I stare at the ceiling fan, which is off. It’s a cool early morning, but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. My pondering mind is actually staring through it. As I lay on my bed motionless and in the dark, I can’t help but have flashes of every time I laid in this position on the canvas looking up at the beaming lights of an arena near you. Just in HOW alone…
Thoughts of Jace Parker Davidson literally looking down on me after his victory in our HOTv Title match.
The blurry remnants of memory of Daytona slyly smiling at me as she pushed off my body after the final count in our dark match at Bottomline. Maybe that is just my mind fucking me, though it seems real as shit. I’ll never really know for sure.
That’s not mentioning me seeing Jatt Starr and John Sektor’s mug relentlessly on repeat in my current state of mind.
I get a quick mental rest as I consciously turn my head and look over at the wall clock. It’s somber tick is all the sound in the room. My mind fucks with me again.
“You’ve seen better days,” it says. “With the number left…on the wrong side of time.”
The clock reads: 6:12 a.m
I stare at the clock now, it’s static numbers providing me another fast moment of respite. I manage to muster up just enough energy to plant my feet on the carpet below.
I grudgingly make the short walk to the tiny bathroom in my studio apartment. I look at my unkempt beard in the mirror as I apply toothpaste on my toothbrush. The doldrums of another mundane day.
That simple daily task brings another fucking thought into my balding dome.
“Facing me for the HOW World Championship is just a chore for Conor Fuse.”
The foam of the toothpaste mounts as I swirl my toothbrush in a circular motion. That’s what I was taught to do in wrestling school..erm…I mean school. Fuck.
Thankfully, I hear a knock at my door. I quickly rinse my mouth and make my way another short distance to the front door. Inevitably, I still have toothpaste foam on parts of my beard. I open the door…
“You not ready?”
“I’m not going,” I mumble as I turn my back on Murdock and meander to the couch and plop on it.
“You not going to a workout? Especially at a time like this?”
Murdock wrings his face with the palm of his monster hand. “This isn’t like you, Kev.”
“I’ve been doing yoga all night, all right. That’s a fucking workout isn’t it?”
“Yeah, yoga. Isn’t that what you call it when you stay still while every possible fucking thought runs through your mind?”
“Hell should I know?” Murdock replies as he turns from a concerned frown to a mean grill. “Wait.”
He picks up the TV remote on the coffee table in front of me and begins to scroll through HOTv which was already on. He scrolls and scrolls like a mouse through a maze he’s already been through before and comes up on Refueled LXVIII.
“Don’t tell me you’re still on this?”
STILL NOT READY?
The words stare at me from the TV screen and I stare back at them just as menacingly. It was the tagline for my HOW re-debut vignette.
I ignore Murdock and continue my face off with the TV like a never ending game of “let’s see who blinks first.”
Murdock throws his arms up in the air hastily. “Jesus fucking Christ, Kevin.”
“I can’t. I CAN NOT go through this again. Do you have to go through your entire fucking life trying to prove you’re a Mandingo?”
“What have I proven? What have I done to earn this World Title shot?”
“Who gives a fuck!” My ideals, clearly, weren’t registering with my comrade. “Take that shit and forget it. Aren’t you the one always telling me that?”
“It doesn’t work that way with this, Murdock.”
“What’s the difference between this and money?”
“This is my life.”
“Alright,” Murdock pauses to compose himself. I can tell he’s trying hard to find the words to meet me in the middle. “You’ve found a way to make it in the top ten in ranking. You’ve beaten a HOW World Champion before.”
“Former World Champion, big difference.”
“For Christsake Kevin, what’s the difference? Tell me.”
I literally stand up to Murdock, which is a feat in itself given he’s 7 feet tall. I’m chest to chest with the big man and childhood friend.
“What the fuck would you know about it!?” Your wrestling career was non-existent and turned to shit before it even took off!”
Murdock’s eyes shoot to the back of his head.
He put his hand up in a surrendering manner. “Fuck this.”
Murdock shows himself the door and slams it behind him. I huff and puff to myself and plop back down on the couch.
The TV remote crashes onto the screen, the words still there…
STILL NOT READY?