You Must Lose Part 2
“It is critical that you sign the contract on this date because a day too early, or a day too late, he doesn’t go through with killing himself. He actually only ends up killing Fury and goes to prison. Sign with HOW on that very date, and instead, you end up booked against him and he kills Fury and himself. This allows you to be able to take his body out during the show pin him for your first win, executing Phase One.”
“Interesting,” says Brenton.
The camera zooms out to show the Commander sitting at a table with Brenton, they look up at a digital HUD showing a headshot of Austin Bishop, a digital image of Brenton’s HOW contract. The commander swipes the two images off screen, double taps on a folder that says “Phase Two”, and a headshot of Crash Rodriguez, a map layout of Alcatraz, and a ring with in the center of the prison, surrounded by cells appears on the screen. The Commander sits back in his chair and crosses his arms, then brings his index finger vertically across his lips.
“Phase Two should see you replace Bishop in what is Rodriguez versus Bishop in the General Population Match at Rumble at the Rock 9 with a successful outcome of Phase One. You say interesting, Brenton. Here’s where things get very interesting,” continues the Commander. Brenton sits up in his chair, intrigued. “RATR9 takes place on the very same day as the G7 Summit in Paris. Here is where the President of the United States and the President of France come to their initial disagreement over the nuclear treaty break in Iran.”
“Yup. Seeds being plant to what eventually leads to the Climax. Little will they know that you will be planting your own seeds that will interrupt everything. It’s amazing what a little bit of deception and distraction can accomplish. All you need to do, Brenton, is just stick to the this timeline, and we’ll see that the Climax will never even take place… and with a little bit of luck, you can come back and you me can be sitting on a couch watching an NFL game, drinking beers, and eating hot wings.”
“Man, what I’d do for a chicken wing right now. God damn Germans. I’ll never forgive them for what they did to the birds here.”
“You may not have to, if this works,” replies the Commander.
Brenton smiles at the Commander, catching his drift.
“Let’s go see it,” says the Commander.
“See what,” asks Brenton.
A television screen shows Brenton Cross speaking on this past Chaos event.
“I will not allow the timeline to be corrupted. Ladies and gentlemen, the following match is scheduled for one fall, now making his way to the ring from soon to be a graveyard… Austin Bishop!!!”
The camera changes angles to show Dr. Michaels of the Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics in San Francisco in a chair taking notes while watching the replay of the event. Just then, a woman walks into the room and hands the doctor a coffee.
“Your coffee, sir.” she says.
“Ah, yes, thanks Judy.”
“Who’s that?” she asks.
“That there is Brenton Cross. He was a patient of ours not too long ago, before you started here. You see, Judy, how he has totally taken on the persona of this time traveler. He’s in total belief that he has to stick to this so called ‘timeline’ in order to live. It’s actually quite fascinating,” says the doctor.
“And we are very interested in him, he’s interesting… but also dangerous. Look how he drags the corpse without any remorse at all. There’s two people in this world who would handle a body like that. One is a soldier, the other is a psychopathic killer. And since the United States military has no record of Mr. Cross, I’m going with the latter.”
“But he’s wearing dog tags.”
“Haha, indeed he is, my young intern. Indeed he is. You see, when a Grandiose Delusional Schizophrenic lives his illusions, he completely encompasses the character, becomes the person he believes he is, even when he’s not. Brenton believes he’s been fighting in some futuristic war… he probably ordered them online or had them stamped at a Walmart. Nevertheless, he belongs here in our care, and the police are on top of that so we should have him in our hands momentarily. Thank you, Judy. That will be all.”
Judy walks out as Dr. Michaels rewinds the tape and watches again, taking more notes.
Brenton wakes up. He’s in the middle of the woods next to a campfire at night. He sits up and looks around, breathing heavily.
“Fuck, not again.”
He sits up and gathers his belongings. He has his clothes, some cash, a cell phone, and his video relay. He takes a deep breath of relief and stokes the fire. Then a squirrel crawls next to the fire, picking up an acorn, then runs and climbs up a spruce next to Brenton.
“Wow…. a squirrel. Haven’t seen one of you guys in like two years. Forgot how beautiful of creatures you guys are. Quick, alert, and resilient. Too bad at some point you guys are completely wiped out. You, the birds, the deer…”
“Another damn blackout.”
He looks at his mobile.
“When was I at the gym…. 14 hours ago, Jesus. I need to start making notes of where I go. We did not plan for these blackouts to happen, Mr. Squirrel. Things Einstein never told us about.”
He continues talking to the squirrel.
“Rodriguez seems to be focused on everything except for our match. That’s good. We don’t need him getting smart and doing something that would compromise the timeline. Let him worry about his daddy and every other HOW wrestler. Let him worry about his ‘nines’. Wonder if it’s hit his brain yet that there are nine countries fighting in the great war in the beginning?” Brenton laughs to himself, “Wonder if he knows that it took nine days for the initial smoke to clear after the bombings in Montreal. Maybe, mayyybe he knows that after nine assassination attempts, the President of China is still alive. I bet he doesn’t know that there are nine steps in completing Phase three. The very phase that sees him lose to me at Rumble at the Rock…. 9!” Brenton laughs again.
Brenton grabs his wallet and finds the ferry ticket from San Francisco to Alcatraz.
“Joking aside….Can’t fuck this up. Everything depends on it. Don’t know what I’m going to do if I fail this mission. I have one trip back, what am I going to return to if I fail? Be the last man standing on Earth? Sit there and waste away as the radiation eats me away, nothing to eat or drink, probably starve to death first. Or would I just stay here? Watch everything transpire before my eyes? Sit back and wait for Iran to be destroyed, eat some McDonald’s as North Korea launches their missiles on California and the UK level the Vatican? I don’t know, Mr. Squirrel. I don’t think I can allow any of that. And then there’s my wife… I’ll never see her again, or the Commander or any of the troops back home. Kiss goodbye to that life we always dreamed of. Can’t let it happen. I must win. Crash must lose, along with the rest of them. Make sure the Climax never happens….”
Brenton lays back down and closes his eyes to rest.
“Make sure the Climax…never…happens.”
Clamps close down on Brenton’s wrists and ankles. A woman rubs a gel-like substance all over his body.
“Good to go,” she says.
The Commander then walks up to Brenton.
“Remember, son. Stick to the timeline, everything depends on it. I believe you in, Brenton. We all do. You’re our last hope.”
“You’re an unbelievable solder, son.”
The Commander pats Brenton on the shoulder, and then the woman from Brenton’s dream walks up. With her long red hair, lush lips, and rosy cheeks. A tear falls from her eye. Then her and Brenton share a long, passionate kiss.
“I love you,” she says. “Come back.”
“The gel helps with the heat, Brenton,” says the Commander. “This won’t be like anything you’ve ever felt before, son. Brace yourself.”
Brenton begins breathing heavily.
“I love you too, baby.” says Brenton to the woman.
“Clear the area….. initiate sequence in three…. two… one… POWER!” yells the Commander.
Every light shines brighter as the machine powers up. The machine begins letting off its own light rays, and gets extremely loud.
“Vitals?” says the Commander.
“Heartbeat and body temperature rising!” yells the woman.
Then suddenly Brenton yells out an agonizing scream.