December 12, 2003
2100 Hours, Local Time
Rubble and fire is thrown into the air as an IED explodes no more than 20 feet in front of our humvee, sending shockwaves through my body. My insides feel like they were just put through a fucking meat grinder; but we can’t stop now. We’re on a mission this morning and we’re in beautiful fuckin’ Fallujah. This mission would later be revealed to be Operation Red Dawn, but right now…we’re on the fuckin’ hunt. We’re on the hunt for the big guy himself; Saddam Hussein…and we’re going to find that prick one way or another; we’ve just got to get through this shit hole first. The driver initially does a fine job of keeping our truck on a straight path, but that all changes in an instant.
“Get the fuck down!” My squad leader shouts from the top of his lungs into the radio.
Nearly every time we encounter an IED, we start taking incoming enemy fire and this time is no different. My squad leader doesn’t want me up in the gunner’s hatch while round after round of 7.62 tinks off the armor of our humvee. But fuck him, and fuck hiding. I came here to kill the enemy, and that’s what the fuck I’m going to do; so I return fire. The smell of burnt gunpowder tickles my nose as I hold down the trigger of the .50cal machine gun that I’ve been assigned to. Round after round is ejected, littering the Iraqi countryside with brass. They say to fire in three to five round bursts, but whoever came up with that fuckin’ idea has obviously never been in combat, let alone had bullets flying over their head while trying to fucking count. I tumble around the gunner’s hatch as i try to steady my aim, but our driver is shaken from the explosion and pays no attention to the conditions of the road in front of us, and bounces us through pothole after pothole as he tries to find a clearing in the road.
My shoulder feels really warm. That’s weird.
“RPG! GET THE FUCK DOWN I SAID!” My squad leader is getting sick of my shit, but I see the asshole with the RPG and I’m gonna get him. I release the trigger, and stop firing.
He shoots first. Lucky for us he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with his dick if he was two inches away, and the RPG whistles past us.
I take a deep breath to slow my breathing. I close my eyes for a brief second, and calm myself down. “Say goodbye, fuckstick,” I mutter to myself, as I put the cross hairs right between his fuckin’ eyes.
I take the shot.
The silence after the shot is deafening, and time has slowed.
Then it happens.
His head is split down the middle and turned into a fuckin canoe. The men around him scatter like cockroaches when the motherfuckin’ lights come on, and the fight is over.
“Got him,” I say into my headset through a sigh of relief. The driver slams on the brakes and we stop in the middle of the road. The convoy follows suit, and all of our vehicles are stopped. Everyone is silent, not a response to be heard. I look down into the humvee and see my squad leader with his face in his hands. I can hear him start to cry through my headphones. His uncontrollable sobbing is contagious and the driver starts in as well. I hold the tears and sobbing back…it’s just how I was raised and I know, we’re not out of the shit just yet. We’ve still got miles of Fallujah ahead of us on our way to capture the big guy. I have to stay vigilant and ready, this shit will happen again today…it’s a certainty.
I see blood trickling out of my sleeve and down the tips of my fingers, forming a pool of blood on the truck floor. I trace the blood back up to my shoulder and notice that I’ve been shot. There’s no hole, however…it’s only a fuckin’ scratch. Grazed by a .762 and I’m in no fuckin’ pain at all.
The knot in my throat, however…that’s starting to cause actual physical pain. I can barely hold back the tears, but I do.
We survived today. Hopefully we survive again tomorrow.
“Let’s get’er going Jimmy,” my squad leader says, after regaining his composure. Jimmy acknowledges with the typical “Roger, sergeant.”
Jimmy presses the accelerator and we’re on our way. The rest of the convoy trails behind us in a cloud of dust. We all know just how fuckin’ lucky we go, but there’s no time to celebrate life right now. We better have a rabbit’s foot up our ass, cause we’re nowhere near done for the day. Not even close.
April 18, 2020
Sometime After Lethal Lottery
AllState Arena, Backstage
Cue the corny Dad music, cause it’s time for Leave it to Stever! A short montage of white suburbia and the Solex family is played on the screen. The montage comes to an end, but before transitioning the words “Filmed in front of a live studio audience” are displayed on the lower third. Steven Solex is shown walking through the backstage area after the Lethal Lottery show, with his son, Jebidiah.
“Hey Dad, can we go and see Uncle Joe?! He’s awesome!” Little Jebidiah says from atop his dad’s shoulders, referring to Steven’s tag team partner and fellow PBR member Ordinary Joe Bergman. The live crowd cheers wildly as the father and son duo appear on screen for the first time.
“Sure thing, kiddo!” The number one dad replies, with a tone cornier than Nebraska. The crowd lets out that collective fucking “awe” that you all have missed entirely too much as Solex begins to skip through the backstage area.
Jebidiah laughs uncontrollably as Steven Solex hops them around, twisting and turning as they head toward the private room they reserved for the evening in the backstage area. Not everyone gets a private room, but Steven somehow managed to secure one for his family tonight. Steven is somehow upbeat after taking an absolute thrashing from Perfection earlier on in the night.
“We’ve got to congratulate our buddy, Jeb! Don’t forget,” Steven tells his son, the cheesiest of smiles on his face as the crowd applauds.
Joe Bergman, just moments before, had won the HOW Tag Team Championship with Andy Murray, a member of 24K. Steve and his son wanted to be the first people to find Joe and congratulate him. Solex skips through the backstage area with his kid. Inside the room Steve has reserved is a television mounted on the wall. The TV is broadcasting the live event in the arena, and Steve Solex stops on a dime and begins watching the show. The silence of the crowd is deafening as they patiently watch Steve Solex.
The television shows that Joe Bergman has just been handed one of the Tag Team Championship belts from the other half of the newly crowned champions, Andy Murray. Solex’s face turns a deep shade of red as the blood rushes to his head. His temperature has seemingly risen a few degrees as droplets of sweat immediately form on his forehead. His eyes locked on the television, he doesn’t move. He doesn’t say a word, but what he’s thinking is written all over his face. Some people in the live studio audience laugh nervously, others clap for Bergman, but mostly…it’s silent. The overwhelming sense of jealousy and rage has overcome any type of joy and good will Steve may have been feeling in that moment. Solex just realized that he’s not happy for Joe Bergman, not one fucking bit. Solex just realized that he’s been embarrassed by Joe Bergman. Solex just realized that there was only one way to get back his pride, only one one to restore his dignity, and only one way to be happy again.
“Dad, when are we going to see Uncle Joe?” Little Jebidiah asks from his position on Steve’s shoulders. The crowd remains silent; they know what’s coming.
“Fuck him!” Solex roars. An audible gasp is heard from the live studio audience. Jebidiah’s eyes immediately well up with tears, and Solex hurriedly pulls him down from his shoulders and puts him on the ground; barely thinking of the child’s safety.
“What’s wrong Daddy?” The little boy asks in a low, unassuming tone as he tries to win back his father’s love. The crowd collectively “awes” as Jebidiah, in all his bullshit phony innocence stares up at his father.
“Can it, kid,” Solex fires back. Jeers from the studio audience fill the airwaves.
Solex’s tone has changed. HIs demeanor is not what it was. This is a new Steve Solex, one we haven’t seen before. This version of Steve Solex is hardened and mean. He’s a warrior and it only took three words to establish that. This is a Steve Solex that I can get behind, fuck that Dad bullshit. Fuck this live studio audience, they have no idea what it’s like to be Steve Solex right now, and they probably never will.
Solex storms out of the room and in one movement he rips the #1 Dad shirt right off of his chest and tosses it to the floor; just like a newly rendered Superman would. The look in Steve’s eyes would give Chuck Norris a shiver down his spine. Solex storms off, leaving Jebidiah behind. Jebidiah weeps uncontrollably as Steve outpaces the young child, but nothing is going to stop Solex from carrying out whatever mission he just decided he was going to start, but I do know this: Leaving that rotten little shit behind; that was step one.
This Steve Solex isn’t the #1 Dad.
This Steve Solex is a fucking Terminator.
The studio audience, for the first time ever, boos wildly as the corny 50’s music once again begins to play as the scene fades.
November 28th, 2020
Sometime After Refueled
Backstage, The Best Arena
“That little bitch,” Steve says as he places a bag of ice right between his legs.
“Two dick kicks in one night, un-fucking-believable.”
Solex is absolutely incensed. This isn’t the first time he’s been kicked straight in the dick, but this one stings just a little bit extra. Not only did he lose his match to Zeb Martin thanks to a foot right to the wang-chung, but Barbie-Q – Steve’s one time friend and valet – added some extra stank to the wound after the match. That’s what’s really got Steve bothered right now, and that sting is going to stick around for a while. Not because of the pain, but because he knows that Joe Bergman got the better of him and there’s nothing that he can do about it until ICONIC. And waiting two weeks, well that’s just not in the playbook of Steve Solex. But Solex knows, it’s time for an audible.
Solex stands up from the bench he was seated on, holding the bag of ice firmly against his cash and prizes as he limps his way through the locker room and out into the hallway.
“BERGMAN!” His shout echoes through the corridors of The Best Arena. A few strong-arms and backstage employees of HOW walk past, attempting not to look Solex in the eyes.
“YOU FUCK! WHERE ARE YOU!? BERGMAN!” Solex continues to shout.
“What the fuck do you want?!” A young man in a black HOW polo approaches Steve, and in a low voice says “He’s gone for the evening, Mr. Solex. He and Barbie-Q left about 15 minutes ago.” Solex loses his grip on the bag of ice and it drops down to the cement floor. The plastic bag ruptures, and the crushed ice explodes out into all directions. The young man bends over and quickly tries to wrangle up what ice he can, but then…
A punt kick right in the temple and the kid, once down on his hands and knees, lies flat on his back…unconscious.
“Motherfucker. Why? Why did you have to come to me?” Solex kneels down and grabs a fist full of the kid’s shirt, pulling the young man face to face with the war-hero. “Huh?! Answer me! Why are you covering for that fuck, Bergman!” But of course, the young man has no answer. Solex releases the kid’s shirt, and the kid falls lifelessly back to the concrete floor.
“You fuck,” Solex mutters, as he stands back upright. A small crowd has now formed and is surrounding Steve and the unconscious kid. Solex springs to his feet and extends his arms out to either side.
“What the fuck are you all looking at? Huh!?” Solex interrogates the crowd, only to get a few shaking heads in response. They know what kind of a prick Solex has become, and saying anything out loud will ensure that they end up in the same predicament as the unconscious kid on the ground.
“That’s what I fuckin’ thought!” Solex shouts out at the crowd, but they’re not paying him much attention. A disappointed crowd just saunters away individually, leaving Solex standing over top the young man he punt kicked in the side of the head as the scene fades.
December 12th, 2020
0700 Hours, Central Standard Time
Solex Residence, Anytown, USA
“This Stan bullshit has got to stop, Karen,” Solex firmly scolds his wife as she holds up an eight by ten photo of Steve Solex seated in the rechristened Section DD214.
“I’m your wife, Steven. This isn’t a Stan moment; this is a proud wife moment,” she says in a soft seductive tone.
Solex stands up from the couch, and tosses aside the newspaper he was reading. Steve walks across the room to his wife. He approaches her from behind and grabs a hold of her hips pulling her in close to him.
“Mr. Solex, are these the equal rights you’ve been ranting and raving about?” She asks, peering over her shoulder at Steve. Steve grits his teeth, spins Karen around and gently shoves her into the wall. She bites her lip and acts innocent as he runs his hands through her hair before grabbing a fist full of her brown locks and pulling her hair back, forcing her to look up at him.
“Oh, Steve,” she moans.
“Hey Daddy!” The footsteps of Jebidiah echo down the stairwell as he charges into the living and bolts out the front door. Karen laughs for a brief moment, and Solex plants a deep kiss on her before letting her loose.
“You’re a bad man,” she says as she goes back to the task of framing that eight by ten photo.
“You got that right, baby,” Solex says as he smacks her on the butt and walks back toward the couch. He grabs his coffee and takes a sip.
“Did you see what that prick had to see? Ol’ Ordinary Joe, finally breaking his silence completely; the coward has finally…FINALLY made a move. After all these months, that shitbag thinks he’s just going to walk out onto television and make a fool out of me? Out of Steve fucking Solex? I don’t think so Karen, not on my watch!” Steve goes from good mood to pissed the fuck off in no time, and it startles his wife just a bit. But not in the scared wife way, more in the take me upstairs and rip this 1950’s housewife bullshit of an outfit right off my body, kind of way.
“Yeah, I saw that sweety. It’s going to be okay though, dear.”
“Not this time, Karen. It’s not going to be okay. Losing a no consequence match to Zeb Martin is no big fucking deal, but losing to Joe Bergman after all of these months? That’s a bit fucking deal Karen. He’s talking about the DAD TAG TEAM and all of this bullshit. It was never supposed to be a DAD TAG TEAM! I was the Dad, he was the dipshit in the black shirt and jeans. That’s why we were PBR! We were PBR cause I was a Dad, he was a normal dude at a BBQ and we drank a couple of brews together. That was the whole fuckin’ point and idea Karen! But then he had to go and fuck the whole thing up. My wife’s prego, Steve-o! Like I really gave a shit? That fucked up the entire dynamic between the two of us, I don’t know why he couldn’t just stay celebete or whatever the fuck he was doing to not knock up chicks. I mean, I know my sperm are on a whole nother level, but holy shit. After all those years you might have thought he would have accidentally knocked a chick up. I felt slighted, Karen. I felt slighted by Joe Bergman and the fans of that bullshit tag team. The fans embraced this sack of shit, and continually tried to boo me out of the building night after night. Like a fool I dribbled soccer balls to the ring, barbecued at the top of the entrance ramp, and really tried to embrace the idea of teaming with Bergman, but at the end of the day…I just knew that he was riding my coattails to the top of HOW. And now, that version of Steve Solex is gone. And you know what’s sad? I love that version of Steve Solex, I love being that guy. The only problem with that is; I love being the man I am now more.”
Karen walks over to her man and leans into him. She uses her thumbs to part his mustache and gives him a peck on the lips.
“I love this version of Steven Solex. I love every version of Steven Solex. I love you, honey.”
He pulls back, her soft voice soothes and calms him, but he knows he has to be pissed off right now. He has to be angry and seek revenge; he can’t be tamed by his wife. Not now.
“God damnit, Karen! Just let me be mad, let me be angry! This has absolutely nothing to do with you, and everything to do with Joe Bergman,” he’s only being firm with his wife, not angry and she gets it.
“And don’t forget about that little bitch he’s got with him,” Karen says behind a smile and a wink.
Steve laughs, but immediately snaps back.
“Fuck that little bitch. She’s not the one that I have to pin, not like Dawn McGill. Dawn McGill was just a way to get to Joe, nothing more, nothing less. She should have never been at Alcatraz in the first place, and she could have gotten out of this scott-free. But she didn’t, and she stuck her crooked ass nose into some business where it just didn’t belong, and she paid the price for that shit. I just can’t understand why Joe Bergman would put her in that situation to begin with? Did I ask for Dawn McGill to come out to the ring? Fuck no, that shit was orchestrated by Barbie and Joe; not Steve Solex. I would think that Dawn would have been smarter than to be duped by Barbie and Joe and put into a ring with a man that is way the fuck out of her league. She’s a former LSD Champion, and I treated her like a two-dollar a night indie worker, and stuffed her ass away for the night. And funnily enough, I haven’t heard shit from her since.”
Karen continues her busy work around the living room, dusting and humming old show tunes as Steve continues to rant and rave.
“I just wish that Joe would take the hint. I don’t want him around anymore! I haven’t wanted Joe around since he won the tag team championship with Andy Murray. That was supposed to be PBR! We were supposed to be the tag team champions; not Joe Bergman and that limey fuck Andy Murray. PBR! We were next in line. We were ready to demolish 24k, ready to eviscerate the Hollywood Bruvs, and ready to scramble the mother fucking Egg Bandits! But no, Joe Bergman had to go and do his own thing. And now, he’s going to pay for that shit. This was supposed to be the summer of Steve, but instead it turned into the summer of Section 214. All these memorials and 97red chairs; thankfully Lee Best finally saw through the thick layer of bullshit and realized that Steve Solex is far more important than any Ordinary Joe and any of those fuckwads in Section 214. Now is my time, and at ICONIC….I have to win.”
The front door swings open, and Jebidiah stands in the doorway.
“Fuck!” The little kid shouts.
“All those eff-words, Steven. Do you see what you’ve done?” Karen immediately reverts to that television house-wife-mom combo we’ve seen over the past year as the scene fades and she hugs her young son’s head.