War is thrust upon society whether we are prepared for it or not.
Our collective response from such calamity?
Survival of the fittest.
We like to bury our heads into the sand as we limp along without a choice in the world but to endure the fallout.
People still buy their groceries, go to their shitty, minimum wage jobs, and then continue to max out their credit cards for frivolous shit.
Nothing ever stops or changes. People live how they live no matter what’s going on outside of their bubble.
But war, as it happens, has its lingering aftereffects.
Society is hinged on the doors of harmony. When one door is closed shut, or even blown off its hinges , that’s when we feel the changes happening on our very own doorsteps.
Whether it’s good or bad, we adapt to the inevitable change that war brings.
Society, above all, has to survive.
Survival is incidental.
Or society crumbles.
There are three important rules to live by when charging ahead into battle.
We’ve already looked at the rule of surrender. Knowing when to quit is important if you wish to survive another day.
Today? It’s another day, and we look at the second rule as we rush forward into this bloody battle of ours.
The Rule of Survival.
John. C’mon now, Gold Standard. Did you actually believe for one single, solitary fucking second that I challenged you to this match thinking I was at all going to make you submit? I thought you, of all people, would’ve seen through it. After all, you’ve been around since the beginning of HOW’s time, so you’ve likely seen it all.
And yet, you couldn’t see this.
Wow. I’m legit disappointed. Thought you were better than this. I also thought you weren’t as easily manipulated as a child when telling them they’re going to Disney World just to get them in the car to go to the dentist.
But that’s okay. ‘Cause soon? You and the people of your elitist fucking ilk will give me the credit I deserve for being smarter than your average competitor.
Because the simple fact is this: I’m not some delusional try-hard who simply challenged you to a submission match to gain your respect or a spotlight on HOWrestling dot com. Realistically speaking, I have about as much of a chance in making you give up to me in that ring as Adam Ellis does surviving on his own- oh yeah, we’re all counting down the days, minutes, and seconds for when you grow bored with this silly undertaking of mentor and student and finally step back and witness the protégé get fed to the fucking wolves.
No, John, you witless fucking mustache with legs. I made this challenge because it puts us on even ground.
Let me explain it to you even further so that you understand a little better at what’s actually happening here. You know, ‘cause I realize how confused, or perhaps and distracted, you must be considering you are double-booked at March To Glory.
This submission match? My goal is to make you feel inherently superior. To my surprise, I’ve already achieved this. Heh. You were made to feel as comfortable as you could possibly get… and you fell for it, hook, line, and sinker. One look at Arthur Pleasant challenging the Almighty Technical God to a submission match and you instantly clutch onto those set of grappling tools that hang from your ever-expanding utility belt.
I, on the other hand, can showcase my innate ability to survive. By using everything in sight to make sure I vanquish my enemy on the battlefield.
Now, as I watch you continue to train like it’s just another fucking Refueled, I’m the one who feels quite fortified in my surroundings.
Think about it, John-o.
No count outs.
Anything fucking goes.
I can bash your fucking brains in with a hammer until Hortega calls it.
I can pull each one of your teeth out of your dumb fucking head with a pair of rusty pliers until you pass out from the tortuous pain and Boettcher calls it.
I can go on and on about ways I can force you to black out, but I think you get the picture. At least, now you do.
In fact, by now… everyone… finally… understands.
This is my wheelhouse, too, Machine.
I not only survive here… but I absolutely thrive in it.
MARCH 20TH, 2022
THE HOUSE OF ALEXANDER
The sun is stunningly bright after the weather forecasts called for rain just the day before. It shines down brilliantly from the skies and illuminates every exposed crack in the neighboring forest line from its sprawling closed canopy up above. Every so often, a cloud crawls across the sky, sending us into the shade for a few seconds. As this happens, I’m reminded, in all its subtlety, that at any moment the burning daylight can cast us all into shadow.
“Okay. What you wanna start with, then? Offensive strategy? Defensive, maybe? You pick.” calls out Preston Alexander from over in the makeshift wrestling ring setup for us to train in the backyard of his childhood home.
My attention comes back down from the partly cloudy skies and into reality. Folding my arms, I lean against one of the four tree stumps he had apparently used as turnbuckles growing up. Bending my knee so the soles of my black Under Armour tactical boot presses against the scabrous bark, I heave a bothered sigh.
“I don’t fucking care.”
“Pick one, AP. We ain’t just gonna scrap to figure out which side of the line we playin’ on. C’mon, dawg. Let’s get this done proper.”
“Hang on.” I say, as I reach into the pockets of my brand new #97Red fight shorts. They also come in blue, but I’m not a fucking pussy, by definition. Pulling out a single quarter, I chuckle.
“Heads or tails?” I ask Preston.
“Heads or tails. It’s simple. Heads? Offense. Tails? Defense.” I add, trying my best to clarify what I’m about to do to solve our minor problem.
“Fine. Uhhh… tails?”
“Alright, then. Tails. Here we go.”
I flip the coin as expertly as a referee during a Sunday Night Football game and watch it crash back down onto the thin blue matting. I smile, seeing that it’s heads. This kid’s about to be put through the fucking meat grinder.
“Looks like it’s gonna be a rough start for you.” I say with a slight smirk.
“Yeah, don’t be so sure about that.” Preston shoots back, confidently, despite having very little experience outside of training under my father.
Without warning, I lunge at him. This makes Preston jump instinctively into a defensive position, like I imagined it would. Lowering my knee so that it brushes against the mat, I loosely go for a takedown so Preston can easily stuff it. So gullible. I can see Sektor making the same mistake, no matter the many years’ difference between them. Holding me there with the back of my head buried under his crotch, with both hands pushing the back of my head forward, Preston chuckles.
“Gonna have to do better than that!” Preston shouts before tossing me aside and onto my back. I laugh rather obstreperously as Preston meanders back to the center of the “ring”. My stomach fills with butterflies as I get closer to what I’ve been planning to do all along.
“Okay. I can do that.” I say, sniggering under my breath.
To Preston’s surprise — or so he wants me to believe — I don’t go in for the double-leg takedown. Instead, I hunker down like I’m studying Preston’s movements. His eyes squint for the briefest of moments. It’s his tell. He suspects me. I can feel it in my bones.
I get low to the mat again and- there it is again! His tell.
Oh, he fucking knows.
He fucking told him.
I dart forward, making it seem like I’m going for another double-leg takedown, but I just lift a knee and nail Preston right across the bridge of his nose, instantly shattering it.
The crackling sound of bone breaking underneath cartilage is like music to my ears.
“Whoops. You really think I’m that stupid, huh? What a pity.” I say, felicitously.
The sheer terror behind those brown eyes tells the story of a man who walked into a situation he completely misread. The look on his face is as if he’s as helpless as a fawn about to be run over by a truck on the expressway. Blood surges out from the nostrils of his now concave nose like Budd Dwyer after a pre-sentencing conference. The sight makes my spine tingle. Goosebumps rise on the surface of my skin as I look down on him in his helpless state.
“What’s wrong, Presto?! Didn’t expect that? But… but… I’m a garbage wrestler! How could you expect that?! And you? You train under a fucking legend. You’re a technical blue chipper whose entire future is ahead of him! Who the fuck am I?” I say, my voice turning into a malicious growl.
To his credit, Preston gets up to his feet, wiping away the blood pouring out of his dumb fucking face. But it isn’t long before my pitiless demeanor unleashes a brutal muay-thai roundhouse kick that smashes his face again with my knee. He whimpers as he instantly goes down in a heap. The nose on this kid is even more pressed in than it was. I also see instant swelling under his eye. His nasal passage probably looks like what was once a stone passageway now filling with debris and wreckage after a series of bombs going off. Yeesh.
To my surprise, he’s still conscious. Now I understand why my father took this kid under his wing. Has some fucking guts, he does. Still without a future if I have anything to say about it, but he has some guts, nonetheless.
“It’s amazing how many people forget, or perhaps disregard, that I’m an experienced muay-thai martial artist.” I state, proudly. “The art of the eight limbs. Are you familiar with this, Presto?”
I’m not even sure Preston can hear me at the moment, but I continue anyway.
“Both knees, both elbows, both feet, and both fists. Eight points of contact, my friend. But… look at you. We’re only at two and you look like some kind of fucking roadkill I scraped up out on I-95.”
Pausing, I look closer at the extent of the damage to his nasal cavity. I can actually see a few inches inside the cartilage as the bridge is misaligned to the right in the shape of a crescent moon.
“Your nose would’ve healed on its own after the knee. But once I hit you with my right foot?”
I inspect it closer and smile, remembering the one word he said to me back in the house.
“Yeah, you’re finna need surgery now.”
I bring my other foot down across his ankle and another cracking sound fills the atmosphere. Preston screams out so loudly that his Ma and Pa come racing out of their own home.
“‘I’m not a doctor, but you probably have a septal hematoma. They can be pretty urgent, Presto. But that ankle? Holy shit. I can see the fucking bone sticking out! Ma! Pa! Come look at a boy now!”
I inspect the bone jutting out from the flesh of his ankle a little closer. Preston’s full-on weeping at this point. Peeling off a piece of nearby bark from one of the ‘turnbuckles’, I tap it on the bone a few times. Preston’s wails and my shouts cause his loving parents to come in a little closer.
Shouting over to Ma and Pa Alexander, I step on the ankle with my foot to hold it in place.
“Call 9-1-1! Your son had an accident!”
Looking down at Preston, I feel a maniacal laugh rise from within and expel from my lips.
“I lost count. What are we up to? Four? Five?”
I think about it for a moment and shrug.
“Guess we’ll have to start over, then.”
As soon as I grab an arm, I can tell that he’s lost consciousness.
MARCH 20TH, 2022
THE LAW OFFICES OF ARLISS PETERS, ESQ.
The office of Arliss Peters looks as immaculate as always as I shimmy through the door. He’s on a phone call with someone. Though I can’t be certain, I have an idea of who it might be.
“Yeah. Tell the kid not to worry. We’re prepared to pay for the hospital expenses.”
“I mean, what did you expect? Didn’t you see what he did to him the last time someone allowed Arthur near him?!”
“Speak of the devil. He just arrived.”
“Yes, it’s all taken care of. A statement will be made.
“Absolutely. Take care.”
Arliss hangs the black corded phone up on the receiver and just shakes his head. Double face-palming, Arliss whines.
“Why did you do that?! Just… WHY?! That poor kid will not walk for six months and he needs facial reconstructive surgery.”
“Who gives a shit? What’re they asking for?”
“His parents want to press charges and see you locked up, but someone paid them a visit and convinced them it was all a training session gone wrong. But I still have to make a statement for them, Arthur. And you have to apologize.”
“That’s not a problem. I’m so deeply sorry for crushing their son’s face and putting him on the shelf for six to eight months.”
I laugh sinisterly as Arliss just looks dumbfounded.
“They’re not gonna buy that.”
“I know. That’s why you’ll come up with something better in your statement.”
Frog hopping over the polyester armchair reserved for clients meeting with Arliss Peters, I land with my legs criss-cross. Crowd gives it a 9.7 on the landing.
“So, I need a favor.”
“Oh, for fuck’s SAKE! You mean another favor?!”
“Yes. I need another favor. You can do that for me, right? Or do I need to fire you and put another firm’s lawyer on retainer?”
Reaching into my pocket, I pull out my trusty engraved switchblade. Toying with it mindlessly, Arliss turns as white as a ghost.
“What do you need, then?”
Lifting myself up, I drag the chair closer to his desk. Making room for my elbows, I shove everything to the side. Pens and their holders. His tri-sided wooden name wedge. The black telephone he just used to speak to my father. A High Octane Wrestling brand thermos that has been used and washed so much that the Son of GOD’s likeness has been all but rubbed completely off.
Plopping both of my elbows down and balling my fists into my temples, I smile deviously.
“Two things. First, I need an actual training partner with some advanced combat skills. Preferably from the MMA crowd. Don’t care how much it costs. Second, I want to rent out one of Chicago’s biggest landmarks for an hour. Could be anything from the Willis Tower to Wrigley Field. If John Sektor has special privileges to use the gym inside the Best Arena, then I have to one-up him and make him so jealous that he just forfeits completely. Don’t care how much it costs.”
I laugh, obviously amused with myself.
“I’m kidding about one-upping Sektor. I wouldn’t want to win via forfeit anymore than he wants to retain via stoppage or draw me again. But the rest of that? Make it so, Commander Ryker.”
Standing up from the chair, I shadowbox dangerously close to Arliss’ head.
“I’ll see what I can do. But… I can’t make any promises.”
I hold out my arms, satisfied with his answer.
“And that’s all I could ever ask for, Arliss. I knew there was a reason I keep you around.”
Arliss Peters chuckles nervously as I turn around and leave his office. His secretary races to the door, though, accidentally bumping into me and stopping me where I stand. How… rude.
“S-sorry Mr. Pleasant. Is everything okay? Mr. Peters’ been buzzing me non-stop.”
I look back at Arliss.
“Oh, that’s because he dropped his phone. Might want to clean that mess up for him. He’s an important man, that Arliss. Chop, chop now!”
Patting the secretary on her head, I step aside and leave her behind to clean up my mess.
I could beat up on some greenhorn kid all day and it still wouldn’t convince anybody about what’s coming to John Sektor. ‘Cause John’s a legend, and there isn’t a chance in hell our Admiralty would be as ripe for the picking as a kid like Preston Alexander.
To be honest? I’d rather do it this way. Lindsay Troy did the same thing with me and she ended up bleeding like a stuck pig and got fucking beat for her efforts. Stupid fucking bitch.
I know, I know. She’s not around these parts anymore. Even still? She’s still got history here in HOW and, PRIME promoter or fucking not, she’s a former LSD Champion. So the point still stands. I’d rather be underestimated than to be fully embraced as some kind of person with an actual skill set. I’d much rather be written off as ‘only dangerous with something sharp and metallic’ than to be considered dangerous through a means of everything. It makes systematically breaking my opponent apart, point by point, that much sweeter.
As I’ve kept everyone apprised of already, I don’t need you to submit at all. It’d be a nice little cherry on top of your loser sundae, but… nope. That’s not how this will go down. Even if I were the ‘Rain Man’ of the submission arts like you seem to believe you are, I wouldn’t want to win that way.
Winning by submission is the metaphorical gun to the knife of my winning by blackout, and there’s nothing more personal than watching the lights in someone’s eyes fade to black. You may disagree with that based on your fan-friendly reputed style, but that’s why you’re you and I’m (thankfully) me.
It could be a move that drills your head into the mat. It could be from an object of my desire that might end up giving you a glowing mechanical fucking Terminator eye from the same company that mapped out the software for Max’s. It could be from a simple sleeper hold that cuts off oxygen to your brain a little too long and leaves you drooling all over your stupid mustache.
Hell, it could be from the unexpected application of your own move. Pretty sure I can learn the “Move Thief” payback ability in between now and then.
So many options.
So many tools at my disposal.
So many ways to survive your onslaught.
Whatever it ends up being? Hopefully Joel or Matt will be in the right position to stop the match before I do irreparable damage to one of HOW’s finest, most respectable Hall of Famers. Then? Not only will I have survived your tough guy babble and technical imbroglio, but I’ll have taken your beloved championship, too.
And, admittedly, I’ll have ended one of the finest championship reigns HOW has ever seen.
But, again, I know what you’re thinking—probably because you’re easier to read than a little golden children’s book about some outcast puppy who befriends a fucking salamander— “You’re an idiot, Arthur! If you can do all that? So can I. Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty!”
Hahaha. NO, John.
I mean, yeah, sure. You can.
But you won’t.
You simply can’t if you want your reign to have any legitimacy at the end.
You mustn’t if you are to be satisfied at all once the dust settles on this Premium Live Pay Per View Event.
You need to see me give up. You need ‘number nine’ under your belt. You need to win in such a way where there won’t be any room for me to pull a Scott Stevens by demanding rematch after fucking rematch.
You need me to quit on you to validate everything you’ve ever thrown at me; from your pathetic, prototypical “no u” bullshit in the past, to somehow believing a clinically diagnosed fuck wagon like Colonel James Cornfield Sanders III holds any credence to his fucking putrid ass fried chicken smelling words, or everything you brought against me in that ring and will bring against me once again.
Otherwise? Your entire LSD Title reign will have been for naught. Record setting, though it may be, it’ll all… be… for NAUGHT.
Steve Harrison. Darin Zion. Clay Byrd. High Flyer. Jatt Starr. Bill Dickinson.
John Sektor, the longest reigning LSD Champion in HOW history.
John Sektor, the Hall of Fame legend who couldn’t even make a ’quitter’ like Arthur Pleasant, actually quit!
Now be a good little grapple-bitch and fade to fucking black.