THE SACRED TIMELINE (2)
GOD, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference – Serenity Prayer
— — — — —
The Detour (Arcade Bar) – San Francisco
October 24, 2021
There has been so much pep in my step lately, I’d give the most optimistic person on earth a run for their money. We’re doing another autograph meet & greet the week before hell certainly breaks loose. I’ve got new merch, too. SELL, SELL, SELL. Let’s make $$$ while I’m on top. A takeaway from living in Dearness is learning to make the most of your good years. Blink and it could be gone.
So we have “#97MARIORed”, “It’s Dangerous to Go Alone, Take This!” with the World Championship beside the text and “Where in the World did Sutler Reynolds-Kael go?” You know, if you say it to the tone of “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” I think it’s kinda clever. Honestly, where is that little bitch? (I mean Sutler.)
Oh yeah and a new “King of the Castle” tee with an image of Alcatraz. This shirt is rather premature if I do say so myself but it wasn’t my idea. They need to push more Rumble at the Rock merch. Hey, if we’re gonna ram me down everyone’s throats, at least let me approve it beforehand.
“We’ll start once Mr. Conor Fuse settles in,” the bar representative says. Seriously, why are these guys so studious? Let them towards me at once! I am not meticulous when it comes to these kinda things.
The first thing I do is stand and survey the crowd. Of course, lots of children. Plenty of the heftier fans as well. But today, in The City, there seems to be a lot of adult males accompanying them.
“Good mix, good mix,” I mumble, perhaps worried I continue only appealing to children. I motion to the bar rep. “Hey, sir, if it’s okay, I wanna say a few words.”
“Be my guest,” he responds as I keep eyes on him, making sure he’s cool with what I do next. I stand on my chair and then on the table. The crowd cheers as they realize I’m in view.
“Gamers and gamettes, I wanted to thank you for supporting me today. Soon, I swim across the river and face the inevitable battle. I had my doubts for a while but I’m thrilled it’s going to happen!”
Scanning the room, there’s not a child who doesn’t wear something with my fingerprints on it. Not a gaming nerd who doesn’t, either. Most of the male demo (18-49, FYI), however, it’s hit and miss.
Oh you bet… He’s on some shirts.
“As your World Champion, I vow you will get my last ounce of sweat! Whether it’s against a Cancer Jiles, Jack Harmen or Mario Sunshine Ripoff God RAH… on television or pay-per-view… house show or house party… every chance I step into the squared circle, I am honoured to do it! And I put my life on the line for you! It is your ring after all. The fans pay my bills!”
“Some do this to imprint their legacy. A noble reason, no doubt. Living in the, uh, greybeard community, I’ve come to truly understand the other side AKA death. However, I wrestle for you; legacy be damned! Fans, friends, FAMILY, I can only make one promise as High Octane WHC… I will always give you a hundred percent.”
I take a deep breath before my eyes fixate on His “Big Brother Foundation” tee. Jesus, HOW really does sell everything.
“My compadre,” I say, pointing a finger at the man in the shirt, “I see you enjoy my new enemy.”
He semi-nods. Probably didn’t want to be singled out.
“For those of you who are here by happenstance, to sell my autograph or dragged along by a child, I want you to know this coming weekend I am also wrestling for you. My style might not be for you but rest assured I have tons of surprises left. He says my wrestling is easy to avoid. You roll outta the way when I jump from the top.”
“If it were only so simple. You see, my moves are carefully selected. You do not go into battle without cautiously combing through your abilities, oh no. Never once has Conor Fuse lept from the buckle and hit his opponent with a move that BARELY grazed him. You’ll see no swanton bombs here! My head is not a weapon. HIS head, though… I would love to stomp on it.”
I hold court but I’ve been walking off path.
“I wrestle fast and my strikes have IMPACT. I’ll prove to you a 450 splash can be as devastating as a knee. With the velocity and spin rate I manufacture, I can crack someone’s ribs, I can put them in the hospital. And, correct me if I’m wrong but the move looks damn cool too, huh!?”
Lifting my hands I get a round of applause.
“Two can and will play this game. The fight of MY life awaits and I thank you for your support… or your backlash.”
A chant of !RANK begins. I smile, blow kisses and step down from the table.
“Send me the first family!” I say with extra emphasis to the bar representative. I’m assuming the first person in line is a kid with his parents.
Sure enough, it is. Boy looks about ten.
Yes, things are changing. And in other ways, they stay the same.
… … … … …
Unknown Location Somewhere in Chicago
October 22, 2021
Walter was itching to travel. A month ago I took him to my old hideout. In the basement I constructed a Jatt Starr shrine though there was another room under lock and key, the cellar. I said we wouldn’t enter until the time was right.
“Here we are, pal.” We make our way down the rickety stairs to the basement. The Jatt Starr memorabilia remains perfectly in place but after I defeated him, I made a short trip over and scratched out his eyes on the banner display. Peace, Starrabian Knight. Enjoy your 97-minute Iron Man match lol.
“It’s time, Walter,” I say with a sense of seriousness to my voice. All this may be silly but you don’t mess with results. My modern day shrine got me past the Hall of Famer. Can what’s behind the cellar door get me through Him?
Fumbling my keys, I give a cheesy grin to Walter who rolls his eyes. We approach the door.
“I fly out tomorrow, Walt. How’s Margo doing?” Small talk is my new favourite hobby.
“She’s okay. Doctor says it’s a cold. Hurry already,” Walter redirects.
Holding the keychain up with the rightful key in-between my thumb and index finger like it’s some kind of skyward sword, I exclaim the word “bingo”.
The door creaks loudly, it’s hard to budge as an instant cold swoops over us. I anticipated the drop in temperature but it still stings.
“Well?” I question, moving to the side as Walter enters.
“What the…” Walter rubs his eyes, as if insinuating he’s not seeing things correctly. “There’s nothing here.”
Shaking my head no, I walk towards the single table in the middle of the room and grab the item on top of it.
“I’m already at-risk for pneumonia, Conor. I have no interest standing in an empty room out of a horror video game of yours…” his voice trails. The Elder Scroll isn’t processing what he sees in my hands.
“Pull your winter jacket tighter, zip it to the top,” I demand. “It’s not an empty room, Walt.”
I guess it is rather scary here, Halloween’s right around the corner. Anyway, Walter tugs on his jacket and makes attempt number two at deciphering what I hold.
“A miniature tape deck?” He asks as my eyes go wide in agreement.
“This is stupid, bring me home.”
I give Walter some space, inspecting the tape recorder thoroughly. I wonder if it works after all these months.
“What did you record?” The old timer gives in, although I can sense he doesn’t think this is important.
“I lost to Him. Rather easily.” Taking a seat on the table in the center of the cellar, I’ve already acclimated to the cold. “Refueled LI, January 30th. Some throwaway second round HOFC match.”
Walter rolls his eyes. “I know, I helped you with the fallout.”
My head sways from side to side. “Uh, ya, I dunno how much you really ‘helped me’ but I guess you do remember. I came over the night of my loss, sat on this floor and wanted to die. NOT actually, I kept telling you I’m not depressed. I just- I was devastated. I wanted to go back and forth with Him, ya know? See if I had it in me.”
Walter nods while continuing to shield himself from the temperature. “I understand.”
“So I found this tape deck and recorded myself. Me talking to me. Use it for motivation in the future. But the funny thing is, Walt…”
I can tell he’s intrigued and also still pissed off we haven’t gone inside.
“I didn’t need it. I never opened this room since. I remember some of the context in the message, typical hero stuff. ‘Be better, suck it up and do more. Work yourself into a position where you can have a second chance.’ Yadda, yadda.”
I clinch the tape deck tightly and speak with a low tone. I can feel myself growing more serious by the second. “This is a reminder of how far I’ve come in a short period. The Conor Fuse of six months ago thought he would lose to Cancer Jiles. The Conor Fuse of today figures he has a shot against Him.”
“You do. Can we go inside now?”
“Sure, old man,” I walk over and put my arm around him.
Ejecting the tape, I stick my left index fingernail through the bottom, piercing out the film.
I don’t need this. I only need the reminder that, at one point, I thought I did.
“This game is mine,” I say, pulling out some tape and crinkling it between my fingers. “Even Jesus Christ himself can’t stop me now.”
— — — — —
Dear SON of GOD,
It’s time I addressed you by name. For the record, I wasn’t doing the Him thing to be silly. We’re past the pleasantries, jokes and quips. There’s no EA Mike shit here. I treat your name with the utmost respect. And while your behaviours, past and present may not warrant such a distinction, it does to me.
This is the big stage. Oh, I get it. No greater level than this, no harder boss than you.
Gaming metaphors aside, this is the pinnacle of wrestling.
Hello, Michael Lee Best.
I want to address a couple of things I would have said regardless of your mindset. Then I’ll get into other matters.
First, nobody is more excited for you coming back than I am, even if I’m the guy eating you up inside. I realize you’ll have to trust me on this but if I had lost to Sutler Reynolds-Kael at Bottomline, I fully intended to walk into GOD’s office and tell him I want an HOFC ticket. I’m not a buttonmasher, I’m not a blood thirsty fighter. This is more than clear. Those aren’t my gaming skills and my trash talk needs significant work unless it comes from a natural place of hatred. But I’d have asked for the ticket, Mike. One-way, two-way, I’m willing to do anything.
Real talk, I would’ve entered HOFC saying the division is dying not because of us… because of you.
Because we’re done with you. HOW is moving on and you’re being shown the door, albeit slowly.
But that’s bullshit, right? That’s a guy grasping at straws to find a new angle. The truth is half this roster walks around scared to death of you and why wouldn’t they? The other half of the roster is so stupid they literally think they can beat you at your own game. Those are the fun ones. Mistaking ignorance for bravery is a wonderful malfunction. Perhaps it’s happening to me right now.
Nobody hits like you. Physically, verbally, mentally. You are the transcendent star of this business. You are mentioned in wrestling companies across the world. I would know, I hack their discord channels.
Second, I could blame you for taking the easy way out in our HOFC round two match. I could blame you. Although what were you supposed to do, exit the cage, find a pillow and nurse me back to health before we fight? Fuck outta here, I don’t blame you. In fact I kinda enjoyed it. WTF is a guy like me to a GOAT like you? Nothing.
Until I took it upon myself to MAKE something of The Vintage’s name. Instead of pissing and moaning I looked in the mirror and said shut the fuck up and step the fuck in. With both feet. Full blown. And let’s superkick some heads off.
You have years of success to your name. I have deliberately forgotten how many times you’ve been pinned in the span of a decade and I did not listen to you spouting off about your achievements. Wanna know why? I can’t change how good you are and I am not gonna let OTHER PEOPLE’S FAILURES speak for the position I find myself in.
Third, you never took my thunder when you kneed me in the head. The reality is you gave me a lightning rod. A motherfucking lightning rod, buddy. Everyone’s paying attention to you AND me now. Those who tuned out HOW months ago, not wanting to see a prepubescent teenager as champion have returned. Ticket sales are beyond capacity. High Octane Wrestling’s momentum is strong.
But ya, you god damn right I took your thunder handing out those juice box tickets.
Ain’t no sour graps you went back on your word. Why wouldn’t I want to face the greatest WRESTLER in the world? I don’t wanna team with you.
You’re a pitbull. A serial killer who’s come to claim his rightful spot as the Mega Boss of High Octane. You have years of success to your name. The polarizing Mike Best who can defeat anyone with one, simple, move.
And yet since the start of this year, the roster can’t catch me. I mean this literally. I’m fast as shit. I’ll run around the ring, fly high, fly long. You haven’t seen a man with the aerial skills I possess. I go THROUGH you with a splash. I stomp your head with my heels. Conor Fuse puts the SUICIDE in a suicide dive. Sick and tired of these flippy fuckers not representing that move correctly. Everything the Last Level Legend does is cold and calculating. The bonus is it also peaks the interest of a child’s imagination. Go me.
This is not your story, Mike. It’s not a bad thing. It’s not saying you won’t be a ten or a twenty time champion. For fuck sakes, you will. You’re the Best. I don’t know another way to put this so you’ll have to live with the silly pun. You will be a champion for however long you’re committed. I’m simply delaying some BOT updating HOW’s gorgeous website.
Scottywood says you’re weak minded… you take everything personally due to a fragile ego. I dunno what hardcore world he lives in, this is what the top level guys do. Make it personal. Don’t sleep at night. Can’t handle being second for even a fucking day. An hour. A minute. Can’t handle being second EVEN WHEN YOU’RE STILL NUMBER ONE. Pretty sure the #1 all-time merch seller is Mike Best. Title records, Mike Best. Person in the back who’s talked about even when he hasn’t shown up for a couple weeks, Mike Best. Reason why HOFC didn’t work out, Mike Best. Because you dominated it. Tom Brady acts as if his wife willingly pumped someone else’s tires and he was forced to watch against his will. The man is ancient and still believes he has real doubters. As if seven Super Bowls aren’t the answer. As if nine World Titles aren’t.
MJ, Be Like Mike, they scream! LeBron. Sidney Crosby. Wayne Gretzky. Roy Halladay. I honestly believe the most ELITE level guys, the ones who are above all others, would murder another man to prove they’re the GOAT if they could.
Sounds like something you’d do.
I love how you’ve taken the narrative and made you, Michael Lee Best, the nine time champion and all four heads on High Octane Mount Rushmore, seem like the guy who has the uphill battle. It’s commendable. It’s what real winners do. Spin your own narrative, light a fire without kindling. Make yourself human when you’re actually inhumane.
So, I get the passion, obsession and direction. If a listener thinks I’m saying this as slander, they obviously don’t understand. One thing bothering me is most of the guys in the back are too stupid to realize I have similar traits. Jatt Starr beats me once, Mike, fucking ONCE in a midcard match and I obsessed over it. I was a god damn HOW rookie, two months into my career. You could make whatever excuse you want and I REFUSED to hear it.
“Hey Conor, you missed the kickout by a millisecond.”
“You hung with Jatt, you’re going places!”
“Standing up to a Hall of Famer is huge!”
He might as well have squashed me… emasculated me… sawed my dick off… because I went batshit mental. I manipulated moving into an old age home, wanting revenge. I’m not sure how 1+1=2 here so maybe I have to work on how I go about letting this shit manifest into something more substantial but the moral of this story is when John Sektor told me a few months ago he only started paying attention to me NOW, I haven’t forgotten. I will watch his every move and when I’m booked against that stunned cunt, I’ll show him where he can put his fucking drug problems. Maybe next year I’ll pick myself to win the War Games match I didn’t win, too. I hope Sektor enjoys curtain jerking a Conor Fuse contest cause we’re just getting started.
One more. I only mention him since you did. After tonight, I won’t do it again.
Eric Dane. The guy who got the sads when asked to step into the ring with Conor Fuse. Me no play with The Vintage; Conor too goofy. After all, Eric’s so prestigious and talented, with a wonderful work ethic, excellent wrestling skills and the locker room has so many damn good things to say about him. What a swell motherfucker.
Naa, that filthy sloth of a man ever walks himself back through these High Octane doors, I’ll BEG God to make an HOFC match so I can fist his fucking arrogant, pigshit face in and set the record straight. He’s no Mike Best Lite. He’s not even a Black Mamba.
And I’m not telling you how I handle kids who beat me at video games.
See how easy this was for me? I got gamer addiction bro. Give me water, I’ll make #97RedKool-Aid.
Step into the ring with MIKE BEST and beat him in Alcatraz? Oh, they’ll fucking listen to me now. And if they don’t, no bother. I’ll still have a closed circuit interview with Joe Hoffman, picking out a tiny throwaway thing someone said for motivation.
A guy DM’ed me on a discord channel calling me a moron for thinking Super Mario Land was in Tokyo.
“And I took that personally.”
I’m more like you Mike than anyone will give me credit for. Come get your pride.
We are on a warpath. This battle was predetermined, you took the spot from nobody. You are technically sound; I am hard to catch.
There is, however, a small bit of truth in “HOW has moved on from Mike.” It’s not so much about you, than it is about me.
I am not the future, Mike.
I am absolutely, positively, the right fucking now.
And win, lose or draw Conor Fuse is NEVER. LEAVING.
Max Kael no longer walks this earth. Cancer Jiles was a mirage. Dan Ryan is DOA and SRK’s a gutless SOB.
Conor Fuse waves at you, holding another P1 controller. My Rogues’ Gallery is ready to bust its load at the addition of Mike. We can play this game forever if you desire. Every time you knee me in the head, I’ll stand up and fight. Everytime you think you’ve got me down, I’ll keep going.
You said everyone and everything, eventually, let’s you down.
I NEED this just as bad as you.
Of course it would make all the sense in the world for Mike Best to walk into ICONIC as the HOW World Champion. Yet I’m telling you, your progress will stall. You don’t get to waltz back in and take this colour of red right away. You’re gonna have to suffer for it first.
Like I said, this is NOT your campaign.
It’s mine. It has to be.
I left your nephew laying in a pool of his own blood. You chose me since I am a legitimate threat. Alcatraz is not your castle, HOW is not your system. Not anymore.
I don’t need to Weapon Get your knee when I’ve already Weapon Got your spot.
Because I refuse to make this The Autumn of Mike.
When it’s already The Year of The Vintage.