THE ROPPONGI DISTRICT OF TOKYO, JAPAN
A much younger Arthur Pleasant, aged somewhere in the neighborhood of eighteen or nineteen, moves briskly down the right side of a main thoroughfare in front of Izumi Garden Tower; this, of course, being in the Roppongi district of Tokyo, Japan. His medium-length, raven-colored hair is soaked through to the scalp as the night’s storm clouds continue to drench all of the city since around mid-afternoon. Pleasant didn’t mind the rain, though. Especially at night. There was this inexplicable comfort, or perhaps catharsis, about a day’s rain amongst the bright city lights and bustling streets of Tokyo. On this night, it soothes his blackened soul to hear the pitter-patter of rain encompassing every surface within earshot of his presence.
In fact, it is the only thing on his mind outside of the bloody task at hand.
Pleasant notices his mark making a turn towards the Tanimachi junction, which places them directly in front of Izumi Garden Tower itself. After moving like a phantom in the night in his black jogger pants and complimenting hoodie, he shifts and shuffles expertly like some kind of water-logged, pasty-white ninja. He decelerates at once as he notices the black stretch limousine that he had been tailing on foot for about twelve blocks coming to a complete stop.
“Finally.” he thinks to himself.
Moments later, the door opposite and furthest down from the driver’s side swings open and a man carrying a briefcase, wearing a business suit, and clutching onto an umbrella, steps out of the limousine. Pleasant eventually comes to a full stop and stands in place, noticing the dazzling lights gleaming down from the many skyscrapers surrounding him. His brisk pace re-accelerates ever so slightly as he realizes he is within a stone’s throw from a sign that reads “ファミリーマート”. Pleasant immediately recognizes this as “Family Mart”.
One thing Akasaka Street has plenty of that an otherwise ignorant gaijin might not know is convenience marts. With this in mind, and tirelessly navigating his way through the busy streets of Tokyo in order to follow his mark, his thirst has grown immeasurably. Side-stepping one of the various passerby’s coming and going from this busy little stop-n-shop, Pleasant sneaks inside.
Without loosening his gaze at the briefcase-wielding businessman across the street, he quietly opens a mini-cooler to his immediate left that has a variety of cold drinks inside. Pleasant feels his fingers around for a Ramune; one of those funky, popular Japanese sodas that America condescendingly treats as some novelty item. It has a fun little marble at the top that acts as a stopper for the bubbly deliciousness inside. Once the spherical stopper is pushed down, the rest is ready for consumption.
Peeling off the seal, he places the flimsy plastic opener on top of the bottle and presses down firmly with his palm until the marble plunges down, releasing the carbonated pressure from within. Pleasant tilts his head back and sucks down the blue-raspberry flavored soda within fifteen seconds. Ahhh. How he has grown to love these charming little bottles. Probably more than the contents itself.
Just as he is about to step back outside the Family Mart, one man inside yells something at him quickly in their native Japanese. Pleasant turns around in kind and stares at what he presumes to be the shopkeeper, allowing the coldness and fierceness of his state to speak to him more loudly than any one word possibly can. Looking back at the now empty bottle of Ramune, a smirk stretches across Pleasant’s moistened face.
“Time to get creative, I guess.” he says to no one in particular. Shutting the door while looking out at his mark traveling closer, he ignores the man behind the counter who has gone from shouting threats at him to knowing his place in life’s pecking order by saying absolutely nothing.
“Do it.”, shouts Masahiko Nii from inside Pleasant’s head.
Flipping the bottle in his hand so that his grip tightens around the narrow neck of it, Pleasant steps back out into the rain.
He has about ten-seconds to make it across the thoroughfare before his mark disappears into the massive structure of Izumi Tower Garden.
More than enough time.
Zipping through the thoroughfare, he times his sprint impeccably so that two or three cars narrowly miss him. Remarkably enough, he hadn’t heard a single horn honked in his direction.
Down to about six-seconds now.
Pleasant’s mark grows closer and closer to the outside foyer near the entrance.
The limousine departs as Pleasant steps out of its way, racing towards his now exposed mark like a hungry cheetah sprinting toward an unaware gazelle.
The empty Ramune bottle breaks over the back of the man’s head, immediately opening a wound and sending the man down onto the pavement. Letting out a groan, the man does not have time to react before Pleasant rolls him over and picks up the now jaggedly sharp neck from the smashed bottle. Looking around, Pleasant does not see a single soul witnessing what was about to transpire.
The man he struck groans, spitting out Japanese at him with an undertone of agony hanging on to each syllable. Red, no doubt from the wound on his head, streams out beside the man. Somehow, through the above lights shining down, it gives the pavement surrounding him a somewhat prismatic look.
Placing a harsh foot on the man’s abdomen, Pleasant ignores the man’s pleas and, without a moment’s hesitation, plunges the bottleneck down directly onto the man’s throat.
“Well done.” compliments Masahiko Nii from behind a devilish grin on the warped face of Arthur Pleasant.
Pressing down with his foot across the man’s chest, Pleasant waits for it to rise.
I can’t help but feel a great sense of guilt.
My friend Jeffrey sits in a cell for the rest of his life while I… remain free.
What is wrong with this picture? Hm? What is the inherent issue when a man who shot his own Mother in the heart at the ripe age of twelve is still roaming free and allowed to do what he wants in this world? The fuck is that all about? Sure, that boy went through extensive court-ordered psychiatric rehabilitation and all that wonderful bullshit, but as I stand here before you a 29-year old man with a blood trail 97-miles long, it’s pretty obvious that it didn’t take.
This shouldn’t sit well with any of you. If anybody understood the levels of pure joy I felt from inflicting pain onto my various… well… we would call them ‘marks’… I would be locked up behind bars just the same as my friend over there. Oh yes. Very much ‘just the same’.
Maybe once people like Detective Callaway see this and it becomes a bit clearer about who I was as a person way back when– because I’m TOTALLY a good person now– then I’ll be coming out to that ring in shackles and a team of overpaid rent-a-cops all cosplaying as the Mandalorian at the same time, too.
Or maybe I’m just that lucky to have known the right people all of my life in order to get away with some of the grimmest, grimiest shit imaginable. Sometimes it really is about who you know, I suppose. Heh.
Regardless, my friendship with Jeffrey has allowed me to take a step back and reevaluate my own life. In particular, the things we’ve both done. Or, if you want to really embolden it, the atrocities we’ve both committed.
They’re not so different, really. Little details, maybe. But at its core? Not so different at all. The only conceivable difference between us is that Jeffrey took orders from a God. Me? I took mine directly from the Ninkyō Dantai. Had I not executed said orders, then I would’ve wound up six-feet-under some time ago. Granted, I may have been a bit overzealous at times with my assignments… but still. You get the picture.
In the name of servitude to a higher power, where the ends sometimes absolutely justify the means, I took it upon myself to be the fucking best at what I had to do.
Ever since then, I’ve applied that sheer resolve into learning a new craft. And so far? For the past four years in my new craft, with a trail of bones and bloody turnbuckles left in my wake as proof, I’d say it’s gone rather swimmingly.
How unfair is it, though, that a man like me gets multiple chances to balance his life out only to embrace the disorder of chaos instead. That’s the thing about chaos, though. It’s not impartial. It’s not bipartisan. Chaos is chaos. By its very nature and definition, it is completely and utterly unfair.
Take this tournament for instance. It’s not fair to the rest of the teams involved to have to face the most brutal pair of human beings to ever walk the face of this Earth. It’s not fair to the one-shot-deal outsiders, who are signing on the dotted line simply to represent their company with the infinitesimal chance of winning a tag team tournament and some gold, when they are inevitably forced to make their home promotions look like fucking shit. Not after they’re buried by the greatest unnatural force HOW has ever had to deal with in Jeffrey and I.
Truth is? I’ve already destroyed the most “impressive”, and I use that term as loosely as one can possibly use a term, Stevens out of the entire Stevens Travesty. It happened in a Three Stages of Hell match down in the bayou and I beat that idiot fuck wagon’s ass until it turned fifty shades of purple. You know, since suddenly we’re all recognizing what’s on the outside of High Octane Wrestling.
More to the point, how much good will come out of this match to have Arthur Pleasant, master and commander and fucking overlord of all things Stevens, face two of the lesser thans when he’s still picking his jagged teeth with the bones and sinewy entrails of their eldest brother? Hm? How much good will it do you, Ray McAvay, when I mutilate the forgotten siblings of a coward who pretended to be a referee in order to snake his way into a HOW World Title match?
No good can come of this for you, Ray. I hope you understand that.
The entire roster at your fingertips and you send two glorified ring boys to represent Missouri Valley Wrestling? Are you out of your fucking mind? Clearly, you are, given what you’re up against. Now, if this were an eleventh hour decision made entirely through the act of impulse and/or you had to throw darts at a board and landed on Bo and George, then I could understand it. But the fact is you had ample enough time to choose the right opponents for us… and we don’t need a ringside psychologist to tell everyone that the right opponents for us aren’t Bo and fucking George Stevens.
Then again, looking at your entire spit-n-duct tape of a roster through some shoddily put together website that my seven-year old niece could’ve done a better job with, then I suppose the Stevens Travesty makes sense in being your only option. Not unless you want to bet on black and put it all on Ninja Kitty and Yosemite Samantha. Seriously, what the fuck is it with Missouri and rednecks and how did a second rate wrestling family from Texas become your least looking and sounding ones?
Doesn’t matter, I suppose. The choice has been made and there’s no turning back.
The Devil’s Advocates Versus The Stevens Travesty.
Jeffrey James Roberts, HOTv Champion, and Arthur Pleasant, the man who actually ended Cecilworth Farthington’s career with a Calamity Pain straight to his melon. And, of course, still wears the vial of Scottywood’s earlobe across his neck just as a reminder of what he’s capable of.
The wheel of chaos never stops, Ray.
So in Philly, at Refueled? When you’re watching your useless fucking dirt farmers get dissected in our laboratory like a couple of dead frogs for a science project? You’re going to realize that you should’ve bet on RED.
All 97-cents that your Hills Have Eyes, weird fucking circus act of a wrestling company is actually worth.
“Arthur Pleasant, I presume…” calls out Jeffrey James Roberts from a distance.
Pleasant stops and looks at 4th Wahl. A smirk forms.
“Did you spoil the surprise?” he says with a timbre of fabricated disappointment stuck in his voice, like it had to scratch and claw its way past a popcorn husk on the way out of his mouth.
4th Wahl shakes his head, “I’ll just leave you two at it.”
“Are you sure, Mr. Wahl? That you can trust us, that is.”
Pleasant sticks his index finger in his own dimple and raises his pupils to the tips of his eyelids erratically.
“No. But He obviously does if he’s permitting you to visit your friend over there.”
“Arthur…” calls Jeffrey from inside his cell. “…please. Be a good boy and have a seat with me.” he continues.
Pleasant laughs. “Don’t mind if I do!” he responds while looking at 4th Wahl.
Moments later, Pleasant skips his way into the cell like a happy little boy about to receive a gift from his parents for achieving something great.
Circling JJR for a moment, Pleasant finally settles on the space directly in front of him. Collapsing into an Indian-style sitting position, Pleasant sighs and slaps his knees.
“So.” Pleasant says.
“So.” JJR replies.
Pleasant looks at his surroundings for a moment without saying a single word. Suddenly, the dripping of the sink gains his attention. Realizing that it was ceaseless, Pleasant laughed.
“Christ… are they torturing you, too? Not enough to give you a life sentence, so they settled on trying to make you go lalalalalala?” Pleasant says, while making circular motions beside each of his temples with his index fingers.
“No. In fact, 4th Wahl even offered to have it fixed. I declined. I quite enjoy the sound it makes. Puts living and breathing into a certain perspective.” says JJR with an odd tone of resplendence. As if he was triumphant over the people that put him in a cell by not giving in.
“Well, if that was me, I’d have ripped the fucker out of the wall long before now. But… I digress. This is nice.”
“Getting to see you before our match. Usually it’s backstage in a makeshift cell. Not your real one. I feel honored.” says Pleasant while batting his eyes flirtatiously.
“I’m told I’ve been rewarded.” says JJR before trailing off, only to continue seconds later, “This being the reward, of course. You… being here.”
Pleasant eyes his counterpart rather curiously.
“Yes, I thought so.”
Pleasant cocks his head slightly.
“Does that mean things are going according to plan, then?” inquisitively asks Pleasant.
“Very, actually.” answers JJR.
Pleasant nods. Looking back at 4th Wahl, who has given them enough space for Pleasant’s low dulcet to not be heard, he continues.
“Bo and George?”
Despite Pleasant’s near-whispering, JJR maintains a normal pitch in his voice.
“What about them?”
Pleasant looks confused.
“How bad do we maim them?” Pleasant continues to speak at a low volume.
JJR shakes his head.
Pleasant’s eyes go unblinking for some time.
“What the fuck do you mean we DON’T?!” he says, raising his voice considerably. “Is that not what we do, Jeffrey? Fucking maim?! Fucking hurt?! Fucking humiliate?! Fucking destroy?!” he continues, full-blown yelling now.
“Calm your mind, Arthur. The rest will follow.”
Pleasant places his hands on JJR’s knees. He moves in closer so that their knees are touching.
“This is calm.” he says through gritted teeth. “I say again, though. Is that not what we do, Jeffrey? Is that not one of our main goals in HOW… in this fucking ridiculous tournament… to obliterate our opponents and send their careers down before the gates of oblivion?”
“It is one of our goals, true, but not at the moment. They are to leave Philadelphia of their own volition.”
Pleasant says nothing. Clearly, he wishes for the opposite to happen to the team representing Missouri Valley Wrestling.
“It has been decided by Him, Arthur. Do I have your word that you will not go into business for yourself and do something to upset Him?”
“You have my word, Jeffrey.”He stands up, clearly not happy by this decision being made. What good is chaos without some calamity to go along with it?
Still, Pleasant maintains his composure.
“Were you anybody else, I’d do what I was born to do in that ring at Refueled. But since you are Jeffrey… my friend…” he trails off, noticing an open space on the cement wall amongst a whole collage of pictures.“Let’s just keep it at ‘You have my word.’, Jeffrey.”
“It’s a shame, though. I can think of a few magnificent pictures of Bo and George you could put right here, Jeffrey.”
Shaking his head, Pleasant chuckles.
“What a fucking travesty.”