Your Princess is in Another Castle (2)
Dearness Living Community
August 29, 2021
It didn’t take long for me to get there and you’d have to be an idiot not to know what match I was dying to see. Pulling out a notepad, I begin scribbling down thoughts as I watch the replay of Bottomline’s contest between JATT STARR and Xander Azula. I see The Sovereign of Starrgentina’s goons. It’s no surprise he has two guys attached to his hip. Wabbit and Anton the Fourth are there for a singular purpose. Although they fulfill it, helping Jatt secure the victory, I don’t care about them.
The simpering behaviours. The mind games. He’s done this before but more recently, it was never hitting hard.
“He’s back, Walter!” I shout, assuming the wisest Elder is outside my room. “You can come in now, he’s back. It’s official!”
Walter wanders in as if he happened to be nearby, rather simpering himself. “Huh? Who’s back?” He asks.
I can see Walter doesn’t understand. He usually gets it quick.
“Jatt went through a… amen… period where he lost his titles, took a beating from Dan and had to recover. Everyone goes through ups and downs, can’t blame the guy. But I felt the tides were turning recently. Xander is no pushover himself… though Jatt could handle him. The Ruler’s moves were smooth, his game plan worked to perfection.”
“Okay,” Walter groans, finding my bed and resting on the end of it. “What does that mean? I thought you moved past him.”
I rise from my gaming chair and turn off the television. I’ll have to find out what happened in the other matches later. Hope RAAAAHHHH fed High Flyer plenty of Vitamin D.
“Jatt remains a hiccup on my record. Obviously I live here because I couldn’t get him outta my mind but it goes much deeper. My inclination is I’ll be seeing Jatt inside the ring very soon. He weaseled his way into a match with me when I was green, he’s damn sure not gonna let me walk around 97red, either.”
Walter shrugs his shoulders.
“Let’s see how this week plays out but be on the ready, bro. In two weeks, if my hunch is correct, we’re taking a day trip. Somewhere I haven’t been in quite some time.”
Don’t know if I’m ready for this myself.
… … … … …
War Games Match
June 6, 2021
It started when Dan asked me to look under the ring. First thing I could get my hands on was a steel chair so I handed it to him. I didn’t want to make the big Texan angry. Who knew what would come next? I figured hit Starr in the back a few times, one, two, three. Tag Titles belong to us. On we go.
Joe Hoffman: What the hell is Dan Ryan doing!?
My partner opens the chair, methodically placing Jatt’s head inside and closes the legs as far as they can go without hurting the Hall of Famer.
Jatt lays motionless on the ground. Dan’s foot hovers over him. The former Icon Champion is toying with Sektor right now.
Joe Hoffman: Ryan is daring Sektor to come to the outside of the ring….he has to otherwise Ryan might just break Jatt’s neck here!!
Jatt wakes up, he starts screaming. Suddenly, a second thought passes through the mind of War Games Conor. I can see WG Conor’s thoughts are racing as I watch from outside the cell.
“Dan. It didn’t have to go THIS far, alright? I’m better than this. I wanted my revenge in a W, not a hospital enrollment.” Similar to my previous flashback, I am mute to those in the ring. I’m not really here.
Sektor decides to come to his partner’s aid but Teddy stops him. Dan raises his foot and stomps down, hard.
Jatt goes limp. Benny loses his mind.
Benny Newell: DISGUSTING move by Dan Ryan there. FUCKING DISGUSTING MAN.
Almost vomited at the sight of it, both versions of me. War Games Conor is beside himself but trying to pull it together since there’s bigger things at play. Three and a half months removed from the incident, the current version of myself just holds onto the cell mesh, praying I could reach out in time.
It’s no sarcasm. The Jattvian Prince didn’t deserve this level of payback. My jealousy and rage consumed me so I found the most reckless monster I could befriend. If NAC was here, he’d tell me I wanted to see this transpire. Luckily, he’s tucked away deep in my subconscious after his last attempt to “set me free”.
“You should never forgive me for this,” I say as I watch Dan Ryan carry Jatt into the ring and pin him easily. One look at WG Me and I’ve shaken it off. Perhaps, at the time, I loved what I saw.
Medics rush into the ring. Walter will tell me Jatt ended up surviving and moving on with his career. No harm, no foul. Given The Man of a Million Nickname’s most recent antics towards The Vintage, why should I care about him so much? If that was me at Dan Ryan’s mercy, he wouldn’t think twice. … … … … … Right?
Yeah, I sought revenge. I wanted my redemption. I moved into the Dearness Living Community for one man only. I said to Grapplers Local: put ME in the Tag Title match!
Seeing this made me uneasy. At the time, I thought Jatt’s career was finished. No more Thane of Starrkarth. No more King of Jatten Island.
I swear to god I see War Games Conor glance at me from across the cage with a clever grin. Maybe… deep down, I’m just upset because I wasn’t the guy who pumped Jatt’s neck with a folding chair. My teeth seething and fists clenched could confirm the thought.
Why are the most rivaled relationships never black and white?
… … … … …
Unknown Location – Chicago
September 12, 2021
Walter’s in his late nineties, yet remains as sharp as a whip. The second we walk down the staircase and I open the door, his face harkens back. Even though I haven’t turned on the light, I bet he recognizes the wood panel walls and low hanging ceiling. Not many would remember this location, I’d be surprised if anyone could to be honest. It’s only been visible a few times before.
“This is where you filmed those old Re-FUSED YouTube videos,” he states; he doesn’t ask. “You started your HOW career here.”
“Yes, Walter,” I validate anyway and let him into the room. “Shot my first ever television clip. Drank green Kool-Aid with The Game Boy. Ranted about my inaugural opponents. I also streamed on Twitch… when the servers worked.”
Walt questions one notion. “Why’d you stop?”
I don’t need to speak for him to have his answer, I simply need to turn on the light.
The moment I do, he’s mesmerized. The majority of the room makes the ‘most wanted’ board I constructed for War Games pale in comparison. Jatt Starr’s mug is everywhere. There’s a nickname board, a section for the past exotic Jatt entrances, wrestling moves, promos transcribed by hand, etc. I had to take the old manila cheat code folders to the next Level. It’s my fucking obsession.
And I love it.
“I had other things to do with my time than stream, Walt.”
The Elder wanders over to a particular area of interest. “This…” he starts, “…blueprints of Dearness?”
I smirk and agree. “Yep. If they weren’t gonna allow me to move in, I had other arrangements.”
Walter’s a little uneasy before I put my hand on his shoulder to signify I’m joking even though I’m really not.
“All of this because he beat you once?” He asks me. I stumble over to a broken down gaming chair. There’s dust and cobwebs on it so I take a moment to clear some away before collapsing.
“Kinda. I’m not that petty, dude. Hughie Freeman beat me rather convincingly and you don’t ever see me bring up his name. It’s because I don’t care about him. Hughie’s vanilla; Jatt’s Neapolitan.”
Walter nods while continuing to look things over. He’s realizing I haven’t been here in a while.
“Look, Walter, it’s been well documented how I enjoy Jatt’s work. And at the same time, I loathe him. Maybe I’m trying to replace Jatt, become a better version of him. Maybe I still want us to throw DK barrels at our opponents. I can tell you why I treat others with this magnitude. High Flyer – childhood hero. Sutler Reynolds-Kael – sworn nemesis. Cancer Jiles – the be-all-end-all. But Jatt’s the biggest Boss puzzle. I love him and hate him for signaling me out when I signed my first HOW contract.”
Walter zones in on another subsection display. It’s a comic strip designed in MS Paint ending in me tearing Jatt’s head off his shoulders. Walter raises an eyebrow. “Quite the imagination there, Conor.”
I laugh uncomfortably. “You have no idea.”
Since it’s the only chair in the room, I offer it to Walt but he declines and stares at a piñata of Jatt’s face I made at the local library.
“Why bring me here?” The Elder wonders.
“Good question,” I reply. “I haven’t been here in months. I wanted to remind myself of the time I made this and the mental state I was in. It was in the latter half of 2020, after Rumble at the Rock. I vowed if I ever got another real, one-on-one shot against Jatt Starr, I’d make it count. No excuses, collect all the information. It’s my MO. I do it with everybody but this time, I mean collect EVERYTHING.”
I point to a spot on the wall where a handful of written notes are scattered abound. “April 9th, 2009: Jatt Starr loses a World Championship match to Crow. Tension with Lee leading up to the match but boy did Jatt wrestle relentlessly. Bet you the loss hurt. May 13th, 2010: wins the WHC by defeating Aceldama, loses twenty-five days later in War Games. Those WG losses are painstaking.”
I’m rambling. I’ll try to sum it up.
“It’s not ONLY about history. History is easy to find if you have the patience.” Another group of notes on the wall. “Monday Night Mayhem, October 28th, 2002: HOW Internet Title match between Omar Rasheem, Darkwing and Jatt Starr. Fun fact, Jatt called me the current incarnation of Darkwing. ‘Let’s get dangerous’. Haha, super fun Darkwing Duck reference for you. Anyhow, not much nearly twenty years ago is going to help me with next weekend. MOST of the information I can discard but on the off chance I can find a clue, a code, an answer, that’s a win.”
I stand and walk over to the area where I’ve laid out Jatt’s wrestling moves. The best counters for each maneuver are stapled beside.
“It’s etched in the back of my mind, I didn’t need the paper to remind me. Us gamers can recall every cheat code possible, what’s a hundred wrestling holds?” I continue. “Funny, the only information not out there is Jatt’s age. Unless I missed it, pretty sure he refuses to disclose. Watch Walter, the clever SOB will find the HOW media department and fix his website biography before you go looking. It’s not on Wikipedia, either.”
My greybeard friend finally takes a seat in the gaming chair. “Walter, make no mistake, I know how old he is. Rude to disclose, plus it doesn’t matter. He’s out lasted half these kids.”
The Elder is impressed with me, I can tell. He’s also a bit rattled… it’ll pass.
“No, Walter. This room brings me back to a dark period, where I did not think I could do it. I’ve had my doubts before. Didn’t think I could beat Jiles or Sutler but I knew I could HANG here, if you get what I’m saying. Jatt made me question everything I worked for to get to this moment. On my own, at the BIG STAGE and took the Hard L. He’s the blemish on my campaign. The ‘ruler’ who would’ve ruined my life.”
Walter’s not hearing me anymore because his eyes are fixated on the other door in the room. There’s a sign on it similar to the box under my bed. It reads “OPEN WHEN REQUIRED.”
“It’s not time yet, is it?” He questions, regarding the opening of this door.
Walter reads me well. “It’s my cellar. And no, not time.”
I offer my dearest friend a hand to help him up. “We should get going. I merely needed to refresh my memory of this time in history. Thank god for Lee. I dreamed of facing Jatt at his best. The Jatti Master’s there now and all that’s left is to hit him with the ultimate dagger. Take Jatt’s dreams away from him.”
My eyes stare a laser through the main photo image of Jatt Starr, pasted on the key display. It’s a picture of him walking out of our Alcatraz match.
“Just like he tried to take mine.”
… … … … …
ALCATRAZ WORLD PROGRESSION
Sutler Reynolds-Kael → Jatt Starr (you are here) → Alcatraz
— — — — —
So I’m the Kool-Aid drinking, Cheeto eating, video game loving moron, right? Do you even know an additional detail about me, buddy? Because I know everything about you. Sometimes, I wish I lived inside your bullshit world of random-ass nicknames and shitbag side characters. What’s Hugo up to these days and why the fuck do you have that Donnie Darko rabbit with you?
Maybe I don’t grasp everything about The Starrabian Knight after all but trust me, I’ve chosen to delete some of these answers from memory on purpose. Otherwise, I have a bone to pick with you and a score to finally settle. As you can tell from earlier, the High Octane 97 World doesn’t progress like a typical video game. I guess that’s what happens when you get a legend to start your journey.
Yes, I defeated you for the Tag Team Championships but it wasn’t revenge. That was me steering Dan Ryan in your direction. I regret this immensely.
I should’ve manned up and done it myself.
Then bring you flowers at the hospital and apologize for my petty behaviour.
Out of the entire HOW roster, you and I have the strangest relationship because I do fucking love you, man. You’re the reason “The Vintage” Conor Fuse exists. I don’t move into Dearness if you don’t seclude yourself in a bunker with a gaming console. I’m not left with unanswered questions if Jatt Starr doesn’t beat me clean in the prison of agony. Yet, you didn’t defeat me to teach me a lesson. You wanted to put me on the shelf forever.
If anyone else was in my spot, I would be DYING to see you walk away with the World Championship. Ten years since you last competed for the legit achievement, I don’t know what to say. If the fans liked you, sentimentality could go a long way. You should’ve had a shot the moment you pulled yourself back to the ring, not gone after me.
I hate to tell you this: there’s no walking into the sunset for you. No last hurrah. No “You Still Got It”. Instead, an NES blow-on-the-cartridge flashing blue screen is impending for The Thane of Starrkarth. Hey BOTS, can we get that screen in a shade of 97?
Cancer Jiles, Sutler Reynolds-Kael,
Bobby Dean. What makes you think you’re better than any of those aforementioned? Did you see what happened to them? DID YOU!? Are you more special than those guys? Sometimes I believe you are but the hard truth is NO, you are not. They couldn’t hang with me right now and neither can you. The Conor Curse is over. Second-Player Syndrome NO MORE. I exchanged my ring clothes from green to purple to fuming Bowser tint.
Do you know what I’m gonna do to you, Jatt? We’re not talking about a hospital visit this time. I’m simply gonna out wrestle you. Fly around the ring, catch me if you can. Stomp you in the head, Weapon Get your Jatt-named moves. Of course, according to you I can’t do this. I have a shit diet, huh? All I eat is junk food and barely get exercise.
What world are you living in, asshole? Seriously. I’m practically carved outta stone. I can play video games while WATCHING my diet and working my physical ass off. I’m sick and tired of you gasbagging nimrods typecasting me as this fat virgin fuckchild who’s social skills push the lower limits of inbreeding.
I’ve had a girlfriend.
I work out regularly.
I play tons of video games. All of the games.
Oh, and I’m the High Octane WORLD CHAMPION.
What the fuck are you?
Forgetting about the fact you were gifted this match, why would Lee let go of such a viable lackey like Jatt Starr? Wouldn’t it serve him better to still have the Best Alliance and original member represent him accordingly? Maybe he wants to see you suffer for never quite doing well enough. ……Or knees to the head fog the mind. (Tell me about it.)
You’re 2-0 against me? Okay, great math. Another lapse in judgement by “the chosen one”. I guess you could say that’s Starr for the Course. Add it to your stupid slogan list.
While this IS only Chapter 2 in our battle, it’ll have to end here. Because after September 18th the next time you’ll see me face-to-face is when I ask you to give my induction speech into the HOW Hall of Fame. In the meantime, you can lay a big smackaroo on my ass in Minnesota, man. I have been frothing at the mouth for this match since the day I left Alcatraz distraught and disgruntled. My push and pull between genuine respect, admiration and absolute anger for The Champion of Jattanooga is a Rubik’s Cube but when I end your existence and finally send you off to pasture, the love for you will never waiver. I’ll think of you fondly and always credit you for my success.
Let’s get to that endgame sooner rather than later.
Alcatraz awaits ME. I need to reach this castle. You don’t understand what I have planned. I am the player who can stop the king before he takes his tenth testimonial. You may be “back” in my books but you still don’t have the talent to rip the lid off a power-up I have been waiting to open since last year’s Rumble at the Rock.
Come get the fatality and final death blow you should’ve received in Alcatraz. Except now I have the talent to get the job done.
After the bell sounds… you’ll pray you stopped at a “2-0” record. I’ll make you wish it was Dan Ryan.
No additional rounds. In ten more years, you can look back (if you’re alive) and say ‘my last world title match should’ve concluded with Christopher America’.
It’s not your time, Jatt. It is never gonna be your time again you god damn prissy POS. At least you’ve done what every retired athlete ventures into after they’ve hung it up, dive into the food industry. Hey, you’ve got a head start by a couple weeks.
I’m sorry, I love you.
Now get in the fucking ring and receive what’s coming to you.