Monday, April 18th, 2022
Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen
Finally, the bullshit experiment of Xander’s pathetic multiverse storyline is behind me. After months of missing out on quality time with my love, we can go out on the town. HOW flew me in early to Orlando to market the 95th edition of Refueled. Only 5 more Refueled episodes until something new comes down the pipelines. Between our busy schedules, we hadn’t gone on a date in months. Since my love arrived in Orlando, I planned a special Disney date for us. Tonight, we’d hit the town and let loose in Downtown Disney. While I finished up my Fried Chicken Caesar Salad, Meredith ordered us two glasses of Pinot Grigo. We’ll leave your imaginations to fill in the blanks on what we planned for later.
As the waiter moves out of the picture, I gaze deep into Meredith’s hazel eyes. The twinkle in my pupils sparkles at her, signaling my lustful thoughts. My Love lets out a deep sigh from her lungs before shooting me a glare. Crossing her arms against her seductive dinner dress, she covers her cleavage. Her lack of words sends shivers down my spine. I lean in to whisper my question. “What’s wrong, my dear? Something bothering you?”
For a moment, Meredith’s head shifts down towards the ground. She lingers while scratching her chin. Under normal circumstances, I knew what Meredith’s thoughts were before she spoke. I’d never received the cold shoulder from her. Attempting to scoot my chair closer to hers, Mer Bear pulls away from me. Now I couldn’t hold back my frustration. A tense tone came across my voice. “I asked, what’s wrong, dear. I can handle it. Spit it out already. I can’t read minds.” Before Meredith could utter a word, the waiter sets our drinks down on the table.
“Thank you, Myron for your service.” She comments before the Myron sets the check in front of me. Reaching over for the check, I flip open the book. I lock onto tonight’s bill: $100. Thumbing through my wallet, I lay down the exact amount into his little black book. With authority, I slam it shut.
“That’s all you get, you fucker! How dare you don’t subscribe to the 4Z network! The Zenith of Zionists thinks you need a vibe check. Ruining my damn night!” I mutter underneath my breath. Meredith’s ears perk up, catching the tail end of my smack talk. Her face is beaming the brightest red I’ve ever seen. Gritting down on her teeth, she slaps $30 onto the table. She proceeds to scald me for my transgressions against the waitstaff.
“For fuck sakes, Darin! This man’s prompt! He’s handled all your complaints when the chef screwed up your salad order. He’s gone above and beyond for us all night. Yet you refuse to acknowledge his efforts because you’re not getting any pussy? Ever since Jatt Starr’s trained you, you’ve changed.”
The vein in my forehead begins pulsating. My delightful disposition fades off into the moonlit sky while I scowl at Meredith. I still can’t believe she doesn’t understand the dilemma. I made this arrangement with Simon because I’m tired of everyone disrespecting my value in HOW. I’ve spent 8 years in this company not yielding any results. Knowing Mike’s in control, I couldn’t settle on staring at the lights. Mike demanded results from my mediocre ass. My desire for making new friends evaporated when Xander shanked me in the back. Now I had to earn my respect and demand it.
Shaking my head, I clap back at my wonderful girlfriend. “No! I’m seeing everything in 1080z. Everything’s crystal clear now. Nice guys finish last here in HOW. I’ve kissed more ass and babies than a politician during my stint in HOW. It’s earned me jack shit. I’m tired of treading water and I’ve earned the respect of a decorated Hall of Famer. Sir Simon Sparrow could have thrown me to the curb in front of the world. But wrestling him opened my eyes. I held back in our encounter because I didn’t want to rock the boat. I turned a blind eye to Xander’s motives. And I got embarrassed in front of the World at March to Glory. I refuse to do that going into War Games. I can’t miss this opportunity, Mer Bear. It’ll hurt us.”
Meredith huffs before leaning into me. Her forehead presses against mine. “GOD, I FUCKING HATE YOU RIGHT NOW!” She pounds her hands down on the table to shock me out of it.
But I wouldn’t budge, not this time. “I’m sorry, babe, but it’s time to discover Z difference. You’ve gotta subscribe to the 4Z network to achieve our dreams. We’ve longed to move to a bigger lake house. We want a big backyard for Lexi to play in. Hell, you yearned to foster dogs on a ton of acres of land. If that’s what you want, then Z’s gotta strike back. We’ve got to move into the future. In order for Zion to keep them coming back for more; Z-Daddy’s gotta beat some fools.”
Meredith cuts me off, balking at this idea. “You’re going to let someone else’s ego go to your head. He’s poisoning your mind.”
Rubbing her shoulders, I go to reassure her. “Chill, honey, I’m on fleek more than ever. I’ve embraced who I once was in HOW. At one time, I didn’t give a fuck whose feelings I hurt. Only results mattered to me. I understand the assignment now. Zion fever’s about to catch on in HOW!”
“I haven’t caught it!” She says in a scorned voice.
“Well, I can always trade you in and get a better model here at Z-Mobile. Damn sure Sir Simon Sparrow could manage me better than you have the last couple years.”
A shocked look appears on Meredith’s face while she stands there. Tears roll down her eyes while she storms off back into the hotel room.
“Calm down, darling, I’m only playin’! You’re always my number one AZ&Z subscriber. You’ll get top priority once you see the results. I promised you I’d take care of you and I will once I beat Noelle Rivers this week. You’ll see…”
She continues walking off into the distance, not giving me an ounce of attention. I go to pull out a small, mahogany bounded book from my suit jacket. It’s labeled “Random Acts of Douchebaggery” on the front. I make a quick note about what I did a dinner. After placing two tally marks down, I notice the $30 tip sitting on the table. Swiping it off the table, I pocket the money.
“Drinks are on the Z man tonight in Downtown DiZney, bitches!”
Wednesday, April 20th, 2022
Zion’s Locker Room: Amway Center
This week, Simon’s most important lesson stood the most challenging of all. I couldn’t freeze up like I did at the marketing lesson. Up next on the docket is Trash Talk 101. And GOD only knows how much I suck at dunking on my opponents. I only have 4 more days to brush up and improve my game before Simon could smooth it over. I need all the practice I can get!
For once, I did something I loathe with every fiber in my body. I stood in the mirror, watching my delivery. God damnit! It feels so awkward watching my arms flail around while I talk!
Fixated on my stance, I utter some words into space. “Noelle Rivers is one helluva an athlete. This woman took on a 305-pound champion with the most heart and determination I’ve seen in this business.”
No! It feels like I’m pandering to the locker room. I am not taking the necessary risks. Everyone in HOW knows how damn good Noelle is. If they didn’t, they are fuckin’ blind. I’d spent time watching her first match with Genosyde. I couldn’t use her record; it didn’t cover the intangibles I saw in her performance. Her stock in HOW is on the rise.
Deep down, I knew my record held me back. But I needed to cut this bitch deep. I couldn’t hold back ANYTHING.
“You’re only Mike Best’s answer to Krista Lewis. We all know he’s whacking off over this unproven bitch’s talents.”
This is unbecoming of a gentleman. Sexism has no place in trash talking in 2022. I couldn’t unleash Noelle’s Diet Carey gimmick. I saw what James Cornfield’s comments did to her. It would only piss her off more. I didn’t need to load any more ammo up for this hungry rookie. Knowing her, she’d already primed her shots. This lacked the pizzazz and moxie Simon expect from me.
“Let’s ask ourselves what the fuck is up with Noelle’s weird family dynamic. Why the fuck would you want to like your brother’s nipples?”
What the fuck was this stupidity I am spewing from my mouth? No one would understand that obscure reference from her last promo. It’s something stupid Old Zion would latch onto a write a diatribe about and kill all his fresh momentum. Clearly, I need to hire Jatt’s writers for this.
While I scratched my chin, pondering over what to say, the door flew open. It crashed into the brick wall, starling me. I snap my head back to find my newest Chives replacement fumbling into the locker room. This blonde Floridian surfer bro annoys the fuck out of me. His ridiculous looking haircut made him look like a swamp redneck. The gaps in his crooked teeth made my stomach churn. Not to mention his repulsive acne protruding from his forehead. I didn’t know rather to thank Simon for his generous gift of a new manservant or question his logic.
Nevertheless, the jackass dragged my bags into the locker room. Depositing them in front of me, he asks, “Bro, is this where you want them placed, man?!”
Turning around, I smack him across his derpy-looking face. “Speak in the accent I requested. You’re a fuckin’ acting student at the University of Central Florida. Act more becoming of your pedigree!”
Clearing his throat, he puts on a thick trash British accent. “Where would you like these placed, sir?”
I point to corner out of sight. He quickly moves the bags into the farthest locker while I stare off into the mirror. In sudden fashion, a brilliant stroke of genius hits me. My hand dives deep into my gym shorts pocket to fetch my phone. Flipping around, I exclaim to Chives, “Think fast!”
Fumbling around, Chives almost misses the catch. After bumbling around, his hands secure the phone with a firm grasp. I couldn’t help to bury my palm into my forehead. “You better not drop that phone, Chives. I’ll fucking make sure you never get another job again.”
My butler nods with empathic agreement before I continue my instructions. “Now, since Madam Meredith won’t grace me with her presence. I need you to shoot my promo. You better stand still and not wobble once. Otherwise, I’ll make you regret crossing Z- meister.
“You got it br—sir!” He replies back before hitting record.
I crack my neck before starting into my tirade about Noelle Rivers.
“Welcome to HOW, fresh meat. I could spend all day exchanging the usual pleasantries here. But I don’t think you need a crash course in HOW-conomics. I think you figured that shit out 2 weeks ago when Genosyde sent you crashing down against the mat. You’ve comprehended the first lesson of the Machine. When you walk through that door, your past becomes like the points in Whose Line Is It Anyways? They reset and no longer matter here. It’s only what you do for the Best Family that counts. You had one helluva a showing against Cornfield’s Colossus. It’s a surprise that a 5 foot, 118 pounder can fight like you.
Now don’t worry, I’m not like Butterball and his monster. I believe in Equal Rights. You’ve got the same opportunities I have before me. I expect you’ll take me to the limit for your first opportunity at a War Games spot. You’ve got those bright, beaming, wide eyes I once had. You’re hungry and determined to embarrass someone with my win-loss record. Can’t say I blame you for underestimating me. It’s easy to fixate all your energy at someone else’s mistakes. But I can assure you I’ve learned from those past mistakes. I’m not jumping through anymore hoops to put over jackasses like Xanzabar Asswipe. For too long people like him and you have used me as launching pads for their careers. For too long, I craved the respect of my peers. I let my insecurities hold me back. Now, I’m going to earn anyone’s respect. I’m going to TAKE IT.”
I pause for a moment to crack a knifing smile. My head moves down with sadistic thoughts swirling around inside.
“And I plan on starting with you. Just because I believe in equal rights doesn’t mean I’ll go easy on your little punk ass. Oh no, on the contrary; I’ll fight you with everything I got. I’ll lay an ass whooping on epic proportions on you, Noelle. You’re about to see what the new flavor of Iced Z is all about.”
Flexing my muscles off in front of the camera, I continue speaking about the importance of this match.
“See I wouldn’t spend my time worrying about my salary when you step into the ring with me. The website didn’t update my newest contract negotiations. Once I got nominated for the Hall of Fame, I got a $20K bonus. You don’t need to sound like one of those fake news dirt sheets, spewing out garbage. I promise you following Denzel Porter’s Twitter account won’t yield results.
Punch lines and mudslinging won’t win you any matches. It’s cheap parlor tricks morons use to build their own clout. Your sick spin jobs will only knit you clothes foolish emperors wear. It’s why I plan to expose you for the fraudulent sycophant you are. I get it, you came to HOW because you’re some anxious, emotional child. You’ve got to rebel against that system. Fight that machine, sister! Those naïve dreams once fueled my career too. When I first walked into an HOW ring, I patterned my gimmick off acting like an anti-hero too. But as the years went on, the truth hit me like a ton of bricks.
You can’t be edgy around these parts to ‘fit in’. You gotta fight to survive and earn your fuckin’ clout. Earn your damn stripes first before you take flight.”
I take a moment to shake my head, reflecting more upon my career. It only pains me to think about those times.
“I see right through that spunk you’re showing me in front of the camera. It’s that same brash and brazen attitude that cost me hundreds of matches over the years. I’d let my lackadaisical attitude blind me. I’d spend hours recounting my opponent’s history, looking for those juicy morsels of garbage to fling. But if you miss the details, your trash talking is nothing but a pile of shit. It’s worthless. Stop lingering in your opponents past or yours and focus on the present, toots. Look for new cracks and flaws in your opponent. Use them to your advantage. Exploit them. Just like I will do when we step into the ring at Refueled.”
I cross my arms while I continue to scald the young HOW upstart.
“See you exposed your problem to me at the end of your promo. You’re not even trying. You don’t care to study the tapes, commit yourself to perfecting your craft. And while your career has promise, I can assure you; your flaws show. You’re damn right about me boasting about my submission expertise. I’ve broken many opponents’ bones. I’ve strangled them into submission and bent them to my whim. And I plan on giving you a dose of Vitamin Z.
Get your mind out of the gutter, I’m not a pervert like Jace Parker Davidson.
I’ve wrestled your kind before in that ring. You’ve committed yourself to this flashy, flippy, dippy shit. Everyone raves about how many somersaults and acrobatic feat you cruiserweights perform. It’s like every last one of you flying dipshits want to earn the gymnastics participation ribbon. Go back to your local Fisher Price fed if you want that clout.
I take pride in grounding flippy bitches like you. I’ll target every body part, injuring it in new and creative ways. I’ll rip your limbs out of socket to weaken you. I can exploit pressure points and leave you in excoriating pain. You’ll scream out in so much pain because I’ll make sure you don’t get any air time. Any time you put pressure on those joints, you’ll crumple into a drunken mess. You’ll make Scottywood look like a fucking lightweight drunk.”
I throw a couple of punches at the camera and taunt at Noelle, hoping she’s watching closely.
“I damn well made sure to watch the tapes to know your EVERY move. I put in the work and effort so I could punch my ticket into the main event match. I don’t give a shit if I bury your ass and ruin Mike’s day. Hell, I could give a rat’s ass if the people cheer for what I do this week. I’m not blinded by my bullshit any more. I once was blind, but now, I clearly see. I only care about punching my ticket to the HOW World Championship and beating your ass to do it. That’s it!
The Boys are counting on my lessons paying off. And I’ll deliver when I smash that pretty little mouth of yours. Like Clay Byrd always says, persistent means your annoying as fuck. And that’s all you are, Noelle. You’re that annoying, bright and bushy tailed rookie that I need to take down four levels. I’m going to give you a true dose of reality and wrestling. Because you’re stepping into the ring with a former champion. You’re going toe to toe with a future Hall of Famer. You’re wrestling a jaded journey man bound and determined to main event War Games. And rest assured, I don’t hold my punches. I’m one of the stiffest fuckers you’ll ever fight here.
The days of me begging like a bitch are done. I’m going to plow right over you and seize my opportunity. And by the end of the night, I’ll make you the next subscriber to the 4Z network.”
Yanking the phone out of Chives hands, I place it back in my pocket. Like a fool, the butler claps like a trained monkey. “Bravo, sir! I’m sorry Lady Meredith couldn’t see that excellent display of determination. It’s new and refreshing to see you back to your 2014 form.”
I nod at Chives before I crack one last smile. “Don’t worry, Chives. When I make the War Games team this week. She’ll come around and see the difference. I have faith she’ll respect the owner of Z-Mobile when I am through with that pest, Noelle Rivers.”