The little red light that indicates the cameras are still live blinks off for the last time of the evening as HOW LSD Champion, Cecilworth M! J Farthington breathes out a heavy sigh of relief. He looks over to see the scenes in the ring, a triumphant Mike Best basking in the victory of an incredibly tough defense against Bobby Dean. Dean, for his part, sits up, looking out to the fans who yell words of encouragement. Sadly, his face reads the message of heartbreak. Bobby nurses his recently attacked genital area as Mike Best rolls out of the ring.
Cecilworth looks over to the man he’s been sitting next to for the last twenty minutes or so, HOW’s famous play by play man, Joe Hoffman and can see the clear contempt that oozes his eyes Hoffman. Cecilworth is about to take off his headset and head backstage to enjoy his BFF’s victory but as he stands up and starts to remove his headset, he suddenly feels a heavy handed grab of his arm. He looks over and Hoffman stares back at him.
“You didn’t need to do that.”
Hoffman looks furious as he tries to calmly speak to the puckish LSD champion who sits to his side. Farthington rolls his arm to break the grip, his head snapping in the direction of Hoffman, his eyes, which were dead for most of his time on commentary, are now fired up and full of life. The shark grins creeps across the face of Farthington.
“I had a great time by your side Joe, we really should do it again soon but… I wouldn’t recommend grabbing my arm again if you want to welcome the viewers to Refueled XXXIII, understand?”
Hoffman eyes dart around his skull as he tries to consider his best path, he still wants to make his message clear but knows the dangers of an enraged Cecilworth. He knows it all too well, his usual announce partner Benny Newell doesn’t normally shut up about the arm breaking “incident” that plagued him during the LBI. Nonetheless, Hoffman is not deterred in standing his ground.
“You stole Bobby’s moment. He was about to become World Champion! You ruined a once in a generation feel good moment!”
Hoffman was feeling it but now knows he must remain cautious, he knew a wrong word at a wrong moment and Farthington could leap into action. Farthington looks down at the announcing desk, noticing that there’s a little bit of iced coffee left in his plastic cup and begins to sip away, almost beckoning Hoffman to continue, taking performative gulps from the coffee every few seconds. Hoffman shifts around in his seat, clearly ill at ease in the moment he now finds himself in. He waves his hand at Farthington, gesturing that he’s finished his point. Farthington stops his gulps.
Farthington chuckles as he places the iced coffee back down, not breaking eye contact with Joe Hoffman for a single.
“Joseph, I assume it’s Joseph, forgive me if I’m incorrect. I think I should make one thing perfectly clear – the tests that the LSD championship provides aren’t simply confined to simple title defenses. The Loyalty and Sacrifice Division is a living, breathing thing. Its heart beats every moment of every second that I’m out here. What did Bobby sacrifice to win his match against Mike? His coma improved his life if anything! Meanwhile, poor Mike, he’s suffered so much this week. Lost his house in a fire, don’t you know. Not to mention the untold punishment he had to take to win the World Championship in the first place. Mike was loyal to me in my match against Rick in the cage, one good deed deserves another. That’s what I represent, that’s what this title represents.”
Farthington picks up the LSD Championship from it’s pride of place in front of him on the table, slinging it across his shoulders. He gives a sarcastic pat on the back to Hoffman and leaves the table.
“Good hustle out there Joe, I respect a man of integrity, really I do.”
Farthington gives another slap on the back to Hoffman, chuckling his way out of the announce booth area. Hoffman still looks furious at Farthington’s interference in the main event but knows better than to push the point much further.
It’s the day after Refueled EX EX EX EYE EYE and we find ourselves in the laundry tower that was formerly known as Cecilworth Farthington’s temporary hotel accommodation. Farthington looks at the Jenga stack that is his unwashed goods, perplexed that no one has yet to come to attend to them. As he spins around, we find that he has his ear to his room phone.
“I have no idea what’s going on here Mike, it’s a total disgrace. The laundry wench hasn’t even visited a single time since I checked in. Hotels dot com said this place had great service and if you can’t trust HOTELS DOT COM, who can you trust?”
A few moments of quiet blinking and Farthington continues his chat. Farthington wanders nearer to the tower and takes a quick whiff, the puckered expression of his face is a testament to the pungency that the tower has managed to envelope the room with.
“No Mike, I’m not sponsored by HOTELS DOT COM. How would that work in a private conversation anyway? It’s not like there’s cameras that follow us around and track every waking moment of our life…”
Cecilworth’s head spins around and if such a camera existed, you could swear he just turned and faced it directly and gave what could either be construed as a blink or a wink. It was difficult to determine. Cecilworth never was the most bodily coordinated man when it came to muscle control.
“We really need to speed up this apartment hunting thing. The staff here are getting to know me by NAME. You know that I hate when people know who I am. Next they’ll be asking for selfies and autographs for their hellspawn and asking me if I remember that time I had a feud over a briefcase. Of course I don’t remember, do you know how many blows to the skull I’ve had? One of the wretched front desk staff had a small child sitting with them the other day, I assume their hellspawn. The child was all like “hello, mister FARTYPANTS, how was your day?”. For fucks sake Mike, I forgot how much infants love fart and poop jokes, I can’t take this any more!”
You can faintly pick up the voice of HOW World Champion Mike Best on the other end but not enough to work out his end of the conversation. Farthington wanders over to his mini fridge and swings open the door.
No water, again.
The man was promised two bottles a day, damn it. Farthington slams the fridge door in frustration, a scowl takes hold of his face as he punches down on the Laundry Jenga in frustration. It starts to wobble but perhaps due to how dense the pile is, it does not collapse.
“We just need to find somewhere, anywhere. I can’t do this for much longer. I’ll kill someone, I swear…”
Just as Farthington utters the previous sentence, his phone vibrates with an alert. The new Refueled bookings are out and much to his surprise, he sees that he’s defending his LSD Championship against his current number one contender, MJF. The match had originally been booked for No Remorse. Cecilworth looks at his phone and smiles.
“In saying that… I think ole Leecifer has given you another week’s grace. I’ve got my outlet.”
Cecilworth wraps up his call with Mike as he sits down at the edge of his hotel bed. He looks at the booking on the screen again.
“This week, huh? I guess that means I have to move up the schedule. Man, I hate rushing surprises…”
Farthington looks over at the laundry tower as it continues to wobble back and forth, not quite settling from his original punch and lets out a weary sigh.
“I really need out of this fucking place.”
Farthington wanders over to the one small area in the room that is still reasonably clear from all his clutter. He pulls out the yellow notepad he’s been using to journal his thoughts since his trip to Normandy began to have him question his very mental existence. Farthington picks up the pen to the side of the pan and starts scribbling.
You’ve been seen.
I know it has been a great concern to you that I have trouble remembering your name but trust me, your name has been etched inside my skull for a long, long time now. Calling you by the wrong name? A simple jape. A simple jape that seems to rile you up something fierce which really is a testament to your mammoth ego.
Worry not Mariella Jade Flair, I know who you are.
It’s sad that the fate of Leecifer has moved up the timeline on this bout. I had planned to have such fun needling that hot air balloon that is your own perceived sense of self worth. I was going to wander around telling anyone and everyone that I wasn’t interested in fighting you, I’d forget who you were, I’d forget I even had a match at No Remorse. You’d go out there and stomp your feet, you’d tell Brian Bare about what a threat you were, you’d say I was taking you lightly and that would cost me. You’d say this wasn’t a Bobby Dean situation until you were blue in the face. You’d forget the concept of irony. You’d probably defeat some guy who looks similar to me at a Podunk, Louisiana independent show as some sort of “proof” that you were making a comeback.
Imitation is always flattering Mariella but I think Bobby Dean has proven to you that it isn’t a substitution for the real thing.
Still, it would have been wonderful fun to play the puppetmaster and have you get all of your tiny person hopes up. You’d convince yourself if I was taking you lightly, it was only a matter of time until you reclaimed the LSD Championship. Perhaps you’d already envision what you would do with the title, how you would make it your own, how you would celebrate being the one to end the streak.
The LSD title that started it all for you, wasn’t it? The title that started your downfall. You probably thought holding it tight to your bosoms would mean that the curse of MJF was finally going to be lifted and you would be propelled into the big leagues. Get another chance to deliver your scathing hot takes towards Mike Best. People would finally see you for the talent that you believe yourself to be.
I wanted you to believe that story Mariella Jade, I wanted you to enjoy every moment of that self-belief. I wanted to strap you on the rollercoaster and stand back, watching you experience the ride.
Of course, then the bell would ring.
And I would crush your arm.
Only then would you finally realise it had all been a trap. That you were playing my game, my rules.
Sadly, the schedule got moved up. No time to pout because even though I may not have been able to set my bait and draw you in like the big dumb fish you are, I still have one surprise up my sleeve that I’m delighted to share with you.
The Loyalty and Sacrifice Division?
I designed it for you.
It was always designed for you.
From the moment your lips slipped out of Lee Best’s lips to announce our match at No Remorse, I knew the clear cut difference between you and me, Mariella.
Well, besides our win-loss records.
You are perhaps the most pathetic piece of wretched disloyal scum that plagues our roster at the moment. You are the lady who has sacrificed nothing and yet feels entitled to everything. The very example of someone who will happily jump around from alliance to alliance, friendship to friendship, abandoning anyone if you feel that they are going to be an anchor to your career hopes, wishes and dreams, never staying to fight, never trying to make things work.
While I was slaving away, fighting for my life to retain the ICON Championship, doing my best to survive in the face of the hulking monster that is Dan Ryan, you got brought in as Lee Best’s special project. You were brought in to scare the living daylights out of Mike Best, you were hyped as the threat to the throne of all of High Octane. Lee slotted you right in to the murder’s row he thought he had formed with his 2019 Best Alliance. You didn’t have to fight for your place, you sacrificed nothing, you just signed on the dotted line and were awarded a shot at HOW’s biggest match of the year. You didn’t question your place for a single second, you were certain it was deserved.
We get to the match, we get to War Games and just as it looks like the eMpire is going to enjoy a dual survivor victory, John Sektor betrays his own team. He stabs me in the back as I’m choking the life out of you and sets the wheels in motion for the situation we find ourselves in now. As I slowly begin to suffer and change into the person I now find myself to be, Mr. Sektor sets up a double pin fiasco to ensure his victory is swift and assured. The referee counts and both of us are eliminated, leaving Sektor as the solo victor and new World Heavyweight Champion. Lee Best’s bald skull huffs and puffs down to the ring to sing your praises, highlight what a fighter you’ve been, how you are a true threat to the top talent in High Octane Wrestling. He revives an entire DIVISION and asks you to lead it. He sets you as the figurehead to some of the most brutal and violent contests that the HOW audience will ever see.
Meanwhile, he throws my ICON title at my skull and walks away.
You are once again placed on the highest pedestal, sat upon the velvet pillow and pointed to as one of the best of the best. You proudly proclaim your War Games placement, you act as if you have been rewarded by the Holy Father himself and that leading the division is your divine right.
Then Max Kael comes knocking.
Rumble at the Rock, the Morning Star crashes to Earth, crushing only itself.
So, what happens when times get tough? What happens when you finally need to face up to the fact that perhaps you are not a perfect, flawless talent, that perhaps you need to sacrifice a small essence of self if you hope to recover and reclaim your title from Max Kael? You run away. You skedaddle out of the door and hide in shame until you think people forgot about the loss.
You abandon The Industry. You abandon Lindsay Troy, you abandon Dan Ryan, you abandon High Flyer and worst of all, the biggest part of the puzzle, you abandon ALL of the fans. Those people who bought your merch, those people who cheered you on, those who wanted to see someone like themselves succeed in the Lion’s Den that is High Octane Wrestling. If that teeny tiny lady can do it, anyone can. You tell them all that they can go fuck themselves and go into hiding.
Is it any wonder you have ended up where you are?
It’s ironic you are the one out there calling Lindsay Troy a cunt and painting yourself as the victim in the formation of the Group of Death. It’s fascinating that you felt well within your rights to try and choke her to death with a fishing line, as if she had murdered your first born in front of you and drank its blood. I’m sure that’s the picture you would like to paint.
The reality is much harder to swallow.
What did Linday Troy do to you? Hit you in the back of the head? Sorry about your little owie.
You left her in the lurch. You left her out there, victim to the whims of the eMpire. You left her WITHOUT choice.
MJF, your disloyalty, your lack of sacrifice, you are why there IS a Group of Death.
I wonder how poor High Flyer feels right now, trying to put on a brave face after you cut him off like a piece of driftwood. Sure, in public you’ll be happy to talk how you both felt it was time to move on but once again, in the face of a hard loss, the hero MJF runs away, abandons her ally and refuses to try and continue the fight. Once again, Lee Best gives her a treat for her treacherous actions.
You are awarded a place on Lee Best’s War Games Team.
Lee has always loved the awful people.
With War Games out of the way, with another title shot given, not earned, I have to wonder…
If you fail this time, who do you abandon? Who do you blame?
This week, at Refueled, people will finally understand what the Loyalty and Sacrifice Division truly stands for. It’ll be me, HOW’s greatest hero, the only man willing to selflessly give up his World Championship to protect the life of his best friend. On the other side, Mariella Jade Flair, the person who has stranded ally upon ally, friend upon friend in her race to the bottom of the league table. Mariella Jade Flair, who ran away from the company when the going started to get tough. Mariella Jade Flair who thinks that success is given, not earned.
Mariella Jade Flair, I’m a better person than you. I have strived to get where I am, I have sacrificed to get where I am. I have demonstrated unwavering loyalty to get where I am.
You? The coward’s way out, forever and always.
Your test of loyalty and sacrifice is coming.
I am merely it’s humble proctor.