Sometimes it is best to start at the beginning, sometimes though, sometimes it is more advantageous to start in the middle because that’s getting in where the getting is good.
Farthington: I was NEVER and I do stress that word… NEVER good enough for the racist, alcoholic, nicotine ridden, Bilderberg backslapping, oily, slippery, human piece of piss. So yeah, forgive me if my arrival here isn’t quite as timely as you were hoping.
Cecilworth lets his words drop upon the floor for a few moments and permeate the air of the dusty study room that he currently finds himself in. Portraits of old men you pretend you’ve heard of because you don’t want to look stupid, fancy leather bound books, a large oak desk and those kinda green lamps… y’know… the long thin ones – have a small rope handle you can go clickety-clack with – you know the ones. These are just a few of the things that the World Champion finds himself currently engulfed in as he throws himself down on the musky leather seat that sits aside the oak table.
Lord Farthington’s study.
Political careers had been launched in this room, an equal number had been slaughtered in cold blood. Anything to keep the power of the Farthington name afloat in the upper echelons of British high society. To our dear hero Cecilworth though, this was a room that brought back nothing but miserable memories. The long, pointed talks about him letting the family down, the complete disgust after the back garden wrestling incident of 2012, the disownment as the Big Bad Lord exiled his only child to the Americas to protect the image and legacy of the family. No, it wasn’t a room that Cecilworth particularly enjoyed finding himself in.
As Cecilworth flops down on the chair, we catch the view on an impish, pug nosed man in his mid-40s. His jet black hair is greased back, no doubt using a variety of beauty concoctions to do so. In one hand he holds a manilla envelope and in the other an urn.
Charles A. Abady III, Esq. had taken the reigns of the legal firm Adaby and Armitage some five years prior as his father, CAA Jr. retired from public life after a bit of mild “bum grabbing” of a twenty something paralegal that had made quite the splash in the British tabloids. With the reigns came the responsibility of the firm’s biggest account – the Farthington family.
Abady: I understand that you have been busy with your American affairs Master Farthington but this has been an urgent matter ever since your father’s unfortunate and untimely death…
A shiver runs through the spine of Cecilworth at Abady addressing him as “Master Farthington”, the formality and stuffy nature of British society had never been a preference and a lawyer who could only be a handful of years older treating him like a precocious youngster had his blood running cold.
Farthington: By “American affairs” do you mean my life and career? Because yes Abady, they do mean a great deal more to me than the ashen remains of that bloated toad.
You didn’t have to observe the sneer that had creeped across the face of the World Heavyweight Champion, it was easy enough to hear. Abady for his part seems very unphased by Cecilworth’s words as he clears his throat, straightens himself up and gently places the ashes on the table, directly in front of Cecilworth.
Abady: Ushering you here on route to Rome seemed like the only option I had considering your general resistance to even discuss your father’s estate. Now… as you know…
Abady’s voice trails off as he observes Farthington’s eyes are locked with the urn, clearly paying no attention to any words that slithering forth from the slippery tongued lawyer.
Farthington: He died ashamed of me, did you know that? He kicked me out of this place the last time I saw him. Disowned me, told me to never return. Think about that Charles, my father, a man who I must stress very clearly died due to a stray piece of five headed semen, disowned me. He wasn’t ashamed of PAYING a wrestler to jizz on his face but he WAS ashamed of me. I mean your father is scandal ridden too, can you imagine him looking down on you despite you clearly having a very successful career…
Abady clears his voice and claps his hands as he waves the manilla envelope around, clearly trying to shift gears in the conversation.
Abady: We all have family issues…
Farthington: Tell me about it, my friend Mike found out about his own paternity on a live television segment. That’s really got to mess a guy up but I dunno, he seems very stable and sensible to me. Ahead of the trend on fashion too…
Abady: Yes, quite. But back to the matter at hand.
Abady doesn’t manage to make much progress with his desire to re-rail the conversation and Cecilworth returns to death glaring at the urn.
Farthington: I was a failure to him until his dying breath. Last year, when I decided to return to the grappling arts, I made a promise to him, I told him that I was finally going to become a World Champion. He didn’t much care but I did get a vague grunt of approval. As if… as if sure, my chosen profession was besmirching the family name but if I was the best at what he always called “a poor life choice”, well then, at least he could know his son was the best of the best. God, I was so cocky about it too. I was SO SURE that the World Title Tournament at the relaunch of High Octane Wrestling was my ticket to a kiss from daddy.
Abady: Sorry, a kiss from…
Abady’s bewilderment is quickly cut off by Farthington immediately getting to the point in an un-Farthington like manner.
Farthington: Let’s be honest, all of us privileged fucks are looking for daddy’s love… I DIDN’T EVEN MAKE IT PAST THE FIRST SHOW! That was humiliating enough for my own ego, John Sektor, still fighting his demons, clearly not at his prime… he still dispatched me with relative ease. A C-Sektion and a count of three. No shenanigans, no hullabaloo, just an old fashioned pinfall loss. I could throw out a lot of excuses – it was my second match of the evening, he was fresh, heroin to Sektor is like spinach to Popeye… but that’s all wasted breath. I’d disappointed the great and glorious Lord Farthington again, whoopdedoo!
Farthington twirls his fingers in the air as Abady realises that he is having this conversation more with the urn than he is with him. Charles lets out a weary, knowing sigh that his hopes of this being a quick business meeting are now softly and slowly swirling down the drain.
Farthington: John fucking Sektor… that dude is my god damn white whale. He’s not the story though. The story is I failed. I let down Lord Farthington. Did he care when I rebounded quickly and won the ICON Championship the following week? Did he fuck! Did he care when I made the ICON Championship HOW’s most meaningful and important championship in the road to War Games? It didn’t matter, Cecilworth had let the family down again, as always. Big promises, no deliverance.
Abady: That deeply red belt that is sitting upon your shoulder right now… does that not say you are a World Champion?
Cecilworth looks at the 97Red World Championship that he is proudly displaying upon his human form and gives a hearty chuckle.
Farthington: Too little, too late Charles. Of COURSE he dies a few months before I finally do it. OF COURSE. He died looking down on me, he died disowning me, he died cutting me out of the family inheritance … the old bastard couldn’t help himself with his weird arsed kink… maybe if he wasn’t such a creppy little fetishist he could have proudly cheered me on when I almost committed a literal murder to claim what was rightfully mine at Rumble at the Rock.
Charles A. Abady waves the manilla envelope right in front of the eye line of the champ, finally breaking the minutes-long staring contest he had participated in with an urn.
Abady: It’s funny you mention your inheritance…
The camera fades out as Charles pulls out some paperwork from the folder and lays it down in front of Cecilworth.
The grounds of the Farthington Family Estate were once abundant with lush greenery but have now been left in a rather dilapidated state. A small maze sits to the back of the grounds, it was once full of neatly trimmed hedges that formed a very elegant looking puzzle but those hedges had since overgrown and collapsed into each other. Young Cecilworth spent many days as a young lad running around the maze, blissful in his ignorance that his own father already detested him. The bright sunny days of that maze had been replaced by the dark shadows cast by the intermingling branches. The camera begins to zig and zag through the maze in the aims of reaching the very centre.
That’s where we once again discover former ChampChampChamp, now merely ChampFreebirdChamp, Cecilworth Farthington. Time has clearly passed since his meeting earlier in the day, we can tell it’s the same day due to Farthington being adorned in the same clothing as he was in his meeting with Abady.
Either that or he’s turned into a filthy man who doesn’t even wash himself or his clothes anymore.
Let’s go with the former.
Cecilworth Farthington stands next to a small bonfire he has put together in the middle of the maze, rubbing his hands together and admiring the night sky. The World Champion welcomes the camera clue with a bright smile and a jovial wave, a complete turnabout from his demeanour during his quality family time.
Farthington: The British March is still brisk. It was snowing a couple of weeks ago, it is not a warm country and my countrymen are not warm people. Showing actual human emotion is very much frowned upon by society, you’re meant to bury those feelings so deep that they die in the stomach acid… maybe that’s why I keep having acid reflux… I’ve had so, so much to bury in that pit. You’d think being passionate would be a respected quality, really caring about something, putting your all into it. Clawing your way to the pinnacle of your field, it should be good enough to at least get an “attaboy”. Nope, doesn’t happen because you end up having the audacity to make one slip up. ONE. In an entire year. One slip up.
The roaring fire snap, crackles and pops, doing the dutiful duty of lighting up the face of the HOW World Champion as he looks forlorn at the bonfire. He clearly has something planned for the burning hunk of junk he has put together but he is far from delighted to do so.
Farthington: Me and Max Kael are in the same boat in this regard. Actually… at least his adoptive father is still alive, even if he is trying his best to disown him. Everyone knows the love of HOW’s GOD spirals like a weathervane, give it a week or two and Lee Best will be spinning back in the direction of the True North that is the Group of Death’s LSD Champion. My father on the other hand, I could’ve shat gold as a child and he’d complain that it wasn’t platinum. He’s always been that kind of man…
Cecilworth is distracted by the sounds of rustling in the bushes as the fire continues to roar, lighting up the champion’s face in the night sky. He simply shrugs off the noise under the assumption it is one of the many ducks who roam the grounds of the estate – the pond being very nearby the maze.
Farthington: One thing has surprised me as of late though, it seems like the entire High Octane world has learned a lesson from Lord Farthington because a whole hell of a lot of people seem to be pretending very hard that I do not exist. This afternoon, as I looked at my father’s urn for the first time since his passing, I was reminded of the one failure, the one mistake that I made when I returned to this company. It reminded me of exactly when it happened. April 8th, 2019. Refueled EYE. The moment that ended my ties to these very grounds that I stand upon now… the moment that has caused the fire you see roaring behind me… April. 8th.
A few embers crackle out of the bonfire as Cecilworth rocks back and forth, firmly planting his feet on the ground to put an exclamation on his point.
Farthington: That was the day I swore that I would make it up to my father, the day that I swore I WOULD be a World Champion, I didn’t care how long, I didn’t even care how, it was going to happen. Complacency would never enter my bones again. Complacency cost me my last chance to reconcile with my father and I would never allow that foul wench to have her way with me ever again.
We see Farthington reach into his pocket and pull out a large A4 sealed envelope.
Farthington: I’m going to let you all in on a little secret. I have no idea why it’s a secret, I have no idea why you don’t see the keeper of the Stevenspedia yelling it from the rooftops, you don’t see the HATEful caretaker of the archives putting together a special Blu Ray collection, you don’t see why a Hall of Fame announcer renowned for his neutrality hasn’t been reminding everyone about it on every show… come on… lean in…
Farthington whispers his next words in an almost conspiratorial tone, or if you were informing someone you had free real estate for them.
Farthington: I’ve been undefeated for almost a year.
Farthington tosses the envelope on top of the bonfire and a look of ecstasy sweeps across his face.
Farthington: That didn’t earn HIS respect though. Doesn’t seem like it counts for much at all these days. I already covered this in my hit television special but… as much as I truly believe it’s fear that causes my name to not be whispered in hushed tones of awe, maybe the roster doesn’t respect me. I’m lazy after all. Any time I’ve been asked to roll into Refueled with a title defense, I take the easy way out. I let Max do the heavy lifting, I let the eMpire run interference, I take the count out, I take the cage escape… People see what they want to see. The HOW roster fancies me a coward, my father saw me as an absolute disappointment. I save myself for when it matters and those people who live the lifestyle of pride clearly see that as the pathway of a coward. Goodness knows High Flyer kept yelling “COWARD” from the rooftop, particularly that one he tossed Max Kael off.
The contents to the envelope begin to burn up at the edges, as the flame continues to roar like a beautiful murderous dumpster fire, consuming all documents and wrestlers it ensnares.
Farthington: Tedward, my dear, you haven’t disappointed anyone, have you? You made it through the LBI without a loss and that’s very impressive. You slaughtered your group, tread on your tag partners heart and in the finals you achieved the unachievable. I bet it feels nice to have that momentum, undefeated in singles competition for a couple of months. It is probably fueling you right now, that pep talk, that self assurance you gave yourself before the LBI finals. You’re the talk of the town, the cock of the walk and you should breathe that glory in. You deserve it. The ovation at the end of Refueled, burn that memory into your brain. Etch that on the inside of your skill. Never forget it.
Cecilworth looks back to the fire and notices the envelope has disappeared, he quickly shrugs it off, assuming it’s already burnt up.
Farthington: I hope your father is proud of you right now, if he’s alive. So many of ours aren’t. There’s a remarkably high death rate for fathers of wrestlers in their 30s. I once had a theory they poisoned them so they could get media attention. Hell, maybe my father would have been proud of you too. You’ve got the passion, you have the will of the people. There is much to admire about you. Yet, we both know it’s all a little… false… don’t we Teddy. I’ve exposed you and yet… no one seems to care. They want to buy into the idea of Teddy Palmer, not the man himself. It’s the same as the politicians and upper class twats who clung onto the Farthington name. They thought association with my father would bring them money, power, fame, you name it… people are willing to ignore a lot if they think they’ll make out in the end.
Allowing the moment to sweep over him, Farthington takes a moment to admire the still night sky. A tear could drop from his eye as he allows the magnitude of what he has decide to do wash our him but that wouldn’t be very befitting for a man of his stature so he sucks to little droplet right back into the socket.
Farthington: I don’t blame Charles A. Abady for dragging me here to a place that I would much rather forget. He was doing his job, trying to cling on to that he inherited from his father and run a business that he never earned. Many do, they don’t make a name for themselves, they would much rather trade on their father’s name. I don’t mean my Group of Death brethren before someone gets smart, they etched out their names in history far before Papa Lee got his claws into them. Coasting though… coasting was never for me.
Cecilworth looks back down to the bonfire, entirely satisfied that it has burnt up the thing he decided to burn to a very crisp.
Farthington: My father was an intensely stupid motherfucker. Much like Lee Best, much like the braying masses who are already down on bended knee, begging lovely, smiley, passionate underdog Teddy Palmer to finally conquer the Big Bad, much like any “expectant” father. All of that ilk are the same – they fall for the nice guy with the big smile and the pretense of capability. They detest those who think for themselves and challenge convention for it questions the very foundation of their perceived reality. Challenging the perception never goes down well. My father? He detested me BECAUSE I outgrew him. I didn’t need him and he done did everything in his power to destroy my self belief and confidence because of that.
Cecilworth grabs a small picture of Lord Farthington out of his inside jacket pocket and tosses it atop the flame.
Farthington: Today I found out that I was meant to inherit the line, today I found out that I was the future Lord Farthington. I just tossed all of that potential onto the bonfire and let it burn up to its final little slither. My father had deemed me the rightful heir to the grounds and the title. That should be all the recognition I need, right? He didn’t love me in life but he gave me everything I would ever need in death. Perhaps for a simpleton that WOULD be enough but the fact is… I have outgrown that decrepit little shit. I AM the Farthington name. I AM the Farthington brand. When people hear the surname NOW, they don’t think of politicians and bankers giving themselves handjobs in a shady closet on this crumbling estate anymore, they think of ME.
Cecilworth pokes and prods and the photo a few times with a stick, ensuring that the visual image of Lord Farthington burning away at his behest becomes a very clear visual metaphor for any viewer of High Octane Television.
Farthington: Today, it has become very clear… I AM the Farthington family… I am the line… not my pathetic father guffawing with the rich and pretty. No, I am the new breed, the new line… and this lineage… we don’t make mistakes.
It’s some time after Cecilworth burnt his family photo and paperwork to inherit the family name in a blaze of glory within the maze of the family estate. He is now high up in the sky, riding his way from Heathrow all the way over to Rome. Cecilworth has decided he didn’t want to make the European trip all by his lonesome and has been accompanied by his father’s ashes, remaining as they do in a beautiful marble concoction. Cecilworth looks down at the container as the “fasten seatbelts” sign finally turns off during the airplane’s ascent.
Farthington: I guess it’s time to say goodbye, dearest papa.
Farthington unbuckles his belt and hoists himself and the urn up, making a confident stride towards the business class bathroom on the British Airways flight toward Rome. Just as he gets to the sliding door, a flight attendant blocks his path.
Flight Attendant: Excuse me sir, but what are you doing?
Farthington looks at the urn and back to the flight attendant, he does this two more times and then makes a “it couldn’t be more obvious” hand gesture.
Flight Attendant: Are you… are you planning to dump those ashes into the bathroom?
Farthington: It was always my father’s greatest wish to be scattered across the North Sea. As a child he always said to me “Cecilworth, my boy, when I finally croak, please dump me down the shitter into the sea”. Such profound words… I’m welling up right now.
Cecilworth wipes a small crocodile tear away as the flight attendant clearly blocks the way between Cecilworth and the bathroom.
FA: Sir, that is not how our bathroom facilities work.
Farthington: I’m pretty sure I saw an episode of “How It’s Made” and it told me than airplane toilets just dump their contents directly out into sea.
The flight attendant takes a deep sigh and composes himself, fully aware that this is not the “dump ashes down the toilet” conversation that he has had to participate in this week.
FA: No, our toilet facilities don’t just dump themselves out over the sea. They are all processed internally on the flight.
Farthington: … that’s disgusting! There’s feces on this plane?
FA: There’s feces on EVERY plane!
Cecilworth looks at the urn and back at the blockading attendant, he repeats this a few more times, deeply considering his choices. Deciding that he would rather not be arrested before arriving in Rome, the HOW World Champion decides to back down from the situation. He lets out a weary sigh as he looks at the urn containing his father’s ashes.
Farthington: I guess you’re coming to Rome buddy…