be more angry when they don’t get World Title shots? You want me to express my extreme disappointment at not challenging for the World Title or being in the match to determine who does? What about people who are angry that there’s a fucking interloper moron dancing around on the outskirts lecturing people about shit they don’t put into practice themselves. You have no base to lecture anyone about anything. None. Tell me some more about how much you don’t want to sit and cry about your circumstances while sitting and crying about your circumstances. You put in the work?? Get the fuck out of here, dude. You said it yourself. You waltzed back in here forty pounds overweight, with posters of all of those ‘shiny trinkets’ you supposedly don’t give a shit about and expected everyone to roll out the red carpet for you. Then you purposely antagonize the man who just signed you to a fat Hall of Famer level contract. And you expect that guy to set you up to get a shot at the World Championship?

How much of a fucking moron can you possibly be? Is this what passed for intelligent inner monologue when you were working so hard to be the ‘greatest HOW wrestler ever’ back in the day?

Man, I’ll tell you something.

It’s well-known that I made all of my bones in other companies. I didn’t sign with High Octane Wrestling until I was in my early forties. And I’ve been here watching Hall of Famer after Hall of Famer pop back up, roll their fat asses into the ring and disappoint the fuck out of everyone. You look more like Bobby Dean than Rhys Townsend, but apparently, that’s who the fuck you are.

Then there’s other Hall of Famers, like my tag team partner, like John Sektor, like Mike Best, like Steve Solex, Christopher America (God rest his soul), who come back, get in the fucking ring and prove that they are exactly what everyone says they are. They get respect, and they get it because they actually worked for it. And don’t give me that hackey ‘Lee Best bootlicking’ bullshit either. I have been in World Title contention since I signed way back in 2019, and I have busted my ass over and over and over, no matter what is on the line or what isn’t. That’s right, I actually work, even when a title isn’t on the line. I will be in contention again, don’t you worry your pretty little fat head about it. That’s one of the differences between you and me. I’m a goddamned grownup with some perspective. I’ll get another shot because I bust my ass for it. You’re a fucking toddler who throws a tantrum because daddy won’t give you your binky. I’ll be back in the main event before you fucking know it.

You know why?

Because I’m a fucking professional you fucking coward. You’re mad because you’re only getting a tag team title shot. Awww, you poor thing. You are so disrespected being forced into a match against the most dominant tag team in professional wrestling today. I can’t believe people haven’t been assigned to make sure your balls don’t get dry. Me? I’m looking forward to getting into the ring and putting you in your fucking place. That’s motivation enough for me, you big mouth slack-jaw motherfucker.

Put in the fucking work?

Get bent, you has-been.

The first time you put in work since you’ve been back will be the first time. That’s the problem. I’m supposed to pity you and feel sorry for you when you openly don’t give everything you’ve got unless there’s something in it for you?

You’re lazy, and you’re a fucking insult to the people in life and in this business who would give their fucking lives to be in this company fighting the best in the world.






Not good enough though, right? Not good enough for Rhys Townsend.

Let me tell you what you’re not good enough for, Rhys.

You’re not good enough to be in this match. You’re not good enough to hold these belts. If you can’t be fucking bothered to give everything you’ve got every goddamn time you step between those ropes, you’re not good enough for HOW.

I didn’t wanna do this, Rhys. I didn’t want to show up and let myself get riled up like this, but I didn’t expect you to show up and be an absolute fucking bitch. I guess that’s on me. I thought you were worth a damn. Hall of Famer Rhys Townsend. Five time five time five time World Champ. But I’m getting gimmicks and excuses for you and not much else. How can you be tagging with someone who went into a coma for months and still be the most lifeless member of your team?

And you think you and Evan should be the betting favorites?

To do what?

Get diabetes, you absolute incredible pile of lard? Betting favorites to have the highest cholesterol?

Betting odds to beat us?

Good one, buddy. That’s a real, real good one.

You would do well to not try in any conceivable way to predict what I’m gonna say or do. You have no fucking idea about me. You have no clue what I’m all about, what I’ve been through, and you have no idea what it’s like to have one of the most impressive careers in the history of wrestling, then flub it away, then stand up like a fucking man and build it back again. You have no idea what I’m capable of. You would be absolutely fucking lucky to be half the man I am, because it’s quite clear based on Rhys Townsend story time… that’s one thing you are definitely not. A man.

I think it’s fine that you don’t know what you’re doing for the next big show because I’m not here to wrestle you to a friendly competitive match out there this week. Jatt and I? We give a shit. We have proven we give a shit. Jatt Starr has proven that he is a Hall of Famer for a very good reason. Go ahead and attempt your dunks on him all you want, but I’m blocking that shit at the rim, because I know without a shadow of a doubt that Jatt Starr will be there when the shit goes down. What about you? Can Evan Ward depend on you? You don’t know which Evan Ward will show up? Does he know which Rhys Townsend will show up? Will it be the lazy against John Sektor version of Rhys Townsend? Will it be the Rhys Townsend that hasn’t won a meaningful match, let alone a championship, since 2012? Is there anything more left in you?

Is there any Rhys Townsend other than this sniveling, pitiful walking bean bag chair selling tacos and waxing poetic about the old days?

Who gives a shit about your ‘old days’, Rhys? Seriously, who gives a shit? There isn’t anything you can say about the old days that any of us can’t look up on Best you should be concerned with the days ahead, not the days behind, because I have news for you.

I will break your fucking neck.

I will peel that new flesh of yours from your fucking skull and toss it to a little kid in the crowd for the greatest souvenir in the history of HOW.

I’ll let Jatt worry about Evan Ward.

Time to start giving a shit, cunt.

I’m gonna fucking destroy you.


”There are so many movies like this, where you thought you were smarter than the screen but the director was smarter than you, of course he’s the one, of course it was a dream, of course she’s dead, of course, it’s hidden right there, of course it’s the truth and you in your seat have failed to notice in the dark.”

– Daniel Handler


Winds rustled through the branches of a mighty oak.

The breeze was a welcome respite from the scorching Texas heat. Days off in this business were few and far between. It was hard enough to stay on top of things under the best of circumstances. Dan had found a few days to see to important matters, and this was home.

Or, it once was.

The sprawling mansion was eerily quiet.

No longer were there various staff around doing work, no landscapers, none of the ranch hands, not even Phyllis. Some things… Phyllis shouldn’t know. Plausible deniability is best at this time.

Dan rolled up the sleeve of his white dress shirt, then the other as he approached the front door and turned the knob. It creaked open and he stepped into an expansive foyer, dark and musty, with lots of dark stained mahogany along the arches of doors and of the entrance to the great room. There was no light, save what was able to stream through the windows high overhead.

His footsteps echoed as he walked through, eventually passing into the primary kitchen, and beyond, where a simple door was placed away from plain sight. The house was very very old. The door led to the former servant’s quarters, a relic leftover from an unsavory past.

He walked up to the door and, looking down, noticed a few small specks of color on the brass, 97 blood red, but he ignored it and turned the handle. The door opened and he stepped into near darkness at the top of a set of stairs. He pulled at a chain overhead and a single light bulb illuminated the stairwell. He could hear rustling downstairs and he made his way down to the bottom.

A man was standing there.

He was about six-foot-three, with dark eyes, and the rest of his face concealed behind an American flag adorned covering everything from the eyes down. His dark brown hair, though you could barely make it out in the near-darkness, hung loosely to his shoulders.

Dan looked at him, nodded, then opened the second door in front of him. He stepped through into a brick-lined small room soaked in McKenna blue light.

A man was seated on a wooden chair in the middle of the room, and his eyes widened as he saw who was walking toward him. His screams, muffled by the gag in his mouth, echoed from the walls nonetheless, and he struggled in vain against the bonds tied around his wrists behind him.

Dan walked forward, smiling, and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“I’m so sorry it had to come to this, but I think we both knew this day was coming eventually. I enjoyed doing business with you, John, and your training seemed to be valuable at the time, but unfortunately I did not get the result I wanted. You failed me, and I can’t let that sort of thing go unpunished. There are consequences for everything in life, John, and this is yours.”

The man angrily screamed in vain, eyes flashing in anger, his breath deep and labored. Dan walked around behind him and this time placed a hand on each shoulder.

“You know, John, I’ve been thinking long and hard lately about what has been missing since I came back. Sure, things have gone well at times, there have been some successes. But also, some failures. I don’t accept failure, John. I don’t accept failure, ever. So I thought long and hard, and I considered many variables.”

Dan leaned forward, his lips next to John’s right ear.

“Do you know what conclusion I came to?”

He stood back up, then crossed around in front of the man again.

“Fear. That’s what’s missing, my friend. It all seems so simple. Fear. If people don’t fear you, then people don’t take you seriously. And John, I am not a man who is willing to accept not being taken seriously, you understand? Too many people around preaching this and that, but ultimately, when it all comes down to it, fear is a mighty, mighty motivator. And it is a mighty tool when used by the right person.”

Dan looked over his shoulder slightly. A figure emerged from the darkness, a man of similar stature to the one outside the inner door, and stepped forward. He had a medieval looking flail in his hand with small bits of roughly jagged glass embedded into the ends. He reached the much larger Dan Ryan’s side, who held out his hand. The man handed him the flail and stepped back again into the darkness.

Dan stepped forward and looked down at John, whose eyes widened in fear. Dan pointed at him with his free hand.

“See? Fear.”

Dan tilted his head to the side.

“That’s exactly what I’m talking about. I can see it in your eyes. You understand? I see it, I feel it, I thrive on it. It makes me whole, John. I’m sorry it’s you. I am. But there is a greater purpose that must be served here. Failure has no place with me. And fear without consequence is a lie. Believe me. I’m no liar.”


“This place creeps me the hell out.”

Jatt Starr, the Duke of Jattlantica, the Warlord of Jattchovia, stood outside the same house. He looked the place over, noticing the unnecessarily high columns stretching from the base of the wrap-around porch up to the third story roof, ending in a flourish of colonial era carvings in the wood at the top.

Climbing up onto the main landing, the wooden boards creaked underneath his boots.


There wasn’t an answer, so he moved toward the door slowly. He was half convinced that something would be jumping out at him any second, and he muttered to himself.

“He couldn’t clean the place up a little bit? Geez, where did all the money go?”

Jatt reached out for the door, then held his hand on the knob as he took a deep breath. With a twist, the door opened, and he stepped inside. As he stepped into the foyer he looked up, noticed cobwebs on an upstairs banister, and let out a whistle.

“The inside is just as bad…”

While he looked up and around the large room, he heard a noise from around the corner like a door shutting. He stared in that direction and after a few moments, Dan Ryan, his tag team partner and friend, rounded the corner. He was neatly groomed, hair cut recently, face cleanly shaven. It was a marked contrast to his clothing, and Jatt became suddenly aware that his jaw had dropped and had not closed again. Dan was dressed in black slacks and a white button down dress shirt. The shirt was rolled up at each arm, and there were dark red stains all over the front of the shirt. Additionally, there was splatter across his neck and chin.

“Ah there you are.”

Jatt caught himself and closed his mouth, gulping a small bit of saliva before speaking.

“Is that umm… blood?”

Dan stared at him, then looked down at his shirt and waved the question off.

“Oh. Yeah, don’t worry about that. It’s nothing really, just taking care of some things downstairs. Nothing you need to worry about.”

The Mayor of Jattlanta was unconvinced.

“Taking care of some things? Like what, skinning a deer?”

Dan’s expression was very serious.

“Don’t be absurd. Deer season starts in November.”

Jatt’s eyes widened suddenly, and he shook the statement off.

“It was a rhetorical question, man. What the hell?”

Dan sighed.

“Alright fine I’ll change shirts. I probably shouldn’t go to a restaurant like this.”

“Yeah…” Jatt turned and walked back toward the door, but stopped before leaving and looked back. “Why don’t you just meet me out in the car when you’re ready.”

Dan smiled. “Sure thing. I’ll just be a minute.”

Jatt looked his partner in the eyes. There was a smile on his face, but the eyes held something else, something that made him feel uncomfortable. Dan continued to stare at him, and it began to unsettle. Jatt turned finally and walked out through the front door, while behind him, the smile drained from Dan’s face, he turned and headed down the hall.


”Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.”

– Mary Oliver