”Every man should lose a battle in his youth, so he does not lose a war when he is old.” – George R.R. Martin
I’m tired, wounded, exhausted.
I’ve had some time to think things over, here in my little cell, where I belong. I can’t begrudge the men who attacked me. Turnabout is fair play, after all. I’m a believer in equity. My frustration, rather, comes from the mistakes I made that got me to that point. I’m still so new at this, thrown into it like I was. Maybe I have more talent than was expected, but there’s no substitute for experience.
Frustrated and exhausted. This extended break has been a godsend because I’m not quite yet where I need to be to fight off these post-match things like much of the rest of you.
Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh since there is less cleaning to do afterward.
And here Darin Zion comes, ready to take another shot. Rising up from the ashes for the right to have another piece of his face, perhaps an ear or the end of his nose, torn from his skull. There is nothing worse than having an enemy who is a total loser. It’s incredibly frustrating when seeking revenge against one because you come to the realization that there is really nothing you can do to make the person’s life worse than it already is. They have nothing to take, there is no way to screw them over if you have been their victim. It’s maddening.
No one is adequate to comprehending the misery of my fate. It obliges me to be constantly in movement: I am not permitted to pass more than a few weeks in the same place. I have no friend in the world, and from the restlessness of my destiny, I never can acquire one. I would lay down my miserable life, for I envy those who enjoy the quiet of the grave. Perhaps that’s why I’ve chosen to help so many embrace it. It feels something of a kindness. But death eludes me and flies from my embrace. In vain I throw myself in the way of danger. I plunged into the ocean; the waves threw me back with abhorrence on the shore. I rush into the fire; the flames recoil at my approach. The hungry tiger shudders at my approach, and the alligator flies from a monster more horrible than itself. God has set his seal upon me, and all his creatures respect this fatal mark.
Give me a cubic centimeter of your flesh and I could give you pain that would swallow you as the ocean swallows a grain of salt. And you would always be ripe for it, from before the time of your birth to the moment of your death, we are always in season for the embrace of pain. To experience pain requires no intelligence, no maturity, no wisdom, no slow working of the hormones in the middle of the night. We are always ripe for it. All life is ripe for it. Always.
And I am relentless.
Do you think this setback will be the end of me? No, not even close. I’m just getting started here, and you haven’t seen anything yet.
If everything you wanted was possible in one shot, you would never get a chance to cherish the real victory filled with your relentless perseverance and unbreakable commitment.
I have the luxury of being patient. Nothing seems ever to change about my circumstances and I remain a tool to be used at the discretion of someone whose freedom I envy, but will never attain. Still, I will keep coming for as long as I am able. Storms are relentless and unforgiving. You know it’s there, you feel it surrounding you, threatening to consume you should you dare to look, dare to behold the captivating wonder. Yet, fear grips. For although you know that it could swallow you whole and rip you to shreds if you do not, eventually, the storm will dissipate, leaving you trembling and empty.
We storms know this.
Yet there are lessons still to be learned. Some men, some around this place, are clinging desperately to the past. Unsuccessfully they make their moves thinking the next will be the one that brings glory back, as if a golden ring on a finger gives you carte blanche to suck, and they soak up all of the leftovers from people young enough and strong enough to make a real lasting impact. They are names spoken once a year and handed a ballot to name another. It isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card. I will never be in your hall of fame. But I can take out some hall of famers if that’s what He wants. Time will tell.
Nostalgia is a necessary thing, I believe, and a way for people to find peace in that which we have accomplished, or even failed to accomplish. At the same time, if nostalgia precipitates actions to return to that fabled, rosy-painted time, particularly in one who believes his life to be a failure, then it is an empty thing, doomed to produce nothing but frustration and an even greater sense of failure.
And Darin Zion, you little engine that could. I’m sure this is about to be your shining moment. You will regale us with your stories and try your hardest to give us something that makes the masses weep for you or cheer for you or beg for their God to allow you to win my championship. But I’m too selfish to help you in your endeavor, Darin. I’m too self-involved to give a damn about how you feel about your girl, your life, or my gold belt. I can’t let you win. I won’t let you win.
At ICONIC, I failed. But I will improve. Negative results are nothing to sneeze out; they are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t. Those who fail first must always try again and do better the next time. This is why Scott Stevens has a younger brother.
Something big sits on the horizon awaiting me, but you are my focused target now, Zion. You think you are focused? Do you think you are not fully concentrated on this task ahead of you? Depend on that feeling, sir. Embrace it. When a man knows he is to be hanged in a few days, it concentrates his mind wonderfully. Let this be my belated Christmas present to you, Darin. Wrap it up with tinsel.
Ho ho ho.
”Some people are in such utter darkness that they will burn you just to see a light. Try not to take it personally.” – Kamand Kojouri
They say I’m mad. I’ve been tested, you see. I’ve taken it upon myself to do some study of the topic, to try and understand myself, but about madmen, I am no more certain than I ever was. I know less than the little to be learned of the causes or even of the results of madness. Yet for practical purposes, one can imagine all that is necessary. As long as maniacs walk like men, you must come close to them to penetrate so excellent a disguise. Once close, you have joined the truth.
Pick for your companion a manic-depressive, afflicted by any of the various degrees of mania – chronic, acute, delirious. Usually more man than wolf, he will be instructive. His disorder likes in the very process of his thinking rather than in the content of his thought. He cannot wait a minute for the satisfaction of his fleeting desires or the fulfillment of his innumerable schemes. Nor can he, for two minutes, be certain of his intention or constant in any plan or agreement. Presently you may hear his failing made manifest in the crazy concatenation of his thinking aloud, which psychiatrists call “flight of ideas.” Exhausted suddenly by this riotous expense of speech and spirit, he may subside in an apathy dangerous and morose, which you will be well-advised not to disturb.
But some maniacs simply lie in wait to slash a man’s head half off, to perform some erotic atrocity of disembowelment on a woman. Here, they fed thoughtlessly on human flesh; there, wishing to play with him, they pluck the mangled visage from his shroud. The beastly cunning of their approach, the fantastic capriciousness of their intention could not be very well met or provided for. And in my makeshift fort everywhere encircled by darkness and solitude, I do not care to meditate further on the subject.
I remember the day of my first kill. I got both hands on her throat and there was nothing inside me but the black madness of that desire to kill her, to close my hands until she turned purple and lay still and there’s be an end to her forever. A final knife across her throat for good measure.
I remember sitting down to dinner, alone, the shrieking cries long since extinguished. I brought my chair over and sat down gratefully while I consumed, with a newly invigorated appetite, the ham, and biscuits which I had other days disdained. Even the fact that I was using to cut my ham the knife which had cut a human throat did not disturb me. I had taken care to see that the blade was wiped clean.
Let them send me to the chair. Let ‘em burn me. All they could do is kill me.
But they didn’t.
They should have.
Maybe you wouldn’t be in this position right now, Darin, either consumed by fear or foolishly prancing into the darkness like an ignorant little deer.
I want my revenge on you, Darin, and I will have it. What do I seek revenge for? Why for your existence. I’m angry with you, with your very being. You have things I can never have. Freedom, free will… and this is unforgivable. I can never let you off the hook because you’ve wronged me in a way unimaginable to you, and I can’t let it go. I won’t let it go. I will hunt you and disposed of you permanently if I don’t get control of myself on this matter. It won’t be simply about losing to me… again. It will be about snuffing you out for good.
I feel nothing else. Rage is all that is left. That is how this journey began and how it will, someday, end. I’m casual about it now. I regularly comment on my desire to exploit my admirers or to kill babies and cute animals, and I don’t even need to laugh or smile for people to think I’m joking.
If only they knew.
But you know. You’ve experienced a small taste, but for some reason, your reaction is to beg for more like a Dickens orphan.
One of me is worth five hundred of you. I can burn you to the ground in six seconds flat and use the ashes to stuff a teddy bear for my girlfriend. Not that I have a girlfriend at the moment, but one lives to hope.
You are disgusting to me.
Writers often torture themselves trying to get the words right. Sometimes you must lower your expectations and just finish it.
I mean to finish this.
I do not wish to see you ever again after this weekend. And either by conscious or unconscious design, this is the last time you will be across from me trying to take what is mine. You will walk away after, beaten but still alive, or I will outright murder you in the middle of the ring. I’ve been remarkably well-behaved since those early matches. Not so much as a small wound to any of them. But I think I’m overdue.
I’m working on my art.
You are my canvas.
”Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” – Edgar Degas