Solex sits across from the TV in his former-neighbor’s living room. He’s leaned back as far aas he can be, so far that his butt is halfway off the cushion; he seems to have found a new level of comfort on Frank’s couch. His tan cardigan is unbuttoned and the wife beater underneath is stretched over his gut; a gut that wasn’t there a few weeks ago. Frank’s wife, Beatrice…look, I forgot her fucking name and I’m not looking it up, back to the story. Beatrice stands across from Solex near the front door, her lips wrinkled together and pursed, just like your cunty fifth-grade teacher used to do when your dumb ass shoved the rubbed off ends of pencil erasers in your ear.
Tap, tap, tap, tap…
She taps her foot as she crosses her arms across her chest like an impatient Drill Sergeant; you know like that…never mind, we already did that schtick. The taps of her foot are in perfect cadence, and Solex with his eyes fixed on the television nods his head along with the beat. Solex peers over the top of his sunglasses – yes, sunglasses in doors – and watches as Bugs Bunny fool Elmer Fudd once more and like a half-witted child, he laughs in amusement.
KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!
A booming succession of knocks at the front door stops Carol’s – was it Carol? – annoying tap dance routine and she immediately looks toward the door. She raises an eyebrow and then whips her head back in Steve’s direction.
“Are you expecting somebody?” She asks, her voice riddled with attitude and big-haired bitchiness.
Solex looks over at her and gives her a sarcastic close mouthed smile before promptly returning to his morning cartoons. Carol scoffs and stomps to the door. She swings it open.
No one’s there.
Carol tilts her head and stares out of the front door. She takes a step forward and leans out, her power blue dress dangling to the floor. She tucks a few strands of her dark brown hair behind her ear as she looks to the left and to the ring. But still, she sees no one.
“That’s weird,’ she says as she takes a step back.
She slams the door shut, rather aggressively, before turning back to Solex. Solex stares at her with one of those pleasant doofus types of faces you’d see on your stoner brother-in-law at the last family barbecue. Solex reaches over to the end table and grabs a can of PBR. He pops the top and chugs down a good four gulps as the beer leaks from his mouth and runs down his chin, to his neck and eventually down his chest. He pulls up the bottom of his wife beater, exposing his newly acquired flab of a stomach to Sandy and wipes the beer from his unwashed skin. Tanya, completely disgusted, scoffs and tilts her head back as she marches through the living room and up the stairs.
“FRANK! I WANT HIM OUT NOW!”
She shouts at the top of her lungs and she thumps her way to the top of the stairs, through the upstairs hallway and…
She nearly slams the frame off of her bedroom door. Solex snickers before he belches at just enough of a decibel level for Harriet to shout…
“I HEARD THAT!”
…from her bedroom.
KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!
The booming knock has returned, this time…a bit more impatient.
KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!
The pace of the knock doubles in speed and has now turned into the repeated thud of a side-palm knock…or hammerfist…whatever you prefer. Solex rolls his eyes and slams his can of PBR down on the side table and with the groan of a seventy-year-old fat man, he struggles off the couch and stumbles to the front door. He swings it wide open and the sun blazes into his eyes, forcing them shut for a few moments. Like a blind man he sticks his hands out reaching for anything that might be nearby. Suddenly his vision comes back and…
“Steve Harrison!” Solex shouts out, like some kind of a fuckin’ child.
Harrison stands there looking down on the slouching and clearly intoxicated Solex, and appearing to be much a much larger man than Solex, even though the two Highwaymen are nearly identical in size.
“I missed you, bro,” Solex says as he reaches over and pulls the Miracle Man in for a hug.
Harrison begrudgingly goes in for a half-second hug and pats Solex on the back before pulling away, almost immediately.
“Look, man…we have to talk,” Harrison says, in a deadly serious tone.
“Talk? About what?” Solex asks as he turns away from the door.
Solex trips and stumbles his way back over to the couch and plops down again. Harrison shakes his head in disbelief as he watches his stablemate struggle to get seated upright in the couch.
“Unbelievable,” Harrison mutters to himself.
“Take a seat,” Solex says as he points over to a chair caddy-corner to himself.
Harrison makes nice and takes a seat in the chair. He nods his head as he makes himself comfortable, giving his much needed and asked for approval of the chair.
“So, what’d ya’ wanna talk about?” Solex asks as he grabs the lidless tub of cottage cheese from the end table, next to the beer.
Harrison just watches as Solex searches around the couch for something. Between the cushions, behind his back, all while never moving from his seated position and never spilling one drop of the cottage cheese.
“Look, man,” Harrison begins. “I need you to be one-hun…”
“Found it!” Solex says as he yanks a spoon right out of his gray-sweat pants pocket.
Harrison buries his head in his hands.
“You’ve got to be fuckin’ kidding me,” he says under his breath.
“Kidding you about what?” Solex asks before shoving a spoonful of cottage cheese right into his fat fuckin’ face.
“Look, man. You haven’t been the same man, something’s going on with you man. Ever since you lost to JPD and Scott Stevens…you’ve been fucked up. And I don’t mean drunk…”
Solex holds up a beer and smiles.
“…ok, you’ve been fucked up in more way than one. I need you focused, man. You have a match against Conor Fuse…fucking Sunday…and you’re sitting here stuffing your fat fuckin’ mouth with cottage cheese and warm beer. What the fuck is wrong with you man?!” Harrison shouts, but one of those, like, whisper-yells that only he and Solex would be able to hear. Harrison was wise to keep his voice low, he didn’t want to wake the beast up stairs. You know…Melinda.
Solex looks down at the beer in his hands and catches his unshaved face in a bit of reflection on the aluminum. A cold shiver runs down his spine and he sits straight up. He arches and twists his back, attempting to get a little loose. He stands up and so does Harrison. Harrison points a finger at Solex.
“You’ve got a match with that pasty-faced, Super Nintendo-Sega Genesis fuck-wad this Sunday night, and I need to get your ready! And more, I want you to beat that little prick, get your fuckin’ mojo back, then to ICONIC get me my fuckin’ tag titles back!” Harrison shouts, repeatedly pointing his finger at Solex.
Solex straightens out his clothes a bit and then looks over at Harrison.
“Was that a Biggie reference?” Solex quips as he cocks up an eyebrow.
Harrison cracks up and sticks out his hand for Solex to shake.
“I knew you’d come around! Now get your ass out of this 1950’s hell hole and get your ass back to Chicago and knock that bitch on his ass, would ya?”
Solex chirps with a couple of chuckles, but not much else of a reaction.
“Other than War Games, Steve. I don’t think I’ve ever been in the ring with Conor Fuse,” Solex says.
“He’s no slouch, Steve,” Harrison says. “You better get your ass hydrated and get a shave before that match. You look like shit,” Harrison says with a smile.
“So we each have one of the fuckin’ goof troop, huh? I mean, Jesus man. What is this like your fuckin’ 30th time in the ring with Bobinette? Holy shit. You’re just lucky shark-week isn’t contagious,” Solex says.
Both men laugh as Solex begins walking Harrison to the door.
“Hey, man…were you the one that knocked and disappeared?” Solex asks, as he holds the door shut.
“Nah…nah, man,” Harrison says.
Solex opens the door and Harrison walks out. Solex stands in the entry way as the sun beams down on him. He takes a big swig from his can of PBR before tossing the empty can out onto the front lawn.
“Fuck you, Frank!” Solex shouts out loud into the wind like some sort of primal fucking beast.
Solex laughs to himself and slams the door shut. Frank comes jogging into the living room from the dining room area.
“You call me, buddy?” He asks, a shit eating grin across his face.
“You know, Frank,” Solex says as he walks back over to the couch, flopping his fat ass down once again.
“Who’s that?” Frank asks.
“Shut the fuck up, Frank. I’m talking,” Solex responds quickly,
Frank nods like a five-year-old about to get sent to timeout if he opens his mouth once more.
“Conor Fuse is rude,” Solex says.
The two just sit there in silence. Staring at one another. Frank becomes increasingly more uncomfortable with every excruciating second that passes. He begins to squirm and fidget like a lost child in Wal-Mart on Black Friday…well, not Black Friday anymore, that shits week. Maybe like Black Friday 1997.
“Is…is that it?” Frank asks, unsure of what exactly is happening.
“Goddamn it, Frank. Will you please shut the fuck up?!” Solex shouts…albeit, using his gentlemanly manners by saying “please.”
“Conor Fuse is a straight up idiot, man. He really came out swinging, Frank. Saying things like, your little group and other hurtful and appalling things like I used to look up to you. Unoriginal and boring. Same tired shit that everyone says.
“Man, I’m so sick of your little group. You guys have something wrong with you…blerrrghhhhh
“But for some reason, coming from Conor Fuse…it stings a little. And I don’t even know why, Frank. Maybe because I thought in some parallel universe we might be friends or acquaintances, or online pen pals
“That’s a thing, right Frank?” Solex asks Frank.
“I thin…” Frank starts, but is immediately cut off.
“Shut the fuck up, Frank. It’s a goddamn joke you dumb fuck,” Solex says slapping Frank on the cheek, lightly…like a mobster would do to his nephew at a wedding.
“Conor Fuse is a former World Champion…he was a damn good one at that. The little, Vitamin D deficient turd had a pretty good reign at the top of the best wrestling company this world has ever seen, and that…that, Frank…that’s something I’ve never done.
“And I’ve grown to be honest with myself. Holding the HOW World Championship is something I’ll probably never do. I just don’t have the time left…my body can’t take this shit much longer,” Solex says.
He twists his ankle around, displaying the cement mixer sound of zero-cartilage and straight up bone-to-contact mixing around in his joints.
“That shit ain’t gonna hold up much longer. But, my shelf life…or lack thereof…doesn’t upset me and it doesn’t piss me off. What it does…is, it motivates me. Right now, for me, beating a former World Champion is winning the world championship. This week, beating Conor Fuse is the most important thing in the world to me.
“He can call me whatever he wants…it makes no difference to me.
“I’m a newb…
“I’m a non-playable character…
“None of it means a fucking thing to me, Frank!” Solex shouts as he drives both of his fits into the couch cushions on either side of him.
“I’m going to beat that little shithead within an inch of his fucking life and the I’m going to steal all of his jewels in Mind-craft. And then I’m going to hack into his Fork-Knife game and delete all of his skins…and then I’m going to shit on his living room carpet…just because I fuckin’ can.
“I’m tired of it. I’m sick of this world that we live in, and I’m sick of people like Conor Fuse thinking that they have a say in what is and isn’t right. Little degenerates like Conof Fuse are the reason that our country has grown weak. Being good at wrestling doesn’t make you a man, Frank. Someone needs to tell that to Conor Fuse. Gal-palling around with Bobinette Carey definitely doesn’t make you a man….and lets just hope she didn’t try to make him one, Frank.
“If you know what I’m sayin’…” Solex says winking and nudging Frank with his elbow.
“But you know what’s most important? Other than beating Conor Fuse, that is…”
“I don’t kno..” Frank begins, but is immediately cutoff again.
“Last time I’m gonna tell you Frank! Shut … the … fuck … up!”
Solex points a finger at Frank, who just looks down at the floor.
“What’s more important, Frank…is that Harrison is right. I need to get my shit together, and that starts this week. This week it starts with Conor Fuse. I’ll beat the self-proclaimed Locker Room leader and I’ll go on to ICONIC to win the tag titles that I…not Joe Bergman, Steve Harrison or Clay Bryd…lost. And this time I’ll get to do it with my good buddy, Joe.”
The scene fades to black as Frank continues to stare at the ground as Solex walks through the living room and down the hall.